Thursday, September 5, 2013

Unintended Summer Break

Whoops!  I promise I didn't intentionally choose to take a three month hiatus from this blog but life definitely got in my way this summer.  I doubt too many of you were wondering if I fell off the face of the earth but I'm sorry all the same for not doing a better job of keeping you up to date!

I HAVE been working more on Pursewna and have lots of new items in my shop:  Many of the items I made new to include in a local vendor showcase that my local MOPS group put on to raise money for Moms hoping to attend national convention which is in October.  The idea was a great one but being the first year, having the weather not cooperate (rain, rain and MORE Florida rain), and not much advertising the show itself wasn't much of a success.  I did pretty good - a lot of the vendors purchased from me and I really enjoyed networking with some other like-minded moms and women (crafty AND entrepreneurial) but I ended up buying some items myself!  Talk about spending all your profits!  Ha!  This has happened to me before so it wasn't too surprising!  :)

I was SUPER happy with my booth set up and hope to keep this same aesthetic in future shows too.  It was busy and crowded (I do tend to have a lot of stuff at my booths) but I think it shows it all off well.  What do you think?

bags on the right side
a new way of displaying garland - really like how this shows it off!

love having the chalkboard clipboards as signs!

tea towel aprons - also new packaging!

I had lots of great camera straps available!

and infinity scarves - so gorgeous!

and of course, lots of wreaths!
After that show I kind of put things with Pursewna on hold while I traveled with my two daughters to Montana to visit my family for 5 weeks.  We had such a great time - we visited family, went to rodeos and parades, took swimming lessons and went hiking, visited Yellowstone Park and had lots of good quality time with my parents/the grandparents.  What a wonderful way to spend our summer - not to mention it wasn't hot and humid like it would've been if we had stayed in Florida all summer!  While I was in MT, I threw a 60th birthday party for my lovely Mom with a fiesta theme!  Lots of tissue paper flowers, a delicious catered Mexican dinner, Margharitas and fun!  I did do some crafting for the party but didn't take a bunch of pictures of what I did.  I also made a few super cute pinata style wreaths made out of felt!  I'll definitely keep this process in mind for future - the wreaths were so colorful and fun!
a peek at a tiny bit of the inside decoration

we rented tables and white linens as wellas white folding tables for most of the tables.  paper streamers and paper lanterns added color...
I also strung up photographs of my Mom throughout her life with family and friends - fun to look through them!
a great party!

my brother bartended and did a great job!  We used my Mom's potting bench for the 'bar'!

the food bufffet and a peek of one of my pinata wreaths in the background!
we used chair ties as table runners and had wildflowers and gerber daisies in mason jars tied with colorful ribbons as centerpieces.... they were simple but gorgeous!

The showstopper was a crepe paper fringed backdrop that was behind the food buffet.... if only it hadn't been so windy then I would've gotten a better picture of it!  Here's a link to the inspiration for the backdrop..... it was so gorgeous!  You can 'kind of' see my backdrop in a couple of the pics above - it's all blowing sideways!

I still wish I'd taken a picture of it hung up on a day when it wasn't so windy.... it seriously was awesome (mine wasn't quite like this but it turned out almost as gorgeous!)
Since returning home after our vacation real life has hit me full in the face.  My girls are back in pre-school; the youngest just turned two.  We're moving across the country (again) in a few months and there are of course LOTS of things to do in preparation for that.  Most days I'm just trying to keep my head up instead of burying it in the sand!  ;)  I have had LOTS of requests for custom projects though and they have been keeping me sane.  My goal is to have ALL of them done by the end of September so I can start packing some of our things in October.  Here's a peek at some of the projects I've been doing:
this is a wreath I made for my friend Joyce.  She's about to welcome her FIRST granddaughter into the world soon and asked me to make a wreath for her room.  It will be pink and zebra print so I made a wreath that incorporated those colors as well as some ombre in the yarn.  Lots of vintage buttons and flowers as embellishments!
as well as a name plate  :)

another friend asked me to make a 'fall-ish' garland to hang on her mantle - she wanted one that she could hang for the whole season so chose it to say 'family'.  It turned out so cute!  I used burlap, satin ribbon and canvas.

