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Chloe’s 5th (Painting & Art) Birthday Party!

Chloe's painting art birthday party
Chloe’s 5th birthday party was a success! We hosted 16 kids plus their parents, and even now I find it remarkable that everyone seemed to fit in our home without seeming crazy crowded. Chloe loved having all her friends over and the 5 “art stations” seemed to entertain and engage the kids, despite a span of ages. They could choose what they wanted to do, when they wanted to do it (and I was secretly glad to not have to organize any group games). And when party goers were done with craft projects they were free to roam outside to the sand table and play structure, or into Chloe’s room for dress-up, or Leo’s room for trucks and train table. It was great!

I didn’t take as many photos as usual, but here are a few shots snapped with my phone to show a little of our setup:

painting and art party table

Our main dining table was Station #1, painting. Each place had a set of (washable) watercolors (from this Crayola 24ct setcomes with 3 individual sets of 6 colors), a paintbrush, a bowl of water and a piece of watercolor paper set up for the kids to make their masterpieces.

Art party station play-doh

Station #2 was a Play-Doh table. I purchased a 24ct pack of rainbow Play-Doh and set out our rolling/cutting play tools. The colors were vibrant and lots of fun to mix and mash.

art party collage table

Station #3 was a collage table. I set out our collection of decorative edged scissors, stickers, colored glue sticks and a variety of paper for the kids to craft up a storm.

art party cookie decorating table

Station #4 was a decorate-your-own-cookie project. I originally saw this idea on Green Owl Art and decided it was perfect for little hands. I cut out cardboard circles as well as foam “icing” and purchased the same collection of stickers from Michaels. Easy to do and with really cute results.

Melissa And Doug wooden stringing beads and bead bouquet
Station #5 held wooden beads to make beaded bracelets. It included a set of Melissa and Doug Deluxe Wooden Stringing Beads set and the Melissa and Doug Bead Bouquet set. I think the kids really liked being able to include their names on their bracelets and the Bead Bouquet set had a nice variety of shaped and painted beads. I cut each necklace-length cord into 3 equal pieces (singeing the severed ends with a lighter so they wouldn’t unravel), so that every attendee could make at least one bracelet. Since the kits didn’t come with enough closure beads I supplemented them with lanyard snaps.

art rainbow party table snack decoration crepe paper streamers

Besides the snack table backdrop, the only other “decorating” we had time for that morning (besides balloons) was to line the pass-through from the living room to the kitchen with rainbow-colored crepe paper streamers as we have in the past. Young kids love to run through them and watch them flutter back into place. Plus they really give a visual bang for the buck, which is always nice. The snack table itself held a little less than usual since two of our young guests have severe food allergies. Good thing their moms are such avid ingredient readers, as I overlooked a detail even though I was trying to be careful.

Overall, this party was the perfect blend of what Chloe wanted to do to and the amount of effort I wanted to put into the planning and details. I sometimes wonder if I don’t do enough (or if I do too much), but this one felt just about right. There is no doubt that Chloe loved every minute. Afterwards, I received several sweet and heart warming comments and emails from moms who really thought it was a terrific time. Pretty much the best any mom could ask for. 🙂

P.S. To make it easy on myself I linked to the products above on Amazon, but purchased almost everything locally. For example the Play-Doh came from Target and the best price on the Melissa and Doug beads came from Home Goods.

Elmer's colored glue sticks best price

I also found a few things at Dollar Tree, which is always worth checking before a party. I purchased the left set of Elmer’s Colored Glue Sticks
at Dollar Tree for $1, but then saw them a few days later at Michaels retailing for $5.99. Sometimes it pays to shop around!


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Party Planning

Planning a painting art craft party

My little girl is turning 5 in less than a week! The older she gets the more she has her own opinions of what she wants to do to celebrate. A while back she mentioned a rainbow party. I remember thinking ‘Fun! I can do that!’ Then she said she wanted to paint with all her friends, and it morphed into a painting/craft party (with the same rainbow cake as last year, per her request). Earlier this week she said she wanted a fairy party, but by then I had already stocked up on watercolor sets and paint brushes, as well as other crafting materials (and to be honest, I have no idea how to throw a fairy party or how we’d incorporate boys). Either way, I know Chloe is very much looking forward to having her friends over and having a good time!

I’ve done a lot of thinking about this event – trying to stay within a reasonable budget, keeping the amount of decorating manageable but festive, planning varied and age-appropriate projects to suit different levels of interests and abilities, and most importantly of all: keeping in mind that this party is for Chloe to enjoy.

It is all too easy to fall into the stress of making a party “perfect” and feeling the pressure to impress other people. Its happened to me before, and still does to some extent. I’ve had to remind myself that this is for Chloe. Will she like this activity? Will this be fun for her preschool friends? But ultimately, I want the parents to enjoy being at the party as well. Socializing is all well and good, but its even better if the parents can participate in the fun.

