Hospitality, Friendship, Encouragement

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Popping In To Say Hi!

This is the space where 265 people are going to be celebrating the wedding of my bridal couple this Sunday.  I can't wait for you to see how it will be transformed by tables, and flowers, and candles and lots of people who love this young couple!  Love and Joy transform us and can transform a long lobby space into a thing of beauty!

I'm so excited for them, and for the challenge of prepping two locations between 12:00 pm and 3:00 pm.  (the wedding and the reception are at two different churches and we cannot get into the spaces until noon!)  I have a great team of volunteers ready to help set up tables and chairs, and set tables.  I've already put 72 candles in 72 jars.  

Today I pick up the flowers, and get them opening up, and prepped for arranging by Saturday night.

36 floral centerpieces, 7 bouquets, 12 boutonnieres, 6 wrist corsages, two flower girl baskets, and 12 pew clips!

There will be a unity candle with some florals, and the cake table will have some florals as well!

I can't wait to show you!  If your on Instagram follow the hashtag #simplyelegantfloralsandevents and you will be able to see photos of this weekend!

I'll be back on Monday with photos!

Monday, August 27, 2018

Introducing My New Business!

I added the flowers under my name to help hide the phone number.  That part will not be on my business cards!

I'm really excited about my business!  I am a born event planner. I really enjoy helping people plan for the big events in their lives (weddings, teas, birthday parties, themed gatherings) and I love working with flowers, too.

Its fun to see what's grown out of my years of planning teas, our fall fest, parties, and of course, weddings!

This week is busy as it is wedding week!  I'm very excited for Caleb and Jess's wedding and its going to be gorgeous!  This is a big wedding; 265 guests!  A tricky part of the wedding is going to be that the wedding is on a Sunday and the ceremony and reception (at two different locations) are both at churches!  Ceremony at 3:00pm and no set up at either venue until noon!  Pray for me and the team I've assembled for reception set up!  I've got a plan and am getting it all organized this week! 

We can do it!

I, of course, will have photos for you next week!  

If I'm a bit scarce around here you'll understand why, I'm sure!

Friday, August 24, 2018

Friday Five

Its Friday!  We are savoring a bit of mild weather for a few days, and that's got me in the autumn state of mind!

Here's my five for this week - 

1. My living room this morning.

2. Rachel got braces this week.  She was missing two permanent molars that never developed, and so we waited to see what her wisdom teeth would do.  We'd hoped that the wisdom teeth would be able to come in properly and take the place of those missing molars.  That didn't happen, the wisdom teeth were removed, and so this week started the process of pulling her teeth together and lining up her 'bite.'  She just has the uppers for 6 months then they'll add the lowers.

3. An old photo of maple leaves.  I've shared this many times on my blog, but I do love it.  Can't wait to see the leaves changing again!

4. In the meantime, I'm savoring peach season!  I'm planning to start freezing some this week.

5. Michaels has cute pillows (and other fall things) and right now fall items are buy one, get one 50% off.  

I hope you have a good weekend friends!

Thursday, August 23, 2018

House Plants: Time To Re-Pot

My house plants have all be thriving this summer with new growth and growing in size, so I decided to re-pot several of them yesterday.

This Pathos didn't get re-potted, its doing just fine in it's spot and in it's pot.

It's got new growth on it, and it seems to thrive with a lot of indirect light.

My Boston Fern is usually on this little chair on the table by the front door.  It had grown and needed more room so it got re-potted, and I put this smaller pathos in its old pot.  This pathos, well its actually two, were grown from cuttings, that Lindsay gave me.

The fern is in an urn now, and today I placed it on our dining table.  Its getting big and stately.  It will probably not stay here in this spot, but with our open plan living room and kitchen/dining room, I'm limited on actual spots for it!  

 I'll have to re-think some of my decor or perhaps take it back to my bedroom.  My room is on the north side of our house and I don't get any direct sunlight in that room, so maybe I'll swap the bigger pathos with my fern, and but the pathos in my room.  We'll see!

