Do Drop In: Entertaining With Ease

The welcome mat at Places In The Home is working overtime. Several of our family members are taking to the spring holiday road, and our house is do drop in central.  Good visits begin with good hosting and good hosting begins with a stress free host or hostess.  Entertaining is supposed to be a fun for guests and hosts alike, isn’t it?  I know I have a much better entertaining experience if I access and assign a theme, go with the entertaining with ease flow and keep the focus on comfortable surroundings, inviting touches and relaxing times.

Texas_bluebonnet_plant_lupinus_texensis_with_dark_blue_flowers_with_white_topTexas Bluebonnet

Texas times and family memories will be a hot topic of conversation.  Our company’s travels begin in Texas Bluebonnet country, and with Texas being the common denominator of our family tree, I played it up in theme and setting. Farmhouse chic makes an effortless foundation to build your theme upon.


A simple arrangement of carnations mixed with greenery and placed beside an even simpler arrangement of apples and bananas in a milk glass center bowl provides a nice centerpiece in a farmhouse chic kind of way.


Fresh flowers from the floral department of the local grocery store are my weakness, and when the word clearance enters into the picture my shopping cart runneth over.  You really get your money’s worth with carnations. Carnations can last for weeks with an every other day water change and a quick stem trim.  I use tepid water, scale back leaves from the stems to prevent contact with the water, and place a couple of drops of food coloring in the water.


From recipes to table setting decor, I like to source from within meaning I like to use what I have on hand.  A great home decor clearance sale and dollar store items purchased in bulk can provide all the entertaining with ease elements needed for a well designed themed tablescape.


art, objects, or design considered to be in poor taste because of excessive garishness or sentimentality, but sometimes appreciated in an ironic or knowing way.


Into each case of design and decorating a little if kitchen kitsch is wrong, I don’t want to be right will fall.  The method to my madness lies deeply rooted in the from which I came from principle. I picked up several sets of rooster dish towels at the local dollar store back during the holidays knowing full well they would come in handy. Paired with copper napkin rings I found on clearance at Dillard’s a couple of years ago, the dish towels made great dinner napkins.


The Places In The Home gang comes from a long line of hen on nest dish collectors.  The women of our family felt no respectable kitchen and/or breakfast room decor complete without the addition of at least one hen on nest dish.



On the menu front I aim to please.  Round our dinner table, quality rules over quantity which lines up perfectly with easy menu planning.  As long as the iced tea is sweet and I keep the serving sizes in just a bite territory it is all good and tasty. The culinary rule of KISS (keep it salad simple) always applies.


I set up a salad buffet for first course serve yourself ease.  Individual Mason jar salads layered with shredded iceberg lettuce, fresh tomato, chopped ham, green onion, Feta cheese crumbles, homemade buttermilk dressing and a dash of kosher salt and fine black pepper were a hit with the just a bite crowd.


Biscuit BLTs with Peach Mayonnaise bring back memories of summers spent in Texas at my great-grandmother’s house.  Traditions tastes so good!


Entertaining goes hand in hand with spring and summer, and entertaining with ease goes hand in hand with y’all come back now, ya hear!

Love your style!


Personal Interpretation: Farmhouse Style

The farmhouse style of decorating seed has been planted on the farm, so to speak.  A friend phoned this morning to ask if I had any vintage dough bowls in inventory.  Are you kidding?  I can’t keep vintage dough bowls in inventory.

dough-bowlsAuction Time!

People absolutely love dough bowls and use them for so many things! Antique and vintage dough bowls remain a very sought after items, and admittedly, are becoming harder and harder to find.  The fall decorating loyal recognize the dough bowl as the necessary decorative accessory essential to the fall themed tablescapes and vignettes we love to adorn and display.


Recently a friend dropped by the house to pick up the one dough bowl I own that I can actually put my hands on.  Locating things is a treasure hunt all its own at times.  As I spiffed up the dough bowl, a quintessential accessory in the farmhouse home, I got to thinking about all things farmhouse style.

Markell_House,_Frederick_MD2Markell House

I’ve trespassed walked through scads of authentic, old, abandoned and historic farmhouses over my lifetime.  Walking through these properties gives me goosebumps not of the I’ve seen a ghost kind, but of the I’ve gleaned a host of farmhouse style ideas kind.  If you’ve ever wandered in wonder through the real McCoy, you know what I’m talking about.

oshee house“Entrance hall – O’Shee House, 1606 Fourth Street, Alexandria, Rapides Parish, LA” (HABS LA,40-ALEX,1–9 )

A good eye sees past the wallpaper and cheesecloth and zeros in on stunning millwork and/or shiplap walls.  These treasure-troves of design and decorating ideas leave a hauntingly memorable impression.