Lastly, I’ve asked myself “How much cleaning up do we really want to do after the party’s over?” I am under no illusions about what might happen while hosting a painting/craft party with little ones involved. It is risky business any way you look at it. Mainly I tried to choose “washable” options and was careful to steer clear of anything involving glitter. The husband hates to see glitter on the floor, which is hard since Chloe loves “princess-y” things and has been gifted glittery clothes and toys which often leave a trail of sparkles behind.

So, that’s that! It’s going to be the largest gathering that we’ve ever hosted at the house, even though I tried to keep the guest list down as best I could. I just hope that everyone has a good time, and that Chloe feels the love of having her family and friends here to celebrate her big day.

More details to come after the party!


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Kid Project: 5-Minute DIY Fallen Leaf Wreath

We are having picture perfect fall weather here in Oregon right now. Knowing it will disappear all too soon, I’ve been encouraging the kids to play outside as much as possible. Today, after naps, we wandered the backyard admiring all the fallen leaves. We got our baskets and filled them with ones we liked – bright ones, dark ones, crinkled ones, big ones, little ones… we only have one deciduous tree in the backyard, so most are maple leaves unless they blew in from an adjacent yard. Then I tried to think of a project we could make with all of them… perhaps a wreath?

This is just about the quickest wreath project ever. I ran in to get my glue gun, and then remembered it was at a neighbor’s. She brought it over and then I looked around for something to use as the frame. This could be as simple as a piece of circle-cut cardboard, but what we used was the plastic ring from a pack of danishes that I bought from Costco. I used the glue gun to place wads of glue around the ring and Chloe and I would choose and stick leaves on top, being very careful of the hot glue (note to self: get a low temperature glue gun for these kinds of projects). For a consistent look I suggested we place all the leaves face up with the stem toward the inside of the circle. Leo was more interested in running leaves around in his tractor trailer, so he didn’t really participate except for leaf collecting.

Ta da! After just a couple of layers we had a festive wreath to hang near the front door. I think Daddy will be pleasantly surprised to see it there when he comes home this evening, don’t you?


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DIY Boys Totally Radical Rocket Ship Onesie :: Totally Tulip® Fabric Paints

DIY Boys Rocket Ship Onesie Tutorial

Note: This is a sponsored post. I was given paints to use for this project, but the idea, opinions and tutorial below are completely my own.

Do you remember using Tulip Soft and 3D Paints (aka “Puffy Paint”) back in the eighties? I was a kid back then and remember seeing it everywhere – jackets, shoes, school bags, and of course, t-shirts! It was one of those fun DIY projects that everyone could do, with good results almost every time.

Flash forward thirty years. Tulip has kindly given me the opportunity to re-live those moments using their products! My task: to update a shirt using the classic techniques from my childhood.

For this project, I thought that I would do something with Leo in mind, for a change. He loves things that go, especially trucks, construction vehicles and airplanes. Then, as I was starting to jot down ideas, a rocket ship came to mind, and I knew he would love it!

Here are the steps, including a printable stencil that you can download for free!

DIY Boys Totally Radical Rocket Ship Onesie

Supplies :
Onesie or T-shirt
Freezer Paper
Xacto knife or scissors
Iron
Foam Craft Brushes
Tulip Dimensional Fabric Paint

1. Start with a clean onesie that has been washed and dried at least once.

2. Download the rocket ship image and print it out onto freezer paper (more on freezer paper stencils here). Carefully cut out the shaded areas with an xacto blade to make your stencil.

3. Position the stencil on your shirt where you would like it and then iron it down in place.

4. Place a piece of cardboard on the inside of your onesie (to keep paint from possibly bleeding through). Using your paint and foam craft brush, press the paint gently onto your fabric using a tapping motion until all areas are filled, changing colors as desired. Let dry for about 4 hours.

5. Once dry, gently peel the stencil off of the fabric. Now, outline your filled in areas. Tulip Dimensional Fabric Paint has a fine applicator point perfect for this kind of work. Let that dry another 4 hours and your little one will be ready to blast off!

The onesie shown uses Tulip Soft Fabric Paint in Neon Orange, and Tulip Slick Dimensional Paint in Fluorescent Blue, Green, Yellow and Orange.

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Tulip continues to be a craft favorite in households today! In addition to Tulip Soft Paints and Dimensional Fabric paints included in my post, Tulip is known for it’s wide variety of Fashion Glitters, Glam it up Crystals, Fabric Markers and One-Step Tie Dye! Find all your favorite Tulip products by clicking here.

In fact, all this summer Tulip is bringing tie dye to the masses with their Tie Dye Your Summer campaign! Visit their Tie Dye Your Summer site at Tie Dye Your Summer. They have so many fun tie dye videos and inspirations as well as an awesome giveaway of a tie dye iPad and party (it really is an amazing prize pack that you’ll want to enter! Click here to enter this exclusive giveaway!

Find more I Love To Create project ideas, tutorials, videos and more on Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest / Blog

See more Tulip Paint projects from other participating bloggers below:


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Leo’s 2nd Birthday – Circus Party!

Circus Birthday Party Table

Earlier this month we hosted Leo’s 2nd Birthday party at our house. We kept it small, yet festive, so as not to overwhelm the birthday boy. Luckily, the morning was sunny and perfect. We were able to throw open the french doors to the backyard and let kids and parents wander and play where they liked.

