Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A most unusual (and beautiful) bloom...


There's something about these blooms ~ I don't know if it's that they are so different from anything I've seen before, or that they remind me in a way of daisies, my favorite flower. Each summer, this bush blooms in our yard. And I have no idea what it is! No one has been able to tell me ~ they all say they have never seen blooms like that before. But someone somewhere must know. Anyone? It's the only thing in my yard that I simply can't put a name to. Whatever it is, that bee seems to like it. Maybe he could tell me...
Then again, I suppose you don't always have to put a name to beauty. Enjoying it and sharing it can be enough.



I am linking to Outdoor Wednesday at A Southern Day Dreamer. Stop by and see a little more outdoor beauty.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Join me for tea?



Wandering into the backyard, I found a lovely table set for afternoon tea...



... delicious cakes on beautiful plates...


... a pot of tea...


... delicate old tea cups waiting to be filled, Madeleines and scones beckoning...


... a charming magazine, a cup of tea steeping, a couple delicious sweets...

Such beauty could only be in honor of A Fanciful Twist's annual Mad Tea Party. Care to join me for tea this afternoon? I'll save you a savory or two...


Many thanks to the lovely and talented Vanessa at A Fanciful Twist for hosting such a divine party. Be sure to visit her blog for a complete list of participants.

I am also linking to...

Tea Cup Tuesday at Martha's Favorites. Click here for more.


Tea Time Tuesday at Lady Katherine Tea Parlor. Click here for more.


Teapot and Tea Things Tuesday at Silken Purse. Click here for more.


Table Top Tuesday at A Stroll Thru Life. Click here for more.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Welcome, summer...


"The serene philosophy of the pink rose is steadying. Its fragrant, delicate petals open fully and are ready to fall, without regret or disillusion, after only a day in the sun. It is so every summer. One can almost hear their pink, fragrant murmur as they settle down upon the grass: 'Summer, summer, it will always be summer.'"
~ Rachel Peden

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Pretty pinks for your porch...

All photos from Midwest Living


What could be prettier this summer than stepping onto a porch decked out in pink and yellow? I fell in love with these photos and had to share. If you look closely, they have simply dressed up plain white furniture with beautiful and fun pink and yellow fabrics and accessories. It's an inspired way to add beauty to your porch. The space radiates happiness, doesn't it?



As always, thanks to Beverly at How Sweet the Sound for hosting Pink Saturday. Please stop by her blog for a complete list of this week's participants. Next Saturday, be sure to stop by for my tea party. Until then, have a lovely week full of pink, beauty and happiness!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Favorite find... Lollia indulgences


Photos from Victoria magazine and Lollia





I came across this company in Victoria magazine and fell in love. Lollia, by Margot Elena, offers all sorts of wonderful indulgences - fine soaps, creams, bathing salts, etc. I've seen their offerings in shops, too, and they are just as beautiful in person. Click here to peruse a little Lollia loveliness.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Beauty on Etsy... Adeline's Attic Vintage

Photos from Adeline's Attic Vintage


Today is another installment in my Beauty on Etsy Series, featuring Etsy shops/bloggers that I'm absolutely head over heels for - lovely people who add a little beauty to the world (or in this case, preserve it). If you have not yet made the acquaintance of the Vintage Baroness, as I think of her, because that's the name of her blog, then you are in for a treat. Her Etsy shop is full of vintage beauties, and her blog is one of my favorites. The Baroness has style and beauty to spare, as you'll see...

Name of Etsy shop: Adeline’s Attic Vintage

Blog name and URL: Tea with the Vintage Baroness at www.lettersfromhomefront.blogspot.com

Briefly describe what browsers and buyers will find in your Etsy shop: Chic and unique vintage clothing and accessories, primarily from the 1920s to 70s, with some Edwardian pieces coming into the mix now and then.

What inspires you to collect and sell? I am passionate about vintage selling and collecting vintage (primarily from the early to mid 1930s) in large part because of the quality, beauty and uniqueness of garments from the past.

Is there a particular philosophy you follow? I believe that vintage clothing should be enjoyed and treasured as a kind of wearable history that allows us to learn about (and from) the past, while also getting a taste of the spirit of bygone eras.

Favorite find that you couldn’t bring yourself to part with? I am pretty attached to my 1930s crocheted evening gown…actually, I am in love with all my 1930s knitted and crocheted dresses and purses. A close second would be my 1930s sailor dress made out of flour sacks!

Anything else you’d like us to know about you and your shop? You can read more about me and the inspiration for my Etsy shop over at Queens of Vintage. They did a feature piece on me back in March, when I was crowned Queen of Vintage #65!!!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Laundry room loveliness...


Laundry is a chore most of us would probably rather do without. I admit it's not my favorite thing to do, but I don't hate it, either. I always have such a feeling of accomplishment after all my laundry is done - everything folded, ironed, hung up, put away. I know I would enjoy doing my laundry even more if I had a dedicated space decorated prettily and practically like this one. It would almost make me want to do the laundry before necessity called. I particularly like the drying rack that comes out from the wall above and the built-in ironing board below. And those shelves filled with pretty detergents. Great ideas to liven up an otherwise ongoing and tedious chore, don't you think? Are any of you lucky enough to have a pretty laundry room?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Kitchen experiment: Homemade applesauce


A few days ago, I found myself with about a half-dozen Granny Smith apples that needed to be used before they went bad. Normally if I find myself with a bunch of extra apples, I will make an apple coffee cake that is soooo good willpower withers in its presence. But I wasn't in the mood for cake (or rather, the calories that come with it), so instead I thought I'd make applesauce.
Then I wondered if you could make applesauce with Granny Smith apples. I know they are great for baking and eating, but I'm sketchy on other uses - so I called my grandmother, who is known for her delicious applesauce and jams. Good thing, because then I realized I didn't have an apple grinder, either. Not to worry, my grandmother said, you'll just have chunky applesauce instead. Sounded OK to me, so I got instructions from her and went to work.

