For those of you reading this in the Seattle area, you are smiling as big as I am right now as I type this. For you readers not in the area, we have just had 2 of the most spectacular May days in a row that I can ever remember. It was close to 90 degrees yesterday on Vashon Island. It really was more like a warm & sunny August day. Needless to say, we enjoyed each moment of it. Our days off are Sunday and Monday, so I am writing this from my favorite chair at our home on the island before we head to the ferry to head back to Seattle. Here are a few snapshots or “moments” from these 2 glorious days.
I love this time of year when all the ferns are beginning to take off, are growing like weeds, and have just the prettiest shades of green. It is so interesting to see them in miniature form, just knowing they will become huge as the season progresses.
We have horsetail ferns all over our property on Vashon Island. I think these ferns look other-worldly. After a little reading up, I found out that they dominated the understory of late Paleozoic forests. I guess we are really just a visitor at their home. It is fun watching Bailey dodge around them like she is running an obstacle course.
Ahhhhh, the retail marathon is complete, and we are ensconced in our home on the island for the week. It was a heck of a run, and we thank all of you who shopped at Watson Kennedy this season–and for helping to making it the best year yet! It is our tradition to spend the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve at WestWard recouping, recharging & revitalizing. We have not been here since the first of November, so it is a very happy homecoming indeed. I snapped a few photos yesterday after we got the bags unpacked, the groceries put away, the fire started, the candles lit, and the flowers put out. Waking up the house from its slumber of the past 7 weeks.
I hope each of you can squeeze in a bit of relaxation in this week. Sending all my very best from Vashon Island.
The amazing Summer that seemed to lingered well into the beginning of October is such a pleasant memory as we head into the rainy season. Please don’t get me wrong, I adore even the Seattle rain, but a Seattle Summer day is truly a magical thing. With the busy-ness of the shops and the season, we don’t make the voyage to our home on Vashon Island as frequently as we do in the Summer, where we venture out every week-end.
I thought it would be a fun post to remember a bit of the gloriousness of this beautiful Summer, and fondly remember a few WestWard snapshots. I personally will refer back to this when it has rained too many days in a row… The ferry ride always helps in setting the tone for a relaxing time.
The house really is all about having the 2 sets of glass French doors open, so the outside is brought in. I love to clip scented geranium stems and have them set about. This year with the extended sunny streak, the plants grew like weeds, and we were cutting stems from them almost every week-end.
Hours and hours spent just reading away. House Beautiful, Town & Country, Elle Decor, Country Living–being some of our very favorites in the magazine department. I like to save past issues to peruse time and again.
A lovely Friday to all of you. I am still wondering, how is it November already?
Fruit crisp is a standby in the Watson Sive household, a tasty way to celebrate both Summer and Fall fruits. I thought it would be fun to include some recipes by Mister Sive. I would not be a cook at all if it were not from all the knowledge & skill I have learned from watching him all of these years. He is an intuitive cook as well as an amazing baker, where I am much more of a recipe follower and baking is not my forte in the least–he without fail whips up dishes & desserts that always leave folks happy. This weekend the Eastern Washington peaches and Vashon blueberries were just glorious, so Ted prepared his version.
Skin and cut into big chunks 8 just-shy-of-ripe peaches, and then squeeze in half a lemon for a bit of zing and to protect their color before baking. Add in a cup and a half of fresh blueberries, and 4 tablespoons of white sugar to punch up the sweetness just a tad. He left out cinnamon to concentrate on the fruit flavors.
For the topping, he likes using both walnuts and oatmeal to add some crunch and earthy flavor. Cube 6 tablespoons of butter into a big bowl. Add ¾ cup of oatmeal, ¾ cup of coarsely chopped walnuts, 3/4 cup of firmly packed brown sugar, and ¾ cup of flour. Lastly, grate in 1/3 of a whole nutmeg, this adds some spice and more earthiness. Ted likes mixing the crisp with his hands, so the butter mixes in really well with all the ingredients, but a pastry cutter or a Cuisinart work well too. Mix until the largest pieces of butter are the size of large peas, and spread over the top of the fruit. He likes baking in this great ceramic pie dish we bought on a trip to Maine years ago, because it’s deep enough to hold a good amount of fruit, and still provide lots of surface area for the yummy crisp.
