Tag Archives: DIY ideas for parties

3D Cookies for Valentine’s Day

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3D Cookies for Valentine’s Day

How do you say Happy Valentine’s Day to those you love?  Flowers, candy, cards, or some even bigger display?  Or do you prefer to do something special together?  Or is it one of those days that just slips by?  I saw a funny “quote” the other day.  It was a photo from Star Wars and the caption was “I’ll be celebrating Valentine’s Day Han’s style….Solo!”  Maybe that’s more you 🙂

We don’t make a super big hoohaw about Valentine’s Day, a few special things, like maybe chocolate or sometimes flowers.  I’m usually in favor of homemade or home-printed Valentines.  (OK, I admit sometimes I put way too much work into the “homemade” Valentines that the kids take to school.  But this year, I put in 10 minutes of work on a printable, and then they are on their own, I’m just too tired,with a been there, done that  kind of feeling).  Anwyays, I came up with a brilliant idea that I think will make a memorable Valentine’s Day for us this year:  The kids are in charge of making and serving supper for my husband and I.  Sounds a tad dangerous, but I intend to enjoy it!  We’ll see how it goes…3D Valentines cookies by dennasideas.com - Page 003

After having said that, I admit I did make a few Valentine’s cookies.  I had the dough in the fridge and a few more M&Ms from the last couple of posts! 🙂  And I had these cute letter cookie cutters to try out!  (A fun gift from a friend)  So here goes a little tutorial for some fairly easy, but attention-getting cookies.

Ingredients:  chocolate cookie dough and candy melts (I use Wilton brand) and letter cookie cutters (or just freehand it) and small heart cutters.3D Valentines cookies by dennasideas.com - Page 015Amor= love in Spanish 😉  Galletas=Cookies!   Cut out letters and a bunch of small or medium hearts for bases.3D Valentines cookies by dennasideas.com - Page 014Bake and let cool…..cool!3D Valentines cookies by dennasideas.com - Page 013Melt up some red and white candy melts and get ready to pipe them out of baggies with only a tiny corner snipped off…3D Valentines cookies by dennasideas.com - Page 012Squeeze strings of candy melt out while moving back and forth over all the letters.  Repeat with next color.3D Valentines cookies by dennasideas.com - Page 011Then pick up each letter and break off the extra bits of candy melt off the sides, this is really easy and works well.3D Valentines cookies by dennasideas.com - Page 0103D Valentines cookies by dennasideas.com - Page 009Line up the letters and the bases, some letters need two hearts for their bases.3D Valentines cookies by dennasideas.com - Page 008Use some more candy melt to attach the bases, I used dark cocoa candy melts (only took 3 melts)3D Valentines cookies by dennasideas.com - Page 0073D Valentines cookies by dennasideas.com - Page 006Holding the letters in place for about 5 seconds was mostly enough to balance the letters, but if necessary, prop them up for a bit…3D Valentines cookies by dennasideas.com - Page 005The candy melts set up quite quickly.  Here’s the bird’s eye view:3D Valentines cookies by dennasideas.com - Page 004And there you go!  The letters are quite sturdy and just so fun looking!  Great for a Valentine’s Day centerpiece.3D Valentines cookies by dennasideas.com - Page 002Oh wait!  Since you have the cookie dough out, and maybe a few extra cookies baked, go ahead and decorate some more for your centerpiece.  Here’s how I did it with Nutella and M&Ms using the same idea from the other day’s post:pixel Valentines cookies by dennasideas.com - Page 020 pixel Valentines cookies by dennasideas.com - Page 019 pixel Valentines cookies by dennasideas.com - Page 018 pixel Valentines cookies by dennasideas.com - Page 017 pixel Valentines cookies by dennasideas.com - Page 016 candy valentingecookies by dennasideas.com - Page 019The kids wanted to cut out some Os and Xs for hugs and kisses, so I used up the last of the red M&Ms on these:candy valentingecookies by dennasideas.com - Page 016And here’s one for you from me (sorry it’s not edible but I’m all about digital stuff)happy valentines day from dennasideas.com

I’d love to hear from you if you try out some of my little cookie techniques! 🙂

The Magician’s Nephew, DIY Narnia theme

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And back to Narnia!  We’ve been up to some more DIY (do it yourself) Narnia theme stuff.  I’m still here with the Magician’s Nephew.  I wanted to include a photo of the book cover from the books that I grew up reading, since they seem a little rare.  These ones were published in 1983 and were new when we were given a boxed set of the 7 books.  I remember that I wasn’t allowed to read them right away, I had to wait till I was older (10, I think) and I used to gaze in longing at the box…which looked like this:

