April 30, 2010

Inspiration Board GIVEAWAY!

It's finally here!  I cannot believe how long this project has taken me to finish.  There was nothing difficult in its making, but I couldn't seem to get the details just perfect.  Lucky for you, though, I did, because now I'm going to give it away!

It's an inspiration board!  You can use the (nicely coordinated) clothespins for magazine clippings, pieces of fabric or paper, pictures, notes, or anything else that might inspire you!  I want to give it to one of you, for your support inspires me greatly, and I want to help to inspire you.

There are five ways to enter.  Please leave me a separate comment for each of your entries.  

1st Entry: Leave me a comment telling me one thing that inspires you.
2nd Entry: Become of follower of this blog.
3rd Entry: Share the link to this giveaway on your blog.
4th Entry: Share the link to this giveaway on Facebook.
5th Entry: Share the link to this giveaway on Twitter.

This giveaway will end in one week, on Saturday May 8.  I will randomly choose one winner the following day.  Giveaway open to anyone living in the United States.

I'm linking up to:
Join us Saturdays at tatertotsandjello.com for the weekend wrap up party!

April 26, 2010

Cookie Sheet Chore Chart

After spending a completely ridiculous and infuriating amount of time two hours cleaning the house this morning, I decided enough was enough.

Now their responsibilities are clear as day.  I wanted something that would be flexible, that I could change as needed.  So I spray painted a cookie sheet and hot glued down some ribbon.  I Mod Podged their names, and the To-Do and Done papers to the painted cookie sheet.  Then I wrote all the chores (I've been adding things all evening) on various pieces of paper from my scraps pile.  Finally I stuck a piece of magnetic tape to the back of each chore.  I added a few buttons on for decoration, then I was done.

The best part of this was that I already had all of the materials I needed.  I just rounded up a bunch of stuff from my crafts supplies, grabbed my least favorite cookie sheet and got to work.  Simple but effective.  The kids really like moving each task from the To-Do area to the Done area.  I guess it's the same as how I like to cross things off of my to-do list.  There's some satisfaction in seeing that it's done.  We'll see if they're as enthusiastic tomorrow, but at least my house is clean tonight...

April 25, 2010

Freezer Paper Stenciling Tutorial

I absolutely love Freezer Paper Stenciling.  The possibilities are endless and the results are amazing.  Your friends will be astonished that you made these things!  

Things you'll need:
An image to paint
Freezer Paper
Exacto Knife 
Cutting Mat (You can use cardboard too!)
Iron/Ironing Board
Fabric Paint
Sponge Brush
Cardboard (To place inside the shirt)


Print the image that you'd like to paint.  This should be a silhouette type image, so that you'll have an outline to paint inside of.

Cut a piece of freezer paper to size.  The paper should be larger than your image because you'll want some extra paper around the outside of your stencil when you paint.   If you don't leave enough extra paper, you'll end up painting outside of your stencil.

The freezer paper has a shiny side and a dull side.  Tape your freezer paper over your stencil, shiny-side down.  Later, when you iron the stencil to the fabric, this is very important--If you cut the stencil with the shiny side up, when you go to iron it, your stencil will be backwards.

Use your Exacto knife to cut out all of the image that you'd like painted.  (Cut to create the stencil.)

Be sure to save any cut pieces that you'll need to complete the stencil (see the triangle?).

This is how it should look when you're done cutting.

Place the stencil onto your fabric, shiny side down, in the location you'd like to paint.  Remember to replace all of those pieces you cut out.

 I decided to add some words after I had cut the Autobot symbol.  I used my Silhouette to cut them directly from the Freezer Paper.  I hadn't done this before, but it worked wonderfully!

Carefully iron the stencil in place.  I suggest lifting, then replacing the iron, versus sliding it around like you typically iron.  If you move from side to side, you're likely to snag an edge and tear the paper.  If you just pick it up and then put it back down, your pieces won't move and you won't get under the edges at all.  The paper sticks quickly, so you don't need to go crazy with the iron here.


Now you get to paint!  Use your sponge brush to paint inside the stencil.  Again, be careful around the edges.  Depending on the color fabric and color paint, you may need more than one coat.  I would let the paint mostly dry before adding another coat.

Let the paint dry before removing the stencil.  The paint will smear if it's at all wet.  Once dry, pull up the stencil.  Some paints have to be heat-set with an iron and washed inside out.  Just follow the directions on your paints for setting and the first wash.  


