Friday, September 28, 2007

Cinderella's Coach

There are so many spectacular varieties of pumpkins & squash at the farm stands right now, I thought that this Pumpkin ID chart would be fun to include. I really like "Cinderella" named for its magical coach quality. And have you seen the new battery operated votives? They are perfect for lighting your jack-o-lantern safely. And for the holidays...Battery operated votives work just as well in paper bag luminaries. Right now mine are flickering inside 3 mercury glass votives - beautiful.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Last Roses of Summer

It has been a wonderful Summer. I am trying to squeak out the last few bouquets, nosegays really, from the garden. An old salt jar holding one rose, one snapdragon, one sprig of ginger mint & one tuft of blue verbena. My husband says that I always love the "next" season best. True, I am planning for college football games & cider mill trips. But I will really miss my roses...

Monday, September 24, 2007

Artists Everywhere

Saturday afternoon on a little dirt road, I found a farm stand gallery. Each pumpkin was displayed just so.  There were dried herb bouquets pinned up like a garland.  Even the walls of the stand were lined with burlap to set off the colors in each little vignette. The owner of this stand is truely an artist - making her little corner beautiful - letting each passer-by see the world as she does.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Darling Dishcloths

Want to turn something simple into something lovely? Trim it! Look how white eyelet, little pom poms and cotton lace can elevate a plain white dishcloth into something you want out on the kitchen counter. I plan to use and wash them with abandon. Then when they start to look "tired," I'll use them as rags, but for now...Oh, Honey!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Yummy Greek Chicken

What sounds good? Greek chicken on the grill. Simply marinate bnls skls chicken breasts in Kraft Greek Vinaigrette salad dressing for 1 hour and then grill. 

For a delicious low fat dipping sauce, mix 1/4 c. fresh mint (chopped), 1 cucumber (finely diced) and 2 c. nonfat plain yogurt.

It has a fresh clean taste that cools the zesty grilled chicken - it is wonderful on the side, trust me!

Ahhh...dinner on the deck.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Flower Power

I wanted to give my friend a stack of super cute Martha Stewart dishtowels from Kmart as part of her bridal shower gift. Big bright cotton check towels with rick-rack trim - totally adorable. 

 But they looked like a stack of dishtowels, not a glorious topper to her gift ...until I shaped them into a rose! I like to make people say "Ohhhhh....."

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Wide Open Spaces

Sometimes we all need to escape into a book. I'd like to point you to a website called Reading Group Guides. It has an extensive list of book summaries and discussion questions that are great for book clubs. I refer to this site all the time. 

I am about to start The Many Lives & Secret Sorrows of Josephine B. by Sandra Gulland - I have had so many people recommend it that I finally give in! If only I could sit on a blanket here and peaceful! Everyone needs a wide open space now and then.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Dreaming of Paris

Mark my words. Someday I will take a cooking class from Patricia Wells. She hosts a week long class in the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Près on the Left Bank. 

The class is described as a movable feast and includes shopping the Paris markets for fresh produce, cheese, bread etc.

Patricia Wells wrote the Food Lover's Guide to Paris, 4th edition - a necessary travel tool with an unrivaled French/English food glossary, a wide range of restaurant options, and a way to approach & appreciate French cuisine. 

In honor of my dream of cooking in Paris, I am posting a photograph of a cheese shop that I took one Easter morning while I was there. We were walking to church very early and saw this shopkeeper lovingly arranging his selection. The glass gleamed.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Vegetable Soup

All this plus green beans, wax beans, and corn. Yum! It is 39 degrees this morning, with bright blue skies. A perfect day to have a pot of soup on the stove. 

I think I am going to make mini corn muffins (Jiffy, naturally) to go with. This afternoon I am planning to stroll around downtown at Art in the Park.

 What a great weekend for Fall activities. Soon, a trip to the cider mill, but we have to wait a bit. Right now, I think it is more like apple juice. In this life, timing is everything.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Palest of Pumpkins

I love these gorgeous pumpkins! My parents bought me a perfect white pumpkin for my living room - thank you! 

They are hard to find around here and I always need one. I will show you so, but for now look at these yummy apricot ones! 

I took this photo at a sheep & wool festival in Romeo last year. This display belongs in a magazine. Hmmm...maybe I'll make it into a DELIGHT cover.

Enjoy the day.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Birch bark Pretzels

I play Euchre every month with friends from the Junior League. We are all "Sustainer" status now, which means that we have actively volunteered for 7 + years (for me, it has been 11!). I have learned a lot from these women about leadership, commitment and managing a volunteer organization. Last night was just for fun and I brought Birch Bark pretzel rods. They were a hit...timber! To make them, Melt 1 bag of white chocolate morsels in the microwave for 30 secs (repeat as necc.) stir until smooth (careful not to burn it), dip 2/3 of each rod in and then allow to harden on a waxed paper lined cookie sheet. Once you have dipped 10-12 rods, melt 1/4 cup of semi-sweet chips for 30 sec in another container. Then dip a fork into the melted chocolate and make drizzles back and forth across the white. The result looks a lot like birch bark and tastes delicious. Allow to harden for a few minutes in the fridge and then serve in a stack like logs. Yum!

Susan Branch: This View Looks Like an Illustration

I have enjoyed the work of cookbook author and illustrator, Susan Branch for a matter of fact, I just bought her book, Autumn from the Heart of the Home, as a gift for a dear friend. 

Then yesterday in my mailbox was the latest Country Living magazine with a big article on Susan Branch!

