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In Birthday, Graphic Design, Parties on
November 16, 2017

Hubs’ Surprise Birthday Party

For the past couple months, I have been sneakily planning my hubs’ 35th birthday party. I really couldn’t wait until his 40th to throw a big bash. Having seen how much has changed (euphemism for how much we’ve aged) since having kids, I feel that a celebration midway through a decade is worth celebrating!

As usual, I start every party planning with a theme of some sort so that there is some cohesion throughout the party. For this particular one, I chose to (lightly) focus on the decade my husband, Ryan, was born…the rad 80s! I had an 80s pop Pandora station playing in the background, a DIY “Totally Tubular Dude!” light box sign, and some Rubik’s cubes scattered as decor. I even made goodie bags for the kids that each included a mini Rubik’s cube and a slinky!

The centerpiece of this party was the DIY chili bar because food is of utmost importance! Our guests ranged from babies to preschoolers to adults so I felt that the chili bar would work for all. Would you believe me that the first type of bar I was thinking for a party was a poke bar?? How cool would that be?! Oh well, another time, another party!

This party was quite easy to pull together in terms of food preparation. The hardest part was getting Ryan to get out (and staying out!) of the house for several hours. Thank goodness I have an equally sneaky mother-in-law who “needed to shop” and look at not one but multiple open houses nearby. Ha!

To begin, I cheated and purchased a dry mix by Bear Creek called “Darn Good Chili” that my sweet (and also sneaky…there appears to be a theme!) neighbor made in her home. She prepared two batches, one with ground beef and the other without, in crock pots. Once my hubby left the house, I pulled everything out for the party. Days prior to the party, I had bought various items and stuffed them in every nook and cranny in our house so that he wouldn’t see any bulk products. I even hid a huge box of 50 individual Fritos bags inside our suitcases! I did forget to pull out one item, which Ryan found the next day…a whole tub of Red Vines! Well, y’know you can’t return a tub of fresh red vines! YUM!

I got my toppings inspiration from this Buzzfeed article and placed them in individual bowls on top of kraft paper (roll from Michaels by the dollar bins). I added a bowl of fresh fruit, a tower of Fritos chip bags, and a plate of hot dogs (to make chili dogs because why not?). Lastly, I used a large sharpie marker for food labeling and voila! The DIY chili bar is all set up!

Another element I like to add to parties are printed goods, primarily because I love to design them. For Ryan’s grandfather’s 80th birthday earlier this year, we made a “Back in <insert birthyear>” sign that was quite the hit! So, I replicated the idea, incorporated the trending Memphis patterns, and found some fun stats for the year 1982. Everyone loved reading it!

We ended the night with the ultimate ice cream birthday cake from Baskin Robbins and playing a round of modified Telestrations, where we drew/wrote about our fondest memories of the birthday boy! Fun times all around!! 🎉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In Graphic Design, Parties on
September 22, 2017

For Susan (and life goals)

Customized projects are my jam! My mother-in-law had a dear friend/co-worker, Susan, retire several weeks ago and asked if I could help create three unique items to celebrate her 20 years of service in the hospital’s radiology department. I knew I had to incorporate x-rays of some sort into the projects.

The first piece is a super-sized greeting card made large enough for the entire department to sign their well wishes. The “peace out” hand x-ray is inside a rectangular shaker box that was filled with sparkly sequins and tiny diecut shapes. Creating the “peace out” hand was quite a task as I started with a open hand xray vector image and individually moved and placed each bone to create the “peace out” configuration. I definitely had a new appreciation for human anatomy!

 

A celebration isn’t one without cake so my next creation was a mixed media cake topper. Again, reiterating the x-ray theme, I printed a head CT scan on printable clear sticker paper, backed it with a clear acetate sheet, and trimmed off the excess from the acetate sheet. Next, a little shoutout using glitter gold cardstock was created with my Silhouette machine. Lastly, added a little yellow bow at the base of the cake topper which also helped hide the toothpick.

