Entryway Revamp

 

One of the things I love about home decor and design, is that you can always change it up.

I don’t mean collect frivolous clutter, but repurpose and reuse things in different ways or places in your home for your needs as they change.

Our entry way was one of my favorite things to change.

For my family, it serves as a hub for shoes as we enter and exit the home. We don’t wear shoes in the house, so it’s a good way to store them and grab them as we leave.

With that being said, I had gotten this bench from Kirkland’s on sale to replace the console table that was calling me. Truly, is serves a better purpose then the console table which was in a totally different place in our old house before we remodeled and moved to the farm. This table was moved into our master bedroom, I of course chalk painted it to match the dressers and end table. So I didn’t waste it! I’ll link the post that’s coming with how that looks there and how I painted it when I write it.

img_9500

It ended up leaving me with the dilemma that my faux boxwoods had less room in the space. The plastic pots I had gotten from Amazon didn’t fit anymore.

So I removed the pots and was left with an exposed black base, it was clearly not decorative. That may not bother some people, it wasn’t exactly hideous but I didn’t like seeing the exposed black pot that was really meant to be covered.

I was at Hobby Lobby, and got some burlap fabric that was on sale, it literally cost me under $5. We cut it in half, gathered it up around the base and tied it with twine we had here and voila- fancy and easy!

Table & Chairs Makeover

fresh & organic.jpg

One of my favorite things to do is refinish furniture.

Its oddly therapeutic, and at the end of my projects I step back and just smile when I see a piece transform.

I’m 1000% an Annie Sloan Chalk Paint enthusiast, its the easiest way to refinish anything, but there are times when its not ideal to use it. This project was one of those cases.

IMG_3389.jpg

IMG_3397.jpg

I took the job of refinishing this table and chair set, her request was to have the base and chairs repainted black. It started out originally as an oak table and chair set, it had such good bones, it was an old Thomasville set and really would look nice. Annie Sloan does make a graphite color similar to black, but if you are going for true deep dark black, its not really right (even with using their black wax). That was reason 1 that I couldn’t use Annie Sloan, reason 2 was the condition it was in. The best part about Annie Sloan is that there is no prep involved. You can literally paint over finishes without having to sand or strip. This table though, it had been repainted years before. with good ol’ primer and latex paint. It was peeling, chipping, uneven in its application and was just not something you could paint over.

With that being said, I had to strip all 8 chairs, two leaves, 4 legs, base and top of this table set. It was NOT ideal. Stripping furniture is a real pain, and that’s putting it lightly. So, if you find yourself in. The same situation, with an old piece with uneven latex paint that you want to refinish, here is what you do.

Step 1: STRIP IT.

At first, I tried to just sand this without having to strip it. This did not go quickly, and I knew that I would have to remove the paint, just sanding would not be an option.

IMG_3391

Use  the strongest one you can find. I wasted SO much time trying to use a greener stripping product, called Citristrip. I then tried KLEANSTRIP and it was SO much better. Still lots of work, but much better.

IMG_3557.JPGBe sure to do this outside, theres no way you’d do this messy of a project inside, but I need to say in case, DO THIS OUTSIDE. Wear Chemical Resistant gloves! 

Follow the directions on the product, and chip away it it. You will alternate between applying the stripper, and scraping it off with a putty knife. This takes forever, no joke. On flat surfaces like the table top, its quick, but on chair legs with nooks and crannies, its a nightmare. Just keep chipping away at it and eventually you will get it all off and you can move on to Step 2, Sanding.

Step 2: SAND.

Once you have all the paint off, you will no doubt have an uneven finish, its inevitable. Take your palm sander, or if you’re a superhero, regular sandpaper and use elbow grease and sand your whole piece until you get a smooth even finish.

Step 3: PAINT. 

Depending on what you choose to paint with, paint your piece. In my case, I wanted an even application, and at this point, I had spent well over 60 hours stripping and sanding this project. I didn’t have it in me to hand paint anything!

If you wanted to use Annie Sloan, this would be the point you could. Like I said, graphite wasn’t dark enough, so I wasn’t able to use chalk paint. I don’t think I could have hand painted it though, I was so sore, tired, and just irritated. I estimated this taking 12 hours (I hadn’t seen the table) and was way past that.

What I ended up doing, and I had done this on a previous table and chair set, was to use a Rusteoleum Paint and Primer Spray Paint- in Satin Black. 

IMG_3952IMG_4738IMG_4740

So, I applied two coats on all pieces.

Stain- If Applicable

** This is sort of a step in itself, but its not totally necessary, you could paint your whole piece one color. It was requested that the top of the table be stained a dark color. So I took my General Finishes gel stain (my fave) in Java and wiped two coats on, letting it dry each time between  coats. I used a glossy finish poly on top.

Step 4: SEAL.

I wanted to be totally sure this finish would be protected, so I took my wipe on poly in satin finish, and wiped all of the chair legs, table top, and sides down and it was finally done!!

After I was done, my faith in chalk paint was renewed. This was SOOOO much more work than (ideally being able to) just painting over a finish, and waxing it to seal.  If I had to choose, I’d choose chalk paint any day. Like I said though, this wasn’t an option for this project.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, I hope this gives you insight HOW TO PROCEED with it.

Happy Painting!

Loose Wave Curls Tutorial

My hair never used to be curled, like ever. I started using a curling wand a little over a year ago and it was a game changer!

Since then, lots of ladies have asked how I curl my hair.

