Under the Sea AKA My Baby’s 6 AKA I Wanna Be Sedated

11 Feb

My first-born turned 6 last Sunday and I’m having feelings about it. I am in disbelief at how quickly he’s growing up. I wish I could hold on to every moment, remember every silly joke and the belly laugh the follows, and hold him in my arms like I did when he was tiny…but I am also incredibly proud of the little man-child he has become. His kindness, his generous heart, and his loving spirit are daily reminders that growing up also means growing within.

He asked for a “Under the Sea” party theme this year and he even reminded me on Wednesday that if I didn’t start decorating soon I would run out of time (totally my son!) I like making the party look and feel homemade but I don’t have a lot of time now that the shop is open and I work 6 days a week so I chose a few simple crafts that would make a big impact with little investment.

I employed the use of a few rolls of crepe paper and created a homespun water wonderland for his Birthday lunch. I was thrilled to find our favorite local toy store, Just Kidding Around, carried the Djeco paper fish decor I saw on Amazon the night before. I added some handmade yarn pom poms as bubbles and hung them from our chandelier. They also provided the fishing game we used as part of our scavenger hunt.

Paper Fish and Yarn Poms

Paper Fish and Yarn Poms

I am a huge fan of Beistle festooning…what a festive name!…so I used 3 colors of it to create “waves.”

Crepe Paper & Festooning Seaweed & Waves

Crepe Paper & Festooning Seaweed & Waves

I also saw a cute jellyfish craft online that inspired my crepe paper jellyfish. Instead of their suggested muffin cups I used coffee filters and layered them to be fluffier. Tape, coffee filters, and crepe paper – can’t get any easier than that.

Paper Poms and Jellyfish

Paper Poms and Jellyfish

With a bag of candy melts and an ocean-themed mold from the craft store, I created quick Fish lollipops.

Fish Lollipops

Fish Lollipops

For his cake, I colored each layer of a white cake a shade of blue, colored the icing blue, then scraped a tool along the surface once frosted to emulate waves. I added a few Swedish Fish and some Pearl Dragees to complete the look.

Make a Wish!

Make a Wish!

I used two bamboo skewers, some bakers twine and a bit of felt to quickly stitch the cake bunting.

Homemade Fishy Cake

Homemade Fishy Cake

I stopped by my local fave, Rock Paper Scissors, to pick up two yards of themed fabric to use as a backdrop and table cloth. It adds to the theme without committing time or energy to a project, and it is reusable for a future craft!

A little yard of fabric goes a long way

A little yard of fabric goes a long way

His “other cake” was a chocolate fish I stumbled upon in the Valentine’s Day section of Target the week before. I added a number 6 sparkler and sang the Persian version of Happy Birthday as I brought it out to him.

Chocolate Fish (the hole is from the "6" Sparkler)

Chocolate Fish (the hole is from the “6” Sparkler)

Hunter’s expression when he came home to the decor was priceless! 🙂 He even got his wish…a new pet fish!

His Birthday present: Max the fish

His Birthday present: Max the fish

We had a wonderful time celebrating his special day! It was more low key than previous years – if you’ve been following the blog awhile, you know I really toned it down from my months of prep back in my SAHM days.

I am still correcting myself when people ask me how old he is. Six seems so “old” …where did my chunky monkey go?

Hunter at 6 months

Hunter at 6 months

He will always be my Hunter Boo…even though he has already planned his wedding, named his children, and decided where he wants to live when he’s 30. I am one lucky momma!   

Shop-Keepin’ Up…

9 Jan

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

So, we have a store now. It’s only been 5 months since my last post so obvs I haven’t had lots of time on my hands to share. For that, I am sorry. There has been SO much share-worthy news!

If you are into the shop-news thing…go here. 

Otherwise I will do my best to keep up with the blogosphere because I truly miss writing a mini record of my thoughts & feelings & more importantly, my DIY projects.

If you read my last post, you know that we extended our Etsy shop into a brick & mortar in our small town of Montclair. It has been a whirlwind of wonderful and a soul-nourishing learning experience that continuously challenges and inspires me daily.

