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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Tablescape: Halloween inspired

It's been a while since my last post on tablescape, so I thought it would be nice to share  something that was very recent...

Our very good family friends were in town and as always, it is a pleasure to host a dinner for them.  And what a perfect way to showcase my newly found piece, perfect for Halloween!  My kids call it the Gates of Haunted Mansion.  And it does look like it, right?  :)  This is a piece found by my partner from the US, that would have been part of the new collection of Petit Blanc.  But of course, when I saw it  while we we were doing our inventory, I just can't let it go.  It's just so perfect for the season!  There is actually a small lever that you can lift to open the gates!  How authentic is that!  So,  sorry for the future buyers, it's only one piece, and i got it!  Haha!!!

This is how it turned out on the dining table.  Would have been nicer if candles were lit, but I didn't have time to take photos when guests arrived...

On top of the Haunted Mansion Gate, I had some gourds and cobs to add to the Halloween feel.  Flatware were folded inside black napkins and tied with orange ribbon and twine.  For the kids' table, I just put all the spoon & forks and napkin in my old orange bucket.  

Another setting for the table outside.  The black fabric was a last minute buy from Kamuning market...30 pesos a yard!  How can you go wrong with that?   A good table setting need not be costly, right?  And the ribbons and twines were actually recycled!  And would you believe those dried cobs are 6 years already?  Yup!  I bought them while we were still living in Singapore and they still look good up to this day.  They've seen 6 years of Halloween at Casa Insigne!

And of course, the kids' can't be left behind.  Since they usually eat and go, thought it wise to keep it simple, but still fun for them.  I threw in some treats, labelled it with their names that served also as their name cards.  

It's always nice to catch up with friends who live abroad.  We all had a good time, not to forget a very sumptuous meal too!  I prepared no-fuss smoked turkey legs (which I got from S&R), so I just dressed it up with a siding of roasted sweet potatoes and whole garlic.  Sure hit during the dinner!  I also made longganisa pasta made from three different kinds of longganisa.  Someone brought the group's favorite lengua and every kid's favorite...Chicken Joy (not in the photo).  Oh, I almost forgot I also made the brie with marmalade which became instant hit!  (Too bad, I didn't even get to take a photo of it.)  The dinner was capped by Krispy Kreme Donuts!  Are you salivating already?  ;)

Kids are on sem break, and we're all looking forward to a short holiday out of town.  How about you?  What's your plan?  Be safe and Happy Halloween!  Here's a photo taken last Saturday during the trick or treat at our subdivision.  :)

I would love to hear your thoughts!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Repurposing Kitchen Stuff

Do you sometimes just buy something even when you don't need (yet!) it or don't know where to use it?  I am guilty of that.  I buy unnecessary things, as long as they're pretty and make me smile  :)  Here are some proof of my thoughtless buying but are now actually serving a purpose!  Yay!

(1)  ceramic pink mug with fleur de lis holds pen and markers  (2)  lacquered bamboo  tray keeps everything organized  (3) vintage depression glass saucer  (remember my post about it here?) holds a couple of washi tape  (4)  mini ceramic planter with legs keeps all the USB and security devices  (5)  egg cups (so pretty!)  holds paper clips and push pins  (6) ceramic dish tray keeps post its, paper clips and stapler (hidden behind post its)  (7) baby blue vintage milk jug (love the bird detail!) holds pencils  (8)  toast holder holds mini memo pads

They're not unnecessary after all!  Right?  They're pretty and purposeful!   :)  And mind you, these stuff are really cheap!

I'm loving how I started my study revamp.  Remember the first time I said I will tackle the study project here?  I  think that was two years ago!  I know, I keep the record on the worst procrastinator!'s never too late.  I did some repainting on the wall , some bleaching on the furniture, etc..  I still need to redress my study chairs but I'm getting there.  Promise to share with you my "new" study soon!  For the meantime, go and check out your kitchen and do some repurposing, upcycling of your   collection!

Have a good week ahead!

I would love to hear your thoughts!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Muffins, Anyone?

I got the family's approval on my very first try to bake banana oat muffins!  Yay!  I'm not really a baker because I don't like following recipes and making accurate measurements.  I cook by tasting.  So if I'm asked for a recipe, I can only give the ingredients, minus the measurements.  That's just how I am with cooking.  But yesterday, I didn't have the heart to throw 3 pcs of Cavendish bananas just because they are over ripe.  So I looked through my cook books (I do keep some, mainly for ideas and photos!  haha!)  and found Gordon Ramsay's Banana Oat Muffins.  It looked easy, so I tried...  and this is how it turned out.