The illustrations for the covers and box were by Stephen Lavis.  Here’s the cover of the first book, and this is how I will always think of it.  I loved these illustrations, and like that each book had one of the symbols from that story on the front cover.  This one has the apple…DIY Narnia theme, C.S. Lewis quote from The Magician's Nephew by dennasideas.comAnd about that apple…..I made some (totally awesome) caramel apples for one of our Narnia treats.  For the special apple that Digory picked, I used some edible silver spray paint to make it shine.  That caramel was so so very good, I feel like being greedy and not sharing the recipe for it, but that doesn’t seem quite right….so you can find it here.  If you really want.  But you might not want to because it’s really full of calories and sugar and all that stuff.  But just in case you really want to, I will share.  Oh wait, I can’t find the link, too bad.  If you reallllly want it, beg and I’ll look for the recipe!! 😉Caramel apple for Narnia theme, the Magician's Nephew by dennasideas.comHere’s the apple and a quote from the end of the book after he gets the apple and takes it home….DIY Narnia theme, C.S. Lewis quote from The Magician's Nephew by dennasideas.comAnd now for some DIY ideas from our display.  Start with some empty bottles…DIY Narnia theme, The Magician's Nephew by dennasideas.comThis the quote that I wanted to portray in this part of the display in our living room…DIY Narnia theme, C.S. Lewis quote from The Magician's Nephew by dennasideas.comWe had the bottles, now for the candles.  All candles now-a-days seem to be dripless.  So these ones needed some help.  Now, I’ve always been careful about letting my kids play with fire, but I figured they are quite old enough now, and when I remember all the fun stuff Henry and I did playing with fire when we were kids….(we did live in cement houses), it seemed like a good time….DIY Narnia theme, The Magician's Nephew by dennasideas.comUsing other candles, we dripped wax down the sides of candles in bottles.  Then we melted crayons to add some different colors.  Then we lit crayons as torches.  I heard that one crayon can burn for 30 minutes.  You never know when that fact might come in handy.DIY Narnia theme, The Magician's Nephew by dennasideas.comAnd then parts of supper (garbanzo beans) were roasted over the candles…DIY Narnia theme, The Magician's Nephew by dennasideas.comIt was all fun, and made a great ambiance for our supper, and later, a perfect Narnia display.  Oh, here’s something that didn’t make it into the display though I really wanted one…a guinea pig!DIY Narnia theme, C.S. Lewis quote from The Magician's Nephew by dennasideas.comI came up with another fun display or diorama thing, with Fledge the winged horse and Digory when he’s in the walled garden.  If you look closely you can see the witch hiding behind the tree with an apple in her hand, and the sleepy-looking bird in the tree.  The cutouts look really cool in the bonsai tree, but the coolness doesn’t show up the in the photos!  The lighting is so terrible today, a grey cold winter day…so photographing the tree felt impossible….these are the best photos I could get…
DIY Narnia theme, C.S. Lewis, Narnia diorama  from The Magician's Nephew by dennasideas.comDIY Narnia theme, C.S. Lewis, The Magician's Nephew by dennasideas.comDIY Narnia theme, C.S. Lewis, The Magician's Nephew by dennasideas.comAnd this is what the gate at the walled garden said:DIY Narnia theme, C.S. Lewis quote from The Magician's Nephew by dennasideas.comA few more quotes from The Magician’s Nephew.  Can you tell I’m having fun with this theme??DIY Narnia theme, C.S. Lewis quote from The Magician's Nephew by dennasideas.comDIY Narnia theme, C.S. Lewis quote from The Magician's Nephew by dennasideas.com

The Magician’s Nephew: How to make Narnia Ring cookies

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The Magician’s Nephew: How to make Narnia Ring cookies

The Magician’s Nephew is the first book in the Chronicles of Narnia series by C. S. Lewis, and I’ve always thought that it’s my favorite.  “It is a very important story because it shows how all the comings and goings between our own world and the land of Narnia first began.”  (Though every time I start reading any book from the series, I think this one is my favorite!)  Can you tell I’ve got Narnia on the brain?  Let’s start at the very beginning….

When I first thought of having a Narnia theme around here, I thought: a display.  Then I thought: baking.  That’s how my brain works.  How to display something edible with a theme.  That’s what it’s all about, people!

So in today’s post I have our first display, for the first book, The Magician’s Nephew.  The book starts out with two children named Polly and Digory exploring an old house, and accidentally ending up in Uncle Andrew’s study.  He is a magician, or magician wanna-be and has supposedly found a way to travel to a different world.  Or at least he thinks it’s possible, but has only tried it out on a guinea pig, who unfortunately can’t tell anything about his experiences in the other world!  So Uncle Andrew needs someone else to try it out!  But not himself, of course!  He offers to let Polly have one of the lovely shiny yellow rings that are humming on a red wooden tray on his desk….The Magician's Nephew: The Chrionicles of Narnia, Book 1.  How to make Narnia Ring cookies by dennasideas.com

I love the image of the red wooden tray with the shiny green and yellow rings!  I knew that it had to be a part of my display.  I had already decided to start off with things that would remind me of Uncle Andrew’s study.  I dug around in our basement and found some old-looking and even just large books.  Some old candlesticks, an ancient globe, anything that looked old.   (I wanted sealing wax and an old microscope, but didn’t have them on hand!)  My old wooden “treasure chest” with safari animals on it was perfect, representing the secret box where Uncle Andrew first found the dust from another world, and the safari animals were perfect graphics for the animals who burst out of the ground in the new land of Narnia!  There are a few other symbols in here that weren’t from the study, but just appeared in the rest of the book (like the golden apple, but more on that later!)The Magician's Nephew: The Chrionicles of Narnia, Book 1.  How to make Narnia Ring cookies by dennasideas.com

