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Thursday, 29 November 2012 21:24

Falling Leaf Tasseled Necklace Tutorial

Today our contributor Jana is excited to introduce us to her good friend, April Laird, who is the owner and artist at the just-launched Smithy Jewelry based out of Los Angeles. April's jewelry pays homage to classic Art Deco and Art Nouveau styles, and we'll get to learn more about April and her new endeavor next month after Jana sits down with her for an interview. In the meantime, to get you started, here's an awesome tutorial for April's falling leaf tassled necklace to get you started! The directions might look in depth, but this really won't be that hard to make. Thanks to Jana for introducing us and for showing us how to make this piece. Check out some of April's other work at her website www.smithyjewelry.com
xo,
colleen

feather_7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Falling Leaf Tasseled Necklace

by: April Laird of Smithy Jewelry

What you need:            

Tools:

  • Chain Nose Pliers (similar to needle nose pliers, they look most like classic pliers which we're all familiar with.)
  • Round Nose Pliers (tapered, rubber cone-shaped nose; used most often for wire wrapping.)
  • Flush Nippers (Used to cut excess wire ends.)
  • Bent Nose Pliers (Pictured with pink handles. These are used in the wire wrapping process.)

 

Materials:
  • 20" length chain link of your choice.  I chose to use brass as my metal finish for this piece.
  • Chain tassel with bailed bead cone cap.  I bought one pre-made to save time, but they're relatively simple to assemble yourself.  If you're feeling extra crafty, here's a great YouTube tutorial on how to make metal tassel earrings.  The necessary bail at the top of your tassel means that your bead cone cap should have an attached ring at the top for hanging.  Mine came with an extra jump ring as well, to allow the tassel more movement.
  •  Large leaf pendant drop, pre drilled.  I chose a leaf made of white etched shell, but you can use any type of material strong enough to withstand metal rubbing against it on a regular basis.  For instance, a metal leaf might not be the best choice, as metal against metal will naturally scratch during wear.
  • 10 metal leaf charms, or charms of your choice.  These will be added to the ends of each of the tassel's ten lengths of chain (approximately 1.5" in length) with jump rings.
  • 12 small jump rings; 10 for your leaf charms and 2 to attach the necklace's clasp.  As a general rule, the larger the jump ring, the easier it is to work with.  Since my piece is quite delicate, I chose to use very small jump rings (about 1/8" in diameter).  However, if you're still getting used to using your hand tools to attach and assemble jewelry, you may want to use a larger size jump ring that's easier to wield.
  •  4 small beads; 3 for the front of your necklace, and 1 finisher bead for the clasp at the back.  You can add or subtract to this number, but know that the more beads you add, the more cumbersome and crowded the piece can become, since in this design, we are hanging the 3 prominent beads from one shared jump ring at the top.
  • 4 head pins, 18-20 gauge.  We will use these to wire wrap each of the 4 beads.
  • 1 large jump ring, 16-20 gauge.  This will house our leaf pendant, our tassel, and our 3 wire wrapped beads.  It will also be the component attached to our necklace's chain, so it's the load bearer of the piece.
  • 1 clasp.  I have chosen a ball and socket snap clasp, which I really love to work with.  They hold very strongly, but snap right on and off easily.

What you do:

Step 1: Attaching Your Charms
First, we'll want to attach our leaf charms to the hanging chains of our tassel.  Using your chain nose and round nose pliers, open ten of your jump rings.  One by one, slip a leaf onto your jump ring and then slip it through the bottom link of a chain.  Close the rings securely.  Carefully bend the jump ring open to one side, then the other, until the two ends are as close together as possible. You should hear a "click" sound when the ring's opening is so close that the two sides are flush together. This will give you a nice secure closure.

Tip: Always try to create a workspace where you can view your working piece from an aerial view.  Holding your tools closer to your body also gives you greater control and leverage.

feather_1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 2: Wire Wrapping Your Beads
Now we are ready to wire wrap our beads.  Slip a bead on each of your 4 head pins until they hit the pin head at the bottom.  Using your round nose pliers, grasp the head pin just above the bead and bend the remaining wire to the left at a right angle.  Remove your pliers and reposition them to grasp the bend you've created; one end of the pliers under the bend, one above.  Bring the remaining wire up over the top plier end and down to the right, creating a loop.  Remove your pliers again and reposition them by simply turning your hand over and reinserting them into the same spot.  You should still have one end under your loop and one going through it, but this position allows you to pull the remaining wire under the bottom plier end, back to the left, to finish your loop.  Straighten the loop and remove your round nose pliers.

