Ella Takes the Cake Birthday Reveal!

July 31, 2012

My Ella is a big, big two year old now!

I styled the most darling celebration for her based on her favorite book, Ella Takes the Cake.

Come take a closer look at all the details {and there are tons} at my event styling blog, By J Rachelle.

Events By J Rachelle is up and running!

July 20, 2012

I finally feel like By J Rachelle is ready to share!

I posted the first event feature this morning.  Come check out Amy, with Our Daily Obsessions, and her Vintage Hot Air Balloon party.  It is ADORABLE!

I am hoping that I can eventually transform into Superwoman and manage to maintain a relatively regular schedule here as well as at By J Rachelle.  For the time being, both unfortunately and fortunately, my focus will be on By J Rachelle.

Please come visit me there!  I'd love your continued support!

Summer Learning Fun

June 25, 2012

Most of you have probably forgotten who I am.  

I am sorry.  I really am.

I can tell you now that I have been working on starting an little ol' local event design business and a blog to go along with it.

It is all still very much in the works.

Feel free to check out my progress over at By J Rachelle, really not much to see yet.  She will be up and running at full speed in July {I am shooting for July 1, but that is creeping up on me real quick}.

But enough about that!

I am sitting here with my big kindergarten graduate working on a workbook I printed for her.

I joined education.com to have access to all of their worksheets and workbooks.

Source:  Education.com

I chose several of their 1st grade workbooks, 6 of them I think, and printed them out.  To give her a nice blend of different types of activities I broke up the workbooks and put several pages from each into our own worksheet bundles.  I then organized the bundles by level of difficulty.

We are about half way through the first bundle of worksheets.  So far the worksheets have been challenging, but not so difficult that she is getting frustrated.

I highly recommend checking out education.com.  You can pay for individual workbooks or worksheets or you can sign up for a membership to have unlimited access to all of their learning activities.  I think I paid around $30 for a 6 month membership and it has been well worth it!

What do you have planned to keep your child's brain from melting over the summer?

I have been taken over by an idea {and I want to take you with me}!

May 16, 2012

I feel guilty.

I have been a neglectful blogger, and for that I am deeply sorry.

My brain has been plagued by an idea.  A big, awesome idea.  An idea so exciting {to me at least}, that my creative moments each day have been sucked into building this idea into something real instead of crafty projects.

It will be a bit longer before I can share all the fun with you all, but I felt that I had to pop on here and let you know that I am still alive, still brilliant and still crafty.

I am looking for a few friends to help take this idea where I want it to go.

If you are interested, I'd love to talk it out with you.

I need one {or two} of each of the following:

Brilliant Baker,

Showy Seamstress,
Creator of Profound Printables.

If you fall into one of these crafty categories and are interested in hearing more, please e-mail me!


One Crafty Contest Entry - Voting Starts Today!

May 13, 2012

Do you remember my embroidery hoop name art?

It was just something I started on a whim and it turned out to be a big hit.  I just love when that happens.

I decided to enter this precious project in One Artsy Mama's One Crafty Contest.

The first round of voting begins today, May 13.  This will determine the 20 contest participants.  

How awesome would it be if my pretty little Ella Irene made it?

Go check out all the crafty entries and cast your votes!

My Ella appreciates your support!

DIY Lampshade Cover {Brainstorming Session}

May 2, 2012

Okay ladies, I need your help.

I have a seriously outdated chandelier in my dining room.  It is bringing me down!

I found a nice big, white drum shade at Cost Plus World Market on clearance for $15.  It was exactly what I had been looking everywhere for - and on sale!

Now that I am done planning Maia's birthday {HERE} I can focus on my coat closet revamp {HERE} and making this plain shade not so plain.

My thought is to stencil something on some plain white fabric {maybe linen?} and wrap this guy in it.  The colors I plan on using for the stenciling are peacock blue and a light, fresh green.

I will be painting the chandelier white and removing the frosted glass light covers and putting my pretty new shade up there around the whole shabang.

My dilemma lies in the stencil choice.

I was perusing Cutting Edge Stencils and narrowed it down to these two:

I haven't seen the paisley stencil anywhere before and it is darling.

The zinnia is a big hit a lot of places and sometimes tried and true is the way to go.

I need your thoughts!  I won't keep them... just want to borrow them for a moment.

A Harry Potter Birthday Reveal

April 30, 2012

Maia's Harry Potter inspired birthday party finally arrived yesterday!

I think everything turned out pretty darn well.

I can say that without my Silhouette Cameo, a whole lotta this just wouldn't have been possible!!

If you are a party planning gal like myself or you just craft like crazy, you absolute have to invest in one of these.  Follow their blog to keep up with their great ideas, free shapes and deals.  They did not ask me to say any of this!!

I cut all of the letters for my small pennant bunting using my Silhouette.  I would have used it for the letters on the Happy Birthday bunting as well, but my blade had gone kaput and the replacement hadn't arrived yet.  Visit my other Potter party posts {see below} to see how I used the Silhouette on my other projects.

