Thursday, July 29, 2010

How to Lighten Up an Empty Fireplace at Heart and Home

Hey there! How's it going everyone? I'm doing fine, and so happy you've dropped by today.

Thanks to all of you for the comments and e-mails regarding my daughter's big b-day, and the Rocky Road tart that seems to have made all your mouths water.  I'm always happy to to be of service in the dessert-recipe-sharing area. And, thank you for the one year congrats. I am still surprised that I made it this far!!

After the post about my painted rug, I realized something needed to be done about this dirty old firebox. I had a heck of a time figuring out just what would work inside here to brighten it up a little, because it's, well, dirty and old. 

But, I think, when viewed with all the rest of the room, and the mantel, what I came up with is not too bad.

Considering I whipped this up in five minutes with things I had on hand, just before guests starting arriving for the birthday bash, it's not too bad at all.

AND, I even cleaned out all the ashes beforehand, and swept up all the cobwebs and dustmites.

I mean, how good can an empty firebox look, anyway?

I'm not going to buy stuff to put in here, when the thing actually gets used during the fall and winter.
For actual FIRES.

So, I just gathered up some white candles, ceramic candle holders, and those old lanterns that I had laying around in the garage.

Then I arranged them, and poof, that old, dark, dirty firebox turned into an old, dark, dirty firebox with candles and candlesticks and lanterns in it.

It's okay. I have these mums to brighten up the place.  In case my candles inside the firebox trick didn't work, and it's still dark and dirty looking to you, too.

What do you think? Better or not?  I know I've asked you for ideas before, and you came up with some good ones.  BUT:  I don't want to paint the mantle,  I like the contrast of the dark antique wood. And the fireplace looks goofy with a basket inside, I tried it. Also, there's a shortage of lovely, white, birchwood pieces (as seen in all the designer magazines) around here right now. The oak I do have available is split, or too chunky, or full of bugs.

So...what to do? Should I leave this, or just empty the whole thing and close the screen? (I know, I need to replace the screen  but I can't do that right now, either. Remember, our girl is going away to finish college. And we are paying her way. Which means: No new anything. Ever again!)

I know I can count on you ot be honest with me. Leave me a comment, tell me what you think! But be nice, or I won't share any more dessert recipes with you!!

Also, there's just one more day to enter the giveaway, winner will be drawn on Saturday, July 31.

Until next time,

I'm linking to Show and Tell Friday at Cindy's Romantic Home and Finer Things Friday at Amy's Finer Things. and Friday Finding Beauty at Dipity Road.  Go check out these sites, and Thanks to you all Ladies!!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Rocky Road Tart,Thank You and Wednesday Gratitude #24 at Heart and Home

Hello! Welcome to Heart and Home

It's Wednesday Gratitude, and a special day!
Link in below, and remember to mention Heart and Home in your post, please!

"If the only prayer you said in your whole life was,
 "thank you," that would suffice." - Meister Eckhart

Today is Heart and Home's
 one year Blog Anniversary.

Yep, that's right.
One year ago today, with trembling fingers, I clicked on "publish post",
and started a new adventure.
I had no idea where my rambling and often feeble attempts
 at documenting my home and life would lead me.
But, here I am, and here you are!

And, since I knew you were coming, I baked you a cake!

Eggs, cream and dark bittersweet chocolate combine to make a rich and creamy ganache.

Melted butter, sugar and graham crackers make a delicious crust.

The ganache is poured over chopped nuts and mini-marshmallows.

Chilled for an hour in the refrigerator,
 more nuts and marshmallows and ganache are added to the top.

After an hour or so, the rock-road torte is ready to eat.
You will love it!

You will be thankful for chocolate, and nuts, and cream and graham cracker crust!

And, I am so thankful for you!

 When I began, I had no idea Heart and Home would become such an important part of my life. I didn't know I would come into contact with so many kind, supportive, funny, friendly, talented and inspiring people. I had no idea you were all out there,
and that you would welcome me with open arms!

Someone who doesn't blog may think it is a strange way to spend time. I used to think so, too. But, I didn't understand the connections and bonds that can form across the internet, when ideas, thoughts and feelings are shared with like-minded people, day in and day out. Blogging has allowed me to visit with you around the world, it's given me a creative push, and I am very thankful you've been so receptive to me.  I love hearing from you and I read every comment and e-mail - I love knowing what's on your minds, so keep those comments coming!

I'm truly grateful!
I'm looking forward to the year ahead,
and excited to see where Heart and Home will lead me.

There are still a few more days to enter the drawing for the giveaway!
I'll chose a random winner on July 31.
Winner receives a $40 gift certificate to Lisa Leonard  Designs,
vintage linens,
a necklace from my collection,
and some other lovely lovelies, especially for you!

Become a follower,
leave a comment,
refer a friend!
You can only win if you enter!

