Monday, January 31, 2011

Weddings in Woodinville 2011

I spent a lovely day in Woodinville yesterday at the 2011 Weddings in Woodinville event.  This year I was at the Novelty Hill | Januik Winery, which I'd not visited before.  It was beautiful: very modern and tasteful and a great backdrop for just about any decorating theme.  In my opinion, that's one of the nicest things about a modern makes a great foil for contrasting styles.  Yesterday's event was a shining example of that.

The building and location of  Novelty Hill | Januik is smooth and striking, with clean lines and neutral colors.  I'm sorry that I didn't get any great photos of the exterior.  You should visit their website to see what an artful and architecturally beautiful place it is.  It's also very nicely laid out, both visually and functionally.

All of the decorative elements at the event were coordinated by the very talented Kirstie Warren of Simply Wed.  Her theme was "Whimsy & Wit" and she did a fantastic job of using vibrant, cheery colors and playful fabrics and patterns to brighten the space at the winery.  You could see the delighted faces of each attendee (mostly prospective brides and their entourages) as they entered and took it all in.  It looked like spring and sorbet.  Here are some photos:

The main room was set as though a wedding would soon be starting...all the way down to the individual place cards at each table setting.

The flowers were all done by Stacie of Blush Custom Floral.  They were lovely, and she was too.  

The cake from J.W. Desserts...incredible.  And the creator, John, works from Whidbey Island.  Awesome.


This (above) was the Simply Wed table display, which included the small guest soaps that I made for the event.  They seemed to be a hit. Whew!

This seating area was at one corner of the main wine making room.  The white couches (from Pedersen's Rentals), strings of lights, and "candy bar" popped in the open airy space next to the huge industrial looking stainless steel vats.  Cool. 

And here was my little display.  I had fun coordinating the packaging for my custom soaps  with the whole "Whimsy and Wit" idea and the fun colors for the event.  I hope to be invited back again next year!!


Seattle Sundries Custom Wedding Favors

Monday, January 24, 2011

Holiday Rumination

I dare you to try and fit the word rumination into conversation tomorrow.

I have a favorite holiday.  That spot used to be occupied by Christmas, until the commitments and complications of adult life knocked it off it's pedestal.  I still love Christmas for its message and meaning, but boy,  what a lot of work!  

I've never been a big fan of Halloween.  There's too much emphasis on candy and too many scary masks for my taste.  We do have a great neighborhood trick-or-treating tradition that I thoroughly enjoy, though. And there was that one year that my 4 year old daughter dressed up as Princess Leia (with a home-made costume) and my 1st grade son as Darth Vader.  You should have seen me trying to get the hair right.  That was a high point.  

The 4th of July is always associated with beer and boating and sunburns for me, and New Year's is just too late at night for me to get into very easily...I'm getting old, I guess. 

So that leaves my favorite:  Valentine's Day.  For me, it's less commercial and cluttered, and focuses on flowers.  I like flowers, especially in February.  We celebrate it as a family holiday, not so much a romantic one.  The kids get small gifts and we have a nice dinner together.  There's no expectation about some large family gathering with extended relatives or some massive and complicated meal to prepare.  It's just our little family enjoying some good food and each others' company.  We like to make valentines for classmates and for the grandparents and uncles.  We put up a few Valentine's Day ornaments and frills around the house as soon as we take down the winter holiday decorations.  It's nice to have something bright and festive to fill that void after the tree and the menorah come down.  Mostly I like the holiday because it's all about remembering to tell others that you love and appreciate them.  Who wouldn't like that...maybe even the best? 

How do you celebrate Valentine's Day?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Burns Supper

One of the things that goes along with being a bagpiper is regular exposure to Robert Burns, the national poet and near patron saint of Scotland.  In Scotland people just call him "The Bard".  You may know him as the author of Auld Lang Syne.  I have to say, I think Scotland is pretty cool just for having a national poet, and for regularly celebrating and revering someone who writes beautiful words for a living.  This esteem I feel for the Scots is only slightly tempered (for me, anyway) by the wacky gatherings held in Burns'  honor every year.  I've attended some doozies.  

Robert Burns' birthday is January 25th and each year, all over the world, Burns nights are celebrated with much tartan, scotch, and Scottish brogue...both real ones and those valiantly attempted.  The best Burns suppers are gastro-literary  events with audience participation and a liberal sharing of verse, anecdote and song.  There are a few rules governing a Burns supper that are always adhered to:  

There must be ample access to scotch. 

 There must be Scottish music.

There must, specifically, be bagpipes...lots of bagpipes.

 A roaring fire is a bonus.

There must be speaking and reading aloud the poetry of Robbie Burns. 

And there MUST be haggis: a huge sausage-like dish made of sheep innards, oatmeal & spices which is stuffed inside a sheep stomach and boiled. Mmmm, yum.   It must be escorted in by a lone piper (this is called the Parade of the Haggis), then addressed (yes, I mean talked to) by the master of ceremonies   A Burns poem is actually read to the haggis before it is ceremonially pierced with a sharp dagger and served.  It must be eaten with mashed neeps and tatties (turnips & potatoes), which are pretty good.

A rowdy and jovial night is usually had by all, thanks to the scotch and the poetry.  You need to be careful not to drink too much, though...since expelled haggis is something that a person should never have to see.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Weddings in Woodinville

It may seem strange, since it's quite dark, cold and wet right now in Seattle, but it's prime wedding planning season.  Any of you who have organized a wedding before  know that it takes many months to get all your ducks in a row and make the multitude of small and large decisions that go into the actual event.  Well, if you're planning a fair-weather celebration, that means you're busy getting ready NOW. 

