My Garden Retreat

My Garden Retreat
photo Gridley Graves for Country Living

Road Trips, Wedding Dresses and Showers!

Hello Everyone!
Last week was a total whirlwind.  There were times when I couldn't tell if I was coming or going...or
If the sun was rising or setting.

Right after the French Market, My daughter April and I hit the road ...
3 and a half hours to Chicago to my dear friend Rebecca's in search of the perfect wedding dress for her destination wedding in January.
This was on Monday...


Over a dozen dresses...nothin!
Wednesday we did some shopping back home in Indiana in preparation for the Luncheon that was to be held at my house/studio on Sunday.
Thursday...another road trip. An hour and a half to the little town of Rochester and to see Miss Pamela herself. Miss Pamela's Plus Size is a wonderful bridal boutique filled with gorgeous dresses, helpful staff and very happy memories for April and me.

And then finally...she finds it. The very dress of her dreams! (Thank Goodness!)  We will have to wait until the wedding to share it with you though!

Back home... Our RSVP list went from 8 to 22 overnight! so, We headed South to Indianapolis for our shower gifts and dinner with hubby...who still didn't know we went over on the dress(oops)

On Friday and Saturday I had to get busy transforming my cottage studio into a tiny tearoom. 
April poured candles  to give as favors while I carted bin after bin, table after table to the garage. 
Then, for the inspiration...
We started with the invitation...something fun to set the tone....a Kitchen Shower/Luncheon

The guests were asked to bring back the recipe card with their favorite recipe.
Mason Jars and Red Gingham were April's choice for decor...

So, here's my recipe for a successful Bridal Luncheon/Shower!

A path to  lead the way to the studio/cottage ...

simple mason jar lanterns to light the way...

A welcoming entrance, and...

Tearoom style seating inside.

(April decided to use paper and plastic...not my usual choices but boy, am I glad we did! )

Add April, Amanda and lots of happy guests!

We served the drinks and dessert in mason jars.
Sandwiches,Salads and fruit in baskets~ buffet style!

So many wonderful gifts to shower our Bride and Groom!
Lucy thought it was a pretty good day too!
She got to drink straight from the fountain and meet new people! The perfect doggie day!

On Monday of this week...April and I hit the road once again with a dear friend  for a 2 and a half hour drive to the college town of Bloomington...a little shopping, lunch and a trip to Oliver Winery!

Where after a little tasting...2 cases of wine were loaded into our car.
Tuesday morning my darling daughter headed back home to her beloved Texas...a 15 hour road trip!
I was now past exhausted and made myself a little place to curl up on the couch, where I remain to this minute!
Tomorrow I plan to get my act together...but for now, I am watching shows on the dvr that I have had taped for months and walking around my poor neglected garden.
I still have to pick up my merchandise from Horton's. They were so kind to let me store it there until things calmed down a bit here.
So many of you have contacted me about things you have seen and want to purchase(thank you)
I promise...Next week, what I do have available will be loaded into my etsy store!
Until then, I am on the couch or outside on the deck!
Whew! it makes me tired all over just looking at this post!
I think I'm gonna get some more rest.
Have a blessed rest of the week and Thank you for stopping by!


  1. You know we just finished with my daughter's wedding a month ago...and we are still wore out. We talk about starting a project and then we look at each other and say, uh, it can wait!
    You are going to get a whole lot more tired girlfriend...just sayin'!

  2. Such an adorable shower, Love the red/white theme, your cottage was the perfect spot! rest up, you make me tired just reading this post! te he

  3. WOW! I'm exhausted just reading your post! Your daughter is going to be such a beautiful bride and I know she is thrilled with her dress!
    The shower was adorable. I love every one of your ideas!

  4. Donna, The young brides are so pretty. I don't know how people ever choose the perfect dress...but they do. Your tearoom shower looks so sweet. I love that it was easy with paper/plastic. Rest yourself for a bit Donna, you surely deserve to. Smiles, xo, Susie

  5. Donna- Those girls are just gorgeous- BEAUTIFUL young women!!! I love that she found the dress of her dreams. My youngest daughter looked for months right up until 2 weeks before her wedding. She, too, is plus sized and found it hard to find something flattering and feminine and just plain pretty....but she did.

    I love your shower/party ideas. You throw a wicked good party- xo Diana

  6. It has been fun but a bit much especially in all this heat.
    Glad you are resting up - you did good Girl!
    Bless you

  7. Absolutely lovely! As your stuff always is! good luck with all the wedding hoopla!

  8. April Lea StarnesThursday, July 26, 2012

    I know how you feel about relaxin... I haven't stopped resting since I got home late last night. Miss you Momma and thanks so much for the fun memories this trip. I love you and can't wait for October!

  9. wow you have been so busy and did I tell you that you are the MOST creative and classy person out in blogland??? You make things look so effortless Donna, and your results are always stunning!! Martha Stewart move over...the tea room shower was inspired and the outdoors was decorated so enchantingly!

  10. Helloooooooo dear! I hope that you have your feet up for a second!

    I agree with Amy. You have such a gift, Donna.
    (I know that your home renovation will be a book one day.)

    How sweet of you to take us along on the quest for THE dress!
    April is beautiful, and so are you!

    I love how you weaved all of the splendor of the shower with the beautiful images of your family. I loved every detail! Today's visit was like jumping into a story book. You know how to make a fairy tale REAL, my friend!


  11. I love the hanging parasols! My daughter is using some in her upcoming wedding (August 18th) but we never thought of HANGING them!

    Love it all!


  12. Girl you are simply amazing! I can't wait to see the dress! I knew April would find something! I so happy for her. And the shower! OMGoodness girl to are to much! Everything you touch comes to life! I love you and miss you!

  13. Good grief, but that was simply one of the best arranged luncheons I've seen...including the plastic and paper.
    I can only imagine how incredibly tired you are, but the smile and joy on April's beautiful face I'm willing to bet, makes each groan worth it.
    Get some rest...the fun's just gettin' started!

  14. Hi Donna!

    Oh the bride to be looks gorgeous in her dress! I remember shopping for wedding dresses like it was yesterday! And love what you did to the Tea Room - just beautiful! Girl, you have been busy! :) Wishing you a blessed weekend!

    Take care,

  15. This is all just too cute. What an adorable charming party ya'll had, and everyone looks like they had the best time, just look at those smiles! I love the little wreath you did, how adorable was that, and the umbrellas on the ceiling, and all the touches of red and gingham. I bet you were exhausted... oh my goodness... but you sure pulled that one off with flying colors!


  16. What a busy and successful week!

    ♥ Franka

  17. How was the door wreath created? Is there a tutorial because it is amazing :)


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~Donna Reyné