Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Secret Garden Themed Bridal Shower

Last Saturday's shower was a bridal shower and we had a Secret Garden theme for most of it.

Each shower planning begins with an invitation:

I used lots of Tombow Mono Adhesive Dots and Mono Adhesive Permanent.

Now for the day of the shower...As you came into the room where the shower was held, we displayed on a table a candle, fresh flowers, a picture of the engaged couple as well as some old books, a sheet to sign in and some address labels for the guests to fill out if they brought a gift.

To me, the perfect thing to do in a Secret Garden would be to read, so we decorated the tables with old books. Beneath the books are book pages from a very old book taped together and the edges cut with a decorative paper punch.
Also, every Secret Garden needs a key to enter it. I just tied some ribbon onto vintage keys and tucked inside the book pages.
Sticking with a "garden" theme, the flower pots are painted peat pots and then a doily hanging out of the pot and silk flowers arranged in each one.

The dessert area had a tiered curtain covering sad marker board with ivy hanging from it. On the table we had an old crate box with doily, old books and Celtic plaster designed cross and a mirrored window frame.

 There was also a green with gold design scarf, cake platter made with terre cotta pot and base painted with off white chalk paint.

I found these pretty garden plates at Party City.

 I put a piece of waxed paper on the plate part and stacked with dark chocolate brownies.  The bride-to-be told me she loved brownies and ice cream, so we served brownie sundae's.

We served 3 kinds of ice cream: chocolate, mint chip, and vanilla...
Toppings were chopped Resee's, mini marshmallows (found in the hot chocolate section at the grocery store), chopped Andes' Mints, and chopped peanuts. We also had Vanilla Bean, Strawberry, and Chocolate sauces to choose from as well as canned whipped topping not shown.

 and alas...this is why this post is late (since I had told some ladies I would have this post up on Monday as they were looking for the recipes used at the shower). I was limping at the shower as my ankle was really hurting and continued to get worse (I can be stubborn and think if I wait long enough something will get better), but by yesterday, it was pretty clear that it was not going to get better. Somehow I tore some ligaments and ended up with a spur on the back of my ankle. Amazing how something so big and bulky and tight can make the pain so much more tolerable.

Here are the recipes and inspiration used for this shower:

Ultimate Double Chocolate Brownies
  • ¾ cup cocoa
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2/3 cup melted butter, divided
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup chopped pecans, optional
  • 12 oz. package chocolate chips*
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine cocoa and baking soda. Blend in 1/3 cup melted butter. Add boiling water and stir until well blended.
Stir in sugar, eggs and remaining butter. Add flour, vanilla, and salt. Stir in nuts (if using) and chocolate chips.
Pour into a greased 9×13 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

Makes a 9X13 pan
**note: I did not add the chocolate chips and I used Hershey's Special Dark cocoa
Vanilla Bean Sauce (this was the most requested recipe)
adapted from

  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 vanilla bean split lengthwise and beans removed.
  1. Add sugar, butter, cream, vanilla beans and pod to a small saucepan and bring to a low boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  2. Reduce heat to a simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat, discard vanilla bean pod and allow to cool slightly.
Chocolate Sauce
(this recipe came from my son's friend)

4 Tablespoons cocoa
4 Tablespoons butter
1 Cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 Cup evaporated milk or whole milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Boil to desired thickness then add vanilla

Strawberry Sauce

What You Need
1 Pint of Strawberries – clean and sliced
1 Tablespoon of Vanilla
1/3 Cup of Sugar

What to Do
Over medium heat add all the ingredients to a skillet – stir and cook for about 5 minutes
Once the liquid starts to boil turn off the heat and let sit for 15 minutes (this will allow the sauce to get thick)
Use a potato masher and mash the sauce (this helps break up the remaining strawberries)

my Secret Garden Pinterest inspiration board

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Elephant Baby Shower

I'm sorry my blog's been quiet lately. The shower season is starting again, so I've been busy creating invitations, decorations, and food. Last year I hosted and/or co-hosted 18 bridal/baby showers! It was so much fun and I am looking forward to hosting again this year. I already have 8 "in the works", so I'll be curious to see if there will be more than 18 this year.

