a bbq in a box is my fave

June 14, 2013

bbq in a box

bbq in a box

bbq in a box

For Father’s Day I’m giving Ryan the gift of grilling his own steak. When you know how to cook it just so and hide the amount of butter you use from your wife, you’re just asking to be put on barbecue duty on your day off. I’ll provide the root beer.

Looking for more Father’s Day ideas?
- 25 diy gifts
- Free downloads for the jolly good fellow
- Printable cards for pops

sources: IBC Root Beer; plates, hamburger cartons, meat thermometer and napkins from Target Dollar Spot; skewers; steak and hamburger rub; bamboo meat markers; hamburger slider press (similar); McClure’s Pickles

a popsicle tote is my fave

June 13, 2013

popsicle tote bag diy

First off, I apologize if you read the title of this post and thought I was going to share instructions on how to make a tote that stores popsicles. That’s called a cooler. This tote will not keep your icy snacks chilled, but it is a good transporter of essentials for the pool.

To make your own you’ll need:
- cotton tote bag (I used Susan’s tutorial to get the dip dyed look)
- heat transfer material
- popsicle stencil (I used a Silhouette Cameo to cut out the exact design)
- x-acto knife

popsicle tote bag diy

Step one: Trace your popsicle design onto the back of the heat transfer material (the non-shiny side) and carefully cut out with an x-acto knife making sure to peel away the negative space. Or let the Silhouette Cameo do the work for you (razor blade cutting is not my forte).

Step two: Position the design onto the tote bag face down.

Step three: Cover with thin cloth and iron firmly over the design for about one minute.

Step four: Let cool and slowly peel away the plastic backing to reveal your now transferred design.

popsicle tote bag diy

Good news! If you want to try out a similar project for yourself, use the code FAVE right here for a bogo deal on any Silhouette heat transfer material now until eod Saturday. Woohoo!

Alright, now time to sit down and eat a real popsicle.

I was not paid for this post, I just genuinely like the Silhouette products.

a summer party invite is my fave (free download!)

June 12, 2013

you are my fave: summer party invite download

you are my fave: summer party invite download

you are my fave: summer party invite download

Right now I’m singing the jingle, “it’s the best day of the year!” (see: Parks and Recreation; season 4, episode 4, Pawnee Rangers) because the official first day of summer is next Friday, June 21st! That means the Blodgett’s sometimes annual ice cream party is in the works and a carafe for hot fudge has been purchased. If you want to throw a party to welcome the best season of the year too, Kirsten has designed these invitations available to download and print for your own celebratory needs. Yay, summer!

Downloads:
Invitation Front
Invitation Back

virb is my fave

June 11, 2013

This post is for readers who are looking to pretty up their blog, or make their Etsy shop sing, or even create a career-launching portfolio website that isn’t an eyesore.

virb site

One of the points I make in every one of the online classes I teach for Alt (psst, I’m teaching 2 this month!) is that when it comes to working or selling online, your blog/site/shop has become your resume. I even heard from the marketing director at MSN that when she receives a pitch, the first thing she does is visit the site of the sender. So that means the first version of you are my fave with my makeshift (in Word, no less) banner and miniscule images isn’t going to cut it anymore. Or at least not give the impression that you would want to give.

When I mention this, at least one student in the class always seems to panic and ultimately comes back to me with the question, “What if you have no design/coding experience and don’t have money to hire someone to do it?” My one word answer? Virb.

Virb is an easy-to-use website builder (seriously, you don’t need to know a line of code) with the best looking customizable themes I’ve seen. Plus, once you build your lovely site, you have unlimited storage and cloud hosting for an affordable $10 a month. So I’m giving Virb the yamf stamp of approval.

virb site

virb site

The images are from a few sites that have been created by Virb users:
Mike Rogers (I love the colors and icons he designed)
Cotton & Flax (Dang, this shop is good. I want this pillow)
Nan Lawson (Remember this custom portrait she drew of Ryan and me?)

a crepe filled baby shower is my fave

baby shower ideas

baby shower ideas

baby shower ideas

baby shower ideas

baby shower ideas

baby shower ideas

baby shower ideas

baby shower ideas

baby shower ideas

Nothing seemed to go right for me concerning this shower. Now as I write this I can’t remember what all the stress was about because it clearly was forgotten once the chef showed up and delivered me the most delicious crepe I have ever eaten. And I’m pretty sure that’s all the guests will remember too. Not the cake that was too tall to fit into the cute favor boxes so it was lopsided and smashed (that last photo is what I had pictured, but it did not look like that going home). Moral of the story: focus on good food and any party flaws will be overlooked.

