Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Simple Goodness Sisters: Small Batch Syrups make Delightful Drinks

If I was able to put together this table at a GardenComm "Color in the Garden" event, then you know I'm well and fine. I've been away caring for my mom, but things are much better now and I'm happy to be able to backpedal a little and fill you in with the moments of delight that have happened while I've been away.

I want to highlight a lovely small batch syrup brand called Simply Goodness Sisters. They craft "garden-to-glass inspired syrups on our 10 acre cocktail farm in Buckley, Washington." Do you love it? I do! 

This lovely woman-owned company donated some of their luscious syrups to create botanical drinks to support a GardenComm event we hosted called "Color in the Garden." They sent us: Rhubarb Vanilla, Blueberry Lavender and Lemon Herb to combine with sparkling water to refresh everyone on a blazing August afternoon. We topped our drinks with edible flowers like nasturtiums and pansies and then offered blueberries, mint and herbs if attendees wanted to experiment even more. 

What I loved the most was the enthusiasm for the product. We had plenty of opportunities for them to try all 3 and they did! The ladies talked and drank and adorned their glasses over and over. It was a success x10. And the interestingly, they seemed to like all 3 equally. They were drawn to the Rhubarb Vanilla first. Then Blueberry Lavender. Then Lemon Herb. But they enjoyed them all and they were excited to hear that the company owns and operates a Soda Shop in Wilkeson, WA that make everything from milkshakes to mixed drinks. Sisters' Choice and it sounds delightful. Personally, I know I need to take a field trip. They are open through mid-December and then close until Spring. 

Thank you, Simply Goodness Sisters! 

#botanical #farmtoglass #pnw #drinksyrups #beverages #edibleflowers #gardencomm #region6


Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Northwest Flower and Garden Festival: Seattle Feb 9 - 13

Pinch me! It feels like an eternity since I could announce Seattle's Northwest Flower & Garden Festival, but in truth, they really only missed 1 year holding the show in person. Isn't it weird what the mind can perceive? 

All I know is that absence makes the heart grow fonder

If you are comfortable attending an event again (please note the safety guidelines), this is the show for you! House plants, garden inspiration, book signings, educational classes, art vendors. 

Happy Spring! P.S. We just bought a snow blower, as I live in the foothills of the Cascades, so I'll be ready for anything! ;-)

#nwfgf #seattle #spring #springfever  

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Northwest Flower & Garden Show: Emerge and Explore

I was able to attend the press tour for the Northwest Flower & Garden (before the show opens tomorrow), and I am so grateful to be back. If you read the health and safety protocols in place and feel ready to attend, I encourage you to come to the Washington State Convention Center and find a breath of Spring. The show is open Feb 9-13 in downtown Seattle. All show details, times and programming are at 


I loved this show garden by Urban Earth Nursery. They have so many layers of plants, woven trellis and edible aspects to their display. They've got my mind racing. In the image below, you can see they've layered in an old apothacary unit to add interest to the space. When you walk around to the front, you can't miss the welcoming picnic blanket emphasizing the theme of an edible garden. The show program states
"Urban Earth Nursery presents a whimsical, slightly futuristic, yet practical space featuring an abundance of stunning, edible plants. These unique perennial edibles provide a joyful, spring energy, perfect for those looking to grow their own produce while maintaining a beautiful aesthetic. Just be sure to admire this display with your eyes instead of your tastebuds!" 

I met Rooted In Landscape designer Smitha, who is a newcomer to the City Living design section (areas spotlighting ideas for apartment dwellers who may have balconies or may need to focus their gardening inside a small space). She had a fantastic entry loaded with ideas to add plants and great design to your work from home space. She featured a living chandalier over the couch and included a small modern fish tank to add style AND aquatic plants. Her #thelivingworkspace had humor and great design insight into how we really want to work at home. It was wonderful and I know you could get loads of great ideas working with her.
In another section of the massive convention center floor, I found a moment of calm admiring the sound of the water feature and magnificent trees in the Redwood Builders Landscaping show garden. I was forest bathing and wanted more. Please be sure to stop and admire trio of bonsai in the photograph below.
"Take a moment of silence to reflect in this tranquil garden. Named after the Japanese term for forest bathing, this serene display centers around a large and old ekianthus, water features and several bonsai. Destress and listen to the sounds of the stream or enjoy natural reflections in the pond while gazing at the expertly pruned bonsai set in stones and lava rocks." - NWFGF 2022 program
Of course I instantly loved this compact City Living display (below), "A Pacific Northwest Ode to Hygge" by Sunrise Design. The tonal colors of birch, flesh and cream offset the lush green so beautifully. Don't miss the beautiful macrame wall hanging that holds a plant in its pocket.
After we got our quick preview of the show floor, my GardenComm (formerly Garden Writers of America) colleagues and I took turns getting photos at the Hartley-Botanic greenhouse, which was loaded with orchids contributed by the Northwest Orchid Society. 
I'm intentionally ending with this photograph because it is not lost on me just how much WORK putting on a show of this magnitude is. I applaud the men and women who donned a mask, rolled up their sleeves and showed up. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. The world is slowly moving out of the pandemic and it requires risk and heart to believe that the public will return and enjoy what we once held dear. This is the first Northwest Flower & Garden show since Covid 19 sent shock waves through the country and world and I am so grateful to be back. If you read the health and safety protocols in place and feel ready to attend, I encourage you to come to the Washington State Convention Center and find a breath of Spring. The show is open Feb 9-13 in downtown Seattle. 

