Sunday, February 3, 2013

Christmas Crafting

Admit it. You know that you're dying to know how to make a homemade ornament 11 months ahead of time for Christmas. No? Oh, ok. Well, I thought I'd be Super-Mom and make some fun DIY ornaments for Norah's grandparents and deliver them at Christmas. Instead, it was all I could do to order virtually every gift off Amazon (have you ever tried shopping with an 11-month-old? Crazytown) and plan for our 36-hour roundtrip holiday bonanza visiting both families.

Although it was way late, I went ahead and finished my Christmas ornament crafts for the family. My friend Lauren showed me this cute idea via Pinterest, and I made a couple of very minor changes to make my own. Here's what you'll need: white paper for making baby's handprint, a non-toxic ink pad (any color) for the handprint, very small piece of cardboard (I used a shoebox lid), scissors, this dough (unless you make salt dough), a drinking straw, ribbon, a small paintbrush for detailed painting, paint in the following colors: flesh, white, red, black, and pink.

1. Because Norah is SUPER wiggly, I knew there was no way I could get an actual tracing of her hand. Instead, I smudged some non-toxic baby ink on her hand and stamped it on a piece of paper. (It took a couple of tries to get a good print.)

2. Next, I cut a rough square around the hand tracing and glued it to a piece of cardboard. Then, I cut the hand out so that I had a sturdier template.

3. I tried to make salt dough like the original post prescribed, but mine looked pretty bad. I don't know what exactly I did wrong, but it just looked messy. Luckily, I found this great dough at Michael's and it worked like a charm. I just rolled it out with a rolling pin, placed my cardboard hand on top, and then cut it out with a knife. I pushed a straw through the top of the ornament (or the bottom of the hand) so I could thread ribbon through it. Then I waited 3 whole days for the forms to dry completely.

4. Once the ornaments were dry, I painted the hands. I started with the flesh colored paint since it was essentially the "bottom layer," then painted Santa's red hat, black eyes, white beard, mustache, and hat trim, and finally his cheeks and mouth.

5. I bought dollar-store boxes and glued the sweet poem that I saw on the original post.

I think they turned out pretty cute, if I do say so myself :)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

First Birthday Fun!

From the minute I knew my due date, I started thinking about how we'd celebrate our baby's future birthdays. January is a tough month because the weather is usually too cool to be outside, and, let's face it, park and pool birthday parties seem like the easiest ones to pull off. Alas, Norah was to be relegated to winter celebrations for life.

After some brainstorming courtesy of Pinterest, I realized how many fun opportunities there are for indoor parties. I decided to throw her a "Winter Garden Party" for her first big birthday party -- mostly because it meant I could make it feminine and flowery, and I know that one day soon, Little Lady will want to plan her own themes for her parties.

In the beginning stages of planning Norah's party, I thought we'd do a simple at-home party. Turns out there's no such thing. After renting tables, chairs, and linens from Marquee Event Group, coordinating decorations (homemade Mason jar drinking glasses, poms from Martha Stewart, glass drink dispensers borrowed from my friend Amy, paper bouquets left over from my friend Andi's wedding, and paper goods - like the "Happy Birthday" sign and "Norah" cake banner from my friend Jessica's Etsy shop), and planning the birthday menu (chicken salad on croissants, fruit-cheese tray, quiches, and a strawberry layer cake), it was quite the planning ordeal. And, because I'm a crazy person who thought she could go to the Dallas-based Cotton Bowl the day before the party, I *definitely* relied on the help of my family to coordinate the last details. My mom, dad, sister, and father- and mother-in-law have my eternal gratitude! (And Jacob was pretty helpful, too, of course.)

Even though I was exhausted by the end of the day, I wouldn't have done the party any other way. Thanks to those who came and celebrated with us! We had a blast, and I love that I have lots of photos to show Future Norah what a fun first birthday she had!