Our Holiday Card

2012 Holiday CardToday is Day 9 of the 12 Days of Christmas posts on Laurel Lane.

I’d like to share our holiday card that I sent out earlier this week.  One of my favorite things about holiday cards is selecting which design to use. The other fun part is choosing the photos to use with the card.

This year it was hard to get photos because Gwen didn’t want to sit with Gavin.   The photo on the front where he’s holding her hand and she’s trying to pull away is the closest we get to them being together in the same photo.  



Here’s the backside.  I love that the pattern runs across the back and that you can put photos on both sides.   

2012 Holiday Card-a

Since this is digital I’ll share the other versions that I considered (all from Tiny Prints – they have a beautiful selection of cards & invites): 

  • Explored having three photos on the back.

Holiday Card #1 bHoliday Card #1 bb

  • Love having the text overlay on the photo.  The striped “merry” text is so festive.

Holiday Card #2 aHoliday Card #2 b

  • Really wish Gwen would have sat long enough to have a photo of them together but she wasn’t having any of it this year!

Holiday Card #3 aHoliday Card #3 b

  • Love the text overlay banner flag.  Unfortunately we didn’t have a photo that worked well with this overlay.

Holiday Card #4 aHoliday Card #4 b

  • Love the dots, reminds me of lipstick!

Holiday Card #5Holiday Card #5 b

  • At one point I briefly considered making two cards because I had so many great photos of each of them alone but very few of them together! 

Holiday Card #6 aHoliday Card #6 b

   Which designs do you like? 

Holiday Card #7 aHoliday Card #7 b

Merry Christmas to you!  Thank you for all the beautiful cards.  We love them. 


baby girl First Birthday Party

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I’d like to share some photos to show of how my daughter’s First Birthday Party came together on the big day.   Most of the decorations were handmade by me and if not I indicate where I found them or the special person who made them.   I link below back to the original post where I share the details for the various crafts.

The invite was my inspiration for the banner and for the colors that were used at the party.     

Birthday Party Invite from Tiny Prints

 GwenONE-v2-FINAL copy

Handmade fabric bunting banner-my first time making one on the sewing machine.    Fly Away fabric by Robert Kaufman.

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Tissue paper pom-poms -Martha Stewart (pack of 5).  The tissue paper comes in a flat stack with the edges already scalloped.  You have to add a wire to tie it and then shape the tissue paper.  I was expecting them to pop out of the package like an accordion so it was a little more work than I anticipated.  The first one didn’t turn out well but then I figured it out and was able to get the other 4 to be full in shape. 

Birthday party Tissue pom poms

The package comes with two colors (light and dark purple).  The sizes vary too.  Don’t give up if your first one doesn’t turn out as expected.  Your second one will be much better.

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The pom-poms added a nice splash of purple and brought more texture to the room.   Gwen likes looking & pointing up at them. 

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Beautiful handmade cookies – ordered from TSCookies on Etsy.  I recommend this shop, the cookies came quickly, on time and I didn’t have to order them months in advance like so many of the cookie shops.   She bakes over the weekends and then sends out the cookies on Monday morning.   They have so many different kinds of cookies for every theme.  They were a great addition to the owls at the party.  Each guest got to take one (or more) home to enjoy.  I love that they are individually wrapped with a colorful shiny ribbon to compliment the cookie color. 

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Cute owl plate to serve the first cupcake to the birthday girl – a shower gift that was purchased from Etsy.  It was fun to use this for the first time.

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The cookies were in four bright colors (purple, pink, green and teal) to match the other items.  I used my cupcake stand to display them so that they’d be more prominent than in a bowl. 

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Personalized Water bottle labels– handmade with digital papers from Etsy (The Digital Bake Shop).  It was my first time making labels with digital papers (from scratch).  I also did the photo clips (below) with the same papers.  However, the water bottle labels were much easier to create because the labels don’t have to be a fixed size.

My favorite one is the pink polka dot one with the monogram “G” in the background and “Gwenyth” across the top.   

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Handmade Owl gift bags for kids-Used Amy Tangerine Sketchbook patterned papers.  I love how the owl made by paper piecing stands out on the brown bag.  

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Fabric owls –ordered from Etsy made by MariaPalito.  These little cuties were inside the gift bags for the kids.  Got them in four colors (blue, pink, purple and brown).

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First year mini album-made with supplies from Amy Tangerine Sketchbook Collection.  Includes a photo taken each month during the first year in the same chair with two stuffed owls.    It was easy to pull this together the week before the party because it’s simple and just has one hero 5×5 photo with three small 2×2. 

