Sunday, September 30, 2012

Dessert shower

Back earlier this month, Mark and I helped host a dessert party for Lauren and Billy. Lauren is the daughter of our choir director and his wife (they just happen to be our friends!!!). Lauren and Billy wanted a couple's party and we tried something new. I will admit that there were pros and cons (from a hosting stand point) but I think that the bride and groom enjoyed the party and they received some lovely gifts.  

I volunteered to make the big flower arrangement because I had seen the one at Whitney's tea and knew that I could do that arrangement.  Mark's mother allowed me to borrow her big round bowl.  I was so worried that we would somehow break it.  Mark's daddy gave it to his momma for Valentine's day - one of the last ones that he was alive!!!  I thought I could just run up to Costco or to Whole Foods and get the white glads BUT NO!  NO ONE had them.  I remembered that our church has an account with two different wholesale florists so I called the church office to make sure that I could use the account and then I called both places.  The first wholesale florist said, "nope."  Crud!!!!  So I called the other florist and YES!! She had them.  Each bunch had 10 stems so I asked her to hold two bunches for me. 

I had on nasty shorts and a t-shirt and the florist said they were closing at 3:00 so I just ran out and jumped in the car.  OF COURSE, I ran into someone who was in my graduating class from high school.  She had on a cute red dress and make up and jewelry.  I HAD ON A NASTY T-SHIRT AND SHORTS.  It never fails.  If I go out looking like crud . . .I will see people.  I need to remember that.  Odds are . . .I won't remember.  So here is my arrangement.  I think it looks pretty good!!  Phella made the smaller arrangement that you can see behind (roses) and they went in the dining room.

I made two pumpkin rolls.  Oh my goodness . . .I love pumpkin rolls.  They are just so yummy.  I made pumpkin rolls years ago when the bride and her family came to our house for Sunday lunch and the bride loved them.  I had forgotten that BUT she remembered and was so excited that I had made them for the shower.  The hostesses all used Arthur Court and silver pieces and crystal and black and white.

I also made a double batch of iced hearts.  I used Mark's momma's (her name is Susie but I always call her Mark's momma . . she has never said I could call her anything else) recipe.  On the top of the recipe, I have written these words, "Mark's favorite cookie."  He does love these cookies.  I had to dig around in the attic to find my silver tray.  I knew that I received one as a wedding gift all those years ago.  I polished and polished and polished and finally put some doilies on it and layered the cookies.
This is the back of the home where the party was located.  Isn't it lovely?  They are going to add a pool in that backyard.  I think I'm going to have to invite myself often.
Here is a shot of the table right before everyone arrived.  I also made the coffee/chocolate punch . . . and now I own a punchbowl!!  The punch is so decadent and delicious.  We did have a cheese and cracker tray and some nuts and some fruit in addition to all of the desserts.  We also had buck-eye balls and fudge and Kahlua cheesecakes and lemon bars.  The pro was that the food was lovely and tasted great.  The con is that we (and probably some others) didn't have time to eat dinner beforehand.  A few bites of sweets when you are really hungry for regular food is not always a good thing.  Kind of makes you feel yucky.

The bride and groom enjoyed seeing their friends.

Mark enjoyed seeing his cousin.

The bride opened their gifts.  The received several sets of wine glasses and towels and other nice things including a Ninja blender.

oh - we had luminaries lining the long back drive all the way up to the house.

Here is another shot of the table.

Here is a shot of the hostesses minus one.  The bride and groom are in the middle.

Showers are fun! I hope that Lauren and Billy had a great time and have a long and happy life together.

Friday, September 28, 2012

working on the mantle

I love seeing pictures in magazines of beautiful mantles and mine has never looked that great. Forever (and I mean like 15 years!!) I had fake topiaries on the end of the mantle (one on each end) and I decided that I hated them this year. I started really looking at magazines and I looked on pinterest trying to find a look that would work. I knew that I had to keep the mirror. Don't ask why . . .really, I think Mark wants to keep the mirror. He is really funny about some changes in the house!! Which is funny to me!! So I started working and buying and I had an idea in mind.  This was my first attempt.  (disregard the green packages - those are door prizes for the young adult group that meets at our house on Tuesday nights!!)  I sent a picture of this mantle to Laura and she said, "NOPE - you can't have the gold "E" next to the gold mirror.

