Spring Shopping Sortie

The French word sortie means to dispatch a fighting unit on a mission and I was on a mission — one to find out what my favorite home decor stores had waiting for me for spring! I started with Pier One.

I was immediately drawn to this Frosted Swirl Stemware. Not really practical for drinking wine, but oh-so-pretty.


Also at Pier One, I loved these Color Dots Stemware.



The cupcake tree reminded me of all the beautiful centerpieces I’ve seen using  stacked cake plates. I pinned this one from Note Songs.


These settings were also very springy — the Happy Floral stemware isn’t really me, but makes for a striking tablescape, and I loved the layered texture of the two napkins with the burlap bunny ears napkin ring.



Sometimes, a creative thought can go a little awry. I’m trying to figure out how one would explain to one’s grandchild about the bunny having an Easter egg in his tummy. Hmmm…



The cute little chick makes a lot more sense and accomplishes the same thing. And I love the polka-dotted napkin — but I saw a similar one yesterday at Tuesday Morning that was MUCH cheaper. 🙂


Bottom line, my trip to Pier One did not “force” me to buy any new Easter decor items, but unfortunately, in setting up the links to this post, I discovered that the red plaid napkins I got on sale (and love, love, love) are still in stock and on sale online. I may have to buy some more…

I’m linked up today to Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home and Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage. Be sure to stop by and spread the love.

Have a wonderful weekend!


Courting Couples Need a Good Home

Recently I went to a local antiques store to pick up a couple of butter knives and ran into THIS.


A drop dead gorgeous set of Frenchy china with 22 carat gold trim. Marked down to $250.00. If this isn’t a perfect example of the crime of throwing out Grandma’s china, then I’m giving up my membership in China Addicts Anonymous.


Can’t you just see this gracing your table? It’s stunning!

IMG_3835 Crop 1 IMG_3835 Crop 2

I started to look into the provenance of the set and what it might actually be worth. The antique store calls it French Colonial by Taylor Smith & Taylor. Apparently the decals were used by more than one china manufacturer and the series is called Courting Couple.

It turns out that the pattern is TST444  and was probably manufactured in the mid-1900s in the United States.

Can’t you just see this beautiful china sitting on your table? It needs a loving home — just not mine. Obviously, Music Man would not take kindly to me dragging home another set of somebody’s Grandma’s china; I’ve already inherited and appropriated five sets of my own beautiful dishes from relatives and estate sales.

I have absolutely nothing to do with the antique store, but I just think someone should adopt these courting couples. Is Collage Antiques of Arlington Heights calling your name?

I’m linked up today to Let’s Dish at Cuisine Kathleen and Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch. Be sure to stop by and visit the talented ladies sharing their creative genius.

Shabby Chic Stoneware Pitcher

Yesterday, I featured a white stoneware pitcher as the centerpiece in my Elegant White and Gold Tablescape.

IMG_7241BBThe pitcher was a salvaged item that my hairdresser was throwing out years ago. Obviously, I grabbed it and it has been patiently waiting its turn for its closeup.

This was the inspiration for my shabby chic pitcher centerpiece.


I saw this embellished pitcher sitting on the sale rack at Home Goods. Please forgive the poor photography — I took the photo with my cell phone, but I knew the concept had promise. It was lonely there on the shelf, looking as though it belonged in Great Expectations with Miss Havisham…

… and I thought I could do something similar but not quite so sad for my Elegant White and Gold tablescape.

I looked at cotton lace remnants and other options at Jo-Ann’s Fabrics, but finally settled on the gold filigree wired ribbon which complemented the embroidery in my placemats nicely. Then, while standing in the checkout line, I saw the cute glittered rose pins in the $1 bin and I knew I had my look. Not quite as shabby, but much more chic. 🙂

IMG_7231BInspiration comes from the strangest places sometimes. I’ve learned to trust my instincts and go with it.

show and tell fridaysToday I’m linked up with Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home. I loved Cindy’s post about roses — be sure to stop by and see her beautiful photos!

Have a lovely weekend — I have to go run my snowblower now!

Elegant White and Gold Tablescape

After all the red hubbub of Valentine’s Day, my soul was crying out for some calmness and rest for my eyes.


The elegant white and gold tablescape was born.


The classic stoneware pieces are upgraded by lavish use of crystal and metallic accents — Grandma’s silver does its job again!