While I was getting ready one morning, I made a video explaining how I do it loose wave curls and what products I use. I figured, why not?!

I’m by no means an expert, but I’m just passing along what works for me. If you are curious click the link below and check out the video.

Turn your phone into landscape (horizontal) mode to see a bigger picture- I’m still figuring this filming thing out!

Specific links to the products I mention in the video:

I use a L’ange 25mm ceramic curling wand

Use this code for 50% off of their site

Davines Heat Protector

Davines Dry Texturizer

Living Proof Full Dry Volume Blast

Davines Shimmer Mist

Wella Hairspray

Hopefully this gives you some ideas about how to change up your hair routine and try something new!

XoXo

-Hannah

All About Chalk Paint

I have been using Chalk Paint for over 5 years now and its hands down, the best way to refinish projects! I honestly can’t even count how many pieces of furniture I have used chalk paint on, but its A LOT!

When I first picked up Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, I was intrigued by the ease of the whole chalk paint process. Five years later I still love it and will only use it!

I love Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Because…

  • There is NO SANDING
  • NO STRIPPING
  • There’s virtually NO PREP work
  • There is NO ODOR, and its NON TOXIC
  • Cleanup is done with soap and water and is so fast
  • You paint INDOORS (no more messy outside projects)
  • Super FAST DRY TIME. You can legit finish a whole piece in one day!
  • Its Multi Surface, you can use it on wood, metal, brick, tile and a lot more!

With all of this being said, at some point I want to make separate posts for different projects I have done with all of their specifics. For now I will give you general Chalk Paint 411 and what you need to know about beginning a chalk paint project. I’ll be sure to link any pictures used in this to those posts when I do do them.

I want to stress, the quality of Annie Sloan paint and how it relates to the projects you take on. If you have a super sentimental piece of furniture you are redoing that’s been in your family or something like that DON’T go the cheap route and make your own chalk paint or buy some from for example, Michael’s. Its NOT worth it to ruin a piece and save $10. In the long run Annie Sloan is AMAZING quality and will be durable and last. You will never achieve the same quality with a cheaper product and its not worth it for good pieces of furniture to go that route. To me its like comparing different car manufacturers. Sure, a Mercedes and a Mitsubishi will get you from point A to point B; but the ride will be completely different! Yes, there are other chalk paint brands and other DIY things you can do to MAKE chalk paint, but I don’t recommend them. You wont achieve the same results as you would with Annie Sloan with another inferior product. Annie Sloan is the best and one quart of paint will last you for MULTIPLE projects. I can get at least 3 big projects out of one can, and with it being $38 thats a little over $10 a piece in paint. Can you imagine painting a dresser for $10?!

I’ll talk about my most recent redo for instructions on how to chalk paint, my old dresser. I got this when I graduated high school and it is just dated and needed to be revived.

Supply List

  • Chalk Paint (you can mix two or more colors to get a more specific color)
  • Paint brushes
  • Tarp, sheet, or construction paper
  • Painters tape if you need to tape off any edges depending on your piece
  • Clear Wax
  • Sand Paper (optional) if you are adding distressing
  • Dark or Black Wax (optional) if you are wanting to add shadowing and age the piece

Directions:

  1. If your piece is grimy, really dusty or has any kind of film take some mineral spirits and lightly wipe off the piece. You can even use water and a damp cloth to just take off any residue before you paint.
  2. Remove the hardware. You can spray paint, chalk paint, or even replace hardware. For this piece, I removed, and just replaced it. I have done other pieces where I bought new hardware, and where I used a spray paint that had paint and primer in it and sprayed existing hardware and then put it back on. Tape any edges you want protected. I was lazy and free-handed it, and could have taped around the edges of the drawers so paint wouldn’t get on the sides of the drawers.
  3. Lay down a tarp, an old sheet, or in my case, some craft paper. I didn’t move this, and just painted it right in my room. Its super easy! I took some old pieces of wood to list up the dresser and paint the feet.
  4. Take your paint and paint brush and begin to apply your first coat of paint. You will want to use a good quality brush like Purdy or Annie Sloan (if you’re buying the paint from a stockist, odds are you can pick up a brush there too). You can find a stockist here. When you’re applying the first coat, don’t worry so much about how it looks but getting a good even coverage on your piece and not applying it too thick. I promise you that your first coat will look awful! It is kind of thin and you’ll probably think you made a horrible mistake. But trust me, proceed and it will get better! Here is the first coat of paint on my dresser.
  5. Let the first coat dry. Honestly it will be dry on the side you started on by the time you get to the opposite side and start and you might not even really need to wait. Waiting 30 mins to give yourself a break would be fine and it would be ready for the second coat.
  6. Apply your second coat. Now you will see it all blending together, and not looking so messy. Apply an even and thin coat. You will be able to see if its not enough to add a little more. Chalk paint is so forgiving and really easy. You just have to try it to know what I mean. Depending on the color you chose, and the color of the piece you could be done after two coats. For this piece I went ahead and did 3 coats of Old White, since its such a light color and it was going over such a dark dresser to begin with.
  7. When its all dry, you will use Annie Sloan Clear wax. Its a really neat process, you just take a lint free rag (like a shop cloth or old sheet) and rub it into the piece like rubbing lotion on your skin. You will rub it on and then LIGHTLY wipe off the excess if it feels tacky. You can wait 24 hours and then go back and buff the piece and it will give it a slight shine to it, or leave it as it is!

