Saturday, February 25, 2012

Monkey Canvas

Still working on more Monkey Party items.  I have so many ideas I saved from the internet that I wanted to use.  I wanted something substantial to put over the dessert table and I came across this picture that inspired me:

I decided to take some pictures of my daughter in an adorable monkey suit my sister let me borrow, and mount them to stretched canvas to place over the table.  It really was an easy task and I had it done in under an hour I'd say.

Supplies you'll need:
Photos you want to use
Stretched canvas in the same size as your photos (I used 11x14 pictures)
Modge Podge
Foam brush, bowl/container to pour Modge Podge into

The first step is to coat your bare canvas with the Modge Podge using a foam brush. I was fairy liberal in my use, because I wanted to make sure the photo stuck well. I placed my photo on top of the canvas and smoothed it out with my hand and made sure it was evenly lined up on all sides. Let that dry completely. (mine took about 15-20 minutes)
Then you need to put another layer of Modge Podge directly on top of your photo.  I tried to put a thick enough layer on to cover it all, but without leaving a lot of "lines" with the brush. It's going to look pretty cloudy to begin with but trust me, it will dry clear.

After it's dry (again, maybe 1/2 hr or so), you'll have a beautiful canvas picture to hang, without the price tag of an actual canvas photo. I made 2 pictures this size and it cost me about $10 to make it. (I printed my photos online using a discount code, bought the Modge Podge at Michael's using a 50% off coupon and got 2 canvas' in a pkg for $5) I can't wait to hang them up at her party!!
Next will be to make a bunting to stretch above the photos just like my first inspiration picture.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Monkey See, Monkey Do...

Today's post is about making cupcake toppers for our upcoming monkey luau party for our daughter's 3rd birthday.  I try to decide well in advance what the theme of their next party is going to be so that I have plenty of time to research ideas and pick things up as I go, rather than a huge expense all at once.  This years party inspiration started when I found this party line:

And yes, it was 50% off at the time too--Yippee!!  A friend mentioned it had a luau feel to it and I loved it so much I decided to go with it! So, Monkey Luau it is! =)

I only have one month until the big day so I started a couple days ago making things.  First up, cupcake toppers.  I rely on my trusty Cricut and SVG files for these.  First I had to decide what size I wanted them to be. I believe I went with 3" (keeping proportions) and cut those out, as well as their coordinating bellies, faces & ears.

This is what they looked like after they were cut. Please ignore my nasty Cricut mat, it's really on its last leg, but I'm making sure it's gets well used because, well, I'm cheap thrifty like that!
Next I had to piece them together.  Now this was the tedious part. Usually for small things like this I use my small Xyron machine, but for some reason it's MIA. Boo!  The only other thing I had on hand was a scrapbook gel glue. A little messy, but worked well enough.  Here they are after I attached those bellies and such:

I planned on then just adding mouths by hand & wiggly eyes, but they just looked so BORING to me! Hmmm, what did they need? I KNOW!!! HULA SKIRTS! What's a luau without grass skirts, right?  And boy, I thought the last step was tedious, this was even worse. LOL  I set my Cricut to cut out 1" wide trapezoids and then I had to hand cut fringe onto them to look like skirts. Boy, Martha Stewart had a great idea when she came out with fringe scissors. But alas, since I don't have any, I got to hand cut 24 mini grass skirts.  I then added a paper flower to the monkeys ear and WHALA!!!

 So, what do you think??  Apparently my daughter is in love with them because every time she sees them she runs and hugs me and says, "Thank you Mommy! Thank you for my monkeys!!"

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Vintage Strawberry Shortcake Party

It really doesn't take much to railroad sway my children into a specific party theme each year because let's face it, they're still too young to catch on!  So for my oldest daughter's 4th birthday in October (yes, I'm super duper lazy behind when it comes to blog posts) I was able to talk her into a Strawberry Shortcake party.. And not that new, modernized Strawberry Shortcake that's out now, the adorable, vintage Strawberry Shortcake from the 80's (and whom my childhood bedroom just happened to be decorated in). Really, why do they have to change things? (shaking head)
So now the fun started--Can you believe my mother just happened to have saved the Strawberry Shortcake candle from my sister's 6th birthday party?? Here it is:

 She also happened to have a large roll of vintage SS ribbon that I used on my cupcake toppers and the kids goody baskets.
I found the image on Google, and imported it to Microsoft Office and made round labels that I then cut out with a circle hand punch. Aren't they pretty? :)

So I'm not going to go into all these details on how everything is/was made unless someone asks for the details. I'm just going to go ahead and post the rest of the pictures from the party. I make as much, if not everything, by myself and take such pride in creating these parties for my babies. 

Upcycled noise makers that I made "my own":
I always make all the hats for the kids and the birthday girl:
The kids (old and young alike) played the Bean Bag Toss and I handmade strawberry bean bags.  We also had a "Pin the strawberry on Strawberry Shortcake's hat" game as well as a pinata.

 I ended up running out of time while decorating this year. The snafu we ran into was another party rented the hall the previous night which is when we usually decorate. They didn't leave until almost 11 p.m. We got in there and decorated for about 3 hrs but had to get home to our girls. I tried to get back early enough the next morning but still ran out of time so I really wasn't happy with the way the dessert table looked. There were supposed to be balloons on either sides of the wall hanging and I would NOT have put the crockpot on there.
The food consisted of strawberry shaped chocolate lollipops, cupcakes, pink snowballs, various strawberry flavored cookies, strawberry swirl lollipops, sandwiches/chips & strawberry banana punch.

I had grandiose plans for the cake, but I'm not a baker by any means, and by 3 am I was fighting with fondant and just so frustrated.  Luckily I had made enough pink buttercream to be able to cover the entire cake so I settled gave up.  In the grand scheme of things, the cake actually fit in better with the vintage feel than what I had planned on making. Oh, that's right, I meant to do that! :)

 Goody baskets for the girls-These are actually Easter baskets I got on clearance after the holiday for .50 each!! What a steal. I added that same vintage strawberry ribbon my mother gave me and added in Strawberry Shortcake coloring books, a strawberry plate, SS banks, bracelets & adorable sunglasses.

 Strawberry shaped bubble containers from the Dollar Tree.
 Here's the room all decorated.  My sister had found me a deal on vintage curtains and a bed canopy that we used to decorate the windows and the dessert table.  They REALLY added to the feel of the room and I think it looked so girly and pretty!
 Happy Birthday banner I made:
 I made/stitched this apron for her to wear.  I got the inspiration (and a few other elements) for the party from Little Pumpkin Grace
  I made homemade strawberry freezer jam and strawberry shaped cookies for the adults to take home.  The strawberries came from our summer trip to the strawberry fields.

Happy 4th birthday, my beautiful angel!  The day I became your Mommy was the most blessed day of my life!

 I hope you enjoyed our party pictures. I tend to go overboard when it comes to photographing my kids. I'm still learning and really hope to become a better photographer...someday. Right now I'm just enjoying being Mommy.