Jun 26, 2017

Delicious Blackberry Cocktails

Today I found this delicious blackberry cocktail recipe (also called Blackberry Bramble) at Feasting at Home where a talented, Washington state caterer named Sylvia turned an overabundance of this heart healthy fruit into a sweet and satisfying summer drink. And I need this now more than ever. Our scraggly, bent blackberry bush has finally decided to bear us beautiful black fruit after keeping us waiting five long years or six. Every morning my anxious husband bolts out the sliding glass door to claim the ripe blackberries before the neighborhood bunnies steal his precious loot. Only six ingredients are needed - most of which I already have on hand. I don't like the taste of gin, so I may want to switch out to vodka instead. I just found out blackberry liqueur (also known as crème de mure) may be expensive and hard to find, but you use very little in this recipe and should make it last.

Jun 19, 2017

Breathtaking Swiss Dot Wedding Cakes

Let me share with you one of the most beautiful wedding cakes I have ever seen. Including all of my own cakes, made and decorated in our little bakery in Virginia Beach, that I kid you not, was located near Virginia Wesleyan College on busy Baker Road. I never made something as exquisite as the swiss dot wedding cake with handmade buttercream roses and charming "Just Married" banner shown below, but the understated elegance steals my heart away. With or without the ivory roses, the pale peach color and perfectly placed dots make this unforgettable cake too breathtakingly beautiful to eat.

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Jun 14, 2017

Succulent Aisle Decorations

I could make these sweet succulent aisle decorations now that I've finally mastered the science of planting my succulents in the hottest, most sunny spot in the backyard and refusing to give them a sip of water no matter how thirsty they look. I already have purple hydrangea growing along the back fence, that returns year after year in spite of my crappy track record as a gardener. I love the pale green shown here, but purple or blue would be just as stunning. Yellow "billy balls" (craspedia) are always for sale near the market check-out, although I understand they are easy to grow in at least six hours of sun, with little or no fertilizer and in all types of soil. The pink blooms look like alstroemeria (but I could be wrong), a cheap and readily available flower everywhere I shop. This unusual combination of blue, green, bright yellow and pink make this ordinary white chair look breathtakingly beautiful and perfect for a succulent themed wedding.

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Jun 11, 2017

Peacock Themed Mason Jar Centerpieces

These peacock themed mason jar centerpieces that I found on Pinterest today are so breathtaking, I hardly know what to say. It's also the combination of artificial flowers - variegated burgundy roses, pale green hydrangea, white gerbera daisies and small green hypericum berries that make these DIY wedding centerpieces look expensive and elegant. These quart sized (regular mouth) Kerr Mason jars are available in sets of 12 for less than ten dollars on Amazon. The flowers - unless you use freshly picked blooms and greenery from your own precious garden - are your only real expense.

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May 26, 2017

Rustic Memorial Wedding Display

I fell in love today. With this rustic memorial wedding display. It seems simple enough to make - with weathered wood, a small black chalkboard, some twine and mini clothespins. We live in a time where our extended families aren't scattered close together like chocolate chips in a freshly baked Toll House cookie. But it wasn't always this way. My husband's grandparents had a large, three story house on Orleans Street in Lowell, Massachusetts. Even after the youngest girl was proudly sent off to nursing school, the children (now married) returned to live with their parents and an odd assortment of very old aunts they barely knew. That intimacy - of loving and being loved - on a daily basis by aunts and uncles, cousins and grandparents may be lost to some of us today. Many are gone before we have a chance to say goodbye. Keep your sweet memories alive with a thoughtful "Until we meet again" memorial photo display.

Summer Bridal Shower Idea - DIY Tart Station

What a refreshing summer bridal shower idea - both affordable and fun. I found it today at a blog called Sandy Toes and Popsicles and you can follow the link below to find all the details. The mini graham cracker crusts are available in packs of six for less than $2.00 at Walmart and the possibilities for fresh fruit are endless. I wouldn't use bananas as shown below unless you want to dip them in lemon juice to keep them from turning brown. The same holds true for apples. Peaches, mangoes, cantaloupe, seedless red grapes and even watermelon would be perfect to make a delicious fruit tart. And don't forget the cherries!


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May 19, 2017

13 Exquisite Vintage Wedding Ideas

Even if you weren't dreaming of a vintage themed wedding, some of these breathtakingly beautiful ideas may make you think twice. Some - to be fair - are outside of your budget and mine (sheer panels and Swarovski crystal chandeliers you might expect to find in the grand ballroom at Buckingham Palace), but others (thrift store books, picture frames and tins) are easy and affordable to make and find. To make a simple Mason jar centerpiece even more exquisite, Krylon now makes glass spray paint in a range of beautiful frosted colors - aqua, ruby, cornflower, sea foam and rose.

Vintage Wedding Ideas

Champagne and passion fruit nectar - deal me in.
Last year I picked up a set of vintage hurricane lamps just like these
at a church rummage sale for about a dollar each!

