» June 2012 «

Jungle Paper Mobile

Recently I’ve been working on a few decorations for a friend’s baby shower in July. Their nursery is going to have jungle decor so we decided to extend the theme to the shower as well.

paper jungle mobile baby shower

I found a beautiful animal print fabric for a table runner ($5/yd) and decided to contrast the muted browns with bright jungle colors.

Here are a few simple steps to making your own mobile:

1.) Cut cardstock into 1X8-inch strips. I used seven shades of brown, green, yellow and gray.

2.) Next, line the colors up in gradient order and decide on your mobile length. I ended up using 28 strips of paper for each mobile.

3.) After deciding pattern and length, stack the strips in order and head to your sewing machine. Place a piece of tape on the machine as a guide to help you sew straight down the middle of each strip of paper.

4.) Sew. Simply push each piece of paper under the needle, continue stitching until you have achieved the desired distance between strips and then place the next strip under the needle. Be sure to leave excess string on each end of your mobile for hanging.

5.) If you are using a light-weight paper, such as vellum you may want to weigh down the end of your string after hanging to avoid curling at the bottom of the mobile. Project Wedding makes this mobile with vellum and attaches a fishing weight at the bottom to weigh it down. The card stock however, is heavy enough that this curling does not occur (hence my choosing cardstock). The cardstock is also a cheaper purchase than vellum.

Project wedding vellum mobile: $25
Sweet Peonies cardstock mobile: $10 (even less if you already have various pieces of cardstock on hand like me)

I love how the mobiles turned out. I have made 5 so far and will hang them above the food table at the baby shower. I am also tying in the jungle greens by placing tall ornamental grasses on the table and surrounding areas which should complement the green mobiles nicely. I hope you’ve enjoyed this little sneak peek at the jungle baby shower. I’ll be sure to post pictures of the finished event. You can see finished photos of the baby shower here.

Jungle Gift Wrap

Jungle-themed baby showers seem to be very in vogue this year. Why not make your shower gift stand out by matching the wrap to the jungle theme?

jungle gift wrap

This simple gift wrap idea uses one $.97 swatch of giraffe fabric, a small piece of twine, and 2 leaves from my front porch. Total wrapping time–3 minutes.

jungle giraffe gift wrap

Welcome to our new site!

Welcome to our new site, Sweet Peonies! This past year I’ve been talking with Jack about all the changes I would like to make to the blog if only I knew how. He, being the wonderful husband that he is, decided to learn all the coding necessary for making my blogging dreams come true! I think the design of our new blog is much more in line with my taste and style and it will open the door for some fun new post themes in the future.

Since Jack has put so much time into the little details of this blog, those that may be overlooked, I thought I would take a moment to point out and explain a few changes.

Of course, the first thing you’ll notice is our name change. Although The Kitchen Curtains served us well this past year, I think our new name Sweet Peonies is more my style–simple, concise, & sweet. Growing up, my mom had nicknames for my sister and I. Kendra was mom’s “sunshine” and I was her “sweet pea.” I decided to combine that with my love of flowers and nature and so, here you are reading this post at Sweet Peonies.

Next, we changed the blog colors a bit. I like the bolds that were prevalent on the old site but, at heart, I’m a simple girl who likes neutrals colors, clean lines, nature, western-themes & delicate details. That seemed like a tall order to design for the entrance page to the blog so we chose to focus on clean lines and simplicity which I think shows through our colors, title, and layout.

Jack has managed simple highlighting behind each section of text on our pages. I think my favorite technical aspect is probably the blog color wheel that you’ll see when you hover over each category on the menu bar—isn’t he clever?

Also, for those of you who may enjoy reading on-the-go, the blog has reactivity to screen size. Check us out on your iphone or ipod to see what I mean. Of course, there are still a few kinks popping up with this one but it is working more consistently now.

Another neat addition is the muted post sections. Roll your mouse over the social bars on each post (pin, google, facebook, etc.), you’ll notice the bars come to life when you roll over them. A simple addition but I think it helps make the overall design.

There are many other “behind the scenes” design treats coded into the site that I’ll be honest I don’t quite understand but I am ever so grateful to my husband for including. He is still working on our new gallery viewing format for the “Photos” tab but it will be a few more weeks before we can incorporate the new layouts.

I hope you enjoy the changes we’ve made, take your time and take a look around. Let us know what you think about the new site and please leave a message for Jack letting him know his hard work has paid off well. I’ve been told to expect some intermittent “blackouts” for the first 24 hours so if you get an error message, just try reloading.

Thanks for reading and I look forward to sharing new posting categories with you in the next few months.

