Posts Tagged ‘crafts’

Caroline’s Undersea Wonderland Mermaid 4th Birthday Party

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

Last year, right after her princess party, Caroline asked for a ballerina party. I was really excited about that, since a winter ballerina party could be Nutcracker themed and there are SO many adorable possibilities there. Luckily I didn’t do much (any) planning early, so when she changed her mind and asked for a mermaid party instead I didn’t have to undo anything to throw a mermaid party.

I didn’t do as much as I have in the past (her winter fairy party was my favorite and also was CRAZY involved) but since the kids are bigger and more able to entertain themselves I just threw a bunch of balloons on the floor and they took care of the rest.

My theme was Undersea Wonderland, since obviously that’s where mermaids live. I had the very talented Becca from Jumping Jax make a custom invite and printable decorations for me. She is fast, creative and afordable (she also did Evan’s pirate party) and I highly recommend her.

Most of my party supplies came from Oriental Trading Company, as they usually do. This year, they gave me a budget and sent me a bunch of awesome stuff for free, although I ended up ordering twice as much stuff as they offered so I gave them a big pile of money anyway. Story of my party-planning life: budgets are not my strong point. But Caroline has an excellent party, everyone ate all my food and I would definitely say this was another successful birthday.

Decorations:

mermaid birthday party-33

mermaid birthday party-34

Mermaid treasure

mermaid birthday party-31

Sparkle jelly fish made from Oriental Trading Co lanterns

mermaid birthday party-38

mermaid birthday party-32

mermaid birthday party-37

Real life: pen on the wall of the stairs and my husband’s dirty socks in the railing

Undersea Wonderland 4th Birthday Party

These giant balloons are my favorite birthday tradition

mermaid birthday party-29

Glitter EVERYWHERE, but I love how these look

Food:

Undersea Wonderland 4th Birthday Party

Undersea Wonderland 4th Birthday Party

mermaid birthday party-6

These are my gooey vanilla sparkle cookies, just renamed.

mermaid birthday party-22

Ha ha ha ha School of Fish

mermaid birthday party-20

Mermaid wands

mermaid birthday party-7

Octopus rolls were an unexpected hit! It’s just crescent roll dough sheets cut into shapes with edible eyes stuck on.

mermaid birthday party-8

Seaweed dip = spinach dip

mermaid birthday party-9

Crabwiches! Eyes glued to toothpicks, sandwiches are ham and swiss

mermaid birthday party-10

Sand dollar sugar cookies (same ones I made for Evan’s pirate party). Caroline cut these out herself. HERSELF. Like, my sister supervised but Caroline rolled and cut the dough entirely herself.

mermaid birthday party-11

Cheese triangles as shark teeth

mermaid birthday party-12

I bought a special starfish cookie cutter for these

mermaid birthday party-13

Puff pastry cut into stars with cream cheese frosting filling, sprinkled with a little gold sugar to make them bumpy

mermaid birthday party-14

Oyster cookies! I used two different kinds of Pepperidge Farm cookies (one is shortbread, one is coconut) and the same frosting I used on the cake

mermaid birthday party-15

The “pearls” are chocolate candies from Oriental Trading Co.

mermaid birthday party-16

IT IS NOT A DAVIS PARTY WITHOUT CUCUMBER SANDWICHES

mermaid birthday party-17

I broke my own rule and made a cake. The cake itself is from a box, but I made cream cheese buttercream frosting.

mermaid birthday party-18

I spent WAY TOO MUCH TIME looking for a mermaid to go on top…and found this one on our Christmas tree. It was Caroline’s ornament from last year.

