Thursday, December 31, 2009

Champagne wishes...

These favors were made for someone who was married on New Year's Eve. The theme of the party was champagne, of course. Inside each champagne glasses I tucked a recipe (printed on silver paper) and a nip to make a champagne cocktail. I renamed the cocktails so that they were more personalized for the couple. This one was called the "Costa Rican Rum-ba" a nod to the couples honeymoon destination. These would also be fun favors for a New Year's Eve party!

May all of your Champagne Wishes come true in 2010!
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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Tree cupcakes

These were inspired by ! Thanks for such a great idea.... I brought them to a play date today and the kids loved them. I used mini cones and green icing for the trees and the presents are starbursts, not fondant.
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I LOVE the holidays, so when it comes to decorating I don't just stop with the living room. I want to make it fun and festive for my kids too so they each have feather trees in their rooms. My son's room in Tiffany blue with accents in brown and orange so his tree is winter white with orange ornaments. I also found a fun white feather wreath that I put on the wall above the bed. My daughter's room is pink and green so she has a pink feather tree with green ornaments. I also put up stockings and throw around some ornaments to make it extra fun.

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Teacher Gifts

For me nursery school is all about the alphabet...learning about it, singing it endlessly. So, it was the obvious inspiration for our teacher gifts this year. It started with this mug from Anthropologie. I found the ornament gift tag at Pottery Barn and put a black & white copy of my daughters school picture on the back. I also included a mother goose cookie in the red box and attached our Christmas card to the inside lid. I finished it with a gift certificate to a local bakery for a cup of coffee on us. What did you give to teachers this year?

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

recipe for Cranberry - Champagne Punch

6 c. cranberry juice cocktail

1/2 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 c. freshly squeezed orange juice

2 bottles champagne

Combine all ingredients except champagne. Chill well. Pour chilled juices into punch bowl. Add champagne. Serves 20.

I floated fresh cranberries on top and also made ice cubes with the left over cranberry juice to keep the punch cold throughout the night without watering it down.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Kids Christmas Party

My husband and I threw an Open House party for our friends. Since we have children, and most of our friends do too, we wanted to make sure that we had activites and food that would allow everyone (big & small) to enjoy themselves. This post shares some of the things that we did to make sure our littlest friends felt special. We asked our guests to bring hats, mittens or a scarf to our party which we donated to our local women's and children's center. I used this old shutter and wooden clothespins to attach mitten cookies made by Art Girl Cookies. When guest arrived with their donations I instructed them to exchange them for the mitten cookies. For a special drink we offered out littlest friends a hot cocoa bar. I put out some cocoa powder, mini marshmallows, and chocolate/peppermint shavings in bowls, added a can of whipped cream (which I covered in red and white gingham paper) and some snowman mugs. In the basement I created a gingerbread wonderland... This included a miniature Christmas tree decorated with some of our pretend sweets from Pottery Barn Kids and a puppet theatre that I turned into a gingerbread house with brown craft paper, rickrack, and a construction paper roof. I put some miniature aprons and chef hats in the back along with some tiny cookie cutters, rolling pins, and cookie pans all for some pretend play. We also left some activities out for the kids like the game Candy Land, gingerbread men cookies to decorate and candy themed coloring pages. We also invited our little guests to bring their pajamas and we threw on some of our favorite Christmas movies. The party was a great success for big and fact, I am not really sure who had more fun!

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Jubilee Events

I was thrilled to have my b&w Christmas decorations mentioned on Jubilee Events Blog...You can find it here and while you are there check out all of the other creative winter inspiration from Candice. You won't be disappointed!
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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

decorating with b&w for the holidays...

Most people think of red & green for Christmas. As I mentioned in a previous post, my dining room is b & w. For Christmas this year I wanted to try and keep this color scheme in my dining room for my holiday decorating. I used clear Christmas ornaments that I found at a craft store to hang from the chandelier. In each one I placed something small and white, like buttons, glitter, or a single feather. It was an easy way to add dimension and interest to the decor, and I didn't have to run out to get any of it. I used things I had in the house. I was able to find black candy, wrapping paper, and ornaments at most of the local stores. These accents along with a white poinsettia and twinkle lights transformed the room into a festive place to gather with friends and family.

