2014 Gift Guide: For An Energetic Toddler

When it comes to gift guides, I like to stick to what I know. Last year, we shared some ideas for a not-yet-walking almost toddler, but this year we have a full blown toddler (almost preschooler!) on our hands! So in case you’re looking for a gift for the energetic toddler in your life, here are a few ideas!

2014 Gift Guide Toddler Preschool Ideas 2014 Gift Guide: For An Energetic Toddler

1. Sophie loves anything that moves and the faster the better. My First Scooter is at the top of our list!

2. Sophie always wants to help with any project that requires a screwdriver or hammer. I think this Wood Toolbox would be a big hit! Land of Nod also has a really wonderful selection of colorful wood toys that are as beautiful to look at as they are fun to play with. I’m also a big fan of this rainbow Cascading Marble Drop and this Rainbow Stacker!

3. Magna Tiles (Solid Colors Set) – Sophie plays with Magna Tiles at daycare and loooooves them!

4. + 5. Strathmore Watercolor Paper and Washable Watercolors – Painting and drawing are probably two of Sophie’s favorite activities. I buy big pads of thick watercolor paper and let Sophie create her masterpieces using washable acrylic and watercolor paints (or markers and crayons depending on her mood).

6. Toy Camera

7. Reading is still pretty high on our list of favorite activities – and you can never have too many books! A few favorites: Do Not Open This Book by Adam Lerhaupt, Sleepyheads by Sandra Howatt, and Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers

8. Pretend & Play Doctor Set – Yay for pretend play!

p.s. I also really love Joni’s gift guide inspired by her 4 year-old daughter. I have a feeling this is the direction we’ll be heading over the next couple of years!

Check back tomorrow for some gift ideas for your favorite cocktail enthusiast!

DIY Tutorial: Clay Gingerbread Cookie Drink Markers

I do very little cooking and even less baking, but I do have a special place in my heart for Christmas cookies – perhaps because they’re sort of at the intersection between baking and crafting. Today, I’m crafting up some drink markers that are dead ringers for delicious gingerbread cookies using oven-bake clay. Maybe a little too convincing, so remind your guests not to try eating them! – Mandy Pellegrin of Fabric Paper Glue

OSBP DIY Clay Cookie Drink Markers 10 DIY Tutorial: Clay Gingerbread Cookie Drink Markers

OSBP DIY Clay Cookie Drink Markers 1 DIY Tutorial: Clay Gingerbread Cookie Drink Markers

Materials
oven-bake clay in brown, red, and white
rolling pin
parchment paper
mini holiday cookie cutters
toothpick
glass marker rings

I found my mini cookie cutters at Michael’s, and the glass marker rings amongst the jewelry findings.

OSBP DIY Clay Cookie Drink Markers 2 DIY Tutorial: Clay Gingerbread Cookie Drink Markers

Step One: Roll the block of brown clay into a ball, place between two sheets of parchment paper, and use the rolling pin to flatten to around 1/8″ thick. This clay is no dough, so it will take a little time and muscle to get the clay rolled out.

OSBP DIY Clay Cookie Drink Markers 3 DIY Tutorial: Clay Gingerbread Cookie Drink Markers

Step Two: Press the cookie cutters into the clay.

OSBP DIY Clay Cookie Drink Markers 4 DIY Tutorial: Clay Gingerbread Cookie Drink Markers

Step Three: Peel away the excess clay.

OSBP DIY Clay Cookie Drink Markers 5 DIY Tutorial: Clay Gingerbread Cookie Drink Markers

Step Four: Roll the white and red clay into super skinny rolls and tiny spheres. Wash your hands before handling the white clay, because the colors will transfer.

OSBP DIY Clay Cookie Drink Markers 6 DIY Tutorial: Clay Gingerbread Cookie Drink Markers

Step Five: Use the white clay rolls to outline each of the shapes. Use the red rolls and spheres to add some flourishes. If you have multiples of the same shape, make sure to flourish them a little differently so that they’re still effective in differentiating glasses.

