Category Archives: Entertaining

Tips for Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

Three-Chocolate-Chip-Cookies

I’m not a big dessert person…at all. In fact, my entire family (the O’Halloran clan) really isn’t into desserts. It’s funny because on our birthdays we all kinda groan when my mom says we have to order dessert so we can sing “happy birthday.” Yep, we’re crazy like that I guess.

Soft-Chocolate-Chip-CookiesBut I will say that I love a good cookie. Move over cake, cookies are where the party is at! In fact, that’s the reason why we had a cookie bar at our wedding instead of serving cake to our guests. I’ll take a cookie over tiramisu, cheesecake, or pie any day. #handsdown

You guys know about my complete lack of talent in the cooking department. Well, I’m no better in the baking department either. In fact, I’m probably much, much worse when it comes to baking (too much room for error with all of the measurements and baking times!) But lucky for me, that husband of mine is exceptional in the kitchen and he makes a mean chocolate chip cookie. Finn-Baking-Cookies

It’s so funny because he often bakes these cookies and brings them to work and his coworkers just naturally assume that his wife baked them! If they only knew…Cookie-Baking-SuppliesFinn has been making his famous chocolate chip cookies ever since we started dating, and they turn out perfectly every.single.time. It’s crazy because even if I try to follow the recipe exactly they simply don’t turn out the same. They’re flat, or burned, or hard. So I asked him to share his secrets with not only me, but with all of you. And that baking hubby of mine happily obliged. Now you may be thinking, “Casey, I know how to make cookies…it isn’t Rocket Science!” That’s great, but when it comes to baking I need all of the help I can get, so I figured some of you out there might get something out of his tips. Plus, it was a nice excuse to get some fresh cookies from my husband, and bonus…it gives you some yummy eye candy on this Friday.

But before we get to his tips, here’s the recipe (a pretty standard chocolate chip cookie one)
Sugar

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1 t. salt
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups milk chocolate chips

Steps:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Beat butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla in another bowl until creamy. Add eggs one at a time. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray and drop cookie dough onto sheet. Bake 9 to 11 minutes, transfer to cooling rack when finished.

Salted-Butter-SticksTIP #1

Soft butter is key! I’m usually way too impatient to “thaw” out my butter, and I end up throwing it into the batter straight from the fridge. Apparently, that’s a big no-no. Finn lets his butter rest out on the counter until it gets to room temperature before even starting to bake the cookies. If you’re strapped for time, preheat the oven, and put the butter near the warm oven to get it warm faster. But be sure not to melt the butter, just get it nice and soft.

TIP #2

Don’t skimp on the vanilla. In fact, Finn often adds another dash or 2 to the batter. Gotta love a little extra flavor in there.

TIP #3

When combining the dry ingredients, be sure you really mix them together well. If not, you may get a salty bite in one cookie, some baking soda taste in another. So take the extra minute and combine everything thoroughly as you go.

TIP #4

There’s no such thing as too many chocolate chips. Sure the recipe calls for 2 cups of chocolate chips, but if you’re feeling crazy you can dump a few more into the bowl. I mean everything is better with chocolate, right? And don’t use the hand mixer when it comes time to add the chocolate chips. Instead use a spatula. I can tell you from experience that I’ve burned out a hand mixer (or 2) trying to mix together some thick batter. Oops…

Also if you are taking the cookies to work, be sure to avoid putting nuts in the batter so everyone can enjoy them! Cookie-Dough

TIP #5

Hide the batter from your cookie dough obsessed wife. Okay, perhaps this tip only applies when I’m around, but who doesn’t love cookie dough? I will gladly take my chances with salmonella for a big ol’ scoop of this sugary dough. But seriously, when your batter is done be sure to pop it into the fridge to get it nice and cold before you place on the baking sheet. Finn-BakingBaking-Sheet

TIP #6

Don’t make perfectly round balls when placing the dough on the cookie sheet. No need for an ice cream scoop either. Instead use your nice, clean hands and shape them yourself.

TIP #7

A cooling rack is a must! Once your cookies are out of the oven, let them sit for about 1-2 minute. Then transfer them to a cooling rack and let them cool completely. This will prevent them from getting overcooked on the hot baking sheet. Chocolate-Chip-Cookies-Table

Is your mouthwatering yet?Cookies-TulipsYeah, I’m dying over here too. Give me all the cookies! Cookies for breakfast is a-okay on a Friday. I mean calories don’t count because it’s almost the weekend…right?Eating-Cookies

So go ahead and indulge. I won’t tell anyone! And a big thank you to Finn for sharing his chocolate chip cookie secrets today (& for letting me sneak quite a few spoonfuls of dough while shooting these pictures.)

casey_sig

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4 thoughts on “Tips for Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

  1. Trang

    You. Lucky. Girl. A man that makes delicious treats?!?! I wish I didn’t have a sweet tooth. It would sure make my abs pop more if I didn’t devour ANY sweet dessert treat that is put in front of me. Looking at these cookies makes me want one…and I’m not particularly a fan of chocolate chip cookies (my favorite is white chocolate chunk macadamia nut cookies – yummy!).

