Friday, May 27, 2011

Make Your Own Napkin Rings & Place Card Holders







These napkin rings and place card holders are easy to make but do take time. I watched a video on Michael's.com of what you can do with your used candy molds. One hundred dollars later, I had a drawer full of paper clay, sandpaper, molds, paints, paintbrushes, sequins, glue and wire! The upside is I can make these for free for the next two years!! I found the best molds at a cake decorating store. The biggest benefit to these is you can customize things to your table decor or table toppers. (See previous blog: What you can do with a square.)

Cut the paper clay within the black package into eighths. Press the clay into the molds being careful to press it in real hard to avoid cracks or holes. I pressed it in so it didn't go into the lollipop stick portion of the mold. You can take it out of the mold in about an hour. Be careful not to bend it or it will dry that way. They should pop right out if you tap it on the counter a few times.

If you are making place card holders, cut a piece of 20 gauge wire about six inches long, Bend it as you wish and insert into the moist clay. I used jewelry tools to bend my wire. I ended up super gluing mine at the entry point because they wiggled around. After they are dry, you can sand any rough edges.

Now it's time to paint. Acrylic paints work well. Apply the first coat, let dry. If you wish to paint a second coat, repeat. After the paint was dry a sealer was applied. Sequins were then affixed with Elmer's glue on top. The napkin rings took an extra step of sewing the gingham fabric together and attaching them crosswise with wire. Hot glue the components together as you see it above. I will save you a great deal of time by telling you after looking all over that I finally found the wooden napkin rings at Jo-Ann's.

I have a party planned for a dear friend in which a Kelly green napkin will be inserted and placed on top of an orange polka-dotted table topper I made just for the event. I am ecstatic for you to see the whole event which will take place in September. Stay tuned for coming attractions!
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Tables Transformed By Squares



Click on photo to enlarge

In November, I acquired a new granddaughter by marriage. As a new member of the family, I wanted to express love to her and my grandson by communicating with them in some way every month. It was my desire to include my other granddaughter, Morgan too. She's in college, so I set out to start a "Hope Chest" for her. I chose to make each of them a table topper a month so they would know I was thinking about them often. I tried to find fabric designs that highlighted an event that was traditionally celebrated in each month.

   A "Happy Birthday" design was given for the month of January.Symbolizing the birth of a new year, and a fabric that could be used year around for dinners in or out. I made one for myself and took it to a Tea we had for my good friend Janice. The table perked up when we added the topper and I think Janice appreciated the special gesture. Don't forget to pick it up when you leave! Or, you could give it as a birthday gift so your friend can use it year around. You can display them like the "You Are Special Today" plates so many of us have. I chose a print that had lots of colors so they could choose what color of napkins, balloons, or other embellishments they desired. In February, I used a "Glittery Hearts" theme. March I was so happy to find a beautiful "Glittery Shamrocks"   print. April  was elebrated with a bright yellow fabric with wonderfully decorated "Easter Eggs". Then came "Flowers and Bees" in May and in June I gave them a "Hot Chili Peppers" design. I am getting ready to sew their "4th of July Fireworks" print, and have the rest of the year planned. I can hardly wait to give them to them.

This method can be used for ANY and EVERY event you wish, even picnics. (I saw a red gingham print with ants on it at Jo Ann's Fabrics). For about $10 or less, you can purchase the length of the width of the fabric and sew a hem all the way around the fabric. Beware! One can get carried away thinking of additional things to add to the table toppers, like napkin rings, place card holders, napkins, etc.

I purchased black background tablecloths and napkins for my granddaughters so that they can have a basic, dramatic tablecloth in which to host these other prints. Unfortunately I purchased a round table cloth for Carly, whose table is square. :- /

Morgan displayed her table topper on the buffet table at Easter and it really livened up the table. Made me purr inside to see her use it too. :-)

Most of the toppers I've made so far have black in the background or somewhere within the fabric, with the exception of Easter. I have read in decorating books that BLACK ADDS DRAMA to a room, so why not a table?!

In my Bible study, we have a themed potluck dinner once a month. These are a great, inexpensive way to highlight a theme and have something to use for years to come as they don't always get a lot of use, but add so much to making your table delightful when they are.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tropical Flower Lesson

Last night, I learned how to make this beautiful tropical flower arrangement. The lady who has made the arrangements for Citrus City Grill and other fine restaurants for years taught the class. My sister had an "in" because it is her son's girlfriend's mom who leads the class. :-)

These are so EASY to make! You just need to know where to buy the flowers, and leaves, etc. Next time I have a Luau, I'm making my own flowers and I bet I'll save a lot of money!

