Friday, January 29, 2010

Fundraising Auction Project: The Big Reveal

Yesterday I told you about the Auction Project for my kid's school.  Today, I promised to share with you what we were going to do with the glass beads that we made with the students drawings. And, here it is:

We are going to string each student's bead onto a sterling 18" chain and add two sterling beads to finish the necklace.  I was so excited to find this necklace that allows the beads to be interchanged. 

I took the beads to school yesterday to show the students what Hubby was able to create from their designs.  They loved seeing their creations come to life! 

Just look at these examples of the student's work, and what Hubby created:

I love this student's creativity:  He was the only one who designed a bead that wasn't round.

The kids were so excited to take home their order forms so that their Dad's could get a Valentine's gift for their Moms, or maybe do a little early shopping for Mother's Day.  I'm hoping the orders come flying in.  This was such a fun project to be a part of. 

I may need to add "custom made bead necklace" to my Etsy shop!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Sneak Peek at My Kid's School Auction Project

I am so excited about this project that I have been working on for school.  I just have to share a bit.  My kid's school has an auction every year, where they raise funds for the school.  Each child in the elementary school is asked to work on, or have a hand in, making a class project that will be auctioned off. 

Some examples of things that have been made are collages made from the kid's paintings, chess sets made of clay, and painted benches.  It is hard to come up with an idea that is do-able with kids of this age, and also is desireable for purchase by the general population, given the skill level that we are working with.

I took responsibility for the 4th grade project. And what I mean by that is that I came up with a plan, made arrangements, set up meetings, ordered supplies, and had my talented husband do all of the work.

I call it going with my strengths. 

So we took a flameworking torch to school, plus some glass and tools.  Hubby showed the kids how he works with glass, spins it, manipulates it and works with the flame to bring out certain colors, or effects. 

The kids were fascinated.  The teachers were pleased. It became a learning experience for everyone.  We talked about all kinds of scientific topics, like how this solid could turn into a liquid under extreme temperatures, how the glass needs to cool slowly, or it will crack, and why. 

Then we let each student design their own bead-with paper and pencil.  They drew the bead that they would like to have created.  Some of the designs were simple, and some were pretty wild.

My hubby worked diligently over the last month to produce replicas of what the kids had designed.And here is your sneak peek! Just look at these beautiful beads! I'll share what I'm going to do with them tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Two Cleaning Products That You Should Know About

I've said it time and time again, but if there is a cleaning product that promises to make the job faster, slicker, easier, more fun, I'll try it!  I'm a marketers dream in this area!  It doesn't take much.  But, the benefit is that I've done a lot of "research" (i.e. wasted a lot of money) so, please use this to your benefit!

Here are two things that I've found that have really saved me.  You should really try them.  The first is a Scotch Brite cleaning towel for windows.  Sinply dampen the towel with plain water and wash your windows and mirrors.  Streak free and amazing every time.  I love that fact that I'm not spraying chemicals, and the towel is re-useable.  I got mine for less that $4 at Target.  The one pictured here is yellow, but mine is blue.  Look for it the next time you are out.  You'll thank me time and time again.

The second product that I'd like to share are these little Carbona Stain Devils.  They are on the top shelf above the laundry detergents at my grocery store.  They are tiny little bottles.  They are specially formulated to clean specific stains in your laundry.  The bottles are marked: oil/grease, coffee, blood, grass stains...they make it easy.  The one that I must have in this house is oil/grease.  For whatever reason, there is always an oily stain on the front of a perfectly good shirt.  When I blogged about the holes in my shirts, some of you mentioned these frustrating grease stains.  Even if you've put your clothes through the dryer before you see the offending spot, just dab on a bit of the stain fighter, and throw it back into the dirty clothes hamper. These little bottles have saved more shirts that I could count.

How about you?  Any cleaning product that you can't live without?  I'd love to hear about it.