Undersea Wonderland 4th Birthday Party

The sand is graham cracker crumbs, the writing is a sparkle frosting pen, and I even bought special teal food coloring to make the frosting ocean-colored. Caroline picked the candles.

mermaid birthday party-23

Rock candy from Oriental Trading Co

mermaid birthday party-24

These were WAY cuter on Pinterest, but as much of a mess as they are the kids loved them and they looked cute on the tray

mermaid birthday party-25

I sent E to buy “mermaid beer”. This was the best he could do. It was delicious though!

mermaid birthday party-26

Blue punch mixed with Sprite = sea water. We also had pink mermaid punch, but I somehow forgot to take a photo.

mermaid birthday party-27

Straws from Oriental Trading, flags from Jumping Jax

mermaid birthday party-28

HERE’S A TIP. Don’t make sea glass candy. Melt Jolly Ranchers on parchment paper instead. Dust with powdered sugar. DONE. I mixed it with my jelly sharks because I ran out of bowls.

mermaid birthday party-39

Fish sticks. Obviously.

mermaid birthday party-40

Ocean Jello. Man, there was a LOT of blue food coloring at this party.

Fun:

mermaid birthday party-2

Party favors

mermaid birthday party-35

Make the sand/seashell ornaments

mermaid birthday party-36

It needed some adult supervision but they all came out really cute

mermaid birthday party

mermaid birthday party-30

My sister drew this for me approximately 30 minutes before the guests showed up. She is very talented.

mermaid birthday party-44

Waiting her turn…

mermaid birthday party-45

mermaid birthday party-42

The kids LOVED this game

mermaid birthday party-60

Cake eating counts as an activity

mermaid birthday party-41

So does mermaid punch

Cake time!

mermaid birthday party-46

mermaid birthday party-47

mermaid birthday party-48

mermaid birthday party-51

mermaid birthday party-52

mermaid birthday party-54

mermaid birthday party-55

mermaid birthday party-56

mermaid birthday party-57

Happy 4th Birthday Mermaid Caroline!

mermaid birthday party-61

mermaid birthday party-62

mermaid birthday party-65

mermaid birthday party-68

mermaid birthday party-70

mermaid birthday party-72

mermaid birthday party-75

mermaid birthday party-77

mermaid birthday party-78

Thank you to Oriental Trading Company for some of the supplies! I got the 4 balloon, the other balloons, the straws, the lanterns, the pearl chocolates, the necklaces, the wands, the straws, and the rock candy from them. Plus other stuff I’m forgetting and/or forgot to take pictures of (like the green crepe paper that turned my bookcase into a seaweed forest.

The shells and craft supplies are from Michael’s. All the fabric is left over from her previous parties, as are the lights and the crystal curtain behind the food table.

Caroline’s mermaid costume was her Halloween costume. It’s from Chasing Fireflies, a super awesome place to get costumes. Evan also wore his shark costume for part of the time, but we had to take it away when he started attacking guests. True story.

You can find links to most of the inspiration and products on my Pinterest board here. Not everything from my party is Pinterest-worthy. It’s not professional or super fancy or perfect and after 5 years of throwing parties for my kids I am TOTALLY OK with that. We had a wonderful time. I had a ton of family here and they were all so so so helpful. I could never have gotten even half this stuff done without them. An hour before the guests showed up I handed Baby Linc to my sister’s new fiance and abandoned them. He did great. Better than great. I hope I can convince him to come back for Caroline’s party again next year.

Thank you to EVERYONE who came and everyone who helps and everyone who made Caroline’s day so special.

As always, ask me if you have a question on where something came from or how I made something. Apologies for the weird colors/lighting on the photos, it got dark at like THREE O’CLOCK so this were taken at a crazy high ISO under overhead lights.

Related posts:

The Paper Mama Photo Challenge: Favorite from September
Steppin' Out {Deja Vu} at the Aquarium
My Week(210) in iPhone Photos

My Week(216) in iPhone Photos

Sunday, December 21st, 2014

BIRTHDAY WEEK! Today, Sunday, the day after Caroline’s party, I’ve finally managed to think about the fact that Christmas is 4 days away and I can’t even FIND half the gifts I bought the kids (no for real, WHERE DID I HIDE THEM????).

