Thursday, May 13, 2021

Cans and Potential: Waiting For Blooms

I intended to buy new roses in 2020...and then the lockdown kept us all at home so I tended the roses in my front yard and made bouquets with the beauties that I had.  

But I can say with certainty that the restriction caused pent up demand in my head and I went a little overboard at the nurseries this year. I bought 7 new roses.

State of Grace, All Dressed Up, Celestial Night, Hot Cocoa, Marc Chagall, Oh Happy Day and Princess Alexandra of Kent. Ahem. I already had 10 that were thriving, so lot of blooms are on the horizon. I call it potential. My garden has potential. 

All of the roses are budding like crazy, we've had a week of sun in Seattle and I can't wait to make and give small bouquets away in my favorite gifting vessel: Vibrant juice cans. 

Potential: We all have potential.  

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Today I Choose: Creating Beauty & Finding Delight with Anne Reeves

  

I am so pleased to share my interview about Finding Delight in Everyday Life on the podcast Today I Choose with Melissa Bingham. I talk about Visual Vitamins, Rosewater Shortbread and the importance of volunteerism. 

Melissa has been my friend for the last 20 years and I was honored to be a guest on her podcast about Living with Intention. Melissa is a spiritual mentor, soul teacher and author who helps spiritual seekers unlock the magic of intentional living through meditation, mentorship and teachings. She is the founder of the “Everyday Living with Intention” community, author of “Today I Choose: A Daily Guide of Living Life with Intention,” and host of the “Today I Choose” podcast.

#todayichoose #everydaylivingwithintention #todayichoosepodcast #intentionalliving #mindfulliving #mindfulness #melissabingham #meditation #intentionsetting #anadesigns #finddelight #annereeves #intentions

Monday, April 5, 2021

Frozen Salad: Lemon Pear Bunny for Spring

Sometimes things work out even better than I imagined. Cue my lemon pear bunny, the perfect addition to any Spring meal. I was excited to try this Place & Time bunny mold that I found at my local JoAnns store.

When I looked at the composition of the entire meal, I knew it would be better for the family if this component was fat free. I had made other lemon pear salads, so I used that experience to create a version in a completely different way and it was perfect.

Frozen Lemon Pear Salad

  • 15 oz can of pears, in lightly sweetened juice
  • 3 oz box of lemon Jell-O
  • 1 cup of Fat free Half & half
  • 1/4 cup water

Drain the juice from the can of pears into a sauce pan. Add 1/4 cup of water. Bring to a boil. Take off of the heat and add the lemon jello power and stir until dissolved. In a powerful blender, pulverize the pears. Stir in the cold half & half. When the hot lemon Jell-O mixture has cooled a little, stir the cold mixture into the lemon Jell-O mixture. Place your silicone molds on a tray (to catch an spills and to aid in transport) and then pour the mixture into the molds. Place the tray in a level spot in your freezer.

Unmold about 30 min before you are ready to serve. I placed one bunny on the edge of each salad plate with a big green salad at Easter dinner and it was adorable.

#easter #easterdinner #bunny #bunnymold #lemon #lemonpear #frozensalad #eastertreat #specialoccasion #holiday #easterbunny 

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Creative Home Office: Driven by Color

I call myself an Architect of Delight. I look for beauty in everyday life and am thrilled by the intersection of things that are beautiful and interesting. When we were moving to Seattle, I kept saying that I wanted the office we set up to be overwhelming. I wanted to be able to see what I have and to look at what I love. I needed my huge stash of fabrics, ribbons, beads, threads, buttons, tapes, paint etc. to be clean and organized in a dustfree environment, but I also wanted to be able to arrange an area into a little color story if the mood struck. 

I thought that I would make a creative hive - and that it would be a mess. In truth, it looks great because I found the right wall unit that allowed me to contain and display.

I was hoping I could find something at IKEA and the BESTA cabinet with glass doors turned out to be perfect. They are like a giant Lego wall unit with spring hinge doors. The sections with glass doors also have glass shelves to enhance viewing. 

(Note: We paid to have a professional IKEA installer put this Besta unit together because it came during a hectic week for us. It took him more than 6 hours and he is proficient with IKEA instructions. If you buy this marvelous unit, you may want to budget that kind of professional help into your office project too.)
My home office is working well for me. I can be creative and handle my business all out of one room, depending on which half I'm focusing on. When I'm really making, everything explodes everywhere and consumes much of the first floor. For this post, though, it was important to me to show everything in order so that you could see these fabulous cabinets and get a sense of how they might work for you.
One of my favorite elements inside the cabinets is my bead and bobble storage in empty Bonne Maman jam jars. My best friend in Michigan gave me a steady supply there for a while and it set me up for a remarkable system. Isn't it pretty?
On the other side of the room is where I can write, print, sew and think. This is where my next book is percolating. I'd really like to write a modern coffee table book about Finding Delight in the Pacific Northwest. Someone asked me what my favorite word was recently and I immediately thought: potential. Stay tuned.

