Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Simple Spring Wreath

Look what I made!
This simple spring wreath came together literally in minutes, using only the leftover crepe paper flowers I had on hand after the 'Belles and Beaus Ball' and a grapevine wreath I had dismantled after Thanksgiving last year.  We made these amazing blooms ourselves (how clever are we?) and you can read all about how to make them here too, but you could certainly do the same with store-bought silk flowers.  I think what really makes this wreath stand out is the use of a single color/flower on the entire wreath.  I have been looking for something to take me from Spring through the first part of summer and I thihk this is it!
Since these flowers were made on floral picks, I didn't even have to secure them with hot glue.  I simply stuck them into the grapevine wreath and hung it up outside.  Super cinchy as Sheep would say!
I have a new banner out flont on my tree and a planter box stake, both with a butterfly on them, so i am considering adding a single butterfly to the wreath just to tie it all together.
What do you think?
It's already the last week of school around here for us, so I'll be welcoming summer as well as my houseguests with this little number!
Well, Hello!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Lo-Cost Cardboard Column Tutorial

As you know, I recently coordinated an Old South-themed 'Belles and Beaus Ball' for our Girl Scout service unit!  And one of the projects our committee came up with to help transform our event space (a large metal building that was once used as an airplane hangar) into a southern plantation for our soiree was a set of columns to flank the stage.
Now if you have ever shopped for columns or priced column rentals then you know that these babies can be very pricey and a rental would have to be returned.  Any way we sliced it, ready-made columns were just not going to be 'using our resources wisely,' so we had to come up with something else!
Luckily, I have a very dear friend in the construction business that I knew might be able to help and I was right!  Yippee!
He suggested I take a look at these:
These are cardboard concrete forms that are approximately (I emphasize it because it turned out to be quite important) 8" in diameter and 4' high.  Just for reference, a similar sized column around here would rent for about $25.00 each (ouch!) and they'd be ours for only one night!
The cardboard forms were a mere $7.00 each, so here's where I went with it:
Using inexpensive plastic pots for the top and the bottom, I was able to mimic the look of a roman column with the turned rim.  I envisioned screwing the pot rims to small wooden bases to make them more sturdy and allow us to fill/weight the bottoms of the columns with sand to prevent tipping.
And here's the mock-up at Home Depot, who was kind enough to donate all the supplies for this project (including the ferns on top), so it ended up being 'no-cost' columns for us!

As you can see from the first picture, we simply painted all the pieces white and them assembled them at the event center!  They were lightweight for transporting and have already been used again at our service unit bridging ceremony!
I mentioned earlier that the diameter of these cardboard forms was an issue - because when choosing your pot, the diameter of the column will determine how far down your pot will seat in the form.  it turns out that the two we originally had were not actually the same diameter, which would have made one of the finished columns noticeably taller than the other.  We solved the problem by exchanging one for another at a different store to get two that were closer in diameter, but afterwards I realized that it could have been solved by getting a smaller diameter pot instead and that might have been even easier.  I found the best plastic pots for this project at Dollar Tree because they ended up being very forgiving on the column diameter and had a larger rounded lip that looked better on the column than the one in the mock up in my opinion.  Also, the least expensive HD pot in the size and configuration that we needed was about $2.50 and the ones at Dollar Tree were obviously only a dollar!
These were a great addition to our 'Plantation Party' but could be put to use for lots of other things as well, so I'm really happy that they worked out!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Fun Photoshoot!

What a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon!
A few weeks ago, Sheep was asked by our local photographer and friend Trish over at Imaging Studios if she would like to try our for a commercial they were going to be shooting for a nearby restaurant and boutique children's clothing store.  You've seen her fabulous work before when she photographed Sheep in my wedding dress last year.  But Sheep is not one to care about what she wears and is downright ANTI-hairdo, so I didn't think this would really be up her alley, but surprisingly, she said yes.  So we showed up at the casting call and voila - she was picked!
So we showed up at the cutest children's boutique called Little Closets, that specialized in all things ruffled, sequined and otherwise just plain adorable, to find the perfect party dress for my little princess!  And even though she has told me more than once, "I'm not one of those diva girls mom!" Sheep seemed to really enjoy trying on all the frilly frocks until she found just the right one!  I added some bling to one of her bows and we were set for Sunday!
Ooh La La Crepes is a petite bistro in Alvin serving delicious, French-inspired fare, including crepes both savory and sweet!  This day they were throwing a birthday party for for my pretty partygoer (and about nine other girls between the ages of 6 and 10) while the papparazzi snapped away!!  It included decorating their own biscotti and making their own dessert crepe!  They also got to dig through a treasure chest of tiaras, hats, beads and boas - so much fun!
And though the moms were kindly asked to sit on the other side of the restaurant during the shoot, we were treated to discounted menu items and mimosas courtesy of another mom at the shoot!  I drug my mom along and made it a girls' day out for everyone!
These local businesses went over and above to make sure the girls and their families enjoyed the afternoon and I know they will do the same for you.  So if you've got a birthday or other special occassion , why not celebrate at Ooh La La Crepes in a special something from Little Closets boutique?!  You'll be glad you did!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Crepe Paper Magnolias

