A “LOVE”ly Celebration

Saturday was a very exciting day for our family–my son proposed to the love of his life, and both families were close by and got to watch it all unfold! Witnessing the proposal was a very moving and magical experience, and it meant the world to both of them that we were all there.

After pictures were taken and we had a round of drinks at a nearby dessert bar, we all headed back to our house for a party. Her family had just traveled from upstate New York, and this was the first time that the two families were meeting, so my son wanted this to be a very informal gathering. He wanted there to be plenty of time for relaxation and casual conversation. Even though this was to be a very casual get-together, I wanted the house to look festive because, after all, this was an engagement party! So I made all of the decorations in keeping with the theme and my son’s wishes. As I have said many times before, one of the best parts about paper crafting is the fact that you can customize any project to fit a theme, style, or recipient and, in this case, I did all three!

Now that you know the back story, it’s time to get to the fun part–the actual decorations! My goal was to have some form of decoration in all of the major parts of the house where people were going to be, and I used a combination of banners and table top decorations to accomplish this goal. The color scheme was teal and purple, and these are the patterned papers I used in some form on almost all of the decorations I made:

Let’s start with the side porch door, and I’ll walk you through the decorations as people saw them as they came through the house:

I really wanted to dress up the side porch door, as this is the first thing that people were going to see as they arrived. So I made a vertical banner, which I had never done before. I wanted the words on the banner to speak to this being a celebration for both my son and his fiancé, so I chose to use “Best Day Ever”. The banner ended up blending in with our door color, so I got two bunches of balloons for either side of the door to help draw your eye to the banner.

Here are some pictures of the banner against a white door, so that you can see the detail more clearly:

Each of the 4 x 4 letter blocks was adhered to a long piece of white burlap ribbon. I looped the top end of the ribbon around a piece of dowel and tied coordinating strips of ribbon to the dowel on either side of the banner. I then tied the hanging loop of twine to the small eye hooks my husband drilled in to either end of the dowel.

The next decoration people saw was another banner as they entered the kitchen area:

This time I attached streamers to the 4 x 4 letter blocks, so that everyone would have to walk through the streamers. I don’t know about you, but I think streamers scream party, and I wanted the happy couple to walk through some streamers on their engagement day!

The last banner I made was hung the mantel, and you could see it from anywhere in the kitchen area:

Out of all of the banners I made, this one was my favorite. Because this was a double banner, I used 3 x 3 letter blocks and strung all of the blocks together with ribbon. I put command hooks on top of the mantel and hung each banner by tying the ribbons to the hooks. I know it is customary to put the woman’s name first, but it rhymed by flipping the names around!

Now let’s go into the sunroom, where the appetizer table was:

The plates and napkins were on top of a cabinet that was by the door entering the sunroom. As a decoration for this cabinet, I covered the couples’ initials with some of the different patterns of papers. I kept each letter very simple, except for tying a wooden button on with some twine to her initial. I also added some tiny hearts table scatter to the top of the cabinet as an extra touch.

I didn’t have much room on the appetizer table for decorations, so I decided to use a stack of books. My son and his fiancé attended the same Master’s Degree program in Creative Writing and both work in the publishing industry, so the books have real significance to them.

I covered the books in brown paper–which I haven’t done in MANY years– and it brought back a rush of memories of starting each new school year by making my own book covers with grocery bags. I was so proud of myself when I thought of the idea of adding the equation to the spines of the books! I thought that it not only tied in with the occasion, but also tied in the fact that her undergraduate degree was in economics.

And did you notice the mason jar of flowers on top of the books? This actually is my most favorite decoration of all, and I had one jar on the appetizer table, and one on the kitchen table:

I took flowers from our garden and placed them in the mason jars, with the white hydrangea clusters on top of the daisy varieties. I then covered the flowers completely with water, followed by a thin layer of vegetable oil. I added a tea-light to the center of each jar and lit the candles. The oil layer provides the buoyancy needed to allow the tea-light to float.

I think these jars of flowers are just beautiful, and I know that this is going to be my preferred method for arranging flowers from now on. Flowers and candlelight always add a touch of romance, and I was happy that I found a way to incorporate both in to the decorations.

