Category Archives: Holidays & Seasons

Valentine’s Gift Card Holder

2 gift card holders with images of a coffee cup and hearts

I made one version of this gift card holder for teachers, because that’s how I intend to use it, but I also made one without a named recipient, so it can be used for coworkers, bosses, employees, coaches, friends and more!  Because of the hearts, it works great for Valentine’s Day, but it doesn’t specifically mention Valentine’s Day, so it could be used year-round.

Available here!

5x7 print with coffee cups and hearts with room for a gift card

5x7 print with hearts and coffee cups and room for a starbucks card

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

Valentine Pocket tutorial

{Tutorial} Valentine’s Day Heart Pockets

My mother, a retired teacher, used to make these with her students every year. She hung them on the bulletin board for February decor, plus during the Valentine’s party, classmates could add valentine cards to the pockets.

Here are some examples of the finished product. My mother, the most creative person I know, made all but one of these (you will note that I am missing part of that creativity gene). She challenged her students to incorporate hearts into everyday items (notice the butterfly and ship below).

2 decorated paper heart valentines day pockets

It’s going to be painfully obvious here, which one was made by me…

2 paper hearts used as pockets for valentines day at school

You can see better on the red heart above, how these open and act as a pocket.

Mom made hers more than 40 years ago, and after about 20 years she decided to extend their durability by  laminating them (then you need to use a craft  knife to cut the pocket open again).  Mom hangs these on the mantel every February even now, and they have held up just fine.

I have also done them with younger kids, too (first grade).  I just help them with the stapling, so they won’t staple in such a way that it prevents it from being used as a pocket.  And for any age group, you can use a salad plate or manila folder template to help them draw the half-circle that becomes the top of the hearts.  Use a toddler plate or something that is approximately the same distance across as the folded paper, otherwise your heart will look cut off.

Use reusable adhesive aka mounting putty to attach it to your walls, mantel, desks or chairs (Scotch and Elmer’s make the putty in the US, and it’s called Blu-Tack in Australia).  You could use tape in a pinch, but in a classroom setting, these pockets can get a little heavy for that.

Here is the tutorial. Click the photo to save or print a PDF version to use as a reference (but trust me, these are NOT hard to make).

Instructions on how to make a heart pocket

I think it’s the coolest thing ever, that I hang (on my bannister, with a heart garland) the very same pocket that my mom used to put my Valentine’s Day card in when I was a kid. And I intend to pass along the ones I made for my kids as well.

Hope you liked this Valentine’s Day craft, and I’d love to see your finished products! (Obviously I need serious help on the decorating portion.)

 

This project featured on:


Tip Junkie handmade projects


A red basket full of baggies with gingerbread playdough inside

{FREEBIE} Gingerbread Playdough Topper

A red basket full of baggies with gingerbread playdough inside

I decided to make some homemade Gingerbread Playdough for my son’s classmates as soon as I saw the idea on Pinterest. But I knew it would be cost prohibitive to buy 20+ mason jars to package them the way she did. So I made this printable topper that can be printed and stapled to the top of any snack or sandwich-sized baggie.

I am also going to take these to Christmas dinner to put on the Kids Table so the kids have something to keep them busy while we’re in the kitchen. And I’ll give them along with my traditional pumpkin bread gift to my neighbors (or at least the ones with kids or grandkids).

The best thing about this version of playdough is that your house smells like holiday cookies are in the oven every time the kids play with it!

 

zip top bag with gingerbread playdough inside and a printed topper

This topper will be free until Christmas Day (25 December). And next holiday season, it will be in my Etsy shop.

2 ziplock bags with paper toppers that say Gingerbread Playdough

See below for the recipe and the topper download. By the way, this recipe is very forgiving!  I pulled not one but two blonde stunts while I was making it! First I lost track of how much cream of tartar I had added (which affects how thick it will be) and secondly I got distracted by two little men and burned it on the stove. But I crossed my fingers and stuck it in a plastic container in the fridge, and sure enough, it had the perfect texture the next day!

Download the playdough toppers HERE.

I usually print toppers in color on 65 lb cardstock at a local copy store, and borrow their paper cutter while I’m there. I rolled the dough out pretty thick (1/2″ or more) and cut them out with a gingerbread cookie cutter. But you could just as easily roll them into balls and put them in the bag that way.

I’d love to see photos or links showing how you used these!

Resources:

Recipe for Gingerbread Playdough (if you double it you will get 7 or 8 snack-sized baggies worth)
More holiday ideas on my Pinterest board

 

Tortilla roll-ups in the shape of a Christmas tree

Let the Holiday Party season begin!

