Tag Archives: diy

DIY My Little Pony Themed Bedroom – Ikea Hacks!

My 4 year old daughter is absolutely obsessed with My Little Pony, and before we moved into the new house, she told me that she wanted a My Little Pony bedroom. When we were living in Korea, I didn’t do much to her room. She was only about 10 months old when we moved in, and she rarely slept or spent time in her room anyway, so I just didn’t put in the time and effort. However, in our new “forever house” as the kids call it, I’m excited to make a space that she will love spending time in. Primarily because I would love for her to actually sleep in her own room!

I’ve had a love-hate relationship with Ikea since I bought my first piece of Ikea furniture back in 1999 when I moved out of the dorms into my very first apartment. I love the minimalist, easy-to-construct designs and the prices, but I hate the cheap, particle board covered in laminate quality. Even when I moved beyond the least expensive Ikea items and purchased higher priced Ikea furniture, the quality never impressed me. HOWEVER, over the years, I’ve discovered that the best Ikea products are actually their absolutely cheapest ones–the nondescript, unfinished wood pieces–because these pieces are made from REAL WOOD. None of that particleboard laminate crap.

My latest DIY projects are a strange homage to crappy Ikea particleboard/laminate (which I hate) and their more sturdy but super cheap unfinished wood (which I love). First up is the crappy Lack side table. It was surprisingly easy to paint. I removed the old stickers, unscrewed the legs, lightly sanded the surface and primed with a spray paint primer. As a side note, I LOVE SPRAY PAINT.

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I did two coats of latex paint, which I had to mix (Rust-oleum white and navy blue) because they don’t make “Rainbow Dash blue.” I probably could have found the exact color in a spray paint, but I had to paint the entire dresser as well in the same color, and that’s an awful lot of spray paint fumes so I mixed a batch in a disposal plastic container.

Once the paint was dry, I printed out a stencil of Rainbow Dash’s Cutie Mark. Thankfully, there are only 4 different colors in the Cutie Mark. I cut out the stencils (one sheet for each color), then spray painted the Cutie Mark. I finished with Rust-oleum Crystal Clear Enamel rather than using polyurethane or any other top coating because… Well, honestly, I didn’t know how the polyurethane would work on cheap, crappy laminate.

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Overall, I’m very pleased with how the table turned out. There are a few imperfections, but it’s for a 4 year old. She doesn’t care!

Next up, the dresser. I started with the Ikea Tarva. Plain, simple, unfinished drawers.

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The color choices were easy because my daughter is so stubbornly clear on what she likes. I primed, sanded, then painted the top, sides, and legs in Rainbow Dash blue using latex paint and the drawers with spray paint. Two coats of polyurethane and some rainbow prism drawer knobs later…

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I’m very happy with how the drawers turned out! I decided not to stencil on Rainbow Dash’s Cutie Mark for the sake of time. I have some Star Wars themed drawers to work on for the boys’ room, which I really need to get to work on soon because I can’t stand the piles of folded clothes sitting on the floor of their closet. Oops…

Anyway, Princess Penelope’s room is slowly but surely coming together! Can’t wait to share the finished room with you–but for now, here’s one little corner! 😉

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Disclosure: This post contains links to products on amazon.com. These are products that I purchased and used for my own projects with no compensation. However, if you click on the link and purchase the product, I will receive a small fee from Amazon.com.
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jkwdesigns.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
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DIY Spray Paint Glass Jars and Plastic Planters

It’s been about a month since we moved into the new house, and there are still piles of boxes everywhere. Unpacking is slow-going, especially since the daily mommy grind of waking up- getting kids ready for school-packing lunch for the kids and the husband-taking kids to school-doing mountains of laundry-ironing shirts-cleaning kitchen-picking kids up-overseeing homework-reading with kids-cooking dinner-taking kids to martial arts class-getting kids bathed and to sleep won’t stop!! Plus, I can’t seem to get over the absolute novelty of having a yard and a garden after years of city living and the fact that so many craft/DIY supplies are just a short drive away.

The kids and I have started seedlings for our vegetable and herb garden, which my husband will need to fence in because we apparently have a herd of deer living in our backyard. We’ve seen as many as 7 doe lounging around at one time, and though it’s pretty neat to stand on our deck and deer-watch, it’s going to be all out warfare in the summer if they come anywhere near the garden!

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So aside from standing around and staring at deer, I’ve also been standing around staring at things in Home Depot and Lowe’s, pretty much screaming, “PLEASE, TAKE ALL MY MONEY!!!” because I want to buy all the things.

