Retail Love Collection is now open-Click to start shopping! (Or Scroll Down for Blog Posts!)

The Sweetest Whimsy Retail Love Collection is now open! Click on any of the 33+ links below to shop for stuff that I personally love! I am excited to offer affiliate links to some very creative companies; some are established names in the business, and others are tiny mom & pop ventures. At ALL of them, you'll find the best quality invitations, gifts, favors, decor and supplies for your upcoming celebration. You'll also love links for online cake and craft classes, digital scrapbooking and creating family websites. You can start shopping right now, or contact me to place an order for anything that catches your fancy. So what's YOUR Whimsy?
Night Owl Paper Goods Handmade in the USA
Night Owl Paper Goods
Gifts With Humanity
Gifts With Humanity
Costumes for the Entire Family at ThePartyWorks.com
The Party Works Costumes
Personalized Photo Cards at Cardstore, Shop Now!
CardStore
For The Gourmet Cheesecake Lollipops by Chef David Burke
For the Gourmet
TSR logo with words
Top Secret Recipes

Cross Country Cafe
Panstoria Artisan digital scrapbooking software
Panstoria Artisan Software

A Gift Personalized

Checks Unlimited
canning labels & tags
My Own Labels
Best way to shop American
Apple Pie
Share Life's Moments in Minutes with Smilebox!
Smilebox

Mixbook
Personalized Photobooth Frames for Wedding and Party Favors
Studio Style
Panstoria Historian
Panstoria Historian Software

Freckle Box

Paper Culture

Petite Lemon

Cafe Press
Unique Wedding Favors from Beau-coup.com
Beau-Coup
Favor Affair
Favor Affair
Fresh Party Invitations from Minted
Minted
Baby Shower Favors
Little Things Favors

Big Dot of Happiness
Baby Shower Diaper Cakes
Baby Shower Stuff

Bags & Bows
Safe as mamas arms
Earth Mama Angel Baby Organics
Home Decor from Luna Bazaar
Luna Bazaar
Cake Decorating Supplies at ThePartyWorks.com
The Party Works

Tiny Prints

Wedding Paper Divas
Greeting Cards by Treat
Treat
Scrapbook Superstore
Scrapbook Superstore
Beyond Graduation
Beyond Graduation
www.FlirtyAprons.com
Flirty Aprons
ACandyStore.com
A Candy Store
Online Cake Decorating Class
Craftsy
Cupcake 120 x 240
Birthday In A Box
Eco Friendly Products
Eco Plum
Everything Princesses Logo
Everything Princess
Wedding Invitations from PurpleTrail.com
Purple Trail Invitations

Thursday, February 25, 2010

This One's For the Girls

It's almost Spring! My birthday is on the cusp of Spring (kind of). In addition, with the changing of the seasons comes Spring Showers for brides-to-be, as well as Bachelorette Parties galore. I love shower and party invitations for events that shower a gal with love, warm wishes and gifts of course!

I have a ton of 'favorites' among the Bridal Shower and Bachelorette invitations I sell. Would you like to see some of them? Of course you would!

Showered With Love


Guests can write their best wedding wishes and advice for the bride-to-be!

Or bring your favorite recipe for the newlyweds!


Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue!


Ladies Who Lunch


This is my favorite lunch-ish invitation! I love the simplicity and the novelty of the umbrella as well.


Glam Gals
Spa Day with the gals


Lingerie shower!



Bachelorette On the Town







All of these faves can be viewed at Sweetest Whimsy's Carlson Craft and TATEX invitation sites! Let the Bridal Season begin!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Paper + Cake = Love

Papers. Cake. Two things that I obviously really love and know a bit about! So I'm always so tickled when I find unique objects that are fusion of two of my favorite things. Like these Paper Cupcakes and Cakes:

So clever! Cupcake made of paper, ribbon and silk flowers by Tresa Black, The Stamp Goddess.

Gorgeous tiered cakes constructed of paper! Masterpieces. Photo by Claudia of Paris Apartment blog via Jan of Poppy Talk blog.

I would love to try my hand at making these amazing creations, but I'm a little intimidated! I would love to have someone make one for me. Cakes and cupcakes that last forever and have zero calories!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Birthdays by the Bunch

I have a slew of friends' and relatives' birthdays coming up in the Spring, including mine and my kids', and sometimes find myself scrambling for a birthday card! I have several methods I use to stock my greeting card supply:
  • Making my own cards, which is lots of fun, but also time-consuming and I never seem to make enough of them at one time!
  • Delegating the card-making to my children, who also love to make home-made cards for friends and family.
  • Purchasing cards for different occasions.
If you're the card-buying sort, like I am sometimes, you might like the convenience of buying an assortment of cards at once. Although I do love to browse a card shop in search of the perfect card now and again, I also like having different cards ready to go when I need them.

