Friday, November 1, 2019

Alison Roman: Dining In to Celebrate at London Plane in Seattle

I was really happy I could support Alison Roman when her first cookbook, Dining In, came out in 2017. I like her point of view in the kitchen and have watched short New York Times cooking video clips of her for years. She is a casual, lemon-forward cook who loves ingredients and friends and eating and I admire her non-nonchalance. She has a new cookbook now called Nothing Fancy and I know it will be a great success.
My friend Amy bought tickets with me and we had a really beautiful dinner at The London Plane in Seattle. Alison was there and did her best to wander and chat with the guests. The food was delicious and the combination of the grand glass windows and lights strung in the trees in the plaza outside made everything feel special. I think of this night as the beginning of many great times in Seattle.  

Amy moved to Seattle from Washington, D.C. right about the same time I arrived from Michigan. This dinner was a great time for us to talk about what it was like to leave our lives and move across the country with our husbands. We met through our work with the Junior League and are thankful for it.
We ate family style at long tables and started with preserved lemons chopped on labneh with fresh bread, olives and nuts. 
Most were enjoying wine with dinner, but I appreciated the waitress making me a shrub - a non-alcoholic concoction of fruited vinegar & rosemary that was cold and light.  
These vegetable course was cumin-roasted cauliflower with caramelized dates and tahini. Why aren't I using cumin in more recipes? Why are dates destined to sit in half-empty boxes in my pantry? This side dish was a star.    
It's blurry, but you needed to see the succulent spiced chicken that kept us going. She was fragrant and delicious.
Dessert was a rich Chocolate-tahini tart with Jacobsen sea salt. As someone who collects salt, I am glad that Alison Roman gave a shout out to the brand (from Portland, OR!) because sometimes details matter...a lot.   

I often flip through her cookbook and feel inspired. I like her how she insists you try things. I like how she is sure you'll find your way. I like how she wants the world to invite people over...even if it takes ages to pull a meal together and you end up eating late. I like her and she makes it seem like I might actually use the anchovy paste I bought. Good luck to you, Alison Roman! 

#alisonroman #cookbooks #seattleblogger #londonplane 

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Local Honey: Puget Sound Beekeepers Association at Gifts & Greens Galore Event

This year my apple pies have a local touch, thanks to the beautiful honey I bought from the Puget Sound Beekeepers Association. The honey is rich amber and absolutely delicious. I found this honey source in 2016 when I was driving past the Washington Park Arboretum one December afternoon and saw signs for the Gifts & Greens Galore event. 

Inside the Graham Visitor Center at the Arboretum, the Gifts and Greens Galore event sells pre-bundled fresh cut greens donated by area gardeners and Arboretum horticulturalists as well as nature-inspired decorations, ornaments and honey. Shopping at this event helps to "support maintenance, environmental education, and volunteerism at the Arboretum!"   

There are a variety of places to buy honey from the Puget Sound Bee Keepers Association, but I thought that this was a particularly great way to attend a local event, buy a unique hostess gift and support local beekeepers. Huzzah!

Mark your calendar for Saturday, December 7, 2019 from 10 am - 3 pm at the Washington Park Arboretum gift shop & visitor center. Free admission and parking.  

#beekeepers #localhoney #washingtonparkarboretum #hostessgift

Friday, September 20, 2019

Jennelle Marcereau Gallery: A Stunning Landscape Photography Gallery in Tacoma

My friend Jennelle Marcereau is an incredible landscape photographer! Her work is beautiful; I am proud and I want to tell you all about it. 
Do you remember that one point when your Facebook connections grew exponentially because all of your college or high school friends were finding each other all at once? Well, Jennelle and I connected online during that flurry and though we sent a nice message saying "We're both living near Seattle!," we never set up a time to see each other. Then recently, Jennelle posted that she was opening a gallery of her photography! I was in Michigan the night of her Grand Opening, but we were able to connect and talk in her beautiful space for hours one afternoon not long afterward. 

She and I are Theta sorority sisters from Michigan State University. We were roommates in our sorority house and it was incredible to laugh and fill each other in on everything that has happened in our lives since we were 21. I kind of wish we'd been recording it, because we really did a good job of boiling our stories down. Have you done that lately? It's quite a mental exercise.
Jennelle has a fascinating life. She balances life as an emergency room doctor with the creativity & physical strength of being a professional nature photographer. In just talking with her, I felt kind of jealous of her brain.  It gets a healthy workout in two completely different kinds of thinking. What a thrill. 