    Reply
  2. Zan Turner

    Your hubby sure knows how to prepare cookies. These look so yummy and I love all his tips. I will plan to use them in my next batch! I am always on the hunt for a great chocolate chip cookie, but like you, I lack the patience to wait!!

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How to Organize Nora Fleming Minis

let's celebrate mini

This is NOT a sponsored post, I just really love this product and feel the need to gush all about it because it’s just that cool. Plus, I recently did a DIY based on it, so I need to give ya a little background on it.

Have you guys heard of Nora Fleming serving platters?! If you haven’t… we seriously need to chat. To be honest, I have no clue if these platters are popular strictly in the Chicagoland area or if they’re popular everywhere. Ms. Nora Fleming, the creator of these gorgeous & genius platters, is from the Chicagoland area so I’m not sure if they are sold here because she’s from here or if they’re sold everywhere. The good news is, if these platters really are just a “Chicago thing”, you are in luck because you can order them online and get them shipped right to you!nora fleming platter

So what are these platters all about?! Well, ALL of the serving platters and plate products are a plain, classic, slightly off-white color. Like this one…

ring mini

The platters and trays come in all shapes and sizes but all have the same look. The part that makes these platters so cool is that they have this tiny little hole, which holds a seasonal “mini” to help accessorize your party.nora fleming minis

There are tons and tons of “minis” to choose from and you can easily trade them out for each of your entertaining needs. Hence, you do not need to buy all new platters for each holiday, but instead, re-use the classic white trays and platters while trading out the mini to match the specific occasion. Pretty gosh darn GENIUS if you ask me!

The minis run about $10-$14 each and as each mini retires from the collection, you can get them on sale. These minis are GENIUS because they eliminate the need for me to have to buy a ton of different themed platters and then find space in my tiny kitchen to store all of this festive  stuff. Instead, I have a few of these classic platters and have a little collection of minis to change out for each party.

This brings me to today’s $5 DIY project. A Nora Fleming Organizer for all m y minis.

One trip to Goodwill later, I found this wall shelf (?) that was intended to hold small figurines back in the day.organizer

I took off the hanging hardware on the back of the box to create a flat bottom.IMG_8595

Then I gave this piece a few coats of white spray paint I had left over from a previous project. After it was dry, I simply added a stickers of the first letter of every month throughout the year, this would help me put my minis in some kind of order by seasonal occasion.nora fleming organizer

Finally, I placed my collection of minis in each of the cubes and I was all set! A $2 shelf turned drawer organizer for some of my favorite entertaining accessories. After buying the $3 stickers, this DIY organizer cost me about $5 to make.

holiday minis drawer organizer organizer Now, all I have to do is place this organizer in my kitchen drawer and I’ll never lose my minis again! For $5, how could I beat this DIY organizer? Definitely an excuse to celebrate in my book.diy organizer

 And more importantly, thanks Ms, Fleming… I love your style!Bridget Signature

 

 

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4 thoughts on “How to Organize Nora Fleming Minis

  1. Nikki

    I live in Indiana, which isn’t far from you, and we have these platters here too. Love this idea, I have a drawer with a bunch of those minis floating around in it!

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Wine Bottle Tote + Silhouette Giveaway

Hostess-Gift-Wine-Bottle

It’s December, and that means that your social calendar is probably chock full of holiday parties, Christmas cookie exchanges, and festive dinner parties. If that sounds like your December schedule, then you may want to try out today’s easy craft project!

No one likes to show up empty-handed to any of these little get togethers, so we came up with an inexpensive project that will really wow your hostess and fellow guests.Hostess-Gift-Wine-BottleThese wine bottle tote bags. They’re not only adorable, but they’re very simple to make. Plus, we like the fact that you can make many of these ahead of time and have them stockpiled and ready for your long-list of upcoming parties.

Bottle-of-red-wineAll you have to do is buy a bottle of wine (probably the most costly supply for this project), dress it up with this wine bottle tote, and head on out to party it up!Plain-Wine-BagWe ordered these wine totes on Amazon, but we’ve seen these around various craft stores so just keep your eyes open.Stickers-on-bagCheers-StickersThen we used our new Silhouette Portrait to create the “Cheers” font. Like we said in this post, we’re still Silhouette beginners so we’ll direct you over to their awesome Youtube channel for tutorials. For this project, we wrote out the word “Cheers” in a few different fonts and then printed it on premium vinyl. We thought about just using regular paper, but figured that a sticker would give us the cleanest lines when we spray painted.

