Valentine gift for you!

Again this year we’re giving away Valentine cello toppers! Owls for the girls and dinosaurs for the boys! And if you like these designs we have full party collections of both in the shoppe: owl couple and dinosaur.

My boys enjoy gathering up little treats for their friends and packaging them for the big Valentine Day party at school. This year we chose to go the route of more toys and less sweets. I LOVE these mini flutes, slinkies, bubbles and dinosaurs, all from Target. The modern colors make me smile and the boys have already started to dip into the bags for themselves. I’ve been able to protect most of them… but it might get dicey if we don’t fill and seal our cellos soon!

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As always, I hope you’re inspired to craft, bake, create and celebrate!

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what’s in the box?!

I just got back home from a three-day trip to New York City for a fabulous Martha Stewart Dreamers Into Doers conference. I’m still reeling from all the super talented women I had the great fortune to meet and spend time with. I’ll share much more in a few days, but for now I want to tell you about the surprise I received when I got home. I’m used to boxes, lots of boxes, passing through my office but most are not that interesting. Inventory, a new vendor catalog, you know the drill. But this time it was something just for me from the fabulous sponsors of next week’s Blissdom conference in Nashville.

I was like a kid opening a candy bar… or maybe like my normal self opening a candy bar… anyway there were several wonderful surprises inside from vendors like Con Agra, Intel, Freschetta and Hallmark. The recipe binder from Con Agra has such yummy looking recipes, the pizza cutter, which I’ll likely use tonight for family movie night, from Freschetta was fun, but my absolute favorite item in that box was the Recordable Storybook from Hallmark. Coming off of a trip where I missed my boys terribly (one of the main reasons I left corporate life) this was the perfect gift to hedge my anxiety about leaving them again next week. My boys were so ecstatic about the book too. They love books in general, but when they found out that I could still read them a story each night before they went to bed (2-3 a night is a tradition around here) they were beyond thrilled. I loved watching their little faces light up. Thank you Hallmark for the All The Ways I Love You book by Theresa Trinder! It is truly perfect for all of us moms. By the way, whoever on your marketing team thought this up needs a raise! Absolutely perfect!

And for those of you that don’t know about Blissdom, a fabulous blogger conference, it might be too late for you to plan to attend this year, but there is always next year!

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off to meet Martha Stewart

The day is finally here! Today I am traveling to the Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia headquarters to attend a two-day Dreamers Into Doers event. I was honored as a Martha Stewart Doer back in November and have been eagerly awaiting this trip ever since.

Day one will be filled with meeting many of the Martha Stewart editors in various business related workshops and day two will be filled with attending a Martha Stewart Show taping and a few more business sessions. And on top of the fabulous agenda for the two-day event (thanks Caitlin!), I get to meet a number of smart and talented women business owners from around the country. I can’t express my excitement in words!

Stay tuned later this week for all the details of my trip here, on facebook and on twitter. Happy Monday everyone!

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introducing Tree House

We created and shot our new Tree House collection (a look at the storyboard) back in late October. With beautiful Ohio foliage as a backdrop and a crisp cool breeze, there was no need to ask the kids to play together. It just happened so naturally and the day turned into a real playdate. I think they barely noticed us.

They picked wild flowers, giggled into tin can phones, snacked on goodies and played hide-and-seek. They truly had a good time, which of course made our jobs so much easier.

This collection offers invitations, thank you cards, as well as all the coordinating printable party supplies for a fabulous birthday party, or even a playdate. Who says playdates can’t be dressed up a bit, especially when your little one’s birthday is in the winter and they never get outdoor parties?! I was born in February so I know what I’m talking about! {wink}

I think the thing I love best about this collection is our tag message, “Come out and play.” It cuts across genders and age ranges and offers a theme, but with endless possibilities. It’s so perfect for a backyard bash AND for jazzing up those boring blank rooms that the indoor playhouse companies give you to serve cake to your guests (which by the way was a friend’s original request that brought this collection into being). 

The gable box lunches help make the hostess’ life a bit easier too. Pack individual lunches (mini PB&J bagel sandwiches, apple slices, mini water bottle and maybe a cookie) for each guest and arrange them on a small table. Food is taken care of! If you have a large group in the outdoors consider telling everyone to bring a picnic blanket or set out a few of your own in a basket for guests to select from. (Note: The gable box wrappers are the only items in the collection that require 11×14 paper, but you could print just the center on 8.5×11 and apply only to the front of your gable box.)

To complement the lunch box we designed beverage wrappers (two designs, kite and tree house) that also doubled as our wrappers for the tin can crayon holder, but are also perfect as large flat napkin rings. Other printable items include dessert/food labels, favor tags (shown below), banner, as well as large die cuts of the kite, clouds and “kids only” sign. Plus, those mini-flags are actually our straw slips. They’re perfect for embellishing sandwiches and wrapping around straws to help little guests remember which cup is theirs.

