Saturday, March 30, 2013

Happy 5th Birthday!

For the last 2 weeks we have been getting ready for our daughter's 5th birthday party, party bannershomemade pinatas, and an outfit to go with the rainbow theme, we were all so excited to celebrate the milestone birthday party last weekend.

I'd finished the cake and gone to bed only to be woken up an hour or so later by a very sick little girl. Out of the blue a nasty little stomach virus, which kept us up most of the night and made a birthday party the next day out of the question.

Needless to say, she was devastated. And angry. That was a rough day, for sure. So I called, emailed and texted our guests, explained the situation and invited them all to come to a party the next weekend.

Thankfully, almost everyone was able to come this weekend, and my girl got to have her special day after all.

I hung one of the pennant banners on our front window to welcome everyone.

I used the other 3 on the back porch.

With the name pennant in the center.

Using and idea from Pinterest, I bought 6 colored vinyl table cloths, 1 in each rainbow color, gathered them to a point at the front of the porch, then draped them toward the back.

Then I added some balloons at the front, the center back and the two side points. This turned out to be so easy, inexpensive, and so fun. 

Since I'm not a huge fan of "goodie bags", I try to do some kind of fun take home craft at the kid's parties. For a rainbow party, the possibilities are practically endless, but I finally settled on sand art. We set up a table just off the porch, put the sand in containers with spoons, had a basket full of shaped plastic bottles, and let them have at it. 

I thought this would be fun, but I had no idea. The kids loved this craft. They're all old enough now to be able to help each other, take turns, and really enjoy what they created.

After lunch and snacks, my husband and our friend Mike hung up the much anticipated pinata.

And it didn't take long for those kids to break it! I was so excited, I forgot to take pictures (plus I was in charge of holding the line of kids back) but the looks on their faces when they made holes in the pinata and the candy started spilling out was priceless! 

And finally, CAKE

So, yes, I made this cake twice. It's not like you can save a cake for a week. (Truthfully, the second cake came out better looking than the first one.) I made one 9 inch round chocolate cake and one 6 inch round vanilla cake. I set them side by side on a large board with the smaller cake on some pedestals. Then I sculpted a rainbow from colored fondant and put it between the two cakes. Then I added some cotton candy for clouds at the base on each cake.

Oh, the birthday girl was so happy! She really wanted the cake to be "the same", so I did my best.

She certainly looks happy, doesn't she? 

Well, we did it. She is officially 5 years old, a big kid, not a baby anymore, going to be in kindergarten (eek!!) next year, and can do everything all by herself, thankyouverymuch.....

My big kid. Amazing how fast time goes. Love you, baby girl!

***Thanks to all our friends that came to our party a week late! I can't even tell you how much that meant to Lilah. And to me. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. ***

Monday, March 25, 2013

Rainbow Applique T-Shirt

I bought a few plain short sleeved girls' t-shirts last year on clearance at Target, I think they were around $1.50 each, just to have around the house in case of an emergency.

What kind of emergency can be solved with a plain t-shirt?

I'm so glad you asked!

For one thing, they make awesome go-to gifts, add a cute applique to the front, buy a cute skirt, pair of shorts or some fun leggings, and voila! instant semi-handmade gift. They're especially fun to customize to a child's favorite activity, animal, or toy.

In my house, if it's your birthday, you get a theme related t-shirt, or in my daughter's case, a new outfit. This year, with all the other things I've been making, I didn't really want to make an entire outfit. So, I grabbed a t-shirt from the closet, tried it on her, got approval on the color, and set to work.

After thinking for a bit, I decided to make the rainbow from strips of ribbon sewn together. I have a huge box of ribbon just begging to be used.

I found various widths and styles of ribbon and laid them all out. (Whoops! Looks like I got the green and blue reversed here! Luckily, it didn't get sewn on that way.) Then, beginning with the purple ribbon, I sewed each piece onto a piece of plain white cotton.

The purpose of the fabric underneath is partly for stability, so the ribbon doesn't come apart when I cut out the shape, and so that I have something flat to fuse the Heat Bond to.

