Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Fresh Start!

Dear Friends, I'm Retiring this Blog! Please go to and View My Latest Post! Happy New Year Everyone!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Vivid Green! Creamy Spinach Gruyere Soup!

A while ago I posted this Delicious Soup on my facebook page and have served it to Friends on Many an Occasion. A Promise is a Promise! Here's the Recipe! Creating a Blog to share this Recipe was the easiest way to Accomplish this task!

2 Pounds Fresh Spinach
1 Cup Chicken Broth
4 Tablespoons Butter
4 Tablespoons Flour
1 1/4 Cups Half and Half
1 Clove Pressed Garlic
6 oz. Grated Gruyere Cheese
Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste
Freshly grated Nutmeg and Sour Cream (optional)

Wash spinach and remove stems. Steam with just the water that clings to the leaves, until tender. Drain and squeeze out as much of the moisture as possible. Set aside.
Melt the butter in a large sauce pan, add the flour, and cook for 2 minutes with out letting it brown.
Slowly add the chicken broth, half and half, garlic and cheese. Blend well. Add the spinach and puree with an Immersion blender. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with Freshly grated Nutmeg and Sour Cream.
Don't forget a big yummy chunk of bread or toast for dipping!

If you don't own an Immersion Blender, go get one! Such a great tool for the Kitchen. You can also puree the spinach with the chicken broth in a regular blender and add them to the recipe at the same time.

I'm thinking St Patricks Day! What a Perfect Day to Enjoy this Vivid Green Dish!


Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Day At The Getty

I Recently spent the day at the Getty Museum with my friend Sally. I'd never been, and living in Southern California I decided it was time to start taking advantage of all the great Museums around us! Going to see the Life and Luxury in Paris sounded Intriguing!
Beyond these doors was a Beautiful Exhibit. Of course there were no cameras allowed. This lovely French quote greeted us at the entrance.

A Cheerful House!
Furnish it with Taste and Propriety, Such that Everything in your Home Breathes of You.
Have Good Food, Books, Instruments, Good Friends, and Pleasant Company!

This Fresh Orchid Arrangement Caught my Eye as we Entered the Restaurant. Lunch was Relaxing and Delicious with an Incredible View!

After Lunch the Gardens Awaited us!

At the Entrance was this Giant Sculpture Trickling Fountain! Looks like a giant Urn!

On the way down was a Zig Zag Path with Artistic Plantings and a Stream of Jagged boulders.

Reaching the Central Garden were these Magnificent Trellis, made from all things, Re-Bar! . The Bougianvillea grew up the Center and Cascaded out over the Top.

Here's the View Standing Underneath!

I just Loved this Idea. I'm going to Create a much Smaller Version at Home with a Climbing Rose! Just show you how Huge they were......

Look..... There's Sally!

The Floating Garden was Jaw Dropping Beautiful!

Time to go Home now, Down these step Filled with Sun Loving Plants in Giant Pots and this Sun Bathing Sculpture!
There's so much more I could share , as these are only a few highlights of our day! Take the time and go enjoy for yourself!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Story of Big Black!

I'm telling this story simply because a few nights ago Big Black disappeared for 3 days. Then she returned! Where did I find her... Meowing on top of the greenhouse! Tears of Joy, I thought she was gone forever!
A few years back , a beautiful big black cat would hop the wall to our back garden for a visit. Stay awhile, always keeping her distance. Surely, she was someone's pet.

She was a funny cat, with her big furry hind legs that reminded us of the pantaloons of a Russian dancer. She looked silly when she ran, with her hind paws that faced outward. She was as fast as lightning!
One day two young kittens showed up in the garden, played all day and then they were gone.
I called them "My Little Garden Sprites". This happened a few times, with Big Black always present, at a distance. I was sure she had brought them by to share!

One day Big Black decided to just Stay. She had chosen us. I think she had been hunting for a new home for a while!
This created a problem for us! We already had a Beautiful kitty! Dinky was going on 14 years old and was not going to accept a new creature into her domain!

Big Black was never allowed in the house, until one rainy night my soft heart opened the sliding door for her to come inside and spend the night. She was here to stay!

With trust and patience Big Black became a very affectionate kitty. My husband Brian and I felt she had been terribly mistreated by some of her behavior. She always knew that Dinky was the
#1 Kitty

On the night of August 15th, 2009, My beloved Dinky was carried off by a Coyote. No one should ever have to witness this as I did. My heart was truly broken.

Well guess who became my shadow, my constant companion, with a mission all of her own?

I'll never forget the first time Big Black tenderly curled up on the couch beside me while I was napping. She brought me gifts, mostly birds and mice. How sweet of her! Slowly but surely she was mending my broken heart.

You often hear of people rescuing animals... Well, Big Black rescued me. Our favorite place to spend time together is in the garden. If I am there , she is to . Always close by! I love Her!

After all the Garden is where we met...The End.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Spring is Finally Here!

Spring is finally here, and it reminds me every year that it's worth waiting for! This was an extremely long Winter, especially for California. With most of the Big rains behind us now, the Sun is shining. Yippee! I took my walkabout this morning and here's what I found! It may not look like much to you, but I know with a cold winter and lots of rain good things are happening in the Garden! This is when I went in and grabbed my camera!

A Beautiful volunteer of Sweetpeas up amongst the Grape vines really surprised me this morning. While the late planting of Sweet Peas are just barely above the soil.

Big Bearded Iris are beginning to burst!

Up in the Terraced Garden the Shrub Roses are beginning to really leaf out. Sweet pink blossoms are not far away!

