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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Be careful what you wish for.....

We have birds in, literally, every birdhouse on our property. We were sitting out on our patio, having dinner, watching them all come and go....stopping at the feeders to have some dinner of their own!!! Every time I walk past any of the houses I can hear all of the baby birds carrying on inside...waiting for someone to bring them something to eat!! When we bought our house~~almost 26 years ago~~ There were no plants, no trees, no nothing!! I was determined to create a sanctuary....not only for us, but for the wildlife as well....I think I have been successful!!! Of course....this comes with a price. I can't have tulips in my gardens....and they are my favorite Spring flower....because the chipmunks dig up and eat the bulbs. We have a blue heron who glides...not flies....GLIDES over our house all the time and, occasionally, stops off in the open field next to our house where we can get a good look at him!!! Last Summer he helped himself to every single fish in our pond!!! We have deer who come into our driveway....and we know this because we can see their prints in the snow in the Winter....they are rather fond of our apple trees and the squirrels ate all of my peaches, last year!!! There is no place in the world that I would rather spend my time than in our gardens.....but, the moral of the story???? Be careful what you wish for!!!! :) :) :) Have a great night!!!!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What does Home Sweet Home mean to you????.......

Home Sweet Home. What does that mean to you? I know it's different for everybody. Our home is an old farmhouse...complete with wide windows and pine floors. Built in cupboards and great old molding. Wainscoting in the kitchen and solid wood doors. Our home holds all of our families treasures and collections....and, more importantly, memories. I love to decorate for every Holiday and season...and I am a collector. I don't like spare, sparsely decorated spaces....I like rooms with personality and whimsy~~and stuff!! Our home is surrounded by gardens. We have a formal herb garden, lots of perennials and annuals that attract birds and butterflies, hydrangeas, roses and lots of trees. We, also, have a small orchard and an enchanted fairy garden (this is one of the fairy houses my husband made for me!!) Needless to say....all of this takes up ALL of our spare time. We put in a lot of hours with our business....and, pretty much, all of what is "left over" goes into maintaining all of the above. The reason I am telling you all of this is because it is almost the Fourth of July. We take a little time off around the 4th. This year we will be closed Sunday the 3rd and Tuesday the 5th....the 4th is on a Monday and we are always closed on Monday. So....we will have a 3 day "vacation"....OK, you ask....and???? I find that most people don't think that spending time at home is a "vacation"....and I KNOW most people don't think that working in the gardens or on their homes is a vacation!!!! I, also, think that most people need a lot more than three days to have time off qualify as "vacation" time. The fact of the matter is....we, genuinely, love spending time in what we have worked so hard to create...that goes for both our home AND our business. I know it seems like a lot of hard work...and it IS...but, it's what makes us happy!!!! So...we will take our three days....try to relax, (some), swim in our pool, chill out in our pool house....but we, also, want to get the forsythia pruned, the poolhouse deck re-stained and a few other little projects taken care of. So...what DOES Home Sweet Home mean to you?? For us....it means a great place to spend our time!!!!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Ladies Night....Pennsylvania Dutch with a twist....

I am hosting our family "Ladies Night" tonight. I cannot tell you how thrilled I am that it's not going to be 90 degrees!!! We have been doing "theme" dinners for a little while...we pick our months and then do something appropriate. Everything from Italian to the obvious Holiday appropriate menus...this year we wrote different ideas on pieces of paper and "picked" the themes...I hosted in January and had breakfast....that was a good one. Then, for June....I got Pennsylvania Dutch. This was hard. First of all....I am not Pennsylvania Dutch. We moved up into this area from Lower Bucks County when I was 10....it's hard enough to get kids to try new foods....but it's impossible to get them to try....well, let's just say some of the food choices of this area ( scrapple, pig's stomach....would YOU try it??) So, needless to say, I am not an authority on this subject. I have come up with a menu.... finally .... and I have taken some artistic license. Surprise, surprise!!! We are having baked chicken with an apple butter sauce, baked potato salad, homemade bread....with more apple butter (one of the few traditional food choices that I like...) and then Quakertown Pie (an interesting recipe that I found....it's a whole lot like shoo-fly...) and funny cake. Oh, and some soda that is made in the area....I think it will be fun, and I think it will "pass" as Dutch....as my daughter said "Pennsylvania Dutch a la gourmet".... This theme thing is fun....but, if I get this one again....I am calling "do-over"!!! Have a great weekend everyone!!! :) :) :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Merry Christmas....6 months ago....6 months to go.....