Circus Party Themed Plates and Napkins, Tablewarecircus party kids tent gigatent

sand table

I learned from Chloe’s 3rd birthday to not have too many activities planned, to let things flow a little more naturally. We had plenty of yard toys (sand and water table, beach balls, kiddie pool, push toys, bikes, etc) available, and plenty of seating for the grown-ups. Inside we set up the GigaTent Play Tent (that I bought last year for a steal on Craigslist!) along with more toys. Mostly it was open play, but toward the end we gathered everyone together for a circus-revised game of Bingo for both the kids and adults (original free download here), as well as Pin the Nose on the Clown that I got at the party store. I had grand plans of twisting up balloon animals (see my practice butterfly and poodle) and face-painting, but that never quite materialized. Turns out its hard to host a party and provide the entertainment at the same time!

Birthday boy cupcake

Circus Party Cupcakes

Overall it was a grand time. I was really surprised at how Leo sat and smiled at everyone while we sang him “Happy Birthday.” So cute! He wasn’t at all as overwhelmed as I thought he’d be. Looking back, it may be because we were at our home and not out somewhere else, or perhaps he just sensed that something special was afoot. Also, because of an attendee’s allergy, the vanilla cupcakes were egg-free (using this recipe), topped with cream cheese frosting. The only photo I have of the goody bags is this one. I was so proud of them, but forgot to take another photo!

circus masks

Pin the Nose on the Clown, Circus Party Game

One question I got a lot was about the canopy above the food table – it’s our Ikea Mysig Bed Canopy (only $10!) that I blogged about here. It fit perfectly over our Ikea sewing table -turned-food table.

One parent described our house as “IKEA fresh,” and I was really pleased to hear that. I do love me some Ikea, and why not, when everything is so budget-friendly and easily re-purposed in many ways?

 


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DIY Girls Beaded Heart Personalized Name Necklace – Martha Stewart Jewelry

DIY Girl's Beaded Heart Name Necklace

A couple weeks ago I was chosen to participate in a launch of the new Martha Stewart Jewelry by Plaid available exclusively at Michaels. They sent me an amazingly generous box of jewelry-making supplies and I was floored by the amount of possibilities I could envision. Included were glass beads, cabochons, faceted gems, colored enamels, epoxy clays, decorative molds, findings and tools I didn’t even know existed! In the end, I decided to focus on making a beaded necklace for Chloe.

Considering my limited jewelry-making experience, it was easier than I expected. I call this necklace her personalized “Heart of a Princess” necklace. And if I didn’t think that maybe I was too old for name necklaces (I’m no Carrie Bradshaw, after all), then you’d be seeing me wearing one just like it!

Here is what you’ll need to make your own beaded heart personalized name necklace:

From the Martha Stewart Jewelry line
Supplies (shown in the above photo)
6mm faceted round blue Czech beads
Heart tag silver chain
Hearts blue Czech beads
Strand block letters silver charms
Tools
Flat-nosed pliers & Needle-nosed pliers

Other Supplies
Illusion cord
Crimp beads
Lobster clasp

Note: This makes a 14″ necklace. Extra beads are needed for a longer version.

1. Cut a length of illusion cord 10 inches longer than your final piece. Mine was 24″ long. If you want, tie an end to something (like a key ring) so you don’t have to worry about beads falling off the opposite end. The extra length allows for mishaps and chances are smaller that beads will slip off while I’m working.

2. Remove the silver heart pendants from the Heart Tag Silver Chain by bending open the jump rings with your pliers. Then cut your beads off the packaging and use a bead box, small bowls, or other storage solution to organize and manage your beads.

3. Start by laying out your name, spacing each letter with two clear beads in between (note: small clear beads come with the block letter set). Then begin adding the colored beads to one side of the name, in the order shown below in the diagram.

From each side: sky heart, sky bead, clear bead, silver heart, teal heart, teal bead, clear bead, silver heart (repeat 4 and a half times). Note: be sure the hearts are facing away from the letters on each side.

4. Once your necklace is the desired length, finish it by threading the cord through a crimp bead and a clasp, and then back through the crimp bead. Pull the end until it rests close to your necklace and “crimp” or press the crimp bead flat with your pliers to secure. Do the same to the other end. Try it on and smile!

As you can tell from these photos, the necklace is a little long yet for Chloe at age four. This should give her many years of play and wear, and may even become a treasured keepsake. I love, too, that her favorite color is blue, just like mine. 🙂

Visit Plaid Crafts: Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest
Disclosure: This was a sponsored opportunity via The Blueprint Social, which occasionally provides wonderful opportunities like this one to flex my creative wings. The project idea and opinions are completely my own.
Here are some other projects by bloggers using the Martha Stewart Jewelry line:



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Preschool & Toddler Activities

Chasing bubbles in the back yard

It is not even summer break, yet I already feel like I’m having a hard time keeping the kids busy. On one hand there’s the advice that says it is good for kids to be bored, because it forces them to be creative with the tools (or toys) they have access to. On the other hand, I’ve also read that boredom actually puts a lot of stress on a young brain, which science has shown to be unhealthy. All I know is when the kids are bored, they make this mama C.R.A.Z.Y.!

