The Big Latch On (2013)

Hey there All! So today I’m sharing another Blast from the Past! But before I do, I want to share a few things. I have shared some personal stuff on the site, but those posts are far and few between. Although I have a lot happening in my life that I’d love to share with you, I know that the main reason people come to the site is for “Party Schtuff.” And this post will contain all that same party-hearty goodness, I promise. But I want to give a little back ground on the event and small disclaimer for any one feeling a tish negative today.

The Big Latch On

First, the event I’m sharing with you today is titled “The Big Latch On.” This was our local event which is part of a larger annual event that happens worldwide, where nursing mothers come together at the same exact time and all feed their babies. The actual “latch” and headcount only take about 60 seconds. The totals are tallied nation/worldwide and end up with record breaking numbers of women coming together, raising awareness, and normalizing the natural act of breastfeeding. You can find out a location near you for 2014, how to register a new location for your area, and learn lots more about this event by visiting the Big Latch On website

Before I continue, I am a mom (obviously), and I know that when discussing anything child related, especially in the regards of feeding, birthing, sleep habits, diapering, circumcising, vaccinating, and so on, can be super touchy, hot button topics. I, as a mother, have always made the decisions that I *thought/think* are best for me and my family, as do all mothers and parents. This DOES NOT mean, that if you or anyone else has made a different decision, I or anyone else is judging you negatively because of it, or at least they shouldn’t, As no one should do to me. (Not that I plan on really discussing anything “breastfeeding” related but the event itself, I feel the need for a semi-disclaimer)

As women, we should empower and praise one another, who else knows how hard it is to be a woman, wife and mother, but us. That being said, I made the decision to nurse my children. My son for just over 2 years, we eventually weaned about 10 weeks before I gave birth to my daughter (yes, I said 10 weeks). Well… she is just nearing 2 years old herself, and that totals almost 4 constant years of nursing. I am proud of it and am happy that I made that decision for my family. And just because I can, here are some gorgeous pictures that I was lucky enough to have Erica McCauley capture of my beautiful baby and I.

Nursing My Sweet

To some, nursing is “icky”, unnecessary, and “rude” to do, especially in public. To which I say, Namaste y’all.  I was bottle fed, and did indeed “turn out just fine.” But I believe that nursing is beautiful, natural, and am so lucky to have had the experience. Not to mention, when a baby needs to eat, it needs to eat, and I would not condemn anyone to the bathroom stall, vehicle, or other inconspicuous corner to eat their meal.

Me and Z
Photo Credits: Erica McCauley Birth Photography

No mean spiritedness will be tolerated. Only love here folks’. Okay. Disclaimer over. Carry on.

The Big Latch On

In 2012 I saw a flier in the “nursing mother’s room” at the state fair that summer. I checked it out online and knew I wanted to take part in it. Sure enough that August, I nervously showed up at the doorstep of a woman I didn’t know, ready to meet some moms, and participate in something that I was really proud to be a part of.  There were about 12 of us that year, many of the women were members of the local breastfeeding group and knew each other that way. The weather was crummy, so we relocated to a nearby home instead of a park, there were lots of snacks, and nice mommies to chat with. It was great. So when 2013 rolled around, attending the event was a no-brainer. When they started looking for sponsors and door prize donations I threw my hat in the ring which led to me taking on more of a role in the setup/aesthetic aspect of the event (Which was very fun)

The amazing Erica McCauley, an amazing woman and birth photographer and her friend Sara (who just happens to be a doula, which is totally rad) were the ones really heading up this whole thing and I was just there to lend assistance when they needed. We brainstormed some ideas and concepts and came up with a few things.

Erica Wanted to do some Mini-Sessions for nursing moms who wanted them done, We also needed something to provide a little shade if were really hot that day.  I ended up putting together a PVC enclosure and using sheer window drapings as walls. It however didn’t get used at the event, simply because we live in North Dakota and mother Nature hates me. The wind made it impossible to safely keep it up and not stress about it.

Planning for Big latch On

I covered water bottles, made lovely banners and buntings for the snack table, for sale items, sign in and more. 

