Tuesday, August 31, 2010
I am making and photographing arrangements like this every day and it makes my heart sing. A photograph like this is my little attempt at saving Summer.
So although Labor Day is upon us, you might see me wearing white, carrying a Summer purse and talking about S'mores.
I just can't let Summer go, not when my garden looks like this!
I love school supplies, plaid and harvest dinners as much as the next girl, but I need more time! Thank you.
Monday, August 30, 2010
You see, I spend every weekend that I can in "Cherry Country." How could cherry ice cream not be good?
The genius came when I decided to add-in graham cracker crumbs. Suddenly my ice cream tasted exactly like cherry pie a la mode! Yum-yum-yum.
Cherry Pie A La Mode ice cream
Mix 1 (14 oz) can of sweetened condensed 2% milk, 1 (5 oz) can of evaporated milk, 2 cups of whole milk, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla and 2/3 of a bag of frozen pitted unsweetened tart cherries (defrosted and chopped fine). Pour into the freezer container of an electric ice cream maker and follow the ice cream maker instructions.
Once the ice cream is soft-serve consistency, scoop half of the mixture into a low flat plastic freezable container, then pour on 1 cup of graham cracker crumbs in a layer, top with the remaining ice cream and place it in the freezer. Once the ice cream has hardened, you can run an ice cream scoop through the ice cream and inside each scoop you will see a ribbon of graham cracker! Serve and enjoy.
Saturday, August 28, 2010
The cord is Omega nylon crochet thread in Beige and the flat acrylic beads are Blue Moon (JAS Strand 14" Bd Acr Flt Ovl) in Smoke.
I tied a knot in the cord, added a small clear bead, slide on the smokey stone, added another small clear bead and then tied the finishing knot. Then you move down the cord an inch and do it again.
The knots and small beads above and below make the stones appear to float and sets off the pretty "silk" cord. Tie the two ends together at the neck with a strong knot (and secure with crimp beads on either side if you want) and you are finished!
What I love best is that this cord/stone combination morphs into looking like the color of cement or taupe stone or a pale pink gems depending on the t-shirt and sweater it is worn with.
Trust me, it is knot hard to make.
Friday, August 27, 2010
Today I wanted you to see this funny "mode of transportation." I was on a mail boat riding out to "Little Cranberry Island" off the coast of Bar Harbor, Maine when I saw this! I could hardly believe my eyes - a boat pushing a raft with a dump truck on it!
Apparently, this is the best way to get heavy equipment out to the islands to do construction work. It reminded me of an ant pushing a potato chip at a picnic!
Thursday, August 26, 2010
I have always joked that I celebrate my birthday for the entire month of August. Partly because it's fun, partly because I can't eat all the bon bons and ice cream that I want all in one day (!) and partly because I want the world (and particularly women) to celebrate their life as much as they can, as often as they can.
I figure if I wholeheartedly proclaim that I am happy that it's my birthday and that "we should celebrate," it might encourage others to do so too. It's all in fun.
Well, yesterday my friend, Kerry took my "fun" to a whole new level. To make sure that my birthday month went out with a bang, she had 6 giant cupcakes sent to me from "Crumbs" in New York City!
I arrived home to find a Styrofoam box filled with dry ice and these beauties! They are:
- Cookies & Cream
- Red Velvet
- Key Lime
- Caramel Apple
So far I have had some of the Cookies & Cream (so moist & chocolately!), Red Velvet (the frosting on this one is incredible - what do they put in it?), Caramel Apple (real fruit inside!) and Candy (moist and gorgeous yellow cake).
Here I am with Kerry in New York City back in 2005, she showed me the city, we met up with our friend Josh and filled the weekend with photos, events and cupcakes. To this day, it remains one of my favorite trips ever.
Thank you, Kerry, for making my birthday month extra sweet!
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
I've been on the hunt for things that will grow and thrive in a sunny dry area. Step one was planting 3 small lavender plants (that like dry feet) and so far they love it!
Next I will be adding some of these succulents to add texture and to underscore the delicate gray-green of the lavender leaves. It should be so pretty. Here's hoping the farmers market still has these when I return.
