Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy Holidays Everyone!

...I hope everyone is enjoying their holidays, and relaxing with friends and family!

... I am currently in Massachusetts, spending time with my family and awaiting the arrival of my baby nephew! I hope he comes before I have to  head back to California!

... Looking forward to updating my blog with some new entries of projects I've been working on...

... See you all in the New Year!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Bake-O-Rama 2009...

...every year, I get together with my friends Roxanne and Courtney for a day of serious holiday baking. The tradition began 5 years ago when Roxanne and I were roommates. We lived in a tiny but nice 2 bedroom apartment in San Francisco right next to Harris' steakhouse. We loved our little apartment (well, except that it was little!) and had some great adventures living together (one thing we learned: a health insurance card DOES NOT pass as acceptable proof that one is over the age of 21, but that is another story for another day!)

... in 2005, Roxanne and I thought it would be fun to do some holiday baking on a Saturday, and then hit our favorite neighborhood bar in the evening to relax and enjoy the season. We called our new venture "Bake-O-Rama", and the title has stuck. And Bake -O-Rama WAS a good idea, to be sure! However, our kitchen was approximately 4 square feet, we had an oven that a friend of ours affectionately describes as "Holly Hobby's Oven", a plastic mixing bowl, and a hand mixer. Looking back, it was quite a crazy idea! But, we managed to each make about 3 or 4 recipes that day, and every surface of our tiny apartment was taken up with cooling cookies... the counter, the table, the coffee table, the storage unit...we were up to our ears in cookies!

... we lovingly packaged up our creations and gave them as gifts to people we knew that season: friends, co-workers, even the valet guys at Harris' next door who always helped us find cabs when we went out on the town.

... much has changed since that first year, I got engaged and moved in with my now husband, and suddenly had a much larger kitchen for Bake-O-Rama. My husband's sister Courtney moved in with Roxanne and we invited her to join our baking frenzy. I got a Kitchen Aid mixer for my wedding, as did Roxanne an year later. Courtney's mom lends her Kitchen Aid, so long gone are the plastic bowl and hand mixer days. I still have my good sized kitchen, but now Roxanne also has a good sized kitchen with double ovens for our days of baking. Gone are the small kitchens,Holly Hobby ovens, hand mixers, plastic bowls, ancient cookie sheets and Safeway brand spatulas... now we have Kitchen Aids, better kitchens, double ovens, Calfalon cookie sheets, silpat mats, stainless steel and glass smixing bowls, and silicone spatulas of multiple sizes.

... but you know what? No matter what sized kitchen we are in, or what quality tools we have to create our goodies, it's the time spent with my good friends, baking, talking, gossiping, and laughing that is the best ingredient of the day.

... Cheers and love to Roxanne and Courtney for another successful Bake-O-Rama!!

...a shot of *some* of  the ingredients (thanks court! I stole these pics from you!):

... a shot of *some* of the finished products:

... at home yesterday, I was eager to try some packaging ideas that I had seen in Martha Stewart. I made a goodie package for my friend Kim with whom I run (I just took some quick shots yesterday before I had to run out the door to deliver them, so they aren't the worlds best pics):

Oh Christmas Tree...

...well, between work, Thanksgiving travel, the flu, baking, creating gift bags, running, and work travel, my dear husband and I managed to not only GET a Christmas tree, but actually decorate it!

Considering that I had the flu and felt quite cruddy when we went to get the tree, I think we picked a really good one!


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Oh Martha, as Crafy as Ever...

... With the holiday season upon us, we are all busy wrapping up beautiful packages. And, what's even better, there are tons of really creative packaging ideas everywhere I look!

... As I was looking for ideas for this year's Bake-O-Rama (that's a whole other story for a whole other day!), I found that Martha Stewart has some great ideas for packaging up baked goodies for the holidays. I think I will remember these for gift baskets, but you should use them for your holiday presentations!

... This is a really cute way to package up large cookies to give out:

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I am so in love with these mini suitcases...

... that I was dying to design a gift package around one of them! I spent part of my Thanksgiving break working on this design for an upcoming article. I really have to say, this was a really fun package to design, and it really illustrates how easily your guests can be personally welcomed with some simple ingredients.

...The contents of this package are quite simple, a few bottles of water, some local chocolates, a package of tissues, and some local visitors maps of San Francisco. What makes this package special are some really simple things that you can do to make your guest feel special.

