Wednesday, September 05, 2007

An Evening in Avonlea!

David was out of town this past weekend, and it seemed to me the perfect opportunity to have a few ladies over for a Girls' Night! I put the little ladies to bed early and went to Avonlea for the evening! This was the sight that greeted guests at the front door.

I was inspired by the ideas I found here to make these picnic boxes out of drive through drink containers (thank you, Sonic)! Each guest received her own box of goodies for the evening.

I took these plain boxes and covered them with scrapbook paper. I also tied a piece of twine around the base and attached the "picnic" label.

Our menu was:
Chicken Salad
Cheddar and Rosemary Scones
Apple Chips
Sugar Cookie Cups with Chocolate Clotted Cream
Berry Soda

Inside, I packed the chicken salad in a small canning jar with piece of the same paper used as a liner for the lid. I tied raffia around it and a tag that said, "chicken salad." The scone was wrapped in waxed paper and the apple chips in a clear cellophane bag. The dessert was placed in an old jello mold or small silver basket - both found inexpensively at thrift stores or yard sales. Our berry soda was re-wrapped with a label to make it into "Raspberry Cordial" and I promised my guests it would not make them tipsy! While we ate, we watched Anne of Green Gables!

I had placed this in the bathroom for ambiance ~ an old mini muffin tin filled with tea lights, dried lavender and perfume bottles with ivy in them. I propped this up on a wire basket that I usually use to collect dirty clothes.


In the room where we were watching the movie, I created this centerpiece from a hydrangea bloom that was lingering on the plant. I cut off just the individual flowers and floated them in water (idea from Country Home last year) and put a votive in a flower pot in the middle. I put all of this on a cake plate to give it height.

I had put a special sticker on the back of one "picnic" tag which was for the door prize - it was on a box that I delivered to someone who wasn't able to attend. So, I took her the prize too! She won a plate chalkboard that I had used in the welcome on the porch. I got the plate for 0.50 at a yard sale and painted it with chalkboard paint!

Now, as a way of extending this fun to all of you - I have another chalkboard plate to give away! If you'd like to be entered in the drawing, please leave a comment and I'll announce the winner in a couple of days!
Here are the recipes for all of the above goodies:

Lapsang Poached Chicken Salad (from the Tea Room), with my modifications
2 Tbsp. lapsang tea leaves
1/2 c. soy sauce
4 chicken breasts
1 apple, diced small
salt, pepper and garlic to taste
1 c. mayonnaise

Place chicken breasts in a 3 quart pot and cover with cold water. Add tea leaves and soy sauce. Poach chicken for 30 minutes. When chicken is cooled, chop and add to diced apple and spices. Add mayonnaise and refrigerate to blend flavors.

Cheddar and Chive Scones (from Real Simple)
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 T. sugar
1 T. baking powder
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1 stick unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/4 inch dice
2/3 c. heavy cream, plus 1 T. for brushing
1 c. grated Cheddar cheese
1 T. finely chopped fresh chives (I used rosemary from my yard instead)

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in 2/3 c. cream. Add the Cheddar and chives and use your hands to combine. Knead dough until it comes together. Pat into a 1-inch thick disk. Transfer to a baking sheet. Slice into 8 wedges and brush with remaining cream. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden.

Apple Chips (from Country Living, September 2007)
2 T. lemon juice
1 sweet, crisp apple
2 tsp. powdered sugar

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Fill a bowl with ice water and lemon juice. Slice the apple very thin and let soak in water for five minutes. Place apple slices on parchment lined sheet and sprinkle with sugar. Bake until crisp and dry - about 90 minutes. Cool and serve. (It took mine more than double this time to be dry!)

Sugar Cookie Cups with Strawberry Clotted Cream (from Southern Lady, July/August 2007)
1 package refrigerated sugar cookie dough (I used homemade)
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. sour cream
2 T. strawberry extract (I substituted 2 Tbsp. cocoa and 1/2 T. sugar)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 c. heavy cream
3/4 c. powdered sugar

Roll cookie dough into balls and press into bottom and sides of two (12 cup) mini muffin tins. Bake for 12 minutes at 350. Remove from oven and mold cookies to form cups.

Combine cream cheese, sour cream, and extracts. Beat with mixer on medium speed.