I just finished up this adorable tooth fairy pillow last night!  I did find some inspiration via Etsy and Pinterest but incorporated mint green and pink for the special recipient.  I hope this little pillow makes losing her first tooth that much more special!  
I did a LOT of cutting last week - enough mini stockings to make about three of these cute advent calendars:
Mine won't be created into a wall hanging quilt but hoping to string them along a ribbon or string with mini clothespins or ribbons.  Should be a cute finished product!  I'll be sure to share more pics when it's done!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

An "Under The Sea" Themed Fourth Birthday Party

My daughter has probably known since her 3rd birthday that she wanted an 'Ariel' birthday party this year when she turned four.  Rather than do the typical 'full-on' Disney Princess party, I wanted to incorporate some other quircky and fun elements and make it more of an "Under the Sea" theme with a touch of Disney.  I *hope* I managed to pull it off.  Of course I owe so much to Pinterest and the wonderful bloggers out in Internet-land for the inspiration and ideas!  Here's a peek at some of the details of the party.

our invitations came from Partybean, a fantastic Etsy shop.  I was able to print them on photo paper and purchased A10 envelopes at the craft store to mail/hand them out in.  My daughter had 'a lot' of say in which invitation she wanted - so happy there were so many great choices to choose from!
As parents & kiddos arrived they were greeted right off the bat with our theme - I added a tissue pom pom (purchased from Oriental Trading Company in turquoise and royal blue), as well as a little welcome sign and a coffee filter wreath.

I made all of the signage for the party - this was a simple particle board with craft paint, puff paint, a chipboard fish and a sharpie!
This was my first coffee filter wreath attempt.  I am in love with the results!  I actually 'dyed' a number of the coffee filters in turquoise, blue and green but they're very subtle.  From there I added the sand dollars which are enhanced with some glitter glue for some sparkle!  Here's a peek at my inspiration for the wreath and some ideas for dying:
Wreath:  Coffee Filter Wreath Tutorial
Dying Coffee Filters:  how to dye coffee filters
The front entry had my 'standby' candy jars and a welcome note on our chalkboard.  A metal fish decoration also hung close by (JoAnn's)
I found this fantastic idea via Pinterest and the blog That's My Letter.  Using a roll of plastic tablecloth from the party store, I used 3M hooks and embroidery floss to drape the tablecloth and tulle.  I added some coffee filter jelly fish that I made at the centers.  For a closer look at these jelly fish you'll need to wait for an upcoming post!  ;)
I really need to take some photography classes, huh?  The ligthing, everything - bleh!  Oh well - you get the idea!
Coming into our house further is our 'dining area' - it's really one big large room with the kitchen/dining/living areas combined.  There are however lots of fun places to decorate and of course I took advantage!

The menu was pretty basic - with the age range of the kids that were there, as well as the time frame of the party (2-5pm), I knew I didn't need anything heavy so we kept things light with fruit, veggies and sandwiches.

I 'tried' to make all the food tent cards relatable to the under the sea theme.... obviously I was stretching with a few!!!!  The octopus dip above is so cute!  I used raisins for the eyes instead of candy eyes.  The veggie dip recipe was fantastic - here's a link so you can try it too!  Veggie Dip Recipe.

