Easy Lollipop Planter

You know what's awesome?

How truly easy-peasy this cute little ditty was to make!

While shopping for Kara's party I happened across some cute pink mini swirl pops at Michael's. I decided to use them as favors, and they looked so pretty displayed in this adorable planter that I assembled all by myself!

The little shabby chic planter was about $8 at one of my favorite little local shops, the Forget-Me-Not Boutique in Lehi. They sell vintage/antique items and refinished furniture and I have to pop in to wander around for a few minutes every chance I get! If you don't yet know of a shop like this in your area, find one...they are so fun!

The little faux roses were on clearance at Michael's for about $.80 a bunch (Michael's, how I love thee!). Each bunch had several stems of flowers on it, and I used a wire cutter to clip them off for use individually.

Then I just bought a few blocks of green floral foam at Walmart! One block fit inside the planter completely but still left about 2 inches of space, so I cut a piece of foam from another block to make it fit nice and snug.

Then you just stick the flower stems in the foam! Rearrange them as necessary to get the look you want, make sure you've completely hidden the foam....

Then stick in your lollipops and arrange them how you want...

and Ta-da! Cuteness!

The swirl pops looked adorable all on their own, but I loved the tags I had designed for the party so much, I just had to add them to the front! I loved how it turned out!

I'm sure you can find these lollipops at craft and party stores and online, but I love that Amazon carries them, and many are eligible for Amazon Prime! Go here...they have sets of swirl pops in this same size (about 2 inches wide) and in lots of different colors, so you can give your party a very custom look!

And if you're the cake-pop making kind, I think this would be an adorable way to display cake-pops! (I am totally afraid of trying to make cake-pops...or more specifically, to try and decorate cake-pops. But, I think I'll have to overcome that fear very soon...my oldest son keeps begging me to make them!)

I loved this idea and it could be used in so many fun ways...you could make it using just about anything for a container! A box, a bucket, a basket...I think a pail with a bunch of daisies and some multi-colored lollipops would be adorable!

And another great thing: after the par-tay is all over, this doesn't become obsolete! Without the lollipops this becomes a cute little home decor item!


You know what's not awesome?

After my lollipop planter was all assembled, I put it up on top of my tall entertainment center so my little boys couldn't meddle with it...

...And then COMPLETELY FORGOT to put it out for the party.


I don't know how I didn't notice it up there!

But such is the crazy mommy-brain-ness that hits me full-bore when I am in the midst of party-throwing!

And as one could probably guess, my kids sure don't mind having a few extra lollipops around! ;)

P.S. I know I already said it, but I absolutely adored these pretty shabby chic tags (and matching invitations!) I had designed for Kara's party...

I found an awesome designer on Etsy who created these lovely tags kuh-RAZY fast for me...I waited far too long and decided pretty last minute to get some designed, and she was so wonderfully accommodating. I used several vendors on Etsy while planning this party and it was my first time really seeing what it's all about. I fell in love with that amazing online marketplace! There is so much incredible talent and beautiful handmade work to be discovered! I'll be writing a post soon about all the different Etsy shops I purchased from and the beautiful products they make...products which are not just decorations or clothing, but heirlooms to be treasured for a lifetime! 


Fabulous Fancy Frames! (That Don't Cost an Arm or a Leg!)

I love this fun and funky trend that's going on with frames right now! I've been planning on hanging a trio of my daughter's adorable newborn photos in her nursery for forever, but I didn't want to go with the same old frame styles. I wanted something pretty...something classy...but something different. Something whimsical and sweet. When I first saw these frames on Etsy, I knew they were perfect!

The prices, however, quickly made my heart sink. I found similar frame styles available through several different sellers, but the prices were about $40-$60 for an 8x10, and $70-$100 for an 11x14! Yeee-ouch!!! A trio of frames would eat my wallet alive! And that didn't include shipping! I sat on the fence for quite awhile, and I was *really* tempted to just take the plunge and buy them. 'Cause I loved 'em!

