April Cornell tablecloth a welcome addition to Holiday table

Have you ever seen something – say, on social media – and you knew you had to have it? That’s how I felt when I saw this April Cornell holly tablecloth on the feed of Instagram user The Tablescaper, who has been one of my favorites for years.

I have several holiday tablecloths, and two or three Lenox tablecloths that match my Lenox Holiday pattern, but this one took my breath away.

However, it happened to be Christmas day that I saw it, so I wasn’t sure what kind of luck I would have. The Christmas supply would probably be already sold out, and anything worthwhile would probably have been picked over already.

Since my local HomeGoods often has April Cornell, I took off in the morning as soon as they opened.  It wasn’t Really early. It was probably about 10:30 and I just wasn’t going to get my hopes up.

But I am a bargain shopper too, and I sometimes have a way of sniffing these deals out. So I headed in.

I searched the Christmas aisles, the holiday aisles, the clearance aisles. There were some nice things still there, but no April Cornell.

I wandered the aisles looking under other tablecloths, picking through items that had been tossed aside and into the wrong category.

Disheartened,  hearing my cousin’s voice in my head: “You’ll never find it!” I headed to the front of the store toward the exit.

I noticed some holiday candles and pot-pouri and other castoffs on the white shelves near the check out.

Looking, looking, looking.

And there it was. ONE lone tablecloth, still in the plastic, still in tact. April Cornell. Holly pattern.

And of course it was 50 percent off the day after Christmas.

OMG! Well all I could say was thank you Home Goods and thank you to the God of Christmas!

I grabbed that baby so fast and brought it home to where it was meant to be.

It’s the day after Christmas so I just set it up to get a glimpse of how it will look.

Next year it will be my tablecloth for the holiday table! And it couldn’t be more perfect.

Hyatt Sarasota provides sunny and tropical December getaway

Living in Florida means we get to enjoy hotels and venues like the Sarasota Hyatt. It also means we get to enjoy them in the middle of December for a quick vacation.

Situated in the middle of town close to the marina, the hotel is easy to get to and check in to. The lobby was decked to the hill in hot pink and lime green — eeeh!! I just loved it.

The pool area is an oasis, and although there are high towers on two sides, the palm trees are lush, full and the focal point of the area.

The staff at the pool bar were most friendly, and they offer a large Hurricane Category 5 cocktail that is very good and lives up to it’s name. We had burgers here too and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

The hot tub next to a large rock structure and waterfall really helped us to get away from it all.









Having a quiet breakfast inside, we overlooked the sunny pool patio. The linens were just beautiful, made by French company Garnier-Thierbaut. I tried to buy some, but they apologized and said they weren’t for sale. Luckily, I was able to find the linen company online easily.

I’m looking forward to returning to this hotel and enjoying a sunny getaway.

Sarasota’s Cafe L’Europe an enlightening treat

Going to St. Armand’s Circle in Sarasota is always a treat. In December, the circle is lit up, the nights are cool and people are out in full force enjoying what the region has to offer.

I’ve been to Columbia, Shore and Venice restaurants, but had never been to Cafe L’Europe before .

What a treat! I had crusted mahi mahi and prosecco.

They also feature a gorgeous cocktail of the day, which they go to great lengths to make tasty, colorful and festive. They also post these on their Instagram account so you can follow along.

My favorite part was wandering through the different rooms (Um, maam? Your dinner is served) to see the gorgeous wrought iron and especially the very different chandeliers.

Old Northeast Neighborhood Association shows off festive candlelight home tour

I have wanted to go on the  annual historic Old Northeast Neighborhood Association candlelight tour of homes for years. Finally! I couldn’t find anyone who would go with me, so finally I just went by myself. And I’m so glad I did!

There were eight homes on the tour, from one that was remodeled and did not have furniture yet, to modern designs, to traditional.

My favorite was the first home I toured. The homeowners had created a very warm harbor in a traditional bungalow style home. Done in rich reds and traditional evergreen boughs, it was magnificent.

Moving into the traditional and separate dining room was a feast for the eyes! Tablecloth, runner, chargers, elaborate decorations on the plate, crystal tipped tree in the centerpiece, amongst swag garlands and a beautiful chandelier – all reflected in a large mirror — well it was all breathtaking.

More of her china collection, including Bordallo Pinheiro from Portugal, was neatly displayed in two smaller china cabinets that looked like built ins.

The whole room was charmingly welcoming and elegant at the same time. 


After going through the beautiful kitchen, there was the family room dining room, more casual but just as welcoming.

Down the hallway, i was delighted that she had her linen collection so that others could see. Usually people store them away in drawers – but a collection like this Should be on display! I thought I had a large collection!

It was awe-inspiring.

What’s more, the homeowners couldn’t have been nicer, and the lady of the house indulged me by talking about china, patterns, and tablecloths for quite some time.

What a wonderful day!!

Create the perfect holiday table with tips from Plate Girl and WFLA


This month I was honored by WFLA’s Gayle Guyardo to be asked to be on her Pinterest segment. Gayle loves featuring crafty how-tos and the people who love to pin!

She heard that I loved setting tables and l knew how to do it on a budget — visiting thrift stores to find many of my great finds.

I was able to share several pieces of my Christmas china – Christopher Radko, Fiestaware red, Noble Excellence’s ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, vintage Scio’s Holly and my favorite, Lenox Holiday.

I showed how to make an easy floral centerpiece using flowers from the grocery store, and how to swap out different collectibles or candlesticks from an existing collection.

It was so much fun to be able to set a lovely holiday table in Gayle’s own dining room!