5 Colorful Thanksgiving Ideas + Friday Link Love

Howdy, friends, TGIF! I hope everyone has had a great week. Starting next week we’re going to get to talking about the holidays. Because, well, I love the holidays and also it’s time! (They’re coming sooner than we think!) In the meantime, today I’m sharing five fun colorful Thanksgiving ideas with you to help make the transition. Generally I am a traditionalist when it comes to Thanksgiving, but I do admit to occasionally loving a more modern look with a bolder color palette, so we’re dabbling with that today. It’s pretty fun, right? Don’t forget to keep scrolling for your weekly dose of Friday Link Love, too, and I’ll see you here on Monday, friends! xoxo

5 Colorful Thanksgiving Ideas from @cydconverse

[Printable leftover pie labels | DIY I am thankful for balloon | DIY Thanksgiving banner | DIY give thanks banner | DIY color wrapped wheat centerpiece.]

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Holiday Baking Pantry Essentials

Holiday Baking Pantry Essentials from @cydconverse

Ready or not, friends, the holiday season is quickly approaching! Before I go full out with all the holiday goodness up in here, I thought we’d start by talking about stocking the pantry. Today marks three weeks until Thanksgiving, which is, yes, utterly mind boggling. That said, it’s also the perfect time to start thinking about your upcoming holiday baking! I personally love to bake during the holidays so right about now is when I start to grab extra flour and sugar here and there during my regular grocery trips. It makes baking a pie or whipping up cookies on the fly much easier when you have a fully stocked pantry! Here is my go-to list of things I like to keep on hand at all times. Any other suggestions? I’d love to add your favorites to my list! (Want a printable checklist? Scroll to the bottom of the post to download, print and take with you while shopping!)

Holiday Baking Pantry Essentials from @cydconverse

Assorted flours.
Generally I like to keep a lot of all purpose flour around as it’s the most commonly asked for flour in holiday recipes, but it’s also a great idea to pick up a bag of whole wheat flour and cake flour to have them handy, too.

Holiday Baking Pantry Essentials from @cydconverse

Baking soda + baking powder.
If you haven’t baked in a while, it might be a good idea to ditch your baking soda and baking powder! A good rule of thumb is to refresh your supply every six months or so, because their effectiveness can become compromised over time. One container of each will be plenty for all of your holiday baking needs.

Holiday Baking Pantry Essentials from @cydconverse
Chocolate.
At any given time I like to make sure I have a couple of bags of semi-sweet chocolate chips in my pantry. Additionally, it’s a really great idea to have unsweetened baker’s chocolate and baker’s white chocolate, too. (Especially if you like a good ganache!)

Pumpkin.
You never know when you might have a hankering for pumpkin roll, pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin you-name-it during the holidays. Keeping a few of the smaller 15 oz. cans around is a great idea and it won’t go bad if you don’t use it up!

Holiday Baking Pantry Essentials from @cydconverse
Spices.
There’s always a chance that a recipe will call for something else, but in general if you have a stash of cinnamon (both ground and sticks), ground cloves, nutmeg (again, I prefer whole and ground), all spice and cardamom you’ll largely be all set for most holiday recipes.

Sugar.
We’re talking white sugar, dark brown sugar, light brown sugar and powdered/confectioner’s sugar. Let’s be real. Holiday baked goods are anything but health food so you’ll probably go through quite a bit of sugar!

Holiday Baking Pantry Essentials from @cydconverse
Vanilla extract.
Make sure to get pure vanilla extract, not the imitation stuff. It really really does make a difference! I also like to have a few vanilla beans at all times, too.

Peppermint extract.
In general, vanilla extract is the only variety I keep on hand year-round, but during the holidays it’s a great idea to have peppermint extract in your pantry, too.

Holiday Baking Pantry Essentials from @cydconverse
Salt.
I prefer kosher salt for baking, but I’ll also use sea salt in a pinch. We don’t usually keep regular table salt around the house, but it will work if it’s all you have!

Cocoa powder.
Most chocolate cookies use cocoa powder to impart the chocolate flavor so I like to keep at least one fresh container on hand at all times during the holidays. I also really like having carob powder around, too. It’s kind of like cocoa powder’s slightly better for you older cousin.

