Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Georgetown Jaunt

We were able to carve out a little "girl time" on our trip and shop Georgetown one afternoon. I kept making gasping sounds from the passenger seat as we drove along looking for a parking spot. Each little house was cuter than the last and I wanted to stop and photograph them all.

I think this street view sums up the look of the area. Candy-colored houses that look like the childhood home of an American Girl doll.

Our yummy lunch destination was The Tombs - a local spot near Georgetown University. We ate big tomato, turkey & avocado sandwiches and welcomed the chance to sit and visit for a while. Every family reunion needs a day just for "the girls."

Monday, June 29, 2009

Washington, D.C.

How lucky were we?

The 4 days of rain showers never materialized and it was sun, sun, sun for our family reunion in Washington, DC.

We spent 4 glorious days visiting museums, eating out and most importantly...talking!

    When you plan your next family reunion, take theses factors into account.

You need a place that is easy to travel to, offers a variety of attractions and is centrally located.

    I must say, Washington, D.C. is a wonderful place to convene. Okay, now, start planning!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Tisket A Tasket

This picnic basket is very important to me. It literally reminds me of when I discovered that I could "make" things.

I had always done needlework, light sewing, painting etc. But about 15 years ago, when I my Mom offered me some beautiful yellow floral "plasticized" fabric, I really wanted to put it to good use.

How I "leaped" to a reversible picnic blanket, I'll never know. But I remember taking the yellow print to the fabric store to find a coordinating print. I found a cute pink & blue stripe and sewed the 2 together to make a picnic blanket. Then I bought an inexpensive picnic basket, some batting and a glue gun and started "lining" the picnic basket. It was so cute, I surprised myself. I even made a padded "arm rest" to make it easier to carry the basket on a picnic.

Every year since then, we have packed a picnic dinner in this basket and gone to an outdoor concert of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Tonight is the night and I
simply can't wait.

A tisket, a tasket, I love my picnic basket.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Pinks and Yellows

I am finding myself drawn to pinks and yellows lately.
  • Pink & yellow roses arranged with yellow lantana
  • Lemon sorbet and rosewater shortbread
  • Pale pink monograms on light yellow totes

I have even been thinking about the Sweet Corn ice cream (with raspberry swirl) that I had at Jeni's in Columbus last year. Have you been drawn to any color combinations lately?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Cotton + Glass + Paper

Who wouldn't be thrilled to find their place at this beautiful table? I attended an outdoor luncheon at a lavender farm last year and each place setting was simply gorgeous.

I wanted you to see how some simple, inexpensive and sturdy elements can make a fantastic show. At your next Summer party, enhance a card (or folding) table with a few yards of beautiful cotton fabric, glass plates, paper napkins and a sprig of lavender. Get thee to the fabric store and make a few yards of quilting fabric part of your next tablescape.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Bon Voyage

I kept getting texts from my best friend one Friday afternoon.
"Have u left yet?"
"Need to see u"
"Almost there"

She knew that I was heading up north for the weekend and she wanted to give me these before I left.

I love Lily of the Valley and adore how they grow wild in her backyard. She finally pulled into the driveway and jumped out of the car with this gorgeous bouquet (with the stems in a baggie wrapped with wet paper towel) all ready for our long car ride.

I can't think of a nicer way to say "Bon Voyage."

Thank you, Kim!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Good Ship Lollipop

Oh, to be a girl with a giant lollipop. I saw this display and stopped in my tracks. Who could resist one of these?

I bet buying one would be like when a guy walks down the street with a bouquet of flowers - everyone gives an approving glance. I think a big lollipop would have the same effect.

My favorite is the pink & green "preppy" one on the bottom right. Love it!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Heritage Rose

Each type of rose opens and displays petals a little differently. This gorgeous pink rose (front & center) is a David Austin English rose called "Heritage."

I picked it from the rose garden and created this arrangement when the bud was just beginning to open. You can see that it is sandwiched between two peonies and as it started to relax into bloom, the peonies held their ground and limited the space available. The result is this amazing circular bloom.

In the garden, wonders never cease.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Rain gear

When I heard that all 4 days of my trip to Washington, D.C. had thunderstorms in the forecast, I did what any taxed crafter would do. I made myself a waterproof purse!

I simply love oilcloth and always keep a stash on hand to make cute things in the Summertime. Since it is waterproof, it should be the perfect purse for me as I dash about the city. I designed it to be a styled like a Bermuda bag, but shaped like a classic cigar box purse. Yes, that's the matching wallet with a strawberry flap.

When life gives you rain showers...make rain gear!

Friday, June 19, 2009


I think one thing that makes me love housewares so much is that they are timeless. Unlike shoes or clothes, a beautiful dish never goes out of style.

A dear friend gave me this beautiful MacKenzie-Childs dish as a house-warming present twelve (!) years ago and here it is today looking as cute as ever holding our first "crop" of strawberries.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Perfect Plans Are No Plans At All

In January/February/March, I always make grand plans in my mind for "Summer." New restaurants I want to try, adventures to have out on the peninsula etc.

