Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Traditions 2009

I saw one of the Garden Club Girls after school this week and called out to her, "It's almost Halloween!"

"I know, I can't wait to make pie!" she called back.

You see, baking a "Trick or Pie" on Halloween is a tradition on my street. If you aren't familiar with our story, you can jump to it here.

I am expecting three girls (and now their little brother too) to bake an apple pie with me this afternoon. We have a standing date in the kitchen every October 31st and I just love it. I like to imagine them all grown up, baking a Halloween pie with their children and talking about the fun we had on our street.

Want to make your own "Trick or Pie?" My yummy recipe is posted here.

Oh, and Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 30, 2009

It's The Ritz

I am proud to announce that my limited edition ANA Cigar Box Purses are now available at The Ritz-Carlton (Dearborn).

Each ANA Cigar Box Purses is one-of-a-kind.

I sign and number each handbag, create a custom-fit fabric lining, sew Velcro ribbon closures, fabric gussets (to keep the purse contents private), insert tiny feet and add my hallmark: a kiln-fired ceramic ANA logo tag.

Within my signature customs stamp you can see the letters "I.K.I" in script. They stand for "I'm Keeping It!" which is how I know a piece is finished.

When I start to rationalize why I should keep a particular purse for myself, I know that it is ready for others to enjoy. When you see the ANA tag, you know that your purse has: “Passed As Super Cute!”

It is that kind of attachment to my products that inspires me to continue designing. But believe me when I say limited edition, this labor of love makes them rare, rare, rare.

Call or visit The Ritz-Carlton in Dearborn and tell them you want an ANA!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cider Mills, Pumpkin Doughnuts and Indian Corn

What says Fall to me?

Cider Mills (going next week), Pumpkin Doughnuts (hoping my parents bring me one) and Indian Corn (check).

That is one thing I love about seasonal living - it helps me to focus.

You can only drink fresh cider now.
You can only buy Indian corn now.
You can only press Maple leaves now.

I have been thinking about how tricky it is to fit the bounty of each season into just 3 months!

Which makes everything all the more precious.
I have a lot to enjoy before the snow flies!

What is on your Fall "must do" list?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wonderland of Dishes

There is a shop in New York that pulls me like a magnet every time I am in the city.

Fishs Eddy is a wonderland of dishes, cups, glasses and flatware. I walk inside, my heart races and I am in love all over again.

I have wanted this many dishes ever since I saw Martha Stewart's barn full of dishes in her video, Secrets of Entertaining: A Buffet Party.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Heirloom Tomatoes

These are the last of my heirloom tomatoes. The problem is...I don't know which ones are supposed to be green and which ones still need to ripen!

I planted three types: yellow, orangey-red and green. Hmm...hopefully I will get a few clues as I let them ripen indoors. Either way, aren't they beautiful? And the gorgeous French day-of-the-week dishtowel next to them is Mardi.

Fried green tomatoes anyone?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Fall Appetizers

I really enjoyed a "Holiday Hors d'Oeuvres" class I took this weekend at Williams-Sonoma. There is something about Fall that makes me want to buy everything in the store.

I pulled out my set of tiny cookie cutters shaped like leaves and acorns, so I am ready to create these adorable "toppings" out of Pillsbury pie crust. It really elevated "a cracker with spread" into something every guest would want to try. The spread itself was delicious too! Pumpkin butter with cream cheese, green onion and bacon - yum! If you have a chance, I encourage you to register for one of the technique classes at Williams-Sonoma.

One of my favorite Fall appetizers is Hot Olive Cheese Puffs. I find that I can never make enough of these - they are so delicious with a glass of wine that they are always the first to run out! Now that is a successful recipe. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Beyond Kitchen Aid

Don't get me wrong, I love my Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer (in fact, I dream of a day when I can own many of them in different colors). But look at these beauties!

I went to a restaurant supply store (because I love this stuff) and stopped in my tracks when I saw this display. "Ohhhh...dontcha just want one?" I cooed to my husband. To give you an idea, the whisk attachment on the bottom right is larger-than-my-head. I posed with it to show you the scale, but alas, the photo didn't pass muster.

