Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Go Team Canada!

So, I'm not sure if it's a world-wide thing or just a Canadian thing, but I (and the vast majority of my friends) have been crazy about the Olympics this year! Have you been watching?

I gotta say, even though it's way on the west coast of the country, thousands of kilometres away from where I am, there is a definite sense of unity that seems to be bringing Canada together. Every time we win a medal (especially the first time - Yay Alexandre!), every time we suffer a heartbreak (mad love to Joannie Rochette), every time we're disappointed (don't even start about Team Canada vs Team USA last Sunday...) - it seems like the entire country is feeling it, together. My facebook and twitter feeds just explode with commentary and cheering.

I gotta say - it's a pretty awesome thing.

Tonight, we cheer on Team Canada against Russia. A team that we have not beaten at the Olympics since 1960. Can we do it? If the faith of the fans is any measure, yes we can!


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Monday, 15 February 2010

Crafty V-Day Party Part 5: The Photobooth!

The Photobooth was one of my favourite elements of the party (aside from the crafts themselves). It was a really fun, interactive way to get fabulous photos of my guests. Some of them were really into the idea, a few were a little more reluctant, but I managed to capture all my guests at their best!

I found this tutorial linked on Craft Magazine's blog one day, and knew that I had to attempt this for myself. The photobooth itself was actually quite simple to set up. We hung a curtain rod, with a white sheet draped overtop (it actually ended up being one of my mom's sheets from when she first got married that she never ended up using - it ended up with creases in it, even after washing and ironing twice!) and a white table cloth on the floor. We added a banner that said Photobooth (cut out by Amy with her Cricut), and had a basket of props set up for people to play with (we went with things that were red/pink/white to suit the theme).

The end result ended up being a super fun and creative element, that really added to the party!

I ended up doing a little bit of editing in photoshop (playing with some colours, eliminating seams and creases) but the photos looked great even straight out of the camera. It would be really easy to incorporate this idea into ANY party.

I think this is probably the last element of the party that I'll blog about, though there are still actual "party photos" to come - you can check those out at my flickr photo set in the next couple of days, along with all of the rest of the party photos. Hope you enjoyed this glimpse into my Crafty Valentine's Party - feel free to leave feedback!
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Saturday, 13 February 2010

Crafty V-Day Party Part 4: The CRAFTS!

The Crafts were what the entire party centred around, so the pressure was on to think of ways to make this party fun and unique, and make everyone want to participate. I think it was pretty successful! It was billed as a "throwback to our elementary school days," where we all went about the day delivering our Valentine's into our classmates little bins, so I had to do something to recreate this feeling.

To begin with - there were loot bags. The loot bags were filled with various party favours, but they served a dual purpose. When guests arrived at the party, their first task was to grab a loot bag (pink for girls, red for boys), and decorate it any way they wished - but it must have their name on it somewhere. The bag itself then became the place where the handcrafted card would be delivered to.

Amy and I had already decorated our own bags the night before (so that everyone could see an example), so while the guests were hard at work decorating, I began working on these mini-cards. I didn't really have any particular idea in mind, I just kept creating. Eventually I made enough for everyone, and they ended up being thank you's, that I dropped in everyone's bag - so they got two Valentine's from the party :)

As soon as everyone was done their loot bags, we put all the guests' names on a slip of paper in a bowl, and everyone drew a slip. They were instructed to give it back if they drew their own name, otherwise the paper said "Create a card for: GUEST NAME." I thought this was a pretty cute idea, because a lot of the guests hadn't even met each other before tonight, so it was a good way to meet new people, and do something nice at the same time! I drew my friend Mat's name, and this is the card that I created for him.

I thought it was really great that everyone, even the boys, were really enjoying just taking the time to be creative (I actually have a hilarious picture of a moment when everyone disappeared from the table to get food, except for two of the guys, who were busily crafting away!) Crafting & Card-Making is something that I do often, but I think it was a bit out of many peoples' realms, so it was neat to be able to share the evening and have everyone get into it.