Click above to see the article online, but be sure to get yourself this issue. It really feels like Autumn in print.

This photo?  I took it on a beautiful afternoon after having lunch outside on Old Mission Peninsula near Traverse City.   The view looks like one of Susan Branch's illustrations, don't you think?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Saturday Morning Trip to the Farmer's Market

It is going to be a beautiful weekend...get thee to the Farmers Market! 

Start thinking about a wonderful vegetable soup you can make on Sunday afternoon and then feast on all next week.

I have my big white Chantal stockpot out on my stovetop and I am going to make and serve this soup with crusty french bread on Sunday night. Join me?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


I have a tip for you...a little gem of a website that can help you with your crafting adventures. The website is You simply select the 2 surfaces that you want to attach and it recommends the best glue for the job. Glass to Fabric, Wood to Metal, Paper to Plastic - what a resource!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Martha Show debut

Today marks the season premiere of the MARTHA show in NYC. 

I was in the audience for premiere week last fall (wonderful!) and the craft segment featured a no-sew suede wrap skirt from Blueprint magazine (You can see it on the mannequin).  We had terrific seats and I was so happy to have a bird's eye view of my favorite show. 

You should check out the Sept/Oct Blueprint magazine article "100 Reasons to Learn Something" - it is organized like a periodic table and it loaded with ways to expand your brain.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Friends & Pastries

Have you met a friend for coffee & a pastry lately? Get out your calendar, call her and make it happen. Then put a sticker on the day to denote the upcoming fun. I load my calender with stickers for everything from book club to the farmers market. It makes the paper month look so much prettier and lets the special occasions "pop." Organizing your life is so more than just writing things down.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Apricot Beauty

I mentioned earlier that I would showcase some of my favorite tulip varieties. 

This is Apricot Beauty...with a bloom so large it resembles a wine goblet from Pottery Barn. 

This link to Wayside Gardens goes directly to this variety. Or you can visit your local garden store. Don't forget a bag of bulb booster and some hot pepper flakes (to discourage the squirrels).

Little Pieces of Art

I like to display pretty flower arrangements around the house to add interest, color and beauty. They don't last long, but they are like little pieces of art. Every time I see them, I am happy. This arrangement is on a plate rack near my grandmother's china. The "vase" is a jam jar that I painted with Folk Art Enamels by Plaid. A Q-tip makes a perfect dot and after baking in the oven on low heat (follow package directions), the paint is permanent. There are tons of colors to choose from - all available at Michael's.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Sand, Sea, Sky

When I was about 11-years-old, I took my first picture. It was before digital cameras, when photos were precious. 

My lesson was for the "photography" badge for my Girl Scout troop and my Mom was the teacher. My friends and I had so much fun on that snowy day. We tromped through the yard taking pictures of snow banks, birds and each other. We capped off the meeting with cocoa and a discussion about photography. 

 One of the best lessons I learned was about imagining your frame in 3 zones - top, middle & bottom. Keeping a balance among the three makes the picture more interesting and helps you to keep the horizon true. This photo is an extreme example of that...and I love it!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


A sweet and romantic flower, Forget-Me-Nots are a symbol of remembrance. 

My everyday dishes are called Forget-Me-Not and were designed by Dena Fishbein for Nikko. Although this pattern was discontinued in 2000, I was happy to be able to replace a few key pieces at the online china source called Replacements, an amazing resource for discontinued china, crystal and silver patterns.

If grandmother's china set has teacups, but no saucers, there is still hope at Replacements. You can
even request a pattern and they will notify you if they find it.

Organza scarf

I just returned from my 3rd Huskylock 936 serger class and I think the striped organza scarf that I want to make is finally within reach. It is pictured on the cover of Threads magazine (June/July 2005 - I wish I could link and show you) and I imagine making it in shades of taupe, black and gray.  It is a scarf built with sheer panels of different colors of organza - yum!

Do you have projects that you are dreaming about? Keep a list...I think that knowing what you want to make is part of leading an optimistic life...even if it takes you 2 years to try it!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Hydroponic Gardens

Do you know anything about hydroponic gardens? The first time I saw one was at Walt Disney's Epcot center and I was facinated with the giant plants growing and producing vegetables in mid-air. 

I visited TLC Tomatoes in Suttons Bay this summer and bought crunchy bibb lettuce and perfect tomatoes. Hydroponic gardening is very tidy because the plants are grown without soil in a controlled water/fertilizer/humidity mix.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Presentation is Everything

A shop window in Paris celebrating the "fruits of the sea". 

Look closely at the white platter on the right...the flower, leaves & border design are arranged from sliced red peppers, cucumbers and bay leaves to look like hand-painted china! 

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Planting Tulips for Spring

I know that back-to-school is a really busy time for everyone, but don't forget the tulips

 They must be planted now so that you can enjoy them next Spring. You can shop online or go to the garden center to find a variety that is right for your landscaping plan.

This is one of my favorites called "Angelique." I have other varieties that I love and I will post those in the upcoming days.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Arts, Beats and Eats

This Labor Day weekend, Chrysler hosts the 10th Annual Arts, Beats and Eats in the city of Pontiac with over 100 artists, 50+ food vendors and festival stages hosting live music all over the city. It is a beautiful day to be outside -an event planner's dream.

Attending was the perfect way to kickoff a fun-filled September. My favorite thing?  Sweet Potato ice cream from Sweet Potato Sensations in Detroit. An ice cream that is both sweet and savory - absolutely delicious.