Tuesday, August 31, 2010


The breezes taste

Of apple peel.

The air is full

Of smells to feel-

Ripe fruit, old footballs,

Burning brush,

New books, erasers,

Chalk, and such.

The bee, his hive,

Well-honeyed hum,

And Mother cuts


Like plates washed clean

With suds, the days

Are polished with

A morning haze.

John Updike, September

I am linking today with Susan @ A Southern Daydreamer for Outdoor Wednesday

Saturday Drive-The Great River Road

     The table top that I'm sharing with you today, sadly isn't mine. Isn't it a feast for the eyes?  A blogger's dream? You are looking at what you first see when you open the door to State Street Market in Alton, IL. Do you see those place card holders? Tiny pots with bird nests and they are packaged in cardboard egg cartons...too cute! I walked in the door and I know that owner Kary Lockwood heard my *sigh* as I looked around. When I told her that my blogging friends would love her shop, she gave me permission to take pictures...you all would like her!

     This gives you a better idea of just how many pretty things there are in Kary's shop. The feeling is very "French inspired" with table tops of bottles, jars and various home goods and gifts. She also carries artisan breads, organic free-trade coffee, domestic and imported wines, craft beers and gourmet foods. As bj @ sweet nothings would say..."oh honey"!

     I just love it when the owner of a shop is willing to actually talk to me. I felt very welcomed as I came in the door.

     We came home from Kary's shop with the most delicicous soft Companion Bavarian Pretzels. They are made in St. Louis and Kary has them fresh on weekends. Yum.

     Alton, IL is a river city of very old buildings and homes, steep streets and interesting architecture.

     This is the ceiling of an empty room in a building that houses various shops. I had to stick the camera through a gate and point up. I'm not sure if you can tell how pink the trim is and how ornate the ceiling is. If only walls could talk. Alton has several antique shops, from the dirty and junky to the elegant and beautiful.

     We also enjoyed a fun, crazy lunch at Fast Eddie's Bon Air. We saw Fast Eddie's on the Food Network. It is a huge bar with delicious, cheap food and a huge crowd. You walk in and place your order (shrimp-29 cents each, half pound burgers-99 cents, steak on a stick-2.99, homemade brats-99 cents, basket of fries-99 cents)...it was a very busy place and well worth the stop.

     We left Alton and drove on down the river road past the Piasa Bird on the cliff. You can read about the legend of the Piasa Bird here.

     We drove through the village of Elsah. It is a darling village of quaint homes, skinny streets and also the home of Principia College, a small Christian Science College.

How cute is this little house?

     We ended our drive at Pere Marquette State Park in Grafton, IL.
The lodge is rustic and beautiful, the grounds are obviously pretty
now...and simply breathtaking in the fall.

     We did stop at an estate sale in Elsah. It was a couple who were selling a lifetime of things for a move to California. They had beautiful antique furniture, vintage baby clothes, tons of Lenox China, crystal and sterling silver pieces. I was drolling over so many things...but, I restrained myself.

I bought 6 heavy silver chargers for $22.50, love them.

     I also bought 6 Adams China Wedgewood Cream Empress
dinner plates for $15. I'm in love with them. I also found
out when I got home that I got a very good deal on these.

You still have time to sign up for my GIVEAWAY!

I am linking today with:

 Marty @ A Stroll Thru Life for Table Top Tuesday
Linda @ Coastal Charm for Nifty Thrifty Tuesdays

Please stop in to visit our hostesses!

Monday, August 30, 2010

It's That Time of The Year Again-Met Monday

     If things go "as planned" which they seldom do, I try to switch my summer things to fall things the first week of September. The calendar and the heat may still be screaming summer, but the word September just brings to mind fall. It is also the time that my summer flowers are looking a little worse for wear and the bright beach colors on the front porch just don't seem right with Christmas decorations already in the stores. Yesterday I took down the summer wreath that is on the outside of our house and shopped the storage room for something fall to hang this year. My wreath from last year still looks great, but I decided I wanted a different look this year. I get tired of always hanging a seasonal wreath in the same spot. I had purchased a few new fall flowers/picks at Hobby Lobby a few weeks ago...so it was time to "play"!

I had this trellis piece from a few years ago, obviously a spring look.

