Thursday, September 30, 2010

Etsy Shop - Halloween Accordion Books

Two of my favorite holidays are Halloween and Thanksgiving Lucky for me those 2 are just around the corner!!

I really get into Halloween so you'll probably be seeing a bunch of posts on the subject.

In my Pre-K days (pre kids) we had a really fun "adults only" Halloween party. I will rummage through my old photos so I can show you what we did. Super fun!!

I also take lots of photos around Halloween. I take lots of photos ALL THE TIME, but Halloween seems like I'm in overdrive!

What to do with all those photos?!?

I make books.

You should too.

I did the hard work for you - actually MAKING the book.


You get to do the fun design work. Selecting pictures, adding enhancements. Fun!!


I have a bunch of Halloween accordion books that I designed and started adding them to my Etsy Shop. There are a half a dozen there now, with more to come so keep checking!

So, plan your costumes, have a party, snap away, and make a book!

You'll be thanking me.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Hello Kitty Cake Wreck

A few weeks ago was my daughter's 7th birthday and her big birthday bash. This year she wanted a Justin Bieber / Lady Gaga theme. You may be asking at this point,

"What does Hello Kitty have to do with Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga?

In normal situations, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!!!

At some point during our party planning, my daughter threw in "I want a Justin Bieber / Lady Gaga party but there also has to be Hello Kitty"


As time went on, I continued to ignore this request and just focused on JB & LG It wasn't until the 11th hour that I finally had an idea of how to tie it in.

We were planning on having cupcakes for the party but she also wanted a small cake so she can blow out the candles. I had so many things going on that the cake was more of an afterthought and I left it for the last minute.

Cake decorating is normally the part I plan and spend most time on but this time I was pretty much winging it, trying to take shortcuts here and there.

Lessons learned:

A - Shortcuts usually turn into long cuts
B - Don't try new techniques hours before the event

This is what will happen...

I baked a small 6 inch cake and made a deep turquoise buttercream icing because it was the same color I was using for the cupcakes.


Now normally I do know that if you're covering a cake with white fondant, you shouldn't use dark buttercream. I had a plan though!! At least I thought I did.

The first thing I wanted to try was this new imprint mat that I bought for another cake but never ended up using it.

It just didn't work. At least not for me.


The imprint didn't come out evenly and in some areas not at all


That was mistake number 1.

Number 2 is up next.

Since the imprint didn't work, I had to cover it somehow. I bought food color spray and thought I could just spray on some color and it may look better. I never used this technique either. When I sprayed the color on, it just started dripping everywhere! I had purple and pink and they were just blending into each other.

Now I had to cover that up!!

I ended up cutting out fondant flowers, large dots and the number 7 for the centers.


It looked way too young and cutesy - nothing like you would expect for a JB / LG party.

Ding Ding!!! This is when the lights went on!! Hello Kitty!!!

I designed a Hello Kitty cake topper, tied a ribbon and placed it on top.


When my daughter woke up and saw the cake she actually LOVED it and said "how did you make a tie dyed cake Mama?"



Fast forward a few hours later to "Happy Birthday" and candle blowing


More party details coming up in a future post. (this will explain the pink wig)

After the candles were blown, the kids were like vultures attacking that poor little cake.


Now it's all just a memory.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Maker Faire

Do you remember a couple of weeks ago I told you I won a ticket to Maker Faire over at the Martha Stewart Crafts Blog? Well, this was the weekend!

Maker Faire was a fair all about creativity from crafts to inventions. Lots of creative artsy craftsy types were all gathered in Queens NY to attend this unique event.

I ended up going by myself - my family abandoned me. They had more important things to do like going to the playground and raiding the ice cream truck.

I've learned I can't compete with ice cream.

I ended up taking the subway over to Queens rather than trying to figure out how to drive there. I'm not that familiar with Queens so I thought the subway would be the easiest solution The subway ended up being more than just the subway. First I drove down to the subway, parked my car, had to take a shuttle bus because the 1 train wasn't running, got on the A train and then switched to the 7 train.

OK, maybe driving wouldn't have been too bad after all.

