Thursday, December 23, 2010

Semi-Baked Goodness

While hard-core baking from scratch is practically a Holiday requirement, it is a relief to come across some delicious, easy to bake recipes {that don't require much baking}. Both of these recipes main ingredient is the mini pretzel. The first one is a Rolo/Pretzel recipe with the following ingredients:
Mini Pretzel Twists
Walnuts or Pecan Halves
Here's how you do it:
I found it works best to do two at a time. Place two pretzels with one Rolo on each on wax paper and microwave for 13-17 seconds. Immediately press the Rolo down into the pretzel with the nut of your choice.

After I placed them in a container I thought they needed a little extra something...powdered sugar!

I've also heard of a version of this recipe using yogurt covered pretzels. YUM. Another recipe I found was this one...pretzels dipped in white chocolate from an amazing site filled with pages of inspiration - One Charming Party.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Fun with Pipe Cleaners

These were so easy to make and they turned out so darn cute. Since it has been raining here longer than we are used to we have been logging in a lot of movie time. These pipe cleaner/chenille stem initials were made during a Shrek marathon. Just twist two colors together and shape into the letters you desire. We will be using these for the Christmas dinner table setting somehow...not too sure, yet.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Handmade Gifts

This year we made Mint Chocolate Hot Cocoa mix for our neighbors. The bottom of the jar is filled with the cocoa mix and topped with mini chocolate chips and mini marshmallows. It has been taste tested and approved with big smiles.
The decorative elements on top are textured red cardstock punched out with a 2" round scallop punch and the peppermint stickers are envelope seals from the dollar bin {I think there are something like 100 per package}.
The labels were designed and set up on 8.5x11, printed on Avery 8.5x11 full sticker sheets and punched out with a 3" round punch.

And, finally, they are sitting in this cute little collapseable picnic basket waiting to be delivered...when the rain lets up.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Doheney in December

We like to go camping. And, although I prefer the summer months for this past time, we go every year in December. We usually go to San Elijo or Carlsbad State Beach, but this year was my first time camping in Doheny. There was a huge group of us, and since my cousins and aunt were going to be there we just turned it into our Christmas celebration. We had six sites all together, right on the beach. We also had excellent weather. My favorite kind of winter weather around here - sunny and crisp. Someone brought gingerbread houses & cookies for the kids to decorate {there were 9 little kiddos running around between the ages of 2-6}. Because this was my first time camping at Doheny, and my Mr. had not been since he was a kid, and the camping fees seem like they've doubled since the summer {astronomical!} I thought our site had hook-ups. We got there when it was dark and I hopped out of the trailer with an extension cord in hand ready to plug in. None of the sites at Doheny have hook-ups. I decided instantly that I was going to have a terrible time and my mood was in the dumps {likewise for my Mr.}. But, our girls were having a blast in our dimly-lit, slightly drafty Tin Can of a Trailer and my mood changed instantly. The other campers started to arrive, we lit a fire and good times were had. I was able to capture a couple of scenic shots of our cutie-buns on the sand berm. Beautiful!

I was trying to get this gorgeous shot of our *little love* standing with hundreds of birds flying overhead...and then she sat down.

This is why I was looking for hook-ups. Our Tin Can Trailer is a little bit old and I enjoy modern camping with luxuries like electricity {and occasionally being able to turn the space heater on and off throughout the night}.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Love Notes

I can't wait for my oldest to be a fluid reader...I'm so going to put these in her lunch box {or make some of my own}. There are quite a few to select from. Check it out. From Compendium.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

In a Wonderland

I have loved Alice in Wonderland and all related artwork for years. I have a nice little collection of all things Alice in our curio cabinet that replaced our wedding crystal a while ago. It was just sitting in our attic in some boxes marked ALICE {now, ALICE has been crossed out and replaced with *useless wedding crystal*}. When *the boss* was turning 4 I knew exactly what theme we would do for her birthday party. I wanted to make it whimsical and use real china and table linens. The dishes, cups & saucers were found by scouring thrift and antique stores. All the teapots are from my personal collection the random chairs were borrowed from several people. As a graphic designer you very rarely get to design exactly what you want, the way you want to do it. Because of this, I like to go overboard for my girls' birthday parties.

The large leaves and the Cheshire Cat were made from insulation foam board we purchased at Home Depot. It's affordable and comes in large sheets. I painted it with poster paint and then used sidewalk chalk to draw on them.

 The birthday girl had the biggest, most comfiest chair to sit in.

I think the White Rabbit is fitting for the hostess since they are usually running around confused at parties.

We even had a Queen of Hearts and Mad Hatter.

