Friday, March 24, 2017

Feather Garland Tutorial

I'm pretty obsessed with this garland and how nicely it came together! Most garlands are a repeat of the same object, but because this whole party was PINK I wanted to added more elements so it wasn't so boring.
Different variations of strings helped make this come together and still look cohesive. Yes, they were all pink, but the varying textures and tones helped them stand out and become more interesting.

Gosh, it's been so long since I've done a tutorial! Here it goes! 

Tools you will need:
different colors/textures of yarn (because yarn is cheap)
baker's twine
any other types of string you can find - I happened upon some pom-pom string
hot glue 

1. First, take your yarn and make it as long as you need it to be for the desired space you'll be decorating.
2. Glue feathers together into bunches of 2-3 per bunch. Wait until they dry completely.
 3. Lay out your feather bunches on your piece of yarn so you know how far apart they need to be.
 4. Make yarn pom-poms. This tutorial here can show you how to make a pom-pom. I used a plastic gift card to wrap my yarn around which made this small pom-pom size. Be sure not to trim off the excess yarn and keep it about 2-3 inches long. You will use this to tie it to the garland. Trim off any other excess if you want to keep them all the same length.
 5. Gather your other supplies of various strings. Cut some pieces of tulle into rectangles which you can use to tie like pieces of string.
 6. Lay out where you'll want your various strings and pom-poms by each feather bunch. They will all have their own little group.

7. Use a piece of string to tie the bunch of feathers onto the piece of yarn. If it's too hard, just glue the feathers on and tie the string around the feathers. Again, glue if you need to.

8. Tie the pom-poms onto the yarn next to the feathers. Tie additional pieces of strings next to pom-poms and feathers.
9. Repeat with each feather bunch and your garland is done!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Flamingo Birthday Party

My daughter turned 5! and she has wanted a flamingo birthday party for months! I really thought it would be one of those ideas she'd change her mind around and toss around other ideas, but she really stuck to her guns! So when January rolled around (I like to plan early...) and I asked her what she wanted and it was the same, I rolled with it. Flamingos are so trendy and fun right now, I couldn't be happier! I mean, she's 5! She should be wanting character parties! but I got lucky. This was so fun.
We had the party in our basement apartment in my in-laws home, who we currently live with while my husband is going to school. My daughter and I had planned simple games which didn't require much space so we could stay indoors and in our little living quarters. Because the games were so simple, the spotlight was on the snack table. How do you dress up a table background without spending a small fortune? The answer is balloons and yarn, my friends. I'm going to break the cost down to you so you can see how I'm able to decorate and throw a party on a budget!

I grabbed a few bags of pink balloons for $1 each and two different colors of pink regular yarn at $2.50 each. I blew up the balloons to different sizes to create variety and taped onto the wall with masking tape or painters tape. Then I used this tutorial from Crafts Unleashed for the yarn tassel garland. I did my own small twist to the tassels by using different twines to tie off the middle part. I feel it gives more variety to the monochromatic pink scheme. I bought a spool of hot pink bakers twine from Target for $3 and a pink pom-pom spool at Target also for $3.

I will post a tutorial on how to make the feather garland because it was of my own invention. ;)

I used a plastic table cloth ($1) for the backdrop and folded it in half so it wouldn't be transparent. Those plastic table cloths are pretty see-through! I taped it to the wall so it would hold and then I added the balloons, then the garlands, "Happy Birthday," palm leaves, and paper "lanterns." The Happy Birthday banner was from Target. It was in their dollar spot for $3 that I had previous bought for a different party. I bought just 1 bunch of palm leaves from Hobby Lobby. It was on sale for $16, which is pricy for me considering they're just fake leaves, but I'm so glad I got them because they seriously made the finishing touch! I cut each leaf from the bunch and taped them behind balloons to hide the tape. The paper lanterns were from Target in a pack of 5 for $5 that I already had.

