Change Everything

Friday, September 23, 2016

These Things Are Great!!

Have you ever bought a product so great, you just want to tell everyone how happy you are with it? Well, that's exactly what's happening here today.

I got these Capstone Puck Lights at Costco last week

snip from Costco mailer

I thought they'd be useful as under-cabinet/task lights for the kitchen.  

But when I opened the carton and read the instructions and saw the remote....!!! Oh my what a great find!

Yes, they come with a remote. The remote not only turns them off & on, it also adjusts the brightness and has various timer settings. 

snip from Amazon

They also included all the batteries for all 6 lights - I can't remember last time I bought some where the batteries were already included? (Other than my toothbrush) I plan to switch over to rechargeable batteries once the originals are done. 

Though I bought them for task lighting I realized that I could use them in the pantry since it doesn't have a light. I can either use the remote or just reach in and push the light on. I'm thinking of other places where I can use them around the house; closets, that really deep kitchen cupboard or strategically placed to serve as emergency lights in case of power outages. The remote makes them super convenient when they're in hard to reach places. 

They come with adhesive discs and the instructions state that the adhesive is permanent and may damage surfaces. I'll be using Command strips instead to insure I don't take ruin any finishes or damage the wall. 

I wish I'd taken some pictures before I pulled everything apart and threw away the packaging, unfortunately we'll just have to make do with snips from the web. 

I'm not being compensated for this post, I just wanted to share what I think is a great product. 

Happy Discoveries!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Hot August Days!!

Happy August Everyone!

I hope this post finds you happy and healthy, and just about ready to rest up from the summer busyness... before all the action starts for autumn. 

Between getting ready for the county fair and catching up on some mending & sewing projects, the dining room table has been otherwise occupied. 

About a week ago, I finally got around to putting a table together...

These mugs & plates are on the short list to find a new home, especially the mugs. I found the exact pattern on eBay & Replacements but not this shape.  The plates were a Big Lots find a few years ago so the chances of finding more of them is pretty much nil. 

You'll forgive me for not noticing that the top plate was a little off center while I was taking these photos. Bamboo might not be the right theme but the color worked well.

The lovely (and easy) centerpiece for the sunflower table. 

More shots of the centerpiece

I like that they put this little bit of a flower inside the rim of the mugs.

The glasses were a lucky find at Dollar Tree, a couple of days ago. I was so pleased that they matched perfectly. Even though I'm planning to find a new home for most of this setting, I figured it was worth it to 'splurge' on some matching glasses to complete the table. 

The 30,000 foot shot (okay maybe just about 7') I must have had the flash on for this one which accounts for the difference in color of the setting at the bottom of the photo. 

This is an example of too much flash, makes it seem like the entire rest of the scene is really dark.  I use the 'fill flash' setting (below) occasionally in my photos but found that a normal flash setting is all wrong.

this was taken with the fill flash setting

I decided to show this same photo taken with various settings on my camera (the green post-it pad just marked that these were test shots):

The 'Live' setting

'Auto' setting

The 'Portrait' setting in  Scene mode

I think this is the Fisheye effect in the Effects mode

The toy camera setting (dark outline) not really one of my favorites but I'd like to test it on some black & white photos. 

One of the black & white settings

the 'vivid' effect - it's okay occasionally but not for every photo

this is the poster effect, it's interesting how it deepened the colors. I don't have my owners manual handy but I'm guessing this adds pixels so that any enlargements are very crisp

finally the miniature effect, this blurs the top & bottom of the photo so that what's in the center is brought forward

That ends the overview of camera settings. 

I recently discovered a new blog Dianne's Creative Table and she's inspired me to add some height to my tablescapes. I did some shopping this weekend and found some great stuff on clearance!

The back row is all from Home Goods clearance racks (except the candle). The one with the silver top & bottom is from Marshall's. 

This tortise 'set' is from Pier 1 clearance. I'm hoping to find another candle stick at a different store but if I don't I found other pieces so that I can improvise. 

These pretty red glasses were also on clearance at Pier 1, I love the etched pattern and the gorgeous color. I think they'll be wonderful with my tartan plates. 

