Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Featuring Someone Fabulous!

I'm excited to share one of my favorite blogs and one of my favorite blog friends with you today. I "met" Jessica from Two Shades of Pink when she was featured on Shabby Blogs. Part of her answer to the question, "When and why did you start blogging?" was this:

Or like today when I was brushing my hair and trying to be stealth-like so as to not wake my girls from their nap and end my 90 minutes of tranquility. As I was putting my hair into a pony tail, the brush falls right into the toilet. You know. The one I had not flushed since flushing a toilet seems to wake the dead in my house. I just looked down at the thing sticking straight up with toilet paper in its bristles, walked out of the room to retrieve my camera and snapped a picture with the thought, "This is so blog worthy."

Jessica is pretty crafty and full of all kinds of good ideas, too. Here are some of my all-time faves:
Love, love, love this magnet board! Those knobs are the best!
I always wanted to do something like this for my own children, but never did it. Check her out!

Look what she does with hair rollers!




Her felt and fabric clock is just amazing!

Isn't this a fun idea to do with soap? I think it would be great for my children!

Love this so much I am planning a window seat along these lines in my daughter's room!

Be sure to hop over to Two Shades of Pink and check things out. She has a way with words that draws me in every time. I cried--out loud, like embarrassing sounds crying--while reading all about her infertility story. I have one of those stories myself and could really relate, but it was more than that. I can relate to the things Jessica posts about even when my life is totally different from hers. I could go on and on, but I will let you head over to Two Shades of Pink and see for yourself. Plan to stay parked for a while (probably with tissues handy!) because you won't be able to tear yourself away!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Calling all DOGS

Avery turned three last week and we had a dog party for her. Let me just preface this by letting you know that I really don’t believe in big, over-the-top parties for children. I am adamant that our children’s parties are simple, family parties--which is almost always just our immediate family. They have had a few "friend" parties, but only a couple and they were pretty simple, too.

For some reason this year, though, I thought my youngest would really like a party with her friends. So I set out to plan a fun and simple party. And, I used my Silhouette for a great deal of this so I apologize to those of you without a paper cutter of some sort. Having done a lot of this type of thing in the past without a paper cutter, I know it is definitely possible! I patterned a lot of what I did after a party I found HERE at Bee in Our Bonnet. Talk about the hostess with the most-ess!

Avery wanted a blue dog party, but doesn’t know who Blue from Blue’s Clues is so I didn't go that direction even though it was tempting. This is how I did the invitation (except I forgot to photograph the real one since I waited until the last minute to get them out! The real one was made out of paper that looked like boards.):


The only decorating I did was around our table and her family presents. I went with the dogs but used the pink and green theme that she generally likes. These were my all-time favorite decorations to date. To make these, accordian-fold paper or cardstock (2 per circle). Open out each one into a semi-circle and glue the ends together to hold that shape. The glue each semi-circle to the other and it will make a whole circle. Add your design to another cardstock circle and glue to the center of your accordian-folded circles. Be sure to do the same thing on the back side to hide the places where your papers are joined. Simple and fun!



I planned for an outside party since it was supposed to be really warm, but it was also extremely windy so we had to move inside. While I am flexible, I don't shift gears too well, so I forgot half of what I was planning to do outside! Here's what the plan and some of the activities turned out to be:

When the children arrived, they were directed to our back yard where they received puppy ears (felt ears attached to headbands--no pics, sorry!) and went to our sandbox to dig for bones. The bones were pretty great looking (thanks to my husband) baked salt dough creations. The recipe (scroll down to the bottom of the page in the link) wasn't for baked dough so we did 275 degrees for one hour. I had written down 250 degrees for 2 hours but I don't know where that came from and I didn't have 2 hours! It worked like a charm, but the dough will get soft again if you get it wet. The damp sand in our sandbox was getting to the bones.

 We were planning to play Frisbee Fetch and then let the children run around the backyard, but the wind would have taken our frisbees far away so we had to skip this one. I really lucked out with these frisbees that were sized just right for little friends--They started out as Spiderman frisbees from the dollar section at Target (4 for $1) and I just glued a picture over the Spiderman paper!
 Next, the children came inside to the dog grooming station. Again, because we weren't spread out outside, it was kind of a dogpile (joke intended!) instead of being organized, but I think everyone like it. To set up a dog grooming station, collect all of the dog stuffed animals you can find. We have quite a lot at our house, so it wasn't hard, but we threw in a few other animals for good measure and no one minded at all. We "washed" the animals in the tin tub and then "dried" the fur with a Barbie blow dryer. This was a big hit because it turns on and has a gentle fan inside. You could also use a regular blow dryer (on cool) or don't turn it on at all. Then, we brushed out the fur with combs and brushes (mostly the Barbie or doll kind, but it doesn't matter what kind you use!) and then let the dogs look at themselves in handheld mirrors (a big hit). For older children, you could also tie bows or hair accessories in the dogs fur. Finally, the dogs got to line up along the couch to show off their pretty fur. 

