Friday, July 23, 2010

Our life in pictures

Here are random shots I found on my camera when I uploaded pictures this week. Kids have been using it, apparently.
I took this one last week. She was waiting for breakfast. One way or another.

Here are the Lego Beverly Hillbillies, I think:

Their house.
I am ALWAYS surprised at the elaborate things they make out of colored plastic! Elaborate, I tell you. Imagination!

Here are two things that hang in the upstairs hallway:

Can you see the little palm trees beside the numbers?

and the sunshine and waves?

Can you guess where we're going at the end of these countdown markers(Now they are down to 3)?

See you at the end of next week. We're off to Pawley's Island SOUTH Carolina(Martha Stewart Magazine goofed this month's publication, saying P.I. is in NORTH Carolina. OOOPS!). We will be visiting my Mom's sister and some friends we don't see very often while we're gone.

I have so much packing and even MORE cleaning to get done!

See you later!

~april

My Piano

It is old. Older than me, my mom, or even my grandmother, I believe. Much of the music contained in the piano bench when we got it was from the turn of the century--there is a date inside that says 1876. Not sure what that means, as the name of the company--Ahlstrom--is nearly non-existent on the internet, but it is OLD.


Mom purchased it from an old woman in a very old house when I was fifteen, and it is what I enjoyed playing growing up--one of three pianos Mom and Dad owned then. We built our current house with a special room with wide doors "just for" it, and my daughters love to sit, play and stare out the windows awhile--just like I used to do.
The sound is lovely. Old and rich and just lovely(Just like I like most things).


Beautiful.

~april

I am linking this one to ColoradoLady's Vintage Thingie Thursday today.


Monday, July 12, 2010

A book review

Here's a great book I read along with my hubby last week--couldn't put it down once I got my hands on it. We really had some engaging discussions prompted by the story.


Read his review of it here.

The book is available on Amazon.

enjoy!

~april

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Memory Box Project

For the anniversary celebration, I wanted some fun way for the guests to leave their well-wishes and some fun memories of their years of friendship with the honored couple, without being a bit too cliche'. The ubiquitous wishing well was out, though I thought of it first. I have seen people do a painted tree-branch-thing, but didn't want that to be confused with a money tree(R&J were adamant about NO GIFTS). The cutesy birdcage/card holder thing appealed to ME, and would have been easy, but my father-in-law has--well--shaky relationships with all things feathered, and I didn't want to even HINT of them at the party, therefore. I was STUCK.

Here's what I came up with.

First, I purchased a paper mache' heart-shaped box from Hobby Lobby. On sale. Great!

I bought spray paint in gold.

I picked a beautiful piece of scrapbook paper to cover the lid.

First I traced the outline of the lid on the back side of the paper, then I cut it out with the rotary cutter(small size). It worked like a charm on the curves of the heart. I was pleasantly surprised!

Next I spray painted the WHOLE thing--box and lid, inside and out--with the gold paint. After the fact I wished I had purchased two colors of gold for a more dimensional effect, but the one coat worked well enough. You may want to be sure your paint and scrapbook paper are close to the same color, though. I missed that detail and although it turned out okay, I would rather have had a little more sparkle on the sides of the box.

Let all of it dry, then decide where you want your slot for the cards to go. I made mine approximately 1/3 inch tall and 3 inches wide. Again, I marked it with a ruler and used the rotary cutter. Worked great.

Using your new opening on the lid, mark for your slot on the scrapbook paper. Then cut it out--be sure you are working from the back of the paper, or your slot will not be in the right place!

Glue the paper to the lid.

DONE!

Now, wasn't that fun?

Oops. I forgot to mention the cards. I wanted postcard size or even gift-enclosure size plain ivory card stock cards for this project, but simply could not find them locally and was out of time to order them online. What did we use?

Shipping tags. Manila shipping tags with strings. They were so fun! People could use several and tie them together into booklets if they had a LOT to say, and we purchased a stamp and gold ink to put "Memories" on the front of each one. It was a nice touch.

The Redhead did this for me.

This idea would work well for a bridal shower(advice/recipes/best wishes) or a birthday(sky's the limit on what could go on the cards). An appreciation box would be great for a retirement party(stamp an appropriate message on the tags). The box could obviously be done in a different color/paper combination. Coordinating ribbons on the tags. Ribbon around the box. Decoupage the box with copies of old photos. Glue embellishments to the lid. ENDLESS ideas!

