Friday, May 29, 2009

I'm a Fanning Fan

I heart Dakota Fanning...but then again, who doesn't? Whenever we are out shopping, my children always race to me holding the latest movie DVD or magazine that has her photo on the front. Whatever they see that might have something to do with Dakota Fanning...they can't wait to bring it to my attention because they know that I adore her.
I have received a note or two from her throughout the years...she has actually ordered my stationery before, which was probably one of the nicest compliments that I have ever received.
One time, a few years back, my family and I were spending our last night of Spring Break watching Dakota in the movie Dreamer. I just beam whenever I see her because she is such an unbelievable talent to me...I've been a fan since she was a small child. Anyhow, my children are very aware of how wonderful I think she is and the very next day, after watching Dreamer together, I went to work and there was a stationery order on my desk for Dakota Fanning herself! Well....I just couldn't believe it...what are the odds of that?!...we had JUST watched her and "oooohed & goooed" over how fabulous she was the night before! I waited all day until I got home and we were all at the dinner table...I smiled and said to my children, "You will never believe who we got an order from today!" My middle child Annie said, "Dakota Fanning." I asked her "how in the world did you know that?" and she said "because you have the exact same look on your face now as you did when you were watching her in the movie last night!" Well...she's right...I do. I just beam whenever I see her. She is such an amazing, insightful, mature actress. How can she possibly understand, process, interpret and deliver what she does at such a young is just beyond me.
And the fact that she still continues to personally hand-write a letter or thank you note to every one of her fans is extremely admirable. i am so very impressed with how she handles herself...So different from so many young actors these days. (Gosh...I sound old, don't I?)
Anyway, she's just the best and I love how she has remained so down-to-earth. I will always be a fan!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Ice Cream Sandwiches & Popsicles

These cool treats are fun to make and fun to eat. Something so simple can bring a lot of joy to children and adults alike. They also make a cute theme for a summer party. Pictured below are many ideas and recipes along with a few fun invitations to complete this adorable summertime theme. The ice cream sandwiches are very easy to make. I just made some this weekend for my mother-in-law's birthday party and they were a big hit. I simply baked a solid cookie sheet of Tollhouse cookie dough and while they were warm from the oven, I cut them out using the 'cylinder'. The 'cylinder' is part of the ice cream sandwich maker from Target. It's just a circular cookie cutter but it is the perfect size to fit in the ice cream sandwich maker. You scoop ice cream (I used vanilla and coffee flavors) in between each cookie in the maker and out pops a very professional looking homemade ice cream sandwich. It really couldn't be easier... I promise! Enjoy!
Pictured clockwise from top to bottom: KitchenArt Ice Cream Sandwich Maker, Icons Ice Cream Sandwich Mold, Tovolo Farm Animal Ice Cream Sandwich Molds, Frozen Fruit and Yogurt Pops, Confetti Ice Cream Pops, Ice Cream Sandwich Recipe.
Pictured above are a few fun summertime invitations from our "Let's Party" collection.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Amelia Bedelia

I guess because of the previous "eyelash stuck to my cheek" situation, I've been giving a little thought to all of the wacky predicaments that I seem to get myself into and wondering if I'm alone or others find themselves in similar situations. I have always been a little Amelia Bedelia/I Love I'm used to it. I usually quietly chuckle to myself after I realize what I have done, but lately it seems to be happening more and more frequently. There is really nothing that I can do about least i can laugh at myself
For example, there was the time that the pre-K teacher sent home a note saying “please have your child come to school tomorrow dressed as mommy or daddy”. Well, could you please be more specific?!? Yes, I did send my son to school dressed like mommy in a nightgown and pink ruffle headband. I thought "how cute...just like mommy!" to school, walked him in and saw all the little girls dressed like mommy and all of the little boys with ties and briefcases...oooops....we ran back home, changed into daddy attire and went back to school. Yet another Amelia Bedelia moment. I could, unfortunately, write a book with all of my many moments!