However, I feel pretty good about my trip to Lowe’s this morning, not because I left without spending any money because I totally bought stuff, but because I came home with some sad, scraggly houseplants from the Clearance Rack for $1 each that I will lovingly nurse back to health and that is good for the world. And for my wallet.

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I also bought cheap-o plastic planters for $1.29 each and a can of Rust-oleum Hammered Spray Paint (because I just had to see it for myself) and a can of Valspar Premium Finish Spray Paint in Satin Encounter (because I loved the color).

My plan was to spray the cheap plastic planters with the hammered finish spray paint, just to see what happens…

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And despite the can saying that it’s paint + primer in one, I think my results would have been much nicer had I primed the planters first. I’m not disappointed with the results, but during the spraying process, I could see that the spray paint wasn’t adhering to the plastic surface very well. The paint seemed to slide down the plastic rather than sticking to it.

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I’d say that it looks good from afar, and you really wouldn’t be able to tell that it’s a plastic planter until you hold it, and since it’s highly unlikely that anyone who comes to my house will pick up a plant to inspect the pot, I think the facade will work.

In addition to experimenting with the hammered finish spray paint, I needed to do something with these two glass jars that have been sitting on the kitchen counter because they’re totally not my style, but my mom gave them to me so I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of them.

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I wanted to plant two of the small, pathetic pothos in these jars, but because the jars don’t have drainage holes, I would be placing about an inch of rocks at the bottom, and I needed to be able to see the water level. I marked the jars with blue painter’s tape to apply paint over the section with the flowers and the top portion of the jars.

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After watching the spray paint slide off the plastic planters, I decided to prime these first. I used a spray primer, waited about an hour and sprayed two light coats of the Valspar. It turned out lovely! And I definitely love the color and the satin finish.

IMG_5667There’s a lot more painting and spray painting in my immediate future, so I’ll have new projects to share soon! I’m currently working on an cheap-o Ikea side table hack for my daughter’s My Little Pony themed room. Can’t wait to share!

 

Disclosure: This post contains links to products on amazon.com. These are products that I purchased and used for my own projects with no compensation. However, if you click on the link and purchase the product, I will receive a small fee from Amazon.com.
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jkwdesigns.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
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Starting a Fairy Garden

Despite the fact that we still have about 28 days before we move into the new house and the apartment we’re staying in short-term is tiny and under furnished and all of my crafting supplies are packed up and probably somewhere in the Pacific Ocean right now and I really should be waiting until we get to the new place to start any new projects… I just couldn’t help myself! It doesn’t help that while the boys are at school, I don’t have anything else to do here besides think about a million different projects to work on and scour Pinterest for ideas!

My daughter (who will be turning 4 in just under a month), is absolutely in love with all things sparkle-fairy-ballerina-princess, which I find strange because her brothers are not into gender-specificity. They love “boy” stuff like cars and trucks and dinosaurs and superheroes, but they also love My Little Pony and will play tea party with their little sister without a second though. Princess Penelope, on the other hand, is just that. A princess. Her entire world would be pink and purple and covered in glitter if possible. Go figure!

Anyway, she wants a fairy garden, and to be perfectly honest, want one too! So with nothing better to do and a craft store right next to the apartment complex (dangerous!!!), I just couldn’t resist. Penny insisted that she wanted her fairy garden to be indoors because she wants to keep it in her bedroom once we get to the new house, which simplifies things for me because I don’t have to weather proof everything. We headed over to the craft store to see what we could find, and here’s what we just couldn’t stop ourselves from buying:

  1. Wooden dog house – $2.17 (There were several different styles, including one with a domed roof that I thought would be better for a fairy house, but my daughter really wanted the dog house!)
  2. Bag of Spanish moss – $3.97
  3. 2 bushes of fake flowers – $1.50 each ($3 total)
  4. Mini craft sticks – $1.97
  5. Tiny birds (3 birds in package) – $1.49
  6. Bag of glass gems – $1.97
  7. Paint, paintbrushes, glue gun – $5.94 (I only had to purchase these because I don’t have any of my crafting supplies!)

Total spent on the fairy garden (so far): $14.57 ($20.51 including the extra misc. supplies I had to purchase)

I wish I’d taken a before photo, but Penny was so eager to paint it as soon as we got home that I forgot. She chose the purple, and I let her paint to her heart’s content. Her brushstrokes can only be described as scribble-scrabble, so I had to go over it again and clean up her paint job. I painted the roof a maple brown, and once the paint dried, I hot-glued some Spanish moss to the roof. I tiny little branch fell out of the bag of moss, which I glued over the window for the little bird to perch on. I added a couple of flowers to the roof and that’s about it! I’d like to find some twigs to glue onto the pitched roof and to make a rustic and whimsical looking door to the house.

