November 12, 2010

Recycle Greeting Cards

Another project using greeting cards! This time it is with Boo's birthday cards. Last time, it was with my Baby Shower cards.  I stuck with the same rules as well: making something that includes Boo's initials, that matches her nursery room, and made with everything I have at home already. This is what I came up with:

Two 8" x 11" artwork.!  I saw an art print at Pottery Barn kids with flowers I liked, and with some online inspirations, the rest just took off.  I was tracing, free-handing, cutting, gluing...there was a crafty mess on the dining table to greet The Husband when he came home from work.  He asked me what I was doing, and I said, "I don't know.  I am just cutting flowers out of these cards.  But it's going to be really good when I'm done!"  And that was the honest truth.  

The blue background is three layers of tissue paper.  I wanted texture, so I crumpled each sheet into a ball and then carefully unfolded them.  Glued all the layers together and cut to  fit the frame.  The key to this project is layer, layer, layer.  I got lucky with having the sun (which I cut and glued an orange glitter circle from another card, in the middle), the dragonfly, and ladybug all on a card.  The "grass" were green dots I cut out of a polka dotted card.  I cut 6 to 7 lines to look like blades of grass. Then made a straight cut at the bottom, about 1/5 of the circle.  The rest of the shapes are pretty self-explanatory, but if you have questions about it, feel free to ask!  if you like, you can hold up a piece of paper to the computer screen, and trace the flower designs off these pictures to get instant templates.

I happened to have two white picture frames, all ready to go, from Target, $5 each.  I had them for a few years now. I knew they would come in handy one day. =)

Pumpkin Carving

Lil' Boo was Minnie Mouse for Halloween, so it would be the most fitting to carve a Minnie Mouse pumpkin! Actually it is a Funkins, one of those craft pumpkins I purchased at JoAnn's.  It carves like a real pumpkin but there's a lot of "saw dust" if you know what I mean, since it is made of low density foam. You won't have to empty the gooey insides of a real pumpkin, it will not rot and can be kept forever.

I printed out this Minnie Mouse template online, and carved the black parts out. One tip is to start the eyes and noses FIRST.  If you do that last, the pumpkin will not have the strength and will break. I got a cheap $3 plastic pumpkin carving knife and a $2 dollar fake flickering candle light at Michael's. Both worked like a charm.

I think I'll get a Funkins every year and add to the collection! It was really fun to do.

Baby Shower

I co-hosted a baby shower at the guest of honor's home.  It went really smooth and everything came together nicely, despite of some last minute changes.  Something unexpected came up with the other co-host, so I had to step up as the main host.  I wanted to keep things simple yet elegant.  Here is the setup:

On the white tables are extra flowers from the bouquets purchased at Costco.  I cut the stems and seriously just threw them randomly down in the middle of the table:

For the green tables, I arranged the flowers in vases.  It is definitely an art and a process to floral arranging.  A  long time ago, I watched a TV special on it, and knew it would come in handy one day.  Apparently, you can't just unwrap the bouquet you purchase and throw it into a vase.  I tried it and it just looked strange.  It was either too short or too tall, had too much or too little foliage, too sparse or too bunches...and the list goes on.  I really like the results, especially with the little amount of time I had. Vase #1:

Vase #2:

I made these hunny pots as favors, theme was Winnie the Pooh:

Sugar Cookie Attempt

I have always wanted to make sugar cookies and then decorate with icing. Icing was quite an experience! Of course I didn't just do just plain white royal icing but dove right into 4 different colors, and attempted to design way beyond my nonexistent skill level.  Getting the right consistency took a lot of time, because I didn't know what I was doing.

The cookies honestly just took minutes to make. It was so easy and simple that I really thought I did something wrong, but they turned out perfect.  For the cookie recipe and tips, I found this website to be extremely helpful and followed it exactly.

The baked cookies (pumpkins and cats):

The circles are for spiderwebs, and the ice creams are just because I thought they were cute:

With icing:

I was trying to make waffle cone lines on the ice creams with "chocolate" sprinkles.  I tried to do some highlights and shadows with the brown and white on the pumpkins.  One pumpkin looks like a pineapple, haha.  The spiderwebs I did when all the icing was still wet - pipe rings in different colors and run a toothpick through to make the lines.

