Monday, December 3, 2012

Gift Wrapping Ideas Just in Time for Christmas

This weekend, I was asked if I had a video showing how to wrap a present in a gift bag without wrinkling the tissue paper. I didn't, so my husband helped me whip one up pretty fast.  I absolutely love gift wrapping, so I'm happy to share this quick tutorial.

This fall, I also had the opportunity to record a few professional videos for on how to tie bows on presents.  My favorite bow to tie is a Puff Bow.  These bows make such a great impression, and the technique I use makes them much easier to tie than they may look.  The key is really to use wired-edge ribbon because you can bend it into shape.  This time of year you can get huge rolls of this in fun Christmas designs at craft stores.  I usually stock up after the holidays when they're on clearance.

How to Make a Puff Bow -- powered by ehow

Tulle Puff Bows are another favorite of mine.  At Christmas, I think a white tulle puff bow looks so pretty on snowflake wrapping paper in particular because these bows look like fluffy snowballs or snowflakes.

Tutorial for a Tulle Puff Bow -- powered by ehow

If you want to take your Tulle Puff Bow to the next level, here's an easy idea for adding a little raffia for texture.

Let me know if you have any gift wrapping questions this holiday season.  Maybe I can whip up a video just for you. Happy wrapping!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Countdown to Christmas :: Printable Advent Calendar

The excitement of opening an Advent Calendar surprise is something that never fades away.  The anticipation is still super fresh in my mind.  This year, I thought it would be fun to make my very own "Countdown to Christmas" Advent Calendar.  Here's how I created this fun and easy project.

Countdown to Christmas Advent Calendar

Countdown to Christmas Advent Calendar Supplies:

  • Chalkboard & chalk
    (You could use a bulletin board or a picture frame wrapped in wrapping paper instead.)
  • Push pins, tacks, or tape
  • Bakers' twine or string
  • Mini paper bags
  • Tiny clothespins (I had no clue these came in such an ity-bity them!)
  • Ghirardelli chocolates (Caramel is our favorite flavor, but any little surprises will do.)
  • Printable Advent Calendar Numbers, designed by yours truly (just $2.50), cut into squares
Christmas Calendar Printable

Press push pins into the back side of your chalkboard or frame at even intervals to create five rows across. Thread bakers' twine or string around the chalkboard looping around each push pin to hold securely and tie ends.  Alternately, you could tape the twine or string onto the back of your chalkboard, but I'm not sure this would hold as securely.

Fill your mini paper bags with chocolates or other surprises, and fold the top of the bag over.  With the folded side facing the back, place a printable advent calendar number on top of the bag, and secure into place on your frame with a tiny clothespin.  I found the mini paper bags, chocolates, and tiny clothespins at Michael's...gotta love one-stop shopping!

Printable Christmas Countdown

Use chalk to personalize your Countdown to Christmas Advent Calendar.  I drew little holly leaves to coordinate with the design on the Printable Advent Calendar Numbers and put our family name at the bottom.

Starting on December 1, let the fun begin!  Since it's just me and my husband at our house, we take turns opening a number every day.  I get even numbers; he gets odds.  Then if family comes to visit, we usually let them open the last few numbers leading up to Christmas.  It's fun to share the joy!

Printable Advent Calendar

If you'd like to order the Printable Advent Calendar Numbers, they are available for instant download for just $2.50. You'll receive an email within a minute or two of purchase with instructions for downloading them.

What are some of the holiday traditions at your house?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Easy Halloween Recipes & Food Ideas

We're less than a week away from one of the most fun holidays for kids - HALLOWEEN! And, what's the most important thing about Halloween?  The yummy treats, of course!  If you're looking for one special Halloween recipe to make for your family or ideas for an entire Halloween party menu, I've got lots of super easy ideas from this Halloween party I threw for some of my little friends.

Spooky S'Mores

These just make me smile!  Break a graham cracker in half, and slide it in a clear treat bag with Ghost Peeps and a couple mini Hershey's Chocolate Bars.  If you want to jazz it up even further, add tag from my Halloween Printable Collection. If you want to eat them warm, you can pop them in a microwave for 10-second intervals.  Of course, I found the kids had a great time just eating all the parts individually.

