Monday, August 31, 2009

Monday Mutterings

Whew, it’s been a few days since I’ve been around but it has not been a vacation by any means. We’ve kept ourselves very busy around here.

The hubby has been super busy training his coon dog. It’s his new obsession. To make matters worse, Tuesday is the official start of hunting season. Ugh. I hate hunting season. I have nothing against the actual act of hunting. I have no desire to ever go again but if you want to go, hey have fun. Just don’t wake me up when you leave. It’s way too early, and way too cold. The reason I say I don’t like hunting season is that I suddenly become a single parent. Anyone else familiar with being a hunting widow?

I spent the better part of my weekend getting things ready for the yard sale I’m having this weekend. I can’t stand all the clutter that has accumulated around here lately. It’s time to clean house. This is going to be a pretty big sale. I’m selling extra furniture, dishes, baby items and even some kitchen cabinets. I’m also going through my craft supplies and getting rid of a lot of them. There is so much stuff that I’ve had for years and never used. It’s not likely I’m going to use them any time soon and I would much rather have the extra space.

The rest of the weekend we just spent hanging out around the house soaking up what is left of summer weather. It’s the perfect temperature right now to hang out in the yard or at the park and just have fun. We won’t have much summer left I’m afraid. The nights are already getting quite chilly and we’ve exchanged our pajama shorts for long pants. I’m thinking ahead to fires, fuzzy socks and hot chocolate. The early chill in the air makes me think we may be in for a long cold winter. Time will tell.

Happily the paci seems to be gone for good. The big girl toy really helped things out a lot. She picked a doll that came with its own stroller and she is really proud of it. Really proud and really possessive. No one is allowed to hold the baby. And she loves to push the baby around in the stroller. She pushed it around the entire rest of the day after we got it. Every store we went to the baby and stroller went too. It really slowed things down but she was so happy. She even pushed it around on our evening walk. It was definitely a good choice for a big girl toy. Nap time is still a bit of a hassle but bedtime goes very smoothly. We grab our blanket, the new big girl doll, sing our lullaby and that’s the end of it. The only down side is that morning comes a lot earlier now. Instead of our usual morning between 8:30 and 9:00 we are now awake and starting our day at 7am. I know that’s not ridiculously early or anything, but sometimes I really enjoy sleeping in. Plus it’s a lot harder to get up earlier than her to get anything done. Next comes the potty training. Wish us luck.

I did manage to get some crafting done this weekend as well. I’ve been making lots more boxy bags and doing a lot of crocheting too. More on that tomorrow.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Bye Bye Paci

Ugh. Today was the last day for the pacifier. We traded it in today for a big girl toy and she was perfectly fine with it all day. Tonight is a different story. When we came in to get ready for bed she immediately got her blanket and started looking for a paci. I didn't say anything wanting to see what she would do and she had a little conversation with herself about it.

"My paci...Her throw away at store...I got new toy..."

I thought this was a good sign. She was even okay when I put her in bed. About 10 minutes later the story changed though. She is no longer happy, at all. I feel like the world's meanest mommy. I know it's time though. She normally only has it for naps and at bedtime and for a while we wouldn't let it out of the crib. However, she's become increasingly more clingy with it lately. She'll ask for it at random points throughout the day and doesn't want to give it up in the morning. It is definitely time for it to go but quite frankly this sucks. Thoughtful as he is the hubby decided he didn't want to be here for this tonight so he went out to run dogs with a friend of his. Gee thanks. I may kill him when he gets home. Seriously.

Please send any sleeping vibes you have our way. We really need them. And some patience for me. (and maybe some liquor, I'm just saying)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Handmade Home

Okay I'm getting a little off topic today but I just felt like I really needed to post this tonight. We've been doing a lot of talking lately around here about what is truly important in life. We've become overrun with stuff (a whole other post) and it seems like our focus was shifting away from what we feel is really important.

Things like right now I'm watching my daughter stand in the doorway doubled over with laughter at herself, simply because she thinks she's funny (as do we). These are the things that a good life is made of. It's not about who has a better job, how much money you make, whether or not your house is bigger or anything else that so many people seem to be wrapped up in today. We are striving to get back to a simple life around here. We are shifting the focus back to the small things that make life worth living. Love, laughter, our friends and family and watching our daughter grow. That last one is our biggest focus. She is growing so fast and we just want to enjoy every moment we possibly can together and teach her to be a kind and compassionate person in the process.

