Saturday, April 30, 2011

that was a mistake.

I should have known it was going to be a huge mistake when I clicked a link to look at awesome free blog templates. It set the bar high and then I was stuck on changing my blog! For the last 48 hours I've been searching endlessly online for free blog templates that have just what I want. I've found great sites along the way, but still haven't found exactly what I'm looking for. I've been convinced that if I just keep looking, I will eventually find the perfect one.

Well now I'm exhausted from the search! I found a super cute background that I like and that I think fits my theme. (The one I currently have with the apples). If I could just find a super cute header/banner to match I think I would be content. (At least for a day at this point)!

This morning I was getting ready to run my errands and then I realized I didn't have any Michael's coupons for today and their new sales start tomorrow. So tomorrow I will be going to look for some beads for my shell necklace. (I always shop Michael's with coupons)!

Because I was so involved in searching for blog templates, I did not get around to practicing drilling holes in my shells today, but I will be sure to post photos when I try it out!

I did however venture to Target. Who doesn't love a Target? I used to live 5 minutes from one, and now I live 40 minutes from one so whenever I'm nearby, I have to stop! I found these perfect cloth place mats to use in my bedroom. I plan on using them on my nightstands. I wish they had a matching table runner for my dresser, but I'm still on the look out for one that will work!



Keep your fingers crossed for me to have something to share tomorrow about my shell necklace. If anything, hopefully the beads I find!!

EDIT:: After this post, I made my own blog header/banner!! Yippee!!!

Friday, April 29, 2011

a little inspiration

I bring you this blog post from who knows how many feet up in the air. (Yes, I caved and bought in flight wi-fi) I struck out on all shopping attempts while on vacation, (with the exception of some Amy Butler scrap booking paper), so I figured why not.

I'm not looking forward to going back to cooler temperatures and having to go back to work on Monday, but I am looking forward to starting a shell necklace! I already have an idea and color scheme in mind.

I decided on which shells I want to use (although I'm keeping that a surprise) and then I decided I wanted to use the colors gold and coral to go along with them. I came across this necklace which I thought was a good representation of gold and coral together.

These are not the exact beads I plan on using, but again, just another example of the colors I have in mind.

 

I would also like to find some other charms to go along with the shells. Right now I'm thinking gold starfish like the one below would look cute, but I guess I will have to wait and see what I can find.


A trip to Michael's is definitely at the top of my list for tomorrow!


undecided layout

Clearly I've been playing around with my layout and templates this morning. If anyone has suggestions on some great sites with free templates I'd love to check them out! I found Leelou designs this morning and I love the style of their templates, just not sure if any of their particular layouts fit my blog!

I welcome any feedback and suggestions!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

shell research

So I began my research on shell jewelry today. I was looking for websites for tips on how to make jewelry from shells and also some photos for inspiration for making some pieces.

During my search I found:

1. A great lesson plan idea here. I will definitely do this with some extra shells that won't ever be used for anything. It will be a perfect small group activity for the kiddos when we have our "beach" theme week!

2. This website with great inspiration pics. I particularly like pictures 3 and 5. I have a shell just the size and shape of the ones used in photo 3 that I think would make a great center piece for a necklace. I also really love the earrings in picture 5. I love pairing that color turquoise with shells.

3. This photo of a large charm made for a necklace. It looks like they took a large shape to use for the base and then glued various small shells on top. I'm not crazy about this particular one, but I am crazy about the idea. It also looks like they may have used gold paint around the edges of the shells.


4. Since I'm still in Florida, I was trying to think of things I could do here to get a jump start on this project. After sorting through bags of shells and finding all of the ones I want to take home to work with, I knew the next step was to make them shiny! My research on this, is well.. still in the works. The first suggestion I came across was clear finger nail polish. Since I happened to have some here, I gave it a try.


