Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Autumn Decor Idea

This post is a bit delayed in that the day I was going to post about this autumn decor idea, I went into labor with our third child!!  I gave birth to our beautiful daughter last Wednesday, and she has already added such joy and happiness to our family. I just love being a mom, and we have so much to be thankful for. 

Now onto this autumn decor idea...

I saw the idea for vases filled with popcorn kernels on Pinterest, but decided to add an extra something to it with the Cricut letters. I wanted to share this idea because it was so inexpensive and easy to do.  The entire thing cost me less than $12 and I finished the project in less than an hour! 

I bought the vases and candles at the Dollar Tree.  I placed a large shot glass in the bottom of the vases to lift the candle.  This also enabled me use less popcorn kernels to fill the bottom.  I tied fake fall leaves to the outside using twine.  Then finished each vase off with letters cut from my Cricut machine.  The photo does not do it justice.  It really pops (no pun intended) on my mantle.

I didn't glue anything, so that I can use these vases for future decor as well.  You may even see a future post with a Winter decor idea!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Catching Fire Fun

I am a big fan of the Hunger Games series and very excited for the release of the second movie at the end of this month.  Many of my friends are too, which made Catching Fire the perfect theme for this month's monthly dinner.

Invite:  Now that I am learning how to use PhotoShop, I am completely addicted! I made this invite and tried to use wording reflecting the theme of the novel. 

I asked guests when the RSVP'd to choose one of the twelve districts and arrive dressed in black with an accessory representative of their District.  This was easy enough for the guests to do and added a fun, creative aspect to the evening.

Entry Decor:  I again called on my husband to help create a fence similar to the electrified fence around District 12 at our front door.  It left room for guests to come in, but got the idea across.

Decor:  I set the table with a neutral colored tablecloth and symbols from the novel.  A big hit was the "Sponsor Parachute" I hung from the ceiling.  To make this, I covered a plastic basket I bought at the Dollar Tree with silver metallic tissue paper and attached a pretzel bun to the sides with grey yarn.  It hung over the dining table.

For the centerpiece, I bought a dozen white roses to represent President Snow's obsession and how it impacts Katniss in the novel. I surrounded the vase with coal to symbolize District 12.  On each side of this, I put the Hunger Games and Catching Fire novels with other symbols -- bread to represent Peeta and arrows to represent Katniss.  I made these arrows with grey felt and sticks the kids and I found on one of our walks.

My place cards were mini bows and arrows. I made these by soaking popsicle sticks in water for an hour and bending them into this shape. I then tied them with fishing line (you could use floss) to keep their shape and painted them black.  For the arrows, I cut the tops of skewers and attached the scrapbook paper.  I downloaded the Hunger Games font free here.  I used this for almost all the printed items for the dinner.

My napkin rings represented the "weapons" for the Quarter Quell. For added color, I used two napkins and just folded one paper napkin to be a little smaller than the red one.

I matched the wine charms with the Districts the guests were dressing as. I downloaded the District symbols from the web and printed them on grey card stock.

Behind the dining table, I covered our family photos with quotes/images from the novel.

These were the wine bottle labels I made on Photoshop and wrapped around the wine bottles.

Menu:  I read Catching Fire a second time to get inspiration for the menu for this dinner.  They serve a lot of dishes at the parties in the Capital, but I decided to theme my menu after food the tributes ate during the Quarter Quell.  I made the menu on Photoshop and then backed it on orange card stock and placed it on each guest's plate.

The main dish was "Peeta Bread Sandwiches with Charred Tree Rat Meat."  This was pita bread sandwiches that I filled with Steak and veggies.  I used a fajita packet to season the meat, red/green peppers, onions, and tomato chunks before putting them in the pita.

As a side, I served "Speared Sweet Raw Seafood" which was really just shrimp I cooked with butter and garlic. I made the skewers into arrows to fit with the theme.

My salad was "Nightlock Berry Salad with Roasted Tree Nuts" to match food items from the novel.  This was a simple salad with feta, blueberries, and toasted almonds. I served it with Balsamic Vinaigrette.

They didn't have dessert in the Quarter Quell, but I wanted to have a cake at this dinner since it happened to be one of my guest's birthday. I made this round cake with Catching Fire flames on the side and the Catching Fire symbol on the top.  To make the symbol, I made a stencil on parchment paper from an image I found on Google.  It took a long time to cut out the parts to make the stencil and some "fill-in" spots later to make the textured wings, but I think it came out pretty good.

Favor:  I made "Sponsor Parachutes" for a favor with silver tissue paper and silver balloons.  Inside the tissue paper, I made these cute cookies...

Again, these were made with a stencil cut from a Mockingjay symbol I found online.  After I made the dough, I put the stencil on the cookie and dusted them with cocoa powder.  Then I baked them.  This is the tag I designed for the outside of the favor...

This was another fun party, and I am really looking forward to seeing the movie in a couple weeks with many of these girls.  Hope you enjoyed this post...HAPPY HUNGER GAMES!!

Friday, November 1, 2013

A Pregnant Halloween

Happy Halloween everyone!  This year, I was 8 months pregnant for Halloween with no idea what to dress as. I wanted to be comfortable and appropriate for work, but I needed something easy.  Here are a couple of ideas I came up with for VERY simple costumes.

My pumpkin belly!  Found this idea on Pinterest and it was super easy.  I bought an orange t-shirt, cut the face parts out of black felt, and hand-stitched them on.  I stitched a cute bow on as well since we are having a girl and I thought it added to the pumpkin.  Took less than an hour to put this baby (pumpkin that is) together.

Another easy costume was the Magic 8 Ball that I made for an adult party, but also wore to work on Halloween.  I cut a circle and a number 8 out of felt and hand-stitched them on a black shirt I already had.  I printed some Magic 8 ball sayings onto white card stock and made them into a necklace.  As party goers asked me questions throughout the night, I rubbed my belly and then ripped off one of the cards to hand to them.  Silly, but pretty funny.  It worked well at work with my students as well.

Student: Mrs. Casto, do you think I'd get a detention if I wrote this (points to paper) in my essay?

Magic 8 Ball:  You May Rely On It!


Student: Mrs. Casto, if I score well on this small quiz will it make up for all the homework I haven't done?

Magic 8 Ball:  My sources say No!

I actually  had a lot of fun with this costume as you can see.  You could even add a green posterboard around you to look like a pool table and cut out the belly part so the black ball shows through.  Then just carry a pool stick.  Too much work for me when I only had an hour to come up with something to wear, but I think it would have been fun.

My costume on Halloween night was family themed of course...our kids are little so we can still influence their decisions about what they want to be.  This year....Alice in Wonderland.  We borrowed the Queen of Hearts, Mad Hatter, and rabbit costume from friends.  I found my daughter's Alice dress on Craigslist.  All I had to make was the felt heart covering for my son with blue collar and the clock (which is painted foam board).  Super simple.

Happy Halloween!