Farm Girl Diaper Cake – Every Baby Needs a Party

Okay, you’ve heard me say it before: I’m a firm believer that every baby needs a party, and this little farm girl is no exception. Three older brothers already inhabiting the family’s homestead (plus rabbits and chickens), we really had to do something in pink!

Farm Girl Diaper Cake - Every Baby Needs a Party

Our church budgets for throwing a baby shower for all the first born babies, and I am the one so blessed as to be in charge of most of those. I understand that there isn’t room in the budget for every baby to have a full blown party, and it isn’t in our budget either. And I understand that not everyone thinks that second and third (and forth and fifth, etc) babies need a party. But I disagree!

When I say that every baby needs a party, I do not mean that we need to break the budget each time a baby is born or throw some elaborate gathering. What I do mean is that we should celebrate each new baby as the gift from God that they are! (I feel the same way about every adoption too by the way!) Every baby is special to the family receiving him or her, and it’s my joy to make a point to celebrate with that family… and to make sure they know about it!

Farm Girl Diaper Cake - Every Baby Needs a Party

A number of years ago, after years of wishing something could be done for all these *not first born* babies, I had a couple ideas. First of all, what if we just set up a table and invite the church family to bring gifts for the new baby. So that’s what I do anytime a new baby is born in our church. It’s not hard, and most of the time the decorations are super simple. This time it was a table cloth, a diaper cake (made at home), and a banner. It will be up for a few Sundays to give time for people to bring in their gifts.

{Planning to share my second “idea” about how to celebrate new babies in an upcoming post… subscribe in the sidebar so you don’t miss it!}

Farm Girl Diaper Cake - Every Baby Needs a Party
Usually I put the new family picture where the family drawing is, but I replaced it to give the family their privacy! πŸ™‚ [Artwork is NOT mine]

A week or so before it is up, I send out an email “invitation” to the whole church that is made in the same theme as the table. We call it a sprinkling. Most people bring diapers and wipes, but there are a few people who bring other gifts, gift cards, or a personal quilt. Gifts don’t even have to be wrapped… it’s optional.

Farm Girl Diaper Cake - Every Baby Needs a Party

I found the inspiration for this diaper cake on Pinterest (of course). Then I increased the size of the clipart I used in the invitation and printed it off. Some extra details from the dollar store, fabric store and around the house took it over the top. It turned out really cute (I think!)

Farm Girl Diaper Cake - Every Baby Needs a Party

Does your church do anything when babies are born??? It’s really easy to start this ministry… and it’s one that blesses families time and again!!

Keep a look out for the other thing I do for families to celebrate the birth of their new babies! (You can subscribe in the sidebar so you don’t miss a post!)

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Farm Girl Diaper Cake - Every Baby Needs a Party

Gathering here.

Recommended Reading:

Gender Neutral Baby Shower – Hot Air Balloons
Every Baby Needs a Party
Woodland Animal Nursery Art (and a quilt)

When Thank You Just Isn’t Enough – Watercolor Thank You Notes

Watercolor Thank You Cards

Sometimes thank you just doesn’t seem like enough. Like when you end up at the children’s hospital with your 11 year old daughter and God pours out blessing upon blessing, mercy upon mercy through the whole thing.

Watercolor Thank You Cards

Or when you arrive to the Intermediate Care Unit and walk off the elevator with the paramedic to see your pastor and his family sitting in the waiting room, waiting for you.

And when they grab McDonalds for you at 9 at night because you haven’t eaten since lunch.

Or when that same pastor leaves church right after preaching to be with you while your little girl is in surgery a couple days later.

Watercolor Thank You Cards

Or when a dozen or more people come together throughout the week to provide child care for the littles at home.

Or for friends who came at a moment’s notice to care for your other children so that you can go be with your girl in the ER asking for her mama. And to get you there so you don’t have to drive.

Other friends who drop everything to drive 2 hours and stay with those 5 children all weekend.

A mama of 5 of her own increases that brood to 10 to bring your children into her home for a couple nights.

Or another who gives up Hershey Park tickets to be with them the night after that.

Grandparents who come from far away to take the rest of the week.

Watercolor Thank You Cards

Or when cards and money are collected at the office to help encourage and provide for gas and meals during your stay.

