Cooking with Flowers is a delicious mix of food and flowers and possibly the most beautiful cookbook I have ever seen!
It makes me want to plant Roses, Tulips, Hollyhocks, Daylilies, Dianthus and it forever changed my opinion on Dandelions~ I’ll never curse one again :)
When I first saw this cookbook on Jain’s beautiful blog, my pulse quickened and my heart skipped a beat~ you’ll want to take the time to stop and taste the roses in Jain’s garden!
Feast your eyes
and your taste buds. . .
“Here are more than 100 recipes that will bring beautiful flower-filled dishes to your kitchen table! This easy-to-use cookbook is brimming with scrumptious botanical treats, from sweet violet cupcakes, pansy petal pancakes, daylily cheesecake, and rosemary flower margaritas to savory sunflower chickpea salad, chive blossom vinaigrette, herb flower pesto, and mango orchid sticky rice.”
“Alongside every recipe are tips and tricks for finding, cleaning, and preparing edible blossoms. You’ll also learn how to infuse vinegars, vodkas, sugars, frostings, jellies and jams, ice creams, and more with the color and flavor of your favorite flowers. Fresh from the farmers’ market or plucked from your very own garden, a world of delectable flowers awaits!”
Since my pansies and violas I planted in the fall will soon be languishing in the heat and will need to be replaced with summer annuals in a couple of weeks, I thought I would try flower syrup. As with any edible flower, only use pansies or violas that are pesticide and chemical free.
Pick your flowers in the morning when they are fresh, avoiding older bruised blooms. Rinse gently to “debug” them and pat dry. Remove each pansy or viola from its sepals (green base). If your pansy/viola petals separate, it won’t matter for the syrup.
For pansy/viola syrup:
2 – 3 cups fresh or dried flower blossoms (I used 2 cups)
2 cups boiling water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 to 1 cup fresh or frozen fruit, optional ( I didn’t use but will next time)
Makes 2 cups
Place blossoms in a medium bowl and pour boiling water over them. Let them stand for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours (mine steeped for 3 hours). In a saucepan over medium heat, bring flower water, sugar and fruit if using, to a simmer. Cook for 4 minutes, then remove from heat and pour through a fine mesh strainer into a glass container. Discard solids and refrigerate up to a month.
Infused with the color of the pansies, this finishing syrup is a light lavender color, thinner and easier to pour than a simple syrup, and can also be used over ice cream. The flavor was slightly sweet and herbally, next time I’ll add berries for a little fruit flavor.
I was inspired to make some Pansy Petal Pancakes,
or actually crepes!
There is a crepe recipe included in the cookbook, but I used my go to recipe~ Alton Brown’s, available from Food Network and added a teaspoon of vanilla to the crepe batter.
Pour 1/4 cup of your crepe batter in the middle of your hot skillet and swirl to distribute the batter quickly and evenly. After about 1 minute, add your violas or pansies to the crepe. I used my finger to press the petals down gently into the crepe until they flattened from heat from the pan. When the petals are flat, flip crepe and cook another 30 seconds or so.
My first few crepes were a hot mess until I figured out how long to wait to place the flowers and flip the crepes, so experiment and save your prettier violas after you get the hang of your crepes.
You can make these crepes and stack them after they are cooled between sheets of parchment or wax paper and store in a sealable plastic bag in the fridge for several days. Reheat your crepe in the microwave and add your filling.
My filling was a mixture of lemon curd and light cream cheese. You could fill your crepes with your favorite jam, fruit, whipped cream or nutella. The violas don’t add a distinctive flavor to the crepe especially with the filling, but what a pretty crepe to wake up to or enjoy for brunch~ especially for Mother’s Day!
“Sweet violets, spicy orchids, savory sunflowers- who knew flowers were so delicious?”
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After a long rainy weekend, I’m at the table enjoying some welcome sunshine, flowers and dining al fresco with the vibrant collection of Villa della Luna dinnerware!
Inspired by centuries-old traditions of Italian ceramics, the fleur bowls have a warm terra cotta interior that I filled with an assortment of decorative pasta for the table.
