Monday, March 31, 2008
Yes, that's a big rug with a pair of boots on it! These huge "sweaters" are made on GIANT needles!
And I'm so glad that someone has finally solved a problem that has been weighing heavily on me for quite some time...cold apples. What a relief! These little apple jackets make me feel that everything is alright in the world.
And as a true Seattle girl that loves her coffee, I might just have to get one of these coffee sleeves.
Update! I had the post typed up last week to post this morning, but at the wedding I did on Saturday (more of that to come later this week), the bride had a little dish of these tiny knit hearts-on-a-stick. Heart shish kabobs? I honestly don't know what their purpose was, but they were so cute that I don't even care!
Update II! I just heard from Stacey, the coordinator for the wedding last weekend. The hearts were a play on a traditional Japanese sweet that is served during the cherry blossom festival, which was the theme of the wedding. The treats are called hanami-dango and are rice dumplings filled with bean paste. Oishi!
Friday, March 28, 2008
The Peach Paisley elephant
Continuing on the baby theme from yesterday, here is a great gift idea for a new baby, elephant lover, or someone that appreciates beautiful vintage fabrics and handcrafted treasures. Etsy seller maidenlove makes these darling elephants from vintage fabrics and stuffs them with wool. Nothing is greener than re-purposing materials into a new, very lovable object! And check out her quote below; I love that she gives some of the money right back to her muses!
The Tropical Elephant, with a dupioni silk saddle
Vintage blue barkcloth elephant
Wool is Simply Amazing.
It's naturally hypo-allergenic, anti-microbial, flame and mold resistant, and chemical-free! Plus, wool is calming and lowers your heart rate, is sustainably harvested and a renewable resource!
I'm pleased to support small farmers and use this natural product in my soft toys and pillows.
Elephants on a Mission.
Not only to bring comfort + joy to young and old alike, partial proceeds of each elephant sold will be donated to The Circuses Fund.
Elephant of teal silk and handwoven fabric from Michoacan, Mexico.
A mother and baby set, of tangerine gingham.
My star magnolia is just about to burst. This little bloom opened before all the others, so deserves a picture.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
My very talented friend Sarah made the AMAZING strawberry cake, in honor of Milo's favorite craving. Sarah is a pastry chef here in Seattle, and the cake was her own creation: a white chocolate sponge cake with white chocolate mousse and sliced strawberries between the layers. It was all topped off with strawberry buttercream and crushed green pistachios. The word incredible doesn't do it justice.
I just got several of these blown glass bowls for floating flowers. They are great on bistro tables for cocktail hour! This one has a green cymbidium orchid with a blown glass bubble.
And finally, I can't resist introducing you to one of the Fiore Blossoms staff members. You can see Noah hard at work here making sure that each bloom is in place. He has a real eye for design.
Congratulations to my dear friends. I can't wait to watch your family grow and get to know this new amazing person that will be such a gift.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
But first, a short time-line, so that I can give credit where it is due:
Mid-early 2002?: Hear the word blog, can't figure out why people would want to put their diary on -line for the world to read. What a bunch of emotional exhibitionists!
February 2004: Friend Sarah tells me about Orangette, and I'm so taken with Molly's writing and superb recipes that it is my homepage for the next year. Find the best banana bread recipe on earth*, never go back to the classic.
January 2008: Noticing more wedding and decorating blogs, getting hooked. Friend Robin mentions that her husband has named her "Bloggy" because her relaxing every night is looking at blogs for design help for new house. Friends in the biz say that its a great way to let clients know a little more about you.
February 2008: Spend a few frustrating days messing around with various blogging programs, and start Fiore fresco.
March 2008: Worry obsessively that no one at all is reading the blog, get some very sweet comments by friends and clients that they enjoy it and are passing it on. Still worry obsessively that no one is reading blog.
March 23, 2008: Read on Elizabeth Anne Designs that she loves her Google Reader. Her WHAT? You mean, I can get updates sent to me, in one place, so that I know as soon as people have posted? So that I'll remember each day to check my favorites? You're kidding!
March 25, 2008: Figure out how Google Reader works (five minutes), load some of my favorite blogs (another five minutes), and have a relaxing and inspirational afternoon catching up with news in the blogosphere!
