Nov 25, 2013

Laser Cut Wedding Invitations

These breathtakingly beautiful laser cut wedding invitations don't come cheap. Twenty five for $229.  The intricate designs are made to resemble a rich Mexican folk art known as papel picado ("perforated paper") that traditionally, was made entirely by hand using tissue paper and small chisels. No Mexican family ever wanted to celebrate alone - their homes, balconies and patios have always been transformed with brightly colored banners that contain news of great joy - a sacred celebration is taking place! These papel picado style invitations will be made with the color of your choice on 5 x 7 cardstock with unlimited digital proofs.

Mexican laser cut wedding invitations
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Nov 17, 2013

Bridal Shower Appetizers - Stuffed Mushrooms

Bridal shower appetizers - why not stuffed mushrooms - easy to prepare, easy to eat, healthy and nutritious. A few changes to this recipe will make it more low fat and calorie friendly. This calls for cream cheese (100 calories per one ounce serving). Low fat cream cheese is only 60 - plus more protein and calcium than the regular kind. Kraft makes a reduced fat parmesan cheese that has 20 calories for a two teaspoon serving. I never miss a chance to include sliced mushrooms to my diet, mostly by adding them to spaghetti sauce, salad, homemade soup and scrambled eggs. Mushrooms are fat-free, gluten-free, and cholesterol-free, every thoughtful reason to serve them at a house warming, bridal shower, or afternoon tea.

bridal shower appetizers - stuffed mushrooms
Stuffed Mushroom Recipe

12 whole fresh mushrooms
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Wipe mushrooms clean with a damp paper towel.  Break off stems and chop them extremely fine, discarding tough ends.

2.  Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and chopped mushroom stems to the skillet and fry until any moisture has evaporated. Set aside to cool.

When garlic and mushroom mixture has cooled, stir in cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, black pepper, onion powder and cayenne pepper. Mixture should be very thick. Using a little spoon, fill each mushroom cap with a generous amount of stuffing. Arrange the mushroom caps on prepared cookie sheet.

4.  Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the mushrooms are piping hot and liquid starts to form under caps.

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Nov 16, 2013

Mason Jar Luminaries

I'm loving the warm, enchanting glow of these Mason jar luminaries that I originally found at The Country Barrel at Etsy. Unfortunately, the shop may have closed because the link I used no longer works. What a shame! Maybe you can use these lovely photos to recreate your own rustic wedding luminaries. Let me share with you why these are a must-have for any outdoor wedding ceremony:
  • Mason jars are cheap.  Standard sized Mason jars, are available in all craft stores and advertised on Amazon at around $10 for a set of twelve. 
  • Mason jar lanterns can be used for birthdays, weddings and garden parties.  Imagine how beautiful these charming glass luminaries would look, lighting a warm and welcome way to an outdoor wedding reception.  Hang them from trees or along a wooden fence - remove the lids and group them together as rustic party or wedding centerpieces.
  • No messy clean-up with these Mason jar candles!  I've never seen dried beans used this way before but I'm absolutely hooked.  Do you know how cheap dried beans are?  Try a colorful variety including navy beans (shown here), pinto beans or kidney beans. Their down to earth country charm works well with the retro jars and they do double duty soaking up messy candle wax.
Mason jar luminaries
DIY Mason Jar Lanterns
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Nov 6, 2013

Christmas Gift Centerpieces

A stunning Christmas centerpiece you can make with just a little Mod Podge magic! These small, medium and large sized boxes were covered with festive red paper and tied with sheer organza ribbon. Candy apple red spray paint will transform ordinary candle holders into bright and cherry pedestals. This easy gift box centerpiece idea is from Plaid Enterprizes - you probably recognize the name from a large variety of creamy and colorful acrylic crafts paints known as FolkArt and Apple Barrel. And of course they also make Mod Podge, which is what transformed these ordinary gift boxes into what I call Christmas centerpiece works of art!

