Growing up, one of my favorite days of the year was the day after Thanksgiving. This is the day my mom and I would drag all of our Christmas decorations out of the overly stuffed closet and tackle the task of decorating for the holidays. At first the job always seemed overwhelming, but then my mom would blast the stereo with our favorite Christmas music and we would become enveloped in the holiday spirit. From these joyful memories, some of my most beloved are of trimming our Christmas tree. With each box of ornaments we would pull out memories of years past. Laughing at the ugly kid-craft ornaments and cherishing those gifted from loved ones. Over the years I have developed seven easy steps that are fool-proof in decorating a Christmas tree. These steps not only allow me to continue to enjoy the task but also allow me to create a beautiful tree.
*note: these steps are for an artificial tree but with a few tweaks they can also be applied to a fresh tree.
This is my least favorite step, which to me is a necessary evil to creating the perfect starting point in decorating your tree. As you set up your tree make sure it is straight. After you have it positioned take the time arrange your branches (the necessary evil…boo). If you are like me, your tree has been stuffed into the tiny box it came in and now is in dire need of some love.
2. String your lights (unless you have a pre-lit tree which I highly recommend)
I have found that the best way to tackle the lights is to look at your tree through squinted eyes. As you string your lights wrap each branch, weaving back and forth from the outside of the tree to the center of the tree and back to the outside. This allows the lights to look like that they are a part of the tree rather than just placed in a circle around the tree. Remember to step back as you go to make sure that you are integrating the lights evenly.
There is a new trend with weddings. No longer are people hosting formal rehearsal dinners; instead couples are getting creative with exciting themed parties. Below are five fun wedding rehearsal dinner ideas that will surely create lasting memories for you and your guests.
1. Backyard Barbeque Bash
Create a casual, relaxed party with a backyard barbeque bash. Grill burgers and hot dogs, served alongside baked beans, and your favorite dessert. For beverages pour beer, lemonade, or soda in mason jars. Use picnic tables covered in red-and-white checkered tabled clothes and decorate them with wildflowers arranged in galvanized pots. Finally set up the always enjoyable lawn games such as croquet, bean bags, or washers.
Planning your wedding in less than a month can seem daunting, but I am here to tell you that it can be done. After the initial “are we crazy!?” emotion broke down, my fiancé Alex and I knew that if we were going to plan our wedding in three weeks we had to get to work. Soon we came to the realization that organization was going to be imperative if we were going to successfully plan our wedding. Lists became our best friends. As our to-do list got longer we also knew that we couldn’t do it alone. Delegation became second nature to us as we enlisted the trusted help of our friends and family. It soon became obvious that planning a wedding in just a few short weeks was not only possible but also a fun family affair.
Below are some specific steps we followed that allowed our wedding to go off without a hitch.
Decide your location of your nuptials and reception. If you are getting married in the busy season realize that most venues will have already been booked for months. Look for alternatives such as a local park, a restaurant that has a banquet room, or even a family or friends backyard.
We opted to have our ceremony at a quaint country church that had been relocated adjacent to the college that Alex and I both attended. Our reception was held in the wine cellar of a local Italian restaurant. Both places were perfect and fit the casual, intimate feel of our wedding.
Passing through the aisles in the grocery store, it is easy to walk by the prepackaged, cellophane wrapped bunches of flowers. However, it’s time to STOP! With a little creativity you can take these common flowers and use them to make something truly special! Below are 10 easy ideas using prepackage bunches of flowers that will transform your party or event.
Add color and texture to any dessert by decorating your sweet treats with blooms of flowers. Use flowers such as chamomile, daisies, violets, or pom poms either directly on your dessert or on the serving tray.
Take old garden pots and fill it with wet floral foam. Add a candle to the middle and fill around the edges with flowers. Try using different size pots to add interest to your table.
3. Pressed Flowers
When flowers begin to fade, don’t throw them away; press them in an old book for future projects. After they are dried frame the pressed flowers to enjoy them for years to come.
4. Tin Cans
For a simple grouping of flowers, turn used soup or coffee cans into vases for very little money. Spray paint the cans or cover them in fabric or paper to create cohesiveness among the containers.
5. Jars and Wine Bottles
Place single blooms of flowers into individual milk jars, wine bottles, or mason jars. I recommend varying the heights of your containers to add interest.
With a Sharpie write each guest’s name on greenery leafs and use them as place cards for your table.
7. Rose Petal Bubbly
Add a little extra special to your party cocktails by floating rose petals in the bubbly. (Don’t worry roses are edible!) Roses come in numerous shades, which allow you to coordinate the petals with your cocktail.
Add an extra pop of color to your table by tucking cut flowers into your guests folded napkins. To keep the blooms from wilting, wrap floral tape around the cut stem. To fold the napkin, lay it on a flat surface, and fold in half widthwise so the folded edge is near you. Fold the top layer back down halfway. Turn the napkin over, and fold the edges into the center. Finish by folding the napkin in half.
Use candle votives (minus the candle) and place singular stems in each. Groupings work great on party tables or place one on a bathroom vanity or kitchen counter.
Fill water to the top of your miscellaneous vases and submerged single stems or bunches of the same flower. A trick to keep the buoyant flowers in place is to use a floating candle; which also adds ambient lighting.
11. Ice Cubes
Freeze edible flowers with water in ice-cube tray, then adding the colorful cubes to signature cocktails.