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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Gathering herbs

Today I began harvesting some of my herbs. I grow at least a dozen or more varieties as I have found that most herbs seem to like the Arizona climate. Today I picked yarrow, lamb's ear, thyme, oregano, sage and some dusty miller. After they've dried I'll use them throughout the year in floral arrangements and cooking.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Easter Weekend in San Clemente

My husband Scott, son Josh and I spent a glorious Easter weekend in San Clemente, California. We stayed with Scott's niece Melissa, her husband Mat and their adorable baby Tessa - oh and the 3 dogs Sienna, Sophie and Bella. The views from Mat and Melissa's yard look like the Tuscan countryside with the red tiled roofs and green hills rolling down to the ocean. A stroll through their neighborhood in the morning reminded me of my walks through Assisi and San Gimignano.

We spent an afternoon watching the surfers at the beach and shopping in the charming shops in the town. Of course I found several treasures to take into the store, including some ironstone and majolica pieces! (photos to be posted later)

I wound up being in charge of Easter dinner which was lots of fun as Mat's parents joined us too. A holiday is always more meaningful spent with family and friends.

I've always liked California but now I think I'm in love!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A tisket a tasket...

I use baskets all the time for gardening, toting things around the house, holding magazines, or taking treats to a neighbor. I find them to be indispensable! They are also such an inexpensive decorating accessory that works with any decor style. I have just taken  several of these fun painted baskets into my store. At only $8 each they are a steal!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A bumper crop

My garden is simply bursting at the seams! I have more lettuce than I know what to do with. I've been sharing   with my neighbors, but I still have a ton! Too bad you can't preserve lettuce somehow.

The poppies have also been amazing this Spring, I never have to plant them, they just keep self seeding year after year.

I'm enjoying my time spent in the garden while I can, all to soon the blistering heat will arrive...

Friday, April 15, 2011

Easter Eggs part II

There are all sorts of ways to decorate and dye Easter eggs but this is my all time favorite. These amazing patterns and colors come from old silk ties. Here's how to do this yourself:

First, raid your husband's old ties or make a trip to your local thrift store. The ties must be 100% silk and bright colors work best. The louder the better!

 Now cut the ties into pieces about 5" square, large enough to wrap around an egg.
 Secure the fabric with a rubber band, then cook as if you are making regular hard boiled eggs (bring to a simmer, then cover and steep for 20 minutes). I also add a couple of teaspoons of white vinegar.
 Plunge the eggs into a cold water bath to cool off, then unwrap.
 This is a great way to color eggs with kids because there is no mess and it's so fun to unwrap each one to see what design transfered!
 Of course, keep these refrigerated until you have your Easter egg hunt!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Springtime with Peter Rabbit

    I have been on the lookout for turquoise dishes for a tablescape I'll be doing for my women's club Christmas Showhouse. I was lucky to find eight salad plates last week at a thrift store for $1 each. They are exactly what I was looking for, but just for fun, I thought they would be perfect with my old Wedgwood Peter Rabbit dishes. Scott and I took a trip to England when I was expecting our first child and we bought this charming set of plates for the new baby. All of our children have used them, and now when the grandkids visit we pull them out again.
   The quilt was my sewing project last summer when it was too hot to go outside!

This beautiful vintage silver cake pedestal will be for sale next week in my store,
along with several other  silver serving pieces.

This charming little hen has a surprise inside, can you see it?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Easter Eggs

I love collecting and decorating Easter eggs. Here a few of the eggs I've collected over the years including a bowl full of Ukrainian eggs and intricately painted eggs I found in India (at a Hindu temple!), my attempt at "Ukrainian" eggs, alabaster eggs in lovely pastels and an awesome basketweave dyed egg that my son Josh made.  We'll definitely plan an evening of egg decorating when we visit my husbands niece next week in California!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Thrift Store Finds

I found this gorgeous set of hand painted Limoges cake plates yesterday at the Goodwill - yes, that's right Goodwill! They are so delicate and charming, perfect for a Spring luncheon or tea. I'll be taking them into my shop this week so come take a look in person. By the way, I also found some Waterford crystal and vintage Fontanini nativity pieces. One woman's trash is another woman's treasure!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Aprons for my girls

I love spending time in the kitchen and have tried to share that love with my children. Now it's time for the next generation. When I told my daughter Megan that I was making an apron for little Sadie's 2nd birthday this month, Meg said she wanted one too! Happy Birthday girls!