New Spring Line in the Shop

If you haven’t browsed my Etsy shop in a while, I am pleased to say that you will find a variety of new, springish items available for sale! In particular, a new line of market totes. Reusable grocery bags are all the rage these days, and I am happy to now be offering a handmade option!

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As with all my items, my totes are hand-painted with an original design. These totes are very lightweight and can be easily folded down to fit into your purse before filling them with goodies from the farmers’ market.

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I’ve also made some new banners, perfect for hanging in the gardener’s home.

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If you love spring as much as I do, keep your eye on my shop as I’ll continue adding spring items throughout the season.

When the weather starts getting warm I cannot help but be inspired by hopeful memories of springs’ past, and so a frenzy of creation ensues. I am inspired by vegetable gardens and green everywhere and singing birds and bright sunshine. Right now, I’ve got chia growing in a planter on my kitchen table and brussel sprouts and cabbage patiently waiting until it gets warm enough to be planted outside.

This time of year is possibly my favorite because it carries with it the burgeoning of possibility in new life. What are your favorite things about spring?

10 Ways to Get Out of a Creative Funk

I think March is probably the worst month of winter for me. Growing up in the south, March generally meant Spring – here, March means the month with more snowfall than any other month. Deep in my bones, I know it is supposed to be warm, and even the birds think so too, because they’ve come back and I hear them singing; but when I look out the window and expect to see blue skies and horizons lined with wildflowers, all I see is an endless expanse of white.

My inspiration is waning.

This winter is bad for my health and my craft, and lately I’ve been experiencing a lack of motivation. However, I have a few methods for getting out of a creative funk when I’m stuck in the house, and I would like to share them with you.

It is my opinion that the most important thing to do if you are in a creative funk is to put down whatever you’re working on. Just walk away, forget about it for a little while. I don’t care about your deadlines or personal goals – in the end, taking a break will be worth it. So with that in mind, here are some techniques I use for getting out of a funk.

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1. Do some spring cleaning. This is my favorite thing to do when I’ve lost my verve; I’ll put on some loud music, grab a sponge, and let my mind wander as I scrub the stains out of our stupid porcelain sink. I went through the whole house earlier this week and cleaned cleaned cleaned. Winter lets the dust settle over a sleeping house, and it seems like cleaning it away banishes the dust of my mind as well.

2. Organize your craft room/work space. If you don’t feel like tackling the whole house, aim for just the area where you spend most of your time. When I reorganize/clean my craft room, I notice the difference immediately. It can be as simple as vacuuming up all the flyaway thread pieces and a huge weight is lifted off my shoulders.

3. Revisit a favorite book. I do this often. If I’m feeling uninspired, it really helps to thumb through some of my most-loved novels, trying to find favorite passages. Sometimes I will stumble across a quote I’d forgotten about that inspires to me make something new.

4. Organize a bookshelf. Sometimes thumbing through my favorite books leads to me taking all of them off their shelves and completely reorganizing them. I LOVE organizing books, and it really knocks stuff loose in my creative attic.

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5. Bake something. Baking is a huge stress reliever for me, and we all know the aroma of fresh baked bread wafting through the house is intoxicating. The smell alone is enough to inspire.

6. Plant something and watch it grow. There’s nothing quite like watching the progression from a seed to a tiny sprout to a full grown plant. Obviously, this takes a little bit longer than baking a loaf of bread or doing a DIY, but it is still a fun activity for when you’re feeling unmotivated. If you don’t want to mess with soil and pots, try sprouting lentils.

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7. Redecorate a wall in your house. Sometimes you just need to change things up a bit. Rearrange your gallery wall or move the wall hangings in the bedroom to the living room. Simple changes like this can help freshen up your house and your attitude.

8. Make something you don’t normally make. Get on Pinterest and find a fun, springish DIY – maybe something to decorate your walls with – and try it out. Even if the funk you are in is a creative one, sometimes doing a project in a different line of creativity will help you get out of it.

9. Go to your local Goodwill or thrift store and find something unique. Old stuff always seems to inspire me, so if I’m deep in the mires of creative paralysis, I love to go thrifting. Last weekend my husband and I went to a huge antique mall where I found some truly beautiful old books and a plethora of other awesome goods.

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10. Exercise. If all else fails, go to the gym. Physical activity is known to promote improved brain function, and for me burning calories and sweating a little bit really helps me get motivated in other areas of my life.

