Spring Table Centerpieces

Spring Table Centerpieces

The first time that I invited Stacy (my future business partner at the time) and her husband Eric to my house was for Easter dinner a few years ago. We had met briefly at a few social occasions but had not had much time to talk and I wanted to get to know her better (also my fiancé has a habit of inviting everyone he sees to any gathering we are having at our house).
After Easter dinner, and most importantly dessert was planned, I started thinking about cute ways that I could decorate my table. I don’t care for the commercialized Easter decor and wanted to make something simple but creative. While I was shopping at our local farmer’s market I got the idea to make small vases out of farm eggs. Grocery store eggs are fine to use as well but I prefer the farm eggs because they come in all shapes and colors.

Here are the materials you will need for this project:

  • an assortment of eggs IMG_0234
  • an egg top remover (an actual tool that is sold which essentially does exactly what it says, can be purchased online or in specialty stores) http://www.jbprince.com/utensils/egg-top-cutter.asp IMG956519
  • Spring Stickers (I prefer the Martha Stewart paper flower stickers), ribbon, lace ribbon, or any other decor to decorate the eggs
  • egg cups or decorated egg crates
  • Petite flowers or herbs

To begin, gently wash and dry the eggs. Hold the egg with the top facing up and the bottom resting on a kitchen towel on a counter. Place the egg top remover on the top of the egg and use as directed. IMG_9618 The egg top remover that I have has a silver ball that you pull up to the top of the tool and then release. The ball then hits the metal casing that is covering the top of the egg and scores a line in a perfect circle around the top of the egg. Remove the egg top remover. Gently remove the tip of the egg, making sure the put pressure on the scored mark around the tip of the egg. The tip of the egg should come cleanly off (you can discard this part). IMG_9437Empty the egg into a container and save if you would like to use for cooking later.IMG_4718 Peel the thin lining off the inside of the egg- you can do this by gently scraping with your fingernail until you remove all the lining. Rinse the egg and allow to dry. IMG_2713
Once the egg is dry, you can decorate by tying ribbon or lace around the center or by sticking stickers on the egg. Be as creative as you like in this part. image3image2 Once the egg is decorated to your liking, pour a few tablespoons of granulated sugar into the egg cup (this will keep the egg in place and stop it from tipping over once you add the flowers). Place the decorated egg on the sugar and settle into place. Fill the egg halfway with water. You can then fill with any mix of petite flowers or herbs that you desire. I like to use baby’s breath and other delicate flowers accented with basil or whatever I have growing in my garden.
These work wonderfully dispersed throughout the table or compiled to create a rustic centerpiece. These can also be adapted to become place cards. Make sure you save the carton that you purchase the eggs in because you can store the eggs in the carton for years. I have had mine for three years and bring them out every Easter to use on my table.
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Wedding Day of Coordinator

Planning a wedding can be fun but very overwhelming. I have been involved with planning numerous weddings in varying degrees of involvement from “full service” to “day of” and everything changes when it comes to planning your own wedding.  I got engaged in September and will be getting married this October. I actually find it easier to help someone realize their vision and make it become a reality, than to create my own dream wedding!

The biggest thing that I have learned through coordinating and observing other people’s weddings is the importance of the “day of” coordinator. This is definitely something that can seem like an amenity when planning your budget.  At the time it may be more appealing to have more expensive flowers or your dream dress, but in the end the money is always better spent on having someone facilitate your wedding day for you. I have seen brides try to do this themselves, or have a designated family member do it for them and I have yet to see it turn out successfully.  Your wedding day is a life event you want to enjoy and a dependable and organized coordinator will allow you to breathe easier and relax significantly more.

A good day of planner will be at your wedding from start to finish. They will have quality communication with the bride and groom to ensure everything is organized and executed appropriately. Coordinators will fulfill the couples’ vision by doing such things as putting out the last minute DIY touches, thinking quickly and making good decisions to avoid disasters, and if need be, the coordinators will call in favors across the city if something does not go according to plan (for example the rentals not showing up). They often direct the bridal party and vendors from behind the scenes to keep everyone to the timeline that the bride has created.   They also ensure that at the end of the night, everything that should be removed from the venue (pictures, guest book, toasting glasses, gifts, etc.) is packed up securely and stored appropriately for the bride and groom to take home.

The value of the “day of” coordinator is priceless. A quality coordinator will do everything in their abilities to make sure you have the perfect day.  

Written by:  Elise Broz

Football Goal Post Decor

Football Goal Post Decor

Want to take your football or sports party to the next level?  Here’s how you do it – by making a football goal post as a decoration.  This blog will give you the tips you need to give your décor a touchdown!

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What you need:

I picked up all supplies from Home Depot and Hobby Lobby. First, I purchased the 10’ pvc pipe and the cutting tool to customize the goal post measurements. Each goal post had 3 pieces with a measurement of 22 inches each (one for the bottom as well as the two for the “arms” going up). The length of the pvc pipes that attach to the “T” are 10.5 inches each (2 total at the 10.5 measurement).

