Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words may be encouragement to them. Ephesians 4:29b

Monday, April 25, 2011

Hope for Hope

Our neighborhood has been blessed with a precious new baby girl who was recently adopted by friends who have been waiting for God's timing for another child in their family.  Their prayers have been answered with sweet Baby Hope, so perfectly named. :) Congrats to Rich, Jennie and Codie!

While the family was in Cali for Hope's birth, a few neighbors got together to bless the new family with a little welcome home surprise, including a diaper cake, of course! :)

Baby Hope's Diaper Cake

Welcome Home!

Thanks to God for the blessing of new babies and perfect timing!

With Him in mind,

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Diaper Cake Love

I wanted to use a Clearly Candace post to share and promote one of my little passions: Diaper Cakes!  I love making them because they are fun way to be creative.  I consider them a great blank canvas to work with!  I enjoy putting together colors, themes and coordinating with baby nurseries and showers.  My favorite part, of course, is the ribbon, as well as the never-ending topper ideas!  It's just fun to me to come up with the next cake! I've also enjoyed making a few "made to order" styles for showers, too.

I use the "fanned method" for my cakes because I think it makes them look more like cake icing than than the traditional "rolled method."  It's also much easier!  My main cake making necessities include diapers, 2 sizes of pie plates, a paper towel roll (or cylindrical centerpiece like a bottle), rubber bands and a Lazy Susan. Throw in some fun ribbon, scissors, a hot glue gun, and fun topper and flair, and I'm all set!  If anyone in the Central Texas area is interested in one of my cakes as a great shower gift or table centerpiece, let me know!  I'd also consider sending them to you long-distance folks out there!

Below is my cake blog header photo.  I created a little blogspot to help advertise and showcase them with some estimated pricing for potential orders.  It's obviously a very new potential side biz!  I don't have too many in photos, but plan to grow my collection with time. Contact me for more details!

Introducing: Sweet Cakes by Candace

PS: I've also started doing a new diaper gifts to welcome a few new babies!  Here's one and check here for a few others!

It appears that Blogger has deleted my old diaper cake blogspot, so I will be creating a page on Clearly Candace for Sweet Cakes by Candace. :)  Here is a slideshow of the cakes I've made since the beginning!

Thanks for visiting!

With Him in mind,

Monday, April 11, 2011

Polka Dot Love & Baby Sprinkles

I've helped host two baby sprinkles in recent months.  In case you are not totally sure what a baby sprinkle is, it's a slimmed down baby shower for moms who are expecting a "nextborn" baby.  Since major goods are covered, sprinkles are often given when having a baby of the opposite sex of the siblings and/or when there is a time gap between kids, making newer baby gifts a necessity!  My two friends Kelly and Laura were the "sprinkle-ees."  Kelly had the baby gap and Laura had too much pink! :)

Kelly's Sprinkle...
In September, my good friend Natalie and I hosted a sprinkle at my house for our sweet friend and neighbor Kelly.  Kelly, newer to the area, was still settling in and meeting new people, so we decided it would be fun for the neighborhood gals to sprinkle her with some love!  This was her 3rd child three years after her 2nd, so a bit of a gap. Specifically, we wanted to get some cute girlie things for Miss Annabelle-to-be, along with donations toward a gift card to Target for basic needs.

Kelly planned to use sage green and a few shades of pink in the nursery, so I created this simple invitation:

This is kind of where my polka-dot party decor phase began. :)  For decor we got polka dot napkins and solid paper plates from Target.  A few balloons were added to the mix, along with the diaper cake, of course! The diaper cake had light pink and light green topped with an "A" for Annabelle, since Kelly and hubby Shawn had just confirmed baby's name by sprinkle time.   I made a banner and tied ribbon here and there for color.  We kept the food light with some punch, fruit, crackers and cheese. The cake was really cute.  Randall's had a cupcake cake in the shape of a onesie! Everyone loved it!

We played "Kelly & Baby Trivia," the "Don't say Baby" pin stealing game and t.p. belly measuring - K was  a tiny mom with a 3rd child! :)  Winners got cute animal print scarves. Here is a photo collection of the fun:

We also created little "Neighborly Love" coupons for Kelly, offering what we could to help her out when Annabelle came and she began adjusting to 3 kiddos.

Miss Annabelle has grown into the cutest and sweetest baby and gifts from this sprinkle has kept her quite fashionable! ;)  Congrats to the McGraths on bringing a precious addition into this world.

Laura's Sprinkle...
My good friend Laura is a close girlfriend from church.  Fellow friends Kristin, Keri and I decided that since Laura had loaded up firstborn Miss Kennedy with way too much pink, Baby Trace-to-be was going to need some blue.  So plans were made to sprinkle her with some!  I came up with my favorite invitation design {smile} and envisioned some decor ideas for the venue.  We chose to do a dutch-style brunch at a great local bistro.  Here's the invitation. (Sorry about the blur on bottom...thought I had a better shot than this.)

