Friday, May 29, 2009


I've been dreaming about holding a little arts and crafts camp this summer for Petunia and some of her friends. Nothing too formal, just a few afternoons over the course of the summer. Some ideas that I have for projects are bookbinding, printmaking (of course) and a little sewing project that I will share with you soon. When I saw this brilliant recycling project, I knew it was the perfect idea to round out our lineup. These adorable little necklaces are made from fabric scraps! Aren't they pretty? They remind me of those faded rope bracelets that I have always loved to wear (Petunia is sporting one right now, as a matter of fact!). Only these necklaces are much more fun and colorful.

For a complete tutorial, go to Cakies and then gather up all those scraps. I have a feeling that once we start making these, we won't want to stop.

ETA: As I hit publish, my brain just exploded with happy ideas. Picture these strung together as a garland on a white flocked christmas tree! Or strung and draped over a table as party garlands! I hope I have enough scraps...

Thursday, May 28, 2009


{photos found here via Paulette Ink}

These photos are inspiring me to pick a day and get my girlfriends together for some summer cocktails.  I can hear the chatter and laughter already! Off to consult my calendar.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Back in February, I told you about the American Girl Mystery party kit that I stumbled upon while shopping the post-holiday sale on It looked like fun, so I snatched it up to use for Petunia's upcoming birthday. Well, the big event took place a couple of months ago and I finally have a moment to recap it here.

First, let me just say that the kit itself was incredibly well done. Since it was on sale, I purchased it with the intention of making my own invitations, etc. and just using the kit for the scripts and party concept. However, everything included was so beautifully done that even overly-particular me happily used every bit of it - invitations and all! (of course, Petunia and I embellished a bit by adding our own party favors and decoration)

The concept of the party was a little story to be played out by the party guests in which they solved a mystery surrounding a young orphan. Each guest was assigned a role in advance by way of their party invitation. The parent's booklet that came with the kit gave great tips on which roles would suit party guests with different personalities, so Petunia and I sat down and went over her guest list and assigned the roles together. Each girl received a character card in her invitation giving her a bit of background on the role she would play and suggestions for how to dress. The one drawback of the invitations was that I thought they were a bit presumptuous in that they suggested what the guest should wear and that they should bring their American Girl doll to the party. I simply included my own note saying that any favorite doll would be fine and that costumes would be available at the party so that the parents would not stress about what to have their child wear. 

Much of the set up of the party was dictated by the story's script. We made a banner to indicate the location of the drawing room (key to the play out of the story) and set the table and placed clues as instructed in the parent's guide. The party decor was dictated by the color scheme of the invites and party scripts; highlighting the purple in these accessories with banners, balloons and table decor.

The banners over the table and across the rooms were made from just a few sheets of scrapbook paper that we cut into triangles and hung from thin ribbon. This was definitely a case of necessity being the mother of invention as we could only find a few sheets of the paper that Petunia preferred. We stretched those sheets as far as we could and the banners turned out fun and whimsical, really reflecting the new, modern, girly look that American Girl has recently adopted. The girls loved them and suggested we should leave them up all year long!

Petunia and I decided that we would make flower headbands similar to those that she obsesses over at Crewcuts. The headbands would double as party favors and "costumes" for the party guests. Honestly, if I had to do it over, I would have left Petunia at home when I went to purchase the supplies for the headbands. The bright pink flowers that she selected were not exactly what I had in mind but it was her party, so I went with it and found matching pink ribbon in my stash to cover the black Goody headbands that I purchased at Target (3 for about $4). I have to admit that once I saw all the girls wearing them, I fell in love with the pink and the girls adored them. Even now, some two months later, I get a kick out of seeing a girl wearing the headband at school drop off and pick up. For the first week after the party, the girls wore them to school every day!

Turns out, it was completely unnecessary to provide the headbands as makeshift costumes for the party guests as each girl came perfectly dressed to play her role. Petunia was thrilled that everyone was so excited to dress up for her party and the flower headbands added that extra flair to the costumes to get the girls in the mood to perform. Once all the guests arrived, they were each given a beautiful script provided in the kit and some brief instructions about stage direction and props. Then it was curtains up!

The girls performed the play beautifully and it was an adorable story with a great message. They were so excited to solve the mystery as the clues were revealed; you could almost see the little light bulbs turning on above their heads as they figured it all out. The screeches once the mystery was revealed were definitely heard for miles.

