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Snowman Snow Flurry Christmas Table

Here's what I am planning for one of my tables at Christmas. The younger folks can't really appreciate fines china and crystal, so I set a different table for theme\ always with the theme of "Christmas Fun".

I was asked to help a friend come up with a plan for her Christmas tables and this is one of the one's I came up with for her. I liked it so much, I am setting my fun table up this way too. I hope you like it and I'd love to hear how you are decorating yours.

The Snowmen Plates came from Pier 1 and are pretty reasonable. I used my antique Boopie crimson and emerald glasses along with a crystal Champagne glass. The red silverware is from Macy's Fiesta pattern. I was so fortunate to be able to buy a very unique snowflake punch along with two Martha Stewart punches. I have ordered a royal blue table cloth for my table and will be punching many more paper snowflakes for the table before Christmas dinner!

I purchased two cute snowpeople for the centerpiece and am really looking forward to seeing the delight on the young one's faces when they see my table. :-)

Pumpkin Dump Cake is ALWAYS a winner!

Pumpkin Dump Cake (My Version)


1 (29 ounce) Can Pumpkin Puree
3 Eggs
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup White Sugar
1 (12 ounce) Can Evaporated Milk
1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/4 Teaspoon Cloves
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Box Betty Crocker Spice Cake Mix
1 Cup Chopped Pecans
1 Cup Melted Butter


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x13 inch pan.
2. In a large bowl, combine pumpkin puree, eggs, brown sugar, white sugar and milk. Stir in cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt. Pour into pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix evenly over the pumpkin filling. Sprinkle pecans over the cake mix. Drizzle melted butter over all.
3. Bake in the preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned. Allow to cool.
4. Cut and serve with whipped cream.

Autumn Tablescape Inspiration

This autumn table was so fun to decorate. I made an autumn leaves table topper to lay in a diamond shape upon a gold damask tablecloth. The tables were then adorned with brown square dishes atop basket weave chargers. The smaller salad-sized square plates in a variety of fall colors topped the brown plates. The leave bowls were perfect for pumpkins soup.

Napkins grace the table in a variety of fall colors which you can find online or any home goods store. Sprinkled upon the table were Mylar leaves accompanied by gold wine stems and purple water glasses.

The flowers were seasonal autumn sprays and were set within pewter vases. The table, one from an earlier Autumn was magnificent, if I do say so myself!

I find when you have a passion for tableware, you simply add to your collection each year and your tables become more and more abundantly set throughout the years. I like to advise newly marrieds and people starting out on their own to just add a little bit every year. It is more affordable and you get excited about setting your tables each year because you have something new to add to the mix. Additionally, just starting out, I would definitely start with fancy white dishes and clear glasses that go with everything.  That way, you can change tablecloths and napkins and other embellishments  to create every tablescape to be its own creation.

Let me know what works for you.  I always love to hear from creative people!  

Until next time~

The Easiest Pumpkin Muffins Ever!

I saw a similar recipe on Pinterest for pumpkin muffins, but it used a can of pumpkin and a box of yellow cake mix.  No eggs or nuts.  So, I created my own recipe and they were fantastic!  One box of Spice Cake Mix, two eggs, 1 can of pumpkin puree and a cup of chopped pecans.  I cooked them for about 18 minutes in muffin cups within cupcake pans.  They were even better the second day.  I will definitely make these again. :-)

Grape Cake Pop Cake

Because the theme for our Bible Study on the book of John is "I am the Vine, You are the branches", we in the leadership love to come up with new ideas for each of our themes. For our leaders retreat, I made this grape "cake pop" cake by dipping the cooked cake pops into melted purple candy melts. The leaves are made from pie dough cut with leave cookie cutters and the stems were made from twisted pie dough. I faced the brown side up for a more authentic look. This was surprisingly easy to bake and construct. We served these cakes with black cherry chocolate ice cream. It was delightful!

Trina's "Sea You In September" Birthday Party

Happy Birthday Dear Trina!

We started our luncheon with Jerk Marinated and Broiled Shrimp
This was followed by Amazing Creamy Lobster Bisque (See Separate Blog Entry For Recipe)

Janice made the Chicken Salad Sandwiches on Croissants...Don't they look just like crabs!
Mary made a delicious Tropical Cole Slaw with pineapple, papaya and lemon yogurt!
Watermelon Fishes were cut with a cookie cutter.

