Halloween Chalkboard Sign and Cricut Explore Giveaway!!

Halloween Chalkboard Sign + free image/printable

With only two weeks to go, I’ve opened up the Halloween bins and put up some decorations.  The girls get super silly and scatter skeleton bones around the house and drape snakes around their necks.  I debate between trying to keep the mess contained and letting them have their holiday fun.  I was brainstorming ideas for this month’s Cricut Design Space™ Star Challenge and found myself really wanting to make a big chalkboard sign to bring something new and fun to our Halloween decor.
**This post contains affiliate links.**
Halloween Chalkboard Sign + free image/printableOnce I put together the image file in Photoshop, I was able to create the project with my Cricut, vinyl, and a large canvas.  I’ll share the file if you’d like to make one, too.  Don’t have a Cricut Explore?  Well, BIG NEWS!!  My team is giving one away to one of you!  There’s a Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post where you can get all your entries in!  I’m excited for ya because this machine is so much fun to use!  Let’s get to the project:

Halloween Chalkboard Sign + free image/printable

You will need:

Cricut Explore or cutting machine with 12″x 24″ cutting capability
12″ x 24″ cutting mat
vinyl (12″ x 24″)
vinyl transfer sheet (12″ x 24″)
Halloween Chalkboard Sign file - click here to download
15″ x 30″ stretched canvas
chalkboard paint
liquid chalk pens or white paint

Begin by coating your canvas in chalkboard paint. I used a canvas that already had a coat of pink latex paint on it and my chalkboard spray paint completely covered it in just one coat. If you don’t have paint to prime the canvas with first, it may take more than one coat. Allow the canvas to dry completely. If you want to use a different size canvas, you should be able to easily use anything smaller with just a little adjustment of the image.

Halloween Chalkboard Sign + free image/printable

Upload the Halloween Chalkboard Sign .png file to your Cricut Design Space software.  Adjust the image to fit a 12″ x 24″ cutting space.  Lay your sheet of vinyl with backing attached onto the cutting mat and cut out the image.  This will take a while, but hang in there – the Cricut Explore doesn’t need babysitting and I haven’t had it mess up in the middle of cutting yet.  Grab a fresh cup of coffee and check up on your drying canvas.  Once the design is cut from the vinyl, you will need to remove all of the words and images so that only the negative space remains.

Halloween Chalkboard Sign + free image/printableUse a pick tool to get the tiny little letters out cleanly.  “How I Met Your Mother” reruns come in handy while you’re doing this – or perhaps a nightime viewing of The Shining??

Halloween Chalkboard Sign + free image/printable

You will need to use a vinyl transfer sheet to move the design outline from its backing onto the chalkboard canvas.  This is painless as long as you use the transfer sheets!

Halloween Chalkboard Sign + free image/printable Once you’ve placed the design onto the canvas (centered please!), peel off the transfer sheet and you’re ready to paint in the design.  I used a liquid chalk pen because I thought it would give the canvas a more authentic chalkboard feel.  The chalk pen bled a bit under the vinyl, which hasn’t happened with regular paint when I’ve done something similar in the past.  Use whichever painting medium you prefer.  Peel off the vinyl, using the pick tool to remove the small pieces, such as the centers of a’s and o’s and your canvas is just about done!  You can gently spray it with a couple coats of clear paint to set the chalk or just leave it as is.  Hang or prop it up on the wall and admire its festive beauty!

Halloween Chalkboard Sign + free image/printable

Now, it’s time to enter the giveaway for a Cricut Explore – SO EXCITED TO GIVE THIS AWAY!

cricut giveaway image
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Win Cricut Explore

 

Flower Burst Mini Cakes

Flower Burst Mini Cakes - tiny flowers made from cardstock bring your party table to life! *This post contains affiliate links*

It’s time for another Cricut Design Space™ Star Challenge.  This month, the general theme was Weddings and Celebrations and you know how much I love crafting for parties!  With a team theme of “On the Tabletop,” I put together an autumn table that is both seasonal and festive.  You could use these ideas for a dinner party, a bridal or baby shower, even a wedding.  Today, I’m going to share these gorgeous little flower burst mini cakes, but check back in throughout the week because I have several more Cricut projects to share!