April 23, 2010

Cherry Blossom Mirror

This was my first attempt at etching a mirror.  While the process is the same as glass etching, I felt like there was more to consider when etching my mirror.  I wanted to preserve the function of the mirror, so I tried to etch on the side.  I worried about the placement of the etching because mirrors are for looking at, whereas things like cookie jars look nice etched, but their appearance is not their sole function.  Maybe the more-complicated-feeling came from the sheer size of the mirror that I was etching.  I've never etched anything even half as big as this mirror.  Eventually I decided to do something simple, cherry blossoms.  The image that I used was from Martha's site and the mirror is from IKEA.  I'm probably going to give the mirror as a gift, so the photos are of the mirror on our table, as I didn't want to hang it on the wall.  Please let me know what you think--I'm not sure about this one!

I'm linking up to:

Coming Soon--New Tutorial and Giveaway!

I'm working on a Freezer Paper Stencil Tutorial! ( I should have it up sometime this weekend.)  I'm just wondering if there is anything else you all want to see?  I think I've said it before, but please feel free to request something--It makes it easy for me to know what to do!

I also wanted to thank everybody for supporting Martha Shmartha--I've been absolutely blown away and incredibly touched by all of the features on other sites, and sweet and kind comments.  I can't believe I've only been doing this for two months!  Thank you for inspiring me to create and craft!

Here's a sneak peak of something I'm working on:

And get ready for a GIVEAWAY coming up too!

April 21, 2010

More Than Meets the Eye

Remember that ditty?  Transformers... More than meets the eye.  One of my nephews is turning four tomorrow.  This kid spends a good deal of every day dressed as Optimus Prime.  Of course I had to do something Transformer-related, and boy do I love freezer paper.  My kids recognized it when I was done, so I'll call it a success!  

April 19, 2010

From Dishtowel to Decor

My husband and I loaded our kids in the car on Saturday, after our son's early morning soccer game, for our annual trip to IKEA.  Sometimes I wish we lived closer to an IKEA, but then after I go, I think it's a really good thing we don't, because otherwise we might be broke.  Anyways, I picked up some great project supplies on Saturday, one being a small wood-framed mirror.  I had imagined Mod Podging some gorgeous paper on to it, but tonight, I was inspired to go elsewhere.

Also from IKEA, I snagged some adorable dish towels, cupcake themed.  I'm a sucker for cupcakes as is, but add a cute polka dot tag, and I'm done for!

Knowing that there were three dish towels total, I felt free to hack one of them to pieces.  So I did, and now I have the cutest little mirror hanging in my kitchen.  I'm thinking of checking IKEA's website to see if I can order more of these towels--I'm in love!

An Article. A Real Article!

Check this out!  I'm astounded, completely astounded.  We just wanted to throw a fun party for our son. We honestly didn't plan it to be so huge, but we had so much fun creating that it sort of blossomed into a life of its own.  And now an article on CafeMom?  I'm over the moon right now.  (Would it be overdoing it to go out for dinner to celebrate?)

April 17, 2010

The Making of the Golden Snitch Cake

The cake.  Finally.  Before I start, though, I have to make a confession.  Here it is:

Yup, my first attempt was a massive fail.  And let's be honest, that fail should be FAIL.  The final cake was the top of the snitch (half-sphere), whereas my first try was the entire round snitch (whole sphere).  Yes, I thought it would be awesome to make a ball, filled with Jelly Bellies.  Needless to say, it didn't work.  Let's move on to what did work, shall we?

I used a Betty Crocker Bake'n Fill Cake Pan.  This is crucial if you want to fill your cake with Jelly Bellies.  You can find it here.  The secret is a dome pan, seen below, with an insert pan that molds your cake, so that it bakes hollow.

So I baked my dome cake, with the insert, then filled it with Jelly Bellies, after it cooled.  I also baked a flat round cake.  I coated the rim of the dome cake with yellow buttercream frosting, then laid my flat round cake on top.  I then laid my cake plate on top of that and flipped it over.  See below:

Magical, right?  I then frosted the entire cake with yellow buttercream.  I used Wilton Gold Sparkle Gel to create the decorations on the outside of the Golden Snitch.  To be honest, I paused Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone a million times, trying to see the front, back, sides and top of the Snitch.  To be even more honest, embarrassingly so, I took pictures of the TV with my cell phone, so that I could refer back to the paused pictures while I was working in the kitchen.  My husband kept telling me that nobody would care, but, well, I cared!  

The wings... I thought for days about how to make the wings on the Golden Snitch.  I considered using real feathers, painted cardboard, card stock, cookies.  I even tried a few of those things.  What finally worked came from here.  I used yellow Wilton Candy Melts.  I melted the candy inside a decorating bag, with a thin tip already in the end of the bag.  I drew a wing on a piece of paper (trying multiple times!), then placed a piece of wax paper over that paper.  I used the decorating bag to pipe the melted candies onto the wax paper, tracing the shape of the wing onto the wax paper.  Then I slid the paper with the wing drawn on it out from under the wax paper, flipped it over, and traced another wing with the decorating bag.  That way, my wings were symmetric.  Lastly, I painted the wings, front and back, with Wilton Pearl Dust that I had left over from this.  I hope that makes sense--Please leave me a comment if you need more details.  I'm sorry I don't have pictures of that.