Since Leo’s second birthday is coming up in a couple weeks (and since my parents want me to buy Leo’s gifts for them), I have been happily researching some new games and activities I think would keep him occupied he would like. I’ve given him one gift a bit early, the Design and Drill Tool Kitby Educational Insights. He took to it like fish to water. Anything with pieces and moving parts is fascinating to him. It’s the smaller of the three sets, but I wanted to give it a try first. I’m poised to buy more bolts and an extra drill so his sister can join him. I love to have them working on a project together. The other sets come with pattern sheets that older kids can follow.

Speaking of patterns, Chloe is definitely aware of them in both shapes and colors. Here are a couple of her creations from just this past week. These were projects she designed completely on her own. All I got was a “Mom, come look what I made!” at the end. Plus, I’ve got to hand it to her, she takes Leo’s interference a lot better than I would if I was trying to concentrate on a creative project. I usually try to give them a little time to work it out (like with the colored plastic blocks), but if Leo cannot control himself from knocking down her buildings down over and over (like the wooden ones today), then I will remove him and give her some peace to work.

We also do a lot of arts-and-crafts type projects. Here was a project from yesterday, where the kids drew on popsicle sticks and I helped lash them together with tape (the classic “raft of popsicle sticks” project). It kept them both busy for a short time, and we did an “experiment” at the end to see if they would sink or float. However, Chloe was not happy to have the colors in her raft began to wash away. Whoops. I forgot that they were washable markers (the only kind I’ll let her brother near). By the way, Chloe told me that picture was of her and me that she drew on the sail.

And sometimes, I just throw my hands up in the air while saying “Whatever!” and go pull out something I’ve been saving – like these animal masks that I ordered for Leo’s upcoming party. Part of me wants the kids to be surprised, but part of me also knows that it wouldn’t hurt for them to get played with a little before the big day. It was surprisingly fun! We made silly faces in the bathroom mirror, trying on the different animals and finally I had to run and get my phone so I could take a couple pictures. This is the face of a child happily engaged in the activity she is doing at the moment. A photo worth a thousand words to this mommy!

 


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Mother’s Day Photo Album Scrapbook

As I mentioned yesterday, I was invited by Michaels to join the Make Every Moment Count Blogger Challenge to create a scrapbook project for displaying memories. I also talked about how this would be a perfect gift to give my mom for Mother’s Day, since she doesn’t use a computer and never gets to see all the stories or photos of her grandchildren that I post on my blog or Facebook.

Take a look at how it turned out!

The cover is one of my favorite parts. It’s like getting a bouquet of flowers that she’ll be able to enjoy over and over.

Here are some spreads and detail shots:

All of these photos come from posts I shared here on Paperseed, so I also printed out the writing that went with them. That way, my mom knows where we were or what we were doing at the time.

Originally, I was hoping to find a ready-made album in which I could just insert pages. Nothing was quite what I wanted, so I ended up making one from scratch using cover stock and two paper fasteners. You can see them in the photos below:

I love the flexibility of paper fasteners, because it lets you add or delete pages whenever you want, but doesn’t add bulk like ring binders do. It takes some scoring and folding to have everything line up properly, but when its done it has a very clean, streamlined appearance. Here’s a view of the bound edge:

Anyway, I’m off to the post office in a few minutes to get this sent priority mail to the opposite coast. My hope is that Mom will feel like she’s getting a big surprise hug worth of memories and joy in this little book. I don’t tell her often enough how much she means to me. It’s nice to have a yearly reminder to tell her so.

 

Need some tutorials or inspiration for your own scrapbooking project? Michaels has a list of videos and a lookbook here .


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Make Every Moment Count Blogger Challenge

Photos for Scrapbooking

Did you know May is National Scrapbook Month? I’ve been invited by Michaels to join the Make Every Moment Count Blogger Challenge to create a scrapbook project for displaying memories. With Mother’s Day just around the corner, I thought this would be the perfect time.

You see, my mom and I live on opposite sides of the country. With the cost of flights and school schedules and the logistics of traveling with two small kids, we don’t get to see her very often. Also, heartbreakingly, she has recently undergone difficult months of chemotherapy and side effects. From here, all I can really do is call her up, or send her a care package to show we’re thinking of her. I have been meaning to send photos of the kids for ages. She doesn’t have a computer, so she doesn’t get to keep up with all the photos and stories of the kids I post here or on Facebook. A scrapbook would be an ideal Mother’s Day gift for her, don’t you think?

scrapbooking page supplies

scrapbooking page supplies and stickers

Here’s a look at some of the beautiful goodies I purchased with my Michaels gift certificate. I better get on it, though. I need to get it in the mail tomorrow if I want it to arrive in time!

Need some tutorials or inspiration for your own scrapbooking project? Michaels has a list of videos and a lookbook here .


