Friday, February 14, 2014

My Own Love Story

Happy Valentine's Day!

Its finally here. The day of love. I hope everyone is gobbling up heart shaped candy and solving the mysteries that lay under that heart shaped chocolate box. Right at this moment, I am headed to Vail, Colorado with my honey, on our way to spend the weekend with some friends of ours. I was visiting the Free People Blog the other day, (looking for gift ideas for the hubby, no less) and I came across a tab they had labeled "Love Stories". It was pretty cute. They have a whole page dedicated to all kinds of different love stories in the month of February. So I thought I would share my own love story, on this special day of love.

June 2007
I had recently graduated from college and was living at home working as a nanny. My mom was trying hard to get me set up with someone. I was just trying to save enough money to escape to LA to live with my sister. My mom beat me to it. Her best friend is my husband's aunt. So they played matchmaker and asked us both if we would consider going on a date with the other. Pre-stalking on facebook was done on both sides and he emailed me to introduce himself and say that he was going to call to ask me out. I think we talked back and forth for a few days before he actually asked me out. He kept wanting to invite his friends along....the stinker. Finally the date was set and we were to have drinks, head to a client party of his (that he had forgotten about) and then if things were going well, to dinner. It was love at first sight. I was super nervous while we had drinks, but he made me feel comfortable. At his client's party we were laughing at how awkward it was and were surprised by how comfortable we felt with each other already. At dinner we couldn't stop talking until the restaurant closed and we had to leave. He drove me home.

Then Valentine's Day 2009 he proposed and we were married that same year in August. We will celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary this year and have been blessed with a happy marriage and two gorgeous girls. I hope that we can live to 100 so that we can spend that long together. I wish we could have met sooner so that we could have had longer to be together. He is perfect for me. He was created for me. He is my best friend. And I love him.

All my love to you and yours this Valentine's Day!

* Photos from our wonderful engagement, wedding and family photographers, Photo Elan. You can view their website here: Seattle Engagement Photographer! They are simply the best!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Felt Love Letters

We celebrated Valentine's this evening with our girls because we will be out of town for the weekend. I'm a little sad about it..... I wanted to give my girls something special for Valentine's day this year. I usually just buy a card and stuff them with pink and red candy. But this year I wanted to make them something. Crazy right? So I thought I would make them a Valentine made out of felt, a felt love letter. Pinterest of course had lots of ideas. And this is what I came up with.

You will need:
Colored felt in reds, pinks and whites
Fabric glue
Embroidery thread in assorted colors
Large embroidery needle
A small amount of fluff

1. Start by drawing a stencil for the envelope. Google if you have trouble, but its not too hard. Test the paper and fold it to make sure it works ok.

2. Then using the stencil you just made, cut out an envelope out of felt, in the color of your choice.

3. Fold in the bottom and the sides and using your embroidery thread stitch around the bottom in an upside down "V". This will hold the envelope together.

4. If you want, sew a button on the envelope to keep it closed. But it can close just fine without. Then I just cut a little slit to go over the button.

5. Stitch on the "stamp" and then the "address". It helps if you write on the words with a black pen first so see where you need to stitch. It just makes the stitching a little nicer.

Done! These took me about 2 hours from start to finish for each one. A perfect nap time project.

 Then I added a little heart to go inside. All I did was stitch two hearts together and stuff a little fluff in. And if you are feeling guilty right about now for not making something for your kids....don't. My girls could have cared less about these. I tried to show Princess, "Look there's a HEART inside!" and all she cared about was the candy. I just can't win. I hope ONE day she will appreciate all I have done for her!

Happy V-Day!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Natural Wreath

Thought I would give you all a break from the pink hearts today with this great wreath I made. I was on a rare :) trip to Micheal's the other day, when I got inspired to make this wreath. I wanted it to be rustic and natural and really look like it was made by me. I love the look of all things natural. I'm sure you all have guessed that by now. It just popped into my head as something that sounded fun and just for me. I wanted it to be a wreath that could span a few seasons, so that if I ever don't have a holiday wreath up, it could be used to dress up the front door. It does have a heart on it, but the linen and natural colors makes it versatile.

