ic Kathe With an E: September 2011

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tuscan Table

I have only been blogging for a little over month now and am enjoying the heck out of it!  Everyone that has stopped by to visit and leave a comment has been so sweet.  I am amazed that people find me at all and like what I post about. I truly believe I have made many friends in just a short time. I am also blown away with the fact that people from all over the world are coming by.

I can't begin to explain how excited I am to see people from Italy have viewed my blog.

Italy is the one place Mr. B and I have always wanted to visit, Tuscany in particular. 

My fantasy has us wondering around the beautiful countryside, meeting a family and being invited back to their home for a true Tuscan meal.

Unless we win lotto,  which would mean actually buying tickets, it will remain just a dream.

Today, to honor my Italian visitors, I decided to put together my interpretation of a Tuscan tablescape. 

I had some scrap burlap so I made use of some of it by making a runner. The candlesticks were a Goodwill deal at a dollar each and the candles I have had forever.  The green goblets were a clearance find at Pier 1.

The place settings started with square orange plates I purchased, on sale, from J C Penney several years ago. I then added a pretty patterned salad plate from Ross.

The flatware also came from Goodwill and were only a nickle a piece! You can't see it, well, because I purposely didn't take a photo of it, but one of the settings is missing a spoon.  I searched and search for it but it was not to be found.  No matter, if I did use them for company, this is where I would sit and no one would be the wiser, right?

For the centerpiece I used an urn I bought a long time ago at Hobby Lobby and filled it with faux ivy and other floral picks from my stash. I used a few bunches of grapes from the Dollar Tree around the centerpiece.
The off white napkins were, yet again, a Goodwill score.  6 for $1.00. The napkin rings are from Michael's and are actually grape Christmas ornaments.

This next photo is an homage to my GardenWeb Christmas and Holiday Holiday forum buddies.  It is lovingly called "The Candy Shot". It usually involves a chair or a ladder to get a full table view and was named after the best at it, Christmas Candy, from the forum.

I hope that my friends from Italy feel welcome at my table.  Someday, I wish upon wish, I would love to visit your country and maybe you will invite me to share a meal at your table.
Vi ringrazio dal profondo del mio cuore per farmi visita!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Simple Wooden Pumpkin Family

I have seen this idea done by far craftier people all over blogland so I am not going to claim that the idea originated with me.  

Mr. B and I had done some fence repair last year and we had some post material left over.  Rather than send it off to the landfill, I decided to try my hand at making some wooden pumpkins with it.

I had Mr. B cut this piece into 3 different sizes for me.  I hope to someday get over it but, power tools scare the heck out of me.  Sure, I can use a sander but a skil saw?!  Ummm...I like all 10 of my fingers thankyouverymuch!

I then took out my craft paints and painted each one a bright orange.  I didn't care if it didn't cover completely as I wanted kind of rustic look. 

I searched around until found a long piece of bamboo out in the shed that I must have used at some point in the garden and cut it  with a hand saw (yes, all by myself!) and painted the pieces green for stems. Lastly, I tied a bunch of raffia around the stems for "hair".

The hardest part, for me, was making the faces.  I am not an artist by any stretch of the imagination! Seriously, I can screw up a stick figure! But, armed with a black sharpie I did my best.  I figured I could paint over any mistakes (and I did, several times).

I think that they came out pretty cute!  I see Mr. B on the left, me in the center and Max, our Jack Russell, on the right. If you have been wondering what we look like, there you go :) The fun part is that I can have them with just the orange showing for Fall and turn them around to have the faces showing for Halloween!

...And The Winner Is...

As close as the competition was, there was a clear winner in my first ever Fall Hutch Challenge.
I will start with the one that received the least votes at 7
Falling For Purple

Next with 9 votes
Pumpkin Love

Which means, with 13 votes, the one that I will be keeping up for the Fall season is
Classic White

Thank you all for taking the time to visit and vote for your favorite.  
I am thinking I may do 
a Christmas Hutch Challenge.  
What do you think?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The First Ever Fall China Hutch Challenge

I am so excited!!  I alluded in previous posts that I wanted your help.
I have a small china cabinet/ hutch in the kitchen eat in area.
I love to change it out for the different seasons. 

Over the weekend I wanted to dress her up (is your furniture male or female?) for Fall but could not make up my mind how I wanted her to look.

