Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Summer Dishes

I wish I could say this is my only set of summer dishes, but it is not ~ it's just my set for eating outside.  
For some reason I feel like I have to justify why I have all these extra sets of dishes, but these are all plastic, making them perfect for both of my outside tables which have glass tops.  I bought two wrought iron tables this spring from a friend and neither came with tops.  Well ~ replacing glass tops is expensive, no matter how inexpensive the furniture was.  It made me nervous to use glass dishes on them unless I had a place mat under them ~ so plastic was the perfect solution.

I wrote about these plates back in the spring when I purchased them just because they made me smile.  I love their happy colors and they were on clearance at the grocery store, so I loved their happy price too.
The goblets also are actually plastic, and were a birthday present from my daughter. They were purchased from Meijers, a store somewhat similar to Walmart, and again I was grocery shopping.  It should be a crime to put dishes in a grocery store for those of us who can't resist those aisles.

The wrought iron set was black with paint spattered all over it.  I can't remember why I decided to paint it this happy shade of green, but I just love how it turned out. 

The seats are covered with an indoor/outdoor fabric
 from JoAnn's.

Aqua Ball jars with sand and candles made the perfect centerpiece for a summer evening.

It was my delight to use my table and goblets for the first time to celebrate one of my sister's birthdays, and we had perfect summer weather to do so ~ at last.

Linking with

Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Learning to Enjoy

Learning to enjoy . . . 
pretty views
ice cream and fresh blueberries on a hot day
summer phlox in a blue bottle
a pretty table on a screened porch

the crispness of blue and white


did I say ice cream already?

Learning how to take breaks, relax, and enjoy the simple things in life is what I am finally learning as I grow older.  My Mother will be proud.
Well, the ice cream is gone now, so it's back to work.
Linking with
Common Ground for Vintage Inspiration
French Country Cottage for Feathered Nest Friday
At the Picket Fence for Inspiration Friday


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Canning Tomatoes

Every summer I can tomatoes.  I think it's because my Mother always did and I was raised to be thrifty and prepare for winter by canning produce.  Now, I only can tomatoes, and I must admit I don't like it much, even sometimes hate doing it.  But ~ still every year I plant 24 tomato plants so I can preserve them for winter meals.  My Mother tells me not to do it anymore, but I can't seem to give it up.
It's a long process starting with washing up the jars and getting everything out and set up.
I've had the jars for years and years and they're always so pretty washed up and ready to go.

And then there are the tomatoes.  This basket may not look that big, but its almost two feet long and it's loaded.

There is something beautiful about tomatoes with their many and varied uses in meals.

And here is my little bee friend to help me with my chores.

Now, I'm off to actually can, instead of taking and editing pictures.  Can you tell I'm procrastinating?  I've done everything this morning from laundry to cleaning out kitchen drawers, when my first priority was supposed to be canning.  
Here are the tomatoes going through the hot water bath, which is followed by the cold water bath to loosen the skins.
Canning is a very hot process and it usually comes at the hottest part of the summer.  Thank goodness today the temperature barely made it into the 70's.

I got so involved, I forgot to take more pics of the process, but here is the finished product.

Aren't they beautiful?  I never tire of looking at the finished product.  There is a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment when I see the jars all lined up that always makes the work worth it all.  I've been know to leave them set on the counter for a week because I love to look at them.  Maybe that's why I keep doing a chore I don't enjoy very much.

All in all ~ I ended up with 18 quarts of tomatoes.  That's the largest batch I've ever done at one time and sometimes more than I do in an entire summer, and it's only the first wave of tomatoes.  I think I'll be eating a lot of chili, spaghetti. and sausage-tortellini soup this winter.

Linking with
The Tablescaper for Seasonal Sundays
Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday

Monday, August 6, 2012

A Young Entrepreneur

I was taking Moby for his daily walk around the block this evening when I came across this young entrepreneur.
His name is James and as you can see, he was selling flowers.  As I came around the park to where he was standing, he asked me if I wanted to buy any flowers.  I told him I didn't have any money with me, and I asked him if he was selling flowers from his Mother's garden.  He said he had grown them himself and I was impressed with this young man.  Even Moby thought they were pretty and stopped to take a sniff.

I don't usually buy flowers in the summer since I have them in my gardens, but as Moby and I walked home, I decided I'd go back with my $5 and buy a jar of these pretty zinnias.  There was something about the boy and the zinnias that deeply touched my heart.
Well ~ let me say ~ I've never spent a better $5.  I put them in my turquoise canning jar and set them on the table of my screened porch.  I used three layers of linens underneath them and they made me smile.

And as I kept smiling, I kept snapping pictures.  I couldn't seem to stop ~ so I hope you enjoy these pretty zinnias as much as I am.

So sweet ~ so summer.

Who can explain why something so simple makes your heart sing and feel like all is right in the world?

Since the weather is a little cooler and I get to work from home tomorrow, I think I'll park myself out here with my laptop and enjoy the sights and sounds of summer.

Linking with
A Stroll Thru Life for Table Top Tuesday
Coastal Charm  for Nifty Thrifty Tuesday

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Summer Sheers

Years ago I knew a lady who had kitchen curtains for every season and I always thought that was a great idea, but never had the time or money for this luxurious extravagance.
My bedroom drapes are heavy and kind of drab ~ not that bad for winter when you want to hunker down anyways ~ but definitely not summery.

I've always wanted to make summer shears for my bedroom.  It is a dark room from all my large trees, which is one of the reasons this room never photographs well, and I've always wanted to lighten it up for the summer.  And to me ~ nothing says summer like sheers blowing in the breeze.

Just like everywhere else in the country, it has been to hot to open the windows this summer, so there has been no blowing in the breezes yet, but fall is just around the corner, so it won't be long.
I sewed ties of different lengths all along the top to create a care free/casual look to the sheers.

This fabric was such a bargain at only a couple dollars a yard and 108" wide, that it made these summer sheers an affordable extravagance.

And best of all ~ on those hot summer days when you want to block out some of the heat, but not lose the light ~ they are just perfect and create such a lovely atmosphere in the room.

Makes you want to curl up and take a summer afternoon nap.  Actually I just noticed that the lump under the throw is the dog, doing just that.  Don't dogs know how to totally enjoy life?
Linking with
French Country Cottage  for Feathered Nest Friday
At the Picket Fence  for Inspiration Fridays


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