8. If you want to do any distressing, you can do it one of two ways. Take a fine grit sandpaper (220) and rub it along the edges you want to be distressed AFTER you wax, or before. I have done it both ways, and its just kind of a personal preference. All roads lead to Rome. If you distress after you apply the clear wax, then there is a little less mess in my opinion because the chalk paint isn’t flaking off as much onto the floor as you rub the sand paper of the piece. The wax seals it in, but its still workable and you can distress after the wax. You can choose how you want to do it.

Additional or Optional Steps

If you want to add dimension and age the piece, Annie Sloan sells Dark Wax (which is brown) and Black Wax. Both of these should be applied AFTER you apply the clear wax. I repeat, apply the black or dark AFTER the clear has gone on. This is simply because it can be spread around once there is that clear layer to protect the piece, if you did it directly on the paint it would essentially stain it and you couldn’t manipulate it to be lighter or darker. So apply dark or black wax in areas where there are crevices and would be shadowed from again and then apply a little clear wax over those areas to blend it in. It should create a seamless look and look like it was natural.

So step 1, apply clear wax. Step 2, apply dark or black wax. Step 3, apply a little more clear wax to blend it in if its not blending well when you first apply it. This will obviously darken the piece when you apply these and will change the paint color a little bit.

Here is a nightstand I redid, with Old White, and applied dark wax into the crevices and blended it all together with a little more clear wax. You can see its darker and has an aged look. Gel stain is applied to the top of the dresser for a different look, and I The hardware on it was originally brass, and I removed it and spray painted the handles with a Rustoleum flat black and put them back on. I plan on posting about these processes and will link that when I do. Its amazing as well. You can always add more if you want it darker, or remove it like an eraser with clear wax if its too dark. Its all preference based so just step back and look at it as you go adjust it if you need to. Doing this over that first layer or clear wax makes this possible.

I hope this answers some chalk paint questions you may have had. It really is such an easy process with great results so give it a try. I’ve refinished bookcases, tables, desks, dressers, nightstands, mirrors, shelves, and even brick with chalk paint. Its AMAZING. I’ll be sure to make more posts soon about other chalk paint projects!

Share this with your friends if they’d love to learn more about chalk paint and tag Doing It Like Martha on FB or IG!

If you want to check out Annie Sloan’s website to see the products or learn more about the techniques its a great resource!

Front Door Makeover Tutorial

IMG_0418.png

Typically, all I use to refinish things now is Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (ASCP). It is amazing and goes on so many different finishes but this time I ventured away from it to makeover our front door.

Technically ASCP can be used on a front door, I really debated back and forth if I should use it. However, I did not want to have to deal with putting some kind of sealant on the front door as well which I would have needed to with ASCP. That would just double the work load for me. I knew I needed a paint and primer in one, so I would eliminate any priming step and would not have to add a sealer at the end. So we took a trip down to our local (and only option- ha ha) Ace Hardware to choose a paint. We grabbed some paint swatches, brought them home and went back to get samples of the ones we liked best. We then painted the samples in small spots on the door and then picked our winner.

Now, depending what type of and finish your door has and what type of condition it is in determines the steps you will take to paint and prep your door.

Our door was fairly new, it was painted about 3 years ago with a gel stain. It is a fiberglass exterior door, and we are assuming since it was a gel stain that it is oil based. You do NOT want to mix oil with latex or vice versa. Figure out what you have and then stick with that base. If you have an oil based paint on your door, continue to use oil based paint and primer as you refinish your door, and same with latex. There are all sorts of technical reasons about proper adhesion… just trust me.

IMG_0214

If you are like me and are in a situation where you want to switch finishes, you can. But it takes a few more steps. We wanted to replace the paint with an EXTERIOR, Semi-gloss, latex paint. After googling and doing some research, we kept seeing that latex just had a better application and seemed to last better than oil. I think oil would have worked just as well to, but we went with this paint from Ace, simply because it was all they had that would mix with our paint and we were assured we would like it. So make sure to talk to a knowledgable paint representative.   The color we chose was Royal Navy by Valspar and the paint we mixed the color in was Clark + Kensington Exterior Semi-Gloss Enamel Acyrlic Latex Paint  they have this awesome how-to guide on their website about prep and painting too if you need some more info.

We got home and here is what we did.

  1. Prep your door,  to remove any dust, oil or sheen. We lightly sanded the door, to remove any existing sheen, since we were changing paint bases from oil to latex and wanted it to have better adhesion. Just sand off most of any existing shine if you’re switching. If you’re not just wipe down the door, with a damp rag to remove any dust and then once with mineral spirits (this is something I use all the time in painting and its like a staple you have in  your pantry- you need to pick up a can if you don’t have it).  Let it dry and then proceed. IMG_0220.JPG
  2. Tape off all windows panes, or hardware. We removed the main handle and just painted and taped off the hinges. We did NOT want to remove the door off the hinges. If we had, we would have had to fully cover the front door opening until it went back up, and painting would have taken longer. We would have had to paint and finish one side, and wait for it to be all done and THEN flip it and do the other side. I wanted this to be a quick project to do on a cool day (before the summer heat hits) and it worked out great. We had a lot to tape off since we have 6 window panes on each side, and the trick to a good tape job is using an EXACTO KNIFE!! Put your tape on, and then take your exacto knife, and run it along the edges and it’ll remove tiny pieces of tape and ensure the tape is good and close to the edges.
    IMG_0222.jpeg
    Enter a caption

