Thursday, July 31, 2014

Pool Party

Hi everyone, guess who just turned one recently?  Yes, my sweet baby girl is now one whole year old.  Where did the time go?  I know I don't typically talk about events that I have hosted when it comes to blogging, but I really enjoyed planning this party and want to share some of the fun with you.

The invites were made using a fun photo I took of my daughter.
I wanted to plan a party that would be fun, but was still simple.  I mean, she's one, it's not like she is even going to remember the party anyway.  Plus, every minute I spent working on the party was time away from sewing (so I texted my invites, grabbed a few frozen pizzas and picked up a cake from the grocery store - haha, just kidding).  

I got some help making the desserts!
Once summer hit, my girl loved spending time in her kiddie pool, so it was an obvious choice to have a pool party theme.  When it came to planning the food, I couldn't believe how easy it was to find some ideas on pinterest.  I really should use pinterest more.  The first idea I came across that I loved was a beach ball themed cake.  It's actually a dessert pizza.  This was perfect for the birthday, because my daughter loves fruit.  Also, I think the cake presents an "ooh-ahh" factor, but it was really, really easy to make.

Yum!  Everyone got to choose a piece with their favorite fruit.
But then, I found a cute idea for making a sand cake.  This seemed completely appropriate since everything goes in my daughter's mouth - including sand and dirt.  We had a guest list of about 20 (and that's immediate family only!), so I decided that two desserts would be okay.  I just cut the recipe in half, so I wouldn't spend the next week eating sand cake.

Sand Cake.
And because I have an insatiable sweet tooth and cannot resist making something that is cute, I decided we needed to have rice crispy ice cream cones.  The idea came from pinterest, though the picture just showed some teeny, tiny ice cream cones in the far back of the picture, and the link did not add much more information.  Luckily, it's pretty intuitive to figure out how they were made, and I already had an ice cream cone shaped cookie cutter.  In the eleventh hour before the guests arrived I found myself whipping up tiny batches of ice cream flavored icing for the bars.  There is peppermint bon-bon (with peppermint extract, tiny chocolate shavings and a bit of food coloring), strawberry (I squeezed fresh strawberry into the frosting, added some finely chopped strawberries and a dot of food coloring), and chocolate (from this frosting recipe).

These were so much fun to make.
We kept the rest of the food pretty simple: colorful veggie tray, chips, salsa, pasta salad and grilled chicken.  To make things a bit more fun, we used sand buckets for things like the sand cake, salsa, pasta salad and silver wear.

The pasta salads hadn't yet been put in the blue buckets.
My last touch were some simple decorations of beach balls cut out of scrapbook paper.  I just used the same general layout from the cake.  We also had two beach balls for the party that were in these colors - so it helped tie things together.

This was a really easy party to throw together, but I think it looks like a bit of effort went into it.  The only money I spent (other than food costs) was $7.00 on buckets and shovels (which are now used as pool toys) and $5.00 on beach balls (also used as pool toys).  

What are some of your party planning secrets?  Do you have any great recipes or decoration ideas to share?


Monday, July 14, 2014

Pretty Mommy | The Nautical Theme Continues

It is completely unintentional that so many of my outfits have revolved around a sort of nautical theme.  I picked up this skirt about a month ago at one of those consignment shops where they pay you for your clothes.  I don't typically shop at these kind of stores, but I was dropping off a few things that no longer fit into my mommy wardrobe and decided to have a look around while I waited.

The skirt is J. Crew from about eight years ago (so it sat in someone's closet for quite a while before they sold it).  I remember when J. Crew had this skirt, because it was right after I quit working there and I couldn't justify buying it without my employee discount.  Bonus, I now got it for much cheaper than my discount would have allowed.  (Plus I am smaller than I was in college, so I have a skirt that fits me now instead of eight years ago).  Can we talk about how fun this skirt is?  I just love the sandy border along the bottom of the skirt and the fun details of the people vacationing.  (Can you spot the water skiers?  There's no boat pulling them . . .)

I rarely accessorize my outfits, especially with jewelry - mostly because I have only ever bought myself one piece of jewelry in my life.  Yup, this necklace is it.  It usually comes out in the summer because of the tropical feel.  I remember when I used to wear it at work, I would get compliments followed by something along the lines of "but, you usually don't wear fun jewelry very often . . ." 

Attacked with baby kisses!
Have you ever shopped at an "upscale" consignment shop?  What's your take on them?


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Like Boden, but Better

Oh my word, I feel like I have been working on this project forever - and I sort have been.  Recently, I shared about how I draw some of my inspiration from Boden catalogs.  When I saw the Emily skirt, I really wanted to buy it, but knew it was something that I could easily replicate.  Well, it was easy in the sense that it was not difficult, but hand embroidering a border of seventy-five inches took a bit longer than I expected.

Close-up of my embroidery and red hem tape.

I started out with a plan to make an exact copy, but as I started drawing out my flowers and looking at the photo of the real skirt, I couldn't help but feel that a nautical theme would be "better."  After spending about an hour drawing flowers, I scrapped that idea all together and starting searching pinterest for nautical themes.  Soon after, I had my little motifs picked out and I went to work drawing them out and planning how they would look on the skirt.

Though time consuming, the embroidery was a perfect project because it was easy to pick up and put down when I only had short increments of time (the story of my life right now).  But with all the work that went into the skirt because of the embroidery, I had really built up my expectations of this skirt.  I wanted to LOVE this skirt, in the end I like it, but I don't love it.

My best attempt at copying the picture from the catalog . . .

My original intent was just to make a gathered dirndl skirt and wing it.  Upon further consideration, I decided to use the skirt portion of the Cambi dress.  I liked the pocket placement of the Cambi, and I've been wanting to sew up this pattern for a long time.  A half dress is better than nothing, right?  Sewing this up has reminded me that I really need a Cambi in my closet.  It has also shown me the importance of choosing a lightweight fabric if I do the full skirt option.  The stiffness of the seersucker makes the skirt feel much fuller, so I will probably sew up the a-line version or use a much different fabric in the future.

Check out the cutie in the background!

Now that this project is done, I am excited to start something a little less time consuming.  My summer sewing list is huge, and I feel like summer is just dwindling away.  Next up is the pattern I received from this lovely lady.  Wondering what the pattern is, well you will just have to cross your fingers that I find the time to sew it up.  What's left on your summer sewing list?