Sunday, March 21, 2021


 I love punch.

 It isn't served at events anymore like it was when I was growing up (and now we may feel differently about a community punch bowl altogether.) My grandmother had a frozen punch recipe that she was famous for - it had a steeped tea base with delicious fruit juices and she froze it and then whipped it with a hand mixer before serving. It was so refreshing and she often made it just for our family to enjoy during visits but it was definitely the highlight of all showers and wedding receptions. My mother would make punch for us to have in the Summer when a large group of friends would be in our yard playing in the playhouse or swinging. She used grape juice as a base and there were always maraschino cherries in it!! It was the punch of her childhood - my grandmother used to make a similar punch, when my mom was a child, in a large white enamel container and serve it to the children and anyone who stopped by.

I have very fond memories of happy times and delicious punch. I still have my punch bowl and silver punch ladle. I haven't used it in a long time but I'm hanging on to it. Maybe someday...

The other day I was scrolling through Flower Magazine's beautiful website and one of the editors, Amanda Smith Fowler, was sharing her Almond Punch recipe. The article said it was a family favorite for Easter! It sounded delicious and fun (you can top it off Ginger Ale or  Prosecco for the adults!)

(Do you see Cooper? He's trying to figure out how to get a cheese straw!!)

I really wanted to try it. As I don't have any events in the near future requiring the quantity that this punch bowl filling recipe would serve (see Amanda's family recipe here), I decided to try and reduce the recipe so we could enjoy it relaxing on the porch on a sunny Spring weekend - even if it's just us!!

Marcie's "Small Batch" Version of Almond Punch!

32 ounces of water

1 1/4 cup of sugar

12 ounces of pineapple juice

1/4 bottle of almond extract

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

2 ounces frozen lemonade, thawed slightly

ginger ale or prosecco

fruit garnish, if desired

Dissolve the sugar in warm water- be sure sugar is completely dissolved. Add the pineapple juice, lemonade, almond extract and vanilla extract to the sugar water mixture. Stir well. Pour mixture into a large freezer proof plastic container  Freeze. Pull container out, allow Almond Punch to become slushy and scoop into glasses - about halfway full. Top off each serving with ginger ale or prosecco. Garnish and enjoy. 

The Review: Reducing the recipe worked well. It's delicious, slushy and refreshing. It's delicious topped with Prosecco but it's very, very  yummy going the non-alcoholic route and using ginger ale. I tried it both ways :)

It's the perfect, refreshing Spring punch and would be equally delicious with brunch or in the afternoon with cheese straws and nibbles for Happy Hour!

Be sure to let me know if you make this punch!

Thursday, March 18, 2021

I Bought the Most Fabulous Plant

 I love a variegated plant more than anything.

Last week, in search of something else but trying to satisfy my serious Spring Fever, I wandered through the garden center at Lowe's. 

I spied this plant peeking out of a brown paper wrapper. It looked familiar but I wasn't completely sure what it was. I was trying to find the tag (and price) and an employee stopped to help. I asked if the one I was looking at was the only one and he said it wasn't. They had just unloaded a cart full from the delivery truck. I got my pick of the bunch. 

It is a variegated Elephant Ear (Alocasia adora 'Variegata')

 Here in the Atlanta area they are a Summer tropical but they are hardy in zones 10-11. I knew I still had some cold weather  ahead but I couldn't pass this beauty by!

           I brought it home and it's hanging out in a corner of the Family Room right now.                  

 See it in the corner?

Read about my newly recovered Leopard couch here!

We are having mild days (even hitting 70 degrees here and there) so I can take it out on the screened porch during the day to get some bright light and fresh air. I joke about "taking my plant out for a walk" but keeping this beauty happy until it's safe to move outside for the Summer is worth it. 

I'm hoping I'll be able to winter it over and have it for years to come. I'm doing some reading to learn more about Elephant Ear care. I love how big the leaves get on even the solid varieties. Do you grow Elephant Ears? Any tips?

Monday, March 15, 2021

Saucer Magnolias

The Saucer Magnolia is one of the earliest signs of Spring here in the South. The trees literally burst into bloom overnight and are covered by the huge blooms. The leaves don't appear until the blooms drop off.

