Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Post-Christmas Fun

Shortly before Christmas, when I thought my shopping was complete, I was visiting the Bake at 350 blog and read a post featuring this cake pop set.
I knew that my granddaughter "needed" one -- and, truth be told, I wanted to play with it, too!  So, I got online and found one at our Toys R Us.  I ordered it for store pickup and stopped by on my way to work early the next morning.  The day after Christmas, we baked a cake mix and got busy making the pops.  Here is Eleanor, in her cupcake PJs, shaping the balls of cake mixed with icing.

 The set comes with everything you need -- the tray for chilling the cake balls before shaping them, the little molds in four shapes, and the mixing and dipping bowls. 
I failed to get photos of the dipping stage, but here are the finished snowmen faces and Christmas trees. 
 The set also comes with a tray with little holes for holding the pops while the candy coating dries -- very handy!
I think Miss E had as much fun making them as I did!

Christmas 2012

We have had a fun Christmas with our daughter and her family visiting!  They drove up on the morning of Christmas Eve.  My granddaughter arrived in time to help put the finishing touches on our table for Christmas Eve dinner.
I almost always use this plaid tablecloth that I've had for years on Christmas Eve.  The emerald green glasses originally belonged to my husband's grandparents, and I've enjoyed using them since they were passed down to us.
A couple of new elements this year included these reindeer napkin rings, purchased at Crate and Barrel after Christmas last year,
and these reindeer tea light holders, a surprise from my husband more recently.
The sleigh that I filled with greenery, "Kermit" mums, and hypericum berries is also new.
Since I only have six of the matching plaid napkins, I alternated them around the table.  The placesetting included the dishes I use throughout December, Dansk Winterfest.
After the sun set, I took a candlelight shot, managing to capture the blue hour.
After dinner, the grandchildren posed for the traditional Christmas Eve photo.
Here is the tree on Christmas morning, before the children came in to find what Santa left for them.
After we opened gifts, it was time to set the table for Christmas dinner.  I used the same sleigh centerpiece and brass candlesticks, but everything else was different.  I wanted to use my grandmother's china, so I chose this paisley tablecloth and napkins in dark red, green, and gold. 
I also used the cute Santa placecard holders that my sister gave me last year.  Here's the one marking my 90 year old father-in-law's place . . .
And my six year old grandson's place.
Here's a look at the table.
And one more.
Again this year, we were blessed to have four generations around the table.  Thank you for visiting!  I will be linking to Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch and Let's Dish at Cuisine Kathleen.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Emily's First Tablescape

I am writing today from Ohio, where I'm visiting my newest grandbaby, a darling little girl named Emily!
 My husband and I flew up when she was a week old to help out for a few days.  Here is Granddaddy, giving Emily some cooking tips.

Emily is named for two of her great-great-grandmothers.  Emily's mother, my daughter-in-law, has a wonderful, large set of Friendly Village dishes from her great-grandmother.  They've been packed away since they moved to a new house earlier this year, so during nap time for mother and baby, I unpacked a few for them to use when the other grandparents visit at Christmas.  Of course, I couldn't resist doing a little tablescape with these pretty dishes!  

Their dining table already had a plaid runner and candlesticks, and right outside their front door are holly bushes covered with red berries, so those comprised the centerpiece.  
I used the School House dinner plate and the square Covered Bridge salad plates..
Here's a closer look at the Covered Bridge.
Here's a view toward the snow village our son set up.  He always used to set ours up, so I'm happy to see him continuing the tradition for Emily.
Here are a few more views of the table.

Thank you for visiting Emily's first tablescape! I plan to link to Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch and Let's Dish at Cuisine Kathleen.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Glories of Grandchildren

What a fun weekend we've had!  The excitement began on Friday, when our sweet daughter-in-law gave birth to a little girl -- our newest grandchild!  Emily Madden (both family names) arrived a couple of weeks early, but she was a lovely surprise!  Mother and baby are doing well, and they all went home this morning.  So far, we've only seen photos, but my husband and I are going to see Emily (and her parents) in a few days.  Here's Emily with her dad -- our son.  She's a tiny one -- 5 lbs. 12 oz.
 Also on Friday, our daughter and her family arrived for the weekend.  My nine year old granddaughter had e-mailed me a cute idea for cookies that she'd found on the internet, so we put that activity on our list.  We also like to make crafts, so I was prepared to make some ornaments.  In addition, I'd seen a cute snack mix that looked like fun on Pinterest.  (Where did we get ideas before the internet??)

