Apr 26, 2014

Rhinestone Wedding Brooches

Rhinestone brooches like these use to be dependable grandma gifts (especially at Christmas) and nothing more. Now they are breathtaking beautifully on weddings cakes and hair combs. To keep a rhinestone brooch sparkle and shine for years to come - never submerge them or any rhinestone jewelry in water to clean. The foil behind the stone will get tarnished and turn dark. Simply clean with a soft jeweler's cloth. And don't invest in tarnished vintage rhinestone brooches - however lovely - thinking you can return them to their original luster. Sadly, you can't. Here are my favorite ways to use beautiful glass brooches on your wedding day:
  • Wedding Cake Brooches.  Matching rhinestone brooches on every layer of a three or four tiered wedding cake makes a grand statement, but even one well-placed brooch can make a beautiful cake...breathtaking.
  • Brooch Hair Combs.  Celebrities have been wearing diamond brooches in their hair on the Red Carpet for years and now the stylish trend is catching on with brides.  Use 20 gauge silver craft wire to attach your rhinestone pin to a metal hair comb or just pin in place with bobby pins that match your hair color.
  • Wedding Dress Brooches.  When Fergie married actor Josh Duhamel, the Black Eyed Peas singer wore a stunning Dolce & Gabbana mermaid wedding dress, with a beautiful variety of rhinestone brooches at the back of the lightly flared skirt.
  • Bridal Party Gifts/Mothers of the Bride and Groom.  What a thoughtful and low-priced gift for all the girls.  I love the way this bridesmaid anchors her brooch on the top of loosely draped tulle on her right shoulder - so elegant and eye-catching.
bridesmaid wearing rhinestone brooch 
wedding cake brooches 
rhinestone wedding brooch

Apr 25, 2014

Chocolate Malt Cupcakes

These chocolate malt cupcakes (and photo) comes to us courtesy of a cupcake-filled blog called Your Cup of Cake. Lizzy Mae's recipe is easy to prepare using a box of Devil's Food Cake Mix. As tempting as it may be to substitute canned icing for homemade buttercream in all your cake and cupcake recipes, everyone will know the difference (even the kids). Most often, buttercream is just a stick of butter or margarine, four cups of confectioners' sugar, a tablespoon or two of milk and vanilla. That's all. This icing calls for a few extras including cream cheese (fat free if you like), cocoa and malted milk powder. Still easy and very worth the effort, to make this incredibly delicious chocolate dessert.

1 box Devil's Food Cake Mix
3 eggs
1/2 cup oil
3/4 cup buttermilk (I prefer to use regular milk - you be the judge.) 
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup malted milk powder
Chocolate Malt Buttercream:
1/2 cup butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2-3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup malted milk powder
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line pans with 24 cupcake liners.
2. Sift cake mix in to a small bowl and set aside.
3. Combine eggs, oil, buttermilk, sour cream and vanilla extract until smooth.
4. Add malted milk powder to cake mix and stir.
5. Combine dry and wet ingredients and mix.
6. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 16-22 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean.
Buttercream: Beat butter and cream cheese for 4 minutes and scrape down the bowl as needed. Add cocoa powder, powdered sugar, vanilla extract and malted mix powder. Beat until smooth. If too thick, add a tablespoon of milk. If too thin, add more powdered sugar.
Pipe onto cooled cupcakes and decorate with chocolate malt balls and red and white straws.
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Flower Collage Hair Combs

This collection of flower collage hair combs - as I update this in the fall of 2017 - are still available on Etsy. They are made with beautiful resin flower cabochons and securely set on antique brass filigree hair combs. Most of these sell for about twenty six dollars. Were you to make them yourself, this same bronze hair comb will cost you one or two dollars each. The flower cabochons, including mini daisies, dahlias, mums and garden roses are available in lots of 10, 20 and even fifty. They are plentiful and affordable at about fifty cents or less. E6000 glue would no doubt secure these tiny resin flowers neatly in place.

