Minted Holiday Photo Cards

minted holiday photo cardsHow rad are these Minted holiday photo cards?  As many of you know, my family puts out a themed holiday card each year.  Each year, it seems like it gets closer and closer to Christmas before we finally get our cards out in the mail.  This can be very stressful for a Type A person like myself who suggests, ever so gently, to my husband starting at the end of September that we go ahead and start working on them.  So far, we’ve always gotten them done.  But it’s inevitable that, at some point, our themed card won’t get done.  So each year, I check out the sites I like so I know I have a back up plan, JIC (just in case).  This year Minted is knocking my holiday socks off.  These are my 4 faves and apparently I am REALLY in to red.

I love how number 1 allows for so many fun photo options.  It is a great way to really share some of the fun times you have had throughout the year.  Number two has stripes.  Who doesn’t love stripes?  And that font, along with that preppy blue outlined circle keeps it classy.  Number 3 is graphic and bold.  It lets you share an image of your family, but in a really “art-y” way.  And the geometric pattern of number 4 makes me so happy.  It allows you to spotlight a special image of your kids or family, while still managing to share a good dose of good design.

Have you done your holiday cards for this year?  If you haven’t you better get a move on it.  Call Dez and Tam for your holiday family portrait session and then get moving on your Minted order.  OH!  And have you seen their new party decor?  AND their rad blog with a who’s who of contributors?  Check it out!

Disclosure: On occasion, I receive products, compensation and/or services gratis or at discounted rates. This practice does not influence my point of view or the outcome of the review. All descriptions are factual and accurately reflect my experience. The opinions are my own.


For Your Party {Giveaway!!!}

I am just about ready to be lost in all kinds of party planning.  November through February are an entertaining whirlwind for me.  I’ve got 11 family birthdays, 3 holidays and whatever else I dream up to work on for the blog.  While we don’t throw all out parties for each of these birthdays we like to do something special for each person.  What I love about For Your Party is that you can get custom napkins or other party paper items printed (in totally reasonable quantities) to help celebrate a special occasion without breaking your back planning an over the top gala.  Who wouldn’t be excited to show up to a dinner in their honor and find a napkin, coaster or stir stick created just for them?  
For Your Party knows that you all have a lot going on this time of year and are giving away an awesome set of party goods to one lucky reader.
Giveaway includes: 
*50 Stir Sticks – For Your Party offers 3 styles/shapes to choose from and graphics and design are totally customizable. 
*50 Printed Coasters – 4 styles to choose from.  Winner can customize the look to suit their party needs. 
*50 Printed Cocktail Napkins in any color with customized message.
Winner can personalize the products with any choice of color, over 70 fonts, tons of shapes and message copy.  Or choose one of their ready made designs, all of which are super cool!  Take a minute to look around their site and see some examples, this will give you a ton of ideas of what they are capable of doing. 
Don’t have any parties coming up?  Create something special for your family’s Thanksgiving dinner.  
Photo Sources:
Stir Stick, napkin and coaster were created by me using the For Your Party site which is super easy to use to customize most of their products any way you want. 
Or use one of their “vintage inspired” themes for an upcoming baby shower you have to throw.  
Photo Sources:
Popcorn, cake stand, garland, mint tissue ball, green and white tissue pinwheel, drink, baby shower game card.  Umbrella napkin, stir stick and candy favor box created on the For Your Party site. 
The possibilities are virtually endless.  
To enter, leave a comment on this post telling me what event you will use the custom goods for.  I will choose one winner, at random.  Will accept comments until midnight, Monday, October 24, 2011 and announce the winner on Tuesday, October 25, 2011.
Follow For Your Party on Facebook for a 10% discount on your order!
Follow them on Twitter and check out their blog for more ideas on how to use their awesome products! 
Photos of winning items care of For Your Party

The cutest cupcake topper printable ever and a yummy recipe too!

