How to make a Balloon Arch


If you have ever done any fundraising, or decorating for a party at your childs school,  been to a school dance, done anything that has anything to do with kids you know that balloons are involved.
If you have ever been in charge of decorating for these functions you know just how expensive it is to pay someone to make a balloon arch for your celebration.
Really big bucks.
So many that I could not justify paying someone to do it for our last fundraiser.
I knew I could make one cheaper.
These directions are NOT FOR HELIUM BALLOONS. You could use helium but that is what makes it so expensive.
Heliums costs bucks!
I will try and walk you through this as clearly as I can.
I will also tell you where I messed up.
First you will need to go to the hardware store and buy the following
Twp     1/2 inch by 12 feet PVC piping.
One      coupling to join the two PVC pipes.
Two      T-brackets for the base
One      6 foot board 1×6 I believe…have them cut it in half, they will do this for free.
Four      bags of sandbox sand
two screws to attach the T-brackets to the boards
Duck Tape
You will also need approximately 100 balloons, 12inch helium balloons.
A Drill
An Air pump to blow up the balloons. I used the air pump that we use to blow up our beach toys
A piece of cardboard for a guide
Clamps to clamp the cardboard guide to a table.
The first thing you need to do is to start blowing up your balloons. You DO NOT WANT TO BLOW THEM UP TO THE FULL 12 INCHES.
 If you do, they will pop. I promise.
So that you will get uniform balloons cut out a shape like the below photos.
This guide is very helpful.
Don’t poo poo it.

Blow your balloons up two at a time and then knot them together so that you create sets of two.
Best if you put the same colors together.

Once you have a bunch of double balloons created tie TWO sets of TWO together by twisting them around each other. This creates QUADS. When you twist them together they are “locked” together and do not come undone.

The picture above shows Kristen twisting two sets together creating a quad.

Once you have a bunch of quads created you then attach them to the PVC pipe.

To assemble the PVC piping:
Take the two 12foot sections and join them together using a coupling showed below.
I then took white duck tape and wrapped it around joints so it would not come apart. I did not glue it because I wanted to be able to take it apart and store it for future use.

I  then took the boards and used them for my base.
I used the drill to screw the screws through the PVC  T pipe to secure it to the board. Then put the 12 foot pipe into the T fitting and duck taped that together.

So now you have your quads made
Your frame is set and it is time to twist the balloons onto the PVC pipe.
Twist the balloons around the pipe “locking” them onto the pipe twisting them around each other.
 By doing this you will not need to use any string to tie them onto the pipe.
Attach the next quad snugly next to the first quad.

The arch will need to be “tethered” to make is sturdier. We used it outside and it was rather windy and I wished I had used something sturdier that the fishing line that I used, but it worked.
Just know that wind can be pretty brutal.
I also anchored it by using four sand bags on top of the board, you can see them in the bottom photo.

My base could have been sturdier and I should have paid more attention to my placement of the color of balloons but hey, it worked.
The best part of this whole thing was the cost.
I spent $9.50 on the piping and supplies and the balloons were $11.00 for 100 balloons.

Because I had the pump and did not have to blow each one up by my own breath we made this is less than an hour and a half.

Yes, it could be fine tuned and be made better but it gives you an idea of just how easy it is to make.

If yo have any questions please ask and I will try and help you out.
Thanks for visiting.

Fired Up!

Sam and I went to Fired Up! in Asheville this past weekend. He had been bugging me to go for a few weeks and finally we were able to get there. We had gone last month and I thought I had done a blog but apparently I never got it done.    
The last time were were there we painted pottery but this time we wanted to work with glass. You start with a plain piece of glass, I chose a clear square piece. You then glue different colors and shapes to the top of the large square. There are many colors and shapes to select or you can use the glass cutter to make you own.
After you have your design laid out and glued they stick it in the kiln and melt the glass and it all fuses together…and voila! Sun catcher!

The only hard part was coming up with a design, we must have started over a dozen times. But finally, three hours later we were finally done.

