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a passion for purple

September 26, 2014

a pleasure in simple things friday field trip to Smith's in Niantic

Before we start Friday field trip today, I will give you fair warning…if you have an aversion to the color purple – step away from the computer!

a purple flowers and a bee pleasure in simple things friday field trip

Why? Because the nursery we are visiting has adopted purple as their signature color and it is very obvious!

 purple flowers in a purple truck pleasure in simple things friday field trip

These are photos I took at Smith’s Acres; a small family owned and operated garden shop in Niantic, Connecticut.

 purple coneflowers pleasure in simple things friday field trip

purple garden utensils pleasure in simple things friday field trip

I thought it would be fun to share a few photos of the purple on display on Smith’s before all the fall colors set in and we are seeing everything in yellow, orange, and red.

 purple flower  posts pleasure in simple things friday field trip

purple flowers in a chair pleasure in simple things friday field trip

The purple definitely makes a statement! What do you think? I am not a purple fan, but you gotta love a theme!

 pleasure in simple things friday field trip purple flowers

Thanks for stopping by!

 purple nursery pleasure in simple things friday field trip

Have a wonderful weekend and remember to find pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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antique school desk redo & fall welcome

September 23, 2014

school desk after photo with hydrangeas pleasure in simple things

This year’s start to the school year was very sad for me – no one to send off to the first day of school! Luckily, I found a distraction! I renovated an old school desk. I found the perfect way to welcome the new school year and the new season!

autumn quote pleasure  in simple things

This old wooden one-piece school desk was in my friend’s basement and it was just crying out for some attention. I decided to try Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint since I haven’t yet had the opportunity to do so. I used a color called grain sack – instantly my favorite in the line… it is a wonderful neutral. I was hoping to create a real chippy looking finish, but that wasn’t in the stars!

before and after photo old school desk pleasure in simple things

Mixing the paint myself, I thought if I skipped adding the bonding agent that helps the paint adhere to the surface, I would get tons of chipping… that didn’t happen. I guess the surface of my piece was too porous? Any experienced milk paint people willing to contemplate the lack of chippyness? I guess I need a little more experimentation with the paint to figure it out.

after photos school desk redo pleasure in simple things

 finished school desk with hydrangeas pleasure in simple things

So, without the chippyness, I decided to distress the finish. And, even though the piece didn’t chip, I love the way it came out. Of course, this old desk wouldn’t be complete without adding a chalkboard finish to the writing surface! After I finished waxing the rest of the piece, I used chalkboard spray paint on the desk’s writing surface – carefully masking off the finished sections of the piece.

 a desk redo with chalk board pleasure in simple things after photo

Can’t you just hear the school bell ringing? I can also hear the whisper of the new season in the air. The kiss of autumn has already started turning the hydrangeas a subtle color of pink.

autumn quote with hydrangrea pleasure in simple things

Happy fall, my friends.  Thanks so much for stopping by, Jackie

Sharing with Finding Silver PenniesLiz Marie Blog, Craftberry Bush, Miss Mustard Seed, Inspiring Hearts & Homes, and AKA Design.

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the best park in nyc

September 12, 2014

 view of the Hudson River from the High Line NYC pleasure in simple things

 view of city streets on the High Line NYC pleasure in simple things

I can’t deny that Central Park is magnificent, but it is not my favorite park in New York City. For Friday field trip today, I am sharing a glimpse of my favorite park in the city. It not only provides an amazing display of shrubs, grasses, trees and perennials that rival any public garden, but also provides a unique view of the city from 30 feet above the ground!

 black eyed susans along the High Line NYC pleasure in simple things

 grafitti on the High Line NYC pleasure in simple things

view of hydrangea on the High Line in NYC pleasure in simple things

Running from Gansevoort Street to 34th Street, the High Line is a one mile New York City linear park built on a section of an old railroad spur. This unique park, 30 feet above street level, contains innovatively designed seating areas and beautiful plantings in addition to expansive views of New York City and the Hudson River.

