Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Oh Baby! Showers Galore

I love a good baby shower! As summer is coming to a close, many of our friends are getting ready to welcome babies. (Yea!) So after returning home from a summer full of travel, I hit the ground running with lots of baby shower crafts! There are so many wonderful ideas on Pinterest. (What did we do before Pinterest!?! You can check out my baby shower board here.) 
 Group Playdate Double Shower
We had a group playdate shower for two first time mom's, with all the little kiddos running wild in my basement. I kept things simple: we did just diapers for gifts, which meant we did not have to open them at the party. I did utilize my bookshelf chalkboard. I really love this thing - It is so fun for me to update it based on what is going on. I also love this Crayola chalk - it is so bright!

We had a smorgasbord of food for the ladies and little ones. I stuck to simple games. I had advice cards (here and here) that I handed out and were sent home with the preggos. I also played a really fun candy bar game. Each lady took turns choosing a candy bar and a word they thought went together. If they got a match, they got to keep the candy bar. It was fun because all the women were helping each other get the candy bar they wanted. Plus, there were plenty of laughs with matches like "Good and Plenty" with "Pregnancy Boobs" and "Butterfinger" with "OBGYN."  I also had a "guess the due date" calendar set up on a piece of poster board. This group of women sees each other most days to work out, so it will be a fun way to count down the days till the girls deliver.

All Girls "Pink" Shower for First Baby
When we moved last summer, one girl from the same base moved with her husband as well. When she found out she was pregnant, I was over the moon. I think the first words out of my mouth were "Can I host your shower?" She is having a little girl, so we went all pinked out.

I am totally obsessed with those EOS lip glosses. I found a multi-pack of them at target in pink - so everyone went home from the shower with one in their purse. I love using a beauty product as a takeaway from a shower. I hate "crap," so giving something people can use is always my preference.

As a boy mom, I jumped at the chance to buy some cute pink clothing. I love being able to send people home with the decorations from their shower. I found these adorable numbers at Old Navy.

Since this new mom is also a military spouse, I wanted to make sure she had something to remember who was at her baby shower. We move so frequently that sometimes it is hard to remember where you were during life events. I found an adorable "guest book canvas" here on Etsy and decided it would be easy enough to create my own. I used a flat canvas and painted a tree and dots. I asked guests to sign their names and write a wish for the baby. By the end of the shower, the canvas was full of well-wishes and it serves as a record of the friends who were around to welcome baby.

I know lots of people don't like shower games, but I love them. So if you come to a shower I'm throwing, we will be playing games! For this shower, we played a nursery rhyme game where you had to complete the rhyme. Then we played my favorite shower game - it's one where you follow little instructions tied to a gift to find the gift a home. The cards tell you to pass the gift to the person with the longest hair, or the largest purse or the curliest hair. It gets everyone talking and moving, and usually gets some laughs, since I always throw "biggest boobs" in there.

As for other decorations, I went all out with pink streamers and balloons. I also made a little banner from pink fabric for baby's nursery and it made a nice welcome banner. I also made a diaper cake, because i love them and they really are simple to make and practical when you take them home.

The shower was in the morning, so we stuck to breakfast foods - french toast bake, parfaits, bagels and scones. I also sent my child away, but had a few of the moms bring their calmer children, which was fun to have some little ones around.

Second Baby, Boy "Born in the USA" Sprinkle
There is a French couple in my husbands squadron that are getting ready to welcome their second child, but their first boy. We decided on a "Born in the USA" theme.

This was a small shower with just our squadron. I made a red, white and blue diaper cake. Since it is a second baby, I filled the middle with a Nalgene water bottle for big sister and a few other goodies. We rocked the "After 4th of July" sales for decorations, including a great "Born in the USA" onesie we hung on the door.

As for games, we did a simple "match the mustache" game from here, on - you guessed it - Etsy, which was a big hit. We also did a "wishes for baby" poster. On poster board, we wrote things like "I hope you love..", "I hope you never...",  and "I hope you are..." and let people just write their wishes under each category anonymously.

We spent a lot of time asking about French culture and babies in France as well. Turns out the baby shower (at least in this particular iteration) is not done in France. I am glad we had a chance to "sprinkle" this mom while she is here.

Wow. Its been a fun but exciting month! I actually have one more shower coming up in November. It is going to be fall themed for a first time mom who is having a boy. I just had a "planning" meeting, with basically the two most amazing co-hosts you could ever ask for. The woman sitting next to us at Panera said she wanted an invite to the party.

Quiet Book Exchange, Part I

After three long months of hard work, both quiet book exchanges are completed... with the exception of a few straggling pages.

One exchange had six people each doing two pages. The other exchange had 12 people, most of whom did two pages.

Anyway, the girls met tonight to exchange pages. Earlier today, we gave our expecting friend a preview copy for her little one. We found all the patterns and ideas on Pinterest... now, I just have to bind my book.

