Planning a Woodland Animals Theme Party!

I had the great pleasure of sending some of my animal pins to the lovely Stephanie who was planning a woodland animals theme party for her Son. Here is the process she went through to make the day truly brilliant!! 🙂

I love planning parties, and I knew early on that I wanted to go all-out for our son’s first birthday celebration. An outdoor party is one of the perks to being born in the summer months where we live. It was difficult to settle on a theme for Theo’s first birthday bash, but once a friend of mine helped to lead me to the Woodland Animals idea (an expansion on the ever so popular theme “Owls”), the planning really started to begin. My son’s birthday was going to fall on a Saturday this year, and we decided that we would host the party at our house. We also had received an offer on our house a few weeks prior, so this very well could have been our last big event with family and friends at our home before moving. We had a lot to celebrate!

When planning a first birthday party, (or any party!) you need to think about the food that you will serve, party decor, dessert, beverages, and of course – birthday outfits! Usually, when we have guests over, my husband will grill. Those of you who have cooked for a party know how much work that is for that person. After talking with some of my friends who have hosted birthday parties at their homes, I was told about these hot dog carts. I received a couple of recommendations, and I am almost certain we hired the best possible hot dog guy out there. Meet Hot Dog Joe:

Joe was awesome for a few reasons: 1) He is a Cubs fan, 2) He brought everything needed to serve up delicious Vienna Beef hotdogs, and 3) He was the nicest guy ever – a delight to have at our party! My sisters and I prepared five other sides for the guests to go along with the dogs. We served baked beans, bow tie pesto pasta salad with mozzarella and tomatoes, roasted corn salad with lime avocado cilantro dressing, fruit salad, and loaded baked potato salad. All of the sides were prepared in advance and were brought out as soon as the hot dogs were ready to go, which was soon after the start of the party. Hiring Joe to do the main course allowed for us to not have to worry at all about food. No mess, no clean-up – it simplified the whole food organization process!

Once I had the food planning finished, I moved on to working on the dessert and the dessert table. After poking around on Pinterest for a couple of days, I decided I wanted a fabulous cake, cupcakes, and a s’mores type dessert. I talked to my sisters about the s’mores, and they decided to take on the task of creating the chocolate dipped mallows. My mother was on board with creating the vibrant red mushroom cupcakes.

In order to make the s’mores, you take a pretzel stick and push it into the top of a marshmallow. You then dip the mallow in chocolate and then roll it into graham cracker crumbs. From what I was told – they were very easy to make. For the cupcakes, there are a few important things to know. First of all, you will need brown cupcake holders. Go with the paper variety and not the foil type. Also, in order to get a deep red color, you will need some Wilton no-taste red coloring. If you do not have this, the cupcake icing will be more pinkish in color. The white dots are upside down white chocolate chips, which made the cupcakes taste even better than they already were!

For the tree slice cupcake stand, I looked at several options available on online. They were all pricey! I told my husband I was going to purchase one, and within minutes, he was out back chopping wood. I added the moss and voila! A cupcake stand that cost $0 dollars! He also sliced several more wooden rounds for table centerpieces, which I will get to in a bit.

Next up for dessert was The Cake. I needed to call in a professional for the job. I knew of this adorable bakery in downtown Oak Park called Sugar Fixe, which I have been to several times before. How cute is their store front?! And those macarons! This is exactly the type of place that I wish I lived across the street from so that I could stop in for a daily espresso and croissant.

After discussing my vision with Bria, one of the Pastry Chefs who is also the Wedding Director, I knew that she was going to create something amazing for my son. I was BLOWN AWAY when I saw her final cake design. Sugar Fixe is my new go-to special occasion cake designer. I don’t even know how she did it, but she carved a tree bark configuration into the butter cream icing and then hand-crafted 2-D gum paste woodland animals. The cake also had an acorn bunting topper – it was officially the most adorable cake I have ever seen.

