Monday, November 28, 2011

Coconut Cream Pie: A Southern Favorite

Everyone has something that makes it a special holiday for them. For my daughter it simply isn't Thanksgiving without my home made coconut cream pie. While it didn't get served at dinner she did get it later. It made her VERY happy. Her new husband is my newest fan. Well, the pie's newest fan anyway.

I've had a couple of mishaps with this pie. Once I made it to take to a party and it never set up at all and I ended up telling everyone it was my famous coconut cream pudding recipe. You know, in a pie crust. Once I was trying to make it with a house full of company and due to my inability to multi-task (which literally means that NO I cannot listen to your story and cook) I ruined it, cursed it, and threw it in the sink. Remember that scene in Julie and Julia when she has a meltdown in the kitchen floor? Of course in the middle of mine no reporter called and wanted to interview me about my cooking skills.

Watch your temper!
This year, you will be glad to know, went much better. I made a couple of changes that pushed it over the top from good to...well...I mean if I do say so myself...


I'm trying to be humble. This isn't the pie to do that with.

The new secret ingredient? Coconut milk. It has 50% more calcium than milk so I felt almost healthy while I was eating it.


I also used only half the egg yolks called for, doubled the  butter, and added vanilla to the whipped cream for the top. Here  is the recipe:

1/2 C sugar
4 TB corn starch
1/4 ts. salt
2 1/2 cups scalded COCONUT milk.
2 egg yolks
1 ts. vanilla
1 1/2 C flaked coconut

For the whipped cream:
1 1/2 C heavy cream
2 ts confectioners sugar
1ts vanilla

In the top of a double boiler mix: sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Stir in scalded milk and mix until smooth. Cook over med. heat until mixture thickens. Beat egg yolks and add 4 TB of hot mixture to yolks. (Tempering) Whisk until blended. Add egg mixture to milk mixture. Cook and stir over hot water till smooth and thick. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, coconut, and butter. Pour into a pie crust and chill.

Whip cream with sugar and vanilla and smooth on top of pie

Top with toasted coconut.

Chill. You and the pie. You deserve it.

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Little Thanksgiving Green

My effort to "green up" this holiday was met with a couple of views and guess what? There's a generation gap. I could have completely done away with dressing and no one under 70 would care. The lighter, healthier fare was a hit. Pharmaceutical companies should be worried if my table occupants are any indication. Now let me make it clear I've been doing this slowly over several years. You can't jump right from everyone's traditional favorites to a table featuring bowls full of the color green. Change one thing each year or just add a salad to the table. This year I only made enough dressing to prevent a mutiny (But I mean, honestly...where are they going to go?), I added a warm spinach salad with walnuts and dried cherries, green beans with mushrooms and pearl onions instead of the iconic casserole, multi-grain rolls instead of white. My sweet daughter arrived with a delicious cucumber salad.

"Hey I contributed to your green theme and I didn't even know that's what you were doing!"

I kept the  theme going on the table with a centerpiece of recycled wine, beer, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar bottles. I went over this with you in Recycling Glass: Bottler Cutting 101, remember? So after slaving away in the kitchen all day Wednesday I was cutting glass at 8:00 at night. It's hit or miss so you go through a lot of bottles, but they are just going to get thrown out anyway. If you aren't a drinker anyone who works at a restaurant can hook you up with all you want. I'll get back to this project in a couple of days. Let's talk food!

Turkey: After years of making silly foil tents and opening the oven every hour to baste and then ending up with a dry bird about half the time, I was ready to be converted. A friend shared her recipe with me and last year I stuffed the turkey with apples, onion, celery, rosemary, and thyme like I always do, and poured a cup of good red wine over it with salt and pepper. I wrapped it in heavy duty aluminum foil (make sure there are NO holes or gaps) and cooked it at 500* for 2 hours then turned it down to 200* until I was ready to take it out to put in the side items. This gives it time to REST which is a MUST if you want juicy and delicious. If you want to go all Griswold and have a dusty dry carcass explode when you carve it then by all means cut it right away.

They are going to call you The Turkey Whisperer.

A fun way to serve sweet potatoes, make a sweet potato bar!

The toppings on the sweet potato bar included: raisins, butter, a vanilla/cinnamon seasoning, graham cracker crumbs, coconut, and of course, MARSHMALLOWS.

After dinner included throwing the football around outside and getting some fresh air. And watching Mr. Snarky hurdle the neighbor's chain link fence. It was probably the most entertaining thing of all.