    IMG_0221.jpeg

  3. Start Painting, I did two coats of paint. I did not use a roller, but you could if you have several smooth areas on your door. Our door had wood grain all over it and I didnt think it was necessary to have a roller. I just made sure to use a good quality brush (I always use Purdy) and the one I used was 2.5″ and I used it for the whole door. Wait for your first coat to dry, at least 30 minutes before proceeding to the next one and ALWAYS check the label of your paint to see what it specifies. Paint drying time obviously has tons of variables, based on the temperature and humidity outside, the surface its going over, and how thick or thin paint was applied. ** This is super important- REMOVE YOUR TAPE BEFORE the paint dries! If it is pulled off when its totally dry, then paint sticks to the tape and will pull off paint as you go– and you will have to do touchups! You can remove almost immediately. **IMG_0223
  4. Let It Dry. We left the door partially open because it was a nice cool day and then closed it when we got ready for bed. Check your paint can for specific drying instructions. I waited two days and then put our cute wreath from Kirkland’s back on it.IMG_0226

That’s all! Took a couple hours, since we painted the front AND back (because the stain was on our inside as well) and we were done. This cost under $40 to do it! IMG_0385-1

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Feel free to share on any of your social media pages with the buttons below!

IMG_0417.png

XoXo

-Hannah

Baking Simple Two Tier Cakes

Image-1

Baking can be SO intimidating, but after several years of baking (and lots of trial and error) its definitely become something that has saved me lots of money in the long run. If you plan on making cakes for parties for your kiddos, holidays, or family get togethers it will really come in handy. So get in there and try it!

I want to start by saying, I did NOT bake this completely from scratch. I have done it, its great, but using a cake mix or doctoring up a boxed cake mix always tastes just as good. The key, in my opinion is the frosting. Making that from scratch is super easy and is well worth it. I will be posting the recipe in this post.

My oldest wanted an oreo cake, so I made two batches of frosting. One being regular buttercream, and the other with crushed oreo cookies to give each cake an oreo buttercream center.  One cake was chocolate, and one was vanilla, both with oreo buttercream filling and buttercream frosting- and I’ll be sharing this recipe. It is my go-to and favorite buttercream recipe of all time!

I used this cake mix from Target, it was honestly THE BEST box cake mix I had ever had and I didn’t doctor it up (more on that later in the post), I just followed the directions. I try as much as possible to stay away from unenriched foods, without folic acid because of some genetic things with my family so I always read the label and there are some brands I always use now because of that. This was one of them.

Image-1-1

I baked two 9 inch round cakes, greasing the pans with the flour baking Pam before putting them in the oven.

Take them out, let them cool for 10 minutes, then flip them over on a cooling rack and let them fully cool before frosting.

While the cakes are cooling, start making your frosting. This is the recipe I used, and ALWAYS use. This works for cakes as well as cupcakes. You can add color or leave as is!

For the oreo buttercream, I just took 15 oreos, put it in a galloon freezer bag and had my youngest crush them for me. When one of the two batches was done, I just folded the oreo cookies into the frosting and used that for the middles of the two cakes. The left overs were consumed on top of MORE oreos by the boys. 

Image-1-4.jpeg

Buttercream Frosting

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 2 Sticks of Butter, softened to room temperature. I use salted
  • 1T Corn syrup
  • 4C Powdered sugar
  • 1tsp Vanilla extract
  • 2T Milk (whole or 2%)

Directions

  1. Put two sticks of butter, 2 T milk and 1tsp vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer (a hand mixer will work if you don’t have a stand mixer). Mix on LOW speed just until it starts to come together, about a minute. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Increase to medium low speed and beat for about another minute. After this it will be combined, with a little liquid at the bottom.
  2. Increase the mixer speed to medium. Beat for about another or minute or so. When it looks creamy, and combined you’re ready for the next step. 
  3. Add 4 cups powdered sugar. Beat on low speed until sugar is just barely incorporated. Now scrape down the sides of the bowl, and INCREASE speed SLOWLY to medium. Beat for about a minute.
  4. Now you will want to check your consistency. This is very important because if your frosting is TOO THICK, it will not spread well. Take your spatula and move it around in the frosting, if it does not glide through the frosting, add about a tablespoon of corn syrup and beat on medium for about 30 seconds. You can do this regardless, it will safeguard you and make it nice and spreadable.

The frosting should hold it’s shape without being too thick, think of toothpaste consistency.  If it is too runny, it will slide off and will not stick to your cake. If you are wanting to pipe some decorations on your cake/cupcakes, now would be the time to set a little of this aside in a separate bowl to use later.

5. Once you get your frosting to a good, spreadable consistency, increase mixer speed to medium high and beat for one minute. This will get your frosting nice and fluffy. Now thats it! You’re Done! This is SO delicious, and I know you will agree!

Coloring Your Frosting

If you want to add any dye (or multiple) to you cake, separate if you want more than one color into little bowls and add whatever dye you like to each bowl. Then you’re ready to frost and assemble!

Because I try to avoid dyes I used this powdered natural dye from McCormick, and it worked great. I bought it on Amazon and there are some other natural gel food coloring available there as well if you don’t want to search high and low in stores. You can use the regular gel food coloring as well.

