Friday, December 10, 2010


Our Thanksgiving Trivia was a huge hit with all the kids and adults - the conversations and laughs that it spawned were priceless! Anyway my family wants more for Christmas! Be careful what you wish for......

Each printable sheet has 20 questions with answers. I made a sheet each for the kiddos and also for the hard core adult trivia buffs in our family. I cut some of my favorite 12 x 12" scrapbook paper (Cosmo Cricket) into printer friendly sizing (8.5 x 11" - insert blank side down) I printed the adult and kid version onto different papers so the kids wont get intimidated by some of the adult questions! All cut papers went into the mason jar, simply decorated with vintage paper lace wrapped around the bell jar. We are ready to go!

Download a copy here! Enjoy :)

Sunday, December 5, 2010


My family and close friends and neighbors will be receiving this granola packaged and ready for Christmas Morning!

CHRISTMAS GRANOLA (makes @ 12 Cups or fills 2 1lb Coffee Tie Top Bags)
  • 4 Cups of old fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 Cups of sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 1/2 Cups of sliced raw almonds
  • 1 1/2 Cups of cashews
  • 2 tablespoons of dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 Cup of honey (or maple syrup)
  • 1/2 Cup of vegetable oil
  • 2 Cups of craisins
  • 2 cups of semisweet milk chocolate chips
  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F
  • Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper
  • Toss the oats, coconut, cashews, almonds and brown sugar together in a large bowl
  • Wisk together the vegetable oil and honey (or maple syrup) in a small bowl
  • Pour the liquids over the oat mix and stir with a spatula until all the mix is coated
  • Pour half the oat mix onto each baking sheet
  • Bake and stir occasionally every 5 - 10 mins until the oat mix turns a nice even golden brown (about 30 mins)
  • Remove the mix from the oven and let cool, stirring occasionally
  • Add the craisins and chocolate chips
  • Store the granola in an airtight container until ready to eat or package
Play around with this recipe and add or substitute some of your own favorite ingredients!! I will be packaging the Christtmas Granola in Chinese Take out containers and in Coffee Tin Tie Top bags depending on the size of the family...

Gift tags can be printed out on cardstock or sticker paper and embellished with twine, ribbon, crepe paper or flowers..... download here!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


The internet is a fantastic tool! I only wish the onslaught of holiday catalogues and gift guides I have been inundated with in the mail (despite signing up here to have my name removed from their mailing lists....) looked half as enticing as these wonderful Digital Holiday collaborative and free E-Zines which include decorating and styling tips, menu guides, holiday party planning ideas and gift giving showcases!!

From Sweet Paul the Holiday 2010 Issue (don't forget to get lost in his lovely Spring and Fall 2010 issues as well!)

From Creature Comforts and the principle author of one of my favorite blogs - Nice Package..... is Gifted Magazine which includes some amazing tutorials on how to make your gift giving one of a kind!

The TomKat Studio has a shopping guide perfect for everyone on your list as well!

Rue Magazine has plenty of design, styling ideas to keep you busy decorating throughout the New Year too!

Happy browsing! If you know of any other great E-Zines that you would like to share please leave a link in the comment section! Happy Holiday Planning :)

Thursday, November 25, 2010


As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Thanksgiving Illustration by Charlotte Byi and reproduced by Grandma's Attic

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Inspired by this post but looking for a few more challenging questions for the competitive adults in our brood. I came up with this pre dinner Thanksgiving Trivia quiz, the winner getting to get the first slice of chocolate pecan pie!

I am going to print out on cream colored linen bazil cardstock and place under the napkin at each place setting with little yellow golf pencils..... See how well you scored!! You can download yours here! After cutting at reference points each trivia card will measure 4.5 x 6.5".

Answers: 1-B (102), 2-C (1621), 3-C (3 days), 4-B (Horn of Plenty), 5-C (3,500), 6-B(North Carolina), 7-D (25mph), 8-A (Israel), 9-D (4 inches), 10-B (Lincoln)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Our family have so many reasons to give "Thanks" this year and we are especially grateful for the blessings and support of good friends and neighbors - especially when family is far away. I am going to help celebrate the season and say "thanks" to let them know in a small way that they are appreciated by all of us - by making this fabulous Dark Chocolate Bark (only 5 ingredients + you can freeze it for up to a month if you needed too!)

