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April 2012

Last but not least....the favors!!!

Let's be honest.  Favors either get tossed when people leave a shower, or they get tossed.  I'm relatively certain I don't have one single favor from any of the showers I've been to.  Zip.  
Keeping this in mind when I was trying to figure out what to have for Sis's shower, I decided the favors needed to be something cute and memorable, but not something that sits around and collects dust.  Or ends up in the trash.
Let's start with chocolate.  There are very few people out there who don't like chocolate, and we'll call them freaks of nature.  Clearly, chocolate is a fantastic reward for sitting through a bridal shower.  M&Ms has a separate site where you can make custom m&m favors for whatever your special event is.  You can either buy them in bulk and package them yourself, or have them pre-packaged for your affair.  Since I was already making a bazillion other things for the shower (see all the posts this week), the option to have them pre-packaged was quite appealing.
So, I went through all the steps on the site, picking the colors (yellow, grey, and white, of course), the design and the sayings I wanted to be on the candies.  I chose wedding bells, Sis & her fiance's names, and a "Thank you!" for the three designs/phrases I could have.  Then, I picked the packaging, which was a simple little bag with a yellow ribbon.
But...just having a little baggie with m&ms is clearly not enough and I had to outdo myself.  Again.
Reaching into the recesses of my brain for another idea, I remembered one of my friends, as her wedding favor on the tables at the reception, had little matchbooks which were printed with their names and the date.  Inside, instead of matches, there was a packet of wildflower seeds with instructions to "plant seeds of love."  Corny, cheesy, and PERFECT for a shower!!!  Here is something people can have growing in either their gardens or in a pot indoors, and they'll think of the shower they were at. 
My idea, however, was to get the paper that has the seeds in it, in order to make it even more awesome.  Finding it might be a problem.
That is, until I walked into my local Paper Source and found this --
It could not have been more perfect.  Then I picked up some glassine envelopes to stash them in, so I could tie them with another yellow ribbon to the already packaged and perfect m&ms.  Of course, I decided I needed to take a pic after I opened the package already, so I had to hold it together for this shot.  Whoops.  On the back of the label, there were instructions on how to properly plant these paper seed hearts.  I took the instructions, and hand-wrote them on a square piece of white paper.
The handwriting is what took the longest out of everything that I did.  
Then, I found a square background stamp, used my yellow ink, and stamped the image on the front of the envelope.  I took clear embossing powder, and embossed the envelope to give it a little dimension and shine. 
After all that, this is the finished product --
It's kinda tough to see the embossing, but it jumps off the envelope with the white paper background on the inside.  I used a super skinny yellow ribbon to tie the envelope to the bag of m&ms, so it didn't need a giant hole in the envelope, and so it didn't cause too much ribbon madness in conjunction with the ribbon already in place on the bag o' m&ms.
And here they are proudly displayed at the shower!  The other two baskets have fun printed napkins that my aunt and grandmom contributed to the table.
So.....that's it!!  That concludes everything I made for Sis's shower this past Sunday!  I hope you enjoyed seeing all the different things I've been making in my craft room which have been stealing all of my cross stitch time.  I also hope that I've given you a few good ideas to take away (I know my timer giveaway idea seemed to be a huge hit!) and use for a bridal/baby shower you are hosting or helping to host!  If you do use one of my ideas, please come back and share it!!  I would love to hear how you used what I did, or tweaked it this way or that way so that it was more customized for your event. :-)
I was finally able to pick up a needle and thread last night, and it felt so good. good.  To the point where I need to see my gals today at my LNS and get my cross stitch fix.  I think it'll be a while before I post anything scrapbook or cardmaking related, so I hope my stitch followers are anxious to see what I have been able to work on in little spurts.  I will remind you, however, that one BIG project is taking up a lot of my time, but I can't share it until it's framed and given to the recipient.  I don't want any spoilers here.
Ok - I really gotta get outta here and get some cross stitch stuffs.  I wish you all a wonderfully creative day, and I'll catch you up on my stitching here in a couple days!!
Much love ~~~

Is that a notebook? A keepsake? Whaaaat?

