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Lumberjack Baby Shower & Plaid Tree Stump Cake  

If you've been here before, you know I enjoy tablescapes and sometimes share them here.  I just realized that I never shared the biggest one of all - my daughter's Lumberjack Baby Shower!  What a lovely event that was!  Wood and plaid - galvanized steel and pine - fall leaves and fur trimmed blanket - twine, rusty bells, burlap and clothespins - red, black, brown, metal and stuffed wildlife! 

The whole idea of a "lumberjack baby shower" really took me off guard, as the sweet little onesie pinata cookies filled with baby color-reveal candies that I've dreamed of for years filled my head.  I had never heard of such.  They are all about hiking in the mountains.  I was so surprised to find that the lumberjack baby shower is a "thing".  So, shifting gears, this is what she, her sister and I came up with and wow was it a hit!   And yes, I believe in the guest of honor getting to participate and get what they want, if they choose to.  The collaboration ended up being the very best part for me!


When we bought our house, there was nothing in the back yard.  We spent years planting an amazing garden that would cause people to glorify God when they saw it.  Many years later ... a year or so ago, the gorgeous Bradford Pear we had planted split, then the rest fell a couple of weeks later.  It hit our beloved Weeping Cherry as it fell.  The Cherry died from the damage.  Determined to bring good from this tragic loss, I begged those disposing of them to please, please, please try to cut slabs and chunks (for risers) for me.  I had adored the wood slab movement in tablescapes for ages and now it would be perfect, slabs from my own beloved trees.  

Well, doing it with a chain saw is a lot harder than you'd think.  I carefully dried them, such as they were, but in time almost all of them split, as well as being uneven and rough cuts.  With the theme she wanted for the shower, using them would be too perfect.  I managed to make some of the chunks even enough to use as pedestal risers, and bought several flat slabs from Home Goods to sit on them.

The heart shaped one actually came from our Bradford.  We were delighted to find that where a branch came off the main trunk, the slices came out hearts!  She had wanted a wood slice painted with chalkboard paint for the shower and later to hang it in the nursery - how perfect would a heart be!  All the natural wood really worked well with the theme.


By the way, the furry brown shape on the left is a buffalo.  Her sister bought her a collection of stuffed wildlife from the Smoky Mountain National Park gift shop as a baby gift.  Again, perfect for our theme, so we used them!


I adore this campfire cake!  I saw the idea on line, of course!  We used a small Boston Cream Pie on a wood slab.  My sister and oldest daughter roasted the marshmallows with a kitchen torch.  The "rocks" around it, and scattered in other places with the food, were chocolates made to look like rocks that her sister found on line.  Love them!  So real!  The logs are a cookie from Walmart.  The flames are red and yellow hard candies, again from Walmart, that we broke and then melted in the oven on foil and broke into shards.  My sister and my oldest assembled it all into this perrrrrfect confection!  Oh when light shines through the "flames", they glow red and yellow!


Along the windows we hung heavy twine as a clothes line and clothes pinned some of baby's gift clothes on it.  We swagged another twine with rusted bells on them below.  On top you can see adorable moose, deer and bears made of heavy corrugated cardboard with twine, bells and a soft touch of glitter.  They were sold at Hobby Lobby as ornaments - perfect!  Of course that's where all the little trees came from too.


We used off white flameless candles in the lanterns and scattered about the house.   The pretty round red and print dishes were from Home Goods - the store of ingredients for happy times!



We hung gift outfits throughout the house, some on Command Strips.  I had not used them before, but they worked great and didn't leave a mark!  Another perrrrfect!


The fur lined velvety blanket was from Hobby Lobby.  We put it on top a canvas drop cloth, making sure some canvas showed.  The slate chalkboard cheese markers and silver cheese knives were from a set at Sam's Club that included a slate turntable.


Mini quiches from Sam's, gourmet olives, multi-grain crackers and heart shaped foil covered chocolates top colorful fall leaves.



My oldest daughter found these amazing twig pencils, bamboo flatware, awesome rustic looking thermal cups and straws that look like birch bark on line.  All in keeping with wild nature.  The pencils were for games.


