40

Spent some time in one of my favorite places to celebrate my 40th birthday. A place on the coast my family started going to in 1976, before I was born.

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Snipped a small bouquet of chive flowers, nasturtium, borage, lavender, shungiku, fennel and, of course a few Shasta daisies just before dinner on my birthday.

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This was my son’s first visit and he loved it. I loved watching him walk along the paths of my childhood and down the rickety, wooden stairs to the beach. Most of those planks have been there since I was his age! The beach is one of the most magical, hidden coves.

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It’s so restorative to be back, so calm. A lot has changed over the years, but the Japanese soaking tub in the gazebo has not. I have memories from soaks here over the last four decades. Pennyroyal and salty grasses on the breeze, sea lions barking in the distance. It is amazing.

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Forty seemed like a big number before. Who would I be? But, the older I get and as I see people from my youth in their 70’s, I realize it doesn’t really mean much. I know myself better and feel like I’ve come into myself more the last few years. That is age, that is motherhood, experience, life. It keeps going and all of your experences keep adding up and you keep evolving (hopefully). Soak it in. This is life.

Birthday for Bear

The other day, my son told me he wanted to celebrate his bear’s 100th birthday. And he would need a cake, or maybe cupcakes. That sounded fun to me so we went to look for a couple of cupcakes and found this little birthday celebration cake that looked like the perfect size for the two of us, his bear and all of his other babies that would be there to celebrate. Also, it had rainbow sprinkles and that makes all the differnce! Childhood is so fleeting it’s important to celebrate these things.

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birthday love bouquet

Celebrating a big birthday this week. Picked this little bouquet last night and it feels so vibrant, so fresh, so festive. My favorite flowers nowadays take a few minutes to put together.

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‘I brake for wildflowers’ bumper sticker by Maria Schoettler, take a look at my visit to her studio last summer. Botanical journal by Jill Bliss.

Lunch with Tasha Tudor

Imagine being invited to Tasha Tudor’s house for lunch. What flowers would you take to such an icon? Images of meadows and daisies come to mind when I think of her. At first, this seemed daunting but then I realized like most flower lovers, we are happy when people do just that; bring us flowers!

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To me, Tasha embodies the love for the natural world, finding delight in the garden, field or down a road. I picked grasses and ferns and dandelions and whatever was close by. It felt truest to me to have a free and wild-flower feeling bouquet that I could have picked along the road to her house!

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I added a few daisies, short stems but oh-so-cute!

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I’m sure there would be some tea…

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eating flowers

Edible flowers are so popular now, they are dripping off of plates everywhere! Even if they aren’t the main focus they are pretty as a garnish. One thing floral designers have always run into is using fresh flowers to decorate wedding cakes. Clients will show photos of cakes decorated for a photoshoot, not really to be eaten and want to do something similar. It can be tricky, but do a little research BEFORE you use flowers in or on your food. Is it edible? Was it grown to eat?

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These were just for photos, not meant to be eaten and include things I wouldn’t eat. Always check it out BEFORE you use them. Flowers on the side of the road are beautiful, but covered in toxins and should never be used with food.

easy flowers

I am a daisy lover, any kind is a favorite of mine - they are so joyful and remind me of a sunny day. Feverfew is an easy cut flower to come by and is also very long lasting. I found this antique English platter at my local thrift store for two dollars. It’s a celebration of spring and I thought it would be great to use for a centerpiece on my kitchen table. I tried bottles with different heights of spring flowers, but it looked too messy, so I simplified with these yogurt cups clustered tightly together. The violas are from six packs I bought at a local nursery, they are a quick shot of color outside in the cold months and look really nice as a cut flower too.

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Simple vessels are good to have around, I’ve gotten so much use out of these yogurt cups!

May

First half of the month;

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Flowers in a mason jar for my son’s teacher.

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Blackberries are blooming and I love my new silver clogs!

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This moth came to rest on our back steps, then we found her dead and dried and tattered a few days later. I thought she might like a ring of flowers around her.

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Always looking for the magic, here through a dandelion.

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I love, love, love that my son likes to cut flowers. Here a little glass full with his crayola scissors!

Speckled Eggs

Easter is almost here. I love decorating for it with all the spring bits that are coming to life. The great spring mash-up where all the colors and flowers go together and are beautiful!

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I bought a dozen quail eggs from a local farm that my beloved produce store carries, the speckles are wonderful and celebrate the season. I’ll decorate eggs with my son just before Easter, but I do love decorating with and photographing bare eggs, like these previous years.

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Doing flowers or any other kind of decorating is an expression of you and doesn’t have to be hard. Use what you have, a little goes a long way and experiment.

Some Easter decor from other years, Kashmir eggs, egg cups, or floral rings.

Cake Plates

What could be sweeter than a plate full of flowers? Chocolate cake (maybe)?!

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This is a very simple old stand-by chocolate cake I’ve been making for years. It can be dressed up with frosting or eaten simply as an afternoon snack. It’s a depression-era cake which means you probably have all of ingredients in your cupboard and it doesn’t call for eggs or dairy so, it’s vegan.

Vegan Chocolate Cake

preheat oven to 350

1 1/2 cups flour

3 tablespoons cocoa power

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

5 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 cup cold water

1 tablespoon vinegar

In a large bowl, sift all of the dry ingredients together. Make a well in the center and add the wet ingredients. Stir until there are no lumps. Bake in a greased 8 inch pan for 35 minutes.

All photos & styling Silvanie Farmar Bowers

birthday dreams

We all want a little magic on our birthday. A bit of glitter and rainbows can put a smile on anyone’s face. This is how I’m imagining a birthday celebration.

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I’m a sucker for wrapping paper - bought this one years ago in Japantown. Looks super cute with this vintage lace edging.

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A little fairy ring.

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All photos and styling by Silvanie Farmar Bowers

citrus

Citrus is so amazing this time of year, we eat so many satsumas, I can never seem to keep enough around. Bowls of citrus or scattered along the table are so simple and decorative while they last.

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Roast chicken with lemon and satsuma squeezed on top with a generous amount of cumin, salt and pepper was a perfect Saturday dinner.

All photos and styling by Silvanie Farmar Bowers

decorations

After doing big holiday installations for years I don’t really like to decorate much for Christmas.

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I’ve had a lot of different trees over the years, I guess even growing up my parent’s weren’t that traditional. Some years I just do bare branches with ornaments. My son has gotten a bit more into the idea of Christmas so I knew we had to do some kind. We got this table top vintage looking tinsel tree last year and liked it a lot.

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simple holiday table

Is simple festive? I think so. Natural elements are always my favorite, I saved these sycamore leaves a few weeks ago for a halloween costume that never was. The hydrangea was dried on the stem on its side - I try not to cut them all summer because I think they are so much more beautiful when the depth of color comes out after they have aged. The leaves look really nice ruffled over and down a table too.

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All photos and styling by Silvanie Farmar Bowers