Friday, August 27, 2010

UK Pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo - Plants

image by Woetan
While checking one of my favorite blogs this morning, TileEnvy, I discovered a post on the Shanghai World Exposition 2010.  I love looking at these architectural feats.  Wonderful and engaging!  Wish I could be there.

What really caught my interest is the UK Pavilion by Thomas Heatherwick. It is fascinating to look at, but the story behind the design is what really engaged me.  It is based on seeds and the Kew Millennium Seed Bank in the UK.

I am beginning to think more and more about seeds and our dependence and connection to them.

I have hollyhocks in my garden that I grew from seeds given to me by my California  beach buddy, Patti.  I believe that they are from her grandfather's garden and she grew them from his seeds.  I love the connection and the variety; its pinkish red color is relly wonderful.  Every time I look at them I am reminded of my girlfriend and her family.  :)

Check out this video below for a peek at the UK Pavilion.

I would love to visit the Shanghai exhibit, but what I would love even more is to visit the Royal Botanical Garden, Kew.

What an amazing and ambitious undertaking!  The Millennium Seed Bank is working toward the goal of collecting and storing seeds to preserve 25% of the worlds plant species by 2020 (and on and on.)

Royal Botanical Garden, Kew

All this thinking about plants has made me search out a few Botanical Prints. Here is a Osborne & Little print that I think is great.

This Scalamandre print has been around for awhile but I still like it a lot. I used this in a wall covering for a client in their mud room and it was wonderful!

Enjoy your day!  Thanks for reading!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Fun Shower Curtain by Thomas Paul

I have a few strange quirks; one of my quirks is checking out bathrooms. 
I judge a place by its restroom/bathroom.

Clean and neat are of course important, but I want to see something wonderful that surprises me - tile, towels, lighting, wallcovering, cool fixtures, etc. 

It may be a little strange, but I have met others with this same system for  judging a place by the bath.

I like good, interesting design.  Restrooms or baths seem to be one of the locations, maybe because it's a somewhat private or secret spot, that affords the oportunity to surprise or delight guests.

Can you relate?

Restrooms can be kitchy in my book - that's okay.  Visit Pickle Bill's ladies room (lift the fig leaf for a surprise.)

Restroom at the Slanted Door
I love the unisex restroom at the Slanted Door on the Pier in San Francisco.  There are wonderful big chunks of wood incorporated as a shelf in each individual toilet room.

In my mind the restooms at Jackson Triggs winery in Niagara-On-The-Lake stand out   I love the long concrete trough sink (it doesn't hurt that there is a heavy fermenting grape smell wafting through the building.   ;)

While perusing on line this morning I happend upon this fun, funky graphic shower curtain by Thomas Paul.   (Great designer by the way.)

Just the thing to liven up a bathroom!

Go big or go home.  I love it!!!

Thomas Paul Octopus Shower Curtain from Design Public

Only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to fun restooms.  I may have a new misssion...find the coolest restroom/bath. 

Or better still, design it!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Early Fall Garden...or is it Late, Late Summer???

Some years I am so busy by late summer that I do not fully enjoy or use the bounty from my garden. Not so this year!
We decided to scale back our lifestyle this year and the benefit is more time available to spend cooking and hanging out in the yard and garden.
I think I might be a bit obsessed - I have been visiting the garden several times a day just to see what's going on (and trying to keep up with the weeds, bugs, and critters.)

Coleslaw, gazpacho, stuffed pepper, cucumber salad, fresh corn and beets, carpaccio, brocollini, eggplant pizza.... It has been a real treat!

Every morning my breakfast has been a chopped tomato with feta. Yum!

So here is my early fall garden update...or is it a late, late summer update???

Green fried tomatoes are so yummy - see the video below. My Mom made these every summer and I always loved them!

Green Fried Tomatoes

Cherry Tomatoes after the recent rain. The rain causes the tomatoes to split. Rats!
The flavor from the early cherry's was not so good and I vowed to find another variety. They are tasting better now - sweeter. The jury is still out on whether I should grow this variety again.

Broccoli for dinner tonight. Perhaps we'll have Steve's Hot Broccoli Fettuccine. Yum! It's perfect because it uses cherry tomatoes too.

The cabbage is great this year.

I had a visitor while I was working away in the garden, Oliver, the neighbor's cat stopped by for a visit. I picked beets and Steve and I had them for dinner last night. Very tasty. We ate them all!!

I harvested most of the black beans. Seems like some of the pods need to dry a bit more so that they will break open easily. I love black beans and can't wait to see if they taste different being home grown.

Ah ha! Someone has been raiding the garden - someone with four legs and a good appetite. Rascals!!

We have had a few muskmelons that we harvested. They are out of this world, crazy good.

Whole melon from the garden. Can you believe that this would come from a home garden? Or should I say that I can't believe this came from my home garden.

Isn't it lovely???

White pumpkin. Pretty cute.

Cool orange pumpkin. I just labeled the pumpkins generally and I am guessing that this is the Rouge Vif D Etampes Pumpkin. I like it! It's the Cinderella pumpkin.
I am disappointed that we don't have more pumpkins for all the garden space that we devoted to growing them. The cucumber beetles are so difficult to defeat. They are out there now in abundance and I am not comfortable spraying at this point - too many bees and too late in the season.

Peppers ready for harvest. They are so large that the peppers are pulling the plants over. Time to use them!

Some turned red while others went to an orange and a light green. Actually, the green peppers seem to have a better flavor - go figure.

Made this recipe up last night and it was yummy!!! Happy harvest!

1 C. uncooked rice
1 (15 oz.) can black beans drained and rinsed
1 T. olive oil
1 Tbs. Chili powder
1 Tsp. Cumin
1 Clove minced garlic
1/2 C. chopped onion
3 C. grated cheese (cheddar)
2 Chopped tomatoes (or equivalent)
6 Peppers - tops, ribs and seeds removed

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a saucepan bring 2 cups water to a boil Add rice and stir. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
In a small skillet, saute onion and garlic until soft. Add chopped tomato and continue to saute for 5 minutes or so.
Combine cooked rice with black beans, seasonings and tomato mixture in a bowl. Fill pepper half way with rice mixture, then 2 tbs. of cheese. Repeat layer ending with cheese on top.
Place in baking dish loosely covered with foil. Bake for 40 minutes until pepper are just soft.