Jennelle loves to travel and hike to capture photos that are absolutely incredible. The color and composition she is able to see and then capture, is just beautiful. Though many people are moved by her images and make a purchase right on the spot, I see an important future for Jennelle in medical spaces. I think her images could bring comfort and inspiration to patients during the uncertainty of the office visit and waiting room.
On a different note, Jennelle thought it was very cool that I had become an artist and writer. She said that she remembered that I was creative and enthusiastic in college, but didn't know that I would become a maker. She invited me to bring my cigar box purses to display & sell at her gallery during a Tacoma Wine Walk. When she saw them in person, she asked if I would like to keep them in her gallery for a while. She liked that it would give her customers a variety of art pieces to look at. It was a kind and generous offer to share her space with me and I am grateful to her. It feels wonderful to have some of my collection on display in an art gallery. My life just keeps surprising me. Thank you, Jennelle, for the honor. Your gallery is beautiful!

#seattleblogger #finddelight #tacomawa #pnw #HerPNWlife #wanderwashington #photography 

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

View A Cut Flower Catalog: Dahlia Barn

Take a Tour of a cut flower catalog of every dahlia blooming at the Dahlia Barn in North Bend, WA.  

Listen to some mother/daughter chatter about loving dahlias.

The Dahlia Barn has this Living Cut Flower Catalog on display every weekend thru September in their barn from 10 am - 5 pm. If the weather and blooms hold up, they may swell their display dates into early October. Check their post on Facebook. They sell cut bouquets for $10. It is a memorable way to spend part of your weekend and I encourage you to find this moment of delight, just 40 min from Seattle. 
I first heard about the Dahlia Barn from a glowing magazine article and was thrilled to make my first visit out to see them in 2014. I was living in a hotel at the time and could only dream of having a house just miles from this very farm. I was able to meet the owners of The Dahlia Barn, Aimee and Jerry and could see for myself how passionate they are about these magnificent plants. 
In my opinion, The Dahlia Barn is THE source for dahlia tubers and I encourage you to order some for your garden. I am impressed with their entire operation, including the detailed care and planting instructions they offer online. 
(flowers on my lap!)

#dahlias #dahliabarn #flowers #farmstand #flowerfarm #ayearinflowers #growdahlias #instalove #seattleblogger #finddelight #farmtovase #floralglory #farmers #buylocal

Monday, September 16, 2019

Missoni: Target: 20 Year Anniversary Collection

How do I love Target...let me count the ways. I have been a huge fan of the Target designer series since it's inception. I remember buying my parents the Michael Graves knives & knife block 20 years ago, knowing that they would love it.

I have been buying pieces selectively whenever Target had special collaborations. I love displaying them throughout my house at different times of year. Above is my new Missoni tray on an ottoman in my family room. I want everyone to realize how effective a $20 item can be. I was thrilled that it was designed to match the 3-piece tray I bought 8 years ago. Follow this link to read my blog post from way back when and see my home and how this 3-piece tray complemented my d├ęcor when I lived in Michigan.

copyright 2011 Anne Reeves

For the gardeners reading this, the magnificent milk chocolate-colored roses in the vase tray are Koko Loco by Weeks Roses.

#seattleblogger #target20 #missonifortarget #missoni #interiordesign #finddelight 

Monday, September 9, 2019

Mount Si High School Tour

The resounding sentiment I overheard from adults when touring the new Mount Si High School was, "Can I go too?" 