DSCN7678Creative funks are stupid, I know, but don’t let yourself be discouraged! Just keep moving, creating, and seeking inspiration. If you have any methods for shaking a creative funk, share them in the comments!

How To Sprout Lentils (Because Sprouts are the Best Thing Ever)

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I lost a little respect for Jimmy John’s when they stopped putting sprouts on their sandwiches. In my mind, they had always been the premier sandwich stop because of the sprouts. But then they just stopped, and my heart broke a little bit.

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Now, let’s just get something straight here: Sprouts are the best thing ever. Period. Done. End of story.

They add deliciousness to any and all dishes including but not limited to salads, wraps, rice bowls, and sandwiches. Good news – they are also super easy to grow right at home. And I think everyone should grow sprouts at home. There are no excuses, especially now that I’m going to show you just how easy it is.

Here’s what you need:

  • one or two mason jars
  • 1/2 cup of dried whole lentils, any color (make sure they are not dal-style or split)
  • cheese cloth
  • rubber bands

Here’s how to do it.

First, soak your lentils in water for 8-12 hours in a cool place, out of direct sunlight.

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After they have soaked 8-12 hours, rinse your lentils and place them in your mason jar(s). Only fill up one-third of the jar, as the lentils will expand to at least three times their size. Cut cheese cloth to size and place over top the jar, securing with a rubber band. Place on your windowsill in the sunlight, and wait!

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A few times a day, rinse your lentils (leaving them in the jar) and drain them through the cheese cloth. You want to make sure the lentils do not get slimy.

In one day, you’ll start to see slight growths on the lentils. In two days, the lentils will be about twice their original size. In three days, you will be able to harvest them to eat, but I particularly like waiting until the fourth day, when the tips of the lentils are green and they start poking through the cheese cloth.

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Day One in jar: Lentils are just starting to sprout
Day Three in jar: lentil sprouts can be harvested at this point
Day Three in jar: Lentil sprouts can be harvested at this point
Day Four in jar: Lentil sprouts have expanded to fit entire jar and are perfect for harvesting
Day Four in jar: Lentil sprouts have expanded to fit entire jar and are perfect for harvesting

IMG_1778I really hope you try this at home because lentil sprouts are a nutritious and delicious addition to any meal. Not to mention, the yield is pretty remarkable, considering you start with just 1/2 a cup of dried lentils. As you can see, the bowl I started with was overflowing with sprouts when it was all said and done.

These last for many days stored in the fridge. I line a large plastic bag with a couple layers of paper towels and place the sprouts inside, leaving the bag open when I put it in the fridge so the lentils do not suffocate.

Enjoy!

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Visit My Etsy Shop, Peels and Posies! Now OPEN.

I had a striking realization the other day, the kind that sort of makes your stomach twist in knots and feel ashamed of the day you said you’d ever do anything worthwhile/graduated college/heard your parents say they were proud of you. Here it is – I make excuses. The kind veiled by logic so they sound relevant. You know – well, I haven’t done such and such because I work all the time. Or I haven’t actually opened my Etsy shop because I’ve been making stuff for it. Well, I could keep making stuff alllll the time, but the bottom line is that I have to open someday. And that day is today!

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Peels and Posies is a shop devoted to hand-made, whimsical home decor, the kind that I would want (and consequently have) in my own home. Everything I make has been inspired by either books, woodland creatures, flowers, or food. So essentially, it’s all just a conglomeration of the things I love most. And I feel like there are others like me out there.

One of the nice things about my shop is that most of my products are made from recycled materials like cardboard, egg cartons, fabric scraps, etc etc. Ties in nicely with my Consider the Peel theme, eh? Wink wink.

I will make custom orders, and if you are interested in contacting me separate from my shop for independent contractual work (for paintings, family crests, individualized home decor, etc.) just email me and we can sort something out. Hope you enjoy perusing my work!

😉 Here are a few samples of what I do:

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The deliciously dapper deer graphics are designed by the ever talented Mickenzie Robbins. View her profile here.

Apple Green Tea Cake with Apple Roses

Hello, world. I am here to report that the treetops are a steady shade of yellow now and a murder of crows has taken residence in my neighborhood. In other news, I made a pretty cake for my grandma’s garden club meeting the other day – Apple Green Tea Cake with Apple Roses. 

Apple roses are a relatively simple way to make a beautiful and edible decoration for a cake. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Slice the apple reeaaaaally thin (leave the peels on for that hint of color). 
  2. Boil the apple in 4 cups water, 1 cup sugar for about five minutes. Drain. 
  3. Mix up whatever batter you are using, and fill prepared truffle or mini muffin pan (spray generously with cooking oil so nothing sticks) half full with the batter.
  4.  Form apple roses and place in batter. 
  5. Sprinkle with granulated sugar and bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Turn oven down to 200 and bake for 2 more hours.

