Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Hi everyone! I am participating in my second Tablescape Thursday. It is only my second because it is a lot of work!! Ironing linens, checking for spots on the glasses, making sure the dog hasn't left smudges on the window...all those things that you don't realize are there until the picture is on your blog! But I think I did a good job until after I had the table set, everything perfect, took all my pictures, and then realized I hadn't put out the wine glasses! Well, everything is corrected now and I would like everyone to pay a visit to Susan at Between Naps On The Porch, who is our hostess today. See one of her gorgeous tablescapes and then visit everyone who is participating.
I think my color scheme went well this time. I wasn't sure how white on white would look but I think the texture and pattern of the damask tablecloth was the right choice. The tablecloth is from Target and the napkins are from Steinmart. This was my first visit to a Steinmart and I was quite impressed. If you haven't been there lately, they have all their outdoor summer dishes, glasses, paper napkins and all things pretty for entertaining on your patio on display now. Run!! :-D

Accents on my table are few (it is small, only seats four). I withheld using a vase of flowers and instead put dried rose heads in these little porcelain cups that I bought at my grocery store and have no idea what they are for. They look like small egg cups. I used them at my Christmas party to hold toothpicks for appetizers. The petals will stay put on the rose head if you give it a little hairspray. I also have two white taper candles in glass holders and a small tea light lamp from Pottery Barn. This adds a lot of sparkle at night, but I took my pictures in the afternoon.

The silver plated flatware is from all my excursions to antique stores and what have you over the years. I used it in my last tablescape. None of it matches. Nor do the wine glasses which are replicas of old European wine glasses. Each glass is so different, even the color tone when the light hits.

This is a nice view of the detail if you want to click larger...

Okay, time for Blondie to get long winded. You had to know that was coming!! What about the china? Where did it come from? Well... a few months ago The Husband and I were out and about on a Saturday afternoon when we approached an antique store that I had been to a few times without him. Very nice things, French furniture, paintings, dishes... Rooms were set up like dining rooms, bedrooms, etc., and completely furnished in antiques. So I told The Husband that I had heard that they were going out of business in the spring and maybe we should stop and see if there were any bargains. So we did. Well, knock me over with a feather, there was an auction going on! Unfortunately it was the second day of the auction and almost everything was cleared out. It was a little sad. The owners were retiring after thirty~five years in business. And to see all those empty tables and spaces. I was riffling through some boxes of holiday decorations they had used in the store when The Husband came up to me and showed me a little tag with a number. He said he was going to bid on something. Neither of us had ever been to an auction so I really wanted to see how the Counselor was going to seize this opportunity to make a deal! We went to a room with many items and just as many people. I didn't even know what he was bidding on when everyone started shouting out "ten dollars... fifteen dollars..." The next thing I knew we had won this set of china, 95 pieces, for $40.00!!!

I found a website with instructions on all sorts of napkin folding. This was about the only one I could master! If anyone is interested in the website, let me know. The Swan is a killer!

This is on the back of the pieces. I am not familiar with it at all. We have place settings for sixteen (that would be my idea of a nightmarish dinner party) and all sorts of platters and bowls.

I like to look at things in black and white sometimes. Different things stand out.
So this is my tablescape for today. I hope you like our china as much as we do. One final thing: Susan from A Southern Daydreamer gave me her award which is posted on my sidebar for leaving her fifty comments. Thank you Susan, who wouldn't have something nice to say about your posts? If you have never been to see Susan, and there are not many who haven't (!!!), rush over. She is sweet and kind and interesting and you can really feel her energy. Oh, and another thing, I received the Kreative Blogger award from Lou Cinda at Tattered Hydrangeas. She is my new friend. Visit her, she is just so funny! When you receive this award you are supposed to list seven things that you love. If you refer to my sidebar once again, you will see that I have a list a mile long! Suffice to say, I have fulfilled my obligation in that regard. Now I am passing this award on to seven more people, either because I know them well and want to know more, or because I don't know them well and want to know more. These bloggers have the choice to take this award or not. They are as follows:
Dana at A Cat In My Lap...she's an old friend and terribly interesting.
Tracy at A Comfy Little Place Of My friend, new homeowner, new inspiration.
Barb at Bella Vista... just started to visit her blog and love it.
Cindy at Applestone Cottage...a Midwesterner like me, my soul sister.
Martha at Lines From Linderhof... a gentle soul with wonderful recipes.
Melissa from Melissa's Heart And Home...has my vote for best interior designer in Blogland.
Rechelle from Walnuthaven Cottage...sweet, funny and her Spring cleaning wore me out.
If you don't know these gals, you should. They all put a smile on my face! :-D

Monday, April 27, 2009


Today is Blue Monday hosted by Sally. Click her name to see a list of everyone participating. Then visit their blogs and see some true blue!

