Friday, May 25, 2018

Anne Held Reeves, Beta Pi, Michigan State has Moved to Seattle

I am honored to have this little article I wrote published in print in my sorority's national magazine, as well as online on their website. Enjoy!

(Photo after a trip to my new favorite haunt, Seattle's Pike Place Market)

I was moving to Seattle and could count the number of people I knew out there on one hand. Kappa Alpha Theta has an alumnae chapter in Seattle, so I transferred my membership with high hopes of making friends out West.
I immediately joined the alumnae chapter’s book club. I famously arrived at my first meeting directly from the airport the night I moved. Now, when we all introduce ourselves at a chapter event, one of the girls invariably remembers meeting me when I first arrived in Seattle and tells everyone, "And I mean when she first arrived!" It's fun, and it tells the others that connecting and showing up when I say I will is important to me. 

That winter, I attended several Theta alum book club nights and it felt wonderful to belong. It might sound funny, but after a day of strangers, it felt so nice to be invited into someone’s home. The tradition in this book club is for the hostess to serve a light meal, usually a hearty soup with fresh bread. The members do their best to contribute wine, appetizers, and very often store-bought cookies. We have a glass of wine and spend the first little while getting reacquainted. It’s great because in addition to the core 10 members (who may or may not make it each month), we always have one or two new women drop in. The attendance ebbs and flows due to work schedules, and that’s okay. The members are understanding. You’ll be interested to know that our ages range from mid-20s to early 70s. 

The differences in our lives foster terrific book discussions. Although most of the book club members have lived in Seattle for at least a few years, when we start talking, our anecdotes and reflections remind us that we began our lives as Thetas at different times and places all over the country. It is that life experience that makes our discussions so rich. Making friends as an adult is challenging, but leaning on your affiliations (school, church, volunteer) can really help you get a leg up. I am so thankful to have our sorority to help us connect (finger snaps).

It has been two years since that first night at book club and I am indebted to these women who were the first in Seattle to learn my name. In that time, we have built a house, moved all our possessions out of storage and have started making a life for ourselves in the Pacific Northwest. 

It was such a nice night! We tried new recipes and ate a lovely meal out on the patio. We even talked about the possibility of making an all cookbook book club, because we all like to cook and really enjoyed having a full meal at our gathering. Who knows, it just might happen! I look forward to whatever my Theta sisters cook up.

I wanted to highlight our book club and this evening in particular because it was the night the Theta alumnae dedicated our August meeting to our love of cookbooks. The leaders suggested we check out fellow Theta and Seattleite, Heather Christo's cookbooks and blog for recipe ideas. Heather was the guest speaker at our 2016 holiday luncheon, and she has a gift for making allergen-free recipes look especially tempting.

Anne Held Reeves, Beta Pi/Michigan State, is a member of the Seattle Alumnae Chapter.

#kappaalphatheta #sorority #thetaforalifetime #seattle #bookclub #momentsofdelight #bloglife #theta

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Royal Wedding: Celebrating Harry, Meghan & Windsor Castle

How could I be so lucky? I am in a new neighborhood and some ladies on another street put together a Royal Wedding viewing party. It was festive, fabulous and I met some terrific women. When Prince William & Kate married in 2011, I had my family over for a party at 4 am. Remember my Royal Brunch?
The invite to this party suggested wedding attire and a facinator of your choice. I accepted the challenge and made mine out of a sheet music, burlap roses and leaves (Hobby Lobby), pleated brown silk ribbon and a Steampunk-esque metal/crystal brooch attached to a headband with duct tape and luck. 
The group went all out for this British buffet, including authentic sausage rolls from a shop called The British Pantry in Redmond, WA. How have I not heard of this place before? I was told that it is a pub and a gift shop. I'm hoping that they sell mugs to commemorate the marriage. Stay tuned.
I brought a jar of homemade lemon curd and a plate of mini scones and brown sugar shortbread. They were a welcome addition to the party.

