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Friday, June 29, 2012

5 for Friday ~ July 4th Inspirations

Katherine @ Krafty Kat invited me to participate in a new blog hop she's hosting,
 called Gimme Five for Friday.  You make a list of five things, then link up and share.  
Just like my Currently posts are a good way to share more about myself,
I think Gimme Five is a great way to share good ideas!
It's been a long while since I had a good ol' Things To Try post, so
we'll try Gimme Five for a spell and see what we think ; )

This week?  July 4th!  It's right around the corner!
I hunted down five inspirational posts for some festive projects.

@ I Heart Naptime
Looove how these are strung together to make a banner!

@ Two Shades of Pink
These little cupcake "sparklers" are so fun!

@ The Creative Imperative
Simple.  And perfect.

@ Sweet Something Designs
Gotta love a craft that uses empty jars and mod podge!  Look how easy these are!?

@ The Sweetest Occasion
These printable mini pennants and flags are spectacular *swoon*



Linking Up With
Five For Friday


And don't forget to check out Fantastic Friday with Tiffany today!
She's sharing a Robot Birthday Party, that's, well...FANTASTIC!
Really.  Go see!  
And thanks again for sharing all your creative goodness with us Tiff!

Fantastic Friday with Tiffany #2 ~ Robot Birthday Party!

Robot Birthday Party!


So, I have a confession to make.  I've had this party planned for two years.  When my son had his 1st birthday, I had the idea to do a robot party.  But it didn't seem age appropriate.  So I waited until his 3rd birthday.  But the ideas have been churning since then.

Now, before I start, I should mention some things that I have purchased in the past that I used quite a bit for this party.  The first being the robots cartridge for my Cricut Machine.  I have a 12 inch machine which is important to some of the creations.  I also used some adorable robot stamps from Snag 'em stamps and a font stamp called mini robotics from sassafras lass.  But there are plenty of other things in this party that did not use all these things.  These items just made putting the party together a little easier.

For the invites, I simply folded a 10x6 peice of cardstock in half.  The I folded the top, 1/3 of the way back so that the card opened up accordian style.  I used a robot on the cricut for the cover along with the 3.  And the inside I used the robot stamps and the font stamp to make the "party alert".  The inside reads OBJECTIVE:  To celebrate Donovan's 3rd Birthday, COORDINATES: (our address), INTERVAL: (the date and time), AFFIRMATIVE: (the RSVP number)


I had a lot of fun with the party table this time.  I even did some decorations ala Jaimee style!




The paper robots turned out totally cute. They were cut outs from the Cricut Robots cartridge.  This was the first time I've done a 3D cut out using the cricut.  You really do need the 12 inch cricut to do them though.  Or they would be really tiny.

For the food, I set out signs labelling them with cute robot names.  I put out chips which I called "computer chips" and made star shaped jello jigglers which I called "galactic stars."  I made the star shape from a star shaped ice mold I found in the dollar section of Target.  I also put out some green Hawaiian Punch that I labeled "Machine oil".  To make the signs, I printed out the words and used my robot stamps to decorate.  The I folded a strip of paper into a triangle which I taped to the back to make it stand.


I also set out a "Build Your Own Nuts and Bolts Trail Mix."  I used mason jars to seperate the nuts and bolts.  I gave them a random selection of pretzels, cheerios, white chocolate chips, licorice bites, fruit loops, space gold fishies, m&ms, and nutter butter bites.  I basically tried to stick with stick and circle shapes so it resembled nuts and bolts. I used glass etching cream and vinyl as a stencil to put robot and space images on my Mason jars.  You can find a full tutorial and printables for those on my DIY Mason Jar Cups post.


The cupcakes were quite an adventure.  I wasn't happy with the robot cupcakes I found online so I decided to try something on my own.   

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Double Group Giveaway WINNERS!

WooHOO!  It's winner time!


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I'm happy to announce that the winner of
is Kaitlin B., with entry #72 by following Lovely Little Life
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and also - the winner of 
is Heather R., with entry #32 by hearting Literally Inspired on etsy
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Thanks to EVERYONE for participating and making this a successful giveaway!
Kaitlin B. and Heather R. have been notified by email.
Our lovely etsy shop owners will be in contact with you soon : )



Currently {v.4}

This week's CURRENTLY themes:
Remembering, Learning, Wishing for, Considering, Cooking

Currently Remembering... what?  Was there something I was supposed to remember?!  I hope not. My brain is more than full this week.