All show details, times and programming are at

#nwfgs #nwfgf #gardenshow #seattleevents #gardens #plantlover #gardencomm #worththewait #growcookeat

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Growing Roses in Containers: Delight in the Pacific Northwest

My friend and mentor, Mary-Kate Mackey wrote a wonderful piece for Hartley Botanic Greenhouses about the success I am having growing roses in containers. I have lived east of Seattle almost 5 years and I have 10 roses flourishing in pots. 

My former zone (southeastern Michigan 6a) wouldn't support roses in containers, unless I had had one of Hartley Botanic's beautiful greenhouses, so I was thrilled when I had the chance to try it here. In this photo you can see (front to back), State of Grace, Royal Amythst, a hydrangea in the ground, Tournament of Roses and Passionate Kisses. They make a lovely border to my suburnban yard and I think it is wonderful.

Please read this article about my garden and maybe you'll be inspired to give container roses a try!

#roses #growingroses #containergardening #containergarden #momentsofdelight #beautyofeverydaylife #finddelight #pnw #seattle 

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Cans and Potential: Waiting For Blooms

I intended to buy new roses in 2020...and then the lockdown kept us all at home so I tended the roses in my front yard and made bouquets with the beauties that I had.  

But I can say with certainty that the restriction caused pent up demand in my head and I went a little overboard at the nurseries this year. I bought 7 new roses.

State of Grace, All Dressed Up, Celestial Night, Hot Cocoa, Marc Chagall, Oh Happy Day and Princess Alexandra of Kent. Ahem. I already had 10 that were thriving, so lot of blooms are on the horizon. I call it potential. My garden has potential. 

All of the roses are budding like crazy, we've had a week of sun in Seattle and I can't wait to make and give small bouquets away in my favorite gifting vessel: Vibrant juice cans. 

Potential: We all have potential.  

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Today I Choose: Creating Beauty & Finding Delight with Anne Reeves


I am so pleased to share my interview about Finding Delight in Everyday Life on the podcast Today I Choose with Melissa Bingham. I talk about Visual Vitamins, Rosewater Shortbread and the importance of volunteerism. 

Melissa has been my friend for the last 20 years and I was honored to be a guest on her podcast about Living with Intention. Melissa is a spiritual mentor, soul teacher and author who helps spiritual seekers unlock the magic of intentional living through meditation, mentorship and teachings. She is the founder of the “Everyday Living with Intention” community, author of “Today I Choose: A Daily Guide of Living Life with Intention,” and host of the “Today I Choose” podcast.

#todayichoose #everydaylivingwithintention #todayichoosepodcast #intentionalliving #mindfulliving #mindfulness #melissabingham #meditation #intentionsetting #anadesigns #finddelight #annereeves #intentions

Monday, April 5, 2021

Frozen Salad: Lemon Pear Bunny for Spring

Sometimes things work out even better than I imagined. Cue my lemon pear bunny, the perfect addition to any Spring meal. I was excited to try this Place & Time bunny mold that I found at my local JoAnns store.

When I looked at the composition of the entire meal, I knew it would be better for the family if this component was fat free. I had made other lemon pear salads, so I used that experience to create a version in a completely different way and it was perfect.

