Wednesday, September 30, 2009


It's a fall party, hosted by Rhoda at Southern Hospitality!! This is a wonderful way to see every one's fall decorations at one time and get inspiration to create even more. My decorating started at Crackle Barrel, as you can see from the above photo. Yes, those are my bags. And the big red one is much lighter than when I went in! I wasn't planning on doing any harm to my wallet, and then I saw that some of the fall items were discounted to make room for Christmas decorations. Oh my! The funny part is, as I was looking at the dishes, promising The Husband that I wouldn't go overboard, he started to pick up matching pieces saying things like, "You have to have the matching salt and pepper shakers."!! Well knock me over with a feather!
And look at this sweet little squirrel holding his acorns, which are the salt and pepper shakers! How cute! No wonder hubby loved it!

We were on our way to the Lakehouse, so once we got there I got busy setting up a little tablescape with my new little dishes. Nothing like playing house at my age! I decided again to use some veggies since they went over so well in my last tablescape...

Aren't these eggplant beautiful? My friend Sue, who owns the lake farm stand told me to simply roast these right on the grill as they are, no foil whatsoever. They turned out gorgeous. I sliced them in half, warmed up a bit of salsa that I had made that morning with the tomatoes I grew out behind the Summerhouse. I spooned that over and then sprinkled them with some grated mozzarella cheese. Oh, delicious!

At Cracker Barrel ,I bought the brown salad or dessert plate that has little leaves and acorns textured on them and the sunflower bowls. I also bought cute little sunflower S & P shakers, but when I saw how cute Mr. Squirrel looked with his acorns, I used those in the tablescape. The white dishes are my everyday Gibson, the napkins are from Marshall's. The tablecloth is vintage (and in need of some TLC sewing repairs).

I love this little squirrel candle holder. He is bigger than he looks, about 6 inches high and he has a nice gold rubbed finish.

I haven't done much decorating outdoors at the lake as I spend so much time in my English garden, so I picked up a few pots of yellow mums from Sue and she gave me some small bushel barrels to put them in as I don't like the containers they come in. This is my front porch. I took this picture just as the sun was coming up Monday morning. The Husband and I now stay until then and he leaves for work once we get back to Chicago.

I bought this little metal envelope container at Michael's and filled it with silk flowers. This is also on my front porch at the lake (at sunrise...)!!

This is a little grouping of playful squirrels hanging out on a candy dish and two candle holders. I am trying to remember where I bought these... it was recently and it was at one of my regular haunts. Maybe someone else has seen them. I made a mistake in my last tablescape and said that the votive holders were from Dollar Tree and they were actually from Walgreens. I apologize to anyone who went to Dollar Tree looking for them. I received so many compliments on them. This is why I am not going to guess at where I bought these.

Another view...

And finally the wreath on my front door that says Hello and Goodbye!!
Thank you Rhoda for all of your hard work organizing this party. I had a lot of fun and I can't wait to go knocking on doors to see what all my friends have in store for fall decor!! And thank you Susan, at Between Naps On The Porch for being our gracious hostess of Tablescape Thursday!
Happy Fall, Y'All!!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Today is the big day of Design Gives Back Pet Parade Party hosted by Kelee at Katillac Shack. You know, awhile back I posted a picture of my Milo wearing a decorated scarf which earned $10.00 toward raising funds for displaced animals caused by housing foreclosures. What an incredible endeavor this turned out to be on behalf of all of the people involved with the Pet Parade. The $2,000.00 goal was reached when bloggers in 43 states decorated and submitted pic's of their favorite pet (including a ferret!!) to Kelee. Proceeds went to the Northland Pet Pantry. Each link to Kelee's blog will earn $3.00. In addition, all comments will earn $1.00.

Today you can go to Kelee's website and view a video, not only showcasing my little Milo, not even all of the other SWEETEST blogger's pets, but to hear the plight of these special, displaced pets and their families and to see the joyous response from the pantry to our donation. I am so proud to see Milo in this was so well made. It made me honest to goodness have a BIG cry...the music alone is worth it. And when you see all these adorable pets wearing the yellow scarf, you will realize how special and fortunate our pets are and how other's aren't. The video is incredible...

Now that Milo is a rising star, I thought I would show all of you a picture of him back when he was just an 8 week old mutt!! Believe it or not, he turned 5 years old last week. I wish they were like elephants (not in size!!).

Enjoy the video and I will see you in time for Rhoda's party!!


Thursday, September 24, 2009


The days are getting so much shorter now. I feel as if I am trying to squeeze every bit of light out of each day. I love the way the sun moves over my house to the west, leaving my kitchen in long cool shadows. I fiddle on my laptop, glance at the evening news once in awhile and stop to daydream as I hear the children playing on the sidewalks and see dogs being walked on their leashes. Sometimes I feel a little melancholy over times like these when I would call the kids in to wash up for supper, and even the other day I sat wishing that Abigail were just down the hall in her room, listening to her Ipod and texting her friends. But I am in a good place, with new traditions unfolding, a little more time finding the things that I want to do, discovering new interests, maybe a new me!! So, before I look any further toward fall, I decided to a tablescape that represents the end of summer (though technically it ended Tuesday!). Please join me and Susan from Between Naps On The Porch for another Tablescape Thursday, that wonderful day of the week when a group of grown up ladies get to play with their dishes!! After you have left a comment. visit Susan and see the beautiful table she has in store for us and then visit all of the ladies who put off making meals for their own families to make a pretty table for us. ;-)
I have managed to sneak in those home grown tomatoes again in case you didn't get a good long look at them on Tuesday. I am a complete showoff!! It has just been so long since I planted a vegetable garden and I believe I will go back to doing that here in Chicago next spring. And tonight, I am making bruschetta to have with dinner and then salsa to bring to the lake. And then I should have more there and maybe I will start to freeze them.

