Monday, September 29, 2014

FALL HAS ARRIVED AT OUR HOUSE!

 Good Morning Friends!

I hope your weekend was a good one. We had a nice relaxing couple of days.

A few weeks ago hubby and I made the trek to the garden centers and picked up some mums, pumpkins and gourds. Today I'm sharing the front of our house that's now  Fall ready!


Every year I try to change the decor up a bit. I'm still a fan of using the typical Fall colors. But this year I added a simple copper lantern filled with Stargazer lights to the mix.



To give you an idea of how beautiful the lantern glows in the evening.....I snapped this pic.



The light from the copper lantern projects over the porch and sidewalk. The lights inside the lantern are called Stargazer lights. I purchased the light strings and Copper lantern on our recent trip to Terrain in Glen Mills, PA. 
(http://www.shopterrain.com/glen-mills/)




Using purple fountain grasses at the back side of my pots adds a nice height to them. I love the airy feel of the grasses as they sway in the breeze. The colorful mums add just the right amount of color to the mix.



The monogram pumpkin shown here I made last year. It's quite simple. I used a stencil to trace the letter and then used a fine paint brush dipped in black paint to fill in the outline.

The wrought iron hanger that the pumpkin is hanging from is actually a rod that goes through the pumpkin with special washers at the end. We purchased this at the Country Living Fair in Rhinebeck, NY from 1st Creations

Here is the direct link where you may order them -----they are called flower pot hangers. (http://fuerstcreations.com/store/garden.html)



I like to use 3 colors when I decorate for Fall. This year my cushion mums are yellow, rust and a ruby pink color. Similiar to some of the Fall foliage we will shortly begin seeing.

Well, that's it for outside Fall decor at our house. How are you coming along on your decorating? What color is your favorite mum?

I hope you've enjoyed the photos of the Arrival of Fall at our house. 

Don't forget to stop back on Foodie Friday!

Kathleen

****Thanks for stopping by! 

Friday, September 26, 2014

YUMMY CARAMEL APPLE BARS

Welcome to Foodie Friday my friends!

Our area apple orchards are abuzz with apple picking right now. The harvest festivals with "everything apple" are all around us. I love this season.......and can I tell you how much I love apples? How about you, are you excited about fresh delicious apples? 

I'm afraid my enthusiasm for apples has me blogging about another apple recipe. There's something about apple and caramel that appears to be on my radar this season. 

I found a recipe for Caramel Apple Bars. What I love about these bar cookies is that the topping reminds me of the center of an apple pie...soft and moist with a touch of cinnamon.

The recipe starts out with a bottom crust made with oats, flour, cinnamon and other goodies which is baked.



The crust layer is then topped with a caramel and heavy cream mixture. Last but not least a delicious fresh apple layer sprinkled with 1/2 cup of the reserved crust ingredients. 



And then it is re-baked till golden brown.


Don't they look delish? And the combination of the soft chunky apple mixture with the crunchy caramel crust...YUM! What a great Fall combination.

You may find the recipe here:
http://www.bakeorbreak.com/2012/09/caramel-apple-bars/

I hope you enjoyed today's blog. What are some of your favorite apple recipes.....please feel free to share with us we'd love to hear from you. 

Our blog and FACEBOOK page THE LAVENDER BOUQUET have so many new friends......we'd like to say WELCOME

Please stop by for a visit anytime and tell your friends!  If you'd like to receive our blog via email, simply go to:  http://thelavenderbouquet.blogspot.com and add your name in the email box located on the right hand side. You will be prompted to verify your request by word verification. Then the blog will be delivered directly to your email account every Monday, Wednesday and Friday!

May your weekend be filled with the warmth and sunshine of a beautiful Fall day!


Kathleen

*****JOIN US MONDAY AS WE SHARE OUR OUTDOOR FALL DECOR!



Wednesday, September 24, 2014

FALL IN THE DINING ROOM


Welcome to Wednesday!

Pull up a chair and please join me in the dining room as I share our Fall Dining Room Decor........


The sun was shining brightly today adding to the shiny effect on my DIY pumpkin. A simple faux white pumpkin sprayed a beautiful shade of gold is transformed into this gem. An additional small and easy touch, the initial of our last name, was added using shiny silver thumb tacks on the pumpkin. 