The get-together ended up being everything that my son had wanted, and it truly was a great ending to the BEST DAY EVER! He loved how festive the house looked with all of the decorations, and the two families had a wonderful time getting to know each other.

Mission accomplished!

Before I close, I have one more project to show you–the party bags. You can’t have a party without favor bags!

I filled bags with 3 different flavors of popcorn from our local popcorn shop, and attached a tag that said “He POPPED the question, she said YES”! This isn’t my original idea, but, when I saw it on Pinterest, I knew it was perfect for our popcorn-loving family!

Here is a closer look at the tags–the background paper used for the tag reminded me of popcorn kernels. The label was computer generated and printed on adhesive label sheets. I punched the label out with a circle punch and mounted it on a solid card stock circle also made with a circle punch. I know it was a little corny (sorry, I couldn’t help myself!), but everyone loved them!

Thank you so much for sharing in this special day with me–this is the first engagement for our family and it’s very exciting! I not only made all of the party decorations, but I also made our son and his fiancé a gift that I would like to show you as well. I will try and get a second post up later this week.

Until then, take care, and, as always, remember:

“May what waves kiss your feet; / the sand be your seat; / and your friends out-number the stars”


P.S. She said yes!


Ring of Daisies-Part II

Happy Friday, my friends, and thank you for coming back for Part II of my series. Today I get to show you the coordinating daisy candle rings that I created for our table. I’ve never made candle rings before, but after having so much success with the napkin rings, I was anxious to give them a try!

When I pictured this project in my mind, I envisioned white candle holders and taper candles so that the candle rings would really stand out. I didn’t want to use traditional candle sticks, but wanted to repurpose and paint a jar or glass of some kind to add some charm and interest to the table. I also wanted the holders to be low profile, so that my husband and I could still see each other over the candles. With these criteria in mind, I went “shopping” around my house and I finally settled on using wide mouth half-pint mason jars. These jars have a great shape, but I was a little concerned about the wide mouth. I didn’t know whether I could make a daisy big enough to cover the entire opening, without distorting it’s shape. I guess I was about to find out!


I have painted a lot of mason jars and I prefer using the chalk paint pictured above. It provides excellent coverage and I love the opaque look it gives the jars. I put 3 coats of paint on each jar and then sanded the surfaces with extra fine sand paper to expose some of the words. I finished off each jar with a coat of the cream wax paint, which softens and smooths out the chalky finish. After you apply the cream wax, let it dry and then rub the jars with a cotton cloth to bring out the shine. Before I put the jars aside, I stuck the tapers in the middle of the jars with this candle adhesive that we purchased from Current many years ago. It really works and a little bit goes a long way!


With the candle holders finished, I now needed to concentrate on the actual rings. When I initially thought about making the rings, I figured that I would just cut the flowers in half and wrap them around the taper candle. Wrong! I off set the petals as I add each flower layer, so if I cut the flowers in half, the entire flower would just fall apart. Once again, making these candle rings proved more challenging that I originally thought. I have got to stop coming up with these complicated ideas!

Instead of wrapping the flowers around the candles, I needed to make a ring to just slip over the candles. I measured the tapers and discovered that the candles were about 1″ in diameter where the candle ring would sit. I also measured the opening of the jars and determined that using the enlarged flower would cover the opening perfectly. So I put on my engineering hat and went to work. It took a lot of thought and failed attempts, but I finally figured out a way to create an open ring in the middle of the flowers while keeping them intact. Here come the pictures!



And here come the circle punches again! I created rings by punching a 1″ circle out of  both a 1 1/2″ and a 1 3/4″ circle, and these rings helped hold the flower layers together when I cut the middle out of each flower. I ended up just using 2 size layers for each flower, and used a larger scallop circle for the flower center.



I started out by making 8 enlarged flowers and punching out 8 of the larger daisy punch. I applied adhesive all around one of the 1 3/4″ circle rings and also added a little adhesive to each individual flower petal just beyond the circle edge. I centered a flower on the circle ring and pressed it down. Then I turned the flower over and snipped out the middle of the flower. As an aside, what does the picture above remind you of? You’re right; a ship’s wheel. You might be seeing that return on a future project. But I digress…..



