Thursday, June 28, 2012

the little things

I really do think it is the little things in life that can make all the difference sometimes. A specially prepared meal for breakfast, taking time out for a good cup of coffee or tea or just making a sometimes tedious task that little bit more pleasant. Because when you think about it, it is the sum of all these little things that make up a substantial portion of our lives.

Porridge topped with fried banana, maple syrup and a little cream (based on this recipe) certainly made a difference to the start of my day. Somehow the piles of washing and cleaning I need to do, don't seem to be weighing down so heavily on me as they did yesterday.

I do love a good banana smoothie (full cream milk, a banana, a spoon of yoghurt, dash of vanilla and maple syrup or honey) as a quick pick-me-up late afternoon. When dinner needs to be made, kid's are not at their best, and truth be told neither am I, this is the perfect quick snack to tide me over until dinnertime. If only I could convince the kids to try some.

I have recently rearranged the mess that was on the middle bench of my kitchen. Cutlery sorted and in easy reach has to be a good thing. The tray tends to keep all the various jugs and cups together nicely.  Silverware and bone handled knives don't need to be hidden in a drawer for special occasions. Though I have another, more modern stainless steel cutlery set in drawer, I find I reach for these just as often. These knives are just the best buttering knives you will ever find. I'm afraid those stainless ones don't hold a candle to them.

I have started putting a pile of assorted napkins in a basket on the table. It saves the kids mistaking tea towels for napkins, which are a precious commodity on those weeks that it rains. This little stash is put together from ones I have sewn from quilting cotton, some Irish linen that was a gift at christmas and others picked up at op shops. Our little climber has discovered that there are other, more exciting uses for napkins.

I have been collecting vintage white damask linen napkins for over a decade. Originally finding a stash in my Nanna's shed, over the years I have added to the collection and now have enough to share around at a big family get together. They are getting a lot harder to find these days. But I always keep an eye out.

I have been collecting the napkin rings for just as long. I recently taught the kids how to pull a napkin through them. They do turn a meal into a more special occasion. It is amazing how many different variations in design and engravings there are on these little beauties. The personal inscriptions I do find to be the most interesting.

How do you make the everyday more special?


  1. I haven't made a smoothie in ages...great idea for that 'interesting' pre dinner hour time when i want to snack out of stress!!
    I too love those butter knives....they are the best and i like your idea of displaying them and using the tray so well! Had to laugh at your pic of Violet as i just came into the kitchen to find both twins sitting on the table with my cut out pattern pieces strewn everywhere....hmmm little climbers do test the patience don't they....but i love her use of napkins! Have a good day Tania x

  2. Love all those napkins! My girls will drink a smoothie if I add a handful of frozen raspberries to it. Then it's pink milk, see, and that's far more appetising.

  3. i love a banana smoothie - try some mint in it for a great flavour too!

  4. I am going to make your porridge and banana breakfast ~ it looks divine! Love your tray too ~ I'm really into trays at the moment ~ they are so practical and pretty. Have a lovely day!

  5. I completely agree about the little things making it special.
    I have lots of food allergies so had given away sitting down to enjoy a cuppa and a bikkie, until recently a friend introduced me to a beautiful tea and biscuits I could actually eat. She bought me a lovely little teapot with infuser and cup for my birthday. Now the whole process of making the bikkies and brewing my tea is such a pleasure. And it makes me stop, sit down and appreciate the little things.

    Love the boned handled knives and totally agree!

  6. I will have to try that fried banana on oatmeal (?) recipe. It looks divine!
    I keep all of my silverware out in mason jars on the counter. It is so much easier to reach for what you need, plus I just love them.
    We have a wonderful assortment of vintage silverplated silverware that we use everyday. Our business (Olive Spoon Studio on Etsy) is turning vintage silverware into jewelry or stamping it with words, so our lives revolve around silverware! There are so many gorgeous patterns, that I have built up quite a collection!
    I have not yet started collecting vintage napkin rings, but I've been tempted to for quite some time. I'm sure it will come.
    Lovely post and photos!

