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Wednesday, April 29, 2015


This particular set of invitations is for a formal military wedding this coming summer; specifically the Groom is a First Lieutenant in the Air Force. The colors are navy (the groom is wearing his dress blues) and ivory, so the color palette has been carried throughout all aspects of the wedding, starting with the Save-the-Dates and continuing with the invitations, rehearsal dinner invitations, thank you notes, and programs.

I had the honor of helping the Bride and Groom with a number of their "print" projects.   The Bride was having difficulty finding what she wanted within her budget (it's crazy how much invitations and Save-the-Dates cost!).  Knowing that I had made our daughter's invitations, she turned to me for some help, and I was happy to help design what she was looking for.
Even though we worked long distance throughout the project,  the process worked well.  I would send several prototypes in PDF format and we would communicate back and forth via email/phone with any modifications she wanted from there

I used Kinko's for the actual print work since they have very reasonable print costs.  The envelopes were ordered through LCI Paper which was the company I used when I made my daughter's invitations 2+ years ago.   They have a great selection of styles and colors to choose from.

Since it is a formal wedding, the invitations included double envelopes, which is so very pretty.  The belly band with their Monogram adds just the right touch! Beneath the belly band are all the details regarding the location and time of the ceremony.

For the Save-the-Dates, we used a photo from their engagement session with KB Digital Designs.  I added the artwork and uploaded the PDF to Vista Print and the finished product was shipped directly to the Bride and Groom.

The rehearsal dinner invitations I was able to print using my home printer since it was a much more manageable quantity for my printer to handle.

You can see the "G" monogram has been a constant theme throughout all of the items.  I'm so happy to finally share....these have been finished since January, but of course we had to wait until the guests had all received theirs in the mail.   I'll share details of the remaining print items I designed after June 6, 2015!

Sunday, April 19, 2015


I've been so jazzed about this project and really excited to share it with you....but I had to wait until after it was gifted.

This Bride-to-Be is the daughter of a close friend of mine and I've had the pleasure of  helping her with several items for her upcoming June wedding.  Several print projects, such as: Save-the-Dates, Invitations, Thank You cards, rehearsal dinner invitations and wedding day programs.  I'm also helping her with wedding dress alterations and creating her veil.

She and her fiance' so fell in love with the monogram I created for them when I was creating their invitations, that I decided to use it for a couple of pieces in her bridal shower gift.   I went with a "beverage" theme, purchasing several pieces of  stemware from her registry:  margarita glasses, white wine glasses and martini glasses.  To go along with that, I decided to make coasters and a couple of bottle stoppers, one using their monogram (affectionately referred to as the "Royal G" by the Bride and Groom).
My first step was work in my Silhouette to create some "Established" designs using their wedding date and surname.  Frankly, I got so caught up in this mode that I ended up with eight different designs!  I decided to narrow it down to four that I thought were the very best, with the intent to create two coasters of each design for a total of eight finished coasters.

I purchased the 4 inch tiles at Home Depot.....unfortunately, both Lowe's and Home Depot only carry basic white and black in the 4 inch tiles; which frankly I think is the best size for coasters.  Keeping with their navy and ivory theme, I painted a perimeter border on the tile using navy craft paint.

When it comes to the print's one very critical piece of knowledge for you....because the entire piece is coated with Mod Podge, you MUST use a laser printer.  Ink jet prints will smear/bleed when the Mod Podge is applied.  So frustrating!   I tried all the advice on the internet on how you can successfully use a print from an ink jet (which is what I have at home), none of them worked and in fact, it wasted a lot of time.  So, I put my artwork on a flash drive and had them printed right down the street at Staples. Perfect!

I applied a good three coats of Mod Podge and then sealed it with a matte acrylic sealer as the final finishing touch.

I've made photo coasters using tiles, and these coasters are amazingly durable.   I add pre-cut cork squares to the bottoms to prevent table stratches, and it also makes for a very professional looking finish.

To finish off the "beverage theme", I decided to include two DIY bottle stoppers, one that I made from a door pull and one using their monogram to match the coasters.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The monogram stopper was made from two wooden pieces I found at Hobby Lobby.  I had my husband help with drilling the holes and gluing (he's the gluemeister....knows exactly which glues will work best on which projects!)

Once it was glued to the stopper, I painted it navy/ivory and then applied the " Royal G" to the top.  Again, ModPodge to finish/protect, followed by matte acrylic sealer and voila'!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


Time for some healthiness!  I love to add fruit to my salads, and spinach is growing on me (not literally), so why not a colorful and light Spinach and Strawberry salad?

This was so yummy!  Big bites of strawberries, crunchy almonds and chunks of blue good!
Be sure to factor into your prep time that the dressing should be refrigerated for one hour.

Makes 8 servings


½ cup olive oil
¼ cup raspberry balsamic vinegar
¼ tsp. Worchestershire sauce
¼ tsp. paprika
1 ½ Tbsp. sesame seeds
1 Tbsp. poppy seeds
*1/3 cup white sugar
1 Tbsp. minced red onion
2 bunches spinach (rinsed and torn into bite-size pieces, roughly 10 oz.)
4 cups sliced strawberries
¼ cup almond slices
¼ cup blue cheese crumbles

*I plan to cut this back to ¼ cup next time, it seemed a bit sweet, even to me :)


1.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, worchestershire, sugar, paprika, sesame seeds, poppy seeds and minced red onion.  Cover and refrigerate for one hour.

