Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Help Kelly Kick Cancer's Ass -- for Good!

Terrariums we made at Workshop SF - photo by Vera Devera (c) 2011
I love terrariums but sometimes I just can't bear the $50 price tag. That's why I jumped at the chance to take  Kelly Malone's terrarium how-to ($34) at Workshop SF, an affordable DIY school she founded two years ago. My old high school pal, Cindy, joined me on a late Thursday night (8-10pm, a perfect time for working girls like us) and Kelly led us through a jaunty, yet informative tutorial on building a terrarium. Since taking the class, I have been a terrarium-making fiend, collecting Scrabble letters, miniature plastic dogs and bunnies, and scavenging the neighborhood succulents to stock my own terrarium habit for about $10 a pop.

[For those of you who are curious, the materials you need to make a terrarium include: found glass objects (a Weck mason jar, coffee pot, cognac snifter), the eraser end of a pencil (to push plants into place), charcoal (to absorb the odor), potting soil, gravel (I like white!), and bits of succulents (apparently you can break off pieces of most hardy succulents and they will re-root without any extra treatment).]

Kelly Malone took the stress out of making terrariums with such good humor and cheerfulness. When I learned that she has an advanced case of cancer, I couldn't believe it. Her previous insurance carrier dropped her coverage due to her cancer diagnosis and she has no chance for getting new insurance due to her cancer being a pre-existing condition. Through it all, Kelly keeps a smile on her face while devoting much of her income and time to continuing Workshop SF. 

If you’ve been to an Indie Mart, if you have been to a class at Workshop, if you have been to a Kelly Malone event, or if you are simply a fan of Kelly’s mission, and willing to help out, we ask that you help out. Take a class or if you can't make a donation. Thanks!!
Kelly shows us the range of succulents to use in our terrariums
Mini plastic dogs, deer moss, bits of succulent make excellent terrariums

Friday, May 20, 2011

Inspiration #93: Party on a Goat Farm

This post is a little overdue (by a month!). Ever since I saw this kids' unicorn birthday party on Birthday Girl blog, I wanted to have my own. Throwing my birthday at Harley Goat Farms (Pescadero, CA) was as close as I could get and I have to admit, after visiting this charming farm, I have no doubt that their goats are indeed magical (c'mon, how can you resist a cutie like the one below?). And I now fully appreciate why some couples would want to have a small destination wedding here!

Harley Goat Kid - Photo by Vera Devera (c) 2011
I decided to book a private tour of the farm rather than chancing it with a public tour; the minimum is $400 (or 20 people at $20 each). I purchased muslin bags on Etsy and prepared goat-themed favors: Happy Goat Tahitian Vanilla Bourbon Caramels from and handmade verbena scented goats' milk hand soaps. The biggest surprise was getting photo booth prop-designer, Maro Designs, to custom make unicorn horns (in pink and silver!) and a goatee. I have no shame.

Yes, that goat is rocking a mystical unicorn horn thanks to Maro Designs
On the day-of, my friends and I rolled up to Harley Goat Farm and were surprised to see how "small" it was. We were a little apprehensive that it could take two hours. But once we started, we realized we didn't want to leave!

Our tour guide was very informative and gave us enough time to take photos and pet the goats. She proudly shared  Harley's colorful history and sustainable farming practices.  Dee Harley's integrity for treating her goats very well, making cheese in small batches, and keeping the business local is both admirable and inspiring.

In the cheese-making room, I got a chance to decorate my own Monet cheese wheel and share it with my friends in the garden afterwards.The fun continued in the cozy cheese shop where the samples are abundant.

Our trusty tour guide also took us upstairs to check out the restored 1910 hayloft where Dee hosts private events, like dinner parties (5-courses, $150) and small wedding receptions. The chairs and table hand-carved by Three-Fingered Bill are quite whimsical and perfect for the setting.

Getting so up-close-and-personal with both the animals and people who produce such wonderful food was invigorating, not to mention the experience was intimate for me and my friends -- we had such a blast! I encourage you to seek out your local flavor makers, like Harley Goat Farms, and support them for your next special occasion.

P.S. In case you make it out to Harley Goat Farm, I recommend picnicking at nearby San Gregorio Beach off of Highway 1. Pick up some garlic-artichoke bread at Arcangeli Grocery Co in Pescadero (the bakery also provides the bread for the samples in Harley's cheese shop) and maybe an ollallaberry pie at Duarte's Tavern.
Monet Cheese Wheel hand decorated by me! Photo by Vera Devera (c) 2011

Monday, May 16, 2011

Minted's $1K Program Challenge: Two Hearts Become One is hosting a DIY contest to celebrate their newest product line: programs! [Wish I had these when we were getting married -- it would've made everything easier.]

I received three programs in the mail to play with and my favorite is featured below. I used felt heart buttons leftover from Valentine's Day card-crafting and an elastic gold band. Then I punched mini holes to connect the insert to the program cover provided and voila -- two hearts become one. I slipped some salvaged lace around the whole program to keep it closed (optional).

The red hearts add a sweet touch and a burst of color. Keeping my fingers crossed that this will be a winner!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Inspiration #92: Mandaps!

Recently, I was honored to coordinate a wedding for a great couple, S + A, at Terra San Francisco, a modern event space that also doubles as an art gallery. It was the first Hindu ceremony I had ever been a part of and the mandap, which is akin to a chuppah, was quite breathtaking (designed by Paige Benjamin at Passiflora Designs). Cymbidium orchids cascaded down above a stage and silver chivari chairs.

All Hindu wedding rituals are performed in the mandap. The four "pillars" represent the bride and groom's parents and honors the important role that each set of parents have played in raising the bride and groom. The pandit, or priest, conducts the wedding ceremony and prepares a sacred fire, which is witness to the ceremony. 
Mandap at Terra San Francisco; photo by Vera Devera, design by Passiflora Designs

View of the aisle, lined with rose petals and string of cymbidium orchids
 Here are some more mandaps to inspire your ceremony "altar":

Photo by A Bryan Photo; originally from Marigolds and Mithai
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