Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wedding stress over, and now the honeymoon begins…


My daughter is now, officially a ‘married’ woman. I am now, officially, a ‘mother in law’. I am happy and relieved that my daughter’s wedding went well and is now, over. I am happy to be a mother to another intelligent, sweet and responsible son. I’m proud of all my children. They are wonderful. And I’m proud to have been part of this wonderful day in their lives.

It was a hot, humid, sweaty, very un-Oregon day. We had 6 bridesmaids, 1 flower girl, 1 bride, 1 mother of the bride and 1 hairdresser crammed into one bedroom and small bath. It was hectic as all the girls got their hair done, dresses on and makeup done, and, I as MOB, did my daughter’s makeup and got her dressed for her big day. In between, I checked on flowers and cake delivery, got water for my daughter, handed out baby wipes, breath mints, cut tags off dresses, and set up the Unity Candle for the ceremony. I was a sweaty, hot mess but somehow I managed to send everyone down the aisle, including my beautiful daughter. There were no wardrobe malfunctions, no fell down and no one passed out. (At least not until after the wedding!) Just kidding.

It was an amazing and wonderful and beautiful and heartfelt day. And I have a lot of people to thank who helped me make it all possible.

A bow of gratitude to my husband and partner in crime, Michael, for his support in everything and his expertise with the music for the reception and dance. A big thank you to my friend and hair stylist, Patty Johnson for a super job on bride, bridesmaids and flower girl. Another huge thank you to my other friends, Katie and Laurel for setting up all the table decorations, toasting and cake tables for the reception. And more kudos to Leah for beautiful floral arrangements, bouquets and boutonnières and Eileen for all the handmade jewelry that bedazzled the wedding party. You all made the day even more beautiful with your support, love and talents…thank you all!

And now, it's time to kick off our shoes, let our hair down and relax as my daughter and her new husband(and my new son) are officially off on their honeymoon. My husband and I are on vacation as well. Sleeping in, walking the dog, reading, playing games, watching movies and generally putzing around the house. Sigh. Life is good, very good, indeed.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

T minus 5 days and counting...

It's getting close to the 'BIG DAY'. My daughter's wedding is Sunday and preparations are both ending and beginning and somewhere in the middle or is that muddle? Many things are going well. Really. Honest.

Lists have been checked off. Dress: done. Table decorations: done. Flowers: done. Cake: ordered. Catering: done. Music: done. And, of course, other lists are being made. There are errands to run and practice sessions and details still to do. A gathering of a little emergency kit with lint brush, baby wipes(great for stains on tuxes), first aid kit, breath mints, small safety pins and double stick tape(because you just never know). There's a concern about lighting, and will it get too dark to dance till 10 pm? I hope not.

Because with all the expected running around and pre-planning and re-planning that I need to do this week, I am looking forward to a lovely day. Watching my wonderful, talented daughter marry an equally wonderful and talented man with, I'm sure, tears of happiness running down my cheeks. (Add to list, waterproof mascara?)

And after the ceremony, what do I look forward to? The party, man! I want to sing, dance, laugh, eat and drink and be, very, very merry!!!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Summer delights: Basil and homemade pesto.

Presto! Summer is finally here in the damp Pacific Northwest and that means basil and that means pesto. Just the smell of my fresh basil plant makes me hungry. I loved pesto for years and when I discovered how easy it is to make, I’ve been making my own pesto ever since.

Ok, you do have to ‘sacrifice’ your plants. There is a part of me that hears a chorus of ‘plant killer’ when I start cutting down these beauties, but that’s what gardening is all about, isn’t it?

After cutting down the basil plants, I strip the leaves off and set them in a sink of cold water to wash and refresh them. I towel them dry or you could use a salad spinner, you want to make sure the leaves are not wet. Here’s my recipe.

2 cups of cleaned, fresh basil leaves
4 cloves garlic
½ cup walnuts
½ to ¾ cup olive oil
½ cup parmesan or Romano cheese
Put the garlic, walnuts and parmesan cheese in a food processor and whirl till very finely chopped. Add the fresh basil leaves and with the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil in from the top. When the leaves and oil are all blended in and you have a nice basil emulsion, you’re done!

I like to use walnuts instead of pine nuts because I like the flavor. It’s your choice. Once made, you can use the pesto immediately in many ways. Spread it on fresh baguette slices, baked or broiled chicken or fish. Make a salad dressing by adding a little more oil or mayonnaise. Use it to make pesto potato salad or this pasta salad.

