08 August 2017

Desert Chic And A Cactus Or Two

Many of you are great decorators and I have a question that I hope you can help me with today.
 I have been puzzling over this for awhile. It is about decor and the labels that are associated with it. Labels..labels and more labels and truly can decor be just one label? You can label a can of pears, you can label a species of a flower. But can we truly corral decorating into one style especially when there are so many fabulous colors, textures, accessories, fabrics, furniture, art, lamps, and more to choose from when decorating our homes. Not to mention so many styles are blended together now and just when I thought I had it all figured out a new label appeared or at least to me it did and I love it best of all!
 I grew up in era where our choices were limited and some of those colors and choices were just plain ugly!
I love the decorating and fashion choices that we have in 2017 there is pure joy in discovering new ways  of dressing myself and our home!
When we first purchased our land two and a half years ago and built our home, I was so certain that the style of our decor leaned towards French Farmhouse with a Texas flair.
I have the farmhouse sink.
It was decided...check. DONE.
But the longer we live here and the more in-tune I become with myself, nature, my gardens ( I do have jalapenos) and where I live (which is the Southwest) I do believe that I have discovered a style which is better suited for me.
Desert Chic...oh and Cactus.
But is Desert Chic really a style of decorating, a label, a decor choice, or an idea...will we ever truly know.
Or is it all as simple as finding the right fit, just as I do with a pair of shoes or a colorful blouse.


While reading a few decorating articles on-line, Desert Chic has been described as an interesting and whimsical style with shades of orange and pink that are easily incorporated into a neutral pallet.
I just happen to adore pink and I actually have quite a few orange accent pieces.
I truly feel that I may I have discovered my happy place with this decorating style.
It seems to be not overly ridged, but yet has enough direction to keep me on track.
Sometimes I like too many things and become distracted.

I really like the idea of a neutral backdrop, I like to infuse color with accent pieces and not so much on the walls.
Clean, bright and white with an interesting addition and contrasts of colors, copper, textures, lots of natural greenery and oh yes cactus.
Rugs, pillows, poufs, furniture, draperies and accessory pieces can be the flurry of color in my home, and quite frankly I need a little more color.

This past weekend the husband and I moved furniture around and drew out a plan for the beginning of our Desert Chic journey and we  purchased three cactus.
Our first "big," purchase to inspire and guide us along!
(Did I mention that purchasing new furniture rankles with me... its costs too much!)
I still have our original Thomasville furniture that has been sanded and painted quite a few times.
So I will let the furniture purchasing settle for a bit and grow accustomed to the idea and begin with purchasing some new art.
In the meantime, lets talk about the cactus....


Naturally Cactus go very well with Desert Chic as they are interesting, beautiful, and add texture.
While studying the care of cactus I have discovered that I will need to take a different approach, than I do for regular houseplants.
Here are a few tips if you'd like to give cactus a try as well.

Guiding Steps to successfully growing a cactus or two indoors.
Great Website for more Information.

1.  Water sparingly.
A cactus can survive without water for many, many months.
2. Find a Spot in the Sun.
If possible leave Cactus outside in the Sun from March to September.
3. Drainage is Super Important.
Drainage in the bottom and gravel in the pot.
4. Soil Matters.
Cactus do not like soggy bottoms.


I will  be on this quest awhile for verification of Desert Chic, so I welcome your opinion and also any decorating tips or shopping venues too.

Thank you for joining me today!
Up next this week is a sweet recipe!
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03 August 2017

Easy Summer Squash With Spaghetti

I made this yellow squash and spaghetti dinner about a month ago for the hubby and I.
Our garden was being overtaken by these bright yellow and ferocious Summer squash.
(Until the squash bores) took over, but that was another saga that you can read about right here.
During the height of the squash frenzy I was putting these squash in everything, seriously everything.
My husband would walk past the stove and just shake his head.
Well here is why, I even put the squash in our scrambled eggs, just add a little cheese and hot sauce and you have a mighty tasty morning treat.
Is hot sauce on eggs a Southern, Western, or Southwestern regional thing?

