Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Sewing Salon

After talking about it for months, my hairdresser and friend Cathy finally came over to learn to sew. Her enthusiasm was thrilling. In fact, she had put on quantities of thrift store jewelry in honor of the occasion.

She brought the all-time perfect beginner's project: a bundle of colored bandanas to sew together into a table runner. The edges are already finished, the size is consistent--there's nothing to do but learn to run the machine making even seams.

We had a lot of fun. She is *full* of sewing ideas, even though her skills are still quite rudimentary. As she puts it, her design skills are way ahead of her sewing skills. But not for long!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Wontons for Dinner

Cream cheese, green onions, crab meat, and a dab of flour mixed and chilled, then rolled up in wonton wrappers and fried. Served beside a huge green salad with grated carrot, sliced cucumbers, and stir-fried chicken.

Can you tell Bella is home from camp? I can.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Slow Saturday

It's been too long since we had this slow of a Saturday.

A hot, not-too-fast run this morning, peaches from Farmer's Market, washing the kitchen light fixtures and the tops of the cabinets, fitting a new dress pattern for Clara, most excellent pool time with Daisy who now Swims Underwater and Goes Off the Board.

And finding this forgotten thrifted treasure in a high cupboard. Such a sweet blue-flowered plate with the ring through it turning it into a serving tray.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Crisp Vintage Paisley

Finding all sorts of goodies in my housecleaning--here's a gorgeous cobbler's apron in the most appealing pink and yellow paisleys and squares, priced to move out of my etsy shop.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Doilies and Milk Glass

. . . are enough to make the bathroom cupboards look dressed.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

An Eyeful of Orange

Tonight I invite you to hop over to my etsy shop for a look at some wonderful vintage 60s clothes--the most shapely orange dress you've ever seen, and an unbelievable knit ensemble.

The proceeds of these sales go to orphan care in West Africa, so cut loose!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Cake Lady: Red Velvet Cake

This was supposed to be vegan, and cupcakes, and I changed both of those things, so maybe it's not the fault of the Cake Lady book that the cake turned out a little soggy and . . . meh. Although I doubt that the addition of vegan "cream cheese" in the frosting would have improved things.

I've actually never made a red velvet cake before and I'd like to try again. Anyone have a good recipe?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Housecleaning Festival

I need to do quite a bit of deep cleaning this week. It's my first chance in ages, a quiet week, just two girls at home, and only one trip out of town.

I decided to call it a Housecleaning Festival--like Clara's Chamber Music Festival, only domestic. If you just go by the name, you might think it's a big party, when it's actually a lot of intense and concerted effort, over several days. That's me, with the cleaning.

Three rooms are already brighter. Celebrating with a new-to-me yellow and strawberry tablecloth I nabbed on our camping excursion, and a little Mozart opera while we work.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Back with a Bonnet

Carol and I took our kids camping this week. Dates not chosen for the weather (way too hot) but because it was the only time to squeeze it in.

Very good times had by all, once Carol dried out the car-door clicker that fell out of her pocket into the river, and could use her car again.

We went deep into the mountains and Daisy found a sunbonnet for sale. Excellent.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Leftover Flowers

This may be the best part of hosting an event--enjoying the flowers afterwards.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Our Beautiful Shoestring Wedding

Church friends were getting married on a shoestring budget and I couldn't resist. My parameters were: we were on vacation until a week before, and the budget was teeny-tiny.

My gallant mother came the day before to lend her eye and good sense to everything that needed to be beautiful. Thank you, Mother! And my best friend Carol was right there too, of course. And Maureen came to help with flowers.

Want to see?

The Ingredients

We had four enormous buckets of flowers purchased for a total of $40 (thank you my adored Kroger florist!!).

We had an enormous fig tree with fruit coming on in great quantities, and a groom who loves figs. I decided to make them a decorative keynote. Free, interesting, beloved by many, and beautiful.

And a bride who could tie nice bows.

The Cake

My beautiful and best friend Carol made the cake, a classic white wedding cake filled with orange marmalade.

She iced it in plain buttercream and then turned it over to my mother,

who created an incredible work of art, using figs and fig leaves, and tiny flowers scavenged from our supplies.

Well done, ladies!

The Food Tables

These were set up under what is familiarly known as the "Pie Shack", after it played an important role in our last wedding. The bare pie shack skeleton was strung with fairy lights and tiny Chinese lanterns.

The tables were draped in soft-colored quilts and lace tablecloths. Different friends brought plates of dainty sandwiches, and of course we had nuts and mints.

The teenaged girls served punch at the end of the line,

and everything was festooned with flowers. We made sure to loosen up the bouquets with some wilderness--whether it was thistles or uncontrolled fronds of wisteria freshly clipped off the arbor.

The Party

The guest tables were each set with layered quilts and an enormous bouquet in wild colors, and milk glass dishes full of figs.

Carol and the bride.

Almost dusk.

She was radiant.

Lovely last light.

Friday, July 13, 2012

A Quick Two Birthdays

This year we conflated Daisy and Clara's birthdays. Two piles of presents, two cakes, one afternoon with grandparents. It was all we could spare this crazy week, with houseguests and a wedding to host.

No one seemed to mind.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Clara's Knitting: Josephine Lace Shawl

Clara knitted the "Josephine" shawl from the winter issue of Jane Austen Knits (a lovely knitting magazine with enough material about daily life in Jane Austen's day to interest even non-knitters).

She started it two months ago with a single skein of alpaca yarn.

Finished it on vacation, and it was time to block it when we got home. She knew it was going to lengthen during the process, but I had to laugh when she came to the laundry room over and over for yet another towel for the tabletop.

This shawl is a show-stopper. Even unblocked, it brought an entire doctor's office to a halt while the staff inspected and marvelled.

It's a mystery to me where she learned how to do this. Her knitting is flawless.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

We Were Lucky Enough

. . . to be at the beach. That's pretty lucky.

Back to normal life now.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Looking Around Charleston

Fort Sumter, heavy with history.

Drayton Hall, a beautiful shadowy Georgian shell.

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