Sunday, May 27, 2012

The party finally arrived.....

I've done a few posts on the preparations leading up to Richard's 1st birthday party..... and on Sunday, May 13th, the Circus extravaganza finally arrived! We celebrated in my hometown of Racine, WI where most of our family resides. I was able to get a private room at a locally owned pizza place. While this was great, I still had to worry about the logistics of my decorations, treats (was I going to make them in MI or WI?), trying to fit it all in our already full car, etc.....

Everything worked out, as it always does in the end. Here is a shot of the treat table and tent for the gifts. I brough the paper mache giraffe and elephant that reside in Richard's room for the table. I made pennant banners out of the notecards and printed giftbags that I previously talked about getting in Michael's dollar bin.
Cute little cupcake stand housing chocolate and vanilla cupcakes with sprinkles and vintage clown toppers.
The printed gift bags from Michael's had a smell to them and I was worried about the food I put in them absorbing that. Plus, you wouldn't have been able to see the Circus themed treats I was carefully selecting. So, I put the goodies in clear bags and then cut strips of the printed bags to staple on as decorative toppers. I added tickets too. For the cotton candy pictured here, I first tried taking the cotton candy out of the container to put in the bag but it seemed to retain it's compacted shape too much even though I tried to squish it. So I just kept it in the containers.
Animal crackers - a must! I didn't realize how hard it is to find these now. Many stores just carry the large, resealable bags. And at yet another store, I saw the little boxes but the graphics had been redesigned by Lilly Pulitzer. While I do love her fashion designs, I just wanted the traditional boxes.
Bags of peanuts. Did you now there was such a thing as raw peanuts? I didn't, and apparently that is what I bought when I made these up. So unfortunately, they tasted terrible and were a waste. Oh well, you learn something new everyday.
Bags of popcorn!
Guests had fun with the masks on sticks (also from Michael's). I had some hats, clown noses, and mustaches for fun as well. I made centerpieces for each round table with those plastic popcorn containers - I put a star balloon on a stick in each one with some colored tissue. I had strips of tickets laid around the centers as well. Also forgot to get a pic of the little wind up clowns on tricycles that I had gotten from the dollar store as favors - they were an exciting find!

The guest of honor as a Ringmaster! I squeezed him into his faux tuxedo from the holidays and bought a cute red jacket from Etsy. I made his pacificer by sticking a mustache on a clear one. And I got the hat at a local costume store.
"Happy Birthday to you......"
Enjoying his cupcake!
At the end of the party, we were all exhausted. But it was a hit! All 26 guests had a great time. Richard could barely keep his eyes open to have his last bottle before bed. We let him sleep in his tux, smelling of frosting and fun!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Lunch Date

Last Friday (the 18th) my hubby and I celebrated 10 years of marriage! Since we knew we couldn't go out in the evening (since I was doing the Spring into the Arts), we decided to meet for a nice lunch. He works in the cute little historic town of Marshall, MI. We ate at a wonderful tapas place and then walked around a few of the shops. The weather was beautiful and it was so fun!

I wore the above outfit - featuring a dress from Anthropologie by Moulinette Soeurs - submitted as this week's outfit to the Effortless Anthropologie blog. I took this pic on our upper porch (off our bedroom) which I am seeing needs some Spring cleaning yet!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Spring into the Arts!

Last week, after celebrating my son's 1st birthday (which I will post about), I took the rest of the week off to have some creative time. It was wonderful! Spending every day in the studio with some tea and music...... I was preparing for a show that I did on Friday evening. Our city has an annual Spring into the Arts and also a Fall into the Arts. Many cities have similar events, though sometimes the first Friday of EVERY month, where you "hop" to different downtown businesses for art, music, food, etc.... I have been wanting to do this show for some time now, but always had a conflict. I was so happy to be a part of it with other artists from The Art Center of Battle Creek, at our usual location the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

A while ago, I showed some projects I made (wall art) with some "printers drawers" from the scrapbook isle at Michael's. I'd wanted to try to use them as jewelry displays and this was my first chance to do so. Here is a tray full of earrings:
And a tray full of necklaces using Jade Scott's hot air balloon pendants. I was really excited about these because Battle Creek has a yearly balloon fest during the 4th of July, as well at the Nationals the end of August. Unfortunately, not a one sold. Hmmm, I'm going to have to find a way to connect with those balloon enthusiasts this summer.
Here's some pics of my tables. I kept my displays pretty simple, not bringing as many of my props as usual. However, the peacock suitcase made it's debut! The Foundation supplied the tables and chairs and that was a huge help! They like the artists to demonstrate as well, so the center of my table focused on cutting decorative tins when I had a spare moment. Which wasn't often as it was busy the entire time! It was great and I sold quite a bit.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Catching up.... peacock skirts.

