Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Back Forty Weekend

I just got back from one of the most relaxing weekends I've had in a long time.
A little back story: last spring one of our fellow Beehive members, Jenna, moved with her husband Jeff to the Back Forty Farm in the Lanark Highlands to take over an artisan cheese business. Jeff mastered his cheese skills and at the same time, they converted the former sheep shed into a gorgeous studio for Jenna’s textile work. After living in Hamilton for a long time, this was a huge change for them, and visiting for the weekend showed me just how different their country life really is. Jeff and Jenna have settled in beautifully to their new life, and spend their days working their crafts and tending to their land and home. Jeff asked all of us in the Beehive if we would join them for Jenna's 30th birthday as a surprise. They were kind enough to take a weekend off, and host us for some serious relaxation, local exploration, and the most amazing food. I can't really describe how enjoyable my time was, or how in awe I am of the dedication, passion, and hard work that goes into their farm and lifestyle, so I'll share some photos, and hopefully they are a breath of fresh country air to you as well.
Jeff and Jenna live in the COUNTRY - the roads were gravel and very dusty. 
This was prime real estate all weekend. Also, Hollie and Mike and Beau make a cute family.
I walked out the door to these cuties every morning.
The small, black one is "Blackie", the mid-sized one is "Mid", and the biggest one is "Big".
They are meant for food so they don't have cute names,  but they are so very sweet and funny.
Jenna showed us the lay of the land.
We did a lot of sitting, sprawling, lounging, chatting, snoozin', relaxing, reading, etc. Those were nice times.
Like I said...
I didn't take any photos of the AMAZING meals we ate, but here's a photo of Jen and Kev hulling jalapeƱos.
On Sunday we went to the lake.
It was beautiful and private and serene.
Then we decided to leave our little haunt on the edge, and swim across the lake to a floating dock.
Which is where we found a ROPE SWING! And of course Kevin had to go upside-down.
After our swim, Jeff presented us with The Cheese Plate of All Cheese Plates.
Like...this thing was ridiculous, and I still can't believe they shared this much cheese with us.
We could hardly handle all this cheese.
It was the most delicious cheese I've ever had, and so cool to know that Jeff had made it by hand from start to finish.
Jeff and Jenna also have bows and arrows, so needless to say, target practice was on the agenda.
The boys were eager to start fire-time early.
We spent our evenings around their fire pit, playing games, drinking a wheelbarrow full of beers,
listening to Jen and Mike duet, learning to make spider weenies, and judging cartwheels.
It's important that you know that Lanark County is the Maple Syrup Capital of the World.
If you ever go there, you should eat at Wheelers because I think that's where most of the maple syrup comes from,
and they just make great pancakes.
Wheelers also has alpacas.
Wheelers ALSO has a chainsaw museum. So...ya, here are some of our boys looking at chainsaws.
Of course, we couldn't leave until Hollie had shot a gun. She's the bravest bee.
So that was my weekend...it was a really good one. We all really miss having Jenna and Jeff in Hamilton, but it made us so incredibly happy to see them loving life in the Lanark Highlands. Thanks guys, so much, for having us. We had the best time, and have decided to invite ourselves over for your 31st birthday. 

Oh, and if you enjoyed this post, you can thank my dear friend Jane, who keeps pestering me to blog, which has actually been a major annoyance motivation. Thanks Jane. 
What a brat. Here you go…now quit your yappin’.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Boom! Hearts!

Happy Valentine's Day! This is the cutest of all cute days.
Some of us bees attacked some of the other bees with tons of love last night.
Check it out here...

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

January Project #2: The Harry Potter Shower!

In the spirit of trying to post about my finished projects, here's an update on the Harry Potter wedding shower we threw for our friend Terri! Jaimi and I are her bridesmaids, and we know nothing about Harry Potter, except that Terri loves the books, so we thought we'd give it a go.
It may not have been completely canon, but it did come together pretty darn well. Stef made them "Head Boy" and "Head Girl" shirts, and even created a pensieve for us to put our fond Terri-and-Alex-related memories into.  We played Aurors vs Death Eaters, and offered a 24 of Butter Beer as a prize. We covered the table in potion ingredients, and incorporated a hunt for the seven horcruxes. Among the spread of amazing food was snitch pops, edible wands, and in true British fashion, we ate Steak & Guinness meat pies. Everyone tried to guess the flavors of Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans. And there was a real stuffed owl.
It was a pretty nerdy party. One of my favorite parts was the Sorting Hat ceremony, when we divided all the guests into their Hogwarts houses.
I'm about to explain the magic here, so cover your ears if you don't wanna hear how it works... We stuck a phone with a speaker in the hat, Kevin went up to the loft, and we set it to speaker phone. He could hear us announce the persons name when they put the hat on, then he would speak about them, and his voice came out of the hat. It was SO great.
A true Slytherin!
So, the four houses competed against each other to win prizes and prove how much they knew about Ter and Alex.
Then we did Fire Whisky shots. Apparently this is a Harry Potter thing - Whisky + Tabasco Sauce, and it was gross. But hey...
Kevin made a nice little speech.
All in all, it was the most *magical* of evenings, and definitely the most upbeat wedding shower I've ever been to. I'd call this project a total success.

Upcoming Projects:
February Project #1: Operation Terri-Gets-Married
February Project #2: The Braided Rug

Monday, January 14, 2013

January Project #1: The Baby Quilt

At the end of the year, I posted about my 2013 resolutions. One of them was to “finish what I start”, and under the same umbrella, tackle (and finish!) two projects each month. I’m thinking that a good way to keep myself accountable to this is to post about them here!

My first January project is done, and it went so well! It was part of a baby shower for my dear friend Meag Tutti. She’s due at the end of the month, and we hosted a Quilting Bee shower for her this past weekend. My biggest involvement with this shower was the surprise quilt we gave her as a group gift.
Her nursery is themed with woodland animals, so about a month before the shower, my friend Sarah and I planned out the quilt, drew up some woodland animal patterns, and put together ‘embroidery packages’ for a bunch of Meag’s friends to complete. Once we had all the finished pieces back, we pieced everything together with some amazing fabrics we found on Etsy and at Needlework, and set it up in a frame.
Some of the squares we received!
Figuring out the pattern...
Some of the cute fabrics we used.
We unveiled the quilt at the shower, and Meag was blown away! It was such a nice moment. Sarah became our official quilt teacher - there were 10 chairs, and about 40 people, so we just took turns learning and stitching. What's happening here is that the finished quilt top, the batting (in the middle) and the back of the quilt (plain brown cotton flannel) are being stitched together to actually finish the quilt. Once that's done, we'll add bias tape around the outside as the last step.
Sarah is a really good teacher.
This is one of my favorite crafting projects I’ve ever worked on. Someone at the shower mentioned that it wasn’t just a quilt – it’s an heirloom and I think that’s a really special way to look at it. We had a second quilting night last night, and I guess technically I can’t call this project ‘finished’. The entire thing needs to be hand-quilted, so it will continue to be a work in progress for the next few weeks, but getting it ready in time for the shower was the main objective here, so in my books….success!

Oh, and how cute is Preggy Meaggie? Seriously!
(All high-quality images taken by Michelle Drew)
And in the spirit of keeping you posted, here are my upcoming projects!
January Project #2: The Harry Potter Wedding Shower
February Project #1: Operation Terri-Gets-Married (SO excited!)
February Project #2: The Braided Rug