Brown Sugar Shortbread

1 1/4 c. all purpose flour
3 T. brown sugar
1/2 c. butter
3/4 t. vanilla

Combine flour all ingredients in a food processor (fit with a blade) and pulse until mixture resembles fine crumbs and starts to cling to itself. On a clean surface, form the mixture into a ball and knead until smooth. Roll onto a lightly floured surface (I love this baking mat) into a 8 x 6 inch rectangle. Cut dough into strips and place on ungreased cookie sheet (using parchment paper on your cookie sheet is okay). Bake at 325 degrees  for 20 min or until just beginning to brown. Allow to cool on a wire rack. Enjoy alone or with lemon curd. 

Did you know that I've been to Windsor Castle? We went specifically to see Queen Mary's dollhouse. Cameras were not allowed inside, but my memory of that visit is vivid. Grand canopied beds, intricate wallpaper, tiny exquisite paintings - all created by craftspeople in the 1920's. The link includes a video of the dollhouse; I highly recommend viewing it.
One of the neatest things I photographed outside of Windsor Castle was this wall that shows how men were able to shoot arrows out of the fortress to protect the monarchy. Simple and ingenious. 

This Royal Wedding was everything I could hoped it would be. I found some kindred spirits, had a chance to eat some favorite British fare and I witness every moment of this grand occasion. Best Wishes to the happy couple.

#royalwedding #royalwedding2018, #harryandmeghan #windsorcastle #england #shortbread #recipes #britishfood #britishrecipes #royalfamily #royalcouple  

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Edible Seattle: Sunsets & Salami

It was as spectacular as it looks. A birthday celebration for our friend Shannon diverted to the roof of her apartment building to enjoy the sunset. Time waits for no man and thankfully someone realized it was almost sunset and we were able to make our way to the roof in time. This was a 70-degree day ending in a sunset behind the Olympic Mountains. We waited through a lot of rain for this; Spring is finally here. 
I confess that I had to hit a lot of "adjust" buttons to make this photo turn out. We were back lit and completely dark before technology intervened. Don't count on the lighting or the shade of the sky, just know that Dan and I were there together on a gorgeous night in our new life in Seattle. 
We returned to the apartment for cake (!) and more of this absolutely gorgeous offering. I photographed it to show you how high quality ingredients, like salami and prosciutto from Salumi and one show-stopper item, in this case Salt Spring Island Cheese (which comes adorned with edible flowers) can make a charcuterie platter Insta-worthy. Now that is what I call Edible Seattle

#seattle #foodie #pnwlife #salumi #saltspringislandcheese #appetizerplatter #sunset #seattlesunset #iloveithere #birthdayparty #edibleseattle #foodieparadise

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Magnolia Market: Most Anticipated Cupcakes

I took this photo the moment I walked onto the property from the parking lot. Gasp! There they are! The Silos at Magnolia Market in Waco, Texas.

The building to the right (white with black staircases) is the main Magnolia store. Ahead of me is the large green open space for running and playing corn hole. Below the silos is the covered stage where they host the music and microphones during the Silobration each year. 

*I just added "Silobration" to my computer's dictionary. tee-hee 
You can watch the official HGTV Silobration on YouTube above. 

When I told people that I was traveling to see Magnolia Market, the #1 reaction was, "Oh I love them," then when they had a chance to think about it, they asked if I was going to get a cupcake. So I am not the only one who's sugar-driven. I know the power of a good cupcake.
The patterned grass outside of the Silos Baking Company is so-darn-cute! A great example of Joanna Gaines adding a design element to make something better than we thought possible. I mean it, this courtyard is fabulous.

The 1st annual Silos Marathon was held the day before we arrived in Texas. That fantastic fundraising event brought 20,000 people to Waco and many of the participants stayed on into Monday. We were concerned that the crowds would be too big and that our Magnolia experience would be affected. Nope!
The retail store was busy and the bakery had a line, but it was just fine. To give you an idea, we got in line outside of the bakery at 2:45 pm on Monday May 7 and our cupcakes were paid for and ready to eat at 3:10 pm. Frankly, that is impressive considering the number of people visiting the Magnolia complex.

