Vintage Travel 1st Birthday Party

17 April 2015

I would like to say that we keep it simple for birthday parties at our house, and compared to what you see on Pinterest, we certainly do.  But crafty people gotta craft.  So there is always a little something homemade at each of our kiddo birthday parties.  And for little man's 1st birthday, we took the vintage-y travel theme he has going on in his nursery as a cue.  (You can find the party invitation here.)

Big sister decided that we MUST make we did.  To top them, I cut out a pinwheel template from an old Houston map (does anyone use paper maps for getting around these days?), and hot glued the pinwheels together.

We have a wonderful friend who made Court's 1st birthday smash cake, and she was so generous to keep the tradition for Nathan.  It was a six inch, two-tier cake.  I found the idea for the clothespin airplane on Pinterest (where else?), and Jonny glued it together in no time.  The clouds decorations are craft felt glued to skewers (the cake clouds were fondant).

The birthday boy had a great time, despite being a little overwhelmed by all the people staring at him.

He never did 'smash' into his cake.  He didn't even pick at it until he got a fork in hand.  And his favorite part was feeding bites to Court.  Such a gentleman.

Gosh I love these kiddos!
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Family Name Subway Sign

13 April 2015

Genealogy nerds enthusiasts, get your paints out.  I have a project for you!

I have wanted one of those cool subway-style signs in our house for a while.  But we are not really modern, sleek black subway sign kind of people, and I couldn't for the life of me figure out what I wanted to put on it (old street names...we don't have good ones, cities we are from..., the 'burbs don't score high on the cool points, etc.).  But then, the family history nerd enthusiast in me came up with an idea.  I realized that we know the surnames of all of our great great grandparents (3x great grandparents to our kiddos), and I thought they would make neat pairings for the sign.

After looking up dozens of tutorials and Pinterest photos for examples, I settled on tearing up an old palette (thank you awesome neighbors), and using carbon paper to copy the lettering that I wanted.  This meant hand painting all of the names.  If it sounds tedious, it absolutely was.  I have a knack for finding the most convoluted ways to do easy projects.

I highly recommend looking up a tutorial on Pinterest, they are a dime a dozen on there.  But in case you have a lot of time to kill, and want to match the size, fonts, and colors to your exact specifications, then here is how I made this sign...

I am not going to lie, it does help to have a handy guy who likes to tinker.  Ripping apart palettes is not as easy as Pinterest would have you believe.  My better half did the whole tearing apart the palette and figuring out how to latch the good boards together again part.  But I am not sharing him, unless you bring me brownies.

I painted on the base coat of gray (Benjamin Moore's Kendall Charcoal), since stark black doesn't really fit our house.

After we had the dimensions of the wooden boards when latched together, I used MS Publisher to layout a poster the size of the boards.  I typed in the names, found the font I liked, and fit the text to fill the frame.

Because you needed to see this step, right?
I printed the sign off on multiple sheets of paper, then trimmed and taped them together.  After laying down sheets of carbon paper across the top of the boards, I taped down the names and started to trace the outlines.

After the tracing was done, I lifted the sheets up (carefully so I could double check that everything did get transferred), and began to paint in the letters using a tiny craft paint brush and some off-white 'oops' paint I got for a dollar at the paint store (yay!).  Y'all, I told you this wasn't the quick way to do it.  Make your beverage of choice, put on some good tunes, and get comfy.  It takes a while to fill in every letter.

After the white paint was finished, I went back through with my tiny brush and the gray background paint to clean up any letters that looked less-than-acceptable.  At the time, we were trying to teach my perfectionist daughter that things don't always have to be perfect.  She admonished me saying, "Mom, it just needs to be good enough, not perfect."  Touché baby girl, touché.  Nevertheless, each letter got a little touch up.

We hung the sign at the bottom of the stair landing using washers behind the screws to help it look intentional, and I have to say that I love it!  I love to see the history of our family every day.  I love that my kids will feel familiar with these names and hopefully hearing stories about where we come from will not be so abstract.

A contender for worst photography award.  It is a dark corner and we have had cloudy skies.  I tried, y'all.
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Vintage Travel First Birthday Invitation

04 April 2015

I have come to believe that homemade invitations are the best.  If you need examples, you can see Court's invitations here, here, and here

I used to search for the perfect invitation for hours, and if I found what I wanted it cost a fortune (hello letterpress!), and if I could afford it, it was never the right design.   In the time I spent searching, I could have just made something myself.  So I hopped onto PicMonkey and made this little invitation for our vintage travel birthday party.  I printed these out onto a textured vanilla-colored scrapbook paper that I cut down to size (to fit through the printer).  They looked pretty darn cute, even if I do say so myself.  

If you are looking to create something similar, here are the fonts that I used:

And if you need a reminder on how to download free fonts to your own computer, click here!

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Happy Easter Banner {Updated}

30 March 2015

I just love a white fireplace mantle, but sadly, when I first created this Easter Banner, ours was not a gleaming white focal point, but a 90's medium stained brown box that sat atop A LOT of dark red brick.

Yikes!  For a lot of reasons, yikes!

So I thought that I would give you a new look at this cute Easter banner.

So much prettier, right?

The original tutorial is here on the website.

The banner was made from cardstock (that I painted with craft paint to get the colors I wanted) and scrapbook papers (the cute pastel circles) that were sewn together on the sewing machine.  Then I attached it to the mantle with regular tape.  

If you are thinking that the 'S' in Easter looks upside down, you are correct; a fact I didn't notice until the second year we had it hanging.  Stay humble folks, no one is perfect!
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The Best {Little} Azaleas in Houston

25 March 2015

You know those people that post thousands of pictures of their cat as though you care about their cat?  I apologize in advance, but today I am that person.  But I have a strong dislike of cats (you know the whole life-threatening allergy thing), and so today, dear reader, I give you azaleas.  I know you care far more about what is for snack than about my flower beds, but having azalea beds has been a dream of mine since I read my first Southern Living, so your going to have to smile and nod here for a second.

If you are familiar with Southeast Texas, you know that these are shrimpy little baby azalea plants, but they have survived a couple of drought summers and freezing winters in their early years, and now they are a-bloomin'! the morning sunlight.

And be honest, a little pretty never ruined your day.
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