Thursday, January 30, 2014

No-Fuss Camping Themed Family Birthday Party

Do you ever feel like hosting the family for your child's birthday party is overwhelming? You want it to be nice and memorable, while still being cost effective and fun? I hosted a party for my son's birthday a few weeks ago, that was pretty low maintenance and low cost. Here's how I did it. 

Let me first say… These photos were shot inside, when it was dark outside, with no natural light. I did it about 2 minutes before people arrived. We were not in a lovely meadow with perfect lighting. We were in my kitchen, with a gaggle of toddlers running around. It was a little crazy. It was real life.

First things first. When setting up a display, it is important to incorporate different levels for displaying the food. I achieved this by stacking boxes baskets and books on my island, and the covering it all with a table cloth. The next thing that helps create height, is serving dishes. I went for all white this time, and I think it really worked!

I knew I wanted it to be camping themed, because of all the darling homemade camping toys I made my son for his birthday. See previous post. I also knew I wanted the food to be easy and inexpensive.

When you are camping, what do you usually eat for your main course? Hot dogs and chips. I set the hotdogs on the back counter in a crock pot, and put the rest of the food on the island. I mentioned the general menu in the family email invitation, so those who don't appreciate hotdogs - like me - could come prepared. Here is the invitation I created.

Here it is in physical form, complete with mini marshmallows on toothpicks. So cute, right? Little touches make things extra special.

We drank tang, of course… The ultimate camping drink. We had water in the cooler, and I used a punch to punch scalloped circled out of wood grain contact paper that I got at the dollar store. The idea was that people could write their names on the labels. The kids were way excited to drink tang at a party!

I was thrifting, and just happened to find a perfect picnic basket, and red and white checked gingham table cloth for $2! I was so excited, and it was perfect for holding the plates and utinsels.

We served Cheetos and potato chips. It couldn't get any easier.

No camping party is complete without ants on a log, right? It was an easy make ahead item that I just pulled out of the fridge.

We had a couple options for dessert. One was dirt cups. When serving dirt cups, get the smallest cups you can find. These are nut cups from the dollar store. It makes for a perfect serving size. People are welcome to have more if they like, and you won't see a bunch of half eaten food wasted in the garbage.

Here is the printable I created for the labels.

The second option was s'mores. We love s'mores at our house, and have a great gadget that makes s'mores in the oven.  We offered traditional chocolate bars, and peanut butter cups. The peanut butter cups were eaten first.

I pulled out the camping set that I made for a girls camp display a few years back.  You can see that HERE. It worked great!

I think it was a great night, full of fun and memories. It is easy to take the party from boring and forgettable to fun and fabulous with these few easy steps.

Thanks for stopping by. Come back soon to see that daring free printables I have created for Valentines Day!

Have a Happy and Creative Day!


Monday, January 13, 2014

The Cutest Fishing Pond You Ever Did See

After making my son a fabric campfire, I decided he also needed a fishing pond. Of course he does. Hum, I think someone is a little spoiled. Well, he's the baby. It's my right. Right?

This was SO NOT HARD or expensive. The blue felt is from JoAnn's, and was $2.99 per yard. I used 1 yard, and cut out a large double circle. I laid brown felt on top in layers, and sewed that on, before sewing the blue pieces together. I then turned it right-side-out, and top stitched the side of the pond to close it off.

The grasses are made using the same technique I used to make the rocks and fire see campfire post.

To make the lily pads, cut out double circles, cut a slice out of one side, and top stitch together. It really is that easy.

I love these fish so much. The red gingham is my favorite. They each have a washer from Home Depot near the mouth. To do this, I sewed a small fabric envelope for the washer, and then sewed that into the fish as I sewed the two pieces together.

My frog is a round circle (I cut two). I hit the sides with fray check before sewing up and stuffing. I just cut legs out of felt scraps.

The fishing pole is a dowel from Home Depot. We drilled a hole for the, "fishing line," (twine) in the top, and attached it to a $3 magnet from Home Depot. We used pretty big washers inside of each fish.

It is a pretty good sized magnet, and very strong.  The package said 20lbs.

Right now, the pond lives in his room.