We have two Saucer Magnolia shrubs in our yard. On one the blooms start out a very soft, ballerina pink and deeper pink coloring appears as the bloom ages. The other Saucer Magnolia bursts into bright, hot pink blooms that glow in the sunlight. People walk up into our yard to take pictures of it!

They don't make long lasting cut flowers but I still like to cut a few to bring inside (especially if we are having a cold snap and aren't outside to enjoy the blooms.)

The facts via the Arbor Day Foundation:

A hybrid cousin of America's magnificent Southern Magnolia, the Saucer Magnolia is actually a large spreading shrub that take its name from its wide, saucer-like flowers. It was first cultivated in 1826. The fragrant, early-spring blossoms are white shaded with light to deep pink or purplish-pink. Big, broad leaves are dark green, and the smooth bark is silvery-gray. Medium- to fast-growing, good pollution tolerance. Likes moist, deep, acid soil and full sun. Grows to 20'–30'tall , 25' spread. (zones 4-9) 

The Saucer Magnolia just has one big show of blooms in the early Spring. The leaves are an attractive lighter green than the glossy, dark green leaves of the more familiar Southern Magnolia so it's still a nice addition to the garden even when it isn't blooming. It's a low maintenance, pest free shrub in our area so I highly recommend it. Plus that one week of amazing blooms each Spring will win you over!

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Faux Bois

 Faux Bois means "false wood" in French. 

I realize I'm starting to look like a big fake on here - first my "faux pleated shade" post, then "faux-piaries" and now I'm talking about fake wood :)

Never fear, Faux Bois really is a thing and it's getting a lot of attention right now. It's not a trend, though, in my opinion. (I talked about trends here if you want to know my view on trend v. classics.)  I first discovered Faux Bois in my twenties (so, a long time ago!) via a Martha Stewart magazine article. Antique French Faux Bois furniture pieces are quite spendy and rare. Newer faux bois pieces can be the same. Here is the link to an artist in Virginia who practices the 150 year old tradition of making faux bois furniture! Amazing. And my latest Ballard Catalog featured some new faux bois items by the fabulous gardener Bunny Williams.

 Faux Bois can also mean a faux finish technique that makes wood, paper, or fabric look like it has a pronounced wood grain. There is a tool called a rocker that helps create this look. I have a rocker and learned to create a faux bois finish many years ago. I thought it was fun and pretty easy to master. Maybe I'll dig it out and use it for a project soon! I keep looking at this faux bois rug from Martha Stewart!

But this post is actually prompted by a cute little, reasonably priced faux bois candle holder I found the other day. I have a serious case of Spring fever and it seemed like a fun accent piece to display a little plant or some other springy items. Or an actual candle, it's intended purpose!

Do you like Faux Bois? People seem to either really like it or want to give it a definite pass. 

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Can a Couch Change it's Spots?

 The proverbial saying "that a leopard can't change his spots" is actually scientifically proven but a couch can change it's spots. And mine did!

I personally love a touch of leopard (or animal print, in most cases) in a room. I think it's a classic as proven by the use of leopard, tiger, zebra and more through the decades by many fantastic designers with fabulous taste. There really isn't anything more classic than @schumacher1889 le Tigre,  Lee Radziwill's couch,  or a zebra rug (faux, please!)

I semi-joke that "leopard is a neutral" and that's how I'm viewing my couch transformation. I moved this vintage (and very comfy) couch in to my family room a couple of years ago. I talk about why and what inspired me here.

(The wicker couch before)

Last fall, during my 'Family Room Fluff' One Room Challenge I searched high and low for an affordable, neutral, indoor/outdoor leopard print. It did not exist (for me) because I couldn't find the 'affordable' (for me) part. And needing indoor/outdoor was also key because we allow our beloved Cooper to snuggle with us on the furniture. 

(PS. Tennis balls are not allowed in the house. He is so sneaky!)

But I never gave up hope of finding this dream fabric and I never quit googling it from time to time ... and one day a link popped up and I clicked and there was affordable, neutral, indoor/outdoor leopard fabric for a too-good-to-be-true price!!

 So I ordered a swatch which came in no time.

And then I wandered around with the swatch looking at it in the room, in different light and with my pillows and such. And then I ordered it. 