[If you don’t own a cutting machine you can use stickers to write your message or create your own shape. Oooorrr keep reading this post for your chance to win your very own Silhouette Portrait!]Krylon-Spray-PaintDIY-wine-bagCheers-Spray-PaintedFor the final step, we stuck the words onto the tote and sprayed a light coat of spray paint over and around the sticker. After letting the paint dry, we peeled it off, and boom…those boring totes were instantly personalized and ready to par-tay.Cheers-Christmas-GiftNow all we need to do is pick up a few new bottles of wine and we won’t have to worry about buying hostess gifts all season long. I think we should cheers to that!

Wine-Bag-DIY-CheersIf you’re looking to add some custom holiday cheer to just about anything…then we’ve got the giveaway for you. We teamed up with Silhouette to giveaway one of their Silhouette Portrait machines to 1 lucky reader! Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below and let us know what holiday project you would tackle with the machine. We can’t wait to hear!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cheers!

Bridget and Casey SignatureP.S. Going to a party where alcohol might not be an appropriate gift? No worries, we’ve got ya covered. Try our #BusyGirlDIY flower vase and we’re sure the hostess will be impressed! In honor of this holiday season, you can substitute the fall colored blooms pictured and add evergreen, pine, berries, or simple white blooms instead. Those colors will POP even more next to the gold & glamorous vase. busy girl vase

 

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50 thoughts on “Wine Bottle Tote + Silhouette Giveaway

  1. Elise Jay

    Oh man. Is there a project you can’t do with a Silhouette? I would probably do some serious organizing and labeling.
    I love the ombre look of the bag – I was shocked it was spray paint. You two re amazing.

    Reply
  2. Sarah

    Am I really supposed to pick just one thing I could do?! I’d love to recreate these bags – I can already imagine doing something similar with other words/quotes/colors for New Years, birthdays and beyond! Wine is always a great gift. Nicely done, ladies!

    Reply
  3. Jaclyn Lorimer

    OH MY GOSH I have been drooling over the Silhouettes for months now but haven’t been able to pull the trigger on actually buying one. I love labeling everything, so the question is really what would I use it for first–probably for some holiday pillows!

    XOXO

    Jaclyn, from LorimerLiving.Blogspot.Com

    Reply
  4. Amanda

    I LOVE typography, so using it as a stencil for just baout anything would be amazing. Currently planning a baby shower that it would be great to have for things like decor, place settings, etc!

    Reply
  5. Jessica Alayne

    I have several ornament projects I’m thinking Silhouette could help with. But what about wrapping projects?! For sure I could find a million ways to use it.

    Reply
  6. Ryan Malone

    i would make some cute holiday cards, gift tags and then labels to pack up my decorations in a more organized fashion after the holidays are over. after christmas i usually just throw everything in boxes because i’m tired of looking at it! ha.

    Reply
  7. Betsy

    So many things! Label holiday storage (and everyday storage), this would be awesome for making gift tags, and I would love to make some wall art!

    Reply
  8. Heather

    I want to make the cute Santa sacks for my two young children. I’d also like to make our own Christmas cards because we live so far from our family and friends. Thank you for the giveaway!

    Reply
  9. sarah oswald

    I would love to tackle making greeting cards and gift boxes and I have always wanted to try to make popup greeting cards and I think this would make it alot easier. Thanks for the chance to win it!

    Reply
  10. Heather Byrd

    I’d like to personalize a cutting board, baking dish and cake carrier for my mother-in-law. She has a small “sweets” business on the side and she loves to cook. Thank you for the great giveaway 🙂

    Reply
  11. Ann Fontaine

    I would love to tackle an organizing project and make labels for my Christmas bins. Thanks for the giveaway!

    Reply
  12. Stacy Renee

    I’d make adorable polar bear Christmas cards to begin with and I’d also make lots of festive embellishments, sayings, etc for my baby girl’s first scrapbook (She’s due any day now!)

    Reply

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The Busy Girl’s Gold Vase as a Hostess Gift

flowers

Attention all Busy Girl’s, we have another QUICK & EASY DIY project that you can whip up as a Glamorous Hostess Gift throughout the upcoming holiday season (cough, cough… like next week for Thanksgiving!).

But before we officially move onto the tutorial, allow us to review….

Busy Girl DIY is defined as a craft or do-it-yourself project that aligns with the busy girl’s style, budget, and lack of free time, materials, or confidence in her ability to craft. These projects take around 15-30 minutes and require minimal amounts of time, material or talent (like this one, this one or this one). These projects allow Busy Girls to get the look they love without the hassle. You’re busy, we’re busy… we get it. Let’s do this…

The Busy Girl's Gold VaseFlowers are always a nice gesture and the staple hostess gift for Busy Girl’s like us. A bouquet of flowers and a bottle of wine…check and check! However, etiquette says that you should never bring in “un-vased” flowers to the host or hostess. Why not, we wondered?

