Sunday, April 29, 2012

I came, I saw, I conquered!

      I had been itching to go to Joann's since Thursday, but trying to convince myself otherwise. Needless to say, I did go after 2 days of "trying not to". And here's what I found (and bought, consequently)!

  I am in the process of reading "Paris, My Sweet" by Amy Thomas. So when
 I saw this recipe book at Joann's...ta-daaa! I felt some kind of connection : )
 This is it! I am going to learn how to bake. I mean it this time.
 (Or at least learn how to make cute, little, happy desserts).


And then of course, these.....Well, they're on sale, so it's okay : )
I finally gave in to "Baby Steps" from Cricut. I just feel like I needed something
for baby projects because friends are having babies left and right!
Then there's "Straight From the Nest", which is really cute.
The punches are also on sale. Love the Robots edger...nice for boy-themed projects.
The paper pads are old releases but since they're cheaper now, it's a good time to get 'em.

     And, for some reason, I ended up at AC Moore! But I believe it was destiny. My family went to take our friend Jeff (who was visiting from California) out to lunch and since AC Moore was in the area, my husband dropped me off at the store after we had eaten, and they went off to a sporting goods store. And what do you know, the store has the newly released "Tablescapes - Spring and Summer". Hooray for AC Moore!!! Not only that, they also have "Pretty Pennants", which I never heard of. So it was destiny alright.


     This is one happy weekend. 'Hope you had a happy one, too!


Friday, April 27, 2012

A Quick Cupcake Card


      I made a really quick card today. It's from the Sweet Treats Cricut Cartridge. I made it for Candy, the person behind Ysabella's easter-themed birthday cake.
     Those of you in and around Jersey City and nearby areas, check her out...she makes the cutest customized fondant cakes. And cupcakes, too! Here's a link to her blog:


Baby Hawks Bear

     My daughter Ysabella belongs to a Cheerleading Squad in her school and they're called the Baby Hawks. They don't compete (they're still babies =)), but they do exhibitions. On her birthday last Easter she received lots of greeting and gift cards with cute cheerleader images on them. She also received a necklace with a cheerleader pendant (thanks Kat!). And to complete her collection, she also got this:

Go Baby Hawks Bear!

     It's a build-a-bear that she stuffed on her own. I just had to help her with sewing it closed.  She had fun dressing it up!
'Hope everyone's having a good weekend!


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

DIY Favor Boxes

     Just wanted to share some photos of the favor boxes I made and used for my daughter's birthday party last April 8.

The popcorn boxes were used to contain...well...popcorn! The
rest contained easter-themed goodies and sweets.

My favorite! Ysabella turned 7 last Easter Sunday; hence, the 7th
birthday candle design!

The boxes in the making. A cute mess!

Another favorite! And the trickiest one to make because of
all the little details.

The popcorn boxes in "real life"  =)

      In case anyone is interested, I created the boxes above using my Cricut!  I hope you enjoyed!


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Candy Buffet

      I am obsessed with Candy Buffets and Dessert Bars. In any theme. For any occasion. I just love them all! I'm not really sure when this craziness started...hmmm...perhaps when I was looking at different sites and gathering ideas for Ysabella's party. By the time I started planning Ysa's party, I swore to myself we had to have a candy buffet or dessert bar. No matter what happens =). So I kept checking out various blogs and soon enough I had in my mind an entire set-up of jars and dishes and trays of candies and cupcakes and macarons and chocolates and...oh, I can go on and on and on. As the popular saying goes, "there's no limit to your imagination". I just feel like they add that special touch to any party.

Glass jars from Michaels

 White cake stand and cupcake holder from Target.
I handmade that easter tree in the center.

  The fun part was finding the nice jars and cake stands and cupcake holders and buying those goodies that make the whole set up come alive! For me, they don't have to be fancy, just pretty. I got what I needed from Michaels, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond (for a $10 clear glass cake stand that did the job of one that can cost over $20!), and Pier 1 (for a layered cake stand that I used for the peeps pops and custard cups).

     Here are some pics of Ysabella's candy buffet which I named "Ysabella's Sweet Shop" spelled out by a pennant banner...enjoy!

     I just love how it all came out. I love the colors. And the best part, the kids loved it, too! I prepared easter goody bags for them to fill up with candies and chocolates and they had a blast doing that!

