July 22, 2013

Chore Chart

As a mom, I sometimes feel like all that I do is talk.  Especially when it comes to getting my son to do what he's supposed to around the house.  I was beginning to feel like a 'Nagging Nancy'.  The constant "reminding" was causing both of us to feel very frustrated.  I knew when I found myself behaving like a person that had recently been possessed that I needed to make a change.  It was time to teach family responsibility and independence in a way that kept my talking to a minimum, gave him a sense of pride in what he could do and put me back on the 'you are a good mommy' list {if only in my own head}.

How do you do that, you ask?  A Chore Chart.  Yes, please!

For this project I wanted something simple that he could look at and easily handle himself without coming to me.  IKEA carries a magnetic board ($12.99) that would be perfect for this.  My boys and I love that place so we decided to make it a date.  To IKEA we go!

On a trip to the dollar store for something completely unrelated, I found these awesome magnetic frames.  BINGO!  This would work well with pictures of the chores inside of them.  I almost couldn't wait to get home to create them!

I used painters tape to divide the board into two spaces, vinyl for the title and full page clear labels to create the 'sun' {morning chores} and 'moon/stars' {evening chores} and it was finished and ready for use.

I still, on occasion, need to give him a gentle reminder of what needs to be done but his chore chart has given us both a way to relax and get back to enjoying what we love most...just being mother and son!

July 15, 2013

Happy Birthday Party Favors

Birthday parties.  Do these two little words make you a stress ridden, anxiety laced mess when you hear them?  Well, if you've spent anytime on the internet they might.  Especially if you feel like your party needs to look like all the swanky affairs that are posted on blog after blog or can be found by the thousands on Pinterest.

Confession.  I fell into that trap.  Yes, that trap that says you need to have a big party complete with the magnificent dessert table with coordinating backdrop.  I've given these parties my best effort.  Though they would never make their way into any party magazines, I was quite pleased with my son's All Aboard 4th birthday party and even the fun Hoppin' Easter Egg Hunt I threw last year.  The reality that I was stressing myself out for nothing came when my sweet boy said to me that he wasn't interested in having a 'backyard party' this year, that these parties were "boring".  Say what???  He told me he would just like to go to the pool with a few friends.  Is that it!?!  Your wish is my command!

My budget for this party was almost non-existent {we were saving for a Disney cruise} so I needed to find party favors that fit a pool theme and that parents wouldn't chuck straight into the trash.  A trip to the Dollar Tree and I found the most perfect and functional party favor and best of all everything was $1!

I searched the store not knowing what I would get, but the party gods were on my side because sitting on an end cap were these great water bottles.  SOLD!  A sturdy bottle that the kids could bring back to the pool time after time over the summer - what could be better than that?  Now what to put inside?  A little more searching and I found Angry Bird freezer pops and Singles to Go drink packets -- everything that said 'summer time' and 'pool fun'.  I was as giddy as a kid on Christmas morning.  I knew that I wanted six items in the bottles {six for turning 6...smart, huh?} so that meant I needed something else.  I decided I wanted re-freezable ice cubes which I had to get from Walmart because my wonderful dollar store hadn't stocked these this summer season.  Now that I had everything for the inside of the bottles, I needed to figure out how to personalize them.

Back in April, my best customer sent me a link that she thought I would love and she was right.  A water bottle drink holder tag from Blue Eyed Blessings.  I took this idea and used it for the bottles, with a few tweaks of course.

Using a piece of poster board from the dollar store, I measured and cut out each tag that I needed for the bottles.

Each tag measured 3" x 8"
I scored them 3 inches on one end
Using the bottom of the bottle, I traced a circle on the scored end
Using a straight razor, I cut out each circle which fit over the mouth of the bottle

Now to create the tag itself.  I searched Google for a 'pool' picture and found this one - wonderful!  Once I downloaded it and resized it to fit the tag, it was time to personalize each one.  Using Microsoft Word I added their name and our 'thanks' message along with another smaller tag that told what each bottle contained.

Of course the birthday boy's bottle was slightly different.

