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Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Ultimate Beachy Table Accessory!

Sometimes it pays to reach 'way up high on your shelves. . . .

I'm popping back into the distant past -- exactly 2 years ago --
and I hope you enjoy the ride in the Time Machine!
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(July 31, 2009) The other day I was rummaging through my old kitchen cupboard shelves, looking for a misplaced cell phone charger,
and I reached up and took this chubby little guy down from the top shelf:

I think he is silver plate, but he's quite tarnished -- in finish, if not in reputation.  He's even got a dent or two, poor dear.

He belonged to my mother, one of her many yard-sale and church bazaar finds.
I am not sure if he is an open sugar bowl, or maybe . . .

a spooner.

Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between the sugar and the spooner in an old tea set,
but -- no matter. What is interesting about this little fellow is what I found inside him:

Can you guess what they are?

They are hand-carved.

And very, very old.


They were used every day by my grandparents.


Yes, these are Mother of Pearl napkin rings, and belonged to my grandparents.
They loved all things to do with the sea, the original beachy-look fans!

Years ago, napkin rings were not just decorative items for table settings; laundry was no easy matter,
so you used your napkin for more than one meal, sometimes for a whole week,
and your own ring identified your napkin as yours.

I remember these on the sideboard at Grandma's house; I always loved them.

Last year, when we were clearing things from my parents' beach house, I found these on a kitchen shelf and,
wanting to make sure they were safe, I brought them home -- inside my Mom's little silver plated bowl.

And forgot about them.

They are in perfect condition, if you look past some schmutz.
I'm a little afraid to clean them. What is safe to use on shells?
Or should I leave more than a hundred years of schmutz right where it is?

And ... anyone have a suggestion for a good, mild silver cleaner?
Friar Tuck here needs a little help:

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Two Linky Parties on this sunny last-day-of-July Sunday.

Sunday Favorites, hosted by Chari at Happy To Design.  Click here!
and
Seasonal Sunday, hosted by The Tablescaper.  Click here!

What have you got planned for your blog this week?
I'll be sharing my latest Goodwill finds from this weekend,
including one that will make you scratch your head and say, "Huh?"
And tomorrow I hope to have my demitasse cup project ready to show off to you! Action shots, and all.

Enjoy this last July day; summer just races past, doesn't it?  -- Cass


Friday, July 29, 2011

Food, Glorious Food

Food!

Isn't it lovely?

It can be silly.
One of the carved fruit animals on the dessert buffet at Alida and Josh's wedding.  So cute!
Or colorful. 
Eggs in a market in China -- from the kids' honeymoon pictures.
 Scary!
More food in the market in China.
 Artistic.
This picture makes me wish I could paint.  Pictures, I mean.  I can paint walls . . . .
 And . . . it can even be exhausting.
Our great-nephews, twins Luke and Calvin, tuckered out from a big meal.

I almost left out . . . delicious.
Which is what Anne and I had the other day at lunch, in a tiny family-run cafe not far from That Old House.

Anne got one of the lunchtime specials, a basket of empanadas.  With fresh-made citrus-tangy salsa.
Here's how a small cafe differs from a chain restaurant. 
We asked about the empanadas before ordering, and the cook came out, explained them to us,
then went into her kitchen and whipped up two little sample ones for us to test-drive before ordering.
They were fantastic, and Anne ordered them right away. 
They were, she says, "Crazy good."
Beef, seasonings, potato, in a crispy cornmeal crust.  Piping hot -- you can see steam
coming off them in the pictures.  All made, including the salsa, while you wait.  You can hear the chopping!
 Mmmm . . . .

I ordered David's Colombian Burger.
It had everything on it except hot fudge which, really, you probably don't want on a burger anyway. 
 Yes, that's chunks of fresh pineapple you see tucked in there, along with, well, loads of burger-y goodness.
I didn't attempt to pick it up.  It was just too tall.  I attacked it with knife and fork, and comforted myself
that I didn't eat part of the bun, and left plenty of fries on the plate.
We will be back to Past Times, on East Main Street in Rockaway Boro in New Jersey, and soon.
It's a wonderful old storefront with great old fittings, tin ceilings, even the old fireplace.

