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DIY Pirate Themed Party

posted Monday Sep 06, 2010 at 10:15 PM by Anne Yorks — 6 comments

I can't stop reflecting on yesterday. It was seriously the best day I've had in a really long time. This past week was rough. Busy schedules, family health issues, and lots of commitments and responsibility - plus a ton of orders on top of it all. But yesterday more than made up for the very, very early mornings and late nights. Yesterday was my little girl's birthday AND her first day of preschool! Talk about a special day for my little 3-year-old! I will be cleaning off the camera and sharing a few pictures soon! 

In the meantime, I have some great do-it-yourself ideas for a PIRATE themed party. These ideas are from the past few weeks. I helped with our church fundraiser - a pirate dinner theater. And, recently, I received an order for a Pirate themed birthday party. 

The client wanted treasure chests! How fun! She was very specific that she wanted the chest to be open with treasure spilling out. I searched high and low for the perfect cookie cutter and finally found something that would work.  

Here it is, a sturdy copper cookie cutter that will last years and years....

And here is the decorated cookie...

I'm not sure how many dots are on each cookie, but it took a little time to get the treasure on the cookie.

I tried to make them as consistent as possible, but of course since it's done by hand it's not exact.

If you're planning a Pirate party, you might be interested in the following easy, AFFORDABLE tablescape ideas.

A dinner theater fundraiser seems like a normal thing for a church to do, right? But of course, there was a little twist. Our pastor and a friend co-wrote a hilarious pirate themed mini-musical comedy called Pirates of Progresso.

Before the show, our guests enjoyed a fantastic dinner catered by Kelly's Steak and Seafood. I was responsible for coordinating the table centerpieces. Since this was a church event, I totally avoided the skull and bones motif. It just didn't fit.Too creepy. I went with a treasure theme! 

Since it was a fundraiser, I wanted to create the tables with little or no cost. DIY baby!

We decided to cover each table with kraft paper in lieu of a table linens. A friend had an extra roll, but this sized paper can be found at copy shops or at Walmart. We used brown and white and alternated the colors.

I decided to turn each table into a treasure map.


To create the treasure map on the table, I used sea-worthy images (a compass, ship, island, chest, rough waves, seagulls) to tape to the table cover. I soaked (3 minutes) and antiqued pirate clipart in coffee and baked the paper for 3 minutes at 350 degrees. It made the paper a nice crispy brown and looked very treasure mapish. It took about 3 hours to make enough images for the 14 tables. Not too bad, but it was a little messy. I had coffee splatters all over my stovetop!

Then I taped the images onto the paper and sketched a dotted line around the different images on the table cover. I actually precut all the table covers and made the maps before the evening of the fundraiser. It saved a lot of time during set-up.

The table centerpiece was a ship flag with a big red 'X' to mark the spot. These were easy and for the most part free to make. 

First, I cut sticks from our front tree. They were about 2' long. Then I poked the stick into a square piece of flower foam (left over from our wedding centerpiecies - talk about up-cycling) and covered the foam with an 18" piece of burlap - tied with a string. I got the burlap from a friend who was getting ready to pitch it - yeah, more free elements!!


The flag was made from poster board. This I did have to buy - I think 3 sheets. I wanted something stiff that would hold it's shape. My friends from church helped make these centerpieces. We had a fun girls night putting everything together. Poor Valerie, she got the job of cutting all fourteen flags. She had bad scissorhand in the end. The flag was folded in half and then the 'X' and the table number was glued on. I used rubber cement so that the paper wouldn't get bumpy. The font I used is called 'Blackadder ITC'.


I think they looked cool. Each table almost looked like it's own ship. Next to each flag, I put a 'message in a bottle'.

This is when Toph helped out. We needed 14 brown bottles (one for each table.) I found 8 in our recycling bin, but we needed 6 more. Toph volunteered to drink 6 beers that week for the cause of making the message bottles. We ran them through the dishwasher and most of the labels peeled right off. Then I stuffed a pen into each bottle with a blank note paper.

Each bottle had a tag. Again - I soaked the paper in coffee and baked at 350 for 3 minutes.

