Gingerly Made: May 2012

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Hers and His Toothbrush Holder


 These mason jar organizers have been all over pinterest, so accuse me of not being original, but I love them! Growing up we used mason jars for drinking glasses. Want some sweet tea, grab a mason jar. Using these jars in decorating reminds me of that. You know, using everyday things everyday in a different way.

To make them, we used the leftover 1 x 4 pine boards from our mirror frame (from the broken mirror) to mount the jars; painted to match the cabinets and add some vinyl love.

They are Hers and His not His and Hers because I use the left sink and Hubs uses the right. So it felt only natural for us to have my toothbrush on the left and his on the right too.


Our bath remodel is slowly coming into place. We just have to get a new mirror since the other one broke and add a few finishing touches. I hope to be able to do the big reveal in a couple of weeks.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Print Runner Poster Winner

I meant to post this last week after the giveaway ended, but well... I just forgot. It's a little late, but here it is.

Congrats to Tom! He is our Print Runner poster giveaway winner!

Thank you to everyone who entered.

Stay tuned for another giveaway in the coming weeks. I will be reviewing some sample packs from eFoodsDirect plus a giveaway for you too.

Broken Mirror

Sorry for the lousy pictures, I shot them quickly this morning and didn't have the time (or motivation) to set lighting and edit photos.

So I had planned to share another aspect of our master bathroom update today, but DIY tragedy struck. We have a really boring builder grade, blase bathroom mirror. It's a whopping 59" x 42". At first I wanted to build a frame around the whole thing. Eric felt unsure of how that would look, so we started looking at getting a pair of medicine cabinets, one over each sink.


Medicine cabinets were more expensive than my budget allowed and Eric had his concerns about height. You see he is 6 foot 4.5 inches. If we don't have a tall mirror, he would have to duck to see his face. And although he has to duck for other mirrors, he doesn't have to shave using those. So, I went back to the idea of framing our mirror. I showed Eric another blogger who had successfully framed her mirror. And we agreed to try it.

Well, Eric built a beautiful frame and I painted it. We were just getting ready to put the mirror in place, add liquid nail to the frame and install it. That's when the mirror broke. Seriously!! It is what it is, but now I've got this oversized frame and I don't want to scrap it. I need to think of something awesome to do with it.

Got any ideas??


Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day 2012

Thank you to those who have served.



I will be spending the day with my family whose freedom is and has been fiercely protected. Thank you to those who have given!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

eFoodsDirect Storable Meals

I recently received an email from a really interesting company, eFoodsDirect, and wanted to share them with you. They will be sending me a sample pack to review their product and also a giveaway for you, so whoo hoo to that. But until I receive them, I wanted to give you a little something to think about.


If you and your family were to ever be caught up in some kind of catastrophe, do you have a readiness plan?

I'm not one of those people who think the world is going to end tomorrow and preparing for the apocalypse. I'm thinking more reasonably than that. What would happen if mother nature took a turn for the worse and you were without power for a week? That DID happen to me once.

When I was in high school hurricane Fran went through our state and my family went a week without power. My parents lost all the food in their freezer. We had a well, but the power ran the well pump, so we had to be extremely frugal with our water. Thankfully, my parents always kept a pretty well stocked pantry. We had grills and cooked out. We also had a neighbor who brought a generator over and let us get showers twice that week and fill up buckets of water.

That was actually a rather pleasant experience for me because it felt a lot like camping. But what if you were one of the people who went through Katrina? Or the tsunamis in other countries that devastated peoples lives? This is where eFoodsDirect comes into play.

eFoodsDirect sells survival and emergency foods. They believe that storing foods in case of disaster is a smart and prudent thing for every family to do. They also believe that it should be affordable for every family to do with healthy food choices. By dehydrateing their foods instead of freeze-drying them the foods have less preservatives and additives, and retain over 90% of their nutritional value. Dehydration also means that the food is more compact and great for hunting, camping, and fishing trips too.

They will be providing me with some sample packs to try out and review and have also offered to do a giveaway for you. I'm really looking forward to seeing how they taste!  In the meantime, go check them out at www.eFoodsDirect.com and think a little about what you would do in case of an emergency.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Kid Craft: Cherry Blossoms

 For Mother's Day this year, Hubs and Caitlin made the cutest craft for me; branches with paper cherry blossoms. It's beautiful!