When you get in line, you receive an order form and pencil to make your choices. So smart! It was fun to talk over the selections and ponder what would make us happy while we waited. 
The line outside moves along the wall of the bakery, complete with blooming flower boxes, and when it is almost your time, a shop girl lets you into the air-conditioned bakery to wait for the last 10 minutes. You hand in your order form and pay, and take pictures and marvel that it is really real. 
The staff is nice, and happy and friendly. And I would say the guests are even more so. If every there was a group of people who would pitch in and help if asked, it was these customers. 
Okay, remember the episode of Fixer Upper called "Sweet Surprise at Magnolia Silos" where Joanna and Chip work on the bakery? She finds an antique door and asks Clint to strip the paint off it and make it pretty. Yes, I took a picture in the bathroom, but I had to show you. Also, you need to know about this lovely 1-person air-conditioned bathroom for your trip. Don't miss it when you get into the bakery, the door is on the right.
And the wallpaper in the bathroom! Too cute! It's called "Homestead" and you can find it here.

I bought 5 cupcakes (It was research, I tell you.) The flavors I chose were: Toasted Coconut (seasonal), Silobration, The Classic, Lemon Lavender and Shiplap. The Shiplap and Lemon Lavender cupcakes had a green (white chocolate, I think, definitely edible) m-a-g-n-o-l-i-a leaf on top and we loved it. A darling touch that made us unreasonably happy.
The cupcakes were moist and delicious and that buttercream is no joke. Mmmmm. My cousin and I cut 4 of the cupcakes in quarters and tried some of each. My favorites in order were Toasted Coconut (such flavor!), Shiplap, The Classic, and then Silobration, though I would happily eat any of those all over again. Joanna's cupcakes are sturdy, a good size with ample frosting and honest flavors. I give them my highest marks.
We ate our cupcakes (and a cold brew coffee that I bought from the refrigerator case) at a picnic table on the stage under the Silos. The most important factor was shade, as the day crept up to 95 degrees. The stage is also a great place to connect with other visitors. While we were waiting in line for cupcakes, we made friends with the older couple standing behind us. When it was time to eat our treats, we noticed each other up on the stage and decided to enjoy the experience together. Happiness!
The next day I ate the last of the Shiplap cupcake and tried the Lemon Lavender. The lemon frosting on the Lemon Lavender cupcake was great; I never really enjoy eating lavender sweets, though I seem to chose something lavender to eat every year: lavender ice cream, tea with lavender buds, lavender sugar. I am weak when it comes to girl-y offerings. It was good, but the other flavors are more in my lane.
#magnoliamarket #fixerupper #visitingthesilo #milestomagnolia #joannagaines #chipgaines #magnolia #cupcakes #silobrationcupcake #homesteadwallpaper #wallpaper 

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Magnolia Market at the Silos and Everything in Between

I made it! My cousin and I spent 3 beautiful days in Waco! We visited (and revisited) Magnolia Market at the Silos, Magnolia Table, the little shop on Bosque, Clint Harp's studio, Magnolia Seed & Supply - we did it all! I can't wait to tell you all about it in detail. I will get my first post up by this time tomorrow. We have a family wedding coming up and I'm taking my mom dress shopping today. Then I'll be back at the keyboard. 

#MagnoliaMarket #MagnoliaTable #JoannaGaines #MagnoliaattheSilos #girlstrip #wacotx

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Destination Waco, TX

I am going to Magnolia Market at the Silos today! My cousin is meeting me in Dallas and we're driving down to Waco for a girl's trip for all things Magnolia.

For "in the moment" moments, follow me on Facebook and Instagram

#magnoliamarket #milestomagnolia #girlstrip 

Friday, April 27, 2018

Seed Work: The Miracle of Seeds

At the risk of sounding like a goof, I think you should try growing some plants from seed. Since I am a garden writer, Renee's Garden offered me some free seeds (thank you!) to try growing this spring. I chose a variety of Nasturtiums, Violas, Sweet Peas and Morning Glory vines. 

I must tell you that I bought this mini-greenhouse by Jiffy (complete with peat pods that plump with water) at the grocery superstore Fred Meyer and the fact that some of the seeds have sprouted in just 3 days, has me giddy. I planted this tray by Jiffy on April 24, 2018. I will report on them occasionally, but know that I am checking them constantly like a happy elementary school kid.