It's so easy in this day and age to forget about how life used to be. We're always going, always too busy. People are often so wrapped up in their own lives that they don't take the time to look at the world around them. So wrapped up in our own problems that we don't see the ways we can help those around us. The hubby and I were discussing life and some of the trials we are experiencing and those we have experienced in the past and we realized that no matter what is going on we have so much to be thankful for. We truly are blessed and there are many who are much less fortunate. It's time for us to slow down and refocus our family. There are many people that may not agree with some of the changes we are going to make in the near future. Many people don't understand what it is we are trying to express; they don't value the same things we do. We want our daughter to experience a life where you know your neighbors and reach a helping hand out to others when you can.

One person who I feel really embodies the concept of what we want for our family is Amanda Blake Soule. I found her blog just at the time I was needing someone of a like mind. If you know who I'm talking about then you understand what I'm trying to say. If not I urge you to check out her blog SouleMama. Amanda has done a wonderful job of focusing on what is important to her family and living the life she feels is best for them. She follows her heart and does what she feels is best for herself and her family. We should all be so strong.

She also just released a new book titled Handmade Home and if you haven't seen it yet you should check it out. It's on my wish list for Christmas this year along with her previous book The Creative Family. I wish her all the success in the world as she further pursues happiness.

That's really all any of us can hope for, to be happy. That is what we are striving for here at our house. We are going to be reducing the clutter in our lives on every possible level. We will be focusing on handmade instead of storebought, fun and experiences instead of stuff. Reducing our carbon footprint, strengthening personal bonds and even letting some go. It will be a long journey, and is not likely to be an easy one but it is the right one for us.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Boxy Bag

I made these bags tonight while waiting for the Hubby to get home from work. I made this first one for him out of Transformers fabric. He's a big fan of the movies and was a big fan of them as a kid too so I think he'll really like it. His birthday is on Sunday and I have been trying to think of something small to make him (he's already picked out his big gifts) and then I found the tutorial for this bag.
I stumbled across this tutorial on Patchyapple's blog through this post on Craftster. I thought the bag looked great and would be something the guys on my gift list could use. It's so hard to find gifts to sew/crochet for the guys in my life. This works out great. The tutorial for these is awesome. She explained everything really well and provided step by step photographs for the entire thing. It made it super easy to understand and the bag works up really quickly. You should really check it out. I plan to make several more before Christmas.
I lined Hubby's bag with a durable canvas camo fabric to help give it some shape. I was so happy with this bag when I was finished that I decided I should make one for my father-in-law for Christmas. He was still a blank on my Christmas list so this was good.
I bought this deer fabric a while back knowing I would use it for him but didn't know how. I still have plenty left to make something to go with it. I lined this bag with a simple dark brown fabric. I didn't get quite close enough on the zipper this time. I've never even attempted a zipper until tonight so overall I'm still pretty happy.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Wanna Salsa?

So maybe I don’t know how to do the dance, but I’ve been making salsa like crazy here today. The last batch I made was gone so quickly it didn’t even get to see a jar. This time I’m making it while only the Sweet Pea and I are home so maybe I will be able to can some for later in the year. I made 6 pints and 4 half-pints before I ran out of tomatoes. I can't believe I actually ran out, but I know in a few days there will be plenty more out there to pick. Yum.

I’ve never made salsa before this year but I’m pretty pleased with how it’s turning out. Fresh salsa just tastes so much better than anything you can buy in a store and it’s nice to know exactly what we are eating. You can’t beat that.

In honor of my happiness with making my own salsa I’m going to share my recipe with you. Keep in mind this is the first year I’ve ever made salsa, but everyone around here seems to like it pretty well. The thing I like about this recipe is that it doesn’t make a huge batch so I can make it as I have ingredients and just use it fresh or make a couple batches and can it. I remember my grandmother making salsa when I was a kid and they were huge batches. I remember quart jars filled with salsa everywhere and for some reason I remember her making it on the stove. I'll have to see if my grandpa knows where her recipe might be. I don't necessarily want to make huge batches but maybe she only did that because there were always so many tomatoes from my grandpa's garden. This batch is also nice because I'm able to make a batch for each individual so I can make each batch just the way they would like it. My dad, for instance, likes his salsa about ten times hotter than the Hubby does. The recipe I’m posting isn’t overly hot so you can spice it up to suit your taste.

