Tuesday, June 25, 2013

National PINK Day in the Gazebo

 Pink in the Gazebo 005

Did you know that June 23rd was National PINK Day?
In honor of the occasion...plus the fact that I was given this gorgeous PINK centerpiece to take home from a bridal shower, I had my sewing friends come over for a bit of lunch in the gazebo, before stitching. 

Pink in the Gazebo 004 
 Only 3 gals were available on such short notice...many are away for the summer.  No matter, we enjoyed each others company & I had a chance to show them my latest quilt that I picked up from the long arm quilter.
(I'll post photos of that later in the week)

Pink in the Gazebo 006

I used the PINK polka-dot placemats that I found at Dollar Tree three years ago for Ms. C's 6th birthday.  You can access that event on my sidebar, if you like.
The plates are American Antelier, Bianca, the flatware is American Harmony by Oneida & the white linen hemstitched napkins are as old as the hills!

I must make mention of the fact that I am TRYING to remember not to put the napkin under the fork.  Old habits die hard & I've been told that it is incorrect to place them there.

Also, I'm trying to remember that the fold goes TOWARDS the plate & the open ends are on the left side of the napkin.  

Pink in the Gazebo 007

 To carry out the PINK polka-dot theme, I threaded PINK polka-dot ribbon through both the Ralph Lauren cakeplate & the artificial sweetener holder as well.
  Pink in the Gazebo 009

 I loved how the reticulated edge on this milkglass candy dish echoed the placemats.  PINK & white M&M's, make more dots, of course.

Pink in the Gazebo 008 

 I always get a kick out of seeing the spiral of the gazebo house ceiling reflected in the silverware! 
It surprises me every time.

Pink in the Gazebo 010

I used this trio of little PINK planters to serve
 three choices of salad dressing.
I had fresh grapes & cheese under the PINK  
painted cheese dome. 

Pink in the Gazebo 003

I have a little hint for you to use, if you want to be able to reuse your ribbons for another project.  I bought this beautiful PINK grosgrain ribbon with plans to use it as trim on an outfit for Ms. C. 
Rather than cut it after weaving it through the holes, I just coiled it up into a little package & taped it to the bottom of the cakeplate.  It will iron out beautifully & I still have the full length for sewing onto something.
 Pink in the Gazebo 013

Pink in the Gazebo 015

Pink in the Gazebo 016

I have some photos from the bridal shower to share next week. 
I was thrilled when my daughter-in-love handed me one of the centerpieces!  So thoughtful & it was nice that other people got to enjoy them at my house a few days later.  I kept them in the refrigerator the entire time prior to lunch. 

Pink in the Gazebo 017

Pink in the Gazebo 019

 No wine for this group...we'd never be able to sew straight!
Instead, I served fruit punch in these ancient wine glasses that have a matching carafe.  I've had them F-O-R-E-V-E-R...they may be Princess House, with the etched grape design...again, mimicking the dots on the placemats.
  Pink in the Gazebo 020

 If you look off to the right in the photo below, you can see the lake & the fountain that we see on a daily basis from the kitchen sunroom, great room & even our master bedroom.  The view was a BIG factor in buying this house.  I always feel like I'm up in a tree house while in the gazebo!
 Pink in the Gazebo 021

For those who didn't want cake for dessert, I had fresh strawberries in low-fat strawberry/banana yogurt that I sweetened with honey & topped with Kashi Go Lean Crisp *Cinnamon Crumble*.  That little touch of crunch plus some extra sugar on top of a BIG strawberry makes fresh fruit just a little bit special & not very high in calories, either.

If you use sugar substitute instead of honey, it is REALLY  a low calorie treat...close to only 3 points on WW, depending on the amounts of fruit & yogurt you use PLUS it has PROTEIN in it!

Pink in the Gazebo 022

Pink in the Gazebo 025
One more peek at those pretty flowers before you go.

Pink in the Gazebo 016

Thanks for stopping by The Gazebo House today.  
I hope you were 'tickled pink' by what you saw & will come back again soon.
I'm joining Cuisine Kathleen for Let's Dish on Wednesday.
Yvonne at StoneGable for Tutorials, Tips & Tidbits on Thursday as well as Susans Tablescape Thursday.
Michael Lee at Rattlebridge Farm for Foodie Friday &
The Tablescaper for Seasonal Sundays.
I hope you visit them, too, for lots of wonderful inspiration!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Fathers Day Food: Hash Brown Potato Casserole & Fruit Salsa Dessert

 I've been making this popular Hash Brown Potato Casserole for years!
 For this Fathers Day, I doubled the recipe as there were 24 people gathered together to honor ALL the Dads in the family.

Fathers Day 2013 002

 The ingredients are few & the preparation is very simple, even for a crowd that size.

I buy the BIG bag of hash browns from Sams Club as well as their large size shredded blend of cheese. (only used 1/4th of the cheese)

Fathers Day 2013 003

 You also need an onion, real butter, sour cream & either cream of chicken or cream of onion soup. 

I used the cream of onion this time, because of the vegetarians in the family.
Oh & don't forget the crushed cornflakes for the crunchy topping! 

