10 Holiday Crafts You’ll Love

red and white pillows

 

Joyful Pillows

Upgrade store-bought throw pillows in a jiffy with simple appliqués. To make them, type JOY into a word-processing document, using a font you like. Enlarge each character to full letter-page size. Print, then cut out the letters and trace them onto white felt; cut out. Next, pin strips of fusible bonding web, such as Stitch Witchery ($2.99; joann.com), to the back of each felt letter. Center each one (with webbing underneath) on a pillowcase and carefully remove the pins. Iron on according to the package instructions. Once the letters have adhered, add decorative stitching with embroidery thread, if desired.

 
 
hannukah menorah craft

Hannukah Menorah Craft

Arrange a memorable menorah in minutes! Who knew plain old salt and pepper shakers could look so sophisticated? Simply unscrew the tops, fill each shaker with decorative blue sand, and place a menorah candle inside. Once the candles melt down, use tweezers to remove residual wax before reusing.
 
 
glass ornaments
 

Upgrade a Plain Glass Ornament

At around a dollar each, these empty orbs offer an affordable catalyst for creativity. Fill one with small wooden chips, another with a single stunning peacock feather (attached to the ornament’s top with hot glue). Or compose a more obvious Christmas scene by dropping a model fir tree into a globe dusted with artificial snow. You can also use tweezers to position branches inside and even hot-glue a tiny cardinal in place.

(Ornaments, starting at $4.99 for four, and cardinal, $1.99; michaels.com for stores. Peacock feathers, $2.99 for three, and artificial snow, $2.99; joann.com. Wood chips, $3 for 4.8 ounces; walmart.com for stores. Model tree, from $2.99; hobbylinc.com)

 

Christmas Tree Skirt

A literal take on the Christmas tree skirt, this resourceful project makes clever use of old duds gathering dust in your closet. All you need are two kilts (or other pleated skirts) in complementary colors and a little sewing know-how. For instructions, visit countryliving.com/tree-skirt.
 
 
 
 

Snow Globes

For a cooler-than-cool stocking stuffer, create a mini winter wonderland with a snow-globe kit ($13.95 for two; snowdomes.com). Here’s how to get the ball rolling:

Step 1: Decide what you’d like to put in your globe (we chose cupcake toppers from fancyflours.com), keeping in mind that plastic and ceramic work best underwater.

Step 2: If desired, cover your globe’s base. Since ours feature outdoor scenes, we used sheets of model-train “grass” ($2.49; modeltrainstuff.com), adhered with waterproof epoxy. Spray with Watco’s clear lacquer ($7.99; woodcraft.com); let dry.

Step 3: Position your figure on the base; affix with the epoxy.

Step 4: Once the epoxy has dried, attach the dome to the base and fill with distilled water and the included snow, following the kit’s instructions. To hide the seam where the base and dome meet, use glue dots to affix a decorative ribbon around the globe’s circumference. Looks like it’s a small world, after all.

 
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Crafty Kits

Instead of a single present, treat loved ones to a customized kit packed with stuff they’re sure to use — buttons, thread, and needles for a friend who likes to sew; polishes, brushes, and buffing cloths for a well-dressed dad; or cookie cutters, sprinkles, and icing tubes for a friend who bakes. To re-create these kits, start by spraying a clean tin (we used old metal cookie containers) with Rust-Oleum Universal All-Surface paint in white; let dry. Next, download an image to match the tin’s contents at countryliving.com/dec-templates. Print the silhouette and cut out, then spray the back with adhesive. Using a pair of craft tweezers, pick up the graphic and place it, right side up, on the tin’s lid. Once it dries, coat the lid and base with a spray sealer (try Krylon’s Make It Last) and let dry. Use black card stock, cut to the tin’s dimensions, to create dividers, if desired. Then fill with your goodies
 
 

Enjoy some good clean fun with these easy-to-make soaps, shaped using animal-themed cookie cutters ($3.99 for six; ikea.com for stores). For your own menagerie, heat a medium-size chunk of melt-and-pour glycerin ($6 for two pounds; sweetcakes.com) over a double boiler or in the microwave. While it melts, place the cutters in a deep metal baking pan. Once the glycerin liquefies, tint it with food coloring, then pour it in the middle of each cutter so the glycerin fills it to the top (use only one soap color per pan, in case any spills over). Spray with rubbing alcohol and let sit until the glycerin hardens. Using a knife, cut around the inside of the cookie cutter, then gently press the soap through to release it. Wild!

