Saturday, April 30, 2011

Pretty Blooms

[All Photos - The Grower's Daughter]

Today is an absolutely gorgeous day.

 It's a throw open your windows, hang your linens on the line kind of day. It's a day for gardening, a day for drifting to sleep in a hammock, and a day for basking in glorious sunshine.

After what has seemed like ages of rain, we've been blessed with a perfect spring day. I couldn't have been happier to be barefoot in my mother-in-law's garden, snapping photos of her gorgeous Magnolia blossoms - one of my most favourites.

Aren't the lovely?

Her small tree out front.

At three o'clock in the afternoon, they were still dripping with dew.

I just think they are the prettiest flowers. All blossoms are gorgeous, but these are just so luscious and full.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Billy's Vanilla, Vanilla Cupcakes

[All Photos - The Growers Daughter]

This past week, my mom and my best friend (and cousin) both celebrated their birthday's. I made a batch of 
Billy's Vanilla, Vanilla Cupcakes. I found the recipe through Martha Stewart, but the actual cupcake is a cupcake from the famous Billy's Bakery, in New York City.

It's by far my favourite vanilla cupcake recipe. I use real vanilla extract, of course, and vanilla beans for extra flavour. They're are divine, especially with his Vanilla Buttercream frosting. 

I was also practising, in preparation for my sister's wedding in a few weeks. These will be served, along with a chocolate creation, for dessert instead of traditional wedding cake.

They really are the perfect little treat.

 Here is the recipe. And, this is the recipe for the frosting. There is even a video clip, which is super helpful in getting techniques right.

They may be plain, but still so pretty.

For a little more flavour, I added a few fresh raspberries. The tartness of the berries works well with the sweetness of the cupcakes, making for a delicious treat.

This one was enjoyed this morning as I watched the Royal Wedding! It was like a little piece of wedding cake in celebration of the big day! Wasn't she gorgeous??

Monday, April 25, 2011

Raindrops on Roses

[Country Living]

The only sound that I can hear, aside from the tinkling of my keyboard while writing this post, is the soft trickling of rain outside my living room window. Our house is damp and slightly cool because today I am insisting on hearing the rain.

My son is quietly sleeping upstairs and I've put an old swing record on and am tending to my kitchen. So far I've spent the better part of the day cleaning at a slow, leisurely pace.

All the while, the birds are happily chirping outside my window, bouncing around in the rain and bathing in the puddles.

Slow. Dark. Quiet.
It's just that kind of day today.

Happy Monday girls. I hope you all had the loveliest of long weekends.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Greetings

[Ellen Silvermann Photography]

I just wanted to quickly post some Easter greetings. It's the most dreary of spring days here but they haven't put a damper on my Easter celebrations.

I'm in the middle of making a Raspberry and Rhubarb Tart (frozen from our harvesting last year), while trying to tidy my house and busy myself before heading out to a family dinner.

Most importantly though I'm looking forward to celebrations tomorrow. Celebrating Christ's amazing sacrifice; his death and resurrection. That is my joy and what I hold dearest.

May you all have a blessed Easter weekend.
xox ~ Maria

Monday, April 18, 2011

Inspirations - White Living

[All Photos from Australian Country Style - White Living]

This article has been my greatest source of inspiration this spring.

I cannot get enough of this gorgeous home.

Happy Monday girls.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Into The Woods

[All Photos - The Grower's Daughter]

Now that winter seems to have left us, I love taking our son for a walk in the woods behind our house. It's actually more of a ravine, than a woods, but it has trees and flowers and plenty of interesting things for a curious little boy.

It was so encouraging to see all the little flowers shouting Spring's arrival as we walked up and down the hills.

My son, of course, had to stop and smell each and every one, being sure to let me know that, they too, smell good.

Crocuses in the front garden.

The slopes of a whole hill are covered by these pretty little yellow flowers.

