Friday, July 27, 2012

Celebrate at the Door: How to Make a Balloon Wreath

Festive, huh?  My kids feel pretty special knowing this is going up just for them during their birthday week.  I’m pretty sure they’ll be okay with it being up for their birthday month, since it’s inevitable that changing it back to seasonal décor won’t be a priority for me.  

This project couldn’t be any simpler to make and its final cost was around $25.  Here’s what you need:
  •  18-in. straw wreath (leave the plastic on it to avoid mess)
  • curly ribbon
  • A ton of balloons!  (I think I started with 15 packs or so and each pack had 25 balloons in it.)
  • floral pins  (2 packs)
Actually making the wreath is simple, but a bit of a time investment; I did it over 3 nights sitting in the floor watching tv.  My strategy was a bit random- I started using only 2 balloons per floral pin and then realized that was going to take forever and make the wreath a little thin.  So, I mixed it up.  Sometimes I did four, sometimes 3, occasionally 2.  Incorporate the curly ribbon every few pins too! 

Just keep picking it up to inspect it, and keep it balanced as you go.  Don’t forget to check out both the inside and outside of it.  Straw isn’t the next new decorating thing and there’s no reason to see it.  I also tried to make sure I wasn’t overusing any one color, but thinking about that too much started driving me crazy.  I ended up mixing my pile up really well and just grabbing the balloons at random.  

I’m really happy with the results!  If you’re hosting a shower you could customize the balloon colors to match.  I think it would be adorable for a baby shower in pastels.  Adding a cute sign to it would be cute too.  Maybe I’ll add that sometime.  

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Not So Glowing Review: Glow Stick Glow Jar Fail

Do not try this at home.  Well, not the way I did anyway. While on Pinterest, I saw this: 
"Fireflies in a Jar" Night Lantern
Awesome, right?  Kids would love it, right?  I saved 4 spaghetti sauce jars and a $1 pack of glow bracelets with this plan in mind.  I read the package of bracelets and there was nothing about the glow sauce being toxic, so I offered it up the next time we had friends over at night. 

The whole even took about 10 minutes start to finish and the kids were really excited about trying it.  We (the other mom and I) spread paper towels out on the table, had one pair of kitchen scissors, two 7 year olds and two 4 year olds.  After going over the possible mutations this stuff could cause, I showed them what we were going to do.

I activated one, cut the end, stuck it in the jar and shook/ sprinkled it around.  It looked pretty cool.  Then, I cut more bracelets for each of the kids to try and my friend and I each helped the kids as they went.  We were BUSY.  2 pairs of scissors for the adults would’ve been optimal.  Still, we were out of bracelets pretty quickly and other than a quick hazmat issue when someone’s cheek was splattered, it was painless.  

Painless, but still not a passing grade.

That’s because the jars looked a little bare once the splatter ran down the sides.  Perhaps it was because we used 16oz jars.  Perhaps it was due to only having one pack of about 15 bracelets.  Or, perhaps it’s because we didn’t have glitter.  I think each of those are contributing factors.  If I decide to try this again: 
  1.  smaller jars
  2. more bracelets 
  3. add glitter 
  4.  no water
No water?!  Well, I read a comment saying that you could add water and make glowing water.  3 of the 4 kids decided to try it and it just looked like bright Gatorade- wait- Gatorade is bright.  Oh, it just looked like Gatorade.  No worries; no one drank it.  I’m a pretty good mom like that. ;)
Oh well.  You win some, you lose some.  And sometimes you just put possibly toxic liquid on the table for a centerpiece.  The kids were happy and no one was upset when we threw them away.  Maybe it wasn’t such a fail after all. 

Have you tried this?  Ever had glow stick liquid too close to your skin?  I need to know if the sore on my son’s cheek is caused by this stuff.  Kidding, Mom, promise. :)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Men & Hats = Women & Shoes

I have two boys and a husband.  That means we could, at most, wear 4 hats at one time.  So, what do we do with the other 25+ hats that clutter my house?  I could tell the kids (and my husband) to keep them in their rooms, but that’s not practical.  The kids don’t think to grab a hat until I’m already at the door wondering why we can’t get anywhere on time.  I’m tired of the hat clutter.  I don’t need anything fancy, but functional is a must.

I don’t want to do one of the over-the-door things.  I think I’m going to come up with something with pegboard to hang near the garage door, but I don’t want to leave it the standard brown or white.  Maybe stripes to divide whose hats go where?  Just a fun color with hooks with hats without the color separation? 
Or, maybe I’ll use curtain rods, like this one

I haven’t made up my mind yet. Ah, yes, now you'll see why I have fickle in the title.  I’ll keep you posted.   

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Science for Grown-Ups

Wine taught me science.  Don’t try to quickly chill a bottle of pinot grigio in the freezer and then let life distract you from a glass for over 24 hours. Liquid expands when frozen and corks (real or synthetic) don’t like it.  

What you should take away from this:
  •  Nothing about a refrigerator is fun to clean. Don’t chance it.
  •  Use frozen fruit in your wine instead of trying to chill it.  
  •  Don’t use ice cubes.  Drinking it that way just won’t make you feel good about yourself.  As you can tell from the picture, I sometimes drink alone (in a totally acceptable way).  But not with ice cubes. :) 
  • It’s delicious with the fruit. 
  • Your grocery store sells lots of frozen fruit.  Buy a bag to have on hand.
  •  It looks fancy.  Impress friends by doing it and they won’t even know you were too short on time to completely chill the wine!

