Crudités in Clay: An Unexpected Appetizer in an Urban Eden

Being married to my husband is like having a second job sometimes. Not the actual marriage part (that part is fun and games!) but the part where I am his go-to sous chef for off-site events. I’m definitely not complaining — I occasionally get paid and if I don’t, well, I always get to drink plenty of wine which is just as good in my book.

So, just like his pig roast extravaganza, I jumped at the chance to help him do a multi-coursed dinner to benefit the Portland Fruit Tree Project. You can read more about the project here, but the basic premise is to educate people about urban gardening and to help give those less fortunate access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

The 35-person dinner party was held at a house in SE Portland, known as Tabor Tilth. The woman who lives there grows so many different things in her front and back yards it’s actually overwhelming…and overflowing. She raises rabbits, grows corn, keeps bees, has more tomato plants than I could count, and even has a mullberry tree all on her 1/5 acre of residential property. She has a truly fascinating online video in which she describes her very thoughtful and meticulous system for planting and composting (she uses some very unique manure in her yard!).

To complement her creative urban gardening, my husband served dishes like “compost” beef (rubbed in coffee grounds and herbs) and a mullberry sorbet with lime salt. But my absolute favorite thing he came up with was these planters. Part centerpiece, part appetizer, each potted plant harbored hidden surprises.

Continue reading

Advertisements

How to host an urban scavenger hunt party, part 3

Over the past week, I have been working on a series: How to host a scavenger hunt party (pirate-theme optional). We covered awesome invitations and the list of things to find.

Now let’s move on to locations, strategies for the competition and prizes. Oh yeah, and what kind of food to eat afterward!

Continue reading

How to host an urban scavenger hunt party, Part 2

Scavenger hunt list, a cupcake and an off-camera serenade. This was one team’s way of collecting 20 points!

* If you missed Part 1, check out Monday’s post! We covered the basic theme for the party as well as how to make kick-ass pirate-approved invitations.

Now on to the Scavenger Hunt list, rules and the game itself!

Once the invitations were sent out, I moved on to the most important thing — the scavenger hunt list. First off, I needed to decide how to go about having people “find” things. I chose to combine digital photography with physical evidence. Some of the things were just needed to be captured on camera  — things like:

Continue reading

Birthday Bliss: How to host an urban scavenger hunt, Part 1

I have mentioned once or twice that I take my birthdays very seriously. I start planning months before — beginning with a theme and going full force until the big day. This year it was honey and bee themed, last year I did a pub quiz-based party. But the year before that was one of my best ever: the pirate-themed scavenger hunt.

I not only got a great response from my friends on this one, but I recently had another friend (currently living in a different country) ask me for tips so she can plan her own scavenger hunt. While Ms. Dipity may not need to worry about the pirate part (she’s planning a bachelorette party), I thought it added to the fun and gave extra oomph to the theme.

Continue reading

Update: The USPS makes like a bunny, delivers Easter eggs…

Success — my brother let me know the eggs arrived safely!

So let it be known that even though postal workers may think you’re crazy (or, let’s face it, annoying) you can mail eggs, no box required!

Why use a bunny when you can just mail your Easter eggs?

Thanks to Pinterest, I stumbled upon a blog post not too long ago that blew my mind. It was about all of the stuff you can just drop in a post office box and (with the correct postage, of course) have delivered. Now I’m not talking about large envelopes or small boxes, I’m talking about stuff like 2-liter bottles, soccer balls, flip-flops and…Easter eggs! As long as it weighs less than 13 ounces and isn’t breakable, it’s okay to mail.

I was stunned. And counting down the weeks until I got an opportunity to send some candy-filled Easter eggs to my nieces and nephews. I could just imagine my brother’s befuddlement at finding a stash of Easter eggs mixed in with the bills.

I decided to do a test-run just in case, so a few weeks ago I sent a surprise gift to my friend DB. It was actually a late party favor from my birthday — a little goodie bag with some honey candies and cookies that I had forgotten to give him before he left that night. However, I knew the cookies wouldn’t make it safely without a protective shell. Luckily a co-worker offered up a plastic quart container she had.

I printed out an address label and using our postage scale at work was even able to determine the exact amount of postage necessary. Then I taped that sucker to hell and back and threw it in the mail box outside of my office. Two days later I got a text that just said, “You are one crazy lady.” That’s the sound of success!

Since then I have been impatiently waiting for Easter to get close enough so I could mail out my eggs. I decided that two weeks prior was an acceptable time frame so I bought all my supplies last weekend and got to work…

Ready to roll…And yes that is a Bloody Mary. I drink while I craft.

I have five nieces and nephews (all in the same house) so I figured I had better send an emergency egg just in case one didn’t make it. Better safe than sorry. Once the eggs were stuffed with candy (a combination of Robin’s Eggs, Milk Chocolate Mini Eggs and Spring Skittles), I shoved in as much Easter grass as I could before sealing them up.

As a disclaimer — these eggs were far from sturdy. In fact, just closing them, I could tell they were in dire need of some serious reenforcement. So I used packing tape a few times over the seal and then covered that with some cute patterned adhesive tape I found at Joann’s. They turned out pretty adorable — and hopefully pretty durable.

The next day at work I printed off some address labels. I figured since the post office employees would already hate me enough for throwing Easter eggs in the mail box, I could at least make the addresses legible. I also added some adorable stickers just because. Then I used our handy dandy electronic postage scale and weighed them. Each egg was $.84 to mail, which is reasonable. Once the eggs were labeled with postage, I wished them luck and safe journeys and plopped them in the big blue mail box on the corner.

I spent much of my day reassuring my colleagues that you can indeed mail eggs, no box required, but a hint of uncertainly began to nag at me. What if the eggs didn’t even make it outside of the Portland post office? What if they break in transit?

* Click to read the update!