Candy Corn Popcorn Balls

Candy Corn Popcorn Balls are a tradition at our house. Year after year, I get special requests for these, so you know they're good! This recipe from Cooking Light is super easy and, if you can believe it, LOW CAL! (Just 212 calories each...okay, not super low cal, but pretty good for a homemade dessert.)  I added a little extra cute to them this year by pushing in a wooden candy apple stick and tying a little ribbon to the top of the stick.  I also slid some into clear treat bags and tied them shut with twine around the base of the stick for some cute take-home party favors. To complete the look of this platter, I added a tent card from my Halloween Printable Collection.  This is one of the pre-formatted menu labels, but you can also type right in the PDF to create your own custom food tags and treat label tent cards.

Halloween Cupcakes

As busy moms and working gals, we can't do it all, but we can come pretty close.  That's why I love taking store-bought treats and adding a little of my own flair.  These Little Debbie Chocolate Cupcakes are perfect for Halloween with their deep black chocolate color and swirly white frosting detail. I auditioned the more famous brand of these cupcakes, but they didn't win the taste test...there was a clear difference.  To make these even cuter, I just added Halloween Cupcake Toppers from my Halloween Printable Collection and tied a little "Cupcakes" tag onto my glass dome. Easy, quick, and done!

Witch's Potion Punch

Sometimes, an easy name change is all it takes to go from ordinary to extraordinary.  Take some orange soda, call it "Witch's Potion Punch", and voila!  You could use sugar-free Kool-Aid, too, if you wanted to reduce some of the sugar intake at your party.  To make my soda look even more fun, I poured it into some recycled Target latte bottles and added Halloween paper straws from Hey Yo Yo.

Monster Mix

Halloween can be sweets overload, so it's good to have a little salty on hand, too.  Going with an easy, store-bought approach + name change again, I created Monster Mix by pouring Chex Mix into adorable orange candy cups from Hey Yo Yo. The tent-card label is from (you guessed it!), my Halloween Printables Collection. I also saw a fun Halloween recipe on Pinterest by In Katrina's Kitchen that would be fun to use, as well.

Halloween Cookies

At any party, it's really nice to have one special sweet.  Lindsey at Tickled Pink Cookie Boutique definitely knows how to make a party special.  Her cookies are so gorgeous in person with a light shimmery lustre...absolutely stunning and super delicious with a hint of almond extract. Bewitching!  I love how she was able to perfectly match the designs in my Halloween Printables Collection.  Of course, she can match any party theme, so be sure to like or bookmark her Facebook page.  She ships, too!

Halloween Mini Candy Bars

Details, details, details!  Here's another easy trick for personalizing your Halloween Party.  Wrap Hershey's Miniatures in festive orange and black paper (3 x 1.5" strips work well).  Or better yet, use the Halloween Mini Candy Bar Wrappers that come in my Halloween Printable Collection.  

Cutie Clementine Oranges

Looking for a healthy Halloween snack?  Load up on some Cutie Clementines.  These are the perfect shade of orange for Halloween, are easy to peel, and oh so delicious!  Don't they look super cute all piled up in the bottom of this basket stand?!

Halloween Candy

And, finally, what Halloween Party would be complete without candy?!  I love to make a bold visual impression, and this big jar of orange gumballs from Party City does just that. To save money when filling big candy jars like this, I always stack clear plastic cups upside down inside the jar to make a hallow center. Every little bit counts! I also used some of Party City's black-and-white striped candy sticks that have a great grape flavor that won't stain your mouth all up. Since I love candy corn, a jar of this is a must for me, too!

All of the amazing photos in this post were captured by Click Photo Designs by Sarah Brewer, a fantastic event and family photographer in Huntsville, AL.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Halloween Costumes That Are Just Too Cute

I'm pretty traditional when it comes to Halloween Costumes. That's why I was so surprised at all of the adorable costumes available at Party City.  I definitely knew they had all the latest superhero, popular movie, and cartoon character costumes covered, but what really impressed me were how many choices they had for cute traditional Halloween costumes and modern spins on these classics. Their costumes have so many adorable details that really give homemade costumes a run for their money. Here are my top four favorite Halloween Costumes from Party City.

