Friday, January 30, 2009

My Masquerade- PART I

Mardi Gras is in just a couple weeks and I’m currently working on a mask for a guy at the hubster’s office who is in a Galveston krewe. I thought you might enjoy taking a peek into my process. This first stage took me about 20 hours.

Stage I: Building the Mask

I started with two plastic masks like this one to use as a base. I took off the elastic bands, the bells, the sequin trim and the pipe cleaners, then glued the two masks together to give it a bit more structure. At this point the mask is too flimsy to decorate, so I used papier-mache to make it nice and sturdy.

In this picture, the mask is in its initial phase with several layers of newsprint papier-mache. I used Aleene's Craft Glue to layer the paper on like decoupage. You could use real decoupage medium, but I always have Aleene's around, so I used it instead. I also covered the other side of the mask with a couple layers of papier-mache.

To finish the mask form, I trimmed the edges with an X-Acto knife, sanded down any bumps and added a few more layers of papier-mache. Instead of using newsprint, this time I used tissue paper to smooth out all the seams created by the layers underneath.

Finally, after a couple days of dry time, I put a thick base coat of white paint. Now, the mask is ready for Stage II: Design.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I Turned Ten!

Well, actually I turned 10 in July. What am I talking about?! This Monday, at our all-staff meeting we celebrated work anniversaries and I was one of the honorees. I've been working at a great organization--United Way of Greater Houston--for ten years! I know, it is hard to believe, but it's true. I started working here when I was in grade school, a baby really.

Anyhoo, both my supervisor and her supervisor said some very nice things about me and I received a dozen beautiful pink roses and a lovely frame with some kind words that my coworkers wrote about me. Annnnnnd, an AmEx gift card! I think a trip to Tiffany is in order! *wink*

I have been blessed to be able to work with a group of talented, generous and thoughtful people. The United Way is an excellent organization and has touched one out of every two lives in our community. If you "give at the office", thank you so much. If you are interested in giving, click on the link below and "Do something about it!"

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I won! I won! I won!

I won the Grand Prize in the Wilton Cookie Decorating Contest and now I get to go to Disney World!!! They just posted my cookie and the Runner Up cookie on the website.

Thank you to everyone who voted for me!!!!

Holy Mickey ears! I just checked the website and the approximate value of my prize is $7,540!

Zippity doo da!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Get Your Pop On!

You know it, you love it, you couldn't live without it. Today is Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day! The best shipping product day of the year! In honor of this should-be-a-national-holiday day, I've pulled together some excellent resources for prime bubble wrap popping fun just for you.

Start your bubble wrap appreciation day activities with a visit to You'll find a virtual bubble pop game, bubble wrap shirts, 101 uses for bubble wrap, answers to FAQs including "Do elephants like bubble wrap?", the history of bubble wrap, a bubble popping personality test and much, much more bubble-icious fun!

What can you create with bubble wrap? Just ask Corianne Cha, Tucker Haas and Nathan Huber, finalists in the Bubble Wrap Brand Competition for Young Inventors. The grand prize winner, who will be announced today, receives a $10,000 US Savings Bond. Second prize is a $5,000 savings bond and third prize is a $3,000 savings bond. Not bad, eh? If you know a 5th-8th grader who may be interested in the contest, click HERE to register for info on next year's competition. Click on the contest logo above to learn about the finalists' brilliant, bubbly inventions!

Check out this Bubble Wrap Calendar. It's just about the coolest use of bubble wrap I've ever seen! I get a design e-newsletter and it was featured a few weeks ago.

Finally, I'd like to give a shout out to the inventors of Bubble Wrap, Alfred Fielding and Marc Chavannes, without whom we might never know the joy of jumping up and down on bubble wrap. And everyone knows it's much more fun than jumping up and down on tissue paper. Happy popping!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Fiesta Fridays- My First Invitation

Welcome to the first installment of Fiesta Fridays. Today is all about invitations! If you know me, you know that making invitations is one of my favorite things to do. I could go on and on about them and have dozens of ideas, but we’ll just start with the first handmade invitation that I ever made. It was for a Christmas party and that probably doesn’t help you all that much this month, but maybe you can bookmark this post and come back to it in November!

