Thursday, December 27, 2018

Electric Ebelskiver Maker: Christmas Triumph

We couldn't believe our luck. After spending the weekend before at Seattle's Nordic Museum Julefest, we found an electric ebelskiver maker to give Dan for Chrismas! 

My mom, mother-in-law and I were shopping at Molbak's in Woodinville when we found it. Also promoted as a pancake puff maker, Stonewall Kitchen is the company to thank for this wonderful technology.  

The recipe for ebelskiver is a simple combination of ingredients and I can see us making them for house guests for years to come. We dipped each puff in melted butter and then rolled them in cinnamon sugar for our maiden bake on Christmas morning. They were delicious!

#ebelskiver #danishtreats #scandinavian #christmas #christmasbreakfast #appliance #

Monday, December 3, 2018

Wreath Making: Grab Some Greens and Go

Tah-dah! I made a fresh evergreen wreath for my front door. I had been hanging onto a wire wreath form with ties for ages (honestly, I think I moved it with me from Michigan) when I saw piles of fresh evergreen boughs at Squak Mountain Nursery and the wheels started turning. I bought a few bundles of juniper, cedar and pine and thought, let's give it a go.
All I needed was a paddle of green floral wire and a Corona Flex-dial ComfortGel Bypass pruner. I went at it with confidence, knowing that first I would fasten the pieces of greenery to the wire frame with the wreath ties. Then I knew I could go back and tighten and tweak the arrangement by tightly wrapping the green floral wire around everything again. It wasn't pretty, but I did it! 

If you look above at my finished wreath, you'll see that it isn't a perfect circle and I have quite a few drooping areas, but I think that's okay. I secured some of my vintage ornaments onto the wreath with thick-coated floral wire. I also made a multi-strand bow with an assortment of ribbons that I had. I felt that this type of bow was in keeping with the vintage-vibe. 

All in all, I'm pretty proud of myself. My wreath looked pretty and I had a unique touch on my front door. I hung it on the door with a magnetic hook and misted it occasionally to help keep it fresh.

#christmasdecorations #wreathmaking #evergreen #evergreenstate #vintageornaments #vintagevibe #DIY #craft #christmascraft #christmas #coronatools

Monday, November 26, 2018

Squak Mountain Nursery: Ready to Deck the Halls

Bright and Festive. That is how I would describe Squak Mountain Nursery in mid-November. I wanted to take my mother-in-law somewhere local and fun as we prepared for Thanksgiving and the gift shop at Squak Mountain was a great choice. 

The open air nursery shop had beautiful red cyclamen, Christmas tree-like lemon cypress, amaryllis bulbs, handmade holly wreaths and bundles of fresh holly for sale. They also have stacks of fresh greens to swag on a fence, drape on your mantle or create your own wreath.  
The gift shop out back is a wonderland worth visiting. I took this picture to inspire you. The designer touches and selection of unusual ornaments will make you catch your breath. 

#squakmountain #nursery #christmasgreens #issaquah #deckthehalls #designertouches #christmasornaments #giftshop  

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family & friends. We had a quiet day of cooking and puttering in the house. We put the tree up and had a beautiful meal.

Do you like my turkey-shaped butter? It is a must-have in my house and one year I couldn't find one in the grocery store, so I vowed to get my own turkey mold when I was in the candy supply store. Now that I live in Seattle (Amazon country), I know that most of you will simply order it online. I have included a link to a chocolate turkey mold similar to mine.

#happythanksgiving #momentsofdelight #butterturkey #turkeymold #chocolateturkeymold #doityourself #entertaining

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Julefest 2018: Nordic Museum Seattle

The new Nordic Museum in Ballard was hopping this weekend. The beloved holiday event, Julefest was held in the brand new museum for the first time. The building has open walkways upstairs that allow you to look across the expanse and appreciate the walls designed to feel like a grand fjord (above). 
The celebration revolves around Nordic (Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland) Christmas traditions. Glogg and sweets, music and fellowship, gifts and handiwork. 
(Norwegian Male Chorus)

The 2-day event was wonderful, but speaking as someone who came on the second day, I was disappointed that the homemade cookies and breads were completely sold out. And I mean tables put away, never to be seen, sold out. This is good news for the event and certainly means it was a success. I hope they are able to bake & sugar even more specialties next year. We did have a chance to "eat like a modern day Viking" at the Freya Cafe and have Danish Dogs on a pretzel bun with mustard and lingonberry jam. Satisfying and delicious on a very busy day.
In the permanent museum, each country had its signature pieces on display. Having loved Swedish clocks since I was a girl with a blue clock in my dollhouse (see below; I keep this tiny treasure in my office now), I loved seeing a beautiful antique Swedish clock given a place of honor.
My mother in law, Kay is in town for Thanksgiving, so Dan and I were both able to take our moms to this fun and lively event. We all bought ornaments (well, not Dan) and admired the bowls and wooden objects featuring the folk art painting style called Rosemaling. There were big thick Norwegian-style ski sweaters for sale and we kicked ourselves for not dressing for the occasion and wearing ones from our own closet. We met a man who knits sweaters to look like each of the Nordic flags. He was wearing one that was bright yellow with blue "Scandinavian cross", which is the flag of Sweden, and hopes to sell them as a vendor next year. 
We had such a nice afternoon admiring the new museum, enjoying the music and shopping for beautiful Nordic treasures. This event got us in the mood for Christmas! God Jul!