I like the texture, it's chunky and chewy and a bit crusty on top but moist inside.  And I think it's healthier than the usual muffins.  I replaced walnuts with muesli, which gave it more fiber.  I used olive oil, instead of butter and the recipe calls for only one egg and brown sugar; I used raw brown sugar.  So it was not sweet, it was just right, paired with a cup of coffee or tea!  :)

Here is a copy of the recipe.  You should try it.  If I'm able to make it, it must be one of the easiest muffin recipes and anyone can do it!

Banana oat muffins  Heat oven to 180C.  Line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases.  In a large bowl, combine 100g oats, 200g plain flour, 1.5 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda, 1/4 tsp sea salt and 100g light brown sugar.  Mix well and make a well in the center.  Mash 4 large ripe bananas (I only put 3, becase that's all I have) in another bowl, with a fork.  Stir in 1 beaten large egg and 60g melted butter (or light olive oil).  I used olive oil!  Add to the dry mixture with 75g chopped walnuts (I don't have walnuts so I replaced it with muesli!  Which turned out ok, more chewy!) and fold through until just combined (don't overmix).  Spoon ( I used an ice cream scooper which made it  really easy!) into the paper cases and bake for 20-25 minutes (I'm really stubborn, I was so excited, I baked it for 15 mins only and kept it inside the oven for another 5 mins) until brown and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Makes 12.  I made 13!  :)

I would love to hear your thoughts!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Bit of Styling: Trays

When I checked the stats of my blog, some of the most popular posts were those on "A Bit of Styling..".  The one on cake stands being number one.  I'd like to think I am able to effectively share some inspirations and ideas on how to do a bit of styling, using things that you already have at home.   :)   So today,  I thought I'll share another styling idea...  TRAYS!  I have a long time affair with trays.  Just like plates, cake stands, lamps and bed linens, I can't seem to have enough of them.  I'm actually not sure how many I have but one thing for sure, I get to use all of them.  I'm that kind of collector who actually uses her collection, instead of keeping them  locked in the shelves. 

Take a peek at some corners of my home...

This lacquer tray was from Myanmar.  A gift from my BFF.  It has retired from serving, and now this orange tray keeps some of the coffee table books and a mini mahjong set neatly stacked together on the coffee table.  

Now, this breakfast tray...its been used for it's purpose during birthdays, father/mother's day or when someone is sick in the family.  So it's not very often that we get to use it, so I thought why not make it into a side table?  And the height fits perfectly with my favorite chair!

This one was originally a sand tray, you know that thingy that comes with a stick-like rake that you use to create patterns on the sand?  It kinda calms you down, very therapeutic!    Over time, the sand disappeared so I thought it would be nice to keep my collection of cow bone decors.  And the emperor couple actually looks happy on it!:)  Together with them is an old opium jar and two bells (yup they're bells!)

A lacquer tray from Vietnam holds an Iris plant and some coasters on the dining table.

This one is not really a tray but an Indonesian wooden scoop for measuring rice.  Holds fruits on the kitchen counter and sometimes  I also use it to hold pillar candles!

Three more Vietnam finds...
An eggshell lacquered tray (actually its called a spathe) to hold keys and mail at the foyer.

A ceramic blue and white plate with rattan trimmings on the side holds my pretty white hand towels (from Petit Blanc!..go check our FB site!)

And an irregularly shaped (bent!) bamboo tray is used to hold bathroom essentials.  I used a vase to hold the toothbrushes and a sugar container holds the cotton pads/swabs.  

There are still un-photographed trays around the house, but for the meantime, I hope you got some inspiration and ideas on how to use your own serving trays around your home.  Remember it only takes a bit of styling to create a vignette or prettify a corner.  :)  Your serving trays need not be exclusively kept in the kitchen. :)

I would love to hear your thoughts!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

ELLE Decoration Philippines!

For a home magazine junkie like me, this is a very exciting news!  We  now have Elle Decoration Philippines!  Woohoo!!    I was pleasantly surprised to see it at Fully Booked and immediately grabbed a copy.  My daughter said "Ma, that's impulse buying, I said... No, I need these materials for my job."  LOL!  Grab a copy and be proud of our very own  beautiful  homes!

Another great read is Dwell Asia.  Comes every two months.  Every issue is packed with lots of inspirations!

These are my little luxuries in life!  Magazines, coffee and books!

Have a good week ahead everyone!  :)
I would love to hear your thoughts!

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