Thursday, July 30, 2009


Custom Aluminum Water Bottle design for Weekend to End Breast Cancer Walk in Toronto. Posted as proof for approval.


Just as we were on our way out the door to go berry picking, a thunder storm rolled in. Oh well, there's always tomorrow. I think we may make these instead.

Monday, July 27, 2009


I've decided that Hugh Forte gets the award for taking the best bridesmaid photos. Of course, he's a beautiful photographer in general, but there's just something about the way he captures a bride with her girls. 

Saturday, July 25, 2009


Are you dying to know who won one of our new Personalized Aluminum Water Bottles? I was too! But first, I had to make sure I was completely organized, taking care to add the double entries for all Facebook fans (thank you very much). Because I was unable to account for the double entries using randomizer, I simply wrote all entries on slips of paper and put them in a beach pail, as shown above. Petunia held the pail, and since Peanut cannot read, we thought it was most fair for her to draw the winner. And just to keep it all equal in the family as well...

Pumpkin posed with the winning name. Congratulations feline13x!!!! You have won one of our super cool Personalized Aluminum Water Bottles!  In your comment, you expressed interest in a robot and princess (samples of each shown below), but feel free to choose any design for your winning bottle.

Please email me with your preferences and personalization and I'll get started on your water bottle right away. I'm looking forward to working with you!

Friday, July 24, 2009


Don't forget to enter our giveaway for a Personalized Aluminum Water Bottle. Comment here to enter no later than midnight EST tonight!

Having a picnic or weekend party? Here are two perfect recipes for a summer party. I made them both for our fireworks viewing party on the fourth and they were both tremendous hits!

The first is a fantastically delicious trifle recipe from Make and Take, complete with a lemon curd recipe that you will die for! Seriously, you may want to make an extra batch of lemon curd just to eat with a spoon while you assemble the trifle. (Not that that is something I would do, of course. It's just a suggestion.)


1 prepared recipe sour cream pound cake, sliced or cubed (recipe follows) 1 prepared recipe lemon curd, chilled (recipe follows) 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature 1/2 cup powdered sugar 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, cold 16 oz. fresh strawberries, sliced 2 pints fresh blueberries

To make the cream:

Beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar. Add the heavy cream and continue beating until thick. Chill until ready to assemble trifle.


Layer in a trifle dish or large bowl–

Half the sliced pound cake–use smaller pieces to fill in the gaps Half the lemon curd One third of the blueberries and strawberries Half the whipped cream mixture

Repeat with the remaining cake, lemon curd, another 1/3 of the berries, and whipped cream. Top with the remaining 1/3 strawberries and blueberries.

Let chill in the fridge until ready to serve.

Serves a bunch.

Sour Cream Pound Cake adapted from The Joy of Cooking

3 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 tsp. baking soda 1/2 tsp. salt 2 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature 3 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided 6 eggs, separated and at room temperature 1 cup sour cream, at room temperature 2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 2 8″ square baking pans or a 9″ Bundt pan.

Whisk the dry ingredients together and set aside.

Using an electric mixer, beat butter until creamy. Add the sugar and continuing beating until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. (Don’t skimp on this step.)

Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating for at least 1 minute between additions. Add the vanilla extract.

Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients, beat just until it disappears into the creamed mixture. Add 1/2 of the sour cream. Beat to combine. Repeat with remaining flour and sour cream, making sure to end with the last 1/3 of the dry ingredients. Set aside.

In a separate bowl beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add 1/2 cup of the granulated sugar a little at a time. Continue beating until stiff, glossy peaks form.

Carefully fold in 1/3 of the egg whites to the batter using a large rubber or silicone spatula. (It’s okay if there are some streaks of egg white. This is to lighten the batter before the remaining egg whites are added.)

Add the remaining egg whites by gently folding, being careful not to deflate the whites.

Spread the batter into the prepared pan. If using 8″ square pans, bake for about 35-40 minutes. (Don’t open the oven at all during the first 30 minutes or the cake will fall in the center.) If using the bundt pan, bake for 60-75 minutes. Tent the pans with foil if the top browns too quickly. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean.

Let cool for a few minutes in pan before removing the cake to a wire rack to finish cooling. Cake gets better the longer it sits. Be sure to wrap it well in foil or plastic wrap so it doesn’t dry out.

Lemon Curd from my husband’s aunt

Juice of 3 lemons Zest of 3 lemons 1 cup granulated sugar 3 whole eggs 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled

In a bowl, rub the lemon zest with the sugar until wet and sandy. Whisk in the eggs. Add the juice. Add the melted butter.

Transfer the mixture to a stainless steel (or other non-reactive) pan. Cook over medium heat while whisking constantly until the curd thickens. (It will be about the consistency of thin yogurt.) Quickly remove from heat. Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl. Press plastic wrap on the surface and chill until ready to use.

 The next recipe is for a simple and refreshing white Sangria courtesy of Eddie Ross. This sangria is soooooooo good and sooooooo refreshing. 'Nuff said.

