Spiders and Fall

I can't even handle spiders.

Unless they are fake ones, bound in a shadow box.
Then they become sort of cute. Sort of.
favorite shelf

I brought an old shadow box down from my room and wanted to cut
off spider rings to make a Halloween-ish bug display.

When I went to Michael's, I didn't find your average spider rings.
I found these bad boys! Perfect!
spider ring

I cut the ring off, and put them in with a straight pin.
spiders 2

As I continued to fill up my shelves with fall fun, I broke out the Martha glitter.
Man, I love Martha glitter.
I just printed out what I wanted, covered it with tacky glue and glittered away!

Then I gathered up some old stuff, some more stuff from different rooms and
I bought a few inexpensive frames from IKEA.

I threw it all together with the help of my good friend who is very talented and is
blessed with a "decorators eye." Everyone needs a good friend like that!
She still hasn't put the finishing touches on, but I already love it!

Here are some of the tips she gave me.

So with a little project here and there, and some help from my friend,
it is starting to feel all fall and cozy in our home...
(And I'm really loving my turquoise buffet with the orange pumpkins).

The only thing cramping my "fall style" is that it still hot! 100 today!!!
I'm going to ignore that minor detail and soak up all things fall.

You know what else would make me feel all "fall" inside.
Some pumpkin frozen yogurt, or better yet, I'm breaking out some pumpkin bread.

Happy Fall, Ya'll!

Sweet Sixteen Alice in Wonderland Birthday Party

Even though I have tried to turn back the clock, sweet sixteen is here. My daughter and her friend had grand plans for their combined sweet sixteen soire like "The house won't even look like a house, it will be totally transformed!" So, you want me to transform a home into Wonderland AND feed you on a regular basis? Sheesh!

Here's the invite done with the cutest digital kit from scrapbookgraphics.com I sewed the outside into a pocket and the party info was on a card that was pulled out by a ribbon and mushroom pull.

Wonderland invite_edited-2

And before I go any further, check out the cake! And take note, because while Ashleigh and I spent hours on this creation, my baby may or may not have eaten a large amount of cake crumbs on the ground. I had never done a fondant cake, or a tiered cake, or a topsy turvy cake. But thank goodness for the internet, how did we attempt to do things we have no business doing before cake central's tutorial I didn't follow this exactly but it helped a lot!


And... you're going to want to sit down for this.
Ashleigh made sugar cookies to match the cake to give out as favors! To. Die. For.


The guests came in to this sign painted by the other kids while I was ignoring them.


And these signs on the door


And all over the party were 9 life size characters from the movie drawn by a very talented relative. The Queen of Hearts was over 5 feet tall. Amazing!

Party 1

The first room was the Queen of Hearts where the guests played some games.


Some paintbrushes for painting the roses red


And of course we couldn't have an Alice in Wonderland party without a tea party. (For 30 very fun teenagers)

375 copy

I scoured thrift stores and garage sales for tea cups, plates, tea pots and cute little vases.



No Alice party is complete without "Eat Me" cookies and "Drink Me" bottles.


We had tea party food: Meatballs, shrimp scampi, burger sliders, chocolate dipped strawberries, rice krispies on a stick, mini muffin flowers, chocolate covered pretzels with red and white roses, mini party pizzas, fruit and veggies.

Party Food 3

Party Food 2

And I'm jumping on the banner bandwagon. Since it technically wasn't either of their actual birthday...

Party 2

A huge thank you goes out to Shannon's family for giving up their house for this craziness. The party was a success and all the work was worth it until my hubby says on the way home "Good job honey, but you know all those kids would have been happy just hanging out and eating pizza."

Not helpful.
Off with his head!
But then he redeemed himself with a foot rub and a soda.
He's a keeper!
And so is my fabulous, technically almost 16 year old! Love ya!

Sock Monkey Theme

I recently cleaned out my fabric and found this sock monkey banner.

It put it in the "donate pile."

But before I get rid of it, lets just stroll down pre-blog (not very many picts) memory lane.
I loved this shower theme.

It all started when I fell in love with the moda sock monkey fabric.
I made a quilt for my dear friend who was about to have a boy.

When I wanted to throw her a baby shower,
I spotted some patterned paper at my local craft store that was the same as the fabric line.

Seriously, how often do the stars align so perfectly?!?
Left over fabric from the quilt to make a banner with and paper to make invitations and favors with!
How could I not do a sock monkey themed shower?

I made a little label on the bags and had people fill them with candy.

I painted a little canvas sign for the door to match the polka-dot fabric.
I threw a couple of sock monkeys out, had some food and it was a party! Good times.

The sweet baby we celebrated is now running around and talking. Time flies!

