DIY Decorated Notebooks

This project is part of my effort to spruce up my office and get more organized. I don’t know how organized it will make me, but these little notebooks sure are cute! The other project that I did was to cover plain file folders with scrapbook paper, and these look adorable also.

Make your own customized DIY notebooks | Jewels at Home

It seems like most workplaces generate a lot of scrap paper. From my first job out of college to my office today, I’ve usually been the one to collect the extra paper for reuse. At my first job, teaching at a small high school, I used the extra paper other teachers left in my cubby to shred for handmade paper, something I’d love to do more of again. These days, scrap paper from the office is the raw material for my three prolific little artists, as well as my own notes.

Even though we’re reusing old paper, it doesn’t have to look sloppy. I decided to make these notebooks to corral all of those loose papers. They’re great, because they can be decorated to create infinite customized looks, and it’s easy to add and remove pages.

Materials:

Instructions:
Paper-covered notebooks

  • for each notebook, cut two pieces cardboard to 8.5″x11″
  • cut paper for the front and back to 8.5″ x 11″.  I mixed scrapbook papers to make interesting designs
  • glue the paper onto the cardboard with a gluestick
  • Wrap the cover in Clear Contact Paper.  As an optional step to make the inside of the cover more finished, I added white contact paper to the inside of the covers.
  • Punch holes on the left side
  • Use binder rings to hold the paper in place
Cute DIY covered notebooks.  Jewels at Home

Wrap the notebook cover in clear contact paper to protect it.

Make your own customized DIY notebooks | Jewels at Home

As an optional step, I added white contact paper to finish the inside of the covers.

Make your own customized DIY notebooks | Jewels at Home

I rounded the edges of some of the covers to make the design more interesting. For these, cut small wedges to fold the contact paper neatly.

Fabric-covered notebooks

  • for each notebook, cut two pieces cardboard to 8.5″x11″
  • cut fabric rectangles about 12″x15″ for the front and back covers
  • Fuse Heat’n Bond Ultra Hold to the back side of the fabric, and then iron on to the cardboard
  • After cutting the corners, wrap and fuse the fabric to the inside of the covers.
  • As an optional step to make the inside of the cover more finished, I added coordinating paper to the inside of the covers.
  • Punch holes on the left side
  • Use binder rings to hold the paper in place

Make your own fabric-covered DIY notebooks | Jewels at Home

Make your own fabric-covered DIY notebooks | Jewels at Home

Adding coordinating fabric to the inside of the covers gives a more finished look.

Here are the notebooks I made for myself.  I can’t wait to whip one out during a meeting!

Make your own customized DIY notebooks covered in scrapbook paper or fabric.  A beautiful way to organize loose papers | Jewels at Home

Make your own customized DIY notebooks covered in scrapbook paper or fabric.  A beautiful way to organize loose papers | Jewels at Home

It’s fun look to make the back and front of your notebook from different papers that work well together. I love this one!

Make your own customized DIY notebooks covered in scrapbook paper or fabric.  A beautiful way to organize loose papers | Jewels at Home

These notebooks have rounded corners for added detail.

And here are the notebooks I made for the boys.  They each chose their own covers – Superman for little J, art pencils for my budding artist L, and navy for big boy K.  I wasn’t sure if the note books would catch on, but so far, the boys really seem to like keeping all their drawings organized in these!  Yay!

Make your own customized DIY notebooks covered in scrapbook paper or fabric.  A beautiful way to organize loose papers | Jewels at Home

The kids each chose the covers for their new notebooks.

Make your own customized DIY notebooks covered in scrapbook paper or fabric.  A beautiful way to organize loose papers | Jewels at Home

L is really into art right now, which is so fun for me. I looped an elastic through the middle ring of his notebook, so he can keep his portfolio together. He has been bringing it to school every day!

Make your own customized DIY notebooks covered in scrapbook paper or fabric.  A beautiful way to organize loose papers | Jewels at Home

Here’s what L is working on in his notebook. I love it!

Make your own customized DIY notebooks covered in scrapbook paper or fabric.  A beautiful way to organize loose papers | Jewels at Home

More of L’s sketches, all neatly contained in his new notebook.

