Our DIY Simple Princess Birthday Party

Castle Cardboard BoxThough it was several months ago, I thought it would be fun to take a quick look at V’s third birthday party.

Since we had a new baby in the house, EASY and SIMPLE were the key words when thinking about how I wanted to plan this party. I sent out some e-mail invites, and a few of her friends were able to come one morning for a princess playdate.

The plan was pretty basic: have everyone dress up in their favorite princess dress, make a castle out of cardboard boxes, and serve a meal that could be entirely purchased at Costco.

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I think we were able to succeed on all of those points! My husband found some huge, clean cardboard boxes at work from an area that was getting new cubicles. He brought them home and had a blast building a castle to surprise Miss V when she woke up the morning of the party.

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He’s such a perfectionist, and pretty creative, and I think it shows. When someone gets out a T-square and a level to make a cardboard castle, you know they mean business! We knew there would be parts that needed taped together, so rather than try to hide the tape, I bought some pink duct tape and we just made it part of the “look” of the castle. When he was all done, Mr. Vintage Violet used extra pieces of tape to decorate the castle with a few “bricks.” Christmas lights completed the look, and we tossed a kids chair and a few blankets inside to make it cozy.

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Instead of games, I bought a pack of 1,000 princess stickers at Target and told the girls they could decorate the castle to their hearts’ content. This was a bit hit and they spent all of the party either decorating or playing inside the castle. Bonus for mommy=no games, no prizes, happy kids.

There were favors too, of which I didn’t get any pictures, but they were basically this: brown paper lunchbags (I thought it matched the cardboard castle, and again, EASY!), princess crowns from Target’s dollar section, and some candy bracelets from the dollar store. Again, nothing fancy, but the girls seemed to enjoy everything.

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I’d had elaborate ideas about making my own princess crowns for each girl out of headbands, felt, and sequins, but with a new baby, I kept not getting to that project. A few days before the party, I was at Target and I saw the exact thing I had been planning in my head. It was one of those crazy moments where I felt a twinge of regret that I wouldn’t have time to make them myself, followed by thoughts of hallelujah-I-don’t-have-to-make-princess-crowns! Because seriously, a bunch of three-year-olds would not care about whether their crowns were store bought or homemade. I like to make things though, so sometimes it’s hard to reason with myself. I’m glad logic won out this time. It probably saved my family from watching me stress out while trying to hot-glue a half dozen felt tiaras and nursing a baby. That wouldn’t have been pretty…

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For a birthday cake, I made cupcakes and used bits of scrapbook paper and crochet thread to create a small bunting to span the plate and make things a bit more special.

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The castle was definitely the show-stopper of this party, which was awesome since it was, um, free. Well, except three dollars for the duct tape. You can’t do much better than that! V loved it so much, it stayed in our living room (which it pretty much filled) for the next week, and she took many of her meals in there on a tray. Everyone who visited our house had to crawl in there with her and I think she would have slept there too if we’d let her.

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We kept it pretty low-key, and I think the girls, and the parents had an enjoyable morning. And if anyone wants to give this idea a spin, there’s a giant cardboard princess castle in my basement that you’re welcome to borrow. None of us had the heart to throw it away.

Teddy Bear Picnic 1st Birthday Party

teddy bear picnic birthday party

Our baby girl turned one recently, so we hosted a special party with family to celebrate!

teddy bear picnic partyThe theme was a Teddy Bear Picnic. For the invitations, I set up a little “picnic” in our backyard and then snapped photos as fast as I could before the birthday girl’s patience ran out.

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Her birthday outfit consisted of a homemade onesie, tu-tu, and headband. The onesie, I decorated with fabric and Wonder-Under, then stitched around the edges on my machine. My photo-shop skills are not the best, but between my husband and myself, we managed to design a cute party invite that fit with the theme.

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The day of the party was overcast, cool, and looked like it would soon rain, so we moved our picnic indoors.

Having a few kid birthday parties under my belt, I’ve found I am beginning to develop a consistent approach: homemade, simple, and lots of food. I try not to get caught up in every idea I see but stick to a few key elements: cake table decor, some kind of banner, and a special shirt for the birthday child. Beyond that, there might be a few other touches, but I try not to get too crazy. Party day always manages to be crazy enough, even when I think I’m keeping it simple!

