Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Happy Birthday, Queen of Southern Novels

Michael Lee West

Queen of Southern Novels

Happy 60th Birthday, Michael Lee!

This post is a tribute to

 Michael Lee West,

 host of Rattlebridge Farm, Foodie Friday

and author of seven novels with

an eighth one, soon to be published.

Michael Lee lives on a farm 

in rural Tennessee 

with her husband, son, and 

a menagerie of animals.

You can find Michael Lee at her blog, 

Rattlebridge Farm

where she shares her love 

of gardening, baking, and Yorkies.

I had intended to host a 

birthday picnic in the garden, 

but Mother Nature didn't cooperate.

Not complaining!  We've had an incredible

12 inches, and it's still raining off and on.

Instead, I moved the celebration 

inside to the sun room.

The table is set with all white dishes for

Cuisine Kathleen's Let's Dish Challenge.

I chose green as my accent color, 

as I was the recent recipient of a gift package from

Carol sent me a package of cute tags stamped in green 

and white napkins with a beautiful lace edge

that she hand crocheted.

I tied a tag to each cup.

This is an adorable idea for

place cards for guests.

Each tag comes 

with an engraved heart.

Yes, we all LOVE you, 

Michael Lee!

Michael Lee writes with incredible wit, 

all the while interweaving delicious vignettes of 

food and recipes straight from the kitchens of 

her vivid and distinctly southern characters.

Michael Lee's novels will have you

Laughing Out Loud!

Look at Carol's beautiful hand work

in this lovingly crocheted lace edging.

It's a perfect compliment 

to the edges of the embossed plates 

by Certified International   .   .   .

As well as the graceful 

carving on the Mother of Pearl flatware.

I tucked these darling towels by Waverly 

between the salad and dinner plates 

to separate the white on white of the plates.

They are a perfect match to the green tablecloth 

and were a gift from Cuisine Kathleen a few years ago.

I don't think Kathleen will mind that 

I mixed in a touch of floral.

Thank again, Kathleen!

~ White, Green, and a Touch of Floral ~ 

Probably doesn't pass the challenge!

A special thank you to 

for the delightful gift package.

Now make a wish and 

blow out the candles,

birthday girl!

Happy Birthday, Michael Lee!

I know all you Foodie Friday bakers 

are eager to know how to make this special cake.

Lean in closely, and I'll share my secret.

First secure a large bag of packaged cotton candy.

Carefully unwrap and gently pull 

apart to fill large martini glass.

Handle as little as possible and work quickly!

Presto, instant birthday cake

cotton candy style! 


Click here to see Michael Lee's 

work available on Amazon.

Joining the Novel Bakers and Friends

to celebrate our friend,

Michael Lee West.

Click the links below to join in as we celebrate.

Also Joining


The summer we married, my husband was in graduate school, and I was employed as a teacher. We took a portion of our savings that summer and purchased a sailboat. We christened our Catalina 22, “Hyacinths For The Soul” after Saadi’s poem. Our "Hyacinths" provided years of pleasure.


  1. Oh, thank you for the shout out and displaying everything so beautifully.

    I am not familiar with Michael Lee West so I must look for her books. I am always looking for new author so thanks for the tip.

  2. Sarah~ What a festive table for a birthday for Michael Lee West or anyone to sit down to! I heart your adorable gifted tags with the messages, and your embossed plates are beautiful with your lace edged napkins. What a fun & festive COTTON CANDY cake~ perfect for making someone feel 60 years YOUNG! I had to follow your link to Gusto, so many great restaurants I've read about lately in Austin. I had seen an article on The Noble Pig in Food & Wine magazine and then saw them on Food Network last night.

    Thanks for joining in the fun and glad your party efforts weren't rained out~ 12 inches at once can be problematic! Happy Birthday Michael Lee West!

  3. I love it - "if the crown fits, wear it!" Michael Lee is truly the Queen of southern novels. How clever of you to move your beautiful celebration indoors. Everything looks perfect.

    Happy birthday Michael Lee.

  4. Happy Birthday to Michael Lee West! I love how you proudly displayed all her novels as a tribute to her big day. May I sit next to the Queen? You chose a perfect post to share your gifted tags and the lovely lace edged napkins. My hubby would love that COTTON CANDY cake!

