Halloween recap {2018}

What a Halloween!

We dressed up, paraded, trick-or-treated, and ate and ate and ate.

Most of my creative juices went to Michael’s Mater costume, which was a work of art.

From the front:

Mater costume

And from the back… a working tow hook!

Mater costume

And let’s not forget the working headlamps once dusk hit! (Don’t you just love the pie tin radiator/candy dish!?)

Mater costume

Mater was WAY too big to wear to school for Michael’s class parade, so we pulled this Captain America costume out of the closet. Look at these little super heroes!

Apparently Michael grew a bit… Look at his shoes and fake shoes.

Little super heroes

Brandon and I phoned in our outfits, thanks to Target. They were fun and easy– fine by me!

Waldo Halloween costume

Of course we had some festive eats too… Our many-layer dip was so easy and paired perfectly with orange and black chips from Wegmans:

Halloween seven layer dip

And some sweet treats, “blood” courtesy of food coloring and corn syrup, applied with an infant medicine dropper, edible axes made by Wilton, bought by me:

Bloody ax cupcakes

We carved pumpkins too. All around, the perfect holiday!

Carving pumpkins

Mother’s day “flowers” {last-minute gift idea}

Still looking for the perfect gift or card for your Mom this Mother’s day? Look no further!

Presenting a special bouquet of flowers:

Mother's day bouquet of hand print flowers

My Mother’s day bouquet

These are really easy to make:

  1. Squirt out your paint – we used Michael’s Crayola washable tempera paints
  2. Take subject’s hand
  3. Paint subject’s hand. Work quickly depending on age and patience level of subject.
  4. Press subject’s hand onto paper.
  5. Let dry.
  6. Add some foliage (stems and leaves) and cut out or back with additional paper.

And if you’re a visual learner:

Handprint flowers | Mother's Day

Prep your materials.

Handprint flowers | Mother's Day

Painting your subject.

Handprint flowers | Mother's Day

Stamp, stamp, stamp.

Handprint flowers | Mother's Day

Hand prints: complete!

Handprint flowers | Mother's Day

And then when the hand prints turn into painting…

Happy Mother’s day!

ONE happy camper!

Our little man turned one in September and we celebrated in style: a rustic, outdoorsy, glamping style. Here are all of the details of our big party.

ONE happy camper!

We rented a picnic shelter space on Megan’s Island, in between two large fields and adjacent to a play structure. It was a pretty sweet spot. The only thing that would make it better would have been an infant swing, Michael’s favorite thing to do at the park.

The birthday boy

We opted for the Sunday before Michael’s birthday, which also ended up being the Seahawks home opener. We managed to squeeze the party in between Michael’s morning nap and 1 p.m. kickoff.

Food. We kept the food simple with 12 feet (FEET!) of Subway sandwiches, personal bags of chips, Aunt Nancy’s quinoa salad, and goldfish cracker packets and applesauce pouches for the little ones.

12 feet of sandwiches

Drinks. Since it was at a park, and 11 a.m., we decided to make Michael’s party nonalcoholic. We had a delicious hot cocoa bar and juice boxes for the kids. We offered toasted marshmallow syrup, mini marshmallows, and chocolate chips to customize their ideal cocoa.

Drink station: hot cocoa bar!

Dessert. I made these s’more cookie bars but the real star of the show was the Costco cake. Thankfully Costco makes a cake that was perfect for our party. We got the “over the hill” design minus the over the hill language.

Cake!

We had such a wonderful time celebrating our little guy, ONE happy camper!

ONE happy camper!

A couple of other favorite photos from Michael’s big party:

Cake table & Michael’s weekly photos

52 weekly photos of Michael with the same bear in the same chair

Warming himself by the fire

Snuggles!

More snuggles! Also: the pants that inspired the party!

Post cake chocolate coma

The Handmade Project

Umm… did you know that my wildest dreams might actually come true?! It’s a long shot, but when Brandon forwarded me the application for The Handmade Project, a reality television show about crafting (!!!!), I knew that I had to apply.

It took three weeks for me to perfect my responses to the dozens of questions they asked, find my craft projects and photos, and to film just the right 3 minute video. The stars aligned last week and I submitted my application!

You have to apply to be chosen! Fingers crossed!!

I’ve never applied to a reality TV show before, but I’m guessing it’s a little bit of a popularity contest, so I’d really appreciate it if you could please watch, comment, and like my application video on YouTube, this blog post, and on my social channels. (Links in the top right!)

Who knows… you might be seeing me on the big screen in August!

Here are some highlights of my application, so you can know what you’re supporting:

My PR/introductory blurb:

During the day, Megan Szerwo is a real-life Leslie Knope, making her living working on behalf of the people of the City of Seattle. After hours though, Megan grabs a glass of her favorite red and she gets down to business on her real passion: crafting. A jack of all trades, Megan focuses her attention on party and holiday decor, gifts for new parents, and any and every craft possible with her endless supply of corks. Megan’s three passions in life are easily described: cats, crafts, and carafes! Megan lives in Seattle, Washington with her husband, son, and two cats.

