Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Exciting Announcement

Most of you all know that in addition to being a consultant with a gourmet food company, I am also involved with The Beaded Branch jewelry business. We have just marketed our first craft tutorial on how to make our beloved Present Past Treasure pendants. Teri and I are VERY excited about it. Now you have all of the tools at your finger tips to make these beautiful creations. If you would like to read more about how the Present Past Treasure pendants developed please visit the blog of The Beaded Branch by clicking the link! Enjoy!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

This week's exciting accomplishment!!

The Beaded Branch is proud to announce their new craft tutorial! As many of you know, in addition to being a gourmet food consultant and school teacher, I am also Teri Landow's business partner with The Beaded Branch. We have created a craft tutorial for our Present Past Treasures pendants. They are available on both our Art Fire and Etsy shops for $10.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Cupcakes Galore!!!!!

I have just absolutely fallen in love with the world of cupcakes. They are easy to make, decorate, and clean up. Also you don't have to have someone stand at a table to cut and serve them like you would cake. You can't ask for more! I recently made some out of this world cupcakes for a baby shower. I used a pound cake mix and made my own icing they were FABULOUS! I added little rubber ducky pics to the top and they were absolutely adorable! However, if you want cupcakes and you don't have time to make your own, head on over to my friend Micki's shop. She is the owner of Baby Cakes Online Bakery where you can order gourmet cupcakes for ANY occasion. Next time you have a gathering consider making or ordering cupcakes to make things a little easier.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Beef Tips

Today I have decided to post a super easy recipe from the kitchen of my dear friend Hollie. When my husband and I go to re-enacting events, Hollie is pretty much the company cook. She does a fabulous job! One of our favorite recipes is her Re-enactor's Beef Tips. I hope you enjoy it too!
Re-Enactor Beef Tips

2lbs round steak cut into chunks {I buy the already cut up chunks, it's much easier}
1 can Golden Mushroom soup {the soup is Golden Mushroom, it is different from cream of mushroom}
1 bottle cheap red wine

1/2 pkg Lipton Onion Soup Mix

Place beef in a lined crock pot. Mix wine and soup in a bowl. Pour over beef. Cook in a crock pot on low for 8 hours.

Serves 4

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I've Been Tagged!!!!

Ok so Teri of The Beaded Branch tagged me. Now I'm supposed to give 10 facts about myself and tag 10 people. Those 10 people are supposed to tag 10 people and so on and so forth.

1. I play the piano. I am actually the pianist at my church.

2. I'm a civil war reenactor.

3. I love to cross stitch.

4. I met my business partner Teri (owner of The Beaded Branch) in gym class when we were in college.

5. I love to read.

6. I wish I could sew.

7. I'm organized in my brain but not in my house!!!

8. I love going to the drive-in with my husband.

9. I love to travel.

10. I'm an awesome baker.

11. My best friend is the minister's wife.
(Ok I know that's 11 but I'm an over-achiever oops that's 12!)

Those I'm tagging are:

1. Covey Denton http://cjdenton.blogspot.com/

2. Micki http://babycakes1011.blogspot.com/2009/09/big-announcement.html

3. Jennifer Stoll http://ferfchat.blogspot.com/

4. Mary Reid http://satisfyyoursenses.blogspot.com/

5. Teri Landow ( just to tag you back!) http://www.thebeadedbranch.blogspot.com/

6. Kattia http://aleximanievents.blogspot.com/

7. Debbi http://debsgiftboutique.blogspot.com/

8. Rose http://rosestolarz-mommyof2boys.blogspot.com/

Ok I don't have the blogs for many folks so this list has 8 people instead of 10.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Party Favors

I know I haven't blogged recently because I went back to work at my full time job.  However the baby shower was a blast!  When I get pictures I will post them.  

Today I wanted to talk about party favors.  When I was planning the baby shower I didn't want to have the traditional candy or mint favors.  I wanted something unique but most of all USEFUL!  

I contacted Mary Reid owner of Hillside Soaps and Satisfy Your Senses. She custom made baby blue heart shaped soap that had the scent of baby powder.  They were an absolute hit!  I even had one of the guests ask me if she could make lady bug soap! 