I'm obsessed about paying homage to those
who loved, nurtured and prepared us
for the most important day of our lives.
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May 9, 2017

Breathtaking White Ranunculus Bouquet

This breathtaking white ranunculus bouquet - a moment in time captured so beautifully by Iris Photography - is a lovely and somewhat haphazard arrangement of white roses, ranunculus, dusty miller and seeded eucalyptus leaves. While many wedding flowers have multiple meanings, the ranunculus symbolizes charm, attractiveness and an everlasting embrace of love and devotion. Who doesn't want all that? While I love the simple elegance of this green and white ranunculus bouquet, these beautiful rose-like blossoms are also available in light pink, hot pink, yellow, orange, fire red, burgundy wine, apricot, violet and raspberry plum.

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May 2, 2017

Hopelessly Romantic Love Quotes

Hopelessly romantic love quotes, here are a few of my favorites. I start and finish with a love sick man from a hundred or so years ago - considered by some to be the greatest American writer of the 20th century - F. Scott Fitzgerald. He was inspired by a woman both beautiful and broken, but couldn't love her enough to keep her personal demons away. Although he wrote The Great Gatsby, almost always number one on the list of the greatest American novels of all time, he considered himself a failure at the end of his life. He was anything but. A great and talented writer, a devoted lover and author of some of the most beautiful love quotes then or now.

Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald
They slipped briskly into an intimacy from which they never recovered.  F. Scott Fitzgerald

In case you ever foolishly forget:  I am never not thinking of you.  Virginia Woolf

My heart talks about nothing but you.  Albert Camus

We were together.  I forgot the rest.  Walt Whitman

He's more myself than I am.  Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.  Emily Bronte

When I saw you I fell in love, and you smiled because you knew.  William Shakespeare

The best thing to hold onto in love is each other.  Audrey Hepburn

I love you, and that's the beginning and end of everything.  F. Scott Fitzgerald

Apr 29, 2017

Rustic Hand Painted Bar Menu

This rustic hand painted bar menu confirms everything I believe weddings should be - easy, effortless and fun. If guests are looking for something cold with a kick - quench their thirst with a bottle of Budweiser - the King of Beers. Shave off another forty calories for drinkers on a diet with twelve ounce bottles of Bud Light. Every wine drinker lives for a chateau-bottled Chardonnay but none of them will say no to a cold glass of "white" on a hot day in the middle of July. Make your soda selection - sweet and simple - based on the five most popular soft drinks in America: Coke, Pepsi, Diet Coke, Mountain Dew and Dr. Pepper.

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Apr 27, 2017

Breathtaking Wedding Cakes with Gum Paste Flowers

These wedding cakes are so breathtakingly beautiful, I have to remind myself these flowers were created from ordinary sugar, water, gum paste and food coloring. You can make these yourself with pre-made gum paste powder or create it from scratch using powdered sugar, egg whites and an agent called tylose powder. I've often read that "from scratch" is less expensive but I see that a 16 ounce can of Wilton Gum Paste Mix sells for just over five dollars on Amazon, and will provide you with enough dough to create 100 daisies or fifty remarkable gum paste roses. Since making gum paste flowers requires more time than talent, you might want to make the prep work as easy as you can.


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Apr 17, 2017

Barbeque Wedding Menu on a Budget

Not only is a barbeque wedding menu on a budget possible, it contains many - if not all - of your favorite comfort foods. And of course I'm talking about homemade macaroni and cheese, rich and delicious with fresh, creamy butter and extra sharp cheddar cheese. Don't forget slow cooked baby back ribs, rubbed with spices and basted in a Jack Daniels flavored BBQ sauce. Everything your Uncle Rick and Aunt Mary Ann and all five cousins from South Daytona Beach were hoping to see and smell and taste today. Say goodbye to food, beverage and service charges. And the same goes for site fees, down payments and deposits. And better still - no weird and unrecognizable menu items ("pumpkin soup with red pepper mousse"). Just good old-fashioned favorite family food for a fun and friendly barbeque wedding reception you can easily afford.


Barbeque Wedding Menu Ideas:

  • Pulled pork (beef brisket)
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Homemade cornbread
  • Baby back ribs
  • Baked beans (with bacon and brown sugar!)
  • Creamy coleslaw
  • Garlic smashed potatoes
  • Corn on the cob
  • Ham sliders
  • Hushpuppies
  • Green bean casserole
  • Broccoli salad
  • Potato salad
  • Homemade biscuits
  • Watermelon
  • Corn Pudding
  • Peach Cobbler

Apr 11, 2017

Romantic Fall Wedding Lanterns

I want to be here. Watching the sun set on this unforgettable day when my childhood friend and her handsome blue-eyed lover exchange hand written vows near the warm glow of these romantic fall wedding lanterns. We'll soon be feasting on tender beef brisket, creamy coleslaw, peach cobbler and homemade buttery biscuits. "Hello, my name is Kathy. Would you please pass me the corn on the cob?" Brothers, sisters, neighbors and friends sit and celebrate under the sheltering arms of towering oak trees. And breathe in the last lovely fragrance of white jasmine before it goes into resting until the beginning of Spring. An unforgettable fall day in paradise - if only in my dreams.