Frozen Lemon Pear Salad

  • 15 oz can of pears, in lightly sweetened juice
  • 3 oz box of lemon Jell-O
  • 1 cup of Fat free Half & half
  • 1/4 cup water

Drain the juice from the can of pears into a sauce pan. Add 1/4 cup of water. Bring to a boil. Take off of the heat and add the lemon jello 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 little, stir the cold mixture into the lemon Jell-O mixture. Place your silicone molds on a tray (to catch an spills and to aid in transport) and then pour the mixture into the molds. Place the tray in a level spot in your freezer.

Unmold about 30 min before you are ready to serve. I placed one bunny on the edge of each salad plate with a big green salad at Easter dinner and it was adorable.

#easter #easterdinner #bunny #bunnymold #lemon #lemonpear #frozensalad #eastertreat #specialoccasion #holiday #easterbunny 

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Creative Home Office: Driven by Color

I call myself an Architect of Delight. I look for beauty in everyday life and am thrilled by the intersection of things that are beautiful and interesting. When we were moving to Seattle, I kept saying that I wanted the office we set up to be overwhelming. I wanted to be able to see what I have and to look at what I love. I needed my huge stash of fabrics, ribbons, beads, threads, buttons, tapes, paint etc. to be clean and organized in a dustfree environment, but I also wanted to be able to arrange an area into a little color story if the mood struck. 

I thought that I would make a creative hive - and that it would be a mess. In truth, it looks great because I found the right wall unit that allowed me to contain and display.

I was hoping I could find something at IKEA and the BESTA cabinet with glass doors turned out to be perfect. They are like a giant Lego wall unit with spring hinge doors. The sections with glass doors also have glass shelves to enhance viewing. 

(Note: We paid to have a professional IKEA installer put this Besta unit together because it came during a hectic week for us. It took him more than 6 hours and he is proficient with IKEA instructions. If you buy this marvelous unit, you may want to budget that kind of professional help into your office project too.)
My home office is working well for me. I can be creative and handle my business all out of one room, depending on which half I'm focusing on. When I'm really making, everything explodes everywhere and consumes much of the first floor. For this post, though, it was important to me to show everything in order so that you could see these fabulous cabinets and get a sense of how they might work for you.
One of my favorite elements inside the cabinets is my bead and bobble storage in empty Bonne Maman jam jars. My best friend in Michigan gave me a steady supply there for a while and it set me up for a remarkable system. Isn't it pretty?
On the other side of the room is where I can write, print, sew and think. This is where my next book is percolating. I'd really like to write a modern coffee table book about Finding Delight in the Pacific Northwest. Someone asked me what my favorite word was recently and I immediately thought: potential. Stay tuned.

P.S. Do you like my watercolor palette? Would you believe it is a panel of fabric by Hoffman Fabrics? I loved it so much I had mounted on foam core as art. 

#homeoffice #creativespace #ikea #craftspace #beautyofeverydaylife #wherewomencreate

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Hadley Pottery: An Incredible Gift Linking Women in My Life

Are you familiar with Hadley Pottery? My collection has grown lately, and it makes me so happy. First you need to hear what it is and why I like it. Hadley Pottery was founded in 1940 in Louisville, when an artistic woman, Mary Alice Hadley (who had been born into a family of clay tile makers) designed and painted dishes for her houseboat on the Ohio River. When she entertained, everyone went wild for her dishes and insisted she create a set of dishes for their household in the same style. You can read their legendary story on the Hadley website.

My mother went to college at Denison in Ohio in the early 1950's and she said a Hadley mug was her coffee cup throughout college. I grew up drinking out of that same mug, painted with a pig, and loved that when the mug was empty, I could read "The End" painted inside on the bottom. I thought it was fabulous and drank Ovaltine out of it every chance I got growing up.

When I got engaged in 1991, a young couple I admired from Cincinnati gave us a Hadley salad bowl (Farmer & Wife) as an engagement present. Then when I moved to Seattle, I started going to church rummage sales. One day I spotted a Hadley milk pitcher…price 10 cents! My collection was growing.

When we had friends for dinner, I made a chicken dish with a sauce and served it in my new-found Hadley creamer. I told the story of the Hadley brand as I served salad from the big Farmer & Wife salad bowl. Well, six months or more later, that friend texted me and said that she thought the pattern I was collecting was at a resale shop in the next town. She was out scouting for herself and found loads! I went that weekend, and someone must have donated a lifelong collection! It was a thrill. I bought a giant platter, a covered vegetable, a teapot, and a creamer & sugar. Happy days.  And bravo to Stacie for recognizing the pattern.

