Thursday, February 28, 2008


The theme for Wildflower Morning's event this week is children's art. I've enjoyed participating in each weekly assignment that Elizabeth Joy has given for her Wildflowers in Winter meme. I was not expecting to be able to do this weeks assignment simply because all the kids art that I can find at my house consist of drawings I've saved from the boys early years and filed away. They are of fighter jets, rockets, robots, trucks, cars and an occasional tree or house. I don't remember the boys drawing flowers when they were young. But I was saved by an assignment that Rylan's graphic design teacher gave this week. Today Rylan called me over to his computer to look at the poster he was making for class and I smiled when I realized that it fit the wildflower theme perfectly. And since Rylan is still a teen-ager, I'm hoping it will count as my 'child's wildflower art'. It is the art project of my youngest child, and it does have wildflowers in it. It can't get much better than that!

Thank you , Rylan, for sharing your assignment with me. I really love it!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Green Thumb!

Each year the Mailorder Gardening Association gives ten Green Thumb Awards to those they choose as winners of the best flowers and gardening tools of the year. The judges are garden writers and editors. They make their selections based upon uniqueness, technological innovation, ability to solve a gardening problem or provide a gardening opportunity and potential appeal to gardeners. Reading through the list of winning products was interesting and informative. Here are the five top winners in the Plants, Seeds, and Bulbs category:

"Opera Supreme Lilac Ice"

This is a petunia that is a trailing grandiflora. It has a unique pattern and a longer blooming season than other similar plants. Whereas most new blossoms appear only at the end of the stems of other petunias, this one sets out new flowers from base to stem end. There are no empty holes that lack color and bloom with this variety. This petunia comes in lovely shades of lilac and purple. Available at Park Seed Company.

"Changing Colors"

This is a dahlia who's name comes from the ability of the flowers to change colors as they mature. Some flowers start as white and turn to purple or lavender; others turn from lavender or purple to white. A blooming plant looks like a vibrant bouquet in all three colors --- and in variations of each as they transition. Available at Dutch Gardens.

"April in Paris"

This is a hybrid tea rose that is highly fragrant. It has glossy green foliage and blooms that are cream and pink, opening to 4" across when open. There are 30 petals in each high-centered bloom and they will stay fresh when cut for up to one week if given adequate care. Available a my favorite source of roses, Jackson & Perkins.


This is a peony which is a hybrid cross of the heavy blooming tree peony and the compact form of a herbaceous peony. It has a beautiful double yellow flower. Does great surviving winter temperatures of 10 - 20 when given winter protection. Available at Wayside Gardens.


A floribunda rose that is extremely bright and showy. The bush is compact and disease-resistant and grows well in pots. The beautiful blooms are hot pink in the center and fade out to a soft white at the edges of the petals. Also available at Jackson and Perkins.

The other five winners were in the Tools, Supplies and Accessories category. They are:

"Kombi Forever Shovel" from Beaty Fertilizer, Inc.
"PotHoles Drainage Discs" from Charley's Greenhouse & Garden.
"Steel Plant Supports" from Gardener's Supply.
"Escar-Go! Supreme" from Gardens Alive!
"Nature's Avenger Organic Herbicide" also from Beaty Fertilizer, Inc.

Happy Gardening Planning!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Dark Chocolate-Tangerine Truffles

Do you like truffles? They make a lovely addition to an afternoon tea. Making them both gluten-free and vegan can be challenging. But if you are a chocolate lover like me, where there's a will, there's a way! Here's a recipe for Dark Chocolate-Tangerine Truffles that I think you'll enjoy.

Dark Chocolate-Tangerine Truffles

3 ounces chopped dark chocolate, dairy-free*
4 ounces Tofutti vegan cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/3 cups Florida Crystals powdered sugar, sifted
zest of one tangerine or half orange
1 1/2 cups roasted sliced almonds, chopped

Chop chocolate and place in a medium-sized bowl. Microwave on high for one minute or until the chocolate is almost melted. Remove from microwave and stir until smooth. Add the softened Tofutti cream cheese and beat with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Slowly add the powdered sugar and blend well. Stir in tangerine or orange zest. Place plastic wrap on a small baking pan and then spread on the chocolate mixture. Cover and refrigerate from 1 - 24 hours. Remove from the refrigerator and cut into 24 small pieces. Roll into small balls and then roll each ball in chopped almonds.