Cheery Sunflowers, synonymous with Tuscany, fill a green urn as a centerpiece, along with some Purple Statice also known as Sea Lavender that might be found growing on the rugged Italian coast near Villa della Luna in Dancing with the Moon.
The wine glasses as well as the dinner plates
are bordered with a classic acanthus leaf design.
Dancing with the Moon continues with the adventures of Mademoiselle J that began in The Secrets of Pistoulet.
In Dancing with the Moon, Mademoiselle J embarks on her journey from France to Italy with magical recipes that contribute wisdom for her journey such as Transformational Moon Crescents, The Risotto of Welcomes and Beginnings, and Pasta Vivante, for those who are afraid of the passion of life.
In addition to recipes, Dancing with the Moon is a vivid tactile experience filled with interactive elements such as gatefold doors, concealed treasures, tarot cards, and passports.
More than a book, it is an open-hearted invitation to learn and to love.
I paired napkins from Bed, Bath & Beyond with the dinnerware that are reversible~ with stripes on one side and a floral print on the other~ folded to show both patterns.
Pedestal mugs offer breadsticks at the table and hold 12 ounces of cappuccino, hot chocolate, or tea.
Square wine tapas plates are ideal for side dishes, small desserts, and can also serve double-duty as bread plates or hors d’oeuvres.
A sugar bowl & creamer set are versatile enough to do double duty~ serving additional cheese, condiments, or salad dressing.
The scalloped salad plates add some mix-and-match possibilities and interest used alone or with the dinner plate or bowls.
A vibrant covered butter dish can keep your butter fresh at the table or Wisdom-Enhancing Amaretti concealed until someone is in need of guidance :)
Villa della Luna table details:
*Dinnerware & Stems/ Villa della Luna by Pfaltzgraff
Tablecloth, coverlet/ Kohl’s
Flatware & Chargers/ World Market
Napkins/ Bed, Bath & Beyond
Urn/HomeGoods, many moons :) ago
Assorted pasta/from kitchen jars, found at HomeGoods
*Lifetime Brands’ products have been provided free of charge in exchange for promotional consideration.
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I’ve had the most delicious fun with
Full of best-loved Irish favorites and contemporary
recipes, with a little scenery sprinkled in~
My love of the Irish is rivaled by my love of potatoes.
Champ was included among the traditional favorites, along with a little tabletop inspiration with the custom of leaving a bowl under a bush for the fairies.
Champ is creamy mashed potatoes served with a pool of melted butter. The key to the flavor of these potatoes, besides the butter :) is the green onion infusion in the milk in these potatoes!
2 lbs. starchy potatoes, peeled and cut into even chunks (I used Yukon gold)
20 scallions, some green tops included, chopped
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoons peppercorns
1/4 cup snipped chives
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) melted and hot butter
A Pot (or bowl) of Gold for St. Patrick’s Day with
Yukon Gold potatoes & a well of golden butter!
Cook potatoes in salted water (I add a chicken bouillon cube to the pot for flavor and color). Bring to boil and simmer 20 minutes or until done. Drain well and put potatoes back into the pot to get rid of any excess moisture.
While potatoes are cooking, put chopped scallions in a pan with milk and peppercorns. Simmer 5 minutes, then drain, reserving the milk and scallions separately.
Mash potatoes until smooth, stirring in enough of the milk to produce a creamy consistency. Stir in scallions and chives. Season to taste with salt & pepper.
Transfer to a warm serving bowl and make a well in the center to pour in the not melted utter. Serve immediately, mixing in the butter at the table!
With a little fairy inspiration, I’m at the table in anticipation of St. Patrick’s Day with a mossy runner, fairy rings, and a benevolent fairy :) as a centerpiece.
In Ireland, fairies are known to live in special places called fairy rings, which are earthen circular mounds.
Fairy rings are created by fairies dancing in meadow grass~ causing it to turn brown and bare, or green with tall grasses, often with mushrooms growing around the edge.
Take caution and do not disturb them~ it is considered bad luck to interfere with these mounds. . .
For the table, woven chargers are surrounded by reindeer moss fairy rings. Two moss runners from Hobby Lobby (18 x 48) are placed end-to-end over a foundation of green burlap, also from Hobby Lobby.
