Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Cigar Box Purses: The Intersection of Beautiful and Interesting

I have a creative life and I am grateful for the flexibility. Did you know that I can't seem to stop turning cigar boxes into high end handbags? I line them with fabric and sew the lining, gussets, Velcro closure and add my ceramic logo tag to distinguish it as an ANA cigar box purse. Most of my sales are direct to customer, but my online business is sure to grow on Etsy. A new customer just raved about my work and I had to share. 

"OK. Let me say what an AMAZING creative high quality purse was designed for my wife's valentines day present. Coincidentally we were at a restaurant and this unusual cigar shaped purse grabbed my wife's attention. She talked with the owner who indicated it was uniquely designed in Carribeans and not likely to have any in United States. So I searched up and found Anna Reeve's distinctive design and character. I could not believe the great price; a fraction of what the lady shared with my wife. Anyway, it arrived quickly and just to add a personal touch, Anna wrapped it perfectly in a pink laden package so right out of the box I hit a home run !. thank you Anna"

#makersgonnamake #momentsofdelight #thiscreativelife #seattleblogger #purses #uniquehandbags #cigarboxpurse #cigarbox

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Northwest Flower & Garden Festival: Come With Me

For those of you who are new to my blog, I'd like to answer the question: Who am I and why am I writing so extensively on the Northwest Floral and Garden Festival

I am a blogger who writes about things that bring delight - food, design, travel, garden, crafts, sugar, ribbon etc. I've publish over 2,500 posts these last 12 years, all with my original photography. I have also written 3 books on Moments of Delight, Finding Delight and Paris: Delight in the City of Light

In terms of gardening, I love it all. My mission is to dissolve the barrier between busy American women, who get their information and inspiration through their phones, and the “you-need-to-know-a-lot” world of horticulture.

Some facts about me:
I am a suburban gardener from Southeastern Michigan who suddenly moved to Seattle and started a new life with my husband in the Pacific Northwest.

I probably love a lot of things that you love and after years of hearing about the Northwest Flower and Garden Festival, I finally had the chance to attend when we were shopping for an apartment near Seattle in 2014. I was so impressed by the sheer scale of the gardens, the volume of vendors selling not only garden tools and implements, but also plants, indoor/outdoor artwork, garden design elements, water features as well as clothing, hats and clogs that make a day outdoors more pleasant. I have returned to the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival every year, covered it in my blog and I am thrilled to lend them my support. 

Fast forward 5 years and I am now a Regional Director of GardenComm, formerly GWA: Association of Garden Writers and I've been asked to judge a new award to be given at the show!

Next week, when the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival opens on February 20th, I'll be there. I will write blog posts about all of the things I enjoyed at the show and Instagram and Tweet to my hearts content. Stick with me and I'll fill you in.

#NWFGS #NWFGF #springinfeb #gardener #gardenlover #gardening #gardenshow #seattle #seattleblogger #finddelight #youbeyou #finddelight #springiscoming #garden #delight #lovewhatyoudo

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Hummingbird Hack: A Maker Makes

Welcome to Snopocalypse 2019. We have gotten 3 feet of snow in the foothills east of Seattle in the past week. 3 feet! 

We recently bought a hummingbird feeder and were able to hang it outside our kitchen window. While most hummingbird varieties fly south for the winter, the Anna's hummingbird stays around all year. 

I had read that a string of electric lights (not LED) could provide enough warmth to keep the hummingbird nectar from freezing. It works! What I didn't realize is that the hummingbirds would sit on the bulbs for warmth, like little heating pads. So sweet! 

The snow was coming down so hard I couldn't stand seeing the hummingbirds getting snowed upon. I thought, I am a maker and I can solve this! I took an empty large clear plastic egg carton from Costco, cut a slit down the center and slid it around so it would rest on the top of the feeder. I used some clear packing tape to close the slit and keep the plastic shield resting around the top of the feeder. As it snowed, the egg carton closed a bit under the weight of the snow, so I propped it open with a wire bottle cleaning brush. Success! 

Our little lady has shelter, warmth and food during this unusual weather in the Pacific Northwest.  

#hummingbirdhack #hummingbird #momentsofdelight #finddelight #birdwatching #birder #birdlover #mamabird #snopocalypse #snopocalypse2019 #seattleblogger #seattle #foothills #pnw #snowevent #costco #costcohack #birdfeederhack #birdfeeder

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Snopocalypse 2019: Let Them Eat Cake

We are in the middle of a snow event in Seattle. We live in the foothills of the Cascades, just east of Seattle and we have gotten 3 feet of snow in a week. It is unusual and beautiful and it won't last. Unlike the Midwest, this snow is temporary and it will be gone in a week when temperatures rise back toward the 40s.

