...family, friends, home and other tidbits of a blessed life

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Dining Al Fresco

It's hot. Appetites wane. It's hot. Nobody wants to cook! But a great find at the Dollar Tree makes the heat seem not as bad. I walked in last week and saw fabric place mats. Lime green with white polka dots. They were destined to go home with me that day! I mean lime green with white polka dots, who could forgo such a find?? Really now. I had a set of white plates. Then the fun began. Welcome and join me for a cool dinner on the patio.

Dinner plates: Wedgwood Windsor pattern. These dishes have become a staple. The just play well in all different 'sandboxes'. The salad plates came from TJMaxx and are labeled Summer 2010. Oh did I mention the place mats were just a dollar each?

These colorful plates came in yellow, lime green, turquoise and orange. Still looking for additional turquoise plates.

Picked up a bouquet of flowers at the grocery store. They came with the glitter already on them. The dyed colors matched so well with the dishes and table!

Turquoise napkins tied with a lime gingham ribbon. Napkins - Stein Mart. Stitches - Bernina. Thread - Isacord. Napkins are a perfect way to show off those sewing machine stitches. Pick threads in your favorite colors, use an Organ embroidery needle and make sure to wind a bobbin in the same thread! This will ensure that your napkins look equally good on both the front and back sides.

Do you recognize the stitches? Stitches from a Bernina 730 - lime green: #427 as is; orange: #411 SW 5.9, SL 1.71; yellow: #711 SW 5.1, SL 3.01.

The green 'vase' is actually a larger votive candle holder purchased at Big Lots. I loved the green color and the resemblance to mercury glass.

Our margarita stemware was purchased last year at World Market. Instead of having a dark blue ring, this set has the lighter turquoise rim and base.

Once again the fish dinnerware from WMF. Sadly, it's no longer available. The whimsy lends itself well to the festive table.

A citrus salsa served on a bed of lettuce. Grilled Trout with jalapeno mayonnaise. Parslied potatoes. Healthy, yummy and is a great meal for a still very warm evening.

Indulge in a margarita of choice. Over ice or served blended with ice. Perfectly cool. The lime of the drink plays nicely off the lime in the place mats!

And if you gather all the stuff above.... then you too can make the citrus salsa and jalapeno mayonnaise.

Citrus Salsa from the Ultimate Grill Book.

1 large grapefruit, white membrane removed, cut into bite-size pieces
2 large oranges, white membrane removed, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped*
2 T lime juice
2 T orange juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 t sugar
Salt to taste.

Mix all ingredients. Can be made ahead and used the next day.
*Mr. Picky-eater doesn't like tomatoes. So I courteously omit these and serve them sliced on the side. ;~)

Miss Priss lies in the "outer rim", close enough to be a part of the group, but far enough away that no one could possibly touch her! She is just waiting patiently for a taste of trout and I can't say I blame her. She's also asking you to run on over to Susan's Tablescape Thursday! It's a fun place to be inspired to use the things you have... just click the graphic below.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Santa Fe: refresh, rejuvenate, relax. Inspire. Nourish.

The art market around the square. I had fallen in love with a piece of art the evening before. However, I have a rule. Sleep on it. And then go back and get it. No where did I mention think about it. But indeed, do just that. Think of your home, your walls, where you will you put it, etc. Since we have so many windows, it becomes a question of what will I have to move. Besides, we couldn't find the vendor the day before!

Saw some tile top tables. Another inspiring idea for a table we have in our backyard right now. An old coffee table in need of a new top. Another reason to come back for tiles!

Every bit of this jewelry is either crocheted wire or macrame'd wire. It was quite beautiful to behold.

Love this guy! Plays the long horn, and note the different bells covering his calves. This adds to the musical experience. He was truly a treat for the eyes and ears.

Bless their hearts. If you speak southern, then you know the rest of the story is served with a bowl of milk. But truly bless their hearts. It's about 89 degrees at this time. Hot. She has on two shirts and the shirt jacket and the blue hat. He has on two shirts, is carrying the third and has on a bee keepers hat. His entire front was covered. I hope they survived the temperatures without a heat stroke!

Very simply quilted jackets. A bit of piecing, a bit of stitching and a 500 dollar price tag. I think I can do that!!

Exquisite!! This beautifully made hat has the beads directly attached to the beaver! Such a delight to behold.

Every whip of the leather trim surrounding the brim was impeccably formed. The hat isn't so shabby either.

The Museum of Contemporary Native American Arts. Just makes you want to stop in an visit.

A look at the La Fonda during the day... I see another rooftop spot covered with white awnings. I think I feel the need to check that out.

Everywhere are these recessed jewels. Little shops in the back of courtyards. Too much fun to pass up.

Wall art made out of plastic Japanese bags. I love the colors and art of the bags.

An entire courtyard of Talavera and other great finds.

Brightly gazed fruits and veggies.

I find folk art so charming.

Old architectural details, such as the beam above, capture my attention every time. How many hundreds of years has this been in place?

Another street musician trying to make a living.

Now this is what I call a bead store. Every thing imaginable to create jewelry in one spot. Stacy, you need to see this first hand.

An alley way restaurant. Maybe next time we will try this little haunt.

Art hanging from the ceiling inside Cafe Pasqual's. I told you we'd eat here! Try the Blue Lady enchiladas. They are simply divine.

More art in Pasqual's. All for sale. Let's plan a trip so you too can see, eat, and feel the magic!

