Sparkles & Spirits – a wine tasting and jewelry party

Over the summer I hosted a fun girls' night out wine tasting and jewelry party. Karen, a friend of mine from back east, is a rep for Traveling Vineyard – they send you five bottles of wine, along with recommended food pairings. You have the wine and food ready to go, and your wine guide will walk your guests through the tasting, explaining the characteristics of the different wines and how the food pairs with them. In my case, my wine guide was over 2000 miles away, but she did the tasting over speakerphone and it was fabulous! Karen and I were a little unsure of how the long-distance tasting would go, but it was surprisingly easy to do. It helped that Karen is very good at what she does and made it fun for all of the guests!

I paired the wine tasting with a Chloe + Isabel pop-up shop. I set up a display of jewelry so my guests could shop, snack, and sip – not a bad way to spend an evening. I had fun creating little printable Chloe + Isabel-themed wine glass tags and setting up the table with wine and food pairings - thanks, as always to Pinterest for the inspiration. 

If you're interested in hosting a Traveling Vineyard wine tasting, contact Karen – I promise you and your guests will have a wonderful time! And if you'd like to host a Chloe+Isabel pop-up shop of your own, either locally or long-distance, email me and we'll get the ball rolling! You can earn tons of free jewelry just in time for the holiday season. 

best pumpkin cookie recipe

best pumpkin cookie recipe

It may not feel like fall in Arizona, but I'm so tired of summer weather that I'm not waiting any longer. We dusted off the fall decorations today and my house is sporting some pumpkins and (fake) fall leaves. It's time to make my favorite pumpkin cookies - check out this old post for the details!

Fairy birthday party

One of my favorite birthday party themes that we've done for my daughter is her fairy party. I designed a cute fairy invitation, with a pink watercolor background and silhouettes: 

For the cake, I bought the delicious chocolate round cake from Costco and just spruced it up with a bunch of sprinkles and a topper I designed to coordinate with the theme. We placed it on a dessert table decorated with a banner and tissue paper pom-poms. I purchased fairy wings, tutus, and wands for the girls to wear at the party and take home as favors (comment below if you want the source - great prices!). It was fun, cute, and a great memory for my daughter!

fairy themed little girl's birthday party

Elmo and chevron birthday party

One of my favorite projects from the past few months was a super cute Elmo-themed birthday party package that I designed for an old friend from college. What made this project even more fun was that this particular friend is exceptionally crafty and creative, so I created items to her specifications and was very excited to see her ideas come to life!

She wanted to incorporate an Elmo theme with a bright turquoise chevron, which was a fun and unexpected background for this adorable party for her daughter. Check out these cute invitations:

charlotte's elmo chevron invitation and birthday party invitation for web.jpg

And my favorite touch, these centerpieces....."This party is brought to you by the letter 'C' and the number '2'"

All in all, it looks like this party was a success - fun and cute for the birthday girl and kudos to her mom for the great ideas!

A baby shower in Tiffany blue with ribbons & bows

Tiffany blue and bows baby shower.jpg

I recently threw a shower to help prepare for the arrival of my newest niece, Penelope, due in March. Penny's mom's favorite color is Tiffany blue, and she loves bows - so since this is her first little girl, we combined those two ideas for the theme.

First, the invitation, which I recently added to my Etsy shop and previously mentioned here.

We planned a simple menu of various apps and a main course of baked ziti, meatballs, and a big tossed salad. For decor, we did simple centerpieces with a charger, glass bowl, alstromeria and baby's breath with ferns for a little greenery. With the help of my assistant (my seven-year-old daughter), I painted a fun scrolled board and letter "P" from Michael's for a cute monogram. We thought this would be pretty in the baby's room after the shower.

We also had a pretty dessert table, with a banner I designed to coordinate with the theme, a simple cake, and other coordinating sweets from the party store.

We added adorable party favors - scratch-off lottery tickets in a simple folded envelope made of aqua card stock, topped off with a "lucky penny": 

All in all, the shower was a success. It was pretty and casual and we were able to do it all on a reasonable budget - mission accomplished!

girl's room DIY update - new lavender paint and built-ins

lavender girl's room makeover with built in shelves and gold sconces image.jpg

I posted years ago when we updated Maggie's room from a toddler room with a crib to a room with a "big-girl bed" and a few adjustments to the decor. More recently, we did a bigger overhaul since the walls were due for repainting - and repainting leads to rearranging, which leads to the need for more storage....and on and on it goes. 

I loved the yellow walls in her room, but it seemed silly to keep the same color if we were going to go to all of the trouble to move everything and paint, and it had been six years.....so it was time for something new. She wasn't really ready for a "tween" room, and I"m not a big fan of theme decor, but her one request was lavender. So lavender it was. I did a lot of looking for a shade with a bit of muted earthiness to it - nothing too bubble-gum or neon. I also want the room to be light and bright, so I was worried about going with too dark of a shade. I'm pretty happy with the one we chose. 

I was inspired by this image, which I found via Pinterest and originally from this site

white built-in shelves with sconces from abodelove.blogspot.com.png

I loved the open, white shelves and the gold sconces. Chad created a similar setup - the nice folks at Lowes even cut the shelves to size for us, saving him a few steps in the construction process. We still want to put cabinet doors on the lower shelves, and perhaps build a bridge over the bed like the inspiration photo.

