Spiked hot chocolate swizzle stick diy

It’s not just kids who enjoy hot chocolate, adults love their hot chocolate too. So, at the Hot Chocolate Bar, at our Sledding Party, I decided to offer up a spiked version for the grown ups in the group.

At the hot chocolate bar, guests were invited to add shots of Kahlua to their hot chocolate. But, I thought it would be fun to dress up the spiked hot chocolate a little, especially for those who didn’t want theirs with roasted marshmallows.

So, I made swizzle sticks that were perfect for stirring in the Kahlua and set them out in a mason jar. You can even add some mini marshmallows to the swizzle sticks for those who want just a bit of that marshmallow goodness.

The swizzle sticks were so easy to make. I just hot glued a smallish white pom pom to the top of a wooden skewer that I had cut to fit nicely in the cups we were using. The pom poms were just slightly larger than 1/2 inch and the wooden skewers I cut to be about 2 inches taller than the cups we used. Then, I added a straw flag from the Let It Snow Printable Party Collection.

The trick to adding the mini marshmallows, is to use a clean, slightly damp cloth to wipe the stick just below the flag (be careful not to wet the flag) all the way to the bottom. This makes the marshmallows slide nicely along the stick. Then, wipe after each additional marshmallow.

The swizzle sticks can be made up way ahead of time, adding the marshmallows on the day of the party. I’m all for doing as much ahead of time as possible, to lessen the stress on party day. Although, one of these might do the trick too!



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Hot chocolate with roasted marshmallows

When I was planning our Sledding Party, there were two things I knew I wanted to include – a Hot Chocolate Bar and a bonfire. When you have a hot chocolate bar, the hot chocolate is kinda the star of the show, so I wanted to do something that was fun and that we hadn’t tried before.

I also thought, what better way to incorporate the bonfire with the hot chocolate bar than to have Hot Chocolate with Roasted Marshmallows. This turned out to be a big hit. It added a fun, interactive element to the hot chocolate bar and gave the guests the added enjoyment of gathering around the bonfire and roasting marshmallows together – not to mention to staying warm.

I placed a sign at the hot chocolate bar encouraging guests to grab a marshmallow and roasting stick, roast their marshmallow nice and golden and add it to their hot chocolate. Having a sign is a nice touch because, besides providing some simple instructions, it makes guest feel at home and comfort helping themselves – which of course is the whole point.

I used this recipe for the hot chocolate. It works well for large batch hot chocolate, like we did here, or to keep on hand for individual hot chocolate throughout the winter.

Maybe for your next hot chocolate, you’ll try adding roasted marshmallows – it’s delicious!


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Sledding Party Invitation

A sledding party is a fun, kid-friendly way to get together with other families and enjoy the winter together. And, even though this is a casual affair, handing out an invitation is a special touch that makes the event something to look forward to, for your guests.

For our Sledding Party invitation, I used the Let It Snow Printable Party Collection, filled out the party details and then made my own envelope to coordinate. Full instructions for customizing, printing and cutting are included in each printable party collection download. You can also refer to this tutorial on how to customize your printable party collections.

Step {ONE} Invitation

Customize, print and cut out as many invitations as needed. I printed mine on Bazzill Criss Cross Texture Cardstock in Lily White to add some texture.

Step {TWO} Envelope

1. I chose two patterned papers from the collection (the blue and white stripe for the outside and the white with blue snowflakes for the inside). I printed the first pattern on a sheet of bright white 28 lb printer paper (it’s a little heavier than standard printer paper), using borderless printing. Then, I reloaded the same paper back into my printer tray and printed the second pattern on the other side, creating an 8.5” x 11” double sided sheet of patterned paper. Each printer loads differently, so you just need to make sure the side you want to print on is facing the right direction. For my printer, the side facing down is the side that the printer prints on, so I reloaded the paper with the blank side facing down.

