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

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Salmon Days in Issaquah Washington

It was the perfect Fall day to celebrate salmon in the Pacific Northwest. Oh yes, I said salmon. And that is probably why we look especially happy in this picture, the whole town is crazy for fish. The stranger we enlisted to take our picture insisted we say "Salmon Days!" to get a good smile. Looks like she knew what she was doing - the photo is great.
Salmon Days is a family friendly weekend in Issaquah, Washington that celebrates the return of the salmon to the river. There is a fair, art show and parade for 3 days each year. The mayor also changes the name of Issaquah to Fish-aquah for the occasion. Now that is town spirit.

Look at the crowds lining up along the river to see the salmon swimming upstream and jumping up Issaquah Creek. I trace the whole path and process in an earlier post. If you'd like to know more, click here
It was the perfect Fall day and I loved seeing the admirers from this angle, leaning over the bridge to watch the salmon activity. This photo was taken near the Salmon Hatchery.
Salmon Days docents are on hand along the river (above) to answer questions about salmon, science and to explain what is happening this time of year. They are a treasure. When my cousin Carol and I came to see if any salmon were jumping last year, one of these docents gave us a real ecology lesson as we leaned over this same bridge to watch the salmon return. 
I happened to see our mascot, Sammy the Salmon cruising through the crowd. I love a town that celebrates and I encourage you to join the fun and visit Issaquah for Salmon Days next year. In the meantime, click the links and explore the educational videos on the Salmon Hatchery website.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Succulent Wreath from Jade & Co

I wanted to show off my favorite purchase from the Pinology Market in Seattle. A company called Jade & Co had these simple living wreaths for sale. Several succulents attached to moss on a grapevine wreath. I love it for its simplicity and the nod to my love of plants. Right now I have it hanging in my kitchen, and every week I bring it to the sink and give it a mist of water. It still looks as good as the day I bought it.
The company also had beautiful succulent topped pumpkins for sale. I think these are stunning. I may experiment next year and try to create a living arrangement for myself. I would love something like this on our front table.

Monday, October 1, 2018

The Mill: The Perfect Spot for a Pre-Show Meal

We had a delicious casual meal at The Mill Restaurant & Sports Bar in Milton, WA. I had been searching for a restaurant to have a pre-concert dinner on our way down to the Washington State Fair. The Mill had a lot of great online reviews and I felt confident making a reservation.

Well, in a word, it was just what we were looking for. The menu was interesting and varied. It was early early in the evening, so the restaurant was quiet and the server worked hard to get us in and out in time for our 7:30 tickets. I had a bright and cold watermelon salad and a hearty Mill Burger on a fresh brioche bun. If we hadn't had a timeline, I'm sure would would have enjoyed staying and talking in this terrific new restaurant. 

#preconcert #preshowdinner #miltonwa #themill #greathamburgers 

Friday, September 28, 2018

Bright & Cheery:This is Flower Power

I love the happy affect that a vibrant color combination can have. When I have orange, red, pink, coral and yellow at my fingertips - Bam! Super hero color in a mini marvel package.  

I had always grown nasturtiums in pots. It may sound silly, but I didn't realize that they would happily mound on the ground as well as they have. This spring, I tucked my extra nasturtium seeds in a few spots around my rose garden and va-voom! I have lots of colorful blossoms available to expand my bouquets. Love! 

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Family Medical Leave

***Update: It's early October and I'm happy to report that my mom is doing well and is back living near me in Washington. It's been a tumultuous summer, but we made it! I am going to fill in the blog backwards now, so that you don't miss any of the delightful moments that I wanted to share. Thank you all for your support! 

Can you take FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) from your own blog? My mom had to have emergency surgery in northern Michigan and I flew from Seattle to be with her. Surgery was a success but I need to focus on her for the time being. I encourage you to look back over the 2,500 posts I have written over the past 11 years and enjoy those. Thank you for understanding.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Tupperware Museum: A Colorful Diversion

It is true. I went to the Tupperware Museum (and Headquarters) when I was at a family reunion in Orlando. I'm more of a Pyrex girl, but the women of the family declared it was to be Tupperware then pedicures, and I am not one to stand in the way of girl fun.
When I talked to my mother-in-law on the phone that night, she started naming off the pieces she owned and how they had never let her down. I don't have any Tupperware, but it was neat to read the descriptions in the exhibit and learn about their role in empowering women to make their own money. It really was ground-breaking for women to sell to other women in their homes.
Though I didn't spring for any of these containers, tempting as they were, my family made a major dent in their inventory and I'm sure created a blip on the sales reports. It was a fun stop for us, we took a group picture and all reminisced about wedding showers and the challenge of cupcake carrying. It was light and fun (and air conditioned. 96 degrees in Orlando that week).
Thank you, Tupperware, for a lovely walk down memory lane.

