Friday, June 27, 2008

A Garden, A Salad and a Family of Bunnies

Having a garden comes in handy when there's hardly any food left in the house. It’s a great feeling to head out to the backyard and gather dinner. My husband's Grandmother used to head out to her garden with a salt shaker in hand and eat tomatoes straight from the vine.

When it comes to my garden, I’m no Mr. McGregor. In fact, I always notice my lettuce gets nibbled a bit, but it makes me happy to think I might be helping the likes of Peter Rabbit and his friends. Last year I don’t think we had a single pepper because something would get to them before I did.

I have no fencing and I use no special deterrents. However, I do have three cats. Jenny, the old dowager, lives in the house, but the other two, Fluffy and Katrina, we rescued from the wild. They live in the barn and still hunt—though Fluffy is probably more like Elmer Fudd then he’d ever admit. Last week, the two cats discovered a family of bunnies, including the cutest little babies, living somewhere in the hedges behind the garden. After several attempts by my daughter to stop the murder and mayhem, I’m sad to report the cats won every battle. My husband suspects the Mother bunny took off after the first attack. I was not impressed with that possibility.

I harvested my first radishes last night. All my veggies look very healthy—no nibbles at all. Though this tale is sad, the next time I’ve been too lazy to food shop I’ll have my cats, and their wild instinct, to thank for what I harvest. And perhaps I’ll stop referring to Fluffy as “Elmer” and start calling him “Fluffy McGregor”.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Sweet Olive Oil Tortas

My Mom introduced me to these little treats a few years ago. Ines Rosales Sweet Olive Oil Tortas have been handmade in Seville, Spain since 1910. The recipe hasn't changed since. They are also the only Spanish torta that is still hand-flattened and made in small batches with 100% extra virgin olive oil. Local women are trained for three months in the special flattening technique. Each torta gets sprinkled with sugar to make them extra delicious.

I love the simple wax paper packaging and old-fashioned typography. For a healthy snack I drizzle them with our Black Cat Raw Honey. Good stuff.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tag! You're It!

Julie and Lindsey from Coveiter are up for a game of tag. I guess I'm it:

What did you do 10 years ago?
I was working at Dr.Hauschka Skin Care on a complete relaunch of the entire line, which included renaming products, redesigning all marketing collateral and lots of perfectionist-related crying.

Five items on your to-do list:
- pay bills
- go to post office
- look for new products
- get ready for our trip to Maine
- make tomorrow’s to-do list (I live by lists)

Snacks I enjoy:
Yogurt covered pretzels (if there are any left after my daughter gets to them)

What would you do if you were a billionaire?
I’d make sure everyone in my family, including my in-laws, could retire and hang out with me (not all the time though). I’d hire a chauffeur because I hate driving, but I love going places. I’d have beautiful houses by the sea for me and in the mountains for my hubby. The key will be to hire out all the maintenance on these houses because I never want to lift a paintbrush again-- unless it’s hitting a canvas. Finally, I’d give lots of money to eco-friendly and farm-based initiatives—anything that will make me feel secure that my daughter will have a safe and healthy future.

Places I would live:
- I love my current home, but I’d take a place in Italy if you twisted my arm

Jobs I have had:
- Cashier at Marshalls (hello Christmas crowds and anxiety attacks)
- Bookkeeper (what can I say, I’m a Virgo)
- Model (this lasted about five minutes, then I made beeline for College)
- Marketing Coordinator (this was at a design firm in Boston. My coworkers rocked)
- Creative Director (learned a ton and had lots of fun)

{ 5 People I am tagging }
- Chelsea (Frolic)
- Ariana ( Becoming Home)
- Erin ( Elements of Style)
- Jora ( Domestic Reflections)
-Hannah (Sherbet Blossom)

(Rules: Each player answers the questions about themselves. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Summertime Means Fresh, Local Produce Time

At Farmhouse Wares, we love summertime because the fresh local produce is in abundance most everywhere. Getting out to your local farm stand is a great way to support the farmers and stimulate your community’s economy. It’s a great opportunity to connect with the growers and learn more about how your produce was raised. You’ll be helping the planet too because it takes a lot of fuel to ship much of the produce found in grocery stores.

Heading to the 5J Creamee and Pasiecnik Farmstand, located in Whately, MA is one of our favorite summertime jaunts. We celebrated the solstice with a big cone of their yummy ice cream and their freshly harvested strawberries. They use organic growing methods, so they’re not laced with pesticides. They taste so much better than any conventional strawberry that I get spoiled, making it hard to consume strawberries when they’re not in season. Thanks to my friend Robin, I learned you can freeze them, so we can enjoy them all year in smoothies and other sweet treats. Be sure to head out to the 5J Creamee or to your local farm stand soon because the season for these mouth-watering berries is fleeting.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Summer Whites

Nothing says summer quite like white. An all white beach cottage sounds pretty good as the solstice rolls in.

My husband and I used to stay in a little cottage in Menemsha on Martha's Vineyard. I spent one summer painting my bedroom chalk white. It took a kazillion coats because I was covering rough pine boards. But when it was done I was one happy camper. I used to lie in my bed and savor the breeze coming through the windows, admiring my work.