 
 
 

A sweet alternative to store-bought cards, these greetings put your tree-decorating skills to work — on a small scale. Download our illustration at countryliving.com/dec-templates, and print in color onto 8 1/2- by 11-inch card stock. Fold the stock in half lengthwise, creasing with a bone folder. For the card at top left, attach small bugle beads and paillettes to the tree (use craft glue for all designs). To replicate the middle version, cut out ornaments (made by tracing a button), a tree base, and a star from patterned fabrics and adhere. Make the last card by zigzagging a length of ribbon across the tree. Fold the ends under and glue, then try other widths of ribbon to craft a base, star, and gift. Or use your imagination, and whatever supplies you have on hand, to make your own one-of-a-kind cards.

 
 

15 Activities For Toddlers

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Pudding Painting :  Toddlers are famous for getting into everything. It seems like there’s always cleaning up to do when there’s a toddler around. But if you can put up with a temporary mess we have a stellar artistic project to enjoy with your tot.

Let your toddler try their hand at finger painting, only substituting instant pudding for finger paints. Ideally, you will cover the art space in paper for obvious reasons. You can use the same materials, such as plain paper, construction paper, unused paint brushes, and ratchet up the fun by using cake sprinkles. I definitely suggest putting your kid in “play clothes” for this one… a mess is guaranteed, but half the fun is that the kids can actually eat the “paint.”

 

Finger Puppets

Spend some quality time with your toddler making finger puppets. Locate printable templates online or you make them from scratch. If making finger puppets from scratch, you’ll need the following supplies:

  • Construction paper, paper bags, white paper or felt.
  • Glue and/or tape
  • Markers, colored pens, or other markables
  • Add-ons, such as pipe cleaner, plastic eyes, fabrics, cotton, glitter, etc.

Using colored construction paper, trace the outside of your toddler’s finger to create the correct size for your finger puppet. At the base of the finger silhouette, draw two 3/4″ lines at a 90 degree angle to the finger. These will be taped in the shape of a ring so your puppet stays on your little one’s finger.

Now comes the fun part! You and your toddler can draw your characters on the face of the finger silhouette. Add color with additional paper, markers or pipe cleaners. Make a finger puppet family or make your favorite cartoon characters. The sky is the limit with this project, so get creative!

 

 

Grocery Shopping Game

Create a grocery list of items needed for your household. Hold up your carton of milk and ask your little shopper if you need more milk. Do the same for other favorite foods for which your toddler is emotionally attached. Once the list is created, head off to the local grocery.

Make sure to go through the fruit and vegetable isle and say the names of the most common produce. Have your toddler repeat the words after you. While at the grocery store, let the toddler choose a fruit and/or vegetable. Use their choice as a dish in your next meal.

 

Variations:
Take a shopping trip to the hardware store or a convenience store.

 

 

Great Gardening 

This springtime activity involves planting garden seeds in flowerpots. Or for those with an outdoor garden, designate a plot for your child. Choose the variety of seeds you wish to plant with your child. You’ll find an assortment of vegetables to be best. After the seeds are planted, let your toddler have the daily routine of watering the flower pot. You’ll soon be enjoying eating vegetables with your child!

 

Variations:
The activity can be started other times of the year, but the parent will need a bit more of a green thumb. The flower pot should be brought indoors when there is a danger of frost or freezing.

 

 

Edible play dough

Creating things out of a blob of play dough is a great way for toddlers to use their imaginations and make something all by themselves. An even better idea (we think!) is to make a play dough that is edible… how fun!

The recipe for this edible peanut butter play dough is:
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup corn syrup
1 1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
1 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar

Make sure to play with your toddler on this activity. Make funny animal faces or make mommy and daddy replicas. Anyway you do it, it’ll be a yummy and fun activity!

 

 

Sand Cereal Artist

You’ll need empty glass baby food jars, Fruit Loops cereal, closeable baggies and a piece of paper.

