Monday, February 28, 2011

How to recondition Cricut mats

In my dreams, I get a million dollar gift card to Hobby Lobby. While I’m awake, I must find other means of obtaining craft supplies. I'm also thinking that if I could get about 972 more followers maybe people would start sending me free craft supplies.
I love my Cricut, but I do not love how expensive the mats are and how quick they stop working. A few years ago I took a Cricut class @ AC Moore. It would have been a complete waste of my time and $10 except I met a lady there that told me how to re-condition Cricut Mats. She said they work as good as new. I think they only work about 90% as the new ones, but that’s good enough for me. She said she actually buys flexible cutting mats and uses those, but I've never tried.
You will need:
Zapps Lift off
Razor or paint scrapper
Aleene's Tack it over and Over

(It's fairly silly that I even bothered to take pics, since both the products are clear, but it seemed wrong to not have any pics, so here they are. At least they're in focus)
Posted by PicasaCheck out the one on the right. It's my orginal that came w/ the machine.

Step 1:
Cover the old mats with Zapps . The stuff stinks and must be toxic, so leave the windows open and make sure you’ve laid down lots of newspapers (it will damage paint, furniture etc.) Give it a couple of minutes to work.
Step 2:
Scrap all the old gunk off
Step 3:
Wipe of excess Zapps with lots of paper towels. Zapps is oil-based, so don't try to use water to rinse them off. It’s not even a bad idea to let them dry a little
Step 4: Put a very very THIN layer of Ailenes on the mat-harldly any. I think a sponge roller would be fabulous, but I just used a regular foam brush. If you put it on too thick, your paper will never come off the mat.
Step 5: Let it dry (at least an hour).
Trouble shooting:
***** If your paper’s not sticking, then add a little more Aleene's
*****If the paper won’t come off the mat, don't panic. Put a fleece or flannel blanket on it. The lint from the blanket will help it be less sticky. Use a piece of scrap paper the first time you use your new mat, just in case.

Young Women Lesson #7

While I still worry that I may not be cool enough to work with teenagers, I think my first lesson yesterday went pretty well. I got all excited and decided to work on next week's lesson. It's on the Purpose of Life. That should be pretty easy to cover in 30 minutes, right?
I Love this scripture: Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all they ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths." Proverbs 3:5-6
So very wise and true, but I am just not a very good "consider the lilies of the field type of girl", but I'm working on it.
The scripture got me thinking about how the purpose of life is really just a journey to return Home. I love a good theme-especially if it involves a lot of puns. So I'm comparing our life to a big road trip. Just as we need various tools for a road trip (GPS, maps, asking people for directions etc.) we also have some great spiritual helps on our earthly road trips (prayer, the Holy Ghost, blessings, scriptures).
I made this handout using Cricut Everyday Paper Dolls, and Paper Doll Dress-up. I thought they'd like the idea of themselves cruising down the highway in a little red convertible.
Since I love handouts, I wanted to give each of them a notebook to keep their handouts and to record any their own thoughts and ideas. I got some notebooks @ Michael's. I used my Cricut and a little Modge Podge to fancy them up.

To see more of my ideas for Young Women, click here.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

3-d Guitar Art

So remember my 3-D Apple Art? My friend Kammy (my very best friend when I was a newlywed) saw it and came up with this:

Don't you just love it?!?!?! My apple looks a little too country bumpkin next to this that absolutely rocks.
She says:
"Yes, one of those cheap pre-stretched canvases from a craft store. 12x24 inches. Our piano is in our front/playroom, so I did more of a kids toys and games theme. I cracked myself up by titling it "stuff I found under the couch." Hahaha."
I think the trick might be using bigger stuff. Mine were too small and too similar. I'm re-doing mine so stay tuned.

Chic on a Shoestring Decorating

Friday, February 25, 2011

Handout on teaching

I was recently ask to teach the 14-15 year old girls on Sunday @ church. The first lesson is about that we all have a responsibility to teach. Cool topic?
For the past few months, I taught a class full of 10year old boys. Each week I planned the lesson around the game and the snack. I'm excited to get to work with kids that are older and female so that I can plan my lesson around "the handout". I love handouts. When I was younger, I would paste them on my walls or write down quotes I liked in a notebook. I'm hoping to make each girl a notebook to keep stuff like that in as well. Stay tuned.
I've seen many variations of this quote. My favorite is, "It is not how many seeds in the apple, but how many apples in the seed." So profound.
Here's my handout. I printed the quote on my computer and then added an apple that I cut out on my Cricut and glued on a real apple seed.
Posted by PicasaI actually heard that quote a few weeks ago in church and loved it. I want to make something for my home.

