Mar 24 2016

My daughter’s Bridal Shower

i seriously can’t believe i’m even old enough to have a daughter getting married… but I DO!!!
she’s almost 21, her and her fiancé are both graduating college in May and are planning to marry in June.
they seem so young. but, i was 20 when i got married, and we’re still married… happily. thankfully.
we are excited for them and proud of them both.

dessert bar wedding shower
i’ve never planned a party like this before. let me just say, pinterest makes party planning easy AND hard at the same time! we did a dessert bar with chocolate fondue. the sweet love banner i made from old doily coasters that i stamped on and then taped to a ribbon.

allen girls wedding shower
me and my sweet girls before the festivities commenced. (thank you mom for insisting on the pic!)

signs handmade diy
i used white gel pens to make the little signs for the tables.

dessert bar partymacarons dessert bar
the bride-to-be herself made these beautiful french macarons.

mimosa bar party
inspired by this i just had to do a mimosa bar. i scoured thrift shops for pretty glasses instead of buying plastic ones for close to the same price, and it worked out perfectly. it was super fun and interactive! i’ll definitely be doing this again.

bridal party shower decorparty decor rustic
we had the party in the upstairs of our Allen Designs studio so the lights and tassels were already set up, which was really nice. it just adds to the party feel instantly.

doily hanging crochet art
i’ve had this piece pinned on pinterest for a long, long time and throwing this party was the perfect reason to make it finally happen.

mimosa bar wedding showerbridal shower party decorwedding shower decorationsfood bar wedding showerfuture bridebridal bingo wedding showerparty favors bridal shower
it was a lovely time and my daughter was immensely blessed. i couldn’t ask for anything more.

Mar 18 2013

dinner party & healthy snack

this weekend involved many things.
some really sad, that i don’t want to go into right now.
and some happy.

flowers & wineit was our turn to host our dinner group.
there are 4 of us couples and we rotate houses.
we try for once a month but realistically it ends up being quarterly by the time our schedules all line up.

and let me just say… all the other ladies are AMAZING cooks.
that’s how i choose my friends! shhhh. 😉

curly girl cardthat being said, when it comes to our turn i always majorly stress out.
i want to bless them the way that they’ve blessed me.

hence the perfect reminder in the curly girl design card!
and it did hold true. of course.

healthy snack rawraw healthy snacksone of the things i made where these made by girl inspired healthy coconut date truffles.
probably not very lo cal. but healthy & yummy nonetheless.

dinner group table setting
dinner groupthe table setting i kept simple as to not overwhelm myself.
flowers & candles that was it.

i have a habit of wanting to shoot for the moon and then being disappointed in myself when things don’t end up perfect.
any of you do that?

in the end, it’s really about the conversation & the people.
which both, as always, were wonderful!

are you in a dinner group?
do you do themes? games? conversation starters?
if you’re not in one, maybe it’s time to start one…

Mar 11 2013

the theme is green

it’s late and i’m tired.
besides a few short breaks, i’ve been sitting at this computer all day long.
but i’m on a roll and figure i might as well finish it off with a blog post!

be your own lightbe your own light inspired self portrait

i’m currently in the middle of a 4 week ecourse, Be Your Own Light,
created by the talented and inspirational Vivienne McMaster.
and i am loving it!
the daily prompts, the creative play, the treasure like hunt for light.
i’m taking pictures that i would have never considered taking before.
this is the kind of thing that makes me HAPPY, HAPPY!

allen designs studiopicked up this old aluminum locker for the Allen Designs/Close2myArt studio last week.
okay, junk makes me happy too!

crocheted earrings portland artist
crocheted earrings by moss handmade, a gift from my husband.
we’re preparing to celebrate our 20th year of marriage in the next few weeks.
wow, how time flies.
perhaps there are many things that make me happy…

green smoothieslastly, i’ve finally jumped on the green smoothie bandwagon.
thanks to the dear Lacy Like.
it’s been 2 weeks of eating healthy (no sugar, bread, pasta, preservatives) & daily green smoothies.
i was feeling really great until yesterday, where the wheels felt like they were falling off the bus!
since then i’ve been having the overwhelming urge to go out and get myself some spicy cheetos & a milkshake.
i have barely, BARELY i tell you, kept my self control.
i’m trying to last 30 days.
we’ll see.