Thanks for stopping by to see the latest tablescape.  I'll be joining Make it Pretty Monday over at The Dedicated House, Share your Cup Thursday at Have a Daily Cup of Mrs Olson and Dishing it & Digging it at Rustic & Refined.

P.S. I've decided to reduce my collection of dishes and so any pattern I know I can't get more of, like these sunflower plates and mugs, needs to go. The sunflower plates, yellow plates, sunflower mugs and striped glassware is all for sale. 

Saturday, June 11, 2016

A Collection

Time has flown by, I can't believe how long it's been since I posted. 

I took these photos a couple of months ago after I saw a similar post on another blog; my teapot collection, along with some cream & sugar sets. 

I use all my teapots over the course of the year (with a couple of exceptions) so they earn their 'keep'. Each becomes the favorite at different times during the year; some are prettier to look at and others are just fun. 

Another view of my pretties.  There are also a couple that are no longer usable because they've cracked and there are a few that I haven't used yet for one reason or another.  

I found this cutie at Goodwill a couple of years ago. This is an example of a teapot I haven't used - the opening is very tiny and would be challenging to wash but so sweet and colorful, I enjoy putting in on my Easter table. 
The teapot behind it is a cat, a hand-me-down from a friend. I've used it a few times but noticed a large crack inside last time I was washing it out. (and it looks a little creepy in the photo below)

I have yet to put tea into the silver set either, though by it's shape it does appear to be a coffee pot. It was a very exciting day for me when I found this entire set at Goodwill.  (I was hoping the tarnish on the tray wouldn't be obvious in the photo, I was wrong)  I'm sure it's food safe but when a teapot goes into rotation it gets used daily for about a month, I don't see that happening with this one.  
The pot holding the flowers is probably also a coffee pot but it was purchased as a hot chocolate pot. 

This is my very first set and one of my first teapots, a gift from a friend.  She said that she & her daughter usually choose teapots that have feet, like this one. (they also gave me the matching tea & toast set) This one has been used only a few times; a small top opening and gold trim means that it won't go into the regular rotation. The shape of the tray is lovely, as is the pattern of the china.  

A recent addition to the line up. I learned last year that I'd be inheriting my grandmother's Dessert Rose dishes so I picked up these pieces at a local antique shop. I plan on adding to this set as space allows. Though I don't use salt & pepper shakers (I prefer fresh ground) only one of my grandmother's shakers survived so I'll be looking for another one.  Fortunately, there's a lot of Dessert Rose in antique stores so I should be able find additional places to replace those that are too chipped and/or cracked to use.

This set is from Pier 1, the color and lace design were too irresistible for me to pass up. I got six dessert plates and the cake stand, too. I'm glad I did because it's now discontinued. It's a set that can be easily combined with my everyday stoneware. 

As you can probably tell, this isn't really a 'set' but it works for a fresh, blue & white table setting. The teapot was a clearance shelf find @ Bed Beth & Beyond and the ironstone cream & sugar a GW find. 

Again, not really a set but it works. The teapot was a garage sale find, I think it's Princess House. I've not used it but there's really no good reason. Most teapots have a somewhat obvious 'season' when I look at them but this one hasn't 'spoken' to me yet. Perhaps I'll put it into use during the summer for steeping leaves for iced tea. I don't recall where I got the cream & sugar set, it has a tulip design in the formed glass.

This set is from Home Goods, still hoping I can find the sugar bowl.  It looks very sweet on my grandmother's tablecloth with a similar pattern. I also found a matching tea strainer and tiny bowl at an antique store. This does get put into rotation but cautiously because of the gold trim. 

The pumpkin teapot got used in October until it developed a crack so now it's just a decorative piece. I really don't have storage space for something that can't be used, might be time for it to find a new purpose in life. 
The witch's boot was a GW find last year and I hope to find the rest of the set somewhere. I think the top of the sugar bowl got put on the tea pot, it just doesn't fit quite right.  This fun teapot got used a lot during the Halloween season last year.
The apple teapot was a clearance table find and perfect for the back to school tables. It's okay but the spout was not formed correctly so I have to make sure I put the drip catcher on it when I use it. Since it was one of the first, it's endured quite a bit of use and is starting to show it.

