Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Rainbow Birthday Party

We celebrated our daughters' birthdays this past weekend. We decided that a rainbow party was in order and with a limited budget it was time to get creative. With a little extra work leading up to the party we were able to have a fun little party with all the most important things: friends, family, and celebrating our girls. The first thing was to look around our house at what we already had available to use. Sometimes just a little imagination and some time can turn into something beautiful.

Rainbow Party Decorations:

DIY Crochet Garland:

I already had all the colors in yarn so I crocheted two little rainbow flag garlands. The girls will be able to hang them above their beds now that the party is over and it was a quick project I was able to finish in a couple evenings.

DIY Photo Collage:

Shane has a print center at his work and they give him a credit to use each month so we were able to print pictures of the girls to make a fun collage of them. The girls loved looking at all the pictures. As a side note, if you are feeling down I would encourage you to take a few minutes, or an hour if you are like me, and look through the pictures from the past 10 years. It really reminded me how blessed I am and helped me feel more content again.

DIY Rainbow Dots and Stars:

I had a bunch of craft paper so we broke out my circle cutter and cut a bunch of different size circles. The girls had tons of fun hanging them all over the garage. We also used my little star punch and made some little rainbow star confetti to put on the tables.

Rainbow Food:

I purchased some skittles and rainbow twizzlers to add a little bit of rainbow fun. We also did a fruit tray in rainbow colors of course. I used watermelon, cantelope, pineapple, honeydew melon, blueberries, and purple plums. A pasta salad with a rainbow of veggies in it including tomatoes, carrots, bell peppers, peppercini peppers, peas, and purple (red) onion. The rest of the food was not rainbow but yummy none the less. For drinks I froze different color Kool Aid as ice cubes. Then we added one of each color ice cube to a clear cup and poured Sprite over the top. I figured that the kids would love it but was surprised that many of the adults enjoyed it too.

Rainbow Cakes:

For the cakes I made one of our favorite cake recipes, snickerdoodle. But I tried out a pinterest idea and made the batter rainbow colors. I thought about doing a six layer cake so each color could be its own layer. However, I needed to make two cakes and was afraid that two six layer cakes would be too much. Further, I was worried about getting the cakes to stay standing and not sliding apart in the heat of summer. I am not a cake professional so I wanted to keep things simple. Instead I made two batches of the cake mix, after mixing up the batter, I split the batter evenly into three portions and colored each portion. The first batch was colored with red, orange, and yellow and the second batch with green, blue, and purple. This allowed me to have a two layer cake in all the rainbow colors for each of the girls. They turned out looking festive and when we cut into them we were all so happy with the results. It was a bright colorful surprise.

What are some of your best or favorite DIY party ideas? Have you made decorations or themed food for a party?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Finish Along Goals

I have a long list of things I'd like to get finished before baby comes. There is a Finish-A-Long going on over at She Can Quilt and I thought it might be just the accountability I need to actually get a few things finished around here. So here's my list of goals for the third quarter.

1. I REALLY need to finish up this swoon quilt. It is for a friend and they have been so patient but it is beyond embarrassing now. It is almost there so if I can just focus and finish up the quilting and bind it I can mail it off to a happy new home.

2. This is a baby size quilt made with flannel from Anna Maria Horner. The colors are a bit off in the picture. It is so soft and yummy. I'd love to finish the blocks and maybe even get the top finished before the end of the quarter.

3. And finally, I'd love to finish up this experiment. Originally, I was playing around with my own quilt designs and this is one idea that emerged. It is a fun project to work on because it is an appliqué quilt instead of a pieced quilt. The appliqué goes quickly so I think this is one I could finish up completely. I need to finish the top, baste, quilt, and bind.

she can quilt

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Vacation and Birthdays

Last week we went on a vacation with some of my extended family to San Diego. It was six fun days full of sand, SeaWorld, a children's museum, fireworks, tons of good food, an aircraft carrier, and lots of cousins playing together. I came home feeling like I needed another vacation to rest (do you feel like that sometimes too?) but instead we came home to a freezer that was left slightly open the whole time. Sigh. So after deep cleaning the freezer, the fridge, and under/behind the refrigerator I am now preparing for a birthday party in a couple days to celebrate our girls. Sydney turned 8 this past Monday and Violet turns 4 on the 17th. Maybe there will be more resting next week. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Letterboxing: Introduction

Last fall, some close friends introduced us to letterboxing and it has become our new favorite family activity. Letterboxing is creative, adventurous, and good old-fashioned outdoor fun.

Letterboxing started in Europe back in the 1850's and has grown and evolved over time. Today there are boxes all over the world for you to find. Basically, you have a signature stamp and a personal log book. Then you look up clues to find a letterbox somewhere in the world. You follow the clues and hunt for the box. Inside each letterbox is a stamp and log book. You simple exchange stamps: place your signature/family stamp in the box's log book and place the letterbox's stamp in your personal log book.

It is such a simple idea yet the adventures are incredibly fun. Try thinking of combining walking/hiking with a treasure hunt. Some of the clues are simple directions and others are difficult codes and ciphers waiting to be unlocked. It is such a great way to unplug from our computers, phones, and video games, get outside, and have some family fun. Another great side effect is that we have discovered so many great areas that we never knew about in our city.

If you are interested, I would encourage you to find a letterbox close to you and go check it out. It can be a free activity if you already have a stamp and just use some paper you have on hand. If you enjoy it as much as our family does you will be setting aside whole days for hunting boxes, carving stamps, and planting your own boxes soon.

There are two main websites where clues are posted:
Atlas Quest
Letterboxing North America

Have you heard of letterboxing before or are you a newbie like me? Have you participated in letterboxing before? What experiences have you had out on the hunt?

Linked up at The HomeAcre Hop.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Simple Crochet Washcloths

I recently made a couple of simple crocheted washcloths. I like to use 100% cotton for them because they last a little longer. For some reason, most synthetic yarns seem to unravel and break with the scrubbing and repeated washing that our washcloths go through.

In case you would like to make one for your home or for a gift here is a quick pattern.

Simple Crochet Washcloth Pattern
Hook size G
100% Cotton medium gauge yarn

Row 1: Chain 40.
Row 2-31: Chain 1 (for your first stitch). Half double stitch in each remaining stitch.

*As you approach the last row take a minute to measure and see if your washcloth will be square. You can do one less or one more row if you need to help get a nice square washcloth.

*Try changing colors for some variety. You can do stripes or even an ombre washcloth to match your preference and style.
Linked up at The HomeAcre Hop.