25 August 2015

SCHOOL LUNCH NOTES

I sure like the idea of notes in lunch boxes. My daughter requests them, actually. But I like them, because it's a little bit of home in their day.

I made enough for the first week... I'll probably make more later and post them. We love Friends With You in our house, so I made the colors bright and the illustrations simple to fit that style.

I'll just print, cut and write a little note on the back and put one on the top of her lunch each day. So far, the jokes have been a huge hit!


13 August 2015

GIFTING WITH GRANOLA






















































My SIL is my all-things-food-go-to. I turn to her for party menu planning as well as recipes that I know are amazing because I've sampled them first hand. She has taken a journey with food that I really admire. I hope to adopt some of her kitchen habits, like shopping locally and not wasting left overs but turning them into another meal. Every recipe she's ever given me has empowered me to cook more and shop better.

Over some years, she has mastered granola and has since passed on a recipe to me. I'm going to share... brace yourself... it's delish.

I like it because it's healthier than store bought granola. You can eat it by the handfulls but alas, just like any other snack food, there is sugar (by way of maple syrup) so... you know... moderation and control.

GRANOLA
Preheat Oven 300º

In a large bowl combine the following (DRY INGREDIENTS):
4 cups Rolled Oats (not Quick Cooking)
1/2 - 1 cup Nuts (Peanuts, Almonds, or Pecans. I used Peanuts and Almonds)
1/2 cup Sunflower Seeds
1/2 cup Pumpkin Seeds
1/4 cup Flax Seeds
2 Tbs. Chia Seeds
1 tsp. Salt

In a smaller bowl combine the following (WET INGREDIENTS):
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup Maple Syrup
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine and coat all of the ingredients and lay out on parchment paper on a backing pan. Split into two pans to maintain a thin layer of granola. (if needed)

Bake for up to 45 minutes. **Check and Stir at 20 minutes.

At 40 minutes add 1/2 -1 cup ocoonut (large and unsweetened) so that it gets toasted lightly.

At 45 minutes, take the pan out of the oven and let cool completely before puting it in an airtight container.

I recently made a batch and set some asside for a new neighbor gift. I'm also including a mason jar label. You can print and cut it out and slap it on some kraft paper and put it on the top of the jar with a little ribbon... it's free to you, and it makes me happy to share.

For more recipes, you can see my recipe board on Pinterest.
Also, you can see more on the Jam Printables here.





06 August 2015

S'MORES PARTY FAVOR

More on the outdoor baby shower...
I put together some simple Smore's party favors for all of us chocolate lovers.



SUPPLIES
Trader Joe's S'mashing S'mores
Kraft Bags (approx. 5"x7" no gusset)
Unbleached Parchment Paper
Washi Tape
Free Printable Labels printed on Sticker Paper

PROCESS
1. Cut the bakers paper to approx. 8x8 squares
2. Place two smore's onto the sheet in the middle, wrap, and seal it with washi tape.
*Note, washi tape doesn't stick well to parchment paper because of the waxy coating. Place the little package inside the bag tape down to keep it in place.
3. Repeat to make two more mini packages, and add them to the bag.
4. Fold the bag flap down with the jagged side in front and seal with a printed sticker label.
*You can seal it with whatever you'd like. I made mine and included them below. Print on 8.5"x11" sticker paper and cut. Or cut sticker paper down to a shape you like and write on it.

Happy Camping!

27 July 2015

CAMPER PARTY PLACE SETTING DIY

These are easy as all get out. I used them for my girlfriends baby shower a few months back. They would be cute for any occasion from Thanksgiving to Father's Day to an outdoors BBQ party.

SUPPLIES
Birch Disk Slices - 1.5"-2.5"
Skewers - Cut to about 4" to 6" tall
Hot Glue Gun & Sticks
Name Card - You could hand write these. Mine are .5"x2.5"

PROCESS
1. Place a glue dot at the end of a skewer flat and stick it to the center of a Birch Disk.
2. Hot Glue the name card to the top of the skewer and place a small piece of washi tape over the top of the stick to the back of the name card. I used map washi tape so that the backside would retain some decorative element.
3. Hot glue some moss around the base of the skewer.

So so easy.


22 July 2015

BOOK CLUB SPREAD FOR ORPHAN TRAIN

Last month I hosted our book, Orphan Train.

