Wednesday, September 18, 2019

View A Cut Flower Catalog: Dahlia Barn


Take a Tour of a cut flower catalog of every dahlia blooming at the Dahlia Barn in North Bend, WA.  

Listen to some mother/daughter chatter about loving dahlias.

The Dahlia Barn has this Living Cut Flower Catalog on display every weekend thru September in their barn from 10 am - 5 pm. If the weather and blooms hold up, they may swell their display dates into early October. Check their post on Facebook. They sell cut bouquets for $10. It is a memorable way to spend part of your weekend and I encourage you to find this moment of delight, just 40 min from Seattle. 
I first heard about the Dahlia Barn from a glowing magazine article and was thrilled to make my first visit out to see them in 2014. I was living in a hotel at the time and could only dream of having a house just miles from this very farm. I was able to meet the owners of The Dahlia Barn, Aimee and Jerry and could see for myself how passionate they are about these magnificent plants. 
In my opinion, The Dahlia Barn is THE source for dahlia tubers and I encourage you to order some for your garden. I am impressed with their entire operation, including the detailed care and planting instructions they offer online. 
(flowers on my lap!)

#dahlias #dahliabarn #flowers #farmstand #flowerfarm #ayearinflowers #growdahlias #instalove #seattleblogger #finddelight #farmtovase #floralglory #farmers #buylocal

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Succulent Succotash: Mixing Plants and Neighbors

My neighborhood is all new construction and is a gold mine of potential friendships. It seems like each house has a family from a different state, if not country. It's wonderful and we are all trying really hard to get to know one another. We created a Facebook group for the women on our street and once a month a different neighbor hosts everyone at her house for a night of wine, appetizers and camaraderie. 

When it was Amanda's turn to host, she announced that she was having a Terrarium Making Party. We needn't do a thing, just come ready to build a little portable succulent garden. The RSVP's started pouring in - everyone wanted to participate in this fun activity. 
She had lots of plants for us to choose from. We were to select two different style succulents from the: Spiller, Chiller or Thriller category and then add a touch of creeping moss.
Amanda had tables set up on her deck so that we could work with dirt, sand, gravel and charcoal without our worrying about making a mess in her new house. So smart!
Shoulder to shoulder, neighbors became friends. It was such a great environment to talk, laugh and fuss with sand patterns. Amanda had each step written out for us. Instructions like how much of each medium (charcoal, dirt, sand etc.) to scoop into the bowl and in what order. We bonded over the awkward motion of arranging delicate plants with our adult hands. We encouraged each other to pump a touch of fertilizer into the dirt. We handed each other water misters to dampen the soil. It was therapeutic and wholly enjoyable.
At the end, we posed for a large group picture (each neighbor holding her accomplishment) and posted it on our group's page. I think the best way to make friends is through a shared experience and I give this activity top marks in every category.
Thank you, Amanda, for having the vision to host an event like this; we are all better friends because of it. Bravo.

#succulents #succulentparty #newneighbors #washington #snoqualmie #neighbors #friends #gardening #indoorgardening #terrariums #partyplanning #wearesolucky  

Monday, June 10, 2019

Unusual Vases: Showcase Color from Vase to Bloom

Remember when I went "vase" shopping in the canned food section of Uwajimaya in Seattle?  Well this beautiful almond jelly can was one of my purchases.  I couldn't resist the pink ombre label and graphics on the can.

When I was passing the floral department of the grocery store, I found these unusual carnations and tight raspberry rose buds in separate packages in the clearance section. It was kismet. 

I always put a plain drinking glass inside of the tin to avoid any water/rust and Voila! It looked so pretty that it inspired me to pull out my 3 antique lustre teacups and sandwich plates. 

Who wants to come for tea? 