Okay, now this is where you will not believe it. I posted this photo below on Facebook, showing that I was finally framing some of my favorite garden photos in some new inexpensive IKEA frames. And I got a comment from my high school English teacher-turned-friend, Pam. “Does that bowl on your table mean you collect Hadley?” What? I was so taken with my project I did not even realize that the bowl snuck into the photograph. I emailed Pam privately and told her about my growing collection that had started back in my mom’s college days. Pam said that loved Hadley china and was so thrilled that I did too. She said that she has a large collection that she has had fun adding to over the last 40 years. She also wondered if I would l would like to take some of her pieces as my own. She was downsizing and was sure that her children would not want as many pieces as she had. Gulp. Oh my, yes. What an honor.

Look how much my collection grew with her generous gift! I now have 2 dinner plates so Dan and I can have dinner together. Her vinegar & oil decanters are perfect with my salad bowl. I now have covered soup bowls for French Onion soup or individual baked vegetable casseroles. I have a honey pot and syrup pitcher too. And some darling holiday mugs and luncheon plates for cocoa and cookies. I really cannot believe it. I feel like an honorary daughter and it makes me misty.

Pam and I have been friends since I was in high school (cough cough). We started off on the right foot because her husband, Tom, had been my Social Studies teacher when I was in Junior High! I loved his class so I remember talking to her about how I knew him. Then when I was her student in high school, in addition to teaching English and Creative Writing, Pam also ran the district's Gifted & Talented Program. 

Pam knew that I spent a lot of my free time doing counted cross stitch and she encouraged me to apply to the Board of the Gifted and Talented Program for high school credit in needlework. The ability for the board to approve/issue high school credit for extra curricular activities had been primarily focused on ballerinas and students in ROTC, when Pam thought to challenge that with another viable creative pastime. 

When I was accepted, we helped the Board figure out what amount of time doing cross stitch should quality for 1 hour of high school credit. If memory serves, I did 134 hours of cross-stitch in one semester of high school. It is staggering now that I think about it, but I accepted the challenge, and it was fun. It was my senior year, and I would often spend that “gifted and talented” time slot doing cross stitch and having tea in Pam’s room. Tea and needlework. I’ve been me for a long time. 

Thank you, Pam, for your generous gift. I promise to take good care of your Hadley and serve delicious meals on it forever and ever. My heart swells with my collection and feels like it may burst.

#hadley #hadleychina #collecting #housewares #collectingdishes #blueandwhite #bluedishes #friendship #storytelling #beautyofeverydaylife #gifts 



Saturday, February 13, 2021

Plants By Her: A Terrific Zoom Class About Houseplants

The only way that I have remained social during the winter months of the pandemic has been over Zoom. I am a sustainer in the Junior League of Seattle and right now their programming is virtual and available to me as a Sustainer. I l have loved volunteering with this organization since 1997 (Birmingham, MI and Seattle, WA) and am now grateful for the chance to learn and connect during these strange times.

The theme of this month's training and programming revolves around the idea of Resilience. This class was called, "Resiliency in Houseplants and Transplanting" hosted by Katlyn of Plants By Her, a Seattle-based business that "brings the benefits of plants into commercial and residential spaces through custom design services." 

I think this woman is fantastic. She was organized, passionate, a great communicator and very knowledgeable. Our instructions were to gather an easy to care for 4" houseplant, potting mix, orchid bark, horticultural charcoal and a 4-6" pot with a drainage hole. 

I planted a Futura Dracaena (Dracaena deremensis aka corn plant) in a pretty teal pot that I had in the garage. I think it will be very happy on a table on my first floor. I think you have to approach classes with a bit of levity. Of course any of us could Google the basic of houseplant care and limp our way through what we think are good practices in repotting, but where's the fun in that? I enjoyed this session because I had signed up for a bit of time centered on plants. I had fun getting ready for class and assembling what I needed. I looked forward to spending time learning how I could improve my care of houseplants. I thought about where I needed a plant in the house, what kind would do best in those conditions and generally about the joy I get from tending things. 

I'd like to encourage you to find an hour here and there where you can focus on the things you love. I dare you to write knit  (or read, bake, make) on your calendar and then sit down during that time and do it, just for you. Better yet, find a class where you can learn a new stitch and sign up. These days are ours and we need to make sure that we sprinkle in some fun ways to learn and grow.

Thank you, Katlyn! I really enjoyed your tips and tricks for creating a healthy potting mix, getting plants ready for our vacations and steps for re-potting success. And I promise to dust and rotate my new plant!