Of course it’s always the thought that counts… and any hostess would be extremely grateful for any token of appreciation, we’re pretty sure. But if we’re being technical here, un-vased flowers require the hostess to take time away from her entertaining, cooking, and greeting in order to give those gorgeous blooms a new place to live. It’s not a huge inconvenience for the hostess (and you’re not being rude by bringing these in without a vase), but when a hostess has food in the oven, guests loading into her home, and she is trying to greet, get drinks, and take coats from everyone- cutting down flowers, finding a vase that fits, and putting it all together just doesn’t lend itself well to giving guests her undivided, welcoming attention. To combat this etiquette tip, we thought it would be more convenient, glamorous AND thoughtful for us to still bring in our staple flowers, but making sure we handle the cutting, vasing, and sprucing up the blooms well before we enter her doors.

With this pre-arranged gorgeous vase, you are showing that you:

  1. Planned ahead
  2. Care about her precious time
  3. Want to provide her with a gold & glamorous vase she can re-use all season long!

It’s a win-win-win if you ask us!! Plus, this vase is simple to make and doesn’t require a lot of time, money or creative talent. Busy Girls—we can do this and we have plenty of time to finish this project up for next week’s celebrations.

vase

What you’ll need:

    • Liquid Gold (This stuff is AH-MAZING and officially our new best friend)
    • Soft Hair Paintbrush (so important that it’s soft hair)
    • Vase (this one cost me $1 at the Dollar Store!!)
    • Painter’s Tape
    • Scotch tape (optional)
    • Flowers (got this bunch from Jewel for less than $10)

Rookie Tip: While you have all the supplies out and the vases only cost $1, why not make a few to get you through all of your holiday events?!


So here goes nothing. All you really have to do is tape around the vase to create the “line” or look that you want. Make sure you press firmly on the line that the paint will hit, this will ensure none of the gold liquid will seep under the tape.

I used the soft haired brush to put one coat of liquid gold on the exposed part of the vase.  The directions on the back of the liquid gold suggested using the soft haired brush and I can see why. If I used a different paint brush, you probably would have seen the brush strokes and it wouldn’t have that smooth, gold finish. So listen to the directions and use that soft brush! If you have some extra time on your hands, let your first coat dry and put on another coat for extra coverage.

liquid goldliquid gold

Gold tapeGold Vase DIYAfter that, let the paint dry and slowly peel away your painter’s tape. You should be left with a crisp gold line.

tapetaped vaseFill the jar up with water and place your scotch tape like a grid on the top of the vase. This post has a step-by-step tutorial on how to do this. Ever since Casey shared that tip, I always use clear tape to help me arrange flowers.

IMG_5544

Little by little, I place flowers into the vase’s grid… starting with the greenery around the sides.

flowersflowersThen I placed the other random flower types until I got the look that I wanted. I would suggest waiting to do this part until the morning of the event or the night before the event. This will guarantee your arrangement looks fresh for the hostess (and at the party).

busy girl vaseI love the elegant and simple look the liquid gold gives this project. To think this was just a dollar store vase that now looks far more expensive and sophisticated! You can hand off this project to the hostess and she will have nothing to worry about to prep these beautiful blooms for the party!! You will be a Busy Girl that looked like you took a lot of time & effort to spoil your gracious host with this one-of-a-kind gift. Such a win-win!

The Busy Girl's Gold VaseBridget and Casey SignatureP.S. If you like this BUSY GIRL idea, check out our other Busy Girl DIY ideas by clicking on the Busy Girl icon on the sidebar. Happy Crafting, you fellow Busy Girls!! xo

busy girl icon

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6 thoughts on “The Busy Girl’s Gold Vase as a Hostess Gift

  1. Alysia @ Slim Sanity

    I need to get soem of that liquid gold. I love this idea! I tried a dripping one with paint that didn’t work out so well. I think I had too much.

    Reply
  2. Summer Hogan

    This is easily one of my favorite and go-to DIY’s! Love it! I always forget about the tape trick too! Thanks for the reminder!

    Reply
  3. DIY Playbook

    I just used water, but it definitely didn’t come off all the way. And be careful not to stain your sink (spoken from experience). I used a magic eraser to get the newly stained gold out of my slop sink. Did you make a vase?!

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Thanksgiving Inspired Highlight Reel

tablescape

Last week we shared all of the goodies from our Thanksgiving tablescape. We’re still waiting to hear if B’s sister gives us an A+ for our math-themed table. (Fingers crossed we pass with flying colors!)