In the meantime, we are snowed in! We all had plenty of warning before these back to back storms and the larder is full. In fact, one of our neighbors announced she was hosting a potluck and that we should walk over to her house to share a meal. Fun!

I thought that a homemade cake would be a welcome addition to the party. And I had plastic deer and Evergreen trees to decorate it. I made Dan's favorite chocolate cake by Hershey. I made a video of me shaking the powdered sugar on the cake, posted it on Instagram (@FindDelight) and labelled it "Snow Comes to Snoqualmie."

#snopacolypse2019 #snopocalypse #seattleblogger #cake #hershey #chocolatecake #neighborhoodparty #snowevent #seattle #finddelight #bakersgonnabake

Friday, February 8, 2019

DIY: Spring Bulbs in Teacups

I love everything about this photograph and the items in it. I have collected pieces of Spode: The Blue Room for years. When I found blue "Big Smile" Muscari bulbs in a pot at the grocery store ($3 pot had enough to plant 3 teacups), my mind sprung into action and I was giddy. I could replant these bulbs in teacups!

In my kitchen sink, I gently broke apart the potted bulbs, roots and dirt and divided them between 3 teacups. I placed dried moss over the dirt and gave each a little water. Aren't they darling? 

This is the kind of easy DIY that makes sense to me. I love these teacups. I love the color blue.  I love gardening & having flowers in the house. And at this price, I can recommend this easy project to everyone. 

I know that most of the country doesn't have potted bulbs for sale at the grocery store or home improvement stores...yet. This post is to get you working on your Master Plan for spring fun.

#DIY #gardenindoors #springbulbs #teacupbouquet #teacup #collectingteacups #bloomingbulbs #springishere #miniarrangement #momentsofdelight #makersgonnamake #easyproject #seattleblogger

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Vintage Valentines: 12 Days of Valentine's Day

I have a wonderful memory of when my dear friend Dana sent me a vintage Valentine. It came in the mail and was so unexpected and so wonderful that I've never forgotten it. 

We didn't exchange Valentines or letters, really, but she came across an old fashioned Valentine and knew it would make my day.

Have you mailed something to a friend lately? A note can go a long way to lift someone's spirits and tell them that you think of them fondly. 

#12daysofvalentinesday #valentinesday #friendship #gettingmail #sentimental #oldfriends #shareyourheart

Monday, February 4, 2019

Vanilla Pudding & Grandmother's Bowl: A Sentimental Weekday

On this second day of the 12 Days of Valentine's Day, I propose you make one of your grandmother's recipes and serve it in a vintage vessel. Vanilla pudding? Orange pie? Shrimp dip? What was something she was known for? I can think of nothing more wonderful than honoring her with a whirl in the kitchen.

Does this Pyrex display bring back memories? I spent a few hours at "America's Largest Antique & Collectible Show" at the Washington State Fairgrounds in Puyallup, WA last weekend. This beautiful collection of vintage Pyrex caught my eye. Are you a collector? I consider Pyrex a salute to the American kitchen and I love it all. I have a small collection and I regularly fight the urge to make it a bigger. (wink)

When I shared this photo on Instagram, several people chimed in that they treasure their grandmother's Pyrex bowl. Or pointed out in this picture, which one she had. I am sentimental and nothing makes me happier.

Today I am sharing my maternal grandmother's recipe for vanilla pudding and serving it in my solid aqua Pyrex bowl with lid (just like the one in this picture!). I make this pudding all the time (usually doubling the recipe) and it is a family favorite.

Vanilla Pudding 

2 egg yolks
1/4 c. sugar
2 T. cornstarch
2 c. milk
1 T butter (though it was written "a walnut size piece of butter)
1 t. vanilla

Put egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan. Stir together with a fork until well mixed. Pour in milk and stir. Turn on burner and cook, continuing to stir. When the mixture has thickened quite a bit, remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla. Fill 4 small ramekins with pudding and refrigerate. 

#grandmothersknowbest #grandmasrecipe #recipe #vanillapudding #vintagepyrex #collectingpyrex #momentsofdelight #antiquelover

Sunday, February 3, 2019

12 Days of Valentine's Day starts today!

I think you should have fun for 12 days straight. I know, we don't always look at things that way, but that is the beauty of celebrating the "12 Days of Valentine's Day". You decide what fun little thing you want to do each day in honor of Valentine's Day and the people that you love in your life.
Celebrating the 12 Days of Valentine's Day helps make lovely gestures a habit. It's a time when you do little things to show love for family, friends and yourself. Wear a pink sweater one day, put red food coloring in your cake batter, set the table with red place mats - everything counts when you are celebrating the fact that you love a lot of people.

