Winter Is Here – A Proper Game Of Thrones Watch Party (**Minor Spoilers!**)

Up until last year, I wasn’t interested in Game of Thrones or any of the events that came to be on the show (#RedWedding), but with all the social media ruckus about Mr. Jon Snow, it peaked my curiosity just enough to watch the first episode of season 6 to find out whether or not he’d make it through… Except that, as avid watchers know, we don’t get an answer until the last moments of episode 2. By this point, a few other interesting things had happened, and let’s just say I’d found a new favorite thing to do with my Sundays at 9pm. I watched the rest of season 6 without any prior knowledge, something that came in handy with the episode “The Door,” because while everyone was distraught mourning the death of one of their favorite characters, I wasn’t anywhere near the level of attachment everyone had built over the prior 56 episodes. #HoldTheDoor crisis averted.

Needless to say, I was hooked but also a little lost – as much as I picked up on things, there’s way too much ground covered in 5 seasons that cannot be deduced during 10 episodes, especially not on this show. But I also didn’t want to get hooked… So, I let months go by until I couldn’t wait any longer and I finally binged seasons one through five in a week, then re-watched season 6, feeling the proper things we’re all meant to feel (#RedWeddingVictim)… and this brings us to yesterday.

7.16. The date that has been tattooed on our brains for months as we anxiously awaited season 7 (not to mention it started at a later date and coming with less episodes than any prior season… see, it’s like I’ve been here from day 1!), and this time I was on time and part of the gang! I had been victimized by George R. R. Martin, David Benioff and Dan Weiss along with millions of others, and I was ready to continue being a masochist, but I wanted to do it in style. Thanking the old gods and the new for Pinterest, see below my Night’s Watch approved watch-party, which I must start by saying I was not willing to spend any money on. Everything you’re about to see was whipped up from items I already owned. I know, I’m a crafter and not everyone has these things handy, but I’m proud to say the only money I spent specifically on this party was a grand total of $6.40.

It all started with an Iron Throne

But then when I placed the throne against my TV station, it looked weird. It needed a better backdrop. So…

I wanted to make a banner with all the house banners, but once I was done with it, it was longer than just half of the TV station… more red fabric, to the rescue! (FYI this is where I spent my $6.40, printing the banners!)

And the whole shebang –

Some other details –

I had all of this planned out and then one of my friends who was coming to the party suggested we make shirts for ourselves. You know I don’t need to be asked twice…

And what I think was THE BEST decor item EVER, and will forever be grateful to Pinterest for providing this amazing idea –

That’s all folks! Hope you enjoyed seeing this watch party come to life 🙂 I’ll leave the decor up for the remainder of season 7. Have you done something like this for your own watch parties? Any ideas for upcoming episodes? Let me know in the comments below!

 

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#MyBestFriendsWedding, Chapter 2: The Engagement Party

Now that my best friend got engaged, I am the happiest crafter alive, and I’m ready to make ALL of the things. First stop: engagement party central!

My biff (that’s what we call each other :P) Michelle, like most women, has had an idea of what she wants her wedding to look like, so her mom Marta and I are going with a similar feel for the engagement party. The rustic vibe is very in right now and she likes it a lot, so let’s get to it!

Michelle’s parents have a beautiful home with a great backyard where they’ve hosted lots and lots of parties, so we know the space pretty well and have an idea of how to set things up to maximize each area. This Pinterest board has a lot of the inspiration for the stuff I made for the party, so let’s dive right in to the final products!

