Fiesta Dinnerware A Nice Foundation For Place Settings

Fiesta Dinnerware A Nice Foundation For Place Settings

July 27, 2016

Place settings

    These beautiful square-shaped plates caught my attention at Homegoods! Imagining them set against our scarlet red Fiesta Dinnerware, I couldn’t resist!  A few years ago, I decided to buy Fiesta ware.  Of course, I started with the ‘scarlet’ Fiesta 5-piece place settings.  Each time the department store had a sale on Fiesta, I would purchase a couple of sets. 

    Because of the patriotic holidays, the cobalt blue was considered, too.   That was nixed because, with the red and white, I could just add a blue napkin.  What’s better than red, white, and blue? 

 

   With good intentions,  I would head to the store and that scarlet red would scream, “Buy me!”  And I did.  You know my affinity for red… We now have fourteen five-piece place settings!     

 

    Even though we have these red place settings, that doesn’t mean they have to be boring!   Red is actually a good neutral color!   Stacked plates look amazing!  Don’t you love the combination of the floral plates with the medium blue background against the red of the plate and the napkin?  

    Or, how about the red plate with this cute little black and white floral patterned plate?  Just imagine a coordinating plaid or polka dot plate.  I seem to be drawn to red and bold colors that go with red.  What colors speak to you?

 

   By mixing these basic dishes with other more colorful, and, or, patterned plates, you can create an amazing magazine-worthy table setting!   Not everyone has Fiesta dinnerware, but these same ideas can be used with whatever dishes you have!  (Yet, as you can see, you are not limited if you have colorful Fiesta ware either.)

 

   An easy no-fail way for choosing patterns to go with your plates is to make sure that the color of your plate is also found in the pattern you choose., Notice the square plate at the top of the post.  The red color of the Fiesta plate is actually in the pattern of the square plate.

 

   In the second picture, the bold black and white pattern looks amazing in contrast to the red.  Choosing a contrasting color in the same color depth is another winner.  The bold black and white against a pale soft pink or lavender plate might be too much, but a softer black or gray patterned plate would be beautiful.

    Changing the dinner plate to a bright blue chintz, adding the Fiesta scarlet salad plate, a silver charger, and a blue napkin changes the look completely!  (The red rose is from the garden!)

    Add a green lined glass plate and a ‘Fitz and Floyd’ apple plate.  You have an entirely different look!

    This fruit patterned salad plate is from the first set of dishes Dave and I bought!  I still love this set, and it looks pretty with the red plate and gold charger!  The red and gold colors are echoed in the napkin and holder.

    Here’s another completely different look using a green, gold, and black dinner plate and salad plate.  The autumn colors in the napkin coordinate nicely, but by changing out the napkin, a completely different look can be attained.

 

   When I spot a set of napkins marked down, I am often tempted.  If they are the right colors and the right price, I can’t say no.  Lots of the cloth napkins we have were homemade.  The fabric designs are endless and it is so easy to sew up a set of one-of-a-kind napkins in no time!  

 

   Isn’t it amazing how many different looks you can achieve by just adding another plate or napkin?   Even if you don’t have Fiesta Dinnerware, maybe you will look at your own dinnerware in a new light and find some of your own beautiful options!

 

  

 

 

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Hostas To Consider For Your Garden

Hostas To Consider For Your Garden

July 25, 2016

Hostas

    Don’t you love hostas?  There are so many varieties from small to large.  In this post, there are some Simple Hostas To Consider For Your Garden. 

 

   Hostas tolerate both sun and shade, but the colors of the leaves show best if they’re planted in shade.  Here in northern Kentucky in the full sun, the sun scorches the leaves in the heat of the summer.  My experience has been that the hostas do better in shade.  When you have a newly built home, shade is not always possible.

    There are three different varieties around the pond next to the patio, which you can see in the picture above from a year or so ago.  (You can also see the fish tower in the lower pond.  Click here► for the directions to make your own!  Yes, they actually swim up into the tower!)

 

   On one of our trips to visit Dave’s family in northern Wisconsin, we stopped at an antique shop close to Ladysmith.  The family had a couple of old buildings filled with all kinds of interesting things, but the path between the buildings and the house led to a backyard filled with monstrous hostas.  They circled around the trees and I can remember thinking what a beautiful picture they made.

