Monday, January 12, 2015

A "Wheelie" Cool Party

I am so thrilled that I finally have a house big enough to hold more than 4 people for a real birthday party!  Perfect timing since Little D turned 3 this year and was excited to actually celebrate his big day.  My inner Martha Stewart was super-psyched to host a real party so I ran to Pinterest, gathered all of my ideas, and got to work.  Since I got most all of my ideas from Pinterest, and I don't want to take credit for any un-original ideas, I'll show you what I created and where the idea came from.  I should also tell you that I wanted to keep this party to a pretty slim budget so I kept it simple and tried to use things that I already had around the house.

Our invitations let people know the theme of the party right away!  ...idea borrowed from Bliss Bloom Blog.  Poor picture but you get the idea.

I am in love with my giant front porch, but I am not a huge fan of the gray outdoor carpet...or the light fixtures...both will be replaced one day.  It sure did make a great road, though!  I just ran some yellow duct tape down the middle and then added some blow up road signs that my mom found at Oriental Trading.  If the weather was nicer, my plan was to put Denver's PowerWheels ATV on the porch/road and let the kids drive to the party...but it was about 20 degrees outside so I had to nix that idea.

Loved this idea for a door sign from Catch My Party.  I was psyched when I discovered checkered duct tape from way-back-when, when Little D was just a baby and I made him a sensory nibble bag.  The tape that was once used for its bold, geometric, baby-friendly design, was perfect for his big-boy car party because it looked like race flags!

I started to plan activities for the kids, but then I realized that 2-3 year olds just want to eat snacks and play, so we set up a space for just that. I have to admit that we have a pretty awesome was definitely a selling point for the house.  We're lucky to have a lot of space and a lot of really neat toys, so the kids had a great time.  I'll show the basement in another post.

I was adamant about making a snack table for the kids.  The ideas were borrowed from many different Pinners, so it would impossible to credit them all.  Instead, here is my Kids' Parties Pinterest Board where you can see a compilation of all of the ideas that came together in this kid-friendly snack buffet.  The pictures are not great...actually, they're awful since we have terrible lighting in the basement, but you get the idea.  This little snack table was set up on a low TV stand, so it was a perfect height for toddlers. 

I have to admit, I'm pretty happy with how the dining room looked.  Simple, but fun!

The collage was a nice way to see how our little guy has grown.

I love all of the little details on the table.  I bought a black table cloth and ran some yellow duct tape (same from outside) down the middle to look like a road.  For the goodie bags, I just glued some yellow strips of paper to plain black gift bags, also made to look like a road.  A little overkill? Perhaps.  I used the same checkered duct tape from the door sign to add a little fun to the water bottles.  Balloons were held down by monster trucks and toy tires from one of Denver's games. Most of these ideas can also be found on my Pinterest board.

Finally, something I'm most proud of...the cake.  I am not a baker.  In fact, I hate to bake.  It requires too much precision and way too many dirty bowls, pans, and tools to clean.  But, cake decorating is something I can definitely get into.  I was determined to make my little guy's birthday cake...trouble was, I had zero experience.  Luckily, my sister is an amazing cake decorator already had all of the right saver!  I found a cupcake cake on Pinterest that I wanted to recreate, but it was just a Flickr image with no link for instructions, so I had to go it alone.  I found mini cars at the dollar store and awesome novelty candles at the party store.  The little road signs came from a free printable at  I just printed two copies of each one and glued them back to back on a toothpick.  Then, after some practice with the cake piping bag and some cool decorating tips and dyes (and Wilton instructional videos), I created Denver's car cake!  I love the way it came out!

I think the party was a big success!  A great time was had by all.  I can't wait for our little lady's 1st birthday in October so I can get my craft on again and take a stab at another cake.  Not so sure the family is as excited for the crazy that comes with my party planning, but I only get to do this twice a year...might as well live it up.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Adeline's Nursery

I still can't believe we are having a little baby girl!  In only three short weeks...or whenever she's ready...we are going to bring little Adeline home.

