Monday, February 27, 2012

The Envelope Please......

I've always wanted to say that!  I did make it to the big show that begins with "O" here.  It was invitation only, pay admission entry. There were so many beautiful stars to see, so many unusual colors and patterns, that I couldn't stop taking pictures:) It was challenging to move around the other Paparazzi - it was full of star power, and glitz and glamour!  These lovelies walked the red , garden carpet liked they owned the place. I'll let these beauties do the talking, along with the "awards" I would give them!

The Ladies'  Stately Manor - home to the brightest of stars!

"Most Congenial and Unusual" Best Actress - she knows how to make an entrance and act in this new  breed, lead role!

"Most Traditional" in a supportive role kind of way! 

"Most Showy" - she filled the table with her presence and kept the conversation flowing!

"Most Spotted" - literally.. she took her post seriously as she led the way to the show and was spotted everywhere!

"Most Romantic" in a starring role - didn't say much but didn't have to..

"Most Elegant and Gracious" in a supportive role- see that bench - she invited me to sit there and was good company!

"Most Confident" - I found her to be deeply rooted and able to hold her ground among her fans!

"Most Dramatic!"- her bold choice of color made quite a statement - got a little moody when I  didn't get her whole head in the shot:)

"Most Enduring and Classic" - Lifetime Achievers!

Don't know how this slipped in there....chocolate tree = "yes, please!"

"Most Refreshingly New" on the scene

"Most Cinderella - esque" and likely to star in a Fairy Tale Role - she's a Slipper Orchid!

Aren't they fabulous??  There were even artists painting these ladies' portraits.

Thanks for playing along with me!  Seriously, I love the natural beauty in these and the promise of Spring to come:) All kidding aside, the gardeners that grow these have a true gift and were so gracious with questions and suggestions.  There was quite a crowd and many seemed to enjoy photographing these as much as growing them.  A great way to spend a weekend afternoon.  I look forward to this every year, and like years past, this one did not disappoint.

Happy Monday all!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Spring Fever

Hoping to go here to see the annual orchid show this weekend.  I've gone for the last couple of years and you step outside from the cold.... and into the warmth and smell of spring....the smell of fragrant flowers and soil and plants.....can't wait!



Simply beautiful!!

Friday, February 24, 2012

What's for Dinner?

A while ago, I took a few cooking classes at the YWCA.  My mom and I went together and one of them was with this recipe.  I will admit that it's my version because I changed out some of the ingredients.  I hope you like it, however just as I did, feel free to get creative and add your own ideas.

Chicken Caprese and Roasted Vegetables

The chicken will take less time than the vegetables so you will want to cut and prepare them, and then begin roasting about 20 minutes ahead of the chicken.

Chicken Caprese

4 split boneless chicken breasts
4-5 tablespoons of pesto sauce (I use the ready made store bought, but fresh would be delish)
1 large red tomato
mozarella cheese (I buy a package and then cut 2 small slices per chicken breast)

1.  Lay the chicken breasts out onto a piece of wax paper and a piece of saran wrap
2. Place another piece of saran wrap over the chicken breasts

I made this for two

Pound these to about 1/4 inch thickness

Spread the pesto sauce on each chicken breast and the cheese and tomatoes on one half of each breast. Notice I used cherry tomatoes because that's what I had on hand.  A whole tomato slice is better:)

Roll each chicken breast (you can secure with a toothpick if needed, and saute for about 20 minutes).

Add some white wine, (or you can use chicken broth), to deglaze the pan just before you are ready to transfer to a plate.

**Should take 20-30 minutes on medium heat to saute these**

Note:  When I took this class, they used anchovy paste, fresh parsley, mozarella cheese, and tomatoes.

Roasted Vegetables

Cut and trim a bundle of asparagus
Slice and trim 4 peppers (I use yellow, red, and orange peppers)
Wash and take stems off a small carton of cherry tomatoes
8-10 small yukon gold yellow potatoes - sliced and quartered
1  half yellow onion
2-4 cloves garlic

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
2. Place potatoes, onions, and garlic on a cookie sheet
3. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper
4. Place in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes
5. Next add peppers, asparagus, and tomatoes
 6. Roast for an additional 15-20 minutes

Again, when mom and I took the class, we roasted eggplant, carrots, potatoes, green beans, and tomatoes.  You can substitute whatever you like!

This is one of our favorites:)

Bon Appetit!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Beautiful Day!