*Disclaimer: The peppers are HOT! You might want to wear gloves when messing with them. If you don’t wear gloves when you make the salsa and then go take your contacts out and begin to feel like your eyes are going to burn out of your head, it’s not my fault. I warned you. Don’t ask how I know this.

24 oz Chopped fresh tomatoes (I’m sure you can use canned if you don’t have fresh)
½ Cup Chopped White Onion
2 Jalapeño Peppers Seeded and Chopped
1/3 Cup Fresh Cilantro
3-4 Cloves of Garlic
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Red Wine Vinegar
Juice from ½ a small lime

First things first make sure all your produce is washed and clean. Then chop and measure out your tomatoes and onions and put in a fairly large bowl (I took the picture before the onions, sorry). I keep my tomatoes in fairly large pieces, I like chunky salsa. You can cut yours any size you want. See how easy this is?

Next cut the top off of your jalapeño and then slice it in half. Scoop the seeds out with a spoon. Chop them into small pieces and add to your bowl. Here is where another variation can come in. When I make this for myself I dice my jalapeños up into tiny little pieces because although I like the flavor I don’t want to bite into a huge piece. For my dad’s however I use large pieces and add some cayenne peppers too. When I make it for my FIL I don’t use jalapeño at all, instead he likes banana peppers.

Next dice up your garlic and cilantro then add it in. I usually put mine into my small food processor just to save time. I also put my jalapeños in there too when I’m making it for myself just to save time.

Now add your salt, vinegar and lime juice. Mix well and dig in.

In that last step the measurements are really just a guideline. Actually the entire recipe is just a guideline. I usually just add everything until I think it looks and tastes right and it varies from day to day. I had to measure everything out today just so I could post this for you. If you have a large food processor you could probably do everything in there, especially if you didn’t want it very chunky. I would definitely do the tomatoes separately though so everything else gets a chance to get chopped well. I’m sure it would be a lot faster than chopping everything by hand. It makes about 1 ½ pints if you are going to put it in jars. I’m going to process mine for about 10 minutes in my water bath canner. I’ve yet to actually can any of it but from what I’ve seen on other salsa recipes this should be about right.

I’m going to make a few batches later this week with some roasted peppers instead of just fresh. That should be great. I’ll keep you posted. Hope you enjoy the salsa, if you try it out let me know what you think.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Pants or a Blanket?

At the last minute today after taking care of some out of town errands I swung back by the house to pick up my mom and the Sweet Pea to head to Joanns for their big weekend sale. I've been looking for some orange camo fabric (which I still haven't found) to make a vest for the Hubby's birthday and thought they might have some.

I was a little worried about taking the kiddo on a late trip to the fabric store and packed lots of snacks and toys to ward off a tantrum. Luckily it was great. She was in such a happy mood and it was the best time. We found lots of great fabric but don't tell the Hubby. I said I wasn't going to buy anymore fabric until I used up some of my stash, oops. It wasn't my fault though.

I spied this lovely fleece and was contemplating it when the Sweet Pea reached out and exclaimed "ooohhh I love it!" with a huge smile on her face. What's a mama to do? You guessed it, we snatched it up. She held it in her lap the entire time we were shopping and just petted it. It was so much fun and I couldn't keep from laughing at her enthusiasm for fabric shopping. She's addicted already.

I bought it with the idea of making it into some pajama pants for the two of us until we got home and it was thrown on the couch. Now I think it might make a better blanket. I'm afraid the print may be too big for pants. What do you think?

Know what I think? I was just looking at this fabric and suddenly it looked really familiar. Look what I found on the shelf in my craft room...

So I really must like this print since I now have it twice. Maybe I do need to stop buying fabric for a while.

