18 October 2018

A Kitchen Refresh

It has been awhile since I painted my kitchen, actually several months back!  I always wanted to paint the natural wood, but could not decide on a color, but one week I decided to go for it. I painted the natural cabinets in the kitchen Annie Sloan French Linen and then waxed them really well. They still look nice.  But next of course, I tired looking at the display, so this past week I rearranged the wall and shelves.

I moved some vintage French bird prints to the kitchen. My daughter found these awhile back, and they fit and look perfect under the shelves.

Next, I decided to display my French bumble bee glasses with my French copper pans, both made in France.
Then I added a little more gleam with my Raj teapot that I bought back in college, when Restoration Hardware was just a cute little shop in Marin outside of San Francisco. Do you remember when customers could buy something in there?

Lastly, I hung a small Anthro mirror that I received as a gift a few years back. The cafe bowls and containers are Anthro as well.

These are just tiny changes, but it adds a touch of elegance and freshens up this small space.
It adds to the Swedish/French look I like. My fridge is Italian made and my stove is Swedish made.

Obviously I have not blogged much in the past year.
I finished a French course, but my French is still bad. I guess it will never be as great as my Spanish which is better, but not so great either.  Smile.

I read lots of books. Okay. I was on a Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy kick for awhile, ever since our trip to Russia.
I also worked on my poetry and took some classes.
Then this past summer we spent most of the time in Italy and France, but also visited Germany and Austria a bit.

I lost some friends (passed). That's always hard.

I have an unruly pug that I have taken through two courses of training, and she still needs more training. She is smart, but she wants to do what she wants to do.

I really am enjoying my free time.
But I love the holidays, so I felt like blogging.

I can always be found on Instagram.




22 May 2018

Artful Blogging Give Away

My daughter entered the names on a wheel app and spun it!
I have two copies of Artful Blogging to send to my friends!

The first goes to Susanna at Mantelilaakson! My Almond Valley

The second copy goes to La vie Quotidienne!

Thank you, everyone.
I will be emailing you both soon, and hopefully  have them mailed by the end of the week.


15 May 2018

Artful Blogging Feature: and an extra copy

I hope everyone had a wonderful Mother's Day.
Mine was celebrated at home with a beautiful petite cake, but
later my spouse took me, my two sisters, and our kids for Chinese.

In the past, I've received blooming trees for Mother's Day, so each year they are gift again.
Depending on what one likes to call it, here is my Vitex or Desert Lilac or Chaste tree in full bloom. And in the front yard, I have a white oleander tree in full bloom as well.
Here is another photo of the desert "lilac".

I've not written as much this past month, because it is the time of year when the temperature gets warm and things become busy here.  My daughter had a couple of invitations to places this year, but we can only do one, so we are going to Italy and then to France, and perhaps the Loire Valley by train.

It also took me some time to pick up an extra copy of Artful Blogging, since the bookstore that carries it is not that close.

I would like to pass along one copy to someone. 
So if you would like to have a chance at a copy tell me in the comments, and make sure that your settings allow you to be emailed, so I can request your address if you are selected. 
One of us will select a name, and I will mail it to you. 
I will announce a reader next Tuesday.

Thank you for visiting.



01 May 2018

Featured in Artful Blogging

I am featured in the Spring issue of Somerset's Artful Blogging. It is available today May 1, 2018.  Barnes and Nobles has it in their magazine section.
I will be back later today to say something a bit more.
Pages 34-39

Thank you for reading.


11 April 2018

Rainbow Salad

Isn't this pretty?

I fell in love with this purple cauliflower in the organic section, and I didn't know quite what to prepare when I brought it home.  Though it would be prepared fresh, because I didn't want to do anything to harm the color!

For Easter Sunday dinner, I grabbed one of vintage serving dishes and made a salad from what I had in the kitchen.

This salad contains

Torn Romaine lettuce
Sliced Mushrooms
Sliced Cucumbers
Sliced Strawberries
Purple Cauliflower Trees
Some Red Cutie Tomato
Dried Cherries
A sprinkle of grated Mozzarella (about a tablespoon)
A sprinkle of poppy (about a tablespoon)
A Sprinkle of Olive Oil

For dressing I purchased a strawberry poppy seed.

A Happy Day to  Everyone!