It makes for an impressive (and impressively simple) cake. For the fall season and upcoming Thanksgiving festivities, apple roses are the perfect thing to have up your sleeve!

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Onto a tangent…before Thanksgiving comes, we must celebrate the frightfully delicious Halloween. Halloween is a fantastic holiday – dressing up in creative costumes and parading around the neighborhoods for candy…what could be better?

Working at Target really makes me realize how into Halloween people get. Starting at the beginning of October people were buying skeleton erasers and gummy eyeballs and pumpkin rugs. This week, the thing has been costumes for kids. I’ve seen princess costumes, Iron Man costumes, witch costumes, and minion costumes, just to name a few. Here is my issue – these store bought costumes are sooo cheesy! Sure you can be a witch, but I grew up with the firm understanding that for Halloween we made our costumes. If that meant trolling Goodwill for a few hours to find the perfect black lace ball gown that was waaay to big, then that is how it was. Home-crafted costumes will always be better than the kind you get at places like Target. There is just no creativity in pointing and buying, and isn’t Halloween really just a passive celebration of creativity? I think so. 

But anyway. Perhaps I will make some Halloweenish recipes for y’all. Also, pumpkin carving is a definite must for this year. Pumpkin picking first, though. ❤

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Apple Green Tea Cake with Apple Roses

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups whole wheat flour (for a less nutty flavor, use all purpose)
Contents of 2 bags of green day
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 finely chopped apple

METHOD:

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray bundt pan with cooking oil. Combine flour, contents of green tea bags, baking powder and soda, and salt. Set aside.

2. In a separate bowl, mix Greek yogurt, applesauce, olive oil, milk, and brown sugar. Add eggs and whip. Pour wet mixture into dry mixture and mix until well incorporated.

3. Fold in chopped apples. Bake at 350 for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Top with your favorite cake glaze. 

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I’m Back With Apples and Stuff

I know that in the blogging world being gone for a month is basically blog death. Well, I have resurrected myself and my dear Consider the Peel, and I hope it’s not been too long for those loyal few out there.

What can I say – life is hectic. There’s my part time job at Target, my part-part time job as a transcriptionist, my blog (sadly being dejected of late), my soon to open Etsy store (yes, this is happening!) Peels & Posies, and my endless wifely duties. The apartment is small, but there is always something needing done, and as far as creative things goes, sometimes I’m just so tired after work that all I want to do is stick my head in a hole and hibernate until spring (but then, of course, I’d miss all this beautiful fall weather). Sometimes (read, all the time) when I am grueling the hours away at Target, scanning fifty jars of baby food or struggling to lift cat litter off the belt, I think to myself,  “Is this banality worth the $8 an hour?”

More often than not the answer is Heck No. However, I do struggle with perspective sometimes. The bottom line is that life will always be too busy – I need to stop waiting for a moment and make a moment. I need to make those few minutes of free time between tasks worth my while, because I know that reaching my own potential will not only increase my personal satisfaction but it will do others a lot of good too.

So here’s a little apology for being too trapped in my bubble of inactivity. Hopefully I’ll get back in the swing of things with the help of a daily planner and a renewed spring of inspiration. It’s FALL after all…squeeeee! The absolutely positively most magical time of the year, which means yours truly will be bringing you pumpkins galore, wreaths and fallings leaves, pies, squash, ghosts, and ohhh so much more.

The first thing to report on is the massive amount of apples we currently have sitting in trash bags on our apartment floor. My husband’s parents have three apple trees and have kindly given us more apples than I’ve ever seen in one place at one time. I am not complaining. The other day we had an apple themed lunch: Homemade Honey Lemon Applesauce, Open-Faced Apple Havarti Ham Sandwich Melt, and Celery Apple Salad.

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These three simple elements made for a delicious (not to mention unique) lunch. Of course, Grant laughed at me when I told him we were having an apple themed lunch. “Is that what we’re doing now?” he said. “Themed lunches?” Why, yes, Grant. Themed lunches are the greatest kind of lunches.

HONEY LEMON APPLESAUCE

Ingredients:

about 5 pounds of apples (I used a variety, mainly Braeburn and golden delicious)
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup water, plus more if needed

Method:

1. Peel and chop apples. Place all ingredients in a large pot and heat on medium high. Let boil and add water if mixture gets too thick. When apples are soft enough, mash for desired consistency.

