Easter has always been a big to-do in my family. I can remember when my brother and I were young, my great grandmother would buy us real live rabbits each Easter. We kept them in an outside hutch next to a well house, but I don’t think they ever lasted through the summer.
My mom goes crazy on our baskets every year, stuffing them with a very unhealthy amount chocolate and Christmas-time-worthy-gifts and wrapping each one with an insane amount cellophane – topping them off with professional, florist-looking bows. She still uses the same baskets my brother and I have had since we were born! She even made us hunt eggs into our college years! Mom would hide large bills in the eggs to ensure our participation, but most of the time it looked like a gory rugby match instead of the idyllic Easter hunt she was envisioning. My brother and I finally get a break now that I have kids.
This year instead of giving mom a basket full of candy she won’t eat, I came up with the idea of doing a centerpiece for the table using a vintage piece of china in the Metlox Poppytrail Sculptured Daisy pattern she uses to set the Easter Table. This reasonably priced cookie jar I found on Ebay made the perfect base for a centerpiece. The arrangement was made by filling the base with wet floral foam and adding in flowers and fillers from our local grocery store. A few egg picks were added to finish it off, and voila! A pretty little centerpiece that doubles as an Easter gift.
Need a super-cute Valentine’s Day favor idea?! Check out our Free Printable Frog Valentine. Click here to download the free printable frog valentine.
Here’s the basic supplies you’ll need for the project:
- Candy Box 2 inches wide x 2.5 inches high – mine is a Hershey’s Kisses box (net wt 1.45 oz). I found these at our local grocery store for $1.25 each. You can find them on Amazon HERE.
- Scissors – the small scrapbook kind work best on the details of the crown
- Print outs – mine were printed at our local UPS store on cardstock. I have a decent office printer, but they look so much better when done professionally.
Cut out the whole thing except the white area where the box will be. Cut only the sides of the white box, leaving the top horizontal area attached to form a flap we can use to secure the frog to the box.
Position the frog on the box where you want him.
Trim the excess “flappage”.
Tape the “flappage” to the box. If they are going to get tossed around a bit, I would even put a little tape on the back of the legs and secure to the box as well.
These little froggies cost around $2 a piece to make ($1.25 for the candy and $.75 for each print). They would make great grandparent or teacher gifts the kids could help with.
I had the bright idea that I would take these to my son’s Valentine party and use them as table decorations. The kids could enjoy their very own cute little frog while they munched on their nutritious party lunch and then tuck their new frog friend in their backpacks to enjoy at home…..yeah right. Those little suckers had the poor little frog’s heads ripped off and the giant kiss in their mouths before I had even finished passing them out. The kids were covered in chocolate and refused to touch their lunch. Mom fail? Youuuu betcha.
Because dogs need birthday cakes too!
Here’s a little Throwback Thursday for you. This is a great cake I made my little Newtie Pie on his first birthday about 6 years ago. Poor guy had it made back then… before the kids came. It’s funny how my ultrasound made it’s way into all of the pics below – sort of an omen of how the kids would eventually butt into his life and change it forever. Here’s proof he was once king of the house – his birthday cake served on a silver (or maybe Wilton Armetale) platter.
The cake was made by forming canned dog food into bottom and top “cake” tiers that were roughly the height of the milk bones. I think I actually used one of my small cake pans for the bottom tier. Sort of nasty when you get to thinking about it.
My mom volunteered herself for the job of securing fresh new decorations for front beach in Port O’ Connor this year. When she asked my opinion on what she should do for a nativity, I mentioned it would be awesome if she found an old painting online and blew it up and stuck it on some wood…or something. Moms have selective hearing. What SHE heard me say was, “Hey mom, let me take care of your whole project for you – I’ve got loads of free time right before the holidays – doesn’t everybody?!”
Below is the image I found for the project. It came from Wikimedia Commons – you can find the image HERE. Wiki Commons is a good place to find old images in the public domain – very helpful for those us who don’t wish to be sued.
After erasing the background in Photoshop and then doing a live trace in Adobe Illustrator to turn the image into a vector, the file that went to the printer looked something like this…
The halos in the painting were beautiful, but with the background showing through – it didn’t look great. I chose to keep the halo shape because it would be much simpler to cut out and with a little gold foil treatment, they would look awesome…hopefully. Below you can see how the image lays out on a 4×8 sheet of plywood. It ends up being 58″ wide. Because the edges on each side are straight, this seemed like a great image to fit inside a creche.
