A birthday party for a little girl

I’ve been voraciously reading everything over at designskool recently. I especially love her posts about things she does with her kids, like this birthday party. As the mother of an almost-two-year old girl, I’ve thought about birthday parties and how to do something fun and memorable while avoiding trashing the planet with balloons and bags full of plastic junk.

Her idea of a flower arranging party was so cute, and gives the kids something to do and something to go home with. I also liked the paper decorations she had up which are way cuter than balloons. If you wanted to do a no-gifts party (is this too mean?) you could ask the guests to bring a few flowers instead of a gift.

Here’s a few other ideas I had along these same lines- a craft that kids can take home.

1) A fairy garden. Each kid gets a plant in a clay pot or so, and there are supplies for creating the garden- some fairies, little flowers, recycled bits and bobs like buttons, etc.

2) Cake decorating, possibly with fondant. Each kid gets two cupcakes with basic white frosting (one to eat and one to take home), and there is a supply of different colored fondants, and possibly some instructions for different characters. Or just let them use their imaginations.

3) Fimo jewelry. Each kid gets a necklace made of leather or string (like embroidery thread braided together or so), and there is a supply of different colors of Fimo clay and various stamps and jewels for embedding on their creation. You could also do Fimo dollhouse creations, like food etc., but since not everyone would have a dollhouse this might not be ideal for a party.

4) Bead necklaces.

There are so many different fun little crafts that you could turn into a party for little girls.


Cute Bookplates on Etsy


I found the most adorable bookplates on Etsy recently. I had been wanting to write in Alice’s books, who the book was from, and when it was given. So I got these bookplates with her first and middle names, and with two blank lines underneath so I can write the name of the giver and date or occasion given. I love that she (and possibly even her kids) will be able to look at these books years later and know who got it for her.

The shop is called PreppyProdigy and they have so much cute stuff. I especially love the personalized valentines and think it would be so fun to send these to relatives. They also have lots of fun greeting cards.




Homemade Vanilla

I decided to make homemade vanilla this year after reading this post by Heather Bullard. We had some extra bottles of vodka anyway because post-baby we don’t really drink much, so I decided to turn them into vanilla for Christmas gifts.

It really could not have been easier so far. I just bought some vanilla beans, cut them into 1/2 inch pieces, and added them to the vodka bottles. Every once in awhile I give the bottles a little shake. That’s it!

In November before the Christmas rush I will filter out the vanilla beans and pour the vanilla extract into individual bottles and label them for gifting. I can’t wait to try my own homemade vanilla!


How to make shrink film wine charms


When my sister got married I was looking for an inexpensive but classy way to mark guest’s wine glasses. I came up with the following design using printable shrink film paper.
First, I scanned in the part of their wedding invitation that I wanted to include on the tags. Then I created a PowerPoint file with some test tags with different fonts and image sizes to see what I liked best. The dimensions I ended up using were: tag size 2″ x 4″, image size 1.5″ x 1.5″, font: 40 point Edwardian Script.
Once I had selected the right parameters for the tag I created a template with 10 tags per sheet and then used the template to make the final tags. I entered each guest’s name on a tag and printed them out, then used scissors to cut out each tag, and cut the corners off the tops of the tag. I used a hole punch to punch a hole in the top of the tag, then baked them for a few minutes, and Voila! Wine charms!
I used two pairs of needlenose pliers to attach a jump ring thru the hole and then put a wine charm ring through the jump ring to attach the tag to the glass.
These were relatively easy to make and were a hit at the wedding. They were a fun little keepsake for guests and they made it easy for people to keep track of their glass.

PM me for extra tips!


Rifle Paper Co., decorating a dollhouse, and homemade soap

Love this gift wrap so much…the soft pink bow goes so well with the blues.  Photo from the Rifle website.

Right now I am loving the Rifle Paper Co.  I just bought these thank you cards for baby gifts, and am seriously in love with this Toile Gift Wrap, which I plan to buy as gift wrap and as wallpaper for the new dollhouse I just bought for my little girl (who is not born yet– we don’t have diapers, we don’t have bottles, but we do have a lovely dollhouse).  I also love their LeSportsac collection.