Everyone knows it's the maid of honor's job to write down all the fabulous things the bride-to-be got at her shower.  Usually, this is done on a piece of torn-out paper from a notebook with wide spacing.
We need to sidetrack here for a second.  Why, WHY does any paper company feel the need to make wide-spaced paper??  I mean, you might as well shove a dotted line between those two solid ones and just make it penmanship practice paper for elementary school kids.  If you write anything on that paper, it's huge, since we all feel compelled to write our letters bigger in the space provided, because the solid lines give us the boundaries, if you will.  This is only appropriate if you're writing on posterboard for a presentation on the Ancient Egyptians in Art History class.
College ruled paper should be the only thing sold.  Period.  There should be no other options.
Moving on.
So a bridal shower is supposed to be filled with all of these lovely, wonderful things that give you lasting memories of everything leading up to your special day.  Then you get this piece of paper with your gifts scrawled all over it, and it looks a hot shabby mess.
My cousin had the idea of using something a little nicer than a piece of paper or just a plain notebook; something that would end up being more of a keepsake.  
Enter the "gift list book".  Taking the above idea, I naturally took it one step farther and made the book.  
I started with two pieces of chipboard about 4x5.5".  I cut a black piece of paper big enough to make the spine, and extend over onto the board just enough to give it stability.
This is the outside of the book.  You can see where I scored the black paper so the spine would bend easily after I glue everything together.
This is the inside -- I had to leave enough room to fit the pages & glue inside, but not so big that the binding glue would end up all over the place.
Next, I took cream and grey colored plain paper (can you tell Sis's colors are yellow & grey???), and cut them to fit the book.  Then, I stamped a cute flower stamp on the corners of the pages to give them a little bit of oomph.  I had 3 different stamps that I used, but I'll just show you these pages.  I'm sure your readers are going haywire with all the pics in this post already.
Next, I took a sorta plain piece of paper, cut it to size, and glued it to the front & back of the book.  I wanted something with a little flair, but plain enough that I could embellish the front however I chose and not have it clash.
Then, I took a piece of AWESOME patterned paper, cut it to size, and put these pieces on the inside covers.  Seriously peeps, how amazing did this turn out?!  I LOVE this paper!!!!
For the outside cover, like I said, I wanted to be able to embellish without clashing, so this is what I came up with.  Fun, amiright????  These pieces were all parts of 12x12 papers, and I just cut out the ones I wanted, and clued them on the covers.  Then, I took a piece of Washi tape which had a music staff on it (as a former music student, I cannot pass up anything with music on it), added that to the front.  Then, I took this awesome British-themed stamp set I got at Joann's for $1 (yes, $1), and used a couple of them on the covers in random spots to add just a lil' something that it needed for that extra spunk.
Into the YourStory machine it goes to get glued & bound.....
And voila!!!  This is the front cover....
.....and the back!!!  Brilliant!!!
There you have it, folks!!  A wonderful keepsake for the bride-to-be which lists all the gifts she received, which she can also use (so long as you put enough pieces of paper inside) to write down all the gift she gets for the wedding.  Or to tally up the cash.  Semantics.
After it was all said and done, and people were filing in to the dining room to get coffee, tea, and dessert, I presented Sis with the book.  I think by her reaction I did a good thing ;-)
That wraps up "gift list book" day, folks!!  I hope you enjoyed today's installment of Bridal Shower Week!!!  Tune in tomorrow when I'll show you the favors!!!  Woop woop!!!
Much love ~~~~

Avoiding awkward bridal shower moments.

How does one do this, you ask??  Quite simply by foregoing those crazyinsane games you play while the bride-to-be is opening her gifts.  I mean, no one can stop Crazy Aunt Petunia from saying something inappropriate at a family function, but you can at least avoid all other awkward interactions by making gift opening a competition.
Ah.  Yes.  A competition.  Of sorts, anyways.
I've been to plenty of bridal and baby showers in my day, and no matter how much you absolutely love the person you're there for, watching her open umpteen gifts all afternoon becomes a serious yawn-fest after the first hour.
Enter "Gift Opening Giveaways".  This is an idea I stole from the bridal shower from one of my good friends from high school.  Her shower was several years ago now -- probably pushing 8 years -- but I made sure to tuck this gem back into the recesses of my brain to use when I had to either help with or host a bridal shower.
It's so simple, peeps.  For realzies.
Is it bridal bingo?  Oh, hellz to the no.  Is it wedding charades?  Even worse.
Ready?  Ok. (And Go! Fight! Win!  Sorry.) Get a set number of small gifts - I got roughly 1/4 the amount of gifts to the number of people who came to the shower. Grab a timer.  Any timer.  A kitchen timer, the timer on your phone, seriously - any timer.  Set it to a minute, two minutes, 45 seconds, whatevs.  Now, here's the tricky part -- whoever's gift the bride-to-be is opening when the timer goes off, is the winner!  If a few people went in on a gift together, then all those who bought the gift get a giveaway.  No fights over prize custody.  This may mean you run through your giveaways a little quicker, but all you really have to do is adjust the timer so it doesn't go off too quickly between gifts.
That's it!!  
Seriously.  That's really it.
This is me announcing with pretend despair that we will not be doing any lame-o bridal shower games.  A collective sigh of relief came from the room.
Ok, so, I wanted something simple for this, and trekked up to the Yankee  Candle outlet, got small votive jars (which can totes be used for whatever you want -- tea lights, citronella, anything), and two votives for each jar.
ooooomg  how cute, amiright???  This jar in front hasn't been put into the treat bag (yup.  treat bag.  go to michaels and go down the candy making aisle and get treat bags.  they're just the right size), but you can see the ones in the back which have.  I just tied a twist-tie around the top, then wrapped & tied yellow ribbon around it, and viola!!  Gift-opening giveaways!!
Needless to say, this was a humongous success.  I had SO many of the guests thank me profusely for the "timer game", since they didn't have to do a THING, and it saved them all from many awkward moments playing silly games with people they don't even know.  I told them all to pass along this new-found game, and there was an emphatic, "Oh, we WILL!!!!" from all those in favor!!
That's it, peeps!!  That wraps up Day Two of Bridal Shower Week!
Next up:  The Gift List Book
Stay tuned!!!
Much Love ~~~~

