Friday, July 29, 2011

Take a seat...

Here's a project from the wedding. Just about two years ago at this exact time, I was biking to work in Boston and saw this old screen door out on the sidewalk with someone's trash. Of course, I locked up my bike on the spot, carted the door home, and then went back to my bike and on my merry way.

The door is really awesome, and it's too bad that its dimensions don't match any of the doors I know, or else I'd put it to good use. The door sat in my bedroom for a long time. First it just leaned against the wall, after that it as a jewelry holder - attaching my earrings to the screen and hanging my necklaces from a few hooks. Then I decided that I wanted to embroider a design into the screen. I spent an evening doing it, but never got much further.

So, when it came time for the wedding, my motive was always to use what was on hand, and I knew it'd be fun to incorporate the door {keeping with our farm-house wedding motif}. Inspiration struck one night when I was thinking about the seating cards.

We were using manila tags on the thank you gifts {a post on those is coming}, and to keep things cohesive I wanted to use the tags for seating. Since the tags had a string, I wanted to hang them from something, and that's when the lightbulb went off ~ I have so many fun/beautiful buttons. We could sew the buttons to the screen door and hang the tags on them!

We embroidered an upper section with the words "Take a seat" and added a little bee button that I had been holding on to for the longest time.

In another section, we sewed a simple heart with our initials::

And then we added the buttons! The screen came with a tear {on the right side of the picture below}, so rather than ignoring it, we playfully stitched it up.

We sewed on a button for each guest/tag... but then invited a few more people, so on a few buttons we doubled up the tags. We decided to double up moms and little kids, that way both of their names were right next to each other and easy to find!
On the day of the wedding, we propped the door up under the willow tree as it's pictured.

Another door project's coming tomorrow!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

My Summer Shower

These two products are the staples of my summer shower::

You'd think the Body Shop was sponsoring this post, they aren't, I'm just addicted.

I thought about it and realized that I've been using the peppermint foot scrub for over ten years now! Is that possible? I only use it a few times each summer, so a container lasts about two years. Want something really refreshing? Scrub up with the scrub, then use your favorite peppermint foot lotion. Keep that in your pocket for the next heat wave.

The Grapefruit Shower Gel is something new to me. I used to use their grapefruit glycerin soap, but the past couple of summers I was feeling unsatisfied, there just wasn't enough of that grapefruit punch that I was looking for. Picking up the shower gel was like getting punched in the face with a field of grapefruits. Seriously, I'm convinced that there's a ton of grapefruit zest in every bottle. How do they do it? I want to eat it.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wednesday Soundtrack

Artist :: Lady Gaga
Song :: The Edge of Glory

A few things::
- I can't get this song out of my head.
- I love the way she sings the opening lines, there's something about her voice and the rhythm of those lines.
- I can never, ever take her seriously when I see her, I have to listen without watching.

-Something I can't stop looking at :: the purple coneflower picture from the last post. Doesn't it look 3D?

- Did you notice who's playing the sax? Consider this a mini tribute to Clarence. Not the tribute you'd expect after his years of playing with Bruce, but how much fun is it that this was one of his last projects? He really deserves his own Wednesday Soundtrack feature. xo

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

It's getting wild out there in the garden. Right now hydrangeas are in full bloom, and they're surrounded by beds full of black-eyed-susans, echinacea (or purple cone flower?), queen anne's lace, bee balm, and a few yet un-named.

Putting that all together makes for some beautiful bouquets! The second bouquet contains both the snowball and oak leaf hydrangeas {love}.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

On the table

With the heat keeping me away from the stove, and a fresh head of cabbage from my pop's garden, I came up with a contingency plan this week :: Asian Coleslaw, and lots of it!

I love cabbage-based salads in the summer, they're such a nice and hearty change of pace after weeks of eating lettuce-based salads {although I know, with a few nuts and beans those can be hearty meal too!}. With my cabbage in the fridge, I did a quick internet search to see what types of coleslaws I could find. I was looking for something new, and if I didn't find anything, I would return to my summer-cabbage-salad-favorite :: Ramen Noodle Salad! I love that salad.

You'd think that the ramen version would be called "Asian Coleslaw", but what I found may be my new favorite slaw! This version skips the noodles, and uses a variety of ingredients found in Chinese and Thai cooking to make the dressing. Find the recipe here. I didn't follow it exactly, skipping the Nappa and red cabbages, as well as the ginger in the dressing. I loved the results, but want to try it again with the ginger.

