Monday, November 15, 2010

Meet the Herd !

Pheasant feathers, mink, bells, brocade, fairies, jewels, sounds like a dream right ! Well welcome to the dream, I had the terrific pleasure of working for Laurie DeGrazia at a shop called Wild Thyme in Centreville, Delaware while I was working my way through nursing school and my divorce. The shop was a place full of treasures to buy and people to treasure. I will never forget my time with Laurie, Mary, Barb, Elaine, Gio, Peter, Jeff and all the other characters in and out of Wild Thyme. It was a fast paced, fun and nurturing group whom I love and got me through a very difficult time in my life ! Wild Thyme is a flower shop that sells really unique and beautiful flowers as well as gifts from all over the globe. On any given day you could walk in and find French ribbon, african instruments, first quality life size stuffed animals, just a magical store. Wild Thyme always became just a little more Wild at Christmastime. While selling fabulous gifts and making flowers arrangements and decorating peoples homes from the shop were fun, the best part of the holidays was  - the camels! While I was at Wild Thyme I learned from the master (Laurie) about creating camels. Every year she decorated these magnificent camels and sold them at the shop. Over the years I learned to express myself and made some as well. You can still see and buy these amazing animals at Wild Thyme. Before I left Laurie allowed me to purchase some of the leather camels that we used as a base from the vendor to make my own. My children each have one that I have made as do my parents. Here are photos of the ones I made and kept for myself.
Close up of Stella
Nicholas - his close up

Prancer - lots of bling

Prancer - the largest of the herd

backside of Prancer
Backside of Stella

Santa's helper - one I made for mom

Sherpa - another I made for mom

White Christmas - one of the largest with a pet polar bear made for my mother !
So do yourself a favor get out the glue gun and create your own Christmas treasures, be they camels, ornaments, whatever. I look forward to getting my camels every single year !

Monday, November 1, 2010

Caramel Apples

melting the caramel
some toppings

swirling the apples

Chefs !
OK everyone knows how much I love to cook and usually try to do from scratch. This year I attended a terrific Halloween Party. Chris (a fellow nurse) and I decided to bring caramel apples to the party. OK you know those little bags of caramels in squares ? First off hard to find and second too hard to unwrap them all. So I gave in and used a boxed caramel that comes in a pint sized plastic MICROWAVEABLE tub. that's right friends ------

MICROWAVEABLE ! It was genius ! Each box did 4-5 apples and could be reheated if necessary and when the caramel set up it was the perfect consistency for eating ! TIPS - 1. use a plate under the caramel when heating 2. apply the toppings by pressing onto the caramel instead of rolling 3. if you have sensitive hands use pot holders or a towel or gloves to apply toppings as the caramel is hot 4. make sure excess caramel has dripped off prior to adding toppings otherwise they will drip to the bottom with the carmel 5. Use cold apples for dipping 6. finally, if you are taking to a party cut them up when you arrive and they will disappear, leave them whole and they will make a nice centerpiece. Enjoy they were the hit of our party !

Friday, October 1, 2010

Pumpkins !

Well until the flood today there was a hint of fall in the air and once again I found myself at SIW Vegies hunting through an amazing assortment of pumpkins and gourds. I did a little homework - the name Pumpkin came from the Greek word for large melon "Pepon" which was changed by the french to "pompon", then changed again by the English to "Pumpion" and eventually to the American "Pumpkin". The Native Americans used them centuries before America was settled by the Pilgrims not only as a staple in their diet but also for weaving dried strips into mats.  (And you all know how much I love the Native Americans!) At any rate I bought several varieties of Pumpkin to "Fall-up" my home. Thought I'd share a few pics. Enjoy !
Peanut Pumpkin

Traditional Orange Pumpkin

White Pumpkin

Queensland Blue Pumpkin

Pumpkins with Gooseneck Gourd

With the mini's !

Friday, September 17, 2010

Happy Birthday Emily !

21 years ago today my baby girl was born ! Emily Sexton DePhillips. I am so lucky to have two terrific children. One never can predict what life will bring you, but one thing I know for sure is I was meant to be mom to my two glorious children. I may not have a statue built for me in a park or fancy plaques on the wall but I honestly have the best legacy anyone could ask for in Justin and Emily. So Emily, what a joyous 21 years it has been. (thought I'd post a few baby pics) Happy Birthday !!!!

Christiana Hospital - 1 day old !!!!

Holly Ball Hotel DuPont

White Coat Ceremony
South University
School of Pharmacy - June 2010

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Water Lilies at Longwood Gardens

I spent a few hours this morning with my daughter Emily and her friend Brian wandering through Longwood Gardens. It really is a wonderful time of year for a stroll there. The boxwood topiaries are at their bushy best, the late summer temperatures cooled by the many fountain displays, the beautiful Italian Water Garden, the tree houses and of course the conservatory. This month they are featuring fragrance and many fragrant specimens were there for the touch and smell from tuberoses to geraniums to lavender. As we wondered through the conservatory past the Rose room, the Orchid room and the Tropical room there was an opportunity to stroll to a small patio which featured one of my favorites - the water lily
The water lily is a floating six-leaved aquatic perennial herb that grows in silty sedimental water up to six feet deep. They can be found in slow streams and ponds and are native to the eastern North Americas and southern Canada. After a water lily has finished flowering the stalk/fruit is drawn below the water and forms a seed pod containing lots of seed for new plants.
Once when I was working at Wild Thyme, a local flower shop, we provided flowers for a party at Archmere Academy and among the flowers we provided were a dozen or so water lilies to float in the fountains for the evenings event. It was magnificent. 
So enjoy the pics from today and if you get a chance stop and look at water lilies at your garden store (you can even grow one during the summer in a deep pot on your own patio) or take a trip to Longwood Gardens.

