Thursday, November 24, 2011

Au Naturale Thanksgiving


September, October and even most of November rolled around and I was without any ideas nor time to prepare for Thanksgiving. It's been a roller coaster of repairs, sickness, lack of sleep, full schedules and that's just the kids!

But I knew that I wanted to do and make this Thanksgiving special just like the others as we truly have a multitude of reasons and things to be grateful for.

For starters, our loving family; without them, we would all be like chickens with no heads! lol (true, though)
For God and his Son who sacrificed much for us, and this year alone, our own family's blessings are innumerable!
For my children and husband-where would I be without the frustration and chaos? (at a beach sipping pineapple smoothie, maybe?)
For having a brain that works for me- it landed me a temp job that I LOVE!
For our home that kept us warm, cool and in between
For higher education- there's just nothing like knowing you have a degree to fall back on.
For music and books! My sanity saver, for sure!
And for friends and wonderful acquaintances-- rounds you out as a person (who wouldn't want that?)

Ok, ok... Here's what our dining room looked this year... Mind you, this idea came to me, 3 hours before the ham had to be in the oven. And it took me 45 minutes total to finish. All I had before that, were mums. Just mums. ("Brain" was also under the weather...)

"Under the Canopy of Gratitude"

"Our Crape Myrtle Trees"

I first would like to confess: With 15 CM trees around our house, appreciating them is not always easy for me. Add to the fact that our neighbor also have about 5 big ones that drape over our fence and it's like we are in a grove of CM trees! But this Fall, I am in total awe of each trees individuality: I had one tree full of vibrant red leaves, another yellows only, another, a wave of orange-red and another, a dull burgundy... In short, just a beautiful Autumn rainbow!

I'm so glad I'm not a shopper, but rather, I'm a gatherer. A gatherer of ideas around me... Enjoy the view!

No fancy vases of plant holders, they are held together by the nandina and crape myrtle branches! Had the tealights forever (Ikea). I used the nandina berries, leaves and crape myrtle branches from 4 different trees we had around the house. Who knew the myrtle leaves can produce shades of yellow to burgundy? Just amazing during Fall!
I also found 2 great runners from JCP Outlet ($6), other than that, no direction, no ideas swam in my head. It was so frustrating! I even went and visited multiple blogs, but none gave me that "a-ha!" moment.

So it was back to just using what I already have, and I think it worked out better. I cut several branches of CM trees and placed them everywhere to give the illusion of being under the canopy of CM groves. It was very calming sitting in this room...

This beautiful chandelier, my sister gave it to me this past summer, it's called "Carolyn". (Costco)

Does anyone know what tree these beautiful leaves belong to? I see them everywhere around here, but I have no idea what they're called!
I used fallen leaves and branches with colorful leaves. I only had to purchase 2 bunches of burgundy & chartreuse mums ($8)
Dinnerware: "Tuscan Retreat" (BHG, Walmart)
Silverware: "Katrina" (Oneida, Sears)
Glassware: American Living (JCP-Discontinued, 80% off + extra $15 off $15 coupon)
Placemats: Woven Round, Kohl's (80% off)
Hurricanes: Michael's (75% off, 2005)

Even though it's just our family this year, my children were not going to let me get away with ordering any food, but since I've been under the weather, we opted for quick dishes:
Cliff House (Maine) Clam Chowder, Honey Butter French Bread (from scratch), Sauteed Asparagus, and the newest dish, Lobster Medallions & Chanterelle Mushrooms with Saffron Butter Sauce and of course, the Spiral Ham with Sugar & Spice Glaze

The dessert table always have to be just as exciting as the dinner menu: We always have fruits, cookies (gingerbread shaped cookies-maple leaf & acorn-21 cent clearance find at Kroger's)
You want to know which pies we chose this year?
Bittersweet Ganache Pie with Shortbread Cookie Crust
Key Lime Custard Pie

I'm linking up with Michael Lee at Designs by Gollum for Foodie Friday

I hope you enjoyed our Thanksgiving feast this year. Thanks for stopping by; hope it gave you ideas for yours next year!

TABLESCAPING IDEAS: ("Brain" is glad to pull through this year!) Just like I did this year, often ideas just don't come, but don't panic, instead look around! Take a walk around the neighborhood and observe the colors, textures and smells of Fall. Then imagine what you would love to bring into your own home.

