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Category Archives: Sneaky Mommy Crafts

Wedding Details: The Invitation

I thought I’d start my wedding posts at the beginning: the invitation.

The invitation

The invitation

When you’re doing a certain theme for your wedding, the invitation is the first representation of that theme that your guests will see.  Therefore, in my opinion, it’s important to make sure that the invitation makes an impression.

Our wedding, as you can tell, had a library/book theme.  To keep with the theme I decided that a library card would be a cute way to send out our invitations while still conveying the necessary information.  And because this wedding was being done on the cheap, that meant I was designing, writing, and printing the invitations myself.

As with all things I do, I began with research!

Here is a lovely example I found on Etsy:

Graham and Olive Stationary

Graham and Olive Stationary

The Graham and Olive Etsy store has very unique, beautiful invitations and sundry items.

However, this example (and the many I found like it) were for Save the Dates.  I was not going to send out a Save the Date! In fact, the fewer people who came to our wedding, the better! Seriously.

Using this Save the Date as an example, I came up with my own version.  But first I needed supplies:

1. Library cards

I considered using a template and printing on card stock, but I’m super computer challenged when it comes to downloading and then utilizing things like that.  So I opted to do it the hard way.  Yay me.

Library cards from the Library Store

Library cards from the Library Store

I purchased two packets of library cards, each containing 50 cards, from the Library Store via Amazon.  Each pack was 2.99, plus shipping and tax.  The total was $14.42.

2. Library Card Pockets

I’m sure I could have made these, but really, why would I? The time of construction and cost of the paper would have been at least equal to, if not more than, the buying the pre-made product.

From Ideal School Supply

From Ideal School Supply

Again I purchased two sets of 50, each for $4.49.  This time shipping was covered by my Amazon Prime membership, so the total came out to $9.70.

3. A Template

This was the part of the project that perhaps took the longest.  I didn’t have a template available (mostly because I can’t figure out how to download and integrate one into my computer) so I had to make my own.  This meant measuring the card and creating a word document to the size of the paper, the width of the internal margins, and then the width of the lines on the card.  Fun stuff.

Here’s what I came up with:

Home-made template

Home-made template

Even doing all this, it took several trial and error attempts with the printer to make sure everything lined up.

4. Date Stamp

My mother bought this for me so I don’t have to count it into my budget! yay!  I used a typical date stamp you would find in any office, library, etc. to add the dates of the RSVP deadline and the date of the wedding to the card.

Stamped

Stamped

There were two reasons I chose to do it this way: 1) I couldn’t figure out how to add letters going horizontal like that on the template; 2) I liked the authentic look of it, like you would find on a traditional library card.

5. Library Stamp

Again, I don’t count this into my budget because I’m a huge nerd and I’ve had this stamp for years.

My personal library stamp

My personal library stamp

As Connor and I say: BOOM BABY! I’ve had my own personal library stamp for my ever growing-home library for at least 5 years.  It’s pretty nerdy and pretty awesome (just like me! heehee).

Library Invitation Card

Library Invitation Card

Last, all I had to do was assemble all these pieces together and I was done.

All in all, the invitations cost $23.82.  If we factor in a percentage of the ink I used, I feel comfortable rounding this up to an even $25.00.  Not too shabby!

The best part of the invitation project was how much I enjoyed the finished product.  It was exactly what I had envisioned! It perfectly encapsulated the theme of the event, as well as my personality.  I was also pleased with the response to the invitations.  Nearly everyone who received it commented on how much they liked the invitation, particularly impressed by its uniqueness.  The fact that I was able to create a product that was so well liked for such a small amount of money truly made my heart swell with pride.

Next, all I had to do was bring that same level of personal investment and attention to detail to the rest of my wedding. No pressure!

Spring Flowers and Crafts

I’m trying to get back into the swing of things post-wedding, but it’s not easy.  Last weekend my sister and I hosted a baby shower for our other sister, along with the help of a very good friend, my mother, and a cousin.  There’s a saying that many hands make light work, and I surely put that to the test!

Coming up I have Easter and Connor’s birthday to prepare for, so I’ll be busy with crafts and planning yet again.  Once I make it past April 15th, I think I’m free to relax and maybe pursue some of my own interests…more on that at a later date.

I intend to bring my readers up to speed on all the crafts, paper goods, and food that went into my beautiful wedding, but I want to have some really good pictures of all these things.  And, well, my crappy cell phone pictures just aren’t going to do it!  So, I’m going to wait on all the wedding details until I have my beautiful photographer’s pictures in hand.

Today I’m going to show you a simple, quick to complete but long-lasting craft to do.

The Spring Tulip Wreath:

springtulipwreath

What You’ll need:

21 bunches (or bushes) of artificial tulips

wire cutter

12′ vine wreath

hot glue and gun

pink ribbon

I purchased seven bunches of three different colors: light pink, dark pink, and mixed.

