Jul 30, 2012

Wedding #2...A Beach Theme

In case you didn't read about wedding #1, this is wedding #2...just a week apart!  This one had a completely different feel, being held outside in my Mom and Dad's backyard, and having a whole different theme.   It was a whirlwind of excitement and lots of work at our house.  Plus, add in visiting family (including five grandkids at the house) and things were really hopping!  Once again, thanks to everyone who helped make both weddings successful.  I will be forever grateful for wonderful friends and family!

The Dress and Bouquet

My daughter wanted a simple, lightweight dress since this was to be a summertime wedding.  We really couldn't find an exact pattern so we had to wing it a bit.  She chose white chiffon over satin.  The top is ruched with the chiffon.  The waist is embroidered lace over satin ribbon.  Small ribbon flowers with pearl and rhinestone centers were used as embellishments at the front of the waistband.  A satin ribbon bow adorns the back.

The bodice gives the illusion of being wrapped in the front.  Narrow crocheted lace trims the edge of the sleeves.  The beautiful bouquet was made by my talented sister-in-law.  She even put wire stems on some shells and added them into the mix.  You can check out her creative jewelry at katalinajewelry.blogspot.com.

The back of the dress also had ruched chiffon over satin.  A simple satin ribbon bow completes the dress.

The Guest Table
In keeping with the beach theme, the guests could sign-in by putting a message in the bottle for the bride and groom.  The tabletop shutters, used in the first wedding, take on a nautical feel when draped with fish netting.  A sandcastle, shells, beach umbrella, and starfish-encrusted planter complete the look.

 The Buffet Tables
We got double duty from the table skirting and vinyl lace tablecloths used in the first wedding.  We kept the hot food hot with chaffing dishes, and the cold food cold by building a shallow frame with 2x4's, covering it with inexpensive plastic table covering, filling it with ice, and setting the bowls of food in place.  It was simple and effective.

This time around the tables were decorated with a seashell and raffia garland. 

The aqua blue starfish were made using Sculpey clay and a candy mold.  I pierced a hole through the top before baking so they could be strung onto the garland.  I used the regular colored sculpey clay (the bulk packaging was cheaper than buying colored clay), then brushed some watered down paint over the starfish after first baking them in the oven.  Raffia bows were tied onto the garland.

The dessert table was filled with varying heights of dishes filled with cookies, brownies, and cream puffs.  

Salt water taffy was also a big hit at the dessert table.

This multi-level stand is actually used to hold pillar candles.  We used glue dots to secure the plates.

The Centerpieces
The centerpieces were very economical, considering most of the parts were purchased from the dollar store, including the fluted glass vases, candles, shells, and two candlesticks—one tall, and one short.  The candlesticks were secured to the vases with glue dots.  The dark brown, round place mats were purchased on clearance for 75¢ each.  

The Gazebo
The gazebo has made the rounds for several receptions and even my Mom and Dad's fiftieth wedding anniversary.  Once it even traveled from Oregon to Utah to be used at a reception.  This time I added some sheer lace-trimmed curtains to the front to give it a more elegant feel.  I picked these up for cheap at Value Village.

I found these nautical tie-backs on clearance at Michael's for $6 a piece.  (I don't have a full picture of the tie-backs, but the following two pictures shows the upper half of the tie-back, and the lower half of the tie-back.)

The Cake
Having never done fondant before, I was fortunate to have a neighbor who had...and was willing to help!  We decided to cheat and make only the top layer edible.  The bottom two layers are actually fondant covered styrofoam.  We just figured that Costco sheet cakes would be easier and more economical.  I purchased a 2'x4' sheet of 2" thick styrofoam from Home Depot and cut the circles on the band saw.  I then stacked and glued them together.  My neighbor baked the top layer and then covered everything with fondant.  I placed the whole cake on a clear crystal serving platter.

I had previously made shells using candy molds and almond bark.  For the starfish, I sprinkled a little brown sugar in the mold first to give it some color.  The coral was made by placing some melted almond bark in a bag and squeezing it onto wax paper.  It was then placed in the refrigerator to set.  I attached all the shells with frosting and then sprinkled the whole thing with some organic sugar (only because it was coarser than regular sugar and not as white in color.)

The cake sat atop a clear, upside-down glass bowl with straight sides.  Before doing so, though, I placed some sea glass under the bowl which almost gave it the look of water.  (Actually, I had previously bought some green, aqua, and blue vases from the thrift store, broke them into pieces, and threw them into a rock tumbler.  The effect was homemade sea glass.  I have future plans for it, but for now it made the perfect addition to the cake stand.)  A fishing net was placed around the bowl and various seashells and starfish were added.

