Snapshots from a 15th Birthday Party

birthdayparty2

Hi friends! Over the past couple weeks on Instagram you might have caught glimpses of the party decor that I was working on for my daughter’s 15th birthday. Well yesterday her big day finally arrived and I was able to surprise her when she got home from school, with a room decorated with sweet things inspired by everything she’s into these days (namely: “Doge,” anything cute (aka kawaii), animals, and unique sweets (she wants to own a candy shop company some day) .

birthdayparty3

Since our finances have been stretched to the max lately, I knew that I’d have to come up with a creative way to make the day feel special without spending an arm and a leg. The large animal paintings (glued to recycled cardboard for stability) were the solution that I came up with (cost $0). The only thing that I did ended up spending money on decoration-wise, was for the purchase of a few sheets of colorful cardstock ($4) that I used to make the confetti garlands with.

birthdayparty-sodatasting

My daughter is really into trying out unique candies and sodas, so I also set up a soda tasting station for her (with tasting note cards for added fun). All the sodas were purchased at Rocket Fizz and World Market.

birthdayparty4

Affordable blooms from Trader Joe’s are the best, and a great way to add an extra fresh burst of color to the room!

birthdayparty5

My daughter loved everything (including the hand-me-down Instax Mini Camera that was her “big” gift). Hooray!

birthdayparty1

I feel so incredibly lucky to be the mom of such a wonderfully kind, fun-spirited, and beautiful (inside and out) daughter. Fifteen years have flashed by in the blink of an eye! I can’t wait for all the adventures to come over the next fifteen! xo Ez

A Craft Party with DIY Tote Bags Inspired By Ford Fiesta

diy-freezer-paper-totebag

Hooray! I’m super excited to finally be able to share the project with you that I’ve been working on in partnership with Ford, using the Fiesta Movement as my inspiration. You might recall the sneak peek I shared a few weeks ago with the video that I used as my concept springboard…did any of you guess what I was up to? Well, here it is! A fun craft party with Fiesta-worthy DIY tote bags!

fiestacraftparty

This party set-up is really simple, and the project results are so fun to customize and create, that there’s no reason not to host a craft party with a few of your favorite friends a.s.a.p.! I hope by the end of this post you’ll be feeling inspired to put together your own take on this challenge…and if you do, I’d love for you to stop back and share the results with us all! Now let’s Fiesta!

fiestacraftparty1

Setting up the party is half the fun. Here are few tips for setting up your craft party:

  • To protect your work surface(s), use a roll of cheap white craft paper as a covering. Guests will feel more comfortable if they aren’t worrying about spills.
  • For the best flow, create several different stations for various portions of the tote bag creation: 1. Template tracing and cutting mat station 2. Ironing station 3. Painting / glittering station (this one should take up the largest portion) 4. (optional) food station
  • Cups and mugs work great for keeping craft supplies for different tasks organized and easy to access. Plates work well for holding paint bottles, so that you limit drips and spills during crafting.
  • Don’t forget the snacks. I just kept it simple with some store-bought cookies and bottled soda. Feel free to get as creative with the food as you want, or scrap it all together, if it doesn’t fit in with your idea of the perfect party.

fiestacraftparty3 San Pellegrino Limonata…yum! Now we’re ready to make some totes!

Freezer Paper Stencil Tote Bag How-to: diy-freezer-paper-totes-14

Gather your supplies. For a basic freezer paper stenciled tote you will need:

  • Free Printable: Decorative Shape + Alphabet Stencils
  • Cotton tote bag | I found a good assortment at a local craft store, but they can also be found by searching for “blank tote bags” on Amazon
  • Freezer Paper | available in the kitchen storage / paper goods section of many grocery stores, or here.
  • Craft knife
  • Pencil
  • Self-healing cutting mat | In a pinch you can use a thick piece of cardboard in place of the cutting mat, but your results will be more precise and your craft knife blade will last longer with the mat.
  • Acrylic Paints or Fabric Paints | Any colors you’d like
  • Textile Paint Medium | If using acrylic paint you will need to use a fabric paint medium to convert the paint into a fabric paint. I purchased mine from the craft store.
  • Paint palette or small dishes for mixing paint
  • Sponge-tip paint brushes | These can be found at craft and hardware stores
  • Assorted paint brushes
  • Scrap cardboard | Trimmed to fit the size of your tote
  • Iron + ironing board

downloadstencilsbutton

Step 1. Download and print the Decorative Shape + Alphabet Templates onto standard copy paper. Place a piece of freezer paper (waxed side down) on top of the template design you’d like to use so that you can see it faintly through the paper, and use a pencil to trace the design(s). Keep in mind that the interior portion of your stencil will be cut away and will represent the design that will be painted onto your bag.

Step 2. If you will be using text, you will need to trace the letters you want to use as well. They don’t need to be lined up with your final design concept during the tracing phase, since each portion will be cut out separately in the next step.

Step 3. Place your freezer paper on top of a self-healing mat and use your craft knife to carefully cut out your design. I recommend cutting out small elements, such as text first, so that the paper around it gives the design stability while you trim.

Step 4. Finish cutting out the larger design elements and set the paper scraps aside (or dispose of them).

diy-freezer-paper-totes-58

Step 5. Place your design (waxed side down) onto your tote bag where you would like the final placement to be. Heat your iron to a medium temperature and make sure that the steam setting is turned off. Slowly iron the freezer paper (waxed side down) onto your tote bag until it adheres fully. Pay special attention to any fine points and corners…you want to be sure these are attached well.

Step 6: If you will be applying text to your design, you will iron each letter on individually at this point. Applying text templates (resist templates) the way that I did here creates a barrier to the paint in the shape of the text, so that the final text design is seen with the tote material, not in paint (refer to the final completed tote image if needed).

Step 7: Now you’re ready to choose your paint colors and mix up your paint solution. Refer to manufacturer directions on the textile medium bottle when adding to your acrylic paint. If you are using pre-mixed fabric paint, you can simply select your colors and go to the next step.

Step 8: Place your pre-cut piece of scrap cardboard inside your tote bag, and then place a piece of freezer paper (waxed side facing up towards the fabric) on top of the cardboard. This will keep the paint from leaking through your bag. Your your sponge-tip paint brush and begin applying paint to the open areas inside your ironed stencils with an up and down (not side to side) dabbing motion. Be careful not to over-saturate your design and be sure that you’ve gotten paint into all corners. Set your bag aside to let it dry. Acrylic paint dries pretty quickly, so you shouldn’t have to wait too long. Note: If your bag looks a little wrinkled, don’t fret…everything will smooth out during the heat-setting step (later).

diy-freezer-paper-totes-912

Step 9: Once your paint is dry, slowly peel off the larger paper stencil(s).

Step 10: If needed, use the tip of a craft knife to help loosen the edges of smaller paper stencil elements, and peel those off as well.

diy-freezer-paper-totes-detail

Step 11: (optional) Use a fabric marker to add fine details to your tote – such as the twine I drew for the bunting banners on my bag.

Step 12: (optional) When you peel off your stencil there may be a few edges where the paint is not as crisp as you’d like it to be. Use a fine-tipped paintbrush with a bit of matching paint to even things up.

Note: Acrylic fabric paint will need to be heat set with an iron once your design has dried fully…this will also help to release any wrinkles that occurred during the stenciling process. Refer to manufacturer directions on the textile medium bottle for heat setting and laundering instructions.

diy-freezer-paper-tote

Woohoo! You just threw an awesome craft party! Now your lucky guests have a totes (har har) awesome accessory to take home with them!

