It’s a baking party!

Baking birthday party

I’ve noted before that my daughter Elise loves baking and wants to be a baker someday. So it was natural that she chose a baking party theme this year. This was the first “kid” party we’ve had, and we invited the girls from her Kindergarten class to celebrate with us.

Baking party invitation

I found this vintage birthday cake illustration and Photoshopped out a candle so there would be only six.

Baking party - cupcake wrapper garland

The decorations were minimal, but I knew we needed a cupcake liner garland (as seen on every pretty baking party on the internet like this one, and this one, and also here). It was really easy to make and took about 45-60 minutes. (It took me longer to collect all the different wrappers from various stores.) Using a needle and thread, I strung all sorts of cupcake wrappers and coffee filters randomly without a plan or strategy. This is one of those “the messier, the better” type of things, and I didn’t have to ruffle or adjust anything.

Baking party decorations

Baking party aprons and chef hats

When the girls arrived, everybody got a pink apron and paper chef hat. Before the party, someone asked if I was going to make aprons for everyone. Wow! Um, no. I do not want to spend 20+ hours sewing aprons when I could buy these for less than $3 each. The paper hats were a bit big on everyone, but they stayed on pretty well.

Cinnamon dough ornament

Our first activity was making cinnamon dough ornaments. They smell so delicious!

I prepared the cinnamon dough ahead of time with this simple recipe. Everyone got a piece to flatten and cut out a shape using a cookie cutter. There was a bit of a mishap because this batch of dough was rather sticky. (My two practice rounds had gone fine, but that didn’t matter at this point. And of course, I didn’t have any more cinnamon on hand to thicken up the dough.) Everyone had messy hands and many baby wipes were used in cleanup, but we somehow managed to make the ornaments look halfway decent. (No photos of the process, sorry!)

We sprinkled some glitter on the shapes, and I poked a hole in each one using a straw before putting them in the oven at 200°F. I left them there for the entire party and took them out just before everyone went home. You can handle them pretty much right out of the oven at that low temp. In 90 minutes, they had hardened enough to travel, but I suggested a few more days of air drying before hanging with a ribbon.

Cupcake decorating party Cupcake decorating party

But the real fun of the party was decorating cupcakes. I baked six dozen cupcakes the day before: white, chocolate, and confetti. Every girl decorated five cupcakes: one to eat and four to take home. I had a variety of icings, sprinkles (like, a lot lot of sprinkles), candies, and other toppings available. The girls really got into it! I bought small cupcake boxes from Joann, and everyone took home four cupcakes to share.

Cupcake decorating party Cupcake boxes

Baking birthday party

Baking party I Spy jars

Baking party I Spy jars

As the party was winding down after opening presents, the girls colored their hats and some coloring sheets with crayons. I also made up some “I Spy” jars using some of Elise’s baking-themed miniature toys and sugar. (We also tried flour in the jars, but that didn’t really work. You couldn’t see the toys, and the flour didn’t really “flow” around them like the sugar does.) Since they aren’t all readers yet, I drew all the items so that they could find them visually.

This is so Elise.

This is so Elise. My comedienne.

p.s. We also played a few party games I made up like “balance-the-egg-on-the-spoon”-type stuff and the girls complied, but I could tell they were not at all into them. Message received. Skip the lame games next time, mom, and get to the fun stuff.

Second child catch-up: Patchwork stuffed dog


Like I explained in this post, when you make things for your first child, you’ve all but signed a contract to make things for the second. The consequences for backing out of the deal? Endless mom guilt. And we all have enough of that already.

So here’s version two of the stuffed patchwork dog I made long ago. That was one of my first sewing projects on after getting my sewing machine. I even remember buying quarter yards of fabric because I literally had no fabric. Ha! Now I have so much I’m getting rid of half of it and still have more than enough.

Parts of this dog are seriously wonky. I don’t even know where I went wrong, and I don’t care! And I don’t think Ettie does either.


sewing-patchwork-dog patchwork-dog

New Music Note prints in the shop

Music note art print by Erin Heaton

A quick post to show you some of the new things I’ve added to my shop recently. I designed a new set of Music Faces. I’m calling this my Retro Series. Don’t tell the others, but that girl above might be my favorite. Prints are available in three sizes: 5×7, 8×10, and 11×14.

Music note art prints by Erin Heaton

I also re-designed my cat note cards and had them printed on 100 lb. smooth matte card stock. They are so nice! Outsourcing the printing to a local shop allowed me to get the price down a bit too. A set of 8 cards is now $12. These make great end-of-year music teacher gifts!

Music note cat greeting cards by Erin Heaton

Every month, I give away a FREE 5×7 Music Face print to one lucky newsletter subscriber!
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Decluttering 2015: Clothes


Challenge: I am tasking myself with going through my entire house and getting rid of everything that we don’t need anymore. I’m also taking this opportunity to repair things that are broken, eliminate annoyances, develop new systems, and just streamline as much as possible. See more posts in the series >>

I’m changing the format for my decluttering project. I started out going through our house one room at a time, but now I’m following the order as suggested in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. And then at the end, I’ll probably swoop back around to make sure we’ve sufficiently gone through each room.

So next up: Clothes.

Yes, I already got rid of a bunch of clothes a couple of months ago. BUT…

There was another stash of clothes in a closet upstairs I hadn’t gotten to yet. Stuff that was moved there during pregnancy, stuff that was the wrong size, but felt “too nice” to donate, office wear from a previous life.

At this point in my decluttering, all of this was really easy to let go. I found one or two pieces worth keeping, but everything else just went without any resistance, including two pairs of beautiful jeans that I wish still fit. And a few winter coats too. Shoes. Purses. All of it.

From there, I moved to the kids’ clothes. It coincided with the change from winter to spring clothes, and both kids growing out of their current sizes. I went through everything, and let go of a lot of pieces (and also moved some of Elise’s outgrown clothes into storage for Etta).

There are still some kids clothes in storage upstairs that can probably go, but the upstairs is in so much disarray because of the bathroom reno. I can’t even fully open the closet doors right now. Their time will come.

The more things I get rid of, the more things I want to get rid of. It’s addicting. Whereas before, I was carefully going through things with a fine tooth comb, now I see all this junk as a barrier to the streamlined life I’ve caught glimpses of already. And I just want it all gone.

Next up: The books. Be strong, Dan, be strong.

Curtains: I met my nemesis once again and this time I won

Living room curtains

They’ve been up for about a month, so it’s probably about time I showed you these curtains. You might have sneaked a peek of these already in my recent party post.

This is not a how-to post. Making curtains is boring and tedious and if you have a lot of windows, you might be better off buying off-the-shelf or having them made. Just being honest. These four panels took me the better part of an entire weekend. Like maybe 20+ work hours? And about halfway through, I felt those mucky middle feelings where I’ve invested too much time and money to turn back, but there’s so much work ahead it’s daunting.

Dining room curtains

That said, they turned out super awesome. I’m really happy with them, and they definitely bring a different energy to our living and dining rooms.

I used this bark-cloth like fabric, lined them with some simple white lining (which I would probably just skip next time because this fabric draped pretty nicely on its own). To get the French pinch pleats, I sewed this pleating tape onto the top and used pleating hooks to hang them from clip rings (not actually using the clippy part).

If you are brave enough to tackle real-deal grown up lady curtains, this is a very thorough tutorial and this is a more succinct one. Both are are good tutorials, and I sort of did a hybrid of the two.

Black and beige curtains