a sweet partnership

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It is such an exciting week around here. First being honored by the Martha Stewart Dreamers Into Doers editors and now announcing that The Celebration Shoppe will be partnering with a fabulous cookie company, Sweet Tooth Cottage, to expand my custom invitations and creative party decor collections to include exclusive custom cookies.

If imagination had a flavor it would be the delicious buttery taste of Sweet Tooth Cottage’s whimsically hand-frosted butter cookies. They are always prepared fresh, artfully decorated, beautifully boxed and prepared with only the highest quality and freshest possible ingredients, without preservatives.

We’ll offer cutout cookies and printed sugar paper cookie rounds for each of my current 56 collections, as well as all of my new collections.

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Right now you can purchase cookies from our On the Farm (chickens, pigs, cows, sheep and barns), Science (bubbling beakers and periodic symbols) and Harvest (scarecrows and pumpkins; 10% off through last day, Nov. 16, for Thanksgiving orders) collections. With Princess (sparkling crowns and castles) and our new Mod Candy Cane (glistening snowflakes and Merry Christmas and/or Happy Holidays) coming next week. If you have an upcoming event and the collection you’ve chosen is not yet on this list, contact us at customercare@celebrationshoppe.com and we’ll do our best to help.

In addition to the details you’ll find under each product listing in the shoppe, we’ve tried to anticipate and answer your questions below and on our About Us page.

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Custom cutout and printed sugar paper cookies – Each box contains 14 cookies, approximately 1.75 ounces and a minimum of 3″x3″ each (sizes vary based on design). All cookies are individually packaged and heat sealed in 4″ wide cellos, perfect size for The Celebration Shoppe cello topper printables, to ensure freshness. Cookies can be refrigerated or frozen to extend freshness.

Cookie ingredients:Confectioners Sugar, Butter, Flour, Sugar, Egg, Cream, Baking Powder, Extracts (including almond), Salt and Water. Colored icings may contain one or more of the following U.S. Certified Colors (Red 40, Red 3, Yellow 6, Blue 1, & Blue 2) or (Titanium Dioxide), Modified Corn Starch, Vegetable Gum, Citric Acid, and less than 1/10 of 1% Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Sorbate (as Preservatives).

Edible Sugar Paper Print Ingredients: Water, Corn Starch, Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup Solids, Cellulose, Sorbitol, Glycerine, Sugar, Vegetable Oil, Arbic Gum, Polysorbate 80, Vanilla, Titanium Dioxide and Citric Acid. May include the following U.S. Certified Colors (Red 40, Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Blue 1, E102, E110, E122, E129, E133).

Edible printed sugar paper prints – Prints are 2.13″ circles, 12 per page, 2 pages per package, 24 circles total, already pre-cut for easy application. Prints are packaged in FDA approved resealable bags and should be kept in the sealed air-tight plastic bag that they arrive in until use and should be stored at room temperature. Cookies or cupcakes can be frosted using any white icing, homemade or commercial. Caution! A very wet whipped-cream icing can cause colors to fade if stored in the refrigerator. Carefully remove edible image prints from the backing paper and apply to cookies or cupcakes before icing dries. After edible prints have been applied to cookies or cupcakes you may embellish as desired (e.g., edges) using colored or white icings, sprinkles, etc.

Edible Printed Sugar Paper Print Ingredients: Water, Corn Starch, Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup Solids, Cellulose, Sorbitol, Glycerine, Sugar, Vegetable Oil, Arbic Gum, Polysorbate 80, Vanilla, Titanium Dioxide and Citric Acid. May include the following U.S. Certified Colors (Red 40, Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Blue 1, E102, E110, E122, E129, E133).

Food allergies- so excited that our edible sugar paper prints can be the perfect solution for my customers with most food allergies. Bake your own cookies and top them with our printed sugar paper rounds, already pre-cut for easy application!

Personalization – Personalization is available on one cutout cookies style per collection. See individual product listings for details and include your personalization, up to 10 characters for most cookies, in the “special instructions” at checkout.

Shipping – Our cookie price includes shipping since your cookies will be shipped directly from Sweet Tooth Cottage to ensure freshness. For instance, if you only purchase cookies you will not be charged additional shipping at checkout. The price is all inclusive when shipped UPS ground within the Continental U.S. (NOTE: As our cookies are baked upon order without preservatives, please allow up to three business days for baking, icing and packaging. We’ve provided a UPS zone map on our shipping page so you determine your cookie order’s time in transit from Ohio. When calculating, locate your state to determine number of days in transit and then add three business days for baking. Please e-mail us at customercare@celebrationshoppe.com if you need to upgrade to a faster shipping method.)