2. To print the free envelope template, I reloaded the double sided patterned paper back into my printer tray with the pattern I want to have on the INSIDE of my envelope facing the direction of printing. Again, for my printer the side facing down is the side that is printed on, so I reloaded the paper with the pattern I wanted on the inside of the envelope (the snowflake) facing down. Then I printed the envelope template on top of the patterned paper. Cut along cutting line #1, creating an 8.5” square. Then cut along cutting line #2.

3. Score, fold, then unfold along each of the remaining guidelines. With the cut off corner downward, fold in the two sides. Then fold up the bottom flap with the cut off corner and secure with double sided tape.

Step {THREE} Finishing Touches

With the envelope constructed, I slid the invitation into the envelope.

Then, I used a corner rounder to soften the pointed edge on the envelope flap.

And to finish my envelope off, I added the family names using my Dymo Label Buddy, a wood veneer snowflake that I held in place with a glue dot and then I tied it all together with some red and white bakers twine.

And there you have it, a sweet invitation for a winter get-together. Get out and enjoy winter!


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Hot Chocolate Bar

We added a hot chocolate bar to our new year’s eve Sledding Party this year. It was a big hit with all age groups and so simple to make. I knew I wanted the bar to have a rustic feel, kind of cabin like. After all we were tobogganing and hanging out by the bonfire and lots snow was falling – it seemed to fit the scene. My husband attached two pieces of barn board together and we simply placed it on top of a flattened snow bank. Then, we stuck two logs in the snow, one on either side.

The logs gave me a place to hang the garlands. The Hot Chocolate Banner, from the Let It Snow Collection, and a pom pom garland that I made. For the Hot Chocolate Banner I simply tied the bakers twine to the log poles.

And for the pom pom garland, I zig zagged it back and forth from one pole to the other, a few times.

Then, just before the party, I started setting up the bar. I set out a large thermos of hot chocolate along with hot beverage cups, a pail of large marshmallows for our Roasted Hot Chocolate, as well as a smaller pail of mini marshmallows. We also had chocolate chip cookies for an added treat and Kahlua for the grown up crowd.

I made a sign to encourage guest to help themselves and try making a Roasted Hot Chocolate. A fun twist on regular hot chocolate, which incorporated roasting marshmallows by the bonfire and our hot chocolate bar.

And, because our Sledding Party was at night, I also made ice votives that I placed on the bar and hung from the trees, so guests could see while serving themselves.

The Hot Chocolate Bar was a really fun addition to our Sledding Party. I love that it encouraged guests to make themselves at home, get involved, mingle and enjoy a fun treat. We will definitely be setting up another hot chocolate bar before the winter is over.
I hope you give it a try too.


P.S. All the printables used for the Hot Chocolate Bar are from the Let It Snow Printable Party Collection. You can find this collection along with others in the shop.

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Pom Pom Garland

If you’ve spent any time here on the blog, you may have noticed that I have a bit of a thingfor garlands. I love them. They are delightful, they dress up any celebration, and they make me smile when I walk into a room.  I have been known to leave them hanging looong after the party is over. One thing I especially like to do, is hang multiple garlands. Different garlands mixed together. So, for our Sledding Party, I decided to hang two garlands at our Hot Chocolate Bar –  a Hot Chocolate Banner along with a pom pom garland.

Pom pom garlands are so easy to make. Just choose some pom poms that are suitable for your theme or decor. I chose the blue and white pom poms because they reminded me of snowballs. I liked that they were different sizes and had a bit of sparkle to them.

Then, with a needle and thread start stringing the pom poms by sticking the needle right through the centre of the pom pom. If you have kids who are able to safely work with a needle, they can help out too. And, if they aren’t quiet old enough for needle work, they can certainly pull the pom poms along the thread while you work the needle.

Continue randomly threading pom poms until you reach a length you are happy with. And if random isn’t what you are after, then you can also thread them in a pattern.

A couple of tips. 1. I left the thread attached to the spool so I could make the garland longer as I went. You could also pre-cut the thread to whatever length you need. 2. To reduce the amount of tangling, I used painters tape to attach the garland to walls, tables, whatever was around me, as I worked. 3. If you want to work in shorter lengths or if your thread does get tangled, just cut it and tie smaller garlands together, placing the knot close to a pom pom.

