Archive for the ‘ Entertaining ’ Category

DIY: Race Car Cupcake Toppers

I don’t know about you, but there is at least one person in my house who is a fan of all types of motor car racing.  From F1 (which I actually enjoy watching) to NASCAR he is interested in it all.  I blame his dad and grandfather for this fascination with all things racing but I suspect it is quite the norm with boys of all ages.  I recently had a custom request to put together something for a little guy’s 3rd birthday party.  Mom wanted a race theme but nothing “character” related and I lucked out and found these adorable car stickers on the cheap.  I think they turned out quite fun, and wanted to share in case you might want to make a few of your own!

Race Car Cupcake Toppers by Dill Pickle Picnic

DPPPhoto-096Supplies Needed:

  • Race Car Stickers – 2 stickers per topper (these cute 3D ones came from Dollar Tree)
  • Toothpicks
  • Optional: glue (low temp hot glue or craft glue)

Instructions:

  1. Place first sticker laying face down on a flat surface
  2. Place toothpick near the bottom of the sticker, making sure to leave .25 inch or so of the toothpick on the sticker’s surface.
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  3. Optional Step in case your stickers are a bit heavier:  Apply glue to the back of the sticker
  4. Carefully place the second sticker over the back of the first pressing firmly to “lock” the toothpick in place.
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  5. Let dry completely and enjoy!

Race Car Cupcake Toppers by Dill Pickle Picnic

If you don’t want to make your own…I got a bit carried away so I have one additional set listed in my Etsy shop.

DIY: Patriotic Napkin Wraps – Stars

Keeping with the red,white, and blue theme this week…today I have one more fun napkin wrap template.

I also noticed recently that I always take photos of the napkin wrap templates using cloth napkins…but the 4th of July is a perfect opportunity to show they work great with paper napkins as well!

(click here to download MS Word template)

I love how this one looks with my dollar store napkins and plastic cutlery!  The great thing is the napkin wrap holds the bundle together so you could make them up ahead of time!  Total Cost $2.14

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The font used in the template above is Lobster 1.4, which is free to download from Pablo Impallari.

New to Napkin Wraps?  No worries, visit this post for step-by-step instructions on how to use my napkin wrap templates!

DIY: Patriotic Napkin Wraps – Flags

I’ve been away and neglected this poor little blog for far too long….and since the 4th of July is just around the corner, this week it’s all about Patriotic crafts!  Let’s get things started with a new napkin wrap template!

(click here to download MS Word template)

The template above uses Monterey BT font which is free to download from SoFontes.

New to Napkin Wraps?  No worries, visit this post for step-by-step instructions on how to use my napkin wrap templates!

And now for a shameless plug….did you know I have an Etsy shop?  While it is 99% to blame for my lack of craft posts recently, I did take a break from custom orders to whip up a few sets of  red,white and blue cupcake flags and flagged straws!

DIY: Are you ready for some football…straws?

Today I would like to dedicate some craftiness to one of my all-time favorite fall activities…football!  While I tend to gravitate towards college football, this craft could just as easily apply for the pros.  Regardless of what your favorite tailgate beverage might be, I can assure you it will look much more festive when sipped casually through one of these cuties. 😉

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Ready to make some of your very own?

Supplies Needed:

  • Cardstock in your favorite team’s colors
  • Straws, also in your favorite team’s colors
  • Glue or Glue Stick
  • Helmet Punch (or die cuts from your favorite machine, you will need two helmets for each straw)

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Instructions:

  1. Punch out your helmets.  For this version of this process I used my Silhouette to quickly cut out my helmets using some cardstock I had left over from another project.   You will need two helmets for each straw you want to make.
  2. Using your glue cover the back of one helmet. I use a glue stick when I want to whip these up really quickly, but choose to use paper glue for the ones I sell in my store).
  3. DPPhelmetstraw10

  4. Carefully layer the second helmet onto the first, taking care to line up the edges all the way around. Make sure you press to seal the pieces together around the straw.DPPhelmetstraw11
  5. DPPhelmetstraw12

  6. Repeat for the remainder of your straws

Wouldn’t these look fun for a sport themed birthday party as well?

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Total Cost: $1 and up

See quick, easy…and cute! Will you decorate for your tailgate area this year? Can you guess who my team of choice is based on these colors?

War Eagle!

Like these but have no time to make your own?
Check out my shop and message me about creating a set custom for you!

DIY: Pumpkin Ale Labels

One last project going on in our household this week is the labeling of my hubby’s home-brewed pumpkin ale.  However these fun labels could look fun over your favorite pumpkin brew or any other fun Halloween beverage.  This could even be fun for other fall festivities or Thanksgiving.

