With two big brothers, she will most certainly be a force to be reckoned with, and she already has her Daddy wrapped around her pinky.
God is so good.
After I designed it, I printed it, and matted it with a piece of black scrapbook paper. Then I realized it as just going to be easier to text my friends, and so I added the invite to a text as a picture. (I know. Still probably a bit too much, but I am pretty sure my friends know that is just my style.)
Anyway, this little invite is going to set the tone for the girl's night. I'm talking soup, or chowder, or chili, and s'mores on the fire pit, all done up on the covered patio, using my outdoor heater.
Can you see it?
I can hardly wait!
What a weird, unusual, surprising, entertaining football season it has been this go-round! My beloved Seahawks are officially out of the running to play in the big game this year, and the games next weekend will reveal who those two teams will be, but it's time to start planning, and printing, and cutting and pasting all of the fun details for your annual Superbowl party.
Those of you who are not football enthusiasts might want to skip this post, although Superbowl parties sometimes have much more to do with food and fun than the football game itself.
I am updating my Superbowl and football printable kits in my etsy shoppe this week, if you're looking for paper goods to add to the festivities, with Team banners coming after next weekend, when we know who will be playing in the big game. You will see them all later this week in the shoppe, but for now....
My latest chalkboard printable is now available in my shoppe. It adds a whimsical element to my fireplace, and works for the entire football season, really.
Are you ready for some football?
I was invited to a football party for the big games last Saturday, and I decided to make my dipped pretzel sticks in both teams colors (The Patriots and the Cardinals.)as well as taking along a few cupcakes.
The dipped pretzels are super easy, take only a short while to make, and are yummy, with that salty-and-sweet thing going on. Kids and grownups alike love them. All you need to do is pick up pretzel rods at the grocery or dollar store....they come in two length, and I like the longer ones. They are about eight inches long.
...and candy melts. (I get mine at WalMart...they have lots of colors!) pour some candy melts in a microwavable jar...
...and heat one minute. Stir until smooth and creamy. (Microwave an additional 20 seconds if not melted enough)
.....and dip and baste your pretzel rod with the melted candy-melt, the sprinkle with candies if desired.
Lay on a piece of waxed or parchment paper until set. Add additional color melts if desired at that point.
Place in a container to serve, or lay them in a row on a tray....they are pretty, and delicious!
I added a dozen sweet little cuppy-cakes to my tray and I was ready to go. (You know I love to bake and create desserts, and so I always have frozen unfrosted cupcakes on hand...well, almost always. This way, I can pull out however many I might need when friends pop by, or it's a special friends birthday, or, in this case, a playoff football game, and frost the cupcakes accordingly.) I frosted the mini cupcakes in simple homemade white buttercream, and made little cutie-patootie flags to go on top of them by snagging the teams logos from Google.
The kids at the party scarfed down the cupcakes, and the pretzels were a hit with everyone too.
You might remember that I shared some glittery New Year's Eve party hats and horns and party bags back during the fall. Well, my customer sent me some photos from her fabulous event, and they did not disappoint!
The touches of gold and glitter and clocks fit perfectly with the stunning venue, wouldn't you agree?
(And that giant clock as a centerpiece and photo-opp backdrop! Oh! I adore it!)
Thank you Jan, for sharing the photos! I was so thrilled to be a part of this beautiful event!
I saw them well before Christmas at Macy's and couldn't justify the price, for three reasons. First, I already own some darling (Old) soft white (cream?) snow boots. (They never really change the style you know? They may be old, but they are still cute.) Second, I am not going to be in the snow anytime soon that I know of. Third, it was Christmas shopping time, and they were not on sale.
Christmas came and went, and I had to go back to Macy's to make an exchange, and there they were, calling my name, with a sale tag on them now. Not just any sale tag, mind you. A half off tag.
(You know I took this as a sign from God, right?)
Then, as if to confirm that it was truly a God thing, when I exchanged my item, it was on sale as well,and I ended up with $25 going back on my credit card, which, in my little mind, meant I was now saving that much more off the plaid snow boots. (Do you do that too?)
Be still my heart.
I may have to wear them one day soon, even if there is currently no snow here.
I love coming up with themes when shopping for presents, and I am especially thrilled when I can carry the process over to my wrap job. This weekend I gave a friend who is interested in hiking and fishing a birthday present. I was not sure what all he had in his hiking supplies, (To be honest, until this weekend, I was unaware there were hiking supplies.) so I had settled my mind on a gift card. I am not really a huge gift card fan, and so I decided I would give him a small hiking item to go with the gift card to get the theme going.
