4/17/2012

Gardening Weekend

Had a great weekend getting the yard organized.  I needed to replace the flowers in my window boxes from the holidays.  I spent Saturday and Sunday in and out of Home Depot  picking up pink petunias and wooden boxes for the sides of our door.  I was tired of the clay pots with mandelvia, which we have had for six years.  I needed something fresh and new.   I fstopped straight in my tracks when I walked into our local nursery last weekend and found these vines.  I had never seen before, they are called sweet pea vines.  Photo below.

Once I found the vines, I had to look for planter boxes.  I really wanted ceramic pots but frankly, we rent our home and I didn’t want to spend $150.00 or $200.00 on pots that might not work in our forever home.  I did want the square look so I purchased two of these redwood boxes from Home Depot and painted them white.  I planted the sweet pea vines in them in the hopes they will grow up and around our doorway.
Here’s a look at the boxes after I painted them.  I will be replacing the terracotta pots with something else that matches the white better.  We are also looking at replacing our screen door with something a little more vintage.  I want something with a longer screen and a little pattern to make the house feel more cottage like.  I found one at Osh that I like. Project for the BF!
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These vines are so beautiful, the photos don’t do them justice.  Next to the sweet pea vines are boxwood and asters.  I will shape the boxwoods once they get a little larger for a cleaner look.
photo (20)The blooms up close.photo (15)This isn’t the best picture of our upstairs porch but the sun was shining right in the camera.  Gotta love our roof.  Every time we have a windy night half of our shingles end up in our neighbors yard.  I just planted the petunias in the window boxes and added the hanging baskets.  I always forget the name of the plant in the basket…but, I call it the lipstick plant.  The petunias look beautiful when they have grown in.  It will take a little time for them to fill in.photo (17)
The hanging baskets up close.
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I have wanted an asparagus fern forever for our front porch.  I am looking for the perfect urn to put this in.  I love how they look when they get big and bushy.  I’m on the hunt for a white rustic urn.  Do you like my new crab?  I bought it on EBay.  LOL!  I love it.  I am obsessed right now with brass beach items like shells, lobsters, etc.  I saw this crab and had to have it. The top flips open and fits a tea light.  I think it originally was for matches.
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My other project for the porch is to break up all this wicker.  I want to find a rustic round table for in between these two chairs.  I can see it in my head but have yet to find one.photo (13)
We’re off to Paso Robles on Thursday to do a little wine tasting for the weekend.  All the wineries are doing their spring releases.  Last year a number of the wineries were closed in August due to selling out of wine and limited productions.  All the ones we missed last year, we have appointments with, cannot wait.  Unfortunately, Orchard Hill Farm where we stayed last year is unavailable   We found a little B & B via Trip Advisor called Inn Paradiso, which has just come under new ownership and they have fixed up the property.  All I know, is they have John Robshaw bedding, can you say sold.  I will take lots of pictures and give you a recap of our favorite wineries.  Have a great week everyone.

4/11/2012

Overcooked Easter

Hope you all had a great Easter or Passover.  We had wonderful weather, here in LA, for the holiday weekend.  I spent all day Saturday out and about shopping for food, prepping and getting as much done as possible so I could relax on Sunday, which of course, never happened.  We had our neighbors Gale and David and my friend Maureen over for dinner.  My other neighbor Andy and his girlfriend Kirsten popped over for a glass of wine or in Andy’s case “Miller Lite” after their family dinner.  While hosting Easter is something I have done many times, this was the first time we had a chef come to our house.  My neighbor David, is a chef and partner, at Park Avenue & Il Garage in Stanton, CA.  For all of you who ask, “Where is Stanton?” like I did, it’s located just East of Huntington Beach on Beach Boulevard.  It’s a destination restaurant that has won many accolades and was recently ranked in the Top 10 of OC Restaurants by Orange Coast Magazine.  In the last few years it’s been ranked number one and landing Chef David Slay on the cover. Ok, as if that isn’t pressure.

We have eaten at his restaurant several times, (which is amazing) and Blake and I have been guests at their house on numerous occasions for parties and impromptu dinners.  I wanted to extend an invitation to them for Easter since they graciously hosted us for Christmas and David is always working and never gets to relax.  I am a perfectionist when it comes to entertaining and love everything to look perfect and taste perfect.  While I love to cook, I’d prefer to do the hosting aspect and d├ęcor.  I still haven’t gotten the hang of the whole timing thing.  With my girlfriend Nick flying back from Australia (she normally helps me serve), I was on my own.

Well let’s just say it was a disaster.  I’m laughing about it now.    We cooked our ham in their oven (which Gale warned me gets hot) so I could reheat our sides while the ham was finishing up.  You would think we would have checked on the ham, nope!  This is what happens when the wine starts flowing.  Turns out the ham which, is PERFECT every year, was over cooked. The veggies were soggy because I reheated them and forgot to take the tin foil off and everything was a hot mess.  The only thing that was good was the wine, the company, and the table setting.  While they were more than gracious, I’m sure my soggy asparagus was likely  the topic of conversation the next day.  Everyone had plenty of wine to drink thank God!  Food (when painfully overcooked) always tastes better when your drinking wine.  Overall, we had a great time except me, the perfectionist, cringing every time I looked at the food.  Oh well,  I can only go up from here, right?  Now anything I cook will look good.  LOL!