Once all the ribbon was sewn down, I drew an arch shape on the back of the fabric, and cut it out making a rainbow. Then I fused the rainbow onto some Heat Bond, and cut the whole thing out.

I trimmed away the white fabric at the top of the rainbow, I liked the look of the rick rack as it was, but when my daughter got home from school and saw it, she wanted me to add a pink ribbon at the top to fill in the spaces. And for the pink. Because there is always a need for pink.

As a finishing touch, I added the 2 pieces of flower ribbon for "clouds". I have to admit, she was right, the pink adds a nice touch.

I paired the shirt with a simple skirt that I made using some rainbow fabric from my stash. (I'm still tinkering with that pattern but I hope to share that one soon.) and in less than 2 hours, she has a whole new outfit for her birthday party.

She can't wait to wear it! She's extra excited about this one because she got to "design" her rainbow. I think we may have a future designer on our hands!

Linked Up HERE

Rainbow Pinata

Another fun thing I made for my daughter's 5th birthday party was a rainbow pinata.

Sure, you can buy a pinata, but I like to make things that can't be found in every store, and this turned out so cute, and was very simple to put together. You can easily make your own custom made pinata. This is how I did it.

First, I got some large cardboard and drew 2 rainbow shapes and cut them out.

These will be the 2 sides of the pinata. Next, I made some "braces" out of cardboard about 4-5 inches tall and hot glued them to one of the rainbow sides.

These will help hold the pinata together and make it 3-D. Then, I glued this piece to the other side of the rainbow. I used a lot of hot glue to make it nice and sturdy. Once the glue is dry, you have a 3-D cardboard rainbow, and the skeleton of your pinata.

The next thing I did was to hot glue some shirt box cardboard on the bottom of the "legs" to help hold the candy inside. I also added some pieces along the sides and at the top of the rainbow, leaving an opening at the center top. This adds some stability and helps hold the shape.

The next day I gathered up the Sunday newspaper, scissors, some white glue, an empty sour cream container and an old chip brush and took everything outside. I watered down the glue a bit and painted it onto the cardboard, then added a strip of newspaper and painted more glue over that. Lather, rinse, repeat, until you have the all the open parts covered. Again, don't forget to leave an opening at the top to put your candy and prizes in.

I started on the bottom arch but you can start anywhere. Just remember to allow everything to dry before adding another layer so that you don't end up ripping the paper or the cardboard. 

I ended up doing 3 layers of newspaper on the bottom, (where all the weight will be) and only 2 on the top of the arch. One of the reasons I don't really like the store bought pinatas is because they're made too solid and often don't break even when the star of the baseball team gets his or her turn to whack it. It's way more fun when the kids can actually break them. I think. Maybe it doesn't really matter to the kids, but I think it's way more exciting.

Anyway, where was I?

Oh, right! The next step is to add the colored tissue paper. What is a rainbow, without the colors?

I applied a layer of tissue paper, one color at a time, the same way that I did the newspaper. Ending up with this-

I let the whole thing dry overnight. When it was dry, I cut a bunch of strips of tissue paper and started gluing them on top of their respective colors, scrunching the tissue as I went. 

That's the technical term. Scrunching.

The effect I got was kind of fan-like and kind of ruffly. (also technical terms) 

I started at the top with the red, and just added each color on top following the existing color lines.

I did the ruffles along the bottom legs of the rainbow, but left the center purple and along the top (red) the way they were. I didn't want to add too many layers, remember I want the kids to break this! Once this was dry, I flipped it over and did the same on the other side. The tissue gets flattened a bit, but it's easily fluffed back up.

Last, punch a hole through both sided of the cardboard at the top (behind the ruffles) and add your rope to hang it. On the day of the party, add your candy and prizes and let the kids beat it to a pulp!

Squeeeee!!! How cute is that?! Simple, right?? It might seem like a lot of steps, but once you get going, it comes together really fast, I swear! 

I'll let you know if it breaks easily, my dream is that the birthday girl gets to break it, but we'll have to wait and see.

Linked Up HERE

Friday, March 22, 2013

Black Cat Cake Pops

Cake pops have become a birthday tradition. I realized this last night while I was making these for my daughter's class. I'm not sure when or how this happened, but I could no more cancel cake pops than I could cancel Christmas.

