Friday, June 26, 2015

Announcing the Canvas Winner

"What is one to say about June, the time of perfect young summer, the fulfillment of the promise of the earlier months, and with as yet no sign to remind one that its fresh young beauty will ever fade." ~ Gertrude Jekyll

Congratulations to Jessica, who won the complimentary 16x20-inch canvas from Canvas PopI will be emailing the promotional code for claiming this exciting prize and hope I will get to see the finished product.

This is such a beautiful time of year that I'm sure we all have no shortage of images we want to capture. So don't forget, through July 15, readers of A Little Loveliness can get 35 percent off your purchase at Canvas Pop with the discount code LOVELINESS35.

Have a lovely weekend! I have taken quite a few pictures of our porch, so hopefully I will share the big reveal next week.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Easy & Delicious Breakfast Parfaits

"It is in the early morning hour that the unseen is seen, and that the far-off beauty and glory, vanquishing all their vagueness, move down upon us till they stand clear as crystal close over against the soul." ~ Sarah Smiles

For our recent spring brunch, I assembled the simple yogurt parfaits pictured above. These were so delicious, they have become a new morning favorite.

Easy Yogurt Parfait

Frozen sliced strawberries with sugar, defrosted
Vanilla-Flavored Greek Nonfat Yogurt*
Dark Chocolate & Red Berries Premium Organic Granola**

Spoon sliced strawberries and syrup into the bottom of a dessert dish, parfait glass or jar. Add a generous dollop of Greek yogurt, and top with a strawberry and a sprinkling of granola. For a parfait glass, repeat layers, ending with granola.

*I used Dannon Oikos Blended Greek Nonfat Yogurt Triple Zero Vanilla.
**I used Love Crunch Premium Organic Granola

Perfect any time of day, this easy treat could become your new favorite (mostly healthy) indulgence!

If you haven't registered to win the 16x20-inch canvas from Canvas Pop, be sure to leave a comment on this post. I will announce the winner Friday!

Monday, June 22, 2015

A Delicious Spring Brunch

"Low buds the pink dawn like a rose
From out night's gray and cloudy sheath;
Softly and still it grows and grows,
Petal by petal, leaf by leaf ... ."
~ Susan Coolidge

Recently the children and I enjoyed Sunday brunch together -- actually, the menu I had planned to serve Mother's Day weekend. 

We delayed our festivities and found the perfect opportunity to sit down together while Joe was out of town. He does not like most traditional breakfast foods, so this worked out best for all of us.

Our hydrangeas have been beautiful this year, so a bouquet slipped into a soup tureen made a gracious centerpiece.

Toile de Jardin plates -- a Tuesday Morning find I could not resist -- looked lovely atop crocheted place mats Joe's mother gave me recently.

Here's a view of our table before we filled it with an appetizing menu. Christian has become quite the expert at making omelets, so his hearty specialty was our main course. Read on to glimpse the entire menu.

Delicious Spring Brunch Menu

Lemon-Slush Punch

Omelets Made to Order

Garlic Cheese Grits

Bakery-Style Blueberry Muffins

Yogurt Parfaits

Spring Blend Coffee

Find our recipe for Lemon-Slush Punch here. When I want coffee, The Fresh Market's Spring Blend is one of my favorite brews. Our menu was delicious, and in the end I am glad we delayed our brunch to a Sunday when we had more time to linger.

A few of my favorite people in the world -- aren't they precious?

"What a benediction is this fragrance of the early morning! The vernal grass fills the whole atmosphere as with a shower of sweetness!" ~ Sarah Smiley

Friday, June 19, 2015

Father's Day Craft: Monogrammed Dress Shirt with Bow Tie Place Card Tutorial

"Blessed indeed is the man who hears many gentle voices call him father!" ~ Lydia M. Child

Perfect for Father's Day, clever bow-tie place cards dress the table with preppy Southern style for Dad's special day. I made a set of these a couple of years back for a seersucker-themed tablescape, but the photos were lost before I could share them with you here. These little accents were my favorite detail of that family dinner, so I wanted to share them with you now. The tutorial below offers directions for making place cards, but you could easily adjust this project to make a greeting card.

Monogrammed Dress Shirt with Bow Tie Place Card

1. For each place card, use a 3x5-inch card. Fold the card in half (short ends together), and make a crisp crease.

2. Open the card, and use a craft knife to cut a slit across the crease, leaving about a 1/4-inch margin on each edge of the crease.

3. At the mid-point of the slit, use a craft knife or scissors to cut a 1/2-inch slit into the front of the card. On each side of this slit, fold the paper down to form a triangle. This will form the collar for the dress shirt.

4. For the placket, glue a strip of white card stock to the center of the dress shirt. The piece pictured is 1/4-inch wide and 1 1/2-inches long. Add three small pearl-sticker buttons.

5. Print a pocket on card stock. The one pictured was designed in Word by adding a text box with monogram to a trapezoid, sized to 3/4-inch long and just over 3/4-inch wide at its largest. A faint dashed line adds a smart "stitched" detail.

