Musings of herb gardening, interior decorating, vintage finds and just the beautiful things in life........

29 June 2008

Sunday Bouquet and Room Redo

This bouquet consists of pink yarrow, 2 varieties of feverfew, and a few sprigs of honeysuckle for fragrance as the other flowers here are non-fragrant. The fragrance is one of the joys of having fresh cut garden flowers in the house, I think.
I went right to work this morning knowing in just a few hours I would have the room redo finished. The upstairs of this old house (circa 1900) has only two rooms with no hall. The first room is now my B'Hive craft room and now the second room is a guest room. Now I have to break Hubby of his bad habit of tossing things in this room knowing he can shut the door to hide the mess as seen in this before photo..................................

I am pretty pleased with the outcome as most things I kept to use are vintage. See?

It is truly the same room! The walls are still the exact pink paint as when this was my Mother's room as a little girl. One of these days I will have the energy to paint it but not yet as it has been at least 6 months in the clean-up, moving stuff around stage. This will do for the time being. Around the edges of this old rug you can see the old linoleum floor. It is just in the center of the room and the wood floor had been painted just where the linoleum did not cover. The rug makes the room a little warmer so the floor will have a layered look.

One thing I really like are the lace curtains I have been holding onto for this room since purchasing on E-bay a year to two ago. As I was looking around the house for something to use as tie-backs I saw these snowflake ornaments and thought they would be perfect. As tie-backs they look decorative and vintage and nothing like a snowflake.

28 June 2008

Saturday Stuff

Since it was thunderstorming this morning I decided to tackle more of the upstairs cleaning/rearranging project. Got alot accomplished and hopefully will get it totally done tomorrow. It's amazing how much room there is after getting rid of all the stuff I was saving for last weekends yard sale. The sale went very well and I had just 2 small boxes left over to donate to Goodwill plus a nice deposit for my 'Destination Paris' fund.

So now that the yard sale is over and done with what did I do this week?...............................stopped by a few yard sales!
I got some sea glass (faux I'm sure) and put it in the bird baths on my front porch. The bird baths were given to me by my aunt who got them when her MIL cleaned out her garage. Don't they look cute stacked? I also got (at a yard sale this week) the terra cota hanging candle lantern that you see in the background.

Also on the porch is this old wooden stool that I painted a few summers ago. It's finally getting that cute, weathered, shabby look.The rain finally stopped and the sun came out and dried the rain off the herbs so I harvested some Spearmint and Greek Oregano. I LOVE mint cookies, mint tea--anything with mint.

With the Greek Oregano, I make my own Italian herb blend by mixing it with Italian flat leaf Parsley. Yummy in tomato sauces and sprinkled on pizza.

22 June 2008

Sunday Bouquet & Lavender Recipes

This week's Sunday bouquet is a mini windowsill bouquet in my favorite little bottle found at a garage sale a block from my house. Don't you just love the crown on it?!?!?!? The bottle says 'Frank Miller's Crown Dressing, New York, U.S.A. Love it!.........And also the lavender cut from my garden.

Here are some yummy recipes using Lavender from the garden. Sweet Katy Lin asked for some lavender recipes so here are just a few to get you started.


Chocolate-Lavender Ice Cream
Yields: about 1 quart
1 1/2 cups milk
8 heads fresh lavender blossoms
1 cup heavy cream
5 egg yolks
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces
1 1/4 cups unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1. In a saucepan set over moderate heat, combine the milk with the lavender blossoms and bring just to a simmer. Remove the pan from the heat, cover, and let cool.
2. Strain the milk through a fine sieve into another saucepan, pressing hard on the lavender to extract all flavor, and stir in the cream. Bring to a simmer and remove from the heat.
3. In a bowl, whisk together the yolks and sugar until combined well. Add one third of the hot cream mixture to the yolks, whisking, then whisk the egg mixture into the remaining hot cream. Stir the chocolate and cocoa into the hot cream mixture until chocolate melts and cocoa dissolves. Stir in the vanilla extract.
4. Transfer mixture to a bowl and let cool. Cover with plastic and chill until cold.