The galvanized bottle holder, from Home Goods, dispensed the awesome flatware and straws with cuttings from my yard in the back.   The twine garland with rusty bells, plates and napkins were from Hobby Lobby.  The pine cones are ones I collected from the track we use, with red ribbon to make them pop.  More chocolate rocks and a plate of handmade chocolates.  Burlap and plaid garland with cardboard deer.

  

We were so blessed to be doing this theme in December.  We had first pick of all the gorgeous decorations at Hobby Lobby!  I bought all of this garland in both stores in our area and added their twine garland with rusty bells and my pine cones.  Each swag was topped with a burlap bow from, yep, Hobby Lobby!  Love how they turned out!  We used them all over the house.


The house it was held at was so perfect for this decor.  You can see some of the cardboard animal ornaments on the tree...with simple white lites and a few red balls to coordinate.  There is a stuffed black bear on a log (from our tree) on the hearth.  Pods and acorns we collected were strewn on the hearth and other places.  Clippings from my yard are behind the bear, in the wood box at the far end, on the mantle and sprinkled all over the house too.  No need to provide water.  They held up fine till the end.


More magic from Hobby Lobby and an exquisite stuffed moose from her big sister on the coffee table.  We scattered more garland, pine cones and dried pods on the wall unit and around the house.


The old windows were saved from my house and the trunk you see was my father's WWII footlocker.  The wreath is one I made of cotton bolls.  I posted about them here.   Baby clothes were hung from twine clothes line with greens and pine cones everywhere, sprinkled with burlap bows.



This is sad for me.  I was sooooo busy at the party that I didn't get a good picture of the cut cake.  It was the BIG project and soooooo much work for the three of us, figuring out how to do it and then doing it.  I could cry that we didn't get a good picture of it cut.  Here is what we have.  I am glad I was paying attention to the reason for the party more than the "details".  It really was pretty amazing.


I made chunky birdseed hearts as thank you gifts.  They turned out very cute indeed!

The best part for me was getting to Face Time her at Hobby Lobby, from another state, and let her pick things herself.  All three of us shared a Pinterest album, screen shots and links from the web of things she wanted and then I got to make them.  I LOVE making things!  I can't tell you how wonderful the collaboration was!  The three of us working together from two states and three cities, wonderful!  So many texts and phone calls - such fun!  I got to make the plaid tree stump cake with both my girls, and my sister, from yet a fourth state and oldest daughter assembled the campfire s'more cake.  I think every party should be done this way!!!  So much more fun!

Thanks for dropping by!  Have a wonderful day!





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4th of July Tablescape & Crab Sandy Cupcakes  

I hope everyone had a wonderful July 4th!  We actually have hope for our country for the first time in many, many years.  Did you catch President Trump's address at the Kennedy Center last night???  It was jump to you feet and shout hallelujah time!  They are offering free dvd's of it at ptv.org or 866-327-0033.  May God grant his requests for America!!!


We were blessed to share the holiday with my daughter and her boyfriend, who brought us treasures of fresh veggies from their gardens, and deer hamburgers.  That was a first for us, but he mixed it with hamburger and we really couldn't taste it.  

I do so love to make pretty tablescapes to make things festive and bless people!  Such fun!  I had no idea I had red, white and blue things, but I shopped my house and here's what I came up with.


The crab cupcakes in sand were the stars.  So adorable!  They are atop Key Lime Cupcakes (by request), which are so delicious!  Get it?  Key Lime...Florida Keys...and crabs?  :)   The recipe is here.

I was able to find craft paper looking liners from Wilton which would have been perfect sand color with spice cupcakes, but the Key Lime showed through a little making them look not so sand colored.  I sprinkled extra "sand" around to make it prettier.  They were a big hit.  I have directions at the bottom if you'd like to make them too.


We named them all Sebastian for the Little Mermaid and could almost hear him saying, "Thank you.  Thank you!"  Don't you just love his voice?  There is a character on Death In paradise that sounds just like him.  :)



Remember my two scrap made pedestals?  I do so love them and they're so perfect here.   I had bought two random cloches on clearance long ago, so I had a taller one on hand when the crab was too tall for the regular cloche that I keep on the tower of pedestals.  Perfect!