In this tablescape I have a sunflower theme vaguely going on. I have had this runner and the decorative accents in the window of my family room for awhile as they match a big sunflower bowl (not pictured) and go with the neutral decor in there. I am using the same dried flower arrangement as last week... haven't given it to Megan as a housewarming gift yet as I have a cold and don't want to be near new baby Conor. So I am getting as much use out of it as I can. ;-) I added a raffia bow to change the look. The family room leads to the backyard and this table is for snacking and games and homework, none of which have ever occurred here. The Cleaver's would do these things, but the only time my children have used it, I suspect, is when they have had poker games on the occasion's The Husband and I were out late.

I have little votive holders from the Dollar Tree and vintage (and bent) salt & pepper shakers on the sunflower runner

Next to MY TOMATOES (!!!!!) you can see the fleur de lis glasses I bought at Pier I last winter on clearance for $1.96. They are very cool, a goldish/brown color...

The dinner and salad plates are from HomeGoods, although they are not a set, the flatware is Hampton from somewhere I can't remember, I have had it so long. The napkins and ring are also from Pier I.

A few close ups....

Last night for supper we had Corn Dog Casserole which was a recipe from Paula at Sweet Pea. It was incredibly easy, delicious and filling. Served with a small salad, it makes a great Indian Summer supper. Click here to visit Paula and get this recipe. She has also given suggestions on how to keep the calories and fat down. This is a wonderfully creative recipe that tastes like the real thing!

So I hope you have enjoyed my tablescape. I started very late but I do have time now to go visiting every one's tables, and there are a lot of new and different idea's pouring out with the change in the season. We are still in limbo here in the Midwest. The trees are not as vibrant as they once were, but the leaves aren't changing. Today is a little sticky and humid. Have a look at my Weather Pixie on my sidebar. It gives the time and temp and there is a little Blondie that changes outfits (not as much as I'd like to, but at least my hair is straightened, lol!!) and in the evening I have a little dog, whose, I don't looks like a golden retriever that just wandered in my Weather Pixie icon like it was nobody's business. So, if you are ever lying in bed at night with that burning question, "What is the weather in Chicago?", look at my Weather Pixie.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend...

If the weather gets cool, serve Paula's Corn Dog Casserole and bring back those memories of the state fair!


Tuesday, September 22, 2009


I finally have tomatoes!! I had forgotten what a thrill it was to see something you plant turn into something you had always bought. What a pleasure. I picked these at the lake on Saturday and Monday morning as we readied to come home, I picked 4 more! How exciting! I really planted these on a wing and a prayer. There was a pile of dirt and debris behind the Summerhouse where Former Resident Carpenter had stacked up bricks and stones, etc, but the area was out of the way and got a lot of afternoon sun. I raked and neatened up the area, added a little black topsoil and made a little bed along the Summerhouse. I think I am a good gardener, or at least have been over the years, but it was July already and I thought, I'm just going to throw in some tomato and basil plants, a few marigolds to deter pests, and see what happens. Now I have to decide what I want to make with them!

Milo enjoyed lying in the dappled sunshine on the dock this last weekend of summer. It makes me feel a little bittersweet to think of all the good times we had in the sunshine over the summer, all the places we went and fun we had. How we woke up to it and how it stayed with us so very long each day. To wax poetic, I think I am finally saying goodbye to summer.
The Husband's clematis is blooming like crazy on his arbor (yes, we have his/her arbors!). Isn't it pretty? The lawn guy kept trimming it down before it had a chance to grow and I did the unthinkable, I told The Husband to mark it with a stake or post. But the rule on the his/hers stuff is that we cannot tell one another what to do with his/her stuff. That is why we have his/her stuff.
I'm envious of his stuff.

The acorns are everywhere. When I was little I loved to collect all things small. I loved the book The Borrower's and I longed to climb right inside it and become one of them. And acorns remind me of little houses with thatched roofs.

Ooooh! Look! I have a village!

Emily decided to try my new fishing pole which surprised me because she is not the daughter that loved to fish. Abby used to lie on the dock on her stomach and catch bluegills with her hands!! So The Husband gave her a few pointers...I think he was telling her not to hook that boat in our little marina....

He makes sure she is off to a good start...

"Look Dad!"

