Friday, September 25, 2009

My Wedding Day Ensemble

I plan to have lots more wedding goodness to share with you next week, including more photos of the day and some of the DIY projects I cooked up, but in the meantime, here is a peek at my bridal ensemble!

Where else to start but with the dress, of course! I received many sweet compliments about it after my last post so here's the scoop. Some of you may remember my initial dress hunt where I found three dresses that I liked, but didn't love. There were a few things I knew I wanted – something different, a vintage feel, not too fancy and not too big, lots of tiered ruffles and an inexpensive price tag. Not too much to ask, right?! I believe it was a great act of fate that I eventually stumbled upon the dress I wore, which I truly believe was made just for me.

It is the Rebecca dress by Jessica McClintock and was a very friendly $400. I first saw the dress in it's original colors of ivory and black, which I thought was pretty and unique. Then I discovered that it also came in pink and black, which almost sold it for me. But in the end, I opted for classic ivory on ivory (which is so unlike me!). Turns out they made a slightly modified version of the dress when I went to buy it, which had a beige lace corset and came with a pink sash - sold!

I decided the pink sash wasn't right and that a splash of bronzy champagne was the added vintagy touch I needed. I picked up the sash from Jessica McClintock also (the color was Gold) for $29.

I knew I needed an accent of some sort and I immediately turned to the talented JoAnn of refashioned to create a custom brooch for me. After searching and sending me pics of all the old buttons she had, I picked my fave and she whipped up this beautiful piece in the size and color I requested. It was perfect, wouldn't you agree?

On a side note, the new sash I purchased ended up being way too long and I needed to shorten it, so I'll have a little tutorial for you next week on how I did it and one way to finish the ends to prevent fraying.

When it came to my hair, I really had no idea what I was going to do with it, but decided that a half up do would suit the casual look I wanted best. I created a few different hair pieces (you know I'm all about options!), but in the end, the simplest one I made won out.

I deconstructed a small silk rose and then reconstructed it to be a little flatter, in the shape I wanted, and used a little rhinestone studded bead as the center. I was really pleased with the look of it.

For my jewelry, I mentioned earlier this week that I had just a bit of a hard time deciding! After creating four bracelets and four pairs of earrings, I ended up adjusting my colors a bit and whipped up this one the night before the wedding!

The bronze pearls pulled out the color in my sash perfectly and the pink accents were just the right amount of color for me.

You can also see some pics of my wedding ring here.

The earrings I decided on, however, were actually the first pair I made!

I originally envisioned myself wearing something longer, and never really thought of a post style earring, but in the end I was thrilled with the look and feel of them.

Im a shoe maniac. I don't even know if maniac can describe it, but someday maybe Ill show you just how many pairs I own. But I guess my frugality is my most dominant characteristic because oddly enough, when it came to shoes, I was just going to wear some I had in my closet. With such a tight budget, I just couldn't bear the cost of spending so much on something else I would only wear once.

But when I went on a hunt for shoes to wear in my cousin's upcoming wedding, I changed my mind and knew I needed pink. The shoes are Abby by Benjamin Walk Touch-Ups, died Primavera Rose, and those darling accents, well those were custom made just for me by the sweet and talented Chelsea of Oh My Deer. There isn't much to see in her shop as she is usually busy with custom orders but you can check out her sold section and her blog to see all the amazing things she creates!

Almost done! What ensemble is complete without the perfect clutch? This was actually the first piece of my wedding attire that I picked up, almost a year ago now! I had no idea what else I would be wearing, but knew this is what I would be carrying.

Made by the fabulous Rowena of Red Ruby Rose, my clutch featured a waterlily on one side and lily of the valley on the inside. With a pink silk interior, could it have been any more Lillyella? I think not!

So that covers it! Or should I say covers me. The only thing I didn't share was my undies, and if they had been ruffly, cute and handmade, I probably would have. Stop back next week for more pics from the big day and lots of crafty DIY wedding goodness!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

In the Kitchen: Chicken Stroganoff

This recipe is one of the most complicated I make, but only because it strays from my usual 'throw everything in one pan and let it cook' method of making dinner, though the little extra time spent is well worth it. This dish is nice and hearty for the fall weather ahead and can be made a little healthier by using margarine or olive oil, low sodium broth and fat free sour cream, all of which I use. You will find a printable recipe card at the end of this post.

Cook time: 30 min | Serves about 4 - 6

8 ounces egg noodles
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 - 1 1/2 pounds chicken tenderloins
4 tablespoons butter, divided
mushrooms, cut into quarters
1 chopped onion (optional)
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 can chicken broth
1 cup sour cream

Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces. Mix 4 tablespoons flour with the salt and pepper in a small bowl. Add the chicken and toss to coat.

Heat two tablespoons of butter in large skillet over medium heat until melted. Cook the chicken, stirring often, until browned.

Cut the mushrooms into quarters (I like to use a lot!). If you are using onion, also add it now. I use a bit of onion powder instead. Heat until mushrooms are cooked through then remove the mixture from the pan and set aside.

In the meantime, cook the noodles according to package directions.

Add remaining two tablespoons butter to the skillet along with remaining two tablespoons flour and the dry mustard, mix well.

Gradually stir in broth, then sour cream and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until smooth. Return chicken and mushrooms back to pan and cook until heated through.

Serve over noodles with a side of veggies and some crescent rolls - yum!

