Tag Archives: natural

Wedding Flowers: Rustic Elegance

This weekend, I had the opportunity to do flowers for our good friends Ben & Ashley’s wedding. It was a beautiful setting at the Lodge at Table Rock State Park, and the flowers were so much fun to work with–full of natural beauty and rustic charm, just like their backdrop. So thankful that the snow and ice cleared up to make this beautiful day possible. Bryan and I were able to get some really nice pictures, so here’s a look at the day.

The Bride and Groom

Bridal Bouquet

Bridal Bouquet with Burlap and Lace – Blush Spray Roses, Pink and Plum Ranunculus, Lavender Stems, Waxflowers, Button Mums, White Hydrangea, Summer Pinks, Silver Brunia, Pink Astilbe, Purple Stock and Snapdragons, Blush Larkspur, White Alstromeria, Globe Thistles, and Heather

Bridal Crown of Waxflowers and Summer Pinks

Bridal Crown of Waxflowers and Summer Pinks

The Beautiful Bride, Ashley

The Beautiful Bride, Ashley with a closer look at her bouquet and crown – she could not have been more beautiful (or more happy) – some even said she looked “as gorgeous as an elven princess” – and I agree*

Congratulations, Ben & Ashley!

Congratulations, Ben & Ashley! What a beautiful wedding! God has truly done an amazing work in and through each of you, and I can’t wait to see how He will use you together as a couple for His glory in the days and years to come! We love you!*

The Lodge at Table Rock

Guestbook arrangements

Guestbook table arrangements of White Hydrangea and Lavender Sprigs

The Ceremony

The Ceremony (one of Ashley’s friends did the tulle and arrangement over the fireplace, as well as the reception hall decorations)*

The Bridal Party

Bouquets

Lovely ladies with their lovely bouquets on the bridge outside the lodge*

Bridesmaid's Bouquet

Bridesmaid’s Bouquet – White Hydrangea, Cream and Blush Spray Roses, Pink Astilbe, Heather, Purple Stock and Snapdragons, Plum Button Mums, Globe Thistles and Sprigs of Lavender, wrapped in burlap

Bridal Party at Table Rock State Park

Bridal Party at Table Rock State Park*

Boutonnieres and Corsages

Grandma's Corsage

Corsage of White Larkspur, Blush Spray Roses, Plum Ranunculus, White Alstromeria, Waxflower and Sprigs of Lavender

Boutonnieres

The Boutonnieres for the guys featured Globe Thistles, Silver Brunia, Lavender, and Fresh Mint and Sage Leaves, wrapped in burlap*

Mother of the Groom's Corsage

Mother of the Groom’s Corsage – Plum Ranunculus, White Alstromeria, Cream Spray Roses, Waxflower and Sprigs of Lavender

Mother of the Bride's Corsage

Mother of the Bride’s Corsage – Pink Ranunculus, Cream Spray Roses, White Alstromeria, Waxflower and Sprigs of Lavender with Burlap

Another corsage

Corsage of Plum Ranunculus, White Alstromeria, Waxflower and Lavender Sprigs

The Reception

The bride made this beautiful banner and garland, and I brought some extra flowers for her friend that decorations on site to fill in the garland.

The bride made this beautiful banner and garland, and I brought some extra flowers for her friend that did decorations on site to fill in the garland.*

Reception Food Tables

Reception Food Tables – arrangements featured White Hydrangea, Blush Spray Roses, Silver Brunia, White Alstromeria, Waxflower and Sprigs of Lavender

And, My Favorite, The Cake

Cake Swag and a Cloud of Baby's Breath

Last but certainly not least, a Floral Cake Swag and a Cloud Base of Baby’s Breath – featuring Pink and Plum Ranunculus, Blush Larkspur, Cream Spray Roses, Purple Stock and Snapdragons, Lavender Button Mums, Heather, Summer Pinks, White Alstromeria, Lavender Sprigs, and Fresh Mint and Sage Leaves*

If you are in the Greenville, South Carolina area and would like more information about floral arrangements for your next event, contact me at theartisanhoneybee@gmail.com.

(*Note: Pictures with an asterisk were taken by Bryan McKinnon; other pictures taken by Melissa McKinnon. All copyrights reserved.)