The cake toppers were a huge hit.  Obviously.  Look at them!

My mom made them.  Crafty brilliance is in the blood.

The gorgeous mirror I attached the goody bags sign to didn't have one of those standy up things on the back.  My dad tracked down a piece of wood.  Thank goodness we were at a heavily wooded, waterfront park.

These goody bags are simply dollar store lunch sacks with super cute tags glued on them.

Pyramid O' Frogs.  You can read more about these sweet treats {HERE}.

Endless rows of Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans.  More on these {HERE}.

The kids got all of their wizard necessities here at Ollivanders.  Try not to be distracted by the gorgeous water view in the background.  

I know you haven't forgotten my way too cute felt Hogwarts' ties.  I think these were my favorite part.  So hard to choose.  I loved seeing all the little ones running around with them on.  You can check out my tutorial {HERE}.  Or you can skip the headache and buy a set in my Etsy shop.

Every wizard has to have a wand.  Kind of crucial to the whole magic thing.  

I made these little numbers.  

Crazy right?  

Forty wands.  Every single one is different in some way.  

I am not posting a tutorial on these because I loosely followed directions I purchased from Instructables for less than $2.  You can purchase their instructions {HERE}.  Don't want to step on any creative toes.  I did tweak the process here and there, so if you are going to make your own and want some tips - contact me!

Here is where everyone ate:

The book table.

The owl table.

Or, of course, the broomstick table.

And what did they eat, you ask?

How could one decide?  I had a Malfoy.  It was delightful.

All of the letters are thanks to Silhouette, of course.

Wash it down with a little Luna Lovegood Lemonade.  Yes please.

We also had Butterbeer {root beer with awesome labels attached}, but I didn't get a picture.  Major disappointment.

We also had a Potter Pasta Salad {a delicious contribution by my mother-in-law}, but I missed a picture of that too.  It hadn't arrived yet when I was rushing around with the camera.  Poo.

My one nose scruncher about how this all turned out?  

I wish I had spent more time on the food table set up.  I thought of the cute little names and made the labels and the awesome The Three Broomsticks bunting {I wish I had a picture of the adorable tiny brooms that separate each word}, but I didn't take the time to think about the  look as a whole.  I was pretty bummed about that.


Little bit chaotic.  Kind of takes away from the awesomeness.

Next time.

{Don't tell me not to beat myself up over it... you can't stop me.}

Visit my other Potter party posts for a closer look at some of the details.

Thank you so much for joining the party!

{I can finally breathe.}

Featured on:

Linking up to these fabulous parties:

Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans

April 29, 2012

This jelly bean journey started with a free printable that I found {HERE}.

When I actually sat down to do the work I decided that wasn't what I wanted.  I find this happens a lot in party planning.  Lucky for me I didn't start doing this the night before the party.

I decided to splurge and spend $0.99 on another super cool box in the Silhouette online store that had the same look as the actual Bertie Bott's boxes.

I sized the boxes down considerably to fit two on each 8.5 x 11 sheet of white cardstock.

I still wanted the official Bertie Bott's look so I cut the free printable so that I had just one of the sides.  I sized that to fit on the side of one of the boxes and then filled the page.

Because I have been trying to avoid using my own printer for these projects I sent these labels off to be printed at Staples.  This is where the first kink in my flawless process came in...

I went to pick up my prints Saturday afternoon {should not have waited so long} and they had no record of my order.  Well, isn't that wonderful?

I could feel my cool slowly leaving my body.  What else could go wrong?

Next stop was Dollar Tree to look for cheap jelly beans.  Nope.  No luck.  They did have itty bitty bags of Jelly Bellys, but one of them would hardly fill one box.  Great.

Made the trek a bit further down the road to Fred Meyer.  Of course a big ol' grocery store will have plenty of jelly beans.  Nope.  They only had two bags of the cheap ones and I wasn't about to spend $5 on the Jelly Bellys they had.  ARGH!

Cool gone.

Made it home with not enough jelly beans and no Bertie Bott's labels.

I was very unhappy with Staples so I definitely wasn't going back there and since the party was less than 24 hours away I didn't have time to keep running around.

I sucked it up and loaded new color ink cartridges in our own printer and printed away.  I wish I would have just done that to begin with.

Boxes assembled.

Labels printed, cut and applied.

Done. Done. Done.

Chocolate Frog Delight

April 28, 2012

A frog just doesn't taste the same without some chocolate.

True statement.

I found a free printable to make replicas of the chocolate frog boxes used in the movies {HERE}, but I didn't want to use up my ink and I wanted to be able to cut them out using my Silhouette {the thought of cutting 40 boxes by hand makes my fingers cramp up}.  I do have the new Silhouette Designer software which is supposed to make it possible to import images easily, but I didn't want to try to figure it out right now.

Soooo, I found a cute little box in Silhouette's online store for $0.99, bought some purple cardstock {hydrangea} and let the Silhouette do the work while I watched Monsters, Inc.