For the large backdrop and signs I used foam board from the craft store, covered it with a craft paper and used basic white acrylic craft paint and letters I cut with my Cricut Mini.

The Big Latch On Minot 2013

Ultimately the turnout was astounding, More than we could ever have imagined. The year before it was literally less than 15 of us, all three of us expected maybe 30ish people this year. Over 100 people showed up (I think :/). Whatever the specific number was, It was awesome (until we ran out of food, but even then, still awesome)!!

The snack table was swarmed and ambushed the second families started arriving, leaving nothing but bare food stands and crumbs in their wake.
BLO Snack Table

There was a great door prize table filled with goodies for all ages.
Door Prizes at BLO
(I donated a homemade wood sign that I was quite pleased with!)
DIY Wooden Sign

There was a table where “boobie hats” knit by local crafters could be purchased.
For Sale Boobie Hats at BLO2013

I also set up a “craft/activity” table for the older kids. As usual, I had no real extra money to put into this little side project, so I cleared out my ribbon and other misc craft stashes and wound up with enough stuff to make puppets, picture frames and magic wands (which were the biggest hit of all) plus whatever random things the kids came up with.  The table ended up being a bigger hit than I expected and I was definitely thanking my lucky stars to have two amazing volunteers there to help out!
Craft Table at BLO event

Here is a shot of the mini photo session set up and our massive turn out during the official “latch” itself.
The BLO

Got Milk The Big Latch On

The Big Latch On - Keep Calm and Latch On

The Big Latch On 2013

Me and Z at BLO

What a fun day! I can’t wait to start working with these amazing ladies on this year’s Big Latch On! A big thank you to Erica McCauley, please find her on facebook or check out her web page, she is truly one of a kind.

Don’t forget to check out the Big Latch On even closest to you if you’d like to participate or visit their website for more information on how to register, donate, and more!

As always thanks for stopping by! I’d love to hear from you, leave me a comment, find me on facebook or pinterest. Just connect with me in some way and let me know what you think of the site thus far. I love feedback!! And don’t forget you can check out how I made the tassel bunting you saw on the snack table here! Toodles party people!

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Balloons For Babies – raising awareness, and changing my life.

*This Is NOT a party, but a non profit, grass roots, DIY community event. Organized by myself and some other amazing ladies. *

October is Infant Loss and Awareness month, and is usually overlooked since it shares the month of October with Breast Cancer Awareness.

A “friend of a friend” had attended a small balloon release the year before to honor lost babies and their grieving families. It was organized by a woman who had since moved out of state. So we were planning another, It was SUPER last minute, and I was honored to be brought in.  We ladies decided then and there to give it a name and make it an annual event.

Balloons For Babies

balloons For Babies - Infant Loss

There were four of us, and when I was brought on board we didn’t really have a plan. My mind started spinning with ideas and ways that we could pay tribute, offer resources, and make the event something really special.

As the crafty/party gal, I took on the role of prepping and planning the event itself and all creating all the décor used, designing fliers, and working on getting local companies to provide donations/contributions to aid in making our event successful.

The other girls were in charge other details like social media, contacting local newspaper, t.v., and radio stations. They also had to keep a close tally on registration information, total balloon count, and logistics of the balloons on the event day.

I did know however, that the first person I wanted to reach out to for help with this big task was the amazing Erica McCauley. She is a tremendous birth photographer, who loves all things babies, birth and beyond. She has a sweet soul, supports women, and truly touches the lives of those lucky enough to encounter her. (You can check out her amazing work and slideshows HERE) As I expected, she was generous enough to provide us with her talent and capture the event through her camera lens.

Since we live in North Dakota, and it was going to be cold, I thought a hot chocolate table was appropriate for such an occasion. Especially since there would be families and children attending. There was also a registration table, and a few other special touches. An amazing local pastor said a beautiful prayer, followed by a moment of silence and the release of the balloons. I knew that I wanted the attendees to feel like we did our best to honor and acknowledge their children.

Here we are… Getting tables set up, Balloons divvied, and yours truly doing a last minute news interview before the event started.

