May 31, 2011

As I prepared for my little one's Jake and the Never Land Pirates Party, I found inspiration all over Honestly, I even made a board on Pinterest for Pirate Parties, and collected my inspiration there. That made it so much easier to keep track of my ideas.

For the food I kept in mind that the kids were 4 years old. It's hard for them to focus on eating when they are so excited to play together. So we had a simple table set with fruit and made Pirate Pizza.

The table cover was just two yards of striped fabric from IKEA. It set the mood perfectly, but without overwhelming the kids. I paid the extra amount to have quality fabric so I could use it again. It will look great on our patio table for summer BBQ's.

Simple Pirate Table Setting

I found a few different versions of the pirate pizza, but I kept it simple. I think it still turned out cute.

Pirate Pizza

One thing about parties lately is that they have gorgeous buffets with cute labels for everything. It's so cute and coordinated, and as an adult I would appreciate it, but I knew my 4 year old wouldn't really appreciate all that work the same way. So I just didn't do it. Instead, we had different fun details

Tropical Island Straws. 
Fun, but really simple.
Tropical Island Straw

Pirate Ship and Treasure Chest Chocolate Pops in a Pirate Ship.
(I made these over a week early because I could. I got the mold at Joanns.)
Pirate Ship Chocolate Pop

Pirate Ship Ice Bucket

That's it for the food. I kept it fairly simple. It was good, the kids ate a little bit, but honestly they were way more excited to play pirates and have fun then eat. There is a lot more to show you from the party though, so check back soon!

May 23, 2011

Recently my oldest son turned 4! Honestly, I'm still in shock that I have a 4 year old, but we won't get into all that. Instead, I'm going to tell you all about his awesome Birthday Party. He asked me for a Train birthday and for a Pirate Birthday. You see, his longest lasting love is with Trains, but his latest favorite is pretending to be a pirate, thanks to Disney Junior's latest show Jake and the Never Land Pirates. So on his actual birthday we had train pancakes and he got a train. For his friends we had a Pirate Party! The party was exciting to prepare, and it was a whole lot of fun! Instead of one really long post I'm going to break up his birthday into a series of posts so that each part of the party get's a better description. You can also look forward to one or two tutorials. Today I'm going to share the invitation with you.

Pirate Party Invitation

I use Adobe Illustrator and Adobe InDesign for a lot of my designs like this. (Illustrator is best for drawing and converting images in, and InDesign is amazing for Print Products, combine the two and you have Endless Power! OK, I'm totally kidding about that, but some days, that is just how I feel.) This time I just used Illustrator because there were a lot of images to deal with and the text was really simple. It might sound like a ton of work to some, but it really didn't take me that long. I absolutely love how it turned out!


I can't wait to share more of the fun details of this Pirate Party with you! I've also got some more fun and exciting things to share too, but this week you'll just be overwhelmed with Pirate Party goodness!

May 20, 2011

Stephanie contacted me yesterday with a question about Silhouette Rhinestones. She wants to make an image she has into a rhinestone file, so instead of just emailing a reply, I thought it would be helpful to many Silhouette users to post a tutorial on how to make your own rhinestone image!

HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN RHINESTONE IMAGE

Let's begin with the simple details. Silhouette has 3 sizes of Rhinestones: 10ss, 16ss, and 20ss. That means you can choose from 3 different sizes, or a combination of the 3 to go in your very own image. I opened one of the Rhinestone images I have and found all 3 sizes in it. Instead of making you do the same - here is a Free Downloadable file with all 3 circle sizes. This will be your starting point!


1. Open the Rhinestone Sizes file in Silhouette Studio.


Rhinestone Sizes File


2. In a new window, open the image you want to turn into Rhinestones.  This does not have to be a Silhouette Studio file, you could use a jpg file as your inspiration or anything else you can open in Silhouette. For this tutorial I'm going to use the Treble Clef from the "Musical Flourishes" file I bought.

New File

3. Resize the image to the size you want your Rhinestone image. Remember the circles have to be a specific size for the rhinestones so you can't resize the image after you make it, you have to do it BEFORE!

4. Copy the circles from the Rhinestone Sizes file and Paste them to your newly opened image. (Drag over the circles to select them all, then hit Ctrl+C keys to copy, on the New image hit Ctrl+V to paste the circles.)

Copy & Paste Circles

5. SAVE the new file now. Remember to save often as you work on images so you don't lose too much work!

6. Now comes the work, you get to choose what size rhinestone you would like and where. I try to follow the original image design. Here I'm filling in the image the best I can, so I'm using all 3 sizes of Rhinestones.

Fill in your image with Rhinestone Circles. Try to evenly space your rhinestones (if you are following a straight line this can be made a lot easier by following this Silhouette Tutorial for Replicating an Image and choosing the space you want between the rhinestones). I leave the original circles in the corner until I'm all done. I just select the circle size I want and copy and paste it, then move it to the spot I want it.

Fill in the Image

Tip: Once you have copied a circle size you can re-paste it until you copy something else. (Don't keep going back to copy unless you need a different size.)