Like my identification flags? I cut triangles of stiff paper, wrote on the names/color with permanent marker and taped them to vanity hors d'oeuvres picks by Talisman Designs (similar picks available here). 
What am I going to do with all of these magnificent plants? Well, the Morning Glories are going onto a tuteur in our front garden. The violas (Johnny-jump-ups) are destined to be frozen in ice cubes and sugared and placed on cupcakes. The Sweet Peas will grow up the staircase on our deck, I think. The nasturtiums will be planted along the edge of a cutting garden in our back yard, location TBD. There is also a trailing variety of Nasturtium that I want to drape out of a hanging basket. I.cant.wait.

Have you sown seeds indoors lately? Join me!
May 3, 2018 (day 10) - they look so happy and healthy. Go seeds!

#reneesgarden #sowingseeds #seeds #flowers #startingseeds 

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Flowering Cherry Trees: Groceries Made Grand

I really appreciate when a landlord puts money and thought into their landscaping budget. Just look at this magnificent flowering cherry (I believe it is a Shogetsu) that I photographed yesterday outside of my favorite grocery store in Issaquah, WA. Can you stand it? 

The entire parking lot is studded with these fine flowering specimens and it was so beautiful I had to stop what I was doing and take a picture. Have the flowers of spring moved you to photograph plants out in public? It's good for you and it draws attention to the beauty around you.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Hot Stove Society: Junior League Sustainers Connect and Enjoy

I really enjoy spending time in the kitchen and that's why I think a cooking class is a wonderful way for a group to connect and get to know one another.
As a member of the Junior League of Seattle (I'm a sustainer, which is like an alumnae), I enjoy attending social events that help me connect and establish relationships with other members. The more connected we are, the easier it is to volunteer together and take  action for great causes. Women get things done and I am very impressed with the women I've meet so far.
The 5 o'clock class was designed to let our group of 25 make assemble, cook and eat 4 different appetizers. Instructors made their way around to the cooking tables and gave up tips and tricks to follow the recipes. My table had shrimp wontons and we learned how to fold, pinch and seal the ingredients inside to prepare the wontons for cooking. 
It was a fun and light-hearted evening. I really appreciated the women who volunteered to man the stove, for their contribution was far more important and quite a bit warmer. The food was delicious (shrimp wontons, empanadas, cheese puffs, chicken skewers AND mini Tom Douglas Coconut Cream Pies) and we loved it. I took lots of pictures of us commanding the kitchen, but I didn't want to post people's photos without their permission, so please imagine a lot of happy faces threading chicken on a skewer and holding up whisked bowls of whip cream.

Thank you, Junior League Sustainers and Hot Stove Society, for a fun night.

#seattle #hotstovesociety #tomdouglas #cookingclass #juniorleague #girlsnight #foodie

Friday, April 13, 2018

Tulip Time: Computer Generated Watercolor

Magnifique! I took this photo at Pike Place Market and I converted it into a watercolor print with the Waterlogue app I bought. Waterlogue is a marvel that creates computer generated watercolors from your photographs on an iPhone or iPad. I have high hopes for finding an online printer that can print this as a note card. Wouldn't that be the best?

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Avocado Toast: A Light Bite at Bellden Cafe

I keep notes in my phone (and a larger notebook at home) of recommendations so that I can pursue people's favorite spots when I'm in the vicinity. I was at the intersection of lunchtime and Bellevue, WA when I realized that I could track down the cafe of the woman who spoke at the Facebook Women in Business event. Her name is Claire Sumadiwirya and her restaurant is Bellden Cafe. She spoke about her desire to create a place where the community would be drawn to the food and the warmth. It sounded like an "everyone knows your name" kind of place and I wanted to support her and visit her cafe.

I had my first avocado toast (it's all the rage on Instagram, you know) and it was delicious. Ricotta cheese, Himalayan salt and crusty bread made it special and satisfying. I'm so glad I had to visit and share this delightful cafe with you. If you're in Bellevue, I think you'll appreciate having this spot on your radar.