You can find more easy and delicious recipes here.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Decorations…

There are two TV trays setup in front of the couch in my living room. Why? Because my dining room is currently crafting central and has been overrun! Here is just a little peek at what I've been whipping up for the wedding table decorations.

I figured this was the perfect time to put our antique bottle and jar collection to good use! I had almost everything I needed, but did have to buy a few additional jars. Most I found at our favorite antique and thrift shops and when I ran out of time to keep looking, I picked up the last few on Ebay.

Yes, the flowers are silk. Hey, I work for myself, I can't afford real flowers! But, I did find some really nice ones at Hobby Lobby and I think they will do just fine. My bouquet, however, will be real.

The color scheme is generally shades of pink, yellow, cream, white, brown and green.

The tables are rectangular, ivory tablecloths, and I am making runners out of the fabrics shown above. Have I mentioned yet how much I'm NOT looking forward to that project? Though I do think the result will be worth all the time I put into them.

The bottles and jars were looking a little naked, so I gathered bits of lace (some old, some new) and dressed everything up a bit.

Work in progress! Since each table will have slightly different elements, I set each grouping up and will be labeling the 'sets' before packing them up. That should make things a little easier when it comes time to decorate the lodge.

There will be three bottles in the center of each table, with a smaller mismatched votive holder on either side (not shown). Then on both ends of the table I will be putting one large jar and one small jar, which will have a candle inside.

I'll be setting the small jar lids off to the side as part of the display, since they are half of what make the jars so cool!

To attach the lace trim to the bottles and jars, I used Hollywood Fashion Tape. For those who are not familiar, it's like double sided tape for your body. For those times when your dress just won't stay in place or you wonder why her cleavage isn't popping out. I use it for dance performances, to keep shirts from riding up and pants from falling down, you know. I find the hold to be stronger than double stick tape and since it's made for fabric, it works really well for this usage. I buy mine at JoAnn Fabrics.

There are still many other little pieces and parts not show here for other places such as the cake and candy tables, but I'll share more pics after the big day! What do you think so far? Is it looking very lillyella?!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

In the Kitchen: Zucchini Bread

It's that time of year again when we're all harvesting our gardens, scratching our heads wondering what to do with all those tomatoes and all that zucchini, wondering why we grew so much again. Am I right? Chances are most of you will make some bread with it and out of all the recipes I've tried, this one is my favorite. It's basic, simple and easy - just the way I like it! You will find a printable recipe card toward the end of this post.

Prep Time: 15 min | Bake Time: 50 min | Serves 16

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (also good with whole wheat flour!)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 egg, beaten
1 cup sugar (I use Splenda, and a little less than 1 cup)
1 cup finely shredded, unpeeled zucchini
1/4 cup cooking oil
1/2 chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Since I've been so busy this week, I do not have step by step photos for you today, but here are the directions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease the bottom and 1/2" up the sides of an 8" loaf pan, set aside.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, baking powder and nutmeg. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, set aside.

In another medium bowl combine egg, sugar, zucchini and oil. Add this mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just moistened (batter should be lumpy). Fold in nuts. Spoon into pan and bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 10 minutes, remove from pan and cool completely. Wrap and store overnight before slicing.

This recipe also works for apple bread, substitute 1 1/2 cups shredded, peeled apple for the zucchini. Great for using those apples from fall apple picking! (Ill be sharing a delicious apple cake recipe soon, too).

If you still have plenty of zucchini left even after making 5 loafs of bread, try this salad for another yummy way to use it up!

You can find more easy and delicious recipes here.

The Rings…

So I warned of wedding overload for the next few weeks but I promise we'll be back to our regularly scheduled program soon! I have had lots of requests to see all the details of my wedding planning and crafting as I go, and since I don't get 'personal' all that often here, I figured this was the perfect chance to do both.

If I could photograph my entire wedding all by myself, I totally would (and don't think I havent considered it), but since that would be just a little tricky, I did find a photographer for the day. That doesn't mean, however, that I can't still do the fun stuff myself! So here are some pictures of our rings, and of course, there is a little story behind mine.

The engagement ring is an antique, circa 1900. It was not passed down through our family or anything cool like that, we found it an an antique store, but after all these years I'm sure it has a little history of it's own that I'll never really know. The square stones were originally sapphires, and while I wanted to keep them (and the original diamond), they were in very bad shape and the diamond eventually chipped apart. Luckily Tyler's uncle is a jeweler who specializes in antiques, so off to Wisconsin the ring went for a little facelift. He had the proper sized stones just 'laying around' and since pink is one of my favorite colors, I couldn't pass up those pink rubies.

When it came time to find a band, I knew it would be tricky, seeing as the ring has such an odd shape. I figured I would need to have something made but first step was back to Wisconsin where sweet Uncle Jerry dug through his antique stash and ended up finding a simple band (what I wanted), from the same time period as my ring, with the same etched design and after a days work, he was able to bend it to fit around my ring just enough.

The best part is that it has an engraving inside from one of its (possibly many) previous owners. There are four initials and the date 4-10-37, which I think is pretty darn cool.

Tyler's band is simple, and not antique, but I think it looks nice with my ring. Most importantly, he likes it, and that's what matters. By the way, that is his tie for the wedding in this last pic – yep, pink :)

The backgrounds and elements in the other photos are all other pieces and parts of the wedding details and decor, more of which I will be sharing with you later this week, stay tuned!