Light, Love & Paper at a Zen-Worthy Ladies Night

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Life is beautiful. We are truly blessed in this life. But, just like everyone, our stress levels rise, the to-do lists get longer, worries can be all-consuming and we are over-committed. To stay grounded (and sane), we have to find ways to bring peace into our lives. We often take refuge in family and friends who lift us up. We take breaks. We let in some of the love we deserve, but often neglect to receive. We have a cocktail. We have meltdowns. We put on yoga pants and watch the same movies we’ve seen a hundred times before. We pray. We take deep breaths. We party. We try to live with intention and grateful hearts.

A good reminder of our intentions, and the positive energy we need on a daily basis are the Mala beads we wear on our wrists. The string of beads used in prayer and meditation were first introduced to us several years ago after a stop in Tibet Imports in Denver, CO. A sweet woman, Sarita, gave us a Vedic Astrology reading, and we bought our first Mala prayer beads.

After receiving many compliments on our bracelets, we wanted to share that beauty and healing with others. What better way to celebrate all that good energy and fabulous piece of jewelry than with family? Not just any family – 16 strong women from our large Italian family. So, together at Jenna’s beautiful newly renovated home, we made Mala bracelets, listened to individual Vedic Astrology readings with Sarita and Suderson, sang, ate and drank our way into the night.

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Our goal was to make the space safe, pretty and full of love and light. It was a good vibes only zone. ASTROBRIGHTS® Papers helped us brighten the evening with all the colors of the rainbow, just like the seven Chakras, which are energy centers of the body known in Indian religions, often associated with vibrant colors.

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Here’s fun ways on how we got our Mala on. We highly recommend it for your next girls night!

DIY Lotus Flower Art
We can’t believe this unique piece of art is made with paper. These DIY lotus flowers are dimensional, bright and one-of-a-kind. Lotus flower are known to grow from the bottom of streams and muddy ponds, and rise above the water and bloom. We chose this symbol to hang at our party because of it’s symbolic nature of spiritual growth and the ability to rise above obstacles.

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Materials:

Directions:

Step 1: Print a photo of the lotus flower, tape it to the foam core, and use an X-acto knife to cut around all the edges of the flower. Be sure to only cut half-way through the foam core, not entirely through it.

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Step 2: Next, cut 1-inch thick strips of paper. We used Sunburst Yellow™Cosmic Orange™., Rocket Red™, Blast-Off Blue™Celestial Blue®Lunar Blue™Terra Green™ and Martian Green™ for our lotus flowers.

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Step 3: Insert the paper strips into the tiny slits you made in the foam core. You will have to cut the paper to fit each slit. We inserted the paper in the slit, and then cut it at the end of the slit. We did not cut and measure each one individually before inserting it. Once we put paper in all the slits, we cut paper with a scallop effect, and glued it around the edges for a lovely frame.

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For the framed word art, we cut powerful words, glued them to foam core and framed them the same way as the lotus flower. These are all beautiful (and totally affordable) pieces of art that you can do for any party (or just everyday décor).

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Bar Sign & Wall Decor
We’ve seen the Namaste play on words, such as Namast’ay in bed and Namast’ay a while, so we made our own sign with letters. The words read Namast’ay & Drink. It was placed strategically above the “bar.” This is as easy as printing and cutting letters. You can string the letters on twine, or hang them like we did with wall putty.

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Vedic Astrology is rooted in a birth chart, the planets, stars and their patterns. We made a string of 3-D stars, circles and moons to hang at the party. We used a variety of colors on this banner, including Eclipse Black™, Pulsar Pink™, Sunburst Yellow™, Fireball Fuchsia™, Celestial Blue®, Martian Green™, Stardust White™ and Outrageous Orchid™. To make these shapes, cut circles and stars, fold them in half and glue them along a piece of twine, also gluing all the sides of the shapes together. For each 3D shape, you will need four parts, or shapes. For example, you will need 4 circles to make one 3D circle or ball.

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Elephants are a sacred symbol in Buddhist and Hindu religions, so we knew we wanted to incorporate them somehow. We traced and cut an elephant shape, and then used our Silhouette electronic cutting machine to cut intricate designs on another piece of color paper. We glued them together, and hung them from a long piece of embroidery string. If you don’t have a Silhouette, you can draw designs on the elephant, or even find a photo online with designs already on the elephant. The colors we used for the elephant are Pulsar Pink™, Terrestrial Teal™, Outrageous Orchid™, Fireball Fuchsia™ and Blast-Off Blue™.

