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thanksgiving 2009

Saturday, November 28

what a day.
what a BEAUTIFUL day.
clear skies & sunshine.
high's in the low 70's.

first...the pumpkin cupcakes i made...
inspired by (see this post).

ella riding "junebug"
ema at ella's side and kalie holding junebug steady.
yes...i was very nervous when i realized susan had put ella on the horse.
i mean look how little ella is compared to how monstrous the horse is...

but she looked so darn cute up in the saddle. doesn't she?
one handed...what's up with that? like she's been riding her whole life! *wink*

the only picture i got of ema all day.
she was mad. she did NOT want her picture taken.
she wanted to be doing what clara was doing...

this is what clara was doing.
she recently learned to canter with junebug and now that's all she thinks about.
and this was my only picture of clara all day...

ella playing "peek-a-boo"

one-handed "peek-a-boo"
her other hand was occupied with the dog toy she was carrying.

holly & madison
lovin' madi's lips!

todd, chrystal, cody & cooper

ron & wendy

susan, dan, nate, kalie & beau
(& the canines...cutter & bruiser)

my fave picture of the day...

no pictures of me or j this year.
nonetheless, we had a nice day out at susan and dan's.
we appreciate them hosting the thanksgiving dinner this year.
lots of good food and good company.

i hope you had a wonderful thanksgiving weekend as well - with your friends/family/loved ones.


cards & cupcakes...

Tuesday, November 24

finally got this simple but cute little goodie sent off to the printer...
keeping fingers crossed the quality comes back good.

looking forward to the girls being out of school for the rest of the week.
maybe they'll be interested in helping me make those pumpkin cupcakes with cinnamon cream cheese frosting. (remember? for the party i had sweet things emporium make them for me). i know...i know...i can hear your great big ole *gasp*

the whole idea of the cupcakes came when i stumbled across this from my sweet & saucy:

are you kidding me? how cute are these?

i scoured the internet & found this recipe from suite101 & then found this salted caramel recipe.
i gave everything to the bakery...including the picture...and everyone LOVED them. even though the icing had settled, no one knew the difference except lynn & i. but don't you see how much cuter they are when the icing looks like a swirly ice cream cone?

since thanksgiving dinner will be over at my aunt susan's house, she's requested i bring these as a dessert...i'm certainly happy to oblige.

i'll let you know how they turn out.
here's to a terrific tuesday...

hOw DiD sHe dO tHAt?: tissue paper flowers

Monday, November 23

okay peeps.
let's talk tissue paper...

those of you who know me well, know that i adore tissue paper. it's so fun to work with and i feel the creative possibilities with it are endless. whenever i stumble across a package of tissue that inspires me, i grab it up - right then. (i'm also a little obsessive about saving all of the tissue paper from gifts/gift's just such a waste to throw it out).

anyway, when i saw the cool tissue paper pompoms from martha i definitely wanted to incorporate them into ella's party. my intitial thought was to do the oversized hanging ones - just above the dessert table. however, i ended up turning them into flowers instead. i LOVE them and wanted to share the "how" to...

(yes, martha has a tuturial as well but i was a little confused by some of it and had to tweak things a bit...hopefully this will help anyone else out there who have already tried their hands at this and was disappointed).

first you need 18"x23" tissue paper. (8 sheets of tissue)
i found this at target and fell in love with it because of the polka dots and it was creamy white...perfect.

slide the packaging band off the bundle of tissue paper & just cut the entire bundle in half.
(using a rotary cutter ensures a nice smooth cut vs. using scissors)

unfold one of the 1/2's completely and proceed to cut it in 1/2 as well.
(and then do the same thing with the 2nd half).
you'll be able to make 4 flowers (approx. 6" across) from one package of 18x23 tissue paper.

you now have 4 stacks of tissue paper.
you'll do the following steps to each stack of tissue paper - depending on how many flowers you need.
it's time to accordian fold.
for best results,
#1:make sure your tissue is stacked nice & neat.
#2: use a bone folder to ensure a good crease.

now get some floral wire and twist it around your accordian-folded tissue paper.

grab your scissors and round the ends of the tissue.
(you can even choose to "point" the ends instead for a different look).
here's one end done.

one thing i learned is to make sure you round the ends starting at least 3/4" down.
this allows the "petals" you end up with to be more defined.
otherwise your rounded ends will look "scalloped" instead of "petal-like". make sense?

okay. both ends have been rounded and i've fanned them out a little bit.

i found it easiest to grab the underside of the flower like so...
your fingers in each of the creases...

it's time to pull the layers on top toward the middle.
you must do this carefully because tissue tears EASILY.
here's one layer done.

here's all of the layers done on one side. cute, huh?

now both sides...adorable. ta dah!!!
fluff & pull and fluff & pull until you get it just the way you want it.

but wait...this flower needs a stem.
(or you could hang them if you choose).

take your twisted wire located on the bottom of your flower...
grab a wooden dowel or do what i did...
i used a wooden kitchen skewer i already had on hand.
it's got a nice pointy end just incase you need to actually "stick it" into something.

