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life | Happy 1st week back-to-school

Monday, August 29

Earlier last week...
I saw Rhonna's post about her annual tradition of creating a candy-filled poster for her kids' 1st day back-to-school.
I was completely inspired...
but it was already the 2nd day of school here. *frown*

I adapted the idea to celebrate  my two older daughters completing their first WEEK back to school!

I started with a piece of poster board, some tape, a sharpie and a bucket of assorted candy...

and with a little bit of creativity, I ended up with this CANDY POSTER...

It was a complete surprise when they came home Friday afternoon...

(especially since I'm usually always saying no to candy). *wink*

They LOVED it!!
And I LOVED making it.

If you don't feel like you are creative enough to come up with wording on your own...
Here's what I came up with...just to help inspire you...*wink*

"Summer seemed like such a FAST BREAK and now here you are...
your first week of school already under your belts. Just wanted to say I 
love you two little FIREBALLS to PIECES!  You both are SMARTIES
so probably what I have to already know.  Take your education 
seriously and work EXTRA hard to keep your grades up! It's not cool to 
act like AIRHEADS or BLOW an exam. Make time to really study. I know
at times you'll need to TAKE 5 from the pressure of MOUNDS of homework.
But if you stay on top of your assignments instead of chillin' to your favorite
M&M song, you won't get yourself in a CRUNCH and SKOR a big, fat, ugly ZERO.

More than all of that though...
I want you to be yourself!!
(despite the SNICKERS you think you might get).
Be confident in who you are,  otherwise you are just TWIX-ing yourself.
Choose your friends wisely and be a true friend.
And remember, sisters can be LIFESAVERS.
Be very wary of the WHATCHAMACALIT(S)! (defined as boys)
You'll thank me NOW & LATER.
Make it a fantastic 2011-2012 school year!
Come to me for anything and everything...
I'm here to listen always.
And I promise to make a few trips to Donnelly and 5TH AVENUE
for some ice cream and treats.

Claracakes and Emalove...
I love you both tremendously and 
wish you nothing but happiness.
Hugs & KISSES...Mom!"

This idea could also be used for:
• birthdays
• teacher gifts
• school office staff
• father's day, etc.

You can even make a much smaller poster and not have to use so much candy! *wink*

Thanks for the inspiration Rhonna!
I hope you all are inspired as well!

Have a fantastic Monday!!

Ella, (my very sweet, almost three year old),
was here to help me while I was creating the poster.
I tried putting her in charge of putting the tape on the candy
and then putting it on the posterboard.
Unfortunately, she was only interested in the two Blow Pops and
insisted that she "borrow" them while I completed the project.
Lucky for me, (and Clara & Ema), she actually listened and did not
unwrap them and try to steal a few licks. (which is what I know
in her heart of hearts she REALLY wanted to do). *wink*

real parties | Lemon Luncheon - hosted by Creative Juice

Thursday, August 25

Get ready to have your day brightened by this lovely "Ladies Lemon Luncheon"...
created by Mindy & Crystal from Creative Juice.


I love the idea of  having an afternoon filled with friendship and "mommy-time".
The color combination of this gorgeous luncheon is fabulous and was the perfect
backdrop for mingling, catching up and relaxing with friends...

Party Host: Mindy & Crystal from Creative Juice
Celebration Type: Mommy-timeout Luncheon
Party Theme: Ladies Lemon Luncheon
Inspiration: Lemon and Orange Trees in Mindy's backyard
Color Palette: Orange, Yellow and White
Party Style: Modern + Vintage

Not only is this get-together filled with delicious desserts and mouth-watering lemonade...
The Lemon Caper Chicken looks divine too!  Keep reading for all of the gorgeous details,
as well as links to free printables, recipes and a diy project!!

sunshine in the forecast...despite the forecast

Wednesday, August 24

With Hurricane Irene off the East Coast...
and the forecast full of potential wind and rain...
I wanted to give you a peek at the fun details  of the "real party" feature I'm working on for tomorrow...

The vibrant colors of this celebration are sure to chase away any approaching rain clouds...

Hope you are enjoying your Wednesday everyone!
For me...
it's been the most productive day I've had, (work-wise), in months.
It's amazing how much more I can get done when my mom comes to spend the day with Ella. (thank you Mom)!!!

Tomorrow is the last day to enter the Blush Envy giveaway!
Don't miss out on your chance to win one of their super cute accessories!!

