Monday, February 28, 2011

Water Garden

I am being wooed by a waterlily.

Up until now, I had never given much thought to having a water garden.  I have a fairly straightforward backyard, not at all sloping and mysterious, which is what I associate with water elements.  But what if?

When I saw this single bloom in a beautiful pond (part of an open-air shopping center in Florida), I started to wonder.  I have dappled light.  I have humid Summers.  What if I could tuck a water element in somewhere?  I know that my location rules out the possibility of keeping Koi fish, but I could swing just about everything else.  Hmmmm.

My mind keeps coming back to the Monet-like reflections of this simple pond.  I am being wooed.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Anne Reeves Blog Update

Moments of Delight blog update: 

I've added another feature to make reading, sharing and searching my blog a bit easier.

Notice the "topics" bar listed alphabetically at the top of the screen (roses, mint, Paris, candy).  You can click any of those topics and be routed to my blog posts & photos on that subject.  Neat, eh?

Cafe de Flore

I love love love Paris and after days of working on my upcoming book on the City of Light (as well as watching a movie set in Paris last night), I can't stop thinking about it!

I miss it, plain and simple.  I wish that I was sitting at a little table at Cafe de Flore drinking a cafe creme.  I love jamming my days full of every possible photograph so that I can show you everything.  I have had some wonderful moments in Paris and I am writing about the best of the best. 

As I categorize photos and write up anecdotes, I wonder, what would you like to hear about?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Moments of Delight poster

I did it!  I've created a poster to bring you delight. 

I originally designed this poster to promote my blog, Moments of Delight, at an art show.  I wanted this kind of display so that customers could understand what I meant when I said that I blogged about gardening, travel, baking, crafts, flower arranging, collecting and paired each post with one of my original photos.  Sometimes you don't believe gorgeous until you see it.

You can order this photo quality paper poster, 20 x 30 inches at my Etsy shop.

Here are the details (and my blog links) for each photo (left to right):

Paris map/moth paperweight

Marshmallow snowstorm around my vintage village

Silver charm bracelet

Lavender farm – northern Michigan

David Austin English Rose: Heritage

Kayaks on Lake Michigan

Japanese paper art

Beautiful salt collection

View from the steps of Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C.

Antique sugar bowl

Making Lemon Knots

Football Tailgate Brownies

Lunch at Swan Coach House in Atlanta, Georgia

Knit vase with cockscomb bouquet

Bouys in Bar Harbor, Maine

Beading a monogrammed scarf

David Austin English Rose: Lillian Austin

Japanese gummy candy flowers

Vintage Christmas ornaments

Edible Flowers

Colorful sachets

Crown gate at hotel/castle in France

Peony tablescape with seashells

Thursday, February 24, 2011

MacKenzie Childs

Have you ever worn a lampshade on your head?  Me neither, but this fellow seems to wear it well!  His hands are gold, his pocket square is a napkin and he's wearing pottery shard pants!

The whole look is "martini meets masonry", don't you think?

MacKenzie Childs is a fabulous company centering around hand-painted pottery and glassware, often rimmed in a black checkboard motif.  The latest design trend from MacKenzie Childs is offering items covered in pottery shards from the design studio. As quirky as they are, the color, texture and whimsy "works" and some spectacular pieces have been available lately. 

If you missed seeing the "Grand Shard Tree" (which I think was on display in the New York City store at Christmastime), you can see it here.

In honor of the new shard pieces, the Palm Beach store is featuring shard pants to get our attention.  It worked!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Art & Bougainvillea

Are you ready for a little history of Palm Beach?  I set out to take a photograph of my favorite flowering vine, Bougainvillea and I found a bit of history along the way.  First, take a look at this spectacular vine blooming in deep magenta against the bright blue sky.  Fabulous!

But I was intrigued with the mosaic tile artwork as well.  I did some research and discovered that this facade (on Peruvian street) tells the story of the shipwreck of the Spanish vessel, Providenica.  The ship was bound for Spain carrying 20,000 coconuts harvested in Trinadad.  You can read all about the ship, the mystery surrounding the shipwreck and the planting of the coconut palms here

So many beautiful palm trees (and the fact that the name Palm City was already taken!) made it easy for the pioneers to name the city...Palm Beach, of course!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Key Lime Pie

Four ingredients are all you need to master this classic hot weather dessert.  I thought about "dolling up" this presentation with a tuft of whipped cream, a few raspberries or even a curl of fresh lime, but then I decided against it.  This cold and tangy pie is perfect, as shown.  Eat and enjoy!   

