jelly jar

It has been a frustrating afternoon. Earlier in the day was great–I met my dear friend Liz for a lovely lunch, but when I got home I wasted about an hour and a half of valuable Emmeline nap time on a project that was an utter failure.  I won’t get into the details, but it was an intended gift involving felt, foam, and a Ravens logo…and nothing worked out.  Nothing to show for it.  Grr. If this isn’t the biggest case of white girl problems, I don’t know what is.

Last night I was able to run out for a baby-free errand to Target, which was lovely.  I noticed when I got there that my fave store is having quite a lil’ clearance sale!  I snagged a cute black-on-grey leopard print turtleneck for a whopping $3, and while perusing the home aisles I found this:



Now, to back it up a minute, I have been stalking vintage Pyrex milk glass versions of these for a while.  And by stalking I mean I saw one for $8 once, passed it up because I was in a stingy mood, went back to find it gone, and regretted it ever since.  You might recognize them:

I liked them because they’re a) vintage b) cute inside your fridge and c) actually purposeful.  Great for holding lemons, peeled garlic, butter…the list goes on. Jelly perhaps, seeing as it is called a “jelly jar”?

So, for $3.48 on clearance (originally $6.99), I was not going to make the same mistake again!  Granted, I’m still on the lookout for the vintage version, but this is a pretty adorbs new look-alike. It’s from their Threshold line, and my Target had zillions of them (in yellow, grey, red, and my turquoise lids)…so scoop one up for yourself!

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tassel how-to

What a dreary week!  Is this rain/dampness/ all-around grey-ness going to stop?! The forecast calls for a sunny weekend, so fingers crossed!

I had promised in my birthday post I would give instructions for the tassels featured on the paper lanterns.  So, I thought I’d cheer you up with a cute, super-easy, practically free diy project.  All you need is a pair of scissors and some string (or yarn, or embroidery floss–whatever medium you’d like to use)!


Before I begin, I’d like to give credit to my extremely creative sis Kate for the tassel instructions, since she taught me! Thank you Kate!  Also, please excuse my cadaver-esque hands featured in the pics…fair skin + dead of winter = ghastly combo for Claire.

Ok, here we go:

1. Cut two pieces of string, approx. 1 foot long each.  Set these aside for now!


2. Take the end of the string (still attached to the spool), and lay it across your hand like so:


3. Continue to wind the string around your four fingers. I did it about 30 times for a fairly thick tassel, but obviously you can adjust according to what you want.

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4. Once you’ve wound the string to your liking, snip at the bottom of your hand.


5. Carefully remove the string from your hand, and using one of the foot-long strings cut earlier, tie a double knot at the top of the loop. _DSC0038 _DSC0039 _DSC0040 _DSC0041

6. Take the second foot-long string, and about a half inch down, alternate tying single knots front, back, front, etc.

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7. After you’ve done this approx. 8-10 times, double-knot and snip as close to the knot as you can.


8. Put one blade of the scissors through the bottom loop, and cut through the string.  This will create your tassel’s fringe.

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9. Your fringe will most likely be uneven, so trim with your scissors ’til you have your desired evenness.  Then give it a good fluff!

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Now you have your tassel!  Perfect for paper lanterns, jewelry (my mind is racing with ideas! earrings? necklaces?), or if you are very patient, a bunch of them would make for uber-cute pillow trim!

Happy tassel-ing!

how-to: create a monogram on microsoft word

Happy Monday (despite the dreary weather)!  I had the good sense to schedule a dentist appointment at 9 am this morning…yuck.  I had them check Emmeline’s gums too…yes, the little lady is still toothless.  But no worries there–if we haven’t had to look into toddler dentures yet, I’m not concerned.

ANYWAY, I thought some of you might be interested in a little tutorial on how to create a personalized monogram using Microsoft Word.  If you know me, you know that I am slightly monogram-happy.  So, I thought I’d share a way to perpetuate the happiness at home!

Now, please keep in mind I’m a self-taught, trial-by-error computer user, so I’m sure there are MANY people more adept at this than I. Also, obviously owning a program like Photoshop would give you far greater capability and customization.  But if you just have Microsoft Word, fear not–you can still create a basic 3-letter monogram!

Here we go!

After opening Word, create a text box (Insert>Text box) and size to your choosing.  Then click Insert>Word Art.

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Screen shot 2013-01-14 at 10.52.35 AMI use the font “monogram kk” for a script monogram.  If your version of Word doesn’t come equipped with the font, I’ve found success with downloading it for free online. Right-mouse click, select “Format WordArt”, and pick the font and size of your choice:

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Your letter will now look like this, so you’ll want to format the letter to the color of your choosing.

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Right-mouse click, select “Format WordArt”, then choose your color (make sure there is no “line” if you don’t want your letter outlined).

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Note: If you don’t want your Word Art to have a shadow, make sure shadow isn’t selected on your formatting tool bar.

Once your first letter is colored to your liking, copy and paste twice so that you now have a total of three letters for your 3-letter monogram!