Start by having your toddler separate the colors of fruit loops. Once separated, put them into separate bags. Have your toddler crush the cereal until it makes dust.

 

Next, take the different colors of “sand” and pour into the empty baby food jars using the piece of paper as a funnel.

We love this activity because it’s safer than using sand… it doesn’t matter if your toddler puts this “sand” in their mouths!

 

 

Find The Treasure

Kids love the idea of hidden or buried treasure. Let’s face it, finding something valuable by searching and digging is something even I enjoy! Here is a great activity for your little pirate!

For this treasure-finding activity, you’ll need a large quantity of some sort of small, dense object… we suggest rice, beans, pasta or Cheerios. You’ll need to fill a big container with any of these. Within the container, put various prizes, toys, candy, stickers or something similar. Then, have your kid go on a “treasure hunt” to find these objects. They will love the surprise of finding these treats!

 

 

Creating A Ziiiippiinn Zoo

It’s a jungle In here! Animals are a favorite of many toddlers. What kid doesn’t like zoos, animal shows and stuffed animals? Kids also love learning about animals. Here’s a great project to help do just that.

You’ll first need a branch from a tree. Once you have a branch of your desired size, search for pictures of animals in magazines, newspapers or online. Print your animal pictures and cut them out. Next, tape the pictures onto the branch, or leaves, if there are any.

 

Display the decorated branch where it is visible to guests. Have your toddler show off their “jungle” and name the animals that live there. This will definitely be a project for your toddler to be proud of!

 

 

Bubbleball

The game is played by substituting bubbles for basketballs. The object is to try and get your bubble over the goal line, which can be a couple strips of masking tape a few feet apart or at both ends of a room.

The children are divided into two groups. Each one is given a container of bubbles with bubble blower. One child blows the bubble’s while the teammates fan them with a piece of cardboard. All teams work towards their respective goal. Be sure to take turns, so that each child gets to take a turn at blowing bubbles. If the bubble bursts, the team has to start over again.

 

 

Art Of Veggies

Gather an assortment of colored vegetables such as cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, carrot sticks, broccoli, celery and red pepper. Prepare a space for your toddler to create pictures or faces with the vegetables. After they’re done, take a picture of the finished project.

Once completed, the ‘vegetable artwork’ is a source of healthy snacks for your little one.

 

 

Story Time In A Can

Reading to a toddler exercises their imagination, introduces them to reading and allows for quality time spent with mom or dad. This toddler activity is a fun alternative to reading from a paper book. Here we show you how you can make a book using stackable cans!
For this project, you’ll need four or five cans of different diameters, so they’re able to stack into one another. You can start with a soda can, then a soup can and so on. You’ll also need a book (which can be cut up) or supplies to create your own “book.”

 

If using a book, simply cut out pages and paste them onto the can. Preferably, you would keep the text on the pages, so you’re still getting reading practice. Start pasting the pages onto the cans, starting with the smallest can first. You can add more cans if necessary, but we suggest four or five.

If you’re creating your own story, use construction paper, clip art, crayons, colored pencils, stickers or other art supplies. Have your toddler help you come up with the story. Be careful with sharp edges on the cans. We suggest using a safe edge can opener that eliminates these sharp edges.

Once completed, you can tell your toddler a story using your story book cans. Or they can return the favor and tell you a story. Once practiced up, your toddler can take the show on the road and entertain friends and family!

 

 

Yardwork

As with most toddler activities, the toddler will enjoy themselves most when the parent becomes animated and talks excitedly. Use these skills and reinvent some basic yard tasks. Your little yard worker will love helping you.

Ask your toddler if weeds are good or bad. When they say bad, yank the weed and throw it over your shoulder! Ask if flowers are good or bad. When they say good, pet the flower and say ‘good flower’ with a big smile. Get creative and reinvent other yard tasks as well. Where does this branch go? In the trash!

So when does the fun end? If your toddler’s attention begins to wander, it’s time to stop.

 

 

Friendly Ghost

A white sheet is placed over mommy and daddy and your little ghost buster is introduced to their first friendly ghost. Mom or dad hams it up by dancing, singing and delivering the toddler their favorite treats!