#uwajimaya #unusualvases #flowersfixeverything #visualvitamins

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Take Me Out To The Ball Game: Thetas at the Mariners

I went to my first Major League baseball game this week! I know, I'm not sure how I missed this all American pastime but I did. My only explanation is that I spent my summers at a cottage on a lake, far out of reach of Tiger stadium. Anyhoo, when my sorority alumnae group planned a night at the ballpark, I couldn't wait to sign up. Twelve or so Thetas met for dinner and then walked  across the street to the game. Play ball! 
The T-Mobile stadium is open air and felt so grand when I walked in, that my oohing and ahhing caught the attention of the attendant and he sent us over to get my "first time at a Seattle Mariners' game" certificate. How could I not?
The stadium has a retractable roof, so the majority of the game was in the fresh air. I took this photo from open area on the 3rd deck. Hello Seattle! When it started to rain around 9 pm, the roof slowly and silently slide closed. That is a modern marvel!
When I was planning on what I would wear to the game (Mariners' colors are blue with a bit of green & the weather would be in the high 50's), I regretted not having any Mariners garb. I was driving when I remembered that I had my Dad's baseball charm. It was in his desk drawer my whole life and as a girl, I was most likely to wear a charm, so my mom said I could have it. It says "Champions 1951" and he would have been 18 years old that year. Was he on his high school baseball team? I need to ask his brother if he can remember a significant baseball event in Mount Clemens, Michigan in 1951.

I strung it on a chain and wore it to my first real baseball game, 68 years after "the championship." Isn't that wonderful? I think my dad would have thought this was great.

#seattlemariners #seattleblogger #baseballfan #sentimental #kappaalphatheta #thetakites 

Friday, May 17, 2019

Anne Reeves: Delight Magazine Gallery Show

This week I filled the walls of an art gallery with delight. My mom lives in a wonderful apartment building for seniors and someone from the programs department saw me carrying a Delight tote as a purse all the time. When we showed her that I had designed 50 different covers it opened up a fun discussion about art and beauty. Wouldn't it be fun to take over their gallery and have a little party for its debut.

In my business, I have photographed and designed magazine covers for my imaginary magazine, Delight. My mom had about 25 of them glued to foam core and displays them as art. I love them as art and as a warm weather day bag. You can see them for sale online in my Etsy store here.
I have to say, my work looks beautiful when it fills a room (here are some of them on my kitchen island as I prepared for the show). I haven't seen all of my Delight covers in one place in years and it made me feel proud to look at them as a collection.

A huge part of my reason for an imaginary magazine about Delight is to encourage people to think. To read the article titles and question whether they would want to read that article or try that suggestion. I often make up something to see if it resonates with people. For example, "needlepoint maps" or "Fig & Brie Tart with Balsamic Ice."  I am trying to provide something to consider or try. 

At the gallery opening this week, one of the residents was completely taken with the idea of a magazine called Delight. She loved that I thought of it. She loved that it wasn't a real magazine (though I told her that a lot of people do read my blog, which is a lot like publishing magazine articles.) She loved that I made so many different covers. And she understood what I am doing with the power of suggestion. When I showed her this magazine cover
she declared that she would love a fig & brie tart! I hadn't made it and she hadn't tasted it, but the joy it brought to her was real. It made every moment of preparation worth it and I am so glad that as I tried to mix and mingle, I was able to connect with her.

Many residents came to the gallery opening and seemed pleased that it would be on display all month. I have photographs and Delight covers on every wall and I know that's a lot to absorb. I wrote little descriptions below many of the images, to help give some context. "This was taken in northern Michigan." "This picture highlights edible flowers - I took this photo and then I ate it." Little comments to help the residents understand my perspective and my art. 
When it was almost over, one of the women took my hand and said "This is wonderful; take every opportunity that you get." Yes ma'am.

#seattleblogger #artgallery #sentimental #photography #photographshow #momentsofdelight #annereeves #thiscreativelife

Friday, April 12, 2019

Upcycling Jars: Bonne Maman Knows Me

I think Bonne Maman makes wonderful strawberry and apricot preserves and buy jars all the time. When they are empty, I run them through the dishwasher and directly into my craft room. When my friend Kim saw that I was storing beads and baubles for my jewelry in Bonne Maman jars, she started saving the jars from her household for me. Her husband easily consumes a jar of Bonne Maman a week and it is his devotion that has allowed me to amass this great storage system. 

Sea glass, felt scraps and buttons become artistic expression in themselves when displayed this way. 

