Friday, February 13, 2015


THE RIGHT KIND OF FUN. I have a teenage daughter.  It's as scary as people claim.  Just as my daughter has to face the most challenging situations of her young life, I can sense my loss of influence with her and the increased importance of her friends' opinions. To avoid becoming a non-entity in her life and to get to know her friends better, I like to host teenage versions of playdates at our house.  I want to show her that your social life doesn't have to revolve around boys to be fun and to encourage her to invest in her friendships.  I strive to come up with activities the girls will think are "cool."  Left alone, the girls would all sit around on their cell phones lost in music videos, video games and emails instead of talking and interacting with each other. I've seen it way too often.  I was happy with our Valentine's party last weekend so I'm sharing it with you here. 

$2 CRAFT PROJECT. All the rectangular frames above, came from the Dollar Store.  I bought a couple pink and blue striped scrapbook pages and some pink ribbon on 50% sale.  Since I'm crafty, I already had navy blue and gold paint and some paper heart shaped doilies. The scrapbook pages each did multiple frames and hearts and the ribbon could have done more frames. The Love card is also from the Dollar Store. I just taped it to the page. Totaling up all the supplies, the finished frames were less than $2 each and I could have made many more so I consider them a good craft activity, but I  decided to go with glitter cups, a banner and baking this year.  Maybe I'll do this one with the girls next year.


OMBRE GLITTER CUPS. So easy, so pretty.  A new trend on Pinterest is glitter cups.  You apply spray adhesive to plastic cups or champagne  bottles and then sprinkle glitter on it.  It adds sparkle and glitz to any celebration and it's super easy.  I've seen it done a lot with gold & pink glitter on champagne bottles or clear plastic champagne cups, but I decided to give the girls pink solo cups and give them a variety of glitter colors (blues & pink hues) to make ombre effects if they wanted since ombre is so in right now. You can see the girls started with red on the bottom and then chose lighter shades of glitter for each subsequent layer.

CREATIVE EXPRESSION.   I'm a very orderly crafter.  I like projects to come out picture perfect, but for a gathering like this, it's the creative expression that's important, so I let the girls go crazy with the glitter and do whatever they want.  No matter what they did, it looked pretty and festive. It was basically a fail-proof craft.  I had some glitter already, but FYI, Dollar Tree has small packets of 4 glitter colors as a set in different hues.  I picked up a few of those in pink and blue for this activity.

A YOUNG VIBE. I chose navy blue and bubble gum pink over traditional red and white to better fit the age range.  It started because I had pink chevron heart place mats, but I went with navy and white greek pattern material for the table cover since that is so in right now.  My daughter has a lot of pink in her room, so I brought out some poodle ornaments we got her years ago and a pink Eiffel tower to use as a centerpiece. Then, I added some hot pink balloons that I got at the dollar store. If I didn't have the place mats, I could have used pink butcher paper to make large pink hearts for each place setting. It was more about the bright colors than anything else. 
LE MENU.  This was an easy meal. I made heart shaped pasta they had at the grocery store with cheese sauce, a green salad, some bread from a Pillsbury roll and served pink lemonade.  Teen girls aren't expecting much for party food and this was cute and filling. Heart shaped pizzas was my back up plan.  After dinner, the girls baked their own cupcakes and cookies and they decorated them. Teen girls are old enough to bake without much supervision and many enjoy it.  Those who don't, can watch and visit with the rest.  Since I used mostly plastic and paper plates, cups, napkins and cutlery,  I hardly had any clean up.  I did like the pink plastic heart shaped bowls I found at the grocery store for $1 each on sale. I thought they made the table setting more festive.

PINK & BLUE BANNER.  I had blue and pink butcher block paper from a teacher's supply store and made a large banner. My daughter helped making a few extra hearts for the banner.  If the girls got bored, I was going to get them to do a few more for me.  I did give them some pink and blue crepe paper to decorate the banner and they made some streamers for it.  They thought it came out pretty so we took a picture.  Very inexpensive activity and it kept them off their cell phones. After dinner, they baked their cupcakes and played Just Dance so their cells pretty much stayed put away as I hoped they would.