One bunch of artificial tulips

One bunch of artificial tulips

First, you’ll want to use your wire cutters to snip each tulip from the bunch.

Cut each tulip from the main stem

Cut each tulip from the main stem

You’ll want to leave each tulip’s stem as long as possible to weave into the vine wreath.  (Please ignore the fact that I still have my Valentine’s Day tablecloth on in March.  I’ve been busy, dang it!)

Next you’ll want to start weaving your tulips into the vine wreath.  And when I say “weaving” I really mean jam it in there until it’s secure, leaving about 3-4 inches resting on top of the wreath.

Slid the stem in between the branches of the wreath

Slid the stem in between the branches of the wreath

They should look like this as you layer the tulips around the wreath:

Make sure to vary your colors

Make sure to vary your colors

Work all the way around the wreath until full, and none of the vines are visible when looking straight down onto the wreath.

completedwreath

To be certain that all of the tulips are secure, we’re going to glue the stems on the back.  So flip over your wreath and start wrapping any stray stems into the vines.

Push stems under vines until they are secure

Push stems under vines until they are secure

Now we glue.  I placed roughly a dime’s size of hot glue on each stem, holding it in place.

Once that is done, simply loop some ribbon through the top of the wreath (I used a slip knot) and tie with a bow at the top.  You make want to use thicker ribbon that what I selected (mine was on sale for $.99 so beggars can’t be choosers).

wreathandribbon

And you are done!

The cost of this craft was roughly $50.  The wreath was $8, the tulips were about $40, and the ribbon was $.99.  If you can find cheaper flowers, I urge you to do so.  I used Micheal’s because of a floral sale, as well as some coupons I had.  Here’s a link to their weekly ad, featuring a coupon and their floral sale.

Still I think it’s a pretty good deal.  On Etsy, artificial tulip wreaths are selling for $90+.  I can’t imagine doing this with real tulips, as I think it would be astronomically expensive.  But if you are able to do so, please send me a picture! I’d love to see it!

If you have any questions about this craft, or tips on other crafts, please drop me a line!

Quick Plans

Well my wedding is in just two short months.  It was originally planned for May, but my fiance and I decided that we’d rather my sister didn’t go into labor at the reception, so we’ve moved it to March.  And I’m totally fine.  And everything is under control.  And I’m breathing…

And I’m a little overwhelmed!

I was doing fine until I made the to do list this morning.  It has 50-some items on it!  As Connor would say, “WHAT THE HECK, MIKE?!?!”

But it’s ok…it’s ok…shhhhhh…..it’s going to be fine….

So you’ll excuse me if my posts are somewhat sporadic for the next two months, I’ve got a few things to do….

At least I can cross one thing off my list this morning!  The invitations are done!

We’ve decided on a book theme for the wedding, since the fiance and I are both big readers.  The motto of the reception is “A New Chapter” since this is a new beginning for both of us.  We’re moving away from the past and starting the next phase in our lives.  Yay!

Everything at the reception will be done in book pages, typewriter type, and pops of color here and there.  Since I’m a librarian, library items will be a constant.

Take the invitations for example:

I used library due date book cards and card pockets (the card pockets cost $10 and the cards were $14.00).  Based on research, I designed the invitations myself.  Here’s the result:

libraryweddinginvites

I really love them!  Plus they cost me about $0.50 each!  Perfect!

So that’s done…sort of of.  I just need to create the labels, stuff the envelopes and get them in the mail.  Easy peasy!

Then I can move on to the other 49 items on my list.

 

DIY Ornament Wreath

I know you’ve all seen those ornament wreaths out there.  They are fabulous!  I have been lusting after one for years, but every time I went to buy one I would think to myself “You know, I think I could make this.”  Turns out I was right!

For a total of $22 in supplies I made this lovely wreath:

My dollar store ornament wreath

My dollar store ornament wreath

You read that correctly.  This wreath was made with supplies bought primarily from the $.99 Store!  Pretty great, right?

So here’s what you’ll need:

1 branch/vine wreath (because they are sturdier than styrafoam…also mine came from Michael’s for $6)

Green felt

Glue gun and extra glue

12 cylinders of various sized ornaments from the dollar store

Ribbon with which to hang the wreath

Begin with the wreath.  I believe mine is 18 inches across.

vinewreath

Wrap the wreath in green felt to provide a surface to glue the ornaments to.  I used leftover scraps from my felt Christmas tree project.

This does not have to be pretty, no one will see it!

This does not have to be pretty, no one will see it!

Then begin gluing on the largest bulbs first.

Use the largest bulbs first

Use the largest bulbs first

Connor, as you know, loves to help with the gluing of anything.  He decided to help me glue the bulbs in place.