And then there was the smash cake. Technically, this cake is TCTS (too cute to smash), but we had to do it! The smash cake complimented the big cake perfectly in every single way. This cake was 100% as delicious as it was cute. The inside was my favorite – carrot cake!

Look at this little boy loving his cake! He was cautious at first, but later was going face-first into it. It was very fun to watch. Sugar Fixe specializes in customer cake designs, dessert tables (with options such as tartlets, brownies, lemon bars, mini cupcakes, meringues, dipped marshmallows, and cake pops), and all sorts of dessert favors. Theirmenu and style of work is truly amazing! Each time I’ve been into their shop (I’ve only been in their Oak Park location, but they also have a shop in Lincoln Park) it is packed. The employees are gracious and have excellent rapport with their customers. I also love that they actively participate in giving back to the community by supporting several organizations, such as Pillar’s Community Services. Sugar Fixe is a model locale business!

So, I am completely aware that centerpieces are not necessary for a backyard party. However, my mom stepped up and offered to “throw something together”. She had a basket of acorns that she thought she could build upon. My mother in law also had wild flowers in her backyard. Together, they came up with these. I was shocked at how creative they were able to be with 100% of the raw materials coming from past craft projects and things from the outdoors.

Another thing that our party needed was a wide-eye beautiful brown grizzly bear. Every woodland forest has a bear, right?! For my baby shower last June, my aunt re-purposed an old polar bear Christmas decoration and turned him into a baby blue bear. Well, I kept that bear, and I thought that he would look amazing in a brown color as well. My other aunt gave him a FULL makeover. Meet Fiona. After three cans of spray paint and some felt, what a transformation!

I planned to make some of the decor myself, including this mossy THEO sign.  I picked up wooden letters from Target, and then spray glue and moss from the craft store. I was ready to craft!

This sign was very simple to make. Once you have the moss strategically placed after you apply spray glue, it dries fairly quickly. I loved the way it turned out! The E was my favorite.

In order to prevent the letters from falling over (this was going to be used on the dessert table), my husband nailed them into a strip of wood scrap. Look at this WILD ONE ready for his party!

For the rest of the party decor, I turned to the best – Etsy! In today’s day, if you can think of it, most likely, someone else has too. And with one click, you can have decor en route to your house as quickly as the shop can make that item. I am astonished by the creativity of others!

The Wooden Word designs custom handmade wooden signs for any occasion. They have several pre-made signs available for purchase, but this sign was custom made for Theo’s woodland adventure party. Never Stop Exploring – truer words have never been said. We used this sign for his party and it is now hanging in his nursery. These signs make the perfect shower or birthday gift – request your custom order here!

Banners banners banners! I melted when I saw this burlap fabric high chair banner from PhotograMomProps and this woodland animal banner from SmithStudios2129. The high chair banner is made with owl fabric, which fit our theme perfectly! PhotograMomProps makes banners in many different colors and themes. She has over 150 products on her Etsy page and also does custom orders. SmithStudios2129 creates unique paper party decor and decorations for any special event. She has many different designs available and does custom paper decor work. Both of these ladies were so easy to work with and created products that made our party extra special. I could not handle the cuteness of each of these banners!

My mother in law printed us several of my favorite photos from when our son was 0-3 months old. I intend to frame these pictures one day, but for the party, I hung them from a banner. I used these cute fox badges from Gem Bobs Crafts. I attached the above wooden badges to cloths pins for extra banner flair.

I also had the idea to have a photo backdrop at the party. I was looking around on Pinterest for DIY backdrops, but then I came across Drops And Props. This company is AWESOME! They have hundreds of different patterns, designs, and sceneries to choose from and you can also request a custom design. I loved this Woodland Creatures backdrop, and our guests had so much fun taking pictures in front of it at the party! The backdrop that we had is a 5×7 vertical print on wrinkle-free material. You can choose from three different materials (wrinkle-free fabric, poly paper, and matte vinyl) and you can choose from many sizes ranging from 2×3 up to 10×20 (different sizes offered for different back drop materials). The print was high quality and the heavy-duty material was perfect for our outdoor event. Join their mailing list to receive 10% your first order! I can’t wait to see how I can use their backdrops in the future. DropsProps all the way!

