Saturday, May 31, 2008

Our First Giveaway!

Well, I've done it! I've actually perfected the spinning pinwheel cupcake toppers! (In my opinion, they are just too cute! Yes, I realize that I might be just slightly biased.) To view mini video clips of these adorable little guys spinning away, please click here.

In honor of my excitement over the above new product launch, I'm hosting my first ever giveaway! A giveaway of a dozen of these Spinning Pinwheels. The lucky winner can choose their preferred paper from my stock and I will hand create a set of these pinwheels just for them. My current stock features papers that will go perfectly with birthday parties, BBQs, or even the 4th of July.

To enter to win, just leave a message at this blog entry by Sunday, June 8th at midnight. (All messages will be entered - no need to leave a creative message - any will do! Even first time visitors or message leavers are welcome to enter!) The winner will be randomly drawn and announced on this blog on Monday, June 9th.

If your name is not drawn, never fear, we are selling these unique pinwheel cupcake toppers at our Etsy shop. Don't see a current paper theme you like at our Etsy shop, we can custom make something for you. :-)

Best of luck to all!

And have a happy rest of your weekend!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Patriotic Pinwheel Products

Happy Summer everyone! I know, I know, summer doesn't officially start until June 21st, but like most I've always considered summer to start on Memorial Day and end on Labor Day. And guess what - warmer weather has finally arrived as well! They are predicting a high of 84 today here in Indianapolis. Very wonderful news as I don't believe we've even hit 80 yet this season. :-)

With all of these thoughts of summer, my mind moves to the biggest holiday during the summer months - 4th of July. I love this holiday and everything it entails - fireworks, BBQs, sparklers, American flags, lots of wonderfully fattening foods, etc. I love entertaining on this day too! (Surprise, Surprise.) Although I haven't hosted a 4th of July BBQ in several years, when I have, it's always been one of my favorite events to host. This year, I decided to begin putting together some 4th of July themed party products early. Of course these products combine red,white and blue - and pinwheels. Pinwheels always remind me of summer. I've kept back some of the below patriotic pinwheel products for my own BBQ, but I've also placed some of them for sale at my Etsy shop.

Of course I instantly fell in love with this red and blue paper. Why? Because it's damask, one of my two favorite patterns!

Although white is missing from this paper, I think it could easily slide by for a 4th of July event, especially when it's positioned on a star themed pinwheel such as the one above.

Any of these pinwheels would work well as party favors. In the past I've also stuck similar pinwheels in the pot in the center of my patio table and also in the planters/pots in my yard. Very festive!
Here's another set that contains vintage inspired patriotic paper. It features red, cream, aqua blue, and light blue stripes with scattered stars.

Too cute!

These pinwheels are the perfect handheld size - 8" tall by 4" wide.

Isn't the aged appearance of this paper wonderful?!

I also created matching cupcake pick toppers. If you're like me and very handicapped at decorating cupcakes, these cupcake picks are perfect. They look wonderful on even messily iced cupcakes.
Back view of the cupcake toppers. Please ignore the horribly iced cupcakes. :)

Yet another variation of the handheld handcrafted pinwheels. These pinwheels feature a red background with cream swirls (that almost look like fireworks) and faded stripes of blue.

I used more faux aged paper to create these pinwheels.
Once again this paper is subtly patriotic, but sometimes I think the more subtle the theme is, the better.
Wonderful swirl pattern on the back of the pinwheels.
I also created matching swirl cupcake pick toppers to match the above pinwheels.

And look how perfectly the striped star papers and swirl papers match. They coordinate perfectly and thus both the handheld pinwheels and cupcake toppers could be mixed and matched on a patio or picnic table filled with goodies.

