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Tiki Tiki Two Birthday Invitation

Hi Friends,

I’m away from home this week performing comedy with The New Movement, but I wanted to share a project from last summer that I think you might enjoy. My sister-in-law asked me to design some over-the-top handmade invitations for my sweet niece’s second birthday party. Big parties for small people aside, I jumped at the opportunity to go overboard with different paper crafting techniques to eventually share on the blog I didn’t have yet. So here we are.

Let me apologize in advance for the iPhone photos. I wanted to document all the important steps and goshdarnit, that cell phone never leaves my side, so it was the first thing I grabbed when I would be like “Oh, this is an interesting tip, I should take a photo right now.” Anyway, it’s cause I love ya.


*The makers of these products don’t know who I am. They’re not giving me any money. Although it would be nice if they did, but that’s not the reason I’m posting their products. Just dang good tools, y’all.


  • 12 x 12″ Sand Colored Scrapbook Paper for Enclosures
  • 5.25 x 8.5″ Sky Blue Paper
  • 4″ Yellow Circle Labels
  • Hot Pink Paper for Flower Strips
  • Lime Green Paper for Leaves
  • Orange and Yellow Paper for Small Flowers
  • Adhesive Jewels for inside of flowers
  • Glue Dots Double-faced tape or a Tape Runner
  • Blue Paper for Ocean
  • Green Paper for Grass
  • Brown Stamp Pad
  • An Eyeshadow Applicator
  • Hot Pink Envelopes
  • Green Oval Labels

Text & Graphics:

I used Illustrator to design the title graphic and InDesign to lay it out for print. For me, this was the easiest, but that may not be the same in all cases. Photoshop or Word are also good alternatives for this step. One major benefit of using Illustrator is that it’s a vector program, meaning the artwork can be stretched infinitely without getting distorted. Photoshop is a raster program, so when you stretch artwork beyond the original size, it becomes pixelated. Boooo.

BONUS TIP: I took the Tiki-Tiki text and printed it really large to fit a wooden sign to welcome guests at the party. Using carbon transfer paper, I traced the letters onto the wood and painted in the lines. Made it real easy to look real good!

The fonts I used are RiotSquad (Katie’s Turning), TikiIsland (Tiki-Tiki), TikiSurf (2) and Helvetica Neue (Body Text). Paper Source makes all these pretty labels that have downloadable templates in different formats, PDF, InDesign, Word, whatever. So easy. When designing titles like this, I like to use a couple different fonts– but as a rule of thumb, never more than three (excluding more simplified body text typefaces).


The Enclosures:

Start with some 12 x 12″ sand-colored scrapbook paper, I found some really cool single sheets that were metallic on one side and matte on the other. This gave the outside of the enclosures a really luxurious look and the inside a perfectly sandy interior. Trim to 8.75″ tall, keep the scraps, they will be used later to make the bamboo trim around the Tiki-Tiki text box. Score the enclosure at 3 3/8″ and 8 7/8″. I like to  use a marker on a piece of scotch tape to mark the measurements. Makes it a lot easier when you’re making a whole bunch at a time. Since these invitations have some 3D elements, I also scored a second line just to the outside the measurements so that my flowers won’t get squished.

The little black dots show me where to crease the enclosures.

Put a little piece of tape and to mark your score lengths without messing up your pretty scoring board. Makes it that much quicker to see where to crease the paper!

Cutting & Prep:

Since I’m the greatest aunt ever, I agreed to make fifty of these bad boys. FIFTY, y’all. That’s a lot of invitations with a lot of individual steps. But fortunately, I learned some great tips about assembly lines working for a company that specialized in the Lean Supply Chain. Who knew logistics and crafting went together? (thumbs to self) This girl did. First, I cut everything out. Then I did any sub-steps like cutting the grass with the fringe scissors, making the oceans, etc. Getting everything ready before you start assembling makes it a lot faster and easier to put everything together.

  • Cut and score the enclosures.
  • Print the title text boxes onto cardstock.
  • Print the circle labels.
  • Punch the strips of hot pink flowers for the sides.
  • Run all the strips of flowers through the Xyron at the same time.
  • Punch the smaller flowers and sculpt them.
  • Cut green paper into rectangles, then use the fringe scissors to make ’em look like grass. (see below)
  • Use cricut to cut various sizes of leaves, run through tiny Xyron.
  • Cut out the ocean (see step-by-step graphic below)
  • Make the bamboo strips (see video below)

For the ocean, titles and bamboo branches, I ran them through my Xyron at the same time. The pink flowers I ran through in a big batch because of their similar size and shape. The adhesive Xyron cartridges are expensive (use coupons!) so this is a great way to  use the machine efficiently and economically. This also applies to the flowers and leaves.



