Friday, July 14, 2023

Heirloom Electric Blue Sweet Pea arrangement

As a Garden Writer, I was given the opportunity to try some Renee's Garden seeds and I chose Heirloom Electric Blue sweet peas. Wow, am I glad that I did! I know that I love blue in dishes, fabric but this is a whole other category! I have deep blue hydrangeas, but these tiny whisps of blue have a lot of impact on their own.

I'm including a juice can bouquet that I posted on Instagram (@FindDelight). I like to echo the colors of the can's packaging in the flower arrangement. I call it a floral story. This one now has a touch of blue to complement the can. A match made in heaven. I hope it makes you say, Oh my gosh, I need to show someone. And then find a pretty juice or sparkling water can and make your own bouquet.

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Generosity Can Take Many Forms

I want to share a story of how I came to own this spectacular German Bearded Iris that is blooming in my yard right now. Huge silk-like purple blooms on thick sturdy stems. I love them.
During the pandemic, my mom (now 88) lived with us from March to August. She enjoyed watching our neighborhood activity from a chair by the house and we walked up and down the street for exercise almost every day. Part of the fun of spring is seeing plants develop and thrive and we gave steady commentary on how all of the local plants were doing. A favorite stop was neighbor Barb's huge purple iris planted right near the street. We watched the leaves grow and fan out and were so pleased to see stalk after stalk rise up out of the huge iris bed. We would stand and talk about them every day when they were in bloom and marvel and the size of the purple heads. It is a vivid memory of mine. 

So when Barb divided her rhizomes and left me a large section about a year later I was surprised and delighted. She was moving and said that "We need to make sure your mom can keep enjoying these iris!" Doesn't that make your heart swell? What a lovely thought and gesture. She knew she had the power to guarantee delight and she wanted to make it happen. And it worked. Her iris are thriving and my mom and I were discussing the stalks as they were starting to open on Sunday and admired this arrangement yesterday on FaceTime. In fact, she told me to take the photo above and show the arrangement to Barb. Delight continues.

Have you thought about generosity in those terms lately? It takes courage to tell someone "I want you to have this." When it is right, the effect is positive and long-lasting. 

#neighbors #iris #sharing 

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

The Power of Cute: Why Collecting Cute Things Is Good For You

I shared my opinion about the Power of Cute and a recipe for molded lemon pear salad today with Axios Seattle and it got picked up nationally. Is that how you found me? Welcome to my webpage - best viewed on a computer, it connects you to my posts on finding delight in everyday life that I started in 2007, have my links to my books, a podcast interview. Lots of layers of information to look through.

When I first moved to Seattle, I went to a cookie exchange with 3 dozen gingerbread men and brought a darling gingerbread house tin to transport the cookies I got at the exchange home in. The people I met appreciated the gingerbread cookies I made, but it was cute tin that got all the attention. When asked if I had just bought it, I said that I had owned it for at least 10 years, and then added, "But cute is forever."

When I encourage people with this phrase I mean a few different things. Cute is Forever means that something that you immediately love and respond to will make you happy every time you see it no matter how long you have it, so it is absolutely worth it to own it. Another 5 years have passed since I took my tin to that party and it still gets great happy reactions from people.

Cute is Forever is also about pleasing yourself. I know that storage space is limited and we have to prioritize what stays and what goes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a stash of cute things for a season of your life and then when the time is right sell or donate them to make room for the next batch of wonderful. We need bright spots in our lives. Finding Delight in your life is equivalent to a steady stream of music, flowers, sugar, color. The beauty of every day life is endless. And part of that formula is the power of cute.

Another example of the Power of Cute works can be seen in this edible lemon pear bunny. It’s cute. It’s delicious. You’re curious. That’s powerful. I puree canned pears, half & half, water and lemon Jell-O and freeze it into a bunny mold and once frozen, I set one the edge of each individual salad plate holding a gorgeous lettuce salad. Guests can’t believe how cute it is. How delicious it is. They won’t forget it. I’ll have the mold forever and I can bring delight whenever I want to. That is powerful to. The mold could be of flowers or anything really. I found this one at a local craft store. Life takes planning and effort. We may as well make it cute.