Patty made the Decadent Chocolate Cupcakes Frosted to look like the ocean that hosted a variety of cut out and mounted fishies. Janny finished off the dessert plate with Rocky Road ice cream (to resemble sea rock and shells) accompanied the cupcakes along with a gummie shark added for a bit of whimsey as did the almond flower "sand". Below the square glass dishes rested a computer print out of water cut to size to create the exact look I wanted. Trina and the girls were delighted! :-)

Patty, Janice, Debbie, Janny, Trina & Mary

We all love to dress for the theme of the party and enjoy being together so much!
What a fun day celebrating someone we all love so much!

Amazing Creamy Lobster Bisque

My husband and I dined at the Embers Restaurant at the Tenaya Lodge in Yosemite the first weekend of September. We both enjoyed the most amazing Lobster Bisque. It was placed in a flat soup bowl, then encased in puff pastry and served to us with the bisque still bubbling. It was the best lobster bisque we had every tasted! It was very creamy. Most of the lobster bisques we have had in the past were no where near this creamy, but still delightful like the one served at Mr. Stox Restaurant in Anaheim.

I tried to duplicate this recipe minus the puff pastry. I believe I came very close. I found the basics from this recipe when I googled "Creamy Lobster Bisque". It was adapted from a recipe by Wilma Scott on and has been saved by over 9,750+ people!

Everyone at my luncheon loved it. I hope you do too. You will have to ignore your diet for this one! is not cheap.

Amazing Creamy Lobster Bisque for 8

4 slices of onion, chopped 4 tablespoons butter
3-4 tablespoons flour
2 cans Campbell's Chicken Stock
2 Cups Heavy Whipping Cream
1 Cup Half & Half

1 Cup Milk
1 teaspoon paprika

2 tablespoons Emeril Legasse's Creole Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon garlic powder
6 small lobster tails; boiled, shelled and shredded

Saute onions in 2 tablespoons of butter. Add one of the cans of chicken stock. Puree this in a blender. Set aside. Melt the other two tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan. Add 3-4 Tablespoons flour whisking constantly.

In a large pot place, the other can of chicken stock, heavy whipping cream, half and half, and milk.

Stir in the flour/butter mixture and whisk constantly.

Add all of the other ingredients except the lobster. Let this simmer and stir occasionally. Turn off heat. Let this cool. Place in refrigerator 1 hour or overnight to allow flavors to permeate.

Just before serving, reheat, add most of the lobster meat. This way the lobster isn't too tough. I saved about six tablespoons of lobster to place on top of the soup just before serving. Listen for the wows

This would easily serve 12 if serving half cups full.

Patty's Grape Cupcakes

Our Bible Study theme this year for the book of John is "I AM the Vine, You are the branches, abide in Me and I will abide in you". (John 15)

We will be featuring lots of "grape and vine" themed foods this year at our many gatherings. These lemon cupcakes were frosted with a lemon icing and blue berries along with colored leaf and vine frosting designs. Aren't they DELIGHTFUL?!!

"Falling" For You

I love decorating my tables with Autumn floral sprays, dried gourds and corn, and ceramic pumpkins of all types. I loved the way the plaid table cloth framed this setting and added such warmth.

I can sure decorate better than I cook. But I was very proud of this turkey!
I think even Martha Stewart would be proud ;-)

These leaf dishes come in a variety of autumn colors and one can find new sizes and shapes each year at either Pier 1 Imports or Crate & Barrel and other Specialty Shops.

Loved this pumpkin plate adorned with a sunflower. It added a bit of whimsey to the table.

I have collected antique glass of all types since I first saw the cover of Martha Stewart's Book "Entertaining" in 1984. The amber sherbert glass for marinated fruit or soup, as well as the burgandy and clear beverage goblet, are a pattern called "King's Crown".
I often wrap napkins in Autumn floral sprays.
So perfect for Autumn tables.

Pumpkin Soup is served in these Fitz & Floyd Tureens. (Recipe Below)
Autumn is one of my most favorite times of the year! I love everything about it;
the colors, the weather, Thanksgiving celebrations with family, and just dining with friends.

