Evelyn’s 1st Birthday

I can’t believe how fast time has gone by. My niece, Evelyn is turning the big 1! It has been such a joy to watch her grow these past months! Isn’t it funny that she learned how to was walk just a week before her first birthday?! She is such a little explorer. She’s already getting into everything, putting anything in her mouth that’s within reach.

 

 

My sister & I wanted to do something a little special for her so we decided to go the extra mile & throw her 1st birthday party together. We had our ideas narrowed down to a to a tribal tribal theme. We wanted it to be girly with blue & purple as the main color with hints of gold, pink, & white. Once we had our ideas set, we began looking for party supplies.  We check out Micheal’s & bought a few of the items that we planned on using for the decorations, such as the blocks of letters, banner papers/blank banner fabric, tassels, & a few other things. A quick stop at Party City to check out what they had to offer. We only ended up buying table covers with lace detailing. The last stop was at the Dollar Tree for the paper plates, cups, utensils, & flowers. The last purchases were ordered online from Etsy which were the invitations, dream catcher, & cake topper.

 

For the first part of the decor, I began implementing ideas of what style of letters I would use, how to apply them onto the blank purple banners, & how to attach them all together. Obviously, we knew we wanted to have Evelyn’s name on there. I usually write down or sketch an idea I have envisioned on paper before I begin the process. I thought that simple letters with arrows on some of the letters would tie in with the theme perfectly. I started to paint the letters free hand onto the banners with a thin brush & white pearl acrylic paint. It was a bit of a challenge gauging the placement & size of the letters, also it’s kind of ironic how something that can look so simple requires such precision & takes a lot longer than you presumed. I had my sister finish up most of the dots since I didn’t have the all of the supplies at home to finish the rest. Then I sewed the ribbon on top of each banner to hold the whole thing together.

 
My sister decided to paint the “ONE” letters since they came in white. At first she tried painting them a metallic gold color but that didn’t work out. The gold color make it look quite streaky even after a couple of coats. So she decided to paint over that color with blue & purple, which ended up looking a lot better & long gone the streakiness. Meanwhile I was trying to decide on how I would arrange the flowers before attaching them to onto the dream catcher. I removed the flowers from their stems then attached the floral wire to the ends on the back side of the flowers then intertwined them into the webs. It took a while, but I think the flowers gave it such a nice girly touch.

 

The night before the party, we brought all of the supplies out. I began setting the dining table. For the dessert table, I just taped the banner I painted, the tassels, & arrange Evie’s pictures, & the letters. We also made some treats. My sister made the teepee cones. She had a difficult time attaching the pretzel sticks to the top. I figured there was a technique to it. You just have to make sure the chocolate you’re using isn’t too wet, it has to be tacky or else you’ll be sitting there forever while holding them in place until they dry. I made the 3 layered rice crispy treats. I heated up about 20 marshmallows in 1 tbs of butter for about a minute. I added food coloring to create a blue, pink, & purple color. (Be sure to make the color darker than you want because the cereal will lighten up the color.) Make sure you have a spatula & pan with a light coat of oil to keep it from sticking. (Also having your hands dampen with some water helps it from sticking.) Then I added in about 2 cups of cereal & fold it into the marshmallows to get them incorporated. Lastly, I pressed down each color into a pan & let it set for about 1 hour. This is the process I did for each layer. After it has set, I cut them with a serrated knife into little cubes & stuck lollipop sticks into them.

The party turned out quite nice. Planning this party was a lot more relaxed. It was probably due to the fact that I had gained some experience since the last one & we had a better thought out plan of what we wanted to achieve. Even though I was a bit sleep deprived, this party was smooth sailing; such a breeze.