Lusher Lashes

I found this article in More magazine a few weeks ago that gave me the bright idea to try a few false eyelashes. I have definitely noticed a change in my lashes in the past few years. When I was younger and used an eyelash curler there were lots of lashes wrappin' around that contraption. Recently I've tried to curl my eyelashes and there is like nothin' to put in there...what happened to my nice long lashes? Well, apparently after 40 they start to thin...who knew? Anyhow, I ran to the drugstore and purchased a package of individual eyelashes with the proper glue. While in my car (waiting in the carpool line) I was excited to try them. I applied three or four single lashes to the outer corners of each eye and hey...not bad! Fuller, more luxurious lashes, not fake looking, not expensive...okay...I'm likin' this.
A few days later, I think because I was in a hurry and not in the good natural lighting situation that I was in before, I applied the lashes and it was not so great this time. I was going to my niece's graduation where there would be real people to see my not-so-real eyelashes. Well, I got glue in my eye from not being careful and I guess that my 40-something vision ain't what it used to be...
Anyway, after meeting and greeting several people that morning, I went to the restroom, looked in the mirror and after trying to wipe a black smudge off my face I realized that it was in fact my long, luxurious eyelash stuck to my cheek. How long has it been there? Maybe this is not for me after all. The real problem is that after 40 you really can't be responsible for proper eyelash application. At least I can't anyway.
I did love the look, it was a nice subtle, natural difference...but until I find someone who can see to help me put them on, I will have to suffer with sparse lashes.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Eye Candy

This beautiful dessert bar is an Amy Atlas work of art. I particularly love the popcorn cones. I've been using that idea myself in a lot of parties and gift-giving as of late. Amy's presentation is so clean and lovely. I think it is terrific!


I found this combination lock at Target and thought it was clever. I can't ever seem to remember numbers. With the Wordlock I might just stand a chance!

Rompin' Around

I was rompin' around on a few sites this weekend and found lots of fun and unusual products on romp. The felt candy wrappers and lolliflowers would make adorable favors. The crayon stones are fun for older kids and the felt sparkle baskets are just plain cute. Lots of fun stuff to enjoy here!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Have a Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Here are two recipes...a salad and a dessert that I'll be adding to the delicious Full Moon B.B.Q. that I'm picking up this weekend.

Flag Cake (serves 20 to 24) - from

18 tablespoons (2 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups sugar
6 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

For the icing:
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
1 pound confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
To assemble:
2 half-pints blueberries
3 half-pints raspberries
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour an 18 x 12 x 1 1/2-inch sheet pan. Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on high speed, until light and fluffy. On medium speed, add the eggs, 2 at a time, then add the sour cream and vanilla. Scrape down the sides and stir until smooth. Sift together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking soda in a bowl. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture until just combined. Pour into the prepared pan. Smooth the top with a spatula. Bake in the center of the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool to room temperature.

For the icing, combine the butter, cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mixing just until smooth. Spread three fourths of the icing on the top of the cooled sheet cake. Outline the flag on the top of the cake with a toothpick. Fill the upper left corner with blueberries. Place 2 rows of raspberries across the top of the cake like a red stripe. Put the remaining icing in a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and pipe two rows of white stripes below the raspberries. Alternate rows of raspberries and icing until the flag is completed. Pipe stars on top of the blueberries.

Aida's Corn, Tomato and Avocado Salad - from

For the dressing:
1 1/2 cups packed fresh cilantro
1/2 cup good-quality extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the salad:
4 ears corn, kernels removed (about 3 cups)
1 1/2 pounds grape tomatoes, halved (about 3 cups)
1 pound fresh mozzarella, diced
2 medium avocados, diced

Combine the dressing ingredients in a blender, using 2 teaspoons salt, and pepper to taste; process until smooth. Combine the salad ingredients in a large bowl and toss with the dressing. Let sit at least 15 minutes before serving, or cover and refrigerate for up to 4 hours.