Butterfly Cake

cupMy daughter just turned 7. Her only birthday wish was to have a "cool cake."
(Oh, and a new bedspread which I can't make a decision on).

But all she could talk about was which kind of cake she could have.
The only inspiration she gave me was that she liked butterflies.

This is when all of my Martha watching and blog surfing come in handy.
Because these two "cool cakes" came to mind:
1. I remember loving this rainbow cake, featured on the Martha show, from Whisk Kid.
2. I remember dying over this heart cake, made by the lovely Bakerella.

So I combined those two concepts and made this:
cake 1

I watched the rainbow cake instructions and made 5 thin layers out of 2 batches of white cake.
(I divided the batter evenly, then dyed it).
Jenna actually loves the taste of fondant. But for people like me, who peel it off
and don't eat it, I made the buttercream frosting layer generous. (More than a crumb coat).
I baked, layered and frosted into the wee hours of the night. Then it went to the freezer.

The next day, I covered it with white fondant.
Let's pretend its flawless, and perfectly smooth.

Then I tried to dye some fondant the same color as the cake layers.
Then we (Jenna wanted to help every step of the way) rolled it out and cut out a million butterflies.
I wanted the butterflies to dry with their wings slightly popped up, so they'd be flying off the cake.
So we gathered every kitchen utensil we could think of for the butterflies to dry on.

Then we lined them up and glued them on with water.
partway done

Jenna was fully excited about a birthday cake photo shoot.
She can appreciate a food photo-shoot. She's no stranger to food blogs and the food network.
blowing out

But she could hardly wait to surprise her cousins with what was inside.
(She kept it a secret).

Yes, the outside was wanna-be Bakerella and the inside was wanna-be Whisk Kid.
Thank-you people I don't know, but idolize. You are my inspiration!
the inside

The kids were thrilled that each person got 3 butterflies on their slice.
No one had to fight over "more frosting" or "I want that decoration."
All slices were equal opportunity.

This 9" cake doesn't look that big, but it fed lots of people with half left over!
1-2 gone

And the most important thing was, Jenna loved it! She loved every step of the way.
loved it

I asked her if this qualified as a "cool cake" to her. She giggled a yes!

I'm linking to and Tatertots and Jello and Today's Creative Blog. Check it out!

Project Wedding- The Food

I have never cooked for this many people at once.
However, I was really excited at the thought of playing "caterer" at this event.
I knew I was an amateur, and I'd make mistakes, but that means I'd learn a lot too!
So I made my plans, made my stands and made a spreadsheet and timeline of the food.

My goal was to have a good selection of both sweet and savory bite-sized food.
I figure, you can try more kinds of things, if everything is small.
I tried to go with some basics that everyone likes along with a few different flavors.
table 2

For the sweet stuff:
I did lemon bars. I tried out 3 recipes and this was my favorite. (Good old Ina)
lemon bars

I made mint brownies. A recipe from my mom.
mint brownies

I did cream puffs. I didn't make my mom proud with her recipe on this one.
I bought the Costco ones and dipped them in chocolate.
I do love making homemade cream puffs, but they take a lot of time and something had to give.
cream puffs

I put them all in little white papers so they were easy to grab and go.
It was even easy for the little ones to grab and go.
My son's shirt is still white, despite all of the brownies he ate.

For the savory:
I made stuffed jalapenos. So simple, and sooooo good. I used this recipe.

I made caprese bites in honor of my bro, the new Italian professor!
I blogged about them here.

I made baby potato skins, per Kathryn's request. I blogged about them here.
potato skins

I also made lemon garlic shrimp. There was a huge chaffing dish of these babies.
I was really mad at BP.
Because of the oil spill in the gulf, I couldn't get my hands on the prawns I usually use.
I had to use frozen shrimp :( It was still good though.

I made goat cheese stuffed mushrooms, cuz they're my favorite!


And you can't see it here, but in the other chaffing dishes, there were brown sugar smokies.

I also have to cater to the healthy people with some good old fruits and veggies.
We rented some huge rectangular platters and lined up the goodness.
I almost can't get over how beautiful these fresh fruits and veggies were.

veggies 1

veggies 2

So that was my attempt at catering. I think it was the most fun I've had all year!
But let me tell you. I didn't do this alone.
I did this with the help of the kindest friends a wanna-be caterer could ask for.
They insisted on helping me, and I'm so glad they did!
I was able to enjoy the open house while these worker bees had everything
perfect and ready to go out! I am forever grateful for their hours of help!
all desserts

Now how would we do all this and document it all? Not possible.
We had a great photographer who took all of the fabulous pictures of that night.
If you live in our area, you have to check her out! Here is Shandi's website.
I made a little collage of her beautiful photos.
And that is the last of the big event of our summer.
{Sigh} So fun, so fun!

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