  7. Thanks for this post Tania. I really needed to read it today. Today the washing and housework are weighing heavily on me. We have visitors coming for the weekend and I want/need to do a good clean. There is so much I want to do and it's hard trying to fit everything in. You are so right. The little things can make a big difference to our day. So I'm going to have a nice cup of tea, make a smoothie (I make mine in the morning and have half for morning tea and the other half in the arvo) , start getting a healthy lunch ready and then I'm back into it. I think it's really important to take the time to make healthy meals even when we're busy.
    Enjoy your day Tania. Thanks again for posting. I love your knives too. xxoo
    PS. You might have noticed I have the time to read your blog and write a long comment even though I have so many jobs to do. (LOL)

  8. Oh yes Tania, it is definitely in the little things! Warm fresh sun dried sheets on the bed, a bloom on the bush, a secret stash of good quality chocolate (for emergencies of course!), a sweet little 'please' 'thank you' and 'I wub you mummy'. A small splodge of peanut butter in my banana smoothie is always a winner. And believe it or not, a shot of apple cider vinegar (raw with the 'mother' included) is an amazing mood boost in the pm's. Plus, I am so happy to see another cloth napkin lover! I miss mine as I have currently loaned them out to a friend recently moved to wrap up her glassware (saves washing when unpacking). xxx Fi

  9. that tray is GORGEOUS!! what a fabulous idea.
    and i completely agree about the buttering abilities of bone-handled knives :)

  10. Hi Tania,
    beautiful post on the details that make a difference, thanks! We house-shared for a couple of years so some of my favourite bits and pieces stayed in the 'special cupboard'. Buying a whole lot of mismatched and pretty cutlery during that time made the day a bit brighter. And now that we are back on our own, the linen napkins and pretty crockery are out regularly.


  11. With FOOD of course! What would the world be without little morsels of heaven....trouble is I like them way too much :)

    There is nothing like the comfort in good food, well cooked and well loved

  12. Very true about the little things making all the difference...I find it can change my attitude around immediately.
    I love the set up on the table and the napkins.

  13. I'm always amazed and equally delighted to find such kindred spirits among people I've never even met. Looking at all your gorgeous cutlery, napkins and rings looks like I've just opened my very kitchen cupboard. We use cloth napkins every night with a silver ring, a tablecloth and a cut glass jug of water and gorgeous miniature copper etched wine glasses (all op shopped too!). We often lke a candle. Makes dinner so lovely. Wishing you a beautiful rest of your week. :) x

  14. You are surely right it is those little things made more special in our everyday life that make us smile. You have beautiful collections of old wares Tania keeping them displayed means you get to admire them all the time, they are lovely treasures. We love to have banana milkshakes here too it has been a little while since I've made one for the girls, lately we've been enjoying blueberry milkshakes which look rather pretty all made up. Enjoy your Friday. x

  15. Tania, you had me at the looks so divine of course it would be the best start to the day...i may have to make some myself tomorrow! i love making simple tasks more pleasant too...making games out of chores, singing with the kids or having them watch me make dinner whilst we chat away...seems to help me unwind! love your cutlery and napkin collection too xx

  16. That's my breakfast tomorrow sorted! Love that little collection if jugs and cutlery!

  17. Loving your cutlery and serviette ring collections and the way you are storing them ...

  18. Tania thanks for reminding me to take stock of the little things..I so needed to read that yesterday :)
    Have woken with a lighter heart today and feeling happier.
    Can't wait to make that porridge for breakfast tomorrow.

  19. Hi Tania. I've just written a post that I think you'll be interested in.
    Happy Sunday. xxoo

  20. you know i'm a huge fan of the simple things...and I love the way you celebrate the everyday in your home. those fried bananas - oh, yum! x


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