Frozen Lemon Pear Bunny

  • 15 oz can of pears, in lightly sweetened juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 oz box of lemon Jell-O powder
  • 1 cup of Half & Half (can be Fat Free)
  • 1/4 cup water

Pour the juice from the can of pears into a saucepan. Add 1/4 cup of water. Bring to a boil. Take off the heat and add the lemon Jell-o power and stir until dissolved. In a powerful blender, pulverize the pears. Stir in the cold half & half. When the hot lemon Jell-O mixture has cooled a few minutes, stir the cold mixture into the lemon Jell-O mixture. Place your silicone molds on a tray to catch any spills and to aid in transport. Pour the mixture into the molds until almost full. Place the tray in a level spot in your freezer. Freeze at least 3 hours.

Unmold about 20 min before you are ready to serve.

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Renee's Garden Seeds: Thrilled with Nasturtiums

I'm opening this post with a photo of my deck last July - I needed a #goals photo after the cold wet Spring we've been having to remind me what is coming and what to plan for. Last summer was the first time I committed to a collide scope color palette and I loved it. Beautiful pops of pink, orange lavender, yellow against lush green leaves. 

I have been letting small 1 quart hydrangeas grow larger in my pots and I found that planting one or two nasturtiums seedlings (that I sprouted in Jiffy Seed Starting Greenhouses in peat pellets) at the edge of the hydrangea pot has become a great companion plant. The nasturtiums grow and fluff beautifully and really compliment the hydrangea.

The nasturtium seeds can be planted right into the ground when the timing is right, of course, but I like to get them started early when I'm ready to garden. These examples (below) have only been planted about a week and they are doing fantastic!

I am recognized as a garden communicator and member of GardenComm (remember when I was Regional Director for a few years?) by Renee's Garden Seeds and I am generously given a credit toward some free seeds by Renee's Garden. Thank you! 

I can't wait to see these colors. Cup of Sun and Cherries Jubilee are especially exciting. As are the Heirloom Electric Blue Sweet Peas. Stay tuned, as the these seeds will light up my blog and @FindDelight all summer long.

#reneesgarden #seeds #nasturtiums #growfromseed #pnw #gardener #springgarden #edibleflowers #gardencomm

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Perfect Puzzle & Considering A Clock: El Mercado Latino

Knowing how much I love packaging, you know I had to take a photograph of this impeccable shop. This is El Mercado Latino in Pike Place Market in Seattle and I was struck by their beautiful display. The attention to detail is spectacular.

I asked if I could take a photograph, praising her display and it was all I could do to keep myself from telling her that it would make a great puzzle. A high compliment. Or that frankly the image I was seeing could be turned into a beautiful pattern for fabric. I was mesmerized. 

She was thinking: ingredients, recipes, inventory. My group was rushing up the street so I didn't linger, but boy oh boy. 

I love to cook. But I think I love design and packaging more. I stared at the shelves wondering if I could make one of the boxes into a clock. Have you seen my kitchen clocks? I hope she didn't think I was searching for something she didn't have. I was simply admiring her work.

#latinmarket #seattle #visualvitamins #smallbusiness 

Friday, April 21, 2023

Cath Kidston Cupcake Papers: Making Khaki Cute

A few years ago I wanted to try making my grandmother's caramel frosting.  I had an ever changing audience of family members at the cottage and I knew that even if the cupcakes weren't perfect, it would be a welcome snack after a swim in the lake.

However, I am driven by the Power of Cute. I couldn't imagine setting out a plate of drab khaki cupcakes. Caramel frosting is delicious, but it isn't pretty. I like it when my audience is excited about a bite before they even try it.

Thank heaven for Cath Kidston. My favorite British designer saves the day again. My mom gets some credit too, as she found this darling set of Cath Kidston cupcake kit and gave it to me for my birthday and I've been saving them for the right occasion. Light brown frosting is the right occasion. Don't they look great? And they were delicious. I am going to make the recipe one more time and then I'll share it with you. 