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Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Chocolate Covered Strawberries 4I’ve been planning to make these chocolate covered strawberries again but haven’t had the chance. Since Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, I thought that it would be the perfect time to gather all my supplies & start assembling them. Taking the time out of your day to make something sweet & thoughtful for your loved ones will definitely make them feel just a little bit more special. These chocolate covered strawberries are sure to impress but they are so simple to make. The finished product looks almost too pretty to eat as if you bought them from a gourmet shop without spending a fortune. They are so fun to make, they make such an adorable gift, & they’re also quite a  tasty treat. The tartness of the strawberries compliments the sweetness of the chocolate. Hope your Valentine’s Day will be filled with lots of love or you could just treat yourself.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries 2What you need:

– Skewers
– Sprinkles
– Strawberries
– Cupcake liners
– Squeeze bottle
– Block of styrofoam
– Chocolate(s) of your choice

Directions:Chocolate Covered Strawberries 3

  1. Wash the strawberries & pat them completely dry.
  2. Puncture holes that are about 1 1/2 inch apart into the styrofoam block with the skewers.
  3. Insert skewers about half way into the ends of each strawberry.
  4. Melt the chocolate in a double broiler on medium-low heat or microwave 8 oz at a time in increments of 30 seconds until running smooth; add a few tsp of oil if it starts to seize up.
  5. Pour the opposite type of chocolate into a squeeze bottle for drizzling contrasting decorative patterns.
  6. Dip & twist strawberries in the chocolate about 3/4 of the way, let the excess drip, place on the styrofoam block to dry.
  7.  Drizzle over strawberries with a back and forth motion on both sides, dust sprinkles, place in fridge to set.

Valentine's Day Card 2 Valentine's Day Card 3You can either display them standing upright or in the cupcake liners. Store them in the fridge until they’re ready to be devoured. Enjoy!

Chocolate Covered Strawberries 1

Baby Shower Planning

Evelyn's Baby Shower 3It has been a few months since the baby shower, so I thought that I would begin my first post by sharing my experience. Anyways, this was my first time planning a party. I’ve actually never put together any parties that required at least some sort of planning. Everything was more of “let’s make this happen” without much thought. Oh dear, let me just tell you; it was beyond stressful. (Sigh…) We almost wanted to quit, but we persevered! I don’t think I want to throw another party for a while. Though, I don’t want to discouraged anyone because of how overwhelming planning a party can be. It is a heavy load to carry, but it is really well worth the hassle for the end results. I just hope that my experience can potentially help out or inspire someone that is planning to throw their next party.

My sister & I started planning the party one month in advance before the actual event. We dedicated a lot of our time into this party. (Our heart, pride, & soul) We must have stopped by a few different stores every week because we didn’t have a solid plan. Once we did have an idea of what we wanted to put together, things slowly started to fall into place. Since I’m the creative one in the family, I was given the majority of the “labor intensive” task. My sister was in charge of the goody bags, prizes, & placing the orders for cake & food. Her fiancé funded the party & was in charge of the games.

The first thing on my list was to make the invitations. I couldn’t find any pre-made templates that looked exactly the way I envisioned so, I Evelyn's Baby Diaper Invitationdecided to make the baby diaper templates completely from scratch. They were drawn up in a program called Cad. It took many revisions before I was satisfied with the final results. The final touches had to be done manually. The tedious part was cutting them all, especially the scalloped tops. I also had to come up with a creative idea that would work opening up the invitations, but still keeping it simple. My sister kept on nagging me to finish them. I did manage to get them out in a timely manner.

Next, I started to work on the banner for the baby’s name. This project was more straightforward than the invitations because it didn’t require exact measurements for every side. I drew up the circles, scalloped circles, & all of the letters by hand. The letters were a bit tricky because I had to gauge what size they needed to be in order for them to snugly fit into the scalloped circles. Cutting out the shapes was a bit of a repetitive task. The letters required a bit more precision. The easy part was binding the shapes together. I just had to decide what I should use to pull the banner together as a whole.