Happy leftover eating, shopping, and decorating! Don't forget tomorrow is SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY.  Shop and eat locally; Best Buy, Walmart, and Target along with McDonalds, Taco Bell and Burger King are doing just fine.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Countdown to Thankfulness

Here we are. A couple of days to go to the biggest day of the year for cooks. If you've been keeping up with The Food Maven you know that this is her FAVORITE holiday. Check out her blog for all the cooking tips and witty remarks about the day. This isn't a holiday that my family expects to be creative. What they (and by this I mean my kids) want is to have and do exactly the same thing we had and did last year, and the year before...and the year before that...

Here's how it went down last year: Thanksgiving Epilogue

Can you keep a secret? Slowly over time I'm working on changing our menu from the heavy old fashioned version to a lighter, healthier one. The turkey is a good start, it's those fat laden side items that weigh us down. Last year I introduced a butternut squash soup to the menu. It was delicious and fun, since I served it in a pumpkin, but no one could wrap their brains around soup as part of the meal. I'll skip that this time which will also mean that I can get away with a whole set of bowls not having to be washed (by hand) at the end of the day. I added salad and it wasn't rejected entirely. This year's variations include a lighter version of green beans, sweet potatoes as a healthier option than white and a warm spinach salad with cranberries and walnuts. Recipes are forthcoming, but I'm a little busy at the moment!

Does your family drink tea, sweet or not, with your meal? Every time I make tea I throw in a couple of green tea bags. They are getting those antioxidents painlessly. They'll never know unless you tell them. 

I never buy anything for the table but instead as with most of my decorating I just use what I have. This year everything I'm using is recycled and getting a second use. The table cloth is a roll of upholstery fabric a friend had left over, wine and beer bottles I've used to practice glass cutting will be used in a center piece and remember all those candles from my daughter's wedding? You'll be seeing those again.

Now let's get cooking!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Here's the Deal on Black Friday

Let's mark something off our to do list.                     

Save the economy. 

There. Doesn't that feel better?  My Sunday paper was packed with ads. My neighbor has up Christmas lights. News reports are filled with stories of consumer spending and frankly some of them make it sound as if dragging us out of a sluggish economy is dependent on whether or not we flit from store to store the day after Thanksgiving lining up for whatever deals corporate America sways us with.


Now don't get me wrong. I like pretty clothes, and a beautiful home as much as the next girl, but I had hoped that the absolute economic terror of 2008 would have changed us more than this. Does the person you are shopping for really need the thing you are buying?  How many of us really NEED anything at this point?

And what about that little thing we do, ladies? One for you one for me...

What does it say about our culture that every year we hear reports of fights breaking out over someone who cut in line, or people being injured in the rush to get--what?--more stuff. So with our stomachs full (something ALONE much of the world envies) we are willing hurt each other over cheap electronics and plastic toys.  This isn't a day that brings out the best in us.

I know this from experience. 

Several years ago my daughter and I were caught up in the madness of lots of really good deals. This was pre-recession and we were up early standing out in the cold in a long line. The store had gold bracelets for a ridiculously low price and I wanted to get one for my niece. At last the doors opened and we were whisked along a river of humanity to the jewelry counter. I heard the woman in front of me say "Can I get two?"

Now up until this moment I did not want this bracelet. I don't even like gold.  But when the sales girl handed over TWO of the coveted items, something greedy in me took over. Do you know that feeling? The one where you are out of control and don't even resemble the person you want to be? I was next.

"Can I get two?"

She handed them over.

The LAST two. An older African American woman behind me approached the counter to be told that they were out. She politely turned to me and asked if she could look at mine to see what they looked like. That's when I missed my chance to do the right thing. Do you know THAT feeling? The one where you could have made things right, but didn't?

My daughter and I shopped for several people on our list, but in the next few minutes that piece of jewelry became an unbearable weight in my hand and I went in search of the woman who should have gotten it. She had obviously left the store. Even after checking out I looked for her in the parking lot. At this point I was going to give her the bracelet I had now paid for, as a gift. She was gone.

Can you guess what happened to the bracelets? My niece got hers and I hope she liked it. Mine? I could never wear it. It's been in a drawer for ten years. Every once in a while I come across it while looking for something and remember the disappointment on that woman's face. Something I could have so easily prevented, or reversed.