When you have two lines of rhinestones meeting up with each other don't forget to align the circle with both lines. In this case, I have several places where paths cross. I paste the circles and then fiddle around with them until it feels right. In the very center I decided not to try to align the paths, but focus on getting bigger circles in there to follow the image better.

If you're not sure about something just leave it and come back to that spot when you're finished the rest.

7. Once you have the image completely filled, deselect everything and look at the completed image. Move things around until you are completely satisfied.

Completely Filled

8. Move the original image to the side. Compare the two images and make any changes you see necessary. I moved a few of the circles and decided to change the size of one of the circles to reserve the large ones for the end points only.

Size Change

Can you see the difference in these two? It's small changes, but the After looks so much better to me.

Before & After

9. Delete the original image and the Rhinestone Size circles.


Complete


10. Select all the circles. (Drag the mouse over all of them, or Ctrl+A.)

Select All

11. Group the circles. (Ctrl+G or Object->Group.)

Group

Your image is complete! Don't forget to Save it again! Remember DO NOT RESIZE IT now or the rhinestone holes will be the wrong size.

Tip: If you have a larger image than what I showed you here you may want to do more than the outline - and actually fill the inside with rhinestones. I suggest looking online at the Silhouette images to get ideas for how to fill it. You can use straight lines, diagonal lines, chevron style, scattered rhinestones, or many other styles you can think of. It's your design so play around until you love it!

You can easily do this with fonts and add on simple words to your image! Notice how the "i" and the "n" are really similar? I copied the "i" and pasted it to start the "n"! When you're working with fonts, try to notice things that are the same. It will save you a lot of work!

Sing Rhinestone Image

May 16, 2011

Remember the giveaway I had recently for a baby quilt? I have neglected to show you the finished quilt. The name the winner wanted changed, but this little quilt is hopefully now being enjoyed by Quinn! She is a triplet! Her two brothers won't be too jealous of the quilt though, it's very girly!

I used fabric from Joanns and had so much fun designing this!

Appliquéd Quilt

I used the little bird in the fabric as a pattern for the appliqué. I cut the letters and bird on the Silhouette using the Sewable Fabric Interfacing! It was much easier to use this time, but PLEASE ALL - use the thin media cutting mat. I tried the thick and the interfacing is still stuck to it, it was a mess! I tried to peel it off, but it didn't work, washing it off didn't help either. Luckily I have another mat.

To make your own appliqué using shapes in your fabric you can either scan or take a picture of the fabric and open the image in Silhouette Studio. Then either trace or draw around the parts of the image you want to make. *Some drawing may be required.

Bird Appliqué Inspiration

I love how the bird is a combination of things: Fabric, Fuzzy Heat Transfer Vinyl and Embroidery! I even chose the appliqué stitch that I did because I thought it would add even more texture to the bird!

Appliquéd Bird

I have to confess though, as much as I love the fabrics, colors and design of the front of the quilt, I absolutely love the soft minkee back! It makes it all that much more fun to snuggle a baby when their blanket is super soft.

Quinn's Quilt

May 5, 2011

A long time ago a friend and I made seven layer dip together. She changed the way I eat it forever. Her recipe was so delicious I craved it. In honor of Cinco de Mayo, let me share her secrets with you!


Seven Layer Dip


1 Can Refried Beans, or Chili Beans (Pinto with Chiles and Sauce)
2 Tbps Taco Seasoning (1/2 Packet) - if you're using unflavored refried beans

1/3 cup Sour Cream
1/3 cup softened Cream Cheese

1 Avocado or 1 cup Guacamole
Lime Juice (Optional)
1 Tomato (Optional)
1/2 cup Salsa
Shredded Cheddar Cheese (You can also do a Mexican Cheese blend or add Jack Cheese)
1 2.25 oz can Black Olives
Green Onions

1. Mix the refried beans with the taco seasoning and 2 tsps water (if you use unflavored refried beans). If you're using Chili beans mash or blend them with a little extra liquid.
2. Here's Secret #1: REFRY Those Beans! Put the bean mixture in a saucepan and cook at a med-high heat until heated through, cook - stirring constantly another 1-2 minutes. If it gets too dry, add a little bit of water to the mix. The secret is that this brings back so much flavor to the beans and they taste way more fresh!
3. Spread the bean mixture across the bottom of an 8x8 pan - or use your favorite 7 layer dip dish! Refrigerate for 10 minutes to allow to cool.
5. Here's Secret#2: Mix the Cream Cheese and Sour Cream until smooth. You're going to love this! Spread evenly over the bean dip.
5. Cut the Avocado into small pieces, or mash it until softened and spread across the sour cream mixture. Sprinkle with a small amount of Lime Juice. If using Guacamole instead spread the Guacamole over the sour cream mixture and skip the Lime Juice.
6. Dice the Tomato into small pieces and sprinkle over the Avocado. Spread the Salsa over the Tomatoes.
7. Coat the Tomato and Salsa layer with the Shredded Cheese. (I prefer to use finely shredded cheese, because it's easier to get with the chips.)
8. Drain the Black Olives. Finely chop the Green Onions and sprinkle the Cheese with Black Olives and Green Onions.
9. Cover and Refrigerate for AT LEAST one hour before serving. The layers need time to set and the flavors to mix.