Here are a few pictures of the completed pages:

Cute fishing page waiting to be backed and added to book. 

Fabric "Memory" Game and Storage Bag.

I've been working through some new projects all around the theme of quiet guided activities for my son. I love the idea of activities that are self contained.
I saw this idea on - where else - Pinterest. It is basically the game of memory, but with fabric.  I have so much fabric that I just love, and this seemed to be a great, quick, scrap fabric project.

I cut 40 5x5 squares, 20 from patterned fabric (2 of each) and 20 in the backing print. I put them right sides together and sewed most of the way around and flipped them. I filled mine with Polyfill, because that is what I had on-hand. You could also use interfacing, or quilt batting, or even beans. Then, I put another stitch around the outside to close the holes and make them lie a bit flat. 

The bag I just pieced together, using the outside fabric from the memory squares as the lining fabric. 

Fabric squares fit neatly into the bag.

Quick storage bag to hold activity. 

There are many ways to play with these adorable fabric squares. Line them up for a traditional game of memory and search for matches. You can also just pile them up and ask your child to find a match. My little guy likes to find things like birds and bugs, sort of like an I-spy game. 

Friday, May 31, 2013

Quiet Book Pages

I am part of two summer quiet book page swaps. The idea is simple, we each picked two pages and will make 12 copies of the page. At the end we will have 24 pages and bind our own book.

I was a little overwhelmed by the task, but making more than one of each page means you are able to make corrections as you learn your page. 

The group made a board on Pinterest to collect quiet book page ideas. This was a great way to find ideas to inspire our pages.

I've finished my pages for my first swap (in June) and made headway on my pages for the second sway (in July). 

Here are previews of my pages:

Friday, March 29, 2013

Pinterest Paintings for Nautical Birthday

I've had an itch to do some painting lately. Painting is on the far end of my creativity spectrum. I don't dabble in it enough because I'm not very confident about it, but I always have the best time when I get my brushes out.

I painted the back yard signs and knew I needed to do a bit more painting...

I found these paintings on Pinterest and decided to make my own copies for H's big boy room. They were easy projects, taking just under an hour. I free formed each drawing. Since there is a collection of drawings one or two mistakes blend right in.

Nautical Birthday Party Prep Madness

I finished the balloon wreath and birthday banner a few months ago, but had a whole list of other projects for the party that I am finally getting around to.

The invitations were designed as a PDF. I had them printed through an online printer, and addressed them and sent them myself. I failed to take pictures of them, but thanks to this book on modern hand lettering, I addressed each invitation with fun handwriting. I also used my adorable address stamp, ordered from Etsy.

For party favors, I turned to Oriental Trading - buckets, stuffed fish, and bubbles. I found some bath toys in the Target dollar bin. Finally, some Gold Fish Crackers in individual packets. I ordered a design of little round tags to attach to each bucket. They were easy to print on card stock and attach on my own - just to say thanks!

Boats: I toyed with making my own wooden boats (which my parents did for my third or fourth birthday) but in the end, I decided on the little foam ones from Oriental Trading. I put them together with a little hot glue, so little hands would not knock them to pieces.

Painted Signs: I did some painting for the big boy room and was inspired to do a few little signs for the birthday party. Just fun little touches done with some extra paint and some little canvas.

Color Matching Game - mostly Free Supplies

This is an easy Pinterest project made with mostly free supplies. Go pick up some paint chips and paint sticks from the hardware store. You will need to acquire some clothespins. Then start gluing. I ended up using wood glue, when both hot glue and modgepodge failed me, resulting in warped paint chips. I cut the pieces to fit before gluing. I tried it the other way and ended up with frayed edges.

Next thing you know, you have a great color matching game.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Hardware Board

The hardware board has gone through many iterations, but we have finally settled on this one. (Every time we visit Home Depot, we find more items for the board) Our little one loves to play with this board and it is a good solo activity. His favorite items are the door stopper, the lock (missing from this picture because he has hidden it somewhere in the playroom), the caster and the pulley. The different loops allow us to attach some of his toys using carabiners.)

This is another really easy project. Buy a piece of wood. Paint it. Attach items. Some of the items are screwed on, while we have had to glue others (like the deadbolt).

Monday, March 11, 2013


When we installed the Chalkboard and Magnet Board, I did not really think about holding the magnets and chalk near the board. This was poor planning on my part. Once I realized I needed baskets, I couldn't find ones that would work for the playroom. My husband had the idea of using those suction baskets for the bathroom, removing the suction cups and bolting them to the wall. This was the perfect solution! The plastic is easy to clean and since they are clear, I can see what the little one has dumped in there that didn't belong. Also, they are cheap. (Which is always good for things my kid is probably going to destroy.)