#tupperware #orlando #familyreunion #housewarelove #housewares #cleverstorage

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Hadley Pottery: Tea Sets the Mood

I have started a new collection! It's Hadley Pottery and I just love it. I think what speaks to me is the fact that its based in blue and that the style is charming. It's sturdy enough to really be used. The themes painted on each piece are sweet and classic. And the style is rustic enough for a man to use too. Dan won't balk at drinking out of a mug with a horse or a farmer on it. I'm just saying.

I grew up drinking warm milk and Ovaltine in a cow mug that had "The End" painted in the bottom of the cup. I loved it then and my mom has gifted it to me since. 

My Hadley collection has been growing quickly and that wonderful story is for another time. Today I simply want to make you aware of this American pottery and show you how cute it looks on my sideboard on a Scandinavian tray. Don't you love it? I see it every time I walk through the house and it gives me Visual Vitamins.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Family Reunion in Orlando Florida

We just had a great week at my husband's family reunion in Florida and I wanted to share this rental location with you because it was perfect. The rental property certainly doesn't know that I'm posting this, but I feel that something this great should be shared. Maybe you can have a delightful family reunion too. 
The goal of this reunion is to rent a house for a week that can accommodate 28-30 people. I know, that's a tall order. This rental property had a nice room with private bath for each of the family units. The kitchen is huge and the large clean space made it fun to cook as teams each night. The location is close to all of the amusement parks and every generation seemed to find something they loved to do nearby.

The price varies by season, of course, and we were there when Florida is at its hottest (96 degrees is no joke). If you are looking for an Orlando getaway for a large group, this could be a great home base. Drink some orange juice for me, okay?

#orlando #rentalpropertyorlando #familyreunion #familyreunionorlando #castofthousands #disneyescape #familyreuniondisney #rentalpropertydisney

Monday, July 30, 2018

Amuse Yourself with the Perfect Matchbox

When I love a color or pattern, I have to use it. I have to find a way to incorporate it into my life as art, jewelry or something. In this case, the item I fell for was adhesive paper pineapples. They were whimsical, gently colorful and completely wonderful. 

I bought them at a craft store and I knew that I would love seeing them on a small match box. I chose scrapbook paper to complement the pineapples and set to work. 

First I slide the drawer of matches out of the box. I use the box as a template and trace the paper to the size I need. Remember to leave one side of the "strike a match" box uncovered so that you can still light matches. I cut the paper to size and use Elmer's white glue and a sponge brush to apply a thin layer of glue to one side of the box. I gently put the paper in place on the glue, smooth it out and let it dry. Once it's dry you can bend the paper at the corners and get a better/closer fit and you glue the remaining 2 sides. Once the entire box is dry, you may want to take fine scissors and trim off any excess paper. Now glue/stick on the adornment of your choice. Slide the drawer of matches back into the box and you're ready to put it on display.

We spend time buying just the right candles for our home, I think the match box nearby should be just as perfect. If you start looking in the sticker/embellishment department in the craft store, I bet your mind will start racing. Should you go with a theme? color? The choice is yours, just promise to show me when you're finished.

#crafting #crafts #makersgonnamake #matchbox #pineapple #hospitality

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Twixy Shortbread Bars: An Exercise in Restraint

I love to eat a Twix bar when I am rolling my cart through Joann Fabrics. It is the intersection of a sweet treat and a sweet trip. 

So when I saw a recipe for a Twixy Shortbread Bar in Better Homes and Garden magazine, I had to try it. I have been thinking about this recipe for months and I finally tried it this week.

It is really a chocolate truffle on caramel on shortbread. Delicious but almost too decadent. The recipe makes an entire 13 x 9 pan and unlike most cookies, you really can't eat more than one or two. I've been handing them out to the neighbors saying, "Pace Yourself."

I used Guittard semi-sweet chocolate chips and that makes a huge difference in the quality of the dessert. I recommend this cookie, but I also hesitate to call it a cookie. It is an exercise in restraint. Enjoy!

#betterhomesandgarden #bhg #finddelight #cookiemonster #recipe #luckyneighbors #shortbread #twix #cookies

Heirloom Tomatoes

My kingdom for a tomato that tastes like a tomato. I love this time of year for every reason under the sun, but especially for the farmer's markets. I love walking in the sunshine, talking to the farmers and ogling all of the gorgeous produce and flowers. I bought 5 of these beauties to accompany a beautiful grilled salmon dinner. 