 

The last piece for Susan’s retirement party was a customized “subway art” wall sign. My mother-in-law provided the text and I went to town placing them wherever they looked best. The key to subway art signs is to use minimal amount of color (you can see I simply used two colors, yellow and white) and no more than 4 different fonts (any more and your eyes will go nuts). We had these printed on a 14in x 14in canvas via Costco Photo Center, which is affordable and rather quick. I really am pleased how this sign turned out! I just wish I knew what all those terms mean! Ha! 🙂

 

Congrats Susan on your retirement!

On a side note, how does one know they are ready for retirement? I’m far from retirement albeit I am not working a corporate job but I hope one day I will feel satisfied in my contribution to the world and be ready for retirement. #lifegoals

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In Birthday, DIY, Graphic Design, Parties, Silhouette on
September 13, 2017

For Baby Elaina’s 1st Birthday

This past weekend, we celebrated my dear friend’s daughter’s first birthday! Little baby Elaina came on Labor Day last year (oh the irony!) and has grown into such a little cutie with an adorable smile! To honor and acknowledge her Korean culture (she’s half-Korean, half-Chinese), a Dol celebration was in order! Elaina’s mama got a little DIY herself and made the Dol towers out of white and black beans. One tower says “Happy First Birthday” and the other is Elaina’s name in Korean. How cool is that?

Purple and aqua were the party colors and were sprinkled throughout the event. I love the idea of using just colors as your “party theme” because it makes party planning a cinch! And luckily, these two colors are very popular right now thanks to the mermaid trend.

It was such a joy to help my friend, Anna, with party decorations! She told me the items she needed and gave me total creative license in the design. A designer’s dream!

A traditional component of a Korean first birthday party is the Doljabi, where the child is placed in front of several objects and whichever one he/she selects will predict her future! The guests were asked to cast their vote so I created a little sign to go along with the game. And of course, a first birthday party must-have is the one year poster listing all the special favorites and milestones. Again, I used the trick of printing this custom design as a color engineering print and taped it onto a foam board bought from the dollar store. The color quality was great too!

 

 

Michaels had a cardstock value pack in the party colors so it made paper decorations super easy to coordinate! From the “Happy 1st Birthday” pennant banner to the smash cake and cupcake toppers. I added a little gold glitter on some of the cupcake toppers for a little sparkle…it’s a little girl’s birthday party after all! I also learned a new craft that I’ll for sure be making again for another party…tissue paper pom pom toppers! A tutorial for that will be on the blog later this month.

 

The smash cake topper was a tricky project but so glad I put on my MacGuyver thinking cap on and made it work! In order to replicate the style of the topper I made for my own daughter’s smash cake, I needed to find a way to make the sans serif letters on “elaina” and “one” stand on their own versus being connected to the letters before/after. For example, I could easily have the letter “e” of “elaina” touch the letter next to it (“l”) but it would not look right if I connected the letter “i” of “Elaina” to the letter “a” in front of it or the letter “n” after it. Luckily, I was able to “weld” the word “turns” with the word “one” at the bottom of the topper but the word “elaina” was still a challenge. So how did I do it? I glued the letters of “elaina” to a small clear acetate sheet. Then, I added two skinny “pillars” of acetate sheet behind the word “turns” and connected the two acetate sheets. You can kind of see it behind the “s” in “turns”. This created the illusion that the letters on the topper were “floating”! #crafthacksFTW

 

Little Elaina was surrounded by so many family members and friends. She might have been a little overwhelmed with all the excitement and overstimulation! But sorry sweet girl, it’s because you are so loved! Happy birthday Elaina!

 

 

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In Parties on
August 22, 2017

For Baby Hank

One of my first friends in college who also was my lab partner in one of the hardest engineering classes everrrrr is having a baby! Hooray! 🙂 While I may not have aced that engineering class, I know I can get an A in creating some pretty cute baby shower decor.

She and her hubby love to travel so it was no brainer that lil Baby Hank’s nursery will be travel/adventure-themed. And because the party organizers and I are practical people, we carried that theme into the baby shower as well so that any fun decor can be reused to decorate the nursery. Making it as easy peasy for the parents-to-be!

In my experience, the best way to plan decor for an event is pretend you are a guest and do a mental walkthrough (or a physical one if it’s at your own home) of your party spaces.

So, come with me! Let’s attend Baby Hank’s baby shower virtually!

