Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fall Word Tree

So now that my fall wreaths are on the door, I figured I might as well get busy spreading fall throughout the rest of the house, too. So that's what I've been up to the past couple days. And this little Fall Word Tree was one of the first things on my To-Do list.

I guess I'm going with a book page theme for Fall this year, whether I really planned to or not. Since I still had over half a book left after I did my wreaths, I had plenty of pages left for a few more projects , including my little tree.

Remember my little Falling Leaves Art from last year? Well, this is kinda the same principle, only in 3D.

I don't know why so many of my projects start with a stick from my yard, but they do. And this one did as well. I found a nice twiggy one that resembled a tree in and of itself.

This one even came with it's own perfect tiny spiderweb. (Now that's art.)

Then, I used my tiny leaf punch to punch out some of our favorite fall words out of the book pages. Lola helped me by punching out more random leaves to use as fillers.

Then, with a tiny dab of hot glue, I stuck them on the tree.

We used words like "family", "coffee"...

"school", "cooking", "stew"....

and one of my favorites, "boots"...

A plain tin can wrapped in burlap made the perfect little container. A little floral foam in the bottom holds the tree in place. I added a little charm (found in scrapbooking supplies) for a finishing touch.

This is a perfect fall project to do with your kids. And it's a double-whammy: the kids will have fun doing the craft with you & you'll have a great fall decor piece.

I had originally made mine to go on my fall cafe shelves (coming soon), but I've found about 3 other places I'd really like to put it now. Decisions, decisions! I guess I'll just have to make more!

Wouldn't these be great as a centerpiece? Or even a hostess gift?

Hope you have as much fun with this project as I did! I'm sharing it here & with Centsational Girl.

Monday, August 29, 2011

13 Ideas for a 13th Birthday Party

1. Make it amazing. As in an Amazing Race. A couple of years ago we planned an Amazing Race for my son's 13th birthday party and ever since, our daughter, Abby, has been waiting for the day we'd have one for her 13th birthday. Click here to read more about how to plan one. 13-year-olds love this. In fact, I think it'd be great for almost any age.

2. Don't overdo it on the decorations. Rather than decorate the whole house or several areas, concentrate your efforts on one area, like the serving table, to make your decorating dollars go farther.

3. Start at the top. Banners and buntings are a great way to add drama and fill the empty space from the table to the ceiling. If you can sew a straight line, you can make one. I make mine by cutting out triangles from fabrics and sewing them onto cotton clothesline.

4. Canvas is King. By now I could write a book on all the ways to decorate with a canvas drop cloth. What can I say? I love them! I've got a piece of canvas in my craft supplies at any given time, and I pulled some out for the party to make a table runner. Sewing on a little ribbon and trim makes it a great layer for your table.

5. Forego the fancy. Rather than spend the time and money on a fancy cake, I usually opt for the simple and familiar: basic cupcakes made from a box. How dare I? Well, honestly, it's what my kids prefer. And 24 yummy cupcakes for $1 sounds delicious to me, too. Thank you, Betty Crocker!

6. Depending on your budget, you may or may not decide to serve lunch or dinner at your party. Choose a time in between meal times if your budget won't allow for providing food for everyone. And if you do choose to serve more than just cupcakes and ice cream, go for kids' favorites like hot dogs or pizza and chips. These are easy to serve, easy to clean up, and exactly what most kids would choose anyway.

7. Let the food be your table decor. Since I went with the plain cupcakes for Abby's party, I added a little flair to the table with some long pennant picks made from another of my party stand-by's: scrapbook papers. These little pennants are just little triangles hot-glued onto bamboo skewers. The 13's were just printed out and punched with a start burst punch.

8. Use what you have for serve ware. Before you decide on how to serve your cupcakes, take a look around your kitchen. There's no need to go out and buy a fancy tiered server or expensive serving platter. Use what you already have. I collect cake stands, so I went with white ones in different heights. If you have a set of cute plates, line them across the table in a pattern and go with that. Or, line the bottom of a plain baking sheet with colored scrapbook papers to make a pretty serving tray.

