Strawberries and Dip, a winning combination for a yummy summer treat

Just in case you missed my guest post over at The Southern Institute, you can catch up with this great {easy} family recipe for strawberry dip.  You can thank me later!

I don't know about you, but during the summer, we attend a lot of pot lucks and BBQ's.  

When my kids are at a free for all food party, they tend to navigate towards the yummy desserts and chips they don't normally get at home, which is why I always like to make sure I provide a healthy yummy alternative for them (and others) at parties.

Last summer, I shared on my blog Holy Craft, how I make my fruit platters.
They are so easy to make, but always look like it came from a catering company or a fancy restaurant.

This year, I want to share with you a recipe I got almost 20 years ago from my mom.
I've been making my mom's strawberry dip for years and every time I make it I always get asked for the recipe.  It's embarrassing how easy it is.  But it's a hit.

Are you ready?
All you need is a box of cream cheese, and a jar of marshmallow fluff.
That's all you say?
Yep, seriously, that's it!

It's easier if you allow your cream cheese to soften a bit, but let's be honest, we don't always remember {or have the time to do that}, so let me tell you, it works just fine if you don't.

Start by mixing both your ingredients (see embarrassingly easy!) in your mixer on a low setting.
Once they are starting to blend together, I turn my mixer to the highest setting and let it whip the two together for about five minutes.  You want your dip to be fluffy and light (unfortunately though it's not light in calories!).

While the dip is mixing, I hull out my strawberries.
You could also just skip this step and cut your strawberries into slices.

Once the dip is mixed, you can either serve it in a bowl with the sliced strawberries, or do the old ziploc bag piping trick, which is what I did.
Place your dip in the ziploc bag, seal the bag and push the dip into one corner of the bag.

Clip the corner and start piping dip into your hulled strawberries.

Presentation is always the key to making something look fancy, so break out your platters and start arranging  your strawberries any way you like.

 My little guy likes them arranged like this:

So next time you get an invite for a family BBQ, give this dip a shot.  
I promise it won't disappoint!


Garage sale finds friday

Gears and Antlers
Welcome to another edition of garage sale finds Friday where I share with you some of my favorite garage sale finds.
This week, I want to share with you some of my latest collections, gears and antlers.
Two weeks ago my cousin Erica sent me a message saying she was looking for some antlers.  She told me if I found any at a garage sale to let her know.  I responded and told her that I rarely see antlers and if I did, I would probably keep them for myself if I did.  
You see, our house seems to scream to me "lodgey craftsman style".  
Is that a thing?  
I'm going to make it a thing.  
One of my first purchases for the living room was Rocky.  You can read more about our bear head (and the attack) here.   Since then I've been trying to figure out how to decorate around Rocky.  
Mostly, my mantle has been bare.  Get it bear?! I kill me!  

I've been trying to find a few things to add to the mantle that would compliment, not distract from a bear head hanging on the wall.  Harder then you would think people.
I love the way it feels when I walk into an Abercrombie and Fitch store.
The grey, navy's and white plank walls are so, I don't know, homey.
I figure if they could get away with a moose on their back wall, I could get away with a bear head on mine.

Anyway, back to Erica and the antlers.  I told Erica that I had been dying to make an antler chandelier for ages. 

How hard could it be?  
Well, a lot harder than you would think.  
I couldn't find antlers anywhere. 
 I figured they would go great with my bear head.

I have been looking for antlers for at least a year, so when I stumbled upon a whole garage sale full of antlers not even two days after our little e-mail exchange I was dumbfounded.

Turns out the people selling all of these antlers were from Montana.  Here in Washington visiting family.
I immediately called Erica, but she had already found some antlers on Craigslist (doh, why didn't I think to look there???).

I left the antler garage sale and didn't buy a single antler.  Not because I didn't want to, but because I started to have some mental anguish.  
Would having a bear head AND antlers seem like too much?  Would my little taxidermy addiction start a PETA intervention?
I immediately turned to pinterest to see if I could find the answer to my burning dilemma.

Turns out antlers are kind of a hot trend right now.
Who knew?

I finally think I convinced myself that I HAD to have some antlers.  I NEEDED some antlers.  I WANTED some antlers.

So the next day I headed back over to that antler garage sale hoping they still had some antlers left.  Because seriously, after all my pinterest browsing I was sure that everyone else knew something that I didn't...just  how awesome antlers were, and how essential they were to modern decor.
Well, my dear friend from Montana was just starting to pack up when I walked up to her garage sale.
She did still have some antlers left, but the moose antlers were gone, and several of the skulls with skin and hair were still left (however, I wasn't bold enough to go there...yet!), but she still had lots of deer antlers.  

I was standing there trying to decide how many I should get, when she told me that instead of the $5 each price tag, she was willing to give them to me, three antlers for $5.  I was already set to pay $5 each, but with my negotiating tips in mind, I asked if she would take the four I had in my hand for $5 plus throw in a dog chew toy.  

Did you know dogs love to chew on antlers?
I only knew that because the upscale dog store I go to sometimes has small fragments of antlers for around $15 a piece.

So yep, she threw in a dog chew antler and I had in hand four deer antlers all for $5.
Here's what I did with them.  I put a few on my coffee table tray.

I tried a few in a large mouth vase

and I put a few on my mantle in a fun tangled mess.

