Friday, July 30, 2010

paper mache letters

I've come to LOVE things that are original.
Things that are unique and have meaning.
Things that you can't find at Target (not that I don't LOVE Target).
So I was recently inspired by my friend Whitney to make my very own paper mache letters. One for each of my girls. So while I can't say that this idea was totally mine, I will claim the blood, sweat and tears that went into making them. Just kidding. It was super easy!!
I painted the letter first, then decoupaged different scrapbook paper on, before adding the flowers. It took me less than an hour! If you're new to modge podge, get some helpful tips here. My friend Whitney, framed her letter & it looked SUPER cute, so of course I had to copy!

I made a second one for my younger daughter (because how fair would that be?) and plan on framing it too, once I move them into the same room.
Here's a close up. Not perfect at all, but no one seems to notice.

And here are some other letters that I came across.
Each with it's own personality & charm.

Have you painted or crafted any letters lately? Do share!!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Carnival Party Time

It was party time this weekend at our house! Our little girl turned four and we celebrated with a carnival themed party. I owe the idea and a lot of the decorations to a sweet friend. Thanks Amber!!


Remember my camera incident? Well, bear with me as you scroll through these pictures. Some of them are not as focused as I'd prefer...but I'm making due with a lens that isn't even meant to be on a digital camera. :)

GAMES!! We had this photo banner, pin the tail on the donkey, bowling, ducks in a pond, ring toss, beanbag toss & a knock 'em down game. The games were either borrowed, already owned or came from a party store, Oriental Trading or Lillian Vernon.

Aren't these the cutest?! I tell you what too...this was a popular game! My husband cringed when he heard one kid say "I'm going to play this the WHOLE time!" (did I mention my husband was the can stacker-upper??!)

We came inside to sing Happy Birthday and dole out the cupcakes. I made the personalized birthday banner to coordinate with the party decor.

I made these Cupcake toppers to coordinate too.

I found these cute party favor boxes here and filled them with playdough, homemade covered pretzels, fruit snacks and carnival stickers.

Blurry picture announcement... SO sorry! This table was set up under the porch to hold the drinks, hotdogs, and chips.

I found the cutest hot dog liners at Hobby Lobby and my mom had these baskets from a previous party. I loved using these rather than the typical plate!!

It can't be a carnival with out popcorn!! We got these flavors sent to us from this store.

Have you had a cute kid party? Leave a comment here so we can get in touch with you to see the pictures so we can share them! I am sure all the fellow moms out there would appreciate the ideas!
Linking to these parties.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Easy Party Favors {Pretzels}

My daughter's party was this weekend (check back tomorrow for more about that!). I wanted to have party favors for each child and rather than filling a bag or box full of trinkets I thought it would be fun to have something edible! I mean, let's be real honest, how many parachute men have you seen actually work like they are supposed to? If you have...I must be doing something wrong!! Since her party theme was "Carnival" I knew pretzels would be a great option for us. I love love love yogurt or chocolate covered pretzels but the makers of those can be pretty proud of them and my pocket book has a budget. What was I to do but make my own?

I bought the candy wafers from Hobby Lobby (my second home). Followed the directions on the package to melt the candy and started dipping away. This can get pretty messy!! My sis-in-law had a great contraption that helped speed the proccess and limit the mess. I can't for the life of me figure out what the official name would be...but think plastic stick with two prongs at the end for picking up like a bent fork). If you know the name... comment below and help a sister out. :)

While they dried on wax paper I used sprinkles to add a bit of color.

I put about 8 pretzels in a plastic treat bag tied with ribbon and a little card telling everyone thanks for coming. I also added a package of fruit snacks, stickers and a little tub of playdoh to the cute boxes I found. More about those tomorrow....

What homemade goodies have you used for party favors?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Alpha Art

As you have seen from a previous post from me... I really like using letters to decorate with. I have slowly gathered a collection of "J"s to use in my house. In my last house I would have a random "J" here or there in a bedroom or bathroom. When we moved I decided to use them together to fill a space. Do you have a wall that's awkward to fill or have a darn light switch (like mine) that messes up your placement of artwork? Be on the lookout for your initial and try this out...

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The power of spray paint

I've had an obsession with spray paint this summer. It's a miracle in a every bottle. Seriously! In 10 minutes, you can swap the mundane for fabulous!

Here are 2 wicker chairs that I bought for $5 each at a garage sale. They were faded & nasty, but after a quick power washing with the water hose & 2 cans of black paint, they now offer a "welcome home. pull up a chair" kind of feeling on my front porch.

And here is a shutter I found at a yard sale for $8. I painted it barnyard red & added a cute knob from Hobby Lobby. It's the perfect display for my daughter's art work.

Instead of a typical night stand, I found this old writing desk at a flea market. I left the top natural & just painted the bottom. The wear & tear on the top + it's original drawer pull, give it an antiquey feel.

Last, but certainly not least, is this bed frame I got off of Craig's List for a steal of a deal. A fresh coat of white paint & it's as good as new. I can't wait to get it into my daughter's big-girl room.