My garden vegetables motivate me to cook on these endless Summer days, because sometimes  I just want to read and take a nap!
But then I think of the vegetables and I know that I can't let them down, they did their part, now it's my turn to do mine.


It' s just that in Texas that big old blue sky just seems to hold onto the Sun like it was a precious prize and there are days that I just look forward to sunset.
But enough of my moaning.


Every dish tastes better with fresh herbs, I have been smitten with Thyme for a million years now, it has a robust and hearty disposition so best to go easy when adding it.
You can grow your own herbs in the garden or on the patio in a pot or even buy them at the market.
Basil and Italian themed recipes are a perfect marriage and a nice garnish as well.


This is a super easy Summer evening meal, sort of a take on a one pot wonder sort of dish, and you can customize it to your liking too.
Keep it totally vegetarian or add grilled shrimp or chicken, maybe even a meatball or two.


I am pretty certain that zucchini will work in this dish too, so if you are being overrun with fresh squash this might be a keeper of a recipe for you too.

Thanks so much for joining me and Happy Thursday!
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01 August 2017

A Month Of Flowers

It has been a glorious month of flowers for my North Texas garden and especially considering it was July in the Southwest.
So many of our Southwest Summers can be brutal. 
Truly, neither fit for man nor beast and certainly not conducive for a flower farmer and her flowers.
Do I sound dramatic? Well I might, but seriously it is so true.
When I hear Summer In North Texas I cringe and I live here!
This post is dedicated to my Mama, she would have been 97 today and she is the woman who inspired me to plant and grow!
Her nimble fingers tended to my sister, Dad, me and the farm.
She was a beautiful and powerful role model for me.
We grew flowers together from the time I was old enough to take care of them myself.
Thank you Mama, I love you!
We have been making the most of these showy blooms with colorful vessels and bouquets on the patio.
You know I have just given into the environment that I live in...I can amend the soil, adjust the water and fertilization methods.
But I can't fight the weather!
I'll swim upstream in other areas of my life...but not flower farming.
A voluptuous and colorful mixed bouquet in a well worn wrought iron basket on a unloved rocker which I rescued when I was working in the furniture hospital in Southlake.
I miss that part of my life, I think that I will need to find another furniture hospital near me.
You might enjoy that little tale of this rocker,  it is right here.
Whimsical bouquets which last so very well.
The garden thrives when I plant flowers that like heat, imagine that one...
Now I am envisioning expanding the Flower Farm, I am, I really am!
I love having my own multitude of flowers to cut anytime I please, they bring me a giddy joy on these hot Summer days!
I always place the fresh picked bouquets in a vessel filled with water and leave them on the patio for a few hours so the lady bugs, random spiders and such can make their way home before I bring uninvited guests into our rooms. 
I would feel sad knowing that a Lady Bug couldn't fly home.
Plus I don't like seeing a glistening web or two from a dining room chair, I am sort of afraid of spiders.
Well, I actually I am afraid of spiders, there I said it!
But I do befriend snakes...

Zinnias and Sunflowers bloom more the more you cut them!
Lucky for me.


The beginnings of a natural Summer wreath and the tutorial you can find right here.


I enjoy arranging flowers in random vessels.
My youngest daughter gave me these assorted turquoise mugs and creamers.
Adding whimsy to our homes is always a positive thing to do and of course flowers brighten up the day.

And for when I am not in the flower patch tending to the flower farm.
Well, I am wearing flowers on my shoes...
Keeping flowers close to our hearts acts as an insulation against bad vibes.
Wouldn't you agree??

Thank you for joining me today!
Up later this week, an awesome Summer pasta recipe!
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25 July 2017

Fresh Floral Summer Wreath

You know by now that I am really into growing flowers particularly zinnias and sunflowers. In fact my ultimate goal along with being an organic gardener( 2nd year!), is to have the official title of flower farmer. 
So far so good on the goal of becoming a flower farmer, I have been tweaking my fertilizers, fungicides, pesticides and watering methods.
The flowers have responded well but I am searching for some outlets for these zealous zinnias and sunny sunflowers besides decorating our home.
This year was also a test to see how my crop rotation went and it seems to have been a solid schedule.


