Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Victorian Christmas

This weekend, we headed to the Dicken's Christmas Fair to get some more holiday cheer. I was so excited to go and check it out, since it's been many years since I've been. Also, I've been aching to create a Dicken's Christmas Party Kit, but some how this season it just didn't happen... next year, next year! Either way, it was entertaining... loved the costumes, and the make believe shops.... and came home with many ideas for next year.

A horn ornament on vintage music.

Hats festooned with feathers, flowers, birds and more...

Playing Card Garland in a shop window.

Old top hat littered with trade cards and Union Jacks.

Glittery beaded birds perched on a cage.

Punch and Judy puppet theatre.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Hula Girl Party!!

Aloha! I know it's December, and the last thing on people's mind is a sunny, Hawaiian luau, but that's the theme chosen by my daughter, so, of course I said, "Sounds great!" Fortunately, we live in California, and the weather, although it can be rainy, held out nicely for our luau fun.

Putting on a luau is lots of fun. When I started creating this party kit, I quickly realized, that there's no way that I could only have one luau party in my future collection--- so many different ideas and looks were coming to mind when I gathered imagery (think tiki, surfer, etc.)... so, once I reminded myself that this party was definitely geared for a girl, I had a great time concentrating on a truly girly Hula Girl luau theme-- soft colors, lei flowers, raffia (grass skirt), and retro hula girl imagery. Below are some snapshots from the fun.

A detail from the Hula Girl banner.

A detail from the luau invitation.

Leis, leis, and more leis lined our coat rack for all guests to put on.

Leis, fishing net, shells decorate the outdoor fireplace area... and yes, the not so sightly stereo played great hawaiian music.

The girls LOVED all the crafts--- only a handful of boys participated though... they were quite taken by the lawnful of beach balls... many which ended up at the neighbors by the end of the evening!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

More Holiday Shows...

It seemed a little insane, to try to pack in one more crafty affair... just as the holidays are ramping up, and my daughters bday party was on the horizon... but ya know, ya just got to do it some time! So, just a little stress, and some table arranging magic, and a pot of coffee and voila, it was holiday coffee/open studio time. All said and done, it was well worth it. Here are some shots from the show.
Santa cards topped with a candy cane.

I need to find more glitter in my house... Ah, there it is.

Cards and Tags galore...

I threw in some baby cards too... just for fun!

Saturday, November 29, 2008


Our family was in desperate need of a get away this past Thanksgiving weekend! We had our turkey, we had our family gathering, now we needed to get the heck out of dodge and go on a ROADTRIP!!! (you must yell "roadtrip" like a frat boy when you say that word :))

When my husband and I were "courting" we were quite the roadtrippers. Our longest and most debaucherous roadtrip was from San Francisco to N'Orleans via Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon and Austin, TX. It's debatable if I'll ever share all the details of that trip with my kids... but now it was time for our kids to get a taste the adventures of the road!

Ok. I admit, I'm being a bit dramatic. We really were only heading out of town for an overnight... but we left the house with only a small bag, and no hotel reservations for the night. We were really living on the edge. ;)

Our destination... the gold country of California. Why? Because it's beautiful in fall, and it's in range of a good overnight destination from our house! Now, I think everyone in the Bay Area had the same idea as us, or else they just thought that getting in their cars and driving on the freeway was how they would spend their weekend... so the traffic was a nightmare.

In true roadtrip fashion... we got off the main highway, and cut our way up to the Sierra hills through back towns and country roads... with our GPS/traffic maps guiding the way. (Yes, the GPS kindof kills the "adventuresome" aspect of the roadtrip, I know.) We had a great time pointing out to the kids things that you can't see off I-80...

Once up in the hills, we headed to Jackson, CA. It was already evening, but the town was a buzz. Holiday festivites were in the air. Lights lined the streets and the shops were buzzing with people. For dinner we headed into Sutter Creek. Even more lights, even more decorations. It was a great way to kick off the holiday season.

Here's a window from a shop called "Tomorrow's Heirlooms" in Sutter Creek, CA. Very cute place.

This was in the window of the ice cream parlor in Sutter Creek (featured in Sunset Magazine.) What a great place. Not only was the ice cream de-lish, but the owner even headed over to the old fashioned piano and played some tunes for us. Then he plugged in the mechanical Jingle Bells song and away the piano played.

