Vegas Themed Birthday Party Glass

Ever wanted to throw a Vegas themed party?

Ever decided to throw it, in Vegas?

Recently, my brother turned 40 and my family started a new tradition of throwing a surprise birthday party trip on milestone birthdays. (Only 4 years to go for me!)

So, after a bunch of secretive emails, 15 airline tickets and 7 hotels rooms at the Planet Hollywood, we all ended up in Vegas for 24 hours of 40th birthday fun.

I was in charge of all the party decor, which I’ll share in another post.

One of my party staples is a personalized birthday glass, which is super easy to create thanks to my Cricut. (I used to create them using stickers from the craft store which works really well too!)

For this Vegas themed party, I added my brother’s name (Brad) and the number 40 to this fun light-up glass from


It was super simple – just 4 diamonds, 1 spade, 4 letters sized to fit the diamonds and the number 40 sized for the spade.


I create all the graphics in Photoshop, then save & upload to Cricut Design Space. A quit cut later on some red and black vinyl and all done!


Our party had dinner in a private room at Ruth’s Chris right on the strip. I can’t wait to share pics of the room all decked out, but for now, here’s a shot of his custom birthday glass on the table:


Pretty fun, huh?

Since making custom birthday glasses is a tradition of mine, I’ll share another post soon with all the ones I’ve created so far. I love finding different styles of glasses and creating graphics that match the color scheme and theme of each party.

Mermaid Costume & Accessories (for less!)

I’m so excited October is here and I’ve just finished up this year’s costume. I’m dressing up as a Mermaid and have had so much fun creating my own mermaid bra and costume accessories.

I haven’t been this eager for Halloween since I created my flaming circus ring for my Circus Ring Master costume.

Here’s how I created a custom mermaid costume for Halloween & saved money!

Mermaid Skirt

There are so many amazing mermaid tail skirts on Etsy but they’re more than I wanted to spend.

I found one on Amazon that was reasonable priced ($40) and had good reviews but it didn’t qualify for Amazon Prime free 2-Day shipping. So it was really $47. Boo!

Here’s how I got the same skirt for only $29.30 (including shipping).

It’s gorgeous!


Mermaid Bra

I got this amazing bra on sale at Victoria’s Secret (The Date Pushup Bra). I was so excited to get started I didn’t get a picture of the plain bra. Here it is half embellished:


Then, I got these embellishments at Michaels and Hobby Lobby and hot glued them on:

  • Shells (Michaels)
  • Pearl Border Stickers (Michaels)
  • Strung Bead Shells (Michaels) I used a total of 8 strands.
  • Dimensional Shell Stickers (Hobby Lobby)
  • Starfish Bracelet (Hobby Lobby)
  • Rhinestones (I already had those)


Here’s how it came out:


Mermaid Hair Accessories

For hair accessories, I used:

  • 6 bobby pins (had on hand)
  • 6 shells (Michaels – extra ones from bra)
  • 1 Rhinestone Starfish (Hobby Lobby)
  • 1 Alligator Hair Clip (Hobby Lobby)

I glued some leftover shells to some bobby pins – an idea I got from Pinterest.


I also hot glued a starfish to a hair clip.




Mermaid Necklace

All I had to do was add a chain to this coral reef charm (both from Hobby Lobby) to create the perfect necklace:



Now I just have to wait a couple more weeks and I can get all dolled up with my mermaid Bellami hair extensions & I’ll be ready to go!


Here I am on Halloween:


Mermaid Braid with Shells:


Pin me!



Staircase Makeover – What to Stain; What to Paint

After months of admiring this amazing gel stain makeover over at Remodelaholic, I finally had a stretch of time off work long enough to dive right in and tackle this project in my home. (My office closes from Christmas to New Years – how awesome is that? I actually started this nearly a year ago but as you read on, you’ll see my project hit an 8 month snag.)

See theirs here:


The BIG difference between the above stair banister and mine – that I failed to notice in advance – was that theirs had white trim along the bottom and as you can see below, mine was all the same wood finish on the bottom:


So when I used General Finishes Java Gel Stain to refinish all the Oak portions of my staircase, I ended up with wayyy too much dark brown, and I hated it!


I’d just spent an entire week off of work (basically my Christmas-New Years break) rubbing several coats of gel stain and topcoat over my entire staircase only to feel totally disappointed when I pulled the tape back for my “Big Reveal”. 😦

What had I done wrong? Why did everyone else’s come out so much better than mine?!?

A frantic trip back to Pinterest made it all very clear – I needed some white along the bottom to even out the look.


It took 8 months before I could work up the energy to sand off the gel stain and paint it white. I was more than jealous when I returned to work and heard about the other girls’ awesome time off relaxing and wine tasting and not messing up their homes.

I was honestly terrified that somehow I’d manage to ruin it even more. But, one day I finally worked up the courage and started on the top section just in case I messed it up.


And turns out, it looked sooo much better!