How adorable are these cupcake picks!  After Lauren created the cutest contest graphic ever (I am in love with every font she used in the Sweets for Teats title image) I asked her to also create a free printable of cupcake toppers for you to use along with your baked treats.  I LOVE that these fit right in with the theme of the party but could also be used for so many other types of party/holidays too.  And in order to take pictures of them, I needed to make a dessert to put them in, obvs.  Here is one of my favorite desserts my mom made for us growing up.  It is called Strawberry Dessert (that is what is on the printed recipe from the cookbook my mom put together for me of all our fave family (stolen from somewhere) recipes.)    
It is not the prettiest dessert I’ve ever seen.  So it is great that the 1″ cupcake toppers can also be made in to a super easy cake banner to cute-ify the final product. 
If you are a regular reader of my blog you know that I am a lazy tutorialist and don’t get too crazy with my photo staging.  I am also a lazy cook.  This recipe and “craft” is perfect for me.  Super cute, totally easy.  What you may not know is that I sometimes lack focus in the kitchen.  Many a recipe has gone awry because I like to not read recipes all the way through before I start.  The day I made this was no exception.  What should have taken about ten minutes to make, took me about an hour.  You may also have noticed that there is a Bigfoot hanging out with the ingredients.  This is my youngest son’s new toy.  He is scared to death of it.  And loves it at the same time.  It is creating quite the internal struggle for him.  He wants the toy turned on (Bigfoot is awesome.  He does tricks including somersaults and throwing tantrums.  Did I mention he’s loud too?) but once its on, my son will not get anywhere near him and ask me to turn him back off.  His battery was being charged in the kitchen and so I found myself moving Bigfoot around as I was trying to get the stuff together for this recipe.  Finally I just decided he was easier to include.  All you need for the dessert is a pre-made Angel Food Cake, a container of Cool Whip, Frozen Strawberries and Strawberry Jello, Bigfoot is optional.  Boom. My kind of recipe. 
This is my houseguest/known since junior high friend, Kayla.  Oh and there is Bigfoot.  Kayla was highly offended by the fact that this dessert didn’t have a more creative name.  She came up with Marilyn’s (my mommy) Extraordinary Strawberry Parfait Casserole.  When my fancy friend, Taryn, saw the dessert she called it White Trash Strawberry Shortcake (since she makes her own shortcakes from scratch and may be a bit of a baking snob).  I decided to not punch her in the face and instead eat some dessert.  You decide which name you like better.     
First you take half of the Angel Food Cake and tear it in to chunks and put in the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish.  Next you dissolve the strawberry jello in boiling water and add the strawberries…
Now I want to bring you in to my world for a minute.  I hate ants.  Like, for real.  I don’t tolerate them anywhere in the house but especially in the kitchen.  And wouldn’t you know that as I began making this recipe, I started finding ants in this cabinet.  Cooking had to be put on hold as I took every item out of the cupboard, ant-chalked the shit out of it and left it open so I could have an ant stake-out.  So much for whatever focus I started with.  To top it off, many of my mom’s recipes lack instructions.  See, she has common sense in the kitchen so she knows what to do.  Me?  Not so much.  
Which is why this part of the dessert ended up looking a little bit awful.  I think I curdled the Cool Whip.  But I will let you know right now that with all the chemicals in the Cool Whip, the flavor is not affected negatively at all.  That’s a solid product right there; one that can stand up to kitchen messes and still come out pretty much unaffected.  You pour this mixture over your first layer of angel food cake, put a second layer of torn angel food cake on and then pour the rest of this amazing strawberry goo on top.  Chill.  Eat.  Repeat.
Here is the finished, chilled dessert.  So you can see why it needs a little decorating.  
Here is all you need to make these adorable cupcake picks.  The download prints out a page of 48 one inch circles.  TomKat Studios suggest the EK Success punch so that is what I bought.  She wasn’t kidding, best punch I’ve ever used! So run out and get one of those, use a punch you already have, or if all else fails, cut out the circle with scissors.  As you can see from the picture of the banner, I only used about 5 circles.  Not that time consuming.  And for the picks, you only need to cut out enough for each guest in attendance (or sometimes it is super cute to just have a few – adds pizazz, excites the guests and half the work!)
Cut the skewers with the scissors to whatever size you prefer.  Feel free to use toothpicks or some other type of stick.  I loved the thickness of the skewer with the proportion of the circle.  And I made these different heights to add visual interest.  I do stuff like that.  I’m all artsy.  Use your Glue Dots product of choice to adhere the cut out circle to the skewer.  I used both the Mini and Micro and both worked great.
I think they are so cute!!! Huge thanks to Lauren for creating them and letting me share them with you.  
To make the banner, all you would need is some ribbon, yarn, string, thread, you get the idea – as well as the above materials.  Simply tie the string to two uncut skewers and use the Glue Dots to adhere the circles right to the string.  
By the way, I am currently eating this dessert as my breakfast.  So. 
-1 ring store bought Angel Food Cake
-1 large package strawberry Jello
-1 small container Cool Whip THAWED (not the jumbo sized – a nice normal sized Cool Whip)
-1 large package sweetened frozen strawberries – NOT THAWED (these will have sugar and liquid – not the whole berries frozen in a bag)
Break 1/2 angel food cake into chunks and put in the bottom of a 9×13 pan.  Put Jello powder in a bowl, pour 2 cups boiling water on top and stir to dissolve.  Add frozen strawberries and stir to help thaw and cool down the Jello mixture.  Stir in spoonfuls of Cool Whip until mixed.  Spoon 1/2 mixture over cake. Repeat layers and set in fridge several hours to chill.  Cut in to squares to serve. 
Notes:  While the dessert holds its shape pretty well on a plate, it isn’t quite stiff enough to use a knife to cut and serve. A spoon works much better.   
All pictures are mine.