I'm still not nearly caught up on all that needs to be done.
But a definite weight has been lifted from my shoulders...
knowing what I've been able to get done today.

And I've stolen the cutest idea to do for my girls.
(In celebration of getting through their first week back-to-school)!
I promise to share...

the Pastry Pedestal™ | Creative Styling - Paper & Pigtails

Monday, August 22

This week's creative styling feature using The Pastry Pedestal™ comes from a sweet friend of mine...
Kori from Paper & Pigtails.

Waffle Flowers...

waffle flowers

I was thrilled last week to see a sneak peek of how she used them in her daughter's recent "Pink Flower" themed birthday Party.
They were perfect for the brunch table guests were greeted with upon arriving at the party.

Thanks for sharing your creative talents with us Kori!
I ADORE how they turned out!!

What you'll need to recreate this look:
• The Pastry Pedestal™ Starter Kit (12 lucite rounds, 12 lucite rods and 12 rubber rings)
• strawberries
• small vase/container to display them in.

2. Slide a cluster of 4 mini waffles onto The Pastry Pedestal™
3. Top with an upside-down strawberry

Soooo cute!!
I can't wait to see the rest of the party details on Kori's website!!

Since we are talking about The Pastry Pedestal™...
Anyone here ever heard of Oman?
Muscat, Oman to be exact?
I'm mailing an order for The Pastry Pedestal™ there this week...
And to be honest...
I had to look it up online to know where it was I'm shipping the order.
I'm amazed at how far-reaching this little invention of mine has been.
It blows my mind to be connecting with so many different people around the world!
It's a complete DREAM!!!

Today marks the first day back-to-school for my girls...
I'm so proud of both of them for the amazing people they are.
Smart, beautiful, funny, talented, creative...
and I could gush for hours about them.

Now don't be fooled.
Some days I feel like they suck the living energy right out of me, emotionally.
And I know I do things that irritate them to pieces...
And that's okay...
because it's just all part of the process...isn't it?! *wink*

sweet treats | Blush Envy Giveaway

Friday, August 19

The winner for The Blush Envy giveaway has been chosen.
Congratulations to Comment #33: Meredith
(Please contact me at so I can forward your information along to Blush Envy)

Thank you so much to everyone who participated and a special thank you to 
Brandy for her beautiful work and for sponsoring this giveaway!!

I'm thrilled today to introduce you to Blush Envy...


A growing line of handmade accessories for you and your home...
created by Brandy...the artist behind the fabulousness. 
Inspired by her love of vintage and eclectic style combined with her adoration of flowers and gardening...
Brandy has created a line of unique accessories influenced by romance, daydreams and all things feminine and lovely.


Brandy recently sent me these Dainty Paper Rose Collection rings for review and as soon as I opened the box,
I knew there would be others of you out there that would fall head over heels for these!!

Keep Reading for more details on how to win one of these sweet accessories...

real parties | Ice Cream Parlor Birthday - Lisa Luebe

Wednesday, August 17

With Summer break coming to a screeching halt...
I thought I'd take this opportunity to share a treat with you today...
in honor of the summer that seemed to melt away too quickly...

Serving up a little Ice Cream Parlor birthday fun...

Party Host: Lisa Luebe of Creative Ink Productions
Celebration Type: 6th Birthday Party
Party Theme: Ice Cream Parlor
Inspiration: Her daughter's love of sweets
Color Palette: Pink, Aqua, Purple and Chocolate Brown
Party Style: Fun, Whimsical




This party is dripping with adorable ice cream party elements and details...
keep reading for more inspiration...

the Pastry Pedestal™ | Creative Styling - Malu Boutiques

Monday, August 15

The creative uses for The Pastry Pedestal™ never cease to amaze me.
I've decided to start showcasing styling ideas on a weekly basis.
The styling inspiration will not only come from me...
but from YOU as well...

Today's styling idea comes from a photo I received from Malu Boutiques...


Not only is this display gorgeous...
This idea is brilliant!
It's the perfect representation of "thinking outside of the box"...
which has been my ultimate goal with the invention of these versatile pastry displays!!

Thank you Maylene from Malu Boutiques for the inspiration!!