I want to make and practice more but can't eat them all! I also want these cookie pens by Foodooler.  They are pens with edible ink so you can just draw right on the iced cookie.  Wouldn't it be even cuter if the cookies said "Boo!" or something? =)

Recycle Greeting Cards

I have a big stash of greeting cards I received from friends over the years. I keep most of them; especially the cutest/prettiest ones.  But they are just sitting in the drawer and taking up space! I have been brainstorming what to do with my baby shower cards.  I wanted to further the challenge by making something that includes Boo's initials, that matches her nursery room, and made with everything I have at home already. That sounds...challenging, haha!
This is what I came up with:
I used a scalloped paper punch and cut out at least one from each card. Some I punched out the handwritten sweet notes, some from the front of the cards. There were some cards with 3D animals and couldn't resist - I cut them out separately.  I had a canvas and painted a periwinkle color as the background. Then I glued the scallops onto the canvas (I just eyeballed the lines), and sealed with 3 coats of modge podge. I had the letter "E" and hot glued that on top. Viola, done!
Here are some close ups:

1st Birthday Party

Boo had her first birthday, and the party theme was Alice in Wonderland. I had such a blast planning and crafting!
These are the invitations I made. I absolutely love this and think it is clever (if I say so myself).  I am so proud of it:

It is a pocket watch that swivels with the help of a little gem bracket! I made everything in  Powerpoint.  I then used a Fiskars circle cutter and its circle template, careful to start and stop where the yellow top is.  Do not cut a full circle! I then hand cut the top part, colored in the purple and small-hole punched it. I got a pack of mini gem brackets from Michael's, and put the two pieces together. The clock tells the date and time of the party.
The envelope liner was wrapping paper I got from Ikea 2 years ago.  I thought it looked whimsical and perfect for the theme. I made a template on cardstock. I traced the actual envelope, then cut 1/2 inch smaller all the way around. Then just glue to the inside.

First thing the guests saw was the balloons and signs. I had made signs that said "This Way", "That Way", "Where", etc. all over the front lawn with arrows going in all directions. When we bought our current house, the agent left those "For Sale" signs that you stick in the grass. I just use posterboards and duct taped the back. Worked like a charm.
I also made this cards and red roses inspired wreath on the front door. It is supposed to be cheesy and unrealistic. I got one of those green foam wreaths, 2 decks of cards, and 1 bunch of roses from the Dollar Store.  I arranged the cards in the order I want, then taped it together. Each ring of cards have two card layers - one with the faces and one with numbers. I glue the 2 layers together, then hot glued the large ring of cards to the back of the wreath.  I did the same for the small ring of cards and glued it to the front of the wreath. Then I stuck the bunch of roses in the middle to cover the hole. Bend the stems in the back, and duct tape.  The last step is to cut a short piece of ribbon and pin it in the back, then hang. I used my X'mas wreath hanger over the door.

One of the foods I made was these mini "cupcakes". They are actually Reese's Pieces, with a piping of buttercream frosting and topped with a chocolate chip. They were so easy to make and delicious:

I made this card table runner. For some reason I can't find a picture with just the runner, so here it is with the cakes (both from Albertson's and the round smash cake was free!):

  I used 2 decks of cards and designed it how I wanted. Then I used zig zag stitch and ran it through the sewing machine row by row.  It is hard to see, but at the ends, I hole punch along the long sides and tied with yellow ribbon.

The neat thing about this runner is that you can fold it up like this:
Here is the gift table and random blow up flamingos on the stair rail (found at the Dollar Store):
At Michael's, there were bunny ear headbands and crowns for $1 each. At the Dollar Store, I found Alice in Wonderland books and even one that is made of foam for the little babies! It was SUCH a score that I immediately phoned The Husband at the store, and almost yelled "OH MY GOSH IT IS MEANT TO BE!"
In the basket are some candy favors for the adults. They were in a pink glassine bag I have left over from another project, with a heart from the Ikea wrapping paper in front, tied with a yellow ribbon.  In the big bag were toy favors for the older kids - a bubbles kit. The canvas tree is a....guestbook, if you will.  I drew/painted a tree onto the canvas (bought from Big lots, $7). Then printed The Baby's 1st Birthday underneath. For both, I used graphite paper. I discovered this material recently and it was a "So THAT'S how other people did it!" moment. Basically I had the canvas, then layered the graphite paper, then the image I want on top. Then trace over the image with a pencil or a dried up pen, and I was left with a perfect print on the canvas!
At the party, each guest stamped a finger on to the tree, creating a "leaf". Now we have a wonderful keepsake! Unfortunately, some guests had to leave early and didn't get a chance to do this. I cannot believe over 40 people helped celebrate the special day with us! So blessed to have lovely friends and family.

Absolute preciousness!

November 06, 2010

Easy Stacked Cake

We had a great big wonderful birthday party for Little Boo. But on her actual birthday, we celebrated with a little stacked cake I whipped up.  I call it my cheat cake.  If you like shortcakes, you will like this idea.

