Monday, December 31, 2012

the tiny hummingbird | best of 2012

Another year gone by and once again I have big plans for the blog in this coming year. I didn't get around to everything I wanted to do around here in 2012, so hopefully 2013 will bring some shiny new things at the tiny hummingbird. Before we get in to all that, here's a look at the most popular posts from this year...

January - washi tape gift tags | February - DIY business cards | March - how to clean a cast iron pan | April - my new profile pic photo shoot  | May - a tropic Dutch baby | the most delicious breakfast | June - a day at the zoo & my big backyard | July - a very popular weekend post | August - I seem to have disappeared this month. Must have been all that preparing for Paris! | September - where to shop in Paris | October - what to do with Brussels sprouts | November - Ezra turns 2! A School Bus Birthday | December - craft night at Anthropologie

As always, thanks for reading! It means a lot that to me out of all the websites out there, you guys take a few minutes each day to come here. Here's to 2013 and all it holds!

Friday, December 21, 2012

hello weekend

So much is going on around here lately that I haven't had much time to think about this weekend yet! I do know that we have plants to visit La Salette to see the lights tomorrow night as long as the weather cooperates, and that on Sunday we're hosting a little blueflash Christmas party. I'm just starting to plan things for it now, so wish me luck!

On a different note, let's continue to remember the Sandy Hook community in our prayers.

To start off the link list, here's...
a small way to help
- another house tour that I love
- I want to make my own beeswax candles
- definitely adding tomato soup and grilled cheese croutons to my next menu!
- why didn't I think of making pom pom magnets before?
- did you know that feather slips exist? via ardor
- love these fun color block gift tags
this little girl's room is like a party every day
- I love the idea of giving just four gifts for Christmas

Have a great weekend doing all your last minute preparations for Christmas on Tuesday! Have a very merry one :) I'll see you back here soon!

image via gather

Thursday, December 20, 2012

yarn & wire monograms | handmade ornaments & gift toppers

As promised, here's the tutorial for making the yarn wrapped wire initial ornaments we made at the holi-diy event at Anthropologie on Tuesday night. 

First, gather your supplies: plastic coated steel wirequick dry tacky glue or a hot glue gun, yarn or wool roving, and pliers. 

Cut a piece of wire about eight inches long and bend it into the shape of the letter you want to make. You may need to use the pliers to get sharp corners so use them to help you form the letter. Cut a length of yarn about four feet long. 
Squeeze a line of glue about an inch long onto one end of the letter. 

Lay the one end of the yarn along the glue, with the end pointing in towards the letter. In the above image, I'm holding the end of the yarn and the length extends off the 'E.' This allows you to hide the end once you start wrapping the yarn.

Begin wrapping the yarn around the wire, starting at the tip of the letter and continuing towards the bend. 

Keep wrapping! Continue until you get to a place where the yarn might slide off. Add a dab of glue, wrap, and hold for about thirty seconds. If you're using hot glue, definitely do not hold the yarn in place! That's for tacky glue users only. You may need to fuss with it a bit to get it looking right.

Wrap until you get to the end of the letter and repeat - glue, wrap, and hold. Trim the yarn, or leave the end hanging if you like that look.

Add a loop of yarn (just cut a few inches and tie it off) so you can hang your new yarn monogram on the tree! E is for Ezra, of course!

Or add the letter to a gift. It definitely makes personalizing each package easy!

If you're really ambitious you can make a word. My needle nose pliers got a workout when I was trying to form the word "joy!"

You can even make a word garland. I hung the word "peace" over one of my chevron canvases and added a few more lengths of yarn so I could hang our Christmas cards with little clothespins. If you were at the workshop Tuesday night or if you make any monograms from the tutorial, send me a picture! I'd love to see how yours turn out!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

HAPPY HOLI-DIY | a recap of my craft night at Anthropologie

Last night was so much fun - I hosted an event at Anthropologie (you may have heard about it, ha) and to top it off two customers thought I worked there because I "dressed like it" and I had a "great outfit." Two of the greatest compliments of my life right there. Oh, and my mom and aunt came out to support me and they were like my personal fan club so that was nice, too. Hopefully everyone who came to the event had as good a time as I did! We made initial ornaments that do double duty as gift toppers, and a few industrious people even made enough letters to make a word garland! Check back tomorrow for the tutorial. Here are a bunch of photos of the event... much thanks to Matt who stopped by for a little while to capture these images for me. 


