Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Ice Storm

I am not a patient person. Detailed oriented, yes, if I'm interested in the subject. It's usually the destination, not the journey for me. This does not always work out so well for me or for German girl who often fixes my mistakes. If , for instance, I want to download some pictures,I do, regardless of what else is happening on the computer at the time. As a result, my little camera had very little room for images 'cause it was full of music I had inadvertently loaded. Yesterday i was reading one of my favorite blogs ( and you know who you are) and i jumped up, took some pics , went to download them and somehow got the entire September 2007 blog postings downloaded to my pics. Good God, it took German girl about an hour to clean up that one. So now I am to close all sites, take a deep breath and turn on the camera. Okay, okay. There's a resolution for you, or rather for me. Slow down and try to capitalize . Oh, and never say no to a merengue! Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Made For Walking

have i no life if i'm not working? or am i so busy living it i don't take pictures? our sunday spring day has flown and we're left with sunshine and bitter cold winds. sunday i felt like gardening, monday and tuesday, i felt like cuddling up on the couch with the lab and reading book after book. but out we've gone, twice to the gym, and my muscles are screaming ( with joy? ), shopping, actually clothes shopping, new boots for both of us. born for her and uggs for me. we've gone out to lunch, which sure beats sitting around a cluttered design table in the back of the shop eating leftovers. we've gone out for breakfast and out for coffee. now we're going out to dinner at a neighbor's. swedish meatballs, mashed potatoes, green beans and ligonberries prepared by his new swedish/american girlfriend. all we're bringing is fresh baked bread and 3 chairs. hurray for after the holidays!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Sun Is Up, The Sky Is Blue...

sunny sunday morning. the snow has melted and the cat is outside. little pokie, happy at last. i have the sunday Times and the new Vogue to read. the espresso is dripping, birds are singing, all is right in our world. my kitchen is bursting with food: pumpkin bread baked by a neighbor, gingerbread brought by a friend, bags of sugared almonds, candied pecans, gingersnaps, a butterstollen ( well, maybe half a loaf of the stollen cause i love it) assorted jars of jams and preserves from another friend but not a slice of plain bread to spread it on. our neighbor, the Major, gave us a kitchen aid for christmas. perhaps i should unpack it and bake some bread? never mind , just got a text from said neighbor, he's cooked breakfast! this day is getting better by the minute. gonna wash my face, wake up german girl and the lab, and we're outta here!

Saturday, December 26, 2009


peace and quiet and rain surround me. the centerpieces, buffet pieces, tree decorating, routing drivers, gulping down starbucks, finished till next year. i'm off till january 5th. it's boxing day and my house is reasonably clean, dishes washed, elaborate dinner eaten and digested. today there is nothing i HAVE to do. visions of the gym and the library, even a little shopping dance in my head. i do want to make a roast beef hash with the left over rib roast and a rich beef stock from the bones. at some point this afternoon, i will take a nap. breathe, release, repeat.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

All I Want For Christmas....

i want the snow to melt so the damn cat can go outside. she's taken up residence under the christmas tree, only leaving to eat and to try to make her daily escape. i want arlington county to clear the streets, so the delivery vans and jeeps stop getting stuck in the snow. i want more sleep, my christmas shopping done, ( that will happen after christmas, i'm sure) and most importantly i want a flash of inspiration on what to cook for christmas dinner. this is vital. if anyone is reading and has a delicious suggestion, please post it! a manicure would also be appreciated ,oh and did i mention more sleep? 2 days and counting.

p.s. of course in the midst of floral madness we did come home to a clean house and a delicious dinner of chicken soup prepared by our own elf , Tini. the sun is up and i'm off to shower and gird my loins for another day in the trenches. Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

cats and cupcakes

uber quiet sunday morning. the cat is no longer talking to me. when i opened the back door , at her bequest, she was greeted with 18" of snow. apparently, i am responsible for this, and she has stalked off to the attic to plan her revenge. everyone else is sleeping off a snow day of shoveling, movie watching, cupcake baking and gorging. followed by another movie, dinner and more cupcakes. i hear creatures stirring, off to make another latte and see what high calorie treats today brings!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Oh No, Snow!