At dinner I paired it with cheddar cheese on toasted sourdough with a touch of my mom's Chili Sauce ~ more details on the sauce soon!

Having big batches of salads like this in the fridge make packing lunch so easy. What else makes it easy? My cute little tiffin from India.

It's a three layer tiffin, but on two-layer days, I just close it with rubber bands.

Lunch today included the salad, {sweating} cheddar cheese, tomatoes, a hard boiled egg, and melted chocolate for dessert.

This weekend I'll be busy in the kitchen working on some homemade ice cream! I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wednesday Soundtrack

Before we get to the songs, another wedding detail::
My sister painted these fantastic signs for the wedding. The day really was a big party, other than the ceremony, toasts, and cutting of the cake, there was no formal schedule.

Using big signs was a great way to virtually guide people around the party/property. Some signs pointed people towards the games and acted as an open invitation to play. Our games included horseshoes, bocce, washers. Other signs shared some of the crucial details : bar, bathrooms, ceremony. Some friends and siblings camped, and I thought the "camping" sign was a great way to keep that area organized while also letting the other guests know that having the tents and camper in the far corner of the field was intentional.

And as I mentioned last week, our DJ and late night dancing was in the barn, not under the tent where dinner took place, so if the thumping music and flashing lights wasn't enough, our fun little sign explained everything::

Before I play the music, did you see the sign?

Or are you thinking that the signs are just blocking the scenery?

Monday, July 18, 2011

First there were the daffodils and then the tulips, which were followed closely by the lilacs. Now, in the heat of summer, the garden's bursting with lilies! I haven't identified them all yet, but their colors and smells are intoxicating. Enjoy*

Sunday, July 17, 2011

For a Summer Baby

This is the sweater that I gave you a sneak peak of at the end of May.
As I mentioned, it was my first time skipping buttons in lieu of ribbon. I love how it turned out ~ the green ribbon with the white yarn is perfect for a summer baby named Charlotte! Although I admit, as I tied and re-tied the ribbon, trying to get it just right, I realized that buttons may be the quicker and more practical choice for dressing a baby.
I'm sure no one will be thinking about practicality when they see the new baby in her lacy sweater!

A few details::

Needle size ~ US 5 {note to self, I'm 98% sure they were fives, but should double check~}
Yarn ~ Lane Cervinia Calzetteria, a sock yarn from Italy via Flossie {thanks!}. It's a great, washable sock yarn.
Modifications ~ I knit the body in one piece, when I get to the arms, I put these stitches on holders and continue knitting the body in one piece until the end. I then pick up the stitches for the arms and knit them in the round. No seams to sew!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wednesday Soundtrack {wedding edition}

Calder and I both like a wide variety of music, our soundtracks for workdays are different from our Saturday mornings, and that's different from our Saturday nights. We made an effort to share some of that variety on the wedding day, and the credit for how awesome it turned out really goes to C as he took a lead on the music planning.

We were so very lucky to be able to hire the Wissahickon Chicken Shack to play during our ceremony, during cocktail hour, and after dinner. They are a fantastic bluegrass band out of the Philly area, and they really added to that relaxed, backyard picnic feeling that we wanted to evoke. It was also the perfect choice of music that our guests, both young and old, could sit back and enjoy or get up and dance to. And of course, nothing says farmhouse wedding like a cat hanging around the bluegrass band:: She didn't leave her post all day!

If you're in the Finger Lakes region this weekend, they'll be playing a few shows. And if you aren't lucky enough to see them in person, YouTube will have to do::

Reason #101 why we love them :: The band played their own rendition of Bruce's Two for the Road (click here for the lyrics) for Calder and I to dance/stumble to.

Here's Bruce's version of Two for the Road, and note that at the beginning of the video it's black, but everything works out in the end ::

After the band cleared out, the DJ stepped in, and the rest of the night looked like this::

And sounded a bit like this::

Our DJ was a friend of my sister's and she brought the barn down. Calder is particular about his dance music, and he loved her! We want to take over the barn and hire her every weekend. Best night ever.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Birthday Cake!

I woke up today with two missions : make a birthday cake and water the flowers {water the sh*t out of the flowers}.

These last few weeks of ignoring the garden and focusing on the wedding have left the flowers looking a bit dull, but I'll leave the garden update for a future post and focus on the birthday cake.

I've had my eye on this cake for a while, and decided that it was the perfect project for christening my new Kitchen Aid!