After the chocolate hardens I am going to break up into big chunks to put in cellophane bags and package inside these decorated Kraft gift boxes with this "thanks" tag - which you can use to give your own "thanks" to somebody special any time throughout the year...... Download here...

Sunday, October 24, 2010


I have always loved streamers, garlands and bunting. They always project feelings of happiness, as well as sense of occasion. I love that they are appropriate for any celebration or event, that you can use them on packaging, in food and tabletop design as well as in your everyday seasonal decorating elements!

These stunning garlands are made from hand punched designer paper which have then been machine stitched together by Mara May - a very talented paper and scrapbooking crafter who also makes beautiful and one of a kind party hats too! The garlands are available here!

Thursday, October 14, 2010


I am thinking about the holiday season already....Neighbourhood gifts are a tradition and a lot of fun for the kids to deliver and receive. Traditionally I make some sort of ornament. This year I am going with white and soft pink so it can be displayed during Valentines and Spring (!?!) too. These would also make great shower, birthday or wedding treat/favor cups as well.

Equipment I used:
  • Peat moss cups (mine are 1.5" at base and 2" high) from Home Depot
  • Acrylic paint and paintbrush
  • Crepe paper strip (1.5" x 36")
  • Tinsel pipe-cleaners
  • Bakers twine
  • Fine cut paper shred
  • Clothes pegs
  • Glue Gun

Step 1 - Gather together all your supplies.
Step 2 - Paint the inside and the outside of each peat moss cup with 2 coats of paint - let the paint dry thoroughly between each coat.
Step 3 - Glue each end of the tinsel pipe cleaner separately on the inside of the peat moss cup approx 1/2" from the top, making sure that both ends are opposite each other. I let the glue cool down and "dry" for 20 - 30 seconds while steadying with my hand before I used the peg to hold the tinsel in place. The peg will help flatten the glue and the tinsel. Let dry.
Step 4 - Remove pegs then gather your crepe paper strip to fit around the rim of your cup. (I used my sewing machine and gather stitched down the middle then pulled and bunched to the correct size) Fold your gathered crepe paper strip in half and glue at the stitch line (starting at one of the handles) to the top outside rim of your cup. Lightly glue a piece of bakers twine around the base of the gathered crepe paper (to help hide any irregularities!) Embellish with a little twine bow and the paper shred. Shape the pipe cleaner to the style of handle you would like your treat cup to have!

I am just going to wrap in a cellophane bag with a pink cardstock base and attatch a simple gift tag with some pink seam binding and deliver!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


How gorgeous are these paper embellishments from here? I would love to decorate some of my kraft gift packages with any or all of these goodies or make a lovely garland with those butterflies!! These yellow and light green hues are fantastic - they are also available in blue, peach, orange and red too!

Sasha of The Gilded Bee is a tremendously talented and generous crafter. She created this paper carnation tutorial which is posted on one of my other favorite blogs Oh Hello Friend... These flowers are make perfect year round or seasonal home decor accents and will look lovely on some of my gift packaging as well! Click on the link/s above and get "lust" in her nostalgia and use of color too!

Monday, September 27, 2010


This Halloween I am hosting a ladies night out. I put this Inspiration Board together to help keep me on track with how I want the evening to transpire.

