Birthday on a budget

My darling littlest coconut turned one last week. I’m not sure how that happened, or even why the days have gone by so very quickly, but there he is, a chubby, sticky, happy little One Year Old.

First birthday

My baby, my little tiny human, is leveling up.

We had a small celebration with cousins, and we were so lucky that some out of town family was able to be here to join our fun.

Unfortunately, the party was around the same time as Thanksgiving, and let’s be honest, funds are not unlimited.


I spent less than $7 on this party. Since we had a huge turkey dinner the day before (with the same people), we decided to have a simple party with chocolate chip cookies, cake, sweet tea, and Kool-aid (I’m a Southern girl, what can I say, haha).

I only needed to buy a few items for the party – cake mix ($1.48), icing ($1.25), table cloth ($1) and balloons (2 packs at $1 each).

Total cost (before tax): $5.73


After scouring Pinterest, craft magazines and Party, I knew that I wanted a star theme with a birthday banner, a centerpiece, cupcake toppers, high chair swag, and a cute birthday sign.

There was no cost for the decorations, outside of the balloons, because I raided my craft stash.

I’m one of those crazy people who loves craft supplies. I will buy something because it’s pretty, or on sale, or there, then stash it away.

The stash in question this time was paper. I have too much paper (but I will never admit that, ever again!)

To keep it simple, and to not overwhelm me, I chose a basic primary color scheme and since Teeny Coconut loves red, it was an easy choice!

The biggest project was the birthday banner, which created a fun, whimsical effect when hung.


The banner took a bit longer than anticipated, and Mr. Coconuts questioned my sanity (he pointed out I could’ve bought one for a buck at the Dollar Tree. And you could. But this one has style. It has spunk. It was made by me!)

It was simple, though. Here’s my process – using my cricut (or any cutter, or even your hands!) I cut out stars. Lots of stars. 30 each of red, green, blue, and orange. My stars were 1 3/4″ high. I also cut out the phrase, “Happy Birthday” in Don Juan font with each letter 7″ high and 3″ wide.

Next I stacked up the stars in the order I wanted them on the banner – orange, blue, red, green; then I pulled out my sewing machine, chose a coordinating thread color and off I went.


Super simple. Just sew the stars, leaving a tiny bit of thread in between. Mine aren’t perfect, but the overall effect was so cool. Once I had about 15-20 stars (I lost count) I started adding in the letters. I patterned a star in between in each letter. After I finished the letters, I just sewed all the stars. I figured after the banner was completed, I could hang it up and cut off what I needed in order to make the banner the perfect size.

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I used the banner bits as further birthday decor and as the high chair swag.


The centerpiece is another star project. I already had the red mason jar and thought it would be a perfect addition. I then used bamboo kebab skewers to attach stars in various shapes. The “1” is Birthday Bash font from Cricut Design Space.


The picks are really easy to assemble. Cut out two of the image you want on the stick, and using a good quality glue stick, liberally apply glue to both sides, place the skewer on the wrong side of one image then layer with the top portion, lining up the image. Press the edges down firmly. Let dry over night and ta-daaaaa! (I’m sure this could be the same process you would use to make photo booth props.)

Same process for the cupcake toppers and smash cake decorations, but with toothpicks. So cute.


My favorite part, however, is the framed saying. Oh, how I love that. I already have it hanging up in his room, with plans to drape stars around it on the wall.


I found the inspiration on Pinterest, and whipped it up using my cricut, vinyl, paper, free fonts, glitter and glue (I already had the frame in my craft closet).

I had a brilliant idea, too! I didn’t want to hang it because I wanted it displayed on the table, so I used my recipe book holder to keep it sturdy and prominent on the table. Brilliant!


The star theme really worked out. It was so easy to incorporate stars and primary colors and it didn’t cost me over $7 for everything…and I love it.

It was definitely a day to remember.



Another DIY – Photo Coasters!

You guys, I am so excited to share this DIY with you. I had to sit on it a while because it was a gift for my mom and I had to wait for her to get them.

For Mother’s Day this year, I made my mom a set of photo coasters featuring some of our favorite recent pics.

Photo Coaster DIY

The coasters are an idea I picked up on Pinterest (of course!!) and ran with.

The coasters are relatively simple to create. There are only a few basic supplies that you will need, and many of them come from Home Depot!


  • 6 ceramic tiles
  • 6 photos trimmed to fit
  • Sharpie Paint Pens (or vinyl)
  • Glossy Mod Podge
  • Can of Rustoleum Spray Sealer
  • Package of self-sticking felt pads
  • Ribbon, gift tag, bubble wrap – optional


The first steps are super easy – just decide how many coasters you want and then choose the photos for them. I wanted to make a set of 6, so I chose four photos and two designs for the set. (The designs are a foot print of my littlest and a handprint of my oldest).

I then bought six small tiles (I believe they were 4×4) from Home Depot. I used the size of the tiles as a guide for printing my photos. I printed them at home and was able to size them accordingly (for this step, you could print at home or have them printed and cut to size).

