Monday, June 6, 2011

Summer Strawberries and Hydrangeas

I forgot how beautiful the South is in the summer.  And I don't mean the South of France this time.

My little sister is becoming a Mrs in two weeks and I am back in Alabama to help her get ready for the big day.

The bridesmaids hosted a shower for the Little Mrs-to-be in my grandmother's back yard this weekend.  There is nothing more beautiful than a Southern backyard in the summer.  Hydrangeas, gardenias and magnolias are giving my beloved renunculas, peonies and geraniums a run for their money. 

We set up tables in the grass and served a light lunch followed by cake a gifts. 

But first things first, of course. A bar dressed with magnolias and hydrangeas to serve strawberry belinis and white wine spritzers with elderflower and mint.  (And of course sweet tea). 

The Little Mrs to be and I scowered the neighborhood the night before to find magnolia blosoms.  The most intoxicating smell in the world. Mint from mom's backyard.

Not to mention we had a great bar tender.

The bar tender with the Little Mrs-to-be.
 I think my favorite thing about the shower was that all of the flowers came straight out of the backyard.

I had the Little Mrs-to-be clipping flowers all weekend.

We found these cute little wire baskets at Boxwoods in Atlanta.

They didn't have enough for all the tables so we improvised and filled in with some wire candle holders from my mom's back porch.

I loved how I could tell which hydrangea came from which yard by the size and hue of the petals.  Big white petals from mom's  yard, blue hue from Laurie's and the delicate lacey  petals from grandmother mom's.

On the bride's table, we took my Aunt Laurie's ivy topiary and added bright blue hydrangeas.  (The Little Mrs favorite).

Love an excuse to break out the silver.

The bride-to-be and some of the hosts
We start them young around here...
The Flower Girl of the year.  My cousin Caroline's daughter, Mary Emma.

On the menu - chicken salad and pimento cheese sandwiches, pasta salad, marinated carrots and fruit salad. 

The cake was decorated with strawberries and came from Olexa's bakery in Birmingham.  (The best in the world. If you are ever in Birmingham, stop by her cute little restaurant for lunch.  Splurge and order a piece of the vanilla cake. They serve it warm with a little strawberry. One of the partners at my old law firm introduced it to me and I've been in love ever since.)

Sticking with the strawberry theme, we made strawberry compote as party favors (which also served a double purpose as the star ingredient in the strawberry bellinis).  Recipe courtesy of Ina Garten.

I love gardenias in silver sugar and creamer servers.  So simple yet elegant.

But I digress. Making the party favors was really simple.  I bought little mason jars from Walmart (I can't believe I'm saying the word Walmart on my blog! but there it is...)

Washed them in hot water to disinfect.

Covered them in burlap fabric cut into squares (big enough to cover the top of the jar. I cut one by estimating and adjusted.  Then I cut the rest the same size.) 

And tied them with red gingham ribbon (which ran out, so I mixed in what my mom had in the house, sheer white.). So that's 2 cases of jars, 1 yard of fabric and 5 spools of ribbon.  Fill jar, put on metal lid. Cover metal lid with burlap and then screw the top.  Finish by tying the ribbon on the outside of the jar, or however you like!

And volia.  Fill them with whatever you feel like making.  I chose strawberry compote to tie in the cake and bellinis. 

Now, if only the Mr. doesn't kill my geraniums while I'm gone.

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