5 things to do with 48 hours in carmel

What to do with 48 hours in Carmel-by-the-Sea

We took a trip early this summer to visit Carmel-by-the-Sea. Every year Matt and I try to get away kid-free for a couple days. We were invited to visit, and I am thrilled we went. It was one of our favorite weekend jaunts to date.

Carmel-by-the-Sea was originally founded as a vacation spot from the big city, a forest village by the sea. Our weekend there was 100% relaxing and great fun. I kept joking that it’s basically spring break for grown-ups! The perfect kid-free getaway. The hotels are all small boutiques (50 room max) and you can walk anywhere on cobblestone streets within the small town limits. We did wine tasting and explored the coast line. I feel like we fit so much into our 48 hours away. Here are five favorite things we did during our stay.

Homemade Sangria

Mundaka resturant Carmel CA

1) Have tapas at Mundaka. This resturant is part gourmet farm-to-table and part Euopean bar scene. It was perfect. We were served a sampling of amazing small plates with names like squash bottoms, and really great homemade sangria! It was a faulous way to start the weekend.  

Posted August 27, 2014 1 Comment
Read more from life by

weighted beauty in floral crowns

Weighted Floral Crown

Over the years we have produced hundreds of DIY projects. I love creating and sharing projects here – but one thing I’ve learned along the way is that no amount of crafting can ever replicate the beauty of nature. The beauty of bold blue eyes, the beauty of a summer sunset, the beauty of a horse reined in… There is a great amount of beauty in our world, and while we are happy to contribute to it in our own small and crafty ways – the enormity of the beauty around is stunning.

Jocelyn Noel is the photography credit line in many posts on our site over the last year. Jocelyn photographed our upcoming book, and has quickly become one of my favorite people to work with. All photographers have their own bent towards photos – Jocelyn can capture natural beauty in a way that is unmatched. She comes alive when shooting photos where naturally beautiful elements take front stage.

My dear Jocelyn was in an accident over the weekend. She is currently recovering in the hospital from major injuries. Please pray for her. Pray for a quick recovery. Pray for her to find beauty and comfort in the midst of pain.

These weighted floral crowns showcase Jocelyn’s gorgeous take on natural beauty, and how amazing it is to combine natural beauty with a bright, festive project every now and then.

Weighted Floral Crown

Weighted Floral Crown

The floral crown is made by combining bunches of flowers together in a circle. Although the concept is not original, I love the uneven weight of the peonies against the baby’s breath. It weight a unique character to the crown. A beautiful balance for the ending of summer.


Weighted Floral Crown

To make a similar floral crown; it helps to have a length of floral wire to measure around the head. Start by combing the greenery and baby’s breath around the floral wire, securing with floral tape as you go. The best way to do this is by using bunches of 3-4 stems to secure together about every inch around the crown.

Once the greenery is set, begin adding in the flowers one stem at a time, secure the stem to the wire with the floral tape. Finish the crown off with by winding the floral tape around the base one more time to secure everything in place.

Weighted Floral Crown

A floral crown that looks stunning for any occasion.

(Photography by Jocelyn Noel).

Posted August 25, 2014 4 Comments
Read more from birthdays, bridal showers, flowers, party decor, summer by

why don’t we – have an eternal summer

How to make summer postcrd coasters

It is technically not fall yet… but summer is quickly passing us by, and with it so many wonderful memories. This summer was the best! Instead of simply wishing the memories will stay, why don’t we make them into concrete design touches for home? Having photos displayed helps our entire family remember the joy of our summer time together and helps our transition to a new season.

While I scroll through and bring my phone photos to life this weekend, here are a few favorite ideas for displaying your own photos at home:

How to make coasters with summer photo memories

I shared these DIY coasters this week - made with postcards, but you could easily swap them out with favorite summer photos.