It's far too easy to let advertising, our out of control (I mean, really? Still?) consumer habits, and the hype of the Super Bowl of shopping get the better of us. So while plotting your Black Friday attack strategy, which is likely to include defending your space in line, elbow and all, take a moment to remember what's important and who you are. They aren't selling integrity as a door buster and if you aren't careful you may lose yours, if only for a moment.

That's too long. Trust me.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Soup: A Defensive Option

It's that time of year again. Out come the sweaters, hand sanitizer, and tissues. It's soup season. Here's a recipe from the archives that is always a hit and is great for your family to help fight off all those nasty colds that are likely to come their way. The stress of the holidays coupled with exams on the horizon are an immune system double whammy. At my house, soup is another line of defense.  There is something therapeutic mentally and physically about holding a hot bowl of steamy goodness. 

Here is the basic recipe for one of my faves from my local paper. Date: Valentine's Day 2001

You can see how much mileage this recipe has gotten.

Yes, that's right. I'm too lazy to rewrite this recipe for you.

Sometimes I replace the diced tomatoes with fire roasted ones which gives it a completely different flavor. 

Now I know what you are thinking (that you aren't married to Popeye and your kids are not going to eat this) but make them try it once. After that I'm going to offer you a solution. 'Cause I'm all helpful like that.

The recipe calls for portobello  mushroom stuffed tortellini but I've used a variety including chicken and prosciutto or cheese, which these are. 

 Tortellini happily swimming in chicken stock (I made my own) and the other ingredients. And your grandmother was right, by the way, home made chicken stock is better for you than anything you can get from a can. Read more about the health benefits of chicken stock here.

Forget Nazi, people are going to think you are a soup goddess.

          Ladling it up!  Tell me this doesn't look delicious...

                                 You know it does.

So you tried it the first time according to the recipe and your crew nearly mutinied. I'd say make'em walk the plank but you could just leave the spinach out. YOU can still have  it with the spinach. I add the green stuff to mine after I put in the bowl and top with parmesan cheese.

 This is another soup perfect for taking care of a family that may be feeling a bit under the weather. The chicken stock, garlic, egg, and spinach are bound to cure whatever ails you and the tortellini will make even soup hating men believe that yes, Virginia...soup is a meal!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Eating and Shopping in New Orleans

My suitcase is still in charge of storytelling.

When you visit a city frequently you can fall into a rut of eating at the same places. Often you want to make sure that anyone traveling with you has a great experience and as a seasoned traveler acting as a guide you want to avoid disappointing them. On Madame Owner's recent trip to New Orleans something new was discovered. MO's new son-in-law was keen to have a delicious brunch someplace in The Quarter before starting out for the drive home. It isn't hard to find a great restaurant offering up delicious fare including everything from bananas foster to eggs benedict on a lazy Sunday morning. Goldilocks would have been proud as they roamed from place to place.

"This one's TOO expensive."

"This one's TOO crowded."

Then in the shadow of the Louisiana Supreme Court they happened upon a little place with outdoor seating in the alley and an interesting menu.

"This one's JUST right."

The Somethin' Else Cafe is located at 620 Conti and the has outdoor seating in the adjacent alley. The weather was just warm enough to sit there and discuss which palm tree on the grounds of the courthouse is most iconic.  Madame had been hoping for endless mimosas as part of the brunch scenario but wasn't disappointed at all with her second choice, a bloody mary. The vegetable garnishes were arranged in a clever fleur di lis. The service was a bit slow, which isn't a big deal if you are lounging around hoping to soak up a few extra moments of Cajun ambiance before leaving town. The waitress was friendly however, and the menu was worth studying in depth. MO's daughter and her new husband ordered the Somethin' Else French Toast and MO and Mr. MO ordered the Crab Cake NOLA. This restaurant gets points for creativity and new twists on old standards.

The French toast actually tasted like a banana bread and looked like muffins. It was topped with a praline sauce, and was amazing. The "crab cakes" were scoops of lump crab meat seasoned to perfection and grilled between a biscuit, then topped with a fried egg and surrounded by a warm creamy sauce. MO ordered the egg on top of hers scrambled instead. All the food was uniquely delicious.  It's a bit pricey and they would have liked to have seen the waitress more often, but the food was worth the wait. The  consensus  was that the mary was the best one ever. Every item gets this writer's praise for original and fun presentation!

While researching this post I ran across several reviews of this restaurant and they are extreme on both ends. Lots of folks raved about it and just as many seemed to have had a really bad experience. I will admit that the food is s-l-o-w to arrive but I am easily swayed to love something that was better than I had hoped for, which it absolutely was.

