Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Household Cleaning

(Citrus Vinegar recipe found here from On Just a Couple Acres.)
As the kids head back to school, I realize as I look around, this house is in dire need of a cleaning lady. Anyone else in the same boat? Spring Cleaning in the Fall is in full gear here...

Today, I thought I'd share a few of my favorite household tips that were found over at Pinterest. Just click on the link for more information...

When is the last time you cleaned your washing machine? Just tried this idea yesterday. So cool!

Did you know you could prevent moldy berries in your frig? Yep--check this tip out.

Drain Cleaning made easy.

I'm so totally making this no-slip dishtowel out of Velcro. Great idea!!

Painting is also in my very near future. This tip on cleaning brushes will be great then, I'm sure...

How to clean a ceiling fan with a pillowcase here.

Fluffing Pillows in the dryer with tennis balls? Yep!

And, last but not least...45 uses for vinegar. Who knew?

Now if someone would just come over to do this stuff at my house...ugh...

For more of my favorite household things, feel free to check out my "House Stuff I Love" board on Pinterest here.

Enjoy your day! :)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Anyone up for a challenge?

From Oh, So Lovely...
I know I'm too late for August. But I'm jumping in for September, for sure! Anyone else with me? Promise--I'll share your pics here a couple times through September! :) You know you want to...

Monday, August 29, 2011

Back to School Bulletin Board Revisited

Once in a while, you come up with a neat idea, and you want to share it. I can't WAIT to share this one with you guys today. It has had me pretty geeked ever since I finished it up...
LinkI am in charge of the main area bulletin boards at my son's school. Some of you may remember my Back to School Bulletin Board idea from last year posted here. This year, I wanted to make another Back to School Bulletin Board, but go bigger. Way big, as in 40" letters. The above photo is what I ended up making. Here are the details...

The Concept
I knew I wanted to use the name of the school, and I knew I wanted it to go on a big curved wall in the main hallway of the school. I also knew I HAD to use pictures creatively. At first, I thought XL poster frames, containing pictures to spell out the word "Wilcox." But those were pricy. And fairly heavy. And more permanent than I wanted them to be. So I kept thinking...

Random sidenote: I get most of my ideas in the shower. Somehow, I relax and think and things fall into place or something. But this time, the idea hit me like a lead balloon in that "Peter Pan" state of sleep where you're not quite awake, yet not yet asleep. I got out of bed, wrote it down on a sheet of paper, because I was too afraid to lose the concept if I didn't make a note of it. I love it when that happens. Am I the only one?

The answer that came to me: Solid BLACK FOAM CORE. Dark=impact. Lightweight, so if it crashed, no one got hurt and there would be minimal damage. It had body to it, yet could be hung with Scotch adhesive brand strips (love!). It was readily available at a local craft store, affordable, and large enough to make an impact. I was giddy at the mere thought of this project.

Close-up of a sample tinted picture (made with Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Picnik or Picasa, or any simple photo editing program--check your printer).
The Process
The next morning, I got to the craft store and purchased the largest piece of solid black (not white in the middle) foam core. It was 40"x55". This one sheet made the "W" and the "I"--the largest and the smallest letters. I wanted to test the concept out first, to see if it would work, and later went back to get the individual pieces of foam core to finish up the project.
Using a yardstick, a pencil, a metal edge ruler, a utility knife and these Martha Stewart Varsity Alphas as inspiration, I went to work tracing out letters. Measuring and laying out, then cutting the letters out was time consuming, but I did manage to cut ALL 6 out in one evening. I'm not going to lie--I wish there was an easier way outside using the utility knife. I ended up going through multiple times with each cut, and it left me with very jagged edges. This resulted in many painful paper cuts (it's a dirty job, but someone's got to do it.) I discovered that using a sanding block to knock off the fuzzy edges really worked well.

Next, I went into my school photos file. I selected several photos taken from last school year (and added a few new ones from the school as well) and tinted them. My original idea was to just use regular old photos, or maybe even black and white. But since I'm a fan of the rainbow and ROYGBV, and there were exactly SIX letters here, I used that to my advantage!

The photo editing took about 4 hours, simply because I was working on a loaner computer that was SLOW. I uploaded them to my local Costco and had them printed in matte finish (because fingerprints don't show as easily, and because I prefer it.) I also opted each photo to be framed in a black border--anticipating that the black border with the black core board would work to my advantage and create a more cohesive finished look.

How many photos did I print? Well, it varied with each letter. I had the most red (about 45), because the "W" was huge. but not so many orange for the "I." I ended up with about 5 extra photos for each letter, and I have them set aside, just in case they get damaged somehow at the school...
The adhesive I used was the Tombo Mono--and I used a LOT. I did have to go back and re-apply with red-line tape in a few areas before I took them up to the school, and was glad that I had the time to let them sit, to see if any bubbling or puckering would occur. Could you use a wet glue? I wouldn't recommend it, simply because I always advise people to not use a wet glue with any photo project.
How did I place my photos on the board? Completely and totally random. I did a dry run of an area, glued some down, and then trimmed off excess as I moved along. Placing all the photos on the letters themselves took about 5 hours (only because I'm a bit of a perfectionist on certain things) and I wanted it to look good.
The total cost of the project was about $40 (using 2 coupons for foam core and a sale on the prints). How could you apply this to another idea? How about doing a giant number(s) for someone's birthday, or "2012" for a grad party? What about a child's name on a smaller scale for their bedroom? The name of your favorite sports team for a favorite fan, a "Mr. & Mrs." for a wedding (using photos from the couple's courtship perhaps). The possibilities are endless!!

