Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Under the Sea Party Five-Part Series: Part Two -- Decorations

Welcome to the second installment of my Under the Sea Party Five-Part Series. In Part One, I showed you how to make the extremely easy mermaid party invites. In this second part, I am going to show you how I created an "Under the Sea" experience.

I was roaming through JoAnn Fabrics, tightly grasping a 50% off one cut piece of fabric, when I came across the tulle. I instantly thought of water and had visions of myself somehow adhering it to the ceiling. And then I laughed, as two men in camouflage John Deer jackets were also suspiciously looking at the tulle, thinking how absurd it was for me to think we could actually be under the sea in our Under the Sea party.

Ten minutes later, I was standing at the cutting counter asking how many yards were on the bolt. Five minutes later I was sitting in the car with 10 yards of bright blue tulle. So that's how this Under the Sea party began.

Here's what you need to create your own under the sea tulle ceiling:

  • Tulle
  • Butcher's twine
  • Ribbon
  • Small Command hooks with adhesive stickers

I soon figured out that I was going to cut pieces of the tulle in a yard or yard and a half increments and then tie off sections of the tulle with the butcher's twine.

But, I didn't want the butcher's twine to show from under the sea, so I trimmed each side and then tied an iridescent blue ribbon over it.

Then I looped the hook part of the Command hook underneath the twine and ribbon.

Then I added the removable adhesive on the back and started adding it to the ceiling, quite randomly.

I kept stepping off of the ladder and looking to see if it was balanced. When I felt it was full enough and balanced on both sides (and knowing I did not have much tulle left) I stopped.

To complete this, I cut seashells, seahorses and fish from the same Cricut cartridge I used for the invites (Paperdolls) and hung them from the ceiling using thread and tape.

I also cut out mermaids and sea shell shapes to hang from my light fixture since it's sort of in the way. I had no way of getting rid of it, so I decided to work with it.

Using the same Paperdoll Cricuit cartridge and the Cuttin' Up cartridge, I made a banner with seashells on each side and circles under each letter. I assembled it the same way I did in my Minnie Mouse banner tutorial, with a hole punch and ribbons.

I had a little leftover tulle and I ran it under a table runner I made out of mermaid material (coming in Part 4!) that I used on the dessert table (coming in Part 3!) and tied off each end with white ribbon.

It turned out great and my kids were ecstatic to be under the sea and my niece said, "Wow. This is sooooooo cool." Which in kid talk directly translates to: This is the best thing I've seen in the last ten minutes.

So I'll take it.

Don't forget to check back for the remaining three parts of the Under the Sea Party Five- Part Series:

Part Three: Cake, Desserts and Food
Part Four: Party Hats, Skirt, Apron and Table Runner
Part Five: Thank You Notes

Till next time!

Monday, February 11, 2013

DIY Ariel Valentines

I pulled these together lickety-split yesterday and they were so easy, I thought I would share the free printable with you!

And yes, if you can believe it, it's another mermaid post. Incidentally, just this afternoon, my two daughters were role-playing from, the movie, The Little Mermaid, where my oldest daughter was Ariel (of course, she always snags the good roles) and my youngest daughter was cast as two parts: Ursela and Flounder. They cast me as Sebastian, and let me tell you playing a crab isn't stretching too far out of my comfort zone.

Anyhow, Ariel was asking Ursela to become human (only for the three days though) -- a minor script change and Ursela bellowed: SING!

I laughed so hard because my newly three-year-old was screaming SING in her best Ursela voice. And it was just way too funny. Then Ariel said, "Bye." And Ursela said, "Bye-bye." Like they were best friends even though Ursela just stole Ariel's voice and what was even more miraculous was that Ariel could still say bye.

Completely off the subject, but did you know Sylvia Plath wrote a book of poems entitled Ariel. I think I knew that somewhere in the subconscious of my English Literature mind, but it was only rekindled when I was searching for an image to use on these Valentines. The picture of the book surfaced in one of my Google image searches. The title of the collected works is based on one poem, Ariel, found within it. After a little reading, I discovered that Sylvia Plath's horse's name was Ariel and then one article began talking about the true story of The Little Mermaid or the Hans Christian Anderson original version.

