Saturday, April 7, 2018

Southern Exposure: Huge Sun Face!

When spring comes, my pals and I head to Southern Exposure for our creative workshops and to ease our wniter-weary spirits. At no time in the year is it more welcome to visit this Michigan herb farm, enjoy a lovely walk in the beautiful gardens and one of Chef Elsie's dinners than in the spring. It's so welcoming to see tulips and bleeding hearts, daffodils and forsythia blooming up our winter white world at long last.


The photo above was taken last year. Our first visit this year coincided with cold and snow (which arrived after we safely returned home) and nary a bloom, apart from those on the beautiful dinner table.


For those who are relatively new here, Southern Exposure is what I call a destination experience. A working farm, the owners host creative sessions which include dinner and then a project. It may be a wreath, a floral arrangement or a decorative project. Tonight's project was called Huge Sun Face! More on that in a minute.


Jan, Kate and I arrived and after checking in headed to the gift shop, which is always filled with fabulous "forever flowers" (I can't remember which of you named them that but I love that name!), beautiful pillows, vessels, urns and decorative elements.


I am SO making these herb markers -- and soon! It's not like I don't have a few wine corks hanging around!


Then onto the Milking Parlor, the original cow barn, for dinner. Milking Parlor, you have come a long way!


Here sixty of us enjoyed Chef Elsie's Peruvian dinner and fabulous dessert. It would tie in with our project, an Incan-inspired sun face.


As usual, the room is beautifully lit and decorated.


I loved the idea of the wreath-in-a-frame look. (I need bigger and more walls.)


And I also loved the forsythia-draped chandeliers.


Then it was on to the Craft Tent where our 50-pound sun faces were laid out on bales of hay. We had a container of clear coat poly, gloves and a brush and it was off to work.


Our teacher, Micah, explained the process. The Southern Exposure staff had prepped these for us, aging them with a mixture made by letting steel wool sit in vinegar for at least a week and applying that to the surface of our sun faces.


They all rusted or picked up color in different ways, so each was different in coloring.


We brushed the rust down a bit and applied the clear coat, which gave it some shine and would also protect it from the elements. In Michigan, you have to protect from the elements!


Voila! Done!


I'd lift this up to show you but -- well, I can't! It's wide and heavy, definitely a two person job. Fortunately, they loaded them into our cars for us and that's where mine is till I figure out where it's going and Rick can help me unload it!


I'm scheduled for two more workshops this spring -- Log Planter and one making tin kitchen planter we'll fill with herbs. And next time, I should be able to share some beautiful blooms for real!

Sharing this week with:  Let's Add Sprinkles    /   Share Your Cup  

49 comments:

Mae Travels said...

What a beautiful place! Too bad it's too early for tulips.

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

coffeeontheporchwithme said...

Oh nice!! Do you have thoughts about where you want to put it? -Jenn

Jean R. said...

Our senior hall takes a bus load of people to Southern Exposure every year! It's a beautiful place to inspire our creative minds and a popular day trip for us.

Lynne said...

As usual . . .
I loved this Southern Exposure workshop creation!
What a fun event, I must remind myself to sign up for one of the workshops!
Can this piece be hung or is it so heavy it has to be flat . . .
Love It!.

NanaDiana said...

Jeanie- What a FUN FUN FUN "escape" from the winter-weary weather. It is too bad you didn't have any real Spring weather, but it looks like it was "springy" inside where it counted. What a great place and fun thing to do. Love YOUR face and your SUN face, too.

Have a great weekend. We broke a record here today----11° with a high under 30 (not counting wind chill). UGH! xo Diana

Stacey said...

I always love to see what you've been up to at Southern Exposure! You are such good advertisement for them. Jemma and I talk regularly about how we wish we had a place like that to go to and be inspired. We did take a floral arranging class this week at the cutest local florist. It was fun!!

Joanne Huffman said...

What a fun project!`I love sun faces.

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

That sun face is going to look fabulous in your garden. I know it will be fun to find the exact perfect spot where it will get the best exposure (no pun intended). You are a walking ad for Southern Exposure and I always love the posts you share here.