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So here’s how The Teddy Bear Picnic Party turned out.

diy rosette cake

I made a rosette cake using this tutorial, a box mix cake, and this recipe for icing. People, this may be the only cake you ever see from me ever again. Seriously, it was soooo easy to do! The trick is getting your icing the right consistency. You want it to be firm, but not too dry, or it won’t swirl into the rosettes easily. I was running late the day of the party and was still mixing the icing as guests were arriving, but once I had the cake iced, I probably finished decorating it in fifteen minutes. It was that easy. I can’t wait for an excuse to make this cake again!

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The cake table is the area where I try to focus most of my decorating efforts. The tablecloth is actually a curtain from Ikea. I just folded the tab-top side underneath and nobody knew my secret! Some grocery store roses in a thrifted milk glass vase, plus a few teddy bears from the playroom made up the rest of the decor.

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I used a second vase, with a few more roses and a small teddy bear to decorate the dining table. I try not to put a bunch of decorations on the table where we eat. Once everyone’s plates and glasses are on the table, it can feel really crowded, so I try to make my decorations there very minimal.

no sew fabric bunting

Over the cake table, I hung a no-sew fabric bunting (tutorial soon to follow). It added a lot of color for minimal time and effort. Plus, I can re-use it for future parties. A second fabric bunting decorated the top of the french doors in the living room and made that room feel decorated.

diy fabric bunting

My only other project for the party was displaying the month-by-month photos I’ve been taking the past year to document how much our girl has changed and grown. I went with the same idea I used for our oldest’s first birthday, and strung a ribbon from thumb tacks (probably going to be in trouble with my hubby about the holes in the wall, but oh well!) and then used clothespins to clip the pictures to the ribbon.

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Since my girls were the only children at the party, we didn’t attempt any games. Opening presents is enough of an activity for a one-year-old’s birthday. Come here. Sit with mommy. Do you want to open this? Look what so-and-so got you! Oh, you want to eat the paper? Ok, whatever. It doesn’t look chokable, so you’re good.

teddy bear picnic birthday party

Sometimes, I try to make the food table pretty too, but I didn’t even bother, so no pictures. But we had hamburgers and hot dogs, mac and cheese, chips, fruit, and cucumber salad. I also didn’t bother with favors. I have in the past, but since it was all adults at this party, it didn’t seem necessary. Everyone was just glad to get together and watch the kids be cute with cake and presents. It was a great evening celebrating our smallest girl and spending time as a family! Happy Birthday sweet girl!

 

 

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Baby Doll Moses Baskets

My baby girl had her first birthday recently. (Excuse me a moment, while I sob in the corner.)

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Such a special occasion obviously required a memorable handmade gift.

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I’ve been eyeing Dana’s pattern for Baby Doll Moses Baskets for a while now, so I decided to make one for the birthday girl and one for the big sister too!

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These turned out so cute. They just might be my new Favorite Thing I’ve Ever Made.

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Big sister loves filling her basket with babies and accessories, then toting it all around the house.

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Little sister mostly enjoys pulling everything out of her basket. Baby doll, pillow, blanket, mattress, all get tossed aside, then she turns it upside down, to see if she missed anything. She does love to cuddle her baby doll, so maybe we’ll eventually progress to using the baby’s basket.

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I would classify this pattern as being for the intermediate sewer, or at least for the ambitious beginner. The directions and picture tutorial that came with the pattern were very clear and easy to follow, but the complexity of fitting all those rounded and straight pieces together made for a lot of fabric and batting to wrestle through my sewing machine.

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I made the medium-sized version, and it fits both our Baby Stella and Bitty Baby dolls very well. I used a fairly heavy interfacing, and only low-loft batting, as opposed to the high-loft suggested in the instructions. My baskets have started getting a little floppy now that they’re being played with regularly, but that may just be because I used the thinner batting.

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Even with a little floppy-ness, they are still so adorable. I love the contrast of the brown trim on the pink basket. With the contrasting stitching, I think it gives it a bit of a luggage-like feel. The natural-colored bias tape on the coral and blue basket gives it such a soft look and cozy look.

Both baskets are well loved and get played with often, so I’ll declare this project a success!

Sunbonnet Sue

I finally got around to making a sunbonnet for my oldest daughter!

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I went with the free pattern I showed in my previous post, but since I needed it in a larger size than was available with that pattern, I thought, no problem, I’ll just enlarge it a little and tweak it if needed.