Photo Coasters

I wanted a matte photo (wasn’t sure how glossy would work) so I used regular printer paper.

Next, I used a sponge brush and put a light coat of Mod Podge on the back of the photo; I then placed the photo on the tile and gently pressed it down. This I followed up with a light coat of Mod Podge on top of the photo. Repeat with your other photos and coaster, and set them aside so they can dry thoroughly.

The coasters with the handprint/footprint went a tad differently – I gently pressed the kiddo’s tootsie onto the ink pad then pressed onto the paper, trimmed the paper and then put the Mod Podge on the back. Before sealing the tile, I used a Sharpie paint pen to draw the names and dates. After the lettering/numbering dried, then I sealed with Mod Podge and the spray sealer.

Photo Coaster

Finally, spray with a coat of sealer and attach felt pads on the bottom. I used these small self-adhesive pads I found at Home Depot, but cork sheets would also provide a decent backing.


I only did one coat of Mod Podge with several coats of sealer, and they seem to be holding up well; however, others have said that they have used multiple coats of Mod Podge – go with your gut.

Photo Coasters

Step back and take plenty of photos so that you can totally show off your handiwork on Facebook (you know you do it, don’t lie).

Since mine were a gift, I wrapped them with a pretty ribbon and attached a Zentangled gift tag, then wrapped them in plastic and plenty of bubble wrap!

DIY Coasters

I am thinking of making more of these, not only as gifts for others, but for myself as well. The opportunities are endless, and could be done with vinyl or even funky/unusual scrapbook paper to match your decor.

Hopefully this DIY will give you the inspiration needed to make yourself an amazing set of coasters! When you do, share with us!

Shrink Film Necklace Tutorial

I recently acquired an upgrade to my Cricut – the new Explore Air! I am in so much love with this little crafty thing, that I’ve been doing tons of little crafts that allow me to use the die cutter.

I’ve done vinyl projects – monograms on drinking cups, images on plastic catch-all plates, cutesy silhouettes for my machine and a fun shrinky dink cat necklace.

The possibilities with this machine are truly endless, and after watching countless Youtube videos and reading other blogs showcasing how-to guides, I finally feel like I can take the training wheels off and just enjoy my crafting time.

The best part is that I can use the machine to cut out images on various mediums, including shrinky dink paper!

Do you remember shrinky dinks??

I had completely forgotten about those fun little f*ckers until recently when Pinterest reintroduced them to rock my little craft world.

I am so excited by them!

Usually I share some amazing recipe, but this post I’ve decided to share my love of shrinky dinks and the little project failures that I (love) have created!!  

 I’ll also share some hiccups that I’ve encountered as well as the things that I’ve found have worked really well. Trust me, I’ve been playing with these for a while, and I think I finally understand how to get the best look.

First things first though, I bought the shrink film from, but I didn’t get Shrinky Dink brand. I have the Graphix Shrink Film in white. I have “real” Shrinky Dink paper, too, but I haven’t opened it up to play with yet. When I do, I will report back on whether it’s very different from Graphix brand.

I don’t mind it so much, and I couldn’t beat the $2.99 price tag, but it does have its drawbacks. It’s fairly simple to use, but there are some issues. First, it’s glossy on both sides, so if you want to use pencils you will need to sand it. Some types of inks don’t work on them either – you will need permanent ink, not pigment. Don’t use pigment ink, period – it won’t dry and you will get frustrated. I’ve found that permanent markers and Staz-On ink pads work best.

I’ve also found that when trying for a solid color finish on a completed shrinky item, spray paint works best. I’ve used sharpies, paint pens and spray paint. In my fail and repeat opinion, spray paint gives a better coating all over versus the paint pens.

**As a note, I use the spray paint, paint pens and sharpies after baking the shrinky paper – but you can use the sharpies and the Staz-On ink pads prior to baking**

Sharpies are alright, but I’ve found that too much ink can erase itself out (I know, that’s so weird, right? But it does, it seems like it picks the color up instead of adding it on). Depending on the type of spray paint you use, it seems to dry faster than the markers, too.

I really wanted a shiny finish on my pieces so I played around with several different mediums before reaching one that I really like.

First, I started with Mod Podge Dimensional Magic – not too thrilled with it. So I moved on to Ranger Ink’s  Glossy Accents. Once again, just meh.

Finally, I went to Hobby Lobby and picked out a spray acrylic gloss finish. Bingo! I definitely, once again, prefer the spray variety over the other options.

DIY Shrinky Cat Necklace

These are the spray options I prefer.

The biggest downside to painting and finishing these is having to wait! I can be patient, but sometimes I just don’t want to be!!

Also keep in mind that you will want to punch your holes prior to baking. The shrink film gets considerably harder once it’s been in the oven, and that makes it difficult to punch holes afterwards.

Now that we’ve gotten all of that out of the way, I thought I would share a small tutorial.

