Thursday, June 27, 2013

Bridal Shower Gift Idea: Towel Wedding Cake

My love of gift giving started with none other than my fabulous mom. She's gonna get an ego boost today. I have to give credit where it's due, and this idea is all hers, with a little bit of me thrown in for this particular shower. For many years my mom's been making these amazing "wedding cakes" out of white towels for bridal showers. They are always a huge hit, so when she was making one recently I roped her into letting me take some pictures in exchange for my help. So today, it's made with love and oats....and mom :)
She starts with 4 bath towels, 4 hand towels and 4 washcloths. You will also need ribbon (she uses thick satin ribbon - this time we used blue because it was the wedding color) and sewing pins. She was also looking to add something extra this time, so I suggested a pedestal cake tray.
The towels and cake stand were from Kohl's and the ribbon was from JoAnn Fabrics. The pins we already had, but can be purchased at JoAnn's as well, in a multi-color package. We used the white and a color that was close to the color of the ribbon.
Start by folding each towel in half lengthwise and then in half again.
Then begin carefully rolling each towel, and adding the other three as you go...
When all four are together you will have a nice big roll, or a "layer of the cake".
Do the same with each set of four towels to make three layers. Note: for the middle layer we only folded the towels in thirds to make the cake look more even. It depends on what towels you buy (thickness, length, width, etc), so you may have to play around with them for a bit to figure out how it looks best. All in all though...it's a very simple project.

Then just put a few white pins to hold the towels in place.
Then add the ribbon...my mom just folded the end under and then pinned it with some pins that were similar to the color of the ribbon.
Do this with each layer and you have a towel cake!
In the past my mom used to fan a washcloth for the top, but this time we tried to think of something unique and special. She came up with the idea of a personalized first Christmas ornament, so I got my Etsy searching on. We found a million great ideas, but ultimately decided on this one from JWDBoutique and the color matched the ribbon perfectly.
You all know I love Etsy, but this seller was especially spectacular and got us this ornament in less than a week, and it was perfect. We attached it by simply taping it to a dowel stuck (pointer down) in the top layer of towels.
And viola....cake of towels. Included: 4 bath towels, 4 hand towels, 4 washcloths, a cake stand, and a personalized Christmas ornament. What an adorable and thoughtful idea.
 It came out beautifully and the bride loved it.
Thanks mom for the great idea as always and for letting me help (and take a million pics) :)

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Remembering...

This past weekend marked one year since we lost our beautiful sweet puppy Nick, David's childhood yellow lab.
It's hard to believe its been that long, but on the other hand I find myself forgetting. Not forgetting Nick, just forgetting little things. It's difficult to admit but it sort of happens with everyone you lose. You remember them, think about them, but there's certain things that slip from your memory if you don't consciously make an effort to remember them.
Since my grandfather passed away, the thing I have made a conscious effort to remember is his voice. It may seem strange, but he had the best voice. When he visited me as a child I would sit in his lap and ask him to read me countless books, over and over. I loved listening to him. When I was older, I just sat and listened to his many life stories, and he made everything sound fascinating. He had some adorable version of a Rhode Island accent and I just ate it up.
Same with Nana, his wife, who was a wonderful grandmother to all of us. Oh man did she have an adorable voice. Her accent was the Boston/Maine one, and especially the way she used to say my grandfathers name Jawhn (John) was so precious. I hope I never forget it.
When my Aunt Ruth passed away a couple months ago, I decided the thing I wanted to consciously remember about her was her laugh...the way her face scrunched up when she giggled. My Aunt Flo (her sister) died several years prior, and I think I was still too young to choose something I wanted to specifically remember about her, but I suppose, similar to Aunt Ruth, I'd pick Aunt Flo's smile. They were such poised, proper, polite and sometimes stern ladies, but they had the world's biggest hearts and loved their family more than you could think possible. My brother and my two cousins and I spent much of our childhood at their home, and my favorite moments were them laughing with each other (or sometimes at each other, which was hilarious) or smiling at us just being silly kids. Those are the things I want to remember.
With Nick, I remember her and miss her every day. Her pictures are all over our house, as is the shadowbox I made when she passed. I see a lot of her in Oats, so those things make me smile. I remember her bark, how loud and deep and sometimes ferocious it was; her funny sneezes; her very slobbery kisses; her love of belly rubs; her harrumphs; her famous attitude (she didn't take crap from anyone); and her overall incredible personality.
What I don't want to forget is the way she made me feel. All dogs provide unconditional love to their owners, but Nick was different.....Nick changed my life.
As a child and all the way into high school, I had an extreme fear of dogs. I don't know why. I struggled with the fear for many, many years, and inconvenienced many people (and dogs) because of it. I was uncomfortable just being in the same room as a dog, even a sleeping one. It was ridiculous and unwarranted, and I regret wasting so much time being afraid.