Here's a couple of Anthro outfits that have been on the Effortless Anthropologie blog within the last month or so. Ironically, both are peacock skirts (from Anthro) and in keeping with the unpredictable weather, one week I had on tights and a sweater and the next week I was bare (PALE!) legs!
This skirt is from Odille, however I don't know the name of it. It features several different types of feathers.
This skirt is from Edme & Esyllte and it's called "Peacocks-a-Plenty".

Friday, May 11, 2012

Feeling inspired again!

I hadn’t been feeling very creative on the jewelry front lately. A few weeks ago I went into my studio while Richard was napping and I did not like anything I was making. I got frustrated and sulked the rest of the day. I got to wondering if this part of my life was going to take a break – for an extended period of time. The pressures of blogging, listing, promoting, etc… really gets to me sometimes. While my family is my #1 priority, I didn’t want to lose this part of my life!

I got an invite from Heather Powers of Humblebeads for a day of beading fun. Heather has been back in Grand Rapids (about an hour from me) for over a year now, and since going to her book signing last Fall, we hadn’t been able to connect since. I was determined to join the activities she had planned last Saturday – going to the Rings & Things trunk show (which I had never been), lunch, and then beading at her place. Her sweet aunt Rosanne came along as well (I met her in person at Bead & Button last year). I had such a wonderful time!!! I paced myself with buying at the show, knowing that Bead & Button was coming up soon. Lunch was wonderful, and then Heather showed us how to make a beaded bangle. The white one is the one she showed us how to do, and then we went on to create various versions that can be worn together. I added a few buttons to my white one. The second one I made was a take on a similar bangle I made a few years ago that I had always wanted to recreate. I used beads with large holes for movement, and then some intervals of fabric and smaller sections of the white beads. In the version I made a few years ago, I actually made peyote stitched tubes that I stitched around the wire – very time consuming! I am grateful for this new technique that is quicker, and I am anxious to make more of these fun bangles. The possibilities are endless, and it’s a great way to use up odds and ends beads for the little accents. My creativity has been awakened once again, and I am excited! Just in time too as I will be getting ready for a local show next Friday. Thanks Heather & Rosanne for a great time!

Oh, and the best part….. I got to buy some Humblebeads too, straight from the artist!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The makings of a 1st birthday...

I cannot believe I am planning a 1st birthday party for Richard! The first year of his life has just flown by! It is getting harder and harder to remember the little details of being pregnant. Memories of the birth and his first few weeks are slipping as my mind gets filled up with whatever new thing he is doing on a daily basis. I am stressed about keeping up with my scrapbook and journal so that I don't lose these precious bits and pieces.

The theme for his party is "Circus". I guess you could say this theme was decided as early as last summer, when his birthday seemed so far away. My friend Kristen and I were at Michael's and they were clearing out some of their dollar bin items. They had a collection of Circus themed items, but all that was left for me to claim was a packet of stickers. So when I started planning a couple of months ago, I was giddy when I saw Michael's brought back a similar collection this year too! Different items, but the same graphics. First up, I'll show you the invites I made for the party. Here's what I started with:

packets of blank Circus note cards - $1.00 for 6
box of multicolored cards & envelopes - used 40% off coupon
sheets of Circus scrapbook paper - 6 for $1.00 sale
vintage Circus postage stamps - eBay
photo collage of Richard at Circus exhibit at Navy Pier in Chicago
ink pads, adhesive, and invitation stamp

I first cut the cover of the note cards off so that I could adhere them to the larger colored cards. I used my ink pads to color the edges. As you can see, the color combinations were endless! I love these vintage graphics. Since I have been looking at all the Circus party stuff out there, I love that these are cute but a little bit mature too. Not too cartoon like or cheesy.

Using the matching patterned scrapbook paper, I adhered it to the backs of the photo collages for a more finished look.

I saw the idea to use these stamps on one of the hundreds of Circus party inspiration sites I found. You just have to use enough to cover the current price of postage.

I bought these rolls of tickets from Oriental Trading to use as fun inserts in the invites, as well as for decorating at the party.

Here's an example of the completed invite. The colored cards I bought had precut windows on the front. Once the outer card was attached, I knew it would create the perfect pocket to hold the tickets. I adhered the other half of the cards, featuring a star, on the inside of the card. It was there that I stamped the invitation information and filled it all in. Depending on the orientation of each card, I had to stamp it accordingly (up and down or across).
I really love how these turned out! I'll share more crafty details about the "Big Top" as they come about!