Monday, May 30, 2011

State Fair Bridal Shower - SkyRide Garland

Does this look like a party? WHOOO HOOO!

For decorations at our State Fair Bridal Shower we chose do do a few fun items that would have a lot of impact for our theme and fill the space with the fun fairtime atmosphere - and what evokes the State Fair better than the SkyRide:

We translated the iconic ride into a bright fun garland that zig zagged the party space:

Framed the windows:

And hung from the chandelier:

Sadly, there is no Cricut cartridge that cuts SkyRides :) So instead, I created my own template by blowing up a picture of the skyride, tracing the major lines of the silhouette, and cutting the shape with an Xacto knife:

I used that template to cut SkyRide gondolas out of red, yellow, green, and blue cardstock:

My mom used wire Christmas ornament hangers to suspend the gondolas along an old telephone cord so they still had some movement but hung securely over our heads. Midway style tickets purchased from the local party store made up the rest of our hanging decor:

The stage was set! Next up, check back to see the FOOD!
Click on the "StateFair" label to see other pics and projects from this State Fair themed Bridal Shower,

Saturday, May 28, 2011

State Fair Bridal Shower - Name Tags

I think when you have a big bridal shower with several different "branches" of your family tree, it's always nice to have name tags. This shower involved the Bride's family from both her mother and father's sides, as well as friends from college and childhood, and there were so many guests it would have taken an hour to introduce everyone, so name tags were perfect. In keeping with the State Fair theme, I echoed the invitations with smaller rosette ribbons:

But THIS TIME instead of piecing them together, I cut them all out using my Cricut! I got one from my mother in law over a year ago, but haven't had much of a chance to use it until now, so I am having fun exploring the options. I have a hard time judging what each cartridge will do just from the pictures on the back of the boxes, but I just discovered if you go to the Cricut site you can click on each cartridge and many view the handbook in a PDF document, so you can see ALL the capabilities! Whoo hoo!

It was in searching like this that I came across the "Plantin Schoolbook" cartridge, and it's many award ribbon patterns. PERFECT!!!! Of course, this cartridge is not available for purchase and was only distributed as part of a bundle with the machine (and I wasn't buying another machine!). As luck would have it, someone on my local Craigslist had one for sale, and I picked it up immediately!

I used a rainbow of papers from my existing stash and the Roly Poly setting, and cut 6 from each 12" x 12" sheet of paper. I used the same paper punch to cut the centers from white cardstock as I did for the invitations, and a glue stick to attach.

We laid them on a table in the entry way with markers and pins, and guests could choose their own color. We left one as an example so people would know to write their name AND relation to the bride, which really helps people to mingle and socialize. We even marked the back of two name tags with a star, and those guests won a door prize (pie!).

The Cupcake had so much fun she knocked herself out:

Click on the "StateFair" label to see more pics & posts about this party, and stay tuned for additional pics & projects!

Friday, May 27, 2011

State Fair Bridal Shower - Butter Bride

When you think of the Minnesota State Fair, there are a few main images that spring to mind. Corn Dogs/Pronto Pups:

Cheese curds, and the insane line for them that stretches around the booth several times:

And, of course, butter heads:

Butter PRINCESS heads to be exact, AKA the "Dairy Queens". Every year, each of the candidates for Princess Kay of the Milky Way are sculpted out of a giant brick of butter at larger than life size scale. They're displayed in a rotating cooler and each day of the fair one of the princesses gets sculpted live while sitting in the center of the cooler (with mittens and earmuffs and a parka - it has to be cold to keep butter firm!)

So we simply HAD to have a butter carving at the State Fair Bridal Shower. While we didn't have 40lb blocks of butter at the ready, I was able to make due with a 1 lb brick:

Butter Bride! Armed with a paring knife and a butter knife (which actually didn't work as well as the paring knife) I whittled myself a crude little wedding dress, a hint of a bouquet, and the stub of a neck. I knew that I couldn't do the bride's lovely face justice, and besides, this was a lot more fun! I cut her smiling face out of an existing photo, taped it to a toothpick, and embellished with a marabou poof that had fallen off of a boa. Voila! Butter Bride! She was the belle of the ball:

It was a really fun touch and so easy to do - imperfections and crude renderings actually make it even more fun than a really professional sculpture would have been. Or maybe I just mean funnier :) Make sure to keep her in the refrigerator until party time so she doesn't melt away, and use an actual photo on photo paper for the head as it's slightly more grease resistant than regular paper. Our butter bride made an excellent topper to our dessert table, which gives you a sneak preview of the rest of the goodies:

See also: Blue Ribbon Invitations

More State Fair Party pics to come, keep watching!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Heads Up: Bucket List #86, Join a Protest

There are a lot of things I wish I could change about our government, and I should act and speak out on such issues more than I do, but I know I cannot sit idly by and let our state write bigotry INTO THE CONSTITUTION. How embarrassing and shameful for all of us. This is not the example I want to set for The Cupcake, nor the environment I want her raised in.

So over the next year my family will be joining the movement to defeat Chapter 88, SF 1308, an act proposing an amendment to the Minnesota Constitution recognizing marriage as "only a union between one man and one woman" - AKA the gay marriage ban.
Me, hubs, & the Cupcake are planning to counter this (As Expected, Anti-Gay Groups Preparing Propaganda Blitz In Minnesota) by participating in this:

(click to zoom)

Spaghetti dinner + [MN]Love photo shoot (similar to the NOH8 campaign)+ setting an example of tolerance and civic participation for our daughter = time well spent. This will be a very special family photo in her scrapbook.

“Minnesota is better than this. Minnesotans are better than this. I urge Minnesotans to reject this amendment.” ~Gov. Mark Dayton

P.S. I finally had a chance to spend some time on my blog, and have actually started to do a little crafting again, so if I lost you in the post-baby lethargy, please come back - I'll have new posts going up almost daily for the next couple weeks at least!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

State Fair Themed Bridal Shower - Blue ribbon invitations

So stinkin' cute! That's how everything turned out for my dear cousin Carley's bridal shower. And now that the festivities have come to an end, I can share some of the crafty creations I contributed to the fete!

My mother/Carley's aunt hosted the party, but I'd say I acted as something of a "creative consultant" after proposing the State Fair idea. You see, Carley LOVES the Minnesota State Fair. LOVES IT. She makes it more than an event, it's a verb. She DOES the State Fair, from Machinery Hill to the Haunted House, Cheese Curds to Deep Fried Hot Dish, I'm pretty sure she even has special pants. And after a few years out of the state, (and more to come after the wedding) a Great Minnesota Get-Together was the PERFECT idea!

Starting at the beginning: Invitations! This was not my first inclination, I originally was running with sort of a corn dog bouquet theme, but it just wasn't working out, and in the end these blue ribbons turned out ADORABLE, so I'm glad I experimented a bit.

This was the first creative project I'd undertaken since The Cupcake's nursery, and the first time I've tried to accomplish anything of the sort since she came along - and it all went surprisingly well! I credit her swing with all of the success :) One day she conked out while swaying, and I sat down to cut out all of the pieces assuming someone else would need to assemble them...and when I finished, she was still sawing logs, so I started to put a few together...then, before I knew it, I was done! 43 of these pretty little rosettes I believe, in all different colors and patterns:

I used paper punches for all of the circles (the "ruffles" around the medallion are just a bunch of overlapping circles), and once I found the sizes that looked right together I created the "ribbons" to fit. I cut all of the "blue" parts out of various patterned paper from a 12" x 12" stack.

For the invitation wording, I started by downloading a pretty font from (Calamity Jane) and laying out the text - this was the first time I'd ever printed on vellum and it worked GREAT, I'm definitely using that technique again. I like to use powerpoint to lay out my pages, I just measured my available space and set text boxes, then crammed as many on a page as I could to conserve paper when I printed. I cut them apart, and affixed everything with glue dots. For the back I cut another blank large circle from cardstock (same as the center front) and used it to cover up all of the double sided tape and glue dots holding the smaller circles to the larger one, and I ended up pasting a label with registry details on that circle as well.

We mailed the invites in large 6" x 9" envelopes, which are nearly the largest that can still go with one stamp. A few times I had splayed the ribbons too widely and had to bend a corner, but for the most part they traveled pretty well, and I was assured that everyone could tell what they were right away and start looking forward to the State Fair themed party.

More State Fair party pics to come, I promise!

