Friday, September 30, 2011

Pinterest Challenge #17: Autumn Wreath

I must've seen this wreath re-pinned on Pinterest about 100 times. Everyone loves it!

It looked easy enough, so I decided to try to make it myself. I bought a grapevine wreath, two bags of Spanish Moss, a roll of burlap garland and a handful of decorative mini pumpkins! An hour last Sunday afternoon and it was done--  It will hang on our door until a Christmas wreath goes up!

I think I need to add some pumpkins to mine. I would have preferred a 12" wreath, but all Michaels had was 18" wreaths. The etsy seller makes hers with one pumpkin for each person in your family, so mine has three-- for Rob, Liam & I, but I think I may add one for Jack and Chloe (our pup)!

Pinterest Challenge #16: Halloween Bucket

I saw these Halloween buckets on Pinterest and fell in love with them! However, the pin was a link to an etsy shop and the seller charges $22 per bucket and $7 for shipping! Ouch!

So, I bought a small black bucket from Hobby Lobby for $2.50 (it had a Halloween sticker on one side that I was able to remove) and found an etsy seller who specializes in vinyl decals to cut me the circle, the initial, the name and the polka dots for $6! I have a Cricut and could have cut these myself, but I don't love the fonts that I have on my cartridges and buying one roll of vinyl would have cost me more than the decals did!

I can't wait for Liam to carry this Trick-or-Treating for the next few years (the bucket's only about 5" tall) and I ordered the decals to make one for Jack, too!

Pinterest Challenge #15: Fishy Favors

I love clear pillow boxes. You can fill them with cute things, wrap a ribbon around them & slap on a cute label and you have a great party favor. I filled mine with goldfish... naturally. I wrapped an orange ribbon around them and a sticker with our fish logo.

Pinterest Challenge #14: Bubbles

Bubbles with a personalized label seemed to be the party favor of choice for all recent 1st bday parties! I had to get in on the action-- I bought orange bottles of bubbles at Party City, removed the labels and replaced them with the ones I made (in PhotoShop).

Pinterest Challenge #13: Napkin Rings

I love bright cutlery and napkins at a party or shower! Wrapping up a fork, spoon and knife in a napkins and holding it together with a napkin ring with a personalized label is a nice touch!
I bought teal cutlery & orange napkins. I printed teal polka dot paper strips (that matched the background of the invitation) to wrap around the napkins, then secured them with a round sticker with the goldfish logo and "Liam's First Birthday" on them.

Pinterest Challenge #12: Cookies

When I saw these cookies, I knew I HAD to try to make them for the party. I'm not a baker, but I gave them a shot and while they're not perfect, I liked them and I'll definitely try decorating cookies with royal icing again! I learned a lot during my "trial run" and when I made them for the party.

These are sugar cookies, with blue royal icing flooded on the top. The fish are Goldfish Graham Crackers dipped in orange candy melts.
Royal Icing Tutorial:

Pinterest Challenge #11: Birthday Banner

You can't have a first birthday party without a birthday banner! I loved these scalloped circles strung on ribbon, so I decided to make my own! I designed the circles with letters and fish in PhotoShop, printed, cut and strung them on an orange ribbon!

Pinterest Challenge #10: ONE

When I saw these letters spelling out "ONE", I knew I wanted some at Liam's party. So simple and sweet. I found some 8" paper mache letters at Hobby Lobby and painted them with orange acrylic paint. They looked great on the mantel of the fireplace!

Pinterest Challenge #9: Circle Garland

When I saw this circle garland on Pinterest, I thought it was so cute and looked so easy! I bought some scrapbook paper in colors that matched the rest of Liam's party stuff, punched out circles in several sizes with craft punches, then sewed them together.

Quick, Easy, Cute!

Pinterest Challenge #8: Photo Display

I knew that I wanted to display pics from Liam's first year at the party. Pinterest had all kinds of ideas for photo displays, mostly using numbered clothespins. Since his party was goldfish themed, I painted clothespins blue, glued a fish with a number 1-12 on it and hung my pics from a fishing net!

I was really happy with how it turned out and his guests had fun looking at how much he's grown!

Pinterest Challenge #7: Applique Party Shirt

Liam wore the sweetest jon jon smocked with cupcakes on his birthday. See?

