DIY: 40th Birthday Button (with a free download!)

DIY: 40th Birthday Button // Our Concrete Home (

Sometimes I forget I don’t have to make a project completely at home for it to be successful. I’m lucky I have a ton of supplies and gadgets around to use for most my projects, but how about if you don’t? Well the perfect example of this is these 40th birthday buttons I made for my pal Dean.

DIY: 40th Birthday Button // Our Concrete Home (

If you have ever looked into make custom buttons before, you would know that proper button makers (or badge machines) are ghastly expensive. $300 bucks is a serious investment for me. I would need to be making a whole lot of buttons to justify that price.

DIY: 40th Birthday Button // Our Concrete Home (

And that’s where online shops that specialize in this sort of thing come in. You create the artwork and have them make the button, t-shirt, phone case or whatever you are looking to make. It is as simple as that. For this particular project, I used Zazzle but there are tons out there specializing in this service. I recommend typing “custom BLANK” into the search bar of your internet browser to find the right vendor for you.

DIY: 40th Birthday Button // Our Concrete Home (

And now on to my button project… about eight months ago, my friend Dean told me he wanted a button for his 40th birthday that said “Lordy, Lordy, Dean is 40!” He was so specific with the wording that I typed it into an alert on my phone to remember later.  

DIY: 40th Birthday Button // Our Concrete Home (

As his birthday approached, my phone awesomely reminded me of the plan. I did a little research on my options and got started working out the details with his finance to surprise him at his Bday BBQ.

DIY: 40th Birthday Button // Our Concrete Home (

For the design, I created a gingham pattern to give the button a nice retro vibe reminiscent of Dean himself. Then I used a couple font Bebas and Bauhaus 93 to spell out Dean’s catchy jingle. When it was finished, I uploaded my design to Zazzle and a couple days later the buttons arrived on my doorstep. You gotta love the ease of this project! No printing, glue-sticks and fingers injured in this process.

Friends don’t turn forty everyday. I was so happy to add an extra sparkle to the birthday boy’s eye with these buttons. And believe he was super surprised and touched we remembered his request.

I had so much fun making this graphic, I thought I would to make it a free download for anyone to use. Read below if you are interested!


Free Customizable Button Artwork

DIY: 40th Birthday Button // Our Concrete Home (

Download my editable PDF that you can personalize. You will need Adobe Acrobat to edit the file which you can download here if you don’t have it on your computer.

Editable PDF Instructions

Download PDF

  1. Simply open the PDF in Adobe Acrobat.
  2. Type in a new name in the highlighted field.
  3. Save your file.
  4. Upload it to Zazzle or other custom button printer.

This file can print up to the 6″ button size on Zazzle. The file is sized at 1875 x 1875 pixels and 300 dpi. Note: colors may be slightly different from what you see on the screen and the font size cannot be changed.

Easy right? If you like this format, check back next week! I’m launching my new etsy shop of digital invites. I’m so excited!!

Extra Zazzle Info for Your Own Custom Work

As I mentioned earlier, I decided to order the buttons with Zazzle. I was not compensated for writing about their service or using them for this project. I’ve just used them before and have been happy with their products. I wanted to explain a little more about how custom artwork works on the site if you are nervous ordering through them.

For custom work, I always check out the image guidelines and recommended file sizes first so you are working with the right format. For more complicated designs, they also have guide files which you can use to as a template for your file.

I chose the 2 1/4″ standard button. According to the image guidelines, I needed at least a 450 x 450 pixel design for this size. I decided to size it 1200 x 1200 pixels so that it was high resolution. I would rather give the printer more than they need than less to make sure the artwork looks it’s best. (My pdf download is already sized for high resolution printing.)

Zazzle supports images in JPEG, PNG, PDF, and Adobe Illustrator (AI) formats.

I hope this all makes sense. Please leave any questions you have below and I’ll do my best to answer them. Happy Button Making!


Party photos by Dagny Bruce.

