The Strawberry Patch

Enrichment and Inspiration for Beta Sigma Phi Sisters from Marilyn Ross

Gateway To Friendship

Ideas & suggestions on ways to use the 2002-2003 International theme.

As defined in Webster's New World Dictionary, gateway is:
 1) an entrance as in a wall, fitted with a gate
 2) a means of access

 Refer to clip art using gates, arches, trellises, etc.

 The vintage clip art from a late 1930's issue of The Torch ideally conveys the meaning of this theme. Two women stand at the gated entrance, bidding welcome to all who enter the wonderful world of Beta Sigma Phi -- a beautiful world of Life, Learning and Friendship.

 Garden gates - What a great place to use our yellow rose! Plan a garden party. Wear hats. Have a contest to see who can make the prettiest, or the silliest! Use clay flowerpots to bake bread; put salad in a plastic-lined child's wheelbarrow, use a trowel for the salad fork & spoon! Arrange a bouquet of real (or silk) yellow roses (or flowers of any kind) in a watering can for your centerpiece. Serve Dirt Cake! Give Friendship Seeds as a favor. (see below)

 Variation at the garden gate: Strawberries! Use baskets & place beautiful, fresh strawberries in plastic lined containers inside the basket. It makes for a beautiful & inviting display. Serve strawberry refreshments: candies, cakes, breads, slush, ice cream et al. Great recipes abound in most any cookbook. Last year's Beta Sigma Phi cookbook or The Recipe Rack would be a great resource for strawberry recipes. Simple dippers include: powdered sugar, brown sugar, powdered or melted chocolate, cinnamon.

 Use a gardener theme . . . anything related to gardening. Gardens are beautiful gateways to friendship! Invite guests to enter yours. Use vintage tablecloths, twigs, vines, colorful fabric pillows, abundant with plants & flowers. Send a package of seeds with an invitation to join you & your chapter for whatever social, rush party, event of your choosing. Friendships forged & memories created in the garden make the sweetest bouquets. Display your favorite birdhouses, wind chimes, gardening books. These would all make great Secret Sister, hostess or anytime remembrances, too!

Gateways of any kind seem to bid us welcome.

 Grandma's Country Gate - decorate with country inspired items, old-fashioned treasures, display antiques; display bleeding heart plants to greet all who enter the gate. It has heart-shaped blossoms (1st great lesson & the fellowship of Beta Sigma Phi is LOVE, symbolized by hearts). There are rubber stamps available with bleeding hearts, check greeting cards as well.

 Do you know the wonder & surprise inside the bleeding heart bloom? Pull a single plucked blossom gently apart. "This is what you'll get for Christmas (or, substitute the occasion). Two pretty pink rabbits, a pair of ballerina slippers, two fishing hooks, & a baseball bat." Use your imagination! It is easy to see the surprise each blossom holds.

 Often times, the bleeding heart is called a lady's locket, for it suggests such with the rosy-red & pink candy heart blossoms. It received its name from the outer petals that form a tiny heart, while inside a tiny inner petal 'bleeds' its tip. (Use at a Valentine's Day themed event.)

 Bleeding hearts suggest an old-fashioned garden that gladdens a cottage, & history proves how gardeners were captivated with its charm. This would provide an excellent opportunity to bring out & use those 'time-worn' terra-cotta pots.

 Bleeding hearts would fit well with a Victorian themed party as well.

 Pasture gates. If you grew up on a farm, you know the fun of old pasture gates! Plan a social, using a pasture gate theme. Wear jeans, overalls; bandanas, straw hats, hay bales. Nametags & invitations can include farm animals or plain old farm & pasture gates or barns!

 Plan a hoedown!! Wildflowers could be used in abundance. Use persimmons when they come in season. Find fully ripe ones, remove the seed, carefully split it in half. A bit of imagination reveals a fork, knife & spoon!

 And, go with me here! This is somewhat far-fetched. . .but I think it might have great fun (!) & different possibilities. Some of us have 'Gateway' computers. Recall the cow in the Gateway ads on tv? Plan a social, even a program around 'black & white.' Find a Gateway computer box or any large sized box & have a contest to see who can decorate one that most looks like a cow. Team-up for fun & hilarity! Use cows in your events' invitations & of course, "Moo!" Attach the invitation to a cowbell! Decorate with Queen Anne's Lace. Programs could include a chapter visit around all the Beta Sigma Phi websites using your (Gateway computers): Home Page, Membership, Rushing, Friendly Venture, Torch Department, Gift Department, The Beta Journal, The Strawberry Patch, Wooble's Place On The Net! In fact, go to The Strawberry Patch & just click on a topic of interest to you & voila! You have your program!

