Friday, March 16, 2018

Easter Display: Creating A Happy Kitchen Display

Tah-dah! I knew it would be cute, but it came out even better than I imagined. 

I bought the 2 drawers at Michaels Craft. I lined them with plastic sheeting, cut and taped to fit, then I set a plastic tray that covered 2/3 of the drawer inside. I protected the last section with a gallon Ziploc freezer bag (with the sides folded down) and planted the bulbs inside. I arranged the other bulbs in the tray and put some bagged top soil in the sparse areas with a measuring scoop. I watered gently and then tucked pieces of dry green moss (bought as a dried sheet of real moss at the craft store) to cover the plastic and prop up the bulbs. Love love love.

You might remember that originally, I thought that artificial moss squares would work (cutting slits and poking the real growth up through the moss), but instead I used dry clumps of real moss to fit into the empty spaces as needed.
The secret to this project is finding a store that sells bulbs about to bloom. The grocery stores in Seattle sell growing bulbs out front! I took this photo outside of a QFC (Kroger) in Sammamish. I'm in heaven out here - truly.

I planted pink tulips (on their way to blooming now), narcissus, tiny lt blue grape hyacinth (that were so small I wasn't sure they would produce a stalk inside - they did!) and a few white/yellow fluffy daffodil variations. I plan on replacing the spent bulbs as they fade with new bulbs on the cusp. And yes, I will stick the spent bulbs in the front garden bed with hopes for next year.

The cute ceramic bunnies in my display were from Cost Plus World Market about 10 years ago. I am so glad I bought them. Remember my motto when you are thinking about buying something seasonal, cute is forever.

#easterdisplay #floweringbulbs #springinside #livingarrangement #easterdecorations #kitchendesign

Monday, March 12, 2018

Primula Power

It's as easy as setting plants in a formal serving piece. I absolutely love this happy display on my kitchen table. The plants have quite a lot of dirt on them, so I didn't add soil or anything but a little water. For now, they love it and that's all I ask.

#springflowers #primulas #easterdecorations

Sunday, March 11, 2018

RAGS: 2018 Wearable Art Sale to Benefit YWCA's Domestic Violence Prevention & Intervention

Since I have my own accessories company focused on one-of-a-kind pieces, my new friend Stacie invited me to attend the 2018 RAGS Wearable Art Sale with her and suggested that I consider it as possible venue for my brand. Wasn't that nice of her? I certainly need to know about events like this in my new hometown.

As described on their website, "RAGS is a juried wearable art competition and sale that benefits the YWCA’s domestic violence prevention and intervention programs."

The show is held at the Larson Mercedes-Benz of Tacoma and the showroom was filled with 55 artists selling beautiful wearable art pieces - woven and felted scarves, carved wood necklaces, unique hats, paper crowns and handmade purses. I was very impressed with the quality and variety of the designs for sale, as well as the originality. I have seen a lot of art-level accessories for sale over the years and this selection was top notch.

#artist #charity #seattle #wearableart #rags 

Saturday, March 10, 2018

The Mountain is Out

What a spectacular sight! A friend took me tooling around Puyallup, WA today and Mount Rainier was covered in snow and as clear as a bell! I still long to go to that National Park and see the wildflowers in the summer.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Primulas: Brighten Your Table Instantly

I just wanted to take a minute to encourage you to buy primulas. They are an easy way to bring a happy touch into your home. On the West Coast, primulas have been available for a while now and they should start appearing at home improvement centers in the Midwest any time now. These happy-go-lucky plants are reasonable (often $1.25/plant) and they look so pretty in the center of the table.

I know that on the West Coast, these annuals are often planted in casual landscaping or in pots outdoors and have a long bloom time. I must confess that I do not buy them with the plan to keep them around. My wish is to enjoy them for 2-3 weeks of color and cheerful decoration. 

I brought out 4 neutral place mats, some bamboo-style silverware and 4 print napkins that my aunt gave me for Christmas. What makes the table look finished? 6 fresh primulas (still in their original plastic pots) resting on clear plastic saucers to protect the table. Voila!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Cigar Box Purse: Happy Customer

"Anne - Hi! I just wanted to reach out to let you know that the cigar box purse was a HUGE hit. I wore it to a Cuba themed gala. I thought a lot of ppl would have cigar box purses, but none did! I had more compliments than you can imagine. Here is a pic for you. One of the society magazines was more interested in a pic of the purse than they were of me. If it makes the magazine, I’ll send you a copy. Thanks for taking care of me for a Noche en Havana to support Phoenix Children’s Hospital!!!" 3/5/18
Oh happy day. I just heard from a recent Etsy customer that she LOVED her ANA cigar box purse and received lots of compliments at a charity gala. Doesn't she look fabulous?! How wonderful. I want to thank her for passing on the photo and the praise.