The message papers were left BLANK on purpose. This was so much fun. Each table took turns sending a message to a neighboring table. The papers were made from brown grocery bags. Each bag made three message papers. We ripped them with kind of craggie edges and tied them with a piece of string.


Each table had buried treasure: gold and silver chocolates, candy necklaces, and ring pops!! This was the most expensive part of the project.

I made a seating chart for the event using the coffee/baked paper. 

Plus I added some fun signs in the restrooms. This was on the mirror. I also put a signs over the restroom signs. So instead of the men's room it was the 'Buccaneer's' room. And instead of women's room, it was the 'Lassies' room.

Each table had an event sponsor - and Flour Box Bakery was a sponsor! So cool!

Here are a few pictures from the show - Pirates of Progesso.

I'll be honest, I didn't have high expectations. I mean, I expected it to be good, but I never expected it to be as great as it was! So entertaining! Each character was well crafted with a few quirks. The storyline was a pirate love triangle on the high seas. I loved it and so did the rest of the audience!

Topher played One-eyed Bobby. He had one eye, one hand, and one leg. Instead of a hook, he had a whisk. One-eyed Bobby came from a long line of gold sniffers and could smell gold from miles around. 

Most of the actors were from our church, but a few friends and neighbors with acting experience also helped out. I really enjoyed the music, especially the Mutiny song. 

Here's a better photo of the cast. 

There has been talk of a repeat performance coming soon. I'll be sure to post an update if this happens. I would highly recommend it!

I hope you enjoyed the Pirate blog post. I'll leave you with one final suggestion. Change the language on your facebook page to English 'pirate'. I laughed out loud for days with this version. It's so much fun, especially if you're planning a pirate party! It will totally get you in the mood.

Have a sweet day, arrrrrr!


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Going Retro - 1950s Housewife Bridal Shower

posted Monday Sep 06, 2010 at 10:41 PM by Anne Yorks — 5 comments

It's been a busy crazy week with our family and with cookies! I don't have much time, but I had to share this project I shipped last week. It was for a bridal shower with a 1950s Housewife theme. I had a blast designing these cookies. 

I made pearl necklaces. Really, what 50s mom existed without one of those? 

I put the bride's name on the cookies in a retro style font. 

Then I made an apron with cherries. 

I could not find ANY apron cookie cutters. I think I looked everywhere too. And there weren't any options. So I had to make my own and hand cut these cookies. It was totally worth the extra effort. I loved the final product.

These cookies actually remind me of the AMAZING aprons at The Hip Hostess. If you haven't already, you must check out their online shop at www.thehiphostess.com. They also have a blog at http://thehiphostessdish.blogspot.com/ and a twitter account @thehiphostess. I'm hooked. My mom just gave my little girl and I matching aprons and tea towels from their shop. I'll be posting pics of us in the kitchen soon. Did I mention they offer a cherry option? Yep, they do! I think I would say they are the Vera Bradley's of aprons.

I also made red lipsticks to go with the order. 

And because the lipstick cookie was on the small side, I added in a mirror.

Lots of lipsticks and mirrors! 

And just like every 50s housewife - this collection was well put together!

Back to work for me. I have a big order to finish for the weekend. Plus this weekend is my little girl's 3rd birthday party. I have so much cleaning and cooking to do! But I am really looking forward to a fun time with family and friends.

Have a sweet day!


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Cookies: A Football Tradition

posted Sunday Sep 05, 2010 at 09:06 AM by Anne Yorks — 4 comments

Football traditions are deeply embedded into every school’s identity. At Penn State, many traditions are for fun and school pride, like Old Main ringing the Alma Mater the Friday of a home football weekend, camping out at Paternoville, Whiteouts, and our ‘We Are’ chant. But so many of these traditions are also superstitious. Legend has it, that if the drum major lands both front-flips during the Blue Band’s opening march on the field that the team will have a solid win. If he biffs the first and lands the second, expect a weak 1st half and a strong 2nd half. If he flops down on both opportunities, hold on to your foam finger, it’s going to be a bumpy game. I can honestly say I don’t think it is fair to put that much pressure on one person, but I’ve seen it with my own eyes, and more times that not, the legend is true! Here’s hoping that we have a great drum major this year, oh yeah, and a great defensive line, too!

