a goodbye letter

To all my faithful readers (most of whom I am related to):

I will no longer be blogging here at Plume Dandy. I have decided to start fresh. My new blog Camp Sprinkel can be found here. I hope you will follow me!



EK's woodland fairy party

I have been obsessed with having a woodland fairy party since I saw this picture this summer:

This was a party done by Kate Landers Events (check out her website here). While, I did not have the same budget as the party shown above (I'm just assuming!), I did use it as my inspiration. I ordered the same invitations from Paper & Pigtails.

It came as a PDF file for $12.50, so I just customized it and then sent it to the Kinko's to have it printed on thick cardstock. Then, I bought chocolate brown 5x7 cards from Paper Source ($4.25 for a pack of 25) and glued the invitation (which I cut down a little, so there was a tiny chocolate border all around) on top. Then I put them in red 5x7 envelopes (also Paper Source, $4.25 for a pack of 10). So these ah-mazing invitations that looked like they cost a fortune, were only a little over $1.50 each.

The decorations were super easy to do (especially this time of year and because the "woodland" theme is so big now). I made a fabric pennant banner and a happy birthday banner out of some cute fabrics I picked up at JoAnn Fabrics. I used double-sided fusible web in between two pieces of fabric to create double-sided stiff fabric that I could cut shapes out of (i.e. triangles for the pennant banner and letters for the happy birthday one). For the pennant, I just used fabric glue to glue the triangles to the back of the ribbon.

For the happy birthday one, I just fabric-glued all the letters together and used some packing tape to adhere it to the mantle and then just tied some raffia on the ends.

For the food table, I bought a cheap green table cloth from the Target. I put a small wood crate upside-down in the middle of the table and covered it with a fake moss runner from Michael's. The moss-covered planter and the moss rocks were from JoAnn Fabrics. The woodland creatures and nest were all ornaments I found at Michael's. The mason jars were filled with water, a floating candle, and tied with raffia. The night before the party, my little sister got the idea to tie the red and white baker's twine around the cardboard E. How cute is it?!

Most of the platters, I already had, but I did buy 2 wood rounds to use as well. Here's a couple other shots of the table:

The menu for the party was:
Chicken salad (with almonds and dried cranberries) on croissants
Roll-up sandwiches
Chocolate chip (some white, some semi-sweet) stuffed raspberries
Pretzel sticks (...because they look like twigs)
Cups of white-cheddar popcorn
Pumpkin raisin muffins
Balsamic and blue cheese mushrooms

I made sparkling pomegranate lemonade for the kids (part lemonade, part sparkling pomegranate juice) and fall punch for the grown-ups.

Lots of raffia and burlap made everything look cohesive.

When the guests arrived, I had fairy skirts and wings for the girls and gnome hats for the boys.

The fairy skirts I ordered from the casual princess on etsy. My mom found the large pink fairy wings at the dollar store and the smaller ones in the dollar section at Target.

The gnome hats I made myself out of felt and fabric glue.

For activities, I had a craft table set up where the kids could make their own fairy wands and decorate wood picture frames. I had a bunch of woodland stickers, markers and ribbon.

Emerson really wanted to play pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, but since that didn't really go with the theme, we made our own game:

My favorite part (and I'm sure Emerson's!) was the dessert table. We ordered the toadstool cupcakes from a local bakery (Kirsten's cakery). They were adorable (and delicious!)

Emerson helped me make the donut hole acorns, pink chocolate-covered strawberries, s'more pops, and chocolate-dipped pretzel rods the day before.

The donut hole acorns were just glazed donut holes, dipped in melted chocolate, dipped in chocolate sprinkles, and then half a pretzel stick stuck in top. SO amazing!

Here are the s'more pops. Just a jumbo marshmallow on a lollipop stick, dipped in melted chocolate, and then dipped in crushed-up graham crackers.

The pretzel rods and strawberries were both dipped in that colored melting candy from Michaels. Super easy!

The donut hole tree was just a styrofoam tree from Michaels, donut holes from the Dunkin' Donuts down the street, and a whole bunch of toothpicks!

Here's the whole table:

Everyone seemed to have a lot of fun, especially the birthday girl. She told me it was her favorite party she'd ever been to! I sent the kids home with little goodie bags (I learned my lesson from Ava's party!). The big kids got little notebooks and big chunky woodland pencils and woodland creature masks (for the boys) and barrettes (for the girls). The babies got little hedgehog finger puppets.

It was A LOT of work, but on the plus side, now my house is already decorated for fall!


Happiest birthday, Emerson Kate!

Five years ago today, my sweet baby Emerson was born. She is the kindest little person. She is an old soul. She is smart and funny. You never know what's going to come out of her mouth, and I love that!

This milestone has been very emotional for me. Three days after Emerson was born she was diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot. It is a heart defect in which, in Emerson's case, part of her heart had a hole and the other part had a large obstruction.

We met with doctors from Children's Hospital and they told us she would need open heart surgery to correct the defect. The surgeon told us that there was a 1-2% chance of serious complications during the surgery. He also said that, without the surgery, there was a 100% chance she wouldn't live to see her 5th birthday.