Makes: 24 truffles

Green and Black's Organic Dark Chocolate Bar; dairy-free and of excellent quality.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Spring Ritual

Aunt Cella and I have a simple ritual each spring. We share a poem back and forth as we eagerly await sunshine and flowers. An email from her today alerts me to the fact that her spring has come! Today she wrote that "it's very balmy & springy here & delicious for working the garden". How I would love to be basking in that Arizona sunshine! But I know. . .my time will come.

Here's a copy of the poem we share with one another each season as we await spring:

Hunger for Spring

Like thirsting flowers awaiting rain,
My heart cries out for Spring again.
Once more to feel the softening air,
Caressing, tender, everywhere.
For fertile earth beneath my feet
Now carpeted by the Winter's sleet,
Now confined by wintry blast,
Comes forth God's handiwork at last!

Gene Appleby

Tea Herbs for Relaxation

Tea Herbs for Relaxation

1 pint water
1 tsp. chamomile leaves
1 tsp. peppermint leaves
1 tsp. honey

Bring purified water to a boil and remove from heat. Place herbs in water and stir gently. Steep for 15 minutes. Strain and enjoy with honey.

Peppermint and chamomile do wonders for your body by relaxing muscles and calming mood. This tea hits the spot after a long and stressful day!

Relaxing Honey Bath

There's nothing more relaxing than a lavender and honey bath! Mix two ounces of honey in a glass with five drops of pure lavender oil. Pour into hot bathwater and soak yourself. This is a great treat for relaxation and to combat insomnia. To make it really nice, add a few squirts of lavender bubble bath or 1/2 cup of Epsom salts.


Prepare for Spring!

While I am lamenting the slowness of the arrival of spring, Garden Goose is enticing readers to prepare for spring by conducting a wonderful 'give-away' --- gardening DVD's! To sign up, simply sign up and post a link on your blog to their beautiful e-zine, Small Town Living.

Success to you!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Where is Sweet Spring?

Today's newspaper featured an article warning that we shouldn't get too enthusiastic about preparing and planting our gardens, as it is still winter even if the sun is shining and the days are warmer. I know it's easy to rush the season, but this time of year --- the time between winter snows and springs green seems to be such a long time. During a walk around the block one day last week the fragrance of freshly turned soil in the neighbor's blueberry field was enticing and earthy. It made me so eager for spring! Today we again went out in search of signs of spring. There weren't many. Dried sagebrush, brown grasses, and bare trees --- nothing showed signs of growth or fresh green color. A bald eagle stared at us from a tree-top; flocks of coots in the river were startled as we drew near. A tugboat pushing three barges of wheat passed by, providing something else interesting to observe. Our walk over, we drove to the hydroelectric dam just in time to watch the barge pass through the lock. Sunset and calm along the river ended a beautiful day; just one day closer to spring.

Hurry, fair spring, please hurry!

Spring of Genius

Let us love winter, for it is the spring of genius.

Pierto Aretino

Friday, February 22, 2008

Attention to Detail

Recently I've been working on a home project and chandeliers have been my focus. I've been looking at many varieties of them, searching for exactly what I have in mind. Of course when we live in families, individuals don't always agree on what they like. This makes the task more challenging as we search for something that meets the approval of all. Bronze or gold? Pewter or silver? With crystals or without? Large or small? Oh my, the task can be a challenge! The search goes on and I patiently wait to find just the right one.

Have you ever thought about the little details that make a house a home? A light bulb or two in the ceiling would provide adequate light, but a homey touch like just the right light fixture provides us with a sense of order, beauty, and restfulness. There's no place like home, and a home that gives the sense of place we all desire requires attention to detail.

The chandelier in this picture is much grander than anything I have in mind, but I do love it! It was selected years ago by a woman named Bessie who sought lighting for the 'great room' in her vacation home. Nestled deep in the desert, her home was an oasis for her family, many friends, and assorted travelers who passed by. The chandelier's style blends perfectly with her 'mission' style of decor --- and the unity of the theme gives repose to all who rest there.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Cinnamon-Mint Tea

Cinnamon-Mint Tea

4 bags black tea, decaffeinated
2 Tbsp. packed mint leaves, fresh
2 stick cinnamon
4 cups boiling water

Place tea bags, mint leaves, and cinnamon stick in a teapot. Add hot water and steep for 4 minutes. Decant and pour into a vintage cup and saucer. Sweeten with your favorite sweetener (mine is stevia) and enjoy.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Pretty Painted Wildflowers

This week Elizabeth Joy's assignment for the Wildflowers in Winter event is wildflowers in art. As I looked around my home for things that would fit into this topic, I again found quite a few things that fit the theme. Today I decided to post about painted wildflowers on ceramics or china.

