Monday, December 13, 2010

Wrap Your Christmas Cookies in a Warm Fleece Blankie!

You'd think one of these days, I'd think of a completely original idea, but for now, I rely on all the talent out there to inspire me! lol In looking around for cookie packaging ideas, I found this cute idea on the Better Homes and Gardens site. As usual, it's not a duplicate, but it's my interpretation of what they did. I chose to use fleece instead of felt and make mine more rustic and cabin-y looking. I found these super cute **mini** brown and red ornaments at Joannes and knew they would be perfect so I purchased everything else around these ornaments. I found a perfect shade of red fleece in the remnant basket at Joannes (score!) and decided on some thick brown yarn for accent. 
I wrapped the cookies in a stack with red cellophane and made a mental note for next time to put them in a sturdy cylinder next time to prevent it from looking lumpy. Then, I cut a piece of the fleece just big enough to overlap a little to stay closed and long enough to tie the ends.  I used strips of the fleece to tie the ends like I saw on the BH&G one, but when I tried wrapping it in the yarn, it looked odd. So, I ended up just adding the yarn to the ends and separating out the pieces to make it more fringy. 
The tags were done using some red and brown card stock and a corner rounder. I attached the pieces together with 3 in 1 glue and used the Tim Holz distress ink on the edges. I glued down a ribbon and stuck on a clear epoxy Merry Christmas sticker. For the circle, I used the scallop Martha Stewart punch on a piece of brown glitter card stock and attached a red gem. I put the circle on with a foam pop up. The ornament was tied on with the tag and it dangled next to it. 

Christmas Frame with mini bunting

I saw this absolutely beautiful frame on KinderStampO's blog and got totally inspired! I wanted to make something for my good friend Patt, anyway, for hosting a cookie exchange and I thought it was a perfect idea. I also have been dying to have an excuse to make a mini bunting because I've been seeing them everywhere and think they are darling. Plus, anyone who knows me, knows I have a weird obsession with all things mini. haha

Wood frame
Dark brown acrylic paint
Pearl finish white acrylic paint
2 sheets coordinating card stock
3 in 1 glue
Spray adhesive
Tim Holz distressing ink
Ivory ribbon
Martha Stewart twine
Paper flowers
Clear glaze spray
I purchased one of those plain wooden frames from Michaels and started by painting all but the front side with dark brown acrylic paint. After that dried, I painted a thin coat of the pearlized acrylic over the dark brown just to give it some depth. I traced the frame upside down onto the paper and cut out the shape. I used spray adhesive to secure the paper on to the front of the frame and used a razor to clean up the edges. Then, I used the distressing ink to age the paper a bit, making it darker on the edges. I secured the ribbon to the 2 sides with 3 in 1 glue.
I added these pretty paper flowers in a cluster pattern along the left bottom corner. They already had adhesive on the back, so it made it easy.
For the bunting, I used the backside of the same paper that was used for the front of the frame. I took a 2 in section of paper and folded it in half. I cut the triangles by eyeballing it because I wanted more of a vintage non-perfect look to it. I had purchased these tiny letter stamps from the dollar section at Target quite a while back and they are still one of my fav finds. The stamp parts fall off a lot, but I love the typewriter look they give, so I deal with the irritation. :o) I folded them over the twine and used the 3 in 1 glue to secure. I used the same glue to adhere the twine to the back of the frame. Lastly, I cut out a piece of the coordinating paper to use in the back of the frame.

This was one of my favorite projects and I'm so happy with how it turned out. I think my friend Patt really liked it too. :o)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Thumbprint Tags

I was looking for a fun craft to do with the kids and saw some different "thumbprint crafts". I thought it was such a great idea to turn them into usable gift tags! Although, now that they are done, not sure I can part with them. ;o) I just cut some card stock into 3x4 squares (didn't have time to pull out the Cricut to get gift tag shapes), poured some acrylic paint on a paper plate and started stamping thumbs! The kids were great about staying pretty still and they always love any craft involving paint! I used my fine tip marker to draw on the details....I'm no artist! Just have fun with it! I experimented with different embellishments, some tinsel glitter, some gems...  I had as much fun doing them as the kids did!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Christmas garland....Martha style!

