Sep 27, 2015

DIY Apple Candle Holders

I never wanted or needed a double sided melon baller...until today.

It's the only thing standing between me and these incredibly lovely DIY apple candle holders, the perfect fall centerpiece or mantle décor.

I'll scoop out the top of a Red Delicious or Gala apple - with bright yellow undertones that peek out from it's lovely light red sheen.

Image Courtesy of Shades of Blue Interiors

A floating candle (IKEA sells a pack of 24 for less than $12) fits snugly with the wick sticking about one half inch above each apple top.  Tea lights, of course, are cheaper but won't last quite as long.

I could leave these amazing candle holders "as is" but dripping melted wax down the sides at different lengths give them that rustic and romantic charm.

Apple candle holders placed in a row makes any room feel cozy and inviting.
A basket of lovely lit candles and fresh cinnamon sticks - a fresh and fragrant
fall centerpiece idea.

Sep 10, 2015

9 Exciting New Fall Centerpiece Ideas

Simple white tapers, pine cones and mini pumpkins nestled into faux green moss
displayed in a stained oblong wooden box, make this the perfect
Thanksgiving or fall wedding centerpiece.
Today I found small faux Indian corn
such as these on eBay, a lot of twenty-five 4 to 5 inch ears for $22.50. 
Radiant orange roses and green button mums tied in loose burlap fabric
look fabulous in a simple clear mayonnaise or Mason jar.
Silk sunflowers and seeded eucalyptus glow under the warmth of a glittery golden votive.
A charming black handle on this vintage wooden box
gives this centerpiece character and class.
A piece of weathered old wood is the perfect place to layer a cornucopia of faux fall fruits
lit by cozy warm candlelight, on a bed of green wheat.

Sep 6, 2015

Circus Themed Baby Shower Quiz

Danielle bristled - yet again - at the thought of pinning a clothes pin on each guest, only to be forfeited to someone else when they accidentally said the word "baby."

As an artist and children's book illustrator, she wanted more color, more character...more spontaneous fun.

A circus themed baby shower.

Each guest chose a tag - trapeze artist, juggler, lion tamer, fire breather, ring master, bare back rider, clown, tightrope walker (even bearded lady!) - and wrote their first name under their "chosen" circus profession. In less than 10 minutes the vibe felt warm and whimsical.

I designed this quiz myself and I hope you use it for your next circus themed party. As for our circle of friends, most thought circus performers entered the stage on the left side to bring themselves good luck. Keeping a hair from an elephant's tail seemed a little freaky and far-fetched, but it's true according to circus history.

The phrase, "there's a sucker born every minute," really wasn't made up by P. T. Barnum as most people think, although he may have convinced himself he did. One of our friends thought it meant "the public's willingness to pay for overpriced snacks (which they did, thanks to clever packaging) during the Great Depression.

And for some fun and fabulous reason, almost everyone in the room seemed to sense that a degree from Harvard Law School is much easier to achieve than going to a college to learn from past and present "experts" (Charlie Chaplin, The Three Stooges, Bugs Bunny and Wile E. Coyote) to become a well-known and well-paid professional circus clown.

Circus Themed Quiz

1.  The circus was first performed in what American city?

     A.  Philadelphia
     B.  Boston
     C.  Charleston
     D.  Memphis
     E.  St. Louis

     Answer:  Philadelphia

2.  Who is considered the father of the first modern traveling circus?

     A.  P. T. Barnum
     B.  Philip Astley
     C.  James A. Bailey
     D.  William Cameron Coupe

     Answer:  Philip Astley

3.  The first circus in Rome was called:

     A.  Circus Flaminius
     B.  Circus of Maxentius
     C.  Circus Neonis
     D.  Circus Maximus

     Answer:  Circus Maximus

4.  Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus moved its winter headquarters to Florida in:

     A.  1968
     B.  1955
     C.  1927
     D.  1935
     E.  1940

     Answer:  1927

5.  It is harder to get into the Ringling Brothers Clown School than Harvard Law School. 
     True or False?

     Answer:  True

6.  Which one of these actors started his career working as an acrobat and juggler?

     A.  Clark Gable
     B.  Cary Grant
     C.  Gary Cooper
     D.  Jack Nicholson
     E.  Arnold Schwarzenegger

     Answer:  Cary Grant

7.  Who was the first American president to attend the circus?

     A.  Abraham Lincoln
     B.  George Washington
     C.  Grover Cleveland
     D.  James Madison

     Answer:  George Washington

8.  What do circus performers do for good luck?

     A.  Enter the stage on the left side only.
     B.  Keep a hair from an elephant's tail in the pocket.
     C.  Put a circus ticket in the bottom of their shoes.
     D.  Shake hands with the Ring Master and pat him twice on the head.

     Answer:  Keep a hair from an elephant's tail in their pocket!

