Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy 2014

Here I sit on the Eve of a New Year. 2013 Is behind us. It has been a difficult year for many, and truth be told it has been a difficult year for me.
So I sit here on the Eve of 2014...full of hopes and dreams. I have always been an optimist and I see my champagne glass more than half full ;)
My New Years Resolutions
To love more
To kiss more
To Pray more
To prosper
To be kind
To use as many of my talents as humanly possible.
To help those who are in need
So I lift my glass ( I made enough for both of us) and toast for us....
Good Health
A life abundant with Love & Laughter
That we share our love and talents
That our Children are Blessed
That we make God proud to be our Father
That our lives are filled with beauty and delicious bounty
Happy 2014 my friends
The best is yet to come

Shannon Imlay

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Sugar Plum Fairy Party

Just click on any of the photos to see an enlarged version
I must confess that during the holidays my inner child comes out. I LOVE them! You'll never hear me utter words like, "why are the decorations out so soon"? Do they need to start playing Christmas Carols so early? Nope, I'm the one with the twinkle in my eye, a smile on my face, and singing Christmas Carols to my hearts content. So strap on some gossamer wings and join the party.

This year I decided to just give into my inner child and have a Sugar Plum Fairy Party. It's my childhood fantasy, but Moms, Dads, Grandmas, Grandpas, and anyone else who wants to come is invited :) To Start this off in a magical way, I pinned 300 white twinkle (Fairy) lights to the back of my freshly laundered lace curtains. I can tell you that they're much brighter in person than in the photographs, but it really set the mood. Then I attached gossamer wings below an angelic banner (don't worry, we have extras ).
I started off by decorating a small live tree with white cotton candy, didn't you always want to pick cotton candy from a tree? I used battery led lights, because they won't heat up and melt the candy. I covered the soil with plastic wrap, to keep moisture and soil away from everything, then flew in several white doves to finish off the look. They got to take home any leftovers to fluff their nests. The white urn is from World Market.

Each guest gets their own jar of Fairy dust (artificial snow) complete with fairy wand and topped with a Flower from Hallmark. There's a pin attachment on the flowers to affix them to lapels, hats, or mittens. The glitter favor boxes are from Hobby Lobby.
This is Fairy Tea and pillows. You had to know that Fairies would drink hot chocolate for tea and rest their delicate little heads on marshmallows. I also set out white chocolate coconut fairy snowballs in Wilton's mini cupcake liners. The marshmallows are peppermint Peeps.
Willy Wonka has nothing on Sugar Plum Fairies, from left to right, pink gumballs, pastel candy canes filled with green and white gumballs, Green sixlets topped with snowflake lollipops. To dress up the lollipops I set the stick in a pink striped straw, tied it with pink satin ribbon and attached a ribbon flower. As the Dowager Countess Grantham say's, "nothing succeeds like excess". lol

Cupcakes, cookies and milk, oh my! Gingerbread cupcakes frosted with whipped cream frosting then sprinkled with silver edible glitter and topped with fairy wands. I'm not sure if I had more fun making them, looking at them, or eating them. My daughter makes the most heavenly Russian Tea Cookies and they taste even better washed down with Ice Cold Milk. I have straws with flags (to write your name on) so everyone knows which milk bottle is theirs.
I'm a firm believer that no cow should go unemployed during the holidays, so to keep Bessie busy, I offer you Peppermint Frappes, topped with whipped cream and crushed candy canes. I used Bluebell Peppermint Ice Cream, but there are several brands that offer this flavor during the holidays.
Need some fun ideas for your Sugar Plum Fairy party? Well you have to play Candy Land, I don't care how old you are, lol
How about printing Bingo cards from your computer and playing with some of your candy?
Please feel free to ask me any questions you might have in case I left anything out. 
Have a Merry, Magical, and Blessed Holiday Season
Shannon Imlay

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Romantic Thanksgiving Tablescapes

Happy Thanksgiving! I promised you a couple of Romantic Thanksgiving Tablescapes and here they are. I used things I already had (except the flowers)and only switched a few things to get a different look for the Gold Tablescape.
For the first Tablescape I started with a white cotton tablecloth, and added my white plates (that I bought at T.J.Maxx). I sprinkled some gold and moss green silk maple leaves I got last year at the dollar store (it has about 4-5 different colors and I picked the lightest for this tablescape). I wouldn't call this table exactly pastel, but it's darn close :)

Here's a close up of each place-setting.A few years ago I was lucky enough to find two sets (8 total) of these beautiful Myott Factory Queens Thanksgiving Salad plates at Marshalls for $10.00. They still make the pattern and I've started adding to it, but unfortunately, I havn't found that great of a price again. I LOVE this pattern, it mixes florals with a beautiful moss green border and a very Majestic looking turkey. There are a lot of colors to pick up on in this pattern and I love how it changes depending on what you place around it.

I added my monogrammed linen napkins and tied them with moss green organdy ribbon. I had my napkins monogrammed with white because I can always bleach out a stain. It's a decision I've never regretted. I also think there's something very elegant about white on white embroidery.
I always like to have extra (paper)napkins on hand so here they are sitting in a cute ceramic pumpkin holder.
Each place setting has a vintage style paper mache glittered turkey placecard. I've been collecting Teena Flanner Turkeys for years and I just love the vintage look and feel of them. They also have a mini white pumpkin candle sitting on a little plate, both the the plates and the silk leaves are from the dollar store. The candles were from my local Safeway store. Since we eat by candlelight, I wanted a little plate for the candles to sit on.
In case you can't tell, I love white pumpkins. This little bowl serves the cranberry sauce. Whenever I find a white pumpkin at a good price whether it's a candle, a dish, or an actual pumpkin, they just seem to jump into my cart ;)

In case you missed it, I have a tutorial for both of these centerpieces. It's the last post so just keep scrolling.
I wanted to show you what I did with my centerpiece once the flowers were spent. I transferred the gypsophyllia (babies breath) into a small lined basket and nestled the pumpkins (on skewers) into the same basket. I used the same ribbon to make a bow on the handle. This arrangement will easily last another 2 weeks.
In this tablescape, I used white pumpkin candles but I wanted to show how you can easily use a different color. Here is the same pillar candle holders with dark russet orange pumpkin candles. These candles are from my local Safeway store (Debi Lilly) and come in about 4 sizes.
Here's the white pumpkin candles I used for both tablescapes, I just love how these turned out. 
If you love some sparkle with your romance, here is a gold Thanksgiving tablescape. I bought these beautiful gold table-squares years ago on ebay for $7.00 each. We had a Renaissance  masquerade ball theme for my daughters 16th birthday and I've used them more than I ever thought I would. A few years ago I ordered more in silver for our 25th wedding anniversary party :)

The only things I did different for the gold table was to top the white tablecloth with the gold square and remove the silk leaves.
So I think the moral of this tablescape is that you should never underestimate the impact one or two things can make. The reality is that if you dress your table with things that make you happy, things that you love, you WILL end up with a beautiful tablescape. Don't be afraid to play around with things, and remember that things can take on a new purpose. Those same little plates that are holding candles would make great butter dishes, or sprinkle fresh ground pepper and sea salt on them for salt and pepper cellars. Go ahead and get creative, but most of all..just have fun!