#1 - Sweet Treat Witch

Isn't this the sweetest costume ever?!  I absolutely L-O-V-E candy corn, so when I saw Party City had a candy corn witch costume, I fell in love all over again!  In fact, my decision was actually pretty hard because they have lots of different candy corn witch costumes to choose from if you can image that.  The little candy corn tights that come with this costume and the lace detailing around the sleeves made me glad I chose this one, and as you can see, Lauren had a great time wearing it. So precious! 

Candy Corn Witch - Photo by Click Photo Designs by Sarah Brewer

  #2 - Skeleton

When your husband stops in the hall to comment on how "cool" a skeleton costume looks just hanging on a hanger, you know you've picked a winner!  Lawson looked so stinking cute in this little costume, too...I just can't get over it!  He was totally excited about wearing this again for the real Halloween, me, I got a big thank-you hug. The little bones had really cool airbrushing detail on them, and the little gloves and shoe covers that are part of the costume really complete the look.  If you're little one doesn't like wearing the mask over his face, it makes a great hat that looks just as cute. 

Skeleton Costume by Party City

#3 - Lil Frankie Frankenstein

When I saw this costume, I knew I had to have it.  I loved it in the photos, and then when I saw it in person, I was pleasantly surprised with the little Frankenstein design details on the neck screws...I'm a sucker for attention to detail like this.  I just love how cute Ethan looks doing his Frankenstein walk in this photo, too! Another detail I like about this costume was how the little pants had shoe covers built in, so you don't have to worry about matching shoes.

Frankenstein Costume by Party City

#4 - Catarina Ballerina

Here's another cute Party City spin on a traditional black cat costume!  What little girl wouldn't love to get dressed up in a tutu with frilly sleeves?!  MyAsia looked so precious in this little outfit, which had a really pretty sequenced bodice, too.  You'll need to get your own tights for this one, and Party City has lots of fun ones to choose from.  We picked these little spider web tights that would be fun to wear under skirts and dresses all October long.

Black Cat Caterina Ballerina Costume by Party City

Definitely check out Party City for your costumes this year.  I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at the variety and styles.  And, if you sign up for their email list, they send out lots of great coupons.  To see more of my favorite Party City costumes and decorations, check out this Pinterest board I created to help me select items for this Halloween Party Inspiration Photo Shoot with Click Photo Designs by Sarah Brewer, who took all of these awesome photos, and Tickled Pink Cookie Boutique.

Halloween Printable Pictures

 See more Halloween Party Photos and Ideas.

And, don't forget to order your Eerie & Cheery Halloween Printables!  You get a banner, favor tags, cupcake toppers, candy bar wrappers, and more for only $10.

Halloween Printable Collection by Belly Feathers

Monday, October 1, 2012

Eerie & Cheery Halloween Party Ideas

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays to decorate for. I get so excited every Halloween to see all of the little trick-or-treaters knocking on my door and what costumes they've chosen that year.  Because of this, I really prefer to decorate with a cheery, kid-friendly Halloween style. That's why I was so thrilled to collaborate with Party City on an Eery and Cheery Halloween Party for some little friends this year.

Halloween Printable Pictures

Party City has a fabulous selection of kids costumes from the latest cartoon and superheros characters to updated classics, like the adorable Frankenstein, Skeleton, Candy Corn Witch, Black Cat, and Vampire costumes you see in these fantastic shots captured by Click Photo Designs by Sarah Brewer. If you ever need family photos or a special event photographed in the North Alabama area, Sarah is the best.

Cute Halloween Costumes from Party City
Halloween Photos of Kids Parties

Plus, Party City really has everything you need to get a party going from big decorations to little details like this small ornate picture frame featuring one of my mini "Happy Halloween" candy bar wrappers. And, you know me...I love details! Plus, they've got a great selection of candy for any type of celebration, especially if you love to color coordinate your treats like I do. Party City even has lots of elegant, shimmery plastic serving pieces that would be lovely enough to use for Thanksgiving.