9.  "The Greatest Show on Earth" was the first film this person ever saw in a movie theater:

     A.  Ben Stiller
     B.  Stephen Spielberg
     C.  Oprah Winfrey
     D.  Jerry Seinfeld
     E.  Tom Hanks

     Answer:  Stephen Spielberg

10. The first week of August was designated National Clown Week by which president?

     A.  Richard Nixon
     B.  Bill Clinton
     C.  Jimmy Carter
     D.  Herbert Hoover
     E.  George W. Bush

     Answer:  Richard Nixon

11. What does "Cherry Pie" mean in circus lingo?

     A.  You've been kissed by a trapeze artist.
     B.  You've done extra work and earned extra pay.
     C.  You've been given a free ticket to the show.
     D.  You've been chosen to go in the lion's ring.

     Answer:  You've done extra work and received extra pay.

12. What type of elephant does the Ringling Bros. Circus use the most - Indian or African?

     Answer.  Indian

13. Another circus name for souvenir programs is:
     A.  Funny papers
     B.  Bibles
     C.  Circus candy
     D.  Paper money
     E.  Cake

     Answer:  Bibles

14. What does a circus aerialist call his/her safety harness?

     A.  A carabiner
     B.  A handle
     C.  A spider
     D.  A mechanic

     Answer:  A mechanic

15. The phrase, "there's a sucker born every minute" originally referred to:

     A.  The public's fascination with "freak" shows, and their willingness to pay money to see them.
     B.  The public's willingness to pay for overpriced snacks during the Depression.
     C.  The public's belief that trapeze artists had the most dangerous jobs in the circus.

     Answer:  The public's fascination with "freak" shows

Aug 18, 2015

Raspberry Grapefruit Martinis with Fresh Herbs

Spend some time today with Julie and Debbie over at Cooks with Cocktails where you'll find these raspberry grapefruit martinis with grated ginger and fragrant, fresh rosemary.

To make these colorful raspberry cocktails, you'll need to puree thawed frozen raspberries in a blender and then push it through a sieve. Vodka and the juice of freshly squeezed grapefruit gives it the perfect punch.

Any way you can add ripe raspberries to your diet, you can and you should.

Only 64 calories per cup. Half your daily requirement for Vitamin C and you're done. Increases metabolism in fat cells and you know what that means. Hello twenty-seven inch waist, where have you been?

An easy martini recipe in four easy steps.

Raspberry Martinis
Must See Martini Recipes!

Aug 16, 2015

Easy Fall Trifle Recipe - Only 5 Ingredients!

Is there a person alive who doesn't love trifle?

It seems I need a real crowd pleaser for my fall bridal shower that includes both women and men.

A delicious dessert that looks and tastes so good, my friends will think I'm the next fabulous Food Network star.

Only five ingredients - a box of cake mix (spice would be nice), Cool Whip, instant vanilla pudding, a jar of caramel topping sauce and two cans of apple pie filling.

Add cooled cake cubes to the bottom of a clear glass trifle bowl and drizzle a bit of tasty caramel topping. Then comes a layer of cold and creamy vanilla instant pudding, followed by apple pie filling and Cool Whip. Start all over again and finish it off with sweet caramel sauce.

Lovely to look at - easy to serve.

No sifting, rolling, baking or boiling. Just five delicious ingredients and one easy and elegant favorite fall dessert.


Aug 15, 2015

9 Breathtaking Red Wedding Ideas

I love you...exciting color red.

A red candied apple reminds me of what I had in hand when stealing a sweet sticky kiss from Billy Simpson the summer between fifth grade and sixth.

And red checkered tablecloths - the promise of ice cold lemonade, baked beans swimming in ketchup and molasses, grilled hamburgers and tangy pulled pork.

Cherry red lipstick made famous by Bettie Page, with her jet black hair and beautiful trademark bangs.

Red is passion. Red is pleasure. A red themed wedding will bring you great joy.



Aug 4, 2015

Rustic Love Cake Topper

A delicate wooden cake topper perfect for a rustic themed wedding.

Not that I'm planning a wedding of my own. No need to trade in a small but trustworthy Italian-American man (with beautiful blue eyes) for one 10 years younger, over six feet tall. This short guy will stand on his head and wiggle his toes if that's what it takes to make me laugh.

I'll put this topper on his birthday cake - Pillsbury chocolate cake mix with homemade buttercream icing he thinks is fine enough to serve the Queen and all her court at Buckingham Palace. Thank God for pudding in the mix.

I'll put this on our anniversary cake because he still runs out to the car to carry in my groceries and won't lay his head down on his pillow until he kisses me goodnight.

The kids - now with kids of their own - will see this cake top at parties and potlucks.

For $16.00 it's a small but sweet investment. Laser carved in wood (probably natural birch wood, but not listed as such) and shipped in two to three weeks. Don't know why this lightweight wooden topper - 1/8 inch wide - costs six dollars to ship from Florida to Virginia Beach, but it's a small price to pay for a lifetime of this man's love.