gift of gratitude

The list of things and people I am grateful for is quite lengthy. I have lived a very blessed life with ample opportunities and good, wonderful people by my side. Most days I remain very optimistic and grateful for all that I have been given, but I have bad days too, and forget to take the time to think about all that is good in my life. One way to really focus on the positive instead of the negative is to start a gratitude journal. It’s simple – find something you are appreciative or grateful for everyday – just one thing, and soon you will begin to feel a shift in your thinking. You will develop a new perspective on life, and begin to find more joy and the beauty in all things and people around you.

So, on this holiday of Thanksgiving, where we take the time {hopefully} to sit and reflect on what and who we are grateful for, spread the gift of gratitude to your friends and family.

A gratitude journal would make for a lovely hostess gift, and if you’re hosting, it is a great place card or favor. You can buy beautiful journals, or if you want to keep things simple and on budget, buy a small hardbound book or journal. Wrap it old-school style {the way you use to cover your school books} with Kraft paper, add a library card due date ‘gratitude’ label with the date of this year’s Thanksgiving and sign your name at the bottom. It really is the gift that keeps on giving. Even if you don’t have the means to buy a gratitude journal for others this year, make it a point to start one for yourself.

If you forgot how to cover a book, here’s a few tips that may ‘spark’ a memory from your school days…

Cut Kraft paper as large as the book, plus an additional 2 inches on the top, bottom and 3-4 inches on the side. Place book on the paper, and fold the top and bottom of the Kraft paper, so it is equally aligned with the top and bottom of the book.

Place the book on top of the folds, open the book and push the cover the book through the Kraft paper sleeve openings on the side. 
Repeat with the back of the book.

Using Word or Illustrator, create a gratitude journal label, print and tape to the cover of the book…or you can even use a sharpie to write ‘gratitude journal’ on the cover.
Tie a bow with twine and voila.

{images via Tutto Bella}

dinosaurs and divas

Dinosaur and Diva – two simple d-words that sum up my children’s interests at this point in their lives PERFECTLY. My son does not do anything throughout the day without a dinosaur in hand, and my daughter has a purse hung on her shoulder, glasses on her head and sparkly shoes on her feet all hours of the day.

Being 9 months preggo made this year’s party planning more exhausting than most years, but I LOVE parties, details and DIY projects, and swollen feet and Braxton Hicks contractions weren’t going to stop me from throwing a cute and fun party.

I was on a budget as always, but with some creativity, the help of good ole’ Pinterest, hot glue, friends and family and food and drink, the party was a success.

ON THE MENU
Apps
Mexican 7 layer dip
Artichoke dip with chips and veggies
Queso and chips

Dinner
Taco bar
Fruit skewers
Smothered burritos

Dessert
Homemade dinosaur and flower shortbread cookies partly covered with Ghiradelli chocolate
Candy bar with my kids favorite candy: Red vines, Cinnamon bears, DumDum suckers, Starburst and Ring Pops
Chocolate and vanilla cupcakes topped off with toy dinosaurs and tiaras

DIY PROJECTS
{All DIY tutorials to follow in the coming weeks}

Turquoise-dyed Coffee filter #2
I wanted to create a fun background for the dessert table. Something different, affordable and eye-catching. I’ve seen coffee filters added to lamp shades, and they looked great with their ruffly effect. So, I tried color dying coffee filters for the first time, and creating an ombre, floral-esque #2 for my daughter}. Check back in for the DIY tutorial…

{p.s. if your interested in purchasing the #2 made of coffee filters or the #4 made of twigs below, please email me at trejsorelle@gmail.com…I no longer need and will sell for cheap}.

Tree branch #4
While playing outside with the kiddos and noticing a lot of dead branches on a nearby bush, I broke off about 50 branches from the bush with the creation of a #4 in mind. With a foam board, burlap, wire and hot glue, here’s how my #4 turned out.  

Dinosaur eggs made of yarn
I saw a lot of yarn eggs around Easter time, so I decided to use the same idea, only to create dinosaur eggs in green and orange. Stay tuned for a DIY tutorial…

Paint chip place cards
I gathered paint chips that coordinated with party colors from my local Home Depot, and within 10 minutes, I had place cards. I used Microsoft Word to type the names of the kids friends, and manually fed the paint chips into the printer. Once all names were printed, I used a blade to cut a slit above and below the names to create the perfect napkin holder.

Plate and utensil place setting
I used Kraft paper as a table linen, and used a sharpie marker to trace the kids’ place settings. This was a great linen for the kids table because they could get it dirty and once they were done with it I could throw it away, they could draw on it and it was affordable. 
For the rest of the kids table, I spray painted terra-cotta pots orange and filled with plants made to look like trees, and I spray painted olive oil glass containers pink for the white hydrangeas….something for the boys, and something for the girls! Each child had a mason jar with a curly and colorful straw too!

For the adults table, I kept it simple. I bought tiny twig wreaths {to appear like a dino nest} from Wal-Mart for $2, and put a mason jar and hydrangea in it. Then, for a more rustic touch, I lined up the three mason jars along a 6 ft antique piece of wood.

Another notably cute table setting was Jameson’s drink and volcano table because for a unique and free table setting, I used extra grass turf sitting in the garage from my parents putting green in their backyard.

Dumdum tree for candy bar
Living in the mountains, my staples for DIY projects, like Michael’s and Hobby Lobby are not an option, so good ole’ Walmart had to do. But….no styrafoam balls! What? Who doesn’t carry those? So, my dreams and love for a Dum Dum topiary will be made a reality at the next party maybe.

Plan B…a Dum Dum tree. Walmart had adorable turquoise and pink striped buckets and a florists green tree-shaped Styrofoam, so I went with it…

Volcano
I remember building a volcano for a grade school science project, so my mom, Jameson and I went to work on creating one for his big party. Stay tuned for a tutorial…


D
uct tape water bottle label
My sister {also my own personal graphic designer} just had a baby, so instead of adding another thing to her already busy plate of running an adorable boutique and being an awesome momma, I tried to find another creative water bottle labels not requiring graphic design}. I removed the labels and added pink and orange duct tape around the water bottles. Then, while playing outside with the kiddos I found small twigs that were damp and easy to bend, which made for the perfect J for Jameson’s initial, then I found .29 cents turquoise necklaces from Party City that I cut and shaped into a G, and glued to water bottle.


Dinosaur and girl footprints
I found online photos of dinosaur footprints and toddler size footprints, print copies on color paper on my computer, printed and tape to the floor.

ACTIVITIES
Dino-fabulous egg hunt: the boys hunted for eggs in  the backyard filled with dinosaurs and the girls hunted for eggs filled with rings, bracelets and candy. The kids used their Ikea favor bags as baskets for their hunt.

Erupting volcano

Manicure and pedicure station and Dress-Up Station
The girls could dress like divas from head to toe, and get their nails painted to match their dress-up outfits.

FAVORS
Ikea bags {orange for boys and pink for girls…75 cents each} at each place setting with custom thank you labels filled with: dinosaur noses, dinosaur egg gumballs and dinosaur figurines for the boys and comb and mirror set, white sunglasses, mini-size nail polish and chapstick rings for the girls.
 
Invites and Labels
Done by none other than my fabulous sister at Fleur de Lis, a paperie, Jenna.
The invite is now available in our etsy shop, click here.
VENDOR LOVE

Cupcakes: Mountain Cupcakes, Vail, Colorado
Photography: Meredith Moran Photography
Frames: Ikea
Favor Bags: Ikea
Invitation and paper accessories: Fleur de Lis, a paperie {online Etsy store available here}