A couple of weeks ago I was invited to take a tour of the Shutterfly By Design 2014 townhouse in NYC.  The space was styled by Shutterfly designers, along with guest designers Olivia Palermo, Brit Morin (of Brit + Co), and interior designer Michelle Workman.  I went expecting to see innovative new ways to display my favorite images, but what I ended up seeing totally blew me away.  Sure there were a bunch of ideas for unique photo displays, but Shutterfly products work with much more than photos.  Cards, ephemera, artwork, illustrations…anything that can be made into a digital image can take on a second life as a piece of home décor.

One of my favorite rooms in the space was a Bohemian movie theater setup that had been styled by the Shutterfly design team.  The space was covered with fantastic prints and eclectic patterns printed on plates, pillows, throws…and so much more.  Cinema-inspired coasters and mugs, as well as a movie theatre curtain (which was made out of their fleece blanket!) were all mixed in with the bright Bohemian prints, setting the scene for a fun outdoor movie night. Just look at these photos!

Shutterfly By Design 1Shutterfly By Design 5Now that I know I can create plates and pillows with my own designs, I will absolutely be doing so. And those succulents in photo cubes…you all know how I feel about those. Such a great idea!

Shutterfly succulent box Shutterfly By Design 10

I also loved what Brit Morin did with her space.  Her space highlighted the many possibilities that can come from one design.  Using  bright graphics, she created bold wall decals and printed the design onto one of Shutterfly’s wood wall art pieces, which she then turned into a coffee table. So genius!

Shutterfly By Design 9 Shutterfly By Design 6

During the event I had the pleasure of meeting some amazing individuals including fellow bloggers, designers, and the queen of creativity herself, the incredible Martha Stewart.  I left the space feeling so energized and inspired.  And if that wasn’t enough to take me to creativity cloud nine, the evening didn’t stop there.  Following the event I was invited to the beautiful west side home of Kevin Sharkey of Martha Stewart Living.  Kevin shared his impeccable home design insight over cocktails and canapés.  Kevin had used Shutterfly to add some unique designs around his home as well, which he kindly showed off while giving me and a few other lucky ladies a tour of his impeccable digs.

Huge thank you to Shutterfly and to the entire team at Martha Stewart for inviting me along for the very inspiring experience.  To see more photos from Shutterfly by Design 2014 head to www.shutterflybydesign.com.

Patriotic Ice Cream SandwichUsing my DIY ice cream recipe (which you can find HERE), I made some patriotic ice cream sandwiches for the holiday weekend.  I followed my recipe to make batches of strawberry, blueberry, and vanilla ice cream.  The strawberry and blueberry hues were a bit light, so I added a drop of food coloring to each as they were blending.  I then added my first layer of ice cream (the blueberry) into a parchment-lined pyrex dish and allowed it to freeze for about 20 minutes before adding the next layer.  Once the red, white, and blue layers were in place, I put my dish back in the freezer for a few hours to set.  And voilà, patriotic dessert perfection!

To make the ice cream sandwich I placed one of my cookies atop the ice cream (to use as a pattern) and then cut around it with a knife.  I used a spatula to place the circle-shaped ice cream piece in between my two cookies.  If you too plan on making some ice cream sandwiches, you can assemble the night before.  But if that’s too much work, the ice cream looks awesome scooped or sliced too!  Just don’t let it melt like I did! Melted Ice Cream

And if you’re in the mood for a little baking this weekend, you could bust out this beautiful flag cake.  Check out my recipe for that HERE.

FlagCake2

Hope everyone has a very happy Fourth and a wonderful holiday weekend!

DIY Video Patriotic CookiesAs promised, here is one more Craft On episode for you today – this time for some fun patriotic cookies (that you can put on your new patriotic cake plate!).  Before you watch the video, let me preface it by saying that I really don’t like being rushed while baking or decorating baked goods (who does!).  However, when brainstorming holiday ideas I became a bit overzealous and decided I would show 3 different patriotic cookie decorating processes in one video.  I was super rushed for time while filming, so you don’t get to see any pretty, perfectly-styled cookies in this video, but you do get to see how quick you can bust out these cookies.  Click the play button to watch the video and continue on for the directions, photos, and some additional tips.  Thanks for watching!

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Cake Plate Video DIYJust in time for the weekend, I have not one, but TWO new episodes in myCraft On video series to share with you today.  So if you were planning to get your craft on and do a little prep for the July 4th holiday over the weekend, you are in luck!  The first video is for this Stars & Stripes Cake Plate, which you can watch by clicking the play button above.

By following the process shown in the video, you can paint any pattern of your choice.  I ended up making a few patriotic plates to have out on my party table for the Fourth.  You can find the materials needed, directions, as well as a little inside peek below.  Stay tuned for the second video later today!

