Friday, August 20, 2010

There's a Bride in my Shower!

For those of you who don't know, my sister is getting married in early October. Her bridal shower was the past weekend and although the day got of to a rainy and rocky start, I do believe it was a success! I was very relieved after it was all over, however, because this thing has been my baby for the past two months. I spent hours planning and created 3-4 excel spreadsheets to track guests, to-do lists, and budgets. It was exciting to see it all finally come together and all that hard work pay off! Plus, it's great to know that the bride-to-be enjoyed herself, which is really the most important part. :)

The decor was centered around these pink and orange gerbera daisies.

After tossing around several favor ideas, and pricing everything to make homemade soaps, bath salts and candles, I figured out that the cheapest and easiest option was to create flower pot pens. I think I made one of these for Mother's day a long time ago when I was little but I put a bit more effort into these ones ;) They turned out super cute, were very easy to make (just required several nights to do different steps), and easy on the wallet too! These babies were $1.69 ea...when I was shopping online for pre-made ones, the cheapest I could find were $3.50 ea! Definitely worth the time and effort.

Flower Pot Pens
  • Flowers
  • Mini pots (came in 6-packs at Hobby Lobby)
  • Pens
  • Plaster of Paris (dry - available at some craft stores and Home Depot)
  • Floral tape
  • Spanish moss
  • Hot glue gun and glue 
  • Tarp/cardboard to cover work area
  • Ribbon, favor tags, decorations, if desired

First, you have to make sure that the pots are clean.

Mine had little holes in the bottoms so I had to plug those holes. I'm sure the plaster would've plugged them since it's quick drying but I wasn't in the mood to take chances. I used the hot glue gun to cover the holes. After the glue had cooled enough to touch but it wasn't solid yet, I picked up each pot and squished the glue to ensure the entire hole was covered. I also checked to make sure too much didn't come out through the bottom so that it could still sit level.

Next, I snipped the extra hang on the pen top off. Be careful, these things love to fly everywhere!

The next step depends on what type of flowers you have. Mine had extremely thick stems so I had to use wire cutters to cut the entire stem off at the base. For flowers with a thin stem, like floral wire, they can probably be snipped with regular scissors and some of the stem (about 1/2") can be left for easier attachment to the pen. 

Since my flowers had to lose all of their stem, I had to hot glue the buds to the bottom of the pen and then wrap the rest of the pen with floral tape. If your flowers have some wire, you can line it up with the pen so that the bottom of the bud hits the bottom of the pen and wrap the pen with the wire next to it. Be sure to leave enough space so that the pen top can still fit!

Continue with all flowers.

I let my flower pens set overnight before messing with them more. I just found jars/cups that would let them sit without touching the base of the flower while it was setting.

While they were setting, I went ahead and did the pots so they could sit overnight as well. Mix 1 cup plaster of Paris with 1/2 cup water. Pour into pots until 2/3 full. Immediately push the pen tops into the middle of the plaster. This amount normally did 4-5 pots for me, which is an ideal number since you have to work so quickly. You may have to monitor them so that they don't lean. I had several leaning flowers because I just walked away and started a new group. Oh well, learned for next time. :)

After the flowers and pots have set overnight, you can put one flower pen into each pot. Then push Spanish moss around the pen and cap. I actually did that part before putting the pen in because it was easier for the pen to come out. I could have hot glued the moss down, which is a great idea but I was too tired...haha! For the tags, I just cut out circles and squares of orange and pink cardstock and smaller circles and squares of white cardstock and glued a white piece on top of each colored piece. I then wrote "thank you" on each tag and tied it to the opposite color favor and tied it to the pen with thin ribbon. Viola!

Super cute, right?? :)

I also got to bake (!!) for the shower. It was NICE as it had felt like forever since I'd been allowed to bake! I love baking for other people because I can get my baking urges under control while not ruining my waistline since I get to share the results ;) These were fabulous to make as well because I could literally not eat more than one...portion control included!

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Covered Brownie Bites
from Picky Palate
Makes 24 balls
  • 1 box brownie mix (my favorite is Ghirardelli but Pillsbury is a nice budget-friendly option) plus ingredients needed 
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips* (a 12 oz bag for most)
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter*
*I can NEVER use the amount of chocolate these recipes always call for to cover things! And despite the chocoholic I am, I do not overcoat. I am sure to get as little as I can and leave them covered...needless to say, I did a double recipe, my husband and I probably ate 2-3 plain brownies before coating (tsk tsk!), and I needed 5 cups of chocolate chips (2.5 bags!) and the corresponding amounts of peanut butter (when I microwaved a cup of chips, it was 1/8 cup, etc...)

Prepare brownies according to package directions. Bake until a toothpick comes out mostly clean but still slightly undercooked (they will finish in the pan). Remove from the oven and let cool 15 minutes. 

When you are able to touch brownies comfortably (this was more like 25 minutes for me, and I'm not a wimp, I promise!), scoop brownies with a medium cookie scoop, roll tightly into a ball and place onto a wax paper lined baking sheet. I used an ice cream scoop instead because I found it easier. 

Continue rolling until all brownies are gone. Freeze brownies until very firm, a few hours or overnight. I froze mine overnight because of the crumbling problems I had with the cake balls.  

After brownies are firming set, melt the chocolate chips and peanut butter in the microwave or over a double boiler. Don't be nervous if your brownies are super hard. I learned later that freezing helps the brownies become chewier and it made for a fantastic end result! I microwaved for two 30 second intervals (for 2 cups), stirring in between.

After most chips are melted, stir the chocolate mixture as the heat from the chocolate will most likely melt the others. Stir until smooth. 

Dip (more like roll!) each brownie ball into the chocolate until completely covered. Let excess drip off and place on a wax paper lined baking sheet. I had no design for these babies and I think they came out better because I was just haphazardly letting the chocolate "fall." Leave on the counter to soft-set and then freeze until fully set, a few hours or overnight (makes a shinier coating). 

I let them thaw in the serving bowl before serving (about 20 minutes). It was hard to get a good picture of the inside, but you the chocolatey point. ;) I'm excited to try these again...but with a different coating. I was thinking leave out the peanut butter, and add peppermint extract to the chocolate. Or just coat them in melted Andes mints. Or take those new mint chips that come out during Christmas and do an initial green coating of mint and then dip in chocolate. YUM. Can you tell I love mint chocolate? :)

Most of the other food was frozen stuff from Costco which made it easy to set up. And you know I wouldn't leave you hangin without showing you the rest of the food, right??? Of course, right! :)

(And I had so much fun making those little placecards! It may have been a little overzealous but I did not hear one "what's that?" or "what is in those?" while people were getting their food!)

It was a really fun time...and I now know that we had entirely too much food! I enjoyed planning it and I enjoyed spending this special time with my sister! Congratulations, Kari!

My mom, the Bride-to-Be!, me and my other sister
Wedding festivities are just beginning! I have the bachelorette beach weekend to attend in a few weeks which is very exciting! I am not in charge of any of the planning (thank goodness! lol) but I was thinking about making a treat to take on the trip. Some kind of cookie...maybe some cake balls...the return of the S'mores cookie perhaps? :)

**UPDATE...I had to steal this picture from another guest because I completely forgot to take a picture of who was floating around in those centerpieces...Say hello to Stan...

Don't worry, Stan and his brother Steven both went to a very good home. :)


Florida Girl Meets the Midwest said...

What a cute bridal shower project! I am keeping this one in mind.

Stopping by from SITS.

JDaniel4's Mom said...

The flowers are super cute. The food looks amazing. Stopping from SITS!

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