Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Gentle Nudge of Spring

Mother Nature is being the perfect, gracious hostess at this time of year in March, serving up her round of tantalizing appetizers of warmer, sunnier days before the main entree called Spring is eventually served. How can I tell you ask?  The mild temperatures for northeastern Wisconsin several weeks ago was in the 50's with plenty of sunshine before it once again snowed and turned drastically cold.  Just about every window in the house was opened for a brief moment to let in the fresh and slightly crisp air throughout all of the rooms. I am so grateful to be seeing any beginning glimpses of Spring even though I know it can be short lived and I will need to patiently wait until it finally arrives "with the main course" at the end of April.

With an onset of warmer weather, I no doubt get a "tidbit of vitality" and a "morsel of get-up-and-go". Once the temperature rises, so does the energy level and it kick starts a frenzy of Spring cleaning. The laundry line which remained bare throughout most of the winter now becomes fully weighted down with freshly washed bedding, curtains and anything else that can capture the pure, clean country air.

With that being said, this slow winter thaw is a good time to begin putting away items no longer used in this season.  The first to get changed to a lighter and brighter arrangement is the dining room tablescape.  Just like changing out heavy winter attire to lighter weight apparel, the table also undergoes a transformation.  Gone are the heavier tablecloths in darker, muted colors.  In their place are ones that are light, soft or bright in color and have a simple pattern.

As a result, this week's post features a tablescape that exemplifies "the gentle nudge of Spring" and will reflect the anticipated feast of the coming season. The light, airy tablescape in delicate blue and white includes a beautiful handmade white lace tablecloth that is a family heirloom and a gift from a former neighbor.  It is surely a treasured piece.  It creates the perfect basis for a tablescape with a vintage motif, don't you think?

What harmonizes well with lace?  Crystal.  Some how I can't have one without the other.  So to complement the beauty of the fine lace, crystal wine glasses, a hand-cut crystal cake knife set and plate and a crystal serving bowl were included to add radiance and luster and a touch of elegance to the tablescape.

A pearl garland is one of those little details which can significantly enhance a tablesetting.

The beautiful pattern of this blue and white toile fabric featured in the napkins tells a story all of its own.

The blue and white Century Stoneware dinnerware set from Japan are accented with a white porcelain dessert plate from the Grape Collection.  The fruit pattern is present in both pieces and complements the vintage design as well.

With the energizing anticipation of Spring, I had the opportunity to finally try a new recipe for a "mirror" cake that has been on my to-do list for quite a while and, consequently, the cake became the centerpiece for my tablescape.  As with any new recipe, the first time making it becomes an adventure into new territory. Making the glaze (or mirror) for the top of the cake had its challenges.  For example, the challenge of obtaining the appropriate color (if you add coloring to your glaze). My cake is more of a teal blue color than a sky blue that I wanted to achieve, but the use of color enabled me to clearly show the "mirror" effect on the cake rather than keeping it the original creamy white. Although the recipe indicates that you can pour the glaze over the entire cake, I preferred to have only the top of the cake glazed.  The cake which is shown in the posting is a vanilla coconut cake, so the frosting is coconut flavored with shredded coconut added to the side of cake.

If you wish to try making the mirror glaze, you can find the recipe at:  Kara's Couture Cakes - Mirror Cake.

I love the shine and reflection from the mirror glaze.  It is something different and unique and has a wide variety of uses.

I also tried a new marshmallow cream cheese frosting recipe for the outside of the cake.  This recipe was also an added challenge.  The recipe requires three cups of powdered sugar in addition to one jar of marshmallow fluff. While making the frosting, I thought it was wise to sample the frosting while adding the powdered sugar a bit at a time.  I am glad I did since one or, at most, one and a half cups of powdered sugar was sufficient for my desired level of sweetness.  If you happen to like frosting that is less sweet like I do, you might also consider adding another four ounces of cream cheese to the eight ounces that are required to also cut down on the sweetness.  I liked this frosting and will keep the recipe for future use, but I will need to experiment with the amounts of these ingredients.

If you would like to give this frosting recipe a try, you can find the recipe at:  Little Delights Cake - Marshmallow Cream Cheese Frosting.

What sort of inspirations do you have as we approach the Spring season?

Happy Spring!