I've updated my original post, but I wanted to post here that I did hear back from Dick Blick, Pebeo Porcelaine, and Adorn magazine (where I got the idea for the ceramic paints project) about the food safety of using the paints on food surfaces. Although when I got emails back from Dick Blick and Pebeo Porcelaine, I concluded that the paints were not really food safe, I received this message from the editors at Adorn:
"Hi Ginger. We have contacted Pebeo and have confirmed that the Pebeo Porcelaine Paint 150 used in our Adorn feature is food safe. The paint has been tested at Duke University, and was reported non-toxic and food safe for food contact.I've updated that post - you can read all the information I got back from all three sources there too - but I think just to be on the safe side, I won't use the paints on any food surfaces.
Though the paint is non-toxic, it is not recommended for use on a dinner plate because sharp objects, such as a steak knife, could damage the design and bacteria could potentially become trapped in cracks caused by utensils. However, the paint itself is not harmful to ingest even if scraped off.
The reason the paint is not currently FDA approved is cost. The cost for FDA approval is approximately $50,000 per paint color, which Pebeo may pursue at a future time."
We just got back from spending the last few days in New Orleans. The Monteleone was great. We last stayed there about four or five years ago (I just like to stay at different hotels in New Orleans every time we go, because so many of them are so full of personality...not the large, corporate ones, but the ones that are small enough to be part of only a very tiny chain or are independent, like the Monteleone, where the decor matches the location).
The lobby is beautiful - the grandfather clock was made in 1909:
The rooms aren't very large, but they're just so pretty...and comfortable:
This is a daytime pic of the Carousel Bar downstairs. The seats revolve around the center bar once every fifteen minutes.
We had a great time! Here are a couple of movies that I made when we were driving up St. Charles...such pretty homes:
It was really okay that Mulate's wasn't that great, because we decided to visit Joe's Dreyfus Store Restaurant for dessert. We've been wanting to go there for *ages* - so we drove to Livonia and had a fabulous time!
I ordered the bread pudding and it was soooo wonderful:
Av ordered the cheesecake, and it was fabulous!:
Everything we saw being served looked (and smelled) so great...so we are definitely going to try to come back for supper soon!
Av and I had supper at Mulate's on our way to New Orleans from Lake Charles. It's really touristy, but I wanted to try it just once...
I had expected something close to Prejean's, but we were disappointed with what was served. It just seemed like we could have found that a thousand different other places...so maybe it's overrated. Ah, well - at least now we know!
The best part is that we had plenty of room left for dessert later...
Av and I decided to take the Creole Nature Trail through Southwest Louisiana. It's a Natural Scenic Byway, and it took us about four hours to drive the loop (and stop several times for pictures and fun).
There were *so many* things to see! First of all, and I didn't get a real picture of a single one, but we saw maybe...five or six alligators swimming! We would be driving, see an alligator, but there really weren't many good places to pull over. Then we would tell ourselves that there would be a better place to stop at the next alligator, but there wasn't! So it was totally thrilling to see alligators like that, in real life...even though I didn't get to take a good pic. But it was so, so neat.
Way down this channel is an alligator. I promise.
There were so many gorgeous birds!
We stopped at Holly Beach - it's called the 'Creole Riviera' and was devastated by Hurricane Rita (see before pics by AMDM here and after pics by National Geographic here and the USGS here).
We got out for a few minutes to get our toes wet.
Here's a little movie of the beach (my camera going in and out of focus on the waves makes it a little dreamy):
Next, we took a car ferry to Cameron. It was my first time to be on a car ferry! For some reason, they wouldn't allow people to stand outside their cars, but it was fun anyway!
This sea gull landed right beside our car before we got on the ferry:
We waited about ten minutes to drive on:
Here's everyone on the ferry:
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Dolphins swam not far from the ferry, and these pelicans flew right in front:
Once the ferry dropped us off, we went to Cameron.
The way back to Lake Charles was pretty too:
Av had some business to do in Lake Charles, so we made reservations at the Isle of Capri there (we decided on this place because we think we stayed here once when we were on our way back from a friend's wedding in Houston). When I made the reservation, I think all of the rooms at the main hotel were taken - it is supposed to be an all-suite hotel - so we were offered the "Inn at the Isle" across the street. It was okay, nothing great or bad, but we will definitely try something different next time.
The Isle of Capri casino is across the street, but we didn't go inside...we got in really late and were leaving early, anyway.
Oh! And in the bathroom, there was a....themed soap:
...is that not the weirdest thing ever!?!? hehehehe!!
Av and I were on our way to Lake Charles, so we stopped in Lafayette at one of our favorite restaurants - Prejeans.
I had the Catfish Catahoula, which comes with dirty rice and corn macque choux:
Av started with gumbo and then had red snapper for his entree. I have the Prejean's cookbook, and everything I've made from it, including this gumbo (minus the sausage), has always turned out great.
What was *so fun* was that a band played while we were having supper - they were great!
This pic is a little dark, but on top of the counter is "Big Al" - a (preserved) 14-foot alligator:
...and this little one - live - is in an aquarium!
Prejean's also has a live web-cam, so you can see what's going on there right now!
Av and I went to our first Neshoba County Fair this week! It was wonderful!
(there's a really good story about the fair here at the Clarion-Ledger)
Here's the entrance (oh! and I have to mention that people parked what must have been miles from the entrance, but Av just drove up and got a practically the best park in the whole place! hahaha!):
There was harness racing going on when we first got there, so we watched a race:
...then we went inside one of the exhibit buildings (this is always my very favorite part of any fair):
...here's best-of-show figs:
Besides canning, fruits, and vegetables, there was photography:
We then went over to the livestock area:
this was part of the carnival area:
...and one of the very neatest parts of the Neshoba County Fair - what makes it different from any other fair I know - is that people live here! Families have cabins that they've held for generations that they only live in the eight days of the fair. Some of them have sold for over $100,000!
We had a really great time!
Av and I are in the market for a new home. There's nothing wrong with our current home, but we want to go ahead and start looking before we have all our kiddies, because there are certain things we just want to have in place. We found this home about 20 minutes from where we live now...it seemed *perfect* - it was about 3000 sq ft with five bedrooms, 3-1/2 baths, two fireplaces, a swimming pool, a barn, and 4-1/2 acres. To me, it seemed like *the* perfect place! I could just see us having big parties, hanging around the pool, keeping some small animals, and having that huge land on the side for kids to run around in.
...so Av and I have driven by it a couple of times and shown the outside to some friends, and then yesterday we had our appointment with the realtor to walk around and see the inside.
Honestly, it is a great house. A great, great house. But it is SO '80s. There is bad flowery wallpaper everywhere. And you have never seen so much hunter green and burgundy! hahaha!! The whole house needed repainting/depapering and pulling carpet up to lay down hardwood floors. Every light fixture needed an update. And so on. In other words, this home was already a lot of money, but with the money that we would have to put into it to make it cheerful and happy and "us", it would take thousands and thousands extra.
The best part was that it made me want to take on more home-improvement projects here at the home we have now so when we sell it, it will be completely updated!
The realtor was super-nice and he's going to see what he can find for us. Since we've got some time to work with, it's nice to not be in a big rush so we can find the perfect place. He's going to also email us a document that he got at a conference that tells current homeowners things they can do with their homes that will give a 100%+ return on investment. Can't wait to see that!