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To change the letters to reflect each initial, double-click, and this box will come up.  You can type in each initial to reflect your own monogram.

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Now you can size and arrange the three letters to your choosing…I made the middle initial “B” larger than the “E” and “C”, to represent the last name.  If you’re having trouble with the initials not overlapping, right-mouse click on the initial, select “Arrange” and click “In Front of Text”.  This will give your initials a linked, overlapped look.

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Once your three letters are sized and overlapped to your liking, you’ll want to “glue” the monogram together, so it will be one image that you can move around.  Holding down the Shift key, click on each letter until all three are selected.  Then right-mouse click, select “Grouping” > Group.  Note: If you ever want to edit the initials individually, select “Ungroup”…then you can group them back together once you’ve edited.

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Voila!  Now you have your monogram!

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This is the method I’ve used to create monograms for my trays (also here) and pillow.  It’s also an easy way to create inexpensive yet chic stationery…I’ve printed Emmeline’s out on blank cards for “her” correspondence.

I hope this has helped and inspired you to try making your own!  If you have any questions or if anything’s unclear, feel free to email me ( or leave a comment!

consigned finds

If you live in the Baltimore area, have a little place in your heart for antiques, and love a good deal, then you must check out The Turnover Shop on Roland Ave.  This gem has lovely consigned things for the home…china, prints, lamps, furniture, and a myriad of tabletop items (all mostly from estates I believe). While things go fast, if you hold out long enough, eventually they are discounted. One red “slash” on the price tag means 50% off, two slashes are yet another half off the sale price!

My sis Kate and I popped in this past Friday and came home with a few “slashed” beauties.  Kate got an antique silver plate lighter for her growing vintage bar collection, and I found these two treasures:


A brass letter opener for a mere $7…I have been wanting one for a while so I couldn’t pass it up when I saw it!  Not only is it pretty, but it really is functional– in Jason’s words, “wow, this actually does make opening envelopes a lot easier!”


This little strawberry jar, for $8!  Isn’t it sweet?  White china, which I love, and the detail is great…

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Right now it’s made a home in one of the sections of our entertainment center, but I’m sure it’ll be moved to new places throughout the house over the years…it’s great when you find versatile items like that, huh?

We could’ve shopped longer, but Emmeline was starting to lose it (I’m a terrible mom for not letting you slam a bunch of teacups together, I know). I aim to stalk this awwwesome brass & glass bar cart we saw, but something tells me it won’t be around long…!

birthday diy, part two

Here is the rest I promised from ECB’s big day!  Now that I’ve recovered (it was a lot of work, but so worth it), I feel as if I can type with eyes NOT held open with toothpicks.

I’ll leave you with that lovely image as you glance over these pictures…Image

As you can deduce, there was lots of *pink* that day!  Since we were surprised by Emmeline’s gender, it was my way to really go all-out girly. (Like I don’t do that every single day.) The garden stools are borrowed from my parents, but it is my dream to one day own a pair! : )


The invitation…there were two versions I mailed.  The other had a predominantly pink & orange lattice border.  I was excited to do this very inexpensively!  I found the blank cards in the sale bin at Paper on the Avenue in Richmond, then just added the wordage and cute elephant motif at home.


Pardon the lame food spread at the point at which this photo was taken…had to get a few snapshots in before all the food was laid out and the guests arrived!  The full menu included chicken teriyaki skewers, sesame noodles, potstickers and mini egg rolls (both Costco purchases!), edamame salad (a recipe I just “wung” but turned out well; I’d be happy to share!),  an Asian cracker & nut snack mix (also a Costco find), and of course birthday cupcakes!



I made the food labels on Word, then taped them to napkin rings so they’d stand upright.  The how-to for the cupcake sparklers is featured here.

The smaller elephants were a World Market find, painted white and donated to me for the day (thanks Mom!).  I found these pink “theme-appropriate” lotus votives at Hobby Lobby.


Disposable paper products were a must, with 30+ adults and nearly 15 children in attendance!  The pink square Chinoiserie plates had been stockpiled from my Mom, and she kindly gave them to me when she heard I was in search of just those!DSC_0533 DSC_0556I was rather proud of my centerpiece, seeing as how I am a complete nincompoop novice when it comes to flower arranging.  I had ordered 2 1/2 dozen pink carnations (January’s birth flower), and fearing that they wouldn’t be enough, ran to Trader Joe’s and picked up 2 bunches of white mums ($3.99 each).  I’m glad I did, because they were certainly needed! I used Dollar Store floral foam and plenty of pebbles to get them to take shape, because I learned you don’t by Dollar Store floral foam…it will undoubtedly float.



TThe paper lanterns were sort of a last-minute idea, when I realized the tablescape needed a bit more.  I relied on my first grade teacher crafting skills, and with scissors, scrapbook paper, tape and a hole punch, created these beauties!  Kate gave me a tutorial on how to create VERY easy tassels, which I will share with you in a future post! I used string leftover from my pennant banner.