I hope you enjoy these Christmas goodies (thanks for the ideas, Pinterest!) and new HOLIDAY PRINTABLES that I created for a recent Christmas party.

I was hired to style a corporate Christmas party, and my partner (and chef extraordinaire) provided the catering.  I made the Enchanted Snowflakes printables collection that is now available in my Etsy shop.

Christmas party dessert table and tree

I used my 5×7″ Holiday Printable and made it a framed menu. You can also post it at your event and write a holiday greeting on it.

Menu with red background and snowflakes

The tortilla pinwheels in the shape of a Christmas tree was a fun project, and I kept altering the recipe as I went. So I posted the final result to my Recipes page, in case you want to make it as well.

Tortilla roll-ups in the shape of a Christmas tree

My business partner (and resident Foodie) told me that no one would eat a cheese ball, but several people told me that they loved it!

Cream Cheese in the shape of a Christmas gift

And notice the apothecary jar full of “Rudolph’s Spares” (actually cherry sours). I also had jars of red licorice (Darrell Lea of course) and cinnamon M&M’s as well as mint M&M’s.

apothecary jars full of red candy and labeled rudolphs spares

I got a LOT of requests for instructions on making these Santa Hat Pretzels. I know a lot of people love the salty + sweet snacks, but I don’t so I never tried them. But I did love the cute factor!

White-chocolate dipped pretzels that look like santa hats

Red Velvet Whoopie Cakes from Starbucks

 

holiday table red with white snowflakes

I also made Spiced Apple Cider Cookies during the party, because they must be eaten warm!

The hostess made Holiday Sangria, Christmas Chex Mix, and Pepper Jelly Cream Cheese, which were big hits as well.

Included in the Holiday Collection are Wine Tags, a Banner, gift/favor tags, and many other items not pictured in this party:

Printable Christmas Holiday items


Inspiration:

Pretzel Santa Hats idea from FreeFunChristmas
Cream Cheese ‘Gift’ dip recipe from FamilyFun
Pinwheel Christmas Tree idea heavily adapted from Real Mom Kitchen
Cranberry Bars recipe from Lovin In The Oven
Red Velvet Whoopie Cakes from Starbucks
Holiday Printables in Red or Blue from Renee’s Soirees

Serving of pumpkin cake with cinnamon frosting and icing leaf

Thanksgiving fun

We love to try new recipes, so a ‘foodie’ day like Thanksgiving is the perfect opportunity.  I am sharing a recipe I created for Pumpkin Butter Cake with Cinnamon Frosting, and including a free printable of a Thanksgiving Treat Topper. Also some links to amazing turkey and fruit dip recipes.

 

The pièce de résistance was this gorgeous turkey! It was extrememly moist, and surprisingly didn’t taste like bacon at all (unless you ate the bacon off the top. Which we totally did. Because well, it’s BACON!!).  We decorated it with fresh oregano, which is my favorite herb. Grow some — it will take your cooking to a whole new level!

roasted turkey with a bacon weave

Another big hit was the Pumpkin Pie Dip.  [Note to self: photocopy the recipe ahead of time because you will get many requests for it!]

 

The food labels and these wine tags are from my Thanksgiving collection. I chose the Autumn Leaves background (there are 3 backgrounds available).

wine glass with custom tag attached

Instead of Pumpkin Pie (which is too mushy for my taste), I decided to create my own recipe for a pumpkin-pie-like cake. I am not a fan of pie crust – I know lots of people are, but it isn’t my favorite – so I used a cake mix and made it more like a cookie crust. I made them 3 ways: small Fall-shaped cupcakes (using a silicone pan), jumbo cupcakes, and a cake. All 3 varieties were yummy! Not that I tried them all.
OK maybe I did.  🙂

I topped them with leaf-shaped icing decorations from Wilton, but the undecorated ones were equally delicious. I flipped the leaf-shaped one over so you could see the crust.

4 pumpkin-shaped cupcakes with cinnamon topping & Wilton colorful icing leaves

I wanted to make these adorable edible acorns (made with Hershey’s Kisses, mini Nilla wafers and mini chocolate chips) but didn’t feel like just putting them into a bowl. So I made them into favors, and created a favor topper to match. The wording was inspired by the acorn contents. {You can get the treat topper printable free on my Freebies page or via the link at the end of this post}

Here is a close-up of the treat topper, in case you can’t read it in the photo. It says, “Plant seeds of Thanks & Giving… always”.

