why don’t we… collect pretty leaves

Painted leaves

Happy Halloween friends! Besides collecting loads of candy this weekend we will also be out collecting leaves. They are changing and so seriously pretty this time of year. Collecting leaves and crafting with them is a great way to fill the rest of the weekend, and an awesome distraction from that gigantic bowl of treats, right there… come Saturday morning.

Birch Leaves

If you don’t live in a place where leaves are plentiful – you can craft your own! These bright threaded birch leaves I created for Darby Smart add a festive fall detail inside or out. Grab the printable leaf designright here, along with the birch veneer to make a gorgeous leaf statement this fall.

While we get collecting, here are a few other crafty ideas for your leaves:

A gorgeous tree filled with painted leaves | Photo leaves | Paper leaf garland | Leaf confetti | Typography leaves | Waxed leaves that will stay all season long | Leaf stamped banner | I’m dying to eat more of these chocolate leaves | Leaf bowls | And if all else fails, buy a leaf balloon!

Have a happy Halloween weekend friends. xoxo

(Top photo by Josh Reames)

Posted October 31, 2014 0 Comments
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chocolate chocolate-chip cherry brownies

Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Cherry Brownies

Tis the weekend of sweets and candy! Our chocolate bucket is already filled with milky, gooey wrappers – and the twins still have school parties, a house party, and trick-or-treating to go. We will be stocked up, but I’m trying to not dig into their stash too much this year. I always end up disappointed when devouring a miniature candy bar.

Instead, I thought it would be fun to treat the grown-ups to a sweet that will be totally worth the calories consumed. A chocolate chocolate-chip cherry brownie will do the trick – don’t you think? I’ve never tasted a sweet treat that I loved more!

Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Cherry Brownies

Make this amazing treat for the weekend, and let me encourage you to happily leave the mini Kit-Kats alone.

Start with your favorite chocolate brownie recipe. One thing I love about these brownies is that you can add the extra sweetness to any recipe you love. Try them gluten-free, original, from a box, or even make them out of beans (although, beans do not ever truly taste like chocolate).

Make the brownies with; 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter softened, 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped coarsely, 1 1/4 cups sugar, and 3 large eggs.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. While the oven is heating combine all above ingredients and mix until well combined. Melt the chocolate pieces in the microwave before combining.

Pour into pan and bake for 50 minutes.

Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Cherry Brownies

To add the extra sweetness; pit 1 cup of cherries and cut into halves. Once the brownie mixture has been poured into the pan, smooth out the top with a knife. Gently drop in the cherries and 1/2 cup chocolate chips. Dropping them in right at the end like this gives the brownies a gorgeous look and makes for a taste that cannot be beat!

Treat yourself this weekend… to a sweet that will not disappoint!

(Photography by Pavel Gramatikov for A Subtle Revelry)

Posted October 30, 2014 0 Comments
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sharpie traced dish towels

Kid traced dish towels make a great present for grandparents and teachers.

Some things never change in the history of my family – like handmade Christmas presents from the kids, grandma’s love for artwork, and enjoying a glass of milk during after school snack. It’s no wonder the tradition of a glass of milk daily has been passed down for generations. With 9 essential nutrients and the ability to help hair, nails, bones, and sleep, milk is a tradition that we are definitely continuing.

Since the holiday season fast approaching, I’ve been dreaming up crafty presents for our family. To combine grandma’s love for artwork and the nostalgia of creative kitchen towels, we came up with this really fun after school gift project. Sharpie traced dish towels make great presents for the whole family and can be whipped up during afternoon snack time.

Sharprie traced dish towels

The Sharpie traced dish towels are a creative way to incorporate color and design onto fabric. If you remember our Sharpie text pillow cases, this is the same concept, but with kid’s artwork included. My daughter loves to draw. Like 100 papers everywhere everyday loves to draw. So an artwork gift from her makes total sense.

To create the artwork dish towels you’ll need white dish towels and a handful of colorful Sharpies. They now sell specific fabric sharpies which I recommend for the constant washing dish towels receive.

We took a selection of her favorite drawings and traced them onto the dish towels. Just place the drawing underneath and begin tracing. A set of these towels for any parent/grandparent/teacher or family member will definitely make their holidays more sweet.

Homemade dish towels with kid's artwork.

DIY kid's dish towels

Although this gift can’t be beat in its adorableness using kid’s artwork, it works for any type of design. Grow the present up with artwork of your own, or write in text like we did on the Sharpie print pillows. A colorful Happy Holidays (download the text right here) will make the present suitable for hostess gifts and gussying up your own kitchen with crafty seasonal greetings.

DIY Dish Towel present

DIY dish towel

The Sharpie traced dish towels were a great after school project to work on with our snack and glass of milk. Milk has played a big role in the traditions passed down in my family, and like homemade Christmas presents, it is a tradition I plan to continue passing down. Milk gives my kids healthy fuel for all their creating, dreaming and playing.

This post is brought to you by got milk? Drink to a brighter future.

(Photography by Joeclyn Noel for A Subtle Revelry)

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Posted October 29, 2014 2 Comments
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wild paper animal masks

Printable animal masks

Oh my goodness – Halloween is 3 days away! Can you believe it? I know for many of us the last week before a holiday is when we finally get around to pulling things together. If you need a last minute Halloween idea, or if you want to build a sweet stash of animal masks for all the other dress up moments this year, here’s your chance.

