Monday, February 28, 2011

Happy birthday to me!

Today is my birthday! We did cake (and cake balls!) this weekend with my family, so I could absolutely go for some birthday pancakes this evening. Or pasta. Or maybe just a viewing of The Bachelor :)

I'll be back tomorrow with my March goals!

Photo by Our Labor of Love, styling by Ashley Meaders

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Maine Squeeze: Rehearsal and wiffle ball!

I made it seem like something disastrous was imminent in my last Maine Squeeze post, but really, nothing big was to go wrong for the rest of the weekend :)

Friday dawned as beautiful as the days that had preceded it -- gorgeous blue sky, clear air, and warm temps. Exactly the kind of day that makes you want to hold your wedding in Maine in August.

Everyone was up and about early, both to get a jump on the last few tasks and out of pure excitement. John and my Dad took the boat over to the mainland to drive around town hammering in the last few directional signs and cut a few bunches of white hydrangeas from my grandmother's front garden. (We hadn't planned to have any floral elements in the centerpieces, but when the opportunity presented itself, we couldn't resist!). The result of their hard work:

You'll be seeing more of those soon! The girls stayed behind doing very important things:

When the gentlemen returned from their early morning errands, grandma took care of clipping the hydrangeas.

Soon after, it was time to meet the 10:30 ferry, which Jenna was scheduled to arrive on! We were so excited and nervous to meet this talented photographer and blogger who we felt like we knew but had never actually met. We needn't have been nervous, though -- as soon as Jenna stepped off the ferry, there were hugs all around!

We wanted to take her on a quick walking tour of the Island, since she would be largely on her own the next morning. Since the Island is only about a mile long by a half a mile wide (and some of that length and width is rocky coastline and doesn't even really count!), we were able to do so fairly quickly. We got a quick peek at the tent and freshly mown grass at West Shore...

...and then it was time for the rehearsal! We gathered in the field and Sarah, the pastor, ran through the ceremony. Quick tip for those of you running your own rehearsals: start with everyone where they'll be during the ceremony (i.e. bride and groom in the center, bridal party on either side), then practice the recessional, and then practice the processional. That way, you'll know exactly how everyone should be lined up in the back to get everyone in the right position in the front!

Yes, the binder was out in full effect. :) The rehearsal went smoothly, and afterward, we had just enough time to wolf down lunch before guests began arriving for the first official event of the wedding weekend: wiffle ball!

We had about 30 guests to transport from the mainland to the Island, so my uncles took turns ferrying guests in their boats. The ferry was also running. Everyone eventually trickled on to the playing field, but not before passing things as lovely as these totally-not-planned-but-totally-color-coordinated pot buoys on their way up the hill!

Our players ranged in age from 5 to 65 years old, and I think everyone ended up having a good time! That's not to say that competition wasn't fierce, because it most certainly was. In fact, I distinctly remember my Dad and uncle rolling in the grass over a fly ball/stealing third base situation at one point...

Me? Fierce? Not so much:

In fact, I probably should have stuck with the onlookers...

No surprise, then, when my team didn't win. But we were all good sports!

We were also officially hot and sweaty, which meant it was time for our next activity: wharf jumping!

Sign, buoy, and wiffle ball photos by the lovely and talented Jenna Cole; all other personal.

It begins
More preparations
We raise the tent

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Janet Hill Studio

I'm loving these teensy paintings I discovered on Etsy last week! They're very reasonable at about $26 - $44 a piece, depending on the size. I'm particularly smitten with the "Library Ladies" print -- I'd love to lean it up against a few books on my bedside table!

Check them all out at the Janet Hill Studio Etsy store!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Bridesmaid dresses

While searching for potential birthday presents, I came across these two lovely numbers that I have no use for but that struck me as excellent bridesmaid dress possibilities. They each only come in one color (plum and gray, respectively), but if they happened to line up with your chosen color scheme, you could be in luck! And at just $108 for the plum and $68 for the gray, the price is right, too.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Long distance maps

Since today is the celebration of Washington's birthday, I thought I'd post an Etsy find that strikes me as a bit patriotic. Aren't these custom-embroidered maps adorable? Since she'll stitch a heart around two separate cities, I think they'd be particularly perfect for a long-distance couple...

Find them at the Vintage Refashioned shop!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Maine Squeeze: We raise the tent!

Thursday dawned as bright and clear as the rest of the week, and we rose bright and early, too -- it was time to meet the rental peeps! Kate and my Dad rode the ferry over to greet them on the mainland while the rest of the hauling crew stayed behind on the Island.

Side note: we very specifically told the rental company multiple times that there was NO bridge to the Island and NO barge, and that everything would have to fit on a renovated lobster boat. They said that was A-OK multiple times. Yet when they arrived on Thursday, their first question was still, "Where's the barge?" Ay-yay-yay. In the end, we did get everything over successfully, barge or no barge.

As the ferry slid up to the dock, we assembled into a bonafide bucket brigade, carting chairs, tables, glassware, flatware, linens, and a disassembled tent up the ramp and into the truck.

We then followed the truck's bumpy progress around the corner of the Island, from the main float to the West Shore, where the reception would be held two days later. After that we pretty much just did some heavy looking-on as the rental company impressively did their thing. In no time, we had a tent!

Side note: do you see how sweaty that tent guy is?!