Some more patriotic pinwheels. These are a bit larger at 14" tall and 6" wide. These have been assembled and placed on plastic handles.
Matching pinwheel cupcake pick toppers have also been created to match the above handheld pinwheels.
I'm still in the process of finishing a few matching items - including pinwheel napkin rings to coordinate with the above damask pinwheels. I hope to have these, and other items, added to my Etsy shop by the end of the weekend. In addition, I've also been working on perfecting pinwheel cupcake toppers that will actually spin - easily! Wish me luck! If I can perfect them, they will be really cool and will look very awesome on cupcake stationed outdoors. They will be able to sit there all afternoon and just spin away in the breeze. Talk about a Wow at your event! :-)
Well, I must be running some errands.
Have a wonderful weekend everyone. Enjoy the 'first' weekend of Summer!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

June Beach Themed Tablescape

Ta-da! I'm very happy that it's now warm enough to feature my tablescapes outdoors. Thinking of warmth always makes me think of the beach and thus my June tablescape is none other than Beach themed. It features the refreshing colors of sand and water - aka - khaki brown and robins egg blue. These two happen to be my favorite color combination of the season.

This tablescape utilizes a khaki colored linen tablecloth and linen napkins that I already had on hand in my linen supply. (If you don't have these colors on hand already, I'd certainly recommend purchasing as they will give you a great neutral starting point for almost all future settings.) To add some dimension - and fun - to the tabletop I've strewn a cream colored fishnet over the top (if you can find a blue fishnet, this would also work wonderfully) and I've added decorative river rocks to the top of this setting as well. Not only do these rocks add dimension, they also work wonderfully to weigh down the tablecloth on a windy day. To make this tablescape even more 'beachy', just scatter assorted sizes and shapes of seashells.

For the focal point of the table, the centerpiece, I utilized a clear and large footed vase. It's difficult to tell from this photo but tiny shell vase filler fills the bottom few inches of the vase. This filler gives off a beautifully irredescent shine when the sun hits the tiny pieces. If you are uanble to locate this type of filler, sand vase filler will work equally as well. I've placed another tulip shaped vase filled with a blue candle a top the filler. I originally decided to utilize two vases inside of each other as I was going to fill the large vase with water and add in live tropical fish - in wonderful shades of blue and purple. I even went to my local pet shop to purchase the fish when I decided that I just couldn't go through with it. It would have created a great effect and would have been a huge wow factor, but I didn't know what to do with the fish after the fact. I just knew that if I purchased fish, mine would be the ones that lived forever and being that I'm not a fish person and being that I couldn't bear flushing the fish after the fact, I decided against the purchase. But, if you or your kids would love fish as pets for awhile, I'd certainly recommend adding fish to this centerpiece. :-)

Above is the beach themed placesetting. I used creamish colored outdoor charger plates. (Believe it or not, these are plastic although they look like they are painted tin!) I love the shabby chic look of these chargers. Linen napkins were placed atop the chargers and these lovely blue starfish not only help integrate the blue color of the table, but they also serve a few more purposes. They help weigh down the napkin in case of wind, they can serve as a guest favor, and by adding a white card, they also serve as a placecard for the evening's seating assignments.

I also integrated the starfish blue color into the centerpiece.

Isn't this blue color lovely? It makes me long for the ocean!

Above is a full view of the centerpiece. I found creamish shades of drift wood, stood them up, and tied them to the vase with a ribbon featuring the colors of blue, brown, and cream. While creating this, I thought it was perhaps a bit too unique, but the more I looked at it, the more I loved it. It adds a great amount of height, plus you could hang all sorts of lovelies of the branches.
I hung some starfish off my driftwood branches, but you can just as easily hang seashells, sand dollars, flowers, or even tiny lights off of these pieces. I've even seen pieces of your night's menu hanging off of similar branches. How cool would it be to hang sea shell shaped cookies off of these branches or even decadent chocolates or fruits?

It's difficult to tell from this photo, but the above napkin fold is perfect for holding this starfish in place as the 4 uplifted points elevate both the starfish and placecard wonderfully. And even the name of this napkin fold works perfectly with our beach and water theme - Water Lily.