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28 March 2018

Just a Few Spring Photos

Collecting pieces of vintage china is fun. Sometimes you find just a few of series, but that should not deter imagination.  Here lavender colored Limoge plates are mixed with a vintage American plate in turquoise whereas the vintage scalloped teacup is Spode and the leaf teacup is newer and unknown.
Something like this maybe is in store for my Easter table.  Here are some previous Easters.

Around here trees are in bloom. This is a photo taken by my daughter a few days ago while we were out and about.  Meanwhile at home, the garden smells amazing, because the citrus is in bloom.

And over here, I am moving things around for spring freshness.  I painted this about a pretty blush pink a year ago, and I've noticed lately that pink is a bit popular right now, but maybe because it is a perfect spring color.

Later this week, I am hoping to start some projects, do some spring cleaning, and to color some eggs.

Butterfly and Bungalow is also at Instagram
Butterfly and Bungalow

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19 March 2018

The Simplest of Celebrations, Arrangements, and Recipes

Today, I am sharing a couple of simple ideas for the spring holidays.
First, is this bouquet in this pitcher, which  
is actually a metal measuring container that holds 500 ml. Its soft mint color with the black trim has a vintage look and it is perfect for spring. Earlier at the market, I found the most inexpensive bunch of spray roses as well as an asparagus bunch all for seven dollars. Later at home, we trimmed the bunches and created three arrangements from our find.

And since it was St. Patrick's Day, we pulled out our precious vintage china with a clover pattern. It was gifted to us by a loved family member, gone some years now, a dear relative by marriage: someone who loved St. Patrick's day, who bought this set to remind him of his mother who came from Ireland to America, and lived in an attic with other indentured servants before having a family of her own.  

I baked some Irish soda bread for the occasion, but instead of buttermilk I used Ryazhenka, which is a Russian style buttermilk. To me, it seems less sour and richer to the taste, and it makes moist baked goods when used as a substitute for buttermilk. So our bread is not quite Irish! I also don't use raisins. Instead, poppy seeds and dried cranberries are added. (Though, dried cherries are wonderful if you have them on hand.) I think you could use any recipe for soda bread and do the same. Soda bread is soda bread, because baking soda makes it rise, and since there is no yeast, it is simple to bake. I also like to use a fluted ring cake pan, because I think it bakes so nicely and looks pretty when done.

The vintage silverware also made an appearance.

Here is our second floral arrangement in a different pitcher.  This one we used for our St. Patrick's day tea, and it eventually ended up on the dining table. 
I used some toile cloth my daughter found in a second hand shop for the table setting.
(There was a third arrangement too, but I did not take a picture. As you can see, these were generous bunches and they went far.)

Vintage china and silverware that play "dress up" with
the simplest of celebrations, recipes, and remembrances create home. 

Thank you for visiting.

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06 March 2018


Our homes comfort between spaces of rituals and living.
Between the every day, it caters to the people in the home and garden. 

  When I look out our window this time of year I begin planning the cleaning and gardening.  I always find it reassuring that the birds are nesting and tending families. With the weather so pleasant, an unscheduled tea in a charming teacup seems a perfect ritual. 

In our nest there are papers, reading material, and music on tables: the products of living. So, I always try to keep a few spaces special. For instance, a petite bouquet reminds of beauty, whether its created by our hands from the garden or a gift to ourselves from the market.
This one came from the store, and it was only ten dollars. The plastic vase is reusable, and the perfect size for blossoms from our garden.

It is the people that make our homes.

After working in the garden in the early evening, this bouquet was just the right size to move where it could be admired beside an enjoyable cup of tea in a vintage teacup.

And here is the last harvest of the Meyer lemons and oranges gathered by my daughter:
some for tea, lemon butter and bars; some for the neighbor; and some for my sister.

"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom."

Marcel Proust

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28 February 2018

Tuesdays Snapshots: My Floral Affair

This bouquet composition consists of roses, wild flowers, basil, rosemary, olive, and some purple and yellow desert blossoms. Gathered from the yard and placed in a petite black cauldron. 

This newly released book is by Rachel Ashwell and it's called My Floral Affair.
She visits graceful homes, both grand and simple, in France, Norway, and England, as well as her cottage in California, but this time these photographic essays are florals and bouquets: paper, painted, garden, silk, and store bought. There is even a visit to Lauduree, the famous macaron shop that began in Paris, for a look at the floral ceiling. (When in Paris, the Lavender and Rose macarons are some of the best. I also love their pale pink, green, and blue dishes.)

