Family Pasta Making, Smoked Ham & Asian Dishes

Family Pasta Making, Smoked Ham & Asian Dishes

Homemade pasta making around the kitchen island bar, smoking a ham outside on the porch, and being treated to Asian specialties. These were just several of the fun and tasty food-based activities and meals we enjoyed together, while our sons were home over the holidays.

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Eldest son’s girl was also here for two weeks, and R was determined to show off every aspect of our family’s traditions here in Pittsburgh! On the first day everyone was home, we attended a frigid Steelers game, followed by gourmet pizzas while decorating the live Christmas tree.

Another evening, we visited Phipps Conservatory’s annual Magical Flower & Light Show. Afterwards was barbeque and craft beers at a favorite local brewery. Because of the pandemic — and with three of us coming down with bad colds (omicron?) — that was the only night we ate dinner out.

Instead, everyone helped out making snacks and meals together. Many times, that included sipping on special cocktails, craft brews or wines. We all worked together in the kitchen to prepare both Christmas Eve and Day dinners. Hubby made his mini crab cakes to accompany beef fondue on New Year’s Eve, and then apple cinnamon waffles for brunch the next day. And V prepared not one, but three Asian meals!

But, special dishes and family meal making activities shouldn’t be limited to just the holidays. These days, anytime we can gather with family and friends is an occasion to celebrate, right? Hoping you find inspiration here to eat, drink and make merry all year long!

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Fold a Heart-Shape Napkin for Valentines Day

Fold a Heart-Shape Napkin for Valentines Day

Looking for a quick and easy way to set a Valentines Day table without investing in specialty holiday dishes? Then, learn how to make a draped, heart-shape napkin.

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It’s one of 20 different Napkin Folds for All Seasons, Holidays & Occasions that I’ve included in numerous tablescapes over the past few years. I’m a big proponent of using napkin folds to enhance a setting and raise the bar in terms of table styling. Not only that, but if you already have the fabric napkins, there is no additional cost.

Another major benefit is that fabric napkins are reusable and easy to store — taking up little space. And, they aren’t breakable like dishes and glassware. That’s a big part of the appeal for me. As a life-long dish addict, I have an extensive tableware collection, and am maxed out on storage space. Incorporating unique folds (or by changing the napkin color and pattern) allows me to continually update the styling of table settings.

Since sharing the Romance & Red Roses Reign on Sweetheart Table, I’ve had numerous requests on how I folded the soft draped heart. Let me show you how to do the moderate difficulty heart-shape napkin in five illustrated steps.

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Puttin’ on the Ritz for Romantic Table

Puttin’ on the Ritz for Romantic Table

As part of this year’s Valentines Tablescape Blog Hop, I’ve pulled out my West Elm Dapper Animal plates to set a romantic table.

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Depicted on the whimsical plates are either a gentleman owl sporting a monocle and top hat, or lady penguin wearing a dazzling diamond necklace. It’s perfect Puttin’ on the Ritz attire for an evening out on the town to celebrate Valentines Day.

Originally, I purchased six plates for a New Year’s Eve dinner party. To ring in 2022 with our sons and eldest’s girl, I used them to serve five a meal of surf (crab cakes) and turf (filet mignon fondue), while sipping champagne.

It was the first time we’ve all been together for New Year’s Eve in a very long time. As a result, the ‘kids’ had never seen the plates before. That’s when it dawned on me that I was only getting use of the awesome dishes once a year! Right then and there, I decided to build a romantic table setting around them for Valentines Day.

Please pull up a virtual seat at my Puttin’ on the Ritz little soiree — formal attire is not required!

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Scottie Dog Christmas Ornament Tree

Scottie Dog Christmas Ornament Tree

Taking a few minutes to share the Scottie dog Christmas ornament tree that’s set up in a corner of one of the guest bedrooms.

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It was the last of my holiday decorating; completed just in time for our sons arrival home this past weekend.

Do you have pet themed ornaments decorating your Christmas tree?

After losing our first Sweet Scottie Dog Fibber McGee, two Decembers ago, my dog theme holiday decorations have been mostly packed away.

Last season, I was in a boot and using a scooter because of foot surgery. So that really limited the amount of Christmas decorating I could do. However, thanks to Mr. Buzz, our home was festively decorated with the more “essential” indoor and outdoor elements. Although the live tree was decorated in the family room, the other three artificial theme trees stayed in storage.

Now, with a new puppy celebrating his first birthday and enlivening our home this season, it was a real joy decorating the small tree again with Scottie dog Christmas ornaments.

Think of it as this year’s holiday card from me to you!

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Add Christmas Cookie Cutter Cheer to Kitchen

Add Christmas Cookie Cutter Cheer to Kitchen

Dashing to send off a post today as I continue to deck the halls, craft, bake and prepare to celebrate the holidays. Happily, the shopping, wrapping and cards are finished. How about you?

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When I first began collecting large Christmas cookie cutters, the plan was to decorate whimsical cookies — wrapped in cellophane bags — as table favors. Instead, for several consecutive years, I gave duplicates as Christmas gifts to family and friends. I imagined they (or one day I) would bake giant cutouts for a cookie decorating activity with kids or grandkids.

