Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Pine Cone Garland

The holidays are fast approaching, and I must admit that I am not ready.  I need to decorate!  I came across this great pine cone garland and instructions on how to make it at Twig and Thistle.

 Since I have some large pines in the yard, I am heading out right now to gather some for my mantle!  I may spray mine with a little silver paint for a touch of glimmer.  Our living room is a tad dark and I think that shimmer may brighten things up and add a touch of holiday magic!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Gift Tags for the Holidays

While shopping on Etsy last night, I came across these wonderful gift tags by Susan of Qdesigns. They have a feel for the past, with a sparkle towards the future! What a nice way to top a gift. You can find them at her Etsy shop, http://www.qdesigns.etsy.com

I love these Season Greeting tags with chocolate brown ribbons.  The brown is so rich, and the mistletoe are a nice added touch.

These old fashioned feather trees speak of Christmas's past, while embellishments of red crystals give a nod to the present.

I think these tags would be perfect for a man's gift with the barber shopish striped ribbon.  A little something handmade brings Christmas back to me, how about you?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Refreshing Thanksgiving Salad

We all know that we will be eating some tasty, yet rich foods for Thanksgiving, so here's a light, crisp and clean salad to clear your palate...

You can find this recipe at the Foodnetwork.  I might just add some dried cranberries for added color on Thanksgiving, but it sure was delicious for lunch!  A very Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

Monday, November 23, 2009


I do so look forward to Thanksgiving.  It's a wonderful day spent with family, sharing a meal, great conversation and laughter too.  I don't go overboard.  In our family, one person makes the turkey, and the other families that are coming make the sides and deserts so it is an easy day for all.

I found these sweet little place cards on Martha Stewart's website:

Martha Stewart offers a free printable pdf file of these place cards.  Simply print, cut and write.  (I love the tray too!)  You can find the instructions here.

Friday, November 6, 2009

A Candy Bar For Kids

My daughter was looking over my shoulder when I was on the computer checking out some visual blogs. She saw a wonderful photo of a candy bar at a wedding and declared that this was what she wanted for her upcoming fifth birthday party. Well, it was just so cute, that I had to give it a try. I started by searching for images with google to get some ideas. There were so many great displays it was hard to focus and come up with scaled down version. (Kids + Sugar?)

Photo by Stephanie Albanese

Photo by Stephanie Albanese

Photo by Stephanie Albanese

Photo by Stephanie Albanese

I had some great apothocary jars I purchased a few years ago from a store that was going out of business. I added to them with one from Michael's and another from Marshall's. The rest of the glass items I found around the house.

Photo by Stehanie Albanese

We hung quite a few balloons from the trees with fishing line. The effect of the light coming through them was fantastic and the wind was gently blowing all day. (We're lucky to have an air compressor, which helped to get all of these balloons up in no time.)

Photo by Stephanie Albanese

I found these cute little favor boxes in the clearance isle at Michaels. My friend tells me to always check the clearance isle, so I did and it certainly paid off. We filled the boxes with cupcake shaped lipglosses from WishingFish and these cute little necklaces I made. (Magnetic clasps for safety.)

I found the perfect invitation on Etsy at Littlebean Boutique. I purchased matching thank you notes and stickers for the favor boxes.

I made these cones to fill with candy with scrapbook paper. (they remind me of the take out cones you get fish and chips in!) I just twisted them into a cone shape and glued them. I think this is a great way to continue with your theme as there are so many papers to choose from. I was a little torn on which way to go, as I had found some popcorn box templates online and many other types of boxes that can easily be assembled at home.

I found cupcake and ice cream shaped cookie cutter at Crate and Barrel. It was so much fun decorating them! (Use Royal Icing, it gets hard, unlike regular icing. You can purchase meringue powder or Just Whites if you are concerned about raw egg whites.)

Photo by Stephanie Albanese

Don't forget some snacks for the adults!  We had some cheese and crackers and this lovely selection of fruit for all.

Ever since my friend had petit fours at her bridal shower, I have been enamoured with them. They are so delicate, colorful and pretty. Yummy too. So I picked some up at our local Fresh Market to add to our sweets table.

I was inspired by this picture of marshmallow pops. In the end, I came up with pink strawberry flavored marshmallows dipped in white chocolate and various sprinkles. Of course the morning of the party I was trying to figure out how I would make them stand up. Since I didn't have styrofoam to cover with candy, I used sugar.

I picked up various types of sprinkles so the kids could decorate their own cupcakes.  Thanks Wegmans!) We also played pin the candle on the cupcakes and twister. The kids had fun keeping balloons in the air and simple free play. We had a fabulous day and enjoyed the crisp fall weather.

A special thanks to my very good friend Stephanie for taking the beautiful pictures!  You can check out her website here and her blog here.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Halloween is Fast Approaching...

I can't believe it's almost Halloween. Just when I think I've seen it all, I find some new and very creative ways to celebrate the day.

I found these sweet cookies at Better Homes and Gardens. I love the stylized spider web. It looks so pretty, yet it's easy to do. Ice the cookies with white icing, while it's still wet, swirl a line of black icing in a concentric circle. Then pull a toothpick through the icing from the inside out to the edge.

These pumpkins remind me of intricate paper cuttings or pierced pottery. You can learn how to make them at Martha Stewart.

I think these vintage postcard cookies are classic. The designs are available in wafer sheets that you place on top of icing. Details are available at Fancy Flours.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Celebrating Chocolate as Art

This past week, I was driving on route 78 with my daughter when it occurred to me that I had read an article about a Patisserie in Hellertown, Pennsylvania and had yet to visit it. So we pulled off the Hellertown exit and into the parking lot at Dolce Patisserie.