OSBP DIY Clay Cookie Drink Markers 7 DIY Tutorial: Clay Gingerbread Cookie Drink Markers

Step Six: Use the toothpick, to poke a hole for the charm wire. Poke right through the parchment paper if necessary.

Step Seven: Transfer the parchment paper to a baking sheet, and bake according to the directions on your clay packaging.

OSBP DIY Clay Cookie Drink Markers 8 DIY Tutorial: Clay Gingerbread Cookie Drink Markers

Step Eight: After the ‘cookies’ have cooled, attach the charm wires. Enjoy!

OSBP DIY Clay Cookie Drink Markers 9 DIY Tutorial: Clay Gingerbread Cookie Drink Markers

OSBP DIY Clay Cookie Drink Markers 11 DIY Tutorial: Clay Gingerbread Cookie Drink Markers

Photo Credits: Mandy Pellegrin for Oh So Beautiful Paper

Monday Happy Hour: A Batch of Martinez

For our little cocktail party, we offered our guests the vintage Martinez cocktail as an alternative to our hot rum punch. The Martinez is a nice contrast to the sweet-sour punch: dry, malty, snappy and bold, it let our guests choose between some very different flavors without us having to make a million individual drinks. We first wrote about the Martinez three years ago (!) but wanted to return to this drink to showcase how easy it can be to make cocktails for a party. – Andrew

Car2Go Washington DC OSBP SweetRootVillage 91 Monday Happy Hour: A Batch of Martinez

The Martinez Cocktail Recipe Card Shauna Lynn Illustration OSBP Monday Happy Hour: A Batch of Martinez

Illustration by Shauna Lynn for Oh So Beautiful Paper

The Martinez (Single Size)

2 oz Genever or Old Tom Gin
1 oz Sweet Vermouth
1/2 oz Maraschino Liqueur
4 Dashes Orange Bitters

The Martinez (Party Size)

2 Cups Genever or Old Tom Gin
1 Cup Sweet Vermouth
1/2 Cup Maraschino Liqueur
32 Dashes Orange Bitters

Combine all of your ingredients in a large bottle (a funnel helps here). This can be the night before or a week before – a drink like the Martinez that consists of all spirits will keep indefinitely. I stored ours in the freezer, ensuring it would pour out ice cold. When you’re ready to serve, measure out 3-4 ounces, stir with ice, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with orange peel, twisted over the glass to express the oils. This recipe makes about eight servings.

Car2Go Washington DC OSBP SweetRootVillage 78 Monday Happy Hour: A Batch of Martinez

Car2Go Washington DC OSBP SweetRootVillage 82 Monday Happy Hour: A Batch of Martinez

Car2Go Washington DC OSBP SweetRootVillage 85 Monday Happy Hour: A Batch of Martinez

Car2Go Washington DC OSBP SweetRootVillage 87 Monday Happy Hour: A Batch of Martinez

Cocktails, like baking, are all about proportions. Figuring out the right balance between ingredients can be tricky – a dash or a quarter of an ounce can make a huge difference when you’re using potent ingredients like absinthe or bitter amari – but is the key to a good drink. Fortunately, once you have the right proportions, you can scale your recipe however you want. We once hosted a cocktail party at which I tried to make everyone individual drinks to order, which resulted in me spending most of the party in the kitchen working. Not fun. Which is why we like to make cocktails in big batches like this for parties: instead of working when you should be enjoying the company of your guests, you can make your drinks ahead of time and have them ready to serve during your party.

Car2Go Washington DC OSBP SweetRootVillage 92 Monday Happy Hour: A Batch of Martinez

Photos by Sweet Root Village for Oh So Beautiful Paper

Seasonal Stationery: 2014 Holiday Cards Part 3

Happy Monday everyone! Are you ready for more beautiful holiday cards? Good! Here are a few more favorites from this year’s holiday card round up – and continue reading below for a very special discount just for OSBP readers!

