Monday, June 18, 2012

Shabby Chic Wedding Reception on the Cheap ~ 3

 All right, here is the final chapter on my daughter's wedding reception ~ with the exception of actual pics of guests at the event. We had so many wonderful friends who helped out, brought their own items & ideas into play, and just really made this actually happen. We are sooo grateful to them all!

These cake plates were a breeze, & very inexpensive ~ I just found vintage plates & vintage candlesticks & glued them together with glass glue.  Another good way to glue them together, especially if you have bumpy designs on the bottom of the plate, is to use a clear silicone glass sealant.  The sealant comes out white, but dries clear, & you can wipe off the excess with your finger. 

Did you wonder how all of those crocheted doily lanterns would turn out?  Well, I think it's a little like a fairy land!

We held this at our church, out on the lawn, so there were signs that we sort of wanted to ~disguise ~ .  You can still see the sign on the street side, but the other side housed our cupcakes, as well as some pretty flowers in a few old buckets.  We just used a double-ended hook to hang one of them.  Oops ~ see the fern that fell down in the background from the lattice backdrop?  I didn't ~ too busy hurrying to take a few pics before the guests all arrived.  I did straighten up as I went,'ll notice a few laces out of place, windblown tablecloths, etc, don't mind those ~ ;-D ~ I had to put the camera down & straighten & by the time I got done, guests were going to arrive, photographer came for photo's, & it was time to "play ball".

The beautiful backdrop ~ this was the effort of several people ~ One awesome friend & her totally awesome mother provided the backdrop & picket fence pieces & quite a bit of greenery, another had the beautiful flowers & more greenery, & yet another helped to put it all together.  I am so blessed by good friends!
Several of the table set-ups.   The vintage wooden chairs came from a set that we bought for the bride & groom as a wedding gift.  The duncan phyfe table is one of a matched pair that we had hanging around the house & thought would look right.  The bird cage is just an old cage I had picked up years ago when I thought I might try bumblebee quail.  The beautiful topiaries came from a wonderful friend of a friend.  Same friend also decorated the arch.

 All of these flowers came from the dollar store!  yes, it's true, with the exception of the greenery by the picket fences, the hanging petunia's, & the greenery stuck into backdrop, all of the flowers were Dollar Store! The crystal & statuary came from 2nd hand stores, and the crocheted tablecloths all came from eBay.  A few of the cloths were quite stained &/or made with different colored thread, so I just evened the color out by dying them.  Of course, being cotton, they took beautifully!  And those are just linen napkins under the vases.  Most of the silver came from either garage sales or eBay.
 Here you see some simple chair covers ~ from the same awesome friend that had the backdrop ~ not fussy, but just enough to pretty it up.  The cast iron table & chairs came from my mother's garden, as did the playing frogs, the large angel & the other garden statuary.  In the background, you can see the large glass water dispensers; we haven't added the ice or the lemon & lime slices to them yet, nor have the nuts, chocolates or creamcheese mints been set out on the tables.  Also, see those beautiful silver candelabra's in the background?  Those came from craigslist... for $10 each!
 These beautiful vintage milk-glass containers came from garage sales & 2nd hand stores.  The cute little resin birds as well as the clip-on paper birds came from the dollar store.
Pretty brass swans ~ from garage sales.  Really, see, I clearly just collect a lot of interesting crap, & when the time comes to put on a "whing-ding", I just have so much stuff tucked away, that it's easy to assemble it all into something actually usable.  See, I now have total justification for having all of this crap. ;-D

This awesome old steamer trunk was from a dear sweet friend, she also loaned me the orange chair, the birdcage on a stand, & the 2 wooden benches.  The cool old leather trunks were from... you guessed it, a 2nd hand store!

Isn't this arch just amazing?!  The arch itself came from my mother (who bought it online from Walmart, in the garden section) & the tulle was... yup... from a  garage sale!  That kissing ball hanging in the background is just a round foam ball with dollar store flowers stuck all about, a ribbon secured by one of the flower stems, & hung from a garden planter hook that my mother happened to have.
Here are some vintage salt birds that my grandma gave to me & my husband back when we were married (wow, that was 21 yrs ago!) & the crystal vases were....uuhuhhh.... 2nd hand store!

Ah ~ you can see how the wind picked up there for a bit whilst we were setting up.  Had us a bit stressed, but it died down, so I only had to re-arrange once or twice.