Marking Play Areas with Signs

I admit it, I'm completely OCD. I love things to be orderly. Signs, labels, they are my thing. So of course my playroom needs labels!

I was busy painting all the story book signs, so I figured I would do a few others. A cute wood one for over the workbench. This one is simple paint on wood with some modge lodge spray over it for good measure.

I enlisted my husband to help with the second sign. I'm not so good with nails. So.. a painted piece of wood, some nails and bakers twine and we had a little market sign for the kitchen.

Felt Birds

After a snowy Saturday, we finally made our way to the library today. This little gem was waiting for me on hold. I put it on my hold list around Christmas and was number 15 on the list! It has adorable projects for the whole year. Each week is based around a different basic pattern. I have plans for several of the patterns in this book. The first being the adorable birds!

I needed a few more things for our little man to stuff in and out of his mailbox. Inspired by the Twitter bird (and a pattern in the 365 book), I thought a few felt birds were in order. I included a little bit of dried lavender when stuffing these guys so now they smell quit nice. You could also stuff them with beans in the bottom and then fiberfill for a heavier object that would sit upright.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Preview - Storybook Signs

I just finished painting these beauties and had to share!

We had some left over wood from a few other projects. A little paint and a sealer coat (since they will be going outside) and now we just have to mount them. I can't decide which one is my favorite!

Stay tuned to see where they are headed!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Be My Valentine (Cookies)

We have the best neighbors! Over the past few months, they have helped us with everything you could imagine as we moved into our new house. We were welcomed with baked goods. We have borrowed countless tools. When Christmas rolled around, we were bequeathed many home made goods (left with the neighbor who was watching the house while we were out of town.) With all our travel we did not get around to returning the favor, so we set our sights on Valentine's Day. 

I found some free printable labels on Pinterest and printed them on sticker paper, so they easily adhered to the cookie plate. We used our favorite sugar cookie recipe from the America's Test Kitchen Cookbook and a Royal Icing Recipe. I used the flooding technique (which I'm obviously still learning) from this blog. 

Easy Kids Activity Items

These are the easiest, most engaging activity items my kid has. I saw a few at the Children's Museum in Atlanta and was inspired.  You don't even need instructions to entertain your child for hours. Take a bottle and fill it with something - literally anything - secure cap, and give to you kid. I filled some bottles with water and food coloring. Today we had a play date at a friend's house who had used popcorn in one bottle and felt balls in another. Genius.
Activity Tubes at Atlanta Children's Museum 

Hair Ties & Headbands!

I am completely obsessed with these little elastic hair ties. They don't leave creases in my hair. They don't pull my hair out. And they are adorable. 

When I saw this tutorial on Supperetts, I knew I had to give it a try. 

There are a few places that you can order elastic from. This etsy shop. I ordered from Sunshine Supply Shoppe. I am sure there are plenty of others as well. The hardest part is figuring out which elastic to order. Since the ones in the store retail for about $10 I figured I would order $10 worth of elastic and see where that got me. Sunshine Shoppe was having a sale, so I got quite a bit. 

Once your elastic arrives, simply cut it and tie it. I made some headbands first. (I always have crazy flyaway  so a headband is necessary when I'm working out!) Then I used the remainder for hair ties. I used one I already had to determine the length. It is roughly once around your wrist plus a little. 

I mailed a few to friends by slipping them over a note card. I had some tiny ones that I sent to my niece for her very thin hair and a few even tinnier ones for her dolls. (I simply cut the note cards to fit the size of the band.) 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Fireplace Update

Fireplace after. 
The fireplace has been on my list of updates since we moved in. It took me a few months to put my finger on what I didn't like. First, I looked for a new grate - but couldn't find one. Then when I found one I realized I could probably replace the whole fireplace for what they wanted to charge me for just a grate. Back to the drawing board!

 I considered trying to frame out the mantle. Again, more expensive then what it is worth.

 Then it hit me, I didn't like the gold. Cue heat resistant paint for grills. (I used Rust Oleum.)  I pulled off the cover.  My unwilling assistant, my husband, removed the gold flaps and I spray painted them black. (My husband may have done a few coats of the spraying when it got too cold in the garage.) I let it dry overnight before my husband reassembled it. What a difference a few coats of paint make!

Fireplace before. 

Tool Bench & Belt

I found this great tool bench on Zulily a few months back and it finally arrived. (I love Zulily, but things always take forever to come!) My lovely husband put it together and we both had fun playing with the tools, brackets and gears that came with it.

Anyway, while he was unpacking the box, I remembered that I had some tool themed fabric. A quick Pinterest search for inspiration and I was set to make a tool belt.

I didn't really follow directions for the tool belt. (There are some directions available here.) I had some left over brown fabric and a fat quarter of the tool fabric and two different colors of brownish bias tape. By the time the tool bench was together the tool belt was ready to go!