DIY Hand-Stamped Favor Bags



Thanks for all your great comments about Maura's birthday party!! Wanted to share a little bit more about the goodie bags I stamped..because they were really fun to do, pretty easy and this technique could work for lots of things (although these pics are really bad cause I was working on them in the middle of the night).

Since we only had 6 kids, I thought it would be cool to make the actual bag the goodies came in a favor in and of itself (hopefully they can each use theirs for safekeeping some kind of small treasures). I started with 4 x 6" plain, cream cotton muslin drawstring bags from The Cotton Bag Company.

First I picked a single color for each child and then stamped their name on the bottom of the bag (oops, totally forgot to take a photo of the text stamps, but as you can tell from the alignment, they're just individual letter stamps - always start with the middle letter in the center and work your way out on both sides from there). I used acrylic paint because its what I had lying around.

For Kiley and Morgan's bags, I used wooden block stamps that I already had (they were a gift from a friend who got them overseas).

In order to get the pattern to run off the bag, just cut up a piece paper and insert it partway into the bag to catch the excess paint.

After I had used my two girlie, floral stamps, I was sort of out of options.  That's when I decided to get really creative:) For Jack's I used a Q-tip, started at the top of the bag and dotted a row of paint all the way down the bag. I purposely didn't reload on paint until I was done each strip, which gave me that sort of faded, gradient look as you go down.

Then I grabbed a fingerling potato I had lying around and went old school for Ava. Remember potato stamping? This bag might be my favorite, the organic shape of the potato when cut in half made these really cool, large bubblie blobs, and as I went I kept rotating the potato so that they are not in the same orientation throughout.

After that I was a bit more stumped. And I had to work with what I had since it was like midnight at this point. This is where I'm really giving myself a pat on the back for pulling two really cool patterns out of nowhere:) And of course, I did not take up close in progress pics of these cause I was just so excited and into it that I couldn't stop!! For Mason's, I took the cap off one of the tubes of acrylic paint to use as my stamp. Since the cap is hollow, when I dipped the bottom of it in the paint and stamped that, I got a really neat ring shape (the middle of the circle is negative space). And lastly, you know how rubber stamps have a block attached to them that you hold when you're stamping, and on the top of it is a picture of the stamp? Well, I took one of the letter stamps and basically dipped it upside down in the paint, so the top of the stamp that had the pic of the letter got covered and used that to make a square shape in a repeating grid for Sean. Go me!!

Anywhoo, the point is, stamping is fun! And you can stamp whatever you want with whatever you want! Go out and try it:)

Maura's 2nd Birthday Party



We had Maura's birthday party on Saturday, it was so much fun! This year was a lot less stressful than last year because we only invited her close family and three friends (which made it 18 adults, 6 kids and 1 infant). Plus we had it inside, which is way better for being able to decorate/prep in advance (thanks for all your help, Mom)! I also used a lot of the decorations I had bought last year (which I looked at as kind of an investment - ha!) but used them in different ways and updated them with some new paper products.

I was actually ready enough in advance (like 4 minutes before people were supposed to come) this time to take some pics of things:)  (Sorry, this is gonna be long.) Here's the birthday girl!!

Last year I ordered one of these custom birthday banners from etsy seller Cow Country Creations. I even got to pick the ribbon color. Each word is a separate strand, and you can push or pull the letters closer together or further apart along the ribbon. This thing is awesome! Since I went with the rainbow colored assorted one, I figure I can use this every year for her, no matter what the color scheme of the party. Plus, I could use it for anybody else by just not putting up the Maura banner. At her first birthday party I hung it outside above the food, this year I put it on the mantel, and I even brought it to my parent's house to hang up for her pre-birthday party celebration when my family was in town.

We set up a spot for gifts on top of my Gram's bow front dresser. I used the chalkboard that I bought for her photo booth last year again but just redid the accident it ended up looking really cool in front of my vintage map! (Another good investment - used the chalkboard for both my Christmas and spring decor.)

If anyone's interested, I took in progress shots of the chalkboard as I went along, so I could post those at some point with more info.