These funky and fun animal templates can be downloaded for FREE and used to turn your little ones into beasts, birds, and even alligators. Last minute… no worries. You’ve got this.

Printable elephant mask

printable animal masks

All you’ll need to make these masks is colored paper, scissors, and a glue stick. Print out the templates below, trace then cut onto the paper color of your choice, and enjoy these wild animals all year long!

printable animal masks

Printable Flamingo mask

For the flamingo mask print out the template by clicking above. Cut and combine the beaks and the body with a pair of pink leggings for an instant costume.  

Posted October 28, 2014 3 Comments
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feasting with a purpose

Feasting with a purpose

There is always a hunger need in our communities. Often that need can seem overwhelming and our ability to help with it can feel so very small. We participate in food drives, but want a more concrete way to see our service in action. I am really excited to be partnering with Unilever this month in their #ShareAMeal campaign. An initiative focused on just that – how sharing a meal can change a life. How serving food to a family in need can give hope and courage for tomorrow.

With the face of hunger quickly changing in our country, there are often people down the street who would benefit from an offer for a shared meal. Holding a feast for friends and inviting in a family in need can be a great way to do this. We know someone who could use this kind of help and loved inviting them over for a recent dinner party. The gesture spoke to their worth as a friend, just as much as it spoke to their need for food. They were immensely encouraged by the evening (and so were we!).

My favorite Turkey recipe

Left overs

We feasted at a table filled with great food and drink. This is the turkey recipe I make for Thanksgiving every year, it is my favorite one. We purposely cooked WAY t0o much food (3 meat dishes!) to be able to share leftovers with our friends in need. I purchased extra plastic containers before the event. After our feast was done, I wrapped up as many extra meals as I could and placed them all in a bag to be brought home. The rest of our guests didn’t even notice… It was a practical way to provide not just one meal, but a week of meals for the family we invited in.

Feasting with a purpose

I loved our evening feasting together, and realized how little chance a family in need has to really enjoy a feast. With Thanksgiving coming up, I want to do it again! Inviting a family in, giving up our leftovers, and sharing a meal is such an easy way to make a drastic difference in the life of our community.

Have you ever shared a meal with a friend in need? Would you try something like this? If we all brainstormed one simple way to share a meal it would be an amazing start. I’d love to hear what you come up with, and so would Unilever! #ShareAMeal with your ideas and the best ones will be featured over at Project Sunlight. Click through also to download a toolkit for your own meal sharing experience.

This post is done in promotional partnership with Unilever’s #ShareAMeal, an initiative I strongly believe in.

Posted October 28, 2014 1 Comment
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it’s like winning the toy lottery

castle

With the holidays fast approaching, finding gifts for kids that are not plastic, loud, and electronic can be difficult. I try hard to buy things that will encourage creativity and self play, but those blinking lights on the latest what-not can be hard to pass up. Recently, I was introduced to Kiwi Crate which is basically like winning the awesome mom toy lottery.

Kiwi Crate is a monthly subscription service where your child is sent a box including 2-3 crafts (all the materials to make the crafts + plus a magazine with additional projects, recipes, and coloring pages). It all comes nicely wrapped in a shoe box ready to be punched out, stickered on, and created. We got the Castle and Catapult projects and my kids were thoroughly engrossed for a solid couple of hours.

castles2

I was honestly a bit skeptical about the idea of the crates… And was completly blown away after trying it out. Most of the time when I read about crafts for our kids they are either way to difficult (read: really a craft for mom), or too simple and cheesy. These projects are legit and very engaging. The kids needed very little help from us in creating the projects, even the directions are both text based and pictoral for them to easily follow along.

Kiwi Crate has a different theme every month and different programs based on age groups. We tried the original Kiwi Crate subscription which was perfect for the twins who are almost 6. They also offer Koala Crates for preschool aged kids, Doodle Crates for the 9+ crowd, and Tinker Crates which is also for 9+ crowd but with a focus on science and math.

castles3

castles4

The projects can be a great way to engage with friends on an afternoon play date. You could even build an entire party around the theme and concept for the month. The crates basically give you that awesome crafty mom persona without all the creative, shopping, storing, stressful producing elements that sometimes come when crafting with kids. Just open the box and everyone is thrilled.

castles5

castles6

The time travel themed castle project was a huge success for us, my daughter loved making the castle flags and sticking the stickers in just the right spots. While the boys had a blast launching the catapults. They even started chatting about what else they could make with similar materials around the house. Seeing my kids happily playing, creating, and watching their minds begin to engage is honestly like winning the lottery for a parent. So help a mom you know (or yourself) win the non-plastic, non-blinking toy lottery and try it out.

Kiwi Crate is offering a special discount just for A Subtle Revelry readers this month, get a head start on your holiday shopping and use promo code asr5off to get $5 off your 1st crate with a new subscription purchase to Kiwi, Koala, Doodle or Tinker Crate.

This post is done in promotional partnership with Kiwi Crate. All opinions are honest and my own. Thanks so much for supporting our holiday blogging partners.

Posted October 27, 2014 1 Comment
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