Since the printer’s maximum print width is 42″, it was necessary to print two files – one from the left side 42″ and the other from the right side 42″. Here is the left side.
The image below is the left side already cut out with the right side laying on top – not cut out – but approximately where it was going to be pieced together.
Here is a close-up of the two sides joining/overlapping.
Here is where I tried taping the print down so I could trace around it. The tape tried to pull off some of the print on the paper, so on the other side I just held the print down while tracing – that method worked out much better.
Cutting it out with a jigsaw…this takes some patience with the detail cuts.
Here is where the Mod Podge comes in. I’m definitely no expert on the use of this stuff, but I think it helps to coat both the plywood and the back of the print.
This Bondo spreader from a previous project worked really well to smooth out all the bubbles and glue globs. This part was pretty messy because of the amount of Mod Podge I used.
After the print was completely smoothed out on the plywood, I added a coat of the Mod Podge to the print and the edges to seal the whole thing.
After this first coat sealed up, I used an exacto to trim the edges and then applied another coat of Mod Podge to the whole thing.
I don’t have anything to show for the gold foil part of the project. It was full-on-panic-mode trying to get this thing finished at that point. Documenting the process was the last thing on my mind. Here is a night shot of the whole thing in place – the photo isn’t great but the foil really shows up around Joseph’s head here. I sealed the whole thing a couple of times with an exterior grade polyurethane before using outside. That stuff stinks horribly, so make sure you’re in a well vented area.
The Basic Project Outline went a little something like this:
- Find a great nativity painting with an “Old World” feel to it that would work as a plywood cutout.
- Use graphic design software to remove unnecessary background and convert the painting into a vector (Is this part really necessary? I don’t know. Maybe you could just blow up a jpeg and it would still look fine.)
- Resize the vector image to fit on a 4×8 sheet of plywood
- Have the image printed out on thick paper by local printing company
- Trace image outline on plywood and apply the paper to plywood with an adhesive like Mod Podge
- Seal the whole thing – front – back – sides – with exterior polyurethane
- Build some sort of creche to protect it and keep it upright
TIP: If you plan to up-light your project at night, chose a polyurethane with a matte finish to reduce glare.
Who doesn’t LOVE the look of a tiered cake? Where we live, those kind of cakes are considered wedding cakes – with wedding cake price tags. To get the tiered dessert feel, I like to use decorative risers on cake stands to elevate single layer desserts and give them a grander presentation. Moss cake risers are one of my favorites to use and can be super easy to make if you can find the moss sheets that have a mesh backing. In this tutorial I’ll be making the top moss tier you see above.
For this project I used:
- 10 inch foam cake form (got this at Hobby Lobby)
- SuperMoss moss mat roll 16 in. x 18 in. (got mine on Amazon)
- glue gun
- permanent marker
Roll out the moss mat and use the foam cake form as a template to trace around. You’re going to want it just a little bigger than the actual form to cover the thickness of the sides, so be generous with your tracing. When cutting it out, you’re also going to want to cut on the outside of the circle line to give yourself a little extra moss to play with.
The riser is 4″ tall, so measure out two strips on the back of the moss that are just a bit bigger than 4″ so you will have a little lip to join the top piece to. It takes two lengths of moss to go around the form, so the strips will need to be pieced together.
Lay the first strip of moss on the form and start gluing it around the form. Remember to leave a little lip on the side you want to be the top. We will trim the bottom side, if needed, when done.
Here’s a shot of my little lip.
When you’re ready to glue on the second strip, you’ll want to make sure the ends are pretty straight. The fewer visible seams, the better.
Get a good bead of glue under the seam and pinch it together to squish the two sides together and make the joint less noticeable.
Here’s a look at the seam finished…lookin’ good!
When the sides are done, you are ready for the top piece. Trim any stray bottom edges if the riser won’t sit flat.
Before gluing the top circle down, do a quick check to make sure you’ve cut it big enough cover the whole foam top plus the moss you’ve already glued to the sides. I find it easier to hold the top in the middle and work my way around the edges, gluing in pie-shaped sections. Finish it off by pinching the edges together, hiding the seam as much as possible.
And here’s the finished little guy next to an older, flatter one I did earlier this year.
This is what they look like when stacked together…yummy!