Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The [almost] Quickest DIY EVER.

I had the post half written in my mind. I'd say things like "seriously, in 30 minutes, you have a beautiful new chair!" or "THIS is why I love spray paint."  And then I used the sealer/top coat.  And then I started re-thinking the blog post.  Maybe I should start at the beginning.

My daughter has a thing for chairs.  I don't judge her.  I have a thing for shoes.  She picked this cute one out at a yard sale.  I'm pretty sure the homeowner was a hoarder.  There were TONS of toys--lots of Barbie paraphernalia, Bratz dolls, and all kinds of other stuff.  My little angel picks a $2 forest green wooden chair out of the mess.  I love her.  She didn't ask me to paint it but I knew how adorable it would be in a fun color. I considered pink.  She asked for yellow.  We settled on aqua.

I was at Home Depot anyway buying stuff for a future furniture re-do that I can't wait to start share with you!  I walked past the spray paint aisle and this can of Rust-Oleum Painter's Touch Ultra Cover in Aqua jumped off the shelf and into my cart. Just like that.  I've been going to Lowes more lately so I haven't used Rust-Oleum in a while. But I know other spray painters swear by it.  I decided to give it a whirl today and was SO Pleased! It was soooo quick.  The coverage is definitely better than your average can of spray paint.  I was seriously coming up with my blog post titles as I sprayed.  It was literally a 30 minute (maybe) job.  And then I added a clear top coat (Valspar).  And I don't know what happened.  The reddish stain (that was under the green paint) started seeping through.  I tried not to panic.  I waited to see if it would seep through everywhere or just the few spots I was noticing.  It was so hard to be patient instead of making the problem worse by doing something stupid.

After a few minutes, I realized it wasn't coming through anywhere else and it was really the same places I'd noticed the red stain before I began painting.  So I re-painted those sections with the Rust-Oleum and it turned out fine.  And in reality only added an extra 5 minutes to my super fast chair re-do.  But it just proves my theory that there really is no such thing as a super easy DIY (even this one is totally rusted now!).  But it was worth it right?!  Let this be a lesson to prime first.  Always.  I usually do but darn my impatience!

My impatience is rearing its ugly head yet again because I can't wait to take a photo of Genevieve or Nadia in the chair and then blog it.  That would mean waiting an entire 24 hours while it "cures."  No. I must show you now.
And even though I used a filter, the picture is true to color.  Once I take pictures of the girls in it, I'll definitely share because it's hard to tell the scale of the chair in this shot.  It's really a cute shape --with a high back and curvy arms that kind of wrap around the girls.  So cute!  Stay tuned...




Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Nadia's Circus Party: Step Right Up!

Another installment of Nadia's circus party!  In this one I've detailed the games and activities at her party.  I hope to conclude the posts this week early next week and start sharing some other projects with you.  But for now, feast your eyes on the fun had at Nadia's party.  {Sources at end of post}

Step Right Up: games and prizes:

"Jungle Toss." Such a perfect game for a circus/carnival party!

 "Carnival Toss."  These looked pink in the stock photo so I was surprised that they were red...but they are still so cute and saved me from yet another party DIY!

I probably should have put the signs closer to the games but I was a little afraid of little fingers tearing them down.

Prizes & Bubbles.

It just looks. SO. fun.

Genevieve and Nadia.

At the end of the party I wondered if the kids had even enjoyed the little games (remember here where I mentioned my in-laws fun back yard?).  I was happy Jordan took a few photos showing the kids playing! Speaking of Jordan, her adorable angel is the one on the top left.

When I see little ones like Nadia's friend, Emily, I wonder why blue eyes are such a big deal.  I love her beautiful baby browns. So awesome of Jordan to captured these little ones checking out the prizes.

The birthday girl enjoying the games.

I'm not sure if she earned a prize ;)

Step Right Up: Face Painting.
My sweet mother-in-law offered to do something special for the party.  I thought about a bounce house but they stress me out.  I figured with a handful of "big kids" and mostly little ones, it would be chaos and more work for the parents to referee.  I then seriously searched for a real life carnival ride!  I am that crazy.  Turns out if you live in California it's not so hard to find but here in New Hampshire?  Forget it.  I ended up going with face painting/glitter tattoos.  I found Tracey through gigmaster.  She was great with the kids and did a great job.  She was also flexible with me regarding time.  If I was doing it all over again, I'd appoint a different point person for the "talent."  I felt bad for making her wait around for answers as I busily kept the party moving.  Just something to think about for you (and me) for the future!
   
 Some of the younger ones were a bit timid but they ended up getting their faces painted and Tracey did a great job with them!

 I love these photos of Grace admiring Tracey's handiwork and her adorable little sister, Avery watching.

 Genevieve and her cousin Luke.  So cute!

Megan's beauty: Grace.  Remember her?

Those of you who know me personally know how anxious Genevieve gets with anything new.  I was bummed she wouldn't get her face painted but when she saw her cousin, Gianna do it she caved.  Peer pressure sometimes pays off. 

Step Right Up:  Miscellaneous FUN:
 Not having bathing suits didn't stop these three from enjoying the pool.