Most of all, thanks to Anthropologie for having me and to everyone who came to the event! Hope we can do another one real soon :)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

caught being crafty | simple pom pom magnets

Yesterday I saw a quick tutorial for pom pom magnets on julep (minted's blog) and immediately wondered why I had never thought of making some before. Forehead slap! I broke out the hot glue gun, grabbed some plain black magnets off the fridge (they weren't always plain but a certain someone is always yanking off the coins I had on them), and dug the pom poms out of my craft room. 

And to be real, I'm sharing where I really did this craft - no fancy styling today, folks. We weren't in the craft room or even on the dining room table. These pom pom magnets were constructed on top of the counter next to the door, where Matt piles all of his junk for months (and months and months). Not pictured: miscellaneous cables, crumpled business cards, about twenty photo strips, a stack of test prints, phone chargers, receipts, an empty piggy bank (okay, so that's not Matt's), and who knows what else.

All I did was fire up the glue gun, squirt some glue onto the magnets, and press the pom poms on top. Done and done. Pretty (ombre!) pom pom magnets. Thanks so much for the idea, Alison!

Monday, December 17, 2012

a time to pray

I've rewritten this post so many times and I still don't have the words right, but as a mother and former teacher I can't let today pass by without writing about the tragedy that happened in Newtown, CT last week. I don't have anything new to add to the conversation. Just saying that I'm lifting the families of those lost up to God, praying for peace and hope and healing with tears falling and a heart that is broken for them. Psalm 56:8 says "You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book." Our tears are sacred to God; He sees our heartache and longs to heal each one who is hurting. Join me in praying for the families and friends of the children and the loved ones of the adults whose lives were taken on Friday.

image via Associated Press

Friday, December 14, 2012

hello weekend & an Anthropologie event reminder

Last call to sign up for the craft event at Anthropologie next week! Everything you need to know is listed above, but to see my original post go here. Also, it's completely free! So come join me and the team at Anthropologie and make a few ornaments, gift toppers, or even a word garland (I have "peace" hanging on one of my chevron canvases, along with our Christmas cards). Bring your mom and sisters! Tell your friends and neighbors! There are only a handful of spots left in the early session, but the second session is only about half full so sign up so I can meet you!

In addition to prepping for the event, I'm also getting ready for my friend Hillary's baby shower tomorrow morning. Let's just say that the KitchenAid and oven are getting a workout. After the shower Matt and I are heading to our youth group Christmas party. I may or may not be wearing a tacky sweater.

And now for the weekly weekend reading...
the unspoken subtext of dinner party offerings
- this gingerbread house party reminds me of my cousin Meg's birthday parties when we were little
- have a cup of cheer
another brownstone tour that I love (check out the nursery!)
a gummy bear chandelier exists!
- this is such a pretty manicure
- now I need a ladder for displaying quilts
- a Harold and the Purple Crayon tee shirt. Want. via Get Along and Go
- a (free! printable!) calendar devoted to sweets
- it's like camping for wimps and I think I like it
- I've never wanted a cat stuffed animal so badly in my life

Have a great weekend! I know I'm going to :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

an ebelskiver morning | the best breakfast

Last week we had some dreary days and our house needed some warming up, literally and figuratively, so instead of the usual oatmeal I decided to make ebelskivers for breakfast. I received the pan as a gift from my mother-in-law a couple years ago but haven't used it too often, and I thought these little filled pancakes would be an enticing breakfast for Ezra. 

Sure enough, he loved dumping all the ingredients into the bowl and whisking them together. He also ate raspberry jam by the spoonful when I was pouring batter into the pan. Great start to the morning. He did eat about six ebelskivers once they were done, so I'd say they were a hit.

After enjoying a couple batches of ebelskivers over the next few days I resolved to make them more often. Combine an ebelskiver pan with a recipe book or a can of pancake mix for a Christmas gift! Or buy them for yourself... your toddler will thank you.