#plantsbyher #houseplants #jleargueseattle #beautyofeverydaylife #finddelight  

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Tea and Cookies

It is the middle of winter and whenever I'm not out running errands (= Starbucks latte), I find myself drinking tea at home every afternoon. And more often than not there has been a cute cookie on the saucer. For Valentine's Day, Trader Joe's is selling these raspberry shortbread hearts. They are small, festive and delicious.

This teacup is a pattern called Black Toast by Emma Bridgewater. Are you familiar with it? I love it. My mom has a collection too and we share pieces back and forth. Right now I have the teapot, creamer, sugar and 2 cup & saucers on display and ready for tea on a black cart in my family room. I get to see it every day and it is what prompted me to pick up this cup and try a new tea.

My friend Amanda introduced me to a new company called Sips By. It is a tea subscription service that sends customized tea choices to you each month. I received it from her as a gift and I really loved getting new teas to try each month. When you subscribe, you complete a survey about your tastes and preferences and that helps the company build your selections each month. I've really had fun with it and have received some beautiful loose leaf teas.

Are you a tea drinker? Do you have a favorite cup and saucer?

#sipsby #teaforone #beautyofeverydaylife #quiettime

Sunday, February 7, 2021

My Koko Loko Rose is Living Up to Her Name

And by loko I mean crazy for blooming in February! This is my Koko Loko rose with a fairly good size bloom on it on Feb 7th, 2021 on the eastside of Seattle. The weather has been wet and in the 40's. Can you believe it? I couldn't. I walked out on the sidewalk to go for a walk and when I looked back at the house, the color caught my eye. I know winter weather is coming, so I'll cut this to enjoy on the windowsill.

#rosegarden #winterschminter #beautyofeverydaylife 

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

12 days of Valentine's Day

Have you heard about the 12 Days of Valentine's Day? My version started years ago when I was in full Valentine's swing around our house (pink placemats, heart shaped brownies, mailing cards, pink sprinkles everywhere and he suddenly said, "What is this, the 12 Days of Valentine's Day?" And a celebration was born. You see, i am a firm believer in sharing love and happiness through easy and accessible gestures. Valentine's Day is the perfect time to acknowlege all of the love in your life. I also think we can agree that there is just not enough time to fit all that Valentine's Fun into one day. You can't possibly make heart-shaped pancakes, visit the school party, have a romantic dinner with a partner, celebrate with your galentines, practice some selfcare by treating yourself to a new scarf or face mask, bring heart donuts into work etc etc. There is a lot of fun to be had and we can spread a lot of unexpected joy if you do it in the name of the 12 Days of Valentine's Day. You can do anything on any day. And if someone notices your bright pink sweater, say "Thanks, it's Day 2 of the 12 Days of Valentine's Day." Or when you bring your daughter an orchid on a Wednesday, answer her surprise with "It's Day 8 of the 12 Days of Valentine's Day." She'll love it. Mail some letters. Bake some cupcakes to give away. Whatever makes you happy and fits into your schedule, that should be the plan. I promise it will brighten your month. Let me know what you do and how it is received, ok? P.S. On Day 1, I bought a variety of 6 beautiful donuts (some Valentine theme) and a latte at our local Krispy Kreme to bring home. I then pulled into the Home Depot parking lot next door and ate 2 in my car. That somehow qualifies as self-care, right? #12daysofvalentinesday #selfcare #valentinesday #beautyofeverydaylife #seattleblogger

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Bake Club: My First Foray into Desserts with Christina Tosi of Milk Bar

Yesterday I made homemade Peanut Butter Cups live on Instagram with Christina Tosi of Milk Bar fame. I mean, when I realized this was possible, how could I not?

As a Midwesterner, I'd only heard of David Chang's restaurant Momofuku and read about the wild success of the the in-house desserts created by Christina Tosi at Milk Bar, where she creates very American, very cereal-sugar-snackfood inspired desserts. When I heard about her bottled Cereal Milk, I knew she was a genius. You'll have to read more about her and get inspired too. It's great fun.

Anyhoo, we're 11 months into the pandemic. This summer, I realized I could follow David Chang on Instagram (his baby son, Hugo is so sweet!) and that got me thinking about his business and it led me to "check out" the Milk Bar cookbook on my Libby app (to check out and read library books). I still need to read his book, Eat a Peach. I read the whole Milk Bar cookbook cover to cover, looked her up on Istagram and suddenly I saw that she was hosting a free WEEKLY cooking class called Bake Club to get us all through the Mondays of the pandemic. I am so late to the party! 

