Monday, March 30, 2015

Spring Is ...

 Tulip Magnolia Trees
Easter Egg Hunts
Cherry Tree Blossoms
Grape Hyacinths
Redbud Trees & Bright Blue Skies

Sharing a few spring favorites with you today.
Any favorites you'd care to share?


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Big Shelves, Little Shelves & Wild Onions

 The sweet little vintage print which showed up in my previous post is one I've had for years.  Previously it was on display in the guest room. Once the guest room became a nursery for Jaxson, the little girl prints were relegated to the place where pictures that I love but don't know where to hang languish. . .  under the bed.  Are you shocked by that admission?  I must admit I don't really like it, but I'm at a loss for where else to store them.  I don't like the idea of the attic as it gets sooo hot there in the summer and we don't have a basement.
Recently I was reading a blog and the author said that she has a rule in her home... NO storage under the beds.  I love that idea, but seem to be at a loss for how to achieve it.  So, I did the next best thing and brought out all of the pictures stored there and did a major edit of the collection.  It gave me the opportunity to use my favorites in a new context.  Previously I might have thought the little girl pictured above didn't look like she belongs in a family room, this year I think she looks right at home with the other vintage spring-themed items.  So once I got done decorating the big shelves, I carried the theme over to the wee little shelves.

 It gave me a spot to display another little vintage print.

A little boy enjoying the wonders of the spring garden.

I spent a few hours in my own garden yesterday.
I was on a mission to eradicate wild onions from the landscaping around the waterfall.  It seems there were a lot of them buried in the mulch and now they are popping out everywhere.  It's a "fun" challenge to dig down far enough to remove the entire bulb.  I considered it a major score when I was successful :D.
Today I'm happy to stretch the aching back muscles.

I hope you're enjoying your weekend.
Are you seeing any signs of spring yet?

Friday, March 20, 2015

A Spring Welcome

 ~ Happy, Happy First Day of Spring ~

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Dividing and Multiplying

 There it sat harmlessly,  throwing me into a quandary.
That darn poinsettia.
Welcomed home so readily before Christmas, it was a lovely and festive arrangement.  Having performed nicely throughout the season.  Nary a leaf was dropped.
But now, all these months later, it is still performing nicely and therein lies the problem.
After being so faithful to me, how could I ...  um... relegate it to the trash heap for no reason other than I don't think it looks quite as festive for the Easter season.
I know there are different ways of thinking on the whole subject.
For some it goes promptly and swiftly along with the Christmas tree.  For others it's a challenge to see how long it can be kept going.  Usually I find by the time Christmas has come and gone, the poinsettia has dropped so many leaves that I'm sick of the whole mess and out it goes.  Promptly and swiftly.
Perhaps because it was so polite and well-behaved this time around I felt a twinge of guilt about snuffing it out.
But, it was time for spring decorating so I rolled up my sleeves and got to work.

The poinsettia clearly had to go.
However, I could easily see that a bit of dividing and multiplying was all that was needed to change the look from Christmas to Springtime.
I tend to collect these vintage flowerpots and then they spend most of their time in the attic.  Silly I know, but that's the way it seems to work around here.  So, I pulled them all out of storage and got busy.  One little plant for the plant stand.

Another little plant for the plant stand.


 The plant stand looking happy and springy.
 The plants will be happy here too right next to the window.

 A new home for this plant too at the edge of the bathtub.
It should enjoy the humidity from our daily showers.

 Yet another plant to keep me company as I wash the dishes.
That Christmas arrangement is now a distant memory as these subtle signs of spring take root around my home.

