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diy basil infused salt gift

November 14, 2017

packaging diy basil infused salt gift

Before the first frost, what do you do with the last of the basil from your garden?  Do you make batches of pesto to freeze?  Have you ever thought about making some basil infused salt?

I recently had the good fortune to stay at the Ritz-Carlton in Amelia Island, Florida.  The Ritz on Amelia Island has a fabulous selection of infused salts for sale.  Trying some of the salts from their collection, and watching the kitchen staff demonstrate how it is made, inspired me to use my ‘last of the season’ basil to make some of my own infused salt!

basil infused salt holiday gift diy

Basil salt makes the perfect seasoning for a tomato and fresh mozzarella salad when the basil from the garden has long gone…and, when packaged, it makes a great holiday gift as well!

It is super simple to create a basil infused salt!

making infused herbal salt

First, I pulsed ½ cup kosher salt and ½ cup packed basil leaves together in the food processor.  I dried this mixture by spreading it on a baking sheet in a 225-degree oven (tossing it every 15 minutes) for about 40 minutes – until dry.

After letting it cool, I pulsed the mixture one last time to make the salt extra fine.  Of course, you can control the coarseness by the number of pulses used.

salt tube trio diy

For packaging, I used some glass tubes I had purchased for another DIY.  I think three tubes tied together are a great way to package the salt as a gift.  If you try making some other herbed salt flavors, you can even package three different flavors of salt to gift as a trio!  If you would rather use a more conventional container, small Weck jars or glass spice jars would also look super cute!

I hope I have inspired you to use some herbs from your garden to create some infused salt!

homemade gift salt

Thanks for stopping by!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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pumpkin tower urn diy

October 17, 2017

white stackable pumpkins

Today I am sharing a simple DIY.  Remember my ‘ferns in urns’ project?  I bought some inexpensive urns at HomeGoods and planted them with ferns for a wedding?  You may remember one of those urns was transformed into a fall planter.

specialty pumpkins for stacking

You may wonder what happened to the second urn.  Well, it got transformed into a pumpkin tower for my mom’s house!  I just love stacking pumpkins, don’t you?  Pumpkins can get pretty pricy at garden stores when they are classified as ‘specialty’ pumpkins.  Not true when you purchase them from Trader Joes!

I found a big selection of what would be called ‘specialty’ pumpkins at Trader Joes for just $6.99 each!

Before and after wedding urnTo convert the urn I used for the ferns, I purchased 3 carefully selected pumpkins from Trader Joes and a can of flat black spray paint from Home Depot.

pumpkin tower at Terrain Westport

After the sprayed urn dried, I added an old grapevine wreath and some faux greens to the rim before stacking my 3 purchased pumpkins…perfect!  An easy DIY to convert one of your planters for some fall décor!  Just spend a little time picking out the stackable pumpkins so they work together.  Before you go to the store, measure the diameter of your container so you know what size will work for the bottom pumpkin.  Either bring a ruler or measure out a strip of paper to the size you need and tuck it into your purse.  For the best-looking tower, make sure your smallest pumpkin choice (top spot) has a pretty stem!

pumpkin tower with moss

Other things you may want to add to your tower are hay, straw, Spanish moss, or green moss.  Add your own personal style with the container and accessories you add!   To give you some pumpkin tower inspiration, I have included in this post some photos of pumpkin towers created by Terrain in Westport, Connecticut.

three white pumpkin tower

If you don’t have a yard for a tower outside, it is easy to create a ‘mini’ pumpkin tower for your inside décor.  Buy a pretty container, flower pot, or pedestal at HomeGoods or local garden store and create a smaller version of a pumpkin tower!

pumpkin stack with Spanish moss

I hope I have inspired you to create a pumpkin tower of your own!

Thanks for stopping by!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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german village, columbus

October 13, 2017

picturesque in german village ohio

The most picturesque place we found during my recent visit to Columbus with a friend was just south of the downtown – the quaint, historic neighborhood of German Village.

vintage chair in german village columbus

Settled back in the 19th century by German immigrants, the neighborhood is now a hip location to shop, dine, or just walk around. With many alley-like streets made of brick and pristine landscaping, German Village oozes with character.

german village beautiful home columbus

We visited a few unique shops – like the 32-room bookstore called The Book Loft and the gift shop at the top of all the local’s list – Helen Winnemore’s.

