Riding Sturdy: Grand Finale!

Aw man! Such a thrilling ride it’s been with this order – from the moment I got the call, to tackling the making of the ramp, the little truck boxes and finally the big truck prop… So you know, the end will be no different!

Before I show you the final pictures of everything, let’s talk about the pickup. When I was asked to make the ramp, I told birthday boy Mateo’s mom that I didn’t want to go too big because 1. Transportation and 2. Fitting it through doors/doorways. She said that wouldn’t be a problem. So when I was looking for the materials, I ran the size by her (4 x 8 ft.), and she said yes, so I proceeded. She mentioned she had a big car, so I didn’t give it much thought. After the initial building of the structure, I felt I had to confirm with her that this wouldn’t fit in a standard SUV, and she should borrow a van or pick-up truck because otherwise, this monster ramp wouldn’t make it out of my house.  She was thankfully able to find a friend with a truck, and we were good to go… on to a few more hiccups.

On the morning of the order pickup (just a few hours before the party started), Mateo’s dad showed up with a friend and a pick-up truck, and as soon as they both saw the ramp they said “WOW” and their eyes bulged out a bit as they turned to see how they’d make this work. As soon as I saw the truck, I could see the bed wasn’t long enough for the ramp to fit with the latch closed… So I started panicking internally a bit. The one good thing about the ramp, is that it was surprisingly lightweight. When they carried it and placed it on the truck, it looked like this –

It. Reached. All. The. Way. Down. To. The. Latch. AHH. Thankfully, I had the rope I bought to bring the wood home with me from the store, and also some bungee cords. They tied it down and promised to drive slowly. I later found out it took them an hour and thirty minutes to get home. That’s a promise well-kept! The big truck prop didn’t fit (anywhere really) but we managed to squeeze it in the sedan they brought along by folding the top lights a bit. Remember how I didn’t glue the flag out of fear it would make the fit even worse? Best idea I’ve ever had.

But don’t relax for one second because now the best part starts – as they’re making knots securing the ramp, I hear something about an elevator ride… and I ask “wait, the party isn’t on a ground floor?!” And to my shock, no, it wasn’t. The party was on a sixth floor. Guys. When I tell you I nearly fainted upon hearing this, I’m not kidding. You mean, a structure I’ve never built before has to not only survive 3-5 year old children, but it also has to fit into an elevator? Had I known this from the beginning, I would’ve gone for something much, much smaller. To make the rest of the long story short – the ramp made it! After unsuccessfully trying to bring it up the stairs (due to length clashing with angles/turns), they figured out that even though the elevator threshold was low, the inside was more giving and they could slide it in. But – one more hiccup, for the ride – the elevator door-frame at the 6th floor was slightly thinner than where they packed it in, so they had one last struggle getting it out.

Thankfully, I saw pictures and videos of the birthday boy, Mateo, and all his friends having a great time sliding down the monster trucks, and we all lived happily ever after. And finally for the long-awaited pictures –

The Monster Ramp

The Monster Truck Boxes

The Monster Truck Prop 

Hope you enjoyed going on this journey with me! Stay tuned for more crazy craftventures ❤

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Riding Sturdy, Chapter 3: The Big Truck Prop

For the third and final installment of this order (click here for the intro, part 1, and part 2)- the big truck prop/photo booth station for Mateo’s fourth birthday. The inspiration for this craft were this picture and this one too.

If I’m honest, when I initially got this order, I ranked the items in my head in the following categories and order:

Category A: How hard it will be to make – 1. Ramp, 2. Truck Prop, 3. Box Trucks

Category B: Which will be the biggest hit – 1. Ramp, 2. Box Trucks, 3. Truck Prop