Here are two alternate versions that you can also share with your party guests:

diy-glitter-stencil-bag

Create a glittered design by painting the inside of your template with fabric glue (I used Jewel It) and then sprinkling the glued portion with glitter (I used Martha Stewart brand glitter). When the glue has dried, tap off excess glitter and then peel off the paper template to reveal your completed design.

diy_glitter_stencil_bag1

And for a super quick DIY bag (if stencils are not your thing)…simply paint freehand designs (such as this polka dot pattern) directly onto the bags. Voila! I can’t wait to see what you’ll create! xo Ez

diy-freehand-painted-bag

This post was kindly sponsored by Ford Fiesta Movement. Find more from Ford Fiesta on Facebookand Twitter.

A Bastille Day Picnic with Free Printables and a Giveaway Inspired by The Little Paris Kitchen

The Little Paris Kitchen I really don’t need much of a push to spend a fun afternoon cooking with my daughter. So when Chronicle Books asked if I’d like to use their new cookbook The Little Paris Kitchen by Rachel Khoo as inspiration for a Bastille Day picnic, I couldn’t say yes fast enough! My daughter and I chose Clafoutis—Versions Sucre et Sale (Sweet and Savory Clafoutis) as our recipe of the day. I love how the one recipe can be transformed into both a dessert and a main course with only a couple minor changes! You can download a copy of the recipe from the book (generously provided by Chronicle Books) below:

downloadclafoutisrecipebutton

And before I show you what fun we had putting our picnic together you’re not going to want to miss out on the amazing Bastille Day Pinterest Giveaway Chronicle Books is hosting! I’m already jealous of whichever one of you wins!

chroniclebooksbastilledaygiveaway

Click on the image above, or this link to enter for your chance to win (prize package valued at over $400). TIP: First make sure that you are logged into Pinterest. Once on the giveaway page, select the image you’d like to pin using one of the check boxes provided, fill in your email address and zip code (US residents only), and click “submit.” Your chosen image will pop up in a ‘pin it’ box…choose the board you’d like to add it to, and you’re done! Find more festive inspiration in Chronicle Book’s Bastille Day Fête board. I’m crossing my fingers that you win!

Chronicle Books is so stellar that they have also provided an entire suite of Free Printables for you that were inspired by The Little Paris Kitchen. There are all sorts of goodies (click each link to begin downloading)! Your next fête is going to be so fabulous!

littlepariskitchenslideone littlepariskitchen8 Summer-ripe berries! YUM!

littlepariskitchenslidetwo Don’t forget to have fun with your food while you cook!

littlepariskitchen14 Pop those babies out of the oven and let them cool (or if you prefer, serve them warm topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream)!

littlepariskitchenslidesavory While your waiting for the sweet Clafoutis to cool, mix up a quick savory version for your main course!

littlepariskitchenpinic1 We filled our picnic basket with fresh salad and dressing, two types of cheese (labeled with the Free Printable French-Inspired Food Labels / Place Cards), raspberry lemonade, and our Clafoutis—Versions Sucre et Sale!

littlepariskitchenpinic3  For an added festive touch (and to keep them from getting squished in the basket), I wrapped the sweet clafoutis with parchment paper and tied each parcel closed with baker’s twine.

littlepariskitchenpinic7 Instead of driving to a park, we decided that we wanted to take advantage of our beautiful yard, and set our picnic up outside our house instead. Such a grand idea!

littlepariskitchenpinic8 littlepariskitchenpinic10 littlepariskitchenpinic13 I can’t believe that it’s taken us this long to get outside for a festive picnic. It’s my new favorite thing (thank you The Little Paris Kitchen for inspiring us)! If you don’t have a yard or decent park close by, it would even be a blast to just set up a picnic indoors! Don’t you think?!

littlepariskitchenpinic6 littlepariskitchenpinic4 I’m so happy that picnic season has just begun! xo Ez

chroniclebooks_sponsorbutton This post was inspired by The Little Paris Kitchen, and kindly sponsored by Chronicle Books. Find more from Chronicle Books on: Pinterest | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram. All photos and opinions expressed within this post are my own.