If you'd like to shop my collection of handmade cigar box purses, click here.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Facebook: Women in Business: Boost Your Business

Today I attended a 2 hour training session tailored to women who want market their small business brand through Facebook. The information was fantastic.

Grace Hilty, from the Facebook Small Business Team, was the moderator and she was composed and as clear as a bell. The topics ranged from tips for taking better photos (white foam board can bounce light and marble contact paper can make your work surface look expensive when photographing food) and the importance of capturing people's attention in the first few moments of a LIVE video when the sound is off. Great information and we were only a few minutes into the program.

I appreciated that the content was part presentation, part video learning, so that the Facebook team could show us exactly what the screen looks like when you use the CreateAds tool or boost a post. 
What I found most valuable was that I can learn more about how to use the Facebook products for my business in these 3 places. It makes sense, but I didn't realize that they had organized a learning area and I know that I will benefit from it.

The event included a panel discussion with 3 local women business owners and they did a terrific job. Debbie Page (business mentoring), Claire Sumadiwirya (Bellden Cafe in Bellevue) and Jennifer Jedda (JJ Caprices (accessories). They gave real-life examples of how they use Facebook to connect with customers and target their advertising specifically to the demographic that generate sales for their business.

There are a lot of classes/seminars/events that promise results for small business people, but this session felt like it was truly loaded with helpful guidelines. As with any endeavor, the time and effort required to learn to use Facebook as a marketing tool rests solely on the business owner. For their part, I think Facebook has done a good job making the tools easy and user friendly. And with any worthwhile session, I felt antsy for it to finish so that I could get started. Nice work and thank you for providing this free training.

#shemeansbusiness #finddelight  #womeninbusiness 

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

It's been whirl

Hello, dear readers! My life has been a whirl of late and I am bursting at the seams with content and inspiration. I just have to handle this second root canal (gasp!) and unpack the suitcases from my Houston trip. 

I promise you'll be delighted with bits and bobs from the Northwest Flower and Garden Show and much more. More posts going up Friday afternoon.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

High Praise: Happy Comments About Paris: Delight in the City of Light

(Gazing out the enormous clock at the Musee D'Orsay)

Ooh la la! I ship a lot of my books out inscribed as gifts but I don't always hear back about what my readers thought. Today I received the nicest feedback on Amazon for my book Paris: Delight in the City of Light. My book is a soft-cover modern coffee table book devoted to PARIS. Enjoy 120 pages of full-color photographs on every page, including addresses & websites of my favorite places in Paris.

Anne Reeves is just as delightful as her book. The book, Paris - Delight in the City was a nice pick me up for the February blahs, and it came wrapped in beautiful pink tissue accompanied by a Paris themed personal note which I plan to save because it was so pretty. 
(a puff of pastry at Laduree)

Thank you Mary!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Shopping the 2018 Northwest Flower and Garden Festival

I want to spotlight some great items I found for sale at the Northwest Flower and Garden Festival. I combed the show and picked out some unusual items that might strike your fancy.

I consider these hats part of the "Eat Your Vegetables" series. They are handmade and just darling and made by Art by Namaste (above).
The artist at Rusty Birds made this sweet combination of what I think is a gold finch perched on an echinacea. I don't normally go for garden art, but I think this guy is charming.
I love that University Bookstore (the sponsor of the televised book club through Seattle Refined that I've been attending lately) brought stacks and stacks of beautiful garden books. Their booth was humming with customers shopping for self-help guides to growing plants, flowers, trees and shrubs.

#NWFGS #shoptillyoudrop #momentsofdelight #finddelight #NWFGS #seattle

Thursday, February 8, 2018

I Love Daffodils and Easter is Coming

And since you know me, you realize that these declarations will change week by week as the weather warms up. I love flowers sums things up better, but it is not how I feel today.

My head and heart need bright yellow and the daffodil delivers. I took this photo at Pike Place market on April 6, 2014. The grocery stores have already started selling bunches of daffodils and I am working on a triumphant centerpiece for my kitchen island for Easter week. 
So far I have some tulips and narcissus, but I'm planning on 2 crates (from #Michaels!) with lots of bulbs blooming through the moss. I love this time of year! 

*Note: See March 16 post for final product!