Unfortunately, my and hubby's 10th anniversary getaway ended up conflicting with the sprinkle date, but even though I couldn't attend, I was committed to the decor to send with K & K.  My contributions:
  • Diaper cake, of course! ;)
  • Invitation to display
  • Polka dot confetti
  • Baby wishes cards (this is what I came up with to put on the plate)
  • Baskets for the cards (dollar store 2pk)
  • Cute fleur-de-lis / damask decor stands tied with ribbon (dots and damask are in Trace's bedding)
  • Thank-you tags for cupcake boxes to go (using my first circle cutter - worth it!)
Some shots of the completed items before passing them along:

Some shots by K&K showing the fun!

I HAD to include this.  My son (just 5) did the baby wishes for Trace - I gave him NO help nor suggestions.

Laura, it's adorable things like that that make those baby boys near and dear to Momma's heart! :) Can't wait to meet Mr. Trace!!

So thankful for God's blessings: Babies
With Him in mind,

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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Little Birdie Told Me...

My BFF Leah welcomed her precious baby girl Hannah Ruth on February 2nd. In January, I hosted Leah's and Sweet Hannah's well-deserved celebration as "Fairy Godmother" as she and Daddy Jeff call me. With the awesome help of co-host Fiona (a college bud of L's), here is some "Bibbity-Bobbity-Boo" created especially for Leah and sweet Baby Hannah.

The Inspiration...
It took me no time to find my inspiration for the shower. Leah chose the Hayley Pottery Barn nursery bedding, which is crazy cute! :)

My love of polka dots and bright colors instantly drew me into this little cutie who
became the inspiration for the invitation and much more. Isn't it tweet? ;)

The Invite...
I love the dimension that PB's fabric and stitching give its bedding. This gave me the inspiration of putting textures into the invitation. In my quest I found a cute green bumpy textured cardstock and a hot pink felt - two great textures! I freehanded a stencil of the birdie shape for the green cardstock and added a the hot pink felt wing. The invitation text was created in MS Publisher and printed on white cardstock. Pink cardstock was added as a pink border backdrop making the card ~5x7in. The birdie was glued to the left of the text and a brown eye, beak and stick legs were hand drawn with a thin marker. (FYI: Drawing the beak/feet prior to gluing avoided bleeding on the bird.) My good friend Deb blessed me with an invitation assembly night. Without her help, these would've WAY late - Thanks, Deb! :) This scanned jpg of the invite actually captured the textures almost better than my camera did!

The Decor...
Leah is simple, laid back gal and I knew she wouldn't want anything too frilly or busy. Simple, cute and relaxing were my thoughts. Shades of pink and green with some dark brown were the colors chosen. Fiona got cute pink and green partyware for the festivities and I ordered a few balloons to match. I also made a little stenciled "B-A-B-Y" banner with birdies hanging on ribbon from the fireplace mantle. I put a little pot of flowers for Leah next to the sign-in area for her baby book and thank-you addresses on the bar. I made little pink and green corsages for Leah, her mom, mother-in-law and sister-in-law. I used little pink wired flowers from Hobby Lobby's wedding aisle. I had glued some Congrats ribbon to the back with a green letter on the top (a-aunt, g-grandma, mom-mom) on each. This little project was a cute, cheap and easy way to have family corsages that the ladies could keep as a Baby Hannah keepsake. Here's a glimpse of some of the decor:

The Food...
Since it was a 2:00 shower, we kept the food light light with a fruit tray, a veggie tray and cracker and cheese/ball trays. There were also wine glasses filled with milk and white chocolate-covered pretzels and valentine colored M&Ms (cute idea by Denise!). I ordered a cupcake cake from Randall's leaving them with the invitation in order to attempt the birdie shape. Overall the cake turned out (not perfect, but) pretty cute! The diaper cake was the non-edible centerpiece for the food table. (For you newbies, diaper cakes are a big hobby of mine - check out my Sweet Cakes!) I enjoyed the topper that included a pink tutu swimsuit rolled up into the top of the cake with the the tulle serving as a "nest" for a birdhouse and stuffed birdie on top. The cross on the front is kind of special. I bought it a couple of years ago as Leah and Jeff very patiently awaited God's timing for this sweet child. I am humbled by how humbled they were in this (longer than expected) time. The cross appropriately displays 1 Samuel 1:27 - "For this child I have prayed."

