Make a Cake Banner for Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Day Cake TopperWant to be the hit of the party? Make this too-cute-for-words cake topper

I made this cake that’s free of gluten and refined sugar for a meeting last week. Absolutely no one who knew me was surprised when I brought out a white cake stand, pink cake and Valentine’s Day cake banner, because cutesy decoration is kinda my thing. However, I was a little surprised at how well it went over. My ultra-healthy treats aren’t always the hit of the party but this cake was definitely the exception. I read once that pink makes sweets look irresistible! I think this cake topper definitely proves that true. Everyone couldn’t wait to dig in, and I think the aesthetic presentation played a big part in that.

Make a cake bannerMake a Valentine’s cake topper

Ready to make a cake banner? The best part is that’s it’s really easy but looks totally impressive when it’s done.

Step 1: Cut four or five triangles of fabric. The fabric can be of your choice. If you have heaps of fabric scraps like I do, this is a perfect use for them. Upcycle those fabric scraps!

Valentine's day cake topper tutorialStep 2: Then I used tacky glue on the triangle’s edge to affix it to the string. I used If You Care cooking twine because I love their Eco-friendly, unbleached cooking products, but you can use any twine or yarn you like.

Valentine's Day Cake Banner tutorialStep 3: Then tie the ends of the string onto two chopsticks or bamboo barbecue skewers. After it’s dry it’s ready to place into the cake. I made the topper the same day and it was ready to go. The tacky glue dries quickly, but you could use hot glue if you want it ready even faster.

Valentine's Day cake decorationsI hope you enjoy this cake topper as much I did! It’s definitely an easy way to wow your guests at any event. There is always an occasion to celebrate with cake!

If you’re in the Valentines’ Day spirit, read on with Valentine’s Day Gift Guide.  If you need a laugh and aren’t easily offended, check out one of my most popular posts of all time, Vintage Valentines That Didn’t Age Well.

Valentine's Day Cake Topper banner

Polly Pocket of the 1990s

Many Glamorous Lives of Polly PocketIn the 90s, there was a girl named Polly Pocket. She was an inch tall and lived in some pretty fancy little hinged plastic houses, leading an active life of skiing at Swiss chalet resorts, swimming in water park oases, attending school, and enjoying her many luxury properties.

As the decade drew to a close, Polly Pocket became larger (and presumably less of a choking hazard). Anyone who has seen the original 90s Polly Pocket will know that this change was an abomination. Polly is supposed to be about an inch tall and actually fit in a child’s pocket. Mattel has apparently put the toy line out of its misery for the time being, pausing manufacture in 2015.

After finding some of the original Bluebird Toys 90s Polly Pocket editions made in England, I was reminded that these toys were pretty genius. EBay and Etsy think so too! If you have any 90s Polly Pocket toys still in your possession, most are going for around $10- $30. I’ve seen some for closer to $100, but I’m not sure how fast they’re selling at those prices. Complete sets, the Disney collection and sets still in the packaging are being sold at $150-$500.

Polly Pockets Ranked in Order of Glamorousness

After photographing some 90s Polly Pocket sets in their natural habitats, I realized that A) Polly is super rich, and B) She kind of has many lives. I’m confused–is she one person or many? Does she just have a lot of friends, or multiple personas? While we’re waiting for an answer to this, let’s take a look at a few of the many diverse incarnations of Polly Pocket, ranked in order of glamorousness.

4. Ski Chalet Polly Pocket

 90s Polly PocketPolly’s parents own several ski chalets in St. Moritz, including one just for Polly. Polly tells her friends back at boarding school that she’s an avid skier, but really she just takes a lot of selfies in the chalet, eats Muesli and doesn’t clean up her boots. It also appears in this photo that she lost her arm to frostbite in an avalanche.

90s polly pocket3. Prep School Polly Pocket

Polly-pocket-schoolhousePolly only gets the best, so she attends an elite prep school with a maximum enrollment of 3. How else would she get the proper attention for piano lessons, computer skills, swimming class and remedial math?

The many glamorous lives of Polly Pocket2. Tropical Resort Polly Pocket

Each year, Polly goes on a tropical vacation to a private island. It’s an educational trip to learn about ecosystems, but let’s be real: there’s totally a water park inside this island vacation house.

90s Polly Pocket1. Rooftop Garden Mansion Polly Pocket

Polly Pocket’s mansion was decorated by a team of designers from Paris and Milan. The retractable roof garden is what makes it truly unique. It’s ideal for hosting brunch parties and was voted “#1 most Instagrammed mansion” by Polly Pocket Weekly. All the plants are grown organically and the mansion is powered by sustainable energy.

polly-pocket-90sWant more throwback posts? Check out Ode to the 80s. And let me know your Polly Pocket memories in the comments.

What are Polly Pockets worth?

Cat Bonnet Review

cat-bonnetThe last White Elephant gift you’ll ever need is here: the Cat Bonnet.

When I saw a friend from high school post pictures of her cat in a sun bonnet, it was eye catching to say the least. When I saw the packaging, I couldn’t stop laughing at its proclamation that “Cats love it!” The joke is, of course, that cats hate being dressed up in anything. Just ask any child who has ever attempted to dress her cat in doll clothes. It probably didn’t end well. Yet somehow my friend’s cat was wearing a bonnet and she and her boyfriend had lived to tell the tale.

