Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thanksgiving Pilgrim and Indian Turkey Headband Hats

Turkey Day is a big deal in our family. Right after Labor Day, we get a twinge of excitement for the upcoming holidays. We took over all the cooking from our moms years ago so that we can do a traditional American style feast as opposed to an Asian one. I'm not a cook at all but can do a juicy turkey. What I love about Thanksgiving is that the focus is on the food and family. No stress about buying and wrapping presents.

With all the little babies this year, I put together some hand print turkey hats. Gabby loves getting her hand traced so she had fun helping me make this. I gave the turkey some lashes for fun. 

Thanksgiving Pilgrim Turkey Headband Hat using Hand Prints:

I prepared a bunch of turkey heads in advance wearing pilgrim and feather headbands. Before dinner, parents helped trace and cut out handprints to glue on a headband. It was a fun little activity while dinner is being setup.

Indian and Pilgrim Turkey Heads:

Completed Turkey Headbands (with some adult handprints too):

Gabby Modeling Her Turkey Hat in Our Family Picture:

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

DIY Secret Santa Drawing Gift Tags with Wishlist

As an annual Thanksgiving tradition, my family does a Secret Santa drawing. The rules are simple.

  • No picking yourself.
  • No picking an immediate family member or spouse (meaning I can't pick my brother or husband). 
  • Stick to the minimum.
  • Write a list of 5 items you would like.
  • Keep who you drew quiet until after all the gifts are opened.

We usually just write our names on a slip of paper or print out so I wanted to try something a little different this year. I searched all around for ideas on how to do the drawing but couldn't find a thing. I wanted something that was credit card-sized so that you could carry the list around with you in your wallet when you are out shopping. I also wanted something where you could hide the name from prying eyes as the names are drawn. This is what my cousin Q and I came up with.

Secret Santa drawing gift tag with a Santa belt belly band: 

The Santa Belt can be slipped off to reveal the name you drew underneath:

How the card looks opened:

All 36 tags ready to go:

As you can see by the number of tags, we have a BIG family that is constantly growing. Imagine having to buy for each cousin, niece and nephew. We would all go broke. Now I have to think of five items for my wishlist. I know I'll be tempted to list items for Gabby but she'll have her own tag this year. Hmm... any ideas for around $25?

UPDATE NOV-2014: for the free printable of this tag, please click here.

Monday, November 21, 2011

45th Sapphire Wedding Anniversary Party

It was a busy crafting weekend and I'm tired today. On Friday night, my cousin, Q, helped me put together some favor boxes and menu cards for my parents' anniversary party the next day. We made 36 favors and 10 tented menus and the total cost ended up being $10. All we needed to buy was a box of chocolate since we had enough supplies (2 inch white boxes, blue ribbon, glue, pop up dots, brads) already on hand. It was a last minute decision but I'm glad we did it.

Box of 48 Ferrero Rochers for $10 at Costco ($20 from Amazon): 

Ferrero Rocher Favor Boxes with Royal Blue Ribbon (for a Sapphire Anniversary):

Inside the Favor Box (Ferrero Rocher on a Bed of White and Blue Tissue):

Dinner Menu Cards with Royal Blue Ribbon (not shown) Secured by a Diamond and Heart Brad:

 Favor Box on the Restaurant's Table Setting:

I have a few more fun crafts to share with you over the next few days. Can't wait to take some pictures to show you. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Gabby at Age 2

I was inspired by this Pinterest post and wanted to do one for Gabby. I only wish I did this for her 1st birthday as well. Now, my memory is fuzzy and I don't remember everything she loved back even a year ago.

Hope everyone has a great week ahead! :)

Friday, November 18, 2011

DIY Fleece Throw Pillows

My cousin, Q, wanted a couple of throw pillows for her bedroom chairs so she brought over the supplies and I did the sewing. I was a little nervous to ruin her materials because it was only my second attempt at sewing. What we came to realize is that Q can't cut in a straight line and I can't sew in a straight line. Overall, we were pretty happy that it actually turned out looking like a pillow. 

