Archive for September, 2007

A Lake Creek Lodge Reception

What a lovely weekend. My in-laws flew into town and we drove the 2.5 hours to Lake Creek Lodge, where our friends Alex and Marcy were holding their wedding reception. Lake Creek Lodge is completely charming, surrounded by its various unique rental cabins. Best of all, they allow dogs, so Barkley, Mia, Suki and Booker all had a marvelous time playing together.

There were many things that made this a wonderful weekend, even beyond the fact that we were here to celebrate the marriage of two such dear friends. Everything just seemed to come together… the friends and family, the elegant and woodsy decor, the music, the games, the food and drink, the cakes… and all this despite the inevitable bumps that come along with every reception.

A few things that I found particularly memorable – the beauty of the Metolius River and Lake Creek, the multiple meals taken together with incredible friends, the bounding happiness of all the dogs, the newlyweds looking gorgeous and dashing in their elegant attire, the heartfelt speeches, the 5 individual cakes, the impromptu after-dinner salsa lesson, and the bride & groom “shoe question” game (read about it here).

Photos from the weekend:

The bridge connecting our cabins to the main lodge

The dogs during a moment of obedience with Jerry

A rare view of sunlight through the trees

An evening shot of Kevin & Jerry’s Cabin, #5, where we all congregated and
enjoyed the delicious food so generously provided.

The remarkably clear water of the Metolius River

Photos from the Reception:

A table awaiting the guests. The reception colors were burnt orange
and brown as depicted by the runner, the matching roses and pine cones.

The happy couple…

Flower seed favors in reusable magnetic tins

One of the 5 cakes, each with a different flavor and white-on-white design

The Cutest Little Buttons & Tutorials

I’ve come across the cutest custom button crafts lately. I had no idea they could be so charming and versatile, especially the fabric covered variety. Here are a few of my favorites, plus I’ve included two good tutorial links below:

button paper clips

button pins and magnets

Paper clips (top) and magnets and pushpins from Shim + Sons

The photos above are from Shim+Sons. The button crafts are available in their “shoppe” along with some nicely designed paper goods. I also really enjoy their blog and was pleasantly surprised that they were also Portland-based.

button ponytail holder

button headband

“Sienna Sunrise” ponytail holders (top) and headband from Gazzu

button hair pins

button bookmarks

“Magical Forest” hair pins (top) and “Trip to the zoo” bookmarks by Meeting Streets Designs

Here are links to two really good tutorials, one for fabric covered thumbtacks at How About Orange and a fabric covered button tutorial at Little Thing by Magda K. Both of these ladies are really talented and do amazing work.

I am so enjoying these cookies right now

chocolate cookies

Yummy Chocolate Fudge Cookies (or should I say Fondants au Chocolat Biscuits?) by Dare. The dense and creamy fudge center is sandwiched between layers of chocolate cookies that are crunchy and not too sweet. Although, at a whopping 100 calories a piece, I’m trying to restrain myself. Oops, too late, there’s nothing but crumbs left now. Nice to know that they’re natural, at least.

The Unique Beauty of Passion Flowers

passion flowers

Our friends Marcy and Alex have the most amazing passion flower vine growing on a beautiful handmade trellis off their deck. I’ve taken multiple photos, particularly this summer, and just recently thought to look up a little about them.

I remember the first time I ever saw one of these blooms in person was at a visit to the Oregon Garden (a worthy trip, especially to see Frank Lloyd Wright’s Gordon House). I was stunned at this flower’s unusual structure and unique striped color combination. Pretty unforgettable.

passion flower

Turns out the word “passion” doesn’t refer to the romantic kind at all like I’d thought. Instead, according to wikipedia:

“Passion” does not refer to love, but to the Passion of Christ on the cross. In the 15th and 16th centuries, Spanish Christian missionaries discovered this flower and adopted its unique physical structures as symbols of Crucifixion. For example: the 72 radial filaments (or corona) represent the Crown of Thorns. The ten petals and sepals represent the ten faithful apostles. The top 3 stigmata represent the 3 nails and the lower 5 anthers represent the 5 wounds. The flower has been given names related to this symbolism throughout Europe since that time.

