Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Light me up!

The weather has been so nice that I just have to be outside whenever I can, but since I can't just sit still, it means I've been coming up with lots of garden and patio projects to tackle.  One that's been on my list for awhile were our 2 back patio lights.

I'm guessing they were gold or copper fresh out of the box and have just oxidized over time.  I toyed with buying new lights, but why buy something new when I can paint!  Since I already had some black paint and a brush on hand, what did I really have to loose.  My patio furniture and accessories are mostly black, so I thought it would work.  I really do love the way the black plays with all of natures' greens, especially chartreuse this time of year.   It took about 2 coats of a paint and some glass cleaner to give these lights a quick facelift!  My favorite kind of project-quick, free and successful! 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Shimmering elephant

For LMD's birthday party, I picked up a few extra elephants to pull the theme together.  I found this guy at Homegoods and thought he could be cute with a little spray paint.  A few coats later and presto chango, he's a good looking silver guy!

Do you guys have any good finds that you've spray painted lately?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Poison Ivy

While I love cascading ivy in small doses, I truly hate wrangling with ivy that decides to take over my garden. Granted it’s a great workout to play tug of war with this invasive vine, but it can be quite time consuming.  On a visit last year, my godmother pointed out that the ivy wrapping around my tree could ultimately kill it.  A thought Mr. Diva had been long harboring.   Over a few weeks time, I set to work trying to kill it.  I kept cutting at the roots until the tree went from ivy wrangled  to nearly ivy free.  A year later, the ivy is gone, but the dead vines have taken awhile to fall off.  The tree is much happier and is already sprouting new growth!  Yay team Diva!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tuesdays with LMD-Music Music Music

LMD loves music.  I always have Pandora on the background as she plays on the floor-even when she just was a wee little babe.  Now, when her favorite station, Rockabye, comes on, she gets so excited to groove with the tunes.   Here's a Top 5 list of LMD's favorite music must haves!

Rockabye Baby! Lullaby Renditions of Journey

1. Rockabye-Whether it's Journey, GNR or Aerosmith, LMD loves some classic rock!

2.Toy Drum-This drum is great.  It's loaded with instruments, so you can start a solo act or make your own family band. 

3. Music Together-LMD loves music class.  It's 45 minutes of singing, dancing and instruments. Seriously, what's not to love!  Enrollment includes about 10 classes, 2 CDs and a music book.  Check out their website and see if there is a class in your neighborhood.

Image from

4. You Tube-You've got to love the freebies on the internet.  Little Miss Diva can't get enough of Mahna Mahna.  She just lights up and giggles every time she watches it.  Of course, now every time she sees a computer, she wants it played!  Lion King and Aladdin are other favorites. 

Our set is in all pink of course!

5.Fisher Price Musical Tea Set-Because every girl likes to channel their inner English diva. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Focaccia has been on my 2012 short list of foods to try.  It's also one that I earmarked in Peter Reinhart's book several years ago, but never got around to testing.  I just love the spongy texture and salty flavor of focaccia.  When I woke up to a rainy Saturday morning, I knew it was the perfect day to give it a shot.  As with most of Reinhart's breads, it's a 2 day process, but I still took the dive back into the bread making deep end.

I started by making the herb oil, which is used to essentially baste the bread with a flavor infusion.  I had never thought about making a flavored oil, but this method is very straight forward.  My herb garden has a lot of  oregano and some basil right now, so I tossed in some fresh leaves of both to make up the 1 cup needed for this recipe. Then, I set to work on the bread.  The instructions are fairly straight forward. As with most bread recipes, there's a lot of proofing, so you'll want to pick a day where you are home for a bit.  The recipe also says that you can't add enough herb oil, but I disagree.  I used a little less than was called for and even then I had some oil running out of the pan into the oven, which of course resulted in smoke and alarms!!!  Thankfully, the bread came out just right and even got better the next day.   

Picture of the dough before refrigeration for 48 hours.  I took other pictures that aren't uploading correctly. 

Verdict:  I made the dough on Saturday and didn't back until Tuesday due to other commitments.  The extra time in the fridge really helped the herb oil's flavor to penetrate the bread.  I'll definitely make this again albeit with less oil!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

To the trees!

Thanks to some great foundation shrubs my front beds are in pretty good shape, but there are two spots that could really benefit from some height.  

I called in the expertise of my always amazing uncle, who has a degree in horticulture.  He suggested both a leatherleaf viburnum and Foster's Holly.  They would work in the bare spots and would fill in quite nicely over the coming years.  

I have a few go to nurseries that I hit up when I need something beyond your everyday essentials-hostas, impatiens, etc.  Nurseries are trouble for me.  If I don't go in with a plan, I can find myself over budget coming home with plants I really don't need.  Instead of making the 30 minute trek, I called ahead and was so glad I did.  It turns out that viburnums were a little hard to find and the leatherleaf variety had fallen out of local favor.  Perhaps I was going with an out of fashion plant? Too funny!  Since I couldn't find a leatherleaf in stock, I opted for another viburnum variety-Allegheny.  It will grow just as tall and wide, but will have a slightly different appearance.  

At another nursery, I found one of the last Foster's Holly in stock.  So my plan was really coming together.  We transplanted the 2 existing bushes to a new home right by the HVAC where they should fill in nicely.  My uncle also suggested trimming these shrubs back to help them adjust to their new home, so they are looking a little sad now (couldn't bare to post a pic).  Hopefully, by the end of the summer, they will be back in good shape.  Next, the Foster's Holly found it's new home.  It's amazing what a difference 2 plants can make to a landscape! 

While the new plants are still small, they will eventually fill in the gaps.  I can't wait to post an update!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tuesdays with LMD-Birthday Edition

Little Miss Diva had her 1st birthday just a few weeks ago.  It's amazing how fast the first year flew right by us.  To honor her special day, we had a little soiree at the house with family and a few friends.   The fabulous Emily Holmes designed the invitations. I was going with a pink elephant theme.  Yes, it's kind of random, but since we have a plethora of both, I just decided to embrace them!  

I was on a search for a few extra pink accessories, but couldn't find any pink candles that fit the bill.  Instead, I just used this Martha Stewart idea and wrapped my existing candles in streamers, which I already had on hand.  Love a free solution!  I picked up pink tulips and ranuculous from Import Flowers, and used vinca from my garden as filler.  I was pretty pleased with the results!  My flower arranging is taken a turn in the right direction.

I made the ribbon garland from pink ribbon I had on hand and some from the discount bin at Michaels. With all these pink accessories, I'm sure to have more pink parties in the future! We had a small sampling of food and adult beverages since the party was mid-afternoon.  Mr.Diva smoked up some delicious pork sliders, which sadly didn't make it into the pictures.  Harris Teeter did the smash and sheet cakes.  The pink cake with white polka dots turned out so cute and apparently everyone thought so...

Please note the before shot of the cake!

Our adorable puppy has an affinity for sweet treats.  He couldn't wait to help himself to some cake!  I just cut off the dog tasted portion and served the rest.  It was just a hilarious memory for a truly wonderful celebration.  LMD had the best time opening all her presents and dazzling the crowd.  Yay parties!

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