Some lovely hot pink Riviera roses thrown in for good measure.

The view (above) from Catalina coffee. Catalina Coffee by the way, can hold its own next to the much regarded Bluebottle. They are quickly becoming my go-to. Happily.

Wonderful produce from the Urban Harvest Farmer’s Market at City Hall.

Work project: pumpkin, fresh local figs, candied ginger and cream cheese (to seal the deal).

Next point of business: acquire a rack to secure such a cute clutch. Loving this look.

Backyard leaves (yes, again)

Channeling my inner Constance Spry, I went out back for leaves. Big surprise right? I ask you to bear with me as I continue to navigate through the natural elements just readily available all around me. There is such a bounty of overgrown foliage each and every way I look.Wild foliage and blooms are just seemingly more interesting.

This is what I’m faced with. The back yard is a bit of a wild mess. It was (and still is) in desperate need of some leaf and debris removal. Taking a rake to it would also certainly help. It’s as if someone hadn’t combed their hair in months. Many months. Now I get to work out the tangles.

Naturally I needed to trim some of these leaves out back. I also wanted to fill a vase.

And to think we sometimes pay for Ti leaves….lucky I have this variety growing all over. Just a nice handful ( 10 or more) spruces up a corner, adds some green to a room and yet still remains unfussy.

Because these leaves are so resilient, I switched vases and arranged them differently in the kitchen. Mind you, a week later.

Again, simple and unfussy. The leaves are now folded in and I’ve added a few stems of a very thorny plant (growing between a lime tree) for height and much texture. A single Riviera rose adds a pop of color. (Yes, I actually purchased roses recently). I just couldn’t resist the striking hot pink hue.

The gorgeous local produce (eggplant, tomatoes, okra and padron peppers) is from the Urban Harvest Farmer’s market at City Hall.

Coral Vine

I’ll admit I’m a fan of Twitter. What can I say, I don’t have cable and I engage in social networking. But really, it is entertaining, and informative, and even inspiring (quite often). Memorable moments in the past include: instant #earthquakeinsf updates and reading the live tweeting from #jamesbeardawards2011. That is just to name two. If you think about it, it is much more instantaneous than many major news sources. But perhaps you already knew that..

Today I uploaded an image of a beautiful pink flower I had just #foraged from a nearby vacant lot. The only glitch was that I had no clue as to what it was. Within minutes of posting I had my answer. Ash from ( the much admired and Austin based floral company) The Byrd Collective, tweeted back to me that it was in fact called: Coral Vine.

Here is what it looked like growing wild in the elements. A quick Google search revealed it is indigenous to Mexico, but grows quite well in Texas and the Gulf area. Further reading indicates it appears to be invasive (will cover everything in its path), it’s drought tolerant and the roots of this vine are edible. I’d consider these all perfect reasons to invest in this beautiful vine.

In the meantime, I took some trimmings for the road.

I tweeted back to Ash, that I’d love to pair it with orange tones and Antique hydrangea for a colorful fall alternative. Hot pink and orange is one of my favorite color combinations. The vibrancy of the tiny hot pink flowers is also quite a refreshing sight, considering days earlier, I featured simple green leaves in this vase. Nice, but not as exciting as Coral Vine.

Knowing it is close by, it will be hard to resist sneaking back over there to trim some more…


I’ve never been one for dried flowers. What can I say, it just isn’t my thing. I much prefer a revolving door (if you will) of fresh live elements. Whether it’s leftover blooms from an event, fresh yard clippings, or snippets I’ve discovered while out foraging. I like fresh blooms and leaves around me. I can’t help but feel it gives a room clean and fresh energy.
The whole ‘dried’ or ‘fake’ flower scenario conjures up stuffy rooms in a grandparent’s sitting room (possibly mine). If memory serves: there was a generous layer of dust coating a derelict floral arrangement on a book shelf. Again, just not my thing. I also draw the line at dried eucalyptus. Not that there is anything wrong with it, but it’s the sort of thing my mom might keep in a wicker basket in her sewing room. It also takes me back to unpleasant childhood memories of being dragged into a Garden Ridge (crazy warehouse of craft explosion) against my will. Again, whatever makes you happy (this doesn’t do it for me). But happy it makes her times three.

What I will tolerate in the spectrum of dried things are featured below:

 Tallow berry (featured two ways), Crespedia (aka Billy’s Balls) and Cotton on the stem.

I unearthed (from a time capsule) quite a load of Tallow berry. Some I have arranged in an empty (and treasured) Cafe du Monde can.

The rest is working in a tighter, more clustered arrangement. I added a stem of cotton for some textured contrast.

And then there’s Billy’s Balls. Gotta love these. They are so much fun to use when fresh but also dry perfectly, color intact. I’ve cut mine down quite a bit and tucked them into a tiny vase, leaving only the little yellow heads visible.

I’m also fond of drying out antique Hydrangea (when it’s in season), using Bittersweet berry (in moderation) and tussling with dried Silver tree in the winter. I’m sure I am forgetting a few others….

What dried elements will you tolerate?


Favorite images and objects at the moment (this week):

Paris apartment: Fond of the minimalism, mismatched chairs and over-grown cactus
Green apples on a vintage couch
Floating Texas zinnias
Ilex berry in glass test tubes at Chez Henson
Idyllic beach moment (photo from This Humble Abode)

Wild mini-sunflowers

Considering there is/was a drought around these parts, I’ve recently observed wild over-grown bushes of mini-sunflowers just about everywhere. This can only indicate> the times we are living in aren’t as hopeless as they sometimes seem to be. Or that a few of Rick Perry’s prayers were answered? I’m sure flowers were in his prayers.

Needless to say wild-sunflowers are growing along sides of major roads, in big empty fields and lining a bike path I’m fond of taking. It is a nice sight, considering the wild-flowers that should have been (months prior) never bloomed to fruition. Here they are, now sprouting up after that last and brief rain.

Large sun flowers tend to grow vertically, but this wild mini-variety grows horizontally and all over the place. It is more like a hunched over and tangled web. Speckled with tiny yellow flowers weaved amongst the stems, it looks like a bush of weeds from a distance.. As soon as I spotted the bush below I knew that it could use some help by being pruned back. As well, it was slightly obstructing a walk-way. I thought some fall-trimming was in order.

One large stem yielded a nice wild arrangement. I decided to keep some of the dried pods (on the stem) in the medley and arranged the wild blooms in a vintage vase I dug up. I think the pods add a nice dimension and create a good balance in the arrangement between what is new and what is old. Balance is always the motive.


Each year I celebrate and acknowledge Day of the Dead by setting out an altar (ofrenda) for my relatives and a friend who have passed on. This year was no exception. My ofrenda is a little smaller this time, lacking the traditional marigolds, the sugar skulls, beer and copal. Generally I like to offer: a glass of wine, some rum, assorted chocolates and a bounty of fruit. This year I did what I could offering: water, fruit, bread (in the form of a fig, chevre, fenugreek brioche baked by me that morning), sun flowers and a burning candle. Honored this year were: my maternal grand-parents, maternal great grand-parents, my paternal grand-father and a former co-worker who died too young (in my opinion).

In lieu of marigolds (not to be found at the usual market) I used wild sun flowers from the front yard. They are beautiful but were in desperate need of trimming and served a wonderful purpose at the same time.