I created a tutorial for the message board that can be found right here on Julep.

sources: floral fans, floral pennant garland, lidded wedge shaped boxes from A La Modo

ari’s first birthday is my fave

June 7, 2013

Beck’s best friend Ari turned one a couple weeks ago so I helped his mom put together a simple celebration in their backyard. In my book, any party that involves three cakes (and a baby) is a winner.

first birthday party

first birthday party

first birthday party

first birthday party

first birthday party

first birthday party

first birthday party

first birthday party

With budget in mind, we still tried to make it a memorable occasion for all who were involved. And I think we accomplished just that. The prints were only $2 a pop printed at Staples, the cakes and toppers were all homemade, the marquee 1 sign was recycled from Beck’s party, and we were lucky to try out products (the plates, favors, cupcake liners, candy and balloons) from the new MarthaCelebrations line at JcPenney. Guests sat out on blankets and enjoyed the warm weather and played lawn games. It was a happy  day for a happy boy. I think it shows that a cute party set-up and successful get together really only require one or two memorable elements and the rest can remain simple (I kind of mention this point a lot, but it’s true).

Like what you see from MarthaCelebrations? Check out the #LetsCelebrate pin party board and repin your favorite images with the #letscelebrate hashtag to be entered to win your very own celebration-in-a-box!

All the MarthaCelebrations at jcpenney products featured in this post were provided by the Editors at Martha Stewart Living, a team that loves a good party and deeply admires the bloggers who throw them.

yarn wrapped twinkle lights are my fave

June 6, 2013

Today’s post is from super crafter and cute mom, Amelia of The Homebook.

yarn wrapped lights

I’ve recently been on the hunt for a little nightlight for my son’s nursery. When my search for a cute and inexpensive option became fruitless, I, like any thrifty crafter would do, searched my house for supplies to make my own. Inspired by Design Sponge’s twine-wrapped bulb lights, I grabbed some leftover Christmas tree lights and some yarn, and got to work. The results are cute and twinkly, perfect for a baby’s room.

yarn wrapped lights

Here’s what you’ll need to make your own:

- One set of twinkle lights
- Yarn, in assorted colors
- Scissors

yarn wrapped lights

yarn wrapped lights

Starting at one end of your string of lights, knot a piece of yarn around the cords to secure. Begin wrapping the yarn around the cords. Once you reach the end of one piece of yarn, knot another piece to it, and continue wrapping. I used various lengths of yarn for variety, but found that short pieces (around 15 inches) were easiest to work with. Continue wrapping and knotting until you reach the end of the twinkle lights.

yarn wrapped lights

That’s it! Now you can have Christmas lights up all year round without your neighbors complaining.

See more from Amelia on The Homebook

a morning with beck is my fave

June 5, 2013

This post is sponsored by Disney Story. To find out more about this brand-new story-creation app – and how it puts the power of storytelling in your hands - click here.

Being a really great storyteller is definitely a talent. A talent that I don’t so much have. One too many of my stories end with the sentence, “I guess you had to be there.” And when a young child asks me to make up a bedtime story, it’s a train wreck. So mostly for my children’s sake, I’m grateful for photography and talented friends who capture Beck’s big personality perfectly.

family photo session by Nicole Coleman

family photo session by Nicole Coleman

family photo session by nicole coleman

family photo session by Nicole Coleman

family photo session by Nicole Coleman

family photo session by Nicole Coleman

family photo session by Nicole Coleman

family photo session by Nicole Coleman

family photo session by Nicole Coleman

Shortly after Beck turned one Nicole Coleman, a recent Denver transplant and talented film photographer, came to our home for a casual photo session and I couldn’t love the results more. One of my nephews calls Beck Becky Man in a sing-songy voice, so when I look at these photos all I can think is, “Oh, Becky Man!”

You can see more from the shoot right here on Nicole’s blog, Petit Soul.

And since our families don’t live close and rarely get to see Beck, I tried the new app Disney Story to put together an easy to create and share digital story of some of my favorite photos from the morning.

Download the Disney Story app from iTunes  – for FREE – right here!
Disney Story Twitter
Disney Story Facebook

a lemon tart with candied lemons is my fave

May 31, 2013

Good news readers! Rebecca of First Mate Photo has agreed to join us monthly to share her baking skills. This lemon tart would be perfect for summer festivities.