We really had a great time. It was nice just the two of us hanging out. Sam is a funny kid, cracks me up. And he is growing up fast. I think he a grown a foot in the last month, voice is changing and shaving.

He is a good kid. I am lucky, I just wish I could keep him young forever.

What to do with all those school papers…

I don’t know about you but I seem to collect an awful lot of papers from the kids school work. I have gotten a little pickier about the ones I keep but Good Golly!

What I have started to do is this…

I have a 3 drawer sterilite bin that I have gotten form Wally World (lord I hate that place) and because I have 3 kids, each one gets their own drawer.

Creative I know, but hang in here with me.

It is in the basement out of the way but I routinely add their stories and homework to it. I then try and separate them into school years and clamp them with the big monster clips, I don’t know what they are called so monster clips is what I am calling them.

I will also save artwork.

These are a stack of homemade cards that the kids have given me through the years.

Sophia is big into writing so I have a ton of her stories that she has written and I just could not get rid of them.

 I put them in a nice neat stack and used card stock and stickers to make a front and back.

Carters self portrait for the top of  his stack.

I now have these stacks of homework and stories the kids have done and I bring them to Staples.

I have them laminate the top paper and the back paper and have it spiral bound. Not too expensive either at about $4.00 dollars a book. Pretty cool huh?

 For this one I took one of Sophia’s watercolor art project and cut it in half and used that for the front and back of the book.

This is from Sam when he was in Kindergarten. Inside is a collection of writings and art work that he did the whole year.

These are all the cards that the kids have made through the years.

I love that they are all in one place, neat and tidy.

Thanks for stopping by!

Linking up to Homestories A to Z

Rustic Coat Rack

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This is the latest project to be completed, not necessarily the only project that is going on, but a completed one.
Our new home does not really have a mud room by the back door. It does have a closet that is completely consumed by my husbands motorcycle paraphernalia and not really convenient or easy  for the kids to use.
This project is really easy and pretty inexpensive.
I purchased a precut board from Lowe’s. Four feet of clear pine wood.  I don’t like trying to cover up knots in wood so it is worth it to pay a little extra for clear wood.  Cost of board $7.49
 I did not need to sand or prime the board because the paint that I am using has primer in it. I did not use the chalkboard paint that you see above. It is just used for propping the board up to paint it.
I only needed one coat of paint.

I purchased these hooks on Ebay. The price of 5 hooks and shipping came to around $15.00, much cheaper than buying them at a local hardware store. I think they were about $1.75 each.

 This is the paint that I used. I already had it left over from the potato bin re purposing project.

 After the board dried I used pretty coarse sand paper to rough it up a little to expose the raw wood underneath.
I then used min wax cherry stain and a rag and rubbed the entire board with it.
Let it dry for a day. The stain tends to take longer than the paint. The stain really makes it look richer and older.
 Then because I rarely measure anything I laid the hooks out and “eye balled” it.
There is one thing I am smart about is to know when to call in the professionals.
 I knew it would be in my best interest to involve Left Brain Bob and the Mini Bob (Sam).
They measured. Marked. measured. Marked.
 And I am sure these hooks are not off by a millimeter.
 See what I mean. TWO measuring devices.
I would have used my thumb and one eye squinted to get the right spot.

This is the spot without the coat rack.
 Not much room

 I would have put it right….there.
But I have once again got it figured out that my LeftBrainEngineeringHusband  would have it in the studs and level.
 This baby ain’t going no where.
And NO Carter that does not mean you can hang on it. Yes, he asked if he could. Boys.
 So glad that my big strong husband was able to take care of this for me.
 (spoken with a strong southern accent)

Looks pretty good if I do say so myself!
Thanks for stopping by…hope to see you again soon.

Homemade Laundry Soap

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From December 14, 2011

OK, so I decided to make this  but was completely skeptical about just how well it would actually work. WOW, I am really impressed with just how great it is and how cheap it is to make. Very impressed.
The above picture is everything that I put into mine.

