Wednesday, May 30, 2012

She's About to Pop!

In July, I'm going to become an aunt.  My sister-in-law and brother are expecting their first baby, Isaac, and we're all very excited to welcome him to our family.  My other sister-in-law, Lisa, and I planned a baby shower a couple of weeks ago.  We decided on the popular "She's About to Pop!" theme and scoured Pinterest for ideas.  

We used shades of blue, turquoise, and green along with lots of circles in our decor to stick with the pop theme.  There are a ton of fabulous ideas out there for this theme, so I'll just highlight a few of the things that we added our unique twist to.

I think that the cousins-to-be might be more excited than anyone!

I decided that the large space above our mantel needed some baby shower love, so I got an engineer's print made at Staples with a picture of the mommy and daddy.  I used spray adhesive to mount it to a large scrap piece of plywood.  The print was less than $3, so it was an inexpensive way to add a big impact piece.  I also pulled an old skid out of my dad's burn pile.  I put it there a few months back after I was experimenting with ways to take the wood apart.  I gave up on that, but resurrected the skid when I needed a way to hang up letters for Isaac's name.  The letters are a combination of salvaged sign letters and wooden letters from the craft store that I painted and distressed.  I borrowed my brother's old teddy bear and tiny baseball cap from my mom's cedar chest for some sweet personalization from Isaac's daddy.

Our shower was in the afternoon, so we didn't serve a complete meal.  We tried to make each food work with the POP theme.  However, I neglected to take a picture of the actual food.  Our menu consisted of popcorn chicken (from Chick Fil A), Popeye's spinach dip, fruit pops (fruit on bamboo skewers), and jalapeno poppers (from the frozen food section at the grocery).  On the dessert table, we had cake pops, push pops, and Snap, Crackle, Pop! Rice Krispie Treats.  Lisa made all of the cake pops and push pops and they were the definite hit of the shower.  She did a great job!

I was trying to come up with a way to serve a large number of cake pops and still make it look nice.  I was playing around with the idea of putting styrofoam in a box or container when my mom suggested pool noodles.  Have I mentioned that she is a genius???  I ended up finding blue and green pool noodles at the Dollar Tree and cut them with a serrated knife to fit just inside the opening in my buffet cabinet.  We stacked them and hot glued them together and added a scrap board on the bottom for some extra weight.  Then, we took a small screwdriver and punched holes for the cake pop sticks.  The noodles held them perfectly!

Behind this display, I added the bottom section of the skid from the mantel that I cut off with a jigsaw.  These letters are also a combo of salvaged sign letters and painted/distressed wooden craft store finds.

We enjoyed some yummy popcorn from Cornival Popcorn Shop and guests took some home as favors.  We used six different flavors of popcorn and put them in chalkboard paint labeled buckets from the dollar store.  I found the red and white scoops at Dollar Tree, as well.

Instead of playing games, we had all the supplies for our guests to decorate a onesie for baby Isaac.  My mom prepared fabric iron-ons ahead of time and we had plenty of buttons, paint, fabric markers, etc. available so people could be creative.

 I was a little worried about this project. I was afraid that people would be reluctant to participate, but our family and friends did an awesome job!  Look at those cute onesies!

Before we know it, we will be seeing a cute, squishy little baby in those clothes!  I can't wait!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Chalkboard Popcorn Buckets

At my sister-in-law's baby shower, my other sister-in-law and I wanted to offer several different flavors of popcorn as snacks and take-home favors for our guests.  I had seen the idea on Pinterest where people used large glass jars and labeled them, but I didn't really want to shell out the money for additional glass jars.  I mentioned to my mom that I saw some cute plastic popcorn buckets at the Dollar Tree.  They were a good size, but I really wanted to be able to label the different flavors in a cute way.  My mom, being the genius she is, immediately suggested chalkboard paint.

 I decided to give it a whirl, but I left one side as is, just in case the chalkboard paint didn't work.

I started by tracing an oval shape on clear contact paper and cutting it out.  I cut my oval slightly smaller than the oval on the bucket.

After pressing the contact paper down, I masked off the rest of the bucket with paper and painter's tape.  I first sprayed a coat of plastic primer on the bucket.  Then, I did a very light coat of spray chalkboard paint.
Here's what I had after the second coat.  I thought it was looking pretty good until I pulled the contact paper off.

 I quickly realized that my masking job wasn't so good. I had a lot of overspray and some of the paint had seeped under the contact paper.  I started wiping it off with some Goo Gone on a paper towel and, much to my pleasant surprise, it all came off!  I was even able to touch up around the oval with the edge of paper towel.

I'm guessing that since those areas didn't have the plastic primer, it made the paint almost wipe right off.  I let the chalkboard paint cure for a few days before writing on it.  After the shower, I hand washed the buckets and the chalkboard labels held up just fine!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Stamped Garden Markers

We've been hard at work getting our vegetable garden started in the backyard.  In the meantime, we put in a couple of small raised beds right off the back patio for herbs.  I wanted a fun way to label the herbs and I have seen lots of people use jewelry stamps on old spoons for garden markers.  When I searched around the internet, it seemed like most people were flattening out the spoon before stamping and a few people had done the same on forks.

When I headed out to my local Goodwill in search of some utensils, there was a wide selection of butter knives, but very few spoons and forks.  At the high price of 5 for $1, I figured I would give it a try.  I tried to pick out knives that had a flat-ish area on the handle for stamping.

I stamped the knife handles just as I would any jewelry piece.  The only real difference was that I had to hit them HARD.  The thickness of the handle made it more difficult to get a good impression.  I only ruined one knife in the process.  It was more rounded than I realized and I couldn't get it to lay flat enough to get a good hit on the stamp.

After stamping, I went over the letters with an industrial Sharpie and polished them off with a silver polishing cloth.

I think they look so fun stuck in the dirt by the herbs!  It almost looks like someone is in the process of eating them all up!  I'll give you an update later in the summer to see how they're holding up.  I'm curious to see if the letters will still be readable and if the knives themselves will get too tarnished.  At $2 for the entire project, I'll be happy if they only last for one year!