Plenty more pics, including what was inside the loot bags (I know you're all curious!) up here! Still a lot more to come (there were 200 pics on my camera! So many to sort through!)
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Thursday, 11 February 2010

Crafty V-Day Party Part 3: The Food!

Well, you can't have a party without offering food to your guests (or maybe that's just what's been instilled in me, due to my Italian upbringing). Aside from The Sweet Table, we offered up a table of apps, plus main courses for everyone to enjoy throughout the course of the evening.

I actually can't take too much credit for this portion. My wonderfully talented mother was responsible for two trays of lasagne (meat and veggie) and three pizzas (meat, veggie and potato). She also put Amy to work, rolling up the mini meatballs for the lasagne, as well as arranging various app trays. (Secretly, I think this may actually be the reason why my friends show up to my parties - because they love the food so much!)

Here's a little taste of what was offered (warning: you may not want to look at the following pictures on an empty stomach... mmmm....)

The Appetizer Table:

The main course - Oddly, for me who loves taking photos of food, I didn't take nearly enough of the main courses. Here are the couple of pics that were taken:

Stay tuned for more party posts! As always, the entire set of pics are up here.
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Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Crafty V-Day Party Part 2: The Decor

Probably the biggest preparation for the party was working on the decor. I wanted it to be a red and pink wonderland, but without resorting to super tacky decorations that look like they should be found in a classroom. I did buy a few of the elements, but the majority of things were lovingly handmade.

Here's what the main area of the party space looked like:
Amy and I had a sleepover the night before the party, and our goal was to have a splash of pink, red, white or hearts in every place that someone's eyes may have landed. I think we were pretty successful!

Coming down the stairs to the party, this is the first element of decor that guests saw. We had a pink tissue paper puff (made by my sister-in-law), and some vinyl hearts dangling from the ceiling, and pink, yellow and white (fake) flowers in a vase on the corner cabinet. Just a subtle taste of what was around the corner.

A little further into the basement is the billiards area. Amy sewed this fantastic bunting out of super cute pink fabric, and we hung it on the wall in front of the pool table. (Unexpectedly, the pool table didn't actually get used, because everyone was enjoying their crafts so much, so I'm afraid this wasn't as prominent as it should have been).

Towards the back of the basement, I had an area set up with the wii + Beatles Rock Band. Against the wall is a large chest, and this was the decor we set out on top of it. The Valentine's Shadow Box hangs on the wall. In front of it is a small Valentine's tree (which was created using the same method as the Easter Tree Centrepiece), with felt heart cookies, made by Amy. The Topiary is made out of Twilight-themed conversation hearts, and was made following this tutorial. Amy also found those super cute conversation heart candles, so we arranged them in front.

I thought some people may find themselves wandering into the kitchen, for ice or cold drinks, or whatever... so I found a cute "love" themed magnetic poetry set at the dollar store, and put them on the fridge. I definitely found some interesting poetry the next day!

So, there were some of the main elements of the decor at my Valentine's party. For more pictures, check out this album on my Flickr.
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Monday, 8 February 2010

Crafty V-Day Party Part 1: The Sweet Table

On Sunday, with the incredible help of my friend Amy and my mom, I threw a Crafty Valentine's Day Party, which I dubbed "Craft Your Love."

It started out as a simple idea: I wanted to throw a party for my friends, because I hadn't hosted one at all in 2009, and they always love my parties. One friend requested a Christmas party, but I just couldn't manage it with all the other things I had going on at the time. Post-New-Years, I somehow came up with the idea that I should have a Valentine's party, and that everyone should come over to make cards.

This little idea evolved into this fantastic red and pink wonderland, that I would like to share with you! Some of you may have seen little sneak peeks at things, via my flickr or facebook, but I'd like to provide for you a bit of the bigger picture!