Great memories, and great road trip!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Christmas Craft Craziness

It's that time of year again... it's holiday craft fair time, and I'm knee deep into it! I'm so fortunate to have a studio to work in, but this time of year, I have spread out to every corner of our house to create... a table here, a table there... glitter here, paper cutting there... my husband is so tolerant :)

I'm a relative newbie to this whole craft fair craziness... which is quite intimidating when many of my fellow artist friends have been doing this for years. I'm sure as the years pass, I'll get a little better organized... a little ahead of myself, and not need to spread out to every corner of the house. I doubt it!
I found a great way to pass time while I was engrossed in production was listening to craft podcasts like Crafty Pod and Craft Sanity. I know it's totally geeky, and a little sad, but I found a little taste of that craft community while I listened to the interviews and heard other crafters stories... I was also very inspired by all of their stories of success.

I hope your holiday season is just starting, and if you're searching for that perfect gift, head to a craft fair... perhaps you'll find something you just can't resist :)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

World Explorer Party - All Indy Fans Welcome!

Attention all Indiana Jones fans... Attention travelers of the world... here's a party kit for you!

This past weekend, I helped throw a World Explorer party for my 12 year old nephew. It was a blast. He is a HUGE Indiana Jones fan. He can practically recite the movies, so of course I jumped at the chance to make a party kit in the Indy theme.

Part of the fun of making a party kit is the research... and to be honest, I'm sure I don't need to do nearly as much research as I do, but it's so fun. I found some great books on Adventurers thoughout history.... One book was awesome! It was full of short chapters about treasures of the world, including all of the treasures in the Indiana Jones movie series (the arc, the crystal skull, etc.) As part of the party, I came up with an (what seemed) like an elaborate Indiana Jones type treasure hunt. I have to admit, coming up with a treasure hunt for kids from 4 to 16 was not easy... but it turned out great, especially since many of the adults agreed to dress up and lead the kids through the clues. Below are some shots from the adventure...

Indy necessities, snakes, a whip and a hat!

Come sit in the garden of eden to hear a clue...

Another clue in market of Morocco (the tree house...)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Renn Faire

We headed off to the Rennisance Faire this weekend for a great day trip of revelry. This was the first Renn Faire for our kids, but my husband have been a couple times now.

By no means are we Renn Faire regulars... we've only been a couple times, but every time I love it. It's the whole dressing-up-thing and pretending-you-live-in-a-different-time... and yes, the people watching. There are all types out there, and it's just fun to watch!

This year I also came with a slightly different eye. Having completed a Royale Faire Princess and Knight Party Kit, I couldn't wait to see other ideas to complete the whole Royale Faire party experience. Of course, there are plenty of elaborate ideas one can glean, but I did see several simple ideas. that would be easy to produce at a princess and knight party. Here are some shots from the day...Ribbon Garland - How simple and festive is this! Just tie a bunch of ribbons
along a twine and hang!

"The Queen, the queen..." a royale parade causes quite a stir in the crowd.

Plenty of Tarot readings at the Faire... wouldn't that be fun at a Royale Faire bday party?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Circus is In Town

I love the circus. It's not a childhood memory for me, in fact, I think this is really a adult-on set fancy for me. I possibly went to the circus once or twice as a little girl, and frankly don't remember... but have been several times as an adult. In fact, one of my first dates with my husband was to the circus! We hooted and hollered from the stands eating bad food and sipping neon snowcones. What could be better than that?
When our kids were born, we didn't immediately head off to the circus. Our kids have always been a little alarmed by loud events... so we waited a couple years, and finally braved the production.... and a production it is. They've definitely changed the whole circus experience into a Las Vegas type event... it's gotta have a story line, some actors, some pyrotechnics, flashing lights, and, then, of course, sprinkle in some circus-type acts.

Possibly one of the more entertaining parts of the circus is the beginning, when we wade through the animal protestors... I'm glad everyone has an opinion. The show was entertaining enough, but to be honest, I would love to step back in time, and go to a circus back in the "Water for Elephants" time-- early 1900's, when the circus travelled by train. Good thing there is lots of vintage circus imagery for me to travel back in time to relive. On my docket is a vintage circus Party Kit. I can't wait to make it.... keep posted.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Back to School Again

My daughter started first grade today. The craziest thing is I remember when I started first grade! Here I am in the picture above, wearing my favorite snoopy outfit. I loved that dress!

Before this time, I’ve always thought... “I wonder if my daughter will remember this... or that,” given I don’t really have many vivid memories from before 5 years old or so. Well, now I can safely say to myself, “she may remember this for the rest of her life.” Eeeeghads. The pressure is now on. Time to create some good memories!!

To the rest of the mommies out there with school-age kids--- congrats, you’ve survived another summer, and now the kids are back in school. As much as I’ll miss summer, I’m looking forward to a little more time for myself!