To those of you that have the coveted Kitchen Aid but never use it, I say this: Put it on the counter! I have many friends that say they never use theirs because it is too heavy to bring out all the time.

Bring out?
Bring out? I use my every week for everything from box-mix brownies to appetizer cheesecakes - all because I keep it on the counter. With the holidays coming, maybe its time to re-think your counter top "real estate."

Remember, good baking might just rely on one thing:
Location, location, location.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Pumpkin Tower

I think this is just beautiful! A simple tower made of three different pumpkins.

There are so many beautiful squash and pumpkin varieties available - check out this link to see my favorite photo guide of them on the web.

Do you know the phrase "Gilding the Lily?" It refers to when unnecessary adornment is added to something that is naturally beautiful.

I have seen some "paint, carve and glue" tips swirling around and I would like to suggest that you keep it simple.

Just gather a few beautiful shades together
and let them speak for themselves. Mother Nature will spark far more comments than anything you can do with a glue gun.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Tunnel Vision

I am working on my tunnel vision.

I have chosen my photo of Baltimore's Francis Scott Key bridge to represent that today.

The cross-bars are all of the different aspects of my brand: ANA purses, writing, book composition, photography, jewelry design, Delight totes and blogging.

The good news is that I don't want to get to the end of the tunnel. I love what I am doing...I just have to give each bar the attention it deserves!

Oh, and look, there are blue skies ahead!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Leelanau Cheese Company, Swiss Cheese

Have you ever tried raclette? It is a delicious and mild semi-firm cheese that originated in Switzerland.

The Leelanau Cheese Company, located at Black Star Farms, won the American Cheese Society "2007 Best in Show" for their Aged Raclette. What an accomplishment!

Raclette is from the French word "to scrape." I was at a northern Michigan food & wine event and saw the prized cheese-maker herself cranking a Girolle Cheese Cutter around the wheel of raclette. She was serving individual blossom-like tastings with crackers and a glass of wine. Can cheese be gorgeous?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

ANA Cigar Box Purses

I simply love the ANA cigar box purse advertisement that I shot in this courtyard in Paris.

It is hard to believe, but this photo wasn't actually part of the grand plan. I was on the lookout for the perfect ad campaign, of course, but at this moment, I was simply waiting for my lunch on the patio of
The Hotel D'Aubbusson. When the first course arrived, I looked up and this is what I saw.

"Don't anybody touch anything," I pleaded, "I just need one second."

I picked up my camera and took this shot. My actual purse that day (love it!) is the star, complimented by the wooden planters, posh setting and oh-so-French beverages.

Sometimes, life is art.

Monday, October 19, 2009


It all went according to plan. It was a gorgeous Fall day and we were on campus for the big Homecoming Game at Michigan State University. My Dad went to MSU, my brothers & I went to MSU and now my oldest niece is a freshman. As many of us as possible made our way to East Lansing to tailgate, watch the game (we won!) and cheer from the stands.

We secured a great parking spot for our tailgate and spent the morning setting up tables and chairs, arranging our picnic fare (see my football-shaped brownies!) and making friends with the families around us. I had not attended a tailgate in years and saw some really fun arrangements that make me want to do this more often! I saw one father cooking french toast for his tailgaters on a flat top griddle - nice! The family across the way had a portable Coleman grill and they cooked pork chops (we tried some - yum!), kielbasa and peppers/onions. The smell was incredible and my Dad is hooked. I definitely think grilling "on site" is in our future.

Thank you, Spartans, for a great day! It was good to be "home."

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Today is homecoming at Michigan State!
I'll tell you all about it when I get back...

Friday, October 16, 2009

Fall Tablescapes

Now is the time to start planning your Fall tablescape. Is November your month for book club? Are you hosting Thanksgiving this year?

