27 February 2015

ROSES ARE RED, MY LOVE

Nothing quite warms the heart like a surprise bouquet of red roses from one's love, does it?









25 February 2015

OVERBLOWN MEDIA HYPE and other observations


It is already melting!

Ever since that debacle last year when the weather prophets announced that we were getting a light dusting of snow that turned into an epic ice storm, all of them have gone totally overboard every time conditions pop up that might produce a flake or two.  There actually are a few flakes on the front lawn now, as I write, although they have come about twelve hours later than predicted.  


Tonight all the TV channels are hogging the airwaves yapping about the weather, so no good TV shows!  Boo.  Just the silly reporters who don't have enough sense to go inside where it is warm!  All of them saying the same thing, over and over and over.  Fortunately, Rizzoli & Isles and Perception recorded last night, so all is not lost!  Let's don't forget Fixer Upper, too.  That's the only decent show on HGTV any more.

Today I made Macaroni and Cheese from scratch, the old-fashioned way with the cheese sauce, eggs, more cheese, buttered bread crumbs, etc. -- a certified heart attack on a plate.  With it we enjoyed chili I made a few days ago.  This kind of food will warm you up, that's for sure.  

I made two dishes...

-- one to freeze --

and one to eat now.

I took some photos inside today, although there was no natural light.  It was very grey all day.  I am still kicking around ideas for the living room redo, and have shuffled furniture around about a hundred times.  I really want to gather the courage to paint the LR walls orchid or violet or amethyst. The fireplace is going to get a facelift too.  I am thinking black!  Gasp!!!



See these plates?  I finally located some salad plates at Replacements to match that one dinner plate on the mantel.  I bought that one years ago at the Biltmore, but I wasn't looking for another set of china at the time.  I just bought it for a souvenir of trip because I liked it.  Not that I am really looking for one now... but I would like seven more dinner plates.  


The colors in the plates make up  the color scheme I want to go with in here. It will mostly involve tweaking what is here because I have no intention of completely starting over.  In addition to new paint, the plans include phasing in new slipcovers on the existing upholstered furniture, tweaking the window treatments, getting rid of the carpet and moving this area rug to the DR and finding another.  Beyond that, anything I will replace will be a serendipitous find. The color I need to settle on will have to work with what is here, as I make the changes over a period of time.  The key is to settle on a plan.


However, I am looking for another storage piece to replace a console table in there.  Last weekend I thought I had a shot at a fabulous French Heritage buffet at an estate sale, but I didn't submit the winning bid.  Boohoo! So the hunt continues. 


The mantel is a nod to Mardi Gras.  I couldn't find my box of Carnival doodads, but I did put Jenna's glasses I won in her giveaway on the coffee table tray.

I don't know who this photo belongs to, but I am thinking about doing something like this to the mantel.

So, I hope you are all keeping warm tonight.  Thanks to everyone who responded to the invitation to keep reading this blog. That would be about 2/3 of you -- and I only invited about 2/3 of the 99 so far.  I don't know why the others didn't respond, but that's the way the cookie crumbles.

The other blog is doing pretty well so far.  You will find me posting color and talking about color over there, but I won't be talking about anything having to do with my life that I wouldn't tell a total stranger.  I have had some issues with lurkers who were not the friendliest people, and frankly, they were starting to give me the creeps.

Thank you for reading, and I will continue to just be me on here.


P.S.  Some say they are getting updates on their blog roll, others do not.  Maybe you could bookmark me or something?


       

TO BRIGHTEN THIS DREARY DAY

Broccoli/Sweet Pepper salad tossed with Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette


The same colors in the salad are found in this china.


We have been threatened with all sorts of dire weather here in the Heart of Dixie, but I have my doubts.  However, it is very grey, so the slush drizzling down right now might turn into a few flakes. You never know...


Linking up to Share Your Style over at The Essence of Home.

20 February 2015

MOOD INDIGO, Take 2

Painting your interior doors has become a hot trend.  For years, even I, the Queen of Color, thought all interior doors really ought to be painted white, right along with all the woodwork and let's don't forget those white ceilings.  

Perhaps this stems from my childhood exposure to ordinary doors either painted or stained a very, very dark brown.  I still hate that with a purple passion.




Then I started seeing doors painted black, and I thought to myself: that could be pretty snazzy, especially in a black and white interior or in a design scheme where that punch of black was just the dash of pepper the whole thing needed. I wouldn't want to see it everywhere.  I mean -- think of a little nursery done up in sweet pastels or the little children's spaces -- why on earth would you paint those black unless maybe they were done with chalkboard paint?  Even that stuff comes in a bunch of colors now.