On September 7, 2019, the residents of greater Snoqualmie Valley were invited to the Grand Opening Celebration for the new high school. Dan & I both wanted to support our neighbors and see the state of the art facility where the kids of our neighborhood would be going to school. We plan on attending Friday night football games and high school musicals at the very least and we wanted to be there on Day 1.
First of all, the school is enormous at 350,000 sq ft. There are glass walls, raised desks, brainstorming rooms and technology at every turn. The Career and Technical Trailing area was stunning.
Can you imagine being able to learn welding here?! Lucky Ducks doesn't seem to adequately describe how the adults felt. We would all love to be kid for a day and get some time in on this beautiful equipment. I overheard one woman say that touring the classrooms made her feel inspired to help. I heard her brainstorming with her friend who she should contact to offer her skill set.
You really should read the excellent article by Danna McCall on the Living Snoqualmie website to get all of the details about the challenges of building a large school in a flood way. See, I told you that you'd want to know more. This school is build completely on "stilts" with student and faculty parking underneath. It is a feat of engineering and vision.
This (above) is the classroom dedicated to photography and those are the monitors the kids will be working on. Um, yes please. Could I have taken photography classes in my high school? Maybe if I wanted to stand on the sidelines at football games, but that's not the type of photography I'm drawn too, obvi.
What really got me was the rooftop greenhouse and the on-site horticulture classes. Sign me up. I am so thrilled for the students. I will support you in every way that I can! Go Wildcats! 

#seattleblogger #mtsipride #washington #mountsihigh #community #neighbor #education 

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Star Salad

I was inspired by hours on Pinterest to make a 4th of July salad by cutting stars out of mozzarella cheese! Mozzarella logs come pre-sliced now, so it was very easy to cut out mozzarella stars with a cookie cutter. 

I wanted the salad to be a nod to red, white & blue, so I used fresh cherry tomatoes (halved), fresh blueberries and white stars. I added fresh basil to punch up the flavor and it was deliciou. Before I placed the white stars on top, I tossed the salad in a light dressing of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. If you dress the salad with the stars, the white cheese absorbs the vinegar and it isn't as pretty. Happy 4th of July!

#starsandstripes #blockparty #salad

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Succulent Succotash: Mixing Plants and Neighbors

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  

Monday, June 10, 2019

Unusual Vases: Showcase Color from Vase to Bloom

Remember when I went "vase" shopping in the canned food section of Uwajimaya in Seattle?  Well this beautiful almond jelly can was one of my purchases.  I couldn't resist the pink ombre label and graphics on the can.

When I was passing the floral department of the grocery store, I found these unusual carnations and tight raspberry rose buds in separate packages in the clearance section. It was kismet. 

I always put a plain drinking glass inside of the tin to avoid any water/rust and Voila! It looked so pretty that it inspired me to pull out my 3 antique lustre teacups and sandwich plates. 

Who wants to come for tea? 

#uwajimaya #unusualvases #flowersfixeverything #visualvitamins

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Take Me Out To The Ball Game: Thetas at the Mariners

I went to my first Major League baseball game this week! I know, I'm not sure how I missed this all American pastime but I did. My only explanation is that I spent my summers at a cottage on a lake, far out of reach of Tiger stadium. Anyhoo, when my sorority alumnae group planned a night at the ballpark, I couldn't wait to sign up. Twelve or so Thetas met for dinner and then walked  across the street to the game. Play ball! 
The T-Mobile stadium is open air and felt so grand when I walked in, that my oohing and ahhing caught the attention of the attendant and he sent us over to get my "first time at a Seattle Mariners' game" certificate. How could I not?
The stadium has a retractable roof, so the majority of the game was in the fresh air. I took this photo from open area on the 3rd deck. Hello Seattle! When it started to rain around 9 pm, the roof slowly and silently slide closed. That is a modern marvel!
When I was planning on what I would wear to the game (Mariners' colors are blue with a bit of green & the weather would be in the high 50's), I regretted not having any Mariners garb. I was driving when I remembered that I had my Dad's baseball charm. It was in his desk drawer my whole life and as a girl, I was most likely to wear a charm, so my mom said I could have it. It says "Champions 1951" and he would have been 18 years old that year. Was he on his high school baseball team? I need to ask his brother if he can remember a significant baseball event in Mount Clemens, Michigan in 1951.

I strung it on a chain and wore it to my first real baseball game, 68 years after "the championship." Isn't that wonderful? I think my dad would have thought this was great.

#seattlemariners #seattleblogger #baseballfan #sentimental #kappaalphatheta #thetakites 

Friday, May 17, 2019

Anne Reeves: Delight Magazine Gallery Show

This week I filled the walls of an art gallery with delight. My mom lives in a wonderful apartment building for seniors and someone from the programs department saw me carrying a Delight tote as a purse all the time. When we showed her that I had designed 50 different covers it opened up a fun discussion about art and beauty. Wouldn't it be fun to take over their gallery and have a little party for its debut.