Until next time,


(from Martha Stewart, with simplifications and revisions by Heart and Home)

For the crust:
6 ounces graham crackers (about 11)
1 tblsp. sugar
1/8 tsp salt
5 tblsp. butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Process graham crackers, sugar and salt in a food processor (or put crackers in plastic bag and crush with rolling pin, and combine with salt and sugar). Transfer to medium bowl, stir in melted butter, mix until combined.
Press crumbs into bottom and up sides of 9" springform pan. Bake until crust just starts to turn golden brown, about 15 minutes. Let cool completely on wire rack.

For the Ganache:
15 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (or use good quality choc. chips)
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
2 cups mini-marshmallows
1 cup nuts, chopped

Melt 10 ounces of the chocolate in a large bowl set over a pan or bowl of simmering water, keep warm. Bring cream to simmer, remove from heat. Whisk 1/4 cup hot cream into beaten egg yolks, then whisk this mixture into remaining cream. Whisk cream mixture into melted chocolate, set aside.
Toss 2 cups mini-marshmallows with 1 cup chopped nuts. Scatter mixture over bottom of cooled crust, pour all but 1 cup ganache over nuts and marshmallows. Refrigerate tart, uncovered, until firm (about one hour).
Cover reserved 1 cup ganache with plastic wrap until ready to finish tart.

For the topping:
3/4 cup mini-marshmallows
1/4 cup chopped nuts
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Toss together marshmallows, chopped nuts and chopped chocolate, sprinkle over chilled tart. Drizzle reserved 1 cup ganache over tart, and refrigerate 10 minutes more before cutting.

Tart can be refrigerated, covered, for up to three days.

Linking to Linky Party at Tea Rose Home, Works for Me Wed. at We are that Family, Whatever Goes at Someday Crafts, Spotlight Yourself at It's So Very Cheri. Thank you!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Lisa Leonard, Parties, and Special Celebrations at Heart and Home

Hey there everyone! Is it Tuesday already?
It's been one crazy, exciting, fun weekend around here! Thanks for stopping by today.

There was a special celebration at our house on Saturday.

My first-born, my only child for seven years, turned 21 on July 24th.
In three weeks she's moving away to finish college.

We celebrated her big day in style, and gave her quite a send-off!

There were hand-made streamers and banners, and flowers, and piles of gifts covered in ribbons and bows.

Bright colors, vintage linens, birds and fresh flowers set the theme.

A big jar collected the notes written by all the guests.
There are notes to inspire, encourage, support, cheer and advise.
Our dearest friends and family gathered at this table and wrote and wrote.

I would love to read what each one says, but they're not for me.
I know there are many wise and wonderful things on those little cards, for her eyes only.

We have really great friends, and they've been a terrific influence on both my girls over the years.
Caring and kind, they've always been wonderful role models, and tons of fun.

On a day when she might not be feeling confident or happy,
 when she's down and feeling lonely,
notes written to her by the people who love her most
 might be just what she needs to help pick up her spirits.

Little boxes held candy for all the guests, just the thing to pick up their spirits as they headed home.
Not that anyone left here feeling less than jovial.

The day was filled with laughter, and story telling, reminiscing, and talking about the future together.

Of course, there was food. Lots of food!
 And, most important, several desserts.
 We had a good time eating!

There was laughing, hugging and joking, 
singing, embracing and a whole bunch of love in this house this weekend!

And, after the last guest left, a warm and comfortable feeling
 settled over me as I picked up and put the house back in order.

You know that deep and satisfying exhaustion
that comes after a job well done?
That's how I felt when I finally crawled into bed.

There was a little bit of sadness, too thinking about my girl moving away,
 (and some regret over a missed opportunity to give the perfect toast -
when I only managed an OK one).
But mostly I just felt proud.
Proud of her for who she is.
And proud of me for being her mom, for a party well done,
and a child well-raised!

I left the banners up, and the flowers are still fresh and brightening our rooms.
They are nice reminders of
a fun day, and
the love and laughter of our friends and family.

and, speaking of love and laughter...
 remember the giveaway??
To celebrate Heart and Home's One Year Anniversary
 I'm giving away:

A Lisa Leonard $40 gift certificate.
 A specially chosen necklace from my collection.
Vintage linens.
Lovely and wonderful items collected just for you.

All you need to do is comment, be a follower or subscriber, or refer a friend.
Each earns you a new entry.
Go ahead, you know you want to win!
Even if you don't, go ahead and leave a comment, it'll make my day.

Until next time,

linking today to 3 or More Tuesday,
 and Tabletop Tuesday  Thanks Ladies!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Lisa Leonard, a Luster-ware Tablescape, and a Giveaway at Heart and Home

Welcome back everyone! Thanks to all of you who joined Wednesday Gratitude, and for all the supportive comments. You ladies are the best, I really appreciate your kind words! There's always room for anyone who wants to join in, so feel free to link to the party next week.

I'm happy you've dropped by today, and I'm happy to be participating in Susan's 100th tablescaping party.  Stop over at  Between Naps on the Porch when you're done here, and prepare to be amazed.

Susan is one of the sweetest hostesses around, and I know you'll be glad you went by to say hi.
Tell her Heidi at Heart and Home sent you!

For this special occasion I pulled out the vintage luster-ware tea service I've had stuffed in a box and in storage under the house for about 3 years.

