Wednesday, September 30, 2009


My Halloween Pumpkins, 2008

October is here!
October has to be one of my very favorite months.  I love the chilly weather so I can wear my warmest sweaters again. Hockey season gets underway.  Canadian Thanksgiving is just around the corner and Halloween not far behind.  October brings pumpkins, fall festivals, blustery winds, and those glorious autumn leaves!  What's not to love?!?

Do: Plant your spring-flowering bulbs.
Why? Because in many areas bulbs must be planted before the hard frost arrives.  Garden centers are well stocked with tulip, daffodil, crocus and hyacyinth bulbs right now so shop early for the best selection at great prices and have a show-stopping display of flowers come springtime. 

Go: To a local farm.
Why? It's SO much fun this time of year!  Many local farms offer weekend hayrides (very inexpensive and fun for kids of all ages - adults, too!)  There's cider and cocoa to sample, corn mazes to explore, and all of those gorgeous pumpkins to pick!  Let the kids have an old-fashioned family outing to the pumpkin patch to pick out their very own! 

Get: Your Halloween candy for the trick-or-treaters and your costumes.
Why? Halloween will be here before you know it and it's good to be prepared early (after all, no one wants to have to choose from the lousy leftovers). While you're at it, pick up some extra batteries for your flashlights.

Watch: Scary and not-so-scary Halloween movies
Why?: From the macabe to the adorable, there are Halloween movies to suit every member of your household.  Starting October 19th, ABC Family will be airing their annual 13 days of Halloween favorites. Check your local listings for details. Don't like any of the choices on TV?  Stop by the local video section and pick up some Halloween classics like, It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.

Pop some buttery popcorn, roast some pumpkin seeds, turn out the lights, light the jack-o-lantern and get ready for some thrills!

Wishing you all, a memorable, safe and fun-filled month of October!

Last Day of September

I don't think it occured to me until this morning that tomorrow is the first day of October!  I'm usually fairly organized and already have some ideas for Halloween, but work has been crazy lately - and with the party, I haven't really had time to plan.

After the success of my son's party, my husband is trying to convince me to throw a kids' Halloween that adds more pressure.

It's kind of funny/sweet really, because my husband said he had the worst birthday parties growing up so he was completely against them when we had our son.  But after seeing that I can, in fact, entertain fairly well, he wants me to throw more of them!

I don't think men realize the amount of work involved in these things...but then again, I know I overdo things so I'm sure I make it much more work than it needs to be...but hey!  That's part of the fun of it!  I enjoy the challenge of pulling a theme together and all of the little details.  But the fun can lose a little of its charm when I'm up until 2AM tying ribbons on favors and handpainting signs on my lunch break!

But I do have a ton of cute Halloween ideas...and the playhouse would make a great backdrop for a (cute, not scary) kids Halloween party. 

In the meantime, I've got to get cracking and come up with some new pumpkin carving & costume ideas . 

Any one have any creative ideas?!?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Deliciously Fallish!

: My front door fall wreath :

The high today is only going to be in the 50s - and with the extremely blustery wind we're having here in PA, it's certain to feel deliciously fallish! 

I wish I was spending the day at home, curled up under a cozy throw with a hot cup of orange spice tea instead of heading back to the office. 


Monday, September 28, 2009


Happy 3rd Birthday, baby :)

Airplane Party!

 I had so much fun planning my son's  
3rd Birthday party this year!  

His dad chose this year's theme - airplanes.  

Since there isn't much that's commercially available (aside from Jay Jay the Jet), I had to do a lot of custom design work to do to make the theme cute! 

It all came together based on the invitations that I purchased from a seller on Etsy!  They were so adorable - airline tickets with map envelopes!  AP Airlines stood for my son's initials!

I made fondant-covered cookies in 3 coordinating designs for favors: airplanes, giant planes and number 3s with tiny airplanes!

For the kids, I made favor boxes to look like little suitcases decorated with scrapbooking paper and Martha Stewart travel stickers on clearance, and filled each one with a passport, crayons, airplane stickers, an airplane lollipop, and a foam airplane glider.

The cookie favors I put in a super cute suitcase with a sign above that read, "Baggage Claim."

A closeup of the sign in the suitcase:

Outside I hung a giant number 3 balloon and an airplane mylar balloon on the mailbox, along with a giant gold number 3 balloon on his playhouse.

I handpainted cloud-shaped directional signs that I made out of inexpensive foam core to stake along the route to our house to help our guests navigate their way to the party...

and using Adobe Illustrator, made signs throughout the house...

Above the table, I made an aiplane mobile out of gliders hung from fishing line...

For the kids, I made my own trail mix and served them in cute little plastic cups that I decorated with handmade labels and a little handmade sign:

In addition to the buffet of food, I served fruit kabobs, giant Rice Krispy treats w/ M&Ms on jumbo popsicle sticks tied with red, grosgrain ribbons, giant lollipops tied with ribbon stuck in fountain glasses acted as centerpieces and favors for the little ones.  I found airplane chocolates and airplane gummies at a specialty candy shop.

The cake was a double layer cake decorated with fondant clouds, airplanes, a giant number 3 on top, and a fondant banner with his name on it:

Everything got rave reviews and lots and lots of compliments for its originality and attention to detail! 

Most importantly, my son loved it!
** Some answers to your questions **

I bought the airplane mylar balloon on ebay from a seller in the U.K. (pamela9248)! 

