For Elijah: DIY Watercolor Birth Announcements

Once in a while, I’ll commit to a project that ends up being just a little more than I had bargained for. What starts out as a simple, “Hey, I can do that!  It’ll just take me an hour or two” usually turns into my slaving away at two in the morning to finish what I started. Take, for example, the Super Mario cake I made for Dean that ended up taking me two entire days. Or our hand-letterpressed wedding invitations that took the two of us a whole day just to feed through the letterpress machine. In the end though, it’s these same projects that I really pour myself into that end up being the most memorable and meaningful pieces that I make.

For my nephew Elijah’s birth announcements, I wanted to create a piece that could be kept as a keepsake, not only for his parents, but for each friend and family member that received them. I decided to hand-watercolor his announcements so that each one would be unique. With some watercolor paints, paintbrushes, and painter’s tape in hand, I set off to begin a project that ended up taking about two weeks. Here’s the finished announcement!

And here are a few process pictures to give you an idea of how it all came together:
*Edit: For those curious about more of the process, here are a few more details on how I made the announcements.
I was experimenting with my watercolors and was intrigued with the idea of masking off areas to reveal positive/negatives spaces with paint.  I played around a bit and discovered that painter’s tape worked perfectly with watercolor paper (other tapes tend to stick too much and peel off paper when you remove it).
In order to cut out the shapes I wanted, I ran the tape through my Silhouette SD cutter and cut out hundreds of stars and the name “ELIJAH.”  For the stars, I used the actual star cut-outs to tape onto the paper, and for the name, I actually use the outlined part.
After taping everything down exactly where I wanted, I watercolored away!  In order for the outlines to look crisp, make sure that your brush is damp with watercolor paint, but not sopping wet.  You want it to be just wet enough to move around the page.
The funnest part, of course, was removing all the tape and seeing the shapes and words appear!  I used tweezers to help make it easier to pick up all the little pieces.
Some alternative ways this could be done:
1.) A way that you could make this without a Silhouette SD is to tape the painter’s tape down onto some cardstock and use a craft punch to punch out star shapes.  Then, peel the painter’s tape “sticker” off and use that to stick onto your watercolor paper.  Of course, you could always try to use an Xacto knife to cut out stars (but I don’t think I have that kind of patience!).
2.) Another way to do this might be to use pre-bought stickers at the craft store in the shapes of stars and letters.  In order for them not to stick permanently to the watercolor paper, simply peel them off the sheet and stick them on your pants or shirt a couple times. They should attach to some fibers from your clothing and not be quite so sticky.  Try sticking them onto the watercolor paper and make sure that they stick firmly so that paint doesn’t seep through, but also make sure that they can be peeled off without taking any paper with it.  (I learned this trick for “making” painter’s tape/drafting tape in architecture school from one of my professors. :D)
3.) I just saw this yesterday on Pinterest, and I think it’s so smart and lends itself to a lot of possibilities. Using a wax pencil, you could also draw each of the stars directly onto the paper and write out the words very carefully (or trace them).  Just watercolor on top of the wax and dab lightly to pick up all the paint.

Welcome, Elijah Eliot Wan!

Today is my little nephew’s one month birthday! Isn’t he just a darling? I never thought that I could love someone so tiny so very, very much. My sister has been sending me pictures almost daily so I can keep up to date with all of little E’s developments and all his little faces and expressions.

Of course, before Elijah arrived, I set to work sewing and making all sorts of thing to prepare for his arrival. Here are some little tote bags I made for my sis and Billy to make it easier for them to go out with their little one, similar to the ones found here.

A receiving blanket for baby

And some baby boys bibs.
And for mom, a nursing cover for feeding on the go.

Happy birthday, little guy! Auntie can’t wait to meet you soon.

A Quilt for Baby Emelia

As promised, here are some pics of the quilt I was working on last month for baby Emelia! :) Emelia’s mommy Nancy chose a delightful rainbow of bold colors for her quilt: raspberry, emerald, purple, teal, and strawberry. I especially like how the subdued brown backing brings everything together and adds some seriousness to it all. Here’s to sweet dreams, late afternoon naps, and sleeping in!

Gotta Collect ‘Em All!

Well, there’s actually only one more month of summer left, but I wanted to share with you a little project I did for our summer camp this year. To help generate excitement for camp and to help with marketing a bit, we came up with the idea of having buttons/pins that corresponded with each week’s theme. Some of the themes we had included Pirate Week Crafty Creations, Camping Week, Gamerz, Entrepreneur Week, and Hollywood Glam, to name a few. The children were encouraged to come each week, receive their collectible button, and redeem them at the very end for exciting prizes!

For the icons, I used a lot of the pre-made ones available in Illustrator and also created a few of my own to add to the mix. I assigned each icon an appropriate color to help further distinguish each week from the next.

We ended up getting this button machine and starter kit from Badge-A-Minit because they had the most affordable option for our purposes. It’s definitely not as nice as an automatic one, but for the quantities that we needed, it worked just fine! It takes a little practice to get it just right though.

Here’s a wall display I created to let all the children and parents know about our weekly themes.

Emma’s Baby Announcement

A couple months back, my friend Karen contacted me about designing and printing some baby announcement cards for her new baby girl, Emma. She was looking for something sweet and simple, and also wanted to incorporate a baby lambie to match the nursery.

Here’s what we came up with:

Congrats again on the newest addition to your family, Karen and Paul!

DIY Felt Flower Hair Barrettes

My cousin Dan and his family (along with my aunt and uncle too!) were in town from Canada this past week for a wedding. I was so happy to get a chance to hang out and catch up with them. I was lucky enough to see them all earlier this year, but this time, they brought the kids too! :) Abby and Joie are such sweet, sweet girls and hold a very special place in my heart. If you remember, Joie was the flower girl at my wedding (and Abby was my sister’s!).

For these two special girls, I decided to make felt barrettes for them to put into their hair. I followed the tutorial I found here.

On the way back home in the car after dinner, Dean turned to me and said, “If we have girls in the future, I wouldn’t mind if they were exactly like Abby and Joie!” I wouldn’t mind one bit either. :)

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