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DIY Chalkboard Painted Platter

DIY Spray Painted Chalkboard Platter
David and I have been married for almost nine years. Since much of our wedding was a DIY affair, we have several items leftover from that event, including a set of large serving trays from Ikea. To be honest, I’ve hardly ever used them, mostly because I don’t like the strange graphic on the front. At the time, they were just what we needed, and the image was easily covered by tissue paper or whatever was on it. I figured it was time to make them less ugly and more useful.

This is where chalkboard paint comes in. I used Rust-Oleum Chalkboard Spray Paint in Flat Black. It took a couple coats to get the coverage I was looking for (see below), but the finish turned out surprisingly nice! I didn’t do any prepping either, just made sure it was clean and dry to begin with (I learned on this project that I do not like the effect of starting with a primer).

DIY Spray Painted Chalkboard Platter Steps

Ta-da!

Now I have an elegant serving platter that works for all occasions. And, even better, the kids have fun drawing on it! We have had it now for about 8 months and the chalkboard finish still looks as good as new. I will say that it doesn’t erase as easily as I’d like, but a simple washing with soap and water removes all traces of remaining chalk dust. Overall, it is quite handy, and gets more use now that when we first bought it.

Kids playing on the chalkboard platter

Do you like chalkboards? Or chalkboard lettering? Tomorrow I’ll be sharing a free printable as well as links to some lovely chalkboard fonts. See you then!


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Before and After: High Chair Seat Cushion & Cover

Hauck Alpha Chair with New Seat Cover

Ah, the plethora of kid stuff. I don’t know about you, but I thought we’d get by with a lot less gear than we actually have. I’d done my homework, read reviews and comparison shopped. I’d wanted to make the right choices the first time around. But the truth is, you don’t really know what will work until you try it in your own home with your own kid. Our first high chair, for example, had great reviews, two trays, folded for storage and could convert to a small chair for later. It sounded great in theory, but despite all those things we never liked it. The footprint was too wide, it was heavy, the trays were too big too clean in the sink, and we never folded and put it away between meals. What’s the point if it was going to be used 3+ times a day? We used it for both kids for the least amount of time possible.

As soon as Leo was old enough we switched him to a booster and tray set that sat on top of one of our dining chairs. It worked fine for a while, but I could see that Leo couldn’t rest his legs comfortably, plus it was too high to push under the table. We would all occasionally trip on the back legs. I began to look for other options.

Thanks to craigslist I found a like-new Hauck Alpha Chair for a bargain. It was and is the perfect chair for Leo. I could go on and on about it, but I’ll limit myself to saying that it is super sturdy, adjustable, comfortable, promotes good posture and he can climb into it easily by himself. It also matches the rest of our dining chairs (unlike Chloe’s Ikea Urban Junior Chair). Winner!

We’ve had the Alpha chair since January and just recently took the seat and the foot plate down a notch to accommodate Leo’s growth (my little boy is growing up!). Actually, the only thing I didn’t love about the chair was the seat pad. It was thin and lumpy. If food spilled on it, it would immediately stain. More like a bib than a seat cover. Yuck. Here is the “Before” photo:

Time for a new seat cushion! Here is what I sewed up to take its place:

Much improved wouldn’t you say?

My cushion cover skills were limited to the one I made for our storage bench years ago. This time I had to buy the foam padding and add a strap down system, too. Luckily it was easy to find a sheet of foam at Mill End and it easily cut down to size (the sheet was so large, that I also ended up making a cushion for under Barkley’s dog bed). I used the same strap/velcro system as on the original pad (see above photo), but I chose PUL (or polyurethane laminated fabric) for the covering. It is water resistant and popular for cloth diaper covers. It is easily also easily wiped clean or washed, and came in prints suitable for a young boy.

Leo sitting in his Hauck Alpha Chair

Much better!

So far the seat cushion has held up nicely during the past couple months. Makes me glad I took the time to do it right. Do you have a chair that could benefit from a new seat or cushion cover?


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Free Printable Gift Tags for Boys

Good Morning Friends! I hope you had a wonderful weekend. Is it Tuesday already? I’ve been a little slow getting back into the swing of things due to a little back-end blog trouble, but I think it might be fixed. Hooray!!

Today I wanted to share with you some printable gift tags I made this weekend. Chloe had a birthday party to attend on Saturday for a male classmate. After finding a gift bag from our party box, I remembered (again!) that all of our gift tags are girly and feminine – no boy themed ones at all. In the past I’ve resorted to using a sticky note, but this time I created some “boy” appropriate tags instead.

Could you use some boy themed gift tags too? We are happy to share! Just download the pdf at the bottom of this post.

Free Printable Gift Tags for Boys

Free Printable Gift Tags for Boys

Free Printable Gift Tags for Boys

What do you think? Will they come in handy? They aren’t strictly boy, as you can see. The colored bunting flags and the ombre-style “Happy Birthday” text versions could just as easily be used for both genders. And some girls like trucks and dinosaurs and circus tents, too, right?

Click here to download the Gift Tags for Boys PDF or click on the image below. For best printed results use your printer dialogue box to choose the “high quality” setting. On the colorful ones I used my old Crop-A-Dile to add some silver grommets as a finishing touch, but realized a hole punch alone looks just as good. Enjoy!