Image-1-1.jpeg

Image-1-2.jpeg

Assembling your cake 

Before I started doing anything with the cakes…

  • I took my bread (serrated) knife and gently leveled the top of the cakes. I got down to eye level with the cakes and GENTLY took my knife and ran it over the top of the cakes evenly to eliminate the minor curve the cakes get when baking. When I was done, I was left with two pretty flat and even cakes.
  • I put a small dollop of the frosting on the cardboard, then set one of the layers on it to secure the bottom piece. Then I took the bottom cake piece, and set it on a cake server (with a  cake cardboard underneath).
  • I then added the top piece to the one attached to the cardboard and with the filling spread on. Think of it like putting a PB&J together. Put it on and TADA, all ready for the crumb coat.
Here is a picture of the smashed up Oreo pieces folded into (one of the two) batches of frosting I made.

IMG_9918

“PB&J” step done. 

IMG_9919

  • Now comes something called the “CRUMB COAT”.  Crumb coat is the first layer of frosting, and there will be bits of crumbs in it because the cake gets another layer of frosting.
  •  You take your frosting with your frosting spatula, and lightly, make an almost messy look to the cake as you spread it all over. I like to start on the sides, spread the frosting all around, not being concerned with the crumbs because THEY WILL GET COVERED UP. Then work my way to the top, and spread it out evenly, smoothing out an ridges on the edges of the top, but you don’t need to make it perfect in this step.
  • Set it in the fridge for about 30 minutes to become less tacky and then take it out again to frost it again.  ** For this nerf party, I did NOT do this, simply because I would be covering up the sides of the cake with her bullets. Im only explaining for those who will not be covering the sides of their cake. If you are mimicking this cake, then just do a messy coat on the sides, smooth the top (while trying to keep crumbs to a minimum on the top) and then stick on your nerf bullets. You do not need to put it in the fridge or do a second coat because the sides will be covered by nerf bullets. Add any decorations you want to the top, and voila! You’re done! IMG_9916Image-1-3.jpeg
  • Take your cake out, and if the frosting isn’t tacky then proceed with another layer of frosting, smooth the sides as you go, and there shouldn’t be crumbs in this coat, because they were sealed in when you did the initial crumb coat. This is what gives you a nice looking cake. Take your time, ideally use something that spins, like a lazy susan or a cake decorating pan that rotates. As I frost I spin it with my left hand and keep the spatula parallel to it and it REALLY smoothes it out nicely. Practice makes perfect, you just have to get in there and experiment. I like to start on the sides and finish the top last, smoothing the edges (while rotating the cake on my lazy susan) as I go and then you’re done!

Lastly- one tip I read that I do often is to DOCTOR up your cake mixes. This makes them moist and taste like it was made from scratch.. when it wasn’t! Here is what you do with any boxed cake mix.

Doctored Cake Mix...Make Them Think It's From Scratch!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Box of cake mix (Duncan Hines, Pillsbury, Betty Crocker)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup butter (use butter NOT margarine)
  • 1 cup water

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Melt the butter in the microwave
  3. Combine butter with the remaining ingredients in a medium bowl.
  4. Mix on low for 1 minute. Then mix on HIGH for 1 minute.

This will give your cake a nice creamy and thick texture- not thin and runny. You will taste the difference.

Bake time:

2-6″ cake pans 35-40 minutes

2-8″ cake pans 35-38 minutes

9×13″ cake pan 35-38 minutes

cupcakes 20 minutes

*cake is done with a toothpick or my favorite tool is inserted and comes out clean. My mom always said, when you smell it, its done. So humor her, and check on the cake if you really smell it and the timer is still going. It could be done!

I hope this gives you an idea how to assemble your own cakes, and help you with your baking! Thanks for reading!

XoXo

-Hannah

Image-1

NERF BIRTHDAY PARTY

IMG_9925

WOW! Its been a while. A LOT HAS CHANGED, more blog posts to come on that soon!  But for now I wanted to talk about the epic Nerf Party I had for the boys. It was fun without being crazy complicated (in my opinion).

As the years have gone by, I have always LOVED throwing my boy’s birthday parties jointly. Their birthdays are just 7 days apart, and they for the most part like the same things.  This year, the nerf idea surfaced and they both were super excited about it. So naturally, I ran with it.

For me, throwing a “cute” party or well designed party is what excites me. So I thought of how I could keep this fun,  uncomplicated, while seeming well planned out (when in reality it wasn’t a hassle at all). Here is how I did it.

My BIGGEST TIP for throwing any party is to TO THINGS IN STAGES! Make a plan, well beforehand and follow it! Don’t, I repeat DON’T try to do all of the cooking, prep, setup, on the day of the party. Just don’t.

When I plan parties I typically:

  1. Pick a date (ideally 4 weeks in advance for myself and guests)
  2. Pick a theme (think of the colors you will be using for invites, decorations, etc)
  3. Create or buy invitations and mail them out with the 4 week advance notice for guests
  4. Once invites have gone out, plan what you want to do, how you want to decorate, think of food you want to serve, where things are going to go and be setup, plan party favors you may or may not have.
  5. As it nears the 2 week mark, start shopping. If you are closer to stores than I am, you have the luxury of pushing this out, but it stresses me out to not have all of the things I need in advance, in case some stores don’t have what I’m envisioning then I have a time cushion to look around.
  6. One week out- do a little something EACH DAY. Small tasks done over the week really help ease the burden of throwing a party, versus a ton of work in one day.     So look at what you planned in step 4. What did you buy, what are you making, what are you cooking or picking up, what are you setting up?                                    Then look at your schedule- what can you accomplish EACH day.                            Leaving very little to do on the day of the party, and allowing yourself time to shower and get ready!
  7. Day before party- Set out as much of the things you can BEFORE the party. This would be tables, chairs, anything that isn’t perishable or won’t get messed up. Do the bulk of the sweaty work before the morning/day of.  Prep any food you can and have it either done, or almost finished so the day of you don’t need to be doing any heavy cooking. I picked up my pizzas the day before. I set out all of my tables, did the streamer wall and got all my supplies (table cloths, napkins etc) in boxes set out where I would be setting them up
  8. Party day- I like just putting finishing touches on things the day of, because when I did NOT do this, it makes things so crazy!  I just laid out table cloths, set out center pieces, and hung up balloons. (if my party wasn’t outdoors and wouldn’t get blown away I could have done the balloons the day before as well).

