A Chance for Celebration

Flowers reflected

Reflected in an antique mirror a beautiful flower arrangement made by Whistlestop Florist sits atop a table on the back deck.

I love any excuse to entertain and my husband’s 60th birthday was no exception.   I planned a full day of celebration for Rick, who hates surprises, without ever spilling the beans.  Hard to do as I always love sharing my excitement with him.

As I gathered my thoughts for a theme.  Rick’s love for golf made my choice an easy one!  I planned a surprise golf outing with Rick’s college buddies.  Checking his phone contacts when he wasn’t looking, I found all their emails and phone numbers.  The fun began……..

Fish Tank #3

A miniature golf Cart, 18th hole flag, imaginary wind blowing a tree, sand trap and water hazard all inside a fish tank.

River Lobster

A river lobster in the right corner of the fish tank sits atop the blue stones that mimicked a water hazard on a golf course.

I called upon my “old faithful’s” and some new ones to add to my creativity.  I started with an idea of a goldfish in a glass vase with a golf ball in the bottom and ended up with the most unique and creative fish tank which included a miniature golf cart, 18th hole flag, imaginary wind blowing a tree, fish, sand trap and a water hazard.  Stopping into a new fish store that opened up called Fish FINatics, I had the pleasure of speaking with one of the owners, Tom O’Conner.  He was intriqued with my idea and said, “let me think on it.”  You could see his creative wheels turning.  Two months later,  Voila!!  I had the most unique fish tank to use as my centerpiece on the buffet table.  There was even a live river lobster in the tank.  At one point, he crawled into the golf cart to check it out.  By the time I grabbed my camera, he had moved on to inspect the wind blown artificial tree.


Wheat grass grown in an antique bread baker plays on my golf theme.

Outside Flowers

Playing on the theme of golf balls, round berries and more are gathered into a centerpiece.

As I’ve mentioned before, I love meeting with Nanette Haynor at Whistlestop Florist.  The final outcome is always more than expected.  I gave her an antique bread baker which she filled with wheat grass.  I made flags and added one of the adorable “flower” golf balls she made me.  Along with the antique bread baker, Nanette grew wheat grass in my clay flower pot containers.  Placing them around added whimsy to the occasion.  The amazing flower arrangement she made for the back deck table filled with sunflowers, mums and round accents played upon the roundness of the golf ball.

The fact that my husband’s party was a surprise obviously made it difficult to do any decorating to the house in advance.  So, when we left in the early morning to go play golf, so he thought, he was so surprised see his friend, Len, pull into the parking lot.  Not dawning on him yet he said, “what the heck is Len doing here?”  As the rest of his friends pulled in I looked at him and said, “surprise!” I left him to play 18 holes and drove home to begin my transformation of the house.

party favors

The personalized golf tee favors displayed in a tray were ready for the taking by the guests as they were leaving.

I ordered personalized golf tees that said, Ricks 60th birthday and placed them in bags with shredded green paper for the party favors.  Gathered them into a tray for friends to grab a bag or two as they left.Grass from above


“Grass,” ball and tee sit under a dispenser filled with cucumber/thyme water.

Thinking the surprise was over when his friend, Len, dropped him off back at the house, he came in with a big smile on his face until he saw the transformation.  “What’s going on, he said, why is the dining room chair over here?”  My turn….With a big smile on MY face I said, “surprise again!”  “Dinner here tonight with all your friends to celebrate.”  I love to cook as you know from my previous blogs but, since it was a surprise,  I enlisted Karen’s Catering who arrived with fresh roasted turkey and pork for sandwiches along with wonderful salads.

donut holes

Powdered Sugar donut holes in a bucket with wheat grass in the background continues playing on my golf theme.

For dessert the wonderful to look at and taste was made by Connie Decker. I added another “flower” golf ball and a flag to the top of the cake.   I also offered powdered sugar donut holes in a bucket.

Ricks cake

A delicious “on the green” cake made by Connie Decker.

Couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day.  The sun was out all day and there was a gentle breeze blowing.  What better way to spend a beautiful summer day than with good friends laughing and sharing stories.  I can’t forget to thank Lydia from Johnson Camera for taking these beautiful pictures.  Nothing like professional photographs to bring the party back to life!