Flower Burst Mini Cakes - tiny flowers made from cardstock bring your party table to life!

Flower Burst Mini Cakes - tiny flowers made from cardstock bring your party table to life!

Flower Burst Mini Cakes - tiny flowers made from cardstock bring your party table to life!

To make the flower burst mini cakes, I started by making the cakes using my favorite Glazed Pecan Rum Cake recipe, baked in mini bundt pans.  These little cakes are pretty by themselves, but I wanted each cake to really stand out and become part of the table decor.

Flower Burst Mini Cakes - tiny flowers made from cardstock bring your party table to life!  I used my Cricut Explore and a few of the spiral flower templates from the Entitled cartridge.  I love these spiral flowers because they are SO easy to assemble and they cut really easily from cardstock!  Begin by cutting out the spiral flowers on your machine.  (Another thing to love about Cricut Design Space™ – you don’t need the whole cartridge for your designs; you can simply purchase the individual designs you want for usually $.99 each within the design program.)  Pinch the outside bottom end of the spiral with your tweezers and roll in toward you until the whole spiral is rolled up into a cone.  Fold the circle tab at the end under the base of the roll.  Allow the roll to loosen a bit until the base of the flower is the same size as the circle tab.  Hot glue in place.  Gently fold out the petals to shape the flower as desired!  I made a variety of tiny and medium sized flowers and then grouped together the smaller ones for a cluster or placed just one medium-size flower in the center of each mini cake.

Flower Burst Mini Cakes - tiny flowers made from cardstock bring your party table to life!

Flower Burst Mini Cakes - tiny flowers made from cardstock bring your party table to life!

I was concerned that the grease from the cake might seep into the cardstock and ruin the flowers after setting for some time (this actually didn’t seem to happen), so I cut small rounds of parchment paper to place under each flower cluster.  I hot glued the flower clusters to the parchment paper, but they will easily pull off so be really careful.

Flower Burst Mini Cakes - tiny flowers made from cardstock bring your party table to life!

Flower Burst Mini Cakes - tiny flowers made from cardstock bring your party table to life!

Flower Burst Mini Cakes - tiny flowers made from cardstock bring your party table to life!

I think these little cakes are just beautiful – too pretty to eat?  Only until you taste them!!

Alrighty, friends!  Be sure to check out some of the other “On the Tabletop” projects from my other team members!

ON THE TABLE

To see these amazing projects, click on the links below:
1-Kiki and Company
2-Stay and Co.
3-Kristi Murphy
4- Beauty Babbler
5- Two Thirty Five Designs
6- A Ruffled Life
7- Frenchie Wraps
8-Girl Inspired
9- Sweet C’s Designs
10-The Life of the Wife

Fourth of July Inspiration

Party table display for Fourth of July

I am thrilled to share some fun news today!  A few months back, I worked with Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft Stores on a project and it is finally time to share it.  The Jo-Ann Summer 2014 Trends and Ideas booklet is live and I had the privilege of contributing four projects to the book.  I am really proud of these projects and will be sharing them each in more detail over the next couple weeks.  There are just a whole collection of really great ideas for crafting this summer and I hope you’ll go check out the book!  Click here for the lookbook.

Fourth of July Inspiration - fun cake and table display

With Independence Day nearly upon us, I thought today would be the perfect time to share some extra photos and details about one of my projects from the lookbook.  The trend, of course, is “Patriotic,” and I put together a most patriotic party table including color coordinated paper products, old soda bottles, easy-sew table linens (project instructions on joann.com, click here), and a totally awesome patriotic cake!

Fourth of July Inspiration - fun cake and table display

I set up this photo shoot in a brand new location – you’ll never guess where….my parents back yard.  They live about a mile up the road from me and I’m over there nearly every day of the week, but for some reason I never noticed what a perfect backdrop their old barn makes. It turned out so great!  Just goes to show you that you don’t always have to travel far to find the perfect backdrop for your photos; sometimes, it’s right in front of you!!  (I’ve since taken these photos in the same location.)