The cream and pink heart-shaped serving bowl is one my mother made for me. Each year before my birthday she would usually ask, "what would you like for your birthday?". I would always answer the same way, saying "anything you would like to make for me". I always loved mother's handmade gifts the most. This bowl is the perfect size to contain a tossed or fruit salad, dinner rolls, or cooked vegetables. But I enjoy it the most in my lighted china closet when it's set on it's side so the painted design can be seen and enjoyed daily.

Another ceramic food container my mother made for me was this muffin tin with heart-shapes. Each hole is painted country blue to dramatize the shape and the surrounding areas are a creamy white. Mother painted tiny blue flowers and greenery that are scattered on the top surface.

And this is one of my favorite mugs. This china painting was done by a friend in Australia named Julie. We met years ago on a home-school support forum. She made this china painted mug for me one year as a birthday gift. I don't remember the name of the flower, but any Aussie readers could probably enlighten us. It is a well-known plant in Australia. I love the shading and muted colors that Julie used in her painted design.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Valentine's Tea

A Valentine's tea and a group of dear friends. . .

. . .a hot pot of tea and heart-shaped candies galore. . .

. . .festive napkins with sweetheart design. . .

. . .red roses in rosemary, a scent that's divine. . .

. . .a cup of fresh fruit with creamy delight. . .

. . .and desserts that are sweet, a tempting tasty treat. . .

. . .scones and sandwiches, chocolate and spice. . .

. . .all mixed together make something very nice!

~ There's nothing sweeter than a fun day out with girlfriends ~

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Happy Children

Allow children to be happy in their own way, for what better way will they find?

Samuel Johnson

These little girls were visiting Multnomah Falls in Oregon on a cold February day. Their home is sunny Hawaii and this was one of their first experiences with cold weather. Aren't they cute?

Felted Flowers

The Wildflowers in Winter theme for this week is art, but I seem to still be stuck in wildflower stitchery. The stitched wildflower pieces I'm posting today are from my sister's collection. They are some that our mother designed and stitched. I apologize that the pictures aren't the best. They were hanging on my sister's wall in her dining room and the lighting was somewhat dark in that corner. The green color in these pictures vary, but were in actuality all the same.

The Lady Slipper orchid, the Shooting Stars, and the Dutchman's Breeches were all favorite flowers of our mother. I think she favored asymetrical shapes and flowers that hung or dangled from their stems.

I hope you enjoyed the wildflower stitchery. I plan on getting to wildflower art soon, but am afraid I may be stuck on a few more stitchery posts yet! I hope Elizabeth Joy doesn't mind, as I'm sure enjoying the Wildflowers in Winter themes on Wildflower Morning!

I hope you are having an enjoyable week-end!

Sweet Tea Valentine's

I hope you had a lovely and loving Valentine's Day. I always call this day Sweetheart Day, simply because when Brandon was a little boy he always called hearts "sweethearts". Thus, Valentine's Day became Sweetheart Day in our family. Have you noticed the trend this year on making Valentine's Day last through the week-end? Maybe it's because it's also President's Day holiday, but I'm enjoying how the people I know are extending this special day to make up an entire week. Of course, I think Sweetheart Day should be every day, don't you?

I received some special Valentine's from dear friends --- and am quite partial to the ones with a tea theme. Aren't they pretty?

Thank you, dear friends, for making my Valentine's day tea-fully wonderful! You really are sweethearts!

Cabin Snow

Except for a few large piles in parking lots around town, the snow is gone and tiny signs of spring are evident. Tulip, crocus, and daffodil tips are showing through the brown earth. And evidence of new leaves can be seen on the rose bushes. The sun has been shining and there is 'hope' of spring ahead. With the storms past, Brent and Rylan decided to see if they could snowmobile to the cabin to check it out. Brent wanted to make sure the tree he'd cabled was still standing and to check on the woodshed he spent so much time building last summer. Reports from others who have connections to the mountain are that the powder and drifting was so bad, even snowmobiles couldn't get through. But that was last week. Brent hoped that this week was different. And it was.

After much maneuvering over the ruts of four-wheelers who enjoy the rutted and snowy roads as a challenge, they passed the point where the 4 x 4 's gave up and then clear, clean snow was the only hinderance in their path. The snow had melted and frozen enough to eliminate most of the powder, the sun was shining, and it was a beautiful day for trekking upwards.

Rylan was a gem and took lots of pictures so I could see what things were like on mountain top. There was 'some cabin' peeking through on the ridge side, but the opposite side revealed only a couple feet of rooftop and lots of drifting snow! The tree was standing like it should be. . .and the woodshed is holding up fine, although the four and a half feet of snow on the rooftop did concern Brent some. He had Rylan help him place a few more supports in the open area from the inside where the snow hadn't reached.

