Archive for Gardening
How do beautiful salads and Paul’s new iphone relate? Here’s the answer.
Recently Paul became an iphone convert. His droid was due to be replaced so he made the switch. So far no regrets (thank goodness). So, because both of our phone contacts had expired, I also got a new iphone 5e. Well, what does this have to do with gadgets for salads? In setting up my new phone and purging over 10,000 pictures (ugh!) I came across this video we made at the MSLL store to promote two amazing products. Although I no longer have the store and sell these products I thought it was worth sharing this video and these tips for peeling and slicing fruit and veggies. I can’t live with out these two gadgets for making fruit salad, green salads, tarts and what ever requires thinly sliced fruit or tomatoes. Makes prep so easy!
There are two items mentioned in the video. The first item is fairly common and made by many different companies. It looks like a regular vegetable peeler but with close examination you can see the serrated edge of the blade which enables it to gently peel soft fruit and veggies. Here is the close ups of the soft fruit peeler and its serrated edge. It can be purchased in many kitchen gadget departments or online. Here is a link to the Amazon site for Oxo Soft Fruit Peeler I use. Reasonably priced and functions very well.
The next gadget is the Queen of soft fruit slicing, the Genu Tari Slicer. Chef Yvonne Hoffman and I found this in the gourmet products at the Atlanta market. I use mine all the time. Cutting strawberries, peaches, grapes, hard boiled eggs, mozzarella cheese and more is so easy and fast! If any of these soft foods have a tougher skin, like tomatoes and peaches, using the soft fruit peeler prior to slicing insures good results. It is functional, easy to clean and produces amazing thin slices. All of this makes it well worth the price just in time for peach and tomato season!
Sooo…here is the Video! Don’t laugh too hard I am not a video star. You can no longer stop by my store to get a demo but you are welcome to see these gadgets in action at my house anytime.
Hope this video with the tips will help you make beautiful summer salads and desserts. I can almost taste the Caprese Salad shown above. Show me what you can do with this gadgets. Let me know if I can help answer any questions about how I use these products.
Mary Sherwood Lifestyles-Working with you to create your lifestyle!
NOTE: I have not been endorsed or paid by the manufacturers of these two products. I just love how they simplify my food prep! Pictures of the products were collected from the manufacturers’ websites.
Paul and I just returned from five days in Santa Monica visiting Jake and Elif taking in all the beautiful weather and surroundings.
Our first outing is always a walk through the neighborhood to brush off the road weariness. The streets are lined with a mix of old and new homes. I always enjoy the small front gardens and plantings. We stumbled across this amazing sidewalk garden. It is full of succulents, annuals and a comfortable spot to sit and reflect. An unexpected thing like this is what makes me love California. The plague on the tree is a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Peace cannot be achieved through violence. It can only be attained through understanding.” How fitting for today’s turbulent times.
The next day, we walked to the beach at the Santa Monica Pier where there is a sign that says this is the original location of Muscle Beach. Love the broad wide beach, great bike path and fun people watching.
On Saturday we boarded the new Expo Light Rail in Santa Monica to travel into downtown LA. What a wonderful transportation addition. An upbeat train station, colorful train cars and easy travel to LA was a real pleasure.
Our train travel took us to the California Science Center to see the Endeavor Space Shuttle exhibit. It is a very interesting and informative display about the space shuttle’s history. The Endeavor completed 25 missions from 1992 – 2011. It was originally constructed outside of LA and was brought back to its permanent location through a parade through the streets of LA in 2012. This is an exhibit well worth a visit.
Jake and Elif have been raving about this new ice cream parlor in an eclectic Venice shopping district called Abbot Kinney. We strategically scheduled our visit to make sure we had plenty of room to enjoy this wonderful creamery. The Salt end Straw far exceeded our expectations. Out of many different combinations I chose the Slumptown Coffee with Comparte Lovenuts ice cream. OMG! Click here to learn more about the Salt and Straw.
What a great weekend! We visited so many of our favorite spots and explored many new ones. We cooked several dinners from Green Chef (organic Food Delivery), watched movies and walked many steps. Perfect long weekend with bright blue skies and 75 degree temps! Thanks Jake and Elif for a great time!
I think this may have to be my new ride for our next beach visit. What do you think?
As many us of travel through the summer feel free to comment and share some of your favorite journeys.
Wishing everyone sunny blue skies!
Mary Sherwood Lifestyles
Spring has officially sprung! Here on Lake Gaston, it looks like Mother Nature’s highlighter exploded! Pollen shows that everything is coming back to life, but how can you enjoy life on the lake when all your outdoor furniture is coated with a yellow haze of pollen?! Here are some cleaning tips that will help cut through even the most caked-on outdoor filth on your cushions. Then you can get back to the fun of the season!
