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

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Recommended Reading:

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

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!

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Recommended Reading:

Custom Chocolate Wrappers
Some February Painting
Custom Conversation Hearts

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

Easy Wafer Cookie Pencils for Back to Homeschool

Easy Wafer Cookie Pencils for Back to Homeschool

These adorable Easy Wafer Cookie Pencils for Back to Homeschool were super easy to make and so fun for the kids on our first day of school!

With the the approach of the 4th of July and all the other summery goodness, comes the start up of a new homeschool year for us. But who has time to spend blogging in real time? What? People DO blog in June? I don’t know how you all do it. I actually did post 3 times in June and I’m pretty sure other more important things didn’t happen because of it. June is just crazy for our family!

Easy Wafer Cookie Pencils for Back to Homeschool

That’s right, we start school July 1st around here. (Pop over here to find out why.)

Easy Wafer Cookie Pencils for Back to Homeschool

I saw the idea originally on Pinterest here, but you can find her amazing tutorial directly, by clicking this link.

As per usual, I didn’t click over to read the directions until after I’d done my own thing. That means I used different means to a similar end. πŸ™‚

Instead of melting candies, I mixed up some powdered sugar and milk to make a simple frosting. I started with the white and dipped all the pencil tips. I then added the chocolate chip (mini chips would work better as Keri suggests, but I worked with what I had.) I put the sheet pan in fridge to set up after this.

A while later (30 minutes to an hour?) I added some powdered sugar and milk to the left over white frosting and then a bit of red food coloring. I had to go back and forth a bit on the amounts until I got the consistency I wanted, and even then it could have been thicker if I had been more patient.

I dipped the “eraser” side of the wafer into the pink and set them to dry on the lined cookie sheet.

Easy Wafer Cookie Pencils for Back to Homeschool

Then back into the fridge they went.

In the end I could have trimmed the run off of the pink frosting like I did for the white, but I figured the kids wouldn’t mind the extra frosting. πŸ™‚ They turned out so cute and the kids love this little tradition we do for the first day of school (two years in a row establishes tradition around here. Good thing it’s easy.)

Easy Wafer Cookie Pencils for Back to Homeschool

To be honest, I had a dozen other ideas I wanted to do for the first day of school, but it’s a busy time and this is the only one I actually carved out time for. You can find all my fun back to homeschool ideas on my Back to Homeschool Board. I hope you will find some to make your first day of school special… whether you homeschool or not! πŸ™‚

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Easy Wafer Cookie Pencils for Back to Homeschool

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No Sketch Challenge: Watercolor Painting with a Summer Theme

Challenge: No Sketch Watercolor Painting with a Summer Theme

This collection of summer themed watercolor illustrations was a spur of the moment adventure.

The big kids were at summer camp, leaving me with the little three, ages 3-7. It’s been a long time since my oldest was 7. It was quite the adventure, and to be honest, while I had more chores to do without them here, it was like a mini vacation.

The kids wanted to paint, so instead of my usual “no”, I actually said yes. (Point for mom!) I grabbed their paint sets and got them some water and brushes and paper towels. Then I grabbed some for me.

But what would I paint. I don’t paint as much during the summer due to more demands on my energy, less time, and less inspiration. I just get more excited about painting the other seasons I guess.

I started with the little blue crab in the corner. It reminded me of our weekend in St. Michael’s, MD this past fall (you should totally go, by the way, super fun little harbor town!) From there it just sorta turned into a summer theme. I laid down some paint for a handful of illustrations and when one was dry, I added the next color or layer. (I like having more than one painting going at a time for this very reason!)

Challenge: No Sketch Watercolor Painting with a Summer Theme

The catch? Whatever I wanted to paint, I had to start with the watercolors. No pencil sketch first. My reasoning was lazy enough. I didn’t want to take a bunch of extra time getting things laid out. Who knows how long the kid’s attention span would last this time anyway.

