Just in time for spring…

6 03 2016

RE-POST: In spring 2012, I had my first botanical photography exhibit, “Garden Muse: A Botanical Portfolio,” at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, VA. Barbara Kelley of Kelley Hospitality (who is also the editor-in-chief and my partner with Celebrate Home Magazine), did a phenomenal job of catering the reception in mid-April. There wasn’t a crumb left of anything when the event was over!

Barbara shares her yummy recipes and party tips in “Inspired by the Garden: Garden Muse Tea Reception,” in the summer issue of Celebrate Home Magazine. Barbara and I published four issues of Celebrate Home Magazine as a personal project in 2012-2013.

I am forever grateful to her for all her hard work and very major contributions to that very special day! Special thanks to Hollace Goodman, who served as catering assistant, for her work as well. Special thanks Ed Fagan of Columbia Photography and Margot Juliette Storch for photographing the event for us. I recapped the event on this blog in the links below:

http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2012/04/18/scenes-from-an-exhibit-reception-part-1/

http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2012/04/18/scenes-from-an-exhibit-reception-part-2/

http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2012/05/07/more-scenes-from-a-reception-for-garden-muse-a-botanical-portfolio/

View the issue as reader spreads (my favorite!):

CHM Summer 2013 Spreads

View the issue as single pages (suitable for printing out the recipes):

CHM Summer 2013 Single Pages

Splurge and purchase a beautiful print copy on magcloud.com (no markup; at cost + shipping):

http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/600404

Help us spread the word! Share Celebrate Home Magazine with your family and friends.

CHM Garden Reception

 

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Celebrate Home Magazine: Spring!

6 03 2016

It’s almost spring and I thought I’d share the spring issue of Celebrate Home Magazine again. Barbara Kelley and I created this magazine in 2012-2013 as a personal project and had so much fun doing it! Click on either of the links below to download your FREE pdf copy of this issue.

This issue is jam-packed (and there’s even a jam-making feature with my friend Sophia Stadnyk!), so download today and get started reading.

Single pages version: Celebrate Home Spring 2013

Reader spreads version (my favorite!): Celebrate Home Spring 2013 Spreads

Order a print copy (at cost, plus shipping): http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/540569

You can also view it on issuu.com here.

On the cover: What says “spring” more than colorful tulips? I was photographing this bed of flowers and was standing on the edge of the wall when this little girl, clad in a princess skirt with sparkly shoes, came running around the corner. I got this one shot and she was gone. Serendipity!

CHM Spring 2013 cover





From Celebration Home Magazine, Summer 2013: How to Plan a Photography Exhibit Reception

18 07 2013

In spring 2012, I had my first botanical photography exhibit, “Garden Muse: A Botanical Portfolio,” at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, VA. Barbara Kelley of Kelley Hospitality (who is also the editor-in-chief and my partner with Celebrate Home Magazine), did a phenomenal job of catering the reception in mid-April. There wasn‘t a crumb left of anything when the event was over!

Barbara shares her recipes and party tips in “Inspired by the Garden: Garden Muse Tea Reception,” in the summer issue of Celebrate Home Magazine. I am forever grateful to her for all her hard work and very major contributions to that very special day! Special thanks to Hollace Goodman, who served as catering assistant, for her work as well. Special thanks Ed Fagan of Columbia Photography and Margot Juliette Storch for photographing the event for us. I recapped the event on this blog in the links below:

http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2012/04/18/scenes-from-an-exhibit-reception-part-1/

http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2012/04/18/scenes-from-an-exhibit-reception-part-2/

http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2012/05/07/more-scenes-from-a-reception-for-garden-muse-a-botanical-portfolio/

View the issue as reader spreads (my favorite!):

CHM Summer 2013 Spreads

View the issue as single pages (suitable for printing out the recipes):

CHM Summer 2013 Single Pages

Splurge and purchase a beautiful print copy on magcloud.com (no markup; at cost + shipping):

http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/600404

Help us spread the word! Share Celebrate Home Magazine with your family and friends.

CHM Garden Reception

 





Spring 2013 issue of Celebrate Home Magazine now ready for digital download!

4 04 2013

The spring 2013 issue of Celebrate Home Magazine is now available for digital download. Click on either of the links below to download your FREE pdf copy of this issue.

This issue is jam-packed (and there’s even a jam-making feature!), so download today and get started reading.

The more clicks we get, the better we do with promoting and getting advertising! We thank you for your support.