Pumpkin Ale Labels
I printed these out on standard paper and then ran them through my Xyron machine, so these labels won’t stand-up to being iced down.  Then I setup a cut file on my Silhouette (which I’m still learning how to use) and cut them out.  The labels were quickly thrown together, but overall I’m happy with how they turned out.

Don’t have all the fun toys above?  That’s ok too!  You can easily make your own by downloading the printable PDF from below and printing it out onto full sheets of labels and then trimming around them!

Click to Download Printable PDF

Pumpkin Ale Labels

Now that the pumpkin ale labels are finally all attached and ready for a Halloween party this weekend…it’s time to start thinking about fun ideas for the Holiday Ale coming up next!

I hope each of you has a safe & spooky weekend, Happy Halloween Y’all!!

DIY: Batty Cupcake & Food Flags

Well hello there! I’ve missed you guys while I’ve been toiling away on a huge work project that I wish I was able to share. It ended up being almost 100% DIY and has really tested my abilities to be both crafty, economical, and yet still extremely professional. Now I’m creatively tired. Does that make sense?

So, today lets talk about Halloween and how bats can be cute.
DPPbatstraw17Ready to make some of your very own?

Supplies Needed:

  • Black Paper or Cardstock
  • Glue or Glue Stick
  • Toothpicks
  • Bat Punch (or die cuts from your favorite machine)

DPPbatpicks-1

Instructions:

  1. Punch out your bats. I used a punch I picked up at JoAnn’s with a 50% off coupon. You could also cut them using your favorite die cut machine. You will need two bats for each flag you want to make. (Hint: with this punch I could get roughly 20 individual bats from one 8.5×11 piece of cardstock).DPPbatpicks-2
  2. Using your glue cover the back of one bat. I use a glue stick when I want to whip these up really quickly, but choose to use paper glue for the ones I sell in my store).DPPbatpicks-4
  3. Place your toothpick on the glued bat.
  4. DPPbatpicks-5

  5. Carefully layer the second bat onto the first, taking care to line up the edges all the way around. Make sure you press to seal the pieces together around the toothpick.
  6. DPPbatpicks-6

  7. Repeat & Add to Cupcakes or Other Spooky Snacks
  8. DPPbatstraw15

Want to jazz up your Halloween party a bit more? Repeat this process using straws to use when you serve up your “witches brew”.

DPPbatstraw3

Total Cost: $1 and up

See quick, easy…and cute! How will you decorate for your Halloween festivities this year? And, after you finish a big DIY project do you too find yourself creatively fried?

(Like these but have no time to make your own? Check out my shop for limited quantities available for sale!)


Life: Look Mom, I baked!!

So today I’m going to deviate from craftiness for a bit and it might be a bit longer than usual…I hope that’s ok.

Most of you might know my lovely online friend Jess of Jesstagirl and Her Officer, and if so you know she is hosting a cupcake Bake-N-Blog today.  What most of you may not know…is that I really dislike cooking.  To the point that while single I mostly lived off of sandwiches, fruits, and cereal (with vanilla soy milk).  I can cook, I just get very little enjoyment out of it…especially since that means I have to clean it all up later.   Armed with that knowledge it probably makes sense that I’ve never…ever…baked anything from scratch.   Then… I met a boy.  A boy who L.O.V.E.S baked goods, especially those made fresh from quality ingredients.  Thankfully the boy actually enjoys cooking so he typically is the one to whip up fresh muffins or things of that nature.  I always have big plans to bake him a nice birthday or anniversary cake but it seems something always comes up that keeps it from happening.  So, when Jess posted her plans for the Bake N Blog I decided I would use the long holiday weekend (one when we had guests coming in from out of town) to try my luck at baking from scratch. When  I told the hubs of this plan he looked puzzled, and maybe even slightly concerned! 😉

We were to pick a cupcake option from the amazing looking options from Ming Makes Cupcakes, bake ’em, and post about them.  So here we go!

My one warning is I’m not going to post a correct “food blogger” type post, because me baking is a comedy of errors. 😉

and I chose…


On Friday I printed off the recipe, checked over the list and left work just a bit early to pick up all the ingredients.  I made it home and took everything out ready to hit the ground running, only to realize I had forgotten butter… and crushed pineapple. We went out for margaritas instead.  They were yummy!  *random question* Does it seem odd to anyone else there is crushed pineapple in carrot cake?

On Saturday morning we got up, quickly finished preparing the house for guests, and then ran down to the perimeter area really quickly.  We needed to meet up with Jess & Kenny (who were in town that weekend) to pick up something we were buying from them and to pass off the Cupcake Flags that one of her lucky participants will win!  Guess what?  We still forgot to pick up butter but did get the crushed pineapple (and yes I still found it an odd ingredient and asked several people if they agreed…they just thought I was odd).