Aren't they beautiful?!
And honestly, you can't even tell they aren't the real thing - now how awesome is that?
We (I say we, but it was really me) had a need for inexpensive magnolias to incorporate into our centerpieces for the Belles and Beaus Ball last month and even on sale or using coupons, silk flowers were out of our budget.  Unfortunately for her Luckily, my good friend and partner-in-crime Kristi found a paper magnolia tutorial on Martha Stewart crafts that you can watch here.  And once I saw it, I knew that no other flower options would do for my 'Old South' themed soiree!
Finding the crepe paper was a bit of a challenge so I will save you the trouble of driving to all of your local craft stores, paper/scrapbook stores and florists because they just don't have it - okay?!  Go ahead and head on over to eBay where the lovely Michael from Italian Paper People will hook you up for a very reasonable price and with some free shipping too!
And you are going to love, love, love this paper!  It was so easy to work with and I can't wait to try it on some other projects!
Anyway, it comes on 8' rolls that are approximately 20" wide, so we had to do a lil' cipherin' to figure out how many flowers we would be able to squeeze out of our paper rolls for the tables.  We needed about 100 flowers to cover everything and we ended up using 4 rolls, including 3 rolls for petals and one partial roll for the flower centers.  We were also on a time table, so ordering more paper in advance of the dance wasn't an option.  Fortunately, with just a few modifications from the original tutorial, we were able to get the job done with magnolias to spare!
Martha's Modified Magnolia Tutorial
  • Italian crepe paper in yellow and creme,white or pink
  • Template for petals and stamens
  • 6" wired floral picks (Michael's)
  • Brown or green floral tape
  • Scissors
  • Scotch tape
  1. Watch Martha's tutorial a couple of times.
  2. Don't freak out and look somewhere else - this is the best paper magnolia out there!
  3. Skip bleaching your paper and just buy the color you want.  Down here in Texas, I'd never seen pink magnolia blossoms before anyhoo!
  4. Use your rotary cutter and mat to make quick work of cutting your petals.  I was able to cut through about three thicknesses easily using these tools.
  5. Since I wasn't bleaching, I found that I was able to get a 5" petal out of a strip that was only 1.5" rather than 2", which gave me some extra paper for more petals.  Also, this paper is very forgiving, so a little less was no problem, especially for the smaller petalled flowers (see below).
  6. Don't be afraid to make flowers of different sizes.  I modified the 5" petal template to a 4" petal template so we were able to make more flowers with less paper.  We ended up with a mix of both 5" and 4" petalled flowers on our tables - beautiful!
  7. A tiny piece of scotch tape will hold your rolled paper stamen together while you add your petals so you can save your wire to wrap around the petals and stamen, securing them together.
  8. Nine petals seemed to look just a good as 12, which also meant more flowers and less to fiddle with trying to hold all together until you can get it wired.
  9. Floral tape is pretty inexpensive, so don't use it sparingly on these flowers.  It's a little tricky to get the hang of, but you will!
  10. We found that cutting and stretching lots of petals first, then assembling the flowers really sped up the process and I was able to enlist the help of my Brownie scout for this part, which is always more fun!
In addition to being beautiful, these crepe paper flowers were very durable as well and we ended up with most of them intact at the end of a very fun-filled evening!  All in all, they ended up costing us about 50 cents each, so it was well worth the effort!
Sharing this sassy idea at Under the Table and Dreaming, Totally Overflowing with Creativity, Three Mango Seeds, Classy Cutter, Serenity You, House of Hepworth, Skip to my Lou, LadyBug Blessings, Nap Time Creations, The Style Sisters, Polkadots on Pararde, Rae Gun Ramblings,Costal Charm, Not Just a Housewife, Domestically Speaking, The Shabby Creek Cottage, Sumos Sweet Stuff, The Gunny Sack, Gingersnap Crafts, Southern Lovely, Lil Luna, Someday Crafts, The NY Melrose Family, The DIY Dreamer, The Blackberry Vine, Homeworks, The Rustic Pig, Cornerstone Confessions, Kathe with an E, House on the Way, PJH Desgin, Glued to my Crafts, The Crafty Blog Stalker, Seven Alive, Made in a Day, Live Laugh and Love, A Creative Place, Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson, Home and Gardens, It Happens In a Blink, I Gotta Create, Domestic Super Hero, All Pretty Things, Katie's Nesting Spot, 52 Mantels, Truly Lovely, Twinkle in the Eye, Happy Hour Projects, Six Sisters Stuff, Tutus and Tea Parties, Mop It Up Monday, Saturday Show and Tell, Moonlight and Mason Jars, The Scoop, Wow Us Wednesdays, Take-A-Look Tuesday

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Belles and Beaus Ball!

Does your Girl Scout troop or service unit participate or host any annual events?

