When Aline and Cherie asked about throwing their wedding at our house, they wanted to know if we had any giant games. We used to have giant Pick Up Sticks and a picnic blanket-sized game of Checkers but, nope, we don’t have Cornhole or a giant Connect Four. They rented both and also brought bubbles. The games were a hit, and the bubbles were the best!
If you want to add giant soap bubbles to your next outdoor event, here’s what you’ll need:
giant bubble solution
sense of magic
*Wands and giant bubble solution can be purchased or made.
Aline and Cherie’s flowers, cake and chuppah were as sunny as the day! What made everything even more beautiful? The love and affection flowing from friends and family to the two brides. I loved the flowers–yellow and white with soft green accents, Aline’s lace dress, Cherie’s blue suit, and the couple’s matching sparkly sneakers.
Aline and Cherie’s friends built a chuppah out of birch logs. Wishes from friends and family were printed on green paper, cut into leaves, and laminated. Shout out to Aline’s sister Gavi for sewing the leaves onto the fabric that created the roof of the chuppah.
The gorgeous, rustic-looking, strawberry shortcake wedding cake was baked by Cherie’s sister Cristal. Shout out to Cristal for maintaining her focus and composure while the house and yard buzzed with people setting up and arriving from out of town.
It’s amazing how tents, tables and chairs can transform a space, especially after tables are decorated. At my niece’s wedding in our backyard, a pretty and relaxed tone was set with gauze runners, long boughs of eucalyptus, small and medium bud vases, wood-framed photos, and wooden coasters. Hon, you know I love texture and color, so I found the play of filmy blue fabric, soft green leaves, sharp wooden edges, smooth clear glass, and bright yellow flowers a pleasing combination.
Tents, tables and chairs created places to gather and eat.
Set on top of light blue gauze runners, eucalyptus boughs encircled wooden frames, bud vases and wooden coasters.
My niece created DIY decorations/favors by modge-podging photos onto wooden coasters.
Aline and Cherie’s dog, Mochi, may have been with a dog sitter, but she was there in spirit.
My niece got married in our backyard this past Saturday, so this week is Wedding Week–pics of the beautiful event!
You know what happens when I get an idea in my head? It swirls around, taking up space and not letting go, until I write, do, or make the thing! This goes for story ideas, preschool crafts, store displays, party favors and so much more. Maybe this is why I feel compelled to take on multiple projects–the only way to stop the swirling and get a good night’s sleep is to act on the ideas. Call is creativity overload!
My niece didn’t ask, but chocolate wedding favors got in my head, so I bought molds, melties and favor bags and got to work. And how nice was this? I called my favorite source for molds, cookie cutters, melties and sprinkles and the like, Sweet n Fancy Emporium in Cranford, NJ, to check that they had the molds I wanted in stock. I was running late but the new owner, Amanda, had a hunch I was still on my way and waited for me before she closed! So-umm-sweet!
DIY chocolate favors are so easy. Here are the steps:
Melt chocolate melties or chips in the microwave, first on 50% power for 30 seconds and then full power for 15 second intervals, stirring in between. Chocolate is ready when it’s shiny and liquidy.
I’m re-posting thisEasy DIY Winter Kids Craftbecause it’s quick and creative. Though my K-2 After School Enrichment students enjoyed making their ownFelt Mitten Bookmarks, pre-schoolers can also assemble them (Supplies for my Two’s are portioned out in our “Virtual Learning Bin.”) Don’t have suggested supplies? Use what you have. Set up a workstation, fill bowls with decorations, and invite kids to assemble, glue and decorate.Fun and done!
Felt Mitten Bookmarks
felt (or a thick fabric), small pieces will do
grosgrain ribbon (or satin ribbon), about 14 inches per bookmark
small googly eyes
any other things to use for decorating such as glitter glue, thin ribbon, foam shapes, sparkly stars
craft stick (or cotton swabs)
newspaper, wax paper, tin foil, or cloth (whatever you don’t mind getting glue-y)
Set up craft area with newspaper, wax paper, etc.
What size book is the bookmark being made for? A picture book? A chapter book? Measure the book, then add 6 inches to that measurement, which will allow ribbon to stick out of the top and bottom of the book and to be sandwiched between the felt. For example, if a book measures 8 inches, I’d add 6 inches and cut a 14 inch piece of ribbon
Draw mittens on the felt. Cut 4 mittens out of the felt, making sure they are the same shape so that when they’re glued together, they match up.
Match up the felt mittens, figuring out which will be the fronts and which will be backs. Using craft sticks (or cotton swabs), spread fabric glue on the insides of the mitten. Sandwich 1 inch of the ribbon between the fronts and backs. Press to help glue adhere.
Decorate mittens, either one side of each mitten or both, there’s no right or wrong.Let dry.
Tips: Trim excess felt. Check seams for gaps and, using craft stick (or cotton swab), add extra fabric glue where needed.
Ours was wonderful, not only because the unseasonably warm weather allowed our family to spend the day outside, but because it started with Hot Mulled Apple Cider. Shout out to my daughter Morgan who whipped up this delicious and festive Fall drink. Want to make your own? Check out this easy recipe from Ina Garden for Foodnetwork.com.