I know I have Hawaiian music somewhere. Maybe I'll play it tomorrow night and make Pina Coladas, Mai Tais, or Lava Flows to go with that. If I can't go to Hawaii, I can feel like I'm there, right? Oh yes, I have a great recipe for Coconut Cake too. Then there's that tropical rice recipe I like, not to mention how I love barbecued ribs! I feel a dinner party about to happen. See how these things get started!

Multiplication Table

"Its amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit."
Harry S. Truman (Often quoted by Ronald Reagan)

I love this quote, but better yet LIVING IT! I think so much is NOT accomplished in our lives because someone fears they won't get their credit, or accolades, or favor, or promotion! I think the better trait is found in the one who gets things done with others and sincerely praises them for their efforts. Even more, I admire the one who sets another person up to look great in the eyes of others. The ZENITH (highest point or state) is when we make the effort to make the OTHER person look good! BTW, if one consistently lives this way, they won't have to worry about their accolades and admiration, or promotions; they will freely flow.

On recent trip to Utah, my older son, Chad, who I was re-united with in 2005, (Yea!) took us out jeep riding (I'll explain the exhilaration of that another time). He has three jeeps, (yep, three!). When we set out for our adventure, he arranged it so his newly acquired brother would look elevated in John's and my eyes by letting him drive his dad in one of those jeeps. That is a GREAT heart! My son, Chris, looked, and I'm sure felt, so proud to be showing us his new skill, acquired without any input from us! He's flying outside the nest and loving it. I love how these two love each other. :-) My point is, Chad could have enjoyed all the glory, but it was MULTIPLIED because he SHARED it. Events like that make life delightful!

BTW, this compels me to PRAISE Dona Brian, one INCREDIBLE MOTHER, who raised not only Chad, but three other sons and a daughter. And, she loves me too! Love is better MULTIPLIED rather than DIVIDED or DESTROYED.

Do you know of an inspiring story in your own experiences? I'd love to hear about it!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Can you share one of the funnest dinner parties you attended?

I'd love to hear: What made it special? What food was served? What was the entertainment like? Did you create your own party? The music? What did someone do that made you feel extra special or dearly loved?

One of the funnest dinners I attended was at my friend Patty's house (pattybivens.blogspot.com). It was the year our nine month Bible study theme was "Wisdom". She decorated her table in bright colors and had little tiny multi-colored Chinese take-out boxes. Printed on the outside of these boxes, in a print that was an oriental style, was: "The Honorable (person's name)". These uniquely served as name tags. Within, she had a humorous fortune for each of us. All 28 of us took a turn at reading what our individual fortunes were. We had a LOT of laughs. I don't even remember what she served, but I remember how she made us feel, DELIGHTFUL!

Patty, if you read this and can send me pictures of that event, I'll post them here.


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Fiesta Mexicana...Ole!


Everyone I know loves Mexican food! That's what I wanted to serve this evening, so I set out to plan a Fiesta Mexicana. Additionally, I wanted to decorate in a Mexican theme to add to the enjoyment of the evening. I REALLY wanted to find a pinata for my dinner party and had success at Party City for under $15.00. I found one that coordinated with my theme which had the perfect colors for my Fiesta Ware dishes and hand-made tissue flowers. For more pizazz, I added streams of red ribbon adorned with silk flowers and leaves affixed with heavy duty glue dots. (One of my very favorite finds!) Oh yes, don't forget the Mexican Mariachi music!

I has so much fun anticipating my friend coming over! I couldn't wait demonstrate how much I enjoy getting together with them. I'd tell you who they are, but I want to protect their identities! ;-)


Color just injects such a great element to the visual enjoyment of any event. Coordinating, crazy, multi-color, monochrome, jewel tones, metallics, white and black (actually white and any color), or, whatever you come up with in ANY combination you choose makes your event unique. Sometimes the inspiration comes from your dishes or napkins, or the season or reason for the event. (Baby shower, wedding shower, birthday party, anniversary party, graduation party or whatever you are celebrating). Complimenting my Fiesta Ware dishes, I created tissue flowers like you can find south of the border. They were easy to make, added so much delight to the table, and were VERY cost effective!