I had the idea of doing a garland with Styrofoam balls and in Googling it online, wouldn't you know it but Martha already had the idea! haha So, I saved myself the time of trial and error and followed her formula. (Link) I was surprised at the simplicity of it! And the results were even better than I imagined! I was able to purchase my supplies at Michaels on Thanksgiving, taking advantage of their super coupon. Then I also purchased the Martha Stewart pack of coordinating gold glitters with the 50% coupon found in her latest magazine...amazing deal! So, I think I spent about $17 total, HOWEVER, $8 of that was the huge pack of glitter that this project only used around 10%.

Supplies: Wooden skewers, 2 packs of 12 Styrofoam balls (one small, one bigger), Martha Stewart Holiday golden glitter pack (This had fine glitter, tinsel glitter & beads...I only used the fine & tinsel glitters), Elmers glue, several small bowls, florist foam, something to string the balls on (I used fringy ribbon), disposable paint brush or foam brush, tape

1. Pour the Elmers glue in a bowl
2. Put one of the balls on a wooden skewer
3. Dip the ball in the glue and use the paint brush to spread it around and remove excess
4. Pour the glitter on the ball over a bowl (use a different bowl for each color as the excess can be salvaged)
5. Once ball is completely covered, poke the skewer into the florist foam to dry (I let mine dry overnight)
6. After all balls are complete and dried, tape the end of your ribbon to the blunt end of a skewer
7. Thread the balls on to the ribbon one by one.
8. Adjust the balls on the ribbon so they are all even

Thanksgiving Tablescape

My house is too small to host Thanksgiving, and I'm not much of a cook, so I was given the job of doing centerpieces this year. Oh darn. ;o) I gathered some vases I had on hand and added a couple more from Walmart and the dollar store, then just layered in different beans, lentils, corn, etc. I love the effect of all the natural fall colors. I also added some candles to the centers. I sprinkled some fall foliage (purchased fake since I'm in Phx and it was like 80 out!) around the center of the table. Simple, but I think it made a nice impact.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Cookie Box

A couple of friends and I did a Thanksgiving cookie exchange and I thought it was a perfect excuse to do something crafty! ;o) After seeing so many ideas online and in magazines, I decided on doing a box. I got a simple cardboard box and added some pretty Thanksgiving paper to the sides and top to create a nicer background. I found this gorgeous brown glitter paper that screamed fall leaves to me. So, I layered it behind some red card stock that I had punched out leaves in. It was a perfect contrast. I had always wanted to try making paper medallions, so after some failed attempts, I finally succeeded in creating these. (This is a great tutorial ---> Video) I added a Thanksgiving sticker to the middle and attached it to the side. I finished it up with a rich, brown ribbon I tied into a bow on the top. And what did I do with all the pretty red leaves that were left over from the punches? I sprinkled them inside on top of the natural paper shred like confetti. Oh yeah, and I put the wrapped up cookies inside too. :o)

Little Embellishing Project

A friend of mine saw the birthday vase I did for my daughter's 1st birthday party (Nursery Rhyme Party) and wanted to make one for her daughter's 13th birthday. She brought it over after she had put it together and asked me to make it better, lol. She said it still needed something and she didn't know what. So after playing around for a bit, I decided on doing a little embellishment around the vase.
I beaded some purple beads on thin gauge wire and twisted around the vase. I put some purple paper on a chip board heart and distressed the edges a bit, finishing with a rhinestone. I punched out a scalloped circle, put on a double stick letter A (for Adrianna) and added black glitter. For the third element, I attached a glittery black flower to another scalloped circle and put a rhinestone in the middle. I attached all 3 to the beaded center with additional thin gauge wire. I also added some of those same purple beads to short pieces of monofilament and attached them to the different wires at the top. They hung down and gave a lot of sparkle. I didn't get any pictures of that part, unfortunately. The birthday girl really enjoyed it and had a great party.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Favor Find of the week - Sugar Plum!