Well, here we have a little crappie! Not bad. Once Em realized she had to take it off the hook, she decided she didn't want to fish anymore. I told her she was giving women a bad name and to just tell him she didn't want to mess up her manicure. I do love fishing in the fall. The days are hazy and warm and the fish seem to be jumping. We don't keep them unless there is a big group of us fishing and someone is willing to do the cleaning and cooking. We have had some great fishing parties at the lake, but not so recently. Maybe I will make a deal with The Husband. He cleans, I cook. I think somehow he will leave an eyeball or two.

This summer I got an F. An F for failure. I failed to read one single book. I am beyond ashamed of myself. Reading has always been such a treat for me. Something I looked forward to to doing in my spare time. Of course I have so much more spare time now that I am pretty much an emptynester (Kevin leaves in November). Reading just seems to have a hypnotic effect on me. Reading in bed at night causes me to be drowsy within 15 minutes. If I sit in the family room and read during the day, I become distracted. Most of all, I miss my Book Buying Trips. Armed with all of my torn out pages of book reviews, off I go to Borders to spend an afternoon book hunting, reading snippets and treating myself to coffee and a scone. But how can I do that when I haven't finished or started the last bunch of books?? Woe to me.

I can browse (somewhat) safely at Amazon where I came upon this lovely book. Below is the inside jacket that will tell you what the book is about and I have a few photos of pages I like. I savor a bit of this book everyday, like a great bowl of ice cream that you want to last. I highly recommend it to everyone.

So it is goodbye to summer and hello to fall today!! It is rainy and dreary here in the Midwest. Guess I had better get used to it... Have a happy week!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Today is Tablescape Thursday and I wanted to share a few things I have been picking up here and there. I haven't started decorating for fall, but that doesn't mean I haven't started shopping!! So this table setting is all a result of searching for a basket...
I made this little crackled vessel, well you know, did the arrangement inside. My angel Jody must still be by my side because I am having so much fun doing this. I should have turned it so you can see the little raffia bow, maybe you will see it in another picture (or the 8 X 10 I blew up for the dining room). I used this in the tablescape but I am giving it to my sister in law, Megan, who just moved into her new home and had her baby 4 days later!! Little Conor joins sister's Maggie and Trisha and their father, Declan! Pictures to come. In the vase, I used wood wool which I found at Michael's. I was inspired to try this rather than moss after seeing a post by Coty Farquhar, where she had used it to make over 600 nests for candy as favors at a wedding. She was very sweet in telling me what this stuff is and how to find it.

The large plate and napkins are from my VERY FIRST visit to HomeGoods!! Oh, I had fun! If The Husband hadn't been with me I could have had more fun. He did leave me alone to go into Home Depot, but it wasn't enough time. Plus a little old lady stopped me and wanted help in how to fill a vase she had in her cart that was bigger than she was. I am usually quite polite and helpful with people, but I was on a mission. I suggested she fill it with large cattails and when she asked where they were, I answered, in a marsh, of course...She looked a bit more lost and left me alone.

As I said earlier, the tablescape started with me looking for a basket to make more of these floral arrangements that are starting to become a passion. I went into Pier I to look and of course, never did. They have TONS of new fall items and many dishes that are sort of transitional from fall to winter, as I think these dessert plates are. I bought these, the place mats and the wine goblets, and then my mind started to put these together with the items bought at HomeGoods.

I used my mix matched vintage silver plated flatware. I picked up more pieces in Michigan. I love this fork. Look at the pretty fleur de lis. It's in a rather odd spot, isn't it??

An out of order picture of my floral arrangement. Maybe I subliminally threw pics in here and there to keep showing off. Maybe I need the pictures because it will be living at Meg's house soon. Maybe not....

I waited until dusk to take the pictures because the sun goes over my house and the photos turn out better. Everything was set up so nice and then I found the camera battery needed to be charged. Grrrr... The Husband came home and asked, "What are WE having for dinner?" lol!! I bought the pumpkin at a drugstore and the candle holders are from a thrift shop.

After I bought the pumpkin a few days ago, Emily told me I already had one. I think I am losing it...

These two little guys are from Pier I also. Once I picked them up, a few ladies asked where I got them and soon there was a flurry over in that area!! They are pretty and they will be beautiful for the holidays and all winter long.

I can't wait to get pumpkins. The squirrels love me. I think this year I will keep a few in the garage to replace the eaten out, caved in messes they leave me. How do I still think they are cute?? I have even been bitten by one.

I hope you enjoyed the tablescape. Please visit Susan at Between Naps On The Porch for her beautiful table setting and then all of the other ladies joining in. I have one more thing...

This is a pillow I ordered from a very sweet lady named Barb at The French Elements. I know it is a rooster but it looks SO GOOD on a pillow!! Barb sews like a pro and she has a cute shop and blog. I have her button on my sidebar.

I also bought this little guy for my bedroom at the lake, which is blue. Aren't her pillows darling? And very reasonably priced. I bought some tea towels as well that she makes out of muslin. I wish I had taken a picture of a few of them with their embroidery. They are very large when unfolded and I used one to line a large basket that I keep all my pretty hardcover decorating books in by my bed. It has the Eiffel Tower on it. I should have taken a picture of that too, but I was so worried that darn battery was going to run out (I never fully charged it).
I wish everyone a happy remainder of the week and a gorgeous weekend.