Cool cake for 4th of July!

The cake was a lot of fun to make.  I used the same decorating technique as I did for the Ocean Waves Ombre Cake, here, but used two different shades of rustic red for the bottom tier.  The top tier was just quickly frosted with blue and then I added white sugar pearls for the “stars” on the flag.  A quick white border around the top using Tip #1M and you’re done.  Fun and not too complicated!

22 Spectacular FROZEN Birthday Party Ideas

so many FROZEN Birthday Party ideas - you've got to see these!It’s time to wrap up the Frozen Birthday Party with a few of the extra components that made this party come together.  It was another really fun party, both to throw and to attend.  In the links below, you’ll find additional resources for party invitations, printables, activities, favors, and food ideas!  Many of these pictures and ideas are from our Frozen party and a number of them are from the amazing creative minds that have shared their ideas across the internet.  I’m still planning to do a few of the projects that I didn’t get to before the party – like the Olaf hooded towel and the adorable little Elsa and Anna peg people….please enjoy this roundup of Spectacular Frozen Birthday Party Ideas!

DIY Olaf Cupcake Toppers for Frozen Birthday Party

Find the full instructions for these DIY Olaf Cupcake Toppers!
Elsa Dress for Frozen Birthday PartyElsa “Summer Dress” Tutorial

Table Display for Frozen Birthday Party

I purchased this Olaf 8×10 printable from splendidINK on Etsy - quickest DIY decor ever!

Food Ideas for Frozen Birthday Party

This was our party food table – we kept it really easy with sandwiches, carrot sticks, dill dip (recipe here), Jello Ice (see recipe below), and Frozen Snack Mix (see recipe below).

Make Snow GAK for Frozen Birthday Party

My kids absolute favorite takeaway from the party were the jars of GAK – I labeled them SNOWK because I have no imagination and snow+gak=snowk.  I added peppermint extract, blue and clear glitter, and blue food coloring (in some).  Big hit, BIG!!  I never knew how easy GAK is to make – get the GAK recipe here.

Olaf Labels for Frozen Birthday Party

Other party favors included shimmery blue gumballs from Target and white Mentos = Snowdrops.  I made 2″ circle labels and printed them out onto Avery glossy white round labels – template 22807.   Here is a FREE downloadable Frozen Party Favor Jar Labels file to print your own labels.  They fit perfectly on top of the jar lids and pretty good on top of the little candy containers.  (Be sure to uncheck “Fit to Page” in the print dialog box.)

FREE printable labels for Frozen Birthay Party Favors
Queen Elsa Ice Castle Cake for Frozen Birthday Party

Queen Elsa’s Ice Castle Cake – get the how-to!

"Snowflake" Water Bombs for Frozen in Summer Birthday Party Ideas

These “Snowflake” water bombs made out of sponges were such a huge hit at the party!!  Adults and kids loved them.  I found the instructions and inspiration here.

 

And here are some more AMAZING ideas from across the internet:
frozen22

Olaf floating in a bowl of Jello!

disneyfrozensnackmix2

Frozen Snack Mix

frozen-party-melted-olaf-wm

Melted Olaf Yogurt Cups

frozen-ice-jello3

“Frozen” Jello Ice Cubes

olaf fluff cupcake

Olaf Cupcakes

Frozen-themed-birthday-party-via-Karas-Party-Ideas-KarasPartyIdeas.com-frozenparty-Disney_-8

How cute are these moose cupcake toppers?

