patriotic inspiration

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As we’re all gearing up for a fabulous long weekend, I thought I would share a few last minute ideas for desserts:

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And a few DIY decorating ideas:

Have a safe and fun holiday everyone!

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real parties: bridal shower

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Mandy at Everyday Obsession sent me these beautiful pictures of a green and white bridal she hosted for a girlfriend back in May. And as many of us are, she was inspired by the talented Amy Atlas.

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Aren’t these vanilla pudding shot glasses adorable,

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And these cake balls yummy?! Make sure you hop over to Mandy’s blog to see all the details!

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press: styled bbq for Mom mag

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The backyard BBQ article I styled at the request of the fabulous Natalie Klein of Hot Moms Club for Mom magazine is finally here!

DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE PRINTABLES NOW!

The assignment had two parts. First, create a look that could be perfect for the upcoming July 4th holiday, as well as all summer long. My immediate thoughts went to mixing traditional patriotic patterns and colors with traditional summer colors, hence the pops of yellow and green! The second part of the assignment was to involve the kiddos.

My tips are in the blue boxes to the right on each page and here on the first page of the two-page spread. You can see my lemonade service and apron craft (the burgers belong to Chef Sam) in the images.

  • Lemonade service – mason jars are a charming way to bring the party outdoors and colorful straw slips are the perfect way to help your guests tell their beverages apart (get these FREE printables).
  • Flowers – I went with these beautiful sunflowers, the traditional yellow and a vibrant red (dyed by the florist), nestled in a bright blue tin vase to give the table a little pop.

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Here’s a closer look at the apron craft. I stopped in the craft store and picked up white, child-size aprons, fabric paint, stencils (you can find just about any shape and lettering) and sponge brushes. I set the boys up outside and placed wax paper (to contain any paint that may bleed though) between the apron and the table. They held the stencil in place with their hand, then using a round sponge brush dabbed the stencil on. It was really quite easy with quick clean up.

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And here on the second page you can see my ice cream service idea, my choice of primary dot plates and napkins from Inviting Company and the invitation craft.

  • Ice cream pails – For the ice cream I picked up some red and white mini pails and some clear plastic cups. I’m a big fan of pre-scooping your ice cream before your guests arrive and refreezing the scoops on wax paper. It just takes too much to scoop while they’re there; I’d rather be mingling myself! For serving, I arranged the pails on a tray, filled each about 1/3 way with ice, inserted the plastic cup and then popped in my cones. And if you have a variety of flavors you can take orders and use a cute little tag (get these fun tag/placecard printables FREE) so you don’t get your orders mixed up.
  • Invitation craft – since I own a custom invitation company my first reaction was to design something fabulous, but since the assignment was to make something the kids could help with, I went “old school” and used scrapbooking supplies (cardstock, vellum and ribbon) and a fun star tablecloth weight as a little favor.

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Make sure you pop over to my post from Monday to see closer shots of the printables I used to style this article!

Thanks again to Natalie and the wonderful ladies at Hot Moms Club for giving me this opportunity. And thanks to Jennifer Sbranti of Hostess With The Mostess for mentioning me to Natalie. I’m honored to be in these fabulous ladies company! And finally, thanks to my little boys for sitting still long enough for us to get these fabulous pictures of them. Of course the ice cream helped! {wink}

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

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free printables for summer!

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I mentioned in last Wednesday’s post that there is a real buzz around here in anticipation of getting our hands on the July-September issue of Mom magazine. I’m so excited to say that I styled a backyard bbq for the issue at the request of the fabulous Natalie Klein of Hot Moms Club! Well I don’t have a high res file of the full article yet (and it’s already out), but I did get my hot little hands on the cover and a low res (that’s why the article is so small here)! I should be getting the full article very soon and I will definately post it so you can read every word! {wink} UPDATE: Full article and more pics!

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In the meantime, I don’t want to give it all away by showing you the images used in the article, but I will show you these tight shots of the printables that I used to style the shoot. I chose a variety of patterns all in primary colors so they can be perfect for the fourth and all summer long!