Back to the red tray….I thought a lot about it.  How to do it?  I didn’t want to buy anything for this project, (except the special plastic animals, in this case, the winged horse).  A picture frame could work as a tray….yay, found one from an old school award.  Next step: to paint.  My son was happy to help me out with this project and painted the frame and a piece of cardboard red.  After that, we added some wood-look lines and a few sprays of glimmery paint, then a bit of distressing with brown paint.  I really really wanted to make handles for this tray, and spent a lot of brain power on it, but didn’t end up having the time.  Assemble the frame without the glass, presto, a tray!The Magician's Nephew: The Chrionicles of Narnia, Book 1.  How to make Narnia Ring cookies by dennasideas.com

Next: the rings.  That took a lot of thought, and it wasn’t till the last minute that I thought of making cookies.  But how perfect  (much better than another idea of cutting up paper rolls from toilet paper).  Here are the cookies, step by step.  Many of the photos were taken by my son, as those are my awkward-looking hands in the photos.  For the cookies, I used the End-All for chocolate cookies recipe from Lilaloa, so yummmy, and melted Wilton candy melts for the icing.

Cut out small circles cookies.  They are about 1 and 1/2 inch cookies.The Magician's Nephew: The Chrionicles of Narnia, Book 1.  How to make Narnia Ring cookies by dennasideas.comMelt up some black candy melts in a small baggie and snip off a corner.  Outline 2 circles per cookie.The Magician's Nephew: The Chrionicles of Narnia, Book 1.  How to make Narnia Ring cookies by dennasideas.comThe Magician's Nephew: The Chrionicles of Narnia, Book 1.  How to make Narnia Ring cookies by dennasideas.com(When I saw these photos I realized how strangely I hold the icing bags! ha!  And don’t worry, that is fresh chocolate candy melt under my fingernail!)The Magician's Nephew: The Chrionicles of Narnia, Book 1.  How to make Narnia Ring cookies by dennasideas.comWith yellow candy melts, snip off a bigger corner and fill in outlines that have already set.  Then go for the green!The Magician's Nephew: The Chrionicles of Narnia, Book 1.  How to make Narnia Ring cookies by dennasideas.comBefore the “icing” on each cookie had set, I added a small white line for a bit of a “shine” on one side of each ring.  Then later when they were set and hardened, added a white asterisk to make it look like a sparkle.  Can’t leave well enough alone,  I wanted more shine.  I painted on a bit of silver sparkle, too.  It went faster than it sounds.  Really.The Magician's Nephew: The Chrionicles of Narnia, Book 1.  How to make Narnia Ring cookies by dennasideas.comAll that spiffing up and you can hardly notice…. !  The Magician's Nephew: The Chrionicles of Narnia, Book 1.  How to make Narnia Ring cookies by dennasideas.comSet out the rings in pairs of yellow and green on the red tray!  We’re ready to travel to the Wood between the Worlds and on to Narnia…The Magician's Nephew: The Chrionicles of Narnia, Book 1.  How to make Narnia Ring cookies by dennasideas.com(My son was practicing some fancy photography techniques…)  This is how Polly must have felt when she touched the yellow ring….The Magician's Nephew: The Chrionicles of Narnia, Book 1.  How to make Narnia Ring cookies by dennasideas.com“They were no bigger than ordinary rings, and no one could help noticing them because they were so bright.  They were the most beautifully shiny little things you can imagine.  If Polly had been a very little younger she would have wanted to put one in her mouth.”  (I have always loved that description!)The Magician's Nephew: The Chrionicles of Narnia, Book 1.  How to make Narnia Ring cookies by dennasideas.comI think the “funnest” part about these ring cookies, was sending them to school in my kids’ lunches, then asking them if they had whisked off to Narnia during Math class!!! 😉

Guess the Theme Game

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We’ve started a theme around here….a before-and-during Christmas theme.  We don’t usually “do themes” for Christmas, other than Christmas, but I fixated on this idea for awhile and decided to go with it.   (I was told that a theme was ok, as long as it’s not too girly!)  To introduce the kids to my super idea, I made up a little guessing game.  See if you can guess what our theme is…
Narnia Guessing Game for kids by dennasideas.comThe items are hidden in the basket and came out one by one….(I did it without the hints, and added those later)

Narnia Guessing Game for kids by dennasideas.comI wanted to use a compass, but someone lost it for me, so I went with the spyglass.Narnia Guessing Game for kids by dennasideas.comnext…Narnia Guessing Game for kids by dennasideas.comNarnia Guessing Game for kids by dennasideas.comNarnia Guessing Game for kids by dennasideas.comguessed yet?Narnia Guessing Game for kids by dennasideas.comand the most obvious for last…Narnia Guessing Game for kids by dennasideas.comMy last clue was a chocolate bar called Big Turk…chocolate covered Turkish delight, but it was eaten so quickly that I didn’t get a photo of it!!  And no, I still don’t really like Turkish delight, though some of the kids do.  So did you guess our theme?

