Friday, May 31, 2013

Easy Fixes: 2 Hits and a Miss

We've all seen those things on Pinterest - the kind that get a million repins with the caption "genius!" - Little tips and tricks to help make our lives a little easier. I thought I would do a quick recap on 3 that I have recently attempted - 2 were great, 1 not so much (but the failure is totally my fault)

First up - bib storage:

Unfortunately its a dead-end pin, but the caption reads "Command hook on back of highchair or baby seat." I gave it a shot a couple months ago, but because of the angle of JJ's highchair, it didn't work out so well. They kept sliding off the back so I wound up stealing the hook to use for some holiday decorating. A couple weeks ago, however, I found a couple packs of command hooks on sale at Target:

and thought of another great place to keep them. I stuck one up on the inside of the most used cabinet in the kitchen - the one that holds our dishes and JJ's sippy cups:

and its now the perfect spot for his bibs. So much better than hanging them on the knob on the outside of the cabinet like I was doing before!

Next up - another use for those new hooks - the Kitchenaid Mixer attachments!
Source: The Hyper House
Julie at The Hyper House did a post about her baking nook and included this picture. I pined it awhile ago and kind of forgot about it until I scored those hooks at Target. I quickly stuck a couple up on the inside of my pantry door:

and now the ones I don't need stay out of my way (I used to store them in the mixing bowl so they would be hanging around my already cluttered countertops when I was using the mixer):

Clearly we don't paint the inside of cabinets or pantry doors in this house...

Last up was this pin which I saw floating around but apparently never actually pined until I went looking for it while typing up this post:

Source: Martha Stewart
Martha suggests running a couple lines of acrylic-latex caulk across the back of a slippery rug to keep it in place. On another recent Target outing, I picked up a little mat for the kitchen floor:

The problem? It will not stay in place. I remembered that pin, but didn't really feel like breaking out a caulking gun, so I made a feeble and 2 minute attempt using some hot glue - its close enough to caulk right?:

Wrong. While it did stay in place for a couple days, eventually all the hot glue peeled off. Without the glue though, I am able to wash it (and it def needed it after the mess of Mother's Day). I would like to try and use caulk so it will stay in one place - but does anyone know if I will be able to throw it in the washing machine? Should I just get some sort of non-slip mat for underneath?

Anyway - there's a quick recap on why Command Hooks are great (and even better when they are on sale!) and how hot glue does not have the same non-slip qualities as caulk. 

Anyone else have some quick and easy Pinterest tips to share?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

DIY Coasters

Sorry we are a little delayed in getting a post out this week. I guess the long weekend just distracted us a bit. I was actually at a conference for work last week too so I feel like I'm still catching up on everything (laundry, cleaning, posts, etc). Anyway, I thought I would finally post about the coasters I made for my work desk a couple months ago. I was inspired by this pin:

Source: Joy Is At Home
I am sort of a neat freak at work. I am constantly dust-spraying my keyboard, filing my paperwork, disinfecting my desk/phone/keyboard, and I have been known to take a paperclip to my mouse to clean out the crevices. Joe thinks its funny that I am so clean at work because he thinks I am the complete opposite at home - not entirely true. I am cleaner/neater at work but our house isn't a disaster, at least not all the time. I just have such limited space at work, and am there for so much time each week, that I want it to be neat and organized. At home I can just close the door to a messy room or cabinet. It doesn't work like that in a little cubicle! With that background, you can see why I needed some coasters for my desk. I start the day with a coffee and usually wind up with another one sometime in the afternoon with the occasional fountain soda thrown in as well. I also try to drink a lot of water throughout the day too. Constant drink rings on my desk were driving me crazy so I thought these coasters would help with that problem. I like that the lip would catch the condensation.

I picked up some terra cotta pot saucers and spray primer from Home Depot (I actually used the spray primer for the Mother's Day Thumbprint Bug Pots too).

I gave them all a light coat, paying more attention to the sides and top than the bottom.

I was a little worried because some of the edges looked like they didn't pick up any primer:

but I decided to just leave it be and not give it another coat of primer. After they fully dried, I painted them with some acrylic paint I already had. 

The first coat was streaky, as you can see below.

So I wound up giving them two more coats - using a foam brush for the last coat. I got much better coverage that way.

Next I pulled out a couple pieces of scrapbook paper I had in my craft closet and cut out circles once again using my Creative Memories cutters. 

I used some (really old) Mod Podge I had to glue them in and coat the tops. This is where things started to go down hill. I am not sure if it was because the Mod Podge was old, or I should have been using something else, or it was a user-error, but the paper started to bubble. 

I tried my best to flatten the paper out but I wasn't getting very far. I decided to just leave them to dry and deal with it the next day if the paper wouldn't cooperate. Once they dried, them seemed to flatten out and looked much better. I gave them three light coats of a matte spray sealer and let them dry completely. Unfortunately, I left them out in the garage a little too long and in the reach of JJ. He ran into the garage to go for his bubble mower (or so I thought), but picked one up and dropped it.

It chipped and I was disappointed because it was my favorite pattern. I thankfully made more than I needed so all was not lost. The last step was to attach some felt on the bottom. I had some leftovers from JJ's felt Christmas tree and just rubbed some chalk along the bottom rim of the coaster and used it to make a circle on the felt. I cut out the circles and hot glued them on. For whatever reason, I didn't take any pics of this process, but here is the finished product.

