Saturday, April 30, 2011

Trampoline Hindsight

Several weeks ago we purchased a trampoline for our girls to play on in the backyard. I researched various sizes and brands and read a lot of reviews. We ended up buying the 15' trampoline with enclosure sold at Sam's Club. We sunk the trampoline legs down into the ground to make it level and reduce the chances the Oklahoma wind could overturn it. That may sound funny to you, but just after a small tornado passed over us two years ago and homeowners emerged to inspect the damages, we heard our neighbor yell, "If anybody is missing their patio furniture, we found it in our driveway." We lost sections of our roof and ended up having to replace the whole thing. With that in mind, we buried our trampoline poles in the ground.

Our girls love jumping on the trampoline - especially Sophie and Riley. It was a hit at Sophie's birthday party earlier in the month too.


Hindsight is 20/20...

As Spring came the rain fell, and the grass grew taller and taller beneath the trampoline. It never dawned on us that if we buried the trampoline legs, we couldn't move it to mow the lawn beneath. We have a self propelled lawnmower and Judd had to fold the handle down and crawl under the trampoline to mow the grass.

Judd is a good sport. I laughed so much watching him scamper around like this. It was hilarious seeing him try to pull the starter cord while the mower handle was folded down. What a great guy!

Would you rather chance your trampoline ending up on your neighbor's roof during the next storm, or would you rather sink the legs in the ground and have to use a lawn mower designed for a Pygmy?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

DIY Party Banner

My friend, Tessa, loves to eat Mexican food. She may love it almost as much as she loves the man she is about to marry. Tessa's upcoming bridal shower will have a Mexican fiesta theme. I was asked to create a banner of some sort. I thought about using take out menus from local Mexican restaurants but realized the font size would be too small to read once the banner is hung. Plus, take out menus are not very colorful. I'll tuck that idea into my back pocket for some future project.

I found some pictures of Papel Picado - hand cut paper banners crafted from tissue paper. Images are created within the cutouts - all by hand.

Using the photos above as my launching point, I decided I had neither the time nor the skill required to actually cut out 15 feet worth of images, from tissue paper, by hand. If I tried, the banner would end up looking like a cluster of snowflakes - at best - if you squinted, and tilted your head, and jumped up and down. Also, living in Oklahoma, I doubted tissue paper on thread would hold up to wind gusts we experience here. As I am typing this, the tornado warning we were under expired. The sirens sounded a while ago, but now the storm has passed over and a beautiful rainbow can be seen out my breakfast nook window. Tissue paper ain't gonna cut it, baby. Yes, I could pay the $20 + shipping and handling for a real strand of Papel Picado, but what fun is that? I'm a do-it-yourself kind of girl and thrive on finding beautiful decorating ideas and making them myself for less money.

So, I perused my local Hobby Lobby and purchased bold, bright 12" x 12" textured card stock paper from the scrapbook supply section.

I cut the pages into 9" x 6" pieces.

Then I hand cut pointed edges on the yellow sheets, curved edges on the pink sheets, and cut the edges of the blue pages with fancy design cutting scrapbook scissors.

Alternating colors, I sewed each piece of paper onto yellow grosgrain ribbon.

Finally, I tied on two handmade tissue paper flower pom-poms.

Viola! I hope she likes it.

This banner took me about an hour to make, with Sophie's "help", and only cost $5. Hobby Lobby didn't have their card stock paper on sale this week, but the ribbon is was only $1 - half off the 18 ft. spool. I recycled the tissue paper from my birthday presents.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sophia Coco Turns Four

We celebrated Sophia Coco's fourth birthday this past weekend with a garden theme. I baked two kinds of cupcakes - yellow and strawberry. The buttercream frosting was piped onto the cupcakes using my new Wilton #1M decorator tip. I placed donut holes and pink marshmallows on skewers because they reminded me of fairy wands or bouquets of flowers.

Each cupcake had a sucker (flower), green sugar glitter (grass), and green sugared candy (leaf). The swizzle stick rock candy reminded me of hollyhocks and snapdragons.

Sophie wanted her own cake instead of a cupcake. She has very specific ideas for decor, style, flavors, and presentation (I wonder where in the world she gets that - ha!). She asked for a pink, two-layered cake with white icing, pink sugar glitter, and a butterfly. I bought two 6" round cake pans at Michael's along with the non edible butterfly.

I gathered paper lanterns and handmade tissue paper flower pom-poms of various sizes and colors. I tied them onto a 5/8" dowel rod which Judd suspended from the air vents in our ceiling using fishing line and paper clips. (eat your heart out, Macgyver) Small flower garlands draped below.

I took my inspiration from this amazing paper lantern/pompom collection here.

I displayed pictures of Sophie and included little information tidbits about her which allowed people to get to know her even better. One card displayed Sophie's favorite foods, another card listed her favorite places, another her favorite colors, and the fourth shared her favorite activities.

Sophie had a wonderful time jumping with her friends on the trampoline which was her birthday present from us.

Her sweet friends looked on as she opened her gifts.

Of course we sang happy birthday as she blew out her candles.

It was a fantastic party. Sophie felt celebrated and special as she turned four years old.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Spring Pictures in the Park

This morning was a beautiful spring day in Tulsa. We met up with Grandma Cole at Woodward Park and the Tulsa Rose Garden at 9:30 am. Getting all five of us fed, dressed and ready for pictures that early on a Saturday morning was quite a feat. The park was full of tulips and daffodils. We presumed we'd beat most of the professional photographers who's subjects may want to sleep in on Saturdays. Unfortunately, there were numerous photogs snapping pictures of families, engaged couples, dogs, and the natural beauty of abundant blossoming flowers.

Piper - Grandma Cole - Sophie

Riley and Sophie meander down a path.

Running down a hill = bliss!

Look! The duck is dipping under the water!


These pictures were taken with our painfully slow and outdated digital camera. Grandma Cole took lots and lots of pictures with her fabulous camera. I can't wait to see all the incredible shots she got -- including some of my wonderful husband who, somehow, managed not to be in any of our pictures. We had so much fun romping around the park today and are glad we captured these moments with pictures.

Birthday Balloon Wreath

In preparation for Sophie's 4th birthday, I decided to make a balloon wreath for our front door. Sophie was my special helper on this project.

During our trip to Hobby Lobby, we purchased a 50% off straw wreath for only $2. We used 325 balloons of assorted colors and sizes. These were $1.99 per 100 balloons. The curling ribbon was $1.99 for a spool containing four different colors and prints.

I bought 2 packages of floral pins for $1.47 each at Hobby Lobby. I ran out of pins and bought 2 more packages at Walmart for $1 each.

I left the plastic wrap on the straw wreath to keep it from shedding all over. Sophie and I pinned the balloons all over the front of the wreath. We overlapped the balloons and turn them this way and that. Each balloon was pinned on individually. I finished it off by pinning on a few curly ribbons.

I think our party guests will feel welcomed and ready to celebrate Sophie's 4th birthday next week.

The total for this project was about $15. This wreath will be used again and again for many birthdays yet to come. Plus, Sophie and I thoroughly enjoyed working on it together. I found this birthday balloon wreath idea at How Does She?