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February 2010
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April 2010

March 2010

A New Spin on Floral Arrangements

Just in time for Easter, Janene brings us a simple "how to" on how to create interesting and unique floral arrangements that are sure to brighten your table, desk, or counter top!

For a new spin on floral arrangements, considering unusual containers as "vases" to display your farmer’s market finds in all their glory. Most any vessel can be turned into a container for your bouquet with just a little work. Scour flea markets, thrift stores, country shops, or even your own cupboards or recycle bin for objects that catch your eye. Some possibilities include tea cups and pots, old shoes, your childhood lunchbox, tarnished silver creamers/sugars, wire baskets lined with moss, glass light fixtures turned upside down, old tins or toy cars.

First, set a block of florist’s foam (for fresh flowers, not dried arrangements) to soak while you’re prepping the rest of your materials, so that it is fully saturated by the time you’re ready to use it. Next, simply line the inside of your container with plastic from a plain black trash bag, trim off the excess so it doesn’t show. For the flowers, I like to purchase a dozen stems of some sort of large showy flower, like roses or daisies, then I also pick up a bouquet of mixed flowers in colors that I like from a local farmer’s market to use as filler flowers. You could also purchase some likely looking smaller flowers like baby’s breath, greenery, little bachelor buttons or mums.


When you’re ready to begin, place your floral foam into the container, trimming and sculpting with a knife until it fits. If you’re using a bowllike shape, such as a teapot or urn, place a large chunk of foam inside, then trim the top so that it gives a nice rounded shape sticking a few inches out of the top of the vessel. If you’re using a box-like shape like a tin, cut pieces of foam to fit inside, then cut strips of waterproof floral tape to make a grid along the top. You may also use torn strips of masking tape like I did, if you don’t have the floral tape - you’ll just have to be sure to place your flowers so they hide the tape.

Now comes the fun part! Starting with your large showy flowers, trim the stems to about 3-6 inches below the blossom (depending on the size of your container), then begin placing them evenly into the foam. By placing the flowers closer to the base so that they are more horizontal, and the flowers closer to the top more vertical, you will end up with a nice rounded shape that shows off its pretty flowers from all angles. If using flowers such as roses, you may have to trim off some of the lower leaves so that they’ll fit into the foam, and watch out for those thorns! Next, start selecting some of your filler flowers from your bouquet, trimming them down, and filling in around the larger flowers. 



This is where you get to be artful - choose the colors you like, which compliment each other, and place them evenly around the bouquet. If it doesn’t look right, pull them out and move them around - the foam is rather forgiving. Be sure to make use of the leaves - they are great for filling in gaps, hiding bits of tape, and making the arrangement more full. Voila, that’s it! You now have a nice arrangement that should last for a week or more if you keep the foam moistened, depending on the age of your flowers.


Pecking Order, by Park Designs

Park Designs has come out with a really fun new rooster line of ceramic pottery, linens, and accessories - quite a bit different than their previous chicken collections over the last few years.  In a palette of black, white, and red-as-can-be, Pecking Order will brighten up any country kitchen.  Some of the dishes feature the black rooster, and some are simply speckled like spotted eggs.  The linens are all 100% cotton and machine washable, with the black and white checked design, and various trims such as red ric rack and/or black rooster applique.

Here is a sampling of what's available!

512-696XL

Pecking Order Cookie Jar

512-61XL

Pecking Order Pot Mitt Set

512-20L

Pecking Order Apron

512-688L

Pecking Order Dip Bowl and Spreader Set

512-650mXL

Pecking Order Dinner Plate

512-652XL

Pecking Order Salad Plate

71-904L

Hen Delivers Dishtowel

512-12XL

Pecking Order Tablerunner

512-151L

Pecking Order Pot Holder

See what I mean?  Isn't this stuff just super-fun?  See all of Pecking Order on our Website!

Enjoy!


March 2, 2010 Family Outing.

A few days ago was a beautiful day, we were all home for a VERY rare change, and we decided to take a little outing.  We drove past all the various train overlooks in Everett (which Ben and I do every day, as Ben is ADDICTED to trains - it has become a nice dad / son moment), and then got out at Riverside Park - really just a little spot with a garden and benches.  Janene took some fantastic photos (all these pics were taken by Janene).  Then we piled back in to the car and went to Molbak's for a few moments before headed home.  It was a nice little diversion. :)  Here are a handful of images from our stop at Riverside Park.

What are some of your favorite places to get away to during a stolen moment in time?


Chris' Crockpot Chicken Stewish.

Looking for a simple, yummy, comfort food crock pot meal?

This is a very easy meal to prep, unless of course you have a 2.5 year old son literally using you as a climbing wall....

We'd highly recommend playing with this recipe a bunch. It's easy, very adaptable, and very, very tasty.  And we're still "in winter" enough that it will definitely hit the spot, so enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 partially thawed chicken breasts, boneless
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 cans of mushrooms, pieces and stems
  • 1 can Italian style stewed tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 red potatoes
  • Garlic, several cloves
  • Chicken broth
  • Thyme
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Salt
  • Poultry Seasoning
  • Egg Noodles or Rice (to serve over...)

Directions

  • Chop the carrots.  Put 'em in the crock pot.
  • Cut the potatoes in half, and then in quarters (so they're chunks)
  • Crush the garlic into the crock pot
  • Add the mushrooms
  • Add the tomatoes
  • Cut the chicken breasts into 3 or 4 mostly equal sections
  • Add the seasoning, "to taste" (or look)
  • Stir stir stir, to make sure that everything is well mixed
  • Add chicken broth, to help cover the components and keep 'em from drying out
  • Cook on High for 4-5 hours.  If you want it less juice, remove the cover for the last 30ish minutes, but keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't go dry.
  • Break the chicken up, and check flavor, adjusting seasoning as needed. 
  • Serve and enjoy!

yyyuuuummmmmmmmmmm......


K & K Interiors Arrows

Hello!  After multiple requests, we are finally putting online our collection of everyday and seasonal arrows by K & K Interiors.  This best-selling Arrow Collection features a wide variety of wooden/resin designs, one for any and every season, holiday, or collection!  The perfect accent to your country primitive home.  The replacement pieces are sold individually, with the black wooden arrow hanger also available separately to help start your collection!

A sampling of the options available...

B1401M

B1703M

B2017M

B2502M

B5569M

B5982L

B6627M

B7371M

B8015M

B8957M

B9307L

B9327M

Check them out today!