Once mommy or daddy is through with their ‘ghostly’ performance, it’s time for the toddler to take center stage. Let them wear the bed sheet and scare the parents!

 

 

Ice-Cream Arts

An ice cream cone is decorated with chocolate, candy sprinkles or other edible decorations. Once the cone dries, the cone is filled with candies.

You’ll need ice cream cones (traditional or wafer), melt-able chocolate and edible sprinkles. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Dip the tops of the cones in the chocolate. Immediately apply the edible decorations to the cone. Place the cones in the refrigerator until the chocolate has cooled and hardened. Once the cones have cooled, fill the cones with small candies. We suggest packaged candies of different lengths. Once the cone is filled, wrap the top with party wrapping or saran wrap and have your toddler present as a gift or party favor.

 

 

Mirror, Mirror!

The toddler gets a child-proof mirrors and parents can use glass mirrors for this activity. Show your tot their reflection, reflections of their toys or reflections of mommy and daddy. Making plenty of facial expressions will help you get your toddler’s attention.

 

 

 

 

Multiple Ways To Use Baking Soda & White Vinegar

The way the economy is these days people tend to try and find all kinds of ways to use products such as lemon juice , soap, and baking soda.
so, I decided to do some research on differnt ways to use products that we use in every day life. In this blog it includes different ways to use

1.White Vinegar
2.Baking Soda

– White Vinegar

A.) White Vinegar can be used for cleaning of electronics and just about everything. simply mix equal parts white vinegar and water. MAKE SURE TO TURN OFF ELECTRONICS.
Use a soft tough cloth dip into the mixture. (ring out well before use)
You can also use cotton swobbs for the tight spaces on the keyboard.

B.) White Vinegar can be used for your own homemade cleaners!
A good cleaning solution to use for dirty blinds! Simply use a mixture of equal parts hot water
and vinegar. Buy a pair of cotton gardening gloves. Then dip your finger tips in the mixture and
run it over each of the slats. Simply, cheap, and easy !

C.) White Vinegar can be use as fabric softener. It’s especially for those loads that you forgot about
2 hours ago! No one likes the smell of old, musty water clothes!

D.) White Vinegar can be use for polishing metals. Shine silver items (including silverware and of course jewelry) by soaking them in 1/2 C vinegar and 2 Tbs baking powder for
about 2 hours. You can also polish brass and copper by making a paste with equal parts vinegar and salt.
Make sure to use a clean cloth and rub with paste until tarnish disappears, then rinse with cool water and polish with dry cloth.
Clean chrome and stainless steel with undiluted vinegar in a spray bottle.  Buff with a clean cloth.

E.) White Vinegar can be used to remove glue from stickers, price tags and tape.
Use undiluted white vinegar to help loosen the edges of the sticker, price tag or tape
you would like to remove from furniture, or painted walls. For easy non-damaging removal
use a credit card or liscence to scrape off the stickiness. rub the remaining glue off with more vinegar.

F.) White Vinegar can be used to freshen up a dingy carpet.
Make sure to use a carpet brush and wash it with a solution of 1 C white vinegar in 1 gallon of water.
To clean the carpet, rub with a mixture of 2 Tsp salt and 1/2 C vinegar.  Vacuum area after drying.
If the smell bothers you, you can use carpet freshner to cover the vinegar smell up.

G.) White Vinegar can be used for preventingfrosty windshields.
Use a spray bottle filled with 3 parts vinegar to 1 part water and spray your car windows and windshield
 when you park outside during the winter.  This should stop frost from forming for weeks!

 

H.) White Vinegar can be used for killing weeds.
Put plain full-strength vinegar in a Medium size spray bottle and spray it on unwanted weeds. 
Remember to Repeat until weeds are gone!

 

I.) White Vinegar can be used for getting berry stains out.
Simply rinse with vinegar and they should come off pretty easily!

 

J.) White Vinegar can be used for cleaning the food splatters stuck on the inside of your microwave.
Fill a glass bowl with 1/4 C vinegar and  1 C water.  Microwave the bowl on high for 5 minutes.
Once the bowl cools down, dip a cloth into the bowl and use the liquid to easily wipe down the inside.