But in the end, on a perfect July night like this, I never want to go anywhere. Watching the sun go down with a cup of coffee is what I "want to do" every time.

This photo was taken at 7:26 pm. The sun was still warm, the water was perfectly calm and I just wanted to sit and talk over the day.

As you are organizing your Summer, remember that sometimes the perfect plan is no plan at all.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Epitome of Delight

Today we are going to take a moment to reflect on the magnificent
"Raspberry Sundae" peony.

The giant cream petals represent a scoop of vanilla ice cream, while the pink petals are the sauce on top, as well as some pooling in the saucer below. Have you ever heard of anything so cool?

This variety is the epitome of what I try to blog about: things that are both beautiful and interesting.

In this photograph, you can also see that I converted a Lorina sparkling lemonade bottle into a candle (!) using a ceramic bottle candle with wick. So pretty and romantic. It is my kind of repurposing.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Mango & Mint Appetizer

I know what I want in a Summer appetizer recipe. I want something:
  • that tastes delicious
  • that looks beautiful
  • that is easy to make
  • that no one has ever tried before
I created these appetizer skewers for a "Cuban theme" party a few years ago and they were devoured on the spot! I have relied on them for "parties on the deck" ever since. Trust me, the flavors are delicious together.
Mango & Mint skewers

1 jar (24 oz) of Del Monte mango
1 container of fresh mozzarella balls
1 package (8 oz) hard salami
fresh mint leaves
wooden skewers

Cut each mango section into chunks.
Cut each mozzarella ball in half.
Cut 2 long strips of salami (about an inch wide) from each slice.
Wash mint leaves.

Thread one end of salami strip onto skewer, then thread on mango, mozzarella, one mint leaf and then finish by threading on the other end of salami strip. Chill until serving.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Iris Farm

When I mentioned that I had gone to the iris farm someone asked me, "What exactly does that mean?"

The idea of wandering through rows of blooming iris does seem a bit like a fairy tale, doesn't it? Now add in an old barn, perfect weather and a basket overflowing with flowers and it was as if the pages of Mother Goose had been brought to life.

Guests pick up a basket and scissors at the little "iris shop" inside a smaller barn and then are free to wander the farm cutting stalks for a magnificent arrangement. When you are finished, you pay by the stalk and return the supplies. (Tip: Bring a bucket of water in your car to help get these beauties home safely.)

What could me more fun on a perfect June day?

This farm is also where I took the all-white barnyard photograph that I love so much. Love it!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Cutting Garden

This week my friend, Phyllis (mother of the Garden Club Girls) invited me to a "School's Out for the Summer" lunch at a her house.

The picnic fare was all taken care of, so I needed to think of something I could bring that would enhance the party. It didn't take me long to realize that a bouquet of flowers for the table would be a welcome addition.

I went outside, picked
peonies, gerbera daisies, dahlias, zinnias and roses, and then arranged them in a pink Maxwell House coffee can (with a glass jar of water inside).

It looked lovely and resulted in a discussion about "Cutting Gardens." Most landscape plans are based on the exterior look (and maintenance requirements) of a house.

I think your landscaping should also include a plan for flower arranging. What you grow outside = bouquets for the inside. Hence a cutting garden. Simply plant flowers that bloom repeatedly (in colors you love) so that you can make flower arrangements at a moments notice. A garden of delight.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Lemon Pear ice cream

I'm not sure what you thought you were doing this weekend, but I think you should make this ice cream instead. Seriously. It is that good.

Lemon Pear Ice Cream
1 can (29 oz) of pear halves
1 cup pear juice (from can)

1 small (5 oz) 2% fat plain Greek yogurt
1 cup whipping cream
1 box (3.4 oz) of lemon Jell-o gelatin
1/2 box (3.4 oz) instant lemon Jell-o pudding

Open can of pear halves and drain 1 cup of pear juice into a measuring cup. In a food processor, pulse the drained pears to a fine slush. In a large bowl, whisk or beat together the yogurt, whipping cream, lemon jello, lemon pudding, pear juice and pear slush. Pour into an ice cream maker and process until it is the consistency of soft-serve ice cream. Serve immediately with a garnish of fresh mint.

For hard ice cream (shown above), you can spoon the ice cream into an airtight container and freeze. Although, when frozen solid, the ice cream is so cold that the complex flavor profile is harder to detect. I find that the soft-serve consistency allows the subtle flavor to come through.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Mobile Travel Guide

What is the perfect lunch? A cup of beet soup (pink!) and homemade cherry chicken salad. The funny thing about this photo was that it suddenly turned me into a mobile "travel guide."

We had this darling lunch at Martha's Leelanau Table and then, while shopping a few doors down, we ran into an old friend. As we were chatting, I mentioned that we'd had the perfect "girl" lunch in town and I pulled out my camera to show her. The next thing I know I am scrolling through lunch photos and explaining the combinations available. Then other shoppers started listening. Too funny.

(National buzz: I just heard that in Esquire magazine's Spring 2009 "Big Black Book" issue, Mario Batali singles out Martha's Leelanau Table for its "simple Alice Waters sensibility." How wonderful!)