What you'll need to recreate this look:
The Pastry Pedestal™ Starter Kit (12 lucite rounds, 12 lucite rods and 12 rubber rings)
• bead trimming of your choice
• double stick tape
• mini brownie bites

1. Wrap six lucite rounds with bead trimming using double-stick tape.
2. Insert 9" lucite rod into TWO lucite rounds for a base. (repeat process to achieve 3 free-standing displays)
3. Slide a rubber ring onto 9" lucite rod followed by a bead-trimmed lucite round...adjusting height to accommodate petite pastry sizes you'll be using.
4. Add another rubber ring and bead-trimmed lucite round to the 9" rod.
5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for the other two remaining stands.
6. Rest brownie bites on the bottom and middle lucite rounds and then top off with one brownie bite.

Super elegant and fun for your next dessert table...
or even for an extra special birthday surprise at home!!
I LOVE the look.

Be inspired today.

Only one more week left before school starts...
Busy shopping for school clothes and supplies for my girls...
Where did summer go?

Sunshine State Dreamers into Doers Fall Meeting

Tuesday, August 9

I'm SO excited...
I just found out about the next Sunshine State Martha Stewart Dreamers into Doers meeting!!

Remember the very first one I attended?
This Fall meeting is once again being spear-headed by Melissa of Truly Chic Inspirations
and to my wonderful surprise...
it's being held at my FAVE local tea room: Garden Gate

I take my girls here for their birthday every year...
and I always take friends and out-of-town guests there for a special lunch date.
(I use pretty much any excuse to be able to go...) *wink*






It's so Shabby Chic and lovely! And the Rosemary Herb Crusted Chicken Pie is HEAVEN!!

Space is limited so if you are a Florida Dreamer into Doer and would like to attend...
please visit Melissa's blog for more information and to get your name on the list!!

Oh...and did I mention The Garden Gate Tea Room is just right around the corner from

I can't wait to meet up with all of the girls that attended the last meeting...
and I look forward to meeting a lot of the new members who have joined since then.

It's pouring down rain outside right now...which we desperately need...
but this little bit of news has added so much sunshine to my day! Thanks Melissa!!!

life | fantastic weekend

Monday, August 8

This past weekend couldn't have turned out any better...
it was the perfect combination of productive AND relaxing:

• Quality time at home baking my favorite chocolate chip cookies...
(okay...actually it was J who was baking them as I was instructing him on the how-to). *wink*

• Lots of design work...
• A couple of movies...
• A photo shoot of the Popcorn Bar I had initially attempted at the Family Reunion the weekend before.

I LOVE the results.
I can only share a little peek because the photos are being used in an upcoming publication...
but I just HAD to share a couple...



Don't those popcorn balls look adorable on The Pastry Pedestal™!?
I'm pretty sure I squeal out loud every time I try something new with them.
Yes...I get excited over the silliest things I guess.
Like yesterday...after everything was set-up for the photoshoot...
I stepped back to take a final look before grabbing the camera...
I squealed outloud because it was SO cute!

I hope you find something, do something, or create something today...
that makes YOU squeal outloud with pure giddiness!!

Winning the Modern Frills giveaway should make one of you squeal outloud...
so don't forget to enter to win before Thursday!!

Here's to a fantastic week filled with lots of squeals for us all! *wink*

Even though I waited until the end of the day to do the photo shoot...
it was still like being in a convection oven outside.
By the time it was all said and done...
I felt sick to my stomach - face beet red...maybe a little heat exhaustion?!
(But it REALLY was worth it). *wink*

AND...I could NOT have done ANY of the things I mentioned
this weekend without the tremendous help and support from J!!! xo

sweet treats | Modern Frills Giveaway

Friday, August 5

Updated Friday, August 12th...
Winner chosen!!
Comment #86: Lauren N.
Congratulations Lauren!!  (email me at to claim your prize)
And thank you to everyone who took the time to submit your entries!!
A special thanks to Kristina from Modern Frills for sponsoring the fun giveaway!!

For those of you who've been reading my blog for awhile now...
you've heard me mention Modern Frills before. (here and here)

Modern Frills is a customized birthday shirt shoppe owned and operated by Kristina McCook.
Her designs are simple and sweet with a touch of modern meets vintage.
Kristina started her business a couple of years ago
after having designed some shirts for her own children.
Her love of fabrics and design...
numerous requests from friends...
the support from family
and Modern Frills was born.

When Kristina contacted me to recreate her company logo...
I was flattered and thrilled to work with her.

Here's what we came up with together:

The main logo design


various versions of the logo for her to use on business cards, etc.

twitter and facebook badges for her blog

as well as a variety of blog badge buttons

Kristina loved the new company logo so much, she actually created a brand-new line of birthday party shirts to match...