I admit that I drove to the closest gift shop to buy one the next day just so I could report to you, dear readers, that the cat bonnet is real and not a myth. And there it was on the shelf! The shop happened to be GoodThings, but I hear Patina also sells them. If you don’t have those near you, think upscale gift shops that sell expensive cards, magnets with funny sayings to accompany vintage pictures and state pride wall art.

With zero shame, I paid $7.95 (“here, take my money! I need this cat bonnet in my life”) knowing full well it was last thing the cats wanted in their lives. We all know this “gift” was actually for me, but we’re pretending here okay?!

cat-bonnet-reviewDo cats really love the cat bonnet?

When I tried the “100% cotton lined with satin!” bonnet on the cats, they didn’t hate it. I was, I’ll admit, shocked. They didn’t recoil or give signs of wanting to end it all. One of them seemed to actually…enjoy it. I put the bonnet on when each cat was happy and being petted, so I wasn’t chasing a cat around the room like a crazy person trying to dress it up. Because only crazy people try to dress cats up, am I right?! Ahem. Moving on.

The only one who really disapproved of the Cat Bonnet was the dog.

cat-bonnet-on-dogIt’s a novelty gift, meaning it has no real purpose besides being hilarious. Sorry to disappoint you but your cat isn’t going to wear this around the house on the daily. You can get a few pictures in and that will probably be it (it’s been in its box since these pictures were taken). And while it’s mostly safe for the cat to wear if you tie it gently, you need to monitor the cat while it has strings tied under its chin. I recommend washing it first, because it had a weird chemical smell cats might not like. I do wish there were multiple fabric patterns instead of the generic beige calico. This will quite possibly be my go-to gift when I’m invited to a gift exchange or white elephant party.

Congratulations, your transformation into Crazy Cat Lady is now complete.

New Year’s Cards

christmas-cardsHappy New Year!

Do you send out holiday cards? After two years of being a freelance business owner, I sent out my first set mailing to my clients and friends to say thank you for their support over the last year and wish them the best in the year ahead. I absolutely love snail mail, and I hope the recipients appreciate it too. This year I traded Christmas cards with other bloggers and creative business owners from my area and it was so fun to send and receive paper stationary instead of e-mails!

blogger-christmas-cardsI love photographing flat lays (as evidenced by my Instagram), so I just had to design my own card, from the photo to writing the messaging and arranging the fonts. The florals were re-purposed as well from previous events, and I had the ribbon and pine cones left over from an assignment I’d done for Midwest Living. After all, there’s no rule that as a creative every idea you have has to stand alone as unique. Let one creative endeavor inspire the next. Here’s a photo from that shoot below, so you can see how similar they are to each other.

Paint pinecones for a multi-purpose seasonal craftLet each creative endeavor you undertake inspire the next. Click To Tweet

I debated a while about the message (Merry & Bright was a strong contender), but I wrote this one to be inspiring and non holiday specific. A local printing shop, Visions, did my printing and I was so pleased with the end result.

For addressing the cards, I used a brush pen to make pretty lettering. Also, you’ve got to check out the National Parks US postage stamps! Looking at the stamp sheet is like taking a mini tour of some of the major National Parks.

addressing-christmas-cardsHappy New Year! I hope you’re super excited for what lies ahead in 2017.

Brown Paper Packages Tied Up with String

Eco-friendly gift wrapEco-Friendly Wrapping Options

I love wrapping paper. Each year I love finding artistic paper options that aren’t typical Christmas designs (like the ones below!). But I definitely do not love throwing away the packaging after the gifts have been opened. For a few years now I’ve worked on my collection of pre-wrapped boxes that can be used year after year. There is a downside to those, and that’s storage space. This year, I experimented with the trend of minimalist, nature-inspired wrapping techniques. Here are my Eco-friendly gift wrap solutions to try.

Gift wrapBrown paper Packages, twine and greenery

They look elegant and well-designed, but these packages are covered with things you probably already have in the kitchen! All you need is brown paper, twine and greenery sprigs and you’re golden!

eco-friendly-gift-wrap-with-sprig-of-greenery“But where do you get these sprigs, Abbie?” You may be asking. Mine are taken floral arrangements. Greenery usually lasts longer than the blooms themselves, so you can  re-purpose it on your gifts. If you have a real Christmas tree you could also take a piece off of that in a place that’s not very noticeable…just throwing out ideas here!

eco-friendly gift wrappingFor the paper, I used a brown grocery bag, but you could also try newspaper or the beige paper than comes in shipping boxes. Eco-friendly twine and re-purposed ribbon tied them off. There’s something very personal about the appearance of these packages, don’t you think, like they’re designed with the recipient in mind.

Plaid and greenery: eco-friendly gift wrappingAnother option I discovered this year for re-usable gift wrap is a reusable shopping tote. They’re no more expensive than paper gift bags, and the recipient can use it again and again. I found a Minnesota-themed tote at Trader Joe’s this year and it was perfect for large gifts.

What are you wrapping your gifts with this year?

eco-friendly-gift-wrapping

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