feather_2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At this point, we will use our bent nose pliers in conjunction with our round nose pliers.  Grasp your loop in the bent nose pliers with your dominant hand.  This will ensure a secure hold.  Take your round nose pliers and grasp the leading wire about a quarter inch from the end, so you have a firm hold.  Now, wrap the wire around the length of straight wire just below your loop working from the loop down.  Take your time and try to make the wraps as close together and even as possible. When you have about an eighth of an inch of wire left (about 3-4 wraps), remove both pairs of pliers and set them aside.  Take your flush nipper cutters and cut off the excess wire as close to the wrap as possible.  Always cut with the flush end of the cutters facing your piece as this gives you a cleaner cut.  Using your bent nose pliers again, bend the remaining wire into your wrap to get rid of any pokey rough wire ends.  Nothing is worse than being scratched or poked by a messy wire end!  Repeat these steps for all 4 of your beads and head pins.  Now you have 4 wrapped loop beads.

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Step 3: Assembling the Pendant Components

Open your large jump ring.  Take your 20" of chain and find the center link.  Slip this link onto the ring, then slip on your leaf pendant.  Now, slip on 2 of your wrapped loop beads, then your tassel, then 1 more wrapped loop bead, layering from back to front.  Close the large jump ring securely.  Now your finished pendant is attached to your necklace!

feather_5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 4: Finish it Up
Open the two remaining jump rings.  Open your ball and socket clasp.  Slip the ball end onto a jump ring, then slip the last wrapped loop onto the ring.  This is your optional finishing bead.  Slip one end of your necklace chain onto the jump ring and close the ring.  Lastly, slip the socket end of your clasp onto the last jump ring and slip the remaining necklace chain end through as well.  Close the ring, and you're done!

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Now you have a beautiful handmade autumn necklace to sport all season long. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. I definitely enjoyed sharing with you!

April Laird is a freelance jewelry designer, based in Los Angeles, CA. 
feather_7

 

Published in THURSDAYS Blog
Friday, 23 November 2012 12:42

The Next New Thing: Tandem Soup Cooking

Happy Friday! We hope that all our of lovely readers had a most excellent Thanksgiving and are spending some chill-time with family and friends. Today Jana is introducing us to a cute new concept that she has come up with to try to win her neverending battle of trying to eat dinner before 10 o'clock: tandem soup cooking. Read on to learn more about it.
Enjoy!
xo,
colleen
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jana_stove
Tandem Soup Cooking

If tandem soup cooking is not a thing, then I'm officially making it so.  We have a goal in our house - to eat dinner before 10pm.  It's nearly impossible.  My husband Kelly gets home at 7:30, sometimes later.  By the time we've fed, bathed and put the baby to sleep, cooked dinner, changed our clothes and sat down to relax...it's 10 o'clock and we're eating late yet again.  One day recently, I decided to tackle dinner a bit differently.  I wanted to try and make two big pots of soup at once so that we could have dinner already made for the next day.  I understand that leftovers are not really a novel concept, but doing this by myself would've taken twice as long and been half as fun.  Luckily, Kell was in the mood to help out and our daughter Josie, was in the mood to play with her magnetic refrigerator letters while we cooked.  I chose two recipes using items I had on hand - Corn and Butternut Squash Chowder for me and Leek Potato Soup for Kell.  We got to work cooking, and as I peeled, cubed and wrestled my butternut squash, Kelly was able to chop an onion for me while peeling and cubing potatoes and chopping leeks for his own recipe.  Miraculously, we both ended up at the, "simmer for 45 minutes," point at the same time.  Both soups were absolutely delicious, and we were so relieved that dinner was already done for the next day.  Plus, Kelly cleans as he cooks, which I do not, so the kitchen was clean when we were done.  So, we spent time together, made multiple meals, had dinner on time and a clean kitchen...win-win.  TSC, it's a thing and I'm totally a fan.

Published in THURSDAYS Blog
Friday, 14 September 2012 11:15

Hey, Hi, and Hello from Lo

Hey, Hi, and Hello from Lo by Lauren Lowman
Summer may be over, but I am still taking advantage of my delicious fresh grown herbs and
veggies. I have been flooded with many floral design projects this wedding season, but still make
time to get my hands dirty in my outside gardens.
Jalapenos from my vegetable garden
These are perfect additions for my fresh Mexican addiction. I enjoy making homemade
guacamole and salsa with these spicy peppers!
Fresh Tomatoes
There is nothing like a fresh tomato from right outside your door. I love it when they are still warm
from the sun. The fragrance alone will make you want to prepare a fresh sauce or salad.