Key Lime Pie

1/2 cup key lime juice
1 can fat free sweetened condensed milk (14 oz)
4 egg yolks
1 graham cracker pie crust

Stir sweetened condensed milk and egg yolks together.  While stirring, slowly pour in key lime juice.  Pour mixture into pie crust and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Allow to cool and then refrigerate a few hours to allow flavor to develop.

*Note: Are you traveling down South this winter?  A bottle of key lime juice is a great gift to bring back from your trip, just pack it in a Ziploc bag in your suitcase.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Living Wall in Palm Beach

This is my second chance to photograph a "living wall" in the last year!  Remember my thrill at seeing the living facade at the Athenaeum Hotel in London?

When I was visiting Saks Fifth Avenue on Worth Avenue in Palm Beach, I picked up an issue of Florida Design's Palm Beach, The Island (Prince William & Kate Middleton are on the cover - how could I resist?).  Later that afternoon, when I was reading the magazine, I noticed an article about a gorgeous piece of living art...covering the exterior of the Worth Avenue Saks!  I had been right there, but missed it because I didn't approach the store on foot.  The next day I made a trip back to Worth Avenue to take this photograph.

There is a marble plaque on the sidewalk out front that reads: "The Garden Club of Palm Beach is proud to have been part of the creation and funding of the living wall, which enhances the beauty and environment of our town." 
An article in the Palm Beach Post states that this vertical garden consisting of plant supports, watering and fertilizing systems and over 10,000 plants cost $250,000 to create - wow. 

It really is gorgeous and adds just the right touch of life, texture and art to an incredible shopping district.  If you are ever in the area, you must come see this perfect example of a living wall.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Sand and Surf

Today was a gorgeous day and I spent the afternoon sitting in a beach chair at the edge of the surf.  What could be more "delightful" than staring out at the ocean while the waves wash over my toes?

Although my fellow sun worshipers thought I looked odd holding my camera perfectly still off to the side of my beach chair for minutes on end, I got the result I needed.  Just look!  This is what I wanted to show you.

Three perfect shells about to be drenched in the surf.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Gelato Grotto

If someone ever suggests a trip to Gelato Grotto, say "Yes!"

We spent a hot and sunny afternoon walking around Palm Beach and then treated ourselves to a triple serving!  After careful consideration (and tiny tastes), I chose three light as air flavors: pineapple, dark chocolate and pistachio.  I also talked the girl into giving me a tuft of coconut gelato on top.

My-oh-my, I loved it!  Made fresh daily, gelato is a frozen Italian dessert - cold and creamy, but with far less fat than traditional ice cream. Buona notte

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Rambler 100

There are lots of different ways to enjoy an afternoon on the ocean.  Can you believe that I can show you 3 different boating experiences all in one frame?

On your left is a speed boat, out for an afternoon tear on the ocean.  In the middle is a fishing boat, camped out in hopes of catching dinner.  And on the right...

Could this be the Rambler 100?  The 100-foot yacht training for the Les Voiles de St. Barth in April?  The match up between the two Super Maxis, Leopard 3 and Rambler 100 dominates the buzz for this exciting racing event in the Caribbean.

When I zoomed in on the photo, I could see a large crew on board and Rambler written plain as day on the side.  All I can say is, I'm for Rambler 100 and I'll be waiting to hear the good news the first week of April!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bird Watching

Even the wildlife in Florida love the view!  This egret (who we think is a teenager vesion of the Great Egret) decided to visit us 6-floors up!  Most egrets nest in wetland areas (there is a pelican rookery nearby) and stay together in groups, but this guy wanted to see the view from our condo for himself, hence my deduction that he is a rebellious teenager.

He has a long s-shaped neck, but is scrunching it up due to the wind.  He first landed on the balcony, then moved to the chair to get more comfortable.  A bird visiting this high up is very unusual and I'm glad that he was willing to pose for a few pictures.

Did you know that the Great Egret is the symbol of the National Audubon Society?  Our new friend, Eddie stayed at least an hour soaking up the view.  I don't blame him a bit - it's gorgeous! 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day!