William Kendall said...

The tulips are a welcome sight. It'll be a month until they're out here.

Sandra Cox said...

What a wonderful experience and project. I love everything about it, the meal, the craft, the ambiance. Perfect.

Valerie-Jael said...

I love what you crafted, and I am so envious that you get to go there and I don't. It sounds so totally fantastic. Glad you had such a good time. Hugs, Valerie

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Oooh this is a beautiful and fun project. I am glad they loaded them for you. 50lbs is heavy! Yikes! I love how they all aged differently. My sister is going to Peru this spring to hike the Inca trail! So this project makes me think of the adventure her and her husband will have!

Joyful said...

What a lovely way to usher in the Spring!

My name is Erika. said...

I always love your posts when you visit Southern Exposure. Too bad the weather didn't cooperate so you could be showered with some beautiful spring blooms, but I will say maybe the sun you made will bring it to us-finally. Happy weekend. Hugs-Erika

Angela said...

That gift shop looks fun!

Julia - Vintage with Laces said...

It looks like you had a lovely evening at Southern Exposure again, Jeanie. The suns are beautiful. Will you put it on an exterior wall?

Rita C. said...

I just love it when 'we' got to Southern Exposure, Jeanie, thank you! We need one of these combos - meal and project in our town! The shop with its forever flowers and how they decorated the milking parlor tie in nicely together. I could see myself buying up forsythia to decorate my chandy for spring.
Can't wait to go again!

BB said...

Southern Exposure is the most fun place. I always love your posts about your experiences there. We really need a Southern Exposure post this time of year. It snowed here last night. I can't believe it.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

What a fun event. I've never taken part in a workshop like this and I know I would love it. They had them at the Biltmore Estate a lot of times. Enjoy your day sweet friend. Hugs, Diane

The French Hutch said...

Jeanie, you know I love my tour with you to Southern Exposure, I’m not surprised you didn’t see blooms with this cold weather we’ve all had. But, the table looked lovely. Love your project this year. The sun face is a favorite of mine and I have one on the inside of my garden gate. Can’t wait to see where you put yours. Glad you made it back home before the last storm! Have a wonderful Sunday.........

La Table De Nana said...

What a beautiful piece:)If I remember correctly it was Anita..Castles and Crowns that named them Forever Flowers:)

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Ah....bring it on my friend. We need it. We are withering over here from despair! NO SPRING but snow today!

Tristan Robin Blakeman said...

I am so envious of having a marvelous spot like that to go to when in need of 'lift!' I remember previous posts of yours about it, and I always find myself thinking what a great destination spot that would be!
The dinner looks luscious - and your sun plaque is FAB-U-LOUS! I'm thinking how terrific it would look embedded in the peak of our porch roof to greet visitors (and me!) on arrival!
We've had our own winter revisiting this week - but today it's almost 45 and I can see some bulbs starting to poke through, so I'm hoping it's over for good and they don't get frostbite!
Have a great Sunday! And, as always, thanks for sharing!

Preppy Empty Nester said...

Love this!! What a wonderful day! The pics are great. I'm sure that you make it even more fun with your bubbly personality, sweet Jeanie. If you need more wine corks let me know. I will double up on my wine consumption to help you out.
Have a wonderful week!!

Silver Willow said...

what a great project and fabulous day!

Judy at GoldCountryCottage said...

What a great excursion, Jeanie. What fun to make something so beautiful and to share the time with good friends. It is really beautiful. Anxious to see where you put him..Happy Weekend..Judy

shoreacres said...

You do love those big, smiling suns, don't you? I have one on the front of a very special decorated notebook that "someone" made -- a real treasure, just like your day at Southern Exposure.

Karen said...

I love it! Interesting distressing method. I'll have to remember that. Thank you for sharing your adventure. Hope your weather has improved. Our sun is shining brightly and the driveway is starting to look like bare gravel again!!

Pam Richardson said...

Jeanie, I have been waiting for our first spring visit to Southern Exposure. Even though there were no blooms, everything else made up for it! Love the project for the evening. I wish we had a place like Southern Exposure, dinner and crafts with friends looks perfect!

