Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Mousescrapper's Speed Marathon

Boy are my fingers tired!

I just participated in my very first speed scrap marathon.  "What is it", you say?  Well, a speed scrap is where you are given instructions every 10 minutes to complete a scrapbook page.  Imagine then a marathon, where you have a new scrap every couple of hours.
For the website Mousescrappers 3rd birthday, they hosted just such an event.  There were 16 chats with speed scraps.  Every page had to be done within the allotted time limit (some as quick as 4 hours), be Disney related and follow whatever rules each host gave out.  It really challenged me to work quickly and to try out new techniques or styles that I would never have tried before.

For every Speed Scrap that you completed on time, you received a participation prize and you would get a "goodie bag" for doing the half-marathon (8 LOs) and another "goodie bag" for doing all 16 by Monday morning.  All-in-all, a lot of fun and a great way to add to your collection of digital kits.

So, without further ado, here are my pages:

So, next time, you have the chance - join a speed scrap.  It's lots of fun and a great way to learn something new

Monday, January 23, 2012

Promise Yourself (to be healthier)

I am not much for New Year's Resolutions (which usually fall to the wayside by March) and I am not one to diet (I just can't seem to do it), but I would like to be a little healthier.  After all the holidays with tons of sweets that I made - and ate, I certainly could use some help in that department.

In the summer, I was really busy - hiking, walking, go places, etc.  Then came the fall, and I rode bikes a ton with my kids.  Then it got colder, I stopped doing anything active at all.  Pile on a bunch of holiday goodies from  Halloween, all the way to my daughter's birthday and you are bound to weigh more!

So, I decided to make myself a promise. . . to be healthier.

I know myself that if I tried some extreme all or nothing scenerio, I would fail.  I am not going to forsake chocolate (bite your tongue for even asking), I am not going to start going to the gym after almost 38 years of not going, and I am not going to set myself up to fail.  So, I decided to give myself some realistic promises.

Promise 1 - Drink more water.  - I am horrible about getting my recommended daily allotment of water.  So, to start with baby steps, I am going to carry around a bottle of water.  Yes, only 1.  Once I can master 1 bottle of water, I will move up to more.

Promise 2 - Light Exercise 4 days a week - I plan to do either 30 minutes of walking or other light exercise at least 4 days of the week.

So far
I started this on Monday last week.  One week ago exactly.
Water - Not so great.  I think I averaged maybe half a bottle and some days, I only had a few swallows.  I definitely need to work on this one.
Exercise - Good.  I did my Wii Fit for 12 minutes on day 1, day 2; nothing, day 3; walked the creek (pushing a stroller) for 1 hour, day 4; walked to the high school (pushing stroller) for 2, 15 minute segments, day 5; walked the train museum for 2 hours (pushing stroller, stopping and started)

I wanted to put my promise here, so that I am more likely to stay up with it.  They say that it helps you to make your promise out loud or to someone else, so . . . do you want to join me to be more healthy?

Drop me a line

Here's to a healthier us soon!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

How to Host an Ice Cream Party

I love to throw parties!  :)  It is always so much fun planning all the details.  One of the first things is to pick a fun theme.  Without a good theme, a party is like a boat without a rudder - it still floats, but it won't get to where you want it to as easily or as well.  
After you have a theme, start looking for your inspiration.  For this party, my inspiration was from Pinterest.  Have you become a Pin-addict like me yet??  If not, boy are you in for a surprise.  It is a great website to "pin" pictures from the web that you like onto "boards" that you create.  *Imagine a real cork-board where you place pictures, quotes and stuff that you want to keep to inspire yourself with.  At first, I thought it was a just a time-wasting thing, but I have used SOOOO many ideas from there already.  Everything from recipes, craft projects, and even sewing projects.  
Anyway, one was the Ice Cream Party:  Here is my inspiration picture:  http://pinterest.com/pin/24910604158580214/
The Invite:
Next, you will need to create your invitation.  
As I learned from my mentor, Sy, the invitation is the way that you create excitement about your event.  It also gives the attendee an idea of what kind of party/event they will be attend - is it dressy, fun, formal, informal, creative, etc.
I rarely use a pre-packaged/pre-made card.  Sometimes, I make an invite on my computer and print them, sometimes, I make them with stamps and punches, and sometimes, like this one, I use both mediums.  I wouldn't want you to think that I come up with this stuff off the top of my head, I look for my ideas all over.  This idea, I found on the website:  Split Coast Stampers.

 Really Cute - Right??  You can find a You Tube Video here on how to create an awning card.  My main differences were that I used my digital scrapbooking elements from the Jen Allyson's Design 365 August Kit for my ice cream cones.  I did manipulate them a little.  She has the outer cones, the 2nd green cone snd the triple scoop near the center.  I cut out a scoop and cherry digitally and make the extra scoops in different patterned paper to make my 9 cones for my daughter's 9th birthday.
Everyone loved the invites and the excitement for the party was huge.
The Favors:
Apron inspiration:  Pizzazerie
 For my favors, I usually (not always) prefer to do something special.  Not some little bag full of candy and garbage toys (I am not that snobby of my kids getting them, but sometimes, it feels like they are just there to have something to give and the stuff is broken or forgotten in seconds).  This time, I saw this idea via Pinterest where someone had little aprons for all the girls and fell in love with them.  Normally, I get my mother to help me with sewing projects.  She is a seamstress and could probably have knocked them out in no time flat.  This time, I was on my own and I am NOT a seamstress.  Let's just say that I am just as likely to sew something inside out or upside down as to do it right the first time. I had my daughter help pick out the fabric that would be perfect.  We had hoped to find a fabric with ice creams on it, but since it was January, there was only cupcakes.  So, we settled on a bright pink with white dots, light pink and white stripe and then a chocolate with sprinkle (plus a solid bright pink).
I am so proud of myself.  Without a pattern and only using another completed apron that I owned, I was able to create these cute favors for each of the girls!  I can explain more later.
For my daughter, I made her a coordinating tee to match.  I took brown cord (for the cone), and then "scoops" of pink dot and pink stripe and then used the chocolate with sprinkles for the chocolatey sprinkles and zigag stitched them onto a blank pink tee.  After that, I added colored beads to the sprinkles to add dimension and a red button for a cherry.  

