Monday, September 19, 2011

Starry Night

I like to do a lot of crafts. I love to sew. Sometimes I catch the crochet bug. Occasionally I bake. The craft I've like to do the longest, however, is cross stitch. David got me into cross stitching, believe it or not. Back when we were first dating and he would actually go to Hobby Lobby with me, he convinced me to buy a cross stitch kit that was on the clearance sidewalk sale. I needed something to do on the drive to South Padre and he said he would help me with it. I never did finish that project but I did develop a fascination. Suddenly all I wanted to do was look at patterns and buy floss. I made a blanket for my nephew, a framed name for my friend's birthday, and I started a blanket for my first niece. I'm telling you, I was obsessed for a while.
Something else I've always loved- van Gogh paintings. Now I know I am not the only one here. My favorite one of all time is Starry Night. I did a copy of it in art senior year. We had to use construction paper in a unique way to reproduce a painting. First time I got an A I think, lol.
About a year ago I was looking online for free cross stitch patterns. I may love to do it but I do not love to pay for the patterns! I found this site. She not only has Starry Night but also Fourteen Sunflowers, another awesome van Gogh painting. In fact I tried to do that one once, I think I got two pages in and then all I could see was yellow, and I had to stop, lol. So, I decided I would have a go at Starry Night. As much as I love this painting, I figured I would really keep with it better. And I did. I managed to complete an entire page, and a good portion of the main black tree thing. I was going along at a great pace. Soccer practice makes for a great time for stitching. I did goof and got the wrong size canvas. Actually, I was so anxious to start that I just grabbed the canvas I had on hand, 11 count aida I think. I realized that it wouldn't be big enough but figured I could just add more canvas as needed.
After roughly 3 months of working on it, this is how far I got. Looking pretty good, right? You can see at the bottom that I was going to have to add some height to it. That was the bottom of row two and there are 3 rows. But that wasn't going to be a problem. I was quite happy with it all.
 Then, I left it out on my chair one day. Generally I fold it back up, put it back in the Ziploc baggie with the pattern, and put it in my purse. But that day I didn't. You see, my dog Max seems to be going through a phase right now. Even though he hasn't been a teething puppy for some time, he wants to chew on everything. He was a perfect dog for months. I never had to worry about him chewing on anything. I could leave my best shoes out and he wouldn't touch them. Then, Sadie had the puppies. Don't worry, I'll post about them later. All of a sudden, nothing is safe around here, and we don't even have the puppies anymore. Anyway, back to the stitching. I came home that day and had a heart attack. You see, Max had a craving that day. A craving for floss, paper, plastic, and aida cloth. Not only did he chew a few holes in my canvas, he ate the pattern, he ate the floss that was in the baggie, and he somehow got ahold of the organizer box that some of my floss was in, and chewed a hole through it and the floss inside. To say I was mad is an understatement. I was as mad at myself as I was at Max though. I knew better but thought it'd be ok. I was only going to be gone for a little bit, after all. Ha!

Can you see the hole?
At first I thought I could work with it. I figured I would just lay another piece of cloth under it and stitch it all together. But no, that didn't work. Not to mention, I no longer had a pattern. I had to reprint it, and therefore remark it all. I got so frustrated that I took a picture and then chucked it. And then, I started over again. I've done a few things differently this time. First off, I made grid lines. Or, I marked where each page is, with the dotted lines marking every ten stitches, just like the pattern. 

About 2 weeks in.

This is going to take me forever. As you can see, I made the same mistake here that I did last time. Only, I will have to add length instead of height. That I can do though. These pictures were taken almost a month ago, so I've gotten much more done since then, but it is still a process.

Carnival Time!

Ok, so maybe I'm a few months behind in posting this, but better late than never right? My kids birthdays are one month and one day apart so I have been throwing one joint party for them for the last few years. It was hard this year as they each wanted their own party so this'll probably be the last. I had to think long and hard for this one and finally came up with a carnival theme. They were letting me do one party so I figured I better make it worth their time.
For the invitations I used a template I found online (can't remember where, sorry!) and just filled out the inportant stuff. I needed about 80 of these so I had to find a DIY way to do these. I was able to fit about 8 per page and used cardstock so that they would be more durable.

