Monday, December 30, 2013

Bridal Shower Time

Hello friends! I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas. We certainly did. I've been away from my blog a bit lately enjoying being with family during the holidays and during my nieces show on Saturday. Whether you have a shower, a party or any  kind of get together coming up, I thought I'd share some ideas with you. You know I  love crafting .. and the other things I love is making something old, new again and a great deal! So in this post I'll share some of those things also:)

First of all this is my Niece Neely.  The bride to be.   The wedding isn't until May but with her living in LA, we decided having it how while she was back for Christmas would be the best plan.  I love her with all my heart.   My sis has always shared her with me and let her be the girl I never had.  She is pretty darn special to me.

I might as well start at the beginning .... here are the invites I made for the shower.
I had the sign below hanging on the door when you entered.  The frame and also the frame below for the other sign are from the Crafty Secrets "Creating with Vintage Patterns CD"
Here are the two pretties who helped me with the shower.  My beautiful daughter in law Kate ( on the left) and Neelys brother Ryans  sweet girl... Erin. ( on the right)
I wish I had them for helpers all the time!! Wow I loved that :)

We had Neelys shower at the same clubhouse my sister Jan had hosted Kates Shower.  It's very nice and works out so well.

Neelys colors made it so fun to decorate.  Totally fun and whimsy!   

 I used lots of apothecary jars and filled them with candy's in pinks, oranges and aquas.
You would be surprised how many different candies the Dollar stores have!  For the large jars I got colored popcorn.  I ordered it from "Moms Popcorn" in Fremont. It was delicious and matched the colors perfectly. If you live near I totally recommend this place!!  Normally they mix it half sweet ( the colored) and half salty, so I set a large bowl of the mixed out for people to eat, but in the large apothecary jars on the mantel I left them all colored.  That way the color would stand out more.

On all the end tables, the jars of candies sat with little containers and little tongs and scoops for people to help themselves.  I also had little bags out with these signs. Hoping people would take some candies home with them so I wouldn't have to toss them all.  Guess what?  got rid of them all! It was so fun!
I wanted to tell you a little more about the jars.  Glassware like this is pretty inexpensive at flea markets and sales.  I use these containers for things in my studio, so I've been collecting them for some time, but they are defiantly not hard to find.
I have some really nice glassware but I really didn't want to take the chance that it might get broke with all that I was packing along.  ( OH.. you should have seen my little car... PACKED) lol      Anyway I wanted to show you a easy inexpensive way to make your own.   I needed some pieces that had large openings so that it was easy for people to get candies out with a scoop.   I went to the Dollar tree and bought separate glass pieces and used E600 glue to put them together, like the ones below.
The bottoms were $1 candle sticks and the tops just glass contains.  So many different things you can do this way.
Lets just say, plenty of people enjoyed taking goodies home with them in bags. ( and they all weren't kids) lol

Sometimes you just have to go with the flow and work around things..... and make the best of it.    Of  course .. it was Christmastime, so there were still decorations up.  Went we went to look at the place I saw that where were navey blue balls on this tree and that just wasn't going to do :(      When we got there, we did a little revamp, by using bows I had cut with my AccuCut BOW DIE
Oh.. and a A and an N for Neely and Alan, from Hobby Lobby, covered in pretty scrapbook paper.

We had all kinds of food , a lot of fruits and veggies and many of Neelys friends are vegetarian.

I wanted to share a new recipe that I had tried for the first time .. it was a hit. 
Very yummy.
Apricot Cream Cheese Canapés

Lemon Pepper Cream Cheese

This is an easy spread to make. It goes well with any kind of fruit, especially dried fruits.


· 1 cup cream cheese, softened

             · 1/4 tsp. salt

· zest of 1 lemon (about 1 Tbsp)

· 1/2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper

· 1 tsp. lemon juice


1.      Combine all ingredients in a small bowl

Apricots with Rosemary and Maple

 This topping made of dried apricots has such a delicious and intriguing flavor. The sweet apricots with sweet maple turn a bit savory with fresh rosemary and walnuts. It really is a lovely flavor combination.