 Other theme related socials, programs, yearbook, scrapbook ideas could include:
 old iron gates
 picket fences
 garden benches
 park benches
 use chintz & cottage rose pillows - great with garden accessories
 gazebos - great for ice cream socials
 porch swings
 use old quilts
 use flower-of-the-month theme in yearbooks, scrapbooks--
 accented with garden accessories

 Plan an all-white event:
 use white twinkling Christmas tree lights through climbing vines
 use all white flowers - noticeable during the day, luminous at night
 add white candles, float a few
 decorate gates & gateways all in white

 Program ideas could include:
 Water gardens
 Healing gardens
 Wild animal gardens [elephant ears, snapdragons, foxglove, etc]
 Birds & Bugs gardens [spider plant, parrot tulips, cardinal flower]
 Dog & Cat gardens [cattails, pussy willow, dogwood tree, catnip]
 Farm Animal gardens [goatsbeard, lamb's ear, hens & chicks]
 Chocolate garden --- [chocolate mint, cocoa grass, cocoa palm]

Tools of My Friendship Garden
(by Alda Ellis)

 "The Wheelbarrow - to bear a load when it is too much for us to carry alone.

 The Trowel - to break up the soil, encouraging the roots of friendship to grow deeper. It separates the weeds so they can be tossed and friendship's flower nurtured.

 The Rake - to make tidy and neat our friendship gardens and help gather up what needs to be carried away.

 The Watering Can - to replenish and nurture as it spills out on friendship's plantings."

 With every seed planted, there comes the hope of something wonderful - the promise of a garden. As well, we could say this about friendship!

 Use a 'stepping-stones' idea --- often found leading to or from a gateway to a beautiful garden. The 'stepping-stones' of Beta Sigma Phi:
 1. Beta Sigma Phi is a touchstone for the heart, for it quickens the pulse of life, inspiring one to really want to live.
 2. Beta Sigma Phi is a whetstone for the mind, for it sharpens it, thereby making one more alert. . .more aware of the intriguing paths of learning, through which life is enriched.
 3. Beta Sigma Phi is a stepping stone on a star-paved path; each year is a Milestone along the highway of happiness.

 The torch is the symbol of faith we have in the precepts laid down for us by the Wise Woman of Mantinea. These precepts are the foundation stones, the doors of knowledge, the "open sesame" to a bright & wonderful future.
 Friendship is a beautiful thing; burning not as a brilliant flame, but like embers on hearthstone - steady, warm & glowing.

 Join these precious stones together & you have a chain*. . .each link a friend, joined by love's tie that binds. . .hand to hand, & heart to heart. . .a golden chain of Friendship.

 *Daisies -- make a flower chain of friendship!
 Friendship is akin to Love. It is a golden link in the chain of life holding us together when we are apart.

 The way to appreciate FRIENDSHIP is to keep giving it.
 -Philosophy of Rushing

 "Sometimes we may find it necessary to fly as on the wings of an eagle, with great strength, to defend our ideals and to accomplish the more difficult objectives. At other times we may be compelled to fly as on the wings of the beautiful redbird, who happily sings her lovely song or preens her soft velvety feathers, using the talents with which she is endowed to give pleasure to others. But always we must fly on the wings of the swallow, who follows the leader in perfect formation."
 By Dortha Ellard
 Texas Nu Xi, Alvin

 What would you pick for your bouquet of yellow rose memories?
 Program idea - Give your program on or all about roses. At the end of your program, go around the circle & have each member in the chapter share what her bouquet of yellow rose memories would be. Very insightful & meaningful . . .

 In both happiness & sorrow the heart of a friend is our common need.

 Friendship is the rarest & sweetest flower that grows in the garden of life. Its soil is the human heart. It is planted by honest thought, matured by tears of sympathy & kept alive by good wishes.

 Thoughtfulness is to Friendship as sunshine is to a garden.

 She who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and she who plants kindness gathers love.

 The only rose without thorns is. . .friendship!
 Madeleine de scudery

 Friendship is a word the very sight of which in print makes the heart warm.
 Augustive Birrell

 But friendship, like any other living thing, like love, must be fed & nourished, or it will fade & die. Do things for your friends & with them & allow them to do things for you. Let them know you remember them & value them, that you are happy to be with them, & happy to hear from them. Keep your friendships alive & bright-they are the most valuable things you will ever have.