Each completed bottle ready to be handed out pool side.  In the end, each one costs roughly $1.80.  An awesomely inexpensive and thoughtful party favor...what can we say, that's the way we roll! {big cheesy smile}

July 12, 2013

Chic Drink Stand

As we prepare to do some renovations on our backyard, I've been thinking about colors and how to decorate our new patio space.  The truth is, I wish that we had the budget to buy all new furniture and accents but I know that's not possible.  Time to think of ways to make a chic, beautiful and relaxing space on a budget.

While we wait for the rain to stop {Is there a monsoon season in the south?} so our concrete contractor can get here to lay the slab for the backyard patio, I've decided to begin our design with some simple accents.  This one has been on my radar for almost a year and I finally got around to getting it done -- my chic drink stand.

I began this project with a trip to Lowes.  I found a 6 x 24 board used for playground equipment - perfect size for what I needed.  From there I headed over to find the tiles that would fit on top.  The tiles are basic kitchen/bathroom tiles {sorry, forgot to take a pic of them}.  The wooden balls I purchased at Hobby Lobby knowing they would make great legs.

I spray painted each piece in a flat black paint.  I love how you can still see the grain of the wood.

At this point, I needed to enlist the help of my knight and shining armor to attach the handles.  He is much better with power tools than I am and his attention to detail would ensure that the handles would be put on properly, something I was a little worried about if left to do this part on my own.

Measuring to make it even and to make the holes line up for drilling

Oh how I love a man with power tools!

Using my Silhouette machine, I found two great flourish designs that I loved.  One of them I also used on the Doll Club Cards.  I cut two of each design using vinyl and placed them on each of the tiles.

Vinyl transfer on each tile

The colors I want for our outdoor space are turquoise, coral and pale yellow.  We tend to shy away from color -- a habit I'm trying to break.  I chose a great turquoise acrylic paint and used a foam stamping brush to "stamp" the paint on each tile.  I wanted the texture and the more 'uneven' look of the paint on each one.

Stamping over the tile and vinyl

Completely covered 
TIP: Remove the vinyl while the paint is still wet to keep it from messing up the design.

Removing the vinyl carefully

I measured {you can see a faint pencil line} to make sure that I put the 'legs' in the right place and attached each one using Gorilla glue.

Remember that tip I just gave?  Well, let me show you what happens if you don't get all of the vinyl off when the paint is still wet...ugh!  I considered redoing the tile but decided against it.  I think it gives it character, so it stays {truth: I was too lazy to do it again...LOL!}.  I attached each tile using Gorilla glue as well.  I didn't measure the space for the tiles, just gave it a good eyeballing {Is that a real word? Guess it is now...lol} to make them even on the board and let them sit for half a day to set before moving the stand.

Dried paint is NOT your friend!

I'm so proud of the way this turned out.  An accent that will not only be cute but functional and of course we all know how important cute is!

Where we like to party!

July 8, 2013

Monster What???

Have you heard of Monster High? Until a week ago, I had not. Being the mother of a 6 year old boy, this was outside of my knowledge base but apparently is all the rage with preteen girls. If you happen to have no idea what I'm talking about, allow me to give you the official "411".

According to Wikipedia, Monster High is "a fashion doll franchise created by Mattel in July 2010. The characters are inspired by monster movies, sci-fi horror, and thriller fiction therefore distinguishing them from most fashion dolls".  Who knew?  Certainly not I...LOL!

Anyway, my best customer was in need of a gift for a family member and this happens to be the party theme. She found exactly what she wanted from a party featured on Catch My Party.  She sent me the link and I was on my way.  Here is my version of the Monster High party centerpiece.

Image backed on foam core board

The image was blown up to fit an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper.  I cut it out and traced it on foam core board.  Using a straight razor I cut the shape out of the board then glued on the image.

I wanted to add a little something to it and what better than a little bling, right?  Every girl, even girl skeletons, like a jewel or two. {smile}

The original version looked like it was filled with tulle but my customer chose tissue paper and though I was a bit apprehensive at first, it turned out to be the perfect accent to it.

I found the base in the dollar bin section of Target.  I had the ribbon on hand and used my Silhouette machine to create the center.

So what do you think?  We think it turned out great and just in time to get in the mail before the party.  Another party score!

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