Saturday, August 9, 2014

Pool Noodle "Candle" Centerpieces

Christina Pugh, one of Harleigh's dearest friends and a photographer
also works at Camp All-American.
She plays a big part in the planning and set-up of the end-of-summer CAA banquet,
attended by all the counselors, staff, supporters, and host families.
She asked if I would help her out, and I offered to create the table centerpieces.

What I knew to be true:
1) The tables would be round banquet tables
2) Black tablecloths
3) Figuring on roughly 300 people, 30 dining tables
4) Dinner — buffet style
5) The huge room would be on the dark side most of the dinner and subsequent program
6) After dinner, everyone would help break down the tables and move everything off the floor to make room for dancing.

I knew I wanted candlelight. It's elegant and would make the evening feel special
for a ton of people who had worked their tails off all summer.

I also knew that the centerpieces had to have some substance.
Didn't want something small swimming in the middle of a large sea of tablecloth.

The biggest challenge was that the centerpieces would have to be easily moved 
when the room was converted into a giant dance floor.

I came up with the idea to use pool noodles to create "candles."
How kitschy. What a nod to summer. And how easy a craft to tackle!

I debated using real tea lights, but with the centerpieces having to be moved right after the dinner program, I didn't want there to be liquid wax spilling. So I opted for the battery-operated flickering tea lights. I purchased these from Amazon, and they were amazingly real and bright.

• I purchased 60 pool noodles. It took 2 noodles to make one centerpiece.
• Cut the noodles into varying lengths with a super sharp chef's knife, careful to make a straight cut on one end. Some of the ends I wanted slightly angled to give them the look of a real, melting candle.
• Then, with an exacto knife, I cut a circle in one end of each noodle. The circle was the width and depth of the tea light (I wanted only the flame of the tea light to show, so the depth had to hide the plastic base of the light). I made sure not to cut them any larger width wise. At the same size, or better yet, even a tad smaller, the hole hugged the tea light nicely, keeping them intact, but still easy to be removed for turning on and off.
• After I cut the circle, I made another cut at the base of the first cut so that the circular piece of noodle could be lifted out to leave a hole for the tea light.
• I cut out 30 pieces of  13" x 13" sturdy black card stock to glue the candles onto. This would make them easy to move (and the black blended in with the black tablecloths, so you really didn't even see the board).
• I then glued the noodle pieces together with a small string of glue between each, and glued each on the bottom. I could have just glued them on the bottom and onto the card, but I wanted them super sturdy, and I didn't want gaps between them. I tied a piece of string around the grouping while they dried to keep them together, then cut the string off when the glue dried.

Here is the finished product.
I had some leftover pieces of noodle that I used as single candles 
and in small groupings on the buffet tables.




Here are just some of the 30 centerpieces in my garage ready to go to the banquet.



Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of the banquet room with the lights down and
all the centerpieces lit. But let me tell you . . . it was spectacular, if I must say so myself.
And everyone loved them.

I did shoot this video at home so you can see just how great the tea lights are!

video

The tea lights are going into the church event stash.
And I plan on taking all the noodles apart; camp can use them next year for a game or something.

This would be a great idea for tables at a pool party.
Or for a kid's summer birthday party.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Ten things that are making me happy right now.


1. I just renewed my subscription to the Sunday paper, and spent an hour on Sunday afternoon devouring every stinkin' page. I may carry the world record for solving the Jumble puzzle the fastest. And when I near the last page, and look down at my black fingertips, there's a calm and accomplishment that washes over me. Sometimes I think I should have been born in the 1940s.


2. I'm back in the habit of going to the library, which means that I've always got a good book in the works. Just finished In Between Days by Andrew Porter. Now loving The Kept by James Scott. And with the dismal rainy weekend we just had, curling up in a chair with a good book carried no weight of guilt. Rainy days and reading are, after all, made for each other.


3. I'm already getting excited about Christmas (especially the music!!!!!), and have purchased some stellar gifts so far!