I did not put the wings into the cake until it was time to bring the cake out during the party.  I left the cake in the fridge over night and the wings in the freezer overnight.  Then I gently slid the wings into the sides of the cake.  I think that they would have been fine all night, but I didn't want to risk them breaking or sliding down the sides of the cake.

So there you have it!  Nothing too difficult, just a little time-consuming.  But it was so worth it when I saw all those little faces light up, first upon seeing the cake, then as all of the Jelly Bellies spilled out.  Good luck making your own cake!

April 15, 2010

Hallmark Inspired Winnie the Pooh Plate

I was at Hallmark the other day when I saw the most wonderful collection of Disney things.  They have quotes from Walt Disney, himself, plus quotes from lots of Disney characters, all written on a variety of backgrounds.  My favorite was a quote from Winnie the Pooh--I cannot resist Winnie the Pooh!  The problem was that it cost like $15.  In our household, that's serious dinero.  So my husband said, "Just make it."  Thanks, Honey.  

I used my Silhouette to cut the vinyl, and I found the graphic free online--Perfect!  The plate is from Target and cost me $4.  I love how it turned out.  It's sweet, just like I wanted it to be, but looks sort of fancy too.  And every time I read it, I think about my husband and me.

Yes, I'm aware that some of the letters aren't the right size.  I'll fix it someday, but the vinyl gave me SO MUCH  trouble, so I'm just going to leave it until I'm not tempted to throw it out the window ready to work on it again.

April 14, 2010

Placemat to Project Holder Folder

I am one of those people who has to write things down.  If it's not on paper, I will most likely forget about it.  Craft ideas are definitely among the things that float right out my ears into lala land, unless I write them down.  So I have been trying to come up with a good way to keep track of my ideas so that they don't disappear forever.  Post-it notes are a must have because I can stick them to fabric, furniture, paper, etc. when I have an idea for that particular item.  Pens are also important.  Lastly, a place to store all of the pictures and pages that I rip out of magazines.  Let me show you what I came up with!

Sewing Machine (Although this could definitely be done by hand!)

I got this unbelievable placemat on clearance at Target.  Less than three dollars!
Lay out your placemat, right side down.  Lay all of the items you'd like to store on top of the placemat.  Fold the bottom of the placemat up as high as you'd like it.  Pin the sides closed.
Place a pin between all of the items.
Sew the sides closed.  I just used a short straight stitch

Sew a straight line where you place each pin, between all of your items.  (Just sew as high as the fold, not all the way up the placemat.)

Fold your placemat closed.  I folded the left side in, then the right side over the top.  Place a button on the bottom side (or the side that is not the flap).

Sew the button on.

The smart thing here would be to use a thin piece of ribbon.  I, however, did not have a thin piece of ribbon.  Here's how to create it: Cut a piece of ribbon to the desired length.  Next cut it to the desired width.  Use a lighter to seal the ends and length.  Voila, a thin piece of ribbon.

Create a loop with your ribbon, criss-crossing the ends, large enough to fit over the button that you just sewed on.  Sew it on to the edge of the flap of your folded placemat.

You're done!

Literally a 15 minute project and just perfect for what I needed.  I'm so happy!

April 11, 2010

Welcome to Hogwarts!

The party was amazing.  AMAZING!  (If I do say so myself...)  The kids had a wonderful time, the parents were blown away, and I didn't even end up with migraine!  My husband and I spent countless hours planning, creating, and preparing for this party; It was worth every minute.

Upon arrival, children were escorted through the front door, which had been transformed into Platform 9 3/4.  I made a Platform 9 3/4 sign by painting a piece of wood red, then using my Silhouette to cut "HOGWARTS EXPRESS" from sparkly gold paper.  I Mod Podged the letters to the board, along with a Hogwarts crest that I found on Google Images, then printed and cut.  I used a bowl to draw a circle on the board, painted it white, then drew and painted the 9 3/4 with black paint.  I think it looks pretty close to the sign from the movie!

The brick wall was made from a light blue sheet that I picked up at Goodwill.  My husband cut it to fit our doorway, then drew the bricks on with a Sharpie.  He also cut the slit for the kids to run through.  I spray painted it red, keeping the spray can at a bit of a distance so as to create an uneven look, like bricks.

I made this flag to hang outside our house.  Sort of like balloons for a regular party, right?  The how-to for the flag can be found here.

