Winter Shelf Decor and More

Winter Shelf Decor | mamasbrush   #decor #winter #pinetrees #snowman #snow
#snowballs #shelves #chalkboard #art #drawing

Okay, so we are in the second half of January and I’ll be changing these {my favorite} shelves in the next week or so. But before I do, I wanted to share them with you all. I didn’t really do anything with them in January last year, so this was their first winter set up.

I just love the way it turned out, but my favorite part is that my daughter (11) was helping me. While I was working on taking everything out of the box, she grabbed up those plastic pine trees and set them up herself. I just loved the way they were set up, so I placed that tall wood snowman among them and called um good. I love that skinny little guy. He is one of the projects from our first year selling at the Christmas market. I believe my oldest made him. The jar of cotton balls is labeled “snowballs”. I put it together for my tiered tray last year.

Winter Shelf Decor | mamasbrush   #decor #winter #snowman #snow
#snowballs #shelves #chalkboard #art #drawing

Behind that is one of my favorite, inexpensive frames from Walmart. I keep various sizes on hand so I can frame a new piece for putting up or gifting. I put a piece of black paper in it and used my white, water-based paint pen to draw a little scene and write out James 1:17.

Winter Shelf Decor | mamasbrush   #decor #winter #pinetrees #snowman #snow
#snowballs #shelves #woodblocks #crafts #wintercrafts #wintercrafting #saltandpeppershakers

On the bottom shelf are several wooden trees I’ve gathered or made over the years. The “Snow” blocks were another from my son, but his time they were made just for me instead of left overs from market. He did them in all shades of green because he knew I would want to use them for a winter-scapey theme after Christmas. The adorable snowman salt and pepper shakers were made by my daughter for Christmas market and were among the left overs. I’m just “borrowing” them until next year when we’ll put them out to sell again. πŸ™‚

Rae Dunn Inspired Cocoa Station - Winter Shelf Decor | mamasbrush   #decor #marshmellows #cocoa #candycanes #mugs #RaeDunn

I love this little spot on the window sill above my stove. I usually put mugs all along it through Christmas and beyond, but we got a cat last year and I just can’t keep him off that sill. I am too afraid he’ll get up there and knock something down to it’s doom. And let’s be honest, he’s going to get up there. I find cat prints all. the. time.

So this year I made this a little cocoa themed space. I filled a mason jar with large marshmallow and set my cute hot chocolate mix with it. Then the cittle crocheted mug rug my daughter made for me for Christmas this year. Also for Christmas this year, my sister gave me my first official Rae Dunn piece. I’ve been pinning them for a year now. She picked out this cute mug that says “faith” on it. Problem was, as cute as it would be with all those candy canes in it, it just didn’t fit. So I grabbed my black water-based paint pen and wrote “cocoa” on it in my wobbly version of “Rae Dunn” like writing on the other side. Now I have options. I can use it as is, or I can turn it around and write something to fit my theme.

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Toilet Paper Snowman - Winter Shelf Decor on a Budget| mamasbrush   #decor #snowman #snow #crafty #winter #easycrafts #decor #decorations #toiletpaperrolls

This is my last favorite thing this year. It was also a gift, last year’s Christmas gift from my older boys (12 and 8 at the time). You see, last year was the year of the toilet paper pumpkins at our church. It seemed that every different group made them, but I had no idea. Not until after we made a bunch and took them to the Christmas market hoping to sell a few for Thanksgiving. We didn’t sell any! No worries, put the toilet paper back in the bathroom and fold up the fabric for a future project. But apparently it started the wheels turning for my boys. Before I knew it, and with no idea why, they were begging the next empty oatmeal container off me for a project. That, plus some help and supplies from my mom, became the cutest toilet paper snowman you’ve ever seen! One of my favorite Christmas gifts from 2018!

So there you have it, my favorite parts of this year’s winter decor. I hope you are inspired to make a special place in your home to make you smile!

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Gathering here.

Recommended Reading:

My Shelves Done Up for Valentine’s Day
Cozy Mountain Lodge Theme Wrap Up
Our Christmas Market Display – Where I sold my own artwork!

Panda Party on a Budget

When I found out that pandas were going to be my theme for this family party, I was super excited. There is so much cute stuff out there for pandas. This is my take on it.

Chalkboard - Panda Party on a Budget | mamasbrush #panda #party #birthday #bamboo # China #chalkboard #black #white

We had the pleasure to throw a family birthday party for a girl we consider part of our family. She’s one of ours and her mom’s okay with that. They always join us Sunday evenings for our family movie night, but tonight, we added in a surprise birthday party for this newly 13 year old.

Now, for those of you who have been around a while, or who have looked through some of my other parties, you know that we do parties a little differently. I have 6 kids, with my mom and sister joining us, already, we are 10 people! So we don’t do guest lists and I try to keep things pretty simple in the way of activities. We do food, decorations, presents and cake (or pie or whatever the birthday person requests). We also don’t do expensive. I do 6-8 parties a year. I can’t do that times $100+. I just can’t! All I bought for this party was some Pirouette Wafer cookies and paper plates and cups. Everything else was done with what I already had or free printables.