 

   Until that day, I had not recognized the beauty of the humble hosta.  Since that day, I have had it in my mind to create a similar look!  Yes, they sure do have a beauty all their own.  While the lily-like blossoms are pretty, they are not the reason for planting hostas.  The beauty is definitely in the gorgeous leaves!

    After almost twenty years, we finally have some pretty good shade from the Red Maple and the Crabtree. Under the trees, I have tried to create a large ‘S’- shaped swirl of hostas.  Some of the plants under the trees have been rescued from other flower beds where the sun took a toll on the leaves.  It’s a work in progress.

 

   In retrospect, I wish I had planted the largest plants in the middle, planting a smaller variety on each side, then a smaller variety on each side of those, and continue that to the very smallest.  That would have created a swirl progressing from small to large and then back to small on the other end.  Why didn’t I think of that before?  

 

   One day, I might get industrious and actually transplant those hostas to do just that, but not today!  

    The Hosta ‘Albo-picta’ is a large sized plant growing 18-24″ tall and 24-36″ wide.  In the spring this hosta’s leaves are a bright cream color in the center and then in the summer, the cream turns a green color similar to the darker green of the edges.

 

    The Hosta ‘Aurea’ is a large sized hosta growing 18-24 inches tall and 12-24″ wide.  It grows best in part shade.  The pale lavender flowers bloom in late summer.  The bright glossy yellow variegated lance-shaped leaves of spring turn to chartreuse by mid-summer.  This little fellow was suffering in the sun where he was planted and he has been moved under the trees.  His leaves are looking better and by next year, he should be a larger and a better-looking plant.

   The name of this hosta is a mystery to me.  I have tried to record each plant after planting them in the garden, but somehow this one was missed.  The leaves are more lance-shaped and they have a creamy white margin.

  

   The Hosta ‘Frances Williams’ has large puckered blue-green leaves with a wide yellow margin. The margins become wider as the plant matures.  These plants grow 22″ tall and spread 48″ wide.   In mid-summer, white lily-like flowers are displayed on 30″ scapes.

 

   The Hosta ‘Moerheim‘ grows up to 30″ tall and 36″ wide.  It has beautiful heart-shaped green leaves with a silver-white edge.  Lavender lily-like flowers on spikes bloom in mid-summer

   Hosta ‘Sagae’ grows 28″ tall and 24-36″ wide.  The large frosty green leaves have yellow margins and prominent veins.  Pale lavender flowers bloom in mid-summer.

 

    The Hosta ‘Patriot’ grows in a mound 12″ tall and 30″ wide.  The dark green leaves are edged with bright white margins.  

◄ Lavender bell-shaped blossoms open up in July.  The ‘Patriot’ is one of my favorite hostas because of the bright white margins.

 

   The day after most of these pictures were taken, a deer, or a couple of deer, ambled through the backyard and nibbled most of the leaves from a couple of these plants.  They ate mostly the Sagae variety and nibbled a leaf or two from some of the other varieties.  Fortunately, they haven’t been back!

 

   Hostas are such a beautiful plant to fill in and around your other perennials, but they can make a huge statement on their own, too.  Maybe this post will inspire you to find some Simple Hostas To Consider For Your Garden.

 

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How To Make A Polka Dot Cheesecake

How To Make A Polka Dot Cheesecake

July 23, 2016

    Find out ‘How To Make A Polka Dot Cheesecake You’ll Love!’ This cheesecake was the treat I made for a friend to celebrate her birthday several years ago.  She has an affinity for polka dots and cheesecake.  It seemed like the perfect dessert for that occasion.

 

 

   One of my favorite flavor combinations is almond and chocolate.  This decadent dessert is another example of the two flavors coming together perfectly.  The crust is a combination of crushed Chocolate Teddy Grahams and chopped toasted almonds.  The cheesecake batter is flavored with almond and melted chocolate is added to a portion of the batter for the polka dots.

 

   Adding the melted semisweet chocolate makes the batter denser so it stays together better, keeps its shape, and creates the ‘polka dots’.  Sometimes, I allow the chocolate batter to be seen from the top, but this time chose to submerge the chocolate dots entirely, except for the middle dot.  

 

   After piping the chocolate into the middle, I decided to hide the other dots!  The grandkids were here and I thought they would enjoy the chocolate surprise inside!  The cheesecake looks really interesting with the chocolate dots visible on the top, but how neat to cut into the cake and reveal those chocolate dots?

 

   The denser, rich chocolate portion of the cheesecake is a nice contrast to the creamy almond flavored portion.

