Monday, March 30, 2009

Wine, Anyone? Chardonnay Perhaps?

Any excuse for wine is a great excuse for wine. That is why we sat down a couple weeks ago (over wine), and decided to give everyone one more reason to drink (several) glasses of wine.

Our "Wine Tasting Party" has just a little bit for everyone:
  • 5"x7" Invitation
  • Wine bottle numbers (customize these with some glitter)
  • Wine glass tags
  • Wine glass tag bag topper (give the gift that keeps on giving)
  • Wine tasting scorecard
  • Party starter question game (54 ice breaking questions)
  • 6 party recipes (like "Figs with Gorgonzola & Balsamic Vinegar")

So send out your invites and stop by the wine outlet because this party will be off the hook! and, well, wine is not included.

As always, this collection is $5 in the Paper & Cake Etsy shop.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Cowboy Birthday Party

I can sum this one up in two simple words, "YEEEE HAW!"

When my son Jack turned 2, I put together a little birthday get-together, covered in cowboy hats and sheriff badges. It was adorable (if I do say so myself).

I knew, from past experience, that a small cellophane party favor bag makes an excellent (and super cheap) party invitation envelope. For this invite, I purchased 12"x12" sheets of red "bandanna" patterned scrapbooking paper for the background, and 8.5 x 11 sheets of vellum to print the wording on. Then I used some household twine from the junk drawer to make a tiny lasso that was hot glued to the top center of the finished piece.

tip: The finished invite is about 3 1/8" x 6 1/4", if you plan on mailing in a party favor bag, use a little cardstock to back it up, print your addresses on white mailing labels, and take it to the post office to check postage rates.

If you can't read the writing on the invite jpg, here is my attempt at cowboy humor:

YA-HOO! Jack is turning two!

Saddle up and ride out West to
the Barnes Ranch
for a showdown & cake

Sunday, April 29, at 3 o’clock
1234 Main Street, Long Beach

neighs 562.555.1212

If you've ever read my blog before, you know that I love covering my windows with themed decorations. Regular old scotch tape works perfectly on windows, and you never have to worry about accidentally peeling the drywall paper along with the paint.

I purchased some plastic wagon wheels and steer skulls from
Oriental Trading Co. and hung them everywhere. In addition, I made dozens of "Wanted" posters, in two styles, using photos of all the guests invited to the party. They were a hit! (and they were practically free). To round out the look, we used red and blue bandannas and red and white gingham tablecloths.


Usually, for my kids parties, we have some sort of a craft project involving stickers, glitter and glue. This party was a little different in that we did not have a sit down project, rather, stations set up for; using homemade playdough, playing with the water table, donning cowboy dress up items, and painting with water.

homemade playdough always looks better with neon food coloring!

good thing he had his cowboy hat handy for that hot May sunshine

cheapest paint in the world! plain water, with old paintbrushes


This cake was fairly easy to make, and has the design potential to be over the top.

I started with two 9" x 12" cakes. Just use a box of cake, it tastes good and it makes everything go faster and easier.

Using the template below, I carefully cut each layer separately, frosted the top of the bottom layer, and placed the top layer gently on top. I did do a thin "crumb coat" (thinly frosting the entire cake so that all the crumbs are trapped beneath the frosting where they can't escape - especially useful if the cake is chocolate and the frosting is anything lighter than chocolate).

Next, I used a toothpick to outline where and how I wanted the design of the boot. I frosted the dark chocolate frosting in the middle area first, spread the lighter brown frosting second, and piped on the final details last. As soon as the cake frosting was finished, I piped on the "Happy Birthday" message on the cake board, and sprinkled shredded wheat cereal around the boot edges.

Top with a sheriff badge and there you have it!

Since we had a ton of guests, I also made a batch of cupcakes. To fit the western theme, I piped a "brand" on the top with contrasting frosting.

boot cake template

happy birthday to you

I had a blast planning this party, and the kids all got into dressing the part. A cowboy theme is simple to accessorize and easy to plan. Use some creative thinking to make it your own, spend as little as possible and make it look homemade - even if it isn't!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Easter 2006

We always have a great big Easter celebration with my family. Brunch after church and then, of course, the Easter egg hunt! I do look forward to it each year, although, like Santa Clause, it is getting harder and harder to pass myself off as the Easter Bunny.

This year will be the most difficult by far, mostly because of this Easter Collection of downloadable paper party supplies from Paper & Cake. My daughter knows that I designed these, so, I guess it's either break the news gently? or tell everyone I know to use these so I don't feel so bad that I can't. sniff sniff.

As always, those clever girls at Paper & Cake only charge $5 in their Etsy store... check it out!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Why I Walk

my team, "Momemtum" in 2008 ~ four of us High School friends!

In 2003, I signed up for the 3 Day MS Challenge Walk because one of my oldest friends told me she was just diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.

My friend Rita and I met in Jr. High, and have done everything from skiing to attending traffic school, together. She is the reason I met my husband and the reason my first car had so many dents in the fenders.

As I was signing up for the MS Walk online this year, my daughter came in to ask me what I was doing. It was really hard to explain, you try telling 7 year old why money is needed to find a cure - and what a cure is. I think I talked too long about it because she yawned and then smiled and said, “okay mommy”.

Later, while in the kitchen making peanut butter sandwiches, she came in and started dumping change out onto the island counter top. She emptied her entire purse and said, “Is this enough mommy?” It was the sum total of $8.01, which included 2 Sacagawea dollars, that she received from the tooth fairy. I guess she did understand what I was saying.

As I was leaving the room to add her donation to my walk page, she called out after me, “Can MS spread from Auntie Rita to other people?” I said no, it’s just in her own body. She said, “that's really lucky! Now she can go where ever she wants!”

I love that kid.

This will be my sixth year walking in the Southern California MS Challenge 3 Day Walk, a 50 mile walk over three days, from Carlsbad to San Diego, to raise awareness of and money for multiple sclerosis. You too can make a difference by donating – every little bit counts!

Friday, March 6, 2009