Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Leaving for Provence in the Morning

Tomorrow, my husband and I leave for 10 nights in France and I can't wait. We have had such a cold spring and now as we are getting ready to leave, we get a little warm weather and I decide that I need to get my potager planted now instead of when we return.  So hurrying around this week, I did get it started. I decided that I needed to add a little more color and structure to it this yer, so we planted lupines and foxglove around the center. I will fill in with herbs, squash, cucumbers and zucchini on the outsides.  I purchased compact growing vegetables this year to try to keep them better contained.

I love this showy perennial , but it is hard to get it to come back the next year.

French lavender fills in the corners.
I feel a bit better about leaving for France with some of this planted and I will finish when I return. I am sure I will be inspired by the gardens and potagers in the French countryside. 
We are staying in Avignon at a beautiful place- La Mirande.



I cannot wait to get to this region of France and explore. I am sure when I return I will have many new thoughts about my potager garden! So much to learn and explore during the next few days!!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Elawa Farm and Middlefork Savanna Forest Preserve

An unexpected treat- my friend Jill and I went on a walk on Friday morning to a forest preserve, Middlefork Savana,  near our homes.  I had never been on the trail in the direction that Jill had been.  The trail lead us to a gorgeous lake  through fields and ponds of water lilies. Jill and I had watched an otter grab and fish and carry it off to dinner.  So yesterday, my husband and I decided to walk it again and this time I took my camera!  I never expected such natural beauty in a completely suburban setting. I was hoping to show him the otter.

One of the lakes looks like a large rookery.  Jill told me that she had seen the bare tree filled with egrets. Can't wait to see that for myself.  A couple were bathing themselves while Jay and I were there.

A grove of large black oaks stood near one of the lakes.


A pair of Golden finches sat in a tree watching us!

Lily pond will be so pretty when it blooms!

 There were many male red winged blackbirds standing guard over the nests.
Walking back, you look upon Elawa Farm.

 The farms newly planted gardens were pristine.

The lilacs and Snow on the Mountain shrubs were in full bloom.

Returning from our walk through the forest preserve, we visited the Elawa Farms market and purchased  some spring pea hummus.
It was a delightful treat on crostini with radishes when we returned home.

They were also selling Chamomile Honey Morning Cakes! So pretty and petite, they are the perfect size for one serving. I served them in pretty compotes for breakfast this morning.

Elawa Farm is a wonderful resource for our community.  Summer markets are held regularly in the warmer months. There are animal displays for the children to learn about endangered species .  A range of cooking classes are held there  and the class descriptions can be found on line.   That's something I want to do in the near future! The market specializes in fresh food using the ingredients that are grown on the farm. Amazing bouquets of flowers are for sale during the summer!  If you live in the area, please be sure to check it out!  And for sure, plan a long walk in the gorgeous forest preserve.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Rhinestone Necklaces from Old Vintage Jewelry Updated

Adoring vintage rhinestone jewelry, I always buy it to use in my crafting projects.  Particularly,
the 1920's and 1930's necklaces are just too small to wear comfortably.  So I found a way to solder several together and make long layering pieces. Lasers are the only soldering method that doesn't seem to melt the metal and rhinestones.  Expensive to get done , but worth it for an end result that looks good and doesn't break apart!

Above are 2 longer necklaces layered together.

This is 4 necklaces and  a bracklet soldered together.

There are no clasps in the backs, just pretty bracelets so that it looks pretty in the back too.

Love the detail on this one. 

This one has a necklace that is designed to be worn to the side.


Love layering them with crystal strands

Three different rhinestone necklaces layered with pearls and crystal strands.

Adore the vintage vibe with with this  burn-out velvet jacket from BHLDN.

Even fun on a t-shirt for a more casual approach!

 I think I will package these little treasures in cello bags with copies of old French documents- love the contrast of the 2 elements.
 Looking closely at this one, you can see a pair of earrings and the 2 necklaces that were used. Additional rhinestone chain was used on the sides to lengthen the piece.

 I think a few dried rose petals are going to have to be dropped in the cello wrapped treasures too!
I love the color contrast!

So I am starting early for the Christmas show in November. It takes a long time to collect  the appropriate pieces that look good together.  I hope to have quite an assortment of these pretty little packages to select from.  I love offering unique gifts for my customers.