End of summer blogging break

Just taking a little break for the end of summer.  In the meantime, please browse my popular posts or any other topic that strikes your fancy.

Be back soon!



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.


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


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 . . .


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


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 . . .


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 . . .


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!



preserving a special garden

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


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.


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


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.


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


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


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.


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.


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!


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 . . .


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

finished scrunchie

It’s totally scrunchalicious . . .


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!


jill’s big salad

You know, I’m not quite sure why it’s called Jill’s Big Salad, but I order it almost every Tuesday at Fresco Santa Barbara.  It’s such a great salad because its got a ton of texture and flavors.  It’s crispy and creamy, sweet and tangy.

I’ve ordered it a million times now so I thought I would take a shot at making my own version.  I can’t quite recreate the vinaigrette they use, so I decided to use my favorite vinaigrette by the Barefoot Contessa  (below)

Here’s a snapshot of all the goodies for the salad:

salad fixings

I don’t have a real recipe for this salad . . . just use handfuls of all the goodies below.  Toss them with a bunch of lettuce and shredded cabbage and drizzle on your favorite vinaigrette (I love Ina’s below):

  • mesclun salad mix
  • shredded cabbage
  • snap peas (chopped)
  • cherry tomatoes (halved)
  • avocados (diced)
  • garbanzos (drained)
  • pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • pistachios
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano (shaved)
  • dried cranberries/cherries

Ina Garten’s Vinaigrette: (sweet and tangy and orange-y.)

  • 3 tablespoons good apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2/3 cup good olive oil

All mixed and ready to eat.


A great salad to make on these hot summer days.  Every bite is the perfect bite  … yet every bite is so different.  (No I’m not lighting incense over here.)  This salad never gets boring, maybe that’s why I keep ordering it.

Until next Monday!