Fathers Day 2013 007

Some of the melted butter goes into the mixture & some gets drizzled over top of the crushed cornflake topping.  I like to use one of my Pyrex measuring cups in the microwave, as they don't get hot.

Fathers Day 2013 004

You can find the complete recipe HERE.
I doubled everything to make the large quantity for this crowd.

Fathers Day 2013 005

This HUGE bowl was a gift from my daughter & she found it at a restaurant supply house.  It is great for mixing things like meatloaf or Rice Krispie treats...anything that you need a lot of room to toss ingredients.

Fathers Day 2013 012

 We had a wide assortment of delicious foods...BBQ ribs & chicken, smoked pork, baked beans, healthy salads ... everyone contributes something to the meal.
The Longaberger baskets (made in Ohio) are for holding cutlery & napkins. 

Fathers Day 2013 014

The salad bowl, with matching salad tongs are Armetale by Wilton,(made in Lancaster, Pa...Hi Yvonne!) which does a great job of keeping things cold, especially if you chill it before use. 

Fathers Day 2013 015
The potatoes were a big hit...this huge pan (non-stick by Oneida) was empty by the end of the night!  I highly recommend using a non-stick pan for this dish.

Fathers Day 2013 016

It turned out to be a lovely day after some morning rains washed away the pollen.

Fathers Day 2013 017

 After dinner, everyone gathered around to watch the U.S. Open & later we enjoyed some yummy desserts!  

I made a fruit salsa that I saw on Pinterest from allrecipes.com   
It consisted of a variety of fresh fruits, cut up into rather small, bite-sized pieces then tossed with brown sugar substitute, Splenda & low sugar Strawberry Preserves.  I added the fragile raspberries at the very last minute, so that they didn't get crushed.  Everyone seemed to enjoy it.

 Fathers Day 2013 010

The insulated bowl I used is made by Aladdin...you know, the thermos people & has a lining of material that holds a chill well.  You put it in the freezer or refrigerator for a few hours, prior to use & it will keep your food cold for hours.

I'm glad you stopped by The Gazebo House today!

I'm linking up with Yvonne at StoneGable for her On The Menu Monday as well as Cuisine Kathleen for Lets Dish &  Michael Lee over at Rattlebridge Farm for Foodie Friday along with The Tablescaper for Seasonal Sundays.  Lots of wonderful recipes to be found at both blogs, so stop by for a visit.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Birthday Tea Party for Ms. C


tea party birthday 022
Today, we had a little tea party at our home to celebrate Ms. C's 9th Birthday.  There is a trip to Cedar Point & an all girl sleepover planned for her actual special day, but we wanted to show her how special she is by hosting a gathering here, too.
tea party birthday 012

 Every place setting was slightly different, with varying plate combinations.
HOT PINK was the main, continuous color theme throughout, with punches of teal & purple & pale yellow.
 tea party birthday 013

tea party birthday 033

 I gathered the last of the pink peonies, the first of my hydrangeas, some mint & yellow ground cover as well as a few Egyptian iris for the table vases.

tea party birthday 024

We had yellow cupcakes for those who might not like chocolate cake & I used them in my cupcake tower as part of the centerpiece for the main table.

tea party birthday 015

 I found the adorable "Happy Birthday" stemware at Dollar Tree.  I'm going back there tomorrow to get even more, as they were a big hit with everyone, whether they had milk, soda or just plain water in them.

tea party birthday 017

I served little cucumber tea sandwiches, cut in the shape of teapots, as well as egg salad on buns & ham & cheese ones for the guys.

tea party birthday 019

We had fresh fruit on the side, too.  I totally spaced on taking photos of any of the food. 
 tea party birthday 018
tea party birthday 020

 I used this cute little flashlight with a little BLING to anchor some helium balloons.  There were more Mylar balloons outside, announcing the party, but I forgot to capture any photos of them.  It got a little crazy once the family arrived!
  tea party birthday 025

 tea party birthday 016

 tea party birthday 026
Tradition has it that these little "pillow mints" be at every celebration in our family.
It makes all of us remember my Mom, who never forgot to put them out.  She passed away before any of my grandchildren were born, but I know she would have LOVED them all.
tea party birthday 027

 I must have spent 2 full hours polishing the silver tea service!
Whew...what a job...my hands ached afterwards. 
I need to look into having it treated to prevent tarnish.

I keep it covered most of the time & have big pieces of sidewalk chalk scattered all over & inside of it, to dispel moisture.  It works pretty well to limit tarnish, but I forgot to cover it after the last time we used it.
(That is my tip for Yvonne's Tutorials, Tips & Tidbits party) 
 tea party birthday 028

I had them make the top of the cake (chocolate, for Ms. C.) look like it was quilted.

tea party birthday 030 

 Everyone got to pick & choose which teacup they wanted to use.  Ms. C. always goes for the one with the gold trim that my baby sister, Ruth E. gave to me when she moved to Maui.

tea party birthday 032 
 We bought a balance beam as her birthday gift & I wish I could show you the astonished look on her face when she finally got the big box open.  It was Priceless!
tea party birthday 025

tea party birthday 034
It was a lovely party but I'm exhausted!  I'm going straight to bed right after I link up with Cuisine Kathleen's party, Lets Dish tonight.
Tomorrow, I'll join in Susan's Tablescape Thursdays & Yvonne's TTT party.
I'll also join The Tablescaper for her Seasonal Sundays meme on SUNDAY, of course! 