The natural fall touches of garland, leaves and pheasant feathers added just the right amount of fall color and texture.





If you haven't been to our Facebook page recently you may not be aware of one of my new obesssions....the app Waterlogue!  With this app you are able to turn any photo into a beautiful watercolor masterpiece like above. Give it a try...it's so fun!

The shimmer of candlelight and the glow of the chandelier bring a warm inviting ambiance to the room. A nice touch as guests enter our foyer located just off the dining room.



The addition of the rich dark wood candlesticks from Pottery Barn were just what the table needed to anchor the setting. They provide the richness that only a beautiful wood can provide. The table runner is also from Pottery Barn a couple years ago. I found the candles at Homegoods last year and have been waiting for the perfect time to use them. They have a burlap woven look, antiqued with black and gold.

For me it's all about the simple elegance......a bit of shine, a deep rich wood and natural elements that ground the space with very little effort. The centerpiece could easily be incorporated into a fall tablescape.

I hope you've enjoyed your visit to our home. 

Have a great day!

Kathleen

***Thanks so much for stopping by!





Monday, September 22, 2014

AMAZING TRIP TO TERRAIN HOME/GARDEN

Welcome to Monday!

I hope your weekend was relaxing. We had great weather here in the northeast. Hubby and I have each started a list of things we would like to see within driving distance of our home. This weekend was my choice.

Fellow blogger Janet, from Rosemary & Thyme ( http://rosemary-thyme.blogspot.com/) had mentioned how lovely the garden center/home store at TERRAIN was. I was hooked as soon as I saw Janet's photos so we drove to Glens Mills, PA to check it out.

I honestly, don't know where to start. Because words cannot describe the jaw dropping beauty and creativity.... grab your coffee and browse the photos from our day at Terrain!




This room  above with the long tables accommodates weddings and parties!


Did you ever see a peanut pumpkin----top left.


And the House and Home center.........to die for! I bought the lantern in the center with the Stargazer lights.....you'll see where I put it in a future blog!





There is a full restaurant (right side photo) in a beautiful greenhouse like setting. You need a reservation for lunch it's so busy. We grabbed a sandwich and salad at the Garden cafe from the sweet barista above. 



Tablescapes were abundant and gorgeous---incorporating natural elements of burlap and rusty urns with gorgeous plates and napkins.


One of the hottest things on the market right now. Some of the slices of wood were petrified and actually looked and felt like granite.



Of course I had to photograph the blue and white tablescape. So hot on my list!



I'm in love with the llse Jacobsen rain boots from Denmark. I love the orange!!

Well, I hope I haven't bored you with my enthusiasm for TERRAIN! 
()http://www.shopterrain.com/)

As you can imagine I highly recommend making the trek........the eye candy is amazing and the shopping outstanding! Many thanks to Janet!!

Have a wonderful day!

Kathleen

****Don't forget to stop back on Wednesday for FALL IN THE DINING ROOM!

Friday, September 19, 2014

TASTES AND SCENTS OF AUTUMN

Welcome to Foodie Friday!

Autumn or Fall, as many say, is upon us....only 4 more days until it's officially here! Our local weather reports that by next week here in the northeast we will be experiencing that first real bite of Autumn.

I love to bake this time of year. I'm so glad that my hubby's office loves baked goods or I'd have to double up on the daily workouts!

Today's blog is all about tastes and scents of Fall starting with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread and ending with my favorite Williams Sonoma Mulling Spices.

My interest peaked when I saw the recipe for this unique bread. They had me at the cream cheese center, but then topped it with a cinnamon glaze.....this was too luscious to pass up.  It's a nice twist on an already delicious fall bread.

 Step #1
-Prepare the bread batter according to the recipe. Pour half of the batter into two prepared loaf pans.

Step #2
-Prepare cream cheese filling according to the recipe.

Step #3
-Drop three spoonfuls of cream cheese into each pan.

Step #4
-Swirl the cream cheese with a knife through the batter.


Step #5
-Bake and cool.


Recipe may be found here:

http://nancycreative.com/2010/10/08/pumpkin-cream-cheese-bread/

Step #6
-Drizzle with cinnamon glaze.



If you don't have time to bake there is another way that your home can smell just as wonderful. It's using mulling spices.