But I really didn’t think the truck prop would stump me so hard when it came to making it happen. When I tell people that the problem with creative work is that you need to be in the mood, this is one of the examples of how that can be such a big hurdle to overcome. I can stare at something for three weeks and not know what to do with it, and then an idea strikes and I get it done in no time. That was exactly the case with this truck prop. I thought I’d make this one in a much shorter time-frame and didn’t see the challenge until it was staring me dead in the face. I began by selecting my canvas, when… I LOVE when this happens: I was staring at some big boxes in my garage that I’d purchased forever ago and have used to deliver big local orders, and I said to myself – that’s the truck. I grabbed two of the boxes, stacked them together, cut out the blank space for pictures, spray painted them and BAM! Ready! Looking like a car already (at least in my head)…

But the problem was, after getting to this point, I stared at it for two weeks without knowing where to go next. I originally wanted to make the lower small flaps the wheels, and the center flap would be sort of a (I don’t know the right terminology here so I’ll quit while I’m ahead and just show a picture of what I imagined), but the design didn’t add up in my head. So I walked away and worked on the items I had for other orders, waiting for the idea to hit me. Finally, I decided to do away with my idea of the thing I can’t explain or name, and grabbed my scissors and made a cut.

AHHHH! This was a big deal, but after I did that, I felt like I was going somewhere. Also, notice I rounded off the top part of what would be the hood of the car. Everything was making more sense now, but I was still unhappy with the vision, and I realized what the problem was all along – what’s the one thing that makes the monster truck, a monster truck? Besides the truck itself – the wheels. The way I’d originally envisioned this, I’d end up with some really small wheels and that’s why I kept resisting the process. It wouldn’t have come out right. Once I’d cut the middle flap of the bottom out though, the next move came – use the flaps to build the wheels outwardly. And so, the monster truck prop was officially born.

By this point as you can see, I’d also added my headlights and the top lights to help me envision the rest of the road. I got my black paint and brushes out, and voila! Also, I’d forgotten every car needs a steering wheel so, magic wand wave and –

Now we’re talking! How do you differentiate regular tires from big monster-truck type of wheels? The ridges! One moment please… POOF!

Ok now THAT is looking like a monster truck. I intended to add a grill of some sort (for which I’d bought the most perfect card stock and couldn’t wait to use it), but then came the last big hurdle: this needed to stand on its own. As you may have noticed in the inspiration pieces, those car props used stakes to stand in the grass, something that wouldn’t work in this scenario because the party would take place indoors. I needed something to make it stand. I had a few ideas from the beginning (sticks, wood springs, random things in my brain…) and then I realized the best thing to do would be to use a side panel from a tri-fold board, cut it diagonally, and build it into the back of the car. Basically, this –

OMG. It worked, and it worked SO WELL! The best part was that since it was all cardboard, it was completely lightweight and portable. I’m in love.

So now, all I needed was: final coat of paint, grill, and glue everything (all the lights were taped until I decided I liked the placement). Oh and wait… It’s too blue. It needs a pop of color… wait, I know!

The level of satisfaction I felt when I saw this finished? Can’t explain. After three weeks of no action, I did the bulk of this in 12 hours during the weekend. Also – side note – I decided not to glue the flag because I wasn’t sure it would fit in the car when pick-up time came, and good thing I didn’t! The prop barely fit and the top lights had to be folded a little bit, but no biggie. As long as it fits, it’s all cardboard and card stock and can be folded back into place.

Thank you for checking out the third and final chapter of this Riding Sturdy order! I’ll do one more post with all of the final item pictures, a quick story of the pick-up and – if possible – snapshots of the items in use!

PS – my original ranking was so dead wrong. This was the hardest to bring from brain to life, and also made the biggest impression on almost everyone, both in social media and in person. You think you know, but you really never do…

Riding Sturdy, Chapter 2: WCB Car Dealer, Inc.

After last week’s still unbelievably successful ramp construction, it was time to move on to the next item on the monster truck party order: the box trucks. Mateo’s mom saw a couple of images online of kids wearing boxes that were decorated like cars (like this one and this one on Pinterest), and wanted something similar for the party. This was probably one of the things I knew would be easiest to make out of the whole order, but still time consuming. The hardest parts were 1. Figuring out what size to buy the boxes. The party guest list included kids 3-5 years old, so the boxes had to be small enough to not drown them, but big enough to let them in with room. 2. Finding solid colored wrapping paper is so hard! Everything has patterns or lines or flowers, but I needed something completely solid. After hitting up a few stores, I managed to find the six colors I was looking for.

