Concentrating on my own crafts

For the last few months, I was moonlighting as a craft-blogger. Not here, somewhere else. It didn’t work out. I haven’t been feeling good about it for a while, and yesterday, after a disagreement with the editors and owners, I decided it was time to concentrate on THIS blog, MY blog, and keep my ideas for myself. I happen to have written a great summer entertaining post, so here it is, my content, on my blog, my way. Expect much more regular posting.

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Summer at my house is a never-ending rotation of guests at the pool.  Yet no matter how many BBQ’s we end up hosting in one week, everyone always goes home feeling like I went all out to make it special SO SPECIAL just for them…. OK, I am about to out myself here: I really don’t go to any trouble… I make my kids do it and call it CRAFTING!
Here are 5 kid-friendly craft projects that lend themselves to any entertaining occasion. Just change up the colors to match your theme: Canada Day, a birthday, etc. The best part is that it keeps the kids out of the way while you do other things and kids love to boast about their fantastic participation in the event!
Tip #1, the colored cupcake liners: This one is a bit of a make-ahead project, but you can make a whole box and keep them for the next occasion. Original idea found on the Little Wren blog.
Put a few drops of food coloring in a bowl with water, dip cupcake liners, let dry for a few hours.
Tip #2: Bunting! Nothing says party like party decor. Forget those dollar-store plastic flag banners, you can make your own bunting with 1 pack of paper napkins, a long ribbon or string and a stapler.
2 variations on the napkin-as-flags bunting
Pardon the less than stellar picture, but these are two examples of bunting I made. The checkered one was just regular napkins, cut in half to double the amount we got, just slipped over a long ribbon and secured in place with one staple. For the triangles, I used the rectangular shaped napkins, opened them up and cut them into long triangles before stapling them to a wide gros-grain ribbon. This was slightly more labour-intensive, about 2 hours instead of 10 minutes. In both cases my girls took charge of the projects.
Tip #3: Fancy ice cubes. People will go crazy for a fancy ice cube in their drink! This can be as easy as freezing colored water, freezing dark juices like cranberry or blueberry (which adds bonus flavour to the drinks) or getting really fancy and using a knife for lemon-slices like I found on the Industrious Justice blog. Again, let your kids slice up the citrus and freeze.
For a Canada Day theme, why not freeze some red berry slices? Stick to the theme colors!
Tip #4: Set the table! Yes, I am already recycling my own ideas from an earlier blog post, but trust me, you put a pretty paper runner on your picnic table and all of a sudden people think they were invited to a fancy dinner. Also, make place cards. I let my kids write all the guests’ name down on either little cards or items that relate to the theme (ie they could cut out maple leaves, or NOW you could use dollar store flags!). I also let them pick the seating arrangement. It’s very funny to see who a 9 y.o. choses to place where. It makes for funny and interesting combinations!
Tip #5: Send the cupcakes home with your guests. Did you know you can easily carry one cupcake home by putting it in a plastic drinking cup?
It’s one of the most clever tricks I have found, via Bird on a Cake blog…. Makes guests feel very special and you don’t get stuck with so many left-over cupcakes. The point it to send leftovers home. You could package left over salad in a nice big beer cup, with a plastic fork on the side. I give the kids the big bowls, a serving spoon and the containers and I let them measure out the portions. Keeps them out of the way during the clean up and the left-overs get eaten. Not to mention you score major points as the hostess-with-the-mostess!
And now that I have reveled all my secrets, nobody will be that impressed when they come to my house next time.

Party: done!

The Harry Potter party is over and I am now suffering from post-party depression….

here are some non-kid-featuring pics of some of the set up….

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mortimersmom/sets/72157627304949216/

Cake: done!

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HP cake, step 1

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I went back and forth for days trying to decide which cake I would make for this party… I really wanted to make a broom shaped cake, but I wasn’t too confident with my sculpting skills… then, today, my favorite cake blog, Cake Wrecks, posted it’s second homage to Harry Potter cake….. And then I saw it. The round harry face in the second half of the post…..

