Thursday, July 3, 2014

A Setting for the Fourth

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.--John F. Kennedy, January 20, 1961

So, I know I have not tablescaped in a while.  But I put together a little fourth of July 'scape inside--mainly because Arthur is supposed to be paying us a visit later this evening, tonight, and tomorrow morning.  I will move this party outside tomorrow afternoon, but for now, we are getting in the spirit of things, and waiting for our daughter to arrive from New York.  We are having a little cookout tomorrow evening, nothing big, just another couple and the three of us.  So without further ado, here goes!
 
I found this cute little centerpiece bowl and candleholder at an estate sale.  It was in rough shape, so I sanded it a bit, and painted it white.  Love it now!
Plates are Ralph Lauren, and charger is from Tuesday morning.  
Can't remember where I purchased the napkin rings, probably Tuesday morning as well.
Used my bandana glasses and cobalt blue wines.
The 15" candles give the table some heighth and drama--
For the centerpiece arrangement, I used knock-out roses, white carnations, and those little blue flowers out of my yard (don't know their name).  I also used Camellia greenery, which I love using in arrangements because the stems are substantial.
Had to add little pails of fireworks and lots of red, white, and blue votives.

 I added red and blue toothpicks to small vases of white carnations.
America is best described by one word-freedom.--Dwight D. Eisenhower, January 9, 1958
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.--Francis Scott Key
I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death.--Patrick Henry
One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.--Pledge of Allegiance

One last one, 

May I never wake up from the American dream.--Carrie Latet

Happy Fourth!!

