basket of flowers

I had my first official request for a flower arrangement recently.  From my mother-in-law . . . that’s pretty official right?  She was having a garden party to celebrate the grand opening of her department store, Harrell’s.  Well, it was a miniature version of a department store (miniatures have been one of her hobbies).  But it was Grand none the less.

Her party colors were bright pink and lime green.

finalbasket

I used dahlias, hydrangeas, snap dragons, and carnations . .

greenandpink

Since it was a garden party I thought the I’d make an arrangement that looked like I picked a bunch of flowers from my elaborate garden and simply clustered them together in a basket.

First, I tucked a glass bowl inside a square basket that I had on hand.  Then I filled the bowl with small river rocks (as a substitute for wet floral foam) to secure the stems in place.  Then filled with water.  A deeper glass bowl and more river rocks would have been perfect, but this is what I had on hand . . .

flowerbasket

I also ended up using a floral frog to secure the thicker stems and the weight of the hydrangea . . .

frog

I pushed the hydrangeas one by one into the floral frog in to form a cluster.  Then I clustered the dahlias together by pushing them gently one by one into the river rocks . . .

buildarrangement

The snap dragons were a little top-heavy so I took some floral tape and wrapped it around to make a small bunch.  Then I pushed them into the river rocks.  I repeated the same technique with the carnations . . .

rebundle

I tucked in some of the greenery from the bouquets around the base of the arrangement and viola!                     Basket-o-flowers.  And a very happy customer I might add (phew)!

Until next Monday!

Jennifer

finalbasket

preserving a special garden

In April I helped my little girl plant her first flower garden from wildflower seeds.

lilysgarden

It’s been such a fun process and a great learning experience for both of us!  It has been sweet to watch her water her garden and ask curious questions.  We’ve seen bees come and go collecting pollen on their legs.  Butterflies too.  She’s picked some of the flowers to make adorably messy bouquets.  It’s been great.  Now the flowers are slowing their bloom and leaves are starting to turn a bit brown.  I’ve taken a ton of pictures to preserve these special moments, but I thought I would take it a step further and preserve some of the flowers by pressing them in a book and framing them.  I took some tips from Martha and I’m so happy with the results.

cutflowers

I snipped some of the flowers that looked “press-worthy”

coverwithtissue

Then I sandwiched them carefully in tissue paper between the pages of a heavy book.  I put additional weight on the books and let them sit for about five days.

pressedflowersbeforeafter1

Before and after pressing.  It was interesting to see how the colors changed after pressing.  The red flower turned indigo blue.

driedflowers2

The green leaves pressed well too. I’m glad I included those.

CUtidy

There seems to be a messy side and not so messy side to the pressed flower. I decided to arrange them on the paper with the not so messy side facing up.

placeandtitle

I arranged the flowers on acid-free craft paper. I did not use any adhesive to secure the flowers. For framing I worked top-down and took the frame backing and put a couple of thick pieces of paper in place (for a tight fit). Then I carefully laid my arrangement on top (face up). Then the glass on top. Then the frame on top.

framedflowers

Aaah.  I can breathe a satisfied sigh of relief that I was able to preserve (literally) memories of Lily’s first flower garden.  Hmm.  I wish I could do that with all the special moments.

Until next Monday!

Jennifer

Cinnamon Granita

I’ve been busy spending time with my mom visiting from Bolivia so please pardon the reblog.   But I thought it would be an appropriate recipe to share for these hot summer months. . . and it’s Bolivian inspired as well!

. . .

Cinnamon doesn’t really come to mind as a summertime flavor.  It’s mostly a holiday kinda thing . . .except when it’s in an icy form!   I dove into my “Nuestras Comidas” Bolivian cookbook to make “Helado de canela.”  A bright pink icy/granita kind of treat popular in Bolivia.  The Bolivian recipe calls for “airampu” to add a vibrant red color.  My local grocers don’t carry this particular ingredient so I made do with one of my “backyard blackberries.”  So my rustic version has the same great taste, but a more “au natural” (much) lighter color to it.   I think next time I’ll just use a drop or two of red food coloring to make it a little more exciting to the eye.  In Bolivia you can find little ladies selling it on the street.  The flavor brings back some sweet memories of my visits to Bolivia as a kid.

Nelly De Jordan’s recipe calls for 1 and 1/4 cups of sugar.  This is REALLY on the sweet side.  I think one cup of sugar would be fine.  Also, I used two cinnamon sticks instead of just one, for some extra kick.  Another tip, look in the hispanic food section for the cinnamon sticks.  Usually on an end cap of an isle or randomly tucked away near the meat department?  If you just buy it from the spice isle, you’ll end up paying 6 to 10 dollars.  I found a pack of 4 sticks for 1 dollar.

I’ve made this recipe once before and I was once again delightfully surprised at how sweet and refreshing cinnamon can be in its icy form.  Enjoy!

  • 5 cups of water
  • 1 cinnamon stick (I used two)
  • 1 and 1/4 cup ground sugar (use 1 for less sweet)
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • red food coloring of your choice

Fill a pot with the 5 cups of water, add the cinnamon stick(s) and bring to a boil.  Let it boil until the water becomes tinted by the cinnamon and it’s flavor has steeped into the water and the 5 cups have reduced to 4 cups.  About 7 to 10 minutes.  Add the sugar and add the cornstarch slurry (the two tablespoons of cold water mixed with the cornstarch.)  Let that boil for another 5 minutes.  Take the pot off of the heat and set aside to cool.  Once the mixture is cooled, poor into a large  casserole dish and place in the freezer.  After about 1 and a half hours take a fork and mix up slightly frozen bits.  Do this a couple of more times until the mixture is frozen throughout.

Nelly De Jordan’s “Nuestras Comidas” recipe for Helado de Canela

Cinnamon sticks, blackberry for light pink color, corn starch slurry, a blackberry from my backyard blackberry bush.

This is pretty close to the natural color the cinnamon sticks impart to the water. Still very pretty. Use a fork to mix up the frozen bits. Repeat a few times.

Light pink frozen treat. Cinnamon and ice. . . so very nice.

Until next Monday,

Jennifer

Hello scrunchie (I hear they’re back. Quick tutorial)

The idea and inspiration for this post comes from my mom.  She is visiting from Bolivia and as we were chatting and catching up she asked me what I was going to blog about for Monday.  I hadn’t thought about it yet (probably because I was too excited over her visit to simmer over any ideas.)  She had a sewing idea ready to pitch — THE SCRUNCHIE.  What?  But before I totally shelved her idea, I googled  “are scrunchies making a comeback”  . . . and sure enough, they have made their comeback.  You can even buy this fancy Marc Jacobs scrunchie for $32.

Here is a quick tutorial for my mother’s version of the scrunchie.  This one is a two-poofed scrunchie which enhances the scrunchiness of the scrunchy scrunch.

My mom completed this sewing project for me.  I just took the photos.  So she gets full credit for this one.  Thanks mom!

All you really need is

  • some scrap fabric.  (mine was 10 inches by 22 inches)
  • elastic
  • sewing machine (my mom hand sews hers back home)
  • safety pin

scrunchie fabric

Then turn it right side out, mark the middle and sew two straight stitches on both sides of chalk mark to create a “channel” for the elastic . . .

pullelastic

You can hand sew to join the ends together.  Here it is . . .

finished scrunchie

It’s totally scrunchalicious . . .

scrunchie

I always throw my hair in a bun, so I just wrap this right around.  I’ve worn it every day since.  Thanks mom!

Until next Monday!

Jennifer