Saturday, August 30, 2008


A magical view from high atop the Sleeping Bear Dunes. It was so quiet. I can only imagine how the smooth gray water looked from the freighter's point of view. To me, Lake Michigan was a massive bolt of wool boucle and the giant freighter, a mere safety pin.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Chocolate, The Exhibition

My sister-in-law invited me to the The Henry Ford Museum (check out the deconstructed Model-T above) to check out the traveling exhibit called, Chocolate. We know a good thing when we hear it! We wandered through the exhibit that showcased the harvesting, processing and molding of chocolate through the ages. By the time we reached the chocolate gift shop (having discussed chocolate nibs, vintage molds & buying chocolates in Paris along the way) I needed a little something. Mission accomplished. The gift shop did not disappoint and I came away with an exotic bar by Vosges called "Black Pearl." A complex combination of wasabi, ginger and black sesame seeds encased in dark chocolate - it would be the perfect finish to a Japanese dinner. Thank you, Nicole!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

My Cup of Tea

On a damp afternoon, a cup of tea is the perfect thing. Today's assignment is to enjoy what you have on hand. Take a beautiful cup & saucer from the china hutch (this is a special occasion), an envelope of tea from the box (I know you have some) and make yourself a nice cuppa. The next few minutes are all yours.

What is my cup of tea? English Breakfast with milk.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Pen and Ink Work

The records of daily life at Monticello say that Thomas Jefferson dedicated his mornings to correspondence. After his "pen and ink work" (as he called it), he would walk the grounds and admire the gardens. Today, I am modelling my day after Jefferson. Although I love email and technology, nothing beats a hand-written note with a pretty stamp in the mailbox. I am pulling out the cute note cards and sending pictures, sharing recipes and saying thanks to a long list of friends and family. Do you have any pen and ink work you can do today?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Heavenly Blue Morning Glory

Many times my Dad & I have had a friendly competition over growing morning glories from seed. 

We'd each start them indoors with little biodegradable pots and bamboo skewers (for support) and then transplant them outside in late May. 

The general buzz includes: when we started them, how they're doing and by showing "how high" they are inches. It is really fun. 

This year, however, I was at the garden store with my parents and I had to cave. I walked up to them with 2 Morning Glory seedlings and said "I'm out." Meaning that I had missed the window to start my seeds but I still had to have morning glories! My dad agreed.

I'm so glad I did! Look at this beauty called Heavenly Blue. Everyone needs a little glory in the morning.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Ladies In Lavender

I was invited to join a group of women for "lunch at a lavender farm" this Summer. When we arrived, we were told that it was harvest day. The wind blew the sweet scent of lavender everywhere - simply amazing! As we toured the farm and learned about the many varieties of lavender, college boys harvested fragrant bundles and piled them high on this wagon. It was all too pretty for words.

Since we were literally, ladies in lavender, it reminded me of a movie of the same name. Set in 1936, it revolves around two sisters in their golden years that live in a cottage on the coast of Cornwall, England. One morning after a storm, they find a 20-something man washed up on shore. He is injured and doesn’t speak English, so the sisters decide that they must nurse him back to health. This movie is light, charming, and rich with humanity. Rent it, make a cup of tea (with lavender honey?) and get ready for a wonderful movie experience.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Lace Bubbles

Isn't this photograph dreamy? A vintage-y cocktail dress floating among lace bubbles. I stopped in my tracks when I saw this window display in Paris. The store is by Isabel Marant and I think whoever created this display is a genius. The fact that I was able to capture an "apartment in Paris" in the reflection, makes this picture all the more pretty.

I'd love to see this as the cover of a modern romance novel. A young designer opens her first shop and falls in love with the computer programmer who works from his apartment across the street from her shop...

Friday, August 22, 2008

Garden Walk 2008

When you are 11 years old and you are hosting your 4th Annual Garden Walk, you really feel like an expert. The garden looked great, the lemonade was cold, the sweets & treats were on platters and the programs had been printed. We were ready. I can only imagine my Garden Club girls (age 9,11,11) in college someday talking about all of this. We tasted raspberries from the bushes, touched the lavender and smelled our hands, nibbled on nasturtium blossoms and investigated which herbs smelled like York Peppermint Patties (Chocolate Mint) and which smelled like Christmas trees (Rosemary). They showed the other children and parents which roses they liked best and explained how, in the Spring, the ants eat the sticky off the peony buds. One girl pointed out the lone Forget-Me-Not blossom and another said that her favorite part of the Morning Glory is when it gets all "twisty." Mother Nature would be proud.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Joyeux Anniversaire!

My doorbell rang and as I glanced out the window, I saw a blur of children running from my house. On my doorstep was this box of French pastries! The box had a window showcasing these beauties and "Joyeux anniversaire, Ann!" was written in beautiful script around the outside. This is the work of my beloved neighbor and her garden club girls. They brought Paris to me! I am systematically eating my way through this box and I assure you, they are a delight!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Birthday Girl

Today is my birthday and I am looking forward to every minute of it. Between the mailman, the phone and the internet, I have already received some lovely birthday wishes. My plan is to enjoy the day by spending time in the garden and making a Sweet Peach pound cake. Tonight is cake & ice cream...what more could a girl want? I hope you have a great day too.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Pretty packaging has always been my weakness. Can you see me in the Hello Kitty Sanrio store (standing among the eight-year-olds) arranging candy on the counter? I told the salesgirl, "I want to buy these..I'm just not sure how many I need to make a rectangle." She popped a bubble with her gum and I continued working. It was worth it - I think this photo is young, fun and very pretty. Plus, the flat aqua gum called "Soda" is delish!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Garden Walk

