Saturday, January 31, 2009
When my best friend comes over, she walks around saying, "Everything's a picture - look!" and then she'll point to my latest vignette. Well, the other day it happened by accident.
I have my teacup full of bulbs growing on the sideboard (where they can get bright light), I set out my new aqua train case (future jewelry box?) and I had left my latest knitting project on the sideboard when the phone rang. When I came back, I "saw" the picture and started arranging. The paper butterfly in the bulbs matched the yarn, the brown dirt repeated the lining of the train case and it all just looked lovely together and I had to show you.
Friday, January 30, 2009
Heart-shaped timbales filled with chicken salad, frozen fruit salad and a basket of mini-muffins all served on Swan House formal china (see the silver swan on the aqua band of my bread plate - love it)
And to drink? Punch! Seriously, when do you ever see punch on the menu these days?
There were fresh roses on every table, fabric-upholstered walls, and the place was packed. I was lucky to find a spot among the grandmothers, bridal shower bunch and friends meeting for lunch.
As I sat at my little table soaking it all in (and inspiring the next table to also photograph their lunch), I reminded myself that this is delight.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
I was able to take a private tour of the Atlanta Historical Society's Swan House when I was in town last week. Sweeping lawns, tables set with fine china and opulence at every turn. It was like walking around inside a dollhouse and I loved it.
Tomorrow, see what caused me to text: "I am in girl heaven."
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
This amazing space combines fresh artisanal foods (cheese, seafood and bakery) with specialty items (an entire cupboard of honey products), housewares (be still my heart) and a "Provisions To Go" cafe all under one roof. There was so much to see, I continually looped the store in slow motion.
My lunch (eaten at the window counter) was a Shrimp Po Boy sandwich. It was the perfect combination of fresh & hot - absolutely delicious.
I thought I had resisted the bakery when I heard one proud employee tout his favorite cookie: a Rose Water & White Chocolate macaroon. Did someone say macaroons?
I did a quick pivot and ordered a Pistachio French macaroon from behind the glass case. It was one of the best cookies I have ever had. Chewy, sweet and nutty with a meringue-like crunch. Exceptional. I ate it on the way to the car and by the time my seat belt was fastened I wanted to go back in for another. It was that good. Maybe I need to try my hand at macaroons...
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Of course I wanted everything, but as my suitcase was dictating my purchases, I settled on one fabulous item (which didn't end up fitting in the suitcase, after all).
I bought a wire manor house. That's right. The structure of an Italian manor house (walls, windows roof) made out of dark bent wire. I am going to set a few wispy green plants inside as "furniture" and use it as a tabletop display. I actually hope to find a small indoor vine that could cling to the wire walls as it grows. I promise to show you once I make it to the garden store. It is going to be so cute.
Monday, January 26, 2009
Saturday, January 24, 2009
It is somehow easier for me to brainstorm designs, plot lines and color palates when I literally have a "bird's eye view" of the world.
Where do you like to think?
Friday, January 23, 2009
Years ago, I named the rabbits that live in our area Ben & Bernice (and dubbed their sons, Robbie & Ralphie). In the Spring and Summer they lounge on our lawn nibbling and listening, but in the wintertime, only their footprints give them away.
I have been crafting a children's story about them and the trials of learning how to "be" a rabbit. Sort of a cross between Uncle Wiggley and Anne of Green Gables - a story full of muffin baking and gentle lessons.
I hope to have it published one day...
Thursday, January 22, 2009
My new friend opened the conversation with:
"Rachmaninoff played here, you know."
"He performed here with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra back in the 1920's."
"I can't believe it," I said, "I don't even think of (Rachmaninoff) as real, you know. I think of him more like Santa."
To which he replied, "Hey...Santa's real."
"I know, I know," I said, "It's just they are both so mythological and I haven't met either one of them."
***You can see concert pianist, Olga Kern (who performed Rachmaninoff at the concert I attended) perform Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3 on YouTube here.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup oats
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1 Tablespoon wheat germ
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (preferably Vietnamese cinnamon )
2 cups shredded carrot
1 shredded green apple
1/2 cup dark raisins
1/2 cup broken pecans
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup unsweetened natural applesauce
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Shred carrots in a food processor (measure out the 2 cups after shredding). Shred apple (including skin) in the food processor. In mixing bowl, combine flour, oats, sugar, wheat germ, salt and baking soda together. Mix in carrots, apple, raisins and pecans. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, oil and vanilla together. Stir egg mixture into carrot mixture and then spoon into muffin cups. Bake for approximately 20 minutes. Enjoy!
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
What does this mean?
It means it's time to get out your red placemats, buy pink sprinkles at the grocery store and start thinking of ways to express your love to those around you. Friends, family, neighbors - everyone can celebrate with you.
I absolutely love Valentine's Day and could not possibly fit all the heart-shaped food, flowers and decorations I desire into just one day.
Want to see how I celebrated last year? Take a peek at my blog posts from February 3 -14, 2008.
Come celebrate The Twelve Days of Valentine's Day with me...you know you want to.
Monday, January 19, 2009
Can you imagine? What an incredible moment that must have been for both of them. To begin composing music in Minsk, Belarus just after your daughter is born and then, years later, to sit and hear it performed in its entirety for the first time with your grown daughter at your side. What a gift.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Then I chose a teapot ("Loves Me" by Deb Moore) from the cabinet, put an empty jar inside it to hold the water and flower food and started arranging.
