Blenheim Palace Trees

I saw an episode of Downton Abbey the other day and noticed some lovely trees on the grounds of Highclere Castle.  They reminded me of some that we saw when we were at Blenheim Palace in May.  I learned that they are Cedar of Lebanon trees - you can see one drooping in the picture below (along with some lambies).  The picture at bottom shows some Copper Beech trees that we learned about while we were exploring Blenheim (the purple ones).  We were fascinated by the way that they grew into such uniform mounds.  One of the unexpected and interesting effects of travel is learning about the flora and fauna of other parts of the world.


Shell Jars

Do you collect seashells?  Whenever I'm at the ocean, I can't resist picking up a pocketful.  After a couple of trips to California and a couple to Florida, I started keeping them in mason jars.  To make them a little prettier for a living room display, I sprayed the lids bronze and printed some labels.  They still have some space left, so I'll have to head to the beach again soon!


Roeselien Raimond Photography

Last week I allowed myself 5 minutes on Pinterest, and I was so glad I did!  It had been a while, but you're always guaranteed to find something great - right?  I discovered the wildlife photography of Roeselien Raimond.  The Dutch photographer captures magical shots of lambs, foxes, and other critters in her homeland.  I think I love the leaping lambies the best.


The Sweet Life in Paris

A couple of weeks ago I finished reading a book that a friend had given me, called The Sweet Life in Paris.  It's by David Lebovitz and based on his blog found at davidlebovitz.com and subtitled "living the sweet life in Paris."  It was really interesting!  Lebovitz is a chef and writes about various aspects of life in Paris.  The book also included a bunch of recipes that look really great.  I'll let you know if I get around to trying any.  Or maybe I'll just have to go to Paris to experience the food firsthand.  (Our Paris experience was a 10-hour layover, so the only food we had was a baguette sandwich on the street outside the Louvre--delicious--and a macaron at the airport--also delicious.)


Flow Blue - Fulton by Johnson Brothers

I wanted to know more about a piece of porcelain that I inherited, so I Googled it.  I learned that the maker, Johnson Brothers, is now owned by Wedgwood.  The Fulton line is from the turn of the century, and the technique used in making my particular piece is a kind of transferware called flow blue.  What I have is a gravy boat - exactly like this one that was offered on eBay here.  It's a rather unique piece.


Barn Fly Trading

I have a shirt that gets commented on every time I wear it.  I liked it when I found it, but I didn't realize how interesting it would be to everyone else!  Barn Fly Trading makes shirts with classic Western prints.  I first saw them at the gift shop at Little America, but they were quite expensive (I think $80+).  So I was excited to find one at Sierra Trading Post for $15!  I have the buffalo print in pale yellow, and I really like this new one with the barn swallows print (bottom).  I'm definitely a Western girl at heart.


Cutting Edge Stencils

Have you ever used stencils?  The wall stencils by Cutting Edge Stencils seem like such a great idea.  I would like to try one of these Moroccan designs in our tiny second bathroom.  I'd probably do a subtle tone-on-tone.  What do you think?



When I was in Utah my sister and nephew recommended another great book to me.  Wonderstruck by Caldecott Medal winner Brian Selznick is really fascinating.  It's 608 pages long with over 460 pages of original artwork.  Selznick weaves two stories--one in text and one in pictures--in an intriguing way.  I really enjoyed it.


Art from Deseret Book

I was in Utah over Labor Day weekend to attend the open house for the newly renovated Ogden Temple with my family.  I also visited Deseret Book and found some great artwork.  This piece by Scott Sumner is called Come Follow Me - I love the lambs.  Below is a print of "The Pioneer Temples."


Better Than Cannoli Ice Cream

We've found another fabulous flavor of ice cream.  Brennan's Market in Monroe, Wisconsin, has become our new favorite place to shop.  They have great produce - including peaches from out West.  When we were there over the weekend, we discovered Better Than Cannoli Super Premium Ice Cream.  It's so great.  It's a mascarpone ice cream with chocolate bits, cannoli pieces, pistachios, and maraschino cherries.  Yum!



I think I've found the perfect solution for wet, stinky shoes at YW Camp...  Bogs waterproof boots are stylish and functional.  This pair would definitely do the trick!


Rowallan of Scotland

One of the recent catalogs that I received from Sierra Trading Post included some cute jewelry keeps by Rowallan of Scotland.  Cute and handy for traveling!


Naf Naf Grill

Have you heard of Naf Naf Grill?  It's like a Middle Eastern Chipotle.  You choose whether you want a plate or a pita and chicken or beef and rice or homemade potato chips, etc.  Their pita bread is so great.  It's like eating a doughy cloud.


Cath Kidston

I just love Cath Kidston.  When we were at Heathrow about to come home from England this summer I spent my last 5 pounds on a little zipper pouch made from this cute "London Scene" fabric.  These new totes are adorable and practical (just not affordable...).


Whitey's Graham Central Station

We discovered some amazing ice cream this summer.  Whitey's is based in Moline, IL, and they sell to Hy-Vee stores.  That allows us to pick up some of their yummy Graham Central Station ice cream whenever we want to...  (Check out this delicious photo from their Instagram!)


Braunschweig Pottery

When we visited the Iowa State Fair, I saw a booth with pieces by Braunschweig Pottery.  I loved these ceramic loops for hanging dried flowers on the wall.  I really wish I would have bought one!


Dave Matthews Band - Sister

I love the Dave Matthews Band song, Sister.  Probably because I have 4 sisters...


In Ruins: Michael Schultz, Steven Montgomery, Ramon Elozua

Earlier this spring we visited the Daum Museum of Contemporary Art at State Fair Community College in Sedalia, Missouri.  They were having an exhibit called In Ruins, featuring work by Michael Schultz, Steven Montgomery, and Ramon Elozua.  It explored decay in industrial settings.  We were fascinated by the photography of Michael Schultz.  Check out his work under "Industrial Remnant" on his web site here.