Saturday, June 30, 2012

Lemon Tree, Very Pretty

I'd like to take this moment and say that I am jealous.  My brother and sister-in-law in Houston recently moved into a house with a lemon tree (see Exhibit A, above).  

I took this photo at Christmas and it was all I could do to not pick it and rush in the house to make lemon curd.  Can you imagine having citrus growing in your yard, ready for lemon meringue pie at a moments notice? I could hardly stand it.

Now my friend in Honolulu has bought a house and she has a lemon tree too! And perhaps a kumquat tree too, we have to wait for some fruit to develop to know for sure.  I am green with envy.  

I guess I should start keeping copies of my favorite lemon recipes in my suitcase, huh?  When I start traveling again, my friends will know to look for me in the backyard.  There's a good chance I'm working on dessert.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Homemade Popsicles

We tried our hand at making layered popsicles and they turned out super cute AND delicious!  Our masterpiece started to melt before my niece and I managed to find a camera, but you can get the idea from this picture.
The top layer is pureed watermelon, then we added a layer of strawberry ice cream, then we mixed fresh sliced strawberries with homemade strawberry jam and ending with a base of vanilla orange pudding.  They were delicious! And the mix of flavors and textures complimented each other very well.  We were happy that our very cool popsicle mold has a straw in the base so we could slurp out whatever had melted.
Making homemade popsicles is fun, but creating ones with layers is even better.  We decided that we felt like a sweet genius.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Moments of Delight: Finding Delight in Everyday Life

I am leading a summer seminar on Delight!  I was asked to participate in a continuing education program in northern Michigan and the more I think about it, the more I am looking forward to it.  And isn't that delight in a nutshell?

I will be leading a 2-part session (July 11, 18 from 10-12 noon at the Leland High School library in Leland, Michigan) and this is my class description:

Author, Photographer and Blogger, Anne Held Reeves, will lead a discussion celebrating the delights of life. A look at how visual images, tasty treats and simple story telling can enhance the human experience. The impact of flowers; the joy of friendship; the satisfaction of collecting – these ideas are the foundation of Anne’s book and blog, that celebrate the beauty of everyday life.

You can read an article about the entire series in the Grand Traverse Insider.  This link takes you to the 2012 Leelanau Summinars Catalog.  Care to join me?  

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wedding Anniversary

Happy Anniverary! I've been married twenty years today and I thought that this sweet bouquet would mark the occassion nicely.  The vase is part of my "crown jewel" series, where I've glued pink, peach and clear gems to an empty jam jar.  So pretty! 

The oh-so-perfect flowers are "Endless Summer" blue hydrangeas, David Austin pink "Heritage" roses and an apricot rose called "Brandy." 

Can you hear the faint chime of wedding bells?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Darling Clothespins

What took me so long?  I mean really, I've thought about gluing pretty scrapbook paper onto plain wooden clothespins for months.  When I finally sat down to do it, it only took about 15 minutes to make them!  I wish I had tried it sooner, I would have had more time to enjoy them.

Right now I am using them to manage the stacks of papers in my office.  These piles are no match for paper clips!  And they are SO much cuter.

The "instructions" for making these are embarrassingly easy.  Find pretty scrapbook paper - I like using a mix of similar papers, instead of making a set of matching clothespins, but it is up to you.  Use a glue stick to rub a thin layer of glue on one side of the clothespin.  Smooth glue out with you finger if necessary.  Stick paper to clothespin, lining up one end and one side so that it "fits" perfectly on the clothespin and smooth out bubbles/wrinkles, if any.  Allow to dry.  When it is dry, cut excess paper off of the other two side of the clothespin where the paper hangs over.  Start the same process on the other side.  Voila!

I found myself using the assembly line system.  I worked on 5 different clothespins (on one side) and let them dry.  By the time I got to the 5th clothespin, the 1st was about ready for me to work on it's flip side.  Very efficient.  And super cute!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Leelanau Peninsula: A Classic Summer Moment

I brought a friend up north to Leland with me for a few days and while we were there we made 3 batches of homemade strawberry jam.  Yum!  We had barely started our 5-hour drive back home when we came upon a farm stand on County Road 651 with a van idling in front.  Strawberries!

A flat of strawberries instantly became the perfect souvenir from our time up north.  I pulled over and we shouted greetings to the girl delivering boxes of strawberries right from the field.  As my friend grabbed her purse and climbed out of the car, the girl in the van drove away.  "Where is she going? I really wanted strawberries," my friend said with dismay.

