ALL ABOARD!

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A train cake fit for a girl

It’s birthday time and what is better than a

Chug-a-chug-a-CHOO-CHOO

themed party for a 3 year old?

Nothing!!

My little girl LOVES trains and we discovered the train park last year but we were a little too late in the season to really enjoy it thru the entire summer. Since it is ONLY open every other Sunday we made sure we booked her special day way in advance. I amazingly found an entire engineer ensemble for $10 online!!  Her engineer hat on Amazon.com (which is entirely too BIG for her little head) and some fantastic engineer striped overalls from Target.com made this momma a happy lady. I’m trying to keep this party under budget since I tend to GO WAY OVERBOARD! But I didn’t overextend myself this time… The husband was a happy camper. Plus, with a little help from my friends the party went smoother than planned. That is ALWAYS  a bonus wouldn’t you say?

I have never used fondant and it was much easier than anticipated. I did take a fondant fun class thru Sweet Stuff locally and learned a few tricks.

You gotta have fun while making a masterpiece!
Don’t ever deny help!

This is what I learned:

*Always put your unused fondant wrapped in a piece of plastic wrap so it doesn’t get hard and unpliable. **DO NOT LEAVE YOUR DISCARDED PIECES ON THE TABLE THINKING YOU WILL GET TO THEM. PUT THEM IN PLASTIC!!!**

*If it does get hard and a crusty film forms on it you can lightly oil your hand with Crisco or butter and knead the fondant back to a smooth consistency. Do not use too much or it will get all gooey on you and then it will be unworkable.

*When rolling out the icing use corn starch since it will not incorporate into the fondant and make it hard like powdered sugar. If you over grease it use the corn starch to bring it back to a more pliable consistency.

*Use a SMALL dab of water to attach it to other fondant. If you over water it it will become a sticky mess. A little goes a long way.

*Do NOT use liquid food coloring when incorporating it into the fondant. This will change the consistency. Use a food coloring gel which is thicker and doesn’t incorporate a liquid into the icing.

I bought Duff’s fondant at Michaels since I had a 40% off coupon making it only $12 for a tub opposed to $17.99 at the bakery. I also found that it stayed supple longer and it tasted better. I just purchased the white vanilla buttercream and colored everything the way I wished.

Make it traintastic!

I should have taken a better picture of my snack display but I didn’t. I saw this great idea  on the internet while looking for train cake ideas and thought this was a perfect way to display my handmade lollipops (which were a disgrace) and some animal cracker snacks. I have been saving shoe boxes to use for art supplies and such but thought this was a great opportunity to use them now. I spray painted each box inside and out and found this fantastic pink polka-dotted cardboard paper from the packaging of a new toy. With Martha Stewart’s circle cutter I made 2 1/4 circles for the wheels and drew spokes on them. We had a toy choo-choo train engine toy that blows bubbles and rolls around on the floor and I put that at the beginning of the train so it appeared to be pulling the treats for the kids. It was a perfect display for the plates, lollipops, animal crackers and utensils. It was a hit.

It’s time to celebrate

The party was successful. Wish it had been longer for the kids to enjoy and ride the trains for another hour but who would’ve known this would be a major it!?! This engineer did. She has talked about it ever since she turned the big 3 and every time we see a train she states CHOO-CHOO it’s my birthday!

Mommy like Daughter. Engineers at heart.

Rattle My Rattle

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I was taught to knit at an early age but just didn’t like the monotony of the same thing over and over since I wasn’t very good at adding patterns into my designs. I felt as though I had to FINISH the entire row before I could leave my project to go do something like answer the phone, go to the bathroom, etc. In the past few years I took up crocheting. I taught myself and never took any real instruction from anyone.  I went to Barnes and Noble and sat there looking thru tons of crochet books trying to find the perfect book that laid out the instructions easily, briefly and with great visual images. I chose Stitch’n Bitch Crochet The HappyHooker by Debbie Stoller. Loved the title and it was absolutely wonderful. What did I have to lose? The only cost I had into it was a book, a crochet hook and yarn. All I now needed was time. Since then I have made many things. At first to learn the basics baby hats and scarves to learn the skill but have moved on to more intricate patterns. I love the fact that it is a ONE hook technique opposed to two knitting needles. You can make sooo many different patterns and designs and you don’t accidentally dropped a stitch and had to go back and fix it. Well, I guess you could drop a stitch but it is easier to find and fix. The possibilities are endless and you see progress quickly.