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Photo clip garland-made in Photoshop with digital papers from The Digital Bake Shop on Etsy.  I used the same digital files on these as I did the water bottle labels above.    These were more challenging to make because they the inside circle has 6 layers. 

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Owl Birthday Cake– Used design found in Parenting Magazine.   Baked by my husband.   Frosted/Decorated by my girlfriend (seen in photo below). 

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Lovely Owl Cupcakes– also designed & made by my sweet girlfriend.  The cupcakes are from a box mix and were baked by my husband.  They are chocolate with a home made vanilla crème in the middle.  He loves making sweet desserts and had fun figuring out the filling.    My favorite part is the beautiful frosting in blue & purple! 

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I displayed all the fun owl décor items on the table with a ivory tablecloth so that they could all be shared together.  Then the food and drinks were on the opposite kitchen countertops. 

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Here’s the birthday girl taking some of her first steps.  She took her first 2 steps ON her actual birthday.  We are having fun watching her start to figure out how to walk.    This dress was perfect for the big day. 

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Enjoying her new birthday gift…..a ride on musical toy.  Of course she doesn’t stay in any one place for more than a second so I am ready to catch her when she falls off.

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The baker and chef-

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Two of my super crafty friends.  The one on the right made the beautiful cupcakes & cake! 

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We had the party on a Saturday afternoon which was the perfect time and the naps worked out well so our little girl was rested.  I took the day off on Friday from work so that I could finish the album up and get everything else ready.

Also, Thank you to everyone who helped me get everything ready! We couldn’t have had such a great party without the help from our friends/family. 

first year mini album

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Today I am excited to share a mini album that I made to document the growth each month during my daughters first year. 

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I used paper, stickers, ribbons & embellishments that are all part of the Amy Tangerine Sketchbook collection by American Crafts.  I love the bright colors, beautiful flowers and all the lovely black outlines used in this collection.  It was the perfect choice to use for this mini album.   

On the front cover I wanted to keep it simple so I just used three different strips of paper.  The one with the round flowers on the top half is my favorite so I found a way to share it on the front cover. 

I used a tag & the love brad to write a personalized message giving the book to Gwen.  Added a strand of green & pink bakers twine to tie it to the ring. 

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I used the lined paper for the bottom half of the cover.  I wanted a paper that was simple so that the title would stand out.  It has this lovely sketch of a black flower and to add a touch of color I added a sticker die cut below.  

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For the title I used three different sticker sets.  I love how the teal & fascia letters sparkle.  This is an 8×8 chipboard 7 Gypsies album that I got a few years back. I made three for our puppies (their first year photos too) and have loved using them since for mini books.

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There are 5 rings on this notebook.  I put different colored mini strips of ribbon on each ring, black/gray at the top, blues, hot pinks , greens & yellows at the bottom.  Getting to use so many different colors & patterns of ribbons might be my favorite thing about the collection (along with the flowers on the front cover).  I think there were 8 spools I didn’t get to use.    I’ve never seen such a huge pack of ribbons to go with one collection!  

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I used the same circle element on each page for the title.  Because they are thick from the stickers I rotated them from the right to left side of the page.

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To create the circles….I used my 3 inch scalloped circle for the pink outer circle.  For the inner, in word I made circles with the teal dashed line circle & added the typed words.  I punched each circle out with a 2.25 circle (keeping the dashed line inside my punch).   The teal shiny thicker number shines nicely on the white cardstock.

Pages inside mini album: 

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The owl design started last year when I was creating the baby room and found these cute owls.  I got them so that we could use them to sit with Gwen for her monthly photos.  (we used an elephant for Gavin’s monthly photos the first year)

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Since there were extra pages I decided to start the book when Gwen was in my belly (right at the end). The shower theme was owls too. This cute invite is from Twig & Thistle. There’s a momma & dada owl, a boy owl on the branch. Then the baby is little egg in the nest. She added the egg in the nest since we already had one child.

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These photos of big brother were taken when we were decorating the baby room.  He was nursing (using an airline neck pillow for support)  his baby monkey & baby doll and they were too cute not to share in the book and have a page showing the proud big brother.

On the “newborn” page I used her birth announcement on the left side (from Tiny Prints).  I love her birth announcement and was thrilled to get to put one in this book, on the backside there’s a photo of our family that I was able to add to the end of the mini book.  On the right side, I used a photo taken on day 1 at the hospital. 

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Then once she was one month old, I took photos every month from there on out of her in the same chair with the same cute owls.  I always look forward to the days where we’d take these photos. 

