Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Rapunzel--Let Down Your HAIR!! Our Tangled Party

I love that my little ones are wanting to get so involved in their birthday party planning. This year was no exception.  We've known for months that my oldest wanted a Tangled party for her birthday theme.  I did the normal internet searches and pinned ideas to Pinterest.  I found so many things I wanted to do and make.  Lets face it though, there's really only so much you can do with this theme and everyone has pretty much done them.  So I took my favorite ideas and created a beautiful party for my girl.. <3
I will do my best to link to all the sites I used ideas from. I hope that I don't forget anyone. I try my best to Pin all ideas I want to use. Makes it easier to give credit where credit is due.  First, some pictures!

We set the mood of the party early on with our invitation:
I got the basic idea for these invites from The Purple Patch.
I have a wonderfully generous friend that offered to make my darling girl her very own Rapunzel dress if I purchased the materials. She did an OUTSTANDING job and it was way more than I ever expected it to be! I can't thank her enough!
I stress about the cake every year, and this year was no exception.  This one wasn't as hard as I thought it was going to be and for once I didn't fight with the fondant while making it.  The look on my daughter's face was PRICELESS when she saw this cake!
I made that Rapunzel cake specifically for the birthday girl, so I needed to make another cake for the rest of the party goers to enjoy.  I saw this cake on  Beantown Baker and just knew I wanted to replicate it. I just used a regular Duncan Hines white cake mix and made my own buttercream frosting.  The second picture looks really dark (and more blue) but you can thank my flash for that. The first picture is more true to life of the pastel color of the cake. It was SO pretty!!

Our dessert table setup:
Maximus apples (rice krispie treats flavored with Jello) Photo here: Maximus apples
Rapunzel's Stolen Crown Oreos (the only idea I DIDN'T get from the internet! LOL)

"Paintbrush" Pretzel Rods (since Rapunzel liked to paint). I saw similar on The Purple Patch as well as some Lalaloopsy parties I've seen online.
Peanut butter filled chocolate cupcakes-I made the sun cupcake toppers on my Cricut
I incorporated some pretty purple candies in my new jars (found at the Goodwill, .99 each for the 2 tall ones, and .49 for the small one-WOOT!)
Of course we had to have Magic Golden Flower punch (yellow Wedding Punch, idea from The Purple Patch as well, and I just happened to have the same serving pitcher, lol) which I served in small mason jars with decorative cutout lids and purple striped paper straws. I wrapped small white doilies around them and tied with pieces of jute:
I knew I had to incorporate Mother Gothel and hazelnut soup somewhere, but the soup just didn't even sound appetizing.  Instead I decided to serve Hazelnut creamer with our coffee:
Of course, water bottle labels had to be made:
For dinner I served "Rapunzel's Golden Hair (spaghetti) w/ braided breadsticks:
As you can see in the above picture I made some large prints that I found on Google and framed them. This picture had the words printed to the Magic Flower song.
I forgot to take a picture of them, but we ate on "frying pan" paper plates. I got the idea from this site: Paper plate frying pans

A few other pictures of our wall decorations, food table, and room that we set up as our Snuggly Duckling tavern:
I made luminaries out of frosted vellum and cut suns just like the movie out of the same. Made for cute centerpieces. I actually put battery operated tea lights in each of them, but it never got dark enough to even see them.

 I found this beautiful Rapunzel photo on Fanpop and had it enlarged to a 16x20 poster to use over the food table. Best part is, it's now in a large frame hanging on my daughter's bedroom wall!

I made this Snuggly Duckling sign out of Foamboard. I freehand drew it on, then painted with watercolors. I wish I had gotten a better picture than just my Ipod:
The kids favors were Rapunzel braids for the girls and Knight armor for the boys:

The goodie buckets I found in Target's Dollar spot. They're pretty purple glitter buckets from the Halloween section. They were filled with watercolor paints, Rapunzel pencils I found after Valentine's Day on clearance, small sticky hands (since Flynn Rider was a thief, sticky lizards to represent Pascal, crayons, light up bouncy balls, some bracelets and rings for the girls and a beautiful Rapunzel necklace I found on Etsy-little princess bling:
And what kind of Rapunzel party would it be if we didn't release lanterns for the princess? This was such a fun thing to do. I found these lanterns on Amazon, paper lanterns, on sale for $8.99/10. They were AMAZING and HUGE!!! The kids loved them (and secretly I think I loved them more!)
If you look closely at the above picture, you can see 3 other lanterns way off in the distance. We live way out in the country and had plenty of rain for a week straight before the party so we were comfortable releasing them. We could actually see them flicker out and fade before they went very far. Such a great way to end the night!