Dec 4 2012

christmas snowman cupcakes

hello december!!! are you feeling it yet?
since i really haven’t done much in the holiday way yet,
i thought i’d show you these snowman cupcakes i made for my youngest daughter’s class a few years ago.
at that time we lived in an area that you could still take homemade goodies to school.

obviously they were a big hit.
what kid doesn’t see tons of sugar and color and get excited?

i used twizzlers for the nose and the scarf.
a little tube of gel frosting from the store for the eyes and buttons.
bell shaped chocolates for the hats.
marshmallows for the body.
pretzels for the arms, support up the middle of the body and for attaching the body to the cupcake.

make sure to give yourself plenty of time for assembly.
as i remember it, approx. 34 of them took me a few good hours.

Oct 27 2012

hello from china

i made it here to shenzhen, china safe & sound.
i’m looking forward to a productive week in the factory developing our 2013 allen designs winter line.

as usual the travel time was long and tedious.
about 16 hours total flight time + a little over an hour by bus.

penguin heads for soap spitters

coming here a few times a year gives me the opportunity-
not only to be hands on in the sculpting & painting process of the newest lines-
as well as the chance to check quality & go over any issues that may have come up.
i also think it’s been really important for the factory to know that they will be seeing me face to face a few times a year.

my first meal here included this delicious dish made up of beans, eggplant… and bitter melon.
did you know bitter melon is actually a fruit and is highly nutritious?
unfortunately i haven’t developed much of a taste for it yet.

my second meal was probably not the healthiest but oh-so-yummers.
these sticky rice dumplings with sweet sesame seed filling are one of my favorite treats here.
i just found this recipe and can’t wait to attempt making them for my family.
or probably… just save myself a lot of frustration and work and buy them from a local asian market.
ya, that sounds like the better plan.

Oct 9 2012

the best pumpkin pancakes ev-eh!

until a few days ago i had never made nor had pumpkin pancakes.
i didn’t realize what i was missing!

i found this recipe from annie’s eats -and it is delish.
(her recipe didn’t call for allspice but i didn’t have the ground ginger or cloves. not really sure if allspice covers those but it sounded good.)

i doubled the recipe and it made enough to feed 5 big eaters with a few left over.
and i did end up having to add some water just cause the batter was so thick.

my kids said they were the best pancakes they’ve ever had.
crazy huh.

have you had them?
am i the last to know about these things?

Oct 8 2012

yummy pumpkin acorn cupcakes

 i was inspired by my last post about the fall cupcakes i made a few years ago.
wanting to see what they’d look like a little more… um, less blue.

i wrangled my oldest into helping me, since she is a much better baker than i.
bake it pretty cupcake liners

she found this recipe from mini baker for the pumpkin cupcake portion, and it is AWESOME!

cream cheese frosting.

for the acorns i heated the little caramels up in the microwave just enough to make them pliable.
then hand formed them into somewhat-acorn shapes.
dipped the cap part in some melted chocolate and then rolled them in the chocolate sprinkles.
simple and relatively quick.

i think i like the white frosting a little better than the slightly toxic blue.
maybe i’m just finally growing up?
well… probably not.

Oct 5 2012

fall treats and acorn cupcakes

i’m getting the baking itch with the cozy weather moving in.
these acorn cupcakes are something i made a few years ago.

i’ve been perusing pinterest for inspiration for this years treats.
i think i’m going to go with a pumpkin theme.

have you tried this combo yet?
peanuts & candy corn

Sep 17 2012

my newest love…

seriously, i can’t tell you how many tomatoes a day i’ve been eating.
garden tomatoes are like NO OTHER.
out of the varieties i planted, the black krim is by far my favorite.

fresh mozzarella, garden tomatoes, and pesto w/greek yogurt= delish & healthy!

since divorcing diet pepsi, pellegrino (and coffee of course!) is my new fave.

how about you?
any big changes in your life this summer?

