Archive | February, 2013

Wedding Recap, Part I

14 Feb

I’ve been wanting to share some of my favorite parts of our wedding with y’all, since it was a real labor of love, much like this blog, and I want to give props to the fantastic people and independent businesses who helped us along the way.  Since it’s the week of Valentine’s Day, I thought now might be a nice time!

My sweetheart Shawn and I spent the first weekend of this June at the beautiful Brahma Ridge Event Center outside of Asheville, Carolina eating, drinking, dancing, laughing crying, sitting around the campfire and connecting with friends and family.  Oh right, and getting hitched.  The setting was fantastic.  Brahma Ridge has three houses for rent onsite, where we stayed with several of our friends.  They also allow free camping for any wedding guests, so we had several folks set up tents and camp all evening long.  It made for a perfectly laid back atmosphere.  Because so many of our guests (including us) were coming from out of town, we expanded the traditional “Rehearsal Dinner” and invited all of our guests to a welcome dinner and talent show on Friday night.

Brahma Ridge (photo by Brett Marshall)

Brahma Ridge (photo by Brett Marshall)

We spent the day decorating the tent with various things I’d made, but the real focal point of the decor was a curtain my friend Kelly hand-painted and hung for us, as well as mason jar candle votives with cozies that my friend Kate knitted by hand.  It was great being in the tent and seeing all the things we’d made come together, but it was even better when my friend Brynn reached over and touched my hand while I was in the middle of moving a table and asked, “Is this what you want to be doing right now, Dale?” I thought about it, and decided that no, I’d rather be up at the house getting taking a shower and getting ready for the evening and she told me they had it covered, it would all get done, and I should come back when the party started.
Hand painted curtain (photo by Amy Smotherman Bugess)

Hand painted curtain (photo by Amy Smotherman Bugess)

The meal, consisting of lots of little things for grazing and gulping, was provided by Saffron Fine Foods, a family-run catering business, owned by the folks responsible for HomeGrown, a quirky and delicious restaurant in West Asheville that serves great local food.  On the menu: mac n’ cheese lollipops (these were definitely the crowd favorite), fried green tomatoes, a variety of salads served individually in little cups, a slider bar (chicken pesto, ground beef and lentil sliders), new potatoes with caviar and creme fresh and mini pies for dessert!  They also served up a tasty blackberry champagne (or ginger ale) cocktail.
Blackberry Champagne Cocktail (photo by Shaena Mallet)

Blackberry Champagne Cocktail (photo by Shaena Mallet)

One of the most fun parts of the evening was when I went up to the cabin right before dinner as guests were still arriving and when I came back down, everyone was wearing these adorable feather headpieces with pictures of me and Shawn on them along with our wedding date.  My friend Kathleen had made them and passed them out while I was gone.  What a sweet, unexpected treat!
Our flower girl Avery sports one of the headpieces. (photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess)

Our flower girl Avery sports one of the headpieces. (photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess)

After dinner, we invited our guests to perform in a talent show, since so many of our friends and family are performers.  We had everything from Mongolian folk songs to stand up comedy to a hilarious play my friend crafted from emails Shawn and I had sent her during our courtship.  A highlight was when my uncle Ray played “Rocky Top” and several of my friends started clogging along.  Everyone who performed got a little award pin I made for their efforts.  For a finale, our friend Rachel, who was emceeing, had the brilliant idea to invite everyone who wanted to up to sing Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” which is Shawn and I’s kind-of-ironic-but-we-kind-of-really-like-it go-to karaoke duet.  The entire show was hilarious, moving and really really impressive.
Amazing choreographed dance by our friends (photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess)

Amazing choreographed dance by our friends (photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess)

Our friend (and ceremony photographer) Shaena played an adorable song on the uke (Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess)

Our friend (and ceremony photographer) Shaena played an adorable song on the uke (Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess)

The official party ended with my friend Julie called several square dances while her husband Adrian and our friends Brett and Mike played music.  Because we were constantly switching partners, it was a great way to unite the group and let people to get to know each other a little bit. While many folks headed to bed after the square dance, the late-nighters made s’mores around Brahma Ridge’s fire pit.

Julie and the band! (Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess)

Julie and the band! (Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess)

Square Dancing! (Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess)

Square Dancing! (Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess)

It was a warm and wonderful way to start the weekend, and my only worry was that we’d thrown toogreat of a party, and that the actual wedding would pale in comparison to such a fun night.  Stay tuned tomorrow to see if my worst nightmare came true!!!!


Make Button Valentines

13 Feb

As cheesy and commercially co-opted as Valentine’s Day can be, I do love an excuse to send out notes to people I love.  This year I decided to think outside the cardstock rectangle and make a tiny little “card” out of buttons. As long as you can write small, this project is as easy as it is cute (and in my opinion, it’s pretty darn cute).



Step 1: Locate two buttons of roughly the same size.  If you like, you can spice the “cover” of the button card up by gluing a smaller button to the top with a hot glue gun.

Step 2: Get a piece of paper and fold it accordion-style, with the fold being slightly smaller than the circumference of the button.
Step 3:  Cut the button to a small square.

Step 4:  Cut semi-circles on the top and bottom of the square, but do not let the curves touch one another.

Step 5:  Open your accordion.  There should be a line of folded connected circles.


Step 6:  Write a message to your valentine across the circles.

Step 7: Glue one side of your accordion to your “cover” button with a hot glue gun.  Glue the other side  to the back.

Step 8:  Give your button valentine to someone you love.

Make Cheese from Yogurt

8 Feb

I love mild, soft cheeses.  Who doesn’t, amirite?  Lately I’ve been experimenting with making a marinated goat cheese-like snack from Greek yogurt.  It’s super easy and delicious!

yogurt cheese

Marinated Cheese Balls

  • 17 oz greek yogurt (I like Fage brand)
  • chopped fresh herbs of your choice
  • 3 bulbs garlic, thinly sliced
  • sea salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • splash truffle oil

Place cheese cloth or fine mesh strainer over a bowl and let yogurt strain for thee days in the refrigerator.  After three days, form yogurt into golf-ball sized balls, squeezing out extra liquid as you form cheese balls.  Place in a large jar with herbs, garlic, salt & pepper.  Cover with olive oil, add a splash of truffle oil and let sit for at least 24 hours before serving (can marinate up to three days). Eat on bread or crackers with antipasto.


Make a Letter Writing Box

4 Feb

IMG_6180How to make a letter writing box:

  1. Get an old cigar box (or any box, really)
  2. Line the inside with attractive paper
  3. Staple a ribbon to the inside of the box lid.  Tie a pen or pencil to top of the lid with ribbon.
  4. Glue an envelope to the inside of the box lid.  Fill with stickers!  Write “stickers” on the envelope.
  5. Fill the box with cards, envelopes, pens, pencils, and anything else you think will add to awesome letter writing.
  6. Give away or keep for yourself.