I found a compass. I figured it was a good item to have in your back pack, in the event you are out of cell tower range and find yourself lost. So far, not a terribly exciting present.
I printed a map of Oregon on computer paper. (I googled it and there it was.) I then wrapped the present in the map paper. I found a hiking quote on Pinterest that I liked and copy-pasted it on to a page, then printed it, along with a "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" tag and cut them both out.
I used extra chunky baker's twine to tie the tags to his prezzie, and I was done. Now, it was a much more meorable presentation than just a quick-wrapped gift card.
(And I didn't even have to buy wrapping paper!)
(What? Doesn't everyone?!)
Aah, yes. The playoff games start this weekend, (And the next, and the one after that.) culminating at the grand-daddy of all games, the Superbowl.
I'm starting to scan Pinterest in search of unique and yummy recipes to try out on this year's buffet table, and I'm cheering for the Seahawks to make it to the biggest game of all. I like to feature something different each year, and right this minute, I am stumped on what my feature food will be. I've done pulled pork, and then sloppy joe sliders. Hot dogs and then chicken wings and pizza were featured in the past as well. I've even started the pre-game with biscuits and gravy, and so far this year I am undecided.
I could do a chili bar, or chowder bowls. (Or possibly tomato soup with mini grilled cheese sammies?) Hmmm, maybe even a mashed potato bar? (I did one a million years ago for a holiday party, serving the mashed potatoes in martini glasses, and it was a huge hit!) I haven't done a taco bar yet either...
I'm currently stumped on what to feature, as you can see. What kinds of foods do you like to serve (And eat!) for parties? I want to know!
(Not a good start for the year, but I am going to go with the better-a-tiny-bit-late-than-not-at-all excuse.)
I was on a two year roll a few years back, with a word of the year. One year it was Balance and the next it was organize. It took me a few additional years, but I do believe I have somewhat achieved a decent balance in my life, with my priorities straight, and I am more organized than I ever have been. (Which is saying a whole lot, if you know me.)
Anyway, the last couple of years I somehow forgot to choose a word of the year, (I know, that doesn't make me sound like I got organized.) but this year, I'm back, baby, in a big way. I am feeling like twenty sixteen just might be my year of making some huge strides in a few areas I am wanting to focus on. (You know, the usual suspects; my health, my finances, my dream job...)
I struggled between two words this go-round. I struggled because they are actually so similar that I wasn't sure which one fit me the best. Those two words are "Mindful" and "Purpose". I truly want to keep the why I am doing something...anything...present in my head. I want to be mindful of how I spend my money and my time. Mindful of how I eat. To do all things in my life with a purpose,and not just go all willy-nilly and at the end of a day wonder what I did with my one-and-only-life for the past twenty four hours, you know?
Then, I found this online here:
First of all, mindfulness involves paying attention “on purpose”. Mindfulness involves a conscious direction of our awareness.
(No wonder I was having trouble deciding, huh?)
I love it, love it, love it.
Yep, that's my word for this coming year.
Do you do a word of the year? If so, what is it this year?
I always try to hunt down little vintage and thrift shops when I travel, and thanks to the internet, blogging, and Facebook, it is easy to find them. I was in Phoenix this past weekend for the Seahawks game, and managed to squeeze out some time to check out a vintage shop named Rusty Saturday, where one of my fellow bloggers (Karen Valentine, from My Desert Cottage) has a booth. Rusty Saturday turned out to be worth the trip, with about fifteen or so booth spaces. (All of them fairly large, and laid out with style.) I saw quite a few items that I fell in love with, but since I was flying and not driving, size was an issue. I did end up discovering a fabulous footed silver tray that I was able to wrangle into my suitcase for the flight home.
(I know. I have a gazillion silver trays, but this one was a different size than the ones I already have, and it has the cutest little feet, and the price was great, and...I just had to have it, even if I had to carry it on the plane by itself.)
(I forgot to get a photo of it close up, and I am writing this post after packing but before flying home, so if you look in the very first picture in this post, you'll see it there, on the table...here is a poorly cropped version from that top picture...)
(I would have loved to have snagged the darling white painted wood drawer piece behind that tray as well, but clearly that was not making it on the plane.)
They had some clever displays, and snapped a few pictures to share with you.
If you're ever in the Phoenix, Arizona area, this sweet shop is worth a visit, so put it on your must-stop-by spots!
