Friday, December 13, 2013

New Quilts for the Rooms In the Works

I love the snow and winter weather! Once reason is that snowy days are perfect for staying inside to work on quilts for the guest rooms! Every winter I try to get two to four more quilts finished.

I'm currently working on a Queen/Twin set for one of our rooms that have two beds. These quilts are composed of a 6-inch star that will be within a 12-inch blog. I finished all the stars (48 for the Twin and 72 for the Queen). Then I took them to Room 1 (which has enough space) to layout the stars in order to figure out the placement for all of them. I want to make sure that stars using the same fabric are not right next to each other.

So here is the layout of the stars for the two quilts.



The next step in the process will be to sew the borders on each star to make it into a 12-inch block.

Another task that heats up in the winter is chocolate making! Our Life By Chocolates shop is busy keeping up with the demand for luscious organic dark, milk, and vegan chocolates.

One of our seasonal chocolates, the Orange Cinnamon Truffle, has just been made and is available to order on our website or in our shop. These are melt in your mouth confections that we've brought back by popular demand. Get them while they last!


Friday, December 6, 2013

Gift Shop Update

Are you getting in the holiday shopping spirit yet? I tend to be one of those last minute shoppers who use that last-minute-panic feeling to get in the mood! However, I hate shopping in crowds, so I avoid the malls like the plague. Besides I like to support local shops - like ours at the inn!

Besides the yummy Life By Chocolate goodies, we also have gift items like hand-knit scarves (knit entirely by a local woman - me!) and unique quilted neckties.




We also carry supplies for artists and quilt artists, such as specialty (Aurifil & Superior Glitter) threads, paints, and inks. Our annual year-end sale on these supplies is going on until the end of December - all supplies 35% off!


All of our art quilting related books are 50% off. These make great gifts for the creative people on your list!

And don't forget the tremendously adorable Wee Forest Folk collectables!


Monday, December 2, 2013

Collectable Mouse Miniatures - Wee Forest Folk

Wee Forest Folk are the fanciful creations of the Petersen family of Massachusetts. 2013 found this family business celebrating 40 years of handcrafting mouse miniatures. Each figure is all U.S.A. made, employing skilled artists in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island to paint all the tiny and many layered details on these tiny works of art.

Each mini sculpture starts with an idea and a lump of clay. The finished sculpture is then cast in whiteware and hand painted using tiny paint brushes. The painting involves many colors, layers and techniques to get just the right looks for these adorable mice.

Each mouse is marked on the base with the designers initials - either Annette Petersen (the founder) or Willy or Donna Petersen (the son and daughter).

Unlike most collectables that are made by the millions overseas, only a few hundred of each Wee Forest Folk figure is made, which is why these pieces very often increase in value. There are even several collectors clubs that host yearly conferences (such as Mouse Expo in California) and keep a master list of current prices of retired pieces.

We carry a large selection of Wee Forest Folk in our retail shop and it always makes me smile to look at them. They are great gifts, even for non-collectors. We have a wonderful array of figures for holidays, professions, sports, and fun.






When you purchase a mouse from us you are automatically enrolled in our 5/6 program, which means that every 6th mouse figure you purchase from us is 50% off! We also offer free shipping on all mouse purchases.

Follow us on FaceBook at Wee Forest Folk at the Greenville Arms

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Maple-Brined Turkey

It is always a lovely quiet time at the inn for Thanksgiving. We don't serve a Thanksgiving dinner for our guests, who are usually staying here while they visit their families anyway, but Mark and I have always loved to do a full up turkey dinner with all the trimmings.

Our traditional prep for the turkey (a local farm free-range bird) is a maple-brine. When we lived in California, we would smoke-roast the turkey on the BBQ, but now that we live in a slightly cooler climate, outdoor cooking in November is not quite the same!


Maple-Brined Turkey

You need to start this dish 1 - 2 days in advance by brining the turkey. You'll also need a stockpot that can hold a 12 - 14-lb turkey and a clear space in the fridge to hold the pot.

For the Brine:

2 cups brown sugar

1 cup maple syrup

3/4 cup coarse salt

3 whole heads of garlic, cloves separated (but not peeled) and bruised

6 large bay leaves

1 1/2 cups fresh ginger, coarsely chopped, unpeeled

2 teaspoons dried chile flakes

1 1/2 cups soy sauce

3 quarts water

Handful of fresh thyme sprigs

For the turkey:

Olive oil for brushing

12- to 14-lb fresh turkey

4 - 6 large bay leaves

To brine the turkey: Combine all the brine ingredients in an enamel or stainless steel pot big enough to hold the brine and the turkey. Bring to a simmer, then remove from the heat and let it cool completely.

When the brine is cool, prep the turkey by removing the neck and giblets, rinse the turkey well, and then put it in the cold brine. Add more water, if needed, to make sure the brine complete covers the bird. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 days, turning the bird in the pot twice a day.

To cook the turkey: Preheat the oven to 450°. Remove the bird from the brine and pat it dry. Carefully pull the breast skin loose but not off, so that you can slip the bay leaves under the skin over both breasts.

Place the turkey in an uncovered roasting pan. Brush with olive oil (or we sometimes just put multiple chunks of butter on top). Put the turkey in the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 350°. After the first half hour of cooking, baste frequently with the pan drippings.