The list of materials for this project include: small box (got those at Walmart), wrapping paper, scissors (to cut the flaps off the boxes), tape (lots of it), a paper or plastic plate, contact paper, duct tape, ribbon, and whatever details you’d like to add to the car.

Now here’s an important step – since boxes come folded flat, it’s hard for them to stay squared/open once you wrap them. I used the flaps I cut off the boxes to create some sort of a “spring” that would keep the box squared with resistance (and more tape).

 

 

For the full craftutorial, watch this #CraftingWithKathy episode that *almost* didn’t happen but I decided to snap at the last possible moment, and even ended up bringing the “Pimp My Ride” franchise back to life…

Once I was done with them all, I thought my house looked like a car dealership. 😛 Stay tuned as I’m planning on bringing the big car prop to life next weekend!

Riding Sturdy, Chapter 1: Conceptualizing & Building a Ramp

As I shared on my last post, I’ve just agreed to build a ramp for a kid’s birthday party. I don’t know what possessed me to do this, but here I am. It’s go time, no take-backsies.

After getting the call and agreeing to making the three items for this monster truck-themed birthday, the first step was running to my local hardware store and figuring out prices of materials because as I mentioned in the intro blog for this order, I’ve never done anything remotely like this before, so I have no idea what I’m getting myself into cost-wise (or other). I drew a rough sketch of what I wanted the ramp to look like, and looked around for materials that fit the bill. I ended up guesstimating I’d spend about $70-80 on materials, so I ran the quote and dimensions of the ramp by the customer, and with her green light bought everything I thought I’d need to bring this to life.

Have you ever underestimated the cost of materials? Rookie mistake. I do it almost always. I ended up spending about $2 under what I had quoted for this ramp… which would upset a normal person, but the quote had been agreed upon and the order was in motion, so what’s the point of getting mad at myself? No energy can be wasted on this, so I just called it “marketing budget” and swiped that card. Then, don’t ask me how, I managed to get the stuff on the roof of my car all by myself, and even though I almost lost a hand holding it down on the way due to high winds, I made it home in one piece. 

The following morning, I started to paint the pieces while my friend came over to help (huge shoutout to Sandy for being so patient and awesome and supportive and giving up her entire Saturday to ensure I got my orders done in time without losing my mind, or a limb).

Without further ado, please enjoy this #CraftingWithKathy episode for a behind the scenes look at the progress of the ramp.

And this was our result of a hard day’s work!

If you watched the video, you could hear my hesitation when we first got started, and my excitement at the end of the day when it dawned on me that I’d actually be able to pull this off. The rest of the work to be done is cosmetic, but the infrastructure (which is the hard, heavy lifting) is DONE! I can’t believe it. Stay tuned for the final result!

PS – I was able to return a few of the items I originally purchased… but then also had to buy a few more, so I’m not even sure at this point if I made any profit at all, but this project is my pride and joy and the satisfaction of having finished it is like nothing else!

Riding Sturdy: Confidently Saying Yes to a Monster Truckload of an Order!

I’m not sure how much I’ve let on about this, but when it comes to crafting I’m often pretty confident in being able to replicate a lot of things I see or visualize without any sort of instructions on how to do so. My favorite type of order is one where I have to make a brand new item I’ve never made before and that hopefully brings on a different type of challenge from what I’m used to, keeping things fresh and exciting for me. This order checks all of those boxes and beyond.