We obviously elected for the surgery. She was 8 weeks old. It was, without a doubt, the most excruciating thing I have ever gone through.

But here I am today, celebrating 5 years with this amazing little person who continues to inspire me every day.


Happy little trees

I'm in full-on woodland fairy party mode this week. One of my "craft projects" for the party besides the fabric pennant banner and the felt gnome hats (I've mentioned before that I'm insane, right?) are these little paper trees that I have convinced myself we need at the party:

I didn't have one of those little machines that can cut out those cute little petal shapes, so I ended up just cutting out rectangles from craft paper in various colors/patterns/textures that I got from Michael's. I did use her method of using a pencil to curl the little pieces before I hot-glued them on.

Here's a progress picture:

And here is the final product:

It looks less Christmas-y in person. There's a lot of light pink in there! If I were going to make one for Christmas, I think using a bunch of metallic papers would look cool!

Anyway, more party details to come!

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she's crafty

I've had a very crafty DIY weekend. Saturday morning I went to the antique consignment place nearby, and bought a cool desk & chair set for $29 and an old window for $15. I had actually gone there to look for a dresser for our guest room (in the basement, which is almost done!). There were no dressers to be had, but I'm really excited about my two purchases. I will devote separate blog posts showing their transformations. While on Pinterest all weekend, trying to gather some inspiration for what to do with my new found treasures, I kept stumbling upon all these cute wreaths. Not like traditional greenery wreaths for the holidays, but like cute indoor, all-year-long kind of wreaths.

This one caught my eye when I was looking for what to do with my old window:

I followed the picture's link and it took me to Kelly Hicks Design, where she shows step-by-step how to make this pretty ruffle wreath. It actually seemed super easy, so I decided I wanted to make one, but with a few tweaks. Then, I saw these on Pinterest:

So, I ended up kind of combining all of them. I used Kelly Hick's wreath method exactly, except that I used gray felt instead. Then I made some felt rosettes and hot glued them onto the wreath when it was done. Here's how it turned out:

I'm not exactly sure where it's going to go, or why with all of the other things I need to be doing, I spent an evening making a wreath that has no definitive home. Regardless, I'm really proud of how it turned out!


fall finds

Anyone who knows me, knows that this, hands down, is my favorite time of year. After a sticky hot summer, I love the crisp, cool days of fall. Fall has the best weather, the best smells, the best seasonal drinks from Starbucks, and by far, the best clothes.

So for this fall, I have decided the following would make excellent additions to my wardrobe:

1. a pair of wide leg, high-waisted jeans (like these, "Hutton" jeans from Citizens for Humanity)

2. a tie neck blouse (like this one from Marc Jacobs, but definitely not this exact one since it's over $300, and my husband would die, and not like Rachel Zoe die, but like actually die!):

3. a pair of pointy flats like these from Alexander McQueen (they look polished, but I can still sprint through a parking lot after a two-year old, if needed)

4. a pair of great boots (I bought these Frye Dorado boots and super love them!):

5. a pair of moccasins (like these from Minnetonka):

6. A fun fall-colored jacket (mustard, plum, pumpkin, etc.). I like this one from Anthropologie:

So....what's everyone else buying for fall?


Some DIY bedroom art

Awhile ago I found this on Pinterest:

I didn't know exactly what it was, but I knew I loved it. So the other day when I was at Michael's buying stuff for Emerson's upcoming woodland fairy party, I bought a blank canvas (16" square, I think!), some acrylic paints (light gray and a chartreuse) , some letter stencils, and a paint brush. I thought I'd make some sort of art for our bedroom. It is in desperate need of something (anything!) on the walls.

It was gorgeous outside today, so while Declan and Finlay were napping, Emerson and I spent a couple hours outside in the driveway painting. First I painted my canvas with some leftover chalkboard paint I had. I wanted a dark background and thought chalkboard paint would look a little more distressed and interesting than just painting it black. So after that dried, I used the Martha Stewart stencil kit and letter by letter, painted the song lyrics to our wedding song. I wasn't able to fit the whole thing, in part because I put our wedding date in the lower corner, but I love how it turned out. When I went back to find my inspiration photo, I found the blog where the photo above originated. It turns out the words she used are her wedding song lyrics too. Here is the link.

So here's how mine turned out:

So, I know it's totally different, but you can see where my inspiration came from. I'm so happy with how it turned out! I'm going to hang him in my room soon along with some frames I just ordered from West Elm. I'll post pictures when it's all put together!

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The last double stroller I will ever buy....I swear!

I have now purchased 5 (yes, 5!) double strollers. I realize this qualifies me for some sort of stroller-addiction support group. I wish I could say that I'm one of those people paid to test out different double strollers and that after a week test-driving each one around town, I get to write a concise little blurb about its features, pros, cons, etc. and then give it a little star rating. But sadly, I am not. I have purchased 5 different double strollers, all hoping one will be better than the next. First, it was the Peg Perego Twin Aria.