Sunday:

sunday1

Swiiiiiiiiiiing

sunday2

I only burned myself three times and the beer was an effective painkiller.

sunday3

I REJECT YOUR BABY BATHTUB! GIVE ME REAL WATER!

Monday:

monday1

Proud of his gold star from the dentist

monday2

Wraps make good blankets when you use the stroller

monday3

You brought me to a casino AGAIN?!

Tuesday:

tuesday1

School uniforms don’t have sock and shoe requirements

tuesday2

WHY U PUT ME IN THIS CAGE?

tuesday3

NOM TULA NOM NOM

Wednesday:

wednesday1

She insisted on the jaunty hat

wednesday2

Screw you candy thermometer, you are USELESS

wednesday3

He’s disappointed none of those things are food

Thursday:

thursday1

Daddy chat time

thursday2

Outtake from my attempt at a santa baby picture. I have 30 more like this.

thursday3

SHUT UP.

Friday:

friday1

Cookie time with Aunt Carolyn

friday2

I do not want to talk about what is happening here.

friday3

Two fancy ladies at The Nutcracker

Saturday:

saturday1

Two selfies in a row is ridiculous, but the birthday girl is too cute

saturday2

A shark playing Pin The Tail On The Mermaid

saturday3

In the Rainbow My Little Pony game, EVERYONE WINS

Related posts:

What Caroline Wore
Wordless Wednesday: Foggy Morning Edition
Working Hard And Hardly Working

Swim With The Fishes

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

The aquarium always does fun stuff for Halloween and we’ve been going since Evan was a baby. This year the costume dress up weekend was “Pirate and Princess” themed. Unfortunately, I spend a bazillion dollars on costumes that are not pirates or princesses but were TOTALLY aquarium appropriate…so the kids dressed up anyway.

Although they weren’t eligible for the pirate/princess costume contests, I can promise you Evan won Unofficial Best Costume, just based on the fact that EVERY person we saw commented on it. Because it’s AMAZING.

p.s. The weird spacing thing on photos with captions makes me crazy but I cannot fix it so try not to let it drive you crazy too.

halloween at mystic aquarium

halloween at mystic aquarium-3

She traded her mermaid crown for one she made in the craft room

halloween at mystic aquarium-4

LOOK AT THAT COSTUME

halloween at mystic aquarium-5

They loved all the throwing games to win “pirate gold”

halloween at mystic aquarium-6

halloween at mystic aquarium-7

I wonder if the seals are getting nervous about the shark staring at them.

halloween at mystic aquarium-8

There’s an art installation set up about ocean pollution. This one was adorable/sad.

halloween at mystic aquarium-9

halloween at mystic aquarium-11

He’s goldfish. FYI.

halloween at mystic aquarium-13

Evan saw the pirate and yelled “JACK SPARROW!” and the pirate said “CAPTAIN. It’s CAPTAIN Jack Sparrow!” This was like the 5th time we ran into him just walking around, obviously they’re BFF’s now.

halloween at mystic aquarium-15

This is the best I can do for family photos right now.

halloween at mystic aquarium-16

Sorry Linc.

Then we went home and painted/carved pumpkins, something we never managed to get around to last year. Painting is genius, since carving is such a PITA.

halloween at mystic aquarium-17

halloween at mystic aquarium-18

halloween at mystic aquarium-21

halloween at mystic aquarium-22

halloween at mystic aquarium-23

halloween at mystic aquarium-25

Related posts:

Home
Silent Night
Thankful Day 26: My Week(56) in iPhone Photos

My Week(162) in iPhone Photos

Monday, December 9th, 2013

This week was actually way more interesting than it looks in iPhone photos. I just spent nearly all my free minutes with my headphones plugged into my phone listening to podcasts while I tried to get the disaster that is my house under control. I’m happy to report about a 50% improvement. It would be closer to 100 if there weren’t two small people who make more messes literally SECONDS after I clean them up.

Sunday:

Processed with VSCOcam

I promise we did lots of things, but the only picture I have is the gingers helping me pick fabric at Joann’s.

