Change Everything

Monday, December 28, 2015

It's Still Christmas Around Here

It seems that everyone else was able to get their Christmas tablescapes posted weeks ago - but it's been a season of delays and procrastination for me.

Somewhere I have photos of my Thanksgiving table but never got around to posting them. I'll include a few in my next post. 

I do love the fall holidays and decorating for them but a brief illness took the wind out of my sails in November and derailed my whole schedule.

I did manage to get the house decorated and two different tablescapes completed but the weather has been so awful that some shopping was severely delayed and gifts that were mailed may have been late. There are a few people still waiting for the Christmas cookies!

Here's a bit of the Christmas decor- 

I'm very pleased with how this village scene turned out this year. I skipped the fiberfill and just used some white fabric I had. It was much easier to get (most) things to stay upright on the fabric. 

Back to the table...

This is my Pfaltzgraff Snow Village set and I love it! I found a complete boxed set at Goodwill in 2014. During another trip I found a matching candle holder. I continue to look for additional pieces, I'd really like to find the luncheon sized plates but I'm not willing to pay the Replacement prices and even what I'm seeing on Etsy & eBay is a bit more than I want to pay.

I think it's time to cut the narrative short and just post some more photos. 

Some bits and pieces...

The Angels are among my favorite details on this set. I'm still looking for a set of dishes that are decorated with just Christmas Angels. I've seen some but I either haven't liked the background color or the style of the Angels.

Here's the last shot of this table, I'm mad for plaid!

I found a four pack of plaid wrapping paper at Hallmark and though I didn't notice when I bought it, I found that it was double sided once I started wrapping gifts!

A shot of the breakfast bar..

Which was set-up after I changed the main table. I show you this in separate post.

Hope you're having a wonderful holiday season!!

I've joined a link party over at Dwellings - The Heart of your Home!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Lazy Sunday

Just one of those days...

Yesterday I woke up and got a great start on my weekend to do list.  After making some great progress around the house it was time to run errands - which I did. Made five stops and only forgot one item (it was even on the list!). I was pretty exhausted by the time I got home but I still managed to clean out & organize a bathroom cupboard... before collapsing into bed.   

I woke up to another bright & sunny day ready to get started on the rest of that 'to do' list. Then... I got a text from my neighbor inviting me over for a latte. Clearly, nurturing friendships and catching up takes precedence over housework and ironing.  

She was supervising the ironing while making sure I knew that at any moment she might want more breakfast. 

While I may not have been as productive as I planned today, I had a wonderful visit with my friend. I also got a few things crossed off the 'to do' list and still took time to relax and enjoy my weekend.   

Working full-time means that weekends are usually filled with errands & housework. Some weekends I get a lot done and other weekends I just relax and play, mostly it's a wonderful mix of both.  

Hope all your weekends turn out just the way... they're supposed to.  

Friday, August 21, 2015

Whisper of Fall

Perhaps I'm a bit premature with a reference to Autumn but after reading a delightful story from 'Tea with Friends' today (from whom I stole the title for my post) and enjoying a morning cool enough to need a long sleeve shirt (!!) I decided to indulge in a little fall dreaming. 

After a hotter than average summer, I was overdue for a comforting cup of hot tea. Oh my tea leaves, it was fabulous!


After a bit more tea blog reading including commenting on a post about a chocolate earl gray tea someone tested, it was time to have a cup of my recommendation; Valentine by Harney & Sons. With chocolate and rosebuds this is one of my all time favorites. In stores it's only available around Valentine's day but you can get it from their website anytime. 

Summer isn't far away with another two days over 90 in the forecast but just for today I can look out and see that some leaves are starting to change and enjoy cooler nighttime temperatures.  

I'm looking forward to pulling together a fall table, or two in the very near future!

Happy end of summer!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Spring Tea

Better late than...

In April I hosted a tea for some friends, while not everything turned out as expected I still consider it a success.

I set the table using the Lacey pattern from Pier 1. I was quite fortunate to find the one extra plate I needed at the local store since they've discontinued this color. 

The flatware I used is the fabulous Evening Star silverplate I found last December. Just before the tea I found the individual butter spreaders on Etsy! 

