Mixing it Up with Melamine

April 8th, 2014

This last few days of sunshine have me excited for warmer weather and for casual spring and summer table settings indoors and out. I’ve never been the matchy matchy type when it comes to dinnerware, I like to mix patterns from several sources old and new, it feels far more collected and original that way.

I’ve spent some dollars on collections of melamine plates over the years for serving up summer hors d’oeuvres or savory meals without worry. Melamine plates became popular in the 1950s and now this resin based dinnerware is again in vogue. Many retailers are now offering stylish yet practical collections of melamine plates and platters for casual appetizers, suppers, and impromptu picnics. Modern versions mimic their ceramic sisters but have the benefit of indestructability. 

A few weeks ago, I bought these melamine accent plates and last week these watercolor floral napkins in a fresh color palette with an aloha feel – together they’ll be lovely in spring and summer for dining al fresco in the courtyard.

yellow melamine blue and yellow watercolor floral

  

To inspire, here are a few favorite melamine plate + cloth napkin combos, layer them with your basic whites for a fresh look this season!

blue and black plate napkin

 

mod and jade mix

 

blush plate floral napkin

 

blue and yellow plate napkin

 

yellow and gray place setting

 

stripe and pattern plates

blue striped plate / intersect napkin / fanfare napkin / middleton platesblush plate / villa napkin / isola napkin / coral blue plate / yellow rosa plate / gray chevron napkin / striped napkin / bazaar plates/  

Are you a fan of melamine plates and platters too? Where have you found your favorites?

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Lemurs & Lenses

April 7th, 2014

What a great weekend we had! My mother-in-law and her husband came to visit so we took them to a place we’ve always wanted to see and only 30 minutes from our home called Safari West. If you’ve ever wanted to visit the Wine Country, this place is yet another reason to do so. Safari West is not a zoo, it’s a 400 acre preserve in the heart of Sonoma County that is home to several hundred animals and bird species native to Africa and South America, many of them endangered. Together with the kids and grandparents, we set out on a perfect spring day with sunny skies on a safari adventure! 

In anticipation of the visit, I rented a 18-200mm lens like I’ve done before to capture the animals in their habitats. It came with a hood and allowed me to zoom out to capture wide panoramas and zoom in to capture faces! 

lens rental

I love the idea of “try before you buy” so this was a great opportunity to take this versatile lens out for spin – I rent from Borrow Lenses and pick up at a local photography shop. This one is so great for vacationing outdoors when you take along your DSLR – the range of 18-200mm allows you to capture so much while on the go and without ever switching lenses.

The adventure begins on an all terrain vehicle (it felt a little like Jurassic Park) with an experienced guide and you ride all the way through the preserve up and down and into valleys where different animals live on a two hour tour. 

all terrain vehicles

 

guide in preserve

Some of the animals come up right next to the vehicle which is so cool but many of the animals are 20 to 100 feet away. Some habitats are enclosed (rhinos, cheetahs, monkeys) but many are not.

Antelopes and giraffes and zebras cross your path as you travel around, here’s a glimpse at a few of creatures captured on this beautiful preserve. There are hundreds of animals here, these are just a few favorite shots straight out of the camera using the borrowed lens.

lemur on branch

 

zebra in preserve

    

Read the rest of this entry »

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Weekend Reading

April 4th, 2014

Hello and happy weekend! The sun is supposed to come out again here in Northern California after a week of rain so we’ve got big plans for an outdoor adventure someplace we’ve always wanted to see, can’t wait!

Are you in a spring sprucing mood? It seems everyone is freshening and brightening now that April is here. I’m smitten with a makeover for a growing family that popped up in my reader this morning…

living room makeover 6thstreetdesign

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Don’t miss this living room and office makeover by Kirsten & Erin at 6th Street Design School.

Beige and white is beautiful.

The latest issue of Rue Magazine is out and filled with so many fresh spaces!

Some great April Fools Day posts:  why you should be using plastic furniture covers and how to be the best food blogger ever.

What happens in a single second online.

The most successful people are givers.

Does Facebook make us unhappy?

Cute alert: a baby chick cam.

I’ve worn this shirt twice this week, it’s the perfect spring layer.

What a pretty porch swing!

 

My articles at Lamps Plus and Better Homes & Gardens

gray kitchen wood stools

concrete countertops

Contemporary Looks in Bar Stools

Now Trending: Concrete Countertops

Have a fab weekend!

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