alas, alack, forced to take a day off in the midst of the holiday madness! luckily, yesterday, we worked like elves on crack getting all the holiday party work done. we delivered, customers picked up, people rushed in after hours for one last amaryllis or wreath. too bad we don't sell bread and milk, we could have been a one stop shop. a customer brought in his elf for us to fill, it turned out to be a gnome, but we filled it just the same. i've just caught up on my" blogs i follow " reading, and now i better go participate in this life i'm leading.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

just 2 things

# 1 : the reason i can merrily blog away almost every night is because i'm not shopping, or going to parties. we were invited to a very fancy cocktail party this evening, but it seems i prefer to be home, making chicken parmesan ( how retro is that) , walking the dog, and blogging.

# 2: i was nearly rendered speechless at work today ( for those of you who read this blog, with its run on sentences, no time for capital letters or correct punctuation , this is how i talk. readily and swiftly. ) but when a customer returned the 3 arrangements i had made for her house, i called her to see what i should change. everything, i was told. "did i not know she had changed the colors of her lampshades?" huh? the new color ,i was told, was a terracotta, santa barbara color. huh? "you would probably call it tan" i was told. suitably chastened, i redid the containers as directed, put on my coat and hat and came home. here are a couple of shots of the new arrangements. they will probably be sitting on my work table tomorrow for another redo. ah, christmas, 9 days and counting.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

let 'em eat pork

on an up note, we did have a delicious dinner on sunday night. chaotic but delicious. i did a pork roast with a fabulous marinade of garlic, scallions, pine nuts, handfuls of parsley and a jalapeno, all finely chopped in the food processor. then i added juice of 1 lime, 1 clementine and half a grapefruit, salt and pepper . after making tiny incisions all over the loin roast, i poured the marinade over it and left it to rest. i roasted it at 375 degrees for about 1 and 1/2 hours, then coated the outside with hot pepper jelly and let it cook about 15 more minutes. i served this with black beans and rice and one of Tini's salads composed of greens, feta and slices of pear. Tini also provided several loaves of freshly baked bread, set up the buffet AND cleaned up the kitchen, while everyone else continued to break ornaments . tonight i'm sitting in my quiet house with a beautifully decorated tree ( the tree stand is somewhat hidden under a batik cloth) and no leftovers. ahhhh, christmas: 10 days and counting ...

Monday, December 14, 2009

quel dommage!

what you don't want to hear, when you're standing in your packed mud room, being stabbed by an agave as you reach for a platter, is the sound of an almost fully decorated tree starting to fall over. no, you don't. especially when there are 9 people and a dog between you and tinkling tree, and the tree, remember, is in a large vase filled with water and stones. are these run on sentences? tree was caught and saved, vase thrown out, stones collected, floor mopped up and up and up. Tini raced across street and returned with a ginormous tree stand, i hate tree stands but had to be grateful for this one. otherwise tannenbaum was going in an old dirty plaster bucket. decorating continued with more than a touch of hysterical gaiety. ornaments continued to be broken, beers knocked over, and our same 10 really bad christmas songs continued to play in the back ground.
now i must go sweep and hoover, again.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

rainy days and sundays

sunday morning, seriously raining. today we put up the tree, which mean we spend an hour deconstructing said tree. we cut off about 4 feet of branches then take off about 3 feet of height. this gives us a tree both tall and small enough to sit in a very large vase, then fill the vase with rocks for balance. the extra branches fill up pots and window boxes outside. nothing is simple at smallbutcharming. after making extra work for ourselves, we prepare a delicious meal for friends who do the actual decorating. Anne, also a floral designer, has been lighting my trees for decades. another longtime friend, Blaise, hangs ornament upon ornament. long after i would have lost interest, he's still hanging 'em. other friends, and the dog, mill about, laughing, talking and generally getting in the way. before i gear up for a rainy mess outside, here are a few arrangements from yesterday at the shop. despite a day that seemed scripted by Ken Keesey, my co workers managed to pull off some christmas magic.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

