INVITING FRIENDS OVER WITH HANDMADE INVITATIONS AND MADE FROM SCRATCH CAKE

I truly believe there is nothing more loving or generous than inviting friends old and new into your home. You don’t have to throw an elaborate tea party, you can simply open your door and let them in or just have them join you for a relaxing conversation on your front or back porch.

But sometimes (as you all know) inviting friends to join me for a tea party is one way of sharing my love and creative energy with them.

I’m old fashion, in a sense, when comes to a few things to entertaining.

The first is invitations . . .

I truly believe in handmade invitations. I know it’s not for everyone, but is there really anything better than receiving an old fashion, handmade invitation in the mail?

Plus it gives my creative brain something to do for a few days.

For this invite these are the steps I took . . .

*first: I created this on the computer
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*second: I send it to a printer or print it at home

*third: after its printed I will go through my stack of papers I have at home to see if I have the perfect layering pieces, if not, I head to a local craft store (such as Michael’s) with invite in hand and began eyeing which papers compliment one another. I just prefer a little layering for added fun.
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*fourth: then I glue the layers together
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*fifth: take a look and decide if it needs anything else . . .in the case, it did.

*sixth: I chose to use a doily, some black and white bakers twine and then I quickly created the little tag on the computer.
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*seventh: put the finishing touches together.
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Does this process take a while, I wish I could say, no it’s easy and simple, but it does take some time. But as I create and put together each and every invitation, it gives me time to think of each and every person I’m inviting and what a lovely process this has become.

Another old fashion rule I follow . . . always bake a cake or any dessert for that matter from scratch. Now days this is quite a treat, but oh, so worth every bite.
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For this particular bundt cake I used this recipe:
CAKE

2 2/3 cups cake flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs lightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk

Have all ingredients at room temperature.
Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease and flour bundt pan.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.
In a separate bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy and smooth, about 30 seconds. Add the sugar and continue beating until light and fluffily, about 3-5 minutes. Add eggs a little at a time beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.

Reduce the the speed to low and add the flour, milk, and sour cream, alternating the three.

Spoon batter into prepared pan and bake 40 – 45 minutes.

GLAZE

1/2 cup powder sugar
3 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice.

In a small sauce pan, combine all glaze ingredients and heat over medium heat until sugar dissolves and glaze is warm. After cake has cooled for about ten minutes and you have inverted onto your cake plate, brush with glaze.

Another little old fashion thing of mine . . . always make homemade salad dressing. Now this is easy and it just doesn’t compare to store bought.
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For this salad I chose to use a lemon poppyseed dressing :

2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. dijon mustard
2 tsp. honey
1/3 cup olive oil
1 Tbl poppyseed
salt and pepper

Now sometimes I’ve been known to try something totally knew on my guest, after all, they are my friends so what better time to try something fun and new, right? This time I decided to make a peach bruschetta to go along with the salad. And, so glad I did, it was to die for . . . talk about sweet and savoring.
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I used fresh raisin and cinnamon bread (I cut the crust off with a honeycomb cookie cutter to go among with the theme).
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Toast the bread . . . spread on balsamic vinegar and oil (you can use olive oil if you prefer), place a slice of mozzarella cheese, and a slice of fresh peach, and drizzle a bit of honey.
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As always my friends, thanks for dropping by. Have a most wonderful Friday and extra long weekend.

SPREADING JOY AND LOVE ONE DROP AT A TIME

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This is one of my summer flower beds full in bloom . . .

due in part to the loving help of these . . .
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wonderful . . . busy . . . and active . . . honeybees.
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I love spending quiet time observing these little creatures in action.

There’s no chatter or gossip going on, just a whole lot of laboring . . .

being done together and alone.

Did you know . . .
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Do you ever feel, as I do, that your daily contributions and efforts are possibly making any difference in the world or to others?
If we take this simple example of nature and compare it with ourselves the answer is YES!
You are making a difference ONE. DROP. AT. A. TIME.
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After observing these busy little bees for a few days I began to think of how I could use my little drops and I instantly knew just how to go about it.

By throwing a “BEE” theme tea party.
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The colors were easy to decide on . . . of course they would be yellow, black and white.

