Sunday, September 30, 2012

Week 10 Theme...

I made it to double digits! Week 10, pretty exciting stuff. I'm still going strong and having a great time trying out all the fun and new things I find on Pinterest. The only annoying thing is that all my conversations now-a-days start with, "So I saw [this and that] on Pinterest" or "There was something like this on Pinterest". And this is only after 10 weeks, I can only imagine my conversations after 26 weeks, or even 52. By the time I am finished with the Pinterest Challenge, I am going to be Conversation Challenged.

For this week I am going after a big Pinterest Pin. A renovation of my laundry room! I am going to show you my Pinterest Inspiration for taking my laundry room from drab to fab. I did complete this pin prior to this week, but I have been waiting to do the big Blog reveal.

Here are the before pictures:

Check back this week for the after pictures and some inexpensive decorating ideas that can be used in any room.

Be sure to subscribe to or follow my blog; you can do this at the bottom of the right-hand column. Continue to follow my Pinterest Challenge for 42 more weeks!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Cars themed Cookie Pop Favors

My final Cars Pinspiration I am going to share are the favors. I wanted something not too expensive or too difficult to make, since there was going to be a large number of people.

I was Pinterest inspired by this Pinterest Pin. It was super easy and pretty cute, until I found it impossible to find large lollipops at a reasonable price.
So I decided to try my hand at cookie Pops. I found a circle cookie pan at Michael's for $5.00 (with my 50% off coupon). And found a Pinterest Recipe for Sugar Cookies. Here.
Cookie Pop recipe:

Ingredients - 
1/2 cup of butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup of vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon cream of tarter
4" - 6" craft sticks (I used 6")

Beat butter and shortening together with an electric mixer until it is fluffy, then add sugars. Once well beat; add eggs, oil, vanilla and blend well. 

Combine flour, baking soda, salt and cream of tarter to the above mixture. Cover and chill for at least to hours (I left it overnight). 

Once dough is ready, fill greased cookie pan with the dough, put the stick in the pan (make sure the stick is well covered with dough), bake at 350 degrees for 13 - 16 minutes. 

Let the cookies cool, then put them on a cooling rack. If the cookies are sticking to the pan, you are not greasing them enough. 

I actually made 4 batches of this recipe and it yielded a little more than 5 dozen large cookie pops. 
The cookie pops had a cake like taste, they weren't very sugar cookie tasting, more like shortbread. They were not the best sugar cookies, but I did get a lot of complements. I also really like my sweets sweet. So I'm not the best judge.

I did add cookie icing to the cookies and made a lightning bolt, for Lightning McQueen of course. This recipe was from a cook book, not from Pinterest. Sorry. It is a really easy recipe.

Cookie Icing Recipe:

Ingredients - 
1 cup of sifted powdered sugar (I am a rebel and did not sift)
1/4 teaspoon of vanilla
1 tablespoon of milk or orange juice (I used a little milk and water)

Combine all the ingredients and add food coloring of your choice. I like to use wilton gel coloring because it's what I use to color all of my other icing. 

Here is the lightning bolt view of the Car themed cookie pop favors. 
The favors came out great, and I guess tasted Ok too. So it's another Pinterest Success. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Cars themed Decorations

Our Cars themed birthday bash was a huge success. But it wouldn't have been very festive with out all the decorations. Pinterest was a huge inspirations for a lot of the birthday decorations.

The main Pinspiration for my food table came from this amazing pin: See more here
I made a table runner similar to the one in the Pin, I also put a tire on the table (instead of hubcaps). And I used the pendant idea, but I put Xander's Pit Stop in the pendants. But overall a huge inspiration to my food table.
The balloons on the wall are not filled with helium, they are instead taped to the wall. I saw this idea on Pinterest, but I never pinned it. And once you lose a pin on Pinterest, it is most likely gone forever. 

Another cute idea on Pinterest that I recreated was this Pin:
Only we use our garage too frequently, so I opted for a safer place to put a giant two. I put it as a backdrop to our dessert table. 

One other Pinspiration that we used in creating the decorations, was to thread blown up balloons and hang them. I love any decoration idea with balloons because they are so inexpensive. 
Here is our version, with some streamers on the sides of the entertainment center bookshelves.

While these Pinterest Successes were a great addition to the party decorations, I did come up with a couple ideas myself. For the front door I had a sign that said "Racer's Welcome" and added the left over safety cones. I also put up pendents on all the big windows in the house, and filled a few balloons with helium. For the gift table I had a banner that said "Happy Birthday Xander", and some balloons.

One last decoration, that was absolutely one of my favorite decorations, was the tire painted to say "Xander's 2nd Birthday". This is was the first decoration saw by the guess, and let them know they were at the right place. Thanks to my friends at Ranger Tire Paint, this decoration came out amazing!