Only 2 more days until Spring is officially here!
Ready, Set, Grow!!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

In The Garden With Jardesca

 My daffodils are on the cusp.
Those buds have been holding firm during our indecisive late winter weather.  Ice one day, snow another.  In the 70's for one day, 40's the next. Oops, how about a few more inches of snow and then an all day downpour.
Jeesh... enough already!
With fingers crossed, I am hoping to see their pretty yellow faces this week. Our snow has now melted and we are predicted to be in the 60's most of the week.
In fact, our lovely weekend allowed for some time spent in the garden.  I managed to pick up 3 wheelbarrows full of downed limbs and twigs, fill my large bucket with weeds and trim back some of the perennials and herbs.

Gardening is a hobby I enjoy even though it can be a lot of work.
Sometimes after the work is done for the day I enjoy a glass of wine on the patio.  A nice time to relax and enjoy the fruits of my labor.
Recently I was offered the opportunity to sample and review a  product called JARDESCA.
After reading the description, I could envision it as a nice wine to sip surrounded by the sights and sounds of the garden.


What is it? 
JARDESCA is a new, exciting and versatile aperitif handcrafted in Sonoma, CA -  a blend of three white wines and eau de vie brightened by 10 botanicals - inspired by the gardens and vineyards of California.  Europeans have long enjoyed the palate-refreshing benefits of aperitifs and Americans are finally catching on as noted with the growing trend of using aperitifs for low-proof, wine-based cocktails. But now we have our own "perfect opener" and it not only works well as an ingredient in simple cocktails, it's beautifully sippable solo on the rocks with a fresh citrus and garden garnish (orange is my personal favorite, with basil, mint, or thyme - all lovely!) or topped off with sparkling water or wine. 
What are some of the botanicals in Jardesca? 
--Botanicals are at the heart of Jardesca, giving it the garden-to-glass and palate freshening properties that give it complexity and depth.There are 10 botanicals used in the Jardesca blend, including pink peppercorn, pink grapefruit peel and bay laurel – inspired by the flavors and notes of California gardens. 

Someday I'd like to visit the wine country of Napa Valley and Sonoma.  In the meantime I will enjoy a taste of the region in my own garden.

 The bottle is so pretty and reminiscent of a garden with the lattice background.  Note the blue and yellow flowers too.

I liked the idea of adding fresh citrus and a garden garnish.
After a bit of rummaging around the herb garden I was able to find a few sprigs of lemon balm poking their heads out from the slowly warming earth.

My first sip told me that this was something a bit different from my usual glass of wine. Slightly higher alcohol content due to the apertif nature.  While I won't pretend to be able to pick out each of the botanicals, I did detect a pleasant slightly fruity scent.  My addition of oranges and lemon balm increased the fruitiness, although I would by no means label it a sweet taste.
Once the garden gets growing I look forward to some new flavor combinations.  Perhaps some fresh mint or basil would be nice.

The folks at JARDESCA provided the following recipes for those wanting to take it up a notch ;-).

The basic: 
Jardesca Spritz 
Pour three fingers of Jardesca (3 oz) over ice in a stemless wine glass or rocks glass 
Add 2 oz Prosecco or sparking wine 
Add your favorite citrus or herb garnish (an easy way to present garnishes so that you don't get stuck bartending your own party:  lay out a tray of sparkling water and wine, even a bottle of gin or pisco (which works beautifully as a complementing grape spirit), an array of fresh herbs - mint, basil, thyme, lemon verbena; fresh citrus (meyer lemon, tangerine, grapefruit, orange) and a fresh juice or two and let people play! It's a great conversation-starter! 

More complex: 

Jardesca Ruby Sparkler

From nationally-acclaimed mixologist, Duggan McDonnell (San Francisco) 
3 oz Jardesca
1 oz Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
2 Sparkling Moscato
Stir, fill glass with ice, garnish with floating pomegranate seeds and a sprig of mint

Drop fresh berries into the base of the glass
3 oz Jardesca
.5 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
3 oz Ginger Beer
Add ice, stir, float 1 oz Pinot Noir,
Garnish with a mint sprig and serve.

Currently JARDESCA is available in California or online.
More information is available on their lovely website here if you are interested.