Currently Learning... all about the ocean, as my boys and I have Ocean Week together.  We have read books, watched documentaries, done experiments, art projects, printables and lapbooks, and had ocean-themed foods.  We had days for Hermit Crabs, Sharks, Coral Reefs & Shells so far, and will do Submarines, and probably Sea Turtles, Jellyfish & Sea Horses by the end of the week.  Phew!  Lots of "Funner School" blog posts coming!

Currently Wishing For... my dear Hubs to return from his week-long business trip.   I'm fried being the only grown-up here!?!?  I was on solo parent duty for the week leading UP to his trip, too, as he was working till the wee hours of the morning every day to prepare.  I've been managing, entertaining, ref'ing, and caring for this ragamuffin crew on my own.  I purposely planned our Ocean Week for during his trip so that we would have lots of things to do.  But golly molly, we've done a lot.  I'm ready for a break!  Besides that, I have only seen my husband about two hours total in the past two weeks.  Date Night pleeeease!

Currently Considering... Contemplating?  Scrutinizing?  Examining?  All of the above.  Here's a real glimpse into my non-crafty life:  I have an as-yet uncompleted sensory profile that is constantly nagging my brain.  I had hoped to have it filled out by last week, so that I could turn it in to our occupational therapist (if you didn't know already, we are a special needs house)...but forms like these are agonizing to deal with.  I need feedback from the Hubs, but, if you read the above entry, you'll know that we haven't had time for much more than an "I put a plate in the micro for you," and "Do you need these washed for your trip?" let alone percentage scales for nit-picking the visual input modulation of our 6yr old.  Say that again?  Does he not notice when other people come into the room?  Always, Frequently, Occasionally, Seldom, or Never??  Uhhhhmm.  Does he lock his joints for stability?  Always, Frequently, Occasionally, Seldom, or Never / aka 100%, 75%, 50%, 25%, or 0% of the time?  This is for child #2.  All our evals and therapies and meds up to this point have been for child #1.  So what I'm considering is this:  the possibility that I have more than one sensory child.
  
Currently Cooking... well, it's Ocean Week here...so we've had shells pasta with sauce, octopus hot dogs, goldfish crackers, dolphin-shaped sandwiches, graham cracker fish tank cookies, and a watermelon carved like a shark.  We do it up good ; )  And when it's just me and the boys, we tend to go for easy/fun stuff anyway.  Shaped finger foods and bites that can be speared with fancy toothpicks.  Pancakes for dinner is always a favorite, too...and yes, we've done that this week as well.  It's "gourmet" - mom style!


Sharing At...

Harvesting Kale

I have completed one month of "Currently" posts...
do y'all have any thoughts on this series?
yay or nay?



Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tidbits with Tiffany #1: DIY Mason Jar Cups

Tiffany is sharing a bonus post with us this week!
I have seen these adorable mason jar cups all over Pinterest and blogland.
Tiffany shares the advantages, and a super easy how-to for making your own.
She loves them so much, she ditched all her other kid cups!
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Mason Jar Cups


When I first saw mason jar cups at 2 Little Hooligans I fell in love with the look of it.  When I made them myself for my Mario birthday party I realized that there was so much more to them.  They are cute, affordable, and incredibly versatile.  I liked them so much, I replaced all my sippy cups and kids cups with them.  Not only do they make my little guy feel like a big kid, my big kid doesn't feel like a baby but also doesn't spill his drinks anymore.  They are great for picnics and outdoor parties because they keep the bugs out.  If you want a bigger cup (like say, for yourself) then attach a bigger jar to the lid.  And you don't have to use the lid because the jar itself works as a perfect cup.