 

tablescape

We even offered this awesome FREE PRINTABLE that you can include on your own Thanksgiving table. We know we’re going to be thankful to have a little extra personalization at our own holiday dinners.

thankful printableBut enough about our table…today we want to share some other A+ tablescapes from the #BloggerStylinHomeTour series. We were blown away by some of the creativity and we’re totally lovin’ these unique setups. No matter your style, we’re confident you can find inspiration in the following eye candy…

striped-candleSimple Stylings
Summer’s gold and natural tablescape really “wow-ed” us! The entire setup is perfectly simple and sophisticated. We especially love love love her DIY candle sticks. She simply took dollar store candles and added some gold stripes to really jazz them up. We just might be adding this DIY project to our Thanksgiving to-do list…

diy-thanksgiving-table-5Burlap and Lace
Who says Thanksgiving tables have to feature warm tones like gold, red, and orange? Shannon’s gorgeous table proves that there are no rules when it comes to setting a glamorous Thanksgiving table. The deep jewel tones, paired with white accents (like that amazing pumpkin centerpiece!), really take this table to the next level. Love it!

thanksgiving-table-plate-close-wJones Design Company
How stylish is this setup by Emily from Jones Design Company? We’re especially impressed by the simple leaf placecard with the gold lettering etched right on there. What an easy DIY that you could incorporate into your own Thanksgiving tablescape. It just goes to show you can find plenty of gorgeous accents for your home right in your own backyard!Thanksgiving-Table-RhodaSouthern Hospitality
We’ve been big fans of Rhoda’s work for a looong time. She is just so darn talented and we love her warm and inviting home. We love how Rhoda mixes different patterns within her tablescape. Stripes, with plaid, with floral…it totally works here and gives the table such a nice layered look. Of course we’re impressed with her tablescape…but I bet we would be even more impressed with her southern Thanksgiving cookin’. I’m sure she will be serving up some delicious treats on turkey day.

Pumpkin-Placecard-Coastal-ThanksgivingSand & Sisal
“Coastal” & “Thanksgiving” don’t usually go hand in hand. But Kim from Sand & Sisal totally pulls off this amazing beachy tablescape. How adorable are those little pumpkins with the sand star name card? We don’t care that we live in the midwest…a table like this adds instant nautical vibes to any Chicago gal’s tablescape. Now if only we could learn how to rock the beachy waves in our hair to match…

thanksgiving-table3Julie Blanner
We are totally digging on all of the copper trends this season and Julie confirmed our crush even more. Her copper mugs mixed with her natural and gorgeous tablescape leave us feeling completely inspired. And if you love this look as much as we do, you’ll probably love her FREE place cards and FREE thankful cards as much as we do too! But before you go check it out, is it just us or are those antlers just dreamy?!

All of these talented tablescapes have us totally excited and inspired for one of our favorite holidays of the year! We can’t wait to share a day of gratitude with our families and hope you too can gather around a gorgeous table with some very special people.

Bridget and Casey SignaturePS. If you love the inspiration & variety of the Blogger Stylin’ Home Tours Series as much as we do, stay tuned! We are participating in our last tour of the year in just a few weeks, & this isn’t any ‘ole tour… it’s the GRAND FINALE Christmas Tour!

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4 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Inspired Highlight Reel

  1. Taylor

    I seriously love your guys’ style. Also, I’m now craving brussel sprouts after seeing them in your photo. Never thought that would be a sentence coming out of my mouth…:)

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      You are too funny Taylor! We had z.e.r.o. food in the house, and Bridget’s sister said she had some raw brussel sprouts…so we threw them onto the table at the last minute. ha!

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“Counting” on Thanksgiving

bread

To all of our newbies hopping over from Number Fifty-three blog — welcome!

 

 

We are super excited you stopped by & on behalf of the entire DIY Playbook team (veteran readers included), here’s 5 random tips we would like to share to help you get to know what we’re all about here on the ‘ol Playbook.

1. We are Bridget & Casey, best friends and DIY Rookies from Chicago.

2. We heart Instagram.

3. We drink way too much coffee & live one to-do list item at a time.

4. Neither of us cook, but thanks to our amazing husbands… we never starve.

5. By day, Casey works as a TV producer & Bridget as a high school teacher.

Now, onto the real reason you are all here …. some tablescape eye candy!

IMG_3408We’ll keep the commentary to a minimum but just to catch you all up to speed and clarify whose table this is, allow us to give you some consolidated scoop. Long story short, we took over Bridget’s sister’s home once again (remember her front door makeover? or her gorgeous wedding photos?) to give her amazing farmhouse table some love for Thanksgiving. She’s a math teacher by trade, so as the typical nerds that we are, we decided to work her love for numbers into her tablescape. Like her, we are totally “counting” on Thanksgiving and can’t wait to celebrate in style at her home– hopefully only with pretty numbered pillows and not practice word problems.