Since I was repotting the house plants, I decided to re-pot my aloe, too.  He is sitting next to my ficus.  It won't be too many more weeks and I'll be bringing these two plants into the house until spring.

You can see my tablecloth hanging over a chair, so I thought I'd show you the current state of my deck.
My table is at Lindsay's house, as we were planning an outdoor party for Rachel's going away party.  I need to get over to her house, and bring it back!

The weather is just lovely this morning.  Cool, and sunny.  The today is going to be 76 degrees which is cool for August.  It won't last but I'll enjoy it while I can!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Dreaming Of Autumn

These magazines called to me at the store several weeks ago, but I'm just beginning to look and dream of Autumn.

We've had a hot, humid summer with a lot of rain, but even with that I'm beginning to see a subtle change in the light (when we are not under rain clouds) and the place the sun is coming up on the horizon is a bit lower these days.  All signs of the seasonal change coming in four weeks.

Then there is this sign, too

Lindsay found this leave in my front yard last week.  I've learned that this does not it is mean that there will be an "early" autumn, but that the seasons are beginning the change from summer to autumn.  I'm seeing a hint of change on the trees that turn early.  

I have no idea what the color will be like this autumn with the tropical rainy pattern we've been in for two months this summer.  I hope that the autumn is dry, sunny, and beautiful.  

I can't wait to be outdoors again, to feel that nip of coolness in the air.  Soon it will be fair season, and time for fresh apple cider and pumpkins.

Okay, I'll stop for now.  But I can't wait!!!!

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

How Would You Update These Houses?

I used to like to watch a show on HGTV called "Curb Appeal."  It can happen to any one who lives in a house for many years.  You stop 'seeing' what everyone else sees and your home can become dated, and the plantings can be over grown.  Simple changes can breathe new life into the curb appeal of a home.

The other day I was driving through a friends neighborhood, and I noticed that there are some really nice homes, but they need some 'updating.'  I thought it would be fun to talk about them on the blog.

First up - This house sits on a rise, so the photo from my car is this angle.  I like this house.  Its not a cookie cutter of every other house and I like that they have the white trim which really pops against that beigy siding.

Overall its fine but that tree is not doing it any favors.  They may like the privacy of it, but its blocking the porch, which is a really great feature on this house.  And I don't like that small ornamental tree in its spot either.  

This house could use some flowering shrubs like hydrangea, or butterfly bush.  They need some color in the plantings.

This house is nice over all, too.  But again, the dwarf albert spruce need to be tamed or taken out.  You cannot see the cuteness of this house, nor the porch! The shrubs on the left side of the house need trimming.

This house...sigh.  I know there is a purplish tone in this stone, but the color of the shutters and front door are the bright purple you see on the left side of the house.  Its bright, really bright.  The house has a grandeur to it - the multiple peaks, the stone facade.  First off I'm not a fan of this stone.  The purple grey with that rusty color is  But since its what they chose, I'd go black with the shutters and door and try to tone down the purple undertone, or I'd do the grey of their door surround.  Give the shrubs on the left a bit of a trim and you'd have a grown up house!

This house is probably the age of ours, about 30 years, its in an older section of the neighborhood.  If the budget would handle it, I'd reside the house, build out those porch posts to something heftier, change out the plantings.  

Farmhouse style is classic, and so I'd go with a white siding, adding some medium grey around the dormer windows and door, and I'd paint the brick to match. I'd do charcoal grey shutters or black, and the porch posts would be built out to be bigger square posts.  You could even add rails between the posts.  For the plantings I'd do shrubs that flower like spirea, hydrangea, butterfly bush. And I'd change out the shutters with either charcoal shingles or a black standing seam metal roof!

Again, the only thing wrong with this house is that it looks dated.  The shutters could be repainted for very little cost and they could add some interest with the plantings.  A trellis against the garage for a clematis, and perhaps a flower bed on this side of the front walk with perennials or herbs would add interest.  The shingles need to be replaced, too.

My own home is in need of updating and I have all the ideas, I just have to get my husband onboard with them, and wait until he's got a bit of time to work on it.  