Or when someone from work brings his wife and a Chic-fil-a dinner to the hospital to visit and encourage you, while your daughter sleeps strait through it.

Or when the gifts start piling in for your girl to make her smile and distract her from pain and sickness. And a gift for her is like a gift for you.

Watercolor Thank You Cards

Or when the Child Life staff at the hospital brings clay to distract her while they change the dressing on her chest tube, or brings a new game to play while they put in a new IV.

Watercolor Thank You Cards

Or when new friends stop in to feed the chickens each morning on their way to work when there isn’t anyone at home.

Or when old friends take baskets of laundry home to wash and return.

Or when lady after wonderful lady bring meals for the kids and their caretakers.

Or when someone at church videos your son in the VBS drama everyday because you can’t be there to see it yourself.

Watercolor Thank You Cards

And when hundreds of people pray earnestly for you and your family, keeping up to date and spreading the word!

After 4 very sick days at home, an urgent care visit, diagnosis of pneumonia, antibiotics, dehydration, and a visit to the ER for fluids, my 11 year old daughter was admitted to the children’s hospital not too far from home. A day and a half later she was continuing to worsen, though they had already changed her antibiotics. A chest tube released a lot of fluid that was building up around her lung (6 cups by weeks end). Finally the antibiotics could do their work.

We spent 9 days in the Acute Care Unit (after 1 in the Intermediate Care Unit) before we were able to take her home to finish her healing. It was a long 10 days away from the rest of the children and our home, but God cared for us and our children every step of the way. We maintained a peace that only comes from God in these circumstances (Philippians 4:6-7) and, though she was very sick and everything going on was super crazy, we never felt like it was out of control. Of course it was in God’s control the whole time.

Watercolor Thank You Cards

Certainly thank you just isn’t enough, but I wanted to paint some special cards for some of the people who were extra blessings during this time (in addition to one that went out to the whole church and others that we sent out various other ways.

Gathering here.

Recommended Reading:

Watercolor Scripture Cards
Easy Watercolor Cards YOU Can Paint
The Perfect Verse for Newlyweds

Take a Hike – How I Made a Sloped Birthday Cake

Turns out I had to come up with my own plan for this hiking theme cake. I searched and searched for ideas. I have some on my Hiking Party Board, but nothing was going to work with the time available and I didn’t need 30 people worth of cake. In addition to that, I made a camping theme cake several years ago for the same kid, so I wanted it to be different. (aka no tents)

Hiking Trail Cake -- Easy Hiking Theme Birthday on a Budget

As I mentioned earlier this week, the end of July we spent with our oldest daughter in the hospital, leaving very little time for preparing for this birthday. I made the cake (from a box mix) the night before, but I set the temperature wrong and it turned out dry. This set me behind. Usually I freeze the cakes before assembling and frosting them, but after our birthday breakfast we made a new cake (thankfully we had a back up box of cake mix!) and set it to cool on the counter.

First of all, I baked the cake with these even-bake strips from Wilton. They help the cake to rise more evenly. After lunch I was ready to begin frosting the cake. I leveled my cake layers like this (a great video about leveling and frosting cake layers.) I set the tops off to the side to be used later (I had to guard them well as there were several children floating around looking for scraps. )

Frosting the layers was little trickier since they weren’t frozen, but it worked. I did something different for me this time and used a piping bag to pipe the frosting between the layers. (Here is another great video about frosting cakes.) Piping it on helped greatly since the cake wasn’t frozen and was apt to fall apart as I spread. I’m still not great at all the techniques of cake decorating, but I’m having fun learning with each new birthday. πŸ™‚

The Layers

[Ack! There are no pictures of the process. Time was short and I was working as fast as I could to get done in time for an early dinner and celebration. But I’ve drawn pictures for you… I hope they help!]

One of the cakes was falling apart on one side (whether this happened coming out of the pan or with the help of one of my smaller children is undecided). It worked out though, because I used that spot, after the second layer was on, to cut and shape a slope out of that layer down to toward the first layer(see diagram… these are not to scale!!).

Then I frosted only part of the top in a semi-circular way. Then I placed one of the cake tops (saved from before) on top of the frosting and trimmed away the cake that went over the side.

I then added frosting to that layer and repeated with the second cake top saved from before, but I offset it even further (see diagram… still not to scale!!). Then I trimmed away the rest of the cake top and handed out scraps to the hovering children.

