Butterflies, Flutterbys, Everywhere Butterflies

Frequently, I take inspiration from a variety of websites and products when I’m making things around my house, but from time to time the stars align and inspiration strikes me of its own accord.  With so many preparations in the last few days before the big event of my daughter’s golden, first birthday party, it might be deemed miraculous that I still had my wits about me enough to get the surplus creative juices flowing.  Sometimes, I even surprise myself.  If my previous posts had not been any such indication, I operate under a budget and where I can cut costs, I most assuredly will.  It was thus that I decided to not only create my own fruit tray (I mean really, it’s fruit… not that difficult), but to also make it a butterfly fruit tray to further augment the theme within my modest home.  In addition to the obvious need of fruit (I chose bananas, blueberries, strawberries, and grapes — a variety of colors is helpful for my plan, but you can use whatever fruit you like), my plan also called for a large, flat, clear plastic tray (purchased at my local grocery store for just a few dollars), some wax paper, scotch tape, and a permanent marker.  I outlined the tray onto the wax paper so I would know how much space I had to work with, and then I set to work on my butterfly making.  It took me a few tries to get it to look the way that I wanted, but I finally created a simple design that best utilized the space provided and was, more or less, aesthetically pleasing.

Once the design was complete, I cut out the butterfly, and taped it with clear, scotch tape to the *bottom* of the tray.  Like so:

Are you getting where I’m going with this?  From here, it was a simple manner of placing the fruit in the allotted space as indicated by the outline showing through the bottom of the tray.  I used the bananas for the body, cut the blueberries in half for little antennae, and then used alternating colors of the strawberries, grapes, and remaining blueberries and bananas to best fill in the pattern.

I found that cutting some of the strawberries and grapes in half made for a more sturdy foundation for stacking of the fruit, otherwise the little guys would roll away.  In addition to the fruit tray, we also served some freshly cooked shrimp with cocktail sauce, pizza dip (thanks, Paula!), Chili & Garlic Chex Mix (gluten-free recipe — I baked it on a cookie sheet at 250 for an hour, stirring every 15 minutes, instead of microwaving to make it more crisp), deviled eggs (my mom’s most yummy recipe), Squisite Squares (they are peanut butter and chocolate bars that we have a recipe for), Ham Delights (another old family favorite — think a sort of ham and cheese roll), and some sherbet punch (1 part OJ, 2 parts Hawaiian punch, 2 parts ginger ale, and enough scoops of rainbow sherbet to cover the top of the punch bowl — I really did it all based upon color.  Poor the juice and punch appropriately until you get an appealing color).

Paper plates and napkins were found on sale (of course!) at Target.  And if you were wondering, I was not so silly of a Mama to forget the most important thing:  CAKE!

My local grocer will give you a free “Smash Cupcake” to go with any sheet cake purchase for a 1st birthday.  Perfection!  I took the bakery a copy of the image that I created for the invitations, and they were able to put it on both the cake and cupcake for me.  If you noticed my vase in the corner, I took my handy permanent marker, hot glue gun, and some plastic butterflies that I had gotten at Michael’s (I told you in my post on the high chair that I found a million uses for my clearance priced butterfly assortment!)  FYI:  the butterflies still came off easily with a bit of pressure applied and the permanent marker washed off with some detergent, so I had my old vase back at the end of it all, but I would still recommend only use one that you’re willing to sacrifice to the cause, just in case.

            

The roses are Rainbow Roses from Argentina.  I don’t question their methods in applying the dyes as they do, I just accept them as really pretty flowers and the perfect touch for my little Munchkin’s first birthday party!

Finally, after putting up some more butterflies in various places around the house (remember the ones I had on the cookbooks near my party favors?)…

…and carefully putting up some pink and polka dot streamers, pink balloons, butterfly and birthday-themed mylar balloons, banners, and other signs displaying the excitement that was my little one’s first birthday…

…I was done!  The party went off without a hitch, and every last detail over which I had labored came together to make for the perfect event befitting a butterfly-themed first birthday, and for a golden first birthday, at that (1 on the 1st!).

Is there a little one for whom you are planning a birthday party in the future?  What theme are you using?  Have fun, no matter what you do, and take pictures!!

