21 September 2014

PASTEL RAINBOW TUTU DIY













SUPPLIES

Pastel Tulle Netting - 6" Rolls (pink, peach, yellow, mint, aqua, lavender)
1" Elastic Piece - about 24" per skirt
Fabric Scrap - roughly 6"x24" I used a pale blue
Interfacing - cut about 5"x24"
Thread (to match fabric)
Straight Pins
Scissors
Safety Pin - 2 Large
Sewing Machine
1" Ribbon - 4" long

PROCESS
1. Cut a 45" strip of each of the tulle colors x3.
2. Cut the Fabric and interfacing strips.
3. Cut the Elastic strip.
4. Lay out the fabric strip on a large, flat surface with the right side down. 
5. Lay out each tulle strip in order of the rainbow, side by side and overlapping each other about 2". Keep the center of the tulle strip over the fabric strip. The easiest way to do this is to fold a piece of tulle in half and place the folded edge in the center of the fabric strip's height, then unfold the tulle. You may have some left over pieces by the time you get to the end of the 24" strip of fabric. 
6. Place the interfacing strip on top of the tulle layer right over the fabric strip. You won't need to fuse it (iron it) to the tulle.
7. Pin a large safety pin to each end of your elastic strip and place that on top of the interfacing. 
8. Pin the outer left end to the edge of the fabric, interfacing and tulle layers.
9. Carefully fold the entire thing in half, keeping the elastic inside. This is the tricky part because it can't be done all at once, but rather sections at a time. The top should be the fabric outer layer with the fold at the top edge.
10. Then carefully fold under the fabric and interfacing layers and straight pin along the width of the skirt every few inches.
11. Once that side is pinned, gently flip it over and do the same on the other side, but use the same straight pin from the other side. You don't need double pins, but you do need both edges tucked under.
* This is where my non-sewing skills shine through, this is probably not the most effective way to do this but it works for me and my crafting-sewer skills. 
12. Sew along the pinned line, just 1/8" in from the folded under side. It won't matter which side you sew on, but choose one, and sew one big long straight line, taking out the pins as you go. Make sure you don't sew into the elastic. I sew about 1/2" away from the elastic to avoid that problem.
13. When this is complete, you can fish the elastic through, if needed. The interfacing keeps the path smooth and the pin makes it easier to fish through. If the elastic is long enough, and already shows through, proceed to gather the waistline by pulling the fabric band toward the left pinned edge.
14. When the waistband is at the desired width, bunched to create some fluff, take out the pulling pin side and pin it to secure the elastic to the skirt. 
15. Cut the excess elastic.
16. Sew the elastic to that edge and repeat for the left edge. Now you should have a bunched tulle strip with elastic inside and a fabric waistband.
17. Connect the ends by meeting up and sewing the two ends together, keeping the seem inside the waist. I finish it with ribbon folded over the ends and sewn (see bottom photo).
* See how I'm not really a seamstress? I am SURE there's a better way to do this but I have tried making tutus before and this has been my most successful one. The knotted one and full sheets of tulle were both a fail. I suppose you could say this DIY is for the non-sewer. It's really not too hard though. If I can do it, so can you.
18. Cut off the bottom to the desired length of skirt. Mine are cut to about 14" long. 



17 September 2014

VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE!

How fun is this?!? Modify Ink has made it to the Martha Stewart American Made 2014 Design Finalists. Please vote, and vote again. You can vote 6 times each day! It's such a fantastic creative resource and they really do deserve the praise!!

P.S. That's my house in the video.

Thanks in advance ;)




15 September 2014

RAINBOW DASH PARTY HEADBANDS

I made pastel pony headbands and tutus for the party girl and her sister... and look at the giddiness! They were so excited for their friends to arrive and show off their fluffy rainbow outfits.



