Archive | baby

sweet book themed baby shower

My sister-in-law, Jess, is due any day with her first baby – a sweet little girl. We’re beside ourselves in the Lex family because it will be the first new baby since Audrey and we’re just slightly baby-crazy around here.

Since Jess is a lover of literature and she has already been showered with more gear and clothing than she knows what to do with, we went with a book themed baby shower to help build up baby girl’s library.

book themed baby shower / jones design company

Between Ryan’s mom (crazy talented with a pretty house and garden full of flowers), Jess’ best friend (super organized and sweet and great hostess) and me, we put together a special party to celebrate mama and baby.

book themed baby shower invitation / jones design company

I was in charge of invitations and lucked out because Anna Bond of Rifle Paper Co. had already done the work for me :) She created these darling invitations (found here for free) and I modified them slightly to work for our party.

book themed baby shower invitation up close / jones design company

We decorated my mother-in-law’s home with lots of book page garlands, flowers from her garden and a few large paper flowers to bring some pinks into the decor.







And mini booklets hung from a string with mini clothespins over the food table.


We kept the food simple and delicious – banana bread with cream cheese spread, fresh fruit, curried chicken salad sandwiches, mini cupcakes with strawberry cream cheese frosting and iced tea with raspberries or coffee to drink.








We played a few games (this one was pretty cute), visited with family and friends, opened gifts, snacked on yummy food and prayed over Jess and baby.


At the very end we snapped this group photo, but we’re missing about half of the ladies. Note to self: take group photo at the beginning of the party next time.

It’s always so fun to celebrate a new mom and soon-to-arrive baby.


Audrey is especially excited to meet her cousin. She can’t stop touching Auntie Jess’ tummy. We can’t wait to finally hold and snuggle the new baby girl!

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Baby Essentials / favorites for your little one

Baby Essentials: a list of favorite baby gear, nursery items and accessories / jones design company

We’re going to have a new baby in the family this summer.  Don’t worry – she’s not ours. Ryan’s brother and sister-in-law are having their first and we can hardly wait! My Jones side is already overflowing with kiddos (12 kids ages 11 and under), but this will be the first new baby on the other side of the family besides our kids.

It will also be the first time I can be an auntie to a new baby without having a baby of my own! I’m so looking forward to holding and spoiling her and watching our kids fall in love with their baby cousin.

Since this is the first baby for my sister-in-law, she is brand new at all of this. The other day she sent me the most darling text that went something like this:

“I had a slight panic attack in Target when we went to register. There is just so much stuff!! We got through an aisle and a half before I freaked out. The breast pumps were what did me in. Any suggestions for what we’ll actually want/need?”

First, I laughed. Because it is quite overwhelming – especially when you’re new to the whole baby thing. And then next, I replied with an equally overwhelming long list of what she’ll want/not want. Apparently I have some opinions on baby paraphernalia.

Even though I’ve been out of this baby game for 5 years, I did do it four times and have a pretty good idea of what was totally necessary, what products I loved and what items were a waste when it came to setting up a nursery.

Since we’re in that springtime season of baby showers, I thought it might be helpful to share that list with all of you as well.

(Keep in mind that I’m 5 years removed from the baby trends. It seems like all sorts of ingenious and adorable products have been introduced since I had Audrey, so feel free to chime in at the end to let us know what fantastic and essential items you would add to my list.)

So, here it is – my list for my soon-to-be first time mama sister-in-law:

BABY ESSENTIALS: the best gear for your baby / jones design company


1. Infant Carseat

The key to choosing an infant carseat is making sure it is comfortable to hold between the crook of your elbow while juggling 18 other things. This one from Britax is a favorite.  You’ll probably want a stroller you can clip the carseat into, so whichever carseat you select, be sure to grab the coordinating travel system.

2. Bouncy Seat

I know you’ll want to hold your baby all the time, but soon enough you’ll find you just need to set her down for a few minutes (or hour) and a bouncy seat that vibrates is key. I wish they would not put such baby-ish designs on these things, but one like this isn’t too offensive and will work like a dream.

3. Portable Crib

There are so many different ones to choose from. I just like how simple to use and easy-on-the-eyes this one from 4moms is.

