11.30.2011

DIY Scandinavian Themed Wrapping

Want to hear something wicked gross?
I already started my holiday wrapping.
Eeew.

I'm going to share my wrapping design with you anyways, just in case there are other loonies out there who want to get a head start on their wrapping!

I decided I had to top last year's wrapping job (inspired by Summer Watkins' famous wrapping,) so, with the help of my thinking cap and a couple sleepless minutes one night, I came up with a Scandinavian theme, like something you may see on a cozy sweater or a winter hat complete with a big pom pom on top.

Oh, and I totally understand this is a time intensive project and not everyone has hours to sit down and hand stamp all the wrapping paper they'll be using for the holidays. Who does (besides us loonies)? This wrapping idea is solely meant for those presents you feel like making a little extra pretty if you have the time and patience. 

 You loonies will need:
Wrapping paper
Pretty Trim or Ribbon
Yarn
Bakers Twine
Stamps
Ink
Scissors
Letter tags
Tape
Glue Gun

(all of these items were purchased at Michaels. Thanks to my bestie, Martha, I was able to find the perfect stamp collection for this project!) 


Start by cutting your wrapping paper to size (I only stamped the amount of paper I'll be needing/present to save on materials) and taping it down to your workspace.


Select your stamps.


Stamp away. 
You know me, I don't like to be too perfect with my crafts. You can see some of my snowflake lines are a bit silly looking. No one will notice your mistakes when the presents are sitting under the tree with the glow of Christmas all around them. Sigh.


Wrap your present and then measure out some lengths of the trim to wrap around your present. I only needed two pieces of trim but your present and stamping pattern may call for more or less!


Using your glue gun, glue the two ends of the trim together on the backside of your present. 


Mmmm, how Nordic.


To dress up your pretty package, use this tutorial to make a couple pom poms out of yarn. Make sure to save out one little loop for tying to your trim in next step.
Dave and I have had a nightly pom pom ball fight in our apartment ever since I began wrapping this season. 
Feel free to do the same.


Cut a length of trim and tie it around the top piece of trim on your present. Tie into a pretty bow. Tie the ends of the trim to the pom pom loops.

 
And last but not least, add a pretty letter tag using bakers twine. This present is for my brother, Aaron, hence the two "a"s. I have a sister, Amy, so I needed to differentiate the two presents' initials so there would be no confusion as to which present belonged to whom on Christmas day!


Two down...a few more to go!
Don't they look like snuggly sweaters?
Consider last year's wrapping officially topped!

What I love about this wrapping idea is there's no wrong way to do it! You can stamp as much or as little as you like and make each present's paper a little different than the last. I also bought pretty cranberry colored paper and white ink for a reverse effect.

Do any of you lovelies really get into your wrapping or is it the last thing you want to think about during this time of year?
I just can't resist an afternoon spent in my craft room with some Bailey's hot chocolate and Perry Como singing Christmas carols while I stamp away!

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11.29.2011

Pine Cone and Pom Pom Apothecary

If you woke up thinking, "Now what do I do with these pom poms and pine cones I have kicking around?" you're in luck today, lovelies. I asked myself the same exact question yesterday and came up with this cute little DIY holiday apothecary display. I only created one jar display because I didn't have enough pom poms for two jars but feel free to do as many as you like! They would look so adorable displayed along a mantle or in the middle of your table for a festive and classy centerpiece.
 
All you need is:
 A big handful of white pom poms
A pine cone - I already had a gold glittery one but you can easily make a regular pine cone sparkly by brushing on some glue and sprinkling glitter all over it.
Pretty ribbon
Apothecary jar - or a mason jar would be fun!
 
 
 Toss your pom poms into the jar and sit the pine cone on top. I know. It couldn't get easier.


Tie your pretty ribbon around the mouth of the jar. 
TIP! Apply double-sided tape to the underside of the ribbon about two inches below the bow so the ribbon strings are parted and you can see the little pine cone.


Put the top back on and you're done!
 Seriously, that took 45 seconds. How easy was that?


Time to clean up my craft room. Please excuse the mess in the background.


Just one more quick and easy project to add to your list. That's what I'm here for. 
 
Has anyone started to decorate their place for the holidays? Any trees yet? I think we'll get our tree in a couple weeks!

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11.28.2011

Thank You Jar Notes

Who's still having pumpkin pie for breakfast? 
Guilty. 
I think this is going to be the last piece though, enough is enough.

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving break and were able to sit back, watch some football, and enjoy some good food and good company.
My favorite part of Thanksgiving was getting back to our apartment Thursday night and reading all the "Thanks Jar" notes we had written to each other over this past month.


Please excuse the silly camera phone picture. This year's paper was "nature themed", thanks to the swag bag from Martha's house.


There were some sweet ones, some silly ones, and some repeated sentiments which is pretty much what I had hoped would happen. Here are a few just for fun:

My notes to Dave:

"Thankful for your crazy support with my crazy blog."

"Thankful for my great taste in movies. I hate Groundhog Day." (Written while we were watching it. Again.)