Check back tomorrow for our lucky giveaway winner!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Thank you all so much for your fabulous ideas! Here are some new Aluminum Water Bottle designs based on your requests. 


Soccer Girl

Robot and Princess

Horse & Rider

Two Gymnastics Designs (boy gymnast also available).

Irish Step Dancer

Tight Rope Walker (yes, that's right, Tight Rope Walker)


Teen Cheer

Don't forget to enter to win a Personalized Aluminum Water Bottle of your very own by leaving a comment on the post below. Become a fan of Pumpkin Petunia on Facebook for double entries! Due to the custom nature of these bottles, it can take up to two weeks for delivery. If you're feeling lucky, but don't want to wait until after the giveaway to place your order, we will gladly refund you the purchase price plus shipping, if you win!

Monday, July 20, 2009


I have been ready to burst with the news of this product for what seems like forever, but I needed to be sure that the quality was superior and everything was just perfect before I let the cat out of the bag. Finally, that day has arrived. Introducing our new Aluminum Water Bottles!!! Each one custom designed and personalized! That's right, no more losing water bottles at the field, in camp or at school.

The BPA-free, 20 ounce water bottle comes with both a kid-friendly flip top (as shown) AND a screw on top which is more adult-friendly. Both lids are leak proof when shaken and turned upside down, so no more drips and leaks in the lunch box or backpack! Want to change out the lid? Just screw off one lid and replace it with the other. Carabiner also included to easily attach to back packs and bags. My son has been attaching his to the fence at the ball field so that he's never searching for it between innings. 

I have to admit, I may have been a bit overzealous when designing for these bottles. There are now so many designs that I am having trouble organizing the best way to show all of your choices! Shown here is just a sampling of available designs, so if you do not see what you're looking for - just ask!  Once you choose the design of your choice, in the colors of your choice, it will be custom printed on both sides of the bottle so your child always knows which bottle is theirs. 

The wide variety of styles make these water bottles perfect for all ages, from toddler to teen and beyond! We can also custom design water bottles to match any party theme. Very cool! But remember to plan ahead. Due to the custom nature of these water bottles, they can take 1-2 weeks for delivery.

So to celebrate my excitement and the debut of my new favorite product, I would love to spread my water bottle love with a giveaway. Just leave a comment on this post (I'd love to hear which design or color combination you prefer) no later than Friday, July 24th at midnight EST and you will be entered to win a personalized aluminum water bottle of your very own. If you are a fan of Pumpkin Petunia on Facebook and enter with a comment, you will receive two entries. (hint, hint, become a fan- it increases your chances of winning!) Since delivery of the water bottles can take 1-2 weeks time, you may not want to wait until after Friday to order, so if you place an order before the end of the giveaway and then win the giveaway, I will gladly refund the purchase price of one water bottle, including shipping. Good luck everyone! 

Sunday, July 19, 2009


For those of you who have expressed interest in hosting an art camp of your own, the following is a quick recap  of my lessons learned along the way. 

1. Start small. If you think you would like to have ten attendees, invite five! For your first time hosting, keep the number of participants to a minimum so that you will not feel overwhelmed. Petunia only invited two friends, and there is really no need to be that conservative, but we took into consideration that Peanut would be participating and she is only 2. Had Peanut not been with us, I think 5 would have been the perfect number.

2. Be realistic about time. I originally told the mothers of the girls that the camp would be from 10-12 each day. I'm not sure if I was afraid of committing to a stretch of time and then not having enough activities for the girls, but 2 hours was not even close to enough time. If you will be working on sewing projects or projects with many steps like the bound journals, you will need at least 4 hour sessions to not feel rushed. Between breaks and end of the day swimming, the girls were with me for a good 6 hours each day. Similarly, we only planned this camp for three days, but in the future, we will definitely plan for four days. 

3. Let paint dry overnight. If there is painting involved in a multi-step project, like the journals, schedule the painting for the end of one day and the next step in the painted project for the beginning of the next day so you can be sure the paint is completely dry. I thought that lunch break would be enough paint-drying time and had a moment of panic with my hairdryer to speed the process. Luckily, the girls were none the wiser. ; )

4. Don't be afraid to go for it. For the most part, the projects we worked on were very involved: sewing a purse when none of the girls had ever sewn before, combining print making and book binding into one project, but with a big effort, you get a big result. That is what will set your camp apart from arts and crafts that your participants may do at school or at home.

5. Make it special. Think about how the participants will bring home their beautiful creations. Package them up nicely at the end of the day so that when they present them to their families it will be an event. 

6. Have fun! If your campers make an adorable purse, you make one too! If not, you'll wish you had.

I am thrilled that so many of you have been inspired to host an art camp of your own. As always, I am happy to answer any additional questions that you may have. Just ask in the comments or drop me a line. Also, if you have any tips, tricks or great projects for me, let me know about them!

For details on each day of camp, follow the links below.