All are invited to subscribe to her Sunday night emails, which includes a list of the ingredients needed for Monday's recipe. She also posts an image of the ingredients on her Instagram on Sunday night to remind you to start planning/shopping. The week I found her it was MLK Day and she encouraged everyone to make paper snowflakes and relax into Inauguaration Week. When I subscribed to her email, I noticed that she has ALL of the prior recipes posted on her website and you can watch the Bake Club episodes you missed on her Instagram.

I decided my Peanut Butter Cups would deviate from the traditional with Guittard dark chocolate chips and chunky JIF peanut butter in the base. I made them in mini muffin tins. They are everything. I'm toying with making simple chocolate wafer cookies and piping the extra PB filling in between them like Oreos. For a review of these chocolates, Dan said that he "can't go back" to the store bought ones and has eaten 4 of the 8 I made since yesterday. 

I think this is incredibly generous of Christine Tosi to share her recipes. To teach online for free. To try and uplift us all with her skills. I am am thankful that she's as cool as I thought she was. Thanks for bringing delight, Christina! I'll be joining when I can.

#bakeclub #christinatosi #finddelight #beautyofeverydaylife #chocolate

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Exploring Seattle Parks: Get Some Fresh Air

A sunny Saturday in Seattle is a gift, especially in January. We've all been indoors so much lately, it felt imperative that we get out and take a walk. I told Dan that I really wanted to be near the water, so he looked on a map and chose Lincoln Park, not far from Alki Beach in West Seattle, for our afternoon jaunt. 
The approach to the water level walking paths is a very long steep walkway. I stopped halfway down to take this photo because the steep slope, trees, and vista felt like we were in Europe. I bet it is gorgeous in the spring when eveerything is verdent green and these trees are blooming. We must come back in March.

This park is near the Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal. As we approached, I told Dan that I'd been to this little area before...this was where I took the ferry home from Vashon Island when I went to Camp Thundercraft! That little tidbit reminded me of the glory days when I first arrived in Seattle and was bounding all over the city exploring.

After a nice walk, we made our way back to some benches and sat and watched the water. It was clear and cold and just what I needed to feel like I'd blown the fog out of my brain a little bit. I could actually feel the warm of the sun on my face. Please make sure you are getting some fresh air, even if it is just opening a window for a while. 

#walkandtalk #seattleblogger #seattleparks #beautyofeverydaylife #lincolnpark

Monday, December 28, 2020

Vintage Inspired Holiday Tablescape: Delight in Red & White

This is the darling tablescape my mom and I came up with to enjoy the quiet days after Christmas. She came to stay with us from Christmas to New Years, and one of the things we enjoy is chosing the dishes/tablecloth/placemats/centerpiece every few nights.

My mom brought Hester & Cook placemats with her because that's how she packs (clothes, shoes, placemats) and they were the perfect complement to my vintage Santa and reindeer. After we had set the table with her mother's Spode Jewel china, my mom noticed my antique paper house on the other side of the room and knew it would round out the presentation. 

I'll show you the vintage paper house a little bigger in this photo. It is the wonder of a pop-up. When you fold the two halves together, it collapses completely flat the size of a 12" record. I saw it and bought it on the spot. This is exactly the kind of thing I am looking for when I am antiquing. Have you ever seen anything like it?

Isn't it cute? It was just the three of us having split pea soup, but we had fun making it look special. We didn't have the big family dinners in Michigan that we love, but it was Christmastime during Covid and at least the three of us could be together.

#christmastime #antiques #christmastable #holidaytablescape #redandwhite

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Little Mince Pies at Christmas

I made these darling individual mince pies as part of my Christmas baking this year. I got the idea to buy a jar of Cross and Blackwell mincemeat and enhanced it with fresh chopped apple and orange from Paul Hollywood of the Great British Bake Off. The BBC has posted his recipe here.

This bake was also influenced by another famous British personality, Nigella Lawson. She cuts her pastry into stars to top her holiday mince pies, so I knew I had to too. Before I slid them in the oven, I brushed them with an egg wash and sprinkled them with white sanding sugar. It gave the crust a delicious sweet crunch.

Can you see the little slips of parchment paper? I learned this tip by watching the Great British Baking Show. Individual desserts can stick in metal tins that are small and deep. If you crisscross strips of parchment paper in each tin before you fit the crust in, the strips will remain and provide a handle to lift the baked pastry out of the hot tin. It worked like a charm.

They didn't take long to bake and when they were ready, the three of us ate warm mince pies and watched an episode of the British series, Last Tango in Halifax on Netflix. When Dan started in on his second pie he said, "You have to make these every year now." Success!

