Wednesday, March 11, 2009

An Invitation to Tea

Who will wear the most outrageous hat?

The prettiest dress?

Who will bring flowers for the hostess?

Shall we plan the menu?

Tea-of course! English Breakfast, Darjeeling, Earl Grey…
Scones with clotted cream…
Little finger sandwiches with the crusts cut off…
Shortbread cookies shaped like hearts...

The table in the morning room is set for a ladies tea. Everyone will choose their cup and a fancy lace napkin. I’ll use mum-in-law’s china-it has a lovely rose in the center. The tablecloth is Grandma’s wedding ring quilt. It is in all the right pastel shades. The early afternoon sun coming through the window throws a rainbow of light on our festivities.
Everyone will leave with a box of treats tied up with a pretty ribbon to remember this day.

One lump or two?

Oh it has been a pleasant day!

"For every happy smile, the world

Whirls on its way with less of care".

I'm glad you could join us for tea on Tablescape Thursday.
I must say the afternoon slipped by rather quickly.
I'll just relax in my favorite chair after bidding goodbye to my friends.

The Making of A Garden

The Making of A Garden

When we first saw our home it was a day much like today. The day was cold with snow flurries off & on-also mid-March. I fell in love with the house at first sight-although it was defiantly a diamond in the rough. We moved in mid-May. The “garden” was a tangle of ivy & weeds, but we had lovely old trees-the property had nice “bones”. We did inherit some lovely old roses, a few lavender lilacs & peonies. Except for the lilacs we have probably moved everything else several times over with every renovation. We lost some trees due to old age or wind storms-that changed the type of plants that would do well in the garden. The spot that used to be for shade-lovers was now out in the sunshine. When we added the addition, sunny spots now became shady ones.

These photos of spring plantings from last year still seem in the far, distant future. The landscape is still brown & green-a very neutral palate. Still Rosalie & the cherub greet me smiling every morning. As I rake away the winter twigs & fall leaves, brave green tips of bulbs appear; crepe leaf buds cling to the bare hydrangea stems & tight spring-green buds cover the lilacs. Spring readies herself for her debut!

These photos show the house in 1892, 1917, 1986, & 2008.

Take time to smell the flowers!

The iris garden.

My little garden helper.

The garden angel nested in white lilacs & azaeleas.

Lilacs original to the house.

Thanks for visiting my nest!

Join our hostess Susan at A Southern Daydreamer for Outdoor Wednesday!

Have a lovely Wenesday & try to spend a little bit of it outdoors!

Doing a little spring daydreaming!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Almost Spring

As I sit here sipping a cup of tea, I can hear a bird singing outside. His song is sweet & clear & another will join in with an answering refrain. It is quiet other than the little bird’s duet. If I don’t look out the window and ignore the turtleneck I’m wearing I can imagine I’ll walk out into lovely, warm sunshine. Alas, that is not the case. We were given a small taste of spring over the weekend. Friday & Saturday were sunny and warm. We had a case of “garden fever” & to our delight; the garden centers were ready with a cure. The cool-weather annuals were out with all their bright crayon box colors. We chose a flat of yellow pansies for the urns by our front door. Finally a bit of color instead of the winter drab browns & greens. Even though it is chilly today with the scent of rain in the air, I can look out at that bright slash of yellow & know Spring is just hiding behind the clouds.

I love to grow Pansies not just because they make their debut in early spring, but because I can enjoy them into early summer. If they are kept in a spot that gets morning sunshine and afternoon shade, they will survive until scorching summer heat. I use them for garnish on appetizer trays & salads. I like to dust them with sugar to decorate cakes.

Sugar Frosted Flowers

1 egg white, beat until smooth but not stiff or use powdered egg white or meringue powder-(prepared according to package directions).
Super-fined granulated sugar-free of lumps-(I put a half-cup in the food processor for about 30 seconds)
Small un-used, clean paintbrush

I like to use pansies, violets, scented geraniums & roses. You can also use mint leaves & scented geranium leaves. Remember, not all flowers are edible. Choose, clean, perfect pesticide-free blooms. If needed gently wash and let them air-dry on a paper towel. Gently brush all petals with egg white. Gently sprinkle under-side then top with sugar. Gently shake off excess sugar. Place on wax paper lined tray to dry. Embellish!