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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Back-to-School Party

I'm labeling this post as a party, but it wasn't really a party party.  It was the Open House. 

First, I made the Ruler Wreath and hung it on the outside door...
I also pulled  a child-size wooden chair out of one of the classrooms, and put it next to the door with a potted flower on it.  (This pot was one of the ones I painted for my front porch makeover).  I added a little sign to it, that was a party printable label (saying "Back to School" like a chalkboard) matted on cardstock and hot glued to two skewers, which I just poked down into the dirt in the pot.
Inside, I decorated with this printable banner...aren't free printables just the bomb!?  Hard to see in this pic, but the letters are in cute plaids on handwriting-lined paper.  I matted them on different colored cardstock, then punched holes in the tops and threaded twine through.  I added a paperclip to the center of each, both to keep it in place, and because I thought it was a cute touch ; )  This was super easy to hang up by knotting the ends of the twine to another paperclip, and looping the paperclip over a thumbtack on the wall.
The sign-in table had registration info, handbooks, name tags, etc., as well as a large photo poster I had made up last year for another event, plus a poster board with some testimonials from alumni parents.  I put one of my crayon vases and a few fabric apples there, too.
My favorite part was the dessert table!  I put the Apple Pops in a square basket with styrofoam in the bottom.  As labels for the treats, I ran pages of lined handwriting paper through my printer, then added fake teacher remarks in red crayon.  I wrapped the Apple Pop one around the front of the basket and secured it with a paperclip on each end.
 Here is the rest of the table...



This was so fun to put together and produced a lot of smiles from both parents and little ones alike.  Besides that, having this event as an excuse for crafting to focus on this past week, kept me sane as I dealt with a sick child at home.  Does anyone else feed the craft habit to help deal with stress?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Back-to-School Treats: Apple Pops & Pretzel Crayons

As the main attractions on the Preschool Open House dessert table, I found tutorials for two different treats that were perfect for back-to-school.  I had a girlfriend over and we pulled them together.  So fun!

I have been wanting to try cake pops for-ever, but was a tad intimidated.  Now I know a cheater method - use donut holes!  They aren't as perfectly round, but no biggie.  These apple pops were made with donut holes, red candy melts, pretzel sticks, and some flat licorice candy strips that I found at walmart.

First we dipped the lollipop sticks into the candy melts and stuck the donut holes on, then let them set for a few minutes.  This keeps the donut part from slipping down or off the stick later on.  Trust me, we learned this after losing a few!  I trimmed the flat licorice pieces into leaf shapes and used a broken pretzel stick for the stem.  After the donut was completely covered in candy melts, I dipped the ends of the leaf and stem into the candy melts and then held them to the top for a few seconds.  We stuck the pops into a block of styrofoam to set completely.
Once dry, I was able to lay them flat in a tupperware container, in between sheets of waxed paper.  Room temp. was fine.  Refrigeration makes them sweat once you take them out.  The day of Open House, I printed off these drink flags , that look like chalkboard, and wrapped them around the lollipop sticks.  Perfect!

For the Pretzel Crayons, I used the printable crayon wrappers from Tip Junkie,  and ran plain construction paper through my printer. Here is one of the several tutorials for making the crayons.  We used honey wheat braided pretzel twists and candy melts.  Walmart only had red and white left, so we tinted the white ones with food coloring to make yellow, green, and blue.  Dip the ends (or the whole thing if you prefer), let set, and then wrap a crayon label around it with scotch tape.  Easy!  And so cute : ) 

I had purchased bakery-made sugar cookies that said "a, b, c" on them, and then we whipped up some rice crispy treats to round out the menu.  We used the leftover candy melts from the pretzel crayons to drizzle a sort of plaid pattern onto the crispy treats.
Come back and see the dessert table set-up in part two!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Back-to-School Decor: Crayon Vases & Fabric Apples

Along with the ruler wreath for the door, I made a few items to decorate the tables at our preschool Open House.  One I've seen much of lately and have been wanting to try - crayon vases.  With the back-to-school supply sales going on, it was only a few dollars to get three or four 24ct boxes of crayolas : )  I used mandarin orange cans out of our recycling bin, and simply lined up the crayons and hot glued them around the edge.  SO easy and quick.  I filled the can with several sprays of fake daisies (thank you Dollar Tree), and tied a yellow grosgrain ribbon around it.  I had two of these done in no time, and they really are super cute.

I also made some fabric and felt apples, using the pattern I found here at My{Creative}Place.  I mostly followed the tutorial, except I hand-sewed the sides and left the edges showing a bit raggy instead of turning it inside out.  I made a larger fabric apple and a slightly smaller felt one.  Then used felt for the leaves and stems, and added a little polka dot ribbon as a leaf accent to the felt apples, too.

