Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Organized craft closet

I suppose most people have catch-all closets, which is what became of this closet, originally intended for craft and sewing supplies. Crammed with clutter (although the perfect hide-and-seek spot for my kids), this closet was begging to be organized!

And, voila! Not a really dramatic change, but oh so much more functional. All I did was shift everything around into zones using existing drawers, boxes and other organizational tools.

SEWING ZONE: Color-coded fabric in an organizer right next to my sewing machine.

SEWING ZONE: Three drawers stash small sewing supplies like thread and needles, cross stitching miscellany and scrap fabrics.

GIFT AND CARD ZONE: A simple slotted rack on the wall displays greeting cards to choose from more easily than if stored stacked in boxes. I can also see, at a glance, which occasion I need to restock (anniversary, birthday, get well).

GIFT AND CARD ZONE: Rolls of wrapping paper and gift bags are stowed in a corner, along with tape and tissue paper.

GIFT AND CARD ZONE: Extra envelopes, address labels, standard thank you cards and stamps are tucked away on the wall adjacent.

IN PROGRESS ZONE: I tacked up some corkboard tiles on which to pin projects in progress, as well as magazine clippings and ideas. A tray on the desktop just below holds bulkier unfinished projects.

FILING ZONE: A row of magazine files are labeled according to my most frequent filing needs.

ART SUPPLY ZONE: I reserved the top middle shelf for miscellaneous art and craft supplies. Labels on the outside of clear drawers cut down on wasted time spent digging for stencils, stamps, scrapbook paper, etc.


It's nice that everything has a "home" now, so I'm much less tempted to just pile things on the desk or shove them into a corner on the floor. I can walk in and find what I need quickly and have more motivation to put things back where they belong when I'm through.

How do you sort and organize a closet? Does "zoning" work well for you?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Embellished tote bag

Inspired by this Prudent Baby tutorial, I adapted the French pouf design by using some scrap fabric I had on hand.

I added some beads to the center of the poufs and safety pinned them to the canvas bag (although I could have hand sewn them, I kind of like that they're removable and I could reposition them later, if needed).

The project was complete after I added some ribbon as trim to the top and then used fabric paint to write the word "Ballet." (I must admit that I should have matched the pinks better, but it still turned out pretty sweet.)

My daughter now totes her beautified bag to ballet/tap class! This would make a cute gift, don't you think?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Lemon and lime party

With the tremendous help of my dear family at Rambellwood, I threw a summer citrus-themed party to celebrate my son's first birthday and the arrival of my niece. Double the fun!

Invitation | Lemons and limes set the theme (and color scheme). No custom design this time around--I just found a seasonal invitation, from Shutterfly.com.

Decorations | A homemade pennant banner using lime green polka dot print and an alternating solid yellow. Three paper lanterns float above the food table. Miniature chalk boards painted in green and yellow display the names of the two guests of honor: Henry and Lily.

Food and Drinks | What's better than homemade ice cream AND lemonade!? Sweet and tart combo...so delicious.

Food and Drinks | Work your way through the chicken salad sandwiches, pineapple and spinach salad. Then, indulge in these key lime tarts topped with zest! 

Games | My creative cousins came up with a fun game for partygoers, old and young! Each guest was given a lime or lemon pin to wear, essentially dividing them into teams for games. The Limes and Lemons battled at Pin the Lemon/Lime on the Tree (see photo), a songwriting challenge and pictionary to boot!

Happy birthday, little man!

Photos courtesy of Johanna Ramsey.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Painted canvas wall art

I picked up a canvas print from PierOne last season, attracted to the bold graphic hibiscus. The bright orange didn't fit my color scheme, but it occurred to me that I could take some craft paint and mix up a custom color to paint over the canvas.

Using the lines of the flower graphic, I just used a small paintbrush to guide the new paint over the existing. See progress in photo above. No prep needed!

Voila! New wall art in a custom blue shade.

Monday, June 6, 2011

OLIVIA party :: Budget and where to buy

This is the fourth and final blog post about the now infamous Olivia party! :) I thought you readers out there might like to see a list of where I bought supplies and such. Where you see "free" that means I already owned the product.