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On the pages in the album you’ll see I used the same design over and over. The left side of the page has three vertical strips and on the right side there’s one 3×7 piece.

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I wanted to have the photos be the highlight of the pages.  I tried to keep the design simple and let the beautiful patterns create a nice layout with the photos.

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The purple First Birthday Party invitation (from Tiny Prints)  seen below was my inspiration for the rounded corners you’ve seen throughout the book. I printed the hero photo each month in the same size- 5×5 and then rounded the corners. On the left page the little photos are 2×2 squares, rounded the corners of these too.

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For the last page I used the owl thank you card that was on the gift bags at the first birthday party.  It was a good way to have a copy of the owl that was part of the theme from that special day for Gwen to when she’s older.   


Hope you enjoyed seeing this mini book.  I had so much fun taking the photos each month and then being able to pull them all together in one place like this. 

For Gavin’s first year photos with the elephant, I did a scrapbook layout where they are all on one page in 2×2 squares.  I think I am going to go back and make his into a book too though because it will be a nice keepsake and fun to see how a boy version will turn out. 

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Supplies:  Font-Pea Sarahloo, Corner Rounder-We R Memory Keepers Crop a Dile, 8×8 5 ring mini book album- 7 Gypsies, White circle tags-made in word with 2.15 inch circle, punched with EK Success Circle Paper Shapers Punch 2.25, Patterned Paper, ribbon, sticker letters, brad-Amy Tangerine Sketchbook Collection by American Crafts, Pink paper that’s the 3 inch scalloped circles (all except two of them)-Sultry by BasicGrey

DIY cupcake wrappers & cupcake toppers

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June is one the biggest birthday months of the year around our house.  We have so many friends & family members with birthdays.  The fun part for me is that I get the opportunity to make some party items.  Today I’d like to share cupcake sleeves & cupcake toppers I made for one of the June parties.  This is the same birthday girl I mentioned earlier in the birthday card post who loves pink

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Here’s the invite (Tiny Prints), created by her mother, that set the theme for the party.  A cute little bear holding a balloon and the party being hosted at Build a Bear. 

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I found three paper patterns to use for both cupcake décor items and made the sleeves first.    I followed this cupcake wrapper tutorial found on offbeatbride.com.  The best part was the template that worked perfectly to get the desired shape. 

After cutting the arched shape, I used this fun Martha Stewart punch to add detail to the top edge of the wrapper.   It’s one of the new around the page punches and also includes a corner piece.  I’d like try it soon on a card. 

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It was so easy to make these cupcake wrappers.  I just added a piece of tape on the seam and they are ready to go. 

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The best thing about making your own cupcake toppers & sleeves is that it doesn’t take many supplies.  I was able to use just three different patterns seen here from the BasicGrey Kissing Booth Collection (Better Half, Cupid, You + Me). 

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For the cupcake toppers I used my circle scallop punch on the outside and a circle punch on the inside.    This time I went larger on the circle size with the outside being 2.50  and the inside 1.75  inches (greater offset between the tw0 shapes).    I like that more of the pattern is showing than the last set of cupcake toppers I made. 

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I printed on two of the toppers (adding name & age) using this great printable template that has cupcake toppers you can customize.  I only used the pink circles but it would be fun to do a party and use the entire printable. 

I don’t know Photoshop well enough yet to select the colors that I need to match my background supplies so that’s why I love finding something that was already the right color.    I added a big number 5 to this one. 

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Added the birthday girls name to this one. 

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For the third one I had to bring in the cute bear from the invite.  I used a Martha Stewart punch that punched out the shape & also embosses the paper to give it detail on the feet & belly of the bear. 

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Here’s the birthday card (shared earlier) that I made to go with the balloon theme from the invite & using the same cute paper for her birthday wish. 

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Cupcake toppers & cupcake wrappers are so easy and quick to make!  I encourage you to try it next time you are celebrating to add a nice touch to enhance the theme.  They can be used for any occasion.

Here’s how the toppers & wrappers came together on the cupcakes at the party. (It’s hard to get great photos in restaurants with dark lighting) But you can see how cute the paper items look on top of the pink frosting cupcakes! 


Here are a few other “bear things” that were made by the birthday girl’s mother. 

First she made cute little bears (table top tents) to have standing at each place to welcome the kids.   Having the bears be two pieces of paper (still joined at the top) made them stand up nicely on the tables.  For the boys she made boy colors and for the girls they had girl colored bears.  

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I love how she put the child’s name on the shorts/skirt that the bear is wearing.  They are so cute!