Here is a plate of a bunch of shells I coated with clear nail polish. It really does make a difference. Makes the colors brighter and gives them that shine I was looking for. (I'm still working on lighting for photos--I know it's hard to tell they're shiny)

Another thought to make the shells shiny was to use mod podge. I gave it a try, but as you can see, it does not make them quite as shiny.


Here is a close up with nail polish so you can see the difference. 


It looks to me like clear nail polish is the best way to go. Up next...hole drilling. I'm going to need some help on that one.



in love.

I do plan on doing a more involved blog post before the day ends, however, I just came across a blog that I'm so excited about that I just have to share. It is definitely one of those supermom's I mentioned in my very first blog post, but I'm in love with this blog!


If you love blogs about young, cute, and crafty super mom's as much as I do, then you MUST read this.

P.S. She has her own scrapbooking book, scrapbooking column, AND scrapbooking products.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

florida sun

Today was my first day at the beach here in Florida during my vacation. For most people that would be shocking, but for me, it's all I need. I burn faster than a french fry in the oven. I survived the Florida beaches in April with the help of SPF 15, 50, and 90.

But the view was gorgeous and we even saw a manatee.


P.S. that's not the manatee in the photo, that's my dad.

One of my favorite things about Florida beaches is the abundance of shells! I don't always sit still for very long at the beach so it's nice if I can get up and go for a walk and look for shells. I always find tons of shells, put them in a bag and it ends there. Well I have officially decided that once I get home I am going to look into making jewelry out of them. 


I will have to keep you posted during that to let you know if I'm making any progress. I will definitely have to do some researching first. Have any of you ever made jewelry from shells at the beach?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

creature of habit

For those of you who know me, you probably know I am a fairly routined person. And while I LOVE being on spring break right now and having a week off from work, I'm struggling without my routine.

Thanks to my internal clock STILL feeling the need to wake me up at by 7:30am 5 days into my vacation, I'm getting up early and fighting to stay awake late. I'm also out of my routine of blogging. It's all I had in me to put together a post this late. (Yes, 10pm has become late to me).

I've been away from a computer for a couple days because I went to visit my boyfriend while here in Florida. He's in law school and took a couple days off from studying so we could spend some time together. We visited down town Naples, did some shopping, and had some great meals! Because getting out my camera and card reader to upload photos requires wayyy too much energy right now, I will leave you with a "nail polish monday" photo. (Yes, I know it's Tuesday).

This week my choice is...

YELLOW!!!

I followed through with my need to paint my fingernails yellow and went out for some yellow polish. The color is called mellow yellow, but really, by the time you do two or three coats, you get banana yellow. Or marshmallow peep yellow. Or big bird yellow. Really, a bright semi-obnoxious yellow. I enjoyed the color...my mom on the other hand, did not. But I shared in my last nail polish post how much she dislikes me painting my nails any shade other than red or pink, so really, no one was surprised.

Hopefully tomorrow I'll get around to pulling some vacation pics off of my camera to share!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

farmer's market

First, HAPPY EASTER!!  I guess now that I'm going on 23 years old I no longer get an Easter basket. It's ok, I can accept that. I still got a pack of peeps...and they are my fave.

Yesterday, after posting that I had made it to Florida the night before, I headed out with my Aunt to walk down to the farmers market.


It wasn't very large, a few produce stands, some seafood, cheeses, and dips. Most important was the coffee stand. Their coffee smelt delicious! My Aunt and I had to try it! We ordered their ice coffee, which came with the BEST idea I've seen in a while. COFFEE ICE CUBES! How perfect to put ice cubes made of coffee in your iced coffee so it doesn't get watered down when they melt. So smart.


On our walk back to the house I had to take a picture of this tree.


It's in a yard to a house which my cousin appropriately named "the haunted house". There are all kinds of projects and weird things in the yard. Very interesting to look at, but still very creepy.

You'll have to excuse my poor quality photos. I only had my iphone with me on our walk.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

florida

So while I had hopes of posting yesterday, when I finally made it to Florida I felt like I was propping my eyelids open with tooth picks. (Being on the sleeping schedule of a teacher does make staying up past 10:30 a challenge).

