Pool Party: My Nephew’s 1st Birthday

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Under The Sea Cake

I come from a very large family, and my nephew turned one last week and so we celebrated in style.  It was a collaborative effort by friends and family with ideas from everyone and Pinterest. It turned out so cute I thought I would share some of the highlights. The cake above came from the very talented Creative Wine-O, check out her facebook page here. The detail was stunning. The beach ball was the “smash” cake and even the sand dollars were edible.

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Watch Me Grow Time Line

To celebrate his first revolution around the sun my sister made a timeline, featuring a picture from each of his 12 months. Use ribbon and clothes pins to hang. Make sure you put it in a place that is easily accessible so all guest can admire it.  We also used this as the back drop when he ate his birthday cake. We placed his high chair in front.

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Fish Craft

We hung a fishing net ( available at party stores) over the main food table and attached sand molds to it. We also had a craft table so that some of the older kids could make paper plate fish to hang in the net. We also used sand buckets and shovels to serve some of the food in.

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Shark Bite Fruit Salad

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Shark Bite Fruit Salad

One of the highlights of the food table was this awesome watermelon carved into a shark by my brother-in-law. We then filled it with various cut up fruit.

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Blow Fish Fruit Platter

He also made a cantaloupe into a blow fish.

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Fish Veggie Tray

Vegetables morphed into a tropical fish.

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Octopus Spinach Dip

Spinach dip was turned into a jolly octopus using a bread bowl and pretzel sticks.

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Hummus Beach

Make your own hummus beach by spreading hummus in a shallow tray ( I used a clear lid to a casserole) and decorate with drink umbrellas and Pretzel Crisp crabs.

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Dolphin Finger Sandwiches

I found a dolphin sandwich cutter at Sweetbay, perfect to make mini sandwiches for the kids.

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Bait Bucket

Swedish fish and gummy worms turned into an edible bait bucket decoration.

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Party Favors

Each child got to take a bit of the fun home. Our good family friend made party buckets out of plain sand buckets decorated with stickers and ribbon and filled with beach themed goodies from the dollar store.

It was a true success and a joyous celebration of one of our youngest family members birthday.

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Valentine’s Day: Personalized Candy Box

Valentine's Day Personalized Candy Box

Valentine’s Day Personalized Candy Box

Here is an easy and inexpensive Valentine’s Day gift. Take your usual box of chocolates and cut paper to fit under each piece of candy. Write a memory or something you love about your valentine on each paper and place the candy back on top. Write a heart felt message on paper in the shape of the candy box and place on top of the candy, decorate the top of the box with hearts, the recipients name or what ever is meaningful to you and place on top. I made this box for our 20th Valentine’s Day which was also the 20th anniversary of our first date. I even found a box that had 20 pieces of chocolate so there were 20 messages. This would also be great to do for milestone birthdays and anniversaries.

Frosty The Cheeseman, Performance Food Art

Frosty the Cheeseman

We always have a book club Christmas party, and the stakes are high. Not only can these girls read and have intelligent conversations, they are crafty, gourmet cooks and food connoisseurs. So when choosing a dish to bring you can’t resort to the usual stand bys. Last year I saw a picture of this cheese ball snowman and thought that’s it, food performance art. Now I know culinarily speaking it is not that exciting but it makes up for it in entertainment value.

Frosty The Cheeseman

1 large box and 1 small box of velveeta cheese any flavor

2 bricks cream cheese softened

green pepper

black olives

carrots

toothpicks

cut the velveeta into 3 pieces, like a snowman they should vary in size from large to small, using your hands roll them into ball shapes ( velveeta is like playdoh, its easy)

frost the balls with the cream cheese and stack them using toothpicks to hold them together.

cut arms, hat, and buttons from carrots ( be creative use whatever vegetables you have)

cut a bow out of a green pepper

use black olives for eyes

Heres the fun part, put frosty in a fondue pot or electric fry pan on low, watch Frosty melt into a puddle of goodness, and serve with chips.