Yay for these little notebooks.  They would make great gifts, too!

Make your own customized DIY notebooks covered in scrapbook paper or fabric.  A beautiful way to organize loose papers | Jewels at Home

Some holiday projects coming up next!

“Jewels”

Customized File Folders

As I was making the scrapbook paper and fabric-covered notebooks recently, I was inspired to spruce up some plain file folders at the same time.

My office at work is getting a bit overwhelming, and having something pretty – like these sweet patterns – to look at always cheers me up.

Beautify your office.  Use scrapbook paper to turn plain file folders into works of art | Jewels at Home

It all started with this lovely patterned file folder that I bought a few years ago.

Beautify your office.  Use scrapbook paper to turn plain file folders into works of art | Jewels at Home

I found papers in my stash that coordinated with these folders, and I cut and glued them onto plain manila file folders to transform them into these eye-catching beauties!

Beautify your office.  Use scrapbook paper to turn plain file folders into works of art | Jewels at Home

Beautify your office.  Use scrapbook paper to turn plain file folders into works of art | Jewels at Home

I really like how all the folders work together.  Now, to clear the rest of the office!

Beautify your office.  Use scrapbook paper to turn plain file folders into works of art | Jewels at Home

I also made a folder for L, who has a lot of artwork to organize, though he now favors his DIY scrapbook paper-covered notebook .

Beautify your office.  Use scrapbook paper to turn plain file folders into works of art | Jewels at Home

I also covered all the folders in Clear Contact Paper to make them last longer.  An easy project, and they look great.  Can’t beat that!

“Jewels”

Mad Men Party Wrap-Up

I did not want the night to end when we threw our Mad Men-themed birthday party a few weeks ago. There are more ideas in the first post about our Mad Men party and the retro menu can be found in another post as well. Here are some of the finishing details that pulled it all together – not the least of which were the fab costumes of our guests!

Lucky Strike cigarette boxes

Mad Men would simply not be Mad Men, without all the smoking, particularly the Lucky Strikes. At the same time, I’m not such a devoted fan of the show that I was about to start up a carcinogenic habit. As a compromise, I printed up some empty Lucky Strike cigarette boxes and filled them with Hershey’s Ovation Dark Chocolate Mint Sticks, which have that long thin cigarette shape.

There’s a great printable Lucky Strike box from Namida on Deviantart.com. It has a fun disclaimer on the side and otherwise looks quite authentic.

To save ink and paper, I printed two copies and then placed just the box images side by side, so I could make additional copies with two boxes per page. I printed mine on heavy Index Card Stock (110 lb paper) and then set them up in the front hall, under a vintage Lucky Strike ad, for guests to enjoy. I will say that this project was more time-consuming than I had anticipated, but they helped set the tone at the party and made a fun party favor, too!

Mad Men party.  Party favors: Lucky Strike boxes filled with mint chocolates and displayed under a vintage ad | Jewels at Home

Party favors: Lucky Strike boxes filled with mint chocolates and displayed under a vintage ad.

Mad Men Photo Booth

I love photo booths. I still have favorite strips from my school days and when Steve and I were young and goofy (now we’re not-so-young and still goofy). With today’s technology, it’s so easy to make your own photo booth, and that giddy sensation of not knowing exactly when the flash will go off, of trying to squeeze all your friends into the frame, is easy to recreate in your own home.

Mad Men party.  DIY photo booth with great accessories | Jewels at Home

DIY photo booth with great accessories.

To make the photo booth, I used

  • large cardboard boxes spruced up with fabric panels around the outside
  • a custom Mad Men photo booth sign
  • iPad with Picibooth app, attached to the inside of the box with Command Picture-Hanging Strips
  • three different backdrops

I hung all the curtains from our regular curtain rod, so it was easy to switch backdrops, just like the traditional photo booths!

Mad Men party.  DIY photo booth with iPad mounted inside | Jewels at Home

DIY photo booth with iPad mounted inside

Mad Men party.  DIY photo booth with three fun backgrounds hanging on a curtain rod | Jewels at Home

DIY photo booth with three fun backgrounds hanging on a curtain rod.