Below are the directions:
- This design requires a well-starched napkin.
1. Fold the corners of the napkin into the center and press flat.
2. Repeat the same process a second time - the napkin should be much smaller at this point.
3. Holding the center points together, carefully turn the napkin over.
4. Fold the four corners into the centre again - this time do not press.
5. Holding the center firmly, partly pull out the previous folds from under each corner and gently pull them upwards to make the petals.
6. Pull out the corners from underneath between the petals, to form the base leaves of the lilly.
If you are a visual person and need to visually see how to create this napkin fold, please visit this link. They use a paper napkin to create their fold, but you can just as easily use a cloth napkin. They also leave their lilly a bit higher than my folded napkin, but it will give you the idea.

I've created a slideshow with more and closer views of this beach themed tablescape.
To view them all, just click here.

Tablescape Ingredients:
Linen Tablecloth - Online or at Home Stores
Linen Napkins - Home Stores
Decorative Fish Net - Online or at Garden Ridge
Decorative River Rocks -Michaels or other craft store
Starfish Favors - Crossroads Cottage, Online, or at Garden Ridge
Shabby Chic Outdoor Chargers - Garden Ridge
Tall Footed Vase - Online or at Garden Ridge
Smaller Tulip Vase - Online or at Garden Ridge
Irredescent Shall Vase Filler - Purchased at Garden Ridge in their candle section.
Driftwood Branches - Available at most craft stores. Mine were purchased at Garden Ridge
Placecard Tags - Available at most craft stores. Mine were purchased at Jo Ann Fabrics
Blue Pillar Candle - Available at most home stores. I purchased mine at Wal-Mart

Other possible additions to a beach/nautical tablescape:
Chocolate Starfish Favors: Available online
Seagrass Placemats: Available online
Coral Placemat & Napkin: Available online
Seaside Awning Stripes Tablecloth: Available online
Rope Coil Placemat: Available online
Twig Tablerunner: Available online
Bamboo Placemat: Available online
Coco twig Runner: Available online
Spring Vines Placemat: Available online
Starfish Teacups & Saucers: Available online
Twig Salad Server Set: Available online
Seafare Condiment Serving Set: Available online
Seafare Oyster Serving Set: Available online
Assorted Seashells: Available online

We've also added many outdoor, nautical, and beach themed event items to our site including:
To view all event items available at Crossroads Cottage, just click here.
Above view of tablescape!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Potpourri of Projects

A newly bloomed Aster in our hanging planters.

Hello fellow friends. Sorry I've been MIA all week - again. Thanks for all those who voted on my balcony cushion dilemma. I'm certainly going to take all of your fabulous advice and keep the Damask cushions. Yay! I really did love them, but with my love for all things Damask, I was beginning to doubt my decision as I am a bit biased in loving the pattern so much. Thanks to all of you who've helped persuade me to keep them. :-) Yippee! I know that I'll enjoy them all summer long!
My week was filled with a potpourri of projects. The biggest of which was a custom pinwheel order for a client through my Etsy shop. Above is just a portion of her order for an upcoming birthday party.
Isn't the above pinwheel paper just too cute and summery?!
For those of you who haven't visited my site in sometime, I've also added some more fun and fabulous party products. Most all of the products (including event favors, place cards, and centerpiece items) are summer, beach, or outdoor themed. They are just too cool - and best of all most can serve dual purposes as both favors and place cards which can certainly help with an event budget.
Roger was back to a more normal schedule this week so we were able to get a couple of walks in on some of the nicer days. While we strolled through our neighborhood, and a neighboring neighborhood, I snapped some pictures of my favorite homes. I love this house, but even more than the house, I love the yard. It appears that they have over 3 city lots - you just don't see a home with this large of a yard this close to the city. And they have it so fabulously landscaped. I also love the wrought iron fence that wraps the entire yard.

The above is one of my favorite houses as well. I drive by it everyday and I'm just in awe of the yard. It's another double city lot and you can't tell from the photo but it's immaculately kept. I also love the third story room - look at those windows! Can you imagine the lighting in that room? I always joke with Roger that we need to copy this look on our third floor. Somehow I don't think that will happen anytime soon - or ever. Also, while walking the owners were out in their yard so Roger struck up a conversation with them. (Roger will converse with anyone - so not me - but I'm glad that he did as we learned a lot about their house - including the fact that it's actually a new home that was made to look old! Who would have thought?)

