Gender Reveal Party Pins

Today I’m sharing how I made the bow tie and bow pins for our gender reveal party.  They were super easy to assemble and didn’t cost less than $5 to make.  I thought they were a great way for our guests to wear their guesses.  I felt awkward telling people to wear blue or pink clothing so this was my compromise.  I will say, it was fun to walk around and see everyone’s guess.

How to make gender reveal party pins


•  paper cut-outs of bow ties and bows
•  pin backs (JoAnn Fabric)
•  hot glue

My friend, Jacque, was kind enough to help me make the bow ties and bows.  We used sturdy scrapbook paper.  Here’s the link to the Silhouette templates (bowties | bows), if you have a Silhouette or know someone with one.

If you don’t have a machine that can cut out images, you can always trace and cut them out by hand.  Of course that’s very time consuming.  You can purchase cut-outs of these shapes on Etsy as well.  Just type in “gender reveal bow cut-outs” or something similar.

bow pins

Once you have your cut-outs, grab your glue gun.  Put a little bit of glue on the back of the pin back and press it onto the backside of your cut-out.

how to make gender reveal pins

I made sure mine were for right-handed people (don’t hate lefties– I’m married to one), so it’d be easier for the majority of people to put them on.  Right the gluing process until all of your cut-outs are done.

gender reveal pins how to

I set the bow ties and bows on our entryway table so people could put on their guesses as they arrived for the gender reveal party.

gender reveal party welcome table

I made about double what I needed.  We had around 20 people at the party so I made 20 of each just to be on the safe side.

gender reveal party 2

How To Make A Fabric Backdrop

One of the things I had to have for our gender reveal party was a fabric backdrop behind our antique buffet.  At first, I had planned to make a crepe paper backdrop.  But after doing a miniature mock-up I immediately nixed the idea and it popped into my head to make one out of fabric instead.  So off to JoAnn Fabric I went to debate over fabric for 30 minutes and scare other customers away by talking to myself about my options.  If you ever happen to run into me in public while I’m getting supplies for a project and I’m talking to myself just know it’s part of my creative process.

Anyway, today I’m going to show you how easy it is to make a fabric backdrop like the one I made for our party.

How to make a fabric backdrop!

Let’s start with the supplies.

I wanted the backdrop to be around 50 inches tall, and the width of the buffet is 68 inches.  After doing the math, I bought a yard and a half of each fabric.  In total I brought home a yard and half of eight different fabrics (4 pinks and 4 blues).  Since I was buying so much fabric, I was sure to buy fabrics that were on sale and use coupons, including a 25% off the entire purchase coupon.  I think altogether I spent around $30-35 on the supplies for my fabric backdrop.  And I had leftover fabric.

• fabric (yardage depends on the size of your backdrop)
• parachute cord (JoAnn Fabric– jewelry section)

fabric backdrop supplies

To cut the fabric easier, I folded it in half hamburger style so I would be cutting the longest section.  I cut my pieces into 4 inch sections, using my handy cutting mat and rotary cutter.

fabric garland how to

If you don’t own a rotary cutter, get one.  Be careful though, they can be dangerous.  I cut my finger while using it for this project.  But if you can be trusted around sharp objects, I totally recommend it.  It makes cutting fabric so much easier and faster.

fabric backdrop how to

Ahhh, look at the nicely cut fabric.

cutting fabric for fabric garland

fabric rag backdrop how to

Seriously, I think it took me 10 minutes to cut all of this fabric with my rotary cutter.

(I cut myself while cutting the blue fabric, so that took longer to cut the blue because I had to provide medical treatment for my injured finger.)

fabric garland backdrop

Once your fabric is cut, start tying it to your parachute cord.  I made a simple knot, like the first step when you tie your shoes.  After I tied the knot, I pulled on the fabric a little to fluff it out.

I made a pattern with my 4 different types of fabric in each color (polka dot, solid, gingham, solid).  Altogether, I think I used 22 strands of fabric for each side– pink and blue.

how to make fabric garland

We hung the fabric backdrop with our Ryobi Airstrike stapler, but you can use nails to hang yours.  If you make a fabric backdrop as big as mine, tape won’t hold the weight.

hanging fabric backdrop

I spent a little time adjusting the fabric so it would overlap just right, but that’s because I’m somewhat of a perfectionist.

FYI, I sold my fabric backdrop (along with the tissue paper poms and paper garland) because I had no need for it after our gender reveal party.  This is definitely something to consider if you’re making one for a party and you don’t think you’ll use it again.  I didn’t sell mine for a crazy profit– just enough to cover my materials and time spent making the deorations.

gender reveal

Think you’ll attempt a fabric backdrop?
Do you talk to yourself often?  I hear talking to yourself has cognitive benefits.
Can you be trusted with sharp objects?