     'Til next post! =)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Party Planning for Ysabella's 7th Birthday

     Planning for a party isn't an easy task, but with enough time and resources, it can be an enjoyable break from the hustle and bustle of the "real world".
     My daughter celebrated her 7th birthday last April 8. Since I knew early on that we were going to have a party (we consider 7th birthdays a milestone --- you know, 1st "grade", tooth fairies, real bikes, etc.; thus, the party), we started planning early. As in January. 3 months ahead.  And in this order:
1. Date and Time
2. Venue
3. Theme
     As soon as those 3 were determined, everything else fell into place: entertainer, menu, invitations, decors, and party favors. The last 3 are my favorites! I love all things crafty and so my brain was constantly wired with so much ideas (which kept changing on a daily basis, until about 1 week before the party =)). So much so that I forgot the most important aspect: Budget!!! Well...that's exactly where time becomes crucial. When you have a certain budget, having time to research for your party needs helps to control the expenses without sacrificing your envisioned outcome. When you have the privilege of time you have the opportunity to look at several options. 3 months in advance was enough for me.
     Ysabella was born in April 8. This year, her birthday fell on Easter Sunday. That makes it easier to decide on a party date. We just had to be careful on the time because most families celebrate their own easter traditions so we picked 3pm to make sure easter brunches were over by the time the party began. For the theme, whatelse could have been more appropriate than Easter?!?
I made an Easter Tree (center) out of small branches and twigs
painted in baby pink, decorated with paper and acrylic flowers
and paper bunnies cut out of my Cricut.

      For the venue, we wanted something accessible and convenient to most if not everyone whom we invited. I checked out 3 halls here in Bayonne, and I picked the Polish-American Home which was spacious, affordable, convenient and has ample parking space.

The Pine Hall of the Polish-Amercian Home
in Bayonne, NJ

     Soon after I reserved a venue, I searched for an entertainer. I knew we had to book early because they tend to have a very busy schedule. I found LiveItUpNJ, contacted them, and booked our party! Coincidentally, LiveItUpNJ is based out of Bayonne, and I thought that was convenient!
     My husband helped with the menu planning which wasn't really hard. We just had to make sure there's food for both kids and grown-ups. I knew I wanted a Candy Buffet, so I planned for that as well.

Candy jars ready to be filled with easter sweets.

 "Ysabella's Sweet Shop"
The Candy Buffet

 I made some cupcake wrappers out of my Cricut, added cupcake liners,
and filled them with Fruit Loops to fill up little bellies.

We also served popcorn for the picky eaters.
Popcorn boxes were also made out of Cricut.
     The invitations were handmade by yours truly. And so were the cupcake toppers, banners/pennants, and favor boxes. I love making things. Beautiful things. So I had fun going through all the details and putting them together. The party favors consisted of sweets, easter eggs filled with jelly beans, easter themed notepads, pencils,  and coloring pages.

"7" favor boxes that were filled with French Macarons.
The handles were attached later on.

Favor boxes, popcorn boxes, all cut out using the Cricut Machine

Some of the cupcake toppers I made with the help of  Chris (hubby).

     For the decor, I made an Easter Tree for the buffet table as I have mentioned earlier, and banners/pennants that were hung by the buffet tables. Then of course there were the easter-colored balloons that put the party in a more festive mood.

One of the banners I created and hung over the Candy Buffet.
     Overall, the party planning went smoothly. Like I said, time is such an important factor. In my next post I'll show more photos of the Candy Buffet (which the kids went crazy for!) and some other random details about Ysabella's party. I will also share how I made the banners, fruit loop holders, popcorn boxes, and the party favor boxes. Until then, enjoy the hot springtime! 

A (Double) Celebration of Life

     April 8th was Easter Sunday and my daughter Ysabella's 7th birthday. Jesus Christ had risen and Ysabella turned 7! So I call it "A Double Celebration of Life", which gives me and my family all the more reason to be grateful. To me it was such a blessing to celebrate my daughter's birthday on Easter. There was a more festive spirit, more energy and fun! We started out that day with an early morning mass and before I knew it, we were at the party singing Happy Birthday to little Ysabella.

The birthday girl in a tutu and a pair of sneakers striking a pose
with her face-painted friends.
     We had a big turnout at the party, considering it was Easter Sunday. So to those who came... a big hug, and many, many thanks!
     The kids had a blast at the party, thanks to Dave of LiveItUpNJ who provided the entertainment, games, balloon sculpting, and face painting.
Ysabella under the parachute in the Parachute Game.

Tangled in rolls and rolls of toilet paper.

The easter-themed birthday cake courtesy of Candy's Cake Shop

The Candy Buffet

The birthday girl enjoying some "alone" time.

     It was such a beautiful, crazy, and definitely worth celebrating. Ysabella was more than happy, and that's what mattered most. For in our hearts, that little birthday girl in her tutu and sneakers is the best Easter Blessing we could ever have.