Monday, July 21, 2014

aquarium to terrarium

Well I think most of us have purchased an aquarium at some point in our lives. I bet they are hiding in many basements and attics right now. (I sure see loads of them at yard sales!) Well here is an easy way to turn an ordinary aquarium into an extraordinary terrarium...

Old watertight terrarium
River stones or pea gravel
Plant material
Decorative tape

Before you get started: Check to see if the aquarium is watertight by filling the bottom 2 inches with water. If it leaks, seal the seams with silicone and allow time to dry.

1. Fill the bottom of the aquarium with one inch of clean pea gravel.
2. Add a layer of potting soil.

3. Arrange plant materials and cover all exposed roots with soil.

4. Press gently to fill all air gaps around the roots.

5. Cover the soil with stones and seashells.

6. For a nice finishing touch, cover the top edge of the aquarium with a decorative tape.

7. If you wish to have a terrarium and not just a planter,
cover with a piece of glass.

NOTE: Be sure to choose the plant material wisely. Enclosing a terrarium creates a very damp environment. Plants such as ferns and ivy will thrive while plants like succulents will rot. Research your plant materials to provide the best possible growing habitat.

TIP: When it comes to creating terrariums, be sure to sterilize everything. Work with a pristine tank, clean river stones and fresh soil. If you like the idea of adding seashells, clean off all sea salt residue. Salt can be fatal to some plants.

This terrarium and other great ideas are featured in my article
“Off the Beaten Path”
in the June/July issue of Flea Market D├ęcor magazine.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

nothing beats the best

My Mom makes...hands down...the best chocolate chip cookies!
Writing and photographing for magazines offers me the opportunity
to share many things and I was so thrilled to share
her recipe for yummy home-made chocolate chippers.
Nothing fancy...but utterly scrumptious.
I thought I would post her recipe just in case you are in search
of something yummy to take to a 4th of July celebration
this weekend...Enjoy!

¾ cup of butter
¾ of brown sugar
¾ cup of white sugar
1 t vanilla
2 eggs
2 ½ cups flour
1 t baking soda
½ t salt
12 ounces chocolate chips

1.       Using an electric mixer, cream ¾ cup of butter, ¾ of brown sugar, ¾ cup of white sugar, and one teaspoon of vanilla.
2.       Continue mixing and add two eggs (one at a time)
3.       Beat until smooth
4.       In a separate bowl combine 2 1/2 cups of flour, 1 t of baking soda and ¼ t of salt
5.       Add the dry mixture slowly into the mixing bowl to incorporate
6.       Once incorporated add  12 ounces of chocolate chips and stir
7.       Drop by rounded spoonful onto a lightly greased cookie sheet
8.       Bake at 350 degrees for 8 10 minutes
9.       Allow cookies to stand on the cookie sheet for one minute then remove to a clean surface to cool.

The only thing better than her cookies...
is actually sharing them with her!
Love you Momma...

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

decorating for a big birthday!!!

Is there a bigger celebration than the birthday of our country?
I had a great time decorating a client's outdoor
sitting room for a Fourth of July party.
Here's a little peek...Enjoy!

This article is in the July issue of Romantic Homes magazine.
I will post more pictures of this space
with more holiday decorating inspiration soon!

Friday, June 13, 2014

sweet treat for dad...

In the May issue of Romantic Homes magazine,
I wrote a piece about Mother's Day and featured a recipe
from a very special friend. In case you missed it...and you are looking for an easy sweet treat to make on Father's Day...
here it is!

2 cans buttermilk biscuits
½ cup white sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 stick butter
1 cup brown sugar 
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Coat the bottom of one 9” x 13” pan or 2 8” rounds with non-stick cooking spray.
3. Mix the cinnamon and sugar and set aside in a medium sized bowl.
4. Cut the biscuits into quarters.
5. Dip sections of the biscuits into the cinnamon and sugar mixture until completely coated and place in the pan. 
6. In a small saucepan, mix butter and brown sugar.
7. Stir until the mixture is melted and well incorporated.
8. Pour melted butter and brown sugar mixture over the biscuits.