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“What’s Next?!” Might Not Be the Best Question to Ask…

I recently read an article called “26, Unmarried, and Childless.” I’m 32 and married, but I can still relate. My favorite part of this article is the following quote: “…instead of asking me what’s next, ask me what’s now. Ask me what God is teaching me, ask me what I’m struggling with, or what brings me joy. I am learning, I am growing, and I am happy. I would love to tell you all about it.”

The above article was written with a female’s perspective, but since then, another article has been posted to their site. It’s called “29, A Guy, and Single.” Yes, guys struggle with singleness too, but the point made in this article that resonates the loudest with me is to not isolate others when they’re not in the same stage of life as you.

I got married just before I turned 25. We’ve been married almost 8 years now and  still don’t have children. And we’re okay with that. It’s what God has for us right now (obviously). For the first three or four years, we got lots of questions about kids–even accusations and hurtful comments from some. Fortunately, we’re past that “stage” (if you will). Do we want kids? Sure, if that’s how we can best be conformed to Christ and glorify God. Will we have kids? I don’t know (and please don’t ask me–if you really want us to, tell God and let Him decide if and when). Do we love the next generation? Absolutely! If we didn’t, we wouldn’t serve in the Children’s Ministry at our church and hang out with the teens at church suppers and ski trips and help the junior high-ers bake cupcakes for a church wide shindig. Will we have biological kids? Foster? Adopt? I don’t know. (Is that question even relevant?)

Not everyone is meant to follow the same path. Not everyone fits in a fixed pattern or norm. It’s okay to not be in the same stage as your peers. God’s plan for each of us is unique…just like the gifts He’s given us. (Not to mention that certain personal questions just ought not be asked by casual acquaintances in the first place.)

Bryan and I have plenty of friends who are married with kids…one, two, three, four…or even nine or more! Some are new parents, others are parents of teens, and then there’s the empty nesters–not to mention every stage in between. We also have lots of “DINK” friends (Dual Income No Kids–yes, it’s a real thing), some by choice and others because of infertility or miscarriage. And we have lots of single friends–guys and girls, men and women, anywhere from high school into their retirement years–some who desperately want a romantic relationship and others who are fine with their current status. Some who are dating, others who are widowed, and some who have experienced the pain of divorce. But regardless of the status, gender, age, ethnicity, career path, or number of kids, one thing is constant: we all need God! And we need each other to point each other to Him.

Did you catch that?! We need each other, folks. The church wasn’t built of any one particular  demographic–or it would’ve been rendered extinct a long time ago. We need to stop letting our gender or stage in life define us and starting letting the name “Christian” define us. As Christians, we are all called to be followers of Christ and members united in Him. There is beauty in diversity, and there’s no reason we can’t share diverse backgrounds and still delight in unity.

Sometimes I wish we would go back to the days of calling other believers “brother” and “sister.” Many cultures still do, but it’s fallen out of common use in our American culture. It’s sad, really. Maybe if we started seeing each other as brothers and sisters in Christ again, we wouldn’t care so much about status and we’d focus more on loving one another and caring for one another and sacrificing for one another–like we do for our blood relatives. After all, it’s the blood of Christ our Savior that bonds us–isn’t that a greater connection than even familial bloodlines? If we would love our biological siblings despite their flaws and faults and “let love cover it” and even defend them “to the death” when others speak ill of them, should we not treat our heavenly siblings in a similar manner?

One of the saddest things to me is when a friend tells me that they had a “best friend” but that best friend got married and now they don’t hang out because the other friend is “still single” and “that’s just life” or “it’s only natural.” Or when one friend has kids earlier than another friend and they no longer interact because of nap schedules and early bed times. There are ways around this. We just have to be flexible–on both sides. I understand that there are certain things that can’t flex–babies have to be fed and cared for, and parents get tired, especially new parents, and we do need to rest. I just want to encourage you not to give up on a relationship because part of your situation changed. Relationships take work, and they’re worth the effort.

There’s no reason to not ask someone in a different stage of life than you to come over for dinner…or meet up for coffee…or host a game night. If they have kids, you might have to plan further in advance so they can schedule a babysitter, or better yet…just get together at the house with the youngest children, so the kids can still go to bed and the adults can stay up and talk. It works. Trust me. The perfect example of this is our Shepherding Group–we have 16 people when we’re all together, and we range from infant to senior saint. The backgrounds of where we grew up, where we went to school, whether or not we have kids, etc., are SO diverse, yet God has done something really cool by bringing such a random group of individuals together into a tightly knit group.