In case you were wondering this fabric is Expressions by M'Liss Rae Hawley. Isn't it great?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Rain, Rain, Rain

"Raaaaiiiin Go Away. Sing nother day." That’s what you’ll hear if you stop by our house this week. The poor little Sweet Pea has been standing at the living room window singing that all week long. It’s pouring here. Which is good for the garden but not great for little girls that want to play outside. We've snuck outside every time the rain has let up for a few minutes but she's not thrilled with that. Makes me afraid of what winter will be like around here. I better start thinking of some new activities to keep us busy and happy.

I know my posting this week has been scarce but I'm just exhausted. We're still adjusting to our new routine around here and it is taking a toll. But the rest of the week (and this weekend) will be much better. I have quite a few things in the works and should have some fun completed projects in the next few days. Tonight though I'm just going to be sitting here on the computer and looking at everything you all have been doing.

Just so this isn't a post without a picture I included a picture of the world's largest okra. Okay maybe not the world's largest, but it's certainly huge. That tiny little round thing in the picture is a quarter. Needless to say that one didn't fit in the jar!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Tooth Fairy Fret No More!

Happy Monday everyone. I hope you all had a wonderful weekend like we did. It's back to business today though. While out to dinner with a special little girl (and her mommy) a few weeks back she was so excited to tell me about her loose tooth. I knew immediately that I had to make this special little treat for her.

I saw this machine embroidery pattern ages ago while I was crusing around Urban Threads. If you've never seen their site you have to check it out. They have some of the most incredible designs. You can get them in hand embroidery or just digital stock art too. I have a huge list of designs I want to get from them. They rock.

Check out the pocket on the back for the tooth! Isn't that the best ever? Now the tooth fairy will have an easy time finding the tooth under the pillow in the dark. She could even leave the money in the pocket, although I've been informed that the tooth fairy now leaves at least a dollar! Geez, inflation hit everywhere I guess. I remember getting much less than that.

Either way this tooth fairy pillow is too cute to pass up. I made this one on fleece but will probably use felt from now on. I would love to find some fabric with teeth to use for the pocket. Any suggestions? It would have to be small print since the pocket isn't very big though.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Wonderful Weekend

This is what our weekend looked like. We've spent the days lounging around on comfy quilts, having tickle wars, and just hanging out together. It's been wonderful to say the very least. It's nice to get to spend so much quality time together as a family, it doesn't happen often enough.

I did manage to get some crafting done, as well as a good amount of kitchen time. I'll update you all with that stuff throughout the upcoming week. It's off to bed for now. Tomorrow is our first day with the little boy that I'm going to be watching so I think I need an extra good night's sleep. Sweet Dreams.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Duck, Duck,


We had a great day on Friday. We made a trip to the Claremore Lake Park to feed the ducks. The hubby was convinced we wouldn't see any ducks and upon our arrival I was afraid he was right. We finally spotted these Geese though and decided they would work just as well.

They posed very nicely to have their pictures taken too. Much better than the ducks we finally found as we were leaving the lake. Silly ducks.

This sweet little thing had a wonderful time staring at the geese swimming around. We were a little apprehensive about her first upclose experience with water fowl but she did exceedingly well. Aside from the fact that she ate more popcorn than she actually threw. What happens when you try to explain to an almost two year old that she should stop eating long enough to throw just a little bit?

You get this look in return. Don't you just hate when your child give you a look that you can recognize as one you give? Yeah, that's a fun moment.

It was a great time though. It was so nice to just take a step away from our hectic schedules and the stresses of daily life that have been upon us lately and just enjoy each other. Sitting on a rock by the lake just enjoying spending time together. It was especially sweet for me because I can remember doing this same thing with my parents when I was a child. It's nice to know that no matter how much time has gone by, some things never change.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Boy was that a short trip.

Do you know what happens when you make plans? Something, that's what. Something always happens. I got up extra early yesterday, double checked all the bags made sure the house was realatively tidy and the Sweet Pea headed down the street with the grandma. Dh and I jump in the truck and head off on our exciting adventure. We get less than 40 miles from home and our truck breaks down. What?!?! This truck isn't even a year old. You. have. got. to. be. kidding. me! Sensors start chiming, warning lights are coming on and the truck powers down to about 20 miles per hour. What the heck? Turns out the fuel injector pump is going out. Wonderful. So we have to call another driver and have him come get our trailer to take the load to Michigan. Bye exciting new land. Bye wonderful weekend alone with Hubby. Bye to the money we would have made on this haul. Ugh. Needless to say while waiting in a parking lot for the other driver to show up I had a bit of a breakdown and pity party.

