Tuesday, January 31, 2012

{garden} Spring planning!

Today it is beautiful outside. It is a beautiful Spring day. On the last day of January. I will admit, I want snow. I want a good ol' shut down the town snow (I live in SC, so every time it snows, everyone is stuck at home until it thaws). But it looks like I'll have to make do with this unbelievable 60 degree sunny weather for a bit longer.

It has been so warm this season that I still have parsley growing from last summer. I wonder if I'll even have to plant more this spring.

But today, this beautiful weather has me thinking of spring and gardens. Last year I planted a vegetable garden, lots of flowers around the foundation of the house, and an herb garden. That all lasted about a month. Then it got hot-- really hot. And when the heat comes, I tend to stay inside. So, all of my plants died. I couldn't seem to keep them watered well, and I didn't get the flower beds weeded regularly. Now they are an overgrown mess of I-don't-wanna.

yep... embarrassing.
Last week it was beautiful outside one day and I got out and moved our Rose of Sharon tree and my rosemary and sage bushes so they'd all have a little more room. this part of the garden doesn't look quite so bad, but it's still a mess.

Notice the nasty partially-raised beds beside the building... These will be taken out before re-building a raised bed... also the wooden panel needs to be removed.

We began taking down the wooden privacy fence and just didn't get it finished. This is on the list for getting the yard ready for gardening!

I am ashamed of how my gardens look now. But this is a new beginning.

This year I will plan my gardens, and I will tend them. I plan to have plenty to put up for the winter. I see this as my duty. It is something that I love, and it can be a real help to our little family if I will keep it up. There is so much money to be saved if one will plant and plan. I found a site online that allows you to plan your garden in square feet.

This is my idea for the vegetables this year. It's a 4x8 square foot garden. I need to build a raised bed this size and mark off the square foot grid.

Click here if you'd like to make your own!
So... as you can see there is much work to be done, and my previous experience with haphazard gardening has NOT worked. This spring I plan to make a list of the things that need to be done to get the garden areas up to par, and then I will have a plan to follow, which hopefully means I will get it done!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday, January 23, 2012

{wedding} Reception (a lot of photos!)

While we were looking for a venue for our reception we quickly became a little discouraged with the high cost for anything that was remotely different. We were looking into farms in the area because that really suits our style, but they were all very high priced (for our budget). In desperation I posted on facebook asking if anyone of my friends knew of a barn we could use, or tents that they would let us borrow. I almost immediately got a response from a couple people suggesting we look into The Dutch Barn. It is very near where we live so I called and went and looked it over. It was perfect. The price was even more perfect. (side note- we did, however, have an issue trying to get our deposit back which I heard later is not uncommon with this venue. But eventually he did give our deposit back and I honestly don't think he was trying to cheat us, I think his rental business is just not run very efficiently) 
I was beside myself with excitement when we saw it.

The license plates are not a permanent thing. They just happened to be up the day we took photos.

We booked that week.

I started looking around online for barn decor ideas staightaway. I found so many fun ideas that eventually I had to stop myself from looking at any more. I had more ideas than I was going to be able to work with!

My parents were unbelievable in helping us plan our wedding and reception. They helped us purchase lots of paper lanterns and burlap, and so many other little details to help us make it perfect. I scoured the internet for the best prices on centerpiece containers and floral arrangement ideas. We waited until the Christmas lights came out and bought lots and lots of them. I got busy making banners (I only ended up making 2, but that's ok :) and gathering ideas for dessert table and gift table. We had decided very early on that we wanted to have pint glasses for our guest favors. We started looking around for printers since we would not be able to print them ourselves (we don't have a setup for printing on glass).

We got the key at the beginning of the week so we could get in the barn and get it cleaned up and sweep out the hay and cobwebs, and get to decorating! Family and friends were so, so helpful!

we forgot to iron the linens... oops! Good thing I don't care about things like that :)

My Daddy made these perfect boxes for all of the tables for use to put the flowers in. I love them. 

Let me tell you about these flowers.
::prepare for long story::
I went our entire engagement with no meltdowns until the night before our rehearsal. I had gone the day before that EVERYWHERE in town looking for mums. I wanted potted mums to place all over the barn. I love fall flowers and mums were just the right choice. I had gone to all of the local nurseries (I had wanted to support some local business) but, to no avail. They had none. Well, they had them, but they were all half dead and would not have made it though the wedding. So, on the way home, in desperation, we stopped at Lowe's.  The entire way there I was praying that they would have some. And I'm telling you, God does care about the silly little things that we want sometimes, no matter how trivial... because walking up to the garden center, there sat a brand-spankin' new shipment of rust colored (THE color I had been hunting all over town) mums. PERFECT! they were beautiful. So we loaded up about 16 and headed home.
When we got them all in the barn and set up on tables, we decided we needed more. So I headed back (this was now the night before out rehearsal... the night when everything had to be completed) to pick up a couple more. I walked up to the garden center and there was not a rust colored mum to be found. none. So I walked my little hiney back to the clearance section fussing the whole way that they better not have put them all on clearance the DAY AFTER I bought them. Well folks, that is exactly what they had done. So I took a deep breath and thought, well maybe I can get my money back. No such luck. I went to the customer service desk and she said that they could not refund me the money for some silly reason. aaaaaaand I burst into tears. And not just a little tear-in-the-eye thing. . . it was I can't-catch-my-breath-sobbing. ha! First time I had broken down since planning the wedding had begun. And it was a m-e-l-t down!
I made my way back through the garden center to my friend who was with me, passing a lady on the way who had helped me purchase the flowers the day before. She asked what she could do and was very helpful and kind, but I couldn't talk because I was sobbing. I said no thank you. well, she went to find out what happened, and then came and found me again. She said there was a mistake and they would refund me the money. **!** ...We had gotten our flowers for a little more than 75% off. Unbelievable. Again, God really does care about the small things.