The Hair?
Okay, this has nothing to to with the reception decorations, but unbeknownst to me, the photographer took a picture of my hair, so I'm including it, along with the story behind it.  Having been at my Mom and Dad's all day finishing up the final preparations, and as the groom's side of the family were showing up for pictures, I figured it was time to clean up and get myself ready.  To my dismay, the bag that I had packed for myself was nowhere to be found.  Well, actually, it was to be found...back at home!  My sweet brother and his wife offered to travel all the way to the neighboring town and back to retrieve the forgotten bag, but I felt that surely someone from my house could bring it sooner.  Needless to say, by the time my bag arrived I had about 15 minutes to the start of the ceremony.  I was a mess, and my hair was definitely a mess!  So, my girls came to the rescue.  I felt like Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality when she was left on her own to finish the competition...remember how all the girls came to her aid?  Well, I knelt on the bathroom floor and my girls were in a frenzy curling and pinning.  They finished in record time and I attended the reception feeling much more presentable as the mother of the bride!  Thanks girls!

I have to say that doing two weddings a week apart was A LOT of work, but it was good to have family and friends around and we have come away with great memories!

I like to link to these great parties!

Jul 20, 2012

Shabby Chic Cupcake Stand

My son just got married and they opted for a shabby chic wedding reception.  You can read the full post here.  I thought you might enjoy a tutorial on how I made the cupcake stand.  Everything was thrifted objects except for the threaded rod, nuts, and washer that hold it all together.  Total cost, including paint, came in under $30!  Not bad since I saw a pretty nondescript one on Etsy going for $140 plus $35 shipping!

I started with a shallow wooden bowl turned upside down for a base.  Next was a round table top with a carved edge detail that actually measures about 24" in diameter.  A wooden lazy susan was taken apart and used for the next level, followed by two metal trays—one with handles and one with sides.  A metal tart tin with a fluted edge is next.  The whole thing is topped off with a small wooden bowl with straight, deep sides.  A decorative wire basket sits upside down on top of the bowl.  Each level is divided by a variety of turned wood objects—a candle pedestal, salt and pepper shakers, and a lamp base.  (Not seen in the "before" picture is the small wooden bowl with straight sides and the decorative wire basket...they were an afterthought!)

The first step was to decide how tall each wooden divider needed to be and cut them to size.  I opted for about 5" between cake stand layers.  That didn't mean that I could cut all the wooden dividers evenly, though.  Some of my trays (the small wooden bowl, the tart tin, and one of the metal trays) had sides to them that I had to allow for.  You can see what I mean in the finished picture.  I opted to put the sides facing down on these levels so that a person wouldn't have to lift the cupcake up and over the edge.  After measuring and cutting the dividers, they all needed holes through them to allow for the threaded rod.  I was lucky with the lamp base, it already had a hole drilled done the center to house the electrical wires.  The salt and pepper shakers were also equipped with a hole through most of it.  The candle pedestal needed some help, so I put in on the drill press and drilled right down the center.  

I also drilled a hole in each of the levels.

Next was to paint everything white.

This metal tray with the swirly handles is my favorite!  Since the sides of this tray were very shallow, I left it upright.  The other metal trays I placed upside down to make it easier to get to the cupcakes.

The top of the cake stand is a wooden bowl with straight sides.   I drilled a hole part way into the underside so that I could countersink a nut into it.  I then used epoxy to adhere the nut.

The threaded rod screws right into the underside of the wooden bowl.

Now its just a matter of putting it all together starting with the top layer and working your way to the bottom.  The final layer is the upside down shallow bowl to be used as a base.  I cut the threaded rod to size and my hubby touched up the threads with a grinder so that the newly cut threads would work properly.  A washer and nut holds the whole stand together.



Once everything is tightened down, turn it over and enjoy!  You now have a custom cupcake stand that will be the showpiece of any party!  And, one of the best parts...it all comes apart for easy storage!

I like to link to these great parties!

Jul 19, 2012

Shabby Chic Wedding Reception

My blog as been shy of posts lately, and for good reason.  We just finished back-to-back weddings for my son and my daughter.  They were held a week apart!  Needless to say, I'm exhausted!  But I would be more exhausted if it weren't for the help of wonderful family and friends.  It would be hard to name everyone that had a part in these events, but I hope they each know how truly grateful I am to them for their willingness to help make both of these weddings a huge success.  Thanks!!  Now, onto the pictures.  My son and his bride chose a reception that would have a shabby chic, eclectic, vintage feel.  Okay, maybe my son didn't actually choose that (what guy would?), but he went along with it anyway!  It's always a challenge to make a church cultural hall (basically, a gym) look good with basketball hoops and all, but since the price is right...free...you do what you can!  We created a false ceiling with alternating strands of white lights and paper buntings.  My husband wired me up a great custom extension cord that stretched from one basketball hoop to the other.  He spliced in an outlet every five feet so it was easy to power all the light strands.  We were fortunate to be able to borrow chair covers to hide the metal chairs.  The blue satin tablecloths I picked up years ago at Goodwill for $2 a piece.  They have come in VERY handy over the years.  The paper lanterns were battery operated, although, they could have easily plugged into the custom extension cord if necessary.  The garden gazebo in the middle of the room was decorated with white globe lights and large paper butterflies purchased at a local home and garden center.

