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April 2009

Green Corks

In honor of Earth Day here is a simple way to reuse those old corks.  Find many more Eco-chic tips for your home here.

Cork Trivet


1. For a medium-sized trivet, collect at least 50 uniformly sized corks. 2. Stand them upright and arrange them into a tight circle. 3. Surround corks with an 8- to 10-inch metal hose clamp (sold in the plumbing section of the hardware store). 4. Tighten the clamp to bind the corks together and then trim the excess clamp with metal clippers. Cost: about $3

(photo from

Who Wants Ice Cream?

I do! I do!  Especially when it is these adorable SOAPSICLES!  Yes that's right-they are soap.  What a terrific gift idea for mom, friends and children.  They would also make great party favors. 

Here are a few of my favorites, there are many more over at Soapy Love!

Nilla Sammie


Peachy Keen




All Soapsicles are the same size as a real popsicle and only $8!

Spicy Sunday

Don't forget the Bloody Mary the next time you are planning a brunch.  Here is a recipe from Bobby Flay that sounds like the ideal Bloody Mary to me.

Spicy Bloody Mary


Serves: 2

12 ounces tomato juice
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish, drained
3 ounces vodka
2-4 dashes Mesa Grill Hot Sauce or Tabasco Sauce
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
¼ teaspoon celery salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
Celery spears and jalapeno peppers, for garnish

1. Whisk together the juice, horseradish, vodka, hot sauce, Worcestershire celery salt, pepper and lemon juice in a small pitcher and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
2. Pour mixture into 2 large glass filled with ice and garnish with celery spear and jalapeno

Groovy Giveaway


I recently signed up for an account on Purple Trail.  I'm so glad I did.  I frequently send out emailed invitations for gatherings at my house.  They are an easy and free way to get the word out FAST and keep up with your RSVPs.  Purple Trail is an even better place to do this than most on line invitation sites.  They have so many cool designs to choose from or you can design your own.  You can send any type of invitation, e-card, announcement you could ever think of.  Also, they are AD FREE which means your recipients won't see anything but your lovely card or invitation!  Another great thing about Purple Trail is you can access and send anything from your mobile phone!  You can also do all this from Facebook!  How cool is that?!?  When you sign in everything is laid out perfectly for you on the dashboard.  They also have a list of upcoming celebrations to help you remember. 


If all this wasn't enough they have an awesome party planning section too!  They have party ideas for every occasion plus printable party games and invitation wording ideas, which I know I will put to good use.  All of this is so easy to navigate which makes it a breeze to stay organized. 


Now to the best part!  Purple Trail is giving away a premium membership worth $9.95!  With this membership you get more invitations per event, 25 SMS credits (mobile), animated invites, the ability to collect payment from your guests and much much more!  All you have to do is go to and find the article you like the most and come back here and leave a link to it!  They have many great ideas so this should be easy and fun! 

Contest ends Friday April 24 at midnight central time.  Good luck!

Bloody Mary on a Stick?

While looking for a Bloody Mary recipe, I stumbled upon these interesting little snacks!  They are perfect for parties and brunches.  Just like the cocktail but less filling I would think.  I know people either love or hate Bloody Marys, how do you feel about them?

PS I think I'm obsessed with cocktails as food ;)

Bloody Mary Swizzlers



  • 24  cherry tomatoes
  • 1  cup lemon-flavored vodka
  • 24  almond-stuffed green olives or vermouth-marinated green olives
  • 3  or 4 stalks celery with tops removed, diagonally sliced into 3/4- to 1-inch pieces (24 pieces total)
  •   Celery salt
  • 24  cocktail picks or skewers


1. Using a plastic or wooden pick or a sharp skewer, pierce the skins of the tomatoes in several places. Place tomatoes in a self-sealing, food-safe plastic bag; add vodka. Seal bag. Turn bag to coat tomatoes. Chill overnight to allow flavor to penetrate.

