Monday, November 4, 2013

Butterfly Birthday Party ~ Plus Pinterest Reviews!

Do you guys remember back in August when I was talking about my daughter's 2nd birthday party that was coming up?

Yeah, me either.
(I can barely remember yesterday!)

But I did talk about it, and at the time it seemed like her birthday was still soooo far away. But now it is over and done with, and I have some really cute stuff to show you guys!

So anyone who knows me well knows that I turn to Pinterest for everything. If I need a new recipe, if I'm planning a party, if I don't know what to get someone for their birthday, etc. My daughter's birthday was no exception. Here's the board I used for all the cute ideas:

Follow Eva's 2nd Birthday by Gela Smith on Pinterest

So let's start the pin comparisons! Here's the first one:

And here's mine:

The idea is relatively simple - you wrap up your various plastic utensils in a cute folded napkin and secure it  on there with candy bracelets. I had a couple initial problems with this one. The first one was that I could not find regular candy bracelets anywhere at first! I tried my regular local party store and all they had were candy watched and candy necklaces. But I FINALLY found what I was looking for at Oriental Trading - here is the link if you're interested. Now this listing is actually for candy bracelets with little "pool party" charms on them, and I just broke them off before I used them. I wanted those ones in particular because they were a more pastel color which is what I was going for, but if you don't mind the more vibrant colors than Oriental Trading also has regular candy bracelets without the charms here. Although I can't vouch for how the more vibrant colored bracelets taste, I can tell you that the "pool party" ones I got were really delicious - best tasting candy jewelry I've ever tried.

The second problem I had was folding the napkins all cute like that. I managed to do it ok, but once I put on the candy bracelets it didn't look so cute anymore. I had to wrap my bracelets around twice in order to secure them, otherwise they would just fall right off. That being said, when I wrapped them a second time it just scrunched up the cute folded design. So I decided to fold the napkins in half diagonally and roll them around the spoon instead and they still turned out really cute - I got lots of compliments on them, and even the adults had a fun time sporting their candy bracelets and munching on them throughout the party.

So it worked really well! I definitely recommend trying this.

Here's the next one:

And here was my version:

So I did a couple of things differently here. First of all, getting one specific color of candy is hard. You usually have to special order it from a place like the Candy Warehouse which I really didn't want to have to do. So I went to my local party store and bought a package of two colors of sixlets. I would have gotten more colors if they weren't soooo expensive! But I think they were worth it in the end. I also used much smaller vases that I just picked up from the dollar store. Then instead of leaving them as is, I added a little butterfly fan decoration in the top of each one (which I also got from Oriental Trading). They turned out adorable! At least, I think so - and apparently so did everyone else at the party because I got lots of compliments on this too. But the problem was that the fans didn't go in very deep and the candies didn't weigh enough to really keep them in place very well, so every little bump on the table made them fall over - not that my guests minded, though. They took them out and got into the candies inside before too long anyway. ;) Overall, a cute idea! It worked out well.

Ok, moving on:

And here's mine:

I absolutely love the way these turned out! I made much more than this of course, but I forgot to take a picture until a lot of them had already been scarfed down! Dang. But you get the idea. I used a star tip to ice the cupcakes in a spiral pattern to make it look like the butterflies were sitting on a flower, then I used my leftover sixlets to make their bodies and some yogurt covered pretzels for the wings! (I got my pretzels at Lin's near the bakery goods, but you could use Flipz or something similar as well, or even regular pretzels if you'd prefer!) These were pretty easy and self-explanatory, the only tip I really have about them is to make sure you put them in the fridge after you decorate them - the pretzels don't like to stay up at that angle when the frosting has warmed up some. I got plenty of compliments on this one as well - definitely worth doing!

And one more about the cupcakes...

I made them rainbow on the inside. Here's a pic:

So cute, right? I can't say I got a lot of compliments on it because no one really said anything! I was surprised!  (Maybe they were sick of handing out compliments by now, hehe!) But I thought they were absolutely adorable and the rainbow inside made them even more fun to eat! The only thing I really did differently was that instead of using all 6 colors in it, I only used orange through purple and iced the top with pink for the last of it. And let me tell you, I'm glad I did it that way. I don't know if you noticed in the original pin, but the tops of those cupcakes are kind of flat and protrude out a bit past the cupcake liner - that's from over-filling. By cutting out the top color it made them look so much better in my opinion. Just remember to only use a tablespoon or so if each color of batter if you want them to fit in the pan right! Then you can spread it around to the edges with a spoon - don't fill until it spreads to the sides on its own!

I think that's pretty much wraps it up, other than to show you a picture of the cute little star of the party!

Happy birthday my sweet 2 year old girl!!

Sunday, October 13, 2013


So, I have been absent again lately.

But this time I have a good reason! I promise!