16 cups pure apple juice or fresh apple cider
Four 2-inch cinnamon sticks
2 oranges, peels and juice
8 whole cloves
6 star anise (Morgan used whiskey instead.)
Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and simmer over low heat for 5 to 10 minutes. Pour into mugs and serve.
Posting about pumpkin carving with pre-schoolers led me down a crunchy leaves lane of nostalgia. Decorating our house and preparing costumes weren’t our only Autumn traditions. Cherished were our drives to Ort Farms in Long Valley, NJ where we’d take a hay ride to the pumpkin patch, pick as many pumpkins as we could carry, and load up on apple cider, doughnuts, and honey sticks. After saying hi to the farm animals, we’d head home. Every year, Hubby got increasingly skilled at carving pumpkins. (Check out his haunted house below.)
It may seem obvious to say pumpkin carving is an easy and fun kids activity, but if you teach preschool (ahem, my wonderful new job), you might think pumpkins, knives, and carving don’t mix with ten super wiggly, touch-everything, curious two year-olds! What does work? Carving open a pumpkin and letting them feel and scoop out what’s inside.
Eight children reached right in, touching and exploring. (“Mushy, gushy!”) The textures were new to them–which showed on their faces–but they dug out the wet, stringy pulp and seeds anyway. Fun!
Two kids wanted nothing to do with this strange mess and backed away from the pumpkin. Funny!
Later in the week, my co-teacher managed to make use of time when the kids were sitting still. She carved shapes into a face. What a great way to learn!
At home, we carved pumpkins, also. It was a first for my daughter’s boyfriend from California. Hands on all around!
“Simchat Torah (Rejoicing with the Torah) marks the end of the annual cycle of weekly Torah readings and the beginning of the new cycle. It is a joyous holiday that celebrates the Jewish love of Torah and study. Simchat Torah is celebrated by taking all the Torah scrolls out of the ark in synagogue and spending the evening dancing, singing, and rejoicing.” (https://toriavey.com/what-is-simchat-torah/)
The 2 year-olds in my preschool class made their own mini Torahs and flags. For the flags, they decorated paper with stickers and then glued the paper onto popsicle sticks. For the Torahs, they finger-painted thin strips of paper. After the paint dried, I hot-glued each end to wrapping paper rolls cut into small tubes. The ends were rolled up and their Torahs were closed with pipe cleaners. They loved waving their flags and showing off their Torahs to the cantor, rabbi and other classes. Fun!
Splendor in September, the Women’s Association for Morristown Medical Center’s (WWAMC) designer showhouse at Tyvan Hill in New Vernon, NJ, is open through Sunday, October 4th. Proceeds will aid in the expansion of Morristown Medical Center’s Gagnon Cardiovascular Institute. Hon, it’s well worth the visit!
A 3,000-word article I’d written detailing SIS (formerly known as Mansion in May) was to to be published in Elegant Lifestyles Magazine in April and then again in September, but didn’t run. Thankfully, the designer showhouse was a go! Shout out to publicity liaison Kathy Hobbs for being communicative and welcoming.
Although my editor Kara Sibilia couldn’t come, two friends “in the business” joined me for a tour on Sunday. Interior designer Ina Wallman (Ina H. Wallman Interiors) and real estate professional Jeri Dana (Sotheby’s International Realty) oohed and ahhed along with me as we toured stylish, elegant, creative, inspired and original rooms and grounds. My only regrets? I wish I took more pictures!
Karen Waldron of Classic Home & Garden partnered with Tim Foerster of Foerster Landscaping to design stepped planters. Waldron accents the stone patio with white wicker furniture upholstered in Thibaut outdoor fabric.
Pots filled with color accent the blue and white decor.
I was taken with Katja van der Loo of Papyrus Home Design’s Breakfast Room wall decor. I especially liked the botanical photographs printed on handmade paper and hung on an iron rack.
Sam Ciardi of Samuel Robert Signature Spaces created an oh-so-pretty, French Country-inspired dining room.
What a gorgeous backsplash?! Jaeger Kitchens’ designers Debbie Kerr and Pam Fuertes used navy and teal with hot pink as an accent to make the kitchen pop.
Check out the built-in, stocked wine bar!
After interviewing Callie Bruen of Callie Bruen Interiors, I couldn’t wait to see the built-in tree house!
Black grasscloth walls are set against white furniture and finishes and accented with leaf green accessories. Kristin Badolato of Kristin Ashley Interiors created an unexpectedly serene guest bedroom.
As a ceramicist, of course, I honed in on ceramics by Christina Grodkiewicz Clayworks.
Beautiful ceramic bowls and dishes mirror colors in the floral wallpaper in the contemporary, cozy and technologically advanced room designed by Jane Petrill of Jane Danielle Interior Design and Rick and Beverly Trover of Interchange Technologies.
“Tranquility” is an apt name for the contemporary arbor designed and built by Abby Jochnowitz of Designants and John Risoli of JR Landscape & Management Services.
An outdoor sectional and pouf sit near the outdoor cooking and dining area designed by Lisa Mierop and Frank Contey of Mierop Design.
I was also taken with “Seasons of Renewal,” a square garden featuring planting for each season designed by Anthony Cortese of Split Rock Design.