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Brand-new on our bookshelf, Simple Matters is quickly becoming one of our favorite reads for organization inspiration. From Reading My Tea Leaves blogger Erin Boyle, this thoughtful volume is filled with practical guidance for creating a purposeful, welcoming space. We recently asked Erin a question that's been on our minds for some time-- what's the best way to keep the kitchen organized while also being prepared for drop-in guests or party hosting? Below, she shares her essentials for entertaining and everyday use. 

Erin says, "Whenever I’ve moved house—which has been often—the process of packing or unpacking a kitchen has astonished me. We keep so much tucked in those cabinets and drawers. From the comestible spices and condiments and jars of dried goods, to the practical pots and pans, to the still-practical but also-festive dishes and tools that allow us to invite friends for entertaining and merriment. If you’re seeking a bit of simplicity in the kitchen, it can be helpful to streamline these serving pieces to what’s practical and purposeful but still lovely. Here are a few pieces that I find particularly helpful to keep on hand, whether for elevating the everyday or welcoming friends."

A Simple Carafe: A carafe can hold water or wine or juice with equal aplomb, and look good doing it. Being handleless also means that it stores easily when space is at a premium. Not for guests only!

A Beautiful Set of Mixing Bowls: Eminently practical for all manner of food preparation, a set of mixing bowls can also be effective salad bowls, or vessels for stacking bagels at a simple brunch, or—with the right mindset—ice buckets!

A Solid Cutting Board: With a bit of care, the same cutting board can be used to prepare and serve your crudités or cheese. Fancy food not required. On more harried nights, you can reheat pizza and slide it out of the oven and onto your board for a bit of instantaneous pizzazz. See what I did there?

A Classic Platter: If you’re set on a more traditional approach to serving, a creamy white platter will get you all kinds of mileage. A classic design will stand the test of time and complement just about any other dishes that you might have. 

A Bottle Opener: For beer or wine, and ideally for both, every adult kitchen needs a way to open a bottle of something festive. Cheers!

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Plant Spotlight: Monstera deliciosa

February 4, 2016

Tags:
Grow

Plant Spotlight: Monstera deliciosa

A statement-sized specimen that's a consistent favorite for indoor greenery, Monstera deliciosa derives its name from a remarkable size and a tasty, though rarely-seen fruit. Native to rainforests from southern Mexico to Panama, this flowering tropical is also known as the "Swiss cheese plant." Its nickname comes from the unusually-shaped leaves shown above, which begin as a single oval and become fenestrated as they mature. The lacy leaves are a natural adaptation that helps Monstera thrive in its native habitat; open spaces let the leaves withstand intense rainfall and wind, while a large surface area collects the limited sun that filters through the rainforest canopy. Indoors, these large-scale leaves offer a burst of glossy green that's perfect for brightening an empty corner. 

At home, place your Monstera in bright, indirect light-- direct sun can cause the leaves to burn. Water weekly and be sure to prune your plant as needed by making a flat cut where the leaf or branch joins the parent stem. In the wild, Monstera can reach up to 65 feet in height, so regular trims are necessary for indoor cultivation, and a supportive stick or trellis is key for upright growth. It's rare for these tropical beauties to flower or fruit when kept inside, but dedicated gardeners could see flowers about three years after planting. The flavor of the fruit has been compared to banana and pineapple; if your plant does produce a fruit, it must be fully ripened before it's safe to eat. In the meantime, Monstera is sure to become the centerpiece of your indoor garden.

Photo by Ewen Roberts

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This Valentine's Day, we're trading in hearts and arrows for a more natural take on gift wrap. Topped with an array of botanical finds, the pretty packages above were created by Display Coordinator Suzie A. We can't wait to wrap a few of our own gifts inspired by Suzie's designs. These sweet and colorful boxes are sure to charm their recipients-- perhaps as much as the presents inside!

Suzie says, "For the bright pink package, I made my own wrapping paper; I used heavy art paper and lightly coated it with a thin layer of milk paint. I paired the colorful paper with our Metallic Leaves Garland in place of ribbon, and tucked in some sprigs of dried heather for a finishing touch. On two packages, I used our birch bark strips as wrapping. To make them fold more easily around the box, I cut the bark to size then lightly scored it with a cutting knife at the places it would need to bend. Next, I secured the bark with some twine and added a few dried pepperberries for simple color. For the final gift, I created a small bouquet of tillandsia and natural cuttings as a topper. To complete the look, I lightly painted some of the tillandsia leaves with floral spray for added interest and color."

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Fireside Coffee with La Colombe

On chilly days, we love settling down with a cozy cup of coffee in the kitchen or beside the fire. For the ultimate winter warm up, we joined forces with La Colombe and Tasting Table to give away $500 gift cards from both terrain and Tasting Table, plus a year’s supply of La Colombe coffee and gear

One of our most essential pieces for brewing at home or around the fire pit is the Chemex shown above. This pour-over system produces a clean and refreshing cup every time, emphasizing the bright flavors of your favorite beans. Its simple, timeless design is also a welcome sight on our kitchen counter. Read on to find La Colombe’s tips for the perfect Chemex cup, and enter the contest below to create your perfect winter warm up.