Friday, July 17, 2009


Today was the final day of art camp and I can honestly say that I'm sad that it's over. I'd like to take a day or two off, but I would definitely be ready to pick right up again on Monday! Sadly, that is not the plan, but this is absolutely something we will do again in the future.

The theme for today was wearable art and I decided to reward the girls' hard work these past two days with some fun projects that can be completed rather quickly. I had planned to start out with some fabric scrap necklaces to use up some of the scraps from the purses we made on day one, but when Petunia saw the Martha Stewart paper bead necklace kit that I picked up just in case I needed an extra activity, she fell in love with the idea and wanted to make that first. So that's what we did! Here are the girls rolling the paper beads.

Now to string the beads on to the elastic, making a pattern of colors and sizes.

This was a great activity for Peanut because she finally felt like she could keep up with the big girls and truly make her own necklace with very little help.

Like most of Martha's kits, this really was well put together and the colors and patterns are beautiful. I have to admit that I was a little disappointed that this is the project that Petunia chose, but once we got started, I realized it was a perfect choice.

Here is Peanut showing off her creation.

And here is a completed necklace. I love how the little girl that made this one planned it so she can wear it with one side showing pink, orange and green or flip it to the other side to show the blues, depending on what she was wearing. Very clever!

Once the necklaces were made, we quickly moved on to the next project. I was determined to use some of the beautiful scraps leftover from the purses we made, so we decided to make some fabric pins. 

The first step was to position the template on the fabric to find the most beautiful spot to cut, then the template was traced and the circle was carefully cut out of the fabric. I then helped the girls personalize their buttons by adding a painted monogram.

Next, the buttons were assembled with the Badge-a-minit and we used our muscles to squeeze really hard and secure the pins. Anytime I can use my Badge-a-minit, I'm happy.

Here is our adorable group modeling their pins and necklaces after a great couple of days of camp. I did have a few more projects up my sleeve, but the girls decided to save them for next time and spend the rest of this very warm day swimming. That's fine with me, as that means there will be a next time! Although I'm taking bets that the next spare moment Petunia has she will want me to work on the remaining projects with her.

Well that's it for Summer Art Camp 2009! I really learned a lot from this experience and will definitely be planning future sessions. I know that the girls had tons of fun, are thrilled with their new treasures and learned some new skills in the process - so I'd call that a great success!

So many of you have contacted me asking for advice on how to host your own art camp, and I am just thrilled that so many people are inspired to take this on themselves. To help you along, I will be recapping the entire three days and including some tips and tricks and lessons learned along the way in my next post. Check back for that no later than Monday.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Well, day two of art camp was just as successful as day one thanks to another great project and an awesome group of girls. On the agenda today was a project that combined a few concepts that all came together into one great little journal. My goal for this week is to put together projects that result in something that the girls can not only cherish but also put to good use.

We started the day with a scavenger hunt around the yard looking for objects in nature that would make interesting patterns when used to make prints. The girls came in with some fantastic finds: tree bark (from the ground, not the trees!), leaves, flowers, rocks and shells.

Peanut loved this part because she was allowed to go in the gardens!

Once they came in with all of their great finds, they sat down to a big piece of scrap paper to test out the possibilities. We used acrylic paint (watered down a tad) and the girls applied paint to the objects with brushes or just dipped them right in the paint. The only rule was that the paintbrushes should not touch the paper, only the objects. 

Peanut enjoyed this even more than being in the garden. She was really digging the rock and cone flower combo!

After experimenting a bit with the patterns and discovering that they could use each object several ways to make different designs (they even used individual flower petals like paint brushes. remember: no paint brushes on paper!), they swapped out the scrap paper for cover stock that would be used for the covers of the journals. 

They each had three sheets of cover stock, two to make their two journals and one to make some bookmarks. They were told to cover the paper in a random pattern because we would be using a template to trace and cut the journal cover from the paper and  parts of the sheet would be discarded. One sheet of 81/2 by 11 cover stock would yield the front and back cover of the journal and an inside pocket. (template courtesy of How About Orange)

I loved how the flowers and sticks and such looked covered in paint.

Once all three sheets were beautifully printed, it was time for lunch and a little girl time why the paint dried.

After the break, we layed out the templates on the beautiful cover stock and cut out the journal covers. I did not get a shot of this step as we were busy contemplating which way to lay the templates to be sure to incorporate the most beautiful parts of the designs.

Then we added the journal pages, 5 sheets trimmed to size and folded in half to make ten pages, and used embroidery floss and a large needle to bind the books. For a great video demonstrating this process, go here.

Here is a shot of two completed journals. You can see the thread of the hand binding in the center of the journal. The patterned corner on the right of the open journal gives you a bit of a glimpse of the inside pocket.  I love this feature of the template.

The final shot of the stacked journals all wrapped up and ready to bring home.

Tomorrow's plan is to do several smaller projects that do not take the entire camp day to complete. The girls have worked hard, they've earned some instant gratification. The theme for day three: wearable art!