The firecracker cupcakes were fun too.  They were chocolate cupcakes in blue liners with red, white and blue sprinkles around the edges.  The "firecrackers" were marshmallows dipped in red chocolate melts.  I was unable to find licorice whips for the fuses, so I had to use twine.  Looked fine and no one ate the fuses!


The diamonds on the table were to be stars.  They were table confetti from Hobby Lobby.  On the right is a bowl of blueberries topped with watermelon stars.  I used the middle star from the set of three fondant star cutters from Hobby Lobby.  Gotta love their always 40% off coupons!  And their politics!  God bless them!  The other bowl keeps the red and white theme with garden fresh cucumbers and tomatoes!  Nothing like fresh from the garden!


Frosty lemonade in tall Ball jars had skewers of blueberries and watermelon stars.


Red, white and blue parfaits in half pint Ball jars.  They were cherry red stripes, white chocolate pudding white stripes, blue jello stripes topped with blueberries.  So convenient to make ahead as each was a serving and had it's own top to keep them fresh!  Also handy to send home with people.


Ahh, now for the adorable crabs!  

No, I did not create these precious guys, or the firecracker design.  I saw pictures on line and figured them out.  THANK YOU to whoever was so clever to make the first ones and share the pictures on line!

I got the Haribo peaches and Great Value orange slices at Walmart.  The Wilton googly eyes are available at craft stores and Walmart.  These candies are the stickiest substances I have ever encountered!  I was actually concerned that I'd never be able to use my scissors, knife and plate again, but was delighted that hot water took care of it.  

I actually cut the hard outer edges off pieces left over from cutting claws and eyes out of the peach candies and used the sticky inside to cement the googly eyes to the peach eyeballs I'd cut out with a frosting tip.  

I used a #12 round tip to cut eyeballs from the peach candies.  I was able to stick my rose nail in the end of the frosting tip to remove the new eyeball.


Tada!  Isn't he adorable?

I tinted my frosting beige so shocking white didn't show through the "sand".

The sand is:
1 cup of graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter

I sprinkled the sand on freshly frosted cupcakes and had some left for staging the tablescape.  It looks so real and smells wonderful!

I added two more toothpicks under each crab's body to anchor them in the cupcakes.  It worked wonderfully and not one stayed in the cake.  As the candies dry, they really cement the toothpicks to themselves.


The gorgeous red pedestal bowl, napkins, place mats, chargers, all serving bowls and flatware were all from my darling Home Goods!

Thanks for dropping by and God bless America!

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Russian Tip Key Lime Filled Cupcakes!  


My oldest daughter has chosen our family Key Lime Pie for her "birthday cake" for years now.  Her sister and I decided to shake things up a bit this year and we surprised her with Key Lime Cupcakes with a mouthwatering recipe I found here.  When I licked the beaters (yes I still lick beaters!  You are never too old to lick beaters!), I couldn't believe how delicious they were!  No, I did not tint them, they were that color already from the lime jello in the recipe.

Then to up the wow factor, I cored them and filled them with our family Key Lime Pie filling!  We use a recipe a family friend shared with us decades ago - fast, easy and so delicious!  (Recipe at bottom.)


I've been wanting to try the amazing Russian Frosting Tips for so long now, and this was my excuse to finally order some.  My favorite how-to video is by Renee Conner here.   I think hers are perfect!  I made up my frosting "plug" with the darker shade in the middle and the stripes of food coloring on the plastic like hers, but sadly, mine didn't have that great contrast hers does, but they still turned out pretty and this was my first try!  Everyone just loved them and they took about 15-20 minutes to do all of them compared to two days hand piping all the other flowers!  (It was my first attempt at hand piping flowers too!)  I was sad to see how the colors changed as they dried, but still, everyone loved them!