It was a lovely and entertaining read, but a little divided, in most of our opinion. I think we all connected to (Neev, Dorothy) Vivian's story as she was the child passed from one bad situation to a worse one, and so on... But none of us seemed to connect to the modern day character, Molly. I still recommend it, mostly because being drawn to historical fiction, I ended up learning about the many trials and circumstances of these children during the depression era... a lost bit of American History.















































THE SPREAD
Because Vivian is originally from Ireland, I wanted to serve a few things Irish... bangers and mash came to mind, cabbage, and soda bread. Links below were a starting ground for what I made. I altered them all slightly.
Cheese Boards
Roasted Potatoes, Purple Cabbage, and Sausage
Kale, Grapes & Broccoli Salad
Soda Bread Muffins
Chocolate Cake Muffins with Ice Cream, Blackberries and Mint Garnish

Styling was based on the idea of traveling. I have so many vintage bits of randomness, I have an old leather suitcase, several old cameras, my grandmothers painted vases, old keys and cigar boxes. All of those together with some flowers from Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and our neighbors yard. I used my gold flatware, and cut glass goblets and some grey plates from Crate & Barrel. I had some tweed fabric on hand for the table covering and a burlap tablecloth. All serving dishes were either wood, vintage transferware china or grey stoneware. Overall, it was a warm and textural setting.

I also set up some vintage blankets outside for dessert.




15 July 2015

WHAT'S FOR DINNER

I'm waiting for the perfect meal planning app.

One that enables me to input family recipes, add recipes from online and create a grocery list (like Yummly), one that has a weekly meal schedule and allows people to share our favorite recipes. Until this happens, I will continue to use Pinterest, Yummly and Grocery IQ along with my little weekly planner.

I print this out every Sunday and plan for the coming week. That way I can do my grocery shopping with a plan in mind. It cuts down on picky eaters evening arguements (my number one reason for doing this) and curbs the grocery bill (my number two reason for doing this.)

I'm sharing. Because it works for me. I hope it works for you too.
xoxo


13 July 2015

PASTEL RAINBOW DASH PARTY

More Rainbow Dash Party! There seems to be a neverending supply of DIY information from this party. I think I was making things two months in advance. Silly me.

Overall, I had made:
Pinãta
Fringe Wall
Colored Glass Trays & Vases
Fringe Skewers
Marshmallow Twist Skewers
Sewn Rainbow Ceiling Drops
Washi Tape Rainbow Wall
Rainbow Pony Ears and Tutu for our Birthday Girl (and her sister ;)
Pastel Rainbow Straw Wreath

Party Favors Included:
Beaded Bracelets for each guest (beads. beads. beads. beads)
Ribbon Dancing Rings (ribbon. rings)
Ribbon Barretts
Plastic Pony
Gel Pens
Candy Necklace
Mini Slinky

All of the things I made were really pretty easy, I just did them over a long period of time.







02 July 2015

HAPPY DAY OF INDEPENDENCE!

This is what our home looks like this time of year...
kind of a simplified country situation.




















































THE CONTENTS
— I cut out a large United States from a box. Keeping the lines kind of angular makes it easy to cut. I punched holes in the corners and strung it to the wall using washi tape. I didn't try to hide the tape, it's very much a part of the scene, although I did crop it out of the photo ;)
— I bought several Dollar Store flags and cut them into triangles and sewed them into a garland.
— I already had a few large white feathers that I use for EVERYTHING... from Valentine's to Princess parties, baby showers and even Christmas. I mixed those with babies breath, white flowers and flags in a large mason jar.
— I use this wood box for a lot of parties and events too. It's a good propping tool to have on hand. — The doilies are vintage, I've collected them over the years.
— The cherries are in a lovely vintage silver bowl.
— The mason jars are filled with candies and handed out to the kids SPARINGLY. Ya, right.

All in all, I spent under $15 and it was all on the flowers, cherries and candy. Not too bad!

Happy Fourth of July friends!
xoxo




15 June 2015

PIÑATA DIY FOR A PASTEL RAINBOW DASH PARTY

If you've been with me a while, you'll remember my daughter's Pastel Rainbow Dash Party (You can see more herehere, here, and here). I actually still have a few things to post from that party, nearly a year later!

I had made a piñata for the first time. I just found it in my basement, I can't bring myself to toss it despite the fact that it's smashed up... it was my first... it was a lot of work *Sigh* It might be time to exercise some non-horder qualities.