Forget me Nots?

I haven't seen them in a few years! Now I know where the name come from!

Another round of Daffodils. Chubby blooms of Cheerfulness, a highly fragrant variety!

All the bees are happy. Buzzing around the Lavender in Full bloom!

The soft dewey leaves of Lambs Ears! This soft gray green leaf is just lovely combined with delicate English Roses.

Feverfew. I could never have enough. Be careful what you wish for.... It's coming up everywhere!

Here she goes! Just waitng for a stalk of Artichokes to rise up! Do we eat them or just watch them bloom?

A row of teeny tiny Alpine Strawberries never cease to amaze me. There is more sweetness and flavor in this little gem than a basket full of huge Berries from the market. A little treat for me in the garden.

This snowy white Camellia opening after the Rains. So worried I had lost them all.

A hardy shade Perennial, Hellebore, and such a great cutting flower.

Dainty Coral bells in a shady garden.

I love this Perennial Ranunculu. A yummy yellow, with more volunteers popping up all over my garden every year.

Hundreds of tiny Snowballs forming on the Viburnum bushes. This is going to be quite the show this year!
Big mound of Alstromeria. I love this particular one for it's variegated leaf. One of my favorite flowers to cut. Actually you just pull them right up out of the earth by the stem!

This is the first Iceberg Rose to bloom. I can hardly wait, there's so much more to come! Lilacs and Columbine and... Hundreds of roses! Oh My, I better get to gardening! Bye!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

It's been A while...

It's been a while since my last post! The holidays at the shop were hectic and then it was off to Atlanta in January for the gift show. I returned home with a severe case of Bronchitis, which took me several weeks before I began to feel like myself again. That was then and this is now. What I have been hearing from so many people is that they are all feeling so overwhelmed! Well you're not alone... So am I!

One week ago this was the view outside my kitchen window... Don't I live in Southern California? It is just a few days until March 1st. and it was snowing madly!

Looking out, I realized I had so much to do in the garden and now this! With over 100 roses to prune and plenty of perennials that needed my attention I was feeling extremely overwhelmed. I'll never get it all done and surely Spring is on the way, Right?

Looking at the Big picture , whether it's your home, garden or business will drive you crazy! Thinking about this I decided to just look at one tiny snippet of my garden and what could I actually accomplish today! This is my favorite view to wake up to every morning so this is where I began.

Just pruning a few roses, cultivating the soil, adding a little compost and fertilizer, I felt a huge sense of accomplishment. Because it's what's below the soil that you can't see that will be so rewarding in just a short time. Spring is coming! The Daffodils are beginning to emerge, along with so many perennials. The English roses will be blooming before I know it.

Tomorrow I will begin again in another area of my garden. With time and persistence, a trowel in one hand and clippers in the other, I will eventually be able to look at the Big Picture and say I did It!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Creating Fall in the Home

Fall is the only time of year we welcome all the warm colors of rust, reds, yellows, oranges, browns, blacks and creams into our homes without reservations. What inspires us to do so? In many parts of the country Fall comes naturally by way of Nature. In Southern California we need to create our seasons by bringing these colors into our Homes and gardens.

For me... It begins with hunting for Pumpkins out in the fields and bringing them back to the shop. But it isn't until the arrival of Bittersweet that really gets me in the hunting and gathering mood.

First I roam through the nurseries, the Flower market naturally, and then start in at home looking for different elements to inspire Fall decorating. Pottery, pots, garden tools, baskets, containers, linens and some treasured collections.

This Fall I seem to be drawn to whites and blacks and just a few accents of color. There's always a gardening theme in my home as well.

First I strip down the areas I want to focus on redecorating and then I begin adding in . White pumpkins are a must along with white pottery. I found this old quilt from India and hung it for pop of color

For the dining room table I filled a Vintage French soup tureen with rusty red mums. More white pumpkins , white candlesticks and candles with a gardening motif.

I have a collection of white Ironstone in a small European hutch. I added a few pieces of Brown Transferware to give a Fall feel.Tiny mums in a bowl and hand carved giant acorns in another add unique touch.

In the bay window I went really tall! There's always something I can't resist like this beautiful orchid in the same colors as my quilt. Flanked by white pumpkins on vintage pedestals, with a violet under glass and terra cotta pots filled with color!

Ahhh... then there's Bittersweet. Every year it gets it's debut on the piano in this creamy urn with my beautiful carved birds!

Moving to the Fireplace I was inspired by this Garden Trophy artwork. On the left side I filled my little French wheel barrow with a collection of hand carved pumpkins. On the right side some collected garden elements . A vintage watering can, a French wire gathering basket, a mossy cloche brought in from the garden, a topiary for height, and a few more pumpkins.

Black and white Bridgewater Pottery is a favorite of mine! So are these delicious pumpkin chocolate chip muffins I've been Baking every Fall for 25 years. Yes, I'll share the recipe too!

So many think of Ranunculus as a spring flower, however they really begin blooming in the Fall. Love them!

Even the guest powder room gets a mini makeover. Yummy French Orange Ginger soaps , new hand towels , fresh flowers, violets and ivy, and more little hand carved pumpkins too!

The Front porch definitely needs some attention. Even though Fall is a transition time for planting... mums, begonias, greenery and pumpkins will keep me happy til Winter! A fresh Rosehips wreath will dry beautifully on the front door.

A witches work is never done... or is it...There's no rest for the wicked!

Don't for get the Treats! Happy Halloween!