My Little BEE Turns One!

How time flies!! I can’t believe it’s a year already since Zoe was born – a year of giggles and cries, loads of diapers and stepping on toys!

They say a baby’s first birthday is more for the parents rather than the child  – a milestone reached. Phew! With this year’s infamous coronavirus, the only course was to have a small celebration at home and invite family virtually. I started planning this about two months before her birthday just so that I would have enough time to get the theme sorted out, get the supplies and make the decor which I wanted to be almost all DIY. Oh! To add to this excitement, I also planned to bake a cake myself for her birthday.

My sister came up with the “bumblebee” theme idea and I thought it was fantastic – so I grabbed this idea and ran with it. I wanted to have everything color coordinated in yellow and black and since there would not be any guests coming over to the house, it was easier to plan for just a nice photo shoot with a cheerful bumblebee background and an online ‘meeting’ with our extended family. I looked through a couple of ideas online and saw there were heaps to choose from – I went with a photo gallery showcasing Zoe’s pics from newborn until a year old decorated with tissue paper flowers, simple crafty flowers and the milestone poster in the end.

The Bee Themed Backdrop

Queen Bee’s Cake:

For the cake, I decided to go with a cheesecake instead of a traditional flavored one. The recipe I followed was from my tried and tested Annabel Karmel’s Lemon Cheesecake. Believe me, you can’t go wrong with her recipes, she uses everyday ingredients with fantastic results, which means a happy baby.

I decided to make a cake topper myself for this cheesecake and chose a pom pom cake topper design from One Fab Day. I mixed the colors around a bit to match my bumblebee theme and I was quite pleased with the result. To make the pom poms, I followed a nice tutorial which you can see below. The digit ‘1’ that you see in the image has been made out of card stock paper and painted. I removed the cake topper before any eating began. You can make your own cake banner topper by following the steps outlined in my DIY cake topper post.

The Photo Gallery:

Putting the photo gallery was a bit trickier as compared to the cake topper. The reason being I had chosen a mix of ideas for this background. The first item was a bee themed photo gallery and this is an idea I got from Pinterest, which happened to be from Etsy. I chose to make these on my own, however, feeling a tad bit adventurous in the crafting area. I used card stock paper to cut out the hexagon and the little bees. To make the hexagon, I followed Sara Adams’ helpful tutorial on it. I created a template using cardboard and then simply cut out 12 hexagons for the gallery. I then followed a similar template based process for the little bees, but in this case, the bee was a free hand drawing. I bought tiny pegs from Michael’s to hold these photo memories.

Bumblebee themed photo pegs (Work In Progress)

How to make these pretty hexagons:

You will need:
Scissors
Ruler / Measuring tape
Pen / Pencil
Yellow Paint color
Sharpie or black paint
Paint brush
  1. Take a piece of thick paper which can be folded. Use the tutorial (above) to make a hexagon.
  2. Next, take 2 sheets of card stock paper. Using the template you made in step 1, trace 12 hexagons on these sheets.
  3. Cut out each hexagon and paint each yellow. Keep these aside. Note that I painted just one side of the hexagon.
  4. Draw a honeybee outline on another sheet of card stock paper. Cut this out as a template.
  5. Using the honeybee template made in step 4, trace 12 honeybees (or 11 if you want to reuse the template on the photo gallery). Cut these out.
  6. Paint each of the honeybees yellow and leave to dry.
  7. Once dried, with a sharp pencil, trace out the bee stripes on each of the honeybees you’ve painted. Color or paint these stripes black. Keep aside.
  8. Take the hexagons and draw the digits from 0 to 11 on them. Color these digits black.
  9. Using glue, stick the honeybee on the right side of the hexagon and a peg on the rear side of the hexagon. Leave to dry.
  10. Repeat step 9 for the rest of the hexagons you’ve made.

Funny Face flowers & bumblebees:

The next item on my bee themed background were the funny face flowers. The idea behind these funny faces was to really depict the faces my little kid makes. I drew a free hand 5 petal flower on packaging paper, cut these out and then painted them a nice orangey-yellow. For the funny face centers, i drew these on card stock paper, painted them emoji yellow and drew the faces on them. I made a couple of bumblebees too to add to the top of this display. These are from regular card stock paper and painted yellow and black.