I then added another flower, offsetting the petals and then turned it over and snipped out the middle again. It would have been much quicker to just put all four layers on and then use the 1″ circle punch to remove all four layers at once, but the hand punches can’t cut through more than one layer of card stock at a time.

I followed this same process until I had all four flowers layered together. Here’s what one flower size layer looked like at this point:


Look at that–I did it! I created a flower layer that stayed together even with the middle cut out of it! Pretty impressive for a non-engineer!


I then started over with the next flower size and followed the same process to complete all four flower layers using the 1 1/2″ circle ring. When this size flower was finished, I put some foam dimensionals on the larger layer and attached the two sized flowers together.



For the inner ring, I carefully snipped each scallop and glued 2 rings together, offsetting the scallops. I’m not planning to attach this ring to the flower layers; I’m just going to slip it on over the flower.

And now for the moment of truth–what does it look like when I put everything together? Will the flower ring stay together after I slip it over the candle? Let’s find out:


What do you think? I absolutely love them, and I think they turned out even better than I imagined! The shape of the jars add so much charm and interest without detracting from the flower rings, which is exactly what I set out to accomplish. Now let’s see what they look like on the table along with the napkin rings:



Notice that my husband and I are practicing our social distancing! I kept the table settings plain and simple so that the napkin and candle rings would stand out. The woven placemats bring in some texture without adding color, and the lace trim on the cloth napkins compliments and highlights the sweetness and charm of the daisies.

These rings weren’t quick and easy to design and make, but they were definitely worth all of the time and effort. I absolutely love having the kitchen table decorated for Spring, and the overall effect is simple, soft and charming. It makes me smile every time I walk by or sit at the table.

It’s been great to spend some time together these past two days, but I am ready to take off my engineering cap; step away from the daisy hand punches; and move on to easier projects. All of this shelter in place time is perfect for crafters like me, so I am sure we will be together again soon. You are in my thoughts and I hope you stay healthy and safe. Until next time, remember:

“May the waves kiss your feet; the sand be your seat; and your friends out-number the stars.”











Mason Mondays

It’s no secret–I LOVE mason jars! I love their shape and the color of the vintage aqua jars.  They are incredibly versatile, and can be used for many different functions and purposes. I have used them all throughout my house, and in each instance, they serve a specific need.  For example:

Mason jars on window ledge_1.jpg

I am using these jars in my pantry to provide a splash of color.

Mason jar vase_1.jpg

This jar in my kitchen is doubling as a vase,

Mason jar home decor_1.jpg

while the painted jar in my living room,

Mason jar craft room decor_1.jpg

as well as these jars in my craft room have been re-purposed as home decor.

Mason jars work really well for craft projects. Since I tend to use them often, I am starting a new series here on my blog entitled “Mason Mondays” to highlight my posts using these jars. Anytime I feature a mason jar in my project design or packaging, I will post it on a Monday under the “Mason Mondays” heading.

Today is the first post in this series, as I used the 4 oz. mason jars for my husband’s Father’s Day dessert. He loves Key Lime Pie, and when I found this recipe for Key Lime Pie Cups, I knew these would be the perfect ending to his Father’s Day meal.

You start out by filling each jar with a graham cracker crumb mixture,

Graham cracker crust layer_1.jpg

followed by the key lime filling.

Key lime filling_1.jpg

The filling gets topped with Cool Whip and graham cracker crumbs, and then the cups need to refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Ready to refrigerate_1.jpg

Just before serving, place a lime wedge on each cup.

Dressed up and ready to serve_1.jpg

All I needed to do now was put each Key Lime Pie cup on a dessert plate and pour the coffee. My husband could hardly wait to dig in!

Served and ready to eat_1.jpg

Look how sweet each dessert looks in the 4 oz. mason jars! And it tasted just as good as it looked–I love it when that happens! It was very light and refreshing–a perfect summertime treat. My husband had 2 servings, so I think we can call this recipe a success! Check, check, and check!