Then I remembered I have a gazillion (okay maybe not quite that many)  new friends that could help me!  You are those friends, my bloggy buddies and you get to pick which Fall decor I will use in the china cabinet this year.

I set up 3 vignettes in the hutch and will now post pictures of each of them.  The very top of the hutch will not change unless you give me a very convincing reason why it should be changed. I'm only 5'2"! Getting up and down a step ladder and still having to stretch is a pain (Mr. B is a great enabler but some things I have to do myself), so, unless you tell me otherwise, it stays.  
The rules are so simple:
Let me know in the comments which one you prefer.
The one with the most comments will be the winner and will stay decorated until I change it out after Thanksgiving.
Please let me know if you have any questions about any of the vignettes. 
And gosh, please don't be afraid to let me know if something  in any vignette needs to be changed/ moved around too. 
Think of this as our project that we are working on together.
You are my trusted friends and I am open to any suggestions.

I will post the winning vignette on Sunday, September 25.
Sound like fun? I think so :)

Ready? Let's go. 

Vignette1 - Pumpkin Love:

Vignette 2 - Falling for Purple:

Vignette 3 - Classic White:

So there you have it! 
3 different design choices to choose from.  
I am really looking forward to seeing your votes.  
Vote early and vote often...wait...no...just vote early m'kay? 

Find out which vignette won here
And the Winner Is 

Monday, September 19, 2011

The New Buffet

Ever since we made the formal living room into a formal dining room and purchased the dining table of my dreams I have been on the hunt for a buffet. The buffet that goes with the dining table we purchased at Cost Plus just wasn't what I wanted.  I wanted something bigger.  Something that I could really use to store at least some of my dishes.

To be honest, I had found The.Perfect.Buffet months ago.  I just couldn't wrap my head around the price.  I went back and looked at it numerous times.  I ran my hands lovingly across its smooth real hardwood finish.  This was one solid piece of furniture! I made Mr. B go with me on several occasions, silently hoping he would tell me it wouldn't fit where I wanted it.  I went home and measured over and over.  Dang it!  It would fit.  Mr. B kept telling me to just get it.  The only thing holding thing me back was, well, ME!  It took a lot of self-talking but last weekend I finally hit the wall and said "Kathe, you want it, it will fit and it will look beautiful.  Quit beating yourself up and just go get it!" So...I did.  I went and ordered her to be delivered post haste.

It was delivered yesterday.  Not an hour after the roofers left.  Just as a cold driving rain started.
 Luckily it was covered in plastic so my baby was safe.  

No sooner had the delivery men left did I start loading her up.  I could not believe all that she could hold!  3 full sets of my favorite china, tons of miscellaneous dish sets, all of my napkin rings, 2 coffee services including the coffee pot, sugars and creamers! I just kept bringing stuff to her and she kept happily accepting them!

What I love the most is the rustic planked top.  It goes so well with the plank topped dining table.  It is as though they are sisters of different mothers!

Here is the top of the dining table
Of course I just couldn't leave it bare for long.  Mr. B was kind enough to get my  bins of Fall stuff down from the shelves up in the garage. Then it was a whirlwind of everything faux.  Leaves, pumpkins, acorns you name it and I was trying it all out on the buffet.  

Once I reined myself in, I was able to put together a Fall vignette I am proud of.
(Excuse the dark photos.  You'd never guess it but we were experiencing a day of abundant sunshine and no matter what I did, I could not get nice bright photos!  Blinds open.  Blinds closed.  Lights on.  Lights off.  Cussing softly.  Cussing loudly. It did no good at all!)

I am so happy I listened to Mr. B and,well, to me :)  I see so many happy times dressing her up.  I see her helping me serve holiday meals in high fashion.  I see her listening to me when I need someone to hear all of my hopes and dreams.  Um, okay, maybe not that one :)

I do have a question though.  Do I leave the picture above it or should I go with a mirror?  Round or oblong?  Let me know what you think.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Thrift Shopping Relieves Stress

Now I am not sure if anyone has obtained grant funds to study it in depth but, I know for me, thrift shopping relieves stress. I had just gone through my most stressful week at work plus, we had a new roof put on the house and everything was in a state of disarray.  They were still working on the roof Saturday morning.  They started at the ungodly hour of 7:00am.  Seriously?!  I hadn’t even had my morning coffee!  I am normally a morning person but after about an hour and a half of the banging and what not I looked Mr. B square in the eye and said “I am so outta here!”.  I grabbed my keys and took off without a backward glance.