Happy Friday! Today we're wrapping up our Reintroduction Week! Keep an eye out for our guest contributors' posts all day long! 

Here we have the wonderful Lauren Lowman.  Lauren is a very talented floral and event designer and is one of our most recent additions to Thursdays.  We simply adore her! Lauren shares everything from delicious recipes to floral arranging tips each month. You can also find Lauren here at her own blog, Life with Lo

Hey, Hi, and Hello from Lo
by Lauren Lowman!

Thursdays_Pic

Summer may be over, but I am still taking advantage of my delicious fresh grown herbs andveggies. I have been flooded with many floral design projects this wedding season, but still maketime to get my hands dirty in my outside gardens.

jalapenos
Jalapenos from my vegetable garden

 

These are perfect additions for my fresh Mexican addiction. I enjoy making homemade guacamole and salsa with these spicy peppers!

tomatos
Fresh Tomatoes

There is nothing like a fresh tomato from right outside your door. I love it when they are still warm from the sun. The fragrance alone will make you want to prepare a fresh sauce or salad.

herbs
Basil and Rosemary

 

Fresh herb garnishes are a must in my house. I use them for marinades, sauces, roasting, raw in salads and sometimes sauté the herbs and make my own flavored olive oils.

Meet Lauren Lowman

Top 3 things I can't live without:

Friends & Family, Plants, and Tabasco sauce

What is your favorite food?

Fresh Italian pasta homemade with a marinara sauce, garnished with basil and Pecorino Romano cheese

Drink of choice

Cold Blue Moon with a fresh slice of orange

Favorite song right now

Blue Jeans by Lana Del Ray

What keeps you inspired to do what you do?

Everyday is different. I get to be creative and make new floral and plant designs that bring smiles to a variety of people each day. I enjoy using my artistic visions to create end products for my clients. I like to be in touch with nature and learn as much as possible about what is surrounding us. I get some of my greatest inspirations just from going for a hike in the woods. The most intricate designs and combinations are created naturally.

Your favorite thing about fall?

Apple picking, tree foliage, hot cider and fun sweaters! 

Who is your oldest friend in the world? How do you keep in touch?

I have always been very social. I could not say one friend that is the oldest. I have had many. Each stage of life brings different people together. I stay in touch with my closest friends by trying to plan a get together every few months. There is nothing like an old fashioned phone call. I love that I can call any one of the people that I would consider the oldest friends in my life and even if we hadn’t talked in a year, everything would still remain the same. That is why they are my true and best friends.

 

Published in THURSDAYS Blog
Thursday, 13 September 2012 15:20

Hey, Hi, and Hello from Lo

Hey, Hi, and Hello from Lo by Lauren Lowman
Summer may be over, but I am still taking advantage of my delicious fresh grown herbs and
veggies. I have been flooded with many floral design projects this wedding season, but still make
time to get my hands dirty in my outside gardens.
Jalapenos from my vegetable garden
These are perfect additions for my fresh Mexican addiction. I enjoy making homemade
guacamole and salsa with these spicy peppers!
Fresh Tomatoes
There is nothing like a fresh tomato from right outside your door. I love it when they are still warm
from the sun. The fragrance alone will make you want to prepare a fresh sauce or salad.

Happy Friday! Today we're wrapping up our Reintroduction Week! Keep an eye out for our guest contributors' posts all day long! 

Here we have the wonderful Lauren Lowman.  Lauren is a very talented floral and event designer and is one of our most recent additions to Thursdays.  We simply adore her! Lauren shares everything from delicious recipes to floral arranging tips each month. You can also find Lauren here at her own blog, Life with Lo

Hey, Hi, and Hello from Lo
by Lauren Lowman!

Thursdays_Pic

Summer may be over, but I am still taking advantage of my delicious fresh grown herbs andveggies. I have been flooded with many floral design projects this wedding season, but still maketime to get my hands dirty in my outside gardens.

jalapenos
Jalapenos from my vegetable garden

 

These are perfect additions for my fresh Mexican addiction. I enjoy making homemade guacamole and salsa with these spicy peppers!

tomatos
Fresh Tomatoes

There is nothing like a fresh tomato from right outside your door. I love it when they are still warm from the sun. The fragrance alone will make you want to prepare a fresh sauce or salad.

herbs
Basil and Rosemary

 

Fresh herb garnishes are a must in my house. I use them for marinades, sauces, roasting, raw in salads and sometimes sauté the herbs and make my own flavored olive oils.