P.S. Do you like my watercolor palette? Would you believe it is a panel of fabric by Hoffman Fabrics? I loved it so much I had mounted on foam core as art. 

#homeoffice #creativespace #ikea #craftspace #beautyofeverydaylife #wherewomencreate

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Hadley Pottery: An Incredible Gift Linking Women in My Life

Are you familiar with Hadley Pottery? My collection has grown lately, and it makes me so happy. First you need to hear what it is and why I like it. Hadley Pottery was founded in 1940 in Louisville, when an artistic woman, Mary Alice Hadley (who had been born into a family of clay tile makers) designed and painted dishes for her houseboat on the Ohio River. When she entertained, everyone went wild for her dishes and insisted she create a set of dishes for their household in the same style. You can read their legendary story on the Hadley website.

My mother went to college at Denison in Ohio in the early 1950's and she said a Hadley mug was her coffee cup throughout college. I grew up drinking out of that same mug, painted with a pig, and loved that when the mug was empty, I could read "The End" painted inside on the bottom. I thought it was fabulous and drank Ovaltine out of it every chance I got growing up.

When I got engaged in 1991, a young couple I admired from Cincinnati gave us a Hadley salad bowl (Farmer & Wife) as an engagement present. Then when I moved to Seattle, I started going to church rummage sales. One day I spotted a Hadley milk pitcher…price 10 cents! My collection was growing.

When we had friends for dinner, I made a chicken dish with a sauce and served it in my new-found Hadley creamer. I told the story of the Hadley brand as I served salad from the big Farmer & Wife salad bowl. Well, six months or more later, that friend texted me and said that she thought the pattern I was collecting was at a resale shop in the next town. She was out scouting for herself and found loads! I went that weekend, and someone must have donated a lifelong collection! It was a thrill. I bought a giant platter, a covered vegetable, a teapot, and a creamer & sugar. Happy days.  And bravo to Stacie for recognizing the pattern.

Okay, now this is where you will not believe it. I posted this photo below on Facebook, showing that I was finally framing some of my favorite garden photos in some new inexpensive IKEA frames. And I got a comment from my high school English teacher-turned-friend, Pam. “Does that bowl on your table mean you collect Hadley?” What? I was so taken with my project I did not even realize that the bowl snuck into the photograph. I emailed Pam privately and told her about my growing collection that had started back in my mom’s college days. Pam said that loved Hadley china and was so thrilled that I did too. She said that she has a large collection that she has had fun adding to over the last 40 years. She also wondered if I would l would like to take some of her pieces as my own. She was downsizing and was sure that her children would not want as many pieces as she had. Gulp. Oh my, yes. What an honor.

Look how much my collection grew with her generous gift! I now have 2 dinner plates so Dan and I can have dinner together. Her vinegar & oil decanters are perfect with my salad bowl. I now have covered soup bowls for French Onion soup or individual baked vegetable casseroles. I have a honey pot and syrup pitcher too. And some darling holiday mugs and luncheon plates for cocoa and cookies. I really cannot believe it. I feel like an honorary daughter and it makes me misty.

Pam and I have been friends since I was in high school (cough cough). We started off on the right foot because her husband, Tom, had been my Social Studies teacher when I was in Junior High! I loved his class so I remember talking to her about how I knew him. Then when I was her student in high school, in addition to teaching English and Creative Writing, Pam also ran the district's Gifted & Talented Program. 

Pam knew that I spent a lot of my free time doing counted cross stitch and she encouraged me to apply to the Board of the Gifted and Talented Program for high school credit in needlework. The ability for the board to approve/issue high school credit for extra curricular activities had been primarily focused on ballerinas and students in ROTC, when Pam thought to challenge that with another viable creative pastime. 

When I was accepted, we helped the Board figure out what amount of time doing cross stitch should quality for 1 hour of high school credit. If memory serves, I did 134 hours of cross-stitch in one semester of high school. It is staggering now that I think about it, but I accepted the challenge, and it was fun. It was my senior year, and I would often spend that “gifted and talented” time slot doing cross stitch and having tea in Pam’s room. Tea and needlework. I’ve been me for a long time. 

