Monday, November 1, 2010

Miss Me?

I have been blogging... I swear! Just.. not.. here. If you want to see what I'm up to these days visit me at Paper & Cake's blog. But, I'll be back. As soon as I can find the time to string two thoughts together!

Oh, and it's my anniversary! No, not that kind. The work kind. Paper & Cake have been proudly serving up printable partyware for TWO years!

Why don't you head on over, and while you're at it,check out our latest printable gift giving set!

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Sometimes, I feel like I can obsess just a TAD over the strangest things. Today, that thing is wood grain. I'm working on a new printable wedding collection and it might just have a tad bit of wood grain in it - sounds a little odd but I promise you will be in LOVE.

Also, and I bet you didn't know this about me, I am a closet scrapbooker. I enjoy it. I hope this doesn't mean you won't be my friend anymore? I'm still me... just scrapbookier. Lately, to conserve money, I have found that digital scrapbooking might be a more cost effective way to go. Here are a couple of my new digital pages.

Today, some of my girlfriends and sisters are coming over to scrapbook. I hope they bring junk food?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

SPACE.... the Final Frontier!

Seeing as how I am the s-l-o-w-e-s-t blogger on the planet, it's looking like time I put up some information about the Space Party we had for my 5 year old a few weeks back.

Let me back up.... for Christmas this last year, "Santa" gave my son an astronaut suit, complete with helmet. He is a bit obsessed with "Star Wers, Dark Vader and Life Savors" (his words, not mine), so I thought we could broaden his horizons a bit and get him imagining space as a whole rather than just "Luke the Sky Walker".

What with the Paper & Cake printable partyware team being, well, ME, I made the executive decision to design a Space Printable Birthday Party collection. I figured if my son was into it, there was a good chance he was not alone.


So, here is the invite ... and the beauty of it? It's available in our store, so all you have to do is type your own info into it using Acrobat Reader, a free download from Easy, right?


I could not WAIT to share this part of the decorations with you all. Because it is budget central over here at the Barnes house (our family is on a mission to save save save wherever possible) I was really excited to have the opportunity to use a giant plastic bin full of Space related paraphernalia that my dad gave me from his days working at JPL. Pins, buttons, maps, photos, illustrations, you name it - the perfect bunch of stuff to choose from!

So, using two frames I had in the closet, I removed the glass and covered the cardboard filler with silver sparkly scrapbooking paper. The pins and buttons are just stuck in to the backing - no tape or glue needed. Two sets of 3M removable picture hangers did the trick to hang them above the table near the front door.

Next, I put together photo collages using brightly colored photographs of Saturn, various moons, and mars, to hang above the fireplaces. These were held together with Fotoclips (tiny plastic fasteners), and secured to the wall using some blue painters tape.

For some added interest, I placed this "Mars" book (from the plastic bin) and several space themed library books on tables around the house.

In addition, you can bet that I used pennant banners, lawn dots and garlands GALORE from our Space Printable Birthday Party collection. They are SO easy - just print on cardstock on your home color printer, and cut. For the lawn dots, I added wooden skewers to the back to stick them into the lawn along the front walkway.

garland - use 1", 2" and 3" punches and hang with silver ribbon

lawn dots can be assembled using kitchen skewers and hot glue


Usually I offer a craft project or two at the kids parties, but this time - and knowing the guest list, I put up activity tables instead. I ordered some small astronaut action figures from amazon and paired them with home made play dough. Neon food coloring is the secret to this popular activity.

Another inexpensive project for the kids to work on is legos - especially when you use the ones you already own. Just set them out in buckets on a big table, and that's it.

We were also fortunate that my husband was able to finish building the play structure in the backyard (the morning of the party!) just in time! I Wrapped it with 7 dollars worth of silver organza, and attached a few "control panels" with buttons and knobs on loan from some friends at his office.

And now, for the piéce de résistance... the moment you have all been waiting for....

the hover craft!

I'm not kidding. One of my husband's friends made a hover craft. Well, it's kind of more like a hover board because only one person can ride at a time, but still. The kids went CRAZY for it. Well here, let me show you:


Jack and his friends enjoyed themselves so much, that even Jack's preschool teacher had to try it out!


One word for you.... Cupcakes. When you have this much party planning to do, why not make it easy on yourself, for once! Here is my secret, please don't tell anyone! Use box-of-cake-mix (any kind will do) but make your own frosting. A nice vanilla cream cheese buttercream will do nicely, and make the cupcakes taste as though they are from scratch as well.

Now, because I was feeling a little guilty for not making a whole cake (have you seen my cakes? they can be a tad bit on the labor intensive side), I planned a really cool cupcake stand instead. I took two kraft paper "hat" boxes ($3.25 ea from the Fabric Barn), and one round cake board, and covered them in the same matching gray sparkly scrapbooking paper I've been using for other party items. I also took a little bit of the ribbon from the hanging garlands, and wrapped that around and around. 


