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Monday, May 27, 2013

Decorating Themes-Ladies Tea

I find that decorating tables for gatherings with a theme is a nice way to entice
 one's soul to enjoy the essence of the meal...
Decorating a table often lifts the imagination of your guests to explore the story being shared in the theme~while also creating conversational themes for the gathering...
At a recent Art Salon Luncheon for a group a women, I had fun creating a "Ladies Spring Inspired" theme with costume jewelry, pearl necklaces and beaded bracelets, spring hats placed on chairs with individual  miniature bouquets of scented flowers at each place setting, complimented by seasonal plants for the centerpiece...
The lightly and fresh Spring theme was a joyful inspiration 
for the Ladies throughout the day....

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Morning Glory

Morning Glory...Gifted Scents from Morning Garden...

 The essence of the morning garden scents gives one's soul a peace to begin the day renewed and refresh....

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The First Blush of a Spring Garden

Garden Notes:

After sending a bouquet of photos to my friend Marian, from my garden with captions such as the Spring's Surprise and Glory, Spring Secret Treasures, The Abundance of Spring... Spring's First Blush... Marian with curiosity asked me what is the First Blush of a Spring Garden... For a moment, I just melted in the glory of the garden's gifted surprises that I, like many other gardeners, welcome with almost childlike joy the rebirth or the new birth of the Spring Season... The easiest way I can describe the First Blush of the Spring Garden, is from a recent conversation I had with my  friend Carolyn, who I consider to be a Master Gardener and a purist  by maintaining an organic environment for her plants.  She and I spent our full conversation talking about  the joyous stories of the first blush of our Spring gardens...We talked about the joy of rediscovering our roses with their explosive blossoms, heightening the colorful essence of the new life sprouting from our other plants and trees... The First Blush of a Spring Garden is like receiving a big present wrapped up with a joyous surprise of beauty, color and life beyond one's imagination.

Though the First Blush of my Spring Garden is coming to a close, I find the wonderful beautiful memories will carry me into the summer season of warmer weather with longer hours of daylight bringing another level of mother nature's surprises of insects and other heat and water challenges. Yet like life, a garden goes through many seasons, always reminding me to enjoy the moments--
like the old cliché to stop and take time to smell the roses....

Monday, May 20, 2013

[The Everyday Gardener]

I often share stories about the joys the garden brings to me throughout the seasons of many years. Our garden was and still is created in a storybook fashion -- as  each plant, tree and bush has a story to why they are in our garden.  You see, I have always loved to garden… I started gardening as a young girl, nothing fancy. I really loved learning about the mysterious nature of the garden and how to appreciate the beauty of the flowers and trees.... like one would learn to appreciate the various periods of art....

I have found that there are three types of gardeners….

The Master Gardener -Is generally a specialist.  Who has studied horticulture. Who has strived to be a learned expert in keeping well-manicured gardens.

The Weekend Gardener -Is generally a person who enjoys dabbling in the garden, but does not have time to do so during the week, so they design a garden that is self maintained and they can work and enjoy during the weekend hours.

The Everyday Gardener – Are gardeners like myself, who enjoys dabbling in the garden throughout the week and seasons. The everyday gardener is also a type of person who enjoys learning first hand about the journey of the trials and joys of garden life.

Yes, I have found that gardening is a committed journey…. as the seasons and weather are never predictable, just as one’s life is always changing and growing, we must be willing to be dedicated to nurturing the garden as it does fill one’s heart and soul… Life is like a garden, filled with many seasons that grows the character of one's spirit...

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

[Spring Blush - part 1]

The Abundance of his Glory

The Glory of a Spring Garden


Bouquet of Spring Joy

As I walk through the garden enjoying  - the soft cool breeze, the richness of the early morning sunlight dancing through the trees, the birds are eagerly racing through the narrow passages between the trees to find their morning delights -  I find my soul being filled with the aromas of the garden.

At this time of the year, the first blush of the spring garden with  the air fragrant from the organic richness of the early morning dew on the ground is complimented by the sweet perfume scents of the roses. The first blush of  roses are especially full of sweetness and some spice, often reminding of scent of a Channel perfume…

Sunday, May 12, 2013

[Spring Wardrobe]

Spring is here. I love to mix and match my Spring wardrobe with interesting vintage or contemporary silk jackets or blazers, a jersey dress or slacks, a cute handbag to take you from day to evening,  and of course, a splash of pearls and fun bracelets accented with a scarf of colorful wrap.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

[Peaceful Moments of the Garden]

One of the many things I love about the Spring garden is the freshness and rebirth of the new season.  After a morning of puttering in the garden, I love to spend a restful afternoon listening to the peaceful movement of wind chiming through the trees accompanied by the sweet harmony of the birds singing.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

[Easy & Simple Lasagna]

Easy and Simple Dinners can go a long way. One of my favorites is my easy Lasagna Dish...

I usually get most of my supplies for this recipe from Trader Joes.
• 1 to 2 packages of Four Cheese Ravioli
Found in the cold food section at your local Trader Joes. You may try other type of ravioli, but the four cheese is good for Lasagna
• 1-2 jars of Three Cheese Tomato Sauce
• Vegetables ~ I choose depending on the inspiration.
- Spinach; fresh or frozen
If frozen, thawed per instruction.
- Zucchini; fresh
If using fresh, Slice thinly to layer with other veggies.
- Artichoke hearts; canned or frozen.
 If frozen, pre-cook in oven till browned with a little splash of olive oil, dash of salt.
-Eggplant; fresh or frozen
If using fresh, Slice thinly to layer with other veggies.
Trader Joes has a nice frozen roasted eggplant that you can thaw out or pre-cook till brown....
• 1 cup of ricotta cheese
• 1 package Mozzarella cheese (Shredded or Sliced)
• 1 package of Grated Parmesan cheese

1. Pre-heat Oven to 350F
2. Cook ravioli per direction. Then drain and rise with cold water
3. Prep Veggies; If you are cooking with fresh eggplants or zucchini, thinly slice them. If you are cooking with frozen, thaw or pre-cook per instruction.
Use a casserole dish or glass baking dish to cook in :
4. Make your first Layer of ravioli, place one next to each other to cover the bottom of the dish
5. Add your veggies; layer them like the ravioli.
6. Add a layer of Three Cheese Tomato sauce, evenly spread over veggies.  
7. Add your cheeses; spread the ricotta cheese followed by a layer of mozzarella with some parmesan cheese
8. Repeat steps 4~7
9. Your top layer should finish with tomato sauce sprinkled with mozzarella and parmesan cheese
10. Cover with aluminum wrap and bake in oven for 45 minutes to 50 minutes.
11. Take off the cover for last 15 minutes to get a little crusty, adjust to your tastes.

My Friend Nicole had requested the veggie version of the recipe, but if you like a little more spice, I recommend adding a pound of cooked ground beef and a few links of spicy Italian sausage.

To complete your easy Italian dinner I would add a fresh green salad with black olives, feta cheese, splashed with Italian Style Dressing, serve with warm olive bread, or your rustic style bread of choice.