#cathkidston #cupcakes #caramelanythingisgood #powerofcute

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Modern May Day: Seed Packets

Who wouldn't love to receive a May Day surprise like this in the mail? Axios Seattle asked me about the May Day tradition of leaving a posy of flowers on a neighbor's doorknob in honor of the 1st of May. We all love the idea of it, but times have changed and most of our dear friends and relatives are far flung. 

Even if your tribe lives in Seattle, asking anyone to deliver something after work to a handful of addresses across our great city is frankly too big of an ask. But wait! The mail carriers do that already.

I've put a delightful modern spin on the charm of delivering May Day baskets. Read all about it in today's issue of Axio Seattle

#mayday #finddelight #momentsofdelight #maydaybaskets #seedpackets 

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Hot Chocolate & Great Books

It’s been so very cold here in Seattle that this favorite photo I took in England came to mind: We were in Stoke on Trent at the Emma Bridgewater factory in 2010 and these darling mugs made for drinking hot chocolate were everywhere. I had to take this photo.

I shouldn’t want hot chocolate now, but there have been snow flurries and a dampness lately that simply calls for a warm drink. Downright weird this late in spring. At least I tell myself it’s weird until I remember Rosamunde Pilcher and her book Snow In April. I loved reading all of her novels years ago and I have been thinking about finding them on my kindle and working my way through her body of work all over again. Her most famous book is called The Shell Seekers and I’m sure I’ve read it 3 times. Her books are set in England after the war with sweeping vistas of the sea near Cornwall. The stories are about families, traditions and life moving on in a place that never seems to change. There are lots of old roses, tumblers of whiskey and deep conversations by the seashore. I think you’d love everything about these books. And that sometimes life feels weird and then it snows…in April. 

#books #snowinapril #emmabridgewater #coldspring

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Delightful Jell-O Salad

Rainbow Pastel Jello Salad
Do you hear music too? And I don't mean because of Instagram reels. I mean because this Jell-O is so darn beautiful. I served this at our teeny-tiny Easter for 3, but you could wow a whole group if you wanted to. Every piece comes out this well, just take your time and serve it to your guests moving it for them with a brownie spatula pan-to-plate. Have a delightful meal.

Delightful Jell-O Salad 

Boiling water
6 (4-serving size) boxes of different flavors of classic Jell-O
1 large carton of sour cream

Choose a glass rectangular pan, about 13 x 9 or slightly smaller. Spray with plain non-stick cooking spray. Stir 1 1/4 cups of boiling water into 1 package of Jell-O. Stir until dissolved. Pour 3/4 of that mixture into the pan. Place in the refrigerator. Leave the balance of the warm Jell-O on the counter to cool to room temperature. When the Jell-O in the pan has set, it is time to make the creamy layer. Mix 3 Tablespoons of room temperature sour cream into the remaining liquid Jell-O on the counter. Whisk gently until the sour cream is incorporated and there are no lumps. Having both ingredients at room temperature helps this. Slowly pour the creamy mixture onto the set Jell-O in the pan. Use the bowl of the spoon to slow down the stream of liquid, so that the pouring liquid doesn't dent the layer below. Tip the pan to coat the entire first layer in creamy Jell-O, if necessary. Repeat until all of your layers are built.

To serve, slice into squares with a knife and lift out with a small spatula, or use a scalloped cutter as I did, the results are so satisfying. Serve from the pan; it can only be moved once - pan to plate.

Be sure to let each layer set before proceeding to the next. I make a few layers each day and it seems easier.

Buy flavors that are different colors so that each layer looks distinct. You can find Vegan flavored gelatin choices in stores and online, but I used classic Jell-O.

#jello #rainbowsalad #colorfulfood #springmenu #prettyfood

Sunday, April 9, 2023

Having Fun at Easter

Happy Easter to all who celebrate! 

I had a lot of fun in the kitchen this year puttering around and making things as the spirit moved me. I had successes and failures but it felt like I was right where I was supposed to be. 

