Monday, September 30, 2013

I must love my boys...Student Council, Fancy Pants

Hello! We had a busy, busy week, and even busier weekend. I have a new sister! I'll share wedding details tomorrow, including a few DIY projects I had the privilege of contributing :).

Colten, my oldest, tells me Tuesday morning before school, "Mom - I'm running for student council president. Posters were supposed to go up yesterday." Yesterday?! How long have you known this?! Apparently, since Friday. Grrrr. So, we took a couple of minutes to search Pinterest for good campaign slogans. He picked one and I added the supplies to the day's wedding prep shopping list: "Don't blow it! Chews Colten Buys for president!" Luckily, Colten didn't have much homework that afternoon, so we got to work. First, a photo shoot:

Second, I set him up with my Silhouette Cameo. I laid everything out on the computer, but he did the rest - loading the cardstock and the mat, clicking cut, etc. He hates pulling the leftover cardstock off of the mat as much as I do ;). I helped glue down the letters and the photos, but he laid it all out on the posters for me. Lastly, he glued on the empty bubble gum packages and wrote out the rest of the words. The next morning, we got to school early and helped him put them up all over campus.

There was some drama with kids tearing off the empty gum packages, and accusations of Colten passing out the gum for votes, but Colten rose above it all and did his best to enjoy the process. Oh, the joys of politics! As much as that tough stuff hurts this mama's heart, I was happy to see him learning from the experience. The results came in Friday, and...he did it! We referred to Colten as Mr. President often during the weekend ;).

Raising these boys is definitely an adventure, a journey bringing lots of craziness - and happiness, too. I'm up on the Fancy Pants Designs blog today with a mini album all about them and their journey. To see more, and to read about how easily it came together, check out the Fancy Pants Designs blog here.

Thanks for stopping by, and remember - come back tomorrow for some DIY wedding projects!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Train Concert - SEI

About a month ago, Josh and I went to the Train concert here in Sacramento. We went with my sisters (one of whom was 8 months preggo at the time) and my brother and their significant others. It was so much fun! Not only had I finally started to be "over" the constant morning sickness, but a date night was long overdue.

Anyway, I only had this one good shot of the two of us before the concert started, and I wanted a great paper to pair it with for a layout. While looking through my SEI papers, I found this one in the Blossoms and Blooms line - perfection!

I embellished with stitching...

...and cut pieces of patterned papers from various other SEI lines to add some flair to some of the diagonals.

For more details, you can see my post at SEI today. Thanks for stopping by :). Tessa

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Gender Reveal Question Mark Pinata Tutorial - Part Three: Decorating

Welcome to the last part of my pinata tutorial! If you've just stumbled upon this post but would like to see the process from start to finish, here's...

Part One: Cutting Out the Pieces

Part Two: Assembly

Because I was making a yellow pinata, I was afraid that the cardboard would show through the yellow crepe paper that I planned to attach. So, I spray painted my pinata yellow. I highly suggest this step if you are using light colors. However, you could skip it altogether. Just my personal preference ;). And if you are the expecting Mama, have someone else spray paint for you, or, at the very least, do it outside with plenty of protection.

While I was doing research before starting this project, I saw several pinatas that were covered in circles of tissue paper or crepe paper. I loved the scalloped look those circles gave the pinatas, so I opted for that style over the traditional fringe (although I love the fringe, too!). To create my circles I used my Big Kick die-cut machine, my Sizzix circle die, and about 1 2/3 small rolls of crepe paper streamer. If you have access to this machine and die, here's how to make the process of die-cutting oodles of circles as quick as possible.

First, accordion fold the streamer until you have about a dozen or so layers.

Place the folded streamer over the circle you want to cut. This 1.5 inch circle was perfect.

Run through the machine and voila! You have circles! Repeat, over and over and over again.

Note: If you don't have a die-cut machine, you could use a sharp pair of scissors to hand-cut your circles. I would still accordion fold the streamer, and I suggest using a circle template to get nice, round circles. Or, for simplicity, use rectangles! Just trim rectangles off of the streamer in uniform widths. I think that's what I'd like to try next time ;).