There is no set schedule. There isn't a "number" relationship between the days (meaning you don't have to sneak 10 Hershey kisses into a loved one's pocket just because it is Day 10).  Nope, you just do what feels right and fits into your schedule on any particular day leading up to Valentine's Day.  

When someone compliments your pink scarf, just smile and say that its in honor of the 12 Days of Valentine's Day.  If your neighbor questions your sudden gift of 6 muffins, tell her it's The 12 Days of Valentine's Day.  Have fun with it. And let me know how your coworkers and friends respond.

My suggestion for today is order a rose bush for your garden. You will never regret the day-after-day beauty you will enjoy this summer.

#12daysofvalentinesday #valentinesday #celebratelove #beautyofeverydaylife #momentsofdelight #finddelight #valentine #bemyvalentine #bemine

Monday, January 28, 2019

Chuckanut Drive: Beautiful Scenic Drive

I am a planner at heart and when someone suggests a place to visit, I always write it down in my iPhone notes and then copy it later into my travel planner. I have pages of restaurants to try, stores to visit and scenic drives to take. Since I blog about delight, people I meet feel compelled to tell me what their favorite places are and I am grateful.

I had written "Chuckanut Drive" down in several places and thankfully, that is not a name you forget. We were on a drive toward Bellingham when I recognized it immediately on local signs and insisted we add it to our route before the sun set. Described as the only place where the Cascade Mountains reach the sea, this view above shows a lookout over Samish Bay and shows some of the San Juan Islands in the distance. Bellingham is about 1 1/2 hours north of Seattle and is a great road trip when the sun is out. We had a beautiful Saturday and knew we needed to take advantage of the rain break. 
There are several turnout areas to stop and enjoy the view. I will definitely plan a return when it is warm enough to enjoy a picnic outside. The vistas are very Pacific Northwest and exactly what we are looking for. Thanks Bellingham!

#pnw #scenicdrive #washington #seattleblogger #momentsofdelight #followthesun 

Sunday, January 27, 2019

White Antique China: Pretty As A Picture

They got me. I am usually driven by color and sugar, but I stopped in my tracks for this black and white masterpiece. It couldn't be more effective and I salute the vendor that put this collection together. 

Dan and I went on a Sunny Saturday driving trip and ended up in Bellingham, WA. We drove around town, looked in shop windows, shared a butterscotch milkshake and ended up stopping in the Penny Lane Antique MallIf you're out driving, be sure to stop in and admire their selection.

I saw several collections arranged by color (bravo!) but this all white in a black hutch deserves my top honors. It is one thing to collect vintage items, being able to display them to their advantage is another. This is art. This is delight.

#seattleblogger #visualvitamins #whitechina #vintage #collectingchina #antiquing #winterweekend

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Northwest Flower and Garden Festival: I Know You'll Love It

As a new girl in the Pacific Northwest, the garden learning curve is steep. It’s exciting to move to a more temperate zone (from 6a to 8b) but my new-construction house and square lawn means my garden is truly a blank slate.

Where did I start learning about my new climate? The NorthwestFlower & Garden Festival in Seattle at the Washington State Convention Center February 20-24, 2019. My experience with the show began in the press room with incredibly kind members of the GWA: Association of Garden Writers (now known as GardenComm).

As a blogger, I was thrilled to cover this famous show. I have self-published 3 books that highlight my love of flower arranging, gardening, edible flowers and floral portraits.  My mission as a writer and photographer is to dissolve the barrier between busy American women, who get their information and inspiration through their phones, and the “you-need-to-know-a-lot” world of horticulture.

In addition to blogging, I am an artist/photographer and I was carrying one of my DELIGHT magazine bags (the "Loving Roses" issue). It caught the eye of GWA members Marianne Binetti and Mary-Kate Mackey. We all started talking and the next thing I knew, they were introducing me to everyone in the press room and encouraging me to come to the GWA Connect Meeting the next night. I met a whirl of members who echoed a message of “I’m so glad you joined!” They were supportive of my work and how I fit into the new definition of garden communicating.
It’s two years later now and I feel like I’ve found long-lost cousins. We speak the same language and love the same things. I walk into the Washington Convention Center every February and I am back at a botanical family reunion, hugging those I’ve gotten to know better through Facebook and introducing myself to names I only know on-screen. It is fantastic. I am also a new Regional Director for GWA/GardenComm and I am honored to help enrich this dynamic group.

