Friday, July 29, 2011

{wedding} BUNTING!

 I LOVE anything that has to do with bunting, flags, banners, etc. I definitely want to tie these into our wedding. I have found several online that I've loved. I'm having a difficult time narrowing it down.

This bunting DIY on OnceWed helped me get started on making some for our wedding reception.

 I may end up using several different styles of banners and bunting because I can't make up my mind!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

{food} 5 Flavor Poundcake, and Family

So here I go on another food post. This may be a good time to explain something about myself.

For some folks, food is just a way to stay alive. They go on about their everyday lives eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner while never being excited about anything on their plate-- and they don't really care to be.

I am not one of these people. I will actually clap when a wonderful meal is placed in front of me.  There is something in me that resonates with the effort and love that I know goes into good food. I think of food as a form of art; an expression of ones self and one's family. There is something intimate about preparing a meal for someone you love. I believe it is a connection to the past; my history. I hold a deep emotional connection to many of the recipes that I own. They have been around for years, and passed down to me from my mother, her mother before her, and from others I hold dear. When I was small, my mom would stand me up on a stool beside her in the kitchen, and we would cook and bake together. Times spent in the kitchen are some of the fondest memories I have from my childhood.


The roots of my love for food (especially baking and sweets) run deep. My mother has 5 sisters who have all stayed very close throughout the years. I have 15 cousins, and 12 (if i have counted correctly) first cousins once removed... just on my Mom's side. We are all spread around 5 states, but we keep in touch (thanks to the wonderful world of social media and some very determined mothers).

 [The sisters]

As early as I can remember, whenever all of us were together, which is at least once a year at Thanksgiving, there was ALWAYS a dessert/snack table in addition to our meal table. All of us kids would sneak by the dessert table and grab the mint chocolate brownies, peanut butter balls, and the homemade chex-mix, thinking we were getting away with something. All along our mothers knew what we were up to.  I remember so many evenings sitting around the dining room table with my Grandma, my mom, and my aunts and cousins after dinner, just talking... about whatever. It didn't matter what we talked about. The important things was that we were all there together.

[The early days before us cousins were even thought about]

Every year at our Thanksgiving get-together, the sisters give "sister gifts" to each other. Several years ago, however, they gave a "cousin gift" instead. All of the sisters, and my Grandma, got a collection of recipes together and made us a cookbook of all of our favorites.

...It is one of my most cherished belongings.

If you were to ask me to choose one recipe that I would consider a family recipe that I will pass down to my children, I would tell you about 5 flavor pound cake. I don't really know if it is a true "family recipe", as in, I'm not sure if it was completely made up by a distant relative. This doesn't matter to me. It is something that has been a part of our home for years. And I plan to keep it going. 5-Flavor Poundcake is the first cake listed in this book. There is a reason.

I had a request to make this cake recently, so I whipped one up today. Actually, this is not a "whip it up" sort of recipe. While it is fairly simple to make, it has to bake for and hour and a half, and then you make a glaze for it. It is a labor of love.

If you would like this recipe, I will share. Just leave a request in the comment box and I will email it to you. I think it is a little too special just to post online.

I hope this post inspires you to look into your family's past and find some of the cherished recipes that have made it through the generations of your history. I have been blessed by God beyond all my imagination. He has chosen to place me in one of the most loving, wonderful families and I hope that I always remember to thank Him for this.

The women in our family started a recipe club, and we started a blog to help keep up.  If you are interested in seeing any of these recipes, click here.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

{wedding} Jewelry ideas

Jewelry for our wedding is something that I wanted to be unique, and handmade. I wanted to choose something that would reflect our style, but also be something that my bridesmaids and I would be able to cherish as something truly special.
It is also something else that I want to keep sort of secret until closer to the wedding, but I wanted to show some of the really amazing things that I've been finding online. A lot of the sites that I visit the most are listed in my "Inspiration" link section on the side of my page, but I have found a few others that I still need to add to the list.

First, a little "set-up"... Here are a couple of the details we have decided on already-

-We will be using crocheted flowers for our bouquets in the ceremony, so I wanted to tie in the hand-made elements in other areas as well, including the jewelry. This wedding over at Green Wedding Shoes is a wonderful example of using crochet flower elements.

-My engagement ring is a raw diamond ring that my fiance found on I am SO happy with his choice! It suits me better than most engagement rings I've seen. I generally don't wear shiny jewelry, so I didn't want my wedding jewelry to be something that I wouldn't normally wear. I wanted it to be a true reflection of my taste and style.

SO... the accessories will need to fit in with the rest of the styles in the wedding. Were to go from there?

Well, I've been stumped on it until I was visiting a friend last week in a nearby town and we decided to visit a bead store that was close by. (side note: If you are ever in Spartanburg, SC, you MUST visit Robin's Bead Nest. I fell in love with this store.  Not only were they very friendly and helpful, but they let me borrow something from the store!) I found a very unique crocheted, beaded necklace that I thought would be great for our wedding, but the yarn used is a variegated one. I'm not sure about how it will look with my dress. The lady offered to let me borrow the necklace to see how it looked with my dress! She also gave me the pattern for the necklace!

Sorry for the poor quality photo. 

After I saw the crocheted necklace, I started wondering what other handmade necklaces we could consider. I continued my search at Then I discovered cloth and embroidered pendants!