In my business, I have photographed and designed magazine covers for my imaginary magazine, Delight. My mom had about 25 of them glued to foam core and displays them as art. I love them as art and as a warm weather day bag. You can see them for sale online in my Etsy store here.
I have to say, my work looks beautiful when it fills a room (here are some of them on my kitchen island as I prepared for the show). I haven't seen all of my Delight covers in one place in years and it made me feel proud to look at them as a collection.

A huge part of my reason for an imaginary magazine about Delight is to encourage people to think. To read the article titles and question whether they would want to read that article or try that suggestion. I often make up something to see if it resonates with people. For example, "needlepoint maps" or "Fig & Brie Tart with Balsamic Ice."  I am trying to provide something to consider or try. 

At the gallery opening this week, one of the residents was completely taken with the idea of a magazine called Delight. She loved that I thought of it. She loved that it wasn't a real magazine (though I told her that a lot of people do read my blog, which is a lot like publishing magazine articles.) She loved that I made so many different covers. And she understood what I am doing with the power of suggestion. When I showed her this magazine cover
she declared that she would love a fig & brie tart! I hadn't made it and she hadn't tasted it, but the joy it brought to her was real. It made every moment of preparation worth it and I am so glad that as I tried to mix and mingle, I was able to connect with her.

Many residents came to the gallery opening and seemed pleased that it would be on display all month. I have photographs and Delight covers on every wall and I know that's a lot to absorb. I wrote little descriptions below many of the images, to help give some context. "This was taken in northern Michigan." "This picture highlights edible flowers - I took this photo and then I ate it." Little comments to help the residents understand my perspective and my art. 
When it was almost over, one of the women took my hand and said "This is wonderful; take every opportunity that you get." Yes ma'am.

#seattleblogger #artgallery #sentimental #photography #photographshow #momentsofdelight #annereeves #thiscreativelife

Friday, April 12, 2019

Upcycling Jars: Bonne Maman Knows Me

I think Bonne Maman makes wonderful strawberry and apricot preserves and buy jars all the time. When they are empty, I run them through the dishwasher and directly into my craft room. When my friend Kim saw that I was storing beads and baubles for my jewelry in Bonne Maman jars, she started saving the jars from her household for me. Her husband easily consumes a jar of Bonne Maman a week and it is his devotion that has allowed me to amass this great storage system. 

Sea glass, felt scraps and buttons become artistic expression in themselves when displayed this way. 

And while we are talking about upcycling Bonne Maman jars, did you know that they recently introduced lemon curd? It is delicious. Smooth, tart and worthy of replacing your homemade lemon curd in a recipe. I'm serious. They did have done a beautiful job with this recipe and it is the only jarred lemon curd that comes close to homemade. And it comes in a super cute jar (wink).

#bonnemaman #upcycling #makersgonnamake #colorsugarribbon #color #craftroom #wherewomencreate #seattleblogger #jewelrymaking #makingjewelry #designer #creativespace #creativelife  

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Making Felted Soaps

Yesterday I told you all about the soap making party that our neighbor hosted recently. Well, we also had an entirely different soap craft that night called Felting Soaps and I thought it warranted a separate post.
In this project, we took a bar of Ivory soap and used a small knife to carve off the edges. Amanda had purchased an array of colorful wool rovings to layer onto our soaps. 

The gist of the project is to fluff and drape a main color of rovings around a bar of soap. Add tendrils of other colors of wool to add dimension and create a look. I was curious, so I arranged my pink tendril into the shape of a heart and placed it on my small sample soap. Okay, then you pat, squeeze and work your soap under hot (then cold) water to encourage the wool to shrink and morph into a coating. It takes a while for the wool to seize up and cling, but it does! Luckily, Amanda has a dehydrator so we placed the felted soaps inside that machine to dry out. It wasn't completely necessary, but I do think it helped. What fun!

I made the aqua, green and periwinkle soap on the right (behind the heart soap) and the blue & raspberry pink soap. Love! Thank you, Amanda, for encouraging us to play with this gorgeous selection of supplies. 

We made art and we made friends.