Monday, November 21, 2011

"Orange" you glad I remembered?

I can't believe it! I'm posting! Something new! I get to join in on the fun! Woot! So linking up with Marty, Leigh and Susan's awesome memes! Such lovely ladies who indulge us in our blogging fun!

Tabletop Tuesday, Thrifty Thursday and Tablescape Thursday

Wow! I cannot believe I forgot to post this tablescape! What is wrong with me? (Ok, a lot, but you're not suppose to know that) Anyway, this is back from January 22, for Mr. Man's birthday! He turned 40 and I wanted an all-orange theme. Why? Because he loves, loves orange and I think I love him enough to do one. (Oh, you caught the "I think" part? Man, can't get away with anything in the blog world!)

"Orange I nice to do this?"

"Mr. Man"

First, let me tell you, finding orange in January is like asking for a root canal without anesthesia! If it wasn't cost prohibitive, the selection was not up to par. Especially when the birthday boy decided he doesn't want bright orange. It took all of December and most of January to figure out what orange direction I wanted to go. 

I wanted it to reflect him: gorgeous, warm, elegant, casual and family oriented.

So... using my creative juices to glue (ewww!) the theme swirling in my head, I decided not to look in stores and into my closet instead! Well, what do you know, "Brain" did it again!

Had the rust colored heavy fabric from 2009, found candles in Marshall's for less than $3 each, used my fall dessert plates and my off white Bianca set, my country plaid napkins I found at Kohl's, orange marbles and tealights and "voila!" a gorgeous, warm, orange tablescape for Mr. Man!
The paper chains and origami birds on top, a family project. I found the pitcher at Marshall's, too ($7.99)

We made sure he didn't forget how "young" he is so we got just the right candles to remind him! lol
I made the cake, chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting mixed with a lot of orange food coloring!

Isn't my son, I-Dude, only 9, so clever to make cranes and eagles origami?
He also made that orange star. Mr. Man asked for pasta with shrimp and creamed peas and potatoes.
Used Nandina leaves and berries. Last December, the berries were very red, but in January, they were orange! How cool is that?!

Aren't these candles just gorgeous? The scent is called "Orient Tangerine". I love it!

Heeeeeeeeere's Mr. Man! The birthday boy, the gorgeous love of my life and father of my children! 
Here's the two little ones, J-Pony, 12 and I-Dude, 9. L-Infinity is in Hawaii, attending Brigham Young University in Laie, Honolulu. She thought it was a great table, too!

So... I hope you forgive me for not posting this sooner. I was not thinking of you. I'm so sorry! But, will it help if I told you that Mr. Man was so pleased with the decor that he asked me if I was showing it to you? I was so pleased that look, I forgot! Heart you all for stopping by! See you soon!

TABLESCAPING IDEAS:("Brain" is sighing that we remembered) Now that the holidays are upon us, let's not worry about trends, traditions or aesthetics. Focus on what you know-what you have and the reasons why they stayed in the first place. Instead of one massive spread of flowers, trinkets and baubles on the buffet, why don't you scatter different picture frames of past Christmases? That way, when the guests arrive, you have an instant focal point and a conversation starter!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Repairs derailed much of Fall here!

Grrr! I have no access to my decor, plates or much of anything for that matter as our kitchen/office area decided it will still be under repair!

So far, we've had to fix the sink, both hot and cold water lines, the hot water heater expansion tank, the AC condensation line, and the termite damage to the office area. Because of our schedule, it is so slow going!

I will try to be around before Thanksgiving. (fingers crossed!)

TABLESCAPING IDEAS: (Brain is busting with ideas, no materials to work with at the moment) Wrap around some silk leaf/berry garlands on your chandelier then with a clear fishing line or nylon thread, suspend some real leaves in varying heights and positions to simulate, well, Fall! Remember to use tea lights so the flames won't reach the leaves. Safety first!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Fall is Here Again!

Now that the weather is cooler, the air crisper, I am getting ready to join you again. Just need to go up to the attic in the garage and pull all of my Autumn goodies!

See you soon!