Although the next time, I may order a salad.

Don't you love finding the wonderful little businesses in your own town?
Even big cities have their mom-and-pop neighborhood shops and eateries.

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A foodie question for you:  How do you cook corn on the cob?  Just curious!

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Link Party!
It's Foodie Friday with Michael West at her Designs By Gollum blog.
Click here to visit!  It's always fun!
We have another theater weekend lined up, and New York City's Restaurant Week has been extended.
Go for the bargains and the fabulous food.  I think I need to go make myself some lunch, don't you?  -- Cass

Thursday, July 28, 2011

China Far And Near, and Dion Speaks!

If you are new to That Old House, you might not
know that a month ago, our daughter got married.

Alida, our daughter, on the right.  Josh, not-our-daughter but our newly minted son, on the left.
After their New Jersey wedding, Alida and Josh returned to their new apartment in Los Angeles,
and then took off for a 3-week honeymoon in China.  They got back to California on Sunday.
Much to the relief of all their parents!

They have jillions of pictures, and Alida says that when things settle down
for them, she will do a couple of guest posts about their China adventure for That Old House.

About places they visited


I spy the terracotta warriors!  Look behind you!
 

And about things they ate.

 Look!  Blue and white china!
 Love the Tablescape, below.  I think I need one of those pots.  Goodwill, maybe?
Mmmmm . . . .

And even about things they cooked.
 If Josh knows how to vacuum, I see a long and happy married life ahead of them.
 Well, I see that anyway.

Now my daughter is a little like me, in that she can be moving in a straight line toward a goal,
and find several detours along the way.  But we'll remind her of her promise to guest blog, won't we?

Tourist!
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Speaking of china . . . 

it's what we need to make a Tablescape on this Thursday, a day in which I have been
detouring 
to fabric sites online and other tempting distractions and not settling down to the task at hand.

Focus!
And let's have tea in the Parlor, shall we?


A couple of weeks ago, I scored a Queen Anne style mahogany tea table at an antiques mall.
For 47 dollars.
I have only cleaned it -- not refinished it -- and popped it into the Parlor, where I think it looks right at home.

Today, we put the tea table to work, in the Parlor that just last week looked like this:

Now, that's a big improvement!
Dion is convinced there must be crumbs here somewhere!  He can smell cookies.
Pictures of the tea table, awash in blue and white.
 Johnson Brothers Indies Blue china cups, sugar and creamer -- one of my very favorite patterns.
 A blue and white tea pot.
 And the cake plate I got at Goodwill on Monday is already making itself useful.
 Made in China, it is not food safe (probably lead in the glaze) so I am using a little cobalt-and-gilt plate to hold
the dark chocolate cookies atop the pedestal plate.  I can hear my husband:  "What? We have cookies at home?"
 Sugar for our tea, in the shape of little pink roses.
A silver bud vase, fashioned from vintage flatware.  I love this piece, a gift from my sister-in-law Phyllis.
 On the mantel . . . not much.  We're going spare and Zen today,
because I am completely out of ideas for jazzing up the fireplace.

"I sniffed that whole floor and no crumbs.  What's up with that?"
Mr. Dion DiPoochy lodges his complaint
about cookies that are out of his reach!
Click to view; it's short.
video
Dion has perfected that high-pitched yap for when he really wants to get your attention.
Or a Beanie Baby tossed at him.  -- Cass

Linky Parties for Thursday!

At Between Naps On The Porch, it's the Mother of All Linky Parties -- Tablescape Thursday.  Click here!
At Tales from Bloggeritaville, check out Thrifty Thursday.  Click here!
Colorado Lady gives us Vintage Thingy Thursday.  Click here!
and
At Shabby Chic Cottage, it's Transformation Thursday.  Click here!