Ricki Treleaven said...

You weren't kidding when you called it a huge sun face! What a cool activity! I think your planters will be super cool, too. I can't wait to see them! I guess you'll plant herbs in the one for the kitchen.

Jenny Woolf said...

Such a clever idea. I guess the farm has to be in the right area, with the right kind of customers and not TOO remote, to make this work. But it would be ideal for the kind of farm owner who loves to cook, create and teach and has plenty of space!
The pink tulip is really beautiful.

Mike@Bit About Britain said...

Looks wonderful, Jeanie. Even an un-arty person like I am can appreciate that. I will mention the cork plant markers to Head Office - we're not great gardeners and are both convinced we lose plants because we forget what we've planted..!

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

So much wonderful spring inspiration! Enjoyed visiting with you.

Sandra Cox said...

Apples! What a lovely place setting idea. I'll have to remember that one. You always supply me with new ideas, Jeanie;)

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Wow, Jeanie! What a big beautiful craft to make! Your smiling sun would look stunning wherever you decide to display it. I hope you had a very Happy and Blessed Easter! Thank you for your condolences on the loss of our niece. (((hugs)))

Eilis said...

Forever flowers is so much better than faux- love it! I am always envious of your trips to Southern Exposure. It looks like the perfect place to feed your creative self. Might have to borrow the cork idea, since there are one or a thousand lying around at my house.

Tracy said...

Your SE year has begun, Jeanie...even if no blooms to greet you this time, this place is still a grand sight for winter-sore eyes and hearts! Those cork herb markers are terrific--what a great idea! Ooo... Peruvian food! I've never had Peruvian-inspired food. What did you eat?! WOW... LOVE the Sun Face!! And what a fun "aging" process with the rusty vinegar--another great idea! SE know how to do stuff! Can't wait of you to take us back! :))) Happy new week, my friend ((HUGS))

Iris Flavia said...

Beautiful! Simple as it is I love the apples most! Great idea!

thepaintedapron.com said...

This sounds like so much fun Jeanie! I now I've read about your precious visits, and it's always so different and so cool! I am crazy about the sun faces, but 50 lbs., wow, whatever will you do with it! How cool they tied the menu into the project! A definite Wow experience! I hope Spring arrives for you soon!
Jenna

Decor To Adore said...

I LOVE when you visit Southern Exposure. I need to make those cork markers too! May you have a wonderful week of lovely weather.

Marilyn Miller said...

What a fun project, I love it so much! The table was gorgeous! And the cork herb markers so fun. I will be sharing that idea with my "live-in gardener". I love each and every adventure you share from this wonder garden oasis.

Red Rose Alley said...

These sun faces are all so different in their own special way. That one looks like a tear is falling down its face.

~Sheri

Jemma@athomewithjemma said...

Oh Southern Exposure how I love YOU! One day Jeanie, I will make my way to visit you and Southern Exposure. What a treat this all was. Thank you for taking us along!
Jemma

Snap said...

Wow! Southern Exposure sounds like a great place. I'd be heaven just looking at the herbs. Add a marvelous place to dine and crafts -- heaven!!!
Hope your week is delightful.

Barb said...

Sigh - I always love your visits to Southern Exposure. I'd love that sun face in my garden - want to mail it to me??? I'm sure the freight would be minimal... Happy spring, Jeannie.

Mary K.- The Boondocks Blog said...

Jeanie that is one great place for inspiration. And you are so right about needing more walls and lots of them. I too feel the same way and want to cover them all with project. That sun is really spectacular and I am sure you must have had a great time creating. I hope you have been well. :)

Victoria Zigler said...

Good to hear you had another wonderful trip out there... I always love reading your posts from your Southern Exposure visits.

Olka said...

Wow! The idea of this project is cool! :) I wpould like to take part in the happening like this :) I love these sun faces!
Where are you going to put it in? Will it decorate your living room? :)
Well, it looks very heavy, so it probably shouldn't hang on the wall... :D

Katie Mansfield said...

How fun. That looks amazing. Thanks for linking up to Keep In Touch.

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