A Turtle Themed Birthday on a Budget

Turtle Birthday Theme on a Budget       #partyplanning #party #birthday #turtles #diy #cake #chalkboard #breakfast

My baby turned 4 last week. Four! It’s hard to believe. But he loves turtles. Has for a while now. We were supposed to do a turtle theme last year, but it was the week my husband had off to work on the house (and make me shelves), so the kitchen was out of commission. We hung streamers and blew up balloons at my mom’s house instead.

This year was the year of the turtles. I started with my chalkboard (I love my chalkboard!)

Turtle Birthday Theme on a Budget              #partyplanning #party #birthday #turtles #diy #cake #chalkboard #breakfast

Breakfast was waffle turtles (Pinspired here, other ideas on my board) and pond water (apple cider). The kids thought the pond water was a mixture of funny and gross. It was perfect. That means they approved!

Turtle Birthday Theme on a Budget           #partyplanning #party #birthday #turtles #diy #cake #chalkboard #breakfast

The cake was inspired by one from Cake Adventures. I wasn’t bold enough on my colors and it’s a little messy, but the kids loved it and it wasn’t hard. I didn’t even have to bake the cake in a bowl. I used an 8 inch and a 9 inch cake pan, layered them with ganache in the middle and carved it into shape with a knife.

I rounded out the decor with green streamers, green balloons and green plates. It was the perfect family party (we even had friends over this time). Maybe $10 tops (beyond food/ingredients we already have on hand) for the whole thing and a memory they will cherish for years to come. That’s the important part!

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Turtles Birthday Theme on a budget              #partyplanning #party #birthday #turtles #diy #cake #chalkboard #breakfast

Gathering here.

Recommended Reading:

A Simple Little House Birthday Theme
Hot Air Balloon Theme for a Gender Neutral Baby Shower
Ice Cream Parlor Party Theme

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My September Shelves + Other Apple Decor

I decorate with apples in September. Okay, I know I’m a little crazy, but I just can’t bring out the “fall” stuff until it’s officially fall. As in September 23rd this year. Some years I’ll fudge a little and decorate over the weekend before, but most of the time, we do it on the day.

Problem is, by the end of August, I’m generally itching for fall. It’s my favorite season.

A couple years ago I decided that apples would make a fair bridge. They are adorable, and they don’t really match with my leaves and pumpkins (so I usually don’t use them). It’s the perfect solution. Apples in September.

Early Fall Decor | Apples in September

My husband built these shelves for me (out of American Chestnut beams he pulled out of the walls of our house) last September when he took some time off to work on the house. That means this is the first time to decorate them with apples. Most of my apple stuff came from my mom when she moved out here to be with us. Her last kitchen was decorated in apples, so she had plenty and I had my pick.

The hand lettered piece on the left side of the top shelf I created last year. The pie on the bottom shelf is watercolor on a piece of wood I did the year before that. I’d like to do that one over sometime because it smudged a bit when we added the clear finish. But for now, I like it.

Early Fall Decor | Apples in September

Under those shelves on my counter, I put my chalkboard frame (which is really just a white frame from Walmart with a black paper in it. I use white water based paint pen or chalkboard pens on it.) The design was there from my mom’s chocolate themed party, but I changed the words to “apple cider please” to match the apples. I thought the little wood apple was cute here and it all went well with my after meal clean up chart which is there all the time. (I scribbled out the names of my children for privacy.) I’m loving this set up because it mostly blocks the pencil sharpener that lives on the corner of the counter there (for lack of a better place for it). Homeschool families need their pencil sharpeners!

Early Fall Decorating for September

This cute little collection is sitting in the corner of my kitchen by the windows. Old basket with puffy red check fabric, jar, candle, plastic apple and my new favorite apple artwork (available to print… check it out!)

I moved this from the living room early last week when I moved my stack of Pergo out of there to get ready for some renovations coming up.

Early Fall Decorating for September

That’s right, the little “table” it’s sitting on is really a covered stack of flooring waiting to be installed. πŸ™‚ You never do really know what someone’s house looks like based on a blog, do you?

How do you decorate in September??

Gathering here.

Recommended Reading:

Pick Your Own Apples | Hand Painted Printable
My Shelves Dressed Up for Fall
My Shelves Done Up for Valentine’s Day

Simple (and cheap) Chocolate Theme Birthday Party

It’s a chocolate themed birthday party! Super inexpensive, simple and fun. The kids loved it and so did my mom (the birthday girl).

