Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Hoppin' Party: Decorating with Albums

For Liam's first birthday party, I wanted to display some albums that are very special to me. They chronical the time from the moment I knew I was eating for two to the present.

My first album was started many months ago. It took a long time to put together, but it is something very special. It is my pregnancy journal. When I was pregnant with Sophie, I looked at the journals you could buy in the bookstore. There were lots of things where you filled in the blanks and such. They seemed good, but I knew it would be difficult to keep it up. I knew I'd feel guilty about all the empty blanks and would most likely leave the journal unfinished. By using a small scrapbook, I only added things important to me and most importantly no blanks and no guilt!

It's not fancy. I didn't go scrapbooky cooky. I typed out my stories in Word and printed them on cardstock, trimmed, then glued them to the scrapbook paper. Then, if there were pictures or mementos, I glued them in too. I didn't fuss with the frills you normally find in scrapbooks these days. If I had, I think I would still be working on Sophie's book.

I added all the ultrasound photos, using photo corners to adhere them to the paper.

Here's his little toesies.

Did you know that if you send a birth anouncement to the White House, they will send your child a card? It may take a little time to come to you, there's lots of babies out there ya know. But when it comes in the mail, it deserves a place in a baby book for sure. Find the info here.

Here's my favorite part; I call it Fat Celebrities. These are just a few of the famous mommies who just happened to be preggers when I was. I had to look most of these up. Although I'm not a celebrity watcher, it was fun to see all the big bellys here.

My second album is just photos from Liams first days. Here is Sophie meeting her brother.

The third album is Liam's Milestones. I don't want to forget all his firsts and I don't want to forget how sweet and funny this boy has been. For each month, I wanted a black and white photo and the milestones/cute things he did that month. This album was for 5x7s but I wanted to use 4x6s. So I cut some cute scrapbook paper to 5x7. Then I just glued the photos onto the paper. Easy Peasy. For the milestones pages I created a Word document that I could change each month and print out.

This album lets me go up to 18 months with one page leftover. I used it for a tooth eruption chart. I'll be keeping up with the order they come in and how old he is for each.

At the party, I let these albums circulate. Now that they are home, I can display them or just pull them out when I'm feeling sentimental.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Hoppin' Party: Decorating with Frames

You know how they say you take lots of photos of your first child, but then you sort of forget to with your second? They say it's only because you're so busy by the time the second one comes around. While that is true with me, I also had the added problem of a dead camera and a lousy cell phone camera for much of Liam's first year. I've almost cried for all the photos that could have been. So, I went through all my photos from the last year and pulled all the best ones. These I used to decorate the party in several ways. I think it was my way of making it up to Liam.

First up is what I call my clothes line frame.

I had the idea after seeing a tutorial on how to create a knock-off of this Pottery Barn cutie.


First I used a dry brushing technique to paint the frame, but did two layers so that there is just a little of the dark wood showing underneath the paint. Then, instead of wires, I just hot glued thin grosgrain ribbon to the back of the frame to make the "clothes lines". I did my lines 2 inches apart. I glued all the ribbon down on one side and then once the glue hardened; I pulled them as tight as I could while gluing the remaining ends.

Then I bought some
tiny clothespins from Hobby Lobby.

To give them a well-used weathered look:

Begin by mixing a couple squirts of black acrylic paint and water in a disposable cup; stir it so there are no clumps of paint. Then add the clothespins and stir them around. Check on them regularly until they have absorbed the tinted water and have the weathered look you want. Then place them on a drop cloth or stack of paper towels to dry.

After pinning some photos to the lines, I wanted to fill in the blank spots. I knew I wanted a little banner. All it took was a little ribbon, some cute paper and glue.

1. Cut 2 inch by 2 1/2 inch rectangles from your scrapbook paper. Make a mark at a half inch on the longer side and 1 inch on the shorter side.

2. Make a fold at the half inch mark.

3. The 1 inch mark is the point of the smaller angle of an isosceles triangle. While still folded, cut from the mark to the corners to make the triangle. Glue or tape the fold down with enough room left to run the ribbon through it.

4. I added Liam's name to the banner by taking some small paper circles and stamping the letters onto each one. I then took the circles and ran the edges across a silver stamp pad to create some definition. Then I glued them to the triangles. The banner is then hung with more clips.

To finish it up, I added some cute birthday stickers to the remaining scrapbook paper and clipped to the lines. It's so cute, the pictures do not do it justice! It will be fun to change this out for different seasons, holidays and celebrations.

Another way I used photos was to simply frame them and display.

Easy Peasy!

Some time ago, this window was found on the side of the road. It needed a little white paint to freshen it up, but then I took some sand paper to the edges and a few other spots so it would look a little time worn. Then I cut some scrapbook paper to fit the window panes and adhered the kid's Easter photos to the paper. I placed the papers on the back sides of the window panes, and because I'm not likely to want to change this out any time soon, I piped hot glue around the edges of the papers to keep them in place and make sure the edges didn't buckle.

