Friday, 14 April 2017


      "The phrase al fresco is borrowed from Italian for "in the cool [air]", although it is not in current use in that language to refer to dining outside. Instead, Italians use the phrases fuori or all'aperto. 
      In Italian, the expression al fresco usually refers to spending time in jail." .... Wikipedia

    The Miniteers came over to my house last Wednesday.
    Linda Park came too, via SKYPE.
    It was wonderful to get together with my friends again.
    Janine will be leaving for Europe soon, and Fats has been very busy with "Fats things", Linda's in Australia experiencing buckets of RAIN just as we are here. 

    Most days find me cooped up inside, staying warm and dry, wrapped snuggly in my red plaid bathrobe, which has been my standard at- home uniform for several weeks running.

    Following our Miniteer's Day on Thursday, and still feeling re-charged after their visit, I was back to diddling around with VILLA LEONE.  As I was working on the interior staircase, I needed something and went hunting for it.  That's when I chanced upon a couple of peel and stick FAKE GRASS floor tiles, which I'd entirely forgotten I had.

    I might have intended them for Green Dolphin Street's garden, but never mind about that now, 
    because a Good Idea suddenly presented itself. 
    I abandoned construction inside the Villa so that I could go and play outside.

    The flexible tiles are 12 inches square and very GREEN.
    My Good Idea is to use them as a hedge for Villa Leone, so I thought I would give it a pretrial try out.
    I grabbed the unattached side patio from the Villa and stood both tiles up against it.
    I found a ugly lion fountain which I'd forgotten I had.  It  is perched upon a table for the photo shoot, then I filled the bowl with peaches.

    *This lion kinda reminds me of the cowardly lion from the "Wizard of OZ" ,all he lacks is courage! *

    I put out a variety of potted plants and flowers which usually sit waiting forever inside plastic storage boxes; 
    the rose tree I'd made for the balcony of Villa Leone but the blue hydrangeas were made by Fats specifically for "Lands End".  
    as I found more stuff, new ideas for settings began taking shape, soon to become the scenes expressing the title of this post:
    I'm using the patio table which I've shown you before. The columns are eventually going inside the Villa but they do look pretty against the hedge, don't they?
    I was afraid they would topple over and break something so I took them down, but this very formal look gives me  more food for thought...

    The table cloth is a round cotton doily which I cut down after I had painted one side with a mix of fabric glue and water.  The underside of the cloth is glued to some thin acetate cut to the same diameter as the table, so that later on I can lift the table cloth off clean and simple.
    * a handy trick I'd learned from Janine*

    I draped the cloth while it was still damp and held the folds with bulldog clips. Since this scene is only a try out, I wasn't too fussy about the way the folds looked, they can and will be re-shaped when it is time to get serious!    

    When the folds were dry they stayed put long enough for all of the pictures. 

    on the menu is

    Baked Ciambotta (Mixed Vegetable Stew with  a loaf of crusty bread, and a pitcher of chilled white wine.

    The Wonderful French blue Le Creuset Dutch Oven, is actually a fridge magnet which Janine brought to gift one to each of the Miniteers last Wednesday. 
    Linda's is yellow, and Fats chose orange

    It's Perfect and I LOVE IT! :D 

    A large pot of lavender sits on the table too.
    *note to self, 
    Make More Lavender! *

    the DINNER MENU 
    More Crusty Bread

      home-made red Wine
    a Succulent Roast leg of Lamb

    cooked medium rare, and served with roasted yellow potatoes, garnished with a sprig of fresh rosemary!
    * made by Fatima*

    so juicy that it makes my mouth water! 
    ripe green and black olives made by me

    DESSERT course: 
    ripe peaches and a bowl of sweet cherries

    a sponge cake with cherry jam between the layers
    garnished with toasted coconut

    * golden cherries on the stems
     made by Erzsebet of Hungarian Miniatures*


    fruit compote made by me in the 1990's

    The roses are by CARMEN at minismarillum 
     Her roses with the graceful grassy filler are displayed in a 
    tall green glass vase-
    a Seattle Show gift from Janine.

    another experimental layered torte of mine

     Surprise Surprise!
     a sock monkey arrived a few weeks ago from 
    Seattle, Washington
    * a SUPER SWEET and unexpected gift from my friend 
    Dena H." *
    xoxo :D
    after such a long day, it's nice to just sit and enjoy the garden
    It feels good to relax!
    Well whatdaya know?!  
    I just got a call from some friends passing through town. The're coming over for a quick visit. 

    I need to clear the table, then reset it again with pretty floral china and assorted fancy cakes, even though they don't plan on staying long- you never know until after they get here

    Everything's ready

    Welcome friends!  
    I'm serving coffee in the garden- 
    I'm so glad you came;


    and because it is Easter weekend-