KT’s home is bright, colorful, with touches of rustic glam. Along with the math thing, we thought we would incorporate her already established style to create a very non-traditional Thanksgiving tablescape that fits her home’s “look”.

breadWe haven’t heard the final grade, but we think we passed! Fingers crossed?! What do you guys think…. do we earn an A?

tablescapetablescape

place settingTo add just one more personal touch and highlight the reason behind this fabulous holiday, we thought it would be fun to add some place cards to the mix to help guests really think about what they have to be extra grateful for this year. We created a watercolor card reading, “I’m thankful for….” & placed one at each place setting. Definitely a positive conversation starter and a great reminder of the real focus that is Turkey Day.
thankful printableThese cuties are actually FREE PRINTABLES here on the DIY Playbook. If you want copies for your Thanksgiving tablescape (or even a way to help your family prepare for the big day with a little reflection each day), go ahead and check out this post & get your free download.

PumpkinAnd although we loved playing with the greens, blues and neutrals for this table’s personality, we just had to add a touch of the traditional orange pumpkins. They just seem to POP next to the cool colors. #makingastatement
wood table decorthankful

IMG_3357

If only all math homework came in the form of creating a bright and beautiful tablescape, we’d think about becoming math teachers too! Until then, this is the only equation we’re figuring….

6 Mason Jars + 7 Mini Pumpkins + 2 colorful plates + 4 cups of coffee = 1 thankful sister & 2 happy Rookies

Now, before we start assigning homework or something crazy, you better get out of here and check out all the gorgeous Thanksgiving inspiration Kim at Sand & Sisal has to offer.

Bridget and Casey Signature
And of course, a huge thank you to Lindsay from White Buffalo Styling Co. for hosting this whole thing. Such an amazing host to all these blog hops, I can’t wait to go check out her “hosting tips” this season. Here’s the rest of the week’s line-up:

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

o   DIY Playbook <– that’s us!

Friday

Make sure you download your FREE Place Cards before you go!
Free Printable 

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12 thoughts on ““Counting” on Thanksgiving

  1. Zan Turner

    You all are so talented in this area. I keep coming back here to look for new ideas! Poor Bridget’s sister who has to put up with all of this…lol…Well, at least she does not have to do it herself!!! Love your blog – and yea for Chicago!!

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#TrickYourPumpkin for a Halloween Party

pumpkin serving

We’ve told you guys all about our love for fall…the fab fashion, yummy pumpkin flavored everything, and cozy touches that you can add to your home. But you might not know that we’re not super obsessed with Halloween. I mean don’t get us wrong here, it’s always fun to dress up and DIY a fun costume. But scary movies, haunted houses, crazy Halloween decorations? No thanks, not our thing.

So when Michaels (you know…the ah-mazing craft store that we’ve grown up shopping at) came and asked us if we wanted to get into the Halloween spirit with their #TrickYourPumpkin sweepstakes…we really had to think about what kind of original project we could create. What could we do to stay true to our style, and our lukewarm relationship with this holiday? We knew we didn’t want our pumpkin to be too spooky, too gaudy, or too “not us.” At first we came up with nothing. Zilch. Zip. Nada.

But then we took a trip to our local Michaels store for some inspiration, and we came up with this…

pumpkin cooler

…a craft pumpkin turned wine cooler!

I mean how perfect is this little guy for your upcoming Halloween party? But before we uncork that bottle of wine and get our drink on, we need to chat about how easy this lil’ DIY project really is..

craft pumpkin

First, you’ll need a craft pumpkin. Michaels carries a wide variety of sizes and this one was the largest we could find.  You could probably use a real pumpkin, but we figured we could use this pumpkin year after year for every annual Halloween party. Plus no pumpkin guts and goo…price tag

carving

Then it’s time to chop off the top of the pumpkin. As you can see, we free handed this part. You could draw a line around your pumpkin so you get a very even top. Or just go for it. Either way, make sure you use a sharp serrated knife and slowly chop through the top. Be extra careful during this step, we don’t want to hear any pumpkin cutting horror stories (even if it is the Halloween season.)carvingpumpkin coolerOnce you have your top cut off, you’re done with the hard work! Now it’s just a matter of decorating your cooler to fit your party theme. We wanted to keep things simple, with a touch of rustic. So Bridget stole a bow tie from that hubby of hers (Thanks Matt!) and we wrapped it around the base of our pumpkin. It didn’t fit around (Matt’s neck isn’t that wide!), so in the back we used twine to tie the two sides of the bow tie together. Super simple.

trickyourpumpkinIMG_3478Then we decorated our bar setup with some craft supplies we picked up at Michaels. Sparkly orange ribbon, fluffy ghost-white pom poms, even extra wine corks were all found at our fav craft store. IMG_3478And how amazing is this large wooden slab? Yep, that too was found at Michaels. We’re guessing you could use it in a wide variety of ways, but it worked quite well as a tray for our wine glasses. I mean it doesn’t get any more rustic than that! IMG_3478#trickyourpumpkincraft tray

cork

You can take your wine tasting party one step further with cute little tags and string for each wine glass. These little flag tags add personality and we know your party guests would appreciate all of the little details. trickyourpumpkinpumpkin serving bowl

Cheers to a fabulously festive Halloween season! (Now you can uncork that wine and get sippin’!) Bridget and Casey Signature

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4 thoughts on “#TrickYourPumpkin for a Halloween Party

  1. Diana

    I totally agree on the not being into Halloween for the most part. Fall yes, starting to think about Thanksgiving & Christmas already, yes. Although once my toddler son gets a little older I’ll probably have to give into more of the Halloween stuff.