Bell'occhio is one of my favorite web-sites for unique and one-of-a-kind gifts. I recently fell in love with this little apple box. Hand painted apple box

Topped with 24K gold leaf, these bittersweet chocolate eggs are filled with salty caramel

Légion d'Honneur Earrings with CZ Drops

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wall stickers

I absolutely adore thest fabric wall stickers from lovemaestore at

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Shoppin' with Phoebe

Found these beautiful photos from the amazing designer Pheobe Howard on her website at I get lost looking at all of the amazing room designs she creates. She also has a blog (Mrs. Howard Personal Shopper) that makes it easy to just browse through random photos of beautiful pieces that she offers or you can click on specific categories if you are looking for something in particular.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Hidden in France

I had a little time this weekend to wander around a few blog sites and I found some images that I love on Hidden in France.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Mother's Day

I know I'm a little late to report about Mother's Day, but mine was so great and so very relaxing that I had to share (and maybe even brag a little)! First of all, my mom happened to be in town on Mother's Day, so just getting to share breakfast with her before she got back on the road was such a treat. The rest of the day was me in my p.j.'s...which was Mother's Day enough for me! My children and husband all spoiled me with beautiful hand-made cards and gifts that they spent time on and made just for me! My daughter Claire made me a very special beaded necklace that I just L-O-V-E. A lazy day in my jammies with family and lots of special handmade gifts made me feel like the luckiest mom on earth.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I heart my sheets

I had such a hard time getting out of bed this morning. It was overcast and rainy outside...just one of those mornings where you want to stay in bed the majority of the day watching Lifetime movies and only getting up to make short trips to the freezer for the Ben & Jerry's container. What made it even harder to get up were my unbelievably luxurious sheets that I bought my husband for our anniversary one year. Oh my gosh...these sheets, made from Italian wood pulp (yes, wood pulp) are the softest most wonderful things I have ever felt. If you want to treat yourself to the most wonderful thing in the world, check out the Legna Classic Sheets by SDH (I think they are even on sale now). Ok, they are a bit expensive...but worth the splurge. They last forever and are so well made that when you wash them you don't even need to use fabric softener or dryer sheets. I even purchased a set for the guest room and everyone who has ever stayed the night wakes up asking about them..."What are they?"..."Where did you get these?"...I am telling you, they are the best!
Unfortunately I did have to eventually get out of bed. And yes, it is still overcast and rainy. But The Ben & Jerry's is still in the freezer, and I'll be back in bed in just 12 (gulp) hours.
I think I can...I think I can...

Monday, May 11, 2009

Pretty in pink...(and yellow)

Pink and yellow...I have always loved these two colors together. Maybe because they remind me of happy summer days, pitchers filled with cold lemonade, my favorite pink flip flops, sunshine, and freshly painted and yellow just sing when you put them together. Clockwise from top left: The Isabel Collection from Serena and Lily, Pretty Princess invitation, photo from "Great Parties for Kids" by Hammick and Packer, watermelon blaster drink from Martha Stewart Kids Magazine (see recipe below), Butterscotch Plaid invitation and stationery, Eat Cake invitation, photo from "Pretty Party Cakes" by Peggy Porschen, heart candy dot favors from Martha Stewart Kids Magazine.

Watermelon Blaster Recipe
3 cups cubed sedded watermelon
1 and 1/2 cups strawberries
3 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 cups ice cubes
sugar to taste

Star garnish:
press a cookie cutter through the watermelon rind using the back of a wooden spoon

Friday, May 8, 2009

Spin That Wheel!

Every Friday the design team at Stacy Claire Boyd goes out to lunch together and every Friday, we are plagued with the dreaded question...where should we go??? None of us can agree...we are always in the mood for "this" or I have a taste for "that"...
I came across this hilarious way to figure out where to go. The "Wheel 'O Lunch". Just enter your zip code and a wheel full of local options pops up. Give it a good spin and round and round it goes until fate decides where you should be spending your afternoon or evening meal. You can even click on the restaurants and you'll be linked to their web-sites if you aren't familiar with them.
From now on I think we'll just let the Wheel O' Lunch figure it all out for us!