Way back in the beginning, when I was just learning to paint, I painted like this all the time. I hadn’t fine tuned (ummm… still haven’t) my drawing skills and I didn’t know any better. I don’t paint like this as much anymore, mostly because I usually have a purpose to my painting and I want to sketch it out first to get the look and layout just right. But it is so fun to just paint. It frees me from the need for perfection (ahem) and lets me experiment. I have to remember two things when I paint this way.

Challenge: No Sketch Watercolor Painting with a Summer Theme

2 things to remember:

  1. It does have to be perfect. Things won’t be laid out just right or centered or anything. (Note the position of the palm tree to the cloud. If I was going to be all crazy, I might wish it was a smidge to the left, but who’s going to be like that?) And the end result doesn’t have to look exactly like the real thing… it’s my creative interpretation. (aka I can do what I want.)
  2. I don’t have to love every illustration in the end. There are a couple little illustrations on here that I really love and will probably scan for use later, or at least try to paint again sometime. (I think that tiny firefly is just adorable!) Others, I wasn’t happy with at all, and if I do them again, it will be to improve upon them. (The bee needs a lot of work people!)

So now it’s your turn! Grab a set of watercolor paints (your kid’s are fine!) some water and paper (I began my painting adventures with card stock if that’s all you have) and just start painting. It helps to have an idea or theme in mind to get you started, but paint anything you want. No sketching! And have fun!

Leave me a link to the pic in the comments if you upload it somewhere! I’d love to see it!

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Challenge: No Sketch Watercolor Painting with a Summer Theme

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Hot Air Balloon Theme for Gender Neutral Baby Shower, Birthday Party or Event

Hot Air Balloon Theme Baby Shower | Party or Event | mamasbrush

A gender neutral baby shower, birthday party, or event just lends itself to an adventuresome and colorful hot air balloon theme. I started with my own design for gender neutral nursery wallpaper, and this is exactly what we did for an expecting mama in our church a couple weeks ago.

Food Table Decor | Hot Air Balloon Theme Baby Shower | Party or Event | mamasbrush

I know this post has been a long time coming. Not only did I promise it was coming, but I also promised detailed prep posts. Well, that didn’t happen. Between kid sickness and normal spring busy-ness, I should have been more realistic. I was just glad to pull off the party at all. πŸ™‚

Cake, Cloud Cookies, and Rainbow Fruit | Hot Air Balloon Theme Baby Shower | Party or Event | mamasbrush

One of the friends of the mama to be has a sister who makes cakes. When she volunteered her, my first thought was that I wanted to do the cake. Then I realized that if she made the cake, I wouldn’t have to and time was at a premium. I accepted and I’m so glad I did. Isn’t it beautiful. I tried to get a website for you all, but she only makes them for family and friends. If that changes some day, I’ll try to get you a link! The cupcakes are gluten free and that basket was completely chocolate! Yummm!

Cloud Meringue Cookies | Hot Air Balloon Theme Baby Shower | Party or Event | mamasbrush

The dish next to the cake is my take on meringue clouds. (Find the tutorial here.)

Centerpieces | Hot Air Balloon Theme Baby Shower | Party or Event | mamasbrush

I adapted this tutorial and borrowed heavily from several other pics on my Hot Air Balloon Party Board to create these cute centerpieces. I had my 7 year old and one of her friends spread the left over triangles around the tables for extra color.

I created these tags using my own artwork. Find my inspiration for them here.

Gift Table Under the Clouds | Hot Air Balloon Theme Baby Shower | Party or Event | mamasbrush

Pops of color around the room came in the form of these pendent banners and adorable paper hot air balloons. For the balloons I used these instructions from Karen Kavett and this template. At the end of the party, I cut them down and sent them home with each of the ladies who came. I suggested that they put them somewhere they would see them and remember to pray for the family and new baby. They also liked the idea to hand them from the Christmas tree to remember the event for years to come.

Party Decor | Hot Air Balloon Theme Baby Shower | Party or Event | mamasbrush

The whole event really turned out beautifully. My sweet husband helped me to blow up and hang all these balloon clouds. I used this tutorial to string them together and it was pretty easy, but this one with glue would have been even easier.

