DIY Advent Calendar

DIY Advent Calendar {chirpy threads}Hello, friends!  I literally just finished up my son’s advent calendar the night before December 1st. I’m such a last minute mommy.  But, I do love how it turned out! We saw some really cool Lego and Playmobil calendars and actually almost got one, but I decided to make one instead with little gifts that I knew Ethan would love for sure.

I started out by purchasing some little wooden display cubbies at Daiso.  For those of you who don’t know this store, it is awesome – it’s the dollar store of Japan and here in the US, everything in the store is $1.50.  See, awesome, right?! Anyway, I found these cubbies there – they came in one row of three so I bought 8 of them so I could have a total of 24 cubes.  I arranged them together and used wood glue and clamps to put them together to make one large box of 24 cubbies.DIY Advent Calendar {chirpy threads}So, guess what I stuffed into these mini paper sacks that I got from Michaels?  Shopkins!  Omigosh, guys, I’m not really sure why Ethan is so obsessed with these little things but he loves them!  So I put one in each bag, punched two holes in the center and tied it with baker’s twine.  Next, I used my Silhouette to print and cut little circles with numbers and used double-sided tape to stick them to the mini sacks.DIY Advent Calendar {chirpy threads}DIY Advent Calendar {chirpy threads}I also used my Silhouette to make the gable box for the 25th day which just contains a special piece of chocolate.  And lastly, I made a December label and adhered it to a clothespin that clips onto a little wood box I found lying around the house.DIY Advent Calendar {chirpy threads}DIY Advent Calendar {chirpy threads}DIY Advent Calendar {chirpy threads}So there you have it… a Shopkins Advent Calendar!  Ha!  Happy December!

xoxo, Jen

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Pretty Packaged Invitations

chirpy threads | pretty packaged invitations

A very awesome friend of mine is turning FORTY in a couple weeks and I volunteered to help design her party invitations.  I love doing these sorts of things!  She’s having a My Favorite Things party — and, I had no idea what that was until she explained it to me!  Then, I searched for it and found it everywhere, especially on Pinterest!  Wow, really, where have I been?  It’s super popular!

Anyway, I loved the idea of brown paper packages tied up with string.  It’s so simple, so classic, so PRETTY!

The invitations themselves were simple.  The wording came from here.  Just tweaked it a little bit.  The fonts I used are You Make Me Smile and Janda Curlygirl Chunky.

chirpy threads | pretty packaged invitations

Before I share with you the details of the packaging, a BIG shout out to my friend, the Silhouette Cameo!  Without you, I couldn’t have done it.

chirpy threads | pretty packaged invitations

The envelopes were photo sleeves.  The cards could easily be slipped in and out without having to pull apart the pretty string.  The design came in a 4″x6″ size so I resized it to fit the 5″x7″ invitations.  They were cut using the Silhouette.  I used Kraft card stock – my favorite!  They were so easy to put together.  Just fold on perforated lines, glue down tabs, and you have your envelope.

chirpy threads | pretty packaged invitations

The tags were also cut using the Silhouette.  This was a free design that was already in my library, so if you own a Silhouette, you should have it too!  I cut out the reinforcement circles out of Kraft cardstock for some cute contrast.  The names were each hand-stamped, letter by letter.

chirpy threads | pretty packaged invitations

Now for the wrapping… get some baker’s twine and wrap it around your envelope three times.  Then, insert one end through the hole of the tag and tie a bow.  Add a strip of washi tape on front of the envelope if you wish… and you’re DONE!

chirpy threads | pretty packaged invitations

Pretty and simple!  If you don’t have a Silhouette, you can find other pretty envelopes to wrap in string — it adds some charm and character to an otherwise boring piece of mail, don’t you think?!

xoxo, Jen

Superhero Birthday!

{chirpy threads} superhero birthday party

My little guy turned three last week and our superhero themed birthday bash turned out successful!  It was super fun.  And all those late nights of cape sewing were totally worth it. Totally.  But, since I waited until the week before the party to make my decorations, I didn’t get to everything I had planned on my list.  I managed to pull most of it off though!

So….. this was totally a cheater party….. shhh!  If you’re familiar with the Hostess with the Mostess blog (HWTM), you may recognize this theme.  Yup, I borrowed the theme from HWTM!   Actually, while perusing Pinterest, I came across Kelly Noel, who also borrowed ideas from HWTM.  I became so smitten by Kelly’s party that I borrowed most of her ideas!