Now that I had my Nerf theme, I picked the colors I wanted to use throughout the party. This will be used in balloon, table cloths, napkins, flatware, and any other decorating elements. I used nerf colors since that was the theme of the party- blue and orange.          So when picking out all those things I wanted to use a mix of both blue and orange.

Second, I made the invitations to coordinate with the Nerf theme.                                            I saw a design of a digital invitation on Etsy that was nerf themed, and I went on Canva to create a similar invitation. Here is a link to that file that is blank that you can personalize and add your own info to. Nerf Party Invitation

Here's a gift from us

I printed them at Walgreens, on photo paper, because they are so cheap and I never have to waste my ink at home– because lets face it, the ink is always low. PLUS, there are usually coupons all the time for photo prints. I printed the invitations for under $5!

Third, I planned out what I wanted to do at the party and how I wanted to set things up. I’m old school, I like to write down on paper, and see what I wanted to do as the list grew and evolved I’m able to cross out, scratch off or erase what I don’t want. I wrote down what games I wanted to do, what I needed to actually MAKE for the party (both food and decorations). Pinterest was my best friend for ideas on this. So I typed Nerf Birthday Party into Pinterest and got some inspiration.  This is my board if you want to take a look at what I had pinned  Nerf Party Pinterest Board

At our home, we have this great existing pole barn structure that we have used for a couple of years now to set tables out and use for our parties and I LOVE it. I have lots of ideas of stream lights, old chandeliers and more down the road I’ll add. So I knew thats WHERE I would be setting up my tables, food, etc. This year, I wanted to play around with streamers (also from the dollar store) and make sort of a backdrop wall where I knew I would be putting the food table, and setting the cakes out when it was time to sing happy birthday and it would make for a nice picture backdrop.

This, surprisingly was something my oldest helped me the WHOLE time with! I got a ladder, picked where I wanted this to go, took packing tape and stretching it the length of where I wanted it with the sticky side FACING out, then took two more pieces of tape and secured each end of the tape (sticky side down) to the wall. So I was left with two taped down ends and a long stretch of sticky side out tape for my streamers. I took my streamers in coordinating blue and orange and stuck it to the tape that was sticky and just dropped it to the ground, my oldest was there, and he cut the streamer, and handed me the other color, and we kept going. THEN we took another LONG piece of tape and taped over all of the streamers we had just stuck down. So this created a sandwich, the streamers were first attached to the sticky side, then taped over and secured. We then came to each piece and gently turned them to give them that spiral look, then we taped the bottom of all of the streamers so that they weren’t flapping around. We did this on all the streamers and left it overnight. You could also just tape them straight too. The next morning we came and attached balloons to the top of the streamers to cover up the tape. (Did you notice there is one balloon missing in the picture, it was super small so we had swapped it and apparently I took this before I had fixed it!)

I saw cute centerpiece ideas on Pinterest for this theme and just mimicked them.

47249fb52c8b686c6cb0b4fc6f40f7bb

The places I knew I would be stopping for Decorations were: Dollar Tree, Target, Joann’s, Hobby Lobby and potentially Party City depending who did or didn’t have what I wanted. I found metal buckets (I looked at all the places) at Joann’s, I got those, and found some 50% off wooden numbers at Hobby Lobby that I hot glued to wooden dowels, spray painted with the blue spray paint I was already going to be using to the shooting can game, stuck that into some floral foam I placed inside the buckets, topped with dollar tree orange crinkle paper, and used some wire to stick into extra nerf bullets and stick that into the foam too. Voila!

IMG_9913IMG_9912

The other thing I saw that was cute, were pool noodles (also bought at Dollar Tree) that looked like nerf bullets! I got some to use scattered across the tables, but ended up having to tape them down since it was kind of windy the day of the party. I took the pool noodle, cut each one into 4 pieces, and then attached with double sided tape some orange construction paper to look like bullets. Another idea, if you see orange duct tape, you could skip the construction paper step and use that, and can cover the hole on the noodle. I didn’t see that or think of that until after. But this was still super cute and easy! Now we will have a bunch of random pool noodle pieces to play with this summer too, maybe I could even use them for fourth of July!

Image-1

I saw that a cute idea with cans- that were spray painted that kids could shoot with their nerf guns. I got some blue rustoleum spray paint from Lowe’s (because its multi finish, you can spray over just about anything) that was paint and primer, and I just used old cans we had here. The orange was a little too sheer, and it bugged me to see the logos, so I took the leftover blue and made them cammo. Now no one knows except you!

IMG_9907

IMG_9905First activity, check!