Friday, January 22, 2010

There were 53 Hatian Orphans who landed in Pittsburgh this week.  These children were cared for by 2 sisters from Pittsburgh who started an orphanage in Haiti.  After the devastating earthquake, the sisters refused to leave without their kids.  Through Facbook and Twitter, the sister's desperate pleas were heard, and help was sent.  These children have found refuge here with families that are eager to help.

Thank you to all of the friends who have dropped things off at my house over the last few days.  I am taking your donations this morning to the group that is helping these children.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Treat Girl's First Ever Give Away!

You'll want to head over to see the Treat before Friday!  She's hosting her very first give-away

As you may know, The Treat Girl is one of my bloggy friends, but she's also one of my soul sisters.  I was the recipient of a pair of her scrumptious mittens last year at Christmas.  She's giving a pair away with some other goodies, too. Stop by an give her some comment love.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

In Search Of a Simple Dinner

I am is search of simple dinner ideas.  I have decided that anything that requires more thought or preparation than peanut butter and jelly is just a waste of my time.  My family doesn't appreciate my effort, various members of my family moan about what is being served (while others are pleased...or at least not unhappy). As I'm typing, I know what you are thinking: this is a self-fulfilling type of thing:  I put in little effort, therefore none of the food is great, and therefore, my family is less than enthusiastic about dinner.  But, I know I have put in tons of prep time, and there is no difference.  In fact, maybe there is even more moaning, because it's something new.  See, there is no incentive.

 "Simple' would be an undersatetement for what I've whipped up lately.  Spaghetti has been on the menu frequently.  But, even then, I find the wide array of special requests staggering.  Here was last night's spaghetti order:
1.) Spaghetti, no sauce, butter only. Cut up.
2.) Spaghetti, no sauce, butter and cheese. NOT cut up.
3.) Spaghetti, extra sauce, no cheese. Cut up.
4.)Spaghetti, sauce, cheese. Cut up.
5.) Spaghetti, sauce, cheese. Not cut up.
6.) Spaghetti, roasted tomatoes and red peppers, cheese, not cut up.

So, as you can see, even when it's supposed to be simple, it's not.  Do you think this is some secret family conspiracy to drive me batty? 

What's your easiest, and most requested dinner?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Do You Need A Kid's Birthday Gift That's Gross and Funny?

My kids and I discovered these gross and funny candies from Jelly Belly.  There are 2 look alike flavors for each color of jelly bean, one is good, and the other is horrible!  Some of your options are: Coconut or baby wipes, Pineapple or Pencil Shavings.  Oh, I'm not sure how you can get something to taste exactly like pencil shavings, but I assure you,  that they have!  The kids thought this was hilarious!  The game involves a spinner, and an assortment of beans. The only addition I'd make would be a nearby garbage can so that you can spit out the nasty ones.

For an extra special gift, you can design your own gift tin HERE.  Upload your own photo, or choose from their clip art.  Add your own text and order away!  I ordered several of the design below: I Hope Your Day Is Not A Stinker!                                                                       

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

So Much of What Happens In My Life is a Mystery To Me

I'm not talking about the captivating and enthralling type of mystery either.  My mysteries are more like this:

Why is there peanut butter on the ceiling fan?
How did the footprints get on the windshield? And why are they upside down?
Where is my homework/book/project/money...____________? (fill in the blank)

And, today's mystery:  Why is the oven smoking? My whole kitchen was filled with noxious fumes.  I had made an attempt at a decent dinner, baked chicken, and somehow it all went haywire.  I pulled out the chicken, and on the bottom of the oven was a smoking pile of....I'm not sure. 

I had to throw the chicken away.  We went vegetarian tonight.  And then I scraped this oozing pile of goo out of the oven.  Baffled is the only thing that I could think.  I mean...what is that? 

Over our smallish dinner, with the doors open wide, despite the freezing temperatures, we were talking about what happened to the rest of dinner.  My family just kept looking at me and asking WHAT was in I had some idea.  This mystery may be closer to being solved though.  Towards the end of dinner, the littlest guy fessed up that he had put a Lego Ship in there a while ago.  (But, he was sure he took it out).