Make it, hang it and most of all enjoy it.


P.S. If you are making this, or any garland for a party, make it and hang it a few days before the day of the event. Because it’s something you can do ahead of time (reduces stress on party day) and because it will make you smile when you walk into the room.

P.S.S. Send me pictures if you make one:)

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Sledding Party

Do you remember what you did to celebrate the new year in 2000? Do you remember all the hype and uncertainty of what would happened as the year switched over. Well, it was that year that we started having an at home family friendly New Years Eve Sledding Party. And we haven’t looked back since.

A lot of memories have been made with this tradition. Old friends who have come every year. New friends who have joined us along the way. And the kids…they have all grown so much. It’s a wonderful way to celebrate not just the new year, but also a group of friends we are so grateful to have.

It’s a casual affair. Pretty go with the flow once the night begins, but we do follow a bit of a traditional routine that includes cocktails, dinner, tobogganing by Christmas lights, a kids countdown with fireworks and then the real countdown at midnight.

This New Years we added a hot chocolate bar to the tobogganing portion of our party. It was a cold and snowy, windy and dark night. Perfect for wrapping your hands around a cup of hot chocolate and warming up by the bonfire but not so perfect for taking pictures. So, I don’t have many unfortunately.

But a family friendly outdoor activity with a hot chocolate bar is a great way to enjoy time with friends. We had a lot of fun and I think you would too, so over several posts I’ll go through the steps we took to set up our sledding party. After all, getting outside and enjoying some friend and family time in the snow is what winter is all about.

Oh, and if you don’t have kids, grab a few friends and give it a try anyway, because nothing brings out your inner kid like playing in the snow and drinking hot chocolate.

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Halloween Mini Banner Freebie

Mini banners are adorable. Being mini does that. They are a little more low-key than larger banners or garlands, so they can be hung pretty much anytime without screaming holiday or party. Just a life is awesome kind of thing.

They can also be hung in a ton of places. On the front door, on a headboard, on the back of the guest of honor’s chair (or maybe the person’s chair who set the table, walked the dog or did great on their math test). If made long, they can be a garland. If made short, they can top a cake. I like to hang them above or even on, picture frames and mirrors.

So, with Halloween just around the corner I thought a treat was in order. You can download the free Halloween Mini Banner here, so you can get one of these cuties hung before those trick-or-treater’s start knocking on your door.


To make the Halloween Mini Banner

Free Halloween Mini Banner printable
Bone folder
Straight edge/ruler
Paper cutting tools
Double sided tape
String or twine
Washi tape

1. Download and print the Halloween Mini Banner on a sheet of 81/2″ x 11″ cardstock. I used an off white cardstock from Bazzill (Criss Cross Texture in Cream Puff).

2. Using a straight edge and a bone folder, score the banner flags along the center guideline as shown above.

3. Use the outer edge guidelines to cut out the flags first into strips and then into individual flags.

4. Fold the flags in half, along the scored line.

5. Hang the flags over the twine.

6. Use a piece of double sided tape to hold the two sides together.

7. Continue along with the rest of the flags.

8. Hang with washi tape. I tied knots at each end of the string so it would not slip out of the tape.

It’s a happier Halloween already.

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Decorating for Halloween with my Silhouette

We have been decorating for Halloween the last few days and my Silhouette Cameo has done the bulk of the work. Now, most of these project can also be done by hand and would have a wonderfully crafty look to them if they were, but in this case I opted for fast and finished.

For all the projects I used my Silhouette Cameo, black cardstock, my sewing machine with black thread and some tape for hanging (washi tape for the garlands, painters tape for the bats).


Project One – Bats on the Wall

These bats on the wall make such a huge impact for such little effort. I saw them popping up on Pinterest last Halloween but it just didn’t happen on my wall. I was determined to do it this year. Some of the pins on Pinterest have templates you can hand cut if you want to go that route. I hung about 70 bats so I used a bat design from the Silhouette store.

