Thursday, September 29, 2011

Life Mirrors Art Mirrors Life

Earlier this week I was contacted by a creative food artist who calls herself "Fairly Odd Mother".  She had an ambitious idea that really sparked my imagination, to replicate my Tea For Me, Too teaset using food.  I'm always one to foster creativity, and I was very interested in how my colorful stoneware mini tea set would translate into an edible food medium.

She posted her creation on her blog yesterday, and the result is certainly something that I had to write about.  Using everything from ice cream cones to chocolate, and fondant to gum paste, her interpretation of Tea For Me, Too is spot on.

Read about the creation of the Fairly Odd Mother's Tea For Me Too set at her Once Upon A Pedestal blog.

Creativity is something that sometimes lacks in this automated world that we live in.  With computers performing complex algorhythms, programs that auto-correct, and a barrage of mindless entertainment being thrown at us, we move along in this fast-paced world sometimes jumping from one thing to the next.  When we slow down, connect with the present, and live mindfully, our minds open and our creative spirit is allowed to grow.

The Fairly Odd Mother is a great example of this.  Take a look at her enthusiastic description of the process on her blog at Once Upon A Pedestal.  I'm confident that it will put a smile on your face, just as it did mine.

Friday, September 16, 2011

5th Annual Tablescape Contest Honorable Mentions

The Tablescape Contest produced so many wonderfully inspiring stories and photos this year that I couldn't let an opportunity pass to share many more of them with you.

Adelle Belnap's Treehouse Teatime is imaginative and provides a touching story.  In her words:
"I spend every day with my children.  We rarely have time apart.  Yet there are days when I find myself watching them but not really seeing them.  I work around my little ones on the tasks I have on my "to do" list and forget that the most important people on my list are being overlooked.

"Over the past few months, my daughter has been asking to use the tea set her Great-Grandma painted for her as a gift when she was born.  My response was always, 'No, not today' or 'Maybe later'.

"After reading the theme for the Tablesetting Competition, something inside me clicked.  I realized that the most important guests that will ever sit at my table can barely see over it right now.  They might not appreciate the beauty of the platters or the symmetry of the centerpiece, but they will feel the love that spending special time together around the table brings.

"So, this time when my daughter asked about the tea set, I dropped everything else and said, "Yes."

One Night With the Queen: a midsummer night's tea by Lisa

When the Queen comes to town, naturally we want to have her over for tea!

Here in our backyard in Hawaii, we have a flowering cactus plant which blooms with a very large white blossom called a Night Queen.  So-called because it opens only in the middle of the night, and by morning, she's gone.

Late last night, we found the one such blossom had just opened, and it was time to celebrate the arrival of the Queen, with a tea party held in her honor.

Kristina Kellett's breakfast in bed reminds us that it's the little moments that count.  There's nothing sweeter than a quiet weekend breakfast in bed; whether it's shared over good conversation with a loved one, or relaxing and unwinding with a beloved book.

Kate Snapp loves a royal wedding.  She invited 7 of her girlfriends to come by for a Royal Wedding Breakfast.  They brought 4 of their little ones to the early morning event., who arrived in tiaras to a thoughtfully decorated "kids table."

Seeing their delightful faces is enough to bring a smile to mine.

Nazra Knutsen's story is another one that reminds us of the impact Spontaneous Gatherings can have on our lives.  In her words:

"My husband's immediate family lives on a small island named, Karmoy, in Norway. It is truly a beautiful place - with rolling hills of snow surrounded by the rolling waves of the ocean.  There are no coffee shops to sit and chat with friends at.  It is also pretty expensive to eat out.  So when we were there visiting, we had MANY spontaneous gatherings at home with friends & family.  It is normal to just "pop" on by for a cup of coffee without notice...and if you do give notice, it's not more than a few hours in advance!  It's very common for people to have cakes or pastries in their freezer or cookies on hand...with the expectation of people dropping by! One (of the many) times that we stopped by for a visit with my husband's grand-mother, she pulled out her finest china, lace tablecloths, the prettiest carafe, and her special silver dessert forks and enjoyed talking over coffee or tea & special dessert cakes. We always felt like the "guests of honor" - as each person we visited always made us feel so special & appreciated that we took the time to visit with them!  What a different mentality we have here in the US!  I'm always making plans a week or two in advance (at least!) and if we have people over to our house, I always give myself plenty of time to make sure my house looks totally put together and that I'm prepared to have guests (are my toilets clean & the floor vacuumed!?) I'd love to always be prepared for someone to drop by for a coffee & some cookies! I'm definitely going to have to work on this." 

Nazra is right!  We've somehow turned a spontaneous visit into an inconvenience in this country, and it's time for all of us to work on bringing back the joy and simplicity of connecting.

