Friday, April 27, 2007

My Garden...Yeah Right!

Okay, so this isn't my garden. It is a photo of a lovely garden in Maine that is featured in this month's Cottage Living. I showed this to hubby who promptly said "that looks like a big mess." Men! Presently, I 'm a little obsessed with creating something along these lines in my yard. Oh, did I mention that my yard is a mess?! Well maybe not quite a mess, but definitely needs some TLC. This is our third year in our house and I haven't had any time to even think about a garden until this year. I have to rebuild beds and do some serious work before I can plant anything. I have a whole design drawn out but there is no way it's all going to happen this year. So, I, who needs instant gratification, am coming to terms with the fact that I have to start small. Especially since my big plan was to get the front beds ready to go this Sunday and the forecast is for rain! UGH! Weather gods, why do you displease me so?! Here is my question to all of my blogging buddies out there - can anyone suggest some good gardening/planting books and/or websites?

Also, a reminder that the other Karla over at Karla's Cottage is having a fabulous bucket giveaway. Check out her blog to see all the yummy items she is including! Natasha is also hosting another fabulous giveaway for a beautiful hanging strawberry! I just received one of her lavender strawberries a few weeks ago and it is simply divine!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Inspiration Times Two

Last week Bob and Lee Woodruff visited the university where I am gainfully employed. I was truly lucky to be able to escort this absolutely wonderful couple around our campus. They are two of the most remarkable and inspiring people I have ever met. They were extremely gracious and kind to everyone that came to see them. They stayed late into the evening to make sure they were able to sign every last book and take every last photo with our guests. Can't say enough about these two, I could go on and on. They have started a foundation called the Bob Woodruff Family Fund to help soldiers going through Traumatic Brain Injuries. Through their connections, they have already made some fantastic improvements in the quality of care and procedures that our injured soldiers receive. If you haven't read their book, consider doing so. It is not only a detailed account of what Bob went through but also a moving account from Lee's perspective. This family went through so much and this is an inspirational story of how they made it through and are all the stronger for their struggles. After reading the book, I thought "What the heck am I complaining about!"
Disclaimer: I went against my better judgement in posting the above photo. The day was so lousy weather wise and I had been rained on and all my lovely make-up washed right off so you can see the drowned rat version of me! Funny how the Woodruffs still look so lovely!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Happy Earth Day

Today is Earth Day. Its a day I never really gave much thought to. I recycle my newspaper and plastics and cardboard and I figured that was good enough. Well, was I ever wrong. I was shocked to hear some statistics on an episode of Oprah last week. Did you know it takes 1,000 years for one plastic grocery bag to break down? Or that it takes 14 million trees to produce paper grocery bags?! I always thought I was doing a good thing by choosing paper and reusing all my bags whether paper or plastic but these statistics really floored me. I'm going to purchase some canvas shopping and produce bags and stop contributing to so much waste. Oprah also featured an interesting story of a couple whose young son was suffering from asthma. They went back through the family history and no one had the same affliction. They figured out the cause was the household cleaning products they were using - regular everyday stuff that we all probably have in our kitchens and bathrooms. They switched to products by a company called Shaklee and their son's asthma disappeared. They ended up buying the company and are offering a great discount on their cleaning products. Check them out here. I ordered some for our home and will let you know how they are once the arrive. In the meantime, we should all try to do what we can to make sure we leave behind a vibrant Earth for the next generation.

On a fun note, I did finally get to the flea market!! Yea! They actually opened today! I found some great vintage postcards and beads. I'll have to take some photos and post later. Below is a photo of some collages I worked on last week. A few went out to some friends, but I'm not saying who! :) I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do with the bird collage, if anyone is interested in a trade, let me know. Leave a comment or e-mail me at

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Sweet Goodness Swappy Fun

This is the fun package I received from my Spring Fling Swap partner Jenn. It came in a fun leopard print hat box. I love animal prints and I never even mentioned it before!

All the goodies wrapped up and ready for me to tear into.

