Monday, February 28, 2011

Ballerina Birthday Party

My little girl turned seven in December and, to celebrate, we had a ballerina birthday party at our house. She has been in ballet lessons since she was three (literally--she won't even take the summers off, that is how much she LOVES ballet and dancing!) and currently her career aspirations are wavering between fairy princess and ballerina. Oh, to have such sweet dreams!
I made her invitations using supplies I purchased at Michaels craft store. I was heavily influenced by the sweet tutu invitation I came across on A Little Loveliness, but I adapted it to fit my own needs. I printed my invitation details onto pink cardstock. Then I sketched a basic leotard shape and made a pattern that I then traced onto my pink cardstock and cut-out all of the invitations. I used a small hole punch (that happened to be a small heart hole punch) and threaded a length of pink tulle back-and-forth through the bottom of the invitation to be the skirt of the tutu. At the neckline of the leotard I used a string of stick on faux pearls from the scrapbooking section of the craft store.
I absolutely LOVE the ribbon canopy over the party table. The credit for this design goes to Glory of Glorious Treats. I came across a picture of a party she did for her daughter and knew I had to do the ribbon canopy for my daughter. It was AMAZING and my daughter and I both loved the effect!
Look how pretty all those ribbons are! My husband built the framework for me out of some inexpensive wood and he and my preschool son painted it white. He screwed little eyehooks into it so that we could hang it from the ceiling per Glory's instructions. Then, one night after the children went to bed, we hung it from the ceiling using 3M Command Hooks--the ones with the little silver hooks. I tied all the ribbons on after it was already up on the ceiling. It took a LOT of ribbons!
I put the girls' tutus on their chairs. I bought these from Halo Heaven for less than $2.00 each! (I had a coupon code, so it was even less than the price on the website.)
The runner on the table is wrapping paper from Target. On the center of the table I put out some sweet treats for the girls. In the milk glass container I piled up pink strawberry Whoppers and I used the curvy edges of the container to hold the candy dipped marshmallow pops. (They're just like the ones in this post from 2009.) There also are small containers of strawberry dipped Pocky sticks. The cupcakes are on inverted wine glasses from the Dollar Store. I bought those glasses last year for my daughter's Fancy Nancy birthday party. The ballerinas on the plates were cut with my Cricut.
In the family room I had craft stations set up--ballerina coloring pages on the coffee table and a second table with supplies for making ballerina clothes pin dolls. We also dressed up the American Girl dolls in ballet outfits for the occasion! And, as you can see, I made a lot of tissue paper pom poms to hang from the ceiling. I love the visual impact this gave the space! Much more impressive than the streamers I've done in the past. Plus the heavy dose of pink helped to take away from the Christmas decorations that I also had going on (this was December, after all!)
When the girls first arrived at the party, they socialized and colored ballet pages that I printed off the internet. Then they made these clothespin ballerinas. I had the supplies all organized for them in tin soup cans that I tied tulle around. The ballerina pictured here is a sample one that I made. It was really helpful to make a sample as it forced me to streamline the process and simplify things a bit.
Next we had a ballet lesson from one of the senior company ballet girls from our dance studio. So exciting! She really worked those girls--it was fun to watch them! At the end of the mini lesson she got out her pointe shoes and those little girls were in awe!
Next we did "pin the bow on the ballerina". Not exactly a traditional ballerina game, but it works for us as my little girl ALWAYS wears hairbows! I found this cute clipart image of a ballerina online and it was simple enough that I was able to freehand it onto some posterboard. I gave each girl a bow with her name on it and stuck a piece of tape on the back of it. After that we played "pass the parcel" before letting the girls make their own ice cream sundaes.
Then it was cupcake time! (And in the background of this picture you can almost see a party decoration that I forgot to get a good picture of...big ballerina cut-outs done on the Cricut that I hung in the windows on clear thread...they moved/danced every time the heat came on and whenever anyone walked by. It was very neat!)
Happy Birthday, Pumpkin Pie! I love you now and forever!