garden style flower hair comb
purple flower hair comb

flower collage hair combs

flower bridal hair comb

Apr 23, 2014

Shabby Chic Mason Jars

I love this first set of four pint sized shabby chic Mason jars in crème, tan and brown. They are playful and practical and fit well into all of my favorite wedding themes: Shabby Chic, Rustic, Country Inspired, Barn and French Cottage Style. Expect to pay $32 for this charming set of four (silk flowers not included), plus about $15.00 for shipping. Can you make these (cheaper, better, more lovely) yourself? Wal-Mart sells a case of 12 Ball wide mouth jars for less than $18, or for even more savings - use your weekly Michael's coupon. Follow this quick and easy tutorial on how to make painted Mason jars. Here are the basic steps:
  • Clean your Mason jars with rubbing alcohol and then give them a bath of hot, soapy water.  Rinse and dry thoroughly.
  • Select your colors from those little plastic bottles of acrylic paint sold everywhere, adding white for softer, pastel shades.  Two coats of paint will be perfect.
  • Let your painted jars dry overnight.
  • Start with 100 or 120 grit sandpaper and sand lightly around each jar.  Carefully use an emery board to sand the “Ball” logo to make it stand out and shine.
  • Protect and finish your newly painted jars with two coats of clear acrylic sealer with a matte or satin finish.
rustic style painted Mason jars
shabby chic wedding centerpieces
Mason jar centerpieces for weddings
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Vintage Style Wedding Memorial

This 8 x 10 inch vintage style wedding memorial will only set you back $10, frame not included. But the sweet sentiment it invokes is worth more to surviving friends and family than all the money in Bill and Melinda Gate's bank account. A cherished grandmother who cried when you got cut from the soccer team and coaxed you back from the brink after your first heartbreak, will not be there in person to share your day of bliss. But she will be in your heart and on your mind, as she will with so many others. Whoever is lucky enough to see this charming memorial sign will find it comforting and appreciate you all the more for sharing it.

in memory of loved ones wedding sign 
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Pinwheel Wedding Table Numbers

You can make these pinwheel wedding table numbers in just minutes using four 3 x 6 inch strips of vintage wallpaper and secured with hot glue. It's up to you how small or large to make the folds, but larger ones will show off delicate vintage details and designs. To use for backdrops, make paper pinwheels in various sizes with wooden or rhinestone button centers. Hot glue a small piece of cardboard to the back of each one - it will be so much easier to apply double-sided tape and keep them hanging in place against a wall or flat surface. Vintage style wallpaper is abundant on eBay, either by sample size (20 or 27 by twelve inches) or double roll (twenty inches by 33 feet), more than enough to make these charming DIY wedding table numbers.

pinwheel table numbers

Apr 18, 2014

Woodland Inspired Wedding Reception

This woodland inspired wedding reception is a stylized shoot courtesy of Casa de Perrin (photography by Paige Jones) who believe "a certain magic that takes place across a dining table, with good friends and good wine, becomes infinitely more magical when decorated in 24K gold flatware and drop-dead heirloom treasures." They reached into their considerable inventory and under a canopy of leafy green trees and onto rented white farm tables, laid out lovely Le Melange China, Gold Collection Flatware and vintage purple and green wine goblets. Champagne was served courtesy of ONE HOPE Wines (a company that generously donates half of their profits to charity) and in a cozy, candlelit corner a small dessert table features a delicious apple tart, vanilla spice cake with candied lemons, homemade preserve thumbprint cookies, and fresh berry scones.

woodland inspired wedding reception

woodland wedding table setting
outdoor wedding dessert table
vintage champagne cart
woodland wedding desserts

Apr 17, 2014

Chocolate Pinwheel Cookies

Chocolate pinwheel cookies - one of my favorites to bring to birthdays, bridal showers and potlucks because they are deceptively easy to make, a real crowd pleaser and taste delicious every single time. Here is the absolute best tutorial on how to make pinwheel cookies - a recipe I use that makes a beautiful large batch using powdered cocoa instead of semisweet chocolate. For best results, make sure you wrap each log tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before slicing. You can also freeze the cookie dough weeks in advance. Slice, bake and serve!