4 lb box of BORAX
3lb 7 oz. box of ARM & HAMMER WASHING SODA
2 containers of OXYGEN
1 container of PUREX fabric softener, the granules/pebbles  NOT LIQUID

From December 14, 2011

The FELS-NAPTHA SOAP needs to be shredded. I had a hand shredder but it seemed to take forever and then remembered that I had this cheese grater for Parmesan cheese. SO much faster and easier.
Grate all three bars.

From December 14, 2011

Dump all of the stuff in to a plastic bag, inside of a bucket (for support). I did this in my kitchen but I highly recommend doing it outside. It kicks up a ton of dust.
Make sure the plastic bag is sturdy, use 2 if needed. Pull it out of the bucket and slowly mix the contents by rolling the bag around. Make sure that it is well mixed.

From December 14, 2011

I recommend double bagging it because I did not and I sprung a hole in the corner of the bag.

From December 14, 2011

So I dumped it all in the bucket, creating more dust that made it’s way up my nose.
 Hey, at least is smelled good.

From December 14, 2011

I then stored it in the largest glass container I could find so it would look pretty. I found this one at AC MOORE. It was $25.95 but I had a 50% off coupon, so I got it for $12.50, thank you very much!
But first I did some glass etching. I have been looking for an excuse to try this this stuff.

From December 14, 2011

From December 14, 2011

$12.50 at AC MOORE  … SCORE!

From December 14, 2011

I dragged out my Cricut…have I ever told you just how much I love this thing!
I cut the letters out of contact paper.   Much cheaper than the “CRICUT” paper they sell.    Plus it allows you to try different things without feeling like your wasting a bunch of money.

From December 14, 2011

From December 14, 2011

I painted on the etching cream. The BOX says leave it on for 60 seconds….NOT SO, more like 10-15 minutes and you need to put it on thicker than shown below. I found this out after I attempted to read the bottle which, unfortunately, my arms are not long enough to read that small of print…the 40’s are rearing its ugly head.

From December 14, 2011

This is after 2 minutes. I did some touching up to try and get it a little more consistent. What I learned is that I should have done it reverse of what I did. Does that make sense? Doing it this way was easier but doing it the other way would have had more impact.  The etching cream is not real strong and I put the laundry soap in the jar and the soap is white…the end result is you couldn’t really see it. I know it is there. It makes me happy that I did it.

From December 14, 2011
From December 14, 2011

I use the scoop that was in the SUN oxygen container.  I use 1 scoop for each load of laundry. I figure it costs me about $15.00 to make this whole jar, and the big chunk of it was the fabric softener that you don’t even have to use because that was $7.00.

I do a ton of laundry. Smelly laundry. Kids that wrestle bring home very smelly laundry.  I have been very pleased with it and I figure it will last me close to a year. It is about 20lb of laundry soap.

From December 14, 2011

Let me know if you make it and what you think!

ArT WoRk

This is the frame that I made for my middle child’s 3rd grade teacher as an end of the year thank you gift.
My “Sammy’s” self portait. Love it!

Another view of the frame.

This is a Kindergarten auction project that I did for my youngest sons school auction. It is so much fun to do and well received by parents of the youngster. Read as “lots of bids” resulting in money for the school.

How did I do it? Let me tell you.

First of all I have a wonderful neighbor who has an amazing workshop and willing to help me out. He made the frame from 8 inch wide clear pine boards and attached a sheet of wipe board/dry erase board to the back. Hardware stores sell large sheets of this for a very reasonable price. I then prime the wood frame with white primer paint like Kilz.

Next, I have all the children draw a self portrait on a 5×7 piece of paper and color it with crayons. I encourage them to use bright colors and to stay away from the browns and blacks. Then I photo copy each one. Black and white copy works best.

Each bw copy is laid on top of the frame to find appropriate spacing. If a picture is too small or large you can reduce/enlarge on the copy machine.