DIY Wedding Flowers Wrap-Up and Free Printable with Flower Muse

diybridal_bouquetweddetails1

Oh my goodness you guys! My little sister is finally married!!! Hooray! Her much-awaited day took place on a beautiful saturday afternoon in Michigan, and I have never seen her look more radiant and joyous. I’m so so happy for her!

diybridalbouqueteweddetail1

Of course my big (and exciting) job once I arrived in Michigan was to create all the floral arrangements for her ceremony and reception using gorgeous blooms from Flower Muse. It was a lot of hard work, but I am so thrilled that I had the chance to be a part of my sister’s big day in such a special and memorable way.

I shared the following DIY wedding floral arranging posts here on Creature Comforts last month—and then used those steps for the actual wedding arrangements. I’m so delighted to finally be able to show you how it all came together!

diybridesmaidbouquetwed1

I love the way the bridesmaid bouquets turned out! They really looked great against the purple of their dresses.

diybridesmaidbouquetwed2

I used the same blooms and greens in their bouquets as I did in my sister’s bridal bouquet, minus the peach roses and sweet peas. The other difference is that I picked the leaves off the Eucalyptus sprigs in the bridal bouquet (leaving just the little green seed pods—it was a last-minute decision, but it looked great). It’s amazing how different the bridal and bridesmaid bouquets looked from one another, even though I used nearly the same variety of flowers in them both!

diyboutonnierewed2

Doesn’t my little brother look handsome wearing his boutonniere? One of my sisters was a total trooper (thank you ‘Faux’…I love you) and helped me assemble the many boutonnieres and corsages that we needed to make…plus laughed at all my dorky jokes and even brought me snacks to keep me from falling over. Without her help, I wouldn’t have had half as much fun, and who knows if I would have gotten any sleep the night before the big day.

diytablearrangements2

After a full day of floral arranging (I made 2 large altar arrangements, 1 bridal bouquet, 1 throwing bouquet, 6 bridesmaid bouquets, and around 26 corsages and boutonnieres) I grabbed a few zz’s and was then up at the crack of dawn (wedding day) for more. My dad and I loaded up the car with buckets of blooms and drove the 30 minute drive out to the reception site. The final table arrangements each had one gorgeous Peach Pink Free Spirit Garden Rose, Dusty Miller greens, and an assortment of other blooms…so each one was unique. Even though I had loftier plans for them (the sticks on those table numbers should have been shorter for one thing), I ended up just being happy that we managed to complete them on time. Here’s why…

diytablearrangements1

What happened was that I was originally planning to work on all 38 table arrangements with a group of helpers that my sister had found, but when we arrived at the park pavilion it was pandemonium (everyone was busy with other projects), and I realized it would take me longer to get them all on the same page, than it would to do it on my own. Thankfully my awesome dad step up as my floral assistant, and helped save the day. While I was frantically clipping and tossing blooms into vases as fast as I could, he was carefully filling each vessel with water and handing me more flowers as needed (you were truly amazing Dad). Needless today I was in good company, so we managed to throw all those arrangements together (plus decorate the cake and head table) all in about an hour and a half. That left us with just enough time to race me back to the house to take photos of my sister getting ready. Yes…I was also doing that! Phew!

diyflowertoppedwedcake1

Thankfully I wasn’t in charge of baking or frosting the cake (it was made as a gift for my sister by some of her friends)…I just put the flowers on top.

diyflowertoppedwedcake2

I didn’t really know what I was doing…so I just started on the first tier and tried to create the look of cascading flowers that would “drape” down all three tiers. I think it actually turned out pretty well…especially considering that I only had about 15 minutes to get it done.

diybridalbouqueteweddetail4

My adorable little niece holding my sister’s bouquet (a little bit worse for the wear after a long hot day—the bouquet…not my niece)!

Before I go, I want to leave you with this Free Printable DIY Wedding Floral Supply List that I created to help all of you out (I wish I had made one for myself)…and some final thoughts and tips learned from my experience. Download the printable list by clicking on the image below. It prints onto a standard piece of copy paper…so it’s going to fit inside your wedding planning binder perfectly (you have one of those, right).

freefloralchecklistprintable

TIP 1: Help keep boutonnieres and corsages fresh overnight by placing their stems into a water-saturated piece of wet floral foam (Oasis). Use tall jars to keep bouquets upright and hydrated. Just fill each with enough water so that the bottom of the stems are submerged. I suggest leaving a little bit of extra stem length on bouquets and corsages that you can trim off before use. This will ensure that any ribbon wrapping stays dry.