Make a gigantic photo strip with silly photos of the family

Gems + photos for a beautiful display

Transfer beach photos onto beach glass

Photo clipboards

Take it big and make a photo wall mural

An accordion box album to remember more personal moments

Fringed photo garland

Hang a summer’s worth of memories on the fridge for after school gazing

Put them in a book - I know it sounds so easy, but why is it so hard to actually do?

Pretty photo plates

Cheers to a summer of great memories! xoxo

Posted August 22, 2014 1 Comment
Read more from why dont we by

paper folded gift card holders

Paper Folded Gift Card Holders

Gift cards have definitely become my gift of choice for so many events, from weddings to birthdays. I love seeing friends’ faces light up when receiving gift cards to their favorite shops (and let’s be honest, they’re my favorite gift to receive as well!) The chance to go and pick out any goodies I want – it’s a sweet present indeed.

The only problem with gift cards is that they can feel rather impersonal, but luckily, just a little bit of crafting can go a long way. I’ve been having a blast making homemade gift card holders. They are so simple to fold, and can be easily personalized with fun paper. A festive, custom way to wrap a gift card.

Origami gift card holders

Origami gift card holders

I know the word origami can make some of us run for the hills – because folding paper that way just doesn’t sound right. These holders though are super basic and a great project to tackle with that extra 5 minutes before heading out to the party. I’ve already made a stack in advance for our bundle of upcoming birthdays. Read more with step by step DIY photos.

PS. A gallery of festive present wrapping ideas, in case gift cards are not your favorite gift to give.

Posted August 20, 2014 2 Comments
Read more from invitations, wrapping by

fabric birthday crowns and superhero masks

Birthday party crowns - with genius DIY cheat tips.

With the twins starting school this fall, I am thinking a lot about how fast and fun our time was while they were mostly at home with me. The past 5 years have been some of the craziest and most wonderful I could imagine. And while we are a long way from putting up the dress-up, this new season will bring many changes for our home.

While I adjust, these fun princess crowns and superhero masks seems about right to share today. We did a birthday party a couple years ago where each child was given a fabric crown or a mask and cape. They were a cinch to make with a couple easy tricks that I will share below. The project somehow got lost in the shuffle over the past couple years, but I love it just as much today. Maybe even more. Blame it on nostalgia.

Easy cheats for kid's party crowns and masks

Fabric birthday party crown

To make a perfect princess crown, you need a perfect template! One of the easiest ways I’ve found to make crowns of all sizes is to simply trace one of the play ones we have around the house. If you don’t have play crowns lying around, check the dollar section of any store for the latest 3 year old crown trend.

DIY fabric party crown

DIY fabric party crowns

DIY fabric party crown

Trace the template onto a thick piece of card stock to give the crown its substance. Then trace the card stock onto a piece of fabric back side up. Cut out and secure the two pieces together with a light layer of Mod Podge or glue. The fabric selection can make these crowns match any party theme or favorite color scheme desired.

DIY fabric birthday party crown

Use a hole punch to punch out two holes on the back of the crown and tie a pretty ribbon thrrough. A perfect topping for any birthday girl! Whipping up a batch of 20 can be done in an evening – for young princess parties at their best.

Make a super hero mask and cape with an old t-shirt! Genius cheat for a boys party.

To make the superhero mask and cape; you’ll need a piece of felt (we cut two masks out of each felt piece), twine and a cotton shirt.

The easy cheat to this superhero outfit is to make the cape by simply cutting off the arms and neckline of the shirt (and along the bottoms and sides) leaving a perfect cape behind. Stick on Velcro makes for great no-sew tabs, allowing you to create a custom cape in moments!

For the masks we used a play mask at home as the template, traced it onto the felt, and cut. The twine ties around the backside to fit onto the birthday boy.

DIY super hero party mask

I know there will be more princess and super hero moments to come. I love that these projects can be redone in different colors and styles each year to keep the dress-up going as long as we possibly can (forever!?!).

PS. The coolest party blindfold ever from this same birthday party.