Frommer's here I come!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Marsh Marigolds

We hit the jackpot! My Mom and I went driving around "up north" looking for marsh marigolds in bloom and look what we found!

Thirty years ago, my Mom took some gorgeous marsh marigold photos (great composition of flowers, water, log) in this area, so our mission was to find the same stream and try again.

We had so much fun leaning "way out" off of a low bridge to frame this photo just right.

These marsh marigolds were crowding the banks of the river and left a golden trail way up into the woods behind. Gorgeous!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Gift from Mackinac Island

The doorbell rang yesterday and it was the Garden Club Girls bringing me a present! Their Girl Scout troop went to Mackinac Island for the weekend (jealous!) and I had told them all kinds of "things to think about" while they were there.

#1 They would be visiting Mackinac Island during the Lilac Festival - I reminded them that "we" have lilacs on the side of the house.
#2 The most romantic movie ever made (Somewhere in Time) was filmed at The Grand Hotel - since they were scheduled to have lunch there I wanted them to really look around this famous hotel - we're already planning a family movie night to watch Somewhere in Time this summer.
#3 The view from "The Cupola Bar" at the tip-top of the Grand Hotel is breathtaking. I told them to try and take a picture from up there if possible.

So....the girls came and told me all about their adventures. The trip was a big success - they took a horse-drawn carriage tour around the island, saw lilacs in bloom and made it to the Cupula Bar to take panoramic pictures.

My favorite quote was:
"Mrs. Reeves, there was so much stuff you would've liked, it was crazy."

The girls brought me this beautiful bar of handmade lilac soap. We decided that we had to try it out, so we stood in the first floor powder room 3-across washing our hands with sudsy lilac bubbles. Thank you girls!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Seasonal Eating

When I say that I love fresh asparagus, I'm not kidding. And for a shopping experience like this, I go right to the source -
a self-serve stand at Norconk Farm near Empire, Michigan.

With my bounty I will make asparagus soup (my super-easy recipe is here), roasted asparagus (with olive oil and sea salt) and even a healthy breakfast frittata (asparagus sauteed with grape tomatoes, spring onions and mushrooms).
This is seasonal eating at its finest. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Detroit Eastern Market

"Oh, what a beautiful morning..." How I love this time of year! This morning my good friend, Barb and I went on our annual pilgrimage to Detroit's Eastern Market (the largest historic public market district in the United States) to shop from the best-of-the-best local produce. The sun was shining, the sky was blue and we strolled the market stalls for hours admiring everything from bunches of asparagus to pots of herbs.

What did I buy? An armful of rhubarb, spring onions, new potatoes and some gorgeous flowering kale. Am I making you long for fresh fruit and vegetables? You can locate your local farmers' market here.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Place & Thing

How can you make your desk seem a little more yours? Create a simple paperweight that really says something about you.

You know that I love people, but this time I am suggesting that you highlight a place & thing. In my case, I chose a map of Paris and a gorgeous clip-art butterfly. It represents me "fluttering" around Paris. I am using a craft to do story-telling.

You will need an empty glass or acrylic paperweight, an interesting background paper and a smaller flat item layer on top.

You could layer:
  • a candy wrapper with a ticket stub
  • a beautiful magazine ad with a clip-art butterfly
  • a map of your grandparents' town with an antique stamp
  • a wedding invitation with a pressed flower

Have I started you thinking? What combination would you like to make?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Game Night

Want to liven up game night? Get some really neat dice. When I was out and about today, I simply couldn't resist these beautiful "double dice." Each translucent pastel die hold another smaller die inside! The internal die rolls freely and the result is a score as if 2 were thrown. So cool. At less than a dollar a piece, they are a beautiful bargain.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Baked Alaska

It was the right thing to do. Ordering the Baked Alaska, that is. My friend, Corinne and I were celebrating her birthday with lunch on the patio and this sweet treat gave us a little more time to enjoy the beautiful weather. Yum.

I have a culinary torch (the kind used to brown this dessert) and have been experimenting with it lately. Maybe I should shift from marshmallow to meringue and try making individual portions of this famous dessert. If they are little, I could call them Baked Juno or Baked Fairbanks. Get it?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Country House

Oh to be a tiny gardener living in this charming manor house.

I saw this "architectural landscape" container garden at Telly's greenhouse. They sell a variety of concrete homes and all the supplies to make your own private Idaho. The "big" bushes by the front door are thyme. The even sell a variety of miniature garden benches and arbors by Austram.

It offers a whole new way to tend the garden. Love it!

Monday, June 1, 2009


Blog posts can be timely (strawberries are in season), time-sensitive (holiday recipes) or in this case: timeless. I photographed this beautiful Bradford Pear in April, but I could look at it any time of year and love it just the same.

Having devoted the month of May to "Delight in the City of Light," I have been storing up lots of "Spring" things to show you. I have some new recipes, a craft or two and a whole host of stories to tell.

Welcome to June. I am sure it will be a DELIGHT!