I hope you have enjoyed counting down the 12 Days of Valentine's Day with me.  There are so many people we love in this wonderful life - I can only hope that these ideas, recipes and encouragement have inspired you to share a moment of delight with those around you.

Need one more idea?  Order a heart-shaped pizza!  Happy Day 12.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

12 Days of Valentine's Day: Sprinkles

Is your cupboard full of pink sprinkles?  You can easily find pink sugar, white jimmies and red hot hearts at the grocery store right now.  I love to enhance just about everything (pancakes, yogurt, scones) with a tough of pink or red.   

In a pinch?  You can buy heart-shaped cookies at the grocery store, then frost and add sprinkles yourself.  I buy most of my decorations at a cake & candy supply store - a great value and so fun to visit in person! 

I took this photograph (a jar of hearts!) at a cupcake shop in England called Lola.  Not only was the display brilliant, but I could see one red heart in a sea of pink.  Happy Day 11!

Day 11:  Add whimsy to life with a little pink sugar.  Come on, you know you want to.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

12 Days of Valentine's Day: I Love You, A Latte

If you are looking for a sweet way to send a message to your Valentine, you might want to think coffee.  Take them out for coffee, mail them a coffee gift card - whatever you want, the message is the same.  I love you, a latte.

This beautiful foam heart was whipped up in the garden courtyard of the Victoria & Albert museum in London.  After a bit of browsing, we stopped for an afternoon snack and really loved sitting out in the fresh air.  This entire courtyard is open to the museum visitors - there is a giant water area,  grassy lawn, cafe tables.  It was so lovely outside, it was easy to forget about the historic artwork inside.
The day, the setting, the coffee - I enjoyed it all.  Happy Day 10.

Day 10: Find a way to show someone that you love them, a latte.   

Friday, February 11, 2011

12 Days of Valentine's Day: Pink Meringue Hearts

Have you ever made meringue cookies?  They are super simple, as light as air and offer a sweet can't-eat-just-one crunch.

I mixed the ingredients with an electric mixer (wire whisk attachment), scooped the confection into a gallon Ziploc bag, sealed it shut, snipped the corner and piped hearts onto a Silpat mat (or parchment paper from grocery store) lined cookie sheet.  This is a VERY EASY (but fancy-looking) cookie that requires no cooking skills.  You can do this, I cross my heart.

Pink Meringue Hearts

4 large egg whites, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 cup powdered (confectioners) sugar
a few drops of red food coloring

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.  In a bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar at high speed until soft peaks form.  Gradually add sugar (beating well after each addition) until the egg whites stand in stiff glossy peaks when you stop the mixer and raise the whisk.  Add a drop or two of red food coloring and mix.  Scoop into a gallon Ziploc bag, seal shut, push batter to one corner, snip off a bit of the corner and now pip the batter in the shape of a heart onto the Silpat mat or parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.  Repeat and admire your work.  Bake at 200 degrees for 2 hours.  After two hours, turn off oven and leave the door open slightly.  Allow to cool and dry in the oven for 30 minutes.  Remove cookie sheets from oven and allow to cool further.  When cool, remove cookies with a spatula.  Enjoy!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

12 Days of Valentine's Day: Paper Clay

Be still my heart!  Would you believe that I made this gorgeous heart by pressing Delight paper clay (I'm serious, it is called Delight!) into a mold from House on the Hill?

This project was the brain-child of my Mom's and we used her mold and clay to make 4 perfect hearts to hang from a ribbon.  They look like plaster, but they are light-weight paintable hearts made of paper clay.  It is so easy and so neat!  Happy Day 8.

Day 8: I want to inspire you to do some crafting...whatever you are comfortable with.  Cut out tissue paper hearts to scatter on the table.  Stick Valentine's stickers on plain white napkins.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

12 Days of Valentine's Day Secret Messages

Don't skip breakfast!  You'll miss a chance to send a super cute message.

I received this toast press at my bridal shower (many moons ago) and have been fishing it out of the kitchen drawer every February since!  Who could resist?  I found a similar toast press online here.  Happy Day 7.