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5 Minute Craft: Frosted Pumpkins

I love crafts but often don’t have the patience to finish them. This one is so easy that even I can do it. It’s cheap too and makes a perfect Halloween centerpiece. This method is easy and I already have ideas for Christmas to use pears and persimmons.

Frosted Pumpkins

1 bag epsom salts (so much cheaper than glitter, and has a nicer subtler effect)

2 T white glue

2 T water

paintbrush

small pumpkins or gourds

Mix glue and water together, I used a disposable cup for easy clean up. Paint pumpkin with glue mixture.

Sprinkle with epsom salts. I did it over a paper plate for faster clean up.

Let dry and arrange in group on table, I scattered some fall leaves around first, I would use real ones but I’m in Florida so I went with the silk ones. This would be fun with kids too as a party craft.

Olympics, That Sounds Like a Reason to Party

I will find any excuse to dress up or have a party, but this was a good one. My favorite band, Duran Duran was doing an Olympic concert, my birthday was a couple of days away and the opening ceremonies were on TV. Unfortunately the concert was not televised but that didn’t stop me.

First the decorations, I decided to go international, I made some easy flag centerpieces from styrofoam and dollar flags from the party store.Cover 2 rectangular styrofoam blocks with colored paper. I cut the paper and used tape at the joints so it would bend around the styrofoam so I could reuse them for another party.

I also painted the olympic rings onto the paper using a top to a pill bottle and paint and then stamping it onto the paper.

Paint around or dip the bottle top into paint and then use like a stamp.

insert your flags into the styrofoam and then you could pour colored glass or pebbles over the top of the styrofoam to cover it ( I forgot to do this step on mine). Paper crinkles would also work.

Use paper flag toothpicks for appetizers or sandwiches

Spell out your favorite team (or band) with vegetables.

Serve Olympic themed desserts, My friend used mini M&M’s to make the olympic rings on her coconut cake

or try the Olympic Fruit Tart

We played lots of silly games, like Olympic Themed Pictionary (divide into 2 teams and draw different events, countries, athletes, or London landmarks or traditions), Minute to Win It’s “How’s it Hanging“, and Diving for Cherries ( put a maraschino cherry in a bowl cover with whipped cream and using only your mouth try to get the cherry, whoever gets it first wins)

and of course there were costumes and medals. Buy some at the dollar store or make your own with paper circles, glitter and ribbon.

Dress as your favorite athlete, event or country and have fun!

How to Throw a Baby Shower, It’s as Easy as ABC

My sister is having a baby, a new nephew for me, which is very exciting. I, with a lot of help from friends,  threw her an alphabet themed baby shower. This is an easy theme and can be used for either a boy or a girl.

1st the invitations, these could be done several ways but since my printer was down at the time, I ordered mine from Vista Print, the design is called Alphabet Soup. They were very budget friendly. I blurred out a lot of the info but they come printed with envelopes and were delivered within a week.

For decorations I bought cardboard letters from a craft store and spray painted them, then I hot glued a painted wooden shape that started with that letter, A-apple, B-bee, C-car. Mom got to take these home to use in the new baby’s room.

We also made boxes out of 8×8 colored paper folded into fourths, make a vertical cut in the top fold to the center.

Fold the paper in half horizontally and criss cross the cut pieces to form a half cube.

Repeat with 2nd paper and then tape two halves together to form one cube.

Decorate with paper cutouts and letters

We also taped cut out letters to long bamboo skewers and inserted into a Styrofoam cone then cut scrapbook paper to look like a vase around it for a food table decoration.

The food place cards were also made to fit with our alphabet theme.

The table had a white table-cloth with a runner of brown craft paper adorned with alphabet stickers.

Favors were made from small chinese style boxes with puffy alphabet stickers and filled with candy

For a game we played Baby themed scatergories.

and each party guest made a page for the new baby’s “Alphabet Book”

I placed out 8×8 sheets of colored paper, each one had a different letter of the alphabet on it. I did this ahead of time with scrapbook stickers. I put out markers, crayons and alphabet flashcards for ideas, or the guests who felt they weren’t artistic could just paste the card on their page. Then each guest signed their masterpiece, and some wrote a message to the new baby.