First up: the sweet table.

I am a big fan of little details. The sweet table was one of those things that kept on evolving until literally, the start of the party, and came together so nicely in the end!

This is how it looked at the beginning of the night.
Some of the main elements:
heart-shaped cake, made by Christina.
Rainbow cake, made by myself and Amy (and thanks to Melisa for the recipe & directional help with the cake!)
Cupcakes made by Amy

I made some gummy candy, using this tutorial. It turned out pretty cute. Not exactly like gummy bears that you would buy in a store... A few people likened the texture to "old Jello Jigglers" (haha), but the taste and look were amazing.

This was one of the super cute elements that came together in setting up the table the day before. Amy had printed out a whole bunch of vintage Valentines, and we used some of them in a wall-hanging, but there were a bunch left over. As I was flipping through the stack, and noticing an empty picture frame with hearts on it, I noticed this popcorn card, and knew the exact perfect spot for both of these things!

Christina was the first of my friends to arrive. Along with the heart-shaped cake, she also brought me a package of super cute "decorate your own heart shaped sugar cookies"! As soon as I saw these, we decided that we would have a cookie decorating competition! (We had already planned to have a cupcake decorating competition, so all of the sprinkles and candies were already set out). This ended up being a cute element, because along with the fun competition, it also became a way to snap some pictures of my guests with their cookie creations!

There was definitely no shortage of pink and red sweets at this party! Check out my flickr for more detail shots, and watch for more party elements coming soon!
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Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Valentine's Shadow Box Tutorial

Valentine's Day Shadow Box

So, I'm hosting a "Crafty Valentine's Day" party this weekend, where all the attendees are going to make handmade cards for someone else at the party, and I have a vision of my basement turning into a pink, red and white heart-filled paradise. I've been creating all sorts of little decorative touches, and this is one of them.

  • shadow box (I had mine stashed away somewhere, and the glass was actually broken, which is how I came up with this idea)
  • paint
  • paper
  • tissue paper
  • foam-core
  • stamp & ink (and embossing powder/heat gun if you wish)
  • gems
  • glitter
  • fuzzy yarn (you'll only need a small bit of this, so whatever you have around the house will work)
  • tacky glue
  • glue gun
  • Mod Podge

1. Trace a heart template out of a scrap sheet of paper (I do this by folding a sheet of paper in half, and cutting half a heart, so that both sides are symmetrical. Take your template and trace onto the foam core, and cut out your heart. It doesn't matter if the edges are a little ragged, because they'll be covered by the fuzzy yarn, but try to get it fairly decent looking.

2. Trace the background of your box onto the scrapbook paper of your choice (mine was a dusty rose, subtle print). Once you've cut it to size, use your tacky glue to glue it down into position.

3. Go back to your foam core heart. Stamp your quote (or whatever you choose) in the centre. Mine is a cute little quote from one of my favourite songs ever. I also used a bit of red embossing powder, and fired it with my heat gun for a few seconds, to give it some texture.
Then, take your yarn and glue gun, and in small areas, begin to glue down the yarn to the outside of the heart until you make it all the way around. Cut off any trailing ends you may have.

4. Take your paint and paint the frame of the shadow box (I used a shade of pink that is darker than the scrapbook paper I chose for the background). After it dries, cut a heart out of red tissue paper. Use Mod Podge to glue it down... it doesn't matter if it's crinkly, it'll mostly be covered up... and it gives it a bit of texture, that I kind of like.
Add some glitter around the edge of the red heart.

5. After it's all dry, it's time for the finishing touches. Glue the foam core heart into place with your glue gun. Add some gems for some sparkle... and you're done!

Pretty piece of artwork, using mostly materials that you'll have on-hand (maybe? Is it just me that happens to have all these things kicking around in my basement craft room?)

Anyway... let me know if you try this! It could be used for all sorts of occasions, not just Valentine's Day... just change up the colours and the shape in the middle.

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