(Photos by Erin Holland for A Subtle Revelry)

Posted August 19, 2014 1 Comment
Read more from games and fun, hats, kid's parties by

cinnamon roll birthday cake

cinnamon roll birthday cake

Nothing says good morning on a special day like a cinnamon roll. We have a solid family tradition of using them to celebrate the most important days of the year. First day of school, yes! Christmas, every year. And now here is an awesome way to use them for birthdays as well. Making a caramel drizzled cinnamon roll into a cake sounds like the most perfect way to start a birthday.

Make a cinnamon roll cake for a morning birthday party, for the office, for the classroom, or to celebrate at home before the day of festivities begin. Any chance to enjoy this gooey, hot treat will make your favorite people’s special day so much sweeter.

cinnamon roll birthday cake

cinnamon roll birthday cake

cinnamon roll birthday cake

cinnamon roll birthday cake

To make a caramel drizzle cinnamon roll cake at home you’ll need:

For the dough: 1 package (2-1/4 tsp) active dry yeast, 3/4 cup whole milk, warmed, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 4 large eggs, 4-1/2 cups flour, plus more as needed, 1-1/2 tsp kosher salt, 6 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into chunks.

For the caramel: 6 tbsp butter, melted, 1 cup firmly pack light brown sugar, 3 tbsp dark honey, pinch of salt, 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans.

For the filling: 4 tbsp butter, at room temperature, 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar, 1 tsp ground cinnamon.

For the cream cheese icing: 2-1/2 oz cream cheese, softened, 3 tbsp milk, 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar, more if needed.

cinnamon roll birthday cake

Start by making the dough. In the bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve the yeast in the warm milk and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add the granulated sugar, eggs, flour, and salt. Attach the dough hook and knead on low speed, adding a little more flour if needed, until all your ingredients come together. Toss in the butter and continue to knead until the dough is smooth and springy, about 7 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl. Form the dough into a ball, put it in the bowl, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise at room temperature until it is doubled in size, 1-1/2 to 2 hours.

While the dough is rising butter the pans, we used an 8-inch, 6-inch, and 4-inch round cake pans for the stacked cake and an 8-inch for the single layer cake.

Make the caramel by stirring together the melted butter, brown sugar, honey, salt, and pecans. Divide and spread the mixture in each pan.

Punch down the dough and dump onto a floured work surface. Cut the dough in half. Roll out each half into a rectangle about 10 by 15 inches. Position the rectangles vertically.

Fill the dough. Spread each rectangle with 2 tablespoons of the room temperature butter, then half of the brown sugar and half of the cinnamon. Take a pizza cutter or sharp knife and cut about 8 strips from each rectangle.

cinnamon roll birthday cake

To make the center of each “cake” take one strip and starting at the end closest to you, loosely roll up the strip. Place the roll in the center of the pan. Coil the remaining strips around the center roll by joining the strip to the end of the previous one, until the pan is filled. Continue these steps for the other pans. You may have leftover strips of filled dough which you can make into regular cinnamon rolls.

Cover the pans loosely with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm, draft-free spot until puffy, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Bake until the cakes are golden brown, 25-30 minutes (watch the smaller pans for doneness sooner). If some parts of the cake start to rise more than others, take a spatula or cake server and lightly press down on the spot.

cinnamon roll birthday cake

Let the cakes cool in the pans on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then carefully invert each pan onto a plate (you can use a cake stand for the large cake) and unmold the cakes.

While cakes are cooling, make the icing by whisking the cream cheese in a stand mixer until creamy. Add the milk and whisk until combined. Sift in the powdered sugar and whisk until smooth. Drizzle cream cheese icing over the top of the largest cake. Stack the medium-size cake on top of the large cake, drizzle with icing. Top with the small cake and drizzle with icing. Serve and enjoy!

(Project styling and photography by Athena Plichta for A Subtle Revelry. Recipe adapted from Home Baked Comfort by Kim Laidlaw)

Posted August 18, 2014 4 Comments
Read more from birthdays, cake, kid's parties by