Sweet Pink Bouquet + Herbs

For this week’s Friday at the Farm, we had our first bridal luncheon of the summer. In fact, the only bridal luncheon on the books this year. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this event, Linda gives our brides the option of having a bridal luncheon the day before their wedding. This luncheon allows the bride and bridesmaids to relax on the farm for a couple of hours and basically play with flowers. Sounds nice, right?!

pink bridesmaid bouquet

We teach the ladies how to arrange their bouquets for the big day and, of course, help them as needed. Some brides and bridesmaids are quick to catch on to the techniques involved in hand-held-bouquet-making, others prefer to have us shape the bulk of their arrangement–either way, the bridal luncheons are fun for all.

pink bridesmaid bouquet

Linda and I also arranged market bouquets following the luncheon festivities. Here is one of my favorite arrangements from the day. I also found a fantastic new picture spot on the farm–love this lighting.

Arrangement: sweet peas, decorative sage, dianthus, mountain mint (smells SO good), oregano, goose neck

Sycamore Shoals in the Summer

Recently, Jack and I have been diligent in carrying out our summer exercise routine. Our slow and clumsy pace is not helped by the ever increasing heat and humidity of East Tennessee. Lucky for us, the view is fantastic! Check out a few more pictures of our favorite piece of Tennessee earth.

Sycamore Shoals State Park

Pasta Dinner Gift Basket

A new baby, sick friend, a college student getting ready for finals–there are always opportunities to prepare a meal for someone in need. Unfortunately, not everyone has time to prepare an extra meal in the middle of a busy week.

The next time you contribute food to a friend in need, consider assembling pre-cooked ingredients in a small basket that they can quickly throw together. Half the battle when feeling sick and tired is choosing what to eat & then finding the necessary ingredients.

pasta gift wrap

In our home, we love fresh produce, so when gifting a meal I try to include at least one fresh fruit or vegetable. I think most individuals are just as pleased to receive fresh healthy produce that can be added to any meal as they are to receive pre-cooked macaroni casseroles.

For a simple dinner your friend can assemble in a jiff, consider this pasta dinner gift basket complete with fresh green onions, tomato, garlic & basil. Throw in a package or two of whole wheat pasta and a jar of olive oil and they are set for a healthy quick-fix meal.

Scotch Tasting Party

One of our good friends had his quarter century birthday this past week. To celebrate, his wife (Kristin) threw a small Scotch tasting party. Her decorations were so clever I had to snap a few photos to share with you.

scotch tasting party

Kristin set up five tasting stations, one for each region of Scotland–Campbeltown, Highlands, Lowlands, Speyside & Islay. Each station had a different tartan plaid, grassy arrangement, picture of the area in Scotland from which that scotch hailed, and a framed sheet outlining the various characteristics of the scotch we were to taste.

She also researched which foods paired well with each scotch and set those out at the appropriate stations (sushi, eggplant hummus, sushi, bread, olives, cheese, apples with cinnamon and honey, and chocolate-covered espresso beans).

A cute little make-your-own drinks station was set up in the kitchen, complete with grenadine flavors, Pellegrino and fruit. Yumm!

scotch tasting party

Since I have a bit of a sweet tooth, my favorite part of the evening was the “You Make Me Want to Stout” cupcakes. Absolutely incredible award-winning cupcake recipe. It used three different types of beer, one for the cake, one for the filling and one for the frosting–seriously, how can you go wrong?

This was a very enjoyable birthday celebration and so fitting for someone turning 25. I hope Kristin’s genius party planning serves as inspiration when gearing up for your next event.

Farmer’s Market Flower Bouquets

Today was another glorious Friday out at Aunt Willie’s Wildflowers. With no weddings on the books this weekend, we were able to devote ourselves fully to the task of arranging bucket upon bucket of market bouquets for the Kingsport Farmer’s Market. Linda’s customers will be SO happy.

Beautiful flowers to work with, beautiful weather to work in, beautiful scenery surrounding our work space, all in all a fantastic way to end the week. Here are a few photos of the flowers we had to work with this week.

farmer's market cut flower bouquet

farmer's market cut flower bouquet

farmer's market cut flower bouquet

farmer's market cut flower bouquet

Gift Wrap: Blue & Red Straws

I’ve recently become slightly obsessed with straws. I see them everywhere and they are so enticing with their bright colors, fun designs and cheap price tag. I picked up a pack of 100 fluorescent straws for a grand total of $.99 this week. I have a couple ideas in mind for these straws but for today, I chose to incorporate them into my gift wrap.

I simply placed one strip of double sided tape across the top of a wrapped box. Then I lined the straws up so they covered the top of the box. After the top of my box was covered, I wrapped a red ribbon around the box and straws and hot glued a blue flower on top. That’s it. The entire wrapping process took about 10 minutes.

blue and red straws, gift wrap

Wedding + Flower Girl Headband

This past week, the flower farm crew learned to stretch our imaginations a little bit farther than usual. This was the first time we were asked to arrange two weddings on the same day, and to make it a bit more interesting…two vastly different color palettes and settings.