Genevieve keeping herself busy.

 the Ayers duo playing with their prizes.

Baby Adalyn clowns around.

SOURCES (in order of appearance):
Carnival Toss game: Land of Nod
Jungle Toss game: Land of Nod.
Signs: I made them on PicMonkey.com.  I purchased the digital scrapbook paper from here.
Red "prizes" and "bubble station" buckets: Dollar Tree.  (LOVE that store--especially for DIY and parties)!
Prizes: Dollar Tree, Building 19, Michael's, & Target.
Genevieve's and Nadia's outfits: see this post.
Face Painting: Tracey's Boutique.






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Friday, September 21, 2012

Nadia's Circus Party: The Birthday Girl.

I searched. and searched. and searched. for the perfect dress for Nadia to wear to her circus party.  And I absolutely LOVE the one she wore.  I fell a little short when it came to shoes.  oops.  I really wanted her to wear these.  And I wanted to make her a bow like this.  Oh well.  She still looked adorable.  Didn't she?
{sources at the end of post}

the birthday GIRL:




Not sure if you can see the little girl on the elephant on her dress...but she is light brown with curly hair.  Just like Nadia.

 So I didn't make a beautiful bow...This one looks just fine.  And cost me $2.80 from Forever 21. And that dress...



A little clowning around.

 I love this little face!

And even though I didn't take many great pictures, I did take this one...and I think it's pretty great. 
Nadia opening gifts.

and the birthday girl's FAMILY:
Nadia with her big sister Genevieve.

Nadia and Daddy.

Nadia with mommy.  My sister-in-law took this shot!  I emailed her saying "wow, fresh makeup and everything!"  I can't believe I paused long enough for this.  

This is one of my favorite shots of the day!

Our little family.

I know I said I'd do a "source" post later, but let's be honest.  It could be MUCH later.  So here are some 

Sources:

Photography (except noted): Captured
Nadia's beautiful dress: Jemi's Boutique.
Nadia's hair flower: Forever 21.
Mine and Genevieve's hair accessory: The icing.
My shirt: Old Navy (sold out but I love this one!).
My red jeans: Old Navy.
Joe's shirt: (yes it's the same one from these photos--what can we say?  We love it): Gap.
Genevieve and Nadia's elephant T-shirts: Wal-Mart (they are long gone but I actually got Genevieve's from eBay and Nadia's in the store (for $1!)  Also, Wal-Mart had them last year so they may have them again next summer).
The girls' tiered ruffle skirts: Sam's club (of all places!), but how about this one?

  

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Nadia's Circus Party: Dessert Buffet.

Because I have so many photos of Nadia's party that I want to share with you, I figured I'd break it down by category.  If you're sick of hearing about the party, come back in November October.  If not, read on!

I'll be honest.  The food at the party isn't what excites me.  Well that's not all true--I love the dessert/snack buffet part.  But the 'real' food just isn't exciting or pretty.  That said, I believe in what Megan mentioned in her post about Grace's sunshine party: the adults want good food.  Give them good food and they'll have a good time.  Have you ever been to a super cute party but left hungry?  Yeah, I'd like to avoid that!  In that vein, I wanted to offer food and snacks that adults would enjoy as well as sweets and snacks the little ones would love.  I did learn one thing: little kids don't really eat at birthday parties (at least when you host it at your in-laws' amazing home complete with 2 swing sets, a basketball hoop, and a pool). But more on that later...

[By the way even though the title says "dessert buffet," this posts includes the little details about all the party food and you can find ALL recipes at the bottom of the post].

First the pretty food:

My fabulous sister-in-law designed the food labels.  (She also designed the invitation).

I got the kool-aid popcorn recipe off of good ol' pinterest.  [here's the part where I debate making it seem like everything is perfect or go with my manifesto of "keepin it real."  Keeping it real wins.  Because I hate it when blogs make everything look easy and perfect.  It makes me feel like a loser.  Maybe that's my own weird hang up but for the sake of argument I'm going to pretend you don't feel awesome when you think everything in someone else's world is perfect and wonder why yours isn't. ok, enough]. All that to say, I didn't love this popcorn.  It tasted like a jolly rancher.  And I don't like jolly ranchers.  And I had most of it leftover.  So don't make it (or if you do, maybe try cherry kool-aid instead of pink lemonade.  Even though pink lemonade matches the party).  There. :)

It does look pretty though, doesn't it?!

One of my favorites on the snack buffet.  Simple.  Cute. Yummy.

 As luck would have it, Sam's Club stopped carrying cotton candy the week of the party.  I went through this for Genevieve's first party also-- saw it everywhere before and after.  Couldn't find it anywhere during.  I ended up running to the Dollar General and getting this fluff at the last minute.  A circus party without cotton candy just seemed wrong.  Oh and if you remember the cotton candy from this post, it totally "shrunk" before I even opened it.  Not cool, HomeGoods, not cool.

I was considering circus peanuts like these for this cupcake holder but I think they may look cute but taste, well, nasty.  I saw these cute shortbread alphabet cookies at Wal-Mart the week of the party and made a quick decision to buy them.  I'm glad I did.  I definitely had leftovers but some kids enjoyed them and my girls didn't seem to mind finishing them up after the party. 