And speaking of challenges, here's something else I struggle with. Packing.


I have a hard enough time deciding what clothes to wear when I'm home and have my entire closet to choose from, let alone when I have to limit my selection. Some how or another, I made all of that fit into a suit case. I'll probably wear less than half of it, but hey, at least I have my choices.

One of my favorite things about this trip is where I get to drink my coffee every morning.


Jealous?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

bachelorette frame

Here is a bachelorette picture frame I made as a gift for someone. Meaning, they have to take at least one decent picture for the frame! I had to wait to post pictures until I had given the gift. (Didn't want to spoil the surprise!)


The word bachelorette (which, by the way, ALWAYS looks like it is spelt incorrectly to me) was cut out using the Alphalicious cartridge. The black set of letters is 1in short stack bold and the top set of letters is 1in short stack. The paper on top of the letters matches the paper used in the photo spot. The other details are from a sticker set I found at Michael's.

Detail of the letters


Sticker detail


You can't tell from the photos that well, but the stickers don't lay flat. They have small foam squares on the back to give them a 3D or pop-out effect. Well, this presented a problem when it was time to put the backing of the frame on. I knew it would be tight, but I didn't think it would be as much of a problem as it turned out to be. I wound up having to trim off about 1cm from the backing of the photo frame. After scoring it with a razor blade and then continuously running the razor blade down that line, I was able to cut a piece off. Maybe in the future I will consider using a shadow box if I plan on using this type of sticker.

I was happy with how the frame turned out! The stickers added a really fun touch. If I had a frame with a larger mat I would have loved to have added a pink sparkle ribbon to match the pink sparkle letters. 

Tomorrow I'm off to Florida & I can almost promise you that tomorrow's post will involve a photo taken while people watching in an airport.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

meet mabel.

My mom is about to be a "guest crafter" on my blog and she doesn't even know it. (Hey, you ought to know where my creative gene came from, right?)

Mabel is a manatee. Mabel is also a mailbox, therefore making her a manatee mailbox. Mabel has a reputation to uphold of being the best dressed mailbox on the block, and probably in the town. This is where my mom comes in. She updates Mabel's wardrobe and keeps her looking sharp. Mabel is known to have matching outfits for the seasons and holidays. Meet Mabel from last July.


Grass skirts and big floppy hats are her usual attire for the summer months. She's had some wardrobe changes since last July, but now it's almost Easter weekend so of course she needs to be in character. While I'm sure my mom wishes she had the ridiculous Easter hat she made me wear when I was about 5, she wasn't about to let Mabel down.

Meet Easter Bunny Mabel.


If a manatee is ever looking for a good disguise, I think an Easter bunny would do the trick.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

scrambled letters

Here is a lesson plan idea. I make a lot of my activities (with a little help from the mailbox magazine). This week our theme is "eggs". Most of our activities have been with eggs and the letter 'E'.

Materials:
- 14 plastic eggs
- 1 basket
- paint pen or sharpie


Using the paint pen or sharpie, you write different letters on the plastic eggs. I chose to do capitals. For the activity, we reviewed the letters on the eggs and then I opened the eggs up, separating the two halves. We put them all out on the table and the students took turns matching up the eggs to put together a letter, and then identifying the letter they made. The students knew they had to pick two pieces of the same color in order to find a match.


We split the students up into two groups during small group time, so I actually made two sets of 14 eggs, but you could do as many as you would like obviously. I have taken one basket of eggs and placed it in our "toy area" of the classroom, so the students can choose to play with the eggs on their own. They really enjoy putting them together!

Monday, April 18, 2011

nail polish monday

I've come to notice that I tend to always repaint my finger nails on sundays. Since sunday posts are filled with baking and other things, I decided to save my nail polish post for today.

Who really cares what color my finger nails are? No one, I guess, but I like to have fun with it, so I think the post fits the theme of being crafty.