Inside our house, the kids found The Great Hall, with a nighttime sky on the enchanted ceiling.

In the books and movie, robes are a must-have at Hogwarts.  I sewed a robe for each of the kids, nine total.  They took me about a half-hour each, although eventually I just assembly-lined them, doing all the ironing at one time, hems at one time, etc. 

After they had their robes, the children were taken to Ollivander's Wand Shop.  There, they could choose a wand.  My husband carved unique patterns into all of the wands.  Didn't he do an incredible job?

The kids decorated their wands with markers.

They also could choose Phoenix feathers or dragon scales for the core of their wands.  My husband drilled holes into one end of each wand.  The kids stuffed them with feathers and small jewels (dragon feathers), and then I sealed the holes with hot glue.

Next was the Sorting Hat.  I created this hat using crumpled brown paper bags.  I hot glued torn pieces of the bags to a black witches hat that we had in our dress up clothes.  I tried to make the face look like the hat from the movie--My son loved it, but I'm not so sure.

I thought long and hard about how to have the Sorting Hat speak.  We thought about walkie-talkies or recordings.  But eventually, we decided to go with a baby monitor.  We hung a the speaker-end of the monitor inside the Sorting Hat, then put the other end in our basement.  My husband went downstairs and spoke into the baby monitor as the Sorting Hat, so it sounded like the hat was talking.  It worked perfectly--One of the dad's even asked me afterwards how we did it.  Success!

After being sorted, we went to Potions Class.  Each child got a small ceramic cauldron (found at JoAnn's).  The first potion contained an explosive clear liquid (water), jellyfish serum (bubble solution), and fire rocks (dry ice).  The kids were amazed by this.  

We had to rinse out the cauldrons between potions, so the kids spent the time stupifying each other.  We brought the benches for our picnic table inside and covered them with Dollar Store black tablecloths (same for the table).  It really added to the look of The Great Hall.

The next potion was a mixture of water and Iocane Powder (cornstartch).  This went unbelievably well.  Everybody had fun mixing, then being shocked that their solid turned "runny."  One kid said, "It's like a solid liquid!"  Yup, you got it.

This made a huge mess, so I was very glad that we had put down the tablecloths.

After Potions was over, it was time for a little QUIDDITCH!

Everybody got a broom, made from sticks and brush, found on the side of the road, courtesy of my hubby.

We had three foam balls, all red--One large one that was the Quaffle and two smaller ones that were the Bludgers.  The kids were separated into two teams.  They had to try to get the Quaffle through one of the hoops, but if they were hit by a Bludger, they had to drop the Quaffle.  They also had to stay on their brooms.

The rings were made by spray painting hula hoops that were nailed to wood, stuck in the ground.  There were three on each side, just like in real Quidditch.

That's a Bludger.

Prior to the party, I spray painted a golf ball gold, then hid it in our yard.  We chose a Seeker from each team, and rotated the Seekers each time a team scored--Those kids were responsible for searching the yard for the Golden Snitch.  Here it is after being found.

Quidditch took a lot of energy, so it was time for some food!  Cake time!  My son wanted a Golden Snitch cake--No pressure there, right?  This is what I came up with:

I have a lot of pictures from the making of this cake, so I'll post a how-to sometime in the near future.  In case you're wondering, though, yes, the wings are edible too!
Edit: Here's the how-to on the cake.

This was the coolest part of the cake by far--It was filled with Jelly Bellies, i.e.. Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans!  When I cut the first piece out of the cake, the Jelly Bellies all spilled out too.  The kids (and adults!) thought that it was pretty amazing.  One of the dads was completely incredulous that I had made the cake--He told me that it was "just so magical."  Talk about a compliment!

We also served Butterbeer.  It was Cream Soda (CAUTION: Be sure to buy non-caffeinated soda!  The first time my husband bought it, I checked the can and it had caffeine.  Can you even imagine?!?), mixed with Butterscotch Syrup.  I served it in small Ball glass jars that I had put in the freezer before the party, and then sprayed some Ready-Whip on top.  I liked it, so did a few of the kids, but I'm not sure I'd make it again...

So that's our party!  I forgot to take any pictures of the invitations--They were invitations to Hogwarts, printed on parchment paper, then sealed with red wax and the Hogwarts H.  I'll see if I can scrounge one up for pictures.  I think the reason this party worked so well was because of all the prep-time.  We also kept each activity to 15 minutes, so nobody got bored.  Everything moved quickly and fluidly, because of the preparation.  My son said that it was the best party he'd every been to, and, pardon my lack of humility here, I'm going to have to agree with him!

I'm linking up to these parties:
Transformation Thursday

Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special

Join us Saturdays at tatertotsandjello.com for the weekend wrap up party!
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