Saturday, May 25, 2013

No Droopy Sunflowers A Quick Tip!

You gotta love Sunflowers!

Big bright and beautiful! Sweetwater....
The Deer like to munch on Sunflower leaves...


Sometimes I grow them on the deck...

Once in a while a few "volunteers" hide long enough to set blooms...

But I have given up trying to plant seeds and
hope for a nice crop....

So I have to buy them "gasp" !

Usually at the Farmer's Market...

This week Mr. S. brought a nice bunch home from the grocery store!

Sunflowers are hard to arrange in a vase....

They are big, floppy and hard to keep upright....

This is one flower that doesn't do well stuck in florist foam or a frog....

Here is the Sweetwater trick for making this quick nice looking arrangement!

First need an opaque vase....not a clear one!
This Haeger vase from Goodwill is the perfect size and shape for a Sunflower Bouquet!

Fill it with water....
Add a couple three paper towels.....let them soak up the water!

Stick the whole bunch of Sunflowers in the wet paper towels....
let the paper toweling support the stems as you arrange the flower heads....

Gather the stems together and tie with a big bunch of Raffia....

 How's that for a tutorial!
and oh yeah....Thanks for the flowers Mr. S!

 Have a Great Weekend Everyone!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

7 Sweet Things-Perennials Groundcover

The best part of Spring in the Sweetwater Gardens is when all the perennial ground covers start to show their bright happy green selves.

When gardens cover as much real estate as the ones around here.....ground covers make a big difference!

Here are 7 Sweet Ground Covers to try if you don't know about them already!


This plant loves Sweetwater!

It comes up everywhere.....

In the rocks....
In the lawn.....

But in the Shady part of the garden,
Lamium is a star with it's ability to flower in the shade!!

no....not an elephant named Sandra!!!
but a shiny, creeping ground cover that stays green almost year round....even in Minnesota!

 It is the first spot of green as soon as the snow melts.
It makes a great border....I just keep ripping it up and plopping it in new spots around the yard.

I love to use Pachysandra in arrangements as fill.  
The sturdy leaves almost become their own "flower frog". 

 Wild Ginger

You can't eat is poisonous....but you can look at it...

The texture and shape are a nice companion to the Lamium and Pachysandra!

Fiddlehead Fern

The best camouflage for the compost bin is the stand of Ferns that is finally taking root!
Yah....they seem to be rooting everywhere...
I dig them up and transplant them to pots for "free" spikes in planters.

I planted this pot yesterday...the pot WAS clean before our morning thunderstorm!

The variety I have does not cut well....hmmmm....maybe I need to shop for a kind that does!

Creeping Thyme

This little gem is the star of the Sweetwater entrance when it is in bloom.

Some people call it a "steppable" because you can walk on it and when you do....
a lovely aroma comes up!


There are so many varieties of sedum....and every one is a great ground cover for sunny spots.

This little bright yellow version transplants well and is sturdy enough to be "steppable".

The common name for some Sedum is "Stonecrop"....guess this photo shows why!
The bright yellow flowers will show up in a month or so and be pretty showy!

This teensy tiny Sedum is "Stonecropping" everywhere in the landscape rocks....Yikes!


At Sweetwater the Hosta is otherwise named "Deer Food"
But never the less.....we have an abundance of the stuff!

Big Leaved....Small Leaves.....Tall....Short....Dark Green.....Yellow
We love them all and move them at random all over the gardens.
I wish I was one of those gardeners who keep track of the names of their plants....
But alas, I am NOT that I never know what to tell people when they ask...
So Sweetwater is full of NO NAME the Steak!!!

There you have them....some of my favorite plants!
Feel free to comment with YOUR favorites!

Have a very green day!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Personalized Stationery the Thrifty Way!

I love pretty stationery....don't you?

I have a bunch of stamping supplies sitting in a box.....
but I never seem to have the time or will power to really do that anymore...


And since the advent of:

Phone calls

There isn't a lot of need to have fancy personalized stationery!
And....certainly, there is NO need to spend a lot of money on such a little used luxury!