I'm motivated, and on fire for the new year. I've got myself a solid game plan, and I'm optimistic that I just might be one of the eight percent of Americans that end up sticking to their resolutions. (Do you think you're one of those folks too?)
Last year I managed to wrangle my inner hoarder quite a bit, and I purged a lot of things in my cottage that I clearly was never going to use. (Four different colorful shades of polka-dot french fry holders from "Pick Your Plum"for one.)
(What was I thinking?!)
(I gave them to my fabulous daughter-in-law, who is a kindergarten teacher.)
Anyway, I made several small steps forward last year, and now I am feeling very much like the little engine that could.
Keep my organization resolutions, that is.
The weight and exercise resolution is another topic entirely.
Just a quick post to share that the large poster from yesterday's post is now available in my etsy shop. Find it here.
(Today's blog post will be coming along later....)
He's right, I am afraid to say.I mean, if you're doing it right...living that is...then I think it always feels like there are too many things we'd love to do, and never quite enough time.
There are far too many things I want to do, and no where near enough time to do it all. Big things, (Like going on a road trip to Round Top in Texas.) and little things (Like learning to make an incredible-to-nearly-die-for pie crust from scratch) and oodles of things in the middle. (I've seen AC/DC, but I haven't seen Oprah.)
This all being said, tonight we will all kiss last year goodbye, and welcome in a fresh new year, full of promise and adventure.
I've added another last-minute-in-twenty-fifteen printable kit to my etsy shop, if you're looking for a little something fun for tonight.
I designed a New Years Eve sign to go on the flip side of my giant three by four foot faux chalkboard sign. I ordered a printed blueprint (Engineered) copy of it from my Staples Store, and last night I attached it to the back of the giant sheet of Styrofoam-like insulation (from Home Depot) and replaced my Christmas mantel decor. (I will be adding this, along with a few other a few other New Year's eve Printable kits...)
I added my collection of old clocks and I am now ready to ring in the new year.
No one is required to stay until the clock hits twelve, and there won't be a lot of decorations. Just a fun banner I made, and a few other little Tracey-touches (signs for the champagne area, a Q and A game, and a few questions to ponder for next year....)
Personally, I love the whole new year- new opportunity idea of it all. I like looking back over the year past, and looking at the fresh clean slate ahead of me.
I wonder what exciting adventures will happen, and where my life will be a year from now. What are you doing this New Year's Eve? Staying home? Going out? Going to bed early or late? Is it a big deal to you, or just another date on the calendar?
Please, do share!
I created a book as a memento and Christmas present for the Grands. (And their parents.) A rather gigantic book actually, (!4" by 11" unopened, and over two feet wide when opened up!) all about our adventures at this past summer's first annual Camp Cupcake, (31 fabulous pages, with over 175 photos, thankyouverymuch.) I had four copies printed through Mixbook; one for each family.
(I had so much fun, reliving each moment of Camp Cupcake with each page I designed!)
It was truly a labor of love.
When the books arrived on my porch, I was a bit taken aback at the size of the box. Upon opening it, I was even more stunned at the size of book I had ordered. Somehow, when I read the size choices on the website, the 11 by 14 didn't seem all that big.
While the book borders on being obnoxiously large, even on my big square coffee table, it's full of photos of the kids doing sack races and roasting s'mores, so it seems somehow appropriate and perfectly sized, you know?
It took me many, many hours to build out the book, (pretty much a full weekend.) and I loved every minute I spent creating it, remembering each and every smile, and giggle, and fun memory from that over-niter spent with the grands.
In retrospect, I think I was far more excited, waiting in excited anticipation for the moment they would open this Christmas gift I had so lovingly crafted for them, than I was for anything else this Christmas season.
Aah, it's good to be Gramma Cupcake.
P.S. I know I have shared before that I have created books through Mixbook, but I want to share one more time, just how fun, and fulfilling it is to create one of these books. It captures a moment in time for you, and seals it for all eternity, only a flip of a page away, from remembering the fun you had, and how things were, once upon a time.(And, for the record, no, I am not being paid a dime to mention Mixbook. I simply love their ease of use, and their customer service.)
With six of my eight grand-babes in attendance, we corralled the little ones for my annual babes-in-bed photo shoot before the Christmas Eve festivities got too far along, and, as in the two previous years, it was like herding kittens.
This will be forever remembered as the year that Grand Number Seven had croup. Poor little man didn't feel well at all and was not about to give up his pacifier, nor was he having any part of his Gramma Cupcake's let's-all-wear-Santa-hats-and-sit-in-a-row-in-bed annual event.