Patriotic Cake PlatesMaterials Needed:

  • Ceramic Plate + Bowl
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Acrylic Paint: Red, White Blue, Gold
  • Painter’s Tape
  • Foam Brush, Paint Brush
  • Epoxy

Directions:

Step #1: Prep surface of your plate and bowl by cleaning with alcohol.

Step #2: Turn the bowl upside down and apply tape in a crisscross pattern around the bowl.

Step #3: Use red paint and your foam brush to lightly daub paint onto the untapped surface. When finished, peel off tape. Set bowl aside.

Step #4: Use painter’s tape to tape-off a ring around your plate. Lightly daub blue paint onto the upper ring and the outer plate edge. Remove tape once finished. 

Step#5: Let the plate dry for 1 hour, then add stars using a handmade star stencil and some white paint.

Step #6 [Not Pictured]: To cure the ceramics, place both the plate and bowl in a cold oven. Set oven to 350 degrees and bake for 30 minutes. Once time is up, turn off oven and let the plate and bowl completely cool inside the oven before removing.

Step #7: Using epoxy, apply a ring of glue around the bottom side of the bowl and adhere plate to the center to create your stand.

Step #8: Set aside for 24 hours to dry.

Stars and Stripes Cake Plate DIYThis photo below may be my favorite screen grab from the video.  How cute is Riley in this shot!?  At this point in the series you can tell the awesome crew who filmed the videos had really started to take a liking to the pugs, as they had begun to request them in shots that sometimes had absolutely nothing to do with dogs (such as this one).  It was hilarious – and of course, I was always supportive of their pug-loving requests.  As the series continues, you’ll see more cameos from these two little funny-faced pugs.  You notice anything else in this photo?  Hint: Look out that window.  Yup, that’s snow.  We actually filmed the majority of these videos in January. It was a bit weird filming summer crafts in the middle of winter, but at least now I’m already prepared for my summer and fall entertaining, and that sure feels awesome.

Craft On Outtake

Avery Giveaway

The kind folks at Avery recently sent me some crafting supplies to use for my DIY posts.  Win for me!  AND they sent me a $100 Visa gift card + some Avery® Fabric Transfers to give away to one lucky reader.  Win for you!  To enter, head on over to my Facebook page – HERE and Like the page, as well as the corresponding giveaway post (just so I know who’s playing!).  I’ll pick one winner at random next week.  Thank you for playing!

In case you missed yesterday’s DIY for the patriotic dog shirt shown above, you can check that out over HERE.

UPDATE: This giveaway is now closed! Thank you to those of you who played! 

Craft On_Patriotic Dog Shirt

With Fourth of July around the corner, I’ve dedicated an episode in my Craft On series to my favorite addition to any festive Fourth party – a patriotic pup!  By using some Avery® Fabric Transfer sheets (clearly, one of my favorite crafting items), I turn plain doggie tees into very patriotic ready-to-wear tops. While I made Dylan a classic flag tee, I turned Riley’s into a biker-style top with patriotic patches all over it.  Watch the video to see how to make both styles of the shirts – just click on the play button above.  If you get stuck or want to see the materials you’ll need first, you can find the full instructions below.

Patriotic Dog Tee

Materials Needed:

  • Dog Shirt
  • Patriotic Designs
  • Fabric Transfer Sheets
  • Printer
  • Scissors
  • Ironing Surface (pillowcase or tea towel)
  • Iron

Craft On Dog Shirts_Materials Needed

Directions:

Step #1: Gather some printable patriotic designs, by creating them on your computer or finding them online.

Step #2: Flip the image or text to reverse it for the print.

Step #3: Load one of your Avery® fabric transfer sheets into your printer and print. Once you have your printout, cut the word out with scissors, leaving a narrow margin around your image.

Step #4: Prep your surface.  Place a pillowcase or tablecloth down on the surface. Set iron to highest cotton setting. Place dog shirt down and iron it to get any wrinkles out.

Step #5: Place your transferred image face down onto your dog shirt. Applying pressure with both hands, iron the transfer, making slow 20 second passes from left to right and then top to bottom.  For a half page image, only 90 seconds of ironing is needed.

Step #6: After ironing, allow the transfer to shirt to cool for 2 minutes.  Once cooled, peel the backing off, starting at one corner of the transfer.  Most importantly, make sure the shirt is completely cool before putting on your pup!

DIY Patriotic Dog Shirts

Patriotic Dog Tee 2

alex prager'BOOGIE NIGHTS' FILM  - 1997ice box summerpool vibesclassicsummer4gray malin A little visual inspiration to start this first week of summer off right.