This birthday party was so much fun and my sweet, sweet *Alice* still talks about it 2 years later.
{Unfortunately, our little-love was only 4 months old and slept the whole time}

Friday, December 3, 2010

Christmas Journal {in progress}

I haven't done any scrapbooking since the summer, but I'm feeling motivated these days. The last project I did was A Week in the Life {it's actually still in progress}. I really enjoyed it because it forced me to journal and take pictures everyday for a week and I was hyper-aware of all the little things that go on day-to-day in our lives. I'm inspired to do a knock off of that for Christmas. I got out my *stash* and put everything I could use on the table: cardstock, glitter paper, stickers, gems, ribbon, flocked transparency, journaling cards, red vellum envelopes, glitter chipboard, glitter chipboard letters, doillies, tags, everything!
I plan on using some plain, white scalloped chipboard {which I got in a big pack of various shapes at Lakeshore Learning Stores} for the cover and making a ring book. I can't wait to see what I come up with...

Monday, November 29, 2010

Little Decorative Elements

Well...the day after Thanksgiving any trace of Autumn was replaced with all things winter-y and Christmas-y in our house. We had our fabulous, long time friends and family over to kick-off the holidays.
Besides the conversation starters I really enjoyed making the drink bar look just-so.
I LOVE TEA. I put out some tea labeled with glittery, silver-foiled snowflakes and placed them in front of our new Advent Calendar. It is a ginger bread house with little doors to hide the treats in. I just need to find small enough candy {wrapped} to put two pieces in each little cubby.
{For some reason, everyone just wanted to keep drinking wine, not tea...hmm.}
My husband found this little cutie for me years ago at an antique mall. It makes me happy every time I see it. I love how common it is to find animated kitchen items from this era with little faces and sayings.
The conversation starters {project here} were totally fun and allowed us to get to know each other a little better even though we have known each other for, like, ever.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Conversation Starters

We are starting our Christmas celebrations early this year. This Sunday {yes, the Sunday after Thanksgiving} we are having some long-time family friends over to our house for dinner and gift giving. I made some decorative fabric, ribbon and flower elements to put on place cards. But, instead of writing names I wrote questions. {which is kind of funny to me, b/c we have been close friends with this family since before I was born, and conversation is never a problem}
 I went through all my fabric scraps and used anything that had red and green in it. Some of the fabric I used was left over from the curtains I made for my 5 year old's room when she was born. Next, I raided my ribbon stash to see what I had in the red, green or white category. I used cardstock, paper & felt flowers and even some gems. {Out of the 12 of us, there will be only 3 men and instead of making them flowers I made them VERY manly bowties}

After all the pieces were glued together I adhered a 2" round circle of cardstock to the back leaving the outside edge of the circle un-glued. I cut a slit in the front of the placecard so I could put the bottom part of the back-side circle through. {make sense? I hope the picture can explain it better}

Then I added questions like
What would be your dream job if money was of no concern?
What was your favorite Halloween costume as a kid?
Where in the world would you like to travel? Live?
Have you ever kept a New Year's resolution? What was it?

There will be 4 kiddos between 2-9 years old, all girls, and I made theirs into tags attached to swirly pops. There questions are more like this:
Would you rather be a Rock Star or Movie Star? Why?
Would you rather be a Princess or a Fairy? Which one?
If you could have any animal as a pet what would it be? What would you name it?
 I plan on making any that are left behind into ornaments or perhaps add them to a wreath?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Gnome Doubt About It...

...this is one of the cutest themes I've seen for a Birthday Party. My very good friend over at Yellow Whistle {here} threw a Gnome/Woodland Birthday Party for her daughter who was turning six and I had the creative privilege of designing the invitations, thank you notes, misc. decorative elements and bookmarks.

One of the games they played was a Gnome Hunt. They couldn't have cupcakes until they found it, so they were highly motivated. All the kids worked together to find clues that would lead them to the hiding Gnome.

Christina used the same elements for this garland that were used for the cupcake toppers and candy table labels. She stuck them to yarn with double sided tape. Totally cute!

She also found these little round wood pieces on Etsy and made necklaces for all the kids. Again, totally cute!

Christina came up with the idea to make bookmarks as one of the goodies for the kids. She found big twig pencils on Etsy and packaged them with the bookmarks and little adventure journals from REI. {She got the adventure journal as a freebie for her kids one day when they were shopping. She went back to see if she could buy twenty more and they just gave them to her. Niiiice.}

The Thank You notes were fill-in the blank so the Birthday Girl could personalize them to each guest and the gift they brought her.