Under the Sea 6th Birthday Party

After a little over two months, I’d say it’s high time for a blog entry!!!  I blame the sparseness of my entries on the “chaos”!  Let’s see if I even remember how to do this 😉

My daughter just celebrated her 6th birthday and I was hoping she’d pick a fun theme.  She’s been into ocean life lately so it was easy to persuade her to do an Under the Sea theme…nice and summery!  I found and bought her party supplies through Birthday Express, a site I use often for the kids’ birthdays.  I also ordered her cake pan through Amazon.  Then, I proceeded to order favors from Birthday Express and Oriental Trading Co.  I was very excited because I hadn’t really had the opportunity to go all out for one of Hannah’s parties.  Either I was pregnant or had an infant or I just wasn’t into cake-making yet…so this was gonna be the one to do it!

As I was planning her party, I decided I wanted some fun decorations but I had already ordered all of her stuff and there wasn’t enough time to order more decorations (I had just ordered some balloons and a small centerpiece).  The idea was born to turn our morning room into the ocean and I made the decorations.

I took as many pictures as possible but the ones of the decorations didn’t really do them justice.  The cake was the most difficult I’ve done.  Not as many colors as others but it wasn’t a Wilton pan so I didn’t really have pictures of sample cakes to guide me, which Wilton has on the label of the cake pan.  The cake pan was also small so I made cupcakes and Sand…we’ll get to that 🙂

O.K., onto pictures, instructions and recipes!  I hope it inspires some creative party-throwing!

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I drew and colored in the sea animals to coordinate with her theme (except for the starfish because I’m horrible at drawing stars, the seahorses and the hermit crab…I traced those).  Then, I drew waves on oaktag and cut it out and drew a second set of waves below them and outlined in blue glitter glue.  I taped the waves to the windows, covered in blue iridescent cellophane (like you wrap gift baskets in), and then used double-sided sticky dots to attach the animals on top of the cellophane.  The cellophane gave the room a bit of a blue effect when the sun was shining through 🙂

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The sand dessert – complete with bucket and shovel to serve it with!  You wouldn’t believe how much this looks like sand!!!  I got the idea/recipe from here.  It was absolutely delicious and sinful and the only thing I would change next time is to omit the half stick of butter…I’m not quite sure what purpose it served and I think it would be just as sinful and delicious without.

1 pkg Vanilla Wafers
3 or 4 Oreos
8 oz Cream Cheese
1/4 C Butter
2/3 C powdered sugar
2 small pkgs French Vanilla pudding mix
2 3/4 C Milk
12 oz Cool Whip

Crush Oreos and Vanilla Wafers in a food processor.  In a separate bowl, cream together softened 8 oz cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar. In another bowl, mix pudding with milk.  Add to cream cheese mixture.  Fold in cool whip.  Layer into buckets with sand, pudding, sand etc.

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For the cake and cupcakes, I used a recipe from here.  I always use this cake recipe now…it is sooooo good and I always get compliments on it!  I got the idea for the fish cupcakes on Pinterest.  You can find the instructions here.  I did not dye my frosting to match the M&Ms because, well, I was just sick of dying frosting after the cake!

My daughter had a great time and that made me so happy 🙂

Tutu Tutorial

A couple years back, tutus became very popular!  I bought my little girl a couple here and there from various kids’ clothing stores that I frequented…mostly ones on sale.  Then, I was introduced to Etsy, an online site where you can buy and sell handmade items or supplies so you can get crafty.  I started seeing a lot of people selling handmade tutus on Etsy and they were expensive…some were selling theirs for as much as $50!

At first, I thought to myself, “I’m sure I could make tutus and make a nice chunk of change like all of these people.”  I proceeded with a Google search to see how to make these adorable tutu skirts so girls all over could look like the princesses/ballerinas they dreamed of being.  There are a few different ways to do them and I gathered the info I needed from videos on YouTube.

Then, reality (and chaos) smacked me upside the head.  I didn’t have time to be churning out these tutus!  They’re not terribly time-consuming or difficult but the thought of orders coming in and the pressure of filling them got the better of me.  I could certainly make them for special girls in my life though!

My first tutus were for my dear friends’ daughters for Christmas.  I didn’t want to just make them tutus though so I made them shirts to go with them 🙂

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Next up, a tutu for my special girl 🙂  The NY Giants were in the playoffs and she needed a tutu to show off her team spirit!  This tutu was also worn for their Super Bowl win and extra-added bonus…she can wear it for 4th of July.

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Would you like to know how to make a tutu for the special little girl in your life?  Next up, is an Easter tutu for my daughter, and I’ll show you how!

Supplies: (I purchase my supplies from fabric.com…they have a great selection and really good prices)

  • tulle (I purchase the 6″ wide spools that fabric.com sells…these will make your tutu making experience sooooo much easier)
  • elastic (mine is 3/4″ no-roll; you can go up to 1″ but I wouldn’t do any wider than that)
  • good, sharp scissors
  • cardboard cut to your desired length (you’ll see…)
  • needle & thread (don’t worry…there is just a smidge of sewing)
  • 2 rubber bands or large hair elastics (has to fit around the cardboard)

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How-To:

  • Decide on the length of your tutu and then double that.  For my 5 1/2 yr. old daughter, I wanted the skirt to be roughly 10″ and for my friends’ girls, who at the time were 2 and 4, I did tutus that were about 9″.
  • Get yourself a sturdy piece of cardboard that is at least 8″ wide and cut it to double the length you want the finished tutu.
  • Take a roll of tulle and wrap, wrap, wrap it around the cardboard.  Don’t wrap too snugly because you want to be able to slip your scissors in easily.  Just do the whole roll.  If you have extra, you can store it in a bag labeled with the length for future tutus!