So on the next Tuesday night, I asked Lydia.  Her degree is in interior design.  (not decorating mind you but I know that she is like Laura and they have a good "eye" for color and balance.)  Lydia said the same thing about the gold "E" so I moved it to the left and they both liked it better. Laura loved that they both agreed!!  (look - the presents in the basket are now blue!!)

Then a few nights later as I was sitting in my chair looking at the mantle, I thought - aha!  I need to raise up the "sticks" . . .so I added old books that we just happened to have on hand.  One of them is the Alabama history book that Mark had in some grade.  His momma had saved it and it had made its way to my house.
The lighting isn't very good in this last picture but I'm pretty happy with the mantle now.  I bought the "E" and the urn and the sticks at Hobby Lobby.  I believe those are called "bare branches" but you know me - sticks will do.  On the right, is a piece of pottery made in Wadley, AL which is a teeny tiny town where my husband's family has a farm.  The Wadley potter made that piece and it was given to us by Mrs. McKay so it is priceless!!  (just to us)  The church was given to me as a Sunday School teacher gift from someone in our class and I purchased the cross at Hobby Lobby.  If you look back up at one of the other pictures, you can see a gorgeous tile with a hand painted cross on it.  Lynn and Joe, sweet friends, gave that to me for Christmas one year and it has always had a place of honor.  On the right is a giant basket that one of my preacher friends (Dave) gave me.  It is from Africa.  I love having pieces/items/art in my house and in my office that have meaning.  The chair that you can see to the right belonged to someone in Mark's family and we've had it for 28 years and we've had it recovered twice and restuffed and refinished!  The Audobon prints that you can see reflected in the mirror were purchased on our trip to Washington, D.C. when our sweet babies were just four months old.  We brought them home on the airplane as "carry on" luggage!!  Big rolled up paintings (prints) . . .stuck between our knees.

I don't think I have achieved a pottery barn mantle but I think I have achieved a simple mantle that has meaning to me!!  Our faith is the most important thing and family and friends are next so all of those elements are combined right there on the mantle and hearth!!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Celebration goes on and on, my friend . . .

Well . . .I'm running a little over a month behind on my blog. I have such good intentions of blogging every day or every other day . . .and then I get busy . . .or realize that I don't have anything to write about!! In August, we celebrate Mark's birthday. Our first celebration was dinner at PF Changs with our best friends, Guy and Phella. I don't have a picture from that night but the food, fellowship and conversation were really good. Can you tell that I am all about the relationship? I love our friends and family!! Guy wrapped Mark's present in a t-shirt and it was a great gift. The gift was a really cool shirt which Mark has worn several times and Guy wrapped it in a t-shirt from "Mark's" sporting goods and he wrapped it so that the word "Mark's" was on top . . .kind of cool - a Mark's shirt for Mark!! Our next celebration was on Tuesday night - his actual birthday. I emailed all of the young adults that attend and asked them to bring a funny card for Mark and I ordered a cake for our dessert.

We had a great group that night and it was fun to celebrate with the young adults.  Mark received some funny cards!!

We were getting ready to sing in this one . . ..

and there is no telling what Mark said that made Lydia laugh so hard . . .

Our next celebration was a multiple birthday celebration on the Sunday after Mark's birthday.  Since Mark is an identical twin, we celebrated both Mark and George's birthdays AND we celebrated Bill's birthday which is also in August.  Bill is their younger brother.  Mark's momma usually makes three cakes but Mark and George convinced her that they would share a carrot cake this year so she only had to make two cakes.  Mark brought his leftover cake home and cut it into slices and froze them and he has been eating on it ever since.  He ate the last piece this week after a particularly stressful day.

Bill had to blow out a lot of candles . . .but he is not as old as Mark and George!!  We don't ever put the right number.  Sometimes I put three - past, present and future.

I love this one - they were trying to see who could blow out the candles first and fastest.

Mark's mom tries to make everyone's birthday special . . .and we always celebrate birthdays at her house on Sunday only!!