And some of the projects that I highlight:

My Q13 debut!

My small business: Little Britches Bakery

Our homemade wood-fired oven in the backyard

My party pinatas

My mad party-throwing skills

Cork art!

And a couple of projects that are new to you as a blog reader:

Michael’s ONE HAPPY CAMPER first birthday party! I promise you’ll see it soon!

Muzzle Guzzler glassware: coming soon!

Fourth of July onesies! (Post coming only a year late, but in time for 7/4/17!)

Since it’s likely that this show would just perfectly foul up our Buffalo moving plans, it’s almost guaranteed to happen!

Don’t forget to watch my application video, tell all your friends to watch it, and like/comment on this post!

Thank you for reading and your unending support of my creative endeavors!

Valentine, you’re out of this world! {2017}

I had the pleasure of turning my Pinterest board into reality last week to make Michael’s preschool valentines. I know I’m biased, but I’m pretty impressed with the final product. (I really liked last year’s valentines too!)

You're out of this world, Valentine!

You’re out of this world, Valentine!

Space ducks: unite!

Space ducks: unite!

These valentines are super easy to make, relatively inexpensive, and don’t include sugar, so they’re good for kids of all ages:

  1. Buy these astronaut and space alien rubber ducks from Amazon
  2. Print out this sheet of valentines on cardstock.
  3. Add your name on the bottom and cut them out.
  4. Poke a hole.
  5. Attach the tag to the duck.
  6. Tie a bow, trim the edges. Voila!

Here is Micheal working on his valentine “mailbox” at school. He’s a crafter in the making! (And, yes, they call him “Big Mike”!)

Michael working on his valentine mailbox

Michael working on his valentine mailbox

{Christmas craft} Reindeer food

Over the weekend I cleaned out the abyss that is my sprinkle/frosting/everything cabinet and found a bag of Christmas sprinkles from a cookie decorating party in 2008. (EIGHT YEARS AGO!) Thankfully, I knew how old they were since I dated the bag. Nice work, self.

Anyway, I had been perusing Pinterest and came across a “recipe” for reindeer food.

Reindeer food

Reindeer food is completely inedible for humans but will be quite a delight for the birds! Err, I mean, Santa’s reindeer.

The recipe is simple: whatever you want (that birds enjoy).

I went with ~ 1/2 cup of oats (buy them in bulk!), 1/4 cup of bird seed, and some of all the sprinkles I had in my everything cabinet.

Reindeer food

It’s really easy to make, and if nothing else, do it to make room for a new set of holiday sprinkles!

I had fun and I know Michael’s daycare friends will love their packages of reindeer food tomorrow!

My new favorite thing: Chatbooks

Have you seen the app Chatbooks yet? It’s one of my new favorite things and I can’t stop singing their praises.

I discovered Chatbooks on Instagram through a sponsored post, while I was on maternity leave. I had nothing but time on my hands (at least when the kid was nursing, he wasn’t very good at sleeping reliably…) so I clicked on the ad and discovered a very reasonably-priced, creative, and super easy stocking stuffer idea. This would also make a great Father’s Day gift, which is coming up in a few short weeks!

Simply put, Chatbooks is an app that allows you to upload photos and create 8″ x 8″ softcover books.

My favorite option from Chatbooks: auto books. I’m rather prolific with posting of Michael photos on Instagram and I’ve set up my Chatbooks book by simply using a hashtag on the Instagram photos I want to include in my book.

IT’S THAT EASY!

Every 60 photos, Chatbooks emails me to review my book and three days later, it prints and ships! …And I’m working on volume nine. NINE. (That’s more than one per month!)

I’ll bet you’re glad I finally filled you in on my overuse of the #babymichael hashtag on Instagram, right? Now you know!

My Chatbooks. Book #8 should arrive soon!

My Chatbooks. Book #8 should arrive soon!

Michael’s first valentines

I finally had a chance to use my Valentine’s Day inspirations pinterest board for Michael’s first Valentine’s Day party at his daycare!

There are so many great ideas out there! I especially liked the fish bowls, tic tacs, and chips.

However, since many of those at daycare (including Michael) aren’t eating solids, I went the route of age-appropriate toys instead.

And… voila! Amazing valentines!

These valentines are DINO-riffic!

These valentines are DINO-riffic!

I combined a few of the dinosaur valentines I found online and designed one perfect for “our” (Michael’s, but he doesn’t know what he’s doing yet…) needs. Download the template here. I added these dino bath squirters from Amazon.

The final product

The final product

I hope you have a great Valentine’s Day!

Cork snowmen ornaments (or wine charms or cute decor!)

Can you believe that Christmas is this week? I certainly can’t. The past four months — well, year, really — have flown by. We did manage to get Michael’s first Santa photo in, and we’ll hopefully visit two more Santas this week. Of course I’ll share the photos soon.

Last week I shared yarn ball ornaments. I have another super easy ornament to share with you: Snowmen wine cork ornaments!