After the mystery was solved, the girls had worked up a great appetite (although the story did call for cookies to be served, which they all made quick work of!). They chatted excitedly about the mystery solved while eating sandwiches and drinking water from their personalized water bottles created especially for the party.

While the purpose of the customized water bottles was to prevent guests from losing track of their drinks, we all know that little girls love anything with their name on it and ended up taking them home to refill with water and bring to school.

After cupcakes and gifts, the parents arrived to hear the girls' excitedly chatter about the play. They left with their keepsake scripts and a favor wrapped and embellished with a thank you sticker to match the party theme.

A few weeks later (I wish it were sooner!), thank you notes were sent featuring a photo of the party guests modeling their flower headbands.

One of the great things about this party is that there were limited roles in the story, requiring Petunia to keep the guest list short. I think this really added to the success of the party as it kept the party manageable and the chaos to a minimum. 

Girls love the details! The party guests were just as excited about the simple paper banners and flower headbands as they were about acting out the mystery. Simple, inexpensive touches really added to the tone of this party.

Have extras on hand! The girls loved the water bottle and cupcake picks so much that they wanted to take them home. I packed each girl up with an extra water bottle and let them take an unused cupcake pick if they wanted. 

I highly recommend this party for any group of girls aged 8 to 12. My girls were on the young end of the spectrum and played out the story beautifully, but I would not recommend this party for groups younger than 8. The Samantha Mystery Party kit is no longer available, but there is a Molly Mystery available here with a Halloween theme. At only $4, pick it up now and plan ahead for a great Halloween party!

Thursday, May 21, 2009


{Tutorial found at Love, Maegan via The Blah, blah, blagh

Shut up! This is too fabulous for words.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


{click on image to enlarge}

Check this out! Rhett Dashwood sifted through google maps to find a representation for every letter in the alphabet. You can find links to each letter on his website. How cool is that?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Had to share this great new planner I found: The Five Year Diary by designer Tamara Shopsin.  I was looking for a planner that, first and foremost, was small enough to fit in my purse. If I can't carry it with me, the information inside is useless! I also needed it to show an entire week's schedule across two pages with enough lines under each day to include both my to do's and appointments. This diary fit the bill and then some. It's great design makes me look forward to writing in it and I love the idea that it will chronicle 5 years of my life, from mundane tasks to big events. Perfect in every way.

Photos from and available at Rare Device.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


This year the warmer weather brought more than just spring flowers and green grass, it also brought the harsh realization that some of my most beloved everyday basics were worn well beyond their best days. You know the story: jeans with holes in the knee, tees both shrunken and overstretched in all the wrong places and other separates that were just sad for no particular reason other than their day had come and gone long ago. The upside of this was that some major shopping was in order. A necessity, in fact! 

I was determined to use my limited budget to it's best advantage, unwilling to compromise fit or quality, making this expedition take a little longer than anticipated. After two months of extensive research (yes, I know, two months! I'm embarrassed by the amount of time it took), I think I've found some good separates that will do me well for a while. And like anyone who has dedicated their life (or spring) to research, I would like to share it all with you so that you do not have to waste two months of your life shopping. Unless you want to, of course.

The results of my research are as follows:


What makes this the perfect polo? The cut is very feminine and the puff sleeve is just enough to not put too much focus on the shoulders. The fabric is the perfect weight and has just enough stretch so that if falls nicely. Finally, there are six buttons positioned perfectly so that you can keep your neckline nice and open without exposing too much cleavage. I know, more than you ever wanted to know about shirt! But my research was very thorough.


This shirt is a dead ringer for J. Crew's Ruffled Henley at almost a quarter of the price!


I know I've mentioned these before and I love them. Enough said.


Feminine cut, the perfect amount of stretch, great colors, the name says it all.


Buy these in every color (they're on sale right now, by the way). You will never wear another pair of shorts again. Sits perfectly on the waist, not too high, not too low. Flat front, holds up to a million washings...I could go on and on.


I'll admit, I'm a purist, but I just love good old classic Dr. Scholl's. A step up from flip flops, but just as comfy.


Lucite bangle from Forever 21

Adorable vintage-look button rings from lovenit.

On a more somber note (yes, this is sarcasm - we're talking about shopping, people),  I still can't find a tee that I love as much as my tissue tees from J.Crew a couple of years ago. I'm going to try the J.Crew outlet to see if they have anything similar. If you have any recommendations for tees that you love, be sure to let me know! 