  • The decor: I’ll wrap a few of the items into this category so this doesn’t end up the long testament my blogs usually are hehe… Our color palette for the party was Blush Pink, Taupe, Ivory & Rose Gold. Lots of burlap, lace, and a vintage classic vibe made everything really pretty and Pinterest-y!
  • The photo booth & props: Brian (Michelle’s fiance) is very handy, so Marta and I asked him to build a rustic-looking frame that we could drape and place in the garden to create a photo booth area. Brian did such an amazing job that I almost didn’t even want to dress the frame, but at the same time I’ve been loving the mixture of delicate with rustic/industrial so with his part done, it was time to make it pop. The fabric Marta found for the frame was shiny, shimmery & splendid. I also did a “she said yaaasss” banner, and added some vintage bulbs and baby’s breath to make it all come together. To finish the look, we hung a bunch of mismatched lamps from the tree, and it all looked beautiful both during the day and at night! For the props, I wanted to do something different from what I always do, since after all, props are kind of my niche… I actually started to design a completely different idea from what it ended up being, but I’m super happy with the end result. I used burlap paper, designed the props on PowerPoint, printed them out, cut & glued them to cardstock for hold and voila! Awesome props to complement an already great photo booth area!
  • The favors: I didn’t get any good pictures of the final product here, but long story short: plastic bags, burlap strips, circle “Brian POPPED the question, Michelle said yes!” tags, popcorn. You get the idea!
  • The calligraphy: boy oh boy do I hate my handwriting/penmanship. I’ve always wanted to have pretty handwriting, but it’s just not in my skill set. I can pull off a few tries but I hate writing slowly and when I go fast, there’s no way to control the strokes… So when Marta showed me the boards and table tent signs, I kind of swallowed hard and said ok… I got this! I did those the night before the party, and I was so stressed the entire time. If I’m honest, the first tent signs didn’t come out as good as the last ones. It’s true what they say, calligraphy is a practice thing. Although some people are just born with those magically beautiful calligraphy skills!
  • Some close-ups: making this cake topper gave me so much life! I couldn’t stop staring at my Cricut cutting the rose gold card stock stuff! And I had a full blown photo shoot with the mason jars when I finished dressing them… O-B-S-E-S-S-E-D. Have I mentioned I don’t typically like burlap?! I know…
  • The edgy fun part: when it comes to Michelle’s family, there’s always something fun/edgy/borderline inappropriate thing happening, and I’m all too happy to oblige and do my part for it. This time around, Marta bought an apron for Michelle’s uncle as he’d be cooking the dinner during the party, and again, thank you Pinterest for this awesomely hilarious idea 🙂

After about a month of prep, I’m truly so happy with how everything turned out and now I can focus on the bachelorette, bridal shower and whatever Michelle asks me to make for the wedding! (please biff, let me make it allllllllllllllllllllllllll! haha kidding! no, not really…)

 

PS: Oh and one last thing – this was something new I decided to try: window cling! I wanted to make something for the bar area, so I went with some string lights, a “cheers to michelle & brian,” and that’s all she wrote! For real this time!

I added a heart with a “to” afterwards but this picture is where the window cling shows the best!

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!

Etsy is Getting a Facelift!

A couple of months ago I created an editorial calendar with topics to write about so that I wouldn’t struggle to keep up with my blogging commitment, and one of the items I wanted to touch on is my love for Etsy. Besides the benefit of the platform over every other e-commerce site out there (in my humble opinion), I truly believe that Etsy is always in touch with its community of sellers, and tries to do right by us as well as by buyers. I’ve participated in multiple surveys and I’ve seen implementation of changes I’ve written to them about (probably along with a few other sellers), and the improvements just keep coming.

Then, two weeks ago, sellers were notified that Etsy shops were getting a makeover, and I was like “HA! Perfect timing!” Let me tell you, I’m apprehensive about change, but this is a GREAT one! The new shop look is much more modern, clean, manageable by sellers, and easy to navigate by buyers. It’s definitely in line with the wave of “power pages” (basically, having the bulk of the information about the website in one single page where you just scroll down instead of figuring out the menu) and I for one can’t wait until it launches for everyone on April 5th. Here’s the detailed breakdown of the most noticeable changes:

Etsy Shop Looks - Before and After

Etsy Shop Looks – Before and After

First of all, the new look will allow sellers to choose between having no banner, a small banner (which will not be mobile-optimized), or a cover photo (mobile optimized!). As you can see, I’ve already gotten a head start on mine, and I’ve chosen to use this set up because I think it’s a great opportunity to showcase my items being used by my customers, which buyers don’t really see unless they’re following me on social media (::cough cough:: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter). It’s a little overpowering on the screen, but I really think it does more good than harm (if done right).

Second, hello modernization! I never really noticed how “old-school” the current look is until I saw the new layout. The set up is fresh, and I think they got it right by emphasizing the shop itself over the owner, which is currently reversed.

Third, sellers can choose the order of their listings and OMG THANK YOU SO MUCH ETSY!!! It was so frustrating to feel like my shop was “disorganized” because right now the items show up in the order of “recent purchases,” and to my OCD self, it throws off the vibe. We can also choose to feature certain listings that will show up above the full shop. Where is my ::hands in the air:: emoji when I need it?

Fourth, the listings themselves are bigger, which is a great way to show buyers more in less time.

Fifth, the reviews are right under the listings. This is going to be YUUUUGE for buyers (#Elections2016!). As a frequent shopper myself, I know how much reviews influence my decisions to make a purchase, and having this information so visible is definitely going to make the process much quicker.