As you know, I enjoy a good wine. As a result, I often have a cork or two on-hand for crafting purposes. (Sometimes I have hundreds of corks on-hand, when I want to make a cork wreath or something.) These little guys are so cute and so easy.

Wine cork snowmen!

Wine cork snowmen!

Gather your supplies:

  • Cork(s)
  • A block of orange Fimo or Sculpey modeling clay from your local craft store (The only difference that I’m aware of is that Fimo used to be hard before you warmed it up by sculpting with it. Sculpey has always been soft from the get go. Now they’re pretty much the same.)
  • Screw eye (also available at your local crafts store — in the jewelry-making section — or at your local Home Depot of Lowe’s.) These are one per ornament, so buy the appropriate amount.
  • Black Sharpie pen or black paint pen
  • Super glue (possibly already on-hand from your Thanksgiving appetizer platter making!?)
  • Toothpick
  • Ribbon (optional)

Instructions:

1. First, roll out the carrot noses. Mold the clay with your fingers to the appropriate size. Mine are approximately 1/2″ long and 1/8″ thick. I roll mine a little wider on the base, to look more like a carrot. I also use the toothpick or my fingernail to add some lines. I sculpt the base of the carrot against the pad of my finger, so it’s a little rounded, matching the curvature of the cork. (This will help with the gluing in step 3.)

Sculpt the noses

Sculpt the noses

 

"Carrot" lines

“Carrot” lines

2. Bake the noses per the instructions on the clay. I overcooked my first batch, so watch them carefully and err on the side of under cooking them. They will burn, turn color, and stink up your house for days if cooked too long.

3. Once the clay has cooled, add a dab of super glue to the base of the “carrot” and attach to the cork. You’ll need to hold it there for 10 seconds or so, to secure it.

4. Use the Sharpie to draw on the eyes and mouth of your snowman. You don’t need mad drawing skills for this as you’re drawing circles. (Like I said, so easy!)

Snowmen in process

Snowmen in process

5. Screw the screw eye into the top of the cork.

6. Add a decorative ribbon if you’d like. Your new cork snowman can double as an ornament or as an accessory to a bottle of wine you’re gifting friends or family. Or, you can just set them out since they’re so dang cute.

The possibilities are endless with these cuties. You can omit screw eyes and instead slice the top of the cork and turn these into place card holders! (Be sure to slice at an angle, which I didn’t do.)

Ornaments OR place card holders! All ready for Christmas!

Ornaments OR place card holders! All ready for Christmas!

Now, open a bottle of wine so you have a cork for this fun project!

I hope you have a great week! Now I’m off to brainstorm 2016 resolutions. Anyone have any ideas for me? Please share!

 

Yarn ball Christmas ornaments

With Christmas in only 10 days (!!!) I’m excited to share a Christmas ornament that is so easy, so cute and so perfect for anyone who knits or crochets or has a love of yarn. As I type this, my mind is going crazy with ideas about how to make this more cat-centric, it could even be a gift for the crazy cat ladies in your life too. (No judgment, I’ve been a proud crazy cat lady for 10+ years!)  I made four of these last year, and found the idea on Pinterest. (I love Pinterest!)

Yarn ball ornaments

Yarn ball ornaments

First, gather your supplies. A trip to Michael’s or JoAnn’s Crafts will set you up perfectly for this for pretty cheap. Depending on the value of coupons, this could be less than $5 total!

All the supplies you'll need for the yarn ball ornaments

All the supplies you’ll need for the yarn ball ornaments

  • A skein of the yarn of your choice (Yes, I looked up what that was called!)
  • A package of the ornaments you want to cover
  • Wood beads
  • Skewers (any size 6” or longer)
  • Super glue
  • Scotch tape
  • Scissors

For the needles

  1. Select pairs of wood beads that are similar colors.
  2. Cut sets of skewers (if necessary) in similar lengths
  3. Apply super glue to the inside of the wood bead. You could probably also use hot glue, but the hot glue might get everywhere. If you do use super glue, be very careful about applying the glue and having it unknowingly seep drip through the beads and onto your fingers. It glues very securely and very quickly! (Yes, I speak from experience!)
  4. Hold the end of the skewer flush with the outside of the wood bead, to make it look like a knitting needle.

 

Yarn ball ornament "needles"

Yarn ball ornament “needles”

For the yarn balls

  1. Start the yarn ball by taking the gold or silver “topper” off of the ornament. (It’ll be returned once the yarn has been applied)
  2. Take a piece of tape and tape the end of the yarn onto the ornament.
  3. Start wrapping the yarn around the ornament. And keep wrapping…and wrapping…and wrapping…and wrapping… But seriously, switch up the direction from time to time and wrap the ornament until all of the glass is covered and it looks like a ball of yarn.
  4. When you’re nearing the end, simply cut the yarn and tuck it into a previously-wrapped section.
  5. Put the topper back on, lace the “needle” through the yarn and your finished product is ready!
First thing first. Starting the ornament.

First thing first. Starting the ornament.

Wrap, wrap, wrap.

Wrap, wrap, wrap.

More last-minute Christmas present ideas to come! Have a great rest of the week!