Bo had the great idea to play pin the crown on Sleeping Beauty, so that's what this is for. I had a spare piece of plywood in the garage and used the girls' poster paint. I'm not sure if she earns the name "beauty," but she was free.
First of all, the Facebook thing is a hoot. How fun to see all of you there! I really appreciate you "liking" penny carnival. If you're not into Facebook, no worries. You won't miss a beat just by following along here like normal. I appreciate and am humbled by that, too.
With Bo's fifth birthday party coming up in a few weeks, I figured I'd better send the invitations.
Just to refresh your memory (and mine, since the kid changed her mind so many times), the birthday theme is: Sleeping Beauty Goes Camping. I'm doing my best to marry the two ideas. A few weeks ago, I showed you the dress I sewed her for the party. And before that, I listed some ideas for the bash, although I think that was back when it was Barbie Goes Camping, not Sleeping Beauty.
The original plan for the invites was to set up a scene with Barbie holding a fishing pole and a can of beer soda near a miniature tent, take a picture and use that as the card. With the change to Sleeping Beauty, that would have required me buying Barbie Doll No. 2 (one with a Sleeping Beauty dress), and I'm just not ready for that yet.
The print isn't from Cath Kidston, though. I took a scrap of fabric from my stash--just a flannel from Jo-Ann's I used around Valentine's Day--scanned it into my computer and printed it out at Kinko's.
I did the same thing to make the envelopes, but using the kitschy camping fabric ("Happy Campers" by American Jane for Moda) I had from the party dress I sewed.
I'm planning on posting a template for making custom envelopes on my About.com kids' parties site soon, but in a nutshell--just dissect an envelope you already have, lay it flat and trace its shape on any paper you like (even old magazine or book pages) and then fold and glue it into place).
And here's Aurora herself, toasting a marshmallow (I took the liberty of adding that to a coloring book image):
Sorry for smudging out some of the details. I dislike creeps showing up at my house.
I created a place on the kids' parties site where readers can submit pictures of party invitations they've made, so head on over there, if you like, and show off your stuff.
And while I'm on the topic of paper projects, I never posted the Father's Day gift we gave J this year. He doesn't like to get anything fancy, so we made him a camping cookbook of outdoor recipes that we printed off the web and, ahem, illustrated:
(Yes, a cannoli. You mean you camp without cannoli? OK, we've never brought cannoli on a camping trip, but Bo insisted on including it in the book.)
(Not together, I hope.)
I would be happy to give my husband "real" gifts on his birthday and Father's Day, but the fact that he'd prefer things like this makes me love him even more.
My husband could eat grilled chicken breast and a can of French-cut green beans every night for the rest of his life. He holds high expectations for himself in many ways, but when it comes to almost everything else, the guy is really easy to please.
So it was no surprise that these very simple pillows knocked his socks off this morning.
His face lit up when he saw them. It was cute, but seriously, Hon. It's a square of fabric in the front and a square in the back with a flap. Not even a ruffly trim. Chill out.
These super easy pillows are about all I can handle right now. Life is going a mile a minute, like normal. It's all good, but hectic and there are some unknowns lingering in the not-so-distant future. I'm anxious for it all to be settled.
I can't even remember the name of the beautiful fabric (which I think is what really impressed J, but I'll let him believe it was my mad sewing skillz instead). Anyone? Anyone?
One other thing I'm starting to work on is Bo's fifth birthday party. If you've been reading Penny Carnival for a while, you might remember her princess party last year. If you've been reading Penny Carnival for a long while (thank you!), you might remember her rainbow party in 2008.
This year's theme: Barbie Goes Camping. And Eats Ice Cream.
The kid is as indecisive as her mother, so we're blending her three favorites.
Did I ever write about the thing J once said about Barbie? We were debating whether to buy the girls each a doll. Neither of us are fans, but he was particularly against it. He said, "We're not buying a Barbie. She has big boobs and a tiny waist." To which I replied, "Since when have you had a problem with big boobs and tiny waistlines?" Maybe you had to be there, but it was funny. So laugh.
Despite our feelings about the doll, we're both on board with the birthday theme. Here are some ideas so far:
-I'm going to bake one of those Barbie doll cakes where the skirt is the cake and Babs is poking out the top, but she's going to be holding a fishing pole and wearing a fishing vest and, if I can swing it, a plaid skirt.
-We're going to have Blow the Fish Down the River contests, similar to the rubber ducky race you can see Magpie competing in here.
-For the invitations, I'm going to take a picture of a Barbie doll in a miniature camping scene. Since the only Barbies we own were purchased at a junk sale for $1, don't be surprised if her hair is a little ratty and she's missing a limb. It will take all my self control to not place a tiny can of beer in her hand.
-We'll make s'mores over a fire pit in the backyard.
-The favors will be placed in hobo sacks made from pink bandanas tied to sticks the girls and I collected at the park after a particularly windy day. Inside the sacks will be magnifying glasses, compasses and candy lipstick tubes.
-We'll make fireflies out of glow sticks (for the body) and coffee filters (for the wings).