· 1 cup dried apricots (about 26-30) chopped finely

· 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary

· 1 Tbsp. maple syrup

· 2 Tbsp. chopped walnuts


2.      Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.


small bowl

ompare prices and stores for small bowl
click here

black pepper

ompare prices and stores for black pepper
click here

Ever need Aqua punch?

Tidal Wave Lemonade

Blue Punch Recipe 1 pkg. blue raspberry kool-aid 1 can minute maid frozen lemonade 2 liter bottle of sprite water  ( I couldn't find the blue kool-aid so I used Blue typhoon Hawaiian punch)   Floated sliced oranges on top

 Cherry Limeade Punch
  • 1 can frozen limeade concentrate
  • 1 2-liter bottle of Sprite (or 7-Up)
  • 1 jar maraschino cherries
  • 2 limes

Place frozen Limeade in punchbowl.  Stir in bottle of Sprite and juice from cherries.  Add the desired amount of ice.  Float cherries and sliced limes on top.


On to the bottled water.  Labels off.... strips of pretty scrapbook paper added, with white stickers and matching markers for writing there names on them.

I made the little cupcake  banner with scrapbook paper also. Little flags on toothpicks for each cupcake and a special one for the bride to be.  Oh.... I used up the patterned paper scraps by punching out circles of confetti's to lay on the table.

**Oh... also the square 11.5 x 11.5  scalloped pieces the cupcakes are sitting on are also cut from scrapbook paper. They are AccuCut die  SQ704

Remember the trees I was bleaching and dying HERE?    Well, here is how they were displayed.  The varied shaped round mirrors I plucked off my wall as I went out the door.   ( made really good "lakes")    Get creative ... make do with what you have!

I made Neely and Alan and set of dated forks to be used to eat cake at their wedding, like the ones I did for Jarad and Kate.  Instead of putting them in a shadowbox I used this frame with pretty scrapbook paper for a background... ( no glass).   the forks are just wired in so that she can take them out to use them for the wedding and then put them back in as a keepsake afterwards.  The background paper can easily be changed any time she wants to fit her décor.

I used a number of the little bits of ephemera and frames on the Crafty Secrets CDs for things at the shower.   Here I made a little "Reserved for the Bride to be" sign for the chair.
The pillows I made from Muslin draw string bags from State Line Bag Co .   So easy!   Just stamped them with foam stamps and acrylic paint, stuffed them, stitched them up and added trims.

I was a great day, with weather was so nice ( especially for Dec in NE) and we had a fantastic turn out.

The chalkboard you see on the mantle in the orange frame was found at a thrift store some time ago. It usually hangs in my studio. The frame is actually plastic and the back is a mirror. I just painted the frame with spray paint and flipped the mirror to the back. Painting the back for the mirror with chalkboard spray.

The garland of circles is just punched circles or scrapbook paper glued together with string in the middle.

The banner is cut from scrapbook paper, using AccuCut die Pennant Flags PI317

Neely is such a sweet and genuine person. She was so happy to be surrounded by friends and family. So many people she doesn't get to see that much now that she lives in LA .  I don't know how I didn't get a photo of my sis and Neely together. That makes me kind of sad, but I know there were tons of other photos take by others.  Between my camera and my phone, I actually surprised I snapped as many as I did. When your hosting something, it's hard to remember to stop and take time to do that.
But it really was just a happy day all around! Neely said she was smiling so much her face hurt. That makes me happy! 
She's pretty special! 
Next up.... wedding. lol
We have a few months.
Thank you sis for sharing this sweet girl with me.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Bleaching and dying bottle brush trees

Hi everyone!  Well, I've been promising I would give you a quick how to on bleaching on dying bottle brush trees, and with Christmas inching ever closer I thought I better get on it!   It's super easy.  There are many tutorials on you tube also, but it's pretty basic.

You can get the trees in varied sizes in bags at Michael's or Hobby Lobby , and I'm sure many other craft stores. ( near where the miniatures are)

You'll want a container that is tall and narrow so that the trees can be totally submerged and covered in the water/Clorox mixture.