My New Favorite Mug and Other Dinnerware Confessions

cherry blossom cup

David and I were getting groceries at New Seasons where I saw the cutest mug. I was this close to putting it in our shopping basket, but I knew that the last thing we needed was more dinnerware. You see, back when I was in college I worked at Pottery Barn in the “Table Top” section. I barely had two pennies to rub together back then, but for some reason I couldn’t pass up certain sale items, especially since I got a 20% discount on top of the sale price (the regular employee discount was 40%).

So now we have all kinds of dinnerware and accessories for entertaining – multiple full sets of “Suppertime” and “Bianca” dinnerware, specialty dessert and cocktail plates (with different themes like vintage hula girls, french posters, and celebrate the century), 3 different colors of sets-of-three nested serving bowls, fondue and sushi plates (from Williams Sonoma, where employees also got a discount), and multiple patterns of complete pasta bowl sets (5 that I can think of off-hand). It’s insane how much we have, and that we still have items we’ve never even used. I haven’t even begun to describe our specialty glass collection, including old fashioned fountain sundae glasses and a gorgeous amber iridescent decanter for some liquor that I can’t remember and don’t drink because of an allergy. Seriously. It’s that scary.

The thing is, I am not that person anymore. I never shop at Pottery Barn or even like that kind of style anymore. Now I like things that are more modern, or fun and ‘artsy’, or even clever. I like things to have a little more personality, or maybe a handmade element. Living in Portland, there is no lack of small, independent boutiques, although I would just as soon shop at Crate & Barrel, where at least I can find nice things I might be able to afford.

My husband has asked me so many times to get rid of some of that stuff, but I just can’t bring myself to do. I’ve tried. Truly. But I just can’t do it. What if I need that adorable Thanksgiving ceramic butter dish with the little turkey handle on the lid (that has never been used and is still in its original box)? Or maybe that set of green unbreakable plates for the next time we decide to go on a picnic or have kids over (which has never happened, because our young nephew lives in Austin and none of our friends have kids… yet.) See? There is just no reasoning with myself. Until I can make a little space in our pantry cupboard, I will not buy that cute mug. Or that adorable matching bowl with the little flowers on the inside rim. Or any other piece of dinnerware.

(Sigh) Serves myself right, I suppose.

Moon Festival & Mooncakes

mooncake

A mung bean mooncake made by a local bakery, purchased at Uwajimaya

Today Asians around the world celebrate the Moon Festival (or Mid-Autumn Festival), a celebration of togetherness and the abundance of the summer’s harvest. The exact date changes from year to year, and in 2007 it falls on September 25.

To celebrate, I picked up three of the traditional pastries, called mooncakes, made specifically for this holiday. Each round cake is about the size of my palm and a little over an inch thick, with an imprint on the top. The imprints vary, but common ones include the chinese character for longevity or harmony, flowers, a rabbit, the moon, or a woman on the moon.

Held within the cake’s almost paper-thin crust are several traditional, sweet and dense fillings. I decided to go with a lotus paste, a red bean paste and a sweet mung bean. The later is my favorite, probably because my mother, who is Asian, has made another kind of pastry with this filling since I was a child. The most curious part of a mooncake, though, is that they usually contain at least one whole salted duck egg yolk in the center. The yolk symbolizes the full moon, but as much as I like the idea, I personally don’t like to eat that part.

two mooncakes

A mung bean mooncake (foreground) and a red bean mooncake (background)

The traditional custom is to cut the cake into quarters to share with friends and family, and to serve it with tea. More information about the customs and stories associated with the Moon Festival can be found here.

Mums and Kale for Fall Color

David and I went to Home Depot recently to find some new flowers for the little patch of garden next to the front steps. In the background is an old garden rose, but we’ve designated the front area for annual “color spots,” that we could have fun with and not spend a fortune. Usually we try only to buy perennials, except with our vegetable garden.

For Fall we’ve decided to go with gorgeous and cheery ‘Rhapsody’ garden mums paired with ‘Kamome Red’ ornamental kale. Instead of red, the heart of the kale actually looks more purple/magenta which is similar to the color of the mums. I love the balance of flowers to foliage and the contrasting textures. I feel very grown up for choosing this combination. I think a lot of people dismiss ornamental cabbages and kales as ugly or boring, but this pairing really brings out the beauty and uniqueness in both.