Friday, April 21, 2017


Welcome to Foodie Friday TLB friends!

In today's blog I am sharing a very special moment with my youngest daughter who knows
how crazy I am about Ina Garten! She hosted one of my favorite Food Network cooking shows, and I have every cookbook she has ever written!

My daughter surprised me with tickets to "An Evening with Ina Garten-The Barefoot Contessa," at the Rosemont Theatre in Illinois. It was a very special mother/daughter evening that I will never forget! 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017


Hello TLB friends!

I hope you have all been well and are ready to enjoy the beautiful Springtime weather!
I was able to spend some time at our Florida home for a while, but now I'm back in Texas 
with SPRING landscaping on the brain!

The builder's landscaping package is usually less than stellar, and ours was no different. 
The photo below reflects some of the plants that were spread throughout our front landscape beds. In the foreground is Indian Hawthorne, which is heat tolerant, requires little maintenance, and will have pink flowers on it. The shrubs closest to the house foundation are called Nellie Stevens Holley, and they will make a beautiful hedge under the garage windows and are great for privacy in areas as well. They also have Nellie Stevens Holley trees that are quite beautiful and hardy.

After determining what shrubs to keep, I dug up the Holly and the Hawthorne and strategically spaced them so that similar items were next to each other in a pattern giving them the space that would allow the growth they required as they matured.

(Front right side)

Below, in the back row starting at the left, is my husband's choice, a Teddy Bear Magnolia Tree. We have "3" that will anchor each side of the front beds, and one that will be planted in the center. These trees will grow approximately 20 feet high and 12 feet wide and will flower from May-November. There is nothing like the fragrance of a Magnolia!

Along the foundation are Needlepoint Holly's. We will eventually trim these into a hedge
under the study window.

In the center of the bed is a shrub that our landscaper recommended as being quite hardy,
Cherry Blast Loropetalum. It is a compact burgundy shrub that will have bright red fringe like flowers in the Spring and stands up against the heat of the Texas summers. 

In the front row is another shrub I salvaged from the builders selections. It is called
Dwarf Yaupon Holly. It is a dwarf compact holly with tiny shiny leaves. We will keep these trimmed into small mounds at the front of the beds. 

(Left side front of house) 

In the photo below right, is a Crepe Myrtle tree that I salvaged from the builder collection. Just a little trimming keeps the shape compact. It will blossom with white flowers in May.

Below is a drip line that is buried in all of our landscaping beds controlled at our Irrigation box.  I call it my God send." Who knew a perforated copper pipe could make life so much easier? My Mom and sister would LOVE this!

We chose black mulch to compliment the black wrought iron accents on the house, columns, fence and front door design.

The two red rose bushes in the background below are Knock Out roses that bloom profusely through the heat. They will grow into about a 4 foot diameter of color. In the background, are "2" urns on each side of the single car garage. In each urn is a red Hibiscus topiary adding a pop of color to the otherwise dull concrete driveway.

The columns were a vision I had....have you ever had one of those? One Sunday after mass I had hubby driving around subdivisions looking for ideas......he was such a good sport about it.  What we found was that the columns we saw had stone that matched the front of the homes. So we added the wrought iron pattern to tie in the Juliet balcony's on our second level and a very traditional wrought iron lantern light. 

It dressed up the front of our home, creating an elegant inviting appearance.  Inspiration can come from just about anywhere.....and it is so rewarding! You don't have to have a large double door entry or porch to create a beautiful entrance....just get creative!

I chose simple white petunias to line the walk way to the front door and added a touches of Lobelia (Riviera) as a low ground cover of accent color. The petunias will grow together and present a sea of white color as the season progresses and the added touch of the deep purple Lobelia will be stunning.

The porch urn has a tiny red Petunia vine and a white lacey plant that is new to me, called Diamond Delight. It resembles the softness of Alyssum, but in a mound form that spills over the urn edge. Also a new plant to me is the center plant in the urn. I usually plant a green spike plant of some kind, but the gentlemen at the Flower Barn recommended this new red and green.....that will grow taller and give the urn the height I need in the corner. I'm excited to see it unfold. Trying something new can be so fun!