Here's my favorite Pumpkin Soup Recipe. Everyone I have ever served this to LOVES it! I obtained this recipe from my good friends Bob & Mary Carlson. Bob can make ANYTHING taste good! (Not that this recipe needed any help!)

Pumpkin Soup
Serves 4

Saute together:
1/4 chopped onion
2 Tablespoons Butter

Add 1/2 Cup Applesauce
Puree together.

Add one can of Campbell's Cream of Chicken Soup
1/2 can of Water
1/2 can of Half & Half
1/2 can of Pumpkin Puree
1 Tablespoon Honey
1/2 Teaspoon Curry Powder
Dash of Nutmeg & Pepper

Cook until hot. Serve with a dollop of sour cream or whatever other garnish you like, such as parsley leaves, cutout pieces of cheese in an autumn shape, or for Christmas, two cranberries and a mint leaf.

Hope your Autumn dining is DELIGHTFUL!

My Blog Has Been Discovered On Heidi

I looked up my blog site on google this morning and saw that my blog has been mentioned by Heidi Klum! (See below). At first I though she was using my name ;- / and immediately emailed my techie son Chris. He said she is simply giving me a referral. I thought that was pretty cool. Thanks Heidi! And back at you!

Fabulous Soirees - Heidi Klum on AOL - Cached
Aug 15, 2011 – Go to for some incredible ideas for table decor on a budget! Wednesday at 1:41 PM Report abuse Permalink rate up rate ...

How To Post A Comment & Sign Up To Follow A Blog

Many of my friends verbally share with me how much they like what I share on my blog, or post a comment as a Facebook response when I post a blog there. I so appreciate that! It is my desire to share things that will inspire or help you in some way. That's something I love to do; help other people achieve their goals. I am no expert, but I'm told I am creative and should share my ideas. I am not selling anything, just sharing ideas :-)

Many of my friends navigate email and possibly a few programs, but find it challenging to post comments on a blog. Therefore, to assist, I'd like to tell you how you can do it because I sooooooo love to read and memorialize your feedback!

When you go to a blog, you first read what the blogger has posted. Posts appear in last dated one posted first in order. If you access the blog by web version vs. mobile version, there are indexes on the side where previous posts are listed that you may also access by title under "Blog Archive".

Once you read the post, you will see a choice at the bottom of the post that says "0 to any number of comments" ie, the number of comments that have been made. Click on that place, no matter what the number is, and a box will open up. It will say: "Post A Comment". Type what you wish to say in that box. :-)

Once you are finished click on "Post Comment". It may ask you how you want to be identified. Click on that box and choose what applies. Your comment will then be posted for all to see!

Additionally, there is statement near that box that says, "Follow by email". If you enter your email address there, you will automatically receive my blog posts as soon as I enter them.

One last thing, I would really appreciate it if you would sign up to be a "Follower" on my blog if you have not already done so. You can accomplish that by going to the first page of my blog. Under the picture of John and me, is a place that says "Followers" where you can enter your email address and your profile picture (if you have one) will show up). If you do not see these pictures, another place you can sign up to be a follower is at the top left-hand bar where it says "Follow". Again, simply click on that word and enter your email address.

I hope this is helpful and I hope to see you as a ""commenter" about relevant things and that you will sign up to be a "follower" real soon if you haven't already. Have a DELIGHTFUL day!

Patty's "Bachelorette After The Rose" Ceremony

Welcome to the "After The Rose" Ceremony
Patty's entryway covered with roses.
Roses and candles.
Patty's Amazing Chocolate Raspberry Cake
The framed invitation from Jesus.
Appetizers, rose pedals, candles and framed invitations.
Patty getting ready to present a rose.
Patty presenting the rose to her daughter-in-love, Shelley.
Can you see Simone, me, Shelley and Patty?

Okay, I have to admit that I am a ROM-COM addict. To that end, somehow I got hooked on The Bachelorette the season Ali met Roberto. I thought she was so positive and confident for her age. I was really glad she picked Roberto! These young people are my son Chris' age.