On Saturday afternoon I finally decided I had put off baking for too long, I mean I’d already talked up the fact I was baking us dessert….from scratch.  There was no backing down at this point,  so I drove down the road and came back with butter.  Smart Balance butter that is.  There was some general concern this might not be baked good worthy, but oh well.  I pressed on!

DPPcarrotcupcake4

To get started I needed to clean and grate 2 cups worth of carrots. We recently purchased a set of new micro-plane graters, and threw out the larger one we hated.  This might have been a mistake.

DPPcarrotcupcake9(No clue why I focused in on the patent number of the grater…but in case you were ever curious it’s 5100506)

Maybe this is where my lack of baking comes into play…but I totally under-estimated how many carrots that would take.  OMG!  I felt like I cleaned and grated a thousand carrots, and apparently I have no idea what I’m doing because there were pieces of carrot all over my kitchen by the time I finished.  I even found one on top of the dog’s head an hour or so later.    Then I measured out the flour and added it to the bowl with my beloved little carrot shreds

DPPcarrotcupcake10
At this point, I was getting a little cocky.  I was thinking, this is a piece of cake *pun intended*.  This was misguided thinking…because it was at this point I realized we didn’t have a full 1/2 cup of canola oil.  So….I made an executive chef decision.  I would use a bit of vegetable oil to round out the 1/2 cup necessary for the recipe.    This is the point my husband rolled his eyes and headed down into the basement.  I often tell people just how smart my hubby is, and while I am typically referring to his ability to process complex equations in his head…this was one of those moments where he decided it was best to say nothing.  Good job B!  So, I mixed everything together…and thought it looked NASTY!

DPPcarrotcupcake12

However my little dollar bin Paula Deen cupcake wrappers were all kinds of cute!

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So, I setup my cupcake pan with the liners, and then popped these bad boys in the oven.  Honestly, I was fully expecting them to explode while baking! 🙂

DPPcarrotcupcake14DPPcarrotcupcake15(See that mess in the bottom of our oven?…I’d like to point out I had nothing to do with creating that!!)

So, they baked in the oven without incident and actually looked like they might be halfway decent.  I mean they weren’t “pretty” but they didn’t look deadly either.  I set them out to cool on a cooling rack and started on the cream cheese icing.

This is where I was all confident in my abilities… Another bit of random trivia is that my mom decorated wedding cakes throughout my childhood.  I’m talking about those HUGE 80’s cakes, with 500 layers and columns.  So, while the oven might not be my friend…cake icing and I go way back.  You won’t be able to tell in these photos but I can actually do a decent job with the decorative icing when I practice a bit and have the right tools.  Sadly, I did not practice and the right tools are still eluding me after my move into the house (2 years ago).  I also have no photos of this process because by this point my FIL had arrived and was watching me with great amusement and much heckling (but that’s what makes him my favorite FIL. EVER).

Long story short, I mixed up the icing and it tasted wonderful!  Then because all I could find was the tip of the decorating set, I used a large ziplock bag instead.  I just snipped the tip from it and added my decorating tip inside and filled it up with icing.  The tip started to move around so I had to hold it in place while icing at the same time. Not my decorative crowing moment for sure…but icing ended up on top of the cupcakes so I call that a success!

DPPcarrotcupcake16
Then the moment of truth…how would they taste?  Remember I had mixed two types of oil, used smart balance 50/50 blend butter, and ended up with some really runny batter.

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The Verdict:

AMAZING!  Even the resident food snob agreed, this recipe was a keeper!  He’s even looked over Ming’s options and placed his order for the next cupcake baking attempt.

My Thoughts Looking Back:

  • I would actually check what I have on hand before making my list instead of just guessing.
  • I would have filled the cups with a little less batter so they ended up more rounded and less flat.
  • I would have doubled the icing recipe.  I felt like I cheated some of the cupcakes in the icing department because I was running out…although we love cream cheese icing so we might be the only ones who feel more icing is better.
  • Once refrigerated they tend to get a bit “sticky”…they are still yummy though.  I wonder if this has anything to do with my oil mixture?
  • I’m glad I gave baking a try and maybe I’ll do it again later.

The question now might be…did you enjoy it?  I wasn’t miserable, and I did get cracked up at myself a few times.  However, I still wouldn’t say I had “fun”.  I loved the outcome, but you don’t have to worry about this becoming a food blog!  Crafting is still 99% more enjoyable to me than baking 😉

Am I the only one out there that doesn’t enjoy cooking?  Please tell me I’m not alone? Also tell me which cupcake we should attempt the next time I’m feeling like battling it out with my oven!

Semi-DIY: Creating Coasters – Part 2

So yesterday you saw our first re-purposed item coaster attempt, today I”ll show you the latest additions and how they came about.