Friday, December 7, 2012

hello weekend

We're laying low this weekend, getting over a cold (me) and a sinus infection (Ezra), or at least I hope we are! I'd like to get out for a couple hours tomorrow to pick out our Christmas tree, so hopefully we'll be well enough to do that. That's all for the weekend I guess! Before we get to the link love I just wanted to make sure you heard about my craft night at Anthropologie in a couple weeks... it's free, and you can check out all the details right here! Hope you can come!

This list is looooong. Clearly I loved the internet this week.
these Christmas decorations are the coolest (that pig!)
- one of the most personalized Christmas gifts you can give - a custom recipe illustration!
- spotted the coolest Christmas playlist 
- this terrarium kit would make a great gift for so many people I know, including me
- pretty much the cutest gift tags ever, and they're free!
- this get well kit is the perfect antidote for all those winter sniffles, in fact I could use one right now!
- found my calendar for 2013!
- a Boston home tour and am NYC brownstone tour. Love them both.
- definitely making this wood block nativity with Ezra
- printing this Christmas gift list and putting it to good use this weekend
- the prettiest pot of tea I've ever seen
- love this cool pallet wall in a nursery
- print up these perfect Roald Dahl quotes
- such a pretty and simple hostess gift

Oh, and I can't forget to announce the winner of the City Dining Cards giveaway - it's Jacklin! I'll be in touch soon to get your address so I can mail the cards to you.

Thanks to everyone else who entered! Hope you all have a great weekend!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

HAPPY HOLI-DIY | a craft night with Anthropologie & me!

I have such fun news to share today! I'm excited to announce that I'm partnering with Anthropologie and hosting an evening full of crafting and snacking at my local store in Garden City on December 18th. We'll be making yarn monograms which can be used as ornaments or gift toppers, so come on by and craft with us! 

There are two one-hour sessions and space is very limited so if you'd like to join us, email soon to reserve your spot at the workshop! Please include your preferred session time in your email. Hope to see you there! 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

out to eat in RI | City Dining Cards & a giveaway!

City Dining Cards. Have you heard of them? Here's how it works - you purchase the deck of fifty cards for $20. Each card is good for $10 off a purchase of $30 or more at the restaurant on the card. That's it! Super simple. They just arrived in Providence a couple months ago and Matt and I were lucky enough to get a deck of cards in advance to try them out. So far Matt and I have been to Trinity Brewhouse and we had wicked good pizza and sweet potato fries. I know, odd combination, but we knew they would both keep Ezra happy. I can't wait to go to XO Cafe or Kitchen Bar next. 

Sound good? Well, if you'd like to win a few cards here's what you need to do - check out the list of participating Providence restaurants and let me know where you'd like to go! Just leave a comment telling me what your favorite restaurant on the list is. 

For extra entries leave separate comments for doing any of the following...
- subscribe to the tiny hummingbird.
- like City Dining Cards - Providence on facebook.
- share this giveaway on facebook.
- tweet about this giveaway. 

Giveaway Guidelines
- You have two days to enter this giveaway (closes Thursday, December 6th at midnight)
- anonymous comments will be ignored so make sure I know who you are and how to contact you!
- the winner will be chosen randomly and announced in this week's  hello weekend post on Friday, December 8th
- winner must respond within seven days to secure the prize or an alternate winner will be randomly selected

I can't wait to hear where you'd like to eat! Good luck!

Monday, December 3, 2012

a chocolate chip cookie celebration | happy birthday to my husband

Last week I hosted a chocolate chip cookie taste off in honor of Matt's 28th birthday. It was quite possibly the best birthday party I've ever hosted. I got the idea from You Are My Fave and used the invitations from there, too.

