Friday, April 18, 2014

My Favorite 5 ~ Rita

Glorious Good Friday to you!

I'm Rita C,  from the blog 'Panoply', and my top five list centers around garden essentials.  I'm strictly a landscape gardener, but I've tried to focus on items that cross over to vegetable gardeners as well.

My number one garden favorite, hands down, is a good pair of gloves.  Although there are plenty of options and price points out there to choose from (this photo was taken in a small, mom and pop shop), I prefer a good grip kind, such as the one pictured below, for most of my work in the garden. The rubber palm and breathable, nylon topside are a winning combination, providing good water, chemical and dirt coverage for fingertips, yet flexible enough for handling seedlings.  They wash and dry well also. For dealing with tougher jobs such as thorns, I switch to (and recommend) leather gloves, a more impenetrable choice.

Second on my list of garden essentials is a trusty pair of snips, pruners, plain ole knife or scissors.

A pair of snips takes care of handling most dead-heading in the daily walk through the garden, and these are inexpensively found (less than $15 for a decent pair) at your garden or hardware store.  You can tell mine are well-used (and dirty on the blades!).  This pair has a safety catch for keeping the blades together when not in use.  There's also a more frugal alternative to pruning snips - go to the Dollar Tree and purchase a pair of scissors and/or knife!  Yes, they will do the job, and when the blades go dull or the tool(s) get lost in the garden, they're inexpensive to replace!  Knives are especially great for whacking down small grasses.  Alternatively, if you really get into your tools and some serious pruning, you can invest in a good pair of Felcon No. 2 pruners.  Felco pruners are the workhorse tool in my arsenal, easily cutting through thick branches of mature plants and even trees, up to 1" in diameter.

Favorite pruning snips.

Keep reading for three more of Rita’s fantastic favorites.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Keep Calm and Pray On

Hello my lovely friends!

This morning I am humbly asking for your prayers, happy thoughts and good karma. As you may know, the company Mr. Décor works for is closing here in Phoenix. We are trying to prepare financially by selling the condo Alyssa lived in while attending ASU. We are currently in negotiations with a potential buyer. (Praise Jesus!) It is our hearts desire to sell, if you could please pray for God's will.

In addition, after months of hard rejection Mr. Décor has 4 job interviews this next week.

This is totally me this morning trying NOT to freak out.


Somehow I am now heading to school to take a French exam. But that’s a prayer for another time. :)


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

My Pinterest Easter Fails

As you may know, my kids are older. They aren’t interested in hand-woven Easter baskets containing homemade bubbles, DIY jump ropes, and hand crafted sidewalk chalk. However, like most kids, money is always appreciated. Rather than just sticking the cash inside plastic eggs this year I decided to try my hand at creating origami springtime creatures out of dollar bills. I checked out Pinterest and found all sorts of inspiration and links.

This is supposed to be a rabbit.

Pinterest fail.



Pinterest Fail.


I am not even going to bother showing you the “flying bird”. Let it be known that just like last year my kids will be hunting golden eggs with squashed up dollar bills inside. (I’m thinking they will be just as happy.)

Ok, next let’s create some Easy Springtime Pretzels.  My kids love it when I buy the plain jane variety at Sprouts.

They require just three ingredients:

Pretzels, almond bark and sprinkles.


Microwave the almond bark according to the package directions. Yep, so easy. Take a fork and dip the pretzel into the melted HOT LAVA. Coat entire pretzel. Then repeat the process   EVER   SO   SLOWLY    8 million times. Continually burn yourself from random drips and question why you thought this was a good idea.


Lay out the pretzels and top with sprinkles. Quickly realize that the majority of the sprinkles will be wasted on the paper.


After one hour of repetitious drudgery realize that the huge bar of almond bark has covered just 50 pretzels. Find joy in the knowledge that the now empty bowl is forcing you to abandon this tortuous chore as well as your expectation that you would have several jars of springtime pretzels to share with friends and family.


Wrap up the pretzels in a small airtight jar and add a pretty ribbon. Feel absolutely no guilt as you hide the jar from your family and make plans to eat it all by yourself thereby insuring your pants will continue to not fit.

Pinterest fail!


Happy Wednesday!