Halloween Candy Party City

I love creating a fun focal point for my parties with a touch of unexpected. I used five black tissue paper fans from Party City to create a dramatic backdrop for my Printable "Trick or Treat" party banner.  In front of that, I used two coordinating 12 ft tissue paper garland to create a unique up-side-down pumpkin chandelier for the party. These tissue paper fans and garland give you a lot of bang for your buck and are super easy to work with!

Printable Halloween Party

What's a spooky Halloween party without some sweets? Party City has all of the candy you need for Halloween, too. You've probably seen me use Party City's solid gumballs for parties in the past.  They are such a fabulous way to add a pop of color, and you should see how excited the kids get to reach inside a candy jar of these.  That's why these gumballs are a must-have for any of my kids' parties.  I also got some candy corn, ghost Peeps, and cute black candy sticks there, too. Even though the candy sticks are black, they have a super yummy grape flavor and don't leave your mouth dyed black, which I love for keeping the kids cute and clean in their costumes.

Halloween Dessert Buffet
Halloween Pics from Kids Party

The main attraction of the menu were definitely the fabulous cookies designed by Lindsey Agree of Tickled Pink Cookie Boutique.  They were so stunning in person with a sparkly finish and intricate details. Not only did they perfectly coordinate with the eerie and cheery Halloween Printables, but they also tasted AMAZING with a hint of almond extract that made them absolutely irresistible. Lindsey was fantastic to work with, too.  I sent her some inspiration images, and she came up with these coordinating cookies that couldn't have been more perfect on this shimmery plastic tray from Party City.  Lindsey books up fast, so if you'd like to get some holiday cookies, place your order now.  Sarah Brewer and I have already booked her for our Christmas cookies...yes, they are that good!  Lindsey ships, too.

Halloween Cookies by Tickled Pink Cookie Boutique
Halloween Sweets by Tickled Pink Cookie Boutique

We had lots of easy Halloween snacks at the party, too, such as Ghost S'Mores, Candy Corn Popcorn Balls, Mini Chocolate Bars, Little Debbie Cupcakes, Witch's Potion Punch, and Cutie Clementines for a healthy treat.

Halloween Snacks for Party
Halloweeen Food for Kids Party
Printable Wrappers for Halloween Candy Bars

And, what's a Belly Feathers Party without a party favor? I couldn't resist sending the kids home with a little something cute from a party. These adorable chevron bags came from Hey Yo Yo, and I added a little Halloween flair by attaching the mini candy bar wrappers from my Halloween Printables collection to the front.  You can have so much fun with printables by using the items in unexpected ways like this.  Inside the bag, I added a fun little trumpet flute whistle from Party City that was STEAL at only 35 cents, along with a package of Little Debbie Orange Peanut Butter crackers that perfectly coordinated with the party's color scheme.  Plus, the kids got to load up their bags with as many Halloween sweets as they wanted...there were a lot of questions about those gumballs and candy sticks, let me tell you!

Halloween Printable Party Favors

This party has too many details to share in just one post, so stay tuned all month long to learn more about the Party City costumes, Halloween treats, decorations, easy craft how-tos, and more. For a larger list of my favorite Halloween party items from Party City, check out this Halloween - Party City Favorites board on Pinterest.

Party City, Click Photo Designs, Tickled Pink Cookie Boutique, & Belly Feathers
Party City - candy, costumes, frame, paper fans, streamers, orange serving platter, favor whitsles
Click Photo Designs by Sarah Brewer - photography
Tickeled Pink Cookie Boutique - cookies
Hey Yo Yo - Straws, monster mix cups, treat bags
Belly Feathers - Halloween Party Printables and event styling

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Magical Santa Experience {Photo Session}

You're invited to a Magical Santa Experience in Mooresville, AL, on Saturday, November 17th.  Have your child's photo taken with Santa and so much more!

Build the anticipation for Christmas in your child's heart.  Imagine their excitement as they open the mail to find a letter from Santa telling them of his upcoming visit. Each letter includes a number that matches a special surprise at the event held at the charming 1818 Farms in Mooresville, Alabama

After arriving, your child will have an exclusive visit with Santa himself, while the amazing Sarah Brewer of Click Photo Designs captures this special moment. You'll receive five digital photos that you can print an unlimited number of times for your Christmas cards, scrapbooks, and treasured keepsakes. 