Speaking of the dollhouse, we just picked up this very cool dollhouse from Ikea, which I was unable to find online.  It was $30 and it’s pine, and I plan to paint it white and add “wallpaper” (i.e., Mod Podged wrapping paper) and some wood floors (cut from wood veneer strips).  There are some really great ideas online for dollhouses and I plan on making mine so that it’s appropriate for a very young child- i.e., no little pieces that can come off, and I imagine we will graduate to a fancier dollhouse when she is older.  I think it will probably be a home for the Calico Critters Hopscotch Rabbit family, or something similar, so I’ll choose my colors and patterns accordingly.  I can’t wait to start this project.

I also just recently bought supplies to make homemade soap, so I will be posting on this project in the next week or so.  I look forward to giving homemade soap as gifts, and as someone with very sensitive skin I look forward to having soap that I can tailor to my skin’s needs.

A year ago today: Etsy buys- stamps and napkins




The Pink Paper- signature gift wrap of a different generation

I recently hosted a baby shower for my dear cousin Ann.  Ann and I are second cousins, and our grandmothers were sisters.

At the shower, another cousin gave Ann a gift and announced, “it’s wrapped in the Pink Paper.”  Apparently, this wasn’t just any pink paper, this was THE Pink Paper- the paper that their grandmother Ellen used to wrap anything and everything.  Ellen passed away a few years ago, but the Pink Paper lives on.

The Pink Paper is a lovely light, opaque, matte pink, and it came in a gigantic roll.  I don’t know where it originally came from, but I can guess.  Our grandmothers grew up very poor and were impressionable young girls during the depression, so resources and opportunities were not wasted.  I imagine this roll may have come from a store that was closing, possibly one that a friend or relative had worked in, and that Ellen saw in this roll the opportunity to never buy wrapping paper again.  And so one woman’s thrifty ways brought about a cherished family tradition of getting gifts from Grandma wrapped in the Pink Paper.  I love this idea of seeing a gift and knowing who it’s from just by how it is wrapped.

After hearing this story I was eager to create my own version of the Pink Paper.  I decided to buy a giant roll of wrapping paper that I would use to wrap anything and everything.  I eventually settled on a light blue glossy paper from Paper Mart (papermart.com).  It was under $20 for a 100 foot roll, which should last me a good long time.  I plan to use it for everything I need to wrap, along with this cream-colored ribbon.

Do you have a signature wrapping paper?  If so, I would love to know what you chose.




Bringing a Little of Your Vacation Home with You, Part III


It’s always nice to be able to bring home some wonderful smells from places you’ve visited in the form of soaps, lotions, and other personal care products.  I always keep my eyes (and nose!) attuned to these things when I am on vacation so that I can bring some great local things home with me.  A little for me, and a little for my friends and family, as these kinds of things make great gifts.

I found the Filthy Farmgirl Soaps at an ABC Store next to the Ritz-Carlton Kapulua (the ABC Stores in Hawaii are gold mines for local treasures) and I bought a bunch of them to take home.  They are all-natural, they have super-cool packaging, they smell amazing, and they are unique and fun, making them great gifts (a great gift to me, as well).  The cabinet that I’ve been storing them in smells so good every time I open the door.

I’ve given out several to family members for birthday presents so far.  Some of the soaps have names that are a little bit naughty, so I bought a couple of the more tame ones for gifts for family (the Uber Super-Duper Aloha, and the Filthy Surfer Soap).  Filthy Farmgirl has free shipping to anywhere in the US with no minimum order, so I’ll definitely be ordering more of these for future gifts.

The pool at the Grand Wailea

Another thing I like to take home to remember the smells of Hawaii is the Honey Mango lotion, body wash, shampoo, and conditioner from the Grand Wailea Hotel on Maui.  This was another hotel that we stayed at on our honeymoon, and this is probably our favorite hotel anywhere because of it’s incredible pool.  The hotel is also famous for its spa.  I love the tropical smell of the products at this hotel and I find myself squirreling them away to take home with me since it’s such a fun reminder of the vacation.  You can also buy them online.


I would love to hear about some of your favorite personal care products that you have found on vacation!