Pots of Irish Moss fill Mikasa Stanton mugs, providing a pop of emerald green at each place setting~ to be planted later to creep between stepping stones by my Potting Shed.
With a wee bit of fairy magic :) daisies are
sprouting on the moss instead of mushrooms~
A centerpiece of green veggies and fruit and this week’s dinner :) all from the grocery store is easy to assemble on a tray~ apples, cabbage, ruffly salad savoy, artichokes and brussels sprouts, sprinkled with daises and alstroemeria.
Florist water pick tubes keep alstroemeria from wilting and are tucked out of sight. Daisies are long lasting even without water and are sprinkled in among the veggies.
Fairy Table Details:
Dishes/ Mikasa Stanton
White Chargers/ Deartis, T.J. Maxx
Woven Chargers/ World Market
Napkins/ Pier 1
Napkin Rings/ Bed, Bath & Beyond
Flatware/ Argent Orfevres
If You See A Fairy Ring
“If you see a fairy ring
In a field of grass,
Very lightly step around,
Tiptoe as you pass;
Last night fairies frolicked there,
And they’re sleeping somewhere near.”
I had such an overwhelming response to my cookbook giveaway that I’m giving away two!
The winners are:
O’Paula from Indiana
I’ll be in touch with you by email and your cookbooks will be on their way.
Thanks to all who entered!
You can visit fairies at the table at the links below~
Thank you for your visit, I’m joining:
Posted in Books, Food, St. Patrick's Day, Tablescape
Tagged Champ, fairy rings, green veggie centerpiece, Hobby Lobby, Irish Moss, Mikasa Stanton, moss runner, The Complete Irish Pub Cookbook
I’m lifting my spirits with the Power of Flowers~ to banish the winter blues and brighten the table after some cold, rainy weather!
Dish gardening helps me cope so I’m enjoying blooming dishes and some bouquets from favorite books at the table . . .
Keeping company with the buzzing of the bees and fluttering of butterflies among the flowers on my Portmeirion Botanic Garden.
Studies have shown that flowers increase energy, enhancing your mood and feelings of well-being with their color and fragrance~ which my own research has verified :)
So I indulged in some flowers from Trader Joe’s~ easy on the checkbook and too hard to resist~ especially the heavenly scent of hyacinths and vibrant shades of iris!
A big book, oversized with lush blooms, showcasing more than 300 images of the varieties in her abundant gardens.
A visual treat!
I’m also a big fan of
I have several of her books,
A quick & easy 5 minute arrangement~ a potted Kalanchoe, available at most grocery stores, surrounded by Granny Smith apples, and long-lasting daisies, and green button mums.
Daisies will last 3-8 days and mums 7-14 as a rule.
Flower Power Details:
Dishes & Napkins/ Portmeirion Botanic Garden
Chargers/Deartis, T.J. Maxx
Flatware/ Napoleon Bee, Horchow
Bee Highball/ La Rochere, Target.com
“More than anything, I must have flowers, always, always.” ~Claude Monet
A book & garden peak along
with Carolyne Roehm’s frolicking pups :)
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Posted in Books, Dishes, Flowers, Tablescape
Tagged 5 minute flower arrangement, Flowers by Carolyne Roehm, hyacinths, iris, Kalanchoe, Napoleon Bee flatware, Paula Pryke, Portmeirion Botanic Garden, Trader Joe's flowers
I love when food and books mix~ which is what I miss about Food for Thought, created by my friend Jain, who spends her most of her time living a quiet life by the sea. I seem to spend my time reading more blogs than books these days, but I still enjoy curling up with a good book~
The School of Essential Ingredients was one my first Food for Thought reviews and a happy recipe for reading. In School, Lillian reads people the way she does ingredients, with the magic of matching ingredients with personalities to change a person’s mood or life. Erica Bauermeister returns with her cast of characters introduced in Lillian’s cooking class in The Lost Art of Mixing.
Warning: Prepare for serious food cravings from the evocative smells & flavors described. . . sugar, yeast, the ‘sensual come-hither’ scent of chocolate cake, strawberries ‘plucked warm from the sun’, ‘glistening layers’, butter melting across the tongue. . .
