Friday, January 24, 2014

A Princess Party on a Budget

My daughter turned 3 yesterday and since she is obsessed with princesses, we decided to have a princess birthday party. The best part is that I was able to do this entire party on a fairly low budget, so I wanted to share!

1. The Invitations (cost $0)

I had originally planned to print and hand deliver invitations, but life got in the way. So I decided to do electronic invitations instead. There are several great sites you can use to create and send invitations, but I just used Facebook to distribute ours.

First, I designed the invitation using Photoshop:

I used free downloadable digital scrapbooking elements to put it together. Then I set up the event on Facebook, invited the moms of all Violet's little friends, and uploaded the invitation to that page.

2. The Decorations (cost < $10)

Here, I cheated a little bit. Some of the decorations, like this banner, are from a Stampin' Up Party Pack. Since my hubby works for Stampin' Up, I was able to get the party pack at a deep discount. All I had to do was string it together and write Violet's name on it.

The other decorations were all from Wal-Mart. My favorite one is these princesses:

This is a Hallmark Party "Tabletop Decoration" and is made of stiff paper and tulle. They would not stand up to being handled much, but I think they look really nice. I also bought the pink Disney Princess plastic tablecloth.

I borrowed an assortment of toy tea cups from friends so that the party could be a "tea party." We served cake, ice cream, and had pink lemonade.

3. The Cake (cost < $3)

The cake is homemade by me! Cake decorating is not nearly as complicated as some people think. The cake is white cake, made from scratch using a recipe found on Pinterest. The icing is standard decorator icing (butter, shortening, vanilla, powdered sugar, and milk).

I purchased the sugar pearls from the baking aisle at Wal-Mart and the toy on top is one we already had (thoroughly cleaned, of course). The trick to cake decorating is to freeze your cake before frosting, then let your icing base set up a bit before drawing designs on using a toothpick. Then if you mess up, smooth it out, and try again. Using this method, I found a "Princess" font online and copied it for the words on the top of the cake.

4. The Favors (cost < $4 per kid)

The party favors were probably my biggest budget item for this party. We had 7 kids altogether, so I put together 7 sets.

Using the Stampin' Up Party Pack, I put together paper crowns for each guest. I found Princess favor bags at Dollar Tree. I filled the bags with a plastic cup ($1 from Wal-Mart), a sparkly bracelet (4/$1 at Wal-Mart), fruit snacks, candy, crayons (3/$1 from Dollar Tree), and a princess wand ($1 from Target). Then I printed out various princess coloring pages for the girls to do while we waited for everyone to arrive. Dollar Tree has a pretty good selection of Princess stuff, including tiaras, wands, jewelry, etc.

5. The Big Gift (cost < $10)

Violet had gotten pretty good at riding her tricycle in the fall, so we decided it was time to upgrade her to a bike. Luckily, we still had Eddie's old bike in the garage. It had a few problems and was blue and black, so we had to do a little bit of work on it.

I bought a can of pink spray paint from Lowe's, then handed the bike and paint over to my brother so he could keep it hidden until the big day. He was nice and took the bike apart and painted the frame for me. Then, he put it all back together.

I found a PUL fabric remnant at Hobby Lobby that I used to recover the seat. This was surprisingly easy. All you need is a waterproof fabric and a heavy-duty stapler. I found a tutorial online and the entire seat took me about 20 minutes to complete. The basket, handles, and streamers were all gifts that I requested from Violet's Grammy. I used some black and blue nail polish to paint some small designs on the bike frame to pull it all together. And now Violet has a very unique bike of her own!

Total Party Cost: < $50

The trick is to use things you already have and to find good deals on what you need to buy.

{Linked on The Stitchin' Mommy, Happy and Blessed Home, Finding Fabulous, Truly Lovely, Craftionary, Diana Rambles, I Should Be Mopping the Floor}

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Playing With Books

I know it's been nearly a month since Christmas, but I finally have some time to get back to blogging and wanted to share one of the best gifts I've ever gotten:

Playing With Books: The Art of Upcycling, Deconstructing, and Reimagining the Book
by Jason Thompson

My hubby got me this book all about fun things to do with books! I'll be honest... I'm a little bit tempted to created a dress for myself out of book pages, though it wouldn't be terribly practical. This book is filled with amazing ideas and instructions. Now I just need to go on the prowl for some good old books with sturdy covers so that I can get started.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Interior Paint - Neutral or Not?

As mentioned previously, my hubby and I are prepping our house to sell in the next couple of months. We have done our fair share of updating and personalizing our home over the last 7 years, so the place is in pretty good shape. The biggest change we are now having to make before listing is to neutralize our bold paint colors.

When we first moved in, we immediately added our personalities to the house, including painting the living room walls orange (Sherwin Williams Robust Orange, to be exact). Since then, we have had countless people compliment us on our color choice. There has been a fair amount of debate on how much bold paint colors can affect a sale, but we don't want anything so easily changeable to stand in the way, so we decided to tone it down a bit...

Living Room - Before

... or a lot. We couldn't bring ourselves to paint it back the original color (Kwal Desert Fawn) because it was just too bland for us. Instead, we opted for a light color that we feel compliments the white trim nicely (Valspar Montpelier Ashlar Grey).

On a side note, the Valspar Signature Paint + Primer is awesome for covering a bold color. I have heard horror stories about trying to cover red walls, so I expected to do 3 coats. With this paint, we only used 2 coats, and in some places, the second wasn't completely necessary.

Living Room - After
So far, I don't mind the change. It has definitely lightened the room up and even coordinates with our decor quite nicely. Here's hoping the buyers like it as well...

What do you think of the change?