I really don’t know how long I’ll be able to hold off working on other aspects of this fairy garden, especially considering that I have nothing else to do–haha! I’ll keep you posted! 😉

Also, I obviously haven’t used all the materials yet. I cut off a few flowers, and we haven’t gotten to the mini craft sticks, which we’ll be using to make a fence. We’re also planning to put the glass gems down as stepping stones. There’s still lots to do, so stay tuned!

DIY Rainbow War Party for Kids!

The last few weeks have been incredibly busy (thus my absence from the blogiverse lately). We have a 17 year old relative visiting from the States–and OMG is having a teenager in the house a lot of work! During his 14 day stay, we’ve managed to: visit the National Museum of Korea, Gyeongbokgung Palace, the Korean War Memorial and Musem, have our feet chewed on by little fish in Myeongdong, see the Jump! show at Kyunghyang Art Hill, play mini-golf, and eat all kinds of food our small-town, middle American teenager had never even heard of before. On top of that, I’ve been knee-deep in planning for a kids’ color war party, and despite feeling overwhelmed by all the things… The teenager is flying out tomorrow full of new experiences and wonderful memories (hopefully!), and the color war party was a huge success!

The party was inspired by a very talented photographer and friend, Zayda Barros. She wanted to photograph a color war, but since she doesn’t have kids (yet!), she asked me to help throw a party of EPIC proportions. 😉 And because I love planning parties, I ran with it and this is what happened:

color war

 

Since I knew that a professional was snapping away, I didn’t take very many photos… And I’m much too impatient to wait until her photos are ready to post to write this post, so apologies for my crap photos and I’ll have some beautiful ones to share soon!

UPDATE: Thank you to the very talented Zayda Barros for these beautiful photos!

Here what planning our Rainbow War Party entailed and some tips for planning your very own color war party!

Location:

Obviously, this is an outdoor activity! We planned our party for a public picnic area that was somewhat secluded, giving kids enough room to run around and throw colors without attracting too much attention. Also, access to water is important! Our picnic area came with a water faucet so kids could wash off before heading home/smearing colors all over the inside of mom’s car.

Guest List:

As with all parties, the fun begins with the guest list! We had a tough time keeping our guest list under 30 children, but we had to keep our group somewhat manageable. The color war is most appropriate for kids aged 4 and up. Our list consisted of 25 kids ranging in age from 2-9. As with all invitations for activity-based parties, be sure to thoroughly explain to parents what the party entails and be prepared to answer a host of questions! We explained: how kids should be dressed (plain white t-shirts that could be ruined during the party), what they should bring for their own child(ren) (towel and change of clothes), age-appropriateness, how long the color war would last, and how parents could help with supplies.

Activities:

Because of the toddlers and also because the color war only lasts about 20-30 minutes (depending on how much color powder you’ve prepared), we prepared other activities to keep the kids busy. Finger painting and play dough are great, colorful activities to keep kids happy and occupied as they eagerly await the beginning of the color war! I purchased finger paints, but made my own play dough (scroll down for the very simple DIY recipe!).

Finger Painting

Because I didn’t have immediate access to rolls of art paper, I just taped large sheets of white paper down to the picnic tables. Rolls of paper would definitely have worked better, but you do what you can…

Food:

Our menu consisted of pasta salad, rainbow bread sandwiches, fruit and veggie platters, M&Ms, Skittles, rainbow cupcakes and beverages–simple and colorful!

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The bread was easy but time consuming to make. There are many different ways to make rainbow bread–just do a quick Pinterest search and there are plenty of different recipes. However, I’m not much of a baker and with a million other things going on at the jkwdesigns house, I needed to make things easier for myself, not harder! So I went with pre made dough. Pilsbury French Loaf dough to be exact. 😉 I was inspired by the recipe for the Rainbow Sandwich Loaf, but I took quite a few liberties with the recipe in order to make it less labor intensive. My changes resulted in a bread that wasn’t quite as colorful as the recipe suggests, but it worked out, I saved some time, and made less of a mess. Win, win, win!

