Welcoming in a New Year

I love starting a new year.  Although we can “clean house” in our lives at any time, the new year is a great reminder to let go of bad habits, bad feelings, and bad memories and start fresh with new focus, new goals, and new determination.

To celebrate, here are some of my favorite new year quotes. You are welcome to share these and print these. 🙂

magic dreams and good madness Whats stopping you welcome the new year This year be fierce2

Have You Ever Wondered How It’s Made? RPT Makes Aquariums, Marriages and More…

Have you ever wondered how it is made?


Reynolds Polymer makes a lot of great things… Aquarium windows, swimming pool windows, water features, and even marriages. 😉  As many of you may (and many of you may not) know, my husband and I met when we worked together at Reynolds Polymer Technology.  It was my first job out of college and I was the Executive Assistant to the President of the company.  I was pretty excited! And it was a real job… Paid vacation, heath benefits, company email (you know, legit stuff). And they made really cool things!  Like this:

cityofdreams-01 domaquaree-01 mppalace-aquarium-03   jeddah-03


And this:

151751 152217 151874 151876     151914   151898

And this:

151815 151867 151925   154910 151934 151930   151887


Pretty neat right?!

What I didn’t expect was to find, nor was I looking for, a husband. But sure enough, after only a few weeks of working there, a handsome guy walked into my office and introduced himself.  As he left I thought, “He he has a really nice butt. And I really like the way he walks. And he has big arms. He must lift”.

Fast forward 8 or 9 months and although I had hardly talked to him, I felt like I knew him. Whenever his name was brought up, I heard what a good person he was, how hard he worked, how smart he was, how honest, reliable and dependable he was.  People genuinely liked him. And although he was sometimes quick tempered he also had a low tolerance for BS. People really admired him.

It started with me offering him some conversation hearts and a few quick IM’s back and forth (this was still back when you had to press the 4 twice, wait for the cursor to move and then press the 4 three more times just to spell “Hi”) and he asked me out on a date on Friday night. Then Saturday night. And by Sunday, I knew I would marry him. We were engaged three months later and married less than a year after that.

At our wedding, I said this in my speech:

“For those of you that don’t know Mike and I’s “story”, we met at work.  Now I must say that while I was interviewing, I had no idea all the great things Reynolds had to offer. Peter and Jerry mentioned health insurance and paid vacation, but left out husbands when explaining the benefit package. Which is really too bad, because had I known about Mike, I would have probably taken the job for a lot less money.”

It’s true. He was (and still is) by far the best benefit I have ever received – work or otherwise. And had I known at the time of my interview what the future held for me, I would have worked for free!

Mike still works at RPT and has been involved in one part or another of every project shown above.  They make amazing things!

Although Reynolds Polymer makes pretty awesome marriages, that is not their specialty (surprising I know! ha ah). Tune into the science channel tonight (9pm EST) and find out how they make aquarium windows.


I am excited and curious what they will actually show.  RPTs methods, materials and processes are all proprietary so they won’t be able to divulge too much informaiton. There are only a few companies like it in the world and none of them can do the magnitude of projects that Reynolds Polymer does.  It is a pretty big honor to be featured on this show!





Monthly Onesies How-to & *Free Printables*

12 month onesies

I was invited to a friend’s baby shower this last weekend. I love baby showers! And people having babies!

I knew right away that I wanted to make her a set of 12 monthly onesies to use for pictures the first year.  I have made them baby boys before but never for girls so I knew I would have to re-design them and since it is a girl, add a tutu!

Here is how they turned out:



Aren’t they ADORABLE?!?!?  I didn’t want to leave the older sister-to-be out so I made her a shirt and tutu also:

big sister She just turned 4 so she was pretty thrilled!

My mom loved the onesies so much that she hired me to make a gift set for her to give at a baby shower she was going to in a couple weeks.  The mommy-to-be loves pink and chevron so I changed the design up a little bit:


Again, SO cute!  And really pretty easy once the iron-on transfers are designed. And since I already designed them, I am passing them on to you for free!