I pulled everything off and threw it away. The spring/summer
 flowers had seen their best days and weren't worth saving.

Gather up a fall flowers and ribbons.


I used 2 fall bushes and cut them apart. I also had
a few fall picks with pumpkins, acorns and sunflowers.

There is no real method to my "design". I just place things
 around the base until they look the way I want them to. Then I
start using the glue gun and thin wire to attach things permanently.

This year I decided to go with more muted colors
and stay away from the traditional orange and yellows.

I used a dark rusty/burgundy ribbon as well as a brown one.

I love the sparkly acorns that I found at Hobby Lobby.

The finished piece is quite a change from my
usual wreath. It is a little sparkly, a little less
rustic than I usually use in the fall, but I think I like it
for a change. I think it will look nice against the brick of the house.  

I am linking today to:

 Susan @ Between Naps on the Porch for Met Monday

Mary @ Little Red House for Mosaic Monday

Jenglamgirl @ Craft-o-Maniac for Craft-o-Maniac Monday

Please visit them and say hello!

Don't forget to sign up for my GIVEAWAY

Friday, August 27, 2010

Sometimes Music Touches Your Heart

     Have you ever had the radio on and when a song started playing, you truly felt the song. That happened to me yesterday. I've been listening to the music channel on my television quite a bit this summer. I am usually a rock/pop kind of girl...but yesterday I changed the channel. I knew that if I had to listen to Katy Perry's California Girls one more time I was going to lose my mind. I flipped the station to Contemporary Country just for a change of pace. I don't like country music that sounds country. There has never been a Johnny Cash or George Strait CD in my house. I do like country pop (Rascal Flatts, Sugarland) on occasion.

     I was just blogging away when I noticed a song playing. I looked up to see who the artist was and it was someone I'd never heard of, David Nail. Now maybe you country fans are familiar with him, but I certainly wasn't. The song was Turning Home. I don't know why this particular song hit a nerve with me. I think that the combination of finding over 100 of my old high school friends on Facebook and losing my mom has made me a little nostalgic for "the good old days". Maybe seeing all those pictures of grandchildren my friends post or the ever increasing list of classmates that are no longer with us has made me think about the carefree times of high school.

     Within the hour I had purchased the album (I'm About To Come Alive) on iTunes and I've been playing it constantly since. I like all of the songs on the CD and that doesn't happen very often. My husband hates it when I find songs I love, they just play and play and play.

I thought I'd share a little of his music with you. Click here to listen to Turning Home.

photo from David Nail's Official Website

Usually take one last pass through town
Stop the car and touch the ground
Watch those streetlights swayin’ in the breeze
Decorated store fronts
Rusty old gas pumps
Try to fill my mind up
With somethin’ before I go
Picture postcard memories
You know they always make for good company

I don’t know no town
like the old town
Even when the miles are many
I feel like I’m still around
Deep inside me
Like rings through an oak tree
Yeah, there something ‘bout a Sunday when I’m gone
That keeps me turning home

I’m standin’ here beneath these billboard lights
Takes me back to those autumn nights
Hometown bleachers packed real tight
As we marched down the field
My feet would swing from a dropped tailgate
Out on Airport Road real late
No one could walk a line too straight
We usually made it home alright
And glory days I cant re-live
Stories I’ll never forget

And I don’t know no friends
Like the old friends
I never seem to laugh now
Like I did with them
But deep inside me
A piece of my history
Yeah, I hear their voices even though they’re gone
And it keeps me turning home

Never twice the same way does it start
Sure enough she stole my heart
On that old gym floor, spinnin’ round and round one night
And though we both tried hard to wait
We sure did love the taste
Of the sweet love being made and prayin’ I got it right
Graduation came and went
Along with all the time we spent

And I don’t know no love
Like the first love
When I think about the best times
She’s the one I think of
Deep inside me
All though the taste is bittersweet
I see her smilin’ even though she’s gone
And it keeps me turning home, yeah
And it keeps me turning home

*I did not receive any compensation for writing this post

If You Only Read One Blog Today...