Total money spent so far is: $30
(notice I didn't take into account the Happy Birthday banner and paper lanterns)
The party was in the afternoon after school, so I knew the kids would probably be hungry for snacks.
I planned simple snacks that were healthy and had variety in case kids didn't like some of them. The snack cups had mini pretzels, dried apple slices and pink mini marshmallows in them. And then I served Veggie Sticks ($3) and cheese sticks ($4). I wanted to serve a drink that was pretty well contained which was why I chose to do Gatorade bottles (2 packs of 12 for $12). Juice boxes would serve the same purpose as well. I designed and printed out the bottle wraps.

Food Total: $19 
(I already had the pretzels, dried apple slices and marshmallows on-hand. It's great when you're able to use what you got!)

What I used to serve the food on were pink plates ($1), polka dot napkins, and pink straws ($1).

My daughter chose a strawberry cake ($1.50) and a vanilla frosting ($1.50). We already had the Legos and flamingo decorations. I got separate plates for the cake ($1) and forks ($1).

Total so far: $56

Now it's onto the party favors! These party favors cost more than I anticipated, but they turned out super cute so I'm not too upset over it. ;) I found these pink mini gift bags in the Target dollar spot (wow, aren't you surprised??!) where there were 6 for $3. I needed 12, so the bags were $6. This was where I wasn't anticipating spending so much on favor bags, but one of the games my daughter really wanted to play was the "Go Fish" game where you fish for prizes. I wanted the kids to be able to put their prizes into their favor bags so they wouldn't get lost. So we got the bags!

Inside the bags I had pink crinkle filler (which I made because I wanted to save money... and Target didn't have any in their dollar spot!) with two pieces of candy and a mini plastic flamingo figurine. I got a Valentine's candy mixed bag with 3 different types of candy on sale after Valentine's day (because it would've been pink! and cheaper) which was $2.50 and the mini flamingos were $0.59 cents each. I bought 20 and it was $17. I bought them online from The Big Zoo and had to pay a ridiculous amount of shipping... But it was the only place I could find that sold mini plastic flamingos in larger quantities! It's just crazy when the internet fails you, amiright???

On the outside of the favor bags I already had the pink feathers and the pink bakers twine was already mentioned. I designed the tags and printed them myself. I'm feeling like I should do a tutorial for these bags because the assembly of the feathers wasn't just a one step process.

Ok, so now our total is up to: $81.50

Now we move onto the flamingo centerpiece. What's a flamingo party without more flamingos?? I really wanted to get some of those plastic lawn flamingos, but this was friendlier on the budget. I found this tutorial from Frog Prince Paperie on how to make this flamingo. The glitter paper was $1 each for pink and black and the hot pink tissue paper was $1. I already had a small wooden rod and small flower pot I used for the base. The base was plastic and wasn't heavy enough to hold the flamingo up! So I taped it to a small can of pumpkin, covered it with palm leaves and all was good in the world. 

This added to the total makes it: $84.50
The games the kids played were: 
. Tissue paper art on a flamingo 
. Duck Duck Flamingo
. Who Can Stand Like a Flamingo the Longest?
. Limbo
. Go Fish

All of the activities were essentially free except Go Fish. I bought a blue plastic tablecloth ($1) to cover a small up-turned table and decorated it with green crepe paper to make it look like sea weed. I totally forgot to take a picture of it, but it wasn't super grand. If it were the highlight of the party I would've given it more detail. The prizes they fished for were candy and stickers. The candy was from the giant Valentine's bag I previously mentioned and I bought 1 pack of stickers ($1) which I cut up into fair pieces. I didn't have a fishing pole, but I made one with supplies I already had on-hand: a wooden rod, twine, and a clothespin. 

Total is up to: $86.50

Her party invitations were a hit! Everyone loved them and thought they were super cute. She loved them as well and it was actually the sole reason why she wanted a flamingo party! I already had the card stock and feathers, and I printed them myself. We didn't do envelopes.
The final party decorations are these pom-poms and tassel garlands I hung from the ceiling. The yarn was already mentioned and I got 2 different types of pink tulle ($2 each) to make the pom-poms out of. (Just Google it and there's a bazillion tutorials out there on how to make tulle pom-poms. I didn't need to add my version of it!) I hung them on the ceiling using masking tape because painter's tape would've been too distracting!