I bought this one when Emerson was a baby. I thought she and Ava would ride side by side nicely. We would ride through stores while Ava smiled lovingly at her sleeping baby sister next to her. It was such a beautiful image in my head. The only problem was that a two year-old bouncing up and down and screaming on one side, makes it very hard for an infant to take a nap quietly on the other. Also, I couldn't get it through a single doorway.

When Ava was a little older, I decided we needed a sit-n-stand stroller!

Emerson could sit in the front and Ava could either sit on the back, or hop on if she got tired. I somehow forgot in the purchasing of this stroller, that Ava wasn't the kind of child you let stand on the back or sit if she got tired. She was more of the 'keep buckled in a 73-point harness' kind of child. The back of the sit-n-stand did have a strap, but it took her about 20 seconds to figure out how to Houdini herself out of it.

When Declan was born, I decided we needed a Graco Quattro Tour something-or-other.

It was this monstrosity of a stroller. The one pictured above is this year's model. The 2009 model was twice as big, I swear! It's a tandem stroller, so it did fit through most doorways. But it was really big and heavy folded up, making it almost impossible to get in and out of my car. It was nice in that, Emerson could be buckled up front and Declan's infant car seat could strap in the back.

When Finlay was born, we needed to have the entire 3rd row in the car up, so I was no longer able to fit this giant stroller in my car. When I saw that Babies R Us was having a trade-in-stroller event, I decided to trade it in on the new Sit-n-Stand. It was just like the old one, except the back part could also be an actual seat. Since they are only 18 months apart, Declan was definitely not ready to stand on the back, without being strapped in.

This stroller was great, with the exception of the fact that it will not fit in my car behind the 3rd row. So it has to ride shotgun. This is fine unless 1. My husband and I want to go somewhere together or 2. I have to park next to another vehicle in the parking lot or 3. Even though when I parked, there was no one next to me and I could open the door all the way, when I return to my car, a car has parked so close, that I cannot manage to get the stroller back in the car.

So, Friday after reading a bunch of reviews and test-driving it through the store, I bought this guy:

So far, so good! It folds up small enough to get it in the back of my car, it's lightweight, but not flimsy and Declan can't figure out how to get out of it! It has underneath storage and little pockets in the back for keys, wallet, phone, etc.. It steers great, fits through a standard doorway, and is easy to fold up. It has sun canopies and came with a rain cover. It wouldn't have worked as well for an infant, but now that Finlay is older, it's perfect! She and Declan rode side by side today with no problems! They even shared part of a sugar cookie! It doesn't have cup holders for the driver or any kind of tray for the occupants, but I consider it fitting in my car to be a much more important attribute than cup holders! Plus, I'm sure I can buy a cup holder attachment and probably MacGyver something out of a bungee cord and a snack trap for the kids!

So hopefully, this will be THE one! I try not to think about the fact that for all the money I have spent on 5 strollers, I could have been on Pimp my Stroller and had Exhibit custom make me a double Bugaboo with iPod speakers and a juice box fridge!

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C'mon, Irene!

In case you've been living under a rock, there's a hurricane affecting much of the east coast. I'm not really one to give in to all the hoopla. I haven't nailed plywood to anything. I haven't filled my bathtub with water. I don't have cases of batteries and canned goods on hand. I figure if we have milk and diapers, we can make it work.

While everyone was raiding the grocery store this morning for water and batteries, we were hosting Ava's birthday party at the local bouncy house place. I was worried that the storm was going to force us to cancel leaving us with a heartbroken little birthday girl, but everyone came out and I think Ava had fun! Jay and I stayed up super late last night working on the favors. Not being a fan of crappy made-in-China goody bag favors, I made all the girls CDs full of some of Ava's favorite songs. I made little CD cases tied with handwritten notes thanking them for coming. I was really pleased with how they turned out! And then I witnessed this conversation go down at the party:

Mean girl (pointing to CDs): "What the heck are those? Where are the goody bags?"
Ava: "We don't have goody bags, we made CDs"
Mean girl: "Why did you make CDs?!"
Ava looks at me, looks at mean girl, eyes well up with tears
Mean girl: "What's on the CDs?"
Ava: "just some songs I like"
Mean girl: "Oh.... Well is there at least some Selena Gomez?"

This is when I stepped in, told the girl that I had made the CDs, that I had put on some good songs and that NO, there was no Selena Gomez. Seriously? I had no idea mean girls started so young! WTF! I have never wanted to slap someone so much in my life! This little seven year old made me, for a split second, question my choice in favors! And I'm 31! I can't even imagine what it was doing to Ava! But Ava is a tough cookie, she didn't let that tear welling up in her eyes fall. She didn't give that girl the satisfaction. She just walked away and started handing CDs out to the other more appreciative guests. I was so proud of her!

So now that the party is over, we are all hunkered down here, waiting out the storm. So far, we still have power. Which is awesome! We still do not have Internet due to a storm earlier in the week. The Verizon man was due to come out tomorrow, but due to the hurricane, he called today to reschedule. He said he could come out on the 30th instead, September 30th. After a rather humorous conversation between said Verizon man and my husband, we may be switching service providers!
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