Single pages version: Celebrate Home Spring 2013

Reader spreads version (my favorite!): Celebrate Home Spring 2013 Spreads

Order a print copy (at cost, plus shipping): http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/540569

You can also view it on issuu.com here.

On the cover: What says “spring” more than colorful tulips? I was photographing this bed of flowers and was standing on the edge of the wall when this little girl, clad in a princess skirt with sparkly shoes, came running around the corner. I got this one shot and she was gone. Serendipity!

CHM Spring 2013 cover





Winter 2013 Celebrate Home Magazine now available for digital download!

17 02 2013

The winter 2013 issue of Celebrate Home Magazine is now available for digital download in the links below. Click on either of the links below to download your FREE pdf copy of this issue. The first links is for single-page viewing (perfect for printing off your favorite recipe!); the second link is set up for “reader spreads,” so you can see the magazine in spread format (my favorite!). Below are just some excerpts from our latest issue! Stay tuned for our spring issue, which will be CHOCK FULL of gardening-related features and crafts.

The more clicks we get, the better we do with promoting and getting advertising! We thank you for your support!

SINGLE PAGES PDF HERE: Celebrate Home Winter 2013 

READER SPREADS PDF HERE: Celebrate Home Winter 2013 Spreads

Click here to view on issuu.com.

Purchase a beautiful print copy at cost plus shipping:

http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/513977

On the cover: Gladys Roldan-de-Moras, award-winning Impressionist painter from San Antonio, Texas

CHM Winter 2013 Blog

In this issue:

FEATHER YOUR NEST
Winter-inspired lovelies for you and your home.

HOME
Delicious Pops of Color
Easy on the eyes, the Hedstrom house takes advantage of light-filled views with clean lines and engaging color.

FAMILY
Living the Fairy Tale: To Quit or Not to Quit?
Mothers share their struggles with jobs and families.

FOOD & ENTERTAINING
Bowls of Comfort
Take the chill out of winter with our filling soup recipes!

A Wintertime Dessert Party
Pair wine and desserts for elegant and easy entertaining.

Green Chicken: Creating a Family Heirloom Cookbook
Create a cookbook that cherishes family recipes.

The Many Seasons of Beer
Beer aficionado Jefferson Evans explores the world of seasonal brews.

THE ARTIST
Gladys Roldan-de-Moras, Impressionist Painter
Always proud of her Colombian and Mexican roots, this artist’s passion is reflected in her colorful work.

HOW-TO
Winter Photography Indoors
Stay indoors to photograph nature this winter.

PETS
How Much is That Doggie in the Window? Choosing the Family Pup

Think you’re ready to add a furry friend to your family? Here are some things to consider.

THE CREATIVE LIFE
Every Picture Tells a Story
Discover five tips for decorating your walls with original art.

THE COLLECTOR
Bejeweled: Camilla Houghton’s Unique Ring Collection
What started as a gift exchange between two sisters expanded into a beloved collection of rings.

CRAFT
Ring Bling Box
Give your rings a new home with our easy craft project.

PERSPECTIVES
What Home Means to Me

 





From now until October 31, get your printed copy of our Celebrate Home Magazine for 25% off!

24 10 2012

Magcloud.com is having a 25% off sale from now until October 31! Get the printed copy of the fall 2012 issue of Celebrate Home Magazine for $17.55 (reg. $23.40), plus shipping. The print copy is gorgeous, but you can also view it online free by signing up for a free magcloud.com account. Click on the link below to enjoy 25% off the print version!

http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/447668





Celebrate Home Magazine now available on www.issuu.com!

10 10 2012

Celebrate Home Magazine is now available for viewing on http://www.issuu.com! You’ll love the page-turnable interface and downloads are FREE. You can even control the zoom in and out features! Check it out here:

http://issuu.com/celebratehomemag/docs/celebratehomemagfall2012

Help us get those numbers up by downloading your free copy now! Every click helps us grow the magazine, ensuring more issues for you to read in the future. Help us spread the word!





A labor of love: Celebrate Home Magazine is born!

2 10 2012

The Fall 2012 Celebrate Home Magazine debuts today on the first day of October with the mantra of “making the ordinary extraordinary.”

Published quarterly, Celebrate Home Magazine focuses on family, food, entertaining, gardening, art, crafts, hobbies, personal expression, hospitality, pets, decorating, communities and neighborhoods.

The time has come for a magazine like this—highlighting ordinary people doing extraordinary things. No matter your budget, your skills or the size of your space, we’ll enthusiastically share experiences of those who nurture the space they call home. Let us inspire you!