-If I have time, I'll sew some fabric teepees for the kids to play in in the backyard. Otherwise, we'll just set up our tent.
-I'll ask everyone to wear camping-style clothes, if they'd like.
-We have one of those balls that makes ice cream when you kick it around, so we'll have the kids do that.
-The pinata will be an ice cream cone, if I can find or make one.
The projects I love to make most are the ones that solve a problem around our house. Like the book slings. Choosing a book was taking too long at night because Bo couldn't recognize her books by their spines. Once I figured out a way to face them forward--without the use of my nonexistent carpentry skills--the bedtime story routine went more smoothly.
So, finally, we now have a chores chart. This thing has been a long time comin'. I couldn't for the life of me figure out a design that I thought would work for us. I didn't want a set list of chores running down one side because some days they need to wash the dishes and some days they don't. I needed more flexibility.
When I saw this chores chart from Jessica over at Balancing Everything, I knew I had my answer: fabric pockets that would hold cards with tasks I needed the girls to do.
This is what I created.
That's a "B" and an "M" on the left, by the way. The girls' first initials. I should have used a darker fabric for that. And, actually, both their names happen to have six letters so I could have appliqued their full names with one letter on each pocket, but I was trying to get this done during one episode of Yo Gabba Gabba.
I printed the cards on cardstock, and I'm in the process of drawing pictures on each one so the girls understand what I'm asking them to do.
As Bo and her birdie demonstrate here, once their task is done, they flip the card over to the back side, where there's a checkmark (drawn by me; colored by Bo).
I'm sure the thrill will wear off soon enough, but so far the girls have been racing to get their chores done so they can turn their cards over. Naturally, Bo (being almost 5) is more on board than Magpie (who's 2 1/2). In fact, last night big sister did a couple of little sister's chores just so she could flip more cards over.
Now I need a little card for myself that says "make a chores chart" so I can flip it over to the checkmark side.
I have to share this story about Bo from yesterday. I don't know if I've ever mentioned this, but she was born early and small. Perfectly healthy and not super early (3 weeks) and not super small (4 1/2 pounds), but still--I've always felt like she was catching up a bit.
That has made the decision to send her to kindergarten next year tough. She has a summer birthday, so she'll be young anyway. Academically, I think she'll do great, but there are just times when she has meltdowns we thought would sort of be gone by now, you know?
So yesterday our neighbor was visiting. Bo decided to show her how she knows how to skip now (it's really more of a gallop, but that's beside the point). A few beats into the skipping, Bo tripped, fell and skinned her knee. For the next 10 minutes, she was sobbing on my lap. I could tell, though, that she was more embarrassed than physically hurt.
Once she calmed down, she went to the garage, took out an old chalkboard and on her own drew two pictures on it--a happy person and a sad person:
I realize they both look happy there (and with giant bellybuttons), but that's how she explained it to me. She wanted to show how at first she was sad and now she is happy. I guess my point is that maybe kids are more emotionally advanced than we think. There are plenty of times when I should have drawn a picture of a sad or mad face instead of throwing wet rags across the kitchen. Kindergarten, here we come.
And one last thing today: A reader named Angela Chevalier sent me photos of the three book slings she made for her daughter's nursery:
Get out of town, huh? Total cuteness. I love the alphabet addition and am so impressed by how straight she got the letters. And check out the cute matching book bags on the floor. Thanks for sharing, Angela!
First of all, thank you thank you thank you to Ohdeedoh for featuring my little blog this week. I got all sweaty and panicky when I saw the interview go up, hoping like the dickens I didn't say anything stupid. So far no one has pointed out any major blunders--and if you see any, keep it to yourself, will ya? I love the way Alex from the Ohdeedoh team put the photos together. Makes me feel like this is a real blog or something.
Anyhow, welcome, welcome to those of you who are visiting Penny Carnival for the first time. Make yourselves at home.
Now for a new, old tutorial.
I'd made fabric-covered party hats for Bo's rainbow birthday two years ago and written up a quick tutorial then, but my directions were kind of lame and not illustrated with photos.
Those hats are for my dad's 70th birthday, which we'll be celebrating next weekend. The fabric (purchased at Jo-Ann's) reminded me of the neckties he used to wear to work in the '80s.
I keep forgetting to mention that last weekend, the girls and I attended the Funky Junk Antique Show, one of several wonderful vintage-goods sales in the Spokane area. You can see a few shots of the event here. It felt like the kickoff to our treasure-hunting season, and what better way to get the scavenging rolling than with this beauty:
Do you like how, out of habit, I'm treating it like a laptop there?
I am old enough to remember typing up homework on a typewriter. I'm pretty sure ours was electric, though. I remember having to use the eraser tape a lot, to correct all my goofs.
This baby is fully operational. And for this price, how could I have walked away?
This was the view out my living room window tonight as I tested out the typewriter:
Update: I swear that within the last few days someone either e-mailed me or left a comment looking for something from the blog's archives but now I can't find that message. I can't for the life of me remember who it was or what they were looking for. If that was you, please either leave a comment or send another e-mail. I'm happy to help.