 
For my fellow pedestal and cloche lovers - I made from two plates, a candle stick, a clear glass base that broke off something my daughter had, some E-6000 and a cloche I found all by itself at Home Goods.  You can see how I used them for Resurrection Day dinner here.  They are two separate pedestals for more flexibility, but I adore them stacked!

I used this Russian Tip.  I'm showing it with a normal #12 round tip to show how much larger they are.


So pretty and fun!  I found that if one didn't look right, I just scraped it off with a knife and did it again!  The roses cover the entire surface, so you never know!  I chose to add two shades of green leaves for interest.


A word about the frosting itself.   I have done so much reading about these tips and watched so many tutorials, that I knew they need a stiffer frosting consistency.  They made it clear that too soft would not work with Russian Tips.  I searched for the "perfect" recipe for success, but it required a powerful mixer.  She had a Kitchen Aid and said that it gets difficult for it to mix too!  I have only a very wimpy hand mixer and not a lot of ability to do it by hand.  Wanting so very badly for this to turn out well, I even priced a Kitchen Aid!  Yeah!  That's not happening.  

I saw that Wilton sells a tub of frosting already made.  It said that if you wanted to do flowers, to add more powdered sugar to it and/or refrigerate it.  Not so.  I added and added and added and refrigerated it, but it stayed utterly soft as I hand piped the flowers for the other cupcakes.  Two days in my fridge and they stayed soft and sticky!  One day in the freezer and they only improved a little bit, only to return to utterly soft at room temperature.  

When it came to doing the Russian Tip flowers, I knew that wouldn't work.  I ended up putting lots of powdered sugar and Meringue Powder into it and refrigerating it a long time.  When we took it out and tried it, even my very strong youngest daughter couldn't get it to come out of the tube.  She warmed it with her hands and we laughed at the irony.  Eventually she got it started and then we were able to make these very pretty roses!  It's still too soft for the crisp results that look best, but they did hold their form.  Wish the darker centers had shown. Perhaps I needed to make it much, much darker than I did in the center.  Next time!

So, if you, like me, have been wanting to try the Russian Tips for ages - try them!  They are amazing!  Everyone just loved them and these cupcakes and filling are astonishingly delicious!  

Key Lime Pie

Ingredients

1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 small can limeade frozen
1 small carton cool whip
Vanilla Wafers (for crust)
green food coloring

Instructions

Lay the wafers as crust on the bottom of the pie pan and stand them up along the rim.  Mix the other ingredients and pour in.  Chill.

Ok, now you can make our Key Lime Pie filled Key Lime Cupcakes topped with Russian Tip roses too!   Thanks for stopping by and God bless you!


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Resurrection Day & Instagram Tile Chargers  

Praise God, we have been blessed with another Resurrection Day!  I am overwhelmed by the magnitude of this blessing God has given us through His only son, Jesus Christ!  I can't wrap my mind around the fact that the all powerful, perfect and holy God of eternity loved us enough to give His pure and innocent, holy life to pay the price to redeem us from an eternity in hell and has conquered death for us and even offered to be our Savior letting us spend eternity in heaven with Him!  It's shout'n time!  So marvelous!  I hope you had a great Resurrection Day too!

I thought you might like to see that I finally finished my Instagram tile chargers!!  They are every bit as gorgeous as I'd dreamed they would be!

I did a tutorial about them here.  Making these I found that I didn't need to use anything except ModPodge and Rustoleum American Accents 2x Ultra Cover Gloss Clear to seal them.  I used the ModPodge to attach the images, then after they dried, another coat to seal them.  After they cured, I applied many coats of the gloss within one hour and allowed them to cure.  The end result is a very glossy surface that resists moisture and is good for normal heat.  You would never take something from the stove top or oven and put it on them, but it's good for normal temperatures that would be on your plate. 

I just love how they turned out and here's my Resurrection Day tablescape with them.  The shiny Electra/Barbie doll eggs (from Walmart) go perfectly and held M&M eggs inside!  I made my pedestals out of two plates and a lonely cloche from Home Goods, a clear candle stick and a clear base broken off something my daughter had.  A little E-6000 and there you have some gorgeous and unique pedestals with a cloche for almost nothing.  I have been LOVING them stacked together with my Instagram Tile Charger tablescape. 