DIY Fleece Throw Pillows:

We had some scrap material leftover so we made a little bed for Gabby's Fisher Price dollhouse. Now they can be snugly and warm for the winter. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Our Proposal Story

I keep hearing about Mama Kat's Writing Workshop so decided to give it a try. This week's prompt:

3.) Married? Tell us the story of how the question was popped.

Four years into dating, my now husband randomly brought up the idea that we should plan a trip out of the country. I was a bit surprised but excited. This would be the first real vacation with just the two of us. With the help of my awesome travel agent aunt, we were able to get a great deal on our trip. We went at the end of March since the airfare would be more affordable but the downside was that it was so cold! For a Southern California girl, anything below 60 degrees is freezing to me.

We arrived in London with a general idea of what we wanted to see but did not have set itinerary. It was fun exploring the city, eating wherever seemed good and figuring out how to use the London Underground. This entire time, he had the ring stashed in his pants pocket waiting for the perfect opportunity to pop the question.

After about five days, we headed over the Paris using the Chunnel. As beautiful as it was, Paris seemed so much different than London. It was more fast paced and people were a bit less friendly. Right when we stepped off the train to Paris, we were approached by gypsies asking for money. I was naive and stopped to read the sign the gypsy lady handed to me. My hubs quickly moved me away just as a police officer swiftly came in to ask the woman to leave. Still, he had the ring in his pants pocket.

So we did all the touristy things - the Louvre, Champ-Elysees, Musee D'orsay. The thought of a possible proposal did enter my mind but as our trip drew near the end, I didn't think it would happen. He would have planned something or done it by now. We were still winging it without a real itinerary. With two days left of Paris, we had gone to see Notre Dame and were making our way over to see the Eiffel Tower on foot. As we crossed the bridge to get to the subway, my husband suggested we go down and check out the Seine River below.

Seine River with Notre Dame on the far left:

It was around 5pm and the sun was just starting to set. After walking around all day, we sat down at a bench by the river and took a break. We were all bundled up because it was super cold - I had my beanie, hood, scarf and gloves on. I look over and my husband's face was completely red. I thought that he got windburned or caught a cold. Nope, he was nervous and flushed. The next thing I knew, he was down on one knee and proposing to me. Of course, I cried like a baby.

Where He Proposed:


Our View of the Seine River:

The ring that traveled around London and Paris in his pocket:

For more proposal stories, go visit Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Video Montage Out of a Box of Old Pics

My parents are celebrating their sapphire wedding anniversary this Saturday. That's 45 years! I was there for 30-something years of it and I can assure you that time goes by so fast. What I take from it is seeing that marriage is an ongoing process of compromise and communication. You don't cruise just because you've been together for X number of years. Even after this long, you are still constantly learning about each other, working on yourself, and investing in your marriage.

My parents always put their family before even themselves. For their 25th, they took us on vacation with them and even invited my aunts and some cousins along. That's just how they are. Family first. They want to share in the fun and love seeing the joy in others.

On their honeymoon, my parents ran into a couple they knew. The woman was crying because their hotel reservations got mixed up, every other place was booked too and and they didn't have a room. My mom felt bad and let the couple stay with them... on their honeymoon! When my parents got home, my mom told my grandparents what happened. My grandma was so mad and said sometimes you have to be selfish because it is your right. My mom just couldn't turn her back on her friends.

So, this Saturday we are having a dinner party at a restaurant. It was a last minute thing because at first my parents didn't want to do anything to draw attention to themselves. My aunt contacted me and said if they don't want a party, we'll throw them a surprise one because they deserve a celebration.

Anyway, I wanted to share the video montage we put together for my parents' 40th wedding anniversary. I can't believe it has been five years already. For that party, we decided to do a slideshow. My parents literally had a cardboard box worth of pictures to sort through and scan. The pictures were all different sizes and shapes too. I looked around online and decided to use Scanapix to have the photos scanned to save me time. There was no way I could have scanned all those photos without pulling my hair out. Scanapix did a great job scanning them for us and quickly too. We received our originals back 100% accounted for and in its original condition.

