Thursday, June 19, 2014

Summer 2014!

Summer 2014

Where am I?  At the lake, on an island?  Far away or close by?

 Still unsure?

Right here in New York City!  That was Central Park on a Sunday morning!!!  Quite different from the madness of Times Square.  Now you can appreciate those commercials on TV that say there's something for everyone in the state of New York.


After a show and before dinner there's a wonderful magical place to have a drink.  It's The Blue Bar in the Algonquin Hotel in Midtown on west 44th street.  It opened in 1902 and it's beautiful inside with old world charm.  I love New York.  Given the chance I would live right in Manhattan in a heartbeat...

Meanwhile, back to reality!  Here are my summer wreaths.  I had a basic wreath I bought at JoAnn's a few years ago and never used.  So decided to embellish it with a few magnolia blossoms and some more big green leaves.  I made a bow with a long strip of burlap and wedgewood blue polka dots.  Then from the center of the wreath I dangled a little trio of starfish.  When I'm decorating a wreath I always hope it survives the weather.  So far it's made it through some driving rain and wind so I'm hopeful it lasts the season.

I bought this star in Cape Cod quite a few years ago.  I never put it up because I couldn't decide where it should go.  I finally just stuck it on the back door and shut the blinds! 

 I gave my shell wreath an update a few weeks ago.  The basic shell wreath was assembled about 10 years ago.  I wove some navy blue and white ribbon through the spaces between the shells.  Of course this would have been a lot easier if I had done this first but back then I didn't watch HGTV or think as creatively as I do now.  I made the bow out of burlap because that's been one of my favorite materials for a while now.  All of the shells come from Martha's Vineyard.  There's a great little beach there that not a lot of people know about.  The shells on the sand are great but what makes this beach really special is it's a place where sea gulls fish in the water for shells and then smash them on the rocks to eat the meat inside.  We always hit that beach because of the variety of shells right at your feet. 

I'm still decorating with shells all over the house.  This band of shells on the stem of this wine "votive" glass is a necklace I got in Hawaii many years ago.  I found it in my closet the other day.  I would never wear it so I might as well decorate with it!

This little quilt hangs on the wall in my laundry room.  It's about 20 years old and has never collected dust despite the dryer sitting under it.  When I look at it I think of Hawaii  then I look down and see the washer and dryer...
My birthday is the 4th of July.  I am a Cancer, the crab.  I just finished this quilt top.  I used Heat n Bond to adhere the white fabric to the blue background and of course it came out so stiff it can't be a table topper.  So when all else fails there's always a pillow.  Can you guess how many pillows I've made?  The binding is already cut so it will be the rope piping.  I'm not giving up.  I'll put tassels on it and it'll be fine.  I have tassels on everything!  Maybe it'll be done by the next time we visit. 

I'm just about at my one year anniversary of blogging.  Last year I shared how I freeze my herbs.  This year I'm showing you how I grow them.  I think I should have blogged the growing before the freezing but I was more of a novice then...

Basil, chives, scallions, sage, mint, lemon grass, and rosemary...

Beefsteak and cherry tomatoes.  Dill, oregano and coriander.  Jalapeno peppers are in another pot nearby.


Lavender,  parsley and cilantro.

Monday afternoon I took snippets of all the herbs.  After they were washed I put them whole in a plastic bag with fruity red wine, left over cabernet, black pepper and olive oil.  Then I added a family pack of chicken and left it in the fridge until I was ready to grill.  The red wine tenderized the chicken so much you could shred it with a fork.    

Then I grilled veggie shish kabobs.  It was a really delicious, healthy dinner with no mess in the kitchen and lots of leftovers.


A few weeks ago I posted this lemon trifle on Facebook and got lots of likes.  I promised the recipe and here it is.  This was my first attempt at making a trifle.  It was so delicious and so easy I'm going to make them all the time!

Last month I was in a rush and needed a good Sunday dessert.  There was some homemade lemon cake in the freezer.  I didn't want to serve just a piece of cake so I decided to make pudding to go with it and then I thought of putting it in parfait glasses.  Finally it dawned on me that I have a few trifle bowls lying around and a few contain shells.  I looked around and found an empty one and decided to give it a try.  I Googled until I found a basic trifle recipe and just let my imagination run with it...

This is the basic idea...

How to Make a Trifle - Basic Trifle Recipe with Adaptations
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time:  
Total time:  
Serves: 8
  • cake, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 3 cups pudding
  • 1 - 1½ cups sauce or jam
  • 3 - 6 cups fruit, nuts, chocolate chips
  • 2 cups whipped cream
  1. Cut cake into 1 inch pieces.
  2. Spread ⅓ third of the cake pieces across the bottom of the trifle bowl.
  3. Spoon half of the pudding over the cake pieces.
  4. Sprinkle 1 - 2 cups of optional ingredients over the pudding.
  5. Drizzle ½ cup sauce/jam over the optional ingredients.
  6. Repeat steps 2 - 5.
  7. Spread the remaining cake pieces over the sauce/jam layer.
  8. Sprinkle 1 - 2 cups optional ingredients over the cake layer.
  9. Top with the whipped cream.
  10. Drizzle remaining sauce/jam over the whipped cream.
  11. Keep chilled until it can be served. Serve it as soon as possible.

I didn't have all of those ingredients in the house and I wanted to use up a lot of half full packages in the freezer so this is how I put together the layers of my lemon trifle:

Bottom layer = cubed lemon cake
Next layer = lemon pudding
Next layer = white chocolate chips, crushed graham crackers
Next layer = Cool Whip (doesn't have to be thawed - just spread with knife)
Repeat all the layers until you've reached the top.
Top layer = Cool Whip, sprinkled graham crackers and a maraschino cherry in the center for garnish.

I hate to keep saying to die for BUT it really was!  I made it in the afternoon and was afraid to leave it in the fridge for too long because I thought the Cool Whip would melt.  And then I thought about freezing it even for a little while but decided against it.  It's such a good feeling when things turn out right because for me it isn't that often!  When we ate it later in the evening the Cool Whip held up fine.  All the tastes had time to meld together and it was the perfect summer dessert.  I will definitely make it again in many different variations.

Last but never least!

Here's where we are on the fireplace.  This project is running on schedule.  The starting date was this past October.  I will start to fret when this October rolls around and it still looks like this.  I'll keep you posted.  Hopefully there's a transformation in the near future.

I hope to blog soon but life keep getting in the way.  I have lots more to share.  I hope I get just a little more time to get it all down in a post.  For now, thank you for visiting and I hope you stay cool! 

 Happy Summer!

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