Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Washcloth Rose Favors

We used these for our wedding favors.  When I went looking for ideas for favors I wanted something that was gonna be useful to my guests and eye catching.  I saw roses created with a baby spoon and a baby washcloth, and decided to expand on that idea. These are using regular washcloths, a small drinking glass, and a small bottle of hand sanitizer.

The glasses I used are from Ikea (love that place).  (http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/80094014/)
2 washcloths (one the color of the rose, and one green for leaves)
a dowel (painted green)
hand sanitizer (small ones from Bath and Body Works)

For tags:
Iron-on adhesive,
cardstock (with leave shapes and thanks printed on)
green fabric (for leaves)

1. Fold the colored washcloth diagonally twice.
2. Lay the end of the dowel as shown in the picture, and slowly roll the washcloth around.
3. When you have a couple of inches left, start folding it down while continuing to roll.

4. On the long side of the washcloth, fold up.
5.  Follow the fold and wrap the folded part around the rose (as you would if you were rolling up a sock).
6.  Position and fix so it looks like a rose.

7.  To make the tags, take your printed cardstock (with leaves), and use iron-on adhesive to iron on fabric on the back side.
8.  Cut the leaves out.
9.  Use a hole puncher to punch a hole.
10.  Slip the leaf onto the dowel.  You can put a slight bend on the leaf to help it to hold on the dowel, and for looks because leaves have that natural bend anyway.

Final assembly.
11. Attach the hand sanitizer to the dowel.  Tape seems to work pretty well for us.
12. Lay out a green washcloth, and fold the top and bottom corner in.
13. Stand the hand sanitizer and dowel above the center of the washcloth.
14.  Bring up the sides, hold it and flip the whole thing upside down.  This allows you to fix the green washcloth so it fits nicely into the glass. Slip the glass on top.
15. Flip back right-side down.  Fix the green washcloths so they look like two nice big leaves or a bed of greenery for the the rose.

And that's it. We got a lot of compliments on these favors.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Oh Baby! Hosting a Baby Shower

Hosting a baby shower kinda reminded us of planning for the wedding.  There was tons to do and great reasons to try things that I've never tried before, and there was fun to be had. :)

As any sister might want, I wanted my sister's baby shower to be spectacular, because she's awesome and deserves nothing less. Unfortunately, there was a lot for me to learn since I'm not really what people would consider a "baby" person.  Which is why I'm grateful for the help of great friends and family who helped with many aspects of the baby shower to make it spectacular.  I could not have done it without them.

Anyway, I thought I'd share some things from my sister's dragon themed baby shower.

First were the invitations.  I decided to go with one of the many diaper invitations that I've seen on the interwebs.  I really didn't want to cut each one individually however, because there were going to be 60 invites created (we have a large extended family).  So, I used blue card stock, drew the design on the top of a stack of them, taped the whole stack together with some masking tape, and used my scrollsaw to cut them all.  A few things I learned from this:
1.  I really need to practice straight lines with my scroll saw (sigh).
2.  Be ready to assume that the top and bottom card stock will be ruined.  So whatever number of cuts you want, add 2.
3.  If you're really good (which I'm not, but maybe with more practice), this is an awesome way to cut a ton of paper to a design in one shot (can we say Christmas cards?).

The front of the cards had slits so that the tabs folded into them, closing up the diaper into a neat little package.  We added the buttons and the ribbon, and my personal favorite, the dragon tail (attached via a brad, so it swung a little).

In the inside of the card, we glued (tip: use stick glue, not craft glue) a printout of the shower information.   I don't have a picture of the envelop, but it had a cool castle printed onto them to add to the theme.

Next, I found some examples of fill-in cards online, and replicated them for motherly advice and wishes for the new prince.  We had a book donation (listed in the invite), with a raffle.  Each book received got a raffle ticket and we called the raffle number afterwards for a fun prize.  The two castles serving as book ends were two wooden bird houses (bought from Michaels), painted and with bags of aquarium rocks inside for weight (we'll figure out something better later).  I created feather quills (pens) for people to use to fill up the fill-in cards and the book donation removable labels.  Aside from the fill-in cards and book donation/raffle, one of the popular games we played was Gift Bingo (cards made by Emily).