I'm linking to Whatever Goes Wednesday at Someday Crafts, Friday Favorites at Inspiring Creations, and Hookin' Up with House of Hepworths!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Teacher Appreciation Door Decorating

Yesterday I talked about the gifts my daughter gave her teachers. Today I want to talk about door decorating. I've seen the idea of decorating classroom doors for teacher appreciation day online, but never in person--still, I was excited to bring this idea to my daughter's school this year. She attends a preschool-grade 8 school, so it was a bit of a challenge to make it work for all the grade levels, but I think we did it. The teachers LOVED it and were totally surprised by the doors.

The door pictured above is the door I decorated for my daughter's classroom. She is in a first/second grade classroom. I sent home flower petals with each child with a sentence starter on each petal for the student to complete. (My teacher is fun because... I like it when my teacher... ) Then the stem of the flower is made up of pictures of the children. The watering can says XXX showers her students with... and the droplets say patience, kindness, love, respect, and wisdom! Then I added a few cute little bugs to the picture (caterpillar, ladybug, dragonfly, butterfly, and a bee) and labeled them with the names of the specialists, the principal, the priest, and the office manager. It was a big hit and I had a lot of fun making it!
This is the preschool door--with the teachers names covered for privacy. The "A+" is on there because we also were celebrating Catholic Schools Week and the theme was "A+ for Catholic Schools". I forgot to take a picture of the kindergarten door, but it was covered with shiny stars and pictures of the children. Really bright and colorful!
This was the 3/4th grade door (with a lot of sunlight shining in on it from the stairwell!). I had to erase the initials of the school and the name of the teacher. What I really love about this door is that the room mother had the students AND the parents get involved. Each of those handprints has writing on it with things the individual (some students and some parents) appreciates about the teacher. I love this idea!
Whoops! This mom forgot to measure the door, so we had to do some cutting and rearranging when we went to hang the door decoration after school. Luckily it all worked out! She had each child do anagrams at home of a word they would use to describe the teacher and she included those words in the definition that is printed at the top of the yellow part of the paper. Perfect for a 5th/6th grade classroom.

I didn't take a picture of the 7th/8th grade door, but it was a simple poster and the room mother gave me a gift bag with some cards for the teacher to be put on the door knob. It is hard to get those almost-high schoolers to want to be crafty!

Here are some other resources for teacher appreciation door decorating that you may find useful:
I'm linking up to Jen's Weekend WrapUp Party at Tatertots and Jello, Show Us Your Best at No Time For Flashcards, and Show and Share Day at Just a Girl! By the way, I'm still trying (desperately!) to win one of those handy-dandy Silhouette machines! The Domestic Diva has one she is giving away!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Teacher Appreciation Day Ideas

My little girl attends Catholic School and we celebrated Catholic Schools Week at the beginning of February. Teacher Appreciation Day was part of Catholic Schools Week--so we have that behind us already even though it seemed really early to be done with it. I thought I'd share what we did to show the teachers at school that we appreciate them.
First though, during my blog break I missed the chance to write down some news. My little girl finished up kindergarten last year at one Catholic school and then transferred schools over the summer to a different Catholic school (we didn't move). Her new class is a first/second grade classroom and almost immediately she was doing the second grade work rather than the first grade work--and by October she was officially moved up into second grade. She skipped right over first grade and has settled in just fine to second grade. Sniff, sniff--she is growing up so quickly!
Having her at a new school means I can reuse some of my favorite ideas from last year--no need to recreate the wheel! So we gave these water bottles out to the principal, office manager, music teacher, and PE teacher. I wrote a tutorial last year for how to make the pocket tag. This year I used a cute number printed scrapbook paper behind the Crystal Light packet and I like the "school" effect it gave the tag.
I made this box of office supply goodies (and chocolate!) for her classroom teacher. Yes, it is nearly identical to the one I made last year for her kindergarten teacher. I even used the same scrapbook paper! I found the idea on eighteen25 and just love it! The box is an embroidery floss box I bought at JoAnn Fabrics for less than $5.
My daughter's note inside is my favorite part. It says: "Dear XXX, You are a great teacher. You have us do fun activities like the one where we put celery in colored water. I like it when we play jump rope together at recess. I love you. Love, YYY"

Click here to see the door decorating we did for teacher appreciation.

