Friday, March 31, 2017

Seattle: University of Washington: Clouds of Cherry Blossoms

I love flowering trees and have been hearing about the cherry blossoms in the University of Washington's quad being in bloom from several sources lately. The sun was out and I decided to swing by campus and try to find delight.

I walked around campus until I found this spectacular grove of trees. I thought that the trees looked like a crowd of debutantes in white dresses with crinolines.
Every bud on every tree lining the large walkway was in full bloom. The area was cram-jam with admirers and it was remarkably quiet for the number of people on campus. The crowds' mood was a mix of happiness and reverence. These trees are 80 years old and the idea that people would come out to enjoy this flowering walkway was initiated long ago.
Bright green grass, peeks of blue sky and clouds of cherry blossoms. That's a weather report we deserve after a long wet winter.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Pretty Tablescape: Waverly Dishes Pop with Green Accent Pieces

We can finally entertain! Friends were coming for dinner and as I was setting the table, I came up with this new combination of dishes and glasses that I want to show you.

I decided to use a pattern by Waverly called Norfolk Rose that I bought years ago from a catalog in a 20-piece set. The plates are a soft shell/khaki color with reddish rose accents. Once I knew the color of the dishes, I bought 5 red-orange primulas ($.99 each!) to be the floral focus. They complimented the plates and added a very important touch of green with their leaves.

I had never considered mixing my bright modern green Marta glasses from CB2 (Crate & Barrel's answer to IKEA) with this rather traditional set of dishes, but as I was auditioning different combinations place mats and glasses, this one looked great!

I had some bright green paper napkins from IKEA and they matched the thin green glass perfectly. I pulled out my set of bamboo silverware and the table was set. 

It might seem silly to take this much time choosing the tablescape, but this is what I love and I haven't been able to do it in a long time. The moving boxes are unpacked and all of my treasures are finally within reach. 

In fact, as I create more pretty combinations I'll be sure to show you.

#entertaining #waverly #cb2 

Monday, March 27, 2017

Hydrangea Plus Pilgrimage to Portland

I am the kind of girl that proposes driving 3 hours to Portland, Oregon to check out a sale at Hydrangea Plus. Yep, that's my idea of fun. We have an mostly empty lot and a lot of potential. Buying unique hydrangeas is a great idea and we can always talk about the memories we made when we bought them.

I ended up buying 3 unusual hydrangeas: a blueish pink w white stripe harlequin, a bright pink edged in white sensation and ayesha which looks like carved light pink porcelain cups. We will not speak of the deer that chewed on two of them. I think they have moved on in the neighborhood and the plants are bouncing back.

#hydrangeas #Portland #gardendesign

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Portland: Salt & Straw Ice Cream: Rose City Riot

I stood in line for Salt & Straw ice cream and it was worth it.

I was in Portland for the weekend and indulged in Rose City Riot (rosewater, saffron & pistachios) and Coava Coffee & Cocanu Craque (coffee ice cream with candied cocoa nibs).

How did this perishable part of Portland make it onto our itinerary? Facebook, of course! 

I "checked in" to Portland for the weekend and a friend in Washington, D.C. posted the three Salt & Straw locations in the comment box so I could visit the one that was closest to our route. Now that's a friend!

We all agreed that it was delicious and having an unusual flavor combination makes it memorable. I noticed that they had a tasting flight - 4 flavors to sample and savor. Next time!

3/30/17 Breaking News: 
Salt & Straw is coming to Seattle's Queen Anne neighborhood! 


Friday, March 24, 2017

Planting Bulbs That Are Already In Flower

I know, you read that blog title and asked yourself what could she mean?

Perhaps the photo above will convince you. Some of the grocery stores and large markets with garden centers are selling a variety of bulbs in bloom. I planted them in my new front yard and it looks like I have been living here for ages. 

I have seen flowering bulbs in pots for years but these items are different. The bulbs are often exposed, with just enough dirt above them to keep them in the pot, and the green stalk is at least 6 inches with blooms forming. The pots are disposable, so its not as if they are meant to be a gift for the indoors. These bulbs (often 2 pots with several bulbs each, for $5) are not yeat blooming and MUST be for the outside, right?

I'm not sure how you would use them if you didn't plant them, so...I planted them! They look happy and make the front of our house look welcoming. Easter is coming and my little grape hyacinths are trumpeting the season. 