Colors: Lifeless black, platinum and grey

Styling: Old Hollywood Splendor and Elegance

Decor: 17" round balloons matching my theme colors - black string lights hanging in the dining room from the ceiling - home-made glass glitter garlands and silver tinsel draped over chairs and window frames - Musky perfumed votive candles located throughout the house - Scattered glass vases filled with leafless branches sprayed with liquid adhesive and covered with glitter - An over-washed black linen table cloth with frayed edges - Old wine bottles with Halloween labels holding dripping wax candles and Spooky Halloween images in tarnished silver frames on the buffet table

Tableware: Black glass compotes - Tarnished aluminum platters -Vintage silver cakestands - mismatched ivory china, crystal and silverware - black linen and platinum silky napkins

Food: Buffet style with Halloween feather tree centerpiece in tarnished champagne bucket. Finger foods placed on black and metallic cupcake liners - tiered plates of mini sandwiches, beef skewers, fruit, petit fors and cupcakes - Serving sparkling water, Red wine and Champagne

Music: Shuffled mix of Jazz, Hollywood musical tunes and "Spooky Music/Sounds"

Saturday, September 25, 2010


We are starting to think about Halloween and our neighborhood will soon be rampant with kids ding-dong ditching and leaving treats at the door. I made these vintage flashcard inspired tags last year for my girlfriend who tied to a pack of Halloween oreos and delivered to each of her 3 sons friends - My boys gave out packets of ghost marshmallows with hot coco mix tied together with twine. This year I have made little cello bags of Creepy Crawlies for the older kids which I have used before as cup cake toppers, treat embellishments and in multiple craft projects - the cockroach will be the perfect "trick" to leave on my unassuming teenagers lunch one day!!

These are just 4 different ways to use the same tags in your packaging using (my favorite!) simple supplies. I am a huge fan of Japanese masking tape (top left), but regular masking tape (bottom left) is a perfect design element and hole reinforcer too! I used the same tags on the right but just trimmed to size and tied with cotton twine and wrinkled seam binding. Vintage paper lace is my favorite way to embellish the "plainest" of packages and usually reserved for special treats!

If you would like to downlad these tags for yourself, just click HERE....enjoy!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Round balloons come in a range of sizes 16, 17, 24, 30 and 36" in diameter and are the simplest of design statements (and my absolute favorite!)

When planning to use Balloons at your event...

  • Will you be using the balloons Indoors and/or Outdoors or both?
  • Latex or Milar or both?
  • Are you considering a monochromatic or festive color scheme? How will the balloons tie in with your other design elements - party theme?
  • Consider the number and age group of your guests as well as the amount of parental supervision you will have available.
  • Are you going to fill your balloons yourself onsite? Will you rent or buy Helium?
  • Pick up Helium filled balloons on the day of the party not the day or evening before.
  • Consider the size of your car when ordering the number of balloons or will you need to arrange delivery?
  • Call ahead to order or to deliver pre-purchased balloons - be clear on pick up time so you are not waiting around to watch balloons being filled or that they were filled too early and your balloons are starting to lose their float!
Some Balloon decor ideas
  • Tie 3 - 5 balloons in a bouquet at staggered lengths to highlight your party location
  • Tie colourful ribbons to the end of your balloons and let float to the ceiling
  • Weigh down individual or balloon bouquets with a soda can or canned food item (place inside a glass vase and fill around and to the top with co-ordinating party supplies confetti, candy, nuts, paper shred)
  • Use individual balloons as table number markers - thread punched number tag through long ribbons (make sure balloons are not placed too low & obstruct dinner conversation!)
  • Group 3 - 5 balloons spaced evenly apart and at equal heights as a table centerpiece or as a backdrop on a gift table and/or dessert buffet
  • Us as Photographic props individually or in a bouquet.
  • Tie together a large group of 9 - 13 in single or multicolors bouquet and give as a gift!

Things that you need to consider when using balloons Outside as design elements....

  • Latex balloons will biodegrade with sun, wind and heat and less likely to display well for longer than 4-6 hours
  • Fill balloons with helium that is approx. the same temperature as where they are being displayed
  • High temperatures will cause helium to be released faster - reducing float time (adding Hi-Float to your balloons makes it harder for the Helium to escape)
  • Extreme heat will most likely cause balloon popping
  • Extreme cold will cause shrinking
  • Larger balloons have longer float time
  • Balloons dont last outdoors overnite because of dew and temperature changes
  • Use lots of white balloons outside as they fade less
  • Darker balloons will absorb heat up and pop faster than lighter colored balloons (accent with darker colors to incorporate your event's theme)
  • Consider overinflating your balloons (with air first if you are filling with Helium so as not to waste the Helium) a little and releasing the air till balloon is underinflated so that the latex will have room to expand a little when absorbing heat (can also be done a few days before your event!