I provided some props, like costume jewelry, a fedora, fake cigarettes, and Lucky Strike boxes, all arranged under Peggy’s breakthrough Belle Jolie ad. Our guests had plenty of their own themed accessories, too!

Mad Men party.  Photo booth accessories | Jewels at Home

The photo booth got a lot of action that night. I loved going back later to see all the sassy poses, and I especially loved discovering that our seven-year-old had gone up several times to take pictures himself!

Mad Men party.  DIY photo booth with backdrops and accessories | Jewels at Home

Guys and Dolls – Fab Costumes

I cannot take any credit for the following photos, but I just had to share all the great looks that crossed our threshold that night. Honestly, it was like opening a birthday present every time I opened the door! It was enormous fun for us to see how much fun our friends had creating their costumes. From crinolines to bouffant hairdos, bow ties to patent pumps, every one looked perfect!

Mad Men party.  Costumes | Jewels at Home

Mad Men party.  Costumes | Jewels at Home

Mad Men party.  Costumes | Jewels at Home

More Mad Decor

I wanted to feel immersed in the Mad Men world everywhere I looked, starting with our front door, where I hung a large framed Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce logo:

Mad Men party.  Tons of ideas for decorating and entertaining! | Jewels at Home

Another logo was prominently displayed over the buffet table:

Mad Men party.  A complete guide to decorating and entertaining | Jewels at Home

This vintage typewriter sparked a lot of conversation!

Mad Men Party.  A complete guide to decorating and entertaining | Jewels at Home

Leading up to the party, I became obsessed with collecting vintage barware in thrift stores and on eBay.  I love the collection of Dorothy Thorpe silver-rimmed glasses displayed at our kitchen bar area and the classic California-themed tumblers gathered on a tray.

Mad Men Party.  A complete guide to decorating and entertaining | Jewels at Home

Mad Men Party.  A complete guide to decorating and entertaining | Jewels at Home

If you’re looking for some fabulous artwork to display, this book has fun illustrations Mad Men: The Illustrated World by Dyna Moe, including this one that I framed to put next to the dry bar area.

Mad Men Party.  A complete guide to decorating and entertaining | Jewels at Home

I said I didn’t want the evening to end, but it did end perfectly.  After most of the guests left, some of our college buddies hung out with us in the living room to catch up some more, and one of them snapped this pic of me and Steve at the end of the night.

Mad Men Party.  A complete guide to decorating and entertaining | Jewels at Home

Good night!

“Jewels”

Stella & Dot Trunk Show and Romantic Afternoon Tea

I had so much fun last weekend hosting a Stella and Dot Trunk Show with afternoon tea for my girlfriends!

I’m especially proud that our stylist Stacey and I are each donating 10%, so 20% of the total sales, to the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. If you feel so inclined, you can check out their beautiful jewelry, bags and accessories and participate in the fundraiser through May 25, 2013.

Here’s a glimpse at our fun girls’ afternoon, which I hope to turn into an annual event!

Ideas for a charming vintage tea party.  {Jewels at Home}

Decorations

  • I was excited to use my eclectic mix of vintage tea cups, plates, and serving dishes that I collected for a baby shower last year.

Vintage afternoon tea party.  {Jewels at Home}

Vintage afternoon tea party.  {Jewels at Home}

Vintage afternoon tea party.  {Jewels at Home}

  • Fresh flowers are a beautiful touch. I clipped some Cala lilies from our garden, and on of my friends brought a colorful bouquet that looks beautiful on the coffee table. I’m brainstorming about something similar I can put there long-term.

Vintage afternoon tea party.  {Jewels at Home}

  • Paper lanterns are so popular right now, and I’ve been looking for a way to use them. I love the garden feel these lanterns created for our tea party. I hung them using fishing line and clear Command Mini Hooks.

A collection of colorful paper lanterns brings the garden party inside.  {Jewels at Home}

A collection of colorful paper lanterns brings the garden party inside.  {Jewels at Home}

  • Tea cup garland – this was a fun and easy project. I was cutting out paper tea cup silhouettes to make signs for the food, and I was inspired to string some together with lace to make this little garland that I hung over the buffet. I love the romantic feel of the colors and patterns.

