In August when the ideas started to flow for a Baby Cakes & Barbecue to celebrate the impending arrival of Sweet Baby Ella, so did the house projects we would need to finish before having to introduce not only Baby Ella but this little gem of a bungalow to a Punta Gorda that had long since forgotten she was here . . .
The property was in all it's glory, the summer rains, although heavy at times, had created a lush tropical border filled with Bromeliad bloom, with hundreds of torch like flames, spreading like wild fire through this paradise. The new mulch driveway framed the greens in perfect combination, the palms swayed in the gentle breeze that flows from the Peace, and the zinnias and ferns stretched toward the sun.
We had painted the front porch, stripped most of the bathroom wallpaper, and picked up a crazy mix of architectural salvage and antiques from my mothers in South Carolina, including the old doors that would become the tables and the vintage bird cages filled with candles that would light the setting for this magical night.
The studio's new lighting was installed, all twenty feet of the old work bench had been skirted in off-white canvas, and the clutter of our projects were neatly tucked away. The 1887 Chickering piano, which now performs as our work station was converted to the buffet, it's Rococo legs long ago painted the perfect vintage pink, begging to set center stage for the Hootenanny to come. The candelabra above made from piano parts and garage sale finds, highlighted not only the Brazilian Rosewood below, but the art of the rafters above.
The table cloths of burlap with pink brocade runners had been sewn, the white linen napkins tie-dyed pink by our friends were complete, the mason jar filled with cut fern would adorn the tables.
The very southern Pear and Ginger cocktail was inspired by Garden & Gun, the Bourbon Maker's Mark, the pears plucked from my mother's yard on our latest trip. The menu was selected to surround Papa Z's lip smakin Grilled Chicken, Fig infused barbecue sauce, Roasted garlic cheese grits, Baked beans with pig parts, Spinach salad and Sarah's Cornbread Pudding embraced like old childhood friends. I know, mouth watering goodness, only to be topped off by Carmel and Sea Salt cupcakes, Ginger snaps with Sweet Potatoe Butter (Low Country Produce), and Peanut Butter Pie cups. One of our guest confessed he ate ten or so?
The night finally arrived, the little bungalow lit with enthusiasm and anticipation, the high class bluegrass of the Steep Canyon Rangers and the soulful blues of the local Still Friends flowed from it's crevasse's in beautiful harmony. The memories of our guest this night will forever be of a sweet baby girl still to come and a little bungalow with a great history.