Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Birthday Banner and Some Cupcake Goodness.

Two of some of my favorite people were born in July. My friend Laura and my oldest nephew. I've known Laura for going on 22 years. Laura is one of those friends that basically always has your back. She's probably threatened to beat up every one of my shady boyfriends at one time or another, so when she met Mr. Bean and loved him, I pretty much knew he had to be The One. She inspires me to find joy in the little things in life - like the little chocolates you get with your meal on the airplane or the fruit tarts you find in bakeries all over France - as well as the mundane things - like cooking a pot roast. I don't know that I will ever understand why she thinks I am so awesome (because she really does tell people that I am awesome) but I hope I am half the friend to her that she is to me.

Laura has an understated elegance that I could never achieve. While I am loud and crass, Laura is quiet and refined. I love hot pink and bright orange, she loves pale pinks and blues. I love excess, she believes in moderation. When it came time to make her a birthday card, I decided to do something that was a little bit of the both of us: minimal with a little bit of drama.

My inspiration was basically a birthday banner. I didn't want to do a pennant banner because I wanted to challenge myself to think outside of my tiny creative box. I originally wanted to try a pop up card where when the card was opened, this banner pops up and basically screams 'Happy Birthday' at you, but it was getting late and I couldn't get it to work properly. Maybe another time. So, I decided to go with a party-in-an-envelope concept. In my head, it would be like an instant party.

Step 1. Pull the string.

Step 2. Start the party.

Isn't that kind of how it goes? Well, that's how it goes in my head, anyways.

For this card, I drew out all the letters by hand, then cut them out and sewed them together with my sewing machine. That's about it! The patterened paper is all Martha Stewart. The envelopes are from Paper Source. The kraft cardstock is Bazzill.

One of my other favorite people born this month is my oldest nephew. He is going to be 15 tomorrow. I can't begin to tell you how old that makes me feel. And short. Because he is probably 2 feet taller than me already. This year my sister-in-law decided to throw him a surprise party with all of his friends, so she asked me to make the cake. But, why eat cake when you can have a cupcake? That's my motto.

I tried not to make the cupcakes too childlike since he is 15, but I still wanted them to be cute. So, I took some of my Japanese washi tape and toothpicks and created some cupcake toppers.

Please forgive the color of the chocolate icing. I cut out some of the chocolate the recipe required because the grocery store only had semi sweet chocolate when I needed unsweetened chocolate. I was sweating it for a while, but luckily I only got one dookie comment from an entire crowd of 15 year old boys, so I'll count it as a success.

And, just in case you are interested - ok, really, I am trying to put off making dinner - for his cake, I made him a cupcake cake with 6 cupcakes and a ton of icing. I tried to decorate it so that it matched the cupcake toppers, but I doubt anyone noticed that. Since my nephew is a texting fool (he only uses about 20 minutes of actual phone time, but manages to send out about 25,000 texts a month....seriously), I thought I'd get all witty on him and put 'HB2U' in lieu of the much longer 'Happy Birthday'. Just trying to stay hip, you know. One cupcake at a time. Unfortunately, I don't think it worked. Instead of the high-fives and loud bursts of exclamations like "Your Aunt is sooo awesome!" that I anticipated, several kids asked what it meant. But, I look at it this way. Maybe I am just head of my time.....

Alright, well, I've neglected house, home, and husband this past week, so I've got my work cut out for me. Mr. Bean has been forced to eat sandwiches for dinner lately and I'm pretty sure the jig is up and he's caught on that it's not a home style version of the newest Quiznos sandwich.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Birthday fun at the carnival.

I have a confession to make. I love carnivals. Especially at night. There is something about a carnival that gets me all giddy. The food, the rides, the colors, the lights. The combination of it all basically equals F.U.N. Love. It. All.

Lately, I've noticed a new trend to use carnival influenced typography on invitations. And I am in love. So, naturally, in my quest to get inspiration for my next card, I was amazed when I saw this carnival themed wedding.

I remember when planning my own wedding, my main goal was for everyone to have fun. How could anyone not have fun at a wedding like this?? I think I need to have another wedding. Or, can someone please have a carnival themed wedding and invite me?? Check out more pics of this crazy cool wedding here.