 

 

Meet Lauren Lowman

Top 3 things I can't live without:

Friends & Family, Plants, and Tabasco sauce

What is your favorite food?

Fresh Italian pasta homemade with a marinara sauce, garnished with basil and Pecorino Romano cheese

Drink of choice

Cold Blue Moon with a fresh slice of orange

Favorite song right now

"Blue Jeans" by Lana Del Ray

What keeps you inspired to do what you do?

Everyday is different. I get to be creative and make new floral and plant designs that bring smiles to a variety of people each day. I enjoy using my artistic visions to create end products for my clients. I like to be in touch with nature and learn as much as possible about what is surrounding us. I get some of my greatest inspirations just from going for a hike in the woods. The most intricate designs and combinations are created naturally.

Your favorite thing about fall?

Apple picking, tree foliage, hot cider and fun sweaters! 

Who is your oldest friend in the world? How do you keep in touch?

I have always been very social. I could not say one friend that is the oldest. I have had many. Each stage of life brings different people together. I stay in touch with my closest friends by trying to plan a get together every few months. There is nothing like an old fashioned phone call. I love that I can call any one of the people that I would consider the oldest friends in my life and even if we hadn’t talked in a year, everything would still remain the same. That is why they are my true and best friends.

 

Published in THURSDAYS Blog
Wednesday, 18 July 2012 09:47

The Perfect Beach Send-off

The Perfect Beach Send-off

by Sara Lowman

Beach_Vintage_Suitcase 

My friend, Raquel, is a perfect host. It was no surprise when spending time with her at her beach house that she had lots of clever ways to make a guest feel welcome. I loved what she came up with to provide guests with the towels they needed for their daily trip to the beach. She set up a vintage suitcase and loaded it with bright towels for you to grab on your way out. No rummaging through the closets—everything you needed was beautifully displayed out in the open. I thought it looked so lovely that I had to share!

Published in THURSDAYS Blog
Sunday, 08 July 2012 21:28

Healthy Hair all Summer Long

Healthy Hair all Summer Long

 by Megan Kramer

You're sitting poolside, basking in the sun, leaving your lounge chair only when the heat is too intense and you need a dip in the pool, then right back to your chair, where your perfectly chilled cocktail awaits your return. Or perhaps your more of a beach girl; the sand, sun, maybe a little surfing... Oh summer, how we love you. While those perfect sunny days can be heaven for the soul, they can be hellish on your hair. By the end of summer, all of those glorious sunny days just might leave your hair feeling parched and looking dull- or even worse, a very unbecoming shade of green. Keeping your hair healthy while you swim isn't all that hard it just takes a bit of prep!  

                                                                                                                                                         

What you need:swim                          

  • Plain old tap water
  • Leave in conditioner
  • Clarifying shampoo

What you do:                           

Hair is like a sponge, it can only absorb so much before it's filled to capacity. So before you get in the water, just rinse your hair with water from the sink. Then add enough leave in conditioner to coat your hair. Now it won't have as much room to absorb the chlorine or salt water. After you get out of the pool, rinse your hair. When you are done swimming for the day, shampoo your hair with a clarifying shampoo. That will get rid of any build up from the pool/ocean. Just remember that clarifying shampoos can be drying, so don't use it every time you shampoo!  If you're swimming regularly, a swim cap can help too.  I happen to think the vintage ones pictured above are adorable!

Many hair care lines now offer products with an SPF. Kerestase actually has a great line and Aveda has a nice sun care line as well. These are a great way to help your hair stay healthy. Also, remember to add sunscreen to your part, that can be a nasty burn if you forget.
Just follow these simple steps and your hair will look great straight through to fall!
kerastaseaveda

 

Photos: (top) Eliza; (bottom left) Kerastase; (bottom right) Aveda

Xo,

Megan

Published in THURSDAYS Blog
Friday, 15 June 2012 09:33

DIY Grab and Go Floral Arrangement

Happy Friday! Well it has been quite the week and I don't know about you, but I am certainly ready for the weekend! Today we're wrapping up Portable Foods Week with the very talented floral and event designer, Lauren Lowman.

Have a fabulous weekend!

xo,

stephania

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DIY Grab and Go Floral Arrangement

by Lauren Lowman

 

The warmer temperatures have officially arrived.  It is time for outdoor picnics and parties.  There is nothing better than enjoying your favorite foods and drinks surrounded by the perfect outdoor setting.   