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Sunday, December 6, 2009

hot cocoa

Every year on the day after Thanksgiving we go with a bunch of our friends to get our Christmas tree. It has become such a fun tradition. This year it was a little rainy and cold so I decided to bring along some homemade hot cocoa to warm us all up. As a child my mom always used to make me homemade cocoa and there is absolutely no substitute, and it really isn't that hard! You can find the recipe on the side of a box of Hershey's Natural Unsweetened Cocoa . Here it is:
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup Hershey's cocoa
dash salt
1/3 cup hot water
4 cups milk
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
Mix sugar, cocoa and salt in a saucepan; stir in water. Cook and stir over med. heat until the mixture boils; boil and stir for 2 minutes. Stir in milk and heat. DO NOT BOIL. Remove from heat; add vanilla.
I lined a basket with some red/white striped napkins and threw in a bowl of mini marshmallows and candy canes. I even found some adorable ceramic snowmen mugs. For the adults, I brought along some peppermint schnapps. This would also make a lovely gift basket for someone you know this holiday season. Enjoy!
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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Bottle of Red....

Here is a photo of one of the gift baskets that went out of the studio this month. Inside an old wine crate I put a mini barrel of Red Truck wine, two chalkboard wine glasses, and some festive paper cocktail napkins. In keeping with the theme I also tucked in a red truck t-shirt.

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This is a gift basket that was made for one of my favorite little gardener friends. Inside a Terra cotta pot is nestled a favorite book called "Paperwhite," an oil cloth Cath Kidson gardening apron that I picked up on a trip to Ireland, and a hot pink watering can filled with paperwhite bulbs. I love to give gifts that include an activity and this one will hopefully bring a little bit of Spring to a long New England winter.
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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

You're a good man Charlie Brown!

Now that I have small children I have enjoyed starting new holiday traditions with them. I thought I would share one of our Thanksgiving ones with you. We usually have our meal in the early afternoon so when dinner time comes around we are all starting to feel a little peckish. It is at this time that I gather the kids and put on our copy of Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving. I serve all of the things that Chuck serves his friends that day...popcorn, pretzels, toast, jelly beans... you get the picture. It is a fun tradition that doesn't take a lot of planning or cost a lot of money, but it serves the purpose of feeding them a little something and provides them with some great entertainment. Do you have a favorite tradition to share?
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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

nuts about you!

My daughter is in nursery school this year and has five teachers that rotate on any given day. I wanted to get them each something small to thank them for all of their hard work and dedication and let them know how thankful we are that our daughter loves school. I found adorable glass acorn ornaments from Pottery Barn and at only $4 a piece I felt like I had found the perfect gift! I wrapped the boxes in silver tissue paper and then wrapped them again in white tracing paper to add texture and a subtle grey color. I stamped "We're nuts about you!" on each box, tied it with b&w bakers twine and attached a squirrel sticker to the gift tag.

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Friday, November 13, 2009

good guest

If you are heading to someones house for Thanksgiving this year you might want to think about bringing them a thoughtful hostess gift basket. I filled this one with some Organic "After the Feast" Lentil Soup Mix, leaf shaped votive candles, chocolate covered cranberries, and cocktail napkins with a cute turkey print. Don't forget to include a handwritten note telling them how thankful you are to be spending the holiday with them.
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Thursday, November 12, 2009

merry mimosa

I donated this basket to the Junior League of Greater New Haven for its Sixth Annual Wine Tasting and Live and Silent Auction. It takes place today, Thursday, November 12, and the proceeds help to support the League and its community projects. I made a mimosa themed gift basket that included two Crate and Barrel Champagne glasses, a box of Godiva chocolate, two petite bottles of Korbel, a tin of mimosa flavored rimming sugar, some tea lights, and fresh oranges. I wrapped the basket in cellophane and attached some wine charms to the tag.
For more information about this event go here.
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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Apothecary Jars

Usually you will find large apothecary jars filled with all sorts of wonderful candy and ornaments during the holiday season. But, have you ever seen miniature ones like these? I was asked to contribute some favors for a photo shoot in October that was coordinated by the amazingly talented Candice Dowling Coppola from Jubilee Events. She told me the table would be organic and natural with prominent colors of white, yellow, brown and green. I decided to use these mini apothecary jars which I filled with moss and edible meringue mushrooms. I used copper wire to make a whimsical spiral on the top and placed tiny monograms on translucent paper inside to tie them all together. The shoot was featured on Style Me Pretty and if you look really hard you can see the favors in the background on the dessert table. I adore these jars and am already thinking of other ways to use them for the holidays. What fabulous things would you put inside them?
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I'm dreaming of a "green" Christmas!