I knew I wanted to have various games for the kids to play, so I chose a bean bag toss, a ball toss, and a pick-a-ducky game. David sprained his ankle really badly in May so my budget for the party was severely limited and I wound up making most of the games myself. I already had a bucket for the ducks, so I just bought rubber duckies at the Dollar Tree and colored the bottoms different colors for different prizes. For the ball toss, I used a package of plastic cups and a bag of small plastic balls, about the size of golf balls. I had some scrap wood on hand and had David cut one down to a rectangle for me. After I painted it white I just hot glued the cups to the board. I layed it flat at the end of a long table and had the kids stand at the other end to throw the balls.
The only game I have a picture of is the bean bag toss. I just happened to have a square board on hand, about 4'x4'. My dad cut out 5 holes for me, added a stand on the back, and painted it white. Once I got it I just painted a large star on it. You can tell that I am not meant to be an artist, lol!

For prizes, I did spend a bit of money, but I knew I had to have a lot of prizes or I would be in trouble! I wound up in the dollar aisle at Michaels and found quite a few things for the kids to color and make. Then I got a few party favors at the Dollar Tree, you know, stuff like noise makers and small toys. Pinata stuff really. That still wasn't enough, so I tried my hand at making play dough, which was super easy!! I think I just Goolgled play dough recipe and found so many options. I think I wound up making two large batches and that got me something like 20 bags of play dough. I tried to do bright colors and I used glitter in about half of it. I got absolutely no pictures of the whole prize/candy table and I am so mad at myself for that.

I decided to do a red/yellow/blue color theme for everything. I bought several 8x10 frames at the Dollar Treen (love that place!) and painted them all with a different design, then used them as my table signs. I used a circus font and my program and made signs for everything. One for the goody bag table, one for the food table, and one for the prize table. I then used card stock and, using the same color/font combo mde signs to tape to the games. Again this is the only pic I took.

I also made sucker stars. If ever I could really kick myself for not taking a picture! At least you can see them without the suckers in them. Just picture them with suckers stuck every which way in the tops. I used dum dums and blow pops, about 100 of them! These were on the candy table. I wound up buying about 18 bags of cotton candy, and split those up into something like 40 bags. I used plastic cups and filled them with smarties, jaw breakers, and strawberry candies.


I bought a bunch of brown paper sacks for kids to use for goody bags and to keep their prizes in. I even went so far as to buy stickers and markers so that they could decorate them. Then I realized that some of the prizes wouldn't fit in those bags, so I did some stash busting and made the goody bags instead. I think I made about 30 all together.

I used the brown paper sacks for popcorn instead. We popped about 10 bags of popcorn and split each one into two bags so that everyone could have a snack. We did simple hot dogs, hamburgers and chips for the food, which worked really well. Then there was the cake. Cake is the most important part of the whole party and I really wanted it to be awesome. I did tons of searching, trying to find a cool themed cake that I could do. I found a few hot dog cakes, a few hamburgers, and a few popcorn cakes. I settled on a popcorn cake and got to work. I made a red/blue/yellow cake. I just used a white cake mix, spilt it into three, colored each bowl, then poured it all together to bake. It came out really neat. I found a recipe online somewhere for marshmallow fondant and thought I would give that a try. I am by no means a cake decorator and wanted something reletively easy. While this was indeed easy, it was really hard to color. We must have added an entire bottle of red food coloring, kneaded for about an hour, and all we got was this pink color. Not the best but the kids absolutely loved it and it did taste great!

Then, the best for last. I wanted to do a photo booth for the party. I can't even tell you how much searching I did online for how to do this. I couldn't figure out a way to allow everyone to take their own pictures. I only have one camera and I wanted to have it on me at all times, so everyone just took their own. I would stop for a few minutes and snag a few kids. My sister-in-law is a great photographer so she would man it most of the time. I found some chalkboard stickers at Michaels on clearance and stocked up. I wound up sticking them to foam board and then cutting them out with my Xacto knife. After hot gluing posicle sticks to the backs I had about 20 signs for people to write on. I bought a few pairs of funny glasses, printed out some glasses and mustaches and lips, glued to sticks, and instantly had props. For the booth itself, I have my dad to thank. He works for a carpet cleaning/fire restoration business and once upon a time they did mold restoration. They would have to set up a little containment area to change into their special suits before going under the houses. Back then my husband worked for them and, since he is 6'4", they had to make it extra tall. It was a simple PVC frame, not exceptionally big, but just the right size for a photo booth. I bought a twin sized sheet at Walmart for $2 and a queen sized sheet at Value Village for $2, opened up the top hems, and threaded the top pipes through to make the sides of the booth. The kids and adults had lots of fun posing and being silly.

Me (in blue) and my SILs

Two of my nieces

Amelia and her best friend

This was by far the best party I've ever thrown and I am slightly bummed that we probably won't do one again. We all had so much fun and, while I have no pictures of all the things I made, I do have tons of pictures of everyone there, and they all have smiles in them.