#christmasdessert #englishsweets #christmas #britishinfluence #britishchristmas #mincemeat #christmasdinner #baking

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

My Best Thanksgiving Recipes Suggestions

Hello-hello! I've miss writing here so much. A few days ago I was chatting with someone about Thanksgiving and they asked me for some help with ideas for Thanksgiving. When I started rattling off ideas for a boozy cranberry mold, striped mashed potatoes and make-ahead gravy she seemed almost afraid to ask if I had all this posted in my blog yet. "This is what we need, Anne. I mean, could you do a quick post for us?" Absolutely. And I'm sorry that I've been in a fog so long.

Here is a list of the recipes I am going to share. Below you will find a photo of my version, a short description and a link to the website where they originated. If it is my own recipe, I'll send you to that blog post.

  • Slab Pecan Pie
  • Turkey 101
  • Make Ahead Gravy
  • Cornbread Turkey
  • Boozy Cranberry Mold
  • Turkey Shaped Butter
  • Striped Mashed Potatoes

I found that a terrific option for Thanksgiving is to make a pecan pie as slab pie. The pieces are thinner and more manageable and complement a piece of pumpkin pie perfectly. More people can be served and it just works out well. I may never make a traditional shaped pecan pie again. Here's a link to Trisha Yearwood's slab pecan pie (I would leave out the lemon.)

Turkey 101 - Martha Stewart has been my turkey guru since about 1995 when my In Laws were flying up from Texas and I was in charge of Thanksgiving dinner. I followed the instructions in my Martha Stewart Living magazine called Turkey 101 (key feature is to drape the bird with cheesecloth and baste with wine & butter) and the turkey was moist and flavorful. I have never waivered in my preparation and it works perfectly every time. Thanks, Martha.

Make Ahead Turkey Gravy by Ina Garten - This recipe has helped to take some of the stress out of our most important food holiday. Will there be enough drippings for the gravy is no longer a thought that crosses my mind every hour. By Thanksgiving day, the gravy is already made and in the refrigerator, ready to reheat when I need it. It is wonderful and I saves me from going to a certain fancy kitchen store to buy a jar of gravy. Which is fun if it's in the budget, but I don't need another errand right now. Thank you, Ina.

Who wouldn't love a cornbread turkey? Click for details and join me in making a ridiculous item for your sideboard.

After finding the recipe last year in Midwest Living magazine, I think I will forever make this Boozy Cranberry Mold. It is wonderful with the other classic flavors of Thanksgiving and the port wine adds the perfect festive note. I decorated some whole fresh cranberries with sanding sugar to add some snow-like sparkle. The lilac serving spoon is one that I love; it's an item from Sabre.

I like to have a Turkey Butter on the buffet. It used to be easier to find one in the refrigerated section of a nice grocery store, but I've had trouble lately. I bought myself a beautiful mold for chocolate and have started making my own. I mean, right?

I know that you friends and family will love these Striped Mashed Potatoes. I make them all the time and it is the only time this giant dish gets scraped clean. Even if your Thanksgiving is very small this year, this potato dish will work double duty as leftovers. Guaranteed to be as satisfying the second day.

I hope this post has served as a welcome resource for you. Happy Thanksgiving from the bottom of my heart.

#thanksgivingrecipes #beautyofeverydaylife #seattleblogger #recipes #thanksgiving2020 #turkey101 #finddelight

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Sweet Peas in a Container Garden

This is my tuteur, exploding will Sweet Pea vines planted in a single pot on my deck. I strategically placed it near my kitchen window so I can be washing dishes and enjoying this. Even the hummingbirds can't believe it. Did you realize that you can grow Sweet Peas this way? Get to it! 

This year I planted 2 kinds of seeds, Renee's Garden "Spencer Ruffled" and Botanical Interests "Perfume Delight." They grew together and it was wonderful. Sometimes I would cut only the lavender and pink blooms for arrangements like this (below). You know how I am with unusual vases and the ability to gift someone some visual vitamins. I gave this arrangement to a friend back in July and she swooned upon receipt.

#sweetpeas #beautyofeverydaylife #gardenofdelight#flowerpower #visualvitamins bouquetaday #floralglory

Friday, July 17, 2020

My Basket Purse with Madras Plaid Patchwork Lining

All dressed up and no where to go! My creative juices are flowing and the fact that we can't really go out to eat or do anything doesn't seem to matter. I came up with a way to enhance this purse and I had to try it.

