Sunday, July 6, 2014

Midsummer Flower Fairies

Hello, Viewers!

The Fairy Guild has had an unexpected development recently. Due to Life, Circumstances, Marriage, etc., we recently found ourselves in the position that we needed to recruit a few more fairies for our charmed circle. Two were proposed, sponsored, and duly elected, one from the younger generation, and one from the even younger. Now, if everything continues to go according to plan, our group consists of eight Fairies, four from each generation.

Even though we had a Spring Convocation quite recently, the urgency of initiating the new Fairies necessitated a Summer Convocation as well. Normally, due to an electric insufficiency in my Fairy Palace, with ensuing lack of proper air conditioning, I don't do any entertaining at all during the summer months, but this particular week my downstairs neighbor had gone off to the country, graciously granting me the use of her - superbly air-conditioned! - living room in her absence. That is the reason for the frighteningly white walls and generally unfamiliar background in the ensuing photos.

Being that we had scheduled our Convocation only a few days after the summer solstice, I allowed myself to be cautiously inspired by the Midsummer traditions of my native country - particularly the foods, as we shall see below.

First, though, the aesthetics:

I started by covering the table with a couple of lime green curtains from one of the local discount stores. On top of them a sheer overlay - another curtain - with embroidered flowers in pale pink and gold. 

The base for the centerpiece was a pink bowl (Skurar from IKEA), filled with silk flowers in basically three colors: pink, green and lilac. In the center of the bowl I placed an old favorite - a large crystal votive holder that I topped with a rose pompom, to which I had added a lilac Flower Fairy (attached with the help of a bamboo skewer).

Two antique vases, one blue and one pink, elongated the arrangement, and then I filled in any available space with more silk flowers, bird and flower porcelain figurines, and pink candles... 

The pink candle and accoutrements are from IKEA; the little china rose is a salt shaker, that I placed on a small leaf plate - both from different museum gift shops, which can be excellent (if usually somewhat pricey) sources of cute and unusual stuff.

Above the centerpiece floated a floral wreath, embellished with tulle streamers and crystal prisms, that I suspended from the chandelier to further establish the floral Midsummer motif.

I made the wreath with the help of a hoop from a mosquito net (yes, I have many strange things in my basement), around which I tied a few silk rose garlands.

(I realize now that I should have photographed the wreath before hanging it, to give you a clearer view. Sorry!)

After much deliberation, initially also considering gold charger plates to pick up on the gold tones of the embroidered overlay, I finally selected these lacy metal trays (candle trays from IKEA) as a base for the place settings. All in all, I felt that they better accentuated the summery romance of my theme.

I rolled up the napkins with romantic paper butterfly napkin rings, made by my favorite jewelry designer Michal Negrin. (Unfortunately the website does not do justice at all to the wonderful, really unique items you can find in her stores.)

Before the guests arrived, I lit up the crystal lantern with my trusty old pink LED lights, and below you can see the table ready for the Faeries...

So - what did we eat? 
After a herring-based appetizer (that I had been a bit nervous about, since I didn't know if it would appeal to American palates - but it did!), we enjoyed this White Wine-Poached Salmon:

Ensure that your salmon fillet is free of bones, and remove the skin - or have it done for you!
Place in a lightly oiled oven-proof dish
Peel and slice an onion and a carrot rather thinly - heave into a saucepan and sautée in a little oil, until softened
Add salt & pepper, and herbs to your liking - I used tarragon, which is wonderful with fish
Pour in quite a lot of dry white wine - the better the wine, the better the finished result, obviously!
Let simmer for a couple of minutes, then pour the contents of the saucepan over the fish
Cover with foil; bake in a 350-degree oven for 20 minutes; baste once, half-way through the baking
Let cool; leave fish in the liquid until serving
Scrape off the onion and carrot slices; transfer fish to platter and decorate with lemon and cucumber slices; serve cold or at room temperature 
Salsa Verde would be the perfect accompaniment!

The dessert was a sponge cake/meringue layered Midsummer Torte, with fresh whipped cream and berries. Scrumptious!

Our project was a kind of "back to basics" in that we made Fairy Wands - just like the first time we met. But one wand had been broken in two; one ruined in a move; and then there were our two wand-less novices - it was a necessary labor of love. As usual, I had made preparations, and everyone was presented with a star-topped silver wand to embellish.

The exciting thing was to see how much we had all "grown" and increased in creativity since the beginning - these wands were true works of art, and the jubilant screeches of encouragement and praise that tore through the neighbor's apartment were a testament to the Faerie Flower Power!

The meeting of the Wands! 
That's all from this meeting of the Faeries...

Regards from Rosebud!