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a visit to ben wolff pottery

May 15, 2015

Ben Wolff white clay pots pleasure in simple things blog

Because I am so enamored with his handcrafted pots, I have wanted to make a visit to Ben Wolff’s studio for a long time. Even though it is located right here in Connecticut, the studio was one spot on my ‘to visit’ list that never seemed to get crossed off.

Ben Wolff flower pots with Tuscan Rim pleasure in simple things blog

That changed this past weekend when my son asked what I wanted to do for Mother’s Day. I decided I could pass on a meal and, instead, we aimed to get Ben Wolff’s pottery studio crossed off my list of places to visit- yippee! It was a great day for a drive and the ride provided some great alone time with my son – catching up on what was going on with him.

Ben Wolff pot and bleeding hearts pleasure in simple things blog

If purchasing flower pots were my goal, it would have been easy enough to just order them online. I’m not saying I didn’t want any pots, but that was not my main reason for the visit. I wanted to see the studio and meet the artist. As luck would have it, I was able to do both.

Ben Wolff tuscan rim flower pot in white pleasure in simple things blog

Ben and his wife, Corinne, were both in the studio when we arrived. I knew Ben was a third generation artisan and he was happy to share his history and explain how he got started learning his craft at the age of two!

ben wolff white pot pleasure in simple things blog

It was a great visit and it turned out my son’s gift also included a few of Ben’s pieces! As a lover of neutral color schemes, the pots Ben creates in white clay are my favorite! I carefully picked out a few; choosing ones with Tuscan rims.

Tuscan rim white clay pot Ben Wolff pleasure in simple things blog

They are just so gorgeous! It is hard to imagine using a terra-cotta pot after you have seen Ben’s work. (If you read this blog, you probably have already figured out that I don’t use terra-cotta pots because of my aversion to the color and that my passion in the garden is for all white flowers!)

Ben Wolff signed white pots pleasure in simple things blog

With pieces starting as low as $8, they are affordable pieces of art – each signed by Ben.

White clay Ben Wolff flower pots pleasure in simple things blog

I haven’t yet planted in my new pieces, but for Friday field trip today, I hope you enjoyed sharing some of Ben’s works of art – a few from the thousands of flower pots he creates each year on his potter’s wheel in Goshen, Connecticut. I photographed them with some of the early bloomers from my garden.

Ben Wolff tuscan rim white pot pleasure in simple things blog

I hope you are enjoying some of your own garden flowers. If you follow my Instagram, you know I have been enjoying mine!

Ben Wolff Pottery Studio pleasure in simple things blog

The outside of Ben Wolff’s pottery studio in Connecticut.

Thank you so much for stopping by!  Have a fabulous weekend, Jackie

Sharing with Craftberry Bush and French Country Cottage.

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a twist on may day

April 28, 2015

nest globe pleasure in simple things blog

Hi friends. You know each year as May Day approaches and I post some type of hanging flowers? Well, this year I am posting something hanging….but, flowers?  Not so much!

Have you seen the little hanging glass globe terrariums? I have seen them in some of my favorite garden stores, but, because of the price, could never justify actually purchasing one. Then, I saw some online at World Market. They had two sizes – the larger one was $6.99! For these prices, I could purchase a couple! So, I did! I thought they would be great to use for May Day planters.

supplies for hanging terrariums pleasure in simple things blog

But, as I started experimenting with them, I found my favorite items to showcase in these containers were not necessarily flowers!

hanging terrarium with moss and sheep pleasure in simple things blog

The globes each came with a piece of twine, but it would be easy enough to change out the twine for ribbon. I actually ended up keeping it – I like the natural/rustic feel of the twine.

What to display? Because the containers are small, I found ‘the simpler, the better’ fit my taste.

globe terrarium with shell pleasure in simple things blog

Today I am sharing a couple of my favorites.  May Day this year is less about flowers and more about hanging! So much fun!

I did do one with a few pansy blooms for the more traditionalists out there!

may day pansies pleasure in simple things blog

For some previous May Day ideas – click here for May Day with some coastal flair, and click here for some May Day flower globes.

close up of terrarium with frog moss pleasure in simple things blog

Thanks for stopping by!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing with Craftberry Bush, The Shabby Nest Sand & Sisal and Coastal Charm.

