oscar party 2015

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 We.  Love. The. Oscars.  You know this.  Planning on throwing an Oscar bash?  We highly recommend that you do (they’re the best).  Here are a few of our favorite ideas for this year.

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Every Oscar party needs giant balloons, right? We ordered ours online, filled them up at the store, and stuffed them into our tiny car.  Learn from our mistakes and bring a van. This year, instead of champagne, we set up a bar cart so guests could make their drink of choice.

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IMG_7260Aren’t these balloons just everything?

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A red carpet is a must! We stuck ours under the bar cart for fun #shoestagrams.IMG_7221

Inside we set up a simple buffet.  Popcorn, movie candy, little appetizers, et voilá. Recognize those film strips?  We made them a few years ago for our first Oscar party and love them still.  The piñatas are a score from Party City.

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Don’t mind us, we couldn’t resist a balloon photo op in the street.

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For a simple photobooth we hung our star garland, also from our first Oscar partyon the wall.  Other easy options could include gold foil curtains, large gold stars, or red butcher paper.  To give them the “photobooth look” we used the Party Party App by A Beautiful Mess.

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xoxo, Keya and Erica

Oscars 2015 + Printable Download

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If you’ve been following along with this blog for a while you know that the Oscars are BIG DEAL over at The Little Things.  A very big deal.  Our first post on this blog was about our Oscar Soirée, which you can see here.  As the month goes on we’ll share some of our favorite Oscars DIY’s with you and also a few new ones.  But this post is about getting to the heart of the matter- watching all of the nominated films.  The list was just released so… ready.set.go!  By my count you have 35 days to watch 60 films.  But some of those are shorts, so no big deal.  This year was the first year that we got savvy and started watching the golden globe noms in preparation (go figure, only took us five years to come to this brilliant idea?).  It’s been helpful, but we still have a lot to watch (eeek).

Thinking about doing to Oscar challenge, but not sure? I recommend finding a friend or a group of friends to watch the movies with and then heading over to happy hour (dare I say…best hour?) to discuss the films over drinks and snacks.  Just think about how cultured you’ll look, pouring over your lists and notes, while spewing margarita-fueled comments on Birdman’s cinematography.  #moviebuff

Don’t want to see all the movies, but still want to be in the know?  Here’s a list of the top nominated films, which is a good jumping-off point (*=Best Picture):

  • Birdman: 9 nominations*
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel: 9 nominations*
  • The Imitation Game: 8 nominations*
  • American Sniper: 6 nominations*
  • Boyhood: 6 nominations*
  • Interstellar: 5 nominations
  • Foxcatcher: 5 nominations
  • The Theory of Everything: 5 nominations*
  • Whiplash: 5 nominations*
  • Mr. Turner: 4 nominations
  • Selma: 2 nominations*

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I’ve also included a downloadable print-out of every film nominated and what it’s up for.  You can download it here. (click to view, or right click and select “save link as” to save it to your computer).  I also noted each of the films that are also available on Netflix with and N next to the title and I for instant and DVD for DVD only.  It’s pretty handy and only a single page for easy movie referencing and marking off what you’ve seen!

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Get excited folks, because Oscar season is upon us and it’s the best season of them all!

xoxo,

Keya

Apple Cider Jello Shots

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Okay, I’ll admit, I have sort of a love/hate relationship with jello shots.  I love them because they are undeniably FUN.  Especially when they’re colorful and God forbid they come in those tacky plastic syringes, because then I am a goner.  I mean, those are so great.  Makes me want to host a doctor themed party, which is pretty weird. Annnyway, rambling aside, the negative of jello shots is that they usually taste pretty terrible.  Super sweet in the beginning and then just vodka.  Bleh.  So making my own is usually the way to go (no liquor aftertaste here!).  My recipe may use a tad less alcohol than most, so feel free to adjust at will, if you’re tougher than me!IMG_6951

Ingredients (makes about 12 jello shots):

1 pack spiced apple cider mix

1 packet gelatine

1.5 c. boiling water

.5 c. spiced rum

Mix apple cider mix and gelatine in boiling water until completely dissolved.  Add spiced rum and mix again. Pour into jello shot cups and set in the fridge to set.  This takes a few hours, but I recommend leaving them overnight.  If you’re making these for a party, save yourself some stress and make these ahead of time! Use apple cider mix to make spiced rim and enjoy!

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xoxo, Keya

Cauldron Succulent Planters

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When I saw these cauldrons at the craft store, I knew that I WOULD need them for something.  Then I happened to place them next to my succulents on the table when I got home and a great plan was born.  My little green babies were getting uprooted for the season.  Not such a great planting move to just re-pot plants in themed vessels based upon the relevant holiday?  I couldn’t say, my thumb is more of a murky brown.  And they just look so darn cute.  Imagine these lined up on the table as a dinner centerpiece or spread about the house.  The green is almost like a bubbling potion spilling over the top of the cauldron.  And the air plants have this great weird science look to them.  Whenever I see an air plant I think that they should be named Harold or Max.  They sort of bring to mind a dorky teenager with spiked hair and braces.  Weird?  Figures I would turn out to be that kind of plant mom.

