Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Back to the Future Birthday Party

Kid's Back To the Future Birthday party, favors, food, cake, games, crafts, decorations

Let me preface this post with a disclaimer. When it comes to party-planning, I am a true amateur. That said, every time I put on a party for one of my kiddos, I get to create in new and exciting ways. So I am sharing my creativity here. Maybe it will be beneficial to your future party planing endeavors!

Over Christmas break, my husband and I decided it was time to introduce our boys to the Back To The Future trilogy. We both grew up enjoying these films, but my husband knows them like the back of his hand. So he manned to remote to try to mute the bad words, and our kids got to meet Marty and George McFly, Doctor Emmett Brown, Biff, and The DeLoreon.  

For my seven-year-old, this introduction may have upstaged Christmas. He has been talking about Flux-Capacitors, time-travel, and going 88mph ever since.  So when I asked him what kind of birthday party he wanted this year, I shouldn't have been surprised when he said, "How about a Back to the Future party, Mom?" 

I accepted the challenge and got to work. 

First, I found the INVITATIONS. A dear soul has created an awesome design and asks only for a $5 donation to download the template.  You can find the download here.

I customized the invitations with my son's party info using my photo-editing program, printed them so they were front and back on a card, and they were ready to hand out!

Next I came up with a CRAFT to do at the party. In the movie, Marty McFly rides a skateboard (converted from a 1950's scooter) to escape the gang of bullies. So I thought a skateboard craft would be appropriate.
I bought these mini-skateboards from Dollar Tree. My son and I took the black sticker off the top of each of them. We used one sticker as a template and traced the shape on some white wrapping paper (also from Dollar Tree). 

I coated the white paper with spray adhesive on one side. (Be sure to use this stuff outside!)

Carefully place on bare skateboard.

Rub to smooth out any bubbles.

Ready to decorate mini skateboards
Voila! Cute ready-to-decorate skateboards!

This activity was a HIT at the party! The kids were occupied for a good 20 minutes (some longer!). Score!

Now on to Back to the Future PARTY GAMES.
Have you ever played "The Candy Bar Game?"  It was a family favorite growing up. We played an adapted version of the game for the party (using clothes like Marty McFly's).

For this game you'll need:
1 large blanket or sheet
1 dice
1 pair suspenders
1 jean jacket
1 red down vest
1 spoon
1 or more candy bars

To play:  Lay the blanket out flat. Have the kids sit in a circle around the edges of the blanket, facing each other. Place the candy bars in the middle of the blanket, along with the clothing and spoon.  Play begins with one child rolling the dice, then passing to the next player.  Each time a "1" is rolled, that player has a chance to dig into the candy bars. He/she must put on the clothing grab the spoon, then use only the hand holding the spoon to try to break open the candy bar and get pieces to put in their other hand to eat. While this is happening, the rest of the players get to continue rolling the dice, trying to get a "1."  Once another player rolls a "1," he/she gets to put on the clothes, take the spoon, and go at the candy. 

This game was also a big hit! I love it especially because everyone is a winner! It does make a mess, so be sure you don't care about the sheet/blanket you put down. We used a chocolate bar and a couple of packs of Starburst. The Starburst were great because they were so much less messy!

I went pretty light on the Decorations, Food, and Favors for the party. 
Back To The Future, Party, Kids, Games, Decorations, Cake, Food, Games, Favors
I bought a tri-fold display board from Dollar Tree and drew the Deloreon from the movie on it to be a back-drop for the table. 
I taped tissue paper to cardboard strips to make fire streaks coming off the edges of the picture to add some color and dimension to the table. My kids blew up balloons and stuck them around the room, and I hung a few paper lanterns. 

I printed out some movie-related posters I found on Pinterest and mounted or framed them to set around the room. 

"Lou, give me a milk--chocolate." 
I printed and framed a still-shot of this scene from the movie and set it alongside the chocolate milk we served. (My son was likely the only kid there who "got" this one, but it was HIS party, so it was worth the effort!)

Back To the Future Cake, Decor, Decorations, Party, Food
 I am showing my very mortal cake-decorating skills here. The kids loved it, so it was all right with me!

And finally, the favor bag.  I almost didn't do one, but then I came across the little electric guitar necklaces at Dollar Tree and thought they went well with the theme. I added candy from the '80's (Pop-Rocks) and from the 50's (Mary Janes and Bit-O-Honeys), and decided that along with the skateboards, the guests would be going home with decent enough loot. 

Another great option for a favor would be these inflatable guitars;

 you get 24 of them, so they are a smokin' deal!

Participating in these link-ups. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

How To Alter a Man's Shirt to a Woman's Shape


I love that collared shirts are in style. They are versatile, comfortable, and can easily dress up a casual outfit. Unfortunately, however, I don't have many. And most that I do have are too short for today's style.  So I decided to hit the local thrift store in search of men's shirts (so they'd be nice and long) to alter to my needs. 

Here is the man-shirt pre-altering. I bought this on half-off at Goodwill for $3. Pretty big and shape-less, huh?  But it has good arm length and fun, unusual pockets, so I was hoping for some potential. It's important to choose a shirt that isn't way too big in the collar or arm-length because those are not easily altered.

