Monthly Archives: July 2010

A 7-Year-Old’s Response to the Invites

Yesterday, Sister received an envelope in the mail from one of her flower girls. Can you imagine how absolutely delighted I was when we saw what it was!

She put the little window in just the right spot, with the postcard peeking through.

I love the little fill in story! So sweet.


Three things that made me smile this week

Zucchini Wedding Cake with fruit and cream cheese frosting at my cousin’s wedding.

Making a sign for the back of the ring bearer’s wagon at my cousin’s wedding.

Making a flower bouquet from flowers in the yard, and discovering an INCREDIBLE orange flower in the garden! Do you see that one that looks like a little orange and green topiary? I don’t know what it is, but its beautiful!

There’s a reason they call it simple…

In my mind it always seems like a complicated and time consuming thing, equivalent to some kind of precision candy making and requiring a timer and a thermometer. But there’s a reason that they call it simple syrup. It really is simple! No thermometer, no timer, just some sugar water and a pot. And by using the ingredients that you likely already have in your kitchen, you can flavor the syrup to make all sorts of fun foods and drinks. Here’s the basic recipe, followed by a list of ideas for flavoring it.

Basic Simple Syrup Recipe

Mix 1 cup water with 1 cup sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir until sugar dissolves. {add flavors at this point, if you’d like!} Remove from heat, cool to room temperature, store in covered container in the refrigerator.

SO easy! Now here is the fun part. After you take the syrup off the heat, add some flavor (see below!) and let it soak till the syrup is cool (about a half hour). Once its cool, strain and use the syrup however you like! Let me tell you, these are wonderful in iced tea, lemonade, yogurt, ice cream, berries, fruit salad, coffee, carbonated water (to make a custom soda), salad dressings- all kinds of things! Its also an easy party idea – have a few flavors next to the iced tea or coffee for guests to customize their drinks with.

Here’s a list of ideas to get you started, but you’ll definitely notice a theme, and may be inspired to experiment with some of your own ideas!

  • berry – add 1/2 cup berries (you don’t have to strain this one if you don’t want!)
  • caramel – heat only the sugar in pan over medium high until it melts and turns brown. Then add the water and proceed as usual.
  • cucumber – add one sliced cucumber.
  • ginger – add a 3″ piece of peeled, sliced ginger to the sugar water and boil 2-3 minutes. Strain when cool.
  • herb – add 1 cup of any fresh herb – lavender, basil, thyme, mint.
  • lemon – add 1/2 cup lemon juice (obviously you don’t strain this one!).
  • mint – add 1 cup of mint leaves.
  • vanilla – add 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.

P.S. I would have loved to take a picture of this delicious syrup in one of those lovely bottles with the pour toppers and the nice labels. But realistically? I keep this stuff in a tupperware in the fridge. I bet that it would make a great gift if you did manage to get your hands on one of those bottles and filled it up with some flavored syrup and put a nice label on it. Maybe I’ll try that sometime…


Wedding Invitations

This gallery contains 5 photos.

The invitations are finally designed, printed, punched, assembled, stuffed, stamped, FINISHED and in the mail (whew!!) Here’s a quick tour of my design: Envelopes are printed with the bride and groom’s silhouette, and a fancy badge to write the addresses … Continue reading

Taking a Better Picture #2

Here’s installment #2 of Taking a Better Picture. Now believe me, there’s nothing fancy about my little point-and-shoot. Its pretty darn limited in lots of ways, and I’m looking forward to the day we decide that a good use for discretionary spending is a new camera! What I do hope to do is to make the most of what I’ve got by using the basic features that it does have really well and to give all of us the hope that its not as much about the camera as it is about the one holding it.

Tip #2 Find a Better Angle!

Sometimes, the most natural way of photographing a subject is also the most boring. For example: when I went outside to take a picture for the plum post, I first walked out to the tree with my camera, looked up, and clicked the shutter. Here’s what I got:

When I previewed the pic, I thought,”that’s a pretty boring picture! So I told myself (yes, I have to give myself instructions sometimes) “Sara: find a better way to tell the story of the plum tree. This is the way everyone sees every tree – looking up at it. Look harder and find a better view.”

And as soon as I told myself that, I thought “yah right – this is just a boring tree. How am I going to take an interesting picture of a tree??” and I walked skeptically around to see if there was anything worth shooting. And would you believe, I looked on the fence right below the tree and found this:

Squirrels had eaten some plums and left their mess on the fence. And the lighting was perfect once I got out from the shadow of the tree overhead. No question that this shot is 1000 times more interesting than looking up into the undersides of the branches.

So take your first instinct picture, and then look for another angle that might capture something less common. You may be surprised at what you discover.

Six Vases Six Ways

Sister’s wedding is coming up quickly, and my family is actively gathering a collection of parts and pieces for the decorations, and centerpieces. Mom found a great deal on six large glass vases, which are being stored at our house until the big day. They’ve looked beautiful just sitting on our bookcase as a large group- its kind of a low-key accessory since the glass is colorless and transparent, that makes an impact because they’re so large (around 21 inches tall) and all slightly different. But its time to give them a test run. So in the 6 weeks before the wedding I’m going to try and use them filled rather than empty, and maybe get some ideas nailed down to actually use at the wedding.

Starting with #1

The Fresh Fake Tree

Rather than use artificial foliage to bring height and life into a room, use some actual greens. I placed six river rocks from the yard at the bottom of one vase; set them on the bottom carefully to avoid scratching the glass! Fill the vase halfway with water, and then stick 1-3 branches into the vase. Don’t be afraid to use big tall branches – the scale of the large vase will visually (and actually) balance out the height at the top.  The branches I used were some suckers growing off of a stump in the backyard. These suckers worked especially well because the leaves look delicate and fresh, and they needed to get trimmed off anyways!

The whole arrangement is about 4 feet tall – big impact sitting on the ground, bigger impact on a stool or shelf! And way cheaper and fresher feeling than a fake tree.

I didn’t think they really existed

I was getting supplies ready the other day to assemble Sister’s wedding invitations, which included deconstructing an old book for parts. Halfway through page slicing, I was so surprised to find a real live BOOKWORM crawl out of the spine! Who knew that there really was such a thing! All the pictures of him are action shots since he seemed quite eager to get out of the bright lights and back into another book, I would assume.

Pictures of the invites will be posted soon.