Monday, June 29, 2009

A Good Find...

Do you know about Candystore Collective? Well, if not you should. Based in San Francisco the shop, initially created to be a 28-day temporary store, carries all sorts of goods from "big" and small independent artists from around the country and the globe; clothing for guys and gals, shoes, jewelry, paper goods, decor and art. And thanks to their web presence you don't have to be a local to shop their good finds.

When I first stumbled upon Candystore Collective I immediately noticed their great stock from designers I've loved and admired for years, but it was their vision, their mission statement, that made me a loyal admirer:

"We set out to connect with designers on a personal level, encourage their growth through support and community, and be dedicated the the success of those with vision, ideas, and the desire to create." -Candystore Collective

I mean come on how could you not get behind a store with that kind of philosophy?! From their goods to their goals, Candystore Collective is utterly refreshing.

Friday, June 26, 2009

You'll Miss Us When We're Gone...

The carnival's in town! The carnival's in town! Well, not my town exactly but one nearby. And I guess technically it's not as much a carnival as it is a miny fair. But I'm not knocking it. It'll be fun all the same. Twinkling lights and candy apples, kids with sticky fingers and Ferris Wheels, giant slides and fried dough, hot dogs and crappy prizes. It's a regular rite of passage.

I headed over to the grounds earlier this week to get a look at everything pre-setup; not quite sleeping, more in hibernation. I loved the stillness of the site in exact opposition to what was soon to come. The workers had all gone home for the evening and boarded up rides and games were seemingly randomly strewn about.
Food trailers were driven onto the lot and abandoned for the night. I couldn't help but wonder if the kitchens inside were as worn in as their exteriors.
As soon as I saw these old cars, rusted and aged, I felt like I was walking through a carnival graveyard not one about to be set up the next day. Still, the age adds a bit of magic to it don't you think? Years of stories and laughter embedded in those cars. As for this folded down row of lights - well I'm not sure what it will become, a Ferris Wheel perhaps?
These rear decals were great. I immediately fell in love with them and while I recognized that the faded clown was more than slightly creepy I also realized I would miss this moment when it was gone; when the carnival was all set up and filled with activity. So, I enjoyed my fleeting moment as long as possible and stayed in the stillness 'til the sun set.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I Want Wednesday: Forest Finds

1. I want to head to the woods and go camping this weekend but I feel like I should be packing up an old beat up truck like this to make the excursion feel more romantic. {Old Truck and Bluegrass pic via lightxposr's flickr photostream.}

2. I want to drive down this winding road on my way to... {gorgeous pic taken by Allision Trentelman via Rocky Top Studio.}

3. ...this restored one room cabin... {via Chicago Home + Garden Magazine}

4. ...that's been decorated with this lovely black and white fir tree wallpaper from ferm living and...

5. stocked with these simrin glasses. {via the super fun Velocity}

6. After I've unpacked, stretched my legs from the long drive and had some yummy homemade lemonade in one of my lovely glasses I want to grab my new daypack and head out for an aimless hike to find... {via}

7. ...gorgeous discoveries in the woods like this... {Little Mushrooms via Rocky Top Studio}

8. ...and this... {Little Stump pic via Rocky Top Studio}

9. ...and this. {Japenese white-eye bird via John & Fish's flickr photostream.}

10. Then when I'm getting a bit tired from walking I'll head back to my little cabin and curl up on my cot in my favorite kissing rabbits sleeping bag and fall asleep to the sound of crickets. {via Anorak}

Yeah, I really want that.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Inkblot Creative

I love getting to peek inside someone else's journal. Its like stealing a glance inside their mind. Which is kind of how psychologists view an individual's interpretation of inkblots. So what do you get when you put the two together? You get a chance to see the innermost workings of the beautiful mind of Filipe dos Santos.

Here, in his Flickr photostream amongst his detailed portraits, Santos shares with us what he sees when he looks at an inkblot. As you can see for yourself its nothing short of wonderful. To go straight to his inkblot work check out his Flickr set see . saw. And if the thought of one of his pieces hanging in your home makes you swoon too don't hesitate to check out his Etsy shop kocorococo which he shares with the equally talented artist Veronica Navarro. I promise I'll try to restrain myself from snatching up everything in site before you get the chance to head over there yourself.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

How To Make Your Own Gift Wrap

Wow, here it is Saturday and already the end of Birthday Week. I guess the party's gotta end sometime, right? It's been so great putting together assortment after assortment of smart birthday finds in party decor, recipes and paper goods. I only hope you've enjoyed looking through each post as much as I have creating them for you. But, before the party ends completely there is one last thing I'd like to share with you and that's some simple ideas and tips for making your own gift wrap.