Today I am showing you the pictures of The Summerhouse up at our home in Michigan. I posted some pictures of the house, which is also blue, over the winter. These are pictures from last summer. I'll post new pictures this summer when I have all my pots of flowers and patio furniture out. But for now I have just a few I want to share now. Above is a side view from the patio.

This is another side view that shows the cute little front porch. Of course it is not finished. We have a nice view of the lake from this porch and I have two old white glider rockers that go on here (but not yet) and it is just one of many places I have to sit and read or visit with someone or just look out at the water.

I watched The Summerhouse being built. It was amazing~especially when they lifted that first wall up. It really made me think about the homes we live in. All this wood and all these nails hold up our walls that will shelter and protect us forever. Unbelievable...

I took this picture standing in the water! You can see some of the windows. Besides the screened front door there are five windows, the one in the back very large with a window seat that the dogs claimed first thing! :-D

The idea for The Summerhouse came about when I saw a picture in Better Homes & Gardens, where a couple loved their shed and it's location in the back of their yard surrounded by big trees and plants. They decided to turn it into a little place to hang out in. A little table and chairs and a small bed. It was darling! The Husband said, "We can do that with our shed!". Well as usual, our ideas balloon and soon the shed was not big enough for what we wanted so we had Resident Carpenter listen to our ideas and he designed our little home away from home away from home!! :-D

We were up at the cottage this weekend. I haven't been going because R.C. is renovating the kitchen and two bathrooms and there is drywall dust everywhere. I have asthma so I can't be around it. Also, all of our furniture is covered and everything in my kitchen is packed away. But since we were having weather in the 80's here in this neck of the woods, I agreed to go because I could hang in The Summerhouse. Some of you may know, we have two twin beds that fold out of the wall, hidden by doors. I have wicker furniture, a television and a ceiling fan that is also a heater. On Saturday it rained but two of my girlfriends came over and we sat in The Summerhouse catching up on all the gossip that went on over the winter on the lake. Fun! I make it a point not to gossip but I love to listen!! ;-)

Waking up on Sunday morning it was like finding myself in a birdhouse tucked up in a tree. The sun was shining and the breeze was blowing through the windows. We had bagels and instant coffee and all was good.
I hope to have a lot more of The Summerhouse to show you later, I will take you on a huge tour of the inside!! Actually, I still have to find blinds for the windows and art for the walls. And of course I want to plant some pretty pots to go on that cute little porch!
Thank you Sally for all your hard work hosting Blue Monday! Now I am off to visit everyone to see all their blue happiness! :-D

Monday, April 20, 2009


Today I am participating in Blue Monday to showcase all the beautiful pictures I took on our trip to South Carolina and Georgia. To see more of Blue Monday offerings, visit Sally, our sweet hostess.

I am finishing up where I left off last week when we were in Charleston. We just had the most wonderful time there, so much to see and do. Three days was just not enough. We arrived on Easter Sunday so the city was very quiet, something I would miss in the days following. As I mentioned, we stayed at the Francis Marion Hotel, named after The Revolutionary War General (also known as "The Swamp Fox"). Our room on the fourth floor faced Marion Square and we could look out over the huge park and see well over the buildings to the harbor. The windows didn't open so I couldn't get a picture, but it was a beautiful view. The following pictures were taken in Marion Square.

As usual, Blondie was able to bring bad weather with her to Charleston as you can see by these pictures! Always looking for a better deal, we were soaked to the skin the second day there before The Husband was able to find a place with $5.00 umbrellas. He wasn't very happy with me either as I stopped every twenty feet to take pictures!

This is the Sweetwater Cafe where we had lunch the second day. This is also where The Husband began his quest for the most perfect "she~crab" soup in the South. In the end he deemed the Sweetwater Cafe of serving the most superb. I no less, had my first taste of shrimp in brown gravy served over grits. There were many names for this dish and just as many variations. Most surprising was the fact that it was often served in some form for breakfast, lunch and dinner! I was in shrimp heaven! And I am now in search of the most perfect recipe!