Note: In the interest of full disclosure, my purchases did not exactly fit into the budget that I had set in the beginning. You'll notice that I did not always go for the bargain, often choosing a higher-priced item because fit and quality were also very important factors in my shopping. For example, I went with the $80 jeans, rather than the $30 or $200 pair. This decision was based on budget, fit and quality, all variables having equal weight in my decision. But to make my choices work within my budget, I did what any good researcher does: I applied for a grant! No really, a grant in the form of cashing in some credit card points for gift cards. This freed up my budget a bit and allowed me to make purchases that worked for me.

So that's it! More than you ever wanted to know about my spring shopping excursion. Have you found the perfect outfit? Tell us about it!

Monday, May 11, 2009


There's an excitement in the air as graduation season approaches, don't you think? So many young men and women getting ready to embark on the next chapter in their lives and their enthusiasm is contagious! Or am I just easily excitable? (actually, don't answer that.) Nevertheless, I thought I'd share my excitement by showing you some of our graduation party designs.

Our ever-popular silhouette design is available in male, female or any combination of sibling silhouettes custom printed to match your school colors or party theme. Limited school mascot graphics are also available (see paw above for example).

Cupcake picks, favor tags and bags, water bottle labels, candy and cookie bar signs and accessories and thank you notes are also available to match any party theme. 

Highlight your graduate's special interests or talents with our sports and activity invitations and accessories, also available in your school colors. There are tons of styles available including football, hockey (male and female), cheerleading, guitar, figure skating, martial arts, baseball and more. For a more complete list of available themes, check out our silhouette prints here. Don't see what you're looking for? Just ask and we'll do our best to accommodate your request.

{Sample Water Bottle Label. For more details go here.}

Finally, the classic monogram is always a great choice and thank you notecards can be ordered in abundance for the graduate to use for all types of correspondence as they embark on a new world of possibilities. Monogram designs are available in block, fancy and varsity lettering and are custom printed with the graduate's monogram or school initials (see below).

For our complete line of graduation invitations, thank you notes and accessories, visit the graduation section of the shoppe. I'll be back with tons of great graduation party ideas later in the week, so don't forget to check back!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Behind on Mother's Day shopping? Me too. So I thought I'd help out my fellow procrastinators (read: other busy moms!) with a sweet little gift to give to all of the mothers and special women in your life. Simple little notecards that make a lovely gift and can be used for all kinds of correspondence. The graphics on these notecards have a vintage flair that will appeal to all ages.

The set includes three designs and one download will render four copies of each design for a set of 12 notecards. The template is done with a blank background and brown graphic, so you choose the color palette for the notecards with the paper you choose for printing!

I recommend a textured cardstock (as shown); it will give the notecards a nice weight and added interest. Once you print the template onto your letter-sized cardstock, simply cut on the dotted line and you're done! Add some chocolate brown A2 envelopes (available here and also in Target's scrapbooking aisle), tie up the set with a pretty ribbon and you have yourself a lovely and thoughtful gift. Maybe Mom will even use her notecards to write you a note of appreciation! 

As always, if you have trouble downloading the template, feel free to email me here and I will be happy to send it along to you.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


RUN! (do not walk, there's no time) to Cute 2 Carry to see this fantastic lanyard tutorial and start sewing right away. It's Teacher Appreciation Week and this is the perfect teacher appreciation gift!

Have you noticed that most schools now require teachers and staff to wear ID badges? Have you also noticed that teachers and staff tend to wear these badges on lanyards? In our schools, this is a new requirement and most teachers (if not all) are still wearing the boring, school-issue lanyards that came with the badges. Whip up a few of these and your children's teachers will be the envy of the entire school - and they'll look really cute with their trendsetting new lanyards too!

Technically, I think that today is Teacher Appreciation Day, but our schools celebrate all week so I'm cutting myself a little slack with a deadline of Friday. I will graciously extend this deadline of completion to you as well. Off to find some fabric!

Monday, May 4, 2009


Once you start playing at this site, you will not want to stop. Create a polaroid collage of your photo, then shuffle for a new combination every time. Hope you didn't have anything else that needed to be done today.

Similar time waster here.

Friday, May 1, 2009


Surprise family and friends with little hanging posies! All you need are some flowers, paper, ribbon and a couple of minutes time to spread the joy. (Instructions here via Martha Stewart)