To attach the circles, I use Helmar 450 glue - a clear, liquid, quick-dry glue. Starting at the bottom of the question mark, I laid down a line of glue about an inch from the bottom. I pressed four, overlapping circles into the glue. Because the glue was just at the top of the circles, the circles had a little bit of a fringe effect. I repeated the glue and stick process all the way up the straight part of the question mark, overlapping the rows by about a quarter of an inch. For the curved part of the question mark, I started gluing and sticking on the outside edge, then I worked my way to the inside edge.

At this point, before covering the sides and bottom, I attached my dot to the question mark. I had toyed with the idea of stringing the dot to the question mark with fishing line, but my boys told me they were going to aim for the dot first. So, we super-glued the dot to the bottom instead. That way, breaking off the dot didn't potentially open up the pinata. I couldn't make it that easy for them!

The sides of the pinata were the easiest - just rows of three circles each. I covered the dot with the same process and the pinata was finished!

To hang, I tied ribbons and tulle in a big bow to the top of the pinata (triple knotting so that the bow wouldn't untie from the rope around the tree).

All in all, I'd say I spent about $10, and it took about five hours of leisurely-paced work. It was a fun project to do while enjoying my sun-dappled yard on these cooler, early-fall mornings. The pinata was the center attraction of our gender reveal party, and I'm so glad I took the time to make my own. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them as comments and I'll be sure to reply. I hope you enjoyed my tutorial! Thanks for stopping by! Tessa

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Gender Reveal Question Mark Pinata Tutorial - Part Two: Assembly

If you're looking for a tutorial to make your own gender reveal pinata in the shape of a question mark, you've found the right place :). If you haven't read part one yet, be sure to do so here. That's where you'll find a complete materials needed list and the instructions for cutting out your pieces.

Your pieces should be cut and ready to assemble. Get out your masking tape and utility scissors. Take your first strip and begin working it back and forth in your hands, softening up the cardboard. You want the cardboard to bend easily around the curves, so take your time to finesse the corrugated paper.

Hold the strip up against one side of the question mark. Take a piece of masking tape and attach the strip as shown. Continue taping, every couple of inches or so, until you reach the end of your strip. 

It just so happened that the end of my strip fell right about where I wanted my hole to be for filling the pinata. I cut a tab into the end of the next strip. 

I overlapped the strips by the length of the tab plus another half inch, then began taping the strip to the question mark. I tested the closure to make sure it worked well, then left the tab out for the rest of the assembly and decorating process.

Note: If you want to attach a loop or a hook, plan to do so while you're attaching the strip. I chose not to include a loop or hook because I wanted to hang my pinata by ribbon. Because I didn't try, I have no advice or suggestions for you. I would imagine you need to consider that the cardboard pinata is a bit heavy, especially filled, so your attachment will need to be heavy-duty.

To begin a new strip, simply overlap your strips by a quarter of an inch or so, and continue on. Tape the seam securely. When you get to the straight parts of your question mark, don't prep the cardboard by bending it. You will, however, want to crease the strips at any corners prior to attaching it with tape. An alternative to creasing is to cut your strips down to the exact size of the edges. Use plenty of tape to cover your seams, and keep in mind that this method may make your pinata a bit weaker.

Once you have the strips attached to one side of your question mark, attach the other side of the question mark with tape.

I used the exact same process on the dot. The strip just needed a little extra finessing to be really round.

And there you have it! 

It's not pretty, though, so be sure to read the next part of my tutorial, Part Three: Decorating, for how to dress it up. Feel free to ask any questions you may have in the comments and I'll be sure to reply. Thanks for stopping by and have a great day! Tessa

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Gender Reveal Question Mark Pinata Tutorial - Part One: Cutting Out the Pieces

This pinata was the highlight of our gender reveal party (see this post here). When looking for ideas of how to reveal the gender of our baby to her three big brothers, I came across the pinata idea on Pinterest. I knew my boys would really enjoy breaking it open to reveal pink candy for a girl or blue candy for a boy. I decided that I wanted the shape of my pinata to be a question mark. I found question mark pinatas for sale, but I wanted something a little more unique than I was seeing. Plus, I knew I'd enjoy making my own. So, I did some research on making pinatas. I found this tutorial to be very helpful and it became the basis for my process. If you'd like to make your own, follow along!