My sweet blogger friend Sheila, better known as The Quintessential Magpie recommended trying Magnolia's, where she had dined several years before and wasn't sure if it was still there. Well Mrs. Magpie, it sure is. Unfortunately, with all good intentions of having dinner there the second night, the rain and wind picked up so badly that even an umbrella wouldn't have helped. The rain was blowing up, down and sideways! Instead we ate at the hotel restaurant, aptly named The Swamp Fox and it was quite good. So Sheila, rest assured one of your favorite restaurants in Charleston does indeed still exist!!

Before the torrential rains came we moved on to the French Quarter. This is the only area where the original cobblestone streets and sidewalks exist. We walked down this beautiful alleyway. On the right is a former cotton factory and on the left is an estate whose owner preserved this original alley.

We stopped in this gallery which featured the works of many local and transplanted artists. Charleston is great inspiration and many of these artists' works have been featured in large cities both national and international. Oh, how I wish I could afford just one tiny little painting from this gallery!

This is a little park along the harbor where we stopped to rest. If we had had the time I would have loved to have taken a cruise or trip across the water by way of one of the many bridges. I read a few articles in 'Charleston', the magazine in our hotel room about the islands across the way. How much fun would that be?!

This pretty pier had a wonderful seafood restaurant that I tried to coax The Husband into trying until he reminded me that we had just had lunch an hour before. I do think the idea of a warm bowl of she~crab soup was tempting him though!

I love the natural state of the grasses blowing in the wind. It almost looks more picturesque on a rainy day.

It is now Wednesday and we have driven two hours to Savannah. Below is a picture of The Mansion On Forsyth Street which is now a hotel and where we stayed. It is part hotel, restaurant, art gallery and cooking school. You basically didn't need to leave the place! But we finally had great weather as you can see from the blue skies, so off we went!

Naturally, the hotel faced Forsyth Park which was just an incredible place to visit. Spring was definitely in the air and I had to take some pictures of the beautiful trees.

This fountain was exceptionally beautiful...

Once we stepped out of the park I took some pictures of the beautiful homes. Not many though. We had every intention of visiting Gaston Street with it's stately homes and ornate iron~work but once again, time got away from us.

Many of the homes were hidden by beautiful old trees but the sense of their enormity could not be denied.

Finally we are on the river. The buildings on the left were factories at some time. Now they house mostly restaurants and bars. In this picture you can see the trolley tracks.

This is a picture of one of the many cruising boats on the river. I love the Southern charm of this boat. She is definitely a queen!

We saw many of these horse drawn carriages on our trip. I will say on a negative note that the traffic was crazy. Cars sped up and down these residential streets as if they were highways. I was really scared crossing the streets! We also saw a lot of ped~cabs, which are bicycles with a seat for two in the back. And to think I feel bad for horses and sled dogs!

The second day we headed off the beaten path for two reasons. One being this graceful blonde twisting her ankle on one of the old cobblestone streets the night before and the second being The Husband's search for the perfect pair of pants to wear with the perfect sports coat he bought in Charleston. I'm going to digress a little to say that on this trip The Husband outfitted himself with enough new clothes to warrant another suitcase. Blondie came home with five books. Go figure. Anyway, the sprain wasn't bad but I didn't want to make it worse so we went to a mall. I was dropped off at a bookstore while The Husband went to Belk's. I want to mention here that I have read about some of my Southern blogger girlfriends going to Belk's, Ross and Chik~A~Fil, none of these which we have in the Midwest, so it was sort of cool to see them everywhere. The Husband said that Belk's is very similar to our Carson Pirie Scott store. While hobbling around Waldenbooks I saw a big display of Paula Deen cookbooks. I thought well, of course she is popular in her hometown. Then I saw a sign that read she would be signing books at 5:00! Wow, this was better than going to The Lady And Her Sons! In spite of the fact that I am one of THE most patient people in the world, I was not going to watch my poor ankle swell up for another three hours and then wait in line to see her! Had it been Harrison Ford, my all time dream man, things would have been different!! :-)
Anyhow, I took a picture of the restaurant where we had lunch. I loved the waterfall and the old crabhouse look...

...but the funniest thing was after the young waitress took our order she asked if we were from around there. We replied no, we are from Chicago and with that she said "I thought so. You talk funny!" We almost spit out our sweet tea!

Does this not look like the honeymoon suite? I normally don't take pictures of hotel rooms but this is our room at "The Mansion"! The Husband said, "Blondie, you sure know how to book a trip!"