I got over that "ceiling white" thing a long, long time ago. That is for spec home builders.  Period.  It is the "fifth wall" so treat it accordingly.  As to  woodwork?  Well, look at pictures of mansions in the Colonial period.  Woodwork was colorful and the walls were white.  Look at past centuries in Europe -- some of those fancy-pants moldings were gilded, gold and/or silver.  Some were further embellished with all sorts of decorative paint techniques, like marbleizing.

Lately I have been studying about and researching the painted door -- the COLORFULLY painted door.  I am seeing them, people, and I am finding them in lots of places.  
Admittedly, not so much here in the Conservative Deep South where I live, but I am seeing plenty out there on this little old thing we call the World Wide Web.  I see them in many foreign publications.  I see them everywhere now that I am looking for them.  

Unless you are planning to put your home on the market, paint your doors whatever color you want to!  Paint each one a different color, or paint them all the same -- your choice.  The point is:  Paint them a color that will make you happy! Life is too short not to enjoy the little things like this that don't cost much, something that you can easily fix, don't you think?

This one is painted Mood Indigo, for this door is in an anteroom painted Linen White which leads into a room which is done up in Linen White and Mood Indigo.  The whole thing flows, and it suggests what is to come, which is always the idea in a well-designed interior.


P.S.  This won't be the last painted door you will see on this blog!  Linking up this masterpiece to Share a Site by The Painted Drawer who is an excellent furniture painter. Also linking up to Miss Mustard Seed for Furniture Feature Friday.  A door is sort of like furniture, right?

Also linking to Susan for Metamorphosis Monday.






17 February 2015

WORLD NUTELLA DAY




Michele Ferrero has died at the age of 89 on Valentine's Day.  One of life's little ironies? He was Italy's richest man, and the world's richest "candy man."  Are you as addicted to this stuff as I am?

Who knew that February 5 is World Nutella Day?  Had I known, I would have been there with bells on every year.  Nutella cookies are beyond fabulous, and I have come up with various goodies made from it, all of them so great for the thighs.  

His obituary can be found here:
http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/feb/17/michele-ferrero

And some links to food blogs with creative uses for Nutella and other articles about Mr. Ferrero follow:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/14/us-ferrero-founder-idUSKBN0LI0T320150214

http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-magazine-monitor-31485440

http://wanderingchopsticks.blogspot.com/2009/02/chicken-enchiladas-with-nutella-mole.html

http://www.bellalimento.com/2011/02/05/sweet-spicy-bacon-coated-with-nutella/

                                 (I have to try this one!  Bacon and Nutella:  how bad could it be?)

http://frim-fram-sauce.blogspot.co.uk/2010/05/nutella-mascarpone-grilled-cheese.html

http://cookalmostanything.blogspot.com/2007/02/world-nutella-day.html

http://www.adventures-in-food.com/2011/02/nutella-risotto.html

http://suitcase-contents.blogspot.co.uk/2009/02/banana-nutella-tempura.html









15 February 2015

PAM'S MOLTEN CHOCOLATE CAKE






You can call this a flourless chocolate cake or you might say it is sort of a soufflé with a gooey center, but I just call it fabulous!  It was a huge hit at our stay at-home-Valentine dinner, that's for sure.



We prefer staying home on Valentine's because the restaurants are so busy, most of the time the food and service are pretty dicey.  Couple that with the consumption of wine and/or champagne, and getting home presents a conundrum.  So, do you get a hotel room, hire a car service?  If you are going to consume any alcohol, those are probably good ideas.  We just stay home and enjoy our dinner with wine in our PJs and don't worry about it.  



For dinner, we had wonderful lamb chops I marinated several hours using Julia Child's mix of olive oil, Dijon mustard, lots of fresh minced garlic, sea salt and cracked pepper. Then Sweet Husband cooked them to perfection on his charcoal grill.  Accompanying them were horseradish whipped potatoes and sautéed spinach with garlic and fresh shaved Parmesan. (Sorry no photos -- we were too busy eating!)

We opened a bottle of Meiomi Pinot Noir, one of our faves, to go with our meal, electing to save our champagne for another time.  It is predicted to be very cold here in the Heart of Dixie over the next few days, so that bubbly will no doubt be really good with some of the leftovers, of which we had plenty.


Just about ready to come out of the oven!

The pièce de résistance was this fabulous dessert I found on Pam's blog, Simple Details.  You can find her recipe here.  Before I discovered this a few days ago, I had planned to do one I had seen in Southern Lady magazine.  However, I will have to try that one another time!



