Saturday, April 30, 2011

Princesses for A Day

I don’t know about Lizzie, but this Queenie is tired!  I decided to have a watch breakfast party and addressed the invitations to my “Lady” friends and asked them to wear tiaras.

Then I started planning, preparing, painting, pruning, and polishing.  

Then came the great storms and flood to our yard…five days before the wedding, we’ve been hauling logs and branches, racking up debris and clearing out the muck. 

Then came the virus with a scratchy throat, itchy ears and a dry hacking cough that kept me up at night (hence, the watching of all things royal on BBC!)  Then I called my doctor to give me drugs.  Things got better!  And the sun actually shined down on our little town after 2 weeks of rain!

Then came the cooking the night before and at 11:30pm, the kitchen sink plumbing decided to leak right before I was going to clean all the prep dishes.  I cut off the water there and cleaned them in the guest bathroom…things were getting more common around here than I wanted.  Oh well!  Our friend who is a plumber saved the day in the morning, so…

It was time to celebrate the the big day!


Rose petals lined the walkway and a cheeky sign greeted the Ladies…


and we all agreed it was true!


The Royal Engagement photo and childhood pictures smiled upon the events of the morning…

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A commoner’s Toby jug and paper flower with a pink Union Jack.  Gotta love mixing up the royal proper with the “right propah” to celebrate!


I had recorded the wedding ceremony and the Ladies were due after dropping of kids at school.  Here’s the scene after our boys took off for school.


Ladies must adorn themselves in jeweled finery!


The mantle…don’t those recycled paper flowers from another event look festive? 


Close ups of the crown,


the framed Royal portrait with monograms.


We ate, drank and were thrilled to see the pomp and pageantry of the magical day.


My friend Sonya won the award for knowing all things royal…she got up early to watch in real time!  If it weren’t for her, we would have missed out on lots of tidbits!


Just like an English muffin…Royal flourishes in all the nook and crannies.


The menu…


The decorations and tables were decorated with a Mackenzie-Childs inspired theme…


the dessert table with Sticky Toffee Pudding and toffee sauce and chocolate covered strawberries…


Food cards…


The English Muffin Egg Strata was delish! Pink Kalanchoes are nestled within the gold crown centerpiece.


Ladies Stacey and Julie!


And, of course, my loyal servant had to dress the part…even if he is a French waiter!


Coffee, tea and Mimosas…


The sign on the loo door…and that’s not for William and Catherine, either!


Another reason to hate Kate!


Lady Polly shared how much fun it was to shop for a big, floppy hat...


my necklace for the day!


We all decided that we were very happy in our common marriages


and rhinestone tiaras and rings…


and to be able to be free and do what we want to do,


rather than having 5 gazillion people watching our every move!


We all agreed that commoner Catherine Elizabeth Middleton pulled it all off perfectly, more so a royal than many royals themselves! Hip, hip, hooray!


Perfectly trained…Lady Sharon raises her right pinky ever so…


and these commoners flash their hideously large jewels…so nouveau…


it was a fairytale day for all of us common gals, but agree that


we wouldn’t mind being royal for a day!


Here’s the Ab-Fab recipe for Sticky Toffee Pudding below…make some for your loyal subjects tonight!


English Sticky Toffee Pudding

  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup pitted dates
  • 1 1/4 cups boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream, whipped


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10-inch round or square baking dish. Sift the flour and baking powder onto a sheet of waxed paper. Chop the dates fine. Place in a small bowl and add the boiling water and baking soda; set aside. In a bowl of electric mixer beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla; beat until blended. Gradually beat in the flour mixture. Add the date mixture to the batter and fold until blended with a rubber spatula. Pour into the prepared baking dish. Bake until pudding is set and firm on top, about 35 minutes. Remove from oven to a wire rack. Toffee Sauce: Combine the butter, heavy cream and brown sugar in a small heavy saucepan; heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil gently over medium low heat until mixture is thickened, about 8 minutes. Preheat broiler. Spoon about 1/3 cup of the sauce over the pudding. Spread evenly on top. Place pudding under the broiler until the topping is bubbly, about 1 minute. Serve immediately spooned into dessert bowls. Drizzle with toffee sauce and top with a spoonful of whipped cream.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Repainted for the Patio

It’s warming up outside, so we have been spending time outside sprucing up the deck, digging in the flower beds, etc.  Everything seems to look so brown out on the deck until the leaves are fully green and the flowers are popping out in their pink frenzy.  So, I need some more color out there.  My sister-in-law gave me this cute lantern last year and I love it…but it looks so boring out there.  The butterflies reminded me of my trip to the Wynn Hotel in Vegas and that inspired me to go crazy on it.


I spray painted the inside of the lantern a pear green and the scroll work on the front.  Then I painted my favorite black and white stripes and checkerboard because that’s what I love…and then painted the butterflies a different color.  I used gold wax (Rub and Buff) to highlight the details on the butterflies.


Next up, a terra cotta pot!


Again, I spray painted the inside of the pot in the same pear green paint.  Then I painted black and white stripes and finished with a gold rim.


Ta Da!

There’s a definite Mackenzie theme working here!

So, the next project was to repaint about 20 glass dessert plates.  I had painted them with gold dots years ago and they need black and white! I scraped off the old paint with a razor blade, cleaned them with alcohol and started painting them as inspired by Mackenzie-Childs.  The will have to be hand washed.


And here’s another jeweled serving piece to go along with the plates!


“Hey Mom, We have a lake in our Backyard!”

We just posted a picture on Facebook of the torrential hail and rain storm we had on Easter night.  I was reading immediate comments from friends in Texas who pleaded me to send the rain to their drought stricken lands. Man, I thought, I’m sure glad I don’t have to worry about big droughts like we used to have in Texas. 

The rain sounded like it was getting heavier and my son decided to turn on the lights to the back yard again to see what was going on.  “Who put a milk jug in our back yard?” he asked.  “Hey Mom, we have a lake in our backyard!”  John and I both ran out to the deck and sure enough…these were the flash floods the weather guys on TV were warning us about.  We live 4 houses down from the Arkansas River and there is a cove directly across the street…to top it off, we live at the bottom of what is known in these parts as “Wildcat Mountain,” so there is a lot of run off water that drains through a culvert to the cove next to our yard and our neighbor’s.IMG_1742

First rounds of our punishment for eating tooooo many Easter chocolates- high winds, cracking branches, hail and torrential rain


Here’s the backyard about 20 minutes after the hail shot above…all under rushing water.


Notice the fence line and especially the chain length fence that is running downhill. Yes, the water filled our back yard up like a teacup and just took everything in it’s path. I had just finished laying mulch around all of our flower beds on Friday, wouldn’t you know.  That mulch is long gone…this is the side of house looking over the fence to our neighbor’s yard.  Bet that was a muddy pool.


Same side view of the house to the neighbor’s yard from the front yard perspective.  There is an underground culvert buried underneath that river of water on our nice, thick zoysia grass.  Notice the log floating out to the street!


The street sewer was so back up from all the debris.  A big thank you to my husband and our neighbor for braving the elements with shovels to dig as much stuff out of the way so the storm drain could do it’s job.  We found all kinds of things in our backyard (the water force pushed down the chain length fence and allow all these things in…a ball, a frisbie, and a milk jug! 

More storms are predicted up through Wednesday night.  You can’t walk on the ground…too much like quicksand.  What a mess.