Resources:

Bacon-Blanketed, Herb-Roasted Turkey recipe from The Runaway Spoon
Autumn Leaves Food Labels from my Etsy shop
Pumpkin Pie Dip recipe from Tablespoon.com
Pumpkin bowl from Pier1 (Fall 2011 seasonal item)
Pumpkin Butter Cake with Cinnamon Frosting recipe here (adapted from Paula Deen’s ‘Gooey Pumpkin Cake’ recipe)
Thanksgiving Treat Topper printable here

My sister Rochelle can’t resist the Pumpkin Dip…

Woman eating pumpkin pie dip

Candy turkey placecard holder with Fall placecard attached

Thanksgiving Printables

If ever there was an occasion for a beautiful and coordinated TABLESCAPE, it’s Thanksgiving!

Never fear! I have several different place cards available in my Etsy shop, and they come with coordinating buffet labels.

Here is a food tent / label, with the ‘Mixed Leaves’ print. There is also a damask background and a striped one.  Some of the labels are pre-filled with common Turkey Day foods, and some are blank for you to write on or type on in your paint or graphics-type program.

Food tent labeled Mashed Potatoes on a Fall table

Below is a name placecard with the Damask background. There are two wording options: “So blessed that John is here,” and, “So thankful that John is here.”

Table setting with edible turkey placecard holder

3 sets of Thanksgiving placecards

 

We also made a few other fun Thanksgiving foods…

Honeydew melon with skewered fruit that looks like a turkey  kids thanksgiving table

I made Turkey favors for our guests out of Moon Pies, and my 5-year-old wanted to make one, too. Although he had a very different interpretation of ‘turkey’. Based on his dinosaur face (maybe you don’t recognize it, but a Mother knows these things), I’m guessing he was making a dino with two big teeth. LOL!

2 different moon pie turkeys

Food label on a Fall table

Now the only issue is, which of the beautiful centerpieces on Pinterest to use on the big day?!

  • Turkey Moon Pie adapted from La*T*Da
  • Turkey melon idea from Family Fun Magazine
  • Directions for the Popcorn-stuffed paper bag turkey (on kids table) here
  • Can’t remember where I got the Candy Turkey idea from, but they are pretty self-explanatory.  I turned them into placecard holders by taping a toothpick to the back of the name tag, and sticking that inside the Oreo filling.  Low-tech but the kids were thrilled when they walked in and saw their table.  🙂

 

paper box with 25 small drawers, covered in Halloween paper

Halloween Advent { Countdown Calendar }

In our house, advent calendars apply all year round. In other words, we count down to everything! I started doing it when my oldest was 4, just to give him some reading practice. Every holiday has a completely different style of countdown calendar; so no two look alike.  Typically I put in a joke or factoid for each day, plus a small treat or fun activity. Sometimes I use puzzle pieces, or scavenger hunt clues, tiny toys, etc (the drawers are 1 1/2″ square).

For Halloween, we use this 25-drawer box; therefore we have to start the countdown on day 7. (Unfortunately it stays hot here until long after October 1st, so I usually don’t think to unpack the Fall stuff until the second week of October anyway).

 

paper box with 25 small drawers, covered in Halloween paper

And here is my 6 year old, reading his joke. I put in one joke per kid in each drawer, and one treat per person (in this drawer it was a single candy corn).

The added benefit is that it is helping him understand humor, puns, plays on words, etc. He re-tells the jokes to his dad, his friends, the neighbors, and strangers in the supermarket.

A young boy reading a piece of paper with a Halloween joke on it

And this last one I call, “Because he’s six. And a goofball…!!”

Child using candy corn as vampire fangs

I have also been thinking of using one of these (with generic decorations) as a chore rewarder. Finish your chores (or pick up an extra one) and you get to pick a drawer. Turn the drawers around once they’re empty, until you refill them.

PS
The drawers are called a ‘3-D Countdown Calendar’, and you can find out where to buy them locally (for $16-20) here (click on ‘Store Locator’ in the upper right corner).  If you can’t find them in local stores, you can buy them from Amazon for $22. They are white, and you then cover them with appropriate scrapbook paper (if you have a 1/2″ circle punch, it will be your BFF on this project).

By the way, because there are 25 drawers, these work great for actual Christmas Advent calendars! I use a Christmas advent that my mother sewed when I was little, so I didn’t need one for that holiday.  But there are examples all over of how to decorate it for Christmas, for instance, here, and here.

Hotdog wrapped in biscuit dough like a mummy

Fun Fall Foods

We have been finding some great Fall ideas on Pinterest, so I decided to share a few!