4. After 10 months of having my antique mall booth, I'm finally mastering inventory, pricing and staging — what works and what doesn't.

5. I'm getting my hair cut in 2 weeks. You wouldn't believe how long my hair is. It's almost hideous. Granted, I have a great head of thick hair, from the roots all the way down to the tips, but it does NOTHING for me. Mama needs a style. Bad.

6. I am so glad I have a vacation booked. Thinking ahead to what it will feel like — white sand, shelling, sitting under an umbrella watching the ocean — gets me all giddy!

7. I pulled out the card table this weekend and set it up in the living room. I've missed painting, and plan on working with some found pieces of wood from my St. Helena vacation beach walks.

8. We're doing DDP yoga at work, and I'm really loving it. We've done Jillian Michaels and Shaun T, which I enjoyed. But now I really see why people rave about yoga. I think it's a super good thing for this 53-year-old. Balance and flexibility are two things I took for granted when I was younger. It's nice to feel them coming back.

9. My Smiley daytimer. It never ceases to make me happy when everyday I realize just how much it's changed my life.

10. The company I work for is moving offices in November. And I'm stoked about the change. Although our current space holds some great memories, the new space (at Atlantic Station) will afford us so many walking-distance options for shopping and lunch.

And, here's an 11, just 'cause. Gideon got his summer cut this weekend. Probably the latest I've ever waited to do it. His short 'do feels like velvet. He's naked and much more comfortable. See below for the before and after. I love this dog.


Monday, July 7, 2014

A 4-day holiday weekend

We had off of work both Thursday and Friday.
It was glorious. A mini vacation of sorts.

A week ago, a friend from church (and a follower of my blog), Lynne, sent me a link to her favorite auction house (and one that happens to be on the way to her family's vacation home on Lake Keowee) where, lo and behold, a Karen Hollingsworth print was being auctioned off on June 29.

I wasn't able to attend the auction, but put in a left bid (absentee bid) and won!

This past Saturday, Harleigh and I popped a Backstreet Boys into the CD player, and 
headed to Walhalla, SC for a mother/daughter road trip to pick up my win, 
making a lunch stop at Cracker Barrel (because it really isn't a road trip without it).
Warther's posts images of what will be auctioned off.


Here is what I bid on. 
I was 99% sure that it was not an original, but rather a print.


Much to my delight, it's a huge framed print on canvas.
Hung it in my bedroom where I can see it while lying in bed.


My room is finally coming together (after living in this house since 1999!).
I found four salesman button sample sheets at Simple Finds.
Wound up putting them in simple white IKEA frames, 
using a matted silver paper for the background.


On the sheet below, there was a blank spot where a button card had been.
I went into my vintage sewing stash and found one to put in its place.


The four white-button sheets went above my bed. 
This one, all colored buttons, got a floral background and now lives in the ken.


Two weekend projects.
This one completed and now for sale in my booth.
A chippy blue metal patio table used to have a Garden Ridge umbrella. See here.
But after years in the elements, the fabric had started to rot.
So I ripped it off of the wooden skeleton of a frame 
and fashioned a new canopy out of a vintage tablecloth.
I put a grommet in the center of the cloth 
and a small nail in the top of the pole.
That way, it's secured but can be removed easily.
Same goes for the tiny grommets I put in the cloth where each spoke is.
Tied the canopy down at each spoke with teal blue ribbon. 



This project I made only a dent in this long holiday weekend.
This cabinet (a childs' cubby from a preschool classroom)
was on our church loading dock with a sign that said "trash."
This has possibility written all over it.
Gave it a good washing and a coat of white paint.
Deciding what to do next!


And last but not least, was thrilled that the website Red Tricycle
featured my snow globe baby shower invitations!
See my snow globes here.
(And the original blog post where the editor of Red Tricyle first spied them.
And the complete baby shower here and here.)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Bridal Show Booth — And just when I was jonesin' for a project to do!