I thought my guessing game was a good idea, but of course things don’t usually work as planned….before I even opened the basket one of my dear children blurted out the theme.  And didn’t even really give the other kids a chance to guess, just yelled “Narnia” every time something came out of the basket.  That’s when I was getting them to explain exactly how each item went with the theme.  And yes, the theme is Narnia!!  At the end my dear child explained that I had already given away my idea weeks ago….hmmmm….I had forgotten that part!  Oh well, it was kinda fun anyways….even with the spoilsport!Narnia Guessing Game for kids by dennasideas.comAnd then there were cookies….to go with the theme…of course!  What’s a theme without baking???!!!Chronicles of Narnia cookies by dennasideas.comNarnia cookies by dennasideas.comWords to get through the winter on…..”When Aslan bares his teeth, Winter meets it’s death”….that’s what is engraved on High King Peter’s sword.  So this week we’ll be doing our Narnia theme, I’ve already got a few projects on the go!  Can anyone tell me why this week, of all weeks, is the perfect time for a Narnia theme??? Hmmmm???  There’s a good reason 🙂

“It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!” party

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“It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!” party

I love Snoopy and Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang!  I remember looking forward to watching their specials on TV when we were young.  (I also love pumpkins) so it was easy to come up with the perfect theme for a fall birthday party for my son.  I haven’t watched “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!” for years, but I remember how Linus made me laugh, trying to wait all night in a pumpkin patch.  So this party started with a little pumpkin patch.  I had made some fondant pumpkins for cupcake toppers, and so there  were still some just sitting around, waiting to form a pumpkin patch for Linus."It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown" party ideas by denna's ideas.  Fast and easy ideas for a fall birthday party.Add in a “great pumpkin” and some more chipboard Peanuts characters (from last year’s kids’ Thanksgiving table)….."It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown" party ideas by denna's ideas.  Fast and easy ideas for a fall birthday party."It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown" party ideas by denna's ideas.  Fast and easy ideas for a fall pumpkin birthday party.I had found some little packets of tissues with Snoopy on them, so they were a bit of a favor at each place…."It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown" party ideas by denna's ideas.  Fast and easy ideas for a fall birthday party.There were some other cute and fairly easy pumpkin ideas that were fast enough to put together for this party.  My sister told me about using mandarin oranges as little pumpkins…."It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown" party ideas by denna's ideas.  Fast and easy ideas for a fall pumpkin birthday party.Just peel them and add “stems” from celery, or in this case, stems from spinach leaves!  And a bit of cilantro for leaves around the pumpkins.  And then a jelly bean favor for each kid, this idea I found here on Parenting.com.  I happened to have some red tulle (no orange!), so wrapped the orange jelly beans in it, then added pipe cleaner for a stem (and to hold the bag together) and some green curled ribbon for the tendrils.  Didn’t take long to put together."It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown" party ideas by denna's ideas.  Fast and easy ideas for a fall birthday party.The orange tablecloth and birthday banner I had saved from last year’s Garfield party"It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown" party ideas by denna's ideas.  Fast and easy ideas for a fall birthday party.My preschool nephews were visiting, so I was trying to think of ideas that they could help out with for this party….baking!!  Let’s make some birthday brownies!! (from a box!!)"It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!" party ideas by denna's ideas.  Fast and easy ideas for a fall pumpkin themed birthday party."It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!" party ideas by denna's ideas.  Fast and easy ideas for a fall pumpkin themed birthday party.You could always add a pumpkin puree swirl into the chocolate brownies, that would be finger lickin’ good!  (or pumpkin and cream cheese!! ahhhh!)  Another idea that turned out great to do with the little kids was to make a birthday poster.  First I drew a picture of Snoopy with a Sharpee marker on posterboard, then covered it up with white paper and painter’s tape.  Then let the kids at it with paint daubers (bingo dabbers?)"It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!" party ideas by denna's ideas.  Fast and easy ideas for a fall pumpkin themed birthday party."It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!" party ideas by denna's ideas.  Fast and easy ideas for a fall pumpkin themed birthday party.A fun idea even the youngest can help with!"It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!" party ideas by denna's ideas.  Fast and easy ideas for a fall pumpkin themed birthday party.After painting is dry, peel off the tape to reveal….Snoopy!"It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!" party ideas by denna's ideas.  Fast and easy ideas for a fall pumpkin themed birthday party."It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!" party ideas by denna's ideas.  Fast and easy ideas for a fall pumpkin themed birthday party.Then an older kid colored the words in with black marker so they’d stand out a bit.  Posters, bday banner, favors, centerpiece, check!!….bring on the food and the party!