These are only a few of the ideas I'm toying with now. There were several different other ideas for handmade fabric jewelry. This is only the beginning!!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

{food} Whole Wheat Blueberry Scones

Tonight I got the hankerin' for a blueberry scone. Now, We've been trying to make some changes in our diets that include less sugar, less breads, less meats, etc., so I knew if I was going to make some, I needed to find something that was at least semi-healthy. I had already been looking around for healthy recipes that I can use to cook up some pattipan squash and butternut squash that I got this past week, so I just looked around for a healthy scone... and found one! had some great recipes that I want to try, including one for Whole Wheat Blueberry Scones.

I love how few ingredients are in this recipe. Very simple.

This dough is really sticky when you begin to work with it. Add lots of flour to your surface before kneading it. I think the next time I make these, I will keep the dough in my Kitchen-aid, add the kneading hook, and use the machine to knead it until it is a little easier to work by hand.

I was out of raw sugar, so I used brown sugar on top, and regular granulated sugar in the dough.

The recipe includes health information which, given our current path to healthier lifestyle, is a great help.

I was surprised at how easy they are to whip up! I've never been able to make biscuits and, being a southern girl, this is as close to disgracing your mother as not saying "yes ma'am and no ma'am". So I was a little nervous that they would turn out flat and hard. Not so! This is a wonderful recipe, and I suggest you try it.

Friday, July 22, 2011

{wedding} Color Inspiration Board

I've been trying to narrow down the colors that we will use for our wedding. We will be getting married in the fall, so we wanted to incorporate the fall gold and rust tones. I also chose a very deep blueish-green color for the bridesmaids dresses, so that also needed to be taken into account. I was finding that the orange and blue themes were mostly too bright, and the blue and gold themes were a little too gaudy for my taste. So I put my own inspiration board together using photos that I've collected from various places. I tried to incorporate my favorite shades of each color. I love being able to see an inspiration board that is exactly the look i'm going for. (please don't giggle at my poor attempt at an inspiration board. I don't have photoshop! That is my defence :)

3. Random Google Image Search

I know I used mostly images from the folks over at Green Wedding Shoes, but what can I say? They feature some very beautiful weddings that are very much our taste. I love frequenting their site.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

{food} A New Recipe!

I thought I'd use this blog to post updates about the wedding, and also things that I'm doing just day-to-day-- recipes, home repairs, furniture finds-- all sorts of things!

So here is my first food blog:

When I was looking for something to make for supper tonight, I had NO idea what I was going to do. I usually try to at least have some ideas for meals so that I don't get frustrated and have a "let's just eat out" moment. Those evening usually end up with a dinner that is not-so-good for us.
I scrounged around in the cupboard until I found a couple random things that I had picked up at Trader Joes. (side note- If you have not been to Trader Joe's you MUST visit. They have the best deals on foods that are all natural and/or organic, and I don't cringe every time the total is read to me when I have packed my cart out! Hands down the best prices on healthy foods)

This is what came of my finds...

...A wonderful chili/soup concoction served over yellow rice. It was WONDERFUL!
I want to remember this recipe. My fiance said I need to remember it exactly how I made it, down to the fresh cilantro and smoked gouda sprinkled on for garnish. So I plan to try.

Here is the recipe:
I heated about a tablespoon of olive oil in a pot and added
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped
about 1/2 cup shredded carrots (the pre-shredded kind from the store)
a couple cloves of garlic, minced
I let this cook until it was tender, then I added
1 package Trader Joe's Turkey Kielbasa, sliced into pieces
3 small potatoes, cubed

I stirred them around for a bit and when the kielbasa started to warm through, I added
1 can of Trader Joe's Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes with Chilis (do not drain)
1 can of Trader Joe's Black Beans (do not drain)
1 of the empty cans full of water

I seasoned with salt, black pepper, white pepper, and Creole blackened seasoning, to taste (*Remember this is served over yellow rice which has it's own seasoning), and added the juice of a half of a lime, and maybe 1/8 (or less) cup of chopped fresh cilantro. (also to taste)

I let this all cook together for a while, adding water as needed. I didn't want it too "soupy" so I didn't add much more water... maybe another 1-1/2 cups.

While the "chili" was simmering I cooked a package of Mahatma saffron yellow rice.

Once the potatoes were tender in the "chili", I spooned a little yellow rice into a serving bowl and added the soup on top.

I garnished with a little more fresh chopped cilantro, and some shredded smoked gouda cheese.

This was definitely a success in our books!!! I hope that you will try this recipe, and please let me know what you think! Try it, tweak it, add, subtract-- and comment to me about your results!

{wedding} Save-the-date "sneak peek"!

We don't want to reveal all of our fun little surprises for our wedding too far in advance, but since we are in the process of handing out/mailing our save-the-dates, we decided to go ahead a publish a little sneak peek!

But first: Some inspiration.

I have browsed through wedding blogs for MONTHS looking for any and every idea I could find that fit our style. We have gone back and forth on our invitation/save-the-date ideas because we definitely wanted to create something that was uniquely ours, and very special.

Here are a couple of the influences:

This idea actually has the full DIY instructions... we tweaked them.

I've loved so many of the ideas that I've found on Green Wedding Shoes. I love this site! This next idea is no exception!

I just mentioned to my fiance yesterday that I am so thankful that he wants to be so involved in planning our wedding. He has very much influenced (and by influenced I mean that he has pretty much single-handedly done) all of our printed wedding material. He has been so patient with me showing him idea after idea, and layout after layout. At last we have a final, finished product.

Well, here is a peek! You will have to wait a while longer to see the whole thing!