Next, the children ate lunch. While hot dogs would be the obvious choice, I didn't serve them because I noticed how few were eaten at a recent party involving many of the same children. Instead, we had Li'l Smokies cooked into homemade crescent rolls. We had fruit and snacks in dog bowls along with the rolls.

Since I was planning to be outside, I added a bone name tag to every cup because they get misplaced so easily. It really wasn't necessary inside since the children left their cups at their places at the table, but the bone added to the general dog ambiance.

I chose not do a cake this year mostly because I rarely see young children eat cake! They tend to lick off the frosting and throw out the cake or take one or two bites and toss the rest, right? Instead, I made blue (of course) dog bones. The children looked at the plate of blue bones kind of funny when we sang "Happy Birthday," but they all ate at least one cookie!

I sent the children home with a "Doggie Bag" from Avery's Doghouse Diner. I think the pictures show it pretty well:



 And this is what was inside the doggie bag: (Not sure what they will do with the dog leash, but they were also at the dollar section at Target and were clearanced for only 25 cents each! My own children have several of these around some of the their stuffed animals, so I thought other children might like that too.)

It was a pretty mellow party and fairly simple. There wasn't anything elaborate or amazing, but I thought it turned out really well. I made a thank you card by using a mirror image on my Silhouette and welding it together to cut out this outline that Avery then painted with watercolors and dot art markers. (She told me her dog had two tails but didn't seem to notice there were two bodies and two heads!)

Then, I wrote the thank you message and folded it up to look like one dog:

 Here's to keeping things simple!
(I'm linking HERE this week.)
(and to Get Your Craft On)post signature


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Serving Some More

I think I am getting a little obsessed with serving dishes for the holidays. I see them everywhere and I can’t help but want them! This time, I controlled myself a little because I only bought the $3 plate for this craft instead of the $5 Halloween plate. Besides, this looks great for Halloween, but is versatile enough to use for other holidays, too. A smart craft!
Serving Plate3

Now I know this looks like a skateboard in this picture and not too impressive at all, but it is much better in real life. This is what I did:
Materials
4 knobs
decorative plate
E-6000 glue
spray paint

Instructions:
[1] Paint knobs (if necessary) the color you want. I used a slim nail (with almost no nail head on it) to hold the knob and then poked that into a piece of cardboard. Interestingly enough, it was a drink holder from McDonald’s and it made the BEST tool for this. I just used the handle to turn the knobs around while I was painting them. It was like magic!
 Serving Plate1 Serving Plate2
[2] Glue the flat side of the knobs onto the bottom of the plate using E-6000. I like to let everything dry overnight just to be sure the glue has set completely. I was worried about the knobs sliding around on the counter with that glossy spray paint, but they didn’t seem to slide at all. I think I dot of hot glue would prevent sliding if it was an issue.
Serving Plate6
Can’t beat two steps now, can you?! I told you it was simple and not so impressive in the photos, but the little “feet” add a lot to the dish. The height is nice when you have a table loaded with treats because it stands out just a little. 
Serving Plate4

Call me simple-minded (or super busy!!) but, I LOVE it!


Monday, September 20, 2010

It’s Creeping Up!

Halloween seems far away to me, but maybe that is wishful thinking! We went to the raspberry farm and picked so many delicious raspberries last week. On the way out, there were also pumpkins for sale. I tried to ignore them, but my daughter was adamant. So, now I have to get up to speed!
Spider Plate201
This Spider Serving Plate is so easy to make and I love the way it looks! It works best to make these over a period of 2 or 3 days so the glue can dry completely. Mine was made at nighttime so please bear with my pictures! Here’s what you need to do to make one yourself.

