Thursday, March 18, 2010

On The Porch

The weather has been so wonderful that I decided to bring my three season porch out of hibernation.  It's a bit risky because there are rumors of snow flurries coming next week.  I just couldn't stand it any longer and decided to take my chances.  Would you like a tour?

The porch is a work-in-progress.  The floors were put in about a year and a half ago.  It was just poured concrete and we had a company come out and resurface it with concrete which has a color in it and then they texture it to look like large ceramic tiles.  This cupboard came from a barn sale that I love to frequent.

I purchased this wonderfully, whimsical, windmill at my friend, Diane's barn sale.  I just love the charm and color it adds to the room.

This afghan was one of my most favorite finds purchased at an estate sale.  The dear lady that owned this decorated most of her home in roses.  I believe we could have been good friends.

I enjoy decorating with old doors and screens.  I think they add a bit of texture and interest to an otherwise bare wall.  Perfect for porch decorating.

I keep playing with color out here and love this pretty pale sea foam green chair with the cobalt blue one above.  This pillow came from the same estate sale as the afghan.

I love that someone took the time to make this iron stool a pretty ruffled seat cover.  The perfect spot for my "Cup of Kindness" teacup planter.

Pretty pink geraniums add color by the windows.  I do use silk flowers in the porch so I'm not trying to water live plants over the wicker sofa.

My dear friend, Joyce made the banner for me.  I love it on the porch where I can see it every day.  She has a beautiful blog and you can visit her here.

I get so much enjoyment out of my wicker coffee table.  The little wedges come out and you can use them for foot stools or extra seating.

Aren't they fun?  I recovered them last year with rhubarb colored gingham.  Fabric doesn't get much happier than gingham.

A sweet little arbor to hold some herbs.  A fabulous iron sculpted rose from Joyce in the wine bottle that comes from the restaurant of the first job I ever held at 15 years old.

A favorite sign purchased at my friend, Nancy's barn sale.  I realize that lilies is spelled wrong, but that just adds to the charm.

I can get so much joy out of ordinary, everyday objects especially when they are painted in two of my favorite colors.  You would have thought I had won the lottery the day I found them, I acted so silly.

The birdhouse was a fun project.  It came unadorned and I, of course, couldn't have that.  So buttons it was.  Makes me smile every time I look at it.

One last sign to show you.  It is the back of a chair.  The chair was attached for quite some time and sat in my garden, but this is all that remains.  The best part really.  I hope you enjoyed the tour!

Sunshine & laughter,

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Time for Tea

The weather yesterday crept into the low 60's.  Today should be more of the same. Hurrah!  Time for some iced tea.  Would love to have you over for a visit!

I snatched up these glass cozies on my latest thrifting adventure.
Do any of you have a pattern for these?  I would love to make more.

Be sure to wear green today so you don't get pinched!

Joyfilled Hugs,

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Spring Recipes

Today I would like to share with you one of my favorite recipes from the Barefoot Contessa cookbook.  I like to make this when the snow has melted and spring is on it's way.  It always gets me in the mood for Easter.  Maybe it's the asparagus?  Risotto does take a little extra time, but it's worth it.  Enjoy!

Spring Green Risotto

Spring Green Risotto


1 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2
1 cup chopped fennel
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
2/3 cup dry white wine
4 to 5 cups simmering chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 pound thin asparagus
10 ounces frozen peas, defrosted, or 1½ cups shelled fresh peas
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup mascarpone cheese, preferably Italian
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
3 tablespoons minced fresh chives, plus extra for serving

Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks and fennel and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender. Add the rice and stir for a minute to coat with the vegetables, oil, and butter. Add the white wine and simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until most of the wine has been absorbed. Add the chicken stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring almost constantly and waiting for the stock to be absorbed before adding more. This process should take 25 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the asparagus diagonally in 1½-inch lengths and discard the tough ends. Blanch in boiling salted water for 4 to 5 minutes, until al dente. Drain and cool immediately in ice water. (If using fresh peas, blanch them in boiling water for a few minutes until the starchiness is gone.)

When the risotto has been cooking for 15 minutes, drain the asparagus and add it to the risotto with the peas, lemon zest, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Continue cooking and adding stock, stirring almost constantly, until the rice is tender but still firm.

Whisk the lemon juice and mascarpone together in a small bowl. When the risotto is done, turn off the heat and stir in the mascarpone mixture plus the Parmesan cheese and chives. Set aside off the heat for a few minutes, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve hot with a sprinkling of chives and more Parmesan cheese. 

Have a blessed day,

Monday, March 15, 2010

Looking for Spring

I decided to venture outside today and inspect the gardens for signs of spring.  I wasn't feeling very hopeful, one look at my climbing rose and fall Clemantis just about sent me back inside to the sewing machine.  I heard a whisper, "look closer to the ground."

Oh yes, through the dead leaves and decomposing garden waste lay the ever sturdy Day Lily.  I can always count on the Day Lily to reach out first.