TIP 2: When in doubt…simple is better. I absolutely love the way my sister’s arrangements came out, but at the end of the day, the huge variety of blooms was actually really challenging to keep on top of (possible…but challenging). Make sure you know what kind of time you have available to work with, and whether or not you will have reliable people to help you out if needed.

TIP 3: Think about impact when deciding on a floral concept for your wedding. For example, you may spend more per bloom for some stunning peonies…but you won’t need many to create show-stopping arrangements for your day (3-5 blooms would be enough for a gorgeous bouquet…and would take you next to no time to put together). If you’re stuck, Flower Muse has some Wedding Packages already sorted out by color palette, that should give you a great place to start.

TIP 4: Trust the experts. I consulted with Flower Muse about which flowers would work best for the season and location of my sister’s wedding. Since some of the initial blooms that we wanted were not seasonally available, they were able to recommend equally gorgeous alternatives for a special order that was tailored to fit the look my sister was dreaming of. She loved what they put together for her!

Additional thoughts:

  • Make sure to have all supplies ready before the flowers arrive so that there won’t be any last-minute stress-filled shopping trips.
  • Give yourself as much time as possible. It’s better to have time left over in the end, than be running around like mad at the last second.
  • Stay hydrated and fed. I get easily distracted, and don’t think to eat when deeply involved in a hands-on project…so I was grateful that my sister came by with snacks to keep me going.
  • So what was it really like working with Flower Muse? Their service and the quality of their flowers was incredible. The day after I arrived, we had a small hiccup with FedEx (not Flower Muse’s fault) and Flower Muse was on the phone with them immediately to resolve the issue. Everything ended up being delivered on or before the scheduled delivery time, and it felt great knowing that I had such competent people in my corner. I am really just beyond grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to work with them to create these special memories for my sister our loved ones. I’d work with them again in a heartbeat!

flowermusesponsorbutton This post was kindly sponsored and made possible by Flower Muse. Find more from Flower Muse on: Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram. Photos and opinions expressed are my own.

DIY Wedding Ceremony Altar Arrangements with Flower Muse

diyaltararrangementmain My sister’s big day is nearly here! Yippy! Next week I’ll be hopping on a plane headed for Michigan, where I’ll be in charge of putting together her wedding and reception florals (exciting and yes, a little nerve-wracking).

As a novice, these past few weeks of creating and sharing tester DIY Wedding Arrangements with the aid of gorgeous blooms from Flower Muse have been invaluable for me. Not everything I’ve created has been perfect (imperfection adds to the charm, right), but I hope that through the sharing of my process’ that some of the intimidation-factor will have been taken out of the creation of DIY arrangements for you. Maybe you’ll even feel inspired to put your own spin on a special DIY floral arrangement or two for the next big event in your life!

In case you missed them, here’s a quick recap of the DIY arrangements that I have created so far:

And for my last DIY post, here is the simple vase arrangement I’ll be putting together for the church altar at my sister’s ceremony. To create this, I first started by prepping the flowers and greenery using these Basic Floral Prepping Steps for DIY Arrangements. The process for making this arrangement is similar to that used to create the initial bridal bouquet…so if you’ve already got the hang of that, then this should be a breeze for you.

DIY Wedding Ceremony Altar Arrangements 

Ceremony Arrangement Flowers Used:

I can’t wait to put what I’ve learned over the past month into practice. I’ll be sharing the final results with you after I get back home after my sister’s wedding. Keep your fingers crossed for me! xo Ez

flowermusesponsorbutton This post was kindly sponsored and made possible by Flower Muse. Find more from Flower Muse on: Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram. This DIY project, photos, and opinions expressed are my own.