You will need:
1 Grapevine wreath (these are so cheap! I was surprised)
Lacy ribbon
Assorted moss
Fake birds
Hot glue

1. Lace your lacy ribbon through the wreath and get it placed where you want. Attach with hot glue.

2. Start hot gluing the moss where you want it.

3. Continue with moss until it you achieve the look you are going for.

4. Optional: Tie on a fabric heart. I just whipped this one up, but I bet you could buy something similar. Clip on or tie on the birds. Sometimes they have a clip and sometimes they have little twisty ties. The clip ones are easier to take on and off, but the twisty ties are nice because they camouflage more. I think I may end up just taking the birds off. They don't go as nicely as I thought they would.


Our poor house is in such need of a paint job. Maybe this Summer you'll be seeing before and afters of our house! And no, I won't be DIY-ing that. No way!

I realized with this project just how much I love the look of moss. It reminds me of the forest and fairyland. I would happily put it all over my house. Sometimes I wish my house was a little cottage nestled in the middle of a mossy forest. Sigh.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Pink Champagne Cupcakes

"Don't you think life should be gay and bright and bubbly like champagne?"

"I like pink champagne."

"Yes. That's the kind I mean. Now is there any reason, why from now on that life shouldn't be like pink champagne?"

5 bucks to the first person that names that movie....and leaves a comment on this page. Seriously. I have a hard enough time getting anyone to say ANYTHING on this blog. So I'm bribing you. Kind of. And no google-ing....that's cheating. It's one of the best movies of all time.

I had to do a Valentine's cupcake. I'm kind of like a cupcake connoisseur. No really. I've tasted a lot of cupcakes.....I've tried dozens of recipes on my own. Searching for the one. perfect. cupcake. Cupcakes can be good and cupcakes and be really, really bad. This one I tried, the frosting was super greasy. I'm not really sure how they accomplished that. I mean, the best cupcake frosting is made with butter....but mine have never turned out....greasy. Oh and cake flour is an absolute must. Anyway. I love trying new cupcake recipes. I found this recipe from The Baking Robot (who got it from Squirrel Bakes) and knew I had to try it. What says romance and Valentine's more than pink champagne!? I mean come on! So romantic. And pink to boot.

I knew I was in for something exciting when trying these cupcakes. But I'm not really sure I fathomed how great they would be. Its like the champagne intensified every single flavor in the cupcake. The flavor is amazing. There is like this one taste in them that you can't quite get your finger on (which I'm assuming is the champagne) and you just can't get enough of it (go figure). The one thing I didn't like about this recipe is that the cupcakes turned out a little dense. Which, could very well have been user error. I may have over-beat the egg whites. I don't know. I would have to try again to see. But really, the flavor you get from these is incredible. Won't be the only time I make these!

Some tips I have for cupcake making:
* Use a pastry bag for frosting your cupcakes. Sure, you can put the frosting on with a knife, but it just makes them look so much nicer with that fancy swirl on top. And you can use whatever kind of tip strikes your fancy.
* Place the cupcakes on a rimmed baking sheet when you sprinkle on the sprinkles. That way you can contain some of the mess!
* Measure carefully, especially the flour. It makes a big difference.
* An hour before you want to start baking, leave the butter out. This will allow it to come to room temperature before you start and will make it much easier to handle when you need it.
* When adding food coloring and flavoring, go very slowly. One drop at a time! That way you won't end up with crazy color or way too intense flavor.