I’m really proud of our cupcake wrappers and picks. I added a tail to my kite cupcakes using a bit of white floral wire (for stiffness) and tiny bow tie shapes cut from the straw slips. In addition to cupcakes we also made no-bake cookies, calling them “mud pies,” and Reese’s Cup s ‘mores. Oh my they were good!

 

And for favors, the collection offers tree house cello toppers and kite favor tags, plus fabulous cookies from our partners at Sweet Tooth Cottage bakery. What better way to send your guests home than with a yummy, and beautiful, cookie to remember you by! The collection offers cutouts (tree houses, kites and “kids only” planks) and sugar paper rounds (tree house in green and kite in blue) baked and shipped directly from the bakery. And if your kiddos have food allergies or you just like to bake, you can buy the printed sugar paper sheets and make your own.  

You can find the entire Tree House collection, including the cookies, in our shoppe. And I just want to thank Amy Atlas Events for sharing the first images of this new collection in her post on Friday. As always, I hope you’re inspired!

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peek at our newest collection

I’m so excited to be announcing a new collection this afternoon. It was originally concepted and designed for a friend, Natalie Klein of Hot Moms Club. She has two toddlers, a boy and a girl, and wanted to throw a joint birthday party at a popular indoor playhouse. Immediately you can see the challenge. Hosting a party that both of her babes would love without the use of pink tutus or racecars. Well at the end of the day I feel we came up with the perfect solution with our new Tree House collection.

Stay tuned for tons of fun photography of a “real” playdate at a magical tree house. Here’s a peek at the storyboard of the invitation and the printables while you wait! And as always, I hope you’re inspired!

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customer: princess Nicole is 4

A very good friend of mine hosted a prince & princess party for her beautiful little girl a few months ago with the decor, printables and custom cookies from my princess collections: prince and princess and princess castle. We even created a few new printables just for the occasion, including

bottle wrappers (this printable includes this castle design and our white crown on hot pink dots, not shown),

favor tags,

cello toppers,

and dessert labels.

Back to the party, the little prince charmings went home with castle cookies and these sword/ax combos (my boys of course used them on each other!) and Nicole’s royal court went home with crown cookies, tiaras and some darling tulle wands (seen in the first image) that her mommy, Raquel, whipped up.

And I just had to share a few pics of the birthday girl having way too much fun dressed in a beautiful little tutu and bouncing in her castle. Oh yes, there was a castle and so much more! {Thanks for letting me share some of your pictures Raquel!}

If you’ve invited guests with our invitations or styled your party with table decor or printable items from The Celebration Shoppe, we would love to see! Send a link or pictures to customercare@celebrationshoppe.com. (By submitting information and/or images you are giving us the right to publish your events details with the appropriate credits.)

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customer: moo, Layla’s 2!

I went to my facebook page yesterday to find a lovely comment from a very talented mom and customer, Shanna Kreza of Shanna Kreza photography. She recently hosted a barnyard bash for her beautiful little girl using some of our On the Farm collection printables (beverage wrappers, tags and napkin rings).

Here are a few shots of the beautiful birthday girl!

And what a lovely barnyard spread. Those cupcake toppers from Cupcakesion are just too cute!

Last but never least, are the activities. Layla’s little guests enjoyed face painting and cookie decorating (one of my personal favorites!).

Hop on over to Shanna’s photography blog to see even more images of the big day and if you’re in the Orange County area to check out her amazing talents. {Thanks so much for letting us share Shanna!} And hop to the shoppe to purchase our Farm Birthday Party Supplies.

If you’ve invited guests with our invitations or styled your party with table decor or printable items from The Celebration Shoppe, we would love to see! Send a link or pictures to customercare@celebrationshoppe.com. (By submitting information and/or images you are giving us the right to publish your events details with the appropriate credits.)

Join The Celebration Shoppe on facebook, sign-up for the daily ideas to come right to your inbox (never miss an idea, giveaway or free printable!), follow us on twitter, pinterest and on instagram at @thecelebrationshoppe. And don’t forget to shop our birthday, baby shower and holiday party supplies!

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thank your royal guests

We’re working on a number of new projects and one is for our popular princess collections: prince and princess and princess castle. This new favor tag is just a little peek at the new printable designs to come later this week (and yes, these fabulous cookies from our partners at Sweet Tooth Cottage are available in the shoppe now! E-mail us at customercare@celebrationshoppe.com with any questions).

Happy Tuesday everyone! And as always, I hope you’re inspired!

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baby Jesus’ birthday cake

My boys schools celebrated Jesus’ birthday in the last few days before the Christmas break and I signed up to bring the cake for my youngest son’s class party. After I signed up then it hit me what a tall order it was going to be: it had to have meaning to the kids and I couldn’t use anything fancy because let’s face it… what four year old is going to eat a fondant cake… plus that seemed a little over the top for a preschool class. 

