Tuesday, April 30, 2013

About to POP Baby Shower

This past weekend was the About to POP baby shower I threw for my cousin's fiance...finally!

I feel like I've been preparing for this shower, FOREVER, but I've had alot of fun in the process.  It never fails that any time I host a shower or party of any kind, the night before I end up asking my husband, "why I decided to do this?" 

To which he responds, "because you like them".  Which is true but man the night before and day of is filled with alot of scrambling and stress.

Anyway, enough rambling, on to the party. 

I used multiple colors with the main 2 being pink and purple.  Of course no "About to POP" shower is complete without a popcorn bar, I too had to have one.  I made 3 types of popcorn, butter, caramel, and white chocolate with M&M's.  I made individual popcorn boxes, that were too cute.  I bought the book Hop on POP and had everyone sigh it for the baby's first book.  I had 2 types of centerpieces, the lollipop bouquet pictured above, and 2 diaper cakes.

I used my cricut to cut 2 inch circles and used them as a ribbon around the diaper cakes.  I had the hardest time figuring out how to top them.  First I planned on doing flowers like I did with the last baby shower I planned.  Then I thought of doing a painted wood letter "C", which stood for the baby's name, but neither of them looked right.  My last resort was the cloth baby shoes.  My intention was to decorate them with cute little bows and flowers (the above cake had pink polka dot shoes, the other one had purple polka dot shoes), however because I made these the day before during a rather short naptime and had a million other things to finish, it didn't happen.  They are still cute but I wish I had the time to jazz em up a bit.
I made a table runner for the counter out of polka dot scrapbook paper.  I didn't even tape them together, I just laid them next to each other and placed everything else on top which kept them in place.
I made the cupcake stand out of 3 wood plaques from hobby lobby and 2 glass candle sticks from the Dollar Tree.  I glued them together with E6000 glue and spray painted the entire thing.  I was so excited with my Chocolate caramel cupcakes.  They were so very delish and came out perfectly.
I have a thing about 2 liters of pop..... I hate having them at parties.  I always end up buying 2 many and I'm left with multiple opened bottles which inevitably go flat and get dumped into the sink.  I made strawberry lemonade, sweet tea, and cherry limeade.  I wasn't crazy about the cherry limeade, but other's said it was very tasty.  I also had bottled water with my cute little labels.  Which almost all got taken, so I was super happy.
I found a onesie shaped cookie cutter while my mom and sister and I were in Amish country and knew I had to use it for the shower.  It was just too cute.  I didn't want to frost them like I do any other cookie because I wanted them to look a little less homemade, not that there is anything wrong with homemade.  I took some tips for flooding the frosting and outlining the cookie from the blog Bake at 350.  If you are a cookie baker you must go to this blog, it is Heaven.  The cookies took a long time to flood but the end result was worth it.  I LOVE how cute they are.  Maybe eventually I'll get a little fancy with the frosting but the simple pink was just the right touch.
I made Snap Crackle POP treats.  Which was just store bought chocolate rice krispy treats cut in half with lollipop sticks sticks added.  I decided they needed to have some pink added to them so I dipped  in more chocolate and rolled them in sugar I dyed with food coloring.  I attached a tag that read, "thanks for POPping by". 
Here is one thing I have learned about favors, at least with my family, no one ever takes them, or even realizes what they are.  Unless it's a kid's party with goodie bags, I always get some puzzled looks when I mention favors.  So note to self.....don't worry about them next time.
I also had 9 tissue paper poms, 3 hanging from each light fixture in my mom's kitchen, dining area, and living room.  These tied all the colors together.
For food (which I completely forgot to get any pics of) was all popped themed.  I made POPcorn chicken using boneless, skinless chicken breast and Kraft Fresh Takes in Rosemary and Garlic as well as Italian Parmasan (spelling?).  They were super tasty.  We also had sweet pepper POPpers (I used cream cheese and cheddar shredded cheese), taco dip (Mouth POPin Taco Dip), pasta salad, and broccoli and Carrots (POP something healthy).  It was delish.
I'm so glad I did the shower because the guest of honor was super happy with everything but man am I glad it's over.  I was exhausted for 2 days after and very thankful I don't have another party to plan and prepare for until Grant's birthday.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Wild Child Zoo Shirt and Water Bottle

I've been on the hunt for things to do with Grant this summer.  I desperately want to keep him busy and entertained, with the idea this will minimize the tantrums and fit throwings.