Roger and I went through this home on a home tour about 2 years ago. At that time, the house was totally gutted to the studs. The owners just finished both the inside and landscaping within the past month. I was happy that it finally appeared that they could move in (I don't know if I could take waiting on a house for 2 years) - or so I thought. While driving by the other day, I noticed a For Sale sign. I wander if I can convince Roger to look into purchasing this 'little' piece of property. HaHa. We do need more space. Somehow I think it's a bit above our heads - being this large and this close to downtown. I can dream.

Finally, this is house just down the block from ours. Another home that's new but made to look old. I love the blue colors and I especially liked the blooming pink tree in the front yard. So cheery!
I spent yesterday evening creating another tablescape. Above is a sneak peek! Another one isn't due to be posted until June 1st, but if you're lucky, I may post photos earlier. (In fact, I know that I'll post photos by early next week!) So, check back to both my blog and website ...
I don't know about all of you, but I'm certainly happy that it's a long weekend! I actually took the day off work today to clean out my garage. And wouldn't you know it - it's been raining all day(so much for a 30% chance)! So, it looks like Roger and I will have to accomplish this task tomorrow. Our garage is so embarrassing in it's current state. You can barely even walk into the place. Part of the problem is that it's only a 1 car, the other part of the problem is that we don't have any organization systems so everything usually gets thrown into a pile or misplaced. So, tonight we plan to stimulate the economy once again and make a much needed trip to the garage organization section of Lowe's. Hopefully it will be much more organized and usable by tomorrow night. And, I'll be sure to take before and after photos. Although it will take much courage to post the before photos - it's just plain awful! Other than this big project, I plan to stay in on Sunday(more than likely I will work - or if I'm feeling lazy I'll probably drive to my parents to hang out and be a bum the entire day). On Memorial Day, it's my nieces 5th birthday so we'll be celebrating that the entire day at my sister's house. There is a huge event going on in Indy this weekend - the Indianapolis 500. I'm trying to stay out of the city which is kind of hard to do since we live in the city. (We are so close to the race track that you can actually hear the cars.) Roger just found out that he gets to attend. He's excited as he's never been. I've been once and don't desire to go again. Once the cars go around a few times, I've seen enough. The only other cool aspects are the crashes, but that's just too mean to wish for that kind of excitement.
Okay, I guess I've rambled enough for now. Happy Memorial Day weekend to everyone. I can't wait to catch-up on all of my blog friends and see what they are or will be up to for the extended weekend. Stay safe. ;)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mom's Day

All that I am or hope to be I owe to my mother. ~ Abraham Lincoln
Happy Mom's Day to all the Mother's out there.
Unfortunately the Indiana weather is not going to cooperate for any outdoor activities today. Rainy and in the 50's - so our Mom's day activities will take place, indoors, at my parent's house. I made the above Lemon Lime Bars to take with me. (We'll be celebrating Mother's day for my Mom and also my older sister, Erin, who has three kids.) Don't tell anyone but I already sampled one of these bars this morning. :-) Too tasty! Below is the recipe courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens, May Issue.

Lemon-Lime Bars

Recipe Details
16 bars

2/3 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
4 tsp. finely shredded lemon peel, divided
6 eggs
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. finely shredded lime peel
2 Tbsp. sifted powdered sugar
Preheat over on 350 degree F.
Line 13x9x2 inch pan with heavy foil; set aside.
For crust, in large mixing bowl beat butter on medium to high for 30 seconds. Add brown sugar; beat until combined. Beat in 2 cups of the flour until crumbly. Stir in 2 teaspoons of the lemon peel. Evenly press on bottom of prepared pan. Bake 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, for filling, in medium bowl combine eggs, granulated sugar, remaining 1/2 cup flour, lemon juice, baking powder, and nutmeg. Beat on medium 2 minutes. Stir in remaining lemon peel and the lime peel. Pour over hot crust. Bake 20 minutes more or until edges are browned and center appears set. Remove to rack; cool 1 hour. Refrigerate, covered, 2 hours.
To serve sprinkle evenly with powdered sugar. Lift from pan using foil; cut into bars.
Store, covered, in refrigerator up to 3 days.
Above is my Mom's day gift for My Mom.