Custard was one of the many food references in the book. . .I succumbed and indulged in Creme Brulee (or Crème Brûlée if you want to be fancy :) for Valentine’s Day~ the only way to improve on custard~ with a caramelized sugar topping.
“Lillian and her restaurant have a way of drawing people together. There’s Al, the accountant who finds meaning in numbers and ritual; Chloe, a budding chef who hasn’t learned to trust after heartbreak; Finnegan, quiet and steady as a tree, who can disappear into the background despite his massive height; Louise, Al’s wife, whose anger simmers just below the boiling point; and Isabelle, whose memories are slowly slipping from her grasp. And there’s Lillian herself, whose life has taken a turn she didn’t expect. . . .”
“Their lives collide and mix with those around them, sometimes joining in effortless connections, at other times sifting together and separating again, creating a family that is chosen, not given. A beautifully imagined novel about the ties that bind—and links that break—The Lost Art of Mixing is a captivating meditation on the power of love, food, and companionship.”
“. . .Lillian had always been soothed by food. Not the eating of it, although a spoonful of custard could almost always be counted on to set her world to rights. But she had realized early on that it wasn’t simply the taste of the custard or the cool curve of the spoon slipping across her tongue, it was the creation of the dish that spoke to her– the careful warming of the milk and beating of the eggs, the dark mystery of nutmeg, the pouring of the liquid into small, round ramekins that she would set in a shallow bath of water in the oven, the watching as all the parts came together and turned from liquid to solid, gentled white and then just slightly gold.”
Creme Brulee, serves 6
1 quart heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 cup vanilla sugar, divided (I didn’t plan far enough in advance to make vanilla sugar, so I used regular sugar)
6 large egg yolks
~Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
~Place the cream, vanilla bean and its pulp into a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Remove vanilla bean.
~In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup sugar and the egg yolks until well blended and it just starts to lighten in color. Add the cream a little at a time, stirring continually. Pour the liquid into 6 (7 to 8-ounce) ramekins. Place the ramekins into a large cake pan or roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake just until the creme brulee is set, but still trembling in the center, approximately 40 to 45 minutes. Remove the ramekins from the roasting pan and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.
~Remove the creme brulee from the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes prior to browning the sugar on top. Divide the remaining 1/2 cup vanilla sugar equally among the 6 dishes and spread evenly on top. Using a torch, melt the sugar and form a crispy top. Allow the creme brulee to sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.
You can find printable recipes for vanilla sugar, here, and for Creme Brulee, courtesy of Alton Brown at Food Network, here.
“Erica Bauermeister writes prose delicious enough to devour. Like a fine meal, The Lost Art of Mixing will leave you warm in your belly, full in your heart, and very, very pleased. Like all the best writers and cooks, Bauermeister comforts with the familiar—in this case, a return to a cast of beloved characters—even as she sprinkles in the unexpected and new. The results are lip-smackingly good. You might even find yourself going back for seconds.”—Tiffany Baker, New York Times-bestselling author of The Little Giant of Aberdeen County
Reading The School of Essential Ingredients first is not required to enjoy The Lost Art of Mixing, but it’s a little like eating custard without the caramelized sugar topping that makes it Creme Brulee~ while it’s good, it’s not nearly as satisfying :)
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like a rare bird, hidden in a clearance
stack of books for $9.99~
Complete with 150 prints of John James Audubon’s
beautiful and scientific renderings~
Fun to compare his artistic illustrations with
our bird sightings at the lake~
Where we often see Osprey, Herons,
And are entertained by the aerial acrobatics
And enjoy watching the Bluebirds nest~
I spotted a bird last week that
I’m still trying to identify. . .
Even Mr. Audubon’s Masterpieces
and detailed illustrations were no help~
Although it does bear a resemblance to
the Carolina Turtle Dove or Common Magpie :)
I discovered it nesting in a bowl with other silverplate,
and endangered from the other knives
and flatware and becoming scratched~
So like a good conservationist, I rescued it
and brought it home to roost!
Markings identified the knife as anchor Rogers AA~
If anyone has any information as to the species :)
or pattern, please let me know!
