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Gift Wrapping 101

DIY, BusinessKat Rainwater

I’m not going to lie…I’m a pretty skilled wrapper. (Not to be confused with rapper…which would be kinda awesome.) I don’t have too many bragging rights but if I had to pick one, wrapping presents just might be it. My gift wrapping skills were perfected when Cason got me a job at Swoozie’s as the seasonal gift wrapper while I was home from college for Christmas. I had obviously wrapped presents before but I was in no way qualified to be a professional “gift wrapper.” I had a whole table set up in the back room with wrapping paper and ribbons galore and that’s where I perfected my craft.  To be totally honest though, these techniques are not my own…I went through an intense Swoozie gift wrap boot camp and I think it’s safe to say the student has officially become the teacher.

Without further ado, here are my steps to wrapping the perfect gift! *BUT before you hit play- it’s a little blurry and not up to professional standards but it’s the first video Cason has ever done so it’s definitely not perfect. (Side note: Is there anything worse than hearing your voice on video?! UGH.)

There you have it! All my gift wrapping secrets in one short video. Turn up the Christmas tunes, pour a glass of wine, and get to wrapping!

This year you’re bound to have the prettiest gifts under the tree!

Velvet Hammer Ice Cream Recipe

RecipesCason Rainwater

Forget the fruitcake and figgy pudding. There’s no room for the cliché Christmas desserts when your recipe bank includes velvet hammer ice cream. My aunt made this ice cream to go along with our dessert last Christmas and I’m not naming any names here, but some of them got seconds AND thirds. Serve alongside your Christmas cookies, brownies, and cakes because I promise you – THIS is what your guests want.

Velvet Hammer Ice Cream

:: 1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream
:: 1.5 oz brandy
:: 1 oz triple sec
:: 1.5 oz creme de cocoa

1 | Allow ice cream to thaw at room temperature just until soft. (NOT melted.) Scoop out ice cream into large mixing bowl.

2 | Stir in all liquor and mix to even consistency. Put back into ice cream container.

3 | Re-freeze ice cream and serve!

Call me crazy, but I think Santa may want to replace his cookies and milk this year with cookies and velvet hammer ice cream!

Wallpaper Wednesday

Business, Free DownloadsCason Rainwater

Around this time of year I feel like I have Buddy the elf whispering in one ear and the Grinch whispering in the other. “Pull out your tree!” “People will judge you.” “Watch Christmas movies!” “Get a life.” If you’re like me, your DYING to deck the halls and decorate every mantle, nook, and surface you can get your hands on. While we wait for the official post-Thanksgiving safe zone, why not at least give your personal tech devices a festive makeover? Nobody even has to know. I created 3 new wallpaper designs to help get you into the holiday spirit!

Happy wallpaper Wednesday and happy (ALMOST) holidays!

When it Rains Paper Updates + Giveaway!

BusinessKat Rainwater

Happy November friends! We haven’t done a When it Rains Paper update since June so I figured it was about time to catch you up on our current happenings. (Especially since this occupies about 90% of my life so if we’re being honest this is a true life update.) As much as I love cooking, reading, traveling, and everything else in between- this is what I’m doing all day, every day!

So, what have we been up to since June? I’ve got one word for you, Christmas! Cason and I have been discussing this years Christmas line since good ol’ pool Fridays. We wanted to totally revamp Christmas this year and it was quite the undertaking but the results are fabulous! (Am I allowed to say that about my own products? Because I’m truly obsessed with them.) Keep reading for details on how to win 25 FREE personalized Christmas cards! We added new Christmas card designs

Once we got all of our Christmas products in the shop we finally had some free time to work on the “gifts” line we’d been dreaming of. One of our biggest goals after we quit our jobs was to develop products and gifts that compliment our paper goods. For example, we already offer return address stickers but we wanted to expand into stylish and modern rubber stamps.