The other day I decided to experiment with a few items I had on hand.  I had just finished a bottle of wine with some friends and I decided to peel off the label and use it as a vase for a few roses.  I realized that this is a great way to transport a few flowers in your picnic basket for any outdoor event.  I used a cobalt blue wine bottle that is great for light reflection and adding extra color to your grab and go floral centerpiece.
White_Roses_in_Blue_Wine_Bottle

     White Roses in Cobalt Blue Wine Bottle Vase

 

 

 

The blue glass really reflects light in a way that shows the depth of color perfectly.  If you do not have any wine bottles around the house you can use a mason jar or an empty glass bottle of your choice.  Green, red and amber colored glass bottles are also great for showing nice light.  When taking out the recycling this week remember to check to see if you have any potential unique vases for your next picnic!

 


Published in THURSDAYS Blog
Thursday, 24 May 2012 09:45

For You By You by Lauren Lowman

One of the first things that a bride to be thinks about is the flowers.  The flowers help set the tone for the entire wedding and can add up with a blink of an eye.  But do not fret! Today we have the wonderfully talented floral and event designer, Lauren Lowman here sharing her budget-friendly DIY tricks to give you the perfect flower arrangements for your wedding.

Enjoy!

Stephania

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For You By You

by Lauren Lowman

Event planning and floral design are my biggest passions.  I know that it is not for everyone.  Most of us struggle getting everything on our to-do list done everyday.  I am always excited to share creative ways to get things done while saving money at the same time.  Today I will show you a few little do-it-yourself secrets when planning your special wedding day. There is so much hype around weddings that it can be overwhelming.  You must remember to stop, take a breath, and remember the person at the end of the aisle will love you no matter what bouquet is a centerpiece, or how many courses are on the menu.

In staying with my floral design background, I wanted to share a few different ideas for floral arrangements that are simple, beautiful and budget-friendly.

Centerpieces Made Just For You

Close_up_garden_roses

What you need:

  • Garden Roses
  • Short cylinder, square vase or recycled rope tin can vase as seen below
  • Scissors or Floral Shears

What to do:

You will need to go to your local florist or garden shop and buy fresh garden roses.  These roses are amazing because they have a clean floral fragrance that floats throughout the room.  The number one requested flower by brides is the peony.  Sorry to disappoint, but there is a small window of availability for peonies due to their growth pattern.  I say opt for the garden roses to add a natural element to your big day.

Depending on the size of your vase you will need to cut the stems down so the rose heads are just above the side of the vase.  The idea is to have each rose in its own place, but to have them tightly angled together.  This will offer a chic look that is perfect at a wedding table to allow guests to see each other across the table.

Vases Made Just For You By You

DIY_Rope_Vase
photo:  Krista Jones of Bayside Bride

What you need:

  • Tin cans (coffee cans minus outer labels)
  • A long piece of rope
  • Hot glue or super glue

What to do:

Take whatever recycled tin can you like best, remove the label, and clean thoroughly.  Glue the top piece of rope to the bottom of the can right above the bottom ledge.  Continue wrapping the rope all the way around the can tightly while adding glue as needed.  Let glue dry for an hour and your container is now ready for your unique choice of blooms.  These quick and easy tips will save you time, money and stress.  It is not everyday you get married, but it is everyday that you can find a simple remedy to plan your special day.

Published in THURSDAYS Blog
Wednesday, 09 May 2012 09:31

Mother's Day Idea: Fruit in Bloom

Here's a fresh idea from Lauren for decorating for your mother's day celebration this weekend!

Enjoy! 

colleen

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Fruit in Bloom

by Lauren Lowman

Mother’s Day week is upon us.  It is a time to celebrate and show our appreciation to the one that will always be there no matter what.  We all have a mother or someone that is like a mother in our lives.  Anything you do will be seen as beautiful in Mom’s eyes, but this year I have a fun and fruity way to do something a little different.

Flowers are always a wonderful idea for this holiday.  I was trying to think of a way to incorporate something fresh into my Sunday brunch plans this year.  Flowers are a must in my house, but this year I am adding a fruity spin to my arrangements.

Brighten up your brunch this year with fruit combined with flowers.  I have shown a few different examples of how this could work below.

Red and Green Grapes in Cylinder Vase Arrangements

photo by ehfloral.com

vase_grapes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lime and White Hydrangea Centerpiece

vase_lime

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


We made this at Michaleen’s Florist and Garden Center in Ithaca, NY for a bride that wanted to incorporate limes into her wedding centerpieces.  The green and white together really brought a fresh look. 