Cute paper tea cup garland for a vintage afternoon tea party.  {Jewels at Home}

Cute paper tea cup garland for a vintage afternoon tea party.  {Jewels at Home}

  • New table runner and trivets – I’ve been meaning to make these for a while out of the same fabric I used for cushions on our hallway bench. They worked perfectly for our party and will get lots more use in days to come.

Table runner and fabric trivets for a romantic afternoon tea party.  {Jewels at Home}

Fabric trivet for a romantic afternoon tea party.  {Jewels at Home}

  • Luggage tag party favors were a last-minute project using some of the same prints as the tea cup garland. I printed the names on cardstock backed with decorative paper and slipped the paper into these clear vertical badge holders and added luggage tag loops.
DIY luggage tags with beautiful paper backs.  Party favors for a charming afternoon tea party.  {Jewels at Home}

DIY luggage tags with beautiful paper backs. Party favors for a charming afternoon tea party. {Jewels at Home}

Menu

  • Cheese plate for a savory snack
  • Fruit salad in a watermelon basket – everyone said, “My mom used to do that!” My mom did, too!
  • Coffee cake – a great sour cream cake that my mom also made.
  • Cookies – classic Walker’s shortbread and some cute flower-shaped sugar cookies
  • baklava – hubby made this. SO good.

Vintage afternoon tea party.  {Jewels at Home}

Vintage afternoon tea party.  {Jewels at Home}

Vintage afternoon tea party.  {Jewels at Home}

Drink list

  • Mimosas
  • Tea – LOVE this vintage candy tin I found in an antiques shop on my birthday.  It fits a collection of tea bags perfectly.

A vintage candy tin makes a perfect place to store and display tea bags.  Part of a vintage tea party from Jewels at Home.

  • Citrus water

Are you feeling inspired by our charming afternoon tea party? Here are a few of my favorite pieces from the Stella and Dot collection, if you’d like to participate in our fundraiser:

Red Ikat Bag, Julep Bangle, and Dot Bloom Necklace from Stella and Dot.  Shop with 20% going to the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer through May 25, 2013.

Red Ikat Bag, Julep Bangle, and Dot Bloom Necklace from Stella and Dot. Shop with 20% going to the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer through May 25, 2013.

Thank you so much to all my friends who came out to socialize and shop for a cause. I’m looking forward to seeing you next year!

“Jewels”

Vintage afternoon tea party.  {Jewels at Home}

Decoupaged Mirror Frame (Ikea Malma)

These wide-frame mirrors from Ikea have so many possibilities! You could hang them as they are, of course, but what fun to decorate them with a tile mosaic, paint, or paper!

In setting a theme for our tween boy’s new room, I found this fun and colorful Heroes and Villains wrapping paper. I’m using it for some DIY pencil tins and also covered some Ikea Malma mirror frames for his wall.

This is an easy project.  You’ll need a mirror, wrapping paper, Mod Podge, and a brush.  I started by using painter’s tape (okay, I guess you’ll need that, too) to cover up the mirror in the center, so it wouldn’t get glue on it. (pictured below, left).  I then spread a layer of Mod Podge over the mirror frame and carefully lay the paper on top, lining it up and smoothing out the wrinkles. (pictured below, right)

Decorating an Ikea Malma mirror frame.  Decoupage with wrapping paper.  {Jewels at Home}

Cover the mirror with painter’s tape (left). Spread Mod Podge over the frame and lay the wrapping paper on top (right).

To fit the paper around the mirror, I cut an “X” shape and then trimmed the paper with a craft knife (oh yes, you need that, too!).  (pictured below, left)  To wrap the paper around the edge of the frame, I cut squares out from the corners and then applied more Mod Podge and wrapped the paper around, smoothing out the wrinkles and bubbles. (pictured below, right)

Decorating an Ikea Malma mirror frame.  Decoupage with wrapping paper.  {Jewels at Home}

Cut an “X” in the center and trim the paper with a craft knife (left). Cut squares out of the corners and apply the paper around the frame with the Mod Podge (right).