Wedding #1: flowy, wild & bright; different flowers for each bouquet, outdoor wedding
Flowers: grasses, mint, sunflowers, larkspur, black-eyed susans, lilies, bells of ireland, feverfew, campanula, and more.

Wedding #2: neat, rounded bouquets, specific color pallet: periwinkle and raspberry, continuity across bouquets& arrangements
Flowers: blue, white and pink hydrangea (we even spray-painted a few–yes, this is an option), hot pink roses, snapdragons, holly, feverfew

We also made a grand total of 23 boutonnieres this week (trust me, that’s a lot).

Flower Girl Headband Bright Colors

Although vastly different in flowers and setting, both weddings were quite beautiful. My absolute favorite part of arranging these weddings, however, was the flower girl headbands. And, of course, I never took a finished photo of the pieces (grr). However, if you will excuse the sad, unfinished photos I can show you the headbands minus the ribbon.

I picked up these plastic headbands with a thin layer of foam on top in Walmart’s craft section for $1.17. To attach the flowers, I simply arranged two small grouping of flowers and greens in my hand and wrapped the stems with florist tape, as you would a boutonniere.

Next, I placed the larger grouping higher on the side of the headband, stem-ends facing down (toward your ear) and attached it to the headband by wrapping the stems to the band with florist tape. Then I took the smaller grouping and attached it to the band with stems facing up (toward the top of your head) and sort-of wedged under the flowers of the first grouping. So, the two flower bunches are facing each other (you can see the shape we are going for in the photo of Kristin’s yellow headband).

Flower Girl headband muted colors

The last step, not shown here, is to wrap the ribbon of your choosing around the rest of the head band. I made a small knot under the edge of the flowers on each side (so it can’t be seen) and continued to wrap down toward the ends of the headband where I tied off the ribbon with another small knot.

I know that sounds a bit confusing but once you start the process, it comes pretty naturally. The brightly-colored headband is the one I made, the muted yellow one was made by my good friend Kristin who keeps me sane on those days I can’t seem to find a rhythm to my arranging. Don’t we all need one of those friends? I hope this has been an enjoyable read for you. Best of luck!

Wine Bottle + Lace Gift Wrap

The next time you bring a bottle of wine to a dinner party consider dressing up the bag to make your contribution stand out. That’s right, just dress up the plain boring paper bag from the store. All it takes is a small segment of lace, a glue gun, and, if you feel like going the extra mile, a section of ribbon.

Simply start at the bottom of the bag (with wine inside) and work your way up the bottle at a diagonal angle, gluing the edge of the lace or ribbon as you circle the bag. I also took a match and burned the top edges of the paper bag for the finishing touch.

Bold & Bright Wedding Arrangement

Hello friends, Jack and I just got back from a mini-vacation to see the family–at least some of them. So, to make up for missing Floral Friday, here is a little post on a beautiful and bold wedding arrangement made for a bright wedding two weeks ago.

Seriously, isn’t this arrangement gorgeous?!

Bright Wedding Flower Arrangement

I can’t get over how simple and breathtaking these flowers are, and so simple. Some of my favorite flowers are the ones that grow in mixed colors, you see this effect with flowers like Dahlias, which no one can deny they are beautiful. However, there is something about the pure colors–especially pure and bold like this arrangement.

This arrangement began in a pastel-colored pitcher but we discovered white was the only way to go. The flowers are gorgeous on their own and a colored pitcher didn’t make as big of a statement. Here’s another picture for you.


Pink Peonies
Magenta Snapdragons
White Snapdragons
Blue Delphinium
Hosta Leaves
Bells of Ireland
Ornamental Grasses


This arrangement starts out a bit different from what I normally recommend. There is not much filler used so I would start with your tall stems that are used most, in this case the snapdragons. Next, add in the little bit of filler–Bells of Ireland (the green things that look like bells–just in case you needed help with that).

Bright Wedding Flower Arrangement

Now we need to focus on pulling the eye downward. Start by placing pink peonies low in the arrangement, nearly to the vase rim. The sunflowers have large stems so I would cut those lower than the snaps but higher than the peonies. Make sure you don’t cut them all the exact same height, you want these to be varied throughout the middle third of the arrangement height. Add these next since they will fill large holes and take up much of the vase space.

Now you can add the delicate-stemmed delphinium for beautiful pops of bluish-purple color. Finally add the Hosta leaves around the rim of the vase, as if cradling the peonies. Hosta leaves give the eye an end point for the arrangement.