Jul 28, 2015

Summer Backyard Garden Workshop - RECAP!

Well it's taken a little longer than I'd like to share about our first Backyard Garden Workshop but better late than never.

Zellers Backyard Garden workshop - photos by http://jessieleighphotography.com

Before I start, I have to say a HUGE thank you to my friend, Jessie, who came over and took pictures that day. Not only is she one of the funniest gals I know, but she also has a huge heart and is an amazingly talented photographer. Pretty much all the photos posted here were taken by her - and I can't say thank you enough for capturing these memories of our very first workshop. Love you friend.

Zellers Backyard Garden workshop - photos by http://jessieleighphotography.com

Earlier this month, my husband and I hosted a little gardening workshop in our backyard. The weather was hot be bearable - it was an Oklahoma July, afterall. The group of people that attended, coming from all over Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri, well they were just amazing! We could not have asked for more encouraging and kind people to be around to talk all things gardening and to take a chance on attending our very first workshop.

Zellers Backyard Garden workshop - photos by http://jessieleighphotography.com

My sister stopped by the day before the workshop to beautify the backyard in a way I didn't think was even possible.

Zellers Backyard Garden workshop - photos by http://jessieleighphotography.com

She hung buntings, lanterns and fabric, arranged flowers, books and trays, moved furniture around and just really made the space feel extra special. I wish I had an ounce of her styling skills - maybe there would be some pictures or art on my walls.

Zellers Backyard Garden workshop - photos by http://jessieleighphotography.com

Zellers Backyard Garden workshop - photos by http://jessieleighphotography.com

She also had the help of my friend, Taylor. He is a super-styling-guru and works for West Elm. He brought some amazing goodies from the Tulsa store for the workshop.

Zellers Backyard Garden workshop - photos by http://jessieleighphotography.com

Zellers Backyard Garden workshop - photos by http://jessieleighphotography.com

AND they provided us with a counter top compost bin to give away! I think they are sold out now but it you ever see one in stock, get it! It really is no odor and is great for all those kitchen scraps.

Zellers Backyard Garden workshop - photos by http://jessieleighphotography.com

The workshop started in the morning and no morning get-together at my house is complete without donuts. Wendy, of Livi Lee's Donuts, provided us with the cutest, sweetest donuts ever.

Zellers Backyard Garden workshop - photos by http://jessieleighphotography.com

I had my fair share throughout the day. And just a word to the wise, if you find yourself near Sand Springs in the morning - make sure you stop by her shop and get a sausage cheese roll. They are the best I've ever had.

Zellers Backyard Garden workshop - photos by http://jessieleighphotography.com

And you may as well grab a few donuts too.

Once everyone arrived we did some introductions. It was so great to hear a little bit about everyone and why there were here. Some have never tried growing a single thing and were just trying to get some motivation and confidence to start. Some have tried without much success and were looking for helpful tips. And others had experience and do very well gardening but were looking for some new ideas of different methods to incorporate. Whatever the reason they were here, I'm so glad they all were.

Zellers Backyard Garden workshop - photos by http://jessieleighphotography.com

zellers backyard garden workshop - photos by http://jessieleighphotography.com/

Eric and I shared a little about our past and how and why we started gardening.

Zellers Backyard Garden workshop - photos by http://jessieleighphotography.com

It was such a blessing for me to watch my husband speak on things he's so passionate about and gifted in. I won't go into depth about our background but most of you know it pretty much started with family. My grandpa and grandma could and pretty much did grow just about anything in their middle-of-the-city backyard garden and my husband developed an appreciation and obsession with watching them. He started using methods from my grandpa to start his own garden and I just got obsessed by default.

Zellers Backyard Garden workshop - photos 
by http://jessieleighphotography.com

Gardening and cooking are the two main things that bring my husband and I the closest. It's when we are active in those that we talk the most, laugh the most and challenge and each other the most often. There's something about getting your hands dirty while working alongside the love of your life that just opens up areas to grow together.

While we share a common love of gardening, I joked that we were very different in our approaches - he's the engineer that thinks everything through and likes in depth books with fancy terminology and really big conceptual thinking, whereas I like pretty pictures and simplified ideas. I think we play off each others strengths pretty well.

Zellers Backyard Garden workshop - photos by http://jessieleighphotography.com

So many amazing artist's provided gifts for everyone that came out so I packaged them up in little bags for each person.

Zellers Backyard Garden workshop - photos by http://jessieleighphotography.com

Zellers Backyard Garden workshop - photos by http://jessieleighphotography.com

backyard garden workshop 

Gingiber / rise and shine card / @gingiber
Pen+Paint / happiness is homemade / @pen_and_paint
Pioneer-House.com / letterpress cards & calendar / @squirrelsgonewild
Recipe for Crazy / companion planting cards / @lesleyzellers
Tiny Prints / garden notebook / @tinyprints

Check out my instagram feed later today for a chance to win your own set of awesome swag!

