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DIY

Welcoming Baby Easton | Baby Shower At Malibou Lake

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Planning a social event such as a baby shower honoring someone close to you can be intimidating!  You want everything to be perfect and to encompass all of the things they love.  The details, games, food, and decor all add up to create such a special day for the expecting mommy to be.  I recently had the opportunity to assist in planing an intimate baby shower honoring Jeanette and her baby Easton.  The shower took place at a private home in Malibou Lake with gorgeous lighting and views for days!  We knew we wanted to incorporate lots of blue in honor of baby Easton and also wanted to incorporate a bit of boho flair in honor of the Jeanette who loves that style.  The hostess wanted to add her own personal touch so she hand made dream catchers for each and every guest – they doubled as chair decor!  As you may know, I love crafting and was excited that she was open to lots of handmade decor elements.  I ice dyed the table linens using various shades of blue and hand painted the napkins to create a watercolor ombre affect.  Pretty Vintage Rentals‘ blue goblets added the perfect pop of blue to the table and Letter Bliss created some gorgeous signage to help personalize the event.

Jenny Quicksall photographed the event and she captured some amazing moments!  Some of my favorite photos from the shower are of the gorgeous mama to be and her cute bump, the tablescape, and the delicious food and sweets.  We were honored to have this baby shower featured on both Popsugar Moms and Rustic Baby Chic.  I will be sharing a few more DIYs from this shower in the next couple of months.  Please subscribe to see when they are posted!

Watercolored Easter Eggs with Gold Leaf | DIY Tutorial

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Watercolored Eggs with Gold Leaf | DIY Tutorial

Anyone who knows me well, knows I love to craft and create.  Before I had kids I went to Michaels, JoAnn’s and/or Paper Source on a weekly basis and I was always crafting and DIYing – anything from embellishing or transforming household items, to handcrafting holiday and party decor, I tried it all… and who can forget that phase when I stamp embossed everything?! I still love creating things with my own two hands though I can’t devote quite as much time to it nowadays.  Holidays and my kid’s birthday parties are when I manage to make time for fun crafty projects.

Dying eggs has become one of my favorite holiday projects.  I love that it is something that allows for complete creativity and that it is generally a very kid friendly activity that my kiddos love!  No matter how you decorate an egg, it always looks pretty right?!  Over the years we’ve tried many different techniques from all natural dye where we used things like red cabbage, onions, and beets to dye the eggs, to shaving cream marbling, to Sharpie tie dying to sponge painting.  This year we kept things simple, coloring our eggs with liquid watercolors and embellishing them with gold leaf for a little extra bling.  I love how they turned out and I’m so glad we use faux eggs so we can enjoy them year after year!  Isn’t the pink egg with the gold lettering so pretty?!  My friend and colleague Kelly Patrice is an uber talented calligrapher and worked her magic on it!  These would be so fun as place cards at an Easter celebration.

I hope you enjoy this project.  It really is quite easy and the outcome is so lovely!  See below for step by step instructions.

Supplies:

Part 1

  • White eggs (hard boiled or faux craft eggs)
  • Liquid watercolors (diluted a tiny bit) in spray bottles – I used pink and turquoise

Part 2

  • Zig glue pen – I purchased mine from Amazon
  • Gold gilding flakes – I purchased mine from Paper Source

Instructions:

First off – be sure to lay down paper or a plastic table cloth as the first part of this project is quite messy!  Take an egg and begin to spray it with your liquid water colors.  If you like the speckled look, spray the eggs from far away.  Let them dry, then spray the other side.  If you like the marbled watercolor look, roll the eggs in your hands (gloves optional) or around in the liquid watercolor that will eventually form on your work surface.  There is no rhyme or reason – just color them until you are happy with the result.  Let them dry.

