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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Glitter Glass Magnets/Frames

I got this fun and easy idea from Pinterest of course! 
Awesome blogs to check out:
 I used to use the glass pieces on my assemblage' boxes and paintings. They magnify anything glued under them.  The only problem is that glass can be heavy.  However, I loved the magnet idea.  I always need a ton of magnets at school to put up late work, make up work, and no name papers. I also thought these would like great on my frig.
Items needed:
*glass pebbles-large or small-CLEAR
*E6000 glue
*glitter-I think the hexagonal looks great
*magnets-get the stronger ones as glass is heavy
 I love Martha Stewart glitter.  I found these kits at Pat Catans for $7 each.  I really wanted the hexagonal set (above.) I also liked the fine, oddly shaped set.  I poured a little of each color on the plates so I could just dip the glass gems in it.  I liked the idea of the colors mixing. If you want single colors just use separate containers.
 E6000 is one of my favorite glues. It is thick, smelly, and gooey.  However, it will basically glue anything to anything. I wouldn't use it on paper to paper but it the best thing to glue glass.
Also at Pat Catans, I found the larger glass pebbles.  I only bought one package. (Darn, I should have bought like four.) I got some of the smaller pebbles on clearance at Pier One.  I also had some from past projects. You can find them in the floral section in a variety of sizes and colors.

I put a little E6000 on each pebble. I should have spread it with a foam brush but I didn't have one handy.  I dipped each pebble in both types of glitter. I set aside on a paper plate.  As you can see, they don't all look perfect. E6000 can be pretty messy.

I let these dry on a plate. I came back two hours later and re-glued and stuck on the magnets.  At Pat Catans, I got eight really strong magnets. I used these for the bigger glass pebbles.
One tip is to space out he magnets because they will snap together if to close. I screwed up a few by letting them attach to each other while they were still wet.  Let dry for 12 to 24 hours.
I ran out of the circular magnets so I glued these gems to a $1 wooden frame from Walmart.  I had painted the frame with chalkboard paint first. I thought this would be cute if I put pictures of my niece and nephew in it. Then, I could write their current ages in chalk. However, let's be real, I never have room on my desk. I usually have to tape pictures to the wall.
I put a picture of our "Rosebud" in the frame.
The frame is an odd shape so I used the paper insert as a template to cut around the picture.
This was painted pink and then covered with Martha Steward glitter mixed with glue.  I need unsanded grout so I can make my own chalkboard paint.
One month old. So sweet!
As always, there are different ways to do this project.  I want to try putting small pictures under each pebble.  However, I want to be careful around my nephew as he has a tendency to put things in his mouth. It would be cute to do numbers or the alphabet but I think it is too much of a risk at age two.  I was also thinking that this might be a neat school project. We have an enrichment period where I like to do crafts before a holiday break when students don't have work. I was thinking they could bring in a picture (or we could use yearbook pics) and glue that to the bottom, let dry, and I could do the magnet part later or the next day.  It is a fact that kids really like magnets! (Okay, I do too!) 


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Great Product: Lux Snaps

My favorite thing to sew is bibs.  I found a lot of easy patterns online and from using store bought bibs.  I used to use Velcro as a fastener. However, my nephew's hair would get trapped in it and it made my sewing needles sticky.  (I even broke a few needles trying to sew Velcro.) I decided to look into other options.  On Ebay, I found a kit for LuxSNAPS.  There are many colors and sizes to pick from.  I got a kit that had the squeeze gun thing and the awl with it.  A lot of people who make homemade cloth diapers also use these.
I keep these plastic containers handy. I usually use them to store beads and finding.  However, they fit all of my luxsnaps and the sharp awl.  A DVD also came with my kit to show you exactly how to use them.

After sewing my bibs, I am ready to add the snaps.  I use the very sharp awl to push a small hole through the fabric.

                                              It's fun! Please ignore my weird-looking thumb.

Basically, you will need two of the smooth flat backs and one each of the "male" and "female" part.  It took some practice to figure out how to line them up and to squeeze hard enough to see the spiral.  Also, test that your snaps will snap together before setting them. 

I also think that these snaps look really professional. Some day I would love to sell my bibs, coasters, and burp clothes on Etsy.  However, I don't think my sewing is quite up to that level yet. 
There are many websites, blogs, and tutorials. Here are a few:



Drawer Organization

I have too much stuff!  One of my goals is to clean out every drawer.  My "junk" drawer in the kitchen was filled to capacity.  I hoard pens, post-it notes, and nail files.  I also had a lot of random stuff like loose birthday candles, batteries, and many pairs of scissors.

