Elizabeth’s First Birthday!!

Elizabeth's 12 Month Picture from Cup of Tea

Mercy. I have a One year old.

You have been hearing all about the party planning and prep for several weeks now! So I thought I would share some pictures of the day itself, and some of the decorating touches.

One of the tricky parts of being in serious party planning mode is that you may forget to take pictures yourself. So I had to rely on a few Grandpa “shaky hand” pictures 🙂

But you’ll get the idea!!

Since we had all the family in town for Elizabeth’s birthday, we decided we would also have Elizabeth’s dedication at our church that same day. It was such a beautiful time, celebrating Elizabeth and dedicating her to God, as well as my husband and I, as her parents, who are charged with guiding her. So sweet.

Elizabeth did enjoy the Children’s Story, and peeking over at Grandpa!

Elizabeth at Church from Cup of Tea

On to the party that afternoon! The birthday girl actually slept through 1 whole hour of her party! I had to wake her up to do the cake 🙂

But once she was up and about, she loved cruising from room to room in our house, chatting with the guests.Chatting with the Birthday Girl from Cup of Tea

We had quite the housefull!! We had over 40 people there, with 15 kids under 3! Crazy! But we all had such a blast!!Lots of friends for the birthday!

Thank goodness for our finished playroom in the front of the house. It was constantly full of kids AND adults.Play Time from Cup of TeaPlay Time! From Cup of Tea

Elizabeth’s face when everyone started singing Happy Birthday was priceless! She looked so pleased! She started clapping, too. But she was a dainty cake eater (thank goodness!). She took little bites, and only managed to eat a quarter of cake.

Cake Time! From Cup of Tea

On Sunday morning, we went back to the playroom to open gifts!!

Presents Time in the playroom!

It was such a fun time with family and friends! Elizabeth is so loved, and it was such a blast having everyone together to shower her with love!

Since our theme was basically “Autumn”, I got to take advantage of my typical Fall decorations, and then kick it up a tiny notch. Here’s what I did!

For the front porch, I bought tons of mums! I thought one bright yellow mum at the corner, by the driveway, would be cheerful and a nice greeting. I tucked some raffia inside the pot to dress it up a little.

Mums touches from Cup of Tea

I loved the way the front porch came together!

Front porch decoration from Cup of Tea

On the front porch steps, I stacked various sizes of pumpkins and mums on the stairs. I decided again to tuck in raffia to tie it all together.

Gourds and Raffia from Cup of Tea

My urn planter still has some summer flowers in it. I didn’t want to replant it, so I decided that mini pumpkins and raffia would make it look on theme.

Refresh an urn from Cup of Tea

I jazzed up my usual raffia wreath with a simple chalkboard hung from it. I picked up the chalk board in the dollar section at Target.Raffia Wreath with a Twist from Cup of Tea

Moving inside, besides the typical decorations of faux pumpkins in cabinets and wreaths on doors, I did a few other touches.

In the playroom, we hung up some burlap twine and hung some pictures from Elizabeth’s first year.

Picture wire from Cup of Tea

We also did something similar near the food table. I printed off Elizabeth’s monthly pictures and just simply taped them up on the wall with some glittery gold washi tape.

Monthy pictures from Cup of Tea

The color is poor, BUT my mom borrowed a felt flower garland from a friend of hers. In fact, the garland got used at my sister’s wedding as well. It’s made the rounds at our family events 🙂 This bay window is our eat in kitchen area, behind our kitchen table, where we had all the food staged. It helped dress up the area.

Felt Garland from Cup of Tea

I forgot to snap a picture of the table fully set, but you get an idea of what we did! I found a brown plaid blanket at Ikea on my August trip. We casually placed it on the table, and used some boxes underneath to raise up a few platters.

Planning the food table at the Cup of Tea blog

On the mantle, I added in a faux door swag inside my large lantern. For height (it’s a HUGE built in TV nook over our fireplace, but we don’t have a TV!) I wanted an arrangement in my hurricane urn. My mom literally just walked out to my front yard, snipped some branches, and came in and arranged it. I think it looks amazing!

Fall Mantle from the Cup of Tea

I wish I had some more pictures to share! I kicked myself after it was all said and done that I didn’t take pictures myself.

