Friday, January 30, 2009

Add a Little Vintage to Superbowl Madness: Vintage Football Crafts

Going to a Superbowl party this weekend? Need a way to spice up that dip, without adding hot sauce? How 'bout a vintage-style football player puppet... and some felt pendant decorations too?! Just plop them in the guac., and when (or if) the game gets dull, pull them out and start playing with them!

I've wanted to do a vintage football Party Kit for sometime now... I missed the college season, the college bowls, and even the whole NFL season, but I am squeeking in a football craft at the very end of the year. Hopefully next year I can get my act together and get a football party together.

So, how can you make one of these charming puppets? Well, if sketching a vintage player is not your cup of tea... try searching the web for vintage football images. Here's one I found ( Now print out 2 copies of the image, one for the body, and one for the legs and arms. You want some overlap of the area that your cut, so that you can fix the brad, hence the 2 print outs. Punch a hole and attach the legs and arms with brads to the "body" piece. There you are! If you're really ambitious... why not make a team!

The pendants are quite easy -- just cut a small triangle of felt, and poke a squewer for the stick.

Enjoy the game!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Chinese New Year Lantern Craft

In honor of Chinese New Year, I dug out some great paper I picked up in Chinatown (San Francisco) and created fun lanterns to put on my dining room table. I had so much fun opening the interesting packaging of all the papers I picked up. I didn't find these paper in a fancy paper store... no, these were in the 5 & dime markets on Grant Street in the heart of Chinatown.
Assorted papers from my Chinatown finds...
More colorful papers. I LOVE the magenta, hot red and green together. Making the lanterns is actually a very easy task... something my kids have both done in kindergarten and preschool! There are plenty of instructions on the web (here's just one to get an idea: lantern craft instructions), but I think the uniqueness comes in with the paper design. I decided to use a variety of the papers I found in Chinatown, and make a collage to create my lanterns. I put several of these papers on my color copy machine and made the copies on to white cardstock. Then I followed the basic instructions in the link above.

After the lanterns were finished, I had fun "shopping" in my house for asian accessories to decorate the table. Here are some shots below-- details of the lanterns, and pics of the table decor. Enjoy, and gung hey fat choy!

A good luck envelope.
Another image from a good luck envelope. I scattered these on the table runner around the center lantern arrangement.

For more Chinese New Year traditions and celebrations, check out the url's below:
Wikipedia: Chinese New Year

Friday, January 23, 2009

Celebrate National Handwriting Day

It sounds like a "made by marketeers" kind of day, but I must say, I do like the idea! In honor of John Hancock's birthday (January 23), the Writing Instruments Manufacturers Association came up with National Handwriting Day. For some reason, when I saw this it struck a chord with me...

In our household we are knee deep in handwriting... not only am I a "list girl", but both my kids are writing fiends. My son is just learning his letters, and he LOVES it. He's writing letters daily to his daddy (mostly) and occasionally to Santa or his sister. He pretty much forgets poor ol'Mom, but I'm OK with that... really...
My daughter who's in the first grade is writing up a storm too... It's not perfect spelling-- she's working on that-- and occasionally a b and a d get mixed up-- but there's lots of writing happening. Many times she writes stories, illustrates them, and then staples and tapes all sorts of goodies to her book. Hmmmm, I wonder where she gets that craftyness from?!
And now for me... well, as you can imagine, I do like the day since it promotes people to write letters and cards, and of course, I have many of those I make at bnute productions-- here's one of my latest additions to bnute productions' personalized stationery line...

But also, the day is inspiring me to do an art project I've been meaning to do for sometime... perhaps I can even get the kids involved. (We'll see how that goes...) A while back I picked up this Klutz book on Lettering. It's meant for kids, but it totally inspired me to do something I've wanted to do for a long time... come up with my own designed alphabet.

Ever since my graphic arts days back in the beginning of the 90's, I've loved fonts. I worked with a great designer who also loved them and she shared all she knew about them. Now, there are so many to choose from that it can be a bit overwhelming, but I when I'm into a project, it just must have the right font to go with it, so I love to hunt around and get ideas. Then there's also the dream of making my own, that's where this book comes into play. Check out some of the cute ideas:

(images from photos taken of the Klutz Lettering Book)

So, once I've created my own letters, I'll definitely post and show them! I hope this has possibly inspired you to celebrate National Handwriting Day... typing on the computer, as much as I love it and do it often, is just not the same!

Here are some more websites about National Handwriting Day:
Details of National Handwriting Day
Ideas on How to Celebrate National Handwriting Day

Monday, January 19, 2009

I Have a Dream Tradition

I don't know about you, but I've never really "celebrated" Martin Luther King Day. Of course, my kids have had the holiday off, and I know they've been doing projects at school, but at home, it's just has been overlooked. Now that's pretty sad, especially given light of what the holiday celebrates... and even more importantly, this year, what tomorrow holds... the inauguration of President Barack Obama!