Last weekend Madame Owner, her husband, daughter, and new son-in-law headed to New Orleans for the wedding of a cousin. MO's family has been to NOLA a lot over the years but this was the first time they hadn't taken the train.

A highway is less interesting than a train track running through the old parts of quaint, small southern towns. It is in this case, however, quicker. On this trip time was of the essence.

Dinner at Acme Oyster House always means standing in a line out front.  Might as well take some pictures while you're there, right?

MO and her daughter ordered something called an Alligator Martini. It was awful. At least MO thought so. It was green and had a strange flavor.

MO checked the list of ingredients.

Sierra Mist.

That explains it.

"Excuse me, Ma'am, can I get some water?"

It was pretty chilly but that didn't stop mother and daughter from window shopping after dinner.

"Ooooh, look at that dress."

"What street are we on?"

"We have to come back here tomorrow.

"Think we can find it? Wait. Where are we?"

This is what the men hear, but what MO and her daughter know is that their style homing instinct will lead them right where they want to go.

They still won't know what street they are on.

Except for Jackie's

This is one store that is a MUST whenever they are in town. Jackie's on Jackson Square, located a few steps from Cafe Du Mond on St. Anne Street, it is a trendy boutique full of chic and unusual items.  Some of MO's daughter's favorite pieces of clothing EVER have come from this shop.They always have a wide assortment of new and quirky pieces of clothing and accessories. MO needed a new purse and finally settled on a brown number, with gold details. Her daughter tried on several dresses but ended up with the two that were on display in the window.

Here she is wearing one of them at the wedding they attended. The ribbon is actually one she took out of her Converse tennis shoe to make an impromptu belt.

Style not only means taste, but the ability to be creative in a pinch. The dress itself has no waistline, and has layers of pretty eyelet detail in the back. The bright tomato red is a stunner.

The Quarter is full of shops running the gamut from high end, to trendy and inexpensive. You can find something that you will bring home and actually wear, unlike the naughty t-shirt that you thought was clever after your second hurricane. Trust me. Buy yourself something nice instead. You'll be glad you did.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Why Would Anyone Want to Be a Parent? The Next Generation

I wrote this original post 6 years ago, y'all! This is still one of my favorite pictures of us ever. I kind of feel like it sums up the universal mother/daughter relationship. Plus it makes me laugh because it looks like I'm in charge which I assure you I was not on that day.

Fast forward to today. There's a house and a new baby and the job that is a perfect fit for her life. And let's not forget her charming and fantastic husband who is everything I hoped he'd be when I stood there with my hands on my hips though I'm pretty sure what I was saying here was "Why didn't you eat breakfast? Of course you feel sick!"

What is it with this pose and the women in our family? 

Okay, let's talk parenting. 

You pee on a stick and it turns blue. Wow. What a less than grand beginning for a relationship that is going to be magical, messy, and maddening.  Today my daughter turns 26  32 and I'm trying to imagine what it is that makes people want to have children.

 Really. Think about it. It's going to tie you down, cost you a small fortune, and drive you crazy. You'll spend sleepless nights imaging the worst scenarios possible when they are late. (We always went with  "dead in a ditch") You will spend hours awake in the dark, first listening for them to cry, and later for the key in the lock and a sneaky foot on a squeaky step. When they've wrought all this damage, they leave. And this is AFTER you've risked your life for them.

Not in labor. I mean teaching them to drive.

So what makes us do it?

I know what makes the unplanned ones, silly. I mean the on purpose ones.

There is something built in that makes us want to care for and nurture our offspring. There is also something a bit selfish going on as Shelby tells us in Steel Magnolias (the font of wisdom--right after the Bible-- for all Southern women) when she announces her pregnancy to her mother:

"And when it's all said and done there will be a little piece of immortality with Jackson's good looks and my sense of style, I hope."

I think she hits it on the head at the end:


We hope the world will somehow hold itself together at least long enough for our children to grow up. We hope they'll be part of the solutions and not the problems. We hope they'll be better than us. We hope they'll be braver, more confident, smarter, and not make all the mistakes we made. We hope that they won't sit silently by while injustice rules the day. We hope they'll stand up for what's right.

I think something in us hopes they will change the world. 

