Tuesday, October 27, 2009

October Dinner Party

I've invited two couples to join us this weekend

for an autumn dinner party.

I have struggled with getting this tablescape just right all week long.

It is soooo hard for me to NOT do a formal

look in my dining room.

I must have changed these placesettings

at least four times and I'm still not satisfied.

I started with crystal and my china (Lenox-Eternal)

on the glass plate chargers that I painted gold.

I added the sage green brocade placemats beneath for some color.

I need more COLOR in my life!!

I felt it looked too formal so

I took off all the crystal and decided to use the

amber martini glasses...

I intend to make Caramel Apple Martinis!


  • 2 oz. Sour Apple Pucker®
  • 1 oz. Vodka
  • 1 oz. Butterscotch Schnapps
Shake with ice to chill & strain into glass.

You can put a thin line of caramel topping in the glass if you like.

Now I'm thinking

I should put one water/wine glass back at the places.

I didn't like the crow on the papier-mâché pumpkin centerpiece

so I switched to this
shiny porcelain pumpkin.

I like it much better!

I also have little glass tea lights scattered around.

Real flames....yikes! They make me nervous but I'll cope.

I wanted to accent the plum color in the grapes

and when I saw these candlesticks,

I thought they would do the trick.

Look how beautifully they match both bunches of grapes.

After I thought I had it all complete, I remembered

the brown leaf chargers that I'd bought recently at Wal-Mart.
(only $3 apiece)

Sooooo, I switched those for the gold and

they really made for a warmer and more casual feeling.

Now I'm not so sure about using them with the dressier

silk brocade placemats but I liked the colors together.

Sometimes they look like wood and

sometimes they look like leather.

In some light, they almost look plum colored!

Lastly, I took off all the little individual salt and pepper

shakers so I could use the cute little ones shown here....

because I had just realized how great they go

with this little bowl I found in a thrift shop last week.

I have no idea what I'm going to put in it.

Any suggestions?

Its too small for rolls and a bit too big

for mints or after dinner

Maybe grated parmesan cheese.

Does everybody else fuss like this?

Now to work on the menu

which I base on the dishes I'm using

instead of the other way around, like normal people.

I'm leaning towards serving

potato soup in the pumpkin bowls,

followed by a salad with pears & walnuts.

I can use this pretty platter above for serving

individual beef wellingtons.

(all the work is done ahead of guests arrival)

Beef Wellington Singles
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
2 sheets puffed pastry, thawed
1/2 Cup Boursin Garlic & Herb Cheese
1/2 Cup mushrooms, chopped
2 Tablespoon butter
2 Tablespoon olive oil
2-3 shallots, finely chopped
4-6 filet mignon steaks, 2" thick
Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
Parchment paper

Recipe Description:
Traditionally a large roast entrée, Beef Wellington Singles are essentially individual "roasts" that provide the flexibility to serve fewer people. They may be prepared a day in advance.

Recipe Directions:
Heat olive oil in a heavy skillet over high heat. Season steaks with salt and pepper, and sear. Sear steaks for 3 minutes on each side. For rare steaks, sear 1 to 2 minutes; for well done, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove beef from skillet and allow to cool.

In the same skillet, melt butter. Add mushrooms, shallots and thyme, and sauté for 5 minutes or until soft. Remove from heat and cool. Preheat oven to 425F. On a lightly floured surface, prepare pastry.

Roll out each puff pastry into a 13 to 15" square. Cut into 4 equal squares, for a total of 8. Blot steaks dry and place in the center of each square. Spread 2 tbsp. Boursin cheese on each and top with mushroom mixture.

Brush the corners and sides of each square with lightly beaten egg, fold each corner up to the center, tuck in the sides, and press lightly to seal. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

To decorate, use a paring knife to cut out pastry leaves from remaining puff pastry. Brush with egg to help leaves adhere. Cover and chill 1 hour or overnight.