pathway in german village

We also stopped at a candy shop for award-winning fudge and some ‘buckeyes’ to take home. In case you didn’t already know, Ohio is the ‘buckeye state’ and Brutus Buckeye is the mascot of Ohio State University – and, believe me, Columbus certainly has buckeye fever! The candy version of a buckeye is a peanut butter flavored ball dipped in chocolate!

annuals in german village columbus

Another noteworthy visit while in German Village was to Jeni’s scoop shop – with shops located throughout the city, this mouth-watering ice-cream brand originated in Columbus. (I will share more about Jeni’s in its own upcoming post!)

windy walk in german village ohio

window box in german village columbus

For dining, tourists can find a classic German meal at Schmidt’s, but the hip locals favor Lindey’s. And, because Lindey’s has the best outdoor dining in the Village, that was our restaurant choice for dinner while in German Village.

Lindeys in Columbus Ohio

Outdoor dining at Lindey’s in German Village, Columbus, Ohio

You can probably tell by my photos, that for us, the best part about visiting German Village in Columbus, Ohio was admiring the buildings and the landscaping! Walking around the neighborhood was like attending a garden tour!

window box german village columbus ohio

I hope you have enjoyed my little piece of German Village on today’s Friday field trip!

german village columbus

Thanks for stopping by!

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

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2017 country living fair columbus

September 26, 2017

pillows at Country Living

If you read this blog regularly, you know I am a big fan of The Country Living Fair. I have been attending the fair in Rhinebeck, NY, only a short distance from Connecticut, annually.

pumpkin pillow country living

The Dutchess Country Fairgrounds are picturesque and provide a beautiful venue for the fair.

pillow decor country living

Put on by Country Living Magazine, the fair is a big show and sale of antiques, vintage, handcrafted goods, art, furniture, home decor, handcrafted clothing, jewelry and more. It also includes scheduled seminars and artisan demonstrations.

neutrals country living fair

Each year, The Country Living Fair provides a fabulous weekend of shopping and inspiration.

black and white country living fair

I started thinking last year, why limit this fun time to a weekend? With three other Country Living Fair locations at different times of the year, why not visit one of the others? Atlanta, Columbus, or Nashville were my choices.

vignette country living fair

After some consideration, Columbus won as a second destination choice when I discovered Ballard Designs, Frontgate, and Grandin Road all have outlet stores near Columbus!

bird house country living fair

white chenille pumpkin

So, many months ago, a good friend and I put together plans to brave the 10 hour car trip to Ohio!

style at Country Living Fair

The photos here are from the 2017 Country Living Fair in Columbus, Ohio! I will share some additional photos from the fair next Tuesday. I hope you enjoy them and are inspired to attend one of the Country Living Fairs yourself!

bracelets at country living ohio

It is so fun to visit a new locale! Which location do you think I will visit next? ;) Nashville? Atlanta?

country living fair columbus

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

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pumpkin tower in columbus

September 22, 2017

closeup pumpkin tower

Even though the temperatures here in Connecticut this weekend will feel more like summer, it is now officially fall!

pumpkins and squash

Because it seems so appropriate, for today’s Friday field trip, I am sharing some photos of the pumpkin ‘tower’ at this year’s Country Living Fair in Columbus.

pumpkin tower in ohio

Don’t worry…that’s not it on the fair…I will be sharing some fun finds from the Country Living Fair next week!

pumpkins at country living fair

Thanks for stopping by!  Enjoy your first weekend of fall!  I have already bought plenty of white pumpkins and I am working on some neutral velvet and cashmere handmade pumpkins!

close up pumpkins

I hope you are inspired to put out some fall décor!  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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picking asian pears

September 15, 2017

asian pears close up on tree

What is better than getting fresh fruit at a Farmer’s Market?  Getting fresh fruit from a farm, of course!  Today, for Friday field trip you are joining me as I pick some Asian pears!

asian pears on the tree

Have you tasted an Asian pear?  They are delicious!  With a texture similar to apples, the light sweetness and crispy texture (maintained long after they are picked) of this pear make it a really great addition to salads.

asian pear taking a bite

Asian pears are native to Japan and China where they have been grown for over 3000 years.  The most common grown in the U.S. are Japanese varieties which have a shape similar to an apple.

asian pear close up

The first documented appearance of an Asian pear in the United States was recorded in 1820 when a Chinese sand pear was imported to Flushing, New York.

asian pear top of tree

Today Asian pears are grown not only throughout Asia but in Italy, Spain, Australia, France, Chile and New Zealand as well. In the United States, the bulk of commercial production comes from California and Oregon with a smaller supply coming out of Washington State, Kentucky and Alabama.

asian pear bunch on tree

We are so lucky to have some Asian pears growing here in Connecticut and people come from far away to pick them!

