For Dragonflies And Me

  (Snover, Michigan)
Enjoy the everyday life I love to live!
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Idea Note Books, Remembrance Shadow Boxes, Edible Centerpiece and A Yummy Romaine & Bacon Salad!

I love photographing my gardens, both veggie and flower. I take photos of them at each stage so I know what I need to fill in, get rid of, thin out or re-do. As I page through my garden journals, it is so interesting to see how the beds have matured, changed and been redone over time. To be able to go back and see each season and where I need to add, thin out or add an element to hard scapeing an area helps in future planning & budgeting. I always think that I need more in the spring, for some reason I have never been able to be satisfied with my spring garden's. Shall I say they are always a work in progress~ slow, steady progress! I use an Idea Notebook as one way to keep track of all the wonderful idea's I see as I drive past a lovely yard or see something 'neatsy' at a greenhouse/nursery. I keep this in my purse so I can simply take it out and jot down the idea. I also like to keep my camera along with me so I can photograph anything of interest. This is how my mailbox came to be. I had driven past this super cute mailbox that had bird houses hand painted on it. I took some photographs, bought a new mail box, a really big one, and replicated the images onto my own. Now I too have a super cute mailbox! I am too forgetful to remember everything I like and would like to eventually do. I love my gardening magazines and often find all sorts of neat ideas that I would like to do. I don't like ripping pages out of them so I will either photocopy them and then tape them in my idea notebook or journal. Be sure to include magazine name, page number and date in which the idea/article was in! Remembrance Shadow Boxes are a beautiful heirloom for oneself or to give as a gift. My dear mother in the Lord made one of these in memory of each of her parents after they passed away. She purchased the shadow boxes at a big box hobby store and then created what I believe are heirloom treasures. They are done very scrapbook'ish with pretty paper on the back, almost looking like wall paper. Then she incorporated several meaningful items in each that represented each parent. The memorabilia are tacked onto the 'wall' with adhesive tape or small pins. Each contains their reading glasses, a photograph and several other items that. So easy and yet simply stunning! No table is quite done without a centerpiece. It creates a finished and homey atmosphere to the room. Whether it is a vase filled with in season flowers, a rooster statue, a candelabra or a bowl filled with fruit, it sets the stage to an inviting feeling. Edible plants are one way to create something very special. To create a lovely Edible Centerpiece you first will need a container that you can set in the center~ indoor or out. This can be a large, shallow Terra cotta or clay pot, an old fashioned wooden toolbox, an old drawer lined with plastic or a wicker basket lined with plastic so the dirt won't flow out- the key is that there is proper drainage and that you have it resting in a container to catch water- especially if inside. Personally I think these are most special on a patio or picnic table for outdoor enjoyment. Here are a few choice plant combo's: *For a yummy Salad Bowl plant one of each in the corners if square container or an 'x' if round: nasturtium~trailing preferably, a variegated lemon thyme, Genovese basil and Italian Large leaf parsley; in center plant a romaine lettuce and spinach plant. Please take into consideration the growth size of each plant and determine the size of your planter if it will accommodate this planting. A 24" in diameter pot would be recommended. *Herb Lovers~ try Genovese Basil, Lemon Basil, Italian Large Leaf parsley, tarragon and a thyme. Whenever you are ready to grill you can snip off some to add into a butter for brushing on corn or shish-ka-bob. Fresh snipped basil & parsley for yummy Brushetta, thyme for grilled squash or chicken and tarragon for fish! The combo's are really up to your taste buds, so be creative and let your taste buds soar! Everyone loves our bacon, for what I believe to be very good reasons~ no nitrates or nitrites, no G.M.O. feed given to our hogs, naturally raised with open fresh air & sunshine. Here is yet another way to serve up some of our bacon with our yummy heirloom Romaine lettuces! Romaine & Bacon Salad 2 medium heads romaine lettuce from Garden Gate, chopped 1 red onion from Garden Gate, sliced thinly 1/2 pound bacon from Garden Gate 1 cup raw organic sugar 1 cup cider vinegar 1/2 cup dried cranberries 1/4 cup salted sunflower seeds homemade croutons (see previous blog for recipe) 1. Arrange lettuce in a bowl and top with onions. 2. Fry bacon in skillet over medium- high heat, cook bacon until crisp; drain. 3. Combine vinegar & sugar; pour over bacon in skillet; bring to a simmer over medium heat; cook and stir until sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. 4. Pour mixture over lettuce and onion. Toss together to mix evenly; top with cranberries, seeds & croutons. 5. Serve immediately. Enjoy! Happy Day, Jean

Gardening Gift Exchange, Lovely Luncheon and Parsley Bacon Sandwiches!