6. Use a ribbon of fabric to make a bow tie. (Unfortunately, I don't have the dimensions for the strip of fabric I used, but it won't take much). The finished bow tie is 1 1/2-inch across by 1/2-inch deep. I liked the look of doubling the loops for a fuller bow tie, so I estimate that I cut strips that were just over 1x4-inches in length. Press the fabric, fold the ends under lengthwise, and fold to shape into bow tie loops. Using needle and thread, secure this form with a couple of stitches. Cut a narrow strip to serve as the center knot. Fold each edge under, wrap tightly around the center of the bow tie, and secure with a stitch on the back. Use hot glue to add the bow tie to the collar of the shirt.

Have a wonderful weekend honoring the men of honor who have blessed your life!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Beauty of Charleston's Boone Hall Plantation

"Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind." ~ Seneca

Monday I shared glimpses of our screened-in porch makeover, which includes a canvas picture from last summer's trip to Charleston. (If you haven't visited that post, leave a comment here to be entered in a drawing to win a free 16x20-inch canvas of your own from Canvas Pop.)

I realized after sharing a favorite photo from Boone Hall that I never shared images from that excursion. So today let's stroll through the grounds of this lovely site.

We stepped inside America's most photographed plantation for a brief history of the house and grounds but spent most of our afternoon touring the surrounding gardens. Here are a few of my favorite views.

From the towering live oaks that line the pathway leading toward the house to the magnificent mansion and grounds, there is so much loveliness to discover at Boone Hall.

Coming up: a Pin-worthy, Facebook-share-worthy, "awww"-inspiring Father's Day craft, so promise me you'll stop in Friday!

Monday, June 15, 2015

A Peek into Our Screened-In Porch & a Giveaway

"Summer afternoon — summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language." ~Henry James

One of our spring projects that has stretched into summer is giving our screened-in porch a makeover. We still have a few final details to attend to before I share all the before-and-after photos, but in the meantime I could not resist giving you a few glimpses of my new favorite spot for relaxation.

Painting the brick has given the space such a tranquil feel (more details about that in an upcoming post). I have a few more pictures to hang before I can reveal this cozy corner, but before I share the completed gallery, I want to let you in on a little secret. The canvas above is my favorite of the grouping, both for its loveliness and its sentimental value. When Canvas Pop offered me a complimentary 16x20-inch canvas, I knew I wanted the finished product to be the focal point of our screened-in porch. As a reminder of last summer's anniversary trip with Joe to Charleston, S.C., I chose a photo from our visit to Boone Hall. The profusion of blooms growing in the plantation's flower garden offered one of the unforgettable vistas from that trip. 

I loved the idea of displaying an image on our porch that reminded me of exploring such a beautiful destination -- adding even more inspiration to our outdoor oasis. The artisans at Canvas Pop gave the image the look of an oil painting, and the results are stunning! I especially love the painterly effects on the birdhouse. We have the canvas hanging in a  protected spot where it will not be at risk of getting wet during our frequent mid-summer showers, but I will probably bring the canvas inside for safekeeping during the winter. Canvas Pop professionals advise thasince canvas is a natural product, it will shrink and swell due to significant changes in temperature or humidity, so artwork should not be hung in a bathroom or directly over a heat source.

Keep reading for a special discount for readers of A Little Loveliness, along with details on how you can win a canvas of your own!

The previous homeowners left a couple of outdoor chairs behind. After being left to the elements on our patio, they needed a good scrubbing before I moved them to the shelter of the porch.

The high ceilings are a striking feature of this outdoor room -- especially when coated in a peaceful shade of blue. Drop-cloth drapes also enhance the room. I will share more views and details soon, I hope.

I will share the rest of our furniture and accessories in an upcoming post, but the mug above from French Script gives you a little hint at the decor that makes this such a lovely, romantic outdoor room. Now for the giveaway!

Canvas Pop is offering readers of A Little Loveliness a 35 percent discount, good through July 15, with the code LOVELINESS35. And for a chance to win a free 16x20-inch canvas of your own, leave a comment below. I will announce the winner in an upcoming post!

There is more beauty to come this week, so stop in again soon!

Friday, June 12, 2015

All in Grand Fun

We enjoyed vacationing at The Grand Hotel in Point Clear, Ala., over Memorial Day weekend. Holiday events included a petting zoo and carnival rides by the lagoon and a nighttime bonfire on the beach with s'mores and sundaes. We loved taking part in these special events, but many of the resort's regular activities were just as enjoyable. As a family we divided into pairs to go kayaking in the bay one afternoon.

These girls loved lounging in the hammock. What a perfect spot for snuggling!

Riding bikes was my favorite leisure activity. Christian, Mary Ashley, Emma and I ventured beyond the gates to follow along the shore. There are some beautiful old properties with stunning views of the Gulf!

Here is a view of the pool, as seen from our balcony. This was a great gathering spot and place to cool off.

Lawn games were a pleasant diversion. Croquet, anyone?

The boys enjoyed playing horseshoes also.

Sunday brunch was such a delight, I couldn't resist snapping a photo of my sampling of desserts. These delightful morsels would be perfect for teatime. And speaking of that, afternoon tea and cookies are a daily pleasure here.

Although we wanted to linger, too soon it was time to head home from our marvelous weekend on the Gulf Coast. In a few short days we packed in enough beautiful moments to last the whole summer!

Be sure to stop in next week for some creative projects on the home front, including a preview of our screened-in porch makeover.

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