DIY timline for baby's first year.

there is something about a baby's first birthdays that gets moms all pinterest-crazy.  boards are created, ideas are texted to sisters and mom friends, cake recipes are tested, wayyyyy too many trips to michael's are had with a baby late on his nap.  and so birthday parties for one-year-olds end up being a zillion times more elaborate than any other birthday the kid will actually remember, or an adult for that matter.  like many other things involved with parenting, how much you DIY for your baby's birthday ends up being a bizarre competition.

i tried to avoid the trap.  i am not a crafty person, i reminded myself over and over after each pinterest frenzy and brainstorming session with my sister.  i can not do cool things.  and with family flying in from both coasts, i didn't want to spend hours making stuff.  i bought streamers and balloons and pom-poms that just needed to be taped.  it was easy.  but since i had been taking julian's monthly photos on the 25th of every month without fail, i knew i wanted to do something special to display the pictures.

i'll admit -- it got a little crazy.  but in the end, it was perhaps my favorite project i've worked on [out of, you know, ONE, since i am not crafty] and the easiest.   as i mentioned earlier, today i'm going to share how i made them.  you've been sitting on the edge of your seat, i know.

what you'll need:
one roll of craft paper [the rolls of 30 feet are perfect]
black permanent marker [plus other colored markers, pencils, etc if desired]
washi tape
12-15 photos for each month of your baby's first year
stickers or other embellishments desired

what you'll want to do:
cut the craft paper into twelve even square of 2.5 feet each, which will come out just right with a 30 foot roll.   each piece of paper will be for each month of your baby's first year.  using the washi tape, decorate each square with photos and any embellishments you desire.  use the permanent marker to add captions, notes, jokes, or little doodles wherever you see fit.  i kept mine very casual and simple.  don't try to make it perfect -- imperfections and deviations made it endearing and it looking more authentic.

that's it.  square can then be nailed to fences outside or taped up inside on walls for display.  we allowed guests to take down any photos they'd like to keep of julian at the end of the party -- the washi tape didn't tear the paper or the photos at all.  we kept the large photos denoting each month for his scrapbook, but the rest were up for grabs.

anywhere from 12-15 photos fit easily on each square.

we hung them up in order so guests could see him grow as they walked down the yard.

i added notes with permanent markers and emphasized my favorite photos.

there was not really any rhyme or reason to it -- i just wrote. it was so easy. 

they turned out pretty great -- and probably the easiest DIY project i've ever done.

pinspiration #9: lemony-minty-cucmbery toner DIY!

yesterday, PI said something to me he hadn't said in a long time.

'why are you so sweaty?'

he had just come home from work, and we were both laying on the couch and decompressing.  i mentioned it was a pretty hot day out, and he looked at me and examined the greasiness of my face.  i thought i had a healthful glow from my jog that morning, but he set me straight.  it looked like my face was dripping with sweat [though i assure you it was not].  but either way, it wasn't a good look.

but don't judge me.  it's hot out.  really, really hot.  it's smack-you-in-the-face, never-dry-off-from-the-shower type hot.  it's that east coast humidity that really gets in your bones, and once it shows up in june [or the last weekend of may] you aren't getting rid of it.  all. summer.  long.

to help combat summer-sweat-face, i like to use a garden tomato toner in the morning and whenever i feel like i need it to freshen up.  but my toner seems to be gone from just about everywhere i can find it, so i was stuck looking for a new one.  but then, after coming across a few recipes online, i decided i would try my hand at making my own.

now i don't usually like doing DIY posts, but i am very interested in natural products, especially natural beauty products like shampoo + makeup - so why not make my own toner?

my favorite recipe i found was from shwin & shwin on pinterest, and i made only minor adaptations to add the mint and cucumber.

all you'll need is:

1 c of filtered or distilled water
2/3 c cucumber witch hazel [i used thayer's, available at whole foods]
1/2 c fresh lemon juice [took me 2 1/2 lemons worth]
2 tbsp rubbing alcohol
1 bunch fresh mint leaves
a plastic container or jar

directions after the jump ...

combine water + witch hazel in a mixing bowl.  in a separate small bowl or glass, pour the rubbing alcohol over the mint leaves and crush together well until the alcohol looks green and smells quite minty. set aside.

squeeze lemons to loosen juices, then microwave for 15 seconds.  this will get the juices flowing nicely.  use a juicer to squeeze into a measuring cup.  pour into water and toner mixture, pushing through a sieve or cheese cloth to the catch seeds and pulp.

pour in mint-soaked alcohol, again using sieve or cheese cloth to catch excess mint leaves.  pour into your toner container, and marvel at your amazing work.

if you have any extra, pour into a glass jar and store in your fridge.

make sure you label it, because it will smell like lemony-mojito bliss with the mint and alcohol.  i had to remind myself that i shouldn't taste test it. 

i store my toner in the fridge when it's really hot for maximum cool-down effect.  it's like magic you can douse on a cotton ball and swipe your face with.  you just trust me on that one.

til next time...

pinspiration #8: ribbon bobby pins

i am always running out of ideas of what to do with my hair.  i see so many cute ideas on pinterest - but some are nearly impossible for me, because i have pretty low skills when it comes to styling my hair.

when i came across this pin, it looked so easy i just had to try it.

not only was the hairstyle super easy and cute - but mine came out just like the picture.  except for that little ribboned bobby pin.

so i got out my trusty glue gun [MAN does that thing come in handy!], some ribbon, and went to town.

i threaded the ribbon through the pin, tied it in a bow, and then dotted the hot glue over the knot to make sure it stuck.

i even went out and bought some big, pretty ribbon to make a few additional pins.  but the ribbons were so pretty i couldn't bear to glue them to anything.  i'll just leave them alone so i can wrap them around a ponytail or sock bun any old day. 

pretty much the easiest thing i have ever found on pinterest ever.