The style of the hotel is traditional with a modern twist. Now get this: After seeing this bathroom with the walk~in shower and separate commode, The Husband actually went out, bought a tape measure and spent a good amount of time on the phone with Resident Carpenter at the house on the lake. You see, his design for the master bath up there very much mimics this bath. I could not believe the sight of him crawling around the bathroom taking measurements! It was straight out of a Woody Allen movie!

And look at this huge soaking tub! I am normally adverse to taking a bath in a hotel but this baby was beckoning. I wasn't crazy about the shutters opening into the bedroom, but I did enjoy a nice bubble bath and the best thing was I didn't have to clean the tub myself afterwards!

Finally, or "about time," you say, we are back in Myrtle Beach where we flew in to. We did not go to Hilton Head as originally planned as the airfare flying in to Charleston and out of Savannah was outrageous. We did have a fun two days in Myrtle Beach, it brought back many good memories for The Husband who went on a golf outing there for ten years in a row. He was able to show me some of the great sights and we ate at some top notch restaurants. I will say I have had my fair share of seafood and am looking forward to some great Midwestern beef tonight!
We stayed at the Hilton on the beach. These pictures were taken from our balcony.

I don't know these people getting married but I saw the wedding getting set up that morning and I arrived back at the room just in time for the ceremony. It was beautiful. I cried as I always do at weddings and I truly hope Jennifer and Mark have a wonderful life together!

A few pictures from a shopping trip at the Dockside, a group of shops in and around a lake connected by docks. It was really cute. In this dog bakery (it really smelled quite good inside) I bought bandanas for Milo & Layla that say "My parents want to Myrtle Beach and all I got was this lousy bandana!" Ha Ha. They love them by the way.

I leave you with pictures of the beach, the bluest of skies and the bluest of water. I am so sorry if this post has taken you days to read. Just be happy Blondie did not take a European vacation!

And by the way, after all the gastronomic delights I sampled in the South, I have officially started my diet today. I would have included a picture of the Hilton, but I think I ate that too!
Happy Blue Monday everyone!

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Happy Easter to everyone! I hope you all enjoyed your day and that the Easter Bunny left you a great big basket filled with yellow Peeps, big chocolate bunnies, (not the hollow kind!) and my favorite, malted milk balls! :-)

We are in Charleston, South Carolina! This is the trip we planned once we made sure that Abby would get off to Jamaica for spring break okay. I was very eager to spend some time in the South and even more so once I met so many wonderful people from the South through blogging! It has been a very long day. The expert blonde procrastinator did not pack until about 11:00 last night and then was to wired to sleep even though the clock was set for 4:00 a.m... so, no sleep. We flew into Myrtle Beach because the air fare was so much less expensive. I was a long but very scenic and beautiful 90 mile drive to Charleston. The heat & humidity was a little strange at first, after all, I have been in chilly to freezing weather for the past 6 months. Few of you know that I have very naturally curly hair that I fight to control & straighten (think Bernadette Peters, Nicole Kidman...) and as soon as I walked out of the airport, boooiiiing!! This does not make for a happy Jane!

Well, we are all settled in to the Francis Marion Hotel. The husband was quite happy & surprised as he is quite the history buff and knows quite a bit about the Revolutionary War and the "Swamp Fox". Funny, I didn't tell him where we were staying~we seem to have settled into that "I trust him/her to make the right choice," thing. And that it pleased him makes me happy. We spent the afternoon walking up and down the quaint streets, surprisingly full of people in spite of it being Easter. I wonder what tomorrow holds. We are going to try to do the Home, Garden & Art Tour tomorrow in Mount Pleasant and a little shopping. I am the slowest, most distracted and daydreamy sort of person you would ever want to be with or take anywhere and The Husband was always several blocks ahead of me today so I am hoping to lose him somehow tomorrow when we shop!! I have done that before!!! ;-)

These are pictures of Charleston College a few blocks from the hotel. The campus is all about, amongst the shops, restaurants and coffee places. This makes me want to be 18 years old again!!

Wednesday we will be off to Savannah for more sightseeing and then our last two days will be in Myrtle Beach. I am planning on doing nothing but but sitting on the beach with my feet in the water, making sand castles. I am going to wear a long sun dress, eat a lot of seafood and have banana cocktails served out of coconuts!! :-)

Happy Easter to all of you and may joy be in your hearts today & always!