Well, I'm not the only one my age who watches! I have several friends my age that watch this show religiously "pun intended". While we were a tad disappointed with the latest season featuring Ashley and JP. We held on any way--always hoping it would get better!! I must say we all agreed with the man she picked; however, we really felt sorry for Ben's feelings, but we are confident he can find someone who is much better suited for him.

Thanks to a friend of Patty's, a group of us were lucky enough to obtain tickets to the final show, called "The Bachelorette, After The Rose". You can see four of us within the first two minutes, full screen!!

My very creative friend, Patty, invited those of us who watched all season, and texted each other during each program, to her home for our own "After The Rose" Ceremony.
I was so amused when I got out of my car and quickly noticed red rose pedals strewn across the walkway accompanied by burning votive candles. Upon entering, there were more crimson rose petals lavished on her entryway floor into the dining area. The dining table was sprinkled with more roses, candles, and a framed invitation for each of us from Jesus, that read, "Our name, will you accept this rose? Jesus, The Rose of Sharon

Each of us brought an appetizer. Patty made the MOST AMAZING DESSERT, my favorite of hers, Chocolate Cake with Raspberries and Raspberry Mousse and Puree!! Two of our friends hadn't seen the last episode, so we had to keep mum until they learned who she picked. After that we watched the episode we attended the taping of. It was such a fun evening. I can't tell you how much we laughed! I thought we would have to send out for a case of Depends!

After the show was over Patty told us she was having her own Rose Ceremony and proceeded to ask each of us if we would be her friends FOREVER. Each of us received a loving speech from Patty and the invitation to accept her rose.
It was so creatively performed, loving, and amazingly comical! I can't remember the last time I laughed that hard.

Upon leaving, she presented each of us with our own personally wrapped chocolate rose. All items purchased at the Dollar Tree. I hope you enjoy the pictures I have featured of the evening. Perhaps you can plan a delightful rose ceremony of your own next season ;-). If you do, I'd love to hear about it.

Love to "Sea" Your Friends

To greet my guests: "Welcome!" Message in a Bottle
Fashioned from a framed picture, embellished with sea shells, rocks, and a message in a bottle!

Welcome "Ocean Splash" Champagne Cooler
Made with 1 teaspoon blue sugar rocks (for more bubbles), 2 tablespoons Blue Curacao
& Brut Sparkling Wine.

Delicious Caribbean Shrimp Appetizer
Marinated in Caribbean Jerk Sauce, wrapped in bacon & grilled. Yummy!

"Where The Fish Are Biting" Chowder (Cheese cutout & green onion bubbles)

Napkins create a splash of water look, accompanied by sea rock look place mats, sea water and rock appetizer plates and the table is adorned with many treasures of the sea.

These pictures truly don't do the table justice. It is so much prettier in person!


Dining, Dining Over The Ocean Blue

Pacific Coast Welcome

"Ocean Splash" Champagne Cooler

“Where The Girls Are...The Boys Will Follow”

Cabernet & Chardonnay, Or...

Beach Bum Beer ;-)

(If The Flip Flop Fits…)

Artichoke “Dip In The Sea” & Chips

Grilled Caribbean Shrimp

(Jerk Marinated & Bacon Wrapped)

“Where The Fish Are Biting” Chowder

“Beach Blanket” Crescent Rolls

Sea Shell & Sand Dollar Butter Dabs

“Treasures of the Sea” Shell Pasta Salad

Baja Broiled Mexican Sea Bass

Grilled Green Beans

(AKA Landlubber Seaweed Delight)

"Wipe Out" Chocolate Cake

With Raspberry White Chocolate Starfish

“See You In September” Hazelnut Cream Coffee

If you read nothing else, please read the LAST paragraph. :-)

Usually for me, a dinner begins with a "plate" or "theme". Like the chicken and the egg, which one comes first? Either one! I can take it from there. I saw these beautiful plates at Home Goods and had to purchase them. I have shied away from beach themes in the past because nothing in my home says "Beach, Ocean, Sea or Nautical". But I said to my self: "Self, you can work with these!"

At first, I thought I would actually spread sand on the tablecloth. But I was rescued from that messy idea when I watched a segment on the news from Home Depot. A decorator demonstrated how he used a paint drop cloth as a tablecloth! I was at Home Depot the very next day to purchase one of those inexpensive cloths! They come in all sizes, and some even have a plastic back. After washing it, I achieved the perfect sand effect. it was a little wrinkled and it looked perfect!

