Thursday, February 18, 2016

Spreading Joy and Giggles

Spreading Joy!  Today I am celebrating having sold over 300 surprise balls on Etsy.  Red ones, green ones, blue ones…you name it!  Happy Birthday, Merry Christmas, Happy Valentine’s day.  So much colorful fun!  All different and each one stuffed full of surprises and giggles.
All from my etsy store.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Easter Basket

I've opened an ETSY shop with burlap banners and fun party items.  Please stop by, and browse a bit.

Guess who just spent about 5 minutes putting together an Easter Basket for her daughter's boyfriend who is coming for Easter?  I love to be festive and fun with the holidays and so my adult daughter has had an Easter Basket every year of her life along with an egg hunt in the yard where she finds eggs with such lovely items as socks, underwear, nail polish and cold hard cash.  If you want to know how to keep your kids interested in holidays, even as teenagers and young adults..... I highly recommend the ole cash in the Easter Eggs!  This year my college age daughter is bringing home a boyfriend to share in the days fun.  Somehow little gift items always seem harder for boys, don't they?  Since he is a recent college graduate living in a studio apartment, I thought a new towel would be appreciated.  Didn't it turn out cute?  A simple idea that doesn't take any special skills.  I just folded the bath towel in half and rolled it up diagonally.  This tutorial on wiki-how shows how to do it very easily with a smaller towel, but it worked great for my large bath towel.    I used a piece of ribbon to keep it together and taped on simple eyes cut from card stock.  I had the little pom pom for the nose, ( a nose cut from paper or felt would work too)  and I cut a piece of ribbon into strips for the whiskers.

 I have given my nieces and nephews beach towels and bathing suits for Easter in the past.  This would make a fun presentation for a beach towel in a child's easter basket too, don't you think?

Happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Happiness : Laguna Beach at Sunset

 Our photography challenge word of the day yesterday was happiness.  Walking along cliff drive in Laguna Beach at Sunset filled me with happiness.  The lovely golden light, the fresh sea air, I couldn't make myself leave.  What a beautiful experience.  I am so lucky to live close enough that I can drive here whenever I want.  Happiness comes from actually doing it!  I could have been home zoning out in front of the television or on the computer and missed this wonderful experience; I am glad I didn't. The photo challenge word will change daily, today it is Leaves I think and I am off to explore some foliage,  but I think that for me personally I am going to hang onto the word Happiness as a personal mantra.  So many beautiful places and experiences are all around me.  The key to happiness is actively seeking them out.

Sunday, April 21, 2013


My daughter and nieces and whoever else wants to join us are having a photography challenge and today is the first day.  The main objective is for us to be more creative and get out and use our cameras more.  Everyday for the next 30 days we have an assigned category of the type of photo to take.  Today is Favorite Food.

For me that meant a trip to the candy store, and a photo of just about anything in there.  I love candy so here is the one I am going with.

Lollipop, Lollipop, oh Lolly, Lolly, Lolly!!

Cute! Colorful!  Probably all kinds of things technically wrong with it, but it got me remembering how to change the ISO on my camera, and all the fun stuff about f-stops, light meters and shutter speeds.  I got the camera off of auto for the first time in a while, so I am calling today a success!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Graduation Party

I've started an Etsy shop with lots of fun banners and decorations.  These Burlap and book page banners are so cute for a graduation party!  Please check out my shop!

Hip Hip Hooray for my darling daughter, who graduated from college in January.   She wanted to celebrate with her friends close to her college so we were lucky enough to be able to host a gathering for her in a beer tasting room nearby.  The whole atmosphere of the place, with it's brew tanks and selections of craft beers was a great environment for her college friends.  A perfect mix of warehouse chic and cute.

My daughter loves all things owls and since owls are also associated with being wise, they made a fun addition to the party decor.  I wanted to use inspirational quotes from writers and people my daughter admires as decorations, so I created small faux chalkboards.  I also liked the idea of using old book pages and sheet music for decoration since she is both a writer and musician.  I made the banner in the front of the table by choosing silhouette Internet images from things my daughter loves, printing them onto old sheet music, cutting them into triangular pennants and sewing these pennants onto slightly larger burlap pennants and then onto a ribbon.  