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DIY Lanterns
Jenna has a stunning chandelier hanging from her ceiling, so we couldn’t compete with that. But, we tried to add a an element from Sarita’s shop to help her feel right at home. That element was DIY Tibetan lanterns. We made DIY paper lanterns with traditional Buddhist symbols printed on them, including the Om symbol and the Hamsa Hand. Although they are traditionally handmade from lokta paper or cotton, the Astrobrights worked great!

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Materials:

Directions:

Step 1: Find images of traditional Buddhism or Hindu symbols online. Copy and paste into Microsoft Word.

Step 2: Resize image in Word, and then print in the center of four pieces of paper.

Step 3: Fold the bottom ½ inch and the side 1 inch. You want the fold to be on the backside of the image.

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Step 4: Use a needle to prick holes every inch from the top to the bottom on the side of each paper through the fold. Repeat on all the sides of each sheet of paper (not the top and bottom edges).

Step 5: Tie a know at the end of a piece of string, and insert it from the back of one piece of paper, through the fold to the front, and then into one hold on another piece of paper. Essentially, you are “sewing” the sides of the lantern together. A cross-pattern worked best for us, but you can do whatever is easiest here. They just have to be attached to one another. We have NO sewing skills whatever, it’s just a pattern of going in through one hole and then up through another.

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Step 6: Once all the sides are sewn together, add 4 equal pieces of string to the top of each lantern (either glue the string or attach it to the existing string) to hang it from the ceiling. For extra flair, add little tassels to the bottom of each corner of the lantern. Command hooks worked great to hang the lanterns. For this DIY, we used Sunburst Yellow™, Terra Green™  and Celestial Blue®.

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As we face our busy days, our malas will serve as a reminder to bring a little love and light to everything we do. And, we will certainly remember this special night with family where we shared our stories, and laughed our way through bead making.

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This post is in partnership with Astrobrights Papers. We were crafting with Astrobrights Papers paper long before this post. It’s always been a fave product of ours. Thank you for supporting the brands that support j. sorelle. Astrobrights was one of the first, so we are very grateful.

Affiliate Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means j. sorelle receives a small commission from the sale of certain items; however, the price is the same for you, whether it’s an affiliate link or not. 

 

Throw A Sing Party for Kids With A DIY Outdoor Stage

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Last year, the kids were mermaids and sharks. This year, they took center stage at a Sing inspired party. There was a DIY mini stage, good music, DIY candy microphones and characters from Illumination’s Sing. Fun was had by all, including the adults who took to the stage, too.

Once again, Jessica shopped Oriental Trading for most of the party’s decorations and favors. Shop OT for the red fringe curtain, gold stars, microphone trophy, white favor boxes, glow-in-the-dark bouncing eyeballs, Inflatable guitars and star disco ball necklace.

Here’s how you can throw a Sing party for all your future super stars.

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Materials:

Directions:

Step 1: Visit Momtastic for the full DIY mini stage tutorial and materials needed. All the details are here, including the stage, Buster Moon and the moon and the DIY speakers. It’s totally affordable, and the fun can last all summer (and next summer, too) in your backyard.

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Step 2: Make the DIY candy microphones. We can’t take credit for this idea. We found it here. Fill the clear tubes with candy, add the top to the tube, and then top it off with the colorful foam microphone covers. This was a huge hit with the kids, and we can foresee a classroom holiday gift with this one. To display the candy microphones, Jessica spray painted a box (from a recent Amazon purchase) red, and cut small holes on top with an X-acto knife. Make sure the holes are not too big, and not too small – they need to be just right (and snug) to hold and secure the microphone tubes. Next, paint or add white letters to the red box. We used a comment in the movie from Buster Moon, the koala. When a contestant was nervous, he said to, “Just…sing.”

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Step 3: Prep the favor boxes. Make tags with characters on it with Microsoft Word and jpg’s of the characters online. We gave the kids bouncing eyeballs in honor of Miss Crawly’s, the chameleon assistant in the movie, bouncing eyeball. Another fun favor was the Star disco ball necklaces, trophies (see below) and toy microphones.

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Step 4: One must have a trophy for a singing competition. Luckily for our guests, they were all winners, or Sing champs. We made custom labels on the Oriental Trading microphone trophies with vinyl and our Silhouette CAMEO electronic cutting machine. We designed the words, Sing Camp, and put the vinyl on each trophy.

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Step 5: Hang the gold stars. Use a white Sharpie oil-based paint marker to write all the guests names on the stars. Hang the stars with string. Jessica used a piece of cardboard, and her Silhouette machine to cut out RISING STAR letters with Astrobrights Paper.

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Step 6: Every singer needs a microphone. We had a karaoke machine, as well as toy microphones with everyone’s name on it.  Use puff paint to add the names. White shopping Target, Jessica found an empty box with holes in it (used to store another toy on the shelf). She added it to her cart for $0, and wrapped it with wrapping paper. Each microphone fit perfectly inside each hole.