Tips for Protecting Your Carpet:

I noticed a lot of bloggers end up ripping out their carpet altogether or don’t stain the bottom wood along their carpet because it’s already white. Here’s how I protected my carpet, as well as the white balusters that I left untouched:

blog-tip Use foil to large portions of balusters that you don’t want to get gel stain on. Secure with tape and push the tape up into the gap between the banister rain and the baluster.


blog-tip Only cover the entire baluster with foil if it’s directly next to a rail that’s being painted or stained.


blog-tip Use a putty knife to press and tuck painter’s tape deep down between the tread and the carpet.



blog-tip Tape a rim of paper along the edge to extend coverage beyond the depth of the painter’s tape.


blog-tip Easily tape a drop cloth to the border of paper that lines the edges.


blog-tip Remember after the first coat it won’t look good – keep going until you reach your desired look. I did 4 coats before I was happy with the results because I kept finding little spots that weren’t dark enough and I learned that just trying to patch a little portion didn’t work out.


Before & After – Revealing My White Paint & Java Gel Stain Staircase Makeover






Flaming Circus Ring Costume Accessory

My family loves dressing up – St. Patrick’s Day, 4th of July, Oktoberfest, Santacon and Halloween are some of our favorite reasons to get into the costume closet.

Last year, we decided on a circus theme for Halloween. I dressed as a ringmaster lion tamer and my husband (and our pup) dressed as lions.

I always love costumes that incorporate props, so I just had to make a flaming circus ring.


It was cheap and super easy to make.

Here’s how to make a fiery circus ring prop for a Halloween costume or circus themed birthday party using a hula hoop.

Since I don’t have kids, I didn’t have the hula hoop on hand, but I went and found a cheap one at the Dollar Tree – score! They also sell black duct tape, which I bought and used to cover the entire hoop.


Then, I created a photo of flames that I could fold around the hoop and printed it on the largest paper my printer can print, which is 13″x19″.

Depending on the size of your hoop, you may want to print multiple flame pictures. I printed 2 large sheets.


Then I cut out the flames:


I made sure that when folded the edges lined up well.


Next, I wrapped the flames around the hoop and used paper clips to hold them in place.


Since the white back sides of the photo paper showed around the edges, I used a black marker to color in the back edges of each flame.


Then, I used clear packing tape to attach the first set of flames to the hoop. It’s a little hard to see the tape in the picture, but I was sure to overlap onto the hoop so the flames would stay put.


For the outside flames, I folded the tape over and put in inside – between the hoop and the inside of the printed flame – so that the tape wouldn’t show at all.

Finally, I glued the tips of the flames together with a glue stick (I re-attached the paperclips just to hold everything in place until it dried).


And here we all are on Halloween night – I think the flaming circus ring accessory came out great!



Easy Giant Foam Board Photo Frame Prop

My husband and I throw an annual party we call the Jean Short Jamboree.

Attendees must wear jean shorts – the whackier the better! – and there’s always a prize for the “Jean Short Jampion” which is the best dressed party goer.

Here’s an example of what goes down around here on JSJ weekend:


Good times.

Dakota likes to join in on the fun too.


One of my favorite props is this giant denim photo frame for taking pictures:


How to make your own giant foam board photo booth frame:

You will need:

  • Large Foam Board (I got mine at Hobby Lobby with a 40% off coupon – yesss!)
  • Fabric* (or embellishments, sharpies – whatever you wish to decorate with)
  • Rotary Cutter or Blade Cutter (to cut foam board)
  • Scissors (to cut fabric)
  • Glue (I used Aleene’s tacky glue)

*I chose to cover mine with fabric, but you could also paint, decorate with sharpies or glue embellishments to the front.

Once you have all your supplies, draw out the design for your frame. I sketched my design with pencil by marking the middle of each edge and drawing a swirl between each middle point.

Then, use either a rotary cutter (this makes it so easy – if you don’t have one I highly recommend getting one as I use mine all the time and it makes cutting everything from fabric to foam board a cinch) or a blade knife to cut out your design.

Here’s mine after I cut it out:


So far so good!

Next, if covering with fabric, lay your cut-out foam on your fabric.


Use your rotary cutter & mat (or scissors) to cut out the fabric, leaving a generous border:



My fabric was a bit wrinkled, so at this point I ironed it out.


Now for the really tedious part. If your frame has curved edges like mine, you’ll have to cut several small sections and glue them folded over like this:


Just keep going until you’ve gone all the way around your frame.


If the interior of your frame is squared off like mine, simply cut diagonal lines at each corner.


Then fold over to back and glue into place.




Don’t worry about how the back looks!


Another staple decoration of our Jean Short Jamboree is this fun pallet sign pointing the way to the fun. Cute, huh?