from nothing to something

i've got nothing. well, i 've got glitter on my shoes and face and clothes and my hands are covered in the little cuts you can only get from handling an assortment of fresh greens quickly. i've been decorating client's houses for the past couple of days and i just knew they wouldn't want me taking photos in their house for the blog. smallbutfired would be the new title. luckily, today i received some beautiful shots taken this past weekend by The Hai, father to the german girls. i hope he won't mind if i post a few. he is my idol: never without his camera, doesn't let a little thing like driving a car or a "no pictures" sign stop him. he's relentless in his pursuit of a good shot, we never take a bite until the camera does. what did i learn this weekend? eat less and get a better camera!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

a few of my favourite things

the weather outside IS frightful. i hear sleet. but inside i smell roast chicken soon to be accompanied by sauteed broccoli rabe in olive oil, garlic, crushed red pepper and a squeeze of lemon. also attending will be orzo tossed with juices from the chicken, salt , pepper and a knob of butter. this deliciousness will be served whenever german girl gets off the malfunctioning metro and sister of brings back our dog! i'm admiring a vase of roses brought to us on saturday from pinchbecks rose farm in guilford, conecticut. they opened perfectly, the lavender roses smell like summer, and as i turned the vase around for another shot, they shattered over the table. summer is indeed over.

Monday, December 7, 2009

the groaning board

i'm feeling very full after this weekend. the hai, german girls father was in town for the weekend. this means much food. sushi, sushi, sushi on saturday night. sunday morning brunch compliments of The German Store and Alexandria Pastry Shop, the first provided sausages, cold cuts, smoked liverwurst,and a coarse ground teawurst, whole grain breads, one traditionally baked in a wood oven. the second store gave us, croissiants, currant scones , and cranberry muffins. i believe there were cheeses, condiments, pots of coffee and tea, but no identifiable fruits or vegetables. before we all succumbed to heart attacks, we drove into d.c. for a car tour of the hill and them a walk through two of my favourite museums: National Museum Of African Art and The Sackler Gallery. these filled me up on another level. the work of Yinka Shonibare filled my eyes and my heart. pictured here is The Swing. the entire museum is so worth a trip and not full of children, just incredible art and wonderful music. i dragged everyone up and down stairs to The Freer Gallery to have a sit in The Peacock Room. the picture says it all. ok, so there was more food to come, oyster stews and shepherd pies, black and tans for the drinkers, and maybe a bread pudding or two at Martin's in georgetown. we were very tired, we were very full. there was only time for tea and an impromptu tango lesson before bed.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

crown and glory!

our shop, company flowers, is all custom design. you want the topiaries outside your door to resemble faberge eggs? call us. ( but only once please) . you're a major museum and exhibiting a photographer who shoots flowers in various stages of dying? call us. we'll ravage our gardens and bring in black/blue baptisia pods and browning hydrangea blossoms, crispy purple sage leaves and whatever else we can scavenge to make beautiful dead arrangements. today is your wife's 40 th birthday and you want to crown the nature loving gardener that she is ? call us. we'll create a crown of grapevine and flax leaves, pepperberry and hydrangea, gyp and lemon leaves , a tiny bird and a mariposa. happy birthday louise.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll

i want to go to the netherlands for christmas. they love the glitter, and the dyeing and the flocking and the crystals. they take nature and make it so wonderfully unnatural. my house is full of feathers and rocks and leaves picked up on walks. i have bowls of sea glass from fire island beaches, jars filled with shells from florida to connecticut. but come christmas, i'm drawn to dutch drama. behold the lotus pod, dried and somber adorning a blue juniper wreath wrapped with a grapevine bow, then behold the dutch lotus ,dressed up like the dog's dinner, shining up a ball of carmel "combo" roses and boxwood, perched atop a black urn. on my dining table, a tall clear vase holds a single branch of pine. at work, i 'm sparkle plenty.