Mole Chicken - Chocolate Theme Birthday Party

So, a couple weeks ago we celebrated my mom’s birthday with a chocolate theme. We often go out for dinner on her birthday, but there is chocolate in Mole sauce and she LOVES her Mole. No question… I would be cooking. (We got our all-you-can-eat sushi a few days later!)

I kept the decorations pretty simple. I spent August trying to recover and catch up from the unexpected 10 days we spent in the hospital with my daughter in July. Only now am I starting to feel we’re back to normal.

Mole Chicken - Chocolate Theme Birthday Party

I made the Hershey Kisses by wrapping foil over upside down bowls of various sizes. The paper is just printer paper I cut into strips and put messages on. Are they perfect? No. But they were well received and did their job. The little ones in the next picture (on my shelves) can also use the top of a water bottle instead of a little bowl, but I forgot to keep the ones we had. If you do that, you can fill them with candy and give them as party favors too. Since it’s always just us at these parties, we didn’t need the candy or the favors. πŸ™‚

Chocolate Theme Birthday Party

The Chocolate Tuffles and Cupcake cards could have been framed, but I didn’t get to the store for the frames, so they were cute on their own. My mom has since framed them and hung them in her chocolate themed bathroom. They doubled as gifts.

The chalkboard frame is just a cheap white frame (my go to frame for all my artwork because of it’s simplicity) from Walmart with a black sheet of paper in it. I used a white water based paint pen to do the illustration of a mug and hand lettered “just add chocolate and cream please” on the side. I love that frame! Silly that it took me so long to pull it together!

Chalkboard - Chocolate Theme Birthday Party

As you know if you’ve been around for a while, I decorate my large (husband made) chalkboard for birthdays and events too. Everyone has come to look forward to it and uses it to help determine the theme for the day when I keep it a secret. This one says “birthday wishes and chocolate kisses.”

Brownie Cake - Chocolate Theme Birthday Party

This brownie cake on the back of a Ghirardelli Brownie box mix was the inspiration for the theme. This past spring, my mom saw the picture of that Ombre Brownie Cake on the box and declared that she wanted to try that. I decided that day that we would do it for her birthday.

I’ve never made ganache before and as you can see, my cake doesn’t look exactly like the picture. It was a good first run though, and I hope to do it again because it was yummy!

Note: Not all (or any) of your plans have to work out just right. The person or people you are celebrating will still feel loved that you tried to make their day a big deal! Don’t let fear of failure (or failure itself in my case so often) keep you from going all out!

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Cheap and Easy Chocolate Birthday Party

Gathering here.

Recommended Reading:

Ladybug Birthday Party
A Jolly Holiday – A Mary Poppins Birthday
Ice Cream Parlor Birthday Party

Apples – Pick Your Own Fall Sign | Hand Lettered and Painted Free Printable

I love love love these printable signs I found over at Clean and Scentsible! I pinned my favorites here. (And that towel… you’ll have to go look. It’s too cute!)

Pick Your Own Fall Apples | Free Printable with hand lettered Colossians 3:23

I tend to steer toward the farmhouse style decor… at least on Pinterest, and these cute signs planted a seed in me to make my own version of them. I just couldn’t let many days go by before I just had to try it with an apple theme. I generally decorate with apples in September. It’s not quite fall, but I’m itching for it to be… apples seem to be a happy medium before my leaves and pumpkins come out at the end of the month.

Pick Your Own Fall Apples | Free Printable with hand lettered Colossians 3:23

I started by sketching this one out. It’s not a “no-sketch” by any means. There were too many elements to get just right. I suppose if you wanted to “no-sketch” it, you could always scan each element in individually and put it together in Photoshop… but I didn’t do that this time. πŸ™‚

I love the look of all the farmhouse signs I see, but when it comes time to buy or make one for myself, I can’t make myself do it. Something always seems to be missing. First of all, I wanted to add a verse to it somehow, but I also wanted to make it more personal. I felt like putting “family farm” at the top fit us better since that’s what we pretend to be. Then I loved how “pick your own” fit the attitude of encouraging the children to help out and take initiative.

Pick Your Own Fall Apples | Free Printable with hand lettered Colossians 3:23

I tried a new watercolor paper this time around. Hot pressed. It’s much smoother and [hopefully] easier to scan and clean up in Photoshop for you all. Shayda recently did a video that talks about the differences in watercolor paper, so I was ready for it to be different. It definitely was different, and it will take some practice, but I think it worked out nicely. Nothing you should be afraid to try for sure. The main reason I decided to try it is that Eileen at My Creative Resolution mentioned in a post (no idea which one… sorry!) that the texture of watercolor paper is hard on artist pens. It was at that moment I understood why my pens never seem to last long! πŸ™‚ An ah-ha moment to be sure! The smooth finish of the hot pressed paper should help them to last longer. And it does scan much nicer!