Ever since I decided it was no longer necessary to pick at my finger nails (don't get me wrong, I have my days where I would LOVE to sit and pick at every single one of them) I have been having fun painting them different colors. My mom makes fun of my color choices, but really, who is looking at my finger nails 80% of time? 4 year olds. Why not make fun color choices!

This week my choice is....
GREEN WITH SPARKLES!!

The first time I sported this color was last summer and my best friend told me it looked like asparagus. I kind of can't disagree with her. It does look like I stuck my fingers in a bowl of split pea soup, but I still like it. In fact, I think adding the sparkles on top make the green color look a little more lime, and little less split pea.


I've been having a craving for the color yellow. I don't have any yellow nail polish, BUT maybe by next Sunday I will. We will just have to wait and see!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

mint chocolate chip cookies

Drum roll please....mint chocolate chip cookies! This is the recipe I was holding out on.


I stumbled upon this cookie recipe a while ago and saved it in my favorites. Now that I have something to motivate me to try different recipes, I went right to this one. I don't like chocolate, but I do like chocolate chip cookies, and Extra mint chocolate chip gum, so I wanted to try these. The original recipe is posted here. I made a few adjustments to the ingredients when making my cookies. I used chocolate chip cookie mix instead of sugar, and I couldn't find creme de menthe baking chips so I bought a bag of Andes chocolate mints and broke them up.


Ingredients:

1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker® chocolate chip cookie mix
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon mint extract
6 to 8 drops green food color
1 egg
1 cup Andes chocolate mints


 I had to take all of the Andes mints out of their wrappers (thankfully they unwrap pretty quickly). I unwrapped all of the mints and then put them into a baggy.





  Then, using, this unusual, and obviously very old meat tenderizing hammer, I broke the mints up into somewhat smaller pieces. 


I dumped them into a measuring cup to make sure I had enough since the recipe called for 1 cup. I had the perfect amount. Probably a little more than 1 cup, but that's alright.


Next you mix all of the ingredients, except for the Andes mints, into a large mixing bowl.


Once your batter is all mixed, you want to fold in the Andes mints.


When I first tasted the batter without the Andes mints (let's be honest, who doesn't taste the batter?) I was a little skeptical. I wasn't crazy about the taste and the thought that these cookies were going to taste awful did cross my mind. When I folded in the Andes mints and then tasted the batter with some of the mint, it tasted MUCH better. I was once again hopeful for great cookies.


I used a regular kitchen spoon to scoop up the cookies and space them out. I was able to fit 12 cookies on a baking sheet and not a single one of them touched while baking! (That's always a problem I run into.)


The recipe suggests a cooking time of 8-10 minutes so I went for 9 minutes. They came out PERFECT. Usually I end up under-baking, out of a fear of over-baking. But 9 was the magic number.


A plate of finished cookies! And they are delish! The green color of my cookies is a little more vibrant than what's shown in the picture, but what can you do.

If you decide to make mint chocolate chip cookies, let me know how they turn out!

class pictures

Here you go, the 2 new picture frames I promised! I decorated frames of my class photos to take into my classroom. I made the frame for my AM class last weekend, but didn't want to put up the post until I had my PM class frame done too.


Here they are together, I know you can't see any details. I have pictures of them individually don't worry. The paper used in both, is from a book of scrapbooking paper that is all education themed. It's made by "Me and My Big Ideas" and I LOVE all of it. I found the paper book at Marshalls for $6.99. What a buy compared to the $19.99 price tag for them at Michaels. So of course I bought 3 of them.

AM FRAME


For this frame I did the font in Plantin Schoolbook. There are 2 sets of letters. I did a blue set of letters in the bold setting, and the red polka dot set of letters in the regular font setting. The apple on the bottom right was also cut from the Plantin Schoolbook cartridge. The apples on the bottom left are stickers. 

Here is the lettering up close.