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Wrong! I ended up reworking that pattern so much, I feel like I practically created an entirely new pattern. Part of that was user-error on my part, misunderstanding some of the instructions in the directions. But after lots of ripping of seams, cutting some new pieces, adding more interfacing (since I widened the brim, one layer of interfacing wasn’t enough to make it stand up), and wah-lah! A super cute hat for my super cute girl.

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This hat also marked an important milestone in my biggest girl’s life: her first fabric selection. I think she did quite well!

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If the hat looks a little rumpled in these pictures, that’s because it’s already been laundered, due to a juice spill of epic proportions. The fabric pilled a little, but the print is so colorful and charming, I don’t think it’s a big deal.

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I’m glad I finally got around to making this sunbonnet for her. It has been great as shielding her face and eyes from the sun, since she doesn’t care to wear sunglasses yet. I got it finished right before our fourth of July picnic, and she looked so adorable running around in it. The flag shirt was another recent sewing project, so I will be blogging about that soon too.

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Now we’ll see if I can get one made for my littlest girl. I have the fabric purchased, washed, and ready. But there are so many things to sew and so few moments in the day!

Babies in Hats!

Is there anything cuter?

Maybe baby toes. Or baby ears. I’ve always been in awe of their perfect tiny ears. Or how about their precious little fingers?

But anyway, back to hats.

I love a good sunhat on my girls, both for the cute factor and that it protects their faces and eyes from the burning sun.

To backtrack a bit, when I was a kid, I had an obsessing with Little House on the Prairie, and would occasionally wear a prairie bonnet. I made the mistake of wearing it to school once in the second grade. Not cool.

But now, with the popularity of Pinterest and Etsy, everything old is new again, and granny-chic is chic indeed.

So, I felt inspired to look around for some modern takes on the old prairie bonnet idea. I found some good ones…

If you’d like an option that’s already made and ready to go, Urban Baby Bonnets has some absolutely adorable options. Love their fabric choices!

I’m thinking of making my own, since I have some fabric that seems like it was waiting for just such a project. Here are some great pattern options.

Little Betty Designs has a great looking pdf pattern you can purchase through etsy. It looks super super cute and the price for the pattern is quite reasonable.

How cute is this sweet Abigail Baby Bonnet with the ruffle brim from I Think Sew! I’d never seen this site before, but they have several other cute patterns for kids that I’m interested to try.

This free pattern looks so adorable, and I love that there is a photo tutorial walking you through the steps to make one. It only comes in a size up to 24 months, so if I go with this pattern, I’ll need to either make a different style for my older daughter, or see if I can tweak the pattern to fit her size.

I’m hoping to get some sewing time over the next few days, so I’ll be back with an update and some photos after I can make some hats!

DIY Personalized Baseball Caps

Men really get the short end of the stick when it comes to handmade items, am I right?

It’s not that we’re unwilling to make them anything, but the options seem rather slim.

DIY Father's Day Hat

There’s only a few good choices, and with Father’s Day around the corner, I’ve been trying to come up with something I haven’t made before to create for the men in my life. This DIY Personalized Baseball Cap was a fairly simple and (bonus!) inexpensive project that fit the bill. It can be customized to suit the tastes or interests of the person for whom it’s being created.

I went ahead and gave my hubby his hat this week, and he liked it even better than I had hoped he would. His reactions are usually positive, but mild, so I wasn’t expecting a standing ovation or anything like that, but he declared this to be a nice, comfy, simple-looking (a good thing, in his opinion), hat that he plans to wear frequently. I made a second hat for my dad which I’ll save for Father’s Day, so I’m hoping it will be a hit with him as well. No worries that he’ll read this post and find out, he’d have to figure out how to download himself onto the internet, and somehow I don’t see that happening, so we’re good.

Let’s get to the How-To….

First, I went to Michael’s and purchased two baseball caps. They were in the t-shirt section and there were a few colors, but these were the two I thought my husband and dad would prefer. They are a “one-size fits most” and using a 40% off coupon, I was able to get them for about $1.80 each. Not bad!

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I printed off the letters/words I knew I wanted to use to embellish the hats. Since I just used one letter for my husband’s hat, I made it fairly large. For my dad, aka “Papa” to my girls, I made the word a little smaller, so it would fit across the front of the hat more easily. I selected fonts that were very basic, since that makes it easier to stitch around the fabric letters later on in the process.

