Monday, August 30, 2010

Party Hats & Bibs

I kept seeing all these cute party hats on etsy but none that really nailed it when it came to matching Anna's color scheme, so naturally I made my own.

I worked with a few different party hat templates before mastering the PERFECT party hat. (you could also go to the dollar store and snag a pack for a buck - but I prefer the hard way when it comes to pretty much anything)

I had SO much fun making Anna's hat - I just kept going. I made one for Anna Kay (aka "The Other Anna") who was doing a purple & pink princess party and then one for sweet little Anders who was having a "Mod Monkey" themed party.

And no - that's not the only circle shape my sewing machine does.. I just happen to like it ;)

Anna's Pink Lemonade

"Mod Monkey"

Pink & Purple Princess

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Tissue Paper "Carnation-Pom" Monogram

I made this fancy tissue paper letter "A" for Anna's 1st birthday party - inspired by an element at a shower thrown by Heavenly Blooms Florist where they featured a large letter "K" for Kate's baby shower. I was trying to be budget conscious, so I found a way to tweak the very popular 'tissue paper pom-poms' to create a carnation look. The whole project only cost $5... not too shabby if you ask me.


  1. Cardboard or Foamboard (or styrofoam) to make the letter template.
  2. Tissue paper (probably around 24 sheets depending on how big your letter is and how big your carnation-poms are.
  3. Floral wire or trash ties to hold the carnation-poms together.
  4. Hot Glue

Here's how to make it:

Cut the cardboard, foamboard or styrofoam into the letter or shape you wish. Although I used styrofoam for the big pink "A" let me STRONGLY recommend using cardboard or foamboard... styrofoam is expensive (I had NO idea it was that pricey) and messy and also I couldn't find a piece in the stores big enough for my project - thank goodness my dad had a piece that came from something he bought. For the teal letter "K" I used an old cardboard priority shipping box.

Take 8 sheets of tissue paper and cut them into 4.5"x5.5" rectangles (or have fun experimenting with different sizes to fit your letter or your needs. For the smaller teal letter "K" I used 3"x3" (ish) squares and it took 16 sheets of tissue paper. For the big pink letter "A" I used 4.5"x5x5" (ish) rectangles and it took 24 sheets of tissue paper.

Tip: To cut the rectangles I laid all 8 sheets on top of each other and then folded and cut down the seams to make it easier. If you try to just make straight cuts they start sliding... and it makes it tricky. Also try using an exacto knife.

Fold your '8 layer sets' of tissue paper like an accordion.

  • For the big pink "A" I used about 3/4" folds.
  • For the little teal "K" I used about 1/2" folds.

Note: It just has to be approximate - don't go pulling out the ruler ;) You can play around with fold sizes too. The more folds the more ruffly your flowers will be but dont make TOO many folds because it will be hard to "fluff".

I used floral wire to tie up the centers, but you can also use trash ties or just regular wire. I just twist once or twice and then fold down the edges.

Note: When you are folding, make sure the folds go horizontal across the most narrow side. For example - if you used a 4.5"x5.5" rectangle.... your finished folded accordian should be 4.5" wide NOT 5.5".

Use your fingers to pinch the center to hold in place and slowly and carefully "fluff" the tissue paper layers up one layer at a time starting by pulling the part closest to the center. Working from the center out helps to separate the layers where it's the tightest. Towards the last layer it will get pretty tricky, so I start folding the bottom layers down and then fluff them back up to the top. It helps to really get them good and separated.

Be very gentle when you do this - the tissue will rip - but if it does it is OK.... just rip that layer and be gentle with the next layer. I had about 10 of my flowers missing multiple layers but you couldn't tell at all!!

Once they are fluffed - just pull out the hot glue gun and start gluing! Depending on the size you used - you may notice that the carnation-poms aren't perfectly round and have gaps on either side - this is NOT a problem and sometimes works to your benefit!

Note: You will notice more of a gap if you used square dimenstions of tissue paper... or if you folded the wrong way if using a rectangle. Because I used 3"x3" squares I had a bit of a gap on either side, but it helped since this letter was so small - the pom poms could fit together.

Tip: Try to avoid fluffing from the outter most part - sometimes if you start too close to the edge the paper will rip. If it does rip it is OK.... just continue ripping that part off and be gentle with the next layer. I had about 10 of my flowers missing multiple layers but you couldn't tell at all!! And actuall- if you want more of a carnation looking edge you will PURPOSELY rip the edges to make it a little les clean cut.

To hang it - I just took a piece of ribbon and hot glued it to the back and then hung it on a wreath hanger or a hook. I thought it would pull away from the styrofoam (another reason not to use styrofoam...) but it's held up so far for a month ;) I tried to get fancy and cover the back since I used a priority shipping box and I planned to give this to a friend - but no one will EVER see it ;)

Tip: I recommend you spray paint or just paint the letter you cut out to semi-match whatever color your tissue paper flowers are. That way if there are any gaps it will not show. For the letter "K" in the example I just took some spray adhesive and laid a piece of tissue paper on top. It was a quick cover just so the cardboard wouldn't show.