 

 

-Baking Soda

•Use to scrub pots and pans, Stove top and counters

•Mix four tablespoons of baking soda with a quart of warm water, and use it to clean the inside part of an oven

•Make your own sports drink mix with boiled water, salt and Kool-aid

•Baking soda is an effective meat tenderizer. It can be added to stews or rubbed directly on a cut of meat, and then rinsed off before cooking, to make the meat more tender

•Brush teeth for whiter cleaner teeth, helps kill bacteria

•Make a paste for dry skin, irritations and bug bites

•Make your own deodorant, 1.2 cup baking soda, ½ cup cornstarch. A few drops of essential oils such as lavender or cinnamon, maybe cedar or sage for men. Put all in glass jar, shake and blend well.
Sprinkle light cover on damp wash cloth and pat on, do not rinse.

•Washing hair, use thin paste to clean product residue build up and pollution, wash after as usual
Or add 1 teaspoon directly to shampoo bottle was as usual.

•Antifungal, use in shoes and socks

•Relief sun burns, make a paste with water.

 

 

 

Spring Flowers (Craft)

Instructions: This project will make a wonderful Easter centerpiece! You will need: Egg cartons Scissors Glue Green flexible straws Colored markers 1. To make a tulip, cut an individual cup from an egg carton. Trim the sides of the cup to form four petals (the ends can be rounded or pointed). For a finishing touch, use a colored marker to accent the edges of the petals. 2. For a daffodil, start with two yellow egg cups. Prepare one as described for the tulip. Trim the second cup so that the edge is even and the sides are about an inch tall. Fit the short cup into the first cup and glue it in place. 3. Finally, make a small slit in the bottom of each flower and insert the end of a straw for a stem. Now your flowers are ready to be arranged into a cheerful centerpiece for the Easter dinner table.

 

Sources : http://www.babycenter.com/210_spring-flowers_6065.bc

 

 

A Positive And Safe Play Area

A positive play area stirs the imagination.

A positive play area stirs the imagination.

 

With trucks placed strategically along windowsills, books wedged between the couch cushions or crayons acting as the kitchen island centerpiece it can feel like your whole house is one big playroom. Corralling your child’s toys and games in one specified area cuts down on clutter and gives your little explorer a place to play. Create a positive, safe play area by considering the space from a child’s perspective.

Organization

An organized play room helps your child learn where he can find his favorite toys. According to an article on the Early Childhood News website, young children try to organize the visual images and concrete objects in their environment into meaningful systems. Try to store like items together for you child. Label shelves clearly with words and pictures so every toy has a place — and your child knows where that place is. Keep small items, like figurines, blocks and other building toys with small parts in clearly labeled bins. Designate specific areas of the room for different activities, such as a dress-up corner, a craft area and a kitchen play area. All this organization not only makes it easy for your kiddo to find things, but it also makes cleanup easier for you.

 

Accessibility

You wouldn’t dream of keeping your favorites things out of reach — like the coffee container on the bottom shelf of the fridge and that novel by your bedside. Set up your child’s playroom in the same way, placing his go-to toys on the lowest shelves for easy access. However, don’t put any toy out of reach so that your child is tempted to climb the shelves or climb on something else to reach them. If you have rambunctious toddlers or preschoolers who might try to climb the shelves, consider only using low shelving.

Safety

Safety is best addressed proactively, rather than after your kiddo cuts her sister’s hair with the scissors he found on the floor. Cover all electrical outlets, use blinds without cords and stabilize all shelving by attaching it to the wall. Keep anything you don’t want your child to access in a locked cabinet or drawer. Keep in mind that toddlers always require adult supervision.

Aesthetics

Early childhood experts at the “A Place of Our Own” website remind parents to base the play environment on the whole child, considering social, emotional, cognitive and physical development. Creating an aesthetically pleasing environment helps children feel safe and nurtured, allowing them to use play time to its full advantage by exploring, learning and growing. Add color to the walls and texture with pillows and stuffed animals. Use child-sized chairs, tables and shelving. Promote early literacy with a supply of books and alphabet blocks. Use magnetic or chalkboard paint on one wall to inspire your child’s creativity. Create a welcoming environment by viewing the space through your child’s eyes.

 

 

Baby Showers And Beyond !

 

THEMES , FOOD, IDEAS & MORE! ENJOY!