Rainbow fruit and veggie platters Rainbow treats

Decorations:

I kept decorations relatively simple since the focus was on turning our adorable little kids into colorful works of art! I made a “Taste the Rainbow” sign for the food table and individual food signs. I would have preferred white tablecloth for the tables, but supplies at my local shop were limited so I had to go with light purple. I also would have liked to hang white tablecloth as a backdrop for the color fight area, but I wasn’t able to do that either. Oh, the injustice of shopping for party supplies in a country that doesn’t really sell party supplies… 😉

Taste the Rainbow Sign

 

Also, I made water bottle labels for our Rainbow Warriors as well as juice box labels, but a friend brought them in a cooler with ice so my paper labels clearly weren’t going to work. My friend is clearly more thoughtful of the children that I am because I would have served the kids room temperature juice boxes for the purpose of aesthetics! 😉

Rainbow Warrior Water Bottles

 

The files for FREE printables can be accessed here:

Taste the Rainbow
Food Signs
Water Bottle Labels

And just for fun, I added some colored streamers around the picnic area, which ended up being more fun for the kids as we began clean-up.

Streamers

Rainbow War:

Because this party was for a photo session rather than for someone’s birthday, we asked that parents contribute color powder for the fight. They had the option of either purchasing a pack of holi powder from Amazon or making their own. I found numerous recipes for DIY color powder for color wars, but none of them worked quite as well as I had hoped. The flour-based mixtures took ages to dry (Korean summers are just too humid), and very few of us owned coffee grinders. In the end, I did quite a bit of experimenting and came up with an EASY, NO-MESS solution! (Scroll down for Color Powder Recipe!)

For the rainbow war, we pre-filled cups with a small amount of color powder. As the color war began, kids were each given one cup, then instructed to return to the table to have their cups refilled when they ran out of color. This definitely helped the battle last longer!

Color Powder

The only instructions that we gave the kids were:

1) No throwing colors directly at someone’s face.

2) If someone asks you to stop, you must stop.

All the kids were a bit shy at first, but once they got the hang of things, it was a raging battle of colors–complete with laughter and shrieks of delight! And a few tears. 😉 It was impossible to keep the little ones (2 year olds) out of the battle, so we gave in and let them make their own messes, but my daughter decided halfway through the battle that she’d had enough and just wanted me to hold her. You win some, you lose some…

If you’re planning your own color war, just keep in mind that the color and consistency of the store-bought holi powder is far superior to the DIY powder. The colors are spectacular, and the consistency is dust-like. Here’s a link to the one we purchased: Holi Powder. On the other hand, the kids couldn’t have cared less! They were just as happy with the mom-made color powder as they were with the rather pricey holi powder a couple of us ordered from Amazon. If your goal is to take photos of bright clouds of color, invest in the store-bought powder, or perhaps use the holi powder for the first round/photographs, then move on to the DIY powder to save money.

Finally, the best way to end a color war is with water because…no one doesn’t like water play on a hot summer day.

Water Balloons

 

DIY Play Dough Recipe (for 4 different colors):

Play Dough

Materials:

4 cups of flour
1 and 1/2 cups of salt
1 cup of hot water
6 teaspoons of vegetable oil
Food coloring

1. Thoroughly combine the 4 cups of flour and 1 and 1/2 cups of salt in a large mixing bowl.

2. Place 1/4 cup of hot water in 4 individual bowls. Add 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of vegetable oil and the appropriate amount of food coloring to each bowl. If you’re using liquid food coloring, you’ll probably want about 30 drops of each color to make a nice dark shade. If you’re using gel food coloring, use approximately 1/2 teaspoon of each color.

3. Add 1 and 1/4 cup of the flour/salt mixture to each bowl. Mix ingredients together as thoroughly as possible with a spoon (no need to get your hands dirty!). You may still have clumps and unmixed portions of the mixture.

4. Sprinkle a small amount of flour on a cutting board or other dry surface and dump the contents of one bowl onto your work surface. Kneed and combine until the play dough is no longer sticky/tacky. Repeat this step with the remaining bowls of play dough.

NOTE: Store play dough in ziplock bags or an airtight container to prevent it from drying out.

DIY Recipe for Color Powder

Materials:
3 heaping tablespoons of corn starch
Small amount of water
Food coloring

Additional materials:
Aluminum foil or saran wrap
Ziplock bags
Rolling pin

1. Place 3 heaping tablespoons of corn starch in a bowl. Add a small amount of water (approximately 4 tablespoons) and mix. The corn starch will have a strange, difficult to mix consistency. It will seem like it’s halfway between a liquid and a solid. If you’re having trouble mixing it, add a little more water.

