Saturday, April 19, 2014

Aqua allure ...

Aqua is one of my favorite shades of water and sky. It always makes me think of windswept beaches and Caribbean cottages.

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Images above via Awesome Spaces (left) and Casa com decoracao (right).

Islets, reefs, and cays ... the Bahamas, Aruba and Jamaica ... aqua is the calm, soothing color of tropical getaways and dream vacations.

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The light, blue/green shade is a peaceful refuge and a neutral canvas for dynamic accent colors and artwork. Aqua has a timeless appeal in interiors.


Images above via House Beautiful (left) and Rachel Smith (right).

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I love to see aqua at home in the city, too. But, it's watery beauty would be my first choice for a lake cottage or beachfront condo. Kiss, kiss.

Limoncello lust ...

Upon her return from a school trip to Italy a number of years ago, my daughter proclaimed she would like to move to the Isle of Capri and become a lemon farmer. Well, sure, why not! In addition to the beauty of the Amalfi Coast, she was inspired by her first taste of limoncello.

Isle of Capri

Limoncello is 'the taste of the island,' and the bright yellow fruit that shares the drink's name has been cultivated there for centuries. Did I mention it is the perfect summer drink? It is.

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The Centofanti family, dear friends who hail from Naples, Italy (on the Sorrentine Peninsula across the Gulf of Naples from the Isle of Capri), have mastered the art of making limoncello over generations. And, I'm determined to give it a try.

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No, I haven't been privy to their family recipe, but how hard can it be?  I found a recipe that seems pretty straightforward.

LIMONCELLO RECIPE from Giada De Laurentiis
Yield:7 cups

10 lemons
1 (750-ml) bottle vodka
3 1/2 cups water
2 1/2 cups sugar

Using a vegetable peeler, remove the peel from the lemons in long strips (reserve the lemons for another use). Using a small sharp knife, trim away the white pith from the lemon peels; discard the pith. Place the lemon peels in a 2-quart pitcher. Pour the vodka over the peels and cover with plastic wrap. Steep the lemon peels in the vodka for 4 days at room temperature.

Stir the water and sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Cool completely. Pour the sugar syrup over the vodka mixture. Cover and let stand at room temperature overnight. Strain the limoncello through a mesh strainer. Discard the peels. Transfer the limoncello to bottles. Seal the bottles and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours and up to 1 month.

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I have these great stopper bottles just waiting to be put into service. (These bottles are sold at World Market, in case you want to pick some up, too.) 

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Limoncello is cool refreshment in the summer heat and a beautiful reminder of our time in Italy. Love, love the bright yellow hues lemons bring to the table, too.


Friday, April 18, 2014

The court is now in session ...

From the courts where Bocce is played in Italy to Pétanque in France and Spain, I love watching sweet, seniors enjoying an afternoon of comraderie and competition playing the game also known as Boules. It appears so enjoyable in fact, that I'm dreaming of adding a Pétanque court (known as a 'terrain') on our property and taking up the game as well.

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The installation looks pretty straightforward. Wood is used to frame the perimeter and it is filled with sand, then, tamped to level. Finishing with decomposed marble, crushed sea shells or even artificial grass gives the terrain an optimal playing surface. 

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It would be great fun to add a seating area for rest between games and bring in some much-needed color. Surrounded by lush plantings, the court would certainly be an added attraction for entertaining.

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There is nothing demure about this Pétanque court. Not that I have a slope this dramatic, but the landscaping and water feature are obsession-worthy. Gorgeous!

This video link to the Bocce game rules has me thinking this could be just the exercise I need. Oh honey ...

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... it's that simple. We can do it.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Blue's the hue ...

There's something mesmerizing about the crystal clear, blue skies over Texas. Visitors comment about it all the time. So, I think I may just bring some enviable blue hues to my tabletop as well. Effortless style is what I'm after, and I found some welcoming blues for inspiration.

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Images above via House Beautiful (left) and Laure Joliet (right).

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Images above via Lonny Magazine (left) and Magnolia Rouge (right).

I've been collecting blue fabric remnants for some time, with an assortment of Toile de Jouy and ticking stripes among the favorites for projects I have in mind. No time like the present to get started.

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