Taking a break on a log, watching the birds. Apparently, he is now too cool to smile for a picture. I said "Can you smile nicely for mummy, please?" to which he non-challantly replied "No." and then put his hands in his pocket. This kid kills me.

More crocuses, this time a more deep shade of purple-blue.


Believe it or not, but we had an exceptionally warm weekend. We went from about 5 degrees Celsius, to 25 degrees this Saturday! It was gorgeous. After a couple warm days, our lilac bushes, which are right outside one of our bedroom windows, began opening up! I can't wait.

Dramatic sniff - "Mm!"

Monday, April 11, 2011

Inspirations - Bridal Shower Theme


We've decided on a theme for my sisters bridal shower. It's a spring wedding in a historic barn so naturally, my sister went it a more rustic, simple wedding inspired by nature and all things vintage. I couldn't have been more happy with her choice.

While searching for some shower themes, I came across these two gorgeous collages. I thought that the fresh Robin's egg blue and pretty Jade greens, paired with greys and creamy ivory said both spring and vintage.

I thought I would share them. They are just so lovely. Plus, I love wedding themes. I think I would one day like to venture into being a professional event/wedding planner just for this reason! I just think weddings are so lovely when the couple pays special attention to detail and theme. Wouldn't you agree? Little personal touches and careful planning really does pull the whole event together. And why not? It's such a special day.


[ project]

Saturday, April 9, 2011

A Party Planning Party

[All Photos - The Grower's Daughter]

One of my favourite things to do is plan a party. Dinner parties, Bridal showers, Garden teas ... each one is just as exciting as the next.

Last night, I hosted a Party Planning Party. How great is that? A party for planning a party! My sister is getting married this June and we were planning her upcoming shower.

Really, my Aunts (the Aunties) just needed an excuse to come to my house and enjoy a girls night out.

Wanting to keep dinner light, I served Anti Pasta. It's very Italian, as well as super easy to prepare and serve. I did some fresh bread with an assortment of fresh cheeses and sliced meats. A few kinds of olives and some artichoke and Asiago dip. I also did a baked Brie with caramel and walnuts, and ripe melon wrapped with Prosciutto is always a favourite as well. For dessert I made two kinds of cheese cake; Reese's Peanut Butter and Chocolate Espresso. Despite numerous attempts at telling them to just come, everyone showed up with something. I honestly don't know why I bother. It's just something they're known for. One Aunt brought chocolate dipped strawberries. Another, a lovely dessert wine. My mom made a delicious salad with mixed greens, toasted almonds, feta and pomegranates with a pomegranate balsamic vinaigrette. And the last one who could make it made tiny cream puffs that were to die for! Can you tell that food is an important part of our get togethers? I think it's the Italian in us.

Anyway, planning we did. Actually, most of the planning was already done. The invites were purchased, a menu set, decorations bought, and all the other fun details complete. We basically just divvied up the food list and then enjoyed out night.

I made a coffee this morning and continued sorting out details... something I love to do!

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake. Yum.

There were a lot of desserts left over! Can you blame me for enjoying a small piece so early in the morning? It was calling me from the fridge...

I spent the rest of the morning doing dishes and tidying up my house. I think today is the warmest and sunniest day we've enjoyed so far this spring and I couldn't have been happier sitting at my sink. The window was open and I just took my time sorting things out.

PS. Unfortunately, my camera is in need of some repair and I'm shooting with my sister's point-and-shoot. It's a great little camera, but I really do miss my own. I feel like I'm missing a limb! Is that sad?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Spring Cleaning - The Linen Closet

 [Mari Erikkson]

This is a lovely little reminder that a linen closet needn't be complicated and over stocked. A few little baskets to allow easy access for essentials, a couple covered containers to hide a few others, and basic cleaning supplies. I'm so done with excess. I'm craving simple - and my linen closet, the house for all my organizing and cleaning tools, is just the place to start.

