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There’s a Moose in my Yard!

by Barbara Lee on February 23, 2014

A moose wandered into my yard today.  No, I did not move to the boreal forests of Canada nor did I impulsively purchase a dacha in the taiga.  Did I forget to mention this moose is staying within the confines of a forest themed miniature garden?  I think this moose was enticed by the cover of pine trees and the lush undergrowth of baby tears surrounding a small pond.  Moose are solitary animals that prefer their own company to traveling in herds. These huge creatures roam the forest foraging their vegetarian diet and even dip into a lake or pond for some aquatic plant nourishment. I hope this moose enjoys my miniature garden but I suspect he will be heading for cooler weather soon.  Southern California is no place for moose.  But then anything is possible in my magical garden.



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Tea and Shortbread

Tea and Shortbread

by Barbara Lee on January 5, 2014

As season four of “Downton Abbey” commences, I was inspired to serve tea. Grandma’s silver and spode came out of hiding to lend a touch of elegance to the table. Since I don’t have a Mrs. Patmore in the kitchen I had to bake my own cookies.  I thought shortbread infused with Earl Grey tea and drizzled with an orange glaze would be an appropriate confection.

Treat yourself to a bit of loveliness some afternoon and feel like the Lady of the Manor, even if you did bake those cookies yourself and polished the silver too.  Now if we only had a little rain to darken these California skies I might be able to better imagine that I am sipping tea with Lady Mary while white capped maids strain to hear our gossip.


I’m not sure if Lady Violet would approve of my tea standards, but the cookies are disappearing at an alarming rate, so I will call it successful.




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Winter Cottage

December 11, 2013
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There’s no snow in Southern California, but I can pretend we are blanketed in soft white drifts by creating a scene in a miniature garden. Instead of just one shot, I photographed this garden throughout the day in order to tell a story.  The cast of characters plus the reindeer are all a part of […]

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Victorian Inspired Fall Decorating

October 6, 2013
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Put something under a cloche and suddenly its importance is elevated.  Perhaps the glass dome signals to us that it houses something special or precious.  We look more closely.  We examine with interest.  We expect to be fascinated.  Perhaps this is why I have a collection of cloches in different sizes.  From the very smallest […]

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Bread and Milk Cake with Pears

September 29, 2013
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What do you do with over ripe pears and a somewhat stale and forgotten loaf of bread?  Bake a cake of course!  Take a tip from an Italian grandmother and make those sad leftovers into something delicious that they call “La Miascia”.  This incredibly moist and fruity cake will remind you of bread pudding.  It’s […]

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Happy Fourth of July

July 4, 2013
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It’s time to celebrate in red, white and blue.  Esperanza displays her American spirit with just a few added accessories that deck her out in patriotic splendor. Follow along how she transforms from quiet santo to Miss Liberty.                     Gather various red white and blue ribbons, […]

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Apple Cake

April 27, 2013
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I don’t mind making complicated desserts.   Fifteen different steps and a separate shopping trip to a gourmet store for a must have ingredient does not intimidate me.  But sometimes it’s nice to stand in your kitchen, survey your fruit bowl, and decide to make an apple cake.  Straightforward and easy it comes together quickly, no […]

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Potting Shed Miniature Garden

April 18, 2013
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As a tribute to National Gardening Month, I thought praising the benefits of the potting shed would be an appropriate topic.  This small rustic outbuilding holds all the gardening paraphernalia you use to create magic in the garden.  It must contain a table, preferably at a convenient and comfortable height to work at.  If you […]

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Chabana-Tea Flowers

April 14, 2013
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Chabana is the less rigid relative to the Japanese art of Ikebana.  Arrangements in the Chabana style are specifically for tea ceremonies.  Cha means tea, and bana is derived from the word flowers.  The most important element in Chabana is that only seasonal flowers or branches should be used.  Look to your own yard for […]

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The Bergamot Orange

April 5, 2013
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The Bergamot Orange is an unlikely cross of orange, grapefruit and lime but looks somewhat like a pear.  It grows in Reggio Calabria in the tip of the toe of Italy.  This small tree has found a home on this rocky coastal perch which nature has blessed with nutrient rich soil and warm breezes from […]

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