Sunday, April 29, 2012

Peony in Bloom

We have a beautiful tree peony right by our front door.  It is heavenly in spring when it blooms!

There are six blooms on it right now and all of them are huge!

Just a few days ago one of the buds looked like this.

What a difference a few days make.

Peonies were my Mom's favorite flowers, so it always touches my heart to see these.  She would've loved them!

Thanks for your visit. 


I am linking to the following parties:

My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia

Cottage Garden Party

Friday, April 27, 2012

Delicious and Easy Artisan Bread

I saw this picture on Pinterest and knew I had to check it out.

Janet @ Simply So Good shared this amazingly easy recipe.

Delicious bread using only 4 ingredients!

You'll need a cast iron dutch oven with a lid.  I immediately logged on to Amazon and ordered this 7 quart one.  You will need one that is at least  5.5 quarts for this recipe.

Janet uses a LeCreuset for her bread.  I'm not in her league as a cook, so this cheaper cast iron pot is fine for me.

I did wash it and wipe it with vegetable oil first, as that's what the manufacturer recommends for this dutch oven.  Janet does not put any oil or sprays or anything in her LeCreuset first.

You'll only need 4 ingredients:

3 cups All Purpose Unbleached Flour
1 3/4 teaspoons salt (Janet used Kosher salt, so I did too!)
1/2 teaspoon yeast

Whisk those together in a large bowl
Add 1 1/2 cups water, mixing together with a rubber spatula

When it's all mixed, put plastic wrap over the bowl and leave it on the counter for 12-18 hours. 
(this is what it looked like this morning after 14 hours)

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees

Once it's at 450, put your dutch oven with the lid on in the oven.  Leave it in there for 30 minutes.

Take your dough and put it on a heavily floured surface.  I used my pastry cloth with way too much flour.  :)

Shape it into a ball.  It'll lose some of its size, but don't worry.  Put the plastic that you had over the bowl over the dough until the cast iron pan is ready.

BE VERY CAREFUL when you pull the
dutch oven out.  It's HOT!

Lift the dough up (without the plastic!)   Put some flour on your hands as it'll be really sticky.  Set it in the dutch oven.  Put the lid back on and put it in the oven for 30 minutes.

Here it is after 30 minutes:

Remove the lid and cook for another 15 minutes.

I was afraid it might stick, but it popped right out.

Leave it on a cooling rack for a few minutes. 

We could only wait for about 10 minutes...


I will definitely be making this again; in fact, I will probably prepare another batch tonight!

Please go to Janet's blog to get lots of ideas for different ways to make it. 

Thanks to Janet for the recipe and great tips and thanks to you for your visit!


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Ladder for the Garden

Last fall I found this ladder at a garage sale for $1 (!)  Since it was so late in the season, I left it in the garage until today. 

We started by making boxes out of fence boards for two of the shelves. 

My trusty aging technique of Apple Cider Vinegar and Steel Wool made them look older within an hour. Directions for this process are HERE

We secured them to the ladder and added drainage holes to the back where the box wasn't resting on the ladder step.  (you can see here how different the box looks just one hour later)

You may remember my post last December about the 93mph winds here that blew 60' trees down.  I don't anticipate winds that strong again anytime soon, but we do live right by the mountains and get windy days. I put 24" stakes in and we secured the ladder to them.  You can see them right now, but once everything starts blooming, they will not be seen.

I know it's early to be planting annuals, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we don't have too many freezes from now on.  I planted these wave petunias in the boxes.

We secured this birdhouse to the center step.

And the potted geranium on top.  We'll see if the geranium is a keeper as the season goes on... Right now I like it, but may change it later.  :)  I didn't put anything on the bottom step because it'll be hidden very soon when the spirea in front starts blooming.

 I'm excited that there are daisies and coneflowers underneath that should envelope the bottom of the ladder soon.   I'll be sure to take more pictures as everything comes back to life.

Thanks for your visit!


I am linking to the following parties:

Home Stories A2Z
My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia

Chic on a Shoestring Decorating
Rooted In ThymeCottage Garden PartyFunky Junk Interiors

Friday, April 20, 2012

Flowers Coming Alive and a Happy Dog

We are having gorgeous weather here!  It's supposed to be in the 80's for the next several days.  I am so happy, especially since it's the weekend too.  Not too much is blooming yet, but the things that are, are beautiful!

This is my view out my kitchen window.  I love the ground cover trailing down the rocks.

This flowering almond isn't very big or lush yet, but the flowers are so pretty! 

 A short walk around the park required a good cooling off.  It was funny that a few fish were right underneath him, but got out of the way.  He is one happy dog!

Thanks for coming by.  I hope you have a beautiful weekend too!


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Spring Boutique

My friend Ali from Just Me and I are having another boutique this weekend.  We're really looking forward to it.

Here are some of the crafts I've been working on for it.

I love making these pillows and was so excited to find this graphic from Graphique on Etsy.  I collect old typewriters and recently found a cool piece of art that is similar to this.  (if this pillow doesn't sell at the boutique, I won't be upset!)  :)


I also found this ampersand on Graphique's site on Etsy.  I think it's a fun pillow.

I made these topiaries and added a little bow to each.  

I made lots of towels.  I especially love the cloche graphic from The Graphics Fairy

Here's another neat graphic from The Graphics Fairy.

I had to make more Ball jar towels.  Once again, courtesy of The Graphics Fairy

I bought these labels from several months ago.  Their deals are great!

I found this set of cannisters at an antique store.  I added the chalkboard labels (also from several months ago)

Here I used a canning jar, added sand, a candle and a chalkboard tag and now have a fun hostess gift.

We had a boutique in November and had a great turnout.  We're keeping our fingers crossed that it's just as successful this time!

Thanks for your visit.


p.s.  If you need directions on how to do any of the above projects, just do a search from my sidebar and the posts should show up.