Let’s Throw a Party!

Today is the 45th wedding anniversary of my in-laws. They are the best in-laws a girl could ask for and have been a huge part of my life the last 17 years. We had kicked around a couple of ideas to celebrate, but ended up deciding to play it by ear due to major office events (hubs and FIL have their own architecture firm Check them out!). So, I got the word earlier in the week that we were on for a Saturday dinner party. Only two requests, “wine and cheese on the dock” and “keep it easy”. Perfect! I love to throw a party, but I love throwing a party with parameters even better. Give me a blank slate and things can get out of hand. Give me something specific, with a tight turn-around…I’m your gal!

We had a beautiful setting of wine, cheese, chilled mussels, cake, champagne and bon bons. The kiddo and I fashioned the requisite anniversary accessories, tiara, veil, boutonnière, and bouquet made from farmer’s market dahlias, sassafras leaves and persimmons from the Lazy E. We enjoyed watching the sun set behind the turning oaks and the reflection on the water become more clear. We toasted the couple, had a bit to eat, Face Timed my sister-in-law and her family and had a lot of laughs. We continued the celebration back at the house with grilled endive salad, merlot garlic mushrooms, braised carrots and broccoli, baked potatoes and grilled steaks.

Again, I love a party. I love it even more when I get to celebrate two great people.

Happy Anniversary Maurice and Sissy!
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Cast Iron Carnival

My husband and I love cast iron cookware, but don’t get to fully utilize our collection on our glass top stove. So, why not have an impromptu harvest party? The weather was gorgeous and cool enough for an outdoor fire. I dug some venison out of the deep freeze and simmered a stew all day. We made cornbread in the Dutch oven and sautéed greens that came straight from the garden, minutes before (the kiddo added a wild onion for extra measure).

The kids got messy with some jack-o-lanterns and ran around like banshees in super-hero costumes due to a misunderstanding by my husband about the V8 “energy” drinks. Of course, no outdoor fire is complete without roasted (chargrilled) marshmallows.

What a beautiful evening to finish a great weekend.

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Columbus Day Dress

The kiddo came out of her room one day this past weekend wearing a dress I made her last year.
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I was trying out a pattern I had come up with and wanted something that was cute and comfy. I made it big last year because the kid grows like a weed. This year it fits her just right and is very cute. She asked if I could make her another one…how could I refuse.

Long sleeved, stretchy with a fun pocket in the front and a double-thickness skirt for playground fun. I think it turned out cute and my model loved it!

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A Herd of Memories

I love the special sewing projects. Someone comes to me with an idea and allows me to take a little creative licensing with the end product.

A friend asked me to alter a robe that belonged to her grandmother. The robe was very long and she wanted something shorter to have with her at the hospital for the birth of her first child. She then asked if I could make some stuffed elephants with the leftover fabric to give to her sisters as gift.

I love these kinds of projects. I love hearing the stories about the items and I love hearing the reactions of the recipients.

Sewing makes my heart happy.

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A Quilt for Owen

I fell off the sewing bandwagon for a while (darn full-time corporate job), but I’m back! First on my list was finishing a sweet scrapbook quilt for some friends. Their son, Owen, is almost six months old, but it’s been hot and who wants a quilt in the summer? (Great rationalization of my procrastination.)

Family and friends all contributed to the quilt by designing blocks in the color palette that matched the nursery. I appliquéd all of the blocks and then assembled the top and finished it with super soft minky fleece and gingham binding.

It takes a fair bit of time to make one of these quilts (this is the eighth one in the last five years), but it’s worth it. I love hearing the stories of how people are enjoying their quilts. I hope that they are enjoyed for years.

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Vinegar Facials

The garden is producing a lot of great goodies right now, so I thought it was time to get out the tub of canning supplies and put some food back.

So far, I’ve canned the following:
– peach preserves (peaches from the market)
– Concord grape jelly (grapes from our vines)
– pickled okra (from Farmer Bond down in the valley)
– pickled cucumbers (courtesy of our neighbors)
– pickled green beans (from our garden)
– pickled tomatoes (from our garden)

Pears are still a couple of months out and I’m sure there will be more pickles in the week or so.

Hot, steaming pots of salted vinegar….my skin has never looked so good.
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Family, Stories and Forced Crafting

My mother-in-law’s family tries to get together every couple of summers for a family reunion. Usually the site of the reunion is down south, as that’s where most of the family has been over the last couple of hundred years. This year we met in Natchez, MS for a few days of story-telling and fun. My husband’s uncle, John, always prepares a genealogical summary of a specific branch of the family and it is presented at the reunion.
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My husband enjoys all the stories and the recording of said stories.

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I, of course, use the opportunity to force sewing and crafting on people. At the last reunion, I coerced people into making quilt squares and then put them together for a small lap quilt. We continued the tradition this year and I have some fabulous squares to work on over the next few months.

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It’s always a fun time and hard to say goodbye to everyone. Until the next time….

Wild Edibles

What does every gal want for Mother’s Day? A book about wild edibles, you say? Why yes.

Let’s just say it wasn’t high on the list, but I did enjoy looking through it. With 40 acres, there must be something that can be foraged and eaten.

Jump forward a few weeks and I was weeding our behemoth garden and thought that I recognized some of the stuff I was pulling up. Yep, Sheep Sorrel. It has the taste of tart apple.

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So, what to do with Sheep Sorrel? Some sorrel pesto!

Sorrel, basil, olive oil, garlic, walnuts and lemon. Blend it, freeze it. Yum!

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Summer Salsa – Crowd Source Fashion Design

Last year I came across some fabulous fabric at JoAnn’s and thought that it would make a great dress for a local fundraiser called Summer Salsa. The event raises funds for EOA Children’s House, a therapeutic preschool for abused and neglected children. I’ve volunteered for the agency for a number of years and was excited to support it.

The fabric sat in my stash for a year before I decided to whip something up. I pinned it on my mannequin and asked for feedback from all of my Facebook friends. It ended up being one of my most popular posts. People like online fashion designing! Here were the options:

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And here is the finished product:

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It was fun and I loved the look.