Bake at 375 for 40 minutes. 20 minutes before serving take vanilla ice cream out of the freezer so it softens up a bit, spoon up, and serve! The blueberries will really flavor the natural fruit syrup formed at the bottom of the disk, so be sure to add some of this to each bowl.
After my post yesterday, I received requests for a post about the blue and white table setting. This was my plan for today, so that worked perfectly. I find it is such a fresh color combo for an alfresco dining experience. Here is a look at the table and what went through my head when setting it–because you know I always have something in mind…
The English plates are fairly new for us, and I could not wait to use them. This would be the start of the table. I wanted to leave the zinc top exposed on the dining table, so I folded over a napkin with a fish motif, and made it into a placemat. The simplest, thinnest clear glass for wine and clear glass votive holders would keep the table nice and airy.
Striped napkins we found at the Brooklyn Flea Market on one of our visits would be fun with the plates. The first of the dahlias started showing up at the Market, and my weakness for white blooms prevailed over the more colorful options. A simple clear glass jar would be the vessel.
We live in such connected times. Our world of cell phones, iPads, e-mails, Twitter–the list goes on and on, but you get my point–has made those moments of just ‘nothing-ness’ so very rare. I think the point with so many of those things was to make our life easier? Depending on the day, and the time of day, my own answer to that can vary greatly. Yes, they all can be wonderful, but we all need ‘away’ and down time. For us, it is hard to beat a ferry ride to the island to get us pointed in that direction of nothingness. For time to just be. As we pulled onto the ferry boat on Saturday eve, we were the first car in one of the lines at the front of the boat. I always think of the Green Acres show song when this happens “with a penthouse view, darling” and we settled in for a perfect crossing to 2 days of relaxation and being unconnected on one level, and just being. What gets you to just be? I hope you are finding it often and enjoying each and every moment of it.
Our lovely and talented friend Jane Dagmi wrote and shot a really fun piece for the Benjamin Moore paint blog, www.colorchats.com about our beloved beach house, WestWard on Vashon Island. The timing for the post matching up perfectly with the 4th of July holiday. Just a bit of the back story. We bought the house and property from a former Seattle Mayor. The house was red, and next to the house sits a quite large flag pole. The design Gods had already made up their minds for us that this house would be done with a nod to Americana. We have had such a great time over the years finding–white vintage pottery, quilts and blankets, and ticking stripe materials to name a few. Jane and her daughters have been our guests on several visits when they make the trek from Florida. She produced and wrote the article on WestWard for Country Living magazine oh so many years ago, so she is quite familiar with the setting. Thanks Jane for another visually rich (in both word & photo) story!
A happy 4th to all! I hope your day is filled with all good things.
Getting wood delivered down to our house has always been a bit of a challenge. The 7 flights of stairs always seems to make the delivery of the wood, and the folks who deliver it, a tad nervous & apprehensive. I smile as I type that because I certainly understand why. So we were saddened but also a bit excited when an ailing tree finally fell on our property. The tree could be cut up for fire wood, and the trip down the stairs could be avoided. Our wood shed would once again be overflowing, turning our dwindling pile into a small work of art. I just love how the wood looks when it is stacked, and you see all the varying pieces and sizes of wood. Ahhh, the simple pleasures. The task itself not so simple, but the end result being something we enjoy each time we fetch wood to start a fire.
TPS surprised me the other day and brought back a flat of my very favorite varieties of scented geraniums. He was out running errands and picking up groceries, so he made a quick stop at the uber fab, dig floral & garden. Dig is owned by our friends Sylvia and Ross. It is a magical nursery, filled with all the best plants and related things. They do an amazing job with the display and lay-out of everything–not a compliment I give often. It makes for a lovely afternoon trip in from the city. For more, check out www.dignursery.com
Scented geraniums were first introduced to me by my friend Catherine many years back. Thank you Catherine! We now always have a few pots of them going throughout the year, as I love using the clipping in single stem vases. This batch was quickly potted by Mister Sive, and we placed them in simple terra cotta pots around the platform of the outdoor shower. A Spring ritual that we will enjoy through late Autumn.