And while we are talking about upcycling Bonne Maman jars, did you know that they recently introduced lemon curd? It is delicious. Smooth, tart and worthy of replacing your homemade lemon curd in a recipe. I'm serious. They did have done a beautiful job with this recipe and it is the only jarred lemon curd that comes close to homemade. And it comes in a super cute jar (wink).

#bonnemaman #upcycling #makersgonnamake #colorsugarribbon #color #craftroom #wherewomencreate #seattleblogger #jewelrymaking #makingjewelry #designer #creativespace #creativelife  

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Making Felted Soaps

Yesterday I told you all about the soap making party that our neighbor hosted recently. Well, we also had an entirely different soap craft that night called Felting Soaps and I thought it warranted a separate post.
In this project, we took a bar of Ivory soap and used a small knife to carve off the edges. Amanda had purchased an array of colorful wool rovings to layer onto our soaps. 

The gist of the project is to fluff and drape a main color of rovings around a bar of soap. Add tendrils of other colors of wool to add dimension and create a look. I was curious, so I arranged my pink tendril into the shape of a heart and placed it on my small sample soap. Okay, then you pat, squeeze and work your soap under hot (then cold) water to encourage the wool to shrink and morph into a coating. It takes a while for the wool to seize up and cling, but it does! Luckily, Amanda has a dehydrator so we placed the felted soaps inside that machine to dry out. It wasn't completely necessary, but I do think it helped. What fun!

I made the aqua, green and periwinkle soap on the right (behind the heart soap) and the blue & raspberry pink soap. Love! Thank you, Amanda, for encouraging us to play with this gorgeous selection of supplies. 

We made art and we made friends.

#neighbors #craftnight #gno #makersgonnamake #finddelight #colorsugarribbon #seattleblogger #soapmaking #soap #crystals

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Sips & Suds: A Colorful Evening with Friends

I open this post with a photo of the finished products: felted soaps and soap crystals, so you can see just how much fun we had. Check tomorrow's post to see the description of felting soaps.
My neighbor Amanda likes a project; She likes to create; She is generous and loves to teach. She decided that it would be "easy" for our neighborhood ladies to make crystal soaps during one of our get togethers. I love color, so I was stunned when I walked in and saw the selection of supplies and soap shards Amanda had made for our project. 
The candle dyes, scents and add-ins were so beautiful that I just wanted to play with the color combinations like Legos. We had options for days and it was thrilling to be able to choose from such a wide range of colors. 

The instruction for soap crystals was to pick out several complimentary shades of soap shards that she had dyed, cooled and cut the night before. Using a small utility knife, we cut the shards into pieces and piled them in a clear plastic cup. Then we dyed some melted glycerin soap, added a drop pr two of scent and poured it over the shards until it filled the cup. We placed the cups in the refrigerator to set.
When the soap had hardened, we removed the cup and cut away at the shape until it resembled a real crystal. So interesting!
This is my soap crystal (above) that I scented with lime and blueberry. I think it is fantastic. And it was oh-so-fun to make. I have it next to my bathtub as a glamorous touch of luxury.

Clearly we were spoiled by Amanda and her love of making. We learned and laughed and all left with a beautiful and useful object. I can't thank her enough for giving us this wonderful evening to create. Shared experiences build friendships and for that we all benefit. 

#makersgonnamake #creativity #soapmaking #gno #sipsandsuds #makerevent #makerparty #party #neighbors #soap #crystals

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Embellish Eggs for Easter

I am loving my Easter table decorations this year. I always have something spring-like and Easter-y out on the table or island in the weeks leading up to Easter. It looks beautiful and it makes me happy. 

And it doesn't mean that this is what my Easter table is going to look like. This is like an advertising campaign leading up the the glorious season. I am in a taupe, pink, wood, gray, aqua faze and these Easter eggs are everything I want to look at right now. Truly a dose of Visual Vitamins.©  

Most of the wooden eggs are from Target and the speckled brown eggs with feathers are from the grocery store (!). Always keep your eye out for beautiful touches, you never know where you'll find something great. I bought small paper flowers and hot glued them to some eggs. I added 3D adhesive embellishments to others.

As far as the tablescape, this winter, I ordered round woven place mats from H & M Home in powder pink and they are beautiful. The plates are a faux bois melamine collection from Target (years ago) and the flatware is faux bamboo. The platter is an antique from my maternal grandmother's cottage. It looks so pretty together and believe me, it makes a weeknight meal taste that much better.