4. Booster Seat

This one is totally up to you, but we never bought a real high chair. We used this booster seat for all 4 kids (just buckled it onto a chair). It is easy to bring with you when you visit friends for dinner and can be scrubbed down without much effort.

5. Bumbo Seat

Once the little darling is old enough to sit up, the bouncy seat will lose it’s magic and in will come the bumbo seat. It allows the baby to sit up with support and watch what’s going on. Just don’t leave the baby sitting in it on the counter. That freaks me out.

6. Umbrella Stroller

A light-weight, easy-to-fold stroller like this Maclaren version is essential once the baby grows out of the carseat carrier. Just beware that hanging a heavy diaper bag on the handles causes it to tip backward. Not that I have any experience with this or anything.

7. Moses Basket

When the baby is a newborn, she’ll sleep all the time. I loved having a small moses basket nearby to let the baby nap. We also used this for the first month or so in our room before we moved the babies to their own cribs.

8. Baby Bjorn Carrier

A great hands-free option for holding the baby: the classic Baby Bjorn. You could also go with a wrap (like this one) which I like for newborns.

BABY ESSENTIALS: favorites for setting up your nursery / jones design company

1. Changing Pad

This curved changing pad is great for adding to the top of a dresser instead of purchasing a changing table.

2. Changing Pad Cover

Just add a simple terry cloth changing pad cover to the pad (or go with a patterned or colored one – there are so many designs to choose from). You’ll probably want at least two covers, so you can switch them out and wash regularly.

3. Waterproof Changing Pad Liners

To save on washing the entire changing pad, these waterproof liners are great for layering over-top to catch any leaks (of which there will be plenty).

4. Swaddling Blanket

You’ll become an expert in wrapping your baby up like a burrito, and these extra-large swaddling blankets from Swaddle Designs are my favorite.  They come in many different stylish patterns and are super soft. Or, if you want a lighter option (especially great for warmer climates), these muslin swaddles are great too.

5. Stroller Blanket

My babies each had a special blanket (actually, they all still sleep with theirs still) and these fluffy ones from Little Giraffe are the best. You really can never have too many blankets – great for snuggling up in the stroller for morning walks – and there are endless options. This classic white knit blanket is sweet, and this pom pom version is super cute too.

6. Swaddle Sleep Sack

When your baby starts breaking out of a regular blanket swaddle, these sleep sacks make it so easy to give them that comforting swaddle feel and extra warmth of a blanket. It’s a little bit like a straight jacket, but just try to see past that part.

7. Baby Monitor

Go with your gut on this one, but my recommendation is to skip the video monitor and stick with just the sound monitor version. Honestly, we hardly even used ours. There is a mother’s instinct that just knows when a baby is about to wake up, so rarely was I surprised to hear the baby. Also, babies make strange noises when they sleep and I never felt the need to hear all of them while I tried to get a few hours of rest. It’s up to you, though. I know everyone has different opinions on this one.

8. Sound Machine

The womb is a noisy place, so a little white noise makes it easier for a baby to sleep. And if your household is noisy, a sound machine will cover up those noises to prevent premature wake-ups.

BABY ESSENTIALS: accessories for your little one


1. Sophie the Giraffe

This classic teething toy is just plain cute. See it in action (and a really sweet photo sequence of my baby girl) here.

2. Trumpette Socks

My aunt bought a set of trumpette socks for my first son before he was born and I became an instant fan. They are socks that stay on babies’ little feet and have the cutest designs. The Mary Janes are my favorite.

3. Burp Cloths

Such an essential item for little ones who spit up (mine were the worst). I love these soft, simple organic burp cloths, or you could make a bunch of your own with terrycloth and cotton (tutorial here).

4. Petit Bateau Crossover Bodysuit

These sweet onesies are a splurge for sure, but well worth it. These soft shirts can be worn on their own during the early days of snuggling the newborn, or worn under clothes for an extra layer. The crossover style makes changing baby much easier without having to pull a shirt over her head. And once you feel the quality of material, there’s no going back.

