Sunday, November 28, 2010

Christmas Tree DIY - great for newlyweds!

The first year my husband and I were married we also bought and remodeled a house ourselves. When Christmastime rolled around I was thrilled to get set up for the holidays in our new home but going and buying a bunch of holiday decor wasn't in the budget. Ornaments for the tree or new pulls for all the drawers in the kitchen? Dinner out or use that $50 for 2 gallons of paint? You get the picture. Ever the pragmatic one, I went for the drawer pulls.

One of my favorite parts of the holidays is going to the mailbox each day to find it full of Christmas cards. With e-mail, text messaging and e-vites it's so rare to get "real" mail these days. It makes it all the more fun to have stacks of pictures to look forward to each day. However, all those cute cards ended up in a bowl on a table somewhere. As they say, necessity breeds invention and inspiration struck...let's clothespin the cards to the tree and make them our ornaments instead! That way all the cards would be out for us to enjoy as well as our guests throughout the season - because lets be honest - it's fun to look at everyone's Christmas cards - even if you don't know them.

See that? Hi Tory, Hi James, Hi Baby Jake! And there is my godson Kellis, giving me the peace sign. Right back at you buddy. I even like looking at pictures of pictures. Pathetic, I'm sure.

As our holidays have grown and so have the boxes of Christmas decorations that come out of the attic every year, the Christmas Card Tree is a tradition we've kept. We're not going to win any awards for the "perfect tree" with matching collectible ornaments but that's ok at our house. We get the tree started with lights and bright colored balls and then watch it fill up as Christmas draws closer. As the Christmas cards we receive have changed from documenting fun trips and the weddings of our friends to documenting how their families are growing and growing up, it's fun not only for us but for our kids to enjoy the photographs of their friends on the tree!

Yesterday we loaded up the girls and went to the Christmas tree farm and cut down a great tree. Instead of the perfect shape and top, we tend to go for the tree with it's own personality. This year it has multiple "tops" springing out like a fountain. We also got a live, potted one for the girl's playroom and a little bitty one for the coffee table. We had a blast listening to Christmas music, stringing lights and hanging pink, turquoise and lime green balls on it's branches and putting stars on each of the many tops last night. Now we can hardly wait for the mail to start arriving!

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Holidays! I hope this season is filled with joy!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Fall Hill Country Weddings

We've had the most wonderful fall! As luck would have it...and I almost hate to even talk about it...but, what the didn't rain for one single event all fall!!! Wooo Hooo! It threatened a few times, but no big storms actually blew thru. After a really rainy spring, I think the break was well deserved. Although we always have a rain in place, it's nice when the rain doesn't show up.

Speaking of which...did I ever tell you about Caroline's wedding where Hurricane Ike hit Texas and Thursday it was forecasted to bring 40 mph winds and rain all the way to Fredericksburg? And did I mention that it was slated to be an outdoor, tented event? Caroline, her parents and I made the decision to move to an entirely different venue across town so we weren't risking it. Another venue just happened to be open and we whipped up these cute little cards about the "unexpected guest named Ike" with directions to the new location. We then bought 100 black umbrellas that were tied to the cards and delivered to each guest's hotel room. The wedding turned out so beautifully that I don't think there was a guest there that believed it was actually a "plan B". Of course, the calm and cool bride and her family set the stage and a great night was had by all.

Back on track are a very few clips of seen thru the lens of an iphone. I'll look forward to seeing the "real" pictures since these come nowhere close to capturing the true beauty. We had 13 rather large events over an 11 week period this fall and my favorite part was that no two events were even remotely the same. Each one was completely different and personal.

This is Brynn's bouquet. I miss getting to work with flowers and Brynn was sweet to trust me to put together her bouquet after telling me the colors and to make it "different". Although I work with many talented florists, I enjoyed getting to do Brynn's flowers myself! Brynn and Tom were married at 8:30 pm in a candle light ceremony under the canopy of an oak grove. Think Mid Summer's Night Dream. To say it was magical does not even begin to describe the evening where the guests were lead by candle light from the ceremony by a bagpiper who took them down the road to the limestone Mansefelt barn for the reception.

Michelle at Sprout did an amazing job with the centerpieces at Eileen and Chris's reception (also at Mansefelt) . This shot does not do them justice! The colors were so rich. I was quite taken with them.

The lighting combined by the sheer size of Meredith and Andrew's tent was so dramatic. The tent was intended for dinner and dancing but guests couldn't help themselves and began pouring in during cocktail hour because it was just too tempting to be in that amazing space.

This was setting for Meredith and Andrew's cocktail hour moments before the guests began to arrive. We echoed the same pattern on the floor of this entrance and cocktail hour that was then seen on the ceiling of the tent (pictured above). Very effective and set the tone for a fantastic party.

Below is the a candlelight garden dinner at Hoffman Haus for Monica and Chris. I work there often but this was the first time we'd done dinner outdoors in the garden. Tables lined the garden pathway and candles hung from the trees overhead all the way back, deep into the garden. The effect was quite enchanting and the garden never looked so beautiful.