Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Brack's Nerf Party...The Invitation

Brack recently turned 11. Unbelievable. I get excited about planning parties, but Brack REALLY gets excited. He starts talking about his next birthday party within days of his his last one! In fact, we have instituted a rule that says Brack can't start talking about his birthday until after Christmas. A lot of good that does!

So when I finally told Brack we could talk birthdays, he knew exactly what he wanted to do this year...a Nerf war party. I can do that!

Today, I'm sharing the invitation.

I began by cutting my base cards and top layer in white cardstock. 

I cut a middle layer for the card top in orange.

I ran it through my Big Shot using this embossing folder that looks a little like targets or a little like dings in a target.

Cute, huh? I like the texture.

Then I used some framelits to cut these rectangular cylinders in blue. 

I used this little 5/8" circle punch to cut the tips out of orange.

I gathered all my components. I like to work assembly style.

I began by folding my card base. It doesn't show up in the picture, but I had already scored them for easy folding.

I stamped the back with my personalized stamp.

I attached the textured orange layer with adhesive.

I found this bullet target on eBay. I think it was all of $1.99. I randomly stamped it on the top layer card with black ink. I like to go off the edge sometimes so it doesn't look too perfect.

I used adhesive to attach my top layer.

Next I clipped about 1/3 off of the circles.

I used adhesive to attach them to the bullet body.

I hand wrote "ready", "aim", and "fire" on them.

TIP - I printed the inside of the cards. A long time ago, I did all the math on the dimensions for these inserts. I have a master that I saved on my computer, and I open it and "save as" for each new project. All I have to do is change the wording with each new invitation.

Cut to size.

I cleaned my stamp and used yellow on the inserts to stamp a few more targets.

I love all my Stampin' Up products. I'm usually a generic or store brand buyer, although with some things (like mayo and catsup) I insist on buying name brands. Stamp pads are another. When I started with Stampin' Up, I thought I'd just get ideas and use my own stuff. Wrong. These are quality products and they are dye lot matched to their paper stock. Everything looks so professional when I use these products. Love, love, love Stampin' Up!

So there you have it! Brack's birthday party invite. Tomorrow is the tablescape. It's one of my favorites that I've ever done! You definitely want to see this.

I'm so glad you stopped by my neck of the woods!

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Monday, May 30, 2016

"Some Bunny Special" Baby Shower

Back in April, I helped to host a baby shower. But it was not just any baby shower. It was a shower for a surprise baby! One of the sweet couples at church recently had the (sweetest) surprise of a lifetime...a precious baby girl! 

Susan had not been feeling well one Sunday at church. She sits directly in front of me, and I watched her come and go during worship, obviously uncomfortable. The next morning, she posted a prayer request on Facebook. She was at the ER trying to find out why she was in great pain. Several hours later, she posted that they had discovered she was pregnant...and in LABOR!

Susan and Bart are the sweetest couple. They didn't think they would ever be blessed with kids, so imagine their surprise when they found out they were expecting a baby...to be born that night! Lillah Karen was born on Leap Day! 

Everyone at church caught their breath and started pulling out things to meet their immediate needs like diapers, a basinet and a car seat. I knew I wanted to help throw an "official shower" and thought my sweet bunnies from Easter would be the perfect jumping off point. Twenty ladies in all signed up to help with the shower. I asked to handle the decorations.

"Some Bunny Special" was my theme. As you entered the Fireplace Room (where we host showers at our church), there was a little table containing the book "Guess How Much I Love You" and a chalkboard reading "Somebunny Loves Me".

We used this in lieu of a guest book. Each guest signed the pages as she entered, leaving a lovely record of who attended the shower. Something Susan can see each time she reads this book to Baby Lillah!

One of the hostesses made a precious sock corsage out of pink and white baby's dress socks. There is also a little monogrammed "L" pin that can be attached to a headband. So sweet!


My Miss Manners buddy, Nancy, was hosting a wedding shower at her home right before this one, so I knew many ladies would be traveling between the two. We decided all we needed was petite fours, nuts, fruit and some raspberry lemonade.

Here's a closeup of the food table. You'll remember the picket fence baskets and vintage-looking bunnies from my Easter 2016 Tablescape. I did have to change out the grass. This time I found a flat of red thyme on sale at Lowe's for $3! A whole flat! This has already been put into my herb garden. A chalkboard reading "Somebunny Sweet" sets the stage for the delicious petite fours!

One of Susan's best friends brought me the bud vase with two roses right before the shower. The delicate pure white roses symbolize Bart and Susan's mothers, both of which are gone. It was a bittersweet reminder of these dear women.

The pink and yellow tablerunners were made from fabric I "shopped" for in my fabric closet. I think I had bought about 1.5 yards of this pique on sale several years ago but then decided it was to bright and bold for tiny toddler Jewell. I knew it would come in handy one day!

The petite fours are made at a local bakery by one of our elder's wives. They are the best I've ever had! I served them on my round white "Drss Me Up" platter by Southern Living at Home. The green ribbon ties in with the grapes and plants, as well as just breaks up the bright pink and yellow. 

Grapes and strawberries balance the sweet cakes and salty nuts.

Store-bought raspberry lemonade added a little color.