We’ve also been swooning over circle monograms and love how they turned out on our new acrylic trays! I wish I had taken a picture of our house during the acrylic tray photo shoot. It looked like our make-up, jewelry, and desk drawers blew up in the kitchen. We couldn’t eat at our table for days. The things you’ll do to style a cute photo…

On top of all of that, Cason and I have been diligently working on our Amazon shop. Yep, you read that right, you can now get When it Rains Paper products on Amazon! If you didn’t know, Handmade at Amazon recently launched in October. Here’s a little blurb about it…

"Whether you’re looking for that perfect charm for your charm bracelet, custom party invitations, or a new piece of furniture, Handmade is proud to bring Amazon customers products from hand-picked artisans. Discover something new for yourself or find a special gift for family and friends. Buying handmade is about more than the finished product. Connect with the artisan through their profile page and discover their personal story to feel confident your piece is genuinely made by hand."

We’ve been so thankful to have another channel to sell our products on and we’ve been pleasantly surprised with the traffic!

All in all it’s been a busy 5 months but Cason and I couldn’t be more blessed to be doing what we love every day. Some days are harder than others but we have to remind ourselves how far we’ve come and who knows what God has in store for us! To celebrate all of our updates, we’re giving away 25 FREE personalized Christmas cards. The only way to enter is on Instagram so be sure you follow @whenitrainspaper for all the details!

Chocolate Mice Recipe

RecipesKat Rainwater

I made a batch of these chocolate mice for Bupper Club last week and they were SO good! I was a little hesitant for obvious reasons (Such as, who wants to eat food that looks like a mouse?) but it turned out to be one of my favorite recipes! Lucky for y’all it’s Halloween week and I can totally justify sharing a chocolate mice recipe with you. These would be the perfect addition to any Halloween party or fall festival you’re headed to this weekend. The kids will love the way they look and adults (and kids) will love the way they taste!

Chocolate Mice Recipe

:: 4 (1 ounce) squares semi-sweet chocolate
:: 1/3 cup sour cream
:: 1 cup chocolate cookie crumbs (any chocolate cookie will do)
:: 1/3 chocolate cookie crumbs
:: 1/3 cup confectioners sugar
:: sliced almonds for ears
:: pull apart licorice for tails
:: decorating candy for eyes

Step 1 | Melt chocolate squares according to package directions. Once chocolate is melted stir in sour cream, 1 cup chocolate cookie crumbs, and confectioners sugar. Refrigerate until firm.

Step 2 | Roll into 1 inch balls and mold one end to a slight point for the nose.

Step 3 | Roll ball into remaining 1/3 cup chocolate cookie crumbs until covered. Decorate with eyes, ears, and tail! Refrigerate for 2-3 hours or until firm. This makes around 12-15 mice.

These mice are chocolatey goodness. They’re the perfect combination of fudge and brownies and honestly, you really can’t go wrong with that kind of outcome.

Happy Halloween!

Bacon Bourbon Caramel Popcorn Recipe

RecipesCason Rainwater

Yep. You read that right. Bacon + bourbon + caramel all in the same recipe. Is it even possible to go wrong here? I made a batch of this popcorn for Kat’s Bupper Club this week and it was the perfect touch to our Night Circus theme. Not too sweet, not too salty, just the perfect snack for all your Halloween parties and fall events!

Bacon Bourbon Caramel Popcorn


:: 5 quarts of plain air-popped corn
:: 1 lb. thick cut bacon
:: 1 cup butter
:: 2 cups brown sugar
:: 1/2 cup light corn syrup
:: 1 tsp sea salt
:: 1/2 tsp baking soda
:: 3 ounces of bourbon

1 | Pop your kernels and set aside. We have a hot air popcorn popper, but apparently you can just put kernels in a paper bag in the microwave. Just be sure to fold down the top.

2 | Cook bacon according to package directions and let cool on a paper towel. Once cooled and crispy, crumble into small pieces and set aside.

3 | In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup, and sea salt. Heat until bubbling around the edges. Lower the heat and let boil until caramel reaches 250 degrees. I don’t have a candy thermometer sooooo…I just let it boil for a couple of minutes.

4 | Remove from heat and add the baking soda and bourbon. Once fully incorporated, add the bacon.

5 | Divide the popcorn evenly among 2 lightly greased baking sheets. Coat with caramel mixture and stir until popcorn has a good coating.

6 | Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Once done, pour onto wax paper to cool. Break into pieces and refrigerate until ready to serve.

7 | Try not to eat the entire batch in one day. (Do what you want. I won’t tell.)