Beat cream until soft peaks form. Add sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold whipped cream mixture into cream cheese mixture. Cover and chill.

Spoon or pipe cream into cookie cups. Garnish with fresh strawberries, pink sugar, and mint, if desired.

76 comments:

Chrisi said...

WOW! What a fun evening!!!! You are so amazingly creative and frugally creative too.

Jthemilker said...

Again I am in awe of your creativity! The chalkboard plate is a fantabulous idea! I want one!!!!

Mrs. C said...

What a delightful way to spend an evening with friends!

Tracy said...

What a lovely evening you put together for your friends! I'm sure that they were thrilled. I would be! Please enter me in your drawing.

AmyG said...

Oh what a beautiful post! I would love that chalkboard....wow you are amazing...how do you think up this stuff?

Anonymous said...

How lovely -- I wish I could have been there! Everything looks beautiful -- I hope your guests enjoyed the evening as much as you enjoyed preparing for it. The chalkboard plate turned out awesome, the centerpiece was beautiful, and the picnic holders are darling. :)

Here's to kindred spirits!
Love you, Mom

MyHeartIsAlwaysHome said...

I love how your ideas are always simple and creative! I am sure a delightful time was had by everyone.

Angela said...

What a delightful evening. I love
all three of the "Green Gable" movies.
You are so cool! I wished I lived close to you & was your friend, so I could do this stuff with you too.

craftymama said...

How fun! I LOVE Anne of Green Gables. My daughter's middle name is Anne (with an "e") just because of that movie! :)

Julian said...

wow ! You are absolutely the MOST creative person I have ever met!
I would love to live near you and enjoy stuff like this!
I love Anne series! I got my 9 year old daughter hooked last weekend. Im going to surprise her with something like this. THANKYOU for the neat ideas! Please put my name in the drawing!
Christina

Lines From The Vine said...

I love the chalkboard plate! What a great idea!! I would love to be entered in your drawing!

Thank you for so many great ideas.....

Tracy

dayspringdawning@yahoo.com said...

What a neat idea! Please enter me in your drawing. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Wow! Again, wishing I was your neighbor! What a lovely evening you had!

Please sign me up for the CHALKBOARD PLATE.

ANDREA L.

carrie said...

Monica,

You are just constantly outdoing yourself! I am in AWE of your creative, homey ideas. I am totally going to borrow the muffin tin idea, especially since you know I have a ton of that dried lavendar!

love you--

Meredith said...

Another wonderful post, Monica--you always offer not just one grand idea, but an entire buffet of them.

I want to share your link on Merchant Ships this morning.

Rachel said...

What a fun evening and so creative! The chaulkboard plate is lovely!

Dawn said...

My goodness, what a fun idea. When can I come to your house? :-) I love all the ideas, especially the chalkboard plate, I would have never thought of that.

Thanks for the wonderful ideas.

Mrs. Hurzeler said...

What a wonderful idea! Make sure to enjoy Road To Avonlea the Canadian TV Series as well. It is based off of "The Story Girl" by Lucy Maud Montgomery but there are alot of changes Kevin Sullivan made. But trust me once you figure out who is who and what there relationship is to one another it is such a great series.

Gwen said...

I have to tell you, I'm a long time lurker and first time poster. Your site has been such an inspiration to me in getting my house back on track. One day, I aspire to the household you apparently maintain. :)

Teri said...

What a wonderful evening!
I must start collecting Sonic drink caddies!

Rebecca said...

Monica,
What a great evening! I'm sure your friends were so blessed. It makes me wish we were living closer...but I am so thankful I get to hear about it in such sweet detail.
Love,
Rebecca

Anonymous said...

WoW...sounds like a FUN evening!! Please enter my name for the lovely plate!!
Tamara/North Carolina

J said...

Wow! What creativity and talent!!

Lisa said...

Oh my gosh, what a fun evening you planned! I'm a big fan of Avalon and would have died to be invited to such a fun theme night...and as always, amazingly cute ideas!!! Might just have to borrow a few :)

Elizabeth said...

I found this post through Like Merchant Ships, and wow, it sounds wonderful! :)I was thinking of trying those apple chips myself, I think I will now...

Amy said...

I am in complete awe of you! You are just amazing! Thank you for all of these wonderful ideas! I am going to add this to my notebook entry tomorrow (you are making a regular appearance on there with all your great ideas!)