So, this year I decided to celebrate the day, not only by creating the "Dream" banner above, and hanging it prominently in our house, but also coming up with an MLK tradition for our family.

Here's our new MLK day tradition:
I put a "dream bowl" on the center of the dining room table and handed each family member three pieces of paper and a pencil. The instructions are simple, each piece of paper represents a dream the person has; the first piece of paper is for a personal dream, the second for a with a slightly larger scope (say a dream for the family, or school, or community), and the last a very large dream (say for a state, a country, or the world). One each paper will also be the person's name and the year. I plan to bring the "dream bowl" out every MLK day, so we can not only add to our dreams, but also see if any dreams have come true.

I look forward to see the outcome year after year!

Do you have any MLK traditions in your family, your school, your community? Please share!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Let it Snow!!

It's a little ironic that I just finished up my January mantle decoration in my house... Not just because it's half way through January, but mostly because my "Let it Snow" theme just doesn't match the crazy "heat" wave we are having in California. So, while we enjoy 70 degree weather, my mantle pays homage to the rest of the country that is in an arctic blast!!

The sticks in a pot were a great find at target. They were on sale, so I snapped them up! I added a little spray snow on them for effect.

These snowballs were fun and easy to make... I found a great nobby yarn, and wrapped it around a styrofoam ball. I didn't even need to be too carefull to hide all the styrofoam, since a little of the glittery material showing through adds to the snow-ey effect.

I sparyed these pine cones with a little fake snow too! The last time it snowed where I live is in 1975 or so... so I guess I have to make do with the fake stuff!

A close up from my "Let it Snow" banner.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Cabin Style - One Fancy Yurt

Over the holidays, our family was up at beautiful Lake Tahoe. I love it up there... been going since I was a baby, got married up there, and now bringing my own family there. There's been quite a revival of "cabin style" over the last decade or two. Many of the dingy 60's condos are getting updated with a the classic log cabin, rustic look. I'm all for it, since I just love the look... not that I don't appreciate an awesome A-frame ski cabin, decked out with an avocado & orange kitchen, shag rug, and paneling. :)

On this trip, I was treated to an afternoon at a plush cabin style yurt. This yurt (a yurt is one step up from a tent...) sits at the bottom of a ski run and is decked out like a millionaires "great room" in Aspen. Check out the details. I just love it.

Nice wood table with board games to play... This shot doesn't give justice to the set up, though. On each chair is the fuzziest, shag fur cushion. What a cushy seat!

Loved the ski lift bench to adjust your snow boots... also the cushion is a handsome Pendleton blanket.

Old time Tahoe photos, a hanging oil lantern, and more Pendelton blankets makes a great place to relax.

Animal activists close your eyes... This skin hanging on the wall added to the look.

Another Pendleton blanket laying on an Adorandok chair on a sunny deck. Now with a beer in hand, you're set!

Now that's one way to relax after hitting the slopes!

Want more of the look? Check out the book, "Cabin Fever" by Rachel Carley. I'm sure I'll post more about cabin style in the future... and more books. I just love it.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

King Cake - Three Kings Day or Mardi Gras?

Today is the Feast of the Epiphany, or Three Kings Day... the day the 3 kings arrived to honor baby Jesus on the 12th day of Christmas. It is also the beginning of the King Cake "season." The season runs from the day of the Epiphany through to Mardi Gras.

The King Cake is a pretty cool cake. I mean, what other cake actually has a season? It also is a very cool cake because a trinket is baked inside it, and the person who's piece of cake has the trinket gets to be King or Queen for the day. (She may also have the duty of hosting the following years party, and/or bringing the King Cake the following year... this may or may not be seen as a priviledge!)

There are many traditions surrounding a King Cake. I've done a little research in the past, since a French friend was very certain the cake was only eaten on the Epiphany, while I clearly remembered my friend from Louisiana ranting and raving about King Cakes at Mardi Gras time. Either way, both were right.

So, to honor Three Kings Day, I say, let's make cake! The picture above is from a King Cake I made with my kids. Lots of messy fun.

Below are some url's to sites with king cake recipes and folklore. Enjoy the tradition!
Wikipedia's Definition of King Cake
King Cake Recipe and Short Story

Thursday, January 1, 2009

0 to 8 in 2008!

Happy New Year!!
Although I started my business in 2007, I started to create what I hope to be one of the core features of my work this year... a line of Party Kits. I have so much fun creating these kits. I love researching the idea, and thinking through all the details of how this party kit can translate not only to a nice set of invitations and decoration, but also how the idea can carry out to be a party your friends and family will remember for a long time!

It's fun looking back this year, to see the 8 new kits -- all lined up. Now on to 2009... I can't wait to see where it goes. I'm thinking up some fun stuff...