    I'm glad you were able to bring the party indoors so you could "enjoy" the well needed rain you are getting. xo

  5. What a festive birthday table! I love the colors mixed with your pretty white dishes. I'm sure Michael Lee will feel very honored by your tribute table!

  6. A fun table Sarah! Love your center piece and what amazing detail on the mother of pearl handles! Your new napkins are beautiful and the cotton candy cake is a fun idea:@)

  7. Sarah, What a fun post to celebrate our friend! I love how you've made all the pretty photo mosaics and included a link to Amazon for her books. The cotton candy cake is such a cute,adorable idea, to celebrate the birthday girl. Happy Birthday, Michael Lee! xo

  8. Oh Sarah...I LOVE THE CROWN!!!
    What a fitting tribute to our Queen of Gilding! She is going to ♥ it.

    The collage was a wonderful idea & the cotton candy cake was very clever, too.
    I adore your very feminine tablescape & covet those gorgeous hand trimmed napkins. LUCKY DOG~LUCKY DOG!!

    Happy Birthday, Michael Lee!

    p.s. I'm so glad you're getting some much needed rain, today, too.

  9. Delightful post, Sarah. You skillfully weave your words and photographs with such panache! I enjoyed your birthday solute to Michael Lee. I will check out her books.

    Clever celebration down to the last detail!

  10. Sarah, I love the mosaic you started with, showing Michael Lee and all her animals on the farm! The cotton candy cake seems like a perfect centerpiece for a fun party for the woman who did not ask to queen but is clearly our foodie queen! Her novels and blog do sometimes make me laugh out loud, if I'm not crying a little bit. Wonderful table. I'm glad you are getting some rain even though we couldn't party outside. I'll see you at the white plus one party -- guess what color I'm using?? Linda

  11. Fabulous Sarah! How clever you are to join all those wonderful elements together for MLW's birthday celebration! Your white dishes are gorgeous! Congrats on all the lovely prizes, the tags are adorable and so cute tied on the mugs. The crocheted linens are beautiful and it all comes together for such a special table. Love love the birthday cake!

  12. What a wonderful post Sarah! So sorry the weather didn't cooperate. That is how it has been here all August, September and now October.
    I love all of your gorgeous tags! What a fun idea for a birthday cake. We are sparkler people here too. My favorite is the Queen quote! Too fun! Have a wonderful week!

  13. Fabulous birthday tribute to Michael and wonderful interpretation of Kathleen's white challenge.

  14. Such a festive party and so typical of celebrating a birthday party in the south like her characters...having to move indoors at the last minute because of rain!
    Beautiful white dish challenge table..wow that was a mouth full..LOL
    Love, Mona

  15. oh i so love your tribute to the queen of the south! what a darling idea! your collage is adorable, i love seeing her home life spread out like the brady bunch. your table is perfect, rain or shine, you can't keep a good woman down! those tags are wonderful, love the little jewel additions too.

    i so agree about the laughing out loud! i read her books many years ago and had to get them from the library to share for her bday collection, i sat down to gently glance them over, 3 hours later i had been cracking up at page after page, i didn't accomplish anything but having a good time. i was even brave and dived into her piper series, she is the queen of wit and humor too, she just shares my same funny bone!

    your white dishes are beautiful, love the pattern~

    i love cotton candy!

    thanks so much for celebrating her bday and books with us today, you surely made her queen for the day!

  16. What a neat post, Sarah, and beautiful table. I'm drooling over all the beautiful things you were gifted by Carol, especially the lace edging on the napkins. I haven't heard of this author either, so I will have to check her out.

  17. Sarah, What a great post for the birthday of a fabulous person. Your table looks so pretty, and the sayings on the little tags sound like something right out of a MLW book. Happy Birthday Michael! laurie

  18. What a wonderful party- even if you did have to move it inside. I am ashamed to say that I have never read this author...and I wrote about READING today, too. Guess I will have to look her up now that you have thrown such a beautiful party for her- xo Diana

  19. Sometimes indoor picnics are the best. Everything looks so charming, and carefully thought out. The tiara is too perfect! Fun!