They are 5 tall x 4 wide and were made on with the circuit.  The circuit makes a nice bear with having it be two pieces.  

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There were also some of these cute bears decorating the walls of the restaurant.   These ones were much larger, about 8 or 9 inches tall. 

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The last handmade item was the same bear you saw at the table settings but this was a thank you note attached to each build a bear box.  It was tied to the window and included the child’s name.  This was a brilliant way to know who’s bear was in which box so there were no mix ups.

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It’s slightly smaller than the tabletop bears and the measurements are 4×3.    This is a great way to send a personalized thank you note home with each child. 

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Here’s the sweet soccer dog that Gavin made.  All the boys loved the bows and put them on their bears & dogs too. 

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The boys with their cute bears.   

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Cute white princess bear wearing a lovely blue gown! 

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Visit from Pauline the bunny!  She took pictures with all the kids. 

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The girls really loved the PINK bears…especially the birthday girl!!  The birthday girl also got to carry around a big gold bell. 

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The birthday girl had a wonderful time at her 5th birthday party.  I was very impressed with what a GREAT party her mom prepared (she always does wonderful events) and  Build-A-Bear did a fabulous job hosting all the kids! 

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choo-choo train cupcakes

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Today I’d like to share these cute Thomas the Train cupcakes that my friend made for her son’s 4th birthday party. 

As you can see these adorable cupcakes have little trains on top of EACH cupcake.  The kids couldn’t have been more excited to find a real toy train on top of their sweet treat!    These cupcakes were made by my talented girlfriend, Nicole, yes-the same person who hand painted Gwen a birdie print for her baby room.    This is the 4th year that she’s made amazing cupcakes for her son’s birthday. 

Here’s the party invitation (from Tiny Prints) that set the theme for the choo-choo train party.  Roman's 4th BD_May 2012 (1)

She placed the trains on top of pieces red licorice (similar to a log boom) so that they wouldn’t get frosting smeared all over them. Then secured each train to the licorice with Washi Tape so that it wouldn’t fall of the top of the cupcake.  

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This was my first time hearing about or seeing Washi tape. At first glance, I thought it was a ribbon but it looked like plastic so I was confused. I now know what a HUGE trend it is because it can be used on just about any craft project (see how Joy used it on her card). I was excited to learn about this new product from Nicole, thanks for the introduction! I can’t wait to get some and try it out on one of my projects.

Here’s a great blog post where Lisa describes just what Washi tape is and where you can purchase.   

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To keep with the train theme I used this train cutout as the hero item for the birthday card. 

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I based the card off of Card Sketch #3 found at Sketch Support. 

Here’s the birthday boy in his cute train conductor hat and Gavin wearing his striped hat too.  Happy 4th Birthday sweet boy! 

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Card Supplies: Colored/pattern paper- Crate Paper Zoom Collection, Stamp-BasicGrey, Distress Ink-Tim Holtz

baby girl birthday party

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We are getting ready to celebrate an important milestone, our baby girl is turning one in June!    It’s going to be a small celebration at home with family and a few friends.  I’d like to make a few special items to decorate for the important milestone. 

I found this lovely party invite at Tiny Prints.  I LOVE the pennant banner across the top, with the bright pinks, purple & teal blue colors.    I decided these would be the colors and I could use this look/theme to set everything else for the party.   The other thing I enjoy about the invite is getting to use 4 photos on the front of our baby girl.  These were taken when she was 7 months old and now’s a great time to share them with our friends and family.   I even have two more on the backside, I love doing double sided cards!

GwenONE-v2-FINAL copy

This time I am going to make a fabric banner/bunting to hang up at the party.  I found this lovely Robert Kaufman fabric bundle at the Fat Quarter shop. 

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The colors are perfect:  teal blue, purple, pinks.  With cute birds, butterflies & flowers patterns.    This weekend I am going to make the bunting and I am excited to see how it turns out.  Updated:  here’s a link to the finished bunting banner

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The other thing I am making is a first year mini album that shows a photo that I’ve taken of baby Gwen in the same chair each month.     Updated:  here’s a link to the completed mini album

I found a lovely paper collection called Sketchbook (by Amy Tangerine) that has beautiful colors for a summer party (teal blue, bright pinks, yellow  and greens).  It will be the perfect backdrop for the mini album that I’d like to display at the party.    I also picked up the coordinating embellishment items in the collection (ribbons, embellishments and some brads)  to help decorate the three ring mini book. 

There are a few other things I might create for the party but these are the two main things I’ve got to complete.  I can’t wait to get going with these two projects!