A Sweet Hippo First Birthday

The birthday girl on her birthday- it’s not easy being ONE!

And, here I am at the end of birthday season (well, almost…but I don’t think Jonathan expects either a candy buffet or a nautically themed fishy hallway) finally. So, now I can maybe get in a few blogs of my girls’ birthdays this year. I’ll go backwards since the last time I tried to blog on Anya’s birthday the page crashed and I almost threw my computer =)

Our bitty baby Bianca turned one on August 24 and we had about a million celebrations the final one being her candy themed hippo party with all our friends and family (who were close enough to come!). Here is a short recap of the party.

I’ll start with the fabulous candy buffet. Everyone really seemed to enjoy visiting Bianca’s Shoppe and I love how our background evolved to include a veranda. It was a total fluke but it added just the right touch!


We picked a few…okay more than a few…types of candy and I made mixes all labeled with Birthday girl related messages- thank you to my fabulous husband for all the cricut work. I had bought the polka dotted spinwheels to make a centerpiece decoration but thought they would be fantasic as the candy inserts. When I ran out of them I grabbed one of my daughters cool straws and added it to the almond joy bucket which also looked pretty cool.Image

Lollipop, Lollipop, Oh Lollipop. Lollipops have become Bianca’s unofficial first birthday thing, so we had to have a lollipop tree (and wreath pictured later).

What would a party be without games? My girls look so much alike that I often look at pictures and think for a split second- hmm…is that Anya or Bianca?? And, I’m their mother! So, I decided to print pictures of each of them and have the guests try to figure out who was who. It was a lot of fun and the winner took home my rainbow dum dum wreath (have you noticed yet that we had a lot of themes going on? Candy shop, hippos, polka dots, rainbows, lollipops…am I missing any?)ImageAnd, because B’s first year has been littered with monthly pictures taken with a hippo, we had to incorporate hippos into the theme somehow, so we ordered these beautiful hippo creations from Mandy’s Cakes and Candy. Amanda was awesome to work with, her prices were reasonable, and she did a fantastic job. I highly recommend her for anyone looking for cakes in the Winchester area. All I told her was I wanted hippos and my colors and she even recreated the birthday tutu I made so the hippo and Bianca could match!ImageThe birthday girl certainly enjoyed the hippo cake…though there was not as much smashing as I would have liked. Poor little Bianca was a bit out of sorts on her birthday day. I think “it’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to” has never applied more.

All in all, it was a fabulous party with friends and family and Jonathan and I had fun exercising our creative abilities putting it together! Here are a few more shots from the day:

My little candy helper

Our little family

Everyone enjoyed filling their lollipop bags with all the sweet treats from the buffet. We spent a long afternoon fielding “Is the candy buffet open yet?” questions from the kiddos. It was such a hit with everyone! Who doesn’t like candy??

Gotta have some food- here are some shots of guests enjoying the fabulous Patsy’s Pastry Pizza and homemade Mac ‘n cheese made by Jonathan. Oh and some sweet and sour meatballs I threw in for good measure…boy do we have leftovers!

Sisters rocking out together- the biggest smile we got all night from the birthday girl! She adores her big sister!

Made a wish now time to take a lick…or two or three!

Being the birthday girl is hard work. She passed out with daddy during the viewing of her birthday video.


Lighting with Mason Jars

So, this should be a two part post…eventually. But, for now, we’re just happy that we can see in our kitchen finally!

This project started…wait I’ll let you guess…on pinterest- ding ding ding! I found this mason jar light tutorial and pretty much fell in love. Jonathan jumped right on board. He went through a couple different tries before he came up with the right number of jars and type of electrical wire etc but I think the finished product looks pretty darn good.

(Please excuse the mess, though this is the cleanest my kitchen table has looked in a month =)

One of these days, when life slows down (ha ha yeah right), Jonathan will get the time to start on the second part which will be a light for over the island. Oh and I suppose the last part is a small light for over the sink.

Great idea…

lacking in execution, I think…I’m not sure exactly what to do at this point since lots of thought, effort, and money has gone into this project at this point. In fact, you’d *think* if you do something yourself, it’s usually to *save* money. Not so much in this case since I bought an “antique” birdcage (about $70?) and two strands of battery operated flower lights ($15? each). But, I had a vision and it was going to come through no matter what. Except now that it’s “finished” (well, almost =), I’m not sure I actually like it. Actually, I’m sure I don’t. But where to go from here?

