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!

#DiliaCumple80 – My Grandma’s Mexitastic Eightieth Birthday

Some NSFW content ahead. You’ve been warned!

What do you do when you have three themes that could be standalone concepts for a party, but you can’t decide which one to go with? You go with all three, of course.

My grandma, Dilia, is a very special lady. She’s the only grandparent I grew up knowing, with all others passing away before I was born or when I was very little, so she’s extra special to me. If you know me, you know a bit of her as well – she’s colorful, scandalous, loud, funny, loves music and loves to party, and she’s unruly like no other. So when her 80th birthday was coming up, we knew we had to do something as special as she is.

Dilia – or Yiya, as all of us have lovingly called her since babyhood – is very simple when it comes to things she likes: she loves Mexican actors/singers and music from the golden age: Tony Aguilar (whom she named her son after!), Pedro Infante, Juan Gabriel, Javier Solis and a few others can count themselves among the lucky chosen ones that my grandma considers her “husbands.” She also loves, LOVES flowers and plants of all kinds. Gardening and growing nature are one of her favorite past times and I swear she loves her trees as much as she loves her kids. Last, but definitely not least, she loves penises. Yes, you read that right. My grandma has a hilarious obsession with all kinds of penile paraphernalia, and everyone that knows her knows it, and loves that about her. My grandma’s 60th birthday was actually COMPLETELY penis-themed, and since I was 6 at the time, I asked her why her cake and her pinata were a letter “T” if her name started with a D… oh, little Kathy, if you only knew!

So with all three themes in mind, and knowing she had some aspect of each incorporated into a previous birthday, I decided to throw all the ideas together and have a theme on steroids. Here are all of the things I put together for the party:

  • Digital Designs & Memes: my grandma is a breast cancer survivor, but she had to have a mastectomy and it was obviously very hard on her not to have her breast reconstructed. Since my cousin is an artist, she has jokingly asked him many times to do a nude portrait of her, but with a young body and both boobs. Since I knew my cousin was busy, I put my digiskills to the test, got carried away, and created six nude portraits using different paintings I found online. Here’s the least offensive (but still NSFW) one:
DNP 1

My grandma LOVEDDDD these portraits! Right up her alley!

Meme Compilation

Dilia has a myriad of expressions that we all know her by, so I made some memes that were used as photo props throughout the party

Fave Artist Compilation

Since my grandma found love in the musicians of her generation, I photoshopped her into images with them, so she could live out a bit of her fantasy and imagine herself with them. I put these all over the walls of the party hall.

  • Photo Booth Props: of course, my bread and butter had to be a part of the party, but these are no standard set of props. There are many custom designs with sayings that only those close to her understand, as well as some, ahem, inappropriate ones:

DSC_0376

  • Decor, in general: we hosted the birthday at an event venue in Santa Marta, Colombia (where my grandma and a big chunk of my family lives). We asked for colorful linens for the tables and chairs, and we brought all the accent decor items with us from the US. I made two standing 3D numbers (the 8 and 0 for 80th birthday) out of poster board and pictures, and created a backdrop for the photo booth station out of a dollar-store shower curtain, a Party City fiesta kit and some folkloric posters from on Amazon.
  • The clothes: we asked everyone to come dressed in colorful outfits for the party, but my grandma’s clothes had to be extra special. I found her this folkloric dress on Amazon, and I made my nephew David a “Charro” (mariachi) outfit.

My mom and my brother helped me with the logistics, music, drinks, food, etc. and my grandma had THE TIME OF HER LIFE during the party. She was in her element, and all of her friends came up to me saying they’d never been to a party like that. A group of her friends also decided to do a sort of poem/acronym with her name, and she totally loved it. But why tell you, when I can show you? Enjoy!

What do you think of the theme mix and the party in general? I had so much fun planning this and it’s something I hope my grandma will never forget. Here are my favorite pictures from the party: my grandma walking in and seeing the papel picado banner that said “Dilia Cumple 80” which I designed, me showing her the memes I made of her, and her hugging me to say thank you for everything I had done ❤

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!!!