Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Burlap and Lace Bridal Shower

In a future life (I don't really believe in reincarnation :) ), I would love to be a party planner. It is so fun to choose a theme and plan a shower, reception, or party around it! Not only is it fun to formulate a theme and see it come to fruition, it gives me great satisfaction to do so on a budget. I am a firm believer that less can be much more. Having a party that is decorated nicely doesn't necessarily mean spending a lot of money. With a little research, creativity, and craftiness, a pretty party is possible.

I was privileged to help plan a bridal shower last weekend. The son of family friends recently asked his sweet girl to marry him, and I am grateful I got to be a part of the shower of love our church hosted for them.

The hostesses decided on a decor theme of burlap and lace, and I immediately got on the wonderful world of internet to searched for ideas. Don't you love the resources we have available to us on the internet? The ability to share ideas and tutorials so easily is amazing.

After finding and pinning my favorite ideas to a Pinterest board, I created an inspiration collage of ideas.

A lady in our church agreed to make the cake. We chose the one in the collage above with frosting roses. She did an awesome job making a southern pound cake with strawberry jam between the layers. This was her first time to make the frosting roses, and we were extremely pleased with her results. The base was created by her husband out of a tree and beautifully complemented the theme.

(And in case you are wondering, we wouldn't dare step on the Goddess's territory when it comes to beautiful cakes! We live too far away from her and probably couldn't afford the 650 mile delivery.)

Adding burlap to the decor was a lot of fun. We placed squares of it on top of white table cloths at the food table and the guest tables. I also painted symbols and letters on burlap to create centerpieces and a pennant banner.

I found the idea for the pennant banner at Style Me Pretty and a tutorial for making it at My Love of Style.

Dear Lillie showed me how to use burlap on a vase to make an adorably personalized centerpiece. We added baby's breath and votive candles as well.

I really wanted to use some mercury glass at this shower too. But, when I asked the other hostesses, no one owned any. That meant I had to get my crafty on!  I followed Interiors by Kenz's tutorial to create faux mercury glass . I rounded up some unused vases from under my sink and purchased a few votives from a thrift store and painted them according to directions in the tutorial.

All of these elements helped create a sweet, romantic burlap and lace bridal shower. The food was delicious, the decorations cute and the bride-to-be was radiant.

Is a burlap and lace themed party in your future? Follow the links in this post to some great ideas, and do a search of the internet for more. So much crafting and planning to do, so little time to do it! Have fun partying!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

O Could I Speak the Matchless Worth

O Could I speak the matchless worth,
O could I sound the glories forth
Which in my Saviour shine,
I'd soar, and touch the heav'nly strings,
And vie with Gabriel while he sings
In notes almost divine,
In notes almost divine.

I'd sing the precious blood he spilt,
My ransom from the dreadful guilt
Of sin, and wrath Divine,
I'd sing his glorious righteousness, 
In which all perfect, heavenly dress
My soul shall ever shine,
My soul shall ever shine.

I'd sing the characters he bears,
And all the forms of love he wears,
Exalted on his throne:
In loftiest songs of sweetest praise,
I would to everlasting days
Make all his glories known,
Make all his glories known.

Well the delightful day will come 
When my dear Lord will bring me home,
And I shall see his face;
Then with my Saviour, Brother, Friend, 
A blest eternity I'll spend,
Triumphant in his grace, 
Triumphant in his grace.

Samuel Medley, 1789

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Beautiful Camellia

As you may know, I am not a native to this beautiful area of the country in which I live. I'm an Oklahoma born girl who has had the privilege to live in and visit much of  the United States. I am blessed to have resided in Southeast Alabama for the past nine and a half years.

There are so many things about this region of the country that I love and enjoy.  One of the first things I noticed and loved were the beautiful flowers especially in the spring of the year. The Bradford Pear trees and colorful Azaleas light up the spring. Entire festivals are dedicated to the beauty of the Azalea.

The summer has its beauties too. Bright yellow Lantana, glorious and hardy Knock-out Roses, as well as the prodigious blooms of the Hydrangea flaunt their beauty all summer long.

But one of my favorite of them all is the Camellia. The Camellia is the state flower of Alabama and can be found in many colors: bright reds, pretty pinks and pure whites. The best thing about the Camellia is that it blooms in the winter! While the winter season way down here in the deep Southeast is extremely mild compared to most of the rest of the country, it is still a time when leaves fall off trees and flowers fade. To look across a bland landscape and spot the color of the camellia brings a smile!

This past fall, I finally purchased a Camellia bush for my yard. I found it at a reduced price at a local botanical garden. When I bought it, I did not know what color the blooms would be. When buds appeared, they looked like they would produce white flowers. I waited rather impatiently for the buds to produce flowers and finally in mid-January, I spotted the first bloom. I was ecstatic to see that the flowers were a sweet, delicate two-tone pink!

What a beauty! I look forward to enjoying this one for a long time, and I can't wait to add more and different colored blooms to my winter flower garden.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Zuppa Toscana

In just a few short weeks spring will be in the air here in East Texas and that means I have a small window of opportunity remaining in which to savour my favorite soups and dream up a few new ones too. Spring is the most beautiful time of year here, even if it does arrive waayyy to early for my taste. Last week I whipped up a standard favorite, Chicken Tortilla Soup, and attempted a new one - my version of this Zuppa Toscana. Sometimes found on the menu at Italian restaurants, this spicy sausage soup is sure to have a reoccurring spot on our menu, despite the fact it's a little too spicy for my little guys - resulting in a need for a second option to satisfy their appetites - but Zuppa Toscana is worth it nonetheless.

Zuppa Toscana

2 lbs. ground italian sausage (I used 1 lb. hot and 1 lb. mild)
1 Tbs. olive oil
4 white onions diced
6 slices bacon, cooked crisp and chopped
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
5 cans chicken broth
3 cups heavy cream
8 cups potatoes, cubed with skins left on
1-2 bunches kale, chopped (greens only, discard center stalks)
1 bunch italian parsley, chopped
1 cup fresh grated parmesan

Saute sausage in the bottom of a large stock pot. Drain the fat and set aside. In the bottom of the same pot, add 1 Tbs. olive oil and sauté onions, garlic and potatoes until onions are soft. Add chicken stock and chopped bacon; bring to a boil and simmer until potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes. Turn off heat and immediately add kale, sausage, heavy cream, parmesan, and parsley. Stir together - serve hot with some with thick slices of toasted italian bread. Enjoy!

I spy a foodie photog - can you see me?