When I saw this on Etsy, I knew I had to have it (also the price was right). It's a bit bigger than most of my others and hasn't yet made it into regular rotation. I've seen another thatched roof set but never just the cream & sugar alone. I'll keep looking.  

I actually had the F&F cream & sugar years ago but no teapot. I found the snowman teapot at Home Goods 2 years ago (?) and the snowman creamer from GW.  None of it matches but that's okay. I really enjoy that happy snowman. 

A somewhat awkwardly cropped photo to show you the Portmierion and the Sprinkle (red w/white polka dots) teapots. The Portmierion was a gift from a friend who was moving and decided it needed a new home. This came with a matching clock and salt & pepper shakers. The Sprinkle teapot was a impulse purchase when I wanted something red for my Valentine's table.  Eventually, I bought some matching ramekins when they went on clearance. I recently tried to get the cream & sugar but no one has them in stock, though I do see them on ebay. 

If you'd have asked me five years ago if I'd ever have this many teapots I'm sure I would have said absolutely not. Time has a way of changing one's perspective on things.  

Time for a cuppa - something herbal and comforting. Thanks for stopping by to and I hope you enjoyed this little tour. 

Etiquette tip - when someone asks you to pass the salt or the pepper, remember to pass both because 'they're married and always travel together'. It's also considered impolite to season your food before you taste it. 

Sometimes we're not aware of our own etiquette faux pas, so when a friend asks you if there's something they should be aware of and if you think they can handle it, be honest and let them know. It may be uncomfortable in the moment but they'll probably thank you. You never know when that little tip will help them land a job or get a promotion. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

And the Winner Is....


I enjoy cooking and baking for friends & family.  Last year after a couple years of taking my test recipes to some friends at the local kitchen store one of them suggested I enter the county fair.

I'd never entered any kind of baking competition before even though I've been getting rave reviews for years from family, friends and co-workers. I jumped in with both feet and entered the table setting and the baking competitions at the county fair this past summer. 

There were two themes to choose from for the table settings - 'Let Them Eat Cake' and 'Summer Breeze'. Here's my entry:

I'm quite fond of flamingos - does it show?

Guess what??

I won Best of Show!!!! Sorry for the quality of the pic but I took these during the fair and felt a bit awkward taking photos with all the people around.  I didn't remember to take my camera when I went back after the fair to clean up. 

I baked three different desserts - chocolate peanut butter cupcake, lemon bars and raspberry cream pie. Again, not the greatest of photos but I am just showing off my WINS!

First place ribbons for all three!

Not very photogenic but delicious!  

Live and learn - 3/4 of a pie wasted. By the time I picked it up, even though it had been refrigerated, it was a bit fuzzy. If I enter a pie or cake next time, I'll make mini-versions. 

Thanks for indulging my bragging!

Next summer I'm thinking of entering the scarecrow contest, I just need to find a sequined tube top... hmmm?

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year!

(Cue the noisemakers, confetti & fireworks)

I hope you had a wonderful New Year's eve, and the first day of the new year has started out wonderfully for you. I got a call from a neighbor who wanted to take me out to lunch. A lovely start to 2016 for me!

A tablescape change for New Year's Eve...

I probably could have fussed with this table for hours and hours, I kept finding myself going back to move something or add something or adjust this or that. 

I hope the new year brings you the best of joy...

the best of health

the best of prosperity

the best garden you've ever planted

the best meals you've ever enjoyed

the best laughs you've ever had

the warmest smiles, the happiest heart, 

the best of everything, everyday!

All the best in 2016 !!!!

I'm joining the party at Between Naps on the Porch and Share Your Cup Thursday at Have A Daily Cup with Mrs. Olson and Rustic & Refinedand Rose Chintz Cottage and Make it Pretty Monday at the Dedicated House and Wow Us Wednesdays at Savvy Southern Style and What's It Wednesdays at Ivy and Elephants!

Silver goblets - Marshall's (last year)
Crown tray, pitcher & glasses - Sur La Table, years ago 
white plates, Alex Liddy - Home Goods, a few years ago
champagne coups, silver tray, candle holders  - Goodwill
flatware - eBay