What you’ll need:
Chemex
Paper filter
Gram scale
Freshly ground coffee
Hot water

To start, weigh out 30 grams of your favorite coffee at a medium grind. Right now, we’re loving Mexican Sierra Sur, a high-altitude coffee that offers flowery notes of rose and honeysuckle. Heat 510 grams (17 oz.) of water to around 204®F, just below boiling. Our ratio of coffee to water is approximately 1:17, but feel free to experiment! Wet your filter with hot water before brewing to remove any papery flavor and preheat the Chemex, then pour out the rinse water.

Now you’re ready to pour! Add the coffee into your Chemex, then place it on the scale and add 60 grams of water. Allow 30 seconds for the coffee to bloom, then add the remaining water. For the best brew, try to keep the level of water and coffee consistent in the filter by pouring in pulses.

From bloom to finish, your brew should take about 3 minutes and 30 seconds. Once the water finishes descending, remove the filter and enjoy the scent of fresh coffee as you await your morning brew!

Enter the Winter Warm Up Giveaway here.

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Join Sarah Owens to learn more about baking with sourdough at our upcoming events in Glen Mills on February 5 and Westport on February 23.

With winter weather in full effect, it's the perfect time to heat up the oven and get baking. We recently chatted with Sarah Owens, owner of Brooklyn micro-bakery BK17 and author of Sourdough, a collection of rustic recipes for breads and baked goods featuring fermented sourdough starter. While adding a fresh, zesty flavor to baking, sourdough also boasts excellent health benefits; like many fermented foods, it offers beneficial bacteria for healthy digestion. An avid gardener and former curator at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Sarah's recipes are influenced by the seasons and the garden's best offerings. She's sharing her story and some favorites for winter baking, below.

terrain: To start, can you tell us a bit about your garden?

Sarah: I split my time between Kentucky and Brooklyn, where I was formerly a curator at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden specializing in roses. Wherever I am, I always have personal garden to experiment and grow unusual or exotic ingredients. This year, I tried out new herbs, specifically those indigenous to South America. I'm very inspired by spices and flavors from around the world; when I'm in New York, I go into spice shops and wander the aisles until something catches my eye. One of my recent finds is a South American herb called papalo. It's a beautiful plant that grows really well and is able to withstand hot weather. It tastes just like cilantro, but has a much longer growing season as well as beautiful blooms and seed pods. I love to grow edible plants that also have ornamental value, like statuesque herbs and beets with lush foliage.

terrain: How does your background as a botanist inspire you as a baker?

Sarah: Sourdough is a wild culture that's formed from a combination of different yeasts and bacteria, which live symbiotically with fermentation cultures. To nurture a sourdough starter and keep it alive, you have to be really sensitive to the nuances of time, temperature, and humidity that influence its behavior. As a gardener, you're also very much living with those variables, so working with sourdough fell very naturally into my life. Being inspired by the seasons, weather, and what I'm cultivating in the garden led to a curiosity about adding new ingredients in the kitchen, for example incorporating scented geranium into a jam loaf.

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Sun Printed Heart Valentines

January 27, 2016

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How-To

One of our favorite crafts during the summer months, we're also falling in love with sun prints as this year's most creative Valentines. Cut from pretty red paper, the hearts above make charming, botanical cards that are sure to put a smile on your sweetheart's face. A row of hearts could also be strung together with twine to create a colorful garland. We plucked a few ferns and vines from our indoor garden to produce the lacy patterns that top these sun printed greetings, which are equal parts sweet and simple to make. 

To create the sun prints, lay out your design and follow the instructions included in the kit. Be sure to work quickly while arranging your botanicals, as the sun print will begin developing as soon as it's exposed to light. For a sharp image, use a clear overlay or our Sun Print Maker's Frame to hold the botanicals tightly against the paper. We also love the abstract, marbled appearance that can be achieved by placing your botanicals without an overlay. Once the prints have finished processing, snip out your greetings. To get the perfect heart, we used Valentine cookie cutters for tracing. 

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Low Water Plants for Winter at Home

January 25, 2016

Tags:
Grow

Images: 1. Succulents; 2l. Chinese Evergreen; 2r. Orchid; 3l. Pothos; 3r. Tillandsia

Though there's snowy weather outside our windows, we're keeping busy with indoor gardens all around the house. Seeking specimens with big impact and minimal maintenance, we caught up with plant buyer Karen C. Earlier this month, Karen shared some favorite plants that thrive in low light. This time around, she's choosing some great options for a colorful, indoor garden that requires minimal watering. Read on for her top five.

Succulents: A classic choice for easy indoor gardens, succulents come in a nearly unlimited selection of colors, shapes, and sizes. Preferring drought-like conditions and bright sunlight, they offer big impact with very little care-- try a mixed planter like the one above for an extra burst of color.

Orchids: Though often considered high-maintenance, most orchids only require watering about once a week. Check the soil periodically and water when it begins to feel dry; to avoid root rot, make sure your orchid is planted in a container with adequate drainage and never let it remain in standing water.

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