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Flower Farm

It’s flower time on the farm! The hubby and I are preparing for a big move to the big land of Texas, of course that’s not about to stop me from enjoying a few last summer days on the farm. I spent the morning with my dear friend Kristin getting ready for a wedding this weekend. Linda was able to sneak away on a little vacation, so while she’s away, we get to play! Stay tuned this weekend for snapshots of our arranging.

I must have flowers, always, and always. ― Claude Monet

It’s Graduation Thyme!

It is finally here, after 7 long years of dedicated studies I am finally graduating with my BSN degree! I must apologize for the lack of posting this semester, my mother’s mantra still rings in my head, “studies come first,” and so, blogging has taken a back seat. However, with graduation less than a week away I wanted to share with you a few images from my graduation celebration wishlist.

The following are ideas I’ve combined to make a Graduation Thyme Garden Party Celebration come to life. I hope these ideas spark your creativity as you prepare for your own graduation celebrations in the coming weeks.

Minted garden party invitations Garden Party Invitations via Minted

Herb Favor Bags Herb Favor Bags via Move Nourish Believe

Garden Party Tablescape The Tablescape via HeatherBullard.com

Brioche, Peaches, Thyme garden party treat Brioche, Peaches and Thyme via Bayaderka

Good Ideas for You summer garden party ideas Flowers and Paper Bags via Good Ideas For You

Onto Baby Vintage Couples Shower Juice Bar (but add champagne for a mimosa bar) via Onto Baby

Thyme garden party decor Drying Thyme via French Larkspur

Berry Tart Berry Tarts via Belonika

Baltimore + Friends

Sorry for the brief hiatus from posting, I hope you all have had a chance to check out last week’s Jungle Safari Baby Shower. The hubby and I decided to take a last-minute trip up to Baltimore this weekend to visit our good friends Adam and Leslie. We kind of love them. With classes starting back in one week, we figured it was one of those “now-or-never” moments.


We had such a blast in Baltimore. Breakfast at Gertrudes outside the BMA, seriously the most amazing basil hollandaise sauce over eggplant and poached eggs. It was so delicious that I decided my latest mission is to cook the perfect poached egg.

Anyways, back to our weekend. We took in the beautiful views on Federal Hill overlooking the harbor.

Took a walk around Fort McHenry (think Star Spangled Banner). Loved the ocean views surrounding the fort.

We even managed a mini beach trip on Sunday followed by dinner in Little Italy and the most amazing cannolis. Yes, it was a great weekend.

Tomorrow is another day of flower cutting and market arranging at the farm. Kristin and I will be running the flower business at the Kingsport Farmer’s Market on Saturday so anyone in the area should come out and visit us. I promise, once you see the flowers you won’t regret giving up your Saturday morning. I’ll be sure to take some fun market pictures for you all. Happy Weekend!

Sunday Morning Inspiration

“And while it takes courage to achieve greatness, it takes more courage to find fulfillment in being ordinary. For the joys that last have little relationship to achievement, to standing one step higher on the victory platform. What is the adventure in being ordinary? It is daring to love just for the pleasure of giving it away. It is venturing to give new life and to nurture it to maturity. It is working hard for the pure joy of being tired at the end of the day. It is caring and sharing and giving and loving…”
-Marilyn Thomsen

blueberry pancakes

It is a beautiful Sunday morning here in East Tennessee. Here’s wishing you a fabulous day filled with many ordinary adventures.

Sycamore Shoals in the Summer

Recently, Jack and I have been diligent in carrying out our summer exercise routine. Our slow and clumsy pace is not helped by the ever increasing heat and humidity of East Tennessee. Lucky for us, the view is fantastic! Check out a few more pictures of our favorite piece of Tennessee earth.

Sycamore Shoals State Park

A Whistling Girl and a Crowing Hen

“As I look backward over a long checkered life, it seems to me that the hand of God has been weaving a beautiful pattern of many colors and shapes for me and for the people who have been and who will be associated with me.” -Leona Auer

Leona Auer is 101 years old and a Milligan alumna. This past week, I had the privilege of interviewing her and was simply in awe of who she is, where she has been and what she has seen. The quote above is from one of her books, “A Whistling Girl and A Crowing Hen.”

On a completely unrelated note: we are finishing out the last three weeks of classes so please excuse the sporadic posting–12 tests to go and then I’m all yours.

Easter + Golf

A few pictures from dad’s annual golf trip with his brother and brother-in-law.

Instead of Idaho, this year’s trip was spent in North Carolina, which meant the hubby and I were able to join the golfing fun over Easter weekend.