Since we were having a backdrop, we also needed props! PartyEars has the CUTEST animal ear headbands. I opted for the woodland animal headbands, which included a felt owl, deer, raccoon, squirrel, wolf, fox, rabbit, and bear. The headbands were comfortable for all-day wear. PartyEars makes a variety of different animal headbands along with custom orders. You can even send in a photo of your pet and she will replicate their ears! Too cute!

I was able to find printable woodland animal masks on Etsy as well. GoodBadgerPrints offers downloadable PDFs for a variety of mask types. It was so easy to print them off onto thick paper and then cut them out and attach them to a stick.

I searched high and low for the perfect party outfit for Theo. He had two outfits because I knew the smash cake sesh was going to be messy! Eleven 29 Designs makes personalized onesies in a variety of sizes. I was drawn to her shop initially because of a little onesie that had with a fox, raccoon, and squirrel on it. She created the custom printing on the front, which held up fantastically in the wash. This outfit was very fitting for our little boy! The shop owner was a delight to work with for our custom order – very communicative and so easy to work with!

His Wild One t-shirt was from Shop Southern Baby. This shop has so many options to choose from in many colors, designs, and sizes for both boys and girls. She also offers personalized options. Shipping was super fast and Theo’s t-shirt arrived very quickly after our order was made. I paired his tee with these adorable fern print leggingsfrom Lady And Little Bug. Lady And Little Bug specializes in organic handmade clothing and accessories and has a variety of prints to choose from. The quality of her designs is top notch!

Fetes And Fables had exactly what we needed when it came to a birthday crown. Working with Jess was a breeze. She helped to design the perfect wooden crown with a cursive felt ONE. The shop owner specializes in unique party goods such as crowns, utensils, vases, and cake toppers. Follow the Fetes And Fables on Instagram for 10% your first order! Love how she says “adds a touch of whimsy to your day” – her products sure do!

In my search for woodland clothing and décor, I came across the fabulous Mary Ink. This wild mushroom tank was just what I needed. As any parent knows, a first birthday party is not just a celebration for the baby – it is a celebration for the parents who made it through a crazy first year! My husband decided to go t-shirt neutral, but for me, the wild mushrooms were a must! Mary Ink has many designs to choose from – including llamas, tigers, andpinecones to name a few. Loved the fit of this tank top!

I saved the trail mix favor prep for last (inspiration from 100 Layer Cakelet)– this portion all came together in the 11th hour. I had to visit three stores before being able to get my hands on small paper party bags. My sister came by the day before the party to pack off bags of trail mix, which was a blend of peanut butter filled pretzels, nuts, peanut M&Ms, honey nut Cheerios, and raisins. Thank goodness there were 2 lbs of leftovers after all the bags were filled! Yum!

Did I dedicate too much time in the planning of this birthday party? Of course I did! This is my first born we are talking about here! But I had a lot of fun during the planning process. I could not have done it without all of my friends and family who helped me along the way. It was so wonderful being able to celebrate this huge milestone with friends and family.

http://firstthymemom.com/planning-a-woodland-animals-themed-party

Knit Heart Dress Tutorial

Knit Heart Dress Tutorial

 

Materials:

  • Ready to wear dress or shirt with sleeves
  • Knit fabric
  • Scrap woven fabric
  • Scrap fabric for heart
  • Heart template
  • Stretch needle
  • Coordinating thread

Step 1:

IMG_0006

  • Take your ready to wear dress and pin the sleeves inside the dress so you can easily see the curve of the arm hole. This will make it easier to cut the same shape with your fabric for your new dress.
  • Fold your fabric making sure the stretch goes from left to right. Cut around the ready to wear dress leaving a 3/8″ seam allowance. Do this for the front of the dress as well as the back of the dress. Make sure your head opening is big enough to fit over your child’s head.