SUPPLIES
Pastel Tulle Netting - 6" Rolls (pink, peach, yellow, mint, aqua, lavender)
Covered Headbands - I found a variety pack of 4 at the dollar store
Felt - I used blue for rainbow dash and purple for twilight sparkle
Needle & Thread (to match felt)
Straight Pins

PROCESS
1. Cut a 12" strip of each of the tulle colors.
2. At the top center of the headband tie a pink 12" strip into a knot. Followed by a peach, then yellow, mint, aqua, blue, lavender... whatever colors you find, do them in order of the rainbow.
3. Gather them all into the center, and cut them evenly at about 4".
4. Cut two felt ears (see template below), wrap around the headband on each side of the tulle and pin.
5. Hand sew each ear with simple stitching keeping the knots inside the ears.
6. Cut down the tulle to the desired height. I cut mine to 2" long.




























































FREE TEMPLATE PDF


11 September 2014

PASTEL PLASTIC STRAW WREATH


























I made a plastic straw wreath a while back. They're not terribly hard to make. My lovely friend Meg taught a bunch of us to make them from a tutorial she found. I'm not sure where, but there is a tutorial here. All you need is wire and plastic straws. Knock yourself out, you're sure to find a use for one!

























It stayed white until I was party planning for the PASTEL RAINBOW DASH PARTY and wondered about spray painting it lightly with rainbow colors. Pastel of course. I already had pink, yellow and aqua so I found a baby blue, peach and green. The only color I was missing was a lavender but guess what?!... Once you spray the blue in one area, and the pink slightly over it, there's your lavender.

The over all trick to this is to lightly spray in one area at a time, holding the can a bit farther back than you normally would. Making your way all the way around the wreath with each color in order: blue, pink over blue (to get lavender), pink, peach, yellow, green, aqua. I did two coats and let the colors overlap slightly to get an ombre fading effect.

Very cute in the end. And rainbow decor always comes in handy for St. Patrick's Day.

08 September 2014

PASTEL RAINBOW PARTY DECORATIONS




























































SUPPLIES
Tissue Paper
Packing Tape
MS Fringe Scissors (or scissors, but trust me, these fringe scissors are a worthwhile purchase.)

PROCESS
1. Lay out three pieces of tissue paper, open on a flat cutting surface.
2. Fold in half, and half again.
3. Cut along folds to equal fourths of the whole sheets.
4. Repeat for all your tissue pieces. *You can cut the desired amount for where you're hanging it up in the end. My tissue fringe is the width of the tissue paper and waterfalls down 16 rows to cover our counter height.
5. With three pieces at a time, cut fringe about 4" tall (about 1/2 of the height of your pieces of tissue).
6. Repeat until the desired amount is fringed. If you cut too much, you can always use this for future projects.
7. Put a strip of packing tape along the top edge (no fringe) and flip it so that the sticky side is UP.
8. Carefully lay the next piece on top of the taped edge so that the fringe is the only thing you see and the solid edge is on top.
9. Repeat, adding layers on top until you reach the desired height.
*If you used shorter strips of tape, flip the whole thing over and cover the empty spaces with tape. This adds strength and keeps the back from snagging on things.


05 September 2014

PASTEL RAINBOW DASH PARTY STYLE SHEET

My littlest adores Rainbow Dash. The My Little Pony that is BLUE... that's the one for her. We don't watch the cartoons, but the toys don't sass, so they're allowed. As her 4th birthday approached, we knew we would be creating a rainbow party.

We've been to other rainbow parties and My Little Pony parties with a real pony to ride... but we of course wanted to make this party a wee bit new = PASTEL Rainbow Dash Party.















































I'm over baking, so I ordered cupcakes once the color palette was decided. Then I started creating and purchasing items for the party favors. Because I work on several projects at the same time (a little bit here, a little bit there until it's finished), I was making decorations and party favor items for the next month or so. And the biggie, I made a pinata for this party. My first one. It was a 4. Aaaand it's smashed to smithereens now. That's a bit hard to watch ;)

PARTY FAVORS
White box with pastel yarn wrapped around and a name tag hot glued to the top of the box with each child's name. Contents: Pastel Pony, Pastel Mini Slinky, Ribbon Ring, Ribbon Barrett, Pastel Personalized Bracelets

FOOD
Fruit Skewers, Pastel Marshmallows, Marshmallow Pops, Cupcakes, Apple Juice

DECORATIONS
Rainbow Taped Wall, Dyed Bottles, Dyed Cake Pedestals, Pastel Paper Garlands and Drops, Name Banner, Crepe Paper Fringe

ACTIVITIES
Face Painting, Pinata

I'll pass along a few DIY projects and things soon.