The trio

Jake joined the boys in two 18-hole rounds of golf each day while I attempted to soak up as much sun as possible while driving around the cart.

Beautiful weather, beautiful golf courses.

All in all, a fantastic Easter and such a blessing to see my dad.

Sycamore Shoals: Nature Photography

I love history. I am by no means an expert but I love it none-the-less. Living in a region that is so full of rich history has been a truly eye-opening experience. One of our early finds after moving to East Tennessee was this small, charming state park that is literally 45 seconds from our home.

Sycamore Shoals State Park was part of the earliest settlement outside the 13 original English colonies. It was made famous by what we deem the Muster of the Overmountain Men. The “overmountain” nickname refers to the fact that their settlement was west of the Appalachians, or “over” the mountains, if you will. At the time the Appalachians were the primary geographical boundary that divided the colonies from the west. Their settlement over the mountain opened the door to the ensuing years westward expansion.

Pretty neat, huh? Well, all this to say, we love the park. The walking trail runs right along the river’s edge and is absolutely beautiful year round.

Jack and I spend many after-dinner hours down at the park taking in the splendors of creation (and walking off our very full tummies). Spring is one of our favorite times to explore the park because we feel like little kids discovering some great wonder for the very first time.

I decided to snap a few photos this week to give you all a small glimpse of the beautiful new growths taking root down at the Shoals. I hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse into our historic little corner of the world.

Guest Post: Photographing Details

To continue our weekend focus on those pretty little details, here is another incredible guest post from Kira of Kira Noble Photography. This article teaches the amateur photographer how to turn those decent pictures into works of art. Be sure to head over to Kira’s website and show her some love.

Details, details, details! I have noticed that in the past few years the detail elements of a wedding day have become increasingly important to brides, wedding planners and photographers. If you look at any wedding style blogs, like Style Me PrettyOnce WedGreen Wedding Shoes and countless others, the photography featured revolves around how to implement fantastic detail and intricacy into a wedding or event.

As a wedding photographer I realized that I needed to learn quickly how to take the kind of photos that would highlight and pay tribute to the details every bride, florist and wedding coordinator spend countless hours creating.
Of course at the end of the day, the photo of the “first kiss” is more important to my client than the cool photograph of the cupcake tower or bouquets. However, details seam together the story of the day, revealing something about the bride and groom, and hopefully reminding them of the depth of their wedding day.

Although I have certainly not mastered how to take detail shots, I have learned a lot in the past few years and thought I would share some specifics of what I’ve learned here with you. Even if you’re not a photographer these techniques can apply to any detail photo you may want to take. From taking photos of your latest creation in the kitchen, to the flowers blooming in your garden to the next event you attend or host.

1) Find good light- The first thing to do is make sure you have great natural light. Seriously, light can make the difference between a mediocre photograph and a photo that makes you sigh! Sometimes this will mean moving the object of your photograph from its original location (if possible) to a location with better light. The photo below is from a wedding I recently shot. I was taking photos of the reception details and took this photo of the tiered cookie stand. The first one was taken in the afternoon (before anyone came into the reception) and I didn’t have time to move it to better light. It is dark and although it works, it is not the best photo. Later in the evening the room was filled with lovely light and I got this photograph of the same detail.

2) Remove anything distracting- I learned this tip from Jasmine Star in her first creative live workshop. She encouraged photographers to move anything that would “cheapen” the photo. Feel free to move things like salt and pepper, serving utensils and sugar packets from a table. And of course, put them back after you get the photo you need. Before I heard Jasmine talk about this, I was too afraid to touch or move anything on the wedding day. I didn’t want to mess anything up. However, once I had the confidence to remove distracting items from my frame, my photos of flowers and tables settings started looking more like something you could find in a magazine. Holla!

3) Use surrounding environment- Use your environment to add interest to your photograph. First take a few photos of your object and then take a step back. What else in the room can you use to your advantage? Is there a window that can act as a natural frame for your object? Are there other elements already in the room that you can add to your photograph to make it tell a story? An example of this is in the photos below. I took these photos this summer at Jackson and Shayla’s wedding. Shayla got ready at her parents beautiful home. I started out the day taking photos of her jewelry, shoes, dress and makeup. I wanted close-up photos of her hair-piece and rings and I started out in a spot I thought had good light, but the background was a little boring. Then I saw the antique books sitting on the coffee table. I moved the rings and hair-piece and immediately the photos took on more life. The books, wood tray and burlap added texture the photograph was missing.