5. Pilot Cap

Hats are a good idea for babies, and these organic cotton pilot caps from Hanna Andersson are not only adorable, but also practical. The chin ties keep the hat on and ear flaps keep tiny ears warm.  Start with a lightweight one for warmer months and switch to a thicker winter version when the weather turns chilly.

6. Board Books

One can never have too many books. Good, solid board books are great for baby. These are our family’s favorites of all: Tumble Bumble, Peepo, Going on a Bear Hunt, Sheep in a Jeep. For more books for baby, check out this post.

7. Diaper Bag

You’ll want a good diaper bag. It doesn’t have to be huge with tons of pockets or even one from Petunia Pickle Bottom (although they make great bags!), just roomy enough to hold an extra change of clothes, diapering items, snacks, toys, your wallet, phone and lipstick and random things like socks and hats and bottles and binkies and sunscreen and hand sanitizer. Actually, I take that back. You will want something huge.

8. Plush Bunny

While pregnant with No.1, I vowed that we would not be a stuffed animal family. I’m not sure why, exactly, other than that there are a lot of weird looking stuffed animals that I did not want cluttering up the nursery. And then my mom gave me our first JellyCat stuffed bunny and my mind was changed. These are darling plush toys that the kids love and so I’ve given in. And (of course) my kids turned out to be total stuffed animal fans.


So there it is. My list of baby essentials.

I’d love to know … what’s on your list of nursery necessities?

(top photo credit: rareandbeautifultreasures.com)

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book week: favorite books for baby


This week is devoted to books. Each day I’ll share my favorites in different categories and I’d love to hear some of yours in the comments. On friday, we’ll do a link party.


I’m really excited about this one. It will be a great way to hear about new books our internet-friends are crazy about.  So start your blog posts {or start reading a book!} and we’ll share at the end of the week.


Today’s category is favorite books for baby.


{mama & No. 1}

Even though they are too little to fully understand, reading sweet board books is so good for babies.  My No. 1 loved books from the very beginning. No. 2 couldn’t make it through an entire book until he was about three years old. Each kid is different, right?

This collection of books are our family’s very favorites:


These have made it through all four of our kids and some of  my favorite things to gift to new babes.

Please share … what are some of your favorite books for babies?

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a handmade doll for harper

College friends of ours are adopting a baby girl from Ethiopia. Her name is Harper.

You may remember we did a really fun crafting fundraiser a year and a half ago so it feels special to have walked a teensy bit of the adoption journey with this family.

Last month, Audrey and I took down her crib and delivered it to Harper’s mommy in preparation for her fast-approaching {and long-awaited} arrival. Since then, Audrey has named all of her babies Harper and talks about her often.  It’s pretty cute.

For the baby shower, I made a Harper doll. She and the Audrey doll were fast friends.

The real Audrey loved her as well.

Our friends are in Ethiopia as we speak picking up their precious daughter.  I get teary just thinking about what a special time this is for both Harper and her new family.

She is one very loved baby who has this baby waiting for her at her new home.

To make the Harper doll, I used this doll pattern. Her body is made of menswear plaid with a ruffled jersey body. I wanted her hair to resemble the darling curls the real Harper has, so I modified this felt flower to use as pony tails.

I’ve made a few other babies {see here and here} and they turn out so cute every time. Time consuming, yes.  But so worth it. If you are looking for a special gift this christmas, a handmade doll could be a great one.

Many blessings to sweet Harper and her family. I can’t wait to hold that little one soon!

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picnic in the park {baby shower}

My little sister, Hillary, is having her third baby {a boy} any day.  This is the last of the babies and so my older sister, Amy, and I hosted a special shower to celebrate sweet baby boy.

I have had this idea in my head for a while and was happy to pull it together for Hillary. Something different and memorable and simple: A picnic in the park.

{the invitations}

We set out a few cotton rugs and a large painter’s drop cloth to use as picnic blankets, scattered throw pillows for comfort and created a vintagey/picnic feel with a few tables and decorations.

The deconstructed chair is a project I have yet to complete but it was the perfect spot for the guest-of-honor to sit.