Cooking time involves many factors, but generally for a 12- to 14-lb turkey, you'll allow 15 to 20 minutes per pound. For example, a 12-lb turkey will need to cook for about 3 hours. If you stuff the turkey, it will need more time. It is best to judge the doneness of your turkey with a meat thermometer. The internal temp, usually taken in the center of the inner thigh muscle, must reach 180° to 185°. The center of the stuffing should reach at least 165°.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Sweet Potato and Pepper Hash

I love experimenting with new recipes and I've found another winner - Sweet Potato and Red Pepper Hash.


This is a yummy blend of sweet potato, sweet red peppers, and onions. We top it off with a fried egg on top.

Breakfast always includes a selection of fresh fruit for you to choose from on our breakfast buffet, in addition to your order from our menu.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Fall Fancies

All around us in Greenville the trees are colored up and leaves are falling, but the trees on the inn grounds are just starting to get in the spirit of Fall.

There was a beautiful sunrise this morning that gave everything the most wonderful glow, so I went outside to snap these photos.



The reflected color of the sky made the inn look pink!







With cooler weather and colorful leaves, I got a wild hair idea to make festive pillowcases for the guest rooms. So if you stay at the inn between November 29th and January 16, 2014, you'll have these on the pillows to rest you head on at night! Mistress Rabbit approves.


Wednesday, June 26, 2013


It summertime and the "livin' is easy." Actually it easy for our guests! We are still working hard to make sure that our guests are welcomed and pampered!

The pool is kept sparkling with daily cleaning.



Everyone enjoys hanging by the pool -- even this watercolor painting workshop with Tony van Hasselt, that is being held this week at the inn.


New flowers have been planted. This is a self-watering planter that I purchased from Gardener's Supply. It looks pretty and was simple to assemble. We'll see how it holds up over winter.


We've added two more climbing roses to the flowering pool fence. This one is called Don Juan.


The Korean Dogwood by the front driveway is putting on a tremendous display this year. It must like this hot/cold/wet weather we've been having.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Peony Pink

The peonies are popping!


So are the iris and climatis.




After the last heavy rain fall, I clipped a bunch of peonies that had been bent over to the ground, and now the blooms are as big as dinner plates in the dining room bouquet.


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Gardening in the Heat Wave

We had several unseasonably hot days this past week, getting up to the 90s. I don't know why I decided that these would be the best days for gardening in the full sun, but I did.

One of waitstaff has a second job at Story's Nursery (my favorite place to buy plants) and she sometimes gets "plant rejects" - those plants that just didn't make the grade because they are too small or have gone too root bound. So she offer some of them to us. She gave us two flats of yellow and red onion starts recently. I don't really have a vegetable garden started yet, but how could I turn down these plant orphans. So I decided to plant them in our herb garden, spacing each one between the marigolds that I planted a couple of weeks ago.


The chives are doing great, as usual, but we keep the trimmed in use for the Goat Cheese and Chive with Scrambled Eggs breakfast dish and the Steak Diane dinner dish that we are going this year. The clive flowers look lovely in a vase on the tables!


The Peony patch is just about to burst out in pinks and whites.


This year I have a bird buddy that sits on this lilac branch outside my office window. He is there most of the day. Sometimes his bird partner joins him. They have a nest in the Bayberry bush that is on the the side outside my window. But this bird will sit there and stare at me, or sing, of groom his feathers for a good part of the day.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Spring Spiffing-Up Projects

We took advantage of some days between inn guests to tackle some Spring projects.

I did the annual planting of marigolds in our herb garden. The garden had been doubled in size last year, so now I plant one half in marigolds and the other half in herbs. The marigolds are eatable and make lovely color accents in salads.


The old steps leading from the front lawn to the lower side lawn was repaired.


Next the painters arrived with this big hydraulic lift. This year they were painting the 3rd floor of the main inn, the cottage, and also power washing all the moss off the roof. They did a fabulous job and everything looks so fresh and new.


And then since they had the lift for the week, it only made sense to finally cut down the one dead and one dying 50 foot plus spruce trees that were next to the main inn. It was amazing how quickly and efficiently they cut down the trees and carted away the logs. See the size of that log that the one guy is lifting?!


Of course, we stopped to smell the flowers, too! All the lilacs around the property are scenting the air with the most wonderful aroma.


The river birches were also trimmed back. Several years ago as the result of a really heavy snow fall, several of the trunks were completely bent over and were practically touching the inn.


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Marvelous Views Back Home in Greenville

I love to stay at B&Bs when we travel, and I'll admit to getting a little "innkeepers" envy when we discover such wonderful B&Bs as the last two we discovered.

But then we come home to our inn, the Greenville Arms 1889 Inn, and I fall in love with it all over again and remember that we've got quite the nice B&B, too!

Each week bring new flowers blooming all over the grounds.

We always get a lovely display of dandelions before the first mowing of the season.


The magnolia in the front side lawn is an amazing waterfall of blushing pink blossoms. Last year it was hit with a late frost and had hardly any blooms at all, so I think it is making up for that this year.




Another gem hidden amongst the tall lawn grass.


The dogwood tree out by the pool gets more beautiful every year.