And yet another year, another party is done. I love seeing all my hard work and planning come together and I love even more seeing my little girl's eyes light up with delight. This is our last year "together" since next year she'll be starting kindergarten and gone most of the day. (sniffle, sniffle)  Gotta make it a good one!! <3

If you want the links to more Tangled party ideas I didn't get to use, take a look at my Pinterest board: For the Love of Rapunzel

Let them eat cake!!

I love my Mom.  :)  My birthday is 2 days before hers.  I vividly remember birthday parties she threw for me as a kid, some in the summer even, so as to avoid the snow and frigid New England winters!  She used to make me my favorite cake-a coconut pudding cake. Oh my word it's delicious!  Well, this year for my daughter's 5th birthday I made a beautiful purple rosette ombre cake that was TDF.  I decided I wanted to make my Mom one for her birthday, but in her favorite color; PINK!! And who doesn't love pink?
I did some research on these cakes before my daughter's party and came across a photo by Beantown Baker who gives a wonderful description on how to make this cake. I believe she has a Youtube video as well, but I was good to go with just her photos/descriptions.  I made a regular white box Duncan Hines cake mix that I tinted in 3 layers, as well as the frosted rosettes for icing. I think it came out wonderful and my Mom was so delighted that I made a special trip to her house on her birthday and that I made her one of these cakes.
(My favorite Instagram picture of her cake)
 I found wonderful sparkler candles to add.
 And it was just as pretty on the inside! Gosh my flash just killed this one. It was so much for soft and muted like the first Instagram picture.
So glad I was able to make my Mom's special day wonderful and doing something kind for her in return for all she's done for me!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Silhouette Portraits--LOVE!

Seriously, I have been wanting to make these since my kids were BABIES!  I don't know why it took me so long or how it kept getting put on the back burner, but I guess now I need to just be happy that I finally made them. And I'm SO happy with how they turned out and they look exactly like each of my girls (that is the purpose, right?)  I read tons of blogs and things online on how to turn a photo into a silhouette, but most Photoshop tutorials were way beyond my expertise and knowledge. So I set out to figure it out myself.

I still operate Photoshop Elements 6.0-Hey, if it ain't broke, don't fix it!  I'm sure the newer versions have all kinds of new doohickies, but I'm happy with this one.

I took a profile picture of each of my girls against a blank wall.  I then opened the photo in PSE and converted each to black & white. This made it much easier to accomplish what I was about to do.  I then selected the Paint Bucket tool and and used the dropper to match the background color and filled it in to cover any shadows I had.  Then I selected the Paint Bucket tool again and picked black as my main color and began filling in the profiles of my girls.  This definitely took some patience and time since it would sometimes fill in the background or areas I didn't want black so I had to undo it.  But this worked pretty well!
Now, print your photo out onto cardstock. Mine looked like this after I cut around the silhouette:
See? Don't they look like little people?? I'm in LOVE!
I then took those cuts and traced them onto actual black cardstock and cut them out with the smallest scissors I have to preserve every detail (hair, eyelashes, it's all there!)
I had picked up a couple frames on clearance at Michael's but wanted them to be black as well, so I took a can of spray paint to them. Ten minutes later, Whala!!
I adhered the black cardstock cuts onto another new sheet of white cardstock, placed them in their new frames and this is what I have:
I really am SO happy with them! My 3 yr old is on the right and even though I took their pictures in the exact same spot, exact same spacing, you can see how much chubbier her face is than my 4 1/2 yr old. These reflect them PERFECTLY and I'm so happy to have them done!
I hope I've been able to explain the Photoshop actions I used. I'm still learning myself but I'm amazed at its capabilities!
Now go take some profile pics of your little ones before another day passes and they change some more. Doesn't it go by way too fast? :-(