Apr 8, 2017

Watch Our Love Grow Seed Favors

Watch Our Love Grow.  A sweet and simple message from the new bride and her groom. And a very eco-friendly favor of fresh garden seeds that will produce a rainbow of colorful wildflowers and be a huge bonanza to bees, birds and butterflies. Assembled together with materials that can be recycled (except for the cellophane) and leave a much lighter carbon footprint than favors made of metal, plastic and glass. Some of the easiest flowers to grow when looking for wildflower seeds in bulk? Baby Snapdragons, Zinnia, Black Eyed Susan, Cosmos, Coneflowers, Sweet William, and Sunflowers (both red and yellow).

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Mar 27, 2017

Lavender Wedding Toss

Lavender wedding toss - a fragrant, eco-friendly send off for the happy groom and bride. For years it was rice until the myth got started that birds would pay the ultimate price for making a meal of the leftover rice. Turns out it wasn't true at all, but no kind hearted bride wanted anything bad to happen on this beautiful day. This lovely French blend of dried lavender flowers is grown on a family farm in the Walla Walla Valley in Washington state. A large one pound bag (16 cups) is harvested, dried, sifted and cleaned to create the perfect going away wedding toss. The seller suggests that depending on whether you wrap the lavender in small tulle bags or present in a large decorative bowl for guests to scoop, a one pound bag should supply 50 to one hundred guests with lavender to toss. One unexpected bonus - gently crushing the lavender flowers will release a fragrance all will find is refreshing, calming and rejuvenating.


Mar 26, 2017

Must See Bride and Flower Girl Photo

This beautiful bride and her flower girl share a secret confidence that they are the two luckiest girls in the world at this very moment. One has been on a mission to determine if her man is smart enough, employed enough, funny enough, and good to her mother and sister enough, to earn his place as her husband to be. Lucky for him, he passed the test. The little girl thinks boys are boring and yucky but loves the bride's strapless lace dress with hand sewn pearls and sweetheart neckline. Plenty of time for her to size up every new boyfriend's personality and potential. Right now these two only have eyes for each other. A tender moment both breathtaking and beautiful.

Mar 20, 2017

Unforgettable Fall Wedding Dessert Ideas

Why look at fall wedding dessert ideas on the first day of Spring? Because this year is already going by so fast, it seems like Christmas was just a few minutes instead of a few months ago. Time to think about a fall dessert that looks as good as it tastes and will be well-loved by Mom, Dad, Uncle Pete and all the cousins from Daytona Beach. Of course, I'm talking about donuts. Cream filled donuts with strawberry topping and cream puffs drizzled with milk chocolate icing. Cinnamon sugar donuts with a white sugar glaze. Here you see only five different varieties of raised donuts, but arranged in colorful, cascading tiers - looking like enough to feed a happy, hungry (and grateful) group of wedding guests.

Donut Wedding Display
Cinnamon Apple Cider Bar
Caramel Apple Bar
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Mar 13, 2017

Honeymoon Fund Jar

Is this honeymoon fund jar a good (socially acceptable) wedding reception idea? I personally love it - a whimsical glass jug with a handwritten "honeymoon fund" label for all to see. Guests can chip in a dollar or two or ten, or simply take a pass. Even children will love putting coins in a "piggy bank" for the bride and groom. If I just spent sixty bucks (as a gift) on a Cuisinart 8 cup rice cooker with a sleek, modern design and chrome-plated handles, I still would have a hard time passing by the jar without reaching into my wallet. Maybe it will go toward a two hour surfing lesson on Waikiki Beach or a mountain biking tour in Florence, Italy. Or just a romantic candlelit dinner much closer to home. Give a little or give a lot, and make the honeymoon more affordable for the newly married couple you love best.

Mar 3, 2017

Mexican Themed Wedding Reception

Hard not to be filled with joy and happiness at a colorful Mexican themed wedding reception. Even if you were delayed by a flat tire or speeding ticket on the way. Mexican weddings are so well-loved that in many small towns in Mexico, everyone (and I mean everyone) is invited to attend. And with all the guests come generous bowls of spicy rice, beans and tortillas filled with chicken and beef. Kind hearted neighbors will proudly offer homemade Sangria made with red or white wine, brandy, orange juice and freshly sliced fruit. The local Mariachi band will sing and entertain with violins, trumpets and round-backed guitars. It's not just "your" fiesta themed wedding, it's a local celebration and everyone joyfully pitches in. Can you imagine how wonderful and less stressful it would be to have this much help on the wedding day of your dreams?

fiesta themed cookies
Mexican wedding backdrop
Mexican wedding cake