My mother-in-law was thrilled to have a special box for keeping the memories cards and other keepsakes from the day also.

Glad I followed my heart on this idea!



Have you done something similar?

~april



Friday, July 9, 2010

Make a Cake Topper

For my in-laws' 50th anniversary celebration, I wanted the cake to be the centerpiece of the party, and I wanted the topper to be sentimental and special, not something I just picked up in a box at the store--no matter how many hours I could have spent perusing those little items alone!

A few weeks before the party, I found this pretty little Lefton frame at one of my local shopping haunts:


The gold lettering, pink ribbons, roses, OBVIOUSLY the "50th Anniversary"--it had my name all over it, didn't it? At a near-steal, I whisked it away, unsure where I would use it in decorating for the event, but certain that it WOULD come in handy. :)

A week out and still without a topper for the hard-to-acquire cake, I began in earnest to dig through the things I had bought and borrowed, searching for an idea. I had glibly picked up a cake topper base at Hobby Lobby "just in case" I found something fun to make one with. I pulled this out, along with the little frame and some corsage flowers and ribbon I had used on two wreaths for the party, grabbed my glue gun, and set out "trying" something. Here are the steps in the process, just in case YOU wondered!

I threaded a doubled length of tulle on a piece of wire and fashioned that into a circle, glued it to the base, and added an alternating pattern of corsage leaves and tiny flowers around the outer edges, gluing securely, and as flat as possible. Next, I gathered some of the gold wired ribbon into a fluffly circle and attached it beneath my tulle ruffle around the base, just to dress it up a bit.

Then, I situated the frame right on top of the base and glued it securely.

Back and front views, so far. . .

It still looked quite sparse, so I began filling in with larger flowers and leaves. I added some simple golden wedding bands to the front to tie the gold on the frame into the gold on the ribbon around the base. The front is starting to look really pretty now.

I continued gluing elements around the sides, and then I realized that the back was a particular problem, as the frame was tall and PLAIN back there. My plan was to have the cake centered in the reception hall under a wedding arch, so BOTH sides needed to be pretty. I came up with a "fan" of the tulle, yet again, wired securely at one end and trimmed to the right height to kind of overlap the top of the frame slightly. It looks rather like a veil, I think.

I glued more roses on either side, kind of making mini-arrangements with them until I was happy with the fullness and the base of the frame was nicely hidden.

Here's the back, all finished. The frame still SHOWS, but it's not plain. I stopped short of "plastering" it with more flowers. It would have gotten too fat and would have lost its simplicity, although some pearl sprays to give it more height would have been nice, if I had any at the time.



Of course, the crowning touch is the photo of the couple on their wedding day 50 years ago.


It was a pretty touch for the ivory-on-ivory three tier cake, and my Mother-in-law really appreciated the way it looked.

I was pleased!

~april

The Fourth of July 2010

We drove out for a visit with my parents in the country last weekend--spent Sunday night and almost all day Monday with them. It was a fun time!

There are always beautiful things to see, and time kind of slows down when we're out there.

The fourth is always a special family day since it is my brother's birthday--never mind if he's not home with us this year--we celebrate anyway! Coleman, the ice cream was SCRUMPTIOUS. I think I finally nailed the recipe for it. Seriously. Addictive stuff. Mmmmmmmmm.

I digress. Sorry no picture. I was too busy eating.

The kids enjoyed playing with the dogs(ok, the Boy did, anyway).

The girls picked blueberries and scratched at ant bites. Dratted fire ants. My dad calls it the "Mississippi Shuffle"--simple idea--KEEP YOUR FEET MOVING AT ALL TIMES, or they WILL get you. Or wear rain boots. C has the picking thing all figured out. Scientifically!

Mom teaching J how to "look" the berries. Love this. Wisdom from one generation handed to the next.
Here's how they should "look" once they're "looked". ;-)
Oops! still some stems in there!

We had a yummy meal on Monday--BBQ ribs, what else(chicken, hamburgers!)? There was a SLIGHT mishap with the cooking process, though--

OOPS.
(note the interested dog sniffing gingerly . . . .RASCAL)

They managed to set things right fairly quickly and the bbqing continued unabated. A quick rinse in the sink, another couple of hours on the heat, and the ribs were JUST FINE.

