Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Twice the Fun

I realize that my last post was about babies and so is this one, but it seems I'm surrounded by pregnant friends right now. My good friends, one of which just happens to be the youth minister at church, are preparing to welcome two bundles of joy next month. That's right ... twins!!

So, of course, a few of us felt this was the perfect opportunity to shower them with love with a double dose of fun and a church-wide shower. 

I've only helped with a few church-wide showers but I've attended a ton. The tricky part with them is that you sometimes have no clue how many people will show up, and they aren't very conducive to the typical "shower games." But, that doesn't mean you can't have a little fun!

There were quite a few of us planning this particular shower, and it could not have happened without the help of each and every one! Since we were expecting twins, we decided to go with a Noah's Ark theme of "two by two."

My friend, Julie, and I took on the task of food and some special decorations. We wanted to be cost efficient but still throw a great party. Thanks to the Dollar Tree and Sam's Club, we were able to do just that. 

I found some really cute pastel animal napkins at the Dollar Tree, which we paired with clear plastic plates and cups. Because she is having a boy and a girl, we decided cupcakes from Sam's Club (which are yummy) -- some with blue icing and others with pink icing -- paired with blue and pink punch would be perfect.

Also, I bought some simple supplies for Julie and I to get ambitious and make cupcake stands, including: foam board, foam squares and wrapping paper. Because we knew we wanted the blue cupcakes on one and the pink on another, we made two stands. We cut the foam boards down so there were three layers and wrapped them and the foam squares in yellow wrapping paper. 

Then, we hot glued the entire thing together for a three-tiered cupcake stand!

The next craft project was cutting out "raindrops" to hang from the doorway. I somehow didn't take pictures of this process, but it was very simple. We used varying shades of blue and cut out a raindrop template, which basically looked like a tear drop. From there, we just traced and cut. Once done, I used a teeny tiny hole punch to put a hole in the top of each and strung fishing line through them so they would hang. I also used a little bit of scotch tape to ensure they stayed in place on the fishing line. On the day of the shower, we hung them from the doorway.

Because the air was blowing them, they even had some movement to them!

For food, we went with the "animal" theme and kept it simple. From Sam's, we bought animal crackers, gummy bears and goldfish. We had two tables of food -- a blue and pink side. And, at the last minute, someone thought to bring Zebra cakes, which were a perfect addition.

You might notice the plastic cups on the bottom of the cupcake stand. Once all the cupcakes were on, we decided they needed a few reinforcements, but they still worked great

I also used the shower as a great excuse to buy a new Cricut cartridge so I could make some decorations. I purchased "Create a Critter," which I must say is one of the cutest cartridges, and I made some animal garland to hang on the tables.

We also draped garland around another table and printed off copies of the "Wishes for Baby" (made available on http://hankandwhit.blogspot.com/search/label/baby) for people to fill out.

It was so much fun planning all the little details, but even more fun to see people showering our friends with so many gifts! 

Julie's daughter decided to help open gifts, too

I can't wait to meet the twins next month!

Monday, June 4, 2012


This post is way overdue because it's actually about a project I completed in January, and I think I started it in August, if not before! 

See, in the spring of 2011, our best friends in Nashville announced they were expecting their first child. Once we found out it was a girl, I knew I wanted to make them something special for her. So, after scouring Pinterest and blogs, I found a project I thought I could handle .... month-by-month onesies. 

Not being able to sew, I thought the onesies could be made with my Cricut machine.

First step was purchasing the onesies, at least 12, if you want to do every month. I decided to buy bigger, rather than smaller, knowing their was a good chance this little one would be tall, given her genes. So, I only used the 0-3 for month one and two, 3-6 for month two, three and four, etc. You just never know how quickly babies will grow.

Next, I bought three different types of fabric. I chose two prints for my backgrounds and a solid for letters and numbers. I actually found some really cute packs of one-yard fabrics at Michael's. 

I also bought some Steam-A-Seam, the easy, no-sew solution. I only bought one pack of five 9x12 sheets, but ended up needing more, so if you decide to do this, buy at least two, three packs to be safe.

Once I had all my supplies, I started by first starching my fabric with heavy starch. This is needed to help make it a bit stiff to run through the Cricut.

I honestly never starch (much less iron!), so as silly as it sounds, I was a little nervous about this part. I know, silly, but just being honest. Apparently my dog, Bug, was, too (See him in the doorway wondering what this crazy contraption is? Yea, the ironing board is not seen a lot at the Cole house), but, I made it through.

Next, I decided to cut my Steam-A-Seam the size needed for my Cricut mat and then iron it onto the back of the fabric, per the instructions on the packaging. Just follow the instructions on the Steam-a-Seam and you will be good.

Next, it was time to put it into the Cricut and cut out the circular backgrounds. I tested this first with plain ol' paper to make sure I had the correct sizes for each onesie. I highly recommend this because you will need a much smaller circle for a 0-3 month onesie versus a 12 month. 

Here are a few tips I learned when cutting fabric on a Cricut. First, make sure your fabric is really adhered to the mat. The stickier the mat, the better (I'll talk more about this below). If it starts coming up, it's not going to be pretty. Also, you want to slow your cutting speed low and the pressure high.

You should get something like this and then, all you have to do is iron the circles onto the onesies. Once again, follow the instructions on the Staem-A-Seam.

Easy peesy!

I was feeling really good at this point in the project, but then came the hard part, and the part that actually made me want to give up ... the numbers and letters.

You don't realize until you look at that tiny little onesie just how small the numbers and letters need to be. I, once again, tested everything out with paper, but when I went to cut the fabric with the Cricut, it just pulled and made a mess. 

I neglected to take any pictures of this step because I was so frustrated, not only because I was doubting my ability to actually complete these but I was also wasting my fabric! If I remember correctly, there may have been a few tears, too. I was just certain I was going to ruin this special gift.

Remember I told you I started this project in August? Well, at this frustration I put it aside and didn't want to touch it again. Then, as we neared the due date in December (yes, four months later), I decided I better try again or this would be all for naught.

I went to the Internet and after a bit of research about cutting out fabric with a Cricut, I decided that my problem might be that I wasn't working with fresh supplies. So, I headed to the craft store and bought a new, sticky Cricut mat and a new blade. I came home, held my breath and guess what? It worked!


I used the same steps of cutting my Steam-A-Seam and ironing it on. Once again, keep your cutting speed low and your pressure high. And, get a nice sticky mat and a sharp blade. This is critical for those small, intricate letters.

Once I got this step down pat, things started going much smoother. I even had some extra fabric and was able to make a few other simple onesies to go along with the month-by-months. Here's the final product ...

I think I actually got these to my friend about a week before her daughter's one-month birthday, but I did make it on time. And, when she posted the first pic on Facebook, I was thrilled to see them!

And, it gets better every month. Seriously, how cute is she?!?

So, if you decided to tackle this project, do not get discouraged! It is possible, and the end-results are so worth it!