(The pictures don't really do it justice because I have some weird problem with pictures and indoor lighting.)


I love how Caitlin loves to do 'projects.' But let's be honest, most sweet, well-intentioned crafts that our kids make aren't something that we would decorate our house with if we didn't have kids. Please don't get me wrong. I love seeing her paintings, hand and foot prints, and random stuff that she has glued together. I display them for awhile and then lovingly tuck them into her memory box because I know that those things are so precious. But they aren't real permanent decoration.

But this one, I'm using as permanent decor in my house. In fact, I put it in our bathroom that we are updating because it's currently my favorite room in the house.

I had Hubs make a few extra blossoms so that I could take pictures and tell you how he did it.

What You Need:
Green tissue paper
Pink tissue paper
Pen or Pencil
Branches
Glue

What You Do:
  1. Cut  the pink tissue paper into 1" x 1" squares
  2. Cut the green tissue paper into triangles. I'm not exactly sure what the dimensions should be, but you want them smaller than the pink squares.

  3. Wrap the pink square around the tip of your pen (or pencil) so that the tip of the pen is in the center of the square.

  4. Take the pen out and twist the bottom. It should look like the picture below.

  5. Now set your twisted pink blossom in the center of your green triangle.
  6. Add some glue and place the branch on it.
  7. Wrap the green tissue around the pink blossom and branch.


  8. Repeat. A lot.

Simple. Sweet. And easy for your kiddos to make.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Chore Line Chore Chart Tutorial


This chore line chore chart uses wood clothes pins to mark completed chores. As a mom, I am always trying to think of new ways to encourage my daughter to do certain things; try new foods, have good manners, keep her things tidy. This chore line is just another spin on the old chore chart, but I think it's ubber cute.

As Caitlin completes certain age appropriate chores, she can add them to her chore line. Once she has 10 chores completed, she gets to go to the dollar store and pick a prize.

How We Made It:

  1. First Hubs cut and routed a decorative edge on some MDF for me. (Dimensions)
  2. Then I painted it and added the vinyl letters and birds.
  3. Attach the Mason jar (or in this case the Ball jar) with a metal clamp.
    1. Make a pilot hole by nailing a hole through the metal clamp.
    2. Screw in the clamp to the MDF and slide your jar in place and tighten the clamp to hold.

  4. Using a picture hanging kit, screw in four eye hooks. Thread some wire through and twist the ends. I used a coated craft wire. (You can see this step best in the bottom picture.)
  5. To finish it off. Get some cheap wood clothes pins and a good pin. Write whatever chores you think your kid can do on the clothes pins. Most chores have seven clothes pins unless it's just a once a week type chore. That way Caitlin can earn one clothes pin per day per chore. Also the clothes pins allow you to easily change out chores as your kiddos grow up and take on bigger responsibilities. Get some new wood clothes pins and write the new chores on them. Done.
We are starting with just a couple of chores:
  • pick up toys (7 clothes pins)
  • help mommy sort laundry (1 clothes pin)
  • put your dirty dishes away (7 clothes pins)
  • wipe off table (7 clothes pins)
  • put clean laundry away (1 clothes pin)
If she is able to do these consistently, we'll add more.

The best part is that as Hayley gets older and can start participating, there's already two lines. One for both kiddos.




Photobucket

Monday, May 21, 2012

Stars and Stripes Skirt

Since Memorial Day is coming up this weekend and Independence Day shortly after that, I wanted to whip up something patriotic for Caitlin to wear. I had some sort of stars and stripes patchwork skirt in mind. So I went to JoAnn's to see what fabric they had. Nothing really stood out to me for what I had pictured in my head. But I did find this stars and stripes fabric and loved it, so decided to can the patchwork idea.

I also had it in mind to do a tutorial. But since this thing went from patchwork skirt, to elastic waist-banded twirly skirt, to box pleats and a zipper, I really can't remember what I did to get the final product. This was the first time I installed a zipper and let's just say I finally got it in. :) Let's hope it stays at least through the July 4th.



Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Saving Time in the Kitchen

Just in case you missed my first contributor post over at The Cheap and Choosy, I'm re-posting it here today.




Saving Time in the Kitchen.

A while back, I realized that I needed to spend more time being Mom and less time focusing on the household things that need to be done. So, I'm doing my best to find ways to save time in those arenas. I mean let's face it. Being mom is the best, but there are other responsibilities too. I'm just choosing to give less time to those other responsibilities and in so doing needing to be more efficient with the time I have.

