Sunday, January 12, 2014

In Praise of Pansies

Pansies bloom throughout the winter in our part of Texas, and even our recent VERY cold (for us!) weather has not daunted their spirit.  Planted in October, when the weather finally cools off, they brighten the flower beds when most other flowering plants are dormant.  We are lazy gardeners, so we've started buying hanging baskets of pansies and planting those, rather than flats of the smaller plants.  Much less kneeling and digging required!  In past years, I have chosen the yellow and purple varieties, but this year, the purple and white ones spoke to me.  Here's one bed, at the end of our driveway.
I have been wanting to do a table celebrating pansies, but I have very little purple in my house.  In fact, I have trained my husband to bring home any color of flowers EXCEPT purple, because it just doesn't go with our decor.  So.  Time to hit Pier 1!  They had mailed me some good coupons, so off I went.  Just inside the front door on the Clearance table were purple hemstitched placemats and napkins.  Sold!  With my coupon, the napkins were under $3 each, my kind of steal deal.  They also had three different kinds of stemware in purple, but I reluctantly realized that a) I would not use them very often and b) I do not have room to store them.  Such restraint!

I knew that I wanted the pansies to be the star of the table, so I limited the color scheme to purple and white.  For the centerpiece, I pulled out my pansy ring and elevated it on a white cakestand.
I also wanted to use my bud vase napkin rings.
Here's a look at the placesetting.  Simple white plates with our wedding silver and crystal.
Also new to my collection are the silver pea pod place card holders.  I couldn't resist them in Williams-Sonoma's clearance sale.  I will also use them to identify dishes when we serve buffet-style.
Here are a few more photos of the table.  The host's view:
 The pansy ring looks like a cake in this one.
 A guest's view:
Thanks for stopping by!  I will be linking with Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Reading in 2013

Inspired by a number of my favorite bloggers who have posted a list of titles read last year, I decided to join in and post mine.  I love to read and have always read for fun, even in the throes of graduate school and while working full-time and raising children.  Reading keeps me sane, I think!

Unfortunately, I did not keep a comprehensive list of everything I read last year, but since the vast majority of my reading is done on my iPad, my Amazon digital orders provided a list of all the books I bought there, and that's the list you'll see below.  (Of course, that also allowed me to tally up how much I spent -- yikes!  "One-click" shopping can be dangerous!)  I did read several "actual" books, usually gifts, and I also was delighted to  learn how to download library books to my iPad.  If you aren't using Overdrive.com to borrow from your local library, you should be!

One indication I'm reading too many e-books?  More than once I've found myself tapping the side of the page of a real book, expecting that to turn the page like it does on the Kindle or iPad!

Title Author
Yesterday's News Kajsa Ingemarsson
The House at Riverton Kate Morton
The Forgotten Garden Kate Morton
The Sound of Broken Glass Deborah Crombie
Downsizing Your Home with Style Lauri Ward
Winter of the World Ken Follett
The Violets of March Sarah Jio
Coming Home Mariah Stewart
Home Again Mariah Stewart
A Week in Winter Maeve Binchy
Devlin's Light Mariah Stewart
Sand Castle Bay Sherryl Woods
Three Sisters Susan Mallery
A Different Light Mariah Stewart
Starting Now Debbie Macomber
Down the Garden Path Beverley Nichols
Tapestry of Fortunes Elizabeth Berg
Life After Life Kate Atkinson
Semi-Sweet:  A Novel of Love and Cupcakes Roisin Meaney
The People Next Door Roisin Meaney
Life Drawing for Beginners Roisin Meaney
The Daisy Picker Roisin Meaney
One Summer Roisin Meaney
Something in Common Roisin Meaney
A Room Full of Bones Elly Griffiths
Wind Chime Point Sherryl Woods
A Dying Fall Elly Griffiths
Villette Charlotte Bronte
The Coffin Trail Martin Edwards
The Cipher Garden Martin Edwards
The Arsenic Labyrinth Martin Edwards
The Serpent Pool Martin Edwards
The Frozen Shroud Martin Edwards
The Hanging Wood Martin Edwards
The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls Anton DiSclafani
A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet Sophie Hudson
A Single Thread Marie Bostwick
All the Lonely People Martin Edwards
The Burgess Boys Elizabeth Strout
How the Light Gets In Louise Penny
Red Sparrow Jason Matthews
And the Mountains Echoes Khaled Hosseini
The English Girl Daniel Silva
As Always, Julia Joan Reardon
This is the Story of a Happy Marriage Ann Patchett
Faithful Unto Death Stephanie Jaye Evans
Safe from Harm Stephanie Jaye Evans
Lowcountry Boil Susan Boyer
Lowcountry Bombshell Susan Boyer
Dear Life Alice Munro
Miss Buncle Married D.E. Stevenson
Miss Buncle's Book D.E. Stevenson
The Goldfinch Donna Tartt
Cool-Season Gardening in Central Texas Melody Fitzgerald
The Wedding Machine Beth Webb Hart
Sycamore Row John Grisham
The Racketeer John Grisham
A Bird in the Hand Ann Cleeves
King and Maxwell David Baldacci
What My Mother Gave Me Elizabeth Benedict
Whole Latte Life Joanne Demaio
Snowflakes and Coffee Cakes Joanne Demaio
Only the Innocent Rachel Abbott
The Sixth Man David Baldacci
Split Second David Baldacci
Hour Game David Baldacci

That's 66 books, so a little more than one per week.  December was the big winner, with nine books read that month.  Yay, Christmas holidays!  Many of the books are "light" fiction -- good escapism and relaxation!  You'll also see that when I find an author I like, I read a lot of his/her books. I love discovering a new prolific writer!  Also, there's very little non-fiction here.  I read a lot of that for work, so stick primarily to fiction for recreational reading.  

I am always up for book suggestions, so please comment with any titles you'd recommend!