KEY TO MY HEART.  When I put this card out as a display, I noticed the key theme and found an old key, spray painted it gold and put a ribbon on it to add to the display.  Afterwards, I realized this could be another craft for the girls. I have lots of old keys that don't go to anything.   I could have had the girls spray paint them gold and hung them from ribbon to make them into necklaces. I would be recycling. If I didn't have the keys, I could have used florist wire, shaped it into a heart and had the girls spray paint them to make them into pendants to go on ribbons to make necklaces.  I didn't need the activity this year, but I'm storing the idea away for next.

Hope you have a happy St. Valentine's Day!







Thursday, February 5, 2015

RE-cycling Holiday Decor: My Budget St. Valentine's Day Mantel

XMAS ORNAMENTS RECAST. I enjoy decorating for all the holidays, but it's a hobby that can easily get out of hand.  A great way to limit the decorations you buy, store and maintain is to find ones that can serve more than one holiday. The cherubs, above, are ornaments for our main Christmas tree. A dab of hot glue converts my ornaments into figurines. I can later peel the dried glue off easily without causing damage to either the mantel or the ornaments.  Cherub, red, pink or white ball ornaments or white dove/love bird ornaments can all pull double duty as Valentine's Day decor. For example, dump a bunch of red glass ornaments in a tray or a glass vase, add a few cupid picks and viola, a Valentine's Day arrangement.  I use cross Christmas tree ornaments for Easter decor, our deep green ball ornaments & ribbon for St. Patrick's Day and our gold, green & purple ball ornaments for Mardi Gras,  Not only do I get extra use out of my ornaments and save $$$, but it makes packing up all my Christmas decor in January less of a chore because there is less to pack away until next November! Double score!

Making a few holiday items go a long way. Here's my St. Valentine's Day Mantel. In addition to reusing angel & heart Christmas tree ornaments, I used framed old Valentine Day cards, a DIY red felt pomander and a few new purchases from the Dollar Store or the Dollar Section of Target to satisfy my holiday decorating urge for a bargain $6.
VISUAL POP.  To save $ and space, I shop around my home for things I already own that can be used in a holiday display versus buying new items.  Here, I originally considered using silver & porcelain heart jewelry boxes and crystal cherub and heart shaped figurines I already have. They are finer crafted, more elegant decorations than the ones I used, but I went with inexpensive bright red items believing the visual contrast with the deep blue walls would be more festive. To me, visual pop was more important and luckily there are all sorts of ways to bring in color easily & inexpensively to supplement other display items.
VERSATILE FRAMES.  I've found that a few ornate gold frames are a great decorating staple.  These ornate gold picture frames sometimes hold family photos, but in February, they display old Valentine's Day cards and in March & April, they hold pretty Spring holiday note cards.   They dress up anything they display. I like re-purposing old holiday cards this way because I get to enjoy them instead of sticking them into a memory box that won't be opened for years.   Party invitations framed and used as table decor would be another great use.  
SOMETHINGS OLD, NEW & MADE.   The red ribbons hanging in front of the mantel were bought at Michael's and Target for $1 each. The red glittery plastic plate was purchased at a local grocery store for $1 on clearance after Valentine's Day.  The gold hearts are both Christmas tree decorations.  I stuck one of the gold hearts on a floral tube I got from a floral bouquet and spray painted gold. I painted a piece of hard wire, threaded it thru the plastic tube and tied it to the heart ornament to make it stand upright on top of a felt pomander to create a topiary design.  The red felt pomander was a simple craft project. 
FELT ROSETTE POMANDER DIRECTIONS.  This is such an easy project and perfect for Valentine's Day.  Use an old CD to draw a circle on a piece of felt. Cut out the circle and then cut the circle into a spiral as shown above. Pinch the small end of the spiral and wrap the rest of the spiral around it to form a rosette. Do a bunch of rosettes and hot glue them to a form ball or to a wreath form to create a lovely Valentine's Day decoration.  It is so easy you can make a bunch while watching your favorite tv show and not miss a thing.  It's also an inexpensive craft since a sheet of felt costs about 25 cents and makes multiple rosettes.

Hope this entry may spark some shopping around your own inventory of holiday decor and mementos for creative repurposing. Remember - store less, use what you have more.

Written by Eldarose