Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Magical Place...

On the car ride home from my parent's house last night after a lovely family dinner, my oldest son said, "Grandma and Grandpa's house really is a magical place!"  So sweet, and so true!  My parents live just a few minutes from us but entering through the gates onto their 20 acres of heaven really is like stepping into another land...a magical one for sure.  I've been anxious to share it with all of my blog friends and had every intention of taking photos yesterday afternoon.  There were hundreds of gorgeous flowers in bloom, perfect weather, and everything was lining up for a great photo shoot.  Like a good photographer, I had everything packed, even an extra battery...everything I needed except, the memory card for my camera!  Bummer!!!  Oh well, I'll be back for the photo shoot soon.  In the meantime, my mom sent me home with some beautiful white flowers to share for the White Wednesday Party at Faded Charm.  Enjoy! 
Rest assured there will be many posts about this magical place in the coming months.  My mom and I have a business hosting intimate garden weddings at the property.  Of course I have a gazillion photos of the beautiful land we call Lac de' Fleur Gardens that I could share with you but I wanted to take some special new photos and give you a proper tour.  Looking through my online albums, most of the photos I have of the gardens either have children or brides in them!  For now, I'll leave you with one teaser shot from last May.  This is the formal rose garden area. 
If you're anxious to see more right away, you can visit my parent's website where my dad has shared some amazing photographs as well as the history of the land www.lacdefleurgardens.com.

Thank you for stopping by today!
Best Wishes and Blessings,

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thinking Outside of the Jewelry Box

I am a firm believer in displaying and enjoying beautiful things.  I can't stand the thought of something lovely being tucked away in a box!  For this reason, I have been playing with ideas for using jewelry in unconventional ways.  I recently purchased an old jewelry box that had several romantic bits of vintage costume jewelry stowed away inside.  The pink pearly collar is what initially caught my eye.  It wasn't until I got home and started sifting through the box that I realized I had uncovered some real treasures!  I wanted to display them at the shop in a way that would make customers think of them as accessories for their home in addition to being something lovely to wear for an evening out on the town!
I sometimes like to gather one corner of a tablecloth to add a little extra dimension and interest to a setting.  A vintage brooch works perfectly to hold the gather in place.
This pretty little Victorian hair pick was not one of my yard sale finds...it was a gift from my Aunt that I have treasured for many years!  Not only do I keep it out on display on my dresser, but I wear it too!

I'd like to thank The Graphics Fairy for the beautiful images she shares each and every day!  All of those that I've used in this post came from her site! 

One of my favorite link parties is Pink Saturday at How Sweet the Sound.  This week marks the 3rd year that the lovely Ms. Beverly has hosted!  In honor of Pink Saturday's birthday, I would like to crown Ms. Beverly the official Queen of Pink!  Congratulations on three fun years of pretty pinks!  And thank you once again for being such a lovely host!

I'm so glad you stopped by to visit!  I absolutely love reading your kind comments and making my way over to your blogs to see what brilliant things you've all been up to this week!  The inspiration and encouragement out here in blogland is so amazing!  Thank you dear blog friends, for being you and doing what you do!

Best Wishes and Blessings,

I will be linking up with the following fun parties:
Vintage Inspiration Friday at Common Ground
Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
Home Sweet Home at The Charm of Home
Pink Saturday at How Sweet the Sound
Brag Monday at The Graphics Fairy Blog

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Memories of Love

Have you caught a glimpse of this gorgeous fabric in your local quilt or craft store?  It's called Memories of Love by Maywood Studios.  I bet when you read the title of this post you thought were about to step into a sappy romance novel, didn't you?  Sorry to disappoint!  But I am in love with this fabric...  Oh sweet dusty pink roses, be still my heart!  I bought one yard nearly a month ago and have been hoarding saving it for a special project!  As I gathered some recent estate sale finds to take to the shop today, I decided I needed a pretty backdrop/display to pull everything together.  I quickly and easily assembled this "memo" board with a painted frame, foam board, vintage trim, wooden clothespins and my trusty hot glue gun! 

This lovely vintage lamp didn't quite make it to the shop this evening.  It parked it's pretty self on top of my craft cabinet today and there it remains!  It looked so sweet and cozy that I couldn't bring myself to pack it up!  Maybe next week.  Maybe.

Aren't these vintage earrings awesome?  I have been collecting some really interesting antique jewelry lately.  I have a few fun ideas for them that I will be sharing in the near future!