This year, the celebration did indeed go on and on . . .for at least a week!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Whitney's Wedding Tea

Sunday afternoon "wedding teas" are a big thing in our area of the country. A party is planned with a dozen or so hostesses. Assignments are made regarding the food and drink. Someone is assigned to purchase the "hostess gift" for the bride.  Silver trays are polished.  Flowers are arranged.  Teas are a big deal here in the south.  My job was to provide two recipes of punch.  It was delicious . . . .but you will never believe what happened.  I made the two recipes and froze them in plastic containers.  When it was time to refill the punch bowl for the second time, I grabbed the other container out of the fridge and started to pour into the punch bowl.  My friend, Donna, was helping me because it is tricky to put a frozen chunk into the bowl without splashing.  We finished replinishing the bowl and Donna served the next glass of punch to one of the lovely ladies and there was a piece of plastic in the punch cup. . . .oh no!!!!  So I grabbed the container and looked and an edge of the plastic container had popped off due to the fact that the plastic was frozen solid.  We were hoping that the sliver of plastic would match the empty place on the container but alas . . .it did not.  WHICH MEANT THAT THERE WAS STILL PLASTIC IN THE BOWL and there were still people to be served.  Donna very carefully and very slowly ladled (is that even a word?) the punch into the cups trying to watch for plastic.  We had a few reports of other cups with plastic.  What to do?  We were in a quandary.  But we just kept smiling and kept serving.  Isn't that what any southern lady would do?????  We decided (and hoped and prayed) that the plastic was small enough that it wouldn't hurt anyone.  I am laughing as I read this because I am sure that we looked like Lucy and Ethel from the old "I Love Lucy" show.  I'm going to chalk this one up as an "oops!!"

I love this arrangement of gladiolas so much!  I'm not much of a flower arranger but when I saw this bouquet that Angela had made, I realized that I could do this one (and you will see one that I made in a future post!!)

I love the little bride on her table - you can see her from the back in the center of the table.  Angela has a true gift when it comes to flower arrangements.  Angela also has a gorgeous home.  She hosted the tea for our daughter-in-law, Lauren a couple of years ago.

This is a picture of most of the hostesses.  I know at least one hostess was out of town on this day.  The bride is in the middle and her sweet mother-in-law to be is on the right in the gorgeous fuchsia/purple dress.  I'm hiding in the back - second from the left.  I did have on a new turquoise dress that was really quite lovely . . .and my cohort in punch bowl crime is on the far right.

The sweet bride was opening her gift from the hostesses (in the picture below).

Since the bride and groom are both in medical school and live out of town, they were in town only for the weekend.  Some other friends hosted a couple's party on Saturday night and we were able to attend that party the night before.  It was an "around the house" shower and the hostesses had planned a mexican fiesta.  The food was really good and the margaritas were delicious and the couple received lots of nice presents at both events.

Sunday afternoon wedding teas are a wonderful southern tradition. I love this tradition! I think I have "trained" my daughter well to continue this tradition.  She can make a pretty platter or a flower arrangement when needed!!  Mark's momma (grandmother to our daughter) taught me and I think we've passed that on to Laura.  The good thing is that here in Alabama we "do" teas often so even if you don't have a clue about how to host one, you can watch and learn from the best (like my mother-in-law and Angela!!)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

war eagle wreath made with mesh ribbon

I have been amazed at how many people have re-pinned my wreath on Pinterest. Everyone has asked me, "did you get your idea from Pinterest?"  No, I didn't.  I was in Fairhope, AL and I was walking around the shops (a couple of years ago) and this mesh ribbon was brand new. (quick note -- sorry for my jumping train of thought -- if you have never been to Fairhope, AL . . .you need to go.  There are all sorts of wonderful little shops and some good restaurants.)  When I was there,  all of the shops were decorated with the mesh ribbon and I fell in LOVE with it.  So I bought some brown and some gold (pretty much the only colors they had left - everything else was sold out!!) and I used it last year for Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations. (you can see my decorations here -  I knew that I wanted to make a wreath with mesh ribbon so I started googling for directions.  I found several sites with directions and thought I would share my own.

I purchased my supplies at Hobby Lobby and the beauty was the fact that I had a GIFT CARD!!  My friends in the office all went together and bought a gift card for me for my birthday (back in JUNE!).  They know me well and they know how much I like to craft and sew.  I bought a roll each of orange and blue - War Eagle - Auburn colors.  I love working on my kitchen table - best place in the world to work!!