After I had my letters printed at the size I thought would work best, I flipped my paper over and traced the letter with a sharpie, so that I had an image of the letters in reverse. I know there’s a way to just print the letters in reverse straight from your computer, but I was in a hurry and with my awesome (so kidding) tech skills, I figured it was probably easier to go with my tracing method.

If my husband reads this, he will cringe. “Why didn’t you just ask me?”  I get impatient and like to plunge ahead.

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Once you have a reverse image of your letters traced, grab yourself some Heat-n-Bond and place it over the letters, with the paper side of the Heat-n-Bond facing up.

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Trace your letters onto the paper-side of the Heat-n-Bond.

The other side of Heat-n-Bond is embossed with the “glue” in either some sort of grid or polka-dot pattern, depending on the brand you use. You can buy it by the yard with the interfacing at your fabric store.

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Now, get the fabric you will be using for your letters, iron it smooth, and place it wrong-side up on your ironing board. Lay your piece of Heat-n-Bond with the reverse-traced letters down on top of it. Follow the instructions for ironing your Heat-n-Bond to the fabric. Mine said to iron on medium heat for ten seconds. Ironing it for too long, or at too high a temperature may overheat the “glue” substance and cause the Heat-n-Bond to not adhere to your fabric securely. I’ve made that mistake plenty of times, so definitely read your instructions.

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Once your materials have cooled down from the iron, you can cut out your letters on the lines you previously traced, and peel the paper backing off your fabric.

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You will now have a kind of fabric sticker! The back of your fabric should have a shiny texture from the Heat-n-Bond.

Place your fabric letters on a piece of white fabric. Arrange them how you want them to look on the finished product, and again, follow your Heat-n-Bond instructions to iron your fabric letters to the white fabric. If you’re using multiple letters, like I did with the “Papa” hat, I recommend laying all the letters out first and them ironing them all at the same time. If you do iron one letter at a time, it’s easy to keep “re-ironing” the same letters and then you might run into the problem of ironing too long and compromising the adhesion of the Heat-n-Bond. So, just an FYI to be careful of this if you decide to iron on each letter individually.

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After your letters are adhered to the white fabric, you can use your sewing machine to sew around the edges of the letters. This adds a nice finished look, as well as making sure the letter is permanently secured. Heat-n-Bond is awesome stuff, but only sewing the fabric securely in place will guarantee it stays put.

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Next, you want to cut a piece of Heat-n-Bond about the same size as your white fabric, and iron it to the back of your white fabric.

Sidenote:  Now, the reason I used the Heat-n-Bond in this step was for two reasons, but you may not feel the need to do it exactly the way I did. First, I wanted something to stabilize my white fabric a little bit, which the Heat-n-Bond accomplished. Second, I was hoping the Heat-n-Bond would also adhere to the hat itself, making it easier for me to hold my finished letters in place while I stitched them to the hat. This is the part that didn’t really work out as well as I had hoped. It was extremely difficult to iron the letter onto the rounded cap of the hat. The Heat-n-Bond ended up only adhering a little bit on the “R” and did a little better on the “Papa” piece, I think because it was larger. If you decide not to use Heat-n-Bond for this step, I would still recommend using an iron-on interfacing on the back of the white fabric, to make it a little more stiff for when you stitch it to the hat, and to help prevent threads from fraying.

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When your fabric has cooled, trim the white fabric around the fabric letters. For the “R” I chose to trim it pretty close to the letter. For the “Papa” I cut the white fabric a little further out from my letters, and didn’t cut out every small space, making it a larger, but simpler piece. This helped when stitching it to the hat, and made that step a little easier on me.

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Peel the paper backing off the Heat-n-Bond and pin or iron the letter to the hat (I did both).

Next, you want to take some white thread and set yourself up with a hand sewing needle. I grabbed a needle I already had from my pincushion, but if you’re buying one, I would get a needle that is neither large nor small, and appears fairly sharp (no embroidery needles). You’re going to be sewing through several layers of fabric, so you want a needle that will hold up to the job.

I hand-sewed my letter to the hat by coming from the underside of the hat, up through the white fabric area closest to the letter, and them down through the hat, just outside the edge of the white fabric.