Remi at the party

Always in the center of things. Remi checks out the party favors.



Baseball and Beer Bridal Shower


Color themed polka-dot straws to mimic baseballs for the ice tea from Shop Sweet Lulu.

Well it’s been quite a busy summer – One fun “project” I worked on was a beer and baseball themed shower held at my home for my niece, Tracy.   I always love a challenge and this was a good one.


Coming up with new ideas for her theme of beer and baseball was the challenging part.  To enhance my senses, my husband and I took a day trip to the town that has every souvenir you can think of for baseball…..Cooperstown.  I had never been there and what a lovely place it was.  So amazing we have such beautiful towns so close to us.  We enjoyed a scenic lunch on the veranda of the Otesaga Resort Hotel.  If you’ve never been, it’s worth a trip to have lunch and enjoy a glass of wine by the lake.


Ice cold sangria ready to serve in a beverage dispenser.

My husband, who’s such a good sport, followed me around as I meandered in and out of shops.  In one shop,  I found a 500 piece jigsaw puzzle of the United States with all the baseball stadiums.  My mother-in-law, husband and brother-in-law, Len worked diligently putting the puzzle together before the shower as I was using it as part of my centerpiece.

Nestled behind a building and downstairs, we came upon the Chocolate STUDIO.  One of the owners, Heather made the most adorable chocolate half back, peanut butter filled baseball candies for my favors.  So very cute and so very delicious!!


Creamy peanut butter filled chocolate baseball shaped favors.

As we were walking past a shop I wasn’t going to stop in, the owner spoke to us as she sat outside with her dog.  I explained I was looking for things for my beer and baseball themed shower.  “Please go in she said, you might see something.”  Well I’m glad I did. Most of their products are made in the State of New York.  I found an 8″ round baseball cutting board made in the Catskills from New York hardwood.  The artists laser engrave the distinctive baseball stitching and “Cooperstown” in a vintage baseball font.  It was a perfect raffle drawing prize.

So many creative people out there….

  I can’t thank Katrin Naumann enough for her artistic talent.  She painted an entrance ticket booth for my front storm door.  On the backside, which faced into the house, she put; “Had a ball/Catch you later”  How fun is that!FPT_0094FPT_0056


The mantle with Miller High Life bottles and packages wrapped in beer bottle wrapping paper for the raffle gifts.

I love collaborating with the ever so talented, Nanette Haynor from Whistlestop Florist who created the flowers for me.  When we get together there’s electric sparks as our creative juices flow. I just loved the mums formed into a baseball that I nestled inside a baseball glove.  The flowers in the pot for the centerpiece carried the bride-to-be’s color theme.  Nanette used dried pincushion flower pods in the arrangement as we kept the round baseball theme going.  I bought Pottery Barns wooden caddy holder for part of my nieces shower gift.  Inside each cubby was a beer bottle filled with flowers.


“Live flower baseball”


Wooden caddy with beer bottles filled with fresh flowers I used as part of the centerpiece on the kitchen table with the desserts. The caddy was part of my niece’s shower present that could later be used for napkins and silverware for a buffet.

I have so much fun with the decorating part of the event…..The dessert was predetermined after I found baseball cupcake liners and banners.  My sister, Barb, who is an excellent cook and baker made the wonderful assortment of cupcakes with decadant frostings.


Cupcakes with decadent frosting topped with banners.

I love surprises and what a great surprise it was…Grace, My friend Dina’s daughter, came decked out in a Yankee uniform to do the traditional call out of “POPCORN, PEANUTS and of course, CRACKER JACKS…..


“Peanuts, Popcorn and of course Cracker Jacks.”






Back deck ready for the gathering of guests and lunch.

With all the rain we had I was hoping it would be a beautiful day so the guests would be able to gather for conversation and lunch on the deck.   As you can tell by the picture above and below it was a glorious day indeed.

outside3The marvelous photographs were taken by Jonathan Beach of Beach Photography.

Do you have an event coming up?  Make it extra special for the recipient by not only holding the event with food but also by setting the stage for the theme.  It enlightens the guests senses and really enhances the party.

Would you like me to help you with an event?  Give me a call…