Tablescaping Ideas: (Brain is quite buzzed this time around) Want great and new ideas for a placemat to do with your children? Do some shadow printing! All you need is a dark construction paper, glass picture frame, leaves of your choice, the design. Size the paper in the frame, pull out the glass. Place your leaves design on the construction paper. Gently place the glass over the paper and secure with clothespins. Place it outside, glass side up while the sun is shining and leave overnight to fade the paper. The next day, carefully pull off the leaves and the "shadow" will be left behind!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Will Be Back (Maybe Soon)

("Easter Wonderland")

Too many home improvement projects, lifestyle changes, planned vacations and family/friends gathering to attend to this year.

I'll pop in when I can. Hope y'all don't forget me... Hugs to all!

Happy belated First Day of Spring, Easter, Cinco de Mayo, and Mother's Day to you wonderful bloggers out there!

When I come back, I'll share my latest finds, tablescapes and adventures in changing up this house we bought. See y'all when I come back!

You know, I won't leave with no useable tip, right? Right! Enjoy!

TABLESCAPING IDEAS: (Brain is exhausted from gardening, but she'll try...) Trimming bushes and scraggly tree limbs? Why not repurpose them and use them as centerpiece? Just use what shape of twigs or volume of leafy stems you want and voila! Magazines eat up the height and unique impact it makes enough to show you. As well as beautiful and sensible enough that you can imitate it effortlessly. So fertilize and "clean" those bushes and trees, they may just be what you're looking for as your next inspiration!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Two Dozen


Hope you all had a great time celebratin' and spreading love to all!

I'm joining Marty, Susan and Leigh again this week. Woot! It's so rare that I get to join in that it's an occasion in itself!

"Collecting Two Dozen of Love"

Two dozen beautiful roses and Two "Love" Collection Glassware

Well... This year, I decided that no matter how hectic our pace still is, we will celebrate V-Day. Nothing fancy, but definitely some flowers are involved and since roses are abundant this month, I managed to receive not one, but TWO DOZEN! (How lucky can one gal be?)

This morning, Mr. Man surprised me with a dozen white roses, and some purple and green filler stems to make a beautiful bouquet. He knows I prefer making my own, so he doesn't bother to wait and have a store do it for me.
Our dinner and table plans were simple enough: No fuss and the kids dictate the menu to include them in the celebration. So we used my Wachterbach "Terra Cotta Cherry" dinner plates, everyday American Living white handled utensils, paper heart napkins and Kane Home "Love" Collection champagne flutes from the closing Albertsons nearby.
We just lit some tealights and opted to have a bare table since it will be fully sanded and re-stained soon.
We feasted on Penne Alfredo with Smoked Sausage, Steamed Broccoli and Basil Garlic Bread along with some Garlic Parmesan Wings that we got FREE from Pizza Hut since they messed up our original order.
I transferred the white roses on to one of my smaller cabinets and the lamp light gave it a very romantic feel, fitting of a V-Day picture.

On Sunday, we had a Pre-Valentine dinner to use the cute glasses we got from the Dollar Tree a few weeks back. It's also the Love collection from Anchor Hocking. Only it was brown, pink and burgundy and it had a modern yet whimsical Victorian feel and look to it.
So we used one of our flat sheet sets to provide the pink, burgundy napkins and swirly pink/brown Mulberry Swirl bowl.
...and to highlight the dozen baby pink/mint green roses I got on Saturday. I created a simple bouquet by using some leaves from the bushes out front.
I just put together whatever looked good together. And I found my dancing couple statue and used that.
I think it gave a romantic story to this otherwise simple vignette. It reminds me of young couples who sneak around for that one last kiss of the night. *sigh*


TABLESCAPING IDEAS: (Brain is so in loooove!) Holidays are known for their colors which makes decorating easy. But if what you have don't seem to "match", it can be frustrating. Why not cater the holiday to your typical color scheme? Blue Valentine's Day perhaps? Why not? Just use lots of candles and white or yellow flowers and your romantic setting is ready!

Monday, January 24, 2011

An Orange Birthday

Well, if you visited my blog last week, I hinted that I will be doing an "Orange" themed birthday for my DH's big day. Well, here it is!

I'm joining Marty's Tabletop Tuesday, Susan's Tablescape Thursday, Leigh's Thrifty Thursday & Michael Lee's Foodie Friday. This will be a fun week!

"Orange you Happy, it's Your Birthday!"