Materials
black bowl and plate (Mine are Target’s super cheap melamSpider Plate1ine dishes)
E6000 Glue
small scrap black construction paper
large moveable eyes
black chenille sticks (“pipe cleaners”)



Instructions
[1] Cut a circle out of the construction paper that is the same size as the bottom of the bowl.
Spider Plate4[2] Fill the bottom of the bowl with glue—don’t go overboard, though, because it will easily squish out to the edges.
[3] Put the ends of the pipe cleaners into the glue with 4 sticking out of each side. Set the construction paper over this to hold it all in place. Weight it down with a glass or full can of spray paint. I also put a heavy book on top of that to help hold it all together. Let sit overnight to make sure the glue is really dry.
Spider Plate2 Spider Plate3 [4] Glue the plate to the bowl. The easiest way to do this it to put a thin line of glue around the edge of the bottom of the bowl. Aim the glue towards the inside so the glue doesn’t squish all over the outside of the bowl once you put the two pieces together. Place something heavy on it and let dry overnight.Spider Plate7 [5] Bend the spider legs into the desired shape. I did all of the bending first and then went back and cut the “feet” to the right length.
 Spider Plate5 Spider Plate6
[6] Glue on the eyes. Let dry overnight.

 Spider Plate - side
Add your treats  and enjoy! 
Spider Plate Cookies 2 copy
(These are one-eyed cookies in case you are wondering!)

Just be sure you don’t put your spider plate in the dishwasher—
hand wash only!

I'm linking HERE this week.



except for drying time! ;)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Winners!

Thank you for the wonderfully kind comments about the Monogram and Name Wall Art. I can't wait to see some pictures of what you do! I wanted to pick everyone, but it wouldn't be very practical with my budget!

Instead, I chose three winners!
I used Random.org, but haven't got a clue how to copy the whole result chart like I see in other giveaways. So, here are the winning comments--let's see what they are planning:

Hannah said:
This is adorable! i would love to make this for my 2 little cousins - Charlie and his baby brother due in Nov!THanks for sharing!

Fiamar said;
I just love this project, it's awesome!! I'd like to make a set for my nephew, Diogo. I'm sure he'll love it as much as I do!!

And, Robin said;
What a fun thing for the kid's room (and mine lol) I think I would make one for my daughter Miranda first.

Please contact me with your mailing address
 and I will get this wood to you!

For those of you who still want to make this project, but do not have access to the wood or an alternative, I will sell the 6 inch wood circles for $1 per letter plus shipping costs. Please contact me if you are interested. Happy crafting!
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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Our Routine is Back

{GIVEAWAY CLOSED}
{Looking for the GIVEAWAY? Go HERE and scroll down to the bottom.}
The day has come—the first day of school! Gotta admit, as reluctant as I am for these two crazy girls to be back in school this year, a little part of my brain is shouting, “Free at last!”
First Day 2010
I am ready for a little more order and routine again. It always goes out the window over the summer, but I am calling it back now!
I have done the same jobs together ever since I have stayed home with my children. The day of the week might change depending on my schedule, but I tend to group the same things together ever since I quit doing it all at once on Saturday mornings. (Those were the days—I also slept in until 10 or 11am those days, too!)
I’ve never been big on long lists of assigned chores. We tend to do our regular stuff and assign our children part of the jobs we are doing. This has worked pretty well most of the time (see THIS post!). I have gotten a little more routine about the assignments, though, and my girls have done pretty well knowing what each chore entails. Sometimes, they get confused or insist they didn’t have to do “that” last time or whatever. Thus, the chore cards were developed. 
   Blog Laundry Sign
I use these to describe the chores that we do consistently. It lists everything that needs to be completed, not just assignments for my children. This helps them to understand the complete job even if they are only responsible for parts of it. It also helps my children to know what I am looking for when I ask them to complete a job on their own. I didn’t assign these to specific days--even though I generally do them on specific days--to allow flexibility when things come up. It is easy to post the card on the fridge or somewhere else were everyone can see it easily. And, it serves as an easy reminder to get their assigned parts done because they pass by the chore card many times in a day!
Organize copy
I see so many great ideas out there for chore organization.
For me, it has to be simple and flexible.
For those of you that like that, too, HERE is a set of printables for you.
I used my chores and added a few general cards, but feel free to make up your own.
And, you will have to list out your own requirements of course.
These ought to give you a good start!
Laundry Sign Bathroom and Bedroom Sign copy Bathrooms copy    Chores copy Organize copyDust and Vacuum Sign copy Floors copy Bedrooms copy Laundry Sign 2 copy

I'm linking HERE this week.

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