Mmmmmmmm.


We did fireworks. Hard to get pictures of those. The family farm dog, Amos, stole the show AND the fireworks, too! He was running around, barking like crazy. The kids were doubled over laughing, and THEN he grabbed a roman-candle-type thing that was still shooting and ran around the yard with it launching fire balls everywhere. EXCITEMENT. Crazy dog. He just loves the smell of gunpowder. Thankfully apart from a slight singe on his face, no one was hurt during the antics. I only wish now that I had been able to catch it on video. Whose idea was it to wait till DARK to shoot fireworks? ;-)



I hope your fourth celebration was a fun and yummy as ours was. We have so much to be thankful for in this great country--pray with me that God would call us back to Himself as a nation.

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." Galatians 5:1

Oh! I almost forgot! We got to see a nest of baby Orchard Orioles. "FEED ME" is what one is saying. Aren't they beautiful?

Bye-bye from the country!

Oh, and we arrived home to this:
Lovely double reminder of God's faithfulness.

~april



Thursday, July 8, 2010

Fifty Year Celebration pt.3

This past weekend we celebrated my husband's parents' fiftieth wedding anniversary. It was a wonderful day, full and tiring, but very much worth the effort. As we were preparing on Friday and Saturday, I was often tempted to think "all this for two hours' party?" But I know the truth is that our time devoted to this was just a small token of the debt children owe to their parents who have been determined and committed and make it that far down the road to forever together. Also, the Bible teaches that children should honor their parents. So my prayer became "Lord, help them to know they are loved and honored through our efforts here." He helped us, I am convinced, just as He has helped Roger and Janice through their years of LIFE together.

Here are some pictures, in no particular order, from the special day.

The happy couple now:


and then:
We had the celebration at the same church they were married in 50 years ago!

The cake topper up close:

The cake.

Guest registry table. It also contained the box for the memory cards guests filled out for R&J. I loved the old family pictures displayed, too. Brings the family heritage to the present day. Pretty special. Mrs. Jan really like that, too.

A better view of the arch with the cake.

A better view of the whole room.

Beautiful banner made for them by a friend of the family. She did a great job!

Closer sight of the registry table.

I meant to get a few pictures of the centerpieces we did with milk glass and fresh flowers, but this will have to do. I was rather actively busy during the entire thing, since we were slightly shorthanded on help. Three of my helpers were not able to make it as of the final week before the event, but as usual God was faithful and we managed just fine, anyway!

Each table had a minimum of three vases, a small dish of mints and possibly a candle along with a card we had printed with scriptures that have been particularly meaningful to R&J through the years. The tables were scattered with "50" gold confetti, gold crosses, and rose petals in pink and yellow. They were really pretty!

My husband's older brother got their car shortly after they arrived.
Then he took a picture of it and we zipped it into the slide show of old photos that was being projected onto one wall.

I had to include this picture because of the handsome guy standing beside the table. I am so blessed that he's mine!



Here we have the groom's cake--a yummy carrot cake from Whole Foods. OH MY! was it good! Their first car they bought was a VW. . . it was a hit.

For the "head" table(not really, but I don't know what else to call it), I decorated with glassware that had belonged to R&J's mothers years ago. They appreciated the thought behind that. I also set the cake topper used at Mrs. Jan's parents' 50th anniversary on her mom's cake stand and surrounded it with flowers.

Here is the groom's cake table. We had mini cheesecakes(Whole Foods again--DELICIOUS!), scrumptious brownie bites(my best friend made), and of course the carrot cake. Not bad, considering the groom really doesn't like sweets all that much . . .


I learned so much from doing this event. It was the first time I've had to pursue doing something like this on my own, and I learned that I can do it, with the Lord's help and if my heart is right. That last point is so crucial. God is teaching me so much right now about truly loving and serving others rather than being wrapped up in my own insecurities(which are really nothing other than selfishness). I learned also that I should trust my instincts for things much more than I do. So many things that people loved about the day were ideas I had and almost didn't do because I second-guessed myself on them. I felt so blessed to be able to pull this together for them. I am thankful for the spiritual heritage they have built over the years, and for being able to participate in that heritage by serving alongside my husband and seeking to raise our kids to walk with Jesus too.

Such rich blessings!


~april