20 August 2014

A ROOM FOR BABY - HOMESPUN

As promised, a style sheet for my SIL's baby room. The color palette is fresh and versatile and works so great in a room with grey walls and basic white or wood furniture. This would also make a cute future playroom too.

"Homespun" accents are based on house shapes and angles. Lots of fun things out there within this theme right now. I always say, the best part about being pregnant is decorating a baby room.

xoxo Almost there, Jenny!



Curtains - Serena & Lily Navy
Coat Rack - IKEA
Wallpaper - Ferm Living "Village"
Suitcases - Land of Nod
Bunny Plushie - One Kings Lane
Art - Schoolhouse Electric
Lamp - Rouge Living
Straw Wreath - Handmade
Art - Modify Ink "Rowhouses"
Light String - Bright Lab Lights "Party Girl"
Wire Basket - Ferm Living
Cloud Pillow - Land of Nod
Ball Plushie - Handmade
Throw - Vintage
Dolls - BlaBla "Apple the Apple"
Pillow - Etsy
House Shelf - Ferm Living "Little Dorm"
Side Table - Land of Nod Neon Pink
Glider - Land of Nod
White Shag Pouf - Calypso
Rug - IKEA
BookShelf Doll House - Honest to Nod
Art - Land of Nod "Bowtie"

13 August 2014

BABY GIFTING



This little package was for my SIL who's having a baby girl! In the box: I made a ball, a straw wreath, bought some outfits at Gap (that I had a hard time parting with), put them in some craft paper and wrapped that with a mini pennant garland. Stay tuned to see the baby room style sheet. It's so-so-so adorable. I can't wait to meet this little bitty!

07 August 2014

MODIFY INK IS A GO!

This little project is ready for the masses. It's such a fantastic idea. Rachel Brenchley, CEO and CoFounder of Basic Grey has teamed up with some smartie pants to create a platform that connects artists with consumers enabling them to customize artwork for their needs.

I've often found my-naughty-self photoshopping artwork I've found online to make it work for my home, changing colors and patterns. Now I can be legit about it.

I was asked to create a few art pieces that you can see here. Anyone can be the artist, anyone can buy the art pieces. All through Modify Ink.

Check out the how-to here and you can even see a bit of our abode in the background.




31 July 2014

MINI FELT PENNANT

I use these little bitties for lots of things. They're great for gift wrapping (around a craft package). They're cute in a kids room within a gallery wall of art. They're great over a bulletin board, or doorway. Fun for party decorations, and little girls play houses... the uses go on and on. And they're easy to make.



SUPPLIES
Variety of Felt
Fabric Scissors
Sewing Machine
Thread

PROCESS
1. First I go through my felt scrap bag to see if I can salvage anything there. I gather a few colors, anywhere from 3-5. This would be cute in one color too, actually.
2. Cut little triangles, equal in size and amounts of each color. Line them up as you cut so you can see how long it will be. Keep going until you reach your desired length.
3. Then sew them together by stitching about 1/8" in from the top of the triangle, one after the other.
4. I always leave about 6"of thread dangling from each end and tie off the ends with a knot.
5. Ready to hang.

17 July 2014

PEA IN A POD CRAFT

My kids love craft time, but honestly, we're running out of simple crafts for the kids.

The Disney Store Pea in a Pod plushies are on their want list so...It's no surprise when a request for a Pea in a Pod craft evolved into ME making little felt plushies for them. After this, I started pinning more simple crafts to add to the pool of options ;)























They turned out so cute though, so... well worth the time for the smiles in return. And they're a nice substitute until they can earn enough of their own money to buy them at the Disney Store. Or perhaps these will suffice and they'll cross that item off their list ;) That ever growing want list in their heads.