I ironed and layered the cut-work linens I got for a song on E-Bay. Well, I didn't actually sing, but you know what I mean.

I thought the Lily napkin rings added just the right touch of drama!

I imagined a tea party for just the two of us, you and me.

There are warm lemon-cranberry scones in the oven.

The water is starting to boil for a nice pot of tea.
I love green tea with jasmine, but you can have your choice.
I've got 2 or 3, or 20 to choose from.
And honey, and lemon, and milk. Fix it how you like it!

Or, I suppose I can make a pot of coffee, if you'd rather. But it's not the same when you have a tea party with coffee.

I know it's the middle of the day, but I'll light the candles anyway, 'cause it's a special occasion.
Besides, I always light the candles.
There's something extra nice about eating by candlelight.

My girls have grown up having their meals that way, and know how to get wax out of a tablecloth!

Isn't love wonderful? These two seem to think so.
Please, no smooching at the table.

I borrowed the tulips from the vase in the living room.
They look perfect in here and really brighten up the table.

And, in case you're in a really festive mood, I put out the gold-rimmed Noritake crystal wine glasses.
Because this is a celebration after all.
A glass of wine a day is good for you, or so I've been told.

The luster-ware was a find on E-Bay a few years ago.  I was the winning bid at $10.99 for a service for six.
It cost me $15.00 to have the box shipped.

Still, I thought it was a real steal for something so pretty, and vintage to boot.

There's a reason it's called luster-ware. Just look at that shimmer.
This set was made after the war, in "Occupied Japan"
Some was made in Bavaria, or later, in just plain "Japan".

I have a nice collection of different sets, but they are all packed away, waiting for that perfect dining room hutch that doesn't seem to exist. Believe me I've looked.

I'm not giving up hope that I'll find it one of these days.

In the meantime, I don't mind unpacking boxes, and digging through tissue and newspaper and bubble wrap, and unwrapping this treasure to share with you for our special tea party.

Congratulations, Susan, on 100 inspiring Tablescape posts. Thanks for letting us tag along and for sharing your creativity with us!!

And now, I've got some exciting news!!

You know there's a giveaway going on here at Heart and Home, to celebrate my one year blogging anniversary.
You do know that, don't you?
Well, the prizes just got even better, because Lisa Leonard, yes THAT Lisa Leonard, is throwing a $40 gift certificate into the pot.

That's a whole $40 to spend however you'd like, at her shop.
If you like jewelry like this:

or this:

You'll want to get in on this deal! The gift certificate is in addition to the already fabulous prizes I've been collecting for you. Because I want to thank you for one very special year of bloggy heaven.

Believe me, if I could enter my own drawing, I'd do it just for the gift certificate. I really want one of those necklaces. Maybe I'll treat myself...

To enter, leave a comment.
For extra entries, become a follower or subscriber (or let me know if you are or do)
Refer a friend, or post about this giveaway and wow, that's two more entries!
It's so easy, the winning entry will be chosen July 31. Good luck! (for the official giveaway details, go here.)

Until next time,

Of course, I'm linking up to Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Wednesday Gratitude #23 at Heart and Home

Hi all! How's it going today?

Linky is at the bottom if you want to join Wednesday Gratitude. Please remember a link back to Heart and Home in your post!

"At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person.Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us." -Albert Schweitzer

I'm feeling grateful today for the warmth and comfort of my home.
Because it was FOGGY most of the day, and then a cool ocean breeze kept things very unlike summer.

After finishing all the errands and running around here and there and everywhere, it was a good day to stay inside and read.

This is where I like to do that best. My comfy slip covered chair sits right next to the window, with a view of the orchard.

I'm grateful I have a nice collection of books to keep me company, on those days when it's better to stay inside and contemplate other peoples lives, or to learn new things, or to armchair travel to faraway lands.

I'm going to be counting on those books a lot more in the future.

I just found out my best friend is moving away.

She won't be around for those girl-talk lunches we've been having together for 12 years now.
Sure, there's still the phone, but I don't think it will be the same.

She was the one I counted on for all the conversation and understanding that only girlfriends seem to share.

She's been there through the thick and thin of the past decade, plus some.
She was a rock solid support to me when my mom died, and all during the time my husband was dealing with serious health issues.

That was a tough, double-whammy, bad year, and she stood by me and helped me get through it.
I'm very grateful for that.

With her moving away, and everyone else off doing their thing, I'll be alone in the house.

I suppose it's an enviable position to be in.  I'll be surrounded by the things I love, all the stuff of my life that only means something to me and the family that grew up here.

It will be time for me to start doing my thing.

Which means I have some work to do.

Because I have no idea exactly what my thing is.

I'm hoping to figure it out though,
and I'm grateful I have the time and space to think it through.

And grateful I can share my thoughts (deep or not-so-deep) on this little blog of mine.
Or sit around and read on a foggy, windy day.

I know I will miss my friend.
I'm grateful I still have you. Don't go and move away now, okay?

Until next time,

linking to: Works for Me Wednesday at We Are That Family, and Welcome Wednesday at Take it From Me.