And Stinger's Nursery, a local nursery I've talked about many times here on the blog, totally spoiled us with THOUSANDS of seed packets for everyone and so many different things to giveaway.

Zellers Backyard Garden workshop - photos by http://jessieleighphotography.com

They provided garden tools, gloves, some of the highest quality fertilizers and SO much more. I cannot say thank you enough for everything they sent over for our guests.

backyard garden workshop

If you are local, you need to check them out - and take your kids because there are fish tanks, birds, cats and the sweetest dog in the main building and even chickens roaming the outdoor area! My girls love it and have pretty much grown up visiting the nursery. It's off 41st St between Sheridan and Memorial.

Together we shared on our experience with planting from seed versus buying plants, the importance of composting, some permaculture principles we have tried implementing, different planting methods and companion planting, successes and failures and so much more.

Zellers Backyard Garden workshop - photos by http://jessieleighphotography.com

We walked through our garden and how we are where we are with it and how and why we transitioned from rows to more of an organic layout.

Zellers Backyard Garden workshop - photos by http://jessieleighphotography.com

Then we went across the street to visit our neighbor's garden and see his 1 lb. tomato!

Zellers Backyard Garden workshop - photos by http://jessieleighphotography.com

backyard garden workshop

He offered a different approach to gardening and gave some helpful tips and dates on when he plants different things. It was fun to see his excitement at passing down years of growing knowledge to our guests.

Eric also did a little container planting demo and talked soil structure, planting basics and some companion planting.

Zellers Backyard Garden workshop - photos by http://jessieleighphotography.com

backyard garden workshop

We wrapped up with a little picnic lunch of chicken salad sandwiches, a fresh salad with goodies from our garden & homemade dressing (recipe here), chips and sweet tea all packaged in the cutest containers from Shop Sweet Lulu!

Zellers Backyard Garden workshop - photos by http://jessieleighphotography.com

I cannot even handle how cute her supplies make parties and I really love that everything was recyclable!!! Thank you so much, Shop Sweet Lulu!

While everyone was enjoying their lunches, we had some time for final questions and further discussion.

Zellers Backyard Garden workshop - photos by http://jessieleighphotography.com

Zellers Backyard Garden workshop - photos by http://jessieleighphotography.com

About an hour after everyone left I realized I forgot to set out the ice cream. I may just do cookies next time so I don't forget!

Zellers Backyard Garden workshop - photos by http://jessieleighphotography.com

And speaking of next time! We have had so many requests to do more workshops. Honestly, I'm just blown away by the response and never dreamed so many people would want to learn more about gardening. While we aren't planning one this year, I am due to have our third baby in October, afterall, we are working on dates for next year!

We are currently planning an early spring and late spring workshop and possibly early summer workshop. 

I am so excited about those spring ones and can't wait to share more. But for now, since we had so much interest and requests for more, we started a waiting list for upcoming workshops, if you want to be on the list, just email me at lesley(at)recipeforcrazy(dot)com. The waiting list does not guarantee a spot for the next workshop but those on the list will be emailed the dates and registration links before they are announced anywhere else. So the people on the list gets first dibs on seats before registration is public.

And for fun, today only, leave a comment with your email and I'll send you a printable PDF of the composting cheat sheet I included in everyone's workshop packet!

compost cheat sheet

Thank you again to our AMAZING workshop sponsors:
Stringer Nursery - stringernursery.com
West Elm - westelm.com / @westelm / @westelmtulsa / #mywestelm
Livi Lee's - livilees.com / @livileesdonuts / #liveleesdonuts
Shop Sweet Lulu - shopsweetlulu.com / @shopsweetlulu / #partylikealulu

And thank you to the talented swag bag sponsors:
Gingiber / @gingiber
Pen+Paint / @pen_and_paint
Pioneer-House.com / @squirrelsgonewild
Recipe for Crazy / @lesleyzellers
Tiny Prints / @tinyprints

Thanks again for decorating Taylor and Ashley and thank you, Jessie, for capturing the day in photos.

And THANK YOU to all the people who came out. You made the day one I won't forget and am so thankful for the time we had talking and getting to know each other better and share common dreams and passions. Thank you for blessing us.

Jul 22, 2015

He never failed...

A year ago I wrote one of the most personal blog posts I've ever shared. I still can't read it without crying. For those that are new around these parts, you can read the post here.