I first emptied EVERYTHING out of the drawer.  I was shocked to see how dirty it was.  I wiped it down. Then, I had to wash the white plastic sorter as it was dirty too.  Had I ever cleaned this drawer out before? It doesn't seem like it.
I then put all the stuff in a box. I only pulled out what I needed and wanted. 
I did keep some frequently used recipes and the food scale in the drawer. Also, I always need those rubber jar openers, my can opener, and of course those hot pads.  I discovered that I had a pie spatula.  I could have used that a lot.

The final product is much easier to use. The drawer no longer sticks and gets things caught in it.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Glow Bath

Since I have been on Pinterest a lot this summer, I've been finding great toddler ideas.  One that really struck me as something my nephew would LOVE was the "Glow Bath" idea from:
What a brilliant and inspiring blog!  My nephew loves the dark, glowing things, AND taking baths.  I started stockpiling the ingredients. Many I already had.
I wanted to let my nephew paint with a bunch of art supplies before his bath.  Glitter was dumped, glue sprayed around the table, and paint all over the place.  Strangely, my nephew would not sit at the dining room table though he has before. He wanted to stand and paint on a chair instead. I think I need to find a child-sized table.
Bubba wanted to cut but it was pretty hard so he just started ripping.  Luckily, I already had the glow bath set up so all we had to do was run the water.
Many years ago my sister had a really strong black light with a tube light. However, it was pretty pitched years ago or is buried in a closet.  I bought a black light at Lowes.  Sadly, this was a really weak, low wattage voltage.  I looked in my light bulb basket and found another black light bulb.  I have no clue why I had this!  This bulb worked much better.  I found a lamp with a shade in my garage and changed the bulb in my sewing lamp.  This was better but I still would like to get a stronger black light.
I tried to find a bunch of bath toys at Walmart. I had one of those squishy balls that light up, a light up alligator, and a bath football. 

I bought some non-toxic highlighters for $1 a piece. I popped off the plastic thing off the back with a pair of scissors.  Then, I ran the highlighters through water.  I filled up three containers and a spray bottle.  Next time I will try just running the bath water through the marker filter.  Since the markers are non-toxic it should be fine.  I don't know if I would do this if the child has sensitive skin or allergies.

It worked! One thing that didn't work that well was the tonic water.  I had a bottle of diet tonic water that didn't work at all. The regular worked a little.  It's odd because they both had the quinine that is the chemical that reacts with the black light. 

I always buy weird things.

To make glowing finger paint, just mix fluorescent paint with shaving cream. The effect is amazing!  There are other ways to do this but this was so easy. I put the shaving cream in first, dipped my finger in the paint, and stirred it.
So glad that I am a borderline hoarder who can't throw away potential art supplies.  This was a part of my big cupcake holder that broke.  Perfect!
 I have no pictures of the actual bath. One reason is that I've already ruined TWO iphones with water.  I just don't trust myself anymore, especially with my iphone 5. I keep my phone away from all water.  If I have to walk in heavy rain, I put my phone in a plastic bag. The other reason is that I WAS IN THE TUB.  My nephew likes me IN THE TUB with him!  So I had to go put on my bathing suit. (I don't want to blind the kid!) We had a blast.  I did add Mr. Bubble bubbles but that made it harder to see the glowing water.  The light up toys were also a big hit.  After the glow bath, we took a shower, and then a regular bath. And he still wasn't ready to get out of the bath... The next thing I want to try is a rainbow bath. I really think the bathtub is the best (and cleanest) place to finger paint


Saturday, July 27, 2013

DIY Playdough

 In preparation of my nephew's visit I wanted to get some art activities together for him.  As a former art teacher, I have made the DIY homemade dough before.  However, I never used the recipe where you have to cook it. I though I would give it a try.  You can get all the ingredients at the grocery store, even the alum.  I bought my alum at a discount store many years ago for .50. However, the price at my current grocery store was $4.  That's way too much for such a small amount.  I also bought wheat flour for this recipe.  Next time I am going to try white flour because the wheat affect the color and texture, as you will see.
I choose to use a Kool-Aide recipe as I've been stockpiling it lately.  There are a lot of other art projects that I want to use it for. Remember, you can also use the lemonade flavors as an emergency dishwasher detergent for the citric acid.
Basically, you boil the water, salt, and Kool-Aid together in a pot. 
Stir in the oil and alum powder.  After you bring this to a boil, remove from heat. Dump in all of the flour and stir. 
 Keep stirring until the dough stops sticking to the side.  I skipped this step due to time but you should knead the dough with a little flour to prevent sticking.
Store the dough in a recycled icing can or another sealed container in the frig until ready to use. 
I mixed two different flavors together. I would recommend using the Kool-Aide because the fruit punch smell mixture was awful.  Plus, I think I needed more than two packets because I did not get a great color.
Okay, this dough looks like raw meat and smells like a fruit punch with cheap rum in it.  I should have kneaded the dough more, used white flour, and Kool-Aide brand drink mix.  I did try to add some more drink mix after cooking but it just got over my hands.  I don't know if my nephew will even want to play with this pink sludge ground beef, I mean DIY playdough.  There is a reason this blog is called learning curve.  For me to do something well, it takes time and effort and practice.  I might even try a different recipe next time.  I don't want to give up.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Art of Being Frugal

You want a new car? Sure!