My focal point was going to be the cake and dessert table so I put in some really good effort into it!  I copied Kelly to a tee on the table backdrop.  The “Super E” shield was created using this font.  I made it as large as possible to fit on the turquoise and yellow cardstock I had on hand and used my Silhouette Cameo to cut it out.

{chirpy threads} superhero birthday party

I bought a foam tri-fold display board from Michaels (with a coupon, of course!) and used my Silhouette Cameo to cut out 1-inch circles (408 to be exact – wow) out of black cardstock.  Then, off to sticking all the dots I went!  This was a tremendously tedious task that took a few hours total I think.  I had the hubby help out and we sort of had an assembly line going!  I used my large Omnigrid ruler for placement and double-sided tape to adhere them to the board.  I was afraid the dots wouldn’t be aligned properly so I needed something that was less permanent than glue.  And I gotta say, I think the tape method worked like a charm!  I so love that stuff.

{chirpy threads} superhero birthday party :: dessert table

The buildings were boxes I found around the house (some empty, some not) that I wrapped with solid colored wrapping paper I found at Party City.  I used my Silhouette Cameo again to cut out squares and rectangles out of black cardstock and then stuck them to the boxes with double-sided tape.  My best-looking tower was two boxes of flash cards that I stacked together and wrapped – they were the perfect skinny size I needed!

{chirpy threads} superhero birthday party :: buildings

The jello didn’t quite turn out the color I wanted but I still used it – no one probably cared but me anyhow!  It was a black cherry flavor and the color on the box was red.  Really, it was!  I was fooled.  It ended up being a very dark purple color.  Oh well!  I printed out a bunch of tiny “Super E” shields and taped them to lollipop sticks.  Then, poked them through the (dark!) jello to make them look pretty.  The marshmallow pops were dunked in melted red chocolate and then dipped in turquoise and yellow sprinkles.  This is where I screwed up… I totally meant to tape some flags with superhero words on the sticks but forgot about them during the big morning setup rush!

{chirpy threads} superhero birthday party :: desserts

I set our dining table with these cute “POW” paper plates purchased from Birthday Express.  The plates were topped with shiny eye masks and super shields with each kid’s first initial.  I made eye masks using this template.  I bought some shiny textured cardstock from Michaels and cut the masks out again using the Silhouette.  I then tied a thin elastic cord to them.  The super shields were cut out from red adhesive-backed felt.  I used heat n’ bond on yellow fabric, cut out each letter, and ironed them onto the red felt shields.  The idea was to use them as “stickers”.  I had asked each kid to wear a white (or solid-colored shirt) to the party so that they can adorn their shirts with the shield and other felt tickers.  I made Ethan’s shield slightly larger with a number three on it and sewed it onto his t-shirt.

Guests were greeted with capes when they entered the house.  Yup, these were the capes that kept me up the whole week!  The hubby commented that my work area looked like a factory!  I loved how they turned out though.  The birthday boy had the shiny cape and all the other kids had solid colored cotton ones.  I tried my best to use fabric that I already had in my stash.  I used this pattern again to make each cape, all in different sizes.  But I used only one snap button on each cape rather than the two instructed.  I appliquéd a star inside a circle for each kid to keep it simple.  Yes, I had plans to sew each kid’s first initial on at first, but decided it was too much work in the end!

{chirpy threads} superhero birthday party :: capes and masks

I also purchased these cute candy wrappers from Birthday Express and stuck them to snack sized Kit Kat Bars.  Cookies with the number three on them were also placed on the table for little hands to grab.  The cookies were purchased from Beckers Bakery, a local bakery in Manhattan Beach, CA.

{chirpy threads} superhero birthday party :: sweets

The birthday cake was also purchased at Beckers Bakery.  It was soooooo delicious!  I love the giant icing balls they put on it.  I created the three cake toppers on PowerPoint and printed them out on white cardstock, then stuck it onto turquoise cardstock to give it a contrasting border.  They were then taped to lollipop sticks.  Love how they adorned the cake!  The polka-dotted candles were from Sur La Table.

{chirpy threads} superhero birthday party :: birthday cake

And my favorite part of the party was probably the little photo booth area for pictures!  I purchased a few yards of red and white polka-dotted fabric from Joann and draped it over two foam boards that I taped together.  I made a burlap “photo” banner and attached it to the top of the fabric board.  The letters are fabric that I fused onto the burlap using heat n’ bond and cut on my Silhouette Cameo.