While at Home Depot, I wandered into the floor tile section and saw that I could buy vinyl floor tiles for 99 cents each. :-) I decided the easiest, and cheapest way to solve the underside challenge was to simply buy another tile for the other side and stick them together. This worked like magic. They can be used indoors or outdoors. They clean up easily, and most of all, achieved the
rock look I wanted.

Moving on, I stopped at Bed, Bath & Beyond and discovered these small square appetizer plates. The colors were ideal as I knew I had blue water glasses (purchased from World Market) at home, and wanted to use sea blue napkins (also from World Market) to make this table pop. Now, I was really performing the "Snoopy Dance" as it was really starting to come together.

A field trip to Pottery Barn was now warranted ;-) for sea shells and glass candle holders where I could insert sand and the shells. Across from PB was. Z Gallery, where I discovered sea shell napkin rings! At this point, I didn't care how much they cost, I had to have them. Yes, I could have come up with another idea, but this was so beautiful to me.

Another trip to Home Goods and now I was seeing things I hadn't before. I saw this beautiful aqua blue bowl with an underside of silver. With its geometric designs it looked awesome, and it was only $10! While at the check-out stand, I noticed these sparkling aqua blue rocks and shells for $4. Had to have those too to mix with the other more monochromatic shells and rocks. There were enough left over to fill the bottom of the bowl and place another white pillar candle within and balance the other side of my table.

I noticed a great pinkish starfish the first day I was at Home Goods and decided to buy it on this trip. When I returned, it was gone! You must buy what you want the day you see it there, or it is gone. So instead I found these little resin sea shell and coral picture stands for $5 and purchased them. I decided to place welcoming words on the prongs and give my dinner guests something to talk about.

For the finishing touch, I knew I wanted to find some driftwood, so I was thrilled when I found it at Z Gallery. It gave me the height, depth, and total look I wanted to accomplish. To add a touch of whimsey, I purchased little olive oil bottles at The Container Store, ($3.50) filled them with about two tablespoons of sand and inserted my guests names on scroll-look paper for place tags! This "Message In A Bottle" was an element I couldn't wait for them to see.

I learned a lot about the menu I planned: first the good: the Sparkling Wine Coolers with Blue Curacao and blue sugar crystals were a big hit and started the evening off with a big splash! The artichoke dip and Caribbean Shrimp were also favorites. The chocolate cake was scrumptious!

What was disappointing: The pasta salad didn't turn out as wonderful as I'd hoped. :- / The idea was to provide a bit of coolness to a warm summer evening
. The problem was the pasta shells were ginormous and the chopped vegetables within were lost at sea. It didn't seem to be a favorite. I never claim to be a gourmet cook, but I failed miserably at the grilled green beans. Although I cooked them according to the directions, they weren't fully cooked, therefore, they were a disappointment. :-( Thankfully....the Mexican Sea Bass with Mango Salsa was absolutely delicious. All in all, we had a delightful evening!

I must state here and now, that what is MORE IMPORTANT than the menu, table settings, sea shells, driftwood, and all the other elements is what made this dinner "SEE" Worthy! Seeing people I love, giving them delightful surprises they wouldn't find elsewhere, engaging in fun conversation, and just spending time together is what makes all of this worthwhile! Without people you care about and enjoy, any dinner is just dinner. This was DINING!

"Sea Rock" Indoor & Outdoor Place Mats $2 Each!

Embossed shell plate, topped with a large sea shell (for now) sitting atop the rock-look tile.

I am planning a "Sea Worthy" Dinner soon. I can't wait to show you the table setting! (Have to wait for my guests to come over first! ;-)) This is one of the funnest designs I have ever come up with. For now, I will share this idea that came to me for place mats that I believe you are going to LOVE!

You can purchase 12" by 12" floor tiles at Home Depot for 99 cents each. The ones I chose have the word "Moroccan" in their name. Remove the backing and paste them together so that they are reversible. Be very careful as they are sticky and you can't undo then after you stick them together.