Holiday Baking Pantry Essentials from @cydconverse

Holiday Baking Pantry Essentials from @cydconverse Holiday Baking Pantry Essentials from @cydconverse

Oatmeal.
Old fashioned or rolled oats are the way to go when it comes to oatmeal. If you only have quick oats they’ll often work for baking, but oatmeal imparts such a great texture that it’s best to just go with the larger old fashioned oats. You’ll be glad you did!

Shortening.
Most of the time I prefer to bake with butter if it’s an option (I just prefer the flavor), but some recipes are just best with shortening so I like to keep a tub of basic shortening around.

Holiday Baking Pantry Essentials from @cydconverse

Nuts.
A lot of holiday recipes call for nuts so it’s never a bad idea to keep a supply of almonds, walnuts and pecans at the ready. Bonus points that they make great snacks even if you don’t even up baking with them!

Sprinkles.
Sprinkles are fun for topping any kind of brownie or bar cookie and, of course, classic sugar cookies. So load up on all the festive sprinkles you can find!

Holiday Baking Pantry Essentials from @cydconverse

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[Art direction + styling by Cyd Converse | Photos by Alice G. Patterson for The Sweetest Occasion.]

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Baby Talk: 36 Weeks + Packing My Hospital Bag

Hi, friends! I know I’ve been a bit MIA the first part of this week and frankly, I’m just worn out. The weekend was incredibly hectic, pretty much the exact opposite of relaxing in any way, and my energy level is taking a hit. Also, I’m getting totally overwhelmed now that we’re in the final homestretch. It feels like there is so much left to do (mainly to get things squared away on the work front) and I find myself wishing we had a few extra weeks. Then there’s the fact that oh, I don’t know, we’re having a baby in a few weeks and that’s enough to be overwhelming in and of itself. Speaking of things to do, I’ve finally gotten around to starting to think about packing my hospital bag. I need your help! I’ve been watching YouTube videos aplenty (as I do as my preferred form of research these days), but I’d love to hear from you. What do you consider essentials? Luckily we live less than two blocks from the hospital so if we forget anything it will be easy to send someone home to retrieve things, but I’d like to be pretty much set if possible. So, fill me in! Especially those of you who have had c-sections. What do I need to pack?

What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag from @cydconverse

[For information and shopping links, be sure to click through to check out all the details after the jump!]

Keep reading…

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5 Last Minute Halloween Ideas + Friday Link Love

Happy Friday, friends! I hope you’ve had a great week. I’m planning to fill you in on a few baby-related updates on Monday, but in the meantime can we take a quick moment to marvel over the fact that I’m 36 weeks pregnant today? How on earth that happened so quickly I will never know. We have a really fun Halloween weekend on deck, starting with a film crew showing up at our house later this afternoon to interview me and do a fun little DIY demo. So, I’m off to prep for that, but in the meantime I’ve rounded up a few really fun last minute Halloween ideas and a whole bunch of Friday Link Love to kick off your weekend. Happy Halloween, everyone! xoxo

5 Last Minute Halloween Ideas from @cydconverse

[DIY Pun-kins | DIY Paper Plate Animal Masks | DIY Wire Wall Signs | DIY Pop Tart Costume | DIY Pantone Couples Costume.]

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DIY Kids Table Makeover

This post was sponsored by Valspar. Thank you for supporting the
sponsors that 
help make The Sweetest Occasion possible!

DIY Kids Table Makeover by @cydconverse

A few weeks back I shared some of the nursery ideas that have been percolating in my brain since I first found out we were expecting, and since then I’ve been working to bring the room to life. We’re officially in the home stretch on the baby growing front so today I wanted to share the fun DIY makeover of the adorable little kids table that will be in her room! To pull it off I teamed up with my friends at Valspar and put their awesome new Valspar Furniture Paint to work transforming an inexpensive and otherwise forgettable kids table and chair set. The result is a totally custom piece that is going to look perfect with the modern yet whimsical vibe I’m going for in our little one’s room!