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Have You Ever Lost a Note, or a Shopping List, Perhaps?

I came across this site, called Found Magazine, which allows people to post notes, lists and photographs that they have found.  The story about how the web site was born is quite sure to read the "note that started it all", it's hilarious (there is a link, above).  The general idea is that if you happen to come across some crumpled paper on a city street, or an old photograph laying on the sidewalk, or a postcard in an old book that you bought at a yardsale, and it has some interesting or funny content, you are encouraged to submit it.  These tiny glimpses into people's lives can be jarring, frightening, hilarious, and silly.  The comments left by some of the folks who submit items are often as funny as the notes themselves.  So, here's an example:

Now, if that doesn't get the message across.....

Here's one that makes me laugh, but in a very guilty way...because it shouldn't be funny...

And, another found note:  I was laughing out loud at this one:

Found has a "Daily Find", so you'll want to check back often (daily?).  Maybe you've found an old love letter in the pocket of a jacket that you picked up at Goodwill? How about a funny note that you found near school? Something left on your windshield in error? Be sure to submit it, we'd love to "find" it too!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Remember My Shirt with Holes?

Last week I shared the great Holes in My Shirt Problem that I have.  (And maybe you have too?) 
I have pictured here the shirt, which was perfectly good, except it had several holes in the front...directly where the button from my jeans rubs on the kitchen counter.  Last week, I shared a scarf that I made with two t-shirts and some inspiration from Alabama Chanin.
So, I decided to save my shirt.  I used a template to cut a leaf pattern in the shirt, making sure to cut out the part that had the holes.  I used soap as tailors chalk.

Then, I carefully cut out the leaf pattern, that I spread out a bit, and wrapped around to the back of the shirt.

After that, I laid out the shirt on a cookie sheet and carefully outlined the inner part of each leaf, using a Q-tip, with bleach. I used that same template and the same techniques with my scarf from last week.

Lastly, I chose a contrasting knit fabric to line the shirt with, and a co-ordinating embroidery floss.  I hand stitched around each leaf.  I love how the pattern wraps around to the back of the shirt ever so slightly.  You'd never guess that this shirt was almost in my trash bin!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

One Pretty Thing

If you do not subscribe to this site, do so now!  One Pretty Thing offers daily inspiration for the craft-minded.  And, if you look today, you'll see my pretty T-Shirt Scarf!  Seriously, this site needs to be on your daily go-to list.

Friday, January 8, 2010

We are Hosting Flat Stanley, AND it's a Snow Day!

We are happily hosting Flat Stanley.  Flat Stanley is a children's book where Stanley get flattened by a falling chalkboard.  He doesn't get hurt, but his flattened shape allows him to mail himself to friend's houses and to have all kinds of adventures.  Read More about this grade school project HERE.

Our Stanley is from Atlanta, where they hardly ever get snow.  He's a picture of Stanley taped to a ruler.

And, here is Stanley in the snow!  Stanley is 8 inches tall, and we have 7 inches of snow!  I can hardly wait to share all of Stanley's adventures with my nephew who sent him to visit with us.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Hey...Look Who's on Craft Gossip!

Oh, Yeah  Check it out HERE! 

Now, I just need a tutorial of how to take a picture of myself (that includes my head) that I like....maybe it's the lighting!  HA!

Words To Live By

I ran into an older family friend the other day.  He is a large guy, and rather boisterous.  In short, I like him.  He was telling me that he was invited to 8 Parties between Christmas and New Years.  Then he said: "And do you know what?....I went to them all!....Do You Know Why?"  He didn't really wait for a response. 
Then he laid this on me:  "My Mother always used to say that you are dead a long time!"
If that statement doesn't offer some perspective, I'm not sure what would.  It makes my dirty house seem so trivial, thanks for the insight!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Recylcled T-Shirt Scarf

For this project, you'll need two t-shirts.  I chose grey and green.  They can have holes in them...we can work around that!   (See my post from yesterday!)