Last year I had the honor of participating as a vendor in the first annual Weddings in Woodinville.  I am back again this year, showing what I can do in the custom favors department.  The event is really fun and a great concept for a wedding show.  Woodinville, Washington (for those of you who aren't familiar with it) is a lovely town about 30 minutes east of Seattle in what used to be all farm country.  Now it's generally considered to be a commuting suburb, but it retains the country feel and natural beauty it's always had.  It's also a prime wine making location, with no fewer than 70 wineries operating there.  Some of these wineries would a be perfect location for a wedding or rehearsal dinner.

For the Weddings in Woodinville event, attendees are shuttled from one lovely location to the next inside a swanky ride, where they can sample food and wine and check out photographers, linen suppliers and other wedding vendors (like custom handcrafted favors, ahem).  Each participating winery is decorated by one of the top event planners in the Seattle metro area, so that attendees can get ideas and more easily envision the details of their own celebration.  It's fun, and beautiful, and I get to do it again this year. 

This year (on January 30th) I will be at the  Novelty Hill • Januik Winery location, along with Kirstie Warren of Simply Wed, Blush Custom Floral and J.W Desserts, to name a few.  Last year the 350 tickets for the event sold out in three weeks.  This year, the organizers have expanded the event to allow for up to 600 attendees.  Tickets can be bought online, and reservations should definitely be made in advance.  Hope to see you there!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Loving Lavender

As I mentioned in my earlier post this week, I'm using lavender essential oil in a new application.  The lavender oil that I use in my soaps (Lavender Lover, Cowpoke, Gardener's Gold, Summer Slacker) is a very high quality, nice smelling oil that I've been happy with over the years.  But on a trip home to Idaho last summer, I attended a family reunion and got to spend some time at the ranch of a cousin (the wife of my Dad's first cousin, actually).  She raises lavender on their place and uses it for a variety of purposes: she sells live plants, dried bundles, and makes wreaths and sachets.  

A couple of years ago she also bought a still and started producing her own lavender essential oil.  When I found out about this, I got very excited.  It's not every day that you find out someone in your own family knows how to operate a still!  I think I might have jumped up and down a little.   

She gave me a small bottle of the oil that day and I carried it around in my purse for months, sniffing it every so often.  It's really extraordinary oil.  I thought I knew what nice lavender oil smelled like, but this is better.  Apparently a large part of the difference comes from the fact that she hand picks all of the blossoms off the stems before distillation, which keeps the oil as pure and sweet smelling as can extra  bitter herb smell to muddle the scent.  THIS is the oil that touches your lips when you use the new Lavender & Lemon Smooch Sticks.  They are divine, I must say. 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Scattered Black & Whites

I thought I'd take this opportunity to let you all know that my dear, music-obsessed husband has started his own blog, and it's quite worth following.  It's called Scattered Black & Whites (the name comes from a song by the band Elbow).  Music and food are his two real loves (after the kids and me, of course).  He plays a certain amount of music himself (guitar and piano and a bit of banjo, lately), but mostly he really appreciates the music that other people make.  Ever since we met in college I've gotten to be extremely lazy because he knows what kinds of music I like, finds great new stuff for me, makes me tune lists (used to be mixed tapes...that shows how long we've been together) and then downloads them onto my iPod.  I have to do NOTHING, except push play.  It's awesome for me.

And now he can do a variation of that for you too!  He goes out and finds some of the greatest new, and not-so-new music and talks about it on his blog, links to it, and does all the work for you.  It covers a huge range of styles: everything from Oldtime to Alternative.  He's done some great interviews with musicians already, too.  He can't upload it onto your iPod though, sorry.

Check it out!

Smooch Stick Winners!

And the Smooch Stick winners are:

#9 Jen L-N said...
Mile high bangs. Need I say more?

#13 saraH said...
there are many photos of me wearing my favorite one piece pants outfit from my tweenage years. church, easter, any excuse.

#18 Jamie said...
I would have to say stretchy pants - the ones with the stirrups on the bottom. Not a fan anymore!!

Contact me with your mailing addresses and I'll get those posted to you on Monday or Tuesday. 

And for everyone else...this was SO much fun that I'll DEFINITELY be doing it again soon, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

New Smooch Stick...& Giveaway!

So sorry for the blog silence this past month!  Things were CRAZY around here with holiday sales, then the holidays themselves.  Now I'm back in the saddle though!  I've been working on some great new products that I'll be rolling out over the next few months.  I have the first installment ready today...

Two new varieties of Smooch Stick!   I have been thinking about these for a while and I have to say that they turned out perfectly. Lavender & Lemon was inspired by some infused sugar (for rimming drink glasses) that I sampled at a craft fair.  It was super yummy and I thought would make a spectacular lip balm combination.  

The second flavor is Coffee.  I live in Seattle, ya know.  We do lots of coffee here.  It's just slightly sweet and not heavily scented, so you don't get overwhelmed by the coffee-ness of it.  Yum.

And because I'm so excited about these new Smooch Sticks, I'm going to give some free ones away.  Three people will be chosen by a random number generator and will receive one of each of the two new varieties.  I'll choose winners on Friday.  Just leave a comment at the end of this post.  It's always more fun when people answer some random question, so here it is:  When you were a kid/tween/teenager what fad were you into that you feel was most unfortunate?  Mine was probably the 80s puffy shoulder sweater.  I had one just like this, only it was white with pink hearts.  My best friend had three.  I was completely jealous.