 

 

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Love the outdoors? Try throwing a woodsey nature baby shower!

 

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This takes the words ‘Baby SHOWER’ literally ! I absolutely love this.

 

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These are cheap, easy, and super cute baby shower center pieces!

 

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Are you due in the Spring? Have a beautiful bumble bee themed baby shower!

 

 

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Have your guests guess if your having a boy or girl at the begining of the baby shower! Once the baby shower is almost over revile what your having! (another great idea is giving small prizes away to people who guessed right!

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This is a great article from Miss Erin !

 

Baby showers once meant awkward small talk and and tiny sandwiches, but times are changing. From backyard BBQs to wedding-scale blowouts, today’s baby shower is a whole new animal. “People are starting to get a lot more snazzy,” says Tina La Morte, owner of New Jersey’s Oh So Fabulous! Divine Wedding. “They’re doing linen rentals and napkin treatments, and really stepping it up.” Now, why is a wedding planner talking about baby showers? Aside from recently delivering her second child, Tina has been getting more and more calls for baby showers these days. That’s right — baby shower planners! (Try explaining that one to grandma.)

If you’re planning a shower for a friend, don’t worry — she’s probably not expecting 200 guests or a $90 centerpiece. Don’t be afraid to step it up in terms of breaking a few traditions, though! Here are a few modern shower trends to get you started.

Gifts for Mama
Exciting trend #1: Gifts for mom! “We’re seeing lots of gifts for mothers,” says Tina. “They’re giving baskets of goodies, bottles of champagne, massages…” Baby still comes first, but grownup indulgences are always appreciated — especially at a time when the mom may be feeling pretty uncomfortable (a.k.a. all of late pregnancy). To pamper both mom and baby, consider a shareable treat like the Honey Child gift set from Noodle & Boo.

Daddies on board
Men? At a baby shower? That’s right. While daddy-to-be might not be into unwrapping breast pumps and bibs, why shouldn’t he (and his buddies) join in the celebration? Tina isn’t crazy about the idea, but some moms take a different stance. “I think that more women would come to showers if their husbands were invited,” says one mom-to-be on our message boards. Another mom agrees, “It’ll be like a last little get-together with our friends before we’re super busy with the new baby.” If you decide on a couples’ party, just be sure the boys have something (food/beer/guitar hero) to bond over. One couple even held a poker tournament, with $10 and a pack of diapers as a buy-in!

Kids at the party
Not only are men joining the ranks, but now tots are tagging along, too. the downside of this addition? “It’s one of the last times you have when it’s all about you,” stressed Tina. “It’s your last time to shine.” True, kids can steal a bit of focus, but some moms claim all-inclusive get-togethers are best. “It was baby’s first party! I wanted everyone to be there!” exclaims one Oklahoma mom. To keep things under control, definitely provide fun distractions and places to play. (Kids are better suited to a big backyard than a nice restaurant or reception hall.)

Cocktails
No alcohol for the expectant mom, but does that mean the shower has to stay dry? More and more showers are including fun adult drinks. “Mix it into a brunch, with bellinis or mimosas,” suggests Tina. One Minnesota mom is prepping for a backyard baby-q, which will include beer, mocktails and mimosas. “I can have fun mocktails; no need for everyone else to suffer just because I can’t drink!” she insists.

Sprinkles
More in baby news: Showers aren’t all about firsts anymore. Second- (and third-, and fourth-) borns are getting more recognition lately, thanks to the “sprinkle” (as in a sprinkling of gifts, rather than a full-on shower). Second-time moms are usually well set up with gear, but there’s still reason to celebrate! At a baby sprinkle, the new addition is honored with a get-together including small gifts like diapers, wipes or books.

Fun themes and favors
As if boys, babies and booze aren’t enough, showers are taking on a whole new look. Forget your average pink and blue pastels — today’s hot shower hues include bold yellows and cool combos like blue/brown, paisley/pink and periwinkle/cream. Favors are getting a makeover, too, straying from the typical candles or candy. One of Tina’s recent faves: old-fashioned milk bottles filled with different kinds of milk and served, along with cute cupcakes, as guests headed out the door. “Edible stuff is a real favorite,” she laughs.

Erin Walters

 

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