These two elements are so simple, yet, they really transformed the room into a magical party room! Every kid who stepped in had their eyes lit up from how fun they were. They do take time to make, but for someone on a budget, it was very pocket friendly.

Total so far: $90.50
I also had some crepe paper hung in the doorway and had made flamingo footprints leading all the way to our door! I did an Instastory of them, but totally forgot to take pictures!! The way to our basement door is kinda involved and I didn't want the kids getting lost in my in-law's giant garage, so all they needed to do was follow the footprints. PLUS I remember as a kid, most likely around this age of 5, where one of my friends had a puppy party and she had paw prints on her front walkway which led to her front door and I thought it was the greatest thing ever. I mean, it's been 20 years later and I still remember it! So, I dunno, maybe Avery's friends will remember following flamingo footprints 20 years later too.

I did need to buy extra orange paper for the footprints (I know, I should've done pink or black. What flamingo has orange feet??) so that cost me an extra $4 because I had to buy a huge pack of paper because I live in a small town with very limited options.

So here I will leave you with my grand party total: $94.50.

Some of you may think that's a lot and some of you may feel it's a steal! But I hope by breaking it down you were able to see what goes into a party like this. None of it was catered or I didn't rent out tables and chairs or a venue, but I also didn't just throw up crepe paper and call it good (which is totally fine if you do this!! You do you - it's about balance and I'm not about to mom-shame anyone who throws parties like that! ;). I just did what I felt was important and made it into a themed party.

Each party is different and has different needs, but I am confident I can plan a party for under $100. I've done it every time I've thrown a party except for the times I had an actual meal. (Real food requires more money, but it was still done as cheaply as possible.) I hope this served you as some quality party inspiration for your next birthday party and if you need an extra hand, please don't hesitate to ask me! I would love to help you plan your party and if you need a quote, just e-mail me and I'll be able to let you know what I can do for you!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Dr. Seuss Party Package

In light of Dr. Seuss's birthday on Thursday, I thought I'd share a Dr. Seuss birthday party package I did for a client! All of the food was themed from the books and were very clever, but my favorite part was this cute little poem:
Dr. Seuss is one of those people who have given so much to the world and have made a difference for the greater good. I loved his books growing up and love them just as much reading them to my kids.

A month or so ago my daughter wanted to watch Horton Hears a Who, so after it was over I decided to watch the extras which are available on the DVD. There was a small clip of Dr. Seuss's life and how people had always thought his ideas were crazy and didn't think he'd ever get very far in life. His wife commented how he was always sketching odd things and would make up funny words. Little did she know how much his peculiar imagination would create an such an empire in Children's Literature. His books they truly are timeless and I'm so grateful for the people who believe in themselves and have the guts enough to block out everyone else and do what they love.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Will "Zoo" Be My Valentine? + A Valentine Freebie!

I feel like with kid's allergies on the rise and parent's worried about too much candy, non-food valentine's are a way to go.

These little zoo animal valentine's are a cute alternative to the average candy hearts. I found these plastic animals at Target where there were also small tubs of sea animals and dinosaurs.
Print out my free printable for the valentines, cut out, glue animals using hot glue or glue dots. Feel free to add some baker's twine before gluing.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

2017 Resolutions?

I've been putting off this post for awhile now for two reasons: 1. I was hoping I would get over it and get back to normal soon and 2. I'm being real and showing a weakness and I don't want everyone knowing about my flaws! But for the few and true readers I have, I owe an explanation to you.

So I'll just go ahead and say it: I'm not sure I want to keep going with my Etsy business.

There. It's out.

I really do love designing and creating things, that is my passion, but I'm starting to question if it's really worth it.