"He who plants a garden plants happiness." Old Chinese proverb.

Who doesn't love to get flowers, a special card or a 'just because' gift?  I know it always brings a smile to my face, that's for sure.  Here are a few novel ideas I have picked up along the way and have done myself.  Have fun and remember there is no pressure in gardening, only smiles.

A Gardening Gift Exchange is a great way to start the Spring season off! Here's a few tips on how to host & organize one.
*Make your Invitations!  This sounds harder than it is.  If you don't have any idea books on scrap booking or card making try the library and they are sure to have several that you can borrow. 
*Ask each of your guests to bring a small wrapped gift that is related to gardening.
*When your guests arrive have each one draw a numbered slip of paper (1 through however many guests you have invited) out of a clay planter that you have prepared ahead of time.
*Have each guest sit with the gift they brought.  The guest who pulled number one chooses a gift from someone.  The person who chose number two gets to choose another unopened gift OR take the one the previous person chose. 
It keeps going until everyone has had a chance to choose a wrapped or opened gift.  When the party is over, each guest will leave with a little gift... and a little inspiration for her own garden!

Of course no Party is complete without a tastefully done Luncheon, so here are some ideas on how to create a welcoming and cheerful event....
The Food~
*Try cutting softened butter into shapes using cookie cutters.
*Using a honey dew or cantaloupe melon, cut in half, hollow out and fill with your favorite ice cream.  Make homemade ice cream- it is super easy! 
*Deviled eggs look even yummier with fresh chives tied into bows and placed on top of them.  Use the chive blossom's to set on the bow.
*For extra special dinner buns- combine in 1 stick melted butter your favorite herb such as rosemary or thyme.  Dip the roll into butter mixture and bake.
*A special punch bowl will hold Raspberry Lemon tea with lemon, lime & orange peel spirals combined with ice cubes containing mock orange or orange blossoms. 
*Of course mini sandwiches- see Parsley Bacon Canape below! 
Set the Tables with something that will make them go 'ahhh'~
*Use pretty floral sheets or plain white that drape to the floor with quilts laid diagonally over for table clothes.
*Use 3 clay pots of the same size to hold forks, spoons and knives in.  Tie a piece of raffia around the rim with a bow to make it even cutter.
*Use baskets  lined with floral napkins to hold napkins & breads.
*Mason jars make the cutest drinking vessels, especially if they are blue! Not to mention flower vases and candle holders.
*A hodge podge of old plates & platters are a great way to serve your sandwiches, cheese & crackers & appetizers.
*Use an old galvanized wash tub filled to the top with ice and put bottled water, juice or pop in for guests.
*An old pickle crock thoroughly cleaned makes a spectacular punch bowl.
*Print the menu out on card stock and lay over each guests plate. 

Parsley Bacon Canape
Of course use Garden Gates awesome bacon for this special treat...

1 cup fresh chopped Parsley from Garden Gate                                            1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 pound Garden Gate Bacon, fried, drained and crumbled                             1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup mayonnaise                                                                                     
1 loaf Old World Bread
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1. Combine chopped parsley, bacon, mayo & Worcestershire to spreading consistency. 
2. Mix garlic powder into butter.
3. Roll the bread with a rolling pin slightly.  Spread bread with garlic butter mixture.  Spread parsley mixture over the butter.
4.  Roll the slices up and wrap in waxed paper and twist ends.  Freeze.  to serve, unwrap and slice 5 per roll.  Thaw.
Yields about 10 dozen.

Happy day,

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