That is when a light went off...
I have missed making a wreath with you!
I am also searching for other creative ways to use these beautiful blooming flowers and save them from the blazing Texas sun.
It seems natural to me that making a floral wreath is a sensible solution.
So today let's  have some fun with this pretty project and make an impromptu Fresh Floral Summer wreath.
It's easy, economical and pretty.

This really began as an experimental wreath and the supplies are minimal, so if you are searching for a creative way to add flowers to a certain space, a party, or brighten up the patio for a few hours this is a sweet wreath to make. If you are looking for a longer lasting wreath I suggest that you use
floral water tubes.
Water tubes come in various sizes and colors too, so you can bet I will be grabbing up some this week to extend the life of my Summer floral wreaths.

Jemma's Summer- Wreath-DIY

Supplies For Fresh Floral Summer Wreath

1. Fresh Flowers
2. Garden Clippers
3. Scissors
4. Grapevine or floral foam wreath base 
5. Floral water tubes or foam wreath base saturated with water
6. Floral wire


Instructions for Fresh Floral Summer Wreath

1.Cut fresh flowers from garden or purchase them.
2.Clip flowers to desired length to be inserted into Grapevine wreath.
3.Depending on the strength of the flower stem you can insert the stem directly into the Grapevine wreath or wire onto the wreath.
4.If using water tubes cut flower stem at a diagonal and insert to tube which has water in it.
5. If using floral foam wreath base dunk wreath in water to saturate
6. Refresh the floral foam wreath by dunking the base of it in a container of shallow water.

Without any water source this Fresh Floral wreath lasted between 4-6 hours in the house.
I would imagine if you used water tubes or a water infused floral foam wreath base you could easily have this wreath around for 4-6 days.
Isn't that just so amazing!


Thank you for joining me!!

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21 July 2017

Heavenly Key Lime Pie

What type of baker are you?
Do you get in your kitchen and tear it up with a mess here and there, maybe even get a little flour in your hair. Or are you a neat baker that picks up those measuring spoons as you go along?
Do you wear an Apron or do you dare to bake without one?
For me, I wear an apron as I am a mixture of mess and neat. I tidy up as I go along, but I really get into the therapeutic joy of creating an edible concoction.
So when I made this incredible edible heavenly Key Lime pie I knew it was a recipe that I just had to share with you all.
One of the best and yummiest things about this recipe is the crust.
This is a mixture of butter, vanilla wafers and macadamia nuts...I am totally blown away by the combination of flavors and will never make an ordinary graham cracker crust again!
Yes this is the best pie crust that I have ever had. (except for Mom's)
Pie-Lime-Recipe-At Home With Jemma

I found this fabulous Summertime Key Lime recipe in Southern Lady Magazine. 
The cool thing is this, they have an online Recipe Box! 
A few weeks ago I shared a Lemon Curd-Filled Cake recipe from this lovely magazine too, as you can see I am into lemon and limes.


That reminds me that I need to be getting a Lemon Tree ASAP, maybe I will go to Covington's Nursery in Rowlette and see what they have in that department.
We get some amazing light in our kitchen and I'd sure like to have a Lemon Tree in my kitchen come Winter time!
Do you have a Lemon Tree?? If so I'd love to hear how it is growing for you.

What I like about this recipe is this:

As you can see the texture of this Key Lime Pie is spot on with a crust that cuts easily and yet remains firm.
The Key Lime flavor is not overpowering and the pie is actually best on the second day.
Recipe is easy to follow.
Pie crust is one of the best that I ever tasted.
This would be a lovely dessert to serve for any occasion and it is quite simple.