I added numerous props to the buffet area - sea shells, metallic palm trees, stuffed toys like the fish you see above and some easy artwork I created with scrapbook paper.  Just do a Google search for 'mermaid silhouette' and you'll have something easy to trace onto plain white paper - then I glued it to the blue and white chevron paper and stuck it in a frame.  SUPER easy!
the pasta salad recipe: Summer Garden Pasta Salad
these turkey roll ups were fantastic!  Here's where I found the recipe:
I draped our dining room chandelir with bubble wrap tulle and some jelly fish - then later added tissue pom poms instead!  :)  A work in progress.....
the dessert table turned out so fantastic!  I had the idea for a ruffled ombre table cloth but wasn't sure what size of table to put it on, how to sew it, etc., so I procrastinated for a LONG time in making it.  One day though I decided to just go for it.  Stay tuned for a future post to see how I went about making it!  The backdrop was 'easy' too.  I sewed a TON of these great ruffled streamers (thanks Dana Made It).  From there I used three 3M hooks and strung embroidery floss between them.  Then I just taped strips of the ruffles to the top of the string and let them hang down to the height of the dessert table.  From there I added a few coffee filter jelly fish and some paper medallions.  (Dollar Store purchases!)
Would you believe that cake was baked twice?  I did a homemade cake first but it was SOOOO thin then I did a cake mix for layer two.  Add LOTS of homemade buttercream frosting and you have one heck of a cake!  I added the Ariel candle and sugar decorations as well as the bunting.  
I also had chocolate covered oreos and Dr. Seuss cookies on the dessert buffet with lots of swedish fish and gummy worms.  AND it was all well within a kids reach so we had a LOT of hopped up kids on sugar highs!  :)

The mantle area was also fun:
I used the same concept for the mantle that I used for the dessert table backdrop - the 3M hooks and ruffled streamers.  I also put wrapping paper over the painting we normally have hanging above the mantle (for some added color), as well as a second fabric rag garland. 
The hurricane vases hold a bunch of great seashells I found at JoAnn's and the sconces have blue glass marbles in them.  I also sewed the "Happy Birthday" banner too.  I loved the tie-dye look of the fabrics for it - reminds me of being under water!
This is a special piece - I painted this mermaid boasting her happy birthday message and love how it turned out.  It's just a store bought canvas, craft/acrylic paints and sharpie marker!
There were also little touches here and there throughout the house:

a fun little restroom sign
splash sign made with particle board and chipboard letters
a neon polka dot fish painting
a tropical fish purchased at JoAnn's
these were recycled jars that I superglued plastic fish too and then spray painted to hold CANDY!  :)
a closer look at the mermaid silhouette artwork
some coffee filter jelly fish!  I'm going to do a future post about how to make these - they are AWESOME!
another mini fabric rag garland above the mantle
awful photo for sure but this is a garland made out of.... (WAIT FOR IT) - EGG CARTONS!
Found the idea for it here:
a closer up of the cardboard egg carton garland!
a second mermaid silhouette art piece
another great sign saying "Mermaid Crossing" sat atop the bookshelves in our dining area.  Again - particle board, chipboard letters and mermaids and puffy paint!

Outside was full of color too!  We had two bounce houses, seating as well as outdoor toys and games.  We strung crepe paper ruffles along the fence, dotted it with tissue pom poms and strung up that fantastic fabric rag garland I showed you awhile back - see it below?
plastic tablecloths, fishing nets, clam shell candles, daisies and carnations in painted soup cans and seashells decorate the tables outside. 
some of the decorations on the fence in our backyard - lots of crepe paper streamers for sure!!!!
the birthday girl gets to open some of her gifts in front of the fabric rag garland.....

I love this piece.... might need to hold onto it for a future room - maybe my craft room at our next house?!
these great thank you tags were tied to the beach buckets we gave as favors.  I found them via Etsy as well from the shop FuntasticParties.  I was able to just print them from my computer at home which was a HUGE plus!  The buckets included a fish squirting toy, a fish whistle, Mermaid fruit snacks (all from Oriental Trading Company), as well as Goldfish Crackers, sidewalk chalk and a sand mold (Dollar Store). 

And that's it!   It felt so great decorating for the party and having my daughter say "thank you for making all these beautiful decorations Mommy, my party is going to be so pretty".  So gratifying to get a thank you!!!  :)

I'm actually going to be selling most of these items I made as a 'party package' so if you're interested and local in Jacksonville - let me know!  My plan is to post on a couple of local FB sites as well as craigslist.  I'll keep you updated!

Other credits:
White Cake Recipe:
Ring Toss Game:
Ariel Pinata:
Big Mouth Fish Squirters (favors):
Tissue Pom Poms:

linking up to:

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