So my first task is to save time in food preparation because typically I spend SO MUCH time there.

Image: David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Menu Planning: One Month At A Time
I've been menu planning for a long time now. But I was only doing it for a week at a time. And it was really putting me in a stale-mate on what to cook. I became much less creative and found myself planning many of the same meals week after week. Even spaghetti gets tiring after awhile.

I've now begun putting menu plans in order for a month at a time. It forces me to be more creative and more varied in the meals I choose to provide for my family. At first it was a little difficult, but now I'm loving it.

Freezer Cooking: A Little At A Time
Ok, I'm probably the last stay-at-home mom to jump on this band wagon, but I've finally figured out how awesome freezer cooking is. It took me forever to try it simply because of time. I know, isn't freezer cooking supposed to save you time? So why would time be a deterrent?

Most of what I had seen about freezer cooking meant going to the grocery store and loading up on a ton of food stuffs and then spending an entire day or even half a day prepping and cooking food to put in the freezer. I just don't have the time for that. My kids would never be ok with me spending that kind of time in the kitchen and devoting so little to them.

But, and here's the big but for me, you don't have to do it that way. What has been working for me is to just prepare one freezer meal at a time. Whatever I cook for dinner that night, I'll make one or two extra and toss those in the freezer. Over time my freezer dinner stash has built up and it only took me a few extra minutes each time I made dinner.

More Simple Meals
Sometimes I think us moms feel like we have to provide a culinary masterpiece for dinner. We don't. And they take too long to cook anyway. Sometimes the best meals are the simplest. Tonight we had a salad full of cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, and apples. Topped with some seasoned chicken and a sprinkle of cheese it was a complete and healthy meal. And the best part, it took no time to cook.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Print Runner Poster Giveaway

Did you see the decoupaged giant photo I posted about earlier today? Would you like to make one yourself? It will be super easy with a poster from PrintRunner.com!


You could win a 24" x 36" poster printed with your favorite family photo. That would make a fantastic over the mantle statement piece!

PrintRunner.com was established with little more than a small press and a dream. Ten years later their company became one of the foremost quality printers in Southern California. Their commitment to provide the best value and high quality full color printing at affordable price made the company grow.  PrintRunner is a full service high quality printing company located in Chatsworth, California.

Besides online poster printing services, they also offer other online printing services for business cards, calendars, greeting cards, stickers, and tons more.


Details of the giveaway prize
Poster Size: 24" x 36"
Quantity: 1
Colors: 4/0 Front Only Printing
Coating: Gloss Aqueous (AQ) Coating
Paper: 100# Gloss Book
Proof: None
Ready to Ship In: 3 Business Days
*Giveaway is open to US Residents only, ages 18 years old and above.


 *Disclaimer
Thank you to PrintRunner for providing us this giveaway, I will receive a set of postcards for hosting this.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

DIY Decoupage Giant Photo


I love giant family photos hanging on walls. And although our bathroom update is meant to create a relaxing escape for me, I couldn't resist putting in a reminder of my sweet girls. All you need to create your own giant photo on canvas is a poster sized print of the photo, a canvas, some fabric strips, and mod podge. Yep, just another decoupage project.

I ordered a 16 x 20 poster sized print to match my 16 x 20 canvas. It would be great if you could custom order your picture to be 18 x 22, but that didn't work out for me. The reason a picture larger than your canvas would be best is because of the sides. You don't want to leave those bare. And if your picture is larger than the canvas, you could fold it over and around the edges.

However.... my canvas and photo were the SAME size.

To prevent the sides of the canvas from being blank, I cut two long strips of some black fabric I had lying around. Enough to go all the way around the canvas. Make sure the fabric is wider than the side of the canvas so the raw edges of the fabric don't show. Smear mod podge all over the sides and apply the fabric.

Fold the edges over on to the top of the canvas using mod podge to hold it down. Make sure those corners are folded and crisp. Do the same on the back of the canvas.



Once your edges are taken care of, you can go about decoupaging the rest easy peasy. Pour mod podge on the canvas and use a brush to spread it all over. Place your picture carefully. Press and smooth starting in the center moving to the edges.

Once that's dry, spread more mod podge on top of the photo. Be generous with it. It WILL dry clear.

Allow your picture to dry and then hang.