  • Cherrybrook chocolate cupcake mix (36 ct)... $10, Kroger
  • Strawberries... $6, Kroger
  • Watermelon... $5, Kroger
  • Popcorn... $3, Kroger
  • Mini-pepperoni pizza... $8, Kroger
  • Chips and salsa... $6, Kroger
  • Beverages... $12, Kroger
  • White Beverage Napkins (50 ct)... $2.49, Oriental Trading
  • Baking Cups & Picks (100 ct)... $4.99, Oriental Trading
  • Polka Dot Napkins (40 ct)... $2.29, Target
  • Square Red Plates (36 ct)... $3, Walmart
  • Reusable Red Kids Cups (12 ct)... $4, Target
  • Reusable White Adult Cups (12 ct)... FREE
  • Red & White Straws... FREE
  • Red Balloons... $10 for one dozen, Kroger
  • Red and White Polka Dot Ribbon... $2, Hobby Lobby
  • Foamcore for Lifesize Olivia... $5, Hobby Lobby
  • Red Pennant Banner... $7.99, Oriental Trading
  • Paint and brushes for art project... FREE
  • Exacto knife... FREE
  • Red Pails (12 ct)... $8.99, Oriental Trading
  • Red and White Swirl Lollypops (24 ct)... $9.99, Oriental Trading
  • Invitations (20 ct)... $7.60, Target
  • Postage (18 ct)... $7.92, USPS
  • Red Polka Dot and Black Damask Gift Wrap... $2, Target
  • Black cardstock for thank you cards... $3, Walmart

TOTAL= $147

We had 12 children and 16 adults (28 guests total), so I thought the party was fairly affordable to feed and entertain a crew of that size! To get all the Olivia party posts, click on the tag, "olivia" below.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

OLIVIA party :: Crafts and activities

By far, the biggest hit of the party was wagon rides around the backyard. They never tired of it! For the older kids, we had croquet set up in the side yard.

At the craft table, the kids enjoyed coloring sheets from NickJr.com.

We put together a cute Olivia egg craft from NickJr.com, too. It was great to use clearanced Easter eggs from earlier in the month. Note that it's best to use tacky glue for the craft as regular school glue didn't work too well for us.

Tucked away in the corner of the yard, we had a dress-up station with an open suitcase, props and a mirror. The sign on the suitcase reads: "Rule of Life #7: Whatever the question, costumes are always a good answer."

To get all the Olivia party posts, click on the tag, "olivia" below.

Monday, May 23, 2011

OLIVIA party :: Food and favors

According to Olivia's Rule of Life #100, "Red is the very best color for absolutely, positively everything!" It wasn't difficult finding party-friendly red foods. We served sliced watermelon, cherry tomatoes, chips and salsa, white chocolate dipped strawberries and bagel pizzas with mini pepperoni as a kid-sized topping.

Chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese frosting towered above the assortment of red foods. It was my mom's idea to add red hots to some of them. I loved how they turned out! I took a shortcut and got organic chocolate cake mix that was on close-out at the grocery store and then just made the frosting from scratch at home. I baked the cupcakes the night before the party and then frosted them the day of. The damask-patterned baking cups and picks came from Oriental Trading, and the black and white candles were from Hobby Lobby.

Again, taking a cue from Olivia's Rules of Life, I framed this saying, "Never miss a very important party." Along with the frame, I staggered our little red pail favors on a white tray and filled them with red swirl lollipops and Olivia stickers.

Our guests liked picking these up on their way out the door, and there was enough room in the pails to put the kids' crafts. My next post will give you the scoop on the crafts and other party activities!

To get all the Olivia party posts, click on the tag, "olivia" below.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

OLIVIA party :: Decorations, invites and thank you cards

Inspired by the Olivia children's books and Nick Jr. TV show, we threw a party last weekend for our 3-year-old, Natalie. This was a major undertaking, so I'm splitting up the details over several installments! :) Be on the lookout for these upcoming topics...
  • Food and favors
  • Crafts and activities
  • How I spent my $150 budget
Decorations: Olivia Cutout
OK, so you're probably wondering about that first photo with the adorable girl who happens to be hugging her favorite pig role model. Although my husband and I hold the patent for how to create that adorable girl, I can disclose how we created the "life-size" Olivia cutout!