Due to my credit card debts, I am on a mission to "save money."  I've never been the frugal type.  Okay, I guess I am the other extreme "stupid with money!" It's great to be a big tipper and spent a lot if you can afford it but not if you are in debt. I realize now that I have to stop spending.  I don't even let myself ENTER Yankee Candle anymore where I used to spend hundreds.  Even if I have that coupon, I don't glance in the window.  I buy my candles at TJ Max for $9.99.

My first step of being frugal is:
1. Don't buy anything that I don't need.  I don't need any purses, shoes, jewelry, clothes, or kitchen stuff (except for a cupcake holder because mine broke.)  My real weakness is craft items like scrapbook paper and now fabric.  I really don't need anything so I QUIT going to Michaels and Joanne's. I am USING WHAT I ALREADY HAVE.

2. Stop buying random things. I was in a clothing store where my mom was trying on clothes. They had a pink scarf that was on clearance for $5. I liked it and was about to buy it when I thought, "I have more scarves then anyone I know. I don't even wear them that much. Why buy this?" So I put the scarf back.  The salesgirl tried to convince me to also buy this shirt that I didn't want. I told her, "I have enough clothes." So then went on, "Oh, you can never have enough..." Not true! That attitude is what got me into trouble in the first place. Clothes are so expensive.  The way I lose and gain weight, it doesn't even make sense for me to buy clothes.

3. Caution in the grocery store:  Another place I spend way too much money is the grocery store.  I once spent over a hundred on non-food items. Now discovering DIY on Pinterest I realized that I didn't have to do that anymore.  I now can make:
*laundry detergent
*dishwashing detergent
*glass cleaner
*wood cleaner
*all-purpose cleaner
I did have to invest in the base products but on many other blogs, the cost breakdown is HUGE.
I also am starting to realize that I need to cut down on convenience foods like wings, cheese sticks, etc. They are expensive and unhealthy.  Getting off of Atkins has helped me save a lot because I am not buying those pricey Atkins products anymore.

4. Keurig. I have two Keurig coffee machines-one for home and one for school.  I used at least two k-cups in the morning and more at school.  I read somewhere that they are .60 a piece!  Ironically, in my cupboard, I had the refill thing where you add your own coffee just sitting there. I bought it for $15 and never used it. Well, today I used it for the first time.  My coffee was great and I can add the grinds to my garden like I used to. I also can re-purpose those plastic Folger's coffee cans.  This should be a big savings because even before my Keurig I always made more coffee than I drank.

5. Stop buying junk for my nephew/niece: When my sweet prince was born, I went nuts. I spent hundreds of dollars at Gymboree and Crazy 8 and Macy's.  Sure, he looked absolutely adorable in those clothes.  I also bought him toys ordered from Amazon and Toys R Us.  Rip off! My sister has found stuff he likes better at Good Will and yard sales.  I'm done with the $100 matching outfits.  He has a lot of clothes for the future and a ton of toys he doesn't really like. Give him a truck and a ball and he's happy.  Huge saving of time and space.  Live and learn!

6. Upcycle/recycle/conserve:  I am trying to reuse spray bottles and containers instead of buying new things. I use cloth napkins instead of papers.  I am re-purposing all the fabric I can and fixing things on my sewing machine instead of buying new things.

This is just a starting point. I have a long way to go to being frugal.  I think it's more of an attitude of stopping and thinking rather than just buying.  It feels good...I want to be one of those people who can hold back. I can't wait to call my credit card company and cancel my card when it is paid off.   This list is just a starting point. 

Next steps: make a budget, cut more costs, pay off more debts, buy only essentials, hand-made gifts, etc.
Well, the frugal living isn't going well. I spent over $200 at Pat Catans. My friend G$ took me when I was visiting her.  Everything was so cheap.  I found the Martha Steward glitter for my magnets (will post this soon) for ONLY $7.

So did I actually save money?  In my warped mind, I did.  Ordering these products online would have cost at least three times at much. 
I finally got some washi tape for $2 a roll. I got a bunch of stuff for my K & Company Smash books. I also got some melt and pour soap.  I don't really want to invest in the lye and expensive oils but I have to make some form of soap so this should do.  I also spent $50 at another shop on my favorite incense: Nag Champa.  I guess the truth is that in the past, I might have spent even more!  Small steps.