Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Farewell to Fall

Certainly was a memorable fall!    While the calendar still technically says autumn, the weather in North Carolina and many other areas of the country indicates that winter has arrived.     Thought I'd keep it simple today and share a few images from some of our most special (non wedding related) fall moments.

Farewell to Fall!   Welcome to Winter!

Wedding Planning Weekend, Butterfly Garden, Asheville, NC

Fearrington House, North Carolina (check out that squirrel going after that wine on the last chair!)

Biltmore Estate, Asheville, North Carolina

Fearrington House, North Carolina (my favorite striped cows!)

Fearrington House, North Carolina

Can't forget Thanksgiving Dinner!

Grove Park Inn, Asheville, North Carolina

Grove Park Inn, Asheville,  North Carolina

What is your favorite fall memory? 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Lemon Snowflakes

Lemon Snowflakes.    Aren't they pretty?

As I prepare to escape the frigid North Carolina weather, I wanted to leave you with something that I think you might enjoy.    Sweet, light, fresh and a little sparkly.    Like a cold winters day, but you can enjoy these inside, where it is warm and cozy.   Maybe with a cup of tea?    

Perfect for a cookie swap or holiday dessert table which is exactly what I made these for.   I am looking forward to sharing the entire table of goodies with you, but for now just a little taste.  

Originally hearts in this recipe from Good Housekeeping, I swapped these for the beautiful snowflake design and decided that snowflakes are very deserving of a sprinkling of silvery edible glitter.    

Lemon Snowflake Cookies

3 cups all purpose flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 tablespoons salt
3 sticks butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon grated fresh lemon peel
1 and 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Lemon Glaze Ingredients
1 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar
5 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 and 1/2 teaspoons lemon peel

edible silver glitter

1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2.  Combine flour, cornstarch and salt in small bowl.
3.  Combine butter and sugar in a large bowl with mixer at medium speed.   Add in lemon peel and extracts.  
4.  Reduce speed to low and gradually add in flour mixture.
5.  Divide dough in half.
6.  Roll each half to about 3/8 inch thick.
7.  Using snowflake cookie cutter, cut as many cookies from sheet as possible.  
8.  Place cookies on ungreased large cookie sheet, about an inch apart.
9.   Bake about 15 minutes until a pale golden color.
10.  Repeat with dough scraps and second half until all cookies are baked.
11.  Transfer to rack and let cool about ten minutes.
12.   While cookies are baking, make lemon glaze.    Add powdered sugar, lemon juice and peel to small bowl and whisk until smooth.
13.   Dip each warm cookie into glaze and place back on rack to cool and set.
14.   Before fully setting, sprinkle with glitter (optional).

Stay warm and bon appetit!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Handmade Flower Girl Baskets and Other Wedding DIY

At first I was not sure what I would do with my pretty new lady hammer.    The pink one with the flower covered handle and tiny grip.    It was a gift from my new sister-in-laws.   Part of my emergency marriage kit.  

And then I had the perfect thought, as I was covered in flour at 5:00 in the morning, contemplating how to make the stained glass part of the stained glass cookies I was about to attempt.   My sweet new hammer.   Just right for smashing color coordinated Jolly Ranchers into a gazillion melt-worthy pieces.    I know my new sister in laws will be very proud.

I have been knee deep in all kinds of baking fun.    Melting chocolate, hand forming kisses, frosting snowflakes, powdering snowballs.    Just the kind of thing I expected I would be doing one week out from my honeymoon.  

I can't wait to tell you all about my little project and all of the wonderful things I have been up to, but not quite ready yet.  Since I am in a bit of a DIY mode at the moment, I thought I would share one of my projects from the wedding.  

Advance Warning:  You will probably not want to attempt this at home.   I would, however, like it to show for the record that I tried.

So the story is this.   I am in the midst of intense conversation with my florist, planning centerpieces filled with roses in blush and ivory, lanterns with cream pillar candles, corsages in all shapes in sizes, when the topic of flower girl baskets comes up.

"We'll have two flower girl baskets.   Filled with ivory rose petals."

Ah... I'm envisioning my sweet little flower girls dancing up the aisle, tossing petals in the air, smiling sweetly at our guests.

"The baskets will have big bows and flowing ribbons."

Ugh.   That sounds so typically bridal and, well, so not me.    I have a lightbulb moment.   Perfect!   I'm a little low on wedding DIY projects.   I can surely make flower girl baskets.   Hey, maybe I can save a little money in the process.  

"I think I'll make them myself."

"Oh, okay.   How about I just bring two along anyway?  You know, just in case."

"Well, okay, thanks.   I'm not going to use them though."

I have visions of beautifully handcrafted flower girl baskets in ivory and french lace.    Adorned with pearls in a modern and yet sophisticated little girl way.     They would be the most beautiful flower girl baskets every created.

I made John go to the craft store with me where we agonized over shades of cream and ivory, textures and laces.    I brought them all home, filled with anticipation.
And there they sat.   And sat.   And continued to sit.   Until the day before we left for the wedding.

"Don't you think it is time to make those flower girl baskets?   Or should I call the florist and have him bring the back-ups?"

Right, like that's going to happen.   Just the push I needed.

At this point, I'd love to share a flower girl basket making tutorial for all future brides who are looking for a little DIY. But the fact of the matter is, there is not much to share.    I wrapped a bunch of pretty ribbons around a couple of baskets.    The end.

And truth be told.   They had big bows.   And yes, they had flowing ribbons.   (See photo above!)

But what matters is that I made them myself.   With lots and lots of love.   And there was no sweeter sight then my beautiful little flower girls (along with our very handsome ring bearer!) carrying their handmade baskets down the aisle.   Throwing petals in the air.  Smiling sweetly at our guests.

Gorgeous Photo by Visio Photography

Oh, and I didn't actually save any money on these.  But I'll never admit that to anyone.   Especially not  my incredibly patient and understanding florist.  (PS - If you are ever in need of a florist in Asheville, check out Blossoms at Biltmore Park).    

Advice for future brides - DIY projects are fun.   They really are.   They bring a very personal touch to the wedding and give you a little extra sense of pride.    Just be practical about it.   Perfect visions are lovely, but things don't always go as planned.    No one else will notice but you, so just relax and have fun with it.    Enjoy the process, don't take on too much.   And always, always have a back up plan!