Pick Your Own Fall Apples | Free Printable with hand lettered Colossians 3:23

I know there are already so many fall printables out there, but I don’t often see these seasonal printables with Bible verses on them, so I want to share them with you in the off chance that any of you are still in the market for a cute apple themed fall printable or have been holding out for one with a verse. Click here to download it and visit my slowly growing printables page for more!

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Pick Your Own Fall Free Printable

Gathering here.

Recommended Reading:

Get Away to the Mountains – Printable
Keep Calm and Get Cozy – Printable
God’s Got This… Let the Adventure Begin – Printable

Easy Chocolate Truffle Artwork – You can do this!

Easy Chocolate Truffle Artwork - You can do this!

Remember that chocolate themed birthday party I threw for my mom? The one I painted the Chocolate Frosted Cupcake for? Yes, the one I haven’t shown you yet. That’s the one! Good memory!

Well, I painted these cute little truffles for that party too. (Pinspiration here.) Again, part gift-part decoration! She actually hung them up already on the wall in her bathroom in little white frames! Yes… it’s adorable!

Easy Chocolate Truffle Artwork - You can do this!

I painted them with watercolor and added the white with Sharpie Paint Pens. Then I added a touch of black with my Faber Castel thin pen to add shadow and make the white pop. It really helped! Super easy!

You could do this with markers too! Just color in the chocolate with brown marker and then use the white paint pen (a couple coats would help!) and add the black lines at the end. (Keep the black on the same side of the white on all the lines so it has a realistic “shadow” look.) I think they would make adorable greeting cards! Let me know if you try!

Easy Chocolate Truffle Artwork - You can do this!

Looking at them now (I always notice details like this when I look at the picture of whatever I painted, not before) I think I would put the swirl one in the middle to make it seem more balanced, but that’s because I have issues with symmetry. What do you think? Would you switch them out to put the swirl in the middle? Or do you like them as is? Let me know in the comments!

Gathering here.

Recommended Reading:

Custom Chocolate Wrappers
Some February Painting
Custom Conversation Hearts

My Shelves Dressed up for Fall

Confession: These are last year’s shelves! Somehow I never shared them with you, but I wanted to kick off this September with a little look at fall.

My Shelves Dressed up for Fall

I first introduced these shelves in my Valentine post (and again this summer), but ironically, these fall pics were taken just days after the shelves were installed. This is the first vignette I put together on them. It’s fitting that it was for fall because it is my favorite season!

My Shelves Dressed up for Fall

Rarely do I decorate the same way from year to year, so I imagine I’ll have this year’s shelf decor to share with you toward the end of the month (you know, when it’s actually fall.)

In the mean time, it’s finally September! And September is close enough to fall to start talking about it in my book! πŸ™‚

Happy <almost> fall everyone!

Gathering here.

Recommended Reading:

Hiking Theme Party with Decorated Shelves
My Shelves Done Up for Valentines
How to Style Patriotic Shelves for Cheap

Something Sweet – Chocolate Frosted Cupcake in Watercolor

Chocolate Frosted Cupcake in Watercolor

This week I spent some time painting sweet things. Chocolate, to be specific. And all for my mom’s birthday.

Sometimes birthday presents don’t need to be wrapped. Don’t get me wrong, there should be some presents to unwrap! But they don’t ALL have to be, do they?

Chocolate Frosted Cupcake in Watercolor

I painted this one for my mom’s birthday this past weekend. Her bathroom is decorated in chocolate. That’s right. Chocolate. No, it’s not dirty fingerprints from over indulgent children. It’s been done on purpose. From a poster on the wall about it’s history, to candles shaped like truffles, and everything in between… chocolate!

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Chocolate Frosted Cupcake in Watercolor

I thought a chocolate frosted cupcake with a pink liner would match her bathroom perfectly! But it also matched her birthday theme… so instead of wrapping it, I set it out to decorate! πŸ™‚ Double duty!

Gathering here.

Recommended Reading:

Cupcakes – Watercolor Illustration
Let’s Meet Over Coffee – God
Ice Cream Parlor Birthday with Artwork to Match