This is what it looked like from the side when all the layers were ready.

I then applied the crumb coat and stuck it in the freezer for 20-30 minutes to harden so that I could finish the decorations (and make more frosting.)

Hiking Trail Cake -- Easy Hiking Theme Birthday on a Budget

I frosted the whole thing with a light green buttercream frosting I made from scratch.

the Creek

On top of that I used blue cookie frosting we already had on hand. I don’t recommend this particular icing, though, because it took a long time to set and ended up sagging down the slope after the pictures were taken. I can already tell in this photo that it had begun. I picked a random place on the cake for the creek and worked a line across the cake and down to the cake plate. Then I just did that several more times to make it thicker . The lines of it melded together nicely.

Hiking Trail Cake -- Easy Hiking Theme Birthday on a Budget

The Path

I mixed in some white buttercream with chocolate frosting I had in the freezer, left over from another birthday, and it made for a nice “path” color. I piped that onto the cake, making sure to cross the creek, and ended it in a larger area at the top. The kids decided that the picnic tables would go there (the imaginary ones). πŸ™‚ My oldest son figured out how to cut a pretzel so that we could use it for the bridge. Good luck with that, mine kept breaking! πŸ™‚

How I made a Sloped Cake for a Hiking Themed Birthday

The trees

For the trees on the cake I used left over Cupcake Icing we had from another birthday and used the star tip that came with it. I don’t know what color it was because I used the last of it and threw it away, but it was super handy for a quick decorating job. You could do the same thing, though, by making your own frosting and using a star tip. It worked a lot like “spray cheese.” I made both the trees on top of the cake and the ones on the tall side of the cake. Then I put “bushes” around the cake on both sides of the creek until I ran out. The trunks on the back trees are the chocolate frosting I had kept back before adding the buttercream to make the lighter brown for the path.

How I made a Sloped Cake for a Hiking Themed Birthday

A few hints on tree placement:

1. I put several “trees/bushes” close together at the start of the creek to give the illusion that it started there in a hidden spring under the trees.
2. I put a tree in the crook of the path to give a reason for the sharp bend in the path.
3. I put several trees at the top around the “eating area” of “path” frosting to mimic a shady picnic area.

Do you have an event coming up that could use a sloped mountain or hiking cake?? Pin it for later. πŸ™‚

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How I made a Sloped Cake for a Hiking Themed Birthday

Gathering here.

Recommended Reading:

Easy Hiking Birthday Theme on a Budget
Mountain Rice Krispies Treats
Birch Log Pretzels
Get Away to the Mountains Simple Watercolor Painting

Easy Hiking Theme Birthday on a Budget

I wasn’t sure how I was going to make this “Hiking” themed birthday different from the “Camping” theme we did a few years ago, and let me tell you, inspiration was not coming. I had only general ideas going into the evening before the big day, but hopefully that is just proof of how easy and budget friendly this whole theme was.

Birthdays are a big deal around here, and if you’ve been around a while, then you know that there is always a theme. I was really struggling with what the theme would be this time around since the interests of my now nine year old haven’t changed much over the last few years. I’ve done all the themes already. What he really wanted was a hiking theme, but I kept fighting against it since we just did a camping theme a few years ago.

Added into all that, my husband and I spent 10 days during July in the hospital with our oldest daughter and, while she is in full health now, the week we got home was full of recovery and catching up from being away from home and the rest of the kids for so long. That left only a few days to figure out what I was going to do for this birthday.

Finally I gave in. Hiking theme it was… but I had no idea what I would do. Pinterest is always a huge help, but most of the “hiking” searches brought up tons of great “camping” themed party ideas. Or “national park” themes. Still not exactly what I was looking for. (See my Pinterest board for more ideas!)

One thing I did find was cute hiking signs I could print… but my printer wasn’t working at the last minute, so we didn’t have those.

So what’s a girl to do with no balloons, no streamers, and no idea what to start with? I headed upstairs to to the attic for the Christmas/winter decorations. Yes I did! You may recognize some of these from the Cozy Mountain Lodge Women’s Retreat I decorated for earlier this year too.

I put some of these decorations on my much loved shelves.