Remove singles from refrigerator and brush again with lightly beaten egg. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes for medium doneness, or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Recipe Author:
Giant Eagle Kitchen

Dessert will be pumpkin roll slices

topped with a small scoop of French vanilla ice cream

and warm caramel sauce to drizzle on top.

I think the table is FINALLY finished.

Unless I decided to pull off those green placemats.

I can never decide if the juxtaposition of rustic & formal

is creative or stupid looking.

I think I need a nap!

Thank you to Susan for hosting

at her blog, Between Naps on the Porch

as well as
Michael for having

at Designs by Gollum.

Please be sure to visit both of these wonderful

blogs to see more of the same tables & treats.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Halloween Birthday Party for Grandson

Pick out your best party outfit!

You're invited to The Haunted Gazebo House

on Twisted Shinbone Lane.

~~pretend you're hearing *Phantom of the Opera* music~~

To wish DGS (#2) Charlie a very

Happy Halloweeeny 8th Birthday!

The ghouls & goblins invite you to a creepy-crawly

dining experience with decadent desserts in the

hallways of The Gazebo House.

The Raven knows the way.... just follow him!


Fried Spiders on DEVILED Eggs

1. Hard boiled eggs
2. Mayo
3. Mustard
4. Salt
5. Pepper
6. Black Olives

(rubber flies on the center eggs)

Goblin's Knobby Fingers
(carrots with almonds for nails)

dipped in French Onion Spider Webs

A ghastly trio of bubblegum characters

await at each child's place-setting.

For starters, we'll be serving

Feathered Fowl Droppings
(Won Ton Soup)

in pumpkin bowls.

Don't mind the skull lurking there...

He can't eat much but

I'm not so sure about the spiders &

the snake!

Won't you try some Creepy Mummy Hot Dogs

Souless Black Pepper Eyes

(wrapped in Pillsbury bread stick dough)

served with bloody globs (ketchup) for dipping.

Little 5 yr. old DGD, Ms. C. says "They look like babies in blankies!"

She wanted to eat her's "nekked" without the "blankie" LOL

We're also having Witches Hair Pasta

with lots of garlic to ward off any uninvited Vampires,

BBQ Rack of Wild Boar

(pork ribs)

Roasted Bovine Muscles

served with Transylvania Juice (A1)

or Transfusion Sauce
(Heinz 57).

We're still very civilized, you know.

Would you like a spot of tea to go along with your meal?

We also have a selection of

Halloween Elixirs for your enjoyment.


This is a tasty & sweet drink....(Coke-with or without rum)

The after effects
the next morning, however, may leave friends

running the other way!


Straight from the cold, clammy Witch herself!
It's a chillingly delicious spirit poured over ice
or darkened with deep, decadent chocolate!


Let your inner vampire out & enjoy a tasty shot of fresh cold blood....

(Blood Type?? Why, V8 of course, plain or in a Bloody Mary)

You won't regret it!


A sweet treat from the mucus glands of Goblins.

Who knew it tasted like oranges? (Sunny D)

You're welcome to sit a SPELL if you like

& just savor the feast.

Be sure to save some room for candy treats from the Witch's basket.

Or perhaps you'd prefer a DEVILS FOOD cupcake

with web icing & spider bodies for a sticky-tasty topping?

There is always a stash of goodies at

The Gazebo House....

Just help yourself!

Rollo Pretzel Treats:

Spread out square pretzels in a single layer on cookie sheet.

Top each with an unwrapped Rollo caramel-chocolate candy.

Bake in 200° oven just until candy begins to soften.

Remove from oven & immediately top with either a nut

or another square pretzel.

Allow to cool.....if you can stand the wait!

Thank you for coming to Charlie's Party.

We had a blast & the only sad part of the whole day

was when little 5 yr. old Ms. C. folded her arms

across her chest, stuck out her lower lip

in a big pout and said

"This was WAY better than MY birthday!"

I promised her I would think of something really

special for her next June!!