I'm sure glad I didn't drop that much cash! One night I was lucky enough to stumble across a blog post by The Crafting Chicks, a fabulous crafting blog that I had never read before, about Poppyseed Projects. I came to find out that among many other awesome products, Poppyseed Projects creates unfinished, ready-to-paint frames in the same styles I had been looking at, for a fraction of the cost! You can buy all their products online, but I lucked out because they just so happen to have one little shop right here in Utah, just a half hour away from me!

Poppyseed Projects specializes in carrying unfinished products and premade kits for so many adorable crafts! This means you have all the materials you need to make something, but you save a bundle! And, you get to customize it to fit your style!

I was a bit scared at the idea of painting my own frames at first, because I had absolutely zero experience with painting. Painting anything. But when I went into the shop the first time, the ladies there were beyond nice! I told them I was a 100% beginner at not only painting, but pretty much all things crafty, which I'm sure was obvious as I asked them question after question! They were so informative and I left the store knowing I could absolutely do it!

All ya gotta do: Spray paint the frames, then sand a bit around the edges for a distressed look. Bam! Cuteness!

I bought a bunch of different size frames, but all in this cute "bracket" style...my absolute favorite!

They were $16.50 for an 8x10 opening, $24.95 for an 11x14 opening. Sooooo much cheaper! If you order products online, the shipping costs depend on where you live and what sizes you order. But even with the shipping, these are far and away more thrifty than any of the other similar styles you could buy elsewhere!

They have several other really cute frame shapes as well, and a little birdie told me they have more frame shapes in the works. The Poppyseed Ladies also told me they are working on creating sets of frames in different sizes and/or shapes that they've combined into attractive configurations for photo walls. I would *love* to buy frames for a pre-arranged wall display without having to work it all out myself!

The colors I chose were the main colors in my daughter's room: pink and aqua blue. I absolutely love that color combination! I tested a couple of different shades of spray paint in two different brands and ended up choosing Krylon Gloss spray paint in "Blue Ocean Breeze" (purchased at Walmart) and Rustoleum spray paint in "Candy Pink" (purchased at Home Depot).

If you don't have broken-down cardboard boxes or anything else hanging around to paint on, you can find 9 ft x12 ft plastic drop cloths at Dollar Tree, or probably any dollar store!

The ladies at Poppyseed Projects told me they normally only use one coat of paint and no primer, but they advised me to do more than one coat of paint if I chose a lighter color. They said that lighter colors may not show up well on the edges, so to make sure to try and coat the edges of the frame. I definitely found this to be true! Since the frames are made of MDF/compressed wood, the paint kind of "soaks in" a little bit. My husband, the contractor, had suggested I try priming the frames before painting to make the color adhere more effectively, buuuuuut I was lazy and didn't. =) I think next time I will definitely prime to try and get the colors to "stick" better! I've heard from several reliable, experienced furniture/decor painters that Kilz Spray-on Primer is an awesome product, and it can be picked up at Walmart or any home improvement store.

(After one coat of paint. You can see the splotchy parts...definitely needs a second coat!)

After spray painting 2 good coats on the frames and completely drying them, I used a 100 grit sanding sponge (so much easier to handle than sandpaper!) on all the outer edges of the frame and the edges of the opening for the photo. I tried some higher grit sponges...150 grit and 220 grit...but they were so fine they just weren't getting the job done.

I was afraid I wouldn't be very good at artfully achieving the "distressed" look, but it was really pretty easy! I think I am even going to go and sand them a little bit more....I think I was scared to go overboard the first time I sanded them.

The Poppyseed ladies told me they use a palm sander/electric sander for distressing their frames...they just do a quick and easy once-over on all the edges. I came to find out that my contractor hubby already has an electric sander, and I'm thinking I need to get some practice with it, because I will definitely be buying more of these frames!

For my very-new-to-craftiness-self, I think the frames ended up looking great! Plus they were perfect to use for Kara's shabby-chic/vintage rose themed birthday party. I loved them so much I just had to display them on her dessert table!

