Saturday, December 1, 2012

Yoga Birthday Bash

 All the beautiful photos in this post were taken by Memories by Erin Leigh
I have a little yogi in my family.  My now 7 year old, absolutely loves going to yoga class and I love the physical benefits and the calm focus it brings her.  She was especially excited to share it with her friends at her yoga birthday party.
I designed a set of yoga flashcards for the invitation and the poster above that welcomed guests. 
We rented a dance studio at a local community center.  It was the perfect space for all the kiddos to stretch out and the parents got to watch the entertainment class from a bench along the wall.
The party started off with a yogurt bar.  The kids scooped yogurt and chose granola, blueberries, strawberries, honey straws, and sprinkle toppings to make their own yogurt parfaits.  
tutorial to come on the string art backdrop I made!
Honey straws from Peace Blossom Candles 
After everyone had their snack, it was time to bend, stretch, and twist!  The yoga instructor lead them through the yoga poses by telling stories and having the kids act out animal characters.  The kids had so much fun making fish faces, pouncing like cats, sitting like flowers, rocking their foot "babies" to sleep and the parents had just as much fun watching. 
yoga instructor from Kidding Around Yoga 
The parents enjoyed a treat of their own during class, Thai flower cookies.

We took a little break part way through class for a craft.  They decorated talking sticks with pipe cleaners, feathers, and beads; one of their own and they each contributed something to one they made collectively.  All the children sat in a circle and the birthday girl in the center.  They passed the talking stick around the circle and each took a turn saying something they liked about the birthday girl. 
 Elle's lotus top made by Ahpeele
The class wrapped up with meditation time and relaxation.  I don't think I've ever seen my 7 year old lay so still for so long unless she was asleep.
It wouldn't be a birthday party without cake... yummy cupcakes with yoga pose fondant toppers to be exact.
 Fondant toppers made by Two Suger Babies
All the happy yogis went home with their yoga mat, tied up with a ribbon carrying strap (tutorial to come!), and personalized water bottle.
It was so much fun for Elle to share the enjoyment she gets out of yoga with her friends and I'm happy to get to share the fun of planning this party with you! Namaste.  

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Best big kid gift ever!

Part of my efforts to be involved in my girls' schools and get to know the parents includes attending their classmate's birthday parties. I am perpetually in search of fun kid birthday gifts... preferably something easily handmade that inspires creative play and works for both boys and girls.  That's a tall order, but this gift meets all that criteria and doesn't cost a million dollars. Meet my official go to kid birthday gift, the fort building kit:

I found some inexpensive fabric shower curtains.  They worked great for this project because they have grommets along one side, which is useful for hooking/hanging the fort to things or using the bungee cords to attach it places.  I picked up most of the rest of the kit supplies at the dollar store:
a package of suction cup hooks
small bungee cords
a flash light (don't forget batteries!)
a package of plastic clips
glow bracelets
a length of rope (I found really cute woven pink rope at Jo-Anns in the trim section but they have rope at the dollar store too)

There's only a little bit of sewing involved in this project.  I cut 12" lengths of ribbon, heat sealed the ends, and sewed a little loop with long tails to each corner of the shower curtain.  The loops provide a way to hang the curtain over a bed post for example or you can use the tails to tie it to something like the rung of a chair.  I also put one loop in the center of the curtain that you can use to thread the rope through to keep the center of your fort aloft.

Lastly I sewed a quick easy draw string bag to keep it all in and made a tag so the birthday kiddo knows what this bag of crazy items is for.

Now my only worry is that I won't remember who we've made a kit for since I'm making them for everyone!


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Yoga Party

I'm playing catch up after moving our family from the house we've lived in for 10+ years across the county & my Elle's 7th birthday party on the same weekend, but I had to take a break from the unpacking to post this little teaser for the party posts to come!
Photo by Memories by Erin Leigh
I'll be back with all the details as soon as I can find the floor under all these boxes in our new house!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Like, the coolest nails, like ever!

We were invited to an 80s themed birthday party... who would turn down an invitation to resurrect the most over the top style era of all time?!   

These rad splatter nails complimented my neon mini skirt, off the shoulder neon top, ripped tights and jelly bracelets perfectly!  I found a tutorial for this nail technique online but I I couldn't find any pictures of it on black nails and figured out a couple of tricks I thought I'd share with you.

You'll need: black nail polish, neon opaque nail polish in at least two colors, a straw cut into 2" lengths, scotch tape, a paper plate, and paper towel.

Start by painting your nails black.  I top coated mine after the black polish but you probably wouldn't have to do that step.

Using scotch tape, tape off the sides and along the cuticle of each nail on one hand.  I used one of those pre-cut pop-up tape dispensers which made operating with tape on my nails a little more feasible.

Line your work surface with several paper towels... it's gonna get messy.

Pour a little puddle of your neon polish onto your paper plate.  Pounce the end of your straw into the polish.  Now here's the trick - hold your nail about 10" away from you and blow through the straw with a short sharp burst (Like you're saying "two").  If you're too close to your nail, the air spreads the polish out too much and you don't get that drip/splatter look.  And if you don't blow sharply, you may not get any polish to come off the end of the straw at all.