IMG_7234BThe key to an all white tablescape is texture and layering. Embossed detail creates interest on the dishes, golden embroidery on the placemats is mimicked on the wired ribbon accent, and the tablecloth, napkins, French scarf, and the bread warmer add lacy textures.

White Elegance CollageBUsing Grandma’s silver platter again, crystal jam pots and a covered butter dish are grouped together.

IMG_7244BGrocery store tulips send a sweet message and provide a shot of color.


I’m linked up to French Country Cottage and Between Naps on the Porch this week. Visit these creative ladies to find more inspiration for your table!

Using Grandma’s Silver: Appetizer Tray

Sometimes the simplest things are the best.IMG_7218B

Slap some baby carrots and whatever veggies you have in the house in some bowls or ramekins and add some purchased guacamole. Put them on Grandma’s silver platter (or your thrift shop treasure) and Voila! You have a healthy appetizer for the family as they wait for dinner to be ready. Or a snack if a friend drops by. There is no end to what you can do to make a party with a piece of silver.

There’s no reason not to use your silver. Every day.

I’m linked up today at Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style. Stop by to be inspired by the creative ladies you will find there!

Grandma Lill’s Spaghetti Sauce with Meatballs

I’m linked up today at Stone Gable and I’m revisiting a well-loved recipe from 2010 on my old blog. Many of you are talking about making your sauce from scratch, using either fresh or self-canned tomatoes, and I applaud you for that. In her day, Lill was probably thrilled to be able to find canned convenience items with which to make her special spaghetti sauce; in many ways we’ve come full circle with homemakers from earlier times who also used fresh ingredients — but they had no other choice. This post brings you both memories of my family and memories from the kitchen of another beloved grandmother.

From June 28, 2010

I didn’t know my grandparents very well. My father’s parents were both gone by the time I was old enough to remember them, and my mother’s parents were pretty remote in their interactions with the rambunctious children of their youngest daughter. They were retired and moved back to their hometown by the time I spent any time with them, and I would not say it was quality time. My grandfather came to live with my mother and father when he was no longer able to live alone, but I was out of the house and long gone by then. So, when I see my friends grandparenting their own grandbabies, it makes me happy to see how involved they are with these precious children.

Recipes passed down from my grandparents? I don’t remember any, but I’m pretty good at appropriating other people’s family recipes . Over the years I have gathered together other families’ recipes and made them my own. We have only one “family recipe” that I know of, our famous Scalloped Oysters, but I don’t know where this came from.

lillian-corselloToday’s recipe was not stolen, however. I’m lucky enough to be friends with Linda, whose mother we remembered on June 24. Everyone knew her as Grandma Lill, and although she’s not actually my grandma (she’s not even in the right generation to be my grandma), her recipe was freely given to us.

As I reread my niece Jessie’s post on Vanderbilt Wife which honors my father and her grandfather, it seems totally fitting that I honor Grandma Lill today. We paid tribute to Grandma Lill at her memorial service and Jessie wrote her post on the eve of my dad’s memorial service just a year ago. At both events, there were new great-grandchildren who will not remember their great-grandparent, but life renews itself through the cycles of birth and death. We are also renewed through the memories we share with our children and grandchildren and that includes our recipes.

Grandma Lill embraced Italian cooking and passed her recipes down to her children. Her meatballs are famous — and I hope you will enjoy them yourself in her memory.

Lill’s Spaghetti Sauce with Meatballs

2 pounds ground beef
1/2 medium onion — chopped fine
2 eggs beaten
1 cup Progresso Italian style bread crumbs
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Small amount of oil for browning meatballs
Mix all ingredients together and form into “golf ball” size meatballs. Carefully brown meatballs in oil on both sides in a Dutch oven. Remove meatballs.

Add to pot:
1 medium chopped onion
1 sliced garlic clove
Sauté until tender.

Then add:
3 12 oz. cans Contadina tomato paste
1 14 oz. can Hunt’s basil and garlic diced tomatoes
5 cans water
2 tablespoons each of dried parsley, basil, and oregano
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add meatballs. Cook uncovered 2 hours — stirring occasionally.

Printable Recipe

While you’re at it, try the scalloped oysters. It may seem weird, but for those of you who love oysters, this recipe will just melt in your mouth.