Fresh pollen can simply be rinsed away with a garden hose, but for heavy layers or pollen mixed with dirt, dust or other messes, you’ll need to do a bit more work. For a deep down clean, follow these steps.
You Will Need:
- Dishwashing detergent
- Warm water
- Clean spray bottle
- Scrub brush
- Garden hose with running water
Steps to Remove the Pollen:
- Fill the spray bottle ¾ full of warm water. You can use hot water if you’re not concerned it will cause color run on your cushions.
- Add a good squirt or two of dishwashing liquid.
- Shake well until suds begin to form inside of the bottle.
- Remove the cushions from the chairs if possible. This will allow you to clean both sides thoroughly. If the cushions are attached to the frame, work with the surfaces you can see.
- Rinse loose pollen or debris off with the garden hose. This will prevent you from scrubbing the grime through the cover and into the cushions themselves.
- After rinsing, spray the entire surface heavily with the detergent solution.
- Follow with a good scrubbing with the brush. Use care around any ripped, torn or weakened areas.
- Continue until all surfaces have been cleaned.
- Rinse thoroughly with running water.
- Repeat with a second spray down and scrubbing if necessary. Rinse thoroughly once all of the grime has been removed.
- If cushions were removed from the chair, try standing them on their sides to dry. If you can’t do that, replace them on the chair only if there’s room for them to drip through. If they can’t be removed from the furniture, and the furniture has a solid bottom, turn the entire chair on its side to allow them to dry thoroughly. Water pooling under the cushion will cause mold or mildew to form.
- If possible, set the chair in the sun to speed up the drying process.
Additional Tips and Advice
- To keep the mess to a minimum, wipe the exposed surface with a sponge soaked in warm soapy water at least once a week. Hose off to rinse.
- Finish with a fabric protectant, if desired.
- Always try to dry the cushions as quickly as possible. It may even help to press some of the water out. If moisture remains, it quickly becomes a breeding ground for mold and mildew, which is very difficult to remove from cushioning.
(Instructions provided by www.howtocleanstuff.net/. See the original article here)
Now you can sit back and enjoy the season! Happy Spring!
Mary Sherwood Lake Living -Working with you to create your lifestyle!
All of you probably know how crazy I am about tulips. I dutifully order in the fall, pre-chill in our extra refrigerator until late December or early January and plant on the first “not too cold” day. Tulips need several months planted in cold, dark soil. Because of our unpredictable winters, pre-chilling helps to give them the “cold” they need to produce in the spring. But don’t wait too long to plant or they will not have enough time to set their roots. You can also plant earlier but who has time before the holidays!
So today, I “tiptoed through the tulips” and created this spring bouquet.
Another find in my garden this time of year were a few Hellebores, commonly called a Lenten Rose. These grow only in shade and pop up around Easter. I have very little shade and often forget to look in this spot for these little gems. Spied them this year!
Sometimes I like to play with the tulips and make them look like red poppies. Watch the video to learn how!
Leave me a comment and tell me how you are enjoying the spring flowers and send pictures of how you use them in your home!
Happy, glorious Spring!
Spring has sprung. Is your green thumb itching? If so, container gardening is an ideal solution if you’re limited on ground to till. It allows an easy and portable way to brighten up your porch, patio, or deck with minimal prep and maintenance.
Our new Amazing Plant Stands offers a new spin on an old tradition. With the help of this integrated system, it allows you to construct a tiered container stand. The possibilities are endless!
The plant stand comes in two convenient sizes, one for tabletop which allows for a three tiered configuration, and the second is a larger stand with a numerous, varying sized design.
What a simple way to show off your green thumb…and your creativity! And you don’t have to stick with the old standby terracotta pot. Try mixing it up by painting your pots in a variety of pastel colors to breathe extra life into your creation.
You can also try utilizing different types of containers as well. The examples below illustrate the usage of Chinese rice buckets in various sizes and textures to add interest to their plant stands.
Finally, your “plant” stand doesn’t have to be confined to merely plants. Use the tiered structure to display a multitude of items, just like these stuffed animals for a little girl’s room.
Your plant stand design is only limited by your imagination!
Please join us on Saturday, April 27th at 11 a.m. for our “Amazing Plant Stand” demo class. Contact us at Mary Sherwood Lake Living, 252.586.2437, to reserve your space today. Class fee is $10 with a $5 rebate towards the purchase of your own “Amazing Plant Stand”.
How can you use one of these “Amazing Plant Stands”?
Mary Sherwood Lake Living – working with you to create your lifestyle!