We had eight entrants into the taste off and almost all of them were classic versions of the chocolate chip cookie. My favorite part about being the host was the questions I got to answer, like this one from my friend Karissa: So if I bring slice and bakes, should I send you the ingredients list and cooking instructions? That was a joke that I didn't get (Matt is vehemently opposed to any and all forms of store bought cookies and Karissa knows it); thankfully no slice and bake cookies were entered in the contest. Another good question: Are we limited to one batch per couple or can we each enter a recipe? There's a back story to that one - my friends Keri and Josh had a dispute about whose recipe to use (they're married) - Keri's famous "Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies" or Josh's "Sweet and Salty Chocolate Chip Cookies" (or, as Keri called them, "Variation on Toll House Because My Wife Wouldn’t Let Me Copy the Recipe Cookies"). Here's a quote from Keri: "I'm glad there can be spousal competition, because I thought marriage counseling was going to be necessary if we had to narrow it down to one recipe."  This is the kind of dedication our friends brought to the party. It was awesome. And Keri won, by the way. Here's her winning batch of cookies...

I highly recommend having your own chocolate chip cookie taste off. Soon. In fact, I may need to have another one.

P.S. I made this for Matt's birthday cake, but doesn't  this one look incredible?

Friday, November 30, 2012

hello weekend

We're heading home today from a trip to Pennsylvania (business for Matt, leisure for me and Ezra - more on that next week!) but before we head back to RI we're stopping at the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia. Any other area recommendations for the area? This family loves to eat so somewhere good for lunch would be wonderful! Once we're home I have a mountain of laundry to do, but after that I'm planning on getting a head start on a quilt for a friend's baby and then working a little craft for our Christmas tree. On Saturday we're going to The Locals for brunch and then in the afternoon I'll be attending my first meeting of the RI Modern Quilt Guild! I'm so excited for this weekend I can hardly stand it. Do you have anything fun going on? Hope so!

- here's a fun giant advent calendar, and a small one in a jar
- is it possible that these are the best brownies ever?
- can't stop looking at the images of this gorgeous party, via creature comforts
- a DIY Italian soda bar? Yes, please!
- isn't this just the sweetest little doll?
- actively looking for an excuse to make some glitter party hats
- here's one way to prove you heart Rhode Island
- my love for chocolate peanut butter cups will never end
- these are such pretty desktop wallpapers
- next time I make sugar cookies I'm totally making hand cookies
- I have a thing for these nesting dolls
- need new Christmas music? Download Hey, It's Christmas for free, via the rockstar diaries

Can you believe that December begins tomorrow?! This year absolutely flew by (don't they always?) but I'm so excited for this season! Hope you have a great weekend, and I'll see you back here next week!

image via French Larkspur

Thursday, November 29, 2012

tea with Rose | Seven Stars

This stop on our tea tour was an unexpected one - Hillary and I didn't plan on meeting up until that morning, and the place we planned on having tea was closed! So we headed to nearby Seven Stars. Seven Stars isn't really known for its tea, but I love it just the same (the veggie sandwich! the chocolate croissants!) and ordered a hot cup of lemon ginger as well as a ginger biscuit. I usually stick with a hot chocolate (perfect for croissant dunking), but on a tea tour one orders tea.

So I shared my tea with Ezra, and he ate the entire ginger biscuit that was meant to be shared. Lemon tea is one of my favorites and this cup didn't disappoint. Now to decide on a place to visit next month. We've decided to meet for high tea somewhere... I'm thinking either Besos or The Spring Seasons Inn, if they're open. Any recommendations for us?

Monday, November 26, 2012

snickerdoodle pumpkin ice cream sandwiches

Over the weekend I made pumpkin ice cream which was delicious on its own, but then I had the brilliant idea to make snickerdoodles, too, and then make them into ice cream sandwiches. Sadly, I forgot to take pictures of my delicious creations but then I did some googling and found that I wasn't the first person to dream up this yummy combination of fall flavors. Nope, not even a little bit. So the photo isn't mine, but the recipe combination is - pumpkin ice cream with chopped candied ginger and bittersweet chocolate chunks sandwiched between two giant snickerdoodles. Try it. They're amazing.

image via chow

Thursday, November 22, 2012

a day of thanks

Last night I couldn't sleep because I was just overwhelmed at how beautiful life is. I think that a lot of times I am blind to the little things in my life that add up to the bigger picture, but I'm making an effort to notice from now on. There are so many reasons to give thanks - for my little boy and his funny face. for a warm home and a soft bed. for a car. actually, for two cars. for dear friends. for my church home. for blank pages in new notebooks. for chocolate chip cookies, brownies, and hot chocolate. for books and the library. for pretty wrapping paper and ribbon. for blogs. for corduroys. for Target. for butternut squash. for family that lives close by. for quilts and snuggling. for magazines. for mugs of hot tea. for my glasses. for opportunity. for my husband who is my perfect match. for God who brought us together and redeemed us. most of all, for this blessing called life and the ability to experience it - this beautiful, messy, and lovely time on earth.  

