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Author: Kathy Kaczor

Pokemon Party

Our city holds their annual Independence Day celebrations the day before the official holiday. The fireworks from this celebration can be seen from my back yard. Instead of dealing with the crowds at the official party we hold our own and invite our friends to join us. Originally we decked the yard out in the red, white, and blue decor typical of patriotic events. A few years back we decided to try some different themes. This year’s theme was Pokemon.

Before we get to the “fun” stuff I’d like to point out some helpful products we used to minimize the amount of trash we made at the party. We used regular cutlery like we outlined in this post. We also had compostable wooden cutlery (also mentioned in the linked post) as backup. One of the highlights of our party is the ice cream my husband makes. We portion it out before the event to streamline serving the 30-50 people who drift in and out that night. This year we found and used these compostable cups with lids and they worked very well. All of our compost goes to Roots Compost and we prepare them for the overflow we have on special occasions. We used paper straws and reusable cups that I washed and stored away for next year. Everything that could be recycled was and everything that could be composted also was.

I try to make some fun decorative foods for people to try. This year I ordered small edible images for cupcakes and I found a picture on Pinterest from this blog of yellow peep bunnies made to look like Pikachu. I also ordered Pokemon gum.

I really should have used a bit more icing on my cupcakes but it was so hot that I didn’t want a huge mess. The peeps were decorated using melting wafers and I did not bother making them into pops as the original link did but they were extremely popular and very easy. The hardest part was finding peep bunnies off season.

Photo props are always fun for parties. I ordered a bunch of masks for the guests to play with and we made a prop card with the picture part cut out.

The one decoration I worked the hardest on was the collection of paper lanterns. I had seen a pin of Pokemon lanterns and decided I needed to give them a try. I found a pack of paper lanterns in assorted sizes and colors and picked Pokemon that were naturally those colors. My daughter let me borrow her Pokemon book for inspiration.

The night was beautiful and the guests enjoyed finding the various Pokemon out “in the wild.” We’re also fortunate that there are a number of stops within walking distance from our home so everyone could manage their daily spin and catch during the festivities. If only trading and friends had been implemented then!

A Look Back at Teacher Appreciation Week

Given the sheer amount of energy it took to learn to walk again after breaking my foot, I’m a little behind on the blogging for the various activities that happened between injuring myself and now. Teacher Appreciation week was at the beginning of May and here we are almost into July!

Due to the lack of ability to carry pretty much anything, I had to rely on helpers to do some of my deliveries and therefore I do not have pictures of things as delivered to the school. I do have a few pictures of the projects while they were in process at my home. Over the course of the week we delivered notebooks, pencils, mini muffins, marshmallows dipped in chocolate, tins of mints, mint chocolate cookies, and Ferrero Roche roses.

For the pencils, I stamped flags with “be the star you are” from a long retired Stampin’ Up! set. Then I glued the flags around the tops of the pencils.

I found that the Stampin’ Up! starburst punch was the perfect topper size for these metal tins. The sentiment here is from the retired Thoughtful Branches set. The tins were filled with mints and I added coordinating washi tape around the edges sealed with liquid tombow for good measure.

We have made a fair amount of these Ferrero Roche Roses for various events. They are both tasty and pretty. I found the directions and inspiration for them here.

The last project I have pictures from are the marshmallows dipped in chocolate and then in sprinkles. These were bagged up and sent along as a fun and sweet treat. Here they are freshly dipped and waiting to set so I can bag them.

 

Llama Custom Bouquet

For Meg’s daughter’s 8th grade graduation we determined a custom llama bouquet was necessary. We found some llama themed paper and used this opportunity to try some new flowers and expand beyond the roses I’ve been making.

These swirly paper flowers looked like fun so I recreated them as best as I could. The paper I was working with was colorful on only one side and much thicker than the tissue paper used in the instructions but I think they came out cute!

Then I wanted to try the fringe scissor flowers illustrated in this video. Again though I was working with thicker paper than illustrated and without the benefit of the now discontinued “Sticky Strip” adhesive used in the video. I do have those exact fringe scissors from Stampin’ Up! though and they are very nice. Here’s my fringe flower with a center from a punch I had hanging around.