My best friend shared information on my craftabilities with her boss who is throwing her son a Monster Truck-themed party for his fourth birthday, and needs a few items that aren’t readily available on the market. When I got the call all I knew was that the party theme was Monster Trucks, and nothing else. Once we started talking and she shared what she wanted for the party, I panicked a little bit. She wants a ramp for the kids to be able to throw down the little monster trucks (apparently ramps for that size of toy cars don’t exist), some little truck boxes the kids could put on and run around in as if they were wearing cars, and a big car prop that could be used for them to take pictures. All three of these items are things I haven’t even remotely thought of making before, and two of them are on a bigger scale from anything I’ve ever attempted (other than maybe some backdrops, which were lighter and way less intimidating). For some reason though, I said “I think I can do this. I’m in.”

Tiny little problem though – the party is on the same day as my best friend’s engagement party, for which I’m doing a LOT of items, and another friend requested some stuff for her own engagement party, you guessed it, on that same day. April 29th, otherwise known as my personal D-Day. Why did my friend share my information if she knew that the parties were on the same day, you may ask (as did I)? Well, the world may never know but part of it was she didn’t know exactly what her boss wanted, so she did it innocently.

I have about a month to fit those two engagement parties, the monster truck birthday and a wedding order that keeps going and going. Go big or go home, right?

I’m going to make this blog into a three part series so that this isn’t an endless book, and each of the items will have its own dedicated post. Here we goooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

Flirting with… Vinyl!

For the most part, crafters and craft shop owners have a little bit of a niche, whether it be paint, paper crafting, glass work, wood burning, etc. I, on the other hand, am all over the place, excited to experiment, trying to soak up and learn as much as I can, and living out my wildest #craftasies. I enjoy this freedom, and though I’ve been working heavily on the paper crafting and painting world, I’m currently dabbing my feet in the unknown waters of Vinyl. The way I feel about working with vinyl is the same feeling you have when you like a guy who has a little bit of a dangerous appeal, and you know that the relationship has potential, but you’re scared of getting hurt… You know?

I have problems. I’m aware.

I never heard about vinyl prior to getting my Cricut Explore, which I planned on using exclusively for my card stock crafts. Then, my friend (who saved my life and taught me how to use my Cricut when I was struggling HARD with YouTube videos, so THANK YOU KATHY!) invited me to join a couple of Facebook groups called Let’s Learn Cricut Explore and Cricut Lovers Guide to Design Space (admin approval is required to join), which she told me would be a great way to get acquainted with the Cricut’s features and I could ask questions to the members – currently over 20,000 in each! So I joined, and realized that the vast majority of the members worked mostly with vinyl (or Heat Transfer Vinyl/HTV) to make decals or clothing accents. It looked cool, but scary.

I was intimidated to try any vinyl projects, because it just looked like a sticky situation (HA! get it?) and like I could mess it up easily. I avoided it at all costs and even though my Cricut brought a sample of vinyl, I refused to open it… Until I had to make an item which I knew would only make sense to be made with HTV. My friend was turning 26, and she mentioned that she wanted a sash that said “26 & Fabulous.” So I mustered up my courage, bought some glittery HTV, followed the instructions I remembered I’d seen in the Facebook groups countless times (mirror the image if necessary, check your settings, use chalk powder to show the lines when weeding, etc.) and got to work! Until I got to my first major roadblock: I couldn’t find an iron in my house. For HTV to work you NEED heat to stick it to the fabric. But fear not, because I tend to get REALLY creative when I’m in a craft jumble… So I figured, since it’s a sash, I could probably pull this off with my Hair Iron!

Ta da! I added a thin border with another ribbon to top it off, and it came out exactly the way my friend said she wanted it! She ended up wearing it all weekend long 🙂 20160108_223607578_iOS

After this, I felt a teensy bit more confident and willing give the permanent vinyl a chance, perhaps even decorate my Cricut machine (a lot of crafters do it!) so I decided to order a stack of sample colors from Amazon to have them handy for whenever I decided to step up to bat… Which didn’t take too long!

First, my mom’s friend asked me if I could make a decal for her car. Like, PERMANENT. And it had to come out right because it doesn’t come off easy and it was for her business. So I got to work, and I even stuck it on her car myself 🙂 She LOVED it!