A few years ago, my youngest daughter sent me an enormous Hello Kitty edible arrangement for my birthday.  It was sooooo gorgeous!  I carefully kept all the skewers to reuse one day, and this meal was the day!  I followed this tutorial and made this happy arrangement.  It has a recipe for the pretty fruit dip with the sprinkles in front of the pedestals.  Talk about festive!  I was unable to find the Peeps cookie cutter locally and I couldn't get it from Amazon in time, so I used Peeps candy instead.  I found that using the plunger style cookie/pastry cutters left clear impressions on the melons, so there are chicks and Easter eggs made from them as well as stars, hearts, circles and cubes.  Fun!


 The Honey Roasted Carrots to the right of the pedestals were a HUGE hit too.  I made them from this recipe, using a bag of little carrots instead of the full carrots with leaves in the recipe.  I plan to make more tonight!


The Honeyed Ricotta Asparagus Bundles from this recipe were FANTASTIC too! Not only a great presentation, but oh so DELICIOUS!  The recipe called for three asparagus spears per bundle, but having extras left over, I ended up with five per bundle and it worked just fine!  I can't wait to make more!


I have wanted to make these gorgeous crescent roll carrots for YEARS!  I used the recipe here.  Yeah!  And just in case you have been wanting to make them too, I did go buy the metal cream horn forms, but there are only six per box, so I also made the aluminum foil forms for two of them and they worked just great too.  My thoughts are that since the metal forms are $3-6 for six of them, if you plan to make these more than once you'd be better off buying the horns than wasting all that foil every time you make them.  Just my opinion as I hate waste and unnecessarily fill up our landfills.


Have you noticed something different about our back door in this picture?  Our living/dining room has a brutal exposure in the summer and we have a plasma TV.  When we brought it home years ago we instantly found it was a giant black MIRROR and the reflection of all four windows and the door made it literally impossible to see the TV.  Being in the deep South, our southern sun also makes this living space unbearable in the hot months.  The answer to both issues has been perfect!  The yummy, soft brown blackout drapes work on the windows, but our metal door was another issue.  I didn't like the magnetic curtain rods and didn't want "curtains" that would be noticeable.  My oldest daughter came up with the perfect answer!  She bought blackout fabric yard goods that are a very similar color to our woodwork color.  We folded the fabric over and sewed a casing at the top and bottom and inserted heavy duty magnets in them, stitching around them to hold them in place.  Now when we need it, we just lift the top of it above the windows and it stays, no matter what!  When we don't want it, it hangs unnoticably below the window just waiting to assist the next time!  By putting the magnets inside the casing the magnets do not mark the door at all.  It stays put 100% of the time and it's wipe clean!  Ahhhh!  Well done darlin!

Back to the food - on the right above is the delectable Creamsicle Fluff from this recipe.  Oh it's SO GOOD!   And so pretty!

The festive bread nests with the eggs in the center looked gorgeous, but the recipe was not a winner at my house.  It was dry and tasteless.  I used the recipe here.  The tutorial was great, but next time I'll try a different recipe.

I also had a Pinterest fail on the drinks.  The recipe was for an alcoholic drink.  I substituted ginger ale.  I don't think that should have made it opaque instead of the dreamy translucency of the original tutorial here.  I don't know why mine wasn't gorgeous like her image below.  Sad about it's murky appearance, but oh it did taste wonderful!  Wish I knew the answer as this would be a PERFECT beverage for bridal and baby showers! *sigh*

 

These are Lemon Dill Chicken Salad Stuffed Eggs from my absolutely favorite blog, Home Is Where The Boat Is.  I highly recommend this blog to EVERYONE!  She has an astounding God given gift for making this world BEAUTIFUL and has fantastic recipes!  Run, don't walk to her blog and follow her so you don't miss a single day of her inspiration!

I so appreciate all the people who shared their recipes on line and hope you try some of these too.  Thanks for stopping by and God bless you all!





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