Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Coffee and Cake

Between Naps On The PorchTablescape Thursday...these fabulous days seem to creep up fast!!! Or maybe it's that I am just summertime slow. After all, the heat and humidity certainly makes one feel a bit sluggish... Thank you, Susan, for hosting this wonderful event. Each week I am inspired to create something wonderful. Some weeks, I manage to do that. Other's a real stretch to get my act together...and my dishes out. This was one of "those" weeks. With all the business travel, and the subsequent paper/computer work, I decided on a simple coffee and dessert theme.

My husband has been such an angel for putting up with my travels this past week...and listening to my ramblings about all I learned about aromatherapy and about the fabulous women I met. I thought he deserved something a moist, rich, made from scratch spice cake. After a long search on the wonderful world-wide web, I found a recipe that seemed to fit the bill. Three layers of lusciously rich, spicy cake made with freshly ground cloves, cinnamon, and ginger, and iced with a rich, maple cream cheese frosting. Mmmmm...... The cake stand is vintage green Depression glass...a lucky find at a garage sale!

The recipe for this cake can be found at:

The frosting is one of my own "recipes"...there is none! I used 1 stick softened butter, 2 blocks of softened, cream cheese, a dash of vanilla, a dash of salt, powdered sugar (enough to make the frosting spreadable) and pure maple taste. You will definitely have frosting left over, but it will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks. One of my dear friends loves to use this as a dip for fresh strawberries!

One of my goals in table design is using items I already have. Over the years I have collected some solid-colored stoneware in orangy-red, deep green, and of course, white. These are the bases of many of my designs. When browsing garage sales and specialty stores, I look for salad/dessert plates, bowls, mugs, etc. to use with these base colors. By interchanging the base colors, I have many different looks...and a lot less problem with storage!

While browsing in one of my favorite store, Home Goods, I found this interesting stoneware. Unfortunately, there were only 4 mugs and 4 plates. Oh well, that's a perfect setting for coffee and cake. I love handpainted dishes...especially when I find items that will work with my base colors. This set works well with my dark green plates.
The rim of these plate has a slight cute!

These vintage napkins were given to me as a wedding present from one of my kindergartner students. They had been a wedding gift to her parents...and they passed them on to me. I truly treasure them...for the sentiment and the beauty. Each napkin has a different embroidered fruit. I chose to show the "welcoming" pineapple. The "tablecloth" is actually a length of woven fabric. I frayed the edges to make a casual topper for my kitchen table. So easy!!! and inexpensive!

Would you care for some coffee and cake?

Monday, July 27, 2009

What would you look for?

My sister is opening a "coastal cottage" themed store in a lovely little "tourist" town in Central Florida. Since many of you love the coast and often post beach-themed photos, what kinds of items would you look for in a coastal gift store? I would love feedback...

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Breakfast with the Wall Street Journal

Between Naps On The PorchThanks, Susan, at Between Naps on the Porch, for hosting Tablescape Thursday. And thanks to all who have shared their beautiful tablescapes this week. You have truly reignited my desire to create. Many thanks to those who visited my first tablescape last week. Your comments were so much fun to read! I hope you will enjoy my newest much as I will enjoy seeing yours. I look forward to your comments...and to getting to know you. Enjoy your day...

Breakfast with the Wall Street Journal

It all began with a mug...
While browsing through Home Goods, I found this mug with a crossword puzzle design. My first thought was...New York Times crossword puzzle and breakfast in my favorite spot by the pool in my backyard. It was a good idea, except that I just could not make myself purchase a NY Times. So, to complete my vision, I went for a more intellectual prop and pulled out my trusty Wall Street the financial section, of course.

Now with this Florida heat, you have to have a cool beverage. Today we're having peach nectar with frozen slices of fresh peach instead of ice cubes. I love to munch on the cool slices...

And a healthy bowl of plump, juicy blackberries is on the menu...yes, that's a dollop of whipped cream. You can't always be "healthy"!
Add a basket of fresh muffins and biscotti...
Can't you just taste those fresh blueberries bursting in your mouth? And the toasted pecans and cinnamon struesel topping on the cinnamon muffins add a nutty-spicy contrast to the berries. The sesame seed biscotti are called Regina cookies. They're made by my favorite Italian bakery...crisp, slightly sweet, crunchy, and perfect for dunking into your coffee. Mmmmmm....

Add a touch of butter and the meal is complete...

Time to enjoy the morning in my favorite spot...
Can you hear the chatter of the birds?

Placemat: Target ($1.99)
Napkin ($.50...loose from a package of 12. Ask. You never know what the mgmt. will do),
Mug ($ a matching canister...good gift closet item), Plate (bought 4 years ago for $2.99),
Bread basket (bought 3 years ago for $2.99) all from Home Goods
Glass Compote, mini-parker bowl, and juice glass: Crate and Barrel (nothing more than $3)
Vase: Garage sale for $.10 (painted with acrylic enamel and baked to cure the paint)

Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy Birthday to me!

Fifty-six years did I get here so fast? I don't feel like I have that many years under my belt. And I certainly do not look like the 56-year-old women portrayed on gray hair (and no salon hair color, thank you very much!). My face has few wrinkles, thanks to Kara Vita skin care. My joints do not ache, thanks to SwissJust. Yeah, I am carrying around a few too many pounds...but I am working on that.

Where has the time gone? That's the question I ask each year...
The past 55 years began with the usual growing up years: school and all the activities which go along with that...then college (3 of them...Mercer, FSU, and USF). With all the transferring, I met some truly amazing people, but much to my regret, I did not have those really "close" college friends . I married a wonderful man, taught bright young kindergarten and first grade children for several years, then began to have my own brood. I worked hard to settle our family into many different communities as we moved with Hubby's jobs. Together, Hubby and I raised three incredible sons. Thanks to our unorthodox education plan...home school, plus private school, plus public school, plus college...our sons have learned to think for themselves - outside the proverbial box. Each has chosen his own path...not the roads I always "thought" they would take. But how could I ever expect anything differently from my boys? They have a love of family, of their country, and, most importantly, of God. And they are self-sufficient! What more could a mother ask?

Through the 55 years, I have held many different jobs...speaker, youth group leader, administrative assistant for a BIG youth program, Bible teacher (never thought I could do this!), craft instructor, designer, artist, wedding and event planner, fundraiser, team mom for many sports teams, and a sales and marketing consultant with three separate companies. Some of these jobs paid, some were strictly voluntary. As my nest emptied, I approached the next life question many of us ask: What do I want to be when I grow up? Well...I guess that will be the question I will answer in my 60s. In the meantime, I just plan to enjoy the life God has given me.

Happy Birthday to me!