I know this is probably wishful thinking but a mama's gotta have hope.

We took him to the zoo last year for the first time and he loved it, we had a great time so I started looking into a membership.  Turns out they aren't too bad in price when you add in the parking fees and the fact that Grant is over the age of 2 which means we have to pay a whopping $10 admissions for him.

Which I personally think is a little crazy but whatever.

Naturally I figured if we would be going to the zoo Grant would need a zoo shirt (and since it's Kids Clothing Week I figured it's the perfect time to finish one).  I always go through the gift shops and see all these cute things I want to buy, you know as if Grant cares if he has a shirt that says zoo on it, but never want to pay the money for them.  Let's face it, most of the stuff they will never play with or only wear a short while.  And what kind of crafty Mama would I be if I didn't at least attempt to make him a shirt myself.

Since I have a new obsession with freezer paper stenciling I thought the zoo shirt was a great excuse to feed into that obsession.  I googled zoo animal silhouette and decided on a rhino.  Mainly because it seemed boyish, don't ask me why, it just did.

I printed the image in the size I wanted, traced it onto freezer paper, cut it out with an exacto knife, ironed and painted it onto the shirt.  Here was the end result:

I look at some blogs and they have the cutest pictures with their kids posing so nicely in the clothes they lovingly made.  It took me 10 minutes to get the picture you see above.  He kept turning to the side and turning his back to me.  Then wanted to look through all the pictures on my camera.
And it wouldn't be complete without throwing himself on the floor at least once, shouting "NO", when asked to show me his new shirt.
I thought "Wild Child" was the perfect  wording for the shirt.
I debated for awhile on whether or not to put the Columbus Zoo and the year on the back.  Why do I debate over such things?  In the end I decided if I were to buy one at the zoo gift shop it would have the year on it so mine should too.
No trip to the zoo would be complete without a water bottle.  Last year we had a regular old sippy cup but I have found I can actually get Grant to drink water if it's in a water bottle, he loves them.  I bought these at Hobby Lobby 40% off for $1.74. 
(please excuse the wrong turned picture, I can't for the life of me get it to upload in the right direction)
I used my Cricut and vinyl from Expressions Vinyl to decorate the outside with polka dots and their names.  I had to make one for my neice as well, since she will be with us on at least one trip to the zoo.
I'm in love with these bottles, they are too cute, and Grant carries his all over the house.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Toddler Onesie Turned Dress

When I was testing my freezer paper stenciling skills for our Relay for Life tshirts, I didn't want to practice on a good shirt or use an intricate design.  Instead I took one of Grant's 24 month onsies (the size Miss Sophia is in now) and used the freezer paper to make a heart stencil.  This way if the stencil didn't work as easily as everyone said then I wouldn't have wasted a good shirt and if it did work the onesie could still be worn.

Once I painted the heart I thought it was just too plain to wear as is, and of course I like to try new things so I decided to make a dress out of it.  I have been wanting to turn a onesie into a dress for quite a while but like so many other things, it's taken me awhile to get around to it.

I used a freezer paper stencil to paint the heart.
Then decided how long I wanted the top part of the dress to be and cut the bottom off the onesie.
I searched through my fabric stash and found the only girly fabric I had enough of and cut a wide strip ( the length depends on how long you need the dress to be so there are no exact measurements), used a basting stitch on my machine to make the fabric ruffle.  Then put right sides together and stitched the onesie to the skirt.
Of course the purple pants are not part of the outfit but I had to get her in the dress and snap a picture before she got bored of me and ran off.  I still want to add a fabric flower to the top but either way I think it is too cute on her, and I'm so glad I got my butt in gear and made it.  Is there a better feeling for a crafter or sewer to see the excitement of someone who loves what you made them.  Sophie was running all over the living room twirling for everyone saying "too cute, too cute". 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Toddler Rice Table

I worked in a daycare for 4 years, the majority of which was spent in the toddler room, and I've been trying to recall some of the activities we used to do with them. One of the activities our kids loved was a rice table.  It was a plastic table with a lid, filled with rice, and various toys for the kids to scoop, dump, and pour the rice.  This would entertain them FOREVER, which is rare with any toddler activity. 