I only used one bat shape, you could certainly use more than one, but I simple cut full sheets of  different sizes of that one design. I used 4 different sizes in all. Then I used painters tape to attach them to the wall.

Project Two – +++ Garland

Again, I let my Silhouette do all the work here. I made a + sign using two straight lines that were 2 inches long and intersected  perpendicularly at their centres with the following settings:

  • line style: straight
  • line thickness: 50pt
  • corner style: corner
  • end capstyle: flat

Then, I used a zig zag stitch to sew them all together, leaving about 5 stitches worth of spacing between. You can leave as much or as little space as you want.

Project Three – Boo Garland

In the Silhouette software I typed out the word BOO. I used a font called Chunk Five at 100 points. Then I replicated it to fill the 12″x12″ area and cut it out of a black sheet of cardstock. I used a straight stitch to sew through the tops of the letters, making sure they were facing the same direction and were right side up, that’s the voice of experience talking folks. I wanted to leave a lot of space between the words so that each word was very distinctive and because i like the spider webbishness of the black thread. The trick here is you have to hold onto the thread each time you start a new word, so that the thread doesn’t jam up.

How is your Halloween decorating coming?

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Welcome Home Hanging Letter Confetti Garland Diy

This past weekend my son came home for the first time since starting university in September. We were all really excited to have him back for a few days, so I thought it would be fun to make him a welcome home garland to, well, welcome him home.

I have been wanting to make a hanging letter garland for some time now and thought this would be a perfect opportunity. And what’s a celebration without a little confetti?


  • Cardstock
  • Patterned paper
  • Printer paper
  • Scissors
  • Baker’s twine (or thin string)
  • Scotch tape
  • Circle paper punches (1″, 3/4″ & 1/2″)
  • Sewing machine & thread

{Step ONE} Hanging Letter Garland

1.  Print the word/words for your garland on printer paper. I used a font called League Gothic at 575 points (it printed out just under 6″ tall). I printed my letters out in light grey to save on printer ink, but this is just a template, so the colour really doesn’t matter.

2.  Cut the template letters apart (this just makes them easier to handle). Then, while holding the letter template in place on top of the cardstock, cut out each letter. Because my letters were just under 6″ tall, I was able to cut my 12″x12″ cardstock in half, creating two strips that were 6″x12″ from each sheet (I ended up using 2 sheets of 12″x12″ Bazaill Criss Cross textured cardstock in Kisses for the letters).

3. Continue cutting until all the letters are cut out. Achieving perfection was not my goal here. These are not meant to be perfect. You could even forget the template altogether and cut the letters out freehand, if you wanted.

4. Line up all the letters, spacing them as you would on the garland. Cut a length of baker’s twine , long enough to hang the letters, plus a generous amount at either end for hanging. I put each word on a separate length of twine creating two garlands, one for “welcome” and one for “home”.

5. To attach the letters to the baker’s twine, stick tape to the back of the letter, so that it sticks up over the top edge.

6. Then, place another piece of tape over the first piece of tape (were it sticks up above the letter), sticky sides together.

7. Fold the tape over the baker’s twine and stick to the back of the letter, making sure the tape doesn’t show at the front.

8. Continue along until all the letters are attached to the twine.

{Step TWO} Making the Confetti Garlands

1. Punch circles out of cardstock and/or patterned paper, using different sizes of circle craft punches. I used the scrap cardstock from the letters I cut above, and two patterned papers (both from the Hello Fall Printable Party Collection in the shop). I ended up using about 40 small circles (1/2″), 20 medium circles (3/4″) and 10 large circles (1″) in varying amounts of the three papers.

2. Sew the circles together. To start, pull a generous amount of thread and hold on to it while you sew right through the centre of the first circle.

3. Make a few stitches without any paper, before stitching through the center of the next circle. The goal here is randomness. Random patterns, random sizes, random spaces between. Like the confetti landed in a random way.

4. Once the confetti garland is the length you want, tie off the bottom, but leave the top threads long (this is how you will attach the confetti garland to the hanging word garland). I made 9 confetti strands between 10″-20″ long.