Be careful when using hot glue. I went to pull off one of the "strings" that always appear when gluing and took some of the paint off:

They definitely aren't perfect, but I thought they came out cute. 

And here they are in action on my desk at work:

Forgive the crappy phone pic.

There's nothing like a fresh fountain Diet Coke in the middle of a long afternoon.

I have been using them for a couple weeks now. They are holding up pretty well, but I am starting to regret not giving them a second coast of primer. I can see a couple bubbles in the paint and know that I could probably pick at them and chip it off. I wasn't really expecting them to have long lives to begin with once I saw the quality of the Mod Podge I was using, but I have a couple spares so there are replacements if I need them. They help brighten up my desk and I am happy to not have to wipe down the surface of my desk as often as I was. Joy had some helpful tips in her post (and I wished I had distressed the edges of my paper like she did - looks so much more polished!) so check it out. I will probably do an update post after a couple more months of use so check back if you are interested. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Kindle Cover – Fail

Here is another in my series of posts about projects that I did months ago and never typed up. This one is because it was a complete failure and I didn't want to rehash it all in a post.

I tried to create a kindle cover from an old book.

I got the idea from Jeannie has a great tutorial on how to DIY KindleCovers. Unfortunately, mine did not come out quite like Jeannie’s.
I gathered my supplies: hardcover book, razor knife, mod podge, and a paint brush.

I glued a rubber band to the back page and glued the outside pages together.

I drew an outline of the kindle on one of the first pages.

Then I started to cut.

Unfortunately, it was very challenging to cut. The pages wrinkled and tore.

I gave up at this point. The Kindle didn't fit in the case and it looked terrible. In hindsight, I should have made the outline slightly bigger so the Kindle could fit. I also should have been more patient with letting the glue dry. If I let the glue on the outside pages dry completely, then the pages probably wouldn't have wrinkled. Oh well! Maybe I’ll try again one day. In the mean time, if you want to try this yourself and want a more thorough tutorial then check out firefliesandjellybeans.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Mother's Day - (More) Gifts

This should round out my 2013 Mother's Day Posts. As I said last week, I wanted to have something for all the mom's coming for brunch. They are all a big part of my life, and JJ's too. I pinned a bunch of stuff a couple months ago, and decided to throw a couple of the ideas together. First up was this cute hand soap favor from a Mother's Day Lunch submitted to Catch My Party.

Source: Amanda's Parties To Go via Catch My Party
I loved the pretty label attached to each. Amanda actually offers a ton of coordinating printables for free, but I wanted to make my own. I scooped up a bunch of pretty smelling soaps from Bath and Body Works when they were on sale and I had a coupon, but realized I was short and had to order a couple more online two weeks before Mother's Day - typical. I didn't think the soap was quite enough, so I decided to add in this adorable idea as well:

Source: Kinzie's Kreations
Cute, right? Kinzie also offered the printable for free on her site. I knew it wouldn't really match the labels I was designing, but I figured I could just get a cute container for the M&M's and put it inside. If you follow us on Instagram (username PinsterSisters) - you might have seen me post this pic a couple weeks ago:

I found a bunch of these pretty little tins on sale at (where else?) Michaels and thought they would be perfect for holding some M&M's. You might have also seen this pic while I was in the middle of designing the labels:

I decided to use a sort of Moroccan tile pattern and also incorporate some pastel plaid that matched the paper goods I bought (from Party City). After a lot of computer time, printing, and cutting, it was finally time to assemble (the Friday night before Mother's Day).

The supplies (candy, soaps, tins, and bags) and the labels (thank you once again Creative Memories Circle Cutters circa 2001!)
Instead of just giving a little bag of M&M's, I bought a bunch of big bags and separated them out - giving everyone a little bit more than they would have gotten in a single serve bag. To keep them fresh (and because I wasn't sure the tins were food safe), I put them in clear plastic bag - the kind you would put cookies in - and attached the "moms are the sweetest" label to the top.

They were a bit snug in the tin, so the label wasn't as straight as I would have liked, but it was good enough.

I added a "Sweets for your Sweet Tooth" label to the tin and tied on a "For Your Helpful Hands" label to the soap.

It was probably about 11:30 pm by the time I got to this point so please forgive the dark photos.

I put one of each item into a larger clear plastic bag and tied on a "Happy Mother's Day" label. Because you know how much I love a rhyme - I added the following to the back:
A great mom like you
deserves a special treat,
So allow me to share with you
some of my favorite sweets.
The soap is included just in
case things go south.
Like the candy melting in your hand,
instead of in your mouth!
Love, JJ

Corny, I know, but I thought it was fun. And M&M's are a favorite of JJ's when I let him have some. Here they are all assembled (in the daylight) and ready to be handed out:

This one is pretty crappy cell phone pic, but its apparently the only one I have of one finished package.

I randomly put the soaps and tins together, but I think they came out really pretty and all the colors and patterns in the labels, tins, and soap went together nicely. It was a pretty chaotic flurry of gift exchanging when everyone arrived and I was also manning the kitchen so I didn't get any immediate reactions, but I hope everyone enjoyed them. Although time consuming, I really liked making the labels and hopefully I can use the patterns for other future projects. 

This (finally) wraps up my Mother's Day related posts. Overall it was a great day - I got to spend it with not only my own mom and the little guy who made me a mom, but with all the other great moms in our family. Unfortunately I didn't take many pictures, but here is one of JJ and me at the end of the day. We were both exhausted, but still smiling!

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