Make these for Valentine's and everyone will be in love with you. I promise.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Candy Hearts Necklace

As a child, I loved Valentine's day. I loved getting those itty bitty cards with all forms of heart shaped candy attached to them. It was so much fun. Did anyone have one of those mini mailboxes, all decked out in hearts to hold your Valentine's loot? Maybe that was a kindergarten thing. I loved that thing. (They really don't do it like they did in the 80's huh?) It really is a holiday for all ages. And I know some of you may hate it. I know the single ladies may be cringing at every heart shaped craft I put up and I know some of you may even leave my blog for a few weeks just to escape all the heart-i-ness.....but its a holiday for everyone. Yeah, its a holiday celebrating love, but its not just the romantic kind. It can be a sister kind of love, a mother-daughter kind of love....hey, it can even be a love your dog kind of love. So don't be a party pooper, because its fun! There are a million kinds of love out there that deserve a day to celebrate all the love that is shared in the world.
Anyway, here is a another fun, easy Valentine's craft that is perfect for doing with the kids and great for wearing on V-day....if its lasts until then.

You will need:
Candy hearts (The Necco brand is my personal favorite)
Small white chocolate chips
Thin white yarn or string (The kind I have pictured was too thick)

1. Cut the string/yarn the length you want it to be. You just want it to fit around the neck and be able to tie it in a bow.

2. Lay out the candy hearts in the pattern you want them to be. Then place one white chocolate chip on each one.

3. Microwave the hearts in 15 second increments until the white chocolate is just melted.

4. Lay your piece of string over the white chocolate, then place another (matching) colored heart over the top, sandwiching it so that the string gets held in place.

5. Allow the chocolate to set for a few minutes, then its ready to wear! Surprisingly enough, Princess didn't gobble it up right away. I don't think she understood that it was an edible necklace, even though she was eating the supplies as we made it. But that's what its for, so go for it!

These would be great classroom valentines or party favors. It can get your little one involved in making their friends something special for Love Day! And if nothing else, its just a super fun craft to do with the munchkins on these cold cabin fever days!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Baby Taggie Blanket

I went to a baby shower over the weekend and I wanted to try making something for the baby. I have made a quilt before, a baby scarf before and you have seen what I can do with a onesie, but I wanted to make something I hadn't made before. So I tried making a Taggie blankey. I think it turned out pretty cute. It was a little confusing at times, but after un-stitching and restitching a few times, I finally got it. For those of you who don't know about Taggie blankets, they are basically just blankets with bits of ribbon sewn onto the edges. Babies for some reason are crazy about the tags on toys and blankets, so some genius came up with the idea of Taggies. My girls had a Taggie toy ball and a Taggie elephant that were pretty cute. I thought I would stick with the more basic Taggie. Baby stuff is so fun to make because there are so many cute baby fabrics out there. And making your own Taggie is great because you can match it to the colors of the baby's bedroom or stick to the typical pinks for girls or blues for boys. Here is the how to.

You will need:
2, 15X15 inch squares of fabric (I used a flannel for one side and a cotton for the other)
Tons of different bits and pieces of ribbon (A great way to use up ribbon pieces that are too short to wrap with!)
1, 15X15 inch square of batting
Sewing materials

 1. Start by cutting out your 2 squares of fabric and batting.

2. Lay down the batting, then one of the fabric squares on top of it, pretty side up. Start pinning all of your ribbons onto the outside of your batting/fabric square making a loop with each ribbon. This way it is "tag" like.

3. Sew all the way around the square to secure the ribbons and remove pins.

 4. Lay the second square of fabric on top of the square with the ribbons on it, so that pretty sides are together. Pin and sew most of the way around. Make sure you leave an opening so that you can flip it all right side out.

 5. Trim off excess on the sides and cut the corners of the square. This helps keep the blanket less bulky.

6. Flip right side out.

7. Tuck in the edges of the hole and pin shut. Sew down about 1/4 inch from the edge and continue all the way around the square to make it look nice.

And that's it! Not so bad right?

Its such a great, simple gift to make for expecting mothers and babies LOVE them!