Leaving the silver foil baking cups on the cupcake, I frosted, added a matching cupcake pick, and set them around the hat boxes. The cupcake picks from this Space Printable Birthday set could not be easier! Print on cardstock and use a 2" punch (or scissors) to cut out, then tape or glue to a toothpick - that's it!

Party Favors

Did I mention the budget? So, how do you give party favors to 20 kids without spending a fortune? With a Space themed CD of course! I burned several CDs (one per family) with these great songs:

Star Wars Theme
Swinging on a Star, Bing Crosby
Fly Me to the Moon, Ralph's World
I Don't Want to Live on the Moon, Ernie from Sesame Street
Roger's Intergalactic Tour, Seth Decker & the Missing Piece
Moon Moon Moon, Laurie Berkner
The Ballad of Davy Crockett (In Outer Space), They Might Be Giants
Let's Take a Rocketship to Space, Danny and the Jaytones
The Imperial March (Star Wars)
We're Going to Mars, the Backyardigans
Rocketship Run, Laurie Berkner
When you Wish upon a Star, Cliff Edwards
2001: A Space Odyssey Theme

Avery has a label you can run through your ink jet printer and stick right on the front of your CD. Of course the label is also available on the Space Printable Birthday Party, wink wink. Package it in a silver CD bubble wrapper from here, and there you have it for about $2 per favor.


Food is not my favorite party item to plan/prepare/shop for, so I made it easy on myself by serving  stars and moon shaped sandwiches, and giant platters of fruit. We also had Chips and Salsa, Lemonade, Ice Tea and a super creative Cereal Bar.

ultra cool chip and dip belonged to my grandmother - so space age! 

use any kind of cereal, and serve dry in a cup or paper cone

Wrap Up

Okay, let me just say that the party was WAY easier and shorter for that matter than this blog post. I'll wrap up my 17 volume tome by saying, "I love a good party!". I really really love throwing a good party, especially one that is home made and on a budget. 

Jack had a SPECTACULAR time at the party, in fact, we haven't even taken down the decorations yet (it's only been a month), and we listen to his space music EVERY day. Every. Day. Let me know if you have any questions, or you have your own Space themed party to share.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Houston, we have a Birthday

Want to throw your own Space Party? This Printable Party is now available, and easy to use. Just visit Paper & Cake, print, cut and BLAST OFF!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Invitation for a Donation

For the past 6 years, I have participated in the Multiple Sclerosis 50 Mile Challenge Walk from Carlsbad to San Diego, California. I walk for my best friend of over 26 years, Rita, who was diagnosed the same year my daughter was born - 2002. Now, to participate in the walk, you have to raise a MINIMUM of $2,500 by September... well, I thought I should get started!

So to raise money for this worthwhile cause, I would like to do something for you. I would like to offer to design an invitation for you, free of charge. Anything you want. Free. Of. Charge.

It could be a baby announcement or a birthday party or a moving announcement or even a bridal shower invite. What you will get, is a high resolution PDF file to print on your home color printer, or a .jpg to upload to a photo processing site for a print. Your choice. You can also choose the size - use up that box of envelopes you already have, or send it as a postcard.

Here is the catch - you had to know there was a catch. There is ALWAYS a catch. I would love for you to make a donation on my page.

every little girl deserves a pink princess party

baptism invitation for a brand new baby boy

surfer girl party! imagine it in blue for a little boy...

So please, think about it. It's for a good cause. Thanks for listening. I have to go and buy my shoes now.

Monday, May 10, 2010

5-4-3-2-1 BLASTOFF!

SO perfect photo of my son taken by my cousin Krista

How about a little preview of Jack's 5th Birthday party? I'll write up a "how-to" that will help you save money and still throw a star-studded spectacular outer space mission!

handmade cupcake stand - for under 9 bucks!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Once a Year

2010 ~ Autumn is 8 years old

Even though we live in Southern California, Disneyland is a nightmare family adventure we experience only once a year. I just wanted to share probably the last "on dad's shoulder's" photo my cute daughter will have... I'm guessing next year she will finally be to big for her dad?

Here are the photos from the past....








 Thanks for strolling down memory lane with me...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Party Planning

And the birthday parties just keep on coming! My son will be 5 next month (FIVE... really... I know and it was only yesterday... sniff sniff)


Next month Jack will have his 5th birthday with a Space themed party. So far, I have made invitations... want to see?

I'm planning a space ship, moon sand, a rocket craft project, hunting for moon rocks and cake. Of course cake. So far so good, don't you think? 

Oh, and you better believe this is a printable party that will be offered at Paper & Cake in the not too distant future.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Magic of Oreos

Two words: Oreo Buttercream.