I finished off the mirror with a few coats of Mod Podge to seal the paper and give it a glossy finish.  I hung the mirrors with my favorite Command Picture-Hanging Strips.

Here’s how the finished mirror looks:

Decorating an Ikea Malma mirror frame.  Decoupage with wrapping paper.  {Jewels at Home}

And below are some pictures of the entire wall.  Also featured on this wall are

Vintage comic-themed gallery wall with DIY mirror frame, wall initials, and gallery clip frames.  Includes link to a source for these beautiful vintage comic covers.  {Jewels at Home}

Vintage comic-themed gallery wall with DIY mirror frame, wall initials, and gallery clip frames.  Includes link to a source for these beautiful vintage comic covers.  {Jewels at Home}

Vintage comic-themed gallery wall with DIY mirror frame, wall initials, and gallery clip frames.  Includes link to a source for these beautiful vintage comic covers.  {Jewels at Home}

This sweet tween’s room is almost ready.  His desk is on order, and I look forward to showing you the completed space, soon!

“Jewels”

Living Room Tour

After some peeks into the small spaces in our house – the powder room, the nursery, the laundry, the master bath – I’m glad I can show you our living room. It’s actually only one half of the original living room – we are using the other half of this enormous room as our dining room, and we turned the separate dining room into a family room.

I am not sure quite how to describe the style – it’s a little bit contemporary but classic. It has Chinese elements, but more of a Regency Chinoiserie feel than traditional Chinese. Is this the Asian fusion of the decorating world? Anyway, I love the cool soothing blues and grays warmed up with some green. It satisfies my desire for a grown-up space but is still a very comfortable spot to hang out.

Not much more explanation needed, so I’ll get to the pictures.  I’ve included links to the many DIY projects in this room.

Living room tour. Classic contemporary space with Asian elements.  {Jewels at Home}

A view of the living room side of our living-dining room, from the foyer.

Living room tour. Classic contemporary space with Asian elements.  {Jewels at Home}

The bamboo brush paintings are by my mom.  I sewed the living room pillows and repainted the vintage marble-top coffee table.

Living room tour. Classic contemporary space with Asian elements.  {Jewels at Home}

Living room tour. Classic contemporary space with Asian elements.  {Jewels at Home}

This picture was from the Holiday House Tour:

Living room tour. Classic contemporary space with Asian elements.  {Jewels at Home}

I love this elegant old Chinese chair that I picked up at the flea market.  It’s sitting by the window, next to a craigslist-find chest that I painted in teal.

Living room tour. Classic contemporary space with Asian elements.  {Jewels at Home}

Here’s another sunny view of our living room.  I love that it has so many windows.

Living room tour. Classic contemporary space with Asian elements.  {Jewels at Home}

Living room tour. Classic contemporary space with Asian elements.  {Jewels at Home}

Living room tour. Classic contemporary space with Asian elements.  {Jewels at Home}

Living room tour. Classic contemporary space with Asian elements.  {Jewels at Home}

To the left of the piano is an antique wooden window screen that I painted, and on top is a repurposed shoe box, decorated with paper.

Living room tour. Classic contemporary space with Asian elements.  {Jewels at Home}

These nesting tables are from a consignment store, and the silver box is a rummage sale find that I painted in silver.

Living room tour.  Classic contemporary space with Asian elements.  {Jewels at Home}

This vignette on top of a bookshelf includes some art from a favorite calendar, an antique Korean vase given to us by Steve’s parents, and a little Japanese dish I picked up years ago while shopping with my mom and sister.

Living room tour. Classic contemporary space with Asian elements.  {Jewels at Home}

The bookshelf on the other side of the window has a similarly sentimental display – art from a calendar and from an old friend, a small blue and white Chinese vase from my grandmother’s house, and some candle sticks I found in thrift store.

Living room tour. Classic contemporary space with Asian elements.  {Jewels at Home}

Thanks for visiting!