9. Bake for 30 minutes.
10. Serve warm and dust with powdered sugar.  
* To make a finishing glaze simply mix 1 cup powdered sugar,
2 tablespoons milk and ½ teaspoon of vanilla.
Hand mix until you reach the desired consistency.
Adjust amounts accordingly.
I hope your Father's Day weekend is filled with wonderful memories of the special men in your lives. I know my heart will be with my dad. After all I am still very much Daddy's little girl.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

a kitchen refresh

What to do with an amazing space..
with amazing pieces...
with amazing views...
for a special friend?
A little refresh is all it took.
This was a fun project and the results were..
The sunlight that streams through the surrounding windows
brings the entire space to life. 

It is a spacious kitchen yet it still feel so cozy.

The cupboards mimic the antique German cabinet
which creates a lovely balance.

Sometimes life really is just a bowl of cherries...
Ever wonder where this phrase comes from?
Since I love all things vintage here is the answer:
A song from the 1930's
"Just Like a Bowl of Cherries"
Life is just a bowl of cherries;
Don't make it serious;
Life's too mysterious.
You work, you save, you worry so,
But you can't take your dough when you go, go, go.
So keep repeating it's the berries;
The strongest oak must fall.
The sweet things in life
To you were just loaned,
So how can you lose what you've never owned?
Life is just a bowl of cherries,
So live and laugh at it all.

It's all in the details...

My very favorite part of this entire beautiful kitchen
most people will never notice.
High atop the kitchen cabinet sits a tiny little mouse
watching over all who visit.

I do love my job and it is made even sweeter
when I can work for dear friends.
The kitchen refresh is complete and my heart is full.
Onto the next project.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

mina and clara...

Here are a few more pictures from the Romantic Homes magazine photo shoot of the beautiful roses at the Edison and Ford Winter Estates on the gulf Coast of Florida.

Mina Miller before she married Thomas Edison. She grew up and educated young lady with an appreciation of nature and her surroundings...

The Florida home of Thomas and Mina.
They escaped the cold North and spent winters at the lovely estate formerly known as the Seminole Lodge. 

The homes and grounds have been meticulously maintained
and are open to the public.

Walking the property is like stepping back in time...


Thomas Edison...

Mina created a beautiful oasis where she and her family loved spending time.

The gardens and greenhouses on the grounds were primarily Thomas' research gardens. He had species from all around the world. Mina missed the flowers from her Northern home so she found species that would thrive in the heat and sandy soil of the South.
The view of the rose garden from Mina's bedroom...

The “Safrano” tea rose introduced in 1839. The Safrano has been categorized as an Earthkind rose which means it has met the criteria for growing in tough conditions (minimal care, no extra water or fertilizers, and no specific pruning) over a 4 year trial period. 

Clara Ford, pictured here in 1923, had a love of gardening that stretched from her sprawling estate in Michigan all the way to her southern winter estate in Florida. Photo credit The Henry Ford.

Clara and Henry Ford's arts and crafts style home in Florida sits right next door to Thomas and Mina's home...
The beautiful “Marie Van Houtte” tea rose introduced in 1871.
Directly beside the front porch of the home sits Clara’s rose garden. It is but a small homage to her grand rose gardens in Michigan. Pictured here is the “General Gallieni” rose introduced in 1899.

The pristine white pergola that covers the walkway between the Edison’s home and guest house is flanked by incredible flowers including the “Mrs. B. R. Cant” Rose.

The “Louis Philippe” is a China rose that was introduced in 1834. Located in several locations around the Edison Estates, the “Louis Philippe” loves the warm tropical climate. The deep crimson color is offset by a pale blush center. As with antique China roses, the “Louis Philippe” also features the occasional white streaks.

Today visitors from all over the world can visit the lovely award winning estates Mina and Clara once called home. Although most people stop to learn about Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and all of their grand accomplishments, many leave inspired by Mina and Clara’s many beautiful contributions to the estates. Next time you see a rose, don’t just stop and take in the wonderful scent. Reflect for a moment on the history of this beautiful botanical treasure. It has not only been cultivated and studied for centuries but it has been loved and honored by generations.
Can't find this issue of the magazine...? Click below for subscriptions:
It was a pleasure to spend time wandering the grounds of the Edison and Ford winter estates. I hope if you are ever in the area you will stop in for a visit. In the meantime you can visit their website...
Go and smell the roses!