Have you ever grown succulents?
Monday, August 23, 2010
You see, I live in "car country" and for the last week, strangers became friends as they shared their love of the automobile. This is the week that people state the make, model and year long before they bother to give their name. First things first.
The gist of the event (now in its 16th year) is cruising Woodward Avenue (America's first road paved with concrete in 1909!) and showing off your car. Spectators set up tents, bar-b-ques, lawn chairs and watch the spontaneous parade. The two inside lanes are for spectators who also want to "cruise" and see the cars up close. The two outside lanes are for the show cars, to give the roadside spectators a good view.
Another aspect of the Dream Cruise is walking the event and admiring entire parking lots devoted to one type of car. The car club members are very organized and all park their showpieces (rare, vintage, classic) in one area so that if you love, let's say Mustangs, you can view a lot of them all at once. And it puts like-minded collectors all together "speaking the same language." If you want to see a Model-A, you head to another area. Very cool.
Now on top of all this is the food, music, and people. When you drive down Woodward Avenue during the Dream Cruise, you drive slow. Which gives the spectators a chance to talk to the drivers, ask a questions, give a thumbs up. I found myself leaning out the window, smiling and commenting like the rest of the crowd. It was really fun.
If you have a car enthusiest in your family, tell them about the Woodward Dream Cruise (always the third Saturday in August) - one visit and they will be hooked!
Saturday, August 21, 2010
What could be prettier at the neckline of a sweater than a cluster of unusual roses?
This beauty is called "Honey Dijon" and it is one of my favorite flowers to make arrangements with in the late Summer/early Fall. It looks gorgeous paired with beeswax candles and woven placemats.
Plus, it reminds of when I drove through France and stopped in the town of Dijon! We were to only customers in the little Maille mustard shop.
Friday, August 20, 2010
My birthday lunch is always "sometime in August" with my Mom at my favorite Scandinavian store called Punzel.
The photo above shows my one-of-a-kind lunch of edible flowers, crepes and loveliness from 2007. Can you stand it? I ate every petal!
Thursday, August 19, 2010
I mentioned that I was planning a trip to Marblehead, Ohio (on the shores of Lake Erie) and heard instantly that I must visit The Dairy Dock for an orange and vanilla twist called "The Docksider."
Yum. yum. yum. A retro twist on the classic creamsicle that can cool off any Summer day.
Over the course of a week, I managed to fanagle three trips to The Dairy Dock, you know, for research.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
You see, for years I have been taking the labels off of jam jars so that I could paint the jars with cute designs. It made me want to put a label on.
I decided that an ANA label would have a gorgeous photo (from my book cover), my Passed As Super Cute logo and lots of pink and orange. The "flavor" is Pineapple Sage.
What do you think?
A customer bought a bunch of my painted jam jars and then one jar like this labelled "Delight." She said she had to have one because, "It's so you!"
Her statement surprised me, and then I realized that when you have a blog, people really can surmise what is "me." How cool.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
This gorgeous scarf in shades of melon (Lion Brand "Monterrey Lime" and a pretty "Strawberry" in Caron's Simply Soft collection) has yet to see the stars. We have had a particularly humid Summer and I haven't even worn my jean jacket, let alone a scarf!
So wish me a few cool nights before September, okay? I want to wear this with a coral sweater and I'm running out of time!
Monday, August 16, 2010
The colors. The words. The concept.
A friend had invited me to join her for a wine tasting at Circa Estate Winery in northern Michigan. It was a gorgeous evening and we had the luxury of enjoying wine and a small plate of whitefish pate, crackers and fresh berries on an open-air patio.
It was so nice to be able to talk one-on-one, rather than the normal hustle-bustle of Summer greetings at a party or by chance in town.
As we were leaving, I noticed this dish of pins on the bar. Patrons are encouraged to take a few to represent how they would describe the wines. Intermingled with the adjectives were pins with the winery's name. Love this!