Our only activity for the shower was to think of a word {character trait} that we pray for this new baby.  Each word would be stamped on a unique note card and hung from a mobile for the baby’s room.

The mobile turned out really cute once the words were added. I’ll photograph it in his room shortly.

We wanted the food to be fancy picnic food – all easy to eat without extra utensils or serving dishes.

Pesto, turkey, mozzarella, tomato, arugula sandwiches, chips, cherries and the most delicious chocolate chip cookies from Specialties Bakery.

All packaged sweetly in a wooden basket.

It was a low-key party with close friends and family. Just perfect for showering my sister and her baby.

My girls: me, Hillary, Amy and our pretty mom.


Food packaging {wooden baskets . glassine bags . waxed tissue paper . straws}

Cookie packaging {chevron bags}

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vintage baby shower invitations

Even though my business has moved away from doing custom invitations, I love being able to do a few projects here and there for family and friends.

My dear friend Julia is pregnant with her third baby {the first girl} and I was the invitation-creator for her upcoming shower.

She is one of those friends who makes yummy homemade meals and gives the most thoughtful gifts and so I wanted to reciprocate and make the baby shower invitations special, thoughtful and unique.

She has a love of vintage things, likes sweet but not too girlie, and is definitely not into pink.  And she comes from an Italian family {hence the baby amore}.

I think the combination of the cursive font, scalloped edge, linen, vintage lace, trim and stitched top give it the feminine, vintage feel I was hoping for.

The cards are petite and when put in the envelope there was a enough room to be able to stitch them closed.

Did you know you can sew paper?

Simple handmade invitations.   And a pretty keepsake for the mommy-to-be.

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flower mobile {again}

Before my little sweetness was born {nearly two years ago, I can hardly believe it}, I made this flower mobile to hang over her crib. It was one of the first tutorials seen on JDC and a pretty project that I was proud of. But somewhere along the line, the photos went missing from the post. And missing from my computer. And so the tutorial is now gone. Boo.

{photos by Jennifer Tai as featured on On To Baby}

Since posting the embroidered wallhanging, many of you asked for details about the mobile. I am here to deliver.

I do not have a full tutorial, but I will explain how it is made.

Here’s what you need:

:: a styrofoam wreath form – mine is 12 inches, but you could do smaller or larger

:: ribbon

:: lots of silk flowers {I spent about $35 at the craft store on full white blooms}

:: straight pins

STEP ONE: wrap the wreath form with ribbon, securing with straight pins

STEP TWO: cut blooms off their stems and pin into wreath form, filling in all the way around the wreath. You could use hot glue instead, but I found that pinning was easier.

STEP THREE: once the flowers are in place, cut two long pieces of ribbon for hanging. You will fold each piece in half and attach the ends to the wreath opposite from eachother {think north, south, east and west}. Make sure your ribbon is long enough that when folded your mobile will hang at the height you want. I sure hope that makes sense.

I screwed in an eye hook to the ceiling and looped each ribbon over it.

From below, this is what the baby sees:

So pretty!

I know this is not the best tutorial, but I hope it helps explain the project a bit better. Please let me know if you make one of your own … I’d love to see how it turns out!

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girlie tee inspiration

I hang out at Target a lot. Partially because there are not a lot of other shopping options in my town, and partially because I can always find great stuff at a great price.

Yesterday I was chilling at Target {while my No. 1’s prescription was being made – an ear infection in May? Who would have thought} and I walked through the toddler section only to find the best deal ever on some great little tees.


So I grabbed a few with plans to embellish.


{see? great deals}

My thought is to applique something fun on each one {like the applique tutorial I did here}


I’m thinking something whimsical, summery and fun like these from miniboden:

image image image  image image image

Seriously? How darling are those?! I should probably just buy a few, but I think I’ll try my hand at making my own first {especially since they are $30 each – I like my $3 price tag a little better}.

I’ll let you know how they turn out :

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My cousin is having her first baby in just a few weeks and so I wanted to make something special for baby Olivia Rose.


She received a special dolly, embellished onesie, set of burp cloths and a headband.


I loved these burp cloths for my spitty baby and think they make a nice gift for a mommy-to-be. You can see the tutorial {here}. 