My personal mission is to get more people to attend and love the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival. I want you to buy two tickets (early bird pricing is still available) and make plans with a friend to attend the show. You will be inspired and delighted. I promise. Continue reading this post to see just what the show is like.

From my perspective, the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival covers the intersections of all the things I love. Cakes that look like birch trees; air plants arranged like wallpaper and blown glass vegetables that add visual vitamins to any kitchen. It is impossible not to be inspired.
("Father's Day" by Nature Perfect Landscape & Design 2018)

At the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival, I start my week with the media tour.  Trying to absorb and photograph each of 16 grand show gardens in a manner of minutes is difficult. We all appreciate Marianne Binetti’s insight and coaching to keep our lenses focused on the important elements and story-telling details. Last year’s theme was “Garden Party,” a celebration in honor of the Northwest Flower & Garden Show’s 30th year. Built by some of the region’s best designers and landscape professionals, these show gardens are a breath of fresh air.  The outside is brought indoors. Green grass, blooming trees, water flowing, camellias flowering and a carpet of bulbs in bloom – it is the reassurance of spring that we all need in February.
("For the Apple of My Eye" by Avid Landscape Design & Devel 2018)

The first full day of the show (this year: Weds Feb 20), I usually walk the floor with my mom. We admire the show gardens, search for seeds, investigate a vertical aero-growing system and buy beeswax candles. When we stop for lunch, we always end up sharing a table with other plant lovers and these local gardeners give great advice.
(Sedum Chicks booth)

Another fun part of the show is the Vintage Garden Market—booths crammed with up-cycled and vintage items, often planted with primulas or violets. Charming and fresh, this section of the show inspires us all to work with what we have, to create meaningful and storied displays in our home. I am weak and I usually buy vintage Pyrex, antique tins and charming garden ephemera.

For Writers & Influencers, Thursday begins early with an informal Tweet-Up, linking social media with garden blogging, networking, and swag. The house lights are up and the phones are out. After leaving our mark online (#NWFGS and #springinfeb), I concentrate on the vendors in the Marketplace, where French linens, Victorian greenhouses, and glass garden art prove that the show had something for everyone.
(Secrets in the Attic booth)

Last year I spent an hour at Debra Lee Baldwin’s seminar about caring for succulents in the Pacific Northwest. The breadth of content covered in the seminars is staggering and more than half of the speakers are GWA (now known as GardenComm) members. I think it’s wonderful that attendees can learn as much about design and the use of color in the garden, as they can about shade, drainage, and soil pH. Pick a class, any class, they are all free to attendees.

That same afternoon, I sat in on a session of Floral Wars. Gina Thresher, AIFD took on Jon Robert Throne, AIFD in a healthy floral design competition. Presented by American Grown Flowers, Floral Wars was hosted by Debra Prinzing of SlowFlowers.com. Debra answered questions and encouraged the designers to share tips and tricks during their speed rounds creating a bridal bouquet, grand foyer arrangement and trendy floral crown. The crowd loved this event and we all left with a greater appreciation for texture and scale used in floral design.

May you all find time to attend the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival this year; I know that you will love it and you must share what inspired you. I hope you have a wonderful growing season ahead of you and may the internet connect us like far-flung cousins until we meet again, hopefully at the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival. 

I always carry one of my ANA Delight totes, so you’ll know its me. Please say Hi!

#NWFGS #springinfeb #momentsofdelight #gardencomm #gwa #gardenlife #gardenlover #gardencommunicators #gardenphotography #gardenwriter 

Monday, January 7, 2019

Jam Jar Snack Bags

Can you stand it? These are zip-close Jam Jar snack bags from Kikkerland. As a someone who likes to be prepared (think of tote bag stocked with tissues, a pen, a small flashlight and a phone charger) this is my favorite product from 2018.

I bought various sizes of these bags at a gift shop called, The Front Porch in Sutton Bay, Michigan. I amused myself all summer long carrying snacks with me in these reusable bags. The highlight was when I pulled them out of my carry on during our long flight from Seattle to Orlando. I consider these travel essentials.

When I am shopping, I often rationalize a purchase by saying that Cute is Forever. I know that I will find joy in this item for as long as I have it. My feelings for jam jar bags are right up there with monograms and vanity Kleenex. I don't know why I like them, I just do.

I know that I will relay on these cute, washable snack bags on picnics and road trips for years to come.  