The guest table gave the guests an opportunity to "send" the bride and groom a postcard of advice.  A friend, who is an avid quilter, graciously loaned us some quilt tops to use for decorating.

Their postcards were printed on cream colored parchment card stock.  We printed four to a page and cut them accordingly.

After the guests wrote down their words of wisdom, they placed the postcards in the white mailbox.  Real letters written over the years to each other by the bride and groom were tucked into the small vintage mailbox. 

The gift table was set up in the overflow area of the gym.  We used two roll around chalkboards, about 7 1/2' apart and connected them with an 8' long 2x2 board.  Then we gathered white sheets onto pvc pipes (using the original sheet hem as a casing) to create a white curtain backdrop.  We attached these to the tops of the chalkboards.  The beautiful quilt was handmade by the bride's grandmother.  White picket fencing flanked the gift table and was adorned with paper butterflies and paper accordion medallions.  White table skirting for the whole event was made from sheets collected from local hotels.  Can I just say that a ruffler foot for the sewing machine was one of my best investments ever?!  (And, I didn't pay an arm and a leg for it...just about $16 from Amazon.)  A vintage suitcase holds the cards.

A corner of the gym was dedicated to photos of the bride and groom.  The backdrop was an old door with louvered bi-fold doors attached to each side.  The cute bench was made by the bride's late father.  Old vintage suitcases were collected from thrift stores to display photos of the happy couple.  A digital photo frame played a slideshow of their bridal shoot a few days earlier and their day at the temple.

The centerpieces were an eclectic grouping of planted tin cans covered with patterned paper and embellishments, made by the bride and her mom.  They also painted mason jars to hold a bouquet of flowers.  Blue Milk of Magnesia bottles that I picked up at a garage sale held a single sunflower.  Little LED lights that are made to put in jack-o-lanterns lit up an upside-down pint-sized mason jar covered with swirls of hot glue and brushed with the same blue transparent paint as the other jars.  All of this sat atop a white-on-white polka dot center cloth hemmed with a scalloped edge.

The food tables all had white icicle lights attached to them before the table skirting was put on.  They were covered with vinyl lace fabric purchased from JoAnn's and cut to size.  Paper buntings and medallions were used to adorn them.  Various plates and bowls were collected and stacked to use for serving.  We used heavy duty glue dots to keep the stacked plates secure.

The drink table was decorated the same as the other food tables.  Beverage containers were purchased from Costco.  Green ferns were used for added color.  You can see that the paper medallions had a paper doily as one of the layers.

The dessert table had several eclectic dishes stacked to serve mini cookies, brownies, cream puffs, etc.

All of the food tables had these decorative card holders made from wooden salt and pepper shakers, candlesticks, wooden balls, and curly paperclips.  I cut a couple of the salt and pepper shakers in half and glued a wooden ball atop the cutoff part of the shaker and also to the candlesticks.  I then cut a groove along the top of each with the band saw.  The curly paper clips fit snugly into the groove.

The cake table actually displayed a cupcake stand.  The table was also lit with icicle lights.  The backdrop was made using very thin painter's plastic and decorated with more paper buntings.  Paper lanterns were hung from the basketball hoop.  We also added a clip-on spotlight to the basketball hoop to give some light on the cupcake display.  It gave an added bonus of lighting up the paper lanterns as well.

The cupcake stand was made from thrifted objects...various round trays, wooden bowl, salt and pepper shakers, wooden lamp, candlesticks, etc.  You can view a tutorial of how it was done here.

We opted for four different flavors of cupcakes:  Chocolate with peanut butter centers, white with raspberry filling, lemon with blueberries, and chocolate chip cookie dough.   The later ones actually had a scoop of cookie dough in the middle that stays doughy.  You can find the recipe here.  (Note:  I used a packaged yellow cake mix for the cupcakes, and reduced the amount of butter used in the frosting to two sticks instead of three.)  They were a big hit!  The cupcake wrappers were purchased through Sears, of all places, but were packaged by Oriental Trading Company.  They seemed to be the best price that I found.  We also adorned the cupcake stand with fern leaves for added color.

Ammon and Becca requested that Ammon's little brother, who is eight years-old, make their cake topper from clay.  He made Ammon as a knight who is holding a sword, and Becca as a princess. They were a hit!

A close-up of the cake topper.  

When I told my youngest son that his big brother really liked the cake topper he made, he wanted to know if Ammon thought Becca looked beautiful.  It was pretty sweet.

All in all the wedding reception was a great success!  Stay tuned for a post of the second wedding in the near future.  It was decorated with a beach theme.

I like to link to these great parties.