Archive | April, 2012

Happy Arbor Day! {A Few of My Favorite Tree Crafts}

27 Apr

Anyone who knows me, also knows that I absolutely love trees and using them in my crafts and home decor. There is just something about the quiet majesty of trees that inspires a sense of calm and wonder in me. So on this Arbor Day, I will salute one of my favorite things in nature by sharing a few of my favorite projects past involving trees.

Adam and I were married in a beautiful grove, which is situated on the grounds of an old estate in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Woodend Sanctuary is now owned by the Audubon Naturalist Society, and if you have a wedding there, it is pretty difficult to NOT feature trees prominently.

Rebekah Girvan Photography

So with that venue, of course, just about everything associated with our wedding also had trees {or birds} somewhere on it! From the save the dates …

… to the invitations …

… to the programs …

Rebekah Girvan Photography

… to the favors {more birds, but they are on a branch!} …

Rebekah Girvan Photography

… and, oh yes, the escort cards not only featured a tiny branch, they were also displayed on a TREE …

Rebekah Girvan Photography

Our wedding wasn’t the only time I’ve gotten a little wrapped up in the whole tree motif. You may remember the invitations from our recent Storybook Baby Shower

Trees were also incorporated into our holiday decor, not only with a Christmas tree, but  also with these pine cones as a little winter woodland scene {and a tree made out of a magazine behind it}…

So hopefully on this Arbor Day, we can all take a minute to think about all the ways nature inspires us and is reflected in our everyday lives … and maybe even plant a tree or support one of so many organizations doing great work to protect and enrich the beauty and biodiversity of our natural world {shameless plug}.

Wednesday Wish List {Reusable To Do List}

25 Apr

This week’s wish list item comes as a direct result of that blue feeling I sometimes get as I’m crawling into bed on Sunday night … not so much because of the imminent start of the workweek {although that doesn’t help}, but more so because I often realize that I haven’t accomplished any of the things I set out to do at the start of the weekend.

I’m not talking about the major things that really have to get done – I’m usually okay with knocking those out – it’s more the little things that aren’t imperative, but need to get done eventually. Things like cleaning out a closet, going through a pile of mail, or doing some work on that wedding album I’ve been putting off for a year and a half!

I recognize this stash of baby shower to do lists ... guessing they never made it out of my work bag!

I often jot things like this that come to mind on a post-it note before leaving work on Friday, only to find said note still in my work bag as I’m packing it up Sunday night – clearly, not a good system! As an extremely visual person and avid list-maker, I realized that I need a new way to keep these little tasks on my mind and hold myself accountable for completing them.

I’ve seen a few ideas on Pinterest that I love, and I’m thinking I’ll try to make a version for work and for home. The work version will be much like this one I spotted over on Cornflower Blue Studio’s blog {only I’d like to add a splash of color with some of the new washi tape I just got from www.cutetape.com – have I plugged that site enough lately :) }. This DIY Rotating Goal List, as pictured below, would be the perfect way to keep track of those little tasks at work that so easily fall through the cracks!

As for the home version, I have a few ideas bouncing around in my head right now. I’d like this one to go in the kitchen and double as a message board so that we can keep track of the little shopping list items that pop up throughout the week. Here are some of the ideas that inspire me!

With this DIY dry erase board from Little Birdies over at Make and Takes, the possibilities are endless AND it looks so easy to pull off. I also love that you can just swap out the paper if you ever tire of it, or if the color scheme in the room changes!

I also like the idea of using chalkboard paint to create a message board. There is an endless number of tutorials online for sprucing up old frames with a bright coat of paint and a chalkboard center, but I like the idea of a chalkboard inside a cabinet door spotted over on Coupon Connections. This chalkboard is accessible enough to be a great reminder for you, but keeps the kitchen clutter out of sight when guests are around.

I also love Real Simple for organization and household tips. Here’s a link to a whole page of new uses for memo boards, but my favorite for this project is the cast iron skillet – so perfect for a kitchen! By the way, a close second on Real Simple’s list, in my book, is the xylophone memo board – so darling!

This project is exactly the kind of thing I would put on my new memo board, so hopefully I can get it done without the benefit of this great new system and I’ll have something to share very soon! I know how great I feel when I start the workweek feeling refreshed and accomplished, so I’m hoping that this will help me strike that balance between relaxation and staying on task!

How do you keep yourself accountable for those little goals that can so often slip through the cracks?