DIY Kids Table Makeover by @cydconverse

DIY Kids Table Makeover by @cydconverse

supplies

  • Valspar Furniture Paint in Elegant Silk 5010-7 (available at Lowe’s)
  • Valspar Rose Gold Spray Paint (available at Lowe’s)
  • Ikea Latt kids table
  • 2″ foam roller and tray
  • 2″ paint brush
  • Painter’s tape
  • Wrapping paper or wallpaper
  • Metal straight edge
  • X-Acto knife
  • Sheet of acrylic cut to 17-3/8 x 23-5/8″

DIY Kids Table Makeover by @cydconverse

Valspar’s new Furniture Paint and Cabinet Enamel both come in an awesome array of colors (you can find the complete selection by visiting Lowe’s) and the furniture paint is perfect for rehabbing old furniture that could use a little love or adding personality to an otherwise lackluster piece. In other words, it was perfect for this little project! I chose to go with Elegant Silk 5010-7 to coordinate with the overall color palette of the nursery and this wrapping paper that I used to add a fun burst of color and pattern to the top of the table.

DIY Kids Table Makeover by @cydconverse

To get started, I taped off the edges of the tabletop and chair seat to avoid getting any paint on the white laminate. Then, I used a small 2″ foam roller to apply a light coat of paint. As I always preach, multiple thin coats of paint are the best when painting furniture, allowing the paint to dry and then repeating with additional coats as necessary. After rolling on the first coat, I went back with my paint brush to make sure I’d covered all the little nooks and crannies before allowing things to dry completely. The coverage of Valspar’s furniture paint is seriously excellent and the consistency is really workable, making for virtually no drips while I was working. Two coats covered the table and chairs perfectly!

DIY Kids Table Makeover by @cydconverse

DIY Kids Table Makeover by @cydconverse DIY Kids Table Makeover by @cydconverse

Once everything was completely dry, I masked off the seat of the chairs with painter’s tape and plastic to protect the rest of the piece. I knew I didn’t want to leave the white laminate exposed on the chair seats, so I took a stroll through the spray paint section in Lowe’s and picked up a can of Valspar’s Rose Gold spray paint. Allowing drying time in between, I applied four thin and light coats of spray paint to the seats. The rose gold color is soft and super pretty and was the perfect way to finish off the adorable little chairs.

DIY Kids Table Makeover by @cydconverse

Finally, for the top of the table I wanted to add a bit of pattern, so I opted to add a fun wrapping paper with an acrylic sheet over top to protect the surface of the paper. This also makes it so you can switch the paper up whenever you like! While at Lowe’s I picked up an 18×24″ sheet of acrylic in the 0.080 thickness and asked them to cut it down to 17-3/8 x 23-5/8″ to fit the top of the table. (The people at Lowe’s rock so this was seriously about a three minute process. So easy!) While the paint was drying, I trimmed my paper down to the same size. The table top is recessed a bit to begin with, so it was easy to lay the paper down and then cover it by placing the acrylic over top.

DIY Kids Table Makeover by @cydconverse

And that’s it, friends! I really love how it turned out and I can’t wait to see how everything comes together in her finished nursery. (Stay tuned over the next few weeks for a full reveal!) In the meantime, for more DIY projects like this one, be sure to check out Valspar’s Rehab Project featuring loads of fun furniture rehab projects, videos and more. (I personally love the colorful TV tray makeover!)

p.s. Those baby blocks were painted by loved ones at our baby shower! I’ll be sharing more from that soon. Love the wall color? It’s Valspar Modern Gray 25-1B and it’s my new favorite gray paint! Everyone always raves about it when they come over to our house.

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[Photos by Cyd Converse for The Sweetest Occasion.]

The fine print: Please link with love! As with all of our posts, DIY projects featured on The Sweetest Occasion may not be copied, distributed or reproduced without express written permission. Love and links are always appreciated! If you’d like to share a maximum of 1 – 2 images from this post, please link to this post directly for the DIY tutorial and do not include the instructions in your own post. Thanks so much! xoxo

This post was sponsored by Valspar. Read more about our editorial policies

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