I used my Stampin’ Up! Daisy Punch to make the next flower variety. I layered the punches with dimensional adhesive and curled the petals.

At one time I had quite a few flowers sitting in various stages of waiting for the glue to dry.

Finally I mocked the bouquet in floral foam and an empty vase to see if I had enough flowers. Here you can also see the llamas I fussy cut from the paper I was using.

Finally the llama bouquet made it to its intended recipient. We used a llama water bottle as the vase and put some glass rocks inside to keep it stable and hold the flowers in place. These are easy to remove so that she can use the water bottle as intended.

 

Recycled Comic Book Projects Continued

While the Recycled Comic Book Roses were a lot of fun, there are lots of items to be made from old comic books.

I made some book marks for the upcoming fair season. We have a super hero themed fundraiser for the “Lowe Syndrome Association” and the Comic Con at Haverhill Public Library. These bookmarks were fun and straightforward. I enjoyed searching through the books to find just the right panels to use for the bookmarks.

I also took some of the mini notebooks we’ve decorated and covered them with comic book pages. I made a template of the notebook and used that to determine if an image would make a good cover. Then I cut out the cover and glued it over the notebook. I used washi tape for the spine. Everything got a healthy coating of modge podge for durability and a light sealant spray to finish the book.

Look for these items at our upcoming fairs or custom order your own. They are great party favors and will make fun stocking stuffers for the upcoming Christmas season. (Yes I know it is only May but we crafters have to plan ahead!)

Unicorns!

I have always loved unicorns. My childhood bedroom contained a vast collection of unicorn items and I had a Lisa Frank Unicorn Sticker collection that filled an entire binder. I don’t have quite as many unicorns decorating my home these days but I do have some lovely unicorn accessories and one very fun pair of unicorn leggings. My love for unicorns has tempered just slightly and I was thrilled to have the chance to make these unicorn card and giftbox sets for our upcoming fair:

Originally I was inspired by the unicorn boxes in this blog post by Crush on Color. I wanted something slightly different though and I had just finished making bunnies for Easter that can be found at the bottom of this post. With visions of unicorns floating in my head I altered the bunny design I had been using. I hand cut some concept horns and used the same ovals from my Layering Ovals to make both the bunny ears and the unicorn ears. I punched the flower crown using the now retired Blossom Bunch Punch from Stampin’ Up!

I then sat with my husband after the Easter fair feedback and we made a horn we then cut with the Silhouette. We kept the layering ovals for ears. I am still drawing on the eyes because I like the closed eye look better than the round eyes I used on the bunnies and I don’t have a better way than with a marker at the moment. I did swap the flowers for the also retired Pansy Punch from Stampin’ Up! and I added some coordinating bling to the prominent flowers.

Custom Mary Poppins Bouquet

It is spring time in Massachusetts – not that the four Noreasters we’ve gotten this March really seem to care – but that means my daughter will be performing in her high school’s spring musical very soon. It is time then for a new custom bouquet to match the musical: Mary Poppins.

I started out with half an idea based on the popularity of the Comic Book Roses I made a few weeks ago. I found a “Little Golden Book” version of Mary Poppins and proceeded to cut out all of the pages to make flowers. I used a 3×3 square for these roses because it worked more naturally with the book page’s 6 inch width.

My husband got me all propped in bed with my foot elevated and all of my tools within easy reach and I assembled roses while we binge watched Altered Carbon on Netflix. Here is the book I began with and the finished bucket of roses waiting for the next steps:

Those next steps involved inordinate amounts of hot glue and modge podge. The cover of the book was cut into a tall rectangular handle for the bouquet. The roses were all attached to floral wire stems. Once everything was suitably dry and ready for assembly, I put floral foam into the book handle. I then poked all the flower stems into the foam. Lastly, I tied the Mary Poppins Funko Pop to the handle with ribbon and the bouquet is ready to present to my daughter this weekend!

Crafting while Broken

It has been almost two weeks since I broke my foot. I will spare everyone the gory details and the pictures from the emergency room. You’re welcome! But a broken foot brings a lot of logistical problems into my extremely busy life. I cannot walk, nor drive, nor shower. Even the little things require big preparation and are far more complicated and exhausting than I ever imagined.