Here's a close-up of the floral arrangement. I use a large hurricane vase and placed a small clear glass inside. Fresh, unpeeled carrots were placed around the inner glass. A bird's nest fern I recently bought for my home sits on top. Just like the greens of a carrot! Of course I got the idea from Pinterest. But I think the bird's nest fern was the PERFECT topper.

I made a string of paper rabbits to attach to the food and gift tables. I found the pattern online and cut them out. They're tied to a twine string. It just adds another layer! I used scrapbook paper that I had in my stash.

The bunny bottoms bunting (say that three times fast!) was from Easter. We needed something on the fireplace behind where Susan was sitting. I use one of the white ceramic rabbits I had brougt for the gift table, along with a pretty pink and green plant that one of the Miss Manners girls had given me the day before as a hostess gift. Just a little something to fill the space.

A hanging chalkboard was turned on it's side for the gift table. "Somebunny blessed" didn't begin to describe all the gifts Susan and Baby Lillah received!

Each first baby at University Church receives a hand-made quilt. This one has squares embroidered with classic baby toys. I placed a big coffee pot on the end of the gift table and draped the quilt over it so it could be admired as well as serve as part of the decorations.

The shower was very well attended! Everyone was so excited to share in this excited (and unexpected) event.


Mama opens gifts while Aunt Jenni loves on Lillah!

The guest of honor, Lillah Karen.

Bart and Susan have such a wonderful story to share with Lillah one day. I was so glad I got to help welcome her to the world and to our University church family.

I'm so glad you stopped by my neck of the woods!

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Copycat Olive Garden Salad

Today I want to finish up my posts on our last Mixing Bowls Cookbook Club. If you haven't read yet about the prenuptial meat patties I made, you really must. These were so stinkin' good. I think about them...A LOT!

I'm not sure really how Italian this salad actually is, but I know you can't go to Olive Garden without eating it. It's yummy. I have been making the dressing for years, but the old knock-off recipe called for gelatin, and well, my loyal readers know I have this thing about remembering to buy it. Anyway, I found this newer version on Pinterest and it was easy, and I had everything on hand. Except a photographer. Apparently, I decided to only take pics of every other ingredient. Oh well. I tried.

Isn't that pretty? It looks just like the one at Olive Garden.

Begin with a large bag of classic salad mix (iceberg lettuce, shredded carrots and red cabbage).

Add THIN slivers of red onion.

OK - here's where you have to use your imagination a little.

Drain and rinse a large can of whole, black olives. Seriously, be sure to rinse them. If not, they'll add a slimy black color on your salad.

Add croutons (I actually found Olive Garden brand at Walmart) and pepperoncini peppers to the top. Add grated Parm, dressing and toss.

Missy's Olive Garden Italian Dressing
(I combined a couple and added a few things of my own)

1/2 cup EVOO
1/4 cup Hellman's mayo
zest and juice of one lemon
1 packet dried Italian seasoning
2 cloves garlic, very finely minced
1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
pinch of red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

Add all ingredients to a large Mason jar. Screw on lid tightly and shake well. Refrigerate until ready to use. Pour over salad and toss well. Taste as you go, but I was pretty liberal with the salt.

I'm so glad you stopped by my neck of the woods!

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Basil Plant Hostess Gift

So it's been three weeks since my last blog post. Let's see... What have I done? Well, I threw Brack a birthday party, attended a cooking demo, hosted my Stampin' Club, hosted five other families for a day at the lake, finished homeschooling for the year, decorated tables for a luncheon for 30, built a craft closet, and organized an end of the year homeschool co-op party. And I somehow found time to keep up with laundry, housework (OK, some of it!) and fed my family throughout it all! Obviously, I've got a lot to catch you up on! 

Today I want to show you a cute little hostess gift idea. My last post was about the prenuptial meat patties I made for our last Mixing Bowls Cookbook Club. You must read this post, but more importantly, you must MAKE these meatballs. They're awesome.

I throw a lot of parties, so I know what's involved. Whether it's an event for 75 or just the family next door, it takes a lot to prepare for company. I understand that. Maybe that's why people don't entertain much these days. I hate that. Having others into your home is a wonderful way to get to know people.

I always try to take a little something to the hostess to say "thank you" for having us. Since our theme was Italian, I took Jana a basil plant. I picked it up at Walmart while shopping for the ingredients for my dishes. It will do great either planted or you can just sit it in the kitchen window.

I had used two cans of these Cento San Marzano tomatoes. (If you haven't tried these, you must. They are amazing and way better than Hunt's.) I rinsed out one of the cans and dropped the plant inside. I didn't have any green ribbon, so I tore a strip of green cloth to tie around the top to hide the pot. Pretty cute, huh?

Money shot of the meatballs I made. Yes, they taste as good as they look!

My plate. No shame. I actually went back for seconds. We're supposed to be tasting and testing new recipes, right? See the casserole just right of middle? Gnocchi with sausage and spinach. One of the best things I've ever tried!

Creamy roasted bell pepper soup.

Dessert. I really don't need to say anything, do I? However, see the creamy stuff with chocolate chips in it and the broken ice cream waffle cones? Deconstructed cannoli. Oh.My.Word.

Our fearless leader and cookbook club organizer, Kimberly, taught us to make homemade pasta.

She got us all involved. This is me kneading dough.

Watchin' and learnin'...

I love spending time with these great ladies. The food is just an extra bonus!

I'm so glad you stopped by my neck of the woods!

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