Monday, August 31, 2009
I was just 11-years-old during the engagement and Royal Wedding and I collected picture books, clipped magazine articles for my scrapbook and treasured every glimpse I got of Diana.
My enthusiasm for the princess was well-known and friends and family brought me these treasures back from their trips to England. It is hard to render me speechless, but I was, every time.
I kept these items displayed in my bedroom on a bookshelf and I thought it was lovely.
It seems sad to display them now, so I keep them tucked away, memories of a happier time. Today I am remembering Diana, she certainly brought me delight.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
A favorite of mine is their lavender-scented lotion bars (when you hold them, the warmth of your hand melts the bar and releases the emollient oils) - they make wonderful hostess gifts.
So the next time you see a sign for a shop that sells honey, bee sure to stop in! You never know what handmade treasures you'll find.
Friday, August 28, 2009
She told me to look at the calendar and pick an evening to go out, because she had a special dessert in mind.
"Is this whole plan Dessert Driven?," I asked. Her reply? "Absolutely."
The night before she told me the plan. She was sure that the proper way for us to celebrate this milestone birthday was with a souffle at The Ritz-Carlton in Dearborn.
A perfect individual chocolate souffle, a lovely sauce and a scoop of vanilla ice cream in a spun sugar cup. Heaven, simply heaven.
Corinne, you are a birthday genius! It was truly a delight.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
I took over 1,200 photographs in Paris (on this last trip alone) so I am visually sifting through the images to determine the sequence, collections and messages I want to bring to you.
I think you are going to be blown away by the final product. All I need now is tunnel-vision and time...
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Later that Summer, when I saw that very cake pan in a little Swedish gift shop, I snapped it up. This week was its maiden voyage into my oven and what a success! I sprinkled Lars Own Swedish Pearl Sugar on it for a finishing touch.
This cake is light and sweet with chewy edges - yum! Where has almond cake been all my life?
Thank you, "Ann G" for opening up my eyes!
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
We started this wonderful tradition when the neighbor girls were just 5, 7 and 7-years old. One afternoon, I was teaching the girls some plant names (Snapdragon was a favorite) and having them touch and smell all the flowers, when one of the girls looked at me seriously and said, "Mrs. Reeves, I think people would pay for this."
So cute! I explained the idea of a Garden Walk and how communities often offer free events in the name of education. "We" had a berry garden, herbs, roses and flowers..."we" could teach people all about them.
I told them that we could host a Garden Walk if they made and handed out tickets to the neighbors. I would pick a date with their mothers and provide the brownies and lemonade.
Fast-forward 5 years and imagine our seasoned garden club members (age 10, 12, 12) pointing out the nasturtiums, identifying a few roses by name and "asking after" the Bleeding Heart. That is success, my friends. These girls will love gardens forever.
Monday, August 24, 2009
When I was in Paris, I shopped the Vanves flea market looking for something honoring "Saint Therese of Lisieux."
My friend, Nancy, has written a darling book about a fifth-grade girl who finds companionship and comfort by following St. Therese and her Little Way. Nancy loves writing Catholic fiction for kids and I really wanted to bring her something from France that she would cherish.
I found the perfect thing! A religious metal depicting Saint Therese that Nancy could wear on a necklace. I had the good sense to photograph the exact place I found it. So when we met for coffee, I was able to give her the metal, along with the photograph above inscribed "Vanves flea market, Paris, May 9, 2009."
She was thrilled and writes all about it in her blog nancybelanger.blogspot.com
Now it's my turn to say, "Mission accomplished."
Saturday, August 22, 2009
My best friend and I were out to lunch at Nordstrom's when she handed me a box wrapped in pretty paper and tied with a bow. She got a sheepish look when I discovered that the box underneath was covered with postage marks and import stickers. When I opened the box and saw my precious magnet, my eyes welled up and I couldn't say a word. She had ordered it all the way from France for me. I cried, she laughed and her whole demeanor said, "Mission accomplished."
Thank you, Kim, you are magnifique!
Friday, August 21, 2009
You just took a cooking class in Paris, they said.
You've seen Julia Child's kitchen at the Smithsonian, they said.
You have a blog, they said.
When I told them that I had read both books that the movie was based on ("My Life In France" and "Julie & Julia"), it was clinched. I was "crashing" their book club on my birthday.
And what fun I had. The movie was darling and made every girl in the theater want to try cooking Boeuf Bourguignon. What struck me the most was that it showcased passion in a way that you never see it in the movies.
Passion for cooking.
Passion for one's spouse.
Passion for a project that no one understands.
Bravo. We ended the evening on an open air patio talking about a book I wanted to write on Paris (And I did! Click the link) and eating cream puff swan. I assure you, nothing could be better than that.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Seven different varieties decided to say "Happy Birthday" to me all at once.
I am having a wonderful day and I want to thank everyone who has sent such lovely birthday wishes to me online.
Now on to enjoying the next 365 days!
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
She ordered them out of a catalog and they come to our tiny town through the US Mail Service. She said, "The post office called the house and said 'Your chickens are here!'"