Since I was trying to avoid printing anything I decided not to do labels {ink is so expensive}, I thought cute gold frogs on top would be a nice touch.  Once again, I found the frog in Silhouette's online store for $0.99 and watched Silhouette work her beautiful magic.

I heart her.

I assigned the privilege of making the actual chocolate froggies to my sister months ago.  I am starting to get better at delegating since planning my wedding.  It is really difficult to plan an event with this much detail without recruiting help.

Over time I have come to realize that, while I am super awesome, I am not a miracle worker.  I either need smaller ideas or more hands.  The former was clearly never going to happen.  Well, I guess the latter isn't possible either, but I know a lot of people with hands.  And I have learned that people really do want to help, I just have to ask.  Asking is hard for me.

I'm getting off track here.

Here are the sweet frogs my sister made.

You can find the mold for this particular frog {HERE} and the chocolate candy melts can be found at most craft stores.  My sister bought hers at Michaels {HERE}.

Her first attempt at the frogs was with a recipe she found online somewhere, wherein she was told to melt chocolate wafers in the microwave.  From this she learned that chocolate wafers do not melt in the microwave {at least, not hers} and her smoke alarm needs new batteries.

All in all, I'm sure she enjoyed every moment.

And now...

... here we are, all packed up and ready to party.

The 5 Musts of Party Planning

April 26, 2012

I love party planning.

I love the brainstorming, the crafting, the intricate attention to every detail.  All of it.

My love for party planning always leads me straight down the path to insanity.

But, I still love it.

Over the next 3 days I am going to reveal what remains of my Harry Potter party projects and on day 4 I shall unveil my masterpiece.

This is my baby.

This is the first party that I have put together that makes me think I might have lost my mind.

But, I still love it.

Are you as crazy about party planning as I am?  Or maybe you aspire to be?


Start brainstorming months in advance.

If this seems crazy to you, then you aren't ready for a party like this.

Depending on the size of your gathering and the complexity of your theme, you will likely need at least one month for the crafting portion.

Plan your time wisely.


Make sure you choose carefully.  No pressure.  The right theme should have you buzzing with ideas.

You will know you have chosen wisely when you can't sleep at night because brilliant idea after even more brilliant idea keeps creeping in...


This is something that is new to me and I'm still not very good at it.

It has to be done.

Hopefully you have a wonderful pool of friends and family that you know well enough to have some insight into their craft skill level.

Early on set aside a few party tasks that you feel comfortable handing off.  Make sure you hand out assignments in the early stages of planning.

Over time it gets easier... I promise.


As the big day approaches you will discover a lengthy list of things that have to be done and realize you have fallen behind.

It is inevitable.

You will be tempted to stay up late, crafting until your fingers bleed.


Get to bed at a decent hour every night.  If you start pushing it you will start to hate your precious party baby.  Once your feelings start to sour it will only get harder to get everything done.


During the final week of prep time make a list of everything that remains to be done.


No task is too small for this list.

Evaluate all that remains and then...

...accept that you will not have time to do it all.

Stick with the projects that you can't live without.  If there is anything on the list that isn't a major component to your theme then let it go.

No one has to know.

Be sure to check out the rest of my Harry Potter party posts.  

Linking up to these fabulous parties:

My Newly Found Hunger Games Obsession {Better Late Than Never?}

April 19, 2012

So I know I am a little behind on this, but I read the Hunger Games trilogy this week.

I absolutely loved it.

I just could not stop reading, no matter how late it was, no matter how badly my eyes wanted to close.  Towards the end of the third book I was up VERY late still reading when my husband came home, looked at me and asked if I was reading half asleep.  I might have been...

My point being, I love it.

Even now that I am done reading the books I find Katniss and Peeta popping into my brain periodically.  Reminding me that even though the books are done, my obsession cannot just simply end.

I found myself immediately drawn to Etsy this morning, throwing myself into Hunger Games handmade goodness.

What did I find, you ask?

How awesome is this mockingjay bracelet/ring?  My favorite part is the pearl... aw, sweet Peeta.  You can find this at Sevinoma on Etsy for only $6.99.  I think it would be too much for me to wear though, a little too in your face Hunger Games.  I would want something more subtle so people don't think I am a crazy Hunger Games fanatic.

This is simply, beautiful.  Who didn't cry when Katniss sang this to Rue?  You can find this beautiful card at Hendersweet on Etsy for $2.50.  I would love to put this song on a pallet in my daughter's room.  {I think my heart just melted...}

Love the color of the arrow and the string.  I think I'd rather the braided bracelet be grey.  Beautiful.  You can find this at Infinitywish on etsy for $4.99.  I could picture myself wearing this.

There are hundreds of pages of Hunger Games craftiness on Etsy.  These are just the first ones to catch my eye.

You know where to find even more creative Hunger Games stuff?

Rae Gun Ramblings had a Hunger Games link party HERE.  I haven't had a chance to skim through them all yet.  Rae has several Hunger Games related tutorials too.

I have to get back to my real life now {sigh}.  My husband and I are going to go see the movie this weekend.  Until then Katniss... until then...

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