Thank you, Pam, for your generous gift. I promise to take good care of your Hadley and serve delicious meals on it forever and ever. My heart swells with my collection and feels like it may burst.

#hadley #hadleychina #collecting #housewares #collectingdishes #blueandwhite #bluedishes #friendship #storytelling #beautyofeverydaylife #gifts 

 






 

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Plants By Her: A Terrific Zoom Class About Houseplants

The only way that I have remained social during the winter months of the pandemic has been over Zoom. I am a sustainer in the Junior League of Seattle and right now their programming is virtual and available to me as a Sustainer. I l have loved volunteering with this organization since 1997 (Birmingham, MI and Seattle, WA) and am now grateful for the chance to learn and connect during these strange times.

The theme of this month's training and programming revolves around the idea of Resilience. This class was called, "Resiliency in Houseplants and Transplanting" hosted by Katlyn of Plants By Her, a Seattle-based business that "brings the benefits of plants into commercial and residential spaces through custom design services." 

I think this woman is fantastic. She was organized, passionate, a great communicator and very knowledgeable. Our instructions were to gather an easy to care for 4" houseplant, potting mix, orchid bark, horticultural charcoal and a 4-6" pot with a drainage hole. 

I planted a Futura Dracaena (Dracaena deremensis aka corn plant) in a pretty teal pot that I had in the garage. I think it will be very happy on a table on my first floor. I think you have to approach classes with a bit of levity. Of course any of us could Google the basic of houseplant care and limp our way through what we think are good practices in repotting, but where's the fun in that? I enjoyed this session because I had signed up for a bit of time centered on plants. I had fun getting ready for class and assembling what I needed. I looked forward to spending time learning how I could improve my care of houseplants. I thought about where I needed a plant in the house, what kind would do best in those conditions and generally about the joy I get from tending things. 

I'd like to encourage you to find an hour here and there where you can focus on the things you love. I dare you to write knit  (or read, bake, make) on your calendar and then sit down during that time and do it, just for you. Better yet, find a class where you can learn a new stitch and sign up. These days are ours and we need to make sure that we sprinkle in some fun ways to learn and grow.

Thank you, Katlyn! I really enjoyed your tips and tricks for creating a healthy potting mix, getting plants ready for our vacations and steps for re-potting success. And I promise to dust and rotate my new plant!

#plantsbyher #houseplants #jleargueseattle #beautyofeverydaylife #finddelight  

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Tea and Cookies


It is the middle of winter and whenever I'm not out running errands (= Starbucks latte), I find myself drinking tea at home every afternoon. And more often than not there has been a cute cookie on the saucer. For Valentine's Day, Trader Joe's is selling these raspberry shortbread hearts. They are small, festive and delicious.

This teacup is a pattern called Black Toast by Emma Bridgewater. Are you familiar with it? I love it. My mom has a collection too and we share pieces back and forth. Right now I have the teapot, creamer, sugar and 2 cup & saucers on display and ready for tea on a black cart in my family room. I get to see it every day and it is what prompted me to pick up this cup and try a new tea.

My friend Amanda introduced me to a new company called Sips By. It is a tea subscription service that sends customized tea choices to you each month. I received it from her as a gift and I really loved getting new teas to try each month. When you subscribe, you complete a survey about your tastes and preferences and that helps the company build your selections each month. I've really had fun with it and have received some beautiful loose leaf teas.

Are you a tea drinker? Do you have a favorite cup and saucer?

#sipsby #teaforone #beautyofeverydaylife #quiettime

Sunday, February 7, 2021

My Koko Loko Rose is Living Up to Her Name

 
And by loko I mean crazy for blooming in February! This is my Koko Loko rose with a fairly good size bloom on it on Feb 7th, 2021 on the eastside of Seattle. The weather has been wet and in the 40's. Can you believe it? I couldn't. I walked out on the sidewalk to go for a walk and when I looked back at the house, the color caught my eye. I know winter weather is coming, so I'll cut this to enjoy on the windowsill.