I wrote an article recently for the About.com Kids' Parties site about how to execute a school-themed party, and then I came across some gorgeous photos of a baby shower a talented gal named Whitney Smith threw for her teacher friend in the same style.
Whitney, a photographer, was kind enough to share her photos with the world on About.com (and too shy to let me link everyone to her beautiful blog, which is only for family and friends).
One of my early posts on this blog was about how to make tissue paper flowers. That tutorial still gets a healthy share of hits, but I wanted to make the instructions more clear and illustrate it with better pictures so I've written a new tutorial over on my kids' parties site. I also converted it into garland instead of just stand-alone flowers.
budget, cheap, crepe paper flowers, diy, diy party decorations, diy weddings, do it yourself, easy, garland, how to make, inexpensive, kids birthdays, kids parties, paper flowers, paper pompoms, party decorations, pom poms, tissue paper balls, tissue paper flowers, tutorial
(Not actual housekeeping, although I did plenty of that today. I think Magpie is ready to stop napping. I thought I'd be mourning this day, but I can actually get a lot done when I'm not always trying to be so dang quiet.)
Housekeeping, as in, allow me to wrap up some bloggy loose ends.
If you haven't visited my book sling tutorial lately, please check it out. I've cleaned up some of the wording in the instructions and added photos I've found of book slings made by readers. Nothing warms my heart more than seeing someone follow one of my projects and proudly post it on their blog. The latest popped up just today on Ohdeedoh. Take a look at those beauties.
Second, did anyone else see this article about mommy blogs in the New York Times yesterday? It was great--in a really embarrassing, cringe-inducing way. The graphic that ran with it in the actual newspaper was hilarious and horrifying (drawings of moms pushing strollers, playing with their kids, etc., while obsessively checking their phones and computers for blog stats and new comments). The headline also nicely summarized the story: "Honey, Don't Bother Mommy. I'm Too Busy Building My Brand."
The hook for the article was a blog boot camp attended by a bunch of women back east (some traveled from as far as Canada and California) to learn how to improve their blogs, draw more comments, make money, etc.
And while most of the article made me feel a little embarrassed about investing as much time into my blog as I do (and, relatively speaking, I don't invest much. Sorry. I would love to and if I had more time, I would. But I don't), the last paragraph makes a good point in defense of bloggers:
"(Blogging is) a way for mothers to flex their dormant professional muscles, make some money and, says Amy Lupold Bair, who runs resourcefulmommy.com and was a speaker at the Boot Camp, still 'take their kids to the bus stop in the morning and be there when they get off in the afternoon.'"
First and foremost, I don't make money off Penny Carnival. Of course it would be nice if I did and of course I have googled the phrase "how many hits on blog before you can sell ads?" But for now, I don't and I don't have ants in my pants to start. I enjoy writing and crafting and writing about crafting, and that's how this blog got started almost two years ago.
So what does that mean for Penny Carnival? Am I being left in the dust by other blogs? (Um, yes.) Should I care? There are so many beautiful blogs out there, that sometimes I wonder why I continue. Mine is so simple compared to others, and I could spend the rest of my life following other people's projects instead of coming up with my own.
But I would miss it. I would miss those stocking feet dancing around the wooden cupcakes up there. I would miss my little record of our family's creative explorations, even if no one was reading.
If I could shiny up Penny Carnival in one way, it would be by somehow inspiring people to leave more comments. I adore comments. I am like the women in the New York Times graphic who get all giddy and distracted when there's a new comment in the inbox. Thank you, thank you, to those of you who write.
I don't know where I'm going with this. Just thought it was an interesting article and a chance to reflect a bit.
Speaking of keeping things simple, we've been on a homemade play dough kick lately.
Baked ... and painted ...
(That's an elephant.)
Raw play dough is especially helpful at restaurants. While dinner cooks, the girls have been cooking up their own foodie creations (ice cream cones, hamburgers, pancakes, etc.)
Let's see ... what else? It's almost time for the annual Farm Chicks show (OK, still a couple months away, but we get excited early). I think I'm going to try to snag some quilts this year so I can create this scene in my backyard all summer:
That's from a wedding featured on Ruffled, a lovely wedding blog that I would have been addicted to had it been in existence eight years ago. Also from the same wedding:
Mmm ... mismatched vintage dinnerware. The shabby chic in me surfaces yet again. J and I planned to ask people to give us mismatched china as wedding gifts. I loved the thought of spending the rest of our lives eating off of plates with all that history, but it never panned out. We do have a few pieces from folks we told early on. Maybe it's time to revisit that idea.
Lastly, here are a few of my newest articles on the About.com Kids' Parties site, for your party pleasure:
-What to put in an Easter basket besides candy (my ideas here and a roundup of ideas from other About.com guides here).
-I don't know how many of you have high school age kids, but here's an idea for a graduation party theme. I applied my love of vintage schoolhouse style to a party and threw out some ideas, which you could very much use for a younger kid's party or a spouse. I'll be adding photos to it later.