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Step 7: Sing and have a good time.

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Oriental Trading sent us some items of our choosing for this post, free of charge. We’re so happy they did! All opinions are honest, and our own. No other type of compensation was received. Thanks for supporting the companies that support j. sorelle. We love Oriental Trading, even before this post.

This post contains affiliate links. 

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Sunny Days Call For DIY Trucker Hats

kids-wearing-diy-trucker-hats-with-a-watermelon-orange-and-blue-rainbow-and-black-and-white-mountains

As I painted some super cool DIY trucker hats for my kids for Momtastic, I realized that I have never seen Jenna in a baseball hat. It’s a go-to for Jodi and I, and our mom has more baseball hats than shoes (maybe that’s where we get it). Jenna prefers shoes. Maybe if I make Jenna a DIY trucker hat, she will wear it?!

You can read the tutorial for DIY trucker hats here. No sewing required.

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If you’re not up for making a DIY, shop for some cute one’s below. We picked some out for the whole family.

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*Affiliate links included in this post

Here Comes The Sun: Sunshine Party Just for Kids

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As you know, we’re thrilled about summer. We’re spoiled by the Colorado sunshine. There’s nothing like a sunny, blue-sky Colorado day. We celebrated sunshine with our little darlings, and it was so much fun! Oriental Trading Company helped us make a bright and colorful party – they were the source for all our party goods.

Not only is this party all about the sun, but it helped us introduce the Beatles to our kids. Here Comes the Sun is a classic, so you can bet the kids had “doo, doo, doo, doo” stuck in their heads, just like we did.

All the details from the party are below.

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DIY Felt Banners
Cut the felt into a banner shape. Cut and trace paper (or stencil) letters onto colorful felt. Once all the letters are traced, cut them out. We made banners with the lyrics to the song, Here Comes the Sun. Glue (hot glue worked great) the letters onto the white felt banner. Find tree branches or wood rods to hang them. We used hot glue to roll them on a tree branch. We made DIY Tassels to hang on the bottom of each one from felt. First we cut strips of felt, then cut tiny strips 3/4 way up each piece, and rolled it into a tassel. We used hot glue to keep it rolled tight.

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DIY Sun Decor
A sunshine party is not a sunshine party without, well, the sun. Buy yellow tissue paper fans, open them up, and then glue a circular piece of orange paper in the center. Easy-peasy.

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Sunshine Craft
Our girls love to craft, so the highlight of the party was the sun sand key chains from Oriental Trading. They made colorful sand art that they now proudly carry on their backpacks.

When they weren’t crafting with sand, they were doodling with chalk. The girls drew variations of the sun and its rays, and hopped on each one. They were walking (or hopping) on sunshine.

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Other Details
A fun favor from the party was a sweet new pair of sunny shades.

Popcorn is always a favorite snack for our kids. We served the popped goodness in bright yellow popcorn boxes. We pulled the sun shapes from extra pairs of sunglasses for a fun popcorn box detail.

We absolutely love, love the glass milk bottles. They were perfect containers for the sand, as well as juice for the girls. A straw was taped to each bottle with yellow patterned washi tape.

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Enjoy the summer sun!

Oriental Trading sent us some items of our choosing for this post, free of charge. We’re so happy they did! All opinions are honest, and our own. No other type of compensation was received. Thanks for supporting the companies that support j. sorelle. We love Oriental Trading, even before this post.

A Colorful Summer Party with Sunglasses and Ice Cream

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Summer vibes are strong in our houses right now, and it feels so good! It’s so close we can practically taste and smell all the wonderful things about summer – watermelon, cocktails on the porch, pool days and fun in the sun. The 2016/2017 school year is almost over, so we’re celebrating all the vibrant shades of summer. Nothing is brighter than ASTROBRIGHTS® Papers. Nothing is cooler than a stylish pair of sunglasses. And, nothing is sweeter than ice cream cones. All together they make one heck of a School’s Out For Summer party.

The most amazing thing about this party is that paper is the main component for all the décor. In fact, not just the décor is made of paper, the activities are primarily paper, too. Everything else – the bubbles, chalk, juice, music, candy and ice cream (the real deal, non-paper version) is just an added (but not necessary) bonus, and most can be found around the house.

It’s time to COLORIZE the start of summer, ya’ll. Here’s how to kick it off bright!

DIY Sunglasses Piñata

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Parties are just more fun with a piñata. If we had nothing but a piñata at our kid’s birthday, they would be thrilled and not notice anything else was missing. But, they can be expensive, and if you do things last-minute like us (actually, just Jessica and Jodi procrastinate, not Jenna), it costs too much to overnight ship a piñata. Luckily, we had cardboard, duct tape and ASTROBRIGHTS paper on hand to help me make the coolest piñata around town – a pair of sunglasses.

