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!