In summary, this time last year I was supposed to go to on a mission trip with my sister and some friends to Ghana. Then I found out I was pregnant and couldn't get the vaccines. Then I miscarried and later found out it was an ectopic pregnancy and ended up having emergency surgery July 25th last year when the tube ruptured.

So, yeah. That month was rough.  As were the months that followed. But God is great and faithful and y'all, so, full of grace.

I ended that post with these lyrics from the song, Oceans:
Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now
He's never failed and He won't stop now.

And you know what. A year later. He didn't.


For those that follow me on instagram, it's no secret that we are expecting our first boy. I just realized I never shared the news here - sorry about that. After everything that's gone on, it seemed like I couldn't just say we're expecting and leave it at that.


But yes, we are having a BOY in October!

It's funny when you have two girls and then find out you're having a boy. People respond in the funniest of ways, like,

"you finally got one" or
"third time's a charm" or
"so now you can quit trying."


And I get it.

But if you knew our story and the fact that we didn't know if we'd be able to have any more biological kids, any child is a miracle - boy or girl. And really, that's what this little guy is, our miracle baby. Hope with skin on.


The night I went in for surgery I was terrified. The doctors warned me about the tube rupturing and if I felt pain to go the ER immediately. If a rupture is severe it's life-threatening. I didn't know if mine was severe or not, I just knew the pain was.

I will never forget the feeling I had when I hugged and kissed my girls in that hospital parking lot. Fear had gripped a hold of me and all I could think was how it could be my last good bye. The last kiss. The last hug. The last time I saw my family. I was scared. Tears uncontrollably streaming down my face.

Several hours, a hospital change, ambulance ride and re-evalution later - the doctors determined the rupture wasn't severe but I still needed surgery and would become a "uni-tube" as my husband lovingly termed it.

Praise the Lord, I saw my family the next day. Celebrated my oldest's 4th birthday a day later and now here we are, pregnant with our third.


There have been so many times where I've felt surrounded by fear since that night. Fear that we couldn't get pregnant again since I only had one tube now. Fear that if I did it would be ectopic and I'd have to go through all that again. And then once we found out we were pregnant, Fear that we'd lose the baby.

So much Fear.

But in all that Fear, we had to remind ourselves that God tells us to, "Fear not, for I am with you." - Isaiah 41:10.

Every day. Reminding to Fear Not.

Every day. Praying for strength.

Every day. Clinging to hope and trusting that even if the scariest thing happened, He still had me.

Those lyrics playing in my head,
"Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now."


Wow. How that song has changed for me. A song that I used to cry to when it felt like I had lost so much and just needed His strength to make it through the day.

Now a song of praise. I still cry through it. Sobbing at His grace and mercy. Thankful for hope and a precious baby. A baby boy with a healthy heartbeat. Kicking like crazy. A reminder each day of His faithfulness.

So yeah. If you ask me if we're excited about having a boy.

Darn right we are. 


To God be the glory. Great things He has done.

Jul 14, 2015

mixed green salad with blueberries, cucumber, feta and lemon viniagrette

We hosted our first ever garden workshop in our backyard this past weekend. It was so amazing and I cannot wait to share more details, pictures and recap the whole day but I'm still working on it. I hope to have it ready this week.

Until then, here's a little peek...

backyard garden patio decor

backyard garden workshop
photo by Ashley

While I'm working on the recap, several people asked for the dressing recipe from the salad we ate so I'm sharing that today.

For the salad, I wanted to share a fresh salad with some veggies from the garden and since it's summer, that meant cucumbers and onions. I started with a spring mix of greens, added the sliced cucumber (seeds removed so the greens wouldn't get soggy), sliced onion and since blueberries are in season - I threw some of those in and topped it with feta and a homemade lemon vinaigrette.

summer blueberry + lemon + cucumber salad

If it would've just been for me, I probably would've gone with goat cheese because I LOVE it with lemon but not everyone likes goat cheese so I went with feta instead.

Sweet Shop Lulu provided us with the cutest picnic supplies for our lunch! I made some custom labels for the salad container and chip bag and you can actually download a FREE printable PDF to make your own picnic labels on the Shop Lulu blog.

summer salad by Jessie Leigh Photography

For the salad:
  • mixed greens
  • cucumber - halved lengthwise then sliced (seeds removed if you want)
  • small red or white onion - halved then thinly sliced
  • fresh blueberries - half pint to a pint
  • handful of feta (or goat cheese)

The lemon vinaigrette is easy. Just put the following ingredients in a mason jar, screw the top on and shake, shake, shake - to dissolve the sugar.
  • 2-3 lemons, juiced - about 1/3 cup
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic - minced
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Assemble the salad any way you like and drizzle the vinaigrette over the top.

garden fresh summer salad

If I'm having this salad for lunch I like to add a hard boiled egg, sliced turkey or crumbled bacon, actually, add all of those and it's pretty amazing.


container photos by Jessie Leigh Photography
Salad supplies from Shop Sweet Lulu: salad container / biodegradable cups / straws / berry basket

Jul 9, 2015

Be Crafty Friday Harbor Recap!