Here it is, the subject of my ramblings:

Okay, okay, it’s not the light itself- which I have to say I think is looking pretty great (patting myself on the back yes I am..=). It’s this:

Now other than the fact that Anya won’t actually sleep in this bed since I added the curtains (well, at least I’ve fulfilled all my own childhood princess bed fantasies =), the light seems to hang at just the wrong place. It needs to go a couple inches down which could be easily accomplished with a chain. But, then it would hang awfully low which may pose a problem in a child’s bed. Then again, since Anya seems to prefer sleeping on the trundle, maybe it doesn’t matter after all.

Ah well, no project is without it’s set backs. It only took about 10 months from conception to implementation (we still need to put up the decorative flower ceiling mount and obviously the one chain link on at the moment is neither the right color, nor is it hanging the cage perfectly straight but considering it’s been sitting on the floor for MONTHS, at least we’re moving forward!). I’d give it another 2 or 3 years before it’s either the way I want it, or taken down since Anya will probably be bored of her princess room by then anyway.

I do love the way it looks, and maybe it will allow Anya to actually have the lights off in her room when she sleeps (yep she sleeps with her overhead light on at the moment), then again I’m not holding my breath.

Something Old into Something New

I’d like to dedicate this post to my friend, Annie. See, I am not in fact, a hoarder…just a resourceful housewife with a lot of ideas and not enough time on my hands!

Ever since we switched to formula (ugh don’t ask), I’ve been saving formula containers. Yes, I know, I sound like a crazy hoarder. Especially considering my baby has been on formula since about 6-8 weeks old. So, I have quite a few containers floating about my house. Now, if you’d said this to me while I was formula feeding Anya, I’d probably have looked at you like you had three heads. Back then, they were cardboard round containers of no use to anyone once empty (you can still get similar containers if you buy the smallest size available). However, they have now switched to these (I’ve found to be useful) plastic boxes:

Not only does the lid completely snap off in two separate pieces but it goes through my dishwasher perfectly. Win- win for me. So, I’ve been peeling labels and dishwashing these containers for 5ish months. Since then, you’ll find a couple around the house with labels like “almond laundry soap” (yes I dabbled in making my own soap..not sure I’m a convert though I’d have to experiment more to say for sure) or “embroidery floss.” But, they were just so boring:

The other night, it dawned on me that the containers would be awesome for all of Anya’s tiny toys that she adores. They are constantly being strewn about the house and that can happen no more now that Bianca is getting closer and closer to mobility. Going with the whole kid theme, I decided to spray paint them with chalkboard paint. Then, for Anya’s, I’m modgepodge-ing pictures of what goes in them so she can put them away in the correct container.

And, here is the finished product:

And here’s a picture before meets after:

Some things to note about this project. One can of chalkboard paint is a little under $4 and only covered about 5 cans with two coats and needing touch ups (as you can probably tell this job was far from perfect but I ran out and who knows when I’ll have time to finish this project- story of my life =). Whatever you do, do not decide that it’s a good idea to spray paint in your kitchen on the linoleum no matter how dark and windy it is outside- yeah so not making that mistake again (thank goodness linoleum is forgiving). And, that’s about it. I’ve got about 10 more containers already with purposes that need to be sprayed…someone want to come over and do that for me? No? Want to watch two adorable little girls while I do? DEAL…I’ll be back in a couple weeks =)

Egg-cellent Piggy, Hippo, and more

Last year I found an egg dying kit that had animals, not just any animals but a PIG animal. Basically, it was just a kit with dye and stickers that made the eggs look like a pig, frog, rabbit, and chick. To say they were a hit is a bit of an understatement. Anya wanted to sleep with them she loved them so much…considering they were hardboiled eggs this wasn’t quite feasible. I kept them for a month or two after easter and had to sneak them into the trash when I finally did throw them away (and I have a feeling Anya caught me and cried anyway).

This year, I searched everywhere and have yet to find a similar kit (they just don’t make them like they used to…or at least not how they did last year). I planned to put them on plastic eggs to make them more permanent. I did finally find an animal kit from Target, but, no piggies. So, I decided to take matters into my own hands and here are the results.

Really, there’s not much to them except time but I’ll give it a go explaining what I did. First, here are the main things I needed to buy:

Wooden Eggs (though you could use plastic and skip the painting step all together)

Acrylic Paint in various colors (I bought white but didn’t really need it for the sheep, may use it when I make our bunny though)

Felt or foam in various colors

Pipe cleaners

Things I had laying around the house (as a craft-o-phile I have a lot of random craft items stowed away) but you may not:

Various sized googly eyes

White pom pom balls

Hot glue gun or tacky glue

The only thing you may have an issue finding (especially if it’s not Easter season) are the eggs, I picked mine up from hobby lobby’s Easter section for 40% off:

First, we painted each egg with the acrylic paint. It took several coats to cover each egg (and I had a baby who needed a nap or at least lots of attention so we took lots of breaks anyway). Then, the gluing began. Since I let Anya help we used tacky glue for a lot of it but after she lost interest I finished it with the glue gun which was much quicker. I kinda copied this pig and this sheep design but the hippo and frog are all mine (can’t ya tell?). Ironically, we somehow managed not to make either of the most popular Easter animals. I guess I could go into more detail about how I actually glued each individual googly eye or cotton puff but, is that really necessary? The most difficult thing may have been the legs but I simple folded the tip of each leg and glued it with hot glue to the body- they are not very sturdy so I see a lot of re-gluing in my future.