The owls were undecorated wooden cutouts from Michael's that I covered in burlap with sheet music wings and a little graduation cap from card stock.

What to serve at these events is always a struggle and I only had about 15 minutes to set everything up.  Enter the cheese table. I gratefully found photos of one on Pinterest by All The Frills located in Australia.     I was able to get an idea for an assortment of cheeses which I ran with as well as an inspirational quote of "enjoy" that I blatantly copied for my much smaller chalkboard backdrop.  I also printed some black graduation cap onto card stock, cut them out, glued them to shortened skewers and used a white paint pen to write the name of the cheeses. 

The cheese bar was a huge success.  I received so many compliments and thanks from her friends.  It was really simple to do and I will definitely be repeating this for future adult events.  I served the cheeses with cut up baguettes, crackers, grapes, and a few tepenades and sauces.

 In order to include some of her favorite color of teal into the event,  I made fabric banners, painted the chalkboard frames teal and covered a paper mache B with mod podged scrapbook papers.  I wish I had a better photo of the large frame in the back.  I choose some cute photos of my daughter from her college years (some of these I got off of facebook) along with interesting and fun facts about her college experience; her semester studying in Italy, fun things she did during a semester studying comedy in Chicago, as well as stories I knew, like her car getting towed while she was still in it.   She told me it was a fun conversational piece during the party  amongst her friends who hadn't all heard about some of the things on the board.  (In my rush to get things set up my husband hung them up. :-) .   I had purchased the vintage typewriter for her as a graduation surprise which I also included in the decor.

I whipped up some fancy cups for the graduate.... cause she is classy now! I Love  Pinterest for this kind of thing.  I saw a picture of these someone had pinned from a store where they were for sale as hillbilly wine glasses. I thought they were funny and they were easy to make, and perfect for the college graduates!  Since they had really nice beer glasses at the location I just made a dozen of these for fun. The bases are candlesticks from the dollar tree glued with E6000 glue onto red plastic cups.  They needed to dry for a few days before using but they were super easy to make.

I made centerpieces for the tables with books and candles.  I think stacks of books are a cute base for any graduation centerpiece and for my daughter, the writer, they were extra fun.  I found these adorable little owls and made a simple graduation cap out of glittered card stock and a little rolled up piece of parchment for a diploma and glued them on.  I assembled the centerpieces on site but they were really quick to put together.  I added a little strand of pearls to glam them up and a small chalkboard with different congratulation type sayings to keep with my chalkboard theme.

Some of my daughter's good friends and a peak into the beer tasting room, fun huh?

More pictures with her friends (my daughter is the blonde holding the fancy cup!)

There was a lovely long bar along one edge of the glass that separated the tank area.  This is where I displayed many of my small chalkboard quotes.  I found the little frames at Michaels.    Since I had the cute frames I needed to make my own chalkboards.  Enter the black foam core board.  It was super easy to do.  I just cut the foam core to size, painted on my quote with a white paint pen, smeared a little chalk on afterwards and glued these to the painted frames.  Looked just like a classy little chalkboard, and they cost a whole lot less and were much easier to cut to size.   I had about 15 of them scattered around the area, cute decorations and fun for people to browse and read.

I also decorated both sides of a chalkboard sandwich easel that I already had for the entrance of the party.

All in all it was a great celebration!  Simple to set up, a quick break down, and lots of time to enjoy the moment and have fun!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Jaina's Animal Rescue Safari Party!

I've opened an Etsy shop with lots of cute banners and decorations.  These Burlap and Muslin Banners are so cute and perfect for a Safari Party.  Please check out my Etsy shop!

My adorable little niece Jaina loves to talk about being an Animal Rescuer when she grows up.  For her 6th birthday party, choosing the theme was easy; we threw her an Animal Rescue Safari party!