  • Start with the blank enclosure, matte side up. Use double sided tape to adhere the sky blue paper on all four sides.
  • Print the information onto the round 4″ yellow labels, stick the sunny circles right about the middle of the page.
  • Attach the ocean.
  • Attach the grass.
  • Attach the Tiki Tiki title text box
  • Border the text box with the bamboo branches.
  • Place the flower strips on both sides.
  • Use glue dots to place the smaller flowers on either side. No need to go crazy, 2-3 on each side looks lovely.
  • Slip the Xyroned lime green leaves underneath the strips of flowers. Again, no need to go nuts. Less is more.

Just One More Thing… 

I bought this vector Tiki mask from, then printed a bunch onto a separate sheet when I got everything else printed.  Trimmed the masks to close rectangle using my paper trimmer, then I cut each one out with an Xacto knife. I used my Cricut to cut out some larger leaves in lime green and darker green ones to back them. I ran the lime green leaves through the Xyron and attached them the the dark ones. Using a glue dot, I attached the two leaves to each other. Again, I used my Cricut and the Opposites Attract cartridge to cut out a bunch of  2’s, ran them through the little Xyron and affixed them to the leaves. Then I used foam squares to attach the pieces to the front of the enclosure. Foam squares are a great way to add dimension. Check it out:

I know what you’re probably thinking…

“That’s a whole lot of work for something that people are just going to throw away.” And you know what, you’re right. But aside from the moments that I was really exhausted, working on this project was a total joy. Because I knew that I’d be sharing something special and handmade– not only with the recipients of these invitations, but you, my eventual crafty audience. Even if just for a moment, if someone opened that envelope and said “wow” and felt the energy it took to create it. To me, that’s worth it.

Oh, and the mister and I totally had a good time at the party too. Which is also very important.

love, liz.

Handmade Cat Toys

Little Kikki

Hi friends,

This spring we found a little kitten– and kittens are wont to do, she is growing up and is full of energy. As a first-time kitten mom, I’ve been learning a lot. Like–Cat toys are a total racket, am I right?! I don’t understand how a plastic wand with some feathers cost $5…must be the up charge for traveling across the globe to get into our supermarkets. Hrmmmph. I digress.

I’ve also been learning a lot about how to raise a well-behaved feline friend. According to my new favorite show, My Cat From Hell, depleting excess energy through play is a great way to ensure they avoid destructive behavior like clawing furniture and hunting your hands and feet. This show is a great resource for learning the best practices on kitten-rearing. You can find it on Animal Planet, check your local listings.*

The animal behaviorist, Jackson, almost always recommends three things:

1. Make a path up high so your cat can maneuver around a room without touching the floor. (Height = Confidence)

2. Take your cat on walks.

3. Use toys to give your kitty exercise and good play time to direct all their energy in a positive way.

Yesterday I made three super easy, incredibly simple cat toys from things I found around my house. Seriously, here’s what I used:

Toy 1: Mouse Fishing

– a dowel

– a piece of string

– a safety pin

– a toy mouse (got a 6 pack for a $1 at the discount store)

Toy 2: Feathered Friend

– a dowel

– a feather decoration leftover from a craft project. Check the feather boa aisle of your local craft store.

– some masking tape

– some pretty scrap ribbon

Toy 3: Buttoned Bobber

– a dowel

– some string

– a champagne cork

– a button

– some yarn from an old sweater’s repair kit

– a hammer & nail (to make a hole in the cork)

– a needle (to thread the cork)

Check out the step-by-step video on how to make Toy 3:

Happy Crafting,

love, liz.

*Disclaimer: Animal Planet doesn’t know who I am. They’re not giving me any money. I just sincerely think this is a great show.

DIY Closet Makeover

DIY Closet Makeover

So check it out. I love clothes, right? Right. Well I have a pretty normal sized closet that had a lot of unused vertical space–as in a whole 32″ of vertical space. That’s a whole lot of purses, scarves and belts if you know what I mean. At 5’7″ with a long torso, I’m a tall lady with tall clothes. So all that underutilized space was just not gonna fly. Here’s how I transformed my closet from “blah” to “ta-da!”



To start, I took measurements. The height, width and depth of the closet itself– which came out to 68″ wide, 100″ tall and 24″ deep. Pretty reasonable. Then, I measured how much space each type of clothing I needed and planned accordingly. I went with 22″ for dresses and 36″ for my double-stacked racks of tops and bottoms. In hindsight, I should have spared like four more inches from the tops/bottoms side and given more room to my long portion.