I like using a jar inside because it keeps the teapot clean and food safe for tea on another day. This arrangement really brightens the living room. Love it!
Friday, January 16, 2009
What I love is that everyone mentions it when they come in the kitchen. I think they are taken aback at how pretty everyday produce can look on display. I always try to "eat around the rainbow" and keeping the color out where I can see it makes the task far easier. Are you eating enough vitamins and minerals?
Thursday, January 15, 2009
There is an "assumption in crafts" that all skills need to be advanced. I disagree. The counting, shaping, decreasing of more advanced knitting projects takes all the fun out of it for me. I don't want to learn more right now. Maybe in twenty years I'll feel differently, but right now I love love love to knit (scarves).
So if you are like me and find your audience slightly disappointed when you answer their "What are you making?" question, remember this...
They asked because they are interested. Maybe they'd like you to teach them how to knit (scarves).
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
That being said, I have also been wanting to try making candles. Not a production line of pillars or anything. Just a few.
What could be better than transforming a favorite item into something that glows?
Do you remember this "dishes by the pound" treasure that I bought last June? I have breathed new life into it with pale pink wax. A "Soy Candle Kit" from Michael's included everything I needed: wax, candle-making thermometer, wicks and even scent & color cubes. It was easy and I must confess that not long after it set, I was trolling the house looking for other items to convert. Do you like candlelight?
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Monday, January 12, 2009
My husband & I went for the special exhibit "Monet to Dali" (loved it!) at the DIA and really enjoyed our afternoon wandering through all of the collections.
An unexpected moment (and surprisingly my favorite part) was entering the Great Hall. The museum had hung hundreds of mirrored discs from the ceiling on clear thread. As air currents moved in the grand room, the area twinkled. It was breathtaking and I managed to capture a moment on video to show you. Remember, art is everywhere.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
So the next time I was in Charleston, I made it a point to go and believe me, the french toast is worth it! On my way to the restaurant, I passed by this darling house and had to take a photograph. It was all so well done. The shade of the house paint, the texture of plants in the window box, the fact that the tiny coral blooms reinforced the paint color, all set off by crisp black shutters. It was a little work of art and it made my day.
There is nothing like a little window shopping.
Friday, January 9, 2009
Peanut Butter Pecan cookies
1/2 cup unsalted butter
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup JIF reduced-fat chunky peanut butter
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 Tablespoon 2% milk
1 cup all purpose flour
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup, chopped raw pecans (chop pieces to the size of chocolate chips)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Using an electric mixer, beat butter, salt and peanut butter together. Beat in white and brown sugar and eggs until fluffy. Beat in milk. In a separate bowl, whisk flour, baking soda and chopped pecans together and add to butter mixture. Beat until incorporated. Using two spoons or a 1 ½ inch cookie scoop, place dough onto Silpat or parchment-lined cookie sheets and bake for 12-14 minutes. Allow to cool on a baking rack.
After baking, you could glaze some pecan halves in a saute pan with butter and brown sugar and then "stick" one to the top of each cookie. In this photo, I simply topped each cookie with a plain pecan half to make it pretty. These cookies are chewy and addictive! Enjoy.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Time goes so quickly and the day-to-day bustle can make it easy to miss the really special events that only happen once a year. What do you want to see, hear, do this year? Figure out when it happens and jot a note to yourself on the calendar. You'll be glad you did.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
She went on to say that they still meet in the Winter - mostly to look at pictures in garden catalogs. "It helps," she said simply. And I was reminded of the kinship between all gardeners off season.
So today I am featuring a photo of my David Austin English rose, Abraham Darby. I have loved this variety for years and can't wait to see it "in person" again.
I hope it helps.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
This darling mint green cupboard is from her only retail store in the United States. This morning as I was drinking my coffee from one of her floral mugs (similar to those hanging from the row off hooks on top) I realized that I should show you this lovely display.
Everything tastes better on pretty dishes, don't you think?
Monday, January 5, 2009
I am registered for a small week-long cooking class with award-winning cookbook author and teacher Patricia Wells and I am so excited I can hardly see straight.
The markets, pastries and windows of Paris are calling - but I will have to be patient untill May.
You know what is funny? I can't wait to see my own photos!
Saturday, January 3, 2009
Last October, I walked into a discount clothing store (TJ Maxx) and was handed a small gift bag with this amethyst scarf inside. As a promotion to highlight their new "high-end" fashion section, every customer that afternoon was given a scarf. I've been considering how to make it my own for months. Then last night it struck me - a beaded monogram would be subtle, but beautiful. I printed off a giant "R" on my computer, drew it free-hand in ink and started sewing on beads. The trick is attaching about 20 beads, then tying off. It makes me feel better knowing that if one thread breaks later, the entire letter won't fall off and I'll be able to repair it. I may use something on the back to secure the stitches...Fray Check?
I love how this looks!
Friday, January 2, 2009
I am sure that you will start to notice splashes of yellow everywhere now. Yellow rain boots, stationary, cardigans and totes are all showing up in stores and online. Have fun with it - yellow is meant to inspire and uplift.
I've got an idea...when you are hosting friends for brunch this Spring, serve mimosas! You can tell everyone that they are drinking the color of the year.