#avocadotoast #bellevuewa #foodie #belldencafe #momentsofdelight

Friday, April 6, 2018

Ranunculus: A Bright Floral Story by my Sidewalk

I swooned when I saw these white and pink ranunculus at Lowes. They must have been just delivered to the giant warehouse store because they were in perfect condition. 

I bought 5 or 6 beauties and have planted them by my front walk to add a little Spring cheer now that the bulbs have faded. I just read that cutting the blooms encourages new flowers, so I am going out and cut a small arrangement today. It will look darling by the windowsill.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Great Junk Hunt in Monroe, WA

I went to The Great Junk Hunt in Monroe, WA and it did not disappoint. The event was in a large barn in early November and will return again to the same location on November 2-3, 2018.

I loved seeing the mix of antique and flea market finds, along with a jumble of sentimental toys, fabrics and ironwork from days gone by.
This beautiful set of cutlery reminded me of the time I take to line my cigar box purses with small scale fabric prints. It looks darling, doesn't it? I have never seen a formal silverware box lined with a cotton print before, have you?
This is my favorite display from the show. Aren't the red plaids fabulous? This is a Country Living magazine come to life: It looks cozy and All-American.
I was happy to see vendor Butch's Baskets making a statement at this show. I know that the secret to a great display is incorporating live plants. I would have bought the 2 window boxes planted with 3 cypress in a minute if I had a porch and I still regret leaving the orange watering can behind. J'adore!
Another fun thing about shows like this is that they appeal to like-minded people! I ran into a friend I made at Camp Thundercraft on Vashon Island. Hi Karla!

#thegreatjunkhunt #monroewa #shabbychic #upcycling #thrifiting #antiques

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Emma Bridgewater at Churchmouse Yarns & Teas

I absolutely love Emma Bridgewater china. In fact, I made it a point to visit her factory in Stoke-on Trent when I was in England. Swoon.

So when I was shopping on Bainbridge Island and saw this pretty display of Emma Bridgewater at Churchmouse Yarn & Tea, I snapped a photo and posted it on Instagram. 

And a representative from Emma Bridgewater asked me if they could use my photograph on their web page. Why yes, of course! I didn't think I'd get to do a favor for a favorite brand, but I'm happy to oblige.

#churchmouseteaandyarn #churchmouse #emmabridgewater #bainbridgeisland #livingonbainbridge #seattle #tea #yarnlove #knitting #photography 

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Brighten the Kitchen with Real Flowering Plants

Remember when I planted these boxes full of flowering bulbs for Easter? Well I loved it and it was beautiful. But...the timing was right for the bulbs, but not for the holiday and all of the plants faded before my guests arrived for Easter.

So I went to the Nursery at Mount Si and bought pansies, primulas and assorted pops of color in yellow and orange to make a fresh new arrangement. You know what made it perfect for Easter? Last year I made Pysanka Eggs with faux eggs and simple decorative sleeves. I tucked them into the greenery and it looked beautiful! The rich colors in the eggs made the flower colors make sense. 

Monday, March 19, 2018

Fishing Village:Seaside Decor at Michaels Highlights Leland

You know that I have spent my summers in the little resort town of Leland, Michigan, just like my mother. Well, imagine our surprise when we rounded the corner in Michaels Craft store (on the East-side of Seattle, no less) and saw this stack of crates! 

Our only explanation is that the designers must have Googled fishing village and found my favorite little town! My mom bought one of these cute crates. It corrals her magazines and reminds her of where she will be in a matter of weeks. Isn't it a wonderful coincidence?

Friday, March 16, 2018

Easter Display: Creating A Happy Kitchen Display

Tah-dah! I knew it would be cute, but it came out even better than I imagined. 

I bought the 2 drawers at Michaels Craft. I lined them with plastic sheeting, cut and taped to fit, then I set a plastic tray that covered 2/3 of the drawer inside. I protected the last section with a gallon Ziploc freezer bag (with the sides folded down) and planted the bulbs inside. I arranged the other bulbs in the tray and put some bagged top soil in the sparse areas with a measuring scoop. I watered gently and then tucked pieces of dry green moss (bought as a dried sheet of real moss at the craft store) to cover the plastic and prop up the bulbs. Love love love.