Monday, June 23, 2014

A Perfect Setting for a Wedding

At this stage of my life, I have many friends that I have made during all of the different phases.  I have my girlfriends from my hometown--and we still get together at least once a year, I have my work friends, I have my neighbor friends, I have my relatives who I consider my friends as well, and my friends that I made through our children.  I have seen several friends go through painful divorces, and watched helplessly as they struggled with emotional pain, and issues with finances, housing, and child custody.  My friend, Joanne, is my friend that I met 13 years ago when our sons became buddies at the tender age of 8.  Joanne battled all of the struggles of divorce with grace and a strength that was admirable.  After being a stay-at-home mom, Joanne began teaching special needs children at the elementary school our kids attended, and provided a stable life for her children.  In addition, she continuously made a point of staying in contact with her friends, and leaning on them when she needed a bit more support, as her many siblings and family lived in other states.  Fast forward, Joanne was married Saturday, to a kind, funny, lovable man who is crazy in love with her, and I've never seen her happier.  I was honored when she asked me to decorate the church and reception site.  Of course, I said yes, even though I've never done a wedding before.  How hard could it be, I thought!
As a northerner transplanted to the south , Joanne and Chris decided to stick to an old southern tradition, the burying of the bourbon.  It must have worked, because the weatherman predicted 80% chance of rain, and we had a beautiful day.
Built in the 1800's, the small chapel was lovely.  Without any decoration, it was simply beautiful.  I made pew bows from tulle, and inserted yellow roses, baby's breath, and ivy.
Each bow took about an hour to make, so I started weeks in advance.  Of course, all florals had to be done at the last minute.
I also decorated grapevine wreaths with artificial magnolia blossoms, gardenias, and ivy.  These were hung a week early, to avoid the last minute rush.  Fortunately, a friend and owner of the property where the reception was held, helped us hang them.  He is also a board member of the chapel.  The arrangements in the back by the door were made from blue hydrangeas, yellow roses, alstroemeria, and curly willow and are in plant stands from my yard.  I loved the tall windows with the point at the top.
Wreaths with fresh flowers and greenery were hung on the doors.
White tulle and yellow ribbon bows were hung on the outside railing of the chapel.
At the front of the church, is a baby grand piano, which Joanne's daughter played for the service.  She is 17, and it sounded beautiful!  I used a table from the church house next door, and decorated it with a center arrangement of yellow roses, white carnations, yew, and magnolia leaves.  The globes held candles, which we added later.  To the right of the arrangement is a vase for the unity sand.
The candelabras were handmade, and I used the same decoration as I did on the pew bows.  Two kimberly queen ferns in fishbowls were front and center.  Since open flames aren't allowed in the church, we used battery-operated candles, which looked great.
A silver neo-classical vase (estate sale) held two magnolia blossoms and leaves.
After a sweet ceremony, which fit their personalities to a T, everyone moved down the road to a property affectionately referred to as Mudcat.  Seems the owners, who are friends of the bride's, found a sign when they were building and clearing out the property with Mudcat on it, and the name stuck.  Their property is on the James River in Powhatan, Virginia.  I can't even explain how beautiful it is.
The happy couple enjoys a glass or two of vino, so a wine theme it was.  You would think with all the wineries around here, I could come up with a wine barrel, but this was as close as I could get.  Served the purpose.  This is the entrance to the pool, which served as a guide for guests to go to the gift and sign in tables, and grab a drink.
Lanterns on shepherd's hooks lined the sidewalk.  They looked so pretty in the evening.  We added magnolia and yellow bows.  Didn't get a chance to supervise this, but turned out ok.
Luckily, the wedding planner had the lanterns available to use.  I borrowed shepherd's hooks from my cousin, and made the yellow bows.
I found this cute wooden sign at an estate sale.  I painted it white and used a computer tutorial for the lettering.  Fortunately, Cindy--who is the owner of the reception property, is an artist and added some beautiful touches to it, really making it pop.
The sign-in/gift table held the arrangement from the chapel.  Instead of a guest book, we did the message in a bottle, straight from Pinterest!  Loved that idea.
Meant to use ribbon to roll up paper, but just ran out of time.  Everyone got the idea, and the bottles were given to Joanne and Chris to figure out how to get the messages out.  Probably will have to break the bottles, ha!
The wedding attire was very casual, and most men wore shorts and short-sleeved shirts.  Women wore sundresses, and flats or flip-flops.
There were 12 6-top tables, so I made 12 floral wreaths and we added these lovely hurricane globes--which were provided by the wedding planner.  To keep on track with the theme, we added corks as vase fillers.  By the time I got to number 8, I was a bit tired.  
We brought over the pew bows and tied them to the tent stakes.
On the high-top (bar) tables, we placed a charger with three wine bottles, filled with fern, hosta leaf, and yellow daisy mums.  Grapes were added to ground the centerpiece.  Silver mercury glass votives were lit at dusk.
We took the arrangements out of the metal planters from the chapel, and used them to decorate the dance floor on either side of the DJ.
Torches were added along the stone wall, to keep tipsy guests from falling off!  A few bows had slipped down because of the wind at picture taking time.
If you look closely, Scott, the property owner, used his tractor and cut a large heart in the field below, sorta between the two trees.  So very cool!
Paper lantern lights were hung around the pool (Chris, the groom, was in charge of that job) and we put LED cool icicle lights on the fence.  It was gorgeous in the evening!
A painted dry sink (Annie Sloan Louis Blue and Old White) held sweet tea and lemonade.  We used mason jars as glasses.  I bought straws, but couldn't find them at game time.  Found them the next day.  Oh well...
A friend of ours, and a dear friend of Joanne's, Bill, did all of the cooking for the reception.  His mother helped him, and 4 teenagers helped with serving and refilling trays.  We used wine bottle candelabras on the food tables.  We also used cork holders for the menu cards.  Instead of a buffet, there were different food stations.
The first station held appetizers, consisting of cheese platter, fruit platter, wings, and prosciutto wrapped asparagus.  Mozzarella tomato skewers and ham biscuits were passed.  Best ham biscuits I've ever eaten.  Gotta get the recipe.  Didn't get pictures of the other stations, as they were setting up while I was taking pictures.  Station 2 consisted of BBQ, BBQ chicken, rolls, two types of sauce, baked beans, corn, and cole slaw.  Station 3 consisted of beef tenderloin sandwiches, smoked salmon, and salad.  It was all soooo delicious!
 The couple decided on a small cake to cut, and individual cupcakes.  We decided to use different silver pieces for display instead of a cupcake stand.  We had hoped to use greenery as decoration on all the food tables, but just ran out of time.  The magnolia arrangement from the chapel was placed on the cake table.
Joanne and Chris share a bite of cake!
Joanne and her two children, Hannah, and Kellen.  Kellen walked his mom down the aisle, and Hannah played the piano and was her mom's attendant.
 Joanne, her son Kellen and daughter Hannah, with Kellen's best friends.  L to R, Kevin, Kellen, Hannah, Joanne, Phil, and my son Mitchell!