Is this worth not being able to spend as much time with my kids and be fully present? Is it worth not being able to fully emotionally support my husband? I'm not really making any money, so is the payback worth sacrificing my time away from my family??

Every blogger who has made it big will admit they were not present with their families and took a lot of time away from them so they could exert all of their energy on their work. Every. Single. One. (Trust me, I did a lot of research this year.) I know success comes from hard work and I'll admit I wasn't working to the core, but I still worked hard and feel like a failure because I still feel like I'm at square one.

Well, square two because I have learned so much, but I haven't progressed forward.

Last year I put a lot of effort into getting into festivals and craft shows and worked hard to get my inventory/booth set up ready for those shows. It's stressful and it really takes a lot of time and I don't even make things that take hours to make! (Like pottery or handbags.) I really love preparing for these shows, but the financial outcome isn't worth the time. If I started actually making money, I'll be honest, I think it would be worth it, but right now, I'm really questioning if this is my path.

I also made a lot of different items other than prints and was really hoping that would help me take off. Maybe it's because people don't love them or maybe it's because I'm not getting enough exposure?? It's so hard to pinpoint what my issues are with my products. I'll get a lot of positive feedback, but I'm not making a profit, so I'm really at a loss with what my problem is.

This past year I've listened to and watched countless webinars, podcasts and YouTube videos brought on by really amazing and worthwhile people who really do have information to offer and help. I really believe they were never telling me lies and that all of the information was true and what helped them "make $100,000 in 1 year." In all seriousness, they were excellent sources for my research and not scammers. Their successes were true and worked for them. I've tried to implement their advice and I know I'm not doing everything right, but I feel like what I am doing should make some sort of difference and frankly, it's not.

And I don't even want to go into all of the time it takes to market and take photos and the different advertising I tried...  And the stress of needing to post everyday! The time you have to spend on Instagram and Pinterest is insane in order to obtain and keep a following! Every big blogger says they spend at least an hour a day on Instagram so they can grow their following..! It blows my mind! These people really have worked hard to get where they're at and I'm really impressed with their stamina because one year of this has blown me out of the water.

What I want for my business is what you could say is maybe the new American dream, to make the quality of my life better. I want to help my family out financially so we can do more things together. As much fun as I have designing and creating things, it really boils down to making money to make it worth my time and that's why I'm so discouraged. I'm discouraged my hard work hasn't paid off and it has literally left me exhausted and wiped out.

This whole post probably sounds like I'm whining and making excuses, but I guess that's really what it's come to be! Haha! I'm tired and exhausted from working hard and not seeing results. So with the new year I've found it really hard to stay motivated when all I'm thinking in the back of my head is, "I don't want another year like 2016." I don't want to put so much of my energy and time into nothing. 2017 for me will probably turn out to be my "Make it or break it year." If I don't make any progress this year, I'm thinking I'll call it quits. Which is totally making me cringe to type out. I don't like quitting. I don't like excuses. But with a family, I feel like I need to choose one or the other because I can't keep teetering and holding them on my string.

Wow, this feels so good to get out.

Moving on.

So as I'm going through this phase of needing a break (if it is a phase...), just know I will not really be posting much on here. I won't be offended if you don't want to follow me anymore. Who you want to follow and spend your time on is totally up to you, which is why I felt compelled to give a heads up on why I won't be very active on my blog, FaceBook and Instagram. There have been bloggers I've followed and then realized they haven't posted something for over a year and I'm like, "Why am I still following this person??" So I'm just trying to be honest and courteous!

I am, however, still very much interested in client work. As of right now, that's where I feel like my focus should be going, opposed to having an Etsy shop with goods I've made and want to sell. I've gotten back to making my website and I'm having it catered more to my freelance designing. I have no idea when it'll be done, but it is something I am working on and is one of my resolutions for this year. So feel free to email me if you want to work with me!

Also, can I just say how nice it has been to just read in my spare time?? Maybe all I really do need is a big break!

Until next post (whenever that is), take care! And I hope 2017 is good to all of us!