I showed her the cash box and the price sheet.  The look on her face told me that she hadn't seen a farm stand with the honor system ever.  It was a great moment, really, because coming from the hustle-bustle of a city, it shows that people are good and can be trusted.  Chose your box of berries, consult the price sheet, pull out the right amount of money, drop it in the cash box. 

That feeling you get is called satisfied customer.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Colonial Garden Book

Only a true girlfriend can spot your china pattern in a photograph. When I was in Colonial Williamsburg with my dear friend, Kerry, we were shopping in the Williamsburg Marketplace store when I heard, "Anne!  Where's Anne?!" ring out across the store.

Kerry was browsing the gift book section when she saw my dishes (Lavinia by Royal Worcester) on the cover of "From A Colonial Garden."  She knew I would flip (I did) and rushed a copy over to show me.  You see, my china pattern was never available in stores here.  I had grown up loving the pattern on a demitasse cup in my mom's china cabinet.  When I went to choose a pattern of my own, nothing lived up to those gorgeous black raspberries.  Since they were Royal Worcester and available in England, we had to move mountains to find a source for them here in the United States (I think we got them in Canada).  So I NEVER see my pattern out and about and as a result, they are NEVER in magazine photographs etc.  It was such fun to see this gorgeous book.  Do I sound like a fine china geek?

I had to have it and the good news is that it really is a great book!  It has beautiful photographs, interesting recipes and instructions for making some traditional Colonial decorations, like fruit and flower cones, Christmas ornaments and topiary.  It actually lives up to the Williamsburg in my mind, more than the town itself.  That is the importance of good photography and content.  I remind myself of that every day as I work on my next book.

So thank you, Kerry, for finding this treasure for me.  Good eye!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Oahu Orchids

This little area of the orchid greenhouse looks like an opening scene for Fantasy Island, don't you think?  The mini-waterfall was charming and added moisture to the air.

After photographing orchids, we sat on a bench under an enormous tree and ate our lunch.  When traveling to a new city, investigate their gardens and see if it makes sense to add a stop on your itinerary.  A city can be so much more than shops, museums and restaurants - a few minutes in a butterfly garden just might add delight to your trip.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

It Takes A Village...a rose gardener's life

Ha! All I could think of when I looked back at this photograph was, "It Takes A Village."  I went to a one night class at Telly's Greenhouse on tending roses last month and this was the display of suggested products.

I looked over the selection and thought, "Yep," that about covers it.  Actually there are 2 standouts on this table that I couldn't have a rose garden without. 

  • Organic Rose Tone fertilizer - granular and mixed in the soil to fertilize every 4-6 weeks
  • Neptune's Harvest - a "fragrant" fish and nutrient mix I spray on rose leaves every 3 weeks
 These products along with the tips: "don't let the sprinklers hit the leaves" and "make sure there is plenty of air circulation between plants" can get you well on your way to the garden of your dreams.  Are roses more work than other plants? You bet.  But look who I get to have my coffee with each morning. That's delight.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Lilly Pulitzer-esque Tablecloth

My new tablecloth is the equivalent of caffeine.  You can't walk into my kitchen and not feel energized.  I found this cotton fabric when I was in Honolulu and I knew immediately that I wanted it to be a Lilly-like tablecloth in my aqua and white kitchen.
I am a big fan of buying fabric that I love and serging the edge to make a quick and easy tablecloth.  When I realized that the fabric width didn't allow for enough drape on the sides, I tried making my first "ruffle" with the extra fabric to add some length. It worked and still looks great. 

And a casual collection of like-minded roses from the garden echos the colors in the fabric.  I love this time of year.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Power of Cute

I love these new hair ties from Goody so much that I am blogging about them!  This set included four patterned hair ties and that is what I want to call your attention to.  It adds a little bit of style to your ponytail and having patterned hair ties is completely new in the world of hair accessories. 

The elastics have a swirl of color in complimentary tones.  When I wear my hair in a ponytail, I can't tell you how many people have commented on this simple, and inexpensive, item.  I tend to wear solid color t-shirts and khaki pants when I am running errands in the Summertime and having a pretty hair tie makes me feel good.

Never underestimate the power of cute.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Basket weave Cupcakes

Success!  I have been wanting to make a basket weave cupcake for a l-o-n-g time and I had the perfect occasion last week when I hosted Euchre Night. 

I had noticed a picture in an old issue of Country Home magazine of a platter of cupcakes - one was a basket weave pattern made with two different frosting tips (basket weave flat and round zigzag edge) and two different colors of frosting. 