I finally crossed off a 101 in 1001 goal that I have been rather anxious about...

Go without the computer for 1 week straight.

I did it! I didn't turn it on at all, except for a few minutes at a time for paying bills, which doesn't count because that's a necessity and I didn't use that time to play around.

I fully expected to have some kind of self-revelation or something during my time offline, but the truth is... it didn't happen. At least not in the way that I thought it would. I thought I would spend all this extra time with my kids, get crafty, get the house clean... Didn't happen! None of it!

In fact, I realized that being on the computer wasn't the thing that was stopping me from doing all those things. I'm just tired all the time - being a mom is hard! This isn't news to anyone! Taking breaks from housework and babysitting to sit on my butt for a little while is what keeps me going! It keeps me centered and balanced and prevents me from completely wiping myself out with chores so that I'm too tired to do ANYTHING the next day.

Honestly, the thing that I missed most about the computer...
and this is kind of embarrassing...
was this.

You might not be able to tell from the "totally"s and "lol"s from my blog, but I am a pretty decent writer. I am also a gamer, and I happen to love The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim a LOT even though I wasn't a fan of the previous Elder Scrolls games. I've been wanting to try my hand at a fan fiction for quite a while now, and I am loving this so far. My 101 in 1001 goal was to write 5 chapters of a fan fiction novel... I am now working on my 9th chapter. And you know what? People like it! People I don't even know have read it and are tracking it, waiting for me to post new chapters... That's an unreal feeling.

In fact, this is something I haven't told ANYONE before, but since you guys are so special...
I love being a stay-at-home-mommy
(ok that wasn't the secret)
someday when my kids don't need me as much, I actually would really love to go to college and become a writer. An author. A journalist... doesn't even really matter which. I just love it, you guys. I really do.

So I hope you guys will check it out.

I guess that's it for now! I will try hard to do something totally awesome to blog about in the near future!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Shop Update

I cannot believe that it has only been 5 days since I last posted talking about my 10th sale. My shop has been on fire lately! As a result, I am up to 12 sales now, and have done 2 custom orders.


So I decided to give my shop a little love to accommodate for all this extra business.

For starters I re-added the Made-to-Order section of my shop. I originally got rid of it because I wasn't even sure if the materials required for the bows that were listed were still sold in stores. But now I have gone over every listing and picked out the ones that I know for sure I can still make for people.

Because of this, I have a few new listings in my shop!

That first bow is actually new - it's a variation of my existing pink bow, but I actually did it as a custom order in white recently. The customer said it was for her little girl's baptism, and the thought struck me that I need to be selling this bow in my shop on a permanent basis. I mean, people have baptisms and blessings and such all the time where they need to wear white. (I'm not religious, so I didn't even think about it!)

The yellow and turquoise/brown bow are relisted items that I had previously sold but now know I have/can get the materials for to do again. So glad to have these adorable bows back in my shop!

There are a few others that i would like to relist in the near future, but still have to see if I can find the materials necessary to make them. So keep checking back in to see if I have added something new! I am getting very close to my 101 in 1001 goal of listing 25 items in my shop!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

10th Sale Celebration ~ Plus a New Halloween Bow!

I just crossed another couple of items off my 101 in 1001 list.

Fulfill 1 custom order.

Reach 10 sales.

I am so excited to finally be crossing these ones off my list! It was a big week for my humble shop! I had my first international sale, my first custom order, and my 10th sale all in the same purchase. It was such an awesome learning experience, and I am so happy to finally be seeing my sales in the double digits too! This is what I sent out:

This bow was already listed in my shop, but she asked if I could make her a 2nd one, which qualifies as a custom order! Not only that, it was sent to the UK! How awesome is that! Because of this I also discovered that my shop's international shipping rate was grossly inaccurate and had to change it. Whoops! Well, like I said - this was definitely a learning experience! My lovely customer also told me that these bows are being used by 2 excited bridesmaids at an upcoming Halloween wedding! So cool! I hope she sends me a picture!

So, since this bow was finally purchased, I realized I have NO Halloween products left in my shop! That is just outrageous - Halloween is one of my favorite holidays after all. So, of course, I had to whip up this beauty:

Candy corn bow! Hooray!

I think it turned out pretty stinkin' cute. Have you ever seen those little candy corn witch costumes for little girls? SO cute! I think this accessory would look really cute with something like that.

Well I guess that's it for now! I hope to be putting more Halloween bows up in my shop soon, as well as some CHRISTMAS stuff (yay!) so remember to keep checking out my shop which can be found on the right sidebar over here ------>

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Book Review - Fifty Shades Darker

I recently wrote a book review about Fifty Shades of Grey which can be found here.

I liked it so much that I immediately picked up the second book and blew right through it! So I figured I may as well write a review for this one, too.

Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

Our story begins only a few days after the first book ends. I think this is great, as it allows you to see each and every moment of their relationship as it unfolds. It really creates a connection, as if you were in a relationship yourself - seeing it from every angle. I don't want to get into specifics about the plot because I don't believe in revealing spoilers during book reviews, but I will say that this book is much more action-packed and suspenseful than the first. It keeps you entertained from start to finish. As far as Fifty Shades erotic reputation is concerned, it definitely gets a little more risque in this book - but still probably not as bad as you might imagine. Even with the "S&M" stereotype that this book holds, all the sexual interactions in the book revolve around love first and foremost.

The sequel involves many of the characters that were included in the first, as it revolves around the same people. Christian and Ana are still the main characters, and they are joined by all of Christian's family in this book... as well as a few shady antagonists. This is a breath of fresh air, since the first book mainly revolves around Christian's lifestyle taking center stage as the "antagonist". As for this one, it seems he has made the jump successfully to a full-fledged protagonist, which leaves room for plenty of colorful characters to test Christian & Ana.

Like the first book, this one revolves mainly in Seattle. Although I would have to say that it doesn't give you quite the same in-depth feel as the first one does, it doesn't take away from the book any. There is plenty of other stuff going on - you really don't miss it much.

If you read my book review for the original Fifty Shades, you know I gave E.L. James a pretty hard time about her writing style. It seemed amateurish, jumped around a lot, and could be confusing at times. This book was much better. She improved a lot, I have to be honest. There were still moments where it could get repetitive - particular in the love-making scenes - but all-in-all it was better.

I give this book a 5 out of 5, which is amazing because in my last review I only gave the original book 4 out of 5. I could not put this book down. Upon finishing it, I definitely felt like the first book was only a stepping stone to get to this one. It was that good. I definitely recommend putting this book on your reading list if you haven't already.

Having finished the 2nd book, I will admit that I have begun reading the third book in the trilogy: Fifty Shades Freed. To be honest, I am not loving it so far. I am only a hundred pages in, but so far it has been torture to even force myself to read that much without giving up on it so I'm not optimistic about the outcome. I have made a promise to myself to finish reading it, though, even if only in the interest of being thorough. I sincerely hope that my opinion changes by the time I can write the review for it, but for now it may be hard for me to even find time to read it with school being back in session. (I don't attend school, but my son is in Kindergarten now so I must read to him longer every night for his homework, plus I have extra family responsibilities now that my love is busy with his 2nd year of college.)

Although I am reading my son the first Harry Potter book, so that's fun. =)

Until next time, thanks for reading!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Pinterest Review - Rainbow Butterfly Footprint

You guys. My little girl is growing up way too fast.

I'm sure my fellow Mommies understand.

One minute they are a tiny little bundle of blanket in your arms, and then you blink and they are running around and speaking to you.

Believe it or not (I sure as heck don't!), my baby is turning 2 in just a couple of months. I know! Crazy!

So like the crazy party-planning-person I am, I have already started preparations for her 2nd Birthday Bash. Her birthday parties are especially fun because they are also my birthday party! (Our birthdays are only 8 days apart.) So this year our birthday theme is:
Rainbow Butterflies!

You can follow all my fun party prep here:

But today I am here to show you one pin in particular - 

Rainbow Butterfly Footprints

This pin originally comes from Sawdust & Embryos and it is such a fun, easy, not to mention ADORABLE project to do with your little girl of any age!

Notice how my pin says "but with pastel colors" - that is the beauty of this project. It can be done in ANY color(s). Here is how mine turned out:

Sooo cute!! It is totally fool-proof, too. Ok.... Maybe not totally. I will admit that we had 1 or 2 (or 4) "oopsie" pages first, but as long as you don't make any of the same mistakes we did you should be fine.

First - put the cardstock you are going to be using on a FLAT, HARD surface - we tried it on the bed first and the footprints didn't come out well at all. That resulted in having to re-ink Eva's feet which she wasn't terribly thrilled about. Second - (and this really isn't much of a tip, just more of an FYI) your child's feet will by dyed for a little bit afterward even after you wash the excess ink off... Just be aware of that before you start inking away! And third - just in case you are wondering, the ink pad that I used for this project can be found here

Hope you all have fun trying this one out with your wee ones, please let me know if you try it! I would love to hear what you thought, and I'd also love to know if there are any other tips or tricks that helped you make this project different, easier, or more fun!

Thanks for joining me! See you next time!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Book Review - Fifty Shades of Grey

I have had a new obsession recently. It has been consuming my days, and I have to reluctantly admit that my house is not in the condition that I normally keep it in because of it...