Tips for making the onesies:

*Buy different sizes: I usually try to buy size 0-3 months for months 1 & 2; size 3-6 months for months 3, 4 & 5; Size 6-12 months for months 6, 7, 8, 9, & 10; and size 18 months for months 11 & 12.  Remember, they can always be a little big and still be cute

* Use iron-on transfers for dark material – even though you are ironing onto white fabric, these work better.  Also, it doesn’t require you to reverse them before printing

* Wash and dry the onesies before ironing on the transfers

* Follow the directions on the package! 🙂

It’s really that simple: print , cut out, iron on.  And the best part is they are always one of the favorite gifts and make everyone “ooh and ahh!”.

Just click on the picture below and it will open the the document to print. I hope you enjoy them!

12 month onesies2

12 month onesies





Holy Smoke! Cigar themed 40th Birthday Party

This last weekend, we celebrated my dear husbands 40th birthday with many of our closest friends.  We do a lot of parties so when I was planning this one I knew that I wanted it to be different than a normal shindig at our house and instead wanted it to be out on the town.

Mike travels a lot for work and no matter where he is (Korea, China, Italy, etc) he tends to spend  a lot of his off hours in the local Irish Pub. This is probably because they usually have his favorite beers on tap and sports on TV but I think it also feels like home in places that are often very foreign.  When we were in Italy last year, we spent most of our late evenings in the an Irish Pub watching soccer with the locals and learning the team chants. It was a ton of fun! Museums by day, Irish pubs by night!

We have a great little Irish Pub here that has Guiness on tap and serves Irish Car Bombs (Mike’s go-to party starter) and I knew that it would be the perfect place.  My biggest dilema was what to do for a theme. I knew I didn’t need a lot of decorations but I did want it to feel like his party and not just a night at the bar.  It needed to be manly but not to cliche. And not about getting old.  And not just about booze. <–  So you can see why I had a hard time.  I just knocked out all the popular and obvious themes.  When a cigar theme hit me, I knew it was PERFECT! Mike LOVES cigars.  And to me, cigars say “Classy & Sophisticated”.

Once I had the perfect theme, decorations and ideas came super easy.

Here are the invites and the Facebook graphics:

mike_40_FB EVENT COVER mike_40_invite


To decorate the room, I ordered cigar boxes (10 asst boxes for $25 from Thompson Cigar) and used them as cake stands, a favor display, and just anywhere that needed some decoration.  And also used some small framed signs with these quotes.

table signs3 table signs2    table signs

The cakes. Oooooh, the cakes! They created such a buzz that the staff and other pub patrons asked for a slice! They were delish (if I do say so myself!).

dessert table

Almond Joy Cake    White Chocolate Raspberry Cake 3

Almond Joy Layer Cake and White Chocolate Raspberry with a Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

For favors, we had cigars (of course!) and Rolo cigars (rolls of Rolos wrapped in dark brown paper), and small match boxes that I wrapped in brown packing paper.

Favor Table

Here is a close up of the thank you sign on the favor table:

Thank you cigars


The night was pretty epic! And the great thing about having it at the pub was the cooked the food and cleaned up!

Our Mini Royal Feast for the “Purple Wedding” {Game of Thrones}

Having read the GoT books, I knew what was {hopefully!!} coming in last nights episode and it only seemed right to have a mini feast of our own to celebrate the royal wedding of Joffrey Baratheon to Margaery Tyrell and then the susequent demise of Joffrey {Ding Dong the King is dead…}.

I pulled a couple dishes straight out of the wedding feast in the book for our dinner. Based on these two passages,

“The wedding feast began with a thin leek soup, followed by a salad of green beans, onions, and beets…”


“Hamish left them, his place taken by a smallish elderly bear who danced clumsily to pipe and drum, while the wedding guests ate trout with a crust of crushed almonds.”

we had almond crusted trout and salad of green beans, onions and beets. I was a little skeptical, as were hubby and the kids but both were super good!