2.  In a large bowl, toss together the spinach, strawberries, almonds and blue cheese crumbles.  Pour dressing over the salad...toss and serve.

Since I was the only one partaking in this recipe (my husband doesn't care for this type of salad); I made the dressing and tossed a single serving salad.  I've kept the dressing covered in the refrigerator and made another salad the following day and I thought it was even better since all the flavors blended together even more.


Wednesday, April 8, 2015


These muffins are absolutely delish!  Moist and sweet with a decadent streusel and frosting topping!  I had an inner argument with my  "other self" that one muffin was plenty.   As soon as I was finished taking pictures though, I quickly wrapped them up and put them in the freezer.    If I didn't, I knew I wouldn't be able to control the urge and thirty minutes after I indulged,  I would be wallowing in guilt! aaarrrggggghhhh......


½ cup vegetable oil
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla 
1 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. salt
2 ½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
1 ¾ cups coarsely chopped peeled apples
1 cup buttermilk

*Streusel Topping:
1 Tbsp. cold butter
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ cup finely chopped walnuts

Caramel Icing:
2 Tbsp. butter
¼ cup light brown sugar
2 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar


1.  In a bowl, combine all the streusel ingredients.  With your fingers, combine until you have a crumbly mixture.  Set aside.

2.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line 18 muffin cups with paper liners.

3.  In a bowl, mix together the dry ingredients; set aside.  In another bowl, combine the oil, brown sugar and egg.  Once combined, stir in the buttermilk and vanilla.

4.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well.  Gently mix in the apple.  The batter should be fairly stiff.  The original recipe indicated "if the batter seems too thin, add a tiny bit more flour."  No measurements (probably due to difference in climate, etc.)  provided.  I felt mine turned out well as is.  I did read some folks added up to another ½ cup.  Spoon the batter in the muffins cups, filling about ¾ full.

5.  Divide the streusel topping equally among the muffins.

6.  Bake for 5 minutes and then lower the temp to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until the muffins spring back when gently pressed.  Let the muffins cool in the pan for approximately 10 minutes; remove and let cool for an additional 20 minutes on a wire rack before icing.

7.  While muffins are baking, prepare the caramel drizzle mixture.  Combine brown sugar, butter and milk in a medium size microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave on high for 30 seconds, add vanilla, stir well and return to the microwave for about 15 seconds.

8.  Add powdered sugar and mix vigorously until smooth and creamy.  Drizzle over cooled muffins.  

* I think next time I'm going to increase the streusel topping; I felt like I could have used a bit more on each of the muffins.  I'll probably increase the ingredients by another 50%.

(Thank you Chris Scheuer for the recipe)

Friday, April 3, 2015


These are addictive....once I started making them, I couldn't stop.  Although, a quick end game is when you run out of magnets, not realizing you should have bought more!

I wanted to try a few of these for a certain photographer I know.  I thought she might like them for her business.   You probably know, I'm referring to my daughter....anyway, then I thought they could be fun for all sorts of gifting....Birthdays, Mother's Day, they could even be fun wedding favors (Bride and Groom's name and wedding date, or Monogram and date), party favors (for a kid's party you could do pictures of superheros, or personalize with the guest's name), etc.
They're super easy to make, you only need a few things, which I found at Hobby Lobby. I'm totally bummed, My local Hobby Lobby just relocated, it's now 12 miles roundtrip versus 4 miles.

These little clear epoxy circles to the left are sold in packets of 24 for under $3.00.  They're made by a company called "Spare Parts", and are usually used in conjunction with bottle caps.

The other item you'll need is 1" magnets.  The package I bought came as a six pack.  Again, these were under $3.00

The final item is ModPodge.  I always have a bunch of this on hand.

For my daughter's business magnets, I created a template in my Silhouette machine using her logo, and cut around it once I laid the clear base on the picture.  Be sure to really press down and hold the epoxy circle up to the light after you attach the picture to make sure you get any bubbles out.  Also, handle these by the rim, fingerprints will not come off the adhesive if you touch it.

After you've securely adhered the picture to the epoxy sticker; place ModPodge on the magnet and press down firmly.  If ModPodge squeezes out the sides, just wipe it away with your fingers.

So I expanded beyond the business idea by using a couple different types of craft papers (picture on the left).

Then, I thumbed through some old magazines I had, and went into a flower theme, which I'm referring to as "flower power", followed by a destination theme, which I'm calling "travel bug".  I wanted to try an animal set, but couldn't quite find the pics I needed.  These are so easy!
These make me want to hop a plane for somewhere exotic

You could get a 1" paper punch which would be a timesaver, I chose to just cut around the circle once I had placed it on the picture.

And that's it.....I'm going to find a cute way to package a few of these for gifting....I know of several folks who would appreciate them.

I think everyone uses fridge magnets don't they?

Hopefully I've inspired you try some of your own......If so, have fun!