In the grocery store, you can find shortcakes next to the strawberries.  I bought a package (4 in a package), and stacked them up with layer of frosting in between.  I had tinted the white "confetti" frosting to a lavender/blue color. I did not like how the "confetti" aka sprinkles looked. But it was all I had in the pantry. I know, I didn't make this frosting from scratch. =/

I didn't have time but I would have loved to put sliced strawberries or maybe jam in between the cake layers. That sounds delicious.

Then I used chocolate chips and stuck them on with the point-side into the cake to create a polka dot effect.


Flower Hair Clip

I made this for Boo, but it could be for me too! Super simple to make. Here it is clipped in my hair:

I got one bunch of flowers from the Dollar Store. Then I started to take everything apart. The leaves, flowers, stems, etc.

Your bunch should have big and little flowers. I took a smaller flower and added to the top of the larger flower to give it fullness. Then I snapped back on the 3 little parts from the flower (shown above), and trimmed the stem that stuck out. Then I superglued the petals by the stem, on the top and bottom as well:

You can save or discard the rest of stems and leaves:

When the flower dried, I hot glued it to a hair clip that I had wrapped with the same yellow color ribbon.  This was how the hair clip was made.

Done - now clip to your hair!

Guest Room Tour

I've been working a lot in the guest room and it's 99% done! I am looking for a black desk to replace the fold-up metal square one.  It is a Middle Eastern/Old Word/Travel theme. We have a lot of souvenirs from a trip to the Middle East and want to showcase them.   Instead of a headboard to the queen bed, I opted to use two table runners, straight from a suq (market) in Oman.  I used a curtain rod from Big Lots, and curtain clips from Walmart. The bedding is from Bed Bath and Beyond, Target and Walmart.  I scored the lamp base from Walmart for $4 and the shade at Target for $5:

The fabric is absolutely gorgeous.  I like how that each panel is different, and the runners are unique and not too matchy-matchy:

The trunk is from TJ Maxx for $50.  The 4 pictures and the gold hanger above are from a suq in Dubai:

The bookshelf from Target. I am looking for a way hide that "cardboard" backing. Those lines drive me nuts. Pretty much everything on the shelves are from the Middle East, along with all our travel books.

November 04, 2010

Nursery Decor

When I decorated the nursery for the first time, I went with a gender neutral theme.  It was with little farm animals. My sister-in-law painted canvas' to match.  The room was small and the furniture took up most of the space, so I didn't do much on the walls. But I did get one thing, and that's the Wall Candy Arts "Seasons Tree".  I stick the vinyl decals over the crib wall. And I was happy with it. It was cute.

Then we moved. 

I was excited yet overwhelmed with decorating a nursery the second time with a 6 month old. The first thing I did was to have the walls painted a tan/oatmeal color just like the original nursery.  Then came the espresso colored furniture and the same vinyl decals over the crib (but in a different formation). The end.  Months passed and still nothing on the walls.   

Finally I decided to go with a really girly theme, and thought of something super simple to do: tissue paper pom poms! Straight off from the Martha Stewart's website.  However, I looped a string through the floral wire to I can hang them. For some pom poms, I used different shades (in the same color family) tissue papers to give more dimension and interest. The best thing about this project was that it costed me nothing! I had everything already...and people think I'm weird for saving/collecting tissue paper.  

For this larger one, I used 2 less sheets of tissue paper.  Then crumbled and waded a piece of hot pink tissue paper, and glued it in the middle:

The Husband picked out the pink curtains! Well, I did say it is going to be super girly. The baby swing has since been removed because Boo got too big.  The red [diaper] trash can doesn't match anymore - I need to get another one.  Sorry this is really a bad picture. It does not do the furniture or the curtains justice at all. By the way, the furniture pieces are a matching set; I don't know why the colors are so off:

Another wall - I found the "Bloom" vinyl stickers at Kohl's for $3:

I lost the picture of the crib wall somehow, but here is part of the Seasons Tree decal.  You can use all the stickers for one large tree, or separate them to make two smaller trees. Everyone asks me if it is a painting and they are so surprised when they see it's not. =)  I got the brown shelf from Big Lots, a set of 2 for about $8.  I put the baby monitor's suppose to blend in and look like a tree branch:

On the last wall, I got 4 large picture frames that hold multiple photos each. I lined them up all in the row.  Thank goodness the handyman was there to help measure and hang them evenly. We had hired him to replace a chandelier amongst other things, so I added that task to his list.