Anyway, onto the DIY…  This whole project is so simple that it almost feels silly describing it.  Basically, we’re planting here, guys.

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ingredients:

plastic cauldrons (I found mine at Michael’s for $1.50)

succulents/air plants

succulent potting soil

screwdriver with pointed bit & hammer

how to:

Turn your cauldron upside down and using your screwdriver and hammer, punch a hole in the bottom for drainage.  This is the most technical part of this project.  Plant your little succulent inside, making sure to fill the pot with soil. For the air plants I skipped punching a hole in their cauldrons and just set them on top.  Done!

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xoxo, Keya

sacramento travel diary

In general, when I think of capital cities, I always imagine large buildings and tree-lined streets, and it’s always Fall?  California’s capital is no exception.  Is there a reason for this?  Nonetheless, when I had a trip to Sacramento in my future, I was determined to find all of the wonderful things (read: food) that the city had to offer, the Little Things way.  Should you have a trip to California’s capital scheduled, be sure to check out a few!

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The first, and most important, activity on my Sacramento to-do list was to drink bloody marys pan for gold.  Gold was first discovered in Coloma, California, a tiny town outside of Sacramento.  I went straight to the source. I imagined myself parting the sea of small children and expertly pulling out chunks of gold while the park rangers stared on in wonder.  Instead, I watched as 6-year-old Chloe began filling her vial with small chunks of gold.   Desperately swooshing my pan, I tried to distinguish between the fool’s gold and the real stuff.  Needless to say, I walked away with zero gold.  Still, I recommend going and competing against those crafty kids; definitely a highlight of the trip!

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 Downtown Coloma is about a 5 minute walk filled with quaint little buildings and bridges.

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My boyfriends’ family is from Placerville, just down the street from Coloma.  We stopped at The Independent for dinner.  Tucked away downtown, the food and drinks were all amazing and the twinkle lights on the back patio made it the perfect date-night location.  We ordered the buttermilk-fried free-range chicken breast and the White Marble Farms pork back ribs along with some bourbon cocktails that fit the old-world charm perfectly.

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Old Town Sacramento is full of beautiful brick buildings (our favorite) and specialty shops.  I recommend setting aside a couple hours to stroll through the streets, take a carriage ride, and enjoy all the ice cream you could ever wish for!

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Keya and I are constantly on the lookout for amazing bloody marys, so when I walked by a sandwichboard claiming “The Best Bloody Mary in Old Town Sacramento” at the River City Saloon, I was both skeptical and extremely excited.  Just hours earlier, I had tried what was supposedly the best bloody mary in all of Sacramento, and was extremely disappointed by the lack of snacks.  Now, slightly tipsy and with the desire to restore my faith, I had to try this (for the sake of comparison).  When the bartender pulled out the bacon, I knew this was going to be a good afternoon and I was not disappointed.  5 stars for the River City Saloon.  Also, there is a fake cowboy propped at the end of the bar, great for taking photos with!
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Back in Placerville, Sweetie Pies Restaurant and Bakery was the perfect place to pick up a few breakfast treats.

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 Jack Russell Brewery is located on Apple Hill, an area with over 50 apple orchards.  We sat outside and played cards while enjoying the stunning view.

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 Wandering through downtown Sacremento, you must stop by Rick’s Dessert Diner and order a piece of pie.  Sit with Marilyn Monroe or James Dean and embrace the cheesy doo-wop music as you savor that piece of chocolatey-goodness.

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If you are driving up north in the Spring, you are going to see the amazing almond orchards along the way.  They went on for miles and I could not stop staring.  A total fairy-tale.

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Recommended playlist for the drive up: 

Roll down the windows and sing as loud as you can!

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Not pictured: The Weatherstone location of Old Soul Coffee Co. is a  beautiful brick building with great coffee and their own beer on tap!  Cozmic Cafe in Placerville is a great lunch spot with an upstairs music venue and a historical gold mine in the back.

And for next time:  I am dying to go to Dive Bar in Sacramento! This place has real live mermaids swimming in large tanks behind the bar! Call ahead to find out when the mermaids will be making an appearance.

xoxo,

erica

no-weave wall hanging

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Okay, first I’ll admit that I started this project the weave-way.  That is, I made my own loom out of a carefully-carved cardboard box (genius!), wrapped some twine around my box creating, what looked to me, like evenly spaced strings….or whatever you call them.  I proceeded to weave my yarn in and out, creating cool tassels and textures, just like all those pictures you see on Pinterest.  With each passing day, my cardboard box started to soften and cave in, and i would pull the strings tighter, which in-turn caused the cardboard to cave more.  Sometimes when a project is not going right, you have to just set it aside for a while and ask yourself, “do I go on or do I start over?”  In this case, I needed to re-strategize and start over.  Turns out, it was one of the best decisions of my life – with inspiration from Kipi, I was able to get the same effect I was looking for WITHOUT spending money on a loom.

ingredients:

a piece of plastic canvas (found in the needle-work section of most craft stores)

a piece of driftwood (found on most beaches) 

twine (thin enough to string through your canvas)

an assortment of yarn (I chose 5 different types including some mop-ends)

sharp scissors (I bought a brand new pair)

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1. The first thing you want to do is figure out your pattern.  There is a ton of inspiration out there to get you started.  Once you have a general idea, you can begin!