Thank you for joining me and have a fantastic weekend.
Happy crafting and baking to you!
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17 July 2017

A Family That Crafts Together

It all began many, many years ago on a cold blustery day in Idaho.  There were even rumors circulating that a major blizzard was about to hit and that there would be snow drifts too high to make it to Margie's Quilting Bee.
But this group of crafting ladies were not about to let a snow storm or snow drift deter them.
The quilting needles, thimbles, batting and colorful fabric had been carefully selected and assembled in advance. Even a spot had been made in the corner of the living room where the tired yellow and red velvet floral sofa had been pushed aside to make way for the quilting frames.
A flock of chattering Ladies composed of varying sizes and shapes had arrived despite weather adversity. They perched on the sofa like eager birds on a telephone wire, all ready to begin the art of quilting after the refreshments had been served.
Red jello jiggled in multi- faceted glass dessert cups, while a glorious pot of coffee percolated, giving a heavy sigh as it wheezed out one last drop. The delicious scent of fresh brewed coffee combined with the sweet intoxicating fragrance of homemade sugar cookies dotted the winter afternoon air.
This group of rural women not only valued their craft, they treasured their friendships.

My Fabulous Mother, who was part of this generation of makers, has passed this gene down to me and mine.
A crafting gene that has been entwined around all of our DNA from generation to generation and there is no denying it. 
We are a crafting family, so it is pretty much the norm that when we get together we either craft or present a craft as a gift. 
From the youngest to oldest we are of the mindset that no craft is too small or too big and hope prevails as long as we can create.
Today I would love to introduce you to a granddaughter that is designing and selling  Glam Sticks.
I know she'd be so thrilled for you to drop by her blog!
You can see her in the second picture on the right, selling her Glam Sticks and carrying on our family crafting tradition.


Crafting, making, creating, DIY whatever you want to call it is more than just about the product it is about ourselves, life, friendships, family,  inspiration,  joy, and the journey of discovery.
Want to know a secret??
There are no failures in crafting only experiences and you can always create something!
Crafting knows no boundaries!
You might just be amazed at what you discover and what you can accomplish.

Today I am happy to be able to share two simple and delightful crafts with you!

Our first project began one day back in May while I was visiting our children in Puerto Rico.
Amanda and I had walked, talked and solved many world problems as the grandchildren scurried by our side. 
Wyatt was filled with questions has he swatted the overgrowth of the encroaching rain forest while picking up ginormous snails and little Avery was toddling along. 
Finding treasures while on a walk about is fun, and Amanda and I happened across some
Sea Grape Leaves, they are quite huge!
We gathered many of them up, took them home then turned them into Coasters.
So much potential here for all shapes of leaves and themes.
Amanda is a very talented gal and is designing and selling handmade cards in Puerto Rico.
She is new to Instagram at  Coffee and Coconuts, just message her for more info on her cards.

Here is why we love this Sea Grape Leaf crafting project and the supplies which you will need.
1. Simple
2. Quite Earth friendly 
3. Perfect for all ages (blunt tip scissors for the youngsters)
4. Safe
Supplies For Modge Podge Leaf Coasters:

1. Modge Podge
2. Scissors
3. Dried Leaves
4. Paint Brush


Our second project for today are these fun, colorful and easy Jazzed-Up flip flops.
 As the days of Summer grow warmer and more afternoons are spent indoors, how about adding this little Jazz up your Flip Flop crafting to your agenda. Our daughter in North Carolina made this craft with her girls and you can too!


Here is why we really like these Jazzed Up - Flip Flops crafting project and the supplies that you will need.

1. Super Kid friendly craft.
2. Practical and purposeful.
3. Economical.
4. Supplies easy to find.
Supplies & Instructions  For Jazzed-Up Flip Flops:

1. Flip Flops ( many are on sale this time of the year)
2. Bandanna  (craft store, Walmart)
3. Scissors
4. Cut bandanna and tie on straps of flip-flop
5. Adult supervision and age appropriate scissors.
(Children can cut themselves.)



Thank you for taking time out of your day to join me, and Happy Crafting!

Love Of Home/Life and Linda

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