2. Once the water/corn starch is thoroughly combined, add food coloring. As the mixture dries, the color will lighten slightly so be liberal with the food coloring! I used 30 drops of food coloring in each batch, and the colors weren’t quite as dark as I would have liked.

3. Cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil or saran wrap and pour the mixture onto the cookie sheet. For faster drying, pour the mixture into small globs. The bigger the glob, the longer it will take to dry. Being a rather impatient person, I poured my mixture in thin lines. Dried super fast!

4. Allow the mixture to sit for as long as it takes to DRY COMPLETELY. It will become brittle and break into pieces when it is completely dry. In our humid, non-air conditioned apartment, it took about 2 hours.

Color Powder 1

5. Break the dried mixture into pieces and place in a ziplock bag. I just picked up the edges of the aluminum foil and poured the pieces into the bag. Press most of the air out of the bag and begin rolling over the mixture with a rolling pin to break it back into a powder. Voila! Color powder!

Color Powder 2

NOTE: If you make the color powder in advance, I would recommend storing it in bowls or containers WITHOUT a lid. If the container is sealed, condensation will begin to form and the powder will become mushy. Not the look you’re going for. 😉

 

Disclosure: This post contains links to products on amazon.com. These are products that I purchased and used for my own projects with no compensation. However, if you click on the link and purchase the product, I will receive a small fee from Amazon.com.
* * * * * * * * *
jkwdesigns.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
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DIY Firefighter Themed Birthday Party

One of my two little guys is absolutely obsessed with firetrucks and firefighters. He wants to be a “firefighter/artist/builder” when he grows up (note that “firefighter” comes first!). At the military post we live near in Seoul, the birthday party location options are limited–there’s a bowling alley, Burger King, a small food court area at the hotel, and rooms with tables that can be rented at the community center. However, when I discovered that the fire station allows kiddos to have birthday parties there… Well, there was really no point in entertaining the idea of any other location!

Luckily, my boys are pretty easy-going, and it was fairly easy to convince the other boy that even though he doesn’t want to be a firefighter when he’s a Big Boy, we can have their party there. I booked the fire station more than 2 months in advance–I couldn’t run the risk of the place not being available–and I started planning. The only downside to the firehouse is that the space where the party can be held is very small, so I had to keep the guest list short and activities pretty low-key. Also, winters are COLD here in Korea, so everything needed to be indoors. On the bright side, the kids are allowed on the firetrucks, and they’re even allowed to try on REAL firefighter gear.

I scoured Pinterest for birthday card designs, and even though my husband thought I should just order pre-made ones and not create more work for myself… Well, I have trouble listening! I wanted a card (and ultimately a theme) that reflected the city of Seoul. I found the perfect silhouette of the city here (which can be purchased for very reasonable price), and got to work!

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Once the invitation was designed… Then came everything else! Food and drink signs, a silhouette/backdrop, a birthday banner, and everything else! The only thing I didn’t do myself this year was the birthday cake because A) my oven here in Korea is about 1/4 the size of an American oven and I nearly lost my mind last year baking everything for my daughter’s first birthday party, and B) my boys picked out a cake that was far, far beyond my skill set! Luckily, the amazing baker behind Cooks Cakes created a cake and cupcakes that not only looked amazing, but were so, so tasty! Unfortunately, she’s leaving Korea soon, but hopefully, she will be whipping up wonderful things for clients at her next destination!

IMG_0279One of the things I purchased rather than making myself for this DIY party were printable photo props from PaperBuiltShop on Etsy. (I highly recommend them! They have lots of super-cute printables including invitations, banners, party packages, and of course, photo props.) The digital file comes with detailed instructions for printing at home or at a professional print shop if you prefer. I printed mine at home on card stock (only because I wasn’t able to get high-quality matte photo paper on short notice), then laminated them before hot gluing them onto bamboo skewers (sharp end at the top!). Kids and parents loved the photo booth, which I set up with my iPad using a great app called PocketBooth. The photos come out in photo booth-style: a strip of 4 pics, and I was later able to email the photos to parents.

Other activities that I had set up in our tiny little space were cookie decorating and drawing thank you pictures for the firefighters. I purchased the R & M Fire Truck 5 Piece Cookie Cutter Set
from Amazon (so cute!), made the cookies a couple days in advance and just purchased cookie icing that came in a tube, ready-to-use. For the thank you coloring/drawing sheets, I just designed and printed them (download available below) and set up a little table with a bunch of crayons. Easy peasy!

party favorAnd finally… For party favors, I purchased the I Want To Be A Firefighter book from Amazon as well the Fun with Fire Trucks Stencils (Dover Stencils), tied them together with yarn, and added a thank you note that listed some firefighter-related online resources for kids and parents to enjoy together!