I wanted a sea rock effect, so these are what I choose. I used the same tile for the backing but you could choose another pattern and have two unique sets of eight, or however many you want. (I believe these are vinyl)
They look a hundred times better than shown here. Look for my Sea Worthy Dinner coming in a few weeks!

Customize Your Candles..

My sister heard about this technique from a friend of hers. I tried it and it works-BEAUTIFULLY! Here's how you do this: Purchase a 6-inch high pillar candle, unscented for those of us who are allergic. (After many candles made, we have found that the scented candles don't hold the wax paper as well; it wrinkles. There must be oil of some kind in them.) You can use colored ones but for this one I used a white one. Choose a design you wish to use from a napkin you have purchased.

Napkins are generally three-ply. Remove the two back layers and trim the top layer with the design on it to the size of the height and width of the candle, leaving about a 1/4 to 1/2 inch overlay.
Next, cut a piece of household wax paper that is the same size as the napkin you just trimmed. Wrap the napkin and wax paper around the candle with the wax paper on top. Secure it at the bottom with a thick rubber band about an inch above the bottom. Hold it tightly in place and blow it with a heat gun all around, top to bottom. You will see the design melt into the candle like magic!

After the top is securely attached to the candle, remove the rubber band at the bottom and blow it all around with the heat gun so that the entire napkin and wax paper is melted into the candle.You can do this with virtually any napkin to customize your candles to your paper plates or other decor.

Another method that can be used would be to stamp a rubber stamp design onto a piece of paper, whatever colors you like. Cut around the design and melt a piece of wax paper on top of that and you have a completely different look. Awesome!! I would love to hear what you think about this project! Fill me in.

On A Roll!

Over 20 years ago I started a teacup and teapot collection. The reason I decided to collect them was because they are magnificent to look at and delightful to sip from. I reasoned that if you are going to collect something you may as well collect something beautiful, not to mention useful! I am always looking for ways to create beauty around me.

I have wondered many times what I could do to make toilet paper rolls beautiful! We throw so many of these away, what if we could USE them? That is how this creation came into existence!

These are drawer sachets or candy/favor holders! I present them at Teas and parties tucking a few wrapped butter mints within. They are always a hit! I listen for the oohs, aahs, and wows. If I hear them, I know have been successful in delighting my guests.

I believe these make fabulous hostess or birthday gifts too. Here is how you make them: Cut a square of fabric that will wrap around your roll and leave room to either sew or glue 1/4 inch seams around the square. I prefer to sew them. Attach left-over lace from previous projects or purchase beautiful wedding laces and pearl strands or gold embellishments from fabric stores. Finish off edges with fabric glue. These all glue wonderfully. Try to find a glue that won't yellow over time.

For the ecru roll, I chose a satin fabric, gold trims, pearl strands, and lace. I did use fabric glue to attach the lace and trims as you see. Once finished and attached to roll with glue, cut a measure of toile that is longer than your fabric that is attached to the roll. Insert potpourri within the the toile, and insert this within the roll. Tie both ends with cord or ribbon and attach any other embellishments such a flowers, ribbons, or buttons as shown. To insert candy, cut a measure of toile that is longer than your fabric-covered roll and insert wrapped butter mints (or whatever wrapped treat you decide upon). Tie both ends and place on a plate or place setting, or give as favors when your guests depart. You can say, "It was so sweet having you here", or "Your friendship is like the fragrance of Christ to me". You could also attach a note to that effect with the roll.

The burgundy rolls make a nice looking set for a friends drawers. The are tied with French ribbon and enhanced with artificial roses. These are not expensive, can be fashioned from scraps and you are doing something nice for the environment. I especially love the ones I made of brocade one year. Wish I could show you those. Perhaps I'll make more soon.
I would love to know if you use toilet paper rolls or any other throw away type things to make your world more beautiful. Please share. Thanks!

Lighten Up With Flowers

Latest floral arrangement shows off Kale leaves, purple and lavender freesia, Star of Bethlehem, purple beads that color the water purple, silk lavender firefly and a light that operates under water. Beautiful all around, the above picture is the back side of the arrangement.