I also want to thank you for the adorable stamp set and the sweet note you sent in your last drawing. That meant so much to me and it was so nice to get a special treat like that! You are a wonderful friend!

A Dusty Frame said...

What a great idea:)

You can enter me in your giveaway;)
Lizzie

nannykim said...

Well I am amazed at how many of us love Anne of Avonlee--guess we all have kindred hearts. Great ideas! Thanks.

Heather said...

So beautiful!!! And creative :)

I would love a chalkboard plate if I could be entered.

Keep up the beautiful work.
Heather@pagesbyheather.com

Mrs. Pear said...

What a wonderful evening!

I miss hearing of Avonlea! I grew up in Canada with Anne of Green Gables and Road to Avonlea so I LOVE it so much!

The idea of a chalkboard plate gives me tons of ideas! Thank you for this wonderful contest!

kimi said...

is the house next to you for sale? I'm thinking Seattle isn't nearly as wonderful as being your neighbor would be! WOW! I cannot believe you did all of these wonderful things for your friends! God sure gave you the gift of encouragement and hospitality!

Christine said...

It looks like your guests were very blessed! You have such a creative flair. Blessings!

Lynn Marie said...

Boy do I wish that I lived near you - you have such wonderful ideas to make any day special. Thanks so much for the look into your life. I would love to win the chalkboard plate - it would remind me of you always. Thanks

Anonymous said...

Please enter me into the drawing for that darling plate! Donnamaria

Missy said...

What a lovely evening! Please enter me in your drawing!

Carrie said...

Well what an awesome idea! Thanks for sharing that. I've been wanting to do something special for my girlfriends, you've inspired me now!
Hope you're having a good week!
God bless :)

wyndesnow said...

What a wonderful evening you planned for the ladies this weekend. I love the ideas that you offer and am putting some to use around my own home. I do hope that everyone enjoyed the evening and that you had a wonderful time.

Wendy

Anonymous said...

WOW!!! What a delightful time you had. Please enter me.
Lynn

Anonymous said...

here is my e-mail (sorry)
keithlynn6@msn.com

Lynn

Jenny said...

What a great idea for a night in! You did an amazing job. :)
Please enter me in your draw too.

Elizabeth said...

Oh my word - I so want to live by you and be your friend! :) Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful ideas. Perhaps a girls night of my own is in order!

Anonymous said...

I am a new reader. I can't even remember how I found your blog but I am enjoying it very much. Thanks for taking the time to share with us how you put together such a lovely event for your special friends. I am thinking it would be such a fun thing to do, although am due for our 11th baby in October and don't know if I am ready to jump in yet. I should just let my 13 yo daughter put together something like that. Thanks for the inspiration. I am printing it out and we'll see what comes of it.

Cindy

Anonymous said...

What a sweet thing to do for your friends! Everything looked so lovely and feminine-special. I am a new reader ,I would also like to enter to win your creative idea of a plate!tammy at teapitts@bellsouth.net Thanks!

Randy & Eunice said...

i can lack creativity, but your evening looks lovely!!! please enter me in the drawing for the beautiful plate. thanks!

eunice
rsmile2u@dejazzd.com

Linda said...

What a fun evening you all must have had. I love it!!! The plate is so cute. Please enter me.

2boysmama said...

You are so ambitious! Very jealous that I don't live near you! =)

Love to be entered in your drawing!

thanks!

Angela said...

Looks like a ton of fun. Please enter me as well.

Anonymous said...

WOW! You are SO creative! May I use all of these ideas? Just lovely. I am sure your friends felt very loved, Please enter me in the drawing. dee

Tara said...

what a great idea!

Shan said...

You are the most creative person!! I am going to have my own little party with my daughter, who is away at college,when she comes for a visit!! We love anything Anne!! How funny that you were showing a craft with chalkboard paint, as I just came across a can of it when we cleaned out our garage. I wasn't sure what to do with it - and here was your idea, how wonderful! I will be making some chalkboard plates for gifts. Of course, I would be thrilled if you would enter me in your drawing.

Yours in kindred spirit,
Shan

Carmen said...

Wow! What fun! I love the chalkboard plate, too! Ooohh...I hope I win!

