Life on the creative side

Archive for March, 2011

Making a Terrarium

looking into a tall terrarium

looking into a tall terrariumwine jug terrariumAs the wedding day approaches we are in the process of making final decisions, and believe me it is a process.  But a  lot has been decided; lighting, green and golden twinkle lights strung everywhere, enchanting; drinks,water, tea, lemonade, beer and sangria, my special recipe; menu, an old fashioned pot luck style grill out, yum and fun! How many tables and where they will be placed, done, but what to dress them with is still in its creative evolution.

Both my daughters, like their mother I’m afraid, have very eclectic styles, which from time to time complicates things.  They love urban minimalism with its steel and concrete, but the Rocky Round sensibility with earthy and weathered elements like aged wood, worn stone and greenery lives in our hearts.  Then with the wedding we also have an unexpected bling vibe. I’m not complaining; the search for just the right table dressing has been a creative adventure, and a lot of fun. 

We experiment with ideas knowing that most won’t make it into the wedding and some won’t even make it past the brainstorming stage, but the really great ones, like this one will live on in one way or another.  I loved it from the moment I received the phone call.  Our excited bride-to-be was standing in front of a Manhattan store window, breathlessly describing a beautiful jar filled with pebbles, dirt, moss and feathery ferns. A terrarium! In an instant I was transported back to the early seventies; maxi skirts, head bandannas, Roman sandals and my first self-contained environment in a jar.

Searching through memories shadowed in time, I pieced together a vague plan on how I would put together a terrarium. Then, dressed in a flowy hippie blouse, I headed out to purchase supplies.  What a trip – down memory lane, of course- this project has become.

You can read how I made my tarrarium by clicking on” read more” below the slide show or go to “Arts and craft projects” on the side bar.


Spring Time On The Ridge

rain bootsAs we slog our way through a soggy spring season on the Ridge, everyone anxiously anticipates the warm sunshine of summer.  Even as Blue Antler Studio is blanketed under a short lived, late season snow there are signs of warmer days to come. Cheery yellow daffodils wake from hibernation, push through the soil and burst into glorious bloom, while trees struggle to hold closed young buds seemingly as anxious to get on with summer as we are.

One rainy afternoon during Lisa’s visit we scraped from a mason jar the last bit of Danny’s honeycomb; the same Danny who provides us with beautiful rich eggs Kentucky honeyin subtle shades of blue, brown and cream and helps with the syrup making. Dripping the honey over Brie, Gouda and Gruyere we wiled away the hours around the large heart pine table discussing all manner of goings on along the Ridge; planting ideas for flower beds; the railing project for the new deck and the calving watch underway on the neighboring farm.

For three days and nights the concerned young farmer trudged over the hill into the holl’r to keep watch on the stubborn heifer which insisted on calving under a large cedar near our shared property line. After one of the late night labor checks my weary neighbor decided to climb the hill on the Blue Antler Side of the line to take an easier route home when he stumbled upon a group of deer bedded down in the woods just beyond our yard. Surprised, the frieghtened creatures made a nosiy scramble to their feet while loudly snorting out warnings. Equally startled the strapping young farmer jumped and, would later confess, maybe even screamed.  As the deer made a paniced dash across the yard  he suddenly became aware that his position could look suspiciously like he was lurking in the shadows. Sure that the ruckus would  draw attention and perhaps some buckshot, he made his own hasty retreat.  With his heart still racing and nerves jittery he stumbled back through the dark woods toward home. 

The next morning, after a delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs, biscuits and maple syrup I got the happy news that the heifer had finally given birth to a healthy calf;  as well as a humorous thank you from  the farmer for not filling his tired, startled backside with buckshot.

********A classic Ridge recipe********

colorful farm raised eggsJeff’s Scrambled Eggs: You’ll need a good iron skillet, 3 or 4 farm fresh eggs for each person you’re feeding (if you’re lucky you may have a Danny near you) and  “way too much” butter (about 1 tlb – per egg) and a “little” milk  (1/8 c – per 3 or 4 eggs) – note –  3 or 4 eggs would likly feed 2 or 3 regular people , Jeff’s just a harty eater :)

Begin by slowly melting the butter in your iron skillet over low heat, don’t let it brown.  Remove the skillet from heat and break the eggs right into the skillet along with the melted butter,” if you get in a little egg shell just scoop it out”. Add the milk, sprinkle with a little salt (to taste).  Then using your spatula gently mix it all together. It’s OK, even good, if the whites don’t get completely incorporated.  Return the skillet to the heat and watch the eggs constantly, “sort-a roll” them over,  (folding) gently from time to time until they’re done.  Jeff cautions not to work with them to much or they wont be light and fluffy. Yummy!