At Flour Box Bakery, I’m starting a new football tradition, a COOKIE tradition. I have created a selection of cookies with tons school spirit— great for any football party or tailgate.  Not a Blue & White fan? No worries. I will customize this collection to match your school colors! Don't forget - we ship cookies too! 

The football cookies!

The cheerleader cookies! 


Football Jersey Cookie!

Football Helmet Cookie!

And every tailgate needs a BBQ grill!

If you’re interested in ordering to help get this new cookie tradition started, click here to view the order page on the Flour Box website.

I can just imagine the headlines on the The Daily Collegian “Cookie Tradition Tips Penn State into Rose Bowl Contention”. Wow.

Yesterday, I worked on the field at the Penn State vs. Youngstown game.

Topher works on the Video/Display team (the big Jumbotron tv inside Beaver Stadium). He got me a job on the field carrying cable. It's so much fun!

But we have to get up SO EARLY! Here is the sunrise over Mt. Nittany. 

The jumbotron in Beaver Stadium is actually operated by the control room in the Bryce Jordan Center (our basketball/sports arena). Here is a little behind-the-scenes picture of half of the room. These are the monitors that display the feed from the stadium cameras. It's the crews job to jump from camera to camera to create the video that is displayed in the stadium. There are graphics and all sorts of elements that get added in. It all seems quite complicated to put together. But everyone works together and does a great job. Penn State has actually been tabbed as the 'Greatest Show in College Football' by Sports Illustrated. 

By the way - do you see the time stamp on the clock on the wall? 6:59 am! That means I was up and awake at 5:30am. Love those Lions a lot to roll out of bed that early!

Here I am with Camera 3. I don't actually operate the camera. 

I just help with the cable. It's a pretty sweet job. Before the game, the cameras are set up and we 'babysit' it while the camera gets 'faxed' - or it's settings are checked and adjusted. I take this time to enjoy a very quite Beaver Stadium.


At this point, there aren't many people on the field. The Operations crew, the telecomm people (setting up team headsets, etc), the National TV crews (like the Big Ten Network, ESPN, or ABC) our camera team, and the football team managers (loading equipment on the field).

This is our actual camera guy. We call him Spidey. He is a full-time camera/video guy, but also freelances as an authorized Spider Man character in his free time. That's why we call him Spidey. Plus, he does like to climb into the stands to get fan shots. 

Here are the Youngstown State football players' first moments in Beaver Stadium. The were dressed up and looking spiffy to be Joe's House. Good job, boys. 

And here are our Nittany Lions. Some of these guys are amazingly HUGE. I always wonder what the biggest guys eat for breakfast. Seriously probably what most people eat in a week. 

The Nittany Lion is so super cool. Is there any greater mascot? I guess we all have our favorites...but this guy did a series of backflips down the endzone ending with a twisty-round off type move - all with the costume on! What other mascots can do THAT?

I'm also a huge fan of the Blue Band. For me, they make the game atmosphere crazy cool. They play all the school songs, but this year they mixed in Lady GaGa's pokerface! What? Who does that? The Penn State Blue Band, that's who!

And as if I didn't need any other reasons to love them...I found this guy. Look close. He has a Charms Blow Pop tucked in his instrument. So funny. I guess he just needs a little sugar rush during the 3rd Quarter. That or he likes his lips to stick to his mouthpiece.

But the best part of the game is seeing my man, Joe Paterno. This guy is amazing! Here he is pregame - giving our freshman quarterback a peptalk. It worked! Bolden had a great first game and I think he has Nittany Lion fans very excited for the season.

Oh, Joe. So cute! Here he is ready to lead his team out of the tunnel and onto the field! 

Overall, Saturday seemed like a great way to start to the season! 

Let's Go State!

Have a sweet football season,


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Venetian Date Redux

posted Thursday Sep 02, 2010 at 02:07 PM by Anne Yorks — 0 comments

Topher and I just celebrated our 'dating' anniversary. We celebrate all of our anniversaries...the day we met, our dating anniversary, engagement day, and of course the biggie, the wedding anniversary. We don't usually do gifts or big dinners, but we do take a little extra time to say I Love You.