Inside the shop, there was a glass case filled with these most amazing little chocolates. They were perfectly formed, shiny, almost luminescent. It was hard to choose just a few. From front to back, we have dark chocolate, sugar cookie, pumpkin and creme brulee. We also sampled coconut, and we're sorry to say it didn't make it to be photographed, as we just had to eat them all! Pastry chef Alan Piotti was busy making some yummy looking apple tarts but he took the time to explain that the science of chocolate is how he makes such perfect pieces. These little treasures are so beautiful, they would make a great little gift. I picture them at each place setting over the holidays. Stop in Dolce Patisserie and see the masterpieces for yourself. I'm sure you will not leave empty handed!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Cool Kid Present

Cole is always excited when Aunt Karen comes to visit. She always comes up with something special we've never seen before.

Knowing Cole's interest in crystals and gems... Karen found this very cool box with maps on the outside.

Inside she placed shaved wood and selected some really cool rocks for the treasure inside. A rock and mineral book to identify them all tops it off. The snake was inside guarding the gems!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

An Indiana Jones Birthday

My son is turning seven, and he has asked for an Indiana Jones birthday party. Well, I have to admit that I am not much for character parties with premade plates, cups and napkins. My one concession was the invitation. I found these on Baysic Design's Etsy shop. You send a picture of your child to her and she sends a file back to you that you may print or email. How simple is that?

Cole was so excited when he saw the finished invitation. You can get your own here.

I founds some inexpensive fabric at Joanne Fabrics to make a tent like structure. My sister found some rope at our local hardware store to hang from the trees above our deck.

We wrapped some snakes in the ropes, since Indiana Jones is afraid of snakes. (The snakes were part of Cole's present from his Aunt Karen... more on that in the next post!)

We had an easy activity to start with. The children broke up into groups and took turns wrapping each other into mummies! They were giggling and having so much fun. We certainly got our money worth out of a few rolls of toilet paper!

I made this little pillow pouches myself. I found the paper at Michael's in the scrapbooking section. The template for the pouch was at the Got Crafts blog here. I put the paper in my printer and printed the template on the back. Easy cutting and gluing and voila. Now I have to tell you that I made these pouches because I couldn't find exactly what I was looking for, and I didn't have enough time to have something shipped. If you are not into making things, or simply do not have the time, you can find some wonderful boxes at LilithEvy's Etsy shop. We filled ours with magic tricks from the dollar store.

We found "chalices" on line at a floral supply house. I purchased jewels with stickers on the back at Oriental Trading, and glitter, gold and silver markers at Michaels. While the kids were decorating their goblets, my friends hid treasures in the yard. (Thanks Robin and Tara!)

It was important to me to find jewels that looked real. The kids were so into them!

I made these pyramid boxes to hold faceted "jewels" that I also found on Etsy. My son picked out colors for each of his friends, we filled the boxes with shredded wood and one large jewel. I wrote each child's name on the box and we hid them around the yard for a treasure hunt. Here is the link to the pyramid box template I found online.

To keep the kids busy, we had another activity. Originally I thought I'd send these home with the kids, but they had great fun being archeoligists digging out egyptian treasures. The Pyramid Dig Kit is from Oriental Trading.

I found some edible jewel decorations on Fancy Flours to decorate the cupcakes, and some "crystal" skulls too. We ordered plain cupcakes at Wegmans and decorated them a few minutes before the party.

Friday, September 11, 2009

My Sister is flying across the country...

and we are so exciting to see her! Whenever I have an overnight guest coming to visit, I like to make sure they feel very welcome and at home in our home. A few little unexpected touches are sure to warm their heart.

Nicely folded extra thick towels in white feel fresh and lush. A little gift on top is an idea I learned from my sister. We often exchange new products that are small and easily fit in a carry on bag. Some of our past gifts have been the new Butter nail polish that is formaldahyde free, soaps, cute nail files, a sample of No Frizz by Living Proof. (perfect for the humid east coast!) In this case, it's peach soap by Provence Sante and a sample size No Frizz.

It's nice to have a carafe and glass for fresh water in the guest room. I bought this set a few years ago from Entertaining at Home. Just these small extra touches make your guest's visit more comfortable and extra special. I'm sure they'll know you want them to visit again!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Stunning Cookies

A while ago, I came across these very pretty cookies on Etsy made by Amber at SweetAmbs. The detail on them is amazing, the cookies are like little works of art.

The gold icing on these Fleur de Lis cookies simply wowed me.

These Mad Tea Party cookies are so whimsical, aren't they?

These would be just perfect for an elegant tea party.

I think I may need to send these as a gift to someone special.

Look at all of the brush strokes it takes to make these flowers, almost like lace fabric.

These monogrammed cookies have such painstaking details - so special for a shower or wedding favor. Amber also had a blog where she posts about all things beautiful. Amber truly is the princess of pastry!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Timeless Paper

Aren't these butterfies beautiful? Can you imagine them at a reception on every glass? For that matter, at an exclusive bridal or baby shower? How about a nice tea with your best girlfriends?

The butterflies look so delicate, as if they landed on each glass...

I must have this font! Flourishes abound!

So much more interesting than a flat table card. I love that they are three demensional.

These paper creations are fabulously special and decadent. Emily at Timeless Papers creates them and more at her Etsy shop. Menu cards, place cards, table numbers and napkin rings are also available. Currently, Emily has peacock, dragonflies, pumpkins, acorns and leaves as options in her Etsy store. I am sure that she could execute almost any theme, as she is wonderfully creative. The creme de la creme? There is a labor day special going on right now!