And there is my friend, the Poppy.  One of the first plants to show foliage but one of the later ones to bloom in the spring.

I was so thrilled to see the magical Foxglove showing some color.  This flower comes up all over the garden and I just leave it where it lands.  Nothings says fairy garden, doll tea party and conversations with the rabbits like Foxglove.

But wait, what's this?  With closer inspection I realize it's not a plant, animal waste or THE missing sock.  No, it's a bone.  Buried during the winter, saved for later.  Max has walked by it several times and could care less.  Of course, he prefers socks...

Have you seen any signs of spring?


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sunday Scripture

"Teach me your way, O Lord,
and I will walk in your truth;
give me an undivided heart,
that I may fear your name.
I will praise you, O Lord my God,
with all my heart;
I will glorify your name forever."

Psalm 86:11-12


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Alice In Wonderland

Last night I saw "Alice in Wonderland" and I can't stop thinking about it today.  Was it bizzare? Yes.  Did I follow most of it?  No.  The special effects were amazing and the costumes were incredible.  Honestly, it was really strange.  My daughter commented on the way out that she heard that Lewis Caroll was on drugs when he wrote the book.  I don't know if that's true, but I can understand how one could make a case for it.

Today, I plan on watching the Disney version.  Not only will it enchant me, but will also remind me of when my children were little, and things were much simpler (for so many reasons).

If I get super motivated I might reread the book, which is really the best way to try to understand the story in the first place.  No movie can quite capture the pictures your imagination dreams up while reading a good story.

The real Alice of "Alice in Wonderland"

Have a wonderful Saturday!

With joy,

Friday, March 12, 2010

What was I thinking?

The rain started yesterday.  I love the sound of rain.  I'm so glad that my yard is getting a good washing.  Snow is very pretty when it's white and fluffy but after snow plows and decomposing leaves it's more like dirty slush.  Today, I thought I would take a good hard look at the longest unfinished quilt project on my list.  I want so badly to make this quilt for my bed, but honestly, the process is SO boring (there, I said it).  Strip after strip after strip of fabric sewn together.  I have to make 17 of these beauties (I made 16, last summer) and then cut them into 201 strip sets, just to be sewn back together again into 9 large blocks and borders.  What was I thinking?

I can almost hear you say to me, "You did this to yourself.  You picked this project because you saw this pattern in the June 2009 American Patchwork & Quilting and started dreaming of sleeping underneath such a creation."  Yes, I did.  Isn't it pretty?  But then, my fickle heart starts looking at "the others".

Oh yes, the free block of the month, the free patterns from blogs and websites, and the cutest bag pattern ever that Beverly sent me.  You know I'm not showing you the large container of quilt kits that give me that look whenever I walk into my sewing room.  So what's a girl to do?  I have a feeling you will tell me to tackle "Checkerboard Charm" because I will love it in the end.  I know I will too, because I always love, the most, the quilts that drive me absolutely nuts in the process. (sigh)


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Thrifty Finds

I've been meaning to show you my fun finds on my thrifting adventure last week with my friends Sally and Diane.  We always manage to get into retail trouble together.  I'm always finding little things so I fool myself into thinking that I'm really not spending that much money and usually I'm not.  Teacups are a weakness of mine as well as whimsical birds.  I just love the vintage wrapping paper.

I'm going to be making some tiered serving pieces and I thought this pretty plate would make a great base.  I'll post pictures of these pieces when I get them finished.

My fondness for children's items continues to grow stronger daily.  I debated over a basket of junk I had to buy in order to get this doll-sized napkin holder.  In the end, it came home with me (as well as the junk).  I get tickled every time I look at the tiny pitcher and glasses.  I'm always picking up embroidered tea towels, they make me smile!

I was thrilled to find a piece of blue crinoline china to add to my collection.  Pretty hankies and robin's egg blue covered buttons were a fun find.

Always on the lookout for inexpensive vintage tablecloths, this one whispered spring to me.  Have a great Thursday doing something you love!

With joy,

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Spring Decorations

It has stayed in the mid 50's today.  I keep going outside and taking deep breaths of air.  I've got little green shoots coming up all over and while there is still patches of snow, I have that wonderful sense that spring is on it's way. Out from storage came the Easter tree, now spring has to come!

The bunnies are coming out of hibernation.  Most of them have these wonderful ruffled collars.  They want to dress their best for the season too!

My collection of scripture plates looks so good with the bunnies.  A constant reminder of the true reason for our Easter celebrations.

This dapperly dressed bunny is all set for a special get-together.  A fun find on one of my thrifting excursions.

This pretty hat birdhouse hangs above a shelf in my entry way.  I love dressing this shelf for all the different holidays and seasons.  I enjoy it every time I pass by.

A lone little bird taking a break from singing his song.  I hope all of you are having a good Wednesday and enjoying the start of spring!

Be Blessed,