Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Vintage Car Party

This oblong planter tub from Etsy would be a fun accent to a sweets table!

Embellishology's vintage car tags on Etsy could be used for cupcakes, favor bags, and lots more.

Candy Warehouse has lots of fun car candies including these gummy race cars as well as candy-filled cars and milk chocolate racers.

I created this fun invite using a free downloadable font from Kevin and Amanda and cool vintage car graphic from The Graphics Fairy (also free!).

These fun vintage Road Sign Picks and Car Toppers can be found at the Layer Cake Shop, along with lots of other delectable odds and ends.

Below are some cool car party ideas from various sites on the internet- sometimes I'm just amazed at what people come up with!


  • Ask guests to bring a riding toy (bike, wagon, etc.) and have a "car wash."
  • Create pretend driver's licences, then take the child's picture with a polaroid camera and attach it to their personalized licence.
  • Set up a large board, slanted at an angle between the ground and a hard surface. If you'd like, you can paint it black and draw "road lines" to divide the lanes on this "street." Gather some hotwheels, add some little boys, and tada! you've got a great game for a bargain! This is so simple, but it really will keep them entertained for a while.
  • Play Red Light, Green Light.
  • Create a race car obstacle course with cones, puddles (pool if it's warm enough, blanket if it's too cold), hills, jumps, etc. (To add extra fun, create car costumes for the guests out of cardboard boxes.)
  • Purchase wooden car toys ($1.99 each at Hobby Lobby) and set out paint, stickers, etc. for the kids to add some personality to their cars.
  • Let the kids create vanity plates for their riding toys from foam sheets and foam stickers.


  • Arrange pumpernickle and white bread sandwiches on a platter to look like a black and white checkered flag.
  • Oreos can be used as "wheels"
  • Make "stoplights" by adding red, yellow, and green candies (such as gum drops) to rice crispies or wafer cookies
  • Make a figure eight race track cake by putting two round cakes side by side and frosting in green, then drawing the track with black frosting.


  • Hotwheels
  • Racecar gummy candies
  • Wooden Toy Cars for kids to decorate
  • Racecar stickers
  • Black and white checkered flags

Monday, August 30, 2010

Fall Centerpieces

In a few weeks, I'll be decorating the tables for an event at my church. The event is fairly casual, and I'm trying to spend as little as possible. I have lots of mason jars to use, and I want the centerpiece to be earthy and natural, with hints of autumn. These are some of the ideas I've found so far, and I'm really leaning towards the wheat. Thoughts, readers? Any other good ideas?

Image 1- chillipit.co.za
Image 2- elizabethannedesigns.com
Image 3- bravobride.com

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sweet Shoppe Birthday Party

Hobby Lobby has some really cute cupcake paper by the sheet, that would be so fun to use on this DIY paper banner at Pink Paper Peppermints.

You can purchase DIY lollipop invitation instructions from the TomKat Studio. I tried to make these myself (without instructions), and they turned out pretty cute, but I think it would have been helpful to have a little extra advice!

What little girlie would not adore these sweet hair pretties? Instructions, along with more ideas from the party can be found at Kara's Party Ideas.

I am in love with this idea- way more creative than the traditional candy buffet, and a good way to control how much candy each child consumes. :) The hostess gave each child a roll of pennies to "purchase" candy from the Sweet Shoppe. For more beautiful photographs of this sweet party visit Katherine Marie Photography- lovely website!

Lastly, these are some free printables (top one can be used as a food label type thing, bottom one is an invitation) I made using the "Jailbird Jenna" font from Free Fonts at Kevin and Amanda. The fonts are super-duper easy to download and they are all so cute! If you have any questions about the printables, let me know! (To "download" just click to enlarge, copy, and paste into a program of your choice- e.g. Paint.net, Inkscape, Picassa- all free to download.)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Fall Harvest Party Inspiration...

Easy Caramel Apple Recipe from Real Simple
Felt Leaf Banner from 5 Orange Potatoes
Fall Harvest Party Ideas from Better Homes and Gardens
Mod Fall Party Ideas from Hostess with the Mostess
Leaf Note Cards from Etsy
Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe from Brown Eyed Baker

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Cupcakes Galore

I'm loving this list of the 50 Best Cupcake Recipes on the Internet! Yum! The pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, the snickerdoodle cupcakes, and the earl grey cupcakes with lemon buttercream sound especially tasty to me.

Speaking of fabulous cupcakes, I tested a yummy recipe I found in an old copy of Taste of Home this weekend. These moist chocolate cupcakes with creamy caramel frosting are amazing!