But what is a tent without bunting?! Not much, in this family! As the fog rolled in, we hung strands of colored flags for the cake display backdrop, across where the food buffet would sit, and between two trees behind the soon-to-be bar. We even had some leftover to string between two Adirondack chairs facing out to the ocean. Let's all pause for a round of applause for Kate -- she made all the bunting you see, and did such a great job!

After the tent people headed back to the mainland, we set up all the tables and chairs in roughly the arrangement we wanted them in on Friday. We also tied long navy, yellow, and white ribbons into the branches of the trees next to the shore, and scoured the beach for smooth rocks (which would later become part of the centerpieces!).

After all our West Shore prep, we took the roundabout way back to the cottages so we could hammer in directional signs as we went.

Let me tell you, it was harder than it looked, as New England islands are pretty much solid rock covered with a thin layer of moss. But we persevered, and I think they looked pretty good in the end!

By the time Thursday evening rolled around, we were all starting to get so, so excited -- the weather report looked great, guests would be arriving the next morning, and preparations were progressing as planned. What could go wrong? ...until next time!

All photos personal

It begins
More preparations

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Apartment garden: the seedlings!

Even though we had a thriving porch garden last year, I feel super lame for never posting about it! Whether documented or not, it was a goal from my first 101 that was a rousing success, which has us eager to get our green thumbs dirty again this year. And promise, I'll share the adventure with y'all this time! Let's start with our seedlings, which we planted a few days ago. Here they are, perched on the ledge in our shower!

Too cute! We chose the shower ledge for a few reasons: that particular window gets tons of light, it's easy to keep them moist, and the cats would have a heck of a time getting up there to attack them (a very important consideration).

Interested in starting a small-scale vegetable garden of your own? I'm happy to pass on a few tips, though we're certainly not experts. Before we began last year I learned a lot from reading this article (and this one and this one), and then, of course, I learned even more from trial and error. That being said, here are a few things to take into consideration.

1. Take stock of the space you have available. We have our balcony -- if you need a refresher, see here! It's long and skinny, but there's plenty of room for a row of pots. There isn't, however, room for Brandywine tomatoes or cucumbers. We tried both last year, and were disappointed because they never really produced anything of note. This year, we're trying peppers -- poblanos, bells, and jalapenos -- which we learned from our work in our community garden grow well in compact spaces.

2. Evaluate your sun situation. And be realistic about it. Last year, we convinced ourselves we had more sun than we actually did. Since sun is so important for veggie production, you'll inevitably be disappointed if you overestimate the amount of sun your space gets (we sure were!). Red iceberg lettuce, cilantro, and basil all did fantastically with the amount of sun they got, so we'll be planting all of those again.

3. Buy seeds and supplies. We bought some of our seeds from Seed Savers Exchange, which specializes in rare and heirloom varieties. They worked out great! We also bought a few packets from Lowes. The remaining supplies? All from Lowes: several plastic pots, the seedling pots and starter soil, two bags of organic potting soil, a box of fertilizer, and a watering can. We spent about $90 the first year on supplies, but only $45 this year. I estimate that next year, we'll spend about $20 (the pots accounted for the bulk of the expense both years, and you only have to buy those once!). If you are a savvy shopper and scout around for bargains, I'm sure you could buy your initial supplies for less than we did.

4. Start your seedlings inside and early for the largest crop. Do a Google search for average last frost in your area, which should give you a pretty good idea of when you should start.

5. Make it fun! We're planting dahlias simply because I wanted pretty blooms with my vegetables.

So here we are: week one. Empty pots outside, seedlings inside.

I'll update you on our progress next month, but in the meantime, tell me: do you grow herbs or vegetables? Are you working with an apartment balcony or porch, or do you have a much larger space? Any tips to share?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Winter travels: the Old Edwards Inn

Two weekends ago John and I had the delightful experience of visiting the Old Edwards Inn in Highlands, NC. We had the most wonderful time, and I'd love to tell you about it!

First, a few things about Highlands. It's a tiny town tucked in the mountains and has a population that swells from about 900 in the winter to around 15,000 in the summer. It has an adorable downtown, plenty of waterfalls on the drive in, and mountains galore to explore. It also has the Old Edwards Inn, which is, as it turns out, the nicest hotel I've ever had the pleasure of staying at.

Before checking into our room, we took a brief tour of the property. They have so many different accommodations, from rooms in the Lodge to individual cottages, and each was filled with adorable nooks and crannies and thoughtful amenities.

My favorite was this clawfoot tub in one of the cottages:

My next favorite spot was this little alleyway right below our room. Can't you just imagine this somewhere in Europe?

After our tour we checked into our room. Which was intensely, seriously amazing. The bathroom had heated tile floors and towel bars, several people could have had a dance party in the shower, there were Molton Brown toiletries, there were two of the most comfortable chairs I have ever sat in, there was a fireplace (!!!) and balcony, they had peanut butter cookies waiting for us, there were free and copious Dove bars (!!!), and there was a little touchscreen device that controlled the temperature, lights, and TV. Heaven.

We did manage to tear ourselves away from our room for a quick hike at nearby Whiteside Mountain and a drive-by tour of the three close waterfalls.

We occupied ourselves the rest of the evening by watching a DVD we borrowed from the front desk staff and eating Dove bars!

If any of you are looking for a gorgeous place to visit for a relaxing getaway, I would highly recommend the Old Edwards Inn. We loved staying there in the winter, and are eager to see what the experience would be like in the summer!

A huge thank you to the Old Edwards staff, which was kind enough to host John and I for the night through my job. The opinions expressed, however, are all mine!