Just look at these fabulous items! Included is a lovely hostess apron, pink and green dish towels, handmade card, inspirational book, photo holder, note cards, collage personalized with Margot, chocolate, and a truly fabulous photo of Frank Sinatra and Grace Kelly from one of my very favorite movies, High Society!

This is a shot of the package I sent to Jenn. It includes some scrapbooking supplies, ribbon, porcelain vase, flower seeds, Peace rock, tissue paper, cute tea towel, healthy eating magazine, and one of my little handmade collages. I packaged everything in the cute little basket and wrapped it up with butterfly cellophane.

This was my very first swap and a lot of fun!

I also want to let everyone know that the other Karla over at Karla's Cottage is doing a great May Bucket Giveaway. She adds new things to it everyday. Stop by her blog to sign up.

Natasha is also back from vacation and giving away some absolutely delectable faux creamcakes. Yum, they look good enough to eat!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

God Bless

As someone who works for a university and as someone who is as crushed as the rest of the nation and world, my thoughts and prayers are with Virginia Tech at this difficult time. May they find the strength to rise above this horrible tragedy and heal. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers as well.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

And the award goes to...

Wow, I'm totally speechless! One of my very most favorite bloggers, Mary, tagged me for a Thinking Blogger Award! Mary, thank you so much! I'm so honored that Mary would consider me a blog that makes her think especially since I have only been doing this about a month or so. Check her out at Oh Merci. She has a beautiful space. So, the rules are to pass this on to 5 blogs that make me think. Mary definitely is one but since she already received the award from Shabby in the City, hmm...

First up is Mari Robeson Style. Mari has truly been an inspiration to me. She has helped me get back in touch with my crafty side. She is a truly wonderful friend and her blog has some great home style advice. She introduces her readers to some really unique and fun things.

Second is another Karla, Karla Nathan at Karla's Cottage. Karla is a very talented individual, just head over to her blog to see some of the many projects she is working on. She truly can take trash and make it a richly appointed treasure! She is also an author and has written many wonderful articles.

Third is Heidi over at Everday Cookies at Sweet Woodruff Acres. Heidi has a wonderfully delightful blog that is always a joy to read and is one of the very first blogs I came across. Heidi has been very welcoming to me since I began this wonderful blogging journey.

Fourth is Karin presiding over Creative Chaos. Karin is not only an extremely talented artist, her posts are witty and clever and make you think.

Last but not least is Miz Smoochie Lips. Miz Smooch is hilarious. She really has a knack for writing and it is hard not to become addicted (in a very good way) to her blog once you read it!

So there you go, ladies, please pass this honor on to your top 5 thinking blogs. It was so hard to select, I have to say that every single blog that is listed on the side makes me think and I love to visit all of you if not everyday, several times a week!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

I'm Oriel Clemenceau. Pleasure to meet you.

Your French Name is:
Oriel Clemenceau
This is pretty neat! I found it through Kina at Life Ala Kina (who is putting together a cookbook based on last Friday's Potluck). My French name is Oriel Clemenceau. What is your French name?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


This is Prescott T. Lionsworth. He guards the front of our house from rouge vandals and other assorted bad people. He is looking especially cold and lonely these days. It is so cold over here. There is the possibility for snow later this week. I can't believe it. I can but still it's April! Spring has sprung! Or maybe not so much. I am itching to get some flowers outside but can't do that yet or I'll end up with little icicles.

I received my partner for Claire's softie swap today. She is quite talented and a fellow Yankee! Check out her blog and work here. I suspect she has slightly more sewing talent then I but I will rise to this challenge! I found some great snuggly fabric for my softie today and the wheels are turning.

If anyone reading this is from some wonderfully warm and delightful geographical climate, please send some warm vibes so I can live vicariously through you!

Hugs to all.

Monday, April 9, 2007

As Time Goes By

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter. I can't believe another holiday is over. When I was a child and everyone would say how fast time goes by I would think they were crazy. Since I got out of college I see what they mean! I am really starting to see things from a different perspective. I look at old photos of my grandmother and think how she was my age and had her whole life in front of her and now she is nearing the end of her time and how it must feel for her. We were in Church yesterday morning and I was looking around and faces I have known most of my life and really noticing how they have aged. It just all seems to be hitting me suddenly. I don't know if it is because I have a milestone birthday coming up in October (the big 30) but I'm just really seeing things differently. And I'm not one to be concerned about age, I am happy to be turning 30 and to be healthy and have a good life. I know some are probably saying "I wish I was 30 again!" I don't think age matters, it is all how you feel and what you are giving back. I know, this is easy for me to say now!

