We had a great weekend full of family and friends and celebrating. We hosted Liv’s birthday on our back deck on Saturday afternoon, and while it was a little prickly and cold outside, the outdoor fireplace and heater helped to warm things up.
I’ll try to get to more of the details of the party in future posts (like the easy little favor pouches a friend helped me throw together last minute and some of the ribbon/tissue paper details we’re keeping around to reuse in Liv’s future big girl room), but here’s a little wrap up of the event:
We served heavy appetizers, berry lemonade, and an overstacked strawberry shortcake for dessert. My favorites included my mom’s delicious potato and corn chowder soup in our white coffee mugs, cheesy homemade macaroni for the kiddies, BBQed teriyaki chicken & pineapple skewers, toasted ricotta and chive bites (with pomegranate seeds to look like little flowers), and roasted tomato, cream cheese & poppyseed bruschetta. All served atop pretty floral fabric that I found here.
I found adorable plastic milk bottles online for the kids to enjoy their berry lemonade (easy and almost spill proof). The invites and sweet little signs for the event were by this Etsy artist (I loved working with Katrina, I highly recommend). Oh and I cannot forget – this is my favorite source for paper lanterns! At roughly $1.30 a pop it’s impossible not to cover a room in a dozen of them (which it’s hard to see from the photos, but the outside patio is).
I snapped a few photos as everyone was arriving and before it got too crazy…
We purposefully scheduled the party for post-naptime for Liv and all of her little friends… but guess who didn’t nap all day? Good thing all of the excitement kept her busy!
One of Liv’s presents from mommy and daddy was a finished sand box! More details on this to come but we actually built it right into the deck. The kids loved it.
I opted for an easy dessert this year since we were hosting the party at our house and I knew there would be so much to do (thanks mom and dad for all of your help! We owe you). But the strawberry shortcake fit in great with the rest of the decor and it was a tasty treat for kids and parents alike. We even used these little cups and wooden spoons to serve up the cake in a manageable size for the little ones.
An awkward photo of my but a cute instagram pic of Liv getting ready to blow out her candles (and her little cupcake hat ).
Liv thought that the strawberries and whipped cream were most delicious (and amazingly, since it was so chilly, the entire dessert stayed assembled with no melting whatsoever).
By the time we opened presents, the sun had finally crawled out of sight and all children were decently tired out. But what a fun day!!
Tags: Decorating, Desserts, DIY, Kids Party, Parties & Entertaining, Pink
Posted in Crafty Solutions, DIY, Family & Friends, Olivia, Parties & Entertaining | 3 Comments »
I haven’t had much time to blog about the different types of handmade gifts I’ve been working on, but just in case you’re scrambling for a certain someone on your list, here are four more semi-DIY gift ideas that ended up under our tree for family and friends.
I put this kit together for three special toddler-aged boys and I hope that it’s something that will inspire fun living room camping (a favorite past time of mine!). All of the above was placed in a muslin bag and labeled with ‘Fort Kit’ in stamped letters (similar to the Felt Town Kit below).
This was so easy to assemble and while I relied on Amazon (my best Christmas friend) for many of the above components, you could find most of these goodies around the house, at the Dollar Store or local home improvement center. My kit included: a flannel blanket to build the ‘fort’, rope and little suction cups to keep it assembled, a camping book to snuggle up with, a mini lantern to read and play by, glow-in-the-dark stars for star gazing, glow bracelets for fun and a chalkboard sign to post outside. You could also include: clothespins, zip ties, rubber bands, twine and a flashlight or head lamp (instead of a lantern).
Cocktail Kit (French 75)
This little semi-DIY project could really be for any favorite cocktail. It’s all about assembling each piece of the chosen drink (including garnishments and maybe even tools or glasses) in one sweet presentation so that the giftee might even be able to enjoy their drink when opening. Perfect for a hard-to-shop-for guy in the family, for the novice bartender or as a hostess gift. I created a Bloody Mary Kit one year for Kevin (complete with unique pickled oddities that are only for the true connoisseur) and discovered that a Cocktail Kit can be pretty easy and fun to assemble and create – even last minute.
A girlfriend and I attended a cooking class together where we learned how to make a delicious lemon, rosemary and gin French 75. To remember the night, I assembled a ‘French 75 Kit’ and went ahead and premade some of the more intricate ingredients for her. This included lemon-infused gin (I used a bottle from this project and added lemon rind directly to gin from our own bar) and rosemary-infused simple syrup (same style of bottle, but to make the simple syrup boil 1 part sugar and 1 part water with your herbs, voila). Extra ingredients like sugar for the rim (used an extra jar from this project) and lemons for garnish were thrown in for fun. The final ingredient? Champagne.
The label on the front of the box offered the recipe and a list of the contents inside.
Personable and unique!