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Frayed Fabric Covered Flip Flops

I really hate that I'm not able to devote more time to my blog.  With a toddler and almost 5 yr old, I feel like I'm stretched to the limits.  I decided to do something to INCLUDE my kids this time so I could take pictures and craft at the same time. Win, win!  I've seen these for years now, and my oldest daughter is so into flip flops this year that I thought she would just love them.  Soooo, today we're going to make fabric covered flip flops.  I found cheap pink flip flops at Dollar Tree for $1 each so that was the easy part. I have a huge fabric collection so both girls were able to just pick out what they wanted to use from that so essentially this craft only cost me $2! :-)

Supplies Needed:
     Flip flops of your choice
     1 or more coordinating fabrics
     Ribbon if you choose to put a bow on top (I have ribbon pictured on each but only used one)

First I had to figure out what size I wanted my strips to be. I ended up decided on 1" wide strips. Take your fabric and make a 1-2" cut on the selvage edge to eliminate anything uneven. I've already used this fabric so I only had to remove a small strip. 
You can see that I marked out 1", 2", 3", etc on my fabric.  To be honest, I cut WAY too many strips to start with. I ended up with a huge pile of strips left at the end of this project.. (I'm going to just save them in case any fall off of their flip flops) By the 2nd pair, I realized I only needed to tear 2-1" strips the length of the fabric and had just enough. So, after you've marked your fabric, you're just going to grab hold of one end and tear a strip all the way down to the bottom.
 My 4 yr old was super thrilled that she was finally able to help do something (even though this was the ONLY step they could really help with)

  After we tore the strips I had to decide how much "fringe" I wanted. I played around with 4-5" and my oldest said she wanted "Lots" of "ruffles" so I ended up going with 5" pieces on hers. Cut your long strips into the size you want until you have this:
The rest is easy (though a little time consuming). Tie the strips into a knot around the strap of the flip flop until you've covered as much as you want of it.
I only tied each strip once, tightly, all across and scrunched them together until we had this:
I ended up cutting a few strips of the green ribbon and adding it into the flip flops on the right to add some more color.  I picked the color fabrics for my youngest daughter's and they remind me of watermelon (pink and green).  I also ended up only cutting her fabric into 4" strips so they weren't swallowing her feet! LOL
Now, both pairs took me about 2 hrs from start to finish. Not too bad. My oldest daughter can't get enough of her new shoes and wants to wear them with EVERYTHING! <3  My youngest? Says they hurt her feet and could care less about them. Yup, they're sisters and complete opposites!

Hope you've enjoyed my little summer craft. Now go make yourself a pair!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Gotta have my morning coffee drink

So, I'm not an "ordinary" coffee drinker.  Meaning, I'm not a big fan of hot coffee.  I'll drink it if it's the only thing there (or if I've moved into an igloo for a bit and I'm freezing) but it's not my first choice.  Now, mention some sort of iced coffee drink and you've got my complete attention!!  It originally started with my love of French Vanilla iced coffee from Dunkin' Donuts, but once I moved further south, there were no D&D's to be found. Very.Sad.Day.
I was left to substitute my coffee addiction with iced coffee from McDonald's which, in my opinion, not even the same ballpark! But it would do.  A blended, on ice drink, would make me even happier.  Before you mention Starbucks, I will add that while I love my coffee drinks, I don't want to feel like I'm drinking sludge.  I need some sweetener in there too.
A friend introduced me to this recipe for my own blended coffee drink at home some 5-6 years ago and I've been making it ever since.  And, everyone that I give the recipe to loves it.  So I thought I'd share it here with you as well.  You may find that you'll need to tweek it to your own liking, but as I write this, to me it's *PERFECTION*!! 