I can definitely see why this is Alicia's go-to birthday cake. It's nice and simple, and made with ingredients that I always have on hand. The cake itself comes out moist, bouncy, and with the right amount of crumble. Plus, if you follow Alicia's lead and add the coffee, you'll get a good, dark color.

After popping the cake into the oven, I read her frosting recipe. It calls for a roux... which caused me to pause. I was up for baking the cake, but a roux on a relaxing Sunday/birthday morning? I wasn't so sure this morning, but one frosted cake later, I assure you it's definitely worth the effort.

I followed her instructions to a T *except* for that whole bit about whole milk. I only had 2% in the fridge, and I knew that whole milk only has about 3% fat. So I threw caution to the wind, and it worked!

A note about the roux : it was a piece of cake. ha! If you look at the ingredients, you'll notice that you're making a hefty portion of roux (1 cup of milk and 1/4 cup of flour). As long as you keep your heat on medium to low, with that quantity of liquid & flour, you don't have to worry about it burning. And as long as you keep whisking, per Alicia's warning, you really won't have have to worry about lumps.

This may just become a birthday regular around these parts too! I'll just have to work on my decorating ~ did you see how beautiful hers is with the red sprinkles and strawberry?

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

We did it!

We had ourselves one fantastic wedding! And we lived to tell the tale...

As I may have mentioned, we did a whole lot of crafting for the wedding. Originally I thought I'd share projects as they happened, but in the end, I liked keeping most things a secret, and now we have a whole lot to talk about!

Inspired by my drink this weekend {a mojito with lemons rather than limes}, I thought I'd ease back into things and talk about colors.

I originally wanted a yellow and grey color scheme ~ big on the yellow and just using the grey when we needed a color to tone things down. If you're unsure about that idea, a quick google search shows you that there are a lot of great yellow and grey weddings out there. But as I started to put together some of the projects, I thought it would be fun to add touches of red and green... think bowl of strawberries meets lemonade with a touch of mint. Or red table meets mint mojito with a touch of lemon.

I put together a little pinterest board {after the wedding} in an effort to convey the ideas I was having before the wedding. If only I had jumped on the pinterest bandwagon sooner ~ it would have been a great way to get all of my ideas out of my head and in one place for everyone to see!

Our first touch of red came from Ikea's TEKLA dishtowels {pictured on the pinterest board}. These were used as the cloth napkins at each place setting. ETA:: when I bought the 100+ towels/napkins for our event, they were priced at 49 cents a piece. We really got lucky, because as you see they're now up to 79 cents a pop!

Above the tables, we hung yards of bunting. This project was super easy to make, and although I was worried, it didn't look like we were going to open a used-car lot!

We cut out a cardboard template that was used to trace triangles on our fabric. These were cut out with pinking sheers. Wanting the bunting to be two-sided, two triangles were stitched together with right sides out to make each individual flag {or bunt?}.

We used 1 inch wide, heavyweight twill tape folded in half for the top of the bunting, remembering to leave a bit of extra twill tape at each end for tying to the tents.

I ordered our twill tape in 72 yard spools from, and now I love the internet even more for having a website that specializes in twill tape.

Sticking with our festive flag projects, I made a whole bunch of mini flags like these::
I got the idea after seeing these flags at Herriot and Grace. The project turned out a lot simpler than I expected. I cut pieces of ribbon, glued them to the skewer, and added one stitch with a needle and thread to make them extra secure. After the ribbons were on, I handed them over to my sister to make different cuts in the ribbon ends and then dip them in No Fray. We used a variety of ribbons, some with wiring, some without, and we even made some with extra large yellow rikrak. Now I want another excuse to buy more jump rikrak!

Finally, I'll leave you with the raw materials for a quick, last minute project::

We had a few friends and high school students assisting us with food service and cleanup throughout the day. They were all wearing black, and so I wanted to give them something that would add a little color to their outfits and help them to stand out in the crowd as someone who guests could approach if they needed a drink, had questions about the food, etc. At first I thought I would make them aprons from the Ikea towels, but then I saw this toweling fabric from the Fabric Depot and knew that it'd be perfect! It looks a little granny-ish/country-ish, which fit in well with our use of old china on the buffet table and the bluegrass band.

The toweling fabric is meant for making dishtowels, so it's already hemmed on two ends ~ you just cut it to the width you want and hem the remaining two sides. I did that, and then used some of our leftover twill tape to make the apron ties.

So with all of the yellow, red, and green, where's the grey? We used these grey blankets {also pictured on the pinterest board} for some of the seating during the ceremony. And the bridesmaids looked fabulous in their grey wedge TOMS.