5. Transfer mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's directions.

I have a counter-top ice cream maker that I love to use for homemade ice cream.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Lavender Cookies
2 sticks unsalted butter or margarine, room temperature
1 cup superfine sugar
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 eggs, well beaten
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. lavender buds
2-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
In a large bowl, cream the butter, sugar, and salt until fluffy. Add the beaten eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Add in the flour and mix on low speed just until the dough is coming together. Sprinkle in the lavender buds and fold in gently. (don't over mix).
Divide the dough into two mounds and wrap up well in plastic. Chill in the refrigerator for one hour at least.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Flour your work surface and unwrap the dough. Take half of it out and wrap up the other half to keep chilled in the fridge while you work. Roll out the dough with a floured rolling pin, taking care not to overwork or overstretch the tender dough.
Cut out shapes of hearts, full moons, stars and crescents or simply cut into squares.

Carefully move the cookie shapes to nonstick cookie sheets, placing them 1/2 inch apart, fitting as many as possible on each sheet.
Bake, two sheets at a time, until the cookies are golden brown, about 6-8 minutes. Use a thin spatula to move the hot cookies to a rack to cool. Store in an airtight container when cool.
Makes about 3 dozen.

Serving idea: Serve in the afternoon with cold, fresh lemonade or iced tea with mint springs.

Lavender Walnut Scones
2 cups flour
1 TB Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/3 cup sugar
2 TB. Culinary Lavender
2 TB. margarine
1 cup Nonfat buttermilk or soy milk
1 TB. vanilla
Vegetable cooking spray
3 TB. chopped walnuts
2 TB. sugar
Combine first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl: cut in margarine with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk or soy milk and vanilla, stirring with a fork until dry ingredients are moistened.Drop dough by 2 heaping tablespoons, 2 inches apart onto baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle evenly with walnuts and remaining sugar. Bake 400 degrees for 15 to 17 minutes or until golden.Yield 1 Dozen
Yummy with a cup of mint tea


Lavender cooking tips:
Lavender blends well with lemon, almond, blueberries, apple, peaches, nectarine, and chocolate.
Experiment and use a light touch so it doesn’t taste like potpourri or soap.

Recipes/Gifts made with Lavender

Lavender Powdered Sugar - Simply put 1/4 cup of organic lavender in a pint 'Gladware'(or similar container) and fill with Confectioners sugar. Shake. Tie a small strainer with ribbon around the box. Tell them to sift the powdered sugar over pancakes etc. or use in recipes calling for powdered sugar like glaze or cookies. A subtle lavender taste.

Variation: Snip half a vanilla bean and add to the powdered sugar and lavender.
Lavender Butter- Add a TB. lavender buds to a stick of softened margarine or butter. Let sit in the frig. Serve with crackers. Or on a small round of toast topped with smoked turkey.
Vanilla or Chocolate cream pie with lavender: Infuse 1/4 cup of lavender in 2 cups of milk overnight in frig. Use to make choc. or vanilla instant or cooked pudding following pie instructions. Combine pudding with Dreamwhip and make a delicious pie. Use ready made crumb crust.
Lavender Blueberry Syrup: Infuse 1 TB. lavender in 1 -2 cups blueberry syrup in microwave. Strain and use on pancakes, French toast or waffles.

16 June 2008

Lamb's Ears

Busy Bee is I am late with the Sunday bouquet this week (plus when I tried to post earlier this week Blogger was not cooperating with the photos.)
Lamb's Ears fills the silver pitcher on the kitchen table. They are the softest plant you've ever touched. They were used as bandages during the Civil War and are also very popular in children's gardens. Lamb's Ears are scattered around my gardens and I love the silvery color they add amongst the greener plants.
Just a quickie tonight as I am getting ready for the BIG yard sale tomorrow.

11 June 2008

Thank You LBG's

Thank You LBG's (Lucky Blog Gods!) I've won another blog giveaway from Jen over at Sanctuary Arts at Home. Jen is very talented. She recycles furniture with her hand painting techniques. Click on over there to check them out. She also hosts a TV show called 'Inside Studio 180." Here are the beauties I won.....................
I'm about to bust with all this blog love coming my way so stay tuned for my own giveaway to be announced sometime next week. This week is super busy getting ready for the yard sale so you have to wait. How is that for a teaser!?!?!?!

