Galaxy Dyed Vans

My oldest son finished third grade this past spring and that year was the first time I had been able to volunteer in his class with any regularity. I volunteered once a week when they attended art class and I was able to get to know a few of the students and learn a little about third grade dynamics. This is the gist of what I learned:

  • Third graders are still emotionally sensitive. They want to be cool, but they still suffer from the emotional instability that plagued them at the magical age of seven.

  • Third graders aren’t quite old enough to believe that everything is stupid… yet. But they’re getting close.

  • Third graders can be really mean!

It was so fun to be able to help out when I could and I hope I’m able to join his fourth grade class as often as I can in the fall.

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A while back, my son had it in his head that he needed more expensive shoes. Supposedly, a kid in his class declared that his Keen shoes were “dollar store shoes,” and that cool kids only wear expensive shoes. Ugh.

First, I reminded him that we actually can’t buy him super cheap shoes anymore because he’ll rip through them faster than you can even say the words “Dollar Store.” Second, I explained to him that how much a pair of shoes costs means absolutely squat. What matters is if they fit comfortably, look good to you, and keep your feet dry. And it’s nice if they last a while, or at least until they’re outgrown.

Their teacher reprimanded the kid who tried to make others feel bad if they didn’t have $100+ shoes, but I did my own little passive-aggressive comeback (with my son’s blessing, of course). I made him some custom-dyed Vans.

Vans are ALL the rage among kids from elementary school all through high school. I have to admit that it makes me chuckle to see teenagers wearing the exact same pair of checkerboard Vans I’m wearing. I wear them because I like how they look and they’re slip-on, and I LOVED them when I was a kid.

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We bought some plain white Vans from Journeys earlier this month and I galaxy-dyed them in green and blue, my son’s favorite colors. I used fiber-reactive dye from Dharma Trading and a similar technique that I use for galaxy-dyed clothes and baby carrier. They ended up being quite a pain to rinse, the dye inside the soles was tough to get out. I also did my best to mask off the white rubber to prevent them from being stained by the dye. Lastly, I masked off the rubber and labels when I painted stars with fabric paint.

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I really love how they turned out and so does my son. Apparently a few of his friends want a pair now. #momwin

Jackie & Michael's Camping Baby Shower

My sister, Jackie is pregnant with her first baby I was thrilled to get to plan a baby shower for her along with our mom and our friend Joanna. Jackie and my brother-in-law, Michael wanted a coed baby shower and we took a little time brainstorming ideas for a theme. We decided on a camping theme, but there were a few stipulations. The lumberjack theme is popular right now, but none of us wanted to go that route. So no fake beards, no buffalo plaid, just simple camping with a few "tactical" elements thrown in for Michael. It was pretty hard to figure out, but we managed to sneak in a few.

For the invitation I reworked a birthday invitation I created last year (I'll get it up on the blog someday). 

The insert included where to find their registry and rsvp information.

Never fear, the email address and URL have been changed to protect privacy.

Never fear, the email address and URL have been changed to protect privacy.

I had these printed at Office Depot and I mailed them in Clover envelopes from Paper Source. I actually had most of this stuff printed with Office Depot. It was really easy to upload the files to their website and pick them up from my local store within an hour. I was even able to specify that some be printed onto card stock and some not. It was really, really convenient! 

We started with a sign for the front door (this is the only item where I wasn't thrilled with the print quality):

For the shower itself, my sister was adamant that it be a brunch because she loves breakfast food. So we had donuts, bagels, fruit salad, and an egg/sausage/hashbrown/cheese concoction that our mom has been making for years that she calls "Mountain Woman Breakfast." I made food signs for all of these, including the mimosa bar. 

We also had a big basket full of "s'mores mix" which is a mixture of chocolate chips, mini marshmallows, and Golden Grahams cereal. I don't know why I forgot to take a photo of it!

For table decor, the city my parents live in cleared away some fallen trees and left the wood slices out, free firewood for residents. Score!! We already had a few old lanterns and then we found these little plastic canteens on Oriental Trading. I created a new sticker for them by printing onto full sheet sticker paper. Voile!!

For a favor, we packed up some fixins for s'mores for everyone to take home. I couldn't decide between the two favor tag designs, so I printed some of each. Cello bags and twine came from Amazon.

We also had a station for folks to build their own trail mix. We called it G.O.R.P. when I was a kid, which stands for "good ole raisins and peanuts." Metal buckets and scoops are from Amazon.

To add a "tactical" element to the party, we had the materials and instructions set up so guests could make their own paracord keychain. 

It was only $1.49 to get each page of instructions laminated at Office Depot. Well worth it!

I created some fun signs for a few spots throughout the party venue. This one is my favorite:

Notice the pregnant mama in a few of these?

Bathrooms too!

Wishes for Baby. I love making these for baby showers and first birthdays! I can only imagine that the parents love to read them a year, five years, or more down the road.

We played a rousing round of The Price is Right and guessed the pricing on a bunch of baby items. Considering how much of these things I've bought in recent years, I kind of hoped I'd do better on this!

I'm really proud of how this trio of onesies turned out. I had created three camping-themed designs and I wanted to screen print them onto a few onesies. I wanted navy blue, dark green, and charcoal gray and I wanted them to all be heathered in texture. Apparently that's really not easy to find and definitely not very affordable. Getting them screen printed with my custom design was going to cost between $20 and $27 each. It was simply more than I was willing to spend. One of these days I'll be able to buy a Silhouette Cameo and do it myself, but not today.

I already had these three onesies in plain white. Since I've been dabbling in fabric dyeing, I blended some colors together to get these three. The green and brown onesies were dyed solid and then I added the designs with fabric paint. The space onesie was done with a method called ice dyeing. I wrote up the details on how I did it here. 

We also had a fun obstacle course that involved walking through Legos, changing a diaper, and assembling a breast pump; all for time!

It turned out to be a really relaxed and fun baby shower and I hope my sister and brother-in-law had as much fun as I had. Love you guys!