I hope your week has gotten off to a good start. Take care, and, as always, remember:

“May the waves kiss your feet; the sand be your seat; and your friends out-number the stars”.





Pinterest and a Paint Brush

My latest projects all started with a bench and Pinterest.

Before Bench picture

I bought this bench to sit on our side porch, and while the fit was perfect; the color was not.  So, the first order of business was to re-paint it.

Bench re-painted x 2

What a difference a coat of paint makes–it doesn’t even look like the same piece of furniture! The bench looks so clean and fresh, and it creates the perfect spot to sit on the porch. Now I need to dress it up and make it even more welcoming, and this is where Pinterest comes in. After all, there is no better place than Pinterest to search for ideas and options on anything and everything!

As is so often the case with Pinterest, not only did I find a great project idea for the bench, but I also found several others that I wanted to make–all using chalkboard paint. Let me show you how I transformed a suitcase, a mason jar, and a metal tray.

Items pre-paint

Let’s start with the mason jar.  I have a small window at the bottom of my stairs, and I had been looking for some type of nautical decoration to put on the ledge.  When I ran across directions to paint a mason jar with a striped pattern using chalkboard paint, I knew my search was over.  I followed the directions exactly, using Americana Decor’ Chalky Finish paint in Everlasting and Vintage colors. Once the jar was painted, I completed the nautical theme by adding some rope around the neck of the jar, creating a tag with “from sea to shining sea” on it, and filling the jar with driftwood pieces.

Finished Mason Jar

I love how this turned out–it’s even better than I imagined it would be! I love the colors and the stripes, but my favorite part is the distressing of the words on the jar, which is accomplished by rubbing sand paper over the lettering after the painting is complete. Here is a better picture of the distressing, and also a close-up of the tag:

Jar close-up

Jar Tag

I cut the tag shape out of vintage paper, and the wording is computer-generated. Before I move on to the metal tray, I wanted to show you a couple of pictures of the jar on the window ledge. I can’t help but smile every time I walk by it!

Jar on window ledge

wide angle jar shot

Now, on to the metal tray. During my Pinterest search, I came across a picture of a tray that had been transformed into a message board of sorts, with the help of chalkboard paint.  I liked the idea, so I decided to give it a try.  I started by spray painting the entire tray in an aqua color, and then I painted the bottom of the tray again with several coats of black chalkboard paint.

Finished tray

I was curious to see whether the chalkboard paint would actually work like a “real” chalkboard, and it absolutely does.  I can see myself using this tray for all kinds of different occasions, like this summer drink station.

I’ve saved the best for last, as it is the transformation of the suitcase that I am most excited about.  When I came across a picture of a vintage suitcase turned into a welcome sign, I knew that’s what I wanted to put on my bench.  You can find these little suitcases all over–craft as well as home goods stores–and they come in all sorts of colors and themes.  I chose this suitcase for it’s sea glass color scheme as well as the ocean life images.  I painted a patch in the center of one side of the suitcase with the same black chalkboard paint, and here’s the result:

Finished suitcase

I was worried that the paint wouldn’t adhere to the smooth, glossy surface of the suitcase, but after letting it cure for 3 days, the paint was permanent. Now let me show you how this suitcase looks on the bench:

suitcase on porch bench

This is exactly what my bench needed, and it creates a unique and warm welcome to all of our guests. Who could ask for more?!

If you want more information and/or instructions on any of these projects, please check out my Pinterest board.

Happy 4th of July to each and every one of you, and, as always, remember:

“May the waves kiss your feet, / the sand be your seat, / and your friends out-number the stars.”



It’s Memorial Day weekend–the unofficial start to summer. I don’t know about you, but I’m excited to see summer arrive, especially after the long, cold winter we endured this year. I decided that I wanted to make a special cocktail sometime over the weekend, so that my family and I could raise our glasses and toast all that this season has to offer.

A toast requires a beverage, and not just any beverage, but something fitting for the occasion. For New Year’s there’s champagne, for Christmas there’s hot apple cider, and for our Memorial Day toast, I’m going to try a Blackberry Mint Mojito. Any recipe with blackberries in it is special to me, as I consider them to be a summer delicacy. Plus, I think they are a really pretty fruit–I love their deep, rich purple color.

