Archive | January, 2013

Scrabble Valentine’s Art

30 Jan

George and I like to play Scrabble. We used to play Words With Friends on our smart phones all the time. I made him this cute piece of art out of Scrabble tiles for Christmas, but it would be a perfect Valentine’s DIY present.

Valentine's Scrabble Art

I bought individual scrabble tiles on etsy from Liberty Aspen. With shipping, the tiles were just over $5. I also purchased a shadow box to house the piece.

I hot glued the tiles onto cardstock. I wanted a border, so I glued a smaller black sheet onto a white page. The white page just sits in the frame. I was hustling to get the project done, so I’m sure you could think of a different presentation method.

If your names don’t have letters in common, you can also add other words to a little display such as: love, family, valentines, forever, etc.

I’ll have more Valentine’s projects coming up in the next couple weeks. Do you have any good ideas?

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DIY Fail: Gilded Business Cards

28 Jan

George is starting his own business and is looking into ordering business cards with his new logo and information. We love the look of Moo cards that have a stripe of color in the middle of the card. It’s a really nice way to add a pop to your business card. The only problem is they can cost over 50 cents a card!

On Pinterest I saw someone who had spray painted the edges of their business cards in order to get the gilded edge look. I thought this would be an excellent way to add  a bit of color and interest to his cards without shelling out major cash for fancy cards. We gave it a shot on George’s old business cards, and it did not work out!

diy fail cards to spray

We used a large binder clip to hold a stack in place. For the two outside cards, we placed someone else’s card face-in to not waste his cards.

George spraying cards outside

George just held the cards with a plastic bag and did a light coat on the cards. It dried almost immediately.

cards messy edges text

The fail was that the dye from the spray paint crept up on the cards, making a really messy looking edge. I don’t know if this is related to the type of paper, but it was a definite failure. I would not suggest trying this spray-painting tactic. I’m still curious how it worked out so well for other people, but it certainly didn’t work for us.

10 Minute Snack: Puppy Chow

25 Jan

Ever since buying an excessive amount of Chex cereal because of a sale, I’ve been looking forward to making Puppy Chow (also called Muddy Buddies, if you prefer). It’s a very sweet snack, and simple to throw together.

puppy chow

I modeled my snack after this recipe, but made some alterations. To make Puppy Chow you need butter, chocolate chips, peanut butter, a crispy rice cereal, and powdered sugar. In addition to the ingredients listed, I also added a little Nutella to the chocolate mix, and some shredded coconut to the dusting.

Since you’re making this snack from scratch, you can shrink down the recipe so you don’t have loads of this around to tempt you.

From beginning to end, it took me less than 10 minutes to make. Just be sure to let it cool a little before digging in! I loved the extra flavor from the shredded coconut.

Long weekend in Maryland

23 Jan

This past long weekend and into Tuesday I was in Maryland with George visiting our friend Dave. We spent much of our time hanging out at Dave’s townhouse and relaxing, but we also got to do some fun activities.

geochaching MD captioned

One morning after breakfast we went geocaching, which was a lot of fun! I found the container, which was rather large and had so many trinkets inside. I don’t think I’ll start regularly caching, but it was fun (and free) to  search around a trail for the right location.

The Capital For the Inauguration

On Tuesday George and I did some Washington DC touring. Let me tell you- it was so cold! I don’t believe it was above freezing all day, and boy was it windy.

Since it was so cold, we spent time indoors browsing Smithsonian Museums. We visited the Natural History Museum and the National Gallery of Art. Of course I loved that Smithsonian Museums are free to visit!

Goofing at Natural History Museum

We both loved the mammal exhibit and the amazing gem stones. I even pointed out some priceless jewels that would make great gifts!  🙂

It was great to see our friend and get to play tourist for a bit, but I am relived to be back home and back to my routine.

Wrapped Glass Bottles

21 Jan

Wrapped Glass Bottles

I am still working on making my jewelry storage wall. Part of it will obviously need to store and display bracelets. To handle that task, I decided to make wrapped bottles.

bottles with peeled labels

I collected four bottles of slightly varied shapes. Before I got started, I removed as much of the labels as possible. I started to get really crazy trying to get the labels completely off, soaking them and using Goo Gone, before realizing that it wasn’t necessary for this project. Just do the best you can removing loose labels.

Metallic Cord

Deciding on what to wrap the bottles with was a bit of a challenge. I wanted something that would cover well, but that was sturdy and not super fuzzy. I ended up finding plastic canvas cord at Michael. It was $2 for 27 yards, which covered 1-2 bottles, depending on the size and shape.