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Custom Koozies for Football Season

Bears-Koozie-on-Beer-Bottle

I’ve always known that my hubby-to-be loved sports. He loves playing sports, watching sports, betting on sports…if sports are involved he is all about it. But I guess I didn’t really understand his obsession with Fantasy sports until we started to live together. Being together 24/7, I quickly realized that he was in multiple fantasy leagues all of which he took very seriously. Like “second job” seriously. Any other ladies out there with a sports crazed man too?

At first I was a little irked by this devotion to his fantasy teams, and his need to watch every single game on Sunday because he “has to be there to cheer on his players.” But I also witnessed how these leagues brought him so much closer to his friends and co-workers. He still chats with old friends from Wisconsin and St. Louis because of fantasy sports. He’s bonding with people at work over their teams. He’s constantly laughing, joking, and spending time with his childhood friends specifically because they’re all in the same league. I now see the friendship and camaraderie that take place because of Fantasy Leagues and it no longer bothers me that he is so passionate about it.

To show my support for the upcoming football season, I decided to create a little something for his league (named “Orland Fantasy League”, OFL for short).
Bears-Koozie-on-Beer-BottleThe guys always get together the Sunday of Labor Day weekend to do their big draft. They order food, drinks, and just spend the entire day together drafting. Sounds crazy to me, but they seem to love it. In order to get some major “wife points” I came up with these personalized koozies for the entire league.  They’ll be the perfect accessory to keep their beers cold all day long.
Bears-Drink-KooziesI ordered them from Express Imprint and I couldn’t be happier with the way they turned out. Express Imprint is a family owned printing business and they can print your personalized graphic on anything from koozies, to shot glasses, to napkins, and mugs. Unlike some other companies I looked into, Express Imprint does low quantity orders…so I didn’t have to order 1,000 koozies for Finn’s group of friends. If we had to buy these bad boys in bulk…we’d be giving them out instead of Halloween candy for the next 10 years.

I chose these collapsible koozies, and it only took me about 5 minutes to design the custom graphic. We decided to go with Chicago Bears colors, and Finn added the “Bear Down” on there. The ability to add logos and personalized graphics is really pretty awesome, and it made the entire process fun for me. I now want to design koozies for just about every occasion….weddings, birthday parties, picnics…why the heck not?

Three-Beer-BottlesOverhead-Shot-KoozieBlue-Orange-KoozieFor a girl who isn’t really into football, I think they’re pretty darn cool and I hope the guys will use them for all of their football parties this season.
Finn-Holding-Beer-Koozie

Finn-Holding-Beer-Koozie-001I know this guy certainly likes his cool koozies. Or maybe he’s just smiling because I’m finally admitting that I can actually tolerate his fantasy football obsession? Either way cheers to football season, and to blogging all day on Sundays without one complaint from my TV obsessed better half.casey_sig

Boys-at-draft(Disclaimer: We have partnered with Express Imprint to bring you this post. However, all opinions expressed are our own and are not influenced by Express Imprint.)

 

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8 thoughts on “Custom Koozies for Football Season

  1. Danielle

    This time of year gives me all the more reason to have girls days while the guys watch football or draft! Also gives me free reign for every awards pre-show… I premise turning these on by telling my husband “you’ve gotta give me this one”
    Enjoy the season! Go Bears!

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  2. Kristy Joy Doyle

    What a great idea!! My husband is as obsessed with Fantasy Football as yours, I would say. When we first started dating, I started to follow along with him and now I’ve adopted the “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” philosophy and we created our own league. He still has multiple other leagues, but we started one with a bunch of other friends in town and this year we did the same thing — gathered on Labor Day to draft, eat and have fun! It was a blast and I dare say I’m starting to get as obsessed with Fantasy Football as he is! It’s actually really fun, because I learn about teams/players other than the ones on my beloved Steelers. I might have to check out these coozies to give to our league!

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    1. DIY Playbook

      That is awesome!! I love that you decided to join in on the fun. It all seems so confusing to me…keeping all of the players and positions straight…I know my team would just suck. Ha!

      Good luck this season!

      xo,
      Casey

  3. Stephanie

    How fun! I’m a huge Bears fan (from NYC, don’t ask how that happened) AND a fantasy football player 🙂 Love this so much!