St. Patrick's Day Mantel

So as I've said before, I have a big green wall in my living room, so most St. Patty's Day stuff clashes. My mantel needed something else. I saw how to make shamrock's out of tp rolls here.
I hung one from a broken fame and it completes the room.

To see all of my St. Patty's day decor ideas click on the "holiday" link at the top of the page or click here. ( the wreath is my fav)
Happy St. Patty's Day to all.
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Thursday, February 24, 2011

What I'm Reading Fridays

First of all, did you notice the top of the page? Now you can click on whatever topic you're interested in and see all my posts. I love that I can do that w/ no computer programing skills.

I have a daughter in Middle School who loves to read. I try and steer her to books I like and steer her away from Books I don't think are appropriate for kids. I'm amazed sometimes at what passes for "juvenile fiction". We both been reading a lot of Scott Westerfeld. He has several series that we've both enjoyed and I thought I'd spotlight him this week.

Westerfeld has his own blog if you want some more info. I cut-n-paste some descriptions from his blog for your convenience (it's the stuff w/ in the quotation marks).

"Uglies is set in a world in which everyone has an operation when they turn sixteen, making them supermodel beautiful. Big eyes, full lips, no one fat or skinny. You might think this is a good thing, but it’s not. Especially if you’re one of the Smokies, a bunch of radical teens who’ve decided they want to keep their own faces. (How anti-social of them.)

We both really like the first one, but the 2nd and 3rd were very repetitive. The final one is the series was really good and it reminds me a little of blogging. For the most part they were pretty clean. There is some mention of kids sneaking away into a "pleasure garden", but nothing sexually graphic. There is some violence. Substance abuse is also mentioned, but always in a negative light. Overall, I like the message it sends to young girls about beauty.

The Midnighters
"Okay, this is how it works:

There aren't really 24 hours in the day, there are 25. Got that? The extra one is rolled up too tight to see, and it flashes past most people in an instant. "Most people" means boring, normal, daylight people. But people born exactly at the instant of midnight (all together now: "midnighters") get to walk around while the rest of you suckers are frozen.

So check your birth certificate. If you were born at the stroke of midnight, you might be one of us. By the way, this is real midnight, not lame-time-zone- or daylight-savings-time-adjusted midnight. Every spot on earth has its own exact moment when the sun is right under our feet. Suffice it to say that if you were born anytime between about 11:30PM and 1:30AM, you could be a midnighter. Confused? Also, the secret hour doesn't seem to happen everywhere. Bixby is the only place that time freezes, as far as we know. Anyone out there notice something similar? Oh, and one more thing . . . midnight isn't empty. There are slithers, which are sort of like snakes (except they fly, sometimes) and darklings, which are pretty much any shape they want to be--as long as it's a big and scary shape. That's one thing you'll definitely notice about midnight: being number two on the food chain is a big change from being on top.

If you do find yourself walking around in the blue time, bring something made from stainless steel, and have a thirteen-letter word in mind. Darklings hate new alloys like steel, and have this epilepsy when it comes to 13s."

The first one was great and I loved the premise. The second I enjoyed a little less and there were more and more innuendos. I'm not dying to read the 3rd, but I will before I let my kid read it.

There are no sexually explicit parts, however Since the basic premise is that Vampires are all suffering from an STD, it's probably not meant for young teens. The main character discusses disvarious actual parasites and I found them fascinating and the best part of the book.

"Prince Aleksander, would-be heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battletorn war machine and a loyal crew of men.

Deryn Sharp is a commoner, disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She’s a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered.

With World War I brewing, Alek and Deryn’s paths cross in the most unexpected way…taking them on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure that will change both their lives forever."

I just started this one, so stay tuned for my review.