Just imagine if I hadn’t gone all out to buy the $6 bottle and instead went with a cheap twist top.  I won’t be teaching that lesson.  
Any experiments, accidental or purposeful, of your own lately?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Chalking It Up: First Attempt With Chalkboard Paint

It worked out!  Here's the proof and how we did it:

After consulting with the resident professional here, we took a family trip to Lowe’s for a less than $5 ¼” board.  It’s awesome because Lowe’s even cut it to size for us at no charge.  (This means we didn’t have to spend time getting tools out and putting them away in 3 months.)  

We came home with birch rather than oak because it had less grain to it.  I wanted the surface smooth.  I know some sites say to use existing glass for the chalkboard, but I didn’t have glass in this frame and having glass on it made me nervous with the kids anyway. 

While we were there we also picked up thingies to hold the board in the frame (I’m sure that’s what they meant to label the box.), the chalkboard paint, and followed the directions on the back of the can- get a small nap roller. 

Sorry, I forgot to take pictures of this process. Hey, I’m new at this.  I was really in to it, too.  That’s gotta make up for it somehow. 
So here’s the nice bulleted summary of what we the hubs did:
          1.       primed it once, sanded it once
          2.       primed it again, sanded it again, waited until the next night to continue
          3.       shook the chalkboard paint for 5 minutes and then had to stir that weird concoction for 5 more minutes. (We didn’t expect it to be so runny for so long.)
          4.       rolled it, waited a few hours, rolled it again
5.       Waited until the next day and put it in the frame.
6.       Stood back, stared at it and smiled in a way that probably makes people uncomfortable. (Oh, wait, we’ve moved on to what I did now.)
Ahh, it was finally ready and all crisp and black.  And then we almost waited the obligatory 3 days (I was so close to making it the full 3 days…) and then conditioned it.

And then found this when I walked back by.  My husband is trying to brainwash my boys that I’m just as cool as they think he is.  :)  I love him. 

And then the 7 year old found the chalk.  I like it more than the fancy lettering I thought I’d be trying. :)

**Here’s a product I won’t endorse-  RoseArt chalk.  It’s really messy and I’ve always had better luck with Crayola brand anything but Target was out of it the day I was there.  

But I did find this cute little bucket in the dollar spot (sort of score! I bet they’re cheaper other places, but who cares.)  So now, this sits on the windowsill beside the board inviting people to use it.  

What do you think?  I’m a little late on the chalkboard trend, but I didn’t wear capris until they were around for a few seasons either.  Do you have a chalkboard in your home?  RoseArt or Crayola? Talk to me, people Mom.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Good Goodwill Trip: Finding & Painting the Wooden Frame

People gather in kitchens.  I need to give the people in mine something to look at other than the dust on the refrigerator while they’re there.  Enter a chalkboard frame project for the kitchen; I just needed a frame.

“I don’t like the way it smells in here,” said my child with a weak stomach as we went into Goodwill, tape measure in hand on the search for a cheap frame.  

Oh, please don’t throw up on all this crap and make me buy the stuff everyone just got rid of after 10 years of it being in the bottom of their dusty closets…, thought me.  

Thankfully, we didn’t have to stay long before I saw and miraculously made a pretty quick decision to buy this beauty for $4.25.  I didn’t even have to rip an old, smoke-stained picture out… it’s just a frame, a solid-wood-from-a-frame-shop-frame! (Side note: Why is it so expensive to frame something at a frame shop?!) 
Home we went where my hubs was skeptical about the gaps at the joints and having to paint around the linen like area.  I thought that part would pop out and I honestly didn’t even notice the gaps.  As usual, I had good intentions and was only seeing potential.  Oh well, just go with it.

On to priming! Luckily we had some left over from other projects.  I’m not always the most patient person so I just grabbed paint brushes from the stash I keep for kid projects.  Last year I bought the cheapest ones at Michael’s or Wal-Mart and I was a *little* worried about their quality, but not enough to wait until I could buy more.  Hey, this is me living life on the edge.  Hold on to your seats, people.

I had already decided to use the leftover almost six year old dining room paint for the frame. (Benjamin Moore’s Beach Glass)  I *thought* it would be fine after a lot of stirring, but it didn’t look like it when I took my first few strokes.  In fact, I brought it back inside just to compare it to the dining room walls.  Sure enough, it was the same!
So, I just kept painting and impressing myself with my patience while avoiding the linen part.  
Two coats and some touch-ups later, I’m in love.  And the gaps weren't a problem at all.  I just filled them with paint. :)

 Because no one threw up during any part of this project, I’m considering it totally worth it.  Anyone else think their Goodwill store has a nasty odor to it?  Are you willing to chance an embarrassing public barfing for the possibility of a good deal?   

1st Project: Starting My Blog

Here it is, a year in the making- my big debut.  I’ll pause while the applause dies down…  long enough? Probably too long.  Thank you.  I wonder who I’m even saying thank you to, or if I’m saying it to anyone?  Well, no matter, I needed a place for the strange thoughts in my head (Why do we say “upside down” and not “downside up”?), a place to share my DIY and craft projects, and any fun ideas I have to do with your kids… and you found it!

I’d love to hear from you!  You can tell me the truth.  Did someone send you here for a strange punishment?  Spending time with a middle school teacher who watches too much “Phineas & Ferb” and “Good Luck Charlie” during her down time isn’t that bad, is it?  

Feel free to snoop around and let me know what you think of what I’m doing here on this little spot on the web!  

*Don’t be surprised if you find typos or mistakes on these pages.  Proofreading isn’t, and never has been, a strong point for me.  I know.  It would probably make a big difference, but we’ll see…