One of Harleigh's dear friends, Christina Pugh, is a recent Georgia Tech graduate and is pursuing a career as a wedding photographer. I got a taste of her mad skills when I recommended her to one of my clients, and she was subsequently hired, shooting a nautical baby shower. She approached me a couple weeks ago. She'd booked herself a booth at the Georgia Bridal Show, June 22, and was wanting to bounce some ideas off of me.

We met on a Friday evening at Chateau Gahan. The show supplies a 10' x 10' space, a 60" rectangular table with a white cloth and skirt, and two black metal chairs. Christina had a banner made with her logo, lots of printed branding materials (biz cards, rate postcards, etc.), and a wonderful array of samples (from bound books to a most lovely metal print). With her stellar work as the perfect inspiration and focus, we just needed a booth that would complement the photography, speak to Christina's style, and make enough of a statement to draw in brides.

Using a piece of graph paper, we plotted the 10' x 10' square space. Then we walked through Chateau Gahan (where every inch there's a treasure to be found!), and cobbled together enough furniture and accessories to create what we were pretty doggone certain would make a calm and inviting space. Our color palette was inspired by the blue heart in her logo. Soft blues, ivory, gray, and touches of pink and yellow in the flowers (I made a trip to Hall's Wholesale Flowers the day before) made for quite the backdrop to showcase Christina's photography.

We used her dad's big truck and my SUV, packed both to the gills (thank gosh for ratchet straps when we're busting at the gut in the truck bed!), and headed to the Gwinnett Civic Center for what proved to be a great day!

Here is the overall booth. We wanted an area for sitting. 
These two blue chairs I recently scored couldn't have been a better fit! 
The server against the back wall proved to be a great place to hide and store things 
(better than shoving items underneath the skirted table).


We wanted a piece of furniture at the entrance to the booth. 
It holds the metal print (gave my wooden easel a fresh coat of ivory paint!), 
a grand pitcher of flowers, business cards and postcards.
We figured if a bride didn't want to come into the space, 
at least she could grab information from this table.


I have two small cement troughs that pulled in the gray nicely and were used to hold business cards.


A little tin tip tray that I use on my kitchen counter to hold my eyeglasses 
became a postcard holder.


I have tons of these shutters, and I've used them for so many things.
Once again, put them to good use here.
Pictures were mounted onto card stock 
and then hung with a simple strip
of gray stain ribbon.



The tin wall pocket is lined with a vintage cross-stitched napkin
and holds Christina's info/rate postcards.



We used boxes covered with fabric to give varying heights to her 
sample wedding and engagement albums.


Remember this folding door turned screen that I salvaged from a soon-to-be-demolished home?
I've used it in a wedding already, 
and here it was repurposed as the backdrop for more photos!


The round rolling table is from my living room.
I took the round tabletops out (they are held in place by metal clips)
and spray painted them ivory. What a makeover!
Stacked some books below that tie in with all of our colors.


Here's a gravy boat holding coupons.
Flowers were arranged in ceramic pitchers, a tole trash can and glass jars.


Even though Christina hadn't contracted for an electrical hook-up,
that didn't stop us from including a lamp in our venue.
Adds warmth and homeyness.



I had brought leftover flowers in a big black plastic bucket, thinking I could use them somewhere.
Christina had a basket she had used to lug in supplies.
The quilt piece was one of many we had used when packing and transporting the furniture.
Pull it all together, and we've got us a vignette!


{Images courtesy of Christina Pugh Photography}

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

SOLD!

Sometimes on the weekend when I'm taking a break from nesting and chores, I log onto Zillow and escape into the world of house hunting, and always pretending that money is no object. Well, I found my house. It's everything I want. On the beach. Sanibel Island, FL. Lots of light and white. Homey and comfortable. Not too big. I'm going to ask the owners if they'll sell it to me furnished. I think I will be very, very happy here :-)



















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