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My mom always called this a “whipstitch” but I’m not sure if that’s the correct term. She tends to make up words… I do think you could finish it off with a blanket stitch, but that sounded like it would take longer, so I went with this method instead. Interestingly, there are people who live here, who prefer eating dinner to watching mommy play with fabric. What is with that?? Every minute of craft time counts.

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Your stitches don’t need to be perfect. If you’re using white thread and only sewing over the white fabric, they should be mostly unnoticeable. My hand sewing leaves much to be desired, but I think the finished products turned out pretty great.

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There’s no reason this hat needs to be a project you only make for dad. My oldest has already requested a hat like Daddy’s, and with plenty of graduation parties happening this time, of year, a personalized hat would be a fun little gift for various occasions. What would you put on your hat?

DIY Father's Day Hat

For even more DIY ideas for Father’s Day, check out my post from last year.

 

 

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Easy 5 Ingredient Peanut Butter Eggs

peanut butter eggs

Every year at Easter, I make these rich peanut butter eggs that are so easy, they only have five ingredients! Well, five plus the chocolate, so I guess that actually makes six.

Still, they are very quick and painless to make. Peanut butter eggs have always been my favorite Easter candy, but for the longest time, I was too intimidated to make them myself. This recipe is so simple and the tricks I’ve figured out over the years makes them so quick and easy to complete.

Ingredients:

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You’ll need margarine, brown sugar, powdered sugar, vanilla, peanut butter, and semi-sweet chocolate chips or chocolate melting wafers. For the peanut butter, I’ve often used my regular, creamy grocery store variety, but a few years ago I switched to a natural version with no added sugar or salt. In a shocking candy dichotomy, the natural peanut butter (without added sugar!) actually seems to make sweeter peanut butter eggs. I have no explanation for why this might be, but it’s completely true. Yum!

First, grab a microwave-safe bowl and add your margarine and brown sugar.

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Put this in your microwave for 30 seconds, stop and mix, and put back in for another 30 seconds until the brown sugar is melted and no longer gritty. I have a small, low-powered microwave and this took about 2 minutes total.

When you’re finished, it should look something like this.

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 Now, stir in the powdered sugar, peanut butter, and vanilla. Mix with a rubber spatula until all the ingredients are combined.

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 If your peanut butter mixture is looking too runny, let it cool for a few minutes. It seems to thicken a bit as it cools. If it’s still not thick enough, add a little more powdered sugar until you get the desired consistancy.

Next, scoop about a tablespoon-full of the peanut butter mixture into your hand and roll it around until you have a ball.

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Now, you want to turn the ball into more of an egg shape. I do this by pinching one end between the crook of my thumb and index finger.

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 Then you can flatten it a bit with your fingers until you get the desired shape. After that, place it on a cookie sheet or tray that’s been lined with parchment paper.

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 Once you have all your peanut butter mixture shaped into eggs, put them in the refrigerator to chill for about half an hour. I was able to get 13 eggs out of one batch.

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While the eggs are chilling, wash up your bowl and spatula, and get to the really good part: melting the chocolate!

Place your chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and pop in the microwave for 30 seconds. It will come out looking slightly melted, but if you stir and stir, it will continue to melt. You may need to microwave it for another 30 seconds, but it won’t take much to get the chocolate completely melted and free of lumps. If your chocolate doesn’t seem thin enough, add a tablespoon of shortening and stir until the shortening has dissolved into the chocolate.

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Once your chocolate is melted and the eggs have chilled, you can start coating the eggs in the chocolate!

I’m sure there are a million different ways to do this, but here’s what works for me. Grab two large dinner spoons. Dip one into the chocolate.

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Now place a peanut butter egg smack in the middle.

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Next, use the second spoon to pour chocolate over the egg until it is completely covered.

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Now you can slide your chocolate covered egg back onto the parchment paper.

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When all your eggs are covered in chocolate, put your tray back in the fridge and let them chill for another hour or two.

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These will keep for about a week and should be stored in the fridge in a tupperware container.

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 That is, if you can keep your hands off of them. I’m not sure I’ve ever had a batch last that long!

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Here’s the recipe in short form, with all the measurements and basic instructions.

peanut butter eggs

Peanut Butter Eggs

Makes about 1 dozen eggs

1/4 cup margarine

1/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 tsp. vanilla

1 package (about two cups) or more, semi-sweet chocolate chips or chocolate melting wafers

Microwave margarine and brown sugar on high, stirring every 30 seconds until brown sugar is dissolved. Stir in powdered sugar, peanut butter, and vanilla. Shape by tablespoon-full into egg-shaped balls. Chill. Melt chocolate in microwave, stirring every 30 seconds. Dip peanut butter eggs in chocolate. Place on baking sheets lined with parchment. Chill and store in refrigerator.

