Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Hooray for New Items!

Hooray, hooray!  Hooray for new items in the shop!  I listed my newest collection last week-- three dimensional pop-up invitations!  These little babies are my new favorites!  (And more are on their way soon!)  Want to know the very best part?  They're available as DIY kits! 

These invitations have pop-up element that can be cut out & affixed to the invitation using common scrapbooking suppies. The invitations will be sent as a high quality printable PDF file (with instructions!) so that you can create as many or as few as you'd like! The invitation is customized with your personalized text that can be changed to suit your event! How about that!  :)

In addition to all of my Etsy-ing, I've been chasing after this little guy... who's newly on-the-move & crawling army-style e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e....  (I just love his little smirk & big blue eyes in this pic!)

And of course, this little guy is keeping me on my toes as usual.  In most of the pictures I take of him, he's either just a blur or a hot little mess of terrible-two-ish-ness.  So imagine my excited when I realized I actually caught a cute picture of my little man.  (Eek!  How is he so grown up already?!?  Love how much he looks like his daddy in this pic!)

Happy Independence Day, everyone!  Hope your Fourth is safe & happy!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Honey Lemon Cupcakes

I've been on a bit of a baking spree lately.  Mostly the "usual" cookies my husband likes-- (Brownies & Reese's Pieces cookies).  Yesterday though I was feeling adventerous.  I blame it on too many episodes of 'Cupcake Wars' and the fact that I've been working on a logo for a local gourmet cupcake business. 

When I came across this recipe for Honey Cupcakes on Pinterest, I knew I had to make them-- with a few adjustments perhaps.  Lately, I've been loving fresh, clean, summery food.  With temps in the 90's, it just makes you feel a little cooler.  I decided that I wanted to add in some lemon as well.  At first I was worried that the honey/lemon combo would be a little too reminiscent of a cough drop.... but once I tasted even the teensiest bit of the frosting, I knew we were golden.

Here's the recipe I used:
1 stick  unsalted butter (softened)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup milk (the original recipe called for buttermilk.... we didn't have any though)
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2-3 tsp. fresh lemon zest

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 12 cup muffin pan with cupcake liners.
  2. In medium bowl mix together dry ingredients: flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.
  3. In small bowl mix together wet ingredients: buttermilk, honey and vanilla, set aside.
  4. In bowl of stand mixer cream butter and sugar on medium speed until combined.
  5. Add eggs, one at a time beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
  6. Gradually add the dry and wet ingredients, alternating starting and ending with dry ingredients and mix until combined.
  7. Using ice cream scoop fill cupcake liners about 2/3 full.
  8. Bake for 18-20 minutes.
  9. Let cupcakes cool in pans for 5 minutes, then remove to wire rack to finish cooling.
2 sticks unsalted butter (softened)
4 1/2 cups powdered sugar (may use more to reach desired consistency)
1 tsp. vanilla
pinch of salt
1/4 cup honey
7 tsp lemon juice
3 drops yellow food coloring (optional)

  1. Stir butter & powdered sugar in a mixing bowl
  2. Add in vanilla, salt & lemon juice & continue to mix.
  3. May need to add more powdered sugar to reach fluffy consistency.
  4. Add a few drops of food coloring and mix once again.
  5. Put frosting in a pastery bag or frost with a spatula.
I stuck to the cake batter recipe fairly faithfully.  I did add about 2-3 tsp of lemon zest to the batter though-- just for a little citrus kick.  I used my favorite frosting recipe & with some tweaking & a few additions, came up with what my husband refered to as "amazing."  He even went on to tell me that it was the lightest, fluffiest frosting he's had & that it had a great after-taste (not always the case with some of the frostings I've attemped-- especially the ones that call for Crisco).  He's one of the few people who will give me honest (very honest) feedback about my baking, so compliments like that from him make me smile.  Oh, did I mention that I let him take almost the entire batch to work with him today?  Yup.  I'm a sweet wife like that.