Materials Needed:

1) Two large, flat pieces of cardboard. My pinata was 3" high, about 1.5" feet wide, and 2.5" deep. I used a box that a replacement front-loading dryer door was shipped in.

2) A craft knife. Use a new blade. You'll thank me later.

3) A tough pair of scissors. Don't use your sewing scissors. I used our utility scissors.

4) A pencil and whatever other things you'll need to draw your question markI used a ruler, a large mixing bowl, a handmade compass (string/pencil/thumbtack), and a large mug.

5) A roll of masking tape. If you want your pinata to hold up to a real beating, use duct tape. Our pinata took about 6 good hits to break open.

6) Spray paint. If your pinata is covered with a darker color than yellow, you could probably skip this step.

7) Crepe paper streamers. I went through about 150 feet of streamer (about 1 and 2/3 small rolls).

8) Manual die-cut machine and circle die (or sharp scissors and a circle template). I used a Big Kick machine and a circle die by Sizzix.

9) Liquid adhesive. I used Helmar 450 glue.

10) Super glue. I'm not entirely sure what kind of glue my husband used to glue the dot to the question mark, but it held up great (until a bat hit it!).

11) Ribbon to hang the question mark from. You could also install some sort of hook, but I liked the look of ribbon better. Just personal preference.

First, draw your question mark on one piece of cardboard. I traced a large mixing bowl for my inner curve. To create the outer curve, I made my own compass. Secure a string to the center of your curve with a thumbtack. Tie a pencil to the end of the string, placing it so that when vertical, the pencil would draw a line 2.5 inches wider than the original curve. Draw the outer curve. Remove the compass. Use a ruler to draw the straight parts of the question mark. Trace a large mug to create the dot.

Next, cut out your question mark. Be as precise as possible. I used my craft knife for the most part, then used the scissors to clean up some edges.

When your first question mark (the front of your pinata) is cut out...

(big brother photo bomb!)

...use the negative space in your cardboard as a template to draw your second question mark (the back of your pinata). This way, your front and back are as perfectly the same as possible.

Next, cut strips from your leftover cardboard for the edges of your pinata. My strips were 2.5 inches wide and I needed four that were 3 feet long.

Now you have your components and it's time to assemble. See Part Two: Assembly for those instructions. Thanks for stopping by! Tessa

Monday, September 9, 2013

It's a Girl!

Jaxon went first, taking off the dot...

Colten followed. Daddy played a trick on him and raised the pinata up so he missed the first time ;).

Then, Carson whacked that question mark apart to reveal...

Pink! It's a girl!

All five of us are thrilled! Three boys and one girl. I've never felt more "complete" in my life. I cannot wait for Adlyn Grace join us :). Even though we had triple digit heat, family joined us in one of our local parks to celebrate :). 

I went with a yellow and green color palette and a "Bow Ties or Bouquets?" theme. I pulled the decorations from my home, using several vintage pieces that I received from women in my family. I was sure to put this doily at the center because it belonged to Adlyn's namesake, my husband's grandmother (Grace).

I also used a cake stand, vase and tin box from my mother and a napkin holder from my grandmother. For the treats, I made brownies - Oreo and Samoa. I topped each one with a felt rose, bow tie, or heart.

I also made Strawberry Shortcake and Banana Cream Pie in jars. I topped each jar with a circle of patterned paper. I used various yellow designs from DCWV, Crate Paper and Echo Park.

As guests arrived we asked them to choose a bow tie to wear if they thought it was a boy, and a flower to wear if they thought it was a girl. Three people thought boy :). Everyone else voted girl!

Tomorrow I will share how I made the pinata. It was a little time-consuming, but it wasn't hard and I thought it was worth it. 

Oh! And I have a winner to reveal! If you left a gender guess on this blog post, I put your name in a hat and pulled: WENDY! Congrats! Please email me at precociouspaper (at) yahoo (dot) com with your contact information and I'll ship some goodies out to you right away :).

Thanks for stopping by, and have a wonderful day! Tessa