Monday, May 9, 2011

Happiness is A Warm Puppy

Prince Harry with a puppy. *

Lucy with a Puppy named Snoopy. *

Most Amazing Vintage Stove Ever

Photo ©Björn Wallander

Mr. Fox Returns with Mange

Remember this fox I photographed at the cottage over the winter with the almost bare tail?

I spotted him yesterday walking in the yard and he looks awful.

One of my readers commented about his tail and said he might have mange.

Should I be worried? Will it get worse? Will it go away; will the fur grow back? Poor thing. He looks otherwise healthy, doesn't he?

Potting Sink and Lots of Watering Cans

I wish I had more information about this outdoor potting sink hanging on a stone wall. Have a nice week working in the garden. Webster and I did lots of hand trimming right before bed last night. You might remember that I don't have a string trimmer and do all of my edging the old fashioned way...snip, snip, snip by hand.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sunday Brunch on The Balcony with Quinoa

Who is Quinoa? Oh, you mean what is quinoa? It's considered to be a super food because it contains more protein than any other grain. The protein in quinoa is complete and contains all nine essential amino acids. It is especially high in lysine, methionine and cystine. Quinoa is rich in iron, calcium, riboflavin, potassium, B6, niacin and thiamin. It’s also a good source of manganese, copper, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus and folate. Another great reason to eat quinoa is that it’s high in dietary fiber. Okay, enough of the technical stuff. 

I bought some quinoa at Whole Foods and those tiny little seeds have been sitting in a jar in the refrigerator staring at me every time I open the door. I found a recipe that looked promising for Quinoa Burgers so that became the start of my Sunday Mother's Day Brunch. I always improvise. I didn't have any green onions so I coppped a whole white onion. I didn't have any carrots so I added 1 cup of frozen organic mixed vegetables and cut the green beans with the kitchen shears after they defrosted. I added more cottage cheese than was called for. I omitted the sugar, doubled the cumin and added 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar too. I decided not to fry the burgers but to make a frittata instead in my cast iron wok. I sprayed the bottom with olive oil using my Misto. I put the shredded cheddar cheese on top and baked it at 375 for about 40 minutes. It was delicious and I will definitely make it again and again. Next time I will add halved grape tomatoes and kalamata olives for more intense flavor. Broccoli or asparagus would be good too. This is something to play around with and make it your own. It baked up like a crustless quiche just as I knew it would. It was a 'super' brunch.

Dumbo ~ 'Baby of Mine' Lullaby [video]

This never fails to make me cry. It speaks volumes about motherly love. Sniff, sniff.

Keep Calm and Call Your Mother

Just Do It.

Happy Mother's Day

It's a beautiful day here at the cottage and the coffee is good. I'm making Mother's Day French Toast in a little while. I've already given my mom her (chocolate) presents. I'm going to weed her garden and work outside today. Enjoy your mom if you have one and being one if you are.

Handmade cards ©Alisa Nordholt-Dean via Flickr

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mämä, I love you!

Happy Sheep-Mother's Day via The Animal Blog

Ten Ways to Garden on A Budget

  1. Get Free Advice
  2. Grow from seeds
  3. Take cuttings
  4. Swap seeds and seedlings
  5. Plan for next year
  6. Get equipment second-hand
  7. Go to discount stores
  8. Make your own compost
  9. Make your own weedkiller and plant food*
  10. Go from green to grey 
*You can make your own weedkiller and plant food mixture. To kill weeds, spray them with white distilled vinegar full strength, reapplying on any new growth until the weeds die. To make a plant nutrient liquid, mix vinegar and water in a ratio of 1:8, then combine with a separate solution of sugar and water in a mixture of 1:8.

Photograph: Daniel Berehulak/Getty
Full Article The Guardian UK

History of Mother's Day

In 1914 President Woodrow Wilson declared Mother's Day to be an official holiday, and in commemoration of that declaration J. C. Leyendecker painted 'Pot of Hyacinths' to be used on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post's May 30, 1914 issue. Not only did 'Pot of Hyacinths' singlehandedly create the American tradition of giving flower arrangements to one's mother on Mother's Day, it also helped create the modern flower delivery industry as a whole. That's the story .. I didn't know any of this, did you? Source

House of Cards Sculpture

Auckland-based designer Fletcher Vaughan wanted to represent the precarious balancing act we are performing with our planet so he created this giant house of cards installation titled 'Collapse'. See additional photos and read more here. I love the symbolism.