view from the High Line NYC pleasure in simple things

walking the High Line pleasure in simple things field trip

The park provides a view of life in New York like no other.

office along the High Line NYC pleasure in simple things

A view of an office from the High Line in New York City.

art on the High Line NYC pleasure in simple things

Seasonal blooms (click here for September list), art on display, and scheduled activities are all part of the High Line culture. Dining is also an option during a visit and a fun way to take a rest and admire views of the Hudson River.

one of the many food options on the High Line in NYC pleasure in simple things

It is an exciting time to be a High Line fan, because on September 21st a new High Line section, from 30th Street and 10th Avenue to the curve near 12th Avenue, and up to 34th Street will be opened to the public. I can’t wait to check out the new design features and plantings in the new Rail Yards section!

 flowers amid construction High Line NYC pleasure in simple things

original rail tracks on the High Line in NYC pleasure in simple things

Cleverly designed seating amid the original rails on the High Line in New York City.

If you should visit New York City, be sure to include the High Line in your schedule of activities.

 view of a window on High Line NYC pleasure in simple things

Thanks so much for stopping by for Friday field trip. Have a wonderful weekend!

Remember to find pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing at Finding Silver Pennies, and Crafts a la Mode.

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easy plastic bottle vase

August 12, 2014

diy plastic flower vase pleasure in simple things

Did you ever need a large quantity of centerpieces for your outdoor party tables? An easy DIY is to create vases from plastic bottles and add a few garden or meadow flowers!

The only materials you need are some bottles from your recycling bin…they don’t even need to match…some flowers or greens, and some leftover Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and wax.

diy plastic flower vase pleasure in simple things

Flowers are great to add to any occasion…or, even to no occasion at all!  My choice for vases gets a little more casual when I entertain outdoors, because I don’t like the thought of breaking any of my favorites at an outdoor party. So, when the entertaining gets more relaxed, so do the vases.

I like using old tea tins or oatmeal tins for flowers when entertaining outdoors, but sometimes rummaging through the recycling bin can be inspiration for a DIY vase!

diy upcycled flower vase pleasure in simple things

A plastic bottle can easily be upgraded to a fun flower vase to use for flower centerpieces at an outdoor party…no worries about breakage and so easy to make up large quantities!

upscale plastic bottle vase pleasure in simple things

I like the leaf detail imprinted in the plastic on this plastic tea bottle and I happened to have a case of empty ones in my recycling bin…perfect for my project!

Queen Anne's Lace in a diy vase pleasure in simple things

I simply painted the bottles with Annie Sloan Old White Chalk Paint! One of the great things about this paint is that you can virtually cover any surface! I added a coat of clear wax to protect it and it is good to go! Because I wanted my pattern to stand out, I did add a little dark wax in the patterned areas of the plastic. The amount of materials for one vase is very minimal. If you don’t have leftover paint, you can purchase a small sample size and have plenty to create some vases!

easy diy flower vase from a plastic bottle pleasure in simple things

Not bad for a plastic throwaway, right?! And, no worries about it breaking. I just added some wildflowers that were growing as ‘weeds’ and tied a piece of twine on the neck of the bottle and my centerpieces are complete! Fresh herbs are also a great option in place of flowers…there is so much mint, basil, and parsley in the garden at this time of year and they all make a great (and fragrant) addition to a vase.

Thanks for stopping by!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing at Sand & Sisal, Coastal Charm, and Crafts a la Mode.

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mystic chair (before & after)

July 26, 2014

ASCP Mystic Chair pleasure in simple things

I love summer nights. The long hours of sunlight make for perfect project weather! The best is furniture painting…enjoying the beautiful outdoors while revamping a piece of furniture is just so satisfying!

For Friday field trip today, I am sharing one of my recent projects.

This piece took a lot of TLC, but the result was definitely worth all the efforts…don’t you agree?