I’ve teamed up with the talented and renowned Barbara Kelley, whose editorial expertise has graced Hearing Loss Magazine for more than 20 years. She brings her passion for hospitality and her publishing experience to this brand new publication! We are both passionate about all things home and welcome you to open the door and come on in. We also welcome you to be contributors. This magazine is for you and about you.

Click the link below to download a two-page spread pdf of the magazine:

CelebrateHomeMagFall2012 Spreads

Click the link below to download a pdf designed for single page printing:

CelebrateHomeMagFall2012 Pages

Want to order a print copy of Celebrate Home Magazine? Click here, then sign up for a free magcloud.com account. You can download the FREE pdf or purchase a print copy on this link.

 

Would you like to be a contributing author or photographer? Please e-mail writing and/or photography samples and links to websites with your work tobkelley@celebratehomemag.com.

Do you have an original recipe you’d like to share? Please e-mail your recipes tobkelley@celebratehomemag.com.

We can come to you! Are you having a party or special event at your home or an activity that relates to the subject of home? Contact us to discuss your idea. If it fits the editorial scope of Celebrate Home Magazine, we may photograph your event and write the story.

Do you have a product or service? If you would like to advertise your product, service, or your city/town/region, contact advertising@celebratehomemag.com.

Check it out and celebrate home with us!





More scenes from the reception of Garden Muse: A Botanical Portfolio

7 05 2012

These lovely photos were shot at my April 15 photography reception at Green Spring Gardens by my friend Karen B.’s eldest daughter, Margot. For the record, Margot and her sister, Hannah, are two of the sweetest, smartest and prettiest young ladies I’ve had the good fortune to watch grow from birth to 20 and 18 years old, respectively. Catering by the Sneeze Guard Heiress, Barbara Kelley of Kelley Hospitality; tablescaping by Karen B. and yours truly. Thanks for the shots, Margot!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Scenes from an exhibit reception, part 2

18 04 2012

A reception wouldn’t be complete without food, and with Kelley Hospitality in charge, mine was p-e-r-f-e-c-t! Visit Barbara’s hospitality blog here. Thanks to Ed Fagan of Columbia Photography for all the great photos!





Scenes from an exhibit reception, part 1

18 04 2012

WOW. That’s how I can sum up my photography exhibit reception on Sunday at Green Spring Gardens. My friend Martha says her favorite moment was when I came by her and simply said, “I am just soooooooooo happy.” I kept repeating it like a Stepford character. I’m just soooooooooo happy. Really, I am just soooooooooo deliriously happy! Sales and attendance were way beyond what I expected (or dared to hope for).

Remember, the show is up for two more weeks—you have until April 29 to see it if you haven’t already done so. For more details and directions, visit my show site: www.gardenmuseshow.com! FYI—I will have an etsy.com store up and running soon. I’ll be selling matted and framed images, greeting cards and jewelry (and any other crafty endeavor that strikes my fancy!). Stay tuned for more info on that venture. More photos to come from the reception…

Reception photos © Ed Fagan, Columbia Photography

Martha, my friend who came up for the weekend from San Antonio, Texas, confidently pitches the “buy all eight greeting cards for $20 and get a nifty floral gift bag” deal to a potential customer.

Above, from left: dear friends Holly and Tom, yours truly (with my trusty Coolpix) and lovely Sue-in-blue, who flew up from Huntsville, Alabama

With a lot of help from family and friends (Karen B., her daughter Margot, my sister Debbie, sister-in-law Nancy, Karen W. and Martha), the table decor—inspired by spring and all things gardening—became the perfect backdrop to showcase Barbara‘s wonderful sweet and savory appetizers! The only downside—putting all those decorations back in their place in our townhouse.

Above, left: The view of the banquet tables from the “savory” side. Right: Barbara Kelley, caterer extraordinaire, displays her Magnolia Bakery vanilla cupcakes, topped off with homemade fondant butterflies made by Karen B., daughter Hannah and me.

Above: The photo pendants were a hit, much to our delight! My friend Paula and I made about 30 of them and we sold more than half of them. I’ll be preparing more to sell in my etsy.com store, which I’ll be working on next month. We hung them on satin cords (longer length), vinyl cording and silver-plated chains and sold them sans chains as well.