They are also practical.  Despite being glass, I haven't had a single one break, crack or chip.  They have been dropped on all sorts of hard surfaces.  I even had one roll off my refrigerator onto the hard wood floor without so much as a mark.  Also, no longer do I have cups that flip over in my dishwasher and fill with dirty water because they are heavy enough to stay in place and any water that gets in the lid pours out the hole. There are no longer any small holes and crevices that are difficult to reach or mold.  I keep the metal lid to the cups as well because when I am going places, I simply fill the jar and put the metal lid on.  Then when it's time to use the cup, I switch the lids or just use the mason jar as a cup.  Also, the cup with the metal lid is great for taking along snacks and keeping them fresh and in one piece.


So, here is how I make the cups that changed my life.  

You will need:
 a Mason jar (a pack of 12 runs about $8)
 a pack of plastic mason jar lids (a pack of 8 runs about $5) 
and a drill with a 1/4 inch drill bit.

If you want to personalize your cup with an image, you will need:
 some vinyl, glass etching cream, x-acto knife, and paintbrush.

To start off, you will need to mark the inside of the lid where you want the hole to go.  This is entirely your preference.  I like my hole close to the edge.  Some like it right in the middle.


Place the lid on a piece of wood so that the inside is facing up.  You want to drill from the inside to keep the lid from splitting.  Now you are going to want to drill.  Don't be afraid.  If I can do it, you can do it.  Although, I did beg my husband to do it the first time around.  But once I got the guts to do myself, I realized it wasn't so bad.  So here is the girl version of how to drill a hole in the lid.

Place the drill bit on your mark  so that the drill is going perpendicular to the lid.  Drill, giving it a little pressure until the lid starts spinning around the drill bit.  Then hold the lid with one hand while you make sure the drill has gone all the way through the hole.  


Now, there will be some extra plastic around the hole.  Use a box cutter to carefully cut that off.  I also shove a pen or pencil in the hole as far as I can to make sure it's really opened up.


And now you have your lid.  You can put it on your jar and it will fit just about any disposable straw.  Some straws are snugger than others and I fold the end to a point before pushing them in.  I prefer these snug fits because it keeps it from leaking.  

Now, I like to personalize my jars with a picture.  It makes them a little more special to the kids.  So I will teach you how to etch an image to your glass.  

I will use a Lego head image inspired by Jaimee's Trinket Keeper Pockets!

First, draw your image onto the back of a sheet of vinyl.  I use cricut vinyl.  


Then carefully cut it out using an x-acto knife.


Now comes the hardest part.  Peal the back off all your pieces you are using and place them carefully on the jar, making sure to smooth out all the wrinkles.  Be careful not to stretch the vinyl because that causes wrinkles.


Now, using the paintbrush, glob the etching cream on the image.  
Make it thick, so that everything is white and covered.


Let it sit for 5-10 minutes and then rinse off.  
Pull off the vinyl and wipe is clean with a clean wash cloth or paper towel. 


And you have yourself an awesome new cup that can be used so many different ways with an image that won't chip off after a few washes.

If you are struggling for an image idea, here are 10 sketches of my own that you can use.  Just cut out the pieces and trace them onto the back of your vinyl!  


And don't be embarrassed if you find yourself drinking from your kids' cups!  
They are stylish enough for adults too!

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Don't forget about our current giveaway!
TWO awesome packages, by six fab Etsy shops!
Craft, Interrupted
Sharing At...
How to Nest for LessTip Junkie handmade projects
Tuesday To Do Party

Monday, June 25, 2012

Do Your Best & Think Printables

I mentioned a few weeks ago in my Currently {v.2} post that I was working on
some printables, as reminders/goals for our household... to both
do our best, and think about our words before we say them.

I was inspired by this one from Sweet Blessings, that I had seen all over Pinterest.

However, since I was also creating a separate printable
(and I wanted them to match of course!), I gave it a makeover.  
I used Country Fair, parts 1 and 2, from Design House Digital.

The "Think Before You Speak" one is now framed on my entry table.


The "Do Your Best" one, I tried something new with - Mod Podge onto a board.
And it was a lot harder than I thought!?  Who knew Mod Podge was such an art.

First I picked up an unfinished wood plaque thing, and painted it.


Then I sanded that a bit and gave it a wash of diluted brown paint to "glaze" it.
Same as I did for our Father's Day Frame.  I coated the top of the dry board with Mod Podge,  centered my printable on, and gave it another coat.
Mistake #1:  I used regular printer paper, which was too thin and wrinkled a ton.


