Friday, December 23, 2011

New Project + Pretty Christmas Packages

2012 isn't here yet, but it's already looking pretty good. My friend got engaged the other night. She has been saying for months that I would make her invitations when the time came. Seriously...she's an artist (and a psychiatrist) and wants me to make her invites? Hooray! 

As a total aside, I'm loving how our Christmas packages look in the $1.99 wrapping paper that I purchased from Walgreen's. My bows look a little drunk though, don't they?

I hope that everyone's enjoying Christmas Week.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The CTA Holiday Train

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) runs a holiday train on weekends during the holiday season. I first spotted it travelling above Lincoln and Wrightwood Avenues about six or seven years ago and was stopped dead in my tracks. I've been trying to organically catch it ever since. I finally gave up and met Andy downtown one day to take the Holiday Train home together. 

It was basically us and a bunch of people with toddlers waiting for the train. As is the case with all of my holiday activities.

Tell you what - the Holiday Train is *tough* to photograph. I'm hoping to someday get a good enough photo of it to use it for my Christmas cards.

"Elves" hand out candy canes in the train.

The train is SO CLEAN! And smells great, which the real holiday treat.

More pictures from other riders can be found on Flickr.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Fun

My Christmas Week schedule made me smile, so I took a screen shot for posterity.

I participated in a few gift exchanges last weekend. My friend gave me one of my favorite new ornaments -- a "Y" ornament that he thought was a sideways "T" ornament. I hope that Yolanda isn't upset that I stole her Christmas booty.

I hope you're all enjoying your holidays. Our mailbox has been filling up with Christmas cards these past few days. Love it!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

2011 Holiday Cards

I hemmed and hawed over this year's holiday card selection. I really wanted to make my own cards, but couldn't think of anything nicer and wittier than what I was finding in stores. (And, really, who has that kind of time?) As a paper snob, I tend to like the most expensive cards in pretty much every store, which is tough when you send out over 100 cards. With my hectic November and December travel schedule and our party hosting schedule, I decided to cut my losses and purchase this year's greetings. I'm pretty sure everyone on my list will have received them by now, so here are our 2011 holiday cards:
{Ugly Sweaters Cards from Paper Source}

{Cavallini Eiffel Tower Joyeux Noel Holiday Cards from Paper Source}
The paper on the Eiffel Tower cards was luxurious. It was a pure joy writing them out. My LePens flowed effortlessly on their gorgeous stock.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Photo a Day Album

I realize that this is just a three-up photo album, but I saw this in Urban Outfitters last night and it tickled me. What a cute gift idea for a friend who is participating in a 365 Project.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Handmade Holiday Cards

One of my favorite Holiday Blog Traditions is participating in the Brooklyn Bride Holiday Card Exchange. I made some fun cards last year, but couldn't figure out how to send them. So I ended up putting something together at the last minute using materials I had around the house. I think that these are one of my least favorite projects ever.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Potluck Invitations

This is a project from last Christmas that I never blogged -- invitations to a potluck lunch at Andy's cousin's house.

The red ornament cards and large snowflake stickers were purchased at Paper Source.

I printed the details on plain circle cards, then mounted them onto the ornament card and folded them into 3D ornaments.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas Time is Here!

Happiness and Cheer.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Our First Thanksgiving

Andy and I hosted our first Thanksgiving this year. We celebrated Thanksgiving Day at his aunt's house and hosted my family on Friday. It was such a great time. I hope that we get to host again someday.

I was so proud of us for pulling off our first big meal. Neither of us had ever made a turkey before, but it came out without a hitch thanks to a melding recipes from the Betty Crocker and America's Test Kitchen cookbooks.

I am a total stuffing-with-sausage convert. I can't believe I had never eaten it that way before. We had all of the fixin's and my family's traditional holiday dishes: Polish sausage with sauerkraut, homemade finger dumplings, and lazy man's pierogi (our's is minus the sausage).

I always get so distracted when guests arrive and forget to put out food. I finally wised up and hung a menu and "To Do" list to manage my giant task list and all of the different cooking times and temperatures. This was BRILLIANT and I can't believe that I've never done this before. I saw Andy checking the list and crossing stuff off all afternoon. I'm doing this for every party. It's so much easier than using my phone.

For the table, I used a table runner that I got on clearance at Crate & Barrel a few seasons ago. And because I am nothing, if not predictable, I whipped up some place cards using leaf patterns that I downloaded and cut with the Silhouette SD.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The 40/50/70 Party Details

Andy and his family members are celebrating some milestone birthdays in 2011-2012. His sister turned 50 in June, his dad turned 70 in November, and Andy will be the big Four-Oh in January. We celebrated with a joint birthday party for all of them a few weeks ago.

We started off at Second City, then headed to the new Pump Room for some cocktails, and wrapped up the party with an amazing dinner at Mastro's. I mean, amaze-balls amazing.

I made some place cards from old family photos.

I had to take these pictures at work so that Andy wouldn't see them, thus the unattractive background.


For party favors, I ordered one of Andy's favorite desserts in the whole city, frosting cookie sandwiches from Sensational Bites.

I packaged them in custom tie dye boxes.

I photocopied some tie dye material that I had around the house onto card stock to make the box tops, using different sections of the fabric for variety. I paired the covers bottoms made from plain card stock in the party colors. I used my fun new toy, the Martha Stewart Scoring Board, to make the boxes. I used my Silhouette SD to cut some 40-50-70 banners to hold the boxes shut.


The cakes. I was HORRIFIED by the cakes. I provided the baker with the mock-up and example below, along with a big note that they should look modern and elegant, not psychedelic or groovy.

{Source: Brooke Weeber flickr}

This is what we received:

I was livid! They look like total sh*t. Psychedelic sh*t. And I paid an extra $40/cake for that design. To add insult to injury, the restaurant didn't set them up as the table centerpiece as I had requested, so they were still frozen when they were served. At least I didn't have to look at them for the entire meal.

Tragedy in Tina Town aside, the evening was a smash!