   


Polka Dot Cheesecake

 

Crust:
1/3 cup Sugar

6 Tblsp. Butter, melted
1-1/2 cups chocolate Teddy Graham crumbs
1 cup toasted and chopped Almonds

 

Cheesecake:
4  (8-ounce) pkg. Cream Cheese
1-1/4 cups Sugar
1-1/2 Almond extract

1 tsp. vanilla 
4 large eggs
4 (1-ounce) semisweet chocolate squares

 

Combine the 1/3 cup of sugar, melted butter, Teddy Graham crumbs, and the chopped almonds.  Press onto the bottom and about 1″ up the sides of a 9″ springform pan.  

Bake for 10 minutes at 350°.

In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese until creamy.  Add the 1-1/4 cups of sugar and beat well.  One egg at a time, add to the bowl beating after each addition.  Add the almond extract, the vanilla, and mix well.

 

Remove 1-1/2 cups of the batter to a small mixing bowl or measuring cup.  Pour the remainder of the batter into the prepared pan.

 

Stir the melted chocolate into the reserved batter in the small mixing bowl.

 

 Pour the batter into a Ziploc plastic bag.   Snip off one corner of the plastic bag.

 

Insert the snipped corner into the middle of the white batter to a 1/2″ depth and squeeze about a 2″ circle of chocolate.  Remove and squeeze batter evenly into six 1-1/2″ circles around the edge of the pan.

 

Bake at 350° for 60 minutes in a bain-marie.  Open the oven slightly and allow the cheesecake to come to room temperature before refrigerating overnight or until it is completely chilled.

 

   I love cheesecake!  Recipes for some of my other favorite cheesecakes can be found by clicking on the

Recipe Index Tab or click here ►Cheesecakes.   

 

   Supriya Cutty has a post at www.quichentell.com and featured a low-calorie ricotta  ‘Chocolate Marbled Cheesecake’, which she made.   I haven’t made any ricotta based cheesecakes.  Have you?  I have to try this soon.  Will keep you updated.

 

   In the meantime, I am going to enjoy a piece of this ‘not so low calorie, but it is so worth it cheesecake!   Nom!  So if you want to serve an unusual looking and delicious cheesecake, this Polka Dot Cheesecake might just be the winner!  And now you know ‘How To Make A Polka Dot Cheesecake You’ll Love!’

 

   

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Unique And Beautiful DIY Seashell Wreath

Unique And Beautiful DIY Seashell Wreath
 July 20, 2016

Seashell Wreath

    While on vacation this summer, I came across a seashell wreath in a little shop in Florida.  That little wreath was the inspiration for this Unique and Beautiful DIY Seashell Wreath.

 

   You know I love the beach!  Although we live in Northern Kentucky,  there are vases and bowls of seashells spread throughout the house.  There is not an in your face ‘beach’ feel to the house, but these little reminders of the beach are tucked into the decor throughout as constant reminders of our walks on the beach.

 

    To begin with, you will need a wreath form.  (If you purchase from this link, we will receive a small percentage of the sale at no cost to you.  Thanks!)  The form used for this wreath is a circular 12″ styrofoam.   You will also need hot glue, a ribbon for hanging, and plenty of seashells in a variety of sizes.    Since this wreath form is only 12″, none of the larger shells were used.

      One by one, apply hot glue to the back of each of the shells and place on the wreath form.   You can see in the picture below that the first row was applied to the topside and centered.  Since most of the shells are not curved like the wreath, they might stick up a little, on the edges, but that’s okay.  The next layer of shells can tuck up inside of any of those.

    While you can arrange your seashells however you please, there was not a deliberate order to this wreath.  You can see that the first layer of shells was arranged so that some faced in, some out, and some to the side.  It amazes me how seashells fit together so nicely.

   The next layer of shells was just tucked in and around the first layer.  Like a puzzle, a shell was just selected, picked up, and moved from spot to spot until it seemed to fit perfectly.  Then, glue was applied, and it was placed in that perfect spot.

    If little spots of the white styrofoam were visible, small shells were glued in those spots.

    If the wreath is to be placed on a wall, it wouldn’t be necessary to cover the back, but this wreath was intended to hang above the sink in our kitchen window. That meant the back could be seen from outside, so the entire wreath form was covered with the seashells.  (Remember we had new windows put in this spring?  The heat and glare from the sun no longer is an issue!  I have left that kitchen window with no curtain or shade!  I love it!) 