I'm off to recycling with Webster. It's the highlight of his week. Enjoy your weekend.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Classic Understated Kitchen

Hold on to your hat and be prepared to be blown away when you see a gallery of Harvey Jones Bespoke Handmade Kitchens. Have a wonderful weekend.

First Wisteria Blooms

When it gets a little warmer these new wisteria blossoms will make the yard smell like a perfume factory. I pruned this bush rather severely last fall and it is filled with new growth and long hanging blooms. You can't keep an old wisteria down, can you?

Parham House and Garden UK

Welcome to Parham. It has always been a well-loved family home, and only three families have lived here since its foundation stone was laid in 1577 during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Read more.

Kentucky Derby Hats

Slideshow Kentucky Derby Hats
136th Run ~ 2010 (in the rain)

My Symphony

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Country Cottage Kitchen | Like

I like the use of a real antique table instead of a built-in kitchen island. Love the sink and cabinet paint color.*

Modern Farmhouse built around ruins in Scotland

In Scotland, a Modern Farmhouse Rises From Ruins. A house on the tiny Isle of Coll was built on the remains of one abandoned 150 years earlier. The home is on one of a group of islands known as the Inner Hebrides that has a population of about 200. Constructed on sand, it was abandoned in the mid-1800s when large cracks began to appear in the structure. View the New York Times Slideshow. Read the related article "Warm Respect for a Scottish Ruin"

Dangerously Simple Cookies

Not only are these peanut butter cookies delicious, but they are impossibly easy to make. Simply combine 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of peanut butter, and one egg. Mix the three (yes three!) ingredients thoroughly and roll into small balls on a cookie sheet. Flatten the balls with the tines of a fork (old-school style) and sprinkle with Fleur de Sel (sea salt). Bake at 350 degrees for 8 - 10 minutes.

I'm off to the kitchen to mix up those three ingredients and have cookies for my afternoon snack. Yum.

Here are the ones I made. One rack is already gone and there is one more to go. They were quick, easy, and delicious. I used chunky peanut butter. Recommend!

Royal Wedding Gloves

Mother's Day Gift Idea ~ Available here.

Mariner's Compass Template

I've always wanted to do a painted floor with a mariner's compass design in the center. I've been saving this template to use as my guide. See the painted floor I did in my old kitchen.

Pre-Mother's Day Zebra Smooch

Only three shopping days left to find something special to give your mom for Mother's Day on Sunday. Mine is very easy to please as long as it's c-h-o-c-o-l-a-t-e. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Spectacular Flower and Plant Patterns

Giant Lobelia, Photographed by George F. Mobley
The leaves of a giant lobelia plant, photographed on Mount Kilimanjaro's Shira Plateau in Tanzania, spiral around the center. See a wonderful slideshow from National Geographic with more Plant and Flower Patterns. Click on the thumbnails instead of using the arrow buttons.

Galvanized Planter Love

I have always loved galvanized tubs, watering cans, and buckets. A neighbor lady who was moving to Boston recently gave me a watering can with a long spout just like the one on the lower right. It had been left outside with water in it and had frozen so it doesn't sit flat. But the bottom hasn't blown out so it doesn't leak. I am going to pound the bottom gently and see if I can fix it. It's a style I don't have and I was so pleased to acquire it. I have no idea what those large items are. Garbage cans? Storage bins? Don't they all look great as planters?

Meet Me For Lunch Here - My Treat!

There's only one problem about our lunch date. I have no idea where this place is located. It would be fun though. You'll have to take a rain check until I find the address. *

I had a late breakfast and will skip lunch today since I have a dental appointment at 12:30. I like to wait a long time before eating solid food after I have my teeth cleaned. I might cave and have a milk shake later.

