DIY Halloween Balloons


Honestly, we are still in denial that summer is over, but at some point we have to come to grips that fall is upon us. Before we know it, our kids will be talking about Halloween costumes and creepy spiders, bugs, skeletons and ghosts.

So, we’re crawling into the new season with eight legs and cute photos. We teamed up with our friends at Oriental Trading for some Halloween balloon fun so you have Halloween decor {and favors} checked off your list this October.




Step 1: Cut a piece of twine about 2 feet long.

Step 2: Push one end of the twine through the ring part of the spider ring, loop it around the top of the spider and tie a single knot. This will keep it in place along the string. Continue down the twine until you reach the end, leaving about 2 inches between each spider ring. These rings can be guests favors when the party is over – just have a pair of scissors close by.


Step 3: Blow up the balloons according to Balloon Time helium tank directions.



Step 4: Tie the string around the bottom of the balloon, and tie it around something so it doesn’t float away.



Step 5: For the tattoos, apply them the same way you would on a human arm. Remove the plastic, apply face down on the balloon, wet the back of it with a wet towel and then peel off the paper.  Add tattoos all around the balloon.

tattoo for kids



Step 6: For the photos, you will need to tape tissue paper on white card stock. Insert in an inkjet printer. Use Microsoft Word to design the of size the photos, and you can print 2-4 at a time. Print the photos so the image is printed on the tissue paper. Remove tissue paper from the card stock and cut.



Step 7: To apply the photo to the balloon, spray the back of the image with spray adhesive and press onto the balloon. Smooth out all the wrinkles.



Step 8: For a pop of color, draw fun frames around the photos. And, for a trip down memory lane, add the year to each balloon. The photos became a Halloween memory book, which was really fun to re-live all our past Halloween costumes.




Step 9: Tie all the balloons together to a jar, bucket or basket full of candy. Have fun!



Oriental Trading sent us some items of our choosing for this post, free of charge. 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.

DIY Backyard Jungle Obstacle Course for Momtastic


Jessica was lucky enough to work with Momtastic for a DIY Jungle Obstacle Course in celebration of Disney’s The Jungle Book release on Blu-Ray Aug. 30. The Jungle Book was one of our kid’s favorite movies this year, so it was really fun to transform our backyard into a jungle adventure.

One bonus obstacle (only seen here) for the course was our DIY honeycomb climb. In the movie, Mowgli had to climb a tall cliff side to get honey, nature’s ointment, for Baloo. Since honey is a bear necessity, we made our little man cub’s climb a diy rope to reach our 3D paper hive.

Here’s how we made it.




Step 1: Design and cut 3D honeycombs using a template online, or via Silhouette cutting machine (like we did). If 3D is too labor intensive for you, we get it – just cut standard honeycombs. Use different shades of yellow for texture.

Step 2: Glue all the sides of the hexagon together with a glue stick (if you opted for the 3D design).

Step 3: Draw a honeycomb shape similar to the hives in The Jungle Book on a foam core board and cut it out with an X-acto knife.

Step 4: Glue the honeycombs (hexagons) on the board with a hot glue gun to fit like a puzzle. We glued some facing forward and others flipped for some added texture.

Step 5: Cut out mini bees using a template online or an electronic cutting machine.

Step 6: Glue the bees onto the hive. For an added 3D effect, we glued one end of a small piece of wire onto the foam core and then a bee on the other end of the wire.

Step 7: Poke two holes on the top corners of the hive and hang with string from a tree.

As we mentioned, this was a bonus obstacle for the course – don’t miss the main DIY Jungle Obstacle Course here.




Photography by Pure Lee Photography

Shark and Mermaid Party


It’s that time of year again for Jessica’s family – that time when it feels like Christmas in July. All three kids celebrate birthdays in July, so not only is the month busy, but it’s really fun. She’s going to take us back to her Shark and Mermaid party, and the details she created…

Every year I to find a theme that will work for boys and girls, and this year, our trip to Florida inspired our fin and tail celebration.

Note: It wasn’t until shortly after we took photos of the party, when we realized the t and h were mixed up in the word birthday on the mermaid side. And, well, when guests arrived, we partied! We were so focused on details, we forgot to spell. The mistake was quickly fixed and the party went on.



Step 1: Create a shark backdrop. During a recent trip to Florida, the kids took photos in front of a cool Megalodon. Print the photo on an engineering print from Staples. Glue the photo on one of the large wood boards with the multi-purpose spray adhesive.

Think again before you order plates from Oriental Trading for just food, because they make the perfect waves for an ocean backdrop. Use a hot glue gun to glue plates on the bottom of the photo for an ocean wave effect. Start with the dark blue and then glue light blue plates on top of it. Layer until you reach the bottom of the photo.



Step 2: Create a mermaid backdrop. Draw and cut a mermaid tail on foam core, and then cover it with paint chips. I love these paint chips from Oriental Trading because there is a wide variety of colors, and no circle cutter necessary – they are perfect circles when they arrive. Once all the chips are glued in place, flip it over and use an X-acto knife to cut the edges of the paint chips along the fin tail shape. Glue the tail to the other piece of thin white wood board. Just like the shark backdrop, glue paper plates to make waves. Start at the top, and work your way down.