“Jewels”

DIY Paper Art – Heart and Butterfly Silhouettes

Just every once in a while, I plan a project, and then I actually do it!  Yes, really!  I recently collected some fun ideas for art projects involving paper, and now I’m excited to unveil my own paper creations.

I have a great weakness for pretty prints on paper and fabric, and these easy projects were a great way to display them and create inspiration in my craft studio.

Art Hearts

I was feeling girly when I collected these pink and red papers – a mix of scrapbook paper, origami paper, scraps from card, and even some paper I made myself! (second row, center) – and cut out rows of matching hearts.  Very easy – I made a heart template out of scrap paper and then traced and cut out this collection.  I glued them onto a plain background and popped them into this frame I already had.  I had also thought of folding the hearts and making them three dimensional, but I’m happy with how this turned out.

Simple and pretty DIY paper heart art.  A perfect way to enjoy your favorite pretty papers. {Jewels at Home}

 

Butterfly Collection

No butterflies were harmed in the production of this pretty display piece.  While I have fallen in love with pink and red only recently (some kind of reaction to having three boys), I’ve long had a love for the color blue – in fact, my dad still talks about how much I love blue (do your parents also remember you exactly as you were twenty years ago?).

Anyway, unlike all the identical hearts, I wanted to make each butterfly unique.  Again, I love the mix of papers many of which have stories behind them – an old stationery set, some wrapping paper, and more paper that I hand made (second row, left).  These are mixed with some more scrapbook and origami papers for a soothing and pretty work of art.

 

 

 

Simple and pretty DIY paper butterfly collection.  A perfect way to enjoy your favorite pretty papers. {Jewels at Home}

 

And now, there is finally something to adorn the blank wall in my “studio.”  Along with my new paper art, I framed a section of the hydrangea wrapping paper that I used for my desk accessories and added some botanical prints from a calendar.

Create an inspiring art gallery with a mix of DIY paper art, framed papers, and pretty prints. {Jewels at Home}

 

I love how putting something up on the walls makes a space feel like home!

“Jewels”

Ninjago Party – Part 2: Activities

This past weekend, we put together a fun Ninjago-themed party for our seven year old’s birthday. I already posted pictures and ideas for the decorations, food, and party favors, and here are some details on the activities that kept our army of Lego ninjas busy!

Ninjago party activities and many more ideas from Jewels at Home.

Sword fighting against Ninjago enemies

I bought these foam swords at Hallowe’en for L’s ninja costume. They come as a mixed set of pirate and knight/ ninja swords. The pirate ones could easily be altered to look like the ninja swords by trimming the handles, but my kids didn’t seem to be particular about it. Our kids have played with the swords quite a lot in the past few months, and I’ve been impressed by how durable the they are and also how it seems pretty much impossible to hurt someone or break something with them (and I’m sure our good fortune will end with that statement…). Despite the fact that no physical harm has ever been inflicted, the swords have been the cause of some arguments and whining, neither of which I felt were suitable for a party, so I decided to direct the boys’ energy toward targets other than each other.

Luckily, I had just been to Ikea to pick up a couple of things, so I had two large cardboard boxes to turn into training dummies for the party. The Skulkin skeletons and the Serpentine are the main enemies of the Ninjago (I learned a lot to put together this party!), so I made one of each out of plain newsprint and glued them onto the boxes, adding some embellishment with markers. They’re each about five feet tall!

Sword fighting targets for a Ninjago birthday party activity.  Many more ideas from Jewels at Home.

Skulkin and Serpentine sword fighting targets for a Ninjago birthday party activity.

We set up the targets outside and let the kids take turns trying to knock them down. We quickly learned that we needed to draw a chalk line to delineate a “safe zone” for the kids waiting their turn, after the birthday boy got whacked by his older brother, who was aiming for General Skales. No harm done, but as I said, some – thankfully brief – tears and argument.

This activity was really beloved by our Ninjago guests. In retrospect, their war cries should probably have been saved for later in the party, as we may have woken some of our neighbors, but it was all in good fun.

Sword fighting targets for a Ninjago birthday party activity.  Many more ideas from Jewels at Home.