I still need to hang the three I've got for Kara's wall. Hopefully I will get it done soon...I am the worst in the world at hanging pictures! Note that the Poppyseed frames don't come with hangers installed on the back...you need to purchase them separately. I also love them displayed on a cute easel!

And I gotta remind you....Poppyseed Projects offers sooooo many other awesome products! Along with  frames they have photo blocks, clocks, quote boards, vinyl art, antiqued subway art plaques, wood letters...so much crazy fun stuff you'll wish you could buy out the store! All their products are sold as unfinished kits, which include all the pre-made materials and detailed instructions. Everything is so wonderfully affordable! If you're located near their store they also offer craft nights and classes!

Some of my favorite Poppyseed items right now...

Their subway art plaques! Love this one for St. Patrick's Day...

And the plaques look SO cute layered with a frame...

Poppyseed Projects is definitely one of my most favorite crafty
discoveries ever! Head over to their online shop now, and don't
forget to like them on Facebook for product updates and fun news!

Happy crafting! ;)


And the TomKat Shop Giveaway Winners Are...

(....first let me apologize for not announcing the giveaway winners yesterday like I said I would! Family dropped into town last night and I spent the day trying to make my house look like I clean it sometimes. =) And I was trying to turn my guest room back into a guest room...it had become my craft room/catch-all in all the preparations leading up to Kara's birthday party. I should have taken a photo to show ya'll...it was *yikes*. Let's just say you could barely see that there was a bed in there!)

Ok, now that I made a lame excuse.... ;)

The 2 winners of a $25 gift certificate to TomKat's fab new party shop are (as drawn by Random.org):

Comment #24 - The Ostheds


Comment #5 - Haley and Lance (but probably just Haley)

Congratulations to you both!!! Email me ASAP at hellodarlyn@gmail.com and let me know what email to send your $25 gift certificate to!

If you didn't win, make sure to watch for the next giveaway! I love giving away stuff, and I can't wait to think up the next awesome prize for April! Or hey, maybe I won't be able to wait that long.... ;)

Now back to crafty/creative posts...I've kinda been slacking! It's been almost 2 weeks since Kara's birthday and I still have so many crafty details to share! So check back soon. =) 

Hope you all have a fabulous Friday!


I Know It's Not July 4th or Anything...

...But there's no wrong time to feel grateful, right?

Because I'm feeling pretty grateful today.

I'm not a political person. I'll confess I'm sadly undereducated when it comes to the current events within the realm of politics and government. I do *strongly* believe that education and action is vastly important when it comes to how we are governed, whatever my own shortcomings in that area may be. And I'm determined to improve.

But what I'm grateful for is the absolute steadfast knowledge that the country we live in is a beautiful, strong and graced one.

I think we forget sometimes. In the midst of political turmoil, between disappointment in our leaders and accusations hurled back and forth between and about politicians and governmental figures, we forget that our nation is inherently great. Not because of one man, but because of the millions and millions of people who reside here.....

FREE people.

Freedom is a divine attribute, in the most literal sense. I believe in God, and I believe we are blessed to live in a country that gives us a power to direct our lives that is reflective of the gift He has already given us...the power of choice.

We have the power to act, to live, to aspire to absolutely anything, as we choose.

It hit me hard as I thought about it this morning.

I may just be another stay-at-home mother, but I truly can do or be or create anything I am willing to work for. I can be a catalyst for great things if I choose. Even if my actions are small all on their own...even if they're confined to my own home and family, to my friends and neighbors and community...they matter. I can be kind, I can work hard, and I can improve the lives of others. If things are wrong, I can work to change them. If the welfare of others is threatened, I can work to help and protect them.

And that kind of power, residing in every single one of us, is vastly more important than who wins an election.

I've known many of these things all my life, but today they became more profound as I thought about them. I realized that the only one preventing the achievement of all I hope and wish for, is me. That happiness and success are mine for the taking.