(photo courtesy of Martha Stewart)
Every year I pick a different theme for Christmas to help me focus and organize my ideas for presents. I am not strict about these themes. I use it as a general guideline, not as an "every single one of the gifts I buy has to fit into the theme" kind of thing. This year I chose a "green" Christmas. I will look for things that are Eco-friendly and made of recycled materials but, also, things that are the color green, or perhaps some lovely Christmas greenery. I adore these alphabet wreaths from Ballard Designs. A perfect gift for friends who have just married or moved into a new house. Or, what about one of these sets of adorable Market Totes from Vera Bradley? Good for the environment and the proceeds from the sales of these totes will help support Vera Bradley's $10,000 pledge to The Hunger Project.
In years past some of my themes have been "Twas the night before Christmas," "Eat, Drink & Be Merry" and "Baby, It's Cold Outside." I usually start thinking about my theme in the summer and like to get a majority of my shopping done before Thanksgiving. This is only because I really don't like shopping when it is crowded. Standing in long lines and not being able to find a parking place just doesn't appeal to me. I prefer to spend the time before Christmas wrapping presents, doing fun projects with my kids, going to holiday concerts and spending time with family and friends.
What will you be giving your loved ones this Christmas?

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Sunday, November 1, 2009


Most of the things that I do are not by coincidence. For example, the candy that we will be giving out to ghosts and goblins this Halloween night was chosen simply for the number 5 in its name. I always try and think of something that represents an important event from the past year when I choose our treats. When my husband and I got married we gave out Ring Pops. When our kids were born we handed over Sugar Babies. This year we celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary so, trick-or-treaters that stop by our house tonight will be getting a "take 5" bar. Nobody will know that this was a deliberate decision, but I don't care. It makes me happy! What will you be handing out tonight?
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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Here's looking at you!

I was asked to make Jello Jigglers for my daughters school Halloween Party. Instead of making the traditional ones using cookie cutters I decided to make jello eyeballs instead. I looked on the web and couldn't find exactly what I had in mind so I made up my own design. I used plastic Easter eggs as the mold and found royal icing eyes at a local cake decorating store. I finished them by putting them in mini cupcake liners so they would be easier to pass out to all of the kids. They were relatively easy to make, looked fun and the kids gobbled them up. Some of the parents commented that these would be just as fun for an adult Halloween party.
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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Halloween Wreath

I could never find just the right wreath to hang on my door for Halloween so, I decided to make my own a few years ago. I spray painted a grape vine wreath black and then added some leaves, bittersweet vines, candy corn and orange twinkle lights and a few glitter spiders. When I had kids I thought it would be fun to use it as a sort of three dimensional scrapbook, so every year I add a new picture of them on Halloween. When they are older I hope they will enjoy looking back on all of their adorable costumes, I know I will!
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Little Pumpkin

Last year we had my sons Christening the week before Halloween. He has red hair so I made this little tree and wrote "Thank you" with much love, from your little pumpkin. I spray painted a branch with black paint and put it inside a chalkboard pail. I hung little paper shopping bags on the branches that I personalized and filled with individually wrapped pumpkin truffles. This year I will be using it for party favors at our Halloween party. It would be just as fun to let the kids decorate it with candy garlands and homemade ornaments. The possibilities are endless!

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Want s'more?

Looking for something fun and different to bring to a Halloween party that both kids and adults will love? Make a s'mores platter! I cut chocolate graham crackers into the shape of a bat with a cookie cutter then, loaded the platter with marshmallows, and mini sized Hershey bars. For the final touch I wrapped a brown and white gingham ribbon around a bunch of bamboo skewers to roast the marshmallow on. A simple and fun snack for all!