For the boys (there were a few invited), I figured they wouldn't want a ruffled apron, so I thought a Soda Jerk set would be cool - red bow tie and red & white striped apron.  For the bow tie, I wanted it something simple, so I found this pattern to make it with velcro and basic rectangles.  Perfect!
I wanted to create a cute pink and white ice cream parlor look to my house.  Once I started, I didn't want to stop.  There were soooo many cute ideas out there.  Here are a few that I went with:
One idea that I found was very easy.  To create a look of an awning on a doorway, cut regular 8 1/2 x 11" paper with a rounded bottom and place on wall.  I happened to have a Creative Memories Custom Cutting System with 8.5 x 11 oval cutter and used that to make quick work of my curves.  The pink paper, I found at Big Lots for about a dollar and the white is just basic cheap printer paper.  To do both sides, I needed about 15 of each color.
Another idea is to make your own garland.  I used pink and white felt and cut out a bazillion circles in 2 sizes.  Okay, it wasn't a bazillion, but it was A LOT!  I had about 60' of garland!  Then just randomly sew them side by side with invisible thread on a sewing machine.  It was perfect since it looked like scoops of ice cream, but tedious to cut out that many.
In addition the the felted circle garland and parlor "awning", I made tissue paper pom poms.  You can buy them pre-made or pre-cut, but they are really just 8-10 sheets of tissue paper, folded accordion, creased in half with thin wire and then carefully pulled open.   I ran out of time, or I would have made even more.  One thing that I found is that 8 sheets made a half pom-pom if folded the long way (to get a larger flower).  I found a paper lantern company and bought a bunch in pink and white.  They arrived really quickly and are the big rage right now.

 Also, as you can see, we created ice cream cones and sundaes for display.  I made these smaller "cones" using brown felt for cones, and fabric or tulle for ice cream.  It was just stuff that I had already.  In fact, for the one above right, the "cherry" is an old shoe decoration.  For the Sundae, I found this vase at the Goodwill for $2 and had my mom make the scoops with leftover fabric from the aprons.
The Ice Cream Parlor Awning
One of my favorite elements was our ice cream parlor awning.  My dear husband built this using mostly 2x2s with 2x4s for the base.  My mother serged the pink and white stripes with the same curve as the paper and we stapled the fabric to frame.  SOOOO Pretty!  We put it on our 4 foot table with fabric scraps leftover from the aprons.  This became a great focal point for our party and was a Build Your Own Sundae Bar!

 The Food!
 Speaking of our Build Your Own Sundae Bar, it was the main focus of food.  Sure, we made hot dogs (that the kids didn't really eat), and we had other food, but it was ALL about the toppings.  I even had other kinds of ice cream that they could have - cones, shake-maker, and stuff for root beer floats, but they were just perfectly happy with the sundaes.  So, to start, I should say that I found great ice cream sundae glasses at the Goodwill for $1 each.  They 8 matching ones and a few other mismatched. I bought all they had.  I created a label for each child and tied it around the base.
For the toppings themselves, I borrowed these cute "waffle-cone" cups with matching spoons from my friend, Kara.  She bought them at Oriental Trading, if you are looking for some.  It was the perfect number of toppings:  M&Ms, crushed Oreos, Chopped Nuts, Marshmallows, Chocolate Sprinkles, Rainbow Sprinkles, Crushed Sugar Cones, Marachino Cherries (with Stems), Fresh Strawberries, and Cookie Dough Candy Bites.  There were also fresh brownies cut in the shape of an ice cream cone that my daughter made.  I created little labels for the toppings using one the cones from my digital kit and a pink striped digital paper as background and then cut them out with a label punch, affixing them to folded pink card stock.

 In lieu of cake, I made these cute cake pops.  Of course, cake pops are all the rage now and I recommend the Cake Pop book by Bakerella for the instructions for these.  They were actually pretty easy since unlike many cake pops, they are supposed to look "drippy". I made one batch with the "chocolate" syrup and "cherry" (aka Peanut M&M) and one batch below that looked like the ice cream cone fell on the ground.
I just love kids, since there was no cake to put candles in, they didn't hesitate, they sang "Happy Birthday" and then did cheers with their cake pops.
The popcorn was a big hit and a nice addition to eat with ice cream

 I also found this idea on Pinterest to make fruit horns with waffle cones.  They were so yummy and a welcome healthy addition to the ice cream.  I think some of these got picked over by the kids before I took my picture :)
 They each had a water with a special label we made.  I forgot to mention that I made up a logo for our "Creamery".  I put it on all sorts of things like these water bottles and the goody bags.  I had other drinks to offer, but the kids were all happy with the water.
All in all, a great party.  So easy and fun and the kids all had a great time.
The only downside - I am left with a mound of ice cream to eat!  :O