Friday, September 3, 2010


I have a little secret. SIW Vegetables ! I have a share in a CSA, that means Community Supported Agriculture. Basically it means for those of us unable to grow and tend a large garden , we can buy a share and reap the bounty of a fabulous farm garden. H. G. Haskell has run SIW for years, it's a terrific farm stand that sells all local produce including fabulous gems from his family's own Hill Girt Farm. The last two years, instead of buying spur of the moment, I have bought a share in his CSA, which provides me a boatload of fruits and veggies each week from mid-June through Halloween. As a sample this week I am in store for 8 ears of corn, a pound each of tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, potatoes, doc. martin lima beans, squash, 2 onions, a head of garlic, a cucumber,1 pint of cherry tomatoes, basil,1 pint edamame, a bunch of flowers, 2 onions, a bell pepper, a hot pepper, 1/2 pound of eggplant, a canteloupe, a watermelon and half a pint of raspberries. Unbelievable right, all fresh picked and delicious. The stand also has bakery items from Le Bus bakery, DiBruno brothers fresh made mozzerella for your caprese salad and lots of olive oil and homemade tomato sauce if you don't already make your own. I've included a picture of one of the early weeks of the summer just so you can see how gorgeous the fresh picked produce looks ! Do a drive by, you'll be glad that you did ! SIW Vegetables is located at 4317 Creek Road. (And don't forget SIW for your Halloween pumpkins and gourds, they're the best)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Have I mentioned how much I love my wallpaper ?

In the 3 homes I have owned I had never ventured into the mysterious world of wallpaper until now. I am not a wallpaper gal, no need to see toile or cabbage roses all over the walls, but at my new home "The Burrow" I decided I was really working with so many neutral colors that in one special place I needed a pop. The powder room. I had vintage sconces from EBAY as well as a glass vessel sink that I was using in an old dry sink I had plumbed for the vanity. Since these photos were taken I have also added an antique mirror that the mercury has come loose from the glass giving the mirror a crackled effect.( I love that something used for vanity is itself beautifully flawed). Anyway back to the paper. I looked probably at hundreds of patterns and couldn't really find something that worked, and to invest in a good wallpaper I wasn't going to settle since it was to be the only patterned wall in the house. I decided to narrow my search. I had some beautiful pheasant feathers I kept in a Mason jar that I loved the look of so for fun I Googled  "feather wallpaper". Let me tell you there are some ugly feather wallpapers. Then I stumbled upon Cavern Home. A unique purveyor of hand silk screened wallpaper. They had perhaps a dozen unique patterns. And there it was PLUME (gold) the showpiece I was looking for. Magnificent screened pheasant feathers almost 3 feet tall on a matte gold background. GORGEOUS ! A wonderful design specialist named Mary Cairns hung the paper and the rest is history. It is still a real investment and it is definitely my taste. You'll either love it or hate it, but every time I step into that room I fall in love with the walls all over again. If you like the look go to for more ideas !

Friday, August 27, 2010

Centreville's "Oreo Cows"

On any given day driving through the bucolic village of Centreville, DE you may get a glimpse of something forever ingrained as a piece of home in a Centrevillian's minds. The "Oreo Cows".
 The official name of these wonderous creatures is Belted Galloway Cows. Take a drive down Centre Meeting Road, Twaddell Mill Road or even Route 52 on a good day and you can see these massive beauties lazing in the grass or just enjoying their lives in Centreville.  The Belted Galloway Cow is a beef cow originally raised in the 1600's in Scotland. At birth the bulls weigh about 70 lbs. with the heifers weighing in at about 10 lbs. less. Fully grown the ladies weigh about 1100-1300 lbs. with the fellas weighing in at a massive 1800-2000 lbs. Makes me feel svelte just thinking about them. This is a perfect Muse for me today as I have been thinking about my children (who are away at school) and driving this morning past the "Oreo's" reminded me of how, driving home the back roads in the car, we would always have our eyes peeled to the right to see if the cows were out in the field. We always delighted to see them and annoyed anyone behind us by slowing a bit to get a better look. This year there was a great crop of little ones. The heat has often brought them up right behind our park in Centreville to enjoy the shade in the afternoons. So if you too are looking for a little Muse, drive by and see if you can't become acquainted with our pals the "Oreo's"

enjoy the ride

Well, talk about the information superhighway. Wanting to do something productive with my free time I am creating a blog (I know, right). Muse. Full of things I find interesting. I hope to fill it with the things I love, my family, home, recipes, entertaining, Centreville, images of things I love, and possibly the occasional rogue ER story. Musings ! Feel free to join me for the ride ! Friends of friends welcome !!