Thanks for stopping by The Gazebo House...it was fun to share my sweetheart's tea party with you!

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Walker Caddy Tutorial

 walker caddie 2 002

 I took some photos as I made my second walker caddie, so that I could explain a few points in the construction, in case someone else wanted to make one.
walker caddie 2 004

 You only need a small amount of fabric for these & either contrasting ribbon or bias seam binding to finish the edges.
  walker caddy tut 002

 I cut a piece approximately 14" wide & the full width of the fabric, which is usually somewhere between 42"- 45".

If you use pre-quilted fabric, it makes construction quicker, as you don't have to do any free motion quilting to hold the top fashion fabric, batting & lining together.

I always keep an eye out for remnants of pre-quilted fabrics, since you don't need very much & it can be quite pricey if you don't have a discount coupon.
You can also make a "mini quilt sandwich" consisting of your favorite outer layer of fabric, batting & a coordinating lining fabric.  You can quilt this any way you like...diagonals, straight lines, free motion...whatever!

Have FUN & get a little practice in at the same time.

walker caddy tut 003
Decide which fabric side you want to show the most, as the front pockets & fold it up on both ends to form the 2 pockets.

Leave approximately 4-6" of open area between them, to fit over the top bar of the walker.  This type of "saddlebag" carrier is more stable than one with loops & buttons or Velcro as it doesn't pull on such connections.

walker caddy tut 004

 You can either hem both of the top edges of the pockets & apply decorative ribbon ties, like I did on the one below or you can use seam binding to cover the raw edges, without hemming.

walker caddy tut 005

 Be sure to heat seal the raw ends of the ribbon with flame so it doesn't unravel.

walker caddy tut 006

 If you're using seam binding, remember to fold in each open end a wee bit & stitch it closed before you apply it to the pocket so that the ends of the ties are finished nicely.
IMPORTANT:  Remember to sew your ribbon or binding onto the top of the pockets BEFORE you stitch up the sides!
(ask me how I know this)  

walker caddy tut 007

 Now fold in & pin your ribbons or seam binding ends onto the middle of the caddy, to keep them safely out of the way when you attache the outside seam binding all around the caddy.

I basted the entire perimeter first, just to make sure my pockets stayed square, but that is up to you.

walker caddy tut 008

 I put ties on the bottom edge of the caddy, to keep it from swinging back & forth while walking.
You don't want anything banging into a recent post-op knee replacement!  Ouch!

 In hindsight, I think it would much nicer if ALL of the ties were attached to the underside of the caddy.  I will do it that way next time & not extend the ribbon or the seam binding beyond the pockets on the front.
 walker caddy tut 009

 This photo, above, shows how I have one lower ribbon on the front, pinned in place, at the bottom.  There is another one on the other side of the caddy, on opposite corners. 
walker caddy tut 010

 Either this type of seam binding or ribbon will work for the ties.  I made them approximately 12" long on each side, so one would have plenty of length to work with.
Remember, this might be an elderly person who is trying to tie the loose ends & their fingers don't work as well as they once did. 

walker caddy with binding 001

 After you've applied seam binding all around the perimeter, just as if you were binding a quilt, you can stitch down the pockets, making them any width you want.

walker caddie 2 003 
 I made a narrow divided section to hold a pen & another wider section to fit a cup or a paper back book into.  Be sure to leave one section for glasses or a cell phone, too...VERY IMPORTANT to advise them to keep a cell phone handy at all times, in case of an emergency!

It took my sister awhile to get used to putting things into the caddy so that she would have them with her when she moved about, instead of setting them on the bedside table, but it sure has come in handy, once she got into the habit of using it!!
Oh & be sure to use a BIG button on one of the pockets...easier for arthritic fingers... & just attach a loop of seam binding to hold it closed.  It is easy to just stitch that onto the inside of the pocket after you've determined where you want your button located.

You can also put an additional hidden pocket on the underneath side, for extra security, such as a wallet or Medicare card.
I applied a strip of Velcro hook & loop tape to the undersides of the caddy, just to help stabilize it a bit more. 
I hope you NEVER have to use one of these, but if you know someone who needs a walker, these really help to keep things handy for them.

Plus, if you do one with a funny embroidered saying, like this:

golfing walker caddie 002

it becomes a "conversation starter" & a source of laughter for everyone & who doesn't need a good laugh?
I'm linking to Susan's Between Naps on The Porch for
Metamorphosis Monday as well as
Yvonne's StoneGable for Tutorials, Tips & Tidbits.
Thanks for stopping by The Gazebo House today.

I hope this tutorial is helpful & please feel free to post a question if something isn't clear to you.  I'm not the best teacher, that's for sure!