Saturday, June 12, 2010

Graduation Gala

Sweetest Sophie, my dear friend Linda's daughter, graduates from High School this month . When in the world did she get this old? She has been part of my life since her birth and wasn't that just several years ago? Linda is my main support friend in the face of my most overwhelming tasks, and we (Sneelock and myself) could be no less to her as she faced the daunting task of preparing a party for the 100+ guests invited to honor Sophia at a backyard barbecue.

So, we packed the car with...

20 bags of Herr's ketchup flavored potato chips (a requested favorite from the graduate and not available in the Charlotte area). 10 were for the party guests and 10 were for a "Sophia stash"!

Two giant loaves of Susan's sheepherder's bread (archive back to find the recipe).

Fresh gerbera daises in hot pink and orange delivered from Susan's wholesale florist.

Along with these items were multiple boxes of glass straight-sided vases to use on the tables, (Good thing we were driving!) aprons, silver serving trays, samovar for our cucumber drink..the list goes on!

After arriving in Charlotte at about 2:30 a.m. , we got started bright and early the next morning to begin the baking marathon. Linda and I donned our aprons and knuckled down for a day of entertaining chatter , baking and kitchen prep for the next day's event.

First of the schedule was the making of two more of the giant loves of sheepherder's bread for the many guests expected. Each loaf will serve about 20-25! The loaf is impressive as a centerpiece as well. The first batch was rising by noon, and another shortly behind it.

Combined with the two I made ahead of time and brought from Philadelphia, we now had enough for the masses.

I think we must have used at least three giant bags of limes. On the menu was a lime based marinated chicken for grilling, my favorite "green-green salad" with a lime based dressing and an accompanying side salad of black bean, corn and tomato with avocado, also with a lime dressing! We gave Linda's citrus juicer a workout that sounded like she may need to invest in a new one!

While the bread was rising, cookies were being baked , and I whipped up two double batche of my mother's famous brownies (later to be frosted with chocolate butter cream frosting). We were "really cooking" I guess you could say.

We steamed large bundles of asparagus (seen here in an ice water bath) and put them aside to chill for the salad recipe.

Among the tasks for day 2 was shelling and cleaning lb after lb of fresh shrimp.

We set out the serving trays, utensils, table cloths...Linda made a large batch of dill potato salad, and we started praying for good weather. The forecast was for scattered thunder showers right about party time.Oh, dear.

I cut the long stemmed gerberas down to scatter in assorted vintage glasses that I had brought from home. Those colors are just happy!

Linda brought out a darling candle holder/vase that she had purchased years ago on one of our buying trips for Black-eyed Susan. I used hot pink roses along with several of the orange and pink gerberas. I mounded them low and tight to be used as a centerpiece on one of the serving tables. It's hard not to smile when you use these cuties!

We began the task of our "special recipe" for the color of the tinted water to be used in the vases for the tables. Food coloring is added to the water to tint it the desired color, and it takes a little finesse to get it just right! (It's a bit like a science experiment). A drop of green, a drop of yellow...more of this, less of that, a bit more water to dilute the color when needed, and so on. Finally, we arrived at the perfect hint of lime colored water to surround the inner vessels. My cute friend Jan brought fresh ferns from her yard and we picked bright colored green hosta leaves from Linda's yard to add to the water lined glass vases. I love using this glass/glass idea with candles. It's magical and you can choose your water color. Try it!

Of course, Sneelock didn't just come along for the ride! In between playing the ultimate Grandfather role to our darling granddaughters who live in the neighborhood, he found time to run multiple errands, do some pruning, and hang these tiny glass hurricanes from a large tree surrounding the tables. They were lit just before the guests came and added quite a magical glow to the party scene.

Linda stayed up the previous night till the wee hours of the morning going through years of school year photos with Sophia's friends. We printed them and put them on the tables slightly under the glass and candles for all to reminisce about. The small glasses with bright gerberas dotted the tables.

Paul (Linda's husband in blue) and Timm (my daughter's husband) manned the grills and started the chicken, shrimp and chili dogs. The rain was holding out.

A shot of the masses!

A few of Sophie's younger fans! ( My two grand daughters and Sebastian)

Early in the evening, Bella (granddaughter) had mishap with a soccer ball and was in distress. She reluctantly posed for her grandfather to take our photo.

The darling graduate and not so darling lifetime friend. (I agreed to use this only because it was so darn cute of Sophia!)

A photo of the darling mother and daughter team together! How could she have a daughter that age?

The guests lingered. The weather held out. The food fed the multitude. The candles died.

All in all, the event was a success and enjoyed by all.

Sophia has grown into a beautiful young woman of integrity and a joy to all who know her.

Congratulations, Sophia!

The next chapter of life begins.


emily said...

What a fun party! The prep work with that team sounds almost like more fun than the party itself. I hope I can meet Sophie when I go out to see Jessie in August!

Denise said...

Love the pink and orange prelude of wedding arrangements to come! It looks like a lot of tiring, hard work--but so much fun. You know what Mom always said about being able to do anything as long as you work on the Buddy System.

Charlotte said...

What a beautiful party! With the Susan and Linda team, it wouldn't have been any less. And like my mom, I'm loving the pink/orange teaser! Sophie sounds like a pretty great high school graduate—I hope her next chapter is a wonderful one!

michelle said...

Looks like quite a job for Team Susan/Linda! Pretty impressive. I admire the way you two support each other.

michelle said...

p.s. What's up with you having Twitter and Formspring on your sidebar? Stealthy updates, I see!

linda said...

It was a lot of work but I totally agree with your mom; you can do just about anything, with a friend! I so loved having your help and consider your friendship one of the true treasures in my life.

Jill said...

Goodness, what a beautiful spread and all-out celebration!

shannon said...

I'm so glad you documented this event!

The pink and orange flowers are simply gorgeous! They are so cheerful...

It's a good thing you've been resting up priar to this (ho ho ho) so you could help make this such a successful party...

You are the most energetic person I know! :)

Bond Girl 007 said...

Wow this looks like a lot of work but the turn out and the happy graduate speaks for it all.....what a fun thing to be soo close to a friend and to see the daughter grow up! Precious!