So… pandas. I found some really cute ideas on Pinterest (see my Panda party board here!)

Panda Party on a Budget | mamasbrush #panda #party #birthday #bamboo # China #decor #decorations #black #white

Crafty Pammy has this really great free printable panda craft that I cut out and did with my older boys. Mine is on the bottom. They came up with the idea of actually having the pandas eating bamboo. In another party setting, this would have been a fun craft to let your little guests do, but since my birthday girl was 13, I just used them for decorations.

My pinspiration for the bamboo came from Super Festa Infantil where they have all sorts of panda party ideas. It looks like theirs is pre-printed or something, but I just cut green construction paper into 3 inch strips and then trimmed them up to have the little details at the ends of the segments. Then I taped them to the wall (with special wall tape my father-in-law picked up for me) on top of each other and added stems and leaves. The stems are actually scraps from cutting those out. Then tuck in the pandas and we were all set.

Chalkboard - Panda Party on a Budget | mamasbrush #panda #party #birthday #bamboo # China #chalkboard #black #white

And of course my chalkboard made an appearance. I was just going to do the bamboo since I was running out of time, but at the last minute I fit in a little panda. I just love him!

Cupcakes - Panda Party on a Budget | mamasbrush #panda #party #birthday #bamboo # China #cupcakes #black #white

The cupcakes were inspired by this adorable cake.

Cups - Panda Party on a Budget | mamasbrush #panda #party #birthday #bamboo # China #cups #black #white

And I got the cup idea here. Those are for sale, but a sharpie and white party cups got the job done for me. πŸ™‚

Done miss the other ideas I didn’t use over at my Pinterest Board! And don’t forget to…

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Panda Party on a Budget | mamasbrush #panda #party #birthday #bamboo # China #chalkboard #black #white

Gathering here.

Fall Harvest Birthday Party My {Young} Children Gave Me

For months my children (ages 4-12) have been dreaming up their birthday plans for me. I always make a big deal of their birthdays (in inexpensive and homemade ways) and they are getting old enough to want to do what I do… for me. It’s pretty cool.

They have help. My mom helps with brainstorming and shopping and any crafting. The day of, they kick me out of the house (I go down to my mom’s house [converted from a detached garage] and take a shower… ahhhh… happy birthday to me!) so they can decorate.

Pumpkin Cake - Fall Harvest Birthday Party My Children Gave Me | mamasbrush | #birthday #party #harvest #fall #cake #sweets #pumpkins

This year they baked a cake. Due to a flop the previous day, I helped the little kids make the cake that morning and the big kids decorated it with my mom in the afternoon when she was home from work. It turned out really cute!

Fall Harvest Birthday Party My Children Gave Me | mamasbrush | #birthday #party #harvest #fall #centerpiece #scarecrow #pumpkins #gourds #floralarrangement #decorations #decor

They colored pictures for the walls and put together a centerpiece according to the theme.

Fall Harvest Birthday Party My Children Gave Me | mamasbrush | #birthday #party #harvest #fall #chalkboard #kidart #pumpkins #handlettering

This year they even put my chalkboard to use! Isn’t it adorable! They all helped in some way. Keep in mind that the oldest is 12 and the youngest had just turned 4.

Thank you babies for a wonderful birthday!

[Most of this post was finished back at the end of September, but life got busy and the blog (as necessity demands) is the first thing to go. (I haven’t been painting either!) I just popped in to work on some new posts when I discovered that this one had never been finished. So here it is. Hopefully there will be another this week, and they we’ll see how life settles in. I miss sharing… and having things to share!]

Blessings,
Babychaser

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

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

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

Simple Wine or Vinyard Theme Birthday Party or Event

Chalkboard art - Wine Theme Birthday Party for Daddy

We plan parties in our family. Events. Each of the children gets a detailed theme for their birthday each year and each year is special, though some are simpler than others. Even my mom and my sister get a full theme for their days. Daddy, however, rarely gets a full thematic party. Frankly, he doesn’t care, so often I let the busyness of the impending Women’s Retreat (check out our Cozy Mountain Lodge and Sweet Life Cafe Retreats) and two approaching kid birthdays take my energy away from him. This year, however, we had a Wine Theme Birthday for Daddy.

It was simple. Super simple! But the important thing was that the kids and I set aside some time to honor Daddy by making him a party.

I decorated the chalkboard. Note the spelling of “Whinery”. A detail not lost on Daddy, I assure you. We should probably rename our property from Claystone Family Farm to “Whiney Vinyards” or something. But I digress.

I served one of his favorite dinners and the kids drank juice out of stemmed glasses.

The touches were so simple and took very little extra time, but it was fun to dress up Daddy’s birthday a little.

Gathering here.