Stuff I Made:

Firefighter applique T-shirts:

firefighter tshirtsMaterials: white t-shirt, scrap fabrics (in red, black and yellow–old t-shirts work great!), stencils for florian cross and number, iron-on adhesive/fusible web (I used Thermoweb Heat n’ Bond Lite, which requires you to sew over the fabric, but Thermoweb also makes a no-sew version that works very well if you don’t want to sew), sewing machine (optional if you use the no-sew iron-on adhesive)

I purchased the t-shirts several months ago when they were on clearance for $2/each, and I had plans to stencil/paint Mr. T on them… But I’m glad I didn’t get that far because the white shirts with the black collar were perfect for their firefighter shirts. I used scrap fabric that I had on hand for the suspenders and the florian cross and yellow felt for the number 5. The suspenders were just long strips approximately an inch wide and cut to match the length of the t-shirt. I cut and ironed on all the pieces, then sewed around all of the appliquéd pieces to secure them in place.

Buildings on Fire Backdrop:

buildings on fire backdropMaterials: black foam board, black construction paper, yellow construction paper, ruler, exacto knife, paper trimmer (not necessary, but makes life much easier!), hot glue, and glue stick

I used foam board that conveniently had a black side. I cut the silhouette out with an exacto knife, but the edges of the foam board revealed the white “foam” in the center, so I cut narrow strips of black construction paper and hot glued it down (be careful not to get the hot tip of the hot glue gun too close to the foam. It will melt the foam!). The windows were made with squares of yellow construction paper and glued down with a glue stick (great for gluing paper because the paper doesn’t ripple). The “fire” was made with a simple cutout of flames printed on card stock and hot glued on.

Cupcake Tower of Fire:

cupcake towerMaterials: black foam board, 3-4 cans, household items useful for tracing circles, black card stock, black ribbon, crepe paper streamers, wooden chopstick, and hot glue

I used various mixing bowls from my kitchen to trace circles on foam board, then I cut the circles out with an exacto knife. The bottom/base layer of cans were two tuna cans duck taped together, and the middle and top were diced tomato cans (one can per layer). I covered the cans with black card stock, and hot glued the cans to the foam board. Then, I hid the white foam center of the foam board with black ribbon–more hot glue! I added some yellow, orange and red crepe streamers to cover the cans/pillars (also great for hiding any mistakes you may have made–the cans not being exactly centered or having to rip the hot glued cans off the foam board because you accidentally glued them to the wrong side of the foam board…). And to top it all off, I broke a wooden chopstick in half, covered it with crepe streamers, then glued on another flame cutout. Voila! A cupcake tower of fire!

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Signs, banners, badges, coloring pages, thank you cards galore!

printables

FREE PRINTABLES–OH MY!

Although all of my items were based on the Seoul city skyline, I’ve made a “generic” set of printables for your firefighter loving kids’ pleasure! I printed everything at home with my trusty little HP printer, and despite the massive amounts of black ink that I used, I still saved a bundle by not having everything professionally printed. A nice thick card stock worked just fine for the paper (only the water bottle labels were printed on regular paper). Other DIY-ers suggest using glossy photo paper to print labels for water bottles because of the moisture/condensation, but since I didn’t have to worry about it–it’s cold and dry here in February–I just used regular paper and it worked out just fine.

**All of the files are in PDF format. A few of the files can be opened in your choice of image editing software or even just Microsoft Word to add personalized text. I’ve added details about fonts that I used where applicable!**

**If you are printing at home, be sure to set your printer page settings to BORDERLESS 8.5×11 letter size or the edges will not print!**

Invitation:

birthday invitationYou can add personalized text to the invitation. I used RocknRoll Typo font (free download) for the heading text in my version of the invitation and Andrea Karime font (free download) for the party details (date, location, rsvp information).

Download birthday invitation

Birthday Banner:

Screen Shot 2014-02-16 at 11.05.25 PM

The Birthday Banner is a 14 page PDF file with one letter per page. You can simply cut the letters out and string them with ribbon (or yarn if you’re a yarn hoarder like myself!) or you can cut the letters out and glue them to colored paper before stringing them together for something extra fancy!