The mixture should be about 1/2 water, 1/2 Clorox . ( and you can use this same one time mixture for all your trees in your bag)  Put the tree in, and watch the process start.  How long does it take?   Well, depending on the size of the tree approx. 10-15min or so.  Just watch, you'll be able to tell when it's ready to come out.
You'll want to use a tongs to remove it. 

Rinse the tree  under running warm water after removing it from Clorox mixture.  You will notice that most of the "snow" will come off.  I just washed it off, because I felt like the Clorox made it feel sticky anyway.  If you decide you want the "snowy" look, I'll show you how, further down in this post :)

After you have rinsed it well, dry it with a paper towel and fluff is up a bit.

Set it aside for bit to dry.

Once it's dried for a bit, if you want  to add color, you can do this using a number of different methods, but I used Chalkboard Sprays from Tattered Angels, and they worked great.  I wrapped foil around the  snow base of the trees while I was spraying to keep them covered.

Of course you can made them as light or as bright as you like, by how much spray you decide to add.  OR  you might like the natural look  with no spray, like I did a couple of these.  ( you might want to trim off any odd pieces sticking out from your trees)

I liked the look of snow, so I just took some white paint and did a sort of dry brush technique over them.   Just all a small amount of paint to the ends of a fairly stiff bristled brush and run in down the tree, all the way around.  While the paint is wet, you can even add glitter if you like.

So.... the next colors are pretty BRITE!  But as some of you know, I'm preparing for a Christmastime Shower for my niece, and these are her colors.   So, this I set this up as a trial run.  It will be the  arrangement on the coffee table :)    Not on a piece of foam core of course. lol

I think I like it.

If you wanted to be "wowed" with some beauty, just Google "dyed bottle brush trees".  OH MY!!!

Hope you give it a try!


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Crafty Secrets 80th Birthday Card and a little Christmas Cheer

Taking a break from sharing a Christmas project to share a Birthday Card I made for a special lady who it turning 80 ON Christmas.   Marilyn is my friend Julies Mother in law. She is an amazingly strong lady who as been thru a lot the last couple of years. Major recovery from a serious car accident and recently a stroke.  She is tuff, and determined.. strong as they come!  Happy Birthday Marilyn!

I told you a little bit in my last post about Julie, my sister Jan and I, planning a afternoon at the care facility where my friend Sally is, to do a Craft, visit and bring Christmas Cookies and milk.  I thought I share a few photos.  We had such a great time. We probably enjoyed it as much or more than they did :)  We even sang Christmas Carols. That seemed to make everyone smile.   This is a Alzheimer's/Dementia Unit, and it's so amazing because for so many, even if the words to the songs just aren't there for them anymore, it seems the "tune" is.   Great to see them smile and hum, if not sing.
Below is my sis, helping with the Christmas Craft Project.

I think we all enjoyed the visiting part :)

 Like I said, the singing seemed to be the universal thing that everyone liked.  Once the singing started this lady didn't care about doing the craft at all, she just wanted to keep singing.   Julie picked up on this right away, and she had a new best friend.  Julie seemed to know just the songs she would know and love.  Old hymns ect.. and she was right!   Here they are singing Amazing Grace.   If I wasn't in the Christmas Spirit before.. this certainly did it.  

And here is a photo of my friend Sally and I.   If you haven't read about Sally here before.  She is a dear friend of mine who is in a care facility suffering from early onset Alzheimer's/Dementia.  Sal and I have been friends for over Thirty years. When our boys were babies and growing up we basically raised them together. We did everything together.  I love her, and miss those times. Even tho a lot of those memories are lost for her now, I visit her every week, and she always recognizes me.  We still have laughs, and share a very special friendship.  
She doesn't know it, but she has had a big  impact on how I live my life these days. Why I try to worry less, why I spend less time at my desk, why I don't care of my house is spotless. Why I try to slow down and enjoy things more.  None of us are guaranteed anything...
....... I try to enjoy things for the both of us now.

Julie, Jan and I  had a great time, so much so, we've decided we are going to do this on a regular basis:)

Thanks for letting me share.