DIY Beaded Bib Necklace Art Tee

Oh! Those summer nights.

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Sinking into sumptuous pillows of downy ease

A few more peeks at my new pillow collection. See the bounty that $1.59 (+ a little reuse and recycle!) can buy.

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DIY Decorative Pillow Case

If you thought fabric paint was only for children’s summer camp tee shirt projects, you were wrong. You can give a plain pillow case new life as a subtle textural masterpiece for only a couple of dollars. Continue reading

Sugar and Spice…

Sparkling Berry Lemonade

Naomi’s baby shower was Saturday, February 13. It was an open house style event to accommodate an expansive guest list of friends and well-wishers and I cannot even begin to tally how many hours I spent on this project. Despite the aching back, feet, fingers and head I took home on Saturday night, I think the results were well worth the effort. I especially want to thank my friend Michelle, who showed up and offered me moral support as I raced to finish all the appetizers, and of course, my husband Tyler who is always there for me when I need him. I also want to thank my mom and sisters for working so hard to get ready for the madness and for welcoming dozens of guests into their home with such warmth and hospitality.

I haven’t tallied up the final costs, but I did my best to plan a party with an estimated headcount of 70 on a budget. For a couple (or a few?) hundred dollars, we threw an event for dozens of people that featured refreshing beverages, a satisfying buffet, a gourmet hot chocolate bar, and coordinating decorations and table settings that helped set the mood. We got a bit of practice last year for my wedding so we had ideas about which finger foods were easiest to make and most popular. Lena even baked her signature shortbread cookies, much to my delight and my waistband’s chagrin, and she hadn’t tackled that tricky project since my wedding last February.

The theme was pink and white, gossamer and girly. Butterflies, tulle, lacy hearts and lots and lots of cupcakes (more on those later) set the mood. The decadent hot chocolate bar (lots more on that later) was so fun to set up and offered guests a favor that was both portable and indulgent, if they weren’t already too stuffed from the buffet. There is so much I want to share with you, including a few recipes, but sorting through the hundreds of pictures of the day will take some time, so for now I would like to share a few photos of the food and decor. Enjoy!

Glitter encrusted butterflies perched delicately around the room

Everything was kissed by pink, from the napkins to the placecards to the sprinkles on the cupcakes

The subject of a small study - guests ate more of the labeled food than the anonymous refreshments

Dried apricot crostinis with a feta cheese spread

Sundried tomato crostinis on a toasted french baguette

The smorgasboard extends as far as the eye can see and the stomach can fathom

Heart Shaped Doily Party Decorations

Inspiration. I hear that sometimes it strikes, but usually it manages to avoid me. Don’t misunderstand  – I am frequently inspired, but I normally see a more direct connection between my ideas and their birthplaces. Doilies have been popular in the blogosphere for a while now. I even did a post on them some months back. For Christmas and winter decorations, some suggested cutting snowflakes out of doilies and stitching them together. Honestly, I thought this ended up looking like crap.

However, Hobby Lobby has heart-shaped doilies for Valentine’s Day. Sew a few of these together, as I randomly did the other night, and BAM, you have adorable decorations perfect for a Valentine’s Party or teacher’s classroom, a wedding, a bridal shower, or in my case, a baby shower. The shower is roughly butterfly themed, with a pallet of whites and pinks so these are going to be perfect (although these are hearts the shape echoes the butterfly motif without being overly matchy)! They took mere minutes to throw together and at $1.47 a pack, are affordable as well. I plan to buy more today. I also stitched a few of the larger ones together, alternating the position of the heart, into a quick and easy table runner. These would also be cute glued to toothpicks and used to decorate cupcakes. Of course, you could also use them as doilies, but where is the fun in that.

Hot Chocolate on a Stick

As I have mentioned before, I do not celebrate Christmas. However, winter is my favorite season and during this time of giving/receiving I feel it appropriate to make a small gesture toward my friends, family, and coworkers to thank them for their friendship and generosity and to provide a little treat to brighten the long winter days. Whether for a Christmas gift, a winter wedding favor, or just a small, cozy gesture for someone you love, I think you will agree that these gifts hit the spot. Enter: Hot Chocolate on a Stick.

I followed this recipe and made the portions in ice cube trays, adding an extra large “craft stick” as a handle for stirring. You can find craft sticks of a variety of kinds at Hobby Lobby. After allowing the chocolates to cool overnight, I wrapped them in cellophane, tied them with ribbon, and curled the ribbon. I placed the hot chocolates into tall resealable plastic bags. My favorite part was designing the packaging. I included helpful “instruction sheets” inside the bags. The packages are accented with patterned paper I bought at Hobby Lobby and cut into 3″ x 6″ strips then folded and stapled over the bag. I used patterned paper on some and red textured paper on others. The final touch is a gift tag wishing the recipient warm greetings from Tyler and me.

I did plenty of “quality control” and can assure everyone these are quite delicious ; ). The project was a bit time consuming, but easy enough for anyone to try. Even if you don’t plan to give these as gifts, they make it easy and convenient for you to enjoy individual portions of *real* hot chocolate any time you want. Don’t get confused, people, we are talking about hot chocolate, not hot cocoa, and there is a world of difference. Stay warm!

Book Bandit

One of my favorite things about visiting Austin is stocking up on classics at Half Price Books. Tyler carted my finds to the counter and before I realized it I had a stack of twenty books. The best part was seeing the total ring up – $60! It’s probably for the best that we don’t have one of these stores nearby, as I would shortly run out of space on the bookshelves for more books, and space on the walls for more bookshelves. These should keep me busy for a while ; ).