Here is an easy kit that involves assembly only. I have an Aunt who is an avid letter writer with a recently engaged daughter, and I thought that a self-inking address stamp and cute stationary would be the perfect combo for her to stay on top of pre-wedding notes, invites and thank you cards. The stationary is from Paperie and the address label from this Etsy seller (love the cute little bag they provide, too).
I dressed it up in a brown box and twine! My favorite wrapping combo this Christmas.
Felt Car Kit
Liv pulled her buddy Isaac’s name for our annual gift exchange amongst friends. We made him a little felt town and car kit – complete with what I hope looks like a firehouse, Church and pond – for him to play with while on the go (running errands, doctor’s office, appointments, etc).
The only permanent pieces are the below road sections:
The houses, big sun, fishies, trees and other decor are all movable to build different ‘towns’, though the small little pieces that make up each of the buildings are glued together as well. Bonus part? Felt has become a staple in our household (since this felt Christmas tree project) and most of the materials needed were already on hand.
Melissa & Doug wooden cars help bring the town to life:
and a muslin bag makes carrying around and storing the felt car kit easy.
There you have it! Four more ideas that will hopefully make last-minute gift giving fun and easy this year. You can also check out the Cupcake Kit, Rosemary-Infused Olive Oil and Lavender & Lemon Sea Salt projects that we tackled in early December for a few more ideas.
Tags: Christmas, DIY, Kids Party, Parties & Entertaining, Recipes, Tutorial
Posted in Crafty Solutions, DIY, Gift Guides, Handmade Gifts, Holidays, Parties & Entertaining | 5 Comments »
Oooh I have infusion fever. Once you start you just can’t stop, there are too many creative and easy ideas out there. My next big project is a custom salt (inspired by the one that I currently love) with ingredients that are readily available from the kitchen or yard.
Rather than a straight sea salt, which can get very strong very fast, I created a Kosher and sea salt blend with dried lavender and lemon.
PS the last big infusion project included olive oil and rosemary, you can find it right here.
This is the perfect top salt for a finished dish – sprinkle on roasted chicken, raw salads, sliced tomatoes, avocados, in olive oil and vinegar with toasted baguettes… you name it. One of my favorite uses? Bruschetta.
An added bonus is that this was so very easy to whip up – even easier than my rosemary infused olive oil! And it doesn’t need ages to infuse, either. You could use the finished salt right away (ideal for a last minute gift) or allow to sit for a more intense mingling of flavors.
Lavender & Lemon Sea Salt
Materials for six 3.4oz jars: 10-15 fresh lavender sprigs, grated rind of one lemon (more is optional), 1 pound sea salt, 1 pound kosher salt, small glass bottles/jars with a sealable lid
As mentioned above I chose a blend for my salts, Celtic sea salt as the dominate flavor and a standard Kosher to help balance out the taste buds (Kosher is an excellent everyday cooking salt). Granulated salt is extra important here! Table salt just won’t be the same.
I chose lavender and lemon as my concentrated flavor mix, though you could really substitute any delicious herb or infusion here (the sky’s the limit!). Lavender was an easy pick because we grow it right in our front yard.
As with the rosemary from last week, I thoroughly soaked my lavender clippings in a bowl of water for about an hour and then rinsed to ensure that all I had left was fresh and clean sprigs.
Then I lined them up on a cookie sheet (covered in foil) and popped the sprigs into the oven at 200 degrees until they were nicely dried (there’s no precise time here, but maybe 2 hours ish).
When they came out, they were ready to go!
I stripped the leaves from the stems and discarded any extra crispy pieces. I added the dried lavender leaves and fresh lemon rind to my Kosher salt:
And spread the entire mixture out onto my cookie sheet once again for another round of light toasting. The goal now is for the Kosher salt to bake with the lavender and lemon, and also for our lemon rind to dry out completely (to avoid any bacteria growth in our salt containers).
Once my mixture is sufficiently dried out, I added the infused blend to my raw sea salt and mixed well.
I used a small spoon (a baby spoon or cocktail spoon) to add the mixture to each of my little jars.
I made matching labels for the sea salt mixture (similar to my olive oil labels) and applied a sticky backing (available at most craft stores) to create mini stickers for the front of each jar. Here’s a link to a downloadable pdf with a generic version of the below labels if you’d like to print out a version for yourself, and you can always email me for the .ai file to substitute your own name.
Then I cut the stickers into tiny squares and applied to each jar:
Sure is delicious with just crudités and olive oil!
That’s two infused projects down and a couple of more handmade gifts to go… happy cooking!
PS You can find the line up of this year’s handmade projects by sorting all posts here.
Tags: Parties & Entertaining, Recipes, Tutorial
Posted in Crafty Solutions, DIY, Handmade Gifts, Holidays, Parties & Entertaining, Recipes | 1 Comment »