Enjoy with Tortilla chips, or any other preferred method to get it to your mouth!

*I understand that some of you may already know these secrets, but for those of you who haven't tried these variations - I urge you to do so. You will be amazed by the difference it makes!

May 2, 2011

Mother's day is Sunday folks! I am so excited because this sunday, my little guy will be the adorable Sunbeam in the first row singing to me. I still can't believe he's graduated from Nursery to Primary at church. But that was months ago already!

Anyhow, there are lots of great ideas out there for Mothers, but I thought I'd remind you of these blocks I posted about last year. (I did not make these particular blocks, but I prepared the vinyl file for cutting.) You can go back to that link to get the file.

Families are Forever Vinyl Blocks

Unfortunately, I promised when I posted I'd tell you the size of blocks you would need, and I never did post it. I forgot. So, I have figured out the sizes of wood you need, and the lengths you need to cut. Now you can actually go ahead and make these!

When you buy the boards - they will be marked as 1"x3" but due to the fact that the wood is wet when cut, it actually is slightly smaller than that. Don't worry, I took this into account in the measurements.

The center pieces are cut on 1"x3" boards. You need 22" of that size.
The "F" and Heart are cut on 1"x4" boards. You need 9" of that size.

Cutting Instructions:
1"x3" - 11", 2.25", 2" (x2), 1.75", 1.5" (x2)
1"x4" - 4.5" (x2)

This image shows what size blocks go where, and how it is all put together. (Note that the "F" and the Heart blocks are on end. Cut edges up and down not side-to-side like the other blocks.)

Families are Forever Blocks

You can go to the original post to download the Free Silhouette File!
I made this for the "Sweet Little Angel" Baby Shower last year. This is such a delicious trifle. I'll show you a fun spring variation of it sometime. But for now, I'll share the recipe.

Delicious Raspberry Lemon Trifle

Raspberry Lemon Trifle

1 Angel Food Cake (Store Bought, or Cooked and Prepared)
1 Tub Thawed Cool Whip (Lite or Free)
1 Package Dr. Oetker Shirriff Lemon Pie Filling & Desert Mix (Plus two Egg Yolks for Preparation)
Raspberries (Fresh or Thawed)
Cocoa Powder

1. Gather all the ingredients near your trifle bowl. Once you have the pie filling prepared you want to put this together quickly, before it sets.
2. Cut or rip the Angel Food cake into small cubes. Start the first layer in your trifle bowl with half of the cake. Tightly pack the cake pieces.
3. Prepare Lemon Pie Filling as directed on the package with the Egg Yolks and water. I cook it in the microwave.
4. Allow the Pie Filling to cool just slightly (1 minute). Pour half of it over the Angel Food Cake layer. Top with a layer of Raspberries, then completely cover the layers with Cool Whip. Lightly sprinkle with Cocoa Powder.
5. Repeat the layers again with the rest of  Angel Food Cake tightly packed, the last of the Lemon Pie Filling over that, more Raspberries, and another thick layer of Cool Whip. Lightly sprinkle with Cocoa Powder and decorate with fresh Raspberries, or Lemon Zest.

On this trifle I used Raspberries to make Angel wings to go along with the theme. This is really a simple desert to make but it is extremely delicious!

Note: I didn't have a trifle bowl, but I found this one at Target for $10.39! It's beautiful and absolutely perfect. The trick is for the bowl to be deeper, not a larger circumference, otherwise too much of one item is required for each layer.

May 1, 2011

Wow! I think this is the longest I've gone between posts in months. I just had way too much to do. But now I'm back and I have more to share! First off, let me share a few simple things with you.

Last year one of our friends was about to have her second daughter. Her life was in turmoil as she was stressed, her husband was being undergoing cancer treatment and recovering from bone marrow transplant. I can't imagine how exhausted she was. They both felt so blessed to have a sweet little angel coming down to bring them some joy in their moment of trial. They named her Angela.

We threw a small "sprinkling" for her. It was simple, but it was still fun.

The invitation:

Sweet Little Angel Shower Invitation

I added simple, soft wings to a pink background. Really easy to do.

The food and decorations: 

Angel Shower Food

Lunch: Oriental Chicken Salad with Rolls and punch (Such an easy salad, but delicious!)
Desert: Raspberry Lemon Trifle (Recipe to come)
Decorations: Martha Stewart's Tissue Paper Pom Pom's

The gift:

Luckily I had the time to make her a Maggie Bag. The funny part is there were two other girls there with theirs! My husband has a hard time when we're all together because the bags all blur in his mind (he recognizes all the fabrics) and he forgets which one is actually mine! This one is made from Sandi Henderson's gorgeous fabric!

The Maggie Bag