Monday, May 09, 2011

I did another creative project today, but I can't share it till next week, once the bride-to-be has been showered with all of our State Fair themed fun (I can't wait for this shower!). I'm not actually hosting the event, but I've contributed a few fun projects that I hope add to the celebration - at least three crafts that I'm hoping to share. Right now The Cupcake is on her 3rd long walk in a row with her dear dad, who just texted me this photo:

(our phone cameras suck, but you get the idea - she's sawing logs)

She is definitely enjoying the fresh air, and I'm making the most of my "alone time" racing around the house finishing up tasks I never seem to get to otherwise. Up next: find, and perhaps even pay, our property taxes! :-P

Tuesday, May 03, 2011


I mentioned this swing in my last post - it is a lifesaver. Or at least a sanity saver. When The Cupcake was born, she liked to be held. A lot. And she was the only child, the first grandchild, the newest kid on the block, so we liked to hold her to.

But she liked to be held ALL.THE.TIME. She wouldn't sleep otherwise, and when you are home all day with an infant there comes a time when you have to put them down so you can accomplish a few things (i.e. empty your bladder, hose off the puke, eat something more substantial than a granola bar). By the time she was about six weeks, I was getting pretty desperate. Then I ordered this:

It was a LOT of money for me, somewhere around $170 I think, but I put all of my faith (probably more than was healthy) into this swing. The swing just HAD to work. It was sold out at Target so I ordered it from Toys R Us (where it was slightly higher, but we had a small gift card to put towards it) and counted down the moments until it arrived. I immediately dumped out the package...and in my sleep deprived haze, there were 2 pieces I simply could NOT fit together.

And I cried.

At some point I pulled myself back together and called my dad, who came over to help the next day. About 4 seconds later, the swing was assembled and I popped TC right in.

She was immediately captured by the mirrored underside of the mobile. Yes, our little Cupcake is a bit vain, she adores looking at herself in the mirror. Score 1 for the Snugabunny. She also likes to hear how pretty she is, so I'm sure we're building a monster, but we'll address that another time.

Part of the reason I chose this swing was that it could be plugged into the wall instead of burning through batteries, so we plugged it in, held our breath, and within moments:

and then I cried again, but they were happy tears. Relieved tears. Hope for a future when I could possibly take a pee break tears.

She doesn't ALWAYS fall asleep in there, but she still does pretty often. This is just last week:

And Easter morning:

The music is actually not at all annoying, possibly even soothing, and there are several settings and a volume control. The mirrored underside of the mobile is genius. Now that she's starting to bend and twist on her own we've had to start buckling her in so she doesn't heave herself out, but she still manages to fall asleep in there a fair amount of time. I only wish we had sprung for it sooner, it was worth every penny.

Honestly, just that first nap NOT in my arms was probably worth a lot more than $170 :)

Monday, May 02, 2011

When your feet are the size of the Easter bunny's...

We eventually plan to celebrate the bunnies & candy side of Easter, but at this point The Cupcake has no use for an Easter basket and neither of her parents needed another excuse to down a pound of chocolate, so we basically just skipped it. Luckily my mother (GrammyCupcake) put on a lovely Easter dinner and invited me and TC over to share in the feast (the hubby had baseball tix).

I'm still not great at getting out of the house with my little one, I tend to agonize over getting everything packed and ready so that I'm exhausted before I even leave, but the sleep situation has been getting better and better, and I found myself awake on Easter morning while The Cupcake was doing this:

(My Little Snugabunny Swing by Fisher Price, I <3 You!)

So I walked into my kitchen and whipped up these:

jumbo chocolate dipped strawberries, and two of these:

Vanilla cakes that I smushed the frosting of, but they still tasted okay. Neither of these creations was very exciting on their own, but when you realize that they signify MY FIRST BAKING WHATSOEVER since the baby bomb dropped on our lives, I'm pretty darned impressed! I think this may have been the first time the oven has been on in 4 months. It was exciting.

And then I somehow even managed to clean myself up a tiny bit, and wrestle TC into a pretty little dress so we looked presentable for about 10 minutes:

And then the puking started, so we were right back to the dirty stinky mess our lives usually are. And then I broke my toe on GrammyCupcake's beautiful but deadly antique sofa, so that kinda sucked too. But at least we had HAM! :)