Monday:

Processed with VSCOcam

Princesses love iPads

Processed with VSCOcam

Princesses also love paint dots

Tuesday:

Processed with VSCOcam

Morning person

Processed with VSCOcam

Practicing his long jump

Processed with VSCOcam

Hugging her dog-brother

Wednesday:

Processed with VSCOcam

This might not impress you, but that’s 50 cents less than the actual price, thanks to Stop & Shop points.

Processed with VSCOcam

If they made the salted caramel kind I would be the happiest person EVER.

Processed with VSCOcam

Mystic

Thursday:

Processed with VSCOcam

This girl loves school, except for the days she doesn’t, in which case OMG THE SCREAMING.

Processed with VSCOcam

Waiting very patiently for her brother.

Friday:

Processed with VSCOcam

Princesses want their quesadilla RIGHT NOW.

friday2

I’m trying to decide if this stuff will look ridiculous in our slightly-smaller-scale dollhouse

Saturday:

Processed with VSCOcam

THE EXTRA COUCH IS GONE AND MY LIVING ROOM LOOKS LIKE A LIVING ROOM!!

Processed with VSCOcam

Finally started decorating – one week to go!

This week I am going to finish 90% of my Christmas shopping, bake a zillion things, decorate for Caroline’s birthday AND Christmas, have a coffee date with a friend, clean the house for my parents and my in-laws (yaaaaaaah!) and possibly dye my hair rose gold.

Today Evan’s school is canceled so we have the morning to decorate the Christmas tree the kids and I chopped down and brought home and got in the house ALL OUR OWN SELVES. Or really, my own self. The kids weren’t very good with the hand saw.

Related posts:

Thankful Day 18: Miss Independent
Caroline: 13 Months
My Week(183) in iPhone Photos

DIY Giant Painted Silhouette Canvas

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

DIY Giant Painted Silhouette Canvas

I bought this huge canvas at A.C. Moore a few months ago. They were running an great sale on canvases – I think I bought it for less than $20 – and I’ve been looking for something large to hang over the fireplace basically since the day we moved in 6 years ago. I’ve hung collections of things, put giant vases on the mantel, made banners and art before but nothing has ever really filled the space the way I wanted. I knew a 3×4 canvas would finally be the right size but it’s been sitting in my basement for weeks now while I brainstormed what exactly I should do with it. I am decidedly NOT an artist, and although I found some cool DIY art on Pinterest I wasn’t in love with any of the ideas (and wasn’t confident in my ability to¬†execute them).

DIY Giant Silhouette

While I was talking with my IBFF (internet best friend forever) Amy, she suggested doing silhouettes of the kids. She actually made one and blogged it almost two years ago (and shouts me out in the post, because seriously IBFF!) so I used the same basic idea – took a picture of the kids’ profiles in front of a window, printed them and cut the shape out carefully. But because I wanted to make GIANT painted silhouettes I had to figure out the rest on my own.

Supplies:

Canvas
Spray paint
Craft paint
Paint brushes (at least 1 small and 1 large)
Cardstock
Printer
Scissors/craft knife
Box
Pen
Clothespin/tape/paperclip/whatever you need to get the angles right
Smartphone with flashlight app (or a very strong flashlight)

Instructions:

I took my canvas outside to paint it, which wasn’t the best choice because it was pretty windy and I ended up with spray paint on my back door. Eh, not the first time.

DIY Giant Painted Silhouette Canvas

Ignore the tree shaddows

I picked blue for my background colors since I was hanging it in a blue room but any colors would work. In a kid’s room a whole rainbow would be really fun. If you were just doing 1 silhouette instead of two you could do it vertically.

DIY Giant Painted Silhouette Canvas

 

From top to bottom: white base paint for a picture frame, kitchen stool, nursery project, picture frame, kid-size cabinet, and failed lamp shade project. All found in my basement with enough left for this project.