SO adorable!!!
Love them!!
There are so many other lovely designs in the Modern Frills shoppe to fall in love with as well...

here are just a few:


and there are even designs for your little guy too...

What I love most is that Kristina will also do "custom" designs to match whatever party theme you are planning!!

what does this mean for you?

This means a GIVEAWAY for one of you lucky readers!!
Kristina has generously offered a $30 Modern Frills shoppe credit for you to spend as you please!
That means you'll be able to pick out that special something for your little one's birthday you've got coming up...
or how about having a custom onesie created for that baby shower you're going to be attending...
and you know the holidays are right around the corner...these custom creations make GREAT gifts!

Here's all you need to do to enter to win:

Earn five entries by completing each of the five tasks 
you MUST leave a SEPARATE comment here on the blog for each task you've completed.
• Join/Follow the Modern Frills Blog - (join the site, subscribe via email or RSS feed)
• Like Modern Frills on Facebook (leave a comment on FB saying Pen N' Paperflowers sent you)
• Like Pen N' Paperflowers on Facebook 
• Follow Pen N' Paperflowers on Twitter
• Follow Modern Frills on Twitter
Please note: You do not have to complete each task - you merely have the opportunity to increase your chances of winning by completing all five tasks). *wink*

Contest starts today:  Friday, August 5th
Contest ends at midnight:  Thursday, August 11th (using
Winner announced: Friday, August 12th
Contest open to everyone.

Good luck!!
And a special thanks to Kristina for the opportunity to work together...
as well as for the Modern Frills giveaway!!

Happy Friday!!
I hope your weekend is filled with fun!!

in the studio | bead party invitation

Thursday, August 4

Seems like forever since I've shared with you anything new I've been working on (as far as custom designs for the shoppe)...

So today I'm sharing this adorable "BEAD" party-themed invitation requested by a recent customer.


When the customer approached me with the design concept, she gave me some colors to work with as well as
letting me know the birthday party would be held at a bead store and would be centered around making jewelry...

I think it turned out adorable and is completely appropriate for a soon-to-be eight year old.

Camden, the birthday girl LOVES the invitation - as does her mom. I absolutely LOVE hearing that feedback!
We are still working on coordinating party accessories but I couldn't resist sharing with you the finished invitation.

Enjoy your Thursday everyone...
and be on the look out for a fabulous giveaway I'll be sharing tomorrow!!

Remember me mentioning the Popcorn Bar I created for our family reunion?
And remember how it didn't quite turn out the way I had envisioned due to part of the display being damaged in transport?
I'll be recreating it this weekend and photographing it for an upcoming magazine publication.
I can't wait to share the details with you because it's SUCH a simple and fun thing to put together for your next event!

promise ME | goal #36

Tuesday, August 2

In my quest for completing the goals on my "promise ME" list...
I've been working on promise #36....


I'd love to share with you a couple of videos from one of my most recent purchases...

                                                                         introducing Whippy Cake...

Not only are these chic...
they are absolutely clever,  SMART and oh so versatile.
Watch this...

I adore them!!
Even on a "bad" hair day...
one of these will make your hair look phenomenal!

I hope you're inspired to let your hair down a little...
(or in this case put it up using something cute)  *wink*
Have a fabulous Tuesday everyone!

Hope all of you "promise ME" peeps are staying on top of your promises...

I will be going back to purchase the elastic headband from Whippy Cake... (as well as additional accessories)
Although the metal one I purchased is super thin and light-weight, stays put and is reasonably comfortable...
I still start feeling pressure around my temples after about 4 hours of wear.
(not even close though to the discomfort regular hard plastic headbands sometimes cause).
They really are lovely....
I'll be taking some photos to share with you at a later date.

nothin' but family (and a little bit of popcorn)

Monday, August 1

Our family reunion officially ended yesterday...
Three days of nothin' but family!! (50+ of us)
No computer, facebook, twitter...
(I actually shutdown my computer and unplugged it from the wall - it was quite liberating) *wink*

Beach on friday...
Dinner friday night...
Canoe trip saturday...
Swimming and family slideshow Saturday night...
BBQ and family photos Sunday...

And let me tell you...
It went by way. too. fast.

Slowly getting back into the swing of things this morning...
here at home and in the studio.
I'm looking forward to looking through all of the photos and video I took from the weekend.

Today, I want to share with you a glimpse into one aspect of the popcorn bar I put together...
for us to enjoy during the family slideshow I created...

Popcorn Balls for the kids from Kernel Encore - displayed on The Pastry Pedestal™

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