IMG_0007

  • Repeat for the sleeves

IMG_0024

  • Take your scrap fabric for your heart (making sure it is large enough to fit your heart template and an approximately 3/8″ seam allowance) and cut along the same angle as the dress
  • You should now have a dress front and back, two sleeves and heart fabric

Step 2:

IMG_0033

  • Make sure you install your stretch needle and turn your machine to your “lightning bolt” stitch or stretch stitch. On my machine it is stitch #3

IMG_0027

  • With RST pin the shoulders and sew using a 3/8″ seam allowance
  • Finish your seams with your serger (optional since the edges of knit fabric does not need finishing)

IMG_0038

  • Lay the dress front and back with right side up. Fold one of the sleeves in half and find the middle. Pin the middle of the sleeve to the shoulder seam with RST. Finish pinning the sleeve to the dress and sew. It is okay to slightly stretch the fabric in order for it to fit.
  • Repeat with the other sleeve

Step 3:

IMG_0044

  • With RST pin the sleeve and dress front and back and sew
  • Repeat on the other sideIMG_0046
  • With RST pin and sew the fabric for the heart

IMG_0051

  • Place your heart template on your fabric making sure you place it where you would like it to be sewn onto your dress. I wanted my heart just barely extending to the back of my dress so I have my side seam to the right side of my heart.
  • Cut out your heart leaving approximately 3/8″ seam allowance

Step 4:

IMG_0067

  • Place your scrap woven fabric on top of the right side of your dress. Pin the heart template to the top layer of your dress only. Make sure you place your heart exactly where your cut out fabric heart will go. I folded the side of my heart template where the seam is on the fabric heart to make sure I lined up the seam of the heart with the seam of the dress perfectly.
  • With a fabric pen trace around the heart template and sew on the line using a straight stitch. You could also leave your heart template pinned to your dress and sew just to the right of the template making sure not to sew the template to the dress. Make sure you are only sewing through one layer of the dress.

IMG_0069

  • Cut out the center of your heart making sure you don’t cut the back of your dress. Clip the corners and curves.

IMG_0073

  • pull the scrap fabric through the center of the heart and pin to the wrong side of the dress. Try your best to not stretch the fabric while pinning to keep the original shape of the heart. Sew the scrap fabric down using about a 1/4″ seam allowance.

IMG_0078

  • Cut the excess fabric off as close to the stitches as possible without cutting through the dress.

IMG_0083

  • Finish the edges on your heart with your serger or using a zig zap stitch. Place the heart over the heart opening and pin to the dress making sure to pin through only one layer of the dress. Turn the dress right side out and top stitch around the heart making sure not to stretch the heart as you go so it keeps its shape.

Step 5:

IMG_0086

  • Measure your neckline

IMG_0092

  • Cut a strip of your fabric the same length as your neckline and 1.5″ to make a neck binding. Make sure the stretch of the fabric goes from left to right.
  • Fold in half RST so the short ends are together and sew.

IMG_0096

  • Find the middle of the back neckline and pin the seam from your neck binding you just cut out. Finish pinning all the way across the neckline. Sew using your “lightning bolt” stitch.

IMG_0100

  • Fold the neck binding under halfway and then fold under again and pin and sew.

IMG_0107

  • Your neckline should now look like this.

Step 6:

IMG_0108

  • Fold your hem up 1/2″ and then again another 1/2″ and sew.
  • Repeat this process for both sleeves

Knit Heart Dress Sewing Tutorial - perfect for Valentine's Day!

  • You are FINISHED!! Enjoy your adorable new dress! Wear it just as it is in the warmer months or pair it with some leggings in the cooler months. It also makes the PERFECT Valentine’s Day dress without being too over the top.