#easter #floweringbulbs #finddelight #makingahome #easterflowers #decorating

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Northwest Flower & Garden Show: GH Horticulture Creates Wonderful City Living Display Garden

I am so proud of my friend, Grace Hensley and her company GH Horticulture. She specializes in small space garden and container design (she is also an exceptional photographer) and this year she was chosen to design a City Living garden for the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival. Go Grace!
I swear that I had chosen her 6' x 12' display as my favorite long before I realized that it was hers. The soothing grays punctuated with black and softened with pink won me over. The City Living spaces are intended to give apartment dwellers inspiration and show them that small spaces can still boast big design ideas.
In order to trumpet the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival's 30th Anniversary, Grace designed around the word and color pearl. It is the Pearl Anniversary, you see. This camellia is Nuccio's Pearl. It was pale pink and gorgeous. If you'd like to read about Grace's process, check out her blog post about preparing for the show.
Three of my favorite elements from her display are in this photograph (above). Grace hung a magnificent natural shell wreath (I want!) on the front door and don't miss the Amazon package on the front mat just waiting for the busy Seattlite to come home from work.

She also added a fairy door to her vignette, complete with tiny beautiful containers. Sooo sweet!  Great job.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Northwest Flower and Garden Show: 2018 in Seattle

Hey, kindred spirit! It's time! The Northwest Flower and Garden Show opens tomorrow, Wednesday, Feb 7 - 10 from 9am- 8pm, and Sunday, Feb 11 from 9 am - 6 pm. 

I was so happy to have a chance to attend the Press Tour this morning and get a first look at the magnificent show gardens before they are judged and awarded Gold/Silver/Bronze. I wish them all luck...their hard work was on display and every garden was worthy.
All of the gardens gave a nod to this year's theme "Garden Party" because 2018 is the 30th anniversary of this incredible garden show in Seattle. If ever there was a "girl's trip" worthy event, this is it. Art, plants, antiques, landscaping ideas, local knowledge. Their cup runneth over. 

#NWFGS #gardenparty #seattle #garden #imsogladilivehere #gardenerdream

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Tropical Butterfly House: A Warm & Peaceful Escape

I have a suggestion for a great date. Take someone to the Tropical Butterfly House at the Pacific Science Center.  Dan and I were both downtown on Sunday for events and when we met up afterwards, I suggested that we stay downtown and visit the Tropical Butterfly House at the Pacific Science Center

I had seen a spotlight on the butterfly exhibit in Seattle Magazine last year and had told myself that it would be a great way to spend a rainy winter day. 

I was right! It was warm, humid, quiet and inspiring. The number of people allowed in the 4,000 sq ft greenhouse at any one time is closely monitored. I enjoyed hearing the children whisper and react in awe of these delicate flying wonders.
We found it to be very relaxing to sit on a wall and watch the flurry of activity in the air. The yellow bloom is a hibiscus and the cluster of coral is Crown of Thorns. The butterfly looks to be a Scarlet Peacock.
The room is warm, humid and well lit. An environment we could all benefit from in January.
I can't determine the name of this one from the butterfly chart, but look at that beautiful wingspan. 
 This monarch shows off wings that look like stained glass.
I believe this is a Paper Kite butterfly on a Jungle Flame blossom. See if you agree by reviewing this botanical chart.
There is a window displaying chrysalis as they develop. It gives both children and adults a glimpse at the wonder of development. When they are ready, those same butterflies are released into the Butterfly House each week. It is a lovely lesson about patience and metamorphosis. 

We spent about 45 minutes looking around and soaking it up. No rush. No music. It was the kind of educational vacation I needed. I highly recommend it. The Pacific Science Center itself looked wonderful. We were drawn to the replica of Puget Sound, complete with water levels and ink-highlighting currents. Time well spent, I say. Give yourself the gift of wandering a museum; taking time to think and consider will always be well spent.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Dollhouse Seed Packets: Whimsical Art

Do you have Spring Fever too? I know that gardeners around the country are pouring over garden catalogs and dreaming of a bountiful season.

Years ago I bought this sheet of dollhouse seed packets. I didn't want it for cute effect in tiny house but as an interesting touch in a real house. The sheet is about 4 x 3 inches and I framed it in a 4 x 6 matte black frame and put it on display on a beverage cart in my living room. 

It was a beautiful touch and one that was interesting too. A teeny-tiny conversation piece on its own that gave a nod to one of my hobbies. What do you think? What unexpected piece of paper could you frame?