The honey and lemon flavors in this applesauce are very subtle, but definitely there. For more pronounced flavors, simply add more of the desired ingredients.

OPEN-FACED APPLE HAVARTI HAM SANDWICH

Ingredients:

sliced harvarti cheese
ham lunchmeat
sliced apples
1 tsp dijon mustard
2 tsp miracle whip
Oregano and parsley
bread

Method:

Mix dijon, miracle whip, oregano, and parsley together, then spread on the bread. Place meat, then apples, then cheese on the bread. Broil on high for four minutes.

APPLE CELERY SALAD

Ingredients:

1 Golden Delicious apple
1 stalk of celery
1 tbsp vinegar
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper
fresh parsley

Method:

Slice apples and celery thinly. In a separate bowl, mix vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Pour over apples and celery, then top with fresh parsley.

Woodsy Boutonnieres, (Fake) Flower Crowns, and How To Arrange Bouquets at Home

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I talked all about my wedding in my last post (Oh Sweet Love – I’m Married!) and I’m going to talk about it just a little bit more in this post. What can I say, the post-wedding-bliss just hasn’t died out yet. In this post I want to talk specifically about three things: handmade boutonnieres, handmade flower crowns, and bouquet arranging at home.

I will not claim to be a flower expert. In fact, all I know about flowers is that they are gorgeous, and about 90% of the time they look beautiful without ornament of any kind. Traditionally at weddings, flowers abound. However, hiring a florists often ends up costing as much the venue itself, and this was just one vendor I didn’t particularly care to invest that much in.

A florist’s goods include bouquets, flower arrangements (center pieces, etc), boutonnieres, and the occasional flower crown (this is a rather new fad, though). One of the iffy things about fresh flowers is that they last only so long – timing is key. A florist has to make sure the flowers (boutonnieres and flower crowns included) are prepared well enough so that they will not wilt during pictures and during the pre-wedding bustle.

My thoughts on all this were: What is the point of fresh flower boutonnieres, anyway, when they wilt and die and are consequently thrown out? (Not like boys like wearing flowers anyway. Girls love ornamenting themselves, even if it can only be for a couple hours, but boys…no.) Flowers crowns are pretty, but like the boutonnieres, wouldn’t I rather be able to keep what I wear? and, How hard could flower arranging really be? If you’ve got the goods, then surely the flowers themselves do most of the work. On this account, I was right.

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So I decided to make lasting keepsake boutonnieres for the boys. I really like the look of the paper flowers at Hobby Lobby, and they also have lovely dried baby’s breath there, which was the perfect pop of filler. What I like most about the paper flowers is that they are realistic looking enough (they don’t look plastic like a lot of fake flowers) but they retain a certain degree of whimsy that sometimes isn’t even attained with fresh flowers.

To arrange these flowers, I simply cut the stem to the right length and wrapped them in flower tape (also from Hobby Lobby, in the flower arranging aisle). It took maybe five minutes.

As for the precious wooden deer pin (the best man’s boutonniere was a bear, and my sister’s similar hairpiece was a bunny): Sketch.Inc on Etsy is how that happened. Becky Kemp, the shop owner, hand makes a plethora of animal pins that are simply perfect for a woodsy affair.

I put a dab of hot glue on the back of the pin to attach the flowers, and now I have an extra something to remind me of my perfect wedding day. I probably won’t get Grant to ever wear it again, but pictures are proof he did it once, and I guess that’s enough for me 😉

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Now on to my flower crown. This was more labor intensive than the boutonnieres, but that’s okay, especially considering how it turned out. Let’s just say I was pleased. I used the same paper flowers from Hobby Lobby, and as you can see they look surprisingly similar to the real flowers I used in my bouquet. My photographer actually mistook the fake flowers on my headband for real. “I’m surprised those flowers haven’t wilted at all in the sun!” she said after taking about a hundred photos of Grant and I in a field. I laughed.

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To begin, I bought a thick lace headband, flowers and greenery, ribbon, and a large lace flower appliqué (all from Hobby Lobby). I used needle and thread to attach two pieces of ribbon to the headband (long ribbon, to be braided in with my hair). This way, there was more structure for the weight of the flowers without compromising flexibility. I deconstructed the green roses in order to attach them and make them more pliable. For the most part, I sewed the flowers on with thread, but for extra protection I used hot glue dabs on each flower. I didn’t want flowers raining down as I walked down the aisle.

