Friday, February 28, 2014

A Very Hungry Caterpillar Birthday

Even though Will's birthday party was 5 months ago, I still want to get the party documented on here so that I don't forget any details later on. We went with "A Very Hungry Caterpillar" theme. I really liked this theme particularly because it meant that I didn't have to come up with any kind of menu on my own, I could just go with the foods that the caterpillar ate through in the book. It also helped that Will liked the book.

I made the invitations in Picasa photo editor just using some of the pictures from Will's one year photo session. I special ordered his hat from a local lady to go with the theme of the party.

 We planned to have the party in our back yard originally, but the forecast for that day was not looking so good, so the day before the party we moved it to an outdoor overhang at our church, and it was a good thing that we did, because it was a wet and rainy day.

I got a lot of the ideas for the party from the blog polkadotsandpuppies, but sadly the site isn't active anymore (she even had some free printables!) but you can still find a lot of pictures from it on pinterest if you look around. I also tweaked a few ideas I found as well as adding some touches of my own.

We had a craft table for the kiddos to make caterpillars out of circles, with green ones for the body and red ones for the head. We also had some eyes cut out and we put all the pieces in a zipper bag so that all that needed to happen was the circles get pasted onto the paper. We also had butterflies that we had cut out on my sis-in-law's cricut that the kids could color and glue onto toilet paper rolls. The craft table was a pretty big hit, and it was nice to have something to occupy the bigger kids with for a while.

As I mentioned, the food was all dictated by the story, so we had cupcakes as well as strawberries, oranges, pickles, apples, (summer) sausage, and cheese. We served lemonade for and water to drink and used mason jars to drink out of. There were small "jelly" mason jars for the kiddos that we drilled holes in the top of and added a straw to in order to help with spills. I found the colorful pinwheels on clearance at Target, as well as the felt "Happy Birthday" banner, and the polka dot napkins, and I thought all the fun colors fit well with the theme. The big stuffed caterpillar on the table was an early birthday gift to Will from a lady in our church, I think she got it at Kohl's when they were featuring the book.

We hung up pictures of Will around the tables on "clotheslines"; some of his one year pictures as well as his monthly photo project pictures, newborn pictures, and just some other random pictures that I love of this kid.

The birthday boy had a special outfit that my mother-in-law made for him, but if you don't have an amazingly talented Grammy on hand I have seen similar shirts on Etsy, like this. She also made him a little bow tie to go with the shirt and I just hot glued some puffy craft balls on his birthday hat to make it stand out among the other birthday hats.

 Will got to Skype with his Aunt Liesl in Romania before the party, and then during the party Liesl hung out over on a table so that she could watch the festivities. Will even got to open his present from her with her watching.

We had a little time at the beginning of the party where everyone was just able to sit around, chat, and eat, and the some of the kids used this time to do their crafts as well. Will especially likes any time when he gets to eat.

After eating we opened up some presents. We asked people to donate to Will's college fund rather than give presents since Will would have a good time either way, but some people still chose to give gifts as well. My parents have a tradition of getting a Radio Flyer wagon for the first grandchild's birthday in each family. The wagon is meant to be shared and passed down as more kiddos are added down the road, so this wagon was not only a gift for Will, but for all subsequent children we have as well. Will LOVES riding in his wagon, and he opened his gifts and cards while sitting in it. The kids all crowded around to see Will's presents too.

After presents it was time for cake. It was the first cake that Will had ever had, and I think it's safe to say that he was a fan.  Will is not one of those kids that is shy about digging in to his food, much less his birthday cake. Also, we thought it best to strip him down to his diaper and bow tie for the cake eating; he was a very cute little Chip n' Dale.

Warning: long line of gratuitous photos of a baby eating a cake coming up.

And I'll leave you with my favorite cake photo of the day. 

Update: I just found another blog that has the printables from polkadotsandpuppies. You can find the printables, as well as another very cute Very Hungry Caterpillar party here.

Friday, February 21, 2014


I know the month isn't over yet, but I thought I would just do a quick post with some pictures and explanations of what we've been up to so far this month, and let me warn you, this is a Will picture heavy post, so if that doesn't interest you, by all means feel free to skip it. So let's dive in.

One day Will decided that the basket for his toys was actually for him to sit in, he climbed in there at least 5-8 times in one day. As you can see, he was pretty proud of himself.

I love it when Will brings me his dinosaur hat and wants to wear it, sometimes he will leave it on for an hour or so. I love this picture of him, even though it's not the best quality, he just looks so calm and happy, and I feel like it shows his sweet disposition so well.