Here's a couple more pictures; one from the side so you can see how that fabric edging looks and one from further away so you can see how it looks on the whole wall.






Would you like to make your own giant photo? Check back later today for a poster giveaway from PrintRunner.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Wood Crate Linen Cabinet



Wood Crate Linen Cabinet

 Do you believe in small miracles? It's easy to believe in the big ones. They are hard to miss. But what about the small ones. They don't always come in the shape or size we want them to, but they come never-the-less.

Wood Crates
Before
Ok, once you realize what I'm talking about you are going to think I've completely lost it. But really, not being able to find those wood crates I was talking about a few weeks ago was really driving me nuts. No one had any!! So when not even a week after I posted my crate frustration, I found some on craigslist! Literally they were not the size or shape I wanted, but I figured since I couldn't find any elsewhere, I'd get them anyway. It was my little miracle of the week.

I had to be creative in how to arrange the crates since four of them were this odd L-shape. Which meant that they also needed some restructuring. But we went from these flower display crates to this awesome crate linen cabinet. Or bookshelf. Whatever you want to use it for. I just wanted it for a linen cabinet.

Here's what we did.

Because of the L-shaped crates we had to remove the slats from one side and reattached them to the other opening up the front of the crate. Basically, we had to move the slats around so the correct side would be open once stacked up.

Dismantling Wood Crates

Then we painted the crates, used wood glue and nailed the crates in place as we re-stacked them. The paint color is Country Covered Bridge from Glidden.
 
Painting Wooden Crates

It turned out REALLY good! Then I filled it up with Mason jars for my Q-tips and cotton balls, lotions, and homemade natural soaps, towels, and wash cloths. And most importantly as the linen cabinet is sitting beside the tub, a place to set my book after I'm done taking a bubble bath. Ah, simple bliss.
















Photobucket 
 
 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Cheap and Choosy: Saving Time in the Kitchen

Today is my first post as a contributor at The Cheap and Choosy!




I've written a little bit about how I Save Time in the Kitchen.
Please take a minute to check it out and support The Cheap and Choosy.

Thanks!

Men's Shirt Refashion

There's nothing better than a classic white blouse. But finding one that fits just right can sometimes be one of the hardest things to find. On top of that, Hubs isn't a big fan of me wearing button up shirts because he feels that even though they are tailored for a woman, they still look manly to him. I have had very few button up shirts that he thought didn't look masculine.

So when I saw this men's shirt refashion I totally flipped. I'm sure you've seen it on pinterest. Although it is a button up, the lack of collar and capped sleeves makes it look much more feminine. Don't you think so?

Here's my inspiration photo.  Gorgeous isn't it!

Photo Source

So of course I had to try my hand at it. I followed the directions on the tutorial. But let me just tell you, if you are new to sewing like me, using a t-shirt as a guide is not as easy as it sounds. You might end up with your shirt not quiet even on both sides. Can you see my sleeve problem? I didn't think to check it because it looked the same when laying flat. It wasn't until I was almost done and trying the shirt on that I realized my sleeves weren't right. And the shirt would lean to my right side because there was more fabric on that side. See.


So this project took longer than it should have because I had to go back and redo some of it; meaning I had to trim the excess off one side. And now, it's a little tighter than I originally wanted. The gaps between the buttons were bulging. Uh. I am still trying to lose some pregnancy weight so...

Anyway, I've waited several months to take photos because of the size issue. This is where we are now.


Not bad. Although I can make it look good standing up for a photo...... sitting down makes all those bulges and gaps show up again. Just think how unseemly that would look from the side. Yea, definitely can't wear that out in public.


So I think this little project is going to call for a redo. I'm not sure when, but someday.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Cloth Diapering Set Backs

I consider myself a cloth diapering momma. But lately.... I've been totally out of it.

It seems that I can't get a handle on the normal amount of housework I have. I put normal in italics because it doesn't feel normal. I have at least as many loads of laundry as there are days in the week without cloth diapering. The kid junk is coming at me from everywhere. Not to mention the bath redo. Hubs has been busy with other things (read necessary outside work and bathroom remodel) and hasn't been able to help as me much lately.

I'm overwhelmed; overwhelmed to the point that I don't want to even start trying to deal with it. There have been several days where I haven't even wanted to start dinner. And let me tell you, although it happens, if I'm maxed out to the point where I don't want to cook dinner, I've had a pretty rough day.