"Thankful for the shirts you put back in your drawer after wearing them so I have a good smelling shirt to wear in the morning."


Dave's notes to me:
"Thankful you made me dinner."

"Thankful you spent all that time making awesome favors."

"Thankful that it's warm and I'm sleepy and it smells like pie."

We're simple folk. 

So how 'bout that pie? Can you even look at another piece of it? Who else finally turned on the Christmas tunes this weekend? I'll have to admit, it's nice looking out across the valley at night and seeing all the holiday lights up already!


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11.23.2011

DIY Thanksgiving Place Card Favors

This Thanksgiving, Dave and I are spending the holiday with his side of the family. Since I'm unable to make it back up to New England for Thanksgiving, I thought it'd be nice to bring a little touch of my family into the celebration. Growing up, I remember always getting excited to see the Thanksgiving table place settings because I knew that at each spot, there would be a little cup of goodies waiting for me. It usually consisted of salty nuts mixed with after dinner mints (and this year there will be non pareils as a nod to Dave's family). Nothing over-the-top but to me, it was heaven. And I always made sure to steal a few extra mints from the adult table when no one was looking.
 
So, after much cutting...


playing around with the idea of using them for coasters (hello, New Years!)...
 
 
 dreaming of making confetti...
 
 
 and filling little wrappers with sweets...
 
 
 we have the most adorable Thanksgiving place cards, complete with goodies inside!
 
 
 
 And unlike my childhood Thanksgivings, I'll make sure to bring candy refills because Thanksgiving is all about overindulging. 
 
(Sorry for the poor lighting. It's been so dreary here lately!)

Thanks to Bijoux Bride for this idea!
 
Oooo and I used this amazing trick for the pretty font on the flags! So super duper.

Do you have any fun family traditions you're bringing to the table this year? 
Does anyone make a wish and break the wishbone?

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11.22.2011

Ree's Dreamy Apple Pie

This pie will change your life. 
Well, I'm just assuming it will purely based off this picture. I actually haven't made it yet.
Thanksgiving, here I come.

(Image Via)

And that sauce on top? It has whiskey in it. Told you it will change your life. And you have Ree from The Pioneer Woman to thank for it. 

This year I'm adding little twists to my normal pumpkin and apple pie recipes and this apple pie just made the cut. For the pumpkin pie, I'm adding egg nog (family recipe!) and making Martha's hazelnut pie crust to go with it. 
 
Can it be Thursday already?

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11.21.2011

Gingerbread Cake with Maple Whipped Cream

I'm thinking you may see some yummy last minute Thanksgiving dessert ideas on this little blog this week. 
Some of you have been requesting the cake recipe I featured in the Supper at Sunset shoot so here it is! 


From my sister's collection:

Gingerbread Cake Topped with Maple Whipped Cream

for the cake:
unsalted butter
2 c. flour
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cocoa
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 large egg
3/4 c. molasses
1/2 c. plus 1 tbsp. packed light brown sugar (I use dark)
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 c. boiling water

1. Preheat oven to 350. Butter 9" round cake pan and set aside.
2. In medium bowl, whisk together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, cocoa, cloves, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, molasses, brown sugar and oil. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and whisk together. Add the boiling water and stir to combine.
3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40-45 min. or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool for at least 15 min.  
4. Garnish with powdered sugar if desired.

for the whipped cream:
Begin whipping 1 cup of heavy whipping cream with a hand blender on medium speed. While whipping, add 1 tsp vanilla and then add maple syrup to taste...maybe 2-3 tbsp, depending on your taste.
If you're looking to make something a little less traditional for the Thanksgiving dessert table this year, this is your ticket. It's just the right about of spice mixed with lip smacking sweetness. You're guests will be begging for the recipe! 

Enjoy!
Will you be cooking up a storm in the kitchen this week? Do you sign up to each make a dish or does the host usually prepare most of the meal? I'm heading out today to get all my ingredients for the two pies I'm making and sharing this week with you!

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11.18.2011

I Like My Cider With a Little Kick


Enjoy the weekend, you beautiful people.

(Image Via)



*Stirring Around*

The "s'more fixings" bar is my favorite presentation. Hands down.


I almost entered this Thanksgiving Table Design Challenge hosted by Occasions Magazine but ran out of time. Which one is your favorite?

The "Tasteful Peach Ruffle Onesie" is too cute to bare.

These make me want to redesign my business cards.

Oh, that Martha. This is what happens when you don't have your little elves helping you with everything.

Best brownies ever? There's only one way to find out...mmmmm.


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11.17.2011

DIY Yarn Ideas

You lovelies are the best. 
You know how to make a gal feel loved. 
Thank you so much for all the support and sweet comments yesterday. It means the world to me to have you visit each day and be a part of my little love fest. 
Don't you think it would be fun to hold a pop-up blogger cocktail party in the orchard at sunset? 
Just putting the idea in your heads.


Today, I thought I'd share some quick and easy yarn details that you may have seen yesterday. Since one of the biggest entertaining holidays is next week (can't. wait.) you might find yourself picking up last minute ideas for adding that extra something special to your decor. I am always a last minute DIY person. No matter how much I plan ahead, I'm always changing everything the day before and retweaking my design. Here are some ideas using materials you may already have on hand. And who doesn't love that, right?