Although I had plenty of inspiration, I couldn't finish this card for the life of me. I tried out several ideas (even soliciting the help of a friend and her Cricut) and all of them fell flat. I kind of lost my mojo with this one, but I am glad I worked thru it once I realized the irony of the whole situation. I was taking the whole carnival concept too seriously when the whole concept of a carnival is supposed to be about having fun.

Anyway, I made this card for my sister. I really wanted it to be perfect and I really wanted her to love it (and keep it). I hope she does.

I drew out the clouds and the red frame and cut them out using an xacto knife. I cut yellow paper strips to 1/4" to make the stripes. The stars are from a punch I bought at the Target $1 spot. I used a white Signo gel pen to draw the circles, hoping to give the illusion of lights. I also drew the black flourishes with just a fine pointed black pen on the stripes as well as on the lights. The letters are from Making Memories. All the cardstock is Bazzill. Below is just a close up of the details. Don't ask me why my camera suddenly takes a good close up.

I added some pop up glue dots to give the card some dimension. So some clouds are raised some are flush with the 'sky' and, of course, the entire sign is raised higher than any of the clouds.

Since we are twins, I can't use the excuse that I forgot about my sister's birthday. I kind of dropped the ball on sending this out to her on time. But, my sister knows me and knows I won't send something I'm not happy with. So, sorry, Seester. I hope it was worth the wait. :)

Update: Apparently, Iowa is where cute cards go to die because my sister said the card arrived like it barely survived a battle with the postman . Sorry, Seester. Can we have a moment of silence?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

July Obsessions.

I can't begin a new month without listing my latest obsessions. Work picked up for me this past month, so I didn't have as much time to obsess about a whole bunch of things, but I managed to conjure up a few things to share. So, here we go.

(photo taken from here)

FIFA World Cup. I have been in a zombie like state ever since June 11. Mr. Bean apparently has a real job where he cannot watch the games in real time, so we have been saving them for the evening. This makes for some very late nights. While I am sad that the US didn't make it further, it is exciting to see America start taking notice of this game that has captivated the rest of the world for well over a century.

(photo taken from Starbucks)

Starbucks' Vanilla Bean Scone. I tried one of these a few weeks ago on a whim. I don't typically buy anything other than a latte there because, while everything looks delicious, it is always kind of a let down. But, this day I needed to burn some time (and apparently some extra calories) and now every time I pass a Starbucks, I start drooling a la Pavlov's dogs. You have to try one. It will change your life. Forever.

(images taken from Design Amour)

Moroccan Stencils. I have been dying to go to Morocco for years. When our neighbors announced that they'd be moving there for at least 2 years, I quickly started trying to devise a plan to pack myself up in one of their suitcases without Mr. Bean noticing. I will let you know how that goes. Anyway, I love everything there is to love about Morocco. The food, the colors, the architecture, the textiles. Everything. So, just in case my plan doesn't work out, I've been trying to think of ways to bring a little Morocco into my home. I came across these stencils as well as these stencils. Yes, stencils. Before you judge me, take some time to check out their fabulousness. I am not sure where I can incorporate these into my home, but I think it's a great option if you aren't wanting to commit to wallpaper.

(image taken from Design Dust)

Japanese Washi Tape. JWT, if loving you is wrong I don't wanna be right. I can't get you out of my head. I dream about you at night. I day dream about you during the day. Please. Be mine. In every color. If you aren't familiar with the loveliness that is washi tape, I suggest you google it now and prepare to become obsessed.

My birthday hangover has finally subsided. Although my birthday was on a Friday, it actually went on all week and carried over to the weekend. I can't say this was a bad idea. In fact, I think I will make this a requirement every year from now on. But, I think I will wait to tell Mr. Bean that for now. Thanks to everyone that made my birthday so exciting!

I have to give a special shoutout to my favorite fellow crafters. Check out the (blurry) pic of the card and envelope they made me. INSANE.

I won't even begin to imagine how long it took them to make it. Hopefully, they think I am worth it. ;) I plan on hanging this in my craft room STAT. You can read more about it here.

Alright, it is Friday and I am ready to get the weekend started. Hope everyone has a great weekend!