First, draw the shape of the glasses on cardboard. We used an 8×10 cut out of each lens and drew a larger tracing around it. Once everything is drawn, use an X-acto knife to cut the cardboard glasses shape. You will need a front and back, so once one pair of glasses is done, trace it on another piece of cardboard and cut it to create a second pair. Next, cut 3-inch wide strips of cardboard for the sides. Carefully bend the strips to fit the curves of the glasses.  Use small strips of duct tape (or masking tape) to secure the strip in between both pieces of cardboard glasses. We only had zebra print duct tape in our crafting bin, but we suggest using clear tape, or brown masking tape for this step. Before the entire thing is bordered, leave a small opening large enough to fit your hand in it. Drill (or punch with scissors) two small holes on top of the piñata. Insert the rope into one hole and use your hand to pull it along the inside so it can go up and out the other hole. Also, at this time, stuff the piñata with small toys and candy. Once it’s filled and the rope is attached for hanging, close up the last part of the piñata with a strip of the 3-inch cardboard and duct tape it.

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Once all the edges are securely taped, begin to cut 1.5-inch to 2 inch wide strips of paper. Use scissors to fringe the strips. Start to glue (Elmer’s Glue works here) each strip on the cardboard glasses. One crucial tip is to begin at the bottom and work your way up.

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Once the entire thing has strips of fringe, cut out two large (8×10 size each) lenses for the glasses. Add glue to the back of them, and add them to the sunglasses frame.

We used Rocket Red™ colored paper, not card stock weight, for fringe around the piñata and Eclipse Black™ for the shades. How cool are those shades? Plus, it was pure entertainment for the kids as they hit it to find the goodies inside.

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DIY Summer Vibes & Rays of Sunshine

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We don’t know about you, but we can’t get through summer without our most favorite accessory, sunglasses. Thus, those little round (or square, oval, butterfly, oblong or aviator) must-have frames were the source of inspiration for our main backdrop, the rainbow of sunglasses.

The first step is to cut out colorful frames for all the glasses. You can use an electronic cutting machine like Silhouette America Cameo to cut the glasses, or trace and cut one you find online. We used Terrestrial Teal™, Outrageous Orchid™, Sunburst Yellow™, Rocket Red™ and Martian Green™. Add Eclipse Black™ lenses behind each frame. For the rays of sunshine radiating from the sunglasses, cut 3.5 inch strips of paper. Add them to a wall, and you’ve got yourself a pretty rainbow of sunglasses. To save the wall from any paint removal, use 3M Removable Putty. It worked great.

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DIY Mini Ice Cream Parlor

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Ice cream on a hot summer day is just pure joy. Our goal was to re-create that feeling of an ice cream parlor and happiness on a summer day with an ice cream activity for the kids. We all know how quickly our children grow. We mark their height at the beginning of the school year, or when they are young, but we don’t do it at the beginning and end of the summer. We’ve never marked their height with ice cream before. Why not start now? It was a huge success – like creamy, vanilla ice cream combined with gooey, chocolaty brownies, drizzled with caramel and topped with a cherry success. Yes, it was that good, and fun!

To make the DIY paper ice cream awning, use scissors to round one side of the paper. Line them up along the wall, and use 3M Putty to hang them along the top, straight-edge part. For the awning, we used Pulsar Pink™ and Celestial Blue® colored paper.

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Trace and cut letters for the phrase, “Ice Cream As Tall As Me,” and add it to the wall under the awning. If you have a Silhouette electronic cutting machine, that will save you time, but it’s not a deal breaker for this project. Next, cut out triangles in the shape of ice cream cones. Tape the cones to the bottom of the wall. Cut out ice cream scoops 6 inches tall, which will help you give a “more accurate” estimate of each child’s height. Next, cut out sprinkles and cherries, so the kids can decorate their ice cream scoops with sprinkles, and finish their tall ice cream with a cherry on top. This was our kid’s favorite part.

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One by one the kids ran over to their cone and stacked their ice cream. If only they could actually order an ice cream this tall. One can dream, right?

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We enjoyed real ice cream shortly after the breaking of the piñata, and it was oh so yummy. The countdown is on – 17 more days of school, and then school’s out for summer! You can bet we will have our shades on!

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This post is in partnership with ASTROBRIGHTS. We were crafting with and coloring on ASTROBRIGHTS paper long before this post. It’s always been a fave product of ours. Thank you for supporting the brands that support j. sorelle. ASTROBRIGHTS was one of the first, so we are very grateful.

Affiliate Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means j. sorelle receives a small commission from the sale of certain items; however, the price is the same for you, whether it’s an affiliate link or not.