30 Birthday Parties

In exactly 6 months, I turn the big 3-0!!! Last year, I celebrated my birthday with an epic retro Disneyland party! It was the classic birthday party complete with pin the tail on the donkey, pass the parcel, and a pinata. I have been trying to figure out how to outdo last year’s party when it hit me.

What is better than a Birthday Party???

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30 BIRTHDAY PARTIES!!!!!

I know what you are thinking- no these parties aren’t all for me :)- let me explain.

The Calgary Food Bank has a birthday room where kits are available for children aged 0-12 so they can enjoy a birthday party. My goal this year is to collect enough supplies to throw 30 birthday parties for 30 kids who otherwise wouldn’t have one and I need your help.

Why birthday parties and not food donations?

I believe in magic. I believe that kids should be kids and people should play. I believe that our world needs more happiness, kindness, and opportunities to laugh and play. I feel that kids grow up much too fast. I feel we need to celebrate the good more and embrace the magic that already exists in life.

I want nothing more than to leave trails of magic wherever I go. I want these kids to feel some of that magic and feel that they are important enough to be celebrated. I want to give the parents the gift of providing a luxury to their child that they wouldn’t be able to on their own.

I know that food donations are so important, and many people rely on these, but my specific goal is to celebrate childhood and I feel I can do that best through a party!

I Need Your Help!

I will be providing cake mixes, icing, and basic party supplies like candles, balloons, and decorations, but I need help collecting gifts for 30 children. These gifts don’t need to be huge, but I would like them to be new, and something special for the child. Here are some ideas.

  • Toys
  • Games
  • Books
  • Art supplies
  • School supplies

I think this could be a really fun opportunity for you to grab your kids and have them get a gift to donate, peruse the toy section in a store on a date, or buy the toy you wish you could’ve had as a kid.

I would be sooo so grateful for any donations to help make these birthday parties happen! I know that life is so much better when we give and I feel like because it is for my birthday, I can ask! haha.

So what do you say? Want to help me have 30 Birthday parties????

 

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Larger-than-Life Chalkboard Calendar

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Oh my goodness, it has been wayyyy too long since I did a fun little project! This is probably one of my favorite projects! I purchased this $4 contact paper at Dollarama before I knew what I was going to do with it and it was 100% an impulse buy (can you say future hoarder?!?!) BUT I am sooo happy with how it all turned out!

WHAT YOU NEED

  • Chalkboard Contact Paper
    • I found an amazing set with contact paper, chalk, and a microfibre eraser at Dollarama for only $4!!! You can find something similar on Amazon 
  • Painters Tape
    • About $4 at Walmart, a hardware store, really anywhere or Amazon
  • Pencil
  • Measuring Tape
  • Scissors

INSTRUCTIONS

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First things first, find an empty wall you need to cover. I had this wall in my office that was always screaming at me with it’s emptiness… and for some reason I have always wanted a life-sized calendar (don’t ask me why, I can’t give you a reason) but this was a match made in heaven.

Now you have to figure out what size of calendar you can make with the contact paper

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you have. I looked at the square footage and calculated how I could make 35 squares without wasting much paper. I ended up being able to make 8″ X 8″ squares with just a little paper left to make Day of the week and the Month labels.

The contact paper that I got have a grid on the back which made cutting the paper SUPER easy.

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The next part is a little hard to explain, but I will do my best. I started the first row of the calendar at about 6′ high. I make a mark at 6′ at either side of the wall and then stretched painters tape horizontally from one side to the other.

I aligned the the top of a square with the bottom of the painters tape and I smoothed it onto the wall with my library card from top to bottom. I then added painters tape vertically on the right side of the square. I repeated this until I had 7 squares in the row…. maybe the picture to the left explains it better.

I then aligned the next horizontal painters tape line with the bottom of the row of squares.

Repeat until you have 5 rows of 7 squares. The nice thing about using the painters tape is that you get spaces between the squares that are the same all around :).

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You can put the day of the week labels about the top row now, or after you peel off the painters tape (which is super satisfying… and when the tape )IMG_2018

Now is the time you get to decorate your calendar! I love that it is chalk board because you can change it up super easy each month! And Voila! you have a calendar that is larger than life.

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DIY 20 Minute Apron for Under $5

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My mom showed me how to make these aprons a couple years ago, and I think it is the greatest! These make the best gifts, they are inexpensive, AND THEY ARE SOOOO EASY TO MAKE. Seriously. It is going to be harder to explain how to make it, then to actually make it.