It was nothing for my mother and her mother do decide on a whim to load up the Lincoln, point the hood emblem west to Texas, and scout out an adventure on the way to my great-grandparents house.  Over the Louisiana bayous and down the Texas farm-to-market roads, to great-grandmother’s house we went with not a seat belt fastened or a care in the world.


My grandmother could scope out a farmhouse and an antiques shop like nobody’s business. I learned at an early age to never question the motives of a native Texan whose eyes have seen the glory of a Texas farmhouse, hole in the wall junk shop or Bluebonnet field.  To the kid in me at the time, these monuments to Texas served as one big Texas sized diversion on the road to great-grandmother’s house.


Texas Farm Bureau

Now Bryan! Now Cameron! Now Heidenheimer and Temple!  On, Belton! On, Killeen! On, Hewitt and Waco!  We were farmhouse when farmhouse wasn’t cool. Fast forwarding to my present day tastes, I realize my love of antiques and personal style interpretation of today’s modern farmhouse design is deeply rooted in the farmhouses, buildings and fields of Bluebonnet dreams waltzed across Texas all those years ago.


Lily and Ruby Vintage

I especially remember stopping in Heidenheimer, Texas at a shop filled with nothing but vintage glass bottles and insulators.  My grandmother, the Lucille in Lucille’s Treasures, Trinkets and Trash, thought this shack of a building standing somewhere between erect and dilapidated square in the middle of a dirt lot was the be-all and end-all treasure trove.  The dank scent of musty corners and deals filled the air.  Blue bottles and Bluebonnets-a theme lays the groundwork for creative decorating.


House Beautiful

magnolia-leavesMagnolias and Mason Jars- farmhouse chic!

I’m totally convinced my Texas travel memories play a significant role in my personal interpretation of farmhouse style.

farmhouse style


Blue transferware.

White ironstone.


Ebru Marble Ceramic Serving Board

Antique 19th Century American Pie Safe

Antique 19th Century American Pie Safe


Stoneware crocks.  Decorative concrete statue. Butcher blocks. Chicken wire.  Yes, yes and yes!


Curtis & Windham Architects

Country+Barn+PlatterCountry Barn Platter 



2015 Charlottesville Idea House, kitchen overall

2015 Charlottesville Idea House


“The Last Two Jars” Oil Painting on Linen

Buttermilk biscuits baked in a cast iron skillet and served with room temperature butter, comb honey or Steen’s pure cane syrup rings the yum, yum dinner bell in the farmhouse kitchen.



Buttermilk Biscuits


½ cup cold butter

2 ¼ cups self-rising soft-wheat flour

1 ¼ cups buttermilk

Self-rising soft-wheat flour

2 Tablespoons melted butter


Cut butter with a sharp knife or pastry blender into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Sprinkle butter slices over flour in a large bowl.  Toss butter with flour. Cut butter into flour with a pastry blender until crumbly and mixture resembles small peas.  Cover and chill 10 minutes.  Add buttermilk, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead 3 or 4 times, gradually adding additional flour as needed.  With floured hands, press or pat dough into a 3/4-inch-thick rectangle (about 9 x 5 inches).  Sprinkle top of dough with additional flour.  Fold dough over onto itself in 3 sections, starting with 1 short end. (Fold dough rectangle as if folding a letter-size piece of paper.)  Repeat entire process 2 more times, beginning with pressing into a 3/4-inch-thick dough rectangle (about 9 x 5 inches).

Press or pat dough to ½-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface; cut with a 2-inch round cutter, and place, side by side, on a parchment paper-lined or lightly greased jelly-roll pan. (Dough rounds should touch.)

4. Bake at 450° for 13 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven; brush with 2 Tbsp. melted butter.

-Southern Living



Milk glass.  Bull head wall decor.  Vintage pitchers and creamers. Fabulous staples of farmhouse style.





Crystal chandelier.  Animal prints in farmhouse fashion juxtaposed with gold gilt frames.


Personal interpretation of interior styles is often subject to life influences. Decorating outside the norm of a traditional design style is an excellent way to further emphasize your personal style and taste preferences.

“The home should be the treasure chest of living.”

— Le Corbusier


Love your style!