Monday, February 18, 2013

Banner for Retirement Party

My dad recently retired so I made him this banner.
The scalloped squares were cut from kraft cardstock, the lacy squares were cut from a beige cardstock and the letters were cut from a chocolate brown cardstock.  All the shapes and letters were cut on my Cricut using my Art Philosophy and Artiste cartridges from Close to My Heart.
I sponged brown ink onto the lacy squares to give them more dimension.  And I sponged brown ink on the edges of the letters.  I attached the letters with dimensional adhesive to make them stand out more.

For the two end pieces of the banner, I chose to use hearts because my dad's last day of work happened to be Valentine's Day.
The beige hearts were cut using my Cricut and then sponged with brown ink.  The smaller items on the end pieces were stamped into beige cardstock, cut out with scissors, and attached.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Red & White Valentine Lace Heart Cookies

Ever since I saw a tutorial on the Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle, I knew I wanted to try making lace cookies.

I can't believe how easy it is!  I did an image search for "lace cookies" and found plenty of inspiration.  So I tried a bunch of different patterns.

I tried to make each cookie a little bit different, but I repeated a couple of my favorite designs.  It was so much fun to doodle with frosting!  I will definitely use this technique again.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentines for Teachers

This year the boys made "Have a Ball" Valentines for their classmates.  I didn't think their teachers would want a bouncy ball, so I came up with a different idea for them.
I modified the topper I made for the boys' valentines to say "You're o-fish-ally the best!".  Then I made some fish-shaped chocolates using Wilton chocolate candy melts and a fish mold.  I also had a wedding-themed mold that had the heart shape and I used the red candy melts for that.

Once the candies hardened, I put them in the cellophane bags and stapled on the topper.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Avengers Captain America Birthday

My super husband just had a birthday.  He's been watching Avengers cartoons with the boys lately, so we threw him a Captain America birthday party.

I was able to recycle the banner I made for his Angry Birds-themed party last year.  I added Captain America shields, made out of layered card stock, to the ends of the banner.

I set the table with Captain America napkins and blow-outs.  Plus, now that Disney and Marvel are the same company, they feature some fabulous free printable party decorations at,  including coloring pages, masks, and the little guys you can see on my table in the photo below.

I kept the food fun and easy.  I made Wasp's Wings (hot wings, and some not-so-hot wings for the  kids), and Thor Hammers (pretzel sticks in chunks of cheese).  I set out various salad ingredients and said, "Avengers, Assemble! (your own salad)."

Since we are having another birthday party this weekend involving cake, I wanted to make something different for dessert.  So red, white and blue Jello!  (Well, the white part isn't actually Jello; it's Cool Whip.)

I also made Patriotic Popcorn for the kids' bedtime snack. I can't believe I forgot to take a picture of it because it turned out super cute.  You can find the directions online at Bloom Designs. I used red and blue mini M&M's and red, white, and blue sprinkles along with the popcorn and melted white chocolate.  I will definitely be making this again with her ideas for other holidays and colors.
So that's it!  After dinner, he opened his gifts and the boys "helped" him put together the Captain America Lego set he got.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Boys' "Have A Ball" Homemade Valentines

With a son who deals with diabetes and celiac disease, we avoid Valentine treats involving candy or any other type of food.  I asked the boys this year if they wanted to make Valentine cards featuring glow sticks or bouncy balls.  They unanimously chose bouncy balls.

So I ordered them each a bag of bouncy balls from Oriental Trading, along with some small, clear plastic bags.

 And I made some Valentine cards using Photoshop Elements featuring the requisite Valentine cheesy saying.
All they had to do is fill out the names of their classmates, stick a card and a ball in each bag, fold over and staple.  All done!
(I apologize in advance to their teachers who will probably have to deal with seeing these fly all over the classroom during the Valentine party.)

To see last year's homemade Pokemon Valentines, click here.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Decorating Red & Black Valentine Heart Cookies

Red and pink is too girly for my all-boy household.  Red and white is nice but a little too sweet sometimes.  But red + black = perfect!

These cookies look fancy, but are really quite easy to make.
Outline heart shapes with black royal icing. (It's sometimes difficult to achieve a truly black icing.   I use Americolor gel paste in Super Black for great color results without the funky taste.)
While the outline is drying a bit, prepare thinned red and black royal icing to flood the hearts.  You'll want to have both colors loaded in squeeze bottles before you start.  (Again, a true red is hard to achieve and I recommend Americolor gel paste in Super Red.) 
Working three or four cookies at a time, flood the hearts completely with the red icing.  While the red is still wet, place some black dots around the perimeter of the heart.

While the red and the black dots are still wet, gently drag a toothpick through the black dots around the edge of the cookie.  This dragging motion is what creates that pretty design.

Of course, these would look great with other color combinations, too.  I liked the red and black so much I did the whole Valentine's table to match.  With young boys in the house, I opted for the plastic table cloth and the paper plates.  That made the evening "special" without worrying about breaking anything - or having to do dishes!
You might also like my post about trying Martha Stewart's recipe for shortbread cookies with white chocolate icing.  Those cookies look like conversation hearts.  Sweet!