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Showing posts from August, 2013

The Season to Dry Hydrangeas

We are coming to the end of the hydrangea season. To keep a bouquet that will last throughtout the  year I am going to dry my flowers. In the past I have tried to dry them without success by hanging them upside down and letting them air dry. This time I am going to use the vase method. First, only pick the hydrangeas which the color of the flower's petals has faded.  My blue flowers have lost most of their color and the petals are beginning to turn papery, this is the optimum time to pick them.

Cut the flowers leaving at least a 10 inch stem and remove all of the leaves.  I put the flowers in a vase with 4 inches of water and then placed them in a room where they will not get direct sunlight.  The water will eventually evaporate and the flowers will dry.  
The trick to getting a nice dried flower is to pick your hydrangeas after the color begins to fade and the petals begin to have a papery texture. It is important to gather them at this point.  By waiting to pick your flowers un…

Birthdays, Flowers and Wicker Bike Baskets

Last week we celebrated summer birthdays. There were nine total, both family and friends who had a birthday on either June, July or August.  

To make the house more festive I picked up flowers from the market and added palms from my backyard to the arrangements. I used palms as a filler instead of ferns because they look great with just about all types of flowers, they fill up the vase and I have an unlimited supply. I also love white flowers with palms. The fresh and simple look of white is enough to spread cheer. 

I had placed the vases of flowers around the house and after a week they still have their bloom.  Which leads me to the pictures of my bike. I love photographs that people have taken with a bike's wicker basket overflowing with flowers.  Since I own a bike with a wicker basket, and I still have a houseful of flowers I thought I'd try to create my ownphoto by our garden gate. I'm still working on getting the knack of photo editing, but here is the result of my fi…

Little Girl's Cape Tutorial

I love clothes from the 1950's. So when I saw this tutorial for sewing a 50's style cape for a little girl I couldn't resist making one for my niece. I found the tutorial on Simple Simon & Company.  The cape is called The Audrey, isn't it adorable? The instructions for both the cape and the birdcage hat are listed on their website in detail, along with the materials you will need.

I used a camel colored fleece for the cape and hat, and purchased feathers, rhinestone buttons and netting for the hat. I couldn't find a coaster like they used for the base of the hat so I used a round lid of a small plastic food storage container that was similar in size. It took a few hours to finish both the cape and hat, and that includes the time it took to make an exact copy for my niece's doll.  It was very simple, but I have to say that the hat was my favorite part of the outfit to make. No sewing skills needed, just a hot glue gun and the materials and it's done, e…

The Best Thing About Fall is Sweaters!

One of the best things about fall is that the humidity in the south goes away, the air cools a bit and we can wear sweaters again!  I have my eye on a few that I would like to get for those evenings when the temperature dips, or at least to wear in an air conditioned restaurant :)  I love details on clothes, buttons, stitching, trim and embroidery. That is why I am  drawn to the sweater and coat below. I found this pink crewelwork sweater from Sundance, isn't it pretty?

My favorite fall find is this linen CJ Laing coat. The embroidery is beautiful and the jacket is light enough for our weather.  Love, love, love it!

A Vintage Wish List

One of the many "Wish I Could Have Someday" items on my list is a Chanel bracelet.  I love the cuff and charm bracelets the most, but I would take just about anything that is vintage Chanel. So pretty and classic that they will never be out of fashion.

Boston, Pups & Garden

I just found this picture from my trip that I took to Boston this summer. I did end up taking at least one picture that is not of a potted plant!  I forgot about this cute garden statue of a lab.  I'm sure the home owners have a great sense of humor and of course they love dogs.  I could see our Henry peeking his head through the fence so he could greet everyone who walked by! Who doesn't like a friendly puppy even if it's just a statue :)

Bean Town, Plant City

I've been sorting through all of the pictures that I have taken this summer.  From vacations, family visits, a wedding and pictures I have taken for this blog, I have a huge digital file. Here are a few from my trip to Boston that I would like to share. I took a walk through the Beacon Hill section of the city while visiting Miss North. If you've been there you know that the architecture is beautiful. Mostly brick Federal and Greek revival style homes line "the hill".  The historic neighborhood streets are cobblestone and even though the residence live in a city they seem to find a way to show off their green thumbs. Container gardens are popular here. I must have taken dozens of pictures on my walk that day, but not your typical tourist shots, just pictures of a city dweller's version of a garden.  I guess I am a gardener at heart too :)

A little French, a Little Vintage and Some Bling!