The minute we found out we were having a girl, I got started on her nursery.  I fell in love with coral and mint bedding that I saw on Etsy, but $350+ for bedding was not exactly in our budget.  I knew it was time to call in reinforcements.  So, I ran to Jo-Ann to pick out some fabric--where I had a mini panic attack because I am awful with decisions.  My aunt, a woman of many talents, came up from North Carolina to help me sew.  Together, we sewed bedding that I think is just as nice as anything on Etsy!  It sort of got away from the original coral and mint...but pink and teal became a very fortunate accident.

Next, I used my left over fabric to make a mobile.  If you look at tutorials for fabric puff balls, they talk about cutting out 4 yards worth of 4-6 inch circles, or some kind of nonsense like that.  I don't have that kind of time patience, so I got to ripping squares.  Instead of a fancy, flowery puff, I went for more of a shabby, scrappy look...and I love it!  The bunting over the crib also used scraps of fabric. 

Next...curtains.  I'm incredibly frugal cheap, so to buy new curtains was not an option.  Instead, I recycled Denver's old curtains.  I immediately ran into an obstacle because if you remember our old house, the ceilings were terribly low, and therefore all of our window dressings were hemmed very short.  But then, I remember something I saw on Pinterest where someone sewed a contrasting color fabric to the top of the curtain panels.  So, after another looong trip at Jo-Ann, I picked out fabric to match the bedding and called my mom who used a French hem to lengthen my recycled curtains.  I love the way they came out!

So what to do with the leftover fabric?  Looms, of course.

Next, I bought these two great laser-cut frames from Michael' a whopping$7.99 each!  It took me a while to decide what to do with them, but after a while, I came up with framed fabric flowers made from the train of my wedding gown, and a butterfly collection, where some butterflies magically came to life and started to fly away.  I love the way these came out.

The rest just came together as I tried to use up fabric and scrap book paper.  Anything I see that is pink and teal finds a place in Adeline's nursery.


Fabric and thread for string art...

Bird cage display with Grammy's baby rattle...

Some finds from the antique shop and Mod-Podged boxes... (the dress up doll's name is Adeline!)

Even Denver wanted to create something beautiful for his baby sister.

He's so excited!  We made a paper chain to count the days until Addy's arrival.  Every night we remove a chain and talk about what life is going to be like once Adeline comes.  Denver can't wait to be a big brother! 

It was so much fun to put this room together.  I can already see myself sitting in the rocker, listening to lullaby's, rocking little Adeline to sleep.   I can't wait.

I will try to post tutorials for some of the nursery projects in my "free time."  Stay tuned!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Taking a Risk

Ian and I finally did it...well at least we're on our way.  We are officially going to try to sell our Growth Chart Rulers and some other little handmade treats that I have enjoyed making.  I think my hesitation came from not wanting to put a lot of time and money into making products and designing a website--obviously.  But, with our little lady on the way and money getting pretty tight, it was something we had to try. 

So here it goes...the big reveal.  Please check out our website and Etsy shop.  Unfortunately, you cannot purchase rulers through our website at this time, but it is a nice way to browse our latest items. 

I'm hoping this new online venture helps me to be more diligent with this blog.  Is it weird that I keep thinking that when our little one arrives in October, that I will have more time for this?  Hold back your laughter...I know.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Big Changes

Too many of my posts begin with an apology to explain why I have not blogged in so long...this post is no different. But I have a really great excuse this time.

That's right! We sold Quaint Oaks, bought Not-So-Quaint-Oaks, and found out that we're having...

So how about a short house tour? I implore you to look back out our house tour of Quaint Oaks...really puts things in perspective. I saw a quote on Pinterest recently...

Love grows best in little houses with fewer walls to separate where you eat and sleep so close together, you can't help but communicate. And if we had more room between us, think of all we'd miss. Love grows best in houses just like this.

This rang true for us, but with our growing collections and a little one on the way, it was time to find our home...the place where we would raise our family. So here it is...Not-So-Quaint-Oaks.
You already got a glimpse of the front, but because bigger is always bigger...

