Need a coffee table but don't have one? This DIY modern farmhouse tray is a cheap and easy solution with style.   In my home, I'm the beneficiary of a nightly ritual that will make most wives jealous...     My husband prepares a cup of cocoa or chai for me every evening before bedtime. He's been doing this for most of our married life and I love it.  It's a very special way to end the evening. Since we've been living in this postage stamp of an apartment my choice is to sit at the table or on my little loveseat.  Usually, I choose the loveseat.  But, it's risky for … [Read more...]

  Learn how to create a budget Thanksgiving table setting with dollar store items and more that is simple and elegant, plus a fun DIY pumpkin centerpiece project.   It was just the two of us that Thanksgiving. As usual, since we moved to the Southtowns of Buffalo, there was snow and lots of it.     There was no way I was going to get in the car and drive 8 hours for dinner.  So I set the table as elegantly as possible and roasted a turkey. Tim and I were having a blast in the kitchen together, making a week's worth of stuffing, potatoes, Far East Celery, two kinds of … [Read more...]

  It persuaded me just a little with its $7 clearance price tag. That small red tag pushed me from simple infatuation to head over heels in love. With a tablecloth.     Which is why this lovely dark blue and white tablecloth with the huge gingham checks jumped into my hands and came home with me. I couldn't wait to put it on my little table.     Do you know the difference between the hugely popular buffalo plaid and gingham? I didn't. Want to know? Lean in... Buffalo plaid is a larger square plaid of two colors... one is always black and … [Read more...]

  One of my favorite things about blogging is that I have an excuse to do the things I love and share them with you.     More than anything I would love for you to be able to join me for a little breakfast tea where we could swap stories and get to know each other.  But, since that's not to be, today I set the table for an early fall morning tea and I'm pretending that you are sitting here with me. It's a beautiful mostly sunny day.  The trees have a little bit of color, but here in the mostly oak woods where I live, it's still pretty green. I wanted to take time to encourage … [Read more...]

  This has been the summer of flowers.     It all started when my little grocery store started carrying locally grown flowers in the spring.  I almost did flips when I saw ranunculus. In the most beautiful colors, ever.  So, of course, I purchased some, and arranged them, and took their picture... over and over again. As spring became summer,  there was a constant flow of flowers each week into my store. And when I could, I purchased a bouquet and arranged it, and too more pictures.  For the past month, there's been a steady flow of sunflowers in every … [Read more...]

  Do you cringe at the idea of inviting people to your home? My friend Melissa Michaels, of The Inspired Room, has just published a new book that will help you overcome your hospitality fears and inspire you to send your first invitation for a simple gathering. Simple Gatherings, 50 Ways to Inspire Connections offers a refreshing perspective on opening our hearts and homes to guests. I truly believe that it's what's in our hearts and minds that make our attempts at hospitality successful. Melissa uses this Bible verse as the basis for her efforts... "Serve one another in love." Galatians 5:13. … [Read more...]

  How do you like to eat fresh picked blueberries? When it's blueberry season our family's favorite blueberry food, aside from blueberry buckle coffee cake, is blueberry pancakes.  Or at least it was until I decided to make blueberry waffles.     The thing is, the stove in our apartment has the most uneven burners ever.  Everything slides to one side of the pan. Making pancakes on the stove is sheer craziness.  So when Tim suggested we make pancakes for our Sunday brunch I got all twitchy... until I remembered I have a waffle iron. My waffle iron was purchased a while back for … [Read more...]

  Have you ever had an old friend come to town and want to meet up with you and friends she hasn't seen in a year or two or ten? You're happy to make all the arrangements. Lunch at a great restaurant is a good option.  It seems so much easier, but, there's the noise of the other diners, the interruptions of the servers, and who knows what else. Why not go all old-style and host a small gathering or luncheon at your home?     So much more is in your control and the peace and comfort of your home tops everything the restaurant has to offer.  You don't have to worry about staying … [Read more...]

  Happy Fourth of July!     I LOVE everything about celebrating the 4th, but especially I love all things red, white, and blue. It's been a while since I've been able to set a patriotic table, but this year is finally my year... thanks to an unexpected clearance at Walmart way back in January.  Right smack in the middle of the main aisle was a display of deeply discounted housewares items.  Since I always prefer shopping anything house related over clothing, I was immediately drawn to the display.  Down on the bottom shelf, I noticed a stack of red plates.  Cute red plates with a … [Read more...]