Easy Wood Photo Plaque for Gallery Wall


As you know from seeing my DIY Canvas Art and Paper Mache Wall Art posts, I love to create my own decorative wall art. The gallery wall leading up my staircase has been so much fun to create. Today, I’m going to show you how to easily – and very cheaply – create your own wooden photo block.

You can use an actual block of wood that sits on a mantle or bookcase shelf, or you can create a piece that hangs on the wall like I did.

Mine is fairly small (5.5” diagonal) and created from a square wood piece from Hobby Lobby that was $.79. They have a variety of sizes and shapes to choose from.

First, I drilled a hole in the back so I could hang it on my wall when it was done (I didn’t want to risk damaging the front afterward when I drilled the nail hole).


Then, I painted the sides of the wooden square to match the color of my walls.


Next, I selected a picture of my dog Dakota from a recent trip to my parent’s house. I decided I wanted to hang my block at a diagonal, so I cropped the picture at an angle and printed it out with a guide line for cutting. I printed it on a matte presentation paper (kind of a high end card stock for printing photos) instead of actual photo paper.


Once the picture was printed and cut. I used a foam brush to cover the surface of the wood plaque and the back side of the picture with mod podge. I positioned the dog photo on the wood and then covered the front side of the picture with mod podge. Once dry, I applied a 2nd coat of mod podge to the picture and also to the sides of the wood so the sheen would be uniform.


Then, I hung it on my wall next to my painted canvases of dog and frog silhouettes. I’ve since painted and glazed the “Love” wall art and it looks sooo much better! I’ll post that one soon.



  • Wooden block or wall plaque
  • Drill
  • Paint
  • Picture
  • Mod Podge
  • Foam Brush


Easy DIY Canvas Mustache Art Craft

I love, love, love mustaches. Actually, I hate mustaches on people, but I love mustache silhouettes. I love them on mugs, I love them on the cool duck tape my husband found at Walmart, and I love it on this awesome t-shirt I got him for his birthday:

Golden Colorado

I may also have a tendency to bust out fake colored, stick-on mustaches every chance I get:

Stick on mustaches

So, when I got some blank canvases to create a collage wall going up my staircase, I knew one of them would turn out to be a mustache print. My original intention was to simply paint the mustache silhouette in the same manner in which I painted my frog and dog art – see my DIY Canvas Art post to see what I’m talking about. But after adding burlap to my Clothespin Picture Frame, I knew a burlap mustache would be way cooler than a painted one.

Easy DIY Burlap Canvas Art Craft

Here are the steps to creating your own awesome burlap mustache canvas art. Obviously, if you’re not quite as obsessed with mustaches as we are, you can tweak this craft to fit your personal tastes.

Step 1: Buy canvas, burlap, and paint.

I got this 8″x24″ canvas on sale at Jo-Ann Fabrics and found this roll of burlap at Hobby Lobby. The paint I used was leftover paint from my entry walls, so it’s just Behr Ultra wall paint from Home Depot in Cherry Cobbler (eggshell finish).

Blank Canvas & Burlap Roll

Step 2: Cut burlap to size.

Cover your canvas with burlap and cut it to the size you need. Since my roll of burlap was about the same height as my canvas, I simply rolled it out and cut it.

Roll out and cut burlap

Step 3: Draw mustache shape on burlap.

Next, fold your burlap in half and draw out half of the mustache. I practiced on paper, then copied my shape with a sharpie onto my burlap. Since I didn’t want the sharpie line to show later, I drew my line as lightly as possible – rather than pressing down hard on the burlap, I barely allowed the marker to touch the fabric.

Fold burlap in half

Draw mustache shape on burlap

Step 4: Cut out burlap mustache.

Use scissors to cut out mustache following your sharpie line and making sure burlap stays neatly folded in half while you’re cutting. This will ensure both sides are the same when you unfold.

Cut out mustache shape.

Step 5: Paint your canvas.

You may want to leave your canvas white – if so, skip to step 6. Otherwise, paint your canvas on the front and sides. I used a 3″ roller to quickly cover my canvas. Since red is a difficult color to work with, it took 3 coats before I reached the results I wanted, which was to match the walls in my entry.

Paint canvas

Step 6: Attach burlap to canvas.

Once canvas is dry, position the burlap on the canvas and use a hot glue gun to adhere the burlap to the canvas. Be very careful when positioning as the glue dries fast and the burlap will rip if you try to pull it back up (I know b/c I tried!). Start with one end and dab a few dots of glue onto the canvas, then lightly press down with your hands (careful not to burn your fingers – that glue’s hot!). Then, continue lifting the loose burlap up, adding glue underneath, and pressing the burlap down until the entire piece is attached.

Hot glue burlap to canvas

That’s it! Now your new custom burlap art piece is ready to hang.



burlap (enough to cover canvas or create shape in size you need)



hot glue gun

If painting your canvas, you’ll also need:


paintbrush or roller

cardboard, newspaper or tin foil to create a painting surface

paper towels

disposable gloves (if you don’t want paint on your hands!)