We started on the ornaments bright and early Saturday morning, as they required multiple steps involving painting and Mod Podging.  We finished them up Sunday morning, and I think they turned out pretty cute.  The initials are for my grandchildren, their friends, and teachers.
In between stints working on the ornaments, we mixed up some cookie dough and made melting snowmen cookies with some of it and Christmas cut-out cookies with the rest.  I failed to get a photo of the melting snowmen, but you can see a cute version here.  We simplified them a bit, using food-safe markers to add details to the snowmen's faces.

Early Sunday morning, we started working on the Santa hat snack mix.  I found the idea here and pinned it right after Christmas last year.   
After dipping the Bugle chips in red candy melts, they dipped the base end in sprinkles. . .
then added mini marshmallows to the tip of the hat.
The finished hats were added to a mix of mini pretzels, peanuts, and Rice Chex drizzled with white chocolate. 
Last but not least, we frosted the cookies we'd baked the day before.

My kitchen is wall-to-wall sticky, from the icing and the Mod Podge, but my heart is full!  We won't see these grandchildren again until Christmas Eve, so we had to pack a lot into a weekend. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Thanksgiving weekend is almost over, but I wanted to record for posterity our table for the holiday meal.  Here's a view of the table before I added any flowers.  The tablecloth is new, purchased with our wedding china, Lenox Windsong, in mind. 
 I really like the colors in the tablecloth, and they complement the border of the plates nicely, I think.  Here you'll notice that the napkins alternate -- there were only four matching napkins in the store -- but by Thanksgiving Day, my wonderful son-in-law rectified that, making a special trip to a Williams-Sonoma in Houston to supply four more!  And, to solidify his already-stellar standing with me, he ALSO bought me some peppermint bark while he was in the store! 
 I used two hurricanes with candles and mixed nuts on the table.
The placesetting is simple, as we served buffet-style, so no salad plates or soup bowls were needed.
 Here's another table view that shows the blue-gray border of the tablecloth.  White hydrangeas have also been added to the centerpiece in this view. 

 My wedding crystal, Lenox Moonspun, is shared by a number of my sister bloggers who married in the '70s.  Girls, I believe our pattern now qualifies as "vintage"! 
An across-the-table view. . .
And one final look. 
Thank you for visiting today! 

Linking to Between Naps on the Porch and Cuisine Kathleen.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Dishes and Doilies

My table this week features a wonderful birthday gift from my dear friend Michele, who blogs at Adventures in Thrifting.  Besides being thrifty, she is crafty!  I first "met" Michele online in the 1990s, and we finally met in person a few years after that.  She is my most faithful e-mail correspondent, and we usually exchange two notes per day.  For my birthday last month, she sent me a table runner she'd made from doilies she had collected throughout the year, then sewn together.  It looks great on the dark wood of my dining room table.  She managed to get it the right length by cleverly e-mailing my daughter when she knew she was visiting and asked her to measure my table.  Here's how it looks on my table between tablescapes:
I wanted to set a special table to show it off, so I chose my late mother-in-law's Wedgwood Potpourri pattern.  Its creamy background color is a good match for the doilies.
The scalloped edges of the Potpourri plate echo the shape of the two round doilies in the runner.  I love the cream soup bowls -- and the little flowers inside the rim.  I used navy linen placemats, turned vertically and draped over the edge of the table, and flax-colored napkins, my silver, and blue stemware.  Deep pink alstroemeria blossoms in bud vase napkin rings dress up the placesetting a bit.
Here's the large central doily.  I love this unusual design.
More alstroemeria in a simple pitcher add a little more color.  My mother-in-law had many pieces in this pattern, including the vegetable bowls and salt and pepper shakers pictured here.
Here's an across-the-table view.
And here's a view of the whole table, set for six.
Over on the sideboard, demitasse cups await.
I love these dainty cups -- so sweet, with a little flower inside.
Thanks, Michele, for inspiring another tablescape with your lovely birthday gift!  And thanks, everyone, for visiting my table this week.  I will be linking to Let's Dish at Cuisine Kathleen and Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch, so don't miss all the other tables available there!