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KIDS PARTIES

How to Make the Cutest Fabulous 50’s Car Cut-Out You’ve Ever Seen

Posted in CRAFTS, FAMILY PARTIES, KIDS PARTIES, PARTIES
on March 31, 2017

Create amazing photo ops with this “life-size” pink Cadillac cardboard cutout. It’s the perfect prop for outstanding party memories and pictures!

So, you’re hosting a 50s themed party and aren’t sure where to start setting the scene? Details make a themed party memorable, and it is simple to make your own Retro Convertible Standee that brings you back to the Poodle skirt, Rock’n’roll era with an easy tutorial and free downloadable pattern.

If you’re in a rush, use these links to skip to the tutorial section of your choice:

Download the Transfer Pattern

Preparing the Transfer

Cut out the Car

Painting the Details

Customize your Car

 

We’ve thrown a few parties around here, but by far, one of our most favorite bashes was the 50s Sock Hop we hosted for my daughter’s birthday.

I’ve loved everything 50’s since I was a little girl.  Dancing and twirling around my room in my full-skirted, yellow chiffon 50’s prom dress, with my ponytail swishing behind me circa Sandy 1950-something, belting out “Hopelessly Devoted to you..”, as my double Grease album – that I still have – spun on my Mickey Mouse record player. I just knew that Danny was helpless without me! #OhSandy

I’ve loved sharing the movie with my children – despite the ear-burning from the Greased Lightning lyrics (What?! How had I not known what they were saying?!) and I was so excited when my daughter wanted a “Grease” themed party! An inexpensive and easy way to set the scene for our Fabulous 50’s party was with the decorations.

This fun and easy Pink Convertible car cut-out not only made everyone feel as though they’d stepped out into the 50s, but it also served as a perfect photo prop. All the kids had the best time pretending they were cruisin’ to the drive-in after grabbing shakes and burgers. I may or may not have jumped in to get my photo when no one was looking. Even better, the car had a second life as the picture prop at our elementary school for their annual 50s day.

Here is how you can make your own!

Supplies you’ll need


  • Car Pattern
  • A tri-fold cardboard display board (28″ x 44″) – I got mine at Walmart.
  • Wax paper (cut into 18 -8.5″ x 11″ sheets)
  • Glue stick
  • 18 – 8.5″ x 11″ paper sheets
  • An inkjet printer
  • A utility knife
  • Acrylic paint in pink, black, dark gray and white <affiliate link – great set, but you can get it cheaper >
  • Paintbrushes
  • Chalk pen – white for customizing (optional) <affiliate link>

 

Download the Transfer Pattern

The transfer pattern, which includes a set of instructions, is available as a free printable for subscribers to Knock it Off Kim. Every week I send a list of posts you may have missed and updates to other free goodies as I offer them! You can opt-out at any time. Promise! Click here to subscribe and download the file.

Preparing the Transfer

Once you’ve downloaded your pattern, cut 17-18 8.5″x11″ wax paper sheets. To cut the wax paper, it’s easiest to fold the wax paper around an 8.5″ x 11″ sheet of printer paper sheet, then tear down the fold.

Use a glue stick to apply a sheet of cut wax paper to a piece of printer paper. You don’t want the glue the sheets together to last a lifetime, just to keep the wax paper from bunching up in your printer and jamming it.

Print the car pattern feeding one sheet of wax paper through at a time, wax paper side down. Remove from the printer and place the sheet wax paper (ink) side up. Stacking individual pieces will ensure the ink does not smear from pattern piece to pattern piece. Repeat for each piece of the pattern – there will be 16, being sure to place the printed piece ink side up in individual piles – in other words, do not stack them on top of one another. Instead, lay the pieces out side by side on the floor or a larger surface sequentially.

Apply the Transfer

Put the display board out on a flat surface, right side up. Take the pattern piece numbered “1” and gingerly lay it, wax (ink) side down in the left top corner of the display board. Being sure to hold the pattern piece in place, trace firmly along the printed lines of the pattern with the tip of your finger, transferring the design from the wax paper to the board.

Take pattern piece “2” and align the edges of the design with the newly-transferred pattern on the board. Transfer the design. Repeat in this fashion until all the pattern pieces have been moved, working left to right. Let the ink dry to avoid smudging.

Cut out the Car

Cut out the top and inside of the windshield, areas marked with an “X”, with a sharp utility knife. It’s easiest to trace the cut-line with the knife without going through the cardboard, then, go back and retrace, cutting all the way through, using the first cut as a guide.