So...what were you doing 6 months ago? There is a very good possibility that you were frantically trying to get everything ready for Christmas!!!! It was ONLY 6 months ago....isn't that crazy??? It has gone SO fast....heck JUNE has gone SO fast....we are in the last full week and the 4th of July is right around the corner!!! All of this may not be on YOUR mind....but it's on mine!! We have gotten 3 big boxes of Christmas merchandise in this week....and I am trying to get the rest of my orders together so I don't miss anything wonderful for all of you!!! Since "Christmas and a half" lands on a weekend...I think it would be fun to watch a Christmas movie or listen to Christmas music and cook something "Christmas-y"....maybe some Christmas cookies.....Hmmm, I am hosting the family Ladies Night this month (Saturday night...) I "picked" Pennsylvania Dutch....but I am not overjoyed with the idea....I wonder if I can make Pennsylvania Dutch Christmas Food....I am, already, way more excited about that idea than I was with the Pennsylvania Dutch thing....I will have to give this some thought....I'll let you know what I decide to do....in the meantime....Merry Christmas (and a half....)!!!! If you do anything fun, this weekend....let me know!!!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Road Trip......

Are you noticing a trend? It has been a week ....AGAIN..... since my last blog. I am so sorry!! I don't know where the days go....~~~ So, Happy Summer!!! Today is the Summer Solstice....longest day of the year....and, tonight at midnight, is the best time to see the fairies!! They come out and celebrate on the first day of Summer!! If you don't know what to do with yourself at Midnight....I suggest you plan a party for the fairies. They will spend the Summer watching over your garden and making sure that all is well...I think it's the least you can do!!! ~~~ So, yesterday we went out to Carlisle PA. and visited our youngest daughter in her part time home away from home....or part time adopted home...depending on how you look at it!! While we were out there we wanted to visit Meadowbrooke Gourds....the birthplace....literally....of all of the gourd birdhouses and Holiday gourd creations that we carry in our gift shop. We were very excited to go...and when we got there...realized they are closed on Monday!!!! Now, I can't say too much about this subject since we are, also, closed on Monday....but to say I was disappointed would be an understatement!! However, one of the sweet and wonderful ladies that work there saw us on the porch...opened up and invited us in to browse and shop!!! I, already, had a very high opinion of this company.....but it's even higher now!!! Their retail area is set up so nicely....and they have wonderful merchandise!! We were surrounded by fields full of gourd plants....and you really understood how much time and work goes into each thing they create!! It was a great time....and I am planning, as we speak, what new pieces to get in for the Fall and Christmas season!! If you don't have anything in your home or yard from this exceptional company....come in to Sweet Memories and get something soon....you won't be disappointed....I know I wasn't!!!!!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011