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I made awareness ribbon pins for all the attendees, they were placed on the registration table along with a resources page that I put together. I listed local community grief resources, a recommended reading list, and various support outlets. DIY awareness Ribbons

There was a “memory board” where messages could be left to honor those we’ve lost. (My plan is to reuse the butterflies next year in some special way.). The board is just a large piece of foam. I covered it with some fabric and we used stick pins to place the hand cut butterflies on the board.

infant loss memorial

The hot chocolate table included a steamer of Hot Cocoa, a variety of marshmallows, including, strawberry, chocolate/vanilla, pumpkin spice, yummy peppermint bits, andes mint chips, and whipped cream. I also made chocolate dipped wooden spoons. I melted chocolate (white, milk, dark and a caramel.. (which is not chocolate, I know)) I poured the melted chocolate into a silicone tray (mine tray had 1sq in squares). Once the chocolate cooled a bit, I placed in my mini wooden spoon, et voila. Delicious, meltable, mix-ins!

I created pretty labels for the cups and food, You can learn how to make your own version of the fabric bunting I used {HERE}.
Hot Chocolate Table
I also have a large canvas at home and I wanted to use it in a special way.  The balloon release was being held at a local walking bridge, and I thought the canvas would be a perfect way to create a large visual piece for the evening.  I am so proud of how amazing it turned out.  It is sadly beautiful and symbolic.

I ended up covering it, (with a vinyl tablecloth of all things). Then I cut butterflies (using a butterfly paper punch) and arranged them into an image of balloons.

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Getting this opportunity to participate in making this event happen has forever changed me. It is has given me an unwaivering appreciation for the blessing I have in my own life. My heart truly goes out to all those who have to suffer the tragic loss of a child. As wonderful as it was to reach so many people and be able to provide this outlet for healing, community, and awareness. It is deeply bittersweet. So much tragedy, broken hearts, and deep sadness was gathered atop the bridge that day. I will never forget the emotions I felt that evening. And I know that these families, will do their best to never forget, To keep their babies and memories alive in their hearts and spirits forever.

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I am so grateful for the opportunity to assist in providing a source of healing for these families and a place to honor their babies.

If you would like to see ALL the images from the event, You can find our Balloons for Babies Page on Facebook,

*If you are interested in creating your own Balloons for Babies Event, Please contact me, I would love to help you jump start an amazing event like this in your community.*

I would also like to thank our local Wal-Mart, Marketplace Foods, Minot Restaurant Supply Company, Purely Posh ~ Paperie & Events, Erica McCauley Photography,  and Shayna Petrich of Century 21 Realtors, This event would not have been possible without  contributions of these local businesses. {Heart Hugs and sincerest Thank You’s)

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A Baby Sprinkle {on a budget, of course}

I hope everyone had a great holiday season. Due to unforeseen “bumps in the road” i had to take a small hiatus. But i’m back, with lots to share! I was lucky enough to ring in January with a Baby Sprinkle held for a soon to be THIRD time mom! She wasn’t sure if she “needed” a celebration, but they weren’t planning on #3, and had purged a lot of their baby stuff a while back, they needed to restock, and I firmly believe in everyday celebrations, so of course i insisted that this occasion definitely called for a party! She allowed me to do what i pleased, which was a bonus, because as I’ve mentioned before, I have a LOW budget, out of necessity, and have very little money to spend on anything fun, let alone parties for friends. But in the end, as far as all the decor goes, games, and cake go, I spent around $100. My specific list included colored cardstock (to make the heart banners and more, 3 3 1/2 yards of fabric, white crepe paper, about 9 packs tissue paper & 3 rolls yarn (Both in gray, pink and light pink), and then smaller accessories like glitter heart stickers, ribbon, and paper straws. I did have a stock of paint and dollar store picture frames etc, so there was definitely stuff i didn’t need to purchase. I encourage you to try to work with what you have, it can make a big difference cost wise.