Maybe it is “natural” to fall into easy conversation with people in your same stage of life, but we are called to live “supernaturally” by the power of the Almighty God! So, fight what’s “natural” and choose to branch out of your comfort zone. Make friends with someone in a different age group than you. Or rekindle a friendship that’s fallen by the wayside because of different career paths or life choices. Mentor a younger brother or sister in Christ. Seek out a more mature brother or sister to mentor you. Share with them what God is teaching you…and ask them, “What’s God teaching you right now?” instead of “What’s Next?” And rejoice together in our Amazing, Unifying God!

Naturally Dyed Eggs

The following post comes from the Whole Foods Market blog:

How To Have An Egg-cellent Easter by Mercedes Vaughn,

March 27th, 2010

“The Do’s and Don’ts of Dyeing

There are two methods used when dyeing eggs: cold dipping and hot boiling. Cold dipping produces subtler, more translucent shades and is generally the preferred method for using multiple colors on the same egg. Hot boiling produces much more intense shades, but these eggs are for decoration only, not eating.

The instructions below are for dyeing using natural ingredients. This can be a fun project for the whole family but be warned that it can be messy and is quite involved if you want to create multiple colors. (If using premade dye, please follow the instructions on the packaging.)

For both methods, use four cups of the selected fruit or vegetable (or one tablespoon spice) to four cups of water and two tablespoons of vinegar to make the dye. Also, be sure to wash your uncooked eggs in mild soapy water to remove dirt or oil that might adversely affect the dye. Wear gloves so as not to stain your hands!

  • Cold Dipping – Boil eggs and refrigerate until ready to use. Bring dye ingredients to a boil and then simmer for 15-30 minutes. Strain dye and allow to cool to a comfortable warm temperature. Remove boiled eggs from refrigerator and dip for 5-10 minutes, until the egg has reached the desired color, then dry on paper towels or drying rack. Remember to rotate the eggs in the dye regularly to create even coloring. If overlapping shades, repeat after egg has dried.
  • Hot Boiling – Place both uncooked eggs and dye ingredients into a pot and bring to a rolling boil, then reduce to simmer for 20-30 minutes. Rinse with lukewarm water and dry on paper towels or drying rack.

Creating Colors Naturally

Here are some ingredient suggestions to get you started. Have fun, experiment and be sure to cover your work area!

  • Yellow – Lemon or orange peels, carrots, celery seed
  • Gold – Turmeric
  • Orange – Paprika, cumin, chili powder, yellow onion skins
  • Red/Pink – Cranberries, beets, raspberries, radishes
  • Purple – Hibiscus tea
  • Blue/Lavender – Red cabbage, blueberries, blackberries, purple or red grape juice
  • Green – Spinach leaves
  • Brown/Beige – Coffee, tea, walnuts
  • Keeping Your Creations Edible

    If you’re anything like me, then you’ll not only be enjoying the visual beauty of these eggs, but also their sheer scrumptiousness! With that in mind, here are a few tips on how to enjoy these holiday treats safely.

    Keep uncooked eggs in the refrigerator until absolutely necessary in the preparation process. Eggs with visible cracks after boiling and/or dyeing may be eaten, but should be kept in the refrigerator and not used in an egg hunt or placed on display. Also, since eggs may have fine cracks you’re not able to see, it’s always a good idea to hide them in places protected from dirt and other sources of bacteria.

    Most importantly, remember to only keep cooked eggs you intend on eating out of the refrigerator for a maximum of two hours. That includes hiding and hunting. Any longer than that and the eggs are no longer safe to consume.

    Lastly, all eggs should be eaten within one week, so try not to dye any more than you can manage.”

    Check out the full article for links to egg recipes.

    Here’s another blog that shows how to naturally dye eggs: http://jeannewinters.blogspot.com/2009/03/jesus-easter-eggs.html. I can’t wait to try this out. Maybe we’ll bring the stuff in for our Sunday School class this week…if I’m brave enough.

    “Jesus!” Easter Egg Display