Do you have anything that needs re-painting?? Grab a can and get going!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Crafty Friday {Girlify your lamp}

This was my inspiration!
A sweet, perfectly pretty lamp shade for my girls' room.

And this is my husband's old lamp from college.
It's been sitting in our guest room for years,
just depressing me...
...that is until TODAY!

With a little pink paint, silk flowers and my handy glue gun,
my ho-hum lamp now looks like THIS!!
It's SO delightful!! ~pun intended~

Here are some other inspiring shades that I've found.

Have you girlified anything lately?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

{Recipe} "The Braid"

That Village House is here to save your Wednesday night dinner!! This is a tried and true favorite for my house and I hope you like it too. It comes from this cookbook.

Chicken & Broccoli
2 cups coarsely chopped cooked chicken (usually 2-3 chicken breasts)
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped broccoli
1 cup (4 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons dried dill weed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 egg white, lightly beaten
2 cans crescent rolls
optional: 1/4 cup slivered almonds

1. Preheat oven to 375*. In large bowl, combine chicken, broccoli, cheese, bell pepper, mayonnaise, seasoning, salt and garlic. Mix well.

2. Scoop filling over desired shape (see below). Brush with egg white. If desired, sprinkle with almonds. Bake 24-30 minutes or until golden brown.

Picture of Step ONE (I highly recommend a good food chopper, like this)

For the shape... Use two cans of crescent rolls and roll them out on a baking stone or cookie sheet like below. Use a baker's roller to press the seams.

Cut 6-8 strips along both edges (like the picture below)

After placing the mixture along the center of the crescent rolls, alternate the sections up and over like a braid (folding the ends up to hold the 'goods' in).

Bake.... I often leave out the part to brush an egg white on top. I usually feel like I'm wasting a perfectly good egg to do this. So my picture below is withOUT the egg brushed on top.

Serve & enjoy!! :)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Colorful Bird Canvas

I've been wanting to add some color to my daughter's room. After much searching, I found this painting on Pottery Barn Kids' website.
Perfect, I thought. I love the colors. Problem is, it costs $250!
Could I make something similar?? Keep in mind...I have NO painting skills, NO background in sketching, NO history with art what so ever.
Never the less, I was inspired.
After a quick trip to Hobby Lobby, I was ready to go.
Supplies: Canvas (30x40)
Mod Podge
A few paints
Scrapbook paper
Total: $32
I painted the canvas first. I started at the top left, mixing different shades of blues as I went along, sometimes adding white to get lighter pastels. As I approached the areas where I thought the branches might go, I changed to shades of green. Again, mixing greens & adding white every now & then.
There is NO rhyme or reason for any of my brush strokes.
Up close it looks very random.
I then came back with a pencil & sketched out my branches, using the PBK's painting as my guide. If you look closely, you can see pencil marks that I failed to erase. I figured once I added the birds & flowers they wouldn't be noticeable.
Next, I made the cherry blossoms out of scrapbook paper. This is the easiest part of the whole project. Using 4-5 different pink papers, cut imperfect blooms of various sizes. With mod podge, glue smaller layers on top of larger ones & add a dot of green or brown paint to the center. If you're new to mod podge, know that a little goes a long way. 1 thin layer is all that it takes. Too much, and the paper wrinkles.
Using more scrapbook paper, I made 5 pretty birds. Draw & cut out the body of 1 bird first. Once you get it how you like it, use it as a guide to make the others, making some a little smaller or fatter or with a longer/shorter tail. Face a few the opposite direction. Then cut wings and tail feathers using different blue or green paper. For the faces, make cheeks out of pink paper and eyes and beaks out of brown paper. Mod podge them on. Use brown paper to also make feet. Mod podge the feet to the back of the bird's body.
Position the birds on the branches where you'd like them to go, again
using the PBK model if you'd like.
With yellow paint, "highlight" just a few areas around the tail or belly of the birds, making sure that when you put the birds back on the highlighted section, their feet still touch the branches.
Once all of your paint has dried, layout your birds and flowers along the branches. Get it just how you want it before mod podging anything to the canvas. Remember when mod podging, to use a thin coat on the back of each flower and bird, getting all of the edges of the paper. Because of their size, the flowers are easier to mod podge. Start with them and then move to the birds.
Sidenote: Some people apply mod podge to the back of the scrapbook paper, lay it down & then add another coat to the top. I find that the paper gets too wet and stretches out. Mod podging on the top also makes the paper glossy. Unless you plan on going back with a thin coat of mod podge over the entire canvas, I would limit the mod podge to just the back of the flowers and birds.
And here is the finished project!! Made for $32 with lots of love and lots of flaws. I may go back and add a yellow butterfly like the one in PBKs (look closely), but for now, I'm very happy with it.
If you love this idea, but want a 1-Day project, check out the bird canvases at Colorful Kisses. There are step-by-step instructions on how to make them, even templets that you can print out and trace! Super cute!!


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