Free printable happy birthday party gift tags for boys download pdf

P.S. The icons are from the free font LoKinderDingsBum. They have some super cute dingbats. You can find it here.


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DIY Freezer Paper Stenciled T-Shirt + Butterfly Template Printable

I thought I’d write a final update on the freezer paper stenciled butterfly t-shirt from a couple weeks ago. Those of you who follow this blog know that the original project ended in a craft fail, followed by an update that showed how I remade the shirt into a cute tank top for my daughter. However, that still didn’t leave me with a gift for my sister, which was the whole reason I started that project in the first place!

In the previous post, I shared how I was given a pack of Elmer’s Painters to review. According to the package, these acrylic paint markers can be used on any surface, even fabric. The only stipulation is to “heat set fabric before laundering, wash & dry on delicate cycle.” That got me thinking… and eventually I decided I would give it another try, using the markers instead of my usual screen printing ink.

I bought another of the same purple shirt and updated the design I had originally created with the new colors (Elmer’s Coral and Lilac). Be sure to wash and tumble dry the fabric you choose to stencil to take into account any shrinkage that may occur.

As before, I printed out my butterflies on craft freezer paper and cut them out carefully with my xacto knife. One cool thing about getting a do-over is that I remembered to put the inner pieces of the large butterfly back on before ironing it down in place.

This photo shows the process I used – instead of rubbing the markers across the fabric, I laid the color on by dotting the tip down onto the fabric, starting with the stencil edges and then filling in the center. I wanted the crispest edge possible. This process would be more time consuming on a larger image, but these butterflies were small and hardly took any time at all.

I waited until the ink was dry and later that same day I peeled off the stencil. Don’t wait too long or you’ll have problems pulling up the paper and may damage your work.

Ta-da!

So much better than before!

The directions aren’t specific about how long to heat set the stenciled image. Heat setting just means to give it a good press with a dry iron to help fuse the paint to the fabric. I pressed the shirt inside out with the image directly on my ironing board, before spending a minute or so ironing it directly. It put off a bit of acrid smoke, but not too bad. If you were unsure you could put a layer of old t-shirt over your image and then press it, in case you are worried about residue coming off on your iron or board.

Because this was a gift, I don’t know yet how well the image will wear. I’ll try and update that info here, if I ever find out.

What do you think? Want to make this t-shirt or one like it?

Here is a free Butterfly template printable pdf for you to download and print for your own project (or click on the butterfly graphic above). These butterflies could dress up anything from a onesie to a day bag – just enlarge it as needed. Enjoy!

P.S. There is still time to enter the giveaway for a set of Elmer’s Paint Markers AND a $25 Walmart gift card if you leave a comment on the previous post before midnight tonight, April 4th!

 


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Spring Flowerpot Makeover + Elmer’s Paint Markers Giveaway!

Leave a comment on this post before midnight tonight, April 4th, for your chance to win a set of Elmer’s Paint Markers and a $25 Walmart gift card. See details below!

A couple weeks ago I was approached about doing an Elmer’s product review and giveaway. My reply? Yes! I’ve always wanted to do a product review, and you know how I love art supplies! With the arrival of springtime, blooming plants, and sunshine, I figured a painted pot project would be just the thing!

To begin the project, I stopped by to a local thrift shop to pick up a pot. Hmm… which lucky pot would be going home with me? How about this one:

It would be perfect for our front porch. I brought it home for a little TLC, including a thorough scrubbing and a coat of semi-gloss white paint.

Then my Elmer’s Paint Markers arrived. Wow! These are not like any paint marker I’ve ever used. The colors are bright and the flow is just right. At first I kept doodling test sketches of flowers, but then I realized a friendly greeting might be more appropriate for near the front door.

Like any paint, you have to shake the pens before using. To get the paint flowing, you depress the tip on a dry surface. I had a piece of paper to do this on before I painted the pot. I was pleased to see that the marker caps were true indicators of the paint color, and that they fit snugly – not only is the product protected from drying out, but I don’t have to worry about my little ones being able to open them without my supervision. They are also non-toxic, acid-free and fast drying. I was able to lay down the green lines and then draw the blue letters on top shortly after. I did go over the filled-in areas a second time, just to ensure a solid coat. Over all, I was pleasantly surprised. I can see many possible future uses for these little pens!

What do you think? Want to paint your own flower pot, or have some other project in mind where paint markers would be handy? Then you’re in luck because this post includes a giveaway!

Enter to win a set of Elmer’s Painters AND a $25 Walmart gift card!

To enter, leave a comment below (or by clicking “comments” under the title above to add your comment). That’s it! Yay!

More details: This is not a paid review. I was simply given a pack of markers to try, which I sincerely enjoyed. Winner will receive a 5-pack of medium Tip sherbet swirl painters which includes: Ocean, Lilac, Citron, Coral and Tangerine, AND a $25 Walmart gift card. This contest is open to residents of the US and must be 18 years or older. Giveaway ends on Thursday, April 4 at midnight PST. Winner will be drawn on April 5 using random.org. Please be sure to leave a valid email address so I can contact you. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours a new winner will be chosen. Good luck!