{chirpy threads} superhero birthday party :: backdrop

{chirpy threads} superhero birthday party :: backdrop

I made these superhero props for the photos.  I designed the images on PowerPoint and printed them out on cardstock, cut them out and glued them to large popsicle sticks.  They were so much fun and really added to the photos!  Feel free to use them for personal use if you’d like!

{chirpy threads} superhero birthday party :: backdrop

I didn’t have many activities planned out for the kids.  I figured three-year-olds would rather roam free and play as they wished.  I put out some markers, stickers, and little superhero character notecards on the “craft table” and let the crafty ones go to town.  The notecards can be found here – they are super cute (and all hand drawn too!).

{chirpy threads} superhero birthday party :: activities

I also put out temporary tattoos for the kids.  I love these little callout signs!  I probably would have attached them to everything if I had the time!  I made them the same way as the cake toppers.

Outside, we taped up some superheroes and villains posters and had kids throw water balloons at them.  Super simple and kids loved them.  Although some of the kids got soaked!  Sorry, parents!

{chirpy threads} superhero birthday party :: activities

Lastly, I had other various decorations around the house that I wanted to share with you.  I hung up some of Ethan’s Batman books on a string as decoration.  Thought it looked cute! I framed this awesome happy birthday subway art and also designed my very own “welcome all superheroes!” art.  Feel free to use it for personal use.

{chirpy threads} superhero birthday party :: decorations

And BOOM!  There you have it — my little superhero’s third birthday party!  Thanks for stopping by!

{chirpy threads} superhero birthday party :: backdrop

xoxo, Jen

St. Patrick’s Day Playdate

st. patrick's day playdate {chirpy threads}

I thought it would be fun to have a little green playdate for Ethan and his friends.  Playdates are a regular part of our toddler-mommy world, so why not turn it into a pretty themed mini party for the kiddos since St. Patrick’s Day is approaching? They had a blast!

Please excuse the empty space on the bottom tiered dish.  My mommy brain totally forgot to fill it before I snapped photos of the display.

Here are some of my handmade highlights:

  • These were my favorite — the teeny pots of gold with the rainbow marshmallow pops.  I bought the little pots at Party City and filled them with Hershey’s Nuggets.  Got my inspiration here.
  • You can’t have a pot of gold without it being under a rainbow!  I got the rainbow marshmallow idea from here.  I just stuck a lollipop stick into the marshmallow to make pops, and so they could easily stand in the pot.  The rainbow is from a package of sour Airheads.
  • The mini cupcakes are just that – fun, little cakes with green sprinkles!  Nothing really special here.

st. patrick's day playdate {chirpy threads}

  • The spring water bottles were wrapped with this cute shamrock patterned paper I found at Joann.  I merely cut them into strips based on the size of the original wrapper.  Then, generously stuck some double-sided tape on the back of the strip, and wrapped it around the bottle.  Cute, huh?  And so easy.
  • See that pretty green dish?  It was so delicious!  My awesome mommy friend made it.  Green soba noodles topped with shredded cabbage, cucumbers, egg, and fish cake cut into pretty four-leaf clovers!  It was paired with a yummy Asian dressing.

st. patrick's day playdate {chirpy threads}

  • The shamrock banner was made the same way as my lucky one.
  • And the table was full of fun crafty materials to decorate large shamrocks.  I cut out a bunch of shamrocks from cardstock in various shades of green using my Silhouette Cameo.  I’m beginning to really love this machine!
  • Details on the lucky banner and subway art here.

st. patrick's day playdate {chirpy threads}

st. patrick's day playdate {chirpy threads}

And that’s it!  I now leave you with some cute photos of the kids.

st. patrick's day playdate {chirpy threads}

st. patrick's day playdate {chirpy threads}

Peek-a-boo!  Guess who?

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

xoxo, Jen

Rag Ball Garland and Burlap Ornament

rag ball garland and burlap ornament

I haven’t been blogging much lately, mainly due to the rush of the holiday season and because I have just been too lazy to write and prefer to peruse the web for fun holiday crafts!  Seriously, I need to lay off the Pinterest world for a while — I’ve become an addict!  But, I have been sewing and crafting and DIY-ing like a mad woman all this time — and I have so much to blog about, so stay tuned!

Anyway, so I know I am a little late on the Christmas posting, but I still wanted to show you the few things I made just because I love them so much!

Our tree was looking a little bare with the few ornaments that we bought this year.  It totally needed something to bring it alive and a simple garland was the way to go.  I decided the tree was going to have a vintage, country feel to it.  So…. why not a rag ball garland and some burlap ornaments?