A happy pumpkin with a jack-o-lantern face from Papa Murphy’s pizza…..it’s the season for those, and they were just right for our pumpkin theme.  We love Papa Murphy’s pick up and bake at home pizzas!"It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!" party ideas by denna's ideas.  Fast and easy ideas for a fall pumpkin themed birthday party.Time for pizza!"It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!" party ideas by denna's ideas.  Fast and easy ideas for a fall pumpkin themed birthday party."It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!" party ideas by denna's ideas.  Fast and easy ideas for a fall pumpkin themed birthday party."It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!" party ideas by denna's ideas.  Fast and easy ideas for a fall pumpkin themed birthday party.Pumpkins! (oops, that’s from something else!)"It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!" party ideas by denna's ideas.  Fast and easy ideas for a fall pumpkin themed birthday party.Linus’s pumpkin patch moves over to the birthday brownies…."It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!" party ideas by denna's ideas.  Fast and easy ideas for a fall pumpkin themed birthday party."It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!" party ideas by denna's ideas.  Fast and easy ideas for a fall pumpkin themed birthday party.Make a wish…."It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!" party ideas by denna's ideas.  Fast and easy ideas for a fall pumpkin themed birthday party."It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!" party ideas by denna's ideas.  Fast and easy ideas for a fall pumpkin themed birthday party.Happy birthday!  Check out some more pumpkin ideas…"It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!" party ideas by denna's ideas.  Fast and easy ideas for a fall pumpkin themed birthday party.Here are some more pumpkin food ideas that I’ve worked on in the last few days, and they’d be perfect for a  Charlie Brown pumpkin theme.  My mom told me about some cute pumpkin cheese-balls that she saw, so I tried them out….Pumpkin shaped cheese-ball appetizer "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!" party ideas by denna's ideas.  Fast and easy ideas for a fall pumpkin themed birthday party.How to: mix up softened cream cheese with spices (garlic, onion, paprika, pepper, season salt, or whatever you like) and some grated cheddar or mozzarella cheese.  I also added chopped sun dried tomatoes.  Let sit for a few moments in the refrigerator to harden a bit, then pull it out, divide into two chunks, cover with plastic wrap and shape into 2 balls.  On top of the plastic wrap, mark the lines on the pumpkin with a back of a knife.  Return to fridge.  Later, before serving, take off the plastic and roll the cheese-balls in crushed nacho cheese tortilla chips (Doritos!) and add the stems from some bell peppers.Pumpkin shaped cheese-ball appetizer "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!" party ideas by denna's ideas.  Fast and easy ideas for a fall pumpkin themed birthday party.The stems were easy to cut out….cut out from the pepper, along with the seeds, then cut right at the base of the stem, it kind of just popped off….Pumpkin shaped cheese-ball appetizer "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!" party ideas by denna's ideas.  Fast and easy ideas for a fall pumpkin themed birthday party.crushed Doritos…I added paprika, but don’t do that, it dulled the color….Pumpkin shaped cheese-ball appetizer "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!" party ideas by denna's ideas.  Fast and easy ideas for a fall pumpkin themed birthday party.When you press in the stem, it helps squash it into a pumpkin shape…Pumpkin shaped cheese-ball appetizer "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!" party ideas by denna's ideas.  Fast and easy ideas for a fall pumpkin themed birthday party.I took a knife and re-made some of the indentations on the sides….Pumpkin shaped cheese-ball appetizer "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!" party ideas by denna's ideas.  Fast and easy ideas for a fall pumpkin themed birthday party.Such cute, tasty little guys!Pumpkin shaped cheese-ball appetizer "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!" party ideas by denna's ideas.  Fast and easy ideas for a fall pumpkin themed birthday party.And one last pumpkin idea….we just loved this one!  I found a video on how to make these adorable pumpkin buns, by Hani, from Haniela’s.  She has all sorts of great how-to videos for lots of yummy eats!  She made these in just an hour.  My first time to try took close to an hour and a half, but the next time was faster….and really, 35 minutes of that time is letting the buns rise, so really they’re pretty quick to make!  And so adorably pumpkiny!!  (Click on the link above for her video and recipe! you can do it!)  You can make large ones for hamburger buns, how fun is that??Pumpkin shaped dinner buns for "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!" party ideas by denna's ideas.  Fast and easy ideas for a fall pumpkin themed birthday party.Make the dough and cut….Pumpkin shaped dinner buns for "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!" party ideas by denna's ideas.  Fast and easy ideas for a fall pumpkin themed birthday party.Let rise, add egg wash and sesame seeds, Pumpkin shaped dinner buns for "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!" party ideas by denna's ideas.  Fast and easy ideas for a fall pumpkin themed birthday party.Bake for about 12 minutes…Pumpkin shaped dinner buns for "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!" party ideas by denna's ideas.  Fast and easy ideas for a fall pumpkin themed birthday party.Add a stem and there you go!!  I didn’t have the big pretzel sticks, so used several small skinny ones.  I’ve also seen photos with pecans as stems!Pumpkin shaped dinner buns for "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!" party ideas by denna's ideas.  Fast and easy ideas for a fall pumpkin themed birthday party.I just love those pumpkins!!  All pumpkins, I guess.  We had a lovely day out at a pumpkin (and everything else) farm and I had such a great time!  Love photographing pumpkins!"It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!" party ideas by denna's ideas.  Fast and easy ideas for a fall pumpkin themed birthday party.Hope you got some ideas for your next fall party…oh, I just saw that It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown is on TV tonight….pumpkin memories!! 😉

Easy DIY Photo Canvas Art

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Photo canvases seem to be all the rage.  So far I haven’t taken the plunge and ordered one yet, they are cool but pricey.   I guess I’m more into the DIY thing right now anyways….

The other day when I was crazily decorating for my daughter’s Lalaloopsy Cute-As-A-Button birthday party, I found a dollar store canvas and easel that I had bought without a specific purpose in mind.  I kind of thought that I would glue buttons to it, in the shape of the birthday girl’s age…but at the last second, decided to make a photo canvas to display this cute photo that my photographer friend April snapped of her at a kitty birthday party.  Easy DIY Photo Canvas by dennasideas.comI went to handy dandy Pinterest and looked up how to print an image onto tissue paper.  Hmmm, seems easy enough!  Let’s try it out, I said to myself. I went for a black and white photo since I have run out of colored ink!   I work with what I have!

Honestly, this craft took almost no time if you have the supplies on hand.  I usually have some Modge Podge somewhere on the premises, so I started the project before I exactly checked…turns out the Modge Podge I have is an antique colored Shimmer finish.  (Modge Podge is the brand name of a water-based sealer glue and finish, a paste-like medium from PLAID and is usually completely transparent, but you can find different finishes like glossy or matte.)   Oh well, I thought it might work, and in the end I was quite pleased with the look it gave the canvas….if you don’t mind a sepia tint and shiny finish.