Tissue pom pom number:

I was toying with the idea of having a huge balloon ‘1’ or a DIY thing. I settled with a DIY number ‘1’ since I thought, “Why not? I am hand making pretty much the rest of it”. I have a lot of tissue paper (the gift wrapping variety) at home due to my origami hobby so this idea was very easy to source the materials for. I found this idea and DIY instructions on The Craft Patch Blog. You can read more about this craft of mine here.

Zoe’s Buddies – Fifi and Zozorex – join in the fun!

 

Paper Lanterns

Japanese Lanterns

Paper lanterns come in various shapes and sizes and have become the most popular DIY décor idea, of late. They are used to light up apartments, homes, as well as used as Wedding decorations. Once can use plain copier paper, rice paper, paper doilies or any other translucent decorative paper of their choice.

These lanterns are most popular in China, Japan, and other South East Asian countries where they are used during the Lantern Festival as well as in traditional places.

In Japan, the traditional lighting equipment consists of:

  • Andon: – This is a lamp which was constructed by stretching paper over a bamboo, metal or wooden frame. Inside this, was a stone or ceramic holder with a cotton wick, which was lit (to light the lamp).
  • Bonbori: – This type of a Japanese lantern was also constructed with paper stretched over a frame and was therefore similar to the Andon, but was smaller, portable as well as has a six-sided cross section.
  • Chōchin: – This type of a lantern consisted of a split bamboo frame twisted in the form of a spiral. As an option to paper, silk was also used to cover the frame and protect the flame from the wind. This was mostly used as a hanging lantern and could be collapsed to flatten it.
  • Tōrō: – These are lanterns, which adorned the grounds of Buddhist temples, Shinto Shrines, Japanese Gardens, and other traditional places. These lanterns did not use paper or silk, but instead were made of stone, bronze, iron, or wood.

In, today’s DIY section, you can create your own paper lanterns. I have collated instructions from the Internet to 3 distinct type of paper lanterns (giving credit to the original contributors, of course) and I am hoping that you will enjoy folding these!

  1. Round Paper Lanterns:

First off, we’ll start with the traditional, round rice paper lanterns, which are very common, today. No doubt, you can purchase these at local craft stores and decorate them at home, but the instructions below will allow you to make the entire lantern from scratch. These instructions are courtesy eHow.com

Instructions:
Things You’ll Need:

  • Bamboo strips
  • Tape
  • Rice paper
  • Glue stick
  • Socket and light bulb
  1. Design your rice paper lantern. You will need to decide on the number and size of your bamboo rungs. Spend time looking at different examples of rice paper lanterns for inspiration.
  2. Obtain your bamboo strips according to your design. Cut them to the desired length of your lantern’s circumference.
  3. Bend each piece of wood into a circle, attaching each end together with masking tape. To soften the wood for bending, heat it over a flame. Once bent and taped to your satisfaction, place the bamboo rings in cold water so that the new shape is made firm.
  4. Attach your bamboo circles to each other using either tape or string according to your design. The smaller loops are almost always placed on top and bottom.
  5. Attach a socket and bulb to the top rung using tape, with the socket hanging upside down. You can either run a line from the top of the lantern or use a battery-powered socket.
  6. Attach your tassel to the small bottom rung of your lantern.
  7. Cut out a piece of rice paper about an inch wider than the lantern’s circumference and slightly longer than the length of the lantern’s height. Wrap it around the lantern and attach both ends of the paper with a glue stick on the back side. Fold the excess over the top and bottom of the lantern frame and attach to the top and bottom rings with glue stick.
  8. Tighten the rice paper over the frame by lightly spraying a mist of water onto the paper’s surface and waiting for it to dry.
  9. Hang your rice paper lantern. Hang a cord from the top bamboo rung.

Paper Lanterns
Photo Courtesy Cali2Okie (April)

You can decorate your paper lanterns with tissue paper polka dots with the help of instructions from The Swell Life. You can also cut out other shapes or patterns for your lantern using this idea.

2.  Paper Lantern Ornaments:
These lanterns are non-traditional and can be made with strips of paper or card stock. You will be able to get a good selection of wrapping paper as well as cardstock now that the holiday season is nearing. These DIY Instructions can be found at The Creative Place.

paper lantern

Photo Courtesy letizia.lorenzetti


3.  Simple Paper Lanterns:
These lanterns are pretty simple and will remind you of school art projects. Again, you can use decorative paper, construction paper or wrapping paper for these lanterns. I have also seen some lanterns in which paper doilies (the rectangular) shaped ones are used.