Here is a little trick I have learned to have some fancy lady notecards that are fun to use...
....and to give as gifts!

Have you ever looked at the lovely Wedding Stationery Kits at Target and Michaels?

Well....even if there is NO wedding in my future...that doesn't mean I can't use this elegant stuff!!!

The Goodwill that I go to often has boxes of Wedding Stationery Kits for cheap!

And, check out the clearance aisle at Michaels....they often have boxes on sale!

Usually under 10 dollars....for lots and lots of stationery to repurpose!

Sometimes the box has been opened....or some pieces are missing...
oh.....such pretty designs.....heavy card stock....lovely envelopes!!!

I buy them and turn them into personalized notecards!

All it takes is some time spent with my word processing software....
Some creative use of monograms....
Or...a favorite quote!

One year we used the folded pocket to hold our Christmas Photo with a printed greeting....
The fancy stickers and ribbon made for a pretty nice greeting card!

When I need a quick baby gift...what could be cuter than notecards personalized with the baby's name?
Mom and Dad have stationery to send thank-you cards...

I love these yellow cards....
so cute for a new baby girl!

No birthday gift on the shelf for a girlfriend...or no time to shop....?
Print out some cards with a and useful!

One kit I found had a bunch of stickers included....
I printed Holiday Gift Tags on them....classy and very cheap!!!

The Heavy Folders are great for hiding all the "little" coupons and "stuff" on my bulletin board!

Here are a few quotes that I have been saving to use when I get around to it!
Feel free to use them....for your own personalized stationery!

Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History!

Some of us are becoming the men we wanted to marry.

She who leaves a trail of glitter is rarely forgotten!

Playing dress-up begins at age 5...and never truly ends!

Take My Advice.....I'm Not Using It!

A woman should be two things: Classy and Fabulous!

Style is the perfection of your point of view!

Fashion fades, only style remains the same.

If you don't have anything nice to say, come, sit by me....

So...I challenge you to get creative....
to send some SNAIL Mail once in awhile!

Have a Great Day!
My Turn for Us   Craftionary 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Crab Cakes and Scallops...YUM!

This was dinner at Sweetwater last night!
Doesn't it make your mouth water?

I LOVE Crab Cakes....
I often order them at restaurants....and am sometimes disappointed by the way they taste!
Sooo.....I learned how to make them at home!!!

Here is my go to recipe adapted from one I found on line!

 Sweetwater Oven Baked Crab Cakes

2 Containers of Philips Crab Meat
(1 lump crab and 1 claws)

8 Ritz Crackers crushed

1/3 cup Mayonaise

1 egg

3 chopped scallions (white and green parts)

1/4 cup chopped red pepper
(2 of the little poppers from CostCo are perfect)

4 Sprigs of Parsley chopped finely

2 Tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning

Bread Crumbs

Mix all this together into a fine mess.....
Go ahead...get your hands messy...

Form this into 6 nice sized cakes....

Cover both sides with fine bread crumbs....

Place on a baking sheet that has covered with about a quarter cup of Olive Oil....

Bake in a 325 degree oven for 10 minutes....flip them and bake for another 10 minutes.
Increase the temperature to 325 degrees and bake each side for another 5 minutes a side.


The real trick is in the special sauce.....another Sweetwater Creation!
Just 2 Simple Ingredients that together are an amazing complement to the Crab Cakes!

Jimmy's Thousand Island Dressing
Harry & David's Sweet Pepper and Onion Relish

 Jimmy's Dressing is a mildly sweet 1000 Island if you can't find the exact thing keep that in mind.

The relish is also sweet....and I have found others in the Gourmet aisle of the grocery store....

Here is the Carmelized Scallop Recipe that I have been using ever since the Sweetwater Daughter served them this Christmas!  This is a screen shot of the recipe on Christina Ferrare's Website.  Click this link if it is too hard to read!

It is simple to adapt the recipe to the number of Scallops you have....
It is almost never fail....
I do have to say that I dip BOTH sides of the scallops in the sugar...but don't tell Christina.
And the cooking time is exactly right for the last 10 minutes that the Crab Cakes are baking!

The best part....

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