  • 8 oz. unsalted softened butter
  • 4 c. powdered sugar
  • 2 T milk
  • 2 t. vanilla extract
  • 2 t. fresh lemon juice
  • 12-14 Oreos, finely crushed in food processor (centers and all!)
  • Bag of mini oreos - for garnish
In a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, add 1/2 the powdered sugar plus all of the other ingredients. Beat until moistened. Scrape down the bowl. Add the rest of the powdered sugar and the oreos. If the frosting is still too thick, you can add a tiny bit of milk at a time until it reaches the desired consistency. Garnish with one mini oreo per cookie, alternatively, you can cut the full size cookies in half and insert half into each cupcake.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Pink Camouflage Birthday - Part two

"Photo Booth" with Autumn and her party guests

In part two of this fabulous birthday party how-to, I will do my best to explain the cake. Sadly, I neglected to take photos of exactly what I did, but I promise it was easier than you might think!

The Cake

Using 2 boxes of cake mix, I made 2 six inch round cakes and 2 eight inch round cakes. After they cooled, I took a serrated knife and leveled them by cutting the tops off. Place the bottom layer of the 8 inch cake on a cardboard round (you can buy them or make your own) cover the top with filling or frosting, and put the top layer on. Repeat for the smaller cake. Keeping each two layer cake separate, "dirty ice" or frost with a thin layer of buttercream to make the surface smooth for the fondant to stick to. Refrigerate.

Now for the fun part!

The Fondant

when the fondant is rolled out, the "snakes" of shades of pink
fondant become the cornerstone of the Camouflage pattern

1) Buy or make fondant icing. The store bought kind has a chart on the side to tell how much you need for what size cake.
2) Pull out a chunk of fondant from the bucket and weigh it for the 8" 2 layer cake, then add a bit of pink food coloring and knead it in. Pull off three much smaller pieces and add pink food coloring to make three additional shades of pink (light to dark).
3) Take your main piece of light pink fondant shape it into a 5-6" disk, press several small snake shaped pieces of the other shades of pink fondant into it - do this randomly, with some overlapping.
4) Using a rolling pin and a bit of powder sugar (so it won's stick to the work surface or the rolling pin) roll out the fondant to a thickness of no more thank 1/4" thick.
5) Your rolled fondant piece will look like camouflage!
6) Place the rolled piece of fondant over the 8" layer cake. Smooth the fondant over the top and along the sides using your hands, working it so there are no wrinkles. Trim off any excess fondant with a knife or pizza cutter.
7) Repeat with second layer cake.

The Decorative Border

cut WAY more than you think you might use... you will use them!

1) While the leftover fondant is still rolled out on the table, take a small biscuit cutter or pastry tip and cut circles out of the camouflage fondant.
2) Roll the circles into little fondant balls - they will all be fairly similar in size.

The Assembly

in serving the cake, you can see the construction of the top layer

1) Place the larger round cake on a plate or cake stand.
2) Take 3 straws, cut to the height of the 8" layer cake, and insert them in a triangle pattern in the center area of the cake to support the weight of the 2nd tier.
3) Place the 6" cake on top, in the center.
4) Put a small dot of leftover buttercream (in a pastry bag with a tip) at the base of the bottom cake and cover with a camo fondant ball - repeat, repeat, repeat until the bases of both stacked tiers are encircled with fondant balls.

ta da!

The Adventure

My daughter is obsessed with mysteries and clues and scavenger hunts! That is why I planned on planning a scavenger hunt for the main event at her party. Unfortunately, it was scheduled to rain, and here in Southern California, if we go outside in the rain, we melt.

So, an indoor activity it was! I made 8 "challenge cards" for each individual child. The challenges ranged from simple codes (alphabet letters corresponding with numbers), map questions (where is New Orleans), to questions they had to "Google" to find the answer (my sister was in charge of helping the kids on the computer) to my absolute favorite: "Kid vs. Food" - eat a veggie (from the crudité platter) that you've never eaten before. That one was so funny!

party guests solving challenges

I did use several of the challenges over again for different kids, like draw a self portrait, put a puzzle together, or build a 3 ft tall tinker toy structure. And I did attempt to gear the question for the individual (age, sex, interest).

After solving one challenge, the child brought proof of their answer to the "Command Central" table - my friend Julia. Their challenge card was stamped and their passport (oh, I forgot to tell you about the passport) stamped as well. They exchanged their solved challenge for a new one, and after solving all of them (or as many as they wanted to) they received a bag of camouflage MnMs.

Julia at the Command Central table (AKA the kitchen table)

The Result

All in all, this party was well worth the effort - just look at that cute little girl...oops! I mean look at that grown up 8 year old, she loved every minute of it! If your birthday girl is obsessed with all things solving-the-mystery, everything I used is now available for purchase! Find this pink camouflage printable party at the Paper & Cake (brand new) website.