There may be better pictures floating out there that family and friends took, but I hated to wait!! If there are real gems, I’ll keep you posted 🙂

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DIY Fall Raffia Wreath

DIY Fall Raffia Wreath | Cup of Tea
Once Labor Day comes and goes, I instantly leap in to Fall decorating mode. I’m apparently not the only one – my Pinterest feed is absolutely littered with cozy images, pretty colored leaves and mugs of warm drinks.My goal this week is to start hauling out my Fall decorations. Decorating the house is such fun! But I sometimes struggle with the front porch.I’m resurrecting one of my very first posts, because it’s timely!  It’s this awesome Raffia Wreath from the Stone Gable blog. I’ve made this wreath two years in a row, and will definitely be doing it again. It is really easy to make and looks so festive when it’s done! It transitions nicely from early Fall all the way through Thanksgiving.

The instructions from Stone Gable are helpful! But I’ve added my own tips below.

You can find all the materials at your local craft store:

1 large bag natural raffia
1 18″ straw wreath (don’t remove the plastic!)
~50 floral u pins

Here are the materials, ready to go! (Plus coffee.  Always better to craft with coffee).

You’ll see 3 bags of raffia in the above picture. The first year I made this wreath, I used almost 3 bags. Last year, I only needed one bag. The wreath wasn’t as full, but it looks so much better!

I recommend doing this project outside. It can get a tad messy.  But, with that being said, this wreath isn’t supposed to look perfect.  It needs to look untidy.

I don’t use the glue gun as Stone Gable suggested.  I just don’t think it’s necessary.

Another tip is to alternate the length of the bundles you create. This will help the “messy” look that makes this wreath so great!


To start, overlap your bundles, one horizontal, then the next vertical.  Pin the next bundle close-ish to the previous bundle.

Once I have my first 5 or so bundles pinned down, I take my scissors, cut the loops, and check the spacing and coverage.  If it looks good, keep going around the wreath!  If you’re noticing gaps or can see the pins, pin your bundles closer together OR make your bundles smaller.  Sometimes, the more loose your bundle and the larger the loops, the more gaps there are.

You will be VERY fussy with it for the first few loops.  Then once you get in a rhythm, you will get faster and not be as careful about being neat.  This is critical – don’t try to make it neat. It looks so much better when it’s messy and a little random.

Once you get all the way around the wreath, hold it up and start snipping the loops.  You don’t have to worry about snipping all the loops!  I just randomly hacked away.  I like leaving some of the loops in tack here and there.  You will then want to give your wreath a hair cut 🙂  My first attempt was so full that it ended up looking furry…

You will also want to make sure you can see the center hole of the wreath!  The first year my husband commented that the wreath was missing a hole, and looked like a bad doughnut.

This wreath takes about 30 minutes to put together!  You could also wire in berries, pinecones, etc. if you want some color too it.  But I love the natural look since our door is so dark.

I hope it works for you!!  Hurrah for Fall!

Want more Fall fun? Check out my Autumn Pinterest board:

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Staging a Coffee Table – A Work in Progress


Welcome to my sunroom!  It’s a cheerful room at the back of our house, with windows on three walls.  I love this room!  (I haven’t taken down the boxwood wreaths/ribbon from Christmas yet… sigh)  Ick, sorry the below picture is so dark!  It’s a catch-22 taking pictures in a room with a ton of windows!  Take pictures on a dreary day, and you may have a dark picture.  Take it on a sunny day, and you’ll get tons of glare!


We had been borrowing our cute mahogany coffee table from our living room to use in the sunroom, since we spent so much time in there.  But it meant that any time we used our living room, there was no place to stick a hot drink!  Horrible!  So I knew we needed a coffee table for the sunroom.  I wanted a more casual table, and settled on a rattan chest from Wayfair (currently not available, but a similar look can be found here).

When it arrived, I’ll admit… I didn’t love it.  I liked it, but didn’t oooo and aaaaahhh like I had seeing it on the website.  And can you blame me?  The rattan color was a close match to our jute rug.  The table was shorter than our other coffee table, so, even though I measured it before purchasing, it felt dinky in person.20140204-120210.jpg

See what I mean?  Blah and boring……. I actually felt guilty about the purchase!!

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Festive Fall Raffia Wreath

Can you believe it’s already November?  Fall is my favorite season.  Our house has been decorated inside since Labor Day, but I have been a tad slow getting our front step/door finished.  I bought a few mums, and they are thriving.  But the front door has been naked!!

So, it is time to make a wreath!  I made this Raffia Wreath from the Stone Gable blog last year.  It was really easy and looked so festive when it was done! It transitioned nicely from early fall all the way through Thanksgiving!  I didn’t end up saving it because I was concerned the raffia wouldn’t hold up well in storage.  But this year I think I’ll try saving it.  
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