And I don't apologize for it one bit. Naturally it's not a fun thing when you miss out on something you've looked forward to. Not to mention giving up and entire week's salary. Ouch. But once my little pity party was over I made a new plan. (yes I know) Luckily for me the parking lot just happened to be that of a Walmart so I decided to go inside and mope around a bit. They do have a fabric section afterall. If that wouldn't cheer me up, nothing would. There wasn't an employee to be found so I left my fabric sitting and decided to look for a new project for our weekend. Since we weren't going to have a wonderful weekend away, I vowed to create a wonderful family weekend at home.

I bought groceries to make some of our favorite meals, a new case of canning jars for the pickled okra I'll be making this weekend and even a few miscellaneous art supplies to occupy us in the near future. I'm feeling much better today and our fun family weekend is off to a great start. Today was a wonderful day with some great pictures that I'll share with you all tomorrow. Tonight I'm just relaxing with some late night tv and some blog surfing.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend too!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Headed for Michigan

I'll be out of town for the next several days because I am joining the hubby on a trip to Michigan. I've never been and the grandma (my mom) offered to watch the Sweet Pea so I could join him. I'm really excited! I love going to new places. I've done a lot of traveling East, West and South but have never really gone very far North. Definitely not this far.

I don't know how much sightseeing we'll get in but you can be sure we'll be doing some. I'll take my computer with me but I don't know if I'll have internet access while I'm gone. If not I'll update you all as soon as I return home.

Have a lovely week everyone!

Cupcake Birthday Bash Part 4 of 4: The Skirt

Photo Disclaimer: Last Christmas I decided to stray from the Cannon and Sony cameras that I love so much and buy a small Nikon. It was not a great decision on my part. I would like to apologize for the blurry shots I've posted lately (especially the recent ones of the cupcake party) and promise that I will try to do better about keeping batteries in my other cameras. Thanks Nikon. Geez.

Finally the final post about the cupcake party. Although I loved making everything and am beyond pleased with the party I can not wait to start posting about some other things. I've been doing a lot of machine embroidery this week that I can't wait to show you! I promise it's worth the wait though.

Since I had enough apron fabric left over I wanted to make an outfit for the Sweet Pea to wear to the party. I didn't have much left so I had to settle for just making a skirt. I used the skirt pattern from Simplicity 3856 and made this:

I really like it quite a lot. It was a pain in my rear end to sew but that was no fault of the pattern, it just confused the heck out of me. Finally about 10:30 the night before the party I gave up and promised to try and finish it the next morning. With a little (okay, a lot) of help from my mom the skirt was done in time for the party though. I just could not get the skirt onto the band at all. Much too complicated for me. I'll go back to sewing rectangles thank you very much. But it is adorable. We just paired it with a plain pink tee and she was good to go. I only wish I could have gotten the cupcake hair clips finished.

The only bad thing is that she has such a tiny waist that once the skirt is on her you can hardly see the cupcake fabric. It really only shows when she walks around. Oh well

Cupcake Birthday Bash Part 3 of 4: The Aprons

Okay anyone else getting tired of cupcake party pictures? I promise we're nearing the end and then we'll get on to bigger and better things. (well maybe just different things)

I decided if they were going to be little cupcake decorators they absolutely needed aprons. What kind of a party would it have been without the aprons? Exactly. Without further delay, here are the aprons...

This is the first apron I made and it almost kept the other kids from getting one. I used Simplicity 3949. This pattern is horrible. Okay, maybe that's not fair. It could have been me. Afterall we all know I'm not an expert seamstress but still. I didn't like that there were so many pieces, the directions didn't seem that clear and the overall result was not any better than the other's I ended up making. This apron took nearly as long to make as all the other's combined. It could have been the fact that it was the first one I made (my first apron ever) or it could be the pattern. Needles to say, I'm blaming the pattern. It's still cute though. I love the dog bone fabric I used for the pockets and the straps. I didn't have any other fabric to match the green that wasn't girly so it was a choice of necessity but I love how it turned out. I didn't want it to look girly since he was already going to be the only little boy at a cupcake party. He really liked it though.