The winner of my
. . . Susan at
Congratulations Susan and
thanks to all who entered!
I was the happy winner :) of Inspired You by Marian Parsons, aka, Miss Mustard Seed, graciously given away by Shirley at Housepitality Designs back in November!
While Miss Mustard Seed gets giddy over room makeovers, I get giddy over books :)
“Some girls get giddy over a new pair of shoes. Marian Parsons gets giddy over room makeovers. With a lot of ingenuity, a little bit of effort, and a tight budget, she has transformed her home into a beautiful space and filled her heart with a lot more contentment.
Thousands have found inspiration at Marian’s blog, missmustardseed.com, and now she shares dozens of new projects, ideas, and DIY adventures in the pages of Inspired You.”
“Marian will remind you that homes don’t have to be magazine material to be special, comfortable, and inviting. The goal you’re working toward is home. Not a perfect home. Not an ‘impress the neighbors’ home. Just home—one whose walls and rooms tell the story of the family who lives there.
Beautiful homes start with inspiration and a willingness to try. So uncover your God-given creativity. Be encouraged, be willing, and be inspired.”
There are tutorials, nuggets, and seeds of inspiration within the pages~ the perfect gift for someone moving into their first home, starting over from scratch, or wanting to give their furnishings and home a face lift!
Inspired by this sheet music wreath tutorial, I thought I would use my vintage seed catalog to grow :) a wreath~
I copied the pages so I could keep my catalog intact and enjoy the graphics & descriptions of flowers and veggies in wreath-form on my Potting Shed door.
I started with a 14 inch cake board but you can use a piece of sturdy cardboard cut in a circle, adjusting the size for your finished wreath.
I marked the center of the board and laid out the paper cones, alternating in a north, south, east, and west pattern (Miss Mustard Seed’s suggestion) so the wreath would look even when it was hung. I used a glue gun to make the cones and secure them to the base. I used two layers of cones~
Since my cones met in the middle, I wanted a flower-like center medallion~ so I accordion pleated four pages, folded them in half, and then cut the fans to the size I wanted. Then I glued them together and then glued the medallion to the center of the wreath.
I used some Walnut Ink Antiquing Solution to mist the new paper pages to give them a little age. You’ll want to experiment on some scrap paper when you first spray the antiquing solution, a little mist goes a long way.
The door to my Potting Shed is painted a brick-red color on the outside, but I kept the original finish~ worn, peeling and distressed, for the interior.
As I was thumbing through the catalog to copy the pages, to my surprise I discovered Shirley Poppies in my Schell’s Seed catalog~
I’m sending some Shirley Poppy Seeds
to you, Shirley :)
Thank you for the book
and the inspiration!
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Witches’ Brew Stew, aka Chicken Soup, is a recipe that we enjoy and I’ve had bubbling in my cauldron before!
Like all witches, I have my own special potion for Witches’ Brew Stew~ adapted from Southern Living’s recipe.
Fire up your cauldron, or slow cooker!
No fussing or worrying about stirring in a clockwise direction until your brew starts to bubble, and then stirring counter-clockwise. . .
I found Fright Bites Tortilla Chips at World Market for a scarily good addition to accompany our bubbling stew~ along with this cast iron mini cauldron to serve it in.
~1 rotisserie chicken, meat removed and shredded
~ 1 onion, chopped
~1 (10 oz.) package frozen corn (I used 3/4 package of Trader Joe’s fire-roasted corn, comes in a 16 oz. pkg)
~2 (15 oz.) cans Great Northern beans, rinsed, drained, and divided
~1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed, drained
~1 (28 oz.) can Ro*Tel Original, (turn up or down the heat on your potion with mild or hot)
~1 package taco seasoning (I used reduced sodium)
~1 (32 oz.) carton chicken stock (I used reduced sodium)
~2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
~1/2 cup milk
Add all ingredients into cauldron/slow cooker, reserving 1 can of Great Northern Beans, flour and milk.
Cook on low 6 – 8 hours.
Mash remaining can of beans in a small bowl.Whisk together flour and milk, and stir into beans. Add to slow cooker during last 2 hours of cooking time.