It was a happy, beautiful day!  At this point, I stopped taking photos and began having fun!  We danced, ate, drank, talked, and celebrated with the bride and groom and their lovely families.  At the end of the night, there was a fireworks display in the lower field.  I was honored to be involved in such a wonderful celebration.  Joanne and Chris are off on their honeymoon.  We will get together with them when they get back to look at pictures and rehash the events of their special day!

Thanks for looking and visiting with me!  It was, indeed, a perfect setting!

--Betsy

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Yikes! Glad No One Was Standing Underneath!

I can't believe I never took a picture of my beautiful chandelier in the foyer.  It has been hanging for approximately 11 years, and decided to come down.  This actually happened last spring, around May, and we have been dealing with repairs, insurance claims, and such since then.  The center pole was embedded in the floor, all the way through the sub-floor, and was not coming out.  We cleaned up all the glass, took it all apart, cut the electrical parts off, and dealt with the pole sticking out of the floor all summer.  Around September, we decided we'd better do something about it.  So we had the floor people out, and decided to re-finish all the wood floors, and install black granite in the foyer.

A new chandelier was ordered.  A painter was brought in, and we decided to paint the banister as well as the walls.  Our foyer is 18' high, so this is not an easy job. 

We moved out of the house for two weeks, and when I say we moved out, I mean we moved out.  Movers came in and packed everything in boxes, and loaded every piece of furniture on our first floor onto their trucks and took it to storage for two weeks.  Luckily, I didn't have to pack up the cabinets in the kitchen. 

The floors are all done now, and everything was unpacked, Christmas came and went and still no chandelier.  Then it came in.  Broken.  So we are back to square one.  The painter should be coming soon, and hopefully everything will be back to normal by spring.  Keep your fingers crossed.  I will post the "after" pictures when everything is finished!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

No Skimpy Garland

Skimpy garland is not something I'm fond of.  I am also not fond of paying huge amounts of money for nice, thick luxurious looking garland.  So I decided to make my own.  I am aware that most people have moved on, and are thinking of spring, but if I don't record this now, I probably won't get to it or remember to do it next year! 

Start by looking for the fullest, long-needle garland you can find at a reasonable price.  I purchased mine at AC Moore for $19.99 for a 9' piece.  I bought 5 pieces for my outside decorations, 2 for my mantle, and 1 to cut up and use in wreaths and for other decorations. 
Start by opening up the garland and lying it on a flat surface.  I was fortunate that my friend allowed me to work in her interior decorating shop.
Take a cheaper garland, I used some I already had from previous years, and lie it in the center and on top of  the long-needle garland, opening it up and fluffing needles as you go. At this point, I also went ahead and put on white lights.  I used a strand of 100 lights for each 9' piece of garland.  Make sure you test them ahead of time!
I used cable ties to secure the two garlands together.  I secured the garlands underneath the lights, just in case I had to remove the lights--you know how they can be working one minute and out the next.  
These zip ties worked like a charm.  You just put them through, pull them tight, and cut off the excess.  No tying or twisting necessary!
Here is a closeup of the garlands being secured.  The zip ties went under the lights just in case I had light issues.  At this point, you are ready to decorate your garland with your desired decorations.  I don't have pictures of the steps, but I just placed the decorations on first where I thought they looked good, and hot-glued them on.  I used iced holly, iced berries, pine cones, and red birds in nests.  I also used some of the extra garland to make a centerpiece, and tied on a red bow.  Here's how it looked when it was all done!
No skimpy garland!  I also matched the wreath to the decorations on the garland to give it a custom look.  The ribbon on the light fixtures matches the ribbon on the wreath.
On the centerpiece, I added three ornaments that matched the ones on the wreath, a red bow, and pieces of holly.
 The centerpiece is totally separate, I just hooked it on after putting up the garland.
 I also used garland on the rails.
I added berries, holly, and birds to my live trees in the pots, along with white lights.
The wreath is loaded with iced berries, holly, birds, iced branches, pine cones, and red ribbon.  Red shows up well on my wooden door.
I found this little metal deer at an estate sale and brought him home.  I used fresh greenery from my backyard and a faux candle, which came on automatically in the evening thanks to the timer!
The little birds in nests were added after I put the garland up, so I could space them properly.
 I also used three spotlights.
In one of those home catalogs, their garland costs $70.00 for a 9' piece.  I think mine looks just as good, and it was much cheaper!
Hope this helps next year, ha!!

Stay warm, thanks for visiting!