March 2014 Recap

March 2014 Recap // Our Concrete Home (

1. We had a lively night in SF for Josh’s 40th.
2. One of my favorite movies was quoted at the Oscars.
3. Loki received his new scratch post tower from Aunt Marga. He hasn’t left it since.
4. True Detective! If you didn’t see this amazing HBO series check it out as soon as you can!
5. We started a tradition with Nate’s mom and Aunt Debbie – cat poems after dinner.
6. Ever heard of KAIA Fit? It’s made me and Dagny almost morning people.
7. I participated in my first and probably last engagement photo ambush.
8. The garden is starting to take shape.
9. Nate and I like shirts with boats.

A gasket for the freezer

A gasket for the freezer // Our Concrete Home (

Are you ready for the incredibly sexy world of gasket maintenance? Well, watch out because it’s coming straight at you in this post.

But first let’s start with my though process anytime a home repair project pops up.

Visualize a thought balloon saying…

Can it be repaired?
Can it wait?
What’s the cost?
What are the pros & cons to repair vs. replacing the problem?

To me, it seems to be a fine balance between cost and time to keep the home operating smoothly. Spend your money and time wisely to maximize the benefits. And although I am inclined to try to fix a problem, sometimes you just have to spend money to fix a problem.

A gasket?

A gasket for the freezer // Our Concrete Home (

Recently our freezer drawer became an issue. We bought a french door refrigerator with a bottom freezer drawer when we moved in almost five years ago. I love this fridge configuration except for one thing – how dirty the freezer drawer gets. In fact I find it pretty amazing how much stuff ends up in it. Beverages gets spilled. Particles and dirt find their nasty little way into every crevice. It basically never stays clean.

 A gasket for the freezer // Our Concrete Home (

Recently I noticed that the drawer liner (or gasket!) began to stick when I opened the drawer. I cleaned it the best I could, but under closer inspection, I realized the liner had actual torn in many places and the magnet that keeps the door tightly sealed was working it’s way out of the liner.

A gasket for the freezer // Our Concrete Home (

Well I kept an eye on it, trying to wait out the repair. Then the the magnet started falling out each time we opened the door. I didn’t realize what a problem this was until the freezer drawer wouldn’t be fully sealed when closed so the drawer would freeze over to compensate. And that’s when I knew I has to replace the gasket.

A gasket for the freezer // Our Concrete Home (

After shopping around, I ended up ordering a new one from Sears Direct for $58.00. (Ouch.) When it arrived, I let the new gasket stretch out a little while I cleared out the freezer. Then I simply removed the old one by pulling it out of it’s grove and then off the freezer door.

A gasket for the freezer // Our Concrete Home (

Next, I cleaned the heck out of the whole freezer drawer. When it was squeaky clean, I stretched the new gasket over the drawer and simple pressed it into groove on the door.

A gasket for the freezer // Our Concrete Home (

Simple pricy solution, but was it worth it?

Well, now the freezer is sealing correctly which means I am saving energy and not over-stressing the appliance and it should it will last longer. So yes, the money was worth it to me.

Moving forward. What’s the plan?

1. Gasket cleaning.

For good measure, I’ve added gasket cleaning to my monthly to-dos so I don’t forget. Plus if it gets really dirty, I now know how to take it off to clean it.

2. Keep them lubed.

I read that a thin coat of petroleum jelly can keep the gasket from cracking and sticking. I am going to try this out on the fridge doors that are a little torn. They are twice as expensive to replace so I am really going to work at keeping them operational.

And if I am really smart, I will look for other parts of our house I can improve my upkeep skills. Maybe one weekend a month will be devoted just to those sort of tasks that make the house run more smoothly. What do you think? Is gasket and other home maintenance on your to-do list now?

A Baby Shower Lunch Menu

Baby Shower Lunch Menu // Our Concrete Home (

Nate, Gail (Nate’s mom) and I hosted a baby shower for Laura (Nate’s sister) and her husband Jeff last Sunday. I was in charge of food and decor. I will be going over the whole menu below and have another post about decor next week.

