'Tis a gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place that's right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
- Simple Gifts, 19th Century Shaker Hymn by Elder Joseph Brackett
Thank you for your very nice notes asking where I have been. You are so thoughtful to write. The Jewel Box website and blog are my passion, but as often happens, life gets in the way. As some of you know, I have a full time job which has kept me unusually busy over the last few months. Also, my older son is applying to college and the sheer volume of paperwork has been staggering. Filling out the Financial Aid Form (FAFSA) should be listed as a method of torture by the CIA.
As for the website, I am planning to add more photos, create a seasonal newsletter, and have a feature where visitors can share their own stories about small home living. Everything should be up and running by early April, but don't be surprised if it slips to later in the month. Another 'cheese plate' crisis could halt my forward progress. Just the other day I was asked to run over to church and re-plate the cheese and deli tray, which had arrived on, God forbid, a plastic platter with saran-wrapped cheddar. Not to worry, after the substitution of a handled rattan tray and the addition of a few grapes and gourmet crackers, it was fit to grace the pages of Martha Stewart Living.
In the meantime, here are a few quick tips for springtime entertaining.
- Sofa Magic. Let children, pets and family sit or lay down only on one side of your sofa cushion or cushions. Don’t worry if drinks, food or dirty paws leave stains. When you have a party, just flip the cushion over to the ‘good’ side and your sofa will look like new.
- The Salad is in the Bag. When entertaining, assemble all your greens and salad fixings in a bowl. Mix the salad dressing, then combine the greens and dressing into a clean white kitchen garbage bag. Twist the top of the bag closed then shake the bag gently a few times. Pour all the salad contents from the bag into your serving bowl and wipe away any spills. The greens will be perfectly coated with dressing and ready to serve.
- Flowers and Fruit - The Perfect Pairing. Add fruit to your flower arrangements. Apples, lemons, limes and oranges are not only perfect for anchoring flowers in a vase or bowl, but also look beautiful.