I saw this display at the Country Living Fair and it really got me in the mood for the rich colors and many textures of autumn. Next week I am going to pull out my cream dinner plates, black raspberry-covered dessert plates, green glassware and a melange of serving pieces and see what I can come up with for a casual "Dinner For Four."

I have a feeling I will be trimming napkins or doing something to pull it all together.
This is the year to "use what you have." Join me?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice

Do you love Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice? Have you watched the movie version starring Colin Firth so many times that you know it by heart?

Then have I got a movie recommendation for you! I stumbled upon the DVD of Lost In Austen on Netflix (a movie renting website) and could not believe my eyes.

Lost in Austen is a movie that beautifully re-creates the scenes, costumes and story of Pride and Prejudice, all while weaving in a modern character (a devotee of the book) who gets dropped into the middle of the plot.

She wanders through the story much as you or I would, talking to Caroline Bingley, peeking in the cupboards and imploring Mr. Bennet to "do something!" when Lydia runs off with a man. It is fantastic and I didn't want it to end.

No matter how dedicated you are to the story, the movie, the life of Jane can't help but enjoy this light-hearted movie. Now go watch it and then forward this post to every Austen enthusiast you know.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Charm Bracelet

Do you ever wear something to give you courage? When I need a little nudge, I wear my charm bracelet. It reminds me of all the different experiences I have had and "tells me" that I can handle the next big thing. I wore it to my first public speaking engagement and (dare I say), it worked like a charm.

Can you see my new lobster trap (complete with a little lobster inside)?
It is 1/3 in from the left - between the Eiffel Tower and a Hawaiian Pineapple. I have been collecting the charms on here since I was 12. Love it!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Beautiful Vases

Do your vases have necklaces?

I've removed the label from an empty spice jar and placed it inside a clean jam jar.

By gluing a "diamond" trim (
similar to this) on the lip of each jar with a glue called Gem-Tac, the result looks like a necklace.

I decoupaged a
paper moth on the front of the larger jar with Mod-Podge, which adds a hint of a ball gown.

This arrangement really highlights a single rose and is reminiscent of a woman's neckline, don't you think?

Now this is a lady-like vase!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Blue October

It was a bright and chilly October day in Michigan. Perfect for a Fall Family Fair!

We were invited to spend the afternoon drinking cider, taking hayrides and enjoying the camaraderie of friends and co-workers on a gorgeous Fall day in Plymouth.

It was the perfect way to spend a beautiful Saturday afternoon, don't you think?

My favorite part? Cotton candy!

Fall is here and the activities have begun. Next weekend...tailgating before the football game!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Dim Sum, Anyone?

You know how I love when dollhouses are packed with tiny household objects. Everyday items are just plain cuter when they are small. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw these little Dim Sum erasers!

They are the perfect size for Barbies. What could be more modern than Barbie & Ken sitting down to Dim Sum after a night on the town?

And yes, I said erasers. These are the perfect addition to any fourth-grader's pencil case. Remember, look for things that are beautiful and interesting.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Euchre Night

Last night was my Junior League "Euchre Night" and I wanted to bring something with a little pizazz as my contribution to the snacks. I made Duncan Hines carrot cake cupcakes (yum!) with cream cheese frosting, but wasn't sure how I wanted to finish them.

My first thought was to sprinkle them with tiny Autumn leaves. But when I arrived at the cake supply store (yes, I made a special trip because I love this stuff) I was won over by the playing card cake picks! What could be better for a euchre night? Now, what was trump?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

White Pumpkins

I am not a "Halloween" girl.
No orange & purple. No creepy touches. I know that ghosts, bones and dry ice are all the rage, but it is just not me.

My tribute to Halloween is a little more... beautiful.

A white pumpkin
next to a rose-filled sugar bowl (the one I got at the Country Living Fair!) is much more my style.

What do you think?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Year of the Crepe

In May, I ordered a crepe right from a street vendor at the Vanves Flea Market in Paris and watched her make a large butter & sugar crepe before my eyes.

In July, I found my Mom's electric crepe maker in a box in the basement (circa 1978 and never been used!) and spent an entire weekend trying to master it well enough to make dessert for four.