And to honor this special day...I wanted to share with you a recent date night of ours in State College (Penn State). You can do this anywhere, and it is tons of fun!

It's what I like to call a Venetian Date Redux!

Allow me to explain. One of our groomsmen gave us 20 Euro for a wedding gift with the following instructions - "Have a pizza dinner on me. Take a picture of the pizza dinner for my fridge!" 

So while we were in Venice we enjoyed a romantic pizza dinner for two. Our hotel room had a private balcony, so we went with the take-out route and enjoyed our pizza in privacy. If you are going to Venice in the future - email me and I'll share the hotel name and room number. 

For 20 Euro we enjoyed two of best pizzas ever created, two canoli, a gerber daisy, and a bottle of champagne...all for 20 Euro! Here's the picture:

Don't you love our flower vase?

Toph set up his laptop with a slideshow of our wedding pictures and played our favorite cd. We played cards and talked about our future as Mr. and Mrs. Yorks. It could possibly be one of the best nights of my life!

Recently, I decided to surprise Topher with a similar date here at home.

I looked up the exchange rate on 20 Euro and we had exactly $25.40 to spend.

I waited until we got to town to explain to Topher our date plan. We started mapping out our dinner.

Our first stop, Bell's Greek Pizza for a few grapeleaves (6 to be exact) Yum!

This was our appetizer. I think Bell's has great pizza too. But we just wanted grapeleaves.

Next we worked on drinks. Since I was planning a surprise picnic on Penn State's campus, we had to keep it non-alcoholic. We decided on McLanahan's for San Pelligrino Water and Ginger Ale. 

We walked around for a bit longer discussing our main dinner options. We just couldn't decide. So we skipped to dessert. We knew we wanted cupcakes from *ndulge. 

But because we were on a budget, we decided to just get one and split the cream soda float cupcake.

This made me happy.

To balance the rich cupcake, we decided to go with salad from Crisp for our dinner.

We had eaten there once before and really enjoyed the fresh, healthy atmosphere. Yum. I was really in the mood for a good salad.

But we were greeted with this sign. *sad face*

Ugh. A wrinkle in our plan.

Look in the reflection of the door window. Do you see that bench? We sat there for a long time discussing our new plan.

We agreed that pizza would be a great option. Once of our favorite places is Rotelli...so we strolled over to see what they had in our budget.

Here is our photo at Rotelli. We tried to get the sign in the photo, but I couldn't get the angle right. Oh well. Cheese!!

Thankfully Rotelli offered a take-out option. We ordered the Caprese Salad and the Artichoke and Chicken Pizza. That finished off our budget. We had pennies leftover. 

It was time to tell Topher the secret location of the picnic...the pond at the Hintz Alumni Center. Romantic and full of great scenery. The entry gate...

The white gazebo with the pond in the background.

We saw a mommy duck with 16 babies!!!

We set up our blanket and unpacked our goodies we had collected.

The grapeleaves

The Caprese Salad.

The Artichoke Chicken Pizza.

I packed two champagne glasses and some pink heart 'sprinkles' to dress up the glasses. I also packed a flower vase and two gerber daisies.

(You might remember, I also used these pink hearts on these cupcake cookies.)

These were just as good as our cupcake from *ndulge.

And since we love playing games...I packed our official Hangman Journal, Mad Libs, and deck of cards.

And to set the ambiance, I created a new Pandora radio station - Snow Patrol. I put it on my phone and set it to speaker. It wasn't too loud to disturb anyone around us, but it was nice to have a little dinner music. We loved it! Perfect!

We did have an encounter with a pesky squirrel. Topher frightened him away with my pink polka dot flip flop. 

We had so much fun and it only cost us $25.40 - not bad for a night on the town!

So here's a challenge...if you're up for it. 

What date can you create with $25.40? If you take this challenge, I would LOVE for you to go on your date and create a guest blog post!! It doesn't have to be in State College, I just want to know how creative you can get with your date plans? I hope you try it out and then I really hope you write a blog post about it! Email me at anne@flourboxbakery.com if you're interested!!