Barbara and Hollace made open-faced tea sandwiches and adorned them with edible flowers—which required some cajoling to get attendees to eat. I heard several times, “are you sure we can eat these?” Michael proved they were edible by devouring a complete pink rose (photo to come). Another guest poked at the mozzarella balls (!) and asked if they were real (!) Thank you to Sue for helping me festoon the cupcake stand with garden-inspired fabric and ribbon. We went through a lot of hot glue on that project!

Above: getting the store set up before the crowd comes through the doors. Thanks to everyone who set up the shop—Michael, Karen B., Karen and Joe W., Pete and Nancy, Martha and Debbie. We filled up 3.5 cars with matted/framed prints, greeting cards and buffet decor elements. From left: Holly and her friend Helen examine the necklaces on display; center: Michael explains how to use his credit card machine to Karen B. and her daughter Margot; far right: me explaining something (?) to my friend Leda

Above: seven of the eight 5.5 x 8.5 greeting cards available for sale. Not shown, my “Unfurled” image with a ‘Negrita’ Tulip

Above: another shot of the buffet—tea sandwiches, fruit skewers and pesto pinwheels

Above, left: the jewelry display with my brother-in-law Pete in the background. Peter and his wife Nancy (Michael’s sister) drove up from the Columbus, Ohio area. Right: one of my favorite people—friend and neighbor Michael P. —deciding with “hairy legged” insect photo to purchase (thanks for giving Vault and Whirly Girl a good home, Michael!) Below: lines began to form—how cool is that?

Above: It was so great to see my former roommate (from way back circa 1998 or so) Wendy and her husband Mark—I last saw Wendy at Potomac Mills mall when her son Eli (now 17) was still in a stroller! We reunited on Facebook (but of course) and they truly surprised me by driving down from West Virginia just for the reception! She has asked me to do a presentation to her second grade class on “how to learn how to see” things in nature. Now that I can do!

During this entire process, I have had such a tremendous show of support from family and friends. Since the show went up, I have had guests coming from Florida, Texas, Ohio, West Virginia, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Alabama and Maryland. I am so blessed to have these people in my circle!

In preparation for the show and reception, I’d like to thank a slew of great people:

A very special thanks to Jeff E.—thank you for the kick in the pants to get “exposure for my exposures!”
Dorothy Norpel
, F.R.O.G.S. (Friends of Green Spring Gardens) show coordinator, for giving me the opportunity to exhibit
• Mary Olien and Janet Hammes of Green Spring Gardens for their support of my work and Janet in particular for letting us in early on Sunday so we would have ample time to prepare for the reception (and also for purchasing several images!)
• All the employees and volunteers of Green Spring Gardens who answered questions, fetched a ladder, made a sale, answered my myriad questions and honored my requests
The Green Spring Gardens horticulture staff who are masters (and artists) at what they do—for always having something new and beautiful for me to photograph (not many people know that more than 75% of the images in the show were shot at Green Spring Gardens)
Dad
for his financial input, patient framing guidance and being the best cheerleader/dad/patron of the arts a girl could have
My sister Kelley for helping me select all the images for the show and being the genius behind the idea to name the images
Tom and Holly for loading up 98% of the framed images in their van and transporting and unloading it all—you just don’t know how much I appreciated that!
Dear Camilla for flying up to help me hang up the show and her invaluable creative direction (not to mention her long-time friendship)
• Karen W.
and Michael for helping hang the show from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (thanks also to Karen for constantly promoting my work, whether it’s jewelry making or the exhibit—there’s a reason you’re a key component of the K.I.T.A. club, ya know!)
Carmen and her sister-in-law Ester for driving eight hours from Greer, South Carolina just to attend the exhibit
Mary Ellen
for flying from Wisconsin
My sister-in-law Ronnie and her husband Ed for coming to see us and the exhibit en route from Florida back to their home in Cleveland
My sister Debbie and our friend Martha for hopping planes from San Antonio to share in the big weekend
Karen B.
for helping design the buffet tables, create the table covers and decorations, making fondant butterflies for the cupcakes, sleeving greeting cards and for every single creative project she is willing to tackle alongside me (I enjoy all our creative time together, KareBear) and for her patience in heading up the store
Mo Sherman
for spreading the word to his Virginia and Maryland friends and for being so supportive of my work
Sue
for flying here from Huntsville, AL, helping me make the three-tiered tea sandwich stand and putting matted prints in sleeves (and for her never-ending cheerleading!)
Hannah
for help with creating the butterflies and manning the store with her mom
Margot
for her flower arranging skills, buffet decorating and helping in the store
Paula
for helping me make those pretty photo pendants that were such a hit (and for her and Ken spreading the word of the exhibit to their friends and colleagues)
Nancy
, Pete and Martha for helping frame (assembly-line style) some last-minute pieces
Karen W.
and Joe for preparing and bringing a great breakfast spread to the house Sunday morning so we wouldn’t pass out during the day
All the help transporting to and fro in four separate cars from Michael, Pete, Joe, Nancy, Karen W., Martha and Debbie
Barbara
and Hollace for the amazing reception food—it was colorful, tasty, imaginative, filled with love, and I couldn’t imagine a catered event going more smoothly than this one did—you are a pro, Barbara!
Karen B.
, Margot, Hannah and Martha for minding the store and taking care of sales, wrapping, etc. (I know it was a crazy, unexpected time and I thank them profusely for all their efforts; nothing I can do can repay their generosity of time!);
Michael for running errands to get more change, to the house for more supplies and bringing fans to cool off the place (we learned that they turn off the air at the Horticulture Center on weekends!)
Karen W.
, Debbie, Martha, Karen B., Margot and Nancy for all their help decorating the buffet tables and setting up the store
Jeff S.D. for his constant support and helping me determine pricing (why is this always so hard for an artist?)
Brian for his mentoring and valuable input, always
Kudos and thanks to my hard-working friend Ed for so thoroughly and beautifully documenting that wonderful day with nearly 700 images (shot from above, below, from the side, on a ladder, on the floor and from the ceiling)!