  20. A cotton candy cake is my idea of paradise, all sweet and gauzy, a dream that melts on the tongue. Your indoor picnic is beautiful, personal, and inviting. My head is awfully lumpy for a crown, but I will proudly wear it, just as long as it comes with the Gilding title. You would not believe the poisonous flowers that have adorned my goodies, and some of them have accidentally found their way into the bodies of my poor family. ("But Your Honor, I didn't know that foxglove would stop the heart!") Well, I'm exaggerating.
    Your pastoral collage makes me smile (the donkeys and horses ate Apple Week's leftover honeycrisps).
    I enjoyed your post tremendously. Thank you for this touching birthday party. I'm grateful to have you for a friend. xxoo

  21. What a wonderful birthday celebration of Michael's birthday. You set a beautiful table for her. It's perfect! Happy birthday to Gollum!....Christine

  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

  23. Sarah, You throw a wonderful birthday party, filled with so much fun.


  24. I love the cotton candy in the martini glasses. You always set the best tables, Sarah--- so much attention to detail. xoxoxo

  25. Oh Sarah what a fun and pretty birthday table! I love Michael's blog and and the adventures of her home remodel! Your tables are always beautiful and what a fun ocassion to celebrate! Glad you are getting some rain and cooler temps!
    Miss Bloomers

  26. A fabulous birthday celebration indeed despite the weather!

  27. Sarah, you planned a perfect party. I know she loved every detail.♥

  28. Sarah, I love your Michael Lee party tablescape. Your embossed china plates are so sweet with the curved rims. The packet of cards is a great addition and the green tablecloth is wonderful background. Have a beautiful fall week and we are also so blessed to have rain in the DFW metroplex!


  29. Oh Sarah, So much to take in here! First, your table is lovely. Love the pearl handled flatware, beautiful dishes, and using the tags on the cups is so clever! They are such fun, and the beautiful napkins...right up my linen loving alley. Now I have to check out this new (to me) author, who sounds delightful! Happy Let's Dish! Pam

  30. What a fun post for your fellow blogger! Such a pretty table, I love the tags on the cups. This was the first time I have seen a cotton candy cake! How scrumptious is that?!?!

  31. I too have to admit that I have not read any of Michelle Lee's books. But I do have to say that I am a Gone With the Wind Kind of Girl, her books are probably something I would really enjoy. Sarah, I adore your beautiful embossed plates. I have been looking for beautiful affordable white plates. I have found beautiful and I have found affordable but I have not found a set with both qualities. I love green as the compliment color. So perfect for fall.

  32. Lovely post, and the white dishes pass the test plus a little floral.

  33. Quite a tribute to the birthday girl and you've done it just as Kathleen challenged. I'd say a success all around.

  34. Two birds with one stone...a delightful birthday salute for Michael Lee and a perfect design for Kathleen's White Challenge. The textured plates are gorgeous, and those green tags set my head spinning with ideas. Thanks for inviting us for a peak and for the inspiration. Cherry Kay

  35. Sarah,

    Such a wonderful celebration! Love the touches of the the tags.

    - Alma, The Tablescaper

  36. Gorgeous napkins!

  37. Great job in joining together Kathleen's Challenge and the birthday party! Love all of your cute details and, especially, the tags from Carol at Art and Sand. She is such an artist!!

  38. Happiest Birthday to a great lady.
    I love your beautiful table....

  39. This is such a fun post, I love it and Happy Birthday to her. She rocks. Thanks tons for linking to Inspire Me. Hugs, Marty

  40. Sarah this is a delightful tribute to the talented Michael Lee West! Love the snap of the books and the animals too. To bad the garden was wet but knowing how you need rain there I’m sure you didn’t mind celebrating in the sun room. What a lovely scape and the tags and napkins from Carol were perfect. I’m doing my own little celebration scape today for hubs birthday. Sill working on photos too. What a delight finally meeting!


  41. What a sweet table!! I love the way you photographed your table setting, as well. Those crocheted napkins are a work of art and match sooo well with your dishes. I also loved your use of color. Bravo! Rosie

  42. I saw Mary's post, and your post is adorable, too, Sarah! I love it, and I know that MLW has gotten a kick out of these posts.
    I'm sure your thrilled having it indoors because y'all have truly needed the rain.
    I truly think you met the challenge and excelled at it: I love the little tags on the mugs! They are AH-dorable.
    Thanks for linking-up to My Happy List!


  43. Sarah what a great birthday wish to Michael Lee! I love the crown sign and the color you splashed your table with. What a cute idea to put tags on the mugs! I am definitely borrowing that one. Love the photo collage of Michael too. Joni

  44. Though your table is lovely from a distance, the close up photos capture all the subtle details which make it so special! Thank you for sharing!

