Friday, April 27, 2018

Renee's Garden: The Miracle of Seeds

At the risk of sounding like a goof, I think you should try growing some plants from seed. Since I am a garden writer, Renee's Garden offered me some seeds (thank you!) to try growing this spring. I chose a variety of Nasturtiums, Violas, Sweet Peas and Morning Glory vines. 

I must tell you that I bought this mini-greenhouse by Jiffy (complete with peat pods that plump with water) at the grocery superstore Fred Meyer and the fact that some of the seeds have sprouted in just 3 days, has me giddy. I planted this tray by Jiffy on April 24, 2018. I will report on them occasionally, but know that I am checking them constantly like a happy elementary school kid.

Like my identification flags? I cut triangles of stiff paper, wrote on the names/color with permanent marker and taped them to vanity hors d'oeuvres picks by Talisman Designs (similar picks available here). 
What am I going to do with all of these magnificent plants? Well, the Morning Glories are going onto a tuteur in our front garden. The violas (Johnny-jump-ups) are destined to be frozen in ice cubes and sugared and placed on cupcakes. The Sweet Peas will grow up the staircase on our deck, I think. The nasturtiums will be planted along the edge of a cutting garden in our back yard, location TBD. There is also a trailing variety of Nasturtium that I want to drape out of a hanging basket. I.cant.wait.

Have you sown seeds indoors lately? Join me!
May 3, 2018 (day 10) - they look so happy and healthy. Go seeds!

#reneesgarden #sowingseeds #seeds #flowers #startingseeds 

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Flowering Cherry Trees: Groceries Made Grand

I really appreciate when a landlord puts money and thought into their landscaping budget. Just look at this magnificent flowering cherry (I believe it is a Shogetsu) that I photographed yesterday outside of my favorite grocery store in Issaquah, WA. Can you stand it? 

The entire parking lot is studded with these fine flowering specimens and it was so beautiful I had to stop what I was doing and take a picture. Have the flowers of spring moved you to photograph plants out in public? It's good for you and it draws attention to the beauty around you.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Succulent Succotash: Mixing Neighbors and Plants in a Fun-filled Activity

My neighborhood is all new construction and is a gold mine of potential friendships. It seems like each house has a family from a different state, if not country. It's wonderful and we are all trying really hard to get to know one another. We created a Facebook group for the women on our street and once a month a different neighbor hosts everyone at her house for a night of wine, appetizers and camaraderie. 

When it was Amanda's turn to host, she announced that she was having a Terrarium Making Party. We needn't do a thing, just come ready to build a little portable succulent garden. The RSVP's started pouring in - everyone wanted to participate in this fun activity. 
She had lots of plants for us to choose from. We were to select two different style succulents from the: Spiller, Chiller or Thriller category and then add a touch of creeping moss.
Amanda had tables set up on her deck so that we could work with dirt, sand, gravel and charcoal without our worrying about making a mess in her new house. So smart!
Shoulder to shoulder, neighbors became friends. It was such a great environment to talk, laugh and fuss with sand patterns. Amanda had each step written out for us. Instructions like how much of each medium (charcoal, dirt, sand etc.) to scoop into the bowl and in what order. We bonded over the awkward motion of arranging delicate plants with our adult hands. We encouraged each other to pump a touch of fertilizer into the dirt. We handed each other water misters to dampen the soil. It was therapeutic and wholly enjoyable.
At the end, we posed for a large group picture (each neighbor holding her accomplishment) and posted it on our group's page. I think the best way to make friends is through a shared experience and I give this activity top marks in every category.
Thank you, Amanda, for having the vision to host an event like this; we are all better friends because of it. Bravo.

#succulents #succulentparty #newneighbors #washington #snoqualmie #neighbors #friends #gardening #indoorgardening #terrariums #partyplanning #wearesolucky  

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Hot Stove Society: Junior League Sustainers Connect and Enjoy

I really enjoy spending time in the kitchen and that's why I think a cooking class is a wonderful way for a group to connect and get to know one another.
As a member of the Junior League of Seattle (I'm a sustainer, which is like an alumnae), I enjoy attending social events that help me connect and establish relationships with other members. The more connected we are, the easier it is to volunteer together and take  action for great causes. Women get things done and I am very impressed with the women I've meet so far.
The 5 o'clock class was designed to let our group of 25 make assemble, cook and eat 4 different appetizers. Instructors made their way around to the cooking tables and gave up tips and tricks to follow the recipes. My table had shrimp wontons and we learned how to fold, pinch and seal the ingredients inside to prepare the wontons for cooking. 
It was a fun and light-hearted evening. I really appreciated the women who volunteered to man the stove, for their contribution was far more important and quite a bit warmer. The food was delicious (shrimp wontons, empanadas, cheese puffs, chicken skewers AND mini Tom Douglas Coconut Cream Pies) and we loved it. I took lots of pictures of us commanding the kitchen, but I didn't want to post people's photos without their permission, so please imagine a lot of happy faces threading chicken on a skewer and holding up whisked bowls of whip cream.

Thank you, Junior League Sustainers and Hot Stove Society, for a fun night.