So I gathered my white, yellow and black linens . . . (I layered my table first with a white table clothe, then layered a smaller yellow on top followed by a black and white table runner).
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I then pulled out all my black and white dishes and began mixing and matching. (remember your plates don’t have to be matchy-matchy, just have fun with it)
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After laying down my table runner and placing the plates around the table I began creating my center piece.
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Which consisted of a bee engraved cake plate which I placed a vines wreath on and then a candle, a honey pot, and little bees here and there.
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A black and white tea pot, and decorative bee plate . . .
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And then I start adding the magic of fresh flowers (mini yellow roses were placed in the tea pot and yellow and white daisies were placed in my vintage white vases)
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Until . . . in just all comes together.

Then back to the place settings . . .
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Playing around with the mixture of black, white and a bit of yellow.
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This color scheme just speaks for itself . . . saying “I’m full of JOY!
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As usual I like to add a few vignettes around my house to enhance the theme.
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One being the dessert table . . .(this is a honeycomb cake mold, I’ll be sharing the recipe tomorrow)
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Another I placed the Bee book, another honeycomb candle and mini honey pot inside my vintage bird cage.
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And the other was a setting with a cake plate stacked with mini jars of honey, a brass bee plaque, candles, and honey pot.
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(The mini jars of honey I purchased at hobby lobby as well as the bee fabric, which I simply cut with pinking sheers and added local grown honey and my homemade tags . . . this gift to take home)
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As well as their mini picture frames which were placed by their individual plates . . .

Both a simple reminder that we do spread goodness and love one drop and a time by being JOYFUL!

As always my friends, thanks for dropping by. Have a most wonderful day.

Linking up with Jann for SYC (share your cup Thursday)

WEARING ONE OUTFIT ONE DAY IN TWO WAYS

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I don’t know about you but once I’m dressed for the day, I like to stay that way. Once I’ve chosen an outfit and shoes and accessories, well that’s sometimes a lot of work and I certainly don’t want to do it more than once (a day).

So when I find that I can take an outfit like this, for example, which consists of a pair of longer shorts, a patterned blouse, one simple necklace and bracelet, a pair of flat sandals, and wear it comfortably all day, I’m in clothing heaven.
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Then to be able to simply throw on a jacket, a hat . . .
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And a change to some high heeled booties . . .
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Well, I’m now ready for an evening date night.
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It’s simple and carefree and even a little fun.
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How about you, do you do this often as well? Especially on weekends?
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As always my friends, thanks for dropping by. Have a wonderful day. . .

and pop on over to Patti’s for Visible Monday.

DISCONNECTING IN ORDER TO RECHARGE

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Hello my wonderful “connected” friends.

As of late, I’ve been anything but “connected” to the blogging world, that is.

And the only excuse I have is simply . . .

I just needed to be “connected” whole heartedly to the people right in front of me . . .
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This occurred to me when Molly was visiting and she would bend her cute little head side ways when we would point the phone (camera) at her. We realized she was looking for us behind the phone . . . making sure I was still right there, that my eyes were LOOKING at her. She didn’t care that I captured every moment on camera, she just cared that I was there . . . all there totally connected.

So . . . I chose to disconnect a little from the techno world.

I captured lots and lots of hugs, slobbery kisses, sunrises, sunsets, walks in the parks, late night talks with my best girl (Tori), and daily entertainment from the boys.

Did I get it all on camera . . . Nope, just embedded in my heart and mind.

When I finally began “connecting” with my camera once again . . .

I was able to capture
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My girlfriends busily “unconnected” yet totally “connected”.

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My son-in-law taking “unconnected” time to be connected.

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A group of young adults . . . totally “unconnected” and yet totally enjoying themselves.

Don’t get me wrong . . .

I love being “connected”, without it, I wouldn’t be connected with most of you reading this . . . and I truly treasure your friendships.

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Sometimes we just need to disconnect . . . in order to recharge.