For dessert, I REALLY wanted to have pigeon pie but it is impossible to find pigeons here {even duck has to be special ordered} and I didn’t plan ahead far enough in advance so instead we just had pie.  Plain ole’ boring and actually quite delicious Berry Pie. Since we had been camping in a blizzard all weekend, Ms. Marie Calendar helped me out on this one. Funny thing is, I bake so much that the rest of the family just assumed that I made it.  I never told them otherwise – a smart women keeps her secrets. 😉

“My uncle hasn’t eaten his pigeon pie.’ Holding the chalice one-handed, Joff jammed his other into Tyrion’s pie. ‘It’s ill luck not to eat the pie…”


If you are still reveling in Joffrey’s very unheroic death like I am, you might enjoy these other quick reads about last nights episode:

55 Best Twitter Reactions to the ‘Game of Thrones’ Purple Wedding
‘Game of Thrones’ Recap: 9 Reasons to Be Sad Someone Really Important Is Dead

And if you are really a fanatic {ahem, like me 😉 }, you may enjoy these interviews with the creators {David Benioff and Dan Weiss}, the author {George RR Martin } and King Joffrey himself {Jack Gleason} :

‘Game of Thrones’ showrunners talk royal wedding twist
‘Game of Thrones’: Jack Gleeson talks royal wedding shocker — EXCLUSIVE
George R.R. Martin on why [spoiler] died THAT way — EXCLUSIVE


Game of Thrones, Season 4 Premier Cake

I loved lasts nights episode.  Nothing HUGE happened (there was no Red Wedding type of situation, thank God!) but it clearly set the stage for season 4 and caught us up on our favorite characters.  And how wonderful was it that Arya finally got a little justice and can mark one person off her list?

As I mentioned previously, last night was also the “Name Day” celebration for one of my dear friends and fellow uber fan so we had to have cake! A GoT cake no doubt.  It tasted perfect with spiced wine. 😉


Game of Thrones Season 4 Premier is TODAY!

Have I mentioned how much I love Game of Thrones? Or how excited I am for it to start up again?  Those are rhetorical questions, I KNOW I have mentioned that. At least a time or two. 😉

True to our form, I have been mulling spiced wine in the crock pot all day, we are listening to the GoT soundtrack and I am working on a cake for the Name Day celebration we are having for my good friend Kelly.

But while I wait for the cake to come out of the oven, I thought I would share some family sigils that I created last year for us and a few friends using the Join the Realm Sigil Creator from HBO and picture from our Name Day celebration last year.

For each sigil, I looked up the family crest and if available used the family motto.  If not available, I just used one that I liked. 😉  Ours (Chesney) and my brother, also my maiden name (Knisley) are actual historical mottos. How cool is that?!

Chesney_sigil Behrens_sigil

knisley_sigil   Flenniken_sigil


I also made a facebook cover photo for my personal page!




Last years Name Day celebration for my husband and Kelly (who both have April birthdays) was a lot of fun!

I made a Weirwood cake topper from a incense burner I found at Walmart (then painted of course) and made the cake red velvet (seemed fitting) with cream cheese frosting and pirouette cookies around the edge.


I printed Winterfell beer labels from here and made spiced wine (of course!).


And then printed a few small decorations like these cards from Hero Square .


It was just the four of us so I wanted to keep it festive but still simple!


So what are you doing for the premier of Game of Thrones tonight?  Only 2 more hours!!!


Today’s Best Friday Find

The weather is getting warmer which means that most Friday mornings you will find me loading up the kids and my Mom (AKA my Yard Sale PIC) and heading out to find what new yard sale treasures await us.

I love to shop and I also love really good bargains which means that yard sales are pretty much my best friend. And my kryptonite. I drive, my Mom navigates and we bribe the kids with goldfish and suckers. Truly, it is an awesome time had by all.

Today’s best deal, with out a doubt is this fantastic pair of shoes:

shoes 1

Brand new, never worn, Nike Relentless 2 Running Shoes. Suggested Retail Value of $59.99.  Guess how much?  $10? That would be a good deal!  $5? That would be a GREAT deal.  But no, this was a FAN-FREAKIN-TASTIC deal…  50 cents.  Yep, 50 cents!

Shoes 2

Now really, I should turn around and sell these puppies on eBay.  But they were a size 9.  My size!  I am pretty sure the shoe gods were smiling on me today and they knew I NEEDED one more pair of shoes because I always need 1 more pair of shoes. Thank you shoe gods, I accept and will wear them with a spring in my step!

Happy Friday!