Goodness time flies. It seems like it was just last week when I was sipping the most delicious lattes in Sara Parson's kitchen laughing and telling stories with the sweetest ladies. But alas, it was over a month ago.

coffee at sara's

Time got the best of me but I'm finally getting my act together to recap the trip/workshop.

This was the first trip I've ever taken with just my sister. I loved having all that time with her traveling, talking, laughing - uninterrupted, cherished moments we rarely get to have with little ones running under foot distracting us with constant needs.

sister traveling

Traveling was no joke. Flights, shuttles and ferries made for a full day of sisterly bonding and traveling. I road a ferry for the first time and decided I might need to live on an island so I can do it more often. Or at least visit Sara more. One of the two for sure.

Ferry station

Reunited for Be Crafty

And let's just take a moment to talk about how beautiful Friday Harbor is! I think my husband was a little jealous of all the pictures I kept sending. It's pretty unreal.

Cows at Friday Harbor

Baby bump in Friday Harbor

Friday Harbor

After we met up with Amanda, we made our way to Sara's house and got busy taking pictures of ducks...

sara's ducks

er, prepping for the workshop. I love watching Amanda's vision come together and am always amazed at the details she thinks through.

The event took place in the most gorgeous barn so it didn't take much to get it ready for the workshop. A little bunting, balloons from Shop Sweet Lulu, flower centerpieces from The Felt Flower Shop and all the pretty craft supplies and you've got yourself an Amanda Rydell craft workshop!

the masters at work

painted chairs and a truck

Be Crafty Friday Harbor

Be Crafty barn

The day of the workshop we woke up early and prepared lunches for all the ladies. Shop Sweet Lulu provided the cutest picnic supplies and I made some labels for the different items.

cutest salad package

picnic with Sweet Shop LuLu

You can get your own printable PDF of the label set over on the Sweet Lulu blog today!

It was finally time for the workshop and meeting all the lovely ladies!

Be Crafty workshop sign

I love getting to meet people from the online world in real life and this group of women was so special and they just blessed my socks off.

Amanda kicked off the workshop with a little paint craft and macrame pot hanger. This lady and her painting skills - come paint all my things!

crafting with Amanda

crafts in a barn

Ashley was up next with a some phone photography tips and a photo craft. Watching her teach these ladies her passion was a gift! I've taken both her DSLR and phone photography Snap Shop classes and highly recommend them. Hearing her in person was a great refresher for me since it's been years since I've taken her classes.

photo tips with Ashley

I wrapped up the workshop with some lettering and chalk art tips.

lettering with lesley zellers

chalk art with lesley

Time ran a bit short for my part of the crafting but the ladies got to take home supplies to make their own hanging chalk canvas.

Before everyone left, they got to take home a box full of swag from some pretty amazing sponsors.

Huge thank you to:
Shop Sweet Lulu || The Mason Bar Company || Modern June || Maggie Holmes Design || The Felt Flower Shop || Splendid Supply || Sakura || Behr Paint || Mpix || Pen and Paint || Julep || Give With Joy || Ike and Co || Fresh Tangerine || Rebekah Gough || Shop Celebrate Life || Kelly Moore || Sugar Blossom || Bloom Theory || Paisley Sprouts || Catch Swan Dreams

And then we all breathed, had my sister take a couple baby bump photos with those fabulous balloons, kissed the ducks and maybe ate some late night hot dogs, graciously made by Sara's husband, Sean - Sean, you rock, and called it a night.

balloons and baby bump

no words

Then it was back to traveling.

Friday Harbor

But before we left Washington, some of our sweet friends took us on a little tour around Seattle.

top pot donut

Public Market Center


Touristing in Seattle

Thank you, Kirby and Sherry, for your friendship and for giving up some of your time so we didn't have to wake up at 4am to catch the ferry and shuttles!

Mt. Rainier

These weekends are such a blessing to me in so many ways and I'm so thankful for the opportunity to work and play alongside my friends, old and new.

Be Crafty friends

And thank you to Sara for opening up your home to us, for all the lattes and your friendship. You and Sean made the weekend magical and I'm so thankful for you.

Until next time, Friday Harbor and Be Crafty.

More pictures from the event from Amanda and Ashley (click names for their posts).