Dianne's Creative Table

I am inspired by light, all things natural, reusing previously loved items, and bargains!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Discount Roses

Apparently Walmart was expecting a lot of romance that didn't happen.  They still had tons of roses left over and on clearance the Friday after Valentines.  It took me a few minutes to dig though all the soft, brown and sad flowers, but I found enough beauties that I had to make a choice of which ones to purchase.
I did a quick mental inventory of all my tablescaping supplies and decided on a pale green/yellow dozen since I knew I had some things that would work well with the colors.  


Homemade focaccia using Cooks Illustrated recipes.  I would post it, but it didn't turn out as good as my old stand by recipe.  Looks pretty though doesn't it? 
Bacon and Blue Wedge Salad
Short Ribs
Roasted Asparagus
Goat Cheese Polenta
Chocolate Caramel Shortbread Cookie
Table Players
Quilted Place Mats - Home Goods
Green Chargers - Michaels
American Atelier China - Home Goods
Cambridge Flatware - Ross
Crystal Rose Bowl - Bombay Company
Shannon Cake Plate - Ross
Orrefors Votives - T J Maxx 
Napkins - Ross
I will be joining the parties hosted by The Tablescaper at Seasonal Sunday and Susan at Tablescape Thursday.  Thanks for hosting! 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Dining Aboard

On our recent trip to San Diego, we visited the Maritime Museum and toured several different types of ships.  One of the things I thought all of you would enjoy is a look at dining on board. 
 This is the Captain's quarters aboard the Star of India.  

 The Captain's Dining area.  The rails are to keep the plates from slipping into the diner's lap.  The back rests on the benches tipped forward so you could sit facing into or away from the table.  
In a dark passenger cabin, this creepy doll was sitting in the rocking chair.  The eyes glowed like this all the time.  
 The serving area for the Captain and special guests.  Love the keyhole china storage to keep it in place. 
Beans and other dry foods were stored in these barrels. 

Meals were prepared in the small kitchen on the upper deck.

The kitchen in the 1960's Russian submarine. 
The sub "dining room". 
Kitchen aboard the America Yacht with evidence of the all male crew piled up in the sink.
Hope you enjoy the "kitchen" tour of the ships.  Linking with the Tablescaper's Seasonal Sundays

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Dinner Surprise

My sweet husband surprised me when I came home tonight with a romantic intimate dinner table that he did all by himself.  
I was also surprised he was able to find anything to put together a table considering I have stuff stashed in hiding places all over the house.   
He used the lovely matching crystal vases I found in an antique mall in Escondido, CA last week, he filled them with beautiful pink tulips and I hardly even noticed that the price tag was still stuck on the glass :)
How did he know that red and turquoise is one my favorite color combinations?  He added a handmade card and a perfect shrimp cocktail.  
Sharing with Tablescape Thursday

Sunday, February 12, 2012

February Vacation

Since hubby took a break from the Antique and Garden Show this year we took advantage of the free time and went to San Diego.   
I have always wanted to go out whale watching and we found out about the America from Next Level Sailing, that does four hour sailing tours to see the whales.  If you are ever in San Diego, I highly recommend taking this trip.  
The ticket includes entrance to the Maritime Museum.  The museum has a collection of ships in the harbor open for tours.   
The Star of India.
The Surprise, used in the filming of Master and Commander. 
A Russian sub.
We boarded the America, participated in raising the sails, and headed out to find whales.  

On Monday, the weather and ocean was perfect for a first time sailor like me. Unfortunately, we didn't find any whales, but this company allows you to rebook, which we did for later in the week. 

I wouldn't call this the best job on the ship, but he did spot our whale quickly.
After spotting a whale, the engine was turned off and we used the sails to quietly approach.

 The only decent shot I captured of the whale.
Click on the arrow to see the video my hubby captured of our whale. 

We were treated to a close up view of a nuclear submarine as it came in for a crew change; so close up, that the navy came over and asked us to move! 
In addition to the whale, we saw sea lions, dolphins, sun fish, pelicans diving head first, and the following rare Hole Punch Cloud.

The ending of a perfect day!  
If you want to see the photos from from the Union Tribue San Diego photographer, who was with us on our trip, check out the slide show at the UT San Diego website.  I will be linking to the Tablescaper's  Seasonal Sundays

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Covered in Flour

I know this is not a table, but it's all about something we PUT on the table, so I thought I would sneak it in to Susan's Tablescape Thursday.
As an annual fund raiser, one of our local private schools offers a wide selection of evening classes during the winter months.  They ask parents and community folks with special skills to share those skills with those us willing to pay a fee to learn.  One of the classes that I took was offered by a local artisan bakery and we made  baguettes with poolish.
This is a poolish.  It's like a starter made with flour water and yeast, which grows for 8-12 hours and then gets mixed into the dough.

Our poor batch of dough for 10 people looks pitiful in this large mixer that makes daily bread for many of restaurants and grocery stores all around Middle Tennessee.  
Wheeled tubs were used to hold all the ingredients and to let the dough rise.  
The loaves are formed and they are placed on these sheets to rise.  
Since we were making baguettes we formed slightly elongated loaves.  After they spent about 30 minutes rising, we shaped them into long baguettes and then used a linen French cloth called a couche for the second rising.  

The formed loaves are laid on the couche and then it's pulled up to form a little tunnel for the loaf to rise.  These are never washed because the build up of flour keeps the dough from sticking.  Each loaf is turned out of the couche onto the wooden paddle seam side up, then flipped over, seam side down onto the floured canvas on the loader.  
Here's our loaves on the cool piece of equipment they use to load the ovens.  This loader could be raised and lower to suit the oven.

The head baker, Kevin, is showing us how to score the top of the loaves. 
The canvas covered shelf is pushed into the oven, the canvas continues to roll around the bottom of the loader and the loaves were deposited onto the stone shelves.  The canvas rolled around the loader and continued until it was all backed out of the oven ready to load again. 
Here's a look inside one of the nine oven doors.  After the bread was loaded, the baker would push a button and steam would fill the oven.  
The newest baker on their team is using a peel to remove six loaves at time from the oven and place them on the racks. 

Look at the beautiful cuts on the top of the loaves.  This was from the baker that had only worked there four days!  The bottom loaf is cut so we could see the texture of sourdough compared to regular bread. 

Corn meal is used to keep the dough from sticking to the sheets used for the rise of the free form loaves. 

Focaccia rising! 

Notice all the flour on the floor! 

Flour was several inches deep.  
I don't think this drain will be very useful if there is a need for it! 

Thank you Provence for a fun evening, and thanks to the hostess of Seasonal Sundays