As the sun sets today it also sets on the year. 2009 brought a lot of current events, personal events and great stories to share. It was, like all years, a very good one. Raise your glass of wine or champagne to toast away 2009 and welcome 2010. Happy New Year!
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
6 weeks after planting 20 bulbs in water over rocks the blooms are opening in full. Not all 20 have started to open so I think in whole the arrangement will last quite some time. It will welcome in the New Year with a bouquet of white and a heady evening fragrance
Saturday, December 26, 2009
It snowed again last night and this morning. It was a perfect opportunity to make tracks in the new fallen snow.... something I enjoyed doing as a skier. Kate is trying it out too. She circles the yard crunching on the snow and leaving her mark for the morning.
Oh what a great day for the zoo!. We pulled up to park and wondered if the zoo was open. There were about 8 cars in the lot which was so different from the last visit when we had to park blocks and blocks away. It seemed as though the animals loved the lack of human stalkers. They were more animated than usual. The lions were enjoying their walk in the snow too just like Kate. The peacocks were in splendid form and posed for many pictures. And the ducks and geese found sanctuary in the pond for the winter.
Friday, December 25, 2009
The Christmas tree was surrounded with presents and adorned with Peace..the excitement was in the air and everyone had lots of joy. The train circles the tree....lucky to make it around without running in to obstacles along the way.
and I got a new camera for Christmas.....I must read the manual but these are my first shots.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
I want to wish all of you who follow my blog a very Merry Christmas! Some of you I know well....some I only know through comments.....which I love....It is such an unusual way of communicating but for a rather private person I have enjoyed sharing with you the artistic things I do. And it forces me to make them visible which is really hard to do.
I hope you all have a delicious Christmas dinner, receive absolutely fabulous gifts and enjoy the company of those you love.
Five weeks after placing the bulbs in water the first blossoms appear. There are 20 bulbs and I hope by next week most of them will be in full bloom. Bulbs are just amazing, aren't they? I will bring them indoors and enjoy them to their fullest.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Today I cleaned the kitchen and put the baking equipment away for the season. It was a quiet & reflective day. I took the time to sketch my paperwhites. One I bought a couple of weeks ago and has been in bloom since. The other was a gift and is just showing the first signs of a bloom. I love the fragrance. It is more heady in the evening....right now. Paperwhites remind me of the simple things of the season. Tomorrow is the solstice. Winter is upon us.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
The third thing my Santa left in my Christmas stocking was nuts. They really are beautiful in their own shells but with the help of a nutcracker and inspiration from the Barefoot Contessa simple nuts can become.......
Friday, December 18, 2009
For the past 30 (maybe more) years my friend Sue and I and whatever other family members are available get together to bake cookies. This tradition started when my kids were little and I was teaching them the basics in the kitchen. Sue was their babysitter......there only babysitter and since we were so lucky to have her in our home frequently she took part in baking too. Through the years the kids come and go but Sue and I always share one day before Christmas in the kitchen. This year we decided to try some new cookies. We needed a challenge. Here is the result for the 2009 cookie day:
Remember a few postings ago I mentioned that my childhood stockings were filled with candy nuts and oranges? Those are pretty simple items but take these basic goodies and you can turn them from simple ......
Peppermint meltaways. A variation of a Mexican wedding cookie that has been flavored with peppermint oil and topped with a drizzle of icing and peppermint candies. Doug called them breath cookies.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Last night I did my own sugar cookies. Inspired by one of my watercolor sketches I hand cut my poinsettia shapes and then "painted" them with royal icing and sprinkled them with fun sugars it took me quite a while to make just 10 good ones. Sophie got up on the counter at 5 am and did a taste test. Bad Sophie!
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Tuesday my adorable little girls next door came over to make cookies. We made sugar cookies and then decorated them This year 2/12 year old Miley joined us. She really did a good job. The rolling pins were too big for her so we improvised. Then came the fun part of decorating them. All the girls did a great job. Future cookie chefs!
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
I have finished my holiday shopping, crafting, cards and wrapping! Can you guess which one is for you? I have so much fun planning creating shopping and packaging up all of these Christmas chores. And I am thrilled with the results. Tomorrow I will make the stop to the post office (busiest day of the year, I have heard) Watch your mailbox, your package/ card is probably on its way!