... a personalized tag on the outside of the case, a warm note of welcome from the bride and groom, and a weekend itinerary are an easy way to let your guests know how much it means that they have travelled to share in your special day. Also included in this package was a list of area favorites from the bride and groom, including restaurants, bars, golf courses, and spas.

... so, take the ingredients, pair it up with some personalized notes, and put it all together with your wedding colors or cute graphic, and you've got a beautifully coordinated, fun, and special welcome gift for your guests!

... Here are some more shots of the details of the gift...

...happy designing!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving to All!

Happy belated Thanksgiving, everyone!

I have been back here on the East Coast celebrating with my family and catching up with some friends (although I didn't get to see ALL my friends, which made me sad, but I will be back in a month, so hopefully we can reconnect soon!).

We flew in on Tuesday evening and headed right to my parents house in Western Mass, which according to my city slicker husband, is "the boonies". I assure you it is not "the boonies", but it is quieter and more spread out than San Francisco, and it is just the perfect place to be to slow down, relax and spend time with the family for the holidays. My life in SF is so busy, so on the go, that I really look forward to quiet nights at home, drinking wine with my mom and catching up on gossip from the hometown. Anyway, when we arrived, sure enough, the wood stove was all fired up, and the chardonnay was chilled! It was the gateway to the perfect Thanksgiving break.

On Wednesday, we braved the supermarket to pick up some last minute ingredients for some desserts we were making, and made our way back home for an afternoon of baking with my mom. Well, I guess I should clarify... I spent the afternoon baking with my mom, while my husband spent the afternoon reading and watching some television.

Homemade apple pie, homemade pecan pie, and whoopie pies were all successfully created after just a few mishaps... one being that the pecan pie stayed in the oven a tad too long, so a new one was made. The other involved unknowingly making whoopie pie dough with self-rising flour... "whoops" for sure! I'm telling you, life is difficult when you are not in your own kitchen! Anyway, in the end, all turned out yummy and the feasting began!

Thanksgiving Day was spent at my sister's house with her children, her husband, his cousin, a student of my brother in law, my parents, my aunt, and my brother. Now, that might not sound like a lot to many people out there, but I come from an AMAZINGLY small family (interesting, considering that BOTH of my parents families are Irish Catholic...go figure), so anything over 8 people is quite an accomplishment! The food was great, the company was even better!

Since then, I have been relaxing, working on some projects, and catching up with some friends.

We fly out on Tuesday evening from Boston, so today, my husband and I drove back to my sister's, which is closer to Boston, and we'll stay here until we head out. We always like to spend the last few days of our trips out here because it gives us a chance to spend time with my sister and her husband and most importantly, spend some QT with our nieces. Today we went to the local Y where they showed off their swimming prowess. I was quite proud of both of them and had an amazing time.

So, this entry has nothing to do with anything I normally write about, but sometimes it's good to just relax a bit and enjoy life.

I have been working on a few things, however, and should have some photos up in the next few days.

Again, Happy Thanksgiving, and let's all remember the real beauty of the holiday season that is now upon us in full force: spending time with friends and family and appreciating all the wonderful things in life.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Oh The Places We've Been...

...well, I know I'VE been M.I.A., but the title of this blog entry refers to my latest project.

... My client contacted me and wanted to do some favors for the festivities that were being held the night before her friend's wedding. She is a bridesmaid in the wedding and thought it would be fun to do something for all the girls and the bride to help everyone relax and have fun as they spent the night before the big day in the bride's suite.

... The theme came from talking to the bridesmaid about all the girls and where they are from, where they have been, and what adventures they have had together. Not all the bridesmaids know each other well, so this was also an opportunity for the girls to get to know one another better.

... And so, the idea of "Oh The Places We've Been" came to be! we settled on a travel theme for the favors, creating well traveled "suitcases" from simple gable boxes. I created stickers that highlighted where all the girls were from, where they had studied, where they had traveled, and where they have lived. Let me tell you, these girls are globetrotters! The wedding is taking place in LA, so I created retro-looking "luggage tags" for each girl with the destination as "Cara's Wedding, LAX"

... The travel theme was carried through all the tags and labels, and the colors of the wedding were used here and there...brown, silver, green, and rust...neat color combo, I think! Perfect for a Thanksgiving weekend wedding!

... Since the girls don't all know each other, my client and I thought it would be fun to devise a little "game" or activity for them while they spend the evening together. So, each girl got a card in her pack that asks her to tell a story, a funny moment, a special memory of times they've had with the bride. It's a way for all the girls to get to know how they all connect, AND hear some fun stories about the bride!

