Beth's "Belles" and Whistles

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Learning to Cricut and to Monogram

Cricut Work!

Monogram Work!
Hey Friends,

I know it must seem like I've abandoned you by now because it has been sooooo long since I've written a post!  However, it is only because my Meagan has been staying at Mamaw and Papaw Nuckles' house all last week, and I've been learning how to cricut and monogram - two of my new favorite ways to add "belles and whistles!"

First of all, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the cricut!  Thanks to my dear friend, April, for not only introducing me to the cricut in the first place, but also for loaning me her cricut machine and cartridges all last week!!!  I have been cricut-ing up a storm for the past 8 days!  For those of you who may have never heard of a cricut (like me a month or so ago), please check it out online or on info-mercials on TV! The cricut cuts card stock paper and you can make just about anything with one if you have purchased the right cartridges.  Although, the cricut is primarily used for scrap booking, I've been using it to make party signs, party favor tags, and party decorations!  I've included only one picture of my work above, because all of the work will be featured during future parties, and I don't want to spoil the surprise for the honored guests until afterward!

I've also been learning how to monogram!  My husband bought me an early birthday present in a Brother Sewing plus Embroidery Machine! (April 15 is the actual date - all the tax babies say "Yeah!") Anyway, I've never sewn a stitch before, so learning to monogram has been quite challenging!  I never realized that there were so many different types of stabilizer backing - pull away, cut away, water soluble!  The picture above is of my first success with monogramming!  I'm still not super excited about the way the backing on the onesie makes it look hard beneath the surface!  Next time, I'll use the silky fusible backing to cover the threads so they won't itch . . . Obviously, I'm still learning!

However, I will be featuring more cricut and monogram work within the next month because I'm neck high in planning all the "belles and whistles" for my niece-to-be's Wedding Shower, Meagan's 3rd Birthday, and a dear friend's baby shower - all three happening in April and May!

Will chat with you again soon!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Pajama Party Mamas!

Pictured Left to Right: Rhonda, Me, Angie, and Sharon
 Good Evening Friends,

Just a quick pictorial update for you tonight!  As promised, I wanted to share with you all some of my favorite Pajama Party "belles and whistles" from Louisiana Sister Connection!  First of all, I just have to say to my Sister-in-Law Sharon, "I LOVEd YOUR IDEA TO HOST A PAJAMA PARTY FOR GROWN UP GIRLS!"  Pajama Party Mamas, don't you all agree?  Grown-ups need to have fun too!!!

Secondly, the best "belle and whistle" of the Pajama Party for me was the PAJAMAS!  I totally enjoyed picking out and wearing my "Ode to the Swamp Frog" PJ's and slippers (seen above and below):

I also loved watching the Pajama Fashion Show so fantastically displayed by all the other ladies in attendance (like Rhonda in her Tinkerbell-Feeted PJ's-pictured above, or the Baby Dolls-pictured below) :

And finally, I would have to say that a PJ Party could not be a Party without all the "belles and whistles" of great games and fun!  At Sister Connection, a wonderful Mother/Daughter Duo of Trisha and Ashley did a fantastic job of playing game show hostesses and auctioneers for the night!  The picture below is one of the ladies in attendance enjoying her prize/purchase of the night!  So much fun!!  (By the way, I LOVE hats too!  I wear one almost every Easter Sunday to church with gloves- just like a true Southern Belle!!) 

Anyway, if you are looking for a great party theme for the grown up gals, let me suggest that you think about becoming a "Pajama Party Mama" like me and my new pals from Louisiana!! 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

If the Shoe Fits - Part 2

Good Evening to You All,

I'm finally getting around to Part 2 of "If the Shoe Fits!"  In just my few days away, I had forgotten (well maybe blocked from memory) how BUSY a two-year-old can be!  Since my return home, my Meggie Pie has wasted NO time re-acquainting me with her antics.  So far this week, she has almost broken a second toilet by trying to flush a wash cloth down it, she has washed her Disney teacups in the toilet, she has sprayed enough hairspray on her stool in the bathroom to peal the paint off of it, and she has colored her bedroom wall with a black ink pen!  All of these things happened during a blink of my eye - she is incredibly fast!!! I'm tired just thinking about all of her activity this week! Whew!

So, of course, that means that the BLOG just had to wait . . . But now, I'm finally finding a few spare moments to share with you some great pictures and ideas for centerpieces (with all the "belles and whistles" that I love so much) designed by Johnette for Sister Connection in Louisiana last weekend:

As you can see from the pictures, Johnette's design concept was simple, inexpensive, and elegant.  She started with scarves, called pashminas, of all different colors. The scarves were purchased at a "Buy 2" for around $7 sale.  This expense was turned into a fundraiser as the scarves were auctioned off during the banquet in Memory of Kathy Isaacs, a former State Women's Ministry Leader, for her preferred charities.

The scarves were then draped alone or over boxes in the center of each table.  I love the variation of height and color with each scarf - and the boxes used were the ones from storage with no extra expense per use!  How creative!