I have moved up in the world of crochet… Well, at least I think so. I’m not extremely fast. I still have to look at my stitches but I love to do it. Keeps me busy and that is ALL THAT MATTERS! Lately ALL of my friends have been popping out babies left and right. I am BEHIND on making little baby lovies. I am one of those girls that likes to give unique gifts at baby showers. Why? I want my gift to be remembered not just a box of nursing pads that the Momma goes, “Hey, thanks for reminding me!” I want the kiddo to have a lovie or something the parent and child will cherish and keep. So, I have been making crocheted animal rattles. Again I went to Barnes and Noble and JoAnn Fabric (with a coupon of course) and found several stuffed animal sewing and crochet books. These are what I found. Crochet books: Amigurumi By Lan-Anh Bui & Josephine Wan and  Huggable Crochet Cute and Cuddly Animals From Around the World by Christine Lucas. Sewing books: Wild and Wonderful Fleece Animals by Linda Carr and Sewn Toy Tales 12 fun characters to make and love by Rosalie Quinlan & Melanie Hurston

To make the rattle buy little bells from your craft store that are round and the ball is enclosed. Use 2 or 3 depending on the size in different locations near the surface so you can still hear the bell and it doesn’t get muffled by the packed stuffing.

Here is the first of many I have made. I hope this inspires you to make something for a friend. Something they will see and remember you by. Not that general box of diapers you may give them even if it is essential. :0). They are quick to whip up and the kids LOVE THEM! What a better way to touch the makers heart?

Crochet one of these rattles in no time.

Everyone LOVES a Fairy Tale

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Everyone LOVES a Fairy Tale

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We’ve been wanting a new bed for a while but nothing out there just met our needs or our budget. So with the brainpower of my husband and I we came up with this fabulous bed plan that is absolutely amazing. It’s extremely huge and fits our bedroom space like a glove and we will NEVER move. All we needed were old doors, beams, wood, stencils, paint, and an imagination and whala you have a masterpiece.

Here are the steps to achieve a one of a kind, unique, fabulous bed.

Basically my husband built the bed so I will not even attempt to explain how he mastered it but I can tell you how I painted and adorned the beautimous piece.

Find old doors at your local antique dealer, home repurpose shop or Craig’s List. We used 3. Two for the headboard and one for the footboard. Just a safety precaution strip off the paint since ours were ancient with many layers of lead paint we didn’t want to have any of the flakes come off while we were sleeping.  I found that a spray on paint stripper  works awesome (I cannot find the container-oops- but was purchased at Benjamin Moore paint store) it is less messy since it sprays out of a water bottle. MAKE SURE TO WEAR GLOVES! The stuff burns and I got just a little of the liquid on my gloves and I could feel the heat penetrate thru so have many pairs that you can replace regularly. In the past I’ve used the paste but it’s sooo messy and you have to use another paint brush for an even coat. Once all paint is removed fill any unsightly holes or imperfections and sand it down. I thought I wanted to keep the key and door handle holes but decided against it. Depending on how distressed you want your bed to be you don’t have to be perfect. Some unevenness gives it character. If you are to stain your finished product it’s going to take more elbow grease getting that wood clean of all paint and impurities. We bought old doors because we like the “old” and worn characteristics.

Prime your entire piece. Paint your base color. I used a white eggshell sheen paint over the entire piece. To make it look distressed I used 2 shades of Ceramacoat artists paint (burnt sienna and Spice Tan) in random areas that are most likely to be touched to show wear. Think of where you touch your furniture daily, on top of the banisters, on the side rails, headboad, etc. I wanted it to look like the white paint was wearing away and you could see the original wood unerneath. Paint crackle medium  (Valspar Weathered Crackle Glaze from Lowes) over those areas and follow the manufacturers directions on how long to wait before applying the top coat. When painting on the base color do not stroke back and forth or it will not crackle correctly. Thicker paint also activates a little slower but makes a big impact and larger streaks if using a house paintbrush.

I then found some stencils at Michaels and purchased several sheets to see which pattern I would like. I painted many samples and pasted them up in the panel indentations of the doors to see which pattern made the look complete. I sent my samples to many friends to get opinions before painting the final product. Feedback is my friend.  I wanted an aged look and found that Martha Stewarts satin multi-surface paint colors  Arrowhead and Gray Wolf  worked the best. I used 2 colors; lighter color for the main pattern and darker for the lowlight. Wala it is done and you get to disassemble it and put it in your new and improved fabulous room!