I'm linking to Hookin Up with House of Hepworths for the first time. I have to say, HOH is a great blog (I must have been under a rock, how have I missed it for this long?!) and there are some great links going on over there too!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Family Exploring at the Garden

Saturday was a beautiful but chilly day in our area. We took advantage of the break in the weather to enjoy a beautiful 150 acre nature preserve located fifteen minutes from our house.
It is an amazing place. There is an open meadow area, forested areas, manicured gardens, moss gardens, a Japanese garden, a waterfall, a French Chateau style estate home, a reflecting pool...just an amazing, amazing place to visit. All of this and breathtaking waterviews, too. I'm floored to think this once was a private estate.
My two don't really understand the concept of a Japanese meditation garden (I'm a little fuzzy on it myself) but they do know that they are NOT allowed to run through the carefully raked sand!
It was so nice to get out for a nice long walk as a family and do some exploring in a new area. We've been to this garden before, but we haven't really explored it much until today. Now we know we have to keep coming back to watch the changing of the gardens during the upcoming seasons!
They were fascinated by this little waterfall. I can't wait to come back in the spring and see all those rhodies around it in bloom! We did come across some early blooming flowers on our Saturday visit, but not any rhododendrons.
My favorite picture of the day! So fun!

By the way, for you Silhouette fans (like ME!), The DIY Showoff is giving away one! My Repurposed Life also has a Silhouette to giveaway! Head on over to enter...or stay away...far, far away so that I can win! ;)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Rain Gutter Book Shelves

books on the floor...not very pretty or practical!

On Thursday I posted pictures of the twin trundle bed we built for our little boy using plans from Knock Off Wood and in those pictures you could see some new additions to Handsome's wall.

You see, once we added the bed to his room and took out the crib, his already small room seemed to get even smaller than before (I didn't think that was possible!) and his little bookcase no longer fit in his room. This meant his books were on the floor and this was driving me crazy!

My husband really wanted to build some nice wood bookshelves but his project list is very very long and I pretty much was DONE with the books being on the floor. So I convinced my very reluctant husband that putting raingutters inside our house was a good idea. He read the tutorial from Raising Olives and then went to Home Depot for supplies. A few hours later we had two bookshelves on Handsome's walls and no more books on the floor!

Ahh, so much better! There even is room for us to put in some nice wide trimwork instead of that flimsy builder-grade stuff...when we finally get around to that project. Better yet, I don't have to move piles of books when I vacuum!

Doesn't the shelf next to his bed look cute? Having the covers facing out is so practical and I love the length of the shelf--it lets me display lots of books for him to peruse.
This is what my babies started doing about fifteen seconds after they saw the new bookshelves!

I linked to Inspiration Friday!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Moon and Star Boy Bedroom Featured

The Shopping Mama

My son's moon and stars bedroom just was featured on The Shopping Mama. If you aren't subscribed to Kate's blog, you really should be--it is full of great shopping information as well as other good info for mamas. Head on over and take a look!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Knock Off Wood Twin Trundle Bed

Last spring we started the process of building Handsome a bed. My husband and I decided to tackle the Farmhouse Twin bed from Ana White at Knock Off Wood. Then we decided to follow the extra steps in her plans to turn it into a trundle.
Building it was a long, long process, mostly because I'm a big chicken with power tools, so most of the actual building fell on my husband's shoulders and he could only work on it on the weekends. I did the finishing work, but he did the building (with some help from his pint-size helpers).
Our little guy was SO excited to finally get to try out his big boy bed! Unfortunately the grownups weren't quite so happy. You see, once we finally got the bed assembled up in his room, we realized that we should have selected a different bed as this is not an ideal bed for a small child whose bed needs to be up against a wall because, um, well, it doesn't exactly GO up against the wall. Our son could (and DID!) fit his entire body between the bed and the wall!
In this picture I have one pillow between the bed and the wall, but that is because I actually made his bed to take these pictures. You can see that the trim on the top of the bed plus the bed posts themselves make it impossible to put the mattress portion of the bed flush against the wall. Ugh. I really wish I had figured that out BEFORE we built the bed! Whoops!
At any rate, it looks pretty...especially when I make the bed! And, if you are wondering, his quilt is from Pottery Barn Kids and the sheets are from good ol' Target.