Day 7:  Write a message of love somewhere unexpected.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

12 Days of Valentine's Day: Vintage Valentines

Today is the day you will need to dedicate to buying/addressing/mailing your Valentines in order for them to arrive on time.  Yes, this paper message is still so very important and it makes me want to say a few words about this modern life.  

I blog, but I have kept every letter my cousin sent me as a child.
I tweet, but I also love to talk on the phone with my friends.
I love Facebook, but it can never replace eye contact.

I am sentimental and I think it's important that we have things to keep.  Letters, ribbons, cards, notes.  Something with handwriting on it. 

Valentine postcards were very popular at the turn of the century - this is a treasure sent to my maternal grandmother in 1910.  It says "From cousin Anna" on the back and we've kept it for 101 years. 

Send your love on a Valentine and it could last 100 years.

Day 6: Send a real Valentine to someone who would love it.

Monday, February 7, 2011

12 Days of Valentine's Day: Chocolate Cake

Where has this recipe been all my life?  I love to bake and lately I have been on the hunt for a delicious chocolate cake.  Tried one - nope. Tried two - not good enough.  And then last night it occurred to me to go to the source:  Hershey cocoa.

I made Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" chocolate cake and it was perfect.  Moist, chocolaty, exactly what I was looking for.  I was surprised by a couple of elements - use boiling water, use oil not butter.  Who knew?
One tip I have is that you should take the time to trace the bottom of pan and cut a piece of parchment paper to lay it in the bottom (after you grease and flour) before you pour the batter in.  The cake is moist and difficult to remove from a pan with curves.  Hence the "wobbly" edge to the cake above.  It looks more charming than perfect, but I should get points for using a heart-shaped plate. 

There is no doubt that this cake is homemade - and I think that's a good thing! Happy Day 5

Day 5: Bake a chocolate cake.  Everyone will be glad you did.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

12 Days of Valentine's Day: Make Up

Now THIS is the kind of thing I buy myself for Valentine's Day.  I simply couldn't resist a display of the new Physicians Formula Happy Booster Happy Glow Multi-Colored Face Powder and Bronzer, Translucent - 0.3 OZ  that I saw at the local drugstore.

Can you stand it?  A metallic pink compact (with a compartment to store the matching brush) full of heart-shaped shades of face powder.

It is called "Happy Booster" and touts the mood-boosting effect of some natural plant extracts.  As far as I'm concerned, it lives up to its promise of mood-boosting with the packaging and hearts alone.  On top of that, the powder has a light violet scent.  To me, it couldn't be more perfect.  Happy Day 4.

Day 4:  Put something pretty in your purse - a red pen, a pretty lipstick, this FABULOUS compact.  You'll feel like a Valentine every time you use it.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

12 Days of Valentine's Day: Heart Collection

I'm a sucker for heart-shaped things, so I positively swooned when I saw this private collection of stones that look like hearts.  No carving allowed, these have all been found along the Atlantic coast during the lifetime of the collector.  Neat, huh?

To me, these stones represent a lifetime of love.

Do you have a collection of heart-shaped things?  Heart necklaces?  Heart-shaped pillows?  My biggest collection of hearts is an assortment of pans made for Valentine's Day baking.  Every year I seem to acquire a few new items - I know I will have a lot of heart-shaped foods this Valentine season.
  • Heart-shaped pans - large and small
  • Heart-shaped cookies on a stick pan
  • Heart-shaped cookie cutters - too many to count!
  • Heart-shaped silicone muffin cups   
Day 3: Locate the heart-shaped items in your house and put them to good use.  No heart-shaped pans in your cupboard?  Maybe this is the year...

Friday, February 4, 2011

12 Days of Valentine's Day: Cookies

Now I am not a doctor, so you can't take me too seriously, but I think that if you add a few star ingredients to a great cookie, you can think of it as "good for you."

This delicious Oatmeal cookie contains ingredients that are known to be good for your HEART (heart/love/Valentine's Day...get it?):

Dark Chocolate (flavonoids)
Dried Cherries (antioxidants)
and Oats (increase whole grains/fiber intake)
...and if you want to change the butter to margarine and tweak the sugar source, go for it.