Jul 24 2012

what have i been doing????

obviously… NOT blogging.
although, i’ve been catching my breath and am thinking about starting back up again.
in the meantime, i’ve been harvesting my basil plants.

eating lots ice cream cones with the family.

playing indoor soccer to make up for all those ice cream cones!

along with a few family bike rides.

writing my turning 40 list.

making homemade pickles.
(yummiest things ever!)

loving on my 17 year old.

and watching lots of crazy 12 yr. old girls play awesome soccer!

i’m having a lovely & meaningful summer so far.
and you?


Mar 28 2012

little dinner party & table setting

so a few weeks ago we had a few friends over for dinner.
we try to get together with these two couples about every other month, rotating houses.
this time it was my turn.
let me just say, the two other gals are AMAZING cooks.
i’m not so much.
i try. really hard.

i’ve slacked in the past, but this time…
i even set the table.

which, i still felt needed help!

please tell me.
what am i missing?
a runner? colored mats? table cloth?

for food, we went with an asian theme.
i successfully made wonton soup.
fried tofu… mediocre success
gary made stir-fry from this cookbook… amazing!
fried bananas… a little much.

in the end- thankfully it isn’t about the food. or the table setting.
it’s about getting together with friends and enjoying each others company.

and, we full hearted-ly did.

Mar 24 2012

sunshiny day!

we finally had a sunshiny day here in the portland area!

in celebration, my mom and i took a little walk around the neighborhood with our cameras.

my husband and i celebrated our 19 yr. wedding anniversary a few days ago.
19 years, oh my!!!
AND we still love each other. (well, most of the time anyways)
we tried out the recommended tapas restaurant- toro bravo for dinner.
it proved to be a hoppin’ place with yummy, creative food and awesome atmosphere.

well, i’m off to make today super productive.
lot’s of artfest prep still to do.
my norwegian friend janne is coming tomorrow!
let the ART-ing begin.

Mar 18 2012

farm fresh eggs & artsy egg cups

my friend reenie of peculiar ambitions gifted us some beautiful eggs from her farm the other day.

these little guys were even standing on their heads they were so excited!

the fabulous egg cups are by artist alison palmer.
i’d love to visit connecticut and take one of her workshops someday!
i’ve had an obsession with ceramics for as long as i can remember.
i did take some classes once.
i very quickly came to the realization that…
i should just stick to purchasing other people’s.

all this really makes me want chickens!
my husband would NEVER go for it.
i will have to settle with living vicariously through you reenie.

Mar 16 2012

green party & sour grapes!

i’m having a bit of a love/hate relationship with pinterest right now.
my love of it- awesome ideas like Pure Sugar’s SOUR GRAPES.

these are the easiest thing EVER.
a box of lime jello, washed WET grapes, toss in a plastic bag to coat them and viola-
you’re the hit of the party!

a pretty, fairly healthy and simple snack that can even be enjoyed by adults.

wasabi peas, watermelon licorice & sour grapes

in lieu of st. patrick’s day,  i was going with the theme of green.

i also tried this recipe for greek spinach dip with pita bread.
not my favorite.
but it looked pretty.

Mar 15 2012

st. patrick’s day cupcake toppers!

st. patrick’s day is already almost here!
these cute & funky st. patrick’s day cupcake toppers are ones that i previously designed for a party.
i’ve included the free downloads for them at the bottom of this post.
i haven’t quite gotten around to this years yet… not sure if it’s going to happen.

do you have any big plans/traditions for st. patty’s day 2012?

download free st. patrick’s day clover cupcake topper.
download free st. patrick’s day frog cupcake topper.