Coyotes could be heard from a far away ridge. The bears are hibernating, down deep in their dens under the piles of snow. Rabbit tracks were everywhere, as they are not detoured by snow. Although some elk and deer tracks were seen around the cabin, they were sparse, as most of them go farther down the mountain to where there is less snow to inhibit their movement (and where there is more food available). It was a calm and peaceful day on the mountain.

Brent and Rylan ate their lunch at the cabin (but not in the cabin. . .that would have taken too much digging out!). They checked on the neighbor's cabins for several miles in each direction, drove over all the fences and our front gate, and played awhile in the snow (well, the easy way --- on their snowmobiles) and then headed home. Tired and happy, they were happy to report that all was well on mountain top.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Quilting Up Flowers!

Yesterday one of my tasks was to replace my lost embroidery supplies. It just so happens that the needlework shop, the quilt shop, and the sewing machine shop are all next door to each other (how much better can it get than that!), so I enjoyed browsing through all three shops in the process of shopping for a new hoop, needles, and floss. Each shop was filled with beautiful patterns, textiles, and sample pieces. It was fun visiting with the shop owners and to learn of what they see as trends in sewing. From them I learned that quilting has been popular again for about twenty years, so quilters are looking for more dimensional projects to work their magic on, thus quilted tote bags and similar projects are very popular right now. And the forecast is that garment construction will experience a come-back in the year ahead. Unfortunately, in our community, the fabric stores that carry beautiful fabrics appropriate for garment construction have mostly all closed their doors while quilting shops have sprung up all over the place. Although they are most welcome and wonderful, they don't carry the luxurious, draping, and silky yardage that makes personal sewing projects turn out with exceptional quality, fit, and form. The good news is that I learned that a new and very large fabric store is coming to town soon! I'm excited --- it's one that has it's roots in Seattle and is well-known for a broad range of textiles. It will be nice to have a source of quality and assorted fabrics nearby again. While in the sewing machine shop I noticed this beautiful floral quilt on the wall. I immediately thought of the Wildflowers in Winter project that Elizabeth Joy is conducting and asked if I could take a picture. This quilt is exquisite! An Eleanor Burns design, the fabrics featured for each flower are specially coordinated for the type of flower. For example, the morning glory flower is made from yardage that has a print of tiny morning glories. The vibrant spring colors and the beautiful scalloped edge make this quilt stunning and oh so lovely!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Wild Violets Bouquet

Todays Stitching-Up Wildflowers entry features a cross-stitched bunch of wild violets that I framed and gave to my friend, Gwen, for her birthday last March. This bouquet is meant to be cheerful on a dreary day. It is shown here with a little electric teacup and saucer lamp I learned how to make at A Place Called Home. It's made from a little clay pot, a teacup, a saucer, an electric candle light, fringe, a string of beads, ribbon, and hot glue. A bundle of lavender in a satin bag completes the little trio in this vingette.

Thank you to Elizabeth Joy for conducting the Wildflowers in Winter event. It's been fun to visit the sites of other participants and see what they are posting on the themes she assigned. If you haven't been to see who's participating and the links to their sites, be sure to take a break and stop by Wildflower Morning soon.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Stitched-Up Wildflowers

Wildflower Morning's topic for this week's wildflower event is Stitched Up Wildflowers. It can include anything that has to do with wildflowers that is made with textiles in some form or another. As I've looked around my house, I've found many items that will fit into this catagory. Instead of posting them all at once, I've decided to post something on this theme daily during this week. So, stay tuned!

Morning's Glory

This tea towel was one I stitched and sent to a friend for a swap sometime last year. I was excited to try the coloring technique as an addition to embroidery, as I had never done it before. It's actually quite simple. After the outline is drawn onto the fabric, take a children's color crayon and lightly color or shade the design as desired. Then take a place of clean paper and place it over the design and then apply gentle heat with a warm iron. This will fuse the color into the fabric. Once that is done, use embroidery stitches as desired to make the outline of the design.
By the way, I love morning glories! I know that they are sometimes considered 'weeds', but they are pretty when they are in the right spot! They weave here and there around objects in their pathway, creating gentles curves and lovely curliques. Instead of a weed, I claim them as a wildflower. I've even discovered the domestic version for my home garden. Each year I plant several different colors of morning glory's along the dog kennel. The abundant green growth provides a lovely shade for the dogs during the heat of the summer (although they don't spend much time in the kennel, as they are really house dogs). The colors of the morning glory blossoms are mixed together, as I usually plant vibrant pink, pale blue, white, and purple seeds. It's always fun to observe the amount of 'openness' they have during a twenty-four hour period. They close their blossoms up tight for the night and gently open their faces to the sunshine in the early morning. As the evening shadows fall, their faces close up for a good night's rest. A good lesson for us all.