Now on to the positive aspect of the evening, the table setting.  I was pretty happy with how the table turned out considering everything was purchased either on sale or at a thrift store.  See below for details of where everything was purchased.

TABLE ITEMS:  Table cloth from Williams Sonoma purchased last summer.   Plates are Spode Fine Bone China, England, Pattern Y8549-L Chinese Flowers Prunus purchased at a local thrift store.  Glasses are by the Imperial Glass Company in Shoji pattern purchased at a local thrift store along with the brass candle holders and napkin rings (which they threw in for free).  Wine glasses are by Riedel (Vitis Collection).  Chargers are from Cost Plus, vases from One Kings Lane, burlap runner from Pottery Barn (last year), candles from Home Goods, tulips from Whole Foods, and napkins from Target.

The table setting in all it’s glory before it got bombarded by the hot mess of over cooked food.

Easter Table 1

Easter Table2

Easter Table6

Easter Table8

Up close as the sun was going down.

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P1040373I couldn’t believe how well the dishes and table cloth matched.

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On  a side note, my great friend Nick has an Aunt who we call “Auntie Syl”.  She lives in Salem, Oregon and loves to entertain, just like us.  We are always sharing recipes, ideas for table settings, and swapping pictures of how we decorated our tables for the holidays.  Take a look at her creative table setting that she did for Easter.  She used burlap as the table cloth, stuffed egg shells and urns with wheat grass,  hanging eggs on branches and put chocolate bunnies on the dinner plates.  I love it.Easter Table Syl2

She also sent me this picture of her deviled eggs.  These are no ordinary deviled eggs. They are decorated with real violets, fresh dill, chives and parsley.  Look at the little baby chick in the right corner.  I call her the Martha Stewart of the North West.

Easter Table Syl1

Menu:

APPETIZERS

Cheese Platter with Various Cheeses, Crackers and Grapes

Hartford Court, Four Hearts Vineyards, Russian River Chardonnay 2009

SALAD COURSE

Beet, Rhubarb, and Orange Salad (Couldn’t get Rhubarb anywhere)

Gary Farrell, Russian River Chardonnay, 2008

MAIN COURSE

Roasted Asparagus

Tri-Colored Carrots Roasted with Olive Oil

Scallop Potatoes with Gruyere Cheese (Bon Appetit)

Honey Glazed Ham from our Local Market

Calera 35th Anniversary Vintage, Central Coast, Pinot Noir 2010

Regusci Stages Leap District Merlot 2008

Burgess Napa Valley Merlot 2007

Robert Foley Vineyards, The Griffin Red Wine, 2009

DESSERT

Fresh Mixed Berries with Home Made Whip Cream Topped with Fresh Mint

 

Also, to my parents who’s 45th Anniversary was Sunday.

Happy Anniversary!

&

Jan, my Aussie friend.  I’m so glad we re-connected! Happy Birthday!

 

p.s.  I’m too tired to edit!

PHOTO CREDITS:  All photos are taken by me (Peggy & Fritz) except the last two which are taken by Auntie Syl.

4/06/2012

Have a GROOVY Weekend

Hey everyone hope your having a great week and getting ready for Easter weekend or Passover.  I am finally back in the swing of things and will be hosting a few people for dinner Sunday.  Can’t wait to show you the table setting once I get it done.  Using some beautiful dishes I found at the thrift store and whatever else I can find.  My energy levels are getting back to normal and I’ve been feeling great.  I’m down 6.8 lbs. and slowly increasing my exercise.  Last week our Weight Watchers meeting was all about being positive.  It was so much fun all week practicing my “Miss Positive” by taking negative situations and spinning them around.  It’s really infectious and so much more fun than being negative.  My friend was going through some stuff and I was giving her a little pep talk which, in the end, I sounded like a 70’s love child.  I ended my email to her by joking and said, “No I’m not smoking crack!”  She replied in her email, “you are smoking crack, in a little floral dress with a flower in your hair!  lol!”  We were chuckling the other day about my “positive email” and it got me thinking about how giddy I have been and I kind of /sort of  felt like one of those free spirit chicks from the 70’s this week.  I couldn’t help but giggle when I saw these images.  This would have been me driving my flowered VW bus.  LOL!Pinned ImagePinned Image                         No mom, I did not get a tattoo!  Pinned Image

It’s great to be feeling happy, hippy, peaceful, joyful, and positive and no, I’m not smoking crack!  Hope you all find the positive in something this week. Peace Out!

 

IMGAGES:  All images are from Pinterest.

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