This garland is about as easy as it can get to make.  Not much sewing is needed and it was a simple project.  It can get quite tedious if you’re making a super long strand like I did, but it is worth it in the end.  Just take breaks in between the ball wrapping process!  (i.e., go look up some more projects to add to your list!  It will take twice as long to make your garland, but, it will be less boring!)

Here is a super quick tutorial.

rag ball garland tutorial

1.  First, purchase some wood craft balls.  I bought mine from Joann.  I went with the 25mm (1 inch) ones which came with 19 pieces in a bag.  I got carried away and bought seven bags of them because I wanted a really long string of garland for the tree.  It was exactly enough to wrap around my tree a few times.

2.  Next, cut or rip 4-inch strips of muslin fabric.  I ripped mine because I wanted a really raggy look with frayed edges.  All you need to do is cut a small slit at the 4-inch mark and then tear the piece of fabric all the way down to the end.  If you’ve never done it before, you’ll be surprised at how easily and straight it tears!  You can use any lightweight cotton fabric but I chose muslin because I had so much on hand (and it’s inexpensive)!

3.  To begin, tie a knot on your strip of fabric at one end.  Then, take a ball and wrap the fabric around it, making sure to overlap the fabric so that the entire ball is covered and secured inside the fabric.  Next, tie a knot again to hold the ball in.  Keep repeating until you are satisfied with the length!

4.  Once you get to the end of your fabric strip, sew another strip to the current strip, and continue on with your wrapping.  I’ve seen tutorials that instruct you to sew a tube, slide a ball in, and knot.  But I prefer to do it this way because it gives you more leeway to determine the length of the garland.  Either way works though!

rag ball garland

And you’re done – now you can go wrap it around your tree!

christmas tree with rag ball garland

And here is a quick tutorial on the burlap ball ornament.  Just as simple.

materials for burlap ball ornament

For materials, you will need some styrofoam balls (can be purchased at your local craft store), 1-inch strips of burlap, jute twine (or ribbon), and a hot glue gun.  I chose to use 3-inch balls but any size will do, depending on the look you want.

burlap ball ornament tutorial

1.  First, take a piece of string and wrap it once around the ball.  Tie a knot at the top, making sure to leave some string at the ends for tying a loop to hang the ornament.

2.  Take a strip of the burlap and wrap it around the ball once.  Hot glue it in place.

3.  Continue this process until the entire ball is covered like a mummy.

4.  Now tie the two pieces of loose strings together at the top to form a loop.  That’s it!  Go hang your ornament now!

hanging up burlap ornament

* by the way, as you can see in the above photo, I also used muslin fabric to make the loop for hanging the ornaments.

Thanks for stopping by!

xoxo, Jen

Rustic Ruler Growth Chart

I’ve wanted to make a growth chart for Ethan for quite a while now.  And seeing that he recently turned two, I knew I had to bump the project up to priority status!  I wanted to mark his height every year on the chart.

My vision of the growth chart was simple.  I wanted a wood chart that resembled something like a ruler.  A piece of art that we could hang on a visible area in the living room.   I also wanted it to resemble a vintage piece, really distressed and rustic looking.  There are so many DIY growth charts out there but this one and this one inspired me the most.

And so our journey began.  We didn’t have any wood on hand so we went to Home Depot to purchase a board.  Funny story – we went into the store with intentions to spend close to nothing, but instead walked out with a $25 piece of wood!  The wood board was labeled $4.25.  Silly me.  I thought that was the price of the whole board.  We were a bit taken aback when the cashier stated $25 – it was priced by the foot!  Since we had it cut (and didn’t want to cause an unnecessary scene) we just bought it anyway.  And then justified the purchase on the car ride back home!

There was immense pressure to make this thing perfect – we couldn’t screw up this expensive piece of wood now!  We first painted the board with a gray primer, then painted two coats of white over that.  Next, I marked the ruler lines with pencil on the board and then traced over them with a black paint pen.

I bought number stickers at Michaels after drooling over this growth chart.  I really liked the size and font of the numbers.  I peeled off the number and stuck the backing on the board to use as a stencil.  I then painted black over the stencil.

After peeling off the stickers, the final (and most time consuming) part was to sand down the board.  This was actually a two day process for me.  My fingers would hurt after a half hour of straight sanding.  Ugh!  But it was so worth it.  I LOVE how it turned out!

Here is my happy boy enjoying his growth chart!

And finally, I need to give my husband credit for applying the finishing touch — neatly and carefully installing the board onto the wall!

xoxo, Jen