Since the cake pops are their own "event" they usually have nothing at all to do with the theme of the party, Lilah's choice this year being a perfect example.

Well, why not? I have a copy of Bakerella's Cake Pops book which she studied thoroughly before choosing these. I told her that we could have different color cats, but no, "black, like in the book, Mommy.." The only addition is the "smile" on the cats. (She was a bit disturbed that the cats in the book had no mouths.)

Oh, and they had to be chocolate.

 So, I made my cake balls, (I think I've finally figured out the right size) and added the sticks.

Dipped them in the black candy coating, used my super-classy priority mail box (thank goodness Aunt Bernadette sends us one every birthday!) as a stand, and started decorating.

I used chocolate chips for the ears. What goes better with chocolate than more chocolate, right?

Then added candy dots for the eyes and nose. The pupils are black candy coating applied with a toothpick. The "smiles" are red candy coating drawn on using a toothpick as well.

Meee--ooowww! The gang's all here! 

A special birthday treat for my special birthday girl! 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Rainbow Pennant Banner

Well, I am gearing up for my daughter's 5th birthday party this week. I cannot believe my baby is going to be 5! So, what's next kindergarten, then college?? Sniff. Sniff.

My emotions aside, there's a party to be thrown, so let's get to it!

After some negotiating, we settled on a rainbow party theme this year. Lots of fun possibilities there.

The first thing I wanted to make was a party banner, I have so much fabric, why not make one instead of buying? I went through my fabric stash and picked out my rainbow colors. (Disclaimer, I didn't have a good indigo, so I decided to skip the "I" in ROYGBIV)

After choosing the fabrics, and getting approval from the birthday girl, I made a pattern out of some shirt cardboard. (Save that stuff, it comes in really handy) 

I cut out 4 of each color fabric and 24 out of white kona cotton.

Next, I sewed one colored triangle to one white triangle right sides together, then clipped the point and trimmed any excess on the seams. Once I had them all sewn, I turned them right side out, then pressed them flat. The reason I decided to use a backing fabric was because the purple and orange fabrics are pretty thin, I wanted all the triangles to have some body to them and not be see-through.

Then, I sewed the triangles onto different colored double fold bias tape. I placed each triangle 1 inch apart.

I decided to make 4 individual banners since I'm not quite sure how I'm going to use them yet. This way they can either be hung separately or tied together to form one long banner.

I also wanted to make a banner with her name on it, so I cut out 10 white triangles and was going to use these fabrics to make the letters in her name. But, then I remembered some cute Reilly Blake fat quarters I picked up at the quilt store a while ago, chevron fabric in a variety of colors, and decided to use those instead.

I appliqued the letters onto the triangles, then assembled the banner.  

Squeal!! How fun is that!? She actually hasn't seen the one with her name on it, I'm saving it for the big day. And to be honest, I'm still not sure exactly where/how these will be used, but I still have some time to figure that out. I love the way they turned out. Now to set them to the side and onto the next party project!

Linked Up HERE

Monday, March 18, 2013

Pallet, Pallet on the Wall....

This weekend my family and I started our annual spring clean up of the back porch and yard. This event always happens the week before my daughter's birthday party, time to get rid of the clutter on the porch, get rid of broken toys, and start tackling the weeds that have been growing all winter.

But that stuff is boring and this year I got smart and told my kids I'd pay them to pull the weeds out of the planters and wash down all the plastic chairs, the playhouse, and various other toys. My husband swept the porch and started spraying the weeds in the yard. (Side note, we're trying vinegar on the weeds this year instead of chemicals, better for the kids and dogs, so our whole yard smelled like pickles all afternoon.)

Which left me some time to do one of those projects that has been laying around forgotten for several months.  I had picked up this pallet from behind the shop I work in and brought it home with the intention of hanging it somewhere, sometime. I didn't really have a plan, I just wanted it, does that happen to you?

Well, I figured it out this weekend. I wanted to hang it on the wall near our grill and sideboard to use as a shelf. It's been sitting out in the garden for a while and with all the crazy weather we've had this year, it has aged really nicely, so I decided not to do anything but add some color to it.