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Here’s a closer shot of the straw slips I used, which can also be perfect as toothpick skewers in sandwiches, etc.,

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the napkin rings, and

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the placecards, which can also work great as favor tags.

And since I love giving things to my friends: those who read my blog, follow me on twitter and friend me (like me) on facebook, I’m giving these to you!  I’ve posted a download link to these freebies on facebook and I’ll be tweeting the link for several days to come. We’ll also be sending e-mails this week to everyone who has purchased from us in the past and is signed up to receive “special offers” (box in the upper right corner). And if you’re new here, please come join me on facebook, twitter, or sign up for offers so you don’t miss out on future freebies!

I hope you have a wonderful week and that you swing back by to read the full article!

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all things dinosaur

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As much as my oldest is into science, my youngest is into dinosaurs. And as those who stop in often know, this weekend I’m hosting a huge dinosaur birthday party to celebrate his fourth birthday (I still can’t believe I’ve been blessed with him in my life for four years already)! So as you can imagine, over the past weeks I’ve been pouring over all things dinosaur. These were just a few of the cute and clever things I found.

I’ll be bringing you many many party pictures on Monday so please make sure you stop back in and check out how the big weekend went.

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red, white & blue inspiration

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Today’s post is a bit of a prelude to the excitement around here. But before I tell you all about it, I want to share some true patriotic inspiration with you from the fabulous crafters and planners at Martha Stewart, a group of people that inspire me often and this latest issue didn’t disappoint. I was candidly taken aback at what they did with pop-ups. You know, those paper party pieces that are often thought of as inexpensive looking… well not when the Martha team puts them together, with a little added style that is. The ones above are the only ones I could locate on the site, but make sure you pick up this month’s issue for some truly super fun ideas that will have your July 4th table looking beautiful in no time.

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And then there are so many fabulous ideas from previous years. I fell in love with the star table runner idea and actually used a version of it on my own table last year. I also thought the sand & firework centerpieces were quite clever, as well as these festive utensil sleeves. Remember, everything doesn’t have to be matchy matchy. As a matter of fact, I’m a huge fan of mixing and matching patterns and fabrics when entertaining.

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 A few other craft musts to bring your table together are these patriotic pinwheels. You can find all of these ideas, and a ton of others, in one location on the Martha Stewart website. Make sure you scroll through the entire bunch!

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As for my big announcement, it’s actually tied to the upcoming patriotic celebration. I was asked back in April by the talented Natalie Klein of Hot Moms Club to style a backyard bbq bash for the summer issue of Mom magazine. The idea was to create something that could be perfect for the upcoming July 4th holiday, as well as all summer. The ice cream you see above was one of my favorite images to style. I picked up these sweet little pails from the craft store and some clear plastic cups. I filled the bucket 1/3 way with ice and inserted the plastic cup (because let’s face it, who knows about paint these days), then added my star sprinkled cones and served them on a red and white speckled tin tray. And since I love my readers so very much, I’ll be giving away the placecards you see attached to the serving bucket, as well as straw slips and napkin rings in tomorrow’s post when I share the entire article.

As always, I hope you’re inspired for your next celebration!

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introducing ladybug

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This collection has been in the back of my mind for months. I knew I wanted to create a ladybug collection, but I didn’t want to use only the traditional red and black color palette. Then when we started creating the new “little sailor” collection, I knew that adding this beautiful Tiffany blue was the answer I was looking for. 

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As with all of our new collections, we created candy buffet labels. There are eight pre-filled labels (rock candy, licorice, cookies, lollipops, fruit chews, chocolate candies, gumballs and salt water taffy) and there is a sheet of blank labels so you can print (print the label and then overprint the candy name) any candies you like.

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The blank labels are also darling as placecards.

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For favors, this collection offers a “thank you” tag (tin buckets found at Target for a $1.00!),

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and a cello topper. These are wonderful for pre-packaging candy or cookie favors.

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As for beverages, we designed a bottle wrap. We show it here with water, but these also look great on old fashioned soda bottles or on hurricanes to dress up your centerpieces.

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And straw slips (six designs in all) are a must so there is no drink confusion, especially with little ones. 

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And what would your placesetting be without an adorable napkin ring? Oh, and see the tag on the pail? That is the cupcake pick.