So the supplies are: Modge Podge, paint brush, white acrylic craft paint, a printer, tissue paper, double-sided tape (or even clear tape should work), paper confetti (optional), a canvas and easel, and some photo editing software to touch up your photo and print it out.  Here’s the canvas I used, sorry I don’t have a photo of the Modge Podge and my camera battery is dead at the moment…Easy DIY Photo Canvas by dennasideas.com - Page 012Here is the fairy easy process:  first, edit your photo.  (don’t spend too long on this if you don’t want to.  You can always print off a photo w/o editing it and then just snip off the corners etc. of the tissue paper copy).Easy DIY Photo Canvas by dennasideas.com - After cutting out her arm, blending her hair and cutting off the corners of the photo, I blurred the edges and erased a bit more, then I added some digital embellishments, like swirls and some flowers with buttons in the center (from my digital stash), but of course this step isn’t necessary and real embellishments could easily be glued onto the canvas afterwards.Easy DIY Photo Canvas by dennasideas.com - Now print off a test photo, to see the effects and to see where to position the tissue paper.  Using a sheet of white tissue paper,  cut out a rectangle.  I thought it had to be almost the same size as the paper, but apparently it only needs to be bigger than your photo.  I used double-sided scrapbooking tape to tape the tissue to the regular printer paper, but I think even regular scotch tape should work.  Make sure there is no stickiness showing!  The tape showing must not be sticking!! I can only image what kind of a paper jam that would cause!!  It’s hard to see in the photos, but you can kind of see the edge of the tissue paper (in the photos above and below).  When you go to run your paper through the printer, be sure you know what side it will be printing on!!  To check that out, when you print off your test copy, add a small X with a pencil to the corner of the paper before it prints, then check to see what side was printed on.  Then you’ll know whether to load your tissue papered paper face up or face down (I hope that sounds clear?)Easy DIY Photo Canvas by dennasideas.com - Cut as close as you want around the tissue paper photo and test it out on the canvas….this is the tissue paper just setting on the canvas….(I should have photographed the tissue paper held up to the light, it’s so cool, but I was in a big hurry…..)Easy DIY Photo Canvas by dennasideas.com - Now add a layer of glue, Modge Podge, to the canvas…Easy DIY Photo Canvas by dennasideas.com - See how yellow the glue looks in the jar?  It’s harder to see on the canvas, but paint on your glue then quickly get the tissue paper on before it dries.  I actually had to peel off the photo, add some more glue and try it again.  It worked without tearing!!  yay!Easy DIY Photo Canvas by dennasideas.com - I wasn’t sure if I should paint right over the photo, as is usual with Modge Podge, as it is a sealant, too.  But I didn’t want her face to get too yellowed looking, and since my Modge Podge is shimmery and a bit shiny, I knew that if you look at it from the side it would just glare…hmmm, what to do?  But first I added some white paint to the edges, to kind of soften them up and hide the edge of the tissue paper a bit (not that is showed very much) and I wanted to downplay the yellowish sepia color, too and make it look a bit like a painting….Easy DIY Photo Canvas by dennasideas.com -So this is what I ended up doing, following the direction of her bangs with brushstrokes of shiny glue…Easy DIY Photo Canvas by dennasideas.com - I only painted over the edges of the photo with the Modge Podge, and left the face free of it…so this is how it looks with the light shining at an angle.Easy DIY Photo Canvas by dennasideas.com -I seem to always have to do that extra little bit, add that extra detail, it’s the hardest thing in the world to stop myself  (I know, Art is knowing when to stop, and that’s why I don’t make money by my “art”!!)  so of course I threw some paper confetti that I had laying around from some other party decoration onto the canvas while the glue was still wet.  I like it anyhoo.  And my little buddy was quite pleased, too!!  🙂Easy DIY Photo Canvas by dennasideas.com I hope this little tutorial has been helpful to someone! 🙂  Now I just need to make 3 more……Lalaloopsy party by dennasideas.com - Page 014

Lalaloopsy Party for a sweet little girl

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Lalaloopsy Party for a sweet little girl

The day of the party (post) is finally here!  After a lot of thought, and a bit of prep, the Lalaloopsy and Hello Kitty Cute-as-a-Button birthday party actually came together.  Here are some photos of some very budget-friendly DIY ideas for decorations, food and activities at a sweet little girl’s party.  It was supposed to be a sewing party, but no sewing was actually done by anyone!!  Buttons were the big inspiration for this party. Buttons and a crazy brightly-colored curly-haired doll….paper button decor at a Lalaloopsy party by dennasideas.com - Page 022A button paper punch from Martha Stewart supplied a whole bunch of cute buttons for party decor, as confetti scattered on the table, and as wall decorations and even ended up on the juice cups!   {The table runners (in turquoise and in yellow) were part of Ikea’s summer line.}  Here’s the Lalaloopsy doll that also inspired the party and the party color scheme.  Her name is Marina Anchors, with her little pet whale and dressed in a cute sailor suit.  I found a perfect turquoise metal bicycle for her.  Her friends Hello Kitty and Pink Sock monkey took a ride with her.