Baby Shower Lunch Menu // Our Concrete Home (

Gail put together co-ed approved games and prizes. She did a great job finding games even the boys would try. We had to draw a baby face on a plate while it was on our head (I won!), scoop cotton balls into a plate (also on our head) while blindfolded and estimate the size of Laura’s belly with toilet paper (my mom used my dad to measure).

Baby Shower Lunch Menu // Our Concrete Home (

I had a very busy morning prepping for the shower. Tasks I had hoped to accomplish on Saturday didn’t happen, so I was a little rushed getting ready, BUT it all worked out in the end. It’s it amazing how that happens? You just have to have trust that you will get it done.

Baby Shower Lunch Menu // Our Concrete Home (

It was a beautiful day and we had a great time celebrating the newest addition to the family. Congratulations Laura and Jeff! We can’t wait to meet the little man very soon.

Sunday Lunch Shower Menu

Baby Shower Lunch Menu // Our Concrete Home (

Below are the recipes for the three salads I served along with turkey roll-ups from Costco (such a great product!) and homemade cupcakes. All serving sizes are for 10-12 people. 

Pasta Salad with feta, spinach, red onion and walnuts


  • 2 pounds whole-wheat fusilli
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 cup diced red onion
  • 3 cups chopped baby spinach
  • 4 tbsp walnut oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper

Day before the party:

Pasta salads are usually better the day after you make them so you can prep the whole salad or just the pasta depending on your timeline.

Prep the pasta. Boil a pot of water and cook the paste according to the directions on the package. Drain the pasta, rinse it under cold water, and put it in the refrigerator to chill.

Toast the walnuts. Heat a saute pan and add the walnuts until they begin to smell delicious and nutty. Remove them from the pan, let cool and then chop them. (If you are making the spinach salad below, make the almonds right after the walnuts!)

Prep your dressing. mix the walnut oil, red wine vinegar, garlic and mustard together in a jar and shake. Season with salt and pepper to your liking.

Mix all your ingredients together. Toss the chilled pasta, walnuts, feta cheese, onion, spinach and dress together in a large bowl to combine. Season with salt and pepper to your liking.

Recipe adapted from Ellie Krieger


Spinach Salad with Asparagus, Strawberry and Candied Almonds


  • 4-5 cups baby spinach
  • 2 bunches asparagus
  • 2 cups sliced strawberries
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • salt and pepper

Day before the party:

Prep the candied almonds. Chop up the almonds into big chunks. Head a saute pan over medium heat and add the chopped almonds and 1/8 c of sugar. toss and mix until the sugar caramelizes. Transfer the almonds to a sealable container, let cool then store.

Prepare your dressing. Mix the rice vinegar, olive oil, 1/8 c sugar in a jar and shake. Season with salt and pepper to your liking.

Morning of the party:

Blanch the asparagus. Boil a pot of water and prepare an ice water bath. Snap off the bottoms of your asparagus  and then blanch them in the boiling water for 2-3 minutes until they turn bright green. Remove from the water and submerge in ice water.

Prep the rest of your salad ingredients and mix together. Dry off the asparagus and cut into 1 inch pieces. Mix the spinach, asparagus and strawberries together with the dressing. Pour the sugared almonds on top and mix right before serving.

Recipe adapted from


Watermelon and Cantaloupe Salad with Mint and Basil Vinaigrette


  • 2 mini watermelons
  • 2 cantaloupe, cut in half, seeded
  • 2 tablespoons mint leaves
  • 2 tablespoons basil leaves
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 1/4 cup simple syrup

Day before the party:

Make simple sugar. Pour 1/4 c sugar in 1/4 c water and heat on stove until it dissolves. Let cool.

Prep the melons. Using a melon baller, scoop all melons into a separate bowl and chill.

Morning of the party:

Make the vinaigrette. Blend the chilled simple sugar with the mint and basil leaves and lemon juice until smooth.

Mix ingredients together. Toss melon balls with the vinaigrette and chill until ready to serve.

Recipe adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

All the salads were well received. The spinach and strawberry was a favorite and many went back for seconds and even thirds! Do you have a special “event” salad you serve or bring to parties? Tell me about it. I love to try out new recipes.