Ok! I am not a big reader, seriously. I pick up the occasional popular book - for example, I have read the entire Harry Potter series, the Twilight Saga, and the occasional Nicholas Sparks romance novel. I am pretty mainstream with my books, for sure. I just hate investing time in a book that ends up thoroughly disappointing me... I have been hurt before (thanks a lot, James Patterson...) so it's hard for me to commit to a book unless I have heard or read a fabulous review from someone I trust. And that is exactly what happened on our 4th of July visit back home, when my sister-in-law let me borrow/insisted that I read the Fifty Shades Trilogy.

I asked her what it was about, and she immediately started explaining it as if it were some crazy porno or something. At first I was pretty disgusted and didn't want to take them, but she insisted that I would like them and she knows me pretty well, so I took them anyway - fully intending to let them sit on my bookshelf and collect dust for a while and then to return them.

But the other day my husband decided to pick up a book. One of his favorites - Streams of Silver, the 5th installment of the Legend of Drizzt books. It is not unlike Lord of the Rings from what I gather. Regardless, I sat bored on the couch while he was reading and kept pestering him while he was trying to focus on it. Finally he suggested that I pick up a book myself. I told him I had nothing to read, and he mentioned the books that his sister had lent to me. I reluctantly agreed that I should at least try to read it - I figured that if things got too weird then I could always return them to her and say that I gave them an honest shot.

And to my surprise, I spent the entire day reading it. Then, I finished all 500+ pages by Day 3. Yeah, it was that good. I am now happily reading the sequel, and am almost finished with it. So for all you skeptics out there, here is my honest review of the first book.

Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

Forget what others have told you, Fifty Shades is a romance novel, first and foremost. Basically, the book revolves around Ana & Christian. It takes you on a journey right from the start of their relationship and forward from there. To my unexpected and pleasant surprise, there was nothing even remotely erotic at all within the first 100+ pages. It was all sweet, basic beginning relationship stuff. It really allows you to care about the characters before it gets into any of that, so that by the time it finally comes around you actually don't mind so much. And don't be afraid, I know that Fifty Shades has a reputation of being a little risque, but trust me - even with the erotic stuff, it starts out totally normally. After all, Ana is a little naive in things herself, and she is new to all things sexual - she does not dive in head first, and thus neither do we.

Christian Grey is a young, mysterious millionaire business mogul who falls for Ana, an almost-college-graduate majoring in literature. We see things from Ana's point of view - she is the storyteller. She is naive and clumsy at times, but she loves old English literature and breakfast tea - she has an old soul and has never really experienced any of the breath-taking romance that she reads about in her novels. Enter Christian Grey, who is full of surprises and secrets - "Fifty Shades" of secrets - and this romance gets very interesting very quickly. But, you must dismiss all those notions you had in your mind about Mr. Grey being a domineering womanizer. He is incredibly sweet and playful, and at times even reminds me of my own husband. You really learn to love these characters - neither one too perfect, and very easy to relate to.

Fifty Shades is set in the Seattle to Portland area mainly, and the feel of the book really exemplifies that. It takes you there. It's a great book to curl up to with a cup of tea because you almost feel chilly as you imagine the hovering clouds in the sky with every page turn.

E.L. James has only written the Fifty Shades Trilogy, and I may not be an accomplished reader, but I still think it is apparent in her writing that she has little experience. Many phrases are used over and over again to describe things, and sometimes the scene can change dramatically in a very short period of time. The most notable time was when a phone conversation took place randomly, and James went through the process of scripting out everything that was said in the conversation, only to have that paragraph end and the setting change completely without having received any pertinent information from it at all. But beside that, she actually has a fun vocabulary that she uses to its fullest extent, which keeps it interesting despite the sometimes irritating and repetitive phrases. That being said though, be wary - this book has a potty mouth, too, which I honestly could have done without.

I would rate this book 4 out of 5 stars. Don't get me wrong, I am totally hooked. But the inexperienced writing, the fact that there is so much language, and the occasional spontaneous unnecessary story shifts make me need to dock a star. That partnered with the fact that there is plenty of erotic scenes in the book, some of which make me a little bit uncomfortable at times (A little bit! Nothing unbearable, and all based on their affection for each other). But I am completely in love with the characters and the romantic settings - definitely worth enduring some of the writing flaws.

So give it a shot, and let me know if you do - I would love to hear if you agree or disagree with my review. I have also heard that they are starting pre-production of a Fifty Shades of Grey movie. I am sort of excited for that, but I am worried about who they might cast - right now my hopes are on Alexis Bledel as Ana and Matt Bomer as Christian Grey. If you have read the book, who do you think should star in the movie?

Thanks for dropping by! I'm sure I will have another review for you shortly on Fifty Shades Darker - the sequel to Fifty Shades of Grey - which I have almost completed. So stop back in for that!

"Laters, baby." - Mr. Christian Grey