As you can see, I have $25 worth of supplies (not counting the wire used in wrapping the ribbon).  Each roll of Deco Mesh Ribbon was $9.99 and the large wreath was $4.99.  If you had a 40% off coupon, you could save some dollars.  If you are in Hobby Lobby and don't have a coupon, look up their website on your phone while you are waiting in line.  If there is a coupon available, they will scan it from your phone!!  While I was in Hobby Lobby, I also bought red and green and plan to make another wreath for Christmas.  I don't know if I will use it on the front door or on the mantel perhaps????

The directions are quite simple.  Simply take some craft wire and grab and handful of blue and orange together and wire it to the frame.  Then there are the little braces - see above - right above the price tag and right below the blue.  At every brace and also in the middle between the braces, bunch up some of the mesh ribbon into your hand and wire it to the form.  I thought that surely all the other folks were wrong.  Surely, I just needed to do it on the crossbar braces - not in between, too.  WRONG!!  All those other people were right!!  The wreath is not full enough if you try to skimp.

I love the way it turned out.  Our house is up on a hill and you can see the wreath really well from the street.  I've seen other wreaths where they wind other types of ribbon around and put big wooden letters in the middle.  Those are nice but for some reason, I wanted simple!!

This picture didn't load the first time - here is the wreath in progress.  Oh - one thing I forgot to tell you.  I twisted the mesh ribbon as I went along so that the orange and blue would be dispersed throughout -- otherwise, it would be all orange on the top and all blue on the bottom.  Make sense?

It took me a couple of hours on a Saturday afternoon to make the wreath and it was a great way to spend my time.  I'm very happy with my creation!!  Our football team is not playing very well this year but I can still say,
"Waaaaaar Eagle!!!"

Monday, September 10, 2012

Getting ready for Baby Sam!!

I sure do love working with so many young adults. I love the fact that they all keep having babies and we keep having baby showers. Some of Vaughan's friends hosted the cutest shower for her. Each guest received an invitation and in the invitation was a piece of clothing - either a onesie, a cap or a bib. I received a bib. We were asked to decorate the item of clothing and bring the item (along with our gift) to the shower.  We were told via a note that during the shower, Vaughan would guess who decorated which piece of clothing. 

When we arrived at the shower, the hostesses had a clothesline and they pinned each bib, cap and onesie on the line. I wish I had taken a picture because it was so cute. She had college themed items and church themed items and little boy items. So cute and so creative. Many people either monogrammed on the item or had an applique applied.  I never even thought to take my item to someone else to sew, etc.  I immediately started trying to think of how I wanted to decorate.  I decided to go with a holiday item because every little boy needs a Christmas bib.  I used my silhouette SD to cut a paper pattern and then traced onto adhesive felt.  I am not sure how well it will wash . . .but maybe he can wear it at least once.  I am showcasing sweet Sam's bib over a glass filled with frozen margarita!!

We also always have an office shower.  Amy had purchased the great lanterns for the shower that I attended (above).  She brought them to the office so we could use them for decorating the office.  Perfect!!  We have to do something to make it "feel" like a party.

Ann's (the business administrator) daughter made the cake.

We had all sorts of other goodies - nuts and punch and little pinwheel sandwiches and raw veggies and dip.  When we plan showers in the office, we just put a sign up sheet at the receptionist's desk and ask everyone to sign up to bring something.  We always end up with a great assortment.

You can tell that Vaughan was ready to have that baby!!

Let's see. . .we have Ann and Linda and Karen and Jeanne sitting on the front row.  That is Twink on the back row.  Don't you just love her name?  I wish you could see her sweet face!!  Amy is sitting next to her and then Hans and Mary are standing in the background.

They received all sorts of sweet gifts including diapers from the office.  One of the new trends is for babies to wear cloth diapers.  What goes around comes around.  The diapers are so fancy these days.  The diaper snaps into a cover and you can even get a hose that attaches to the toilet to rinse the diapers.  Smart people created that!!!  One friend says that she lays the diapers out in the sunshine so that they will bleach out and remain white!!!

I think this picture is so cute of Drew and Vaughan . . .and now baby Sam has arrived and they are a sweet family of three!!