That I can accomplish anything I want.

And so can you. And most importantly...

So can our children.

And I'm so, so grateful.

Go chase a dream. I'll do the same.  =)

P.S. This song on the radio is what inspired all this cheese...I was so happy to find that the music video did the song justice.

P.P.S. God Bless Our Soldiers. This nation wouldn't be what it is without you.


TomKat Shop Grand Opening and Giveaways Galore! (Giveaway Now Closed, Thanks!)

I am so excited to share the awesome news!

Kim of the fabulous TomKat Studio recently announced that she was opening her very own online party shop, and the shop's Grand Opening is today!

Kim's blog was the first that really introduced me to the fun world of party design, and she has absolutely fantastic taste and style! She's been designing her own DIY party printables and selling them on Etsy for years, but she's now offering so many products that she's far outgrown the Etsy platform. Now her personal party shop offers not only her printable lines but lots of gorgeous coordinating party supplies, cake stands and even her favorite crafting tools! I can't wait to make my first purchase there soon!

And guess what? She's doing a $100 giveaway to her shop to celebrate! Head over to her blog *right now* to enter!

And double guess what?

I'm so excited for the grand opening that I'm doing a DOUBLE GIVEAWAY!

*TWO* lucky winners here at Hello Darlyn will get a $25 gift certificate each, to use at TomKat's Shop any way they choose!

Between me and Kim, you have **3** chances to win!

Entering here is easy! Just leave a comment on this blog post before the giveaway closes at midnight (MST) on Wednesday, March 7th. Only one comment/entry per person please. =) The two winning comment numbers will be chosen using random.org and announced on Thursday, March 8th! The two $25 gift certificates will be emailed to the winning recipients.

The TomKat Studio giveaway ends at the exact same time, so make sure to enter both before then! You only have 2 days!

After you enter the giveaways, make sure to head over to TomKat's shop and check it out...she has so many awesome products that will add the perfect touch to your next party or event!

Good Luck! =)

Not as Easy-Peasy as I Thought: Designing a Dessert Table

(Photo by Monika Branley via The TomKat Studio...I aspire to this kind of gorgeousness!)

I found a fabulous blog post recently with some awesome tips on designing a dessert table, and I was so excited to put them into play at my daughter's birthday party. I had a vision in my mind of how my table display was going to look, but I came to find out that putting together a dessert table was a little harder than I thought. The table turned out looking lovely, but it was quite a bit different than what I had expected to end up with...

I made one big mistake...

I didn't do a test run.

I should have gotten out all my cake stands, jars and platters and tested out the table arrangement beforehand. I knew that I should have, but I have a very bad habit when I'm trying out something new, for the first time, for a special occasion: I never do a test run! I put things off and tend to wait 'til the day of to get details figured out, and it's a bad, bad, bad habit! I seem to be especially prone to this when it comes to cooking or baking...I'm not awesome at either, so I tend to put off thinking about it until I don't have time to practice making something at least once. Then all I can do is just pray that the result turns out somewhat edible!

I've decided to establish a rule for myself from now on for party planning/designing/cooking/baking/ everything else on the planet:

Always do a test run!

One great tip from the article is to avoid going overboard with the food for the dessert table. It gets incredibly overwhelming to try and make several different things yourself, and it's expensive to buy items from bakeries or order fancy baked goods online! I originally had plans for all kinds of things for the dessert table (mini cheesecakes and brownie bites along with cookies and cupcakes), but ended up not having time for them all, of course! It was definitely for the better...we ended up with just about the right amount food.

I'm also trying to improve at asking for help from others. I don't know why I always imagine I can do everything myself, because I never can! All I made were the cupcakes, and the cookies were made lovingly by my mom and sister-in-law Amber. Cream puffs courtesy of Costco!

(It was dark when Kara's Sunday evening party got underway and the 
dessert table was all assembled. Flash photos at night are not my favorite!)