I opted to keep it simple and not make these with a zipper, but of course, you could do this any way you want, with or without a zipper. With or without a sewing machine. I chose to hand sew with embroidery thread.

SUPPLIES
Felt - Three different greens
Embroidery Thread - 1 green to match the peas, 1 green to match the pod, Black and pale pink
Needles
Stuffing
Pink Powdered Eye Shadow
Small Paint Brush
Zipper - To Match (optional)

PROCESS
1. Cut six circles all the same size out of the same color of green. These will be the three peas. I use the lighter green for the peas. I'm providing a template below, but FYI the peas are the same size as the inside circle of a mason jar lid.



























2. Cut the pods (2) in the same color. I use the mid tone green for the pod.
3. Cut the stems (2) in the same color. I use the darkest green for the stem.
*While cutting felt, I also made several circle templates on paper so my kids could draw the faces. This kept them involved in the craft for the first little while.

4. Once all of the pieces are cut, I drew in the faces slightly on the felt. It's hard for kids to draw in pencil on felt and you don't want pencil lines to show up so I just did this quickly.

5. EYES: Divide 1 piece of black embroidery thread into 3 strands, for the eyes (There are 6 to begin with, I used 3 strands), thread the needle, pull the ends together and knot. When I make eyes, I poke first from the backside, pull it through, knot and then embroider over the knot to give it some bulge. Be careful not to make it a nubby knot that is easy to pick off.

6. MOUTH: Divide 1 piece of pale pink embroidery thread into 3 strands, thread the needle, pull the ends together and knot. Poke from the backside on one end of the mouth and make small stitches close to each other. Each pea has a slightly different "smile" line.

7. PEAS: Divide 1 piece of green embroidery thread (to match the peas) into 2 strands, thread the needle, DON'T pull both ends together, just knot the longest end. Poke from the inside about 1/8" from the edge of one circle, then through the inside of the other circle... stitch along that line all the way around the circle, leaving about 1" opening. Put a small bit of stuffing inside and complete the stitching all the way around to close the pea.

8. POD: Divide 1 piece of green embroidery thread (to match the pod) into 2 strands, thread the needle, DON'T pull both ends together, just knot the longest end. Follow the starting point on the pattern, smaller end first, working around the bottom of the pod. When you get to the stem side of the pod, layer on the stem pieces, one on each side and sew through all four pieces of felt all the way around the stem. Make your final knot on the inside of the pod under the stem.
*I had my oldest try a little of the stitching and she did pretty good. For the most part though, this is a mom project.






































9. Add blush to the peas (optional) for little cheeks. I used some pink eyeshadow and a stiffer small paintbrush, dabbing a little bit at a time. Just below the eyes and out slightly.

In the end it's an open top pod to hold the three little peas. Happy Peas. Happy Kids.

























TEMPLATE
Print at 100% and cut each piece.














































14 July 2014

DISNEYLAND TRAVEL PACK FOR KIDS

We actually went to Disneyland back in February but truth be told, our computer overloaded with photos and I was behind on unloading the camera for months. No bother, EVERY SEASON IS DISNEY SEASON, right?
























I put this together for the flight to keep the kids entertained and it worked... for a good 2 hours. You can also see the purses and autograph books I made here.

EACH PACK INCLUDES:
Mini Suitcases - Target
Art Packet - Target
Vintage Disneyland Postcards + Postcard Stamps - handmade (see below)
Pencil Case - Dollar Store crayons, pens, and pencils
Snacks - fruit snacks, dumdum and raisins

Other fun ideas to add:
Disposable camera
Mini Play-dough
Colored pipe cleaners
Disneyland Map


POSTCARDS
Print on Cardstock, cut, fold and paste.



01 July 2014

PIRATE FAIRY PAPER DOLLS

I had a few requests for more paper dolls! When I first did these, they were for my daughter's Fairy Birthday Party.

Since then, The Pirate Fairy released. So we have to have Zarina. And sadly, last time, I wasn't able to do Vidia or Fawn, so those are added as well. Have fun!