My foster-daughter's little angel, dancing around like a princess!!
The same wonderful gal who decorated the arch & brought the white topiaries also brought this beautiful birdcage. 

Again, believe it or not, the paper clip-on birds & the resin birds came from the dollar store, and the mushroom birds all came from Micheal's.

This kissing ball was my mom's idea, and I loved it!  Perhaps you can see the cake table in the background, before we put any cake on it.  That is the table that goes with the cool sway-back chairs.
My foster-daughter, her daughter, & my nephew, surveying the scenes before guests arrive.  Do you see the patio she's standing on?  My husband & son brought those over from our garden & arranged them so that we wouldn't be trampling the ground coming in & out of the primary room.  I think they did a stellar job!

Patio close-up ~ again, milk glass from 2nd hand stores & garden statuary from my mother's garden.

Such cute frogs ~ again, from my mother's garden.  And all of the little floral arrangements you see here & there are, again, dollar store flowers arranged in green foam & put into pretty silver sugar bowls & creamers & pitchers & the like.

One of my dear friends had these little white felt love birds ~ I was so thrilled, because I had really wanted to make a bunch of little white felt birds (you know this if you have seen my felt adventure posts ;-D), but I just plain didn't have the time.  She had no idea I had wanted to do that, but came up & offered some birds she had which she thought might go with the theme.  I was ecstatic, because, of course, they were perfect!  Just what I had hoped for, but I didn't have to make them!

The doily cupcakes.  These were really easy to do.  Sam's Club sells a box of 150 cupcakes for $26, & a HUUUUGE bucket of whipped icing for $20.  If you use a Wilton shooter, you can shoot 3 boxes of cupcakes with ONE bucket of icing.  Crazy cheap, doesn't take too long, you can make them up the night before, (they come frozen, & thaw as they sit overnight.), & they look pretty darn cute!

The doilies are really easy to do ~ you just get a package of 8" or 11" rounds ( see which fit you like better), fold them in half snip off the ends generously, cut out the centers, and use double sided sticky tape or glue that won't be affected by moisture as they thaw.  I found elmer's to work nicely, but the double-sided tape was faster.  We just used some of the cardboard from the cake boxes cut to fit the wrought iron corner stand.

Oh boy, at this point, we have the cake on the table, the guests are going to start arriving in about 10 minutes, & my daughter ( the bride!?!) is working through the last of the formal photo's.  Here you can see the different types of cakes we bought.  They were from Sam's Club, cost $36 each, & were scored to feed 96 from each cake.  Three different cakes ~ white cake & pineapple filling, white cake & strawberry filling, and chocolate cake with bavarian creme filling.  The fun thing about putting them on cake plates (each plate had it's own silver server) is that guests could come by & serve themselves from the plates.  And, in my mind, anyway, it made the cakes look more homemade, but beautifully were NOT ~ saved me HOURS of work... worth every single cent & then some ~ ;-D (and, they were good cakes!).

The wedding round ~ this cake also came from Sam's Club, and only cost a whopping $14!!!!  Yeah!  It came with the pretty gum-paste flowers, too.  The bird cake topper was a pretty awesome find as well ~ we went to a small local cake shop, & the owner heard us talking about incorporating birds into our theme.  She said " I just pulled this bird out of storage the other day, would you like this?"  Of course, we were all freaking out happy, because it was PERFECT!  And, come to find out, it was vintage as well!  Straight from 1978!  And she only charged us $4.99 for it.  Too perfect!

Uh-oh, one last hurried shot before the guests start to arrive.  I've been shooting pics, straightening things out, adding little touches here & there, & it's almost time to go!

Shabby Chic Wedding on the cheap ~ 2

In this post, I am going to show you how to make creamcheese mints.  "What is a creamcheese mint?", you might ask.  It is a little shaped bit of sugar dough that sparkles, looks pretty on a plate or cupcake, can be color-co-ordinated to your party, gives the impression that you spent just HOURS making them, gives you something in-expensive, yet pretty to serve your guests, can be flavored any way you like, & is actually edible!
(Word of warning, right off the bat ~ give yourself AT LEAST 4 DAYS to complete these ~ they are fast to make, but they DO need drying time!  If you have less time than that, be aware that they may still be semi-soft, and will need to be handled very carefully ~ lift with a butter knife blade to maintain the shape.)