#snackbags #jamjars #jamjar #kikkerland #design #cuteisforever #momentsofdelight #travelessentials #travelaccessories

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Heirloom Cookshop: An Evening to Relax and Braise

The neighborhood that I moved into is new construction and with the boom of the tech industry in Seattle, it has attracted families from all over the country and the world. I am really enjoying my new neighbors and I'm grateful that they are planning many fun ways to connect. In November, some of us enrolled in a one-night cooking class called "Braising" at Heirloom Cookshop in Snoqualmie, Washington. You should read my first post about this cool food-focused business.
The 4-hour class started with a glass of wine and a beautiful board of prosciutto, cheese, dried apricots, candied nuts and Marcona almonds to snack on. We introduced ourselves and discussed how familiar we were with cooking & braising in our own kitchen. Chef Schu explained that braising revolves around searing and caramelizing the exterior of food and then cooking it in liquid at a lower temperature to develop flavor and ensure tenderness. Since one of the recipes required a long braise, we would be preparing the first few steps of the recipe and then switching to one that she had cooked the night before, so that we would be able to taste the finished product - so smart. We would be making Ancho Chile-Braised Short Ribs, Yogurt-Braised Chicken with Sumac, Ginger and Cilantro, Braised Cabbage with Fennel and Pancetta and Caramelized Braised Pears with Cinnamon Whipped Cream.
The students sat at stools around a beautiful wood bar top table. Chef Schu teaches from one side, near the stove and it really works. We could see her explaining knife skills and follow her instructions for cutting up vegetables or preparing the pears. Of course, we needed to approach the stock pot to see how the chicken was searing etc., and we were able to come over and look to gauge the process. I know how to cook, but I thought it was a really fun and relaxed class full of good information. Our group and the other students asked a lot of questions and it led to some great side conversations with Chef Schu about cooking, sourcing and loving food. 
We took notes throughout the class on the recipe packet provided, and now we can recreate these hearty braised dishes at home. While the pillar of a cooking class is the instruction, you need to know that the meal we created was delicious too.  

The ancho chile beef short ribs were rich, tender and satisfying. The yogurt-braised chicken was really nice. The sumac gave it a feeling of sweetness, but that was balanced out with lemon and salt. I enjoyed it and I would certainly make it on my own. The cabbage was a pleasant surprise. I can't say that I'm likely to make it, but I certainly won't pass on cabbage anymore when it is a choice. The pears with cinnamon whipped cream was as wonderful as it sounds and we ate ourselves silly on this dessert.

The entire evening was fun and I'd take another class in a second. In fact, I'm eyeing her Valentine's Candy-making class. If you enjoy food and cooking, I encourage you to visit the Heirloom Cookshop in historic Snoqualmie.

#heirloomcookshop #snoqualmie #cookingclass #foodgoals #cheflife #chefkristenschumacher #smalltownlife #sustainablebusiness #food #cookshop #smallbusiness #womanownedbusiness #cookingclass #braising101 

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Heirloom Cookshop: Food Focused in Snoqualmie

I consider myself lucky to live close to a stylish, food-focused business like the Heirloom Cookshop. Located in a historic building in downtown Snoqualmie, Washington. Chef Kristen Schumacher's Heirloom Cookshop is part retail (I covet the salts, oils and boozy cherries), part cooking school (I just attended her class on Braising) and part grab & go gourmet lunch spot. The business also hosts a year round Happy Hour every Thursday from 5-8 and has organized a weekly Green Market with vendors in tents selling fresh produce, baked goods and local flowers on Friday nights from 4-7 pm during the growing season. Bravo.

I love everything about Heirloom Cookshop and appreciate that the various aspects of the business are like satellites revolving around the sun. It all relates to good food, fresh flavors, sustainable practices and culinary triumphs. 

Tomorrow, I will tell you all about my first class at Heirloom Cookshop. 

#heirloomcookshop #snoqualmie #cookingclass #foodgoals #cheflife #smalltownlife #sustainablebusiness #food #cookshop #smallbusiness #womanownedbusiness 

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Electric Ebelskiver Maker: Christmas Triumph

We couldn't believe our luck. After spending the weekend before at Seattle's Nordic Museum Julefest, we found an electric ebelskiver maker to give Dan for Chrismas! 

My mom, mother-in-law and I were shopping at Molbak's in Woodinville when we found it. Also promoted as a pancake puff maker, Stonewall Kitchen is the company to thank for this wonderful technology.  

The recipe for ebelskiver is a simple combination of ingredients and I can see us making them for house guests for years to come. We dipped each puff in melted butter and then rolled them in cinnamon sugar for our maiden bake on Christmas morning. They were delicious!

