Thursday, March 26, 2009

Why I Do Fancy Things

When I first got married, over 6 years ago, I remember having the hardest time deciding on what decorating type things to register for.  I didn't know what my style was - I guess I didn't really have one.  Everything was pretty much white and cream.  Which I still love, but now I know how to mix and match and add little pops of color and so on and so on.  Anyway, it has been a very fun thing to find my style voice - really really fun.  I've discovered that I love rich colors and vintage stuff - but it has to be "clean."  I've got my great grandma's china hutch and dining table and I love them in my little house.  They match so well with the style of the house.  I love my guest room furniture.  It's so pretty and classic and it perfectly compliments my great grandma's quilt.  I also love big iron scrollwork wall decoration.  I've got one in my bedroom and in my last house, with the huge vaulted ceilings, I totally jacked a huge one from my mom's barn that wasn't being used to put on those huge walls.  My style is kind of all over the place, but it's mine and it's still evolving and growing and I love it.

One thing that I've discovered I really love is vintage and crystal and silver serving pieces.  They make me smile.  Anyway, tonight Deborah was throwing a baby shower for Talia - a super cute girl from church that I totally wish I hung out with more.  She and her hubbie are pretty cool - and get this, they met when he was teaching seminary - she was one of his students!!!  I hope that wasn't a secret, but I LOVE that!  I think it's so cute.  Mind you, he's only a couple, maybe 3, years older than her!  So, for the shower, I offered to help out by bringing a fruit salad.  Then I got started thinking about doing something fancy.

Enter all the supplies from yesterday's post (and a few more) and you get edible art.  I made fruit topiaries and this other awesome thing.  Here's how:

You'll need some wooden dowels.  I painted mine green.  I used 3 different shaped ones for some interesting detail.  You then pound them into a head of cabbage and stick that into some floral foam.  I also used some smooth river rock in my base so that it would get the center of balance right.  Now, mine is two tiered, but it was way too top heavy.  If you want to make a two tiered one, use foam balls and then just hot glue some cabbage or other green leaves onto them.  And see the distance between the two tiers?  It wasn't quite enough.  I didn't calculate that I would be adding an extra couple of inches when you add the fruit.  So, next you add the fruit with toothpicks.  I used grapes for the top tier and had to break the toothpicks in half for them.  For the bottom half, I used strawberries - those you need the whole toothpick for.

But, like I said, the two tiers became too top heavy, so I took off the top tier and ended up with this:

Hehe, I love it.  This one actually didn't make it to the shower though.  It just didn't come out right.  Well, it didn't come out perfect.  I sort of ran out of strawberries and the back side was all uneven.  But let me tell you, the next shower is going to have an AWESOME fruit topiary.  The other things turned out pretty fancy though.

Here's the strawberry arrangement I made.  It's all attached to a head of cabbage that is just sitting in that marvelous green bowl.  Let's talk about that bowl for a minute, and then I 'll give you the super easy recipe for the yummy fruit dip you see in the foreground.

So, I am totally into anything with a pedestal these days.  Cake plates, tiered serving dishes, and these gorgeous pedestalled bowls.  When I was looking for directions to make these online I saw them done in really pretty urns.  So, I went to Hobby Lobby just down the street and found some good urns, but they were $10, so even though I knew I would use them again, I decided I would try The Salvation Army first.  So, I did.  I found all the pedestalled bowls you see here for only a dollar each.  And I have to tell you, I am totally IN LOVE with this green one.  I think it's just gorgeous!  And hello???  99 cents!  I just can't get over it.  On a side note: I also got the square base for the topiary at The Salvation Army also.  Just lovely.

And now the fruit dip.  Listen closely and get something to write with.  Are you ready?  Here's the recipe: Mix a tub of low-fat strawberry cream cheese with a jar of marshmallow cream.  That's it.  So easy!  Now, I say low-fat cream cheese because it's softer than the full-fat kind - thereby easier to stir all together.  Which is also a reason you should always use full-fat cream cheese for cheese balls.

And remember the top tier of the topiary?  Well, that became a grape arrangement sitting atop this marvelous Salvation Army tiny pedestalled bowl.  And they match so perfectly.  And that bird made it to the top.  So cute.  The cake plate the arrangement and apples are sitting on is not a Salvation Army find though.  I think that one came from Ross.  I miss Ross.

Now, onto the gift.  I love this gift because it is so unique and easy (and afordable!), but still very sentimental, thoughtful, and sweet.

It's a tiny little vase with a poem attached.  Smaller vases work well because that's the kind of flowers little hands like to pick for mamas.  Just the right size for dandelions or those little yellow flowers on the ground cover bushes found all over Phoenix.

And, no joke, every single time I hear, read, or even think about this poem I being to cry.  In fact, it's happening right now.  I'm not kidding.  If you're a mom, I dare you to try and read through it without your eyes beginning to water.  

See?  Couldn't do it.  Every single time.  I just love that poem.  And I love my boys.  I think I'll go in and kiss their sweet little sleeping heads when I'm done.  (Click on the poem for the full-sized printable version - because I like you that much!)

Anyway, so why do I do fancy things?  Well for one, I like feeling fancy.  And two, so other people can talk about how fancy I am (instead of how [fill in the blank] I am).  It's true.

And here is another Salvation Army find.  This brilliant scarf all tied in a bow.  See how fancy I am?  (I'm accessorized and everything!)

Love to you all!

Hugs & Kisses from Charmaine


Clarissa Jo Baxter said...

I am in love with this. Everthing about it! Especially you!

Brittany said...

That is PERFECT! What a wonderful gift! But now I'm dying to see your house - post pictures of all the things you love!

Renshaw Family said...

I definitely get the impression you are fancy....I loved your strawberries and grapes...yum yum!!!

Amy said...

I think I'm going to copy this gift idea. Too cute. It made me teary eyed too.

Like I mentioned in the other comment post YOU ARE AMAZING GIRL!!! Such talent!

Caryn said...

Wow, I am starting to really like you, Charmaine! You love cool artsy cooking ideas and you are a Photoshop addict too! A girl after my own heart. Not to mention, you have a super funny personality and know how to blog it all. I can't wait to try the fruit topiaries. Thanks for sharing the great tips with pics!