Sep 15, 2017

Vintage Storybook Wedding Sign

Every part of this breathtaking storybook wedding sign speaks to me in so many ways. First I can recreate this look without spending a dime. Above the garage is an attic full of weathered vintage books - once read and lingered over in a comfortable lawn chair on Sunday afternoons - worn pages now turning brown and collecting dust. There's every reason to believe I already have twine in the tool box and a trusty black marker to write this sweet and sentimental message. Or maybe I will use "I have found the one my soul loves" from the Song of Solomon, or better yet "You put your arms around me and I am home." Everyone of these so beautiful, maybe I'll just use all three.

Sep 5, 2017

Personalized Groomsmen Whiskey Glasses

What I love about these personalized whiskey glasses for groomsmen is at the time of this writing, they sell for less than ten dollars each. The bad news is, you'll pay more than that for shipping but there's a good reason for that. These affordable engraved whiskey glasses have straight sides and an extra thick bottom which minimizes the potential for breakage. With a chip-resistant rim by Libbey (making quality glassware since 1892), this glass is backed by a lifetime guarantee. All of the engravings are dishwasher safe with your choice of sixteen different trendy designs. Look for a discounted price on shipping at checkout when ordering a set of these stylish groomsmen glasses from The Engravery.

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Aug 27, 2017

Moisturizing Brown Sugar Scrub

What I love about this brown sugar scrub recipe (from Stephanie at Somewhat Simple) compared to so many others is the addition of Vitamin E oil - an amazing nutrient that fights off wrinkles, neutralizes free radicals and boosts collagen production. What we all desire most - keeping our skin lovely that much longer. Vitamin E can be purchased in capsule form and punctured to release the incredible skin rejuvenating oil for topical application. (A pediatrician advised me this is also a very effective way to reduce scars.) Compare the price of one cup of this easy homemade sugar scrub (sugar is 40 cents per pound and coconut oil about fifty cents per ounce) to what you'll pay ($39.00) for a seven ounce jar of Brown Sugar Body Polish available at Sephora.


Vanilla Brown Sugar Scrub Recipe

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vitamin E oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.  Store in a small Mason jar or other airtight container.
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Aug 26, 2017

Irresistible Chocolate Wedding Dessert Idea

This breathtaking chocolate wedding dessert table will appeal to guests of all ages: mini chocolate cupcakes and whoopie pies for the kids, and chocolate cake and macarons for more sophisticated tastes. (I'm on the fence about caramel covered grapes - they seem a little out of place with these decadent chocolate themed desserts.) There's no mystery as to why this display works so well. Every mouthwatering piece of chocolate is presented on a variety of levels: buttercream cupcakes positioned on top of a vintage trunk, Rocky Road Squares on a weathered wooden box, and one and three-tiered cupcake stands in an eye catching variety of silver, metal and glass.

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Must See Bridal Shower Mimosa Bar

This amazing bridal shower Mimosa bar is begging me to fill my glass with ice cold champagne, freshly squeezed orange juice and a little dash of Grand Marnier or tasty Triple Sec. Let's do that before I have to wrap a total stranger in toilet paper - making a flattering sweetheart neckline, a fitted bodice and dramatic full skirt. The finished design of this ten minute wedding dress competition will only look better after a stiff cocktail or two. If you must, bring on the bridal shower Jeopardy, Bingo or "How well do you know the Bride?" But first, Mimosas served in tall champagne flutes with beautiful sliced berries on the rim of each glass.

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Aug 18, 2017

Unforgettable Apple Flavored Cocktail

My thanks to Dan whose blog ("fun food that's also crazy good") includes family dinner recipes, party food and cocktails - from a man's point of view, for sharing this easy apple flavored cocktail that is perfect for late summer or early fall. It's a cider based drink served cold, that will be more than welcome as these hot and humid days linger before and after the kids go back to school. His recipe is for one serving, so up the ingredients to suit your party needs. Smirnoff makes a Kissed Caramel vodka - visit their website for a collection of caramel vodka cocktail recipes. Dan's easy recipe calls for "apple liquor" but I think he means apple liqueur (a light fruit liqueur made with sun-ripened apples).

  • 1 1/2 oz. caramel vodka
  • 1/2 oz. apple liquor
  • 3 oz. cider
1. Put all three ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake vigorously.
2. Strain into a martini glass.
3. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and thinly sliced apple.