Next, Johnette used chargers, or large plates, of different colors placed on top of the scarves.  I believe the chargers were brought from her own collection at home.  Inside of each charger, she placed a vase containing clear beads with either a red candle or red flower inside. I have seen similar vases and bags of clear beads on sale at the Dollar Tree.  The candles were purchased at Hobby Lobby on clearance. The flowers were clipped from larger bunches and reused from a previous event.  The vases were alternated between four patterns for varying height and shape. 

To finish off the look, a tea light votive of two different shapes, and a clear SHOE holding a red flower was placed around the vases.  Votives and tea lights can also be purchase inexpensively at either the Dollar Tree, Walmart, or Hobby Lobby.  The SHOES were ordered online for 99 cent per shoe plus tax!  Wow, I LOVE a bargain!

I was certainly impressed with these SHOE inspired centerpieces.  I love how everything look so finished without looking cookie-cutter.  The mixture of the different heights and colors and shapes of scarves, chargers, and vases created an eclectic look that just worked so beautifully and filled the space with life and color. In fact, I loved the shoes so much that I convinced Johnette to let me borrow them for my nephew's wedding!  Now, I just wish I could convince her to come up here to Tennessee to help me with the event!!!  I believe Johnette has become one of my favorite little "belles and whistles" of all time!

Until we meet again,

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

If the Shoe Fits

Left to Right:  Johnette, Sharon, Myself, and Angie
 Good Evening Friends,

As most of you know by now, I'm still settling down from the excitement of my recent trip to Baton Rouge, Louisiana last week for the State Church of God Sister Connection!  I had loads of fun, enjoyed some fantastic food, and shared in fellowship with some wonderful ladies!  I made a ton of new friends - one of whom, I must honor on this blog - Johnette. 

Johnette (pictured on the left above) was responsible for the decorations for the entire Sister Connection Conference whose theme was "Walking to Please God."  Johnette's main responsibilities included the concept and the design for the Stage and the concept and the design of the centerpieces for the banquet. In addition, Johnette faced a unique design-challenge at this event because almost each piece of decor served a dual purpose as an item to be auctioned to help raise money for the COG Smoky Mountain Children's Home and missions within the State of Louisiana. I loved learning from Mrs. Johnette, and of course, once I heard the words "dual purpose" -  you all know, she "had me at hello!"

To complement the theme of "Walking to Please God," Johnette incorporated SHOES in almost all of her decorations.  I thought this was a PERFECT idea for a Ladies conference!  All women LOVE the "belles and whistles" of terrific shoes, right?  In fact, my sister-in-law's message at the opening service of Sister Connection incorporated the shoes from the decor!  Each pair of shoes became an object lesson from the beginning to the end of a ladies' life as she "Walked to Please God!"  I love it when a theme comes together -and this one was not only great, but anointed!

Stage Decoration at Sister Connection
The picture above shows the "Shoe Boutique" which served as both the backdrop and the items for auction on the Stage at Sister Connection.  Pay close attention to all of the shoes, and in particular, the red boots on the ottoman!  This was one of my favorite "belles and whistles" of the Stage decor.  Johnette shared with me her secrets for creating this center piece of scenery:  She took on ottoman and slip covered it in white and tied a simple red ribbon around it for effect.  The zebra print rug beneath was simply an inexpensive piece of fabric from Hobby Lobby which Johnette hemmed into a square!  How creative, yet simple enough to try at home!

Each side vignette to the main back drop of the stage featured all "Fleur de Lis" accent pieces that were auctioned at the PJ Party after the main service!  "Fleur de Lis" is a French word meaning "flower of lily" and it is a symbol of the French King and a symbol for Louisiana! I believe that it is also a symbol for the trinity of God - The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit!  These items were purchased inexpensively at a once-a-month warehouse sale in Baton Rouge called Lancaster House Originals in hopes of being sold to raise money to support missions, which is exactly what happened!  What an attractive, creative, and cost-effective way to decorate with a dual purpose!

I LOVED Johnette's sense of style and purpose for the decor of this event!  Tomorrow, I will share her creative and inexpensive centerpieces from the final Ladies' Luncheon at Sister Connection!  She and I certainly connected as lovers of both Christ and decorative little "belles and whistles!"  I wanted to put Johnette in my pocket and carry her back to Tennessee with me so that we could continuously spark ideas off one another!

Don't forget that I will also be blogging about our SUPER FUN PJ PARTY later in the week as well!  Until then, be inspired to "Walk to Please God," and remember, "If the Shoe Fits, wear it" or at least DECORATE with it!!!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Southern Hospitality

Bishop Timothy Nuckles (my brother) and I
 I'm finally back home in Tennessee from my trip to Baton Rouge, Louisiana and the "Deep South!"  I'm thrilled to see my husband and my 3 M's again!  I love that they all seem so excited to have me back home too!!!  I've been enjoying lots of hugs and kisses and "Mommy, I love you's" which isn't hurting my feelings one bit!!!  I'm eating it up . . . However, I promised each of you that I would come back with lots of "belles and whistles" to share and you shall not be disappointed!

