A Baby Shower? My First Grandchild

A baby shower?  My first grandchild…

I had a friend recently suggest that I share a new phase of my life with my readers…that of …GRANDMOTHER!  (Thank you, Cindy!)  Yes, my oldest daughter is expecting our first grandchild in December.  She and her husband live in Vermont, so I won’t get to see the little darling as much as I’d like; but I will make the most of every chance I get!

This weekend, I will have all my children home – all six; four daughters and two sons-in-law!  They are traveling from California, Philadelphia, Vermont, and Southern Connecticut for Kathleen’s baby shower. Is that a supportive family, or what?

But this creates a problem. What DOES a mother give to her daughter upon the occasion of her first child’s birth?  I thought, and I thought…and I THOUGHT.   I finally decided to give gifts from the heart.  Our Kathleen is very family centered, very sentimental.  I think she will be pleased.

Above is a cast I made of three year old KK’s hand.  I have saved it all these years, and it has survived through many corporate moves.  It is time for her to have it.  And…it’s time to make a cast of her own little girl’s hand… (photo of her kit below).

Below is the baby blanket I crocheted for the baby.  Are the colors traditional?  No. They are bold and sassy, just like Kathleen.  I have a feeling her baby girl will follow suit…

I think my favorite gift is the one above.  I saved the “Mother/Daughter” outfits we are wearing in the photo above for 27 years.  I recently had KK’s little outfit dry-cleaned, and lovingly washed and starched the little white blouse.  Then I had a photo made of the two of us in the outfits.  This photo, by the way, is my favorite picture of myself.  We all have our favorites, and this is mine.  In it, I am expecting daughter number two, Maggie, making it doubly meaningful.  I also have a new pair of little black patent leather “mary jane” shoes, tights and a cute headband to go with the outfit, but didn’t photo them.  I guess you’ll just have to use your imagination!  🙂

When I look at the blanket above, I tear up.  It was made by my wonderful grandmother, Julia, (whom our youngest is named after), and my precious Aunt Billie.  Both have passed.  This blanket was used by all four of my girls; but there is not a stain on it.  It has soft flannel on one side, (made by Aunt Billie), and crochet work on the other, made by my grandmother.  I have included “Dreft” baby soap and stain remover.  Babies’ skin is so delicate, you must use nothing else than a baby “soap”.

What is the photo above?  It’s a tiny enamel St. Christopher metal.  I know, I know.  Little baby girl will have to be much older when she can wear it, but it will be waiting for the day.  All my daughters and I wear these metals.  St. Christopher is the patron saint of travelers, and we all do a lot of that!  But – I think they are so pretty.  We all have them in varying sizes and colors.  I own 5 myself.  I often gift the girls with a new one upon a special occasion.  Do you think KK will receive one in December?  This metal is engraved with “December, 2017”.  We are unsure of baby’s name, and of course don’t know her birth date yet…

Diapers…enough said…  😉

Perhaps this will not be my last grand baby post.  Know this…I will share a picture when she comes…



How To Choose A Headpiece

How to choose a headpiece for your wedding ensemble?  The more weddings I do, the more brides I see without a wedding veil.  Perhaps because many of the weddings I’m involved with are outside?  What are my thoughts on this?  My thoughts… the choice is not mine.  Whatever a bride wants is what’s correct.  Personally?  For my own daughters?  I love the wedding veil. I think it makes a bride look like a bride.  If one chooses to wear a veil, then there are more decisions to make.  Will you have a “blusher” – meaning will you cover your face with a veil?  If so, you may want to consider some sort of headpiece to elevate the blusher on your hair and create the best possible platform.

Below is my own headpiece nestled in my veil.  I had my dress and veil preserved.  As clean as I thought my gown was, it was stained.  My veil and headpiece, however, looked great.  I was thrilled when my two oldest daughters chose to wear it, with their own veils, of course.

(If you’d like to read more about the wedding veil, and it’s history, click on the link below).

History of the wedding veil

Mary P. Karnes Photos

Below, my oldest, Kathleen, in my headpiece.  She is pictured with her sisters.  In the next photo, daughter number two, Maggie, with me, wears my headpiece as well.

Hannah Rachael Colt Photos

Stephan Wang

But maybe you need a little direction in how to choose your headpiece.  Below is an EXCELLENT chart to direct you.  When you shop for your dress, even if you think you have decided AGAINST a veil, just try one on.  The vision you will see in the mirror, with the iconic veil, just may change your mind!