12 Days of Valentine's Day Oatmeal Cookies

14 T butter or margarine
1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 Teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups uncooked old fashioned oats
1/2 cup chocolate chunks (or chips)
1/2 cup dried cherries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix butter and sugars together.  Add eggs and vanilla. Combine flour and baking soda and slowly incorporate into batter.  Add oats and mix.  Add chocolate and dried cherries and mix.  Place large teaspoonfuls of dough on an ungreased cookie sheet (or place on a Silpat = easy clean up and no sticking) and bake for 8-10 minutes until golden brown. 

Enjoy!  These are great cookies that are delicious any time of day, especially in the morning with coffee (I am eating one right now!).  Happy Day 2! 

Day 2: Make a batch of cookies and add in some "heart smart" ingredients.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

12 Days of Valentine's Day: Kitchen Centerpiece

It starts today!  In honor of the 12 Days of Valentine's Day, you can spread some love (and bring delight) to the people in your life.  To read my philosophy for celebrating this lovely string of days, click here.  Remember, you can do any of my ideas on any day that works for you - there are no rules.  Just have fun.

I am starting my celebration with something that I can enjoy for days - a pretty centerpiece!  I chose antique pink spray roses from the grocery store (on clearance, no less!) and paired them with pale pink paper doilies ($1.00 for 6) from Michaels craft store.  Now my kitchen table gives a nod to the season I love.

Day One:  Make a Valentine-inspired centerpiece on your kitchen table.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Perfect Scarf Knot

I have a long-lasting gift to give you...instructions for the perfect scarf knot.  It looks sophisticated.  It looks complicated.  It is all you need on a solid-colored outfit to add "Umph."  It is a conversation piece all its own and I guarantee people will admire it and ask you how you did it.

The best part?  It starts with a basic knot (that many of us already rely on) that is popular in Europe.

Picture 1: Making the Classic Knot
Fold your scarf in half - you'll have one folded end and two loose tails.
Drape the scarf around your neck with the folded end (loop) on the left and the loose tails on the right.  Take your right hand and send both loose tails through the loop in the fold.  Adjust and allow to drape.

Now for the simple variation that creates this beautiful knot...

Picture 2: Weaving
Notice that when you look "above where the tails were fed through the loop", there are two sides to the loop.  You are going to weave over and under these sides.  Pull one of the loose tails back out of the loop and instead weave it under the first side (up by your neck) and over the second side.  You're done.

Knots are notoriously hard to explain in words.  Look at Picture 2 and see that the two tails coming down from the shoulder on the right are taking opposite "over/under" paths to drape.  Seeing that should help you recognize what you are doing.

It sounds daunting, but I promise this is an easy path to cuteness.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Using Technology to Spread Delight

My heart, mind & vision are here on display.  I love that I have dedicated readers all over the world.  But did you know that my goal is to "bring delight" 1,000,000 people?  I know that bloggers are judged by their "following" or "number of readers" and I need your help to expand my reach.

When you feel so moved, could you help me spread the word about Moments of Delight?

I have added a mini Tool Bar (in a white box) at the base of each post.  If you click on the icons you can:
  • forward my post to a friend as an email
  • post a link to my blog on your Facebook page
  • "Tweet" my blog post
Thank you from the bottom of my Paris-loving, hydrangea-growing, candy-eating heart.

P.S. Remember, the 12 Days of Valentine's Day starts on Thursday!

Storm Soup

I am making "Storm Soup."

And if a post isn't up tomorrow, we have lost power.  The weatherman says that a doozy of a blizzard is headed my way and while "snow in February" is certainly part of the bargain in my beautiful home state, we are apparently going to get at least 12 inches of snow overnight and everyone is battening down the hatches.

When I was at the grocery store (along with everyone else) stocking up on milk, eggs and bread, I also bought sugar, flour and a new box of baking soda.  A girl's gotta bake, right?  I can think of nothing better in a blizzard than a warm fire and homemade muffins...a chocolate cake...English shortbread.  Being snow-bound means I am guaranteed a little quiet time to peruse my cookbook collection.  All this goes out the window if the power goes out, so cross your fingers for me.

Another part of the fun of anticipating a blizzard is making "Storm Soup."  Any variety will do, but today I am making chicken noodle.  I always have a package of soup mix on hand (my go-to brand is Wyler's Mrs. Grass Chicken Noodle), and today I trying a new mix by Shore Lunch and adding fresh chicken along with carrots, celery and onion.  So far it smells delicious!

What do you do to batten down the hatches?