  • Purchase a small, medium and large gift box.  You'll also need scrapbook paper, 3 candle holders, spray paint, wire-edged ribbon, distress ink and hot glue.  (Michael's carries Tim Holtz Distress Ink and it comes in these amazing shades: Forest Moss, Tea Dye, Wild Honey, Worn Lipstick, Walnut Stain, Peeled Paint, Frayed Burlap, Fired Brick, Broken China, Antique Linen, and Victorian Velvet.)
  • Using Mod Podge Matte, adhere scrapbook papers to each box.
  • After you're done, seal the boxes with another coat of Mod Podge and allow to dry.
  • Paint the candleholders with red spray paint or another color of your choice.
  • Tie the boxes with wire-edged ribbon, making the bows big and beautiful. 
  • Using your hot glue gun, secure the gift boxes to the candle holders.  
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Nov 3, 2013

Hens and Chicks - My Favorite Little Favors

Hens and chicks - those little green rosettes that make such charming and eco-friendly favors have a more formal name - Sempervivum, which literally means "live forever." And they will with some very well-drained soil and plenty of hot sun. And you can ditch the watering can for the most part because all these sweet little succulents want to do is soak in the summer sunshine and send out their tender shoots, making a larger extended family of beautiful baby hens and chicks in stunning shades of dark purple, sea green, silver blue and pale pink. Here is why these hardy little hens and chicks make my Irish heart sing:

succulent wedding favors
  • There are so many beautiful varieties of hens and chicks such as yellow, green, deep purple and red.  They are drought resistant and will thrive in just about every part of the United States - in growing zones 4 through 9.  Don't want to grow your own?  I pick them up regularly at Lowe's, Home Deport and local garden centers for about three dollars each.
  • A sweet little succulent can double as a place card holder and wedding favor all in one.
  • With all of us striving to leave a lighter carbon footprint on our beautiful and tender planet, it just makes good sense to take a pass on favors made of plastic.  Hens and chicks are so happy to be alive, they survive in soil where other plants can't grow.  With some simple instructions attached, these small succulents will grow and multiply under the care of well-loved family and friends.
  • Giving the gift of hens and chicks - especially ones you watch, water and wait on - helps others appreciate the care and love of homemade gifts compared to those bought in bulk.  Give them a small and lovely home in small glass jars, tiny tin buckets or terra cotta pots. 

Nov 1, 2013

5 Easy Rustic Wedding Reception Ideas

Rustic wedding receptions - have the one you've always dreamed of - on the cheap! Let me show you 5 ways to make it happen with some inexpensive items you may already have in the house, the garage and even in your own back yard.

burlap table runner

1. A simple burlap table runner, especially on a white tablecloth is one of the easiest ways to transform your reception from formal to friendly. It looks even more rustic with frayed, uneven edges - no sewing needed! For your smaller wedding projects such as decorating candles, vases and Mason jars, burlap is also available in smaller widths, such as 2, 4, and six inches.
rustic beach wedding signs 

2.  Pay someone to make you a rustic wedding sign Don't even think about it. I have wood just like this piled up in my garage right now and white acrylic paint in my craft box.  The more weathered the wood, the more compliments you'll get. I love the charming mix of printed and handwritten words - and quirky message - that makes this sign so unique.

ladder cupcake stand
3.  This is beautiful on so many levels - literally!  The rich grain of this wood is exquisite.  Would pink cupcakes look so delicious and welcoming on these brown wooden steps?  I don't think so.  The more natural wood - centerpieces, cake and cupcake stands, table numbers and signs you can squeeze into your wedding reception d├ęcor, the more your guests will feel right at home.

rustic succulent wedding centerpiece
4.  Succulents - charming green rosettes that warm up a room with their simple beauty.  Here shown - at right - nestled into a bed of faux moss and tucked into a small cup or vase like so many I've seen at thrift stores for less than I paid for my morning coffee.  A small but sweet centerpiece - even if you purchase the succulents ("hens and chicks") - instead of growing them yourself, you'll pay about three dollars for each.

s'mores wedding favors
5. It's amazing how much rustic character is in a simple piece of twine.  Who wouldn't love to get the perfect stack of graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows - especially in the fall - when thoughts turn to mouth watering S'mores made over an open fire?

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