For my woodsy wedding, this fake flower crown was just perfect.

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Now on to the flower/bouquet arranging. There was a lot of risk in this decision. Think of all the ways it could go wrong – the flowers come wilted, they wilt during the festivities, the bouquets get too cold/hot, there’s not enough time for arranging flowers with everything else. Yes, we kept this all in mind, but in the end we decided to take a chance (kind of like choosing to have an outdoor wedding at the end of July, and we all know how that turned out!).

We ordered the flowers online from a site called fiftyflowers.com. They have every type of flower imaginable; roses of every color, asters, snapdragons, tulips, dahlias, and hydrangeas, galore! In fact, the first time I looked at the website I was so overwhelmed that I had to shut my computer off and bake a cake. But nevertheless, after hours of painstaking decision making, I finally decided on a few beautiful blooms: Green Lisianthus, Pink Ranunculus, Pink Matsumoto, Poppy Pods, White Aster, Scabiosas, and Maidenhair Fern. I stuck with light pink and white for colors, because I am a big fan of simplicity. Too many colors can cause confusion.

I made up the bouquets (one for me, one for the maid-of-honor, and two backups) two nights before the wedding. It took a while, considering I was new at the whole wedding-bouquet-arranging thing. Then right before the rehearsal dinner, me and an army of my friends made the flowers into simple arrangements for the picnic tables. We had at least 50 mason jars to fill, and it took probably three hours. Though it was time consuming, it was an enjoyable job.

The morning of the wedding we had an unfortunate happenstance with the bouquets. Before the rehearsal dinner, some kind-hearted friends of mine placed the bouquets in the fridge because they figured they would keep better in there. No one knew that the fridge was closer to a freezer, and I didn’t have the hindsight to check on the flowers before bed. By morning they were popsicles! So when we awoke at 7, we were in a mad scramble to remake at least 3 more bouquets…luckily I didn’t have a thousand bridesmaids! With the help of my faithful friends and sister, all went well, and the new bouquets turned out even prettier than the first (which, believe me, didn’t seem possible).

We finished off the bouquets with a simple bow of thick crochet lace. We left the stems rough because I like the look of wildflower bouquets – organic, natural. All the flowers turned out lovely. I don’t think I could have been happier with a florist!

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So overall, doing your own flowers comes with risks. The real question is whether you are willing to take those risks. If you are inclined to crack under pressure, then making your own bouquets is probably not for you. Likewise, if you don’t enjoy the simple pleasure of arranging flowers, don’t do it. However, I will always advocate boutonnieres that will last and headbands that can be worn again. Those keepsakes are just priceless.

🙂

Oh Sweet Love – I’m Married! (This Post Is All About My Perfect DIY Wedding)

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Ten days ago I became a wife and, needless to say, I am currently residing in a quagmire of marital bliss. Life is fantastic as a married woman so far. Apartment decorating, making roasts in the crockpot for my husband, etc etc. All I can say is ❤ ❤ ❤

I would like to take this post to brag about my perfect wedding. Essentially the whole shindig was Do-It-Yourself, so this post will contain a plethora of sneak peaks for DIY posts to come. It’s more about the day, though, than the crafts. It was a beautiful wedding, and I kinda just want to talk about it.

Notice my headband and his boutonniere. *Handmade items; post to follow*

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First off, every one always said I was a courageous soul for planning an outdoor wedding at the end of July in Iowa. Normal weather conditions: HOT, humid, windy. It was a risk, but I wanted what I wanted, and the chance was well worth the worry. The day was a perfect one for a wedding – mid 70s, slight breeze, and not a drop of rain in sight. The hollyhocks and sunflowers were blooming in the garden and storms from the week before had revived the grass to a vibrant green.

So a utopian day was the backdrop to a painstakingly planned event – a whimsical, woodsy affair, complete with homemade jam, papier-mache woodland creatures, and yard games.

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We got married amid the flora and fauna of Whiterock Conservancy in Coon Rapids, Iowa. Our ceremony overlooked the rolling hills carved out from glaciers thousands of years ago. The long grass danced in the wind behind us as sweet words were spoken about the roots of love and glorious blessings of the One above.