Thinking of my "Snow Bird" parents down in Florida and hoping they will see these photos...

Dear Mom and Dad,
This is what you are missing.  Now we haven't had a lot of it this winter, so when I wake up to a morning like this, it still looks pretty to me.  And the best part, it was gone by the time we got home from work!  However, you can send some Florida sun anytime now...still waiting...anytime...

Your daughter:)

A New Read

One of my secret dreams is to own, work, ok, just walk through a bookstore.  Not one of those huge bookstores, but one like this.  We are so lucky to have this here where we live.  For me, there's just a sense of "calm" when I walk through and look at all the titles, smell the candles.....a little slice of heaven if you ask me!  I have a sony reader, but it's just not the offense to kindle owners and such, but I like turning the pages, and highlighting, and earmarking the chapter I left off on....weird, I know.  I think of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan (why do they keep coming into my brain?) in that movie, "You've Got Mail" - the "Little Shop Around the Corner".  There's just something about wandering through and finding a title that grabs your attention, and then meeting characters that can take you to a new destination - dreamy for sure!  Anyway, this is my latest read:

I finally finished the one on the bottom "Remarkable Creatures", and that was very interesting.  I hope to finish this latest, and then go see the movie.  The last book I read where the movie was as good as the book, was "The Help".  I hope I'm not disappointed - don't ya hate it when that happens?
Anyway, happy reading!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Pillow Talk

Having this long President's weekend off has been nice.  A chance to catch up on some projects that I normally don't have time for during the week.  I found this material at Joann Fabrics for 30% off, it was the end of the bolt, and I couldn't resist.  It looks very "retro" and I thought it would make a great pillow cover.
Love the geometric design - especially for cutting!

First, I brought out my machine that I purchased last summer here.  They were oh so helpful as I hadn't even looked at machines in a long time and didn't know what I wanted.  This one embroiders as well.

Then I measured the pillow insert (18 x 18), and began ironing the seams I would later sew.  Love that this is a geometric design with lines and circles because following the lines made life a little easier!

Next, I began sewing the seams...until a little "commercial interruption".

Oops!  My needle broke!  No worries...

Back in business!  As you can see, I made the cover like an envelope - zippers and I don't see "eye to eye" if you know what I mean:)

And there she is in all her splendor...Maybe needs a button?

Here are some other projects I've attempted in the last 6 months:

The runner and the curtains I did on my own and that fabric came from Joann's as well.  I did take a class here for quilting, and there are always new classes posted on their website. You can bring your machine, or use one of theirs, and they will walk you through the steps of a project.  

Happy Crafting!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Flooring in our Home

I've mentioned before how challenging it can be to choose the right materials and accessories for your home when you are building.  Don't get me wrong, I like to design rooms, but let's face can be expensive if you just lead with your eyes and not pay attention to a budget.  We had hardwoods in our last house.  They were oak and stained natural.  They were beautiful, but after 19 years, we wanted something different. We found bamboo flooring and there are lots of choices and colors, just like everything else.  We ended up going here.  They were extremely helpful and answered so many of our questions.  They were even available to assist with questions we had during the installation.  I still purchase their cleaning products today.

We went with their chocolate strand woven bamboo flooring.  It's holding up to traffic - even with our four-legged.  I will admit it shows smudges and dust more than a lighter color, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.  I am a bit, ok very obsessive about it, but I  mop it with a microfiber pad with their cleaner and it's good as new.

Our Builder

As with any big home project, it's a good idea to do some homework.  Our house was certainly no exception.  We had been through this process before with our previous home, but this time, we wanted something different. After much consideration, we went with Breton Construction.  Without a doubt, we are so glad they are who we chose.  They stayed calm when we weren't, problem solved when we couldn't, and kept reminding us that it's a "process".  They were so very right. It's hard to believe that we went from this:            

See that rock...that's now the entrance to our driveway...keep an eye on that maple tree

Getting ready to pour the walls for the foundation

And there are the walls

The back of the house taking shape

What is now the walk-out finished basement

Front of the house before siding

Putting the deck on

Wait...what did Rusty give us?

Framing the garage doors

Roof trusses

Love this screened in porch

Siding on

View from the back
To finally this:

Remember that maple tree??
Thank you Rusty for building our home, and for fixing any/all other miscellaneous projects along the way. Would highly recommend this crew for anyone considering a building project.

I was not compensated to publish this....just passing this along:)