I had such fun adding new treasures to my booth space this evening and changing up the display.  And I think that creating this memo board today really got my crafty juices flowing!  I can't wait to get started on some more projects.  I still have a good sized piece of that lovely fabric left!  You just might be seeing those gorgeous dusty pink roses again this week!

Thank you so very much for your sweet visit!
Best Wishes and Blessings,

Joining in on these fun parties:
White Wednesday at Faded Charm
Treasures and Transformations at Pink Postcard
Wednesday Link Party at Tea Rose Home
Show and Tell Wednesday at Blue Cricket Designs
Transformation Thursday at The Shabby Chic Cottage

Sunday, May 22, 2011

What is it About a Chocolate Chip Cookie?

When I collected my boys from Sunday School this morning, a plate of snickerdoodles was waiting in the lobby of our church.  Both boys immediately devoured a cookie, as did every other child in the vicinity and the plate was quickly emptied!  Minutes later when we passed the plate again, it had been restocked, only this time with chocolate chip cookies.  My biggest little guy fought back tears.  He knew the rule...he had had his one cookie.  "But mom!  Now they have chocolate chip cookies!!!"  What is it about chocolate chip cookies?  There are so many delectable cookie choices out there, but in my humble opinion, and clearly my son's too, nothing beats the classic chocolate chip!

I don't mean to brag, but I get a lot of requests for my chocolate chip cookie recipe.  I'll admit it's a good recipe but I'm not sure it's anything special or unusual.  I sometimes add a few teaspoons of instant coffee which gives it a richer flavor...but not always, as I figure the kiddos probably don't need a shot of caffeine in an already sugary treat.  My husband's friends are so fanatical over my cookies, they swear I have a top secret ingredient.  They were sure it was something horribly bad that made the cookies taste so good...something I would never admit to.  A rumor was started that I put lard in my cookies.  Okay, no offense if you cook with lard...but lard in my cookies - Gross!  No way!  I do believe that the right tools and techniques contribute to the chewy texture of the cookie.  I would love to bake up a big batch to share with each of you, dear friends.  But since that would be sort of difficult to do, I thought I'd share a few tips that I've learned in my many years of cookie baking.  And I'll go ahead and post my recipe too.

I use my kitchen aid mixer with the paddle attachment to mix up the dough.  Your cookies will taste better if you use a pink mixer... wink ;)
I have one baking stone...just one!  It is several years old and obviously very well seasoned.  I use it for absolutely everything!  I think a stone is essential for baking amazing cookies.  I don't think I've ever burned a batch of cookies on this stone.  They come out perfect, every time.
Another baking tool I have found invaluable is a cooling rack.  I try not to let the cookies sit on the stone for more than 5 minutes after they're done baking.  I transfer them to the cooling rack as soon as they are set enough to be handled with a spatula without falling apart.  Allowing them to cool on the rack seems to be a big part of what gives them that desirable chewy texture.  

Recipe:  Yields approx. 2 dozen cookies

1 cup of butter, softened
2 cups of brown sugar
6 tablespoons of granulated sugar
2 eggs
4 teaspoons of vanilla
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
3.5 cups of flour
(optional -3 teaspoons of instant coffee)
1.5 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips

1.  Cream the butter with the sugars
2.  Add in the egg and vanilla
3.  Combine the dry ingredients, then add to the butter mixture. 
4.  Stir in chocolate chips
5.  Arrange spoon fulls of dough onto baking stone and bake at 375 for 8-12 minutes.  Know your oven.  Mine seems to bake a little on the cool side.  My cookies are done at exactly 11 minutes..every time!
6.  Transfer to a cooling rack.  Once cookies have completely cooled, arrange them on a pretty plate...and enjoy!

Thank you for your sweet visit!  I hope your weekend was simply lovely!  Cheers to a great week ahead!  Don't forget to bake up a batch of cookies and eat one warm from the oven!  Yummmm!

Best Wishes and Blessings,

Sharing With:
Craft-O-Maniac Monday at Craft-O-Maniac Blog
Melt in Your Mouth Monday at Make Ahead Dinners for Busy Moms

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tea Party Sign

It's been a while since I've painted up any tea party signs, but I recently had a special request for one, so I pulled out my paintbrushes this morning and got to work.  It's always flattering when someone asks specifically for something that I've made!  When I first started making these signs, I did just a couple to see if people would actually buy them.  For more than two weeks they sat in my space...not a bite.  Then, all of a sudden both had sold and I was told that there were customers who came in to buy one and were disappointed that they were gone!  I made up one in my usual pinks this morning and dropped it by the shop for the woman who had called in the request.  Then I came home and started playing around with some khaki paint and thought I'd change things up and go for a more neutral look.  I am really liking how this one turned out.  The fabric rosettes are something new I'm trying too.  What do you think? 
How fun would it be to hang this from an ornate garden gate or from a low tree branch, inviting guests to a spring tea party in the rose garden? 
Speaking of roses, the sunshine yesterday coaxed one pink bud open in my garden!  Yes, I have one blooming pink rose...just in time for Pink Saturday!
I used Picnik's focal soften and wood grain texture overlay to add a little more dimension to this photo!  I'll be linking this up with the Photo Feature Friday party at A Rosy Note!