Inspired by the cover of this book, for the bouquet in this little pot I added a silver vintage teaspoon.  Her bouquet contains a spoon with a  message, which I loved, because here we love anything that alludes to Alice in Wonderland.  In the back of the book is inspiration: diagrams on how to make the bouquets in the book. I think that these would be expensive to replicate exactly. However,  just look at the shapes of the flowers and what could be substitutes from the backyard or from the specials at the flower mart or store.  In conclusion, this book could make a gracious gift for a shabby, French, Nordic, or English cottage lover, gardener, or artist. 

This post is my opinion, and there was no compensation.
Thank you for visiting.
(I've decided that the day I will post is Tuesday, but sometimes it ends up being Wednesday, before I finish.)



23 February 2018

Spring on the Sleeping Porch

Our house is a small one, and except for Christmas, this porch is the primary spot for seasonal decor like a touch of pink.

This is our favorite statue to display this time of year, and
I often receive questions about its origins.
I think the little shepherd is John the Baptist as a child based on his clothing and the cross.
In many Italian renaissance paintings John the Baptist is depicted as a child in similar clothing handing a bare infant Child the cross sometimes with a sheep present too.
But I think it could be either child or even an angel. It really is what you see in it. It came from a local shop that sells French furniture.
Each year the scene is altered a bit.
Last year, these little rabbits in a similar style were added to the display, and they came from Hobby Lobby for just a few dollars. I actually found vintage ones, but passed due to the price.

This is a toile remnant, and the rabbit was given some dried roses.

Pretty old bottles and containers make great vases, and these are soda and food containers.
Someone local made this particular bunting.

The bouquets were made with flower market mini carnations, but all the fillers are from our garden.
Carnations last a long time.

I left the stars up, because they remind of the ceiling of Giotto's chapel (Scrovegni Chapel in Padua).
Finally, a crown from a local vintage shop was placed on his head.
To me, this little scene recalls the northern Italian countryside shrines placed along paths and hiking trails. This can be seen from our front door, and it is always a welcoming sight to eyes when returning home. There is a set of twinkle lights hidden behind for ambiance.

Do you create a shrine or a sanctuary spot in your home?

Thank you for visiting.



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20 February 2018

Tuesday's Snapshots: A Circus Animal Cheesecake

This cute cake is a Circus Animal Cheesecake.! It uses the pink and white frosted circus animal cookies for the crust. It is my sister's favorite cheesecake, and she requested it for her birthday last week. You will need two bags of cookies, because they seem to be packaged smaller these days. You will only use the pink ones from both bags. Save some for the top if you want. ( I end up adding a few white ones as well. A handful doesn't make a difference in the pink color crust.) I use the food processor, because the crust is sticky due to the frosting. I also think that is why I end up using some white ones as well. I want the bottom of the pan fully covered.

I used this recipe, and I have made it before. So, I halved this recipe except for the crust.  The crust recipe needs to be the same to cover a 9 inch springform pan. I also use less sugar, because for our tastebuds it is sweet enough with the crust and ganache.  After halving the recipe except for the crust, I reduce the sugar to 1/4 of a cup. If you like a sweet filling keep it at a half.
The reason I half the filling recipe is because it is a huge cake. You won't be able to fit all the filling in your pan without it overflowing when it cooks. (I've done that before.) I think it then took an hour to cook instead of an hour and a half, but I kept checking it every five minutes at 45 minutes.

It's perfectly fine to follow the recipe exactly, just don't put all the filling in the pan, because it could overflow as it heats.
The larger cake is certainly more dramatic. That's the way I made it for another birthday party.

Before you pour it in the pan divide the filling into two. You put a few drops of food coloring to make it pink. Alternate the colors during pouring.
This time, it was warm here, and my circles didn't come out great, so it had more of a marbled effect than stripes, but still cute when cut.

This is the recipe I used for the Ganache. If you want it to spill down the sides you would have to make more. I only put it on the top. Immediately and quickly sprinkle the beads on the cake for a neater look and kitchen! 