Preppy Spring Wreath

The other day, I was waltzing down the ribbon aisle at JoAnn Fabric and this beautiful green and white striped grosgrain ribbon stopped me dead in my tracks.  Jackpot.  I knew exactly how I’d use it– to make the perfect preppy spring wreath.  And of course I had to go with pink peonies because they’re my favorite flower, and it’s no secret that I love the color combination of pink and green.  I mean, they were our wedding colors.  

Preppy spring wreath!  Costs less than $15 to make!


2 rolls of Offray green and white striped grosgrain ribbon (JoAnn Fabric)
14″ Styrofoam wreath form (Hobby Lobby)
Silk peonies (Michael’s)
hot glue
hot glue gun
small piece of ribbon

wreath supplies

I started by cutting some strips of ribbon.  I tried wrapping the ribbon without cutting it but I couldn’t get it to look how I wanted it to.  Then I just started wrapping each piece around the wreath and gluing it.  I would overlap the green stripes on the edges so the stripe pattern lined up.

green and white ribbon

To attach the peonies, I pulled them off the stems, cut the little plastic parts of them, and hot glued them onto the wreath.

how to make a floral wreath

pink peony wreath

For the hanger part I wanted to do something that would be mostly hidden and wouldn’t take away from the wreath so I grabbed a little piece of white satin ribbon.  I hot glued it onto the back of the wreath.

As you can see, the back of the wreath isn’t pretty, but no one will see that anyway.

ribbon wreath hanger

I’m not gonna lie– this was kind of a frustrating wreath to make.  It’s probably because I’m a perfectionist, and I wanted the stripes to line up just right.  But I love how it turned out.

green and pink summer wreath

 If you want to make a ribbon wreath like this and you’ve never made one before, I recommend using non-striped ribbon to ease into striped ribbon.  You can always make a striped design by layering a different colored ribbon on top of the base color.  If you’re truly ambitious and want to do exactly what I did, I suggest buying a third roll of ribbon– I barely scooted by with 2 rolls.

preppy wreath

ribbon: $5
wreath form: $3
peonies: $6.50 (for the bunch)

TOTAL: $14.50
*I used 40% off coupons for the ribbon and wreath form.  The peonies were already on sale for 40% off.  Remember those coupons, people.

peony wreath

To DIY Or Not To DIY

Today I’d like to discuss do-it-yourself projects in your home.  Specifically, I’d like to cover things I’m comfortable DIYing in our house and things I’d pay someone else to do.

Clearly, I’m all for DIY (within reason).  There are some things Brad and I feel comfortable tackling in our home because of experience or skills we’ve learned from our parents.  We’re lucky enough to have a few skilled tradesmen in our family so if we have specific questions we can ask one of them.  Or, if we ask nicely, they will come to our rescue and help us out with big projects.

Here are some things we’re comfortable tackling in our house:
painting furniture makeovers
hanging photos and other things on walls
removing and installing toilets
unclogging drains and toilets
installing faucets
minor plumbing issues
minor electrical work (running wire, installing lights, replacing outlets, etc.)
installing thermostats
hanging and repairing drywall

I should add that there are some things we wouldn’t mind taking on, it’s just we haven’t had the chance to do it (e.g. flooring, tiling).

removing an electrical outlet

Things we aren’t comfortable tackling in our house:
anything HVAC we can’t troubleshoot by Googling
major electrical (we call in Brad’s electrician dad)
major pipe fitting and plumbing (we call in my pipefitter dad)
repairing major appliances we can’t troubleshoot by Googling (see here)

When our heat pump compressor and coil went out we enlisted my uncle (who owned a plumbing, heating, & cooling company) and his friend to fix everything.  Thankfully, we got the family discount.  My dad was kind enough to install our water softener and run the new plumbing to it over a year ago.

I’m the painter in this house.  Brad’s delicate hands have never lifted a paintbrush.  However, this spring I plan to hire someone to paint our great room and master bedroom.  Now, before you start judging me, I must remind you that we have vaulted ceilings in those rooms so certain walls are 12-13 tall.  I’ve done 100% of the painting in our house because seriously, painting isn’t that hard.  I’d much rather paint a room than pay someone else to do it.  But, we don’t own a tall enough ladder, and I’d rather pay someone to paint the rooms for me than rent a ladder or scaffolding and painting everything myself.  I should probably add that I don’t have the best balance when I’m not pregnant.  So there’s that.  Don’t worry– I’ll let you know how it goes.

living room picture ledges

For more DIY inspiration, check out my project gallery and the (where I contribute) idea gallery.