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  • Place a rubber band around each end of the cardboard so that the tulle is held securely in place.

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  • Cut through all the layers at each end.  Make sure not to pull up as you’re cutting or your tulle will come out different lengths (if they are slightly different it’s not going to be noticeable so don’t stress too much).

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  • Voila!  A bunch of strips of tulle cut with a couple easy steps!  I cannot take credit for this great trick…I saw it on YouTube.  I wish I could remember where so I could give credit 😦

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  • Cut your elastic to the size you need.  Either wrap it around the intended recipient and allow for slight overlap to sew it into a circle or measure the girl’s waist and cut to length, adding a bit for overlap.
  • Sew the ends of the elastic together to form a waistband.

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  • Place the elastic around your thigh.  Yup.  This is the easiest way to keep it somewhat still while you get all your tulle on.
  • Take a piece of tulle and kind of gather it and fold it in half so you have a loop on one end.  You’re going to be making a slip knot around the elastic.

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  • Place the piece of tulle under the elastic with the loop facing you.
  • Wrap the ends over the elastic and pull through the loop.

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  • Pull snug!

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  • Continue along your merry way 🙂  The closer together you put the tulle, the fuller your tutu will be.

Use one color…2…5…team colors, holiday colors…the possibilities for cuteness are endless!

Let’s Get Crafty: Baby Nurseries!

When we found out that our first child was going to be a girl, wooden letters spelling out the baby’s name was just becoming popular…or maybe it had been but I wasn’t aware because it wasn’t something I had looked into.  I didn’t like the plain ol’ choices they had in stores so I went online (which I did a lot during my 11 weeks of bed rest) in search of pretty wooden letters for my baby girl.  Her room was lavender on the bottom part of the wall and a pale, sunny yellow on top so I wanted my husband to paint the letters the same lavender so they would pop off the yellow.  Through my search I found someone who sold different sizes with a lot of font choices and I chose a girly-looking one.  We painted them and hung them up with Command picture hanging strips.  I was so happy with what we had done!

For our second child, a boy, I could NOT decide on a theme for him.  Part of the problem was that we were living in a two-bedroom condo so he would be in our room, which was already painted a sage green.  I wanted to be crafty for him so I decided to buy one of those quilt panels that’s basically done besides sewing some binding around the edges.  He needed something to go with it though so I painted one of the animals for him to hang up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then, when my son was 5 1/2 months, we put our condo on the market and went in search of a new home.  We decided on new construction with 4 bedrooms and now I had to decide how I was going to do his first, very own room!  My sister had given him a quilt when he was baptized from Things Remembered and I decided to go with that and blue and yellow paint for his walls…but I needed accessories!  I painted two simple canvases for him and found star hooks, which I also painted, to hang his quilt from the wall.

We knew that we wanted a third child and had thought that since we already had a boy and a girl that the gender of this third child could be left a surprise!  On my son’s 2nd birthday, I found out I was pregnant with our third child 🙂  We went along telling everyone that we were gonna leave this one a surprise and I really wanted to…until it got closer to being able to find out and I was stressing about how to decorate the nursery and what kind of clothes to get…so we found out – it was time to start planning for our baby boy!

I wanted to do wooden letters spelling out his name like we had done for our daughter.  The wooden letter thing has really taken off and there were a lot of sites selling them already painted and/or decorated but I figured, “hey, I can do that!”  I found someone on Etsy that had wooden letters at a great price, different sizes and different fonts…and she was fast!

I had decided on Carter’s Tree Tops crib bedding, so now that I had a theme, I had to pick out some coordinating scrapbook paper.  Once again, I scoured the internet and bought my supplies from this site.  It really is easy to make your own coordinating letters for your little ones room!

Here is what you will need:

  • wooden letters
  • paint (if you choose to, you can paint the sides of the letters with the wall paint or another coordinating color)
  • scrapbook paper
  • Mod Podge (I used the gloss Mod Podge but you can also use the matte if you don’t want your letters to have a sheen)
  • small foam brushes
  • fine grit sandpaper
  • small scissors or craft knife
  • pencil

Here is what to do:

  • If you wish, sand the sides of the letters and paint
  • After they are dry, turn your scrapbook paper upside down and the letter you’re working with backwards and trace around the letter with a pencil (the paper and letter should be facing the correct way when turned over)
  • Cut out the paper just inside your pencil line using scissors or craft knife (I found it easier to use small, sharp scissors)
  • Apply a thin layer of Mod Podge onto the wooden letter with a foam brush and line up the paper letter over it and press it on and rub, rubbing out any air bubbles
  • Work on your other letters
  • Wait about 15 minutes and if there is any paper over the edge of the letters, lightly sand it off
  • Next, you can put your first coat of Mod Podge over the paper.  Make it as smooth as possible with your foam brush.
  • I put 2 coats of Mod Podge over the paper, making sure to let the first coat dry thoroughly (about 30 min).  I like the “brush” strokes that the foam brush leaves but if you would prefer yours smoother, then lightly sand between coats.
  • The surface will remain very slightly tacky…I didn’t mind but if you do then just spray with a clear acrylic.

Just as we did with our daughter’s, we hung the letters with the Command picture hanging strips.  Have fun!