The Day is Finally Here!!

Well, everyone, I can FINALLY share with you the madness that has been going on in my house.
My sister's bridal shower was yesterday, and it was a huge success, despite the fact that it POURED rain all daggone day.  All day.  Like, not even a little bitty spritzy rain.  POURED.  
However, that did not stop either of us from wearing our new springy dresses and shoesies for the occasion ;-) (OMG.  Shoes.)
This is me and my lil' sis all gussied up for the event --
That's me on the left, in black, as usual.  Sis is so much more bold with color.  At least my dress has ruffles!  haha!
Today's spotlight will be on the guest book that I made for the event.  Rather than have everyone sign just a regular ol' book to commemorate the day, I decided to have everyone bring a recipe on a 4x6 in recipe card (my OCD went slightly haywire and induced twitching when people brought index cards, but after about 2 or 3 non-recipe cards handed to me, I got over it).  They were either given a dessert, entree, or appetizer (by random selection) in their shower invitation, so Sis didn't end up with 19 Devil's Food cake recipes, 2 chicken dinners, and 15 taco dips.  Also, by having them write out the recipe and sign it, she has something from everyone in their own handwriting, and record of everyone who came to the shower!!!  Yay!!!
This is the front of the book -- 
I used my Cricut to cut out the pot for the window, using my From My Kitchen cartridge (I used this cartridge for the entire book).  The background paper was something I picked up on sale at Michaels...and of course, don't remember the brand.  It was so cute with all the bright colored kitchen utensils & accessories, I just had to pick it up.   The flowers were just something I had to add to liven up the front of the binder.  
I chose a D-ring binder with photo page inserts, because this was the easiest way to make sure Sis could add and subtract pages as she needs them, plus the recipe cards are easily accessable and everything is customizable.
Inside the front cover, I wanted a "title page" of sorts, so this is what I came up with  --
How adorbs is that apron!  Love!  Nothing too fancy -- just enough color & whimsy to make it fun!
Then, after this page, I made separations for each major section.  I didn't make one for seafood or breads, but will have to go back and make these pages since Sis got an heirloom recipe for Irish Soda Bread and a crabcake recipe, but I have time for that ;-)
Here are the pages for the major categories --
The last one is my favorite :-)  Always eat dessert first!  I mean.....
I know it's tough to see in these pics, but if you look closely on the left of the shot, you can see the 4x6 pages with recipe cards already in them.  I had blank ones in some of the slots so she had some of her own, and in case anyone forgot to bring their recipe with them, they could write it down on one of these cards.  Also, on the backs of all these category pages, I put a coordinating patterned page, so the backs weren't just plain, boring white when you turn the page to find a recipe.  
Fun, huh???
Unfortunately, I don't have any snapshots of the book with the recipes which Sis received, but at least you can see the section pages that I made, along with how it's assembled.
For those of you planning a bridal shower, I highly recommend doing this.  My sister was SO excited to have this with all of everyone's favorite recipes, and all the guests were thrilled to pass on their favorites!!
I hope you enjoyed Day 1 of Bridal Shower Madness Week!!!!  Stay tuned -- tomorrow is my post about the giveaways we had!!
Much love ~~~~~
J :-) 

I gotta tell fingers are itchin' to do some stitchin', but wait until you see what I've been scrappin' in my craft room!