 Locking myself in my bedroom yesterday, with nothing but my cleaning bucket, proved to be highly successful. I managed to spring clean the whole space.

Linens were laundered, furniture was polished, windows were cleaned, walls were washed and drawers were organized. It felt good.

Today I have one project on my list of chores - the linen closet.

I have a fairly organized linen closet ... fairly. Though I would be lying if I said I didn't have a struggle or two with attempting to put my vacuum away, or finding my good napkins. I also have a billion cleaning products. I don't know why. I definitely need to condense and organize. So, that's what I will be up to today.

My theory is that in order to efficiently spring clean my whole house, I should start with the room (or in this case, closet), that houses all of supplies that will make the cleaning easier.

Wish me luck.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Inspirations - Beautiful Bedrooms

 [Country Living]

I love the shelving that flanks this beautifully dressed bed.

I have some free time tomorrow, thanks to my mother-in-law needing some "grandson time". I plan on spending it in my bedroom.

No, not sleeping the day away... cleaning.

I noticed some cobwebbs up in one corner while dressing this morning and that's always good motivation to break out the cleaning bucket. This weekend I spent a couple hours (yes, hours) cleaning out my dresser and closet. It felt great to edit my wardrobe, especially now that I can start putting away some winter items.

So, while I'm "fluffing my nest" (calling it this makes the task seem like less work), enjoy these lovely bedrooms.

 [Country Living]

This bed is gorgeous. The colour is similar to the one I painted my guest room set. I love the wide plank floors too.

 [Country Living]

This is a really simple room with lovely wainscotting detail.

 [Southern Living]

Talk about bright and airy! This is divine. It's simple and clean. I love the netting.

[Coastal Living]

Now this is a room with a view. How amazing would it be to wake up to that? It's amazingly bright and crisp and clean.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Dream Home Drive - By

[ All Photos - The Growers Daughter]

I feel the need to explain a few things prior to getting right into this post.

1 - I am not crazy, I simply enjoy scouting out dream homes and photographing them while driving past. I swear, the owner was home, and he probably thought the paparazzi had arrived.

2 - I don't feel bad about this because for one thing, I'm sure many of you girls do the same thing. And two, I would take it as a compliment if someone wanted to photograph my house!

In summary, this is a house that my father discovered. Clearly this is something I've inherited, and thus can't help. He took us past last weekend while we were out antiquing. I was so inspired that I had to take some photos to share! I was so close to jumping out and knocking on their front door, begging to come in for a tour. I just kept thinking, if the outside looks this amazing, what does the inside look like?

Don't worry. I stayed in the car. I literally clicked  my way around the corner to show you the whole view.

So here it is! Isn't it going to look amazing when it's finished?

Clearly, this is work in progress. But look at all the amazing salvaged finds - and how the owner has incorporated them into the house - like the corbels and old moldings on the garage!

This is the view coming along the side of the house. It's a massive two storey garage, which I'm assuming doubles as a studio or workshop. I mean clearly this person has some serious skill.

I want to meet this person... and then go shopping with them!

How great is this back entrance?

 I zoomed in a bit for a closer look. I am in love with it, along with the great little things they've added to it. I love all the huge trim work and the rustic grey door and cute window. It's perfect.

This is now coming along the side towards the front of the house. It's a gorgeous brick century home that looks like it was once an old store!

At this point, I'm totally blocking the street... luckily it wasn't busy (and the blinds were closed!). I love the simple rustic urns with boxwood shrubs framing the front door.

This is coming along the other side. It gives you a better idea of the size of the addition. I love how they created this little room with walls of windows between the main buildings and did it in white. The whole thing just looks great together. Notice that old Gothic style window? And how about those corbels above the man door to the garage in behind?

And, just in case you couldn't really see what was tucked under that overhang, I zoomed in. I love my zoom! It's the perfect little vignette! Seriously, next time I'm knocking.

Hope you enjoyed the little tour! It was just too amazing to not share.