I am always on the lookout for new party favor options, so when I came across Sugar Plum, I had to share! They have some unique gourmet popcorn such as Cookies n' Cream popcorn described as, "Our delicious new creation, cookie n' cream popcorn. Fluffy white air popped popcorn hand drizzled with rich milk chocolate, sprinkled with cookie n' cream pieces, then drizzled with white chocolate." Doesn't that sound divine?! Fill some pretty paper cones with this treat and your guests will love you!
Sugar Plum has also reinvented the boring popcorn ball with their fall popcorn ball! They take their popcorn ball on a stick and hand dip it in milk chocolate, then cover it in fall sprinkles. So pretty, you could use them as a whimsical table decoration at your Thanksgiving dinner. 
Sugar Plum doesn't just do popcorn, though, they also do some interesting things with chocolate. Such as chocolate dipped biscotti and chocolate dipped potato chips. So fun and unexpected! I recommend adding these chips to a wax paper bag with a fun custom sticker on the front.
Sugar Plum is my party favor pick of the week!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I love making party favors!

Here are some fun party favors I came up with for a recent dinner party. I filled them with mini cookies from Paradise Bakery, but you could really fill them with any little treat. I added the flower to the favors for my lady friends and kept the simple look on gray polka dots for my male friends. See below for more detail on materials.
I used this gorgeous paper from the Amy Butler "Faded China" stack to create a cone. It's basically a smaller version of a party hat template. I used the universally awesome 3-in-1 glue to secure.
Now the fun part....embellishing! I found these super cool double stick letters from the Martha Stewart collection (I <3 Martha!) and attached them to some cream card stock. I used some gorgeous black glitter from Martha's line as well to make glittery initials for each guest. I punched out the scalloped circles with the Martha Stewart punch and attached it to the cone with a foam pop up. The fabric flowers are Prima Fabric Fancies in Black Diamond and the rhinestones in the center are from Recollections. 
The ribbon is also from the Martha Stewart collection. I thought the silver and hint of blue underneath made it a perfect compliment to the color scheme. I finished it off with some big shiny brads.
These were so simple and fun to make, I will definitely use the pattern again for favors.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Calla Lily Wedding Reception

I had the pleasure of planning a wedding reception this past weekend. The lovely couple married on a Mexican beach in July and had a large reception in their backyard for all their friends and family.

This was the gift table upon entering.
The card box was custom-made. I used 2 hat boxes, sprayed with Buttercream spray paint, attached satin & grosgrain ribbon, 2 mini calla lilies and small ribbon to line the opening. The top tier was glued on and opened up to the bottom layer. The bottom layer's lid came off so the couple could retrieve their cards (tip: prime the boxes! I learned the hard way and used 2 cans of spray paint)

These were the party favors. Tins are from Paper Mart and are filled with hand ground Mexican spices created by my chef husband, Adam Dagna ( I created the circles on top that simply said, "Thank You: and tied a yellow ribbon around each one. I cut circles out of yellow card stock to make a more steady base to the levels. It doubled as a pop of color. I finished it off with a yellow bow at the top.
This little basket was filled with handmade cards that listed the ingredients in the spice tins and some ideas on how to use it.

This is a view to the backyard. I handmade all the paper poms...33 of them! They hung from 3 strands of bistro lights.
The tables each had a bowl of chips and homemade salsa in addition to a votive candle and centerpiece.
For the wedding in Mexico, the bride had large calla lily arrangements done for her centerpieces but wanted something a little more simplistic for this party. I filled the bottom of the vase with a couple inches of sand as a symbolism to getting married on the beach and added 2 mini calla lilies intertwined within the cylinder vase.
There were over 20 kids, so the couple really wanted there to be a lot of fun options for the kids. I rented the big screen TV and the bounce combo from AZ Bounce Pro. The kids had a blast!
My husband Adam, who graduated from the California Culinary Academy and has a lot of experience in fine dining, catered this party by himself. The menu was cheese and chicken enchiladas with a homemade red sauce, a taco bar with slow cooked shredded  beef, rice and beans from scratch and this little appetizer bite. These were called "Deconstructed Tamale Bites" and had layers of creamy masa, tender shredded beef, jicama-radish salsa and a peanut mole sauce. Delish!
There were about 60 luminaries surrounding the rainbow roundabout driveway to greet the guests as they arrived.