Step 3: Add tablecloths to each table. Layer three tablecloths on each side. Cut the bottom of each layer in waves, or scallops. Each layer should be visible.


Step 4: Accessorize the tables. Shark koozies and bubbles made for the perfect shark table accessories, plus they doubled as great party favors. Another fun detail on the table was a pint container filled with a t-shirt, and topped with a blue paper shark. The shark’s edges were sealed with hot glue, but before it was totally sealed, it was filled with swedish fish. All boys had to do was rip, eat and enjoy!

For the mermaids, the table was set with pink cups with shells glued in the center, DIY seashell crowns (also a party favor), DIY shell and bead necklaces, a plush mermaid and cupcakes with tails. To make the DIY seashells crowns, use a hot glue gun to glue shells on crowns from Oriental Trading. Play with the shells and design the crowns of your mermaid dreams.









Step 5: Decorate the entire party area. Hang pom poms, fish nets and happy birthday banners.


Step 6: Play games. Aside from all the pool fun, set up a fishbowl game. Set up plastic cups in cascading order, 8, 7, 6, 5 and so on. Fill them with water, and then set a prize inside each cup. The cups at our party were filled with seashells and mini shark toys. Draw a line on the ground several feet away from the table, and get the kids throwing for some fun prizes.




Step 7: Send friends off with favors. Every family went home with a special bag of Shark vs. Mermaid Tic Tac Toe. The shark photo prop at Oriental Trading inspired me to paint DIY shark rocks, and well we didn’t have to paint the shells because they were so pretty. The game packaged in drawstring bags with the Tic Tac Toe lines drawn on top with a Sharpie marker. This game is so much fun, and can be easily brought to church or dinner out to keep the kids occupied.






Oriental Trading sent us some items of our choosing for this party, free of charge. 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.



Say Goodbye to Cold Hands with DIY Freezer Pop Holders


Despite the fact that Back to School is all over the big name retailer stores and commercials, it’s still summer. We refuse to admit the fact that school starts in a month. We’re taking every bit of summer, for all the sunshine, popsicles and pool days it’s worth. We love it too much to let it go.

Our kids love popsicles in the summer, especially freezer pops. Although yummy, we know within minutes of opening their popsicles, our kids will request a paper towel because their hands are cold.

Well, it’s three mom’s and a pool noodle to the rescue. The DIY noodle freezer pop holders not only prevent cold, sticky fingers, but also they can be customized with names at a table setting for a birthday party.  They can be used year after year when the hot sun is shining and kids are outside playing! Plus, typography is just so fun!




Cut a pool noodle into 6 inch pieces. It should be about ½ the size of the popsicle.




Add letters to each noodle to spell BRR!, CHILL, COOL, FREEZE, and ICY.



Frame the letters with Frog Tape in the shape of a rectangle.


Use a paintbrush to dab paint onto the noodles over the letters and within the taped area.



Wait a couple of minutes to remove the tape and letters. Don’t wait too long, or the paint will begin to peel off with the letters. The paint should still be slightly wet when you remove the letters and tape.




Once the paint is dry, apply a layer or two of Mod Podge over the letters. It will dry clear, so no need to apply it all over the noodle. This will prevent it from peeling and flaking off.


Insert popsicle and enjoy without the whining of cold hands.






DIY Marble and Copper Tray Hack


We love, love, love to shop West Elm. But, we often love a good home decor hack even more. Our DIY side is totally satisfied when we successfully pull off a home décor hack that looks almost identical to the real thing sold in stores, at a fraction of the price.

One can never have enough trays, especially pretty ones like the Copper and Marble serving board at West Elm. So, one must make this DIY version of the Copper and Marble tray and West Elm hack. It’s so simple, and stunning.



  • Copper Coil, 1/4 inch, Home Depot
  • Marble Tile, Home Depot
  • Super glue or Epoxy glue, Home Depot
  • Pliers and wire cutter, Home Depot



Step 1: Cut the wire to approximately 8 inches long for the handles. Adjust the size according to your preference. Round the copper coil to the shape of a handle – it’s easy to bend and can be done with your hands.


Step 2: Insert the ends of the copper into the pliers and press firmly. This will flatten the round shape of the copper coil.



Step 3: Add glue to the ends of the copper coil and press it into the back of the marble tile. The flat sides of the copper should not show on the top side of the tray because it should be glued directly to the back of the tile.


Important note: if you use super glue, be extremely careful when pressing the copper ends down because your finger will get glued to the copper almost immediately. Wear gloves and/or be aware of the glue.


After holding the handles in place for several minutes, I got wise, and flipped the tray over, and placed heavy books on the tile where the copper was glued.


Step 4: Let it dry overnight.

This tray can be used as a cheese appetizer tray because it’s food safe, but we prefer it on a shelf with pretty jewelry, a bud vase or perfume.





If your eyes go straight to the Bourbon and Bowties bracelet, we’re a lot alike, because we love them! Buy one at Nordstrom {and while you’re there, shop the sale} – your arm will thank you.