But there was NO WAY that I was letting him anywhere near his orange smash cake wearing that, so I made him a little appliqued onesie to match his hat and his goldfish party theme. I saw so many cute ones on etsy and thought about ordering one, but ended up making one last minute.

Not exactly the same, but  this one was quick, matched his hat & he looked really cute in it!

Pinterest Challenge #6: Party Hat

Oh, did you hear? My baby turned ONE last week. I made lots of stuff for his party!

 His party hat was one of my favorites! I saw lots of really cute personalized hats on Pinterest and Etsy, and this one was so easy to make. I just took a large square of fabric and embroidered the "1" and Liam's name on it, the took a hat template and traced it onto the fabric (leaving a few extra inches along the edge) and cut it out. I sewed the hat into a cone shape, lightly coated my cardstock template in glue, slid it inside the fabric to give it some stability, then folded the ends under and glued them inside the hat. I sewed the pom pom on the top (by hand), then glued elastic on the inside for the chin strap and  ric rac on the outside edge.

I was a little nervous that he wouldn't wear this long enough to even get a pic, but Liam was a champ and I got several cute ones. I'll share them in his bday post. I think this hat is going on his shelf in his room!

Pom Pom:

Pinterest Challenge #5: Teacher Appreciation

I had no idea how Liam would react to starting Mother's Day Out twice a week so I decided it was best to make a bribe gift for his new teachers. I've started a whole board on Pinterest dedicated to little things we can make for his teachers to show how much we appreciate them.

This was the first thing I made-- I found the free printable, saved it, used PhotoShop to modify it and presented it to each of his teachers with a $10 Starbucks giftcard. I love how the original uses the corrugated side of the coffee sleeve, but all of the ones I grabbed at Starbucks had information stamped on the inside. I also LOVE the baker's twine on the original (my new obsession), but I didn't have any at the time. (Since then, I've ordered a small sample pack with 5 colors and I made a little pom pom for Liam's birthday hat with it!)

I think mine still turned out ok & I'm happy to say that Liam's doing great at school! His teachers love coffee him!

Pinterest Challenge #4: Library Cards & Pockets

By far, my favorite paper craft I've ever made... What book themed baby shower could be complete without library cards for guests to write lovely words to the sweet baby on and pockets to put inside the books that guests would bring?

I found a .pdf template of a library card pocket, took it into PhotoShop to add a design to it, then printed, cut, folded and attached. Love these. I took a library card template and used it to design my own, in gray and yellow, of course.

(Baby's name is a secret, so I blurred it!)

Pinterest Challenge #3: Paper Straws with Flags

I love colorful paper straws-- they are one of my favorite party decorations! They're even cuter when they are personalized with a little flag. I bought gray and white striped straws (swoon) and made yellow and gray flags with the baby's initial on them. So fun!

Pinterest Challenge #2: Paper Covered Pencils

 While I'm usually against most baby shower games, I found a really cute one where guests had to guess the name of classic children's books based on an alternative title. For example, "Unsightly Aquatic Bird" is "The Ugly Duckling. I printed the game in yellow and gray font on white card stock.

It seems like if a pencil/pen is required to complete a game, hosts are always scrambling for them at showers. So, I decided to include a pencil (tied with twine) to the game cards. But no ordinary pencil would do! I found a tutorial for paper covered pencils on Pinterest. I took scraps of paper left over from my book covers and covered pencils in them!

These were super easy & super cute. I'll definitely make them again, maybe for Liam's teachers at school for some occasion. The possibilities are endless-- you can print a design on a piece of computer paper or use leftover scraps of scrapbooks paper. If you decide to make them, a few tips: Let them dry overnight before you attempt to sharpen them & don't use an electric pencil sharpener. I also figured out that not all cheapie pencil sharpeners are created equal-- I picked up a few at Walmart and they tore the pencils up when I sharpened them. I picked up a different brand at Walgreens and they worked perfectly. Both were 99 cents!

Pinterest Challenge #1: Book Garland

A dear friend of mine recently had a book themed gender neutral baby shower, and while I couldn't be there, I desperately wanted to make some things that would show her how much she means to me and what a joy her baby will be.

