Oct 22, 2014

Fall Wedding Centerpiece Ideas

So warm, so inviting...so you.  You don't need a doctorate in design, just a passing knowledge of the amazing transformation taking place every September through November - maple trees that dazzle us with shades of chestnut brown, antique bronze, copper and crimson red.  It's a lousy time to be indoors.  No lovely leaves to decorate with?  Below is a weathered piece of wood, serving as a simple rustic platter for a variety of golden pillars and candles, fresh wheat, and green and purple grapes.  I would also add huckleberry branches with faux green, red or mauve berries.

fall candle centerpiece
Fall painted Mason jars, available in dark taupe, olive, peach and cream for $32 at Etsy. 
fall wedding favor ideas
rustic fall centerpieces
fall wedding centerpiece
The easiest, most elegant fall centerpiece of all.  How many exquisite wine glasses (some of them hand etched) have you passed over at garage sales and thrift stores for less than 50 cents each?

Oct 18, 2014

Personalized Origami Flowers

My favorite find on Etsy today - personalized origami flowers - dipped in champagne gold acrylic paint and embellished (inside and out) with your names, the date of your wedding or anniversary, and the sweetest words you ever heard him say, "I love you." Have this set of five origami flowers - two large and three petite - finished in the center with beautiful cream, black or gold pearls. Button centers, also available, add a rustic touch. These don't have stems, and this charming set of five will cost you $28. Don't want to spend that kind of cash on paper flowers? They are incredibly easy and inexpensive to make. Once you learn how, you'll be designing beautiful bouquets, boutonnieres and centerpieces. Here's a great tutorial on how to create your own origami flower bouquet.


Aug 9, 2014

Iced Pumpkin Cookies

Iced pumpkin cookies - add these to your collection of favorite fall desserts.  Made with canned pumpkin puree, a low calorie (one cup has 83 calories) and high fiber food.  God knows getting enough daily fiber is like climbing Mt. Everest in your bare feet.  To make this pumpkin recipe much quicker, substitute three teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice (a flavorful blend of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and aromatic allspice - all in one little tin can) and ice your cookies with canned cream cheese icing.

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar or 1 cup white sugar and 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree - I use Libby's brand
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
For the Icing:
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and salt; set aside.

2.  In a medium bowl, cream together the 1/2 cup of butter and white sugar. Add pumpkin, egg, and 1 teaspoon vanilla to butter mixture, and beat until creamy. Mix in dry ingredients. Using a teaspoon as your guide, drop onto baking sheets; flatten slightly.

3.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Let cookies cool completely and then drizzle glaze on top.

To Make Glaze: Combine powdered sugar, milk, 1 tablespoon melted butter, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add a tiny bit more milk if needed, to achieve desired consistency.

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Aug 8, 2014

Eco Friendly Wedding Decorations

Eco friendly wedding decorations - look at all the gorgeous green ideas I found today before lunch. Who would have thought a bright green can, the former home to hot and spicy jalapeno salsa could make such a charming place card/wedding favor? Here's how to make a hanging light bulb planter to hold beautiful baby's breath, burgundy and pale pink flowers as shown below. Best of all are The Birds of the World, eco-friendly wedding garland, made from vintage world atlases. There are 12 double-sided birds (length of garland is one meter or 40 inches). Each bird measures approximately 4.5" tall and 2" wide and the string used is natural hemp.  All for just $12.99.

eco friendly wedding centerpieces
DIY light bulb planters
eco friendly wedding favor ideas
cork aisle decoration
eco friendly garland

Aug 6, 2014

Orchid Boutonnieres

Orchid boutonnieres - created with an exotic and unusual flower that evokes a sense of refinement and to the ancient Greeks - virility. And that isn't the only sexy thing about ordinary orchids. In the Middle Ages, orchids were used as aphrodisiacs and were mixed and measured into overpriced love potions. Knights and noblemen couldn't get enough potion or passion. Aztec Indians, big strong studs who also thought orchids made them better lovers, extracted vanilla from the flower and drank it morning, noon and night. So there you have it. Guys are a lot more interested in fresh flowers than they ever let on. Here is a handy guide on how to make an easy orchid boutonniere.

purple orchid boutonniere 
blue orchid boutonniere
yellow orchid boutonniere
rustic wedding boutonniere
orchid wedding boutonniere

Aug 3, 2014

DIY Tea Bag Favors

Elegant and eco-friendly.  Those two lovely words sum up the crafts, freebies and DIY projects at Botanical PaperWorks.  That's where I found these DIY tea bag favors - shown here in charming shades of nude, blush and teal.  If you can fold, make a flap and use a stapler, these printable tea bags are yours for just the price of paper and tea.  Many tea lovers think the boring little tea bag lacks the subtlety and full flavor of the larger loose leaf teas.  In that case, here's the guide on how to make tea bags from loose leaf tea.  The pumpkin spice mix used is a savory and seductive blend of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves.

free printable tea bag favors
how to make tea bag favors
Images courtesy of Botanical PaperWorks
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Aug 2, 2014

Hershey's Chocolate Truffle Pie

I made this chocolate truffle pie last night and renamed it "Hershey's" because semi sweet chocolate chips made by Hershey were cheaper than those made by Toll House.  And Wal Mart's brand of whipping cream was just as creamy and quite less pricey than the very same product from Land O Lakes.  So there you have it, I'm tight with a buck.  But the end result was the most delicious chocolate dessert I have ever tasted and definitely headed to every bridal shower or birthday party I ever attend.

The recipe calls for a prepared chocolate cookie crust and that's what I bought, one made by Keebler.  But it turns out Oreo makes a crust from their crushed signature cookies.  An Oreo cookie - the only thing I loved more than the blue-eyed boy next door.  I'm glad I chose Keebler, because this creamy chocolate pie is so rich, you definitely don't need any help from the magical makers of Oreos.  And trust me, you can easily skip the whipped topping as shown below.  A perfect chocolate pie recipe, just the way it is.

  • 12 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips (dark if you prefer)
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 1/4 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (sounds like a lot, I know)
  • 1 (9 inch) prepared chocolate cookie crumb crust
    1.  In microwave dish combine chocolate chips and 1/2 of the cream. Cook on high for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds until smooth. I'll be honest, it took me a full three minutes to get this result.  Cool to room temperature (about one hour). Stir in sifted sugar and vanilla. Set aside.
    2.  In your electric mixer, beat the rest of the cream until soft peaks form. (There was about 1/4 of a cup of cream left in the carton and I threw that in too.)  Beat in chocolate mixture on high speed 1/3 at a time until it's light and fluffy.  Spoon onto the cookie crust.
    3.  Refrigerate at least 8 hours before serving.  (My guests were served 6 hours after I made this chocolate pie and it was perfect slice of heaven.)
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