A teensy embellished onesie always looks sweet on a new babe. These flowers are fun {a new tutorial is coming soon}.


And the doll. Love these dolls. I use {this} pattern and have made several dolls as gifts {you can see more that I made for other girlies in my life here}. For the Olivia doll, I cut apart a pair of ruffled undies to make her skirt. I know, weird. But I saw them at Walmart and figured they would be perfect!  Her body is made of a canvasy-linen. 

I enjoy putting together a fun gift, but I probably love wrapping more than anything.


Paper Source has a great selection of solid gift wrap {I used chocolate}. A little seam binding, a flower headband, bent wire tag and paper tag all make for a cute presentation.  Another favorite way to wrap is to roll tissue and cellophane around a gift and tie both ends with ribbon. 


Audrey joined me at the baby shower so I figured I should add her name to the gift tag.

Can’t wait to meet the new sweet baby!

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The ladies who sponsor jones design company are delightful – each with unique businesses, ideas, ministries and talents.  I am thankful for their support! You can read more about them {here}.

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audrey’s first birthday {the party}

We hosted a birthday brunch for our baby girl this weekend. 


I went with blues, gray, white and lots of flowers – just like her nursery and apparently my favorite combination of colors right now.  Her invitations set the tone and it was fun to carry out the peony and striped papers into other parts of the decorations.


We had our family and a few friends for a nice little party to celebrate the big girl.


Straw flags with kids’ names {straws from Bake it Pretty}

IMG_9461 IMG_9464IMG_9462



Yummy brunch food: a few of my favorite pastries {granny horns, cranberry orange scones, Top Pot doughnuts}, lots of fresh fruit and a fancy egg dish made by Audrey’s adoring papa.






party hats

For the kids, I made simple favor bags filled with yogurt covered pretzels.


And the grown-ups received monogram note cards.


Audrey’s big brothers wanted to help out with decorations, so they made this sign which I just love.



It’s the birthday girl!

IMG_9487 IMG_9488


{notice No. 3 kindly helping his sister blow out the candle}


She wasn’t too sure what to do with this big pile of sugar, but after her biggest brother gave her a taste, she was hooked.



What a fun day for our special girl.

{Party hat and favor bag tutorials are coming this week : stay tuned!}

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my sweet girl

audrey ryan


To my sweet Audrey-girl,

From the moment we knew you were joining our family, we adored you. When we met you for the first time we were overwhelmed with your gentle beauty, your petite features, your long fingers. Your demeanor is sweet and delicate, your smile melts us, your movements are graceful and your laugh is contagious.

Your great-Auntie Lorrie once told me that having a daughter is ‘magical’ and now I know she was absolutely right.  I love your brothers, but the connection I feel to you, my sweet girl, is different.  You have awoken a greater creativity in me, a softness and protectiveness that is new to me.

I have so many hopes and dreams for you, but my deepest prayer of all is that you will know how perfectly and wonderfully you have been made.  May you always know that you are adored by your mommy and daddy, by your big brothers, your grandmas & grandpas, aunties & uncles and all of your cousins and friends. But most of all, may you know that Your Heavenly Father was overjoyed when he created you and He is so pleased with his princess, Audrey Ryan.

You have changed our lives, baby girl. You have completed our family, added precious femininity to our household of boys and have forever blessed your mommy.

I love you sweet girl.


Love, Mommy

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audrey’s first birthday {the invitations}

It’s hard to believe, but our baby girl is nearly one.


Which means she’ll be having a special one-year-old birthday celebration. 

We aren’t planning an over-the-top event : just brunch and birthday cake with family and a few friends at our house.

inspiration board

But that doesn’t mean I can’t make her party pretty!


I found this crepe paper peony bouquet in the Martha Stewart section at Walmart and it became the inspiration for Audrey’s party : white, light blue, peacock blue, gray and gold {pretty much just like her nursery}.

stack of invitations

I wanted the invitations to be special – girly, pretty and a little bit fancy.


I used gold tissue paper to create the pleated ruffle and stitched it directly onto the card.

tissue ruffle

I am so pleased with how they turned out.