I found myself using black and white throughout the whole front of the house scheme this year quite by accident,  I even brought out the black and white stripe pillows from the New Jersey house to add a little warmth to the bench on the porch.

  The bench is from Grandin Road and the lantern from Pottery Barn.

This project was a labor of love and so rewarding! I actually need to replace my planting kneeling pad!  I hope you enjoyed following along today. 

Don't forget TLB will be back every Tuesday and Friday. This week I've got an awesome salad recipe that you won't want to miss!

Thanks for joining me today..........

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

DIY--Dollar Tree Valentine Wreath & FREE Bookmark!

Last week I decided to take a trip to my favorite Dollar Tree to see what seasonal items they had on their shelves. I browsed every aisle looking for items I could use to make an inexpensive Valentine wreath. I spent $5.00, and came home with the following items......I even have extra hearts and clothes line leftover!

My idea was to wrap the clothesline around the wreath giving it a nice red and white color.

Oh sooooo easy, and not a bad little splash of red for Valentines Day! After I wound the clothesline around the styrofoam, I glued the hearts on, made the bow out of some extra straw ribbon I had from a previous project, and glued the back of the wreath to a paper heart. Hanging it is painless with a 3M hook. Total time to make this.......20 minutes!

I happened to be browsing some ideas on the internet a few weeks ago and found another idea. I am forever turning the pages down on my books to mark a page. This FREE idea is so easy. I went to WalMart and grabbed some paint chips in the pink family. I purchased a set of craft punches with different images on them. (I know I will use these again.)  I punched each color on the chip strip with the heart punch, and then tied a ribbon to the end. The ribbon was left over from another project. Easy, FREE and now I won't ruin the pages in my books.

It doesn't have to break the bank to add a bit of festive to your home on these special days. I hope you have enjoyed my projects today and have inspired you to head to Dollar Tree for your own creation.

Wishing you a crafty day,


Thanks for stopping by The Lavender Bouquet. Feel free to share your comments with us in the Comments box.  

Wednesday, January 25, 2017


It's that time of year when everywhere we look there are commercials, magazine articles and morning TV segments all focusing on getting in shape with weight loss, healthy food, and exercise. 

In today's blog I'm featuring two light recipes. One is a slightly sweet cookie recipe Chocolate Chip Kale Cookies, and the other is a light Tomato-Tortilla soup recipe that will take the chill off when those cold wintry days hit.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017


Warm Greetings TLB friends!

Thanks for joining me today, it's going to be a great year! Since building the house I've found decorating magazines to be my best friend.

Stop over to see what I've been up to......

Friday, December 16, 2016


Merry Christmas TLB friends!

It's that time of year when the kids start arriving home for the holiday. The house is decorated inside and out, and the kitchen is filled with delicious smells of the season!

Today's blog was inspired by a creation of Ree Drummond, talk about smells of the
season ......The Pioneer Lady really knows her stuff!

Here's a peek at these beautiful little dollops........called CHRISTMAS CHERRIES.
For many years my Mom made a cookie with candied cherries on top. As I recall they were a chocolate cookie.....I wonder if Mom will give these a try?

These little cookies are simple and dress a platter beautifully! The citrus flavors and the shortbread like texture are a perfect compliment to a nice cup of coffee! 

If you're searching for a new recipe that's delicious and colorful you might want to
give Ree's Christmas Cookies a try.



Tuesday, December 6, 2016


It's that magical time of year when we "Deck our Homes!" Come on over.... 

Foyer's give us the first glimpse into a person's home. They actually say a lot about us. It doesn't matter if the space is large or small there's always a way to create something beautiful giving that lasting first impression.

