Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Wish List Wednesdays: Lenox Haunted Village Dessert Plate Set

You may think it is still too early to think about Halloween, but then you might miss out on the amazing Haunted Village 4-pc Dessert Plate Set by Lenox (on sale for $49.95)!  These 8-inch porcelain plates are dishwasher and microwave safe, and each one is decorated with a different haunted house design.  I ordered these plates two days ago and used the code "thanks7" to get an additional 10% off, so give that code a try if you decide you need to buy them too.  Are you ready to start thinking about Halloween?

Monday, August 13, 2018

Current Events: A Presidential Diet

The real reason The (Mc)Donald eats fast food
(created using Superlame).

Trump's balanced diet = fast food (only the best fat and protein) + paper products (so much fiber)!

Seriously, there's no need to make this stuff up when former close Trump associates are so willing to do it for you (so much integrity - only the best people, right?).

Sunday, August 12, 2018

On the Homefront: Coastal Crabs and Canine Cuties Table

Blue Crab Sprint table linens

I set this summery table back in June, but have only just now gotten around to downloading the images!  You may sort of recognize the Puppy Love Salad Plates - they are the other half of the set I used for my Independence Day table in July.  The light blue and sand hues happened to perfectly match a new set of Blue Crab Sprint table linens (shown above) that I purchased earlier this year which feature a design of coastal crabs at the shoreline between ocean and beach.  I think the plates combined quite well with the linens, and made for a rather unique table theme of dogs at a crabby beach! (I'm afraid my photography looks even worse than usual because I had to take these pictures on a a mostly overcast day, one of far too many we have had this summer.)

Blue Crab Sprint Place Mat; Puppy Love Salad Plate; white Shell by Gibson Designs dinner plate (from Target eons ago); Blue Crab Sprint Napkin; Cranston Rainbow Mirror flatware; turquoise Artland Iris Goblet; etched crab water glass (from HomeGoods a few years ago).

Here is the other salad plate, which features a pug mug!

A fish-shaped glass canister filled with seashells and a small turquoise-blue
bottle sits on a Shell by Gibson Designs platter at the head of the table,
surrounded by two blue candles and a set of scallop and starfish salt and
pepper shakers (a recent purchase from HomeGoods).

A large candle in a sand-colored glass jar is set the middle of a shallow glass
dish filled with blue, white, and clear glass beads for a simple centerpiece.

I have had this colorful square fish platter for a while, but this is the first
time I have set a table in a color scheme that matches it!

Obviously the menu for this table has to include crab!  One of my brothers always sends us a bountiful supply of Maryland crab cakes for Christmas.  In the past they have been softball-sized.  This year they are more numerous but smaller, not quite the size a tennis ball, so they are perfect for serving as sliders.  I recommend serving the crab cakes on a rich egg-based roll, a brioche if you can find (or make!) it or King's Hawaiian dinner rolls if you can't, but use any small bun you like.  I like to combine tartar and cocktail sauce as a condiment for crab cakes (more of the former than the latter for me, but play around with proportions to suit your preferences).  I decided an unusual side dish would go well with the sliders, so I went with a watermelon-based salad.  For dessert, lately I have been obsessed with blueberries served over Chobani Orange & Cream Greek Yogurt so that was my choice as the meal finale.

Coastal Crabs Menu:

Crab Cake Sliders/Arugula and Tartar-Cocktail Sauce
Orange Yogurt/Fresh Blueberries


You will be seeing the Puppy Love Salad Plates again soon, when I set my table for Dalmatian Appreciation Day at the end of the month.  Enjoy these dog days of summer while you can.  For those of us in the South they will be around for quite a while longer, but those of you farther north will be feeling a touch of fall in the air soon!

Dalmatian Sandy and her crabby friend Blue wish you the very best summer!

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Weekend Wardrobe: Accessories for Colors from Nature 4x5 Basic Wardrobe

Before we left on our trip to New Mexico, I created the 4x5 basic wardrobe shown above based on a nature photo I took on our property.  Now it is time to add accessories!  Let's start with some pretty jewelry, focusing on a theme of Japanese maples and robin's eggs, also based on my photo:

Clockwise from top left: Rocky Mountain Leaf Company Silver Japanese Maple Necklace; ExpressYourself Turquoise and Sterling Silver Bird's Nest Earrings on Etsy; KarmaBeads Turquoise and Sterling Silver Bird Nest Necklace on Etsy; Coldwater Creek Rainbow Drops Illusion Necklace; JLynnCreations Sterling Silver Mama Brid Skinny Cuff Bracelet on Etsy; Rocky Mountain Leaf Company Silver Japanese Maple Earrings.