DIY Kitty Cat Shrinky Necklace

*please note that this project takes a few days to accomplish!*

What you’ll need:

  • Cat image (My image is from the Cricut Design Space and is free for subscribers!)
  • Scissors or die cutting machine
  • Jewelry chain and findings
  • Shrinky film
  • Spray paint in desired color
  • Clear gloss acrylic finish spray paint
  • Oven

What you do:

  1. Preheat oven according to package instructions.
  2. Trace and cut out cat image from shrinky film, or do this step with a die cutting machine.
  3. Using a hole punch, place holes in the cat based on where you want the necklace to hang – I chose to use a precut section of the ear and placed a hole in the tail.  
  4. Bake shrink film for 3-4 minutes or according to package direction.
  5. Once cool, spray cat with your desired spray paint (in my case, black) and let dry thoroughly.
  6. Once dry, spray with acrylic finish and allow to dry for 24 hours prior to handling the piece.
  7. When the cat is completely dry, attach your jump ring(s) and chain.
  8. Take a million photos of your awesome handmade necklace and wear with pride! I would make sure to avoid long dips in water while wearing, just in case.

DIY Shrinky Cat Necklace

The possibilities are endless when it comes to creating jewelry with shrinky dinks. If you can think it, you can do it! I have a few necklaces in the works right now, one for my sister and one just because.

I am not selling them, so I’ve used inspirations from Pinterest as my first projects. However, from creating these, I’ve begun having ideas about my own projects. It’s pretty exciting!

The “just because” necklace I will share.

This is the inspiration:

Unfortunately I don’t have a link. I can’t find the original source on etsy. So if you know how originally created this beauty, please share and I will give credit where credit is due!!

These are the components I created for my version:

They’re still wet from a fresh coat of acrylic. When I have the necklace completed, I will share it in another post!

I fear that this post has gotten a bit long.

So I am going to leave you here!


White Chocolate Macadamia Nut cookies… and Creative Challenge submissions!

Hello again lovelies!

I am here to share with you a lovely new cookie (well, it’s not so new, but it’s my recipe), and three doodle/drawing Creative Challenge submissions.

Let’s get the Challenge out of the way first, then we can move on to drooling over my cookies (which are, technically, a fifth creation!)

Unfortunately, the Challenge submissions are “supposed” to be submitted by midnight Sunday night to count towards a contest of sorts, but with my busy life, I’m not worried about the contest, I’m just thrilled to have completed some of these daily creations!

You’ll notice that all but one are in my Art Journal (that lovely journal hubby gifted me for Yule); it’s so relaxing and easy for me to sit in bed at night after the littles are asleep and doodle.

Of course, one of my submissions is from an amazing adult coloring book – you’ll see several challenge submissions from this book in the future, because it’s such a lovely book, and it features owls!!

Creative Challenge Submission #2

Captain America:

Captain, O' My Captain!

Captain, O’ My Captain!


Creative Challenge Submission #3

Live your Life in Color

Color Bubble Burst!

Color Bubble Burst!


Creative Challenge Submission #4

Owls all Around

Owl coloring book from Dover Publications

Owl coloring book from Dover Publications


This page excerpt comes from the Owls Coloring Book from Dover Publications and can be found here.

and finally,

Creative Challenge Submission #5

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut cookies!

These are a special request from the hubs. Definitely his favorite cookie and trust me, it’s a pain to find the macadamia nuts! But find them I did, and then whipped up this batch of cookies, just for him. These cookies are crisp on the edges and super soft and tender on the inside with the perfect amount of crunch from the nuts.

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

It’s a pretty basic cookie recipe and I hope you enjoy!

  • 2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 bag White Chocolate chips
  • 1 cup macadamia nuts
  1. Preheat oven to 350° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cornstarch. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugars. Add in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla. Beat until thoroughly mixed and fluffy.
  4. Slowly add the flour mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, until completely combined.
  5. Using a spatula, mix in the chips and nuts, until evenly dispersed throughout batter.
  6. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (this part is optional).
  7. Drop by the rounded spoonful on the baking sheet, leaving room between cookies.
  8. Bake for 11-12 minutes or until edges are lightly golden.


I’m so excited to be sharing 5 fun Creative Challenge activities with the blog today; I’m pretty happy that I was able to get one done for each day of the Challenge so far. I am happy to submit the cookie recipe, but I really don’t feel like it’s an original thing, I mean, seriously, I bake cookies all the time. So my next baking/cooking submission will not be a cookie; I’d like to really challenge myself.

I can’t wait to see what the future challenges bring out!

It’s a Handmade Day

I had some time on my hands, so I figured I’d play around with my jewelry and wire supplies.

Usually I’m baking, I don’t know what got to me…

But I’m pretty proud of the finished product, and can’t wait to wear it.


I adore family jewelry, especially “mom” jewelry.

I also really loved the idea of using washers, and since I’d gotten a bottle of Mod Podge Dimensional Magic, I’ve been putting it on everything, so I figured I’d throw some on a washer and see what happened!



This is what happened!



I love it.

But don’t fret, I’ve got a yummy blondie recipe in the works for this week. Just want to tweak it a bit and bake it up once or twice, yum!

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