I bought inexpensive sconces from Ikea, spray-painted them gold, and was happy with the result:

gold sconces with lavender walls girls room.jpg

To organize her accessories, we painted a pegboard the same lavender and added hooks - perfect for her many hats, belts, scarves, etc. 

I added a few other lavender accessories (some of them spray-painted with Krylon ColorMaster in Gum Drop), canvas wall art from Wayfair, and we were done - a fun, fresh made-over room on a very small budget!

fourth of july cupcake toppers {free download}

Hi everyone! I hope you're all getting ready for a fun, relaxing weekend involving sunshine, food, family, and friends! To celebrate, I'm posting my first free download....some Fourth of July cupcake toppers! Cupcake toppers have been super popular in the shop lately, and you can also use them for favor tags, napkin rings, treat toppers, and plenty of other things! Just print and cut......and I'd love for you to leave a comment if you download them! click here to download: fourth of july cupcake toppers

Have a fantastic weekend! :)

cute little card

It's a little late for Valentine's Day, but I have a cute card tutorial that could apply to any other occasion. For Valentine's Day this year, I was trying to come up with something cute for Maggie to bring to school. Luke, of course, already had his heart set on some Lego valentines, but Maggie's still young enough that she was open to suggestions. I came across Tiddly Inks, an ADORABLE Etsy shop, and she not only sells her art, but also digital stamps that you can manipulate in Photoshop and use on whatever you want (not commercial use, though). What I was really excited about, though, is that she has several little curly-haired girls — almost impossible to find! So I chose a little curly-haired fairy and got to work, coloring her in Photoshop, shortening her hair a bit to look more like Maggie, and adding a little heart to her dress for V-day:

m valentine
m valentine

Then I chose a patterned background and added some wording. I wasn't sure what I was going to do about envelopes, and then I came across this cute petal envelope template. I sized it down so that I could fit two to a page, like this:  And then we (and by "we" I mean "I," since Maggie had lost interest by this point) printed, cut, and folded them:

IMG_5893
IMG_5893
IMG_5894
IMG_5894
IMG_5895
IMG_5895

Maggie got interested again when I got out the stickers. We topped each with a heart sticker to hold it together, and we were done! So although this was for Valentine's Day, you could use the same idea for party invites or little Mother's Day cards, etc. If you try it out, I want to hear about your projects!

I'm adding this to Tip Junkie's Tip Me Tuesday!

best pumpkin cookies ever!

My friend Stephanie sent me a recipe for some fabulous pumpkin cookies. I am not a good baker (I've mentioned that before), but every now and then I luck out. Like a good girl, I followed the recipe carefully this time (I prefer to wing it, which is probably why my baking doesn't usually come out so great). It was easy and they came out really good  —  a nice, soft consistency with good cinnamony pumpkiny flavor. Here they are, swimming in their icing (I added extra cinnamon to the glaze....you can never have too much cinnamon, right?):

IMG_5008

In an effort to keep myself from eating them all, I packaged some up in little cellophane bags, tied them with a ribbon, and added a cute sticker I made for each of the kids' teachers. I'm sending them to school tomorrow as a random treat. I know in my teaching days, I wouldn't have minded a little mid-week surprise, especially if it involved baked goods.

IMG_5012

Luke said, "Mom, I think it's nice we're bringing these for my teachers. They've been working really hard."

Here's the link to the recipe: Iced Pumpkin Cookies

I'm adding this to Kimba's DIY Day and Works for Me Wednesday!

baby girl room to big girl room in a few simple steps

m's room
m's room

I was dragging my feet on the big switch for Maggie. It was past time for her to move out of the crib and into a real bed, but I knew that that meant some furniture rearranging, a little redecorating, and the likelihood that I would have two kids waking me up at 5 a.m. instead of just one. Not to mention that it would force me to accept the fact that my baby is no longer a baby.

But it was time.

Here is what it looked like before:

m's room before
m's room before

We dismantled the crib, moved a day bed into the room, and began the setup. I liked the color scheme we had going, with a soft-but-not-too-pale yellow on the walls and some pinks, whites, and greens worked in. I decided to do a mistreatment similar to the one I did in Luke's room last year. A couple of yards of a fun paisley fabric and some ribbon trim did the trick, framed by some inexpensive white panels from Ikea. I used iron-on hem tape and upholstery tacks for the valance, and had the whole thing done really quickly. Except for the part where I ironed the valance to the carpet, but that's a whole 'nother story. Oops.

IMG_4817
IMG_4817

For bedding, I used a white mattelese bedspread that I bought on clearance from Marshall's years ago. I'd never used it, but I knew a nice, neutral basic like that would come in handy somewhere. It's queen-sized, but it tucks nicely around her twin mattress, and falls just right so that I don't even need a bedskirt.

IMG_4818
IMG_4818

A paisley-trimmed throw pillow and a new pink case for the body pillow finish off the bed for now, though I would love to get one of these pillows for her. Aren't they adorable? I love the fun, bright Heather Bailey fabric she uses.

il_430xN.84759679
il_430xN.84759679

The next step will be tackling toy organization. Any suggestions on a good way to keep the toy clutter under control?

I'm adding this to Kimba's DIY Day. Head over there and check out the other links!