Adventure Awaits Hand Painted Card -- Easy Hiking Theme Birthday on a Budget

And I try to paint/illustrate a little card for each of the kids on their birthday. It’s become something that is really special to them. This time I thought it fit nicely in the decoration. You could totally do this painting. I painted the green part of the tree loosely, leaving gaps here and there in a light green. After that dried, I did it again with the same paint, but not going all the way to the edges. Then a third time after it dried again. Once it was all dry the fourth time, I added the brown trunk. Sometimes I simply use a tall triangle for a pine tree. It works great!

The mountains I put on a pedestal in the middle of the breakfast table. (Excuse the wrinkled tablecloth… the epitome of last minute.)

Birthday breakfast was cinnamon roll mountains. Super easy! Two cans of cinnamon rolls from the refrigerated section of the grocery store (though you can make your own if you have the time and inclination). I just unrolled each one and re-rolled it in the slightest cone shape. A little tip: don’t go too high with your cone or it will topple over… but I just made that one mine. πŸ™‚ No big deal.

I made little flags out of scrapbook paper and glued “take a hike” circles on to them. The stick is a skewer I cut into three parts. I hand wrote the “take a hike” but you could use something printed off the computer or even stickers if you can find something you like.

Life's An Adventure... Go Hiking! Chalkboard -- Easy Hiking Theme Birthday on a Budget

The chalkboard was really easy to do. Honestly, the hardest part was the lettering. Again, you could even use a simple tall triangle for the tree if the scribbled lines are too much. I found that the orange chalk gave enough of a brown feel over the black of the chalkboard that it worked perfectly.

Hiking Trail Cake -- Easy Hiking Theme Birthday on a Budget

The cake was the most last minute of all. I baked the cake the night before… but I used too high of a temperature and it was dry. So my daughter and I remade it that morning. That afternoon I was assembling my cake unfrozen (freezing them first makes it super easy to assemble and frost!!) and with no real idea of what I wanted to do. None of the 2-3 pins I found were what I wanted/had time for, so I was on my own. The cake has it’s own post! Click over to find out how I made it! πŸ™‚

And that’s how we did our easy hiking theme birthday on a budget! To top it off, we recommended some hiking themed birthday presents to family who were looking for ideas, so the back pack, nature journal and compass really added to the excitement! πŸ™‚

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Easy Hiking Theme Birthday on a Budget

Gathering here.

Recommended reading:

Take a Hike: How I made a Sloped Birthday Cake
Ladybug Birthday Party Theme
Every “BUG”ys Welcome Adoption Party
Mary Poppins Birthday Party Theme

Dog Stuff Pattern for Fabric, Scrapbook Paper, Wallpaper, etc.

Dog Stuff Pattern for Fabric, Scrapbook Paper, etc.

I created this dog print with my sister in mind. I thought it may be cute to make a bag or a doggie bandana or a whatever. I’ll be honest, a dog person I am not, but I know that people love their dogs and I now have a new love for dog stuff. It was super fun to doodle these little dog things!

I didn’t just decide one day to doodle dog toys, food and beds. Spoonflower is at it again, pushing me out of my comfort zone and into the unknown. This time the theme is Dog Days (may as well add “of summer”, right? Maybe I should have gone a different direction with this theme?)

Dog Stuff Pattern for Fabric, Scrapbook Paper, etc.

Dog days? As a non-dog-person, I’ve never really spent a lot of time illustrating dogs. I thought about it for about a half second before disregarding the whole idea. Living things are hard, People! But their stuff… now that’s another animal all together. (See what I did there?)

So here it is, my entry for the Dog Days Design Challenge over at Spoonflower. It’s open for voting between July 18-23, 2019. Click over and check out the compitition. Oh, and vote for mine too if you like it. πŸ™‚

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Dog Stuff Pattern for Fabric, Scrapbook Paper, etc.

Gathering here.

Easy Watercolor Flowers YOU Can Paint

I painted these cards for a party we attended this weekend for a graduate in our church. I sat down Friday night with no inspiration of what I wanted to make. What I ended up with an hour later was easy watercolor flowers YOU can paint. I didn’t start out to make a tutorial (the party was the next day), so I don’t have pictures to share of the process, but I want to talk you through what I did, because these really are Easy Watercolor Flowers YOU Can Paint!