Since we moved to Seattle, our Easter dinners are tiny. Just the 3 of us and lots of time on the phone. But curbing my Easter falderal just because I'm not hosting a dinner for 10, doesn't really feel like me, so I don't. 

I make different things each year and this year I decided to try out my new chocolate rabbit mold (results above). He's great! I learned a bit about how to fill the mold next time so that the 2 sides fit together better, but it worked well enough for my little display. 

Last week I made rainbow layered Jell-O. I baked shortbread bunny-on-a-stick cookies (unfrosted and delicious). I baked individual egg-shaped cakes covered in poured fondant (Loved it, btw. Why have I not been making poured fondant??) and I froze little lemon pear bunnies for the side of the salad. It was great. 
Dan loves my own private Spring Baking Championship too because every night this week he's been able to eat a bunny shortbread cookie while we watched tv. 

Celebrating is what you make it. Baking should be whatever makes sense to you and Cute is forever.

#finddelight #springbaking #eggcupcakes #chocolaterabbit #easter #easterbaking

Sunday, April 2, 2023

Cherry Blossom Bonanza in Fall City

I am someone who points out pink blossoms. Do you know someone like that? Who names the tree and points to its fantastic display of color as they drive along. This year, Dan and I heard that Fall City was in full bloom and when we arrived we pulled over. This was something that was short-lived and needed to be enjoyed up close.
Fall City is a small town on the backroad route near our house. 
While we were there we perused an antique shop called The Vintage Flea and stopped in the library to look over their selection. Then we drove to North Bend, WA for a latte at Hutdotter Coffee. It was a glorious spring day and I pointed out cherries, magnolia and forsythia every chance I got.

#springblossoms #bloomingtrees #fallcitywa  


Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Spring Dinner with Sentimental Serving Pieces

My sorority sister Heidi came to stay with us after years of only talking on the phone. Remember when I went to Chicago for the Garden Writers of America (GardenComm) conference in 2018? That was the last time we'd seen each other in person. So I got the guest room ready, made a list of place I wanted to show her and dug out some college scrap books. 

I wanted to have a relaxing dinner at home one night and the spring table we set looked so pretty, I had to show you. The platter with the strawberries on the rim and the beehive cloche were part of tonight's tablescape on purpose. Thirty years ago (cough cough) a bunch of our sorority sisters all drove to Heidi's house near Holland, Michigan for a girl's weekend during the annual tulip festival. We had so much fun, and in a little gift shop the spirit moved me to buy these serving pieces and I hauled them around town all day. It was fun to pull them out and reminisce about a very carefree time in our lives. 

The wire centerpiece is a vintage garden gate that I bought last year at an antique store. The gate works and I intend to weave some of the sweet peas and nasturtiums I'm growing up this arch! It's all part of my master plan. For now, I put a glass jar full of the peachy daffodils we bought when we were showing her Pike Place Market.

My favorite memory from this meal was making dinner. I'm usually cooking by myself and it was wonderful to have Heidi in the kitchen with me. We made Delightful Chicken with a sauce of raspberry jam & balsamic vinegar and Shaved Carrots (shaved fresh carrot, covered and microwaved for 5 min. Tossed with smidge of butter and salt. Serve warm) 

#friendsvisiting #springdinner #gardengate #beehivecloche #shavedcarrots #delightfulchicken

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Chateau Ste Michelle Winery: Weekday Wine Flight

While Heidi was visiting, I took her to the perfect place that would allow us to sit and talk but still experience something special in our area, Chateau Ste Michelle winery!

It wasn't busy midweek and it was the perfect place to stop in after driving her around the Eastside after lunch. I was happy to see a lovely menu available in case we shown up at a different time of day. I will keep this in mind for future guests coming to Seattle.

The grounds are beautiful and daffodils were blooming. It was chilly but the rain stopped and it really felt like spring. I would love to sit outside here on a warmer day. Chateau Ste Michelle has an outdoor summer concert series that my travel schedule hasn't synced up with all these years, but this summer I hope to snag tickets to a concert.  