Packaging

Cookies- All cookies are individually wrapped and heat sealed in 4″ cello bags (to minimize breakage and to ensure freshness), placed on cardboard dividers and secured to the board with an adhesive dot. These are butter cookies, softer and less dense than sugar cookies, please be careful when unpackaging them.

Outer box - The outer box will carry both the Sweet Tooth Cottage name and The Celebration Shoppe name to avoid confusion for our customers.

Questions – If you have any additional questions please contact us via e-mail at customercare@celebrationshoppe.com and we’ll be happy to help.

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Join us early next week for all the details from our new Mod Candy Cane plus some super easy DIY tips on how to sparkle up your holiday table. Happy Friday everyone!

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press: honored as Martha Stewart Dreamer Into Doer

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I’m beyond thrilled today to announce that I’ve been selected as a Martha Stewart Dreamer Into Doer. I have such an appreciation for the creative talents of the Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia editors, crafters, stylists and producers, making this honor so very humbling. The beautiful and clever ideas that they publish almost daily are an inspiration to all who love to entertain, bake, cook, craft and simply keep a lovely home.

I’m so very flattered to be chosen by the editors! You can read all about how my company came to be, how I try to balance my company and my family, where I get my inspriration from, and more in my full interview with Caitlin Losey, the Martha Stewart Dreamer Into Doer editor.

I’ll also be attending a Martha Stewart Dreamers Into Doers event in mid-January where we’ll have the opportunity to discuss how to grow and nurture our businesses, meet editors, attend a Martha Stewart taping and even meet the lady herself! This opportunity has left me speechless. Thank you to all of you who have supported me, encouraged me and cheered me on. You mean more to me than you could know!

And for those of you not familiar with Dreamers Into Doers, it’s a community of more than 6,800 talented and creative women who are turning their dreams into careers. So if you’re dreaming, or already doing, there is a place for you in this community where we support and mentor each other. Please come join us!

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natural Thanksgiving placecard

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Since I live in Ohio I get to truly experience all four seasons and admittedly I love them all (okay… winter could be a touch shorter). While summer offers mild temperatures and beautiful play days, fall offers an abundance of natural and colorful elements that are perfect for entertaining.

This first idea from Better Homes and Gardens has been on my “must do” board since early August. I love using the left over gourds and small pumpkins after Halloween for indoor decor so when I saw this elegant stencil idea I fell in love. Plus, it gives the pumpkin yet another use and doesn’t require cutting or cooking! 

I found these felted acorn placecards at Southern Living Magazine.com. Not only are they adorable, but the felted acorns are from Fairyfolk  and can be purchased directly from their Etsy shop. (Photo: Jennifer Davick)

And since pears are all the rage this season it goes without saying that I had to share this simple, yet lovely, idea from Country Living.

Last, but never least, is an idea from Martha Stewart that takes me back to my childhood. My grandparents had a sweet-gum tree in their yard in Alabama and in the fall you couldn’t cross the yard without these little spurs being underfoot. That said, they were great for throwing at my big brother while he was chasing me!

As always, I hope you’re inspired!

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visiting Disney for Halloween

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At the beginning of October my hubby and I took my boys to Disney for a long weekend and we attended the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. We had the best time from the nighttime parade to the fireworks to the constant trick-or-treating around the park! And not only was the party itself lots of fun, but it wasn’t overcrowded. My two favorite times of year to go are early March, before all the schools let out for spring break (I know… I won’t be able to do that much longer since my oldest in now in Kindergarten) and fall (again, difficult with school age children, but worth all the homework you’ll have to make up!).

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The night of the party the boys were dressed up as swat team officers, but when we ran across the face painting Alex really wanted to be a pirate, and

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Cole really wanted to be a puppy… aka Goofy.

And not only did we go to the Halloween party we visited all the parks. I have over 500 images and I swear I could sell some to Disney for advertising they were so cute {proud mama}. I even turned around backwards (cart in front of the boys) on a few mini roller-coasters and took pictures of them screaming. The pics were great, but I was nauseous for 30 minutes afterwards! 

But instead of sharing those with you, I’d rather tell you what a fabulous company Disney is from the perspective of a family struck with food allergies. I’ve been on my soap box about this lately (with my allergy free Halloween treats and sorry, I can’t eat cow milk posts) and while I’m on the topic I want to share with any families who are waiting or debating about going to Disney because of the allergy (and I’ve talked to many moms and dads who are), go! I’ve taken Cole now twice and both times I’ve been overjoyed. Soy milk and fresh fruit choices are on every menu, a chef comes out at all the restaurants and a manager comes out at the “fast food” locations to discuss options with you and to prepare something special that doesn’t come in contact with other ingredients. And it doesn’t stop there, at the Magic Kingdom (and likely the others) there is a restaurant, the name is alluding me at the moment, that offers vegan (great for egg and dairy allergies) choices including treats! They even sell Divvies, a fabulous little company created by a mom, who like me, wanted her son to be able to enjoy the same foods that other kids do. Long story short, Disney is fabulous at Halloween and takes special care of food allergy families!