These cute little tents are built from a design by Lowes found on their website.  My husband was a really good sport about building them.  Unfortunately, after the first side panels were put together we realized they were going to be much too big to transport to the park, so my slightly less enthusiastic but still oh so wonderful husband cut them down in size and reframed them, and then they were perfect!

They turned out so cute and the kids had a great time playing in them!

We greeted the kids with a little Safari supply shop, named after the little brother, where the kids got a safari hat, water bottle and safari map when they arrived.

The birthday girl checking out the Safari  Supply.

Some of the goodies on the treat /favor/food table!

I made some Chocolate 6 lollipops, chocolate covered marshmallow pops, and some animal print surprise balls that were a big hit at the end of the party!

             Her mommy, Melody, baked all of the delicious and super cute cupcakes.

Using a grass cupcake wrapper idea found on pinterest, I modified it and instead wrapped it around small green cups and filled them with dressing and veggies.  We kept lunch pretty simple since we were out in a park, and the kids enjoyed the veggies, skewered grapes that looked like little caterpillars and good old cheese pizza.  Just enough jungle themed items to be fun and still really easy to pull off in the park!  Can't go wrong with the veggies and pizza for the adults too plus Melody prepared some nice salad choices for the adults.

Then it was time for the adventure to start and to finally put to use all of the games I have been busy coming up with and painting!   Of course we had to begin with the announcement  that some animals were in trouble and needed to be rescued!  So in a little nod to Jaina's hero Diego, Click the camera showed up to show us who they were. This worked out very nicely as I wanted to settle who would get what animal before we began the search and so that everyone was happy at the end.  The kids chose from the group picture the animal they would be rescuing and I gave each of them an individual picture of their animal at the start of the hunt.

Everybody got a safari map to help them find their way.  The kids enjoyed getting a stamp on their maps after each activity too!

First obstacle was to crawl thru the hollowed log!

Then watch out for the quick sand!

And beware the large wild animals along the way!

( I am pretty proud of myself about these animal cutouts!  I was inspired by the wooden cutouts used in Loralee Lewis' safari party and really wanted to make some.  I have had my shiny new jig saw about 2 years but have been too chicken to use it.  I finally got myself convinced that I probably wouldn't cut off my own hand, and gave it a whirl.  I am so tickled with how they turned out!  I made a big alligator, rhino, giraffe, giant gecko, baby jaguar and turtle too.  I was on a role!

Then on to the games!

This big monkey was hungry and nobody was going to get past him without tossing him a banana!

Uh Oh!  The Rhino was really mad and we couldn't sneak past him without settling him down with a tranq dart for a few minutes of sleep!

Wouldn't you know this poor little elephant had a snuffly trunk and needed some help rounding up some snacks!

And the hedge hogs all needed a little help getting tossed back into their hole!

And if all of that wasn't exhausting enough..the poor little zebra lost his tail!  A quick game of pin the tail on the zebra..(using the honor system of closing their eyes) had everything back where it belonged!
And all 5 of the kids that could reach got it dead on center!  They were amazing! :-)

Finally the animals were found and were all rescued!

And they were all shown a lot of love by their new little friends who got to take them home!

Everybody thought it was a good idea to head over to the animal rescue center and give them a check up!

And wouldn't you know they all needed a few bandaids and bandages to feel all better!

 I was a little bit sneaky because I know that Jaina's love of becoming an animal rescuer originates from watching Go Diego Go!  The Safari theme was a lovely animal based party and without going over the top on a character party I snuck a few elements in.  The baby Jaguar wood cut out I painted is modeled after the Go Diego baby Jaguar and still fit right in with the rest of the wooden cutouts I made for the party.   Coincidentally, Diego wears a safari hat and so did all the kids!  I wanted the kids to know which animal was theirs ahead of finding them so that that part of the party went smoothly and my imposter of Diego's Click the Camera was just the thing!  And finally for the the Animal Rescue center  I enlarged some of the Diego patch symbols to make a sign for the area. A few little touches without going overboard on the character items made it especially fun for everybody, including a very special 6 year old whose opinion of the party is what mattered most to me!