Anya is over the moon thrilled with her new “princesses” and “prince.”

So, I won’t lie, this was a little time consuming but it was a fun craft for a lazy afternoon. Anya loved gluing all the little cotton puffs onto the sheep and had fun painting all her eggs. I can’t believe we only have a week and a half until Easter, I’d better get moving, we’ve got lots more crafting to come!

Fun with Fabric


I love pinterest. I can’t really describe my feelings with any other word. I recently found this tutortial for making fabric flowers. It’s really simple and totally customizable. If you try it you’ll learn what you like best and how to do it. I, personally, prefer looser more rose-like flowers (the writer of the tutorial liked hers much tighter and that’s a completely different look). 

You can see my first roses were tighter overall:


The more I played around with them the more open my flowers got:


My purpose for making the roses was to create a spring/summer wreath. Every year, I leave my Christmas/winter wreath up way too long because I simply had nothing to put on my door for the rest of the year and I couldn’t find something I liked either. I’m not a fan of fake wreaths (though I’m pretty sure I could find some high quality silk flowers and make *something* I liked which might be the next project) and thought I’d looked, I’d never quite found anything that I liked. Well, as soon as I saw this tutorial I knew this would make a perfect wreath. I haven’t quite hit the combination for perfection but I’m working on it and here are my first attempts at it.Image

And my second one (which still needs a hanger):


I like the shape of the flowers from the second one but the colors and wreath from the first one. So, I may combine my knowledge and make a third (you can never have too many wreaths right? And, I do have that etsy shop I don’t know what to do with- or I do…if ever I’d get the time…). 

I would write a bit of a tutorial about how I made these (and how I get my flowers the way they are- it’s really a bit different than the tutorial I posted) but my little ones may revolt if I don’t get off the computer and take them out to play in the sun so that shall have to come later!

Spring Is Here…

Well, not really but since the clocks “sprung” forward last weekend it kinda feels like it should be. The fact that I was just hot outside in a tank top and flip flops doesn’t hurt either. Be that what it may, I have officially “sprung” (ha ha clever me) into official spring crafting mode. We’re decorating foam eggs (foam shapes have been a brilliant crafting invention) and I just made my first ever non-evergreen wreath. (If you’re wondering about my evergreen wreaths- you can witness that short lived phase here.)

The idea began on pinterest (which has been my FB replacement but with much less time and attention and actually resulting in me spending more quality time with the girls- yay crafts). I found this idea and thought…I don’t want a garland or a pile ‘o eggs but lightbulb- I *did* want a Spring wreath. And so, I got to work.

Now, I pretty much followed the instructions from the blog but I have several notes. One, the consistency was kind of lumpy with the flour. Next time, I’d stir more or possibly try to omit the flour all together though I’m not sure how this would work. Regardless, making sure to wipe off excess mixture while applying the thread is very important. Any clumps will dry on your pretty eggs and be impossible to come off. Next, blowing up water balloons is not. fun. at. all. So, yeah, have fun with that. Getting a number of similarly shaped and sized balloons was a task and some of mine are a little rounder than others but oh well, it adds character. Lastly, make sure you turn them while drying and don’t pop the balloons until completely dry. I had one or two that were mostly dry (I had turned them once or twice during the drying process) but they were just the tiniest bit damp on one side- that side is kind of sunken in. Not a big deal since I made it into a wreath- just put those parts on the back.

Now, wreath assembly. It was really difficult. I made 14 different colored eggs (40 cents worth of embroidery floss for each one from hobby lobby). I arranged them in a circle. I searched for my hot glue gun. Called Jonathan to ask where it was. Looked some more. Stared at them for a while. Got out out my tacky glue and called it a day. I had two different types of ribbon- but them together and tied a bow. Glued them on with my good old tacky glue (thinking this wreath may fall apart but as long as it’s after easter I don’t care too much). And, done. I will be picking up a can of sealant before I hang it on my door (which I’d really like to get painted first anyway since the paint is peeling and I never did like that red anyway but I digress). I love the way it turned out and I can officially call this the end of my Spring wreath dilemma.

Next up…my closet…which I’m avoiding putting back together by crafting and blogging….=)