You'll need:
2 teaspoons instant coffee
2 cups of 2% milk
2 sweet 'n low packets (or other sweetener)
1 packet of hot chocolate
(this could obviously be made a little healthier if you substitute lowfat milk & lowfat hot chocolate but I stand by my perfected recipe!) lol

I pour the milk into my blender, add all of the dry ingredients to it, put in as much ice as you want and blend that baby up!  
Pour into a pretty insulated cup w/ a straw and you're on your way! (this recipe will make 2 servings) 
I couldn't live without this recipe.  I need my drinks to be ice, ice cold and this does the trick for me.  I also like mine a bit more on the coffee side, than the chocolate side, so I add a bit more instant coffee to mine.
Hope you enjoy it as much as I do! Happy drinking!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

I really am such a night owl. It's now 1:44 am and I just finished my little Sophie's St. Patrick's Day shirt.  I wanted to applique a simple shamrock onto a white tee for her.  I bought a brand new shirt to use for this project, but it occurred to me that I've held onto several tees that have gotten a spot on them (I despise stains on my kids' clothes) and I was able to find one with a small spot in the middle, easily hidden by the applique. Yay!! Win, win.  I get to recycle a shirt and she still gets the new one.
I decided I wanted the shape to be around 6".  I cut a block of fabric and ironed it onto a piece of Heat 'n Bond.  I then turned to my Cricut and SCAL2 for this one and stuck the Heat 'n Bond directly to my Cricut mat.  The SCAL2 shapes library has a shamrock (clover) in it so, keeping proportions, I set my size height to 6.50". which gave me a width of 5.779".  Once it was done cutting, I was able to peel my applique directly off the mat and iron it onto my shirt.
This was only my 2nd time doing an applique and I think it came out much better than the 1st! LOL  It's not perfect, and I can see where I made a mistake, but really, she won't care.  She's just going to be happy that Momma made her a special shirt!

Hope everyone has a Happy St. Patrick's Day!!  I can't wait to smell my corned beef & cabbage cooking up in the crock pot later (even though my hubby hates it).  The girls & I love it and hey, ti's only once a year!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Our Big Monkey Luau is here!

My daughter's 3rd birthday was just this past weekend and I'm so happy with how everything turned out.  I just wanted to share some pictures with you.  I think we ended up with  more of a Luau than a MONKEY Luau like I originally planned, but everything was so pretty and girly that I couldn't be happier (and the birthday girl was loving it too!).

I made everything myself.  The dessert table contained banana cupcakes with chocolate frosting, mini monkey breads, "monkey kisses" (hershey kisses melted on top of pretzels topped with an M&M), chocolate covered pretzels, chocolate cupcakes with buttercream frosting, coconut cup "drink" cake pops, and white chocolate covered Oreos topped with fondant bananas from this Etsy shop.  Um, AMAZING!! They look so real with little speckles on them and everything:
I found these adorable monkey drinking cups on Amazon for the kids to use and I glued a hibiscus flower to their ear so they'd fit the theme.
These are the cake pops I made. They were very time consuming.  I got a new Babycakes Cake Pop maker around Christmas and decided to try it out for this party. Total FLOP! I don't know if you need to practice with this thing, or what, but they weren't even coming out looking circular, and were completely dry. So then I had to go back to the regular way of making cake pops and ended up adding too much cream cheese frosting for the amount of cake I had left.  I could only dip a few in chocolate before having to stick them back in the freezer. Ugh! But I'm happy with the end result!  I originally found these on 365 Cake Pops and just knew I had to  make them.

This was the birthday girl's special seat.  She gets to be right up in front of everyone so we can be sure to get lots of pictures.  We are definitely a picture taking family!

Here's the centerpieces I made for all the main tables. I painted cardboard tubes brown and made them look like palm trees, and cut Hula monkeys on my Cricut to hang from the branches.  They're stuck in a yellow metal bucket I found at the Dollar Store.

Here's what the entire room looked like set up.  We hung paper lanterns from the ceiling in coordinating colors.
I also set up a small area as a Photo Booth.  Oh my gosh, the kids LOVED it!  I won't share those pictures since they're not my children but they had a blast. I found tons of printable props online that I mounted to cardboard and glued sticks to.  SO much fun.  Our little area:

I made this special outfit for my little princess.  She calls it her toot toot (tutu). I know, so sweet, right?

One last view of the dessert table.
I so enjoy throwing these parties for my girls.  My husband thinks I go overboard, but, what does he know?? LOL