But before I do, I want to be sure it's documented. This is what it looked like as part of the decor and then in action. It took two rounds of smashings (four and five year old kids aren't too intense).






























I had asked a friend that makes piñatas often for a few tips and then I started in. It took about three hours (split up between a couple of days).

SUPPLIES
Crepe Paper in Pastel Rainbow Colors - Cut into 4" Strips (or Fringe Crepe Paper)
Fringe Scissors (one of my favorite tools)
Cardboard - Large pieces
Masking Tape
Xacto Knife
Steel Ruler
Hot Glue Gun
Scissors
Cutting Mat
Newspaper
Rope

PROCESS
1. Draw and cut out a flat version of what you want your piñata to be on newspaper. I wanted a NUMBER FOUR. Any counter shapes need to be fairly large so that they don't appear filled in once created in cardboard. This will be your template.
2. Trace around the template onto a large piece of cardboard. Flip the template over and trace around it again onto another area of the cardboard. This will be the front and back of your piñata.
3. Cut a strip of cardboard the thickness that you want it to be. I wanted it to be able to stand on a table on its own so I cut 4" wide strips. You don't need it to be one continuous piece that goes around the entire thing, but you do need it to be as few as possible so look for larger areas of your cardboard piece to cut from. See the top two photos below for a reference.
4. Tape the 4" piece to the backside piece. Going all the way around to the starting point. You'll want masking tape to be about an inch apart. You don't want your piñata to break apart too easily or to be so sturdy that kids can't bust into it, so there's a happy medium here.
5. At the top of the piñata punch a hole and knot a rope through so that it can hang. THIS needs to be sturdy. Mine broke at one point. So you might want the layer the cardboard here or something to reinforce this area.
6. Cut one area in the 4" piece so that you can insert candy. OR if you prefer to add candy now, before closing it off, do so now. Keep in mind that it will be in there while applying tissue all around the piñata.
7. Place the topside piece on top and start taping in the same way as the backside piece.
8. Now you have your full cardboard pinata with a rope attached and either an opening or candy already inserted. NICE!
9. On the bottom, flap, corners and counter shape areas hot glue flat strips of crepe paper to cover up the cardboard. This doesn't need to be fringed here, just flat. Make it the same color as your first fringed row. Mine was pink. See the bottom left photo below. I call this the Base Color.*
10. Using fringe scissors or regular scissors, cut fringe in each color. (you can also purchase pre-cut fringed crepe paper — I just didn't find the right colors I needed so I cut mine all by hand).
11. Starting with the same color as your base cover color (mine is pink) hot glue the fringed crepe paper around the piñata in rows. My rainbow was pink, peach, yellow, seafoam green, baby blue and lavendar... back to pink and so forth.
12. Repeat this all the way up the piñata.
13. * Before you reach a counter shape area (the opening of the "4") or a flap, make sure you apply a layer of flat crepe paper in your base color. This way, you'll never see any cardboard poking through.
14. Keep adding rows of fringed crepe paper all the way up to the top until all of the cardboard is completely covered.
















05 June 2015

HOORAY FOR SUMMER!

Finishing school this year was kindof a big deal. So I thought it might be fun to offer up a little backyard surprise when the kids came home on their last day.

Just a few things, like fresh bubbles, chalk and colorful beach balls. I had also happened upon a Lilly Pulitzer beach towel at Target... way after the big launch and scramble so I considered myself one lucky duck and snatched it up. We needed more towels for the backyard anyway so it was a perfect colorful addition.

Summer is now officially HERE!

FREE PRINTABLE
Print this out at 100% on cardstock and use a straw or skewer for a summer sign.









































Some more fun colorful summer goods!!!

20 May 2015

THANK YOU TEACHERS!

The school year is wrapping up and it's time to say THANK YOU to our dear teachers that love and support our kids for nine months of the year. My first grader really went through a mighty transition. I've got to hand it to her (and her teachers!) for surviving many lost teeth, full-day school, real homework, and Spanish. I'm not sure I fully understand how these teachers do what they do, but they do it well and I'm a grateful mom. My preschooler has had her own challenges and her teachers have guided her with such thoughtfulness.

This year, I utilized my excessive amounts of mason jars and filled them with salted caramel chocolates (my favorite forbidden treat). And oops... I (over)bought a 5 lb bag... oh fret. Holy Yummy Balls.