Linking to:

Between Naps On The Porch, The Dedicated House, A Stroll Thru Life, Not Just A HousewifeA Bowl Full of Lemons, We Are That Family, Someday Crafts,The 36th Avenue, Ivy and Elephants, Savvy Southern Style, Katherine’s Corner, Posed Perfection,Craftberry Bush, Stonegable, Jennifer Rizzo, No Minimalist Here, Country Cottage, The Shabby Nest,Imparting Grace,My Romantic Home, Common Ground, The Charm of Home,Tatertots and Jello, Funky Junk Interiors

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Perfect for a Spring Brunch~ Julia’s Quiche Aux Oignons

As my children are now older I have found myself transitioning from egg hunts to really focusing on Easter itself. In this way we celebrate not just one day, but the entire Holy week. On Palm Sunday I went and got sprinkle donuts in spring colors. I never do this and my kids were thrilled.

This morning I arose early to make Julia Child’s Quiche Aux Oignons (Onion Quiche). I used leeks which I love dearly and they feel like spring to me.


You can find Julia’s original recipe HERE.

I made three changes. First I used a Trader Joe’s pie crust. Because who has time to roll out pie dough on a Tuesday?

Then instead of 7 cups of  onions cooked for an hour I used two leeks thinly sliced with a small package (4 ounces) of pancetta (Italian bacon). They cooked in 3 tablespoons of butter for 10 minutes and set aside to cool.

I so wish you could have smelled this goodness!


The rest of the recipe was followed to a “T” and placed in the partially cooked pie shell. Ms. Child does not say to put the pie dish on a cookie sheet but I do. In the event of a spill over the sheet is much easier to clean than the oven.


25 minutes later I pulled this delicious beauty out.


I let it cool for about 5 minutes then served it up with some really sweet blackberries.


Because some of you might ask, the tablecloth and napkin in the first image are vintage. They came from Grandma Joyce Gunn’s closet. I adore the set and the bright colors also feel like spring to me.

Also, for those who wondered how I made Monday (yesterday) feel special and spring like….parfaits all the way!


The onion tart is perfect for Easter brunch.


I’m taking in a bit this morning to Madame de Soleil, my French instructor. 5 extra credit points for sure. :) 


Linking to:

Between Naps On The Porch, The Dedicated House, A Stroll Thru Life, Not Just A HousewifeA Bowl Full of Lemons, We Are That Family, Someday Crafts,The 36th Avenue, Ivy and Elephants, Savvy Southern Style, Katherine’s Corner, Posed Perfection,Craftberry Bush, Stonegable, Jennifer Rizzo, No Minimalist Here, Country Cottage, The Shabby Nest,Imparting Grace,My Romantic Home, Common Ground, The Charm of Home,Tatertots and Jello, Funky Junk Interiors, Under The Table and Dreaming, Foodie Friday

Monday, April 14, 2014

No More Towels On The Bathroom Floor!

Perhaps like many of you my guest bathroom also doubles as my 12 year old son’s bathroom. It’s a situation that strikes fear in the hearts of mothers everywhere. One of the reasons why is that a large percentage of boys are physically unable to hang their bathroom towels up on a towel bar, my son included.

Let me just say that his towels were never draped beautifully over the tub as shown in the image below. They were more likely to end up in a soggy pile on the floor.

Keep reading to see the super solution.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Still He Rode

Today I am thinking about Jesus. I wonder when He got on the donkey and saw the crowd cheering and throwing palm leaves down on the road to make a lovely way for Him if the human part of Him for one moment thought “Maybe it’s all going to turn out ok. Maybe a week from now they will still be cheering. Maybe I won’t have to….”

But deep down, He knew. And still He rode.

“Jesus enters Jerusalem”~  Jean-Hippolyte Flandrin, Paris, 1842

Ever humbled, ever thankful.


“So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” ~ John 12:13

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” ~ Zechariah 9:9

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Crafting for Easter Seals

Are you familiar with Easter Seals? It is non profit charitable organization that annually assists more than one million children and adults with autism, special needs and other disabilities. There are over 550 service sites that provide services, therapies and treatments tailored to meet the specific needs of the particular community they serve.


I have felt tremendously blessed by small beautiful things this past week and wanted to pay the joy forward. Given the time of year Easter Seals seemed like the perfect organization. 


In between house guests, anniversaries and college classes I created 8 Victorian styled Easter baskets. They feature various sweet children, bunnies and springtime flowers in soft shades of pink. They are priced at just $10 (to include shipping) and 100% of the profits will be given to Easter Seals.

You can find these treasures in my ETSY Shop HERE.


If you would like to donate directly to Easter Seals please visit HERE.


“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” ~ Hebrews 13:16

“Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” ~ Luke 6:38

“We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.” ~ Roman 15:1

Linking to:

How Sweet The Sound, Common Ground