Here are a few Easter scenes from my home. I have a few days off from work so I'm going to kick back and relax. I hope you have the time to do so as well. If I have learned nothing else up to this point - taking care of yourself is most important!
I love Fiesta ware! Perfect colors for Easter.
Everything was delicious!
Me, my mother-in-law, and Margot. My mother-in-law made Margot this cute little sweater! There is a better shot of it at the beginning of this post.
Hubby's nephews and niece in their Sunday best.
Collages all wrapped and ready to go. Hubby gave me the chocolate bunny. I don't think Mr. Bunny is going to make it through the day.
Special message to Susie Q's daughter Grace. Grace - thanks for letting your mom share your Bunny Cupcake recipe. They were a big hit!

Lastly, I have to say a big thanks to Heidi. She sent me the below tag just for signing up for an AOL screen name! Heidi, I love it! It is proudly hanging on my kitchen cabinet. How did you know my kitchen is yellows and aqua blues?!

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Happy Easter

A Happy and Blessed Easter to everyone.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Potluck Pancakes

Greetings from sunny Connecticut. At least it is sunny right now. As the old saying goes, "New England, if you don't like the weather, wait a minute, it will change." I thought about what would represent CT well and apples are definitely tops on that list. I live within walking distance of three orchards and there are many more in the area. To that end I give you a wonderful apple pancake recipie. A short funny story about these - we had a Thanksgiving brunch with Hubby's family. I wanted to make these and he wanted to make plain ol Bisquick pancakes because "no one will want to eat oatmeal pancakes." Well, I'll give you one guess as to which one everyone devoured and which one no one touched! Without further ado, may I present.....

Oatmeal Apple Pancakes
Makes 12 - 18 pancakes

1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour (I use unbleached)
2 T sugar
2 1/2 t baking powder
1 t salt
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t allspice
1/2 t ground cloves
2 apples, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch dice
Maple syrup for serving

Preheat and lightly grease an electric griddle to 375-390 degrees F or a skillet over medium heat. Put oats in a bowl. Pour milk over oats and let stand for 2 minutes. Mix in oil, eggs, flour, sugar, baking poder and salt. Mix in cinnamon, allspice and cloves. Stir in apples. Cook pancakes until golden brown on both sides. Serve with maple syrup.

A variation on the syrup - bring 1/4 cup of apple cider and 1 cup of maple syrup to and add some ground cloves. Simmer for 15 minutes. Yum!

I didn't have a chance to make these for a photograph so I'm posting a scene from my home instead. I love lemons and found these plates while honeymooning in Italy a few years ago. Best wishes everyone! Thank you to Shabby in the City for hosting this. Be sure to stop on by and see what other wonderful dishes are being shared.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Lovely and Yummy Opportunities

Good morning! I have had a busy few days still preparing things for Easter. Boy - won't you all be glad to hear me stop saying (or should I say typing) that. In my daily rounds of looking through all of your wonderful blogs and being inspired I've found some great things going on. Following the success of ArtsyMama's Tea Party, Shabby in the City has decided to host a Potluck tomorrow. Get out your favorite recipes native to your area and join in the fun! Now if only I can figure out something good to represent CT...

Next up is a Softie Swap hosted by Little Lovelies. Claire says you don't need to be a sewing expert to participate so I decided to throw caution to the wind and sign up. God help my partner! Sign ups for this swap end April 8.

I'm also still hunting for treasures for my partner in the Sweet Goodness Spring Fling Swap. I've found some fun stuff that I hope she loves.

I've finally manged to get an AOL screen name so that I can comment on the wonderful AOL journals out there. I was having the hardest time acquiring a screen name but Heidi gave me a little extra push! You didn't have to do that, Heidi - I would have gotten it straightened out eventually (maybe...)! Check out Heidi's sweet signs. I can attest that she does wonderful work!