SUPPLIES
Mason Jars
Kraft Paper
Sticker Paper
Fiskers Punch or Scissors
Twine
Candy

PROCESS
1. Clean and dry jar completely then fill it with whatever treat you'd like.
2. Use the top of the lid to trace circles on kraft paper and cut out the circles.
3. Insert the kraft circles on top of the insert lid, and screw on the outer lid.
4. Print the printable labels and tags onto sticker paper, or kraft or regular paper.
5. Cut out as instructed on the printable.
6. Affix the label to the top and wrap twine around the neck of the jar.

Happy Almost Summer!
xoxo

12 May 2015

WELL HELLO, CAMPER

A girlfriend is having a baby boy and loves the great outdoors so a camper shower is in order.

At first, I wanted to have an outdoor, blanket dinner with strung lights, a long wood plank of a table and lanterns. I still want to do that, but the weather has been iffy so I'll save that for a warm summer night to come.

Instead, I stuck with stoneware dishes, gold flatware, flax linens, fir, pinecones, golden tin cans, vintage camping lanterns and mountain oil paintings. I was able to use several things from my Thanksgiving decoration stash, like the feather garland and pinecone garlands. I already had a burlap runner. I made some place setting labels, party favors and a few more simple decorations and called it good.

Below is my party plan that I worked from. I'll post some photos and DIY soon.


04 May 2015

MAY THE FOURTH BE WITH YOU

The awaited day... May 4th. Everyone from über geek that is dressing up as a Stormtrooper, to the casual fan, has something to say about Star Wars.

Like so many others that grew up in the 70s, experienced the real Star Wars IV A New Hope... that movie changed e v e r y t h i n g. It changed the way I played with friends, my interest in boys, my sense of humor. I was seven and in love.




























I went from playing with Barbies to collecting trading cards, running around the forrest with friends waving long sticks around, I had a poster on my wall of Han, my best friend had Luke on her wall. I'd make Chewbacca sounds with my school desk to get a laugh, I'd repeat lines from the movie, which was most likely the start of my childhood career in quoting movie lines... it was and still is deeply rooted in me. I suppose it sounds as if I should be dressing up on May 4th. I don't go that far. But I do have a fond appreciation for Star Wars geeks. Because honestly, I'm not that far off.

I kinda feel sorry for those people that are so young that all they know is Star Wars I, II, and III. Revenge of the Sith, Attack of the Clones and Phantom Menace are just embarrassing compared to what we experienced in the 70s. And you can bet your boots, I'm eagerly awaiting a redemption in VII, The Force Awakens. But before then, I'll watch them all... because, you know... it's important to be refreshed and ready.




30 April 2015

LITTLE J HEADBAND DESIGN

Once Upon a Time... I had a lovely job at a small studio called Axiom. I met my husband there. I met the best boss in the world there. I met lots of fabulously talented people there. I made wonderful friends there. We were like a little family.

When one of them started her own company, I was excited to help in any way possible. She needed a logo, she needed packaging.

Those things, I can do.

Little J Headbands are so versatile. They work with both short and long hair. The scarf is quite cozy, and there's no need to take it off after you take off your coat... it becomes part of your outfit. Super!





































Packaged in a clear box with a blind embossed kraft lid and. Logo and directions in black. The boxes stack on the shelf and have been selling like hot little cakes! Yay for LittleJ!!!

21 April 2015

PARTY IN THE GARDEN

This is the first time we haven't had a birthday party at our house. So far, we have had 11 parties between our two kids with themes like Cupcakes, Japanese Girl, Dutch Tulips, Polka Dots, Fairies, Farmer's Market, Cinderella, Pastel My Little Pony, aaaaand Frozen. I'm kind of running out of wowza. I think we peaked with that Frozen party last year... no pun.

I'm actually trying to tone it down a bit. So we booked Red Butte Gardens. They entertain the kids with a story, craft and games. They also do the clean up, which is mighty nice.

So on the party planning end, all I did was prep a snack, cupcakes, a few decorations and a party favor. In all honesty, any normal person would have just paid the fee for the event and be done. I'm taking some baby steps with this toning it down thing.

The following images show the party favor, decorations, cupcakes and twelve really happy kids. You can also check out my Party Plans board on Pinterest.