Lemons in Mason Jars filled with White Stock

Photo from beautyandbedlam.com

vase_lemon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lemons, Limes and Oranges Mixed with Seasonal Pastel Flowers

Photo by stylemepretty.com

vase_lemon_and_lime

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These fun and fruity additions will really take your brunch to the next level.  Mom will be smiling proudly that you have finally learned to appreciate your fruits and vegetables!  Go out and grab her favorite fruits and flowers to make this Mother’s Day a memorable one!

Published in THURSDAYS Blog
Tuesday, 08 May 2012 20:30

TND: Mother's Day Style

Happy Mother's-Day-Week Thursday! We hope that you have been liking our suggestions for showing your mom--or whoever the special mom-like lady is in your life-- how much she means to you. To keep celebrating our moms, I have a DIY gift idea for you-- a tree stump converted into a sweet little vase; and a couple of our favorite recipes from our moms, who are the reason why each of us is cooking and crafting today.

thanks, moms!

xo.

colleen

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Wooden Vase

vase_wooden

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


What you need:

  • Tree stump
  • Drill and drill bit
  • Shellac
  • Paint brush

What to do:

Find a stump that you think will make a perfect vase. This one is about 3-4" tall and wide. I lucked out and this one was completely flat on the bottom, but if it's not and it won't stand up straight, sand it down a bit. Gently clean the stump with water and a cleaning brush to get any grit and grime off of it. Next, decide on the size of the opening you want. This one has a small opening, the drill bit was about 1/2" wide, but you can always make the opening wider. Drill into the top of the stump about halfway down, so that you don't drill through the bottom of the stump. After you have finished drilling and remove the excess wood shavings, you're ready to shellac. Apply a thin coat of shellac all over the stump (now a vase). Be sure to get some inside the holes you have drilled because this will help it hold water better. Let dry in between coats of shellac if you're doing more than one layer. When the vase is dry, fill the holes with water and find some pretty flowers to fill it with! And there you have it. A lovely, natural vase to give as a gift to your favorite mom.

Cherry BBQ Chicken

by pam christy

What you need:cherry_bbq_chicken

  • 6 chicken legs/breasts
  • Cherry BBQ Sauce (we bought American Spoon)
Veggie Option: Grill up some veggie chicken patties or nuggets (about 5 minutes each side) and smother with BBQ sauce.

What to do:

In a large baking dish, marinate chicken with Cherry BBQ Sauce about two hours before grilling.  If you can’t find Cherry BBQ Sauce premade, pick up about ½ cup of red tart cherries at the grocery store. De-pit cherries and run them through the food processor until they are nearly liquefied and mix with a jar of regular BBQ sauce. Grill chicken for about six or seven minutes on each side, or until the chicken is cooked.

Remove from heat and serve. Serves 6.

Story:
My mom is a master at the grill. It is a goal of mine to one day possess her grilling talent. Every time I come home she cooks out nearly every night and her BBQ chicken is one of my favorites. She serves this with corn on the cob, salad, and green beans.   -Stephania

 

Festive Black Bean Salad

by essie reilly

What you need:

  • 3 15 oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 red onion, minced
  • ½ red pepper, chopped
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp lime or lemon juice
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground pepper

What to do:

In large glass mixing bowl, combine rinsed and drained beans with remaining ingredients and gently toss until mixed. This salad is best if made in advance so the flavors have time to mingle. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Let stand at room temperature ½ hour before serving. Serves 8-10 as a side dish.

Story:

My mom always made this salad when she would host parties for my brother or me because it’s a great vegetarian dish. I love making this salad now for my friends and it’s a running joke with my parents that I call every couple of months to ask mom for this recipe because I always forget to write it down.  But now I’ve got it, and I’m sharing it with you! -colleen

Scrumptious Orzo Salad

What you need:

  • 1lb orzo
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ head broccoli florets
  • 1 small red pepper
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • ½ cup veggie broth
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup feta cheese (more or less to taste)
Note: Serve as a side dish with Lemon-y Grilled Salmon. Or add one 16 oz can of chick peas when you add the veggies to the skillet to serve as a stand alone meal.

What to do:

Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain and set aside. Combine olive oil and garlic in a large skillet and cook garlic until soft.  Add broccoli, red pepper, asparagus and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add veggie broth and lemon juice.  Cover and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes until broccoli is tender. Combine orzo and veggies in a serving bowl.  Add feta and mix well. Garnish with scallions.  Serve hot or room temperature.

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