Speaking of that, I really liked the American feel of the Tablescape and story submitted by Dawn Grisham.  She mentioned how the oppressive summer heat caused her and her family (including their golden retriever) to wait until dusk to have an evening picnic.  She made a delicious pineapple pie from her late father-in-law's legendary recipe and had a memorable family evening with dinner and games at the park.

When I came across this entry from Vanessa Vanhille, I was moved by how impacted she has been in such a short time.  In her words:

"I first discovered Rosanna last month and have embraced her philosophy and creativity.  I have purchased and read her book, Coming Home, which has helped me establish and plan family traditions with love and wholesome food at its core.  My family now has three evenings a week that are our family "events."  We come together around a beautiful table, eat home-cooked wholesome food and dine (no rushing allowed).  It has been transformative for me.  So, understanding that I am an amateur and new to the Rosanna philosophy, here is my submission:

"I recently returned from a trip to Nice, in southern France.  My next door neighbor wanted to hear all about it.  I invited her to come over to to my front porch to share some hot chocolate.  The tray and its decor are souvenirs I brought home with me that typify that region of France.  I have sprayed some perfume (also a souvenir from the Riviera) on the skewers that are in the vase.  Even the candy has France ties.  I wanted everything about our spontaneous gathering to speak of my recent trip.

Another European-inspired idea came in from Ginger Mokher.  She shares, "An Italian-themed menu and tablescape is one of the easiest to pull together when hosting a sponteanous meal.  Rosanna's Pasta Italiana Collection features recipes for different Italian meals, and was my inspiration to acquire a repertoire of Italian recipes that are easy to prepare in advance with larger quantities.  I usually prepare enough so that at the end of the evening, my guests have not only the fresh memory of rich, relational connections, but also a full take-home container of this soulful meal."

I was thrilled to see more men entering the contest this year as well.  Bryan Harber prepared a beautiful tablescape for entertaining with elegant dishware and the Kings Road Collection.

Again, thank you to everyone who entered this year's Tablescape Contest.  As you can see, choosing the winners announced earlier this week was a very difficult task.

As a result of this contest I hope you've found inspiration in the stories and photos shared, and that you can find your own ways to continue to make family traditions and connect with others through spontaneous gatherings.

Those entries that have been featured on this blog entry will be notified by email by a member our customer service team with details on how to claim a small token of our appreciation.  If you have any questions in the meantime, please email

Monday, September 12, 2011

5th Annual Tablescape Winners

When we decided on the theme of the "Spontaneous Gathering" for this year's Tablescape Contest, our hope was that it would inspire people to invite loved-ones by for an improptu dinner, snack, or visit.  We wanted to remind people that it wasn't too long ago that having someone drop in was a celebrated event, and that gatherings didn't need to be planned out weeks in advance.  At Rosanna, we have truly been moved by your stories and elevated by your decor ideas.  As always, it was very difficult to choose winners among the dozens and dozens of entries received.  We are thrilled to share with you our picks and their stories.

Our First Prize winner is Kendall Weldon, age 11.  There was something about many of the entries this year by young people.  They were so fresh!  Kendall's design design, theme, and story truly moves me to be inspired by the rising generation.

Kendall chose Rosanna's Red Dots and Jolly Holiday
pieces as part of her tablescape.
Kendall's Story
My name is Kendall Weldon and I am 11 years old and have been part of your table setting contest for 3 years. I get together with my mom, aunt, and grandma and your table setting contest has now become a family tradition. I have such a fun time coming up with a table setting and love hanging with my family too!

My Spontaneous table setting comes from watching How The Grinch Stole Christmas and thinking it would be fun to have a "WHO" inspired party. I would invite my 3 best friends for tea, dessert, and lots of giggles!
Kendall's tablescape is adorable, and I especially love how the tablescape contest has become a family tradition.  This Oregon family--comprised of matriarch Tresa Nichols, daughters Brooke Weldon and Ashley Nichols Lee, and now granddaughter, Kendall Weldon--truly embody the "Spirit of Rosanna" by making this an annual family ritual.  Husbands and brothers prepare the yard beforehand for the pictures, carry the chosen dishes outside, and do the photography.  As Tresa states, "We laugh, we fuss, we run in and out bringing the dishes outside and have a blast!"  Truly connecting with each other as part of this family tradition earns them this entire family the "Spirit of Rosanna" award.  Other family entries can be seen below.  (Click on the photo to enlarge).

Rosanna's Artist's Loft & Victoriana Noir products are featured.

I loved the originality of the Spontaneous Gathering of our Second Prize winner, Andrea Spencer.  The youthfulness and joie de vivre of these young adults sitting down to a table together, without electronic devices, to enjoy each other's company is uplifting.

Andrea's Story
When we heard about the contest we decided to throw an UN-expected UN-birthday party.  Everyone had only days to get their costumes together and then we jumped down the rabbit hole to our own Wonderland.  The tablescape was a fun collaboration; with everyone contributing their tea pots and candlesticks.  The party was a big hit with mini iced-cupcakes with the words "eat me" on them, and a recitation of "The Jabberwocky."