PARTY FAVOR
Includes a garden shovel, Easter grass and candies, strawberry marshmallows, handmade watermelon notebooks, pencil, bugs and sugar stick. I made the clothes pins with washi tape for each kid. Many items purchased at Target's Dollar Spot or on sale after Easter had passed.

SNACK BASKET
I used baskets (luckily on sale at the Dollar Tree, 2 for 1:), lined with a napkin and then each had an Izzy's soda can, Angie's Boom Chicka Pop, napkin with straw, granola bar wrapped in kraft paper and  an applesauce squeeze.

DECORATIONS
Because our party was in a garden we focused on watermelons and strawberries, using lots of pinks and greens. Balloons with paper 7s tied to the strings, white flowers in milk glass vases and green tea tins, colored table cloths, a handmade banner on skewers stuck in potted plants, and a "seven" cupcake topper skewer. I made the seven topper with a wood seven, covered it with washi tape and glittered the edges.

CUPCAKES
Chocolate with pale pink frosting and a watermelon sour topper.









 











14 April 2015

DIY NECKLACES

I made a shorter version of the same necklace as the last post for my girls easter outfits. *Side note, after they wore them for 10 minutes and proceeded to attack each other as they do, I noticed the necklaces were starting to fray at the tussle's knot. So I tugged the strands down again and superglued the top of the tassel. This process is called NinaProofing. I should have done it from the get go.

P.S. The dresses are made by Nicole Paul of Hum Stitchery and the sweaters are from Zara.









































03 April 2015

EASY SPRING NECKLACES

Here's a quickie for the Easter Baskets. I made these for a birthday party favor last weekend, but after my daughters saw these colorful tassels ... I had to make one for them too.




SUPPLIES
Natural Hemp Cord
Elmer's Glue - I use this to stiffen the ends for easier threading
Small Natural Wood Beads
16-20mm Wood Bead
Florescent Yellow Rubberized 8 mm Beads
Florescent Yellow Enamel Paint
Clear Gloss Spray Paint
Masking Tape
Fabric Scissors
Fraycheck or Superglue
Brush
Florescent Yellow Polyester Thread

PROCESS
1. Mask off the larger wood bead in the way you want to paint it. You can slant or half it. You can paint the whole bead or leave it natural. I like mine slanted or half painted.
2. Paint several coats and let dry in between. I like to paint with the bead on a chopstick... stick the handle end into a piece of Styrofoam to dry. When you're happy with the amount of color, you can spray it with a clear gloss spray paint.
3. During dry time, prep the necklace and make the tassel. First cut a piece of hemp cord about 80" long. This may seem long but if you want a long necklace that slips over head you'll want plenty for knotting. It's better to have too much than too little.
4. Next start on the tassel by winding yellow thread around a book (6" wide or so) about 75-100 times. Slide the thread off of the book, carefully gather it at its half point and wrap it around the hemp cord half way point (40"). Take another piece of the same yellow thread, wind it around and knot it. I like to wind it again and knot it again for extra security. I also dab a little fray check or super glue on the knot just for good measure. Secure! Then cu the loops and trim the tassel.
5. Dab a bit of Elmer's glue on the end pieces of the hemp cord. I like to twist it between my fingers to make each end stiff and straight. * FYI, if these aren't good threading ends, it makes it tough to get through the bead holes easily and this project that once seemed simple becomes a real drag. So these ends need to be good and stiff and tight for threading. This cord doesn't go through needles easily, and many needles are too large for these smaller beads. I've experimented and the glue ends has proven to be the easiest method.
6. Once the wood bead is dry you can thread it onto the necklace by taking both ends together and putting it through the wood bead hole. I like the yellow half to be closer to the yellow tassel. Take the bead all the way down to the tassel top and superglue it into place, tightly so that you don't see any hemp cord. I glue it so that the bead doesn't slip through all the way.
7. Knot at the top of the wood bead and start adding beads to each strand to your desired point. I had some medium sized beads (about 8-10 mm) that I used first, you can put two or three of these first, then the smaller. For little kids, it's cute to skip these middle sized beads. After each bead I knot it tightly into place before adding another bead. I put the same number of beads on each strand and stop at about the collar bone point. I like seeing a bit of string at the top but you can keep adding beads all the way around to the top if you'd like.

That's it, you can make this as short or long as you'd like. For women, these were about 10" o beads and then some string. For kids I did less.

Happy Easter! xoxo