Happy Halloween everyone!

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“sorry, I can’t eat cow milk”

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I took lots of pictures of my boys last night (our neighborhood trick-or-treat), but this picture of my sweet little four year old boy trying to read the label on a candy package made my heart hurt this morning when I was looking through them. You see, he has severe milk allergies, not lactose intolerance, but immediate sickness, burning tongue and hives, severe allergy.

So at each house last night he would go to the door with huge smiles and say “trick-or-treat!” He would then peer into their candy bucket and either say “sorry, I can’t eat cow milk” and walk away, or he would squeal with joy and jump around because they had things like Twizzlers or Gummy Worms. Although he went through the entire night in good spirits and never once got sulky (my little trooper), it tore my heart out and I wanted to hug him each time he walked away empty handed.

The reason I’m telling you this is because I know there are many of you out there with little ones who suffer from food allergies, whether it be milk, egg, nut, or all three (see allergy free Halloween treat ideas). And since this time of year can be hard with holiday school parties and family gatherings I want to offer up some recipes and ideas so that our little ones can join in the fun too. And I promise, I’ll share things that are yummy for everyone so that by including the family member or child with food allergies, you’re not sacrificing taste.

And if you have a recipe (on a blog or not) or know of a resource that is allergy friendly, please share it with me here, by e-mailing us at customercare@celebrationshoppe.com (“Food Allergy” in the title) or on facebook. {And Maura at 36×37, I’m coming for that fabulous allergy free chocolate chip cookie recipe of yours!}

Happy Friday everyone!

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sneak peek: mod candy cane

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This is my favorite time of year, celebration after celebration! Now that Halloween is almost here it’s time to start pulling out the new Christmas collections! My modern twist on the candy cane has been on the inspiration board for months now and can be perfect for a cocktail party, a family open house, a whimsy kid cookie decorating party and even a winter birthday or baby shower (the cupcake picks come with a sheet of Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, and a sheet of solid snowflakes)!

I’m so excited to say that the invitation is already available in the shoppe as of this morning! And with the photo shoot for the entire collection including the printables scheduled for next Thursday, November 4, the rest won’t be far behind!

This storyboard only shows you snippets of what mod candy cane will offer: cupcake picks, cupcake wrappers, dessert table tags, whimsy dessert table beverage mat, cello toppers, favor tags, welcome door sign, beverage wrappers and so much more! I can’t wait to share it all with you! Join us on facebook and twitter for regular updates and a few sneak peeks of the photo shoot along the way!

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allergy free Halloween treats

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Each year we get together with all of our neighbors and I host our annual Halloween block party. The premise is that everyone brings their favorite Halloween or fall treat and we all reminisce about the summer and tell any plans for the upcoming winter (besides hibernation of course!).

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This year I used my Candy Corn collection and gave it a little lighter twist from how I styled it in August for the shoppe.

And since I couldn’t control the desserts, or their ingredients, I made mostly dairy and nut free goodies. As many of you know my youngest has severe food allergies and I can’t stand for him to feel left out! There is nothing worse than that little face looking at me with sad eyes and asking me “Mommy, is that my kind?” His “kind” meaning made with soy milk or vegan butter. Of course unless I made it myself the answer is typically “I’m so sorry baby…” And any mother with a child who suffers from food allergies can attest that it breaks your heart!

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All of my desserts that night were inspired by the yummy candy corn and the first on my list was a cupcake… imagine that! By the way, Brach’s candy corn has milk in it, but the Kroger brand is dairy free (has egg though)!

So using a Duncan Hines Butter cake mix and Smart Balance Light vegan butter (be careful that you get the light; the others have dairy in them) I whipped up these cupcakes. My only advice on the butter is to use a little less than the recipe calls for because it has a very buttery taste.

And if your little one also has an egg allergy, which my little guy did for the first three years of his life, try making your cupcakes out of a brownie mix instead. Just make according to the recipe and fill your cupcake liners higher than normal. I would also suggest that you either use the tin/silver liners or you use cupcake wrappers, like we create for our collections, to hide the wrapper as brownies have oil in them and will discolor your wrappers.

For the icing I simply used Pillsbury Cream Cheese icing and tinted it using gel food coloring (liquid food coloring  thins your icing). Using resealable bags with a slit corner (for easy cleanup) I just piped one layer at a time. It was as simple as that!

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Next I made rice krispie treats, a dessert every kid… and let’s face it, every adult loves! These were gone in a flash! I used the normal ingredients, but in the place of butter I used Smart Balance Light vegan butter again.