When she invited my Mom and me to come over to "see the chickens," we jumped at the chance. She had the perfect hen house (that her husband and son designed and built together), a chicken coop and 6 happy chickens. It was as neat as a pin and simply fascinating.
We talked and talked. We thumbed through the chicken catalog (who knew?) and we had a wonderful time getting to know each other. Thanks, Maureen, for a really fun morning!
Monday, August 17, 2009
A long time ago, a friend told me this super-fast recipe for a Hummer. Normally made in a blender with vanilla ice cream, Kahlua and milk, a quick trip through the drive-thru for a Frosty means you can be enjoying the night with an "instant ice cream drink" before you know it. Simply add an appropriate amount of Kahlua to a vanilla Frosty, mix and pour in a pretty glass. Voila!
Saturday, August 15, 2009
This is Detroit and we love the cars we build.
Friday, August 14, 2009
It is just another way to have a room with a view.
I will be photographing the coast, scanning the shops and (apparently) eating wild blueberries on everything!
Any tips for me? I would love it if you would share any restaurant/cute shop suggestions so that I don't miss a thing!
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Now suddenly it is cherry season in northern Michigan, and I am making my Cherry Clafoutis again. I rely on a recipe I tore from a Williams-Sonoma catalog years ago - it works like a charm every time. Are you in the mood for Clafoutis ("klah-foo-tee")?
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
When I was at the hair salon, there was an beauty school intern learning the finer points of doing a "Wash & Set."
As I sat under the dryer with foils in my hair, this young lady (read: mannequin head) was in the chair next to me and I could not resist taking her picture.
She was calm, cool and collected. Not at all worried about how her hair would "come out."
A delightful moment that I just had to show you.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
You have to imagine what you want in order to make it happen.
Long before my roses were blooming, I was at the ribbon store making plans. I decided to take a minute an concentrate on my gorgeous "Honey Dijon" roses.
I decided that the best way to show off their magnificent Country French color was as a small bouquet in a glass jar.
All I needed was a piece of ribbon that would highlight the light mustard petals. Voila! I have been saving this ribbon for 2 months and I was finally able to make my little bouquet.
The next time someone compliments your efforts, you can think to yourself, "It's all part of the Master Plan."
Monday, August 10, 2009
A winding 2-track road leading up to an ivy-covered barn. Look how thick and green the vines are. And the wild sweet pea growing in clusters by the door.
Mother Nature is the caretaker now and she is doing a beautiful job.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
I bought 5 kinds of cherries (tart & sweet) at the farmer's market this week and I am going to make a homemade cherry liquor. My vision is combining vodka, sugar and a variety of cherries in a glass bottle and giving it a shake once a month. It should be fantastic by Christmas. I'll keep you posted.
Friday, August 7, 2009
So I am spreading the celebration out and whenever something fun starts to happen I say, "Well, it is almost my birthday." And that seems to explain everything.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Empty 2 (15 oz) cans of sweet corn kernels (drained) into the blender. Add one can worth of 2% milk, 2 Tablespoons of flour and 2 Tablespoons of butter. Blend. Pour into a saucepan and cook until the soup is slightly thickened and piping hot. Ladle into pretty bowls, grind fresh pepper and salt on top and garnish with a basil leaf. Voila! Homemade soup that will be an instant hit. Enjoy!
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
It seemed as if they had just received a whole shipment of products from England. I bought some wonderful boxes of shortbread and tea for hostessing and one gorgeous jar of preserves!
Once the jar was empty, I brushed the label with a layer of Mod Podge. This protects the label from water splashes and will keep it perfect for years to come.
Remember, look for containers that are beautiful and interesting. Inspiration is everywhere!
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
The background was white and it had red, pink and periwinkle blossoms growing up it. My bed was so fresh and pretty - I have loved sweet peas ever since.
So this year, I bought a tiny sweet pea vine and planted it in a pot on the patio. I thought a little vertical interest would be pretty and I was hoping to enjoy some of my favorite blooms from long ago. It worked! The vine has been blooming steadily for weeks.
What took me completely by surprise? After the bloom fades, an actual pea grows! Who knew?
Monday, August 3, 2009
Perhaps I could grow it in container garden (like a child's red wagon) and pull it into the sunlight/optimum growing areas of the yard throughout the season. I think it would be darling, don't you?
Saturday, August 1, 2009
This year I decided to reinvent it and make frozen s'mores! Graham Cracker ice cream (loaded with Mini Chocolate Chips) topped with Marshmallow Creme. Yum! You have to be in the mood to "get your sweet on" but you won't be sorry.
Graham Cracker ice cream (with Mini-Chocolate Chips)
Mix 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk, 1 (5 oz) can evaporated milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 2 cups whole milk and 1 cup Graham Cracker crumbs. Chill mixture for at least 30 minutes. Pour into the freezer container of an electric ice cream maker and freeze according to ice cream maker instructions. When the ice cream is beginning to thickening, pour in 1/2 cup of mini-chocolate chips. Once it is a soft-serve consistency, transfer ice cream into a freezable container and freeze for an hour or so until firm.
To make a Frozen S'more, top a scoop of your Graham Cracker ice cream witha puff of Marshmallow Creme and a sprinkling of Mini-Chocolate Chips. Enjoy!