Come back later for info on the rain gutter bookshelves!

Linked to Show and Share at Just a Girl

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Mason Jar Soap Dispenser

I love vintage mason jars and have posted about them several times. You can read about my decorating fascination here and here. Unfortunately most of the time my beautiful jars live in a a cupboard because I can't find a way to have them be functional but not be broken by my young children.

Then awhile back I came upon a wonderful tutorial by Heather Bullard on how to turn a vintage mason jar into a soap dispenser. I'm not going to repeat my steps because really I just followed hers--her tutorial is fantastic!
Look how pretty it is! It looks gorgeous in my white beadboard kitchen! MUCH better than the yucky "disposable" soap dispenser from Target that I've been using for five+ years! (Did you ever notice that in the "after" pictures of my kitchen that I don't have a soap dispenser? That is because the one I was using was so ugly that I didn't want it in the pictures of my pretty kitchen!)

I'm linking to Look What I Found Friday at Vintage Revivial!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Telephone Table Makeover

I've been half-heartedly searching for a telephone table -- or some call them gossip tables or gossip benches --for quite awhile now. Something about them just really appeals to me. I practically squealed with glee when I saw this one at my local Goodwill. It was marked $20-something, but I had a coupon for making a donation, so I ended up paying around $17 for it. The cashier was quite jealous!

The cushion easily came out as it just was screwed in from underneath. I simply recovered it with some toile upholstery fabric I had leftover from a different project--the fabric just is stapled onto the backside of the cushion. I really should have redone the cushion foam, but I was too impatient.

My next step was to paint the entire bench with an oil based primer because there was NO way I was dealing with sanding all of those spindles! Because I was doing this inside my house due to the cold and nasty weather outside, I did this with a brush, but it would have been much easier to do the spindles with a spray primer. I did three coats of primer.
Next it was two (maybe three...I can't remember!) coats of my favorite Benjamin Moore Decorator White paint. This is the same paint I used on my beadboard kitchen cabinet project. Then it was time to reattach the cushion.

I love it and so do my little ones--I often see them perched on the bench. Sometimes they both squeeze onto the seat together! I'm thinking about rubbing antiquing glaze onto it, but I haven't decided yet.

Linking to Frugal Friday at The Shabby Nest and Weekend Wrap Up Party at Tatertots and Jello and Get Your Craft On at Today's Creative Blog--come check out all the fun projects at these great link-ups!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

(subway art printable is from eighteen25 and I printed mine as an 8x10)

Happy Valentine's Day! This weekend has been full of crafting craziness at my house!
We started off making my daughter's Valentine box for her school Valentines. We had so much fun with this and she is confident hers will be the cutest shoebox in the class. I am quite sure we are the only family that utilized clamps (to hold the popsicle sticks in place as they dried) as part of the process. Hey, we take our crafting seriously in this household!

(The felt garland in the background is one that I made last year. Here is the tutorial in case you missed it!)

Next we made her Valentines for her classmates. Earlier in the week I took pictures of her blowing kisses. Gosh, it is hard to take good pictures of a child blowing kisses--I almost gave up! At any rate, we finally got the pictures done and I added some text and had them printed at Costco with a heart border. We stuck the pictures on some cardstock and on the back of the cardstock she wrote a Valentine message to her friends and signed her name--and then we attached a bag of kisses to each Valentine. So cute! "Kisses from ..." So cute!

We also did a fun little art project involving candy conversation hearts. I'm partial to these hearts since my husband used them when he proposed to me back in the Dark Ages. (Awww!)
My children made a few of these. This particular picture is one that my daughter made for her teacher. There just is some white school glue holding those hearts in place and she wrote a message for her teacher on the back of the purple cardstock. My preschool boy made some too--this is a project for all ages!

The crafting continued today with the making of a heart lei necklace. I read about this here. Super easy and I didn't have to buy any supplies for it. Win-win!
It turned out cute even though I made the hearts a little bit too big. Oh well, my little guy just likes the process of making "projects". "More PROJECTS, Mama!" is a constant request!
After a weekend full of crafting projects, this is what my crafting supply dresser looks like--the top two drawers don't even close. It was worth it though because we had FUN!
Fun, I tell you, FUN!