Seriously peeps -- come back next week. Every day, I'll be posting something different from my sister's shower that I made for the occasion. I've been busy!


Happy Easter to all my friends in bloggerville! May you have a blessed and joyous day.

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Give thanks to the Risen Lord!

More Sewing Fun

Well.  I survived.
I survived a 1st birthday party with more kids in one house than I thought could actually fit.
For those of you who don't know, me and small children aren't really friends.  Now, my high school band kids?  They rock.  Small children that scream for no reason whatsoever?  Not cool.
BUT.  This was for my T-girl, the daughter of one of my good friends from high school.  She turned 1 last Friday, and her party was on Saturday.  
There is one good thing about shopping for babies:  babygap.  Oh, yes.  babygap.  Here's a fun tidbit to know and tell:  I once worked for Gapkids/babygap.  Yep.  I was the denim/khaki specialist, and could make those walls and walls of denim and khakis just look perfect and pristine.  I was that crazy person with a cart and piles and piles of denim stacked around me, folding away like Rainman.  Touch my perfect wall of denim and you lost a hand.  Sometimes I'd be nice and I'd let you get away with only losing a few fingers.
I digress.
babygap.  T-girl. 
Another fantastic place to be when you're shopping for baby gifts:  Pottery Barn Kids.  Oh man.  At one point, they had The Grinch sheets.  GRINCH.  SHEETS.  If you are unaware with my complete and total obsession with Dr. Seuss, particularly The Grinch That Stole Christmas, go to this post where I freak out only slightly about fabric I bought.
Ok.  So, my shopping consisted of one item from babygap (because omg i couldn't resist) and one item from Pottery Barn Kids.  Again, couldn't resist.  I wanted to get her something else, but nothing was hitting me.
Then, I thought to myself, "Self.  Why buy something when you can MAKE something????"  
I mean, really.  
I have the tools, an amazing craft room, and a sewing machine.  I'm totes making something.
I remembered I have leftover fabric from the apron I made for my sister for her birthday, and I thought this would make a perfect pillow sham,  much like this one that I made for myself last week.
I switched it up a bit, and I decided that nothing said "baby" like a cute quilted pattern.  
OOOOOMG.  How adorbs is this????!??!!!?!  This turned out so daggone cute!!  
OK!!!  I did the same type of sham back covering, so Katie can take the pillow out and wash it every so often, along with the cover itself.
So.  Darn.  C-U-T-E.  Cricut owners:  you can cut fabric with your Cricut!!!  The possibilities are endless when you have a die cutter that can cut your fabric into shapes!!! 
Once I figure out the precise combination of speed and pressure, it'll be wonderful, that is.  This time around, I couldn't get it to make clean cuts on the fabric, so I cut paper and traced it on the fabric.
Moving on....since you're all supposed to believe that I'm absolutely perfect at everything....
This is the birthday card I made for the occasion --
Cute, amiright??  I love that birthday cake.  It's so...slanted....and it looks delicious.  Actually, now that I think about it, I think I showed you guys this pic already.  Wow.  I'm losing my damn mind.  Huh.  Well, there's the card.  Again.  ("Yeah, thanks, Jack.  We saw this already.  Aren't you doing anything new and innovative in your craft room???  Sheesh.")
Patience, peeps. There is much going on in my craft room, I just can't show you all the deets yet.  Somewhere aroundabout 23 April I should be able to show you more.  But not before then.  Well, not anything that I've been feverishly working on, anyways. 
Until tomorrow...or the weekend....whenever I have something supercool to show you (like the chipboard album I made last night -- keep an eye on that Instagram feed on the top left of my blog -- you'll find pics there that don't always make it to the blog right away....and it updates almost once a day....just sayin'......).  
Much love to all of you, my crazy crafting & stitching friends!
~~~ J

Bridal Shower Favors: Part One

My sister's wedding is rapidly approaching (2 June is the day!!), but the shower is coming even closer.  It's in April, and we're all hoping that we have some spectacular weather like we had here a week or so ago!!  
As part of my maid of honor duties, I'm making the favors for the shower.  I had this super-cute idea, which I borrowed from a friend's wedding oh-so-many years ago, and I'm thrilled that it's going to work!
Now, I don't want to give too much away, so I'm just gonna give you a lil' peek into what I'm working on for the favors :-)
Glassine envelope + cute stamp + embossing = yay!
Ok.  That's it.  That's all you get to see.  More pics will most def be posted the day after her shower so you can see all I've been making in her honor :-)
Much love ~~~~