I want to do white siding, keep my black shutters, change out our shingles to either charcoal color or black standing seam roofing.  Repaint the doors, change out the fencing in the front garden.  I had a lot of money, I'd build up the garden bed on the end of the house, and put a retaining/privacy wall at that end and put in a patio outside the basement door. 

What would you do with these houses?  

I want to be clear that I'm just having fun with how I would make changes and update these houses and am not being critical of the homeowners in anyway.  

Monday, August 20, 2018

A Farewell Party

Lindsay and Sarah began scheming to give Rachel a surprise going away party, a few months ago.  The tricky part was a date to hold it.  It had to be a Sunday, so her Chick-fil-A peeps could come, and then there was our trip to Texas to factor in.  And what did we want to do exactly?

A secret message board was created, and it was settled to do a gourmet s'mores bar, with a nice campfire, twinkle lights hung in the trees, and hay bale seating.

But it rained, though the forecast was for sunny skies all day, then rain clearing by 4:00pm etc.  Sigh.  This has been our summer.  

The party was held at Lindsay and Joseph's so preparations could be made without Rachel knowing.  Lindsay made the call for it to be held inside, and cleverly came up with putting the marshmallows on a foil covered cookie sheet and putting them under the broiler, on low, for four minutes.  Perfection!

They planned the colors for decor to go with her favorite Van Gogh paintings, and put them everywhere!

I still can't believe we managed to fool her completely!

She's got the best group of friends.  The guys went in together and got her a waffle maker!  They know her well!

Some of her Chick-fil-A friends!

The little friends had so much fun with the balloons.

So did Kyle...

Klaire and Grandpa enjoyed s'mores together, you can see the chocolate under her chin.

There were so many people in the house, and I didn't get a photo of the S'mores bar!  Think candy like peanut butter cups, peppermint patties, peanut butter filled cookies, fudge stripe cookies, graham crackers.  One of her friends brought two gallons of her favorite chocolate milk!

Several rounds of chubby bunny were played.  Rachel won with 9 marshmallows stuffed in her mouth and able to still say "chubby bunny."  

Today's her last day of work until Christmas break.  We'll be spending the next few weeks buying what she needs for school.  We've already started so her list in manageable.  I think we're headed for Ikea this week.  I'm going to be savoring time with her!

Friday, August 17, 2018

Friday Five

Thank you all for your kind comments on the vlog.  I think I will do more in the future.

 1. My grandson Clark in the pool made me smile this week!

 2. I helping with a book launch for Sarah Clarkson's new book 'Book Girl.'  I've been given some chapters to read, and it is reasonating with this book girl!  I've already pre-ordered a copy, and am going to increase my order to give them to my own book girls.  You can pre-order here.

3.  I started a new project last night.  This crocheted scarf is a pattern I've done before but with a smaller hook and finer yarn.  It was written for this size yarn and hook.

4.  I purchased all that paper goods for the wedding I'm coordinating.  I love seeing a plan come together.

5. This week a big sink hole opened up in the parking lot at an outlet mall where we shop often.  This section of the outlets is relatively new.  We have had a lot of rain.

I have to drop Sarah at work this morning, met with my bride and groom, and get some groceries.  

I hope you have a great weekend.  

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Scenes From My Cottage

Thank you so much for your kind comments on my video yesterday.  I second guessed myself about posting it, but I'm glad it was encouraging.  I also want to add that God uses these challenging times in our lives, for our good.  He can apply pressure to us to get us to more fully rely on Him, and to get our attention.

I wanted to share some of what you'd see around my house if you were here this morning.

 I just finished knitting a cowl on my size 35 needles.  I am getting a head start on gifts.  This pattern is so easy - cast on 21 stitches, knit 29 rows, cast off, stitch ends together, done!  

I haven't shown Watson lately.  He's an all black cat (getting a few old age white hairs now) and he's hard to photograph.  He's also huge.  We don't over feed him, and he doesn't have tumors, etc.  Our former farmer friend said sometimes male cats get big like this after they've been neutered.  He's been this big since he hit his adulthood.  