Thankful Celebration


Homecoming embrace!

Departing kiss, 210 days earlier, before deploying to Afghanistan

It is a time of thankful celebration here at Blue Antler Studio.  One of our own has returned safely home after a tour of duty in Afghanistan. At four AM, my brave son-in-law stepped onto the tarmac at Seymour Johnson and into the waiting arms of his brave young wife. After spending more time apart in service to their country than together, since their beautiful May wedding, it is finally their time, God bless them both.

Yet even as we celebrate the safe return of one, we are aware of the sacrifices of others. Lisa’s husband is the founder of the non-profit organization, Wounded Warrior Outdoors This past week we were honored to participate in one of the sponsored trips, as WWO took several recovering soldiers on a fishing adventure on the west coast of FL.  The participants came from both Walter Reed Hospital in the east and Balboa Hospital in the west; all struggling through serious injuries and all so very young.

At a reception dinner on the eve of the trip, sponsors and volunteers met and mingled with relatively subdued participants, it was my first glimpse of just how amazing our young American heroes really are. Only a few days later, at the farewell dinner, we once again gathered together. This time the guys were anything but subdued as they joked with their new friends like they were old ones, swapping stories of fishing, gators,personal tragedy and perseverance.

They had come together as strangers, connected only by their tragic injuries but it seemed to me they would depart as friends, united not just by the challenges they would continue to face, but the healing adventure they had just shared.

Thank you to all who bravely serve or have served our country. And thank you to all who are dedicated to serving our returning heroes. We thankfully celebrate your dedication.


Another Wedding Update

The dress has been altered, cleaned and safely stored until the big day!  

In February, Cindy and I had an all too short, but wonderful, weekend together. We started it off with shoe shopping – found a fabulous, unexpected pair; then the dress fitting – the slightest of altering necessary; and finally off to the beach where we watched for whales- saw only dolphins; discussed wedding details and dined at some of our favorite NSB eateries. 

 At “That’s Amore’s”, the likely site for the rehearsal dinner, Alcenso showered us with attention, wine and wedding cake – Via Italia! At the “Garlic” we drank sangria under the lights in their enchanting garden and at “SoNapa” we watched a willow of a host break up a bar scuffle between snowbirds…what fun!

Today I took my son Nate, a groomsmen, suit shopping. I realize that those of you who know my tree climbing, rock climbing, backpacking, bike riding baby boy will struggle to imagine him in a suit, but  he wears it well.  He was such a good sport, joking that in the expensive Ralph Lauren, he felt a little like  James Bond, but my 007 will be just as dashing in a much more reasonably priced “Express Men’s” pin stripe!

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Early Spring at Blue Antler Studio


Well it has been far too long since our last post. All we can offer in the way of an excuse is we’ve been crazy busy with fun goings on. I just spent two great weeks in Kentucky, crafting, cooking and visiting at Blue Antler Studio, where Lisa was also able to spend a few days.   As always there was a lot happening out on The Ridge.

Jeff and Danny were busy once again boiling up some of their tasty maple syrup. Predictably, the activity attracted the locals and a large group of advice-giving oldtimers gathered around. For days the gravel road passing by the barn and boiling pan was clogged with pick-up trucks. The cold and rain and even one inch of late season snowfall, didn’t seem to detract from the enthusiasm.  It did however,  lead to standing room only around the wood stove in Dad’s nearby cabin and, ultimately, twenty three gallons of golden maple tastiness!

Lisa and I took advantage of the rainy days to work on some projects. Lisa sewed on a beautiful Alabama Chanin garment, I knitted, and re-knitted, and re-knitted a simple cotton dishrag – I am not the best at keeping count of my stitches or rows. I had more success with my ongoing, embroidered curtain project. I recently purchased some rich, hand-died, alpaca wool at a local farmer’s market in NSB that I incorporated  into my design with lovely results.

My mom, my inspiration, hosted her own gathering where she once again offered plain spoken instruction in the country art of cooking chicken and dumplings, fried sweet potatoes and fried cornbread – yum.  After the lesson we feasted. Then we settled down around the quilt frame where we stitched and visited the rainy afternoon away.

More of our time was spent on other gatherings; a ladies movie night – The Wedding Date – with wine and cheese and laughter; painting, Diana finally created a painting that made her happy; thrift store shopping with deals for all and a three day calving watch on an old cow that happily ended with a healthy, little, black calf! But, as always, time went by all too fast and, as always, leaving Blue Antler Studio was a little sad, but I look forward to returning soon.

Watch, in the following days, for more blogs about my time spent at Blue Antler Studio.