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Psalm 107:1

And a few things to keep you busy while you're waiting for that pumpkin pie to come out of the oven later on...
- love this offbeat Christmas card, via foxtrot press
- I want my Thanksgiving feast to look just like this one
- this is my favorite advent calendar of all time
- I've never been interested in whoopie pies until now
- there are no words for this guest room in a short bus, via Handmade Charlotte
- and for all you locals, free holiday parking in Providence will be in effect on Friday!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Ezra turns 2! | a school bus birthday party

I've been putting off writing about Ezra's second birthday party because I was overwhelmed by the amount of pictures that Matt took, but I finally sorted through them and chose some of my favorites to share here. We held Ezra's party on a Thursday morning because of some weekend scheduling issues that couldn't be resolved, but it ended up working out quite well. The party was school bus-themed because Ezra loves watching the neighborhood children getting picked up in the morning right outside our house every day. After Matt's return home from work, I think it's his favorite part of the day.

Matt started snapping before I had everything completely set up, and once the toddler party guests arrived my carefully staged dining room was quickly dismantled (as it should be at a party!) so there aren't any pictures of the full set up. The paper products are all from Target (plates found in the dollar section and the rest are Mara Mi), and I borrowed the yellow striped tablecloths from my mother-in-law.

They're hard to see, but I made little flags for the cupcakes out of white and yellow ticking. A matching garland hung from the two shelves in the dining room.

I replaced everything that's usually on them with a few things that coordinated with the party theme - yellow tulips in a mint julep cup, an embroidery hoop displaying a square of school bus fabric (Kokka Beep Beep, in case anyone is wondering), a wind up school bus toy, a framed illustration of a bus, the silver E from Ezra's room (it made an appearance last year, too), a wooden school bus I found on Etsy, and a candle. Yeah, the candle didn't have much to do with anything, but I needed something to fill the space. Of course pom poms were involved (will I ever stop making them?).

We served banana bread, pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, cinnamon rolls, and mini bananas.

Drinks were kept simple - just water and apple cider.

I found these cute school bus wrappers for Hershey's chocolates, so of course I printed out a few sheets and Ezra and I spent an afternoon cutting and sticking them on. (Of course I was in charge of cutting so don't anyone get worried. Ezra was in charge of the glue dots.)

Lucky for us, my dad works part time for a bus company so he was able to drive a school bus over to the party and take us for a ride! I was beyond ecstatic when his request was approved because I thought it would be the perfect party activity and I knew Ezra would be excited to ride with his Grandpa.

We rode over to a playground near our house and let the kids burn off some energy for a while. 

Obviously it's very difficult to take a picture of twenty toddlers and preschoolers with their moms.

After about twenty minutes we all piled back on the bus and headed back home for birthday cupcakes!

Ezra had been waiting for this moment since he woke up. He had been practicing blowing out the candles since his friend Amelia's party. You know, just blowing on anything or nothing after half singing "happy happy!"

I think Ezra ate the frosting off of three cupcakes and left the rest. He basically ate cupcakes for breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner, and dessert that day. What can I say? A boy doesn't turn two every day.

A week before Ezra's party I decided to make a child-size photo booth prop. We didn't do a fancy backdrop, but the kids had fun pretending to drive the school bus around our house.  

Babies got in on the action, too!

We sent everyone home with yellow school bus crayons and little school bus coloring books I made using Microsoft Word and free school bus coloring pages. Apparently I didn't get any photos of the books and crayons... just the bags. Oops!

Two and a half weeks later and Ezra is still talking about the 'coo bus' ride with his friends. And the frosting. He certainly hasn't forgotten the frosting. Thanks to everyone who celebrated with us!

P.S. I'm happy to give the cupcake flags and garland to anyone who's local and can pick them up! Just send me an email...
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