{Sources: the sweet little silver shoe in the top photo is from Target which I’m sad to say I can not find online. The gray striped straws are from Bake it Pretty. The silver ‘audrey’ was made by me : perhaps a new tutorial idea : as were the little crepe paper flowers. I have a great vision for how I’m going to use them that I hope works in real life as well as it does in my mind – more on that to come.}

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baby bracelet

After our baby girl was born, I had this idea to get a dainty baby bracelet for her as a keepsake.  I did a little bit of searching, but didn’t find quite what I had in mind.

Then I met Amber from Starfish.

I mentioned to her that I was looking for a baby bracelet, gave her a few details and she agreed to design the sweetest little piece of jewelry for Audrey.


Is that not the cutest thing?

It really isn’t for every day wear and will probably live most of its days displayed on Audrey-girl’s dresser, but I love that I now have a keepsake to remember just how tiny her little wrists are.

 IMG_8716  IMG_8717


{so big!}

Amber has added the baby bracelet to her fabulous assortment of personalized jewelry.



Because she already had a piece with the name ‘audrey’, she is calling this one ’emily’ {I feel sort of famous!}. If you have a special baby in your life you can order her a sweet bracelet { h e r e }. 

Thanks again Amber for such a lovely gift!

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winter coat for audrey

I accidentally bought Audrey a boy coat.


They had a girl version,


but I liked the blue one better.

So I stuck a flower on it and I’m calling it a girl coat.


Girls can wear navy too, right?


{the coat is from Old Navy, by the way. And it is now on sale for $13}

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on my mind

I bought a sandwich today for $9. It was really good, but seriously nine dollars?!!

In case you are wondering it was the Roberto Benigni from Pasta & Co. and if I were the calorie counting kind of girl I’m pretty sure I would be appalled by the amount contained in that perfectly grilled sandwich.


. . . . . . .

Have you been watching the Sing Off? There are some amazing singers on that show.

. . . . . . .

This little boy learned to cross the monkey bars.


This one has walking pneumonia.


This one : what can I say. He’s spunky.  We were thinking about naming him Wyatt when he was still living in my belly and while we love him as a #3, he really would have been a great Wyatt.  It sounds like the name for a spunky little boy.


And this sweetness learned to crawl. She is very happy to be mobile.


She does not, however, enjoy being picked on by her big brother {remember the statement about him being spunky?}


See? Not happy.


. . . . . . .

For those of you who asked :


. . . . . . .

Remember a while ago when I was complaining about all of my hair falling out post-pregnancy? Now look what’s happening on my head:


some call those baby bangs : I just say they are crazy little hairs that don’t flatten. Oh the things we go through to birth our babies.

. . . . . . .

Have your ordered your Christmas cards yet? We are taking orders until friday december 10th


click the image for more information.

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My mom made these caramels the other day and they were the best thing I’ve ever tasted. I’m totally serious.


I may or may not have consumed an embarrassing amount.

I’ll be making a batch or two for a party next week. If you are looking for a holiday treat to take to a party or give to a neighbor {or consume on your own} here is the recipe created by the ladies of Liddabit Sweets courtesy of O magazine.

Servings: Makes about 125 one-inch pieces

Sea Salt Caramels

  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 Tbsp. coarse sea salt
  • Oil or cooking spray


Active time: 30 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring sugar, evaporated milk, and heavy cream to a boil over medium heat. Add corn syrup and continue cooking until mixture reaches 230°.
Add butter and vanilla; continue cooking, stirring constantly, until caramel reaches 240°. Remove from heat, stir in salt, and carefully pour into a lightly oiled 9″ x 13″ baking dish (parchment paper in the bottom of the pan is helpful).
Let cool at least 1 hour. Invert onto a cutting board covered with waxed or parchment paper and cut into 1-inch pieces with a sharp, lightly oiled knife. Caramels can be wrapped in waxed or parchment paper or cellophane. (To serve candy-store style, wrap individual pieces in parchment paper and secure the ends with a simple twist.) Store airtight at cool room temperature (around 65°) or in the refrigerator; will keep up to 3 weeks.

. . . . . . .

and that’s what’s on my mind.

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