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bridal shower sweets

burlap and book pages

The last post about Marissa’s bridal shower is “the dessert post” … you know – just saving the best for last!

shower table

Before I share the recipes that Raina used for her cookie trio, I want to tell you about the iced Vietnamese coffee that we served, along with iced chai tea, milk and chocolate milk, at the Milk & Cookies dessert station.

press cold brew

Vietnamese coffee is a blend of cold brew coffee and sweetened condensed milk. I used a 50/50 ratio of Press Coffee Roasters Cold Brew and sweetened condensed milk. I mixed them together the night before and served it over ice. So Good!

lemon glazed blueberry lemon bread

On the lunch buffet table, along with the salad, savory tart and bruschetta, we served my Lemon Glazed Blueberry Bread. It was an extra loaf I had baked for a cooking class the week before. Barb stored it in her freezer, defrosted it in the fridge and then glazed it just before serving.


Now for Raina’s scrumptious cookies!

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May 21, 2015   No Comments

Kim’s Bruschetta assortment


Kim made a delicious and beautiful assortment of four bruschetta for Marissa’s bridal shower. All flavors in the variety are inspired by the bruschetta menu from ever popular (since its opening in 2001) Postino Wine Cafe. Kim didn’t have recipes to give me, since she just throws these babies together organically and naturally. But don’t worry, I’ve written up recipes for you. There are no specific quantities, make as many or as few as you need.

At Postino, French bread is used as the base and then the slices are cut in half after they are topped. For the shower, Kim used baguettes to make smaller, more individual-sized pieces.


  • 1 baguette, cut into 3/4-inch-thick slices
  • Olive oil
  • 3 peeled garlic cloves, flattened

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Drizzle bread slices with olive oil and bake at 350 just until warm and slightly crisp.  Remove from oven and rub with garlic cloves let cool for a few minutes before topping.

lunch plate

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May 20, 2015   No Comments

Barb’s tart

two tarts

Here is the recipe for Barb’s delicious tart…. enjoy!

arparagus red bell pepper tart

Asparagus and Roasted Red Bell Pepper Tart


  • 1  1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons ice water


  • 1 pound fresh asparagus
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 cups grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1 red bell pepper, roasted, seeded, peeled and diced
  • 3 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 heavy cream
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 whole egg
  • Salt and pepper to taste

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May 19, 2015   No Comments

bridal shower recipes


My dear friends, Barb and Kim, made the most delicious food for Marissa’s bridal shower. Kim made four different bruschetta and Barb made a beautiful salad and savory tarts.

I didn’t get any photos of the individual dishes, so I’ll do the best I can cropping from the few buffet photos I do have, my apologies ahead of time because the photos won’t do the recipes justice.

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May 18, 2015   4 Comments

success and failure

What should I share first? The good or the bad?  I think we’ll start with the bad/ugly, that way we’ll end on a good/pretty note.

love book

Even the bad craft starts out pretty…

I do book

I spotted these adorable folded book art pieces in the San Francisco Nordstrom’s Wedding Suite, while dress shopping with Marissa and Kaley, back in November.

heart book

I knew that I wanted to make one for Marissa, so when the theme was set for the shower, this was a no-brainer.

I went online to find out how but since I could not find any step-by-step instructions, so I just went for it.

pencil heart

I found a cool vintage hardback book and decided to go with the easiest design, a heart.


As I folded back the pages, it quickly became evident that this is harder than it looks. Plus, the book I chose was too vintage, the pages were delicate and would tear as I folded.

pages tear

Stupidly, I kept at it too long. It was very clear that this was not working, long before I gave up.

try again

I grabbed another, not so vintage thicker book, and started over.

give up

Then, for obvious reasons, I gave up! My gut feeling is that there must be math involved in this project. No wonder it was too difficult for me … I do not “do” math!

I still wanted Marissa to have a book like this, even if not in time for the shower. So, I have purchased one from a professional folded-book artist from HERE.  I am not going to share which book, since I haven’t given it to her yet, but rest assured, it is pretty!

I had much better results with this next project:

four succulent book planters

My favorite craft/decor item for Marissa’s bridal shower were these succulent book planters! Of course, I found the idea on Pinterest!

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May 15, 2015   2 Comments

more book-page crafts and decor

Sloane and I got together on Sunday afternoons for several weeks before Marissa’s bridal shower to make crafts.  It was a fun reason to get together for sister-bonding time.

heart cut outs

We wrapped wine bottles with pages from a large Currier and Ives picture book that I found at Sweet Salvage a couple of years ago. A heart punch was used on the book-pages that were used for the inside of small canning jars.