Fast forward, and I’ve finally gotten to a decorating idea that’s been in my noggin for several years — hanging the oversized holiday cookie cutters on my upper kitchen cabinets.

Not that it was a difficult project to do. But, it did mean finding extra time to get organized and put them together. Last year, I was wearing a giant boot and getting around on crutches, so there was no climbing on a stepstool to hang them!

Let me show you my Christmas cookie cutter collection, and how festive they look decorating the kitchen.

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Bringing Home the Christmas Tree Holiday Table

Bringing Home the Christmas Tree Holiday Table

Setting a holiday table for family and friends is one of my favorite things, especially when it’s part of the annual Christmas Tablescape Hop!

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Even last year — while recovering from foot surgery and using a knee scooter — I styled the Enchanting Winter Woodland Tablescape for Christmas.

Today, I’m joining 20 talented bloggers to share festive table settings and centerpieces. Our large group is organized by hostess extraordinaire, Rita of Panoply.

My holiday table, centerpiece and decorated chandelier were all inspired by a visit to Dollar Tree. While there to pickup fall crafting supplies, I realized the store was already stocked with Christmas items. One woman had filled an entire shopping cart, and was well on her way to stuffing a second, lol!

That’s when I noticed all the items depicting a vintage red pickup truck touting a Christmas tree. For under $11, I’ve styled a nostalgic holiday table theme with my existing seasonal tableware and decorations.

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Chanticleer Garden: Farewell to Fall Season

Chanticleer Garden: Farewell to Fall Season

Within 30 minutes of Philadelphia, Chanticleer Garden is one of the great oasis’s in the region. Once the Rosengarten estate, today its a colorful and contemporary garden within an historic setting.

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We visited there in late October and I was amazed by the abundance of flowers blooming so late in the fall season. Especially since Chanticleer Garden closed just a week later — until next spring.

My sister-in-law, had arranged the outing for six of us, which included two of my husband’s brothers and their wives. She and her husband had discovered Chanticleer Garden earlier this year with friends and were anxious to share it with us.

We stayed in the city at our son D’s place. After first dropping off our Scottie dog, Whiskey, Mr. Buzz and I headed to NYC .There was lots of packing (and unpacking) to help his older brother with a big move from the Upper East Side to Hoboken, NJ. See his old penthouse and the housewarming gift I made for the new condo in, Modern Style, Fall Floral & Twig Wreath.

After returning to Philadelphia, hubby and I house-sat, while our younger son went into his office. Because a contractor was making repairs from water damage on the main floor of the row house, we (and both energetic dogs) had to spend the better part of three days upstairs on the third floor. It was a physically and mentally exhausting week!

Finally spending a weekend relaxing and visiting with family was a welcome change of pace. Come with me on a stroll through Chanticleer Garden for a little Zen and farewell to fall. Think of it as my way of wishing you a most Happy Thanksgiving!

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Craft Marbleized Pumpkins Using Nail Polish

Craft Marbleized Pumpkins Using Nail Polish

Just a quick post today to share my latest marbleized pumpkin project before I pack them up for our holiday trip across the state.

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This second group of decorated pumpkins were made as a gift for our youngest son, who is hosting Thanksgiving at his 101 year-old, Philadelphia row house. D had planned to have everybody last year, but the pandemic upended our plans.

Originally, I envisioned arranging the marbleized pumpkins as part of the Thanksgiving centerpiece on this year’s table. They were meant to compliment another gift — a blue table runner appliqued with pumpkins and gourds in shades and patterns of gray.

I gave them a trial run in my dining room for the Liberty Blue Thanksgiving Table & Turkey Napkins. But, the blues and styles of the marbleized pumpkins didn’t “play nice” together with the runner and vintage dishes. So I pulled the pumpkins from the centerpiece and went another direction for the tablescape blog hop.

However, I still think several small groupings of the seven pie and faux marbleized pumpkins will look festive with our son’s midcentury modern furnishings. Blue and metallic silver and gray colors, should go nicely with his home’s decorator accents in dark navy and deep golden yellow shades.

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Liberty Blue Thanksgiving Table & Turkey Napkins

Liberty Blue Thanksgiving Table & Turkey Napkins

For the month of November, I’ve styled a brown and blue Thanksgiving table using vintage Liberty Blue dishes in the formal dining room.

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It’s one of a bounty of 22 settings in this year’s Thanksgiving Tablescape Blog Hop. The annual event is hosted this year by my blogger friend and fellow plate addict, Rita of Panoply.

Actually, it looks like she positioned me at the top of the hop, so if you’re starting from Rebecca’s tablescape (oh those fabulous vintage Italian plates!) at the end of the list, welcome!

My table also pays a nod to the past with vintage Liberty Blue dishes. Depicting scenes from Colonial America, it’s not pilgrims but patriots that are displayed on the various plates and serving pieces.

Previously, I used the dishes for other patriotic holidays, like Give Me Liberty Blue Tablescape Celebrates July 4th, and Set a Presidents Day Table with Liberty Blue.

Inspired by a new table runner, it’s the first time I’ve used the Liberty Blue dishes to style a blue Thanksgiving table.

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