Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

{November 2006}

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Bug Jar Party Invitations

The theme for Chayse's 4th Birthday Party is "Buggin' Out", as requested by the birthday boy himself. First step of party-planning: Invitations. Here is a step-by-step photo tour of the bug jar invitations I came up with:

Choose card stock (background color, transparent vellum to mimic the look of glass, lid color, leaf color, & bug color) and create templates (you'll need a jar, lid, leaf, & bug). Start with the size of the envelope, so you have a maximum. When you're happy with your shapes:

1. Trace jar shape onto background color. Layer vellum on top, and cut through both layers.

2. Print clever wording & party info onto background color. Scallop edges of vellum sides (not the top or bottom) as close to the edge as possible, to create a little dimension.

3. Trace leaf shape onto leaf color. Cut out (I used pinking shears), and score a "vein" across the leaf, using your handy bone folder or a mechanical pencil with the lead broken off. Adhere to background, using double stick tape and brushed-on craft glue.

4. Trace bug shape onto bug color. Cut out, and adhere to leaf, using brushed-on craft glue. Stick on googly eyes, using tiny drops of craft glue. Use a fine-tip permanent pen to draw on antennae, legs, and a smile. (Alternately, stick on cute bug stickers; I experimented with both methods.)

5. Staple vellum to background twice along the very upper edge. Trace lid shape onto lid color. Cut out, and adhere to the top of the jar, using a thin strip of double stick tape and brushed-on craft glue, covering staples. (The photo doesn't do it justice, but my lid is made of metallic bronze card stock, to look like a real metal lid.)

After you're happy with the first one, it's much more time-efficient to pre-cut all shapes and work assembly line style.

Now for the menu, decor, and favors...
{Great ideas welcome!}

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Memories...

Christmas 1992
{Harrison at 1, Holly at 7, Hannah at 3, and me at 10}
At this time, Holly was Chloe's current age, Hannah was Chayse's, and Harrison was Camden's! Looks like my mom and I had the same ideas on how far our kids should be spaced apart.

Christmas 2007
{Our first Christmas as a family of five!}

Christmas 2008

Uncle Ryan & Stinky

Chayse & Uncle Brody

Me & Amanda

Sleep in Heavenly Peace.

Christmas is over, and just when Kevin thought I was taking a break from my "projects", Chayse's birthday & Tegan's shower are up next on the agenda! I love party planning!

A very merry Christmas to me!

A big box for me made its way under our tree on Christmas Eve. We weren't supposed to exchange gifts this year, but Kevin had known how much I'd wanted a sewing machine for a long time.

I never would have expected this!

A perfect-condition vintage machine in turquoise with a gingham-lined case!

How well does my husband know me?! He tracked down this beauty, via a good friend with "connections" in the sewing world. I have literally been jumping for joy! This just had to be the first Christmas highlight I shared! More to come...

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas from our home... yours!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas in my favorite Beach Town

Since some of us didn't make it home for the hoildays this year {my sister Holly, Grandma Barb, plus Kevin, the kids, and myself}, I thought I'd post a peek inside my parents' {Mimi & Gramps} house to enjoy from afar:


Season's Greetings from San Diego!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Cookie (& Cards) Monday!

Christmas cards took priority over cookies today. It's amazing how much time it takes to cut cardstock, print a nice greeting, cut ribbon to size, hole punch cardstock for ribbon, tie ribbon, adhere photo, address envelope, stamp envelope, and stuff envelope (assembly line style, times 100 cards). During which, I might add, three high-on-Christmas-cheer kids paraded in circles around me. {Yes, I realize Christmas is like three days away... they can be New Year's cards!}

So in lieu of an actual recipe, how about a little tutorial (more of a tip) on perfecting cut-out cookies. This weekend my sister-in-law, Jessica asked me how to get them not to spread while baking. It's so simple:

The secret is properly chilled dough. Chill small discs of cookie dough (wrapped in plastic) at least one hour before attempting to roll out. When you barely leave an indentation after poking it with your finger, you're 'ready to roll' {hilarious, I know}.

Lightly dust parchment-lined countertop with a 50/50 combo of a.p. flour & confectioner's sugar. Roll out disc, keeping plastic wrap between the dough and rolling pin, in one direction until evenly flattened to 1/8 to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out desired shapes {guess who these ones are for!}, and transfer to a parchment or silicone-lined cookie sheet.

Now FREEZE the cutouts while your oven is preheating, about 30 minutes. They will hold their shape perfectly during baking. Room temperature dough (because of the butter) will just melt when it hits the heat. Cold dough won't have time to soften. Bake until edges barely begin to turn golden. Cool on a wire rack before embellishing.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Ho, Ho, Ho!

Here he is, the result of my reserved cookie baking energy, 4 hours and 20 miniature Santas later {with food coloring-dyed hands as evidence}. Isn't he cute?!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Card Contenders

{which did we choose?!}

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Buy Handmade!

Please join me in taking
The Pledge.

Wordless Wednesday