4) Lower your perspective-- This one is simple. To diversify your the kind of detail shots you take, simply change up your angle and perspective. At first, I simply shot a table setting by standing above it and shooting down. While this type of perspective can yield good photos, changing your angle or getting “low” can capture the setting and mood in a much stronger way. The photos below are from Dani and Tyson’swedding last summer. One was shot from above, the other I shot by getting on my knees and getting “eye level” with the table.

5) Shoot wide-open- In my opinion, one of the best ways to get strong detail shots is to shoot with your camera set at a low f-stop. (Click HEREto read a great explanation about aperture and f-stops.) By shooting “wide-open” you not only get the most out of all the pretty light, your detail will stand out and you’ll achieve that cool “drop-off” effect. Below are a few detail photos that I shot wide open and the settings.

85mm 1.8 1/30 and ISO 250

50mm 1.8 1/320 ISO 400

Grab your camera and start shooting!

{the cute vintage fabric tape is from Pugly Pixel. Find them HERE.}

Setting the Scene

I’ve realized over the past year that I am much better at capturing the small details of our farm workshops than I am at photographing the people involved. Perhaps it’s because the objects don’t move, or maybe it has to do with their vivid colors. Either way, I thought I would share a few of my favorite photos from last week’s cooking lesson and moss workshop.

These photos capture unique aspects of the atmosphere we try to create out at Aunt Willie’s Wildflowers–quaint, old-fashioned, peaceful–although nature has already done most of the work for us. Whatever words these might bring to mind, I hope they make you take pause and think about the little details in your own life that you may be overlooking every day.

When planning a dinner party, birthday, or wedding, don’t forget the impact little details have on the event and on the way you remember it years later.

Be sure to check back with us soon for an incredible guest post from my friend, Kira, of Kira Noble Photography, on how to best photograph the little details.

Photography + Love

This post is extremely random but I just had to share it with you all. Kira, of Kira Noble Photography, is one fantastic photographer. I get extremely giddy every time I see that she has posted new photos because I just can’t wait to see what else she has come up with.

Yesterday she posted this quote which I love! (photo: the kitchen curtains)

“Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”
― G.K. Chesterton

And on Monday she posted these self-portraits on her blog with lots and lots of glitter. She is beautiful all the time as you can see here, and these pictures are exquisite.

Head on over to her blog to check out more of her photos.

I Flung the Tongue

Happy Easter! Seeing as we are so far away from home, Linda Doan, Aunt Willies Wildflowers, invited Jack and I to join in their Sunday afternoon celebrations.

The Doans have become quite famous in our little neck of the woods for a variety of reasons. Linda taught at Milligan as the health and fitness professor, Roy (her hubby), retired from teaching mathematics at a local school. They own a farm, raise and sell cattle, grow and sell cut flowers, and volunteer their time and home every week.

However, what the Doans are perhaps most famous for is their much anticipated cow-tongue flinging.

Yes, that’s right, today we flung the tongue.

Since Roy raises grass-fed beef, there are apparently a vast supply of cow tongues each year that the Doans are able to freeze and then thaw for various occasions.

The game concept is simple, throw or toss the tongue into a watering trough, moving farther back with each fling. If you miss, you’re out. Linda was today’s champ.

I was a complete failure at the game. I’d like to say it was simply because IT WAS SO GROSS, but, if I am being honest, I should really blame my more-than-pathetic flinging abilities. As you can see in the following picture, Roy was less than satisfied with my “touch as little as possible” flinging method.

I realize this post has almost nothing to do with crafts, but I thought you all would enjoy hearing about this unusual method of celebration.

And, if you are disappointed in the irrelevance of this post,I hope you are able to at least appreciate the beautiful East Tennessee scenery. Happy Easter!

It was a Wonderful Wednesday

Milligan College holds an annual day off of classes every spring called “Wonderful Wednesday.” In the past, this event has also come to be called, “Terrific Tuesday” or “Marvelous Monday”. A welcomed reprieve from studying for finals, Wonderful Wednesday is always a surprise for both students and faculty.

This year’s theme was “Come Sail Away…” The Campus Activities Board is in charge of planning activities such as water sports, food-eating contests, and various competitions around campus for students to participate in.

A few of this year’s highlights included a giant waterslide, go-kart races, bungee-jumping, putt-putt course, ultimate frisbee, dodgeball and volleyball competitions and much more.

Seeing as Wednesdays are my main Public Relations work day, I had the pleasure of taking pictures all afternoon! I met with various press members who stopped by campus to take a few pictures for the local newspapers and then, I too, walked around in the beautiful sunshine snapping a few photos while simultaneously burning my shoulders.

Certain family members,you know who you are, are always asking me for photos so, I thought I would share a few of my favorites from our wonderful day. Enjoy!