I decided I wanted to make one for Grant but given the small space we are in now I wanted a smaller portable one (once we get moved, I'll be working on a much larger version).  I took a medium sized plastic container, dumped a couple bags of rice inside (I got the rice on sale with a coupon for 68 cents a bag) and took some of his toys and put them inside.  Put an old cheap table cloth down, set the rice table in the center, and let them go for it.

You can also color your rice to make it even more fun.  I plan on doing this later but just haven't gotten the chance yet.  Actually I was just excited to let him play with this that I didn't want to take the time.  I found this website for coloring your rice if you want to give it a try.

I'm all about cheap entertainment when it comes to kids and lets face it, 2 year olds only stay interested in things for a good 10 minutes and that's on a good day.  Grant actually played in his rice table for about a half hour which gave me some time to get some cleaning done.  So it's a win/win in our house.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Kids Clothing Week

I am so excited about Kids Clothing Week this week.  In case you have never heard of KCW, the idea behind it is to take one hour a day for an entire week and dedicate that hour to sewing clothes for your kids.  I have been looking forward to it for over a month and planning what I want to accomplish and attempt.  So far I haven't made Grant much in terms of clothes other than pjs.  They are pretty easy and quick, and I've made them so many times there's no need for  directions.  I've been wanting to branch out and have been collecting fabric and shirts of my husband's to repurpose as well as a couple staple patterns and tutorials.  I bought the Flashback Skinny Tee pattern back in January but my fear of knits has kept me from attempting to use it.  My sewing machine has been eating my knit fabrics and I'm not really sure why, so I've put them aside and taken a break.

I also bought the Maxwell Shirt pattern by Shwin & Shwin.  As soon as I saw it I knew I needed to make one, or a dozen for Grant.  It's really difficult to find cute patterns that are interesting for boys, but Shwin & Shwin have quite a few others I'm eyeing and dying to buy.

The staple tutorials I'm planning on working from are the Basic Pants pattern at Dana Made it and the variation of it the Retro Racer Shorts tutorial.  Of course I can't leave little Sophie out of the mix, and it's always nice to change things up from boy to girl every now and then, so I'll be making her a couple more nightgowns like the pillowcase nightgown I made her here.

As excited as I am to start on my to-do list for Kid's Clothing Week, this is probably the busiest week to try to get some serious sewing done.  The About to Pop baby shower I've been planning for the last couple months is this weekend, Sophie's birthday party is the following weekend as well as my sister's who is turning the big "20", both of which are happening the same weekend we are moving.  Therefore all my projects for KCW will be posted next week. 

I know I'm keeping you all in suspense right?

I guess the big question now is why am I still on the internet when I should be sewing, baby shower crafting, birthday cake baking, and packing.

Off to work I go....

Monday, April 22, 2013

Jello Playdough

I've noticed Grant acting out a little more recently and have come to the conclusion he is getting pretty bored with his toys and needs a little something more.  So I started looking online for different learning ideas and activities for toddlers when I came across Jello Playdough. 

I know what you must be thinking.... playdough....toddler...duh!  But I honestly had not thought about him playing with playdough at his age, thinking he would for sure try to eat it, and wouldn't really know how to play with it.  Of course as Grant has done on many occasions since his birth, he proved me wrong. 

I used this recipe and even let him help stir.  I halved the recipe because I only had a 3 oz package of Jello, and it was more than enough for 1 little boy.  I raided my Mom's cookie cutter supply and gave him a smooth butter knife and he was thoroughly entertained for a good half hour.

We only had one incident of trying to eat the playdough, which I think he realized quite quickly it was disgusting tasting, and no real big mess to clean up, so now we have a new activity and I'm super excited.

I guess it doesn't take much to get this mama excited these days :)

Friday, April 19, 2013

Flat Sheet into Toddler Blanket

Last year my mom found a twin size Toy Story sheet set at Dollar General for $1.75.  Of course Grant still isn't in a twin size bed yet so the fitted sheet is stored away.  I hate flat sheets for any size bed, They always end up balled up at the end of our bed and end up being more trouble than they are worth.  Normally all of our flat sheets just sit on shelved in the back of our linen closet.  However the Toy Story one was just too cute to store away and never use, and since I'm planning on decorating Grant's room in Toy Story, he was in need of a blanket for his toddler bed.  Naturally the crafter in me wanted to make one so I decided to use the flat sheet to make a quilt.