Folded flower wreath

So I had so much fun making paper flowers yesterday, that I made some more and thought they would be a way fun way to decorate a non-tacky St. Patty's Wreath. I started w a roll of ribbon and an 18 inch straw wreath from Hobby Lobby. While I'm on the subject of wreaths: Does anyone know why Styrofoam is so expensive?
(Sorry this next 2 pics are even bad for me)
This roll of ribbon only covered 1/4 of the wreath :(
Not wanting to spen $12 on ribbon, I remembered that I had some black polka-dot fabric. I cut 6 2 inch strips. I just wrapped the strips around the wreath and secured with pins at the end of each strip.
Then I cut out a bunch of circles and flowers with my George and Basic Shapes Cricut cartridge. I made my folded flower (tutorial here) and used silver upholstery tacks ( they are only abou 99 cents for an entire package and way easier and cheaper to use than brads) to secure them to the wreath. flowers, I used stick pins to secure the little flowers to the wreath. Next time I might coat the flowers in Modge Podge, but I didn't think of it until they were on my wreath.

I had some left over satin fabric left over from Halloween costumes and I think it added the finishing touch.
So much better then my Bella Swan reject V-Day wreath. I love it and I think it took longer to write this post than to make it.
I'm dying to put a vinyl "Welcome" on my door, but hubby  is not a fan.

Linking up here.
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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sorta St. Patty Decor

As I've said before, I've never decorated for St. Patty's day before. Does anyone else find the vast majority of St. Patty's day decor a little tacky? I saw this flower on my friend's fabulous card -making blog. I don't make cards, although browsing through her blog made me want to start. However, I thought those flowers would be the perfect touch of green that I needed.
Step 1- Cut out a bunch of circles. I wanted to make 3 of different sizes. First I used a spool of thread as a pattern, but it's really hard to cut out good circles, so I finally cut a bunch out w/ my Cricut.

Step 2-Fold them like this. I folded some more than others b/c I like the look. Just fold the ones for the same flowers the same.

Arrange into a flower shape and glue down. I used hot glue. I stuck a button on top and put in an old frame.

I like it so much, I may leave it there all year long.
To see my other St. Patty Decor click here.Linking up here.
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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Winner/ 3-D apple art

Thanks everyone for entering. Our first give-way winner is Jen. Congrats!!! Please e-mail me to claim your prize.

By the way, I've had a few questions on what it means to "follow" a blog. Pretty much the same as "liking" something on facebook. You won't get any e-mails or be contacted in anyway. It's just a way of saying, "I think this is a fun blog". So if you think this is a fun blog, please become a "follower".

So I loved the above idea. Find the link here
I thought it would be cool to make one of my own. First, I thought I'd do something for St. Patty's, but then I decided to make an apple for my kitchen.

Step 1: Find a bunch of small objects. I mostly used a bunch of assorted buttons. Then I Sprayed painted them w/ my oil-rubbed bronze (man am I getting my money's worth out of that can). Tip: Spray paint objects in a box it cuts down on the over spray.

I used a piece of fabric and wrapped it around a piece of 8x10 cardboard. Then I cut out a piece of card stock in the shape of an apple to use as a guide. And then hot glued all my little goodies on the fabric.

After comparing mine to the original, I think I like the original better. I may re-do it w/ fatter objects. Also, I just noticed that my stem is a little long and it looks more like a cherry than an apple. Stay tuned.

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Monday, February 21, 2011

2 Minute Stencilled Brownies

My hubby works with the 12-18 year old boys at our church, creatively named "Young Men".
Sunday night they had a planning meeting for the adult leaders and my daughter made treats. She was frustrated with our lack of ingredients to fancy them up. She finally asked, "Can we just stencil something w/ powdered sugar on top?" We busted out our regular Cricut and the "Inspired Heart" cartridge and cut out "Young Men" in size 5 1/2 on card stock. Then we laid the cut-out on top and sprinkled on the sugar. (I took pics of the during, but they didn't turn out so use your imagination.)
I think it worked out pretty well and we are so doing this again.
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If you haven't had a chance yet, please enter my give-away here. Currently you have a 10% chance of winning!
Contest ends @ midnight on Feb 22. Good Luck!

St. Patty's Decor

Hope everyone had a great weekend. I'm exhausted and a little excite that the kiddos all have to go to school to make up a snow-day. At first I was upset and thought it un-American to have to go to school on President's Day. Then I realized that my kids would all be in school and my hubby would be home. That's the makings for a great holiday. So remember this (If not click here)? I had never decorated for V-day (and certainly never St. Patty's Day) before and so when I made these, I stenciled St. Patty's Day stuff on the back. So I just flipped them all over. Twice the decor and 1/2 the storage.