New Recipe! {Rose Petal Pound Cake}

17 Apr

The inspiration for this recipe came as I was planning our Storybook Baby Shower. I knew that I wanted to bake something sweet and, for some reason, that bottle of rose water in my kitchen was really speaking to me {hadn’t used it since the Pistachio Cupcakes with Rose Water Buttercream from last summer}.  I was even more determined to figure out some way to use the rose water when we settled on the storybook theme, and I started running through cute menu items that would fit with the theme {Ring around the Rosie. anyone?}. After a bit of googling {or is it google-ing?}, I decided that pound cake was the way to go. The recipe I ended up with was an adaptation of The Pioneer Woman’s Perfect Pound Cake. I simply substituted her lemony flavors with rose water and ginger ale.

I really love the consistency of this cake – it has that firm, yet moist consistency that is so delicious in a pound cake. I also really love the subtle rose flavor that comes through, especially when served with fresh whipped cream flavored with a hint of rose water. Just opening the bottle of rose water smells like summer romance!

I will say, this cake has been trickier to get out of the pan than most, and I would definitely recommend making sure your pan is well-greased. I would also really give it some time to cool in the pan before trying to get it out. Nothing is more defeating after all that time in the kitchen than a bundt cake that doesn’t cleanly come out of the pan {and that definitely happened to me on the first go-round with this one}!

Here is the recipe as I adapted it.  Enjoy!

All ready for the oven!

{Rose Petal Pound Cake}

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman’s Perfect Pound Cake ~ Makes one full-sized bundt

  • 3 sticks Butter
  • 3 cups Sugar
  • 5 whole Eggs
  • 1 tablespoon Rose Water
  • 3 cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1 cup Ginger Ale

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Cream butter. Add sugar, 1 cup at a time, mixing after each addition. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing after each addition. Add rose water and mix well. Add flour, 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add soft drink, then mix together until combined. Scrape sides of bowl, then mix briefly.

Pour into a greased Bundt pan and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes, until the cake is no longer jiggly and a toothpick comes out clean.

Remove cake from oven and let cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes. Gently shake the pan until the edges feel completely loosened from the sides of the pan.  Run a knife between the pan and the cake to free any stubborn spots. Invert on a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.

Serve with rose water whipped cream {about 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped with a splash of rose water and sugar to taste}.

I wish I could make a whole cake of just these crunchy bits on the bottom ... yum!


Storybook Baby Shower – Part 3 {Finishing Touches}

4 Apr

So, I know you’ve all been on pins and needles, waiting for the finishing touches of our Storybook Baby Shower :) ; but I’ve been a little distracted the last couple of weeks! My brother-in-law and his fiancee not only set their wedding date since my last post, but they also got married in that span of time … for those of you doing the math, that’s right … their entire wedding was planned in less than two weeks! And it was one of the most amazing and memorable weddings I’ve ever been a part of! So, while it wasn’t me planning this whirlwind wedding, it was still all I could think about for the last two weeks or so!

So all that being said, I am still so excited to bring you more of my favorite details from our recent baby shower, and I’m sorry it has taken so long to get my thoughts together! So far, you’ve learned a little more about our invitations and our menu, and here’s the rest!

I made this garland using paper left over from the favors {keep reading for those!}, old book pages, yellow raffia, and my absolute fave crafting item right now – mini-clothes pins!

I knew if I saved these tin cans long enough, I would finally use them! I simply upcycled a few cans by wrapping them with a band of paper and yellow raffia {bonus that they coordinated with the gift table because I used the odds and ends of the paper left over from wrapping my gifts}! Simple baby’s breath and yellow daisies from the grocery store divided among them completed the look at very little cost!

I jazzed up these navy and white straws with yellow gingham fabric tape {both from www.cutetape.com}. I used mine to give my Hush-a-Bye Bellini a little stir :)

The great thing about knowing the gender of the baby ahead of time … everyone’s gift wrap just kind of naturally falls in line with the color scheme!

Finally, we wanted to carry our storybook theme all the way through to the end by thanking our guests for coming with favors made to look like little books {filled with chocolate}. The basic design is just a variation on the DIY favor boxes I featured awhile back, with a few changes to accommodate the “cover” of the book. The best part of these favors, is that it gave me another excuse to have a crafternoon {thanks, Adam, for that clever new word} with some of my favorite ladies :)

Of course you can have all of the crafty decorations you want, but it was the people there who really made this shower! My absolute favorite part was bringing together so many lovely people to celebrate a new life!

What's a baby shower without the cute mom- and dad-to-be {and, of course, baby's first graphic tee}

I had so much fun planning this storybook baby shower, and I hope you’ve enjoyed taking a peek at some of my favorite details!

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