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Craft Re-fashion Tutorial: T-shirt to Girls Tank Top with Rosette

If you read yesterday’s post, you realize that I had a partially ruined purple shirt that I didn’t know what to do with. So, after mulling over that problem for a couple days, I decided to re-make it into something wearable for Chloe. A craft fail to a craft fashion, if you will.

The easiest item to make would be a tank top or tank dress. I wanted to do the least amount of sewing that I could get away with. After sketching a few ideas, I decided on this style that I had made for Chloe before. I’ll mention right now that this was my first time sewing knits, and could tell almost immediately that something wasn’t right. The material would get all bunched up under the needle. Some quick internet research revealed a special “stretch” needle is required to sew knits. Ah.

After returning from the craft store with a pack of “stretch” needles, I hesitantly began again. As long as I took things nice and steady it worked great. And now Chloe has a super cute tank top to wear this summer. I couldn’t be happier with the result. Yay! Craft Fail to Craft Re-fashion!

Have a t-shirt that needs a little make over? Here is all you have to do.

What you need:
T-shirt
Matching color thread
Elastic thread
Sewing machine
Scissors

  1. Cut your shirt. One straight horizontal cut right beneath the arm pits and then another straight cut about two inches below the first cut. The bottom piece will be the body of the tank top and the piece above that will be for your straps.
  2. Wind your bottom bobbin with the elastic thread by hand and insert it into your machine. Excellent directions on how to do this can be found here. Thread your matching color thread on top.
  3. Starting at a side seam on the body piece, sew a straight line horizontally one-half inch from the raw edge. Sew all the way around until you are back where you started and backstitch at the beginning and end (alternately, you can tie the elastic together where the ends meet). Repeat this step 3 more times, a half inch below each previous line.
  4. Steam your stitches with an iron -or- mist with water and gently and quickly press with a hot iron. This will cause the elastic to draw together, giving that puckered, shirred or “smocked” look. (If your girl is small like mine, you may need to stitch once more down a vertical side to take in some of the width).
  5. Replace your elastic bottom bobbin with regular thread. Using your little model (in this case, it was Chloe), measure and pin the shoulder straps in place and stitch them on. I used a zig-zag stitch here for stretch.

To make the rosette:
I followed a couple different directions online, but basically, the rosette shown is a lot like this video except I made two layers – a larger bottom layer and a smaller top layer (the rosette was an after thought – you’ll have to cut your fabric strips from the leftover neckline piece). Another interesting rosette tutorial can be found here and here. I pinned ours on with a safety pin, so I can pop it off and onto something else, if we want.

And that’s it! Chloe loves it and so do I. It is almost like it was meant to be. Maybe failing isn’t so bad after all. What do you think?

And here is one final photo of that face I love so much. My little sweetheart.

If, at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again. – Old proverb


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Craft Fail: Freezer Paper Stenciled T-shirt (Part 1 of 2)

An integral part of doing anything well, is failing. Some things I do turn out well, but sometimes they don’t, despite my best intentions. One good example of this happened a few weekends ago. I was so bummed that I even wrote on Facebook how down I felt about it the day after. I mean, I understand burning a cake, because I forgot to set the timer, or a sewing fail because I’m a beginner, but freezer paper stenciling a shirt? C’mon! I’m practically an expert at it (yeah right)!

Anyway, I felt sad, because it was a project for my sister’s birthday that was already late. Her favorite color is purple and she has a penchant for butterflies. A while ago, I picked up a pretty set of purple and pink butterfly decals for her room, but I wanted to add something else, something handmade.

I bought a purple t-shirt and decided to stencil some matching butterflies on it. Below are a couple designs I came up with. It was a tough decision. Both A & B were nice, but my sister has long hair which would obscure B, and sits in a wheelchair which might partially obscure A, so then I came up with C: a few butterflies on the back of her left shoulder, which would be unique and sweet, a lot like she is.

Once decided, I got out my supplies and got to work.

Here is the stencil cut out from the freezer paper, using an x-acto knife:

And here is where it all went wrong…

When I opened the screen printing ink, I found it mostly dried out (it was a few years old, after all). My gut reaction was to run to the art supply store and buy another jar, but then I read on the label “thin with water as needed.” Okay, I’d give that a try. It was a gloppy mess, but I only needed to cover a small area, right? So, I ironed down the stencil, let it cool and applied a layer of ink.

Besides being dried up, I had forgotten something vital. This ink color was transparent. It worked great on white or light colors, but I wanted opaque “sit-on-top” coverage (magenta on purple). So, once I peeled off the stencil, instead of a nice solid top color, it looked like a stain…

Noooooooooooo!

As I said, I was hoping to have that shirt dry and out the door the next day, but instead – CRAFT FAIL! Even now I still have the decals sitting on my desk because I haven’t found another gift to go with it. Hopefully something will turn up, and soon.

Sorry, sis.

Anyway, I just thought I’d share this here. Life happens. Things go wrong, but crafting goes on. And to prove this, come back tomorrow for Part 2, and find out what happened to that poor purple shirt.