It looked darling in the magazine and this was the perfect time to try it.  I'm so happy with the result!  It wasn't too hard and it made an everyday dessert, a little extra special.  Want to try making a basket weave pattern in frosting?  I found a great video by Wilton that shows you how.  Good luck!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Sasaki Tea Set

Does eBay get you too?  I thought I was strong, but when I came across a set of cup and saucers to match my long-lonely Sasaki Teapot, I caved.

I was telling someone about how I have loved this teapot for years, by saying that "I have been me for a long time."  What I meant was that when all the other girls were asking for curling irons and clothes, I had to have this teapot. I was 19 or 20 years old at the time and the last thing I needed was a pale pink teapot, but oh how I loved it.
My parents did get it for me that year (my birthday?) and I have displayed it on a book shelf or in an open cabinet in my house ever since.  But actually using it for tea instead of art was never an option because the pattern was discontinued and I didn't have any cups!
I love the website "Replacements," but it never occurred to me to look for more pieces (I looked just now and they have some!).  Then I stumbled upon this set of 2 matching cups and saucers on eBay and I pounced. 

Sometimes you have to turn any old Thursday into your 19th birthday again, don't you think?   

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Portrait of the Iris

I don't mean to get carried away, but doesn't this look like an early American painting?  The shades of color, the framing - I love it all.  This is a deep blue iris (up close it looked like it was made of silk!) displayed in a wine bottle turned vase.  Don't be intiminted with "flower arranging" - this time I used one stalk and one bottle. 

Sometimes a quiet arrangement speaks volumes.   

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Gem Counter

I'm attaching gems to jam jars to make vases that are fit for a Queen!  This was my kitchen counter this morning!  It looked so pretty, I had to show you.  I worked my way through this swirl of inexpensive flat-backed gems and I've arranged them into patterns that I will afix to empty jam jars with Gem Tac.  This is my new favorite way to display flowers! What do you think?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Feeling French

How can a worn paint door and a stone wall look so beautiful?  I took this photo in Paris; at a little restaurant in the 6th arrondisemont where the door was propped open to let in the breeze.  I looked at this "door against the wall" throughout my dinner and knew that it had to be a photograph, so I got up from my seat between dinner and dessert to capture it before the light changed. 

The letter slot, the worn blue paint, the stone wall that is most likely two hundred years know, what designers aspire to create these days - an authentic, French feel.  Don't you love it?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Herb Appeal

This is the goal: a healthy herb pot on the patio at the cottage, shown here on one of my Ana's Delight Totes (if you want a tote with this cover, just email me).  I am happy to report that we will have planted our herb pots one week from today!

My dad and I always celebrate Father's Day by planting herb pots together.  His pot stays up north and we cook from it all Summer.  Mine travels back home with me, wrapped in a plastic bag and gently wedged between a laundry basket of weekend clothes and, say, an electric ice cream maker.  It always makes it home, but I'm a little nervous until it is taken out of the car, unbroken.

Last Summer we didn't make an herb pot for the first time in years and we both missed it terribly.  We blame a combination of timing, weather and travel schedules;  we didn't have a great selection of herbs and the time to pot them intersect. So....this herb pot feels even more important.

Last week we went to Wiegand's and we thrilled to find: Ginger Mint, Lemon Thyme, Dill, Chocolate Mint, Variagated Sage, Orange Mint, Parsley, Hot n Spicy Oregano...  It was an herb specialists dream!

Father's Day is Sunday and we will be planting together by Tuesday.  Can you see me smiling?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Vintage Postcard: Lake Lucerne

Isn't this charming?  I think I have a new place to add to my "places to visit" list: Lake Luzerne, New York.  The scenery looks beautiful.  I bought this vintage postcard at an antique show and knew immediately that I wanted to scan it and print it onto fabric so that it could make it into an accent pillow for my living room.  I know, it's not what springs to mind for most collectors, but it is what makes sense to me.
I'll be honest, I immediately thought this postcard was for "Lake Lucerne" in Switzerland (one of my favorite places).  I thought that the "z" might be the German spelling.  Nope, my mom knew that it was New York, but encouraged me to get it anyway because the colors were so perfect.

I'm on a sewing binge right now and if I stay focused, I can make and post a picture of this pillow right away.  When it is finished, I will add a picture of it to this blog post, so please check back.
Tah-dah!  Doesn't it look cute?! Anne (6/25/12)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Patio Pots: Layering Shades of the same Color

Doesn't this planter shout, "Yippee!"  When I was selecting the plants for my large patio pots, I decided to blend shades of coral, bright pink and touches of orange across a variety of plants.  The effect is a happy and visually interesting arrangement.  Every bloom is a different shape, but the arrangement works because the colors are so similar. 