{Step THREE} Attach the Confetti Garlands

1. Layout the letter garland, then arrange the confetti garlands so they are hanging down between the letters. I played around with mine a bit until I was happy with the placement. I even trimmed a few to adjust the length (randomly).

2. Using the lengths of thread at the top of each confetti garland, tie them in place to the baker’s twine. I only hung confetti garlands from the “welcome” garland, letting them hang down over the “home” garland which I hung below.

You can create this garland using any font/words that you like, or if you want here’s a free download for the Welcome Home template that I used.  And, since Thanksgiving is in the air, here’s a free download for a Thanks template too.

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Patterned Paper Confetti Garland Diy

We have a little friend, named Olivia, who just turned two.  I had a little celebration for her that included the friends that she plays with, when she comes to our house.  About 13 in all.

The idea was to have an after school snack turned celebration.  A good bellowing of happy birthday to you… some treats provided by her family, along with some decorations and we had ourselves a mini party.

I hung some bright orange tissue paper poms and used the happy birthday banner from the Tangerine Birthday Printable Party Collection.  I also used all four of the patterned paper designs, from the same collection, to make a confetti garland.

I love these garlands.  They are whimsical, pretty and easy to make.  They are inexpensive, reusable and can be used in multiple ways.  In short, they are awesome and here are just 3 of the ways I use them.

1.  Garland – When hung as a garland I like to loop it back and forth, across the room, at different heights.

2.  Backdrop – Secure one end at the uppermost, left edge of the backdrop area.  Let the garland drop down to the length desired then bring it back up and secure at the top.  Drop down another length, moving across the backdrop space, from left to right, until covered.

3.  Embellish a Gift – Simply wind the garland around the present, trim if needed and secure along the back.

Go ahead. Make one. You won’t regret it.

Here’s how I made mine:

Tangerine Birthday Printable Party Collection
8 sheets of 8 1/2″ x 11″ plain white cardstock (you could also use patterned paper from your own stash and skip step one)
1-1/2″ Circle craft punch
1″ Circle craft punch
White thread
Sewing machine

{Step One} Print Patterned Paper
First, I printed 2 copies of each patterned paper design onto 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheets of plain white cardstock.  Then, one at a time, I reloaded the paper into the printer tray and printed the same design on the blank side of the cardstock. (For my printer, this means loading the paper with the side I want to print on, face down. But check your printer, to make sure you reload the paper correctly, in order to print on the blank side).  This gave me 8 sheets of double sided patterned paper (2 sheets each, in 4 different designs, with the same design on both sides).

{Step Two} Punch Circles
Using a 1-1/2″ circle punch, I punched one full sheet of each patterned paper design.  Giving me 24 large circles in each pattern.
Using a 1″ circle punch, I punched one full sheet of each patterned paper design. Giving me 48+ small circles in each pattern.

{Step Three} Create a Repeating Pattern
With my circles stacked up in order of the repeating paper pattern, I was able to easily create a repeating size pattern by simply saying “large, small, small” as I gathered the circles in a row. (Don’t worry, its ok to talk to yourself).

{Step Four} Sew Together
With some circles lined up in order and ready to go, I started sewing the circles. To start, I pulled a generous amount of thread and held on to it while I sewed right through the centre of the first circle, made three stitches without any paper, before stitching through the centre of the next circle. I continued to do this until half of my large circles were used up and left a long thread at the end as well. The long threads at each end can be tied off and are useful for hanging.

Then I started a second strand with the rest of the circles, creating two garlands each approximatly 25′ long.  I find two garlands tangle less easily and give me some flexibility when it comes to decorating with them. (But mostly because two garlands tangle less easily).

{Step Five} Hang & Enjoy
I hung my garlands so they criss crossed and zig zagged across the room, letting them drape down at different heights.  And then I went and got my kids and made them check out my awesome garland (they put up with me because they are awesome too).

You don’t need a reason to make a patterned paper confetti garland though. Life is simply better with one of these hanging in your house.

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