Thursday is the Roseglen Garden Club's Annual Garden Walk and this rose will be our star attraction. The variety is called Honey Dijon and it would be right at home in a House Beautiful spread. Think of a classic French living room with Pierre Frey fabrics, an oak writing desk and a crystal bowl full of these Honey Dijon roses. Love it!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Study in Blue

I couldn't believe my eyes - a cornflower blue row boat set against the perfect sand, sea and sky. Did a young couple row here for a picnic? Has an artist come to paint? Let your imagination wander this study in blue.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Apricot Jam

Fresh apricots, vintage Pyrex and BBC's drama, Cranford (starring Judi Dench), playing in the distance - now that is my idea of a fun Summer evening. The kitchen faces West and the sunset was almost the same shade as my jam - simply gorgeous.
I make jam with Ball's No Cook Freezer Jam Fruit Pectin - the same way I made my strawberry jam here. Can jam be too good? We have eaten all of the strawberry jam that I made in June...three big batches of it! Next year, remind me how fast it goes!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Out to Lunch

Ohhh...we were in girl heaven. Martha's in Sutton's Bay, Michigan is the perfect place to meet the girls for lunch. A Raspberry & nectarine salad with ginger-lime vinaigrette and a cup of Summer corn chowder - how could we go wrong? Life was in suspended animation while we talked and laughed and planned our next bit of fun. Make sure to plan a day soon when you can be "out to lunch."

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Scent & Shape

Pretty little soaps are such a treat. I practically swooned when I saw this selection on display at a wonderful shop called One Fish Two Fish in Savannah.

Plus I love love love the fixture they are housed in - it looks like something from an old post office. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have that many compartments for your treasures?

I hope you have some pretty little soaps tucked away under the sink - get them out and find delight in scent and shape.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

You in 25 years

I had the most wonderful experience. I had gone into town to get a coffee and when I parked my car by "the oldest house in town" (1853?), I ended up talking with the ladies on the porch. You see, my maternal grandmother had lived next to "the oldest house in town" my entire childhood. Every day all summer long we would pop in and visit my grandmother, eat egg salad sandwiches, admire the garden and spent time together. I did not know these women on the porch, nor did they know my grandmother, but we had lots to talk about. Long story short, I offered them coffee too and we ended up talking on the porch for over an hour. When I asked if the black raspberry bushes were still out back, they offered, "Want some?" So I picked a few and when I got back to the porch I met a tween granddaughter. We started talking and I suddenly pointed out to her that "I am you in 25 years." I told her that when she comes back here as an adult, she'll walk on this street, point to this house and say "My grandmother used to live here - we would pick black raspberries from a huge bush out back." She looked at me and said "That's so cool." And I said, "I know."

Monday, August 11, 2008

Sleeping Garden

Can you stand it? A magical climbing rose called Eden. This photo exemplifies why I love photography so much. While I would never trade a fresh rose for a photograph, a picture like this keeps Summer around for me all year long. In the cold, gray days of March, this reminds me of the beautiful things in my sleeping garden. And now when Summer is at its peak, I happily rush around with my camera capturing every bloom, berry and bee I see.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Delight in Paris

Want to know a secret? I am developing my own map of Paris. "Delight in the City of Light - A delight-ful map of Paris" sprinkled with the shops, treats and sweets that bring delight. The anticipated release date is Fall 2009. Many people have commented on a few of the photographs that I shot in Paris that are in my book Moments of Delight - little do they know that I could do an entire book of Paris photography! Do you have a spot in Paris that brings you delight? Let me know and I will check it out on my next trip!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Milk Run

Can you imagine going to the grocery store by boat? In Leland, you can hop in a little boat, drive through the river, tie up at the dock provided and climb these steps to the grocery store. The pretty planters shown here match the window boxes out front. So cute. I've noticed that teenagers don't mind "running an errand" when they get to go by boat.

Now that is what I call a milk run.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Sequence or Direction

When it comes to crafting, my philosophy is to make things that are both interesting and beautiful. I created this "still life" out of match boxes and scrapbook supplies. I took an everyday object and turned it into something between a puzzle and art. When I set a collection like this on the coffee table, I always find people rearranging them. Changing the sequence or direction of little boxes of matches. I've got them playing with fire.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Cheesecake bites

At a party, a slice of dessert feels like a big commitment when you are trying to stand & socialize. These super cute cheesecake bites are beautiful, delicious and they keep people mingling. It is so ready-to-eat Athens mini fillo shells (pretty!), fill with ready-to-eat Philadelphia cheesecake filling (yum!), then top with any combination of fresh fruit, sticky sauce and crunchy topping. How can you go wrong? My favorites were: butterscotch/fresh banana/coconut and fresh strawberry/mini chocolate chips. Enjoy...

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Going to the Symphony

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra is performing a series of free outdoor concerts (sponsored by Target) at area metro parks this Summer. Packing a picnic and "going to the symphony" is one of my favorite things to do. It was a bit rainy, but I loved every minute of it. Just after I took this photo, two sailboats on the lake tacked over to join the party. Can you think of anything better than drifting along in a sailboat listening to Brahms on a Summer night? I brought along a new kind of individual frozen dessert cup (Creme Caramel cheesecake by Bellaberry) in my picnic basket and it was delicious. You pack it frozen and by the time you're ready for dessert, it will be defrosted - bravo!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Birthday Month

Ahhhh, glorious August. Fresh peaches, summer vacation and my birthday! I like to celebrate the entire month of August. Lunches with friends, pretty cupcakes and little bouquets from the garden all over the house. I can't squeeze all that into one day! My "birthday rose bushes" that my parents gave me (an amazing gift that I enjoy from May-September) have 36 buds between them - the next ten days should be amazing. Has anyone ordered the Baskin Robbins ice cream cake yet? (Chocolate cake, chocolate chip ice cream with writing in pink frosting) I'm just asking...