Since my living room is already green, I made them black and white and used my Paperdolls Dress-up Cricut Cartridge (click on the v-day link for more details).
I have a few more ideas to Irish up my house so stay tuned.
If you're new. Welcome. I love clicking my stats and learning that I have readers all over the world. 

Friday, February 18, 2011

What I'm reading Fridays:Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

First of all, my coaster idea is working AWESOME-only 5 dirty glasses. The kiddo's thought it was really fun to each get their own custom coasters and they actually followed through. Hopefully we're not just in a honeymoon phase. I'll update you in a month.

Amazon Best of the Month, April 2009: It's the beginning of a lazy summer in 1950 at the sleepy English village of Bishop's Lacey. Up at the great house of Buckshaw, aspiring chemist Flavia de Luce passes the time tinkering in the laboratory she's inherited from her deceased mother and an eccentric great uncle. When Flavia discovers a murdered stranger in the cucumber patch outside her bedroom window early one morning, she decides to leave aside her flasks and Bunsen burners to solve the crime herself, much to the chagrin of the local authorities. But who can blame her? What else does an eleven-year-old science prodigy have to do when left to her own devices? With her widowed father and two older sisters far too preoccupied with their own pursuits and passions—stamp collecting, adventure novels, and boys respectively—Flavia takes off on her trusty bicycle Gladys to catch a murderer. In Alan Bradley's critically acclaimed debut mystery, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, adult readers will be totally charmed by this fearless, funny, and unflappable kid sleuth. But don't be fooled: this carefully plotted detective novel (the first in a new series) features plenty of unexpected twists and turns and loads of tasty period detail. As the pages fly by, you'll be rooting for this curious combination of Harriet the Spy and Sherlock Holmes. Go ahead, take a bite. --Lauren Nemroff

I read a lot and am always on the lookout for a good book recommendation. I saw this on my friend's blog here .

You should check out here review, b/c it is much better than mine and I love her favorite quotes section.

She mentioned that her son loved it and so I thought it would be a great book that both my daughter and I could enjoy. She never really got into, but she's super busy and isn't doing any reading. I'll have her try again this summer.
Except for a few chapters I read at a kid's practice, I listened to it while sewing for my etsy shop. I actually actually, enjoyed the audio version so much more. It was just such a great story to be read aloud. It could also be that sewing is more fun than sitting at basketball practice.
I fell instantly in love with the precocious Flavia. She reminded me a little of Anne from Green Gable's fame. I also loved all the references she constantly made. If the the Gilmore Girls were set in 1950's England and were obsessed with Chemistry, it might be something like this book.
Overall it was simply charming and a much needed break from "teenage paranormal romance". (does anyone else feel like the publishing world these days is a little stuck on vampires?)
There's a few more in the series. I'm a little scared to check them out. I can't imagine they will be as good.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Too many dirty glasses solution

I made the coaster on the right last year for teacher/neighbor gifts. I just found a Christmas stamp and used a permanent ink pad. I put on a good coat of polyurethane. My youngest's teacher like them so much, so requested some non-holiday ones for everyday use. I whipped up some with her initials out of vinyl. Since they were such a success and we've moved cross-country, I made some more this Christmas.  They are super quick and cheap -each tile only costs about $.30.  So much better than coffe mugs and lotions (trust me every elementary school teacher in America has a cupboard full of mugs and baskets full of lotions).

This is what my kitchen looks like on a regular basis. No we did not have a party and there are only 5 people in my family. All the dirty glasses drive me crazy-especially since most only held water. I've tried assigning everyone a color-coded glass or writing names on each glass, but it didn't work. I decided to make each member of our family a coaster (and a few extra for guests) and then institute corporal punishment for anyone that doesn't put their glass on the assigned coaster.

I bought these tiles at Lowe's for about .30 a piece. You can use those felt furniture protecting pads, but I was out. Instead, I used a hole punch, some craft foam, and craft glue to make my own

I was going to do initials, but thought symbols would be more fun. I used these 2 cartridges

Then I stuck the vinyl on each coaster and sprayed them w/ a quick coat of polyurethane. Easy Peasy.

Guess which one is mine?