Connor is very helpful!

Connor is very helpful!

You’ll want to glue these in a ring in the center of the wreath’s flattest part.  This will allow you to add large bulbs as needed on both the outside and the inside.

Connor helped by pouring the remaining bulbs into the center of the wreath.

Connor helped by pouring the remaining bulbs into the center of the wreath.

You can see that I made concentric rings with the large bulbs.  Now just fill in the spaces between the large bulbs with the smaller sized ornaments.  Connor abandoned me at this point, so I had to finish on my own.  For some reason the project went much faster at that point!

Voila!  You are done!  Simply tie a ribbon around the wreath, tucking it under the bulbs and you have yourself a lovely ornament wreath for the bargain price of $22!

Ta DA!

Ta Da!

Happy crafting!

 

Kids Peppermint Candy Wreath

Favorite-Seasonal-Wreaths-Peppermint-Candy

As you know, I love crafting.  I especially love doing easy crafts.  So when I came across a picture of this Peppermint Candy Wreath in a magazine, I thought this would be an easy craft to do with Connor.

Connor loves to arts and craft projects.  Perhaps it’s inherited (his father is an artist by trade after all), or perhaps it’s simply that our home is constantly full of crafts and supplies.  I’m always searching for something that will be simple enough for him to do, as well as engage him during the entire process.

I figured a candy wreath might be engaging enough….

connorcandy

Connor likes the way crafting tastes!

Here’s what you’ll need to complete the project:

styrofoam wreath form 8″ (I used one with a flat back so it would be easier to control during construction)

1-2 bags of peppermint candy (2.99 for a large bag at Target)

glue gun and refill glue sticks

festive ribbon to hang wreath from

It seems obvious to me, but I just want to say this: don’t let your child control the hot glue gun!  You, the adult, should do all the gluing!

Essentially this project just requires you unwrapping all the candy and gluing them in concentric circles.

Very focused

The repetitive task of gluing candies in an orderly line over and over appealed to Connor’s autism.  It was a predictable, easy to complete task that was also aesthetically pleasing.  Additionally, Connor felt very confident in his abilities to help and he even got upset with me when I tried to glue a candy down!

I put the glue on, Connor placed each candy on top.

Round and round we went!

Ring 1 complete!

Once we were finished with our candy rings, Connor decided the wreath need a little something more.  Candy canes!

The artist at work

Connor’s finished project (Mommy tied the bow):

Very festive and very inexpensive

Very festive and very inexpensive

All in all, this project took us about 45 minutes and cost roughly $10 (not including the glue).  Most importantly, though, is that Connor and I enjoyed our crafting time together with the added bonus that Connor is very proud of his handiwork!

Happy holidays and happy crafting!

An Advent Calendar

We had a wonderfully crafty weekend around here!  I made an advent calendar and Connor helped me to make two different wreathes.  That boy loves the hot glue gun!  He won’t touch it while it’s on, knowing first hand that it can burn you (a lesson he learned the hard way), but he will carry it around while it’s unplugged, pretending to glue all kinds of things down.  Let’s hope he never discovers Krazy Glue!

Friday began with the Advent Calendar, due to the fact that Saturday was the 1st of December, and thus the start of Advent.

Here’s what you need:

24 Cotton/Muslin/Burlap bags, about 3×4 or 4×6

Stencil set of numbers 1-9

Red paint

Paint Brush

Scrap paper

Clips

String (and nails to hold string up)

24 gifts and treats to stuff inside the bags

Bag and Stencil

Bag and Stencil

I lay down some newspaper first because I’m particularly clumsy, which  often leads to big messes!

This project is relatively easy.  Once you have your stencils and bags, you simply lay the stencil over the bag and tap the paint into the open area.  Make sure you put some scrap paper inside the bag, as the paint is probable to leak through (and having a bag that is glued together with paint will defeat the purpose of this advent calendar).

Paint lightly in the stencil's open area.

Paint lightly in the stencil’s open area.

Lift the stencil off carefully to avoid smudging, and there you go: one bag down, 23 to go!

 

One down!

One down!

Just rinse and repeat.  It took about 30 minutes to get 1-10 done, but things picked up as my confidence in the project did.

Ten Bags

Ten Bags

As to the last part of the project, the stringing up part, I was torn as to how to accomplish this.  Sure the model I saw used clothespins (something I couldn’t find) and I toyed with the idea of punching holes in the bag and stringing them on to the twine, but I wasn’t sure about either of those prospects.  In the end this is what I did:

That's right, I used binder clips.

That’s right, I used binder clips.