Doesn't this define "hood ornament"?

Not too far from the Hilton, we discovered this perfect little garden tucked away behind walls with an opening barely large enough to let in people. Hidden jewels. The city is full of them.

I love yard art. Maybe he needs a new home?

More yard art in front of a scenic tile niche.

A dry river bed. I keep wanting to put this in between the back fence beds and the grass. Naturally on a smaller scale.

Back to the Coyote Cafe.. yes we like this spot!!

Presentation is everything. Chips and dips with a sidekick of Cerveza.

And this is the piece we purchased from an artist on the square. It's textural, Santa Fe and just the right colors. And it has Santa Fe blue as the trim around the door and window!

Read on for a great recipe from Cafe Pasqual's. Cilantro rice. Please don't let the jalapeno fool you into thinking this dish is hot. If you carefully remove all the seeds and the ribs inside the pepper, you are left with only the flavor. It's quite delicious, I hope you try it. Thanks for joining me on another journey!

Cilantro Rice by Cafe Pasqual's - Santa Fe, NM.

1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice

2 cups water

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 cup fresh cilantro, loosely packed

1/2 cup white onion, chopped

1/4 cup scallion, chopped

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh jalapenos, including seeds, chopped

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon olive oil


Bring rice, water, and 1 t salt to a boil in a 1 1/2-2 quart heavy saucepan, then reduce heat to low and cover pan with a tight, fitting lid. Cook 20 minutes.

Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Remove lid and fluff rice with a fork.

While rice is cooking, puree cilantro, onion, scallion, jalapeno, lime juice, olive oil and remaining 1/2 t salt in blender( if necessary add 1 to 2 T water to facilitate blending).

Add mixture to rice and stir with a fork until combined well.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Santa Fe - the city different

Here we are again. This must be one of my favorite spots on earth. A place to relax. Rejuvenate. Refresh. Be inspired. Eat. Santa Fe. The City Different. Did you know that they are celebrating 400 years?

We arrived around 1:30pm NM time. Parked. Set off to explore and eat. We totally missed eating. There was an art market around the square of which I'll share more in Monday's post. This is where we are having lunch tomorrow. Cafe Pasqual's! I cannot wait.

As we sit in the Coyote Cafe rootop cantina, I saw this awesome live wall. There's some adobe underneath, but isn't the coverage great? Reminds me of old chateau's in Europe. Love the chandelier hanging down in the passageway through the opening.

Street signs show off Santa Fe's proud heritage. 400 years is a true cause for celebration. And 400 years of being a city is quite a feat in a country as new as ours.

From there we ventured over to the best spot in Santa Fe to watch the sunset. The roof top bar on the oldest hotel corner (as per their website there has been an inn or hotel there for 400 years!) - La Fonda of Santa Fe. The sun just does wonderful things to the entire city.

I've always seen beautiful landscapes with pink and lavender skies. Now I've captured it myself. That's the state capitol bathed in evening sunlight.

A closer shot a bit later as the color became more intense.

This is a glimpse of what I'll be perusing the next day. There was an art market set up on the square. The individual tents are shut down for the evening. Isn't it magical to see the tree lit up. Reminds us to keep Christmas in our hearts year 'round.

There is a fire raging to the northwest of Santa Fe at this time. Also one to the north. Although a photographer's dream as this beautifully colors sunsets, we need to all stop and pray they can keep this contained.

Aren't the vivid purples, oranges, yellow amazing? You must take time to sit up on the rooftop and enjoy a sunset. Seeing one of God's miracles from here leaves you refreshed with the knowledge that He is at work always.

So I'm trying to capture a blue hour shot. Woe be me. I didn't check the time this would occur before we left home, so I get to keep snapping shots until the sky turns that magical blue color.

It's beginning to happen. But Mr. Hungry is just that - hungry and it's time to go find some food.

This eagle statue is completely beaded covering every millimeter of his being. Incredible workmanship!

For all you techies out there - click on the picture and take in the art created with circuitry!

Even Lady Guadalupe is created in circuit boards and the like.

You can see painted glass in so many places in Santa Fe, but rarely is is backlit.

Embroidered skirts. Since I have a clue how long this took to embroider, or how long it would take on a home embroidery machine, I have a deep respect for the workmanship. The quality was impeccable.

This is the first time we saw rickshaws in Santa Fe. Lots of people took rides around town in them. Faith - remember our trip in one in Houston??

And here is this deep sky. I need to carry a monopod with me from now on. It's quite difficult to leave the shutter open this long, not breathe, not move and remember to push the button to capture the shot!

I think this is my favorite shot! The street lights cast a green glow on the adobe wall, the lights are reflected in the branches and the sky is that magical blue!

The next morning, the first stop - Cafe Paris for breakfast!

Can you taste the massive amounts of butter in this croissant? Feel the flakiness of the baked delicacy? See the drool on my chin? Well, next time come with us and I'll give you a taste! Or better yet, order your own. :~)

French for bakery and pastry shop...

Walking to the square. Loved the wagon on the rooftop!

And then there is the art. Art is abundant. On every corner. In every window. On every person. In the air. It's just everywhere. It's my world. I feel good in that skin.

This inspired us to find some tiles to place on our steps into the house. Still searching for the perfect ones! Can you feel another trip coming soon?

I leave you this post, with an abstract wall piece. Made of crackled gold acrylic and other mediums. I think this would be fun to create in fabric. What do you think?


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