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growing easter grass

March 17, 2015

hello sunshine Easter grass pleasure in simple things blog

I am a huge proponent of unconventional Easter baskets – I think an Easter basket can be any vessel that appeals to your sense of style. And, at Easter time, I feel the same way about the containers I chose to plant grass seeds. I love to plant grass in any and all containers (including Easter baskets) that currently hit my fancy! Today, I am sharing a couple of this year’s container picks for grass planting!

You don’t need to celebrate Easter to plant grass – think of it as a ‘celebration of spring’ activity!  A grass filled mug makes a cute spring gift that can be reused long after the recipient tires of the grass.

fun Easter grass pleasure in simple things blog

Any type of grass seed will work. Here, I have used wheat grass seeds. It won’t take more than a week to have a nice patch of grass. Just put potting soil in the container you have chosen. I always use packaged soil, not soil from the outdoors. The reason for this is that I don’t need any unwanted insects, etc. from the outdoor soil to find their way into my home!

steps in planting Easter grass pleasure in simple  things blog

Liberally add grass seeds onto the soil, and then cover with a thin layer of additional soil. Water your new planting and keep in a sunny spot. Be careful not to water too much if you have a small container and/or no drainage. You will want to moisten the soil, but too much water (a puddle) will inhibit the seeds from growing.

an easter grass plant pleasure in simple things blog

Now you can just water daily and wait for the seeds to grow! They will sprout very quickly and grow rapidly. They are so much fun!

I always start planting containers in March and just trim the grass with scissors if needed. You may remember last year I shared planting grass in egg shells – click here to see the tutorial for planting grass in real egg shells.

single grass in weck jar for easter pleasure in simple things blog

Small, clear glass containers, like the Weck jars I have used here, provide an opportunity to see the roots of the plant. In this way, using one of these tiny jars at each Easter place setting at the ‘kids table’ is a great way to get the children excited about the growing process! Additional jars can be used to fill with treats.

grass place cards pleasure in simple things blog

cadbury eggs in weck jar favors pleasure in simple things blog

Do you have a special container in mind to try your hand at growing grass? I would love to see what you choose!

spring quote pleasure in simple things blog

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

Sharing with Craftberry Bush, The Shabby NestNancherrow, Thoughts from Alice, Sand & Sisal, and House of Hipsters.

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a winter trip to the flower show

March 13, 2015

the shed at Terrain in Glen Mills PA pleasure in simple things blog

For Friday field trip today, I would like to share a few photos from my recent trip to Philadelphia. Every March, Philadelphia is home to the world’s longest-running and largest indoor floor show. Yes, I did go to the flower show, but this year the photos I am sharing are not actually from the show! Instead, these photos are from a couple of my favorite stops along the way!

Terrain in Glen Mills PA the cafe pleasure in simple things blog

window at Terrain Glen Mills pleasure in simple things blog

The first few photos are from Terrain in Glen Mills, PA – for me, always a required stop on a Philly trip. One of my very favorite stores, Terrain is the ultimate in home and garden inspiration!

Next stop is Longwood Gardens!  Listed as the 2nd best public garden in the nation, my other “must visit” spot on a Philly trip is Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA.

Icy Longwood Gardens pleasure in simple things blog

Even on a day when the hemlocks are dripping with ice and the weather prohibits walking the extensive grounds of the gardens, Longwood does not disappoint.  Even the bad weather doesn’t prevent a quick walk past the topiary garden.

Topiary Garden at Longwood Gardens pleasure in simple things blog

At this time of year, the Conservatory sports an amazing display of orchids. But, this trip, these were my favorite flowers.

Longwood Gardens indoor flowers pleasure in simple things blog

Inside Longwood Gardens pleasure in simple things blog
And for me, the winter is a wonderful time to admire favorite indoor spaces that do not get as much attention when the weather makes the outdoor spaces at Longwood more inviting – like the children’s garden. Here are some of the great water features in the children’s garden (Did you see the video of the nest and bird fountain on my Instagram?)

