Monday, April 29, 2013

Threshold At Target

 Curiosity got the better of me after seeing so many ads about Threshold at Target.
So, with great expectations, I decided to check out their new line of merchandise.

 The name "Threshold" alone conjures up images of home to me, particularly a home with a rustic and natural vibe.

Although there wasn't a lot of Threshold merchandise at my local Target, what was there is indeed rustic. 

 Natural beeswax candles...

Faux lavender in burlap wrapped pots....

 Natural wood candlesticks...

Natural wooden clock...

And a galvanized metal clock!

 Target has always had their share of fabulous lampshades.

There is a small collection of furniture too for the Threshold line.
Frankly, I thought there would be more products, and that they would all be concentrated together.
I came home and explored the Target website to see what was missing at my local store.

Turns out, there is a whole bunch more online.
I just explored the "kitchen and dining" category and was pleasantly surprised.
Here are my picks, starting with a white porcelain covered brie dish.

 I seriously need about a dozen of these refrigerator jars for leftovers.
At $7.99, they are a bargain.

Yum is the word for this set of 4 dessert plates.

This plaid ice bucket is a no brainer for me!

Why do I just love stuff like this?

And this?
Seriously, what is it about white porcelain with words.
Gets me every time!

 I love this colorful set of melamine dishes.
They're perfect for summer meals.

 You can never have too many trays!


Bringing it all together...
"Natural wood, galvanized steel and a touch of watercolor"...yes this space does say urban farm!

Check out your local Target for Threshold products or just go online here.

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Friday, April 26, 2013

SHED, A Modern Grange

If you are old enough to remember the value of a local grange, where people in the community could meet, gather and share ideas, then you will understand the concept behind the newest business in town called SHED.
SHED is a market, cafe and gathering place.
A modern grange, if you will.

SHED opened their doors last weekend in Healdsburg, and we were there to check it out.
Even if you don't plan on visiting Healdsburg any time soon, it is still a very inspirational concept of celebrating local farmers, local food, sustainability, and the agrarian lifestyle that I feel can work anywhere.

The local newspaper, The Press Decomcrat said this about SHED:
"To get an idea of its scope, imagine retail icon Williams-Sonoma rubbing shoulders with the Chez Panisse Cafe, while Smith & Hawken digs into the compost pile with Dean & DeLuca."

As soon as we walked in, we just stood there taking it all in.
You have your produce area which is all local and organic, lovingly displayed in wicker baskets.

Rice, grains and beans in bulk... well as other products, locally produced and on display.

I fell in love with this marble topped table.  Not sure what it was there for or even if it is for sale, but it rocked my world!

Lovely, local flowers for sale...

There is even a whole section dedicated to bees, honey and beekeeping.

There is another area dedicated to the art of food preparation, offering wonderful culinary items for sale.
I love these Mason Cash bowls.

The art of fermentation is indeed a lost art, that is essential to food preservation.
In fact, SHED has a fermentation bar, offering wines, beers, hard ciders, kombuchas and natural sodas on tap.

The cafe looks amazing too!
Its open kitchen and wood burning oven offers food prepared from local farmers with the menu changing daily.

In the back of SHED is a whole area dedicated to gardening and farming.

Seeds are available for planting your garden, and these aren't just ordinary seeds, they're non-GMO and  
heirloom seeds.

The passion here is contagious.  
Their goal is to "inspire, educate, engage and delight."
SHED is a community resource for learning, offering talks and seminars by authors and artists on the craft of gardening, farming and sustainable living.

This is something that interests me immensely. 
The idea of growing and preserving your own food. 
Eating what is in season and organically.
And "eating your view!"
Which means, eat local.

(SHED photo)
It's so nice to have a modern grange in our community that supports these concepts. 
I hope that SHED is successful and it inspires other businesses like this too.
Maybe in your area!

For more information about SHED, visit their beautiful website here.

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Red Geranium Project

I think of my garden as just another way to express my creativity, and I tend to choose plants and colors  for "rooms" in my garden the same way I choose fabrics and colors for rooms in my home.

I'll never forget my first time in Europe, specifically Paris.  Red geraniums were everywhere, in every window box, full and lush.

I was so influenced by the sheer simplicity and beauty of these geraniums, that I came home, had window boxes installed and planted them with red geraniums and white Bacopa.

However, I found that keeping them lush and full was a bit of a challenge.  They do need to be deadheaded, as well as fertilized frequently.
Also, they tend to become ratty looking after a while, especially in the heat of summer.

I recently discovered a hybrid red geranium that stands up to heat, is full and lush, and absolutely gorgeous with velvet green leaves and deep blood-red flowers.
It's called "Big Red" geraniums by VIVA, and is sold by Home Depot!

Red geraniums are my choice for the pots and window boxes in Asti.
So when Home Depot got a shipment of VIVA "Big Red" Geraniums on Saturday, we bought as many as we could fit in the car and spent 6 hours planting out the pots scattered around.

This is what the old ones looked like from last year!  Ratty!

Much better, don't you think?
I'm hoping these geraniums carry us to Labor Day and beyond.

Each pot received Miracle Grow soil and is watered by a drip system, keeping them alive in our absence.  

I think red is a great color choice for the country.
It goes great with the white roses and purple lavender, which is about all that we can grow here, due to boron in the well water.

This is how I decorated this "room" in Asti.
Varied pots, some small, some large, planted with a combination of red patio roses, red geraniums with a few olive trees.  Italian Cypress line the edges.

Yes, gardening is much like decorating.
It's a wonderful opportunity to express creativity through living things by painting a landscape with color and texture.
I find it most satisfying.

For more information about VIVA Big Red geraniums, click here.
Big Red is currently available at Home Depot, but hurry--they're going fast!
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Monday, April 22, 2013

Happy Earth Day!

 Happy Earth Day!
And what better way to celebrate Earth Day than digging in the dirt!

 Although we didn't get around to planting the vegetable garden, we did get the herb garden planted.
Sweet basil, Italian parsley, oregano...

...and Sage.

The sage is left over from last year and is in full bloom!

And so are the volunteer sweet peas.  
I don't have the heart to pull them out just yet and plant the tomatoes.
No, not with their heavenly scent filling the air.

 I brought them home by the armful!

Thank you Mother Earth for the gift of sweet peas!

We celebrated Earth Day today by planting an herb garden.
Over one billion people and 193 countries participated in Earth Day today.
To read about some of the activities all around the globe, click here.
What did you do for Earth Day?

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