Saturday, March 31, 2012

Tartan Parade 2012

Time for Favorites on the First

and all things Scottish

in honor of National Tartan Day.

Lads and Lassies

Songs and Poems

of Robert Burns

Kilts and Tartans


And . . .

Scottie Dogs

Scottish Terriers,

also known as Aberdeen Terriers

are originally from

the Highlands of Scotland.

Affectionally called Scotties,

these courageous, independent,

and self-reliant dogs

were bred to hunt

and kill predators

of the Highland livestock.

We don't have a Scottie,

but this cutie above has

recently joined our family.

Meet Sadie Mercedes.

Sadie suggested we round up a

group of jaunty Scotties

for the Tartan Parade.

Looks like these guys are lining up.

It's sunny today, but with recent rainy days

I pulled out the umbrella just in case.

Surely it won't rain on our parade!

We've got TARTAN!

A freshly brewed pot of Scottish tea

steeping in its own tartan cozy, a gift from

Scottie Shortbread Cookies

Walker's Pure Butter Shortbread

I added a touch of icing for color.

Scottie Soap

from Gianna Rose Atelier

Scottie Napkins Trimmed in Tartan

Here's how the tartan stacks up.

Arita Tartan Charger

Lauren Ralph Lauren Skyler

Target Holiday 2010 Classic Tidings

Global Design Connection by Kate Williams

Home Beautiful Stoneware in Royal Stewart

Each plate is white and bordered in a tartan

with the exception of the Kate Williams' pieces.

They feature this jaunty little fellow.

A coordinating butter dish

makes a perfect little serving tray.


was a gift from a student in 1991.

It was written by a father as words

of counsel to his son heading off to collage.

It's simply a list of things one should do.

Page 1, #2 :

Have a dog.

Happy Tartan Day!

Bluebonnet Tartan

Like others across the globe, many Texans will no doubt celebrate National Tartan Day on April 6, 2012. The official State Tartan, Texas Bluebonnet Tartan, was designed by June Prescott McRoberts in 1986 and adopted by the state of Texas in 1989. You can read more details about the Texas Bluebonnet Tartan here.

To see last year's Tartan Tea click here.

If you need some tartan for your closet click the link above.

A special thank you to my friends JoElla and Susan
for letting me share photos of their Staffordshire pieces.

Thursday, March 29, 2012



by Sarah Jio

Available here on Amazon

A book review for

Food for Thought,

a delicious blog for readers with

an appetite for the written word.

Photo by Pondside

I read this book on a cold and rainy Saturday which was the perfect backdrop for reading a story set on Bainbridge Island in Puget Sound, though this novel would also make a good beach read whilst sunning in the sand or whiling away the hours on a bopping boat.

Photos by Pondside

The story brought back my own sweet memories of time spent in the North West ~ Seattle, Victoria Island, and the islands in Puget Sound.

Violets, in Victorian time when flowers were used to impart meanings, symbolized virtue, affection, watchfulness, love, and faithfulness. Ironically Emily, the protagonist in this work, is recently divorced from a cheating husband. Faithfulness was not what she experienced in her marriage.

Photo by Pondside

Emily Wilson, a beautiful, successful published author, was once at the top of her game with a book soaring to the height of the New York Times Best Seller List and a movie deal. Now with a case of writer's block and freshly divorced, Emily abandons her New York City life to return to the home of her favorite Great Aunt Bee where she spent the summers of her childhood.

Photo by Pondside

In an attempt to heal and rekindle her creative talents, Emily's escape provides an opportunity to rediscover the island she loved as a child, reconnect with her high school heart throb, and meet an intriguing new man. Emily's island sojourn also whisked her away on a mysterious path to the discovery of long held family secrets.

Photo by Pondside

Bainbridge Island, just west of Seattle, is only ten miles long and five miles wide. VIOLETS OF MARCH gives the reader a glimpse into island life on this popular refuge. Though much of the story is predictable, I found Sarah Jio's debut novel to be both entertaining and romantically touching.

Photo by Pondside

"Any one feel like clam chowder?'

Bee said standing up.

She always ordered clam chowder on the ferry,

no matter what time it was,

no matter that the passage lasted a mere half hour. "

Clam chowder is a favorite here, so

clam chowder it was as my FFT selection.

With the romance of violets in mind,

I picked a few from the garden to

add a touch of romance to our dinner tray.

Ahh ~ violets and sea shells!

My recipe for clam chowder is an old standby from Betty Crocker.

It was from my first cookbook,

and a dish I frequently made early in our marriage.

It's still a favorite.

You can find the recipe here,

but I also add carrots and celery to the mix.

You can read more about the

details of this tray scape setting here.

Photo by Pondside

If you're headed to an island retreat, a day at the beach, or just a lazy afternoon with a chance to escape into a book, you might want to take along a copy of VIOLETS OF MARCH. It's a delightful romance and easy read.

Photo by Laura @ 52 Flea

~ Violets ~

Love ~ Virtue ~ Watchfulness ~ Faithfulness ~

~ Let's Take a Chance on Happiness ~

Click links below for more reviews

Also Joining

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Let's Dish ~ Shells

Let's Dish about sea shell dishes.

The sea shells above are real shells with a grove cut in them to hold place cards. They are from Two's Company, but since this is a tray scape, I'm using them as added details rather than place card holders.

I brought home a wonderful wicker tray from

my trip to the Texas hill country

and few thrifty finds from a

recent trip to Dallas & Ft. Worth.

The shell dishes are by Maxcera.

I purchased them from a

clearance shelf at TJ Maxx last year.

The shell shaped plates feature an

embossed edge with a starfish among sea shells.

The shell shaped bowls have the same fluted

edge with a turned shell detail at the top edge.

They are rustic white with brown under tones.

Absolutely perfect for serving clam chowder,

fish soup, or perhaps a shrimp or crab salad.

I chose clam chowder for tonight's dinner.

It felt like the perfect comfort food

for the rainy evening we are having.

The set of chowder spoons were a thrifty find

this past summer when we spent a week in Maine.

The Cherished Home is a wonderful shop in Belfast, ME.

They were having a great sale the day we visited.

These four coin silver chowder spoons were $25 for the set.

Two are marked Fifield & Brackett with the monogram

N. J. Furber

in gorgeous script.

The other pair is marked Vertelt

with crossed swords and the #12.

A simple TH is the monogram.

Found the napkin ring at an antique store in Ft. Worth.

There was a box of odd pieces, each priced $4.

I can't find a mark, but this little gem has

gorgeous engraved details of flowers,

none of which really show up in the photo.

No doubt it will polish up, but I rather like it's aged patina.

So there you have it.

A sea shell inspired tray scape

created with thrifty finds.

The shell dishes are Rustic White Shell by Maxcera.

TJ Maxx only had 3 bowls and 7 plates.

If you know of a source,

I'd love to find more, especially more of the bowls.

I'm playing along with

Food for Thought

this week with a review of


Click here for details about Sarah Jio's debut novel

and a bowl of delicious clam chowder.