Reason to drink more champagne


Brenda Sullivan loves Champagne and sparkling white wine for two reasons. One - obvious. Two - she takes those big fat corks and uses them in her miniature garden designs. Now I admit, I'm not a fan of fairy gardens. Too cute for my taste. But Brenda's managed to convince me that the miniature world is larger than fairy gardens, though she takes pains to emphasize that there's NOTHING WRONG with fairy gardens. Just so all you fairy fans - and there are a lot of you - don't get on her case (or mine).

This is something she cooked up during my visit to her Fort Washington home yesterday. Talk about cute! She contorted a Champagne cork into a a maitre d' chair (top of picture), made more chairs out of ordinary wine corks (bottom of picture), made a "pond" out of a little bowl (even dumped a couple of guppies in there), added some tiny plants and set it all in the potting soil that fills a clementine box. Thin tapers became torches and voila, you have a romantic scene.

Miniature gardens are very popular right now, though they've been around in one form or another for hundreds of years. Brenda thinks today's spike is because life is way too stressful and people can lose themselves in the fantasy of a small garden. Nothing better, she says, than to get everyone together after a long day and put one of these gardens together. It can go on the dining table or any other surface, and you can add seasonal touches, if you like.

You can even - yes - add some fairy creatures. As long as you bring some bubbly.