I then made the confused Scooby Doo sound.

So I looked up what the Hans Christian Anderson version was, which was written in 1836 and the ending in no way shape or form resembles the Disney version, but it does in a sense resemble the end of Syliva Plath's life. The Little Mermaid basically kills herself at the end of the story because she can't bear to kill the prince. She must kill the prince in order to turn back into a mermaid. So instead, she plunges into the ocean and turns into foam. Strange, yes.

But then I realized that the story had no names. So I wondered why Disney decided to name the mermaid Ariel, which directly means "Lion of God," but I could find nothing substantial as to the theory behind Ariel as the name of the mermaid. (I did, however, find out that Ariel was drawn to look like Alyssa Milano. Uh, weird.) I also ran across this little article that I found WAY too interesting. So basically this just made me want to be a fly on the wall at Disney when they are writing these movies because I seriously find the whole process riveting. But we don't live in Florida and I am human, so there goes that idea.

Back to the Valentines...

I left a large white rectangle at the bottom of the Valentines so my daughter could write her name. Our teacher had specifically asked that we do not address the Valentines as that poses too much of a problem with time, so this setup worked great for us.

I printed it out on white card stock and then cut it out to size. The Valentine itself measures a rough 3.75 x 4.75" after it has been cut. I cut a larger rectangle measuring 4 x 5" out of red card stock and adhered them using double-sided tape. I then cut a 1.25" heart from some turquoise scrap paper with my Cricut Doodlecharms cartridge.

I should mention that we don't plan on using envelopes. This took me about 25 minutes to assemble 18 of them, so it's a really easy project. And now that I've completely ruined your perception of Ariel and The Little Mermaid forever, I will go.



Thursday, February 7, 2013

Under the Sea Party Five-Part Series: Part One

 Welcome to my Under the Sea party series!

We recently had a third birthday party for my littlest girl and its theme was all things under-the-sea, with an emphasis on mermaids. It's no surprise that the word of the year around here has been mermaids. Mermaids, mermaids, mermaids. What is the appeal of a slimy fin I wonder?

I wanted to stay away from Ariel because that would sort of limit my creative options and since my littlest one does not discriminate between mermaids, we were good to go! We were originally supposed to have it a few Saturdays ago, but we all got sick with this nasty cold and were forced to postpone it to Superbowl Sunday. This winter cannot end soon enough. 

This series is going to consist of:

Part One: Invitations
Part Two: Decorations
Part Three: Cake, Desserts and Food
Part Four: Party Hats, Skirt, Apron and Table Runner
Part Five: Thank You Notes

As I mentioned above, it all started with an invitation. As most parties do.

I used my Paper Doll cartridge for the Cricut machine and created the perfect mermaid. The folded size of the cards are 5.25" x 5.25" (unfolded at 5" x 10.5"). These were actually precut cards I bought seriously marked down (like to 25 cents) a few years ago. They worked perfectly, but you could obviously always cut your own.

The mermaid person only measured around 2.5" tall on the Cricut, but obviously was much bigger than that. Sometimes I don't really understand the way the Cricut measures things, so you have fool with it a bit. The sea shell behind our little mermaid was an accessory on the same cartridge and measured an appropriate 5" or so.

I bought the crabs on sale from Michaels (I can only find a link to JoAnns though) and I must admit they were a little pricey since I needed 8 of them. They totaled around $5, but I really felt like they made the front of the invite come alive! Chomp, chomp, chomp...

The inside of the card I designed in another program, printed and then added various Under the Sea stickers. Some were fish; some were turtles; some were octopuses.

They were relatively easy to put together and turned out awesome. The only weird thing was two of the invites were returned for 10 more cents of postage, which has never happened to me before. The other six, which were identical, went through fine and were even sent longer distances.

My motto: Don't try to crack the nut we call the USPS.

I used the same cartridge on a much larger scale for the decorations in the next installment of my Under the Sea Series: Part Two.

Here's a sneak peek:

Yes, this is my ceiling and yes, we really were Under the Sea.

Stay tuned!

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