The Celebration...
The shower was a hit! Me, Fiona and fellow friend Denise set up. The most important preparation (outside of food) was...wait for it....the birdhouse painting station!! Fiona gets all the credit for this one! I suggested decorating with a few birdhouses and Fi suggested that guests paint birdhouses for Hannah's nursery! Priceless! So, we purchased little $1wooden birdhouses at Michael's (in 5 styles) and Fi and Denise set up the cutest station on my kitchen table! The guests each painted a house and then voted on their favorite one created by another. Leah's friend Amy won the most votes with her cute house front and center of the collection shown below:

Fiona also printed up some fun trivia questions about Leah, hubby and baby and Cousin Ellen won the prize for most right answers. Winners Amy and Ellen each got little makeup pouches of treats as a prize. The spent the time chatting, eating, doing the trivia, painting each at their own pace. Everything was nice and laid back with no schedule. As a hostess, this was divine. Baby Hannah got many wonderful gifts by these blessed friends. Here are some gift and girl time shots. :)

The Favors...
For favors, I got cute treat sacks from Hobby Lobby and filled them with pink and white (Valentine) peanut M&Ms, milk and white chocolate-covered pretzels, and mini Baby Ruth candy bars since all the women in Leah's family pass down the middle name Ruth!  (Thanks, Fi!) I somehow missed getting pics of the favors - doh! :(  To give you an idea, the left photo below is the sack and the right shows how they looked filled.  My good friend Kelly helped make and stick "Thank You For Coming!" printed (address sticker) labels. I stacked the favor bags in my iron and rattan weave magazine holder by the front door with a "Thank You-Take One" sign on the handle.

After initially receiving her invitation, Leah envisioned a framed a Bible verse for Hannah's room inspired by the invitation. So, at the shower, I gifted her with the framing/supplies to make this happen. She chose Psalm 91:4. We formatted the verse, font and same little birdie, and framed it in a white 8x10 frame with a 5x7 chocolate brown matte. I still need to take a photo of it.  All I have to date is this sad iPhone photo Leah sent me. I think she's added bird feet since we made it. :)  I included the verse below so that you can read it clearly.  This verse is a reminder of a very comforting truth given only by our Heavenly Father.

This was definitely my favorite baby shower.  I may be a little biased as the hostess and it being for my BFF and all, but I just LOVED everything about it.  And this beautiful verse perfectly completes the celebration of welcoming sweet Baby Hannah.

Showering love, keeping Him in mind,

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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Happy Feet

Do you hear this question a lot in your house? "Mommy, I can't find shoe(s)!" Well, this little organizational Candoozy that might just help get rid of this problem phrase in your home, so I thought I'd share. :)  I had been keeping my eyes out for a kid shoe solution for quite a while, procrastinating having to purchase and/or put together a costly piece.  Then one day, I stumbled upon this gem at Ross for only $40!

It fits perfectly against the angled wall outside our laundry room (to right of photo) where we enter and exit the house from the garage.  We have carpet in our living area and bedrooms, so we have a pretty well-followed "no shoes in the house" policy for the four of us to try to keep things cleaner (guests not included).  The box has a storage space of  ~3'x2'x2'.

No, their shoes don't stay this way - they definitely get disorganized, but the kids can always see and grab the shoes they need.  They took pretty quickly to their new "shoe box" and it's a handy bench for parent help with socks, buckling and tying.  If are implementing a new system or place for your kids' shoes, I would advise staying consistent by having them put their shoes away as soon as they walk in the door.  After enough repetition it will become habit.

Not too long after getting the box, I came upon a new question.  How might I incorporate their socks into this organization solution?  Both kids' socks drawers were in their rooms upstairs. This was a pain when socks are forgotten or skipped when getting dressed and they (or I) would have to run upstairs in a rush to grab some before leaving.  So, this was my idea....  

We have a bunch of those cotton canvas tote bags we get as freebie items from promo booths and events through work. I bet you have a few yourself!  I was glad to make use for two of them.  I took a permanent marker and drew a first initial on the back side of each bag.  I then took my trusty staple gun and stapled them onto the wooden bracing on the underside of lid of the storage bench.  I stapled the top, right and left sides of each bag to the wood.

And voila! Sock bags in the shoe box!

I haven't had much problem with socks falling out of the bags because they're almost the exact height for the lid keeping them flush to the inside of the box.  The kids and I can now get their socks and shoes in one place and put them on our way out the door.  Since this moment is almost always a rushed moment, this solution makes things go one step faster.  

Need a shoe/sock solution?  I hope this might help give or spur ideas for a new "Happy Feet" solution for your family!

Side Note: How do hubby and I follow our "no shoes" policy, you ask?  Well, most of our shoes are kept on bracket on shelves we installed in our garage next to the entrance.  We keep most of them in their original shoe boxes and put on/take  off as we go in and out of the garage.  (We do keep our lesser worn shoes and my dressier shoes to try on with outfits in our master closet.)  This is a great way to make for more closet space, as well as for keeping your carpets and floors cleaner!  Just don't forget to close your garage door! :-)

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