creative projects for life's celebrations

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Wild Rumpus – DIY “Where the Wild Things Are” Birthday Gifts

Wild Rumpus Shirt

Oh my goodness, somehow I haven’t posted about two straight years of Where the Wild Things Are themed gifts for my cute little nephew, Max. Never too late, right?

For his first birthday, I knew that with a cute name like Max I had to do something including Where the Wild Things Are, a book I absolutely loved growing up. Okay forgive me, we’re going to take a quick detour here for one of my favorite quotes by Maurice Sendak that he once shared in an interview with NPR’s Terry Gross:

“Once a little boy sent me a charming card with a little drawing on it. I loved it. I answer all my children’s letters — sometimes very hastily — but this one I lingered over. I sent him a card and I drew a picture of a Wild Thing on it. I wrote, “Dear Jim: I loved your card.” Then I got a letter back from his mother and she said, “Jim loved your card so much he ate it.” That to me was one of the highest compliments I’ve ever received. He didn’t care that it was an original Maurice Sendak drawing or anything. He saw it, he loved it, he ate it.”

Maybe that gives you a sense of why I love this story and its author so much, or maybe you’re just completely puzzled. In either case we’re going to get back on track soon so have no fear!

For this little sailor’s first birthday (his nursery had a super cute nautical theme), I went to Etsy and found a darling print and framed it and cut out some nautical shapes to make a garland:

2013-06-29 20.06.15

If you’ve ever had a chance to meet sweet little Max, you’ll know that the phrase just works perfectly :)

When birthday #2 rolled around I was still stuck on Where the Wild Things Are and this time went for a custom shirt. All it took was a few searches on Pinterest to find an image I liked then I took a screenshot and uploaded the image to trace in my Silhouette Studio Software (find more details on this process in my recent Lego DIY shirt post!). With that I had a stencil and created a shirt to “Let the Wild Rumpus Begin!”

I also found this cute little elephant gift box which ended up being way too small to be practical but was definitely cute enough to make me not care.

I know that pretty soon he’ll be old enough to start asking me for things other than Wild Rumpus shirts and Wild Thing prints, but until them I’ll just eat them up I love them so! :)


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Everything is Awesome – DIY Lego Birthday

While it may have taken me a year to catch up to the hype and finally watch The Lego Movie, my nephew was one of the first in theaters. Together we’ve played Lego Star Wars, built lego creations and I’ve seen the awesome projects he’s created both solo and with his Lego-loving dad. So, when his 7th birthday was rolling around it was pretty easy to know what to do: LEGO!

Along with everyone else who watched The Lego Move, #everythingisawesome became part of our everyday vernacular. (Everything is cool when you’re part of a team!) << once you start, you have to finish.

So clearly Everything is Awesome had to be a part of this special guy’s 7th birthday. The best way I could think about incorporating it was with a custom shirt that I created with my Silhouette Cameo. Here’s how it went down:

To get started, I did a Google search of “Everything is Awesome” (definitely fun, you should try it!), and found this:

Everything is Awesome

Link to Random Italian Website As Original Source

I uploaded the image to my Silhouette Studio software and adjusted filters to do a trace of the image. Basically, fiddle with the high pass and low pass filters until it seems like most of the lines on the image will be clear. If you mess up, just CTRL + Z and try, try again! Soon enough, you’ll have a shape to cut:

Next, I loaded a sheet of vinyl into my Silhouette Cameo and cut out the shape (after adding a square around it to help create a stencil). If I’d been smart I would have then used transfer paper to pick up the vinyl stencil and make it easier to apply it to the shirt, but I just went for it and did my best to position it on the navy shirt I picked up from Target. In all honesty, the transfer paper is a worthwhile step and I recommend it. But things will work out if you don’t have it. The shirt will have more of that handmade feel! :)

Then, after a few dabs of white fabric paint and a few moments to dry, the process is complete and you have one Everything is Awesome shirt for a very special Lego-loving nephew.



Of course, a copy of The Lego Movie had to accompany the shirt for the full effect.

Hopefully it’s a combo that will make for an awesome 7th year!



DIY Christmas Gifts for Him

Congrats y’all. We made it through another holiday season! As you can see from the February post date it’s taken me awhile to recuperate. My dear family had to endure yet another year of me proclaiming “let’s have a handmade Christmas!”. While they might have thought that going handmade was all a thing of the past, our new grad school budget necessitated a bit of frugal creativity with gift-giving this year.

Here’s the first of a four-part series on how I made the most out of this year’s handmade Christmas. Stay tuned for DIY Christmas Gifts for Her (Updated with link!), DIY Christmas Gifts for Coworkers, and DIY Christmas Gifts for Grandparents.

There’s always a challenge with handmade gifts. After all, there’s a reason that the gift card industry is so stinkin’ successful. The last thing you want is your giftee wishing you’d gone for the traditional Target/Best Buy/iTunes giftcard instead of a hodgepodge homemade monstrosity. But, if you take a moment to think about the things your recipient loves, it’s likely you’ll be able to come up with something they just might like.

For the Dads:

  • The new boater (or insert other hobby here).

Boat Master

The newest thing in my Dad’s life last year was a boat. A cute lil’ Carolina Skiff. This gift actually took me the longest to come up with but, after a little brainstorming with my husband, I decided to make a shirt for his boating expeditions.

  1. I searched on Google for an image that wasn’t too intricate so that it would make an easy stencil for a man driving a boat.
  2. I uploaded the image into the Silhouette Studio software and traced it to use as a stencil. Stay tuned for a step-by-step tutorial on how to replicate this with another design of your choice!

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