My Grandaddy's old suitcase

We wanted to keep things simple as far as menu went. We chose our favorite barbecue joint around town and they catered for us. If you're ever in the area, you must try Mutt's. It's pretty amazing. Also, my mother-in-law made her always delicious cheese-berry salad. If you have never heard of such a thing let me tell you. well, I don't know what. But it's so good. (for the curious, it is cream cheese yumminess topped with cranberry/jello goodness... yep.)
We had already lined up for our beer to be purchased through a local business with which we have become friends. The Community Tap is an unbelievable place. They were happy to supply us with a keg of Highland Oatmeal Porter (hubby's go-to beer). I'm a big fan of Trader Joe's so we had some 3-buck Chuck on hand as well.

As for music, we are huge bluegrass fans so that was a given. I mean, come on-- it's in a barn with barbecue for pete's sake! :) We asked local favorites The Bent Strings to join us. They are a very talented group of guys who can play all of the great bluegrass standards, as well as great jazz and, well, pretty much anything.

I just realized this was one of our groomsmen asking me to sign my new name for the first time :) nice little memento.

A dear friend of ours who is a pastry chef in our area made our cake for us. Chocolate espresso cake with cream cheese frosting. YES PLEASE! We wanted it to be very rustic and she did a perfect job!! was delicious!!! And our little cake topper was made by me. I had put it off until the week before the wedding and finally got busy constructing it. I'm so happy with how it turned out. 

And, as you're probably noticing by the number of photos I have put in my blog concerning our wedding, I sometimes can go overboard with things I am excited about. In addition to our wedding cake, I also wanted a dessert table with lots of home-baked goodies. I asked my soon-to-be uncle to bake his AMAZING apple pies, and my wonderful aunt to bake a carrot cake and some sort of cupcakes. They were so sweet to do this for us. It turned out beautifully. 

it's funny looking back at it... looks a little sparse... but I thought it was perfect :)

These little cupcake stands were made from a DIY I found online... made from burner covers from the $1 store!

Birch flatware

 We decided to do a "welcome" instead of a "send-off". We had planned to stay through the entire reception and had not planned to leave for our honeymoon from the reception site, so we had sparklers and a welcome when we arrived to the barn from the church. I loved doing it this way. The only thing I regret is having the guests wait. I didn't expect them to, but that's the way it worked out.

My adorable little cousin decided to join us walking in :)

Thanks so much to our friends, the Quebes, for taking some great candids! 

Thanks to our friends, the Quebes, for taking some great candids!

Well y'all, I think I've taken up enough of your time for now. I hope you will put up with my excessive photo sharing. I'm still so excited about how our wedding turned out that I just want to share as much of our experience as I can. 

Thanks again to our photographer, Angela Cox

Friday, January 20, 2012

{wedding details} Fabric Flower Bouquets

Most of you know we spent MONTHS working on all of the little things we wanted at our wedding. The main things we worked on were our invitations and our flowers. I'll do a post on the invitations at another time. Today I want to focus on the flowers and bouquets.

I scoured the internet for bouquet ideas and tutorials. I found so many different ideas it was difficult to decide for sure which ones to make. We wanted our entire wedding to reflect our style and personality as much as possible. I've always loved crafting and we both always try to be as creative as possible so I knew we should definitely have something handmade. At first we were just going to do our own arrangements with real flowers, but then I saw some unbelievable crocheted bouquets in a real wedding featured on Green Wedding Shoes here. I spoke with the bride through Pinterest and she had no issues with us doing something similar for our wedding. She was very nice and helpful. So I began my search online for crocheted flower patterns and a friend of mine, Rita Polk at Crafting Mommies, offered to make them for me. I decided on a version of a rose, and a spider mum. spider mums are my favorite flowers, so I thought it was fitting.

As I looked, I decided that I wanted to incorporate more into the bouquets than just the crocheted flowers. I wanted a more "crafty" feel. I decided to add some other fabrics and buttons, beads and ribbons to the mix. My mom and I went fabric shopping with my cousin and Aunt to find the perfect notions. We found a really great fabric store about an hour away from here that carries piles and piles of discontinued fabrics, so there some from the 50's, 60's and 70's. Amazing. I chose a few fabrics and a little brass bee button that I fell in love with and HAD to have.

sorry he is a little fuzzy :)

Our kitchen was a mess of fabrics, hot glue, lace and burlap for WEEKS. It was a long and difficult job but well worth the results. Since my mom was making the bridesmaids dresses, we were able to purchase the exact color of fabric in a different type so they would match perfectly. I dug through my mom's button tins full of really interesting and fun buttons from years of collecting!

 Like I said in another post, I found a tutorial online which showed how to make a fabric bouquet using a whisk as a base. This was how I chose to make ours. I went to Walmart and found the large sized whisks and bought 7. When I came back and started putting them together, I found that all of the flowers we had spent all those weeks working only filled 2 and a half bouquets.... PANICK! After I took a deep breath I realized I would just need to buckle down and make a LOT more flowers. With the help of my wonderful friends, we were able to have all of the flowers we needed to make all the bouquets. I went out and bought the medium size for sake of ease. The Maid and Matron of honor had the larger size, as well as myself, and the other bridesmaids had the medium size. I think it looked nice though. Hardly even noticeable. 

Thanks again to our photographer, Angela Cox