#easterdecorating #easter #eastertable #eastereggs #decoratingeastereggs #makersgonnamake #seattleblogger #springtouches  

Monday, April 8, 2019

Burpee Seeds: Sow A Smile Campaign is Floral Glory

I was so happy to see Burpee Seeds introduce a creative and generous campaign that supports my mission to find delight in every day life.
This spring, Burpee introduced "Sow A Smile," an initiative to spread happiness through the wonder of growing and giving flowers. Yes!

As a garden writer, I received 10 packs of Sow A Smile seed mix (Baby's Breath, Candytuft, Scarlet Flax, Red Corn Poppy, Calendula, Cornflower, Zinnia, Sulphur Cosmos, Catchfly, Gloriosa Daisy and Plains Coreopsis) to share and a super cute Burpee mason jar vase to hold some floral glory once they are in bloom.

The mission of the program is for the public to grow the seeds in the packet and then when they are in bloom, cut & give the bouquets away to make someone happy. It is a great example of living with intention. I would also call this having a master plan - looking into the future and taking steps to ensure some fun ahead.

I recently ordered some Red Lime zinnia seeds from Burpee and when they arrived, the envelope included a "Sow A Smile" seed packet and instructions. This tells me that the program will spread far and wide and that gardeners will be spreading joy from coast to coast in a few short months. Great job, Burpee. The world is a better place when people connect and share flowers. Bravo.

Stay tuned: I promise to grow and give bouquets from these free seed packets this summer. I should be able to sow a smile in a week or so, after the last risk of frost.

#sowasmile #burpee #burpeeseeds #finddelight #momentsofdelight #gardening #startingseeds

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Guernsey Cream Clematis

The first bloom of spring! Aside from my flowering bulbs, this is this "Guernsey Cream" clematis is the first bloom from an established plant at our new construction house and bare bones yard. I planted this in spring 2017. I love watching British TV shows set in the 1940's like, "Foyle's War," "Land Girls," and "My Mother and Other Strangers." And yes, I loved the book "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society." So when I found a clematis called Guernsey Cream, I knew I had to have it.

This year, the first bloom was on Sunday, April 7.

#gardenlover  #finddelight #seattleblogger #plantlove #floweringvine #clematis 

Friday, April 5, 2019

The Van Der Kloet Method: Confetti Planting Bulbs

When I attended the GardenComm (formerly GWA: Garden Writers of America) conference in Chicago last summer, I found myself captivated by the ideas of keynote speaker, Jacqueline van der Kloet. She has designed garden beds all over the world and has become known for her flower bulb combinations.

She spoke about her approach to designing with bulbs. She mixes a variety of bulbs in a wheel barrel and then tosses them into the desired area like confetti. The gardener then plant the bulbs where they land. She recommended having bulbs in different sizes and colors:



I was captivated with this idea and starting telling people I was going to plant my bulbs using the Van Der Kloet Method. My husband prepared the bed in the front of our house and then we mixed the bulbs (my assortment is shown above) and tossed them like confetti into the prepared area.

We did this in the October when we had a house guest and she thought it was a fun approach to bulb placement. I love having a Master Plan and in this case, I was planning for a happy combination of flowering bulbs in our front garden.
It looks darling! The bloom time has been staggered, so I will definitely add even more bulbs this fall to maximize the effect. Now that I know that it is effective, I want more confetti-like color and texture in my front bed. Only 3 tulips have shown themselves so far, so I'm a little nervous that they were eaten, but this bed develops more every day.

Thank you, Jacqueline van der Kloet for the inspiration.

#floweringbulbs #gardenlife #plantingbulbs #springhassprung #springflowers #finddelight #masterplan

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Northwest Flower & Garden Festival: Spectacular Show Gardens

I want to take a moment and show you a few of the standout show gardens at this year's Northwest Flower & Garden Festival. The show gardens are life size examples of how plants, walls, furniture and landscaping can transform a space. The theme of this year's show was "Gardens of the World."