#chateaustemichelle #woodinvillewinery #flightofwine #finddelight 


Monday, March 27, 2023

Snoqualmie Falls and Huxdotter Coffee: I Insist

Whenever someone comes out to visit us, we make sure to take them to see Snoqualmie Falls. You can see the famous Salish Lodge & Spa on the left side of this photo. It is perched above the Falls and was the location of the fictious Great Northern Hotel in the hit television show Twin Peaks.  

Do you want to hear a coincidence I've never been able to explain? When I was in college, everyone had an answering machine with a tape on which you recorded an outgoing message, "Hello you've reached..."  I had never watched the show Twin Peaks, but I liked it's eerie opening music so I used that as my answering machine message. No message from me. Just the music. Very random. 30 years later I live in the town where it was filmed. It somehow feels like foreshadowing, doesn't it?

This is the view looking away from the Falls. When the conditions are right you can see a rainbow in the air! With luck, the sun has to be shining and there has to be enough water rushing over the falls to create a mist. I've caught it several times and it is magical - be on the lookout.

And then you'll need coffee. On most of my scenic drives in Snoqualmie Valley, I make up a reason to stop in North Bend for Huxdotter coffee. They offer fun and delicious drinks like the Twin Peaks latte (that is the famous Twin Peaks covered in snow - on Mt Si). I love to sit outside and see the Mountain looming large, though I only ever order a classic latte and it is perfect. 

These are the requisite stops when you have a 2 hours on a beautiful day. Lots more to see and wonderful places to shop, but you must see the Falls first.

#mtsi #huxdottercoffee #salishlodge #snoqualmiefalls #snovalleylife #pnw


Sunday, March 26, 2023

Cherry Blossoms on the Quad

I couldn't have timed Heidi's visit any better. The cherry blossoms were blooming on University of Washington campus (a big deal every year) and we had blue sky and sunshine in March - pinch me!

The Quad at University of Washington is an area of campus planted with 90 year old cherry trees that were moved to this area of campus in 1962 to allow for more visitors. The university even has a live-cam set up so you can time your visit to align with peak. It was very cold when we visited but the blooms were enchanting. Dan dropped us off and then found a parking spot. Here is a map of campus (below) to help you find them next year.

Here we are! Dan and I ran to find Heidi on Michigan State's campus the night we got engaged to tell her the news, so we've all known each other a long time. It was so fun to be back together again and able to reminisce. 
We walked around and imagined looking at the blooms through the classroom windows even with the tree canopy. I would never be able to concentrate.

#UWcherryblossoms #springblossoms #friendintown #cherryblossoms #seattle


Thursday, March 23, 2023

Makerspace: Bellevue Library Offers So Much

My focus on delight has included highlighting things that are beautiful and interesting. In this case, it is a location where the beautiful and interesting can be created.

In the last 10 years, the equipment available to make things has exploded. There are 3D printers that make something by printing with plastic, Laser cutters that can engrave wood & acrylic, Cricut-style machines that cut adhesive vinyl, leather, balsa wood, Sewing machines that can embroider intricate designs. My mind has been swirling with the possibilities. The trick is knowing what you want machine would suit you best, exploring how to use it and considering if you'd like to own one.

When I read that the Bellevue, Washington library had a Makerspace available to adults and kids I was very interested to see how it worked. For my purposes, I wanted to see a Cricut and how it worked and ask about what was required to use a laser cutter. I made a reservation for the Open Lab and spent 2 hours investigating the process.       
The staff librarian was very helpful and provided me with a laptop and headphones to log into the Cricut Online Training website so I could create an account and watch a few tutorials as I compared the video to the machine in front of me. They provide scrap vinyl and encourage attendees to plan their projects ahead of time to maximize their lab time. 

I really just wanted to be an observer and I was really interested to see a young mother and her 2 children arrive and she start using the equipment at the next table immediately. At the same time, a middle age man was designing on Adobe Creative Cloud software in one glass room, while another patron was using the laser cutter with supervision in another glass room. It was so great to see these expensive and complicated tools available to the public for free.

Anyone with drive and a library card could teach themselves how these machines work and get some hands on experience. 