I followed this tutorial on how to create the frosting rosettes on top of the cupcakes.  I used a 1M tip & seriously could NOT believe how easy it was.  (Go.  Go now.  Buy a 1M tip, some decorating bags & get to work.  You can do this!)  The hub thought I spent hours perfecting this skill (um, and I'm still going to let him believe that...).  It literally took me about 10 mintues to frost the whole batch.  The *fastest* I've ever frosted anything.  And they look gorgeous!

If you are looking for a dessert to take to your Fourth of July parties next week- this is it!  They're sure to be a hit!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Curious Hudson is TWO!

My little guy, Hudson, loves-loves-loves Curious George (or ‘Geedge’ as he calls him). From the very beginning stages of planning, I knew that I wanted to incorporate George into his 2nd birthday party, but without the character-overload. I also knew that I wanted to stay on a fairly tight budget, but still have a memorable celebration.
First, I decided on a color scheme of red & yellow with pops of baby blue—mimicking the colors in the original ‘Curious George’ books by Margret & H.A. Rey. Luckily, we had a lot of red items left over from Hudson’s first birthday party & baby blue items from his brother’s baptism luncheon.

Instead of an invitation featuring an image of Hudson’s beloved ‘Geedge,’ I created a vintage inspired invite with a banana and some super cute diagonal stripes. The text (free vintage fonts from Lost Type Co-Op: http://www.losttype.com/) read “Monkey See- Monkey Do--Curious Hudson is turning two! Let’s Go Bananas!” The invitation stated that guests should RSVP to 'The Mom in the Yellow Hat'-- instead of The Man in the Yellow Hat from the books/show. I also made matching address label wraps to make addressing the envelopes super easy (& adorable!). The back had our address & "Curious Hudson" as the sender.

While searching for an outfit for the birthday boy, I came across a yellow bow-tie & matching suspenders handmade by The Baxter Boy. Kiley was super sweet to work with & the items shipped very quickly! After seeing how cute Hudson looked in his handsome new tie, I knew that bow-ties also needed to be incorporated throughout his party. Using my fabric scrap stash, I wrapped (empty & clean) Starbucks Frappucino bottles with coordinating material so that each bottle had its very own little bow tie (& a cute little striped straw too!). The silverware was wrapped in red polka dot napkins & also topped off with a little yellow bow tie.

Red, yellow & baby blue balloons made our home a little more festive than usual. We used a corkboard in our kitchen to pin up pictures of Hudson’s baby pictures for guests to check out during the party. I wrapped a large piece of cardboard in red polka dot wrapping paper (purchased on sale after Christmas!) to create the dessert table backdrop. I also used red tablecloths and yellow placemats (items that we already had) to make things a little more cheerful.

Our menu included meatball hoagies, rigatoni, pizza muffins & tortellini skewers (the Italian menu was inspired by Chef Pisghetti—the Italian chef on the PBS ‘Curious George’ program). The tortellini skewers were a huge hit! I made them with cooked cheese tortellini, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella cheese & pepperoni. We also had a dessert table that included licorice, butterscotch candies, Lemonheads, Red Hots, cupcakes, cake balls, sugar cookies & ‘Curious George’ fruit gummies that I luckily found at our local grocery store.

Our cake was made by a local baker, Cakes by Pennie(http://www.facebook.com/penniecake). It was delicious & the design was exactly what I wanted. We topped the cake off with an artificial banana & a #2 candle. A personalized banner with Hudson’s name & pennants that read “He was a good little monkey and always very curious” (a quote from the original books) hung above the dessert table. I also made Hudson his very own banana-shaped smash cake using a boxed cake mix & my mom’s amazing frosting recipe.

Along with the birthday cake, we also offered a banana split bar where our guests could top their own sundaes. Everyone enjoyed being able to customize their own banana splits—especially the adults!