This first garden (above) was "Notting Hill Modern English Garden" by Folia Horticultural and Design. It was a favorite of mine because I loved the layers of green on green on green. It's hard to see, but there is a fireplace-size curtain waterfall between the topiary trees that adds movement and a calm water element. Love!
This beautiful courtyard garden is "Under the Mediterranean Sun" by Washington Park Arboretum Foundation and designed by Phil Wood, Bob Lilly and Roger Williams. By hanging a spotlight, the team evoked the sun casting shadows through the grape vine draped portico. Bravo. Every element from the colored doors to the Bitter Orange tree bursting with fruit told the story of a hot and quiet afternoon a world away.
  
#nwfgs #seattleblogger #finddelight #mediterranean #gardendesign #landscapedesign #gardenshow #seattle

Monday, March 18, 2019

Living a Colorful Life: My iPhone Apps

    

My iPhone caused a stir at a party last night. The revelers were surprised and delighted that I organize my phone apps by color. Though I had heard about this practice somewhere online months ago, it was new to them and they loved it. In fact, they made me promise to share it in the blog today. Voila! 

When I try to explain my life and blog, I usually default to the phrase, "I am driven by color and sugar." That seems to sum it up. A good friend even thinks I should add the hashtag #colorsugarribbon to all of my online posts make "finding delight in everyday life" a clearer concept. I think she may be onto something.

Anyhoo, last night as I was paging past my apps to find something to share, a friend looked down and said, "Wait a minute...are your apps by color?!" Everyone responded well to it, though many conceded that they didn't thing they could change from their current folder system. 

I arranged my apps by color last summer and I will never go back. It's too pretty! FYI, I do have my most important apps on the first page for speed (Google Maps, Camera, Instagram, Calendar), but the rest are as you see them here. It might seem frivolous...but it also might bring you delight. 

#colorcoded #instagramable #apps #colorsugarribbon #finddelight #beautyofeverydaylife #color #makersgonnamake #seattleblogger #iphone #iphoneographer #pin #momentsofdelight #creativejuices #creativelife

Friday, March 15, 2019

Monsoon Restaurant in Seattle: Delightful and Delicious

We ordered too much and then somehow ate it all. That sums up our first visit to Monsoon on Capitol Hill, a restaurant that describes itself as serving Vietnamese Food with Pacific Northwest innovation. I am not very familiar with Vietnamese dishes, but Dan found this restaurant online and knew we'd like it. 

The menu was loaded with options, so we chose a variety of dishes to try for fun. My salad (above) was a refreshing and crunchy mix of shredded green papaya and herbs with caramelized shallots and shrimp. It was bright, tasty and healthy. 

We had this fun weekday night because Dan decided to drive into Seattle with me to have an early dinner before I went to my sorority alum book club. While I was discussing books, he was buying some at Elliott Bay Book Company. Win-win.
Okay, back to Monsoon. Everything was presented so beautifully, I took a picture as each dish arrived. My safety net was the chicken dumplings. I thought that if everything was too spicy, I could rely on the dumplings. Well, they were stars on their own. Each bite was tender and satisfying, while the dipping sauce was salty and complex. I would definitely order this again and again. They really filled me up, though and I had just tried the Grilled Lemongrass Beef skewers.
Wow. The flavor of the beef was sweet and spicy and the tender meat pulled easily off of the lemongrass skewers. This dish definitely scored high in my mind.
But surprisingly, my all time favorite was the Asian Eggplant with spicy coconut sauce. It was silky and tender and rich and divine. Oh Monsoon, you have taken over my taste buds and made sure that I'll be back. Thank you.

#seattleblogger #monsoonseattle #seattle #vietnamese #pnw #datenight #capitolhill #seattlerestaurants #illbeback

Monday, February 25, 2019

Northwest Flower and Garden Show 2019: Gardens of the World

The 2019 Northwest Flower & Garden Festival in Seattle was a whirl of inspiration. This a driftwood sculpture of a dragon by Jeffro Uitto (@jeffro_art). It was a stunning addition to the award winning show garden "Mystic Garden" designed by Nature Perfect Landscaping.
I loved the use of forced perspective to highlight the stone shards in the distance, could they represent the city of Seattle? The moon gate entrance and circular vignette in the distance captivated all who stood in front of it.