    When the entire wreath was covered with shells, a ribbon from my stash was chosen for hanging.  Originally, a cream or white satin ribbon was intended to be used for the wreath, but the sheer beige ribbon caught my eye!  Aside from being the perfect color to go with the shells, you can see through it!  None of the shells are hidden behind the ribbon.

    The wreath was not hanging straight with just the ribbon, so a hanger was made using floral wire.  The floral wire was wrapped around and secured to the ribbon and could be manipulated so the wreath hung straight.

 

   Do you have an abundance of shells tucked away in a box or bin somewhere?  Maybe this will inspire you to make your own Unique and Beautiful DIY Seashell Wreath!

 

 

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4th of July Firecracker Mini Desserts Your Guests Will Love!

4th of July Firecracker Mini Desserts Your Guests Will Love!

July 4, 2016

    Happy 4th of July!   Check out this 4th of July Firecracker Mini Desserts Your Guests Will Love, too!  Our 4th was pretty wet this year.  It rained most of the day, but as it happened, there was a break in the rain allowing us to shoot off and enjoy some fireworks.  Since the party had to be moved inside, the luminaries I made were used to decorate the food displays.

    These little Jell-O treats were so pretty and tempting!  Lea of ‘Lea’s cooking’featured red, white, and blue Jell-O in small squarish glasses topped with raspberries.

 

   I remembered having seen some of these topped with maraschino cherries in small shot glasses and thought these would be really cute in the 4-inch tall mini shooter glasses. The taller shot glasses resemble the shape of a firecracker better, right?

 Firecracker Mini Desserts

Blue Layer:

 

3 oz. box of berry blue Jell-O

1 cup of boiling water

1 cup of cold water

 

    Mix the berry blue Jell-O in a glass measuring cup filled with one cup of boiling water.  Microwave on high for 30 seconds.  Remove from the microwave and add the cold water.

Pour 1 tablespoon of liquid into each glass and refrigerate until the gelatin is set.  (This did not take long.)

 

*After spilling some of the liquid, I remembered the little stainless steel measuring cup above, which has tablespoon and ounce measures and a great pour spout.  It made it much easier to pour the liquid in the little glasses.

Also, I didn’t want these to tip over in the fridge, so I placed them in this plastic celery keeper and it worked quite well.

White Layer:

3/4 cup Sour Cream

2 Tblsp. Sweetened Condensed Milk

5 oz. Heavy Whipping Cream

1 oz. Milk

1 tsp Vanilla

1 pkg. Knox Gelatin

   Add the 1 oz. of cold milk to the gelatin, stir well, and allow to set for a minute.  Microwave for 30 seconds.  (Be sure the gelatin is in at least a 2 cup glass bowl or measuring cup!  I did not and the gelatin boiled up and over the bowl.)

Measure the sour cream, sweetened condensed milk, the leftover whipping cream, and the vanilla into a bowl.

 

   Then add 1 tablespoon of the whipping cream to the gelatin to cool it.

 

   While beating with a mixer, pour the cooled gelatin slowly into the bowl of creams

and milks.  

 

   Mix well and spoon on top of the blue layer that has jelled.

(Do this quickly.  A teaspoon worked nicely for this!)

Refrigerate until the white layer is set.

Red Layer:

3 oz. box of Cherry Jell-O

3/4 cup of Boiling Water

Stemmed Maraschino Cherries

   Using the speed set method on the box, mix the cherry Jell-O in a glass measuring cup filled with 3/4 cup of boiling water.  Microwave on high for 30 seconds.  Remove from the microwave and add ice to 1/4 cup of cold water to make 1-1/4 cups.

 

   Stir the gelatin allowing it to slightly thicken and remove any unmelted ice.

 

   Pour to about 1/4″ from the top of the glasses and top with a stemmed maraschino cherry.  (I went back to the fridge after a few minutes to straighten any stems before the gelatin was completely set.)

 

   This recipe made 12 of the tall desserts with some leftover, so 8 of the little shot glasses were made, too.  (Wish we had more of the tall glasses!)  To finish off the extra little shot glasses, I did have to make an extra box of cherry Jell-O, and as you can see in the picture, I used a Chinese takeout container lined with paper towels to corral them in the fridge.

    Everyone seemed to enjoy them and there were a few little squeals of delight as the grandkids caught sight of them.

 

      4th of July Firecracker Jello Desserts Your Guests Will Love!  

Happy 4th of July everybody!

 

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