Guest Bedroom Headboard: Part 3

It’s amazing what can be created in a relatively short span of time with your own two hands.  Little more than a week ago, I had some blue sheets that were the ugly duckling in my guest bedroom.  They just didn’t belong, and I was kicking myself over the purchase, wishing that I had thought better of them before I’d given them their first wash and generally ruined their chance of being returned.  Good bargain or not, I do like for my house to like nice — especially for my out-of-town guests!  My little munchkin turns 1 this week, and that definitely means a house full of guests, and it put my little blue sheets on a serious time table for somehow finding a way to fit in.  Here’s how we came to our finished work.  (I consider it to be art, but I’m a little biased).

Where I left off, I had a nice headboard sitting in my kitchen, just waiting for a little bit of attention.  I really am blessed with a very nice neighbor who came over to help me manhandle the headboard so that I could do my end of the deal:  the upholstering.  If you don’t know your neighbors, call them over for a glass of wine or coffee ahead of time.  You never know when some storm will hit, literally or figuratively, and you’ll be glad that you have a friendly face looking out for you right nearby.  But I digress…

I had briefly mentioned before that I was going to purchase a fabric shower curtain to do my upholstering.  I have a sewing machine, and I actually use it from time to time, but I was concerned that I would have a piece of fabric that wouldn’t be quite the right size, and I didn’t want to have a seam running through the middle of my finished piece.  Also, being on a tight schedule (nothing quite like your in-laws coming to light a fire under you and your project for some serious motivation!), I didn’t want to have to fiddle with all of the time involved for sewing the pieces together.  The only tool I really wanted to use is my handy dandy staple gun.  Thus, I knew that something along the lines of either a shower curtain or a bed sheet would be within my budget and give me plenty of fabric to cover the front of my 62″x39″ headboard and still leave plenty for wrapping around and tacking onto the back.  I ended up with the following shower curtain:

As you can see, it’s listed as 100% polyester — you clearly do not want a cheap plastic shower curtain for this type of job, and you want something that will hold up well not only as part of the headboard, but won’t tear too easily when it has a staple shoved into it.  I got this beauty at Bed Bath & Beyond on sale and with a coupon (oh, how I love my never-ending pile of BBB coupons!) for $24.  I like how it’s more than one type of fabric.  It will make my headboard interesting without the added work of having to sew different fabric types. This is one of the benefits of working with a shower curtain rather than a sheet.  I decided that I would have a bit of the blue trim show at the top so that it gives a bit of a border to the overall design.  For the batting, I found a great big piece of high loft quilter’s batting.  It’s 110″ square, so I decided I would overlap it about 2 1/2 times.  This makes the headboard a little more cushy and provides added thickness at the top (versus down behind the mattress and springs where no one will notice).

I wrapped the batting around the front first and stapled it down.  On the corners, do as my neighbor kept telling me, and “wrap it like a present.” It ensures that you have tighter corners that won’t bunch up too much with all of the extra fabric/material.  I was also careful to not have fabric where my husband would later have to screw on the legs.  We outlined where they would go so that I would better know where not to staple.  In any case, with the batting on, it was time for the shower curtain.  Staple, staple, staple, and here you have it!

I chose to not cut the fabric in the back and to use the extra length to cover some of the wood to prevent it from rubbing too much on the walls.  With a little batting of my eyelashes when my husband came home, I convinced him that we needed to finish the project that night.  I love that man.  So, up the stairs it went.  We waited until we were upstairs to drill on the legs to make it a little easier to navigate the stairwell without pieces sticking out.

Here you see it laying on top of the bed with the legs affixed.  You can also see how I brought the material up in the back to cover some of the wood.  We were at the homestretch!  It may have seemed like an easy sprint, but we found one more hurdle…  We discovered that some of the holes on the legs were not quite lining up with the metal frame.  It happens.  So out came the drill and the vacuum.  My husband added some new holes, and I vacuumed my heart out getting the pieces of wood off the carpet.  Finally, we were able to attach the headboard to the frame with some nuts and bolts, and ta-daaaaa!

My ugly duckling became a beautiful swan!  We are so excited with how it turned out.  It can be kind of hard to compare the before with the after since I made several other changes.  I flipped the comforter to the solid gold side, swapped in some ivory pillow shams and dust ruffle, and added in this cute knotted pillow I found on clearance to go with our nautical theme.  Overall, we’re so happy with how it turned out, and we can’t wait for our guests to enjoy their new suite!