2014 Holiday Cards Part5 Seasonal Stationery: 2014 Holiday Cards Part 3

1. Egg Press

2. Little Low

3. Smock

4. Mr. Boddington’s Studio

5. Bespoke Letterpress

6. Thimblepress

2014 Holiday Cards Part6 Seasonal Stationery: 2014 Holiday Cards Part 3

7. + 8. Parrott Design Studio

9. The Good Twin Co.

10. Smudge Ink

11. Ferme à Papier

12. Smock

13. Red Cap Cards

Check out the full holiday card round up – with 400+ holiday cards – right here!

Smock Holiday Gift Tags Seasonal Stationery: 2014 Holiday Cards Part 3

p.s. As a very very special treat Smock is offering OSBP readers 30% off site wide – from holiday cards to gift boxes and gift tags – using code holidaycheer! But hurry – the code will expire Tuesday 12/9 at midnight EST!

DC Guide: Where to Shop for the Perfect Cocktail Party with car2go

Car2go logo 11.17 DC Guide: Where to Shop for the Perfect Cocktail Party with car2go This post brought to you by car2go. Click here to join now!

One of our goals this winter is to have friends over to our house more frequently – it isn’t always easy to go out when you have small kids at home, especially when you just want to stay warm and cozy inside. Last year we were still unpacking and getting settled into the new house, and by the time spring rolled around we felt like we’d spent the entire winter hibernating. Plus, hosting friends is a great excuse to try out some of our new cocktail recipes!

Car2Go Washington DC OSBP SweetRootVillage 56 DC Guide: Where to Shop for the Perfect Cocktail Party with car2go

Whether we’re planning a larger event or a smaller gathering, we always want to have something tasty for our guests, but it isn’t always feasible to get around town using public transportation. I’m so glad that car sharing services have become more popular in DC over the last few years. I see car2go all over my Capitol Hill neighborhood, so I was really excited to team up with car2go to try one of their cars for myself. We had a few friends coming over to try some of our upcoming winter cocktails (the best kind of research!), so I jumped into a nearby car2go to gather provisions. Because this was a more intimate gathering of friends and the first time we’d had people over since Alice’s arrival in September, we decided to keep things really simple: two really good cocktails accompanied by a cheese plate and some seriously delicious doughnuts – all around our coffee table (an antique Egyptian brass tray that we found at a flea market!). I try to get as much preparation as possible done during nap time, and car2gocar2go made it so easy to pick up some special treats from some of my favorite DC spots in just a couple of hours!

Car2Go Washington DC OSBP SweetRootVillage 3 DC Guide: Where to Shop for the Perfect Cocktail Party with car2go

Car2Go Washington DC OSBP SweetRootVillage 4 DC Guide: Where to Shop for the Perfect Cocktail Party with car2go

In case you aren’t familiar with car2go, the entire fleet is made up of smart cars – so they can fit into really small parking spots – that you can access for short trips around town, even one way or by-the-minute trips! I was a bit worried about being able to find a car nearby when I needed it, especially on a weekend, but I just pulled the car2go app up on my phone when I was ready to walk out the door and there was a car just a couple of blocks away. I was in a car with a quick swipe of my member card and on my way in about 10 minutes total!

Car2Go Washington DC OSBP SweetRootVillage 11 DC Guide: Where to Shop for the Perfect Cocktail Party with car2go

Car2Go Washington DC OSBP SweetRootVillage 19 DC Guide: Where to Shop for the Perfect Cocktail Party with car2go

Car2Go Washington DC OSBP SweetRootVillage 21 DC Guide: Where to Shop for the Perfect Cocktail Party with car2go

My first stop was my favorite new addition to Capitol Hill: District Doughnut! I was so happy when they opened up shop on Barracks Row a few months ago – they seriously make the best doughnuts I’ve ever tasted! My personal favorites so far are Brown Butter and Maple Butter Pecan, but they’re always coming out with new seasonal flavors. Lines have been known to form down the block and parking can be really difficult on weekends, but I managed to find a tiny parking spot that was just the right size for car2go.