PM FRAME


For this frame I did the font in Alphalicious. In both frames the font size is 1 inch, but clearly, the Alphalicious font at 1 inch is larger. There are 2 sets of letters in this frame as well. The green set of letters is the short stack bold setting and the yellow set of letters is the short stack setting. The apples on the bottom left and right are stickers.

Here is the lettering up close.


I really enjoy making these frames. They do take a little while depending on the amount of detail, but I don't even realize how long I've been working on them until I look at the clock! So far all 3 frames I've done are classroom related. I'm hoping to do one for my bedroom next, but I need to venture out for some different papers to use!

binder clips

So, while I don't have my picture frames or secret recipe like I said I would in my last blog post, I do have, cute binder clips! I was laying on the couch going back and forth between whether or not I wanted to bake or go down to the cricut machine in the basement. The couch won over both of those options, until about an hour ago when I decide to decorate some binder clips. (Those I can do from the couch).



I came across this d.i.y project on this really cool craft website. It links to various websites and blogs for each craft/creative idea listed. I thought these binder clips were really cute and they seemed pretty simple and quick to do as well. Plus, I use a ton of binder clips in my classroom.


The original idea post is from a blog titled spring dandee. On her blog she uses fabric to cover her binder clips. I used scrapbooking paper.

Materials:
- scrapbooking paper
- binder clips
- scissors
- adhesive

**For adhesive, I used "Elmer's Dot Runner". So far, so good!
*** Note: Use "Elmer's Craft Bond spray adhesive". The dot runner only held for a couple of day!


These really took no time at all. I sat the binder clip on top of the paper to mark the width I needed and then I cut a small strip. I adhered one side and the top to the clip, then folded over the rest to see where to trim the paper to fit.


I made 12 of these and I absolutely love them! What a great way to use up some scraps of scrapbooking paper! Most of mine I made with an education theme paper, but I had those scraps within easy reach. I did cut the green damask paper from a fresh sheet.

I can't wait to pick up some more clips and new scrapbooking paper to make more!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

alphalicious

So I got around to opening up my new cricut cartridge, Alphalicious. The letters are so much fun, I love the font style! I cut out my nieces name to see what the letters looked like.


I did the yellow set of letters on the "short stack bold" setting, and then the flower set of letters on the "short stack setting" both at the same size. This allows you to overlay the letters, and still see the color from the bottom set. The first time I attempted this technique with a font, I thought, hmm well If I do the bottom letters in 2 inches, I should be able to do the top letters a little smaller and it work out! Wrong. You have to do one set in bold, and the other regular. If anyone knows another way for the technique to work out, please share. I would love to do some lettering where the bottom color shows around the top one a little more.

P.S. who knew that your scraps, and extra items cut from your cricut machine could occupy a 5 year old? Here's the various items my niece colored in and decorated while I was cutting out her name and trying out my new font style. I helped her glue everything down on the white paper, and also glued together the hello kitty cut outs. She had a lot of fun with it.


I still plan to post a "surprise" recipe for you by the end of the weekend, and hopefully 2 new picture frames. I'm just not sure which I will wind up getting to first.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Attempting "cake batter blondies"

So this morning I stumbled across this FANTASTIC recipe. Not only do I love candy and bright colors, but I LOVE cake batter and sprinkles. I was instantly in love. Gracie, at girl meets life came up with this idea and I knew I had to try it, and then I knew I had to blog about it. I took photos along the way, and hoped for the best!

Ingredients:
1 box yellow cake mix
1/4 cup oil
1 egg
1/2 cup of milk
rainbow sprinkles & white chocolate chips
** girl meets life suggests using 1/2 cup white chocolate chips and 1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles, but lets get real. just dump in as much as you'd like! 

The batter consistency is REALLY thick. I got in an arm workout for sure with the mixing.

Then I added in the white chocolate chips and rainbow sprinkles.

I spread the batter out across a 9x9 pan. girl meets life suggests 8x8, but I had to make due with what I had.

Voila! The finished product. They are delish! I'm so glad I decided to make these instead of writing lesson plans. Now, where is my plan book?