I peeled and cored my apples.

I put them all in a saucepan, with just a little bit of water, as my grandmother stressed. Too much and they taste watery, she said.

I mashed the apples with a handmasher and stirred them well as they cooked down. Then, I added sugar and spices.

And before I knew it, I had homemade applesauce for dinner. It was absolutely delicious, too, if I do say so myself. It was surprisingly easy, so I thought I'd share the recipe. Enjoy.

Chunky Applesauce
Serves about 4
5 or 6 Granny Smith apples
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
(Spices and sugar can be adjusted to taste.)

Peel and core apples. Chop finely. Put apples in saucepan with just a little water - enough to keep them from burning. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Once apples are soft, remove from heat and drain. Put apples back in pan and mash with masher. Turn heat back on and cook down a little more, stirring often. Add sugar gradually and stir. Add cinnamon and nutmeg and stir well. Cook another minute or two and mash further, if desired. Remove from heat, stir and cover, letting applesauce rest for a few minutes before serving (if serving warm). Otherwise, leave covered to cool to room temperature and then refrigerate.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I'll drink to that...


The pleasure of your favorite beverage after a long day can't help but be enhanced by some fabulous little cocktail napkins. I know cocktail napkins are traditionally associated with, well, cocktails, but reserving these little butterfly beauties for just my favorite martinis would mean I would hardly get to enjoy them. What's the fun in that? So I'm breaking the "rules" and using my cocktail napkins with my daily after-work drink: usually diet green tea with ice and lemon in a pretty glass. After all, beauty shouldn't be stuck in a cupboard, right?


Saturday, June 5, 2010

Pink Saturday... Lilies in bloom



Sometimes, a Pink Saturday post just falls in your lap - or in this case blooms in your yard - and you have to share. I could hardly believe my luck this past week when my pink lily bloomed. I planted this lovely specimen a couple years ago, and this is by far the most prolific season it's had. Look at all those blooms! And there are still plenty of buds that have not opened. (Yes, that is a slightly confused mum behind it. It seems my mums bloom at all different times here in California.)



The blooms are simply stunning, aren't they? The buds started forming a couple weeks ago and as the number grew, I crossed my fingers they would open. This week, I was rewarded with their pink beauty. I feel like I've won the lily lottery.
As always, a special thanks to Beverly at How Sweet The Sound for organizing Pink Saturday. Please stop by her blog for a complete list of this week's participants.

We have a winner...
Last week, to celebrate Pink Saturday's second birthday, I had a little giveaway. The winner of those adorable pink and chocolate Vera Bradley mini-journals is... Donna Warrington. Congratulations! Your journals will be on their way soon.
Happy Pink Saturday, everyone. Have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Beauty on Etsy... Carmelina Lounsbury

All photos from Carmelina Lounsbury


Hello, all! Welcome to the start of my Beauty on Etsy series, featuring artists/vintage collectors/bloggers with beautiful little Etsy shops. Carmelina Lounsbury, aka Creative Carmelina, was gracious enough to be the first artist featured. I recently discovered Carmelina's work and blog, both of which are a delight. I hope you enjoy learning more about her and why she feels the need to bring more beauty into the world.
If anyone has an Etsy shop they would like to nominate, just leave me a comment or send me an e-mail.
And now...

Name of Etsy shop: Creative Carmelina



Briefly describe what browsers and buyers will find in your Etsy shop: When visiting my Etsy shop, you'll notice a variety of creations which include the use of Crochet and Art. There are handmade crochet tea cups, art reproduction cards embellished with crochet, doilies, cotton silk screened tote bags, and in the future more paper creations such as digital art prints, journals, bookmarks and anything else I am creatively inspired to delve into.

What inspires you to create? Creativity, for me is an inner need, or calling! I cannot go through a day without some form of art or creativity....It is a calming pleasure, a soothing therapy that brings me much relief from the sometimes overwhelming emotional trials of life that might come my way! It's how I deal with stress.

What would you like others to know about your work? Is there a particular philosophy you follow? A life lived without beauty is such a shame. There are so many ways to incorporate 'pretty' in our lives, and supporting artists and their handmade and heartfelt creations is the only way to be! Also, I am a self-taught artist. I grew up on a farm with a lot of time on my side to develop my skills as an artist. Boredom breeds creativity, that's my theory. If I had been exposed to the world more, like say, becoming a mall rat at a young age, I might not have developed my talents to the degree I have. Art, sewing, crafting, singing, I love getting into it all...and my Etsy shop allows me to have a reason to create and therefore support my need in the first place! Everybody wins! lol

Anything else you’d like us to know about you and your work? I strive for 'professional' quality and attention to detail in my finished work. From the initial art concept, to the end result, I aim to please! Hopefully that comes through in my individual creations!

Thanks so much for taking the time to read more about me. I appreciate your interest very much!

All photos from Carmelina Lounsbury