The concept of our shop (our = husband and I) is explained here in this lovely article the local website wrote about me. 

I’ve been so lucky to have shop neighbors who have been on the block awhile and can provide helpful advice. We ‘re definitely more immersed in the Montclair culture since we opened our doors. 

The process of hand-selecting artists and craftspeople to sell their creations in our shop has also had a profound effect on me…I am suddenly surrounded by my peers and those much more creative, talented, & experienced than me and it feels like home. 

One of my favorite things EVER is decorating and home design so the showroom continuously evolving has sated that need. Here’s a panoramic iPhoto from right before Christmas Eve:

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I’m excited to get back to blogging – I’ve created some fun DIY decor projects for the shop windows & displays I’ll share with you soon. If you’re local to Montclair/Essex/NYC you can join a craft night in our showroom by going to our FB Page  or Etsy shop and signing up for the newsletter. 

In addition to “shop-keepin’ up” I’ve been designing my son’s big fundraiser for his school (a Prohibition Era Atlantic City Casino Night) & planning his 6th Birthday Party (Under the Sea Adventure) so I have several crafts to share in my downtime as well as some fun Before & Afters from the showroom. Check back in soon!

Big news. Big. Huge. I have to go shopping now.

4 Aug

I’ve been keeping something from you. A secret. A BIG secret.
And now that the paperwork is signed & the keys are *almost* in hand, it’s time to share.
……….

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{verdigreen} is opening a store in our beloved town of Montclair!

How cute is the building? It’s located in MC’s “GLAM” district and is also home to Modern Yarn, another creative outlet shop. 🙂

I have much more to share but for now we are clinking glasses and pinching ourselves. A dream come true!

Taking a break from feeling overwhelmed to blog and breathe

29 Jul

Hi, my name is Azie & I am a purger of physical things. I am offended by clutter. It makes me anxious and distracted. I make a bi-monthly donation to the Vietnam Vets. Yes, you read that right. We have a standing appointment every other week. (Hubs is a “not-purger” but that is a story for another day.)

Therefore it is a test to my mental health to have my entire 1st floor overrun with furnishings like a Grandma Hoarder who has collected mahogany dressers & velvet settees her entire life. Three of my very best friends are visiting me this month and we have nowhere to cook or sit or eat. Since it is a means to an end, I’m trying to keep it all in perspective and look forward to the big picture.

So today I am bringing back my pregnancy (and post-pregnancy) mantra that kept me from running away from home: Everything is Temporary – including the absence of serenity in my happy place. *taking deep deliberate breaths*

Keepin’ Up – Mother’s Lament

18 Feb

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Seriously guys, how cute are my kids? Right? I know. I made them, so…

Wait, that’s not what this post is about. This train of thought began when I was like “Oh I should share the Valentine’s Day photo on my blog” but then realized 4 days ago was more like 4 weeks ago (in interweb years we had already moved on to St Patricks Day themed photograms.)

So I’m late. Like, for everything as usual since the kids graced me with their photogenic little beings.

And as I type this I watch the DVR’d Grammys, dancing along with the audience as Rhianna and Ziggy Marley and Sting and Bruno Mars take the stage. I witness something so magical and moving…that the rest of the world experienced over a week ago. I can’t even real-time tweet #Grammys because the Twitosphere has evidently moved on to #AlecBaldwin. Fair enough.

Yet the stirring Grammy performance has me tuning into my iTunes account, feverishly downloading last year’s music (which I never heard since the Amy Winehouse Pandora station I listen to doesn’t play much of The Lumineers.) I stumble upon a song called “Bird’s Lament” that my husband has referenced and I think – HOLY F-ING HECK this song IS SO AU COURANT and also awesome.

After a bit of research we realize it was written in 2004 by a guy named Moondog who was born in 1916 (and chose to live as a homeless Jazz musician on the streets of NYC). 2004 = BK (before kids) so I give up on staying current or using my kids as my excuse why I am not, sip my Shasta, and publish my belated post. #moondog #motherslament #aretweepsstillhashtaggingyall

Procrastination Project – Vintage Camping-Inspired Art

19 Jan

While it may be obvious that I am a MAJE procrastinator I like to think of myself as more of a creative sort with ideas to spare and time to, well, not spare…so “real” tasks are sometimes put off until my right brain urges are sated.

