Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Can You Find It?

I have several more ideas for my Tennis Ball Canisters. (please see the previous 2 posts for other ideas for these sleek, tall ,clear tubes).

Wouldn't it be fun to create your own Find It game? 
Here is an example of a "store bought" game. 

I was thinking about all of the "stuff" I could gather up from around my house:

tiny toys in the bottom of the toy bins
junk drawer items
small notes to your child on a piece of heavy plastic
shells from the beach
an important rock
a treasured lego guy

Make a list as you plop the items into the canister. Then fill with birdseed, or styrofoam balls.  (rocks or sand will scratch the interior of the plastic container). Make sure to hot glue the lid into place.  Hand your child "The List" and watch them scramble to find all of their treasures.

Friday, July 6, 2012

You CAN Make One Too!

Canister project #2

As you know, I've happened upon an entire case of empty tennis ball cans.  They somehow inspired me.

Here's how to make a BIRD FEEDER out of one:

The inspiration.

Find a few sticks the yard and cut them an inch or two wider than the width of the canister.

Drill 4  holes through the tennis ball can, directly across from one another in order to slide the sticks through.  You may need to play around with the diameter of the drill bit, it should be slightly larger than the sticks you are using.

 I ended up using a sharp knife to remove the plastic that remained after using the drill.

Also drill a few smaller holes: one each over the stick perches for the finch food dispenser, and 2 across from each other near the lid to slide a piece of twine through to hang it.
Dab around each stick with some hot glue to seal the stick into place.

 Fill with finch food and snap the lid back on!

The birds have found it already!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Canister Project

I was at the local tennis pro shop recently.  They were getting ready for a new season by filling their tennis ball carts with fresh new balls.  They had cases of these empty canisters. 

Somehow I saw nothing but possibility in these plastic containers.  I'm thinking up new things to do with them as we speak.  I'll share what I've done so far:

Project #1

My daughter painted a vase for her tennis coach!

Wait till you see what I make next! You are going to be asking me for an extra "can" so that you can make one too!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Shout Out to the Kings

I just found out about a new reality show called  "Farm Kings".  It's airing this fall on Great American County's cable network.  It's about a local farm family with 10 children (9 boys, 1 girl) making a living at farming.  I've seen "the boys" around the town where I grew up, mostly at Tractor Supply.

The reality show focuses on the hard work and dedication to a way of life that is hard to understand unless you've lived it.  The brothers have built quite a business supplying local produce at their own farm stand, selling to local restaurants, and adding baked goods from their own bakery to their offerings. 

Their message is to buy local and support local farmers.  Their hope is to make farming "cool".  I sincerely smile when I wish them the best of luck.  Their unorthodox "beefcake" style will capture attention, and I think their message comes through loud and clear.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Make Your Own Succulent Wreath

I've always wanted to make one of these succulent wreaths.  I've seen them in catalogs, and always thought I could make a nicer one myself.  Last year, I went on a hunt to a floral supply warehouse to look for the circular frame- I had in mind a wire type wreath form.  I had no luck.  I have been turning the idea over in my mind trying to come up with the right container. 

I was thinking about it last week when my friend, Jen's birthday came around.  A group of us always celebrate each other's birthdays with a handmade gift.  I thought about a bundt pan as a container.  I called Marzipan to see if she wanted to go to the local thrift store to see if we could find something vintage.  We both thought a bundt pan's sides would be too high, she suggested a jello mold. 

With high hopes, we set off looking for something very specific -- and wouldn't you know it-- they had the PERFECT vintage jello mold for me to plant some sweet succulents in.

I lined the bottom of the pan with small stones, then added the plants..I thought I'd need extra sandy soil, but the dirt from the original pots was sufficient to plant all the succulents in the perfect pan.  I was even able to droop some of the vining plants over the pan's edge for a more established look. 

My friend, and birthday girl,  Jenifer Juniper uses this pretty planter as a centerpiece to her patio table.  The umbrella slides right through the center of the pan!

Friday, May 4, 2012

What are Ramps?

I was at an event recently where they served Ramps.  They included them is a salad, and it was kept a secret who brought them.  Apparently, Ramps are rare, and if you know where to find them, or where a bed of Ramps is located in a woodland, you don't share this information. 

I had no idea there was a "secret society" of Ramp lovers.  In fact, I had never even heard of a Ramp until that night.

I've done some research, and thanks to Diana Rattray of Southern Food, here is an explaination:

The ramp, sometimes called wild leek, is a wild onion native to North America. Though the bulb resembles that of a scallion, the beautiful flat, broad leaves set it apart. According to John Mariani, author of "The Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink," the word ramp comes from "rams," or "ramson," an Elizabethan dialect rendering of the wild garlic. Ramps grow from South Carolina to Canada, and in many areas they're considered a spring delicacy and even a reason for celebration. West Virginia is well-known for their many festivals and events in celebration of the ramp. The flavor and odor of ramps is usually compared to a combination of onions and garlic, and the garlic odor is particularly strong. Strong enough, in fact, that even ramp-lovers will advise caution. If you sit down to a big meal of ramps, don't be surprised if people continue to keep their distance after a few days have passed!
Cautions aside, ramps add wonderful and uniquely pungent flavor to soups, egg dishes, casseroles, rice dishes and potato dishes. Use them raw or cooked in any recipe calling for scallions or leeks, or cook them in a more traditional way, scrambled with eggs or fried with potatoes. Since ramps aren't cultivated in the way leeks are, they're much easier to clean. Just cut off roots, rinse thoroughly, and scrub off any excess dirt on the bulbs.
Ramps aren't available for long, but you can chop and freeze them for cooked dishes. The green tops are milder in flavor and are usually used along with the bulbs. I chop about half of the green leaves separately, air-dry them for a few hours then freeze them in an air-tight container for future use as a seasoning.