I placed them all into an 8×8 scrapbook with plastic sleeved pages, along with a copy of the shower invite for a great keepsake for baby and mom.

The shower was a success and as easy as ABC.

60 is Nifty! A Birthday Party and Stuffed Mushrooms

My mom turned 60 last week so my siblings and I, there are a lot of them, threw her a birthday party.  As it has become tradition for milestone birthdays, I made her a slide show of pictures throughout her life, teamed it up with some of her favorite songs and showed it during the party . It’s on DVD so she will have it as a take home souvenir. My sisters and I did the decorations. I am not one for the typical black and gloomy, over the hill type parties so we went for a festive and colorful look. We made lots of tissue flower bouquets.

To make, take large sheets of tissue paper and cut into fourths. stack 6-8 sheets of the cut paper together and accordion fold the short side. wrap a pipe cleaner around the middle tightly and cut the ends into a scallop or point. then gently pull each piece of tissue apart until it looks like a flower.

Here’s a tutorial  since I forgot to take pictures of the process: http://www.firstpalette.com/Craft_themes/Nature/mexicantissuepaperflowers/mexicantissuepaperflowers.html 

We also made large tissue pom, pom flowers to hang on the porch, with some white twinkle lights. Here is the tutorial for the pom poms http://www.marthastewart.com/how-to/tissue-paper-pom-poms-how-to

So everyone could share their well wishes and memories for the birthday girl, I cut a large 60 out of cardboard and spray painted it (colored poster board would work as well)

and had bright colored post it notes and a pen so guest could write on them. I am using the post it notes and the pictures of her party to make a scrapbook for my mom.

Everyone pitched in for food and drinks, my sister-in-law made a gorgeous “sunflower” from mini cup cakes, an 8″ round cake and blackberries

60 IS NIFTY! A BIRTHDAY PARTY

There was lots of great food. One of my contributions was stuffed mushrooms

Stuffed Mushrooms:

2 pints whole mushrooms, stems removed and saved

1 T oil

1 c chopped onion

1c mushroom stems chopped

1 cup chopped spinach (I used fresh)

1 t salt

1/2 t pepper

1/4 c white wine

1 block cream cheese softened

1/4 c panko bread crumbs

1/4 c parmesan cheese grated

In a large pan heat oil and saute onion, and chopped mushroom stems until soft, add spinach and saute until wilted. add salt and pepper and white wine, bring to boil and reduce heat to low, simmer for 5 min.remove from heat.

add cream cheese, bread crumbs, parmesan cheese and cooled onion mixture to a food processor and puree.

Toss mushroom caps with olive oil and stuff with cheese mixture, bake in a preheated oven, 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes depending on size of mushrooms. Serve.

Happy Birthday Mom! and thank you to everyone who made the party a success.

Bohemian Necklace

I am always looking for a necklace to add some color and pizazz, and these are so easy and inexpensive to make I can have a different one for each outfit.

What you will need:

Metal Washers ( I have used various sizes for different looks)

Scrapbook Paper with a smaller print, I use the paper made for mats because it a little thicker and gives better results(I used some of the thinner 12×12 paper and you could see the glue through it)

Xacto Knife

Glue

Mod Podge Dimensional Magic

Leather or Suede Cord

Barrel Clasps

Pliers

Start by laying your washer over the scapbook paper on the area you want on your necklace. Trace around the outside of the washer with the xacto knife, then cut out the inside circle. Glue your paper on top of the washer. Wait about 10 minutes for it to dry. carefully cover the ring with a layer of Dimensional Magic, it will look cloudy when first applied but will dry to a glossy, raised, clear finish.

Let dry about 3-4 hours. Loop leather through ring and attach barrel clasp. You can use one leather cord for many different washers, they are easy to take on and off.