During the party, we asked our guests to sign one of Hudson’s ‘Curious George’ books with a little note to him. Hudson’s stuffed ‘Geedge’ (complete with a matching bow tie & ‘H’ party hat) kept watch over the book & made for a cute decoration. A nearby sign said, “When I’m older, I’ll be *curious* about
who was here to celebrate with me. Please sign my book & leave a note for me. Love, Curious Hudson”

As the party was winding down (and the temperature was climbing well into the 90’s), Hudson changed into a shirt that I made for him that had Curious George on the front & a #2 on the back. Much cooler—especially for driving around in his new Power Wheels car!

For favors, we kept it simple & gave Hudson’s guests each a banana with a coordinating tag that read, “Thanks a bunch for swinging by!”

Thanks to a little planning, we were able to keep our party budget-friendly & still have a George-inspired celebration that we will always remember.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Two Years Old

Before this week is over, I will have a two-year-old.  A two-year-old!  I feel like we brought this itty bitty (okay, 9 lbs, 3oz--not so bitty) bundle home with us... and that we celebrated his very first birthday just yesterday.  While I'm thrilled that he's growing up to be the sweetest little man, I'm sad to see his baby days come to an end.   At this moment in Hudson's life, he *loves* being outside, being (very) independent, helping his daddy, chasing the dog, coloring, eating bananas, and his beloved "Geedge" (Curious George).  The last two loves inspired the theme for his 2nd birthday party.  We'll be celebrating with just our immediate family and we're looking forward to watching our biggie man blow out the candles on his cake.  I've been busy (crazy busy) behind the scenes making sure all the little details are in place for his big day.  Oh, and in the midst of all of this, I've decided to start Project Life (the digital version)-- yes, in my spare time that doesn't exist. Anyhow-- go ahead & take a peek:

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Goodness.  It's been quite busy here.  Two surgeries (one per little guy), several holidays, a malfunctioning septic system (yes, ew), a crashed hard drive & a  downright crazy amount of Etsy orders later... I realized that I missed my little blog.  In the midst of all the chaos around these parts, I decided to learn how to shoot in manual mode.  I also decided that I'm in love love love with my DSLR.  These are just a few little gems from my most recent engagement session.

Friday, January 20, 2012

A little something girly...

I have two little boys here at home with me.  Two little boys under two in fact.  After playing trucks, making monster noises & cleaning up lots (& lots & lots) of messes, when I do get a few spare mintues to do some crafting, it's usually something girly.  Unfortunately I don't always have someone girly to try out my creations upon.  Hence what took place in our house today...

Yes... that's my handsome little guy modeling some headbands I whipped up today.  Hey, I needed a teensy tiny little head & his fit the bill. He looks a little 'less-than-thrilled' with the whole ordeal.  (Probably not nearly as 'less-than-thrilled' as my husband will be when I show him these pictures though.)

Oh, & just to quelch any fears, the headband in the top photo has already been disassembled & is awaiting it's purpose elsewhere... somewhere a little less crazy & a lot less Carmen Miranda-ish. 

Considering it's been an entire week since I've sat down to blog (two little boys under two apparently has that effect on your blogging life), I'm excited to say that I actually purchased the pattern for those cute little dolls I am planning on crafting.  I purchased it, downloaded it & even looked at it on my computer screen.  That's as far as it's gotten.  No worries though-- it's on my to-do list. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

But this year is going to be different...right?

Last year on January 1st, I made a resolution to take a picture every.single.day.  Guess how many days I *actually* took the pictures & documented them.  Um, not once.  Not even on New Year's Day-- the same day I made the resolution.  Good grief. 

But this year... This year things are going to be different.  I'm making realistic goals.  Drink more water (check).  Read more books (check). Save more money (check--I must say, winter at home with two-little-ones-under-two is rather good for the wallet). Stay off of Pinterest & actually get some things done (hey now, I said realistic).

That being said, I'm also restarting a blog.  I'm not making any outlandish statements like telling myself I'm going to post everyday...(Gosh, there are days when I'm lucky if I get to brush my teeth) but every once in a while is a good thing.  And who doesn't like good things? 

Oh, I'd also like to start crafting more.  Starting with these little lovelies.  I love them.  I want to make one for every child I know.  (Okay, okay.. again, I have to remember--realistic.)