Rewind to the first party I ever threw, that is, the first non-birthday, non-gift-related party. It was in the 3rd grade and it was the premier event of the holiday season…a caroling party. I created the invitations, made the guest list and planned the evening with the help of my gracious mom. After gobbling holiday snacks and sipping hot chocolate on a less than frosty night, we went caroling at everyone’s houses. Then, when we returned, we worked on a puzzle while we waited for the girls’ rides home. This was my first dalliance into the world of social event planning. I’m telling you, I love this stuff. I think the party was a success because caroling is a novel activity that most people in Houston never do (it may have something to do with the 90% humidity and 70 degree weather). Here is the glorious invitation that I created from scrap paper and crayons. As you can see, I omitted one of the most important details: the location. But, I did consider the girls’ safety and encouraged them to bring their flashlights. Seriously, chickadees, I was in 3rd grade! Please to enjoy…

So. Invitations. Basically they bring all the boys (and girls) to the yard. You may get some gracious guests to your party, after all, you are fabulous! But if your invitation is boring, chance are you won’t get any blown-away, uber-impressed, I’ll-just-die-if-I-can’t-go-to-this-party revelers (not a real word, I know). Formal printed invitations are lovely, fill-in invitations are quick and email invites can be cute and practical, but I think a fun handmade invitation really sets the scene for fabulosity. Sometimes, I follow a mailed invitation with a fun email a week before the event. That way, people can access the party location with their internet devices if they’ve forgotten their invitations on the way over. At any rate, handmade invitations rock, in my party book.

You don’t have to be an artist or designer. Just do a bit of brainstorming to come up with your theme and some fun ways to give your guests a taste of what’s to come. If you’re throwing a birthday party, call it a “Birthday Blow-out” instead and put some balloons in the invitation. If you’re throwing a Valentine dinner, call it “Hearts Afire” and tuck a tiny folded invitation inside a matchbox. You get the idea.

Back to the caroling party. You are free to copy my super fab caroling invitation circa 1981, or you can try one of the following that I came up with just for you. If you are going to pass out the invitations at your child’s school, print the info out on a sheet of paper and mount it on a sheet of Christmas music, roll it up, then tie it with a pretty ribbon. You can find an inexpensive Christmas music book and tear sheets out of it. My sheet music is from my piano days when I was little. The second photo shows a cute invitation that you can easily make and pass out to friends. Just buy some hot cocoa mix and some inexpensive mittens and stuff them into a cute Christmas bag with the party invitation. Voila! A fun, you-don’t-have-to-be-an-artist way to create a Come All Ye Faithful invitation!

You can easily adapt the last idea with other party themes. Just head on over to Party City or the dollar store or shop online at Oriental Trading Company to pick out some trinkets to toss into your goodie bag or box. Ooooo, here’s an idea—have a mystery party. Use brown lunch bags, make a plain party invitation on white paper (have everyone meet at your house so they don’t know the final destination) and throw in some trinkets to give the guests hints of the theme…white socks, little kids’ plastic bowls and a packet of relish…you’re throwing a bowling party and serving hotdogs! The possibilities are endless! Have fun!

This party was featured on Tip Junkie!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Bubble Your Nose

I've always been a fan of Mr. Bubble. I love the bubbles, the scent, the packaging and I love good ol' Mr. Bubble himself. I haven't used it in a long time and I decided it was time for a reunion. I generally use whatever bubble bath I got for Christmas or birthday or I'll just put some bath gel under the tap. I just think it's weird to sit in a bath tub without bubbles.