 Mary even custom made prizes for me.   The baby shower theme was rubber duckies so she created soap to look like a "lake/pond" and had an actual rubber duck attached to the top!  Mary did a great job!

If you would be interested in contacting Mary Reid for your custom made soaps you can visit her website at http://www.satisfyyoursenses.com.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Event Planners

This blog is just a shout out to the event planners out there!!  

When I was growing up, event planners were just for the rich and famous.  The job of an event planner?  Well it was to help co-ordinate lavish weddings of course!

Well I couldn't have been further from the truth!  Of course event planners can plan weddings but they can help you plan ANY event that you want to be memorable and special.  Right now I am planning a baby shower and I am actually working with an event planner.

My event planner has been absolutely WONDERFUL!  She has come up with some of the most amazing and creative ideas I have ever heard of for a BABY SHOWER!  Of course I can't afford all of the ideas and suggestions but it has definitely helped to get my creative juices flowing.  I can't wait to share the pictures from the shower!!!

So an event planner isn't just for the superstars.  An event planner is for all of us.  It's for those of us who don't have a lot of time.  It's for those of us who want a memorable experience.  It's for those of us who just want help and support.   So the next time you plan to have an extraordinary event, contact an event planner.  You will be glad you did!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Rehearsal Dinners/Family Gatherings

Ok, I know I haven't blogged in FOREVER due to circumstances out of my control.  However, I hope to blog more often.

I have been talking about weddings and one of the important traditions of a wedding is the rehearsal dinner.  My husband and I had to provide for our own rehearsal dinner so we decided to have good old fashioned Bar-B-Que (either pork, chicken, beef, you name it).  You can have this catered or you can make it yourself.  

If you are someone who loves to grill, there are many kinds of bar-b-que and grilling sauces available. If you wish to bar-b-que or grill chicken for your gathering may I suggest a Smokey Bacon Grill Sauce.  Although it tastes great on any grilled meat I personally prefer it with chicken.

Depending on the people at your event, if they are comfortable with a good old-fashioned cookout, you can dress up your hamburgers and steaks with a Merlot Sauce.  It gives your dish added flavor.

In addition to your main dish you need some fabulous sides.  If you are having a summer, outdoor gathering a nice salad is refreshing.  I love a nice spinach salad in the summer.  Instead of using iceberg lettuce, use raw baby spinach leaves.  Top it with slices of boiled egg, bacon, and raw mushrooms.  For dressing use a Vidalia Onion Dressing.  On the side serve Beer Bread.

Just a side note on beer bread.  You can use any carbonated beverage, you don't have to use beer.  I also discovered a yummy way of fixing beer bread is to brush it with Balsamic and Basil Dipping Oil and put it in the oven until it is crispy.  Then top it with shredded cheese and it is delicious!

There are many options for dessert in the summer time.  You can make classic dessert cheese balls, such as a Key Lime Cheese Ball or a Chocolate Cheese Ball. You can even serve refreshing drinks and smoothies to add a twist to your gathering. Most importantly, keep it simple and keep it fun!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Wedding Resources- Event Planning and Inivitations

Now any blog about weddings would not be complete without resources to help you plan your special day. The ladies included in this list of resources make up a business group known as the Sassy Sisters in Sales. Each of these ladies offers something unique and special to help you with your wedding in order to make it a dream come true.

Event Planning/Invitations:
Beverly Johnson specializes in wedding planning so contact her to make your day flow as smooth as possible! Beverly also has jewelry for you, the bride, or your bridal party!

Kattia Gordon specializes in event planning services and invitation and party supplies. Contact her for one stop shopping to plan your wedding or other special event!

Ketty Gonzalez is another wonderful person to contact for your wedding or event! Ketty specializes in wedding and event consulting and in event favors.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wedding Tips Part 2

Use what you have

One thing I learned when I was getting married that there are more than enough people who want to help or participate. So what do you do about that? USE THEM!!!!!! Use them in every capacity that’s possible whether it’s setting up the rehearsal dinner (if you aren’t going to a restaurant) to helping slice the cake at the reception. When I was getting married I was blessed to have contacts with a florist, DJ, and a videographer so I got all of those services at a very reasonable price.