This is really helpful. Your sides will come out cleaner and not as browned
 if you remember to do this. I forgot, and
 lined only the bottom of the pan this time. Also, place a cookie tray under your cheesecake. I placed a tray on the lower rack, because our pan leaks.

It's super cute and super festive, and really not that hard to make, though a bit time consuming.
I made the crust the night before. Also, the cake has to cool before putting the ganache on it.
The link to recipe includes a video, which makes it look even easier.

Have a wonderful week.



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14 February 2018

7 Touches of Pink for Spring

First, I'm in love with this shade of pink.
Some years ago now, it was the shade that I painted my daughter's first bedroom.
Here it is is a pretty scalloped quilt found for 20 dollars.

Secondly, I love pink spray roses and this time of year it seems easier to find them.
Here they are in an Ikea bucket.

Third) Here are pretty bottles of something pink to drink, and rose scented drinks are calming.

 Fourth) For the next couple of months our garden will be at its best.
Gathered here are some pink blooms from the garden. 

Fifth) Here is a pretty pinkish glass jar with a candle placed with another garden arrangement.
To make the bouquet, just lay a flat bowl in the bucket and then layer the blossoms.

Sixth) One single spray of pink roses in a bottle can be so elegant.

Seven) Here is a garland of pink fabric roses found in a craft store.

I am also making a pink and white cheese cake. It is so cute, and it is for my sister's birthday, because that's what she wanted. I actually made it for my daughter three months ago, but forgot to take a photo. Alas, it is not done. I knocked a wine bottle behind the refrigerator, so all I accomplished last night was the crust. Typical mess in the kitchen for me!
Hopefully, later this week there will be a photo. It was suppose to be 8 touches of pink. :)

No compensation was received for these selections.
They are just pretty and inexpensive pretty and all removable pretty accents.
I love to look at objects in different ways.
For example, a two dollar glass water bottle is quite pretty as a bud vase once you have finished the water. I'm always using pretty cans, bottles, and empty containers for pretty vases. Here's a spring mantle from a few years ago or here is one from three years ago unopened.
Have a wonderful Valentine's Day.
Thank you for visiting each and every year.


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07 February 2018

1 Way to Create a Photo Album of Your Digital Memories

My daughter grew up in the digital camera age. To be honest, I have only the first two years of her life on paper, because I didn't know how to use my digital point and shoot any other way.
But you know, she loves to flip through those old photos! But also, she has been dismayed that there are so few photos to page through. Since both of us love taking photos I thought I would try a different service to make photo albums. Well, I've used others, but this one was the simplest by far, and the only one I wanted to try again.
This is NOT a sponsored post, I just liked the ease of use and the product.

I used my laptop and signed in for free, and I did not have to give them my card number until I was done. Since it was easily accessible and organized, I began archiving one year of Instagram, but I could of chose photos from my computer photo album. In less than a minute, the company generated an album that was formatted and ready to print.  I decided to spend a couple of hours editing captions and removing some  photos, before I sent it in, because hashtags can wind up on one page if you have too many.  It allowed me to easily change the captions, but I mostly kept the hashtags, because it was my instagram. However it was certainly easy to delete them too. It also allowed me to deselect photos.

Since it was many photos, I decided on a 8 x 8 inch custom book. I think that I selected at least 175 photos, so it made the price with shipping around 75 dollars. So not inexpensive, but not outrageous considering how many photos I chose!

It took about a week to arrive. I chose the soft cover and it is bound tight. Its cover is heavy paper like one of those heavy card stock, and its pages are non shiny like high end magazines.

The photos here don't do it justice. Now, I am going to make another of my first year of Instagram.
Now if I wanted to create one automatically, I would set up an account with my credit card number. Presently, it is ten dollars for every sixty photos, which I would have 3 days to edit in the same manner before printing and mailing. A series of smaller books may be a better option for some. 

The company's name is Chatbooks. You can use photos from your Instagram, Facebook, or camera. I did the entire project on my laptop, because it is just easier for me. I input my instagram account, and it immediately accessed the photos and inserted it into a book in less than a minute. However, for some it easier to use a phone, so download the free app from apple or google. It's that easy.

I've used some other services in the past, but this was the easiest yet!
Their website explains the process, and it super simple.
I definitely plan to make more.

Coming soon
our Cottage Garden
and other projects that I've been busy with.

Have a Happy Week!



(this post was NOT sponsored)

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