March’s Favourite Links | March’s favourite links

tulips

It’s the last day of March already! It seems like it has flown by except, of course, if you live in the Maritimes. Being stuck inside because of mountains of snow can cause cabin fever. You know what cures cabin fever? Interesting sites to surf.

I’ve been getting a lot of comments recently from my son about the lack of desserts. Well, I’m making this recipe from portandfin tonight and that should take care of any complaints.

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam has installed stunning light fixtures charmingly called Shylights that mimic opening flowers as they fall 30 feet from the ceiling. I would love to see them in person but I’m not sure I would get any further, I might just stand and watch Shylights all day. See them in motion at thisiscolossal

Uh oh, be prepared for some major travel envy. The Outside magazine list of the 30 Most Incredible Trips to Take in 2015 has a lot to add to your bucket list. Prepare to get some serious wanderlust here.

This is my kind of camping! Seriously a fantastic idea for those who want to “camp” not go camping. East Coast Glamping in Nova Scotia here.

Watching these lobster fishers is like watching a well choreographed dance. What a physical job. Watch lobster fishermen off Yarmouth here.

Napkin Etiquette | Napkin Etiquette

Are you hosting Easter or Passover?  I’d love to have family close enough to host for Easter but it’s not happening this year. Hosting a festive dinner is a lot of work but oh, so worth it.

The food is a crucial part of a dinner, of course, but almost as important is the presentation. I freely admit I have a thing for table linens bordering on an obsession. I’ve lost count of the number of sets of cloth napkins I have. Most of mine are a standard dinner size and I use them for all different occasions but there is actually a whole set of rules governing sizes and uses of napkins. I’ve done some research so let’s just have a little review shall we? Keep in mind though, like all rules, they are made to be broken.

Sizes: There are six size categories;

  1. Formal – 22 to 26 inches square
  2. Buffet – 18 to 24 inches
  3. Informal dinner – 18 to 20 inches
  4. Luncheon – 14 to 16 inches
  5. Tea – 12 inches
  6. Cocktail – 6 to 9 inches

Stack of napkins

Fabric: The only requirement for fabrics is that the napkins be absorbant. There is nothing more disconcerting than a napkin made from fabric that is chosen for looks alone and isn’t practical at all. That being said, the sky is the limit on fabrics, napkins are used to set a mood or a tone and to enhance the decor. The most formal of settings will most likely use a crisp linen in a damask or solid colour.

White linen napkin

Placement: In a very formal dinner the napkin should be folded and placed in the centre of the place setting even if using a charger. The other usual option is to place the napkin to the left of the forks or under the forks. Other than the most formal of dinners the placement is up to you, just make sure that it is consistent in placement for every guest.

Rings vs no rings: Originally rings were used so that the napkins could be reused. They are now used as another decor element and a way of adding personality. The most formal are silver but virtually any other materials can be used. There is no limit. When using rings, traditionally the napkin is drawn through to a point and the point is placed towards the diner. Guests should place the ring to the top left of the place setting when dining.

Damask napkin in ring

A few more points:  When dining your napkin should be folded in half and placed in your lap, traditionally as soon as the hostess has placed hers. If you leave the table during dinner your napkin should be placed on your chair. After dinner when leaving the table place your napkin to the left of the place setting, never ball it up or leave it on the plate.

These last points don’t only apply to formal dinners they apply every day, every time, paper or linen, at a diner or at home. At least that’s what I keep telling my son.

Herb Easter Eggs

Three herb Easter eggs

Easter decor is associated with newness, baby animals, buds, eggs – everything fresh. I find decorating for Easter really enjoyable, I spend so much time decorating for Christmas that I really want Easter to be a lot more low-key. I do, however, keep to the same “rules” that I set for myself at Christmas: everything natural and avoid artificial anything.

These lovely little herb coated Easter eggs fit into my decorating requirements perfectly. They would make a beautiful centrepiece as shown or nestled in a distressed terra cotta pot with some moss they would be stunning.

I used natural hard-boiled eggs and applied the fresh herbs with modge podge. I used real eggs because I assumed the herbs wouldn’t last very long anyway. I made these examples a few days ago and they still look exactly the same although I have kept them in the fridge most of the time. I’m going to assume they would easily last a few days out of the fridge.

Herb Easter eggs

I used marjoram and thyme because the thyme leaves were so tiny and the marjoram leaves were so soft and flexible. I had visions of rosemary looking really amazing but the leaves were so rigid that they wouldn’t stay on the eggs. So you might want to keep that in mind if you make these. I must say, that the thyme leaves had to be applied with tweezers which was a bit hard on the eyes but really easy and quick to do. I put a layer of mode podge on the eggs and applied the herbs and then coated the whole egg again.

Herb egg supplies

This egg treatment will help bring a bit of naturalness indoors this Easter.  Enjoy.

Herb Easter eggs

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