Cut out two 2″ x 6″ strips from your cardboard scraps. Attach one piece each on the bottom of each side of the back of the trifold board to act as stands using a glue gun. The car needs to lean back at a slight angle for balance – adjust the stands accordingly.  I found it easiest to attach one side first on the fold, then adjusted the board to where I wanted it to sit before attaching the other side.

Painting the Details

Paint the car in this order, allowing each color and coat to dry before moving on:

  1. The body of the car, using pink and a 1″ brush.
  2. The details marked in dark gray; headlights, outlines of fog lights, grille, license plate.
  3. Black details; the wipers, windshield outline, and grille.
  4. White and gray definition – For the grille, layer a white outline followed by a gray to give them a 3D effect.
  5. Outline all edges with a black paint pen or small paintbrush.
  6. Using a mostly dry brush, I feathered the paint along the edges of the ink outline, blending them towards the color.

Bonus: The ink outline does much of the shading for you!

Customize your Car

For an easy and fun way to personalize your prop, add the name of your guest of honor or organization to the license plate. A chalk pen in white would pop against the black!

Set up your car on a little table for a simple photo booth, and add a few fun photo props – <this is an affiliate link>. You can make your own, or, if you aren’t up for that, I found this set on Amazon. Ooh and Ah over your creativity! You AND your guests will be dancing around the room, channeling your inner Sandy, hand-jivin’ to Shake, Rattle & Roll, reveling in the nostalgia of an era you likely didn’t live in outside of the movie “Grease”! Not that I have any idea how to hand-jive, but in my 50’s dream, that’s what I’m doing!

I hope your party is the best! And, of course, let me know if you have any questions or I can help in any way. Cheers!

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St. Patricks Day Tablescape

Posted in DECOR, FAMILY PARTIES, HOLIDAYS, KIDS PARTIES, PARTIES, TABLETOP
on March 6, 2017

Are you looking for timeless, inexpensive table settings and other home decor ideas for St. Patricks Day? If you are, you’ve come to the right place!

This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience

My friend Meg of Green with Decor invited me to participate in the St. Patrick’s Day Home Tours(thanks, Meg!). Before you go, be sure to check out the other ideas from the other talented and fabulous blogs listed at the bottom of this post. But for now, let me show you what I came up with and share oodles of table setting pretty picture goodness with you!

According to Wikipedia, “table setting or place setting refers to the way to set a table with tableware—such as eating utensils and for serving and eating. The arrangement for a single diner is called a place setting. The practice of dictating the precise arrangement of tableware has varied across cultures and historical periods.” This definition is followed by 13 –  thirteen – photos of the different courses and service settings throughout a formal meal. It’s dizzying.  And if that weren’t enough to attest to the seriousness of table-scaping, Y’all, Amazon has a book on the “Art of Table Setting.” I’m not all about that. I’m honestly excited if I can put the utensils in the right place (fork on the left), and about using what’s around the house – well, save for a few gold and green coins that I picked up!

I do like to put together a beautiful table, especially for parties – my family loved the settings we put together for Halloween and our Spring Tea Party – and St. Patrick’s Day is no exception.

Clearly color played a huge part in this table setting. For a table runner, I pieced together three fat quarters of quilting fabric in coordinating colors and patterns.

The centerpiece is a combination of spring flowers and plants in yellows, whites and a shot of plum. I used two potted shamrock plants, one in purple, one in green – you can find them at most grocery stores at this time of year – daffodils from my yard, as well as a bouquet of Shasta daisies, green pincushion flowers, and freesia, all displayed together in a large basket. Like the table, it’s loose and informal.

The gold chargers are ones I’ve used for Thanksgiving and Christmas. The plates and silverware are those we use for every day – it’s so fun to dress up ordinary things for a holiday. No matter what you serve it looks fantastic!

The napkins are folded into a clover shape and topped with a gold coin embellished St. Patrick’s Day ribbon.

A few other inexpensive, festive touches make this table fit for any leprechaun who might want to leave his pot o’ gold!


While it’s likely this table setting will not end up on Wikipedia my family so enjoyed it, and I hope I was able to provide you with a few ideas for your table this St. Patrick’s Day!

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Huge thanks again to Meg for including me in this home tour.. it’s been so much fun! Please, be sure to visit the other links for more St. Patrick’s Day decorating inspiration!