If you’re not going to use it all in a week or two, you can freeze it in ice cube trays. Once it’s frozen pop the cubes out and store them in a freezer bag or container. I love knowing I can go to my freezer in the dead of winter and find a little taste of summer to add to pasta, potatoes or over cream cheese as an appetizer spread. Yum.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Weddings, Art and Life

My soon to be son-in-law, daughter and one of her bridesmaids.

My daughter is getting married in 3 weeks. It’s exciting. It’s wonderful. It’s also getting very busy. It’s been a while since my own wedding, which I planned, and things have really changed. There’s so much to choose from, so many more ideas and products out there. It’s a bit overwhelming.

Luckily, my daughter and I are not just MOB(mother of the bride) and bride, we’re friends and cohorts. And we’ve worked out all the details of this important event together. As a musician, she’s handling the details of ceremony music. My husband, as a long-time radio personality is handling the reception music. As an artist, I’m handling reception décor and as mom, I’ve been there through dress selection, fittings, makeup, hosting the bridal shower and other small details, like the flower girl basket/purse and bow.

I lost a little sleep last night with details dancing in my head. Today, I got out my pen and paper and wrote a list. List making is always makes me feel more in control, especially when I get to check off some items that are, indeed, done. Like these beaded charms that I made to go on the candles for the tables at the reception.

My art has taken a back seat to the wedding, this week. And I suspect, it will get put on the back burner while I assemble the rest of the table decorations, run needed errands and generally be on ‘call’ for whatever my daughter needs. But that’s more than ok with me. You see, ever since I gave birth to my little daughter some 27 years ago(and then, my son), my life changed to follow my heart on the path of a mother. My art has been an extension of my heart and my life. So this wedding isn’t just a wedding to me, it’s my heart, art and life twining together and branching out and growing.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Empty to Full.

Two weeks ago, I finished all my unfinished pieces, got photos taken, and cleaned up my studio. I scraped away all the mess, glue, paint and clutter of creation. Then, I stood back in the sparkling empty space and wondered what I'd create next. And when.

I spent some time baking blueberry goodies, cleaning my house for my daughter’s bridal shower, and reconnecting with friends. You can see more of my blueberry goodies in the last blog entry. The bridal shower and my friends were lovely and wonderful.

This week, I walked into my studio and what I saw shocked me. I felt like Papa Bear from the story, Goldilocks, wondering who'd been working in my studio? There was a new face and 7 new cups and 5 new bowls ready for the kiln. How did this happen?

Really I haven’t been in the studio much at all…been busy with life.

But, you see, that is life. Like seeds planted in the earth it grows and sprouts with just a little bit of sunshine and water. We don’t need to give up our ‘life’ to create, in fact, just the opposite. Living creates more in our life.

And speaking of more in our life, those candles, on the desk have to get done, they’re part of the table decoration for my daughter’s wedding in 3 weeks. I’m not panicking, though, because if cups and bowls and faces and sculpture can appear in one week, these candles will get done, too.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Do you love blueberries?

I do. And right now, the blueberries are ripe, juicy and delicious. Tasty treats all by themselves or over creamy yogurt or cereal but I love them best – baked. First on my list of baked blueberry treats – Blueberry Crumble Cake. I baked it first by special request from my husband, Michael.

Next was my favorite – Blueberry muffins with lemon. Adding a little lemon curd and sit down with a cup of tea, it’s delicious. I enjoyed many with my morning café au lait, too.

Then there were blueberry pancakes and waffles with maple syrup and French toast with homemade blueberry syrup. Last but not least, I baked a blueberry galette with creamy vanilla yogurt on the side. This was a special request by my daughter, Caitlin, for her bridal shower on Sunday. I don’t have a picture, unfortunately, because it was devoured by all before I thought to get out the camera. If you’ve never made a galette, it’s easier than pie. Just make pie dough, roll it out into a circle as big as a pizza, but your blueberries mixed with sugar, lemon, a little vanilla on top of the dough, then pull up the dough around the blueberry mixture, dot with butter and bake at 450 for about 15 minutes.

Here’s a picture of a cobbler, too. What's even better? It's August and here that means big, ripe peaches are at the farmer's market, combine them with blueberries and it's a double treat. Yum!