I lined them up from darkest to lightest and worked from the outside in on the canvas. Then I went back and used the white to lighten anywhere it felt REALLY uneven. This is what it looked like in the bright outside light:

DIY Giant Painted Silhouette Canvas

I’m not going to win any painting contests but I like it (and E was surprised I had made it myself – he thought it was actual art). I let the spray paint dry for a few hours – there wasn’t a lot of paint so it didn’t take long – while I talked the kids into posing for their profile photos. They were both in cooperative moods so it didn’t take long.

DIY Giant Painted Silhouette Canvas

Try to get a picture where your kid’s nose DOESN’T blend into the background. It still worked fine.

To make the cutting edges more distinct I lowered the blacks slider and converted the pictures to black and white in Lightroom (totally optional). Then I printed them out on cardstock (I happened to have brown, but the color doesn’t matter) and cut out just the silhouettes as closely and cleanly as possible.

painted silhouette artwork-6

Then came the hardest part: figuring out how to get that cut-out silhouette big enough to trace onto the canvas.

My first thought was I’d just hold one up next to a lamp and trace the shadow, sort of like a super-simple version of a projector. Unfortunately, a regular light bulb doesn’t direct the light strongly enough to make a crisp shadow. I tried to make a DIY projector with a cardboard box taped over the lamp but it still wasn’t clear enough.

I tried asking the internet and my husband and they both suggested I find an overhead projector so I called the library and after a lot of shuffling departments and waiting on hold they said yes they DID still have a projector and if I wanted to bring my canvas in they could set me up in one of the conference rooms on Wednesday. That would have been a good option if I hadn’t figured out an at-home solution. I got impatient waiting for Wednesday and during a little more Googling I found a tip that the flashlight app on a smartphone makes a really bright, direct light.

So I made this:

DIY Shadow Projector

That’s my iPhone with the flashlight app turned on, propped up against a book inside an empty box, with the silhouette clipped to the end with a clothespin. I set it on the coffee table and pulled it back until it the shadow was the right size on the canvas. You definitely need a dark room to make it work right, but luckily the sun goes down around 8 pm (I think it’s called “night”?) so I didn’t have to move the canvas.

DIY Shadow Projector

I traced it with a regular ballpoint pen, being careful not to move the canvas. I should have used a level and a measuring tape to space the two silhouettes exactly right, but I just guessed based on the color stripes on the canvas. Then I switched out Caroline’s silhouette for Evan’s, moved the canvas (it seemed easier than moving the light projector set up) and traced Evan’s. I adjusted the distance a little to make his silhouette slightly bigger than Caroline’s but not so much the finished product would look unbalanced.

DIY Giant Painted Silhouette Canvas

I used black craft paint to fill in the silhouette shapes. I used a medium brush to do the major edges and a tiny brush to do things like their bangs and Caroline’s eyelashes. I filled everything in with a medium sized brush and went back over the edges to make sure they were colored in fully. I messed up both their noses a tiny bit and noses are very important in making a silhouette that looks like your child, so be extra careful. I did NOT wait long enough for it to dry before I propped it up on the mantel, so I got a black paint drip on Evan’s side. Luckily the cheap craft store brand of paint was easy to peel off the spray painted canvas so I fixed it. The other option would have been taping up the silhouette and spray painting over the mistake.

The last step was finally taking down the train station banner from Evan’s birthday party and putting a nail in the wall to hang it up!

DIY Giant Painted Silhouette Canvas

Aaaand then take some pictures. I’m happy with how it turned out. High fives for easy, inexpensive artwork!

DIY Giant Painted Silhouette Canvas

Ta-da! I’m so excited to finally have something to fill that space after six years. Total cost: $25 for the canvas sinceI had everything else on hand and approximately 45 minutes worth of total work. Let me know if you try something similar, I’d love to see your spin on it!

Related posts:

Socialization: We haz it
Love Has Gone To My Head
Privilege and Guilt and Tomatoes
Get Adobe Flash player