Saturday, May 7, 2011

Fanciful Feathers Centerpiece

These fun and whimsical centerpieces are definitely a show stopper, yet surprisingly easy to create. They can be used for any party or occasion by just changing up the feather colors. For a wedding reception you might go with all white, a baby shower you would use pink or blue feathers, a circus or carnival party you might use a rainbow of colors .... the option are endless! Recently I used them twice - once for an evening "celebrity auction" and later for a daytime teacher appreciation luncheon. 

To make these centerpieces you need about 24 ostrich plumes in the color of your choice - these can be ordered online by the pound or you can find some colors at craft stores like Hobby Lobby. You also need a tall glass "eiffel tower" vase which I also found at Hobby Lobby. ( I have to admit I secretly am a Hobby Lobby junkie!!!) You will also need ribbon to wrap around the vase, a mirror for a base and the glass "vase filler" beads to glue around the mirror. Optional items include - flowers to "poof" out the top of the arrangement, crystals to hang from your feathers and gemstones to go around the bottom of the vase. 

To assemble your centerpieces the first thing you do is secure your ribbon around the vase (I used dots of hot glue). Next you begin inserting your feathers. To get the feathers to lay out instead of sticking straight up, you need to bend the wire on the stem of the feathers down. After you have put all of your feathers inside the vase you can play with them and move them around until you achieve the look you want. If you have chosen to put a flower "poof" out of the top this comes next. Put your flower in and step back and admire your work - it's finished. Next you will hot glue your beads around the edge of the mirror and then when you go to set up you will add whatever final touches you have chosen to go around the base of your centerpieces. I also attached 4 hanging crystals to the underside of my feathers. 

The pictures at the first of the blog are the centerpieces used in the evening celebrity auction, while the pictures above are the same centerpieces used at a daytime teacher appreciation luncheon showing just how versatile these centerpieces are. When you create feather centerpieces the only requirement is to have fun!!! 

Wishing you peace, love and a little pixie dust,

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Cupcake of the Month - Lemon Cupcakes with Strawberry Icing

These cupcakes were both yummy and refreshing! 
The surprising twist of lemon and strawberry is a perfect combination for this time of year. These cupcakes would be the perfect sweet temptation at a spring luncheon, Mother's Day brunch or even a last minute get together. Start to finish they took about 1 1/2 hr., and were easy enough for little hands to help!

Cupcake Ingredients
1 box Betty Crocker Super Moist White cake mix
Water, Vegetable Oil and Egg Whites as called for on the box
3 T. grated lemon peel

Icing Ingredients
4-6 medium, hulled strawberries
1 Container (12 oz.) Whipped Fluffy White Icing
Garnish - Sliced strawberries and lemon curls

Heat oven to 350* (or 325* for dark or nonstick pans). Place paper baking cups in each of 24 regular sized muffin cups. Make and bake cake mix as directed on box for 24 cupcakes, using water, oil and egg whites and adding grated lemon peel. Cool in pans for 10 min and then remove from pans to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 30 min.

Place 4 oz. strawberries (4-6) in blender. Cover and pulse about 20 seconds to puree strawberries. Pour 1/4 cup of the strawberry puree into medium bowl. Stir in fluffy white frosting until well mixed.

Generously frost cupcakes. Garnish with quartered strawberries and lemon peel curls.

Wishing you peace, love and a little pixie dust,

Monday, April 25, 2011

Garden Party Luncheon

As Spring comes into full swing it's time to start thinking about Mother's Day brunches, teacher's luncheons, outdoor tea parties and much more. The "idea" of spring - flowers, color popping back into nature, sunshine, butterflies and birds flying around and saying hello again - all are perfect backdrops for spring entertaining. 


If you find yourself hosting a "garden" themed luncheon, etc., a perfect centerpiece idea is to use a watering can as the container. To get the watering cans in the desired colors you want, visit your local hardware store (Lowe's), buy the metal silver ones and then spray paint them. This may sound like a longer process but it really is quicker then searching all over for them! 


Once your spray cans are ready then you collect a variety of spring colored silk flowers and greenery. Fresh flowers are always best, but if you think you may want to use your centerpieces again silk is the next best alternative. After you have your flowers the fun begins! Start arranging your flowers in the cans - be creative, not too matchy-matchy, and add alittle whimsy. Remember : there is no right or wrong way to do this!

 Another centerpiece idea for a garden inspired party is to use a faux topiary and adhere flowers, butterflies, bees, dragonflies, etc. to it. Mine happened to be square because that was what I found, but any shape will work. The butterflies, etc. I found at Hobby Lobby. 


 Other great ideas to incorporate into your garden inspired luncheon 

** Visit your local home improvement store (Lowe's), and buy a roll of green turf, cut it into rectangles and use it as your placemats. 
** Use assorted seed packets as place markers, plate decor and take home gifts.
** Use faux flowers and butterflies as napkin rings
** Scatter loose flowers around your table
** Use assorted china plates and teacups with different floral prints

The above luncheon pictures are from a teacher's luncheon that I did at my children's school. Even plastic plates, paper napkins and your elementary school library can look pretty when paired with beautiful elements of Spring!

Wishing you peace, love and a little pixie dust,

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Earth Day Backyard Scavenger Hunt

Earth Day is on Friday, April 22 this year. 

Earth day we typically use an an "awareness" day - a day to teach about recycling, going green, preserving our natural resources, etc. All of these things are definitely important and should be taught and stressed, but  why not also use Earth Day as a celebration day too! A celebration of our amazing Earth - the wonder and beauty that can be found in the different shades of green found in our forests, in the pink, red and yellow bursts of color popping up in the Spring flowers or even the brilliant blue of the sky on a sunny day. Too often we are too busy to take time to "stop and smell the roses", so make it a point this year to smell atleast 1 on Earth Day! The flowers, the trees, the grass are all gifts from God that he has given us to enjoy and protect. 


This year to celebrate Earth Day at our house, I decided to make a scavenger hunt up for the kids. I went around and took pictures of different elements of nature found right in our own back yard. A picture of tree bark, a flower, leaves off of different types of trees - I even found a Robin's nest with 4 eggs! Once I had finished taking my pictures I loaded them in my computer and made a picture guide for them to use on their scavenger hunt. 


The scavenger hunt will not only be a blast for the kids - running around trying to identify the things in the pictures and find them - but will also, I hope, serve as a guide for them to appreciate and "see" the beauty of our Earth found in our own backyard. 

Wishing you peace, love and a little pixie dust,

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Quick, No Mess Way to Dye Eggs

If your like me and want to take part in the Easter festivities and dye eggs with your kids, but the thought of purple, orange and green hands for the next 2 weeks leaves you cringing....then this blog is for you! 

After you have boiled your eggs let them cool and then put 5 to 6 eggs in a colander. Pour around 1/3 cup of white vinegar over the eggs to help the food coloring absorb and stick quicker. 

Squeeze 1 to 2 drops of a single color of food coloring on each egg. We used McCormik Neon Colors for a brighter egg. 

Swirl the eggs around in the colander to coat them with the color. Let set for around 45 seconds. 

Next squeeze 1 to 2 drops of your 2nd color of choice onto your eggs. Swirl your eggs again and then let set for about 1 minute. 

You may choose to stop here or add another color but if you add too many you end up with muddy, brown eggs! After you have let your eggs set for their last time, rinse them gently with water to remove the excess food coloring. Set out to dry. 


Wishing you peace, love and a little pixie dust,
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