If you haven’t ever tried an Asian pear, I hope I have inspired you to do so!  Sliced on a green salad and garnished with a fig vinaigrette…yum!

asian pear field

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a wonderful weekend!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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inspiration to kickstart fall decor

September 8, 2017

fall neutrals

Since I have gotten a little bit of an itch for fall décor this week, I am resharing my 5 easy tips for fall décor for today’s Friday field trip.

white pumpkins

Click here for guidelines to kickstart your fall décor planning!

pumpkins and dusty miller

Have a wonderful weekend!  Thanks for stopping by!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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from ferns to fall

August 29, 2017

fall planter with Home Depot plants

Remember the DIY of the ferns in urns?  Look how easily one of the wedding décor urns can be transformed for fall!

The couple who walked down the aisle decorated with the urns of ferns are now enjoying one of the same urns, from their wedding day, with a fall planting on the front porch of their first home!a planter two waysAll it took was a quick trip to Home Depot and under $30. to change the whole look of the urn and its planting.  I was determined to get everything I needed in one trip, so even though I couldn’t find the charcoal gray spray paint I wanted, I settled for a lighter gray and I chose plants that were available at Home Depot.  My purchase included a can of spray paint, a tall burgundy grass (millet), 4 small white mums, and 2 small vines.

ferns to fall plants

I started by spray painting the planter – a quick and easy color change!  And, the simple arrangement of plants was easy enough to plant in the urn.

I placed the completed planting on the front porch and watered it thoroughly…it will look even better when it gets established!

I hope I have inspired you to change up a planting for fall!

fall diy planter

What’s next for this urn?  Maybe some black spray paint, white lights, and an evergreen for the holidays?

Thanks for stopping by!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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nybg

August 25, 2017

The best part about visiting a botanical garden is knowing that every visit is unique. There are so many variables that contribute to creating the environment – ensuring that no two visits are ever the same! And, with 250 acres and over 1,000 plants, there is certainly plenty to admire! For Friday field trip today, we are visiting the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG). Spanning 250 acres and containing over 1,000 plants, there is certainly plenty to admire and each visitor to NYBG is sure to experience it in a different way. Here are a few of my favorite glimpses from a visit on a rainy day in August! Enjoy! Have a fabulous weekend! Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

The best part about visiting a botanical garden is knowing that every visit is unique.  There are so many variables that contribute to creating the environment – ensuring that no two visits are ever the same!  And, with 250 acres and over 1,000 plants, there is certainly plenty to admire!

NYBG herb garden

NYBG water lilly

For Friday field trip today, we are visiting the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG).  Spanning 250 acres and containing over 1,000 plants, there is certainly plenty to admire and each visitor to NYBG is sure to experience it in a different way.

NYBG hydrandgea

NYBG fern

Here are a few of my favorite glimpses from a visit on a rainy day in August!

NYBG bench

NYBG water garden

Enjoy!

NYBG black eyed susans

NYBG rock garden waterfall

NYBG conservatory

Have a fabulous weekend!  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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chihuly at new york botanical garden

August 22, 2017

Chihuly NYBG Sapphire Star 2016

On a recent trip to the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG), I had the opportunity to see glass art installations created by the renowned artist Dale Chihuly.  Created specifically for the venue, the more than 20 installations in the garden are the first to come to New York in more than 10 years.

Chihuly NYBG YellowChihuly NYBG Red Reeds on Logs 2016

Sharing photos from my recent visit, I hope you are inspired by Chihuly’s work – his lifelong fascination with glasshouses growing into a series of exhibitions within botanical settings.

Chihuly NYBG Blue and white

Chihuly NYBG pink

I really like the subtlety of the way these glass leaves play against the real ones!

chihuly NYBG blue and green leaves

Blue Polyvitro Crystals Chihuly NYBG 2006

Chihuly NYBG white

If you live near New York or are planning a trip soon, schedule a visit to the Bronx to see Chihuly’s art.  The NYBG is always a beautiful spot to visit and the addition of the Chihuly exhibit makes it extra special!

Chihuly NYBG 2017

chihuly NYBG blue spikes

To see the works spectacularly illuminated, schedule an evening visit to NYBG on a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday in September or October and visit CHIHULY Nights.  Can you imagine this piece illuminated?

Chihuly NYBG Neon 2017

Thanks for stopping by!

Chihuly NYBG Float Boat 2014

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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