My dear wonderful husband of 14 years and his love of orange

Mr. Man turned 40 last Saturday and since he needed to work that night and the following morning, we really didn't have much time to plan for anything more elaborate to celebrate his big milestone. But I wanted to make sure that he knew we wanted him to feel special, so I honed in on his favorite color-ORANGE. But how to make it fit his personality?
Mr. Man, my forever love

I decided to find a shade of orange that also reflected how he makes us all feel... At home and loved. Cozy and Protected. Happy and Warm.

So I looked to the warmer shades of rust, red-orange, and orange-brown and a color scheme was born! We dug up my old 12x12 scrapbook papers with old-time prints, construction and origami papers. We made paper chains and origami birds and hearts. We hung them up on the mirrors, chandelier and bay windows. We put them on top of the plates and table.
We used my son's current sheet set to set off the color scheme. It was perfect. The only thing we had to buy for this theme were the Capri "Mandarin Orange" scented candles and water pitcher by Home Essentials and Beyond's "Bumblebee Collection" that I found at Marshall's. Total, $19!

My DH is a very simple man that has a multi-faceted personality. He loves a good sense of humor and he is incredibly smart and handy. But even though he loves skiing, RC cars, computers, 80's Techno music and puppies (and me and the kids, of course), nothing makes him happier than being at home, relaxing, so... that's what I focused on!
The table is not fussy, it's clean, monochromatic, warm and definitely inviting. We layered the different shades of warm oranges that we could find without sacrificing elegance and a little bling. lol
He taught our son how to do origami cranes and now, our 8-year old, I-Dude is the Origami Prince of the house! He made these cranes and eagles. He also made the hearts hanging on the chandelier and a big 5-pointed star on the food table. My napkins had enough warm shades that it was a perfect match for this table. It gave just enough layer to make it more romantic and so my hubby!

I just love how the camera picked up on the sparkles of the flames. Now that's what I call, blingage! lol
I used Nandina leaves and berries to punctuate this table that held all the food choices he made: Seafood Pasta, Creamed Peas and Potatoes, and a Chocolate Cake I made from scratch, on the fly. Why? Because originally, he chose a Milk Choc BC variety but it was so moist that they crumbled out of the pans! Grrr! The one I made, he loved much better!

We are both from California, so these shades reminded us of the sunsets there. It was a perfect choice. The smile on his face while we dined by candlelights and lamps were evident of his approval. I wanted it to be a perfect birthday dinner, and it was. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that his birthday beverage was of course, our traditional Orange Pineapple juice cocktail!
I used my Ikea Fargrik Beige Dinnerware, Studio 33 Autumn Harvest salad plates, and Homer Laughlin Oatmeal Wheat J-63 saucers. The napkins were from Kroger back in 2009 called, Bayfield in Blue. I got 6 for less than $3.00 on clearance! This is probably the 2nd time I used them, I'm so glad I picked them up even though I had to hunt from 6 different bins!
I love these candles, it was almost like they knew I wanted a perfect table-each shot has each one sparking brightly!

I think this is one of my favorite tablescapes of all time...
Our two little ones, J-Pony and I-Dude, all smiles with their dad after a great meal and cake, of course!
This pitcher is so cute! It came in green, off-white and this burnt orange color. The candles and this pitcher were the only shade of orange pieces at Marshall that weren't broken, chipped or too bright. They were meant to come home with me to celebrate my DH's big day. Even the Nandina berries were a deep shade of orange rather than red like the last ones I used for Christmas.
Did I mention I love aerial shots? This one turned out wonderfully!

Thank you all so much for visiting and taking a peek at my hubby's birthday table. Hope you have a great week!

TABLESCAPING IDEAS: (Brain is so ready for all the holidays) January & February straddles New Year, Birthdays, Chinese New Year and Valentine's Days. Why not scope out your collection and isolate those pieces that can be used for all of them? The more common choices are white, gold, blue red and pink. Why not use gold, red and blue to have a more upscale Americanized celebration of these holidays?

Niceties first

HELLO AND WELCOME to this blog dedicated to my obsession of tablescapes, and ONLY TABLESCAPES!
That means that whatever I post will be redirected to tablescapes or you will see tablescapes or the dishes and glassware that I used AND wish to use.
I hope you like you what you see; but you can't do that unless you take the tour- the TABLESCAPE TOUR that's on the side bar! I'd also love to take you on my adventures on finding great dinnerwares to display and use while leaving some serious change in your pocket, so stay a while and see all of my great deals!
Wanna know the reason behind the madness, too? Then make sure to read, Why this blog for my philosophy.