#ebelskiver #danishtreats #scandinavian #christmas #christmasbreakfast #appliance #

Monday, December 3, 2018

Wreath Making: Grab Some Greens and Go

Tah-dah! I made a fresh evergreen wreath for my front door. I had been hanging onto a wire wreath form with ties for ages (honestly, I think I moved it with me from Michigan) when I saw piles of fresh evergreen boughs at Squak Mountain Nursery and the wheels started turning. I bought a few bundles of juniper, cedar and pine and thought, let's give it a go.
All I needed was a paddle of green floral wire and a Corona Flex-dial ComfortGel Bypass pruner. I went at it with confidence, knowing that first I would fasten the pieces of greenery to the wire frame with the wreath ties. Then I knew I could go back and tighten and tweak the arrangement by tightly wrapping the green floral wire around everything again. It wasn't pretty, but I did it! 

If you look above at my finished wreath, you'll see that it isn't a perfect circle and I have quite a few drooping areas, but I think that's okay. I secured some of my vintage ornaments onto the wreath with thick-coated floral wire. I also made a multi-strand bow with an assortment of ribbons that I had. I felt that this type of bow was in keeping with the vintage-vibe. 

All in all, I'm pretty proud of myself. My wreath looked pretty and I had a unique touch on my front door. I hung it on the door with a magnetic hook and misted it occasionally to help keep it fresh.

#christmasdecorations #wreathmaking #evergreen #evergreenstate #vintageornaments #vintagevibe #DIY #craft #christmascraft #christmas #coronatools

Monday, November 26, 2018

Squak Mountain Nursery: Ready to Deck the Halls

Bright and Festive. That is how I would describe Squak Mountain Nursery in mid-November. I wanted to take my mother-in-law somewhere local and fun as we prepared for Thanksgiving and the gift shop at Squak Mountain was a great choice. 

The open air nursery shop had beautiful red cyclamen, Christmas tree-like lemon cypress, amaryllis bulbs, handmade holly wreaths and bundles of fresh holly for sale. They also have stacks of fresh greens to swag on a fence, drape on your mantle or create your own wreath.  
The gift shop out back is a wonderland worth visiting. I took this picture to inspire you. The designer touches and selection of unusual ornaments will make you catch your breath. 

#squakmountain #nursery #christmasgreens #issaquah #deckthehalls #designertouches #christmasornaments #giftshop  

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family & friends. We had a quiet day of cooking and puttering in the house. We put the tree up and had a beautiful meal.

Do you like my turkey-shaped butter? It is a must-have in my house and one year I couldn't find one in the grocery store, so I vowed to get my own turkey mold when I was in the candy supply store. Now that I live in Seattle (Amazon country), I know that most of you will simply order it online. I have included a link to a chocolate turkey mold similar to mine.

#happythanksgiving #momentsofdelight #butterturkey #turkeymold #chocolateturkeymold #doityourself #entertaining

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Julefest 2018: Nordic Museum Seattle

The new Nordic Museum in Ballard was hopping this weekend. The beloved holiday event, Julefest was held in the brand new museum for the first time. The building has open walkways upstairs that allow you to look across the expanse and appreciate the walls designed to feel like a grand fjord (above). 
The celebration revolves around Nordic (Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland) Christmas traditions. Glogg and sweets, music and fellowship, gifts and handiwork. 
(Norwegian Male Chorus)

The 2-day event was wonderful, but speaking as someone who came on the second day, I was disappointed that the homemade cookies and breads were completely sold out. And I mean tables put away, never to be seen, sold out. This is good news for the event and certainly means it was a success. I hope they are able to bake & sugar even more specialties next year. We did have a chance to "eat like a modern day Viking" at the Freya Cafe and have Danish Dogs on a pretzel bun with mustard and lingonberry jam. Satisfying and delicious on a very busy day.
In the permanent museum, each country had its signature pieces on display. Having loved Swedish clocks since I was a girl with a blue clock in my dollhouse (see below; I keep this tiny treasure in my office now), I loved seeing a beautiful antique Swedish clock given a place of honor.
My mother in law, Kay is in town for Thanksgiving, so Dan and I were both able to take our moms to this fun and lively event. We all bought ornaments (well, not Dan) and admired the bowls and wooden objects featuring the folk art painting style called Rosemaling. There were big thick Norwegian-style ski sweaters for sale and we kicked ourselves for not dressing for the occasion and wearing ones from our own closet. We met a man who knits sweaters to look like each of the Nordic flags. He was wearing one that was bright yellow with blue "Scandinavian cross", which is the flag of Sweden, and hopes to sell them as a vendor next year. 
We had such a nice afternoon admiring the new museum, enjoying the music and shopping for beautiful Nordic treasures. This event got us in the mood for Christmas! God Jul!