Another item reused from last year are these cupcake/polka dot fabric buntings that I snagged at Target. For a few bucks each, you can't really go wrong with hot pink, turquoise and polka dots. I mean, that stuffs always gonna be in style:) So I just went crazy and hung them everywhere.

There's a big blank wall in our dining room (where we served the food) that gets put to good use for functions (I'm waiting to find the perfect hutch or buffet, but until then I'm not afraid to put a couple of thumb tack holes in the wall if it helps the party cause). So that's where I hung the monthly bunny pics I've been taking since Maura turned one.

I had them printed up as 5x7s at CVS and mounted them on some pink card stock I already had. I've used this jute twine and these little clothespins for lots of other things before too, so this was a pretty easy, cheap project.

 Remember when my sister and I made old school paper chains for Maura's party last year and then put some of them up in her room afterwards? I had the rest stored in the basement, so I broke those out again and hung them from the ceiling in the kitchen and dining room (last year they were outside strung between trees and cascading off the deck).

For food, we just kept it simple with hamburgers and hotdogs and lots of side salads, served buffet style in the dining room. I got flowers at Stop and Shop and put them in white pitchers for the centerpieces. Then I bought 2 wooden letter "M"s at Michaels and painted them a sea foam blue color (one was originally white and one was black).

Target has great patterned paper goods (which I think are hard to find) so the plates, napkins and tablecloth came from there. I found them early on and they were a great inspiration and way to pull everything together.

Striped pink straws from Pick Your Plum (bought as the deal of the day - sign up so you know what's going on) made all the drinks seem more fun, and people really used them:)

Maura's not a huge cake fun, but she loooves ice scream, so we had a DIY ice cream sundae bar.

Nothing elaborate, just threw 4 kinds of ice cream, 2 sauces, whip cream, cherries and lots of toppings on the kitchen table, but these ice cream cups (large rainbow-colored ones from Pink Lemonade Party Supply Shop and medium white ones from The Tomkat Studio) made it seem a lot cooler!

{Trust me, the adults loved it too. Man, the sundae I made for myself was awesome!!!}
She was so excited when everyone sang Happy Birthday to her!! I loved watching her face light up!!

Favors/goodie bags seem like the most stressful part of kids' parties to me. Do you guys do them? How do you keep it easy when there's kids of different ages? We only had six, so I wanted to do something special with the actual container the stuff came in. I ordered cotton muslin draw-string bags from The Cotton Bag Company and stamped each one with their name and a unique pattern. It was really fun and not hard at all (each one only took about 10 minutes). I also took some in progress shots, so I can share those later in a semi-tutorial post. Only thing I would do differently next time is get the next size bag up for more room and larger goodies:)

I hung them on the wall in our entryway, so that no one would leave without them (more jute and mini clothes-pins).

Maura loves the wind turbines that have recently gone up in our town (well, I do too, they are really fascinating!) so everybody got a pinwheel from Paper Polaroid. The other toddlers got stickers and some of Maura's favorite snacks and the 3 older kids got stuff specific to their likes.

I guess its a good party when you end up lying under the table with your uncle (my brother/Maura's godfather) and aunt (his girlfriend)..with your Crocs on instead of your pink ballet shoes and no hair bow!!

A Nursery Guest Post



Hey there! Remember me?! Sorry, really didn't mean to take a whole 3 week break there, sorta just happened!

I'm starting my comeback today with a guest post over at Honey and Fitz. Dina is pregnant with her second little boy, and after big brother Knox's amazing nursery, she has some high expectations to live up to! Just kidding, Dina;)

To get psyched up and her creative juices flowing, Dina has been presenting her "Nursery Design Series" all week. She's posted two different nursery mood boards each day, all designed by some of her favorite bloggers! Eh em:) Even if you don't want to see mine, head on over there for some serious inspiration.

I'm on today, so go visit and see the boy nursery I created around these three fabrics:

{John Robshaw's Bagru Indigo, John Robshaw's Twine Light Indigo, Samarkand Cotton and Linen Print from Bruncshwig & Fils}

PS. If you've been hanging around here for awhile, yes, you will notice this is a spinoff of the girl nursery I did for Mood Board Monday!

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