Hugs,
Carmen

Jammy said...

Beautiful!! What a lovely evening for you and your friends. You never cease to amaze me, and thank you so much for sharing your wonderful ideas!!!

please enter me in your drawing. What a beautiful plate!!

Jenn :)

Stacey said...

You are seriously the most creative and thoughtful little mama I have ever met!!
You are constantly inspiring me to live more richly!

Renee said...

What a fun idea!

~velia said...

Wow! - You are totally inspiring me!

Anonymous said...

Monica, you rock the creativity department!! That looks like such fun-I will have to borrow your idea. I would love to win your cute little plate!
Elise
athomeelise at yahoo dot com

randi---i have to say said...

Wow! This is a great idea! Your evening must have been wonderful!

Dancin Queen said...

That looks like a perfect girly night out. Thanks for sharing your ideas.

Dana said...

The plate is an excellent idea! Have you ever heard of chalkcloth? I thought you'd made it out of that so I had to check it out! The plate is such a cute favor. Everyone is going to want one of these! Wouldn't they make great Chrismas gifts too?!?

Dana

martha said...

I just found your blog today. Where have I been???I feel like I have found a new friend - what a great way to start my day. Just love the dish/board, would put it in a place of honor...

Dee (www.Xanga.com/GraceatHome) said...

I love parties like this! Thanks for the ideas. I'm wondering where in SC you live. I live in Mt. Pleasant. :)

nell said...

Would love to be in on your drawing. I love the chalkboard plate idea. You really inspire me.

Jamee said...

I just discovered your website a few days ago. I love it! You are so super creative. Thanks for sharing your talents with all of us. I'm thinking of doing the chalkbord theme for my daughter's 5th birthday party. such a cute idea!!

Mrs. Bonnie said...

I don't know if I'm to late for this or not, but I would love to have my name entered.
I just found your blog this morning,( I don't remember how- it was about 5:30!)and I love it! I've already have been nosing around your archives, and am excited for a quiet morning to poke some more.
If I am to late, no big deal, just thought a I'd give it a go!

joy in small packages said...

Monica, Homespun Heart is simply the best!! :-) It is at the tippy top of the list of blogs I visit. I love your ideas, as well as your gentle spirit. Remember your snowman party ideas from last year? I have those in the works right now for a Bday party for my little girl in winter. (getting a head start because we are expecting also- soon!) So THANK YOU for always sharing! I would love to be entered in the drawing for the plate. Your evening in Avonlea sounds delightful... Thank you!

Angela buttercup :) said...

Oh, I adore this! Your Avonlea girl's night was such a sweet idea! You watched my favorite move. :)

I would put this plate in our bedroom to leave love notes to my husband. (Easier to clean than the mirror and shower walls too). ;)

my email: mybuttercup "at" cavtel "dot" net

(I wrote the @ and . to prevent spambots from emailing me). :)

Mama Squirrel said...

This is so lovely--I've linked.

Mrs. Pivec said...

Is it too late to enter? I just found your blog through Like Merchant Ships and read this post. It sounds like such a wonderful evening you put together for your friends!

Julie D. said...

Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.

Julie D.

Melissa said...

what great ideas!!! love them! definitely am loving that chalkboard plate and would looove to have one! if i don't win one, did you make the chalkboard part? love those ideas!

Katie said...

You are so very creative! I love all the inspirational posts!! Keep them coming!! :-) Blessings to you and yours today.

HopewellMomSchool said...

How lovely! I wish I lived close enough to my literature-loving friends [or that my daughter was just a tad older]

What a super idea!

Jane said...

What a nice post. Sounds like you had as much fun creating a nice eveing as enjoying it too!

Thanks for sharing!

Jane

Laura said...

Aren't Girl's Nights Out the best fun??!! What a fantastic idea! I am tucking this one away for use later...And I am thankful to Like Merchant Ships for directing me here! What a great find! :)
Can't wait to hear if I win the plate !! ;)

Natalie (Nyquist) Klein said...

don't remember how I stumbled across this post but i love the idea and plan on doing it for some girlfriends next month. You are very inspiring!!!

Terri said...

I just love the little movie party you had for your friends. The picnic boxes were so creative and I must make the cookie cups with clotted cream. Thanks for sharing all of your recipes. happy holidays, Terri