2. Drain tomatoes; discard vodka. Skewer vegetables onto picks using an olive, a piece of celery, and a cherry tomato on each pick. Sprinkle lightly with celery salt. Transfer to serving platter. Makes 24 skewers

(photo from

Surprising Mojitos

Here is another treat to serve at your Cinco de Mayo or fiesta celebrations!  It sounds so refreshing. I can't wait to try it!

Jello Mojito Granita


Prep Time:
20 min
Total Time:
3 hr 20 min
6 servings
1 cup boiling water
1 pkg.  (3 oz.) JELL-O Lime Flavor Gelatin
3/4 cup carbonated lemon-lime beverage
1/4 cup  rum or water
2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh mint
2 Tbsp.  lime juice
STIR boiling water into gelatin mix in medium bowl 2 min. until completely dissolved. Stir in remaining ingredients.

POUR into 9-inch square pan. Freeze 3 hours or until firm.

SPOON frozen gelatin mixture into large bowl. Beat with mixer on high speed until smooth. Store leftovers in airtight container in freezer.

(photo from

Personalized Mother's Day Gift

Here is a great and easy way to give Mom something personalized by you this Mother's Day!  


You'll need

  • Gingham and floral craft paper (or any print you like)
  • Scissors
  • Paper-edger scissors
  • 1 1/2" x 2" photocopied snapshot
  • Chartreuse craft paper (or any color you like)
  • Glue
  • Candle in glass holder, 4" diam. x 5 1/2"H
  • Ribbon

1. Cut 3 1/2" x 13" band of gingham and 1 1/2" x 13" band of floral paper. Trim floral band with paper edgers. Create border for snapshot by cutting 2 1/2" x 3" rectangle from chartreuse paper. Glue photo onto border.

2. Glue the floral band lengthwise onto gingham band two inches from top edge. Glue square in center of gingham band. Glue collage to candle. Tie ribbon around top edge; center bow above snapshot.

(photo from

Graduation Party Ideas

I recently had a reader email me for graduation party ideas for her husband graduating from college.  I'm so glad she did because I realized I've never written about graduation parties!  Unfortunately I don't have any pictures yet, but maybe you can use some of these ideas...

Her email:

Hi Joanna,
I have recently found your site, and I LOVE it. I was
wondering if you could give me any ideas for a graduation party. My husband is graduating from college in May, and I'm having a hard time coming up with the decor/theme
for the party. His favorite color is green, and so are the
school colors. I was thinking of doing all green, but I
don't know what to do to not make it look too
kid'ish or girly. Can you help?? Any suggestions??

My response:


I've got a couple of ideas for you...I was thinking you could do a "Past, Present and Future" theme, like have pics of him as a child, pics of him now and pics of whatever he graduated with- say it was architecture-drawings of buildings, etc.  Then you could frame them in green frames.  Depending on how many rooms you are going to use you could separate them among three rooms.

For centerpiece(s) you could turn a graduation cap upside down, place a vase inside of it with Bells of Ireland.  Here is a link:  I think they are a more "masculine" flower and they are the prettiest color green.  If there is space between the cap and vase you could fill it with green colored gems-they have these at Wal-mart in the craft section. 


I always say to serve cupcakes for dessert or snacks because they are easy and mess free and now you can do any decorations you could imagine on them.  Everyone loves them.  My favorite place to go for decorations is Fancy Flours.  Here is a link to their graduation page  These be PERFECT for your party because they are adult and not girly!  They are a bit pricey so I would suggest just doing a few in these wrappers and doing the rest plain


I was also thinking that you could roll up little scrolls then tie green ribbon around them to look like miniature degrees/diplomas.  Have them sitting in a basket with pens as your guests come in and instruct them (with a small sign) to take one and write either a well wish or piece of advice to your graduate.  Then have another basket to drop them off in.

If you want to do favors, I would keep it simple like green M & M s in little cellophane favors always go over well.

Well I hope this helps!  Let me know if you have any questions or need any other ideas!  I'd love it if you would take pics of the party and I could feature you on the blog.  Have a great party and congrats to the graduate!



I think she really liked the ideas and I'm hoping she will send us some pictures of the party!