Back in June, the boy and I celebrated one glorious year of marriage with a fun little trip to Asheville, NC.  We took a couple days off from work, and the hubs planned out the where/when/how and kept it as a surprise destination until the morning we left.  He chose Asheville because 1)I had never been 2) it offered plenty of outdoor activities (which we both enjoy) 3) it offered nice lodging & dining options and 4) being at a high elevation that Atlanta it would be a nice relief from the oppressive heat that has plagued the Atlanta area this summer.

All I can say about reason #4 is HA!   Mother Nature definitely didn’t get that memo, and instead it was a sweltering mess of high temperatures mixed with humidity from the depths of places known for fiery torture.  Any of your familiar with Weddingbee might remember that Mrs. Snow was getting married in Asheville in June…yes, it was the same weekend and she blogged about the crazy weather swing as well.  So, we rearranged several of the things the boy had in his plans so we didn’t melt away in the oppressive heat…and in the midst of wandering around we realized that weekend was also the River District Artists Studio Stroll.

So we drove over and wandered around through several of the studio’s, not really looking for anything in particular.  Then right before turning around to make our way back to the car (and out of the heat) we walked into Michael Hofman’s Studio.  Michael makes beautiful pieces of porcelain pottery using antique lace to make impressions into his pieces.  Some of the lace he uses is centuries old, from things like christening gowns & wedding dresses.  It was quite interesting to meet him, and see part of his process in action.  He was even telling us about someone who brought in their grandmothers wedding dress to use to create their wedding china (incidentally the dress was not harmed in the process).  So we looked around thinking we might pick up a serving platter, but then the boy picked up these small square plates and said “hum? think they could be coasters?”

So, we picked up two of the square tapas plates.  Once home, we again brought out some felt pads from the local dollar store (the thinner of the selection this time) and added one to each corner of the plate.

Instant coasters, that once again provide a useful reminder of our anniversary trip!  Look at the lace details up close…aren’t they stunning?  Those lace details also provide a place for beverage sweat to pool, gotta love it when something is both beautiful and useful. 🙂

Can you tell we tend to purchase only mementos that have an actual use around our house?  We tend to buy art or handmade pieces to commemorate special trips or events…that and I buy magnets (which I still need to figure out what to do with since I’ve picked up magnets from my travels my entire life).  What do you pick up as mementos of special occasions or trips?

Semi-DIY: Creating Coasters – Part 1

We don’t like coasters.   There…I’ve said it out loud.  That’s not to say that we prefer to place our sweating beverage glasses or bottles directly onto surfaces, I’m just saying  we haven’t found any that we BOTH found aesthetically pleasing.  Then something happened…we stopped shopping for them and instead focused on things we could make into them.  This is the story about how we used these little guys from the local dollar store to solve our coaster dilemmas.

dollar store felt floor protectors

Last year while on a bit of a family vacation with the boy’s family we noticed this fun piece of flattened pottery on a deck side table in the house we were staying in.  It was the perfect size for a couple of glasses and still appealed to both our senses of design.  Interestingly enough we already owned a bowl in a similar pattern from the same pottery studio that the boy uses on his bedside table to store the contents of his pockets each night.  Do you see where I’m going with this?  Yep, we looked around the shops that weekend in search of a plate to use as a coaster on our living room end table. We ended up choosing the small triangular plate from The Good Earth Pottery, their stuff is great in not only is it appealing to the eye, it is also dishwasher and oven safe as well.

Then to keep our fun new find from scratching up our tables we just added one of the little felt pads to each corner.


Instant extra large coaster!  What’s really nice is when I am lazy and fill up a Nalgene bottle with water…it fits on the coaster with no worries as well.  As do ice cream bowls, large coffee mugs…you get the picture. You can see in the next photo how the colors in the plate match our rug, but sadly what you can’t tell is how nice it looks on our end table.

Overall, I’m really pleased with how our initial attempts to use something not originally intended as a coaster worked out.  The benefit we never considered when we initially picked this piece was how any sweat from glasses placed on top would pool in the small groves of the pattern , this means the bottom of the glass stays drier than if the piece were a completely flat surface.  Plus, the coaster also serves as a very useful reminder of our trip to Highlands, NC. 

Come back tomorrow and I’ll show you round 2 of our coaster experiment! 🙂

How have you re-purposed items to create the “thing” that seemed to elude you otherwise?  Was it a success?

DIY: Simple Napkin Wrap

I received an email over the weekend from a bride-to-be working on ways to keep costs down for her upcoming 400 person wedding.  Her request was a simple napkin wrap template…no graphics, just elegant text.  So, Meredith this one is for you, and the possibilities of ways to use this wrap are endless!


Click to Download:  picklepicnic_textonlywrap

The template above use the Monterey BT font which is free to download from Sofontes.  New to Napkin Wraps?  No worries, visit this post for step-by-step instructions on how to use my napkin wrap templates!