Party

DIY Watercolor Bunting

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On Valentine’s Day the boys and I made cutout watercolor hearts from coffee filters. Sounds a little weird, yes, but they turned out beautiful. They inspired me to make this watercolor bunting, though it took me quite a few months until I finally made one. I love that I could still recruit the boys to help color the filters (they also love when they get to help with a “project”) to make it a “mommy & me” craft. Another plus, it’s super simple and quick to make! Unfortunately I don’t have any kind of parties planned anytime soon because the bunting would look particularly beautiful streamed outdoors.

Supplies:

Washable Markers
Coffee Filters
Water
String
Scissors
Glue
Directions:
First flatten the coffee filters into circles.
Next using markers in the colors of your choosing, draw random scribbles all over the filters (this is where the kids can help!). Because the colors will bleed, its not necessary to cover all of the white space.
 
Once the filters are colored, drip a bit of water over each.
 
The water will naturally begin to make the ink bleed, creating a watercolor effect.
 
Hang the filters to dry.
dry
Once thoroughly dried, cut the top edges and the sides off the stack of filters to create a point as pictured.
 
Wrap and glue each piece of bunting around string.
How easy is that?!
two
-Stephanie

 

Guacamole, My Way

my best guacamole, no tomatoes

This has been my go-to guacamole for years. I skip the jalepenos and tomatoes that you’ll often find in guacamole recipes and instead go heavy on garlic, onion and cilantro. It’s always been a big hit with my friends so I thought I’d share it!
Note: if you’re one of those people who is iffy on onions, this may not be the best guac recipe for you!

Guacamole


Ingredients

2 ripe avocados
1 1/2 tbsp lime juice
1/4 cup finely chopped white onion
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup of chopped cilantro
3/4 tsp kosher salt (or more, to taste)

Directions

Mix the lime juice, onion, garlic, cilantro and salt into a small bowl. Set aside for 15-30 minutes to allow flavors to meld.

Mash avocados to desired consistency (I like mine slightly chunky). Mix in the onion/garlic/cilantro mix. Serve immediately.

my best guacamole, no tomatoes

 

Simple Syrups: Ideas for Making, Storing & Gifting

I am a wee bit obsessive about simple syrups. Lately my husband and I have gotten pretty serious about mixology … it’s one of the few hobbies that we share (opposites attract, right??). It’s so fun to experiment with different flavor combinations – fruits, herbs, bitters, etc. Plus it allows me to use a lot of the herbs I have growing in my garden.  

Simple syrup has to be one of the easiest things to make. Seriously, boxed mac & cheese has more steps than simple syrup does. You simply put equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan and heat until dissolved. There are countless ways to add flavors to the syrup, and I’ve included two variations below, one with lavender and the other with mint. I’ve also had great success with thyme and rosemary.

Simple Syrup Variations

Lavender-Infused Simple Syrup

1 cup sugar

1 cup water
4 sprigs of lavender

Mint-Infused Simple Syrup

1 cup sugar

1 cup water
12 mint leaves

I’ll keep my simple syrup in the fridge for 2-3 weeks. To extend the life, I’ll usually try to freeze some of the batch in ice cube trays, using a small leaf from the infused flavor source to identify the type of syrup I’m freezing. Note that the simple syrup cubes will not get as hard as ice cubes because of the sugar content. 

Simple syrups make great gifts too. It’s homemade, unique and will be appreciated by any cocktail lover. I typically use mason jars to store and gift, with a chalkboard top for labeling and some twine and herbs for decoration. 

Sparkling Cherry Creamsicle

Happy Friday! The toughest weeks for me are always those that follow a holiday week. They just seem so……. long. And so, if you’re like me, tonight you’re ready for a cocktail!

For our third installment of our Friday Cocktails series, we’re featuring this sparkling cherry creamsicle cocktail. It’s, admittedly, a little girly, which makes it perfect for a bridal/baby shower or girls night out. No need to use a pricey Prosecco for this drink … the whipped cream and cherry flavors will dominate.


Sparkling Cherry Creamsicle

Ingredients (per drink):


1 ounce whipped cream vodka
5 ounces prosecco
splash of cherry juice from maraschino cherry jar
maraschino cherry, for garnish

Directions


Measure vodka and pour into champagne flute. Add Prosecco. Add a splash of cherry juice and drop in a single cherry for garnish. So easy! Cheers!

Fourth of July Themed DIY Pool/Garden Orbs

Fourth of July Themed DIY Pool/Garden Orbs

Fourth of July Themed DIY Pool/Garden Orbs

I have been admiring these pool orbs for years….but not so much the $100/each price tag! Pool and garden orbs are so fun and festive and, in my opinion, the perfect outdoor decoration for an Independence Day celebration. (6/2/2016 Update: You can now find 12″ orbs on Amazon for about $30 bucks each….still more than the $1 orbs in this post though!)

I could have maybe justified $100 for an orb. But what was one orb going to do for me? Orbs call for being grouped together, to maximize their design statement. I certainly was not going to shell out $500 or $600 for the couple of times a year that I’d need them. I knew there had to be a cheaper way to get the look.

Balloons were the obvious choice for the structure. The challenge came in how to light them with the appropriate glow. My first attempt had me ordering 50 small glow sticks off of Amazon. Fail. The glow sticks gave off such a faint glow that you could barely tell that the orbs were lit.

Then I stumbled across these submersible tea lights in our basement. I’d purchased them years ago (actually, for my wedding!). I think they’re even cheaper now than they were back then. Less than $1/light!! They’re pretty versatile too – my mom and I have had a lot of fun over the years experimenting with them in floral arrangements and other holiday decorations. I’ll try to give some examples of other uses for these guys in a future post. Anyway, it turned out that the submersible tea lights fit the bill perfectly.

Supplies 

Makes six pool/garden orbs

2 red balloons
2 blue balloons
2 white balloons (Amazon has a nice pack of Red, White & Blue Balloons for cheap)
6 submersible tea lights (*The Dollar Store sells the battery operated non-submersible tea lights at 2/$1. They are slightly larger, but may also work in this application since the lights don’t actually get wet….haven’t tested this though, so not sure if you could fit it in the balloon)

Directions

lights

 

First, twist your tea lights to the on position. Then, stretch the opening of each of your six balloons and pop one tea light into each balloon.
balloon
Blow up the balloon to the desired size. I wanted mine to be more round and less oblong, so I didn’t fill mine up to maximum capacity.

You may need to tilt/shake the balloon to ensure that the tea light is facing up. The added bonus of using these tea lights is that they have a bit of weight to them, so they ensured that the orbs would stay right side up, and that the tied end of the balloon stayed under water (or in the dirt).

Fourth of July Themed DIY Pool/Garden Orbs

Fourth of July Themed DIY Pool/Garden Orbs

Float the orbs in the pool. Alternatively, you could scatter them around the garden (I did that as well, but the pictures turned out embarrassingly bad, so you won’t be seeing that application – sorry!) . When you are finished with the orbs, simply pop the balloon, remove the tea light (and turn it off). Save it for the next go-round!