Dollars are not something we have to spare.
My husband prefers to buy one thing of quality than 20 'cheap' things that perish in a short time after minimal use. This means I have to be wise in my purchases, and to be honest, a lot of purchases I make are found in op-shops (like Salvation Army, St Vinnies etc) or at markets and garage sales. I am very happy to buy at these places especially when I come home with what I would describe as 'treasures'.
On Friday night we had a couple from our school over for dinner. In the past I have always tried to put on a good meal and focused mainly on that aspect of the dinner, but not anymore. Maybe it is age related, but over the last year I have found increased joy within my heart by 'setting a scene' within my home - whether that be with soft furnishing I have made, a declutter throughout a room, candles or oil burners, our vintage leather bound classics with their covers all polished...it can be something small and seemingly inconspicuous or a transformation that is noticeble to a family member arriving home in the evening.
I gain great delight in these moments of change and refreshment.
With that in mind, after I spent the morning at work over at the school, I dropped in to the little op shops here in town to see if I could find 'things' that would set the scene for a small Shabby Chic dinner party.
I needed a cotton lace tablecloth. $2.50 and it was mine. Dessert bowls at $1 each, and lovely rose embellished dinner plates - a steal at $2.50 for five. Simple cotton placements in assorted colours, 50c each.
Now for the table centre. I finally went to 'that' shop (do you remember my regular haunt of last year?) and spent $20 on a permanent floral display - I have been wanting this since we moved here in 2009 and finally allowed myself the pleasure. :-)
In my store of treasures found previously were lovely hand embroidered linen napkins, a priceless white tablecloth that belonged to my MIL which would hide under the $2.50 cotton lace tablecloth I had just bought, and exquisite vintage silver and bone cutlery that we 'found' a couple of years ago.
I tied some vintage lace around a corner of the napkins as I do not have napkin rings, then all that was needed was some lovely candles in glass...
I stuffed chicken breasts with tomato and cashew pesto, feta cheese, and crispy prosciutto, then wrapped them in filo pastry, sprinkled with sesame seeds and baked....
On the side I had roasted baby tomatoes in garlic and olive oil....
These were served over a green salad with caramelised balsamic glaze, but I forgot to take a photo. Never mind, you can imagine. It tasted wonderful! :-)
For dessert I made a Lemon & Lime Tart with an almond shortcrust pastry...
...candied some lemon slices, but left a bit of 'tang' to balance the sweetness of the tart...
...melted good 70% Lindt chocolate and drizzled it onto baking paper for decoration...
...added a dollop of double cream, and served.
I can't wait to do this again. I wonder what 'scene setting' treasures I'll find next time?