The mom to be paid for the catered food from the venue, which was a fixed rate to reserve the room. On the menu, assorted bagels with cream cheese, Bagel sandwiches, Chicken and dumplings, Lemonade/Water, and then Cakes, cupcakes, and cakepops. There were around 30 guests and was overall a big success i’d say 🙂

We’ll Start with the sweets table.
Sprinkle Hearts Dessert Table Backdrop

The Backdrop was made with the side of a cardboard box used for my parents patio furniture (I hoard huge boxes in my basement for occasions just like this! It’s free, sturdy and usually if they are big boxes, are nice and flat.) I simply Glued fabric to the back side of it, around the edges, pulling the fabric nice and tight, and then glued my banners right on top of it. Easy Peasy!

Tassle Bunting

The Tassles were made from a few sections of each pack of tissue paper, and i used the remaining lace/ribbon that i had from wrapping my milk bottles left over, so i used it to wrap around the tops of the fringe to add a nice little touch.

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/the cupcake toppers, are simply hearts that I traced and hand cut and glued to toothpicks.

The bottles were wrapped in cardstock and some lace/ribbon trim that found at the craft store, along with some paper straws adorned with more cardstock flags and glitter heart stickers that i found in the Valentine’s Day aisle… somewhere..

I used extra yarn poms from my centerpieces and turned them into a cake topper.

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For the tables and centerpieces, I made a no-sew table runner, and when i say no-sew, I mean that I hot-glued it. As i do everything 😉 I used Tissue and Yarn to make flowers and little poms to use as centerpieces. and I put them in leftover glass jars of all kinds. some were bought previously at craft stores (usually the most expensive) or the dollar store, some are jelly and other food jars… Oh and don’t forget the thrift store! I glued them to bamboo shish-kabob skewers and sticks from my backyard that i painted white. I also used some wooden cutlery that i had leftover from another party, I cut out and glued some pink paper, scalloping and adorning with a yarn pom, of course.

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No shower would be complete without a few games and/or activities. We had some tame ones, we knew our audience, and figured it to be the best 😉 We played “Don’t Say Baby”, “Baby ABC’s”, & “Points in Your Purse”.  There was also a Letter to mom & baby station and a Photo booth. I am going to make a printable version of all the games and signage available this week.

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No Shower is complete with a pretty space to open gifts. Yet another backdrop made for cheap! the backdrop and the letters are cut out of cardboard, I used the same ruffle technique as in my Ruffle Christmas Trees, but this time in a straight line. It took me 1 1/2 rolls of crepe paper and a few hours to get the entire thing covered. Draped some heart bunting over it, and wrapped my cardboard letters with yarn. Cost me under 7 dollars and looks great.

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Mom to be and Big sister to be Pins I made for the guests of honor. Tissue paper, simple no sew rosettes and washi tape on toothpicks with a heart sticker. Simple!!
DSC_0533And per usual, I have to run and take care of the kidlets. (they are so darn needy 😉 ) I will post the rest of this sprinkle with the free printables in my next post!  Thanks so much for stopping by! I can’t wait to show you the rest. Darn kids.

DIY Giant Paper Flowers

diypaperflowers

One year ago, I was lucky enough to connect with an amazing local photographer. Her name is Erica McCauley, she is inspiring and I truly admire her as a woman, mother, advocate, friend, and business woman. Erica McCauley Birth Photography is where you can find her, I have been fortunate enough to create all sorts of props and goodies for her, she was one of my first clients and continues to keep me busy.

Her sweet baby girl was going to celebrate her birthday, and instead of ordering a “party Package” from my small craft business (Purely Posh ~ Paperie & Events), she decided that she wanted a Giant Paper Flower Wall Backdrop. You may have seen various versions floating around pinterest and wedding sites, they are becoming quite popular and trending all over the place.

I had no clue where to start, and after looking at a LOT of paper flowers online, checking out techniques, some easier than others, most involving floral wire and tape.

I decided to give it a go myself, I created my own method, which involved no tracing, wires, or special tape of any kind. Which is a big bonus, because the budget we discussed was quite small.

I made this entire flower wall using about six reams of copy paper, (yes regular copy paper), Hot glue, and six 3 ftx4ft foam sheets. Once I figured out a {flower building method} that worked well for me, I used the basic process for all the flowers, and simply created different petal shapes as I went.

