Friday, December 31, 2010

2010: great etsy finds for your wedding

Etsy is a great source for anything really, but specifically it's a great source for wedding finds and ideas.  You can discover anything from modern, to vintage, to chic, to rustic.  Here are a few great things I have stumbled upon this year, (click on the names to see their shops!):

 What can YOU find on etsy to make your wedding perfectly unique? 


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

handmade peppermint bark project

I meant to write this blog while I was home in Oregon for the holidays, but family gathering after family gathering and some laziness somewhat hindered my progress there!  I anticipated as much, but still had good intentions.  Albeit late, I want to share my peppermint bark recipe with you.  I had so much fun making this tasty, festive treat for my Oregon lovelies while listening to Christmas music, I couldn't hardly stand it.  It was the perfect holiday project.  I used this peppermint bark as my gift to either:

1.) add as a little side present to my family/friends in addition to the gifts I had already purchased for them, a fun little additional delight for them,


2.) give to those visiting family members/friends that I don't usually exchange actual gifts with, but wanted them to know I was still thinking about them.

This receipt/project is SO simple. 

 Materials/Ingredients needed

12, 1-qt mason jars
8 lbs white chocolate chips
2 boxes peppermint candy canes
Parchment or wax paper
Festive fabric
Festive ribbon
Hanging tags (I used Martha Stewart)
Thread (to hang tags)
Christmas music for the background while you work

Step 1: Pound the candy canes
Unwrap all of the candy canes and stick them in a large Ziploc baggy.  Pound with any kitchen utensil you desire until they are in small pieces.  I used an ice cream scooper; worked like a charm.

Step 2: Line the cookie sheets with parchment or wax paper
Get as many cookie sheets as you can get your hands on (I borrowed some from my favorite neighbors, so I had a total of 5) and line them with parchment or wax paper so they're ready to go as soon as you complete step 3.

Step 3: Melt the chocolate
If you have a double boiler, that will work for on the stove melting.  I melted mine in the microwave, using a large microwave-safe (of course) glass bowl.  Once the chocolate is melted, add a few drops of peppermint extract, to taste.  A little bit goes a long way.  Bonus tip: husbands, wives, significant others, brothers, sisters, moms, dads, roommates, etc are good for this taste test because I personally stuck my (clean) finger in there waaaaay too many times because I'm addicted to chocolate to make sure it was perfect, so my peppermint-tasting judgment was a little skewed.

Step 4: Pour the peppermint white chocolate onto the cookie sheets
Pour the melted chocolate onto your cookie sheets and spread evenly with a spatula (mine was probably less than 1/4 inch thick).

Step 5: Sprinkle the crushed candy canes
Grab your bag full of crushed candy canes and sprinkle evenly over your melted chocolate.  Carefully press the candy into the chocolate with your fingertips to ensure they are stuck into the chocolate when it cools.

Step 6: Refrigerate
Make room for your cookie sheets in your fridge, and let the chocolate sit for 20-30 minutes, or until hardened.

Step 7: Break into pieces and add to jars
One cookie sheet at a time, break your peppermint bark into pieces small enough to fit inside the mouth of your mason jars (some are wide-mouthed, some are not).  Fill your jars with your delicious and handmade peppermint bark!   Bonus tip: I added a few pieces of soft peppermint candies throughout my jars this year, just for fun.  They are like peppermint pillow mints - remember those from your grandma's house?

Step 8: Decorate your jars
Using the lid of the mason jar as your stencil, trace and cut out enough fabric circles to cover the tops of your jars.  Write any message you want on your hanging tags (mine said a simple "Merry Christmas!") and cut enough thread to hang them from the lid of your jars.

Step 9: Finish your peppermint bark presents!
Finally, add the fabric toppers, hanging tags, and ribbon to your jars... and voila!

My finished product:

You now have beautiful, simple, tasty, handmade gifts, that are fabulous alternatives to the usual cookies and fudge, to give out to your friends and family over the holidays.  It would even make a great host/hostess gift if you have multiple gatherings to attend.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

fashion forward flowers

The winter time poses as a challenge for brides and their planning because not everything is as easily accessible as they are during the fall, spring, and summer.  They don’t have the luxury of choosing between an indoor or an outdoor venue, bridesmaids dresses are harder to fit the feel of the wedding, and not many flowers are in season during the winter time.  I came across this great company called Emplume – they create bouquets from preserved floral, high quality feathers, and luxurious ribbon.  Although they're an edgy alternative to your traditional flower bouquet, they run fairly pricey.  A bride's bouquet starts at $250, and a groom's boutonniere starts at $45.  Maybe that fits your budget?

Personal Fav!!

I love love the classic modern look of these couture flower alternatives.  My favorite part is perhaps how unique and different they are from your average spread of wedding flowers.   And, they can be shipped anywhere in the world!

It's good to be different. 




Sunday, December 12, 2010

how the grinch stole christmas

I'm feeling very much like the grinch who stole Christmas.  We decided not to put a Christmas tree up this year, since we're going home to Oregon for the holidays.  I'm a very practical person, so of course to only have a tree up for 3 weeks doesn't seem worth the effort to me - it's a lot of work to do the whole Christmas tree thing!  Then the thought of having to come back from our trip to Oregon to a dead tree to take care of before we're back to work the next day, does not sound very practical to me either.  So needless to say, I've been fantasizing about Christmas trees a lot lately. Here are some fab ones to gawk at:

For info on how to make these, click here.

Also, I would like the front of my house to look like this:

* The photos above come from the following sites: Martha Stewart and a few other unknown sites.  If you feel your photo has been improperly attributed, please contact me and I will remedy it asap

I think it's also important to reflect back on our first Christmas tree as a married couple, meet Charlie Brown, or Charlie Bush:

Maybe next year, since we don't plan to go to Oregon, I'll put two trees up just to make up for the loss this year.