So....candy corn or candy canes?? Well, that seems to be the question recently. I have ordered most of my Halloween merchandise...but I am still getting some catalogs of interest and I am giving them my attention. I am, also, getting my Christmas catalogs in and trying to give them my attention, too. I got an email, today, with the new "mid-year" releases from Byers' Choice...(which are really cool for all of you collectors....) and UPS brought a nice big box of Halloween merchandise....(yes, already! Talking about it and planning for it is a whole lot different than having it show up!!!) On top of that we are planning this Halloween event for the 1803 House and I started a facebook page and a blog to keep everyone pumped and excited for it....so most of my "spare" time is spent sending emails to prospective Artisans or looking for recipes and fun hints etc. all about Halloween. Needless to say, it (Fall and Halloween) is very much on my mind....then, a few days ago, I realized that we are almost at the halfway point to Christmas (June 25th is exactly 6 months from last Christmas and 6 months away from next Christmas...) and I thought that would make for some fun right here on THIS blog...so I am trying to come up with really great stuff to talk about on here. So, again I ask....candy corn or candy canes....Oh my!!! I do paperwork and pay bills on a Tuesday....I cannot tell you how many times I had to think what today's date was....no, not the day....the MONTH!!! Of course....you realize it is only mid-June....and not, technically, even Summer yet??  Hahahahaha......Jingle Bells, Trick-or-Treat, School's out for Summer!!! Where is the sunscreen, has anyone seen my costume and I think we need to hang those stockings!!!! Stay tuned.....this is going to be fun!!!!!  :)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Busy, busy day.......

Well...this is not what I had planned to post on here. We worked for hours and hours and I was SO excited to go out and take a whole bunch of new pictures....but we seem to be having some technical difficulties and the pictures are not loading. So, I will use one of our bluebirds from last year, and hope that this fixes itself soon. If it does, I promise new pictures of the gardens! It looks great...everything is weeded, edged, mulched, planted, pruned and, generally, primped....bring on Summer!!! In addition to all of this activity...we spent the afternoon with my Grandson. He loves to be outside...luckily it was a beautiful day to enjoy the great outdoors (unlike last week...) so we were able to make him happy!!! We played ball and we "golfed", clapped...a lot (he LOVES the roar of the "crowd") had pizza for lunch (which he, also, loves) fed the fish, walked in the orchard to see all of the baby apples, "mowed" the grass (with his lawn mower...) and played in the fountain...and discovered a way to get MomMom soaked in the process!!! All in all...a busy day...but one spent doing some of my very favorite things!! I watched and marveled, today, at how quickly the last 18 months have gone....my Grandson is getting so big and it seems like yesterday that he was brand new!! The great thing about that is...as much as I loved him when he was tiny....I love him even more now. Each age and milestone brings with it another part of them to get to know and love. And that holds true no matter how "BIG" they are. My "baby" will turn 24 this Sunday. I used to hear other parents say things like I wish they had stayed little, or it was easier when they were smaller...I never felt that way. Each new part of their lives was a new adventure...and still is...and I wouldn't have traded them for anything. So....at 18 months (almost) he is learning new words everyday, running just about everywhere and paying VERY close attention to EVERYTHING you do....and then trying to do it too!!! I love this age....but I will love 2 and 3 and 4....and twenty something just as much...maybe even more!!! Go out and have a great night everyone!!!!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Fairies, Gnomes and strawberry jam......

Well...I've done it again...I've let the whole week slide by with no blog!!! I have been working on the yard and getting the rest of my gardens all planted. I am not making excuses...Just saying!! I still have a little bit to do...I am hoping that the rain will take a break later so that I can finish up....I'm glad to see the rain, mind you, and the cooler temperatures that have come with it....but I would like to get the rest of the flowers and herbs in the ground! This is my miniature fairy garden....the whole garden at the "deep end" of the pool is a "magical" garden....full of fairies and gnomes and other creatures....and plants that have magical qualities or meanings. It is one of my passions. Now that I think I have finished up with my plant purchasing....(I am, actually, never really FINISHED....) I realize that we did our part to help many small, local, greenhouses...we "spread the love" this year!! I spent some money in all of my favorite spots....I hope they all have a good season!! Mother Nature sure isn't helping any of them....We went to one of my favorite places after work, Thursday night. The owner is a friend of mine...I send all of my "students" to her when the conversation turns to herbs...she has a great selection...lots of unusual stuff...and she is very knowledgeable. They grow all of their plants and flowers and they, also, grow produce that they sell....she was telling me what a horrible time they have had this Spring!!! I am going to get on my "soap box" again (haven't been here for awhile!!!) please try to buy "local" as much as you can, this Summer. This is how the small growers make a living. I bought some strawberries while we were there...AMAZING!!! We now have some of the best strawberry jam EVER to enjoy in the months ahead....and I will be heading back, soon, even if I don't need any more plants....well, maybe just ONE more!!!!  :)  Have a great weekend!!!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Whew...what a weekend!!!!!!