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I also used it to embellish my straw vase. There is just a multitude of ways you can use all of these printables.

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And I had to show you this image of the cupcake picks and wrappers once more. You’ll notice that I used a circle punch and then overlayed the same design on top with a scallop punch (foam adhesive square in the middle to give it dimension; all easy finds at the craft store), but I wanted you to focus in on the cake plate. Do you see the paper inset? It’s the same design as the wrapper, but in blue. These 7×11 sheets (in blue with red and in red with blue) will be available when you purchase the entire collection to help you “complete” the look of your table. 

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Last but not least, you’ll need a banner to hang above your dessert bar. This image actually only shows four of the eight patterns available in the printable. And if you’re looking for a shortcut on the banner, use hot glue (my favorite crafting tool) to adhere the cardstock triangles to your ribbon and you’re done!

This collection will be in the shoppe within a few days and as always, I hope we’ve helped inspire your next celebration! 

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little sailor placesetting

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As a follow-up to my post introducing our newest collection, little sailor, here are a few shots of the placesetting I chose. I really liked how these blue and white polka dot plates and napkins rimmed in brown pop when paired with the red tablecloth and printables collection. As for the placemat, I just used a sheet of nautical inspired cardstock (Water Waves from Express Yourself Creatively) from the craft store.

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For baby showers especially, a lovely placecard is a must!

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And the of course a cute napkin ring to tie the plates and napkins in with the printable collection.

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Make sure you check out the rest of this collection in my original post and in the shoppe. And if you’ve not already, friend us on facebook for sneek peeks into what’s coming up next! What’s black and red with dots all over? {wink} 

As always, I hope we’ve inspired you for your next celebration!

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introducing little sailor

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We’ve been working on two new collections for a few weeks now and I’m so excited to share the first, a little sailor birthday or baby shower party, with you.

I’m completely in love with this whale. It’s perfect for either a nautical themed baby shower or a little boy birthday party. And this color palette just made me giddy when we were putting it all together. It’s the perfect combination of bright and soft.

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For the cupcake printables, we paired bright nautical images with a lovely light blue patterned cupcake wrapper. I’m a huge fan of mixing patterns to get a “wow” effect. It’s much more interesting than matchy matchy.

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As for the cake plate, I decided to create a mini-banner made from this collection’s straw slip patterns. I just snipped them into triangles and assembled them using a hot glue gun and red thread. I really love how it turned out.

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And last but not least, instead of using our fun cupcake picks on both levels, I used the anchor design, in the striped pick, to make red chocolate transfer anchors. (It’s much easier than you might think. It’s a little like tracing a picture except you’re using melted chocolate in a resealable bag with an icing tip and wax paper.)

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We created nautical beverage wrappers sporting our little whale that can double as hurricane wraps or even flat napkin bands.

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 And of course we had to create dessert labels. The collection has eight pre-filled labels plus a sheet of blank labels so that you can overprint any treats you like. (These cookies were flooded with white icing and embellished with the same chocolate transfer anchors as the cupcakes and they were delish!)

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The pre-filled labels include sugar cookies, licorice, rock candy, salt water taffy, chocolate candies, fruit chews, lollipops and gumballs.

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And of course cello toppers are a must. We filled these with red sour balls. Yum!

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Or, send your guest home with a little goody bag embellished with our “thank you” tags. These adorable buckets were found at Target for $2.50 each. Wish I had them for the shoppe.

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We also designed these adorable straw slips, six patterns in all, that are great to label your guests’ drinks.

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Other touches include this 4×6 picture frame mat,

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flag banner (four patterns),

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and this rock candy jar embellished with a wooden anchor from the craft store. 

You can shop the little sailor party invitationfull set of nautical printable party supplies, and thank you notes in the shoppe.

As always, I hope we’ve helped inspire you for your next celebration!

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real parties: pink perfection

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I just came across a new blogger, Jenna at Eat Drink Pretty. Well she’s new for me. I know… what took me so long, right? Well she just celebrated her blogiversary in style with this darling dessert table. She has tons of photos so make sure you hop over and see all the beautiful details!

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