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Drinks for guests of all ages…

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Smash cake for the birthday girl was created using a giant cupcake mold I found at Five Below.  It was rather easy to bake & assemble, but I hit a wall when it came to frosting the bottom half…sooo instead I crafted a “cupcake liner” out of aluminum foil, folded accordion-style.

At first, Emmeline was quite tentative when it came to eating her cake.  How can she be my daughter? But after a short time she dug…and I mean DUG…in.

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Wrist-deep in pure, unadulterated sugar heaven!

After we got her cleaned up (which required an outfit change), we were ready for presents!  Lots of lovely, special gifts from wonderful friends.

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You might notice the slight exhaustion mother and daughter were both feeling at this point…

Party favors for the guests!

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I have to credit Jason here for coming up with the idea of giving out fortune cookies…when the thought came though, we found it was too late to order online. So, we went to our neighborhood Pei Wei where they kindly sold us a box of 300 for $5! Speaking of which, if you have any, and I mean ANY need for fortune cookies, we have about 250 in our basement.

I dressed them up by dipping each in pink Candy Melts, and dusting them with two different kinds of pink sprinkles.  Tags created on Microsoft Word.


Now Emmeline won’t remember her first birthday, but we sure will! And we’ll gladly tell her all about it and show her pictures from her special day.  Jason & I felt greatly rewarded by how it turned out, and to be surrounded by friends & family at this important event was the true icing on the cake! : )

birthday diy

With Emmeline’s birthday in the rear view (wow, that went fast!), I wanted to start off by sharing a couple DIY things I did for her very first birthday party!  I will post pics from the special day soon– but in the meantime, here are a few handmade aspects that would certainly make nice, personal touches to any bday : )

Cupcake “sparklers”

I wanted each party guest to have their own personal “cake” with a faux birthday candle, so I made these cute toppers:



Using lollipop sticks (found in the baking aisle of craft stores), sparkly pompoms of your color choice, and your hot glue gun…


…put a dot of glue onto the pompom, then attach the lollipop stick to its underside, pressing firmly for about 10 seconds.  I found affixing glue to the pompom and not the stick first was the best method!


When it came time to stick them in the cupcakes, I found that the stick was a little too tall.  An easy fix? Use a pair of scissors to “score” them at the height you’d like, then simply bend the stick at the score line to break the unwanted length off.

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Birthday pennant banner:


Using various patterned scrapbook paper, a pair of scissors, an Exact-o knife and some twine, I created this for the special birthday girl.  Just follow these super easy steps:

1. If you’re feeling lazy (like I was) and didn’t feel like measuring to create your triangle template, print out one like this from Pottery Barn Kids.  It was the perfect size!


Cut out template and trace onto manilla envelope (or flexible cardboard), so the shape is then easy to trace onto your scrapbook paper.

2. Trace triangle onto underside of scrapbook paper (I fit four triangles onto each piece)


3. Cut triangles out to create your pennants!


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4. I practiced my layout on the floor, making sure I had a pattern of prints!  If you were wondering, “Happy Birthday Emmeline” takes a boatload of triangles…

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5. Then using these great stencils purchased at Hobby Lobby, I stenciled in the letters.  Tip: You do not have to use a permanent marker to stencil onto scrapbooking paper…a thin Crayola marker did the trick!



6. Using your knife, cut one slit on each side of the inverted triangle (make sure you put some padding–like a thick piece of cardboard–in between the paper and your table!). This will allow you to string your twine through each piece, creating your banner:


7. Using a piece of twine (or any ribbon really, I just found twine to be easy to use!), thread through the slit on the left, underneath the paper and up through the slit on the right side:



Keep stringing in order until you’ve created this cute (and in my case, extremely girly) product:


More birthday details to come…please stay tuned!


december to remember!

Well, it’s obviously been a long time since my last post, but now that Emmeline’s baptism/Christmas/first birthday parties are o-v-e-r {insert tiny sigh of relief here}, I can devote more time to posting!

Here are a few fave pics of ECB from her very first Christmas.  *Sidenote*:  My PIL’s gave me a beautiful new camera for Christmas!  What an unexpected, exciting surprise…the following pictures are taken with my Nikon D3000, which I l-o-v-e, but am still learning the ropes of…the thing comes with 2 “camera school” dvds, people!  So I have a long way to go with mastering photography, but in the meantime I’ve been snapping away with reckless abandon!  And I can already tell the huge difference from my point-and-shoot and new SLR.

Christmas morning at our house…

confused about what to expect now that Santa has arrived...?

confused about what to expect now that Santa has arrived…?

now we're excited!

now we’re excited!



on the move...

on the move…

disney princess palace!

disney princess palace!

…then down to Richmond for Christmas afternoon at GG and Pops’…

4 Berkshire's lovely spread & festive cocktails

4 Berkshire’s lovely spread & festive cocktails



going on a picnic!

going on a picnic!

getting tired but not ready to throw in the towel!

getting tired but not ready to throw in the towel!


Very Merry Christmas!