Supplies You'll Need:
-plain wrapping paper; I've used parcel post in this how to but, butcher's wrap works great too. A white background will always show your colored inks better.
-ink or stamp pad
-rubber stamp or clear stamp and acrylic block
{tip: clear stamps make it easier to line up patterns}

Gift Wrap How To:
1. Gather your supplies and find a clean area to work. Make sure you have enough room to lay your wrapping paper flat out. To avoid getting any ink on your furniture it might be a good idea to use a work mat. If you don't have one just substitute some scrap paper. I'd tend to avoid newspaper if you're working with butcher's wrap - news ink could stain your paper.
2. Measure how much paper you'll need to wrap your gift and cut to size. Lay your paper out flat. If it is curling up grab some heavy coasters and plop down on opposite corners. Now for your first stamped image - be sure to align it in the center of your paper and work out from there.
3. Continue to stamp in an evenly spaced row down the center. When you are ready to move onto the next row be sure to stagger the stamped image. You don't want the images in the center row and the rows next to it to line up. Just be mindful of keeping the same amount of space between each stamped image.
4. When you finish your second row continue on with the third in the same manner. The staggered the images from the third row should match up with the center row but not the second. Keep stamping rows until the right half of your paper is complete. Then work out from the center again towards the left until your wrapping paper is done.
5. Allow a minute or two for the paper to dry before you grab your gift and wrap it up.
6. Add your pretty ribbon, tie into a bow and voila your done!

If you're not a card person I'd recommend making a small 3"x 3" gift card to match your wrapping paper. Cut a piece of paper into a 3"x 6" strip, stamp it in the same manner you did the gift wrap, fold it in half, grab a hole punch and put a hole in the upper left hand corner of the card, thread some ribbon through, write a quick message and attach to your gift.

For more d.i.y. gift wrap ideas check out these articles:
-If you find it impossible to wrap a gift neatly check out this refresher, The Perfect Package, courtesy of Martha Stewart.
-This dip dye wrapping paper, also from Martha, is such a great idea. I haven't had the opportunity to try it yet myself, but it sure does look like a good activity. Hmmm...I wonder if it would work with tissue paper.
-Here's a cute how to from Creature Comforts, grocery bag pom-poms. I've made these myself before, they're super cute and fun and no one explains it better.

Well, that's all for today folks. I hope you enjoyed this little how to. Now go out and make something pretty!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Crazy for Cakes

Today I'm sharing what most would probably say is the best part of any party and that's dessert. From chic and understated to the all out wacky these cakes and cupcakes are sure to please. Surprisingly, most are rather easy to make too. So, don't hesitate to follow the links, try out these recipes for yourself and get creative with your desserts. You can even take the plunge into creative cake styling with this washable silicon doileez from Lekker. Its a great way to dress up a plate without having to be a pastry artist.

Clockwise from top left: This pink ruffle tower cake via Martha Stewart (MS) is filled with meringue butter cream frosting in every bite! Excuse me while I wipe away the drool. I wanna take a bite of this short stack cupcake topped with yummy raspberries from Real Simple (RS) so badly! Excuse me did someone over at MS say banana split cake - sooo, where do I sign up? Doesn't that meringue frosted cake with raspberry filling from MS almost look too perfect? This is in fact the easiest easy ice cream cake recipe you'll ever try; many thanks to RS.

Here's some goodies that are surely worth the calorie overload. Clockwise from left: I might be the only person not big on rhubarb but I'd be willing to give it a try again for this meringue cupcake, via MS. Darn it! Someone beat me to that yummy coconut cupcake, via MS. Here's an interesting twist from RS, that's not frosting on this cupcake its vanilla ice cream! Yum, good 'ol fashioned huckleberry and strawberry cupcakes via MS

Clockwise from top left: Try a lifesaver for a carefree candle holder, via RS. Turn your dessert into a fun table setting by using votive holders, via RS. Why use a boring paper baking cup when you can try these sweet gingham ones from Bake It Pretty, these sophisticated laser cut cupcake liners from Estilo Weddings or any number of bright colorful options like these from the storage closets over at MS.
Last year when I spotted these cakes in a Family Fun issue I knew I had to save the pictures for something. These cakes, their styling was just too spectacular to glance out once and toss in the recycling bin. It pleases me to no end to finally have an opportunity to share these delightful cakes with you. Clockwise from left: towering sand castle cake, pirate hat cake, beehive cake, dinosaur dig site cake, cookie crown cake

Clockwise from top left: Cutest no bake rice crispy cake in the world via MS. This fun polka dot hop scotch cake makes me want to grab some chalk and re-enact my childhood, via MS. This silly little monkey cake comes from Parenting. Be sure to check out their 31 Awesome Birthday Cake Designs. Turn dessert time into an adventure with this treasure hunt cake via RS. Angel food cake is my grandmother's go to birthday cake for our family and this sand bucket version from MS is too adorable to ignore.