chocolate pinwheel cookies

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (1 ounce) square semisweet chocolate
1.  Cream the butter or margarine with the sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg.
2.  Melt chocolate chips over a double boiler or in a bowl in a microwave oven. Stir until smooth. Let cool.
3.  Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together. Add flour mixture to the creamed mixture and stir well.
4.  Divide the dough in half. To one half add the melted chocolate and stir until well combined.
5.  On waxed paper roll out each half of the dough into 12x10 inch rectangle. Brush one layer with milk and place the other layer on top. Peel off waxed paper and roll up like a jelly roll. Chill dough thoroughly.
6.  Slice cookies thinly and bake in a preheated 375 degrees oven for 8 to 10 minutes.

pinwheel cookie favors

Rustic Aisle Wedding Decorations

Rustic aisle wedding decorations - a warm and inviting welcome they for all those good neighbors, best friends and loving family members who dressed up and sat down to celebrate this cherished wedding day.  They won't be disappointed.  Tall glass candles or Mason jars, however well-placed along the aisle, may not be the best idea where small children are involved, but they do lend themselves to the sweet and sacred atmosphere that every rustic wedding ceremony hopes to inspire.  Moss, berries and sweet green succulents make this outdoor celebration simple yet sensational.

rustic candle aisle decorations
fall aisle wedding decorations
outdoor wedding decorated with white flowers
shabby chic aisle wedding decorations
succulent wedding decorations
outdoor wedding decorated with pumpkins
vintage style fall aisle decorations

Eco-Friendly Wedding Favors

Eco-friendly wedding favors - are they harder to find, more complicated to make, more expensive to buy? The answer to all three is no. A small plant, tree or succulent may be as close as your own back yard. Here are my five favorite eco-friendly wedding ideas for a wholesome, healthier planet and a more meaningful small thank you gift.

environmentally friendly wedding favor
  • Gourmet organic chocolates, nuts or locally grown foods. Here in Virginia, peanuts are our specialty. A small burlap bag of gourmet peanuts, still in their shells, tied with twine and an attractive homemade tag will be welcomed by all - especially those from out of state.
  • A small plant or succulent. Hens and Chicks are those little green rosettes you can place in the ground, a planter or even in an old tin can. They'll grow anywhere as long as the soil is light, the sun is bright and they don't get too much water.
  • Reusable cloth tote bags. The craft store, the fabric store and all the grocery stores carry reusable tote bags for just a dollar or two. Joanne's Fabrics carry the most beautiful line of reusable totes I've ever seen. Everyone's using them - they're cute and convenient. And our landfills need a break from plastic bags.
  • Soy or beeswax candles. Soy wax is made from the oil of soybeans and is completely renewable. While the global reserves of oil shrink and the price of paraffin rises, the only limit to soy is how much we choose to grow. A well-made soy candle will burn cleanly and slowly and makes an environmentally friendly little gift.
  • A small charitable donation in each guest's name. Here at home I've been helping Union Mission Ministries, a charity that has been clothing and feeding the homeless for over 100 years. They welcome a donation of $1.98 to provide a hot meal to one hungry man, woman or child.
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Personalized Bridesmaid Hangers

Personalized bridesmaid hangers - made of natural hardwood and laser engraved with your choice of six classic font styles on Etsy. Each custom made hanger measures 17 inches and has slanted arms and a notched shoulder design that is gentle on delicate fabrics while keeping them secure. Expect to wait about 2 to 3 weeks and pay about ten dollars each for your bridesmaid's name only and about $14 for name, title and wedding date. These engraved bridesmaid hangers make cherished keepsakes as well as wonderful pre-wedding photo props. Before you purchase keep in mind - the minimum shipping cost, even for one hanger, is $10.

engraved bridesmaid hangers
personalized bridesmaid hangers
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Apr 16, 2014