I saw several (no real ingenuity here) ideas for barricade type areas where kids and adults can literally shoot it out. With my husband being a farmer, we have an abundance of pallets we could use. So we (he) took about 7 of them and set them up in different formations and threw some camo I got from Amazon (in coordinating blue, I might add) over them as he staked them into our grass. He drew a line in the grass with some left over orange spray paint from the cans so there were divided sides and teams- ALL his ideas.

IMG_9910

IMG_9911IMG_9908IMG_9901

Second activity, check! The other thing I saw and loved was this idea of making cups with prizes inside. You hot glue plastic party cups to a foam board, I got mine at Dollar Tree, and you put tissue paper over it and attach with a rubber band or more hot glue. They stand behind and shoot the board, and if it didn’t puncture the cup enough, they went up and just punched the cup and grabbed their prize! I grabbed little things from the dollar section at Target, and used 15 cups.

Third activity, check!

For all of the activities planned, we had an grab bag/ammo station set up and all the games right by each other. The kids grabbed camo bags filled with nerf bullets, nerf glasses, and a nerf gun off of the ammo table. The kids each got one of these and it REPLACED doing a traditional favor bag.

IMG_9909

I ordered the Disruptor gun from Target, I was checking prices on Amazon, Kohls, Target etc. and this one was 39% off so it was a pretty good deal since we only have to buy a handful of them for the bigger kids. For the littler kids I got this one from Amazon, and like I said, these would be their favors along with the bag, bullets, glasses.

I ordered a 300 pack of bullets on  Amazon for the cake decorations, and for the kids to go wild with. You know how nerf bullets go, they’re kind of like laundry socks and go missing.

They each grabbed a bunch of water balloons to take home as well.  I got this printable from the East Coast Mommy Blog  and she had a great post about their nerf party. I ordered coordinating blue water balloons off of Amazon because I like to stick to the theme colors AND because I live so far from stores, ordering and planning in advance saves me SO much time and money. I may take the drive to target and not be able to find only blue water balloons! I printed them on card stock I had at home and attached them to the balloons. IMG_9903

Now that we have talked invitations, colors, activities, favors, lets talk FOOD!

img_9798.jpeg

I really enjoy throwing parties, and preparing fun food menus, but lets face it. There are only 24 hours in each day. So, I would rather the party be really cute than have fancy food at the end of the day. Since we now live on the farm, in a small town where I cant just run to a regular store to grab food my options are way more limited than they used to be. My boys both really love pizza, and I feel like most people do! So I wanted to have pizza, but again, with a small pizza chain here as my only option and not wanting to spend a fortune on a couple pizzas (they have the pizza market cornered here and can basically charge what they want) I decided to do take and bake pizzas from Papa Murphy’s. There is one 20 minutes from me, and I picked those up the day before. I ordered some and used a coupon and ended up sending $30 for 4 pizzas! This fed 30 adults and 8 children! I took my pizza cutter and made the slices even smaller, and more snack size since my party wasn’t at a real meal time.

I threw together a quick strawberry salad with candied pecans, crumbled feta, and creamy balsamic dressing from Sprouts, and had popcorn in cute little blue boxes and chips. I put some gatorades (blue and white, I try to stay away from dyes for my kiddos as much as I can) and waters in an ice bucket and thats it! IMG_9871IMG_9796

I REALLY got into baking a few years back when my oldest was about 1, not sure HOW I did this.. but I did. I normally made some really cute, elaborate and fancy decorated sugar cookies but this year I didn’t! I wanted to keep it simple, and low key, while still being festive but didn’t want to completely lose my mind in the process.

I posted a tutorial how to make the nerf cakes I made for the boys.

I have been baking on and off for 7 years (and started a small business doing it), I feel comfortable tackling some things when I know some people would completely balk at the thought. Like I said, I did NOT want to spend a ton of time making absolutely adorable decorated sugar cookies, only to be devoured in 5 minutes. SO this year, I did NOT do cookies, but did simple cakes decorated with nerf bullets instead!

IMG_9897

I could have made these way more elaborate, busted out some fondant, watched some crazy youtube tutorials.. but I DIDN’T! I will create a blog post about how to make these cakes. It was really simple, and since I was basically covering ninety percent of the cake with nerf bullets it was actually pretty forgiving and simple. I used doctored box cake mixes as well. So stay tuned for a post about my FAVORITE buttercream frosting recipe and how to assemble a simple cake like this. Having some basic baking skills can carry you a long way, and if you never try, you will never get better. Plus, I know I saved at least $100 versus going to a bakery and asking for them to create two nerf cakes.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post, and got some fun ideas to use for your own parties whether it is nerf themed or not. Be sure to subscribe to see my new blog posts, and feel free to share this blog on any of your social media platforms with your friends.

IMG_9906

XoXo

– Hannah

DIY Glitter Phone Case

Who doesn’t love glitter??!

I saw some posts on pinterest about making phone cases, and I decided to give it a try!


This is a super easy thing do to, and comes out looking amazing! The best thing is that is totally custom and can be a great cheap gift for yourself or someone else… and with Valentine’s Day coming up, this could be a nice little gift for a coworker, a friend or sibling! 
Glitter Phone Collage m

Here is what you will need

materials1

– Craft Glitter ( I used Martha Stewarts Craft glitter because it is superfine, and I used a 40% off coupon from Michael’s)

– Matte finish Mod Podge (also available at Michael’s)

– A foam brush

-Clear phone case (I got mine for my model off of Amazon for $4!)