  45. Just beautiful, Sarah! I love those plates, so pretty.
    Have a wonderful week...

  46. What a nice tribute to her birthday you've set! Love the handwork on the napkins- what a great talent! I like the pop of color you added. The centerpieces is so cute- what a neat layout with the books!

  47. Oh when you set a table! Makes me weak in the knees, and sigh... JUST BEAUTIFUL! Those napkins are a perfect touch. Back to the drawing board for me, but oh the inspiration! Have a great weekend. Love, Penny

  48. Sarah, such a fun and cheery table you have created. If I tell you when my birthday is, would you do a special one for me, complete with cotton candy cake?

  49. I love your dishes and how clever you are in weaving together a dish challenge and a birthday tribute.

  50. I am not familiar with this author, but with such a tribute to her, I will be looking for her books!
    Love your sweet pink dishes....your pictures are beautiful!
    ♥ JIl

  51. How fun, even when moved indoors! Loved the cotton candy cake. That's going to be my next project. Finally, something I can handle!

  52. Hoping this week-end finds you filled with peace...alot of joy..and some coziness..

  53. What a sweet tribute!
    Your little martini glass cotton candy fluff cake is darling!

    I have not read any of Michael
    s books but you have inspired me to go buy one.
    Which one should I try first, Sarah?

    Have a great weekend and hope your sweet mom is fairing well.


  54. What a fun birthday party for Michael Lee! Love the cotton candy birthday cake, with the sparkler. I've only read one of Michael Lee's books.."Crazy Ladies". I'd better get busy. Thanks for the list of her books,and Happy Birthday, Michael Lee!

  55. Looks like a super fun party for a great writer. I've read a few, but I'm going to add the rest to my list.
    Love the mother of pearl flatware, and that "cake" is just over the top!
    Love it!

  56. You're always welcome at Seasonal Sundays.

    - The Tablescaper

  57. Hi Sarah,
    I am so happy that you were one of the recipients of Carols wonderful creations! Couldn't think of a nicer person for them to go to. I did not realize that Foodie Friday gal was an author. How fabulous is that? I need to get to know her. I hardly do food posts so I don't link up. I love to cook, but rarely post about it. Your table was beautiful and a wonderful tribute to a talented lady. I turned the big 60 this year too. Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  58. I love your table...all the details from the crown to the tags to the dishes....wonderful.....

    And I feel horrible that I somehow missed her birthday because I LOVE MLW! I have all of her books and think she's fabulous, too....I'll have to pop in now and wish her a slightly late birthday!!

    So great to be able to catch up with you and your beautiful table!!!


  59. What a wonderful post - so much to enjoy. I am going to see if I can find Michael Lee West's books here in Australia, Happy belated birthday to her and thank you for sharing the wonderful celebration.
    (Little Wandering) Wren x

  60. What a fun, full of joy, post, Sarah! I will have to go over and wish Michael Lee and happy birthday! There are so many very creative people in Blogland, and you are one of my favorites!

  61. What a happy post today, Sarah. I like your tags and lace napkins on your lovely table.

    And, I spotted the touch of blue!

    Have a good Blue Monday.

  62. Well you have introduced me to an author I was not familiar with. Your birthday celebration to her is lovely for sure.

  63. What a beautiful birthday table setting! Happy belated Birthday, Michael Lee!I love those embossed white plates and mother-of-pearl flatware...pairs so prettily with the lace edged napkins! Very lovely post, Sarah:) Thanks for sharing with us! Happy Monday! Hugs, Poppy

  64. What a lovely table you've set, and the cotton candy 'cake' is beyond creative!

  65. Such a delightful table, Sarah! I love Carol's energy and colorful style. Such a nice gift! Her napkins are adorable. Lucky you!

  66. Oh what a delightful celebration ;D
    I'm not so thrilled with birthdays lately (as the number climbs) but who wouldn't be charmed by your beautiful table.
    I think everything looks exquisite!
    I'm going to nip over to Rattlebridge Farm next. This is a post that just keeps giving!
    Thanks Sarah :D

  67. What a wonderful virtual birthday card for Michael Lee!

  68. Beautiful birthday tribute to one of our dear blogging friends and author, Michael! Well done! I do appreciate you sharing with Home and Garden Thursday,

  69. How sweet! I've never had cotton candy cake...fun! Thanks so much for sharing at AMAZE ME MONDAY...


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