The rest of the aprons turned out great. I used McCalls 5720 and it was much better. They were quick and easy to put together and turned out pretty cute. This time I made each one a little different just to play around a little. On these next two I used the same fabric on the pockets and straps but a different main color. All these fabrics (including the one above) came out of my stash so I was super excited to use some of it up.

I absolutely love this one! I love the way the fabrics pop against each other. I have put the rest of these fabrics aside and will be making the Sweet Pea some type of outfit in the very near future.

And since it was a cupcake party I had to run out and buy some cupcake fabric. Okay, maybe I didn't need it but come on. It's seriously fun.

The birthday girl's apron. I made the cupcakes the main focus here. I was really happy with how it turned out. I like the yellow with it, gives it a little bit of a switch up. I wanted to make the Sweet Pea's similar because they are into super copy cat mode here lately. They each have to have anything the other one has. (It's actually quite obnoxious) I didn't want them to be identical though so I switched the placement of the fabrics for the next one.

Here's the one I made for the Sweet Pea. I almost like this one better, it's not as loud with just a small amount of the cupcake fabric. I made one large pocket in the front but sewed a dividing seam down the middle so technically she has two pockets. It needed a large amount of pocket space. Everything now needs a large amount of pocket space.


Stay tuned for post 4 of 4. Yea, finally the last one. It's a better shot of the outfit (well just a skirt really) that I made for dd to wear.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Cupcake Birthday Bash Part 2 of 4: Action Shots

Here are some fun action shots from the cupcake party. I can't believe the kids did such a great job decorating their cupcakes. They were all very serious about what they were doing and made sure they kept the icing on their cupcakes. I fully expected them to decorate each other and everything around them. It was a blast. Even some of the adults got into the spirit of decorating.

The birthday girl. What a pose.

Doesn't that look like fun? How about those stylish aprons everyone is wearing? Stay tuned tomorrow for part 3...aprons. I'll post some better shots of the aprons as well as pattern information.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Cupcake Birthday Bash Part 1of 4: The Basics

Saturday's birthday party for my neice went extremely well. Almost everything was done in time, the kids had a great time and it wasn't a huge disasterous mess. I'm breaking this up into 4 posts to keep this from becoming too long to read at one time. (plus I want to make sure the birthday girl's family has a post with just party shots) This time I'll just post some of the party basics because I can't get over how cute a cupcake party is. If you have the time you could really create some great things.
There were a few projects I wanted to make but simply ran out of time. The old me would have stayed up all night the night before and worked frantically all day to get everything completed. I would have been tired, stressed out and wouldn't have enjoyed the party at all. That's how I know I've learned to relax some. I prioritized the to do list so I would start with the most important things, completed as much as I could and when I ran out of time I stopped and was fine with it. I even took an afternoon break before the party had lunch and relaxed. It was quite a new experience for me and I loved it. I got the kids started on the cupcakes and just sat back and watched all the fun.

I made 3 dozen cupcakes, nothing fancy just chocolate and white cake mixes. In fact, I only even decorated less than a dozen. I only did those to give the adults the option of eating some that didn't have little hands all over them. I did make the buttercream frosting from scratch though. It just tastes so much better to me and its easy, even if it is a little messy.

Just before bed the night before I saw this post about printing your own cupcake flags. Of course my printer is awol so I had to pull out some scrapbook paper and whip these up. They aren't the best version but it added something else for them to play with. (see opening picture)

Since throwing the party was a last minute decision (she was out of state on her birthday) I didn't have time to make and mail invitations. Instead I took the invitation idea and turned it into her birthday card. I found the cupcake patterned paper at Hobby Lobby and just freehanded the cupcake out of cardstock I had at home. I think it turned out pretty cute.

I even managed to find cupcake liners with little cupcakes on them. I couldn't resist! Another Hobby Lobby find.