Sword fighting targets for a Ninjago birthday party activity.  Many more ideas from Jewels at Home.

Sword fighting targets for a Ninjago birthday party activity.  Many more ideas from Jewels at Home.

Stick the ninja star on the Ninjago

For this activity, I made a bunch of these origami ninja stars and put 3M clear mounting squares on the back.

Origami ninja stars.  Ninjago birthday party activity and party favors.  {Jewels at Home}

Origami ninja stars for Ninjago birthday party activity and party favors.

I made a giant poster of Ninjago Lloyd ZX. It was very easy to print this image across multiple pages using a downloadable program called Poster Razor, and then I taped the pages together and and placed the outline of a ninja star in Lloyd’s hand. I laminated the front of the poster with clear contact paper, so the ninja stars could stick without damaging the poster.

Stick the ninja star on Ninjago Lloyd.  Instructions and many more activities for a Ninjago birthday party from Jewels at Home.

Stick the ninja star on Ninjago Lloyd.

Not all the kids wanted to play this game, but those who did played over and over! We had to experiment with a few blindfolds and locations for the poster, as we had some very sneaky ninjas!

Each Ninjago guest got to take one of these little stars home, too.

Ninjago Skeleton Bowling

Lego actually makes a Skeleton Bowling set, so I took this idea and decided to make a life-sized version.

I was able to borrow this Little Tikes Totsports Bowling Set from our neighbor. I then printed two Ninjago skeletons side by side across regular sheets of paper and wrapped and taped the paper around the bowling pins.

DIY life-sized Ninjago skeleton bowling game.  Many more ideas for a Ninjago birthday party from Jewels at Home.

DIY life-sized Ninjago skeleton bowling game.

DIY life-sized Ninjago skeleton bowling game.  Many more ideas for a Ninjago birthday party from Jewels at Home.

I have to admit that the bowling game did not get a lot of attention at the party, although I suppose I can understand that the opportunity to whack things with swords was a bit distracting. Our toddler did have a lot of fun playing bowling the next day, though, as you can see. I think the kid has a future in pro bowling.

DIY life-sized Ninjago skeleton bowling game.  Many more ideas for a Ninjago birthday party from Jewels at Home.

Finally, let’s not forget the Lego itself! While we may grumble about how commercialized it has become since our childhood, I still think Lego is one of the best toys. Our kids can be occupied for hours making their own creations. Not surprisingly, the boys spent a lot of the party just hanging out with this classic toy. Looking for Lego sets for your kids or gifts? I have found great Ninjago and other Lego toys at big discounts on Zulily.com!

Lego Ninjago birthday party.  {Jewels at Home}

Lego Ninjago birthday party.

Well that’s the round-up of activities and fun at our Lego Ninjago birthday party. Don’t forget to check out the previous post for details on the decorations, food, and party favors.

Lego Ninjago birthday party.  Don't miss these ideas for decorations, activities, food, and favors.  {Jewels at Home}

“Jewels”

Pancake Mixes in a Jar

I made these pancake mixes in a jar to give as Christmas gifts, but they would be great for birthdays, hostess gifts, or just-because.  The hot chocolate mixes I made were very popular, but these pancakes are also a great option and come with a bit less sugar guilt.

Recipes for pancake mixes in a jar.  These make charming gifts for the holidays or all year 'round.  {Jewels at Home}

I made three variations: banana, banana chocolate chip, and blueberry pancakes.  I used pasta sauce jars, which hold about 2 1/2 cups.  The baking powder does lose effectiveness over time – they are best used within three months – so it’s best not to make these far ahead.

Ingredients:

Layer in a jar

  • 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Optional: 1/3 cup of freeze-dried bananas (not banana chips which are too crunchy), freeze-dried blueberries (not regular dried blueberries which are too hard and chewy), and/or chocolate chips.

It helped to use a clean sheet of cardstock folded into a funnel for getting the ingredients neatly into the jars:

Pancake mixes in a jar make great gifts. Recipes and instructions from Jewels at Home.

Provide the following instructions with your jar.  I printed labels and stuck them to decorative paper and tied it all on with a colorful ribbon.