The first shower was this past Saturday and it was elephant themed. I have many shower ideas and have created inspiration boards for them on Pinterest (many are in "hiding" until the shower happens so that they are a surprise to the bride or mommy-to-be) and I will put a link below to my Elephant Pinterest board, so you can see where some of the ideas came from.

To start off I created elephant shaped invitations using Cutting Cafe's Elephant Shaped Card. This month Tombow sent the Stamp Runner, Dot Pattern Adhesive for being on the Brand Ambassador program. This came at the perfect time as I was just starting on my invites. I did run out of adhesive, but had a refill, so was able to finish them out.

The colors I used to create with were gray, soft coral, and mint. Here are the decorations I made:
For the center pieces, I made yarn pom poms in mint, white, gray and dark salmon (I didn't have any peach yarn, but would have rather used it). I also made some fabric flags using the fabric left over from the gift I made the new mommy.

I used the same elephant cutting file for the front of the cold coffee jars, but just shrunk them down to fit the jars. I used just a little Mono Multi Liquid Glue to keep the flag from slipping down on the skewers. I also used Tombow's Power Tabs to adhere the elephants to the ribbon.

Here is a peek at the sign in table as the guests walked into the church:

I spray painted a frame with white chalk paint and just inserted a printable I found on line. You can find it on my pinterest board as well. It comes in 3 different colors. The size is 8.5 x 11, but I shrunk it down to 4" x 6" to fit my frame.

Baby banner I made that hung above the food table. The elephants on the end are from My Scrap Chick's Elephant Treat Box.

Cute plates from Target
 I couldn't find any napkins to match, so just used white napkins and stamped them with Inky Antics' Birthday Elephant Honey Pop Clear Set (11024 MC).

For food we served Elephant Ear Bread. You can find the recipe on my pinterest board, but I just used my favorite sweet bread recipe and then made as the directions say, with the exception of the powdered sugar topping. That is too sweet for me, so I just made the recipe and didn't add the powdered sugar and drizzled that caramel topping on the top after it baked.

Nutter Butter cookies dipped in colored almond bark

"Elephant Trunk Jello Roll-Ups" (name I made up, these just reminded me of an elephant trunk). You can find the recipe here. I have made these many times for many occasions and they are always loved by all.

Not shown was a silver bucket with cashews which I thought mimicked an elephant's trunk as well and to drink, a simple punch made with orange sherbet and 7-Up.

and last, but not least is this sweet pillow I created for the baby: I used different fonts and cut them with my Silhouette and then used wonder under to iron on to the fabric and sewed around each letter.

Elephant Pinterest Board
Chalkboard Easel

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Amish Sweethearts Book Review

Amish Sweethearts is about joining two worlds: Lila Lehman who is Amish and Zane Beck her neighbor who is not. They were childhood friends and secretly loved each other but Lila's controlling father planned for her to marry the bishop's son, Reuben. Zane joins the army broken-hearted and Lila cannot forget him.

After being sent to Afghanistan, both questioned their life choices. 

This was a beautifully written story, that I just couldn't put down. Amish Sweethearts by Leslie Gould is her second book in the Neighbors of Lancaster County. I received this book from Bethany House to review and I haven't read the first book of the series, but this book can stand alone, so that wasn't a problem. After reading this book I would love to read the first and 3rd books.

**Thank you Bethany House for providing me with a free copy for the purpose of this review. All opinions are strictly my own.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Pretty Paper Pretty Ribbon Guest Designer

I am this week's guest designer over at Pretty Paper Pretty Ribbon today. Using several of their files, I created this project for my St. Patrick decor.

I first cut the boxes using the Puzzle Cube Gift Box. Then I printed Vintage Christmas Mod Circles for the background pieces; Vintage Christmas Diamond Paisley for the L, C, K, & Y; and
Natural Love White Polka Dots for the horseshoe. The Horseshoe comes from the Luck of the Irish Cutting Files and the other letters were cut using the font Cuckoo.

I cut 4 each of the letters and horseshoe in black and then layered the colored one on top. This gives a little more dimension to the project and also looks like chipboard which I like.

I wrapped the L & "U" with ribbon and glued to the bottom blocks. All the blocks are glued together using Tombow's Mono Multi Liquid Glue and are filled 1/2 full with dried beans to give it more weight.

Thank you for stopping by! I hope this project inspires you to try one.