merry christmas

Merry Christmas 
from my family to yours! 
I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season. 
I look forward to sharing what the new year brings with all of you, my awesome readers! 
Hugs and Kisses!

garland christmas card display

I'm back today with a couple pictures of how my neighbor displays her Christmas cards. Every year I admire it's simplistic creativity. She saw the idea in a magazine several years ago. It was hidden in the background of a photo, but she spotted and replicated it.

I really like the juxtaposition of the glamorous/rustic bead garland and the simple modern diagonal ribbon.   Note the card holders are key chain rings - brilliant!  Using those makes the cards easy to hang up, while still keeping them snug in their place. Strung across a window in her kitchen, Valerie essentially decorates the room with correspondence friends and family provide.

Every year when I see it, I swear I'm going to make one of these, too. Next year I will have to... I now have a kitchen window in my new house - It will be perfect! Thanks for sharing with us Valerie!

glitter advent calendar

Today is moving day for us!!! I'm so excited to start a new year in a new home. Because of our hectic holiday season, I haven't done any decorating at our house. (No sense in putting up a tree just to take it down to move, right!?) But my crafty neighbor, on the other hand, has a couple of Christmas projects that I have to share with you. First up, is an advent calendar she made from these Martha Stewart instructions. I absolutely love it! It's magnetic and the kids can easily retrieve their prizes.

Tomorrow I'll show you the way she displays her Christmas cards.  Stay tuned!

holiday favor bags

Oh. My. How cute are these!? Simply brilliant!!! I love 'em!

christmas :: restaurant decorations

You might remember back in October, I decorated a restaurant for Halloween for one of my clients. Well, I was afforded the same pleasure for the Christmas season. I really like how it turned out. I chose a gold and brown color palette for cohesiveness to the existing colors in the space.

I made these arrangements out of gold cardboard poinsettias from Walmart and white feather picks from Joann's. Cheap!

I bought six wreaths so I could put them back-to-back - decorations towards the street as well as inside the restaurant. 

I didn't get great pictures when I was done because the staff was prepping for the evening crowd - I didn't want to get in their way. I am going to the restaurant's Christmas party this Thursday night though and I'm hoping to get a couple more shots.  

kid-friendly christmas treats :: via pinterest

I'm taking an hour for myself this morning - So nice!  I'm sure I'm going to regret it later, but I just need to sit with a cup of coffee and relax for a bit.  So, what do I do for pleasure!? Search Pinterest of course!

I spotted some really creative and easy desserts that kids would not only love, but love to help make too!

Christmas Cookie Bars via Ladies Home Journal

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes via The Cupcake Blog

Reindeer Noses Treat Bags via A Personal Touch 

Santa Hat Cupcakes via Created by Diane

baby shower cake

Hi lovelies! I am alive. Well, barely. I apologize for my complete lack of posts. I have been so busy lately... I know, I know, we are all swamped this time of year. Beyond my own personal holiday to-do list though (which basically hasn't even been started), we bought a new house and are trying to move, my husband had hand surgery, I was a guest speaker at a women's network group, a couple Christmas party dessert tables, a few cake orders, and I could go on and on. I do have two more events and then I'll be on vacation - well, if you call moving vacation! Ha!

I wanted to take a quick break though and show you something... This past weekend I had a baby shower cake order. The color palette for the party was pink and black. I love that combo, don't you!? I was really happy with how the cake turned out. I used a new technique from I Am Baker.  (LOVE her!) It is so easy, but so pretty!

felt advent calendar wreath

I have an uber-talented friend, Lesley, who is constantly surprising me with her creativity. She's a graphic designer extraordinaire, as well as a skilled seamstress. Yes, I said seamstress - a skill I hold high regard for. (My sewing usually ends up with me just hot gluing the pieces together!!!) While picking up our kids from school yesterday, we started talking about advent calendars. Our conversation reminded of me of the advent calendar she made last year. I love how it involves the kids without giving them something everyday. We all know the kids receive plenty during the holiday season, so an activity they like to do without "getting" is an extra bonus in my book.

Check out Lesley's creation and how-to here. And here for an extra little Christmas morning detail to the already perfect calendar.  Make sure to check out the rest of Lesley's blog, too. I'm sure you'll be amazed at all her skill and creativity. (Like the these bicycle cuffs - Come on! So cute!)

fruit turkey

My youngest daughter's preschool is having an all-school Thanksgiving Feast celebration tomorrow and everyone brings something to share. We are bringing this cute (and easy!) fruit turkey. Several years ago (Nov. 2007), I torn this idea out of a Family Fun magazine. A reader, a fellow Connecticut resident, submitted the idea - so clever!