Next project: cookie baking! that's Thursday
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Today is my friend, Harvey Holste's birthday. I met Harvey when he had a dental practice in Newport Beach and I had some time available to be a substitute dental hygienist. When you substitute you can pretty much decide after an hour or two if you will ever return....if not you ride out the day and collect your check at the end. My first impression with Dr. Holste was different: "Wow!" I thought, he is really a good dentist! My first impression was absolutely right and he is also a good person. Harvey came with Marjorie who would call me when they needed me to return to the office and then we all became friends. I would be invited to their lovely home in Corona del Mar for dinner....usually grilling, as I remember and then I discovered that he and Marjorie were also fabulous hosts, cooks and friends. They live in DownEast Maine now. Besides celebrating a birthday today he is also preparing to close his dental practice and retire. He has served his patients in both of his communities so well and he has always been good to his staff. The dental world will miss his skills, his generosity and his tenacity.
Harvey, I hope your birthday is filled with good spirit, good food and good wine.
Happy Birthday, Harvey!
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Update on the topiary. These felt and beaded birds were last year's creation but they were not packed and sent to Denver so they were great finds. I also added so tinsel garland. Does this look better, Marjorie?
Monday, December 7, 2009
One of my favorite things: 2009 has been a year of purging.....finding new homes for some of the collection of stuff that I simply don't need or want any more. I have sold some items on eBay & Craigslist and I have taken extras to the Goodwill and books to the library bookstore. I have given some of my plants and roses to friends that I know will enjoy them.
But some things have to stay. I bought this little mirror about 12 years ago from a home decor boutique in Newport Beach for about $100. I hung it in my dental operatory for my patients to re-apply their lipstick after I had cleaned their teeth. When I left that office I took it home and enjoyed it even more. But the silver plate on it was thin to begin with and the ocean air and time had turned the finish pretty dark. I have taken some of my silver plated items to be re-plated and the mirror seemed like a perfect candidate for "re-blinging". The cost for re plating was more than I originally paid for the mirror but I rationalized it by Christmas gifting to myself (something we all do I'm sure). And I had just sold an old item on Craigslist.
This is the result. The silver just shines....each of the pineapples (40 in all) was beautifully refinished. The frame is just as reflective as the mirror itself. It makes me smile.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
When I was a young girl my Christmas stocking was filled with candy, nuts and oranges.....sometimes apples. These were always readily available at holiday time and affordable as well as edible. My children laugh at me when I try to continue this tradition of stocking stuffers. Today it is usually cozy socks that fill the stocking. But as I look around for available Christmas decorations the fruit is perfect. These oranges are Cara Cara oranges....they are very pink inside and a little sweeter than most oranges and they are the first harvest from my little container tree. Gifts from the garden. The Meyer lemons are from my little tree that has been giving me fruit for many years. The tree stands about 3 feet tall.
So I think of my mother and old traditions using oranges and lemons from my garden to create a yummy salad:
and Voila! Orange fennel salad:
1 fennel bulb, sliced very thin..use the top for garnish
4 oranges, peeled and also sliced thin, (I used Cara Cara oranges)
spinich or arugula
1/4 cup olive oil
juice from 2 lemons ( I used my Meyer lemons)
Mix the sliced oranges and fennel bulb in a bowl and toss with dressing
Lay a bed of the greens on each plate and then add the orange mixture
Sprinkle blue cheese and toasted walnuts on top
Garnish with the feathery tips from the top of the fennel
Post script: tablesetting: 10 lords a leeping (W-S Christmas linens), hand folded Christmas tree made from a retail catalogue.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Just when I thought there would be no indoor Christmas tree this year I was inspired by Martha Stewart on her daytime TV show. One of her gardening experts demonstrated how to make a topiary out of ivy. Being the garden enthusiast that I am, whenever I trim ivy I put the trimmings in a new container of soil and pretty much ignore it other than giving it water. So I had some ivy already, a Christmas tree topiary form and about 10 minutes. Voila! I DO have a tree this year. I love this low key, use what you have decorating.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
At 2 weeks we have some changes: The roots have found their way out of the bulb and into the water, the stem shoots have started their journey UP and are turning a bit green. It has been warm during the day and cold at night. If they are too slow outside I will bring them in forcing them to bloom earlier but I am going to be patient for a while. Each morning on our walk, Sophie and I make little discoveries. Pine trees are one of the 3 trees that Aliso Viejo has used in the landscaping so this time of year our walk treasures are the cones. We are collecting quite a few. They make pretty additions to my minimalist Christmas decor.
Last Tuesday was the first week after adding bulbs and water to my bowl. You can see that there is not much change from the first day. I was so busy last week I barely had time to take this photo much less post it.