What you see here are a:
As you shop for the pots on your patio, consider combining a mix of plants like this.  The varying height, color and shape will give your patio a custom look.

Friday, June 8, 2012

A Gift from Laduree

A treasure from Paris!  My friend, Diana, recently returned from a much-longed-for trip to Paris and she toured the city with my book, Paris:Delight in the City of Light, in hand!

When I met up with her to look at her photos and hear about her trip, she presented me with this glorious box of macarons from Laduree!  Is that a friend, or what?  I am just tickled.  I brought them home, took this photo and ate the pale green pistachio one on the spot!

The limited edition box is to commemorate the 2012 French Open and says "Laduree pour Roland Garros," which means "Laduree for the French Open."  I just love the shocking green box and knew immediately that I would display it with my The Vert tea set by Villeroy and Boch.  Does it look perfect there?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Richmond: Welcome Home

I think I would have an overwhelming sense of community, of belonging, if I walked out of my house every morning and could see this endless view of historic porches.  And the crisp American flag down the way clinches it.  This is a street that is proud to welcome you.

My dear friends have bought themselves a historic house in Richmond, Virginia and they are in love.  With each other, of course, but also with this little piece of Americana.
I was thrilled to "get a tour" of the house and admire the fresh paint, original fireplaces and all the touches they have done to make a house a home.  This little beauty will be 100 years old next year and she is darn lucky to have such devoted owners.  After a century of families, friends and folks living here, I can only imagine what she would say "if walls could talk" but I'm pretty sure it would be...Welcome Home. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Williamsburg: Foxglove

I have never seen so many foxglove blooming in one place!  It must be the unofficial flower of Colonial Williamsburg.  Back in Michigan, I am used to seeing large mixed perennial gardens with 5 spikes of foxglove max, so I thought this display was just breathtaking.  I've decided that since I wasn't able to visit Williamburg at Christmastime (to see the candles, fruit displays and wreaths), then coming in the Spring must be the next best thing!  

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Williamsburg: Lunch at The Trellis

A really neat "old world collides with new world" experience when my friends and I were visiting Colonial Williamsburg.  I posted the "Off to Williamsburg for the very first time" as my Facebook status (from my iPhone) and had a lot of responses from my friends that I could read, on the spot, from my phone. 

One comment was from Dan's step sister, Melissa, who lives and was writing from Belgium!  She told us to try and eat lunch at The Trellis.  Thirty minutes later we were seated at The Trellis!  Our lunch was delicious (Shown is roasted tomato soup, a turkey salad sandwich and a simple salad) and we all appreciated spending a long lunch in a lovely air conditioned setting.   
We talked and enjoyed ourselves so much that we weren't quite ready to leave, so we caved and the four of us shared their signature dessert, Death By Chocolate.  Yum, yum, yum, yum, yum.  Thank you, Melissa!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Williamsburg Brickwork

I'm not sure if this will translate to your computer screen, but to me, this brickwork looks like needlepoint!   I took these photos on my trip to Williamsburg and when I looked up "colonial brick style" online to learn more, I found this article on the Colonial Williamsburg website.  I learned that this popular style is called Flemish Bond, which has bricks set in a pattern alternating long and short in the same row.
From a distance it is just gorgeous and reminds me of a needlepoint sampler I did when I was twelve.  In the sampler, I stitched 5 bars horizontally in one color and 5 bars vertically in another color and it resulted in a beautifully textured patchwork.  I loved that project!  This whole experience has brought back so many great feelings about stitch samplers, it makes me wonder why I'm not doing any needlepoint?   

Friday, June 1, 2012

Williamsburg: A Colonial Garden

On our drive over from Richmond, I started talking about how I was really looking forward to seeing some Colonial gardens.  This large community garden, called "Colonial Garden" on Duke of Gloucester Street in the middle of Colonial Williamsburg, did not disappoint.  There is even a small market that sell garden items.  I was happy to see a row of glass cloche (above) protecting tender seedlings.  Cloche are so very popular as decorative elements in design magazines right now - it was nice to see them being used as intended!
This is a beautiful natural twig trellis for sweet peasI want to build one!  
All of the plants were so tall and healthy.  As a Michigan gardener, I was completely jealous at how far ahead these plants are.  And look, bee skeps!  Remember how I use bee skeps  in my garden?