It's lengthy but check out the first few minutes at least. You can check out the quality of the scanned photos.

Video Montage for My Parents' 40th Wedding Anniversary:

We used Scanapix again for our wedding slideshow as well as for my brother's 40th birthday. I gave Scanapix a stack of pictures and again they did a great job. I was able to make a 30 page 12x12 photo album through Shutterfly as my brother's present. This is for a guy who can literally buy anything himself... and does! So needless to say, he is a very difficult person to shop for. When he opened his present, he was so touched and said this is really priceless to him. Yay for being an awesome sister!

We just did a little spring cleaning at my parents house and found some old pictures from my grandma who passed away. My mom was really sad because the photos had melted and stuck together. These were photos from my grandma's childhood in the 1930's - all gone. I'm glad I'm able to save my parents photos for Gabby to see a little bit about our history. One day I want to sit down with my parents individually and jot down all their stories. It would be nice to have stories to go along with the photos to pass along to Gabby when she's older.

Monday, November 14, 2011

DIY Birthday Card Keepsake Book Tutorial

I came across this link on Pinterest and wanted to do something similar with all of Gabby's second birthday cards. Instead of having a pile of loose greeting cards, I was able to bind a neat notebook that's also easy to store.

Materials Needed:
Some of the supplies. Didn't end up needing any of the scrap paper.

Gabby's Birthday Cards: The card on top is from us and will be the front cover of her book. 

Sort and Clip the Cards:

I took the advice from the original poster and sorted the cards so short and tall cards are mixed in together. You don't want two short cards next to each other and create a big gap in the spine of your book. Use the biggest two cards to serve as the cover and last page of your book.

This next step is optional since the original poster didn't do this and her book seems just fine. I took it a step further and "bound" all the cards together. I wanted extra security so nothing fell out over time. The glue I used was four years old so might not be that great anymore. 

I found the shortest card in the stack and used that as a guide as to where to poke two holes in all the cards. Using a medium sized needle, I poked holes in all the cards in the same spot. 

Sewing the Cards Together:

Using about 4-5 strands of thread from the embroidery floss, I started with the bottom of the last page of the book and threaded the needle into the card. I looped the thread through the inside of the card and out the through the top hole. Then I placed the next card on top and threaded it through the top of that card, looped through the inside and out the bottom hole. Do that again for the third card - in through the bottom hole, loop inside and back out the top hole. Now I was able to slip the needle back through the previous card to tie it together. 

Cards Sewn Together: 

Since the edge of the back cover isn't tied to anything, I took the loose string from the front cover and tied it to one from the back cover. Trim the excess strings. I left about an inch but you can cut it shorter if you want. It doesn't matter too much since it will be covered with the spine anyways.

Gabby received a couple of cards that opened from the top so I cut it and just stacked them in with the rest without sewing. The glue should be strong enough to keep them in place. 

Prepping the Cards Before Gluing: 

The cards are still a bit floppy so I secured them together with large binder clips before gluing. Make sure you protect your cards from indentation by putting either craft sticks or cardboard underneath the clips. Now that the cards are secure, I applied a generous layer of PVC glue along the spine. Enough to get all the edges of the cards coated without it being a drippy mess. 

After the Glue is Dry:

It took a few hours for the glue to dry for me. It may vary for you so make sure the glue is completely dry before you move on. 

Adding the Spine:

Next, I measured and cut a piece of book cloth tape to the same length as my longest card. To make a crisp edge on the spine, I used a bone folder to make folding lines on the book cloth tape. You could use the edge of a craft stick to make the crease and that should work too.

The glue that is on the book cloth tape isn't that tacky so I dabbled the PVC glue all over the tape before putting it on the cards. 