Instructions:

  •  Shake the jar to mix contents thoroughly
  • Mix contents of jar gently with 2 beaten eggs beaten, 2 cups milk, 4 tablespoons oil
  • Cook in a hot greased pan

Here’s proof that a gift can look as good as it tastes!

Blueberry pancake mix in a jar.  More recipes from Jewels at Home.

Banana chocolate chip pancake mix in a jar.  More recipes from Jewels at Home.

Banana pancake mix in a jar.  More recipes from Jewels at Home.

These worked out so well for our Christmas gifts to teachers and neighbors – how will you use yours?

“Jewels”

Animal Silhouette Christmas Ornaments

Well, I could happily have gone on making trees, after these Christmas trees made with trims and the felt Christmas trees, but I’m exercising some restraint, such as it is, and switching over to making ornaments.

I’ve seen some whimsical animal silhouettes with pretty prints at One Kings Lane and Raredevice.net, and I thought I’d try a DIY version.

Deer silhouette Christmas ornament from Raredevice.net

Deer silhouette Christmas ornament from Raredevice.net

Reindeer and bird silhouette Christmas ornaments seen at One Kings Lane.

Reindeer and bird silhouette Christmas ornaments seen at One Kings Lane.

If you’d like to buy something similar for a reasonable price, check out these pretty wood ornaments by Arks and Animals on Etsy.

Wooden animal silhouette ornaments from Arks and Animals on Etsy.

Wooden animal silhouette ornaments from Arks and Animals on Etsy.

I’m quite tempted by the wood ones, but, I like the prints, so back to the DIY project… The ornament from Raredevice is wood with a printed design (no can do), but the One Kings Lane ornaments are cardboard and paper (can do!!). I tried this with both cardboard and craft foam as the centers. The cardboard cut more neatly than the foam, but in the end, I preferred the foam, because it gave the cut-outs a little dimension and substance. The cardboard ones ended up looking a bit more like gift tags than ornaments.

Materials:

  • assorted scrapbook, wrapping, and origami papers
  • craft foam (no longer just for kids!) in colors to match your papers or thin cardboard (like cereal boxes)
  • Images or templates to trace, such a cookie cutters, stencils, or printed images
  • craft knife and scissors – I used both large and small scissors as well as some pattern-edged scissors
  • small hole punch
  • string or ribbon for hanging

Instructions:

  • I used a glue stick to cover both sides of a piece of craft foam with decorative paper.
  • I found silhouettes I liked on the Internet and printed them out. A good size for these ornaments is about 3-4″.
  • I laid a silhouette over a section of foam and used the scissors and craft knife to cut through the foam and paper. I started with the large scissors to get the general shape and then used the small scissors and craft knife to neaten up the edges and the pattern-edged scissors for adding details, like the feathers on the birds’ wings. Because the foam is flexible, the paper did wrinkle a bit, but I tried to bend it as little as possible. The cardboard bent less, but as I said, I didn’t find the result as substantial.
  • I punched a hole in the top and threaded a ribbon… voila!
Make these sweet animal silhouette ornaments decorated with origami paper! {Jewels at Home}

Sweet animal silhouette ornaments decorated with origami paper! In case you are wondering, the reindeer in the top row was made with a cardboard center, and the rest have the foam center.

And here are the new ornaments on our Christmas tree.  By the way, if you are in San Francisco, Lowe’s had trees for literally a third the price of the Christmas tree lots.  The ambience was somewhat lacking, but it was worth it!

Moose silhouette ornament.  O Canada! {Jewels at Home}

Moose silhouette ornament. O Canada!

Bunny silhouette ornament with instructions. {Jewels at Home}

Bunny silhouette ornament. For my sister and little nieces, who were all born in the year of the rabbit!

Make a little blue bird silhouette ornament for the tree. {Jewels at Home}

A little blue bird silhouette ornament for our tree.

These ornaments turned out very sweet and were fairly fast to make. They might show up as gifts this season!  I also found some homemade ornaments from years past that I’ll post soon.

“Jewels”

I shared this project at:

Centsational Girl’s holiday Link Party