Monthly Archives: July 2016


Herbs Before & After

before and after

July 31, 2016, posted by Gina – You may remember that in the Spring I was given some free Mojito mint and I wrote a post about it.  As evidenced by the photo, it looked dead. I am happy to report that it is growing beautifully in my yard and is so fresh. If I brush up against it that heavenly minty fragrance fills the air. I was warned by many gardeners not to plant the mint in one of my flower beds as it would take over. After much thought, I decided that having mint growing everywhere would not be a bad thing. Judging from the photo it will apparently take years before that happens but I welcome it.

herbs before and after

Around the same time, I purchased a few very healthy herbs and planted them in pots which they quickly outgrew. So, I planted them in the ground and while they do not look larger, they actually are.  They have grown unruly and don’t look as nice as the freshly planted ones in my opinion. But, more importantly, they taste great and really liven up many dishes. I just need to cut them more often!

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Fishin’ & Flowers

July 26, 2016, posted by Gina – My friend over at Pink Peppermint Paper was asked to help put together a creative event for a company dinner at a local restaurant. The restaurant is casual and serves up some of the best catfish I have eaten anywhere.

Casual Summer Event centerpieces wm

The restaurant sits on the water, so she came up with a fishing theme. This is where I came in. They needed flowers for the tables to coordinate with the restaurant and theme. I was so thrilled to work on these arrangements because, outside of their request for colorful flowers, I had free reign.

Casual Summer Event wm

My friend used burlap runners on the tables, fishing net, the cutest gingham place cards and bobbers for the napkin rings.  I went with very natural looking arrangements with sunflowers as the star flower.

I enjoyed working on these and love how the event turned out. If you are in need of invitations or ideas for parties, visit Pink Peppermint Paper to see all the things my friend has to offer.

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Flower Favorites

trio wmJuly 25, 2016, posted by Gina – I am a planner, so soon as I receive an order for flowers, my mind races with all kinds of ideas for the arrangements. I take every detail into consideration from which flowers would make the most pleasing design to what containers would be best and, of course, I think through the mechanics involved in putting them together. While I give most of my attention to the largest arrangements, it is sometimes the smallest ones that I fall in love with. That was certainly the case with the trio pictured above that I created for a powder room. I found these cute iron containers on the hugely popular Magnolia Market website.  Test tubes sitting inside iron forms are the vessels for the flowers. While I was very happy with the way the other arrangements turned out, this little trio gave me such a big smile. They really gave the powder room a fresh, cheerful touch.

large yellow and white wm

All these flowers were designed for an engagement party at a beautiful home where they seemed to fit right into place. The large, round arrangement pictured above was created for the main dining table. The long rectangular arrangement pictured below went on a large island and it was stunning against the white marble counters.

yellow and blue wm

This succulent arrangement nestled together nicely in a very pretty shell bowl and went on an outdoor table where the beverages were served.

shell container wm

We’d love to hear from you!  If you have any comments or thoughts to share, click on the title of this post and the comment form will open at the bottom of the page.

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The History of My Chocolate Chip Chess Pie 1 comment

choc chip chess pie wm

July 24, 2016, posted by Gina – I started making this pie 24 years ago.  Upon moving into one of our homes, a beautiful box packaged with all of the ingredients to make a pie, except the eggs and pie shell, was given to us.  After settling in, I made the pie and it was delicious. I wanted to make it again and actually found the beautiful box filled with the delicious pie ingredients in a local store and brought it home. I remember thinking it seemed a bit expensive and wondered if I could figure out how much of each ingredient was included.

So, as if I was doing a scientific experiment, I set out to determine the measurements of each ingredient and made the pie. It turned out just like the box. This is a testament to how things have changed.  Today you would do a quick internet search and in no time have several sources for the recipe. But back then, I was so proud of myself and happy that I did not have to buy the expensive box.

I find myself cooking for groups many times either for church, school or friends. This pie is my “go to” because I can prepare it very inexpensively and I can bake 4 at a time. On top of that, everyone loves this pie. It travels well, keeps well and looks really pretty. Here’s the recipe:

CHOCOLATE CHIP CHESS PIE

Ingredients:
1 stick of butter melted and slightly cooled*
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup all purpose flour
2 eggs
¾ cup chocolate chips
1 ready bake pie shell

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°. Melt the butter and set it aside until it is cooled slightly*.  Combine the sugar and flour together and then mix in the butter.  Add the eggs and mix until combined.  Add the chocolate chips last and stir only once or twice or just until combined.  Pour mixture into a frozen ready to bake pie shell (not deep dish) and bake or 40-45 minutes or until golden brown on top.  Let cool and serve. Enjoy!

*Be sure the butter is slightly cooled so that you don’t end up with scrambled eggs or melted chocolate chips. 

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The French Country Look

olive jar planters wm

July 22, 2016, posted by Gina – It is a bit ironic that I love and try to emulate the French Country look at every turn in my home when Michelle is living right in the middle of France. I have loved this look for many years, so when we began looking for a new home over 6 years ago I would study anything that was deemed French Country.  I have a book, Segreto: Secrets to Finishing Beautiful Interiors  by Leslie Sinclair that I consider my décor bible as so much of it is what I imagine French Country really looks like. I poured over this book more times than I should admit but the clean, fresh style is just so appealing to me.