The luggage boxes I designed were made for me by a seller on etsy (favormaker's). They came plain (although they offered to embellish them for me), and I embellished them myself with scrapbook paper strips and Martha Stewart travel stickers!

No stencils on the signs - I handpainted them. As for the other baggage claim signs, I made them in Adobe Illustrator, printed them on 11" by 17" paper, and then mounted them on poster board slightly larger to give the white border and make them studier.

As for games, this was mainly an adult party - with only a handful of little ones - the games were just playing with their airplane gliders (one of their favors) and with my son's toys and playhouse!)

The favors included:

- airplane-shaped lollipops (Walmart's party section)
- foam airplane gliders (bought online)
- passport scribble books (made by nounces, an etsy seller)
- a box of crayons (Walmart)
- an airplane cookie in a cello bag (made by me!)
- a sheet of airplane stickers (from Joann's)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

happy, happy fall!

Someone must have told the trees...
the leaves have already begun to change here! 

On my commute into the office each eay,
I've noticed more and more of the treetops changing.
Front porches are draped in colorful leaf garlands.
Yards are decorated with cornstalks and haybales.
Scarecrows stand guard over plump pumpkins.
Lawns are peppered with fallen leaves.
The robins have disappeared,
and the last of the summer tomatoes are gone.

Fall has officially arrived!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Farm Fun

We spent a perfect weekend cleaning and decorating for fall's arrival tomorrow!  Out came the leaf garlands, pumpkins, fall night lights, pumpkin and leaf plates, candles, and throws. 

I had to make a stop at Michaels Saturday morning for some supplies for my son's upcoming birthday party and noticed that all custom made fall florals are 50% off!!!!  My husband had been promising me a new wreath for our front door and I found the perfect one - with a darling metal pumpkin in the center that says "welcome."  


Afterwards we took our son to one of the quaintest farms nearby.  Unbeknownst to us, it was their opening day of the season!  We bought some beautiful green and white pumpkins and gourds, lush hardy mums in yellow, orange and deep red, and a haybale so I could set up an autumn vignette on our front porch to greet visitors and passersby.  We took turns going through the corn maze, visited with the farm animals, and ate caramel & candy apples. If you have local farms near you, you really should take a day trip and go!  It's so much fun this time of year!  We'll be going back in October for cornstalks and more pumpkins! 

When we got home, my husband helped me hang my leaf garlands around our front door and set up the haybale. I spent the entire weekend setting out fallish touches throughout the house. There's just something about the colors of the season that set my heart aflutter! 

Wishing you all a joyous and fun fall!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Fall reading material

It's little wonder why I love this time of year! Vibrant azure skies, fallen leaves, chilly temps. and SO many wonderful magazines to read!  Each one is better than the next — you can't go wrong no matter which one you choose!

Now to find some quiet time to sit back with a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latté and savor every single one of them :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Felt Food

Kid stuff is adorable to me!  Well, maybe not so much the plastic stuff...but I adore the old-fashioned wooden toys ~ and I've completely fallen in love with felt play food.  

I love the cuteness of it, I love that it's plush and soft so kids can throw it without doing any damage...everything about it appeals to me...and it's growing so much in popularity that you can even buy it from the popular children's retailers like Pottery Barn Kids and Land of Nod.  I've even purchased some from Target and Walmart that's cute.  Most of the things I've bought were handmade from various mega-talented sellers on Etsy.  

I guess you can tell from my posts that I'm all about custom kid stuff that isn't mass-produced.  In a day and age where everything comes from the same handful of big retailers, it's SO nice to make or find things that are unique and special.

My son LOVES it!  I picked up an old wooden picnic basket, embellished it with a cute little hang tag and some gingham ribbon and a matching gingham picnic "blanket" and he takes his stuffed animals on picnics all over the yard.

If you have a little one, you should definitely check it out.
Once you do, I think you'll agree that it's absolutely adorable!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

WhoOo HoOoo wants some cookies?!

I made a platter of these last year for some of my son's friends and they turned out so adorably cute that I had to whip up another batch!  Their cute little owl faces with M&M eyes are so very perfect for fall! 

A big platter of these served with a tall glass of milk would be such a sweet way to greet the kids after a day at school.  Tuck in a little note to tell them how proud you are of your wise little owl - and voila!  Instant smiles guaranteed!


 ** A very special thanks to Linda at Restyled Home for featuring my son's playhouse today on her Take a Bow Tuesday post and another big thank you to Cheri at Its So Very Cheri for featuring my Westie mailbox on her favorites from her Knock Off, Knock Out Mondays party!  Ladies, I'm so honored and touched that you mentioned my projects! **

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! 

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Special Delivery

Because a very special playhouse deserves extra special details...and because little boys love getting things in the mail (think of Ralphie in "A Christmas Story" with his Little Orphan Annie secret decoder ring!)  I came up with this cute mailbox idea from one I saw for sale online for around $150:  using a rather unimpressive craft-size toy mailbox, some scrap pieces of wood, a jigsaw, sander and paint, I made this Westie doggie mailbox this afternoon for the playhouse (in honor of my son's best playmate - our Westie, Oliver).

Here's my mini version...

And this was the online inspiration that gave me the idea:

Mine's so much cuter, dont'cha think?!?
Oh, and mine only cost me about $5 to make!!

This is my post for Cheri's Knock Off, Knock Out Party
from her blog, Its So Very Cheri
Click on the button to see a list of all the participants