Monday, July 22, 2013

Ocean Dreams Tablescape

My dear, dear brother and sister-in-law, Robert and Barb, came to Chicago for a family reunion, and we invited them to dinner so we could have them all to ourselves and catch up before the rest of the family descended.  It was a cozy dinner for just the four of us.  It's summer, so with beachy thoughts in my head, the inspiration couldn't be anything but the ocean . . . 

This table came together so easily!  I already owned everything I needed, so it was just a matter of putting things together.  There's no stress at the beach!  It's a rule!  I started out with the white homespun tablecloth that's become an indespensable go-to item in my tablescaping arsenal . . .  I used this tablecloth here, for Easter.

The tablecloth was followed by Barcelona placemats from Crate and Barrel . . .


I love the color and the weave . . . and feels like it belongs with beachy things . . .


Then I used my ever-reliable white Traditions dinner plates from Williams-Sonoma, followed by glass Orion salad plates from Crate and Barrel . . .  I bought these salad plates ages ago, and I could kick myself for not having bought more.  The rippling is reminiscent of the ocean . . . how perfect can it get?


I fell in love with these soft, crossed-dyed napkins from Pottery Barn.  The color is called Blue Opal, and it seems fitting considering the many shades of blue that form the fabric, just like the ever-changing colors of the ocean . . .


A beautiful aquamarine blue for the water goblets . . .


I picked up the fresh limonium at my local supermarket.  It reminded me of seaweed growing on the ocean floor, and I liked how the purple looked with the other blues on the table . . . 


A touch of whimsy with an octopus salt and pepper cellar . . .


Red pepper flakes to go with the spicy menu . . . 


I pulled out my lantern and kept layering the blues by adding some aqua-colored pebbles . . . I first used this lantern in a watermelon tablescape.  Click here to see that post.


More whimsy with these mini-bottles of Tabasco sauce from World Market . . . I tend to go easy with the spices on the food, and offer guests a variety of ways to crank up the heat to their own taste . . .


The table is set . . .  Now for the menu:

Bacon Corn Muffins
Caesar Salad
Shrimp Creole, Cuban-style
Brown Rice
Baked sweet potato fries

And for dessert . . . Lime mousse topped with a dark chocolate/macadamia dolphin . . .


And the most important touch of all . . . wonderful family and lively conversation!  Here is my brother-in-law nibbling on fish crackers while we waited for dinner to be ready . . . 


One last look at the table . . .


Wishing you ocean dreams . . .

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Lee on the Grass

This was not the plan.  The plan this summer, after a very hectic 2012, was to kick back, do a little bit of maintenance work, but, for the most part, just relax and enjoy the weather . . . (sigh) . . . the best laid plans of mice and men . . .

Lee bought, what he thought was, weed killer, but the stuff has destroyed our lawn.  Our lawn is currently riddled with patches of dead grass.  Let me put it a different way:  If our lawn was a dog, it would definitely be a dalmatian.  So for the last two months, he has been painstakingly tilling, removing the dead grass and planting grass seed.  He's about half done.

It's been a lot of work, but my husband is the most patient man that walks this Earth.  He is making the tedious job fun!


When Lee and his 6 siblings were growing up, someone was always writing Lee's name on the butter, then blaming him.    It's a running joke within the family, and we now receive notifications by e-mail of new “Lee” sightings.  Clothing, restaurants, gas stations . . . we never know where Lee's name is going to pop up next . . . 

I think he felt the next “Lee” sighting should be closer to home:  He cleared a patch on the lawn, and planted grass seed spelling his name!   Maybe it wasn't his siblings writing on the butter after all . . .