Webster Wants This

This is perfect for both of us. Webster likes a cozy place for his bed with a back and a great view from the front and I love cubbies. A genius design: love, love, love - want, want, want.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Lily of the Valley on a Shell

photo by Rosemary Beck
I took this photo last year when one of my very few stems of lily of the valley was snapped off by an animal in the night. I can't understand why they aren't multiplying like crazy like they did at my other house. Maybe they don't like it here. I looked today and can see only 3 pips. Any suggestions? Maybe I'll buy some more at the plant sale in town on Saturday.

I was a busy bee working outside using the shop vac in the garage and on the balcony too. It's starting to come together nicely but I have miles to go and must keep up the momentum before the heat sets in. 

Cottages and Roses

Cottages and roses are perfect together, aren't they? I decided to skip my office meeting and broker open houses today to give my place some much-need attention and some real elbow grease. I'll never forget the first time I heard those words...I was cleaning my bathroom tub as a 4th grader and my mom walked past and told me to use some elbow grease and I actually started looking for it. And that's the truth. My mother laughed when I asked her where she kept it.  

Stone and Brick Outbuilding with Dovecote

I hope there is something like this at the end of the drive I pictured yesterday. I've always preferred the gardener's cottage to the big mansion behind the gates. Now I have my own cottage having wished for one since childhood.

Monday, May 2, 2011

My Dream Driveway

Isn't this the best driveway ever? I'm not talking about the site with the trees on either side and the gate...I'm talking about the road itself. I love the packed pebble center and sides and the packed whatever lanes. I'd love to know more about it. I have a gravel drive with belgian block curbing to contain it. I am not a fan of blacktop at all. We had a lot of snow last season and I'm amazed that all of the gravel did not end up on the lawn but it was very minimal for some reason in spite of all the snow plowings. I think I finally mastered parking in the right place.

The road above has a concrete look but it probably isn't. I'll let you know if I ever find out the secret of this paving technique. 

This Hallway Has Gone To The Dogs

Osborne and Little Wallpaper appropriately named 'Best in Show'

Hand-Painted Bike Helmet

Isn't this the best idea? I love the phrenology head design on this hand-painted bicycle helmet.

Each helmet is hand-painted by Danielle Baskin in acrylics and sealed in a UV-protected oil-based varnish that repels water and prevents chipping. They range in price from 100-400 USD depending on the design and detail. If a helmet is provided 30 USD will be deducted from the total cost. Here is the website for Belle Helmets -- be sure to look at the image gallery for other amazing designs. It's so nice to see a young artist with talent and a great idea.

My Summer Bedroom

I've been looking for quite a while for my new [virtual] summer bedroom and I do believe this is it. I love this tiny sleeping porch with the most beautiful view you could ever wish for. I hope that bed is long enough for me. If it isn't who wants to be next in line?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Joyful Royals

Three Happy Princes
Prince Harry, Prince Charles, Prince William

Royal role models - 63 years married
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

Riverside Cottage in France

What a nice French riverside cottage. Sign me up for the month of August.*

Dance Around the Maypole

Dancing around the Maypole
Half of the dancers should go in one direction around the Maypole, while the other half dance in the opposite direction. Each dancer should alternate between going under or over the dancers that they are meeting. This will weave the ribbons around the Maypole.

Take Your Dog on A Bike Ride Today

Webster would love this but he's so friendly I'd be afraid he would jump off every time he saw a person or another dog. So he's banned from the bike and restricted to four wheels.

Flowers for May Day

Flowers for the first of May. My lawn is beautiful after its first cutting. I could hear little screams as I mowed over the violets so I left that area until they've bloomed out. The birds are chirping and the sun is out. I'm starting to embrace the out of doors again now that I've gotten a big block of work under my belt and I'm looking forward to more. Have a great Sunday.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Stacked Wood Architecture

I have zero information on this structure but I really love it. It would have been so much fun to play around with the woodpiles until they were perfectly arranged. The sod roof is amazing too. 

Breathtakingly Beautiful Bride

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge

I'm Still Watching You