Egg-Allergy Friendly Samoa Cupcakes

Posted in FOOD, KIDS PARTIES
on February 12, 2017

How many of you realize that some ice cream cakes contain eggs? I didn’t know that either until I nearly poisoned my son at his birthday party. Although there have been more than a few non-super mom moments in my life, that event rated right up there with one of the worst. I still cringe thinking of the look on his 8-year old little face as we frantically left his party to grab some Benadryl before his reaction got out of control. Yes. I had changed purses and didn’t have any Benadryl either! Ugh! #Badmomsunite #Alwayscheckthelabel

Before I had a child with food allergies, I had no idea how difficult it would be managing events like birthday parties or other such social events. It became glaringly obvious early on that homemade was the only way to go. It’s no small wonder that I’ve been trying to make up for that birthday party and that cake ever since!

Everybody around here LOVES Samoa Girl Scout cookies, but nobody adores them more than my oldest son. There was a time when he had what we called his “stash” drawer, filled to the brim with candy wrappers, marshmallow containers, and yep, you guessed it, Samoa boxes. (Much to my envy, the boy burns calories just breathing). So, when his birthday came around this year, it was a no-brainer as to what flavors he’d be looking for, but with nary a Samoa in sight, I had to improvise a little bit.

Over the years I’ve tested dozens and dozens of recipes, and I’ve had great success with two methods. In the first method, Ener-G Egg Replacer acts as an egg substitute. The second method uses a depression cake recipe, which is a cake that uses no eggs, butter or other dairy ingredients. These cupcakes fall into the latter camp.

Incidentally, depression cakes have been around since – yes, you guessed it – the Great Depression, when ingredients such as milk and eggs were scarce. These recipes are often passed down through families and are so, so simple to make. As well, surprisingly, they produce a moist, well-crumbed cake that, lucky for me, is perfect for allergy sufferers. This cake is dairy free as well and produces a delicious dark chocolate cupcake.

But, the chocolate cupcake is only the first chapter of this story. After all, what gives a Samoa it’s yummy goodness? Is it the crisp, vanilla cookie? The smooth chocolate? The gooey, sweet caramel? The flaked coconut? Of course, it’s all of that!

But, how do you put all of that into a cupcake?

For me, you start with the chocolate cupcake and use a simple trick to fill the cupcake liners.

First, prepare your muffin tins by filling each cup with a liner. Set aside. To evenly fill your liners, you will need a large Ziploc bag and a large-mouthed cup or jar. Place your Ziploc bag into the cup or jar and fold the opened edge over the lip. Set aside and prepare your batter. Spoon your prepared batter into the Ziploc bag, lifting carefully to fill completely. The bag will be approximately half full. Carefully lift out of your cup or jar, press the air out of the bag and close. To fill, carefully clip one corner of the Ziploc bag and carefully pipe the batter into the liner by squeezing through the hole. To stop the flow, pinch the hole closed and tip the filled bag backward before moving on to the next cup. Repeat for the remaining cups and until all batter has been used. To clean up, just discard the Ziploc bag. Voila! These chocolate cupcakes were made using this recipe from Savory Sweet Life without any tweaks and made one dozen cupcakes, baked for 16 -18 minutes.

Then, you add caramel. If you’re going to have caramel go ahead and use homemade caramel – it’s much easier to make than it seems. You’ll never regret it. I used this fabulous recipe from Add a Pinch. Easy-peasy and Oh so good!

Buttercream frosting is where I shine, and I’ve shared the recipe for that below. A simple vanilla buttercream frosting flavored with dollops of caramel takes care of the vanilla layer, save for the crunch aspect.

For coconut use toasted, flaked coconut to get back some of that crunch, along with the unmistakeable flavor of coconut. I like to toast coconut in a pan over medium-high heat, tossing it gently to prevent burning. Remove the pan when the coconut is nicely browned.

Now, put it all together – decadent chocolate cupcake, topped with whipped salted caramel buttercream, topped with toasted flaked coconut, drizzled with sweet, gooey caramel and velvety chocolate – and my friend, you’ve got yourself the ultimate Samoa cupcake. And if you’re a better momma than I, and left out the eggs – or at least brought the Benadryl, you’ll also be wearing your Supermom cape.


My son has grown into an impressive young man. Lucky for me, I got the honor of watching that happen – with or without my cape. Maybe someday I’ll forgive myself for what was certainly the worst party he ever had, but for now, I’m so glad I FINALLY got it together in the birthday baking department for him.

Caramel Buttercream

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter (softened to room temperature)
2 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar
1/3 cup cooled caramel sauce
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla
Beat butter until light and fluffy. Add caramel, vanilla, and half the cream. Beat well. Slowly, add sugar, beating on low until well combined. Add additional cream until you reach your desired consistency. You want your frosting to be soft but able to hold it’s shaped. Place frosting in a piping bag (I like to use Ziploc bags!), or spread onto cooled cupcakes.

 

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