Thank you for your sweet visit today!  I hope you'll stop by again soon!
Best Wishes and Blessings,

Don't forget to join in on my favorite end of the week linky parties!  A special thanks to all of the lovely hostesses who welcome us each and every week! 

Photo Feature Friday at A Rosy Note
Vintage Inspiration Friday at Common Ground
Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home
Pink Saturday at How Sweet the Sound
Tea Time Tuesday at Lady Katherine's Tea Parlor

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Gifts from a Paris Flea Market!

Hello dear friends!  I hope you're having a delightful week!  Mine is off to a great start!  I worked in my space at the shop last night which is always fun!  This coming weekend is our neighborhood garage sales where I usually find a whole lot of treasures...so I am saving my pennies and counting down the days!  Speaking of treasures...I have a few fun things to share today!

First of all, here are the beautiful barkcloth pillows that my adorable little guys gave me for Mother's Day, propped up in the Family room chairs!  I love them and they work so perfectly in this room!  My little guys are so proud of them too.  Every time they see me fluffing them they say, "you sure like those pillows we got you, don't you mom?"
I know that as soon as my husband sees this photo he's going to wonder where his surround sound speaker is!  Don't worry, honey!  I put it right back after I took the picture!
Basil saw me taking photos and jumped right up into the chair for his cameo.  What a little ham!

I received the sweetest little box of goodies in the mail last week!  Yes, I won a giveaway from Rhonda at A Little Bit French, and can you believe that she shared treasures that she actually purchased at a Paris Flea Market and brought home with her in her carry-on bag?!?  What a treat!  Thank you so very much, Rhonda!  Shopping a Paris Flea Market is a fantasy of mine and I am really enjoying these little treasures and dreaming about where they came from!
Adorable little Eiffel Tower!
Awesome old skeleton key!
Buttons, vintage lace trim and an old French clothespin!
Rhonda made this lovely box!  And I loved how she had everything carefully wrapped in old sewing patterns!  So very clever!

Thank you once again, dear Rhonda for sharing a little bit of Paris with me!  I feel so honored!  If you haven't been to visit Rhonda at A Little Bit French, you must do so!  Her blog is gorgeous and she is a dear!

Thank you for your sweet visit today!
Best Wishes and Blessings to You!


I will be joining Kathleen at Faded Charm today for her 100th White Wednesday Post!  Come join the party!  She is having some fabulous giveaways!!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Flowers and Showers and a Successful Sidewalk Sale!

In spite of the ridiculous weather, our sidewalk sale Saturday at Camas Antiques was really a huge success!  I awoke extra early that morning to run out into the backyard and cut flowers for a few arrangements to add to my display!
Here they are on the breakfast nook table, all ready to be loaded into the truck with the other goodies early Saturday morning!  I had such fun playing flower shop!

Thankfully there was no rain as I unloaded and everything was pretty well protected under the awning for the surprise showers we had throughout the day.
The pink Lily of the Valley did not bloom before Saturday as we had hoped but they were all sold by the end of the day!  I am guessing that there were probably some happy mothers who enjoyed pretty pink blooms on Mother's Day!  Speaking of which, I was "surprised" with my second beautiful barkcloth pillow at 6am Sunday morning!  My biggest little guy just could not wait any longer to present me with the gift he was so proud of!  It was absolutely the sweetest...even being awoken from a dead sleep!  I must say, it was a little difficult to act surprised that early in the morning but I think I pulled it off!

I hope your Mother's Day weekend was all kinds of wonderful!  Thank you for your sweet visit today! 
Best Wishes and Blessings,

Linking up with the following fun parties:
Show and Tell at Blue Cricket Design
White Wednesday at Faded Charm
Treasures and Transformations at Pink Postcard
Treasure Hunt Thursday at Blue Creek Home
Pink Saturday at How Sweet the Sound
Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home
Vintage Inspiration Friday at Common Ground