Texas Chocolate Cupcakes

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup baking cocoa
1 cup water
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup butter, cubed
2 eggs
1/3 cup buttermilk (I used nonfat plain yogurt)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Caramel Icing

1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, cubed
1/4 cup milk
2 to 2 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking soda. In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring cocoa, water, oil and butter to a boil. Gradually add to dry ingredients; mix well. Combine eggs, buttermilk and vanilla; gradually add to batter and mix well (batter will be very thin).
Fill paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
For icing, in a heavy saucepan, combine the brown sugar, butter and milk. Cook and stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to medium. Do not stir. Cook for 3-6 minutes or until bubbles for in the center and the syrup turns amber. Remove from the heat; transfer to a small mixing bowl. Cool to room temperature. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar. Spread over cupcakes. Yield: 2 dozen

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Compassion Letter Writing Ideas

Since I was just a few years old, my family has been sponsoring children through the excellent ministry of Compassion. The Compassion program is really amazing because individuals and families have the opportunity to bless a child through financial gifts, but also through correspondance with the child. Sometimes, though, it's hard to think of what to write, and, since you cannot send packages, how you can send your child flat, lightweight gifts. I've put some time into thinking about things to send to our sponsored children, and I'd like to share with you some of the ideas I've come up with. Please consider sharing the love of Jesus with a child through Compassion, and check out their website for some amazing stories about the work that they are doing around the world.

  • Send them a picture of your family
  • Make them a bookmark with an inspirational quote or Bible verse
  • Instead of writing your letter on plain notebook paper, make or purchase a nice card to write yoru letter in.
  • Remembering their interests, create a coloring book for your child using free coloring sheets froms sites like kaboose.com or familyfun.go.com
  • Send them a postcard from where you live or a place where you have vacationed.
  • Share your favorite Bible verse on a card using creative lettering. For ideas on how to turn your handwriting into creative lettering, check out this article, or you can get font ideas from a book like Scribbles.
  • Make an easy friendship bracelet, and include embroidery string and instructions for your child to make their own.
  • Send baseball cards, or cards for other sports that your child is interested in.
  • Send stickers!
  • Send squares of cardstock and instructions for origami. Find easy origami patterns here.
  • For a girl, cut out a paper doll and clothing to dress her in. At familyfun.go.com, you can find free "Custom Paper Doll" printouts.
  • Send your child a few of the popular and inexpensive Silly Bandz.

Friday, August 6, 2010

I Heart Etsy

I made another Etsy treasury today. You can check it out here...any tips for getting a treasury to the front page?

recipe friday: peanut butter and toffee bars

I made these yummy bars yesterday- I think the recipe is a keeper! They were oh-so-easy...


1-1/2 cups quick cooking oats

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

2/3 cup pack brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/3 cup butter

1/3 cup creamy peanut butter

16 ounces dark chocolate, chopped

2/3 cup creamy peanut butter

1 cup toffee pieces


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with foil, extending foil over the pan edges. Set aside. In a large bowl, stir together oats, flour, brown sugar, and baking soda; set aside. In a small saucepan, stir together the butter and 1/3 cup peanut butter. Heat over lwo heat until melted and smooth. Add the melted peanut butter mixture to the dry mixture. Stir until well combined. Press mixture evenly into bottom of prepared pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Place pan on a wire rack.

2. In a large saucepan, combine dark chocolate and 2/3 cup peanut butter. Heat over low heat until melted and smooth, stirring occasionally. Spread chocolate mixture evenly over warm crust. Sprinkle toffee pieces evenly over the chocolate mixture. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 2 hours or until chocolate sets (I stuck the bars in the freezer to speed up the process). Using the edges of the foil, lift the uncut bars out of the pan. Cut into bars. Makes 24 bars.

To store: Place bars in a single layer in an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

My First Etsy Treasury

How fun! I spent some time this morning putting together my first Etsy treasury (a treasury is a place where any Etsy members can feature like items of other Etsy sellers). It was a blast to see all of the creativity that goes into the beautiful pieces of artwork. If you'd like to take a peek, here's the link! Enjoy!

Featured Etsy Shop: JUNKPOSSE

I discovered the JUNKPOSSE shop a few years ago, and instantly loved the concept- an artist who creates beautiful handmade work, and is giving some of the profits of her craftsmanship to help adoptive families and ministries like Children's Hope Chest. Customers can choose which ministry/family they would like to support, and purchase a piece of jewelry that is specially designed for that cause. The selfless heart Tracy has put into her work makes it even more beautiful than it already is!

30% of the profits from this necklace go to helping Children's Hopechest with their work in Haiti.
This might very well be my favorite of her work- the "Owl Be With You" necklace.

The "Africa in My Heart" necklace
You can learn more about Tracy and her work at her blog- Junkposse.blogspot.com

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Why Create?

Something happened this summer that has caused me to rethink my love to create. It happened when I flew halfway across the world...when I stepped out of a bus onto Peruvian soil...when I had to say goodbye to the children who blessed my life more than I could ever bless theirs.
I was reminded of how richly God has blessed me...and what a luxury it is to have hobbies. I've realized that whatever I'm doing, whether designing a piece of artwork or loving on orphans far away from home, I want it to all be for God's glory.
That is why I create- so that, like missionary and runner Eric Liddel, who said "God made me fast, and when I run I feel His pleasure," I can do what I do because it is a gift God has given me, and I can use that gift to serve Him. Join me on this journey as I explore how to glorify God with the gifts He has given me.