Another reason to buy all at once? The savings! A collection of 25 birthday cards or 25 all-occasion cards from Sweetest Whimsy starts at only $20! That's less than $1 per card, and the cards are printed on the same quality paper used for our invitations and stationery. You could pick up a couple of cards at the dollar store, but they just wouldn't be the same.

Many of my loyal customers may not realize that Sweetest Whimsy offers greeting cards for all occasions, both personalized and non-personalized! In addition, I offer cards customized for businesses, such as thank-yous, birthdays and congratulations for co-workers and clients.

Here are some of the humorous birthday card options available in the Birthday Card Assortment I on my Carlson Craft site (the greeting shown actually appears inside the card):



If you've "gone green" these days, your greetings can do the same! Check out the recycled paper designs to celebrate different occasions from the Green All-Occasion Collection:




You can view all of these different Carlson Craft card designs available at Sweetest Whimsy's paper site, and maybe even cross off one more thing on your to-do list for birthdays!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Shop Talk: Kitschy, Kitschy Cute Fred Flare

I've been recuperating fairly well in the week since my double surgery, and entertaining myself with the Food Network, iPod app games and online shopping. While I'm heartily sick of sitting and laying on my couch, I have to admit I've gotten quite a bit of Internet shopping done!

So today's Shopping Talk pays homage to all the kitschy and cutesy gift shops and novelty stores I loved when I was growing up, especially places like Spencer's. These were the places in the mall where you could count on finding those really unique and fun "things." It's hard to really stand out now like Spencer's did 25 years ago, but I've found the "funnest" site filled with enough kitsch and cuteness for my heart's content.

Viola! Fred Flare, whose tagline on a Google search is "stay cute." Indeed. I am 11 years old again while browsing every little thing they offer. They have some notable kitsch, like the Hamburger Phone as seen in Juno, and some things you haven't seen yet but will make you smile. Especially the retro stuff.

Some random favorites:
I can't get over how cute these are!

I owned these very same sunglasses (red). Bought in the French Quarter in 1983! Wore them until they literally fell apart. Memories!

I need this. I really do. Now I'll have something to carry my Sweetest Whimsy earnings to the bank.

There's a little something for everyone at Fred Flare, but it's really for the gals, with their wide selection of jewelry, clothing and accessories. I love how their stuff is both old and new at once, like the Mix Tape Flash Drive:
Make your sweetie a Mix Tape, like the 'olden days'.

Because everything old is new again, there's Fred Flare to make it all fun for you!

Friday, February 12, 2010

52 Cakes: Cake Balls

My Favorite Cake Balls: Chocolate cake, chocolate frosting and chocolate coating!

Wow, it seems like forever since I shared a cake recipe, what with my erratic blogging. "52 Cakes" is back this week, and this week's recipe is a variation on cake. A very popular one right now, actually. Cake Balls. So unbelievably simple, yet trendy at the same time. Cake balls are the sophisticated cousin of the cheerful cupcake.

As with cupcakes, you can customize cake balls in so many different ways. There are endless combinations of cake and frosting flavors, plus your choice of candy coating and decorations. And so easily devoured at once!

I like to make cake balls out of extra cake I have left over when I create shaped cakes, but you can start with a basic recipe like this one if you don't have any.

My Favorite Chocolate Cake Balls: Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Frosting, Chocolate Coating!

Basic Cake Balls

1 (18.25-ounce) boxed cake mix plus ingredients called for on box
1 (16-ounce) can prepared frosting
Almond Bark Coating or Confectionery Wafer Coating (both recipes follow)

Bake the cake according to package instructions. While warm, crumble the cake into a bowl with a hand mixer to a fine texture. Mix in frosting to make a paste, using 3/4 to a full can of frosting, according to taste. Chill the mixture for at least 2 hours.

Using a melon baller or your hands, form the mixture into 1 ½ -inch balls. Place the balls on wax paper; freeze at least 6 hours.

Working in small batches, remove the balls from the freezer and dip the balls into warm, melted Almond Bark Coating or Confectionery Wafer Coating, using toothpicks or forks to manipulate the balls. Remove the balls. Place the balls on wax paper to harden.

Makes about 30 cake balls.

Almond Bark Coating: In a double boiler, melt one (20-ounce) package vanilla- or chocolate-flavored almond bark, stirring constantly. Or, in a tall, narrow container, microwave almond bark for 45 seconds on High (100 percent power). Continue to heat in 15-second intervals, stirring between intervals, until melted; be careful not to scorch.