I planted 3 sets of grape hyacinths, 5 sets of tulips, 2 sets of narcissus and 3 sets of miniature daffodils. I love it! The next time you are at a grocery store or garden center, look for flowering bulbs that are ready to plant. You won't regret it!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Flat Rainbow in Seattle's Eastside

Yesterday I looked out and saw a FLAT rainbow! I put it on Instagram and joked that after this long rainy winter, even the rainbows need a lift - ha!

Have you ever seen such a thing? It was hovering over the town of Snoqualmie Ridge, with the Cascade Mountains in the background.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Seattle is a Terrarium: Bella Umbrella Has Symbolic Souvenirs

Seattle is like a terrarium. The bright green of every leaf, vine and shrub is due to the constant misting we get from the sky. I love the long growing season and the happy plants and am anticipating a glorious spring after a long wet winter.

We are known for our rain and the umbrella is a natural symbol of our fortitude. Interestingly enough, very few people who live here actually carry an umbrella. So few that I would peg the person as a tourist if I saw someone carrying one.

Why? I think its because if you live here, you know that the rain won't last long. That said, everyone needs an umbrella sometimes. It's just not an everyday thing, as you might think. The beautiful selection above is inside Bella Umbrella, a beautiful shop within walking distance of Pike Place Market that sells (and rents!) umbrellas. If I were to buy a souvenir of Seattle, this is the kind of lasting gift I would buy myself.
Want to see something cute? The gift shop at the Space Needle sells chocolate umbrellas! I love when whimsy, color and chocolate collide.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Dreaming of Picnics in Washington State

I am ready to get out of town and recreate this photograph! It was a beautiful June day last year and we had taken a driving trip (via ferry too) to get from Seattle to Sequim, WA to visit a peony farm. It has been a rainy Jan/Feb/March and I am ready for some spring road trips!

I am finally living a life where picnics are likely. In Michigan, we always had the cottage as our home base, so lunch-on-the-go wasn't necessary. In Seattle, you can drive an hour or 2 in an any direction and find an area to explore for the day. That kind of spontaneity is fun and having a nice meal with us makes for a better trip. 

While this photo looks like a magazine shoot, I can assure you that it took very little effort to put together. The image is all about the angles. The lunch and silverware draw your eye to the right, following the checks, while the white of the mugs in the picnic basket draw your eye up to the left to see the mountains. The image is full of color and texture and it would make a beautiful puzzle, don't you think?

The picnic basket was a wedding gift to us 25 years ago! It came stocked with sturdy plastic plates and mugs that snapped into the lid with leather straps. It also came with a plastic tablecloth, perfect to cover a well worn picnic table. It had been gathering dust in our basement for years, but now that I'm here in Washington we are pulling it out every chance we get.

I added plastic silverware, 2 plastic wine glasses, and 2 meals-to-go from the grocery deli. 

The location? We pulled into Salsbury Point County Park and arranged our lunch on a picnic table facing the Hood Canal Floating Bridge. Look at the snow-capped mountains in the background! It was glorious and I didn't want to leave.

There are loads of parks on the Kitsap Peninsula and I know that we will be exploring many more in the years to come.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Girl Scout Glory: Remembering the Fun

"Who's the Girl Scout?," an acquaintance asked when she saw my sash and this magazine article on my front table.
"Me!," I replied.
"Oh that's awesome."

I think we all have a soft spot for the Girl Scouts and I was happy to see this article "Collector's Guide to Girl Scout Memorabilia" by Caroline Collins McKenzie in the March 2017 issue of Country Living magazine. It really jogged my memory. I thought back fondly to my green Girl Scout flashlight and the crisp plastic coin purse with snap. Treasures, they were treasures.

2017 is the 100th Anniversary of the Girl Scout cookie and this prompted the magazine to show a beautiful selection of Girl Scout memorabilia that has been available over the years. 

I knew I had to show you my own personal gem (above) full of badges that I earned each week along side my elementary school friends.

The Girl Scout organization, and more specifically our incredible Troop Leader, Mrs. Valerie Agresta, made an indelible mark on my life. I believe that my commitment to and success in the Junior League (a volunteer organization for women) goes back past my years of leadership in my sorority to my overall happiness as a Girl Scout. 

When I was leaving the home improvement store Lowe's last weekend, I chatted with 2 of the girls in uniform selling cookies. I told them that I was a Girl Scout too and that I still have my sash loaded with badges. 
"You do?," one asked incredulously. 
"Yep and I bet you'll keep yours forever too," I said, "I love Girl Scouts, learning things with my friends, earning badges. I'm basically you, only a lot older." 
She giggled and said, "Cool." 