My favorite little vase

My favorite vase is a piece of French Faïence that resembles a fancy little chest of drawers. I found it in a little antique store in Atlanta while shopping with my mom and sister Leigh Ann. This is one of my favorite little collectibles! I filled it with a few colorful zinnias from my garden, but it really looks prettier with a fresh bouquet of snapdragons which give it a little height. It's one of my favorite things and it always reminds me of our fun shopping weekend in Atlanta...we found so many great things that my sister had to drive us all back in a U-Haul truck.

Personality Profile

I came across this the other day and decided to sit down and complete one of these things. Apparently my kids do them all the time with their friends. What can I say...I had a few minutes to kill...

Yourself: creative
Your Partner: organized
Your Hair: short & sassy
Your Mother: a wonderful cook & so resourceful
Your Father: a talented decorator
Your Favorite Item: my fabulous sheets & cozy blanket
Your Dream last night: about work, I'm sure
Your Favorite Drink: unsweet iced tea
Your Dream Car: white wagoneer with wood panelling
Your Dream Home: always clean
The Room You Are In: my studio nook
Your Fear: cancer
Where You Want To Be In Ten Years: happy
Who You Hung Out With Last Night: my family
What You're Not: terribly social
Muffins: cranberry walnut
One Of Your Wish List Items: design books
The Last Thing You Did: work on my blog
What You Are Wearing: comfy sweat pants
Your Favorite Weather: about 68 degrees
Your Favorite Book: anything by Jane Green
Last Thing You Ate: frozen yogurt
Your Life: on the go, racing to get it all done
Your Mood: happy
Your Best Friend: my dog Addie
What Are You Thinking About Right Now: McDonald's french fries
Your Car: white SUV
What Are You Doing At The Moment: wishing there were more hours in the day
Your Summer: trip to the beach
Relationship Status: married
What Is On Your TV: a forensics show
What Is The Weather Like: pleasant
When Is The Last Time You Laughed: this morning

Little Mermaids

I just received my "Chasing Fireflies" catalog. I really love their products! If you have young children and don't get their catalog, you should... it's great! Flipping through the pages makes me think of summer-time, outdoor fun and children's birthday parties. What struck me as super-sweet while flipping through the other day was their very charming "Mermaid" themed items. You just can't get cuter than these "mermaid tail" beach towels!

You can celebrate at home, at the park or at a nearby pool, beach or aquarium. I found these photos in a precious book titled "Great Parties for Kids" by Hammick & Packer which gives great inspiration for Mermaid themed parties and tons of others as well. I just love the way they take inexpensive items and ingenious ideas to turn an average party into a one-of-a-kind event.

Here is our take on the perfect way to invite all the little Mermaids over for a party... our latest Mermaid design from the "Let's Party" album.
And here are a few little "Mermaid Party" ideas to get your Under-the-Sea festivities started...
What to wear: To make a sparkly mermaid tail... Cut a length of suitable fabric or terrycloth into a tail shape and attach ribbon to the top, so the tail can be tied around the waist
Party activities: A treasure hunt, water balloon toss, fishing games, making sand art.
Fun food ideas: Cookie cutter shaped pb & j sandwiches, goldfish crackers, fruit kabobs, cupcakes with gummy fish.
Fun party favors: Beachball, sunglasses, water squirter, stickers, go-fish playing cards

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Story Book Party

This was a cute little party that I did for my daughter Claire several years ago, even though it doesn't really seem like that long ago! We invited 'Mother Goose' to tell a few stories & played Jack Be Nimble... jumpin' over the candlestick kinda' games. It was such a sweet party. Her birthday is in December, so having the children choose a Nursery Rhyme themed ornament off of the little decorative tree was the perfect favor to either take home and hang in their room or on the Christmas tree. I remember everyone loved the little party hats that I made out of scrapbook paper. I got the idea from Martha Stewart (see photo above). They were so cute & easy to make. Just use a 10" plate as a template to cut two circles out of patterned paper. Use glue or double sided tape to form these two circles into the basic shape of your hat. Ribbon makes a handy but oh-so-cute chin strap. Here's how to create the cute tassel on top: Cut a sheet of vellum that is 9" long, 3" on one end and 5" on the other. Along the angled 9" side, cut the vellum at 3/8" intervals, stopping about an inch short of the opposite side. Place a pencil at the lower edge of the wide end, and apply a line of glue or double sided tape along the rest of the lower edge. Roll strip tightly around pencil. Carefully curl each segment of the tassel with scissors. If this seems like a lot you can substitute a pom-pom for the tassel & that'll save time. These hats are quick, easy and cute and you'll look like you spent alot more time on them then you actually did... party on!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Annie B Boutique