What was your favorite part of this event? Please let me know in the comments! And as always, please…

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Hot Air Balloon Theme Baby Shower | Party or Event | mamasbrush
Hot Air Balloon Theme Baby Shower | Party or Event | mamasbrush

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Summer Time Design for Fabric and Gift Wrap

Summer Time Fabric and Gift Wrap | BBQ Grill Outdoor Picnic Fun | mamasbrush

This week the theme at Spoonflower is Small Scale Summer . I came up with this basic design last year, but never took it beyond the sketch. When I saw the theme for this week, I immediately wanted to bring it back out. I transferred it to watercolor paper and got painting.

This would be great on fabric for a summer tote or purse or adorable on gift wrap for any of your summer parties! You can vote for your favorite design through May 7, 2019here.

I have a free printable of the original design coming up for you soon. Click follow in the sidebar so you won’t miss it! πŸ™‚

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Summer Time Fabric and Gift Wrap | BBQ Grill Outdoor Picnic Fun | mamasbrush

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How to make an Easy Kitty Cat Cake from a Box Mix and Standard Pans

How to make an Easy Kitty Cat Cake from a Box Mix and Standard Pans

I know, I usually share my artsy stuff here, but really it’s my creative space. Where I can collect all the creative things I do into one place, for reference and for sharing. And I find that I can work in all sorts of mediums. Confections are a super fun one if you ask me. Bake the cake (or the cookies) and then use frosting to make them pretty! πŸ™‚

This weekend we celebrated our youngest girl’s 7th birthday and she is loving cats these days. For months now we’ve known we’d be having a cat themed birthday. On Saturday we did the big part of her celebration, complete with Kitty Cat Cake. πŸ™‚ I found my Pinspiration from Perfect Parties, but I didn’t think to read their instructions. They “torted” their layers (I learned what that means in their post) and included a strawberry filling. Check them out for some great ideas on a slightly more sophisticated cake.

Otherwise, read on to see how I did it super simple with a box mix and 2 nine inch cake pans. (Everyone said it was really good!)

How to make an Easy Kitty Cat Cake from a Box Mix and Standard Pans

I started with a yellow cake mix, but pink or white or marble or rainbow or whatever would be fine. You could even use brownies if you wanted to. We tried to make pink box mix cake, but it went flat, so I made a second with another box I had on hand. Follow box directions for prep, baking, cooling etc.

When they were cool, I used a bowl (Corelle cereal bowl for size reference) place on one of the cakes (at the edge, not in the middle) and cut around it with a steak knife. Then I cut two small triangles from the left overs for ears and used the rest of the edge for the tail. I did cut some off until it was the size I liked.

I didn’t cut the domes off to make the cats flat. I liked the rounded face and body, plus it was less “waste” (not that scraps of cake are ever wasted around here with myself and 6 children in the house.) But you could.

How to make an Easy Kitty Cat Cake from a Box Mix and Standard Pans

For frosting, I mixed up a recipe of American Buttercream (but your frosting of choice would work just as well I’m sure) and dollopped a bunch on each part and started spreading. It wasn’t a supper neat job, but I cleaned it up after. It was probably the trickiest part, but just keep at it, gently applying and spreading it over all the surfaces until it’s all covered (More is better for avoiding crumbs if you aren’t doing a crumb coat. It can always be scrapped off if it’s too thick.)

I added red food coloring to the rest of the frosting to make the pink and added the rest of the details. (I had green frosting in the freezer for the leaves, but you could separate your left overs to make some pink and some green.) You could do almost anything here, or leave it plain. I was supposed to make it a pink kitty, but forgot to color the frosting before I spread it on, so the details I added in pink were a sort of redemption attempt. She loved it and said it was fine. The pink balls are oversized sugar pearls.