Bupper: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Book ClubKat Rainwater

This past Monday was Bupper Club and it was probably one of my most favorite books to discuss yet! It was my turn to host and I decided on The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Needless to say, it was the most perfect fall book. The story is based around a circus and the characters are constantly dining on caramel apples and apple cider, with Halloween next week, and a chill in the air, I couldn’t have planned it better if I tried! I love to run with a good theme and it was fun to try to “recreate” touches of the circus within our living room.

“The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.” The story follows two illusionists that are bound together in a contest that will span their lives or until someone wins. Marco and Celia have no idea how one wins or what they have to do to win and despite themselves they fall in love. The novel is constantly changing perspective and you begin to learn the ins and outs of all of the different characters within the circus, which only makes you more fascinated by it. Mogenstern is so descriptive that there are moments in the book where you feel like you’re truly at the circus and can even smell the caramel in the air. Simply put – the book is magical. You become so wrapped up in this world that it’s hard to put down and you’re a little sad when it’s over.

You could only be in the group photo if you dressed like a reveur!


[ the MEAL ]

This book made the meal quite easy. The author described so many treats that I had to pick and choose which ones to make or we all would’ve passed out of a sugar coma. I served spinach and artichoke dip, beer queso, boiled peanuts, and bacon bourbon popcorn as my “salty” foods. The book didn’t discuss many salty foods so I just chose things that went well with my circus theme. For dessert I made caramel apples, chocolate mice, and apple cider.  I’ll be sharing recipes in foodie posts coming up!

[ discussion QUESTIONS for The Night Circus ]

The book had lots of discussion questions at the end and I selected a few favorites to talk about.

1. The novel frequently changes narrative perspective. How does this transition shape your reading of the novel and your connection to the characters and the circus?

2. Chandresh is portrayed as a brilliant and creative perfectionist at the beginning of the novel, yet he slowly unravels as the competition matures. Is Chandresh merely a puppet of the competition- solely used for his ability to provide a venue for the competition- or do his contributions run deeper?

3. Marco asserts that Alexander is a father figure to him (though his paternal instincts aren’t readily noticeable). In what ways does Alexander provide for Marco and in what ways has he failed him?

4. From the outside, the circus is full of enchantments and delights, but behind the scenes, the delicate push and pull of the competition results in some sinister events. How much is the competition at fault for these losses and how much is it the individual’s doing?

5. How do you view the morality of the circus in regards to the performers and developers being unknowing pawns in Celia and Marco’s competition? Do Celia and Marco owe an explanation to their peers about their unwitting involvement?

6. What role do the reveurs play in keeping the spirit of the circus alive outside the confines of the circus tents?

7. Poppet and Widget are especially affected by the lighting of the bonfire. How crucial are their “specialties” to the ongoing success of the circus?

8. Isobel is a silent, yet integral, partner in both the circus and the competition. She has an ally in Tsukiko, but seemingly no one else, especially not Marco. How much does Marco’s underestimation of Isobel affect the outcome of the competition?

9. At the closing of the novel, we are left to believe that the circus is still traveling- Bailey’s business card provides an e-mail address as his contact information. How do you think the circus would fare over time? Would the circus need to evolve to suit each generation or is it distinctive enough to transcend time?

Cereal Cookie Recipe

RecipesCason Rainwater

Man, do I have a treat for y’all today! This recipe comes straight from my Grandmother. For those of you who have met my Grandmother, you know she means business in the kitchen. Kat and I stopped to visit my Grandmother on the way to the beach this year and after dining on a delicious spread that could have passed as a royal feast, she sent us on our way with a batch of these cookies. She calls them cereal cookies but I call them drug cookies. The addiction struggle is real. I’m embarrassed at how many I ate before we actually made it to the beach….

Cereal Cookies
Servings: 4 dozen cookies

:: 1 cup white sugar
:: 1 cup brown sugar
:: 1 cup butter
:: 1 cup vegetable oil
:: 1 egg
:: 1/2 tsp vanilla
:: 1 tsp cream of tartar
:: 1 tsp baking soda
:: 1 cup Rice Krispies
:: 1 cup shredded coconut
:: 1 cup quick oatmeal
:: 1 cup chopped nuts
:: 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 | Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix ingredients in the order given and blend well.

2 | Dip by teaspoonfuls and roll into small balls. Press down with a fork.

3 | Bake approximately 12 – 15 minutes. Grandmother says “13 minutes is just perfect.”