Pastel Tea Party Cookies

Pastel tea party cookies - a delicious dozen that includes 3 lace flowers, 3 tea cups and 3 small round accent cookies.  If pale pink, yellow and green don't match your color scheme, they can be customized to suit your needs.  Each cookie is made with real butter, eggs and Madagascar vanilla (rich, intensely flavored extract imported from Madagascar used by professional bakers and ice cream makers).  Each buttery tea party themed cookie is topped with royal icing, whipped up into billowy peaks and carefully applied to create designs that harden and shine.  Aren't these stunning?  For an additional charge of $0.50 per cookie, you can also choose from your other favorites: chocolate, chocolate chip, brown sugar, or spicy and delicious gingerbread.

cookies for tea party
bridal shower tea party cookies
pastel tea party cookies
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Apr 15, 2014

Romantic Bridal Tea Party

This romantic bridal tea party created by La Boheme Events and charmingly photographed by Ashley Sawtelle, welcomes warmer weather with fresh spring flowers, vintage floral teacups, tasty fruit tarts, and sparkling limoncello tea.  I found this exquisite tea party style shoot at 100 Layer Cake - no doubt one of the loveliest wedding blogs you'll ever see.  Photographed at Denver Botanic Gardens, this pastel inspired party, including vintage sideboard and pale weathered hutch could be set up in a park, a patio or even your own backyard.

bridal tea party
bridal shower tea party
spring wedding centerpiece
limoncello tea
vintage wedding furniture
bridal tea party desserts
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Apr 9, 2014

Easy Limoncello Cupcakes

Limoncello cupcakes - this is easy and I love easy.  Rich with the flavor of tart and tangy lemons, creamy and delicious.  This easy Limonello cupcake recipe is courtesy of Betty Crocker but of course any box of moist white cake mix will do.  And to speed things up, use canned cream cheese icing with one tablespoon of Limoncello for a little extra kick.  If you have the time and want the refreshing taste of Limoncello cupcakes from scratch (as shown below), there are three levels of lemon flavor that together, delivering the perfect balance of tart and sweet. The batter is flavored with freshly grated lemon zest, lemon juice and Limoncello; a tart homemade lemon curd fills the inside, and on top sits a sweet cream cheese frosting.

Limoncello Cupcakes
  • 1 box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® white cake mix
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup Limoncello
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 egg whites
  • Grated peel and juice of 1 fresh lemon
Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1 (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened  
  • 2 cups powdered sugar  
  • 1 tablespoon Limoncello
1. Heat oven to 350° or 325° for dark or nonstick pans. Place paper baking cups in each of 24 regular-size muffin cups. In large bowl, beat cupcake ingredients with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, then on medium for about 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.  Fill each muffin cup about two-thirds full.

2.  Bake 18 to 23 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes and remove to cooling rack.

3.  In large bowl, beat cream cheese (room temperature is best) and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy. On low speed, beat in powdered sugar and Limoncello until mixed.  Continue to beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.

4.  Frost cupcakes and garnish with fresh lemon slices if desired

Apr 7, 2014

Rustic Wedding Receptions

Rustic wedding receptions in a barn, at a farm, in a charming local vineyard. The overwhelming idea is to incorporate as much weathered wood into your surroundings as you can, and also use distressed vintage dressers, bales of straw, discarded old windows and doors, wooden crates, old metal watering cans, Mason jars and as much twigs, twine and greenery as your tables will hold. Rustic handmade signs, unfinished burlap table runners and a variety of dark brown wooden frames make cozy and comfortable rustic wedding reception decorations.


rustic themed wedding reception
rustic wedding dessert table

Apr 4, 2014

Summer Wedding Reception Centerpieces

What I love most about these summer wedding centerpieces is how deceptively simple they may be to recreate. Sliced oranges in a clear glass vase make these tender spring tulips look festive and fun. Single oversized peonies and pale garden roses look charming and chic in Mason jars and simple glass bottles. Looking for more greenery but hate to pay the price? A close friend of friend - in big demand at weddings and in church - saves quite a bit of money by filling out spring and summer centerpieces with maiden hair fern, variegated ivy, dusty miller and seeded eucalyptus leaves from her own backyard.

tulip wedding centerpiece
Mason jar centerpiece with flowers
summer wedding reception centerpieces
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