Kara was supposed to have her own mini-cake, but that was one more thing that I didn't do a test-drive on! I baked her a cake, but when we tried to removed it from the mini-cake pan that I had bought (but never used), it stuck to the pan, despite the fact that we greased it with Crisco. We tried to remove it carefully, but it went all to pieces. So, just a cupcake for her!

My original plan for the dessert table as a whole was somewhat elaborate. Alas, after my sister-in-law and I assembled and hung the canopy over my dining area, I quickly came to see that I wasn't going to be able to fit as many things on the table as I wanted to. The fabric would drape over things if they were anywhere near the ends of the table, plus the canopy made the space on the table feel more closed in. As I was finally arranging all my things on the table...far too last-minute...I saw immediately that it was going to be too cluttered. So, I started nixing items one by one.

I had wanted to place a tray with bottles of strawberry lemonade and cute stripey straws on the table...that had to go.  I still used the bottles and straws...and they were so cute!!!...but they got snatched up by the kiddos before I got a pic! (I am so hiring one of my fabulous photographer friends next party!)

I was going to fill a couple of pretty glass apothecary jars with candy and cute pink strawberry marshmallows. They simply didn't look right...had to nix them too.

I was also going to put two square platters in front for some of the cookies or cupcakes, and place cake stands behind them. It looked too cluttered, especially with the frames and flowers I was absolutely determined to display somehow. So, no platters! I ended up with just my 3 favorite cake plates for cupcakes and my tiered server for cookies and cream puffs.

My end result was sweet and pretty, but very simple. Maybe that was best though...the canopy made everything seem "fancier" (my little nieces sure loved it!), and it was kind of the star highlight of the table anyway.

The great thing is, there's always more parties to plan and more chances to create something awesome! In two months, for Jake's birthday...I'm going to have a dessert table that says "RAWR!"

(Probably literally. Love this dinosaur theme!


How to Have a Garden Party in February

I had intended on posting once every day this week, about the different crafts and ideas I used for Kara's birthday party. Nighttime is my blogging time, but alas, my children have chosen this week to be particularly rotten sleepers! So it sometimes goes.

One of the most fun elements of Kara's birthday party was most definitely the canopy over the dessert table! I was a little worried that I would get teased that it looked "wedding-ish"...and I totally did, by a certain big brother of mine that shall remain nameless... =)

But here's the thing....
For years I've dreamed of having a little girl to play dress-up and tea time with. I've imagined throwing birthday garden-parties with cute sundresses, flowers and pretty white-linened tables (think "Anne of Green Gables"...remember the picnic where Anne first meets Gilbert?). But, let's face it...with a home in Utah and a birthday in February, Kara will probably never, ever have an outdoor birthday party. So my idea for the canopied dessert table was my small effort to bring a garden party inside

And February or no, I still put her in a sundress! 
(And could that be my new *pink* chair she's sitting in?)

And the extra bonus: The canopy is perfect to hang in her room now that the party is over! I love party decor that doubles as home decor, and vice versa.

To make the canopy I used a large embroidery hoop (just the outside ring), ribbon, tulle fabric, and I finished mine off with a floral garland, but that is totally optional. The idea originated with something I pinned on Pinterest, where you could make a canopy using an embroidery hoop and two curtain panels:

One reason this idea really appealed to me for my dessert table was because I could use an embroidery hoop to create a canopy around my dining nook lighting fixture, which I wouldn't have been able to do if I had just purchased a canopy like the ones you place above a bed.  Since the embroidery hoop opens, I just placed it around the chain of my lighting fixture, using the chain as an anchor to hang the canopy! Plus, it looked so lovely when it got dark and the chandelier lit up the fabric!