#nordicmuseum #newnordic #julefest #seattle #holidaycelebration #christmas #scandinavian #swedish #holidayfun #celebratetheseason #momentsofdelight #freyacafe #ballard #christmasinseattle

Monday, November 19, 2018

Celebrate with a Toast: My Holiday Punch

I can't tell you how happy I am that Chinet now makes stemless plastic wine glasses that are beautiful and can be used for punch. Can you hear the angels singing? I always make punch for parties (I can't wait to make coffee punch with gingerbread spoons next month!) and I dislike using classic plastic party glasses, even when they are beautiful and made by Chinet. I want a rounded,  and sophisticated glass. Now raise a glass and go celebrate the season!

2 Star Christmas Punch

I served this beautiful punch to a crowd twice this year and the ladies drank cup after cup. It is not too sweet and very refreshing. At both parties, people crossed the room to tell me how much they liked the punch. I joked with a neighbor that I had made this recipe years ago and put a "star" next to it. She responded, "Put 2."

Step 1:
Freeze 2 cups of Cranberry Ginger Ale with 2 cups of fresh cranberries in the bottom of a Bundt mold (make sure the width of the mold will fit into your punch bowl). Tuck 5 whole sage leaves around the edge so that some green will show when un-molded.

When this first layer is frozen, pour in the rest of the 2 liter bottle of Cranberry Ginger Ale. My first section un-molded and floated to the top. That is perfect. Allow to freeze. When you place it in your punch bowl, the ice ring will look like this. 

When prepping for the party, pulverize one bag of fresh frozen raspberries (no liquid or sugar added, just berries) in a food processor and place into punch bowl. Add 1 (12 oz) can of defrosted frozen pink lemonade and 1 (12 oz) can of defrosted cranberry juice concentrate

When your guests are about to arrive, add 2 (2 liter) of regular Ginger Ale. Place ice ring into center. Stir and enjoy!

#seattle #holidaycelebration #christmas #holidayfun #celebratetheseason #momentsofdelight  #christmasinseattle #holidayentertaining #punchrecipes #punch #holidaycocktails #seasonal #ginger  #gingerale #canadadry 

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Friendsgiving 2018: A New Life in the Pacific Northwest

How did we get so lucky? That is a question we ask ourselves often since building a house in a new neighborhood on Seattle's East side. 

Our neighbors are a kind and happy group that love to gather and connect. My grandmother always said to me, " You've got to make your own fun."  The fun this neighborhood has cooked up so far (Block Party, Gingerbread House Making, Ladies Night, Cooking Class, Succulent Party) has been part of our successful transition to the West coast. 
A few weeks ago, our neighbors A & A declared that a neighborhood Friendsgiving was in order. They said, "Bring 2 sides, salads or desserts and come have a feast with us in mid-November." They cooked 2 huge turkeys (roasted & deep fried) and the neighbors supplied the rest of the food and chaos. I brought my striped mashed potatoes (it was gone in a flash) and a sheet pan pecan pie.
They managed to provide seating for 30 (!) and the house looked warm and welcoming. Twinkle lights, fresh flowers and food. Again, how could we be so lucky? I hugged ladies from my street. I met husbands that I've only seen through Facebook. I heard stories about moving in, growing up and starting fresh. We had the conversations we needed to make friends and build relationships.

Just before the meal, the host raised a glass and said that he didn't know if we realized it, but he & A had moved into their house 1 year ago that day. Their happy home that was currently brimming with voices and laughter was mostly filled with people they had met within the last year. He thought that it was incredible and so did we. We all silently acknowledged how grateful we were for this same group of people for the very same reasons.  

Happy Thanksgiving. Happy Friendsgiving. May these new friendships continue to grow and thrive in the Pacific Northwest. Amen.

#friendsgiving2018 #friendsgiving #thanksgiving #thankful #momentsofdelight #entertaining #turkeyday #newneighbors #pnw 

Monday, November 12, 2018

Slab Pie: Trisha Yearwood's Lemon Pecan Pie

Trisha Yearwood knows how to make a great slab pie. We were invited to a big Friendsgiving Dinner this year in our neighborhood and I thought that pecan pie would be a welcome addition. But when you have a crowd, it just doesn't make sense to set out pies that serve 8. The pieces are too big and it is hard to have enough for everyone. I rationalized that a pecan pie in slab pie form would taste like Thanksgiving while still being manageable.  