The best thing about these projects is that the time I spent on them wasn't just for party preparation. These are things I am now displaying in my home.

Linked to Get Your Craft On.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Hoppin' Party: Lily Pads

If you remember my post about Sophie’s birthday party, you may remember these coffee filter flowers I made. These inspired me to make some lily pads with water lilies for Liam’s froggy birthday party.

Coffee Filter Water Lilies and Lily Pads


Five white coffee filters for each lily/lily pad

1 white mini muffin baking cup for each

Washable markers in green, pink, yellow and purple.

Twist ties or 2 inch bits of pipe cleaner

Hot glue and glue gun


First, decide how many lily pads you want and count out that many coffee filters. Take a green washable marker and scribble all over the filter. It’s ok to have some blank spots. Next, spread the filters out over a cookie sheet. Spray with water from a spray bottle until the filters are soaked. Put them somewhere they can dry. I put mine in the oven on the lowest setting until dry. Set them aside for later. Do the same with the mini muffin cups using a yellow marker.

Next multiply the number of lilies you need by four. Decide how many you want of each color. I did some in white, yellow, pink and purple. For the ones with color, follow the same directions above using the colors you want, using four filters for each flower.

Once dry, take four of the same color and make a stack.

Next, scrunch them in the middle and tie with a twist tie or bit of pipe cleaner.

Separate the layers, below is what one side will look like.

Here’s what both sides looks like.

Take each baking cup and make little snips all around, following the folds already in the cup. It is also helpful to make a few longer cuts that go almost to the middle. These will make it easier to put them in the flower.

Now you are ready to put the lily pads together.

Glue the yellow baking cup into the middle of the flower and fluff.

Finally, position the lily onto the lily pad at a bit of an angle and close to the edge so it looks as if it is coming up from the water below and resting on the pad. Make a small triangular cut in the lily pad to finish it off.

Placing the lily pads on a blue tablecloth looks nice.

Some were placed on green tablecloths. Here we find a little froggy resting on the lily pad.

This was a super easy project and would be great to do with kids!

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Hoppin’ Party: The Invitations

Our little Liam is growing up too fast! This weekend we celebrated his first birthday with a hoppin’ froggy party. It was so much fun! I’ve been very busy the last few weeks with planning and preparations, but it was so worth it; you’ll soon see what I mean. I’ve got a lot to show you, so I’m going to spread this out over several days.

I’m also using this week as a way to introduce you to a new section of my blog: A Girl In Her Kitchen Crafts. It just so happens that I do a lot of non-cooking projects in my kitchen. It has great daytime lighting and LOTS of counter space. This week’s craft posts will be duplicated in the crafting blog. In the future, they will, with few exceptions, be found only in the crafting section. You can follow the crafting blog in blogger or with Networked Blogs, (see the right hand side of the craft blog.) Or you can just pop in from time to time to see if I’ve been up to anything new.

We’ll begin with the invitations to Liam’s birthday party. I made them using Microsoft PowerPoint.

First, I scanned into my computer a few pieces of scrapbook paper in blues and greens.

In PowerPoint I arranged the paper to where the front of the card would be. I used more paper to create 3 little rectangles where I then added black and white photos of Liam at different times during his first year. At the bottom I wrote "Look who’s turning one!"

Here’s a peek at the inside. I found both the frog and the poem online.

The back of the card (not shown) also had his monogram for a nice little touch. After printing, I stuffed them into light blue envelopes.

These were easy to make and so cute. If the guests were like me, they displayed their invitations where they could bask in the cuteness.

I’m sharing this project, literally, by making it available in
Google documents. Hopefully, you can edit it there for your own little one. Or you can write me for it at emcook17[at]comcast[dot]net.

About Me

Hello! I'm glad you're here! Want to know a little about me? Ok. I have a wonderful husband, Brian and two of the most beautiful children you will ever see, daughter Sophie and son Liam. I've also got a pretty swell dog, Duke.

I started blogging after posting a few recipes on facebook. I felt like blogging would be a better format for sharing with my friends and family. It was, and now I'm also sharing with people all over the world. That's blowing my mind!

I am, what you would call, a foodie. That doesn't necessarily mean I'm all about the gourmet snooty food. What it does mean is that I love learning about food. I love the history of food, where it came from and what people ate long ago. I love travel and culture; what speaks for a culture more than it's food? I love it! And while yes, gourmet food can be something special, there is something equally special about the everyday foods you remember from your childhood and pass on to your own children.

I also like to do artsy craftsy stuff. I may not always have time to work on all my projects, but when I do, I really enjoy it. I've got my hands full these days, so almost have to plan for the mess I'm about to make.  You should totally see my craft closet, it's got it's own traveling craft cart.

I am a very recent homeschooling Mom.  I never would have thought that this would be something our family would do, but it is totally working for us.  I'm excited to bring you on the journey in educating my little ones.  They are so full of wonder and excitement for learning.  I pray we can keep this an integral part of our school.  It's gonna be awesome!

Well, that's a little about me. Thanks for visiting my blog, and please come back soon!