The same punches were used to make book-page heart confetti.

burlap bow

The bottles were topped off with large burlap bows.

bottles and jars

While the jars were trimmed with twine.  The wine bottles held miniature pink and white roses and the jars were lit up with battery-operated votives. They were then scattered around the buffet, lunch table, bar and dessert credenza.

congrat napkins

We rolled and wrapped white cloth napkins with torn book-pages, tied with bakers-twine and embellished with tiny “congratulations” flags.

rolled napkins

One of the few details that slipped through the cracks that busy morning was making sure that Marissa’s place-setting received the napkin that said “A King and His Queen.”  It makes me wonder if the guest who had that napkin noticed and thought anything about it.

berry-cookie boxes

A few weeks after Valentine’s Day, I was in Micheal’s (I spend a lot of time at Micheal’s and Hobby Lobby!) and found these simple berry baskets on clearance. I scooped them up without an idea in mind about what I would do with them. Once Sloane and I decided on the “Milk & Cookies” dessert idea … they found their purpose. We lined the inside with book-pages and decorated the outside with our heart confetti.

milk cookies

We used stencils, book-pages and a couple of burlap flag-banners from Hobby Lobby to make these.


mrs sandell

It took some time to come up with just how to fit “The Future Mrs. Sandell” on a banner with only twelve flags!

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May 14, 2015   1 Comment

invites and table runner

put it together

As I mentioned yesterday, I used the invites to set the theme for Marissa’s Literary Bridal Shower.

invite pieces

I found them HERE on Etsy. The creator of the invites, Kendra, was an absolute joy to work with.

lined envelopes

When I told Kendra that I wanted book-page lined envelopes, she said, ‘No problem.”

card in folder

After she sent me the proof of the layout, I asked if she could you a date-stamp instead of the typewriter for the two dates on the invite. She did not hesitate.

tied folder

Once they arrived and I began addressing and stuffing them, I discovered that she accidentally sent five less than I ordered. I let her know and she cranked them out and I had them in my hands a couple of days later.

so cute

Did I mention that each invite was handmade, one at a time, on a 1970’s typewriter? So cool! I love Etsy!

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May 13, 2015   2 Comments

Marissa’s Bridal Shower


After a long hiatus, as promised, the next week will be filled with photos, crafts, recipes and details from my daughter’s beautiful bridal shower. But before I begin, I want to let you know that I’ve missed creating and sharing recipes. I’ve really missed blogging. I’ve missed posting. I’ve missed you! It feels good to be back, even if only for a week.

window hearts

Today will be mostly a pictorial, giving an overview of the party. Tomorrow, the details will begin.

lined envelope

As any good invitation should do, this one set the theme.


Marissa is a voracious reader. She loves books. Her degree is Journalism with a Creative Writing minor, so a literary theme fit her to a tee.

book sleeves

Immediately upon entering, guests were greeted by a table filled with library bookplates with their names on them. The bridal party’s bookplates had a little bling tied to theirs.


A chalkboard sign instructed them what to do with their bookplate. Marissa’s maid-of-honor, Kaley, used her perfect penmanship and artistic flare to create all the chalkboard signs for the shower. Thank you, Kaley!

the table

When guests walked into Barbara Fenzl’s beautiful backyard, this is the table where they had their choice of seats.

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May 12, 2015   6 Comments

Easter buffet centerpiece

I know! It’s only been 10 days since my self-induced “break” – but it’s the day before Easter and I can’t help myself!

Just in case you haven’t already figured out your Easter meal decor, and since there is still time to get to Costco or the grocery store… I felt like I should at least share this cheap and easy floral display today.

carrots in a bag

I was at Costco yesterday to buy Easter supper stuff. I knew I wanted to get the carrot soup taken care of, well ahead of time, and I didn’t have the patience or the time to go to the grocery store to buy the carrots.  Instead, I bought a huge 10 pound bag of carrots at Costco!

Laziness wins out over practicability!

I knew that having an extra 6 pounds of carrots in my house wasn’t a problem because if I peel, trim and cut them, Dave will have those polished off in a matter of days. He LOVES carrots!

white stock

I also picked up three bunches of tulips and one huge bundle of white stock.  I knew what the plan for the tulips was but hadn’t given much thought to the stock until this morning while I was peeling the 4 pounds of carrots for the soup

carrot soup

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April 4, 2015   5 Comments

my big YES

This is the blog post I’ve been putting off for weeks.

I’ve been struggling with how to begin.

I know it is what I want … and what I need to do, but…

rip it off

OK, enough talking about it and procrastinating … I’m going to just rip off the band-aid and get it over with.

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March 25, 2015   12 Comments