Re-dip your straw into the polish between each blow.

When you're done with one color do the second, remove the tape, and then repeat the process for your other hand.

Top coat & get ready for all the compliments on your totally tubular nails!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Customer Appreciation Photos

I love it when customers email photos of their parties they put together with a little help from my party printables!  I had to share this one with you, it's a 1st birthday party Amy created for her daughter, Farrah.


Photos by Bella Vita Photography


Amy incorporated a lot of great ideas, starting with the beautiful cake.  I love the pink ombre icing! The medium size custom party hat picks from my shop and some "1s" were perfect toppers.  The smaller custom party hat picks adorned the cupcakes dressed in shiny pink foil wrappers.  The colored wire "Farrah is one" banner hanging behind the birthday girl's highchair is so creative and you can't get more fun than the highchair decked out with loads of curly ribbon! Happy birthday Farrah!


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Tea Time

We had a fun and somewhat busy summer. Elle has been in various camps and we've done several "family fun" activities on the weekends.  However, I think this summer will go down in history... well at least in my mind... as the summer of the gym and the tea.  Two major new developements have occured over the course of the last couple months 1) I started going to the gym every week day and methodically tracking the number of calories I consume and 2) my nanny introduced me to her addiction... tea.
#1 is not much fun at all, in fact, I wouldn't have even mentioned it if it weren't related to #2.  I have a pretty serious sweet tooth and it doesn't play nice with counting calories!  Enter, the nanny, her love for tea, and a really interesting site to buy tea from, adagio.  On adagio, users can buy tea but they can also make their own custom blends (some of them get pretty creative and make blends inspired by movie characters... like the Harry Potter ones you see above), design their own artwork for their blends label, and make their creation available to be purchased by other users.  With teas like chocolate mint cream, I feel like I'm cheating the system somehow by getting my sweets fix in tea every afternoon for virtually no calories.
I didn't post about this just to tell you how much I love the site and my new found sweet fix though... I wanted to share this fun project for "stained glass" jars that my nanny did with my girls. 

You'll need:
mason jars - one for each type of tea you have
Tissue paper in various colors
white glue
foam brush
First, they came up with a color scheme for each flavor of tea (like peach and white for a peaches and cream tea) then they tore bits of tissue paper in those colors, dipped them in water, applied them to the outside of the mason jar, and smoothed them down.  Repeat, overlapping the tissue paper just a little until the entire surface of the jar is covered.  Then paint white glue over the whole thing and let dry.  Lastly, once the tea you tracked online through the entire shipping process and waited for with bated breathe (that's what happens when these things get to addiction level) arrives, pour it into the jar, peel the artisan's label off the bag of tea, and adhere it to the outside of the jar.  Store your jars in a cool dry place.

Monday, August 6, 2012

School Supply Printable

We took advantage of the tax-free weekend here in Florida and bought school supplies.  My soon-to-be 7 year old is going into 1st grade so it's the "real deal" this year, evidenced by the staggering number of school supplies we had to hunt down!
Elle had fun picking out her favorite notebooks and colors for her folders but I saw an opportunity for creativity and promised her "something fun" if she would pick some solid color binders.  I'm pleased to say Elle thinks I delivered on the "fun" and you can get in on it too because I made you a printable! 
I designed a "this belongs to" coversheet with chevron background.  You can insert it into binders that have the clear pockets on the cover for an easy and cute way to label them with your kiddos name.  I made a pink and a blue version for you.  Click blue or pink to download them for free.
Yea for free printables!  But, if you're like me, and gently coax your kid into selecting coordinating color combinations for their folders, scour Etsy to find just the right design for name labels to apply to your kid's supplies, and wonder to yourself if the shade of pink she picked for her notebooks will match her backpack... or even if you're less crazy than I am and just like cute stuff, you can order a custom version of this file in my Etsy shop.
You'll choose pink or blue and get 2 files with your order.  The first will be your kid's name in the center of the cover design and the second will be just the chevron print.  I printed two sheets of the chevron by itself for Elle's binders, cut 1 for the spine and inserted the other in the back of the binder.
Now I just have to figure out how my 7 year old is going to carry all of this into school with her on her first day!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A tutorial you never knew you wanted

Can you guess what this tutorial is for based on that first photo? 

Sometimes I start out attempting to perform a seemingly simple task (like buy a new pillow because I'm waking up with neck aches and think my *ahem old ahem* pillow is to blame) and end up complicating things far more than I ever anticipated.  My search for a new pillow is the perfect example. 
I started looking into foam pillows thinking the better support would resolve my neck aches.  Hours of research later I decided 1) foam wasn't the way to go 2) I should instead, join the many people in Asian countries who sleep on buckwheat pillows every night 3) figure out a way to address the problem of buckwheat pillows being unusually hard compared to the goose down and/or poly pillows I'm acustom to and 4) not spend a ton of money on a pillow I'm not 100% sure I'm going to love.  Another 30 minutes or so of research and I found all the materials I needed.  If you're looking for a healthy, supportive, relatively cost effective alternative to the pillow you're acustom to, you'll need:

- One half pound eco wool (I found mine at the Bungalow Bear & Friends shop on Etsy)
- Approximately 4lbs buckwheat hulls (source - Serenity Pillows)
- 3/4 yard ticking (you'll have to ask JoAnn's for the "real thing" (not the looks like ticking but isn't stuff) it's not pretty but it does the job of holding all the buckwheat hull bits in)

We're going to make a simple box shaped pillow from the ticking and add a separate chamber on top to stuff with the wool to make it softer.  Here's how:

Cut two 25"x21" rectangles from the ticking
Cut one 20"x16" rectangle from the ticking

Sew the 20"x16" rectangle into the center of one of the larger rectangles (there's no right or wrong side of ticking, so it doesn't matter which side you sew it to), leaving a hole to stuff through.

Stuff the small rectangle with the wool and sew the hole closed.

Lay the rectangle with the chamber of wool with the raw sides of the chamber down.  Place the other rectangle on top and sew all around, leaving a hole to stuff through.

At each corner, line up the side seams and sew perpendicular to the seams to make a boxed corner (like how I made the bottom of the library tote bag)

Turn the pillow right sides out.

Fill with desired amount of buckwheat hulls & sew the opening closed

Lay your head on it and sleep

Okay so here's the low down... for me at least. If I'm perfectly honest, I have to tell you two things.  Firstly, my neck aches are completely gone since the first night I used this pillow but also, I'm not super in love with it.  I apparently move around quite a bit in my sleep and this pillow holds its shape extremely well, so I wake myself up having to re-adjust it when I change positions in the middle of the night. But it's easy to re-adjust and an inconvenience I have thus far (almost 4 months into sleeping with this pillow) been willing to endure in exchange for no neck pain... I am however, thankful my Doug gets out of bed before me so I can steal his flimsy goose down pillow every morning.  

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Sidewalk Chalkboard Tutorial

For the Shoffice's grand opening, I needed a way to direct guests to the backyard and thought a sidewalk chalkboard would fit the Happy Hour theme perfectly.  I saw one at Home Goods for $80 but knew I could make one for much cheaper. 

Large framed chalkboard - since you'll be drilling into it, the frame needs to be wood
1"x2" board in a 12' length
2 one foot lengths of small link chain
a set of small hinges
4 screws
black paint
drill & drill bit

Cut the 1"x2" into three lengths - 2 pieces that are the same height as your chalkboard, and 1 piece the width of your chalkboard

Paint the boards black

Nail the stand/legs together - Lay the short board on the ground, place the long boards perpendicular to and at either end of the short board. Nail in place.

Attach the stand/legs to the chalkboard frame with the hinges - Pre-drill pilot holes for your screws (if you don't use a large enough bit for your pilot holes you'll strip the screws to your hinges and have to get your husband to muscle the last screw in for you)

Attach the chains - stand the chalkboard up leaning against the legs.  Mark the chalkboard frame at the point where the chalkboard and the legs are approximately 10" apart. Measure the distance from the mark to the bottom of the chalkboard and mark the legs & the other side of the chalkboard frame at the same point.  Pre-drill pilot holes then screw the chains into place.

I have a feeling this chalkboard is going to make an appearance at more of my parties in the future!


Monday, July 2, 2012

Happy Hour at The Shoffice - You're Invited!

After all that hard work and the many hours we put into designing and building The Shoffice, a happy hour celebration was in order!

Guests were greeted at the front walkway with this chalkboard sign I made (tutorial here).

Outside the Shoffice was a drink station and a giant platter of wings I baked that afternoon and kept hot in crockpots (you'll have to trust me... the wings & condiments and the beer & wine came out after the party started but I did my picture taking duties ahead of time).

But the real treat was in the Shoffice!  My very fun, but typically very office orriented, storage piece became the bar.  For the transformation, I made a runner for the top from chalkcloth, lined the drawers with leftover wallpaper, and opened 2 drawers for the plates, napkins, and the glasses.  The spread included:

homemade guacamole (I posted my delicious recipe including the secret ingredient here), salsa and chips.

Caprese shooters I made with balsamic glaze in the bottom, fresh milk motzerella balls, a basil leaf and grape tomato speared with a cocktail sword

Mojito jellies served in asian spoons on platters lined in the wallpaper scraps.  I made the jellies from the super fun Jelly Shot Test Kitchen book... sophisticated jello shots who knew?!

Hurricane jellies displayed in these stands I made by gluing the domes to chunky white candlesticks and lining the bottoms with more wallpaper scraps cut into circles and laminated (do you recognize them from the 1 year old in a flash party?).

Spiked Limonata with the recipe written on the runner.  2 oz spirit (I served Belvedere vodka and Malibu Black rum) and 11 oz Limonata (not only is the Pellegrino limonata delicious but the cans with the foil tops are so pretty!).  Oh and the glasses for the spiked limonata had little lemon zest knots in the bottom (thank you Martha!).

Birthdays aren't the only milestones that deserve to be celebrated.  Any excuse will do when there's great friends, delicious food, and fun drinks!

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