Don’t shoot the messenger. When you’re addicted to these as well, I’ll be sure to pass along my Grandmother’s number and you can take it up with her. Happy Thursday!

Fall Patio Plants

Home & GardenKat Rainwater

Patio planting is a relatively new hobby for me so I’m still not 100% on all the rules. I don’t quite understand things like perennials vs. annuals or part-shade plants vs. indirect-sun plants but what really confuses me is what plants survive which season. You can’t just depend on Pikes (no offense, Pikes…) to tell you. Cason and I were perusing the aisles the other day and A LOT of the green house was filled with things that only bloom during the summer. Don’t fall for it. Thankfully, I had my trusty plant expert (Mom) with me and she advised against many of my picks. If she hadn’t been there Cason and I would have come home and potted lavender and lantana, called it a day, and then 3 weeks later everything would be dead. I quizzed my mom and browsed Pinterest and finally settled on my favorite fall patio looks to share with y’all!

My most favorite fall obsession- cabbage. We used cabbage in our potted arrangement and used cabbage and kale in the tub and I’m loving the look. Many vegetables thrive in cool weather; including broccoli, carrots, radishes, kale, and lettuce. We personally chose cabbage and kale because it has more “eye appeal”, aka: it’s cute.

We paired the kale and cabbage in our tub with pansies. Fall is the best time to plant pansies. I love these because they bloom in cooler weather and add a little color to our arrangement.

We also wanted a little bit of a “spiller” in both our potted plant and tub arrangement. We decided on creeping jenny and vinca vine because I read both would survive the fall and cooler weather. So far, so good!

And of course, for our last pot we planted a mum. You can’t do fall planting without including a mum.

Like I said, I’m definitely not the gardening expert but I do love how our fall plant pairings turned out! Here are a couple more ideas using similar plants to help inspire your patio or porch this season.

I love how StoneGable made this arrangement and incorporated pumpkins with her mums and cabbage.

I love the green and white pumpkins paired with kale and creeping jenny in this arrangement from Marjorie Johnston & Co.

You can’t go wrong with pansies and creeping jenny by Potted Plant Society!

Now if it will ever stop raining you can get out outside and create your own arrangement!

Penne alla Vodka with Kielbasa Recipe

RecipesCason Rainwater

A couple of weeks ago, I told you about this penne alla vodka we served at our latest Bupper Club. SO. GOOD. As promised, here is the official recipe so that you can make up a batch of your own. Warning: This is a labor of love, but definitely worth it!

Penne alla Vodka Recipe


:: 1/4 cup good olive oil
:: 1 medium Spanish onion, chopped
:: 3 cloves of garlic, diced
:: 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
:: 1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
:: 1 cup vodka
:: 2 (28 ounce) cans peeled plum tomatoes
:: kosher salt
:: freshly ground black pepper
:: 3/4 pound penne pasta
:: 4 tablespoons fresh oregano
:: 3/4 to 1 cup heavy cream
:: grated parmesan cheese
:: 1 package fully cooked Polish kielbasa

1 | Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat, add the onions and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes until translucent.

2 | Add the red pepper flakes and dried oregano and cook for 1 minute more. Add the vodka and continue cooking until the mixture is reduced by half.

3 | Drain the tomatoes through a sieve and crush them into the pan with your hands. Add 2 teaspoons salt and a pinch of black pepper. Pour mixture into casserole dish with lid or foil and place it in the oven for 1 1/2 hours. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes.

4 | Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta. Drain and set aside.

5 | Place the tomato mixture in a blender and puree in batches until the sauce is a smooth consistency. Return to the pan.

6 | Reheat the sauce, add 2 tablespoons fresh oregano and enough heavy cream to make the sauce a creamy consistency. Add salt and pepper, to taste, and simmer for 10 minutes.

7 | Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium pan. Slice kielbasa and saute over medium heat until heated through. Set aside.

8 | Toss the pasta into the sauce and cook for 2 minutes more. Stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan. Add kielbasa after pasta has already been plated. Serve with an additional sprinkle of Parmesan and a sprinkle of fresh oregano on each plate.

Holy moly, did you catch all of that?! It’s okay if you have to read each step a few times. I totally did. Once you’re finally sitting down and taking your first bite, you’ll know every single second in the kitchen led you to that perfect moment. Bon appetit!