Giving young girls a chance to learn from trained adult leaders is a wonderful way to expand their world and help them learn from a variety of female role models. Have you ever thought about being a scout leader?

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Barbara Flores' Magnificent Pear Print

Oh Mi, oh My, Barbara Flores, you know what I like! 

This information-as-art print by Barbara Flores has the color palette of an Italian painting and the subject matter of a sumptuous first course. Pears! 

I have small collection of pears in cement, wax and glass. I love their shape and agree that they should be admired. 

When I saw this poster on display in a Pacific Northwest horticulture booth at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show, I knew I had to show you. I am pleased to tell you that this poster can be purchased directly from Barbara's website here, along with other gorgeous designs of hers. 

Bravo, Barbara, I love your work!


Monday, March 6, 2017

Collecting Chelsea: Having Tea

The funny thing about this picture is that is a great illustration of how my mom's input always seems to make my work a little bit better. 


I have been taking photos of my collections on my iPhone so that I can have a visual index of the pieces I own with me at all times. It has been so helpful and I recommend taking the time to do it.

I arranged some of my antique china (the pattern is called Chelsea or Grandmother's China) and at the spur of the moment it occured to me to spell out EAT with some Ikea cookies that I love. I thought it was hilarious and was ready to go. 

My mom looked at it and said "No, No! Spell: tea" which was remarkable easy because its the same 3 letters - duh. She was absolutely right, of course. 

TEA is perfect and here is the beautiful image for your enjoyment.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Friends Across the Miles: The Great Placemat Search of 2017

I did something unusual on Facebook last month. I asked for help with something silly. My facebook feed had too many political posts and not enough things to "like." I was in a entertaining quandry and I thought my friends would like the distraction. I was right. 

Here is my post:

Placemat A.P.B.: I know you're going to Target. Would you please swing by the placemat section? I need 2-4 more of these placemats. Cream with pink, gray, gold stitching. Only comes in one color way. Bought at Christmastime. Seattle-area has zero. I'll reimburse. Thanks!

We have a new house and are using a dining table that is new to us. It a beauiful table that can extend with leaves to seat the whole family. I know, that's a lot of placemats! When I originally found these placemats at Christmas, I bought 6. When I started to think about entertaining, I realized just how many mats I'd need. That is when I tried finding more of this pretty pink, gold and gray placemat and found that our local Targets were sold out. Target is everywhere and so are my Facebook friends, so it seemed like the natural audience to ask for help.  

It was neat to see the responses from across the USA. My college friend in Tennessee looked. My friend from Junior High looked. A girl from Junior League looked. It was so fun to see them check in and identify which Target location they visited and which "we" should therefore rule out. 

In the end, another friend of mine from Junior League in Michigan (that I haven't seen in at least 5 years BTW) named Carol offered to drive to any Target to get them, I just needed to point her in the right direction. So nice! I tracked down 4 placemats online, called the store and had them hold the placemats for Carol

She bought and mailed them to me lickety split. Fantastic. I noted that it was a job well done on the original Facebook post and that Carol had secured 8 perfect placemats for me, on clearance, no less! For a few weeks afterward, friends would ask me, "Hey, did you ever find those placemats?" 

They thought it was fun to help in a "not so important" search. If you are looking for something, I highly recommend asking your friends to keep an eye out. 

Your quest is my quest. Love, Anne


Thursday, March 2, 2017

Making the Perishable Permenant: Photograph Your Bouquets

I bought this stunning bouquet of tulips on April 27, 2015. I loved it then and I love it now - proof that my concept of using photography to "make the perishable permenant" is part of living a delightful life. 

It may be snowing here east of Seattle, but I can enjoy these parrot tulips all day long.

Sapphire Blue Caribbean Jewels: An Outdoor Plant Indoors

Have you ever wished that a plant was fake? Me neither, until now. 

I bought this striking flowering plant called Sapphire Blue Caribbean Jewels (Scilla peruviana) because of its unusual blue petals. I am in love with blue and I have never seen anything quite like this plant.

I know that it can't last here in my family room, but I am enjoying it while I can. The tag says that it is hardy to Zone 7 (ahem, jury is still out on what zone our new house is in - it keeps snowing!). I will plant it in a large container on the deck as soon as the weather permits.

I love real plants and would discourage decorating with anything artificial, but then I glance at this tablescape and wish that I could freeze it in time. 

I guess my message is, live a little. It doesn't make sense, but I will love this plant indoors for as long as I can and then I'll give it the environment it needs to thrive. 

Do come visit soon, it looks great!