Life isn't terrible. In fact, life is pretty good right now. I'm just in a weird cleaning funk that I just can't dust and polish my way out of. It feels like every time I put one thing away, two more things sprout on the floor somewhere.

So, to help myself, I've not been using cloth diapers. Part of me feels terrible because I really do love using cloth on baby bottoms. It's so much better for their skin. And so much better for my wallet. But, with my resolve to make sure I'm being Mom and not House-keeper, I'm having to make cut backs. And one of those places is cloth diapering. For now.

I hope to get back on the cloth band wagon soon, but in the mean time, disposables are going to be part of our life.

And since every post needs a pic....don't you just love this face!!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Painted Bathroom Cabinets

Before and After Painted Bathroom Cabinets

I just finished painting our bathroom cabinets under the sink. If you've never tried it before, painting your cabinetry is a really affordable option for updating your bathroom or kitchen. And although it may sound like one of those cheap fixes that looks cheap too, it's not. Painting cabinetry can look really good if you do it the right way.

When we decided to redo our bathroom, Hubs was all for painting the walls. But when I told him that I wanted to paint the cabinets below the sink, let's just say he was skeptical. The walls are now a pale Tiffany blue with white trim and white-ish gray floors. The room needed something to anchor it so it didn't look so up in the clouds.

Hubs never said that he didn't want me to do it. He's being amazingly cool with whatever I want to do in the room. So when he came home and I told him that I painted the cabinets purple.......but they look brown.........but they're purple, I think he kind-a freaked out a little. He didn't say anything, but just got up and walked upstairs. Good thing it looks brown.

When you open the can and start painting, the paint is purple, but when it dries, it's so dark that it's brown. I know that sounds weird, but that's what it is.

** UPDATE: For some reason I did not have the paint color written down when I posted, but I have gone back and searched for it since so many people have asked. The color is Country Covered Bridge from Glidden. **

So anyway, I mentioned that you needed to paint the right way for your painted cabinets to look good. Here it is:
  • Lightly sand the cabinets (*I didn't but it would be better if you did.)
  • Use semi-gloss paint
  • Either prime first or get a primer and paint in one paint
  • Take off all hardware and hinges first
  • Seal afterward to prevent scratching the paint off
In the end, Hubs says "It looks better than I thought it would. It looks like it came that way." Whoop whoop!! Now that's a compliment!

Painted Bathroom Cabinets

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Ombre Waterlilly Painting


Here's a sneak peak into our bathroom remodel. I knew I wanted some artwork, but I don't like having to spend big bucks on art. In high school I used to paint and sketch A LOT. Unfortunately, lack of use has taken it's toll on my fine art skills and left me somewhat timid. But my excitement over this bathroom thing refused to let my artistic insecurities win.

I bought a canvas (the largest I've ever worked with). Dusted off the ol' easel and paints. And I came up with this ombre background and waterlilly.

*By the way. Where does this word 'ombre' come from?? I've always called it a gradient. Or is that just my Photoshop/Illustrator learning? I even looked it up on Wikipedia and the results for ombre turned up some card game. Sorry just had to throw that out there because it bugs me every time I see the word on a craft blog. I'm just using it so other people will know what I mean. I guess I'm just making the problem worse. Oh, boy.*

Notice how the paint cracked?  That was totally unintentional. I've never had my paints to crack like that before. But it looks cool, so I'm ok with it. Gives it a shabby chic sort of look don't you think?


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Nature Walk and Nature Jars

We all went to a local state park over the weekend. Harris Lake for you locals. We let Caitlin play on the little playground, but mostly we walked and looked.

Caitlin loves picking up various things she finds when we go on walks. So we made it a fun game. See what new things you can find. We found the usual sticks, pine cones, and plain old rocks. But we also found moss, shells, rose quartz (pink rocks), and a FROG.

Aside from the frog, we put all her finds in my hat. My hat because that's all we had to hold stuff in. Then when we got home put them all in a mason jar and we've got an easy peasy nature jar. Looks pretty on the shelf too.

Some of Caitlin's finds.

Beautiful view.

Eric walking ahead.

Mommy and Caitlin. Wow, my hair in pony tail looks pretty terrible. Of course, I was wearing a hat until it became a collection holder so we'll blame it on that.

The Princess and the frog.

Her Daddy Prince and the littlest Princess.

Nature jar. 

 
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