Mistake #2:  I didn't wait for the undercoat to dry before I topcoated it. 
It was saturated, and the ink began to smear.

I was not pleased with the end result and decided to try again.
This time I printed on white cardstock.  


You can see the difference in color side-by-side,
and how the ink smudged in parts and looks blurry.
It's a mystery why the cardstock printout is larger than the first one. 


So I sanded down my first attempt till my arms burned.
Then I began again - with a few changes.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Fun Jar Friday #10: Giant Water Pillow + 4 more!!!

Summer is upon us (well, one more week for me) which means months (yes months) of long endless days for our kiddos.  Last summer was the start of my Fun Jar experience.  We did an activity every day.  I plan to do so this summer.  BUt because there is so many days of summer, and only a few Fridays, I am giving you bonus fun jar activities!  I'll give you one full tutorial of the more complicated ones, and then a few that I'm pretty sure you can handle on your own with some explanation to keep you inspired!  That said, here we go!

Today on Fun Jar Friday ~
Giant water pillow
+ 4 more fun jar activities!



The giant water pillow activity was the one that almost wasn't.  Believe it or not, not all my activities work.  I've had some fun jar fails.  Fortunately, the issues I had on this activity were from user error and not a poor activity in itself.  The guides  I had to go off of didn't give me a lot of info and I was sort of playing it by ear.  So, lucky for you, I am going to give you a good how-to!  I promise you, once you get it up, it's a real winner!

To give credit where it belongs, I found this activity on Go Kid Yourself via Pinterest.  And She got it from Play At Home Mom.  Mine probably didn't turn out nearly as good as there's, but remember, I'm letting you guys learn from my mistakes!

So, all you need for this activity is a large, clear plastic tarp that is 3.5 mil thick.  The thickness is important if you want it to hold.  I got a 10x25 foot tarp and folded it in half, but feel free to use whatever size you want.  You also need some duct tape.  Optional: if you want the water to be blue, you will need a full bottle of blue food coloring.

So, to start off, after making a run to the store for supplies, I laid out my tarp and folded it over, making sure all the edges matched up.  And because I like in between a couple of mountains which causes some serious wind, I had to weight things down.


Then I started taping it together.  At this point, I realized that my tarp was NOT 3.5 mil.  it was .5 mil and wouldn't even handle getting taped before it started ripping.  Not to mention, I didn't have nearly enough tape!  So back to the store! 

To tape it, I folded the edges over once and taped them down.  When I do this again, I will fold it over twice since I had quite a bit of leaking.  But it wasn't enough leaking to cause the pillow to burst.


when I got all the way around, I left a 5 inch area untaped for the hose.  Then I squirted my food coloring in.  I only had half a bottle, so it wasn't nearly as blue as I wanted it to be.



At this point, I realized I still had a spray nozzle on my hose and I tried desperately to get it off.  IT WOULDN"T COME OFF!!  I tried friction gloves, WD40, tools, everything.  It wasn't budging.  An hour later, blisters and all, I texted my neighbor begging for a hose!  She had one handy.  Funny thing is, she had the same brand spray nozzle and couldn't get hers off either!!!  So I took her backyard hose.

Then I put the hose in and taped to hole up.  If the pillow was more secure, I probably could have taken the hose out at some point and taped it closed.  But because I had leaks, I just kept the hose in and on so that the pillow never went flat.  


After that I just turned on the hose full power and I was all set for some fun, right?  WRONG! 

Watch the water fill up the pillow.


Now watch the pillow roll down the hill as it fills



Turns out, you need a very large, level piece of ground or it rolls away with the weight of the water.  And once it's got water in it, it is very heavy to move!  My yard is very unlevel.  The only level part is where the play set is and that took us three months to get level!  So, I brought in some weights to keep it in place.  That did the trick.


Now for the fun!  It was like a giant ice cold waterbed!  One that you can jump all over.  It was so refreshing on a hot day without getting all soaking wet and uncomfortable.  



We jumped and jumped and jumped until we collapsed.  


The kids played for a good 2 hours without the things ever bursting!  And then we treated ourselves to a ice cream cookie sandwich.  And then we jumped some more!



Now for 4 bonus Fun Jar Activities!  

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