These Flirt Compotes by Potluck Studios would have looked great in that cottage. Their ruffles add a soft, feminine touch, and they’re oh so perfectly white.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Spotlight On Potash Hill Farm Goat Milk Soap and Lotion

My friend Melanie lives on a little farm in Whately, MA. Potash Hill Farm is where Melanie stirs up her pure Goat Milk Soap and Lotion ,which are both simple and kind to your skin and to the earth. I’m not sure what her secret is, but she’s managed to make her products smell fresh and clean—like a breeze with a hint of lavender and some other earthy tones. She’s a hard working person. She works endlessly to love and care for her goats as well as her family. When her son was five-years-old he developed eczema. Melanie focused all her efforts on solving his relentless sensitivity to commercial brands. She researched everything about cosmetic ingredients and began playing with her own formulas. In 1998 Potash Hill Goat Milk Soap and Lotion was born. Her son’s eczema was relieved and flare-ups are basically non-existent. Thank you Melanie for making such thoughfully crafted and effective products.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Red Checks for the 4th of July

Getting ready for your 4th of July celebrations? We love this Red Check Cotton Tablecloth with coordinating Napkins. They'll add a feeling of vintage Americana to any summer picnic. Available at Farmhouse Wares.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Bowl and Spoon Part II

Tonight was taco night, and I couldn't have been happier because I got to put the new bowl and spoon sets to good use. Each taco fixin' had its own bowl, and how convenient to have the spoon in it's rest--ready to fill those tacos to the brim with cheese, onions and sour cream. They looked gorgeous too, stepping up the whole taco experience to a new level of fancy.

My husband thinks I'm a bit strange for lovin' my new bowls so much, but what I can I say...they just make me happy. Time to go clear the table and admire them some more.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Dish Ran Away with The Spoon

At Farmhouse Wares, we instantly fell for this new bowl and spoon combo from Flavour Design Studio. Designer Élan says, “I strive to design products that make people say ‘why didn't I think of that!’ My pieces aim to be clever yet elegant with a strong emphasis on ergonomics and functionality. I believe that the items you choose to surround yourself with should be interesting. They should enable you to strike up a conversation or at least make you smile.”

The Dish Ran Away with the Spoon concept surely made my daughter smile this morning. She was fascinated and then promptly begged for ice cream for breakfast. (But it’s so hot Mommy.) Nice try kid.

Flavour Design Studio uses a lead free glaze, which is comforting to know these days.
I think it’s a brilliant gift for anyone who works in an office and can never find a clean spoon in the company kitchen. Just advise them to keep it at their desk.

They stack nicely. They're dishwasher and microwave safe, save for the spoon of course. Set comes with one bowl and one stainless steel spoon. Just $21 at Farmhouse Wares.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Farmhouse Wares' Father's Day Gift Guide

Top left: The Folding Desk Caddy is great for a workbench, desktop or potting shed. $48

Top right: The Rooster Door Stop is a stylish way to stop the doors from slamming shut in the wind. $29

Bottom left: Perfect for horse lovers, our Green Glass Horse Tumblers are made from recycled wine bottles. Their eco-friendly pieces of art. $40 set of four

Bottom middle: Help Dad make his office eco-friendly with this Recycled Paper Basket. $44

Bottom right: Our McEvoy Ranch Organic Olive Oil is a classy gift for a Dad who loves to cook. $20

Check out Farmhouse Wares' gift section for many other great ideas.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Fairy Flowers

The other day I cut a bunch of my Lily-of-the-Valley. It’s about to go past, which seems crazy because I feel like they just came into bloom. When I was a kid I had a Kiddle doll that smelled just like Lily-of-the-Valley. Kiddles were all the rage when I was a young. They were tiny little dolls that came in their own special carrying case and always wore beautiful fairy-like dresses. My sister had one she kept for years, but in a massive cleaning/purge her husband inadvertently chucked it. Gasp! The mere thought still breaks my heart. I’ll have to head over to ebay and see if I can find one for her birthday.

Because of the Kiddle, Lily-of-the-Valley has always been a favorite of mine. I told my daughter that they were special fairy flowers. The fairies like to live and sleep among their dark crowded leaves because it makes them feel safe. I also said they use the flowers as umbrellas when it rains. She listened to me wide-eyed, as she does every time I tell my tall tales. She asked why I was cutting the flowers since the fairies needed them. I always find myself back peddling in these situations, but I quickly replied that I like to keep a vase or two around to attract the fairies into the house so they can sprinkle good luck dust everywhere.

Later that day, one little bottle that I had placed in the bathroom was mysteriously missing. I found it in my daughter’s room by her bed. I left it there; picked up a pile of dirty clothes and smiled.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Lemon Fresh Farmhouse Laundry

If there is one thing I love, it's the scent of fresh laundry. This trio of Farmhouse Laundry products, in Lemon Verbena, makes laundry day feel like a relaxing time in the Mediterranean. Okay, I exaggerate, but seriously, the Farmhouse Laundry products, by Sweet Grass Farm work hard to brighten and clean while you get to fill the house, and your clothes, with the fresh, sunny scent of Lemon Verbena. Why not multi-task and enjoy a little aromatherapy while doing the chores. After all, I'm a big believer that it's the little things in life that bring us the greatest pleasure.

Farmhouse Laundry Soap is low sudsing, biodegradable and excellent for front loader washers. It contains no harsh chemicals. Great for those with sensitive skin. Also available in Lavender or Fresh White Lilac.

Farmhouse Fabric Softener is good for all fabric types and is made of natural, biodegradable ingredients. Softens and brightens. Also available in Lavender or Fresh White Lilac.

Farmhouse Laundry Sachets are an eco-friendly alternative to dryer sheets and work great in drawers or suitcases. Also available in Lavender.