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2. This project is all about “tassels”.  So begin by deciding the length of your first row of yarn and start cutting strips that are twice that length (they will be folded in half).  I suggest giving yourself extra room for trimming as well.  Once you have cut a few strands, you can use your twine to tie the strands together in the center and create a tassel.  For thicker yarn I used about 5 strands per tassel (folded to make 10), and the thinner yarn I used about 10 strands per tassel (folded to make 20).

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3. Once you have your tassels, you can begin stringing them through the canvas (equal distances apart – about 5 boxes), and tying the twine at the back of the canvas in tight knots.

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4. Because there is no weaving involved, this project is all about layers and textures.  I highly suggest creating lots of layers.  Instead of doing one row at the top with  Yarn “A”, create a short row and then a longer row underneath before you move on to Yarn “B”.

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5. Also keep in mind, you never want your canvas to show through so make sure you build your second layer underneath the first, the third layer underneath the second, …etc.

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6. As you create rows, you can begin trimming the ends of the yarn into straight lines using very sharp scissors.  Trim off small amounts each time until it is at the desired length.  This step is kind of like plucking your eyebrows, don’t go too crazy because these strands won’t grow back!

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7. Once you have all of your tassels tied, you can snip off the excess twine at the back of your canvas.

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8. To attach the driftwood, use a long strand of twine and string through the canvas and around the driftwood, tying a tight knot at the back of the canvas.

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9. From here, you can begin stringing the twine through the canvas and around the driftwood at equal spaces apart.

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10. When you reach the end of your canvas, make sure to tighten each loop so the canvas is taught against the stick before tying your final knot at the back of the canvas.

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And voila! No weaving required!

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happy crafting!

xoxo, keya and erica

 

market dates

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 Creative dates are hard.  Not knocking dinner and a movie, but sometimes it’s fun to mix it up a bit.  When Erica and I started the Little Things it was very much to help keep us creatively motivated in our everyday work lives.  Not just with crafts, but everything we do.  And why not with our dates?  So every once and while when we think of a fun date idea or activity, you might see a little post about it around here!  This past weekend I thought it would be fun to spend our Saturday exploring the farmer’s market and then making a dinner from all market ingredients.

So, rewind to Saturday morning, mind bustling with the fun afternoon ahead, I woke my boyfriend up to remind him of our plans.  In all honesty, I expected him to be WAY more excited.  I mean, this is a cute idea and farmer’s markets are great so I don’t get it. Nonetheless, I powered forward, brought him coffee and reminded him that he had already promised he would go.  And thus, my very sweet and patient boyfriend and I hopped in the car and headed off to the PSU Saturday Market (a real gem for all of you visiting Portland).  Now at this point you may be thinking to yourself, why am I reading a blog post about fun date ideas that even your boyfriend doesn’t want to do?  Fear not ladies, because he will like it.  Farmer’s markets have tons of food and usually a good helping of puppies so it’s really a mix that nobody can resist.  We ended up spending a few hours strolling the aisles, sampling different products and chatting with the farmers.  I think that we can both agree that the highlights were kombucha, focaccia pizza, and spotting a mini husky puppy (honestly, the puppy was the highlight.  Never seen anything cuter.)

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We grabbed our normal lettuces and fruits and a pack of beautiful homemade pappardelle.  Then we happened upon a local meat stand specializing in rare meats.  This ladies, might be one of the issues with bringing your guy to the market, because upon his sparked interest, I found us leaving the stand with a pound of ground yak meat.  (Definitely a new one for me).  A bolognese sauce was on the horizon.  We picked up a fresh loaf of bread, some lacinto kale, rhubarb, and some fancy local salt for fun.  Also I tried all of the cheese and wine samples.  All in all, it was a lovely way to spend the early afternoon.

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When we got home, I made a strawberry rhubarb pie because I couldn’t resist.  Also, the bf loves pie.  We made a bolognese sauce, substituting the yak for beef.  True story guys, it wasn’t bad.  I couldn’t tell the difference.  After admitting this though, the bf said that he wanted to try yak steaks to really compare.  Eeeek not where I saw that little truth heading- biting my tongue next time!  I also threw together a lemony kale salad (MY FAVORITE).  If you want the best kale salad recipe ever, check out my mom’s blog.  You’ll thank me later.  All in all, I would say the date was a success.  

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Are you a fan of your local market?  What are some of your favorite finds?  Hope everyone has some fun weekend plans!

xoxo, Keya