I added the above pretty little daisy to dress up the dress form a bit. Still not sure how I'm going to wrap this item. It may have to be one of those gifts where I tell her to close her eyes and open them and present her with this unwrapped gift.

As opposed to today, yesterday was a beautiful spring day in Indiana. Sunny and in the high 60's. Roger and I got a multitude of outdoor spring projects finished. Above is a preview. You're invited back for the full showing - hopefully by Tuesday. :-) Until then Happy Mother's Day to all and to all a Happy Sunday!
Mother's Day Quotes:

My mother is a poem I'll never be able to write, though everything I write is a poem to my mother. ~ Sharon Doubiago

Who ran to help me when I fell, and would some pretty story tell, or kiss the place to make it well? My mother. ~ Ann Taylor

Where there is a woman, there is magic. ~ Ntozake Shange

A mother understands what a child does not say. ~ Jewish proverb

My home is in my Mother's eyes.

Old mother goose, when she wanted to wander, would ride through the air on a very fine gander.

Every Mother is a Working Woman.

All that I am or hope to be I owe to my mother. ~ Abraham Lincoln

Who takes the child by the hand takes the mother by the heart. ~ German proverb

A girl’s best friend is her mother.

God could not be everywhere and therefore he made mothers. ~ Jewish proverb

Sooner or later we all quote our mothers. ~ Bern Williams

For more quotes for a variety of reasons and season, please visit here.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Spring Stroll

This past Sunday it was a beautiful day for a spring stroll in Indiana. Roger and I decided to be adventurous and wander away from our neighborhood for a change. Although, we didn't drive too far - just south 10 or so blocks to the Indianapolis Canal and White River State Park. The easiest way to explain this area is to compare it to the San Antonio River Walk - only less commercial. Although there are businesses, homes, and apartments along the Indy central canal, there are very few restaurants and commercial retails shops. Instead there are many museums and "touristy" type areas situated along this area. The canal begins near 11th street in Indianapolis and winds up to downtown and then winds towards White River and the Indianapolis Zoo and White River Gardens.

We started out our afternoon stroll by heading north from St. Clair street. At the end of the canal there is an old temple that's recently been renovated into a restaurant and event facility - Buggs Temple. Although the eateries were closed when we were strolling I did manage to take a peek into their windows. Isn't the above cool? Instead of traditional curtains, this coffee shop has hung funky coffee cups on strings in front of their windows. Now that's clever!

Above is a distant view of the North end of the canal (11th street). Buggs Temple is sort of hidden behind the trees. Behind the temple is the Clarian People Mover and then a Clarian Health Facility. Both buildings on the left and right side of the canal are also Clarian and Indiana University School of Medicine buildings. (I used to work for the IU School of Medicine - when I heard that some of my former coworkers might be moving to this new canal space, I must admit that I was a tad bit jealous! I've always loved the canal and when I worked at IUPUI I used to run it on most of my lunches. Although my current office is downtown, it is on the South side of downtown so a run to the canal would be much longer. Actually, that's always my excuse but in actuality, I think that I'm just become too lazy to run. :)
Above is view of the Indy Central Canal taken from the bridge on 11th Street. The canal extends all the way to the downtown skyline and then veers right towards White River.

Above is another IU School of Medicine facility. Below you can see a gondola. On nicer days and evenings you can take gondola rides on the canal. The rides are even serenaded. I just visited their site and it appears that they've also joined Buggs Temple/Tavern at the Temple to offer dinner and gondola ride packages. How romantic! Unfortunately Roger and I are past the romantic stage so I don't think I'll be expecting a surprise dinner/gondola ride anytime soon. Especially since the one romantic day a year, our anniversary, falls in December. Now, that would be one cold ride!