Once your eggs are dry, use your glue pen to apply glue all around the egg.  Again, no rhyme or reason to this – just dot it on and then pat it all around the egg with your fingers.  Let the glue dry for a few minutes until it is tacky (do not let it completely dry), then apply bits of your gold leaf to the tacky areas – eventually rolling the egg around in your hand to apply the gold foil to all of the places with glue on them.

It’s as easy as that!  My favorite thing about this project is that there are no rules – you just do your thing with your watercolors, glue, and gold leaf and play around until you are happy with the result.  It’s the perfect project to do with little ones (my four year old enjoyed helping – that is his little hand below) or with a glass of wine by your side, since it doesn’t require too much concentration.  Happy spring!

Need an Immunity Boost?! Homemade Elderberry Syrup to the Rescue!

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Photo courtesy of The Kitchen McCabe

I woke up this morning feeling a little under the weather… not sick, just a little off.  My throat was scratchy and I felt a little more tired than usual.  I know its cold and flu season but I wanted to nip whatever might be coming on as quickly as possible!  My kids and I take elderberry syrup almost daily this time of year but I ran out a few days ago.  Waking up with this feeling, I knew I had to make up a new batch right away – not only to help me fight this sickness off but also to hopefully protect my kids from getting anything.  Elderberry syrup is an excellent immunity booster and it tastes great (which is a plus when you are trying to get your kids to take it!).  In addition to boosting your immunity, it is also said to shorten the duration of colds and the flu.  I do lots of natural remedies to keep my family as healthy as possible – especially this time of year – and I do think that elderberry syrup really helps!  We typically take a teaspoon each on a daily basis and we up it to a teaspoon two or three times a day if someone in the house is sick.  Upping the amount helps the person who is sick to recover more quickly and helps those who aren’t sick to stay healthy.

I’ve had many people ask me for my elderberry syrup recipe so I figured I’d share it here.  I use Mommypotamus‘ recipe which is listed on her website.  Check it out her site for more detailed information about the benefits of elderberries as well as lots of other wonderful natural remedies.  I typically double the recipe because between the three of us, we go through it pretty quickly and it keeps well in the fridge for a few months.  It really does taste great – my kids would drink a whole glassful if I’d let them!  I encourage you to give it a try.  It really is super easy and is a great thing to have on had when you feel something coming on!

Elderberry Syrup Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup dried elderberries (find them here) or 1 cup fresh elderberries
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup honey (I recommend using local honey)
  • 1 cinnamon stick (optional)

Instructions

1. Add water, elderberries and cinnamon sticks (if using them) to a pot and bring to a boil.

2. Reduce heat and simmer until liquid is reduced by half. This should take around 45 minutes.

3. Strain to remove berries. Allow liquid to cool to room temperature, then stir in honey.  Makes about 2 cups.  Store in the refrigerator – keeps for a few months.  NOTE: Because this recipe contains honey, it should not be used in children under the age of one.

I am obviously not a photographer but here are a few pics I took of the ingredients and the finished product   – Star

Heidi Turns One – Oktoberfest Style!

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The first day of fall is just three short days away and Oktoberfest, one of the world’s most well known fall traditions, has just begun!  At noon on September 17th, the Mayor of Munich had the honor of tapping the first keg of Oktoberfest beer and so the festivities began!  Millions of people travel to Munich, Germany every year to attend the world’s largest beer festival which includes rides and games, traditional Bavarian foods and most importantly, drinking large amounts of Oktoberfest Beer!  Although I’ve traveled to the beautiful city of Munich, it wasn’t during Oktoberfest – it is definitely on my bucket list!