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Cheesy Breakfast Pizza

Breakfast-Pizza

I feel like every family has a go-to recipe that is a favorite in their household. When you don’t know what to make, or you’re lacking food inspiration…you can easily whip out that go-to recipe.

Today’s post is all about the fan favorite in the O’Halloran household…cheesy breakfast pizza! If you’ve ever been to a sleepover at our house, then you’ve probably had this in the morning. It’s a staple each holiday for breakfast or brunch, and all of my siblings and I have devoured many of these pies in our lifetime. Cheese-Breakfast-PizzaSo why do we love it so much? Well, first of all it’s pretty darn easy to make, and that’s coming from a girl who never ever cooks. Plus, you can prepare it ahead of time and bake it the morning you want to serve it. And coming from a household of picky eaters, you can change up the recipe to fit your family’s needs. My oldest brother loves bacon, my middle brother is a sausage guy, and I don’t do meat at all…so my mom will often make a few different pies to keep us all happy! That woman is seriously a saint.Cheese-EggsBut the best part about this pizza? It’s so darn good, and so darn satisfying. I mean who doesn’t love hash browns, crescent rolls, veggies, meat, and cheese all in one savory dish? Yes, please!

It’s not often that I (the girl who can’t cook) share recipes here on the blog, so you know that this one is very special…

Ingredients:

  • 1 can Crescent Rolls
  • 1 lb sausage or 1 lb bacon or assorted veggies (mushrooms, red and green peppers, onions)
  • 2 cups frozen hash browns (or potatoes O’Brien)
  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 T. Parmesan cheese
  • 12″ pizza pan (I typically buy the disposable ones)

Cheesy-Breakfast-CasseroleDirections:

  1. Press rolls onto 12″ pizza pan to make a crust. Spread out evenly over the entire pan, until you have a full pizza crust.
  2. Brown sausage, crumble, and drain. If using bacon, fry until crisp, drain, and crumble. If using veggies, saute in butter for a few minutes and drain.
  3. Layer meat of choice on crust and top with the potatoes and cheese.
  4. At this point you can cover the pizza and put in the freezer if you want to serve it at a later date. When you are ready to use, take the pizza out and combine eggs, milk, salt and pepper in a bowl; mix well.
  5. Pour liquid over layers and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  6. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. If the pizza has been frozen, you will have to cook a little longer. Just make sure the center is cooked through.

Breakfast-FoodsBerriesNow that I’ve made you hungry, it’s time for you to whip up your very own pie this weekend. It will be a satisfying start to your day, and it just may be the new fan favorite in your household.Breakfast-Spreadcasey_sig

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Spring Tea

Spring Tea
It’s fin-alllyyyy feeling more like spring here in Chicago! I don’t know if either of us have ever been more excited to welcome spring before this year. After a long, long, extra cold Chicago winter, we are MORE than ready to embrace the new season.
Today’s project is a spring kick-off in the form of a casual tea. Because who doesn’t want to waste a morning gossiping with their favorite ladies over some warm tea, fresh fruit, and Trader Joe’s delicious scones? Sign us up!
Easter Tea Party
There’s something about a formal tea that seems so “royal”. But let’s be real here, it’s no secret that we are all about a Rookie budget here on the ol’ Playbook. Vera Wang China and Waterford glassware is GORGEOUS but the price tag is way out of our league. Unless of course, you find it marked down at an affordable price at your local HomeGoods (Vera Wang China on a HomeGoods budget… I’ll take 2)! Yup, mixing some gorgeous new pieces from HomeGoods with some antique pieces from local thrift shops, we’ve created a royal tea on a not-so royal budget.
To add a more personal touch to this Spring Tea Party, we glued a name tag onto the actual tea bag’s tag and clipped the tea bag onto the napkins on each plate using a clothespin. Now your guests will know where to sit, and they’ll feel extra special seeing their name on the table setting.
We think this is a personal touch that anyone can do on a dime. Just grab some extra scrapbook paper and work on your fancy cursive handwriting!
Here’s a close up of one of the Vera Wang plate’s from HomeGoods. The Tiffany blue plate was a thrift shop steal.
Pink spring flowers
Using this flower tutorial, we arranged some fresh flowers, placed our scones on some more HomeGoods glassware, and added some fresh fruit to the spread.
We love that the white accessories allow the fresh flowers and fruit to really stand out. Plus, buying white kitchen accessories allows each piece to be far more versatile, because it can work with almost any dining color scheme. 
Spring Tea party
Once it is “tea time”, your guests can unclip their adorable tea bags and dip them into their cups to enjoy some warm tea, all while still having the opportunity to enjoy their name tag.
Who knew the royal treatment could be so adorable AND affordable? By mixing and matching some antique pieces with the gorgeous and affordable glassware at HomeGoods, you will be ready for tea time, in no time at all.
Cheerio,
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