Some of the decorations for the party.
1.  A cupcake tower of diaper favors.  We folded and pinned small squares of fabric into diapers, wrapped some jordan almonds or mints into a bit of tulle, and stuck it inside the diapers.
2.  A coat of arms researched and created by my talented husband which has the phrase "Consilio Et Animis" meaning "By wisdom and Courage."
3.  A diaper castle that I built with a working drawbridge. I used wipes packages for the fillers inside, a couple of bottles to hold the book roof up, a sewn receiving blanket for the base, and some washcloths to cover the cardboard drawbridge.
4.  Some really awesome soft fabric blocks made by Emily, my sister's BFF.
5.  We also used all the onesies for the onesie decorating activity for more decorations (see them hanging in the background).
6.  There were also a lot of balloons and crepe paper, and some store bought puffs, and a yard sign (and probably other things I'm forgetting).

One of the many new things I learned during this experience was learning to work with fondant. To me fondant is kinda like working with clay.  You can use tools to shape things and you can use a dab of water to put them together (not that you'd need to do that with clay). I found these year of the dragon cupcake toppers on a pinterest post.  The tutorial was perfect.  I made the dragon toppers a few days ahead of time and let them air dry.  We ordered a plain cake from Vons with the words "Welcome Baby" printed on, and before the party, we positioned the toppers right in. :)

One of the fun activities that we did for the shower were decorating onesies.  For this, we needed a lot of onesies (tip: get varying sizes (0-18m) so that the baby can use them for the year), fabric with Heat'n Bond Lite Iron-on Adhesive already on the back (ready to be ironed onto the onesie), lots of stencils for designs, fabric pens, cardboard (so pens don't bleed to the other side of the onesie), an iron and ironing board.  We bought a cheap clothesline and hung the onesies up with some wooden clothespins (that my sister glued fabric yo-yos to).  There were a lot of really creative onesie designs.  The cutie pi one was mine. :)

We also set up a photobooth.  We had a few onesies against the backdrop for decorations. Here's Elmer trying out the photobooth.

Lastly, we had a Baby Jeopardy competition.  Here's the board the Emily made.  Everyone had a blast with that game.

Hopefully these have helped you gain some ideas for any baby shower you happen to host in the future.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Piñata Contest: Lego Luchador

Hi guys.  This year has just been full of one hiatus after another.  I was recently privileged to host my sister's baby shower which happened last weekend.  That was the first time I've ever hosted a baby shower... so it was exciting, and nerve-wracking, but it all turned out great.  I'll post some pictures of the baby shower soon.  This post is supposed to be about the Lego piñata that my co-worksers and I created for this year's piñata contest.  Last year, we made an Angry Bird Piñata and won People's Choice award.  This year the theme of the contest was Lucha Libre, aka Spanish Wrestlers.  Our team decided to do a Lucha Libre Lego Man.

Meet Lego Luchador, the Flying Thurderbird.

The competition was pretty tense.  Here were some of the other piñatas.

I'm pleased and honored to say that we won one of four awards presented this year.  We won one of two Judge's Choice awards. :)  Congrats to the ladies in my team for another outstanding piñata. :)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Quilting Adventures

In the last few weeks I've decided to try a little quilting.  Quilting is something that I've always wanted to try, but have never really found the opportunity to try it, til now.

It started out with my friend asking me if I knew if there was a service that one can bring quilt squares to get assembled.  Her idea was that she was going to have her bible study class to decorate squares and to make a quilt for a fellow teacher/friend that is going to have a baby.  Since I've been thinking about trying my hand at quilting again and since I had a perfect quilt to make for my sister who will be having a baby soon, I went for it.  I went with a simple square checkered pattern and used flannel.  I used one piece of flannel for the backing and basically folded it to the front for the binding.

Here's my very first quilt.

Anyway, my friend decided to do an alphabet quilt by attaching the letters using heat and bond adhesive, and doing a blanket stitch with some fray check.  She had her students work on the blanket stitch for the letters.  They turned out awesome.  She gave me all of the fabric and I did the sewing to assemble the squares.  The front were squares of flannel with cotton letters attached.  The back was fleece, and the binding was flannel.  I got to learn how to blind-stitch for the binding.  :)  Overall, the quilt was pretty fun to make.  Here are some pictures:

Some tips that we learned:

1.  Youtube really does have everything. :)  I found lots of videos on blind stitching there, and my friend found lots of videos on the blanket stitching there.  If you want to learn something, check there first.

2.  Wash and iron your flannel before you cut and sew anything that will have to be washed.  Apparently, flannel shrinks quite a bit. If you're gonna make quilt squares, you don't want them to change size unexpectedly in a wash.

