Saturday, February 20, 2016

Alphabet Block Craft

As promised I am back with a post on how I put together the craft for my friend's baby shower a few weeks ago.  This was a massive project that I created mostly with my Silhouette portrait so get ready for a very detailed, picture filled blog post.  I started with the idea that I wanted to create stickers for the blocks of the alphabet letters and also stickers of an animal and an instrument (since my friend and her husband are music teachers like me) for each letter.  Silhouette makes some great printable white sticker paper which you can purchase here or at Michaels.  Here is how I created the stickers in my Silhouette Designer Edition software:
1. Google animal silhouettes (you may have to make it into png file using photo editing software if it is in some other file format and has a background).  Save the images to your desktop and then drag it into your Silhouette software.
2.Select the trace area and trace your image.
3. Drag away and delete the original image.
4. Change the line color of the shape to the color of your choice.  You can change the line thickness if you desire as well.
5. Fill the shape with a pattern.
I learned how to add my own patterns to my library in this project.  You simply drag a saved background image into your pattern folder in you library.  Easy peasy!
6. Then I scaled the pattern to my liking in the advanced options of the fill pattern window.

6./7. I added an offset to my stickers and adjusted the distance to make the offset fairly close to my image.
Look at all of those cute patterned animal silhouettes!  So much fun! I printed the stickers with my printer and then cut them out with the Silhouette.
8. I traced each instrument image to add an offset.  I purchased most of the instrument clipart on Etsy or Teachers Pay Teachers but I also used Google images for some.
9. Add an offset to the traced instrument shape and then delete the traced shape.
10. Drag the offset and line it up with the instrument image.
Here are the completed instrument stickers.  I then printed and cut them just like with the animal stickers.
Next I created the letter stickers with a font from my computer and changed the line color and filled with patterns.  I made two of each letter so that each block could have two lettered sides. Once again I printed them and cut them out on white sticker paper.
I found the wooden blocks at Hobby Lobby.  They are 1.5" square.  To prep them, one of the other hosts and gave them a light sanding since some of the edges were a little rough.  I made backgrounds for the stickers with the Silhouette and cut them out in various colors of card stock.  I also made plenty of white squares for people to design their own side with another object that fit with their letter.
I also created a signature side for the blocks in the Silhouette software and cut it out on white card stock.

To set up the craft I filled a small sandwich baggy with an animal sticker, letter stickers, instrument sticker, a white background for the design your own side, and a signature background.  I labeled each bag with the letter and the name of the animal and the name of the instrument so that people knew what to write on their block. 
I placed five or six letter bags in a box at each table (we had 4 tables set up for the number of guests at the shower).  I placed the various backgrounds that I cut out in the lid of the box.  I put markers and foam craft brushes in jars on the table.  I stacked 5 or 6 blocks at each table and put mod podge in a styrofoam bowl.  
I also made this instruction sheet for each table because I thought picture instructions would be easier to follow.  

Here is how the blocks were assembled:

Choose a background for each of your stickers and place the sticker on the background.
Label your instrument and animal.
Draw your own picture for your letter and label on a white background piece.  Sign the signature background piece.

To attach them to the block, put mod podge on the block and on the back of the card stock piece. Don't make it too thick.  Then put the card stock piece on the block.  Once it has dried a little bit apply a layer of mod podge over it.  Make sure you don't put a wet side down on your work surface unless you want to ruin that side!  You will have to wait for the some of the sides to dry before you can finish all of the sides.

Now admire your creation!
It was so fun to see what the shower guests created!  They turned out so cute!  One thing to note is that I wouldn't let a child play with these blocks until they are past the stage where they have to put everything in their mouth.  Until that time they will look cute displayed in the nursery!  I have so many ideas for posts so if I get motivated be prepared for a barrage of blog posts in the next few weeks ;).

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Baby It's Cold Outside Baby Shower

A little over a week ago I co-hosted a baby shower for one of my best friends, Krista, who is expecting a baby boy at the end of March.  Since it was going to be a winter baby shower, I thought that "baby it's cold outside" would be a cute theme.  So one of my co-hosts, Katie, whipped up an adorable invite and we were off and running with the planning phase.  
We chose white and baby blue for the colors, decided to do one game and a craft, and came up with a menu.  Katie was in charge of the guest book and most of the decorations.  I loved what she chose!
It was such a fun idea to use a book as a guest book!
Don't you love the cute sock tree and "baby it's cold outside" sign!

For food we decided to serve soups and tea sandwiches.  My other co-host, Emily, cut all of the bread for the chicken salad sandwiches into snowflake shapes!
Click here to get the recipe for the southwestern chicken salad.  I didn't have much mayo on hand to I used greek yogurt instead and I never use packaged taco seasoning because of the sodium content to I just added cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper.

Katie made some delicious cucumber sandwiches and a pasta salad.  Katie and Emily made 3 soups: wild rice, minestrone, and chicken tortilla and they were all yummy.