FREE PRINTABLES
Print on 8.5"x11" and Cut

 


21 June 2014

PAINTED WOOD BEADS



SUPPLIES
Wood Beads
Variety of Acrylic Paints - Gold. Florescent.
Paint Brush
Masking Tape
Chopsticks (to put the bead on while painting)
Styrofoam (to stick the chopsticks in to dry)
Spray Sealant
String or Twine (to make a necklace or bracelet)

PROCESS
1. Put a bead on a chopstick end and paint it.
* If you'd like a clean edge or a pattern use masking tape to tape it off.
2. Keep it on the chopstick and poke the other end into a styrofoam piece to dry.
3. Repeat for the quantity of desired beads.
4. Once dry, spray with a clear matte sealant.
5. Once dry, thread beads and tie off at desired length.

WHAT CAN THEY BE USED FOR?
- Jewelry - They're fun necklaces and bracelets for girls parties.
- Key Chain - String a few on a strand of leather.
- Luggage Tag
- Kids Counting Games
- Party Decorations - String on gold thread and hang from the ceiling, String to create a garland, or put a bunch in clear glass containers.



16 June 2014

SHOULDER-STRAP PURSES FOR GIRLS

We went to Disneyland a while back... first timers. I wanted a purse that my girls could wear instead of carry. I shopped around but it proved a challenge to find one with a long strap and the right size to fit a notebook inside. So I made them.

I also made them a Golden Book Frozen covered notebook to collect princess autographs. My daughters found these little Frozen charms on our first day there (attached to the zipper pulls). And I wanted to use felt balls to make the zipper easier to pull.

I'm not even going to post a pattern because this was a last minute situation... and I fumbled through it. My first zippers and all. But they turned out cute, but let's be honest, anything made with Heather Ross fabric is bound to be cute. I'm a fan.

While we spent time in line and even at night before bed, our girls drew sweet little drawings of each princess to coordinating with their signatures. I loved that. It made for a good memory book for them.

































28 May 2014

I HEART MY TEACHER

My daughter was blessed with a fantastic teacher this year. On her last day of school, we wanted to give her a little thank-you-something. I actually put these together for her preschool teachers last year too. Rifle Paper Co. notebooks that are lovely and useful.

These come as a set of three for about $12. You can find them at Target, Urban Outfitters, Amazon, Paper Source... I also had some thank you cards on hand. I wrapped them up with craft paper, tied them with string and let my daughter write the thank you tag.

Many thanks to you Mrs. Fredrickson! We heart you!!


06 May 2014

FROZEN PARTY DIY TUTORIALS (cont.)

TASSEL GARLAND
My little artist loves to create booklets and drawings of Elsa (or whoever she's into at the moment) and wanted to be a part of the decorations for her party. So I hung up all of her artwork on a big bare wall and criss-crossed two tassel garlands above them.

You can find lots of tutorials for tassel garlands, I found a great one here but after making one myself, I have a few *tidbits to add.
* I wanted to use iridescent cellophane along with a couple of other colors. It's a material that promotes lots of static so it took some getting used to. It doesn't twist as well either.
* I also found that after twisting the top, a dab of hot glue is nice to ensure the twist stays together.
* I also didn't want the tassels to move around on strand so I hot glued them into place after spacing them.

SUPPLIES
Tissue Paper - I used three separate colors of 20"x20" sheets (the iridescent is slightly smaller). One sheet can make two (full) tassels or four (thinner) tassels. In the end I had 12 tassels to space out (roughly every 4") on the string.
String - I used a 4' long strand of iridescent string that was part of a Michael's $1 pack of trimmings. I found something similar here.
Scissors - P.S. those fringe scissors don't work for this. They do work if you want a short tassel, but the scissors only cut 2"-3" fringe so your tassel size will be about 4" in the end.
Hot Glue Gun
* Optional - washi tape

PROCESS
1. Fold one piece of tissue paper in half, fold it in half again, and a third time.






