Wrapping a glass bottle

To adhere the cord to the bottle I used hot glue. I started with a dot at the top and twisted the bottle to wrap the cord around. I would occasionally add more dots of hot glue to keep everything in place. It certainly wasn’t difficult, but you need to keep twisting and keep the slack tight. I would also suggest that you make sure your cord is completely tangle-free before beginning the covering process.

Wrapped bottles for bracelets

There you have it! This craft took about 1.5 hours in total time, although I probably could have done it faster. I’m really happy on how the metallic cord looks. I think it will be great to hold my bracelets! Now I just need to assemble this whole storage system. Eek!

Creative Ideas for Plain Yogurt

18 Jan

Typically I eat cereal for breakfast, but this past week I switched to yogurt. Recently I have loved getting those Greek yogurts that have a portion of honey or fruit goo attached, but that is unfortunately not the most economical way to purchase yogurt.

Instead of purchasing individual packages, I decided to get a larger 32-ounce container to last me the whole week. Looking at similar sizes of store-brand Greek yogurt, the vanilla yogurt had 17 grams of sugar and 15 grams of protein per serving. The plain yogurt has just 8 grams of sugar and 18 grams of protein. Especially since I was going to add in other ingredients, this was a no brainer for me. I went with the plain yogurt that had much less sugar and a little more protein!

Jazzing up Plain Yogurt

The plain yogurt is a little tart to begin with, so I have tried a few different add-ons to the yogurt throughout the week.

Nutella – B
The Nutella was very yummy mixed in with the yogurt. I did have some trouble getting it to become incorporated, though. I spent most of the time licking yogurt off the nutella-covered spoon, which was okay with me.

Peanut Butter – A-
Since the Nutella morning went fairly well, I also tried peanut butter. My brand (Teddie) is a little runny, so it mixed into the yogurt very well. The heaping teaspoon of peanut butter added to protein-heavy yogurt also made me feel full throughout the morning. i would definitely eat this again as a quick meal when I’m on the run.

caramel syrup and plain yogurt

Caramel Syrup – C
I have this around the house from fancy hot chocolate at my holiday party. The sugar content of a teaspoon is still less than that of vanilla yogurt, so I gave it a shot. I mixed the caramel into the yogurt but then could barely taste any additional flavor. The yogurt wasn’t tart anymore, but it wasn’t caramel-y. I am least likely to try this mix-in again.

Strawberry Jam – C+
I added a teaspoon of strawberry fruit spread from Wegmans (it is a runny style of jam). As with the caramel, I couldn’t taste much of the sweetness of the jam, but it made the yogurt more neutral and very slightly sweet. I think this would be a good thing to add along with granola.

Those are all the unique ideas I had for my yogurt. Do you have any other favorites? I continue to love adding granola and/or honey, as well!

DIY Magazine File

16 Jan

I would not describe myself as a neat person. I like when things are put away, but my default is leaving items where they land until I decide it is overwhelming.

Messy dining room table

This has become problematic in my current apartment. The first room you enter is the dining area, and all my mail and papers accumulate on the table. Then I don’t end up eating at the table because there’s all this stuff covering it!

I am in the process of rearranging my desk area in the living room, and I decided to make some upright storage to deal with incoming paper. I didn’t want to spend money on something that I might not use in 3 months, so I didn’t make a single purchase for this project.

boxes for magazine file

All I needed to make a magazine file was: two cardboard boxes from 12 packs of beer, and some spray paint.

box cut marks magazine file

I selected the nicer looking box for a main part and cut out a triangle shape from each side. The shape started 3 inches from the top left edge, and 2.5 inches from the bottom right edge. I connected those marks and cut out the portion.

To complete the cutout, you’ll have to cut 2.5 inches from the bottom of one side of your cubic box. For the top, I folded part of it inside to add extra structural integrity.

I cut two more of this same shape (the square with a corner missing) from the extra box. These pieces are going to be used as dividers.

ready to spray paint boxes

Once I had all of the right shapes, I took them outside to spray paint. I only had gold paint on hand, so that’s what I used!

DIY magazine File

The next day, I used hot glue along the inside edges of the inner pieces to make a divider. Now you have a cardboard magazine rack for no cost and just an hour or so of work!

magazine rack in use

I have begun sorting my mail into the three dividers: magazines, coupons/gift cards, and receipts to log with bills. Even though I have to finish clearing the table, it already looks so much better.

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