Mixed Emotions

December 22, 2021

While I hate the coming of the first day of Winter, I do love what follows. Today marks the day of the year with the least amount of daylight…the Winter Solstice. Good news is that tomorrow will be another story. From this point on, each day will have an increased amount of daylight leading us directly to Spring. And, that my friends is worth celebrating. Tradition would have us festooning the place with evergreens, lighting candles in doors and building a roaring fire outdoors and gathering together to embrace hope within the darkness. A good idea once again while the newest Covid variant threatens to squash our holiday plans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From the top:

A simple votive candle placed in a bubbled glass vase casts a magnified and magical glow.

If you are lucky enough to find my absolute favorites, white tulips, buy them. There is nothing else like them to draw our thoughts to Spring. White Fringed and Parrot varieties are particularly special.

I do not need an excuse like the Winter Solstice to stoke up a bonfire, but it doesn’t hurt.

You might take a modern turn at using a supermarket Poinsettia as a cut flower. White for the Solstice would be my choice.  Photo: Gardenista

A hearty warming dish like this Farro Porcini Risotto Comes together quickly and would be a fitting addition to the celebration. I added a little shortcut to this already simple recipe from Martha Stewart, https://www.marthastewart.com/312975/farro-and-porcini-risotto, by using 1/2 jar of  Trader Joe’s Pesto Alla Genovese with the parsley and toasted walnuts and an additional splash of olive oil.

Doing appropriate double duty, this white Helebore variety will play nicely with your other seasonal decorations before being planted outdoors to grace the garden with the season’s first blooms next year.

The perfect finish to any Winter gathering might just be a classic Brandy Stinger… equal parts Brandy and white Creme de Menthe. In this case, on the rocks. Cheers!

except where noted all photos: gp

 

 

Hard to believe,

December 17, 2019

but I am actually enjoying a Poinsettia moment. Really. Like Truman Capote in Jay Presson Allen’s Tru, I too felt that “Poinsettias are the Bob Goulet of Botany”. Decades of over-saturation in the seasonal marketplace have rendered this bright red holiday staple cliche’, cheesy and hopelessly out of date. It was spotting this new variety, Envy, with it’s bright chartreuse coloring that made me stop and rethink it’s potential. While I generally indulge in white Tulips, Amaryllis and Helebore from the Winter Solstice through till Christmas and the New Year, I couldn’t help but think how well this fresh new addition would play with the others, both in the pot and as a cut specimen.

 

Photos: gp with the exception of the Amaryllis photo via https://www.shopterrain.com/categories/blooming-gifts and the last photo via: https://www.gardenista.com/posts/poinsettias-rethinking-traditional-christmas-flower/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Down to the Wire

December 17, 2018

There’s still time for some small last minute gifts. Here are a few sqm ideas to help you tick those last few boxes on that list.

Top to bottom:

From Heath Ceramics Classic Red Collection: the Tall Modern Cup in Ruby Red and Suede Red. It would be particularly special if it was filled with fresh flowers once a month for a year. photo: https://www.heathceramics.com/products/tall-modern-cup-ruby-red-suede-red

Memo blocks by Ito Bindery. Photo: https://www.odetothings.com/products/ito-bindery-memo-block?variant=5444084498463

Some homemade sweet treats are always appreciated… especially by those who are cooking and baking challenged. Use the search bar right at the top to access simplequietmodern recipes for Shortbreads, Maple Glazed Walnuts or Bourbon Balls for starters. Photo: gp

These Italian woven paper bags by UASHMAMA feel like leather. They can be the gift or become a special gifts modern reusable wrapping. Photo: https://www.purlsoho.com/uashmama-paper-bag.html

Potted white Helebores bring an unexpected freshness that will charm now, on the Solstice, Christmas and through to the New Year. Being able to plant it in the garden once winter breaks is an added bonus. Photo: gp

The holiday fragrance of cinnamon and fir poured into a reusable Heath Red Suede Cup. Once the candle is gone this gift keeps on giving…as a teacup or small vase. Photo: https://www. a .com/products/candle-large-modern-cup-ruby-red-suede-red