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Aug 16, 2017

Bride Wears Late Grandma's Beautiful Beaded Gown

Just when I needed a bit of good news. Like Madison Kantzer, I never had a chance to meet my mother's parents or my father's, for that matter. But she had in her mother's possession, an exquisite hand beaded and embroidered dress that once belonged to the grandmother she never knew. She looked like a vision when she wore it to a bar mitzvah over fifty years ago. Amazingly, the three-quarter-sleeve gown needed no alterations at all, just repair to replace a few missing beads. Even the length appears picture perfect - only a slip was added to the mostly sheer ensemble. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story Madison, everyone who reads this will be touched by your tender devotion.


Aug 8, 2017

Must See Metallic Mason Jars

I must have these metallic Mason jars - especially in rose gold. A friend of mine spray paints everything from furniture to picture frames, tables to trash cans. Things I didn't know wanted or needed to be painted at all. I wish I shared her joy. It turns out there are two brands of metallic spray paint that even I can use to upgrade these beautiful glass jars - especially since I was lucky enough to score ten of these for $1.00 at a local church rummage sale. Rust-Oleum carries a lovely pearl metallic spray paint in Champagne Pink Mist and Sea Green Mist for about $7.00 on Amazon. Krylon carries copper, silver, gold, rose gold and dusty pink. At Walmart, both brands are about two dollars less.

Gold Metallic Mason Jar Centerpiece
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Aug 6, 2017

Enchanting Bohemian Table Setting

I want to eat at this bohemian style table, rub my hands over the soft, weathered wood and breathe in the fragrance of these freshly cut garden roses. It matters not if I dine on Tenderloin of Beef with a Rich Bordelaise Sauce or two beef patties and Big Mac sauce sandwiched between a sesame seed bun. Sitting across and sharing a meal with my loved ones under these tall elegant tapers makes sitting on the sofa watching yet another rerun of Little Women LA seem like a sin. You or I might expect to see such a breathtaking table setting at a bohemian style wedding. Why not try something this enchanting tonight - in the comfort of your own home?

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Aug 5, 2017

Unbelieveable Bundt Cake Pans from Williams Sonoma

I was actually looking for healthly cranberry dessert ideas on Pinterest when I found this breathtakingly beautiful cranberry orange bundt cake from Tutti Dolci. As I was taking in this stunning glazed cake with sugar dusted cranberries, I found Laura's source for these unbelieveable bundt cake pans - Williams Sonoma. There's just no telling how little I paid for the yellow aluminum bundt cake pan that has served me so well for birthdays, birthday showers and afternoon tea. Today I found this vintage pan on eBay for $5.99.  (Williams Sonoma bundt cake pans sell for slightly less than thirty dollars each.) Bigger and better parties call for something more grandiose - a stunning cake pan with perfect sweeping curves that makes a bundt cake even more beautiful with a clear glaze or light dusting of sifted confectioners' sugar.

Williams Sonoma Bundt Cake Pans
Nordic Ware Heritage Bundt Pan 

Aug 3, 2017

DIY Kahlua Wedding Favors

Many thanks to Evermine Blog for instructions on making these Kahlua wedding favors with 4 oz. amber Boston round bottles purchased from Specialty Bottle. You may already have everything you need - white and brown sugar, pure vanilla extract, vodka and instant expresso powder. The instructions are simple - heat the water, sugar and expresso powder in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Once the mixture has cooled, add the vodka and vanilla extract. Kahlua can also be used as a topping on ice cream, cupcakes and desserts. Here is their homemade Kahlua recipe - a coffee flavored liqueur originally from Mexico - that will be a warm and well-loved winter wedding gift.

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Aug 1, 2017

Exquisite Vintage Frame Centerpiece

This breathtaking gold vintage frame centerpiece with matching candle holder is deceptively expensive looking but is yours to recreate for less than you'd expect. Today at Wayfair I found a beautiful Baroque gold style metallic picture frame - that will easily hold a 4 x 6 photo or piece of white cardstock with a quote like this) for less than four dollars! A velvet easel backing makes it convenient to rest on a stack of books or stand alone. Search online for free fonts - is where I always go - and download a half a dozen of your favorite calligraphy styles. Find cheap wooden candle holders at your local thrift store and spray with gold metallic paint to match your frames.