This was one of the first ideas that I came across (from craft goddess Martha Stewart)-- book garland. I loved that I could make the covers any color I wanted. I printed some digital scrapbook paper, cut out little book covers on card stock, then glued in the text pages (designed in Photoshop with an excerpt from Pride and Prejudice!). I also painted wooden clothespins to hang the books off of twine to match the gray and yellow theme of the shower.

Here is my "pinspiration" and my project:

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Great Pinterest Challenge: A Warning

Oh, um, hi.

I used to blog here, once upon a time... but life just got a little too hectic and a little too stressful and something had to take a backseat for a bit... I'm sorry to say that it had to be this space. I miss it and hope that I can be better about posting on a regular basis. 

I have lots of things to talk about! I'm 32 weeks pregnant. Last week I turned 31. My mom turned 63. Liam turned ONE! I have stories and pictures and fun things to tell.

But that's not what this post is about.

I'm obsessed with Pinterest & if you've signed up, you probably are, too. I've pinned so many fun ideas for parties, our home, my wardrobe, crafts, etc. But unfortunately, it seems like this is often the definition of Pinterest:

My lovely friend Christina, who blogs about crafts, IF and her beautiful baby girl Wren over at The Subfertile Frugalista came up with The Great Pinterest Challenge-- a chance for us to actually make some of those things we've pinned, show them off and be entered in a drawing for some fun prizes that will, no doubt, further crafting addictions everywhere. (If you want to participate, please do!)

Lucky for me, the challenge ran through the end of Sept, so I had the opportunity to include back to school stuff, a friend's baby shower, party stuff and now Halloween stuff! In order to participate in the challenge, I need to create a post for each project that I completed, then link each to her blog...and, ummm, there are 17 of them.

So, if you're interested in the craftiness and want to see what I've done, tune in for a flood of posts in the next two days. I'll show a pic of what "pinspired" me (snort), what I made, and include a link. If you don't care about (awesome) crafts, then skip them and tune in for Liam's birthday post when I'm able to finish it!

I promise it won't be another three weeks.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: First Haircut

Liam was starting to grow a mini-mullet, so we decided it was time to get him a little trim.

I can't believe my baby is big enough to need a haircut!!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Fish Food

I'm in full party planing mode now for Liam's birthday.

While I haven't been as productive this weekend as I should have been, I did knock some tasks of my list. I purchased napkins, lanterns, tissue paper for pom poms, table cloths, cups and cutlery at Party City. I ordered cupcake liners and paper straws from etsy. I worked on a few printables in PhotoShop while watching Julie and Julia & I finally did a test run on some cookies that I really want to make for Liam's party.

I may be crafty, but I don't bake. But when I saw these, I knew I had to give them a shot:

So, yesterday afternoon, while the boys were napping, I did. I bought a roll of sugar cookie dough (hey, you've got to cut corners somewhere!) at the grocery store, rolled it out, used a cup to cut out circles and baked them.

I used this recipe to make royal icing. Since this was a practice round, I made some lime green icing (it looks yellow on my screen) and some light blue icing. Once the icing was at a soft peak, I piped a circle around the edge of the cookie using a pastry bag and a #3 tip.

Then I watered down the icing (a few drops at a time) to make it runny. I bought a squirt bottle used for candy making to flood the cookies, but couldn't find it, so I ended up scooping it on with a spoon. The first few, I put too much icing on and it started spilling over the piping, but then I got the hang of it!

While the icing was hardening, I microwaved a handful of orange candy melts and dipped Goldfish Graham crackers in them.

Then, using some icing, I attached the fish to the cookies & piped on some bubbles.

Not too bad for a first attempt!

Goals for the next batch (I plan on making them the weekend before his birthday):
  • Have a steady hand when piping on the outline. I got better with each cookie, but I still think it could use some work.
  • Find a deeper color for the blue background-- I just used a few drops of blue gel food coloring that I bought at the grocery store, but Michaels/Hobby Lobby offer so many other options in their baking section. I'd love to find a more vibrant color.
  • Practice piping the bubbles on-- these look messy. I used icing with a soft peak, but it had been sitting out for a little while and might have been a little harder than it should have been. It was kind of gooey when I added the bubbles, so it was tough to get clean little circles. I'm not sure if the icing was too stiff or not stiff enough-- will practice a bit with different consistencies. Any tips would be greatly appreciated!
 Overall, I'd call them successful & I'm looking forward to serving them at the party!