Fountain in childrens garden at Longwood Gardens pleasure in simple things blog

Water feature at Longwood Gardens pleasure in simple things blog

Fountain in Children's Garden at Longwood Gardens pleasure in simple things

As I leave, I see a suggestion of what is coming in the better weather ahead – this will be filled with roses in bloom before you know it!

rose trellis at Longwood Gardens pleasure in simple things blog

Thanks for sharing a few photos from my (snowy and icy) trip to Philadelphia on today’s Friday field trip.  Have a wonderful weekend!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing with French Country Cottage and The Shabby Nest.

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rosewater lemonade for valentine’s day

February 6, 2015

rosewater lemonade pleasure in simple things blog

Since a rose is one of the most enduring symbols of love and appreciation, what better way to add something special to a Valentine’s Day table than to serve a beverage enhanced by a rose?  For Friday field trip today, we are adding rose essence to served lemonade to add a subtle suggestion of friendship or romance to the table.

Lemonade is always a great soft drink option – particularly fresh squeezed – and adding raspberries, strawberries, and/or basil is always a nice way to ‘fancy it up.’ But, for a romantic option, an even nicer addition is a little rosewater.

rosewater for lemonade pleasure in simple things blog
The essence of roses is a lovely way to add a little romance to an ordinary beverage…Perfect when a nonalcoholic drink is in order. I add a single tablespoon of rosewater to a quart of lemonade. Obviously, this amount can be adjusted to your taste.

serving a romantic lemonade for Valentine's Day pleasure in simple things blog

Rosewater lemonade is the perfect beverage to serve to friends at a lunch, as a garden club meeting refreshment, or at a Valentine’s Day brunch. I always have a bottle of rosewater in my kitchen because I frequently use it in my baking. If you don’t happen to have any on hand, you can pick it up at a specialty food store or Middle Eastern market.

rosewater lemonade on pleasure in simple things blog

serving rosewater lemonade pleasure in simple things blogNow that you have some rosewater on hand, you may want to try using it in other ways. Click here to see my recipe for rosewater meringues.

Thank you so much for stopping by. Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

This post is dedicated to someone very special…welcome to the world, Rose Catherine!  In little Rose’s honor, and as a special Valentine’s Day gift to you for sharing pleasure in simple things, I am giving you a gift of a pretty recipe card for rosewater meringues – just send me an email with your address and I will mail one right off to you – in plenty of time for Valentine’s Day!  Happy Valentine’s Day sweet friends. xo :)

Sharing with House of HipstersShabby Nest, French Country Cottage, Craftberry Bush, and Kim Klassen.

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february book giveaway!

January 30, 2015

sample from Feb giveaway book pleasure in simple things

As usual for me at this time of year, my mind wanders towards thoughts of warmer weather, gardening, and spending a lot more time outdoors. Even though I can appreciate some aspects of winter, it is most definitely not my favorite of the seasons.

With this in mind, you will understand why I chose The House Gardener by Isabelle Palmer as the book for the February giveaway selection. This book provides tons of ideas and inspiration for indoor gardens…a great way to brighten up cold winter days and to inspire thoughts of the next (warmer!) season ahead.

giveaway book for feb 15 on pleasure in simple things blogThrough this delightful book, Ms. Palmer will show you how to choose, grow, and decorate with houseplants, as well as guide you through the different techniques needed to care for your new “green guests.”

Included in this book are instructions for drying and pressing flowers, suggestions for specific plant types based on conditions, caring for orchids, creating terrariums, and much more!

Just leave a comment during the month of February to be entered into the random drawing at the end of the month.

And, a big congratulations to Carol at Art & Sand for being selected randomly from everyone that commented during the month of January!  Carol, you have won the January giveaway selection, The Kinfolk Table: Recipes for Small Gatherings by Nathan Williams.  This is a beautiful book and I know you will enjoy it!

For those that use Instagram, February’s challenge will be to share heart photos. At this time of year, hearts seem to appear everywhere! Be creative and share a photo of a heart you spot in an unexpected place using the hashtag #pleasuregram! Can’t wait to see what you find! ;)

Instagram challenge Feb 2015 pleasure in simple things blog

Thank you so much for stopping by! Have a wonderful weekend, Jackie xo

P.S.  If you want some inspiration to get started on some indoor gardening, click here for some terrarium inspiration!

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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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