Now, take one shirt and lay it out flat.  Use a bar of soap as tailors chalk and mark out a scarf shape. Start at the shoulder of the shirt, this is the mid-point, and the skinniest part of the scarf.  I just gently flared my shape from the shoulder, across the front of the shirt, and over to the opposite hip of the shirt.  You can see the dotted, dash lines on the shirt...that is the outline, and the normal skid type mark of the soap. Cut the t-shirt in your scarf shape through the two layers.  Then, pin this shape to the second shirt, and cut that one the same size.
On whichever side you want to be the front of the scarf, use a stencil to lay out a pattern.  Simple may be best for this first project.  I used the leaf pattern from my brand new Alabama Chanin Stitch Book.  If there are holes in your shirt, you'll need to properly position your stencil in order to make sure that the holey part of the shirt will be discarded.

One layer of the scarf should be stenciled.  For this project stencil each end.  Now, cut out the pattern. Clip the fabric in the center, then work your way around the edges of the stencilled line with your scissors. Then, lay your scarf on a cookie sheet and carefully use a QTip to go around the inner edges of the fabric with bleach. Let the bleach sit for awhile, and then quickly rinse it out in the sink under running cold water. Let it dry flat. The bleach makes for a great weathered look. You could use fabric dye, or even a sharpie if it co-ordinates better with your colors.

Then use embroidery floss to sew it all together. I thought the light pink looked great with the bleached out edges. Pin the two pieces of fabric together.  Start at your stenciled cut out.  I made sure to begin and end my floss at the bottom of each leaf.  This makes for a pretty back of the scarf.

   And just look at how cute this turned out!  The knit will not fray, so I just hand sewed leaving raw edges.  I like how they curl and show the color of the fabric on the reverse.

You can see the pretty back side of the scarf on the right.  I love the knots and chunky stitches.  I hope you make one, if you do, be sure to link back! 
This just may be a girls day out project.  Thank You, Alabama Chanin for the inspiration! 

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Why Do All of My Shirts Have Holes? Do You Have Holes? Why?

This has been a great topic for debate amongst girlfriends. 

Nearly every shirt I own eventually develops a hole right around the bellybutton. See the above, perfectly good, nice shirt...yep, there is a series of holes right at the waist, directly in front. 

I have found through extensive research, that all of you out there will now be immediately divided into two distinct groups:

1.) One that thinks I am completly bonkers, and has No Idea what I'm talking about.  I get lots of looks from people in this group that clearly mean that they think I'm crazy.

2.)  The other group says "Oh My Gosh, ME TOO".  Very shortly after, they say "why is that?". 

3.)  There is no third fall into one or the other.  (My extensive research has never found that anyone falls in a grey-area.)

So, moving on, to the question: "Why is that?"  I have always thought that the button on my jeans rubs against the countertop right at that spot.  The shirt in between gets worn away in there.  But, I have met taller people that have the same problem, and surely their countertop would not hit them exactly where it hits me.  A friend swears it's her kids tugging at her shirt all day. 

What do you think?  What group are you in?

I've got a really great project for all of these shirts with holes. Do not throw them away.  Check back tomorrow.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy New Year- A Bit Late...I was away with no internet.

I'm not looking for any sympathy here, but it is a little startling when you go to the beach, and still have to wear your winter coat.

I love the above picture of me at the beach...the L O N G shadow is a fun distortion.

My second child turned 10 while we were away.  It was a huge milestone for him, and for me. This is the sunset on his birthday.

I just love the stuff that little boys talk about.  I could have listened to these two all day.  It's mostly about Lego's and Star Wars, but sometimes it gets into "what's fair" and other more serious topics, then it gets interesting. 

Happy New Year to All.  I gathered a lot of great and exciting new ideas while I was gone.  I'm planning on sharing throughout this week.   I can't wait!