What are you a pro at tackling in your home? What would you rather pay someone else to handle? Are you lucky enough to have handy family members or friends who can help with big projects?

Entryway Photo and Art Display

The other day I finished a little project I’ve been meaning to tackle for months– our entryway photo and art display.  It’s on a little sliver of wall you see when you enter our house, and it needed a little love.  And you know me and my affection for sentimental things, so of course, everything on the wall is meaningful to us.

two twenty one photo display

The watercolor reprint is something I picked up on the Caribbean cruise Brad and I took with his extended family in 2008.  I mention in this post the different things I like to pick up along the way while vacationing.  (Sorry, I don’t do corny vacation t-shirts.)

I had to work in an Indiana print.  I got this one from Brickyard Buffalo, an online pop-up market (seriously, sign up for their emails or follow them on Instagram).  The print is by CAPow.  I love how the state is formed from each county’s name.  Pretty and educational.

entryway art

This custom illustration of Brad, Jack, and me was another Brickyard Buffalo score.  It’s by My Little Buffalo.  I plan to have a new one done once the nugget makes an appearance.  Eventually, I’d like to have a wall of them showing the growth of our family.

The photo above the illustration is from our wedding reception.  We’re clapping along to the IU fight song (our alma mater) with our wedding party.  I thought I should mention that so you don’t think we’re clapping for ourselves.

entryway wall art

My next task is to add some more oomph to this little corner.  It’s looking better, but still meh.  Right now my mom’s antique copper boiler is hanging out there but that’s it.

I’ve been searching for a small bench to put under the photo and art display.  I’ve thought about adding a plant for more color (and life), but this area doesn’t get much sun so I think that’s out of the question.  I’ll definitely update you guys once I find the perfect pieces.

entryway photo wall

I teamed up with Kristen Duke for her Decorating with Pictures series for today’s post.  A boatload of bloggers are sharing different ways they decorate with pictures, so there’s lots of inspiration.  Oh, and Kristen has great giveaways going on daily throughout the series.  Check it out!


Stalk away!

Pregnancy Announcement Mugs + Video of Reactions

When it came to telling our families our big news, I couldn’t imagine just walking up to them and saying “We’re pregnant!”  No, no, no.  I needed to go a little further.  So I made custom grandparent and great grandparent mugs for our parents and Brad’s grandparents.

pregnancy announcement mugs

I was inspired by these mugs I spotted on Pinterest one day.

These were super simple to make.  But I must tell you, I wasted 2 hours trying to make vinyl stencils and using them to paint onto the mugs.  It was a disaster.  Frustrated, I grabbed the nearest Sharpie and used my own chicken scratch to pencil the message onto the mugs.  20 seconds per mug.  Done.

pregnancy announcement mugs

Here’s the full tutorial in case you want to make these.


1.  Wash your mug(s).

2.  Using a Sharpie, write your message on the mug.  If you mess up, use rubbing alcohol to remove the mistake.

3.  Allow to set overnight.

4.  Put mug(s) on baking sheet and into a COLD oven.

5.  Turn the oven to 350 degrees.

6.  Once oven reaches 350 degrees, set the timer for 30 minutes.

7.  When the timer goes off, turn the oven off.  But DO NOT open the oven door!

8.  Leave mug(s) in the oven to cool as the oven cools (this takes a few hours).

9.  Once the oven is cool, remove the mug(s).

When needed, hand wash mugs (I wrote “hand wash” on the bottom of the mugs when I wrote my messages).

pregnancy annnouncement mugs

I bought these mugs at Walmart for around $3 each.  But you can find similar mugs at the dollar store.

I added a bag of candy to each mug, wrapped the mugs in tissue paper, and put them in gift bags for our family members to open.  When I gave out the presents, I told each person I brought them something from my New Orleans trip I took a month earlier.

And of course I couldn’t let them open their gifts without filming their reactions.  This is the first grandchild on both sides and first great grandchild for Brad’s maternal grandparents.  I made a 2 minute compilation video of us telling our families and my best friend (I bought her this T-shirt and gave it to her as part of her birthday gift).

Here’s the line up of characters in the video in case you’re curious:

my mom and stepdad > Brad’s parents (and youngest brother) > Brad’s maternal grandparents > Brad’s paternal grandma and aunt > my best friend

If for some reason, the video doesn’t embed, here’s the link:

Stalk away!