The annual father-daughter dance has been a tradition in our Girl Scout Service Unit for 25 years, and what AMAZING fun we had this pulling it together this year!  In year's past, the party has always rotated between 4 basic themes: princess, country, disco and luau, but our committee decided to mix it up a bit this year, with an 'Old South' twist on the princess theme by hosting a 'Belles and Beaus Ball" for our dads and daughters instead.  When we chose the theme, we were very excited about it, but found there really wasn't much out there on Pinterest in idea-land to copy inspire us, so planning this Southern soiree turned out to be a real challenge!
So today I am sharing all our party planning secrets with you, in hopes that your next Southern-themed event will come together that much more easily!  And her's a quick pic of the night's hostesses with the mostesses - my co-leader, committee co-chair, partner-in-crime and amazing friend, along with our mini-me's at the ball!

The founder of Girl Scouts Juliette Gordon Lowe was born in Savannah, GA in the 1800's and lived at the Wayne-Gordon mansion as a child, so what better place to host a Belles and Beaus Ball than at the mansion itself?  I wish I could take credit for this brilliant idea, but it was one of our committee members who came up with this stroke of genius.  I just ran with it (wink, wink)!

For the focal point of our venue, we contacted the Juliette Gordon Low birthplace for high resolution images of the house and it's most famous resident, which they were only too happy to provide - for FREE!  And you girl scout moms out there know how we girl scouts like/need to hear that word!  From there, we created a focal point for our venue by having the image of the Wayne-Gordon House printed on four 3' by 10' panels of plain white copy paper, that we pieced carefully together and hung with Scotch brand removable mounting dots, since we weren't allowed to fasten anything to the walls.  I was really worried that they may not last the night, but I give them a resounding two-thumbs up!  We also made sure to arrange the tables so that nothing was blocking the poster and it could double as a photo op too!

  Although the picture was in color, the black and white copy was by far the least expensive printing option available for the scale of the print and gave it a real vintage feel as well.  The label across the top we simply cut from some donated (FREE!) poster paper and lettered using a Cricut and some clearance scrapbook paper.

 Scarlet?  Melanie?  Is that y'all!!

 We also printed out a picture of Juliette Gordon Low and placed it on an easel next to the registration table so she could 'welcome' guests to the ball!


 Fortunately, we received a couple of cash donations from local businesses, including Rhea Lana South Houston and Dentistry 4 Children, for the event (message me if you would like more information about how to do that), so we were able to purchase white (plastic) table cloths for the foundation of our tablescapes.  Then we layered borrowed (FREE!) burlap runners over the tablecloths and topped them with cut magnolia leaf clusters.  These were 8' tables and it took about 5 leaf clusters to make the arrangements.  We had borrowed (FREE!) mason jars and donated (FREE!) tea lights nestled into the leaves and then added crepe paper magnolias that we made ourselves for a fraction of cost of silk or other bought flowers! 


The paper magnolias were a Martha Stewart craft, but with a few modifications to her technique, we were able to whip out 98 magnolias - enough for 26 tables, the dessert table and the stage decorations as well.  Best of all, they turned out to be very durable paper flowers too, so I was able to incorporate them into another craft after the dance too!  I shared my 'Martha's Modified Magnolias' technique in another post, so check it out!

The cake table and registration tables were topped with quilts from home to bring some color into the room since we our centerpieces were neutral.  The colors in the quilts looked great against the taupe-colored walls and really brightened things up!   On the dessert table, which had been filled with donated deliciousness courtesy of Nothing Bundt Cakes,  we used a collection of borrowed (FREE!) hat boxes, serving trays, even a small wrought iron dress form to amp up the vintage feel!

Our last big 'project' for the event was a set of 4' white columns we managed to make for under $10 a piece.  We actually had all the materials for the columns donated (there's that word again - FREE!) by the awesome folks at Home Depot, who love supporting local children's organizations such as scouting!  Look for more on the inspiration and technique used to construct these columns in a revealing, 'tell-all' post coming to a sassy blog near you soon!


 The DJ was set-up on stage during the dance, which was part of the reason we chose to hang the house picture on another wall instead.  However, we did use the Cricut to letter a welcome banner for the back wall since it faced the entrance and was the first thing you see when you walk into the venue.  It also served as the stage for the dance instructor during a short dance lesson donated to our dads and daughters by Tanya Morland of the National League of Junior Cotillions!  She was an amazing instructor and the girls and their dads really enjoyed learning how to dance together!

In addition to the dance instruction, we offered portraits for our dads and daughters, courtesy of a girl scout mom!  I LOVE girl scout moms - what an amazing collection of talent and generosity!  This year's portraits were set up outside, using an antique chair and the park for the backdrop.  Beautiful spring weather made it a pleasant place to wait for pictures too!

The dance was a HUGE success, with lots of rave reviews from both daughters and dads, some  commenting that it even topped last year's dance! Now that's saying something, because last year was super-duper fun!  We even got a write-up in our local paper!  We also managed to raise money on this event (though that wasn't our goal), which has us considering changing the event to a fundraiser and maybe getting an older scout troop involved as the hostesses.  At any rate, it's an event with lots of possibilities and so much fun to be a part of that if your organization doesn't already have something like it, perhaps you could start one!

And I promise to post tutorials for the paper flowers and the columns soon - scout's  honor!