Garden Wall Wire Trellis

Garden Wall Wire Trellis

My “garden” is basically a brick box — a brick patio floor surrounded by three walls — two brick, one wood. Lots of hardscaping, little landscaping.  To soften things up, and provide more privacy,  I decided to plant an evergreen, flowering vine that would  eventually cover a hard wood wall with beautiful, soft green leaves. Continue reading


Herbs Springs Perennial

Oregano is thriving on the first day of Spring.

Yeah Spring!  Today is the first day of spring, are you feeling it where you live or are you still seeing snow outside of your window?   Here in Zone 7 we’ve had almost 3 weeks of warmish weather and my patio plants and herbs are loving it. Continue reading

Spring Mantel with Spring Florals

One of my many home fantasies is to be able to change out my house between winter and summer — roll up the winter wool rugs and put sisal in their place; slip linen or white cotton slip covers over my furniture,  replace the velvet and silk throw pillows with colorful cotton ones and  maybe even take down the silk curtains in the bedroom and put up cotton toile or a beautiful Chinoiserie. Continue reading

Matt Armendariz’s Chinese Five Spice Pork Tenderloin

Look at that delicious spicy crust, yum!

Tomorrow is President’s Day and I can’t help but think about President Hoover and his prosperity promise to provide a chicken in every pot.  Thanks Mr. President but if you don’t mind, I’d prefer a pork loin.   They’re versatile, easy and make an impressive presentation.   And, because you can pair them with so many different flavors — sweet, savory or spicy — it’s hard to ever be board with them.  I thought I had a good pork loin repertoire — barbecued with a sweet red sauce, smoked with a balsamic fig sauce, grilled after marinating in Italian flavors and oven roasted glazed with chutney — but I’m always open to new flavors and ideas.  Enter Spice Islands and a man obsessed with food, Matt Armendariz, to introduced five new flavors to me and my pork loin. Continue reading

Be My Valentine?

Valentines ready to be mailed out to friends and family.

Besides a love of cooking Julia Child and I also share a complete lack of ability to “do it all” during the Christmas holidays.  Specifically, the failure to get Christmas cards out the door before December 25.  Now, just because Julia wasn’t able to get Christmas cards written it didn’t stop her from sending holiday greetings — she simply choose a different holiday.  She chose Valentine’s Day.  Julia, I am inspired.  This year I’m continuing your tradtion and sending Valentines to all of my friends and family to let them know just how much I love and appreciate them. Continue reading

Chocolate-Covered Cherry Cookies

Chocolate-Covered Cherry Cookies

Rich, chocolaty and chewy — like the chewy edge of a brownie but with a cherry, fudgey center.  Yum! Who needs a date on Valentine’s Day when you can have plate full of these cookies? Remember these cookies after Valentine’s Day too.   They are quick and easy to make and their bite-size, petite portion make them a great “fancy” cookie for teas, showers or Christmas cookie exchanges. Continue reading

Travel Design Inspirations: Vietnam & Thailand

Aged brass door handles on a bright yellow door, Minh Mang Tomb, Hue, Vietnam

Every month I check out my pile of shelter magazines and inevitability find an article where a designer talks about how their newest design, fabric, furniture line, etc. was inspired  from their latest exotic trip.  When you travel do you see the world like a designer?   Continue reading