... Included in this favor pack are: water, advil, a personalized champagne glass (automatic wine charm!), and a soothing gift pack of soap, lotion, and body wash to help the girls relax as they get ready for the big day.

... I had a ton of fun doing this project, it was a great idea on the part of my client! I just wish I could be there to hear all the wonderful tales of this fun, well traveled bride! I hope to post some better pictures soon!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sorry I've Been M.I.A...

... I have just had a really hectic week, last weekend I was in Lake Tahoe with one of my best friends, Roxanne. We were visiting our friend and my sister-in-law, Courtney, who was up at Squaw for the week being Ms. Head Honcho for her company's sales meeting. She works for The North Face and is the one who coordinates their sales meetings and basically is the brains behind the operation.

... We went to go see her at the end of the sales meeting, and to relax in Tahoe. It was quite a great time

... From there I just had a crazy hectic week with work and school and things to do for Woods&Co! The week got away from me and so did this weekend. Here it is Sunday evening, and my "To Do" list isn't any shorter...

...alas, I am planning on doing a blog entry highlighting some great new stores that I have found lately that have given me some real inspiration...hopefully I will be able to get to that this week!

... stay tuned for some great new places to get all sorts of great stuff!

... oh, and Happy November!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Country Bride's Gotta Thank All Her Cowgirls! my trip to Nashville was tons of fun and got me thinking of new ideas for gift bags...

...while walking around Nashville, I came across a few country gifts and got an idea about creating a gift that a bride could use to thank her bridesmaids. I thought that if anyone out there was having a country wedding or even just liked country and western things, this might be a cute idea to thank your friends for being there for you.

...this is just a little mock up I threw together (literally... I made the tags really fast, just to see what they would look like... hence the pencil lines, lol!) with some things I picked up while down south...

... I bought a really cute brown canvas bag with blue cowboy boots stamped on it. It's got this great striped ribbons for handles, and the brown and blue combination is really pleasing. I thought that it would be a great little bag that your country lovin' friends could use after the wedding, as it is made of ncie quality canvas and has a velcro fastener inside the bag. I also think that you could recreate this bag by buying plain canvas bags yourself , and stamping an image on the bag at home. That way you could choose your very own theme!

... anyway, I also found some country themed cookie cutters in the shapes of cowboy hats, stars, musical notes, and guitars. Not only would they make great edible additions to the gift bag (I have yet to try them out with a cookie recipe, but will definitely post pics when I do!), but I also used them as stencils to shape the tags for the contents of the bag. I made a great "name tag" for the bag by cutting out light brown and dark brown cowboy hats and layering them on top of one another to provide some depth!

... here are some more photos...

... these photos show some details of the contents...I also found in Nashville some lotion and lipbalm by Tennessee Cowgirl, and I thought that they would be a great addition to a girly thank you bag for your bridesmaids... I also found a mini bottle of champagne and a champagne glass and figured all these elements together might make for a great girls night in with your fave gals, celebratin' with some bubbly and lookin' pretty!

...all the tags and the note to the bridesmaid have a little bit of a country twist, just to keep up the fun of the theme!

... hope you like it! I thought it was fun to play around with this theme and find some fun fonts to make the bag complete. It's just a rough draft, not all the details completely worked out, but I was so excited to share this idea!

... hope you all had a great weekend, have a fun and creative week!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Tweet Tweet...

... Woods&Company is now on Twitter! Follow me at

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

An Exciting Day For Woods&Co...

... I was featured in the Fall 2009 Wedding Guide on Daily Candy San Francisco! I have to thank Diona Polito for putting the ball in motion for me to be on DC. It really was unexpected, thrilling, and an honor.

... I am happy to say that I have received very positive feedback and I am looking forward to exploring some new opportunities that seem to be coming my way. is the link to the *short* blurb, which has a link to my website...check it out, tell your friends, I am happy to work with you for whatever event you are planning! Wedding, shower, birthday party, anniversary... you name it!

...p.s. I am putting together another "Work In Progress" post with a project inspired by Nashville...look out all you Cowgirls out there!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Whew! What a time in Nashville...

... so I spent Wednesday through Friday in Nashville for a work trip, and I had a great time! We stayed in downtown Nashville and had some time to hang out in Music City and get to know the South!

... here are some photos from my trip... food... some ribs and a very southern lunch...

... but aside from the food, I was really interested in some of the scenes of Nashville, the architecture and the culture...

... and no trip to Nashville would be complete without a little cowboy...

... it was a great trip, I'd definitely go back!