9. Add color with candy. The fact is, candy in a jar is just as appealing to the eye as it is to the tastebuds. Just ask my four-year-old. After the last guest left the party, I came into the room to find Lola lying across the table, head back, shoveling a scoop-full of skittles into her mouth. She was loving this party. I only wish I'd gotten the picture.

10. More scrapbook papers and punches can add even more flair to your jars of candy or gum balls.

11. Hang a big sign for the birthday girl to distract the guests from noticing the dirty windows that you didn't have time to clean because you were too busy making a big sign for the birthday girl. (Seriously--my house is never perfect, but I invite people over anyway. And so can you!)

12. Allow time for unscheduled fun at the party. The biggest part of Abby's party was the Amazing Race, which was very planned and scheduled, but I made sure the kids would have a little time at the party for just chatting or playing unscheduled games like ping pong or air hockey. I've learned this from past experiences when I've tried to plan a game or activity for every minute of the party and realized the kids really like it better when they have a little time to just hang out. This take the pressure off of the parents as well and gives you time to be a better host or hostess.

13. The one point I hope to inspire you with is this: You can throw a nice party for your kids even if you aren't a professional event planner or don't have a lot of money to spend. When you see ideas you like that you know you can do, bookmark them or pin them to Pinterest, then make them your own. If you don't feel like you have a lot of creativity, borrow it from someone else. That's what the blog world is about. And chances are, when you make the attempt, you'll end up coming up with some great ideas of your own added in.

Above all, have a great time with it and make it a special day for your child. They'll appreciate and remember your efforts for years to come.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Leafy Book Page Wreath for Fall

Honestly, I had no business working on new fall wreaths today. #1 Because I'm in the middle of planning a big birthday party that's happening at my house in two days & #2 because it's not even September yet.

But since I suffer from O.C.C.D. {Obsessive Compulsive Creativity Disorder}, I got an idea & had to get busy on it.

I wanted to veer from the traditional fall colors this time & go with something different. Something that makes me happy. Something I love like, oh I don't, maybe? I believe black&white can be used for any season, & I have big plans for it this fall. {Read more about my love for Black&White here.}

I love the look of book pages on wreaths, so, I headed to Goodwill for a 49¢ book, then picked out a few black&white scrapbook papers, & got to work cutting out some leaves with this template I found.

And then, because these were going on an outdoor wreath, I rubbed them down on both sides with a candle to (hopefully) water-proof them against the damp autumn weather. (I learned about this method on the internet so it has to be true, right?)

I also picked out a grapevine wreath that was nice & twiggy, then wrapped a couple of 2" wide strips of burlap around it.

Then, I just got glue gun-happy & stuck on the leaves wherever the mood struck me.

Just like I envisioned it!

And since I was on a roll, I decided to embellish them just a little more with a couple of little signs.

Since the wreaths & paper are both 50% at Hobby Lobby this week, the total cost for each of these wreaths was under $5.

And now they're on the front door! Even if it does make me the only one in the neighborhood who thinks fall starts in August.

Hope y'all like them! And maybe it will inspire some of you who are looking for fall ideas. This wreath could easily be made with more traditional fall colors as well!

P.S. Everytime I post about my wreaths I get questions asking how I hang them, so here's the scoop: I always hang them with a ribbon, looped through the middle of the wreath. Then, I use a staple gun to staple it to the very top of my wood door. (If you try this, make sure the staples are totally flush so they don't scratch the door frame when the door closes.)

Don't forget there's only one more day to sign up for my Shabby Apple giveaway! Read all about it here.

Sharing these wreaths with some of these peeps. Check them out!

Monday, August 22, 2011

13 Things I Love About Abby

1. You have a really great laugh.

2. You have a strong personality, but a tender heart.

3. You're a mama's girl.

4. You're a daddy's girl.

5. You know the Lord has big plans for you and you will do what it takes to accomplish them.

6. Your glorious red hair that was quite unexpected, yet so definitely "you".

7. Your drive to try new things and your tendency to be good at them all.

8. You're a team player.

9. Your talent for playing the piano & your determination to only get better.

10. You're a great sister to your siblings.

11. You know what it means to be a great friend.

12. You take initiative to help out at home and {usually} do your chores without a complaint.

13. You are not an ordinary girl.

Happy 13th Birthday, Abby!

We love you!