 

Linking up to: House of Rose Inspire Me Please

Our Simple, Less is More Christmas Decor, 2013

I think I put up fewer Christmas decorations every year. Since Elsie is still keeping me very busy with her needs, our Christmas decorations are super simple this year, and mostly things we already had. Going with a “less is more” mentality has really helped me zero in on what I truly love. There may be fewer Christmas decorations sitting out this year, but I find myself liking my house better, and not dreading putting everything away! I’m also realizing that since our house is small (just over 1000 sq. ft.) and has an open floor plan, it really does not take much to make it feel decorated. So, with all that said, let’s get on to the fun part, the pictures!

Our Christmas tree sits in the corner of the living room and is decorated with white bulbs (one thing I actually purchased this year), some homemade ornaments from years past, as well as a few favorite store-bought ornaments. For a garland, I cut up strips of burlap. When Christmas is over, I roll up the burlap into little bundles for next year. I think this is our third year with the burlap garland. The more tattered it gets, the more I love it! Instead of a tree skirt, I have a wooden crate we found on the side of the road a few years ago. Fitting the tree into our living room required a bit of furniture rearranging, so for now, the loveseat is in front of the french doors.

The red afghan and pillows are always in our living room, but next to the tree, they look so Christmasy! To see how I made the “home” pillow (the sewing part, not the stenciling) check out my tutorial.

I have several nativities, but only put out the Little People one this year. I love that it’s not something I have to keep little hands from breaking. As we try to teach Violet about Jesus’ birth this Christmas, I love how this nativity set allows her to get hand-on with the story. Her red Anywhere Chair from Pottery Barn got a fun little muslin and ruffly pillow to dress it up for Christmas, but I may just leave it out all year.

Some of my favorite ornaments… On the left is one my sister crocheted for me several years ago, and on the right is my Christmas craft from last year. I took paper-mache ornaments from A.C. Moore and painted them with chalkboard paint. Last year, I wrote different Christmasy words on each one. This year, I wrote the name of a family member on each ornament.

This ornament is made from another paper-mache craft store ornament, with Violet’s baby silhouette printed off the computer and mod-podged on top. I need to make one for Elsie this year!

There’s not much decoration happening in the dining room. But this white bowl from Pier 1 gives a wintery feel when filled with pine cones. It will probably stay out all winter too.

The kitchen received a little decoration with a burlap JOY banner over the sink. It’s hard to see in this picture because of the light coming through the window.

Pom-pom fringe on this towel almost makes drying dishes a joy. Get it? Joy? ;)

The bay window has it’s usual decor, with the addition of the Let It Snow sign from Target’s dollar section, as well as these sweater trees, from last year’s Target Christmas decor.

The “R” wall became our Christmas stocking spot this year, since we are mantel-less.

I didn’t want to have the hooks up all year, so instead of drilling holes, we loaded up the back of the wooden piece with 3M Command Strips!

Violet and Daddy are the only ones with stockings. I made my husband a Christmas stocking the first year we were dating, and I finally made one for Violet last Christmas. I have fabric for Elsie’s, so hopefully I will have time to get to that project before Christmas. Unfortunately, it will involve quilting, definitely not my forte. After finishing Elsie’s baby quilt this summer, I thought I was done quilting for a while, but I’m hoping to fit in this smaller project without too much stressing. Someday I’ll make one for me!

I think I am too obsessive about finding the perfect Christmas fabric and that is why these stockings are taking  me way too long to make. Last year I found the coolest Christmas fabric to make Vi’s stocking: the characters of the nativity as matryoshka dolls!

Last year, I bought a small white artificial tree for the girls’ room. I have big plans to make it all fancy someday, but for now, it’s only decoration is a couple yards of bright pink pom-pom fringe.

In place of a tree skirt, I wrapped the base in a yard of Christmas fabric from Michael Miller.

It feels decorated, yet there’s room for me or the girls to make some special ornaments to add to it in the coming years. The rocker has long since been moved to our room, and the bookcase had been where the tree is now, so we just moved it to the other side of the room and put the tree here at the foot of the Farmhouse Toddler Bed my husband made for Violet last year.