Frozen Birthday Party Ideas

Iced Snowflake Cookies

Frozen Birthday Party Ideas

Olaf Graham Cracker SnacksFrozen Birthday Party Ideas

Free Coloring and Party Activity Printables

Frozen in Summer Birthday Invitation

This is the invitation (sample pictured) that I purchased for our birthday party – from AMD Designs on Etsy.  Super quick turnaround from the Etsy shop owner and really vibrant colors – she has the same invite in a pink colorway and a variety of other Frozen invites/printables.  You just give her your details and she sends you the file the next day – print, cut, (pass out in a last minute scramble on the last day of school ;)  )Frozen Birthday Party Ideas

Anna Cloak Tutorials

frozen peg people

Painted Peg People – Anna and Elsa

Olaf hooded towel tutorial

Olaf Hooded Towel Tutorial

frozen free party invitation template olaf elsa anna sven #frozenmovie

Free Templates for Frozen Party Invitations

Elsa and Anna Bead Necklaces for Party Favors

Elsa and Anna Bead Necklaces for party activity or favors

so many FROZEN Birthday Party ideas - you've got to see these!

Pretty spectacular, eh?

Frozen Birthday Cake – the Ice Castle

Frozen Birthday Party Cake - Ice Castle

The Frozen birthday cake for our “Frozen in Summer” party became quite the impressive work of art.  As with many of my party ideas, I didn’t really know what I was going to make and it developed little by little.  I wanted to create an “ice castle” and used the Wilton castle cake kit, a styrofoam 10″ cake base and a two-layer, 7″ lemon cake to build the castle.

Frozen Birthday Party Cake - Ice Castle

For decorating, I made batch after batch of hard candy “jewels”.  They have a clear/yellow tint as I did not add any food coloring, and I think they look very much like ice.

Frozen Birthday Party Cake - Ice Castle

Frozen Birthday Party Cake - Ice Castle

The hard candy is so simple to make – you simply heat 1 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup water, and 2 Tbs. corn syrup over medium heat until the temperature reaches exactly 300 degrees.  At 300 degrees, turn off the heat; you can add food coloring and extract for flavor.  Pour the hot liquid into the jewel mold tray, let it cool, then dump it out.  Be sure the plastic mold tray is greased with Pam or the candies won’t pop out.  I “glued” together the castle pieces and the candies onto the bottom tier using royal icing.  The top tier, however, we actually wanted to eat so I frosted and adhered those jewels with Swiss meringue buttercream.  For the castle pillars, I used those from the cake castle kit.  I sprayed them with white metallic “color mist”, also made by Wilton.  Then, I used a gold luster dust and brushed it over the windows and the front of the castle tower for accent.  The castle pillars were topped with hard candy molded from some miniature jello molds that I found at the thrift store last year (I knew I would have a use for them at some point!)  The cake held up remarkably well after being driven across town and set out in the warm weather for two hours before serving.

Frozen Birthday Party Cake - Ice Castle

Frozen Birthday Party Cake - Ice Castle

The kids were entranced by Elsa’s ice castle cake!  And now I can check castle cake off my bucket list.

Hard Candy for Ice Castle Jewels
 
Author: 
Ingredients
  • Pam/nonstick spray
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 Tbs. corn syrup
  • candy thermometer
  • molding tray for jewels (or desired hard candy shape)
Instructions
  1. Spray molding tray with Pam.
  2. Stir together sugar, water, and corn syrup in a small saucepan.
  3. Heat over medium until the temperature reaches exactly 300 degrees on a candy thermometer.
  4. Immediately remove from heat and stir in food coloring and/or ½ tsp. extract for flavor.
  5. Pour the hot liquid into the jewel mold tray, let it cool, then dump it out.

You might also like:

so many FROZEN Birthday Party ideas - you've got to see these!

More Frozen Birthday Party Ideas

Elsa Dress Sewing Tutorial - this is a quick and easy sew!

Elsa Dress Tutorial

Olaf Cupcakes for Frozen birthday party

Olaf Cupcakes Tutorial

Olaf Cupcakes Tutorial

Olaf Cupcakes - make these adorable cupcake toppers - ANYONE can do it!