 

 

Tutorial from the amazing website www.mesewcrazy.com

How to turn up a dress quickly

Image

This is my little sister dress her mum bought for her the other day but it is very long, and long dresses are not good for small children! Lots of tripping over involved. So i turned it up for her. So here is a simple demonstration on how to do it. 🙂

Step 1: Decide on what length you would like the dress to be and cut the remainder of the fabric off. I use crimping scissors to make sure the fabric doesn’t fray.

(Keep the leftover fabric, i used this to make a little headband to match the dress using elastic)

Image

Step 2:Turn the rim up and press. Make sure it has the same thickness all the way along.

Image

Step 3: Repeat the same process as before,

Image

Pin the fabric in place once pressed so it doesn’t move whilst sewing!!

Image

Step 4: Sew all the way along making sure its straight. Easy peasy!! Your probably didn’t need a tutorial but hey.. i thought i’d do one anyway!!

🙂 Happy Sewing!!

Image

 

image (14)

 

image (15)

Make your own tent!! :)

DIY A-Frame Tent-A Beautiful Mess We love a-frame tents, so we invited Rubyellen to share her method for making your own. Are you excited? Here’s how the magic happens-A-Frame Tent SuppliesA-Frame Tent Supplies1. From the top of each moulding, measure and mark 6″ down with your pencil. 2. With your drill and 3/4″ spade bit, drill a hole at your mark. Try to center the hole on your moulding. These holes will be for the top of your A-frame tent. 3. From the opposite end of your moulding, measure and mark 1.5″ down with your pencil. 4. With your drill and 3/4″ spade bit, drill a hole at your mark. Try to center the hole on your moulding. These holes will be for the bottom of your A-frame tent. 

A-FRAME TENT DIMENSIONS

Making the cover: Since the cover is made using a vintage crocheted cloth, what you have readily available to use may be a different measurement. The key size to get your tent cover is about 44″ – 51″ in length and about 80″ – 84″ in width, so depending on the size of your crocheted cloth, your crocheted cloth to panel fabric proportion may vary from the one used. In fact, on our tent, the crocheted cover is slightly larger than the fabric panel by an inch or so on each side. If you have a crocheted cover large enough and don’t need a fabric panel, an option would be to fold the bottom of your crocheted cover to create a panel in which to feed your dowel through. Be creative, there are a lot of fun possibilities to use for a tent cover!
(Hint: A twin sized sheet fits this tent frame almost perfectly!)Tent Cover SuppliesTent Cover Supplies1. Cut the fabric to the size needed. In our case, it was 14″ x 53″. For the 14″ side, fold over 1/2″ and press, and fold over 1/2″ again and press. Pin in place. Repeat with the opposite side. Do this for both panels. Then, use a sewing machine to stitch the hem. With the 53″ side, place the right sides together and stitch using a 1/2″ seam. Repeat for second panel. Turn inside out and press. 2. Place the long side of crocheted cloth and fabric together with right sides together, pin in place, and stitch together using a 1/2″ seam. Repeat with second panel for the opposite side. 3. Group dowels into pairs and line up the top holes. Push dowel through the holes of the top moulding (6″ down from top). The hole should have a pretty tight grip and keep the dowel in place. Repeat with the dowels for the opposite end. Drape your tent cover on top. 4. Grab another dowel and push through the holes on the bottom of one side and feed through the bottom panel and connect the dowel to the opposite end. Repeat for second dowel on the opposite side. Open up the tent cover to desired width and height of opening. Grab a pillow, blanket, go underneath and enjoy!
TIPS: For a little extra detail and to keep the tent cover taut, I fed twine through some holes of the cover and tied it to the legs of the frame. This helps prevent the tent cover from sagging. Also, if you are using this on wood floors the legs may have a hard time staying up. I find that if you put your tent on top of a blanket it will help it from just falling flat.
Again, how you make this tent cover will vary depending on the size of the crocheted cover you find and decide to use. I just happen to come across a cover that was almost the exact size I needed, so I didn’t have to really piece together too much. Nevertheless, it will look beautiful with lots of little crocheted pieces put together or even with just one large piece as a cover. Just remember, have fun making it and after you will have a special little hideaway to enjoy! 
DIY A-Frame Tent (A Beautiful Mess) DIY A-Frame Tent (A Beautiful Mess)

 

DIY KITCHENETTE

DIY KITCHENETTE

omgggggg this is sooo cute!! had to share! i really want to make one for my little sister Millie. 