Given my love of all things office supplies, I had plenty of binder clips lying around unused.  And they are seriously so convenient for this project!  (I also had a hunch that Connor would not care two bits about what was used to keep his gifts on the string.)  However, if you’d like to get all fancy, there are plenty of more creative and attractive ways to do this.  Please be my guest.  I’ll be over here with my lazy mama way of doing things.

My first Homemade Advent Calendar

My first Homemade Advent Calendar

Ta da! It’s done.  (and yes, my fireplace is super dated and old school.  also, yes, I use that woodpile area to store Connor’s toys.)

It’s nothing fancy, but I’m happy with it.  There are a million ways to dress this project up.  You could paint/stencil snowflakes and holly on to the bags.  You could tie each one with festive holiday ribbon.  You could even wrap some lights around the string if you wanted!  Do whatever makes you happy.

See Connor run!

See Connor run!

This calendar, just the way it is, made Connor pretty happy on Saturday morning.

 

If you’d like to make this calendar, please follow the directions you see here or visit BonBonMini to see the sample I used.

If you’d like to make an advent calendar using something other than bags, here is a list of fun projects for kids and adults alike!

Twig and Thistle Magnetic Holiday Advent Calendar

The Etsy DIY Advent Calendar (for those who are a bit more dedicated to the craft of…crafting)

Kitschy Take Out Box Advent Calendar (I think this one would be fun for adults or teens)

Envelope Advent Calendar (super modern looking and perfect if you only have about 10 minutes to put something together)

Happy crafting everyone!

 

 

Juice box mummies and mommy goes crazy

There was a movie made in the 80s called The Gods Must be Crazy.  I didn’t really care for the movie all that much but the title has always stuck with me.  And this week I’ve been applying it to myself.  I think my movie would be called “Mommy Must be Crazy.”

Aside from a definite eccentricity there really isn’t a good explanation for why I’ve acted the way I have on a few things in the last few days.

The first is that we’ve adopted a new dog.  Introducing Maggie May:

Maggie May is a rescue dog from the Mission Viejo Animal Shelter.  She was brought there from the Riverside pound, where she’d been down to her last two days of life.  Mission Viejo fixed her up, gave her a safe place to live and patiently took care of her until some good family could be found for her.  Or should I say until her big sad brown eyes sucked some unwitting visitors into taking her home.

It was probably a mistake to visit the dog pens when we were there visiting Grandma S, who volunteers at the shelter.  I couldn’t help it though.  I love me some puppies.  And for the fiance, it was love at first sight when he saw Maggie May.

Less than 24 hours later she was living with us.

Maggie makes dog number three at my house.  Technically, I should say she makes rescue dog number three, which means she is neurotic dog number three.  She is sweet and affectionate with a strong nervous disposition and serious abandonment issues.  Maggie also has three broken teeth that will be removed next week.  She had puppies in the past few months so her teats are extended and provide a curiosity for my other two dogs, much to Maggie’s dismay.  She’s having a hard time eating with her broken treats.  She’s desperate for affection and desperate to give affection.  She sleeps on couches, eats out of Penny’s bowl, and rests in Dodger’s bed.  All in all, she’s just as crazy as the rest of this house.

She’s fitting in nicely.

Connor loves her and talks to her pretty much non-stop.  For that alone (even if I wasn’t already wrapped around her paw), I’d adopt her all over again.

The second reason I’ve obviously lost my mind is that I decided to do a Halloween craft for Connor’s preschool class.

That fact alone doesn’t necessarily seal my unhinged state.  What does is that I decided to do a craft they will doubtless throw away within minutes of receiving it, a craft that took me an hour to do.

Seriously, there’s something wrong with me.

Here’s what I decided to do: Juice box mummies!

Super cute, right? My love for Halloween knows no bounds!

There are several different ways of doing this craft.  The easiest way involves using cream masking tape (which I didn’t have).  So here’s how I did it:

Using copy paper, googly eyes, hot glue and toilet paper I constructed little mummies for the Halloween buckets Connor’s class will get at school.

First, wrap the juice box in half a sheet of copy paper. (notice my lovely Halloween black nails!)

Fold the paper around the box, so that it’s almost all covered, leaving a space for the straw at the top.  This is supposed to actually be usable.

Next, take a long strip of toilet paper and fold it in half.  If it’s two ply, strip away one layer so you just use one layer per box.

Glue and wrap!

Once you’re done wrapping, simply tuck some googly eyes just into the paper.  You want the impression that they’re peeking out!

Finally, tuck the straws into the back of the paper so the kids can actually drink out of them and you’re done!

These little guys definitely do not have to be perfect.  They’re juice boxes which will be thrown away.  Do not agonize about the details!  Or perhaps don’t make these until the kids are a little older and can actually appreciate them?

Whatever.  I’m obviously crazy.  You probably shouldn’t listen to a crazy woman, so make this craft however you like!
Happy Halloween!!