Evelyn's Baby Shower XVIOne other small project we decided on was to make something cute for the utensils to sit in. We bought pink & white napkins that we decide to fold into bow shapes. I was uncertain if I should use the pink or white napkins. I figured that white would be a better option since everything on the table was going to be pink. After I folded all of the necessary supply, I proceeded to make the chevron patterned strips on Photoshop that would later be placed in the middle of each bow. The strips were printed on glossy finish paper. I ended up wasting more paper than I would like trying to get the right shade of color that would come close to matching our gray & pink theme..

The last crafty project I had to do was to create a picture that would later be placed in the baby’s nursery room. (Just for memories) I decided to go with a baby elephant because I thought that it was a good representation of a new baby girl’s arrival & plus they’re adorable. I drew it by hand & had my sister help me cut circles out of patterned paper; which are suppose to look like balloons. The family members are suppose to write down their blessings for the baby inside the circles. Once I got the outline of the elephant drawn out, I started to fill it up with color. I just had to figure out the placement of the circles.

The day before the baby shower, I arrived at my sister’s house in the morning to prepare for the big day. Evelyn's Baby Shower 4My foster mom also came down from North Carolina to help us. The first thing on my list was to add the final touches to all of the projects I did previously. Once that was out of the way, I started hanging up the décor on the ceiling where we planned to have our dessert table. I also had to figure out how we were going to set the table that we planned to have our guest eat on. We decided that we would cut out the pink table cover into heart shapes. I drew up the heart shapes, cut them out, & taped them onto the white cover that we had already placed on the table. Then, I proceeded to set the table. Meanwhile, I had my youngest sister help make the chocolate covered pretzels & strawberries. Though, her effort was appreciated, she kind of rushed the job so I decided to make the ones that would be displayed on the dessert table. My mom helped clean along the way. She also set up the popcorn station. (Big thank you to her!) It took us the whole day to get it all figured out.

Evelyn's Baby Shower XIIFinally, the big day has arrived. I couldn’t sleep the night before. I was running on 4 hours of broken sleep. I had so much adrenaline running through my veins that I didn’t even realize how tired I was. I did my make up & got dressed. I was ready for the day to begin. My sister’s fiance picked me up. We stopped by the store to pick up the cake. Everybody was starting feel a bit frantic to say the least. I guess they need me. (Aww…) I got there later than I had originally planned. As soon as I was there, I immediately began setting up the dessert table & photographed all of our precious work before our guest arrived.

After the party, I felt so relieved. All of this weight that we put upon ourselves has been lifted off. My sister’s fiance did an impeccable performance on the games. I was quite impressed that the majority of our guest showed up. The final product turned out more beautiful than I had anticipated. The best part of it all; we actually enjoyed ourselves after all the sweat & tears. Our effort was definitely rewarded. I received a few compliments. (*Blushes) I didn’t think I was capable of all the things I pulled together. Sometimes, you end up surprising yourself. Never set limits; you can achieve whatever your heart desires.

I would like to finish off & thank everyone that help contribute to the party; whether it was big or small. All of your effort was very much appreciated! It help lift off some of our load. Many of our ideas were inspired by Pinterest. Most of the supplies that we bought were either from the Dollar Tree, Micheal’s, or Wal-Mart. A few things that I would like to suggest to anyone that is planning a party: 1) Have a solid plan of what you want to achieve before making your purchases; this will save you a ton of time, so you don’t end up visiting the store a million times like we had to. 2) Give yourself a decent time frame to plan before the actual day; this way you won’t feel rushed when the time is getting near & it’ll give you a little bit of procrastination time in between. (Just kidding) 3) Include at least 3 games; like we did or your guest may feel obligated to stay longer than they may want. Lastly, don’t forget to photograph all of your hard work! Good luck & enjoy!
















 

Just in case you’re wondering, we did provide hot foods for our guest. We served baked ziti, eggrolls, meatballs, potato salad, sausages, stuffed shells, & among other things that the guest brought.

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