Williams Sonoma sells Classic Mulling Spices that may be added to cider or wine and brought to a simmer. The fragrance and taste is full of their signature blend of spices and citrus peel. It makes you want to curl up by the fireside with your favorite blanket and a good book!

Nothing says "WELCOME TO FALL" folks like a warm glass of mulled cider or wine. Wishing you a wonderful weekend filled with everything that makes you feel warm and cozy!

Kathleen

***Sharing on Monday our beautiful trip filled with gorgeous eye candy and lots of Fall decor ideas! You won't want to miss this FALL EXTRAVAGANZA!

Monday, September 15, 2014

GOLDEN FALL MANTEL

Happy Monday!

I hope you all had a great weekend! Today's blog is all about how a simple decoupaged pumpkin can turn a mantel into a Golden Fall vision


The Caspari cocktail napkins actually set the color pallette for me.....gold, crimson and orange. I'm such a fan of those 
colors in the fall. 


The mantel is tall and a bit wide, sometimes making it difficult to photograph in it's entirety. This view is the center of the mantel. Of course the decoupaged pumpkin takes centerstage. Easy drapped fall garland, leaves, mercury glass vases filled with golden pinecones, and golden spray painted mini pumpkins complete the center. 

Note the golden pumpkin on the left. Isn't it pretty? I love all of the textureThat little guy came from my favorite Dollar Tree store and used to look like this.......








After a good coat of gold spray paint he looks like this.......I love how the texture is accentuated by just giving it a shiny coat of paint.


Here's a side peek with the candlestick. I took advantage of the Pottery Barn sale last week and bought a pair of Theroux candlesticks. I love the timeless style and the bands of silver shine to them.


  
It's hard to believe that the mantel inspiration actually began with a napkin. Even the simplest things can give us inspiration to create something beautiful! Never underestimate the power of a napkin!


Wishing you a beautiful day!


Kathleen

See you on Wednesday!








Friday, September 12, 2014

SWANKY FLANKY STEAK

Good Morning friends and Welcome to Foodie Friday!

It all started with the DIY decoupage project, and has now evolved into bringing back some of the foodie dishes that my family loved through the years.

Today's blog is a TLB healthy family recipe.  My family always get excited when I say, "how about Swanky Flanky" tonight?

Do you remember Richard Simmons that crazy outfitted aerobics guy from the early 90's? His quirky ways helped millions of people become more aware of the fats that were hidden in food and and the importance of physical activity.

I bought his cookbook Farewell to Fat in 1996, and more than one of our "TLB's Family Favorites" were born! Can you tell I've used this recipe a million times?? The spills on the page guarantee it's a winner!


Today's blog is all about Swanky Flanky Steak.The photo (below left) is of the marinade containing beef broth, onions, garlic, dijon mustard and several spices. 

Flank steak is a less expensive cut of meat and by marinating it, it becomes much more tender and juicy.




*****Just a quick note.......this steaks smells wonderful while grilling too...can you smell it?



By adding a salad and a veggie this meal is complete. It's so delicious, low in calories, and high in protein. Just perfect for the healthy family!

Follow this link to the recipe:
http://recipesource.com/main-dishes/meat/beef/02/rec0283.html

*****The only changes that I have made through the years was to change the beef broth to a low-sodium beef both.

Let me know what you think when you make your family Swanky Flanky!

Have a wonderful weekend----see you on Monday for my Fall Mantel Reveal!

Kathleen 

****Thanks for stopping by for a visit! Don't forget to check out our Facebook page, The Lavender Bouquet for more fun and delicious ideas....including the Ohio State Fair award-winning Buckeye Cheesecake recipe!! 



Wednesday, September 10, 2014

UNIQUE PUMPKIN DECOUPAGE

Welcome to Wednesday my friends!

I'm feeling a bit nostalgic today after completing this DIY. My girlfriends and I used to get together one night a month and make all kinds of craft projects. It always was such a great time and ended up being a great outlet for all of us Moms to enjoy some adult time.

One of the things we worked on was a decoupage project. Truth be told, at his moment, I couldn't tell you what I made, but as I worked on this project I remembered there were a lot of "sticky" fingers that night!

I decided to decoupage a faux pumpkin this year.Now what would I use to make this pumpkin beautiful?? I always have a good supply of napkins leftover from whenever we entertain. In searching through my fall stash I came across a stack of beautiful Caspari napkins with Bittersweet branches in gold, crimson and orange. They were just perfect!