Easy. I got some turquoise paint, watered it way down and used a combination of wet brush "staining" and dry brushing the paint on for an uneven effect.

I love the texture of the wood and how the paint highlights the roughness of the boards.

My husband helped me hang it on the wall. Between the weight of the pallet and having to mount to a block wall, that was a 2 person job for sure! 

I think it goes very well with the rustic sideboard (pay no attention to the ugly, white, plastic garbage can) and I really am going to put things on it, but I just wanted a day or two to admire it just the way it is.

Now that I've finally put this one up, I want more for other parts of my yard. Guess I need to go scavenging!

Linked Up HERE

Thursday, March 14, 2013

My Funky Living Room Chair

On and on we go with the merry-go-round of re-furbished chairs. This is what happens when you buy a bunch thrift store chairs all at once, you spend the next several months finding the perfect fabric, paint, and time to re-do them.

Lesson learned. Don't buy 3 thrift store chairs all on the same day. Check.

This one I bought for the living room. We don't have a lot of seating options, so I've been wanting to add a side chair (maybe 2) to the room. I found this at one of my favorite Goodwill stores, an odd little chair that someone started to re-do, painted and added some sort of cushions, I'll let the picture speak for itself.

The diamond tufting was really neat, but the fabric is really worn, not to my taste, and ummmm the flat black paint?? I don't think so.

This was a really easy chair to strip down, not much to it after all, and that seat cushion turned out to be loose and pinned to the canvas underneath. Once I had it all stripped, I painted it a chocolate brown color. Then after several days of trying to figure out how to do the seat, I settled on using jute webbing.

Basically, you use the webbing to weave a tight base for the seat cushion, beginning in the center, and stapling webbing to either side of the seat.

Then, you weave strips in and out of the webbing in the opposite direction. This is the base of your seat.

Next, I covered the seat with a thick canvas, just to reinforce the seat. You don't have to do this, I have kids, everything needs to be extra strong!

Then, proceed as with any other chair, add the foam and batting to the seat and lay the fabric on top.

I. LOVE. THIS.  FABRIC.  Yet another SAS find, it's a printed canvas, so sturdy enough for the kids and I love the retro print and colors. Seriously, this could have walked right off the Brady Bunch set, don't you think?

I decided that I wanted to leave some of the seat frame showing, so I folded the lower edge of the fabric over along the bottom as I was stapling it to the frame. This gives it a more finished edge, again, not something that you'd have to do, just how I did this one.

This is the seat finished. Maybe that fabric is more reminiscent of the Flinstones... No matter, it still speaks to me.

For the upper parts of the seat I worked in sections, starting with the center back. In order to get the finished back piece, I had to lay the fabric right side to the back of the chair and staple with the wrong side facing up along the inner edge of the frame.

Like so. This is what the front looks like once the excess fabric is trimmed away. 

And from the back. 

Next, lay in a thin piece of foam ( I used 1/2 inch because that's what I had) then batting and staple in place.

Then, I put the fabric on top and stapled all the way around, pulling the fabric tight as I went.

Again, I cut away the extra fabric along the edges. The raw edges of the fabric will get covered up later.

Then I had to make a decision. Originally, the sides of the arms were open on the chair, and I was fine with that when I bought my fabric. I knew I would have enough to do the back and seat, so I thought I would leave the sides open as they were. But, it turned out that I had enough to do the sides....dilemma!

Since it was late in the day I decided to bring it in the house, tape a piece of fabric on one arm, leave the other open and let it sit for the evening.

And sure enough, by morning I had decided that I wanted to upholster the arms as well. They were easy, I just upholstered each side the same way I'd done the center back. 

Last, but not least, I had to cover up all the staples and unfinished edges. I made some double welt piping from the same fabric and hot glued it along the edges of the chair.

Done! And ready to move into it's new home in the living room.

It's true, this fabric is not subtle, an even I might not want it on a sofa, but on a little side chair it's just the right amount of pop for my house. It makes me happy every time I go in the living room. Maybe one day I'll even allow people to sit on it. 

That's chair number 2, only one more to go....

Linke Up HERE