This beautiful example of tranquility and harmony in a stylized Chinese garden won the coveted Founder's Cup (Best in Show) award. Congratulations! 

#nwfgs #seattleblogger #gardendesign #landscapedesign #showgarden #inspiration #driftwoodsculpture




Thursday, February 14, 2019

Krispy Kreme Salutes Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day! Join me in thanking Krispy Kreme doughnuts for being so darn whimsical and cute. They made heart-shaped doughnuts in honor of Valentine's Day and are selling them for the 2 weeks leading up to the big day. We went on Feb 13th when the store was just about to close. The staff must not have had the energy to pipe Sweet Thing or Kiss Me onto their conversation heart doughnuts before they closed for the night. We didn't mind! We ate one on site and had the second one with coffee in the morning. Remember when I got these darling plates?

#happyvalentinesday #12daysofvalentinesday #krispykreme #doughnuts #seattleblogger #valentinesday #conversationhearts #sweethearts 

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Northwest Flower & Garden Festival: Come With Me

For those of you who are new to my blog, I'd like to answer the question: Who am I and why am I writing so extensively on the Northwest Floral and Garden Festival

I am a blogger who writes about things that bring delight - food, design, travel, garden, crafts, sugar, ribbon etc. I've publish over 2,500 posts these last 12 years, all with my original photography. I have also written 3 books on Moments of Delight, Finding Delight and Paris: Delight in the City of Light

In terms of gardening, I love it all. My mission is to dissolve the barrier between busy American women, who get their information and inspiration through their phones, and the “you-need-to-know-a-lot” world of horticulture.

Some facts about me:
I am a suburban gardener from Southeastern Michigan who suddenly moved to Seattle and started a new life with my husband in the Pacific Northwest.

I probably love a lot of things that you love and after years of hearing about the Northwest Flower and Garden Festival, I finally had the chance to attend when we were shopping for an apartment near Seattle in 2014. I was so impressed by the sheer scale of the gardens, the volume of vendors selling not only garden tools and implements, but also plants, indoor/outdoor artwork, garden design elements, water features as well as clothing, hats and clogs that make a day outdoors more pleasant. I have returned to the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival every year, covered it in my blog and I am thrilled to lend them my support. 

Fast forward 5 years and I am now a Regional Director of GardenComm, formerly GWA: Association of Garden Writers and I've been asked to judge a new award to be given at the show!

Next week, when the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival opens on February 20th, I'll be there. I will write blog posts about all of the things I enjoyed at the show and Instagram and Tweet to my hearts content. Stick with me and I'll fill you in.


#NWFGS #NWFGF #springinfeb #gardener #gardenlover #gardening #gardenshow #seattle #seattleblogger #finddelight #youbeyou #finddelight #springiscoming #garden #delight #lovewhatyoudo

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Hummingbird Hack: A Maker Makes

Welcome to Snopocalypse 2019. We have gotten 3 feet of snow in the foothills east of Seattle in the past week. 3 feet! 

We recently bought a hummingbird feeder and were able to hang it outside our kitchen window. While most hummingbird varieties fly south for the winter, the Anna's hummingbird stays around all year. 

I had read that a string of electric lights (not LED) could provide enough warmth to keep the hummingbird nectar from freezing. It works! What I didn't realize is that the hummingbirds would sit on the bulbs for warmth, like little heating pads. So sweet! 

The snow was coming down so hard I couldn't stand seeing the hummingbirds getting snowed upon. I thought, I am a maker and I can solve this! I took an empty large clear plastic egg carton from Costco, cut a slit down the center and slid it around so it would rest on the top of the feeder. I used some clear packing tape to close the slit and keep the plastic shield resting around the top of the feeder. As it snowed, the egg carton closed a bit under the weight of the snow, so I propped it open with a wire bottle cleaning brush. Success! 

Our little lady has shelter, warmth and food during this unusual weather in the Pacific Northwest.  

#hummingbirdhack #hummingbird #momentsofdelight #finddelight #birdwatching #birder #birdlover #mamabird #snopocalypse #snopocalypse2019 #seattleblogger #seattle #foothills #pnw #snowevent #costco #costcohack #birdfeederhack #birdfeeder