I’ve been eyeing the white expanse of wall in my sons’ vintage camping themed room…a vast blank canvas awaiting a personal touch. I considered vintage pennants from Etsy (already have a pennant garland) or something wooden and nautical (more on this later) or an oversized map (already have this in the playroom) and then it came to me…I wanted something kitsch and whimsical and playful and remembered how fun it was to draw with chalk markers on the black Kraft paper I use in my Etsy shop, {verdigreen} to wrap customer orders. Here’s an example of a {verdigreen} holiday order, wrapped & bowed with upholstery ticking:

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For this project, I began by cutting a massive square of black Kraft paper — didn’t really measure it — and then using my no-fail Uchida Broad Tip White Chalk Marker to create a design as I went. I wouldn’t recommend doing this, but since I am not a pre-planner when it comes to my doodles I hoped for the best since it was only paper and I could start over if I needed to. This is what I ended up with:

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I tacked it on the wall and framed it by nailing four vintage yard sticks around it, then carefully cutting around each yardstick to remove the excess paper. It is the lazy-man’s art project…perfect for a tired mom of toddlers who wants a major change with little effort. 😉  **note – funky photo angles are a result of their bunkbed being in the middle of the room…hopefully you get the picture. literally.**

The wall looked much better but was still lacking the over-theming-Azie-touch so I found a super inexpensive wooden child’s oar, taped it with painter’s tape and “wrote” the word CAMP on the paddle with mailbox decals, then spray-painted it with four different Krylon colors. Once dry, I removed the tape and stickers and sanded it to create a less-than-perfect vintage-y look:

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After I added it to the wall, I sat back & admired my quick handiwork then Googled to see if anyone else had thought of it and found this. Wh-wh-what? Oar decor at Pottery Barn Kids for $29?? Well…I like my color scheme better but that is really affordable for PBK! The benefit to painting your own is personalization – you can negative-space a name and choose your own color palette.

Now that their room is *ahem* almost complete I s’pose it’s time to face the bane of my existence…the fitted sheet fresh from the laundry. (scanning room for empty walls)

Procrastination Project – LEGO Jar Head

17 Jan

Tonight I was assigned Recycling Duty (dragging our weekly mega bucket of recycling to the icy curb, flattening all the Amazon & Fresh Direct boxes then tying with twine) because hubs is on a business trip. Due to my OCD/Sensory-Issues/Preference-To-Not-Touch-Icky-Things I stay far away from this chore under normal circumstances. It took a bit of prepping and pep-rallying to get into trash mode and prior to that shift in mentality I spied a few lonely *clean* glass jars.

Within 2 minutes I transformed the jars into LEGO Minifigure heads for my son’s upcoming LEGO-themed Birthday party. All it took was a quick brushing of yellow paint on the interior and an easily doodled design with black paint pen on the exterior to complete the look. It’s a shame the project didn’t take longer as I was hoping to prolong the inevitable (putting on my big girl pants and taking out the trash).

Please note that if you are doing this with a “used” jar (i.e. marinara sauce jar) then wash & dry the jar thoroughly then clean it with alcohol to ensure the paint affixes to the glass. 

LEGOhead

Prior to posting this, I Googled to see if anyone else had a “Jar Head” moment and learned someone had this very idea using baby food jars which are a more accurate shape. Her method was different and I like the look of interior painted glass better (although her idea of spray painting is much quicker if you have several to paint.) I prefer the size of these canning jars versus baby food jars because they are more practical for my needs, such as holding silverware on the party food table, but the baby food jars she uses are great as favors or Kid-Assisted DIY.

In my Google search I also came across this Etsy shop full of beautiful painted jars in home decorator colors and in my quest to promote fellow Etsians I wanted to share. Happy Painting/Shopping! 🙂

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