I start in a corner working from left to right (because I am right handed) so that I do not smudge my work as I go along. Place on BW picture on the frame and trace with with a ball point pen, pushing hard to leave a mark in the wood of the outline of the child’s portrait. Using carbon paper works best but I cannot ever find any. I then start using acrylic paint that I get from Michael’s/AC Moore and paint the picture using the exact colors that they have used. Using skin color for the faces. The children’s pictures are very basic because they are kindergartners and they do not to intricate work. I then outline all the colors with a black paint pen, this also works well for eyelashes. Sometimes it takes two to three coats of paint for some of the colors to get the pop of color you want. When I am done painting the pictures I print their names by their picture and let it dry for one day minimum. Then I spray paint the frame with a clear gloss to seal the paint.

If you do not have a way of making a frame this also works great with premade wood furniture from Michael’s. I have even done it on a large unpainted book shelf with a storage cabinet that I purchased from Lowe’s. If you use items that are prepainted you will need to make sure that the paint is not glossy and and will accept the acrylic paint.

The next frame that I am going to make for my home will be of my sons pictures that he drew in Kindergarten, I love having a fun way of displaying his artwork.

I hope this is understandable. It is really very easy with great results.

We felted today

These little guys are so homely they are cute. Almost. Angora goats with lots of hair. Fiber. I love fiber. I sheered my first goat last fall and still had all of the wool from the sheering. Was not really sure what I was going to do with it, but I was really excited that I had actually done it. They were pretty dirty and kind of smelly, but once I cleaned all of locks they were so soft and curly and the lanolin on the wool feels so good on your hands. The wool has been sitting with all of my stuff, staring me down. Challenging me to come up with something to create with it. I am a terrible spinner so that was completely out of the question. Then while on a kindergarten field trip at the Eggbournsville Farm it hit me! The children could felt wool around bars of soap. Why this came to me while the children were leading Lamas through an obstacle course I do not know. It would be a fun, easy project that they could do and they would have a mothers day gift when they were done. The teacher was excited when I told her about it, she said “great, lets do it on Thursday!”

Crap. Why do I do this to myself.

I collected my stuff. Soap from the Dollar store. Dyed wool from the neighbor to embellish the white wool I already had. A wash board from another neighbor, along with little wooden mats they use to make sushi. A carder to card the wool. Wash tubs and towels for the table. My laptop so I could show the kids the pictures I had taken of them while they were at the farm. I needed to make one more stop before heading to the school. A trip to a local downtown hardware store that carries everything, to buy another washboard. This also happens to be right across from a coffee shop, decaf please. I was set.

Oops, I forgot my power cord for my laptop better run back home to get it. Got it! Off to the school.

I get to the school and I am in the classroom and realize that I have forgotten the soap at home. Rats! OK, I have time to run home and get it. While I am home I remember that I could use baking racks to dry the soap and maybe I will use the Sizzex to make tags. Grab it. Got it. Head back to the school. Get half way to the school and realize that I have forgotten the soap AGAIN! Back to the house. Get the soap. Back to school. This is all because I have given up caffeine. I miss my coffee.

Twenty-one kindergartners and twenty-one bars of soap and LOTS of bubbles later we had felted soap. They did a great job. I hope they like their gifts.


Don’t you just love it when a project is complete. This project started on Facebook with a “make something homemade for a friend”. The first five people to respond would receive something made by me. No virtual gifts allowed. It could be homemade cookies or something doodled and there was no guarantee that you will like it. I was really excited about this. Fortunately or unfortunately, depends on how you look at it only 3 people responded. The fun part for me was to make something for 3 friends from high school that I have not seen in over 20 years. We were friends in school but had no contact since then. It has been a lot of fun chatting, we have all changed a lot. We grew up. We are wives and moms. Priorities have changed. Some are strong Christians, some not so much. Marriages have failed. One is losing a child. I am grateful to have them back in my life even if it is only with small phrases and comments through the week. I hope she likes the scarf I have made for her. It is Alpaca wool and so very soft.