Here's a close up shot of the decorating table. (I can't believe I forgot a picture of the entire room) It's actually my coffee table. I just pulled it into the middle of the living room and put everything there. It was just the right height for the kids to sit at and worked out great. I used pink plates and napkins since that is the birthday girl's favorite color. I split the two batches of frosting and made five different colors for them to use. (there is also a yellow one which isn't pictured) I put them into disposeable piping bags with a different type of decorating tip in each one. I used disposeable because the idea of washing out 5 messy bags was enough to give me a headache! There are a couple things I didn't get in the picture. Each of their cups has a name tag on it that I made out of scrapbook paper (which matched the flags) and I also decorated the table with large sprinkles instead of confetti.

Like I said, there are a lot of other things I would have made if time had allowed. One thing that a lot of people do is make the cupcake shaped cake using a pan like this or this. It's really very cute but unfortunately I don't have one of those pans yet and wanted to just use things I have on hand to keep the cost down and use up some of my supplies. I also wanted to make a fabric banner like this one or this one (or at least one out of cardstock) but that was one of the projects that didn't make the final cut. I'll definitely be keeping it in mind for future parties though. I also had the idea of doing pin the cherry on the cupcake (like pin the tail on the donkey) by making a giant cupcake out of poster board. I think that would be a cute party game. There are tons of other ideas out there if you do a search on cupcake party ideas. With a little planning (and more than 4 days to do it all) you could make an awesome cupcake themed party. Stay tuned for Part 2...Action shots from the party!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Happy Anniversary Nana & Papa

Today my inlaws are celebrating their 42nd wedding anniversary. Well maybe not celebrating but it is their anniversary. I guess by the time you've been married over 40 years you're ready to have a low key anniversary. They've mentioned plans of maybe going to eat lunch together, maybe. They're so funny.

Tomorrow or maybe later today I'll post all the pictures from yesterday's birthday party. It was a huge success and not as big of a mess as I had predicted. Woo Hoo!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Can I sleep yet?

I’ve spent the last couple days working on getting everything ready for my niece’s birthday party that we are hosting this Saturday. Nothing like a last minute decision to throw a birthday party. And you know I can't just get by with the basics or make a run to the party store to get supplies. Nope I have to jump in head first and decide to make everything. Did I mention I was tired? It will be worth it tomorrow though.

We had to take a brief break today from all the sewing (I thought my head was going to explode) and we made some paper lanterns for decorations. They really are cute and took no time at all to make. It was nice to do a little crafting together and just relax.

First pick out the colored paper you want to use. The paper I used is a lightweight cardstock which I thought would help them stand up to a bit more wear and tear. It would work great with construction paper too. Just fold your paper in half lenthwise. (or hot dog style if you were taught that way) Make sure you get a good crease.

I used my Fiskars Paper Trimmer to cut the slits in mine. You could use scissors too but I just love this little thing because I can not cut a straight line. Plus the ruler helped me keep my cuts approximately the same distance from the edge. I cut mine leaving about one inch on the top and bottom to make sure they wouldn't tear.

After you are finished your paper should look something like this. As you can see we aren't stuck on perfection around here and our cuts are not evenly spaced. It still looks fine in the finished product.

Then you just glue the ends together. You could use tape or staples too. I just used an Elmer's glue stick since that's what we had on hand.

Now you just need to make a dozen or so more and decorate your house with them. I plan on placing some in the window sill and then hanging some from either the ceiling or the ceiling fan.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Imagine My Surprise at the Naked Ladies

...Standing proudly in my front lawn!

Had you going there for a minute didn’t I? No? Oh well, I tried. I certainly was surprised to see these lovely ladies popping up this past week. I had no idea we even had them here until the Sweet Pea spotted them out the window the other morning. I told her they were called Naked Ladies and she immediately began prancing around the house yelling “Nakie, Nakie”. At least someone else around here is enthusiastic about the gardens.

Speaking of the gardens, please forgive my sad excuse for a flower bed in the background of this picture. I know they are pitiful looking. I promise to clean them out and remodel them before next spring. I have great plans for the various garden spaces around the yard. I have visions of strawberries, tulips, mulch and butterfly gardens. It will be spectacular. Well they will be better than this anyway.