I wouldn't trade this tradition for anything in the world.
My son, daughter-in-law, and two grands arrived today and are staying with me for part of their visit, so I wanted it to be extra special for them. I put my red ticking duvet cover on the comforter, and added my most favorite ever Ralph Lauren pillow cases with faux cross-stich alphabet on them. (I found them in a clearance bin at Macys years and years ago!)
I placed one of my thrifted Christmas trees on one side of the bed in the corner, as well as some of my Santa hats at the foot of the bed...
I added four pair of mittens across the headboard for a winter feel....
A few scattered throw pillows and blankets in a basket for an additional pop of color...
...a few more pops of red, here and there...(I swapped the smaller slipper chair that is usually in the guestroom with the larger chair from the living room for the holiday season, as my Christmas tree took up most of the corner of the living room...)
...and the Christmas spirit arrived, full force, in my guest room.
I told you that I had a friend over for a birthday lunch last week. I baked her a birthday cupcake, and since it was just going to be the two of us, I didn't want to put a candle or a sparkler in it, and yet I wanted it to look special.
Then I remembered my Trader Joe's Chocolate Star cookies, and the mini chocolate mint star cookies. I plopped one of each on the saucer with her cupcake, and it looked perfect.
Easy as that.
Next time you're wanting to take a simple slice of cake, or cupcake to a new level, try this.
(Gotta love Trader Joes...)
I was Christmas shopping the other day when I spied with my little eye a small kiosk of Seahawk themed items. (Go Hawks!) Naturally I went over to check them out, (Especially since there was a 50% off sign.) and there, on the bottom shelf, were three bullhorns.
Now, I know they are meant for fans to use at games, (God help the poor fan in front of the fan with one of these bullhorns) but my mind immediately went somewhere else. What could be more camp-like for the head camp counselor to have than a bright red bullhorn?
Nothing could possibly be more camp-like. (Except one of these, which is on my list to score on craigslist or ebay before summer arrives.)
I picked it up. It fit perfectly in my hand. Dare I buy something for myself during this I-have-eight-grands-and-counting-plus-the-rest-of-the-family-stretch-my-budget time of year?
It would be wrong.
It would be frivolous.
(After all, I had already surprised myself at Thanksgiving with an oh-so-early Christmas gift of not one, but two outdoor heaters. This madness needed to stop somewhere.)
I set the shiny red bullhorn back down and finished my shopping.
Two days later, visions of the shiny red bullhorn and me, rounding up miniature campers, and announcing the start of the sack races with it haunted me. When would I ever see a half-priced bullhorn again I wondered? Seriously, what were the odds?
Very nearly in a cold sweat, I scampered back to the Fred Meyer store where I had seen them. It was during a virtual downpour, with rain coming down in wind-blown sheets, and I and to park in back forty, but I braved it with my Christmas plaid umbrella held closely above my head.
I raced past the Salvation Army bell-ringer and into the dry, warm store, through the produce section, weaved around the customer service area, and made my way to the Seahawk kiosk. I looked on the bottom shelf.
And, it was empty.
My heart learched about two inches inside my chest.
(I always, always want something more when I think I can't have it, it seems.)
Trying to tell myself this was a sign from God that I was not to be surprising myself with gifts this time of year, but thinking of others, I heaved a great, long, pitiful sigh and turned around. There, four feet over, was a second Seahawk kiosk that I seemingly missed two days prior. My heart skipped a beat then, and my eyes darted to the bottom shelf.
There they were. (Insert angelic music here.)
I had been looking at the wrong kiosk.
Again, I saw this as a sign from God. (OH, Yes! Yes! Yes!)
(After all, this is really a gift for the entire Camp Cupcake population, am I right?)
I snatched the shiny red half-off bullhorn and marched myself the the checkout, popped open my umbrella, and braved the wet and windy hike out to my car.
Merry Christmas to me. (And all of my Camp Cupcake campers.)
I am having one of my favorite friends over today for lunch for her birthday, and I had the sweetest gift back (WalMart!) for her prezzie, but I had no tissue in the right shade to go with it. I dug through my craft room and came upon an entire bolt of tulle I had bought for my cupcake fairy costuume adn not used.
Coudl it work?
It was worth a try.
I loved it!
Like I said, I am most likely the last person coming up with this idea, but I had to share it anyway.
I mean, it is so cute, and just the right texture to go with the glittered bag, don'tcha think?
And, even better? A bolt of tulle is so cheap, (I bought mine online, here.) and will go a lot further than tissue paper.