I concluded that I did not have a future in cutting vinyl or wood. There are simply not enough projects that I want to make that would warrant my mastering a new machine. Yet I got a great explanation and could see it all up close, which I appreciated. I learned that I should become comfortable with Adobe Illustrator (and perhaps design what I want to print ahead of time) if I decide to pursue laser cutting. This is what I needed to know! 

Always be on the lookout for special opportunities to explore new technology or crafts. I may not be a regular patron at this library Makerspace, but I can tell people all about how it might work for them. 

#makerspace #beautifulandinteresting #finddelight #bellevuewa #technology

Monday, March 20, 2023

First Day of Spring: Embrace the Power of Primulas

This is the best photo I have taken all week. What I love about this display is that this QFC grocery store is so confident that their customers will swarm them for primulas, that they've put out the maximum number of plants possible. It's almost a many can you buy at once? They are bright, healthy and exactly what you want. It's Spring and this is a Moment of Delight!

#springflowers #primulas #colorfulflowers #yellowbluepink #grocerystore #finddelight #indoorplant #outdoorplant #springtime 

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Cigar Box Purse: Upcycled Art

I am looking forward to spending time making cigar box purses this week and next. I had a week of the Northwest Flower & Garden show and then a wonderful week showing my niece around Seattle and now I can think about making handbags. My delightful life has a lot of categories. When you get a chance to make, what do you reach for first?

Today I am going to upload a few new purses to the Etsy shop and start the custom fabric lining on some new boxes. I've got a spring in my step!

Do you like this photo? When I was first starting out, I sold my purses in summer art shows in Michigan. I had this image made into a 2 x 3 foot poster to hang in my tent. It was so dramatic and beautiful.

#upcycled #wearableart #etsy #finddelight #annereeves  #cigarboxpurses #springgreen

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

International Day of Women: Unexpected Delight

That's me with a new Girl Scout shirt in this delightful flashback photo. Have you ever had someone else's organization project benefit you? Out of the blue, my dear elementary school friend Ann (above right), messaged me that our mutual friend was organizing things and came across a bunch of terrific photos from our days as Brownies and Girl Scouts. Last week, we sent messages back and forth as we tracked down emails for some of our old friends and then forwarded the photos to them too. The pictures made us so happy we wanted them to see them too. Delight was expanding.
I scrolled through pictures of our trip to a horse camp, the time we cooked hot dogs on a stick, a fashion show, singing songs and an exciting ferry ride to Boblo Island. We had wonderful years together and I feel so thankful for all of the learning experiences and just plain fun moments I had because of the Girl Scouts and its volunteer women leaders. 

Today was the first chance I had to tell you about my surprise gift of old photos and it happens to be the International Day of Women. It feels like serendipity that I can share these photos today and appreciate the first women leaders I saw. 

Delightful Idea: Try pulling out a few old photographs and then sending a digital copy of the photo to whoever would appreciate an unexpected trip down memory lane. If the photo is not digital, you can use an app like Photomyne for an easy way to scan old pictures with a smartphone and then retain a digital copy.

#internationaldayofwomen #girlscout #womenleaders #photos #lifelongfriends #shareoldphotos #tellsomeoneyoumissthem #tellsomeoneyouremember #finddelight 

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Sosio's Fruit & Produce: Kindness & Mushrooms Are Having A Moment

When I was at the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival Feb 15-19, I posted all kinds of content on my @FindDelight Instagram account, and one trend was that mushroom are having a moment. They were all over the show as cement garden ornaments, or wooden decorations for your home. They were imbedded in logs to grow in your kitchen or the subject of books for sale along side mushroom notecards. Mushrooms are having a moment for sure, so I wanted share this photograph of them in their original edible form (wink). This beautiful selection is available at Sosio's Fruit & Produce at Pike Place Market right now.  