But Nick embraced me from the first day I met her, and it surprised me that I never felt scared around her. She just loved me, without reservation, and I had never known what it was like to feel that from a dog. I don't know why I had such a connection to her, but we were immediately buddies, and I owe so much to her for showing me that there is nothing to fear. I was not her family, and I didn't even know her her whole life, but she let me in, let me get to know her, let me learn that the bond between a person and a dog is incomparable to any other relationship. It is pure, unconditional love....
Conquering a fear you've lived with your whole life is not an easy feat. Overcoming it to the point where it literally does not exist any more...I think I'd call that a miracle. Without Nick, I would never be the person I am today. I don't care if that sounds silly. It's true. She showed me how to love a dog and she took away all my fears. She's the reason we have Oats, and the reason why I will continue to open my home and my heart to dogs for the rest of my life.
Nicky...I love and miss you every day. In my eyes, you were the world's greatest dog.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Kara's Bridal Shower

So I figured it was high time that I posted the photos from my beautiful friend Kara's bridal shower....since she got married yesterday and I still hadn't posted her shower pictures! Congratulations Mr. & Mrs. Hickey - it was a gorgeous and fun wedding and we were thrilled to be a part of it. It was also great to be a part of Kara's bridal shower back in March (I'm seriously slacking on my photo editing), which was held at a lovely renovated barn on a vineyard. I got to play photographer for the day, so bear with my amateur manual camera skills.

I'm going to start with this picture because it's my favorite. Yes, I'm biased.
One of the ladies at the shower made this adorable wine bottle wedding dress, and next to it on the bar they made a cute photo montage of Kara getting ready for a date with Sean. It's true...to this day she still looks like that when getting ready. Love you Kar :)
For the drinks they had us each decorate and write our name on a wine glass and let us keep them as favors. Adorbs.
Here is one of the centerpieces and a recipe box that they filled with favorite recipes brought by each guest to share with the bride.
Kara's sister made this amazing cake (WOW) which is so perfect for Kara, along with cupcakes and cake pops. And yes, they tasted as good as they looked.
 
 
These are my lovely table mates.
Here's the beautiful bride and her gorgeous maid of honor getting ready for the "gift bonanza." Anyone else vote that we should start calling them that instead of showers? I think it could be a new trend.
 
 
The rest of these don't need explanations...you all know what happens at a shower. I mean...gift bonanza.
 
I also got to see my wedding photographer Kasey, who actually got to be a guest at this wedding. It was amazing catching up with her. I stupidly didn't get a photo of me with her (cause I was behind the camera this time) so this one of her with the groom will have to do :)
While Sean was there they had him read some lines from the shower activity...they had us write lines he should include in his wedding vows to Kara and she had to read ones we wrote for him. They were hilarious and he read them all like a champ, although he didn't use any of them at the wedding :(
Here's Kara with her amazing shower hosts, her mom Tina and her bridesmaids.
 
And I'll end with these...another bride/maid of honor picture...love these girls...
...and a pic of me with the bride :)
Congratulations again Kara and Sean and enjoy your honeymoon! Love you both!
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