It took the largest piece of white foam core I could find at Hobby Lobby, a handy 40% off coupon, and some paint and brushes already stocked in my craft closet. Oh yeah, and a utility knife that my husband begrudgingly used to cut around Olivia so the party guests could pose with her.

I started with this image of Olivia in her signature red and white stripes. I used a pencil to freehand sketch my approximation onto the foam core. Then, I used three basic paint colors--red, pink and black--and custom mixed to get some variations for the shadows and highlights. For example, tint the pink with some black to achieve the right color for the inside of Olivia's ears and her nose.

Alternatively, if painting isn't your forte, you can make an enlargement at a print shop and glue it onto the foam core. (See another Olivia party for directions on that project.)

Decorations: Paper Lanterns & Window/Wall Hanging
By now, you've probably noticed that our colors were red, white and black. As the centerpiece of the party, I hung red and black paper lanterns from the curtain rod over the food table and then suspended a frame, all using fishing line.

In a pinch, you can spray paint your paper lanterns to match the colors you're using. I happened to have a brown lantern just sitting unused in my garage (see center) and a can of black spray paint, so I repurposed it for this party.

Some of you may recognize the white frame from a previous post. My mom helped me with this project by lining the back of the frame with black damask gift wrap paper, then hot-glueing two black ribbons along the width of paper to disguise the paper seams. I cut out the initial "N" from some scrap red cardstock and glued it over the top. Very simple, very inexpensive. I liked how the paper almost looks like fabric; the way it filtered the window light was really nice, too.

Decorations: Signage
Using more gift wrap (this time red and white polkadots), we covered a yard sign and glued on a print-out of Olivia welcoming our guests. We tied a red balloon to the sign and stuck it in the front yard.

Another sign in the back yard read "Don't be a messy pig! Please recycle here." Again, I covered another sign with cardstock, wrapped some grosgrain ribbon around it and attached a print-out and a balloon.


My idea for the party truly began when I found these red, black and white invitations at Target on clearance. I originally thought I'd use pink in the color scheme (you know, piggy pink), but I really liked the more grown-up appeal of the red, white and black--not so cutesy.

Thank You Cards
Our homemade thank you cards only took some leftover damask gift wrap glued to black cardstock and a printed sticker that matched the other party details. FYI, the typeface I used is called "Daniel." The birthday girl scribbled on some index cards that I glued to the inside of the cards along with a note of thanks for her gifts. At least I'm teaching her some old-fashioned manners in the midst of all this crafting! ;)

That's it for now, folks! Stay tuned for the rest of the party details soon. To get all the Olivia party posts, click on the tag, "olivia" below.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Rainbow Art Collage

Looking for a rainy day activity with quick set-up and toddler/preschooler appeal?

I recently did an impromptu art project with my toddler using magazine clippings in all the colors of the rainbow. I drew the outline of the rainbow with the color names on the left and set out a pile of magazine clippings. My toddler sorted the clippings by color and used a glue stick to arrange them on the arc that matched the color.

Although she ran out of clippings to complete the rainbow, we hung it up anyway and have been working on it in stages as I have time to clip more magazines. By the way, the colors we used were: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple (a simplified version of Roy G. Biv).

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Bee Mine Valentine

Here's your step-by-step for some adorable valentines that you can make with your toddler or preschooler.

1) You'll need a pack of medium tags and pink dye ink pad from a craft store (these are from JoAnn's Fabrics).

2) Have your child use their fingerprint to make a single mark on each tag. Disclaimer: this ink can be messy, so supervise your child closely.

3) Repeat, repeat! :)

4) Now, it's Mom's turn. Draw details on the bees using a thin-tipped black marker and write your "BEE MINE" message in pink. Tie to a small Juicy Juice box as a gift for classmates. Choose the Juicy Juice punch flavor for the pink packaging to match your sweet bees.