When we found our home my mind started churning with ideas and thinking about what items would or would not work in our new home. One of the things that I felt just had to go were the planters by our front door. When our landscape architect was helping me with the design of our yard, I told him I wanted large olive jars to go there instead. I even told him to just take away what we had until we could find the right planters. He urged me to keep the ones we had until he could find the right ones. Four years later, I finally have beautiful olive jar planters in front of my home. Now to decide what to plant in them…

olive jar planter closeup wm


Fast and Furious Flowers

July 21, 2016, posted by Gina – Last weekend a good friend of mine served as somewhat of a wedding coordinator. Her daughter was the Maid of Honor but apart from that she has a kind and generous nature so it came as no surprise to me that she would have found herself in this unlikely position.

The wedding was on Sunday afternoon and she met with the bride on Saturday to go over all the details. They went through all the usual checklists and it soon became apparent that somehow flowers had been left out of the plans.

I received a call at 3:00 pm on Saturday from my friend. She was telling me how pretty the location was and sharing how many props the venue had stocked in a very well organized store room. She also mentioned that flowers had not been taken into account, though the bride absolutely wanted them. She told the bride she’d figure something out. As my friend continued telling me about the venue, I could not get past the flower issue. My mind was racing with all kinds of ideas to help her make the best arrangements possible given the time constraint.

Here’s where this story gets interesting. My friend has never made a bouquet, boutonnière or done much flower arranging.  So, we devised a last minute, extremely low budget plan. I told her that roses would be the best bet, and probably the only bet, at 3:00 pm on a Saturday.  She rushed off to the grocery store and found that there was not enough of any one color except red. Luckily, red was the color for the wedding. She bought everything she could find and then flew off to the craft store for wire, ribbon and supplies.

I began sending her photos of bouquets and boutonnières that would be the easiest to put together. We talked about how to put these together quickly as she had to attend the rehearsal.  So at about 8:45 pm the night before the wedding my friend who had never done flowers before with only roses at her disposal began the daunting task of preparing wedding flowers. We exchanged phone calls and photos back and forth for a while until she felt comfortable and was just plain getting tired. And that was the last I heard about the flowers.

On Sunday I was anxiously waiting to hear about the wedding. I received a text from my friend telling me the wedding was over. All I could think was ‘where are the photos’? How did the flowers look?  Did they hold up in the 100-degree outdoor wedding? She was busy wrapping things up so it was late in the day before photos started coming my way.

Take a look for yourself! She did an amazing job! Think about the challenge of having to do 6 bouquets, 1 corsage and 6 boutonnières using only roses and having 2 hours to get them done. So the end to this story is that the couple was married, the wedding was beautiful and no one had any idea that the flowers had not been planned from the beginning. My friend is a Rockstar!

bouquet

barn

bridesmaids

the kiss


Shopping Excursion: Côte d’Azur & Provence 1 comment

Rue du safranier

July 14, 2016, posted by Michelle – It’s Bastille Day here in France so it seems appropriate to write about my latest French shopping excursion for GDFC. I ventured down to the South of France and visited brocantes and shops in Antibes, Valbonne, Juan-les-Pins, St. Tropez and Aix-en-Provence.

Grimaldi Tower and brocante, Antibes, France wm

The beauty of this part of France is breathtaking. The rocky coastline where the foothills of the Alps meet the deep blue Mediterranean sea is dotted with majestic parasol pines. And in what the French call the “arrière-pays” (the countryside) fields of lavender and sunflowers stretch on forever across the dry, hilly landscape and the steady chirping sound of the cicadas complete the Provençal mood.

Antibes is on the coast and is, so far, my favorite place in France not only because of the beautiful seaside but also for the interesting sights and things to do: the Provençal farmers market, the art market, Port Vauban (the largest marina on the Mediterranean), Fort Carré (a 16th century fortress), the Picasso Museum (in a former castle of the Royal Family of Monaco), the lovely architecture of the old city and shops and markets of all kinds. What’s not to love?

Antibes, France, Brocante and Vielle Ville wm

On Saturdays there are a couple of brocantes (flea markets) in Antibes’ old city where you can browse to your heart’s content. I came across lots of vintage tableware and artwork there.

Antibes seaside and brocante wm

I also tracked down some signed original watercolors (below left) and unusual prints in a shop on a little hidden side street.

Antibes and aquarelles wm

And, of course, I picked up several packages of lavender for myself including some edible lavender which, the package said, can be used in ice cream and other desserts.

lavender

The shopping in the other cities was just as much fun and each place seemed to be more beautiful than the last. I can’t wait for the next trip!

cap antibes and port wm

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Shopping Excursion: French Flea Market 1 comment

July 3, 2016, posted by Michelle – I made a trip to the flea market (Les Puces) here in Lyon this morning. Sunday is the big day to go because all of the vendors have their booths open. It was a gorgeous day to browse through piles of linens and tableware, rows of furniture and tangled stacks of bric-a-brac.
les puces wm

I can always find interesting and beautiful things here and came away with, among other things, a set of quintessential red stripe vintage kitchen towels and an early 20th century mint condition majolica oyster server.

purchases wm

Next week I’m heading to the South of France in search of more linens and tableware to ship back to the U.S. Please check back with us as we plan on having our online shop up and running soon!

Les Puces 1wm Les Puces 2 wm

linens wm

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