All right, sounds good, doesn't it?  So what do we need to make these little hummers?  First, you will need a plastic chocolate mold.  Deeper, more complicated shapes will not be as easy to remove, so keep that in mind when you are deciding on a mold.  For my daughter's wedding, we used a simple rose, leaves, wedding bells, a simple daisy, & a bird shape.  The bird shape was a little more difficult to execute, but it did still work.  You will also need:
 a couple of cookie sheets that you can dedicate to the job for at least 4 days,
lined with wax paper,
as well as a large plastic baggie for the dough,
a large mixing bowl (you'll be kneading/gooshing it all over with your fingers, & that powdered sugar can fly),
desired food coloring (Can be liquid, powder or paste, just add a tbsp or so more pwd sugar if you have to use a lot of the liquid kind to get your color),
1/2  of a .125 fl oz (or 3.7 ml or 1 fl dram) bottle of candy flavoring,
a 2lb. bag of powdered sugar,
a pinch of salt (literally just a pinch ~ brings out the flavor better, less overwhelming sugary-ness)
one 8 oz. box of softened creamcheese,
1 TBLsp softened Butter (NOT margarine, I don't believe in plastic margarine, & besides, the consistency would be off, and later on your mints would sweat, & melt & be snasty, so just spring for the real deal ~ remember, it's always wisest to cook with real butter ~ you can never replace the real deal.  :-D )
& one small bowl with about 2 cups of granulated sugar  (for dipping mints into).

Grab your bowl, put in your softened cream cheese & butter ( I either leave it on the counter for a while or zap it in the microwave for 10 sec's), CAREFULLY dump the bag of powdered sugar ( you don't want to inhale it ~;-D) over that, put in the pinch of salt, and, if you are using paste or powdered coloring, add that now, too.  
Now for the fun part ~ knead / smooosh / & gooosh this mixture till it's a nice firm bit of dough.  Have someone else (your hands will be covered!) put the drops of liquid food coloring in ( if that's what you are using) now, plus the drops of flavoring.  For this amount of dough, I would use at least 1/2 of the dram of flavoring, perhaps even the entire bottle, if it's a more subtle flavor ( e.g.; creme de menthe, peach, vanilla).

Once you have worked in the flavoring & the coloring, your dough should be about the consistency of firm playdough.  Put it in the plastic baggie, & let it chill for about 1/2 hour.  Do you absolutely HAVE to do this?  Nah, BUT, it IS easier to manipulate & does seem to turn out nicer mints.

Once the dough has chilled, pull off little balls of dough & put them on the wax paper lined cookie sheet.  I usually do about 10 or 20 at a time.  Leave the remainder of your dough in the plastic baggie, so that it doesn't dry out.

When you pick up the little ball of dough to dip into the bowl of granulated sugar, sort of pinch a bit of it up to make a little ~handle~.  This makes it easier to get all the sides of the dough covered in that sugar.

Now press your bit of sugar-rolled dough into one of the mold designs on the corner.  That just makes it go faster & come out easier.

Be sure that you have enough dough to fit in the shape, but not so much that you are spilling out all over.  Press it in, smooshing the ~handle~ flat as well.

It should look something like this. 
Now as quickly as you smooshed the dough into the mold, just plop it out onto the cookie sheet.  You might have to tap it pretty hard, but it will come out. You'll find that more sugar is better than less, as that is what keeps the dough from sticking to the mold.

Once you have plopped them out onto the cookie sheet, let them stay there & dry for about 4 days.  Whatever you do, DON'T think that when they are dry enough you can just stack them all in a bowl, put a lid on it, & leave them till party day!!  They will get moisture back in, and you will have a lovely sugary clump of one large bowl shaped candy.  Possibly NOT the effect hoped for.  To store these after they have dried for 4 days, leave them flat, with layers of wax paper in-between, with access to plenty of air ~ in this way, they will remain dried.

In the end, you will end up with lots of lovely little dried candies that wire up little kids, make the served plate look snazzy, & can be added onto cake tops, cupcakes, put along-side nuts & chocolates for wedding fare, & generally add that little extra touch of pretty.  One recipe makes up about 80-120 little candies, & if you make too many,  these can also be put in the freezer for later use! (Once they have dried for more than a week.)