3.  Use those Joann's coupons because they can save you quite a bit.

Next thing I want to try??? Rag quilting.  Who doesn't love a blanket that gets softer as it ages and gets washed. :)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Flower Pens

Here's a really easy project to disguise simple looking pens to look like a pretty flower.  I made some for our wedding reception and put it next to the guest pages we had.

Here's what you need.

- a pen.  I use the papermate ball points.  It has to be one where you can remove the top cap.
- a flower (nylon or silk)
- ribbon
- floral tape
- regular tape
- craft glue

Okay, so here we go:

1.  Prepare your flower (nylon or silk).  Cut to about a half inch stem to the place you want resting on the top of the flower.  Sometimes this is the flower base, and sometimes it is about where the leaf is.  Your call.  Add a little floral tape to the half inch stem so it fits in the pen top cap area. (you may want to test the flower in the top cap before you start wrapping -- like after the next step).  Set aside while you set up the pen.

2.  Disassemble your pen by removing the cap, and top cap.

3.  Use a small piece of tape and tape the ribbon to the pen.  The tape should only be on a small part of the ribbon, that can be covered up easily when we wrap the rest of the pen.  Notice that I taped the ribbon about a half inch from where the ink part of the pen is.   This is because if you put the ribbon too close, you won't be able to put the cap back on.

4.  With the end of the ribbon affixed, carefully wrap a layer of floral tape around the pen.  This will cover up the slick area of the regular tape, and the rest of the pen to give a little grip when you wrap the ribbon on.

5.  Next, (you probably guessed), wrap the ribbon around the pen.  When you get to the end, wrap the ribbon perpendicular (so it follows the top edge of the pen).  Cut an extra inch, and fold up as shown on the last photo in the image above.  Hold this with one hand.

6.  With the other hand, take your flower, add a dab of glue to the bottom, and stick it into the hole of the pen (where the top cap once was).  Ta da!  :)

Pretty simple wasn't it.  For show, I took a terra cotta pot that my sister painted, added a small piece of paper in the bottom, and filled it with aquarium rocks.  Then, I stuck the pens in.  You can probably use colored sand too.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Nylon Flower Daisy

Here's a really simple nylon flower to make.  I used these nylon flower daisies for the flower pens at our reception.

What you need:
- nylon
- stamens
- #24 wire
- #4 ring (or whatever size you want, really).
- stem wire
- nylon thread
- floral tape
optional:  if you want to attach a leaf, you'll also need some green nylon and green wire.  (instructions for leaf are not included in this post)

Okay, so let's get started.

How to:
For tips and techniques on Nylon Flower making, check out my post here.

1.  Wrap the #24 wire around the #4 ring, and twist together where wires meet.  Cut the wire so you have a wire petal handle of about an inch.  Make 7 petal rings using the #4 ring (or a different size, if  you prefer).

2.  Daisies are known for their long petals.  You can elongate all of the petal rings but holding them all together, and squeezing the wires to form a nice long petal.  Holding them all together also gives you more uniform petals throughout the flower.

3.  Wrap the petal rings with nylon, and secure with the nylon thread.  If you want a thicker look and feel, you can wrap the petal twice.

4.  Grab some double ended stamens and fold them in half.  Use some nylon thread to attach the stamens to the end of a stem wire, with the stamen ends above the stem wire so that the stem wire is not showing.

5.  Attach the wrapped petals around the stamens evenly with nylon thread one by one.  It may help to bend down the petals a bit after the first petal is put down.  Remember to try to keep the tie line the same as you attach the petals.  Also, you don't have to cut the nylon thread between each petal, you can continue to wrap around a few times, attach a petal and wrap around a few more times.  After all the petals are attached, wrap the nylon thread several more times up and down the petal handles to secure it more to the stem.

6.  Once all the petals are attached to the stem, you can cover up the petal handles and the nylon thread with floral tape.  Remember to stretch the tape as  you go to let it get sticky.  Wrap the floral tape down the stem.  If you have a petal to put in, you can attach it at this time (as you wrap the floral tape down).

7.  Gently fold down the petals to open up the flower.  You can and a slight bend down the middle of each petal to add more dimension to the flower.  You can also bend the stem wire a bit so the flower is front facing instead of facing straight up.

That's it.  Super simple flower to make.  You can add more stamens in the center and make the petals larger if you want a larger flower.  Because these were going to go on top of pens, I didn't make them too  large.  Have fun.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Our DIY Wedding: Part 3 - Mail

This is the last installment (I think) of our DIY Wedding series.  I'm anxious to get started on some tutorials. So, that should be coming soon.

For this last installment, I decided to cover the wedding items that had to be mailed out.