Front side of the arrangement. Very quickly made and a sight to behold. Last night, my husband told me he was looking forward to seeing what we made this week as I always come home with something beautiful. How sweet! I think he has been delighted! :-)

Welcome To Le Chateau

When we have friends over for dinner and are serving wine, I set this oil painted canvas outside my front door. I believe it creates the first step in setting the mood that "Fun is going to take place here!". I want my guests to feel like they are entering a place that is equal to or surpasses any fine restaurant they have visited. Rather than the ordinary "Welcome" signs, I'm convinced this is a more delightful way to create the mood you want to be enjoyed. I believe I purchased it for about $20 at WALMART! Many of my guests comment on how special it is. Do you have a painting of some kind that you have just been storing that you could hang outside your door? Remember to bring it in after the party!

Italian Cream Cake

I can still remember a dinner I attended at my friend Dory's house years ago. She served 24 of us delicious spaghetti, a perfect salad with Italian dressing, and served us this delightful Italian Cream Cake accompanied by authentic Spumoni ice cream. It was not only beautiful, but it was so tasty that I remember it to this day!

Don't think you can get away with baking only two layers instead of three. You will have to bake the cakes longer and they will overcook on the tops, bottoms and sides.

Dory’s Italian Cream Cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together:
1 stick butter
1/2 cup Crisco
2 cups sugar

Add 5 egg yolks

Sift together

2 cups flour

1 tsp soda
Add flour mix alternately to cream mix with

1 cup buttermilk

1 tsp vanilla
Fold in 1 cup angel flake coconut and
5 beaten egg whites.

Pour into three well-greased and floured (9") cake pans

Bake at 350 for 25-30 min.

Icing for cake:

Add together and mix well:

1 stick margarine
1 large stick of cream cheese (Don't use low fat)
I did for the one above. It tasted good, but you could see the separation in the layers.
1 box powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla

Grind up 1 cup nuts (pecans) and sprinkle on top of cake.

Serve with Italian Spumoni ice cream.

Beach Basket Flower Arrangement

This weeks floral arrangement was so beautiful. We featured Gerber Daisies, Dahlias, bright yellow lilies, purple liatris and green Bells of Ireland. The lilies have opened up and are glorious! Tonight we are creating an arrangement with lights and dragonflies. Can't wait! Next week class attendees will be making a 4th of July floral arrangement. There is room for you if you wish to attend. See info on Blog Post: Chabby Chic Flower Arrangement for details.

How To Make A Fancy Burlap Tablecloth

A few things to know before you purchase your burlap:
1. Buy at least 12 inches more than you think you will need!
2. Burlap comes in different colors. Choose the one that best suits your goals.
3. Burlap is itchy and make a bit of a mess.

Lay your burlap fabric out on a table and look at it closely. You want to pull a thread that insures you will have at least an inch of fringe after you have pulled the thread out to where you want your table cloth to start. In the photo below, it looks like it is much longer than an inch because it is. At one end, it is shorter than the other so this is demonstrating how far you may have to go to find that point.

When you have the spot chosen that works for you, pull one of the threads all the way out.
Now you have a marker of where you will want your table cloth to end,
but be sure to leave at least one inch of fringe that you will trim.

The salvage sides of the burlap are finished off. Cut the edge off as shown.
See how crooked the edges are before you pull the strings?
This is why you have to buy more than you think you will need.
Now, start pulling all of the threads at the bottom out, about two or three at a time. SAVE the threads as neatly as possible. You will be able to use them later.
Keep pulling until you have pulled all of the threads to the original line.
Trim to the length you desire the fringe to be.
Repeat this process on the sides and opposite end of the tablecloth.
Cut the edge off of the other salvage side.
Notice how the fringe is about one inch all the way around your piece.
You can use the cut salvage edge pieces and strings to tie around package.
Save the strings to tie around napkins or packages.
When you are finished, your tablecloth should look similar to this. To make it extra fancy, count inward from the edges about 10 strings worth and pull two strings, next to each other, out on all four sides. You will have a design all around the tablecloth. I preferred this look.
The burlap table cloth is a perfect fabric as an under-cloth for a floral and leafy themed fabric used with Pottery Barn's bird dishes, nests, eggs and whatever else you come up with to decorate your table. Don't be surprised if you see the birds stopping buy for a view of your delightful table!