Mystic Chair pleasure in simple things ASCP

Continuing my practice of naming furniture pieces after New England coastal towns, I am calling this chair Mystic. Isn’t she beautiful?

 
Mystic Chair pleasure  in simple things

I did more distressing on this piece than I normally would, but I had a vision…I really wanted alot of gray to peek through the top layer of white. I think it worked out beautifully.

 
After photo Mystic chair redo pleasure in simple things
Mystic chair ASCP redo after photo pleasure in simple things

This chair had been in a garage for a long time and was covered with dust and cobwebs. The cutout detail on the chair back really intrigued me and I couldn’t wait to get going on a transformation! I started by giving her a good cleaning, removing all the seating, and replacing some wood plugs. I purchased all new seat materials, including a great fabric, and created a pretty new and comfy seat.

After photo ASCP Mystic chair pleasure in simple things

I first painted the chair frame (in very random brush strokes) using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Paris Grey, and then with a thin coat of Old White. I used a clear coat of wax before distressing and finished with a coat of clear wax and a 50/50 mix of clear and dark wax.

Pleasure in simple things Mystic chair redo fabric

Mystic is complete!

Mystic chair redo after photo ASCP

I hope, you too, are enjoying the beautiful summer nights. Have a wonderful weekend.

Pleasure in simple things Mystic chair redo
And, remember to take pleasure in simple things…like watching fireflies on a warm summer night!

Thanks for stopping by, Jackie

Sharing with Finding Silver Pennies.

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diy bird nest garden stakes

June 24, 2014

diy bird nest stakes pleasure in simple things

Sometimes the easiest project can bring the most pleasure!  I adore these bird nest garden stakes and they are so easy to make!

Garden stakes can definitely be an art form and I love collecting beautiful or unique designs to add some personality to my garden.  Today, I am sharing a super easy one you can make yourself and it is sure to cheer up any garden or potted plant!

diy garden stakes pleasure in simple things

Inspired by one I saw at the Brimfield Fair this year, this DIY garden stake just requires a cast-off  branch from your yard and a couple of mini bird nests attached to it with twine.  You may decide to use more or less bird nests depending on the size/shape of the branch you choose.  The tiny birds’ nests are easy to find in a dollar store or craft store – usually sold in multiples in a plastic bag.

diy bird nest garden stakes pleasure in simple things

diy bird nest garden stakes pleasure in simple things

 

diy bird nest garden stakes pleasure in simple things

After making some for your own garden, make up a bunch and use them in pots when you give plants for gifts.  These cute bird nest stakes would also be wonderful in centerpieces for a garden party or outdoor bridal luncheon (a little slip of paper – like a fortune in a fortune cookie – in a single nest can be a table number…or, if the branch has two nests; one nest can hold the future bride’s name and the other nest can hold the future groom’s name)

diy bird nest garden stakes pleasure in simple things

I know, I know…they are missing some little eggs!  They really need some!  None of the real little eggs I have were small enough…I may need to make some!

easy bird nest garden stakes

Happy gardening!

Thanks for stopping by and remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing at Finding Silver Pennies and Crafts a la Mode.

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country living magazine fair 2014

June 13, 2014

country living fair 2014 pleasure in simple things

With picture perfect weather and inspiration around every corner, The 2014 Country Living Magazine Fair in Rhinebeck, NY was awesome!

Birdhouse pleasure in simple things

Visiting Rhinebeck, NY is always great…getting together with good friends is the best, but in the beautiful surroundings of Rhinebeck, this feeling is intensified.  My last trip to Rhinebeck (to my friend’s awesome woodland retreat) also included a special treat – The Country Living Magazine Fair!

country living house of the year 2014

Visiting the 2014 Country Living Magazine House of the Year was awesome! Here are some photos of the outside…check out the September 2014 issue for more photos of all the decor!

