Thursday, November 20, 2008
A Memory Tree for a Bride, Part Two
We last saw the Memory Tree in a post about a bridal shower for my friend, Cris. What we got back was amazing - so many cool pictures from her childhood, to high school, to some great moments when we were all living in the dorms at UCSB together.

My second step with this Memory Tree was to take all of the photos we got, add pictures from the shower itself, and later her wedding, and create an album. I chose one from Paper Source, and filled it to the rim with the photos.

I had lunch with Cris today and she was thrilled and it was really fun getting to see her go through all of the memories again. She asked if the pictures were the originals from her mom, and I assured her they were all copies. I'm so glad that the project turned out well and that she has a special keepsake from her many friends and family that helped create the album.

Here's a full list of steps for this project, should you want to try it for your next shower. I also think this might be a lot of fun for a surprise birthday party.
1. Ask everyone on the invite list for the shower/party to send pictures of the bride through the years. I offered that email was the easiest way, but if people only had hard copies/originals they could mail them to me, and I'd hand them back safe and sound at the shower.

2. After collecting (via email, picking up photos, getting them in the mail, etc) make copies on photo paper of each of these originals, and have them ready to hand back to the photo owners at the shower.

3. Attach each picture to a colorful background, punch two holes in the top of the paper (I used my my star shaped punch) and add a little ribbon to each.

3. Get a tree branch, vase and some sort of rocks/substrate for the vase to build your tree. You want to weigh down the vase so that it doesn't topple over with the height of your tree. I used an old glass flower vase, rocks I collected at the beach, and a friend cut a branch for me from his backyard.

4. Hang your photos from the branches. I tried to double them, back to back, so there wasn't any white showing when the tree was set up.

5. Place the tree in a prominent place at your party or shower. The guests will know the story of how it got put together, since they were each asked for photos. Your guest of honor will likely be delighted at seeing all of the photos of her through the years, with all of these delightful people.
Be sure and take plenty of pictures at your shower or party, you will want to put those in the album later.

6. Take the tree down, and store accordingly. Keep all of the photos in a safe spot.

7. Purchase a photo album. There are pros and cons of when this happens. If you do it before you get all of the final photos, you will know the appropriate size backing to put on them so you only do it once (transferring the photos directly to the album, just removing the ribbons). I ended up buying the album after the fact, which was good because then I got it with enough pages to fit the number of pictures I had. I got the album I bought at Paper Source.

8. Get your photos developed and get photos of your shower/party from other participants.

9. If there is a big event after the shower (ie a wedding or the birth of a child), you might want to wait until after the event has occurred to finish your album, so that you can take pictures at the event and include them. Or, if this is for a birthday gift, you might want to include pictures of the party itself.

10. Get your photos ready for installation in the album. I had to pull all of mine off the colorful backgrounds, and chose to put new, red background paper on each photo before it went in the album. I also put them in chronological order, so it was easier to assemble. A final count revealed I had 18 places left for photos from the wedding, so I printed out that number.

11. Gather anything else you may want to put in the album - the invitation from your event, birth announcement, little notes from all the people at the shower or party - whatever you have that can make it that much more special.

12. Place all of your photos in your album!

Finally, give your album to your friend / guest of honor and let them know about all the people who helped contribute. You put it together, but be sure and acknowledge those who helped.

Sunday, November 16, 2008
A Maui Dinner Party
Last night we had 12 people and 2 babies over for a dinner party in our 891 square foot apartment. It was awesome! if not a little bit crowded. Our theme was "Casual Hawaiian" since Sean and I had just gotten back from Maui a couple weeks ago. I was really excited about the Lava Flows and having all my friends over, not necessarily in that order.

So! Our menu, which was partly pot luck (we'd sent an evite out saying what we'd planned and if folks wanted to add to the mix, it was welcomed but certainly not required), was the following:

1. Citrus Broiled Salmon
2. Coconut rice
3. Shrimp salad
4. Sauteed Green beans
5. Rosemary bread
6. Pineapple Upside Down Cake
7. Home Made cheese
7. Drinks: Lava Flows, Pina Coladas, Longboard Kona beer, water, coke, Red Beret wine

Here's the recipe I used for the Salmon:
4 large oranges
8 (4 ounce) fillets salmon
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1/2 cup chopped green onions
  1. Preheat the oven's broiler.
  2. Slice, peel, and pith oranges; slice crosswise into 1/4 inch rounds. Season fillets with salt. Place salmon fillets on broiling pan.
  3. Place the pan of fillets 4 to 6 inches from heat. Cook for 15 minutes under the preheated broiler, or 10 minutes per inch of thickness. Remove from broiler just before they are cooked through. Sprinkle with vinegar. Arrange orange rounds on top. Sprinkle with green onions and cracked black pepper. Broil 1 minute longer.
I'd made the recipe before, for Christmas (hence the old photo ... we didn't use the Christmas china last night). It turns out well and is pretty easy for large groups, since it only take a few minutes to cook.

Our recipes for the drinks came from About and All Recipes: Lava Flow and Pina Colada.
I was really particular about us making drinks without any corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup, so we mixed our own bases for both drinks. Using the pre-made mixes is probably faster and easier, but I think making your own tastes better and is certainly healthier.

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Monday, November 10, 2008
Cris's Wedding Recap: Part One
By all accounts, it was simply a lovely day. Congrats to Cris and Steve on their marriage, and thank you for throwing such an amazing party - full of love and a lot of heart. Here's a mini recap.

Since I was a bridesmaid, one of our duties was making the rehearsal bouquet. We didn't have many bows at the shower (so weird), which is the traditional way of making a bouquet ... so I went ahead and fashioned something on my own. Here's the rehearsal bouquet, complete with "Bubba," the rooster that is the center piece. Cris seemed to love him, and he later made an appearance at the wedding, on the guest book table:


Our wedding day started early, at 8:45am for me. We went to the Salon ... and had Tania do our hair. She was a lot of fun and her great attitude really set a wonderful, upbeat tone for our day. Here's our bride getting hair done, flashing us the peace sign. Her hair didn't turn out quite this big ... I promise.

After we got our hair did, we hailed a cab and headed to the Hyatt at the Embarcadero. We had a suite there waiting, and ordered some mighty tasty room service. Let me document that for her wedding day lunch, our bride had a grilled cheese sandwich. I had a chicken sandwich.

We had some good tunes in the room, and here's a pic of me ... you get to see my hair, inspired by a photo found on That Bride's site (which was my first introduction to Jenna and her blogs, now I'm addicted). I don't know if I've mentioned my love of Boy George? This may be a first photo of me on my own blog ... hahaha, and I'm sure friends and family will agree that its an incredibly appropriate first shot. *kisses to The Boy*

You'll also notice the lovely brown dress, and pearl jewelry. Cris let us pick our own dresses, shoes and jewelry. The bridesmaids all agreed to wear pearls, and we all had brown shoes. Crazy amounts of coincidence.

After our Bride was ready to go, we were met by the Groom and grooms men, and we loaded ourselves and our stuff into a limo. Our bouquets were waiting, and so was some champagne. We headed out to have our first pictures taken, at the Palace of Fine Arts. It was beautiful - clear, a little cold, but lovely. We took a ton of group shots, and their photographer Jonathan was great fun, too. He kept us moving quickly, since we still had a lot of ground to cover.

I'll post about the wedding and reception in the next update :)