Mummy Dogs (recipe via Family Fun)

Hotdog wrapped in biscuit dough like a mummy

 

Jack-o-Lantern Quesadillas (idea came from here)

 

and… (wait for it…)

Frankenpizza!

Mine was nowhere near as cute as the original from Munchkin Munchies, but I let the kids design it, and they thought it tasted great.

Pizza that looks like a monster

And we went the super lazy route and just cut a Boboli premade crust into a rectangle. Quick and yummy!

PS
I’m not sure why my older son feels the need to make a ‘dinosaur face’ in every photo, but it’s a lot less scary since he lost all four front teeth! LOL!

Feel free to share your Halloween fun!

 

{FREEBIE} Boo’d Signs!

Well everyone loves being Boo’d, but no one loves having to make a color copy, so here is one you can print in black and white!  PLUS, the Boo’d sign and the instructions are all on one page, so you only need to make one copy per recipient.

Download the “We’ve Been Boo’d” sign here
or the Office version here
And spread some Halloween cheer!

Look for a post in the next few days, detailing what I included in my Boo Bags!

In the meantime, check out the plethora of Halloween craft, costume and food ideas on my Halloween Pinterest board.

 

 

{Real Party} Sunflowers & Burlap

This Sunflower collection was inspired by my amazing mother, because she grew up in Kansas and has an August birthday, so whenever I see sunflowers, I think of her.

We held this party in the Fall, which was perfect timing because sunflowers were everywhere in the stores. But you could also stock up on end of season clearance items and hold the party whenever you’re in a floral mood.  🙂  I had been planning on using burlap for a while, because the natural feel of it just seemed suited for a party evoking nature themes.

This collection can be used for bridal showers, baby showers, birthdays, anniversaries or weddings.   In this case, it was used for my assistant’s sweet daughter Gianna, who was celebrating her 7th birthday.


I used one of the 4″ medallions from my Sunflower collection on the wreath that we hung on the front door.

wreath with sunflowers and HAPPY BIRTHDAY medallion

Several of the Sunflower items in action:

– Party Circles used as cupcake toppers,
– Drink Labels on the water bottles
– 4″ Medallion on the drink dispenser
– Food Labels on the apothecary jars and in front of the cupcakes
– 8×10″ Frameable in the picture frame, with a photo of the birthday girl added

Sunflower printables on cupcakes, water bottles and framed prints

We embellished the banner with some sunflower stickers from Martha Stewart. They matched perfectly!

Sunflower banner on a burlap tablecloth on party table

This is another 4″ Medallion, attached to the silverware dispenser.

4 inch sunflower printable on a silverware dispenser

These Sunflower brownie pops were so fun!

close-up of brownie pop fashioned to look like a sunflower

 

This Caramel Apple Dessert Dip was amazing! And so easy to make!

 

apples and dip in the shape of a sunflower with a food label
This fun cheese and grape plate continued the sunflower theme:
Sunflower cheese and grape plate

A few other fun table shots:
4 inch medallion on a drink dispenser

sunflower Bottle wraps on water bottles

Food labels on apothecary jars

 

The favors were sunflower seeds (some to eat and some to plant) and a sunflower chocolate lollipop.
Martha Stewart sunflower seed packet in tulle

 

I used the cupcake toppers as a favor tag (attached to the tulle) and favor embellishment (stuck to the sunflower chocolate lollipop). They are so versatile!

Doesn’t the birthday girl look adorable? Her mom and I laughed about the fact that we met at Gianna’s 6th birthday party at Peter Piper Pizza last year. Who knew back then that she’d be having her next birthday at my house?!

girl wearing applique sunflower shirt and sunflower tutu

I think the birthday girl was happy with the party, and so was I!

See more Sunflower party ideas on my Pinterest board!

{PARTY PARTNERS}

Handmade cake plates from Bee In Our Bonnet
Sunflower tutu by Tutu Girlz
Sunflower applique shirt by Three Lindys
Burlap wreath by Ginger Bloom Gifts
Sunflower wreath from Today’s Patio (AZ only) but similar items are available on Etsy
Sunflower plate by Sur le Table
Caramel Apple Dip recipe from Fake It Frugal
Sunflower Brownie Pops recipe from Munchkin Munchies
Sunflower chocolate lollipop from Safeway, but are much more affordable here
Sunflower garden seeds by Martha Stewart
Photography by Amanda Saccuci at Rule of Faith Photography
Sunflower party printables by Renees Soirees

 

This party has been featured on:

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DIY Party Ideas

Hostess With The Mostess

 

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