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  1. While the treats are still warm mold them into triangles and insert lollipop sticks. Do this before you ice them or your could crack your icing, plus you want to form the treat back around the stick so that there aren’t too many pockets of air. 
  2. Gently push down, don’t crush the cereal, on the top of your treats. You’ll want a flat surface, or as flat as you can get it, for icing.
  3. Using a #7 tip, a connector and a resealable bag, outline your treats with white icing, leaving no gaps or your icing will run.
  4. Melt a small bowl of white, yellow and orange icing (one at a time) in eight second intervals. Carefully spoon the icing into the sections and pull icing to the corners with a toothpick. You want your icing warm, but not too hot and soupy or it will remelt your marshmallows. 
  5. Allow treats to dry completely before inserting them into cello bags.

I also served dairy free licorice, candy corn inspired pretzels sticks (made with tinted “real” milk chocolate so I’ll share those in a separate post) and my little guy’s favorite, gummy worms. My oldest will eat anything sweet so I knew he was covered! {wink}

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As for decorations, instead of using my cupcake picks in the actual cupcakes, I hung them from tree branches to create a dramatic and tall centerpiece (you all know how much I love height on a table!).

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And filled the glass apothecary jar, turned vase, with what else… candy corn!  You’ll notice that candy corn was also the fillers for the rice krispie treat bowl and the pretzel jar. Inexpensive and bright, just my style!

I can’t let you go without pointing out the crepe trim on the cake plate (shown in the first and third images). I just made tiny folds back and forth to give it a ruffled look and then attached it to my square cake plate with just a drop of hot glue here and there. It looked lovely, only took minutes and came right off with a light tug.

As always, I hope you’re inspired!

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free Halloween printable!

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 I’m very excited to announce that I’m giving away a little Halloween fun today!

My sinister sister printables collection offers four face choices (smiling & snarling), two hat choices and two cupcake wrappers. I personally love these and hope you will too by allowing them to grace your dessert tables, school functions or just be part of some family fun!  (By the way, I attached the hats with a small foam adhesive square for a little 3-D effect!)

If you think these are fun I would love for you to leave me a comment, join me on facebook and/or twitter! I’ve got much more holiday inspiration planned and even a few freebies along the way and I don’t want you to miss out! Now, download your free printable and since nothing lasts forever, go tell everyone! These girls go back into the shoppe Monday, November 1, for next year! And if you get the chance to use them, please send me photos. I would love to see your creativity and may even feature a few here! 

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Plus, the entire Candy Corn Halloween printable collection is 50% off through Halloween! Happy Friday everyone!

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DIY fabric fall wreath

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It doesn’t get any easier than this: a DIY no-sew fabric wreath. All you need are two to three fabrics of your choice cut into 3″x3″ squares, a straw wreath (available at any craft store) and a screw driver.

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And if you want, a little quick embellishment!

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This is how you do it. Just place your fabric square, right side out, on the tip of a screwdriver (a flathead would be best so that it doesn’t puncture your material) and push it gently into your wreath. It’s that simple. And this idea isn’t just great for holidays, it could be perfect for birthday parties, baby showers, any occasion that brings guests to your front door.

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And maybe even punch up the entry way with a coordinating, but not matchy matchy throw pillow. As always, I hope you’re inspired!

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simple spray painted pumpkins

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This weekend was beautiful and we packed each day with baking new Halloween treats (some dairy free for us moms who deal with food allergies), decorating pumpkins (the super easy way) and spending time with some great friends. 

I’ll share the treats soon, but I wanted to start with the pumpkins. I’ve never been much for cleaning out pumpkins. It’s messy and in Ohio some years it can just be down right cold. Long story short, I look for alternatives. This year we thought we would go the super easy route and just spray paint the pumpkins so that the kids could help (at least a little; it’s too toxic for them without a mask and taking breaks every 30 seconds or so).

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I started by going to Better Homes and Gardens and letting the boys select their own template. My oldest chose a Frankenstein stencil and my youngest chose a spooky skeleton stencil. (We also made a “Enter if you DARE” stencil with a cricut and circle punch.) Next we cut out the stencils and attached them to the pumpkins. For the Frankenstein pumpkin and Enter if you DARE pumpkins we wanted a menacing effect so we just attached the stencils with hot glue, leaving the edges up so that some of the paint would get in around the stencil. For the spooky pumpkin we wanted harder lines so we covered the area with painters tape, attached the template and then I trimmed it out with a straight edge.

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Using a piece of burlap to protect the grass, we lightly sprayed both pumpkins with a constant back-and-forth motion, allowed them to dry and then peeled off the stencils.

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The entire process took about an hour and the boys were thrilled with the outcome!

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