I did a photoshoot of Marina and her friends and made up a digital invitation.  If you would like a copy to use for your little girl’s party, just let me know!!  They can be emailed or printed out as 4×6 photos.  lalaloopsy party invite by dennasideas.com - Page 075

For place-mats at the table, I made up my own Lalaloopsy coloring page using some images I found online.  Did you notice that her eyes are black buttons?  And the sock monkey has button eyes, of course.  I know a lot of people think that the button eyes are a bit creepy, but they fit so nicely into the cute as a button party idea….
Lalaloopsy party by dennasideas.com - Page 024There are lots of sewing party and cute-as-a-button party ideas online (Pinterest) that I found.  You can look at my Lalaloopsy and Cute as a Button party idea board here.  I loved the idea of using embroidery hoops as wall decorations at the party.  I decided to use scrapbook paper and wrapping paper in the hoops.  It was a little tricky squeezing the paper in some of the hoops, but it did work out.  On one pink page, I printed out the title “Tasya is turning Sew Seven” (the Sew Seven title was an idea from the Sweet Designs blog, and a few other sewing party ideas).Lalaloopsy party by dennasideas.com l - Page 007
Here’s some wrapping paper with a doily….Lalaloopsy party by dennasideas.com - Page 026And a few paper buttons were added on some of the hoops and on the wall.  Hmmm, how to arrange these hoops on the wall….should I set them out on the table and arrange them….?  It was easier than that….
Lalaloopsy party by dennasideas.com - Page 025Using sticky tak, everything was strategically arranged on the wall to cover up every mark and ding possible!!  I just followed the places I wanted to hide…..right above my old sewing machine.  That’s why there are buttons scattered randomly around.  Pretty clever if you ask me…..that’s how I work, my motto long being Necessity is the Mother of Invention.Lalaloopsy party by dennasideas.com l - Page 005I pulled *all* my sewing stuff (a very small collection, as I am not a sower, but just terribly fascinated with it all).Lalaloopsy party by dennasideas.com l - Page 006Lalaloopsy party by dennasideas.com - Page 018Add a little baker’s twine to the machine!!  It’s in the party colors, too.  I had seen a lovely banner to make on the Raising Up Rubies blog, and I really really wanted to make one, but at the last minute (as with a lot of things) ran out of time, so my daughter made a few for a small scalloped edge below the sewing machine and it looked very cute.  Made from paper doilies and cupcake wrappers.  Click on the blog link for a tutorial!Lalaloopsy party by dennasideas.com - Page 023The morning of the party, I decided to do a little craft with the b-day girl’s photo…..on a canvas on an easel.  I was so pleased with the way it turned out!  It was super easy, too. I’ll try and get a post done of this little DIY craft…Lalaloopsy party by dennasideas.com - Page 014

There were a few other photos displayed….Lalaloopsy party by dennasideas.com - Page 020

Along with some vintage handkerchiefs that belonged to my grandmother.  They seemed to go with the sewing theme…Lalaloopsy party by dennasideas.com - Page 027

Another awesome decorating idea, which was super easy, super budget-friendly and super fast was this paper plate button banner.  My older daughter and her friend whipped it up for me very last minute (like, guests were already inside the house!!)  Paper plates + punched paper circles + glue stick + hole punch + ribbon= party banner!!!Lalaloopsy party by dennasideas.com - Page 019One of my favorite ideas was another last minute brain wave, when I brought down my vintage sewing basket and realized that the inside lining was perfect party yellow!!  I decided to line the top tray with yellow cardstock and set the mini cupcakes right into the sewing basket!sewing basket on dessert table at a Lalaloopsy party by dennasideas.com I have already posted about how to make button cookies here, and they made it to the party, too.  The day before the party, they were sent to my daughter’s class packaged in little bags that said “I’m Sew Blessed to have you as my friend!”  They make perfect party favors, too (but I didn’t actually get enough made for party favors…)button cookie favors for a Lalaloopsy party by dennasideas.com I put the buttons in a jar…for the sewing machine dessert table….they were my favorite dessert at the party!Lalaloopsy party by dennasideas.com - Page 011Then there was a cute sewing button cake.  Here’s a step by step how to for decorating the cake.  It was very quick and easy…even the little doily banner.  It seemed like a good idea at the time to use a cake mix…..bleh!denna's ideas: how to make a Lalaloopsy Sewing party cake with sprinklesSo here’s how the display turned out:Lalaloopsy party dessert table  by dennasideas.com Lalaloopsy party by dennasideas.com Lalaloopsy party table by dennasideas.com Lalaloopsy party by dennasideas.com

Mason jars with cupcake wrappers over the top and a blue paper button, for the very pink lemonade:mason jar drinks for kids at a Lalaloopsy or Sewing Party by denna's ideas.com

My Lalaloopsy girl was wearing a pink dress and eyelet pinafore that my mother sewed for me, oh, years ago!!  I used to wear it to school….without blue curly hair, though.Lalaloopsy party by dennasideas.com - Page 035