The beauty of this three day event is that each visitor has a unique experience.  No two people are inspired in the same way or by the same things.  What can visitors experience at this fair on the lovely Dutchess County Fairgrounds?  Tons of vendors, craft and decorating demonstrations, lectures, celebrity meetings, samplings, book signings, and a visit to the 2014 Country Living House of the Year!  (Not to mention, plenty of clean bathrooms, a great food court with lots of seating and free parking!)

country living magazine fair 2014

It is a busy few weeks for me with very few free moments, but I had to share some photos from the fair on Friday field trip this week – a small sampling of my personal experience…enjoy a glimpse of The Country Living Fair 2014 through my eyes!  If you went to the fair, I would love to hear about your favorites!

Country Living Fair 2014

The beach themed fairy garden really caught my eye…and, aren’t the toolboxes adorable for Father’s Day?!

Jan Blough pleasure in simple things

The silhouettes by Jan Blough were one of my favorites…especially the garden themed designs!

whale painted rock pleasure in simple things

The Beekman Boys (I am a huge fan!) were my favorite of the many fun people to meet at the Country Living Magazine Fair 2014.

pleasure in simple things Beekman Boys

The photo below shows a few of the many demonstrations offered during the three days at The Country Living Magazine Fair 2014. Michael Devine, author of Flowers by Design creates a vegetable topiary, Libbie Summers offers 15 Fun & Festive cake decorating ideas (like this PEZ covered cake), and Cari Cucksey of HGTV’s Cash & Cari offers painting and repurposing tips.

demonstrations at the Country Living Magazine Fair2014

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a wonderful weekend…I have an exciting one planned!!

Rachel Hardage Barrett

Country Living Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Rachel Hardage Barrett.

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing at Little Red House and Coastal Charm.

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7 ways to use spring blooms

June 3, 2014

flower petals as garnish pleasure in simple things

Here in Connecticut, we had a loooooong winter and spring was very hesitant in getting started.  As a result, gardens were a little behind in blooming this year…the usual ‘planting on Mother’s Day’ was stalled big time!  So, when the spring blooms finally started to emerge, it created a sense of celebration like no other year I can remember!

Today, I am sharing my appreciation for the first blooms of the season.  Because, after all, the best part of gardening is appreciating the results!

Here are seven ways I used the first of my garden flowers.

As a garnish.

Pansies are a pretty garnish for a dessert.  I press petals from organic pansies overnight in a book and then wet them with water and add sugar.  (I  know egg whites are usually used for this, but they scare me a little, and I can usually get the sugar to adhere with just water.)

 To make a pretty ice cube.

flower petals in ice cubes pleasure in simple things

flower petals in ice cubes pleasure in simple things

I have always loved adding unexpected items to ice cubes…here, I added flower petals.  They look so pretty at a garden party, bridal shower, or brunch.  I am careful to use flowers that are safe and edible.

 Add to a placesetting.

flowers in a place setting pleasure in simple things

flowers in a place setting pleasure in simple things

What better way to add some springtime to a place setting than to adorn napkins with a bloom from the garden?  Even a tiny garden can spare a few stems for a spring table.

Give to a friend.

flowers to give away

Sharing flowers from the garden is always fun.  I had a neighbor that recently moved into a retirement facility.  I decided to grab some of the lilacs off the bush that bordered her yard when I last went to visit, intending to put them in one of her vases when I got there.  I casually wrapped them in some old sheet music to transport them, knowing the nostalgia would make her smile when she received them.  .

 Bring the garden indoors.

flowers around the house pleasure in simple things

flowers in the house pleasure in simple things

Arguably, the best way to use flowers from the garden is to put small vases everywhere in the house.  A taste of the garden in every room is a great way to experience the season.  Just a sprig or two of a bloom can add beauty and a scent to any corner!

Create an arrangement.

spring flowers in an arrangement pleasure in simple things

Creating an arrangement is a big statement in using garden flowers.  This was a quick and casual arrangement I put together with garden flowers and a clearance vase from Anthropologie for the refreshment table at a monthly garden club meeting…a great way to share my spring garden with friends who love flowers!