Download happy birthday banner

Signs:

Screen Shot 2014-02-16 at 11.13.03 PMSigns include: (download each file individually)

1) firefighter photo booth sign

2) firefighter food sign

3) fire extinguisher sign

4) please take one sign (for party favors)

5) blank sign (customizable using RocknRoll Typo font)

Junior Firefighter Badge:

Screen Shot 2014-02-16 at 11.16.39 PMI printed the junior firefighter badge on regular card stock, cut them out, then glued them to a sheet of red construction paper, cut them out again, laminated them and hot glued them to a brooch pin! Phew! It sounds a lot worse than it actually was.

Download junior firefighter badge

Other printables:

thank you coloring page

thank you card (2 cards per sheet)

water bottle labels (5 labels per sheet)

Photographs courtesy of Zayda Barros Photography

A week in review

It’s been a busy week or so, which is amazing considering that I’ve been half-zombified by a stomach virus that thankfully has only affected me and not the children. I finally paid the doctor a visit today, and as with most things, saw the doctor and immediately felt better even before taking any of the meds he prescribed. Should have gone last week. :-/

Anyway, here’s a rundown of my recently completed projects!

I mailed off the onesies selected by the winner of my most recent giveaway. Congrats again to JediMeg! Hope you share photos of your dapper little man in his skinny tie onesie and untied bow tie onesie. 🙂

I sent off a custom order of a toddler-sized aviator sunglass shirt.

I completed a dress for the shop. I made a similar dress for Miss Penny Penny a while back. The dress is made entirely of upcycled fabric and is a breeze to put on and take off since there are no buttons or snaps. Just slip it on and tie the ties in a bow or a double knot. It can be worn with the tie in front or in the back. Penny looks adorable in her version, and I would keep this for her if she didn’t already have a billion dresses to wear. 😉

I worked on another dress that’s also available in the shop. This one is a prototype and I’m still working on some design elements. It’s made from upcycled t-shirts, so it’s a stretch cotton jersey. The dress is red and the collar’s black. It has some messy stitching on the inside of the dress, but it’s not noticeable from the front. Regardless, I’m selling this dress at half price since it’s not as “finished” as the other items in my shop.

I was able to score some 4T and 5T sized shirts for my line of super cool little boy shirts. Email me if you’re interested in purchasing. This one is in the shop. It’s a 4T size.

I made Penny a bubble dress a few months ago, and I absolutely adore it, so I had to make one for the shop. I’ll definitely be cranking out a few more of these. I improved the design so now it’s reversible! This one’s red on one side, gray on the other so it’s like having two dresses in one! Made of 100% upcycled fabric.

I had some rare one-on-one time with Mr. Charlie. We built a Lego Optimus Prime together.

Lincoln had his annual cardiology check-up and the official diagnosis from the cardiologist? His heart is awesome. 🙂

More work on the living room… DIY photo canvases of the kids (they’re 16×20, which I thought was pretty big…but they seem so small on that massive wall).

Looking back at a week’s work, I’m feeling a bit better about the fact that I spent many hours in bed with an upset stomach and napping with my little Penelope asleep on my chest. 🙂 Spoiled little princess…

Making my own sewing patterns

I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to get a sewing machine. I love it. And now, I want a serger. Seriously, I can’t stop thinking about making clothes. I remember back when I was about 10 or so, I used to draw all these ridiculous dresses and outfits I wanted to make. I should have studied fashion design.

I’ve figured out how to draw out my own patterns using clothes that currently fit my daughter. Everything I’ve made so far is pretty much limited to an 18 month size… But I figure I’ll work out 24 month size soon. 😉

Here are the things I’ve made for Miss Penelope, all using repurposed/upcycled materials. Woohoo! I still haven’t made it to the fabric market as there’s absolutely no way I would be able to navigate the place with three kids in tow… Someday… But until then, I’m cutting up all the old t-shirts and bedsheets I can find!

Asymmetric pleated dress made from a t-shirt

2 layer dress with deep v-back made from a t-shirt and bedsheets

Bubble dress made from a t-shirt

Shift dress made from a pillowcase and an old skirt

Tunic made from a bedsheet and t-shirt scraps

Lady Penelope’s Dol/First Birthday

After all the nonsense of moving in, the bathroom water problems we’ve been having, and oh yeah… Taking care of 3 little ones, I completely lost track of time and before I knew it, Little Miss Penelope’s first birthday was fast approaching. Early February, I realized that I only had 2 weeks to make it work. On the bright side, because of the move, we decided we would have her party down in Gunsan, my parents’ hometown. Almost all of my close relatives live there, and it just made more sense that way since I could leave the food and location choices to my parents. I think…

Anyway, my parents found a nice place that was within our budget for food, so I didn’t have to worry about that, but with 2 weeks left, I had to work on decorations, favors, desserts, and pretty much everything else.