I know that my primary promise was to share with you the details of the Ladies Sister Connection Conference, and I WILL keep that promise (check back for more posts this week) - but for today, I want to simply start by talking to you about the absolutely WONDERFUL Southern Hospitality that I found upon my arrival in Baton Rouge!

I equate Southern Hospitality with warm welcomes, hugs, laughter, and lots of delicious food- and believe me- Louisiana DID NOT disappoint!  Even on the plane ride from Memphis, my co-passengers were discussing the friendliness of the city and the "out of this world" food - one of my favorite "belles and whistles" of life!  In fact, my parents (both great cooks) visited Baton Rouge in December and all they could talk about upon their return was the quality of both the food and the service in Louisiana!  I landed with my hopes and high, and I returned "FULL!"

Sharon (my sister-in-law) and I

While in town, my brother and sister-in-law took me to visit many restaurants- all worth mentioning- so here's a list of some of my favorite must-visits if you are ever in Baton Rouge:
  • Copeland's Cheesecake Bistro - This restaurant was located just outside of the Mall of Louisiana.  I ordered a yummy chicken wrap and fries, but most enjoyed some of my sister-in-law's Chicken Marsala!  We followed up the meal with one of my favorite desserts called "Death by Chocolate" Cheesecake! When it is my turn to become one of the "Saints that Go Marching In," I pray that the Lord takes me while I'm eating "Death by Chocolate!"  Here's the link for the menu to this restaurant:
  • Coffee Bean and Cafe - This charming little restaurant (located off of Sherwood and Coursey Blvd.) is only open for breakfast and lunch.  My lunch here consisted of one of the best chicken salad sandwiches that I have ever eaten!!! Chicken Salad is one of my FAVORITE foods of all time and I consider myself somewhat of an expert on the taste of Chicken Salad!  Believe me, this sandwich was beyond yummy!  I added some sweet potato fries seasoned only as Cajun cook could, and I'm still dreaming of this meal!
  • The Chimes -  This restaurant is also located off of Coursey Blvd. which is the address of the LA Church of God State Offices (pictured above) so that is why most of the restaurants we visited seem to be in this location.  I enjoyed a taste of authentic Cajun food here!  I really think this may have been my all-time favorite meal of the trip:  I ordered the Fried Catfish Platter.  Normally, I would not have been able to eat more than one piece of fish at a meal; however, I scarfed down the ENTIRE platter and even made enough room to taste some of my sister-in-law's Crawfish Etouffee!  My only wish is that I had more room in my tummy at this restaurant!
  • "Thee" Heavenly Donuts -  Finally, I must make mention of these delectable treats!  Again, they were soooooooo heavenly that I might have sinned before I finished eating them!  They are famous for both donuts and "king cakes" which I had never tried before this trip.  Here's the link for their website: 
I realize that this short list cannot do justice to the many places that I did not have time to visit on this trip, because I was informed by my brother and sister-in-law that the list of great Southern restaurants in Baton Rouge is inexhaustible!  But, I could not even think of having enjoyed such wonderful hospitality and food and then keeping those "belles and whistles" to myself!  I hope you will be encouraged to try all of these places if you ever have an opportunity to visit the bayou!!!

Again, I have many more details of this trip to share with you; but until then, I'm signing off to go and enjoy some more "Southern Hospitality" from the hugs and kisses of my kiddos!!!!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Going to the Bayou!

Good Evening Friends,

I'm so excited tonight that I probably won't be able to fall asleep because I'm flying to Baton Rouge tomorrow to join my sister-in-law at the Louisiana State Church of God Ladies' Conference.  You see my sister-in-law is the wife of the Administrative Bishop for the State (my big brother); and therefore, she leads the entire Ladies' Ministries and is in charge of this "Sister Connection" Conference!  She has invited me to come and help her with any and all of the little details that might pop up at the last minute for this event!

I'm really excited to see the theme for this event come together at the services and the luncheon!  I'll be sure to take lots of pictures of all the "belles and whistles" so that I can share them with you!  I don't want to give away the theme just yet, but I think it is fantastic!  However, I'm most excited about the Pajama Party to be held after service on Friday night! 

I have purchased some super-cute, pink-striped flannel pj's with lime green frogs all over them! I figured that if I was going to visit the swamp lands of the bayou that I should pay homage to one of the least frightening of the swamp creatures - the frog!  I even purchased some "Frog Slippers" online to complete the ensemble!  Can't you just picture it now?  If you cannot, remember, I'll be sure to post pictures when I get back to Tennessee!

At any rate, I couldn't BE MORE excited about this trip and I wanted to share my excitement with you!  I'll be sure to fill you in on all the "belles and whistles" of my trip next week!  Until then, I'd better run and finish packing!