Is this the cutest Toy Story quilt you've ever seen or what?  I wish I had a picture of it on his bed but at this point we haven't converted Grant's crib into a toddler bed so its a little too big.
First I measured Grant's bed to figure out the dimensions I needed, which ended up being about 33x58 inches.  I cut the sheet, taking advantage of the finished edges wherever possible.  I bought 2 yards of matching flannel and cut it about 2 inches wider on all sides so I would be able to turn it over the edges. 
In between these layers is a layer of quilt batting.  Before turning a stitching the edges I tacked the layers together.  All this means is I took some thick upholstery thread (you can use embroidery floss, yarn, etc) and made knots randomly, which binds the layers together preventing them from shifting.  Then I turned the edges over, like the picture above shows, pinned them in place and used my sewing machine to stitch around all four sides.  You could do this part by hand as well, I've done it by hand many many times, but I was lazy and wanted a quick project, since Grant was all too interested in what I was doing and trying to be extra "helpful".
I'm so excited to see this on his bed in his new room with all the other elements I have planned to decorate. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Relay for Life Team Shirts

I posted here about our Relay shirts I'm freezer paper stenciling and after finishing 3 (of the possible 23) I have come to realize, maybe I took on too big a task.  Our Relay is in June and I'm guessing as to whether or not I'm going to be able to get them all done. 

I will say I love freezer paper stencils and already have a design made for my son's zoo shirt this year (cuz you know you have to have a special themed shirt to go to the zoo).  However I wasn't aware that I would not be able to reuse the stencils.  For whatever stupid reason I thought I could just peel and restick the design as many times as I desired.  I have found after 2 shirts the stencil needs pitched because the stickiness of the small pieces no longer works.  So that means I have to make about 12 stencils, x-acto knife them, paint them, heat bond them, and wash them.

There are loads of tutorials and tips on various websites, just do a google search and you will find dozens.  In case you don't want to go to all that trouble, I looked at this post as a reference.

the color in the pic above is a little wonky but its a really pretty pink in the right lighting.

Even though I love how they are turning out I'm thinking maybe we should have ordered some haha.

O well back to cutting and painting I go.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Banana Split Cupcakes

I made some banana split cupcakes for my Mom to take to work to help raise money for our Relay for Life team.
(seems like all I'm getting recently is ugly cell phone pics, but at 6 am I have no desire 2 whip out the good camera)

I altered the recipe a little since I've had some trouble with the tops of my cakes being a little sticky after they've cooled.  They turned out super cute and I was really pleased with the taste, texture, and presentation.

I used the Pumpkin Spice recipe in the book Cupcake Diaries except I substituted the pumpkin for about 3 mashed bananas, omitted the spices, added vanilla, and decreased the sugar from 2 cups to 1 1/2 cups.  To top them I did a regular old vanilla buttercream, chocolate drizzle, peanuts, and a cherry.  They were so tasty and everyone loved them.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Tie Quilt

My Mom, sister, and I took a trip to Amish country last week and had a blast.  While we were there we stopped in at a fabric/quilting store and hanging on the wall was this quilt:

I realize this is not the best quality picture but all I had was my camera phone.

I have never seen a quilt like this before and I'm in love.  What an adorable idea.  In case you can't see it very well each square looks like a shirt with a tie, and on the sides are small bowties. 

How cute would this be as a memory quilt with ties and shirts from male members of your family, grandfathers, fathers, uncles, etc.  I now have this on my to-do list for my son.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Pillowcase Nightgown for Sophie

My Mom asked me last year if I would make my neice Sophie a nightgown since the ones in the store are about $10 (ridiculous) and we had no luck finding any at yard sales.  Of course I said "absolutely, a nightgown will be easy", we found some cute polka dot knit on clearence and I was set.

Fast forward 1 year and my Mom was still waiting on that nightgown.  I've come to realize it takes me forever and a day to start a project I've never made before, even when it's a seemingly easy one.  I had put off this nightgown and justified it stating I was super busy with other projects (so not a good excuse).