I had to make do with crafting supplies that I already had on hand as the craft department at the store on post leaves much to be desired, and although I’ve heard of this magical craft marketplace in Namdaemun, I didn’t have the time and energy to drag 3 little ones to the crazy Korean marketplace during the coldest winter in 50 years.

I did a bit of searching on Pinterest for some ideas, but I already had a pretty decent idea of what I’d like to do. Mostly because 4 years ago, I planned a dol for Charlie and Lincoln and filed away ideas for if/when I had a little girl. 😉

I stuck with pinks and brown because well… I love the color combination, and because I really wanted to have both chocolate cupcakes and red velvet cupcakes. Haha!

The most time consuming part of the party prep was all the baking. I’m pretty sure that my decision to bake 4 dozen cupcakes and a 3 layer 8-inch round cake and flower-shaped sugar cookies was made during a fit of insanity. And of course, when I started all this nonsense, I didn’t give much thought to the fact that my oven here in Korea is literally HALF the size of an American oven or that I would have to transport all these items to my parents’ house 3 hours away.

The only clever decision I made about the cupcakes was to keep the icing simple and to make little cupcake “tags” to decorate them. As I’ve learned, paper crafts are much easier to do with kids running around the house than anything that involves the oven or set times. I can easily walk away from paper and scissors without worrying if things are going to burn or dry out if unattended for a period of time. Cutting out the pieces, punching out butterflies and gluing onto toothpicks was significantly easier than baking.

In addition to the cupcakes, I decided to make a 3 layer cake–chocolate, red velvet and butter–with cream cheese icing. I didn’t do much to decorate the cake either. Although I had these grand ideas of butterflies and flowers, realizing my time limits… I gave up on that and did a simple swirl design using the back of a spoon. I was planning to use a slice of the cake as Penelope’s smash cake as well, and I think the cake turned out pretty nicely–simple on the outside, fun on the inside!

The favor boxes were also relatively easy. I used a single sheet of 8.5in x 11in cardstock for each box and decorated with the leftover scrap paper from the 12in x 12in scrapbook paper I used to make the Happy Birthday Penelope flag banner. I didn’t want to waste all those triangles of paper, and this worked out wonderfully. The boxes were a perfect fit for the Lindt chocolate truffles we gave as party favors. They weren’t quite the jars of homemade butterscotch that we gave at the boys’ first birthday party, but then again, we also didn’t have a keg at Penny’s. 😉

My baking/decorating delirium didn’t end with the 3 layer cake and cupcakes. I also baked flower shaped sugar cookies with chocolate and cream cheese icing. I loved the way the bigger cookies turned out, but the smaller ones looked like fat stars more than flowers… So when I put them out on the dolsang (the birthday table), I stacked them into little cookie towers, which helped. And the best treat for last… I made chocolate dipped pretzel sticks that were delicious. I know this for a fact because I ate a lot of them. A lot.

Traditionally, the dolsang is supposed to be very colorful, but I was adamant that the colors all work with each other because well… I’ve seen a lot of traditional dol photos and all the colors are just too much. However, it came down to a test of wills between my mother and me. I let her put some fruit on the table, mostly because she wouldn’t back down on that one… And some of the Korean rice cakes were banished to the back edge of the table where hopefully, they wouldn’t show up in too many of the photos. 😉

All in all, I am very pleased with how it all turned out. The backdrop was another headache…but it all worked out. My original plan was to have the butterfly and flower strands all along the back of the backdrop, but I ran out of time. It wasn’t difficult to string the pieces together (thanks to double sided tape!), but it was extremely time consuming, so at the last minute, I put the Happy First Birthday in Korean up. I was actually a bit nervous about how it would look in photos, but I think it came out very nicely.

As for the leading lady of this extravaganza, Miss Penelope was an absolute doll–she looks so dignified! Haha!

And despite relinquishing my control freak tendencies on the selection of her hanbok (traditional Korean dress), my mom did a great job of picking out a beautiful dress. 🙂

Little Penny had a great time playing with her smash cake.

And look! She even has an eye for decoration! 😉
However, apparently, Penny’s hopes and dreams are in entertainment as she grabbed the microphone at her doljabi.
And now that the fun is over, all I can say is THANK GOD! 😉