Images and recipes via Martha Stewart. Clockwise from top left: This caterpillar cake is a fun way to display your party treats. I can hardly wait for the next birthday in the family so I can write out a message with these polka dot cupcakes. What pool party is complete without these adorable shark and beach cupcakes? Dress up simple carrot cake cupcakes with your own cupcake toppers. {*see below for simple how to instructions} Just looking at these chocolate ice cream cone cupcakes brings back memories of my childhood. Here's a new one, well new to me anyway, cupcake pops; can't wait to try this recipe out. Any little girl - and this big one right here - would love to take a bite out of these oh so cute bug cupcakes.

Want to cut cake and ice cream like a pro? Here's what Real Simple had to say about that:
1. Slicing a sheet cake - for cleaner cuts than a knife try cutting it in a grid with unflavored waxed dental floss.
2. Carving a round cake - cut a small circle inside the larger one. The outer ring, with all the frosting, can be cut into wedges for the kids and the inside smaller circle can be sliced neatly like a pizza and served to the adults.
3. Scooping ice cream -for hassle free serving, before the party, scoop ice cream into a cupcake tin lined with paper baking cups and pop back in the freezer. When its time for the cake drop a paper cup on to each plate. {Kate's tip: don't forget to get creative with the paper baking cups for a fun fresh look on each person's plate.}

For more tips and pics check out Real Simple's Serving Cake and Ice Cream like a Pro.

*Cupcake Toppers How To:
1. Grab some basic punches (shown above heart, circle and butterfly) and center it over the images you want to display from your patterned paper. Be sure to punch out at least two of each shape to cover the front and back. Basically, you want to make a little sandwich out of the punches with the toothpick tucked in between. 2. Place a shape face down and put a strip of adhesive tape or a dollop of glue in the center. Lay down the top part of a toothpick in your adhesive. The bottom half should not be resting on the paper. Align the matching paper punch on top and put aside to dry. Once dry, decorate away.
tip: In lieu of the patterned paper try stamping an initial on to blank card stock for a personalized touch to your cupcake toppers and your party's styling.

Don't Forget to stop by tomorrow for a few quick and easy ways to make your own wrapping paper. Until then, have a happy Friday!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Come On, Wrap It Up

I must admit to being more than a little giddy about today's post. I'll be delving into my favorite part of any birthday party - and that's paper! If you're throwing it you'll need invites. If you're attending you'll need a gift which entails both a lovely card and clever wrapping paper. There's so much out there to chose from. I couldn't hope to cover it all in one post. So, here's just a few things to drool over...

Wrapping Paper Match Up: (clockwise from top left)
1. If I was lucky enough to receive this lovely resting bird invite in the mail I'd have to show up at the party with my gift wrapped in this to die for paper designed by children's book author and illustrator Liz Boyd. 2. I love the look of orange and blue. Nothing could go better with this adorable cupcakes birthday card than this groovy graphic block print wrapping paper. 3. Even though I'm completely in love with this cute alligator card and its fun little striped and polka dot banner it'd be shameful of me to oouu and aaahh over it since its a sneak peak from Birdcage Cards' own kid friendly line. So, instead I'll just have to gush over this ocean colored blue and green batik striped paper. I mean how could you not wrap a gift in it!?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I Want Wednesday: Organic Party Decorations

Now that we know our guests won't be parched let's take a moment to decide the table arrangements. While there are a lot of fun and colorful ways to decorate for a birthday party I'd prefer something a little more subtle, sophisticated and earthy...

Clockwise from top far left: Pacific Provence reception via Pacific Weddings, oversized mason jar beverage table by Kate Kane for Birdcage Cards, leaf-covered candle holders via Martha Stewart, tall butterfly bouquet and meadow mat centerpiece via Hostess with the Mostess, terrecotta flower pot servers via Martha Stewart

{For a closer detailed view of each image click on the picture.}

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Put the Lime in the Coconut...