Daytime, March 26, 2008: You, dear reader, check out Google Reader and hopefully give it a try! Load up Fiore fresco and a few others, and you'll soon be wasting (I mean saving) as much time as me!
Note: Adding subscriptions was the only tricky part to the Reader (because there are a couple of ways to do it, and some seem to work better than others). I found that clicking the orange feed button in your toolbar put things in the wrong spot. The best way was to go into Reader, type the name of the blog in the green "add subscription box", and it will work like a search engine. Click "Subscribe" under the blog, and you're all set!
Recipe and picture from Orangette: (with a minor change, shown in green)
Adapted from HomeBaking: The Artful Mix of Flour and Tradition around the World, by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid.
About 3 large, overripe bananas
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
¾ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of salt
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/8 tsp distilled white vinegar
1 ½ Tbsp. dark rum
½ cup dried shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup demerara or dark brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a standard-size loaf pan, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup raw/Demerara sugar (the same way that you would usually use flour). In a blender or food processor, purée the bananas. Measure out 1 ½ cups of purée. Set the purée aside.
In a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vinegar and rum, and beat to mix well. Add the banana purée and the flour mixture alternately, about 1 cup at a time, beginning with the banana and beating to just incorporate. Use a spatula to fold in any flour that has not been absorbed, and stir in the coconut. Do not overmix.
Scrape the batter – it will be thick – into the prepared pan. Smooth the top, and sprinkle evenly with the remaining demerara sugar.
Bake for 50-65 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack for about 20 minutes; then turn the loaf out of the pan and allow it to cool completely. This loaf will keep, sealed airtight, for three to four days, although it is best, I think, on the second day.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
The yellow bride's bouquet featured a gorgeous black and white toile wrap that was fabric from her dress. Even a two-inch wide strip of fabric left over from hemming the bride's dress makes a beautiful wrap!
A shot that shows Erica's dress. One of my favorite trends in weddings right now: dresses that are a little nontraditional! Erica's bouquet had miniature narcissus, ranunculus, yellow calla lilies, freesia, and yellow cymbidium orchids.The bridesmaid's white arrangement of peonies and calla lilies with a collar of freesia.
A few of the centerpieces...white hydrangea with tulips, daffodils, gerbera daisies, miniature narcissus, berzilla berries, and freesia.
Monday, March 24, 2008
10 things I love about Spring:
1. Fresh rhubarb (another underappreciated but amazing product of the natural world!) Try it in a sauce over really good vanilla ice cream. Cut rhubarb into small pieces (bigger than a green pea, smaller than a cherry) and put 2 cups of rhubarb in saucepan with ¼ cup water. Add ¼ to ½ cu p of sugar, depending on taste. (I like it tart). Let it bubble and stew on the stove for 10 minutes or so (longer if you don’t want any full pieces left), and then serve over ice cream. Springtime loveliness in a bowl.
2. Getting a haircut. Nothing says rebirth and renewal like a new ‘do! I just got 6” cut off last weekend, and I feel like a new woman!
3. Opening the doors and windows to let the warm afternoon breeze in.
4. Blooming branches
5. Green shoots coming up in the garden
6. Reading a good book on the patio in an Adirondack chair. I just started “Suite Francaise” and its really extraordinary!
And...6b. The first light sunburn on my cheeks (from sitting on the patio with a book…). I know—sunscreen 365 days—whatever.
7. Driving by a fresh green field and seeing baby horses/cows/goats/sheep learning to walk on wobbly legs (hey—you can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country…)
8. Crisp, fresh, THIN local asparagus (have you tried it grilled?)
9. Flip flops, Capri pants, skirts…getting the stuff I love to wear out of winter storage.
10. And speaking of fashion…I love it when the spring catalogs arrive. Spotted in some recent ones:
A great white jacket from J.Crew
Congratulations to Katy--winner of the great products from SEVEN! She was the eighth response, and I thought that the six products from SEVEN should go do the eighth comment. Hope you enjoy them!
Friday, March 21, 2008
If you're not going out this weekend, why not do a little TAP project of your own wherever you will be? I won't be going out this weekend, but will be eating in with some friends. I'm thinking that I'll put a jar by the sink and a note on the faucet/refrigerator/water bottle to remind people to donate. UNICEF makes it super easy to turn in your contributions--just fill out this very short on-line form and pay with your card. You can also print the form and mail it in.