If I have left out anyone in the never-ending gratitude list above, it is not intentional. Finally, thank you to all my local friends, faraway friends, Facebook friends, WordPress fellow bloggers and design clients for being a constant source of support and enthusiasm for this pet project of mine. Thank you to all my local friends who were able to make the reception and for your purchases as well. I thank you profusely and Green Spring Gardens thanks you, too!





Sour cream ghost busting a move…

1 12 2011

I take credit for this (unintentionally humorous) garnishing on Michael’s latest soup creation. Don’t you think the dollop of sour cream looks like a ghost doing the Saturday Night Fever dance? Trust me, it wasn’t planned—I envisioned swirls of the white stuff but my garnishing skills obviously leave a bit to be desired.

Michael made this butternut and acorn squash soup as a starter for our Thanksgiving dinner with our friend Karen down at her  lakehouse. He found the recipe on allrecipes.com. Because the butternut squash he used was so large, he opted to add nearly a teaspoon of cinnamon (the recipe isn’t specific about how much) as well as a little extra onion. The recipe reviews had a common thread; many who tried it said it was way too sweet, which is why Michael opted to not add the brown sugar to his version. It was enough soup to completely fill a crock pot—and it was delicious!

And, are you sitting down? I did some cooking, too. I made my friend Barbara Kelley’s Baked Cranberry–Orange Sauce (check out her posting, the recipe, and my photography on her blog here). I do not profess to be an expert in the kitchen (by a country mile), but when I mixed the cranberries with 2 cups of sugar (really? no liquid to add?), I thought, “hmm…I’m no expert, but that just doesn’t look right without any liquid.” I cut out some of the sugar but followed the other directions that Barbara gave me. It’s obvious (to anyone but me) that the cranberries supply the liquid during the baking process. Clearly, I missed that Good Eats episode with Alton Brown. (Note to self: do not think you will ever be a contender for Chopped). I cut the sugar in half in my version because I knew I would be adding orange marmalade (which is already sickly sweet). It’s still a sweet dish and my dinner companions actually ate a good helping of it (out of pity, perhaps?) My other contribution to the day was crafting the tablescape (truly my favorite thing to do in the kitchen!).

Butternut and Acorn Squash Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash, halved and seeded
  • 1 acorn squash, halved and seeded
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped sweet onion
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar (Michael opted out on this ingredient due to the reviews)
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ground cinnamon to taste (optional)
  • fresh parsley, for garnish
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place the squash halves cut side down in a baking dish. Bake 45 minutes, or until tender. Remove from heat, and cool slightly. Scoop the pulp from the skins. Discard skins.
  2. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat, and saute the onion until tender.
  3. In a blender or food processor, blend the squash pulp, onion, broth, brown sugar, cream cheese, pepper, and cinnamon until smooth. This may be done in several batches.
  4. Transfer the soup to a pot over medium heat, and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Garnish with parsley (we had home-grown chives in lieu of parsley), and serve warm.