 The Cars party was such a huge success and the decorations came out magnificent, thanks to Pinterest!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Cars themed Cake

Some people are aware I have a "hidden talent". My talent is decorating mediocre looking cakes. I'm no cake boss, but I am talented enough that people comment on my cakes. Some tell me they look great, some even say they taste great. I am very critical of my work, so I think they look OK. And the cake is from a box, so thank you Betty Crocker.

Cakes are very expensive to buy, so for dollars I can make and decorate a cake that is worth a small fortune in the cake business. I wanted to decorate the cake to fit the Cars theme, but also match the colors of the party. The colors being red, black, and white.

I took a little from a few Pinterest Pins, and created a pretty cute looking cake. Here are the Pins that gave me my inspiration:
I really liked this first one, and my cake was largely inspired by this cake, but it did need a little more pizzaz.
This next one was my favorite but I really wanted to stick to the colors and it was a little too colorful, so I settled on using the Cars logo sign (with Xander's name on it). 
This one was too red, but I liked that it really went with the color scheme, and I liked the checkered flags (not so many though). 
Lastly, I really liked the tires and the cones in this cake, but again I wanted to stick with the color scheme, so I opted for just making the tires.

Here is my version of a Cars themed Birthday Cake.... (Drum Roll please)

Obviously the cake doesn't look like one Pinterest Pin, but a compilation of Pinspirations. So since it was a big hit at the party, it's a Pinterest Success in my book. 

Cars themed Birthday Food

For our Cars themed birthday food, most of the food and drinks that we provided were toddler/kid friendly. So basically we had macaroni and cheese and hotdogs. We did add a little fun to the presentation of our Cars food. 

Inspired by this Pinterest Pin. We borrowed a couple of the table tent names, but we came up with a few gems of our own.
Here is the food and fun from our big Cars birthday bash...
Mack's Cheese
Dinoco Dogs
Mater's Taters
Chick's Mix
Sarge's Sandwiches
Doc's Fruit
The little cars in Doc's Fruit was inspired from this pinterest Pin. We just used an apple slicer and sliced grapes in half, then used a toothpick to adhere the grapes to the apple.

Our beverage center had a little inspiration from the first pin's blog. But there was some non-Pinterest inspiration too. 
Flo's V8 Cafe
Motor Oil
Stock Room at Flo's
Printed Water Bottle Labels
Lastly we have the desserts. I am going to save revealing the cake until my next post, but we did have a few other tasty treats that were inspired from the first Pinterest pin. 
Luigi's Casa Della Tires
Sheriff's Stop Lights
Pinterest gave me some great ideas for an epic Cars birthday bash, without it being too generic. So we have yet another Pinterest Success.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Week 9 Theme...

This past weekend we held a raging toddler Cars themed party. Now that all the pre-party planning and execution is over, I have lots of Pinspirations to share. For the party, a lot of the food and decorations were influenced by Pinterest Pins.

I will be sharing lots of pictures from this past weekend birthday bash, including the front door entrance decorations, the main food table, inexpensive decorations, THE CAKE, and the favors.

We had such a wonderful time celebrating our son Xander's second birthday with 31 of his little friends. Sounds like a big and scary number, but we kept the kids pretty entertained and they were all in good spirits and had such good behavior. I would do it all over in a heartbeat.

This will be an easy Pinterest Challenge week, but I could use a little break after all the partying. Can't wait to share all the fun!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Cars Photo Op

Today is the big day! The big Cars birthday bash!

I wanted to add one more pre-party planning Pinspiration before the big party. This Pinterest inspiration wasn't one particular pin, it was a bunch of pins based around one theme. A Photo Booth!

I love all the silly props and photo sets that are all over Pinterest. They have photo booth pins for weddings and all sorts of parties. My photo staging was fairly simple. I used a curtain rod, placed it outside in a window, hung my handmade checker curtains, and used a red plastic table cloth.

I did get my inspiration for one set of props from this pin:
I used foam sheets from the craft store and made the Cars character faces, and the Ka-Chow sign. Here is the birthday boy testing out the photo booth fun...

I also used the picture frame from the toddler photo shoot and hot glued fabric and ribbon to make it Cars photo booth ready.
The last set of props are a paper mache Piston Cup and some checker flags. Xander was over the photo fun, so I got my husband to pose for the camera. :)
Another Pinterest Success! And we are all ready for the birthday fun!!!!!!!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Cozy Cones

Party planning and execution have been in full force this week. We are very excited about the big toddler Cars bash this weekend. Between my ideas and Pinterest, we have come up with some pretty fun decorations and activities for the party. This next Pinspiration was both a marriage between decoration and activity.

We needed a good center piece for our coffee table, but with an abundance of children coming to the party we had to make sure it was very kid friendly. So why not have a functional decorations?