#nordicmuseum #newnordic #julefest #seattle #holidaycelebration #christmas #scandinavian #swedish #holidayfun #celebratetheseason #momentsofdelight #freyacafe #ballard #christmasinseattle

Monday, November 19, 2018

Celebrate with a Toast: My Holiday Punch

I can't tell you how happy I am that Chinet now makes stemless plastic wine glasses that are beautiful and can be used for punch. Can you hear the angels singing? I always make punch for parties (I can't wait to make coffee punch with gingerbread spoons next month!) and I dislike using classic plastic party glasses, even when they are beautiful and made by Chinet. I want a rounded,  and sophisticated glass. Now raise a glass and go celebrate the season!

2 Star Christmas Punch

I served this beautiful punch to a crowd twice this year and the ladies drank cup after cup. It is not too sweet and very refreshing. At both parties, people crossed the room to tell me how much they liked the punch. I joked with a neighbor that I had made this recipe years ago and put a "star" next to it. She responded, "Put 2."

Step 1:
Freeze 2 cups of Cranberry Ginger Ale with 2 cups of fresh cranberries in the bottom of a Bundt mold (make sure the width of the mold will fit into your punch bowl). Tuck 5 whole sage leaves around the edge so that some green will show when un-molded.

When this first layer is frozen, pour in the rest of the 2 liter bottle of Cranberry Ginger Ale. My first section un-molded and floated to the top. That is perfect. Allow to freeze. When you place it in your punch bowl, the ice ring will look like this. 

When prepping for the party, pulverize one bag of fresh frozen raspberries (no liquid or sugar added, just berries) in a food processor and place into punch bowl. Add 1 (12 oz) can of defrosted frozen pink lemonade and 1 (12 oz) can of defrosted cranberry juice concentrate

When your guests are about to arrive, add 2 (2 liter) of regular Ginger Ale. Place ice ring into center. Stir and enjoy!

#seattle #holidaycelebration #christmas #holidayfun #celebratetheseason #momentsofdelight  #christmasinseattle #holidayentertaining #punchrecipes #punch #holidaycocktails #seasonal #ginger  #gingerale #canadadry 

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Friendsgiving 2018: A New Life in the Pacific Northwest

How did we get so lucky? That is a question we ask ourselves often since building a house in a new neighborhood on Seattle's East side. 

Our neighbors are a kind and happy group that love to gather and connect. My grandmother always said to me, " You've got to make your own fun."  The fun this neighborhood has cooked up so far (Block Party, Gingerbread House Making, Ladies Night, Cooking Class, Succulent Party) has been part of our successful transition to the West coast. 
A few weeks ago, our neighbors A & A declared that a neighborhood Friendsgiving was in order. They said, "Bring 2 sides, salads or desserts and come have a feast with us in mid-November." They cooked 2 huge turkeys (roasted & deep fried) and the neighbors supplied the rest of the food and chaos. I brought my striped mashed potatoes (it was gone in a flash) and a sheet pan pecan pie.
They managed to provide seating for 30 (!) and the house looked warm and welcoming. Twinkle lights, fresh flowers and food. Again, how could we be so lucky? I hugged ladies from my street. I met husbands that I've only seen through Facebook. I heard stories about moving in, growing up and starting fresh. We had the conversations we needed to make friends and build relationships.

Just before the meal, the host raised a glass and said that he didn't know if we realized it, but he & A had moved into their house 1 year ago that day. Their happy home that was currently brimming with voices and laughter was mostly filled with people they had met within the last year. He thought that it was incredible and so did we. We all silently acknowledged how grateful we were for this same group of people for the very same reasons.  

Happy Thanksgiving. Happy Friendsgiving. May these new friendships continue to grow and thrive in the Pacific Northwest. Amen.

#friendsgiving2018 #friendsgiving #thanksgiving #thankful #momentsofdelight #entertaining #turkeyday #newneighbors #pnw 

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 was happy 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 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 take a step backwards now, fill in the blog where I can and move forward slowly. 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.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Living Necklace: Accessorizing with Air Plants

Have you ever seen a living necklace? I was a fan from the moment I saw it. Of course, it will require a gentle life and a little TLC, but it is a really great conversation piece. This beautiful air plant (Tillandsia) is glued into this simple vessel which hangs on a chic leather cord. Once a week you should soak the plant in lukewarm water (read more about caring for Tillandsia here).

This necklace by LiveTrends was a gift to invite garden writers to attend the Tropical Plant International Expo (TPIE), a trade show for foliage and tropical plants, which is a  held in Ft. Lauderdale, FL on January 16-18, 2019. Wouldn't I love that!

Garden writers and communicators from around the country (GardenComm) were at their national conference this summer when we received the living jewelry. The enthusiasm for this necklace (and buzz about the TPIE show) spread quickly and I saw happy attendees wearing their new accessory with pride throughout the day. 

Once I  returned home, I found the perfect spot with bright light for my air plant. She now hangs on my cookbook holder in my kitchen. Visually, this dangling air plant seamlessly blends my kitchen into Joanna Gaines' kitchen - doesn't it look like it is part of the cookbook cover? 
The idea that a necklace can be living aligns perfectly with my goal to highlight things that are beautiful and interesting. This is delight.

#TPIE #livingdesign #airplants #airplant #unusualjewelry #living #tropicalplants #fortlauderdale #beautifulandinteresting #livingnecklace #gardencomm #gwa #2019 #gardencommunicators

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