I made a slipcover for my ottoman too. It was actually a leopard print already but it didn't match the new fabric on the couch. I wanted to preserve the leopard upholstery already on it so a simple cover was the best way to make it work in the room and still have the option of using the original upholstery in another place in the future.

I am not a sew-y person but straight seams are within my limits. I found a great, basic tutorial for recovering cushions waaaay back when I first got this couch and covered the faded cushions with dropcloth fabric. I've used it multiple times. If I had the ability to put in a zipper I would love that but stitching or velcroing has worked well. I've recovered a ton of cushions on thrifted furniture. There are some pieces that are worth having a professional upholsterer recover cushions and such on but some simply are not so this method works well.

I am absolutely thrilled with my fresh new (leopard) look. I've had white slipcovered couches for over 25 years and I still love them (and have one on the other side of the room) but this is a fun change for me!

Here are some really fabulous leopard couches in designer rooms to inspire you further.

First, the leopard couch at James Farmer's NC cabin is amazing.

I love the orange glazed walls with Aerin Lauder's huge leopard couch.

How do you feel about a leopard couch? Could you do it?

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

(Faux) Topiary Tuesday!

I actually call my little collection of fake topiaries "faux-piaries" :)

I love real, living topiaries but sometimes faux is the way to go because topiaries can be finicky (and pricey!)

I purchased a few of these in a variety of different places from Target to IKEA to a floral wholesaler I like in our area. 

And I made several of them using a few easy steps and supplies. I "planted" them in a collection of thrifted blue and white Chinoiserie planters. I originally made the boxwood topiaries for my mother's surprise birthday party a few years ago. When my parent's home closed last year I brought them home and I've enjoyed using them inside and out. 

                     The directions are here if you want to create a "faux-piary" of your own!

Monday, March 1, 2021

Bamboo Bed Tray

 Breakfast in bed on a bamboo breakfast tray seems like the most relaxing, elegant and indulgent thing! 

I own a bamboo breakfast tray and I love it but I've never actually used it for breakfast (or any other meal) in bed.

Maybe it's because I recently rewatched Downton Abbey but when I saw Lydia Menzies fun Instagram Challenge to use green and set a tablescape for 1, 2 or more, I immediately thought about my bed tray! If you are popping over from my Instgram post here are more pictures and some sources for the items I used. Most of my items have been thrifted over time but I did find some similar items to share with you.

Since we are all soooo ready for Spring I decided to pretend that breakfast was being served on our swinging bed on our screened in porch!

I found my bamboo bed tray several years ago but there are quite a few for reasonable prices on sites like eBay. This one is similar. You can even find new, folding bed trays on Amazon for under $20.00. It would still be a treat to be served on one like that :)

The plates are divided grill plates in green Depression Glass. I started collecting green Depression glass in my teens thanks to a "starter" gift from one of my mother's friends. I literally never see Depression Glass in any color in thrift stores near me. There is a lot available on sites like eBay and Etsy. Here are similar plates. The fruit compote is also Depression Glass.

The goblet with the handpainted butterflies was found at Goodwill for 99 cents. It was the only one and doesn't have any markings on it. This could be a fun DIY for your Easter table or there are a lot of glasses with butterflies in all price ranges if you google.

The pineapple salt and pepper shakers came from World Market about 5 years ago but this set on Amazon is similar. And I really like this set!

The green and white Chinoiserie vase was thrifted for a few dollars. I love when I find little pieces of Chinoiserie in colors other than the traditional blue that I am always searching for!
The geranium blooms are real - my "sort of greenhouse" overwintering experiment is going well. Everything is blooming! The cloth napkin is from the Target Dollar Spot last year.The bamboo flatwear is what we use everyday. We have had a few different sets over the years. You can find it from a lot of sources and all different price ranges. If you want an inexpensive set to enjoy for picnics and eating outside this Summer then this is a good price on a set. We've broken a couple along the way so I might be ordering a set too!

I love that my bamboo bed tray has the old fashioned newspaper slot. I have limited my news intake and who would want to spoil this delightful breakfast spot with the news anyway?? I slipped in the latest Southern Living but, if you prefer, an iPad would fit in there nicely!

Maybe I'll use my bamboo bed tray this Summer now that I've been inspired 
by Lydia Menzie's IG Challenge!

PS. I am not affiliated with any of the links above. They are merely an effort to help you source similar items if interested.