Image Credits: 1. Alex Prager photo [via Lehmann Maupin] // 2. Heather Graham in “Boogie Nights” // 3. Elle Magazine, Photographed by Matt Jones [via Pinterest]// 4. Neil Krug Photography // 5. Wildwood – 1960′s [photo via aeon] // 6. Gray Malin photo [via Wanderarti]

In case you weren’t aware, tomorrow is the official start to summer (hooray!).  Earlier this week I spent one of the warmer days exploring a local beach and I stumbled upon this amazing mural.  It wasn’t until I got close to it that I realized it was made from thousands of plastic bottle tops.  Such a great way to give those very wasteful plastic bottles a second life…upcycling at it’s best!  Beach areas have such amazing, often-unnoticed art. So if you plan on bringing in this first summer weekend on a beach keep your eyes open – inspiration is just about everywhere!

Plastic Bottle Top Beach ArtBeach Mural

Peach CakeAJM A Peach CakeWhile on the topic of yesterday’s ice cream post, I thought it’d be a good time to post these photos of a giant peach cake I made.  Because what goes with some vanilla ice cream?!  A delicious summer peach of course!  I loved getting to work on this delectable slice of fruit for a peach-loving birthday girl.  And a little peach of advice for all you beginning bakers out there – don’t ever feel too dedicated to the theme of your cake in a literal sense.  While it sure did look like a peach slice, it was actually just a delicious chocolate cake with buttercream frosting.

Hope this inspires some of for your upcoming summer baking projects!

Ice Cream

With summer just around the corner, I’ve been in the mood for ice cream…a whole lot of ice cream.  The past few summers I had the urge to make my own, but thought without an ice cream machine it’d be impossible.  However, I recently found out it was indeed possible to make this delicious summer treat sans-machine, and got to work testing out a bunch of recipes for a no-churn ice cream.  By combining a few different recipes, I finally had the perfect, most delicious ice cream and I thought I’d pass on the deliciousness to you.  What’s best about the recipe is that while the specific one below is for vanilla, there are hundreds of additional flavors you can create by following the alternate steps below.  So without further adieu, I present to you, my first (of many) ice cream tutorials.

Ice Cream IngredientsIce Cream DIY steps

Ingredients Needed:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 14 oz (1 can) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup coffee creamer (vanilla flavor)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla

Directions:

Step #1: In an electric mixer, beat the cream until stiff peaks form (about 3-4 minutes).

Step #2: Combine the vanilla, coffee creamer, and condensed milk in a bowl. Whisk to combine.

Note: Since this is vanilla ice cream, I used a vanilla-flavored coffee creamer to add more flavor. However, have you ever noticed how many amazing flavored coffee creamers there are at the grocery store??  There’s a coconut flavor, caramel, mint…heck, there’s even Girl Scout cookie flavored creamers!  By replacing the vanilla creamer with a flavored creamer, you can obtain that particular flavor of ice cream. Amazing, right!?!

Step #3: Fold the mixture into the whipped cream. Mix until combined.

Step #4: Pour the mixture into a freezer safe bowl and freeze until firm.

Once firm, you’re ready to scoop and serve up your delicious vanilla ice cream.  Now, how easy was that?!

Vanilla Ice CreamVanilla Ice Cream ConePerhaps, you are in the mood for something a bit more exciting than vanilla though.  Personally, I was craving some fruit-flavored ice cream.  I initially tried to add the chopped fruit to my mixture before freezing – but unfortunately, by the time your ice cream is firm and ready to scoop, your fruit is still rock hard – which is definitely not ideal.  Sure you could basically puree your fruit, but I wanted to be able to enjoy those delicious little bits of fruit in my ice cream.  I tried adding the fruit post-freeze and sure enough it worked wonderfully!  Follow along below to find out what to do.

Fruit-Ice-Cream

Once your vanilla ice cream is firm, remove it from the freezer and let it sit for a few minutes.  Then scoop it into a blender, add your fruit, and blend it up.  You’ll notice the consistency may get a bit runny, so at this point, you can add it back into your bowl and place it back in the freezer for about 15-30 minutes to get a bit more firm (while not completely freezing the fruit).  Following these easy steps, you’ll be able to serve any fruit flavor your heart desires!  I went ahead and made a bunch of different fruit flavors including: pear, peach, strawberry, raspberry, and plum (in addition to the blackberry ice cream pictured above).

DIY Fruit Ice CreamYou may recall yesterday’s note about the frustration of styling ice cream – that came into play here. It was practically impossible to photograph all these variations under my lights, as it was melting fairly quickly with the heat.  So, I just decided to embrace the mess and still go for that beautiful group shot below.  Messy Ice Cream

If you’re wanting to add something aside from fruit (crumbled cookies, caramel, candy, etc.), go ahead and add that in place of (or along with) your fruit before you blend.  And if you used a specialty flavored coffee creamer…say the Girl Scout Thin Mint creamer,  you could add in some crumbled Thin Mint cookies to your blender…and voilà, Thin Mint ice cream!  See what I mean – so many options here you guys!  Have fun!