In August, I took a free cooking class at Williams-Sonoma titled "Crepes & Croques." And later that month, I gave in and ordered the spectacular jambon & fromage crepe (above) from a little French bistro in town. Yum!

I am not saying that I have thrown in the towel. But I definitely have miles to go before I sleep, as far as crepes are concerned. This, my friends, is the year of the crepe. Any tips would be appreciated.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


I have been loading my calendar with stickers for years. I always get the double-page Monthly At-A-Glance calendar - that way I have plenty of room for fun. I put "birthday candle" stickers to denote some one's birthday, "teacup" stickers when I am meeting someone for coffee and travel stickers when I have a big trip planned. My close friends know this and often kid me when we make plans, "Do you have a sticker for that?"

When Angie came to take me to the airport for our trip to Maine, she arrived with some darling stickers by Jolee's of seagulls, lighthouses and suitcases. The first thing out of her mouth? "Please tell me that you retro-stick!" and I knew exactly what she meant.

The minute I got home, I went back and decorated the third week of September. Thanks, Angie!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Mad For Plaid

I wanted to show you a one-of-a-kind scarf that I made for Fall.

There is no pattern, really. I simply bought 8 different plaid suiting fabrics (1/4 yard each) at JoAnn Fabrics and cut them into strips and sections. I sewed the various pieces together to make two patchwork sections, each 6 inches wide and 48 inches long

I pinned "the wrong sides" of the patchwork sections together and serged around the perimeter to create a double-sided scarf.

Can you tell that I am truly mad for plaid right now?

Cider Mill here I come!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Knit Vase

Are you enjoying Moments of Delight?

This is my
700th blog post!

Remember my "I knit scarves" proclamation?
Well, a friend came over one evening to knit and ended up talking me into making something for the house. She suggested a lap blanket, I countered with a vase.

I told her that essentially wanted to knit a cover for a coffee can. She then "did the math" (based on the gauge of stitches per inch) on how many stitches should fit snugly around the can and where the knit/purl stitches should be to create a rib. She started me "knitting in the round" for the first time on circular needles and the rest is history.

This project took about 2 hours to knit and I absolutely love it! The master plan was to buy cockscomb (real flowers!) at the farmer's market in complimentary shades. Don't these real flowers look like felted wool ones?

I have this bouquet in my living room and it looks spectacular!

Friday, October 2, 2009

A Letter to Jack Frost

A Letter to Jack Frost

Dear Jack,
I hope this letter finds you well. I know that you are in town because my lawn was opaque yesterday morning when I woke up.

I realize that it is October 2nd already. I have seen the Christmas decorations in the stores and I have even made an apple pie. I love Fall, I really do.

But, Jack, my roses. Do you think you could hold off the freeze warnings for another 10 days or so? My garden is loaded with buds and I really can't bear to lose them.

I've enclosed a picture of my latest bouquet to show you why it is so important - honey dijon roses, magenta zinnias, pale yellow snapdragons and Lillian Austin roses.

I have many "ladies-in-waiting" almost ready to bloom and I really want to photograph them. Thank you for your consideration. Sincerely, Anne Reeves

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Alton Brown: Food For Thought

What an inspirational night! Food Network Personality, Alton Brown held 3,200 people in the palm of his hand at his sold-out lecture at Oakland University last night.

His core message was this:
The "best food" is food that has been prepared by loving hands.
So cook - for your friends, your family, your neighbors. The love instilled in preparing food for someone has a nutritional value all its own.
  • He emphasized that nothing you buy will ever taste as good as something you make.
  • He stressed the importance of eating a bright and colorful diet.
  • He renounced products labeled "Diet" or "Lite", adding that the experience of eating one glorious homemade cookie will always beat eating an entire package of diet cookies.
Alton Brown was witty, happy and completely "present" as he inspired the crowd to grown their own vegetables, cook their own meals and be thankful for the food in front of them. I am not sure what I was expecting to hear from Alton Brown last night, but he delivered. He gave us food for thought.