Then, lo and behold, I came across this post and was immediately inspired and couldn't wait to make little Sophie a nightgown. 

And FYI if you haven't checked out the rest of the iCandy Handmade blog you need to do that immediately.

Like right now, go ahead, I promise you will be browsing her archives and before you know it you will have lost 2 hours of your life and your crafting to-do list will have doubled in size.

Anyways...I didn't want to purchase the stretchy lace that the tutorial called for because I didn't want to wait for it to ship before I got started, so instead I bought some stretchy ribbon I've seen used alot for making baby headbands.

I also didn't have a pillowcase so instead I used the knit my Mom originally purchased for the nightgown and layed a pillowcase on top to cut the fabric the width I needed.  This just took a little extra time that wouldn't have been necessary if I had a pillowcase.

Here's how it turned out:
I so wanted a picture of her wearing the nightgown but she wasn't too into modeling and was tugging at the shoulders trying to undress herself so no such luck.  I'm so excited with how easy this was to make that I can't wait to make more.  My mom bought a package of 2 pillowcases for $1 at a store in town called Rose's.  They are nothing fancy but Sophie is makes anything look cute.
Kids Clothing Week is coming up,  If you haven't heard about it you should go to the website.  This will be my first year participating and I plan on making the other 2 nightgowns during that week, so I won't be tempted to procrastinate.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Relay for Life T-Shirt Prototype

Last year was the first year my family participated in our local Relay for Life and we had a great time.  So naturally this year we are starting to prepare ahead of time and decided we wanted team shirts for everyone.  The only problem is every t-shirt printing store online and where I live cost about $13 a shirt, which isn't horrible but everyone is already trying to put as much money as they can towards the Relay so we couldn't really justify the extra cost. 

Of course the crafter in me wanted to find a way for us to make them ourselves without looking like 5 year olds made them.  I started looking for possibilities and came across freezer paper stenciling.  This is nothing new by any means but I had never attempted it.  For whatever reason I figured it couldn't be as easy as everyone said, but holy moly it is!

I printed our team name and an image we liked, traced it onto freezer paper, cut it with an exacto knife, ironed it to a dingy white shirt (to see if it worked, no sense wasting a good one if i ruined it) and painted.

Here is how it came out:

And a close up:

Our team shirts are going to be pink in honor of breast cancer since that's what my mom and aunts have battled, and BEAT!  The cancer ribbon with wings as well as the team name is in honor of my dear grandmother who passed away about 5 years ago with lung cancer.  I'm so excited for everyone to be walking with our shirts and can't wait for the Relay.  I will have more posts about our campsite decorations we are making as well as a few other details in the months to come before the day of the Relay.

And if you haven't signed up or looked into walking in the Relay for Life nearest you, DO IT!  It's a great way to give back and get involved.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Tastiest Granola Bars EVER!

I have been on the hunt for an amazing granola bar recipe for a couple years now.  I've tried a few and they have either fallen apart, lacked flavor, required a dozen ingredients I don't have in my pantry, or have been rock hard after baking.   I thought I would never find the perfect recipe but I am here to tell ya I have!Many recipes I've found require you to bake the dry ingredients and/or simmer the wet ingredients but not this one.  You just throw it all in a bowl and mix.  Did I mention that's my favorite way to bake?

Here is the original recipe I found on another blog.  I'm so excited she decided to share her yummy recipe, some people are very protective over them, and I've tried 2 different ways making them and haven't failed yet.

Since you can go to her site for the base recipe I won't bother reposting it but I will share the additions and substitutions I used.

For the first attempt I used mini chocolate chips and peanut butter chips.  My step dad (who has a huge sweet tooth) and my son loved these.  All the chocolate sent Grant on a sugar high haha. 

The 2nd attempt I decided to go a little healthier and used 3/4c sliced almonds, 3/4c dried blueberries, and 1/4t cinnamon.  I also used white flour instead of wheat (stupid me forgot to add it to the grocery list).  And can I tell you I couldn't stop eating these.  Not only did my kitchen smell divine with cinnamon but they were so tasty I ate them till I thought I would explode. 

I love how simple the recipe is and it's healthy so I have no guilt letting my little guy eat as much as he wants.


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