When almond bark is melted, stir in 1 teaspoon vegetable oil. If desired, stir in oil-based coloring drop by drop until you achieve the desired color.

Confectionery Wafer Coating: Melt 48 ounces confectionery wafers in double boiler or microwave oven per instructions for Almond Bark Coating. Omit oil. If desired, stir in oil-based coloring drop by drop until you achieve the desired color.

Source: Lea Worth-Portocalis, as printed in the Dallas Morning News

My Notes: I have used Baker's Chocolate and Ambrosia Chocolate Bark to coat the cake balls. I prefer Baker's.

Also posted on The Sweet Spot blog

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Getaway Wedding

And just like that, another week or so goes by without any blogging! But I really have a good excuse this time--hospital stay and recovery time! I had a double surgery Monday, was released on Tuesday and now slowly getting back to my regular self. Prior to the surgery, I had a few days of annoying, required pre-op tests and "prep." Thus, these procedures have consumed my life for several weeks already!

So now I am confined to bed/couch this week with no heavy lifting or driving allowed per doctor's orders. In any case, it's nice to be back in my own home again and surrounded by my favorite people and things. And now I have time to blog again!

Today's product spotlight focuses on a very specific--and special--wedding theme: the destination wedding. Thirteen years ago, when my husband and I were considering different wedding ideas, a destination wedding, either in the Virgin Islands or Hawaii, was our first choice. However, after a few months of mulling over the actual details, we succumbed to the lure of a more traditional wedding closer to home. There were various 'good' reasons why we changed our minds: the cost of flying our nearest and dearest to a faraway island and limiting the guest list to those who could actually take time off to join us made us rethink our destination plan. However, I still have a tiny bit of regret that we didn't just run with the idea of a getaway wedding!

Sweetest Whimsy's Carlson Craft site recently added a new Wedding Invitation link for Destination Weddings! Just browsing through the new designs makes me yearn for a wedding re-do, somewhere on a sandy beach on a tropical island far, far away. The invitations themselves invite all sorts of great wedding ideas. Some can be customized to the destination you have in mind:

This clever mapmaker's invitation can be tailored to the specific location you choose for your wedding--Jamaica, Hawaii, Bermuda or Bahamas!

How about this muted translucent vellum design that evokes the wonder of finding a message in a bottle along the beach? I love that the text on these invitations is printed on the diagonal, very casual and intimate.

Forget subtle! Go ahead and scream "Vegas Wedding, baby!" with these full-color, full-energy invitations. Can you ever go wrong with a Las Vegas wedding?!

Romance in Paris . . . the ultimate destination. This charming invitation will have all your guests saying 'ooh la la' about a trip to Paris!

Leaving on a jet plane? What better way to let guests know that yours is not the typical wedding than with their own 'ticket' to ride along to your chosen destination? The invitation's die-cut shapes are tied together nicely with claret ribbon. A great beginning to any destination wedding!

Do you have a faraway dream wedding in your future? Check out Sweetest Whimsy's destination wedding invitation designs online or contact us about specific travel theme ideas you have. The wedding journey begins with the printed invitation, after all!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Brain Food for the Bluestocking

Image from BasBleu.com

No blogging for nearly a week! I was caught up in several pressing projects on the home front and then out of town for a cake decorating seminar. But I'm back again, with a little bit of energy left for blogging!

I learned about this charming, quirky online bookstore (they also have a print catalog) when I received a single catalog in the mail from them a few years ago. I never bought anything, although I was sorely tempted, because I was going through a self-imposed book-buying diet. However, I kept the very interesting catalog for a long while, just for browsing.

The name of the company is Bas Bleu, which is French for "bluestocking." What is a bluestocking, you might ask? A bluestocking was an 18th century term for a "literary lady." By the way, it was not quite flattering to be labeled a bluestocking in those days, when women were expected to be as frilly as the outfits they wore. These were women who would rather sit at home reading or discussing literature wearing their most comfortable old country clothing, such as their blue woolen stockings. Thus, bluestockings.

Anyway, since this is a blog about paper and gifts, Bas Bleu fits in well. They sell books you've read or heard of alongside ones you probably haven't but definitely would like to now that you've read their thoughtful reviews. I enjoy the reviews and recommendations very much; it's like browsing an independent bookstore in my own city and chatting with the owner (if only we had more than a couple of these here in San Antonio!).

Another thing I like about Bas Bleu is the carefully and thoughtfully chosen selection of books they offer. Amazon or Barnes & Noble they are not. They do have their own loyalty program, similar to the big-box stores', which offers free shipping and discounts on books. So they can play like the big boys in that respect.