Special thanks to my daughter Jami, for playing the role of Vanna in the photos, nurse to my many paper cuts, and partner in crime while creating this for her alma mater. Gotta love a crafty helper--and I couldn't have done this one without her. :)

I hope this idea inspires you and plants a tiny little seed in your creative process today. Thanks so much for allowing me to share!!

Enjoy your day!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Back to School Printables

Be sure to sign up as a subscriber over at Chickabug!! I did today, and then printed out all these lovely signs for my kiddos to hold as they start school this week. I love a freebie!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Outdoor Family Movie Night

(Warning: Picture heavy post!)
I thought about having friends over for an outdoor movie night in our backyard all summer long. Last weekend, we crossed it off our to do list...

And I have to was a wonderful evening. It worked out even better than I had envisioned. I love it when that happens.
I didn't capture nearly as many pictures as I had hoped. And the ones I took weren't spectacular. But when you're the hostess, you have to go with the flow and entertain, too. So I'm happy I got the shots I did get. And the best part? I enjoyed myself.

Two teacher-friends of mine brought props. How perfect, huh? A light-up movie camera covered in stars and a director's clap board. The letters on the board were foam and magnetic. They were so cool!! I love the fact that I have over-the-top friends who appreciate that kind of thing. Thank you, Dan and Deanna!

For the screen itself, I found this article from Pottery Barn on how to make an outdoor movie screen. We ended up using our fence as the screen, but I wanted to share, in case you didn't have a fence of your own.
We used a projector and a laptop (and by "we" I mean my BIL and neighbor), and selected "Rio" as the movie. We grilled out and ate, and afterwards, the children enjoyed a big tent we set up in the yard. We also had corn hole and ladder ball, but the big game for the kiddos was the Concession Stand Game (that is for another blog post, but I promise, it is coming.)
After reading about Smores on a Stick here, I knew this would be the perfect snack for Movie Night. With the smores pre-made (using the marshmallow fluff that comes in the toasted version--dreamy!), there was no need to interrupt movie viewing.
For great inspiration, I found this Pinterest site to be exceptional. While her stuff is more related to a birthday theme, the links and ideas found there were extremely helpful and inspiring.

Many of the older kids ended up playing hide and seek while running off their sugar buzzes.
Speaking of sugar, this machine will be mine. Our friends brought it over (because the snow cone machine and the popcorn maker weren't enough for one party--LOL), and I became obsessed. The best part? You use lifesavers to make the cotton candy!! SOLD.

I seriously love this man. He is a saint to put up with me and my crazy ideas. He was such a good sport, and worked like a mad-man to help me get this together. Best Husband Award goes to Chris Turay. :)

And my friends can cook. Seriously. I really enjoyed all the cool stuff they shared. Thank you for introducing me to my newest favorite...Caprese Salad, Cathy.

I read about Push Up Cake Pops on Pinterest. I made these the night before the event, using brownies and frosting, then topped them with mini m&m's. For more inspiration on these, check here and here. I found the reusable push up parts on Etsy here.
The Candy Bar Game (aka the "Concession Stand Game" for the evening.) Yes, they each ended up with a bag of candy. Someone call the dentist.
Special thanks to my sister in crime, Chrissy. She makes a mean Mojito, let me tell ya. She also gave me a head's up to Sweet Tea Vodka and Citrus Vodka (which, when added to Sweet Tea and lemonade respectively itself, is barely noticeable. Yikes!) Great summertime adult beverages. And I finally got to use the mint I grew in the garden!
It was a late night. But such a fun one, too...
These 7 Layer Bars were a wonderful treat. You may find the recipe here.
As favors for coming, I made that Cinnamon Honey Butter and put them in wide-mouth jars for guests.
And if the concept of Movie Night appeals to you, read this amazing article and oogle over the beautiful pictures on their outdoor cinema night. Swoon...

I hope you give this a try and invite friends and family over for a movie night of your own soon!!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Use Your Tickets

One of the staples in WIP kits are tickets, tags, baker's twine and other fun hand-made items from Trish (like these adorable crabs in the sold-out August main kit!  I started this layout really wanting to use these items together. You can say that I had a goal :)  Not that you need a ticket to dine anywhere on the cruise, but I thought I would try that theme.  I was going to title the layout "Ticket to Dine" or something to that effect until I settled on the present title :)  I was pretty excited! I do love me a good title! Check out those GIANT hotdogs in front of my kids.  Is it me or that thing is almost as big as her face?!  lol. I had to use an arrow sticker to point to it :)


So let's brainstorm some ticket(s) related subjects and titles!  Yes, a layout can begin with a single drive to use a ticket as an embellishment and go from there. :)  Please add yours to the comments, I'd love to get more ideas!
  • Hot Ticket
  • Just the Ticket
  • That's the Ticket!
  • Dream Ticket
  • Meal Ticket
  • One-Way Ticket
  • Hot Ticket
  • Big Ticket
  • Wolf Ticket

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

inspiration mini

Hello everyone! Jamie here bringing you yet another mini. This time I just wanted to share the inside of the mini I did for the August gallery.

This book started as a place to put ideas, inspiration, and thoughts in one place, instead of all over my work table as they are usually found. The August kit had such great pieces in which to create little homes for elements of interest to me. Especially needed when I am in a bit of a rut creatively.

The first page was made using the vellum envelope from the kit. It will be a wonderful home for scraps of paper I want to match up, or fabric waiting for a compliment. Just a little place for odds and ends.

So far my little book of inspiration holds a few choice layouts of interest. I have a love affair with Pinterest, but one is not always near a computer when in need of a creative idea.

These pages here hold a few of my go to eye candy to prompt my mind into action. I have plenty of room to add notes and the origination of the project too.

I hope you have plenty of places to jot down your ideas. Place your favorite layouts. Save pieces of scraps. Think of it as your own personal creative smash book...and enjoy!

wip siggy