10 June 2008

Yard Sale #1

Found deals at the first yard sale I've stopped at this Summer. The nite light with pink roses is for my Niece. She is redoing her room in a vintage rose/princess/girly girl theme much to my delight. Also got a white battenberg lace round table cloth, a cute chair that will get painted and a box of cute millinery flowers.
Can't wait to find more treasures during this yard sale season. I like to recycle my decor and am having my own yard sale next weekend. It amazes me what all one can accumulate. I'm done saving this and that for rainy day projects so am getting rid of alot of stuff. Come on over and find something you can't live without!

08 June 2008

Sunday Bouquet

This Sunday's bouquet consists of the gorgeous 'Abraham Darby' pink English roses and catmint. Catmint was one of the first herbs I planted in my yard. I hadn't yet learned about herbs and found myself buying it just for the name as I love cats. Catmint had become one of my favorite plants as it blooms all summer long.
I also harvested some lavender today. This variety is 'Hidcote.' I simply grab handfuls of the stems and cut. Then I make bunches and gather with rubberbands that I save from our newspaper deliveries. The stems are cut again so the end of the bundles are even. The bundles are hung to dry on nails I hammered into the back of the cornice above my kitchen sink. There are north facing windows above the sink so the drying herbs do not get any direct sunlight.

The kitchen smells heavenly and the little bundles dry very nicely there. I also save the buds from the stems that are to short for the bundles. Those buds go into a bowl to dry for culinary purposes. Have you ever tried lavender on vanilla ice cream? Or lavender shortbread? MMMMMMMMM Good!

05 June 2008

Blog LOVE and Roses and more......

Am I ever feeling some blog love from Inis over at A Lovely Thing. She has featured my BLOOM~N~Bottles in a post. WOW! There are even a couple comments from others that like them too. Besides that she has such a beauteous blog so you must click on over for a visit.

My 'Abraham Darby' rose has been full of buds and I've been checking daily for the blooms to pop. Yesterday it rained all day and I just knew I was missing the first show of the year. Today when I got home from work I ran outside with the camera so I could share the luscious flowers with you.

They are just breath-taking to me. I LOVE the English roses and this pale pink is my fav. The past couple of years the Japanese beetles had been so bad that they usually devour these roses before I can drown the nasties......not this year though (Yet, anyway!)Another flower I am enjoying at the moment are these 'Alium Gigantium's.' Looks Like I need to divide them later this year. I planted 2 bulbs about 3 or 4 years ago and they had multiplied.....much to my delight.

I get some strange looks when people see that I plant my lettuce seeds in designs. This year I've planted them in a X.

I'm also enjoying this wire planter filled with purple sweet alyssum and salvia. I've made use of broken dishes and terra cota flower pots to decorate the edges.

Gardening season is my favorite season of the year!

01 June 2008

Sunday Bouquet

This Sunday I cut some glorious peonies and Valerian for my kitchen table bouquet. The fragrance is so sweet! I so love the scent of peonies. I've been patiently waiting for them to bloom so I could bury my nose in them. Even though I like the white ones with the pale pink outer favorite color of peony is the bright pink. Have you ever smelled Valerian? It's sweet vanilla scent is another fav of mine.


How exciting to receive e-mails from 2 participants in The Cottage Charm Giveaway 2008 that I had won their drawing!!!! I've never been so lucky!

First I heard from Elizabeth over at Thoughts from an Evil Overlord . You must stop over and see how she came up with this catchy name. She has posted a pic of me there too and I must say she is making me feel like a celebrity! Here is what she is sending my way........

It's a Longaberger basket!!!!! I lOVE Longaberger baskets and have several so this is an awesome addition to my collection. THANKS Elizabeth!!!!!!

Then I heard from Janelle from Coasting Along that I won hers too. WOW! Janelle is sending such pretties too. Even flower seeds with Calendula in the flower mix. How awesome is that!! Also a vintage red and white plate to match my red toile kitchen, flavored tea and more goodies.

I'm definitely in for next year as this Cottage Charm Giveaway has been a blast....especially since I'm among the winners!!!!!!!