I also want to say thank you to everyone who left me wonderful comments or sent me kind messages regarding my little collages. I really appreciate it and am open to trades!

Take care all.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Photo Overload

Warning - there are a lot of photos in this post! Okay, so you probably already figured that out since I put the photos first but I digress. I have been working like a mad woman on some collages. I'm making them as little treats for my family as an Easter surprise. The first few photos are some of the results. I've also been working on designing some bracelets. No photos of those yet, can't seem to get good ones. Hubby, if you are reading this, a new digital camera sure would be swell! I'm hoping to get some jewelry designs built up so I can open an Etsy shop in the next couple of weeks. I may have bitten off more then I can chew with my nutty work schedule so time will tell. I have bags under my eyes from the late nights but things are always crazy for me this time of year. Christmas time and April/May - major sleep deprivation times for me. The university I work for has three commencement ceremonies and guess who does a bulk of the planning!? We also have an awesome event coming up, Bob and Lee Woodruff are going to be speaking and signing their new book in a few weeks. I am so excited to meet them. They are both so inspiring. I just started their new book In An Instant and already can tell you that it is a great read. I've been fortunate to meet some really interesting people and I seldom get starstruck but I am just so excited for Bob and Lee's visit.

The next photo is an adorable little bunny dish that is on loan from my friend Judy. It is too cute. I am going to fill it with something fun. She also gave me the chocolate chick in the photo. I love the colors and think it is too cute to eat. I'm going to display if for now. People, for me not to have devoured this thing already is a feat in itself. I am a MAJOR chocoholic (as I type with a mouthful of peanut M&Ms).

The next photo is of a cute little salt and pepper shaker set my mother gave me a few years back. Just darling! Again, too cute to use but oh so perfect for displaying.

Lastly I got some great treats from Carol over at Boxwood Cottage. This fabulous egg (oh don't look at that yucky brick fireplace in the background. I keep begging Hubby to let me paint it white - I'm close to getting my way - I think). She also included an adorable chick pressie and some yummy candy. Thanks Carol!
Well off I go. Time to make dinner and I have lots more little Easter crafts to work on! Hope everyone had a delectably marvelous day.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Easter Dinner

Good afternoon all! I hope everyone is enjoying a take it easy Sunday before the crazy week starts up again. I myself was up at 5:30 a.m. to go to the local flea market. Hubby and I quickly realized something was amiss when we pulled into an empty field! We then noticed the sign that said the opening has been delayed until April 15. I was so mad! I am so not a morning person and I wasted a perfectly good sleep late Sunday for nothing! Oh well, I guess I'll just be all the more ready to go on the 15th! In other breaking news, I have finally figured out Easter Sunday Dinner. We are going to have Carrot Vichyssoise, Turkey Brined in Grapefruit and Orange Juice with Brown Sugar (I discovered brining last year and it was a big hit!), Paula Deen's Squash Casserole, and Sweet Potatoes. For the all important dessert we are having Ricotta Pie, Chocolate Bread Pudding with Spiced Cream, Chocolate Dipped Fruit, and Susie Q's Bunny Cupcakes for the kids.

The Carrot Vichyssoise is simply heavenly and I wanted to share the recipe with you (courtesy of my good friend Judy).

Carrot Vichyssoise (makes 12 servings)

3T Butter
1 1/2 lbs. Carrots peeled and sliced
2 Leeks (white part only) sliced
1 3/4 lbs. Boiled Potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes
1t Minced Fresh Thyme or 1/2t dried
7 cups Chicken Stock or Canned Broth
1/2 cup Dry Vermouth
2 cups Whipping Cream
Salt and White Pepper
Fresh Lemon Juice
Minced Fresh Thyme

Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add carrots and leeks and cook until leeks are tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Mix in potatoes and 1t thyme. Add stock and vermouth. Simmer until potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes. Puree soup in batches in food processor. Return to saucepan. Add cream. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Stir over medium heat until warmed through. Garnish with minced fresh thyme and serve.


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