The Finished Birthday Card Keepsake Book Project:

The Back:

I may go back and make a book for Gabby's first birthday as well. The only problem is she doesn't have a card from us. I never thought we would really be keeping all these cards so I didn't bother giving her one. From now on, I think I'll put together one of these books. It'll be a neat keepsake of all her birthdays, maybe even combine a few years together. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Random Acts of Service

So I ended up at a craft store again. Really, there's more to me than just crafting, but lately that's all it seems I do. With the events and holidays coming up, somehow I wind up needing a thing or two. Gabby loves going with me too. She follows me up and down the aisles and plays with the little trinkets and toys along the way. If you didn't know, you can pick up toys and art supplies (Melissa & Doug, Crayola arts, etc.) for a steal by using their weekly 40-50% off one item coupon, sometimes add on an additional 25% off coupon.

Here's a camera phone video of her playing at a previous trip to Joann's. 

Gabby Loves to Stack Anything:

Anyway, Michael's had a 25% off everything coupon that was expiring so I went to look for ideas for my parents' anniversary party next Saturday. I couldn't find anything for the party, but ended up picking up a wooden stool to personalize for Gabby. Hopefully I get a chance to work on that project soon so I can share with you.

There were about five people waiting in line to pay. There was a woman in front of me with two carts full of Christmas silk flowers and rolls of cotton. We got to talking and it turns out she does holiday displays for grocery stores. I reached in my purse and pulled out an extra 25% off coupon to discretely give to her. She was so happy and mad at the same time. She was thrilled I was saving her money but mad at herself for not knowing about coupons here. Just the day before she bought FOUR carts worth of stuff. Ouch.

I give out coupons to random people all the time and wonder if the store employees are giving me the side-eye. I figure printing out a few more coupons on a page isn't a big deal but it could help someone who needs it. The only thing is sometimes I feel like a creeper striking up conversations with random strangers. Would you be weirded out if someone came up to you with coupons in hand?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

DIY Butterfly Thank You Cards

To follow up on yesterday's birthday party recap, I wanted to share the Thank You cards we sent out. I could have made my own cards but found a box of 50 Hallmark ones at Walmart for $8. You really can't beat the price - not to mention how much extra work is saves.

The box came with two designs. For the colorful one, I simply glued on some of the leftover butterflies I had already punched out. For the green card, I punched out some scalloped circles and used dimensional pop-ups to give them some depth.

Three Variations of the Thank You Cards:

Gabby saw me writing the cards so wanted to help. I let her stamp some with her fingerprint. I drew in antennas to make a butterfly.

Gabby's Butterfly Fingerprint Art: 

Mommy's Little Helper:

It didn't last very long though. Gabby quickly got bored and took off playing just after a few cards. 

My Little Jokester:

Enjoy your weekend. Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Gabby's Second Birthday: Pastel Garden Butterflies

Gabby turned two a month ago and I finally have a chance to share the pics. For my baby shower and Gabby's first birthday, we had 100 guests so I wanted to do something low-key and a lot smaller for her second birthday. Somehow we still ended up with 40 guests, tons of food and a lot of crafts. My cousin, Q, and I kept finding new crafting projects to do.

Maybe I'll post more details of what I did if anyone is interested.  If you would like any printables, leave me a comment or send me an email.

Get ready for a long post.

DIY Birthday Banner with Pastel Tulle Ties:

Dessert Table:

DIY Personalized M&M Party Favors:

Toppings for the Ice Cream Bar:

DIY Cupcake Toppers on Mini Lemon Bites (from Costco):

DIY Butterfly-Shaped Rice Krispy Treats and White Chocolate Covered Oreo Pops:

Birthday Cake with DIY Pennant Banner:

DIY Welcome Wreath I made using my Cricut Expression:

DIY Butterfly Wands I made to go with Butterfly Wings for the girls:

DIY Butterfly Strings and Tissue/Tulle Pom Poms:

Last Minute Centerpieces with White and Yellow Daisies, Chrysanthemums in a Bubble Bowl:

DIY Food Signs for our Mexican Feast:

Birthday Girl's DIY Chair Banner:

With the Birthday Girl:

Gabby eating fondant and liking it. She's definitely my child.

Blowing Bubbles. 

Overall, we had a fun afternoon with great friends and family. I'm not sure if Gabby really understood what a birthday is but she sure is enjoying all the new toys.