Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Flip Flop Invitations

 I made flip flop shaped invitations for my daugter's Splish Splash Birthday Bash last week.

Here's how:

1. Print the invitation wording onto cardstock. Trace a shoe shape onto the paper and cut out.

2. Cut out the other side of the shoe from patterned scrapbook paper. Thicker paper works best. Make sure to flip the shoe around so that the words show on the back and the pattern shows on the front. If you cut them both facing the same direction, they won't fit together!

3. Punch a hole (I used a pencil) and thread two pieces of ribbon through. Use hot glue to secure the ends on the back side of the paper.

4. Hot glue the other ends of the ribbon on the sides of the shoe, leaving enough slack that the ribbon sticks up from the shoe.

5. Use a glue stick to glue the front piece of the shoe to the back. This will hide your ribbon ends. You may need to use a touch of hot glue where the ribbon is to get it to stick securely.

And that's it. You're done! Easy and unique. These would also be super cute for a pedicure party. Oooo... I think I need to throw a pedicure party. That sounds fun!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Splish Splash Birthday Bash

Summer may be winding down, but my daughter still wanted a summery birthday party. She really wanted a water theme, so we decided to call it a "Splish Splash Birthday Bash".

Let's start with the invitations, shall we? They were shaped like flip flops. Tutorial coming in a later post!

We got this adorable fish pinata from Shindigz (available HERE):

Because a birthday party is always better with a pinata, am I right?!

We set up a snow cone station:

Recognize the weatherproof tassel garland? I made the sign, borrowed the snow cone machine, and used Torani syrups for flavoring. The paper cones were clearance from WalMart and came with scoopy straws. Love those.

One of our main decorations was the wave wall. I got a 50 yard roll of bermuda blue gossamer (available HERE) and stapled it to the fence to mimic water waves. The staple gun worked like a charm and came out super easy after the party. Now I can reuse the gossamer for another party! Then I hooked fishing line through the nozzle of a few beach balls and hung them on the fence.

The food table was bright and cheerful.

Don't you love the huge paper lanterns (purchased HERE)?! They added so much color and pizazz!

I got to reuse the picnic set I bought at a thrift store and painted.

I made simple cupcakes, piped on aqua frosting and added cute paper umbrellas (available HERE):

I made a sucker bouquet in a sand bucket by putting a piece of florist foam in the bucket, covering it with crunched up paper, then poking the sticks down into the foam. Suckers purchased HERE.

And the last snack we had was fish crackers, also served in a sand bucket.

All of the party activities involved water. We did a slip-and-slide, played a relay game involving very wet sponges, and played one of our family's favorite games, The Water Game.

The Water Game Rules

* Choose a category. Some of our favorites are: zoo animal, state in the U.S.A., candy bar, color, Disney movie or superhero.

* One person is IT. They choose a specific item in the category. For example, if the category was zoo animals, they could choose giraffe.

* Going around the circle, each child thinks of a zoo animal and says it out loud. When someone guesses "giraffe", the IT person gets to throw water on them!

* The person who guessed correctly gets to be the new IT.

I had so much fun planning this party. There were so many great ideas that I dedicated a whole Pinterest board to it! You can check it out HERE for more pool/summer/water party ideas.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Emily's Favorite Banana Cake

When I get too-ripe bananas, I used to always make banana bread. Until I tried this recipe for banana cake. It is so moist and delicious, I have pretty much forgotten about banana bread. I made some for my my friend, Emily, and she loved it so much she hid it from her kids so she wouldn't have to share. I totally do the same thing. She's been asking me for the recipe, so I thought I'd share it with her and with you too! You have got to try this recipe!

Emily's Favorite Banana Cake

1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 very ripe bananas, mashed

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, sour cream and vanilla. Combine dry and add to wet. Stir in bananas. Pour in greased 9x13 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Frosting *
1 8oz package cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
2-4 cups powdered sugar

Cream cheese and butter until smooth, then beat in remaining ingredients, adding only enough powdered sugar to give it a good texture.

* Regular buttercream frosting is also good, depending on your mood (or what you have in the fridge).

Friday, August 15, 2014

DIY Easy Weathered Wood Stain

Today we're talking wood stain.

 I just finished up this bathroom ladder shelf:

I love how the color turned out! I wanted it to be similar to this swatch from  Restoration Hardware:

Look at the two pictures and I'd say it's pretty dang close. I love how it's greyed and weathered looking, but still warm and cozy. I read all sorts of tutorials online and most of them included staining, staining, sanding, painting, staining some more, and top-coating.

That sounded like a lot of work.

Or there's always the vinegar and steel wool option, which I already know is unreliable.

So I asked my husband what he would do and he suggested Boiled Linseed Oil.

I was so skeptical that I stood in the aisles of Lowes for half an hour thinking before I decided to trust him and give it a try. I should listen to him more often (shh....don't tell him!). It worked like a charm!

Here's my method...

I started with a test piece of wood and mixed different proportions of stains. Don't skip this step. It will tell you a lot.

I settled on one spoonful of Minwax stain in Ebony with three spoonful of Minwax stain in Red Mahogany. Then I filled up the rest of the relish-sized glass jar with boiled linseed oil.

Then I just wiped the mixture on with an old sock. It was so easy. It only took me an hour!

The linseed oil protects the wood, so there is no need for a top coat. That saved me a step and gave me the raw, old-wood look that would be hard to get with a shiny polyurethane top-coat.
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