     I just read a blog post from one of my favorite bloggers. It left me wiping tears from my eyes and smiling at the same time. It is worth reading. It is better than any recipe, table setting, DIY project or giveaway you might read today. Take a moment to visit Jenny @ Jenny Matlock.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

California Casserole-Foodie Friday

     Several years ago a friend brought a covered dish to a potluck. I loved it, but I wasn't sure what I was eating. I'm one of those people who can taste something and usually tell all or at least most of the ingredients...but, I just wasn't sure with this one. I have prepared this many times and my family loves it. Don't be thrown by the ingredients, they really do taste good together.


1 can shoe peg corn, drained
1 can French cut green beans, drained (I bought regular green beans by mistake, they worked just fine but I do prefer the French cut in this recipe)
1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained (my friend chops hers, I don't)
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion (optional-I don't use it)
1 can cream of celery soup
8 oz. sour cream
1 tube Ritz Crackers, crushed
1 stick butter, melted

     Mix together soup and sour cream. Fold in corn, green beans, water chestnuts, celery and onion. Put in greased baking pan. Crush the Ritz Crackers and mix with the melted butter. Sprinkle on top of casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes-uncovered.

     Most of you probably know how easy it is to crush crackers in a Ziploc bag. I use my grandmother's old rolling pin, but a glass turned on it's side would also work. I melt my butter and pour it into the bag of crushed crackers, mix it all up and dump it on the casserole.

     I'm going to do a little venting now. I live in a small town, where we are lucky to have a large family owned grocery store. It isn't quite as big as a city grocery, but it is very nice and the butcher will cut your meat and the manager knows your name. I buy all of my meat, produce and most of my groceries there. We also have a WalMart Superstore very convenient to my house. I do pick up canned goods, paper products etc. at WalMart. In recent months, WalMart has been changing the shelves over to their generic white-label brand. In the above picture, you will see the cream of celery soup from WalMart. I wanted Campbell's, it wasn't available. I've never liked generic food and I don't like WalMart taking away the option of "real" food. The cream of celery was runny when I opened it...and gray. I threw it away and my husband ran to our "good" store for Campbell's. I also threw away the sour cream you see in the picture (also from WalMart) bought that day and the consistency of milk when I opened it. I have noticed that more and more, the brands that I use are not on the shelves at WalMart, and the space is being taken over by the white packaging. Anyone else notice this?

I am linking today with Michael @ Designs by Gollum.
It is the place to go for the best food in all of Blogland.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Black and Blue, A Hint and A Thank You-Tablescape Thursday

     This week's tablescape has a few things you have seen before and a few that you haven't. Pay close attention, you might recognize something! I started with my pale blue tablecloth from Macy's. I know you've seen it recently, but my dish combination worked so well with it, I used it again.

     I'm not usually comfortable mixing busy patterns, but I think this works...what do you think? I love a soft blue and black color combination. The Royal Stafford transferware bowls are from TJ Maxx. I layered them on Living Quarters salad plates, the pattern is Blue Toile. I also used the matching mugs on this table.

The black dinner plates are from Wal-Mart, $1.75 each!

I added TJ Maxx charcoal gray flatware, crystal and
black stemware and delicate white napkins.  

     I really wanted this table to be a little more formal, so I added some sparkle and silver. The centerpiece is a black and silver tray that we got for a wedding gift. The sterling candlesticks were also a wedding gift. The silver orbs are actually from the holidays, but I have used them at other times during the year. I found them at Crate and Barrel last year. I wove a black sequined scarf through the table setting just to make the blue tablecloth look a little more formal.

This sterling cream and sugar came home
with me from my dad's last month.

Here is a peek at the mug that matches the dessert/salad plates.

If there are mugs on the table, there better be a coffee server.
This one was a found treasure in my in-laws garage!

Of course the table looks best by candlelight.

     I also want to show you what came in the mail to me this week. I won this beautiful outdoor thermometer from Lynn @ House and Garden Boutique. Lynn has a beautiful blog that I just recently discovered. Please stop in to say hello to her.

Please remember to sign up for my giveway...
does anything in the picture look familiar.
I couldn't buy something so pretty for myself
and not buy another set to give away, could I?

I'm linking today with Susan @ Between Naps on the Porch
for Tablescape Thursday. Susan is a wonderful hostess.
Her blog is worth a visit, you will keep going back for more!