I am such a proud mother. My daughter Annie has recently started a business she named "Annie B Boutique" selling a product line called "Cute as a Button" which consists of fabric covered button hair clips and rings. She has been selling her items like hot cakes ever since she started a few months ago, and the best part is that she is happily donating a very nice portion of her earnings to St. Jude Children's Hospital. So far Annie has sold her product line to a few stores here in town, and word-of-mouth has traveled far enough that even a few out-of-state retailers have contacted her.
Most all of her button products are handmade by her, her sister Claire and myself and we three girls have had the best time working together. As a mother, you dream for times like these where you and the kids can find something to enjoy equally while all spending time with each other. What a win-win situation...helping out the amazing St. Jude Hospital while making memories we will cherish for our lifetime. Awesome!

Fiesta Time

Everyone loves a fiesta! Here are a couple of our recent party invitations that celebrate our love for a culture that has given us great food and drink, great vacation destinations and an appreciation for an afternoon siesta. So put on your sombrero and fire up the's time to have some fun!

You can find the "Fiesta" and "Pinata" invitation designs at

Cinco de Mayo

In honor of Cinco de Mayo, I'm going to share the absolute BEST guacamole recipe of all times from one of my favorite restaurants in NYC, Rosa Mexicano. I went there often with my husband when we first started dating and I also met a friend there that I still keep in touch with after 15 years. Even now, every time I am in NYC I make it a point to stop in to get my guac fix. They roll a little cart over to your table and you get to watch them cut up all the colorful ingredients and mix it all up right in front of you in a volcano rock mortar and pestle set. You just wouldn't believe the taste...unbeatable!

Here is my actual avocado-stained recipe card that I've had for twenty years. Grab some nice ripe avocados and sip on a delicious margarita while you make this tasty treat! Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Friday, May 1, 2009

The cutest pin cushions on Earth

I just blogged about a super-cute pin cushion with a built in tape measurer that I'm sending in a gift box to my mother for Mother's Day and I had to show a picture of how cute these things are. There is so much detail in them and the price is a steal...I purchased mine (I bought the little yellow one on the top right) from one of my favorite neighborhood shops for under $15. I love the whole product line that Natural Life has created, but these little gems are some of my faves!

Mother's Day

Mother's Day is just around the corner...Sunday, May 10th. No matter what the occasion, I am a practical gift giver...If I find something that makes my life a little easier, I usually pass that something on in a gift. Whether it is the greatest onion chopper or the most awesome hair just doesn't matter if I love it and I think that person will love it I build a gift around it. Sometimes my gifts have a color theme, sometimes it's all related by theme, like a relaxing feel good spa-type collection of things. This year for Mother's Day, it's going to be kind of a hodge-podge of stuff that I know my mom will like. My mom makes the best salads ever and I know she'll enjoy this lucite bowl with colorful salad servers, the little flower napkins just looked like her, the little soap smells divine, the chocolate covered sunflower seeds are cute and they're CHOCOLATE, the little bag of coffee is her favorite, the forever postage stamps & post-it notes are always good to have, the little clementines are delicious plus they add good color to the presentation and the little pin cushion with retractable tape measure is practical and oh so precious. Because my mom lives out of town, I went to my local Post Office to buy a shipping box and was surprised and excited to see attractive shipping boxes and bubble mailers designed by Dena Designs...what a great idea. I realize that this gift is nothing fancy, but it will be perfect for my mom who is just as into "practical" as I am!