Now, a disclaimer: I never planned to blog about these mojitos. If everything had gone as I planned, I would have made the mojitos, loved them, made another batch for my family over the weekend, and blogged about a set of beach-themed cards I made this past week. But these mojitos took on a life of their own and snowballed into something above and beyond a Memorial Day cocktail.

Here’s how it happened:

The first thing I did was make a mojito by cutting the recipe in half. I used a half-pint mason jar as my glass.blackberry mojito

I was pleased with how it looked, but, before I tasted it, I decided I wanted to try making a non-alcoholic version as well. For this, I omitted the lime juice and the mint leaves, and substituted diet Sprite for the soda water, and made a blackberry spritzer of sorts. This picture shows the mojito on the left, and the spritzer on the right.alcoholic and non-alcoholic

At this point, I was excited to taste each version, and I wasn’t disappointed.  The rum and mint is a nice combination in the mojito, and I found the spritzer to be very refreshing.

Since I still had some puree left, I decided to try one more option.  I made some Crystal Light lemonade from a packet, and added it to another half-pint mason jar that had already been filled with a jigger (1.5 oz) of the puree and ice.  I stirred it up, took a sip, and decided that this was my favorite version so far.

blackberry lemonadeI now had three really good options to use for the Memorial Day toast, which I was pleased about, but the presentation of each of the drinks left a lot to be desired.  They were all just essentially a beverage in a mason jar, and left me asking “What’s so special about that”?

Here’s where the crafting comes in, as I decided that I needed to dress up the drinking glasses with paper products. I headed down to my studio to see what I could come up with. It’s amazing what a few simple paper products can do to change the look of something!

The first project I want to show you is what I did to dress up the glasses. Since the blackberry lemonade was my favorite option, I decided to go with a yellow and purple color scheme.  I changed out the mason jars for milk bottle glasses, as I thought they added more charm. Look what cupcake liners, paper straws, and doilies can do to a plain milk bottle glass:serving idea

These glasses went from “drab to fab”, and even water would look fantastic served in them! As an added bonus, if our Memorial Day toast happens outside, the cupcake liners will protect the drinks from the bugs. It was all beginning to come together, and I could have stopped there, knowing that I had solved how to give the drinking glasses some pizzaz, but I was having too much fun.

I then thought about how the ingredients for the blackberry lemonade would make a fun hostess/thank you gift, so I challenged myself to come up with a some packaging. I love to design packaging for gifts, so I was in my element. I determined that if you were going to give the gift to one person, then you would need a small jar of the blackberry puree, a milk bottle glass with cupcake liner and straw, a bag with a packet of crystal light and doily in it, a card, and a gift tag. thank you gift items

This is such a cheerful gift ensemble, and it would be perfect for an end of the year teacher gift, a thank you gift, or just to brighten someone’s day. I packaged the ensemble in a purple, polka dot paper loaf pan (say that three times!) that I had found at Michael’s last week, wrapped it all in clear cellophane, tied it up with baker’s twine and a tag, and here’s what it looks like all ready to give to someone:all wrapped up

I have one more idea and picture for you.  If you wanted to take the ingredients to a friend’s house and enjoy the blackberry lemonade together, you could use a cardboard beverage tray and include two dressed up milk bottle glasses tied up with tags, the small jar of blackberry puree, a bag with two packets of Crystal Light lemonade and two doilies in it, and a card, if appropriate.  It could look something like this:friend gift

And that, my friends, is the story of how I started out with a recipe for a Blackberry Mint Mojito, and ended up with blackberry lemonade, gift ensembles, and a huge mess in both my kitchen and my studio. Such is the life of a paper crafter–you start with a project in mind, and before you know it, that project snowballs into something else, and what you end up with is nothing like what you started out to make!

I am looking forward to this weekend, and to toasting the summer season with blackberry lemonade served in dressed up milk bottle glasses. I hope that you enjoy your Memorial Day weekend as well, and, as always, remember:

“May the waves kiss your feet, / the sand be your seat, / and your friends out-number the stars.”