A wedding in the garden

21 09 2010

Abbie and Todd got married at the Sayen House and Gardens in Hamilton, New Jersey on September 12 and I was hired as their official photographer. These are just a fraction of the many photos I’ve been working on (happy one week anniversary today, you two!). The ceremony was originally supposed to take place in the Temple Garden under a gazebo but the weather wouldn’t cooperate. Just after the ceremony, it stopped raining and we were able to do my much-anticipated photo shoot in the garden. Everything was intensely green because of the rain, so that was a definite plus!

I’ve got a lot more to prepare, but wanted to share this compilation on my blog because it does have a connection to gardens. Enjoy!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





This should sufficiently explain my absence…

7 11 2009

Tshirt LogoAfter a 19-year engagement (did a double-take, didn’t ya?), Michael and I got married in Texas on October 24! We’ve planned to do so at least four times prior, but we finally managed to pull it off two weeks ago. We wanted to have a long weekend with family and friends and got a great deal on two houses on Lake Placid in Seguin, Texas (less than an hour’s drive from San Antonio, where my parents and one sister and her family live). The Friday night Tex-Mex Karaoke Get Acquainted Party took place on Friday night, followed by an early evening wedding and reception on Saturday. We just had a few months to plan this big weekend and from the comments by our family and friends, we were wildly successful.

Dancing_lorezIf you want the full story and lots of photos, visit our wedding-only blog entitled, “Better Late Than Never.”

And yes, I had to create a logo for the event—I’m a graphic designer, first and foremost! My friend Karen and I had a blast planning all the visuals and I spent every spare minute crafting for the event—from sewing satin shawls to crafting bling-bling headbands and boutonnieres and table signs to sewing runners and tablecloths to designing programs and signage. Virtually everything was handmade, so it was definitely a labor of love and an opportunity to use every creative skill I possess. Even our wedding favors were homegrown—a dozen of my Polaroid transfer notecards nestled in handstamped muslin bags and packages of homemade-by-Michael sweet-n-spicy sugared pecans (a nod to Seguin’s pecan heritage). I’ll be posting some of the crafts in the future as well. So head on over to our wedding blog (which will be updated regularly with new photos)—I think it should sufficiently explain why I was negligent in posting on this particular blog!





Party of six…

22 06 2008

Yet another favorite thing to do—set the table for a small dinner party. I should throw more of these smaller, more intimate gatherings (rather than the large “let’s invite everyone we know—and then some” parties). I picked up the gorgeously graphic tablecloth from a Crate & Barrel outlet (I think), and the table runner was just three cheap twig placemats (bought on clearance, of course) strung together with wire. The small salad plates, a recent acquisition, are from Home Goods, have free-form edges, and are embossed to look like rings on a tree trunk (way, way cool). Tableware was a forged “fiddlehead” pattern from a Pottery Barn outlet (really, really cheap; couldn’t pass them up)—very organic and earthy, even if the three-prong design on the fork requires an attitude adjustment. The etched “grass glasses” were on sale for $1 each at a Pier 1 clearance store…couldn’t pass those up, either. Yes, I have a thing for leaves, grasses, and trees. Oh, and don’t get me started on bird- and feather-related things!

This was a very last-minute gathering (although it was called a “Mexi-fest, we joked about it being “The Last Supper” since my sister Debbie was flying home the next day). Debbie made her signature enchiladas and the rice and beans were from Baja Fresh (we cheated on the sides, which made it so much easier on us!). The salad was gathered from our garden (lettuce only). Regina made her “Nana’s Sweet Pie” for dessert and Tom brought Corona and Sangrias (very appropriate for a Mexi-fest!).

The centerpieces were made with flowers from the garden, too—white lilies, yellow yarrow, “unknown” greenery, and past-their-bloom Purple sensation alliums (very architectural in their current state)—all tucked into two sand- and water-filled square glass vases (cheap, from IKEA).

And those two narrow hutches in the background? They’re unfinished pine cabinets from IKEA. I painted them with leftover Home Depot’s Behr Swiss Coffee (a slightly warmish white color) eggshell paint, slathered on a walnut stain, then rubbed burnt umber acrylic paint onto embossed wallpaper (a leaf pattern from Home Depot) that was cut to fit and glued into the recessed squares on the cabinet fronts. The cabinets were used in my painting studio until I relegated them to service as both a drink buffet and dish storage unit in the kitchen. I’m going to submit the project to the website IKEAHacker. If you’re fortunate to live close to an IKEA store, check that site out. You’ll be amazed at the things you can do with all the inexpensive products from that store!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.