What about a headpiece with no veil?  Well, I think the creation below is exquisite.  If you’re a brunette, clear stones are a great choice.  A blond? Perhaps a tiara with colored stones, or a floral headpiece.


Would you like to wear a veil, but don’t desire something on top of your head?  Then this comb is for you.  it will hold your veil in place, but not compete with your hairstyle.


And what would a post about my headpiece be without a photo of me wearing it?  Below, there I am with my husband of almost 34 years.


Wedding Vendor Tipping Guide

Wedding Vendor Tipping Guide:  

This post will hopefully help clarify your role in the tipping process.  Our country, unlike most European countries, has a love/hate relationship with tipping.  But we do it, they don’t. The custom is a cause of wedding anxiety, and it is not inexpensive.  In fact, it is the number one “unexpected/unplanned expense of a wedding.”


A big item to watch  for… do your catering, transportation, DJ, photography, contracts already include gratuities in your final price?  If so, you’ve already paid.

I know as a “Mother of the Bride” when I received my final bill for the photographer, and DJ, they included the gratuity in the bill. It was “optional”.  I had to have the bill reworked to reflect that I chose to tip on my own. But you may be of a mind to pay for your gratuity in your final bill.  That way, you have less cash to carry around the day of the wedding.  You may even be able to put it on your credit card.  Be forewarned, however… it takes away your option of tipping on performance. By pre-paying vendors’ tips, they have their gratuity before even showing up.


Your catering contract almost ALWAYS doesn’t give you that option.  The gratuity is included and part of the bill, period!  The same is true for many, but not all, limo services.  Most include the “gratuity” in your bill. It is built in and you must pay it.

If you choose to pay tips in cash at the end of the wedding, have a responsible party hold and distribute the tips.  I suggest having cash ready, counted and placed in sealed envelopes with vendors’ names attached, at least one day before the wedding.

But how much to tip?  The chart below is one of the best I’ve found.  Hopefully, it will be helpful!

Bartenders: 10 percent of the total liquor bill  (to be split among them)
Bathroom attendants: $1 to $2 per guest
Catering manager: $200+ or a personal gift
Chef: $100+
Coat check attendants: $1 to $2 per guest
Hairstylist: 15 to 20 percent
Hotel chambermaids: $2 to $5 per room; $10 to $15 if you used a suite as your dressing room
Limo or bus drivers: 15 percent
Maitre d’hotel or headwaiter: 1 to 3 percent of food and beverage fees
Makeup artist: 15 to 20 percent
Musicians: 15 percent of fee for ceremony musicians; $25 to $50 per musician for reception
Photographer/videographer: If you’re paying a flat fee with no overtime, $100
Valet or parking attendants: $1 to $2 per car; 15 percent for valet parking
Waiters: $20 and up each (distributed by the catering manager or maitre d’)
Wedding planner: 15 percent of fee or a personal gift




And remember…it is always appropriate to recognize someone’s excellent service.  Keep a little extra cash on hand in case you’ve forgotten someone, or a vendor has gone above and beyond and you wish to recognize him.



Interesting Ways To Use Perishables At Your Wedding

Have you thought of this?  Interesting ways to use perishables at your wedding!  We all know “wristlets” are an iconic way to display flowers for you attendants or honored guests.  But have you ever seen something like the photo below?  Not only is it a very cool bracelet, but the “flowers” of choice are succulents.  I LOVE this.  Would I pick this option?  Probably not.  But I’d love to see it at a wedding.


How about the bow tie below?  It could serve as the gentlemen’s tie AND their flowers!  No need for a boutonnière.  I find it surprising how few men AND women know how to attach a boutonnière.  Remember, use two pins, cross them, and go in through the BACK of the lapel.


It’s quite common for couples to use their dogs as ring bearer/flower girl attendants.  The large wreath on the pup below is rather novel, however. What a cutie!




While using flowers as table decor is not new, the extravagance of the photo above is.  I love the opulence of this.


In my opinion…mason jars can not be overused.  Unless you are having a formal affair, that is.  The above jars offer triple service: a lovely centerpiece, an aromatic device and a candle!  And I bet they weren’t cost prohibitive, either!


We’ve all seen photos of brides with flowers in their hair, from Sarah, Duchess of York’s orange blossom wreath, to gentle halos.  But how about the full-blown roses in this bride’s hair?  One would need to have long and full hair to pull it off, but I think it’s spectacular.

Just think outside the box when considering perishable/natural products and you will amaze even yourself at your options!