 

DIY KitchenetteHandmade gifts are a really important part of our holiday tradition. I like to give things from the heart, and I feel really good about gifting something I’ve labored over. Don’t get me wrong. We do lots of store-bought presents as well, but the gifts I pour time and energy into always make me feel the proudest! 

When the idea for a handmade kitchenette came about, I was immediately intrigued. I had several questions: Can we make a kitchenette that is functional so a child can actually play with it? Can we make it sturdy enough that I don’t have to worry about it falling on my kids?  Even if I think it is cute, will it appeal to little ones?  After Emma and I did some sketching and planning, this is where she came in and used her superpowers.DIY Kitchenette BeforeBuilding a play kitchenetteThe hard part was done for us since we had found this little rolling cabinet. It was the perfect size and we felt that with a few minor additions, it could become the kitchenette we were planning for. First we cut a peg board down, so that it was just tall enough to fit two play pans. Emma secured the peg board by creating a frame in the back of the unit with wood planks. She then added a shelf to the top of the pegboard and the side of the unit. This was done by screwing in a small plank of wood we cut to fit the unit. The wooden triangle pieces were then secured with liquid nails. She also removed the handle from the top drawer and added four wooden knobs with more liquid nails to be the oven controls. After we painted she also added two hooks on the other side of the unit for hanging play towels or aprons.DIY Kitchenette via A Beautiful MessAfter Emma got the structure all put together, it was my job to paint and make it look like a play kitchen. I started with orange and white paints as my base and put a few coats on the whole thing.  Once it was all painted and dry, I masked off a portion on the door to be the “oven window”.  I painted that with chalkboard paint, and then used some of my extra chalkboard paint on the oven knobs as well.Play kitchen 5Cutest kid's play kitchenThe last step was creating the “burners”. I picked up some 6″ round wooden plaques. I first used my grey paint to cover the bottom side of each plaque. After the paint was dry, I used a compass to draw circles onto contact paper. I affixed the contact paper to the plaque and painted white between the contact circles. Once the white paint dried, I pulled the contact circles off and touched up the lines with a paint brush. I used gorilla glue to glue the “burners” down and put 3 coats of clear varnish over the entire “stove top”.Darling kitchenetteChalkboard door on adorable kid's kitchenetteOne of my very favorite parts of this kitchenette is that the door and the drawer from the original cart are still functional. The “oven door” opens up so they can “bake” their food, and the drawer is great storage. One of my biggest concerns was that the kitchen would be sturdy enough for real kiddo wear-and-tear. I’m happy to report that I have NO fears of this unit being top heavy or coming apart. It is extremely sturdy. (hooray!)Darling kid's play kitchenWe are technically saving it for Christmas, but when I brought the kitchenette home to photograph, my kids went crazy for it. They played with it non-stop until bedtime, and then it magically disappeared into our basement until Christmas rolls around. I’m excited to pull it back out on Christmas morning and watch my 2 year old enjoy playing with that old rolling cart-turned-colorful kitchenette.

Bedtime Canopy

http://youtu.be/wEljOuBPV1k

Just came across this whilst looking for fabrics on the IKEA website. AKA IDEA. Thought it was a brilliant way to involve kids in crafting and its so simple to do 🙂 Just use an old bedsheet or anything really and you can decorate with the children till they get bored and want to hang it up! 🙂 Happy Canoping.

Just came across this whilst looking for fabrics on the IKEA website. AKA IDEA. Thought it was a brilliant way to involve kids in crafting and its so simple to do 🙂 Just use an old bedsheet or anything really and you can decorate with the children till they get bored and want to hang it up! 🙂 Happy Canoping.