Have a sweet Labor Day Weekend!


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Catching Up

posted Thursday Sep 02, 2010 at 07:55 AM by Anne Yorks — 4 comments

Here it is. September. 
While I love summer, I really love autumn! It's my favorite season. I think it's the start of everything: school, football, cooler weather, changing leaves. 

This week, I took my mom to the Centre County Grange and Encampment Fair. I think it's the largest, longest running encampment fair in the United States.

From their website, "The Grange Fair is a city within a town, as campers "move into" the Grange Park in Centre Hall, PA to live for more than a week. Come for the concerts, the rides, the amazing food, the games, and the competitions. But you'll come on back for the experience of being in one of the most uniquely friendly "hometowns" in America...at the Great Grange Fair!"

This is how most of the campers stay...in tents. Even in the rain! There are just rows and rows of tents. And those that are on the waiting list camp in a camper/RV. And there are rows and rows of those too! 

But don't let the simple set-up fool you! These tents have all the amenities of a home, mini-fridges, computers, mini-kitchens, furniture...the list goes on.

Plus, some campers add a little personalization to their space (check out the street signs!!)

And some add a lot! There is a competition for tent decorating. If this didn't win, I would be shocked!!

We enjoyed the animals...

This was my mom's first trip to the Grange Fair. It was so fun walking through the cow barns with a born-and-raised Philly girl. She was so funny trying to dodge the excrements from our mooing friends. I wish I had sounds bites from the experience! You would think 10 years in Kempton (my childhood hometown) would have prepared her for this - it didn't.

We played a few games and of course left with 2 bags of Puff aka Cotton Candy.

Now for a little cookie catch-up. I have been busy, busy this summer. Here are a few snaps from some projects that have not yet made it on the blog.

A client hosted a Classic Pooh Baby Shower. She wanted onesies, and I added a honey pot, a bumble bee, and a golden bear to the chest of the onesie.

A few close-ups...

I made a 'chunky' bee with heart wings.

The 'Hunny' is spilling over the edge of the pot!

A happy bear.

This summer I also had the honor of making a special cookie for George and Isabelle's 1st Holy Communion. Look at these cuties!

They are the niece and nephew of my sister-in-law Kim (the knitter). Here is Isabelle with my cutie little nephew. Look at that sweater vest!!!

And here is the cookie. 

They wanted a chalice cookie favor with blue and gold. (They have a family chalice that looks similar) I added gold sugar to the chalice stem for a little extra sparkle.

It took me a little searching to find the right cookie cutter. I ordered the cutter on the right first. I laughed when it came in  -  it was so tiny! Then I found the copper cutter on the left. The company was able to rush the shipping and I got the cutter just in time to bake the order.

Here are George and Isabelle handing out their cookie favors to their special guests.

A couple months ago I also got a special request for a tool birthday cookie order!

The order was for a special birthday dad who is talented with his tools.

I painted the head of the hammer and the blade of the saw with silver luster dust.

The client also asked for a cookie of his dad. Here is his dad...

Since he normally wears glasses (not as pictured), his son asked me to add glasses to the cookie version.

These portrait cookies seem to be popular. A few weeks ago I did a lingerie themed bridal shower and the mother-of-the-groom requested a cookie of the bride and groom. (Sorry no pics of the lingerie cookies - they are tasteful, but still don't fit in with the 'G' rated content I like to post on my site and blog. Pics are available upon request)

Here is the bride and groom...

For their portrait cookie, I decided to dress them up in a wedding gown and tuxedo.

The groom...

And the bride...


I think it is fun turning people into portrait cookies. 

If you want to see my family as cookies click here to see my cookie family tree. The best one was Topher. 

And although he's not in my family (i wish!), my second favorite portrait cookie is Joe Paterno.

Speaking of JoePa...my football/tailgating cookie collection will be available starting September 7th...CAN'T WAIT TO SHOW YOU THE PICTURES!!! No JoePa's though. He's Penn State protected. : (

I still have so much to share! But, this is a good start! Coming soon...

1. Pirate Themed Party
2. Pink Themed Party
3. And more Wedding cookies!!!

Until then, have a sweet day!!


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