– A bowl lined with aluminum foil for easy clean up

Directions:

  1. Mix your craft glitter with some modge podge in the bowl you lined with aluminum foil. This will make for easy clean up and you will just lift the foil out and put it in the trash versus having a dirty bowl to soak and clean! You will want the mod podge to have LOTS of glitter in it, so use more glitter then mod podge- think 2:1 consistency- you will want to see lots of glitter in the mod podge. 
  2. Take your foam brush and brush the mod podge/ glitter mixture over your phone case. Make sure to do even strokes so the finish is even as it dries. Do about 2-3 coats depending on how much glitter you mixed in. If you went a little lighter on the glitter, you might want to do more than 3. Wait at least 30 minutes in between. I waited 1 hr between coats. Rinse your brush off in between coats, otherwise it will get really hard and wont brush on the next one well.

drying

This is what mine looked like as it was drying, I laid it on some aluminum foil to keep my counters clean and prevent the case from sticking to anything as it dried.

Now all that is left to do after it is dried, is put it on!!

You may have to pick off some of the excess areas around where the phone case snaps together, if you dont have a snap case this wont affect you. We messed with it a little and it snapped together great!

All together this cost me less than $15! I think that’s pretty awesome!

If you noticed the phone case holder in the top collage, I will also be posting a tutorial for how to make that too!

phone in holder m

Hope you enjoyed this, and that you try it yourself! I know some of my friends liked it so I will be making more for them!

DIY Wreath Tutorial

I LOVE making wreaths, it is definitely a fun and useful hobby to have. I made a deco mesh wreath for the first time at Christmas and everyone who came over loved it!!

So I wanted to post a tutorial of how to make one, whether it is for this upcoming Valentine’s day, St. Patrick’s day, Easter etc.

I also made a cute wreath for my house, which has address numbers on them and I think it  is the perfect year-round wreath, as well as the perfect gift for newlyweds, people who have everything, or as a housewarming gift!

Wreath Collage

Deco Mesh Wreath Materials List:

– 18” wire wreath form, or whatever is available

– Pipe cleaner that matches the deco mesh you are using ( I used about 25 red pipe cleaners)

– 21” deco mesh ribbon ( this will be the main color)

– 10” deco mesh ribbon as your filler/ accent color (mine was pink)

– filler of your choice, I used what was available at Michael’s

Directions:

  1.  Lay wreath on the floor and begin to tie the pipe cleaners all around the wire form. There is no “right” way to do this, I copied a website’s picture of a working wreath they sell that has attached wire already on it, and it sells for $15- mine cost $3!vday working wreath
  2.  I tied 2 pipe cleaners on the outer sections and 1 on the inner ring, leaving the two middle ones empty- this gets covered by the mesh anyway.
  3. Take your 21” deco mesh and attach it to the tie on the inner ring and secure it.

how to tie

4. Once one end is secured, you will pull the mesh into a bunch which looks like a poof (hard to explain) and then tie the poof onto the next pipe cleaner. Continue to gather and tie little poofs onto each pipe cleaner inside the inner ring. It will look like this as you are going along.

vday bunching meshinner ring done5. Once you have filled the inner ring, continue on to the outer ring with the same bunching and securing process. You can do this without cutting the mesh.

6. Now that the whole wreath is filled (both inner and outer rings) you can get your smaller 10” mesh and add it in just like you did with the first color. This can be sporadic, or you can fill most of the wreath with it- its all up to you. The pipe cleaner should be long and you will be able to tie the second mesh just like you did the first because the ends will be sticking out.

inner pinkdeco done7. Now all the is left to do is add the filler, you can see it in the back of this last picture. I grabbed little hearts from the valentine’s section at Michael’s and I cut them using wire cutters and tied them into the pipe cleaner. I also added some hot pink ribbon randomly into the wreath, I just tied it to the wire and let the two ends stick out for extra color. (You could tie bows if you want a cuter effect.)

Now you have the choice if you want to cut the pipe cleaner short so it doesn’t show, or you can leave it out or curl it with a pencil. I liked Seeing it since it coordinated with the pink and red theme- it added an extra flare to the wreath!

Here is the final product, and picture of one my friend made with me while doing this tutorial! Its super easy!!

valentines wreath

IMG959222

**Now if you want to make a Christmas wreath out of an artificial Christmas tree wreath form its much easier, it is the SAME process only you don’t need to add pipe cleaners to have your mesh attach to- you just use the branches to wrap the mesh around.

Here are some pictures of how I made the Christmas one at my house, its not the best picture but its so gorgeous!

xmas wreath beginning

xmas done

Now onto the address wreath 

Here is what you will need: 

– 18” twig wreath

– Flowers for the side

– House numbers from Lowes or other hardware store

– Plastic spray paint, if using plastic numbers and a plastic primer.

– Hot glue gun & glue sticks

home materials 2

home w:o numbers

home materials

Directions:

1. I sprayed the numbers with two coats of plastic primer waiting 10 minutes after each coat like the can suggested (even though the paint was outdoor).
2. Sprayed with two coats of blue spray paint, waiting 30 minutes after each coat like the can suggested.
3. While the paint was drying I cut the flowers with wire cutters leaving a small tip that could poke through the twig on the wreath to practice placement, and arranged them on the wreath how I liked them and then got out the hot glue gun.
4. Glue each flower down on the twig wreath where you placed them. They will be secure after this.

5. Get the numbers once they are dry and place them on the wreath and glue them, and TA-DA you’re done!!  You have a great gift or something great for your house!!

home wreath

Thanks, I hope you  enjoyed the tutorial. Shoot me any questions you have!