It was my first attempt at a drawstring closure (I used this great striped ribbon) and it worked out really well. I attached the edges of the madras plaid patchwork fabric to the top of the basket with FabricTac and I was on my way.

I love it! What do you think? I carried it to the car one day and my neighbor saw it and ordered one on the spot. I had to break it to her that I wasn't going to sell these, but I was really pleased that she instantly loved it. If you want to see what I can do, I do have my one-of-a-kind cigar box purses and Delight magazine bags available on Etsy

#makersgottamake #summerpurse #preppystyle #madrasplaid #summerstyle #basketpurse #basket #sewing #crafter #quarantine2020 

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

My Family Made A Birdhouse from a Gourd

I'd like to start this post by saying that my husband, Dan is a wonderful guy. He is the sole reason that the birdhouse you are admiring exists and he quietly worked on it with my mom until the day they decided it was ready to hang and they needed me for cord. I was in the background every step of the way, but I didn't really realize that it would work until it worked. Isn't it beautiful? 

My mom has loved birdhouse gourds forever and has collected a few over the years that were professionally dried, carved by an artist and made into a birdhouse or art. This last summer when the 3 of us were at the farmer's market, she chose 2 fresh birdhouse gourds and talked up the project of drying them to make a birdhouse.

Dan listened to her as she talked to her about drilling holes in the bottom, where it should be stored, how to prevent mold. I was on to the next booth of flowers. Dan carried the gourds.

Then over the next few months, the 2 of them worked on this project a few minutes here and there. They kept the gourds on top of my mom's refrigerator and Dan shook and scooped the seeds out periodically as it dried. He used a dremel to expand the hole and made a perch out of a twig crammed in a hole. It looked great! I bought a variety of cording with me and luckily it matched the tone of the dried gourd beautifully, because that it the kind of thing my mom and I love. So, Voila! 

We hung it on her patio and it is ready for occupancy. I found an article on growing and making gourd birdhouses to share for some great advice if this has inspired you.    

#birdhouse #gourds #birdhousegourds #farmersmarket

Monday, March 2, 2020

Master Gardener Plant Sale at UW Center for Urban Horticulture

Look what I got! Omphalodes cappadocica "Starry Eyes", a St. Ola Geranium, and a Geranium "Rose Madder"- I planted them in my front garden where I can tend them. You can also see that I got a stevia to try near my herbs on my deck.
Last spring I had a wonderful afternoon shopping the Master Gardener Plant Sale with my new friend Erica (you saw us judging the Northwest Flower & Garden Show together). This year the sale will likely be postponed due to Social Distancing Requirements. Stay tuned to this website for 2020 information. I still want to tell you about this great event and encourage you to put it on your "Future Fun" list.
The sale has an extensive plant selection and is a terrific place to buy plants because there are Master Gardeners on site to counsel shoppers and make recommendations. 
"You are sure to find a huge selection of plants: many varieties of veggie starts, herbs and tomatoes, perennials and grasses, and natives and ornamental shrubs and trees...Master Gardeners have been propagating and potting plants since last fall to ensure that you have a huge selection of perennials, fuchsias, unusual heirloom perennials included, along with ornamental plants including trees and shrubs, and natives." - Master Gardener Foundation of King County website

I want to share a terrific resource I found on the Master Gardener website - a link to a pronunciation guide at Fine Gardening magazine. It is fantastic. I made Erica laugh the other day when we were looking at a garden and I called said a plant looked like was "Needum more coloris," implying it was a choice the landscape designer made to enhance an overly green area of the garden. I do not know the Latin names of plants and I think that is okay. However, I do think this pronunciation resource is very helpful to anyone that is interested in gardening and I thank them for posting it. 

Erica was very interested in buying rare tomato starts at this sale and I enjoyed hearing her speak with Master Gardener Marcia Dillon about particular tomato qualities, flavor and performance. Passion and enthusiasm are wonderful qualities and I love when I meet someone and hear their voice soar. When you are the third wheel in a conversation and you find yourself wondering if you have enough sun for tomatoes, you know you've found yourself an expert.

That is the beauty of gardening and gardeners. Come rub elbows with some fantastic Master Gardeners at the annual plant sale outside the University of Washington Center for Urban Horticulture. I know you will start to look forward to it, just like I am.

#gardener #lovemygarden #gardensofinstagram #plantsale #plantsofinstagram #mastergardener #seattlegardens #seattleblogger #plantlove #beautyofeverydaylife #everydaylife #getoutside #plantsale