Saturday, May 28, 2011

Tutorial - Custom Party Hats

I always have trouble with the party hat dilemma.  No one really WANTS to wear a party hat, but.... if you put them out and the 4 year old birthday boy starts handing them to people, they will put them on.  But they won't want to, so.... do you do the party hat thing or not? 

I did.  

But I didn't want to go the store bought party hat route.  I originally thought that I would try to find plain blue party hats, buy some white circle labels (ie. tag sale labels) and make polka dot hats.  Well... I couldn't find plain blue hats in any of the stores that I went to and as a cheapskate I HATE paying shipping fees for purchasing things online (I wait until I can find a "Free Shipping" code most of the time).

So... I bought these at the dollar store.
A little less than appealing, but I wasn't too concerned with the design on them because I knew that I would change them.  And even though it was a little more work that I originally planned.  I'm pretty pleased with the end results.

Here's after step 1:
And here's the final end product (although some of the pom poms got a bit smushed by this point when I took the photos- after the party):
It was a little more work -- but really-- NONE of it was hard.   I didn't take photos of the process -- but I promise you it was really easy.  

I took one of the store bought hats apart-- traced the outline of the deconstructed hat on scrapbook paper-- put the store bought hat back together-- used my trusty glue stick (yes- I'm pretty much a 1st grader) and glued the paper to the hat.
As seen in this post, I used the larger 4s that I cut out at work and just glued those to the front sides.  I didn't do this right away though-- hence some photos with the 4s and some without-- I took photos at two separate times.
For the pom poms, I took a piece of tissue paper-- approx. 4 inches in length -- accordion folded it lengthwise at about a 1/2 inch width a few times and then cut tiny slits in one side of it a little more than half way through the width.  Then I rolled the strip into a "tube" stuck it in the top of the hat, taped it on the inside a bit and fluffed.  

FYI:  In hind-sight, I probably would've done the pom pom part BEFORE putting the deconstructed hats back together and before gluing the paper on, but... it worked my way too-- just would've been a little easier the other way.

pom pom without 4s:
pom poms with 4s:
I tried the hats on my huge head and the elastic wasn't staying all that well.  Since it was going to be mostly adults in attendance (family) I knew I'd have to make them a little sturdier and I didn't want to go the "cute ribbon" route-- that was one way to ENSURE no adults would put on a party hat-- so a little scotch tape on the inside of the hat and the elastic stayed in place (for a little while anyway).

Again hats without 4s:

Hats with 4s:
and one final without:

Now for the whole progression again.

One more time.  Before:
and After After:
And how do you store cute party hats with pom poms that you made a week and a half before the party  so that they they don't get smushed or crushed (remember my smushed pom pom pictures are from AFTER the party)?  

not to toot my own horn, but I'm kind of a GENIOUS!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Tutorial: Custom Napkin Rings - Fail (or was it?)

So remember how I mentioned that my first try at the custom napkin rings was a fail-- here's why.

I've made custom napkin rings a million times (OK- a few times).

For Cole's 3rd birthday party  (OK-- admittedly the numbers are a little bit ghetto-- it was my first attempt at custom napkin rings and I just drew them on with a stencil)

And for a graduation party for my oldest step-daughter Caily.  FYI- the party never actually happened because we couldn't coordinate schedules over the summer  :(

This time however, I over thought it and over did it.

At first my napkin rings started out like this.

Cute right?

THEN I got all "need more details" on myself and over did it by adding 4's to it.

See what I mean?  Too much!

I tried a couple of different versions too--

coordinating 4s

and matching 4s
either way it just didn't work.

So... what did I do?  Well, the glue was dry and the 4s were REALLY stuck so....

I just turned the napkin rings around.  Makeshift? yes.  Did anyone at the party care?  not a bit.
Here's my super complicated tutorial for you now.

Choose your scrapbook paper.

Cut strips 1 1/2" by 4 1/2".

Use glue stick to add embellishments (ie. second strip of complimentary paper, 2" punched circle etc.)
Note-- embellishments can be made from anything-- while the 4s didn't necessarily work, you can see how fancy my "template" was -- a hand drawn 4 cut out of cardstock (which I did at lunchtime at work one day)

larger 4s were for the party hats-- more on those later
Shape paper into tube-- overlapping paper about 1/4".  Glue with glue stick.

tip:  make sure you use paper that is thick enough (ie. scrapbook paper- not just copy paper) but not too thick (like cardstock).  The paper I used this time was a little too thick and made the "tubes" a little difficult to roll without creases and I ended up having to scotch tape them to keep them shut.  Live and learn!

See-- its practically a 2nd grade art project.  Anyone can do it!  And it really doesn't take that long to do either.  The possibilities are endless...  have fun with them!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I love to plan parties!

So this past weekend was Cole's 4th birthday and I planned a little shindig for him.  I planned this party so it would work for just the 3 of us or to accomodate whom ever wanted to come from Syracuse.  We ended up with 10 people!  Hooray for our awesome families! Although we missed having EVERYONE around, we were so happy to have so many people who love him come to be with him and us on his birthday. 
As any good cheapskate would do, I DIYed most of the party details.  I'll do tutorials in posts that have yet to be written so if you see something you like-- hold on a few days and if after that you haven't seen a tutorial (and you'd like one), let me know.  Now on with the show!

Quick party overview:

These days (and what seems like might just be FOREVER) Cole is obsessed with the 'Toy Story' movies.  We based our party on that.   Without getting too theme-y (notice all the new words I'm making up in this post), I tried to incorporate portions of the movies into the party.

Like for example the blue cloud wall-- like in the main character Andy's bedroom. 
I had visions of making our whole dining "nook" into Andy's room, but in the interest of time (and money) just the back wall got the treatment.  I looked for cloud fabric to hang, but just couldn't find anything close enough to Andy's room so I decided to take measures into my own hands.  Instead-- light blue wrapping paper and hand-cut clouds did the trick.   
image source
Pretty close (if I do say so myself).
In one of the movies (can't remember which), the toys use a 'Pizza Planet' delivery truck to get around.  I used this when deciding to make my life easy and order pizzas as the main food and used the rocket from the 'Pizza Planet' logo for food labels.  The rest just kinda fell into place. 

couldn't help myself with the silly name
We had 'Pizza Planet' pizza, turkey burger sliders, french fries (and sweet potato fries) and fruit salad. 
We did in fact put mini turkey burgers in the buns-- but they were cooking when I had to take photos. 

No detail was too small.  

I created custom napkin rings (which at first were a total fail-- more on that later)...
 Custom party hats...
note-- Cole is wearing his hat backwards.  AND I don't think he likes it very much :)
Custom party blowers...
Water bottle wraps in 2 of the party's color scheme colors...

A custom t-shirt for the birthday boy...
I even "made" the string holding the spoons to the jello (and holding together the circle banners). 

 And even after all this, there were still so many things that I wish (in hindsight) that I had done as well - like a wreath for the front door and little party hats for his Toy Story friends.  Guess next year I'll just have to start planning/working earlier.  Ya' know-- 5 is a big deal!

And some final parting shots of the party. 

travel Light Bright.  Did you know they still made Light Bright?!

And some post party fun with Grandpa