  Be inspired today with these fun and creative patriotic holiday decorating ideas... Holidays give me a great reason to have people over. We love spending time with friends in an informal way. There's something about a holiday that puts everyone in a more celebratory mood. Plus... it gives me a theme for table decor and more.     With that in mind... Memorial Day is almost here and it's the perfect reason to open the cupboards and drawers and pull out all things red, white, and blue. Since Memorial Day is about remembrance and appreciation, it's a great teaching … [Read more...]

    Whenever we're short on time or having friends for the weekend... and I need an absolutely delicious but quick to prepare dinner, I always turn to my amazing and easy beef taco meat recipe.   It's always a favorite and I love how those who try it for the first time are surprised and delighted by the unexpected ingredient. The main ingredient in standard taco fare is usually ground beef.  I make a delicious southwest chicken meal, too.  But for the beef lovers, this is a standout with a myriad of wonderful flavors.   Since tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo... you may have … [Read more...]

  Easter was over.  Another week came and went.  And I still was in love with my pretty Easter centerpiece.  It had been the star of my spring tablescape. And though I love eggs for spring, it was time to put away the eggs.  As I stood there looking at my table and wondering how I might change it up for a Mother's Day tablescape... I had a lightbulb moment! I didn't need to start all over from scratch!  I just needed to tweak that sweet but simple Easter tablescape and centerpiece!   That's the thing... instead of putting everything away and having an empty table or having to think up a … [Read more...]

  Do you dread having to host a holiday meal like Easter brunch? One of my favorite things to do is to open my home to guests and serve them a delicious meal at a thoughtfully decorated table. It's an expression of my love and the creativity comes straight from my heart. Because I know everyone doesn't share my confidence, I can't wait to show you how to.... Create an Elegant Easter Tablescape on a Small Budget. You really can be frugal and fabulous!   Everything I share is easy to do... I'm not one for time-consuming and complicated projects. If you peruse Pinterest you'll see … [Read more...]

  This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All experiences and opinions are mine. #SandwichWithTheBest #CollectiveBias Adventuring... it's my very favorite springtime activity.  There's nothing like the exhilaration of discovering tiny whorls of spring green pushing through the thick decaying blanket of brown covering the woodland floor or spying the first marsh marigolds in the wetlands or catching sight of the elusive Baltimore oriole that beckons us with his melodious song. My husband and I love to get out in the early light of the morning.  It's the best for … [Read more...]

  Yesterday I had one of those days. You know the kind... where you open every possible drawer and cabinet looking for that elusive piece of chocolate. Because. Chocolate. I'm not an emotional eater, but sometimes, a piece of something chocolate assuages those frayed nerves. If your favorite go-to sweet is chocolate then you are in for a treat!  Oh yes!! We discovered NINE wonderful chocolate recipes to make from this week's Project Inspire{d} link party. They all look amazing!  In fact, this weekend I'm pretty sure you'll be making one. These Fudgy Rollo Brownies from My Suburban Kitchen especially … [Read more...]

  As March roars in like a lion, there's nothing better than some good comfort food to warm me.... body and soul. And it must be quick and easy to prepare.     Goulash, with those cute elbow macaroni, fits the bill and is a long time favorite of ours... except pasta doesn't like me.   Between giving me achy elbows (Funny coincidence, huh?) and pushing the number up on the scale, I needed another option.  So one day when I accidently discovered that my favorite vegetable, wax beans, are available canned, I decided to experiment.  This happy pairing provided me with the perfect option … [Read more...]

  It's been a while since I have been totally excited about something I've created. This Easter centerpiece and tablescape are my very favorite. I cannot express the happiness I feel every time I walk in the room.     It's the result of a monthly blogging challenge that I do with a group of bloggers to Make Something From Nothing.  It's all about being creative with the gifts and talents our Creator has given us and using what we have in hand.  Some of us have more on hand than others. Mine usually begin with a trip to my recycling bin.     This particular … [Read more...]