The instructions included in the magazine...
"Stabilize the melon body by cutting a shallow slice off the rind to form a flat base. Using a section of bamboo skewer, attach a Bosc pear head to the melon, as shown. Cut a cheese triangle beak and red pepper snood. Attach both, along with raisin eyes, to the head with sections of toothpick. Cut red pepper feet and set them in places. For tail feathers, skewer cheese cubes and red grapes, then insert the skewers as shown. Pin pepper side feathers in place with toothpicks."

why didn't i think of that series :: stamped cookies

As we move into the holiday season, my oven will be doing overtime for Christmas goodies. Look at this genius idea - Why didn't I think of that!? I'm going to have to try this.

While talking about stamping things... remember my tutorial on stamping plates? How about a pretty Christmas tree stamp for Christmas dinner?

laurel denise planner

I just have to share the latest gift I bought myself. I'm a list freak - I think you all know that by now. I write everything down. Everything. I don't think my brain even works if there isn't a pen in my hand. I also plan and schedule to a fault - calendars are my friends. My days are organized (some argue over organized, but I say poo on them). So, you can imagine that a well-organized and extremely thoughtful planner makes my heart flutter. While attending the National Stationery Show in May, I found the Laurel Denise Planner. It's amazing people - Amazing! I wanted to buy one right then and there, but she was all sold out for 2011. After all these months of waiting, I ordered myself one last week.

Beyond the monthly calendar view (which is my favorite way to organize), this planner includes a weekly and daily format conducive to list making.  But the best part of all.... you can see them all at once!!! No more flipping pages from the overall month, back to the week of and then having to turn again to the daily outlook. So, if your in the market for a planner, you have to check this one out. Obviously the pictures on the link will be better than my quick iPhone pics. You'll be able to see the beauty and function much better. Go, go on and check it out - you won't be disappointed.

pirate ship dessert table

As I've mentioned, I made the dessert table for a large Halloween party this past weekend. All the children in attendance were invited to participate in a "treasure hunt".  They were given a treasure map  with various stops throughout the house where they either received a prize or participated in an activity (ie decorated cupcakes, painted a pumpkin, etc.). The "treasure" at the end of their journey was the dessert table. (A sugar treasure - ahhh, the best kind of treasure!) Keeping with the theme, I decided to make the table a pirate ship. I really liked how this table turned out. I love the whimsy of it - I'm still a kid I guess.

The desserts included:
-pumpkin mousse cups
-shortbread finger cookies
-smore pops
-"cannon balls" (donut holes)
-skeleton suckers 
-red velvet cake pops
-caramel pumpkin bites with dulce de leche drizzle
-graveyard pudding
-jello worm cups
-caramel apples
-popcorn hands

halloween candy bar

This is the candy bar I put together for a big Halloween party this past Sunday. Aren't the bats cool!? I found them at Target for ten bucks! They are wall clings that I will be able to use for this client over and over. (I decorate their house every year for Halloween.)

I'll be back tomorrow with the pirate ship dessert table I made for the party. It was awesome!

halloween costumes

I hope everyone had a great Halloween! I'm sure you all are swimming in candy too - I'm nibbling on a Kit Kat right now. (Shhhh, don't tell my kids I raided their buckets!)

This year Ella was the Chiquita Banana girl (and/or Carmen Miranda which many thought she was) and Bree was the Coppertone Girl. I usually don't use the same costumes because it's just so much fun to think of new ones, but the Coppertone costume was just too good to not repeat. I have to thank my mother-in-law for making Ella's dress. (As I've told you all before, sewing is a domestic skill I will never conquer - I call in the pros.) The headdress was a lot of fun to make. I used ostrich feathers and plastic fruit in an effort to keep the overall weight down. I love how it all came together.

halloween candy bar

Is everyone ready for Halloween?!? I've still got a long list of to-do's, but I'm getting there. While I finish up party prep, I thought I'd show you some more pictures from an event I did last year. In addition to the Halloween dessert table I recently posted, I designed a separate candy bar for the party as well. (I'm wishing I had one of those Kit Kats about now - guess I could go raid the candy bar jars sitting in my office ready for this weekend's event!?) I really like the miniature bars hanging from the spooky trees and the tissue covered Tootsie Pops in the "bubbling" cauldron.

Hope everyone has lots of parties to host and/or attend this weekend! Happy Halloween!!!!

halloween :: restaurant decorations

Last week, I was asked to decorate a local restaurant for Halloween. (I just love my job!!!) After buying all the supplies, making centerpieces and installing the finished products, I think it looks pretty good. I love the skulls in the colored water.

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