Then your family is welcome to enjoy some homemade browned butter iced cookies baked by yours truly, Betsy Pruitt of Belly Feathers, while your child enjoys a fun activity in the warmth of the 1818 Farms classroom.

One child will be chosen to grace the cover of Madison Living Magazine's December issue By participating, you'll also have access to a variety of Christmas Cards designed by Belly Feathers exclusively available to Click Photo Designs' customers.

This entire experience is available for $100.  Contact Sara Brewer at to reserve your child's Santa experience.

"I am so excited to be doing a collaboration shoot in conjunction with Belly Feathers, 1818 Farms, and Chrissie's Collection!" shares Sarah Brewer of Click Photo Designs. "By working with a group of super talented local small business owners, I believe we can create a totally unique and memorable experience that your kids will be talking about all year!  More than just a visit to Santa, your kids will enjoy a magical Christmas experience that will leave them full of wonder and anticipation for Santa's visit!"

Chrissie's Collection will be designing some gorgeous hand-painted furniture pieces just for this photo shoot to create a unique look, while the 1818 Farms provides a scenic backdrop unlike any Santa photo session you've ever seen. And, of course, Click Photo Designs by Sarah Brewer will be there to capture the magical expression on your child's face as they see Santa for the first time this season. I'm so excited to be styling this one-of-a-kind event and can't wait to see you there!

If you're looking to have your kids picture taken with Santa this year in Huntsville or Madison, AL, you won't want to miss this Magical Santa Experience!  Only seven spaces are left, so contact Sarah Brewer at to reserve your child's experience now.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Back to School Party Fun

Back to School is such an exciting time of year.  Lots of anticipation for the school year ahead, butterflies in the tummy, and reuniting with little friends you haven't seen in what seems like an eternity. I miss those days, so it was a thrill to get to style a Back-to-School Party for the cover of Madison Living magazine's September issue.

For all you sentimental mommies, I think it helps to look at these photos with "This Time of Year" by Better Than Ezra playing in the's my fall jam!

Back to School Party Ideas

All of these wonderful photos were taken by the amazing, Sarah Brewer of Click Photo Designs.  I love working with her on special events. She's fabulous at capturing all of the special little moments, so I highly recommend her for your children's birthday parties and especially family photos.  If you book a session with her in 2012, you'll get exclusive access to Christmas Cards designed by Belly Feathers.  A special perk just for Click Photo Designs customers.

School Party Decorations

I love how this pencil vase turned out.  It's just a mason jar surrounded by pencils held on with an elastic band, which is nicely hidden by the green polka dot ribbon. Super easy and super cute! This mini chalkboard was quite a find in Target's Dollar Spot section for only $2.50. I think I'll have a lot of fun with this around our house, too.

Back to School Fun

One of the best parts of school is snack time.  We had little cartons of pretend apple juice and butter cookies with the little holes in the center strung together with red and white baker's twine.
Back to School Party Snacks

The super adorable outfits the kids are wearing were all provided by Bonnie Blue Boutique.  Isn't the headband above just gorgeous?!  This whole outfit is by Persnickety, and Bonnie Blue Boutique just happens to be the largest retailer of this clothing line in Alabama.  I can see why!  Owner Jennifer is fabulous at helping you pick out a great outfit, and I particularly love Persnickety because all of the pieces are mix and match, so you can create a really versatile wardrobe out of just a few pieces.

Back to School Party

All of the decor for the party was simple and sweet.  I based everything off a cute apple rubber stamp and fresh green and red apples. I had my heart set on a chalkboard for the kids to play with, and when we couldn't find one, I made this one out of a thrift store mirror and chalkboard spray paint - a much easier project than I thought.  I love using my cupcake stand in non-traditional ways, and the fresh apples couldn't have been cuter displayed on it.

School Party Fun

Hope everyone has a great school year full of bright ideas, special memories, and of course, fun PARTIES!

School Party Ideas

To see more Back-to-School Party photos, check out the September issue of Madison Living magazine.

Madison Living September 2012

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