By adding a simple golden branch (Pier One Imports) to an existing vase and a twiggy sleigh trimmed with fur (World Market) filled with a simple Poinsettia (Walmart) gives our foyer a festive feel. I placed my new  favorite Christmas at Designers Homes Across America book (Amazon Prime) at the top of stack to help elevate the vase to the proper height for the vignette to be balanced.

Across the hallway sits a simple ivory Bergere chair draped with a colorful plaid Christmas afghan and Noel pillow, a perfect holiday punch of color.

On the buffet are two silver candlestick lights with a beautiful festive tie on ornament accent, a gift from my niece. The Vietri platter is the perfect shade of ivory to hold a strand of tiny white lights. I placed the quaint little church on a clear cake tray, and  surrounded the tray with silver trees. The "Merry Christmas" sign, that lights, was a find in Homegoods this year. 

"Slim Jim" as our daughter's fondly named our foyer tree, fits nicely in his new home in the curve of the staircase. The woodland and ice theme on the tree glistens in the glow of the the lights. The red pinecone ornaments add just a touch of festive color. 

The woodland and ice theme is carried to the staircase along with the addition of icy sprigs and red poinsettia and berry pics.

Underneath our tree is the nativity that I painted many, many years ago and has become a family treasure.

Across from the staircase is the dining room. Since every room is open to one another, from the foyer to the living area, I decided to carry a touch of red into every room. There is just something about "red" at the holidays! Hubby just loves it!

The china cabinet holds simple white ceramic pieces with a splash of red in the form of goblets or ornaments. The snowy branches are a simple reminder of holidays past.

Speaking of holidays past, I painted the ceramic Santa below in 1975, around the same time of the nativity. Unfortunately, Santa was broken in the move, but hubby worked his magic and brought Santa back to life. Every year he holds our Christmas cards from family and friends. Gotta love my hubby for saving this memory for me!!

It was a year of change in many ways this year. With some of our Christmas decorations missing from the move, and some that had seen better years, it was time to replace a few things. 

I was shopping in Pottery Barn and came upon this table runner. The color was outstanding and it was just too beautiful to pass up. The embroidered detail gives it a vintage feel. I added a simple white wreath with silver pinecones in the center. The Ethan Allen vessel is filled with snow, pinecones and red ornaments. There's that red color again!

 I found this cute little "stick plaid deer," and couldn't resist him at Pottery Barn.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care. And take a look at that inviting on a cold evening keeping Santa and his reindeer nice and toasty!

The 2-story family room has cubed windows above adding some much needed extra light. Did you notice the mirror above the fireplace? Yes, it's the same mirror from our last "4" homes. A Pottery Barn purchase from the days we lived near the Palisades Center in NY. A neutral mirror is always a good purchase to hang above the fireplace mantel....the proof is here!

We wanted a fireplace stone that was indigenous to the area, so we chose to use Austin Stone bringing the look of Texas Hill country to our home. It adds a warmth to the high ceilings in the room, making it feel a bit more cozy!

The lanterns on the mantel were a purchase from Pottery Barn this year. I had Lumiere candles from my past fireplaces that I matches required just a remote! They certainly look real don't they? (They are now sold in Bed, Bath and Beyond)

 View from the living room toward foyer and dining room.

Looking from the family room into the kitchen the sofa acts as a divider. I chose not to add a sofa table to keep the walkway open between the rooms. The floors downstairs are hand scraped solid oak with a Medium Brown stain color. They were another selection choice because of their popularity in Texas.

With a bit of maneuvering of our sofa the Christmas tree squeezes into the living room nicely. The live 10 ft. Balsam Fir tree can be seen as you enter from the front door.

The kitchen has a few festive touches sporadically placed. I found this little ceramic vintage truck at Wal-Mart. I just couldn't resist him. Over the years my collection of Christmas cookbooks has grown to quite a few as you can see.

A few more festive touches....

The glass doored display cabinets get a Christmas feel by using a Christmas platter and a wooden reindeer.

I hope you enjoyed your visit today. From my family to yours we wish you a very

"Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year."