Iced animal crackers.  The children did not eat these!  I thought I was being really careful to have snacks people would eat but it turns out as I mentioned, the kids didn't eat!  For Genevieve's first party, everything vanished!  But it was indoors and kids get bored and they see the stuff and go for it.  At my in-laws, the yard is amazing and when you have 20 other kids to play with, you don't hang out at the snack table.  My point in telling you this, is for you to learn from my mistakes--consider the "venue" of the party when planning the kiddie eats.  And I think Genevieve is the ONLY two year old who doesn't like iced animal crackers so I ended up throwing these away.  And I HATE throwing food away.

Another "keep it real" moment-- the card is wrong.  This is actually candied popcorn.  I liked this recipe better than the kool-aid popcorn although it did get hard really fast when preparing it.

I LOVE caramel apples.  I considered making them myself but decided to stop being stupid. :)  I got them at Wal-Mart instead.  At almost $1 a pop, they weren't cheap but I didn't need many. I always buy them there in the fall and just love them.  








I wish I had taken a picture of these when I first finished making them because they were PERFECT!  I've made cake pops quite a few times now but they are tricky.  These were super easy.  I got the recipe from here.  The issue was that I froze them (which I never do when I make cake-pops) because Lindsey from Pillow Thought froze hers.  But while it seems like hers were gobbled up right away, I had to transport mine to the in-laws and then leave them out until the party started...resulting in some wilting.  I will definitely make them again though because they're so darn cute and taste delicious.  Just no freezing next time!

Is it me or are these just so dang cute?!

Of the 4 popcorns I made, this was my second favorite.  The recipe can be found here.
And this is my FAVORITE of all.  You can find the recipe here.  If I had it to do all over again, I'd eliminate the candied popcorn and just make more of this and the caramel popcorn.  This recipe was the easiest one of all and there wasn't a lick of it left.

Ironically it's the least pretty of all the popcorn but the most delicious. 


Ok, I haven't told you about how crazy windy it was that day, have I?!  I was happy it didn't rain (which weather.com threatened off and on all week), but the wind really gave me a hard time.  I will share more about the weather in future posts but for now, I mention it because the flags on the cake look insane and I wanted you to know why!  They looked awesome before I moved the cake outside, I promise. The cake instructions were from here.  I'll share more about my experience making the cake in a later (cake/cake cutting) post!

I don't know about you, but I just get a vintage vibe when I think of the circus or carnivals.  This was the perfect beverage in keeping with that feel.  I found these Sioux city sodas (sasparilla and cream soda) at HomeGoods.


It makes me sad that we didn't actually USE this!  We had every intention...but we were running a little late and Joe is the only one who knows how to operate it (I'm sure it's not that difficult but I was too busy running around to stop and figure it out).  He didn't get to it before the guests arrived and well...but hey, it's still pretty cute isn't it?!  We also had a play list of carnival and circus music playing on the deck so despite it not being used, it definitely added to the vintage carnival vibe.

And Now the REAL food:

I loved these cute ketchup and mustard holders.  Another small detail to give the party a vintage feel.  For dinner we had sausage, hot dogs, pressed sandwiches (recipe here), grilled veggies, pasta salad, and chips.

And this may be why some of the snacks didn't get eaten.  I totally overfed everyone! Ha!  I had a nacho bar complete with all the toppings you could want (chili, jalapenos, onions, black olives, sour cream, etc) and plain and spicy nacho cheese.  In hindsight, I probably could have stopped there...but due to my intense fear of not having enough food at a party, I decided to feed people dinner also. (And the cute food labels had long since blown away).

I had cute labels for all the food but the wind shattered that dream [says, the drama queen]. Seriously the wind was blowing everything all over the place so when we switched out the snacks for the "real," food, I thought aloud as to whether I should set them up (knowing they'd be knocked over immediately) and my sister-in-law (who designed them) said, "At this point, I'd let them guess." And I laughed out loud.  Love that girl!
Cutlery.  Wrapped and adorned with twine and tickets!  I also added cute jungle animal plates for the kiddos and saved my mom from wrapping MORE silverware by throwing the kids' cutlery into a mason jar :)  

This little detail took a. lot. of. time.  I have to thank my mama for doing it because it's one of those tiny details that wouldn't have made its way to the top of the priority list!

Besides soda, I also served lemonade as a beverage.  I forgot my super cute mason jar beverage dispenser at home; Nevertheless I found another place to use my beloved mason jars: straw dispenser anyone?  Okay, it didn't actually dispense them, but how cool would that be?! 

One more shot of the cutesy soda.

And all the recipes in one place:
Kool-aid popcorn: Tasty Kitchen.
Classic Caramel Popcorn: All Recipes.
Marshmallow popcorn: Pinterest.
Cake Pop Cones: Pillow Thought.
Pressed sandwiches: Crepes of Wrath.
Circus Striped Cake: Girl. Inspired.


Stay tuned for posts featuring the birthday girl, the cake/cake cutting, party activities/favors, and the party people! And don't worry, the posts won't all be THIS long. ☺





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