I started by gathering the following supplies:

1.  Faux pumpkin (size is personal preference)
2.  1-container of Mod Podge (I used Matte finish)
3.  Sponge applicator or paintbrush
4.  Scissors
5.  Cut strips of napkins, paper, fabric in approx. 4 inch wide 
pieces.
6.  Cut squares in whatever width you like to act as a patchwork where needed. It kind of gives the final project a 3D appearance.


INSTRUCTIONS: 

1.  Clean the pumpkin making sure it is clear of  any raised imperfections.

**If you use Caspari napkins remove the white bottom layer of the napkin before gluing....you can see what happens in this photo with the white backing---the result is more wrinkles.

2.  Apply Mod Podge with sponge applicator working in lines from top to bottom of the pumpkin. (I applied glue to a 3-4 inch strip of pumpkin and it worked well.) 
3.  Cut out strips or squares of napkin/decorative paper/fabric. Size is personal choice. I liked using some strips in the beginning because the crevices of the pumpkin were easier to manage. Then to finish up I used a patchwork like look and applied squares.
4.  Smooth out wrinkles as best you can by lightly tapping with a dry sponge applicator. This helps especially in the crevices of the pumpkin. You will get some wrinkles.
5. When the entire pumpkin is covered apply one more coat over the entire surface area to seal the project and let dry thoroughly.



In the photo above the pumpkin is still very wet. The wrinkles and patches are much more prevalent. The final photo below is after hours of drying.



In next Monday's blog you'll see where I incorporated my pumpkin into the fall decorating at my house.

I hope you enjoyed today's blog. Have you ever decoupaged anything before? Do you think you'll give it a try?

Just remember, the final product doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful........beauty cannot be judged objectively, for what one person finds beautiful or admirable may not appeal to another.

Wishing you a beautiful day!

Kathleen

***Thanks so much for stopping by. We love visitors! Feel free to pass our blog along to all of your friends.  http://thelavenderbouquet.blogspot.com  THANK YOU!!


Monday, September 8, 2014

INSPIRATION & SWEET MEMORIES VIGNETTE

Thanks so much for visiting The Lavender Bouquet--I hope you enjoy your visit today. 

I spent my weekend doing the much dreaded outdoor clean-up and removing all of the plants from my patio pots. I love fall for so many reasons, however, I'm always a bit sad when the colorful flowers of spring and summer come to an end.

I stopped by the grocery store today to pick up a few items and as I entered there were beautiful bouquets of deep pink Cockscomb (Celosia) on display. If you aren't familiar with this beautiful flower this may jog your memory---



These flowers are sometimes referred to as Wool Flowers or Brain Celosia, referring to the color of the brain.Their heads range from 2-5 inches across and they have a strong leafy stem. They bloom from late summer through late fall. I've never grown them, but am tempted to try them next spring.

Arranging Cockscomb in a vase couldn't be simpler. They display best keeping them in a tight bouquet because they have a flat side to them. They may be dried if you prefer also.  All I added were sprigs of tall twigs adorned with lime berries.

Take a look at the coffee table vignette that all began with inspiration from the Cockscomb.



Speaking of inspiration......as I was setting up the vignette.  I came across a very special gift from some dear friends. They gifted us this beautiful book when we were moving from Ohio. It's titled, Where Love Resides-Reflections on Love and Life. The book is about quiltmakers. It showcases the blocks that represent each quiltmakers declaration of love. The final quilt is called Where Love Resides.


I started re-reading some of pages and leafing through the beautiful photographs. The photos of the quilt blocks are the handiwork of many talented women ultimately culminating into one quilt.  Below is a list of the blocks represented on the quilt:

Sisterhood
The Home
Your Dreams
Motherhood
Nature
Creativity
Passion
Marriage
Community

Wrapping ourselves in a quilt like this, is like surrounding  
ourselves with the people and places that have enriched our lives. As a blanket makes us feel cozy and warm, so does this quilt of Love.

There are days that we all need inspiration and comfort. My day started with a decision to buy some beautiful flowers and ended with the warm memories of old friends.

What about your day? What inspires you?

Wishing you a day filled with sweet memories!

Kathleen


***Please stop by back on Wednesday for a little Fall inspiration!