For $3.00 at Party City, Maracas added a colorful and festive touch. Inexpensive, bright colored bandanas, used for napkins, came from Micheal's. (They have LOTS of colors). Floral dishes and glassware were purchased from Pier 1 Imports. I LOVE that place!! The finishing touches to my preparations were the wonderful salad Cindy brought, the 7-10 layer dip Peggy brought, and the Margarita Cake Anita brought. They fabulously enhanced my Vegetarian Enchiladas, home made tacos, and Spanish rice. My Ole Margaritas were another thing we girls enjoyed. I have a really great recipe given to me by my dear friend Trisha.

Here's the Ole Margarita Recipe:

Place equal portions of Tequila, Frozen Limeade concentrate and ice in a blender along with a shot of Grand Marnier. Pulse on "liquify", pour into salt rimmed Margarita glasses, embellish with a lime and ENJOY!

Vegetarian Enchilada recipe from Sunset Magazine, Google: Sunset Magazine Vegetarian Enchiladas. They are AWESOME!

I am curious. Do you have a favorite Mexican recipe you'd like to share?







Happy "Bird" Day Tea Delights




Use your Easter wreaths year around when you feature "bird" themed events!
"Light as a Feather" Cucumber Mint Sandwiches, "Golden Egg" Salad Sandwiches, "Bird's Delight" Crab-Stuffed Avocados, and "Chirp, Chirp" Bacon, Basil and Tomato Sandwiches.
The happy attendees:Trina, Debbie, Janny, Patty & Mary (Janice took photo)
We often like to dress to coordinate with our parties ;-
)
Mary's "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" Raspberry Soup

"You'll Be Humming, Birds" Lemon Bars

My recipes for scones are the best on earth! Baked by Janice, here you see "Chocolate Chirp" Scones and "Over The Rainbow" Apricot Pecan Scones. These are accompanied by "Floating on a Cloud" clotted cream and "Hidden Seed" Raspberry Preserves.


Here is a picture of me holding the white chocolate covered strawberries adorned with hungry gummy worms. ;-)

Trina's Happy "Bird" Day Tea








In September, 2010, we celebrated a dear friend, Trina's, birthday. It was so much fun to plan this Tea for her! She loves everything you do. :-)

I purchased wooden bird houses for $1.00, (yes, that was $1.00!) at Micheal's. I also purchased dowels and small flat wooden circles and hot-glued them together to make elevated bird houses for name tags. I varied the heights. Tearing around the edges of the paper, name tags were fashioned with computer generated name printouts. The edges were dipped in brown rubber stamp ink so it looked antique, or worn. Some may want to paint the birdhouses, but I desired a natural look for mine. Next, I attached little silk flowers, also purchased at Micheal's and adorned them with sequins and hot-glued them to the bird houses, twig chargers, and menu cards. They were adorable!! (If I do say so myself). ;-)

To make the menu cards, start with a sheet of 8.5 X 11 white card stock paper. Cut them in half to form 5.5 X 4.25" cards. Mounted a smaller piece of a cloud paper design (purchased at an office supply store) on top of that presenting about a 1/2 inch white border on all sides under the cloud paper. Print in coordinating pink ink a special themed menu for your Tea. Embellish with a bird and nature theme. (Words printed below). I used Martha Stewart stickers of birds, flowers, and branches, that came in one package. You can cut them apart and affixed them to the menu cards and finish the cards by attaching a pink gingham bow and more of the coordinating pink silk and sequined flowers. I don't even think Martha and her team could have done better on this!
(I'm not bragging, I am just saying...) ;-)

Here is the wording used for the Menu:


Trina’s Happy “Bird” Day Tea

“Light as a Feather” Cucumber Mint Sandwiches

“Golden Egg” Salad Sandwiches

“Bird's Delight” Crab-Stuffed Avocados

“Chirp Chirp” Bacon, Basil and Tomato Sandwiches

Tweet Sweets

“Over The Rainbow” Apricot Pecan Scones

“Chocolate Chirp” Scones

“Floating on a Cloud” Clotted Cream

Hidden Seed Raspberry Jam

"Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" Raspberry Soup

“Feather Your Nest” Chinese Chicken Salad

Sweet Tweets

“You’ll Be Humming, Birds” Lemon Bars

“Flying High” Chocolate Cupcakes

“A Berry Nice Berry” White Chocolate Covered Strawberries

“Bird in the Hand” Tea Cookies


"Bon-Appa-Tweet"