Here is a photo of the items after I cut them into the appropriate sizes listed above:  image1

The next thing I needed to do was use sand paper to remove the bar coding and writing on the pvc pipe and connectors. If you do not remove these before spray painting, the bar codes and writing will show through. I used the medium coarseness first to remove the writing and then polished it with the fine grade to get the finish smooth again. TIP: make sure you are in a well ventilated area for this step.

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Once the writing is removed, I assembled the goal posts together and went outdoors to spray paint it yellow.  Here are photos of how to assemble.  The 22″ pieces connect to the 90 degree attachment and the 10.5 inch pieces connect to the “T” attachment.  NOTE:  I took these photos prior to sanding off the words and bar codes.  The last photo is of the bottom of the goal post.

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image4image5I spray painted 2-3 coats using a fast-dry paint. You want to make sure you are outdoors and use the newspaper or garbage bags to protect the area from paint.

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While that paint was drying, I painted the base wood green to match the color of “the field” (which for this party was a green table cloth).

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After the goal posts and the wood base were completely dried, I then screwed the male connector portion of the goal posts into the flange to provide the support for the goal posts to stand.  Here is a picture of how it should be connected (I took this picture before I spray painted)

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The next step is to use screws to fasten the flange to the piece of base wood. IMG_2579

After that was completed, I used a pocket knife to cut the foam insulator to fit over the bottom of the goal post. Each piece measured at 11 inches for the foam insulator. The insulator does fit over the male connector even though it may seem as though it will not at first. The adhesive is very strong on the foam insulator so be careful when removing the protective tape. It may help to have two people for this step to ensure that the foam is kept apart until you are ready for it to stick permanently. 

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 Next I cut the orange fabric into strips – 2 inches tall and 8 inches long (2 of these per goal post). I used a spray adhesive to secure the fabric around the tops of the goal posts. Also make sure that the area is well ventilated while using the spray adhesive. IMG_2577

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And there you have it – awesome goal posts that are ready for your football or sports party.  You will wow your guests!

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Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

Nothing says romance quite like chocolate dipped strawberries.  Pair them with some champagne and you are set for a romantic night!  When I browse through the grocery stores during Valentine’s season, it is astounding to see the price that people will pay for these gems. Once you read this you will never again have to pay the ridiculous prices for less than fresh chocolate dipped strawberries.

First, you begin by purchasing the correct ingredients. You only need two things,  strawberries and coating chocolate. In my opinion, the best tasting strawberries are the medium to smaller sized ones, but the most visually dramatic are, of course, the larger ones. You can spend a lot of money on the long stem strawberries, but I would not recommend this route, as they are often completely white in the center and flavorless. Once you have selected your strawberries of choice, it is time to purchase the chocolate. The easiest chocolate to work with is the coating chocolate that is sold in the baking aisle of any grocery store. If you want to get a slightly nicer version, you can always visit a specialty store such as Gaucho Gourmet or Central Market. Just make sure you purchase coating chocolate because it does not require tempering or refrigeration to set.

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It’s actually very simple to make the chocolate dipped strawberries. I leave the strawberries in the refrigerator until I am ready to use them so that the warm chocolate sets quickly when it comes in contact with the cold fruit. To melt the chocolate, first you must finely chop the chocolate- the finer you chop the quicker it melts. Place the chocolate into a clean, dry metal bowl. On the stove have a pot filled ⅓ with water at a boil. You are going to create a double boiler, so make sure that the pot is the proper size that you can place the bowl on top of the pot and the bottom of the bowl will not touch the surface of the water. Once the water has come to a boil, remove from heat and place the bowl of chocolate on top. Stir occasionally until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. You can also melt the chocolate in the microwave. Just make sure that you microwave in small increments of time so that you don’t burn the chocolate. The two enemies of chocolate are moisture and excessive heat. If the chocolate comes into contact with either of these two things it will become very thick or grainy and will have to be thrown out.

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To dip the strawberries- place a piece of parchment on the counter. Hold the strawberry by the green stem and dip into the chocolate. Rub the excess off on the side of the bowl and place on parchment to set. If you would like to decorate the strawberries with sprinkles or any kind of small candy- make sure you sprinkle on before the chocolate hardens. To stripe the chocolate in white chocolate, follow the melting instructions above using the white coating chocolate. Once melted, dip a spoon into the white chocolate and drizzle in thin lines over the strawberries.

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Chocolate strawberries are best eaten the day that they are dipped. They are also best if not refrigerated after the chocolate hardens.

As you can see, it doesn’t take much time to make this tasty treat.  Chocolate dipped strawberries also make a unique and wonderful gift for a friend, relative or as a teacher appreciation.