Add toppings to custom blend your brew. . .
Green Onion aka Scale of Dragon
Cilantro aka Toe of Frog
Jalapeños aka Eye of Newt
Cheddar Cheese aka Root of Hemlock
Sour Cream aka Maw of Shark
I highly recommend Wing of Bat Chips!
This stew is hearty, satisfying, and tasty~
especially after a long flight :)
You can enjoy of a different Witches’ Brew here.
Ravenous Witches might enjoy
recipe courtesy Pillsbury, here.
And a spellbinding read about a disturbing yet fascinating time period in American history~ the Salem Witch Trials.
“The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane travels seamlessly between the witch trials in the 1690s and a modern woman’s story of mystery, intrigue and revelation.”
I hope this Brew makes you
Happier than a Witch
in a Broom Factory :)
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Posted in Books, Food, Halloween
Tagged cast iron bowl, Fright Bites Tortilla Chips, Pillsbury Finger Sand-Witches, slow cooker, Southern Living, The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, Trader Joe's Fire-Roasted Corn, Witches' Brew Chicken Soup, World Market
I have been reacquainted with the Flower Fairies, prompting me to take a page out of Cicely Mary Barker’s book Fairyopolis, and look for Flower Fairies.
My hopes are to photograph one~
“The first rule is that it must be a very hot day. . .”
Equipment needed to find a fairy:
~Comfortable chair or place to sit
I set up my quilt and provisions for a long day of waiting and watching, hoping to catch a glimpse~
“The best times to see a fairy are at twilight, midnight, just before sunrise and midday.”
“Fairies appreciate the following:
Sweet delicacies such as fruit, jam and cake. . .”
I brought some Strawberry Jam, Madelines,
Petite Palmiers, and Berries for refreshments
and to entice the Flower Fairies~
And packed a basket with some borrowed dishes~
My Mother-in-Law’s Syracuse Portland~ offering up their floral bouquets in hopes of attracting the Flower Fairies~
I cut some Crepe Myrtle and scattered some petals to attract the Flower Fairies~
since they fashion outfits from fallen petals, dressing to impersonate the flowers so they may flutter by unseen~
I was alerted to the presence of Flower Fairies on this tin of confections, on one of my HomeGoods excursions~
You can see more of Cicely Mary Barker’s beautifully illustrated fairies here.
Fairies have delicate wings
that resemble a butterfly. . .
I’m following Cicely Mary Barker’s plan:
“Once a fairy has been spotted, gently catch her with the net or my hands. Place her in jam jar temporarily.”
I brought along a couple of cloches thinking they might provide an easier method to capture and examine the fairy before releasing her~
Cicely was influenced by the popular interest in fairies which developed from the Victorian enthusiasm for fairy stories and the immense popularity of J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan in the early part of the 20th century.
Flower Fairies of the Spring, her first book published in 1923, was well received by a post-industrial, war-weary public who were charmed by her vision of hope and innocence.
Fairyopolis is the secret fairy journal of Cicely Mary Barker, recorded during a magical summer of 1920 ~ a delightful book for the young at heart. . . complete with illustrations, bits of fairy relics hidden under postcards, photos & fold-outs~ along with a sample of fairy dust :)
Arriving at a friends’ summer home in Storrington, Sussex, England~ Cicely plans to paint and garden, surrounded by meadows filled wildflowers. On her arrival, she discovers this tranquil haven is surrounded by flower fairies. Cicely chronicles her discoveries, illustrating and compiling evidence of fairies in her journal. . .
It is a summer that she opens herself up to a whole new world~ unseen but often imagined.
“Flower beds are a perfumed paradise for fairies that desire beauty above all else. Every flower has its own fairy to care for it, which explains why most of my own fairy encounters have taken place in the garden.”
Looking for Flower Fairies Details:
Dishes/ Portland by Syracuse
Flatware/ Oneida Community Evening Star
Napkins & Butterfly Glasses/ HomeGoods
Wire Cloche/ Stein Mart, several years ago
Suspend your disbelief and enter
the Flower Fairies’ Magical Realm. . .
After all, only true believers
are able to see the fairies. . .
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