Happy Birthday, Baby! You make the world a little better place every day.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Teacher of a Lifetime Award

The Grande Dame and Clark Gable as Caesar.
In the midst of her teaching, an announcement would come on and she would haul back with the drama of any major league pitcher, aim carefully, and hurl her eraser at the intercom. That felt covered box always had random chalk outlines that showed how often she hit her target. Then she would rant; about being interrupted while trying to teach us, the bureaucracy that education had become, and how precious her time with us was.

My high school Latin teacher, Ms. Aste was in a class by herself. She loved teaching, she loved the subject matter, she loved exposing us to new ideas, and many of us suspected (though we wouldn't have voiced it at the time) that she loved us.  We knew this you see, because she respected us and while she hoped to impart Latin vocabulary and grammar to us (a nearly hopeless endeavor, in my case) her main goal was to teach us to think for ourselves.

When irritated by all the things that kept her from teaching the way she wanted, that she found idiotic, or pointless she would sigh and say, "Some day I'm going to start a school..."

I would have loved to have seen that school.

She assumed the best of us, and that little eraser number was a brilliant way of demonstrating that if there was a struggle in the classroom, an "us against them" it was never going to be her against us or vice versa but all of us against a time wasting, thought stifling system and administration that was going to keep her from teaching and us from learning. 


In the spring of Senior year, having made it through 3 years with her and twice a day as a junior when I had her for Latin and then Etymology/Mythology, the last 6 weeks she taught us Greek. She framed it as a reward...a subversive one. The text you see, was the Greek New Testament. The day she handed them out she have strict instructions.

"Now y'all can't go out of this room and blab what we are doing in here. Some idiot (we assumed, of course, that she meant a parent) will complain and ruin it for us."

No one ever did. We kept the secret and only now in retrospect do I realize what a brilliant way of handling teenagers that was. Suddenly we craved Greek!  A masterful stroke.

She wanted us to ask questions, of everyone including her if we thought she was wrong. One day while she was dealing with some bureaucratic nonsense that had her frustrated  she looked up and asked a question.

Now, we all heard "How many of y'all are Jews? Raise your hand"

We looked around bewildered. There was a long pause...finally a hand went up. She looked at him, a bit confused.

"You aren't a junior!"

"Oh, I though you said Jews."

A strange look came across her face. 

She threw her reading glasses on the desk.

"And why, may I ask, if that is what you thought I wanted to know, did you not ask me WHY I would be asking such a thing?"

She scanned the room looking at the rest of us.

"And what about y'all?" She was clearly angry.

"You were all just going to sit there and let me ask something like that without questioning me as to why the hell anyone would want to know that? THINK! Haven't I taught you anything?"

We got quite the lecture about questioning everything and everyone and not acquiescing so easily to authority.

Beyond the subjects that our report cards indicated we were taking from her, she was teaching about ancient history, classic movies, classic literature, plays, local history and regaling us with stories from her childhood and of her travels. If someone made a joke about opera, she was bringing her albums and making us listen to them. She arranged for us to usher at the local theatre so we could be exposed to live stage productions. So the first time I went to Rome a couple of years ago, I thought of her often and resolved to go and see her. I contacted some other former students who I thought would be interested but our hectic modern lives intervened and we failed to follow through.

So this past spring when I returned to Italy and stood on the streets of Pompeii I knew when I returned home this time, making that visit would be at the top of my list. I wanted to say thank you and I was curious as to what she would think of the controversies in education swirling about these days. I thought I had a pretty good idea since she used to threaten to disown us as students if any of us ever became teachers. We didn't understand why she would say that and when we asked she would say something cryptic about it not being about teaching anymore. She saw, it seems to me now, the writing on the blackboard.

Which reminds me, I need to make a call...

Do you have a favorite teacher? Maybe more than one?

Friday, November 4, 2011

How To Read a Book

Every once in a while I come across something that I've missed somehow and wonder how I got along this far without it. Recently on The Professor and The Housewife's FB page a professor of communications wanted us to help him promote his idea of having the classic, How To Read a Book be required reading for all incoming freshmen. I scratched my head because I'd never heard of it, though I did recognize the cover so I must have seen it around. Our own professor and co-blogger sang the highest praises for this work as well, so off went my order to Amazon.

 After my first trip to Italy I read an article by Thomas Sowell in which he placed The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire at the top of a list of books that had profoundly influenced his thinking. After putting it off for years I picked up a copy and thus began my love affair with Edward Gibbon. I'm fairly sure he might have been my soul mate. Well, him or Thomas Jefferson. (Do men just become intensely interesting when they've been dead a couple of centuries? Or is it like the quote from Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society about men in real life never being as interesting as the men in books? Does that happen to real men when all that is left of them is books?)