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Jul 24, 2017

20 Unforgettable Mexican Wedding Ideas

These unforgettable Mexican wedding ideas reflect a refreshing and colorful culture that embraces freedom and taking chances. A deep love of God and devotion to family and well-loved friends. Feeling free to paint your house hot pink or purple - something you won't see here in the United States. One of the more beautiful Mexican wedding traditions involves the selection of padrinos (godfathers) and madrinas (godmothers) who sponsor and support different parts of the wedding including the cake, the rings, the flowers and even the bride's wedding dress. I love the idea that a whole community would get involved in a Mexican themed wedding, and in many towns across Mexico, that is exactly what they eagerly do.

A Mexican style dessert bar would always include polvorones
(a crumbly, shortbread cookie made of flour, sugar, milk and almonds)
and tres leches cupcakes, a sponge cake soaked in condensed milk,
 evaporated milk and heavy cream. 

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Jul 19, 2017

Polaroid Guest Book Photo Album

This Polaroid guest book photo album is fun and refreshing - a cherished keepsake. American scientist Edwin Land invented the instant camera in 1948 because his young daughter complained, "Why can't I see the picture now?" I honestly didn't know you could still purchase a Polaroid camera - like a Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Camera - a best seller on Amazon for $65 (available in smokey white, ice blue, flamingo pink and lime green). The reviews are really mixed on this camera and you'll need to decide if it's worth the cost to recreate this photo guest book idea (with 2 x 3 inch photos) for only one special event. The retro kraft photo corners shown below are also available on Amazon - 250 for just seven dollars and change.

Jul 12, 2017

Unforgettable Garden Wedding Table Settings

For me these garden wedding table settings are so stunning and something I won't soon forget. I want to dine on these gold-rimmed china plates near the beautiful pink and white azaleas we grow here in Virginia that were tricked into blooming early because of the heat. I want to drink Blackberry Merlot from golden vintage goblets under the shade of the flowering dogwood trees. An indoor reception makes you wonder - how long will this big party last? Do I need to order one more lemon drop martini ASAP before the bar shuts down and the band plays "So Long, It's Been Good To Know You"? An outdoor garden wedding reception suggests - stay and linger, breathe in the perfume of these red garden roses. This is the day of our dreams, so let's make these magic moments last.

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Jul 10, 2017

Fruit Pizza - Easy Summer Dessert!

I was looking for the perfect fruit pizza, one I could serve at a summer bridal shower, birthday party or afternoon tea. If I had to make the crust from scratch using butter and flour and sugar and all the rest, and then whip up a big batch of homemade icing using powdered sugar, vanilla, more butter and milk - I wouldn't have the energy to make the chicken salad sandwiches or greet my guests. That's why I love this easy fruit pizza by Sunshine Crawford that you can customize with your own favorite summer fruits like the blueberries, kiwi and freshly sliced strawberries shown below.

Fruit Pizza Recipe

  • 1 packaged sugar cookie mix (I like Betty Crocker)
  • 8 ounces cream cheese - softened
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Prepare sugar cookie mix as directed and spread evenly on a slightly greased pizza pan.
3.  Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until crust is slightly brown around the outside.
4.  Beat softened cream cheese, vanilla and powdered sugar until smooth and creamy.
5.  Spread evenly on cooled cookie crust.
6.  Rinse fruit and let dry.
7.  Arrange fruit on top of cream cheese layer - starting on the outside in a circular pattern.

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Jul 8, 2017

Romantic Silhouette Wedding Cake Toppers

Etsy has a beautiful variety of romantic silhouette cake toppers made from 1/8 inch black acrylic that will sit nicely on a five to eight inch top tier wedding cake. These are the three silhouette toppers that I love best - without the links - because these shops, they come and they go. And I don't like sending you on a wild goose chase. If you were both burning with desire and laughed yourself silly at Wesley and his quirky companions trying to rescue Princess Buttercup from the mean and sneaky Prince Humperdinck in one of the funniest adventure movies of all time, you'll love the Princess Bride Topper. Today I found two nearly identical black silhouette toppers - one for $40 (shown below) and another for thirteen dollars, as well as a plain "As You Wish" for just $11.99.

Bride and Groom Silhouettes on Bike - $50 from Silhouetteweddings
Batman and Bride Silhouette Topper - $15 to $20 at AcrylicDesignForYou

Princess Bride Wedding Cake Topper - also at Silhouetteweddings for $40
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