My favorite sauce for grilling? Mix apricot jam and Dijon mustard and brush over salmon when it is almost cooked. Serve a side of sauce with the meal. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Some Roses, Pincushion Flowers and Love

I love a little bubble gum pink rose, don't you? This happy arrangement is comprised of an inexpensive mystery rose I bought at a garden center, verbena, lavender and the showstopper, deep blue scabiosa (pincushion flower) from my visit to the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market

I made this bouquet 5 days into owning the scabiosa, so the petals are a little tired, but the color is true!

#flowerarranging #seattle #momentsofdelight #visualvitamins #roses #gardener #coloriseverything

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Seattle Wholesale Growers Market: Can You Hear My Heart A Flutter

Sometimes you walk into a new place and see something that confirms you're in the right place. My oh my, look at this kaleidoscope of color. Fresh and fragrant roses on display at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market
I have wanted to visit this private wholesale market for ages. I follow them on Instagram @seattlewholesalegrowersmarket so I am reminded regularly of their beautiful and unusual offerings.

On the website, the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market describe themselves as "a co-operative of flower growers and all year round we bring the best flowers in the Pacific Northwest to our member-owned market." The market is open to the public on Fridays from 10-12. 

My 2 college friends, Tracy & Kerry, were in town last week. The day we set aside to tour Seattle coincided with the public day at the market. Get in the car!  
Though this morning is open to the public, the wholesale pricing is reserved for the professionals, which is only fair. I loved walking around the booths and seeing flowers right out of the field. These deep blue scabiosa (or Pincushion flower) won me over and I bought a bundle from Ojeda Farms in Ethel, WA.  
When I was in line to pay, I had to photograph this florist's cart. She had combed the market and selected a riot of color and texture for her client. Go girl go!
#seattlewholesalegrowersmarket #seattle #flowerarranging #slowflowers #smallbusiness #floralstory #flowers #growers #farmers #floralfarmers

Monday, July 23, 2018

Seattle: Matt's in the Market has a Must Try Fishwich

I can count on one hand how many times I've ordered a fish sandwich, yet when I was at Matt's in the Market in Seattle last week, I knew it was the right thing to do. And the fish that day was halibut, and I love halibut.

Well, this may have been the best sandwich I've ever eaten. Truly. The Fishwich is described as iceberg lettuce, mam lil's pepper aioli, bacon and saved sweet onion on brioche. The battered fish was hot and tender; the chew of thick cut bacon gives resistance and heft to each bite; the sauce completely necessary though I have no idea what was in it and the slightly charred fresh brioche bun made me question why I hadn't eaten here sooner.

My 2 college friends were in town and while showing off Pike Place Market, the crowd started to get thick and I suggested trying a restaurant that I had heard about for lunch. It had been a busy morning and we needed a chance to sit down and absorb the experience. Bravo me. I'm so glad that Matt's name came to mind and that I was able to find it. We were on foot on Pike Street and I used Google Maps to walk to the corner of Pike and First. You have to walk up 2 flights of stairs to find it, though we found the easy access elevator once we were upstairs.

The sandwich was served with a side of watermelon strawberry gazpacho drizzled with olive oil. We loved that too and wondered all day if the hint of herb we detected had been tarragon or savory. The next afternoon, we decided to make our own batch of watermelon gazpacho. Thanks for the inspiration, Matt!   

#seattle #pikeplacemarket #mattsinthemarket #fishwish #memorablemeal #friendsintown    

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Fruit Cup to the Stars

Now THIS is a fruit cup. One of the vendors at Pike Place Market had unique mixed berry cups for sale for $5. This artistic selection consisted of currents, cherries, golden raspberries and blackberries. 

This is a super smart marketing tool too. Customers can sample unusual berries and fall in love with new varieties, ones they may have never tasted otherwise.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Golden Arch of Flowers on Mother Daughter Trip

I must show you this spectacular Golden Chain arch that I saw at Bayview Farm & Garden on Whidbey Island on May 24, 2018 (for your reference when you are trying to visit it in years to come). It resembles a wisteria and smells heavenly.
What I really love is that they announce that it is blooming on the nursery's sign board out by the road. It tells all the people whizzing by, "Hey! You're going to want to stop and see this." And boy are they right. It is an incredible example of a healthy plant having just the right conditions to flourish.
It was a beautiful day and I was on a day trip with my mom and her friends (and their daughters!) from their apartment building. We had taken the ferry to Whidbey Island to visit one of their friends and had cleared the whole day to have lunch and go gallivanting. 
Our group loves gardening and we caused a stir when we saw this beauty in full bloom. We naturally started posing for pictures. It was all I could do not to strike a dramatic "America's Next Top Model" pose, the lighting and conditions were right! Think of the close up framed in yellow blossoms! But alas, I posed normally with my mom and then corralled the rest of the ladies into appropriate combinations.
Sometimes a case of being in the right place at the right time is up to Mother Nature. Remember to look for the beauty of every day moment and if you see a sign that says something is happening, Go Look!