#seattle #hotstovesociety #tomdouglas #cookingclass #juniorleague #girlsnight #foodie

Friday, April 13, 2018

Tulip Time: Computer Generated Watercolor

Magnifique! I took this photo at Pike Place Market and I converted it into a watercolor print with the Waterlogue app I bought. Waterlogue is a marvel that creates computer generated watercolors from your photographs on an iPhone or iPad. I have high hopes for finding an online printer that can print this as a note card. Wouldn't that be the best?

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Primavera Spring Market: A Vintage Show with Potential

It was sweet vintage show, but definitely smaller than I had hoped for. I had talked 2 new friends into a day trip to Snohomish to shop at the Primavera Spring Market and unfortunately, it felt like we were finished before we began. I am hoping that next year, many more vendors are attracted to this quirky show.
I did buy two things that I love. A small vintage green Pyrex bowl from JohnBOB's booth that I could add to my collection. It was a cheerful color and since it was March, I had no willpower again that happy shade of green.
I also bought one of the miniature egg/cup/flowering bulb arrangements (shown below). Mine had pale grape hyacinth planted in an egg resting in a small terracotta pot. There was a pussy willow arch bent to replicate a handle, as if it were an Easter basket from Uncle Wiggily. Love love love.
The booths showcased a variety of vintage and well-loved household items. Visually it was beautiful, but I didn't see a lot that I could use. I will always comb the calendar and try to find gems for you. This show has great potential.

#primaveramarket #springmarket #springprimaveramarket #snohomish #washington #antiquing #upcycling #vintage #vintagetreasures #girlstrip #weekendshopping #antiques #spring #springweekend #johnbobcooljunk 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Avocado Toast: A Light Bite at Bellden Cafe

I keep notes in my phone (and a larger notebook at home) of recommendations so that I can pursue people's favorite spots when I'm in the vicinity. I was at the intersection of lunchtime and Bellevue, WA when I realized that I could track down the cafe of the woman who spoke at the Facebook Women in Business event. Her name is Claire Sumadiwirya and her restaurant is Bellden Cafe. She spoke about her desire to create a place where the community would be drawn to the food and the warmth. It sounded like an "everyone knows your name" kind of place and I wanted to support her and visit her cafe.

I had my first avocado toast (it's all the rage on Instagram, you know) and it was delicious. Ricotta cheese, Himalayan salt and crusty bread made it special and satisfying. I'm so glad I had to visit and share this delightful cafe with you. If you're in Bellevue, I think you'll appreciate having this spot on your radar.

#avocadotoast #bellevuewa #foodie #belldencafe #momentsofdelight

Friday, April 6, 2018

Ranunculus: A Bright Floral Story by my Sidewalk

I swooned when I saw these white and pink ranunculus at Lowes. They must have been just delivered to the giant warehouse store because they were in perfect condition. 

I bought 5 or 6 beauties and have planted them by my front walk to add a little Spring cheer now that the bulbs have faded. I just read that cutting the blooms encourages new flowers, so I am going out and cut a small arrangement today. It will look darling by the windowsill.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Great Junk Hunt in Monroe, WA

I went to The Great Junk Hunt in Monroe, WA and it did not disappoint. The event was in a large barn in early November and will return again to the same location on November 2-3, 2018.

I loved seeing the mix of antique and flea market finds, along with a jumble of sentimental toys, fabrics and ironwork from days gone by.
This beautiful set of cutlery reminded me of the time I take to line my cigar box purses with small scale fabric prints. It looks darling, doesn't it? I have never seen a formal silverware box lined with a cotton print before, have you?
This is my favorite display from the show. Aren't the red plaids fabulous? This is a Country Living magazine come to life: It looks cozy and All-American.
I was happy to see vendor Butch's Baskets making a statement at this show. I know that the secret to a great display is incorporating live plants. I would have bought the 2 window boxes planted with 3 cypress in a minute if I had a porch and I still regret leaving the orange watering can behind. J'adore!
Another fun thing about shows like this is that they appeal to like-minded people! I ran into a friend I made at Camp Thundercraft on Vashon Island. Hi Karla!

#thegreatjunkhunt #monroewa #shabbychic #upcycling #thrifiting #antiques

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Emma Bridgewater at Churchmouse Yarns & Teas

I absolutely love Emma Bridgewater china. In fact, I made it a point to visit her factory in Stoke-on Trent when I was in England. Swoon.

So when I was shopping on Bainbridge Island and saw this pretty display of Emma Bridgewater at Churchmouse Yarn & Tea, I snapped a photo and posted it on Instagram. 

And a representative from Emma Bridgewater asked me if they could use my photograph on their web page. Why yes, of course! I didn't think I'd get to do a favor for a favorite brand, but I'm happy to oblige.

#churchmouseteaandyarn #churchmouse #emmabridgewater #bainbridgeisland #livingonbainbridge #seattle #tea #yarnlove #knitting #photography 

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Brighten the Kitchen with Real Flowering Plants

Remember when I planted these boxes full of flowering bulbs for Easter? Well I loved it and it was beautiful. But...the timing was right for the bulbs, but not for the holiday and all of the plants faded before my guests arrived for Easter.

So I went to the Nursery at Mount Si and bought pansies, primulas and assorted pops of color in yellow and orange to make a fresh new arrangement. You know what made it perfect for Easter? Last year I made Pysanka Eggs with faux eggs and simple decorative sleeves. I tucked them into the greenery and it looked beautiful! The rich colors in the eggs made the flower colors make sense.