By this time each year we are tired of the all the uncertain weather, one day cold and wet, the next day sunny and warm. But Spring is not quite here. Give it a push by taking a stroll through your garden and find some flowering shrubs or trees that have buds that are starting to bulge with all that wonderful color of Spring. Yellow forsythia, white dogwoods, and fruit trees like quince, cherry, plum, and pear are just a few that respond well to forcing them to bloom indoors.
Take some pruning shears or sharp scissors (for smaller stems) and trim a few choice branches to make an arrangement. Once inside, under running water, recut each stem and remove all the buds and leaves that will be below the water line. Recutting the bottom of each branch helps to improve water absorption and encourage early blooms. To help keep the water fresher longer add a little citrus-lime soda. This arrangement should be casual, playful and not too fixed. You don’t have to be a florist to create a pleasing arrangement of stems.
This time of year, depending on how close they are to blooming, you will probably see flowers within a week or two.
Enjoy your little shot of early Spring. It is not so far away!
Here is a picture of forsythia and flowering quince just opening up in my house! Enjoy!
Share with us how you are bringing Spring inside your home!
Mary Sherwood Lake Living – working with you to create your lifestyle!
Just imagine. It’s a quiet, lazy afternoon at Lake Gaston. You are worn out from a busy work week and it’s time to relax. Grab your book and head to the porch or covered deck, climb into your porch swing bed and your week’s demands just fade away. Get the picture?
Remembering my grandmother’s front porch swing makes this new swing version so appealing to me. There are many different varieties and styles. I love the idea of mixing outdoor fabrics, colors and patterns to create your own outdoor look. Here are a few of my favorites.
Porch bed swings are one of my favorite new trends. I am “dreaming” of where I may use one of these!
A smaller and comfortable swing option is the fabric swing chair. It is available in a wide variety of colorful outdoor fabrics.
Once you have selected your way of “swinging into summer” here are a few tips to get a longer life out of your outdoor swing cushions or any outdoor fabric products:
Here are some helpful links for more different swing bed style and a DIY video about constructing your own outdoor bed!
Happy swinging and outdoor “Lake Living”!
As we collect all our parts for the “build your own” mini pot man party I have been contemplating whether to “dress” my pot man with some type of attire. Perhaps he needs some color with painted stripes or a collage of glued on fabric scraps.
What do you think?
Join us Saturday March 24 at 10 AM to create your own pot man, clothed or naked!!!
E-mail or call to register:
As most of my readers know I have a love for all things with flowers…growing them, decorating with them and enjoying them! But I became a real fan of orchids about ten years ago when I was given my first orchid plant by my very good friend and neighbor, Nancy. The first time it re-bloomed I was ecstatic! This has lead me to this place and time where this orchid trail begins. About a month ago with our good friends, Brenda and Quinn, we made a day trip to the Philadelphia International Flower Show. (Please don’t tell any of Paul’s motorcycle friends that he went to a “flower show”) All I can say is WOW! There are so many fabulous things I could tell you about this exhibition. But I will focus on the magnificent orchid display for this post. Click on this link to view a short video of the greenhouse: Orchid Greenhouse at the Philadelphia Garden Show
After viewing the fabulous array in Philly I was not satisfied with my few healthy, re-blooming Phalaenopsis orchids and a few other orchids that looked very pitiful. Local resources for orchids are limited. So as Paul’s birthday present to me we embarked on an orchid trail. We already had plans to rendezvous with Paul’s brother in DC for his birthday so we plotted our trail from DC to Lake Gaston. Somewhere on our way back home we were going to buy my birthday present. As luck would have it, our first stop in Vienna, VA was a winner. Orchids For You, a cute little orchid showroom, was tucked backed in a retail/commercial office district, which seemed an unlikely spot for an orchid greenhouse. As we walked in I was amazed at what was inside. After discussing my home environment with Tom, the knowledgeable owner, we decided Phalaenopsis (the easiest orchid to grow) was definitely my kind of orchid. It likes bright light and “semi-attention”, that is, watering only when it is almost dry if it is potted in a bark/moss medium. Paul and I began to make our selections. Paul, being color blind, reacts to flowers so differently than I do. I never dreamed I would be orchid shopping with Paul. Over the many years of our partnership in life we have each come to respect each other’s interests. No, I am not ready to travel on the back of his motorcycle but I do enjoy our discussions about his next motorcycle trip or his next motorcycle gadget (to some degree). As well he has come to appreciate and enjoy my love of flowers and gardening. So without further ado I present the treasures of our orchid trail adventure. Needless to say, we never stopped at the other greenhouses on the trail. We’ll save them for another day. Hope you enjoy!
Send me your favorite orchid pictures and stories. Let’s continue this orchid trail!
Mary Sherwood Lake Living…working with you to create your lifestyle!