Next, a pseudo-chalkboard sign was placed near the front door so guests knew to enter the party through the front door versus the side yard which is the first thing you see after walking through the gates. You ready to learn about my secret weapon when it comes to large signs? Two words…engineering prints! This 18in x 24in “chalkboard” sign was created in Adobe InDesign and printed at Staples as a black and white “engineering print” and it cost just $2! You can print up to 36in x 48in and in color (although I was told by the guy at Staples that the color can only be about 25-30% of your design to be considered “engineering print”).

 

I think social parties like baby showers need a focal point so that’s where I spend the rest of my attention. The dining table was pushed against the wall and a 36in x 48in backdrop was hung to create the focal point. And yuuuup, that backdrop is also an engineering print and in color!! Next, I added dimension to the space with 3D hot air balloons that brought pops of color against the backdrop. An adorable hand-sewn circle+onesie garland also draped below the backdrop for some visual interest.

 

The hot air balloon icon can be seen again here on the cupcakes toppers. Personally, I like to repeat icons/patterns/colors/shapes throughout in the decor because it not only makes the entire event feel cohesive but it also reiterates the theme. These cupcake toppers were customized by using several different designs from the Silhouette Design Store. I tweaked Lori Whitlock’s Design ID#36441 to create the hot air balloon piece. The clouds are from Snapdragon Snippets’ Design ID#44219. The “oh boy” banner was created layering my own text on the banner shape in this design by Kolette Hall.

 

My favorite piece of this baby shower was the luggage favors. M&M fun size bags filled each kraft soap box, which was then wrapped with light grey/silver wrapping paper. To create the look of a suitcase, thin strips of dark grey cardstock were added on the sides and one on top to create a handle. I felt the front of the luggage looked bare so decided to add a little travel flair with a cute graphic printed on Silhouette’s clear labels. It was also an opportunity to acknowledge the favor is from Baby Hank’s baby shower. The finishing piece was the luggage tag that I created in Adobe Illustrator. The luggage tag listed some special numbers and letters. The numbers represented the baby’s due month and year. The 3-letter “airport code” is actually the baby’s initials. So fun sneaking in little things like that! Anyways, I imported this graphic into Silhouette Studio so that the tags could be individually cut by my Silhouette CAMEO. I love incorporating my graphic designs into Silhouette projects!

Welcome to the world Baby Hank!! 🙂

 

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In DIY, Parties, Silhouette on
August 15, 2017

Personalize Your Special Event with Your Own Print and Cut Design

As I mentioned in an earlier post, June was a busy month for me and it was totally unrelated to this blog or my gig with Silhouette. I was blessed with the opportunity to work on two special events with Switchfoot’s BRO-AM Foundation. Their music was on repeat in my college days so this experience was also sentimental. If you have a few minutes, take a moment to learn more about their awesome non-profit that was founded on the band members’ desire to give back to the San Diego community and youth initiatives. As a mother, I am thankful the less fortunate kids out there are getting love, hope, and support every child unconditionally deserves!

One of our events was a Benefit Party where we placed custom sugar cookies in each VIP gift bag. We wanted to carry through the branding as well as the mission statement wherever possible. So why not on the packaging label that seals each cookie bag?

This method is pretty much making your own Print and Cut design. And the beauty of this method is that the process behind it can be applied to any special event, from birthday parties to weddings.  Let me show you how!

  1. To start, I created my cookie label design in Adobe InDesign. You can use any graphic software program that allows you to save your design in common image file types (JPG, PNG, BMP, GIF, and TIF files). For more info, click here for more details.
  2. For this event, I needed 1.50in diameter cookie labels so in InDesign, I made a wider circular design perimeter (1.55in) so that I knew to keep my design within it.
  3. While designing, I also kept in mind the location of Silhouette’s Registration Marks, which is necessary for Print and Cut function to work. Basically, leave some space on the top as well as the bottom left area.
  4. When the design was complete, I simply exported the file as a PNG and imported it into my Silhouette’s library.
  5. Within the Scale Window, I resized it to fit a letter-size cardstock sheet (8.50in x 11.00in).
  6. Next, I placed 1.50in diameter circles over each cookie label while making sure they were nicely centered. These 1.50in circles’ cut lines fell within the 1.55in design lines.
  7. And finally, I sent it to Silhouette to first print the image with my home color printer and then transferred it onto a cutting mat and sent it again to Silhouette to cut with the cut settings.