 Gateway(s) to Friendship using a garden type theme goes well with a tea party of any description. (You can substitute tea with fruit juice, hot chocolate, warm milk, iced tea, etc.) An excellent resource is a book entitled, "The Twelve Teas of Friendship." It was written by Emilie Barnes & Anne Christian Buchanan. Harvest House Publishers, 2001. It is loaded with beautiful, sisterly ideas including ideas for a Gold & Silver Tea, A Hearts-and-Hands Tea, A Shopping Bag Tea, A 'Job-Well-Done' Tea, Share Your Treasure Tea. It's a book filled with inspiration & lovely thoughts.
 This book would make a great gift for a sorority sister for any occasion. Make sure you buy one for yourself!

 Call a friend the next time you:
 feel a 100 lb sack of soil on your back
 weeds choking your path & you need some stardust
 need some homegrown sisterly wisdom

 Tools for gardening include: Tools for life include:
 shovel Grace
 gloves Gratitude
 hoe Faith
 clippers Love
 watering can A Friend like YOU!

 "The hardiest climbers in all the world need sturdy support to show their stuff. Why should friends be any different?"
 -Cheryl Karpen

 Pansies at your Gateway to Friendship symbolize loving thoughts
 Cornflowers represent healing
 Thyme will give you strength & courage
 Violets convey faithfulness
 Johnny Jump-Ups are filled with happy thoughts
 Lily of the Valley encourage a return to happiness

 Plan a Plant-Swapping Social - each bring a cutting from a favorite plant & 'down-to-earth' advice!

 Friends, like flowers, give pleasure just by being.
 -An Old Saying

 If you do a kindly deed,
 If you plant a friendship seed,
 If you share a laugh or song,
 Make amends or right a wrong,
 That strange, new feeling you possess
 Is what is known as happiness!
 -on a greeting card

 Refer to A Springtime Garden of Beta Sigma Phis

 A Friend is someone who makes time to get together when there is no time. . .who puts seeing you ahead of being seen.
 A Friend is someone who senses when to talk & when to listen. . .who knows it's okay to need as well as to be needed.
 A Friend is someone who feels connected to you always. . .who can erase the passage of time with the unexpected sound of her voice.

 How to make a basket of flowers:
 1. Gather three 4-inch doilies to a center point.
 2. Wrap each with a 4-inch piece of floral wire.
 3. Cut three 8-inch strands of Curl Sheen ribbon (your choice of color)
 4. Twist an 8-inch wire around center of ribbons.
 5. Curl.
 6. Place small doilies around ribbon.
 7. Punch hole in center of larger doily
 8. Insert tips of gathered doilies
 9. Securely wrap stem with floral tape, adding leaves when desired.
 10. Place in a basket or favorite container.

 Flowers grow & bloom together
 Reaching out to sun & sky
 In wind & rainstorm still they blossom,
 Each one fragile, yet somehow
 Nourished, strengthened by the others,
 Drawing beauty from their life.

"The beauty of friendship is like the beauty of flowers. . .
There are many kinds, and yet each has unique beauty to offer.
There are friends who share our paths during certain stages of our lives,
while others stay close to us year after year.
Some are vibrant, admired for their strength,
While others are delicate whispers of color
whose gentleness has a special place in our hearts.
We meet many different kinds of friends along life's journey,
Each adding color, joy & beauty to our days."
 - Author Unknown

 Friendship Seeds
 (persona simpatico everlasting)

 Distributed by: Amigo Bueno Seed Co.
 Your City & State
 Aka: my buddy, pal, Bunkie, crony, sidekick, playmate, room-mate, soul-mate, SORORITY SISTER, brother, family dog, FRIEND.

 Most dependable member of the buddy system-benevolent, versatile, & always there. Enjoys being helpful in emergencies; can fix a flat, baby-sit, all while holding your hand. Thrives on telling you how good you look; will eat anything you can cook. Grows across the miles, or in your own backyard, wherever there's a crisis or a good laugh. Grows best when sharing!

 Planting Directions
 When to Plant: Everyday, or during crisis-when you're in a bad way, a glad way, or a family way. . .usually at 3 AM.
 Where to Plant: Next to corn for a sympathetic ear; on a bridge over troubled water, or when there's a storm at sea. Plant in a bind, in a fix, up a creek--& you know "you've got a Friend."
 Care & Feeding: Likes mutual understanding & favors, kindness, laughter & a heart-to-heart. Feed confidence, comradery, Sisterhood & cookies till dawn for a lifesaver, forever, with no holes barred!
 About the Bouquet: Enjoy! 'Friends & Flowers are much the same. When they're together, something beautiful happens!'

