Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Just in time for football! Go Badgers!

I am excited to share some new wall art in my Etsy shop!  A tribute to my alma mater the Wisconsin Badgers - I bring you subway art Badger style.  The print is complete with phrases, places, and other notable items that are familiar to Badger fans.

I have two versions of this work in my shop.  You can grab the cardinal red & white version you see here as an instant download OR you can have the background changed to the color of your choice.  The file is delivered as a 16 x 20 inch JPEG and is high-quality and print ready.  There is a 1.5 inch border making it perfect for gallery wrapped canvas - which is exactly how mine will be printed.  The background and text are lightly distressed to provide a vintage feel.


Saturday, September 14, 2013

A Nautical First Birthday

Well, it happened.  The little man turned one.  It's hard to believe that first year of life has already been accomplished.  So much change in so little time - now that is certainly something to celebrate.  For me, I enjoy being able to create some crafty items to spruce up the big party but with two little ones running (or toddling around) time is limited.  So even more fun, is seeing how everything I'd created over the span of many (maybe six) weeks came together.  No one thing was incredibly time consuming, just hard to find any time!  And everything was cheap and easy!  So I'm excited to share how our little Owen's nautical first birthday came together.

I wanted to take some cute photos of the little guy on his special day and thought I should make a prop for that.   If you have kids, then you have cardboard!  I grabbed a large piece and cut out a big number one.  I used some red acrylic paint and then a star stamp using mod podge that I sprinkled with blue glitter.  Fast, easy, and pretty cute.  Now, to just get that baby to hold it just right for the camera. ;)
And now, on to the party.  First, a few things to be said on the theme of nautical.  It's pretty general.  That can take you many different ways but that's what I loved about it - I could toss in whatever I could make work.  I choose to stay with very traditional colors - Red, Blue, and Lt. Blue.  This helped me to not only find supplies easily but anything that had to do with the 4th of July also seemed to work in well!
I have found that keeping things simple is often the easiest way to set the stage for your party.  Not pictured, but I did make a welcome sign for our door that was similar to the high chair banner pictured here.  It let everyone know that the party was happening in our back yard.  That way we didn't have to keep running to the door to welcome guests as they arrived.  The door sign and high chair banner were designed in Illustrator along with the fun ship wheels.  I then placed them as .PNG files in my Silhouette software to print and cut.  If you've not used .PNG files in the software before, it's super easy! I describe how to do that in this post here.

For my older son, I made him a special shirt to wear at his parties so I wanted to do the same here, but I also wanted him to feel included on his little bro's special day so I made two shirts this time.  The birthday boy, Owen, had a little sailboat and older brother got "Captain in training"...but if you have a two year old, you know they pretty much take charge of most situations! :)  I used the Avery iron on transfer paper and my home printer. 

I do love to digital scrapbook as well so I figured why not show off some of the pages I had of Owen's first year!  I purchased this Recollections stand to fit my 12x12 pages in.  There were some from his hospital birth and NICU stay, as well as monthly update pages.  I noticed several people checking them out and I think it was a fun way to show just how much he changed over that first year.

And finally, I do love a great birthday banner!  I wanted the decor to be more modern than cutesy so I decided to design some papers with newsprint background and stripes and stars that looked painted and stamped on.  I used some sailor's rope to string the whole thing up.  I had some on hand from a past crafting project but you can pick some up at your local hardware store.  Generally, they can just cut you the length you need.


The children attending were 4 years and under so I wanted to do something fun for favors but nothing with a bunch of little toys in it.  So I picked up some colorful sand buckets at Michael's on the cheap.  I then designed a name label for each child which I printed onto the Silhouette clear sticker paper.  After cutting with my Silhouette, I put them on the bucket.  I did this same thing for some colorful water bottles I found as well.  Also included was a sailor hat. I had found a dozen of them on Amazon and did a little fabric stencil of anchors and sailboats.  They didn't turn out the greatest but they were still pretty darn cute.  Finally, we had a squirt gun for each kiddo - and that led to a lot of fun for them outside!  Lastly, I used one bucket to put a Thank You treat of salt water taffy for each guest to take when they left for home.
I like to keep the food pretty simple so I too can have fun at the party, but that doesn't mean that you can't set it up to look festive!  I found red and blue tablecloths, paper plates and napkins at my local Michael's store.  With the sales and coupons they have, you can find this stuff fairly cheap.  They tend to only have bold colors but that worked fine for this party!  To incorporate my theme, I knotted some sailor rope around the utensils and put some golffish in a fish bowl.  We used a 4th of July table cloth for the beverage table.
A few things I've learned over the years with parties has been that I can fit way more food and make the buffet look extra fancy just by adding some height!  I use boxes or anything really under the table cloth to make places for the serving trays.  It looks nice, let's you fit more in, and makes it easier for your guests to reach for things.  It was also great to put out the lemonade, iced tea, water, and mixers in a way that guests could help themselves.  There's always a lot going on at kiddos parties so it was great to know everyone could refresh their drinks as they wanted to.  I also used the Silhouette to cut out some confetti in the shape of ship wheels and anchors.  It was easy but tedious to pick up off the sticky mat - definitely needed those tools!
The cake was made locally by Delicately Delicious.  I love how it turned out and it tasted great too!  I used the number one I had made as decoration and also set the main cake off with some fish net.

And it wouldn't be a good birthday post if I didn't include a picture of our cutie enjoying his cake!  He really took charge of it, both hands in, and enjoyed it.  And no, we didn't let him finish the whole thing!  I think he would have exploded!
All in all, it was a really fun day!  Everyone had fun, ate well, and the birthday boy enjoyed!  I had so much fun pulling this together for him too!  Happy First Birthday Owen!!