Friday, June 14, 2013

Entertaining This Summer with Class

WOW your guests this summer with the perfect summer party.  It's all about decorations and doing something completely different then you have done before.  I have two great projects that are not from Pinterest but are original.  

Outdoor Candle Votive Chandelier:

While entertaining al fresco, there is nothing like candlelight to set the mood!  Why not create your own outdoor candle votive chandelier!  This project is truly thinking outside the box and gives you the opportunity to go on the hunt for...are you ready...bed-spring coils!  Scout your local antique malls, flea markets, or even online to find 5 of these items.  Then head over to your local big box store to find 5 12 inch Tree Branch Hooks (These hooks have an "S" shape with one end being larger than the other end).  At your big box store, you will also need 5 12 inch lengths of small width chain.  You will also need a key chain ring.  This ring will hold the lengths of chain together to hang the chandelier.  You may already have 5 votive candle holders at home.  If not, your local craft store will have these and don't forget 5 votive candles!  Pick up a can of spray paint to paint the bed-spring coils and tree branch hooks if desired.

Now for the fun part...After spray painting the bed-spring coils and tree branch hooks, take the 5 Tree Branch Hooks and place one on top of the other until a "5 arm"chandelier look has been created.  Be sure that the larger end of the hook is pointing farthest away from the center. As you stack each hook, hot glue one on top of the other.  Once glued, wrap wire around the center of the chandelier to secure (Hot glue only sets this project in place).  Next, place each bed-spring coil inside the larger part of the hook.  Be sure to align the wide mouth of the bed-spring coil up with the curvature of the hook.  Wire may be needed to secure.  Hot glue candle votive to the bed-spring coils to where it sits inside the bed-spring coil.  Attach 1 12 inch length of chain around each of the 5 hooks adjacent to the votive (outside edge).  Bring the 5 lengths of chain together at the top and attach to the key ring.  Place your candles in the votive holders and hang from desired area!  Light the candles and enjoy your new Outdoor Candle Votive Chandelier!


5 bed-spring coils
5 Tree Branch Hooks
5 votive candle holders
5 votive candles
Spray paint
Hot glue gun/ hot glue
5 12 inch lengths of chain
Key ring

Suspended Succulent Balls:

Suspending Succulent Balls indoors or outdoors makes for a fun and unique focal point.  Whether decorating your home or an outdoor space, this project will spark conversation the next time you entertain. A variety of styrofoam balls of all sizes can be found at your local craft store.  Purchase a variety of faux succulents.  Arrange succulents around the styrofoam balls by first poking the stem into the styrofoam ball as well as hot gluing them for extra security.  Take a small hook and poke through the styrofoam ball; hot glue this hook too.  Suspend the Succulent Balls with wire, fishing line, or a fun colored ribbon.


Variety of styrofoam balls (all sizes)
Variety of faux succulents
Hot glue gun/ hot glue
Metal hook
Wire, fishing line, or fun colored ribbon

Summer Celebration

This is the perfect time of year to enjoy a fresh produce salad of mixed and colorful delicious fruits.  Slice in different sizes and angles an assortment of melons.  I like to use honey dews, watermelons, and cantaloupes.  Some should be sliced and some in melon balls.  Then in an elegant fashion arranged the assortment and garnish with fresh sprigs of mint. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Feast for the Eyes

Go ahead and layer serving pieces to create a delicious still life of hor d'oeuvres.  Plates and platters made of natural materials such as wood and even a soapstone 12 inch tile will work great.  I like to use different round and oval bowls that help show off food beautifully.

Now for the food.  Display different cheeses, crackers, breads, figs, sliced plums, rolled meats, and even small bowls of spicy mustard's will make for one attractive and tasty snack.

Best Time to Plant Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas purchased from a garden center have been growing outdoors in a pot. They can be planted at any time of the year. However, to get good results, keep these considerations in mind:

  • Although it is not always possible, purchase a hydrangea while it is in bloom. This allows one to see how the plant will bloom. Hydrangeas are often mislabeled, and even good nurseries have difficulties keeping varieties separated when they are not in bloom. Twice I have planted mop heads when I thought I had lace caps. Additionally, 'Annabelle' doesn't always bloom properly. You may get stuck with a plant that is labeled "Annabelle" but the blooms turn out to be small and fuzzy.  Annabelle, by the way, is one of my favorite varieties.

  • Whenever possible, plant in early summer or fall. Don't plant in early spring when frosts are still possible. I've lost two leafed-out plants that were killed when a late frost hit them.

  • Don't plant a hydrangea during the hottest part of the summer unless it can't be helped.

  • After planting a hydrangea, DO NOT LEAVE IT ALONE. Too often we rush to get our shrubs planted before we leave on vacation. Be on hand to give it some TLC and to watch it and make sure it gets all the attention it needs.  
Here is a list of my favorite varieties:

Endless Summer
Pee Gee
Oak leaf Hydrangea