 

HP Party: the Wand Shop

wands

I have gotten a few emails and FB messages requesting details of the preparations for the upcoming Harry Potter Party. I’m a bit torn, because a few of my readers will be attending and I don’t want to spoil it for them, but then again, they are adults, so if you are reading this and want to keep the surprises, stop reading!

The party is a week from today. So far, the hardest thing has been to pick things NOT to do… I wanted to cover the swing set in fabric and paint it to look like the outside of Hogswart, and make a cardboard chandelier to hang candles on… I also narrowed down the menu from the dozens and dozens of ideas I found online…. I am trying, VERY HARD, to be reasonable!

The craft activity for the party will be for the kids to make their own wands. I just put the finishing touches on my Wand Shop…. here goes:

This is what I’ve got:

  • The wands are long bamboo sticks I found in the fake plant section at Winners, 1 bunch for 5$, cut in half with a plant shear
  • the bottles are spice containers from the dollar store…. They contain the ‘cores’ for the wands: Phoenix feathers (dollar store white feathers left over from a previous project), Unicorn Tail hair (the white bristles off a paint-brush, cut off), Dargon Heartstring (twine, cut into pieces and the unwined to make is skinny) and Veela’s Hair and Thestral tail hair (both from a set multi-color  clip on hair extensions from the dollar store)
  • there is an extra bottle that will contain glue
  • 6 rolls of fun printed tape from the art store
  • a popsicle mold, each hole filled with different colors of glitter (which amazingly, I had lying around the craft room!)
The kids will pick their core, attach it to the wand bottom by wrapping the ‘handle’ with the tape (the older kids can make a pattern with different tapes if they wish). When they are done, the will dip the tip of the wand in the glue and one of the glitters, which will make the tip sparkle.
I labeled the jars with stickers I had in my old scrapbooking supplies, so it looks like old apothecary jars. And I have a teenager coming over to help out that day, so she can be in charge of making sure every kid that arrives goes to Ollivander’s Wand Shop first, where she will supervise and assist if necessary.

Harry-crazy!

ok, I fully admit I am currently going Uber-board for my little one’s 6th birthday… I feel so bad for her, early August birthday, which around here means NO ONE is in town… No class-party like her March-born sister, no camp party because every one leaves the week before…

She happens to be WAY into the Harry Potter movies, which I gather is a bit unusual for a turning-6 girl…. Blame it on the 8 y.o…. (Hey, I kept Miley Cyrus out of my house, that has to count for something!)

So the baby, she is turning 6, and she has no idea what I have up my sleeves! The Hogwarts acceptance letters went out in the Muggle mail today, the sorting hat and 4 class banners have been hand painted and are hiding in my craft room, bamboo sticks have been cut and will be part of the make-your-own-wand station, most of the decorations were gathered today and now I will start baking treats and coming up with magical or spooky names for everything.

And I may or may not have purchased a roll of imitation brick wall paper so that arriving guests will have to run through the Platform 9 3/4 wall….

I told you, I have lost my mind.

Sorting hat: check!

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Making a sorting hat

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3 paper bags, a little glue, a couple of staples

Planning a Harry Potter bday party…

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I may be going a little UBER on this one…

a couple of signs have been made, i have a ton of recipes to pick from, and I convinced myself NOT to wrap the swing set in fabric to make a pretend Hogwarts…., mostly because it made no sense since I am turning the porch into the dining hall! so the swing set will be Ollivanders.

 

 

Great Party Invites

I recently came home with about a thousand greeting cards we are not allowed to sell at the store… Long Story! They all have very funny colorful photos on the front. So I grabbed 2 dozen and cut them to keep only the front flap.

I stuck them in my printer and Voila! Instant totally quirky birthday party invites for Dumpling’s 5th Birthday. The best part is that each kid is going to get their own different one!

You could do this with the cards you collect/receive every year. It could be very funny to invite someone with a Santa picture or a 60th birthday card (for a kid’s party!)

Invite_front Invite_back