** Please contact me if you are interested in purchasing any of the above round balloons in 17" size in any combination of colors in multiples of 3/6/9 or 12 or even larger quantities **

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


I love garlands - they conjure up wonderful feelings of celebration and occasion! This gorgeous and nostalgic cake bunting by Dawn of Kiki La Ru is so simplistic - yet it makes even the most basic of cakes a bold and beautiful centerpiece. Her choices of color combinations and fabric design are enough inspiration to create all your other event decor around them! I am really looking forward to seeing what she will have available soon for the upcoming holiday "season"..

Saturday, August 7, 2010


Nutcups are the perfect party accessory! The come in a variety of sizes, shapes and forms and have a multitude of uses! Use them as placecard or napkin holders on your tabletop, fill them with ice-cream, candies or dipping sauces, use them as baking cups or to hold party favors. You can always personalize and decorate them to match your occasion and theme too!

White Vintage Nut Baskets from Wee Treasures Blue Polka Dot Nut Cups from Hey Yo Yo, Plastic Nut Baskets from SimplyChictiques and Pink Pastel Paper Nut cups from Carmelos. Do you have any other great ideas?

This sweet spring nut cup basket is from The Adventures of Blue Girl who also has a great tutorial to go along with it!

Saturday, July 31, 2010


I am always on the lookout for and inspired by nostalgic packaging - kraft supplies and design sources are always on my to find list as well. The Packagery is a truly lovely store filled with simplistic elements that will make your packaging and paper projects stand out! I just like to look at the Cherry Manilla gift kit that I purchased and already assembled and have sitting out on my workstation!

These are a few of my other favorites that you can find in her store. The pink heart envelope seal stickers are definitely one of my next purchases!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


vintage balloons

I love balloons particularly latex balloons - they are timeless, simplistic, pretty, bold and inexpensive. The shades available and color combinations are endless... They are instant mood elevators and have multiple uses as design elements in all manner of events/celebrations as well as fashion and interior design styling. They are great for use in craft projects and for just everyday too!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Summer is definately in full swing - our schedules sometimes seem hectic but there is still plenty of time for laziness and a little organization on my part. I recently scooped up an intact collection of Ruffles and Bows Birthday Cards - I raided my stash of kraft gift bags, tissue paper, my Hug Snug Binding and put these together for two girlfriends whose birthdays are coming up very soon. Giftwrap showcases the gift being given but I like original packaging and/or design to show a little more thoughtfullness and care...I love that these bags are one of a kind, simplistic and very prettie! The super fine vintage shred you can find here

Please feel free to download the images below and use for your own prettie packaging! What are some prettie packaging ideas that you have?!?

The Blackberry Vine

Thursday, June 24, 2010


I absolutely love to create unique pretty things and to celebrate important events, milestones, holidays and seasonal changes. The most fun for me is incorporating both of these loves in the planning and presentation of all celebration and/or design elements, decor and packaging. All of which is usually motivated by my addiction to the simplistic vintage style and nostalgia of the 1940's - 1960's! I am diving into blogging with the primary goal of sharing and hopefully not re-hashing information as well as learning new skills from the rest of the blogging world who share the same interests..

I put together this board for my own inspiration several months ago after drooling over some really lovely Inspiration Boards by The Birthday Girl and Style Me Pretty when I was feeling a little overwhelmed with being the only female in an all male household during the final days of winter during the Football playoffs. I thought pretty - pastel - pink - parties - packaging. One thing has lead to another and PrettieParties is the result!

I will do my best to provide the links to the above images - Peony Centerpieces from
Frolic, Glitter Crown Holly Abstom, Cupcake Wrappers are from The Cupcake Wrapper Co. The Gift box by A Field Journal. Other images were obtained from links posted by The Hostess by the Mostess, Martha Stewart and Country Living Magazine


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