The Pinterest Pin that inspired this decorations was for Cozy Cones:
The tutorial for the pin is at this website: Pick Me. I did mine a little differently. I wanted the cones to be "functional", so kids could drive their cars in and out of them.
I found the same cones at Walmart for $3.50 per four pack. The tutorial says to stack and offset two cones because of the slits on the sides. I just used orange construction paper so that I didn't waste a cone. I also cut a "garage door" out and hot glued that plastic piece to the inside of the cone. Then that glued plastic piece was my support for the foam awning.

Here is a top view of the Cozy Cones...
And here is a close up of Sally and McQueen getting Cozy at the Cones :P...
This was another Pinterest Success and a great addition to the big Cars bash!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Racing Cars

Kid's birthday parties always have great food, fun decorations, but what about the entertainment? While bounce houses are fun, they are overpriced and way out of our budget (that and the birthday boy is afraid of them). So what do you do to keep toddlers entertained?

Our first Cars themed birthday party fun was inspired by this pin:
You can't have a Cars themed party without cars and races. I mean you can, but where's the fun in that. Having organized fun at a birthday party where the median age is 2, is almost impossible. So why not give them a track to roll their cars down?

Since parties can be very pricey, I wanted to keep this project as cheap and simple as possible. I think I did a fairly good job at that. 

- Ply Wood - We found 2 perfect cut pieces in the scrap bin at Home Depot, so they were a dollar each!
- Nails and screws - We had these on hand. 
- 2 pieces of 1/2 inch PVC - $1.29 each. We had a Home Depot employee cut them in half for a total of 4 pieces.
- Paint - I had white on hand, and I purchased black spray paint from Michael's for $3.25 (price after 50% coupon). 

The total cost of this project was under $8.00! 

Here is a bear bones look at the race track. We used some of the second piece of ply wood to brace the two pieces together underneath. We also used a piece of the second board to make a "stopper" at the end of the track. The boards were nailed together and the PVC was screwed on. 
Since we have a nice hill in our back yard, we make legs to hammer into the ground, instead of elevating the board. This will be easier for the small kids because they can just sit next to the board.

Here is the final project, being enjoyed by the soon-to-be birthday boy and daddy...
I have to admit this race track is super fun. Definitely a Pinterest Success. I just hope the rest of the kids have as much fun as we did. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Week 8 Theme...

September has been a month of toddler fun. At the end of week 8, we have a huge birthday bash planned. This week will be dedicated to pre-party birthday planning fun.

The theme for Xander's 2nd birthday party is Disney Pixar Cars. Usually I am not the biggest fan of "character" themed birthday parties. Mostly because there is too much generic decorations, party supplies, and favors. Thanks to Pinterest there was no need to buy any generic hoopla. There are so many great ideas that are handmade and still have the feel for the characters and movie.

I always thought I had a creative gene when it came to party planning, thanks to my mom. But Pinterest really puts me to shame. I have to give my mom major kudos, she planned the best parties WITHOUT Pinterest, even without the internet!

I'm excited to share some of the birthday party projects I have been working on for this big day.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Ikea Latt Makeover

With a toddler birthday quickly approaching, my time was short this week. I still found a little time to fit in my Pinterest Challenge project.

My goal was to take this table, the Ikea Latt, we got for our son for his birthday...
And transform it into less of an eye soar. These Pinterest Pins were my inspirations this week (Pinned courtesy from my friend Bridget Tanega)...

I actually took a little from each pin. From the first pin, I loved the idea of the bar with the baskets hanging off for art supplies. From the second pin, I loved the idea of a chalkboard top (at least I'm assuming it is chalkboard paint). And from the last pin, I loved the idea of staining it to match the room it was in. 

Thanks to this week's Pinterest Pins, this is my final project:
The total cost of this project was about $35.00. The Ikea Latt table cost $19.99, the Ikea Bygel bar was $2.99, the Ikea Bygel containers are $0.99 each, the chalk board spray paint was $7.99 at Michael's (I used a 50% off coupon, making it $4.00), and the stain was about $4.00 at Home Depot (which I already had). 

While working on this project and discussing it with my friend Bridget, we struck genius. I told her I needed to get sticky felt sliders for under the table so it wouldn't scratch the floor. Then she suggested to hot glue felt to the bottom of the table and chairs!!!! What a great and super cheap idea. A piece of white felt at Michael's is $0.20 (I had black felt on hand), and you can probably get about 100 felt squares out of one sheet. Genius! I will never pay $3.00 for a set of 8 sticky felt sliders again!
I absolutely love the way the table came out. I had a little trouble with the spray paint being uneven, but once it dries it was less noticeable. And I don't think this guy minds, he just loves his new table.  I will chalk this up as a Pinterest Success.