Now on to the altering process. It is SO quick and easy. If you are a sewing rookie, this would be a good way to get your feet wet.

1. Turn the shirt inside out and flatten along the seam on the inside of the arm and torso. 

2. Use chalk to draw a smooth line along the seam the amount you'd like to take the shirt in. Blend the ends of your chalk line into the existing seams prior to the cuff and base of the shirt.  If you are unsure of how much to take in, lay a shirt that fits as you would like this one to, and trace along that shirt's outline.

3. Cut along the lines you drew.

4. Lay the piece you cut out from the first side along the opposite edge to use as a guide to draw another chalk line.

5. Cut along the chalk line.

6. Pin the edges together, being sure to line up the cross seams at the armpit. Sew the new edges closed, blending into the existing seams at each end. I used a serger, but if you don't have a serger, a zig-zag stitch outside your first straight stitch will help prevent fraying.

Here it is all sewn up, but still inside out. It actually looks like a woman's shirt now!

Now I have a "new" shirt! 
Go thrift-store shopping or raid your hubby's closet and enjoy!

Participating in these link-ups

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

High-Waisted Box-Pleat Skirt

 I had the opportunity to make this lovely skirt recently for a good friend.  I used an excellent skirt tutorial I found from This Big Oak Tree. I made a few of changes per my friend's request and to make her chosen fabric work with this design: 
  • I added medium-weight iron-on interfacing to the belt portion
  • I added a bow tie to the front (instead of the tied sash in the original tutorial).
  • I made box pleats instead of a gathered waist.
  • I moved the zipper to the back and made the body of the skirt from one piece of fabric (instead of 2 pieced together).

To make this skirt you'll need: 
  • 1.5-2.5 yards of fabric (depending on your size). This was a light, flowing polyester. Cottons, cotton blends, silk, or chiffon would all work beautifully.
  • 1/2 yard medium weight iron-on interfacing
  • 7-9" zipper
  • corresponding thread 

  1. Follow the measuring instructions in this post from This Big Oak Tree to cut out the waistband (not the sash). Cut out the body of the skirt as one piece (double the width measurements instead of cutting two pieces). Add on a few more inches of width to the body if you prefer a fuller skirt. 
  2. Cut out interfacing to the same dimensions as the waist-band and iron on. 
  3. Follow the instructions below to create box-pleats in the skirt.
  4. Assemble the skirt as shown in the Big Oak Tree tutorial. 
  5. Cut out a 12 x 22 inch piece and a 3 x 6" piece of fabric and interfacing to make the bow. Iron the interfacing to the fabric. Follow the instructions for assembling the bow in the Bitty Bitty Bow-tie Onesie post. (This is the same, just not bitty-bitty). Add a broach pin to the back and attach to the front of the skirt waistband.

Box Pleat Tutorial:

1. Find the center of the skirt body by folding in half. Place a pin to mark the center, then unfold.

2. At the center point, make a 1 inch fold to the right, then take the top of that and fold it back to the left to create an "S" of folded 1" parts. 

3. Pin this in place through all 3 folds.

4. To the left of this "S" fold, create a mirror image "Z" fold and pin in place to create you first box pleat. This will be the center of the front of the skirt body.

5. Continue to create identical box pleats, leaving 1/4 inch between each one. Fill each side of the skirt with them. Measure when you are getting close to the ends to see how close you are coming to matching the measurements of the waistband. Add or subtract single pleats to fit the waistband (make sure you have an even number on each side of the center). You'll want to have at least 1/2 inch without pleats to install the zipper. Sew a straight stitch across the top (about 1/4 inch seam allowance) to secure, removing pins as you go. 

I just love the tailored look that box pleats give a skirt. They are a simple way to make the difference between casual and dressy in any full skirt you are making.

A big THANK YOU to my lovely model! She was so cooperative and poised! Well done!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Granola Bar Printable Valentines

Who remembers the days when a valentine was just a little piece of cardboard torn along perforated lines with a Care Bear or He-Man telling you how awesome you are? So simple.  I guess those are still around (maybe not He-Man...) but hardly a valentine is exchanged without a treat attached, am I right? 

Don't get me wrong--I am not lamenting this. I like treats! And I adore all the creative ways out there for sharing the love during this fun holiday. But as I parent, I also know the challenge of monitoring the consumption of all that sugar.  So, this year I decided to do my part to ensure that the constuction paper-covered shoeboxes your kids bring home contain a bit of nutritional value amid all the lollipops and Fun-dips. 

I'm sharing two printable valentines (already laid out several to a sheet for easy printing) that can be attached to granola bars. You can certainly use store-bought bars, but if you want to go the homemade route, I will include a link to my favorite granola bar recipe (which happens to be my first blog post!). 

You can find the recipe for these bars here. 
I added chocolate chips and red M&Ms (and left out the raisins) to the dough to make them more Valentine-y. 

Click here for a page with "Love Raises The Bar" printable valentines. 

Participating in these link-ups.