2. Cut the fringe strips starting from the open bottom edge, each strip about 1/4" wide. Cutting almost to the top (about 1.5" from the folded top edge).
3. At this point you can get two-four pieces by cutting down the "long" folded sides (the long side is the fringe so you'd only be cutting through the 1.5" space.
4. Unfold and lay flat (top iridescent photo).
5. Roll the entire fringed sheet from the center. With the iridescent I glue to keep it rolled.
6. twist from the middle and create a loop around your finger. Glue to ensure the loop stays twisted.
7. *For an added decorative, you can use washi tape over the twist.
8. String onto string and space out. Glue to keep them in place if desired.

























































CAKE TOPPER NUMBER
I wanted a glittered #6. I noticed this on PInterest and tried it. Woop-woop it works.


SUPPLIES
Parchment Paper - Make sure you use parchment paper instead of wax paper.
Hot Glue Gun
Tooth Picks/Skewers - Depending on how tall you want it.
Sprinkles/Glitter/Confetti - Whatever material you want to cover your topper with.

PROCESS
1. Draw a shape or number with the hot glue gun right onto a sheet parchment paper.
2. Place the toothpick into the glue and redo the shape with glue. *If you want the stick to be a different color, dye the toothpicks first with food color dye.
3. Sprinkle glitter all over the glue. Let dry.
4. Gently peal from the parchment paper and turn it over.
5. Repeat the process on the back side so that glitter is on both sides. Let dry.


DIY BRACELET PACKET
Our girls birthday parties always include a craft of some kind. We've painted wood letters (that was messy), we've made wood peg dollies, and paper dolls (that was a hit). This little packet of beads was another hit. I gathered a variety of sparkly beads for them to make their own bracelets.


SUPPLIES
Variety of 16mm Beads - (here, here, here, and here)
Stretch String
Scissors
Washi Tape
Sharpie
Small Cello Baggies

PROCESS
1. Load each baggie with 13-14 beads.
2. Wrap 10" of stretch string into a circle around three of your fingers. Keep it together with a small bit of washi tape.
3. Fold baggie over and seal. Place a bit of washi tape over the seal.
4. Write each guests name on the washi tape.

All ready for each guest to make their own little bracelet. Keep the scissors handy, they'll need help tying a knot and cutting off.




28 April 2014

FROZEN PARTY DIY TUTORIALS

There were lots of hand made items in this party. All easy to do. Refer to the party plan posting for more details. Below is a more complete look at a few of the decorations and food that went into this party.

CREPE PAPER SWAGS
I taped three of these to the ceiling to provide some movement and icy color. I used another for a table runner.

























SUPPLIES
Crepe Paper Sheets
Food Coloring
Pie Tin (shallow) and Bowl (deep)
Water
Wax Paper
Scissors - I used Fringe Scissors

PROCESS
1. Unwrap one package but don't unravel the crepe paper. It will be roll folded, right out of the package.
2. Fill a pie tin with 1 inch of water and 1-2 drops of food coloring. I used blue for an icy effect.
3. Fill a deeper bowl (I used Easter egg bowls for dying eggs) with about 2-3" of water and add 1 drop of the same color. *You can color mix, depending on your party theme and color palette. I used blue again so that the shorter ends would be slightly darker than the extended color.
4. Dip one edge into the shallow pan, soak up some color and then dip that same edge into the deeper bowl.
5. Lay it flat onto a sheet of wax paper.
6. Repeat for the second package of crepe paper. *You may need to add more water/dye.
7. Repeat this for as many as packages that you have.
8. Go back to the first bundle and dip the other edge, first in the shallow and then in the deep. *Be careful to keep the dye from dripping into the middle.
9. Let all of the bundles dry completely.
10. Unroll each bundle, one at a time and fold in half.
11. Fringe cut the edges. I use Martha Stewart's Fringe scissors. They can't handle too many layers of crepe paper at one time, so that's why I fold it in half.
*If you use regular scissors, you could probably fold it a few times to cut down on the cutting.
























































BANNER
SUPPLIES
Computer and Printer
Illustrator
Xacto Knife and Cutting Board
Small Hole Punch
Glue
Glitter
Wax Paper
Ribbon
Hot Glue Gun and Glue