***A word about making cakes (or about anything else) for your children: it doesn’t have to be perfect. Mine rarely are. Birthday cakes (and birthdays in general) are about making your kid feel special, not about making them look perfect. I’ve made some flops in my day (this year even), but kids have great imaginations (sometimes I tell them what it’s supposed to be and they get just as excited). Give it a try… you’ll get better every time. Anything extra you do is huge for them. And my kids are always more excited about something “mama made”. :)***

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Ice Cream Parlor Birthday Party with Food and Artwork to Match

This one’s late, sorry.

Ice Cream Parlor Birthday Party Theme

Last summer, one of my middle kids really wanted ice cream with his birthday cake. It was a big deal. He had been talking about it for months.

Ice cream with the cake. Got it.

As the months of reminders continued, I decided that an Ice Cream Parlor theme would be perfect for his 8th birthday. Then I had to ask him how important the cake was. πŸ™‚ The theme was a surprise, but when I assured him that his dessert would match the theme, he decided that the cake was optional. The ice cream was not. No problem.

Bacon Cones for Ice Cream Theme Birthday

Somehow there is no pic of the finished result, but we started the day with Scrambled Eggs and muffins in Bacon Cones (though mine didn’t work great, they were still fun) and 4 ingredient chocolate banana “ice cream“.

Balloon Decorations for Ice Cream Birthday Party Theme

I decorated with balloons with and without cones around the walls. (Pinspiration here.)

Ice Cream Parlor Chalkboard for Ice Cream Birthday Theme

And, of course, I decorated my chalkboard (I changed his name in photoshop.)

Tacos in a Cone for Ice Cream Birthday Party Theme

For dinner we had taco cones and ate them out of hand just like an ice cream cone.

Ice Cream Cone Cookie Dessert for Ice Cream Birthday Party Theme

For dessert I made a huge round cookie with a pizza pan and cut it into wedges. I put two scoops (size dependent on the age of the person eating) of ice cream, Reddi-whip, and a cherry on top. It was a hit. And oh-so-good!

Ice Cream Watercolor Illustration Card

I try to paint a little something for the kids on their birthdays in place of a card. They love it. It doesn’t always work out, but this time, I painted a simple ice cream cone and signed it “mommy”. He put it in the clear cover of his school binder so he can see it all the time.

Ice Cream Parlor Birthday Party Theme

Find more ideas for your own Ice Cream Parlor Party on my Ice Cream Party Board on Pinterest. I’m continuing to add more ideas all the time, so click follow while you are there. And, while you are at it, feel free to follow all my boards for other creative inspiration! (Shameless plug.) πŸ™‚

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Birch Log Pretzels – Cozy Mountain Lodge Women’s Retreat

Birch Log Pretzels - Cozy Mountain Lodge Women's Retreat

While I’ll admit that the spiritual side of retreat is the most important, when I signed on for last year’s (and again for this year’s) women’s retreat planning committee, it was with the desire to pamper, spoil and bless the women from my church. I wanted to help us transition from a “conference” atmosphere to one of restful, retreat. I don’t know about you, but for me, that means food. And at least some of it should be chocolate.

Birch Log Pretzels - Cozy Mountain Lodge Women's Retreat

Yesterday, my 6 year old and I made these Birch Log Pretzels. We melted the white candy melts according to package directions. She stirred and stirred while I got the pretzels open and pulled out the unbroken ones. She also stirred for me between pretzel “dips”. Instead of dipping, though, since I was using a shallow container, I spooned the melted candy over the part of the pretzel I wanted covered.

Birch Log Pretzels - Cozy Mountain Lodge Women's Retreat

Here they are to set. I left them for an hour or so, mostly because I have six kids and my attention was needed elsewhere, but also because I wanted them good and set before adding the chocolate.

Birch Log Pretzels - Cozy Mountain Lodge Women's Retreat

Then I drizzled melted milk chocolate chips over them to get the “birch” look. It was pretty simple. That took a little while to set because our house was comforably warm. But don’t refrigerate them because sometimes that changes the color of the chocolate. Your choice though… experiment. πŸ™‚

I made enough extras for the kids to each try one (mom’s should just do that!) and they were well received! πŸ™‚

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