The Measurements

Shopping List:

  • Closet Rods:
    • I went with two chrome rods, one was 72″ and the other 36″ and the nice people at the hardware store cut it down to size for me. Keep in mind, I chose chrome because, well, it’s pretty. But frankly, I spend about $30 more than I needed to if I had gone with another type of rod. But because I wanted to show it off on these here internets, I splurged. So, it’s up to you, lovelies.
    • *Don’t forget to account for the size of the hardware and cleats.
  • Closet Rod Holders
    • Can be found in both the closet and bathroom sections of your local hardware store.
  • Wood for shelves and dividers:
    • Pine boards come in different qualities and are priced accordingly. Nice pine is smoother, has fewer knots and is less warped. The lower quality variety is rough to the touch and you have to inspect all the boards to find the least-knotty and least-warped ones in the pile. No bigs though, nothing a little sanding can’t solve.
    • The pine at my local store came in a variety of lengths but only a few depths, 6″, 8″ and 10″. I went with two 72″ x 10″ boards for the horizontal shelves of the cheaper pine and one nicer quality at 8 feet tall by 10″ for the vertical divider.
  • Wood Cleats:
    • To anchor the new bars, you’ll need some strips of 1×4″ pine to screw into the studs. I bought 1 x 3″, but I should have gotten the wider size to account for the size of the rod holders. This is why you let me make the mistakes for you. Get enough to go along the perimeter (except for the opening) of your closet.
  • Paint & Supplies:
    • I got a pint of semi gloss white paint and that was plenty. You could probably get away with just a couple sample jars of your preferred color.
    • A small roller and tray will be just fine.

Now for the fun part.

Take everything out and get ready to paint. This means removing any existing hardware, sweeping and wiping the dust off the baseboards (you don’t want that stuff getting mixed up in your paint.) Tape off your baseboards, trim and ceiling. I like to use kraft paper as a drop cloth because I can fold or cut it to the exact size and it doesn’t get all wrinkled up under my feet as I work.

Start by painting the edges and corners. The trick to a nice clean line when painting along tape is lightly brushing a small amount of paint first, letting it dry then going over it with a thicker layer. This locks the line between the paint and tape with out any paint seeping through the edges of your painters tape. Then, go nuts.

Tape it off

Painting on the Edge

Painted and Ready

Prepare the Wood:

Cut all your pieces to fit. I used a miter saw, but a circular saw will also work. My cutting list looked like this:

  • Top Shelf: 58 x 10″
  • 1″ x 3″ Cleats: (Again, should have used 1″ x 4″)
    • 1 – 21.25″ (take off 3/4″ to account for the depth of the side pieces)
    • 2 – 35.25″
    • 3 – 24″ for the sides
  • Vertical Divider:
    • 1 – 74.5″ x 10″

Using a palm sander, smooth down all your pieces. You don’t want any of your beautiful garments to get snagged on the closet where they live. Start with a coarse grain (the lower the number, the coarser the grain), I used 100 grit to start and worked my way to a nice smooth 250. Keep going til it feels like butta.

Using a brush, prime the wood. I used good ol’ Kilz to make a nice finish for the paint to adhere. This is a totally optional step. As landlords, we always have a gallon or two of Kilz on our hands.

Paint your pieces using a small roller. A couple coats should do just fine. Let dry for an hour or so, depending on how hot it is outside, you may be able to get away with less time. But hey, nothing like letting paint dry while you cool dem heels.


Find your studs, affix the 1×3″ cleats at the height of your shelves, like so:
Brace Yourself

Don’t forget to leave room for the vertical divider. For that piece, I screwed a 1 1/4″ hole for the top bar to run through. Check it out:

Top Rod

Install the new rods, I did an extra one at the top to hang purses on hooks like I saw on pinterest, then one at 74.5″ high for shirts and dresses, and the bottom one at 34.5″ for pants and skirts. Since your cleats are installed all nice and level and you cut your shelves oh so perfectly, the shelves should just sit snug on top.

*If you live in an old house like ours, and I don’t know, maybe the your house might be sinking after nearly 100 years of being on Southern silt… then level may be more like “level.” Oh, also our walls kind of curve. Hooray for added challenges. That being said, there was some cursing and re-cutting in order to make all my pieces fit just so.

But then, once you’re all done installing the cleats, shelves and rods you can go put all your pretty things away! I’m a big fan of color order. For me, it’s the only way I know where anything is. I got some cute bins for belts, scarves and small purses to go at the top. I have yet to find shower curtain hooks that will fit my big chrome rods, so that’s why all the purses are snuggling up on each other. Still way better than the hot mess of piles they were in before.



This is the part where I just stand and stare at my work. This step usually involves a glass of wine.

Let’s do this.


Hi there,

Ok, so I’ve had this blog registered and sitting here for months. You know why? Because the first post is the hardest. It’s scary. It’s like “here’s what this is gonna be about and if I stray from this thesis I’m gonna feel weird about it.” Right? Well, that sounds pretty intimidating, if you ask me.

Let’s just discover things as it goes along and see what unfolds. Crafting, cooking, carpentry, and maybe just a little bit of magic are a few things that you can expect here. There, I said it. That wasn’t so hard! I don’t know much about gardening, welding or how to use a sewing machine, but I can’t wait to learn! And when I make dumb rookie mistakes, I’ll let you know what pitfalls to avoid.

I think we live in an overly consuming culture and we spend a whole lot of money on things we can make ourselves. Trust in your hands. Let’s put the ‘do’ in domesticity.

love, liz.