This dessert requires only a moderate level of cooking skill, very easy, but it is very impressive.  You would probably find it priced at $15 on the menu of a fancy restaurant!  The best part, though, is that you can make it ahead, and bake off only what you need.  Just pop the ones you want in the oven about the time you are sitting down to your main course. In a little under half an hour, they will be perfect.  Or you can time it to suit yourself, maybe popping them in after to enjoy later.  We are definitely looking forward to having another.


Note:  the only modification I made to the recipe was to add a good pinch of sea salt.  I find breads and desserts with no salt at all to be slightly "flat."


I hope you all had a pleasant (or downright wonderful) Valentine's Day.  Now we have President's Day and Mardi Gras, too, just this week alone, so even if you are snowed in, socked in, or just plain don't like going out in the cold, plan a little celebration.  It certainly makes life more pleasant when you take the time to make it special, yes?


P.S.  Readers are telling me that the blog is not showing up in email any more, but that it is updating on the blog rolls.  I suppose this is just another one of Blogger's little vagaries!    



14 February 2015

FEED BURNER DOES NOT WORK WITH PRIVATE BLOGS

A few of you have let me know that my blog is no longer showing up in your email since I made it private.  I am so sorry -- I didn't know that was going to happen.  I checked into the Feedburner help page, and they said that site feeds will not deliver private blogs.  

I know some of you use Mad Mimi feed service and like it better.    I will look into that one and see if it will work.  Also, if you are reading this, you probably have taken the trouble to come to this site which I truly appreciate.  I have held off publishing much here till I get the bugs worked out.  Quite a few people who were very insistent about continuing to read it have not replied to the invitation, so they won't be reading this either. 

Perhaps you could add this blog to your Favorites list or however you save the sites you want to read.  I never meant to cause anyone a hassle, only to reel it in and control who is reading to protect myself.

If anyone has me listed on your blog roll, can you let me know if it is showing up there?



12 February 2015

A LITTLE GREEN



Putting pretty color in a small space can often be just the cure for a bad case of the blahs.  This little transition space is a very small pass-through hall between a living room, powder room and the master suite.  Given that this little area is mostly doors, the only place to make an impact is this one small wall which is  visible from the living room.  It just got a new paint job, and the lettuce green color is custom-mixed.




There is no reason a little space like this should not be treated like any other entry even though it is tiny, so it is accented with a shelf (newly painted black), two blue and white candlestick lamps and an apple green wire basket of pretty fuchsia (silk) peonies set in front of a mirror.  Three Spode plates from The Blue Room Collection top off the grouping.  Under the shelf, a art print is leaned against the wall, hiding the lamp wires and the plug.





The small amount of wall space on the opposing walls is almost totally filled with more prints in gold frames, mostly French Impressionist.  In Europe, you often see whole walls and even whole rooms covered in prints. This approach can show off a collection or hide a multitude of sins.  In this space, it turns a "nothing" into a "something."




Seeing your furnishings against a brand new color is an excellent shot in the arm.  Never underestimate the power of color!


Ellen
The view from the living room
Linking up to Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday
and also to Nita at Mod Vintage Life for Mod Mix Monday
and also to Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Inspire Me 
and last but not least, the group at the new party, Share Your Style.

PLODDING THROUGH FEBRUARY



With every year that passes, I think I get more impatient for Winter to be over, so we can get on with Spring.  I usually make a lemon pie sometime around the beginning of Spring, and a Lemon Meringue pie was always my go-to dessert for Easter dinner.  Now that I have become more lax about structured traditions, I don't wait for the calendar to tell me when I can have something I want.  



A few days ago, I made a lemon meringue pie from scratch.  I had forgotten how much work it is!  We managed to make it last for three days.  I am already wishing for more!  I suppose I will try to restrain myself for a little while longer.




09 February 2015

TWO GREAT PIECES

Every morning, while I am trying to come alive with two cups of very strong coffee, I peruse a lot of design sites which also want to sell you things.  

Today, two great pieces jumped right out at me.  Have a look:

First, this incredible combination fireplace/storage console/media cabinet!  Is this not the coolest idea ever?




And how about this gorgeous plushy velvet Chesterfield sofa?  That color is a total yum.





If you had only these two things in your Living Room, you could be on the brink of something fabulous, don't you think?





04 February 2015

BOHO KITCHEN LOUNGE


Isn't this little Boho Kitchen Lounge for an Empty Nest Couple inviting?  





A ceiling medallion from Home Depot got a paint job

The new boho light fixture coming out of the box (from Dot & Bo).



It now hangs over this little table in the lounge.

Together at last!
It was meant to be.
Awww......



Ready for it's close-up




Linking up to Kim for Wow Us Wednesday

Also sharing at the Best of the Nest Party over at Simple Details.

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