Wednesday, July 25, 2012

It's Party Time!

Can you believe that in less than two months, I'll have a TWO YEAR OLD?!

Time to dive into the 2nd Birthday Party Planning Zone. This year's theme (drumroll, please) is:

The Very Hungry Caterpillar!

Last year, I had so many ideas but I waited too long to get started and things just weren't planned as well as they should have been-- the food was my biggest problem. Almost everything was homemade and I waited until the morning of our 4pm party to start preparing everything. Big Mistake. Things weren't ready when guests started showing up, my mom missed half of the party & when it was all said & done, I was really upset because I didn't have a good time...and I stressed out those around me who had offered to help.

Not this year!

Because it's not in my nature to cut back on the details, there are a couple of things I'm doing to help this year's party be a smashing success.
  1. I'm starting early-- like, now. I have a lot done already & what I don't have done yet is organized into a list that I'm quickly checking off.  
  2. The food will be simple this year. A tray of turkey roll-ups ordered from Publix, bags of chips, juice boxes, etc. Everything will be easily transportable to the park where we're having the party.
  3. I've asked my parents to keep the kids the night before the party, so that Rob & I have plenty of time to get everything set up the morning of the party before the guests arrive at 11am. (The party is 11am-1pm.) All my parents have to do is bring the guest of honor, dressed in his birthday outfit, along with his baby brother.
 On to the details!

The Invite:

Closeup of the water bottle labels:

One of the circles of the banner:

Thank You Notes for after the party:

The design for the large vinyl banner I'm having printed for behind the food table (Tip: If you access Vista Print through Retail Me Not, 6' x 2.5" custom vinyl banners are 50% off-- $21!!! ):

I've made labels for all of the food-- they look like this:

I've been very busy in Photoshop, but I've also made a lot of progress beyond printables.

We're having the party at the new pavilion and playground at the church where Liam goes to Mother's Day Out. I reserved it this week!

I wasn't looking forward to having to cut a cake and serve it at the park-- kind of a mess, plus we'd need extra plates, napkins, etc. So, I ordered these push pop containers this week! I'm not sure what kind cake we'll do (probably chocolate, like the book) but I'm really excited that I can prepare these at home, put the caps on & easily transported to the park. I think I'm going to order the acrylic stand that goes with them as well-- I plan on reusing them for Jack's party. They'll look similar to these:

I made some stickers to put on them:

I've seen so many cute VHC cake ideas, so I didn't want to skip having a cake all together-- I decided to order a small 4" decorative cake for Liam.

Thanks to a DIY Cake Stand tutorial, I'm making my own from a wooden candle stick, circle plaque (both from Hobby Lobby-- $4), some wood glue & spray paint. So easy. I haven't put together the larger cake stand yet, but I did make some smaller stands-- perfect for cupcakes or small nut/candy cups.

(I don't have any cupcakes, so how about an apple? Better for you anyway.) 

To stack my cake stand on, I bought these green suitcases to give the cake some height. I'll probably use the smaller two, then use the largest one to hold party favors.

I'll order a plain white buttercream cake and decorate it with fondant food decorations. This etsy seller has agreed to make the cheese, sausage, watermelon, lollipop & pickle for me for $11!

And I've fallen in love with this cake topper-- plan on ordering it as soon as the seller gets back from vacation!

To serve our feast (& by feast, I mean the fruit mentioned in the book) I bought these leaf serving trays:

I bought polka dot balloons (my fav)-- I bought lime green & red, but after thinking about it (and how Christmas-y they'll look together), I think I'm going to combine two shades of green (and save the red for Jack's party):

And BTW, our plan for the balloons this year: Hobby Lobby has small helium tanks for sale for $34.95 and you can use a 40% coupon on them. Instead of getting our balloons filled at Party City, fighting to get them in the car, then dragging them to the party, we're going to fill the balloons on site. The tank says it will fill 50 balloons, so one tank should be enough to cover both boys' birthday parties.

We have some older kids (ages 7-8) invited to the party, so I ordered the tubes to make these favors-- I will alternate light green and dark green gumballs for the body and red for the head (Party City sells gumballs by color!).