#rosegarden #winterschminter #beautyofeverydaylife 

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

12 days of Valentine's Day

Have you heard about the 12 Days of Valentine's Day? My version started years ago when I was in full Valentine's swing around our house (pink placemats, heart shaped brownies, mailing cards, pink sprinkles everywhere and he suddenly said, "What is this, the 12 Days of Valentine's Day?" And a celebration was born. You see, i am a firm believer in sharing love and happiness through easy and accessible gestures. Valentine's Day is the perfect time to acknowlege all of the love in your life. I also think we can agree that there is just not enough time to fit all that Valentine's Fun into one day. You can't possibly make heart-shaped pancakes, visit the school party, have a romantic dinner with a partner, celebrate with your galentines, practice some selfcare by treating yourself to a new scarf or face mask, bring heart donuts into work etc etc. There is a lot of fun to be had and we can spread a lot of unexpected joy if you do it in the name of the 12 Days of Valentine's Day. You can do anything on any day. And if someone notices your bright pink sweater, say "Thanks, it's Day 2 of the 12 Days of Valentine's Day." Or when you bring your daughter an orchid on a Wednesday, answer her surprise with "It's Day 8 of the 12 Days of Valentine's Day." She'll love it. Mail some letters. Bake some cupcakes to give away. Whatever makes you happy and fits into your schedule, that should be the plan. I promise it will brighten your month. Let me know what you do and how it is received, ok? P.S. On Day 1, I bought a variety of 6 beautiful donuts (some Valentine theme) and a latte at our local Krispy Kreme to bring home. I then pulled into the Home Depot parking lot next door and ate 2 in my car. That somehow qualifies as self-care, right? #12daysofvalentinesday #selfcare #valentinesday #beautyofeverydaylife #seattleblogger

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Bake Club: My First Foray into Desserts with Christina Tosi of Milk Bar

Yesterday I made homemade Peanut Butter Cups live on Instagram with Christina Tosi of Milk Bar fame. I mean, when I realized this was possible, how could I not?

As a Midwesterner, I'd only heard of David Chang's restaurant Momofuku and read about the wild success of the the in-house desserts created by Christina Tosi at Milk Bar, where she creates very American, very cereal-sugar-snackfood inspired desserts. When I heard about her bottled Cereal Milk, I knew she was a genius. You'll have to read more about her and get inspired too. It's great fun.

Anyhoo, we're 11 months into the pandemic. This summer, I realized I could follow David Chang on Instagram (his baby son, Hugo is so sweet!) and that got me thinking about his business and it led me to "check out" the Milk Bar cookbook on my Libby app (to check out and read library books). I still need to read his book, Eat a Peach. I read the whole Milk Bar cookbook cover to cover, looked her up on Istagram and suddenly I saw that she was hosting a free WEEKLY cooking class called Bake Club to get us all through the Mondays of the pandemic. I am so late to the party! 

All are invited to subscribe to her Sunday night emails, which includes a list of the ingredients needed for Monday's recipe. She also posts an image of the ingredients on her Instagram on Sunday night to remind you to start planning/shopping. The week I found her it was MLK Day and she encouraged everyone to make paper snowflakes and relax into Inauguaration Week. When I subscribed to her email, I noticed that she has ALL of the prior recipes posted on her website and you can watch the Bake Club episodes you missed on her Instagram.

I decided my Peanut Butter Cups would deviate from the traditional with Guittard dark chocolate chips and chunky JIF peanut butter in the base. I made them in mini muffin tins. They are everything. I'm toying with making simple chocolate wafer cookies and piping the extra PB filling in between them like Oreos. For a review of these chocolates, Dan said that he "can't go back" to the store bought ones and has eaten 4 of the 8 I made since yesterday. 

I think this is incredibly generous of Christine Tosi to share her recipes. To teach online for free. To try and uplift us all with her skills. I am am thankful that she's as cool as I thought she was. Thanks for bringing delight, Christina! I'll be joining when I can.

#bakeclub #christinatosi #finddelight #beautyofeverydaylife #chocolate

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Exploring Seattle Parks: Get Some Fresh Air

A sunny Saturday in Seattle is a gift, especially in January. We've all been indoors so much lately, it felt imperative that we get out and take a walk. I told Dan that I really wanted to be near the water, so he looked on a map and chose Lincoln Park, not far from Alki Beach in West Seattle, for our afternoon jaunt. 
 
The approach to the water level walking paths is a very long steep walkway. I stopped halfway down to take this photo because the steep slope, trees, and vista felt like we were in Europe. I bet it is gorgeous in the spring when eveerything is verdent green and these trees are blooming. We must come back in March.

This park is near the Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal. As we approached, I told Dan that I'd been to this little area before...this was where I took the ferry home from Vashon Island when I went to Camp Thundercraft! That little tidbit reminded me of the glory days when I first arrived in Seattle and was bounding all over the city exploring.

After a nice walk, we made our way back to some benches and sat and watched the water. It was clear and cold and just what I needed to feel like I'd blown the fog out of my brain a little bit. I could actually feel the warm of the sun on my face. Please make sure you are getting some fresh air, even if it is just opening a window for a while. 

#walkandtalk #seattleblogger #seattleparks #beautyofeverydaylife #lincolnpark