One of the best things I did was buy two David Austin Roses at my local garden shop.  

 (Please note that I have carefully kept you from seeing the many weeds in the garden.  We have had weeks of thunderstorms which accompany high heat and humidity.  I'll be remedying the weed issue soon.)

 Have you read any of Laura Childs Tea Shop Mysteries?  I'm hooked on them.  I always buy paperbacks, and don't mind if they are used books.  I'm waiting for the latest one to come out in paperback, and will put it on my list for my birthday or Christmas.

Another week is nearly gone, isn't that amazing?  I hope your day is full of good things!

Monday, August 13, 2018

Spontaneous Hospitality

My husband had a text from our friend Don asking if we could get together on Sunday.  We of course said, "yes!"  We never get enough time with them.  All four of their young adult kids came, too!

So we picked up some tasty chicken and sweet corn, I sliced up some Flaming Fury peaches, they brought some chips and dip, drinks, and a cucumber salad.  

We used paper plates and napkins and my canning jars for glasses.  We ate and talked and had a great time.  Many cups of coffee were consumed!

Meanwhile, the usual group of young people began to gather, and they headed out for a hike.  One guy decided to hang out with the us, since he didn't feel like hiking.  He said, "I'll just hang out and talk with the adults, " yet he is a business owner and a young adult himself!  Its funny how we don't always think of ourselves as 'grown up!'

Tim left for about an hour to help someone with a plumbing issue.  Then swung by and picked up the usual Sunday dinner to feed hunger young adults - pizza!

The hikers returned, we all ate, and continued to talk.  Most of the young people headed downstairs to play games.

We had lots of great conversation about family, business (they own their own business, too), life.  We were talking that this summer we've known each other for 13 years! Their twin boys were eight years old, and their girls Sarah and Rachel's ages.  Lindsay and Emma used to babysit for them.  Now we're all just family.

While all this was happening, I texted another friend, and got a response from my friends' mother!  My friend had been in an car accident!  This friend was t-boned, too. (second friend in a week!)  She'll be okay, but has some fractures.  So scary.  This was a case of a third driver who cut off the vehicle that ended up hitting my friend.  

I'm finding myself so grateful this morning for God's tender mercies.  I'm thanking Him for friendships, for community.  Its good to love and to be loved.

I'm also thankful to be a small part of the building of community among the young adults in our lives.  They're terrific, and I hope in years to come to be invited to weddings, and to see their babies.  To encourage a young mom, and tease a new dad.  To bless them, and build them up and carry them in prayer.

Flowers from a wedding I helped with two years ago in October!

Today, I'm going to talk wedding flowers for the wedding I'm coordinating/planning.  This is one of those young men, who has spent the last several years coming to bonfires, and parties, and a sweet young woman who Lindsay and Emma worked with several years ago.  We know the brides grandparents, too.  I was thrilled they asked me to help!

I can't wait for September 2nd, and then of course, I'll show you all the details and beauty!

Friday, August 10, 2018

Friday Five

 I really enjoyed your thoughts on my post yesterday!  I appreciate this community of women.  

Here is my FIVE for this week!

1. Kyle's hair cut.  He hates getting his hair cut so I let him grow it out over the summer!  It was crazy, though sometimes it looked pretty good!  He's so funny!

2. My name is Deanna and I have a dish addiction!  I love these plates!  I swoon over them everytime I see them.  Christmas Tree Shops sells them for $4.99 per dinner plate!  I haven't bought any, but I may start hinting for my birthday in October! (grin)

3. Flaming Fury - 
That's the name of these beauties that came home with me today!

4. Kamryn has started her school year, too.  She was working on her letter blends the other day while she was here.

5. The September issue of Victoria Magazine came!
Its the annual British issue, and its always an excellent issue!

Doesn't the cover make you want to travel to England?

That's my Five for this week!  I hope you have an excellent weekend!


  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. We spent Saturday, doing things around the house, and then we swam. Kyle and Sarah left after that...