Put a Balloon Animal On It

It’s hard to believe, but E will turn two in thirteen days.  I can’t call him a baby any more.  In fact, sometimes he acts bigger than V.  He certainly defends himself (and initiates scuffles) like a big boy.  I’ve slowly been working on some birthday party projects, like cupcake toppers.

The toppers were pretty easy because I used the balloon animal graphics from the invitation.

I separated the three designs, copy, and pasted to a new 8.5 by 11 Photoshop document.  Once I had arranged one set of animals, I merged the three together, copied, pasted, and flipped horizontally.  Then I merged the two sets together and made a second set, flipping vertically to fit 12 animals per sheet, like this.

I could have made standard circle toppers, but I thought it would be more fun to cut the animals out completely.  Carefully, I traced the outline with my blade.  They’re not perfect or completely symmetrical, but they are close enough to not notice.

Several pieces of double-sided tape and a toothpick on the back of one.

The press the mirror image on top, sandwiching the toothpick between.

I won’t say these were especially quick (about 1 hour for six toppers) but they are darn cute.  With the whole moving thing and all that goes with creeping closer, I don’t know how much of my original plan I’ll get to.  But I want to make the day special and celebrate my little guy.  Now I have to learn how to make real balloon animals.  That’s right, I still have not attempted one.  How long do you suppose a balloon animal can hold air?

Have you made cupcake toppers for a birthday?  Any ideas for quick and easy decorations?

One Percent {P}inspiration: The Artful After

Well friends, it’s been nine days since my pals Ashli, Sara, and I announced our Pinterest art challenge.

After some deliberation, I decided to put my own spin on the Wild Herringbone art from Cozamia.

I just loved the clean, colorful, graphic design.  And, I recruited some help on this project.  To start, I grabbed plain white card stock out of my printer, hauled my craft paint box out, and tossed one of Ben’s shirts on each of the boys.  I let V choose the colors he wanted and he started painting.  E was hesitant, but got a few strokes on the paper.


V made several paintings, E, only one.  I made a few for fillers, too.  Using my handy paper cutter, I cut each sheet in half length wise, then into 1 1/2 inch wide strips.

I have a large roll of white paper, so I tore a sheet off to use as my backing.  A few pieces of double sided tape on the back of each strip to hold in place and I started arranging.  To keep things straight on the first row, I used a ruler to line up the edges.

I made sure to mix the paintings up to spread the colors throughout.

After about twenty minutes, I had covered the paper and had to fill in the edges.


Here she is, edges filled and trimmed, ready for a frame.

So I popped it in, hung it up and took a few steps back.  That’s when I realized I didn’t like the pink V had used.

While E took his nap, V and I painted more.  This time, I limited his color palette to blues, greens, yellow, and silver.

I followed the same steps, but loved the result this time.

The pop of color in this corner is perfect.

And, I love that it’s not kitchen specific, so it can travel around the house if we ever tire if it in here.  The best part, this art was made using everything we already had in our home!

Now it’s your turn to share your Pinterest inspired art project with us!

Balloon Animal Birthday

E will turn two soon, which means I’m in party planning mode.  The boy loves balloons, but I didn’t want to duplicate V’s rainbow birthday.  So I thought of ways we could have tons of balloons but make it different.  Then I realized, balloon animals!

I like to start with the invitation and let things flow from there.  So, here’s the invitation we’re sending out.

Now I’ve got to figure out the rest of the party.  And learn how to make balloon animals.  Any ideas for a balloon animal themed party?  Food suggestions?

Wear Your Heart on Your Garland

When E takes his afternoon nap, I try to do a fun project with V.  Sometimes we make a puzzle.  Other times we color and practice our letters.  With Valentine’s day coming up, we did a special project involving crayons.  Before V could get started, I used a utility knife to cut crayon shavings.  I looked for a pencil sharpener, but we don’t have one because really, who uses anything but a mechanical pencil now days?

Of course a little help is always nice, especially when the help is a cheesy-grinned four year old.


After shaving four different colored crayons (red, orange red, red violet, and flamingo to be exact), we finally got to the good part.  We spread out a few sheets of kraft paper and one sheet of wax paper.  V and I sprinkled the crayon over the wax sheet, trying to keep it as even as possible.

Cover it up with another sheet of wax paper.

And two more sheets of kraft paper.

Warm your iron to a medium setting and run it over the paper, melting the crayons.

Check as you’re going and keep ironing until the wax is completely melted.

Make a heart template, I recycled a flyer from the mail.  Trace as many hearts as possible and start cutting.

To string our hearts, I used a needle to poke holes on both sides of each heart.  Thread a small needle without cutting the other end from the spool.  String the hearts on until you’ve reached the desired garland length.

I hung our garland in front of the living room window by making small loops on either end of the thread.  Brackets are the perfect hangers.

And Dexter would have liked some of our red hearts, like this one that reminds me of his infamous blood slides.

What fun projects do you do with your kids?  Do you remember making ‘stained glass’ as a kid?  If I were crazy and needed another DIY light fixture in my house, I would most definitely make a faux capiz pendant using this same process.  Just sub the hearts for a circle punch and sew the circles together.  A wire wreath form would make a perfect multi-tiered base to hang the strands from.  Can you tell I’ve considered this?!?  Haha.

Animal Artwork

My cousin, (and pseudo sister) Jenna, is pregnant with her first baby and is due November 5.  (My sisters and I threw her a baby shower a few months ago).  She knows she’s having a boy, but she wants gender neutral decorations.  We gave her a hand-me-down crib bedding set that has jungle animals, similar to the Tiddliwinks Safari bedding at Target. 

Jenna asked me to create two custom art pieces for the nursery.  Her only requests were to include the nursery colors (chocolate-brown, sage green and cream), monkeys, giraffes, and birds (to coördinate with the bird mobile I made as a shower decoration/gift).  That’s it.  The rest was up to me.  I love free rein designs.  Jenna had already purchased two IKEA Ribba frames with mats.  I considered designing two custom 12 inch square prints to fit the frames, but decided to create custom cut paper scenes.  A year or so ago, I created a cut paper scene of Ben and I in our wedding attire as a custom art piece for our home. 

The first piece features a cartoonish monkey hanging from a palm tree with a bird flying by.

The second piece has a giraffe standing in tall grass, a little bird perched in the giraffe’s back, and an Umbrella Thorn Acacia type tree.

Both pieces are entirely hand-made with pieces cut from cardstock.  While in Minnesota recently, I visited her house to help with some final nursery touches, including matting and framing her new artwork.  We didn’t get around to hanging the pieces, but we’re both very pleased with the result. 

I am taking orders for custom art pieces, including cut paper scenes, silhouettes, prints and modern paintings.  To see samples, ask questions or place an order, please visit our Etsy shop.