Sixth, the Shop Updates. I think I need a separate blog post to explain these, but basically, Etsy is going social on us! Through the use of the “Sell on Etsy” app (which is absolutely necessary if you’re a seller ::ehem:: customer service), Etsy has created a new way to push content through the platform and out onto other channels like text messages and the aforementioned Facebook, Instagram & Twitter, and going as far as Pinterest and even WhatsApp! These updates are going to tip the Etsy algorithms in favor of active sellers, as they’ll showcase more of the shops that use them, and honestly, it’s a great way to post different angles of our products by stepping out of the 5 picture limit. When sellers post these updates to their social media channels, they work as a cute little hooks to bring perspective buyers directly to each listing. In conclusion, if you’re a seller and haven’t posted your first Shop Update yet, get on it!

Seventh (and last one I’ll include here because I’m running out of screen), sellers now have a chance to upload a video of themselves and up to 5 pictures of their work spaces (or whatever they want) to help buyers fall in love with them even more.

Maybe I’ll have to make this post a trilogy or a Harry Potter-sized novel to cover ALL of the great new features Etsy is rolling out, and all the reasons why I already love them, but the point is, April 5th, check out my new swagged out shop and buy something from me 😀 Kidding, but really, SO excited for this. Thank you Etsy for being so awesomesauce! T – 1 week!

Christmas & New Years Without My Craft Room :(

Lately, when I leave my house I feel a little bit of anxiety… for being away from my craft room, out of fear I’ll need a tool or something else I may have in there while I’m away. Or if I have an order in progress, I’m afraid of my house catching on fire, not because of my house, but because of the order. I know, I need a therapist lol, I’ve just really grown fond of being there and all my crafty possessions.

With this in mind, you can imagine when I go on an actual trip out of town, I may or may not go as far as caressing the walls on the way out, a little bit like this…

So when I left to Colombia for my prince’s birthday and to spend the holidays with the family, I took some coloring pencils, all my sketch books, some photo booth props I pre-made (for the birthday, Christmas Eve & New Year’s Eve), and that was it. Basically, anxiety to the MAX.

Then, my family decided that Christmas Eve would be celebrated at my grandma’s house, where we barely have some lights here and there, but no tree, or nativity, or garlands, or pretty much anything to make it feel like the season. With very little time and zero knowledge of places where I could get supplies, all while trying to not spend much money, my mom asked me to transform the house into a Christmas town. Want to guess how long I had to make this happen? SIX hours. Want to guess how much I missed my craft room and supplies? Manic depressive mode FULLY ON.

So… I ransacked my grandma’s closets and boudoirs looking for possible decor, grabbed my coloring pencils and my agenda, ripped out some pages, and tried to make a semi-cute garland. On ruled paper. I died a little inside. But hey, true creativity comes not exclusively while in the optimal environment. On the contrary, the true test of creativity is when you “make do” with what you have. Chopped style!

Here’s a little gallery of the transformation I was able to pull off for Christmas at my grandma’s!

So all in all, thanks to some last minute rentals, my foresight to bring the props and some bibbidi bobbidi boop magic, the Christmas town transformation was successfully pulled off! But just imagine what I could’ve done with a tenth of my supplies?

Moving on to December 31st… For New Year’s Eve, we were going to my grandma’s sister’s house, so thankfully I wasn’t in charge of decorating, but I still wanted to pitch in for the festivities, so besides making props (which everyone really enjoyed!) I wanted to make a garland I had seen… where do you think? Pinterest, of course. I don’t know what possessed me to make the props yellow and black, but they seemed like a good color palette for NYE, and so I wanted to also make the garland in that combination so that it seemed orchestrated. I got some tissue paper and got to work (toggle over the pictures to see instructions in each caption!)

So that’s it! Even though I missed my craft room and supplies TERRIBLY and I wish I could carry my entire stash on me, Mary Poppins style, I’m still happy with what I was able to accomplish on the fly 🙂

HAPPY 2016 EVERYONE!!!!

 

A Double Golden Birthday!