Honestly, I’m just thrilled that we were able to fit their tree in the room this year since taking this room from being just Violet’s nursery, to now a shared nursery and toddler room. It fits pretty well!

You can also check out our Christmas Decorations from two years ago, when I was feeling a bit more ambitious with the amount of decorations I put out. I’m enjoying our simple decor this year. It definitely fits where we are in life right now.

Merry Christmas, from our family to yours!

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Inspire Me Please Weekend Blog Hop with House of Rose

DIY Owl Costume

Today I’m sharing pics from Violet’s costume from last year’s trick or treat.

She went as the cutest little toddler owl! Her costume was fun and and pretty easy to make. I promise I didn’t make it purple because of her name! I had planned to make her a pink owl, but then I found the hat at Target and decided that switching to a purple owl was worth not having to sew a hat.

I read lots of tutorials about how to make my own owl costume. Most are pretty similar: cut a large circle out of felt, cut a slit up one side into the center, and then cut a hole in the center to accommodate your child’s neck. After that, glue or sew (I used hot glue) feather-shaped pieces of felt allover your felt circle, sew some ribbon to the edges of the neckline to create ties, and you’re done!

I went through this process in about two short evenings, and had a lot of fun doing it. It’s not a project where everything has to be perfect, so there’s no pressure. Chances are, it will turn out pretty cute for you too.

But then, I came to the unexpected obstacle: my child! She did not want to wear the costume, and as soon as I put it on her, she promptly flipped her wings back and started tugging at the ties around her neck.

Honestly, I can’t blame her. The weight of all that heavy felt was probably pretty uncomfortable when held in place by just two little strips of fabric tied at her neck.

But mommy was not to be so easily conquered. Haha. I knew she would make an adorable little purple owl, and I wasn’t giving up!

I found an old hoodie sweatshirt that had some stains and so she wasn’t likely to wear it again. Using my fabric scissors, I cut off the hood. Then I spread out my owl cape with the feather-side down and the plain felt part facing up. I spread out the hoodie on top of the cape so that the neckline of the cape and the neckline of the hoodie matched. Then I hotglued the hoodie across the back of the shoulders and down the top of each sleeve to my cape. Make sure the arms are spread out. If you’re concerned about proper placement, I recommend trying the hoodie on your child, lay the cape overtop, and then safety-pin the cape to the hoodie (hopefully your child holds still better than mine does) to determine where you will need to apply the hot glue.

Once the glue had dried and I put the costume back on her, she didn’t mind it at all. I think it was just the very unusual feeling of wearing a cape that had really put her off to wearing it in the first place. Once she felt like she was just wearing a jacket, she didn’t mind at all.

A little practice trick-or-treating didn’t hurt either. Once she realized that looking cute in her costume and knocking on doors got her candy, she was all in.

Hopefully this year’s costume will be a similar success. It’s partially complete, but needs some tweaking to get a better fit. I hope to blog about it sometime in the next week.

Little Girl DIY Kitty Cat Costume

Here’s a simple costume I put together two years ago for Violet’s first Trick or Treat.

She went as a little black cat.

This costume was so comfy for her to wear and easy for me to put together. Almost everything was able to be used again as part of her regular wardrobe, which is something I try to do as much as possible when planning a costume.

The main part of the costume was a black turtleneck shirt, black stretchy pants, and black socks. These all became part of her regular wardrobe after Trick or Treat was over.

Then I found a black headband and made two little cat ears out of black felt which I then hot-glued to the top of the headband. The headband is now part of our dress-up supplies for everyday play.

Next, I took some black jersey knit fabric I had on hand and sewed a long skinny tube which I then filled with fiber-fill and safety-pinned to her pants just below the waistband. Pinning it above her bottom allowed her to still sit down comfortably. She wasn’t yet walking at this time, so it was so cute to see her little kitty cat tail bouncing around as she crawled. You could also take a pair of black little girl stockings and cut the leg off one to use for a tail, but it might not have as much curve to it as mine did. The seam up the one side of the tail I sewed caused the fabric to stretch unevenly and gave the tail a perfect cat-like curve. I didn’t plan that, it was just a happy coincidence!

It would be very easy to do a similar costume as a mouse or a dog, just changing the color of the outfit and the style of the ears.