I found some very lovely and unique scarves that pick up on the robin's egg blue, plum purple, forest green, and taupe color scheme of the wardrobe:

Clockwise from top left: Silk Concepts Northern Lights Tree Scarf in Loden Green; Black Fig Designs Treasure Taupe Ikat Silk Scarf; Silk Concepts Kayaker Scarf in Dark Plum; FireAunt Studios Women's Silk Scarf in Black/Turquoise/Purple.

The very neutral taupe comes into play when choosing the third set of accessories, which must work with all colors in the collection:

Clockwise from top left: Coldwater Creek Three-Season Raincoat in Taupe; Coldwater Creek Eventide Leather Bag in Stone; Coldwater Creek Eventide Leather Wallet/Wristlet in Stone; L.L. Bean Misses Regular Suede 3/4" Belt in Gray.

Most of the shoes are taupe as well, but I just could not resist the suede wedges in a shade similar to robin's egg blue:

Clockwise from top left: Coldwater Creek "Carlee" Flats by Me Too in Desert Taupe; Coldwater Creek "Borderland" Suede Wedges by Walk With Me in Bright Jade; Coldwater Creek "GOWalk Lite" Canvas Ballet Flats by Skechers in Taupe; Coldwater Creek "Zeline" Boots by Naturalizer in Taupe.


The unusual color scheme of this wardrobe and its accessories makes me very happy!  Next week I will show you the apparel I wore in New Mexico.  My wardrobe was actually rather similar to what I took for my family reunion in Pennsylvania, but with a slight southwestern twist with the addition of accessories.  I can't wait to show you the woven shawl I bought in Santa Fe!

Friday, August 10, 2018

Foodie Fridays: Small Batch Banana Chocolate Chunk Muffins

Most recipes for baked goods make way too many servings for my husband and me, so I am always happy to see small batch recipes, like this one for Best Ever Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins from I Am a Food Blog.  Banana muffins are a great way to get rid of bananas that are past their prime!  I also had some leftover dark chocolate Hershey Kisses, so I chopped them into chunks and used them instead of chocolate chips.  I used half the amount of sugar and left off the sanding sugar on the tops, but otherwise the recipe is unchanged.  Six muffins are just the right number for two people to finish off in a reasonable amount of time.  Muffins do freeze well, so any that do not get eaten right away can go into our overpacked freezer without taking up too much room!

Small Batch Chocolate Chunk Muffins

1/4 C. butter, softened
1/4 C. sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 C. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
2 very ripe bananas
1 C. chocolate chunks (or chips)

Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg and vanilla.

In a small bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder.  Add 1/3 of the flour to the butter mixture and blend well.  Add one banana and mash into the mixture.  Repeat with another third of the flour and the second banana.  Blend in the remaining third of the flour.  Stir in the chocolate.

Divide the batter evenly into a 6-cup muffin tin.  Bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes, until the tops of the muffins are golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove the muffins from the oven and cool in the tin on a rack for a few minutes.  Remove from the tin and cool completely on the rack.  Serves 6.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

This 'n That Thursdays: A Beautiful Santa Fe Contemporary Adobe Home for Sale

From Santa Fe Properties

My husband and I try to make at least one trip a year to New Mexico to look at homes for sale, as we hope to retire there in the near future.  We are looking for properties with acreage that allow horses, which really limits our prospects, but sometimes I can't help checking out some of the wonderful properties available that do not permit horses.  One such property, south of downtown Santa Fe, is shown above.  This contemporary one-story adobe is decorated in a style I wish I could emulate (unfortunately, the two of us accumulate way too much stuff to successfully pull off such a minimalist esthetic).  Even though I know that our style will never be so clean and spare, I can still admire the look!

My (possibly overoptimistic) goal for the rather distant future is to pare down our possessions enough so that we can achieve a similar look, although probably with a slightly more rustic feel and definitely not quite so austere.  Like I said, we tend to be collectors (I am more of a binge and purge type, while my husband has true hoarding tendencies) so I have resigned myself to the fact that we will never be able to minimize our belongings to the extent to which I aspire!

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Wish List Wednesdays: Georgia O'Keeffe Barn Table Runner

While on our trip to New Mexico last week, we stopped by the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, as we are both big fans of her work.  The museum was wonderful as usual, and we always learn more about the artist every time we visit (did you know she travelled the world when she was in her seventies?).  Of course we had to stop by the gift shop before we left, and ended up making several purchases, including the lovely Barn Table Runner ($70) shown above.  Artist Betsy Olmsted reinterprets O'Keeffe's works into textiles.  I love the abstract geometric design of this 100% cotton table runner, as well as the warm autumnal colors.  There are also a few other table linens as well as scarves designed by Olmsted available from the museum shop, so if her work intrigues you go take a look!

From Walker Art Center