Reading on the couch with daddy.

Playing with my scarf that Grandma S. made me for Christmas. Doesn't he just look fabulous?

My dad came over to hang out with Will for a little while one day. They sure do like each other. I love watching them play together. Will really loves his Papa. Also, Will looks so big in this first picture, he's growing up so fast.

All of my, ahem, I mean Will's cloth diapers were clean at one time. This never happens since there is always one on Will, so I had to take a picture of them when they were all clean and folded. They just looked so colorful and fun. Maybe one day I will do a post dedicated to cloth diapering; I know that when I was looking into it I searched online for all the information I could find.

Will has gotten to play in the play area at Chick-fil-A for the a few times this month (ours has done free breakfasts on Monday mornings this month so we've been going there as a treat and a way to get out of the house). The first Monday this month was his first time to play in there, and he really enjoyed it.

This is how I would like my groceries to look when I get home every week, sadly though, most weeks don't turn out with quite this much fresh produce. Also sadly, most of the strawberries went bad before we could eat them, but that was because they went bad within a few days, we usually polish off strawberries pretty quickly in this house.

Little man decided that the floors really needed cleaned one day. It was a two handed job.  
Sidenote: since Will is in almost constant motion it is nearly impossible for me to get a picture of him without at least part of him being blurry.

I just bought a used sewing machine last weekend. It's an old Montgomery Ward machine; I have never used a sewing machine in my life, but I figured for $10 it wouldn't hurt to try to learn. So far my skills are not so great, but hopefully I will get better with time, or just end up selling off the sewing machine for what I paid for it...but I do have high hopes of learning. I've been scouring the internet for tutorials and even used google images to try to figure out exactly what machine I have so that I can find more specific information for it.

This is my very first stitch ever on a sewing machine, I forgot to back stitch it to tie it off though, and then when I tried the machine somehow unthreaded and I had to figure stuff out all over again. Oh well, that's why I'm practicing on scrap fabric before trying to actually make anything, right?

For when I do finally feel semi-confident in my ability to sew a somewhat straight line I plan to make some paperless towels for the kitchen with this fabric and dish cloths I picked up at Wal-Mart. We'll see how that turns out...

For anyone that knows me well, it is no surprise that my last week and a half has been occupied by the Olympics whenever possible. I love the Olympics. In fact, I have been known to have a party in honor of the Opening Ceremonies. I loved that they had the women's hockey gold medal final on network tv live yesterday, and I celebrated in style. I got an iced coffee from Starbucks and after putting Will down for a very well timed nap (he slept through all but the first few minutes of the game) I plopped down on the couch to watch an excellent hockey match. Even though the U.S. ended up losing in sudden death overtime (which can I say may be the most stressful thing in the world to watch?) it was still a great game, and both teams played very well. I thoroughly enjoyed watching, and the Starbucks, kettle corn, and M&Ms didn't hurt anything either.

So that's a little of what we've been up to this so far this month. Tomorrow we have a wedding of some sweet friends of ours and then tomorrow night Jake and I are going to celebrate Valentine's Day (yes we know it's over a week late, but does it really matter which day you celebrate it on?) by trying out a new-ish fondue place in town. I've heard really good things about it, and how could it not be good, it's dipping stuff in hot cheese?!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Beginnings of a Rustic Nursery

So I don't think I've actually announced on here yet, but we're expecting again! We are due in the middle of May with another little boy and we couldn't be more excited. This time around I am leaning toward a rustic/camping/woodland type theme, but I haven't gotten very much done on it yet (eek! I need to get in gear!). I thought I would throw together a few of my inspiration pictures as well as the first project I did for the room, which just happened to be free! So let's get started.

I have been drawn to bold wall colors a lot lately, I think originally because of this room from Young House Love.

So when I started trolling Pinterest for boy nursery ideas the ones with the bold blue wall color really hit the spot for me. Here are a few of my inspiration rooms from there. 

originally from here

If you know who the photo credit belongs to for this please let me know!
I also found this awesome tutorial for no sew burlap curtains that I thought would be great with the room, and save us a load of money on curtains since those things are so stinkin' expensive. 

I would also like to add a rag rug to the room. I hope I get around to making it, because I think it could be really cool, I get to pick the exact colors I want, and it doesn't sound that difficult according to this tutorial.

The last piece of inspiration is an awesome mood board from Land of Nod. I love pretty much everything in this mood board, but I know I won't be able to buy/recreate it all, but I will do what I can!