I walked down the aisle to “Liz on Top of the World” from the Pride and Prejudice soundtrack, which has been my favorite musical soundtrack since eighth grade. It’s only fitting I would walk down the aisle to it. If I had to name a favorite part of the ceremony, though, it would be the Tree Watering Ceremony. Instead of the Unity Candle, we decided to go with a Unity Tree – to symbolize the growth of love, the endurance of it, and the fruits it can produce (ours is an apple tree). I had a great time painting the pot. It is simply a large plastic planter from Lowe’s that I adorned with florals and deer and our wedding date.

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The ceremony was literally straight from my dreams. Every part of it was magical, even when I was hidden on the second level, screened-in porch right next to the ceremony site, spying on guests as they sat and watching the grandparents, parents, and wedding party walk down to “Secret Life of Daydreams” for the processional. Then, being pronounced Man and Wife was probably the happiest moment of my life. Thinking about it still brings tears to my eyes.

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Much fun was to be had at the reception as well. We had bean bag toss, yard scrabble, badminton, croquet, a plant-your-own-flowers stand, and a little bit of dancing. For guest favors, my mom, sister, and I slaved for hours on some homemade jam! Of course, being who we are, we could not settle for mere ordinary flavors. Our flavors were:

  1. Honey Peach Vanilla
  2. Beet Apple
  3. Vanilla Grapefruit Marmalade
  4. Maple Strawberry Vanilla
  5. Blueberry Peach (sugar free)
  6. Apple Tomato Lemon
  7. Perfect Peach
  8. Strawberry Marmalade
  9. Blueberry Lavender

Experimenting with flavors was 90% of the fun. Making jam itself is such a great time, too, though!

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Finally, for our masterful cake. You may recognize the cake topper. It worked absolutely perfectly on this traditional Norwegian cake called Kransekake. It is not your normal cake – fluffy, sinfully sweet, etc – but rather more similar to a cookie. It is made out of almond paste, sugar, and eggs. That’s it, and it is delicious. While I myself did not bake this cake (a friend of my grandma’s did), my sister and I put it together on the morning of the wedding. Funny story, actually. The wedding was at 2. We were supposed to start getting ready with the photographer present at 10:00. All morning we were so busy decorating and making bouquets that we completely forgot about constructing the Kransekake! At 10:15 we rushed into the kitchen, and yet it still turned out absolutely lovely. I couldn’t have paid a million dollars for a prettier cake.

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With all that said, all that’s left is: BAM! happily ever after. Hopefully the rest of our life together will be as breathtaking, whimsy-full, and perfect as our wedding day was.

Lavender Chocolate Pudding

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I started nannying three kids (aged 1, 4, and 7) full time this week, and, boy, has it been interesting. What a handful these children are…So sometimes when I get home, tired, covered in snot and slobber, all I want to do is eat chocolate. And like I said before, I never pass up the opportunity to use my personal herb garden.

Lavender Chocolate Pudding sounded like a decadent, delicious treat after a hard day’s work, and I was right! It is simply wonderful.

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I didn’t know this until recently, but using the lavender leaves are just as acceptable in culinary explorations as the lavender flowers. As my plant has not started blooming yet, I used the leaves for this pudding, chopped them up very fine and mixed them with the sugar, letting the oils seep in. After that, I heated the lavender sugar, milk, and cornstarch, stirring constantly until just boiling. Even without the chocolate it was delicious. And the leaves are so thin that they aren’t even noticeable in the final product.

Like my grandma’s beautiful tea cups? I do. They make any type of pudding better.

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But on the topic of tea cups – last weekend I went to a tea party with my grandma to test out some of the food by the woman who is catering my wedding. Curiously enough, there was not one chocolate dessert. The desserts were delicious – key lime squares, lemon bars, orange madelines, lemon lavender scones, but chocolate was obviously absent. I chalked this up to the fact that, in spite of the chocolate-loving-women stereotype, chocolate is a man’s dessert. Ladies like fruity things, frilly things, dainty things. In point, I believe that this Lavender Chocolate Pudding, though chocolate, has enough daintiness to feel just at home at a ladies’ tea party! Especially when served in tea cups.

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Lavender Chocolate Pudding

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup corn starch
1/8 tsp salt
2 1/2 cup 2% milk
3/4 cup dark chocolate
1/4 white chocolate
handful of lavender leaves, finely chopped
vanilla extract

METHOD:

1. Chop lavender leaves very finely and mix with sugar. Let sit for a couple minutes.

2. Place sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a sauce pan. Slowly add milk and turn heat on medium low. Stir constantly. When milk becomes frothy, add chocolate.

3. Stir constantly until all chocolate is melted and for 4 or 5 minutes more. Should become thick. Take off heat and add vanilla.

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