As luck would have it, both of my favorite thrift haunts, Goodwill and ARC Thrift Stores were having another 50% off most items sales.  Whoohoo! 

I was gone about two and half hours and by the time I got home the roofers were done and finishing cleaning up.  Yippee for me, and them! I managed some pretty good scores too.  I hit one Goodwill and two ARC Thrifts. 

At the first Goodwill I hit I found 4 dinner plates and 4 salad plates.  

They are my first real Johnson Brothers plates.  I did a fast online search and found that my $2.00 investment is a stellar deal!  Yes, .25 per plate!  It looks as though the previous owner used them everyday as there is some wear and knife marks but, to me, that makes them even more special!

I found some other dishes during my travels but I had already put them away before I took pictures.  Yeah I know, rookie blogger mistake.  Not to worry, you will see them used on a tablescape and I will be forgiven...Right?

I also was able to get some great deals on some napkins.  Remember, the price you see is not what I paid.  Everything was 50% off.

My most expensive find was the HUGE tablecloth you see a bit of with the napkins above.  I over estimated the size and when I tried it on the table it was way too big.  I may cut it up and make dishcloths out of it.  At $5.00 I should have checked it more closely. The roosters just suckered me in.

I also found a set of Pfaltzgraff Christmas candlesticks.  At $3.00 for the pair I was pretty happy.

Now I have a question for you.  Do I have a stamp on my forehead that says "Hey ugly stuff, c'mere"?  Just like my last thrifty adventure (read about it here) I gravitated to the most sorrowful piece of "art" in the store.  Once again someone deemed it necessary to use paint sale colors on a poor defenseless animal.  I have seen pheasants used in fall decor all over blogland so I wanted him.  In spite of his state, he was coming home with me.  I could see very easily why he was priced at $2.99. $1.50 was all it took to get him into my cart. 

Can't you just see he is pleading, "Help. Me."?  I'm not sure what color he will be spray painted yet.  I do know it won't be oil rubbed bronze.  I am open to all suggestions so give me yours and together, we will save another fugly castoff from total humiliation.

Two and half hours of pure bliss. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

For The Love Of Blue

I am very lucky.  I have a mother-in-law that is also a dear friend.  She and my dear father-in-law accepted me into the family from day one.  I carry the family name with great honor. She and I share so many of the same likes.  She loves to shop (me too!).  She is very thrifty (oh you know I am).  She desires to set pretty tables (hello!!).  And, we both think Mr. B is just wonderful (and I thank her for raising such a fine man ). The only thing we don’t share is our favorite color.  Mine changes with my mood and the season.  Right now, I am loving the orange of pumpkins, the golds of leaves changing, the rust of mums.  In Spring, I might be more moved by the reds of tulips or the yellow of a daffodil. My mother-in-law never wavers.  He true favorite color is, and always is, blue. 

With her in mind, I set this table to share with her, and with you.  

I started with an off white tablecloth. Forgive me for not taking an iron to it.  It's been a stressful week at work and I claim being tired.  

I then layered a white plate from our every day Gibson set.  The small blue flowered salad plates were a Goodwill find, again on a 50% off day, and were .25 each. On top of that I placed Candlewick sherbet glasses. I also used a Candlewick salt & pepper set that I purchased on EBay.  They have never been used and still have the labels on them!

The napkins were purchased from on online source that for the life of me I can’t remember right now (Edit: I remembered!  Boscov's!).  The napkin rings were another gift from Mr. B. The flatware is the same as I used on my table last week  (see here) as are the crystal water goblets.

The candlesticks were yet another Goodwill 50% off purchase at $1.00 each.  I chose dark, cobalt blue candlesticks to go with the placemats.  The blue stems came from Dollar Tree, if you can believe it!  Mr. B thought they were from a much more expensive store. Was he ever happy to find out I spent only one dollar on each of them LOL.

To keep the centerpiece simple, I used a silver plated bread tray purchased in a lot at a local auction and used a faux loaf of bread found on sale from Hobby Lobby.

I hope my dear mother-in-law sees this table and knows that I set it with her love of the color blue in mind ♥ ♥