start twisting the wire around the top of the wooden skewer/ so:

next, grab your choice of ribbon & your pre-heated glue gun.
dab a little glue to the very tip of the dowel/wooden skewer,
right underneath the flower, adhere ribbon then wrap the ribbon all the way down.
leaving about 1 to 2 inches of the skewer/dowel exposed for easier "sticking" flower completely done.

and here's a grouping of 3 i stuck in a carafe of jelly bellies....

you can experiment and come up with different sizes too.
the color tissue paper you choose & whether you cut the ends round or pointy will give you a variety of results...
hope you found this helpful..& if you try this i encourage you to share your results with us here...

didn't want to post 2 "tutorial-type" posts back-to-back but if anyone wanted to try to incorporate this into their thanksgiving table i knew i'd better post it sooner vs. later.

good monday to all of you.

hOw diD sHe dO tHAt? : ella's 1st birthday invite

Friday, November 20

so i've been asked what ella's birthday invitation looked like.
i only gave you "a little sneeky peek" back in october.
but now i'm going to share the entire process & final result...

first - a little preface...

how did i choose the theme for the party?

remember this preliminary idea board i put together from this post in august?

that's how it all started.
my initial thoughts were to do a candy-filled dessert table with lots of fun colors & polka dots. and i was full-focused on cotton candy and THIS cotton candy machine.

and then i decided against the candy theme for two reasons:
#1: ella is too young to even sample any of the candy.
#2: most of the people at the party would be adults & i wanted to offer something a little more substantial if i was only going to be providing "desserts". (of course, as the party planning went along i decided to add the chicken salad-filled mini croissants too. i couldn't bring myself to not have SOMETHING hearty).

mix my desire for a "dessert bar" with ella's nickname (ella pie), my love for baking & the fact that ella weighs an itty bitty 16lbs...& you've got the makings of a mini bakery.

how did i choose the colors for the party?
i knew i wanted to use chocolate brown & orange since it's a november birthday. but i couldn't have a b/day party for a little girl without pink.
so i ended up using 5 colors total:
chocolate brown & creamy white for the base colors
sherbet orange, salmon rose & vintage blue as the accents
i also drew inspiration from these bookmark magnets

ok. are we ready now?

i first created this 5x5 invitation using adobe illustrator & then sent it off for printing.

the cute adorable clipart pastries & table on the invite originated from pccrafter - a collection called "sweet shoppe". i went in and added the chocolate polka dot table cloth to the existing table in order to tie in the polka dots i was intending to use throughout the entire b/day decor.

i then used double-stick tape to adhere these to 12x12 solid color scrapbooking paper. (i purchased the paper from michael's & joann's). i didn't stick with just one color. (you'll see in a minute).


next, i cut out all 4 invites using a paper trimmer.

corner rounding time...
(yes, that's a CM corner rounder from many moons ago...*giggling*)


corners are officially rounded & you can see each invite in the different colors i used.
(i even played with doing a cute scalloped edge finish but felt the extra time it would take didn't constitute THAT much of a difference).


now for the envelopes.
all along i knew whatever invite i sent out it had to have a "bakery feel" to it.
i racked my brain for weeks trying to decide on whether or not to mail out a bakery box to each guest with some sort of mini baked good inside as the invite. however, i finally decided to just keep it simple and opted to use THESE as envelopes:


i actually got these glassine envelopes for baked goods from the same bakery i used for ella's party.
lynn @ sweet things emporium was generous enough to just give me the amount i needed even though i offered to pay her. and that's how i ended up with a square invite.

i was originally going to just handwrite the invites but then i got curious as to whether my inkjet would perform well with these...and it did.
here's how i did it:


i used 3 pieces of tape to mount the envelope to an 8.5x11 piece of inkjet paper.
(two pieces on the very edges and one in the middle to assure a smooth glide into the printer)
and yes...each one had to be done individually...not a bulk feed


here's what it looked like straight out of the printer.
(notice i did the return address upside down because it will be folded over - you'll see in a minute)


carefully peel the tape off, insert the invitation & now for the "seal"...

remember these? from this post?

i created this in illustrator & had several sheets printed.

i cut these into strips and now here's where the handy-dandy 2" scallop punch comes into play:

i wanted the invite to seem like it came from a bakery...that's the concept behind the seal...

i took these to the post office for approval prior to just throwing them in the mailbox. they were concerned about the edging...even though i used double-stick tape.
so, i took them all home and couldn't bear to just "ugli-fy" my creation with an obvious strip of scotch tape. i went into my archives and used some old heidi swapp decorative tape.
(i'm kicking myself for not taking a picture - but it was cute).

and so here's the finished product...
i love how you can see the invite through the envelope:

one thing to note...the multiple stamps i had to use ended up "ugli-fying" the envelope...darn USPS. can't you come up with some cute polka dot stamps!? (i know...i know...i could've customized my stamps to match perfectly using zazzle but these square mailings use more postage).

anyway...lots of information here but hopefully it's helpful and will inspire you.

i've got a tutorial coming on those tissue paper easy. so inexpensive. so fun.

happy friday.
surround yourself with people who uplift, inspire & love you.

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