That’s it! How easy is that?! Knowing this technique will really personalize your event and make your event styling look and feel cohesive!

 

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In Birthday, DIY, Parties on
July 27, 2017

TBT – Here’s to 4.5 Years!

This week, my firstborn turns 4.5 years old. What the what??

So since I’m in disbelief, I’m going to act like a moody preschooler, pound my fists while declaring he’s still 4, and take a walk down memory lane. For the first four years, I have been lucky to have picked the themes for his birthday parties and he’s totally been cool with it. Never once asked to change it. So lucky, right?

For his 4th birthday party, we did a dinosaur-themed party because he really liked the Disney movie The Good Dinosaur. While I did not use the characters from the show except for a figurine/toy as table decor, I turned to the Silhouette Design Store (SDS) for dinosaur-related shapes and designs. Personally, I prefer to do party themes that aren’t so specific like TV shows, characters, etc because it’s easier on my end since I’m the one who’s crafting it all. I stick with general shapes and repeat the party colors wherever I can.

Do you have a dinosaur-themed birthday party coming up? Take a look below and be inspired!

Party Banner
The dinosaur body parts on this awesome banner is Design ID#85872 from the Silhouette Design Store. I opted to make my own birthday messaging in the middle to personalize the event even more. To create the word banner, simply cut out letters with an offset backing in a different color. Between each layer, I placed dimensional foam adhesives so that each layer would “pop.”

 

Themed Cupcake Topper
Did you know you don’t always need a SDS design to make your Silhouette creations? Use your imagination! This particular cupcake topper is super easy to make and great for those leftover paper scraps! With the Text tool, I typed out “4” and “ROAR” and sent it to Silhouette to cut. Use different colored and/or textured paper to make your project colorful and eye-catching. Again, I used dimensional foam adhesive behind the letters to give the cupcake topper a 3D look.

 

Favor Tags
As I mentioned before in a previous post, the Silhouette CAMEO cutting machine is your party decor workhorse! Did you know it can also serve as a basic graphic design program. These favor tags were created to work like a Print and Cut design…simply create within Silhouette Studio and then send it to Silhouette to cut out.

 

Favors with Tags
I was inspired by Pinterest to make these party favors. Duh, where else? Don’t the favor tags complete the look of the favors by providing some visual interest? Side note: If you are going to do these dinosaur-topped baby jar favors, have major self-control when assembling the favors. The large M&M bag was so hard to resist! I may have had a couple…handfuls.

 

Goodie Bags
I spiffed up chevron goodie bags purchased at my local Michaels by adding some dinosaur diecuts with the all-time favorite…googly eyes! I love SDS designs that come in a set, like this one (Design ID#23556). Four dino shapes for the price of one! Score!

I even used these dinosaur shapes elsewhere at the party, such as simple decor on the wired dessert stand in the picture below. My favorite use of these dinosaur diecut shapes was for the dinosaur egg hunt activity I set up for a group of energetic preschoolers. I had my Silhouette CAMEO cut out one dinosaur shape per 8.5in x 11in colored cardstock and glued a bamboo skewer to the back. Then at the party, I had hubby and few other parents staked them into the grass at various areas at the park. Meanwhile, I passed out to each kiddo a foam dinosaur hat (a HUGE hit!), a cheap plastic spatula, and a goodie bag filled with about 5-7 dinosaur-filled eggs.  The objective of the game was to deliver one dino egg via spatula to their mommy/daddy dino’s home, by color. So for example, if they had a green egg, they had to find the green dinosaur shape staked somewhere in the park. It was hilarious to see how some kiddos took it very seriously to safely deliver the eggs across the grassy park. And then there’s my Type A kid who was trying to instruct his friends that the magenta egg belongs to the pink dinosaur not the purple dinosaur. 🙄

 

This party was outdoors so I kept the party decorations minimal and focused my crafting/decorating attention on the favors and tablescapes. I hope these party ideas are helpful and inspire you to create and personalize your upcoming special event!