Here’s where Hello Kitty makes her appearance at this party!!  She didn’t want to be left out.  Super cute plates from Target…
Lalaloopsy party by dennasideas.com - Page 010Giant sized coloring pages, also from Target, were used to last-minutely add some wall decor…just right to cover up the annoying thermostat….Lalaloopsy party by dennasideas.com - Page 013And here is where my big splurge comes in….I’m usually pretty good about DIYing my party stuff from dollar store supplies, but I found THESE.  These pink sparkly purses with big bows.  There were 6 of them and they were on sale!!!  So I guiltily bought them and saved them for the party…for the party favor bags.  In the end there were going to be more guests, so I went back to Claire’s and found some more matching little backpacks and purses.  They were pink and purple plaid.  I had not wanted to invite Purple to this Pink and Red and Yellow and Turquoise party, but she ended up sneaking in anyways.  She would have looked cute in the button cookies…oh well.  So the purses were tied onto the backs of the chairs…party bag purses at a Lalaloopsy & Hello Kitty party by dennasideas.com l - Page 002Filled with a few treats and candies…not too many as the purse was the big favor!!  (the colors in my photos are so wonky!!)Lalaloopsy party by dennasideas.com - Page 016There were a few more last minute decorating ideas that actually happened…like this poster cloud that had to appear to hide a big decal on the wall….with pink sharpie stitches running around the edge and a doily and more paper buttons to disguise the nail sticking out….Lalaloopsy party by dennasideas.com - Page 017My sister had given me this adorable fabric for Christmas, with little paper dolls on it!!  So last minute it was taped to the lampshade and pinned onto a pillow….(with safety pins of course!!)Lalaloopsy party by dennasideas.com l - Page 003Hmmm, that other pillow….I guess I did actually sew it, about 10 years ago, with my Mom supervising me on her surger….!  I suppose I do occasionally sew things, with a lot of supervision, but in between projects, I actually forget how to sew.  And still can’t get my machine’s tension right!Lalaloopsy party by dennasideas.com - Page 028There was also this cute flower arrangement on the table….like a cherry sundae made of flowers!  There’s a how-to right here under budget-friendly flower arrangementdenna's ideas: how to make a budget friendly ice cream Sundae flower arrangementLalaloopsy party by dennasideas.com

Lalaloopsy party by dennasideas.com We had the table set with the coloring place-mats and crayons in mason jars so the girls could color right away as the first activity.crayons by dennasideas.com - Page 001 denna's ideas.com Lalaloopsy partyLalaloopsy party by dennasideas.com - Page 034

And then came lunch!!  The food was Lalaloopsy themed and you can see the recipes and how-tos here in my previous post.denna's ideas: pasta salad, party food for a Lalaloopsy party denna's ideas: pasta salad, party food for a Lalaloopsy or Hello Kitty  party denna's ideas: party sandwiches for a Hello kitty party or for a Lalaloopsy girly party

After lunch I wanted to play “Button, button who’s got the button?” but wasn’t sure exactly how it was played…so I invented my own version, with the girls hiding buttons in their fists, and the next one guessing and keeping the button if guessed right.  It worked!  Another game was the one where you get lengths of yarn, and must tell something about yourself while you are winding the yarn around your finger.  That worked to get the girls telling some things about themselves!  Oh yes, and a button craft!!  I had wanted to do a sewing craft, but it just didn’t work out.  So we made cards with a stamped mason jar and there were lots of buttons for the girls to choose from to fill their jar…lalaloopsy party by dennasideas.com - Page 006lalaloopsy party by dennasideas.com - Page 004lalaloopsy party by dennasideas.com - Page 003I had some stamps with phrases, so the girls could choose to add Thank you or Happy Birthday or Happy Holidays.  Most of them chose Thank you.  The girls were quite creative with their cards, and decorated the envelopes, too.  After the party was over, I found my daughter’s card…Lalaloopsy party by dennasideas.com - Page 012It says Thank You Mom for my Birthday, with adorable misspelling!!  How cute is that?  So wonderful to know that she was happy with her birthday party! 🙂Lalaloopsy party by dennasideas.com - Page 033The girls had a laugh making “lalaloopsy eyes” heh, heh!Lalaloopsy party by dennasideas.com - Page 032And trying on Hello Kitty glasses!!denna's ideas.com????? denna's ideas.com denna's ideas.comIt was a lot of fun!  Here are a few last ideas for a Lalaloopsy themed party.  One of the snacks could have been Froot Loops (loopsy, get it?)  I had found the perfect box. a Birthday Edition with hearts in with the loops….since that’s our birthday tradition, sugary cereal of their choice for the birthday child…Lalaloopsy party by dennasideas.com - Page 015Lalaloopsy party by dennasideas.com - Page 031And then there were some really cool spool of thread pops that I saw in several places on pinterest, made from marshmallows and fondant and candy melts, that I started working on…but I wasn’t pleased with them, the marshmallows were too weirdly-shaped for my liking, so I didn’t finish them….and we totally didn’t need any more sugar!!  (I never put the candy melt “thread” on the “spools”)lalaloopsy party by dennasideas.com - Page 002 lalaloopsy party by dennasideas.com - Page 001As you can probably tell, I do a lot of things last minute for my parties.  Not to mention that the whole house has to be tidied up before the party, too.  It all adds up to a lot of work!  I’m grateful for my family’s help!  My oldest daughter especially helped me get a lot of the last minute decorating done.  Seems like I don’t stop decorating ’till the 2nd or 3rd party guest arrives… Ah well, Lalaloopsy party has now come and gone, good thing I still have my little dolly around to brighten my days!
Lalaloopsy party by dennasideas.com - Page 030