I really wanted a sheer canopy made out of something like tulle or chiffon. I tried to find some sheer panel curtains, but I couldn’t find anything that was as long as I wanted. Plus, curtains can be expensive! 
So it occurred to me...why not just buy the material myself? So that's just what I did!
In my search for material I totally lucked out and came across an awesome website: eFavorMart.com! eFavorMart is geared largely toward providing supplies for weddings and large events, and they offer lots of discounts for ordering items in bulk, but they still have amazing prices if you only buy single items. I bought an entire 54 inch x 40-yard bolt of tulle for just $20! At Hobby Lobby tulle was about $5 a yard! And there is probably no way I would have found two curtain panels for as cheap as $20. Plus, I have lots of tulle left over to use for other projects! Imagine...you normally spend about $20 to buy a tutu, right? Imagine how many tutus you could make out of 40 yards of tulle! Plus, Efavormart has about any color of tulle you could want! 
Here I have to admit that I actually did very little to make the canopy myself...I have to give the credit to my crafty sister-in-law Amber! I came up with the idea for the canopy, but it did require some simple sewing, and I don't sew. At all. Yet. =) So I called up Amber and told her my idea, and she happily came over with her sewing maching. And not only did she end up sewing the fabric for me, but she assembled and hung the canopy as well, while I ran around taking care of other party details!

What she did was crazy simple for anyone with a little sewing know-how: she folded over the end of the tulle and sewed a simple hem, then we could slide the fabric over the embroidery hoop, just like a rod pocket on a curtain panel! The embroidery hoop isn't very wide, but the bracket part of the hoop where the screw is (I don't know what it's really called!) is a bit more bulky, and you need to make sure your fabric can slide over it, so you need to make the hem about 2-3 inches or so wide.

After she sewed the "rod pocket," she slid it onto the embroidery hoop and then we held it up where the canopy would hang to see where I wanted to cut the other end of the tulle, depending on how long I wanted it to be. I wanted mine to reach the floor. So she measured accordingly and cut each additional "panel" to be the exact same length. She ended up cutting/sewing 8 panels in all. 3 were draped over each end of the table and 2 were draped down the back. She also made a small stitch in a few places to "tack" some of the panels together, so they would stay in place. In the space between the groups of panels we tied 4 long ribbons, and then tied all four ribbons together at the top of the chain of my lighting fixture to hang the canopy.


I put floral garland around mine and loved it! It gave it such a pretty finishing touch, and it was perfect for hiding the bulky bracket of the embroidery hoop.

(It's right there, but you can't even see it!)

One more tip: before putting the tulle panels on the embroidery hoop, I wrapped my hoop in 1-inch pink satin ribbon. I thought that way it would look cuter since it would show through the sheer material, plus it ended up being very practical in avoiding snags as well...the wood of the hoop easily snags on tulle and could create runs. (You still need to be careful sliding the tulle over the bracket part though!) 

I I wrapped the ribbon around the hoop diagonally, and pretty tightly, using a dab of hot glue every 6 inches or so just to hold it in place and keep it from unraveling if I had to put it down for a moment. I ended up having a hard time making the ribbon lay completely flat all the way around, and it didn’t look perfect by any means, but when the canopy was complete I didn’t even notice!

I also ordered the ribbon and floral garlands I used from Efavormart...I ordered several rolls of 1-inch double-faced satin ribbon in different colors, and they were each just $5 for a big ol' 50-yard spool! The rose garland was $15 for 8 garlands, each about 5 feet long. I used 2 or 3 for the canopy and doubled up a few more to put on top of my mantle. They looked so cute!

The white tablecloth was from eFavorMart as well...I wanted a tablecloth that would reach the floor, and I paid just $15 for a huge 90x156 inch tablecloth. eFavorMart is definitely one of my go-to sites for party supplies from now on! I love that I will be able to use it for just about any party or gathering in the future.

There it is! This ended up being such an awesome success for one of my first real "crafty" ideas ever! But seriously though, I could not have done it by myself...I probably would have ditched the whole idea if it hadn't been for my awesome sister-in-law! Huge thanks Amber!

(Seriously: underlined, bold, italic!) 


Next up: A quick post on arranging the dessert table *beneath* the canopy (a little harder than I thought!) and where to get these crazy cute DIY frames!

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