I bought $1.99 gold chargers at Michaels and wrapped some cozy rustic yarn around the edges. Using good ol' Elmers and a paintbrush, spread glue around the outside rims. Then starting from the inside and working out (or the other way around. You're the boss.) simply coil your yarn all around the charger. I didn't worry about covering the inside of the charger because the plate would cover that area. No need to complicate things. And, if you're worrying about food such as stuffing and gravy spilling onto your yarn charger, stop your worrying, silly. You can use a damp cloth to get out any stains or since it's a really cheap craft, just re-yarn your charger! Or eat neater. I used a damp dishcloth on our chargers after the dinner and they're good as new.


This next DIY was one of my favorites.


I wanted to serve hot mulled cider out of clear mason jar mugs but didn't want to send my guests running to the ER from glass jar burns. Here's where the yarn comes in handy. Starting at the top, wrap yarn around the outside of the mug and then tie the two ends together when finished. Accent your mug with whatever you wish: Cinnamon sticks, pretty herbs, berries, autumn leaves, or evergreens would be darling this time of year.
We actually just held a little wedding ceremony in our orchards a few weeks ago (only 12 people!) and my sister created a little mulled cider and doughnut bar for them afterwards. She used this idea for the hot mulled cider mugs - so simple and such a sweet touch.


This was one of my favorite last minute DIY ideas. Using this cake tassel garland tutorial I simply cut strips of yarn, bunched them together, and strung bakers twine through the little loops. I had forgotten to bring skewers but using twigs actually worked out even better! 

Give some garland love to your pies next week. Or, how 'bout the turkey? If I was hosting Thanksgiving you'd see a sparkly little tassel garland gracing the top of my Thanksgiving bird. Or tofurky if that's more your speed.

 (Amanda Perkins Photography)

In this picture, Dave's obviously telling me how amazing everything turned out and how he can't wait to help me with another pop-up dinner soon. What you can't see in any of the pictures is the mosquito infestation all of northern New England was suffering from in late September. Dave was quite the trooper that day. Thankfully there was plenty of wine and candlelight at dinner later on to make us all forget about the mosquitoes!

Are any of you lovelies hosting Thanksgiving next week? Any special DIYs or recipes you can't wait to share with your friends and family?


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11.16.2011

Supper at Sunset

Oh, welcome! I see you have brought a bottle of wine and good conversation for today's Supper at Sunset. Please, take a seat while I explain a little bit about our supper.

My family owns and operates an apple farm in New Hampshire, open for pick-your-own apples during the beautiful fall season. I thought it would be a fun idea to celebrate the season and my parents anniversary by hosting a dinner up in the orchard for everyone at sunset. I wanted to use as many materials and supplies I could find laying around the house - table settings, chairs, glassware, and decor items were either borrowed from friends, brought up from the farmhouse, or from my personal collection. The morning before the dinner, my sister and I collected flowers from the farmers market, our neighboring farm, and our farm, making sure to buy locally and seasonally. I knew I wanted to use dahlias and whatever else the market was selling that day; boy did we make out like bandits! We used a mixture of Dahlias, Celosia, Zinnia, Billy Buttons (my pup had fun collecting Billy Buttons with me!) Silver Falls, and Dusty Miller to create the gorgeous floral arrangements. The table was created using our farm's apple boxes and planks of wood my dad was gracious enough to let me use. Thank goodness for my little helpers, my husband and brother, who helped me redesign the table structure last minute! I loved how rustic it looked and how it really complemented the surrounding orchards. I brought in soft textures like yarn for the chargers, hot mulled cider mugs and cake banner, and provided "cozy up" blankets just in case the 80 degree day gave way to a chilly fall night. It didn't. But nevertheless, the blankets added a comfy feel to dinning outdoors!

Perhaps my favorite part of the afternoon set up, was having my amazing wedding photographer, Amanda Perkins, visit and snap some pictures of the supper. It was her first time back on the farm since our wedding so we had a ball catching up and walking all over the farm once again. She was so kind to squeeze our little supper in after a whole weekend of busy weddings. She's the best. Hands down.

After the sun set, our family and beloved staff sat down to a delicious dinner, prepared by my sister (and of course, everything was locally grown and homemade). Perhaps I can get the Gingerbread Cake with Maple Whipped Cream recipe from her. It's to die for.

It was such a magical night, filled with candlelight, good food, and good company.

Now, on to the show!


Can you spot the missing item in this last picture? I had been so excited to get shooting that I forgot to grab the cake. Oh, details.



Design/Coordination: Me
Photography: Amanda Perkins Photography
Venue: Riverview Farm
Flowers: By Design Dahlias, Edgewater Farm, and Riverview Farm
Tablecloth: Anthropologie
Cloth Ribbons: Olive Manna


Thanks so much for dinning outdoors with me, lovelies.
I highly recommend setting up a little dinning experience outdoors in someplace unexpected!

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