I plan on ordering these straw cups and personalizing the insert with a Very Hungry Caterpillar theme & each kid's name:

I still have a list of things to do:

Applique a Very Hungry Caterpillar birthday shirt kind of like this:

Order paper lanterns (3 lime, 3 chartreuse & one red) to hang at the party:

Make some decorative blocks for the table that spell "Liam" similar to these:

Order the plates/napkins/etc for the party:

I'd also like to make some other favors, like bubbles with a cute label & these:

And that's the line-up for the party!! I'll post pics of outstanding projects as I finish them.

I'm hopeful that with all of these things done in advance, the party will be a blast this year.

Can't wait to enjoy my big boy's special day!

(And yes, I've already started on Jack's party-- Post for another time!)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

What I Made Wednesday: Ruffled Camera Strap

There aren't enough hours in the day to care for the boys & eat & bathe & work at my consulting job & run my etsy shop & craft & blog & (very) occasionally cook a meal for my family or do some laundry. But I can do some of those things every day.

I try to make time for something crafty at least a few nights a week while the boys are in bed. It's my outlet. I don't get to interact with other people (except you, twitter), on the days that I'm home, so having a project becomes something to look forward to... Not as much as a cup of coffee with girlfriends, mind you, but a challenge that in the end, makes me feel good that I've completed.

I'd really like to start posting more pics here of the things I complete. I'm proud of them. In the past few years I've taught myself to sew, embroider, design in PhotoShop, use a vinyl cutter, etc! Since all of my posts are generally pictures or stories about the boys, I might try to make Wednesdays a time to show off my projects instead of the kiddos! (I'm not saying I'm going to post every Wed-- HA! You're kidding, right?)


I'm not really a girly-girl, but since my house is full of boys it's nice to have some things that are mine, all mine! I've been drooling over pretty camera straps for a while now-- I was going to put one on my birthday wish list. (I reason that just because I *can* make these things, doesn't mean I should *have* to.)

I came across an awesome ruffled camera strap cover tutorial a few days ago & had to try it last night... couldn't help myself. The author of the tutorial encouraged her readers to really make this project their own. So, I did.

Aqua! Orange! Chevron! Ruffles! Monogram!

I didn't take a lot of pictures as I was making it, but here are a few:

Monogramming my strip of chevron fabric-- my fabric was 5" wide x 22.5" long. This will vary by camera strap.

This was the first time I've ever sewn a ruffle & it was much easier than I anticipated! I cut two strips of fabric off of an orange tshirt-- one was 1.5" wide & the other was 1" wide. Both were 44" long. I layered the two, then sewed a line down the middle using the longest stitch setting I had (5). Then I held one end, pulled on the bobbin thread & the fabric started gathering. I pulled until the ruffled strip was 22.5" long, then sewed it directly on top of my chevron fabric! Easy-peasy!
 Once the fabric was monogrammed & the ruffle was sewn on, I hemmed the ends (not pretty on the inside, but no one sees it so who cares?) then folded the fabric in half (right sides together) to stitch the open side closed (1/2" seam allowance). I trimmed the fabric & zig-zag stitched the ends since I don't have a serger.

Then, I turned it right-side out & slipped it over my camera strap!

And Ta-Da! My camera strap went from this (yuck!):

To this!

My house may be dripping in blue & baseballs (already!) but this is mine!

Note:  I found that I was constantly missing moments while taking the cap off & on my camera, so now I keep a polarizer on my camera all of the time to protect my lens. Because I don't use the cap, I omitted the cap pocket from the tutorial.

Monday, July 9, 2012

He's Awesome.

He's charming & sweet & funny & inquisitive & so smart.
He's Awesome.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Flashback Friday: My Little Family

{My brother's wedding-- what a happy day!}

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Monday, July 2, 2012

Jack's New Trick!

Jack is sitting up!

He's been close for a while, but hasn't been able to balance for long periods of time. The other day, he sat up for over 30 minutes while we played in the yard. 

Next up, crawling! He's so close-- doing the army crawl/belly scoot & trying to get up on his hands and knees. It's so much fun to watch him hit these milestones!