I love making pecan pie, but how should I translate a normal recipe into a slab pie that cuts into sturdy pieces? I had enough time to make one practice slab pie. And then I saw the most glorious slab pie on Food Network: Trisha Yearwood's Lemon Pecan Pie

This is my first attempt (above) and it was beautiful! It cut easily, the refrigerator crust was flaky and acceptable and the pie was delicious. Except my husband kept asking me why did I put lemon in it. Fair question. I thought that it was a great pie, but in deference to tradition, I removed all but a whisper of lemon for the second slab pie I made that week.

It baked up perfectly and the guests that tried it, liked it. Hallelujah. Thank you, Trisha, for knowing just what recipe I needed!

#friendsgiving2018 #friendsgivingrecipes #friendsgiving #thanksgiving #pie #slabpie #illbringdessert #pecanpie #lemonpecanpie #entertaining #trishayearwood #neighborhood  

Friday, October 12, 2018

Horse Chestnuts: Collecting Nature's Gifts

Have you ever collected horse chestnuts? This is a fall activity that my mom loves. She scouts out horse chestnut trees in the spring and mentions how we need to get to them at exactly the right time. This year we were a little late, the spiny seed pods had fallen away from the mahogany-colored chestnuts. 

My mom like to collect them in a variety of stages (a pod just opening, an open pod with the seed showing and loose chestnuts) and display them as art. Once we have some arranged at home, I'll come back here and update this post with a picture. She will also want me to tell you that she planted one in Michigan years ago and it is now a thriving 40 foot tall tree. 
Our favorite place for gathering horse chestnuts is in Volunteer Park in Seattle. It is a great open space with a long row of very old horse chestnut trees. We had a beautiful day on Saturday and we drove out to this park with my mom to find horse chestnuts and celebrate her return to health. It was a great afternoon.

#horsechestnuts #notthatkindofchestnut #volunteerpark #seattle #nature #gardenlover #treelover #fallfun

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Fall Decoration & Recipe: A Nutty Idea

I was shopping with my friend Tracey last year when I found this darling squirrel tray. It is made of wood and looks great on my island corralling garlic and onions or in the center of my table surrounded by candles. The squirrel is a symbol of Tracey's sorority, so she bought one too! When I brought it out this year to celebrate the season, I decided to take this photo to send to Tracey and remind her of our fun visit. Just before I snapped the picture, my mom suggested I put one of the acorn-shaped corn muffins I'd made for dinner in his hand. Ha! She's always thinking. 

I have found the same squirrel tray online here, if he speaks to you.

I am going to make my chocolate-dipped acorns, now that I have the perfect place to serve them. Remember when I made these for a party back in Michigan? I swear a girl told me she was taking some home in her purse!
This treat has one roasted almond stuffed inside a chocolate-dipped date. The acorn topping is more pulverized roasted almonds. They are delicious. You can find my recipe here.

#acorns #falldecorations #fallcandy #candymaking #fall #squirrels #autumntreats #momentsofdelight #annereeves

Monday, October 8, 2018

Dahlia Barn: Their Own Magnificent Color Story

Last weekend, Dan and I drove to the Dahlia Barn in North Bend, Washington to buy some fresh flowers. I wanted one bouquet to keep and one to give. Their farm is bursting and most of these dahlias are taller than me. This Washington farm is happy and healthy.
I met Jerry & Aimee Sherrill in 2014 when I was still living in Seattle hotels part time and had a houseful of groceries back in Michigan. I didn't know then that in 4 short years, I would be living in Washington just 15 minutes from their farm! Here is my original post about the Dahlia Barn.
Twice a year since then, I would stop in at their farm or their Northwest Flower & Garden Festival booth and say hello. It has almost become a joke, because when I saw them every 6 months my circumstances seemed to change. First "my husband was consulting in Seattle", then "we were in town looking for an apartment," then "we were selling our house and making the move permanent." It took many visits before I could announce that I owned a house with a yard and that my dahlia growing had a future. We are just getting used to our new climate and I look forward to growing lots of Dahlia Barn tubers in the future.
When we arrived for a bouquet, Aimee encouraged us to go into the barn to see their "flower show." When I saw the display, I immediately thought of a new box of crayons! Aren't they wonderful?
Catalogs are one thing, but I can't think of a better way for a customer to shop for their garden than to see each bloom in its glory. Which is your favorite?
The farm sells fresh cut bouquets in September-October each year. This was the last weekend for the year. Now it is time for them to tend the farm and prep the tubers for the winter. You can place your order for next Spring anytime. I encourage you to scour their website and dream up a winning combination for your garden. I guarantee that in 2019, I will be growing dahlias! 

#dahlias #growing #gardenlover #washington #farmflowers #dahliabarn #makingfriends #color