#art #artisrelative #dollhouse #seedpackets #gardener #interiordesign #cutetouches

Thursday, January 25, 2018

ANA Designs Inc.: Cigar Box Purses and a World of Delight

After moving across the country, I realize how important it is for me to be able to articulate my brand. I founded ANA in 2003 when I started making and selling purses made from original cigar boxes, lined with fabric, improved with a handle and feet and then signed and numbered. Each purse is finished with my clay ANA logo. They were received well right from the start and I had great success selling them in juried art shows across Michigan. As I started to travel more, I decided to move my store to Etsy (Anne Reeves on Etsy) online in order to reach more people and keep a nice inventory.

Today I wanted to tell you about my "customs stamp." (see above) I use it to signify that something has been stamped with my approval...literally a stamp that from my territory - a world where things have to be "Super Cute."

The cursive "I.K.I" in the center stands for "I'm Keeping It!" That is the yardstick I use to know when a design is ready to sell. When I find myself admiring the design and start thinking about keeping it, I know that it is "ready" and that my customers will love it. 

#etsyseller #maker #womeninbusiness #cigar #cigarboxpurses #conversationpiece #etsy

Monday, January 22, 2018

Fortnum & Mason: A Trip to Bountiful

When I put Fortnum & Mason on my Delightful Tour of England itinerary, I really didn't understand how much I would love it inside. Our trip was several years ago, but I remember ever detail. 

The store ia packed with my favorite things: sweets & treats, beautiful packaging, picnic supplies, gorgeous displays. It was marvelous. I remember turning to Dan after I had scanned the first floor, I said, "I can't ever leave." He understood and we ended up strolling every inch of the store by way of this magnificent staircase.
Can you see the fresh fruits on display at the very lowest level - if I had to use one word to describe Fortnum & Mason, it would be bountiful.
The store was handing out samples of their homemade marshmallows and I nibbled a raspberry one while I tried to absorb the store and my options. The entire ground floor is dedicated to tea, jams, honey and sweets. Knowing how I love the use jam jars and biscuit tins as flower vases, my mind was overwhelmed with the potential.
I wandered the entire store (established in 1707) and made mental notes of all the things I wanted to buy. I was conservative and did not buy almost anything. It was a case where I thought we would have time to double back later, but we never did. Honestly, my kitchen had aqua accents, you'd think I would at least have bought an aqua tea tin! 
The good news is that the Fortnum & Mason has a special collection available through Williams Sonoma! They even offer 2 luxury F & M hampers full of their products. That is my heart's desire, to receive a Fortnum & Mason hamper and a chance to taste some of their teas, cookies & jams AND have one of their wicker picnic hampers to keep! I'd use it on adventures for the rest of my life. *Sigh* 

Thank you Williams Sonoma for making the best of England within reach.

#williamssonoma #fortnummason #london #tea #shoppinginlondon #england #aquaismycolor

Friday, January 19, 2018

Russian Pastry Tip: Frosting Flower

I confess that over the holidays I swiped some homemade buttercream off of a cake that I'd made and used it to frost a cookie I was about to eat. Gluttony? Sugar coma? It was a reckless move and one that may have changed my baking forever. 

Plus column: I now know that my grandmother's sugar cookies taste great with buttercream frosting.
Negative column: How am I ever going to go back to her original hot water frosting?

Part of the cute look of this cookie is because I used 2 different colors of frosting and a Russian Pastry Tube Tip. You can buy them at Fancy Flours, my favorite online baking supply store.

I dyed 1/3 of the frosting bright pink and smoothed it around the edges of the disposable pastry bag. I loaded the rest of the white frosting into the center of the bag. When I piped out the frosting, it created this fantastic and distinctly shaded design. I just love it. It reminds me of a lily pad and I think it would look darling in green with lilac, yes?
Nama's Old Fashioned Rolled Sugar Cookies

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
2 Tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder

Cream butter in mixing bowl. Beat in sugar, egg, milk & vanilla. Add flour, salt & baking powder. Mix well. Divide dough in half and wrap each disc of dough in waxed paper. Chill in refrigerator at least one hour. Use plenty of flour on board, rolling pin & cookie cutters to prevent sticking. Roll out dough 1/4 inch thick and cut out shapes with cookie cutters. Bake at 375* on an ungreased cookie sheet for 5-8 minutes.

My New Favorite Buttercream

1/2 cup unsalted butter
3-4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup 2 % milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream softened butter. Slowly add milk. Add vanilla. Slowly add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time until blended and delicious.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Call Your Friends: Plan an Afternoon at Northwest Flower and Garden Show

Check your calendar and call your friends. The Northwest Flower & Garden Show will delight attendees from February 7-11 at the Washington State Convention Center. 