So in the end I iced a normal homemade cake and adorned it with the manger scene. I tried to keep it simple so I chose to make the stable from graham crackers with a party mix roof and pretzel posts, the manger from pretzel sticks, the lamb from marshmallows (four for the body and one for the head) and coconut (I wish you could see the coconut ears better!) and the beautiful baby Jesus was made of Cheerios. My son liked that part best!

And of course there had to be a star, so I swiped another ornament from their playroom tree (it’s going to be bald soon if I don’t stop crafting) and I tied it to a piece of floral wire and a lollipop stick, which I stuck in the cake behind the stable, so that it could hang in the sky. Last, but not least, I wanted the little lamb to be looking up in awe of the glorious glow (his little face was drawn on; you can find food dye pens at your craft store or bakery supply shop).

For the stable, cut the back graham cracker on a slant with a serrated knife. If you use a sawing motion they won’t break. Then bond the pieces with icing, allowing dry time before finally assembly. All other items can be assembled with icing as well, just allow dry time. I would recommend 30 minutes just to be confident they won’t break when you pick them up. If you need the process to be quicker, refrigerate.

I hope you’re having a very Merry Christmas season and as always, I hope you’re inspired!

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“allergy-free” Santa pops

I love weekends when I just get to play in the kitchen and the craft room without any looming deadlines. This weekend was a bit of half-and-half, but I still managed to watch a few Christmas movies and make a few goodies with my boys. And for those of you with little ones like mine, that suffer from severe food allergies, this goody is for you. It’s easy, fun and completely dairy and egg allergy-free.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Double Stuff Oreo cookies (Vanilla is best when you’re using light colored icing and Double Stuff makes it much easier to apply the lollipop stick without the cookie breaking)
  • Pillsbury white icing
  • red Starburst candies for the hat
  • sugar crystals/sprinkles for the trim
  • red and blue mini icing tubes (not gels) for the eyes and mouth
  • resealable plastic bag
  • lollipop sticks
  • wax paper
  • cooling rack (very helpful if you have one)
  • optional: #46  icing tip, connector for mustache (or you can just slit the resealable bag)
  • optional: 4″ cello bags for gifting

Here’s how you make the pops:

  1. Open your Oreo cookies and place a lollipop stick, longways, into the filling. Press down so that the lollipop stick is even with the filling.
  2. Place white icing in a small bowl, a heaping tablespoon full for each cookie you plan to dip (I recommend no more than two to three at a time), and microwave it for no more than eight seconds. Remove from the microwave and stir. It should be completely melted. (Don’t overdo it or the icing will dry with a crystallized look and won’t be as yummy.)
  3. Using a spoon, place a small amount of warm icing on the cookie over the lollipop stick and put the top back on. Allow the icing to set for at least 30 seconds.
  4. Tilt your bowl on its side and dip each pop. Again, I recommend only doing two to three at a time because you don’t want your icing to cool and you don’t want to have to reheat it.
  5. Place the cookies on the cooling rack with a piece of wax paper underneath for easy cleanup.
  6. Quickly spoon another tablespoon full of icing over each cookie. If the icing is still warm enough it will coat, drip and dry flat.

Embellishments:

  1. On a sheet of wax paper, gather your goodies: Starburst, sprinkles, tube icing, and a small amount of white icing in a resealable bag. I used the flat side of a #46 icing tip with a connector for the mustache, but you could slit your resealable bag in a straight line. You’ll just want to play with it on the wax paper a few times before applying to the cookie to make sure you have the cut correct.
  2. Heat one red Starburst on a small piece of wax paper in the microwave for eight to 10 seconds. Each one will make one Santa hat. While warm, careful not to burn your fingers, mold the Starburst into a triangle. You can dampen your fingers if you need to work with it a bit.
  3. To apply the sprinkles, lightly dampen the bottom rim and the top point of your triangle with your finger. Add the sprinkles, pushing any that landed on the center section back into place before they dry. 
  4. Pipe on a few drops of red icing for the mouth.
  5. Pipe on the mustache with the resealable bag (if using the icing tip: cut corner of bag, insert connector, attach tip to outside of bag with closure and fill with white icing).
  6. Attach your hat with a small amount of icing. (Tip: Use a flat spatula or butter knife to lift it off the wax paper so the candy doesn’t stretch.)
  7. Pipe on eyes.
  8. Allow Santa to completely dry for at least three hours before inserting into cello bags.

If you’re not up for the Santa pops, my boys loved the simple snowflake sprinkle ones just the same. Just add your sprinkles before your icing dries and you’re all set.

I’m so excited to be able to serve my youngest, who as most of you know has a severe milk allergy, a super fun treat that all the kids will want. Please share with any other moms who have little ones stricken with food allergies and as always, I hope you’re inspired!

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