SUMMER DRESS 1-2-3

When it comes to summer dressing or another way of putting it, what do I normally wear during the extra hot days of summer, my answer would be; a light weight cotton dress.
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One that requires little to no added accessories (this one I add only one simple necklace).
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One that can be accompanied by a straw hat for added shade,
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and One that looks good with flat or low heeled sandals.
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This little number I purchased from anthropologie of few years ago has most definitely made the 1-2-3 cut.
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Do you have a favorite summer dress that’s just so easy to throw on?

Heading over to Patti’s for visible Monday to see what others are wearing during the heat of summer.
As always my friends, thanks for dropping by. Hope you’ve all been enjoying this last month of summer. I will be heading to my favorite destination (Lake Powel) for our annual family retreat. I’ll be checking in on your fun posts but may not be able to respond too much, just know I’ll be thinking of all of you.

I will be posting fun instagram and face book pictures so keep tuned.

ARE YOU ANCHORED?

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I’ve always had a love for anchors or rather the anchor symbol. I find myself collecting little symbolic anchors, such as embroidered sweaters, towels, bracelets, necklaces, pictures, and little treasures to adorn my home. Why my fondness for anchors? For one, it reminds me of summer time, beach time, everything nautical and fun. But most of all its due to what it represents; an anchor provides stability or confidence.

As I was looking at some of my anchors one day, I thought to myself, “what are my real anchors in life”, “who are my anchors in life”? The answer came quickly, my family, and my friends, and the gospel. And with that thought on my mind, I just knew I needed to gather up my anchors and let my friends know just how much I appreciate the anchor they provide to me.
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And what better way than to have an “ANCHORS AWAY TEA PARTY”.

I began by creating the invitation . . .
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And then layering on the details with lobster and chevron paper, wasabi tape and lifesavers.
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The next step is the table setting . . .
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I chose to be a little more formal to bring in a bit more “grown-up” feel. I used a white linen table cloth, and then layered with individual blue wicker placemats, which brought in the nautical feel. Then I added gold chargers and my blue and white dinner plates followed by a navy salad plate and white dessert plate.

On each plate I carefully placed a “message in a bottle” . . .
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This was my message to my dear friends.
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Then I began my table scape decorating . . .
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by adding seashells to glass bottles and tying twine around the tops . . .
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some I added little nautical cards . . .
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and other jars I filled with candles and lifesavers.

Candles were hung from the chandeler . . .
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and a fishing net and banner hung from the window.
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The front porch was also set for the party with a new welcome wreath, Betty with her nautical ensemble and anchor, and a boat cooler.
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Some of the other decorations I added were, a picture of Molly at the beach which I placed inside a glass jar, a shadow box filled with anchor pictures, and one more blue and white vase filled with fresh flowers.
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On the morning of the tea party I placed fresh flowers in wicker baskets and vases . . .
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And then began setting up for the guest to arrive.
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The center piece was our yummy sandcastle (homemade) bundt cake . . .
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As each guest sat down they were greeted with the wonderful frozen strawberry lemonade, ice water with lemon and mint, shrimp cocktail, and cucumber soup.
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For the rest of the menu we had a pasta salad with grapes, pineapple, chicken and cashews, with watermellon slices and homemade lemon-blueberry scones.
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The best part . . . is always the laughter we share around the table.
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After lunch we all went to another room where I had tables set out for my friends to take some time to be creative. I simply layed out 10 x 10 wood frames, sheets of awesome nautical paper, anchor pictures and sayings, ribbons, ink, modgepodge and then they just created their magic. I love seeing what these incredible women come up with.
Thank you so very much for letting me capture you on camera, your creations were just too great not to share.
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So, my friends throughout the world, now you can see why I have a love for anchors.
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I thank you all for adding to my fleet of friends because in this world we truly need as many anchors as we can get.

Linking up with Jann for SYC

And Ivyandelephants for some more inspirations.

ADDING SOME BLACK (to my summer white)

The only thing better and easier than mixing white with white is adding black (at least in my style book), so before my white vintage summer skirt made it to the dry cleaners I did just that.

Added a basic black summer tee . . .
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A statement necklace . . .
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And a straw hat.
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Talk about easy styling.
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What about you . . . Do you have any easy styling tips?

I’m heading over to Patti’s for visible Monday to see about some.