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Monday, October 5, 2009

"House Boo-tiful"

My dining room is black and white; the perfect backdrop for Halloween decorating! There are so many fun and unique candles, garland, and even signs that I have started a nice little collection to disperse amongst my house in October. Halloween doesn't have to be all about the candy... use things you already have around the house, add some pumpkins or dried hydrangeas and then some fun details to make a sophisticated display.
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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Happy Haunting!!

Today is the first day of October and so the countdown to Halloween begins! We have one of these adorable calendars from Pottery Barn Kids The perfect place to hide les petits présents for my little ones. Here are some of the things I will be putting in our calendar this year:
~Halloween band aids for all of our "boo-boo's"
~orange hot cocoa packets with ghost shaped marshmallows
~pumpkin shaped twinkle pops
~Ghoulish Giggles "What is a ghost's favorite fruit?" (Boonanas)
~tiny pumpkin shaped lip gloss
~gift certificates to go to the pumpkin patch and/or a shopping trip to get costumes
~face paint
~tiny cookie cutters with the promise to bake and decorate yummy treats
~Halloween socks
.....and little notes leading them on treasure hunts to find bigger items that don't fit in the calendar....Halloween t-shirts, books, and movies!
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Monday, September 28, 2009

Monday, September 14, 2009

Baby Bellini

I was asked to make favors for a baby shower brunch. I came up with these mini Korbel Champagne Bottles. I attached a recipe for a Baby Bellini (actually a Blueberry Bellini) with blue ribbon and included a flag stirrer. This is a lovely way for friends to remember the shower and celebrate the upcoming birth of a baby boy.
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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Bone Appétit

This was created for a small garden wedding this past weekend. The couple actually made donations to the humane society for their favors, but they wanted to present it in a fun and personalized manner. I suggested a doggie bar with homemade dog bones. The bride included many personal touches throughout the day and we continued this with personalized doggie bags for the guests to take home to their four legged friends. Jessica from Tulaloo made a beautiful sign that explained the donation and gave directions for the guests to fill the bags with dog bones, and attach the recipe with a small clothespin. The branches were provided by BLUSH who did all of the beautiful arrangements for the wedding.
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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Champagne Wishes

I was asked to make another wedding gift basket, highlighting a beautiful bottle of champagne and two glasses. I used a wine crate as the basket and added a champagne cocktail recipe book, bottle stopper and a box of Godiva chocolates. I wrapped the crate in cellophane and added a clear glass ornament (that reminded me of a Champagne bubble!) as the gift tag. With green glitter stickers I added "Cheers!''

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Les petits présents is thrilled to be featured on Tulaloo's fabulous blog today. Check it out!

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Bottoms up!

I was asked to make a nautical themed gift basket highlighting three bottles of liquor that were provided by my client as a wedding gift for some of their friends. I found fish netting wine gift bags, and rope covered glasses, along with some star fish and buoy napkin rings that pulled the nautical theme together. A container of cherries and fresh limes allow the new couple to make a variety of different cocktails to toast to their life together. The basket was wrapped in cellophane and fish netting and tied with a star fish and anchor gift card.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Bucket of Fun

It is a nice idea to give kids their own favors at a wedding. It will make them feel special and will help keep them busy during a long reception. These orange buckets are filled with miniature crayons, modeling clay, bubbles, playing cards and a slinky. Underneath is a blank notebook for coloring, games, etc. I gave similar gifts to all of the nieces and nephews on both sides at our wedding reception and I remember seeing them playing together all night. It is an easy way for kids of all ages to connect and have fun even when they might not know each other.
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Friday, July 17, 2009

Petite Purse

I made these favors for a teens shopping themed birthday party. I filled them with a candy lipstick, necklace, and a lip gloss in the shape of a high heel! They would be just as cute for a wedding shower favor or to hold your bridesmaids gifts. The design of the purse can be personalized to compliment the colors of your wedding or party.

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Monday, July 13, 2009

Arts & Snacks

Don't forget about the littlest members at your wedding reception. I used white butcher paper for a tablecloth that the kids can decorate with crayons, stamps, and stickers. I used a rubber stamp right on the paper tablecloth as the place card. This fun centerpiece with snacks and crafts will keep little ones busy and happy during a long reception.
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