Friday, June 30, 2017

So Easy Hummingbird Cake

I was in the mood for a Southern  Hummingbird cake, but not in the mood for icing several layers of cake.  So I decided to make a Hummingbird pound cake recipe that I found on the internet from Bakers Royale.

 I gathered all the ingredients together to begin the easy process of making the batter.

I decided to substitute black walnuts for the pecans because I love their unique taste. A vendor at the Western North Carolina farmer's market sells them in large mason jars.  I always keep a jar on hand.

I baked the batter in a tube pan instead of a bundt pan, just so it would be easier to get out of the pan.

Next the simple cream cheese drizzle was mixed and poured on with a sprinkling of black walnuts.

 Fresh nasturtiums from the garden decorated the cake.

The cake quickly started disappearing!

This recipe created one of the moistest cakes that I have ever tasted.  The combination of the mashed banana and crushed pineapple added a lot of moisture.   It was the quickest cake that I have ever made and one of the best too!

My husband loved this cake for breakfast- very similar to a banana bread texture.  The quick process of mixing this cake and the  wonderful flavor will make it a family favorite. 

Thank you Bakers Royale!

For the recipe-

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Getting My Crafting Groove Going Again

Let's face it.  My last 18 months have been spent building and moving into a new home and planning my daughter's wedding.  I haven't had the space or the materials to do any craft projects during that time.  But that has all changed now! Not that I have not enjoyed the past months, but now  I can get back to my happy place. 

I wanted to create a special gift for someone that had done an extraordinary job during our daughter's wedding weekend.   We hired a local chef and his wife to cater the farewell party at our home.  We intended to have our son's be the bartenders, but somehow that didn't happen.  So Kate, the chef's assistant and wife stepped in quickly and bartended all afternoon for us.  Over and above what we contracted them to do!  

She is the mother of two and loves to spend any time off, making craft projects with them.  So I filled a box with craft supplies from Michaels and a gift card to make additional purchases.  But I wanted to make something special for her.

The craft room is not completely organized yet, as I am waiting for shelves to be installed to hold all the crafting supplies.  But at least everything is out and available for projects.

Ribbons, fabrics, beading, metal findings, rhinestones, laces are all organized into acrylic bins.

My girlfriend, Jill, came over one Sunday afternoon,
and organized three cabinets full of ribbon for me. 

 Ribbons are divided into color palettes and placed on shelves in the cabinets above the counter.

 Time to create my first project in the new house!

I purchased a rhinestone crown from Michaels in the bridal section. 

Creating the label on parchment paper on the computer, I glued it inside of a metal frame.

 The crown was finished with butterflies, bees and flowers.

All of the crafting supplies and the gift card were placed in the hat box for a crafting
project with the kids.

A vintage bird with it's own crown was glued to the top of the frame.

As a final touch, the crown was nestled into the ribbon on the top of the box. 

Thanks Kate- you are a Chef's Assistant Extraordinaire.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Wedding Weekend Farewell Party

Wow- somehow it was a blur.  The wedding is over and now it is time to say good bye to all our wonderful guests that traveled to North Carolina to celebrate Tony and Julia's wedding.  

We planned a quiet Sunday afternoon brunch with the one of the best chef's in Asheville.  Chef Brian came to our home and prepared a decadent afternoon gourment spread.  Beef tenderloin with 4 different sauces, pork belly, panzanalla salad, peach fennel salad, cannolis and strawberry lemon tart.s were the stars of the enticing food. 

Flowers were brought home from the wedding and placed throughout the house.

This one was placed on top of my French Bistro shelf in the middle of the dining table. The table is now ready to be filled with salads and breads.

The front entry table

Small bouquets sit on sterling silver stumps from the wedding tables.

 The dining table is filled with wine crates to elevate platters of salads. 

Lump Maryland crab cakes sit front and center on a cut barn beam left over from our construction.

 Panzanella  Salad in a big copper tray.
 Peach and Fennel Salad

Sweets were placed in the gathering room for guests to enjoy. 

 Home Cannoli's with rich cream- wonderful.

A sweet ending to a sweet weekend-  wonderful memories forever.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Biltmore Estate Wedding of my Daughter

It has come and gone so quickly. Months and months of planning, planning, planning. And in a few fleeting hours it is over. This has been a crazy last 3 months of moving into our new house and planning this wedding. I cannot believe it is over.   Thank goodness for pictures!

The wedding was held at the Biltmore Estate at Diana.  Diana was the goddess of the hunt, so we used that as a theme  for planning the décor.  An enchanted forest with ferns, antlers and a lush forest inspired the décor and invitation. If you look closely at the photo, you can see the house in the background. 

Alexa Pulitzer of New Orleans designed the antler and crown monogram for the stationary.  The crown is a nod to the Vanderbilt family that owns Biltmore Estate, who were certainly American royalty around the turn of the last century.  The antlers are a nod to Diana, the goddess of the hunt.  Her statue stands high on a hill overlooking Biltmore House and that is where the wedding was held.
Julia and Tony's intertwined initials are in the center.

We got permission to create a special stamp for the invitation of the Biltmore House and created it on Zazzle.

The ceremony site was simply decorated with hydrangea bushes and heads of purple hydrangeas lining the area. Biltmore House was the back drop.

 For the cocktail area, we rented a rustic  bar and decorated it with meteor lights, antlers, and candles and flowers.
 Antlers over the bar.

Flower urns on the cocktail tables.

the bridal bouquet complete with ferns and feathers-

Bridesmaids flowers

 Bouquets for the attendee's of honor.
 The ring bears carried silver antlers tied with streamers of hand dyed Hana Silk ribbon.

Boutonnieres with feathers and ferns.

Ring bearers mossed pillow for the rings - I loved this !

Pressed flowers under glass for the escort card table. 

 The tent was a mixture of communal tables for families and round tables for friends. 
 A large antler chandelier hung over the head table, while rhododendron chandeliers were over the 2 family tables. 
 Every table was a little different, but all created a lush forest environment.
 The wood tables had dressy gold chargers, while the skirted round tables had wood chargers.

Menus were tucked in black napkins with ferns and feathers.

The round tables had tall tree like centerpieces with moss, hydrangea and antler bases.

The head table had a cloth of purple roses, purple glasses and a mass of flowers down the center.

 The grooms men drank from horn goblets.

 The cake table ready for the cake!
A bronze and rhinestone overlay over a tulle skirt with a tutu under it!

Ring Bearers and Flower Girls

 The bride- dressed and ready for the first look.

bustling the dress.

Mia- ready for her flower girl duties.

 The I do's are done and its on to the party!

The newly wed Mr. and Mrs. Stella with Mia !

Children being children!

This was 60 seconds after the ceremony!  Lucky we kept them tucked in for the ceremony!

My future daughter in law and father of the bride enjoying a moment!

Two new friends forever- my granddaughter and my new step granddaughter!

 Family table having some fun with the candle lit glass bubbles.

It seemed everyone wanted their picture taken with the great house in the background. 

A sparkler good bye!

As drawn in the guest book by one of our young guests- this says it all!