I painted this whole thing without a pencil drawing. This makes it easier for me because I don’t have to worry about getting the petals just right when the time comes.

Getting Started

The first thing I did was to paint yellow dots where I wanted my flowers. If you are making a greeting or verse card, give some thought to where you want your flowers, if you are practicing, just put them anywhere. They would be cute in a semi-strait line across the middle of your work space. Remember to leave space between the centers for the petals for each flower.

Let the yellow paint dry.

Adding Petals

When the centers are dry, you can begin to paint the petals. I chose a color palate ahead of time and thought through where I wanted them. I begin by painting the outline of the petals where I want them, sometimes 4 petals, sometimes 5. You can do what you like.

If the petals aren’t exactly the right size or shape, just add more paint and change them a bit (this is why I like painting with pencilwork first.) When I am filling in the color on the petals, I try to leave white spaces for a little textural interest.

Stems

While allowing the petals to dry I worked on the stems and leaves of this card. I am careful to leave a little gap between the still trying flower and the green of the stem, otherwise the colors will bleed together. I simply used the very tip of one of my size 7,8, or 9 brushes (though you could use a smaller one if you are more comfortable with it.)

I dragged the tip downward from the flower to the bottom of the card. Be careful to draw an imaginary line from the center of your flower through the petals so your stem placement is realistic. Go back and add paint to make it darker, or more water for thicker stems as needed.

Easy Watercolor Flowers YOU Can Paint -- My Creative Process at mamasbrush.wordpress.com

Leaves

I first added leaves to the stemmed flowers because they are further removed from the wet paint of the petals. I chose a very traditional leaf shape and deliberately left them running off the edge of the paper and behind a nearby flower (though you need to make sure the flower it touches is dry first).

Easy Watercolor Flowers YOU Can Paint -- My Creative Process at mamasbrush.wordpress.com

For the leaves on this card, I waited for the petals to dry and added leaves coming from behind the petals. Do you see the faint leaf behind the others on the purple flower on the left? That was the original leaf for that flower and it was way too big. I added a bunch of water and tried lifting the already dry paint with a paper towel, but it didn’t lift all of it. I was a little disappointed that I’d ruined the card, but I moved ahead and added the smaller leaves instead, just for practice.

Fixing “Mistakes”

I set it aside to dry while I worked on other details, and while was working I had an idea. I decided to paint very faint large leaves all over the background of the card. I painted with a lot of water, let it sit a moment or two, then dabbed it up with paper towel. Not only was the card not ruined, it was the one I decided to use for the graduation party. When you find that you’ve made a mistake of your own, set it aside for a bit and see if you can brainstorm a way to make it part of your design. You may just like it better than your intended design! πŸ™‚

Easy Watercolor Flowers YOU Can Paint -- My Creative Process at mamasbrush.wordpress.com

Another layer of color

When everything was dry, I went back in and added another layer of color to each of the elements. For some of the flowers I went around the edges with a darker color (see the purple flower on the bottom card). For others I made streaks of darker color coming out from the middle (the purple flower on the top card. For others still, I gave an extra layer of color on half of each petal. For the leaves, I added another layer (or two) of green on one half of the leaf. There are so many ways to do this, just experiment and see what you like!

Easy Watercolor Flowers YOU Can Paint -- My Creative Process at mamasbrush.wordpress.com

Finishing Touches

This is when I add my pen work. I usually do this the next day, since I do most of my painting late at night. The trick is to make sure your painting is completely dry! For the leaves I think a pointed version of a spiral is fun. For the petals, I trace each one twice, sometimes staying right on top of the first line, other times leaving a gap all around or even just on the end. I think this makes it look like the petals are curved around on the ends. I add some squiggly lines at the base of each petal and a spiral at the center.

My goal for these finishing touches was to make the painting cute and whimsical. If I wanted them to look a little closer to realistic, I may have used dots in the centers and simple vein like lines on the leaves. Go with what you like and have fun! Shayda Campbell once said, if I want it to look exactly right, take a picture. Painting is about giving it your own creative interpretation.

When all was said and done I added the verses I had in mind and the border. Since I was short on time, I just did a simple lettering and added the verse reference into the border as I like to do. I think it worked though. The flowers dressed it up enough and the lettering style didn’t distract from the painting or the message.

So will you try it??

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Gathering here.

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

Gathering here.