I had so much fun throwing a “Frozen in Summer” birthday party for my little one last week.  Addie may enjoy playing princess and love all things girly girl, but even she can’t resist the incredible like-ability of everyone’s favorite snowman, Olaf.  Wanting a “Frozen” birthday party at a public pool in the middle of summer could have been tricky to pull off if it wasn’t for the very catchy “In Summer” inspiration from the movie.  I’ll have more to share from the party over the next few days, but to start, I’ve got to ask if you want to build a snowman? ?  I promise that you can make these really fun Olaf cupcakes and impress all your guests.  They do take some time, but other than rolling little balls of edible dough, they really don’t require any special skills (sculpting skills, I have not, friends!).

Olaf Cupcakes - make these adorable cupcake toppers - ANYONE can do it!

Olaf Cupcakes for Frozen birthday party

To make these Olaf cupcake toppers, you will need:

  • Wilton Edible Decorating Dough in white (available at Jo-Ann) 1 package makes 5-6 snowmen
  • food coloring (black, brown, and orange for Olaf, desired colors for towels)
  • toothpicks
  • small paint brush

Olaf Cupcake Toppers

Begin by tearing off a portion of thedough and working it between your fingers to make it soft and pliable. Divide it into three small balls and add food coloring to each ball to create black, brown, and orange sections.

Olaf Cupcake Toppers

Roll the colored dough pieces into balls and then logs until they are the desired diameter for the various body parts: noses, arms, hair, buttons, eyebrows.

How to make Olaf Cupcake Toppers

Cut into individual sections and shape into the body parts.  For arms, use a knife to slit the end of the log piece into separating sections (e.g., fingers).  Group three small pieces for hair piece.  Roll short chunks into a cone and then mark with a knife to make the noses.  Make enough body parts for all of your Olaf toppers to save time later.  Cover parts with a cup or bowl placed upside down over them to help retain moisture (parts “glue” together more easily before they’ve dried).

How to make Olaf Cupcake Toppers

How to make Olaf Cupcake Toppers

Time to make the head.  Form a small ball of white dough into a smooth oval.  Gently pinch in the center of the oval and form a mouth top extending out in the center.  Make a small indentation in the bottom piece which will become the open mouth.

Olaf Cupcakes Tutorial

Use a small paintbrush dipped sparingly in water and “glue” on the black mouth.  Use a chopstick to make a small indentation for the nose and eyes immediately above the top of the mouth.  Glue on the carrot nose.  Roll two tiny white balls of dough for the eyeballs and glue them into place.  Attach the eyebrows (Olaf’s expression will change with various eyebrow placements – it’s fun to make them all unique).

Olaf Cupcakes Tutorial

 

Use a knife to make a tiny slit in the top of Olaf’s head, just above the eyebrows.  Brush with a dab of water and insert the hair piece.

How to make Olaf Cupcake Toppers

Dip a toothpick in black food coloring and draw the pupils of the eye.  You can also draw a little line over the pupils like an eyelid.

Olaf Cupcakes - make these adorable cupcake toppers - ANYONE can make these!

Now your head is done!

Olaf Cupcakes - make these adorable cupcake toppers - ANYONE can make these!

Roll out three more balls of white dough for Olaf’s body.  Two should be smaller and one should be larger.  Cut one of the smaller balls in half to form the two legs.  Use a little brush of water between each section and layer the legs, then larger ball for body, then smaller ball for chest, then head.  Connect with a toothpick.  Add buttons.

Olaf Cupcakes - make these adorable cupcake toppers - ANYONE can make these!

Use a toothpick to make a hole in each side of the chest and glue the little stick arms in.  And you’re done!! Stick them in a piece of styrofoam until ready to serve the cupcakes!

Olaf Cupcakes - make these adorable cupcake toppers - ANYONE can do it!

Olaf Cupcakes for Frozen birthday party!Olaf Cupcakes - make these adorable cupcake toppers - ANYONE can do it!

If you want summertime Olaf’s, you can plunk them on some blue icing with a “beach towel” and a little drink umbrella.  The kids were all over these.  To make the beach towels, just roll up four logs of decorating dough and place them side by side, alternating colors.  Press them together side by side and roll them flat with a rolling pin; then slice into “towels.”

Olaf Cupcakes - make these adorable cupcake toppers - ANYONE can do it!