This brings me to my little free project that I whipped up yesterday. I love, love, love that mountain painting at the top, but unfortunately it is no longer available. So I decided to try my hand at a little painting of my own. I already had an 8x10 canvas and some acrylic craft paint on hand, so I figured what was the harm in giving it a shot? The summer after my first year in college I worked at a camp out in Colorado. It was absolutely beautiful out there, and I have loved Colorado ever since. There is one picture from that summer that I really love, I have the print out, but I can't find the original file on my computer to post for you, so here is a picture of the picture, along with a few of my painting supplies.

I thought I would try to recreate the picture on a canvas for my newest little guy. I started with the sky using a light blue Martha Stewart craft paint that I had on hand. 

I also had quite the helper, when he wasn't trying to eat the paint brush that is.

I wasn't crazy about how light the sky was in the beginning, but the great thing about painting is if you don't like something you can just paint over it. So I just mixed some primary blue in with the Martha Stewart blue and some white and got a few different colors going in the sky and I was much happier with it. Next I mixed together some paint to make the color for my mountain and used a very thin brush to make the outline of where I wanted my mountains to be, then just painted them in a little and started on my grass and trees.

I just kept mixing and painting and mixing and painting until I liked the way things looked, and if I didn't like the way something was turning out I painted over it.

I added some snow to the mountain tops along with some clouds in the sky and trees in the lower areas (I channeled my inner Bob Ross) and was about to call it a day, when I realized my mountains looked very plain. They were the only thing that I hadn't done any contrasting colors on at all, they were all just the solid tanish gray color. So I quickly added in a few darker streaks and was so much happier with the way it looked. It's amazing how something so simple like that can really make or break the whole thing. It really is all in the details I guess.

And here it is next to the inspiration picture. It's definitely not perfect, but I'm pretty happy with how it came out, and the place has special meaning to me too, which makes me love it even more.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

DIY Pinwheel Mobile

When we were getting things ready for Will's arrival one thing I thought about a decent amount was a mobile. What kind did we want, do I want to make it or buy it, etc. I had read somewhere that a lot of the mobiles that we put on babies' cribs really seem more like they are for the adults than the kiddos since the baby is not looking at the mobile from the side, but from underneath. Why is this not something we have realized?! What baby wants to lie there looking up at the bottom of some boring animal's feet? They want something interesting from underneath, not from the side/top. So I started looking for ideas on Etsy. There are tons of great mobiles on there, but I came across some pinwheel ones that I really liked (like this), and the best part is, the pinwheel hangs down where the baby gets the best view. So I decided that was what we should go with, but at that price, I thought I would have a go at making one myself.

The first thing I did was find some scrapbook paper that went with the colors we were doing in the room (navy, lime green and orange). I found a few that I liked and got to work. I went with some higher contrast patterns too since babies see contrast better than subtle colors especially at first, please disregard the tan tablecloth in the background, it was poor planning on my part when it came to picture taking.

As you can see, I also got an embroidery hoop and some brads. Next I looked up a few tutorials on how to diy pinwheels online and found several helpful ones, like this, I couldn't find the actual tutorial I used, but if you just google around a bit you will find plenty of tutorials. The next step was gluing the paper together. If you can find two sided scrapbook paper that has the colors you want you can skip this step, but I had no luck in that department so we just glued the patterned papers to the solid blue ones. I decided to go with 6x6 for the size of the pinwheel squares, so I was able to get four pinwheels out of each piece of scrapbook paper.

After cutting the paper to size you just make your pinwheels and attach with the brads. We did find it was easier to poke a small hole with a straight pin before putting the brads through. 

Then simply tie a string to the back of the brads and then to the embroidery hoop at the height you want the pinwheel to hang. 

I got these cute little letter brads and decided to spell out Will's name with them, and since you generally want to have odd numbers in any decorating set up it worked out nicely that "William" is seven letters long. Yay for happy accidents. Even though it's not something that anyone will really ever see or notice on their own, I kind of love having that little personal touch on there.

I really love the finished product. We put the "W" in the middle hanging down the farthest and then just spiraled up around the embroidery hoop spelling out the rest of the name. Here's a picture of it hanging in Will's room just a week before he was born. We simply put a hook in the ceiling and used the same thread as what we had used on the pinwheels to hang it.

I think Will's nursery is what I miss most about the old house. It was just so sweet and exactly how I wanted it, I know things at this new house will get going and start to feel more like "us" sometime, but for now I miss the grey walls, the awesome built in bookcase, and the panel doors. Although I also look forward to us really putting our mark on this house through the years. Slow and steady...