 So what do you think?
Do you love antlers as much as I do now, or is it a bit too rustic?
Do I need a PETA intervention?

My next collection that I have been working on for just as much time as my antler collection (since last year's garage sale season), is my gear collection.

There is something about the rustic industrial look of gears that I just love.

Which sort of reminds me of my gear art that I made for my son's room last year

I found this large gear like shape that was mounted on some reclaimed wood at our new Home Goods store (love it!  How did I ever live without one?!) and I paired it with a few of the gears I have found at garage sales.  O.k. maybe one is a wheel, whatevs.

I really like the three of these gears layered together, don't you?
Do you have any "eclectic" collections you search for at garage sales?

Guest Posting Today at The Southern Institute

Come join me at The Southern Institute today where I show off one of the things on my crafting bucket list:

Making Custom TOMS shoes

For the full tutorial come visit me here.

What's on your crafting bucket list?


Mermaid pool party

On Monday, I shared with you a few of the details from my niece Sofia's fifth birthday party.
If you missed it, you can go here to catch up.
Today, I want to share with you the rest of the details of this special day.
I can't take credit for making the cake.  
My sister in law hired someone to make this three tiered ombre cake.
I did however, make the cake topper.  
I used the mermaid image from the birthday party invitations (thanks Emily!) and made custom print and cut shapes in my silhouette software.  Since the cake was in the middle of the banquet room, the topper was double sided.  I used embroidery floss for the shell detail and shimmery glitter to make the whole thing stand out.
The cake stand was custom made from an aqua colored plate and a large white candlestick.
You can see more of my custom cake stands here.
I bought yards and yards of fabric at JoAnn's to use as draping.
You can read more about my custom mod podge sandcastle here.
Tissue paper pom poms and lots of grasses, lanterns and fishbowls decorated the mantle.
Along with this custom birthday banner (that had a hard time staying in place with the wind blowing in from the large patio doors).  
The most talked about detail of the party were these two custom pineapple palm trees.
I saw the idea on pinterest and had my engineer husband draw up a plan for making the base to hold the pineapples.  My brother in law had the tedious job of coring the pineapples to fit the base.
At the top of the pineapple palm tree, some palm fronds were inserted to make them look more palm tree-esque.  Each palm tree fruit platter flanked the ends of the two buffet tables.
There was lots of yummy food catered by Bitterroot.
Thankfully, there were lots of people (over 100!) to enjoy all of the yummy food!
What's yummy food, without yummy drinks?
Here are some of the kids selections
Even a wine with the guest of honor's name!
No child's party is complete without a mermaid margarita bar!

There were four different combinations offered, or you could make your own specialty!

There were several different kids activity tables including custom mermaid stickers and tattoos.
Kids could color their own mermaids, decorate a drawstring bag, make a mermaid crown or merman sword, and color their own fish cup.
The kids really enjoyed all of the activities!

And what's better, we had a gorgeous day of sunshine to celebrate Sofia's party with a swim in the pool!
Here's the birthday girl enjoying a swim with her Uncle Steve!
Happy birthday Sofia!
I hope you had a wonderful day!

Mermaid Birthday Pool Party Celebration

Mermaid Birthday Pool Party 

A few weeks ago I showed you this mod podge sandcastle that I made from some stacked boxes and dry sand.  It was just a little something I was working on for my niece's fifth birthday party.  Today, I want to share with you a few details from Sofia's mermaid pool party.

I already told you that my sister in law has lots of connections.  She is actually a cooperate event planner running her own company in Seattle called Big Gigs.  Because of her event planner background, the people who attend her parties always expect big things.  

At her youngest daughter's first birthday party an ice cream truck from a very popular local ice cream place was there serving any flavor cone you could ask for.  Seriously, the best first birthday party I have ever been to!  Because of the overwhelming need to go over the top in party planning for her kids birthday's she decided that the kids will only get large birthday parties for their first, fifth, tenth, thirteenth, and sixteenth birthdays.

I was asked WAY back in December if I could help be the person in charge of decorations for Sofia's fifth birthday party in July.  I started a pinterest board, consulted my smallest client on her desires and came up with some ideas to decorate a very large party space.  

As you all know, the invitation sets the tone for the party, and this is the invitation that was used for Sofia's party.  Once again, my sister in law had a connection and commissioned her friend Emily, from emily ann designs.  

Emily actually designed the mermaid to look just like the birthday girl!
I think it's pretty spot on if you ask me!

Emily was nice enough to let me use the mermaid image as I designed the birthday decor.

I used the mermaid image as a cut out for the cake topper

I made stickers of the image that were on bowls of snacks

and bowls of crayons and markers.

I used the image on name tents at the activity tables (yep, more than one activity can't plan an outside pool party in Seattle without taking into consideration the fact that it might rain on your party, even in July!)

I even made a hang tag for the favor basket

I have always been a huge fan of letter writing.  I love sending beautiful cards in the mail just about as much as I love receiving them.  I'm sure that if you ask just about anyone what their favorite thing to get in the mail is, it's not a bill, or a catalog, but a hand written letter.  Letter writing is a lost art with all of today's technology, but it shouldn't be.  And with Emily's cute designs, opening the mailbox will be fun again!

Come back on Wednesday to see more details of the mermaid pool party.
The cake was spectacular.  You can't miss it!
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