Another Tip: if you use styrofoam (again - prob not my first choice - it's just all I had) you will want to trim around the edges with ribbon or something otherwise it will have unfinished edges.

The Finished Product:

Yes it may take a while to do -but the result is AWESOME. I was originally going to use real carnations like I saw in the photo - but I wanted to do it pretty cheap and wanted it to last. The whole project (Pink "A" from birthday photos) cost me about $5 and now it's hanging in Anna's playroom.... the teal "K" in the demo cost less than $1 (used about half a big pack (came with 25 sheets) of tissue paper from Target that was $1.49 - I already had the cardboard and ribbon)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

AC's Lemonade Stand

Warning: this is going to be a long one :)

On July 24th, 2010 we celebrated our sweet little Anna Claire's 1st birthday!
The theme was "Pink Lemonade". Why? Because that's what I craved pretty much the entire pregnancy. I couldn't seem to get enough which is weird because I'm not really a fan of lemon or citrus flavored stuff, but whatever it was that started me on the kick.... I couldn't stop!

So that was the inspiration... that and the fact that a light melon pink and yellow would look totally cute together! :)

Here are some pictures from her "invitation photo shoot". I call them the "outtakes" - there were some pretty cute ones that were hard to decide between, but these were the ones that just made me giggle.

(this was her first taste of lemon... she actually liked it after this)

When we say "Anna can you shrug?" this is what we get. I have NO CLUE how she learned what the word 'shrug' meant - but she picked up on it and it's a pretty cute party trick ;)

...this was the final choice for the invite.

... and this was the actual invite. It was tri folded wrapped with a paper lemon slice and ribbon.

The poem reads:
Months one and two I laughed and smiled, month three I learned to reach
Month four I rolled from back to front, by five discovered speech.
And in month six I learned to sit, then clapped and signed in seven
Month eight my sweet great grandmother was called by God to Heaven.
Month nine I learned to say bye bye and wave my little hands
Month ten I crawled and stood and cruised and added words again!
Then at eleven months of age I’ve learned to stand alone
My dad and mom are very proud of how much I have grown.
Who knows what ‘party tricks’ I’ll learn before month twelve is here
But I hope you will join me to celebrate my year!

And now the day of the party! A few of the elements:

(this was her "coming home outfit". It was so tiny!!)

I took a cake decorating class the month of her party and made her smash cake myself!! My sister helped make the lemons on top out of fondant... wish I could claim them however I did supervise and help make the lemon half ;)

The mantle:

The food table:

The goodie bags:

The lemonade/beverage station (and yes, I drove 1hr to get Newman's Own lemonade because it won some lemonade award...) with fresh fruit for anyone wanting to add a little punch to their drinks :)

The lemons were to write your name on to identify your drink.

And my favorite part... the lemonade stand. I made this just for Anna - perfect for her height :)
Edit - I've had so many comments on the lemonade stand - I have to confess - Yes, I did make it myself - but I got the idea from google images... actually a few images had the crate idea, but one in particular was the main inspiration - just can't find the image again to track that person down to give them props. Whoever you are - your crate stand was a hit :)

I forgot to take photos of the other sign out front and the mailbox... oh well. (edit - Mom went outside and took one for me... the balloons are missing from it because they had fallen, but you get the idea. It was outside at the driveway) The mailbox just had a pom pom on it. I'll let you use your imagination :)

Oh yeah - And I guess I better show the birthday girl :) She wasn't a huge fan of the party hat I made her - but she forgot about it when we started singing 'Happy Birthday' to her (twice since I wasn't recording the first time). But as soon as we stopped - the hat had to go!

A few pics of her and her lemonade stand.... if I were you I probably wouldn't drink the lemonade ;)

And a pic from her "After Party Photo Shoot". She was workin the lemon juicer!! So funny!!! I have a lot more - but they are on Caron's camera so I have to wait for those.

I think overall it turned out pretty cute. There were still a few things I didn't have time to do, but I'll just have to save them for her 2nd birthday :)

Aaaaannnnd finally - I couldn't let my little princess celebrate her day without true celebrity status - so I submitted her pic to Fox 5. This is a shot of her 1st tv appearance (minus all the media exposure she got while in the belly... hmm guess I should blog about that)

Happy Birthday to my sweet Bean. We love you more than we can ever express. You have truly brought so much joy and happiness to our lives and we will forever be better people because of you.

Forgot to give props to my sis for taking pics of the party setup and during the party, my mom and dad for helping clean, organize and setup. You're the bestest!