Anyhoo, as I was driving home the other night, I started thinking about different kinds of bubble bath and decided to make it my mission to find the bestest, bubbliest, good smellingest, make-your-skin-softiest bubble bath. I'll start with some popular grocery store brands, including Mr. Bubble, then add some fancier ones from specialty brands like Bath & Bodyworks, but nothing more than $30. Let me know if you have a bubble bath that you think I should rate. I think I just found a fun new blog feature! What should we call it?

P.S.- Tomorrow is Fiesta Friday! Stay tuned, chickadees!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Music Flavor of the Month- Schoolhouse Rock!

This month's play list features the musical styling of the pop culture super series, Schoolhouse Rock! If you are a child of the 70s, you probably remember the educational cartoon shorts that played during the Saturday morning cartoons on ABC. If you sing "Conjunction Junction" to just about anyone, chances are they'll sing along. Isn't education groovy? Dig it.

Did you know...
* The first Schoolhouse Rock video was "Three is a Magic Number"?
* In 1996, a tribute album entitled "Schoolhouse Rock Rocks", featured covers by Moby, Blind Melon and Better Than Ezra.
* In 2009, Schoolhouse Rock will release a new album about conservation called "Schoolhouse Rock- Earth".

It's hard to pick a favorite, but I must say "Mother Necessity", "The Preamble" and "Conjunction Junction" are three of my faves. Which Schoolhouse Rock songs do you cherish?

Learn more about Schoolhouse Rock on Wikipedia.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Fiesta Anyone?

Throwing parties is one of my favorite things ever. Themes, invitations, menus, music, party favors. I love it all. If I could throw parties for a living, I would. But, I'm too lazy to look for clients and I'm not interested in dealing with insurance, contracts or Partyzillas.

I'm not Colin Cowie (my party idol), mind you, nor do I have a socialite's hostess budget. Which means I have to make most of the fabulousness myself. But, I love doing it and think I'm pretty good at it. So, I thought I'd add a blog feature called Fiesta Fridays. I'll share some ideas from shindigs I've thrown over the years and I'll probably come up with some new ideas and tips as we go along. Excited? I am! Here's a sneak peek from the first Fiesta Friday:

...Rewind to the first non-birthday party that I ever hosted. It was in the 3rd grade and it was the premier event of the holiday season...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Angel Party- Part II

I am proud to announce that we collected 20 Barbies at the 2008 Angel Party! While we were considering the lucky recipient of our ginormous gift, my fellow Angel Party hostess Mary, contacted Spaulding for Children on a mutual friend's suggestion. Spaulding is a nonprofit agency that helps children with physical and emotional disabilities and those who have been abused or neglected. They have programs and resources for families in foster care, adoption and post-adoption stages. It just so happens that Spaulding has a room that parents (foster or adoptive) can visit to pick out gifts for their new family members to help the children feel comfortable in their homes. And get this, it's called the Angel Room! Serendipitous, wouldn't you say? What a fun discovery made possible by a gentle nudge from above! Mary and I were so excited when we dropped off the Barbies at the Spaulding office. The staff was gracious enough to let us check out the Angel Room (there were no clients there that day.) And they were so excited to see our Barbie dolls; we are all children at heart after all!

The great news is now we have a perfect partner to help get the Angel Party toys into precious little angel hands. Because they collect gifts for children and youths of all ages, we can choose a different theme every year as we normally like to do.

I know I can speak for Mary when I say we really wanted to find a recipient where our gifts could really make a difference and not an agency that gets thousands of gifts during the holidays. We are so blessed to have learned about the Angel Room because our gifts will serve a higher purpose for families in our community. Not only will they put a smile on a newly fostered or adopted child's face, but they will in a small way, help new parents make important bonds with their new family members.

Thank you, Spaulding and all the 2008 Angels! And to Barbie for being so cute!

P.S.- The snowflakes hanging from the ceiling in the snowman picture represent dollar donations Spaulding received during their Blizzard of Giving. They received so much money that they ran out of snowflakes!