I apologize....again....I have slipped in my blogging duties!! I do have a good excuse, though. I had one whopper of a weekend!!!!!!!! ~~ There are SO many things that I enjoy....truly ENJOY....doing. One of those is cake decorating. I have been doing it for 28 years. I started the year my son turned 2...I made him a train cake...well, actually, several cakes...all lined up to look like a train. They were covered in candy and cookie details...wheels, cargo etc. I loved doing it so much that I started to do it "professionally". Over the years I have done many, many wedding cakes, birthday cakes, baptism cakes....I have even done "portrait" cakes (with pictures I "painted" in icing...) and a few for some famous people. The demands of the amazing business that we have built have dictated that "something's got to give"...and that something was the cake decorating. No one can "do" what we do....because no one else is "us"....but lots of people can decorate cakes. So I decided to concentrate more on all of the unique things that make us so special and leave the decorating to someone else. I, also, gave up the wedding cake end of things. I am "type A" as I have mentioned before...so that demanded that I be the one to deliver and set up....which meant leaving the shop for however long it took to get it all perfect. Somehow...that just didn't feel right. So...I stopped offering that service, too. All in all....I don't notice where anyone minds, really, the "old-fashioned, homemade, from scratch" desserts that we make are in HIGH demand....and appropriate for anytime...or everyday, if you choose :)....so I have been very happy that I made the choices that I did. Now...all of that said...every now and then I make an exception. This, particular, weekend....I made a whole bunch!!!! We have a family that comes in all the time....in fact my daughter went to school with one of the kids....well, there was a wedding. She wanted our cakes (thank you!!) and was willing to "work" with me...she got 10 (all different flavors) of our  old-fashioned, homemade, from scratch cakes and I didn't have to "tier them" so I said I would do it. Another family that is important to us....had a first birthday. They wanted a Dr. Seuss theme...I am sure you see the results by the pictures....how do you refuse a FIRST birthday? The end result? It all got done...although I'm not sure how....lunch was served, the bakery case was full, the gift shop was very busy, all of my other orders got done and all of these "exceptions" got done, too!!! Thank you, whole heartedly, to my amazing "staff" (family) Happy Birthday, Happy Wedding....I am going back to bed!!!!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

All planted.......

Oh my. The last three nights (as I predicted...) I have been planting, planting, planting!!! I am happy to tell you that all of the plants that we bought on Monday are in their Summer homes!! I would love to report that I am all done...but, alas, that is not the case!!! I will be honest with you...I am, actually OK with that!! I really do love all aspects of gardening (although I could have done without the extreme heat and humidity of the last few days...) but my favorite part is figuring out what I want to plant where and the actual planting. The problem with this year is that the process kept getting delayed and it was getting later and later and I was starting to panic!! I feel better now...not at all "behind" like I did before...so now I can enjoy the last few projects and give them a little more thought....more importantly....I can do them in the light of day....no more planting by the light of the moon!!! This picture is a small part of my herb "collection"....even now, as I sit here writing this, I can smell all of the herbs on me and my clothes....my kind of aroma therapy!! Everyone who knows how large and involved our gardens are asks me how I do it. With all that I need to do in a day...how do I find time to garden too? The answer to that is really simple...I don't think of it as "more work" but rather as a release from all of the stress of the day (not that I am insinuating that you all cause stress....) it's what I enjoy...if it happens to be what you enjoy, too, well...I think we are very lucky!!! We have a great hobby, stress relief, fresh air and a gorgeous yard....who could ask for anything more?? Have a great night!!!