First was the Save the Dates.  We actually went rather simple with these.  One weekend, we went out with our tripod, and Eric's new camera, and took some pictures with the camera timer, and Eric doing a lot of running. :)  We picked one that we liked, did some customization on it using Paint.NET (free software), took the image to Costco for prints, and sent them out.  Here's how it turned out.

Next, the invitations.  I did all the design work and printing at home.  I printed the information on cardstock (cheap at Big Lots!) and bought some corresponding scrapbook paper for the outer cover of the invite.  I wrapped it all with a soft mesh ribbon before placing it into the envelope.  Here's how it looked.

Once the wedding was over, I wanted to make something special with the thank you cards. Here's what I came up with.  Also, I wanted to play with embossing powder and a heat gun. :)

And lastly, the announcements.  Since our wedding was on the smaller side and a destination wedding, there were several relatives and friends that we were unable to invite.  So, I created these announcements with a "save the date" / invitation to a local family bbq reception.

That's it.  :)  Hope this helps inspire ideas.

Tutorials are coming soon. :)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Our DIY Wedding, Part 2: The Food

Food!  Yup, we love the stuff.  :)  Here's an overview of the food we had for the wedding, and then some.  Except for the cake, the food was made by us, friends, and family.  We could not have done it with out them.  Okay, so let's start.

First, we had a rehearsal dinner on the night before.  For dessert, we set up a s'mores bar.  :)  We used the flame gel cans that are used for chafing dishes for the fire.  We had skewers, marshmallows, graham crackers, and a random assortment of chocolates ranging from hershey chocolate, reeses peanut butter cups, and a variety of ghiradelli squares.  Best S'mores Ever!

On the morning of the wedding, I made these cinnamon rolls.  I used the allrecipes cinnabon clone, made the cinnamon rolls several days before, but froze them before baking them.  On the night before the wedding, I moved the cinnamon rolls to the fridge, and on the morning of, I baked them up.  Delish, and super simple.  I made the frosting the morning of too, and done!

Okay, so now the wedding food.  

First are the appetizers.

- 2 cheese platters (brie, jarlsberg, gouda, babybels, and dubinger, with apples and grapes)
- assorted crackers
- quiche lorraine
- veggie shooters (spinach dip with veggie sticks in a shot glass)
- gravlax (cold cured salmon) with cream cheese
- swedish meatballs
- hot artichoke dip
- french bread slices

Here's a closer look of the meatballs and artichoke dip.

Now for the main dinner. Everything was delicious.  The BBQ Chicken was marinated 2 days before and cooked the night before.  The Beef Brisket was also made a few days before and frozen then defrosted and heated in the oven on the day of.  The mashed potatoes, rice, and veggies were done on the day of (by awesome friends). 

- Roasted Mixed Veggies
- Mascarpone Mashed Potatoes
- BBQ Chicken
- Beef Brisket
- Jasmine Rice
- Mixed Greens Salad with homemade dressing
- bread rolls
- wine (toasted head chardonnay, and section 29 zinfandel)
- beer, water and sodas. :)

Okay, now let's go for the sweets!!!

- chocolate fountain
- chocolate fountain stuff:  strawberries, bananas, other mixed berries, and pound cake.
- heart shaped sugar cookies (super awesome design  -- look below for a better picture)
- chocolate crinkle cookies
- oatmeal cookies
- peppermint and vanilla meringues
- coffee

Here's the closeup on the sugar cookies.  (Thanks Emily, I still get compliments on them.  And thanks for all the other cookies and meringues too.)

Lastly, we had cake.  We bought the cake from a local Safeway in the area, and it was perfect, and not nearly as expensive as others we saw when we were shopping for cake.  Along with this, champagne, and sparkling apple cider. Mmm!!!  We froze a small piece of the left over cake and plan to have it for our first month anniversary, cuz the thought of eating year-old cake doesn't sound all too appealing to me.

Well, that's about it.  :)  There was a topper that I was working on for quite some time that turned out pretty good, but because of the daylight, it was a bit difficult to see.  Here's a picture of it when it's lit up at a place where you can actually see it.  Pretty cool, right?  It's just too bad we couldn't get it to show up. Oh well.

I totally forgot this last picture.  We finished off the night with shots of patron and pickle juice. :)  If you like pickle juice, you should totally try it.  The pickle juice has an awesome neutralizing effect. 

Okay, so that's our food post. :)  I intend to prepare one more wedding post on the the stationary. Yup, those were all DIY too. :D  Stay tuned for those.