Andrea's party will certainly not be soon forgotten by her guests, or by us here at Rosanna!

Lisa Moore's entry reminds us to enjoy life and all that surrounds us.  Her spontaneous picnic brunch in the mountains had, in her words, "all the pleasures of the stunning surroundings, quality food, and good hearts.  Picnics are a top passion of mine.  It's a way to escape the rush of our circular lives and step away to appreciate the beauty that is always there, but often forgotten."  You're right Lisa!  Thank you for sharing this reminder, and beautiful tablescape with us!
Lisa showcases Rosanna's La Vie Boho & Parisian Glass Collections

With the end of our contest coinciding with the unofficial end of summer, I felt a longing for wanting more time outside near the beach.  Pia Vanhanen's entry really connected with me.  She said, "I have created a natural coastal theme for our table, using rocks from our local beaches as napkin weights in case of light evening winds.  I have collected shells and use them also as personal butter/oil dishes for each guest.  Driftwood and Japanese fishing floats add to the relaxed coastal charm."  Pia's tablescape reminds us all that spontaneous gatherings, like this table, should develop organically.
Pia's tablescape includes Rosanna's original Boho collection.

This year we also featured a Table of the Week on our Facebook and Twitter pages.  We looked through the entries that came in each week and chose one to showcase.  Last week we placed each of those entries in a drawing for a Rosanna Gift Certificate, and Bryn Howell, won the drawing.  
Bryn threw a Bridal Shower recently for her best friend and mixed in some vintage pink depression glasses in with items from the Rococo Noir Collection.  It's evident that the "love" and thought Bryn put into her tablescape made for an enjoyable shower.

Among the entries, there are quite a few honorable mentions that we know would inspire our readers---possibly in their design, their story, or their beauty.  We will be sharing those in a future blog post later this week.  Congratulations to all our winners, and a special thank you to everyone who entered our contest this year.  I hope that you will continue the tradition of having "Spontaneous Gatherings" with friends and neighbors and continue to truly connect with those around you.

Those entries that have been chosen will be notified by email by a member of our customer service team within the next week with details on how to claim their Rosanna Gift Certificate prize.  Please be patient, our website at will be relaunched during this timeframe with an all new look, new shopping experience, and new products as part of our Fall/Winter Collection.  We want to make sure that your Gift Certificate is compatible with our new website.  If you have any questions in the meantime, please email

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Bowl: A Vessel For Tradition

Bowls are among the oldest vessels found by archeologists, dating back thousands of years, and continue to be used daily across the globe, from morning meals through evening dinners.    Because bowls are the items we use most in the kitchen, I designed two sets of daily bowls, with the hopes that you could use these bowls to begin family traditions and rituals.
The Comfort Food Bowls Collection
The Comfort Food bowls are a hearty bowl, perfect for serving vegetables,  grains, popcorn, and everything from hot soups to ice cream without any worry of cracking or crazing.  They are made of a sturdy stoneware which is dishwasher and microwave safe, great for everyday family use.  The colors are rich, earth tones and remind us to eat healthy.

I designed the Comfort Food bowls while thinking about the Lentil Soup my mother used to make us from scratch when I was a child.  I felt my mother’s care and love each time she made the soup, as it warmed my body and my heart, and gave me proper nutrition. 

Fall temperatures are just around the corner, and most of us crave warm meals as the temperatures drop.  Use these bowls to start your own family tradition of a Soup Night, by making your own nutritious soup from scratch, and gathering the family around the table to share it. 

Another childhood tradition that I’ve carried on to my own children is Family Movie Night.   When I was younger, my grandmother would make popcorn the old fashioned way on the stove in a pan, while we watched a movie.  I wanted a bowl that was the perfect size and perfect portion for Family Movie Night with my daughters, so I created the Rosanna Bowls.  

The Rosanna Bowls Collection
The Rosanna Bowls can lead to a variety of family traditions—whether it is a Popcorn Night, Ice Cream Night, chips & salsa, berries, or another tasty snack—make a tradition around coming together as a family, eating healthy, and spending time together.

These bowls were so important to me when I designed them that I named them The Rosanna Bowls, as a play on my name, Rosanna Bowles.  They are my go-to bowl in my own kitchen, and over the past few years have been brought back season after season due to their popularity.    

So as fall signals a return to our daily rituals of work and school, let it also signal a time for new and continued family traditions.  You can make every day special by starting your own family traditions today!

Note:  If you’d like to try my mother’s delicious Lentil Soup, you can find it on page 131 of my book, Coming Home: A Seasonal Guide to Creating Family Traditions.  Also, my Homemade Popcorn in a Pan recipe can be found on page 49.

If you'd like to find out more about my Comfort Food & Rosanna Bowls, as well as tips for creating family traditions, visit Rosanna TV: Episode 1, on my YouTube Channel at