*Update: I have created a post with a little more info on constructing the actual wall, and creating different flowers using this same technique. Check it out {HERE}!

Today I will show my basic technique, and some petal shapes. I do have to warn, these are a bit time consuming, I found myself, cutting (and cutting and cutting) petals while sitting in the bathroom as the kids bathed, Curling petals amidst playing “store” with my 3 year old and so on. Random piles of cut and curled petals could be found in almost every room of my house for a solid week. After the cutting and curling, the actually assembly of each flower takes about 20 minutes. I’d hammer out about 4-5 a night before calling it good until the next day. Onto the DIY!

What you Need
– Paper (Can use cardstock, I used regular copy paper to keep the budget small, and it turned out great!
– Hot Glue/Gun
(If you are making a single flower, a piece of yarn or string can be attatched to the back to enable it to hang on a wall.)

First: Cut your petals! (Cut petals of your desired shape in graduating sizes) Cut through as many pieces of paper as you can at once without giving yourself carpal tunnel. You will need a lot, and they DON’T need to be perfect! (These are two easy shapes I used for my flower wall, Today I will DIY the flower with the petals on the left.)
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Next: Take a glue stick or pencil and curl the ends. Once curled, fold the bottoms of your petals upwards and cut a slice through the center of your folded paper.
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Once you’re all curled, cut, and ready to go. Take a piece of paper & cut it into a circle, this will be the bottom base of your flower.
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Take your first (largest size) petal, add glue to the bottom of your paper flap, and glue the flap to the your circle. ***You will slightly overlap the “flap” pieces, creating a slight cinch at the base of your flower. If you want stiffer petals, that stand up tall, you will make a larger overlap.***

Then you take a second petal and do the same, so on and so forth, until you have completed a full circle. On the last petal in your first layer, give a slight tear to the side of the petal and tuck it behind the very first one you attatched to your base. Add a dollop of glue to secure.
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Now *This is Important*! If you plan on having your flowers mounted on something vertical, like a wall, you will need to add a tish of glue {behind} the petals where they overlap eachother, this will help keep your flower from being sad and droopy, or atleast when you’re using cheap copy paper like I was. This step can be skipped after the first one or two layers, because the petals are much stiffer as you get towards the center of your flower.
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Once Secure, continue onto the next layer. Repeating the same steps as the first. (As you work your way through layers of petals, you may want to move your “fold” where the flaps begin, a little further up the petal, that way, the petals {look} like they are graduating in size through the flower, you don’t have to cut more than 3 or 4 size petals.
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After a few layers, move to the next size petal, continuing through the whole flower this way.
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Once you’re in the center of your flower, take your remaining small petals, cut the “flap” ends into a teardrop-y points, now you simply roll one like a little cone to start, secure with glue, then take the next and try to wrap it in a {Pretty} way, secure with glue, and do another, etc.
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Take your little cluster of petals, cut the bottom piece off, leaving a flat piece, Add a good amount of glue, and simply press into the center of your flower, HOLD it until the glue is dry to ensure that is positioned how YOU want it.
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Flip it over, trim your cirucular paper bottom, & attach a string if you’d like to hang it on your wall. For my backdrop, I simply glued the flat bottom to my foam pieces.
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Here’s the finished product hanging on my wall at home, I know that the wall color and flower combo are atrocious together, but it’s the only spot I had in my house to hang it up in the middle of the night!
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Voila! That’s IT! I know this has been a little long, and so is the process of building these pretty petals. But the end result is AMAZING! So don’t let that discourage you, They are Easy!! If you are interested in learning how I made the other styles of flowers seen on the backdrop wall, or even turned it into a “wall”, Please let me know! Leave me a comment or message me directly! I have no problems sharing more, they are just so darn time consuming to make if nobody is interested.
Before I say Adios, here are a few more shots with the flower backdrop, if you want to see more of her beautiful images check her out {HERE} .

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Flower Backdrop Wall

If you’d like to learn more about how I created this wall, don’t forget you can check out the updated post

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