Enjoy those few hours before the bell rings!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Olympic Material

Did you watch the Olympics last night? That seems to be the question du jour these days. We have and we’ve loved them. I don’t know where I’ve been for the last several summer and winter olympics... possibly knee deep in mommy-ing 2 little babies and before that, belly up to a bar watching a band before kids and marriage!! Either way, I don’t remember the last time I actually sat down and watched the Olympics.

This year has been different... probably because a) I’m not heading to bars like I was in my 20’s and early 30’s and b) we’ve got kids now that LOVE to watch TV. I didn’t think sports would entertain them, but they loved it. They loved figuring out who was ahead, who was American, who was Chinese, and all the other things you do when you watch the olympics.... dreaming that possibly some day you may be there yourself.

Swimming was also something we watched in detail... especially since I my daughter is on a swim team and loves the water. Of course it was Michael Phelps this and Michael Phelps that... and then the “here’s the woman that’s just a little older than mommy...” when we watched Dara Torres.

It was a lot of fun watching there faces at each close event... also explaining some sports that they’ve never really seen. Although we had many late nights, it was well worth it. Can’t wait until winter Olympics in Vancouver. Should be fun to watch!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Grand Prix Monaco

No, we did not just return from the Cote d’Azur to watch Monaco’s famous Grand Prix race... I wish. We did, though, try to create a little of the Mediterranean in our own backyard, though, when we threw a birthday party for my son (who just LOVES race cars) and my husband (who just loves French wines!).

The party was a perfect theme for both-- I could satisfy the french wine desire, since Monaco borders up to those lovely southern vineyards, and I pleased the car lover with vintage race cars!

We even added a little gambling, to add to the Monte Carlo mood. I was a bit concerned that our make shift blackjack and roulette tables would be ignored, but what a little wine and a gorgeous day will do for party goers... Many guests jumped right in to act as dealer while I made sure food was ready and folks were mingling!

I had such a great time creating this theme, that I couldn’t help myself but to make it one of bnute productions Party Kits as well. Check out the Grand Prix Race Car Party Kit page for details... and if you want any more ideas, feel free to send me an email!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Fireworks and Fun

Another fourth of July spent at Lake Tahoe... it just can’t be beat! Not only is the weather great, but the kids have their cousins to play with, and we get to walk outside the porch and watch a great firework show over the lake!

Our kids are less than enthusiastic about the fireworks show outside the back door.... if they had it their way, perhaps it would be on the other side of California... or even better, it would just be cancelled. Ever since they were babies, I must say, loud noises have always bothered them. (This is pretty hard to believe given how noisy our family is!)

So, my solution this year... give them some earplugs, and give them front row seats and see what happens. Well, it worked like a charm. My daugther watched eagerly... my son, a little more reticent on daddy’s shoulder after it started. At the end of the display, I went to ask him how he liked it and he was asleep!! I guess the earplugs really worked!

Here are more shots from our lazy days at the lake...

Monday, June 23, 2008

Wild West Weekend

OK, so my “big” birthday celebration didn’t just end with a psychedelic party (see Summer of Love), the partying had to continue for at least another week!

So, another celebration, means another party theme, right? (Call me crazy, I know!) Since my whole family (sisters, brother, parents, spouses, kids, etc.) all headed to Keystone, Colorado-- I thought why not a good ol’fashioned Wild West weekend!

Besides the great company, delicious meals, and tasty wines, the 2 highlights of our trip was our hayride and an outing to an old West town!

including Alma and Fairplay. I had done some “research” onOne afternoon, my sisters and I hopped in the car and headed towards South Park. Yes, this is the same South Park as the cartoon television show... South Park is located almost in the middle of the state, and the area consists of several towns the web before arriving, so I felt so knowledgeable when I told my sisters what a great roadtrip with would be for us.

We typed in Alma, CO in the GPS and headed out on our adventure. Thank goodness that was not the only stop, because we flew by the town of Alma with out even blinking an eye! Fortunately, Fairplay had much to offer. Not only did we find a great low-key deli for lunch, we stumbled upon a great shop for mountain cabin accessories as well as a completely recreated Western town.

After my sister shopped, we wandered through the western town. It included several different homes of the late 1800’s, and apocathary shop, a post office, a hotel, a bar, and pretty much ever other shop you’d find in an 1800’s western town. Apparently the many of the buildings are actually original... moved from neighboring towns, to recreate a town feel. Inside the buildings were hundreds of antiques and artifacts that brought the town to life. I must say, the doctors and the dentist’s office were quite frightening. The tools at those times were quite archaic!

A couple days after that adventure, we all headed out for a hayride. Again, another great western adventure.... lasso practice, horseshoes, a tasty dinner and a great colorado folk band to entertain us. The kids were in heaven, and the adults had a blast too. I must of been a cowgirl in a former life, because I do love being in the mountains and a good hayride!