Any good party needs some tasty beverages to quench your guests thirst. Here are a few of my favorites:
a: Strawberry Daiquiri
c: Easy Peasy Fruit Punch Float

Strawberry Daiquiri How-To:
-white rum of your choice (Bacardi works nicely)
-fresh lime juice
-simple syrup (optional - I never use it)

I tend to make things by the feel of it so please bear with me. A blender full should serve about 6 to 8 people.
1. Drop your ice in the blender first and get a good start crushing it up 2. Add a heavy half pint of strawberries to start with, approximately 8 shots of rum and 2 tablespoons of fresh lime 3. Blend it all together. Play around with the amount of ice and strawberries to get the exact consistency you like 4. You can serve as is but it may be too runny/thin, in that case just pop it in the freezer for about an hour.
tip: There is really only one way to mess up a strawberry daiquiri and that's by adding too much alcohol. If someone would like a stronger drink they can always add more to their glass. Keep your batch alcohol content low.

Easy Peasy Fruit Punch Float How-To:
-2 liter bottle of carbonated fruit punch
-one gallon of vanilla ice-cream

Prepare yourself for the easiest fruit punch recipe in the world.
1. Pour your fruit punch into the prettiest punch bowl you can find. 2. Add about 6-8 heaping scoops of ice cream (think of making a root beer float when you're deciding your ice-cream to punch ratio) 3. Hide the store bought bottle of fruit punch before your guests arrive 4. Serve with a smile
tip: If you don't have a punch bowl just fill a bunch of small crystal glasses with the fruit punch, add a little dollop of ice-cream on top and line up the glasses nicely on your food or beverage table.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Birthday Week

Happy Monday! I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend and that it was filled with balloons and banners, 2 layered triple frosting cakes and pink party punch, pizza and presents, goody bags and tootsie pops and lots of laughter and love. What Sunday wasn't your birthday? Oh, well - I guess that was just me then.

So, in honor of turning 28 (again) I'm having a birthday themed week over here at the Birdcage Cards blog. Everyday this week I'll be sharing some fun and crafty birthday party ideas. From yummy summer recipes to cupcake toppers and handmade wrapping paper, this week is sure to be a fun one.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Drum Roll Please...

Thanks so much for all your help! You searched for the perfect blank journal and found quite a few for me to choose from. Now its time to share the best of the best. Coccinellidae, you must have read my mind! The utrecht journal, while a little large for my needs, was exactly what I had in mind and I had a lot of fun browsing Writer's Bloc too. Congrats on being the big winner! I'll be dropping your thank you gift in the mail this weekend.

1. Exacompta journal refill, graph
2. Utrecht recycled hardcover sketchbook

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I Want Wednesday: Fresh From the Garden

1. I want to be as casually chic as this model sporting my own short sleeve blouse from Tucker. Actually, I want to sport this and this and this too from the Tucker Summer Collection.

2. I'm crazy about about bright sunny bedrooms. Unlike my sister, I just can't sleep in a dark gloomy cave. I want this gorgeous duvet and for someone ('cause I sure as spit can't) to make me a lovely headboard covered with this upholstery fabric for my bedroom. Okay - so, really who's gonna make it? {Bedding and fabric from Rubie Green. Creator and designer Michelle Adams also has a lovely blog, MA Belle, that's worth checking out.}

3. And while I'm lounging in my new blouse, on my new bedding I want to look over at my hand and see this lovely cream bouquet ring from Naked Tile's Etsy shop. I just have to have it.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Tedious Task

A few weeks ago I got infected by a nasty virus, that is my computer did. Nothing could be done to rid my little Edgar (yes I named my computer - what you didn't?) of his bad bug. Inevitably my computer had to be wiped and re-built. A lot of goodies were lost - like my detailed and categorized favorites full of craft projects, blog rolls and neat artist websites. I recovered a lot from memory but, as you all know, it takes time to acquire these things.

Now, most of my music was able to backed up, but for some reason none of it is in order and, of course, my playlists are all gone. For weeks now I've been working on a music-less computer and I can't take it anymore! On the agenda today: upload, sort and catalog all of my music. Ugh, tedious but necessary.

{pic via Anthropologie's new catalog - love the photography}

Monday, June 8, 2009

Weekend Finds

The sun was shining bright and early. I went out back for an alfresco breakfast and found that my peonies, my treasured favorites, had finally bloomed. That discovery set in motion a weekend full of fun finds...