Times are tough, I know, but scaling back on what we spend doesn’t have to mean skimping on style. Now, more than ever, I'm a firm believer that living well is in our hands—literally. It’s about digging, sifting, wading your way through the flea market, the Goodwill—even your own attic—unearthing whatever you can find, then re-imagining it in some fantastic way all your own. And don’t be timid about putting your stamp on new items either; with just a little paint, the bamboo blinds from Lowe’s in New Orleans went from bland to glam in minutes. Springtime entertaining, too, can be both budget friendly and beautiful-—that is, if you play your cards right! Here on the farm, at a recent brunch for thirty that included our friends and fellow bloggers Seleta Hayes of Simply Seleta and Patricia van Essche of pve design, I assembled a menu of quick, no-fuss dishes like quiche and salad, fruit and yogurt, easy on the wallet but big on wow factor.


Here's a detail of the flowers, a beautiful mix of white spider mums, carnations, tulips and garden roses.


Like so many of the other budget-friendly arrangements I like to do, the flowers for this event came from the grocery store!


Then, it was all about smart shopping. Eggs are not expensive! But quiche can look it, especially if presented with care. First, I did a large one with spinach and caramelized onion in one of my favorite French porcelain baking dishes from a thrift store in Maine.  


The other two kinds were English ham and gruyère, together with mushroom and goat cheese, all in vintage Pyrex dishes on jadite cake pedestals.


As a collectaholic of sorts, I'm obsessed with jadite, especially around Easter. Here's a shot of the coffee bar with cups and saucers collected piece by piece, over time. To buy a collection like this would be super expensive, so next time you're at the flea market, dig deep for those onsies! They definitely add up! The coffee pot is English silverplate and black Bakelite from a junk shop in London. For height, I used another cake pedestal—yes, I have every size!—just to add some drama to the mix. I think it's inexpensive details like this that add the finishing touch to a table without breaking the bank.


And that's something we can all celebrate!