He LOVES playing with it. I don't know if we have ever had a toy he has played with more.

Sometimes he likes to hook the fish to the magnet by hand. 

I like to put some of the extra campfire rocks around the pond. Makes it feel even more real.

Thanks for stopping by. The camping fun doesn't end here. I had a camping inspired birthday party for him that was just darling! I will be sharing that next.

Have a Happy and Creative Day,


Sunday, January 12, 2014

DIY Campfire set

Meet the newest member of our toy collection. My toddler LOVES camping, and always asks to go camping. This is the perfect toy for a camper-in-training. 

I have drooled over the Land of Nod Campfire Set from the minute I saw it. I wanted to order it for my son for his birthday, but with a hefty price tag, of $69.00 before shipping, $83 after shipping, and no availability until mid-March, I knew I had to take things into my own hands. So, I created one myself. Dare I say, I like mine better than theirs? Well, I said it; I do like it better.

I think the thing that really makes the whole thing is the faux bois fabric I used for the logs. I got it at Lily Bella Fabrics. Lily Bella has the BEST designer fabric at great prices!

I also love the different sizes and colors of the rocks. Seems like each craft store has a different color and texture of gray felt sheets. The dark sheets were from Bennion Craft, the medium shade sheets were from JoAnn, and the lightest sheets were from Hobby Lobby. Sometimes they go on sale at Hobby Lobby for 8 sheets for $1. This toy is so affordable to make!

You can't have a campfire without s'mores and hotdogs. I made these out of felt as well, and made holes in them so they fit perfectly on the end of a marshmallow roaster, ahem… dowel.

The kids LOVE playing with the whole set.

 I love watching my kids pretend play. 

The whole set really was easy to make, and I have a little tutorial on the rock for you. I used the same technique for the fire, and logs and for making multiple sizes of rocks. I wanted to have rocks that stand up.

Get a felt sheet from the craft store. Cut it in half, and round the edges on one side. If you don't want your rocks to stand, just cut the corners off all the sides, and finish it off. If you do want it to stand, follow the directions below.

Stitch around the rounded edges, leaving the the bottom open.

Turn right-side-out and stuff.

Place the top piece of the rock on another piece of felt, and cut out a bottom that will fit the opening. If you are making many rocks the same size, use this as a template, and cut multiples out.

It will look like this.

Remove the stuffing, and turn the top inside out again. Pin the bottom on. The nice thing about felt, is you  can stretch it if you need to. So, if you get the bottom too small, you can still make it work. Sew around the perimeter leaving a two inch opening. 

Turn right-side-out, and put the stuffing in through the hole.

Whip stitch the the hole closed with a needle, and you are finished!

I used the same idea for the fire, but used bigger pieces of fabric, and left the stitching exposed. I felt like it looked better to have the stitching on the outside for the fire. I started with the red piece, added the orange, then the yellow, cutting down as I saw fit. Then I stitched the whole thing together, and used the same technique as above for the bottom. I started out thinking I would use printed cotton for the fire, but found that it competed with the logs. I liked the simplicity of the felt.

For the log, get a piece of fabric, fold it in half.  Stitch up the side. Turn, iron, and sew the ends. Use the same technique as above for the closing it up. I just used tan felt for the ends.

Of course I couldn't leave it at just a campfire. I had to make him THE CUTEST FISHING POND EVER! I will be sharing that next. Be sure and check back.

Thanks for stopping by.
Have a Happy and Creative Day!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Sympathy Printable

A friend in our neighborhood lost a family member a few weeks ago. I knew I wanted to give them a gift to express my sympathy. I often struggle with knowing what to do when someone loses a loved one. It is a very personal experience. I felt like this gift might be appropriate.

I created this printable, and mounted it to a piece of wood that I painted gray.

You are welcome to right click to download it to your computer and print it if you think it would be a nice gift for someone. (For personal noncommercial use only.) I tied it with a piece of tulle, and a paper tag from Pick Your Plum. I love having blank tags on hand. You never know when you will need one.

Hopefully you will be able to make someone's day a little bit brighter.

Have a Happy and Creative Day.

Thanks for stopping by.

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