Saturday had to have been the hottest day and this event was outdoors! At least the part I went to. It was huge and I never made it to the indoor exhibits.

My first order of business was to make a beeline over to the Martha booth.


I wanted to say hello and thank them for the winning ticket.

Everyone at the booth was so nice!


I have to say, their booth looked amazing! Of course, what else would you expect from Martha?!?

In the Halloween spirit, they were making paper mache bones and they welcomed everyone to help.



This was definitely a fun project that I think my girls would get into.

They were also making butterflies that you basically cut out and put on a stick with ribbon. Another fun one for kids. But in this case there were mostly adults doing it. Me being one of them! I thought the girls would like to see it and schlepped it all the way back home but somehow lost the ribbon tail along the way. They were still impressed.

They were so nice to give me a couple of magazines - Martha's special Halloween issue and the October issue of Martha Stewart Living. I even got to take a picture in their booth. So exciting!!


There were other companies there doing demos and fun craft projects. This was definitely a hands on event.




Another section was filled with artists selling their creations.

Tara - the woman at this table ( was actually spinning her own yarn.



Such great colors!! It makes me want to learn how to knit or crochet!

At another table I just loved these dolls. Awww - they were so sweet!


Meet the artist... Amy from Her business is in Austin but you can check out her designs on her website. Her designs are not just on these dolls but she prints on pillows, bags, aprons and more.


Basically, everywhere you turned there were fun and interesting things to see...











a great place for people watching also...



Eventually it got way too hot for me so I left for my loooooong trek back to Riverdale.

Thanks Martha!!

Friday, September 24, 2010

{Field Trip Fridays} Anthropologie

Today I thought we'd take a little detour from our usual food field trips and try something different. The other day I was at Anthropologie and thought this would make the perfect field trip! (after I asked to make sure it was ok to take pictures, of course!)

I first discovered Anthropologie, not in NY believe it or not, but actually in Florida in a mall called Mall at Millenia. I only liked going there when I was alone so i could take my time to really look around and not have to worry about my girls touching or breaking anything.

Last week when I was at Chelsea Market, much to my happy surprise, when you first walk in, the first store on the left happens to be Anthropologie. I was so excited - first to see Anthropologie, and second because I remembered I was kidless and would be able to enjoy it!!

I think everyone has their own reason for loving Anthropologie - some go for the clothes, others the accessories, and still others like all they have for your home. I personally go there because I love their displays! I love how they use furniture or other oridinary objects to display their goods and I like the rustic country feel to it. Yes, this city girl actually likes country sometimes. Shhh - don't tell anyone!

Let's start with my favorite part - the displays..






I love the staging here. Don't you want to just sit down and relax? I noticed the paper straws - they seem to be popping up at different party designs lately.


I also like this weathered metal shelf. It reminds me of an old desk you'd see years ago in public school.


Now some clothes - I saw some really cute skirts there.



They reminded me of a very cool, hip office look. I don't really need it for my office (the alcove in my apartment) so I had to pass. The grey one is still gnawing at my brain though. I may have to reconsider.



The walls in the accessories area even had their own accessories - these giant flowers. They made quite a statement!


I thought this necklace was really interesting looking.


More from a standpoint of wondering how it was made. I don't know if I could wear something like that and actually pull it off.

This was my favorite idea that they had. I loved how they used photographs for their display cards.



These were my favorite.


I may need to go back and get these...along with that grey skirt!

The photos didn't seem to have any obvious relevance to the designs of the earrings but I just thought that was such a clever idea.

Another section I like to check out is the hardware.


They have the best knobs and handles. This is a great idea if you want to do some redecorating but don't want to put a lot of work into it.

I love these...


As I was leaving, I saw this hanging from the ceiling...


The first thing that popped into my mind was WOW!!!!

What do you love best about Anthropologie? Don't forget their catalogs - the photos are amazing!

Hope everyone has a great weekend. I'm going to Maker Faire tomorrow. Should be lots of fun! Can't wait to stop by the Martha Stewart craft booth. I'm taking my camera and will be posting about it next week.
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