I'd like to tell you a little story about Sosio's Fruit & Produce, if I may. They showed my family a simple kindness that I will never forget. When my mom had a terrible fall last March, my two brothers flew in from Detroit. Only one family member could enter the hospital per day due to Covid restrictions, so while I was at the hospital my brothers wandered around Seattle hoping for good news. One brother struck up a conversation with Mike of Sosio's and explained how they were certainly visiting Seattle, but not really sightseeing, just at loose ends, worrying about my mom in the hospital. My brother was surprised to see Mike start picking out plums, apples, grapes and putting them in a big bag as a gift for the family. Mike told him to have me eat lots of fruit to stay strong as I went in and out of the hospital at this trying time. 

It was lovely and unexpected and certainly welcome when I was on fumes. Later I made sure to write a thank you to Mike and share that my mom was out of the woods and that my brothers had flown home relieved. 

I can't tell you how wonderful it felt to find Sosio's in Pike Place Market, buy some plums and grapes knowing that life was so much better almost exactly a year later. 

#thankful #kindness #pikeplacemarket #seattle #beautyofeverydaylife

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Shopping the Seattle Northwest Flower & Garden Festival: Brocante Beach House

I fell hook line and sinker for the world Kim & Dino Medica of The Brocante Beach House created at this year's Northwest Flower & Garden Festival. They had a booth in the vintage market section and created a City Living Display named, "Coastal French Cottage." 

I was talking with Kim and she said that they opened their shop on Alki Beach during the pandemic. I told her that we would be sure to visit this Spring when we started visiting the Alki farmer's market again. I can't wait. I mentioned that the mannequin that I had photographed (above) was missing, and she told me that a woman bought it for her daughter who would be wearing it for her wedding on the coast of Oregon this spring! They arranged the whole transaction on the phone from the show and Kim was excited to tell the bride that the dress had been made for the Seattle Opera. How glamourous!

You can see my plate on display (above). I bought two of these gorgeous blue French plates that I can layer in with some of my other dishes. Note to self, plant more medium blue grape hyacinth. They are everything.

I also bought several bundles of pussy willow branches wrapped in brown paper. They were so beautiful and elegant I simply couldn't resist.

"Coastal French Cottage" in City Living section

I absolutely laughed out loud when I read, "I love you. In French" As if she really wants you to know it, and then tags on a way to make it even better. I can see this being used a lot of brilliant ways and I'm here for it. I love the old cloth. I love the block white letters. I love the dirt. It's absolutely great.

It's so great that it took me a while to see the rest of the display. The lion with the hat askew. The cream tin canister planted with blue grape hyacinths. The fact that the dresser has different knobs and pulls all the way down. 

The artist's painting on the easel and a palette smeared with paints - wonderful. A champagne bucket filled with moss -love it. Vibrant double white daffodils sprouting from the cabinet drawer. It all adds up to great visual storytelling.  

#nwfgs #cityliving #springvibesonly 


Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Nature Perfect at Northwest Flower and Garden Festival 2023: Aquaponics in the House

A short video of the stream in action

I want you to really appreciate what Nature Perfect Landscaping & Design created at the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival with a show garden inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater including a greenhouse built by Northwest Green Panels. This incredible building puts the beauty of an aquaponics system on display. Aquaponics is a form of agriculture that combines raising fish in tanks while growing plants from the resulting enhanced water. "In aquaponics, the nutrient-rich water from raising fish provides a natural fertilizer for the plants and the plants help to purify the water for the fish."

The fish live in the water inside the greenhouse (above)

Nature Perfect Landscaping designed it so a stream could runs into the green house to a koi fish pond and then that water would flow under the greenhouse floor over to the hydroponic area where plants could thrive on the nutrient-rich water while growing in the greenhouse. It's interesting, creative and a dynamic approach to harnessing the power of byproducts. I almost wish there was an audio narration running inside the greenhouse, as I'm not sure that everyone who toured it understood what they were seeing. Wow. Every elementary school science class should see this as part of a field trip - it opens your eyes to the possibilities and it was built with intention. I loved it.

 The plants are growing hydroponically in the enriched water (above)

I was really taken with the beauty and ingenuity of this show garden. The style was true to the Pacific Northwest with the beautiful evergreens, native plants and bronze koi fish sculpture. 

#aquaponics #greehouse #hydroponics #nwfgs #ingenuity