Tiny Prints – Review

I was contacted recently by Tiny Prints to see if I would be interested in reviewing their cards.  I’ve known about them for years, but never had the right opportunity to use them before.  Until now.  My mother-in-law asked me to help her with a 90th birthday party for my husband’s grandmother.  While I knew that Tiny Prints made adorable children’s party invites and cool, modern Christmas cards, I wasn’t sure what I would find in the way of adult invitations. 
I left the final decision making up to my mother-in-law (see the above) but found that they have a bunch of great options for adult invitations.  
Image via Tiny Prints – Painted Trunks in Cabernet

Although they have this sampled as a holiday party, it was easily found under a heading for birthday party invitations for adults.

Image via Tiny Prints – Festive Fanfare Bright Green

Love how modern the green and grey is and love the offset detail box.

Image via Tiny Prints – Inspired Garden: Begonia

And how fantastical is this chic floral invite?! I love everything about it.

Image via Tiny Prints – Allergy Alert Cards, Bright Boxes: Sky

But I was pleasantly surprised when I came across these Allergy Alert cards.  As some of you may know, my oldest son has multiple food allergies.  And with him about to start kindergarten and us contemplating taking him on a trip back east this summer, these cards could really come in handy.  And there are 4 different styles to choose from.  RAD.IC.LE.  

And I had no idea that they also had greeting cards.  I can’t tell you how many times I have fretted over having to run out to buy a greeting card to get it in the mail on time.  Sometimes you just don’t want to drag two kids over to Target, where there is a Lego section and where you could quite literally have two separate tantrums happening at once causing you to shed tears and sweat like a fat man.  Not saying that has happened…There are several ways they can help with the cards.  They can send them out for you and allow the card to arrive to the recipient faster and possibly on time for once in your life.  Or they can send the card to you, so you can personally sign it and then send it out from home.  Awesome.  And they also have business products, wedding invites and photo gifts.  Sheesh.  If Tiny Prints ran for prom queen she would probably win.  She’s got it all. 
I had a little hiccup with my ordering.  I had saved a draft in a folder but then couldn’t access it to put in my cart when I was ready to order.  I used the instant chat capability and within a minute I was chatting with a customer service rep and figured out the problem without having to grab the phone or wait to get an email back which may or may not have had the right answer.  I LOVE this option.  And once the order was placed, I received an email from a customer service rep.  She said that she had personally checked my order and sent it on to the printers.  There was a name and a phone number with an extension in case I had any questions or concerns.  What the what?!  That’s customer service, people! 
I had an awesome experience with Tiny Prints and would certainly use them again.  I’m not sure why I continually fret over my novice graphic design capabilities and try to design all my own invites when there are professionals and designers who do it so much better and can be obtained with the click of the mouse.  
If you haven’t used them yet, you should try them.  Don’t get me started about the envelope options…
top 2 photos are mine

Papel Picado-esque Straw Flags

So I had this idea that I had to try out.  I love the papel picado flags that you sometimes see at fiestas.  They look super intricate and I wouldn’t have the first clue, or patience, how to make the banners.  But I wondered about a mini version of it done as a straw flag.  Turned out pretty cute so I thought I would share.  Much like my cooking, my crafts tend to be a little less than precise.  And since my 2 year old decided he didn’t need to nap today, there was extra activity around the craft table.  
Piece of paper
Paper cutter
Glue Dots Glue Lines
Glue Dots Craft
Glue Dots Mini Dots
A decorative Martha Stewart Anywhere punch

Cut a strip of paper to be 1 3/4″ x 4 3/4″ (this will depend on the decoration of the punch really).  Fold the paper in half.

Use the decorative punch making sure to allow for plenty of room for the straw near the fold.

Place a Glue Dot Craft Dot in the center of the fold.  Secure the straw to the dot.  Add a Glue Dots Glue Line to one side of the straw.  You are going to need to match up the punch on both sides before you get the back side of the paper to adhere to the Glue Line.  

Use a Glue Dots Mini Dot near the edge to help line up the decoration. 

Trim the edge with scissors.  Insert in to beverage and enjoy.  While not a traditional Mexican folk pattern, the decorative cut outs still look pretty cool.  
All photos are mine.