To me, it seems almost silly to bill this show as one for gardeners. Its a show for people and I insist you come check it out.
The Northwest Flower and Garden Show is designed to delight every possible kind of gardener. In truth, the show covers such a wide range of interests and skill levels, I can't imagine someone that wouldn't enjoy exploring the show.

Consider these broad interests:
  • full scale examples of how to design a backyard for entertaining
  • a vendor selling every possible dahlia tuber ready to plant
  • a tasting corner dedicated to selling craft food made by local artisans
  • a seminar on how to plant succulents into a vertical art piece
  • a vendor selling in lavender products made in the Pacific Northwest
  • a lecture on how to attract bees and butterflies to your yard
  • a garden center set up to sell books, terrariums and air plants for apartment living.
Visually, you will be astonished by the scale and beauty of the 20 large display gardens. Flowering trees, giant boulders, live moss and spring bulbs are woven together to create themed vignettes all celebrating this year's theme: A Taste of Spring. This portion of the garden show is all for show. Stand and soak it in.

Take pictures and imagine incorporating some of the scale-able elements into your own backyard. The popularity of Northwest Flower and Garden Show goes far beyond these impressive display gardens. There are also living plants of all varieties for sale (succulents, fern, ivy, seeds, bulbs) in the Plant Market. I know, it's a lot.

The selection of garden and flower related products to shop for in the 350-vendor Marketplace is second to none. Need flower arranging tools, garden baskets, bonsai scissors or oilcloth aprons? They've got you covered. 

In my opinion, access to the Marketplace alone is worth the price of admission.

Looking for a concrete ideas and a chance to mull over what you've seen so far? Look at the schedule and take a seat in one of the 100 free how-to presentations.

Ready for lunch? There are great choices this year from salads and pasta, to soups, burgers and cheese platters, in addition to craft beer and regional wine.

There is more to tell, of course. Floral competitions to judge. Garden War competitions to cheer. Landscapers to hire. A garden society to join. I will be attending the show this year and delving in more deeply to be able to give you a tailored look at the show and I promise to post in a timely manner.
"Good Times, Great Food" by Nature Perfect Landscape & Design)

Enjoying the show is easy, doing justice to it is the hard part!

Show is open Wednesday, Feb 7 - 10 from 9am- 8pm, and Sunday, Feb 11 from 9 am - 6 pm. #NWFGS #gardenparty #seattle #seattletimes #seattlerefined

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Beast PDX: A Look Back at a Perfect Brunch

Chef Naomi Pomeroy was a finalist for the James Beard Award: Best Chef: Pacific Northwest in 2010, 2012 and 2013. In 2014, she was the recipient of this prestigious award.  Dan and I were lucky to snag a reservation at her restaurant Beast in June 2014, but I never had a chance to blog about it and time got away from me. To right this wrong, I am going back in time and putting the spotlight on a lovely brunch in Portland, Oregon. Welcome to Beast.
We were seated in the front window, at a farm table full of happy patrons. Dan and I hit it off with a young couple who had traveled up from California to enjoy Portland and visit Beast. They were foodies too, who had seen Naomi Pomeroy on Top Chef Masters and were excited, as we were, to have a culinary memory. One young man was a teacher and his partner loved gardens, so in addition to oohing and ahhing over each bite, we enjoyed talking about the joy and beauty of living in the Pacific Northwest. 
Brunch started as we all had hoped...with bacon. This is a strawberry clafoutis (a warm baked custard-like cake) served with vanilla bean whipped cream and maple-glazed house bacon. The cake was rich with a brownie-like chew to the edge and the bacon made me wonder why I wasn't experimenting more with maple syrup. This sticky sweet accent was a star.
Next was a plate with crispy pork belly, snap peas, romanesco, sun gold tomatoes, porcini mushrooms, summer squash, confit purple potatoes and a perfectly poached duck egg accented with a whole grain mustard hollandaise.
This dish was rich and fresh and satisfying. And substantial, I was relieved that the portions were hearty enough for Dan.
This taste of summer greens was dressed in a Sauvignon Blanc vinaigrette and was served with cheese from the Cheese Bar and a macerated prune.
The restaurant has an open kitchen, so you can watch as the magic happens.
The sweet bite at the end was a bete noire (chocolate beast) with creme Chantilly. It was dense and the flavor was rich and coffee-like. The cocoa nibs were dusted in gold lustre - an extravagant touch that I loved.

Our brunch at Beast PDX was delicious. I appreciated the time spent on preparation and presentation - it was worth every penny. 

Let me join in the chiming bells: Chef Naomi Pomeroy!