I shared yesterday that I hosted my first-ever-in-this-home girls cocktail party last week. It was the first time I have entertained anyone beyond family in my sweet little cottage, and I had forgotten just how much I love entertaining.
So much fun!
I can hardly wait to do it again, and already have my next soiree plans whirling 'round in my head.
I've been meaning to share the handmade invitations I designed. They turned out pretty cute, done up in red and a fun lime Seahawk green.
I served appetizers, and had an assortment of things to drink, both hot and cold. I am a huge fan of the signature drink for any event, and this was no exception. I found a slushy coconut drink that looked perfect online, but I wasn't thrilled with the name, so I made up my own....(Oh, you're not even a little surprised that I made a sign to go on the kitchen counter, are you?)
I made a sign to go with the water as well...
A grand time was had by all, and as I said, we will be doing it again!
(More on that in another blogpost.)
Anyway, I thought I'd share my little tips on putting together cookie baskets....for holiday presents, or party favors, or hostess gifts.
I always keep my eyes peeled for good sized baskets, buckets, or tubs when I am out thrifting, or yard sailing, and I store my stash of finds in my craft room. Last week while shopping with both of my daughters and my Mom, I stumbled upon the most fabulous cardboard baskets in the dollar bin area of Target.
I bought all they had, which was six.
That evening, on the way out to dinner with my Rock n' Roll Buddy, I asked him to stop at a different Target and I scored about 14 more. The thing about items in Target's dollar section is that, once they re gone, they are gone.For this reason, I grabbed as many as I could find.
(The cube of butter is in the photo so you can gauge the size of the baskets.)
Way too cute, no?
You know, my signature gift wrap is kraft paper, with colored ribbons, bows, and foo-dads creating the finished look or theme for my packages. (So...these cardboard baskets had my name all over them, am I right?)
For my girls-night-holiday-happy-hour I used them for party favor baskets, and filled them with white paper shred (from the dollar store) and then added snippets of ribbon, a jingle bell (The Dollar Store again, a few years back.) and then nestled in mittens (Half off of two dollars at WalMart, two years ago, but cheap mittens are found in lots of big box stores, as well as the Dollar Store.) I added some home made tags...
...and then filled the baskets with some snowball cookies and white chocolate dipped pretzels.
The girls loved them.
I plan on duplicating this look for my neighbors this weekend. (And I will add a couple Milk Bones tied together with a ribbon for the neighbors that have pups!)
A few days after I did the fair baskets for my friends, I took a little crate of cookies and pretzels to my daughter's home for the grandsons, as we were having a family gathering. I used the same process for assembling the goodies, just a different container size.
It all goes together very easily and quickly, if you keep the shred, assorted ribbon, and a variety of containers (Or a stack of just-alike containers you scored at Target in the Dollar section...)on hand. The little tags I made add the finishing touch that makes them oh-so-special, and I am sharing them with you here today. Click here to Download Warm wishes and cookies pdf to use on your cookie gifts. Simply print them on card stock, cut and hang on your baked goodies.
I am having so much fun doing all of this baking and creating! I think 2016 might be my year for monthly themed baking projects.
My kitchen is pretty far down on my home improvement list, mainly because it needs to be completely gutted and that is going to take a chunk of change. In the meantime, it's not so bad that I can't live with it. My dishwasher is newer (from the 90's?) and my harvest gold range works like a champ. (plus it's a fabulous 40 inches wide, with storage for pots and pans!) My cupboards have definitely seen far better days, but I'm ignoring them for now.
All needed restorations aside, I added a few Christmas touches to the kitchen, and I think it added a warm feeling in there. The shelf I put next to the doorway was holy-jollied with a few red touches...(Isn't it amazing how well that old bookcase fits there? When the Other Tracey came to visit last June, she thought it was an original built in!)
I also added a bit of Christmas to the side of the fridge where I keep my tall hamper. I took an old thrifted crate and filled it with some of my stash of red and white table linens.
A vintage juice glass of candy canes add a little punch of color on the counter...
And the open cupboard above my range looks ready for the holidays too.
Speaking of my range, here it is...
I have a mad crush on the fabulous tea towel one of my daughter's got me for my birthday. (See how it matches my truck?)
My big apothecary jar that holds my flour has a sweet gingham bow and my vintage colander is filled with cranberries.
Even the closet door got into the holiday spirit, with a hook holding my two favorite holiday aprons...
Do you deck all the halls in your home, or do you keep it confined to the room with your Christmas tree?