Many of my extended family members are from northern Europe and I’ve always enjoyed the cultures of these regions.  I named my daughter Heidi after the classic novel of the same name by Johanna Spyri.  When I planned Heidi’s first birthday, I used her traditional European name as inspiration for her party.  I wanted to incorporate many of the elements that make the northern European region unique and special and since it is September, I thought it would be fun to include a bit of Oktoberfest as well!  I chose a bright color palette highlighting pinks, yellows and blues.   Flowers were a primary theme and used in various ways, from flower garlands, to a flower embellished “H” in honor of Heidi, to oversized handmade paper flowers used as a background for Heidi’s smash cake.  Flower crowns are traditional accessories at Scandinavian festivals so we encouraged the girls at Heidi’s party to wear flowers in their hair by decorating their own flower crown at the DIY flower crown bar.  Oktoberfest props were available to guests at the “selfie station” and guests giggled while adorning themselves with jumbo pretzels, steins of beer and funny hats.

Guests enjoyed a spread of European inspired cuisine including  Bavarian pretzels, sausages and a selection of German beers served in our “Biergarten”.  Aebleskiver, which are round Danish pancakes topped with powdered sugar and served with jam, were cooked onsite and offered to guest throughout the party.  This was a highlight as many guests had never tasted a delicious fresh Aeblesiver before!  For dessert, we served a variety of sweets including cupcakes, Danish Kringle, and sugar cookies iced to look like Dalah horses.  Sweet little Heidi was dressed in a pink pinafore dress with a white apron and she wore a special felt flower crown handmade just for her.  She was most comfortable in Mama’s arms for most of the party but did enjoy eating the sprinkles off of her birthday cake!

Vendor Credits

Event Design & Decor – Star Hansen Events

Photography – Jenny Quicksall Photography

Signage – Gumma Gubba Stationary Studio

Sugar Cookies & Kringle – Kirsten’s Danish Bakery

Fresh Yellow Watermelon Margaritas

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The end of summer is always bittersweet.  Summer is my favorite season and I’m sad to say goodbye to warm nights, sun dresses and my all of the amazing produce that is in abundance right now.  However, I must admit that a part of me is excited about cozy sweaters, pumpkin candles and comfort food!

Since we have a few weeks of summer left, I’m going to soak it in and continue to enjoy all of the wonderful things the season has to offer!  One of my all time favorite summertime treats is watermelon.  My family and I eat it all summer long and I love to incorporate it into salads, desserts and beverages.  I always get so excited when I come across yellow watermelons at the store or farmer’s market.  Yellow watermelons taste just like regular watermelons but are a beautiful pastel yellow inside!  When deciding on the perfect cocktail for a recent “girls night in” I decided to make fresh watermelon margaritas.  I love a good margarita – especially one that incorporates lots of fresh fruit juices (instead of sweet and sour), and this one fits the bill.  The ingredients are simple and high quality so the drink is wonderfully refreshing and as healthy as a cocktail can be 🙂  This cocktail can obviously be made with any kind of watermelon but I was lucky enough to have a yellow watermelon on hand so I used it in place of the traditional watermelon I typically use for this recipe.  The result was a unique and delicious beverage that we all enjoyed.  I garnished the drinks with a slice of yellow watermelon and a succulent cocktail stirrer which I thought complemented this drink so beautifully.  The succulent stirrers were super simple to make – keep an eye out for a blog post showing how I made them!

Fresh Yellow Watermelon Margarita Recipe

Ingredients:

  • Juice from one large lime (approximately 4 ounces)
  • Juice from half a medium lemon (approximately 2 tablespoons)
  • Juice from two large oranges (approximately 4 ounces)
  • Juice from 1/2 of a small watermelon (approximately 8 ounces)
  • 6 ounces of high quality silver Tequila
  • Simple syrup* to taste (I used 1/3 cup) or sweeter of choice

Instructions: Combine all ingredients in a pitcher and stir.  Take a taste to ensure it is perfect – adjusting juice/sweeteners as needed.  Pour over ice into four pretty glasses (salt the rims if you’d like) and garnish with a slice of watermelon.  Succulent stirrer optional 🙂  Makes about 4 cocktails.

*Note: To prepare simple syrup, heat equal parts water and sugar in saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally until sugar has dissolved.  Let the syrup cool and then add desired amount to your margarita mix.

 

Are you thirsty yet…