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What you need

  • Tea towel (one per apron)
    • I like to use the floursack ones (Polkadot: $0.50 @ Walmart, kitchen measurement: $2.50 @ Target)
  • Extra wide double fold bias tape (one per apron)
    • Pick one that matches your tea towel. ($2.19 @Hobby Lobby – use a 40% off coupon to make it even cheaper!!!)
  • Thread in a color that matches the bias tape
  • Sewing Machine
  • Sewing pins
  • Scissors

Instructions

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Start by folding your tea towel down the middle the long way. You are going to mark where you will cut for the apron arms. I fold it in half to cut both sides at the same time to ensure they are the same. I like to take an apron I have, fold it in half, and line it up on the fold of the tea towel to mark the same shape. If you don’t have an apron, you will draw a rounded line in the corner maybe about 6 inches from the corner both ways *see picture

 

Next, get our your bias tape and mark the center. I then put the bias tape around my neck, with the center of the bias tape at the center of the back of my neck, and mark the point I want the neck strap to meet the apron. Do this on one side, and then measure the length on the other side of center to make it even.

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Tuck the cut edge on each side of the tea towel into the fold of the bias tape and pin.

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Starting at one end of the bias tape, sew along the open side of the bias tape the entire length of the bias tape. THAT’S IT! You have a super cute apron!

 

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Still Small Voice: Free download

I want to share these prints I made for a lesson my sister taught this week! Both are intended to remind us to quiet out lives and look/listen harder for those subtle promptings we receive.Still small voice-01

Here is the download for the L. Tom Perry quote above: Still small voice. Just download and print.

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The second one looks like nothing is there but look closer! I love the idea that you can only see the this if you are really looking. Here is the download: Whispering of the spirit. Just download and print.

Elephants

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Elephants have always been my favorite animal. I might have grown up and but I love elephants more than ever. I think it is because elephants are capable of human-like emotions like feeling loss, grieving and even crying. They remember and mourn their loved ones, even many years after their death. They love their families and relationships are important to them. Their emotional intelligence makes nature just a bit more beautiful and gives me hope that compassion is innate in us all.

 

DIY Watercolor Canvas Backdrop / Curtain

This was a project that I was commissioned to do for a friend. She is a photographer and wanted a watercolor inspired backdrop for an upcoming shoot.

I was a little unsure about how to approach this project, but with some trial and error, I think I figured it out for under $30.

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PC: Loblee Photography

What you need

  • 6 X 9 drop canvas, or bigger ($7.26 @ Walmart)
  • RIT powder dye ($5.31 each @ Walmart)
    • I used two shades of the same color for depth
  • Large paintbrush ($1 @ Dollar Tree)
  • Disposable cups
  • Plastic drop cloth bigger than your canvas, I got a 9 X 12 ($2.98 @ Lowes)

*If you mess up the first time like I did, you might also need bleach diluted in water

Okay… so I had to do this project twice and I did it differently both times, but the benefit of that to you is that you don’t have to make the same mistakes I did.

Instructions

The setup both times is the same: layout the plastic sheet and then spread the canvas out on top. The first time I completely wet the canvas before I started, but I would recommend starting with a dry canvas.

Mix some (*not all) of your powder dye with hot water in a plastic cup as per instructions on the package. Because I used a lighter pink and darker pink, I also did combinations of the light and dark to make more colors. I made 4 cups with one light pink, 2 combinations, and dark pink. It is also very important that you keep some of the powder dye for later. In addition to your dye, have a cup of warm water on hand.

Now comes the fun part. Use your paint brush or pour the colors randomly on the canvas. In some areas pour warm water overtop to help the color bleed in areas. Leaving white space will help give the canvas more depth and helps give that Watercolor effect.

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The canvas during the dye process. The speckled parts are where the powder was sprinkled

Once you are finished with the hot water and liquid dye, sprinkle the remaining powder dye in areas where you want more texture or concentrated color.

This part of the process is the worst. You have to wait DAYS for this to dry. fullsizeoutput_3b14

Like I alluded to before, the first try didn’t work out. Why? Because I am impatient. Having pre-soaked the first canvas, it was super wet and after letting it air dry for a couple days, I thought I might just throw it in the dryer… BIG MISTAKE. It came out completely one pepto bismol color! (*see below about how I salvaged this pink fabric)

After I had already invested a few days in this process, I started all over again a second time and let that completely air dry and it turned out much better!

 

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Air dried canvas

Salvaged Pepto Bismol Drop Cloth

I decided to use this fabric as a curtain for my closet. I filled my bathroom sink with water and poured in some bleach. I scrunched the pink cloth randomly and dipped it in the sink until it had absorbed all the liquid. I then put this in the dryer and let it dry. It was really happy with how it turned out.