 Idea for using Friendship Seeds. . .
 Get 6 of something . . . 1 of each color of our attributes - red, yellow, blue, orange, green, violet
 Put in baggie, tie with ribbon.
 Examples: Colored lifesavers, M & M's, mini-pom-poms found in craft stores, punch-hole dots. Seeds don't have to be big & rarely are! Punch out hearts in the attribute colors. Anything small & colorful will work.
 Punch hearts in various colors, glue to any size card or paper; draw stem & leaves for a heart-shaped flower. Sky is the limit on what you can do with these 'seeds'. The important thing to remember is to . . . plant them!

(from the Rushing Dept, Beta Sigma Phi Int'l)

 This is a great idea for a rush party, or a get-together where you plan informally to explain Beta Sigma Phi to prospective members. Could be easily used around a garden party theme & works very well with our Gateway to Friendship theme.

Recipe for Dirt Cake

1 stick butter or margarine
8 oz cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
2 3-1/2 oz. pkgs vanilla instant pudding
3-1/2 cups milk
12 oz. Cool Whip
1 20 oz. pkg Oreo cookies
1 new large clay pot (or use small individual ones)
aluminum foil
1 pkg gummi worms (optional)

Mix first 3 ingredients; set aside. Mix next 2 ingredients in separate bowl. Fold in Cool Whip; then combine the two bowls of creamy filling. Crumble Oreos and fill foil-lined flowerpot with alternating layers of cookie crumbs and cream filling (add gummi worms between layers). Serve with a new clean garden trowel!

A Sisterhood Salad
Prepared by

(Name of Your Chapter)

Setting: A table, spread with a plain cloth. A large salad bowl is centered on the table.

Cast: In order of appearance -

 Vice President
 Recording Secretary
 Corresponding Secretary
 Social Chairman
 Program Chairman
 Service Chairman
 Ways and Means Chairman
 Telephone Chairman
 Member (representing the Membership)

Vice President: Welcome to "Lettuce Entertain You: A Sisterhood Salad," as
Prepared by the members of ____________________
 (Chapter name)
In making any recipe, we all know that if you leave out any one ingredient, your recipe can be a flop! And the same is true in our sorority. Each member adds something unique to our group, and without any one of us, the Chapter might not work as well. So we are glad to have you join us tonight, because you, too, add a new and different dimension to our chapter!
President: (Adding the first ingredient, lettuce, to the bowl) - Ever heard of A "honeymoon" salad? Lettuce alone? But seriously, a chapter's success is based on a blend of good planning and leadership that provides each chapter member opportunities to pursue her goals of social and cultural enrichment.
Vice President: (Adding sliced tomatoes) - Add the enthusiasm of new members, and mix gently with the established membership until smooth relationships and friendship are achieved.
Recording Secretary: (Adding chopped hard-boiled eggs) - Add egg-citement! Contact with Beta Sigma Phi International keeps us informed about sisters around the world, and our recorded minutes and attendance at each chapter meeting help to do the same for them.
Corresponding Secretary: (Adding bacon bits) - We flavor all our social correspondence with the warmth and friendliness that reflects who we are - and what we are about.
Treasurer: (Adding grated cheese) - Our chapter members are always grateful for financial sense that coordinates an accurate and stable account to fulfill obligations, serve others, and set aside a bit for our social enjoyment.
Social Chairman: (Adding pinch of salt) - Without a dash of fun and happy times, we'd be a dull group. Our activities with one another and our loved ones add the spice to our friendship.
Program Chairman: (Adding cup or two of croutons) - We put in something for each member - enlightening, entertaining programs that stretch us - that give us something to chew on.
Service Chairman: (Adding cup of broccoli or other green vegetable) - We all feel satisfied and good about ourselves when we help others through our service projects.
Ways/Means Chairman: (Adding a splash of lemon juice) - A little zip added to our chapter's treasury provides what we need to cover our needs - and be able to give to others, too.
Telephone Chairman: (Adding salad dressing) - We want to spread the good word about Beta Sigma Phi - so we keep all members informed about each activity and opportunity.
Member: (Tossing the salad) - When we mix all these ingredients together, we create a wonderful blend of different tastes and talents. Each member contributes her personal 'flavor.' We want you to get to know and enjoy us all!
Vice President: Each of has added the special touch of our own personalities and gifts to this Sisterhood Salad. But we think it needs one more ingredient to be perfect - and that's why we're glad you're here with us tonight. (Passes out carrot mementoes). We want each of you to take home these specially grown carrots. A pledge agreement for you is attached. To become a part of our Sisterhood Salad, open the pledge agreement just above the section where I've signed as your sponsor, fill out the information, choose the payment plan most convenient for you, and return the form to me. We're planning to make this salad again on _________ (date of ritual). That's the date of the ritual that will make your entrance (GATEWAY TO FRIENDSHIP) into Beta Sigma Phi a memorable event, a day you will always remember. On behalf of all the members of _________ (Chapter name), I invite you now to be a part of our Sisterhood Salad. And now, let's eat!