Where was I?

Oh, yes...Gibbon's masterpiece was something I regretted not reading sooner. Which brings me back to this book.

I've just finished How To Read a Book  and can indeed recommend that it should be required reading for all incoming freshmen. It could also be used as a tool to weed out those who shouldn't really be in college, during the admissions process. To quote my son while he was complaining about some less than serious classmates who are annoying to him: "It's frustrating because the people who have no business being there haven't figured it out and quit yet. They are just there wasting everyone's time." (We do persist in this idea that everyone should go to college, don't we? But that's a topic for another day.)

Here is a sample of  chapter titles:
  • Determining An Author's Message
  • Criticizing a Book Fairly
  • Reading and the Growth of the Mind
 In Part Three the you will learn how to read different kinds of books. The authors include tips on getting the most out of practical books, imaginative literature, stories/plays/poems, history, math/science, philosophy, and social science. 

Here are some of  my favorite quotes from this valuable classic:

"The art of reading, in short, includes all of the same skills that are involved in the art of unaided discovery; keenness of observation, readily available memory, range of imagination, and, of course, an intellect trained in analysis and reflection." (p.14)

"Reading, like unaided discovery, is learning from an absent teacher." (p. 16)

"What is important is that there is an intellectual etiquette to be observed. Without it, conversation is bickering rather than profitable communication. We are assuming here, of course, that the conversation is about a serious matter on which men can agree or disagree. Then it becomes important that they conduct themselves well. Otherwise there is no profit in the enterprise. The profit in good conversation is something learned." (from Criticizing a Book Fairly, p. 138)

"Imaginative literature primarily pleases rather than teaches. It is much easier to be pleased than to be taught, but much harder to know why one is pleased. Beauty is harder to analyze than truth." (from How to Read Imaginative Literature. p. 204)

There are a couple of topics that are a bit dated, like How to Read an Encyclopedia. But other than that it is an absolute gem. You can't make the universities require it, but you can personally give it to your student. Here's the link.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Feathers in Her Hair and a Dress Cut Down to There...

I've heard from some of you that you wanted me to get on to the tutorial on the hair ornaments I made for my daughter's hair and my own for the wedding.

We were in a local bridal shop trying on dresses when she spied a comb with feathers that she fell in love with.

Price: $112.00


Doesn't $7.50 sound better? Yeah. I thought so too. That's what I ended up making our copy for.

The trick for getting the price that low is waiting until your local craft store has the items you need on sale. (Unless she's eloping you'll have plenty of time to wait out full price.) I hate full price.

I should say that I already had some thin jewelry wire, hot glue gun, and  the piece of vintage jewelry I used for mine.

I'm going to show you two versions. The one I made for her, and the one I wore.

Here's what you'll need.

  • comb/ hair clip
  • a piece of jewelry, rhinestones, or flowers, beads, etc. (make it your own!).
  •  jewelry wire/ wire cutters/ hot glue gun
  •  feathers

For the bride's version I attached the feathers to the comb by twisting the rhinestones (which were on wire) and wire into the top bar of the comb. I shaped the stones into a sort of wave. You could easily purchase an inexpensive glittery hair ornament from an accessory store like Charming Charlie's or Icing and just add the feathers. I added the "wave" I had made on top of the feathers, using wire to attach it. I pulled some of the stones up and away from the feathers for a slightly 3D effect. Then I trimmed the excess wire and quills, tweaked it a bit and Voila! A fairly close replica of the one the bride wanted.

So of course, given my penchant for feathers you had to know I was going to want one as well. The trick was to make it look very different that the bride's so I went with black over sized dramatic feathers and a piece of vintage jewelry, a clip on earring. Instead of a comb I used a hair clip.

My work in progress...
Wedding Central

I didn't want to break this vintage earring so I actually clipped it onto the hair clip and added glue to hold it in place. I glued the short feathers in place, then attached the more wild ones.

Me: Baby, do you think this is too dramatic?

Bride: You are the mother of the bride! If there's ever a time to be dramatic, this is it!

A bathroom, a bird in my hair. It seems very Hitchcock.
Okay, not like I needed a lot of convincing.

When I see this picture I wonder if I'm not channeling Tippi Hedren. I did get lots of compliments on it though, so I'm sure it won't be the last time I wear it.

Yeah, that's right. You can call me Lola...

Coming up soon: What to do with those leftover feathers.