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Quote: Mothering

A few months ago, I was honored to have a good friend ask me to paint this quote to hang in her nursery. The quote is from her cousin who passed away not long after writing these words on a mother’s day post.

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I am not a mother, but I believe that children are the most precious gift. Children are constant reminders of what matters most- they are relentless at giving love, forgiveness, trust, and humility. Spending this last weekend with my niece and nephews was a much needed reminder!

Be My Valentine

To kick off the music on my site, a happy love song seemed appropriate. I love any excuse to show love and, even though I am single, I am a big fan of Valentines Day! Take a moment to show a little extra love to EVERYONE around you.

Enjoy this cover of Kina Grannis’ Valentine. Consider it my way of showing a little extra love for YOU!

 

DIY Mid Century Modern Writing Desk

I love the mid century modern style and I had my eyes on this writing desk from target. This desk is on the cheaper side, but at $169.99 this was not even an option for me. Naturally, I found a way to make a similar desk (with no drawer) for around $35.

The $35 table I made and the $169.99 Target Table

As many of your probably know, you can buy table tops from Ikea for a very reasonable price. I got this white 39 3/8×23 5/8 “table top for $8.99. Ikea sells table legs, but I did not like the style of the table legs there, so I started searching for other options.

fullsizeoutput_3b24.jpegI found these 27.5″ tappered table legs for $3.63 each at Lowes. To attach the table legs to the table, you need a table leg top plate. I wanted the table legs to be angled, so I got these angled plates at Lowes for $1.98 each.

The table legs were unfinished, so I stained them with an oak wood stain. The legs feet were originally silver so I spray painted the feet with the same pink-gold spray paint I used on my DIY pegboard.

The great thing about these table legs is that they screw right into the table plates. You can assemble and dissemble easily which makes story and moving simple.

Guess what, that’s it. This was very simple and cost a fraction of what I would have paid anywhere else.

 

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Watercolor and Gold Sugar Cookies

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Flood cookies are hard… Seriously. These cookies are far from perfect but I learned SOOO much in the process.

What you need

  • Sugar cookies -I used this Alton Brown Recipe
  • Royal Icing- I used the recipe on the wilton meringue powder container which used meringue powder, Icing sugar, and water which I substituted with lemon juice for a better flavor
  • Piping bag and thin piping tip
  • Almond extract, or any other clear alcohol-based extract
  • Gold luster dust- You can get this at Michaels, Hobby Lobby, or JoAnn

Instructions

I stated by baking round cookies about 4 inches in diameter. While letting my cookies cool, I started making my royal icing. I watched a ton of youtube videos and searched other blogs to get an idea about that the consistency should be…. Ultimately I did my best, but trial and error was my best friend. Before you thin the icing down too much for the flooding, set aside some thicker icing to pipe on your cookies later.fullsizeoutput_3b62.jpeg

Frosting the cookies was next. I originally tried piping a border on each of the cookies that I could fill with a thinner flooding icing, but I did not like the way this was looked and it was taking a long time, so eventually I resorted to using a spatula to apply an even layer of royal icing on the cookies without the piped boarder. *I piped this border on later after I had painted the cookies to give it a more finished look.

Before you move on, make sure your royal icing completely dries. This make take several hours. I left mine overnight to ensure well dried cookies.

Now to the fun part. Painting the cookies! Use gel food coloring in the colors you choose like you would a watercolor, but instead of using water to dilute it, use your alcohol-based extract. The reason you use this instead of water is water may start to break down your icing, whereas the extract evaporates very quickly. I used a regular paintbrush to paint flowers on my cookies. Wash your paintbrush thoroughly because any residue from previous paint may contain inedible components.

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Instead of explaining how I painted the flowers, watch this

Use the thicker icing you set aside to pipe what will be your gold design on the top. I was using my cookies as place settings, so I piped the names of my friends on the cookies. This is also when I piped around the cookie to give it a more finished look.

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Again, make sure that this icing completely dries before moving on. Once the icing is try, mix almond extract with the peal powder (luster dust). Because the extract evaporates quickly, I mixed it up a little at a time. The consistency should be like paint. Using a fine paintbrush, paint over the white piped icing. I have seen videos where people use yellow or brown icing to help give a richer gold color. I found the white looked fine, but I had to do 3 separate layers.

I absolutely loved this part of the process because it combined my love for art, my love for food, and my love for handlettering together. To take things one step further, I also had a hallmark movie playing while I did this. I was a very happy girl.

And thats it! These cookies are definitely a labor of love, but I loved every moment. I can’t wait until I have another excuse to make them… next time they will look even better!fullsizeoutput_3b71