Another view of the canal. It's kind of hard to see, but the right features apartments. In my single days I always thought it would have been cool to live on the canal and sit on my balcony watching all the runners and walkers pass me by.

Speaking of places I wanted to live. I really wanted to live in the above townhomes. You can't really tell from the photos, but they are pretty fancy and have great views of both the canal and the downtown skyline. When they were first building these years ago I was looking to buy my own home. I picked up one of the fliers for these buildings - yikes! All I have to say is that they were way beyond my budget - by 3 digits. One can dream. :-)

Another great view of the canal and the downtown Indy Skyline. I love the spring - doesn't everything look so green?! Even the water looks green in these photos - it was actually tinted blue on Sunday.

Above is my favorite bridge on the canal. It's an ornate, vine covered bridge. You can rent this area for events. Many weddings have taken place on either side of the bridges as there are big slate areas with fountains, etc. The fountains weren't running on Sunday or I would have taken a picture. :) I once had dreams of getting married on the canal - that was until we decided on a winter wedding. I still think it would be cool to get married on the canal and have the wedding party arrive by gondola! That would be pretty unique ...

Above is a Residence Inn by Marriott hotel. (The large building in the back is the Indiana Government Center.)
Above is the Indiana History Center - home of the Indiana Historical Society. It's a museum and event facility in one. They also have lots of Indiana archives. During the weekdays their cafe serves lunch on the canal. On the weekends, many weddings take place at this facility. It beautiful on the inside - and out. It's one of my favorite Indy event facilities - if one can afford it.
Almost forgot - you can also rent paddle boats on the canal. Quite a workout. And, bikes/surreys, etc. are also available for rent.
Above is the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art. They've recently upgraded their event facilities as well and they also have a cafe open for lunch.

Featured above is the Indiana State Museum. As well as exhibits, the facility also features an IMAX Theatre and several restaurants (including a re-creation of the LS Ayres Tea Room.) They also have wonderful event facility space.
Bet you didn't know that Indianapolis is 2nd only to Washington DC as far as War Memorials/Monuments go? Above is the Congressional Medal of Honor Memorial.

Near the end of the central canal. Above is a view of the canal with the Indy skyline in the background.

Featured above is the NCAA Headquarters and the Hall of Champions. The headquarters were moved to Indy in 1999 with the building opening in the spring of 2000. Their facility is also located on the canal. As well as a museum and administrative offices, the facility is also used for events.

The above picture is about where the canal comes to an end and spills into White River. The above is a walking bridge built over the river itself. It connects the central canal and White River State Park with the Indianapolis Zoo and White River Gardens - both are located just across the bridge.

The above is White River Gardens. They have a beautiful outdoor garden area as well as a greenhouse filled with lovely tropical plants. As well as the gardens, they also have a cafe and and event facility. Many weddings are also held in both their gardens and event room. In fact, this facility probably has one of the longest wedding waiting lists in the city.

Above is The Lawn, a concert venue, at White River State Park. Upon visiting their site, it looks like they have plans of upgrading this venue. I'd like to see a concert here just to say that I have. I bet you'd have great views since it's such a small and intimate venue.

Above, in the foreground is Victory Field - home of the Indianapolis Indians minor league baseball team. In the background is the new Lucas Oil Stadium - soon to be home of the Indianapolis Colts. And in the center - the wonderful smoke stacks for Indy's coke/power plant. I know this plant powers my electricity, but it's such an eye sore! I wish they would move it - but they don't have plans for that any time soon. :)

Now, we are making our way back around the canal again. Above is another set of canal apartments. Great view, but unfortunately teeny tiny on the inside. Surprisingly the Residence Inn across the canal probably has bigger rooms.

An older church positioned along the canal.

Some low-lying fountains along the canal. This area is very pretty in the summer once all of the summer annuals have grown.

We've now made it full circle - back to our starting place and our favorite parking place.
Hope you enjoyed the stroll.