Car2Go Washington DC OSBP SweetRootVillage 16 DC Guide: Where to Shop for the Perfect Cocktail Party with car2go

Car2Go Washington DC OSBP SweetRootVillage 34 DC Guide: Where to Shop for the Perfect Cocktail Party with car2go

Next I headed up to Union Market, an artisanal food market in the NOMA area of DC. We love coming up to Union Market for casual meals or to shop at the many specialty stands – you can find everything from produce stands to a fishmonger to ice cream! I made a beeline to Righteous Cheese to pick up the ingredients for our cheese plate, then stopped by the produce stand to grab some fresh seasonal citrus in lieu of flowers. I couldn’t resist popping into Salt & Sundry to pick up a new candle from local candlemaker Sydney Hale Co. and the most gorgeous tiny dipping bowls from Redraven Ceramics.

Car2Go Washington DC OSBP SweetRootVillage 42 DC Guide: Where to Shop for the Perfect Cocktail Party with car2go

Car2Go Washington DC OSBP SweetRootVillage 45 DC Guide: Where to Shop for the Perfect Cocktail Party with car2go

Car2Go Washington DC OSBP SweetRootVillage 49 DC Guide: Where to Shop for the Perfect Cocktail Party with car2go

Car2Go Washington DC OSBP SweetRootVillage 51 DC Guide: Where to Shop for the Perfect Cocktail Party with car2go

Car2Go Washington DC OSBP SweetRootVillage 50 DC Guide: Where to Shop for the Perfect Cocktail Party with car2go

If you’re planning to host a cocktail party of any kind, you’ll definitely want to visit a well curated liquor store. My final stop was at our favorite liquor store in all of DC: Schneider’s of Capitol Hill. Schneider’s seriously has everything – from small batch distilleries to the more familiar brand names – and the staff is always available to help you find something, answer questions, or make recommendations if you need help navigating the sheer number of options. It’s overwhelming in the best possible way.

Car2Go Washington DC OSBP SweetRootVillage 55 DC Guide: Where to Shop for the Perfect Cocktail Party with car2go

My favorite part of running around DC with car2gocar2go? Once you’re done with the car you just park it anywhere and leave! You don’t have to return the car to a specific spot or worry about completing a return trip within a specified period of time. You just drive the car for the amount of time that you need it (even one-way trips) and then you’re done. I found a parking spot right around the corner from my house, so I didn’t have to worry about schlepping a bunch of things for a long walk home. My husband was taking Sophie and Alice for a walk when we pulled up – so Sophie even got a peek inside the car2go! She promptly proclaimed it her tiny car.

Car2Go Washington DC OSBP SweetRootVillage 57 DC Guide: Where to Shop for the Perfect Cocktail Party with car2go

I made it home with plenty of time to set everything out before our guests arrived. Andy made up a large batch of one of our favorite drinks – The Martinez – and a bowl of Hot Rum Punch – you’ll have to check back on Friday for the Hot Rum Punch recipe!

Car2Go Washington DC OSBP SweetRootVillage 84 DC Guide: Where to Shop for the Perfect Cocktail Party with car2go

Car2Go Washington DC OSBP SweetRootVillage 106 DC Guide: Where to Shop for the Perfect Cocktail Party with car2go

Car2Go Washington DC OSBP SweetRootVillage 120 DC Guide: Where to Shop for the Perfect Cocktail Party with car2go

Car2Go Washington DC OSBP SweetRootVillage 107 DC Guide: Where to Shop for the Perfect Cocktail Party with car2go

Car2Go Washington DC OSBP SweetRootVillage 117 DC Guide: Where to Shop for the Perfect Cocktail Party with car2go

Photos by Sweet Root Village for Oh So Beautiful Paper