Thursday, July 22, 2010

We just got a letter, We just got a letter....

Email. IM. Chat room. Video Chat. Text. Facebook. Twitter. When was the last time you used any form of these to communicate with someone? Yesterday? Today? An hour ago? A minute ago? Chances are, yes you have, and I have to include myself in there. And I'm not knocking today's technology by any means. It saves time, and has ultimately resulted in making our world smaller. Communicating overseas no longer takes weeks, but seconds. IM'ing is basically how I met my husband, so of course I have a fondness for it, lol.

But with all this electronic communication, I sometimes feel like there is a disconnect between people. I think my business is a bit of a risk in the 21st Century. Handwritten notes and thank you's are becoming a thing of the past. We are a go, go, go society with no time to sit down, put pen to paper, and tell someone hello, how are you, or thank you. And I think my generation is the beginning of the end for handwritten communications. I can remember my mom always asking us, "Did you send your thank you's yet?" And always the reluctant reply: "No, not yet." It was just a waste of time to sit and think of how to say "Thank you." My Grannie always sends thank you's, and it really is a good feeling to see someone is thankful for something you did. But I can honestly say I can probably count on one hand the number of handwritten notes from anyone my age.

I would like to think I could start a revolution: to make everyone see that e-mail and every other form of electronic communication is missing that "personal" factor. I mean, really, how much longer would it take to grab a card or a piece of stationary and physically write a letter, rather than type it? Granted, there's no backspace key, but would that cause us to truly think about what we say and how we say it? But I know I live in la-la land. You can't ask a society to look backward when they are racing forward.

But maybe, just maybe, the next time you want to thank your mother, sister, brother, best friend, instead of popping them an email, you'll think to write them a note. I bet you'll feel better, the recipient will feel better, and just maybe one day it'll bring peace on Earth! ;)

Until next time...

Monday, July 19, 2010

"Party at Jenni's House!!"

Well that is something you would never hear! You can probably go back and ask all my high school friends and college buddies...I was not a "partier." Don't get me wrong, I like to go out and have a great time, but I was never hard core about it. And I never had parties at my house.

That being said, I do like to entertain. I love to fix up my house, fluff the pillows, set the table, cook a great meal, and of course, dessert. I just get a real satisfaction from making everything look perfect, and the pleasure on everyone's face at the end. I guess you could say I am a people pleaser. :)

My most recent entertainment opportunity came this past weekend. My mom and my Grannie were coming up for a visit, and it just so happened that it fell just before my Grannie's birthday. Light bulb! (Which actually came in the form of my mom suggesting maybe I make a cake for her birthday.) Well, why stop at cake! :)

I started searching my recipe books and somehow decided we needed to have lemon poppy seed cupcakes. Yum :) And the ideas took off from there. That sunny yellow color of lemons made me think of rich and elegant summers of yesteryear and I wanted to do something elegant and a little bit vintage. Lace and yellow and bright and clean and sweet.

I had a vision in my head of how I wanted the table to look, so now I just had to make it reality. My family is in super save mode right now, so there wasn't an opportunity for frivolous buys. It was time to get innovative.

I knew I wanted a white table cloth, and I remembered I had about a yard of white sheer-ish fabric I had bought long ago on sale that I never used. Presto, tablecloth. And it was the perfect length. Divine intervention. Next, I needed place mats. We have a set of bamboo place mats for everyday use, but those wouldn't be right. I had a set of place mats with a retro 60's pattern in browns and bright greens, so that wouldn't work either. But wait....brown. That could work. The back side of those mats were solid brown, so I cut off the tag and now I have reversible place mats. Perfect!

Next was the lace, and what is more lacy than paper doilies. A visit to the dollar store and I have a wide variety of shapes and sizes. I used the oval doilies on the place mats. To me, it looked like all it was missing the silhouette portrait and it could have been hanging on the wall. Exactly the look I was going for.

The place where I probably frivolously spent was on the cupcake stand. I didn't have anything that would give the feel I wanted so my goal was to find a glass domed cake stand. It was something I had been wanting for a long time so I knew I would use it. We found one at a discount store within my very small budget, but I still had this tiered, elegant, frilly look in my mind and that just wasn't it. Bed, Bath & Beyond and my husband to the rescue! We popped in, just to see, and he found the perfect solution. A glass lazy susan, topped with this great little cake stand that was almost dainty. I remembered I had a mini glass domed cake stand made for serving cheese, and all three stacked together was exactly what I wanted. The foundation for the party atmosphere was set. Yay :D

With the addition of white dishes, a mix-mash of glasses and candles, along with a tissue flower garland running down the center of the table, and I had my elegant, slightly vintage table setting, perfect for the birthday girl.

I made place cards using vintage wallpaper inspired paper, and used an aging technique on the tags. I also cut the centers out of the smallest paper doilies and used it for a napkin ring. The lemon poppy seed cupcakes turned out perfect, with a lemon cream cheese frosting, topped with a fresh mint leaf. I also used the cut-out doilies as a ring around the cupcake.
With the cupcakes resting in their new home and the table set, all that was left was the arrival of the guest of honor.
I think I'll put this one down as a success. Happy Birthday Grannie!
Until next time....


Friday, July 16, 2010

My "Babies"

I love babies. And my husband and I can't wait to have one of our own, but until then, I love being able to share in the special baby events for other families. My first opportunity came just over a year ago when my little nephew Matthew came into our lives. His daddy, my brother, is a firefighter, his lifelong passion, so I offered to do their birth announcements, in a firefighter theme, of course. :)

It was such a joy to be a part of this special life. Fast forward what seemed like only a few months, and this little guy is already having his first birthday! Lesson number one with babies: they grow up WAY too fast! But they are a lot of fun at that age too! :) So, I was asked to do his first birthday party invitations. His parents debated between a John Deere theme and a firefighter theme, but ultimately chose the firefighter theme.

I had so much fun working on these, and was even more excited at how much his parents liked them. For me, the greatest pleasure in creating these one-of-a-kind pieces is how much the recipient likes the finished product.
My latest creation in honor of babies was for my husband's niece, who is having a baby shower in anticipation of her little boy. She, too, debated with a "theme," finally told me "teddy bear sports," and left it open to me for interpretation. Yikes. But the end result was a huge hit with mommy-to-be and her family, so I was super excited.


Each of these was an evolution of an idea. I start with a sketch--a concept--and begin the "construction" of the layout, but as it progresses, it develops into something more than what I had originally imagined. And with the first birthday invitations, a problem in production led to a much better solution. So I never really know how something will turn out, because what I imagine it to be often becomes something so much more, and it's great. I love that evolutionary process. It makes me anticipate the end to see what it will become. These are all my babies...a little piece of me that I nurture and help cultivate, and when I see the end product, I am filled with joy, especially when I know how happy the client is.
Until next time....

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