#neighbors #craftnight #gno #makersgonnamake #finddelight #colorsugarribbon #seattleblogger #soapmaking #soap #crystals

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Sips & Suds: A Colorful Evening with Friends

I open this post with a photo of the finished products: felted soaps and soap crystals, so you can see just how much fun we had. Check tomorrow's post to see the description of felting soaps.
My neighbor Amanda likes a project; She likes to create; She is generous and loves to teach. She decided that it would be "easy" for our neighborhood ladies to make crystal soaps during one of our get togethers. I love color, so I was stunned when I walked in and saw the selection of supplies and soap shards Amanda had made for our project. 
The candle dyes, scents and add-ins were so beautiful that I just wanted to play with the color combinations like Legos. We had options for days and it was thrilling to be able to choose from such a wide range of colors. 

The instruction for soap crystals was to pick out several complimentary shades of soap shards that she had dyed, cooled and cut the night before. Using a small utility knife, we cut the shards into pieces and piled them in a clear plastic cup. Then we dyed some melted glycerin soap, added a drop pr two of scent and poured it over the shards until it filled the cup. We placed the cups in the refrigerator to set.
When the soap had hardened, we removed the cup and cut away at the shape until it resembled a real crystal. So interesting!
This is my soap crystal (above) that I scented with lime and blueberry. I think it is fantastic. And it was oh-so-fun to make. I have it next to my bathtub as a glamorous touch of luxury.

Clearly we were spoiled by Amanda and her love of making. We learned and laughed and all left with a beautiful and useful object. I can't thank her enough for giving us this wonderful evening to create. Shared experiences build friendships and for that we all benefit. 

#makersgonnamake #creativity #soapmaking #gno #sipsandsuds #makerevent #makerparty #party #neighbors #soap #crystals

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Embellish Eggs for Easter

I am loving my Easter table decorations this year. I always have something spring-like and Easter-y out on the table or island in the weeks leading up to Easter. It looks beautiful and it makes me happy. 

And it doesn't mean that this is what my Easter table is going to look like. This is like an advertising campaign leading up the the glorious season. I am in a taupe, pink, wood, gray, aqua faze and these Easter eggs are everything I want to look at right now. Truly a dose of Visual Vitamins.©  

Most of the wooden eggs are from Target and the speckled brown eggs with feathers are from the grocery store (!). Always keep your eye out for beautiful touches, you never know where you'll find something great. I bought small paper flowers and hot glued them to some eggs. I added 3D adhesive embellishments to others.

As far as the tablescape, this winter, I ordered round woven place mats from H & M Home in powder pink and they are beautiful. The plates are a faux bois melamine collection from Target (years ago) and the flatware is faux bamboo. The platter is an antique from my maternal grandmother's cottage. It looks so pretty together and believe me, it makes a weeknight meal taste that much better.

#easterdecorating #easter #eastertable #eastereggs #decoratingeastereggs #makersgonnamake #seattleblogger #springtouches  

Monday, April 8, 2019

Burpee Seeds: Sow A Smile Campaign is Floral Glory

I was so happy to see Burpee Seeds introduce a creative and generous campaign that supports my mission to find delight in every day life.
This spring, Burpee introduced "Sow A Smile," an initiative to spread happiness through the wonder of growing and giving flowers. Yes!

As a garden writer, I received 10 packs of Sow A Smile seed mix (Baby's Breath, Candytuft, Scarlet Flax, Red Corn Poppy, Calendula, Cornflower, Zinnia, Sulphur Cosmos, Catchfly, Gloriosa Daisy and Plains Coreopsis) to share and a super cute Burpee mason jar vase to hold some floral glory once they are in bloom.

The mission of the program is for the public to grow the seeds in the packet and then when they are in bloom, cut & give the bouquets away to make someone happy. It is a great example of living with intention. I would also call this having a master plan - looking into the future and taking steps to ensure some fun ahead.

I recently ordered some Red Lime zinnia seeds from Burpee and when they arrived, the envelope included a "Sow A Smile" seed packet and instructions. This tells me that the program will spread far and wide and that gardeners will be spreading joy from coast to coast in a few short months. Great job, Burpee. The world is a better place when people connect and share flowers. Bravo.

Stay tuned: I promise to grow and give bouquets from these free seed packets this summer. I should be able to sow a smile in a week or so, after the last risk of frost.

#sowasmile #burpee #burpeeseeds #finddelight #momentsofdelight #gardening #startingseeds