...and the back...with a huge deck! And room for a pool.

The outside is perfect...beautifully landscaped, private...just perfect. But the inside is even better. I won't bore you with pictures of bedrooms and bathrooms...they're pretty normal (except for our bedroom that opens up to a huge balcony!). I also don't need to post pictures of the 4-room finished basement...but I will tell you that it is big enough to house Big D's new trampoline. And a perfect craft room just for me! And I didn't even mention that Ian gets a library in this deal. So here is what sold us...

Big, open, living space...

It's worth showing a picture of what our old living room looked like on the day we moved..not a huge difference.

 Check out our new kitchen... 

And custom cabinets! My dream come true...

There will be lots of pictures to come, especially as we start making this home our own. It is clear that whoever lived here before us, cared about this place a whole lot. They took excellent care of it and truly made it a home for a family. We knew we made the right choice because it felt like a home the first time we saw it...our home.

Goodbye Quaint Oaks.

Stay tuned, as changes to the blog are on the way.  In this year of growth and improvement, nothing is safe! 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Rainy Day Web Games

Even with all of his toys, gadgets, and cars, Denver gets bored when he's stuck inside for too long. On days that I know we are housebound, I usually wake up to enjoy a cup of coffee and a Pinterest hunt, looking for creative ways to keep the little guy busy and entertained. I found a great idea from Happy Learning Education Ideas...the link doesn't seem to take you directly to the post anymore, but I want to try to give credit where direct is due. Anyway...



...painters' tape, open doorway, and poms poms. Enough said.


New kinds of projects...

It's amazing how kids transform your entire world! They not only force you to alter your sleep schedule, eating habits, and routines...they change your entire way of life. Our house has transformed from a cozy cottage to a full-blown kid zone.

Little D started with a play area. Then he took over the sun room. His toys eventually spread onto the second floor and into our living space. Now, he has infiltrated the dining room with his play kitchen...which I love...but more on that later. Now, he has moved beyond floor space. He has recently moved onto the walls. Yes, Denver--who can barely hold a paint brush--has his own art gallery.

Funds are tight so I went to the basement in search of old frames. I wish I had some bigger ones lying around, but our house is so quaint that the smaller frames really look just right...and I kind of think it is cute when his artwork hangs over the edges of the frames.

I started by laying out the pictures on a roll of brown paper so that I could figure out my layout. I wanted a nice mix of portraits and landscapes. Never without my iPad, I snapped a picture that I could edit in DoodleBuddy to plan my color patterns. I number the frames so I wouldn't get confused.  I love the brown paper idea because then I trace and cut out a pattern for each frame and hang those on the wall with painters' tape to get a real sense of the layout and help me to hang everything in just the right place.

I was so close to sticking to the same white that frames all of the pictures in our house, but I thought I would take a chance and go with some color. This goes against my obsessive nature because the color of D's artwork would surely clash with the frames...but I had to take a chance. 

Once the frames were painted and dried, I came to the most difficult part of the project. I wanted to attach a string from one end to the other from which Denver's art would hang. But, I also wanted the frame to lay flat against the wall, so I could use eye hooks. Instead, I shamelessly hot glued twine from one edge to the other. I am not proud of the method, but it worked!

I wasn't sure how I would hang the frames since I removed their backings so that the wall would show through each one. I decided to try to 3M Photo Strips. I didn't really trust them at first, but then I thought, if these things could hold up frames with real art and glass, then surely they could hold up empty, cheap frames with construction paper.

I'm actually really happy with how it turned out. The colors work and because there is not glass, I can just change out the projects every time Denver brings home another paint splattered paper plate and scrap-papered contact paper shapes.

The best part of this project is that once. The painting was done, I got the whole thing done while the little guy...and the big guy...took their naps. Usually I'm not allowed to put holes in the wall, but with the 3M Photo Strips, I silently created an entire art gallery wall in under 2 hours.
Do you have a creative way of hanging your children's art work? Please share!