I think I will need to make some little pumpkins from this pattern very soon for fall!
I really wanted to try one of these vases with magnetic alphabet letters, too, but I ran out of time ; )

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Ruler Wreath Teacher Gift

I grabbed onto our Preschool Open House this week as an opportunity for crafting up several back-to-school projects that I was dying to try : )  One was this super creative ruler wreath from The Polka Dot Chair, that I shared on Craft, Interrupted's Facebook Page.

To make my wreath a bit fuller, and make the most of my rulers, I cut mine into thirds instead of halves.  Then I hot glued the pieces onto an embroidery hoop, just like the tutorial at The Polka Dot Chair

Instead of trimming and overlapping the center piece of the embroidery hoop, I cut out a small section so that the ends met together, and hot glued it from the backside.
Since I was making this wreath to go on the Preschool door during Open House, I found an image of a chalkboard slate, and edited it in Picnik to have the word "Welcome" and an apple on it.  I printed this on regular paper, then trimmed and mounted it on a brown piece of cardstock that (to my delight) perfectly matched the wood frame of the chalkboard image.  I laminated the whole thing in clear contact paper and then used mini clothespins to clip it onto a length of twine across the wreath.
I made several fabric yo-yo flowers, with button centers.  Then, remembering that I had seen an ingenious changeable wreath with velcro accents, I decided to use sticky-back velcro to attach the flowers to the wreath instead of hot glue.

My plan is to display this on the entry door during Open House, and then give it to the director.  I could then make a few gift sets of different themed/different colored sets of velcro accents to go with seasons or holidays, so that she can swap them out.  I'm picturing a little felt pumpkin, a little felt snowman, etc.  Cute idea for a teacher, right?  Even the "Welcome" slate could be easily swapped out for holiday messages, since it is just a card that is clipped on with clothespins.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Trash Rescue - The Trunk

I posted on Craft, Interrupted's Facebook page the other day about passing a treasure on the curb with the neighbor's trash, as I was taking my big boys to the bus stop in the morning.  I could not resist grabbing it!  However, I did go to their door and ask first ; )

This is what I then proceeded to awkwardly and noisily drag across the cul de sac to my porch...an awesome steamer trunk!
The handle on one side is missing, and the lower panel on the front is stripped.  Seems at one time, someone gave this trunk some love by gluing a wrinkly brown cloth onto the panels.  They appear to have some fabric paint over them to give a faux leather look.  The rest of them are in pretty decent shape, but the lower one on the front has been pulled off.  The rest of the trunk is painted brown.
One of the hinges is broken, but it's still able to be opened and closed.  The inside is in pretty good shape, too.
Because Hubby was off at meetings, I was only able to get this trunk as far as the porch (it's quite heavy).  I turned it round so the missing fabric was hidden on the backside, and scootched it up next to the door. 
It could be kept there, as a sort of bench.  Maybe with some yellow and red outdoor pillows on top?  But do I leave it as-is or do I paint the whole thing a new color??

Or should I bring it in to the shelter of the screen porch as a bench instead?

Or should I take it to Hubby's man cave in the finished basement where our recent couch and chair have been moved...and use it as a coffee table?  Part of me doesn't want to hide it in the basement. 

OR should I haul it up to the master bedroom to put either at the end of the bed or under the wall of windows??

I'm tempted to do a book page treatment along all the panels that currently have that brown cloth...I'm tempted to paint it yellow...or red...or aqua...there is also a spot between two windows in the dining room where it could be used as a bench with pillows on top.

What do you think?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Printable Lunch Box Notes Round-Up

I'm seeing more and more of these printable lunch box note sets now that school is upon us.  I really need to refill my printer cartridge!!  I thought I would post a round-up for easy access : )  All of these are free for you to print, cut apart, and sneak into your child's lunch box for a little encouragement or a giggle.  Love them!

Happy Home Fairy keeps the goodness coming with these joke cards : )  Two pages of eight different cards!

I also love these cute cards from Fresh Picked Whimsy.  She's offering two different sets for free!

Buttoned Up  has a page of lunchbox notes for ages 7 & under or 8 & up.

Moms by Heart shares some lunchbox love with these cuties

Sweet Inspiration shares this set from Milkshake Crafts where you can write in your own message.
Rook No. 17 has an amazing old-school set.  Three sheets of different cards and a box template to hold them in!

Classic Play has adorable Lunch Menu cards (for girls or boys) that made me smile : )
Fancy Pants Prints offers this freebie of cute lunch notes
Parentella has these silly fruit notes, plus a second page of matching blank cards to write your own message.

You can find even MORE at these two round-ups...

Pretty Little Things includes these silly Happy Monster Notes and these cute fruit tags!

Two Shades of Pink includes these adorable food-themed cards, as well as these sweet notes of encouragement.

I just LOVE finding free printables!  I know I'm going to be using many (or all!) of these for my boys this year : )

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