I went for a walk the other day, and with a keen eye, I noticed some ramps scattered here and there...maybe just enough to try some Ramp and potato soup!!

Monday, April 23, 2012

My New Favorite Movie App

My kids and their endless imaginations never cease to amaze me. Here's my NEW favorite App for my iphone.  It's called "Silent Film Director". 
I love the grainy old time film, and the music just makes anything they do seem funny!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Gnome, Anyone?

My amazing cousisn made these Gnomes for a party recently.  What says spring better than a sweet, jovial, sometimes mischievous Gnome?

 Her daughter made the background "villiage" using heavy paper and crayons. Very fun.

So, here's how to make your own Gnomes at home:
You'll need:
Sugar cones, icing, twizzlers in various colors, jelly belly jelly beans, mini chocolate chips and 2 sizes of cupcakes (mini and regular), white chocolate discs for melting, colored sugar.

For the hats: cover the sugar cone in white chocolate and roll in colored sugar.
The body:  a mini cupcake set upside-down on top of the regular cupcake.
The arms: twizzlers the the end clipped enough to jam a jelly belly "hand".
The face: 2 mini chocolate chips for eyes and a jelly belly for the nose.
Lots of icing piped all over for the beard and hair.

I especially liked the tiny mushrooms sprinkled on the tray ( made from gum drops and tiny cake/cookie decorative balls).  The green "grass" is colored shreaded coconut.

They tasted good too!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Make A St. Patrick's Day Card

My Mom really loves 4 leaf clovers.  She used to "sell" them to a neighbor lady when she was little. She'd earn a penny for any genuine 4 leaf clover that was given to the neighbor, and the neighbor stuffed her bible with 4 leaf clovers.

My mom had 4 kids, and I have 4 kids.  My mom told me once that each leaf of a lucky 4 leaf represented one of her kids.  I thought it would be cute to have each of my kids hold a green heart shape and have them form a 4 leaf clover with them. 

If you want to make one:
cut heart shapes out of green construction paper
hold them together to form a clover shape
take a photo
upload to a site like Picnik and edit
You don't have to have 4 kids: have one kid hold 2, or include yourself or the dog
it's fun and easy!

I plan to make these into cards or postcards to mail our family.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Friday, March 9, 2012

"Be True" Upcycled T-Shirt Scarf

 I made this easy scarf recently using an old t-shirt, some bleach, a sharpie and embrodery thread.

I have a friend who was a little blue.  She's been going through some difficult times lately, and we were just talking about how she is trying to live by the mantra: "To Thine Own Self Be True". 
We all know how easily we put ourselves last on the list for any attention, pampering, lunch.... (fill in the blank).

So, I made her this little lightweight t-Shirt scarf from a soft old shirt I came across.
Cut a long rectangle. (you can use a scarf you currently have as a guide) make it long or short depending on how you like it.

Cut strips of the fabric (6) to sew along the ends. 

Take a q-tip dipped in bleach and gently apply the bleach to the edges of the strips.  (The bleaching process takes awhile-don't get discouraged if the color seems a bit off at first).

Then take embroidery thread and stitch each strip to the ends of the scarf. I like the stitches chunky and uneven...handmade.

Lastly, add a personal message with sharpie along one of the stripes.  If you kind of "dab" on the sharpie, it gives a weathered charcoal type of look.

 Wrap yourself in the reminder to follow your dreams, and be true to yourself!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Easy Valentine Box

All of us parents are scrabling to come up with a Valentine Box this weekend. 
My child just did a diorama (?) depicting bears in their natural habitat with my very last shoe box. 

Now what?  I'm not buying a pair of shoes just for the box.  That is just plain silly. 

So what am I to do?  Naturally, I look in the trash and recycling bins. 
What I DO have are these great plastic grape boxes from Costco.

 Take some strips of tissue paper and apply elmers glue with a brush to the interior of the box.  The tissue paper will go on easily, just brush it flat.  Don't worry about using too much glue, the white will fade as the glue dries.
 Then the fun part: use little squares of tissue wrapped over the end of a pencil, dip them  in hot glue and then apply the frilly design to the outside of the box.  The hot glue is super child resistant, and the glue sticks instantly.  Please don't let the kids use hot glue-this is the parent part. (They can stick the poofs-you work the gun). 
Ah, the traslucence of the tissue paper and the frill of the poof makes the perfect valentine box.

Have a sweet day!

Fun Valentine Tutorial

I think Valentines Day is such a *sweet* day. 
I love coming up with crafty valentines and working on the kid's valentine boxes with them. 

My kids read their valentines over and over...they keep their cards year after year...even if they are just Star Wars store bought and the kids name was signed by their mom.

Here's what my kids are giving out this year:

You still have this weekend to make some super fun valentines with your kids:

Take your child's photo with their hand exended as if they are handing you something.

Edit your photo at a fun site like snapfish that allows you to add a border and text.

Then punch holes in your picture right at the edges of your child's fist. (the key to this is a long reach hole punch) 

Slip a lollipop through the holes, and have a fantastic, funny Valentines day!