Constant Friend

"A constant FRIEND is a thing rare and hard to find."


Libby and Coco enjoy a day in the sunshine! Although now all grown up, they still relish their time outdoors. Libby went home with my friend, Bonnie, when she was just a little tike. Coco is my constant companion and has the nickname of "Baby" whenever I talk to her. She truely is a constant friend!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Wildflowers in the Home

It was very difficult for me to decide what to post this week for the Wildflowers in Winter event that Elizabeth Joy is conducting at Wildflower Morning. Her theme this week is wildflowers in the home. As I looked around my house, I discovered that flowers of some sort are everywhere and many of them are wild! I probably come by this naturally, as I grew up in a home where flowers were highly valued and always present. I never thought about it very much, but accepted it as a fact of life and adopted this pattern in my own home --- until a friend who visited frequently made a comment about all the flowers in my house. She doesn't like flowers and has none in hers. Her comment stopped me in my tracks! I can't imagine living without the beauty of flowers to cheer each day.

The first item I selected which incorporates wild flowers as part of home decor is this pale blue tea cozy with an assortment of wildflowers in a checked pattern. It goes well with my blue and white teacups and teapots.

I looked around some more and found this luncheon set; a tablecloth and napkins made by my mother. She painted snowdrops on each of the four corners of the tablecloth and on each of the napkins. She painted eight or ten flower luncheon sets (for tea parties) and each one features a different flower, but I think this one is my favorite.

Looking further I found a sign painted on a heart-shaped, carved stone. I usually keep it on a hook outside my back door but have it inside for the winter to protect it. It's message of "Sit long, talk much, laugh a lot" was also painted by mom.

And how's this for an oldie? My mother kept this picture of me on her bedroom wall. I was in my early twenties when this was taken. The location is Mount Rainier National Park, in one of the meadows on the mountainside. My sister and I both wore our long 'granny dresses' for the photo shoot. We felt somewhat strange being dressed up when others were wearing shorts, tank tops, and tennis shoes!

This is one of a two that mom also made. They are felted wall hangings of shooting stars. Sometimes wall space becomes sparse, so these could also be used for hot pads. I think this would be pretty on a lavender tea table and a nice place to set a teapot.

I couldn't stop here --- so I'm doing one more post on this subject --- to follow below.

Wildflowers of Canada

I enjoy my wildflowers of Canada plates. This one was given to me by Dad and Alma as a gift they selected for me on one of their across Canada trips. They took my Dad's older sisters with them on one of these trips and stopped to visit their childhood home in Manitoba. To this day they talk about that trip. They visited relatives they'd never seen before and had a grand time together!

This wildflowers of Canada plate is a recent acquisition. Like the one above, it shows the wildflower of each Canadian province. I found this plate at Goodwill for less than $3.00.

Since Goodwill also had a wildflower plate from Alberta (also for less than $3.00), I decided to pick it up as well. Finding it gave me an idea for a project that I will probably be working on for a long time as I seek the specific plates required. I would like a 'wall of plates' that represent the birthplaces of family members. This one from Alberta represents my mother. She was born there (in her grandmothers house) on a snowy day in June! Now I'm looking for decorative plates from British Columbia, Manitoba, and Saskatchuen. And of course --- a price similar to the ones I've already found would be fantastic! I can only wish. A project like this is all about the hunt. . .

Valentine Swap

I received a lovely package from Revee yesterday. It was filled with smaller packages neatly wrapped in white tissue paper and each was tied in red satin ribbons. The contents of these packages were so sweet and just perfect for a Valentine treat! Revee made me two of her beautiful hand-hemmed napkins, each adorned with a heart-shaped medallion. They are exquisite! Such beautiful handwork! Very lovely! They will be perfect for a Valentine tea. Revee also included a package of Morning Rose China black tea from Sterling Tea Company and a notepad with a small fridge magnet in the wrapper that says "Home is the Heart's Resting Place". Also enclosed is was a beautiful photo frame with three-dimensional roses, daisies, and forget-me-knots in lavender, yellow, and blue. Thank you so much, Revee. I am enjoying the contents and will think of you every time I sip on the Morning Rose tea and use my new sweetheart napkins!