#daytrip #motherdaughter #goldenchain #bayviewfarmandgarden #bayviewfarmgarden #whidbeyisland #gardeners #amomentintime

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Pike Place Market: Foodies & Families

When you visit Pike Place Market (and you must visit Pike Place Market), you will be overwhelmed with the people, the flowers, the fish and the overall bounty of Seattle. The fruit is bigger, the selection is wider and the staff is friendlier. I am always impressed and I want you to come and enjoy it. And now you can walk past some of the artisans and walk outside on a huge open air platform (near the Market Parking Garage on the map) to enjoy the fresh air and activity on Puget Sound. Don't miss this chance to watch the ferry traffic.
I suggest you download this official map that will help you understand where you are and what is not to be missed. I personally recommend these places to stop and snack. If I've blogged about them, I will leave a link for you below.

Confectional - tiny delicious cheesecakes (trust me)
Starbucks Original storefront on Pike
Piroshky Piroshky - Russian pastries
Rachel's Ginger Beer - delicious hot, I like Lemon Ginger
Daily Dozen Doughnuts
Ellenos Greek Yogurt - try some, but get the Lemon Curd
Pike Place Chower - excellent clam chowder in a bread bowl
I know that this photograph looks like a painting, but it is real and unedited, I swear. The light was just that good that day. Enjoy.

#pikeplace #pikeplacemarket #seattle #pugetsound #foodfordays #foodieheaven #ellenos #dailydoughnut #pikeplacechowder #rachelsgingerbeer #originalstarbucks #confectional

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Coffee Foam Art: Starbucks Roastery

I wanted to share this beautiful coffee foam art on our lattes at the Starbucks Roastery. I love the wood serving tray, and how the dark chocolates match the mugs. Beautiful.

We often bring our out of town guests for a decaf coffee and a chance to sit down after a whirlwind tour of the city. Our friends always enjoy it and in the winter, when its another dreary Seattle night, the beautiful felt curtains, leather furniture and copper touches helps to make the space feel cozy and special. I wrote about visiting Starbucks' impressive roastery here and three years later, I still feel just as enamored with it. 

Now I drink lattes daily, but when I don't have to order it "to go," I'm enchanted with they serve it to me with a delicate heart drawn in the foam. It is a moment of delight and I appreciate it.

#coffee #coffeefoamart #starbucks #starbucksroastery #seattle #coffeelover #guestsintown #pnw #coffeetown

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Easy Planting Tip for Indoor Pots

I saw this tip on a garden show (was it British icon Monty Don?) a few months back and when I went to move this indoor plant into a more permanent home, it came back to me. After choosing a pot with drainage holes (or placing rocks/pottery shards to allow water to collect in the bottom), remove the plant from the pot it has been growing in and use that empty container to use as a guide to fill the new pot with dirt. You can manipulate the plastic container, turn and pack the dirt and fill to the right height easily. Then remove the plastic guide pot...
And you are left with a hole the exact size of the plant you are moving. I gently lowered it into the dirt hole and it was as snug as a bug. Perfect!

#garden #indoorplants #plantsinpots #tipsandtricks 

Sunday, May 27, 2018

A Moment in Time: Cascadia Iris Farm

("Team Player" shown above)
It is a little premature to send you specifically to see the iris garden at Cascadia Iris Farm in Lake Stevens, WA but I want you to know about them and reach out to them if you are looking for a certain variety. If you love iris, there is a moment in time when they are in their glory and I couldn't resist tracking down an iris garden within reach.
I was impulsive and jumped in the car without reading their website, which specifically says there are only certain days that the garden is open. Whoops.
So I tip-toed around and took a few pictures to share. Their website explains a tough transition to their new property and some related crop loss. But they are on their way back and the varieties in their display gardens were healthy and happy. I wish them well and will watch as their business grows.
  ("Marrying Kind" shown above)

#iris #irisgarden #springflowers #seattle #momentsofdelight