However, what if you don’t have a family friend who is a florist or a friend who is a professional videographer? I’d like to share a really neat tip that a friend of mine did when she got married. She wasn’t planning to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars. She wanted it simple yet nice. Her parents had a nice yard so they planted a flower garden. They planted the flowers that she wanted to use in her bouquet. On the morning of her wedding, they cut the flowers in the flower garden and put them together in bouquets so that she and her bridesmaids had fresh cut flowers to carry down the aisle. They were beautiful!

When it comes to food…
The bride and groom have said their vows and now it’s time to head to the reception hall to celebrate. Many couples choose to have their wedding catered but some of us, like myself, would rather do it ourselves. My sister and I both did not have our receptions catered and in my opinion the food at our receptions was better than at some of the catered receptions. I’m not saying that catered receptions aren’t nice by any means. I have been to several catered receptions that were outstanding. It’s all in who you choose to be your caterer.

Our reception could be almost considered a planned potluck/cover dish meal. All of the food was planned out ahead of time ( ham biscuits, shrimp, cookies etc.) and the people that we knew who were really well known for their cooking we asked them to bring certain items. Some items that are great for receptions are cheese balls. They come in many flavors such as the traditional, chocolate, key lime, and more! There are many flavors for the many kinds of people. My husband even likes a pizza flavored cheese ball!!! With lots of careful planning it is easy to create a nice reception for a fraction of the cost of a catered one.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Wedding tips

As requested, here is a blog on weddings. This blog is going to last for several days so keep checking back and see what else I have added!
It’s almost June. Spring is in full bloom. Birds are singing, the air is getting warmer, and before long church bells will be ringing all around the country to signal that yet another couple has gotten married. Hmmm…as I have said before I am NOT an event planner. The only experience that I have with weddings is the one I planned for myself and the ones I have helped with. So today I will share with you some of the ideas and things I learned from planning a wedding.
1. Re-use and recycle

I have seen some absolutely gorgeous weddings in person and on television. All of the tulle, flowers, tissue paper, you name it is used. But what happens to the decorations when the ceremony is over? Most likely a lot of these decorations end up the trash. It doesn’t have to be that way. With pre-planning and thinking outside of the box you can easily reduce the amount of items that are thrown away. This is one of the reasons I got married at Christmas. I decided that if my colors were red, white, and green I could easily use Christmas decorations as my wedding decorations. If I had waited 2 more weeks I wouldn’t have had to decorate the church because the church would have already been decorated for Christmas. However it was very simple to decorate the church. For the unity candle we didn’t buy one of those beautiful gold or silver colored candelabra type things. Instead, my bridesmaids and I got together and made Yule logs. They were all about 12 inches long except for one which was about 24 inches long. The largest Yule log was the unity candle holder. The smaller logs were placed on tables in the reception hall as centerpieces. They were gorgeous! My husband and I kept the larger one and it is always on our mantel at Christmas. The flowers for the church were potted poinsettias. The window swags we were actually able to borrow from a community church to use for the wedding. The favors for guests were actually dove Christmas ornaments that had been bought in bulk and I typed little cards with our names on it and the date of our wedding and attached them to the dove ornaments. After the wedding was over, I gave the poinsettias and the Yule log centerpieces to the many people who had worked so hard helping me to put the wedding together as a thank you gift.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

About Me

First of all let me say welcome to my new blog! I'm Melanie and I'm a consultant with a gourmet food company but I also love to plan parties and gatherings. I am NOT a professional event planner by any means. This is just something I enjoy doing. If you want a professional I can help you contact several. I am just sharing thoughts, ideas, crafts, recipies and products, my journeys, tips and websites that may be able to help you. I went to a bookstore the other day looking for a book on event planning and they didn't have ANY!!!!!!! Yes they had lots of helpful information for planning weddings but not for general events. So welcome to my muli-faceted blog and I hope you enjoy it!!!!