"Thank you" also to Susan for hosting

at her blog, Between Naps on the Porch

as well as
Michael for having

at Designs by Gollum.

Please be sure to visit both of these wonderful

blogs to see more of the same tables & treats.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Announcing the Winners of the Pay It Forward Giveaway!

I am very happy to

announce the winners of my

"Pay It Forward" Giveaway.

Congratulations to:

Kim from Charmed I'm Sure

Cass from That Old House

Katherine from Yellow Rose Arbor

I've emailed each of the winners and as soon

as I have full names and addresses,

I will begin the monogramming &

get the linen hand towels mailed off,

along with Paula Deen's newest issue of

Holiday Baking.

Thanks to everyone who commented and

those who also blogged about the giveaway.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

My Sewing Group Comes For Lunch

My sewing group rotates the location of each

bi-monthly meeting

between the members' homes

We enjoy tea with lunch

before we work on our projects.

I sent out the invitations
to start

the winter meetings (none in the summer)

at my home this week

but only 3 of the 6 ladies could attend.

This works out perfectly for me, since now

I can use the 4 pretty salad plates

I won in Marty's

"Pay-It-Forward" giveaway at her blog,

A Stroll Thru Life.

Thank you, Marty!!

You can read about my Pay-It-Forward giveaway
of monogrammed linen hand towels here.

We'll be seated at the big wooden table

in the kitchen's sunroom where

you can see part of the gazebo out the back windows.

Each salad plate has a different fruit featured in the center.

I wandered around my house, looking for things with fruit

or green to use for this tablescape.

The oval quilted placemats are from Home Goods, last year.

The flatware is my everyday Oneida

"Rose Pendant" pattern which sadly, is no longer available.

The white dishes, cups, saucers & napkin rings

are the Gibson pattern from BL.

With our tea, I'm using my mother's vintage

cut glass sugar & creamer

sitting on a cut glass pickle dish

as well as her vintage Scottie dogs

as holders for the artificial sweeteners.

If you'd like to learn more about

American Cut Glass

go here.

I'm told the glass dogs were given away for free

in boxes of Grape Nuts® cereal a loooong time ago.

I don't think they are antiques yet, though.....just

"cherished collectibles" like in the movie Toy Story.

Here are views of the different plates at each setting.

The green chargers are going

to be great for a St. Patrick's Day table next March.

I thought the water glasses with the outdoor French Bistro scenes

picked up the colors of the salad plates nicely.

I borrowed the idea for the black ribbon & key tied onto

apothecary jar from one of the posters

who participated in Marty's Cloche Party.

I used the front flap of one of my invitations

& tied on a key that was a wedding favor.

It is really a heart shaped bottle opener!

I filled the jar with beaded fruit

Christmas ornaments.

The two little ceramic flower pots

will hold Ranch & Italian dressing for our salads.

I didn't want them to wobble on the plate

while being passed around

so I've anchored them with a tiny smidgen of

candle wax. I use this method for security

many times especially in my

all white dining room.

It works great to hold the gravy boat securely

onto its base plate.

You only need a little bit of each wax disc &

I've never had it stain or mar anything.

I use it to keep lamp cords tucked in place

and out of sight.

Its also great to keep those candles straight.

Nothing makes me crazy like tippy candles!!

I'm making Ina Garten's Eggplant Gratin

because we grew so many eggplants & tomatoes in our garden.

The soup for starters is

pictured below with a

bit of blue cheese melting on top.

It is from Lorrie's recipe blog.

I made a test batch last week & it is WONDERFUL!

Thanks for sharing this one, Lorrie.

I know the ladies will enjoy it & its GREEN

to match my tablescape!

Thank you so much for visiting with me today.

I hope you check out all the other participants in

Tablescape Thursday at Susan's lovely blog

Between Naps On The Porch.

Thank you, too, Susan, for hosting this weekly gathering

of people who love dishes & enjoy setting

pretty tables.