As an ingredient.

using spring herbs in the kitchen pleasure in simple things

Not exactly a flower, but the herbs from the garden have already been in use.  I have already made one dessert from some of the mint and, the basil has been utilized for appetizers as well as used as a garnish many times.

What are some ways you used your first flowers of the season?

Thanks for stopping by.  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing at Sand & Sisal.

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interest to plantings with diy teepees

May 16, 2014

pleasure in simple things diy garden teepees

Garden ‘teepees’ are a quick and easy way to add some great visual interested to your plantings.

pleasure in simple things garden teepee

For Friday field trip today, I am visiting with my friend Phyllis (thanks Phyllis!) to demonstrate this easy tutorial.

You may remember Phyllis from when I hijacked her magnificent yard for a charity garden tour or, from when I shared a terrarium making session at her home.

pleasure in simple things garden teepees

Today, we are creating garden teepees to add to outdoor pots.

pleasure in simple things garden teepees

To create the teepees, simply arrange branches in a teepee shape, holding them in place, while pushing into the soil.  Attach the top of the branches together using a small piece of green floral wire.  Place a piece of moss over the green wire and attach it using another small length of the wire.

pleasure in simple things garden teepees

*Moss can be purchased at a garden store and is preferred over the moss found in the yard or the forest to avoid undiscovered insect eggs, etc.

pleasure in simple things pussy willow garden teepees

pleasure in simple things making garden teepees

Looks like we have some ‘students’ interested in our tutorial from the other side of the screen door!

 

A garden teepee is such a great way to add some visual interest to plantings with very little effort and minimal supplies!

Have fun with it!

Thank you so much for stopping by!

Have a wonderful weekend and remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing at Craftberry Bush, Crafts a la Mode, and Mona’s Picturesque.

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april showers bring may flowers

May 2, 2014

White's Flower Farm

Who visits a flower nursery on a cold and rainy day?  Apparently, I do!

pansies in the rain

Although I usually plan my visits for the summertime, I recently decided to make a trip to White Flower Farm on an April day.

garden wagons

I expected a different seasonal view, but certainly did not expect a day that turned out so cold that I dreamed of wearing mittens!

White's Flower Farm

You, my friends, are a wee bit luckier than I; since you can visit White Flower Farm from the comfort of your own home on today’s Friday field trip…no mittens required!

flower collage

White Flower Farm, both a working nursery and a private residence, is located in Litchfield, Connecticut and is an awesome place!  If you are an avid gardener, you may be familiar with the nursery, even if you live outside the area, since they do a huge mail order business.  I ordered from them long before I decided to make my first location trip.

White's Flower Farm

The visit turned out to be an inspiring one as I discovered the beauty in the preseason garden.  My typical visit is in July when the trees are filled with leaves and all the perennials are in bloom.  This quiet, somber day gave a special quietness and sense of promise to the gardens.  And, the trees looked so majestic in their bare state!

White's Flower Farm

Unfortunately, I was forced to take ‘rest stops’ in the heated gift shop to thaw out my frigid fingers!  Of course I would not have dropped in; if not for the cold hands! ;)

gift shop at White's Flower Farm

gift shop at White's Flower Farm

Landscape at White's Flower Farm

Garden Bench

Collage of photos from WHite's Flower Farm

White's Flower Farm

I hope you enjoyed sharing some of White Flower Farm in Litchfield, Connecticut for today’s Friday field trip…definitely worth a trip if you are in the area!  By the way, White Flower Farm takes its name from their first perennial border, the all-white garden (and my favorite) called the Moon Garden because the white flowers gleam even by moonlight!  Have a fantastic weekend!

And, thank you so very much for stopping by!  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing at Craftberry Bush, Mona’s Picturesque, Fridays Unfolded, and Crafts a la Mode.

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