I love things that are vintage and items that are repurposed.  When the two are combined to make jewelry that instantly makes it special to me. Add some bling and I'm a fan forever!  Lynn Konrad from  French at Heart travels to France and brings back items like this c. 1920 compass and makes jewelry as she did with this beaded necklace.  Her pieces are one of a kind and oh so pretty! Oo la' la'!

Gadzukes, tomatoes, and herbs, oh my!

After a very hot start to the summer, my garden is finally starting to produce.  Today I picked a large gadzuke squash, basil, oregano, and thyme to throw in a seasonal pasta dish.

My eggplants and tomatoes are on their way to being picked too.  To keep those plants from being eaten by slugs, I put copper coils around the bases. I purchased copper scrubbing pads, unraveled them and wrapped it around the base of each of my tomato and eggplants.  Supposedly the slugs (which have a slimy coat) get shocked if they touch the metal.  So far so good!

Pretzel Hamburger with Beer Cheese Sauce

I recently had a hankering for soft pretzels, cheese, and sausage.  What better way to combine them all by making a sausage burger topped with a beer cheese sauce and sandwiched in a pretzel bun?  I also added sauerkraut on top for an Oktoberfest feel.

I bought some sausage links at the grocery store, removed the casings, then formed the patties.  Next time I think I would combine the sausage with ground beef for a more traditional, but also sausage-flavored burger.

Pretzel Rolls
4 teaspoons active dry yeast 1 teaspoon white sugar
1 1/4 cups warm water (110 degrees F)
5 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup baking soda
4 cups hot water
1/4 kosher salt, for topping

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix together flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt. Make a well in the center; add the oil and yeast mixture. Mix and form into a dough. If the mixture is dry, add…


I love dogs, especially Henry.  Here's small tribute to the world's best (10-year-old) puppy.

Ice Cream and Cows

Did you know that New England is the USA's largest consumer of ice cream?  If you're ever in the Boston area, you should take a trip to my favorite spot, Richardson's Farm in Middleton, MA.  They churn their own ice cream from the milk of the many dairy cows they have on site.  Order a generous portion of the creamy treat and stroll around back to look at the very cute calves and their moms (pictured below).

Yesterday I was having a snack at Bread and Butter in the North End of Boston. Their bathroom had a fun bovine wallpaper that I would love to use if I ever opened my own ice cream shop!

Vertical Layers Cake

Happy birthday!  I made this bright cake for aunt's and two uncle's birthday.  The vertical layers inside were a fun surprise.  The process is a little time consuming but definitely worth it!  I got the tutorial from I Am Baker.

Sweet Tea Granita

Summer is winding down, but it's still hot enough to need a refreshment.  Garden & Gun recently printed a recipe for a sweet tea granita that does just the trick.  My mini teacups held the perfect portion to ward off the heat for a moment.

Sweet Tea Granita
Sweet Tea Granita

(Makes about six cups)

²⁄³  cup sugar
3  cups water
2  black tea bags, preferably  English breakfast or other  good-quality tea

Bring sugar and water to a boil. Add tea bags and steep for five minutes. Cool to room temperature.
Pour liquid into an 8-by-8-inch baking dish (any shallow, freezer-proof dish will do); cover with plastic wrap and freeze.
After an hour, run a fork through the mixture to break up any large pieces of ice; return to the freezer. Repeat every 15 to 20 minutes until the consistency is fluffy and no large ice crystals remain, about two or three more times. Scoop into glasses and serve.
Granita may be made ahead and stored in a plastic-covered container in the fre…

Ixora's are in Bloom!

Today I stepped out into my southern garden and the Ixora's are in full bloom! The huge balls of hot pink flowers are just popping from their beds under our palm trees. Ixora's are the south's version of  the hydrangea.  When they bloom they brighten up the garden, adding color to the very green landscape. We have had so much rain this summer that many of the flowers in my garden have just given up, only mushrooms and ixora's have prevailed!

Ixora Plant