PROCESS
1. Create a pennant banner in Illustrator by forming a triangle and repeating it for each letter of your banner phrase.
2. Type out your phrase, outline it, ungroup it and separate each letter for each triangle.
3. Gang up your triangles and print. Generally, three fit on an 81/2"x11"
4. Cut each and lay them out, ready to string.
5. Take the first 3 letters and punch small holes into each of the top corners.
6. Repeat the process until all triangles have punches. I like to use the first one as a guide to keep the holes in the same place each time.
7. Carefully glue the long edges and place on wax paper, then cover the glue with glitter. Shake off the glitter and set aside to dry.
8. Repeat for all the letters.
9. Once they are completely dry, string them all together, going through the last letter (string into the top side first) and leaving about 10" of string at that end to tie a knot. *I string them so that the back shows the majority of the string.
10. When you get to the last letter, tie it off with a knot.
11. Space the letters and hot glue each of the backs to the string.
* If you don't have a computer with Illustrator, you can print this and hand write large letters on each triangle.


23 April 2014

21 April 2014

FROZEN BIRTHDAY PARTY PLAN

The time has come. After seeing about three other friends have their Frozen Birthday parties, it was our daughter's turn. She invited just her girlie friends. They arrived in their dress ups, half were Elsa. They played together so well and got to make a craft, we had it late in the day so I planned for treats only. We also hired a local Elsa and Anna to come and play with them for a half our and take photos. That was a highlight for these girls. They were sold! They kept touching their dresses to be sure they were real.

When I throw a party, I always start with a party plan. I have a color palette, some decor ideas, a menu and activities. For my girls, that usually involves a craft. The weather was beautiful so they were able to play outside and really spread out.










































ACTIVITES
Play - The girls had about 20 minutes to play together before crafts.

Craft - Making bracelets. This consisted of stringing beads (here, here, here, and here) onto a stretch string and adults helping them knot and cut the string. Easy! Set up a craft area with tables, chairs, a tablecloth, and plates to contain the beads. I also opted to put their party favors on this table.

Anna & Elsa - They told the girls the Frozen story from their point of view, played a little game and took photos with each guest.

FOOD
Donut HoleTree - I got a stirofoam cone at Michaels, wrapped it in tinfoil, inserted toothpicks, then a donut, one at a time, one row at a time. I filled in the holes with little sprigs of tissue/wax paper sticks.

Cupcakes - This is something I order in advance and pick up morning of. I've learned from past experience to order mini cupcakes to cut down on mess.

Hot Pies - I made these a couple days in advance with this recipe, and the morning of, reheated at 350˚ Then frosted them. This was the last thing I did to keep them fresh. Some learning points, I would roll this out to 1/8" instead of 1/4" so they're not too thick, but rather thin and flaky. I also did mine in a circle with a snowflake cut in the center of the top layer so that the blueberry jam could ooze through a bit. Yum.

Popcorn Balls - I learned a popcorn trick here. Microwave four bags of popcorn, then melt 2 sticks of butter in a large pot on medium heat, add 1 1/2 bags of marshmallows, stir until melted and looks white and creamy, not buttery. Then transfer that to a separate bowl. Next put the popped popcorn (without seeds) two bags first, into the large pot, pour some marshmallow sauce on and stir. Keep adding popcorn one bag at a time and then sauce until all is blended well. Let that cool for a few minutes. Next start making balls (use vegetable oil on your hands to keep them lubed). Place finished balls on a sheet of wax paper then insert sticks. Completed balls then go into baggies and tie off with ribbon or a string.

Milk Jugs & Straws - I found these cute mini jugs here, with colored lids and straws to coordinate. I also had a pitcher of water and cups for the adults.

Snow Cones - My Father-In-Law is a huge snow cone connoisseur so I let him man the machine. He found one to borrow and even brought two flavors of syrup. I bought two bags of ice, cups and spoons. I opted for cups instead of the pointed cones, just so kids could set them down easily.