There's something about this teapot that reminds me of Mrs. Potts from Beauty & the Beast. Now that I know I can't replace it, I have to reduce the amount of time it spends in the rotation - I try to use a different teapot each month.

I tried to include sweeteners that everyone would like, there are Splenda packets in the sugar bowl. 

Just like a tea room, each lady got her own pot of tea. I was too warm for bustling around to drink hot tea that day, that's why there are only three.

The Southern Living iced tea glasses were used for water. The little floral bowls had lemon curd and faux devon cream. The gold topped container was used for homemade jam.

The tale of the lemon curd: As I was getting things ready, making the sandwiches, baking the scones etc. I went to the pantry to get the lemon curd I'd put up and much to my disappointment it was bad. I had to hurry and make more, can't have a tea without lemon curd! Fortunately I remembered a recipe a saw when I was looking at recipes for the tea it was a recipe for microwave lemon curd, I was saved! It took the up the little extra time I had but it was delicious! I was still running around finishing things when my guests arrived but they were very understanding and insisted that I stop apologizing and just relax. 

The menu for the day included;
strawberry scones
cheese scones
Waldorf chicken salad on mini croissants
cucumber and herbed cream cheese canapes
pimiento cheese sandwiches
key lime tarts
chocolate pots de creme in phyllo shells
tangerine tea cake

Everything turned out well and I was very pleased with everything. The next day I invited over some close friends for a 'leftovers' tea. It was a lot of fun and a lot more relaxed! 

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Packed Perfect

I always marvel at those articles or posts that say you can pack for a 3 week trip in a carry-on suitcase. Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating but you know what I'm talking about. If you have tiny feet and your clothes are a size 6 or smaller it's entirely possible... but that's not me.

Even packing for a week in a carry-on can be a challenge for me. My size 10 shoes alone take up a major portion of the suitcase and I can't travel with just one pair of shoes especially on a business trip. I need shoes to wear with my business clothes and also athletic shoes for walking through the airport and working out. When traveling, for any reason, I make sure that my basic pieces match each other - usually base pieces in black or navy with pops of color in tops & accessories. This helps me limit the total number of pieces I have to pack.
A few years ago a purchased some packing organizers and I really like them. I have a small zippered mesh bag that holds all the lingerie and a garment folder that I use for the rest of my clothing. I make sure that my clean clothes don't come in contact with my shoes. (Think about how many different, "foreign" surfaces your shoes come in contact with especially when you're traveling. I use a disinfectant wipe on the soles before putting them in the suitcase.) While my shirts don't stay completely wrinkle-free, they're in better shape than they would be if I rolled them up.

I used to pack a large, hanging toiletry bag but now everything has to fit into a see-through bag that snaps into the side of the suitcase. It works but miss my full size make-up brushes when I'm traveling. 

Styling tools for my hair present a bit of problem especially since I recently changed my hairstyle and now use a massive round brush while drying it. I always count on the hotel on having a hair dryer and if for some reason I think I'm going to want to curl my hair... well, that would be a longer stay than a carry-on can support.  

I recently watched a video about an event at Windsor Castle and they showed how the maids unpack and repack the suitcases for visiting guests.  It was quite impressive to see them line the suitcase with tissue paper, and precisely fold and fit each item into the suitcase. Somewhere in my brain I remembered reading something like this before but using dry cleaning bags to prevent your clothes from getting wrinkled, I like the idea of tissue paper better. I also like the idea of a tissue lined suitcase hiding all that dark, nylon lining.  

While searching online for the right type of tissue paper to use for packing, heavier weight, acid-free, etc, I found this article called "The Fine Art of Packing". It's a short read containing tips from some of the butler staff at a fine London hotel. I especially like that they wrap your lingerie in tissue and wrap it with a pretty ribbon. Wouldn't it be lovely to open your suitcase at the other end and see that attention to detail? 

There are probably hundreds of videos showing you various 'best' ways to pack your suitcase as well as plenty of websites and blog posts for the same. Therefore, my only packing suggestions are: 
  1. find techniques & tips that work for you 
  2. visit some of these sites to find packing lists that work for you. Print out a list or make your own and keep with your suitcase. 
Having a list has really come in handy for me, since I've started using a list I remember to pack everything I need!

Happy Trails!