Get your game on

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Express your personal characteristics thru your name

I’ve been a motivated momma. I’m taking on all sorts of projects lately. Finished my princess’ name letters… that only took over a year since I’m sooooo picky but I don’t know why. Hung those drapes I was telling you about but never got a chance to take a picture of it. Making an awesome bedframe with my husband out of old doors and crown molding to make a dramatic effect in the Mm hmm, bedroom. Started early on the child’s Halloween costume (Angelina Ballerina) and I’m going to be a cat to match the whole Momma and Me costumes. Putting together barrets out of flowers and ribbon. The list goes on and on. You get my drift. I am determined to get things done in a proper amount of time. I really need to complete those projects on my list prior to moving on so my handy dandy IPhone (the best thing since sliced bread) is always by my side motivating me. I need a little nudge or two, what can I say? My mind is constantly thinking of how to decorate or create some sort of craft. I love the ap CraftGawker since it is always getting updated with new unique and stylish ideas. There’s something for everyone. Different crafts, styles, mediums, seasonal items, parties, entertaining, etc., etc., etc. The holidays are coming up and yet I must say it again, there are soooo many cute things to indulge yourself in. So get your paper, glue and fabric out and CREATE!

JUST DO IT ALREADY!

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A finished project makes a momma happy! Seriously, I have soooo many unfinished projects that are just waiting to be completed. Some of them I have been working on for over a year. Why? Because I am a working mother who only has so many hours in a day to be a mom and play with my princess after returning from work. Sometimes I am soo exhausted from working that I just want to sit and veg. I know everyone knows what I mean by that. I finilly got my curtains finished the other day but didn’t have a chance to blog about it. Heck, the last post was written on the 5th and I didn’t publish it until the 15th. Hmmmm…

Curtains. The fame to the great outdoors. Behind the billowy fabric leaves the eye wandering to the skies. Windows are beautiful in themselves but they just need to be dressed up a little. Their shape is so hard angled that a women’s touch needs to be added. So, a year later I finally told myself I was going to work on them. I cut the fabric a few months ago but I just hate the monotony of ironing every side 2 times. I mean they are extremely easy to make and soo much cheaper than buying them premade. I love the ability of choosing your own colors, patterns and textures to fit your own house and style while not breaking the budget. I found this wonderful damask gold and pink home decorator fabric for $2 a yard! Yes I know! Amazing, I bought the entire roll. If you watch for deals and use your coupons that is the WAY TO GO!

See, what was I saying earlier? I can’t even get on the computer to post what I wrote a few months ago. But heck, I’m on here now and I am going to show you some awesome stuff. So just keep watching for those pictures while I get this OLD post up on the WWW!

What to do. What to do..

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No way of doing anything crafty today (8/5). Sucks that you have to have a job in order to make money to pay for my expensive hobby. It doesn’t always have to be that way. I have sooo many things in my garage that are just screaming to be used. I don’t know why I have this underlying feeling that I shouldn’t use one thing until the “right” project comes around. What is the “right” project? None of them are “wrong” persey and I bought all the embellishments because I like them so what is taking me so long? Is it going to be better in a scrapbook tucked away but pulled out at special times or do I want the a frame to be embellished so I can see it everyday? I can ALWAYS buy more! Anyone else have this feeling?

Creativity is in the eye of the beholder…

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You may have heard many renditions of this saying but it is a true statement. Creativity and imagination, those are just a few words that start explaining the start of the process. I don’t know about you but everyday I get new ideas or am inspired from things around me. I have soooo many projects I want to do but so little time. I have a huge house that is a blank slate. White walls! Really, what kind of artist lives in a house with white walls? We have lived here for just over a year and I’m constantly imaging what this blank slate is going to look like. If I had a million dollars it may or may not be complete, but the decorating is always an evolving compilation of creative outbursts. One day a piece will look good in this spot but then I find something new and better to go there. I may drive my husband crazy but deep within I know he is happy I like to make our house a better home. Comfy, inviting, relaxing and hopefully not bombarded with kids toys strewn across the living room and into the hall but heck, what are kids for? Toys will always be in your walking path and I am (kinda) fine with that. The goal is to make the surroundings relaxing for adults but fun and entertaining for children as well. I’m so thankful to have married a handyman that has his own ideas and builds and improves things while he leaves me the blank slate to decorate and spruce up. It is a happy marriage. I’m a lucky girl. I shall divulge you with my works in progress and completed projects as you stay tuned… Goodnight.