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Any pro vinyl crafter out there will know that this is cake. The real test of vinyl craftsmanship is layering, i.e. cutting out each component of the image in its respective color, and then layering it appropriately to create the final image. And you know where I’m going with this – someone asked me for something that I knew would look best layered!

My best friend wanted to do something cute for her son’s second birthday at school. She wanted to send some favor bags for his classmates, and she wanted them to be Mickey themed since that’s his favorite character. I came up with a design idea, and she loved it, so now it was time to work! Mickey heads with their names on them? Let’s do it!

AHHHHHHHH I LOVE CRAFTING! And my Cricut!!! For these projects, the most helpful tips I’d seen in the groups included setting the machine to cut “washi tape” because sometimes it’s too rough when you set it to “vinyl,” and to invest in a set of basic dental tools because they’re thinner than the Cricut tools. Also, Cricut Transfer Tape (or basic contact paper if you’re in a bind) is ESSENTIAL to transfer/layer all the pieces 🙂

So now, having done a small scale version of the projects that thousands of people do every day with vinyl, I’m finally comfortable enough to work with the material and hope I can continue to improve my skills and do some great stuff with it! In the meantime, I decided to take my manicure to the next level with some more of that vinyl 😉 20160328_182320868_iOS

Fly in? Check. Props? Check. Unexpected decor request? Oh boy…

I don’t know if I’ve said it enough, but I’m absolutely, irrevocably, head-over-heels in love with my nephew. My little piece of heaven, David Alejandro, is a ball of smiles that melts me into oblivion and when he says “I yo yu” (I love you) the paramedics need to be called to resuscitate me, only for me to die right back.

Now that I got that out of my system…

My little scrumptious “little lung” or “pulmonsito” as I like to call him, (because I want him and I to breathe through the same respiratory system) turned the big number TWO this December. The theme for his party is absolutely no surprise, because it’s been making the rounds for a while now like a virus – Minions. These lovely yellow creatures bring out some great smiles out of David, and the way he says Minions is just AW-DOOR-AH-BLE.

David lives in Colombia, and I live in the US, and this long distance relationship kills me. I count down the days until I get to travel and hold him again, and we FaceTime to keep me alive in the meantime. We planned to fly in the day before his birthday, and of course, I wouldn’t show up empty-handed, so I decided to create some custom props that I’d bring with me from SoFla. I couldn’t wait to see his reaction and see him wearing them!

I pulled out the props from my suitcase upon my arrival, and placed them in the bed so I wouldn’t forget them the next day. David was walking around, and as the curious creature he is, the yellow caught his attention, and he immediately said “Minio” – and. I. Died. I showed him how to put it on his face, he walked over to the mirror, stared at himself, and started dancing and singing “Minio Minio Minio” and I had to receive CPR for 3 hours straight. Then I had to take the prop away from him because he got too excited and started banging it on the wall… After all, he is 2.

As I continue unpacking, my brother asks “soooo… at what time are you coming to decorate?” and I was like “hmm what?!” My family is well aware of my capabilities and love for the craft of event planning, and so it’s an unspoken expectation that I’ll show up to decorate every event ever. Even if I have to go straight from the airport and I don’t even know what decor items are available. So I said 10 am.

My #1 go-to piece of decor that is CHEAP, easy to make, versatile and makes a big pop are streamer paper garlands. I learned to make these when I was 5 in my after school care, and I’ve used them ever since.

Once everything was set up, it was time to party, and whip out the props! I’ve been making photo booth props for a while now and I’ve been present while they’re used at adult parties, but I’ve never seen children using them. Oh. My. Gosh. What an amazing feeling. The props became the ice breaker between all the kids, they didn’t let them go for one second, and at the end of the night, they all took one home as a favor. I didn’t even get to say goodbye lol! And my little prince would just stare at them and put them on his face (even if they weren’t face props) and all my dreams came true.

And that’s all folks! The party was awesome, David had a blast eating sweets and running around with his friends, and the WCB Craft Studio Photo Booth Props made it to Santa Marta, Colombia!!!