My only suggestion to them would be to print the website on the backside of the pin. That way when the customers come across "racy" in their desk drawer months from now, they can remember the great wine and order more. Just a thought...
Saturday, August 14, 2010
I was mesmerized by the layers of purple vegetables and the simple bucket of flowers that complimented it all so well. This person knows how to make a display! I walked up and said, "Tell me everything."
A sweet twenty-something girl told me that the small vegetables were "Fairy Tale" eggplants. She said that she and her colleagues argued often about best preparation of them. She likes them baked, her boss likes them sliced & sauted and another guy has a roasting method. At that point, "pro-roasting" guy took over and said that all I needed was to prick them with a fork, and dress them lightly in herbs de provence and olive oil and then roast.
He ended his cooking instructions with "Oh, I could just eat them right now!" In my book, that kind of enthusiasm is gold and I bought some on the spot. I am sure they'll be delicious (dinner tomorrow!), but I am telling you now in case you can get to the market and have them for your Sunday dinner too.
Friday, August 13, 2010
When I contacted the David Austin headquarters for some hotel suggestions (I stayed at the Park House Hotel and loved it!), I ended up corresponding quite a bit with a lovely woman named Cheryl. She started reading my blog and it was like we were old friends by the time I arrived for my visit.
I knew that the David Austins (father & son) were private, hard-working men and that meeting them was not "the norm" for visitors to the Rose Garden and Plant Centre. But if anyone loves their roses, it's me, so I let my wish be known to Cheryl.
Lo and behold, they both happened to arrive at the gift shop while I was there! Cheryl introduced me to David Austin Jr. and prompted me to show him my DELIGHT tote that features their pale pink English Rose Heritage on the cover (to see my bag click Delight Totes button, then scroll down to "Visiting England"). He loved it and handed me the cut rose he was carrying in appreciation.
Next walked in the rose genius himself, David Austin. Cheryl introduced me as an inspirational writer that came "all the way from America" to meet him (true!). It was so wonderful to be able to look this gardener in the eye and tell him: "Your roses make me the happiest and I wanted to thank you myself." He seemed genuinely pleased, liked my DELIGHT tote and loved that I had a "Lillian Austin" rose (which he named after his mother) in my garden in America.
It was at the point when I started naming which of his roses I had in my garden, that I started crying. Yes, it is true. You know me by now and sometimes I love things so much that my emotions hit "tilt." He didn't seem to mind, though, he simply offered me the cut rose in his hand as well. A David Austin rose from David Austin himself.
Hoping to capture the moment, I took the photo above. These are the Gertrude Jekyll roses they gave me on a chair in the Plant Centre, along with a map of the grounds and the rose-print tissues I had to buy to dry my eyes.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Have you ever felt that way about something? The petals of this gorgeous "peony poppy" are like shredded pink tissue paper. I've never seen anything like it - such big blooms! It is on my garden list for Spring 2011 - please don't let me forget.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
While I didn't have time to visit some of the classic British sights, I did make it to this gem, The Museum of Garden History. Housed in a 14th century deconsecrated church (St Mary-at-Lambeth) near the banks of the Thames, this Garden Museum is dedicated to both historical collections and the pursuit of gardening in modern times.
I loved wandering through their permanent collection of garden artifacts. A vintage glass cloche, a Sweet Pea seed counter (dispenser) from the 1900's and this miniature iron garden.
This display is about 2 x 3 feet and is protected in a glass box. I peered into this secret garden for quite a while and decided that my favorite part was the man pushing the vintage lawn roller (in the back right corner).
What do you like best?
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
So I did some research and found a few references here. I also Xeroxed a map from my copy of "The Making of Pride and Prejudice," a great book that shows behind the scenes images, filming locations and includes an insider's peek into the making of the film. This book is a must for anyone who loves the Colin Firth version of the movie, Pride and Prejudice.
To make a long story short, I never tracked down an actual location. Yes, I was definitely within reach, but as you have seen in this blog series, we were moving every second! But I decided that it didn't matter when I arrived here (see above).