 Gather names: for your guest list. Invite those whom you think would enjoy what Beta Sigma Phi has to offer & who would make good members.

 Select the party site: This party can be adapted to any season & any setting, but if weather & timing allow, it's perfect for a backyard, patio, courtyard, garden area.

 Invitations: Create your own or do what the members of Florida Delta Delta, Tampa did. They designed their invitations to look like seed packets with a map to the hostess' home as the "suggested planting time and guide."

 Decorations: Take a cue from Mother Nature herself! What could be prettier than a room, porch, patio, courtyard filled with vases of wild or garden flowers or blooming potted plants? Or baskets of strawberries, other fresh fruit or vegetables that can later be given away as favors, door prizes or eaten for dessert! FL Delta Delta decorated the front door of their party site to look like a giant version of the seed packet design.

 Name tags: Refer to sample art in theme clip art - (garden trowel & potted flower.)

 Mixers/Games/Activities: Remember the fun of playing "Mr. Potato Head?" Try your own version, having guests do self-portraits using a variety of vegetable parts for eyes, ears, nose, celery strings or corn silk for hair. Votes on the best/funniest portrait will get everyone involved.

 Entertainment: Show your guests how a chapter works together with your own presentation of "Lettuce Entertain You: A Sisterhood Salad." Adapt the script to describe your own chapter and its members - and have fun with it! Program handouts will help your guests remember your cast of characters.

 Food: Cultivate new friends with great food! What's a more obvious choice for a garden party than a buffet of garden salads, and delicious Dirt Cake for dessert. Offer iced tea and a pretty party punch made with lime sherbet, ginger ale and 7-up.

 Favors/Prizes: Small potted plants (marigolds, petunias, or herbs - rosemary is for remembrance!) are inexpensive and make a lasting take-home keepsake. Attach a card saying "As this plant grows and flourishes, so will your friendship and sisterhood in Beta Sigma Phi." Or try this great idea for "Stuffed Carrots" sent to us by California Tau Eta, Hemet member Carolyn Goldback:

 1] Cut 6" x 10" rectangles of orange cellophane and twist into a cone, affixing with two sided tape.
 2] Stuff cones with jelly beans or M & M's.
 3] Insert Easter grass strings in the top and twist and secure with a strand of the grass.

Little Extras

It's the special touches that will impress your guests and make your rushing party a success. For instance, try serving your party punch in half-pint canning jars. Place the party name tags in a moss-lined basket placed near the entry. When possible, serve up your party food with trowels and mini-shovels, wearing bright, flowery garden gloves as you serve the food. Pour the punch from a large watering can (be careful it's not a sprinkler). Add lemon to tea from a spray plant mister.

Do you need theme seals or theme charms for your party? Call the Beta Sigma Phi Gift Department, 1-800-821-3989 or email:

...Instructions on how to make Seed Pockets...
(from Michaels Arts & Crafts Magazine Jan/Feb 96)


Brown paper bags
Natural quilt batting
Pinking shears
Hot glue gun & glue sticks
Jute or twine
Black Sharpie marker
Fray check
Dried flowers of your choice and baby's breath
Acrylic paints in following colors, (or use the colors of choice):
 Bright green
 Pale yellow


1. Trace design from pattern onto brown paper with black Sharpie marker.  (Or, photocopy design directly onto brown paper.)

Click on thumbnail
Image is 500 x 501
Click on thumbnail
Image is 500 x 541
Click on thumbnail
Image is 500 x 519
2. Paint banners, leaves & flowers with a light wash of color.
3. After acrylic paint has dried, go over lettering & any other areas with marker as needed.
4. Cut out pockets with pinking shears.
5. Glue pockets to batting.
6. Pink edges of batting 1/4 inch larger all around than pocket.
7. Glue batting to a second layer of brown paper, leaving top edge open.
8. Pink edges of bottom layer of brown paper 1/4 inch larger than batting.
9. Glue dried flowers into pocket, accenting with baby's breath.
10. Tie a small bow in the center of a length of jute.
11. Secure knot with Fray-Check.
12. Tie jute ends together in a knot.
13. Glue strip of brown paper over knot.

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