YAMF-lemontart008

There is nothing more summery to me than a lemon tart. They’re so bright and cheery. While this isn’t the quickest dessert to throw together in a snap, it IS really beautiful and will impress your guests. It’s fairly simple to make, it just involves lots of chilling. Make sure to leave plenty of time for chilling the dough and cooling the crust.

YAMF-lemontart002

Gather your tools gals! Here’s what you’ll need:
- tart pan with removable bottom
- pie weights (or dry beans or rice)
- parchment paper
- sieve

YAMF-lemontart005

Crust
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup butter
- 2 large egg yolks beaten
- 2-4 tablespoons of cream or cold water

Put your FLOUR, SUGAR, and SALT in a food processor until it’s combined (or if your food processor is tiny like mine, a large bowl, then mix with a fork.) Add butter and pulse until it makes a coarse meal. Add the yolks and 2 tablespoons of your cream or water, mix just until the dough comes together. Add the remaining cream if the dough is too dry. Divide your dough in half and wrap up in plastic. Put it in the fridge for 1 hour. Dough accomplished! Easy right?

Preheat oven to 375. Once your dough is chilled roll it to a thickness of 1/8 inch on a floured surface. Press it into a 9 inch tart pan and up the sides. Pierce the bottom with a fork and trip the edges. Refrigerate or freeze until it’s firm, about 30 minutes. Line your pie shell with parchment and fill it with your pie weights of beans. Bake until the edges just barely turn golden, 15 minutes. Then remove the weights and paper and finish baking, about 10 minutes more. Let it cool completely.

YAMF-lemontart010

Lemon filling (lemon curd)
- 6 large egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1/2 cup lemon juice (this will probably use 2-3 lemons)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces

In a saucepan whisk together the YOLKS, ZEST, JUICE, SUGAR, and SALT. Bring to a simmer on medium heat, whisking constantly. Cook this until it’s thickened, which should take about 8-10 minutes. And by thick I mean it should be almost the consistency of pudding. Once that’s thick strain it through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Immediately whisk in your pieces of BUTTER, one at a time. It’s important to wait until each piece is melted or you’ll cool your curd down too fast and the rest won’t melt. Press some plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the curd and refrigerate for at least an hour. (more is preferable)

YAMF-lemontart011

Candied lemon slices
- 1 lemon (or citrus of choice)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup water

I would make these the day before or first thing before you make the rest of the tart, since they take a little while to cool and dry.

You can candy any citrus you like to put on the top, this method will work with lemons, oranges, limes, and grapefruit. Some pink grapefruit and limes would look especially beautiful on top!

Stir together sugar and water in a saucepan on medium heat, until water comes to a boil and sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to low; add lemon slices. Cover with a circle of parchment paper (this keeps the lemons submerged. Gently simmer until translucent and lemons are candied about 30 minutes. Remove pan from heat to cool, but keep lemons in the syrup. When the lemons are cool remove them from the pan and let them dry on a wire rack.

When everything is FINALLY cool, and you’re kids have grown, spread the lemon tart in the shell and arrange your lemon slices however you like on top.

YAMF-lemontart009

If candying fruit isn’t your thing, good news, lemon tarts are a very versatile dessert! They look and taste just as lovely with almost any other kind of fresh fruit on top. Raspberries are one of my favorites.

See more from Rebecca at First Mate Photo and her Etsy shop!

a color block necklace is my fave

May 30, 2013

color block necklace

Since I haven’t dabbled in jewelry making since Girl Scouts and friendship bracelets, I decided I better keep it simple when presented with a box of supplies from the new Martha Stewart Crafts Jewelry line. So today I present the three-step color block necklace (for the beginner set).

color block necklace

Supplies:
- Martha Stewart Crafts silver setting
- 2 colors of paint (I used acrylic but would suggest jewelry gloss or enamel for more permanent results)
- paint brush
- necklace chain
- jump ring
- clasp

color block necklace

Step one: Flip the setting to the back side and paint top half with one of your paint colors. Let dry. Then paint the bottom half with the other color. You can go light or heavy with the paint. I let a little silver peek through.

Step two: Open up jump ring with pliers and attach to the setting.

Step three: Cut chain to length and attach clasp. String through the jump ring and it’s ready to wear.

color block necklace

This project is part of 12 Months of Martha, one craft a month using products from the Martha Stewart Craft line. See more jewelry projects using the new Martha Stewart Crafts Jewelry line right here.


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