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In DIY, Freebies, Parties on
July 20, 2017

Ice Cream Bingo (FREEBIE!)

The celebration continues! As you can see, I am taking this ice cream celebration seriously AND making it a whole family affair. Well…you should too. 🙂

Now that I’ve inspired you to craft the perfect shirt and showed you how to spiff up your ice cream wooden spoons, it’s time to play a game of Ice Cream Bingo while devouring a bowl of ice cream (duh!!). Click here to download the super cute FREE printable. Instructions are on the bottom of the first page. There are eight unique bingo cards so the maximum number of players is eight. If you have more than eight players, team up so that everyone can join in on the fun! Use coins or scrap paper as your bingo markers and have some fun! Maybe the winner gets an extra scoop or TWO of ice cream??

 

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In DIY, Parties, Silhouette on
July 18, 2017

DIY Stamped Dessert Spoons

Is it me or is there something magical about wooden dessert spoons? All I can think of are those little individual ice cream cups with wooden spoons that we got back in the day…I can’t even remember if it was elementary school or later. I just remember, as a kid, those ice cream cups were heavenly.

So since I am making National Ice Cream Day a week-long celebration, let’s fancify our ice cream eating experience with DIY stamped dessert spoons! This project features the use of a different Silhouette machine…a custom stamp maker called The Mint.

Supplies needed:

  • Silhouette Mint
  • Lori Whitlock’s Grateful Font (of course you are more than welcome to use any other fonts!)
  • 60mm x 30mm Mint Stamp Kit (use promo code 10OFF)
  • Mint Ink in black (or whatever color you want)
  • Wooden dessert spoons (got mine on Amazon)

Step One: Create design in Mint Studio

  1. In the Stamp Settings window, select stamp size 60mm x 30mm.
  2. With Text tool selected, I typed up various fun phrases for my wooden spoons, such as “Treat Yo Self” and “Nom nom nom” and “Wanna Spoon?” (You know me, I love my puns)
  3. Next, I resized them to all fit the 60mm x 30mm stamp space while making sure each phrase would fit nicely within the space on the spoon’s handle. Now your stamp is ready to “print” via Mint!

Step Two: Send to Mint

  1. Send your stamp to Mint and follow prompts in the program.
  2. Once printed, pull the cardboard piece out and fold along the perforated line.
  3. Remove the black square stamp from the cardboard casing as well as the plastic layer on top.
  4. Then, remove the lid of your stamp base, remove the protective layer, and apply your stamp to the stamp base.
  5. Apply the black (or whatever color you picked) ink and set it aside for about 10 mins to let the ink soak in.


Step Three: Stamp Spoons

  1. Stamp off the excess ink on a scrap piece of paper. TIP: As long as you let the ink penetrate for 10 minutes, don’t hesitate to keep practice stamping until you are getting a clean quality of your stamp image.
  2. Because my wooden spoons had some curvature, I let the spoon part hang off the edge of the table and laid the handle part flat on the table. Then, I stamped onto the handle part with even pressure. There are different ways to stamp plus your spoons may be made slightly different from mine so have fun and play around to see what works best for you!

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In DIY, Parties on
July 5, 2017

Party Time with Wonder Woman

How was everyone’s 4th of July? We had a fun-filled day starting with a morning play date followed by chowing down some fried chicken sandwiches and schmaltz fries at the Crack Shack. And as if that wasn’t enough food, we moved onto the next feast of super-delish Korean BBQ buffet and ended the day with gooey chocolatey s’mores. My pants might have felt a little tight this morning… #noregrets

Anywaaaays, let’s talk about the new Wonder Woman movie. Have you seen it? It is SO good! SO good that some of the Silhouette Design Team Members worked on some extra projects to celebrate our new BFF, Diana Prince…aka Wonder Woman. After seeing the movie, I had a gut feeling that many little girl birthday parties would soon become Wonder-Woman themed so if that’s you or you know some mama who is wondering where to start to pull together a wonder-filled party…look no more! I have put together a tutorial on how to create simple yet eye-catching Wonder Woman party decor, from cupcake toppers to water bottle labels!

Click here to read my tutorial!

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