This was the "bed & breakfast" we had booked for the night - Frampton Court Estate! The look of this incredible estate was right out of my imagination! We were the only guests that night and it felt as if we had stepped back in time. The furniture in our bedroom was built long before the Declaration of Independence was written! There were sheep grazing in the field and a view from every window.
So while we weren't technically following in Jane Austen's footsteps, we were awfully close!
Monday, August 9, 2010
We had a lovely room at the Frampton Court Estate (more about that tomorrow) and came down to the dining room to find a gorgeous breakfast spread. We started with yogurt, fruit and granola and then were served what you see above:
an egg, roasted tomatoes, back bacon, mushrooms, homemade bread with local jam, plus coffee and juice!
It was a lovely way to start the day and tasted delicious after getting so much country air on our walk the night before. From my seat at the table, I could look out an unscreened open window into the lavender garden and to the pasture beyond.
(Sigh) It was hard to leave this lovely country spot and being that we were the only guests (!) at the estate, we lingered over the coffee for as long as we could.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
It seemed like Windsor Castle was a "must see" on our first trip to England. I wanted to see Queen Mary's famous dollhouse (complete with a working elevator, running water and wine bottles full of real wine!) and Dan was there for the history - it's a match!
No cameras were allowed in most areas, so alas, you'll have to watch this video to see inside the dollhouse. I loved it!
This is my favorite photo from the grounds. Care to take a turn about the garden with me?
Friday, August 6, 2010
I toured (and photographed!) David Austin's extensive rose gardens for almost 2 hours before settling at a table with Dan for a nice relaxing lunch.
This is definitely a destination spot for ladies. I saw clusters of old friends, mothers & daughters and happy women everywhere.
My lunch was a delicious open-faced ham sandwich served on a gorgeous "Redoute Rose" plate (a china pattern that is available in the gift shop!). Such attention to detail!
I had every intention of coming back for a slice of this Lemon & Elderflower cake, but I ran out of time.
One more thing to add to my "Return to England" list.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Inside this building, the new cafe has an Aga stove (jealous!) that has an Emma Bridgewater polka dot front. I was told that the chickens provide the fresh eggs that go into the scones and pastries that are baked in the Aga for the cafe. How neat!
Apparently I arrived just after the baker had gone for the day and the Aga was still warm from the latest batch of scones. Remember the delicious cake I had with tea? The entire experience was a delight!
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Part of what made my trip to Emma Bridgewater's factory, gift shop and cafe so successful was a salesperson named Sharon. She loved that I was calling my Mom from the store with my international minutes and she could hear (through the earpiece) that my Mom (who collects Emma Bridgewater) was so thrilled that I was actually standing in the shop.
She wanted to know which pieces my Mom had and as she wrapped my purchases in tissue, which items were a surprise for her. Sharon caught "the fever" and was having just as much fun as I was. She even took us up on the roof to see the garden! I'll show you that tomorrow.
As I took my bags and said good-bye, she said,"Say Hello to your Mom for me!"
Thank you, Sharon, she loves everything we picked out and said to say Hello right back!
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
As we mapped out our trip to England, I didn't know if we would have time to go any further north than our visit to David Austin English Roses in Albrighton.
The Emma Bridgewater Factory & Shop in Stoke-on-Trent is almost an hour's drive north of our rose destination and I didn't want to be disappointed if we ran out of travel time, so I didn't "officially" include it in our itinerary.
But after spending an entire day outdoors photographing roses, a car ride and some shopping sounded great. I'm so glad that we made the effort!
Now that I've been to Emma Bridgewater, I can't imagine my trip without it! I bought all sorts of treasures and loved it so much. I'll tell you more tomorrow, for now I want to show you my tea service and cake that I ate in the on-site cafe.
I couldn't get over how much I enjoyed having tea IN Emma Bridgewater AT Emma Bridgewater. Get it?
Monday, August 2, 2010
This window lures shoppers into Minamoto Kitchoan. There are only three Minamoto Kitchoan locations in the world (New York, London & Singapore) - this one is located on Piccadilly Street in London.
The treats in the center remind me of my sushi soaps! Love it!