That said, I am nothing if not determined, so I’ve been working at keeping the crafting happening even with my limitations. Instead of working in my crafting area, we have compartmentalized the various steps in each project and brought just those supplies to me.

I’ve been working on balancing a small work surface on my lap. This has presented some challenges as my broken foot needs to be elevated pretty high. I use a silicone mat to keep things from sliding whenever possible. I also balance the tray with blankets to help level the surface. I’m currently writing this blog post from my laptop on said tray. The other day I was busy making flowers:

Elevated foot makes for an interesting balancing act.

We have a fair to prepare for and that won’t wait until after my foot has healed. I’m fortunate enough to have a knee scooter for around the house. I’ve been making liberal use of the basket on the front to carry supplies around:

 

Clothesline Project

We all wear many hats in our lives. I’m a crafter and co-founder of this “Crafty Coop” business. I am a wife, mother, volunteer, survivor.

I am also the Activities Coordinator for my friend Lisa’s Modern Woodmen Fraternal Financial Chapter – 142 here in Haverhill. Last year we participated in Earth Day Cleanup, helped fund new equipment for the HHS girls swim and dive team, raised money for the Hillview Montessori School’s outdoor classroom, and we learned how college financial planning works. In partnership with our youth group we raised money for the local animal shelter.

This year our chapter is helping our local homeless shelter and our local YWCA. The YWCA is raising awareness for sexual assault through their hosting of the “Clothesline Project.” In this project survivors of sexual assault and abuse can make a Tshirt for display in various key points around the city. Our chapter is donating shirts and markers and helping with the making of shirts as well.

The Crafty Coop is donating custom thank you cards for the YWCA to use to thank those who have supported this project along the way. Here is the design we’ve made:

Easter Favors for our Upcoming Craft Fair

Since Easter is coming – and so is our Spring Craft Fair at the Haverhill Amvets – we’ve been working on some fun holiday favors.

I had a pack of mini egg cartons left over from the previous Stampin’ Up! catalog so I made toppers from the Hey Chick! stamp set and the layering squares and circles. I really love the chicken with the crazy feathered “hair.” That chicken really embodies us as “Sacrificial Chickens.”

Inside is shredded paper “grass” and egg-shaped candy with some Hershey Kisses.

I also made some bunnies using the Stampin’ Up! Curvy Keepsake box thinlits and the inspiration from the picture linked at the bottom of this post from Bloglovin. I didn’t have instructions, just the photo, so I took some liberty in substitutions that fit with the tools and papers I had on hand.

 

Bunch of bunnies

  

We weren’t sure about adding these to our Etsy Shop because they seemed awkward to ship but upon further review, they will flatten out nicely to allow for straightforward mailing so they should be appearing there soon!

 

 

Kathy

A Very Pastafarian Holiday

In our home we have added some extra holidays to spend with our very best friends who are family. We’ve themed them after the Pastafarian holidays and celebrate with pirates and pasta. These special holidays are Friendsgiving, Friendsmas, and Feaster.

We’ve been building a small cache of Pirate decor that we use for all of our celebrations. We also have our skulls from Halloween play double duty as pirate skulls. We have some decorative netting that makes any box look sea worthy and our ring toss doubles as a pirate treasure map:

But for me the most fun is always in the food. I love to have fun things for people to eat:

I’d love to link to instructions but going back through Pinterest all I found were dead links.

The Oreos are sprayed with Wilton’s Silver Color Mist to resemble doubloons.

The strawberry crabs are sitting on a Nilla Wafer and some cream cheese frosting. Their antennae are red licorice whips and the eyes are from Wilton.

There are so many different inspirational posts for different ways to cut a watermelon that I cannot possibly list them all. Here we went for a rather simple ship held together with toothpicks and decorated with stickers.

Lastly, the chests are made from Hershey Nugget Candies and stuffed with Mini M&M Candies held together with Chocolate Melting Wafers.

Bon Voyage and Aaargh Matey!

Kathy