In lieu of a cake we decided to serve cake pops.
I made the cake pops using a babycakes cake pop maker that my mom bought for me.  I used the white cake recipe from 175 Best Babycakes Cake Pop Maker Recipes.  The book is nice because it includes lots of tips and tricks for baking and decorating your cake pops.  I made 60 cake pops and was able to put the sticks in and then freeze them a few weeks in advance.  A few days before the shower I took them out of the freezer and decorated them.  Dipping the cake pops after they have been in the freezer actually makes the process easier.  I used blue and white candy melts and then sprinkled large sugar crystals over them to get an icy wintry effect.  The cake pop stand was purchased a Michaels.  I was going to make my own stand but the cost of the materials ended up being the same as the pre-made stand so I opted to go with the easiest route for a busy mom.  I cut out some snowflakes from white card stock with my Silhouette Portrait and then attached them to some wooden skewers which I taped to the top of the cake pop stand.  The bunting was made with washi tape and baker's twine. I used a washi tape bunting on the hot air balloon mobile for Lyla's room.
Krista's mother-in-law, Barb, also provided us with many delicious goodies for the shower.  She is an excellent cook and baker.  I am kind of bummed because I didn't actually try any of them since I was so busy running around making sure everything was going smoothly.  Barb also made some delicious blue punch and Katie filled a drink dispenser with water and put lemon and orange slices in the dispenser to make "spa" water.

So adorable!

We also had a hot chocolate bar.  I have done hot chocolate bars for my last two New Year's Eve parties but I decided to take it up a notch with this one by adding matching containers and a bunting sign.  I found the containers at Hobby Lobby and used a chalk marker to label them.

You may recognize the candle holders and vase from my home.  I use them for winter decor every year and I bought them at Target several years ago.  I decided the berries in the vase would add a little pop of the red just like the red bird in the invite.

I purchased the fabric pieces for the bunting at Michaels.  They have tons of colors so your can find some for any event that you are planning!  I cut out the letters and snowflakes from card stock with my Silhouette Portrait and then I attached them to the fabric with glue dots.  I attached the fabric pieces to some baker's twine with hot glue.  I made the mistake of laying my letters out in order and then flipping them over to glue them with the word "HOT" so when I turned it around it said "TOH" haha.  Luckily I used the removable glue dots so I was able to just swap the "T" and the "H" for a quick fix.

For mix-ins for the hot chocolate bar I included crushed peppermint candy, toffee, white chocolate, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, peanut butter chips, sea salt, marshmallows, pirouette cookies, whipped cream, caramel syrup, and toasted marshmallow syrup.  I used this crock pot hot chocolate recipe which is one of my favorites.  One tip for getting the stubborn cocoa powder to mix in with the rest of the ingredients is to use an immersion blender.  It works like a charm!

After eating, we played one game that Katie planned and then we made alphabet blocks which was my project to plan.
I will have another post on the block craft soon because it is one of my most ambitious Silhouette projects yet.  Everyone seemed to enjoy the craft and the blocks turned out great!  For centerpieces, in addition to the block supplies, I used the jars from Lyla's baptism brunch and made a few more snowflakes from white card stock with my Silhouette Portrait.  I then attached two back-to-back with glue dots and then slipped them over a wooden skewer.  I placed a little bit of floral foam in the bottom of the jar and stuck the skewer in.  I had some fake snow on hand from a Sunday school craft that I did a few years ago so I put some in the bottom of the jars to cover up the floral foam.  The other centerpieces were already on the tables and they fit perfectly with our theme!
And that folks is how we chose to throw a "baby it's cold outside" themed baby shower!  It came together beautifully and was a blast.  I will be back very soon to share how I created the alphabet block craft for the shower.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Sock Valentines

Happy Valentine's Day!  Today I have a fun and simple valentine project to share with you.  When I saw that my daughter had a Valentine list from daycare a few weeks ago my first thought was that it is crazy to give valentines to babies because they don't understand it.  I mean none of the children in her room at daycare are older than 10 months!  But my next thought was "sometimes you just have to make valentines for babies because it is fun!"  I would like to note that it was not required that we make valentines for the babies in her class, it was just for fun.  So I found myself typing "valentines for babies" in the search bar on Pinterest.  I found several cute ideas but when I found the sock idea I knew that was what I wanted to do.  Lyla has a drawer full of socks that are missing their match so I figured that other babies probably have the same problem.

On a side note, I saw an idea on Pinterest to keep a mesh laundry bag by the baby's hamper to corral the socks and then they get washed and dried in the bag and never lose their mate!  Why did I not see this idea before I had Lyla!

So I went to Old Navy and found some 4 packs of baby socks on sale.  Then I quickly whipped up a print and cut design in my Silhouette software.  I am including a link to a PDF file that I made of the valentines for those of you that don't have a Silhouette and I have also attempted to link the SVG file for all of you Silhouette owners.  I'm crossing my fingers that it works for you.
Sock Valentine PDF
Sock Valentine SVG

I think they turned out to be pretty adorable.  Simple and easy!  As I write this post I actually have another post written and edited and ready to share.  That means virtually back-to-back posts.  Keep your eyes peeled for a post on a baby shower that I co-hosted in the next few days.
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