How do you cope with craft fails or failure in general? Do you just roll with it? Do you try again right away or put it off for a while (or permanently) like I sometimes do? Where do you find inspiration and encouragement to keep on going?

“If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you. What we call failure is not the falling down but the staying down.” – Mary Pickford

 


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Wall Decor: Chalkboard Birds on a String

This morning I noticed some incoming links that led to a very cute Chalkboard Birds on a String wall decor project from the blog Confessions of a Plate Addict. I was so thrilled to read that she used my bird silhouette stencils (originally from this project) for her pattern! How cool is that!! Seeing how other people use the elements from this blog, especially to make their own creations, gives me the best feeling. I’m glad to know that my effort here is meaningful beyond my own enjoyment. Big smile here!

P.S. Reading the name Confessions of a Plate Addict cracks me up, because back in 2007 (pre-kids!) I wrote a post called My New Favorite Mug and Other Dinnerware Confessions. Re-reading it I am half-amused and half-horrified to find I still have almost all that stuff I mentioned, including the Thanksgiving ceramic butter dish with the little turkey handle on the lid (that has never been used and is still in its original box)! O.M.G.

I still like that mug, though. 🙂


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Photography Goods: Paper Quilled Vintage Camera Cards

Back in January I mentioned buying a Beginner Quilling Kit. You can see my first attempt here. It was fun, but I haven’t had a chance to try it again since then. While looking for inspiration I came across these awesome quilled vintage camera cards by Sweet Spot Card Shop on Etsy. OMG! So cute!! The little details, like the tiny gems for the flash and lenses, really sets these apart.

That got me thinking about the art of quilling in general. A lot of quilled design feels sort of dated. And that is good if that’s the look you’re going for. But what could bring this skill back for the masses is if quilling took an updated turn – whether being added to mixed media, or moving beyond the common bouquet of flowers you see all over. Anyway, Sweet Spot Card Shop really nailed blending the art form and making it appealing to today’s buyers. Who wouldn’t be thrilled to get a card (or calendar!) like these?

 


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Before & After: Painted Ikea Latt Table & Mysig Canopy

Ah well. Things are winding down for me in the motivation department. This happens sometimes. I’ll have this amazing streak of cleaning, decluttering, & project fulfillment and then it will dissipate back to my everyday amount of energy. Well, it was fun while it lasted!

Meanwhile, here is a quick pic of one of my projects from a couple weeks ago. We had this strange (for Oregon) winter sunny day and I thought ‘I’m going to paint!’ So, once the kids went down for naps I quickly gathered all the supplies and the kids’ Ikea LATT table and chair set.

I’ve been a fan of the dipped look for a while, so I decided to tape off a bit of the bottom legs to let the pine show through. The color is “Eden” by Rustoleum Painter’s Touch, satin finish. Anyway, I really like it and the kids do too! I wish I could find a before photo – by this point the wood had been stained with food and art supplies and who knows what else, so a quick sanding and layer of spray paint made it look good as new!

And what do you think of that MYSIG bed canopy? I totally fell in love with it the first time I saw it. I actually didn’t buy it that trip, because I wasn’t sure where I’d use it, but the next time I decided to grab one up. For $9.99, it’s a bargain. Since we have nothing for the wall there yet, I thought it would make an excellent topper for the table set. It’s hung with a single Command mini hook, so no nail hole was needed. The play kitchen is right to the side there, too, so the kids are always bringing their tea sets and play food over (as you can see). I’m thinking of having a vinyl wall decal made that says something like “Chloe & Leo’s Corner Cafe” to place underneath. Wouldn’t that be cute? Or would that be too much? 😉

P.S. I just happened to look up when we originally bought the LATT table, and it was when Chloe was 20 months old. I mentioned it here. How ironic that it should get a makeover when Leo was 20 months old!


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Flashlight Valentine Card: Making it your own

I’ve gotten several lovely comments on the Flashlight Valentine Card printable, including one from Melissa. She wrote:

These are so cute! I was sitting here trying to design my own cards for flashlights. Nothing was working so off to Google I went for new ideas and bam I found your post. Thanks for the download. You saved my afternoon.

Isn’t that so nice? So then, on a whim, I replied with my thanks and mentioned how I’d love to see her end result, if she felt like sharing. To my delight, she followed up soon after with these two photos and a reply:

Hi Emily.  Attached is a couple pictures of what we did.  I had found the flashlights in town.  Loved how cute your finger ones were.  The kids were so excited to give them to their friends – I have 3.  I had been struggling all week trying to find just the right font.  So I was very excited to find your printable.  I didn’t have white card stock since I had planned on printing the ones I created on a kraft colored paper.  The colors would have been more vibrant had I used white card stock.  But I still like how they turned out. Thanks again for sharing your work.

Well, those words made my day! And also, I found it very interesting to see how Melissa chose to use a hole punch and secure her mini-flashlights with curling ribbon. I think they turned out great! Neat!

Thanks again, Melissa, for taking the time to share your project and for allowing me to share it too! 🙂

 

 

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