You might remember that originally, I thought that artificial moss squares would work (cutting slits and poking the real growth up through the moss), but instead I used dry clumps of real moss to fit into the empty spaces as needed.
The secret to this project is finding a store that sells bulbs about to bloom. The grocery stores in Seattle sell growing bulbs out front! I took this photo outside of a QFC (Kroger) in Sammamish. I'm in heaven out here - truly.

I planted pink tulips (on their way to blooming now), narcissus, tiny lt blue grape hyacinth (that were so small I wasn't sure they would produce a stalk inside - they did!) and a few white/yellow fluffy daffodil variations. I plan on replacing the spent bulbs as they fade with new bulbs on the cusp. And yes, I will stick the spent bulbs in the front garden bed with hopes for next year.

The cute ceramic bunnies in my display were from Cost Plus World Market about 10 years ago. I am so glad I bought them. Remember my motto when you are thinking about buying something seasonal, cute is forever.

#easterdisplay #floweringbulbs #springinside #livingarrangement #easterdecorations #kitchendesign

Monday, March 12, 2018

Primula Power

It's as easy as setting plants in a formal serving piece. I absolutely love this happy display on my kitchen table. The plants have quite a lot of dirt on them, so I didn't add soil or anything but a little water. For now, they love it and that's all I ask.

#springflowers #primulas #easterdecorations

Sunday, March 11, 2018

RAGS: 2018 Wearable Art Sale to Benefit YWCA's Domestic Violence Prevention & Intervention

Since I have my own accessories company focused on one-of-a-kind pieces, my new friend Stacie invited me to attend the 2018 RAGS Wearable Art Sale with her and suggested that I consider it as possible venue for my brand. Wasn't that nice of her? I certainly need to know about events like this in my new hometown.

As described on their website, "RAGS is a juried wearable art competition and sale that benefits the YWCA’s domestic violence prevention and intervention programs."

The show is held at the Larson Mercedes-Benz of Tacoma and the showroom was filled with 55 artists selling beautiful wearable art pieces - woven and felted scarves, carved wood necklaces, unique hats, paper crowns and handmade purses. I was very impressed with the quality and variety of the designs for sale, as well as the originality. I have seen a lot of art-level accessories for sale over the years and this selection was top notch.

#artist #charity #seattle #wearableart #rags 

Saturday, March 10, 2018

The Mountain is Out

What a spectacular sight! A friend took me tooling around Puyallup, WA today and Mount Rainier was covered in snow and as clear as a bell! I still long to go to that National Park and see the wildflowers in the summer.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Primulas: Brighten Your Table Instantly

I just wanted to take a minute to encourage you to buy primulas. They are an easy way to bring a happy touch into your home. On the West Coast, primulas have been available for a while now and they should start appearing at home improvement centers in the Midwest any time now. These happy-go-lucky plants are reasonable (often $1.25/plant) and they look so pretty in the center of the table.

I know that on the West Coast, these annuals are often planted in casual landscaping or in pots outdoors and have a long bloom time. I must confess that I do not buy them with the plan to keep them around. My wish is to enjoy them for 2-3 weeks of color and cheerful decoration. 

I brought out 4 neutral place mats, some bamboo-style silverware and 4 print napkins that my aunt gave me for Christmas. What makes the table look finished? 6 fresh primulas (still in their original plastic pots) resting on clear plastic saucers to protect the table. Voila!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Cigar Box Purse: Happy Customer

"Anne - Hi! I just wanted to reach out to let you know that the cigar box purse was a HUGE hit. I wore it to a Cuba themed gala. I thought a lot of ppl would have cigar box purses, but none did! I had more compliments than you can imagine. Here is a pic for you. One of the society magazines was more interested in a pic of the purse than they were of me. If it makes the magazine, I’ll send you a copy. Thanks for taking care of me for a Noche en Havana to support Phoenix Children’s Hospital!!!" 3/5/18
Oh happy day. I just heard from a recent Etsy customer that she LOVED her ANA cigar box purse and received lots of compliments at a charity gala. Doesn't she look fabulous?! How wonderful. I want to thank her for passing on the photo and the praise.

If you'd like to shop my collection of handmade cigar box purses, click here.