Candy Bowls - I had some colored gum balls and rock "ice" candy in bowls. I also put these in their party favor boxes.

DECORATION
This is where I tend to go a little nuts and spend too many weeks preparing. You can do all or non if you wish. You can also find more fun ideas I've researched or made on my Pinterest  pages: Party Plans and Victorious Blog are both loaded.

Crepe Paper Swags - I bought white crepe paper sheets here. First I dyed the edges while it was still folded, making sure to keep them flat so the dye wouldn't drip into the middle. Let it dry well, then unroll them and fringe cut the edges. Three of them made a good swooping ceiling backdrop for behind the banner.

Flowers - I cut branches from our trees and added a few yard flowers in the color palette. Not a lot of flowers because it's a frozen theme but I wanted a little bit of color.

Banner - I made a pennant banner in Illustrator, printed, cut, put it together and glitter glued the edges.

Art Wall - My daughter wanted to showcase her own art so I used one wall to put up our favorites of her her Elsa/Anna/Olaf drawings. Above that I strung two 4' strands of tassels made from tissue paper and iridescent wrap.

Food Table - I arranged gifts in the back with a tall vase of flowers and then food in front of all that. If the food is low for the kids they can come and take easily. If it's high on a countertop, I always have too many leftovers.

Countertop Decor - We have a wall that is straight in from our entryway that always needs some sort of decoration at partytime. I usually do something with levels of snacks and drop things from the ceiling. To mix it up, I didn't want this to be the main focus. Instead I made the craft and food tables the main focus. I used some of our Christmas decorations, white flocked and feather trees, glass drops and added some gem and ribbon garlands. I also dropped a few tissue poms and balloons from the ceiling.

PARTY FAVORS
I purchased clear boxes here, filled them with iridescent filler, pearly gumballs and rock "ice" candy from Zurchers. I found some cute snowflake ring toppers and photo snow globes and inserted up Elsa and Anna photos. I also hotglued some ribbon to the base of them snow globes and added more glitter before adding the distilled water. Each box was wrapped with curly ribbon and topped with a sparkle pencil and balloon.

Party photos and DIY Tutorials to come this week!






10 April 2014

KIDS & SIGHT WORDS

I'm new at this learning to read business. I feel for these little kids trying to learn the ins and outs of the unpredictable and tricky English language. My daughter is a thinker and quite intelligent but we could sense her struggling with reading early on. She wasn't excited about it and knowing her, it was because she wasn't getting it quickly enough so she was losing interest.

Here's the thing... SIGHT WORDS... they're everything. It's clear to me why they push them so hard in Kindergarten. Once they get sight words they are able to read sentences because these simple words are what make up most of our sentences!
He. Her. She. Him. In. Out. They. That. This... There are about 80 words that these kids are learning. So the trick to getting them down quickly is not flashcards, sorry teachers, that's not it. At least not for our stubborn little one. It needs to be a game.















































A friend had a recommendation that I have to pass on because it's truly brilliant. It has captured that excitement of learning, it has brought her up to speed quickly, and inspired further learning.

1. Cut out 3"x4" pieces of paper and write out the sight words on each piece.
2. Tape about 20 of them around your child's bedroom.
3. At night before bed, turn out the light and turn on a flashlight.
4. Point to a word with your flashlight and your child needs to say the word.

* Our daughter had all 20 within days.
5. Once your child has all of these words down, change up the game... Use the word in a sentence. (i.e. for THIS point to the word with a flashlight and they could say something like, "THIS game is so fun" or "Tomorrow let's play THIS again").

* Once this is easy to them, add more cards. I kept the first 20 up as well.

It's such a simple idea and I tell ya, it works. It takes away their frustration and makes it fun. After a couple of weeks, we noticed a huge difference in her ability to read. I've told a few friends and they have had the same experience.

So *disclaimer, I'm not a teacher, but I really think this is a great way to help inspire our little learners. And the added bonus is our daughter's little sister gets to play too and at 3 1/2 she's getting early exposure to these lessons.


Here are a few to start. Print at 100% on 8.5"x11"