Turning 25 was a big deal to me, and I definitely celebrated it as such. I had a blast planning the party, although I felt like two months was too much time, and I drove myself a little crazy coming up with ideas and spending all my monies on Amazon (in Prime we trust!). So when my 26th was getting closer, besides having a total panic attack about the actual number, I found myself at a loss for what to do. Nothing could top my 25th, and I didn’t want to either, but I do believe in celebrating birthdays and that every year we get on earth should be acknowledged and appreciated (regardless of whatever quarter-life crisis may be coming along with it…)

Because I was born on the 26th, this would actually be my one and only golden birthday. A golden birthday is when the age you’re turning coincides with the date of your birth. This was my main reason for definitely not letting my day go under the table (even though it fell on a Monday, so that wasn’t helping much). Within my thinking process, I remembered that my mom’s birthday (which is 4 days after mine) was a big one as well… the big SIX-OH. If I spell it out she won’t get mad I put her out there, right? Right…

So I did some research to see if there was any symbolism around turning SIXTY, and turns out I have to thank our friends in China for giving it one! According to the site Synonym, “The Chinese people believe that when a person reaches the age of 60, he or she has completed a full cycle of life, which calls for a grand celebration. The history of the 60th birthday is based on Chinese astrology. Twelve animals symbolize astrological signs. The Chinese calendar is based on 12 signs and the five natural elements: metal, fire, water, earth and wood. This results in a 60-year cycle. Following the 60th birthday, the person begins a new life.” This resonated a lot with me, and I knew my mom would appreciate it as well. My mom (unlike me) is not crazy about celebrating birthdays, so I knew that in order to get her on board with celebrating her big day, I’d have to sell it to her as a double birthday. It worked like a charm 😉

It’s worth mentioning, for my 25th, I had a job and a couple of months to plan and spread my expenses… But for this golden party, I’d quit my job a good 6 months before, and I had waited until about two weeks before to put it all together, which meant, I was on a very serious budget and would have to get very creative with very little. Also, sometimes it’s awkward trying to figure out what type of party certain celebrations are… This wasn’t a music/dance party deal… It wasn’t a dinner either. I’d have to provide food obviously but I wanted it to be casual yet as cute as possible. So this is what came out of it:

  • Photo Booth Props: I mean, these are a given. I tried to get creative with the occasion, so I threw in some cute/punny quotes like “25 + Shipping & Handling,” and “Aging like wine.”
  • Backdrop: I’ve seen this backdrop on Pinterest 1,000 times before, and I’d been wanting to recreate it. I’m not sure how other people do it, but I just whipped out my 527 glue, cut the strips and braided away… It came out just fine 🙂
  • Cake Table: I love the fact that plastic linens are just $2, but I wanted to add a little spunk to the table, and I had purchased some pretty white and gold glitter card stock when it was on sale (I knew I’d use it, just didn’t know how. HA! Thank you past Kathy for thinking ahead…) So I taped them together and used them as a table runner. I really like how that turned out, and it gave the table a little class and sass.

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  • Golden Birthday and SIXTIETH Birthday Explanations: not everyone knows about the golden birthday thing and I also wanted to cheer my mom up with the “new cycle of life” stuff, so I printed out a mini essay on what both our days meant and used them as decor. My mom LOVED the explanation for hers, and everyone else was jealous when they realized they missed their golden birthdays because most happened when they were kids lol.
  • The cake: even though I had no idea what I was going to do for my mom’s birthday, I had decided on the cake since February. My mom is one picky human, and I wanted to get her something that she hadn’t tried but hopefully would like. One of my best friends is Brazilian, and she introduced me to Brigadeiros… If you haven’t tried them, get up, run to your car, do not pass go, do not collect $200, and go straight to any Brazilian pastry shop and buy an assorted box of this magical truffle style dessert. My friend had made my mom a batch of pistachio brigadeiros a few months back, and she inhaled them in one sitting. So I went to THE best brigadeiro cake maker in South Florida, Made With Love Brigadeiros, and asked the lovely owner, Larissa for a pistachio brigadeiro cake with lady fingers and plain brigadeiro filling (it’s condensed milk heaven). No one at the party had had this kind of cake before, and EVERYONE was asking me for the contact information once they tried it. It was DELICIOUS!

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  • The food: like I said, this wasn’t a formal dinner but feeding people is a must. I wanted something simple, not too expensive… and I thought Arroz Imperial would do the trick, since it includes the carbs and protein in one serving. Since I live in SoFla, you can find a place that makes it in every corner, and I went with Romeu’s Cuban Restaurant. It was SO GOOD. Everyone loved it, it was quick and easy to serve, filling, and it kind of matched the theme with its rich gold color and baked cheese top. Accompanied by a Caesar salad and some bread rolls, we were set!
  • The drinks: I kept it super simple and budget friendly: Jose Cuervo pre-mixed Margaritas. $13 at BJ’s. The end.

That’s pretty much it! It was a nice, cozy, intimate gathering, I managed to pull it together in two weeks and everything looked cute and themed. My mom was happy and we had the most delicious cake on earth. Couldn’t have asked for more!