Thursday, September 2, 2010

Meal Planning

We try to plan out our meals for the week before getting groceries. It helps save money and emergency trips to the grocery store. We order our groceries and pick them up (it's amazing - we just drive up to the pick-up door and they bring out all of the groceries nicely packed in bags) so it's nice to sit down and make our meal plan and order groceries at the same time.

In the past I would write down our general meal plan but we always strayed from it, forgot what we wanted to make (sometimes I lost the list), etc. I decided I wanted to put the meal plan on the refrigerator so it would be easier to follow. So far we've had it up for 1 1/2 weeks and have managed to follow the meal plan. :-)

I found this cute meal plan online that the you can download for free (or you can buy a different style in her etsy shop) and decided to use this.

I had a frame that I had purchased form a thrift store and painted black but never used. It is really lightweight and I can write on the glass with a dry erase marker so I decided that it would be perfect for this project.

I took off the flap on the back that makes it stand up.

I had a bunch of magnets laying around so I grabbed six and used epoxy to glue them to the back.

Then I put in the weekly meal plan template and was finished!

I thought it looked nice on the refrigerator and I think seeing the meal plan will really help us keep organized and know what we plan on making and this way we only buy what we need and have less food go bad. I only write dinners (sometimes lunches on the weekends) on the calendar since for lunch we bring either leftovers or other basics (bagels, sandwiches, etc.).

I'm hoping to make something similar so we can write down shopping lists, to do, and our weekly schedule. Hopefully I can fit that all into one frame...we'll see.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Old T-shirt = New Bag

While collecting white t-shirts for my latch-hook t-shirt rug (I still need so many more...) I acquired a few t-shirts that I don't need but won't work for my project. Not wanting to just get rid of them I decided to try my hand at making bags out of them.

I've only done one so far but might start making a bunch of t-shirt bags - a few for each car, some for the house, one for my purse, etc. I always make sure to bring a bag shopping and these are pretty small so they'd be handy to bring.

-Sewing machine or needle/thread

To start I cut off the sleeves (to form handles). I cut right on the edge of the seam so that once the sleeves were cut off I had a raw t-shirt edge for the handles. To make the bag opening bigger I cut away an oval of material around the collar. I just cut and hoped for the best but you could also use a big bowl to outline the opening if you want to make sure it's even.

I flipped the shirt inside out and sewed along the bottom of the shirt. I sewed across the bottom twice for extra strength.
This bag was made from a small t-shirt but if you have a bigger one and don't want the bag to be too big you can trim off some of the bottom fabric to make the bag shorter.

To make the handles look a little nicer I cut two short strips of material from the sleeves and sewed them around the tops of the handles. I think it added a nice touch. :-)

Here is the finished bag!
I've already used it and it worked well. I bought two bike seats and a candle - everything fit into it and the bottom was strong. The nice thing abotu t-shirt material is that it stretches so you can fit more in the bag.

I am definitely going to make more out of the random old t-shirts I have laying around the house.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Jewelry Holder

I've seen tons of great recycled jewelry holders online made out of old photo frames with mesh used to hang earrings from. I really wanted to make one but decided to try to find something  for storing both dangling earrings and studs.

I scoured thrift stores and finally found this (for only $5!)

It had a wire grate to hang earrings AND little drawers for stud earrings, bobby pins, hair binders, etc - exactly what I was looking for!

I removed the wire grate off of the back so I could paint the wood parts.

Since the drawers were plastic with wood fronts I taped off the plastic parts. Here are the drawers all ready to be painted.

First I sprayed it with a primer and then painted it with leftover Heirloom White paint that I had.

 Done with painting!

I put the drawers back in and stapled the metal grate (but apparently after I took this photo..) back in.

Then I hung it up in the bathroom, hung my earrings and filled the drawers. I have a drawer for hair binders, bobby pins, stud earrings, safety pins, earrings that are broken or missing a partner and one to spare.  Marvelous. I don't use the top drawers that often so they work well for hanging necklaces that won't fit in the little necklace cup (lower right corner).

A closer shot.

I can hang rings from the little knobs (I just have to be careful that they don't fall but so far I haven't had this problem) and I set bracelets on the top or in the little mesh cup.

Here you can see a drawer in action. :-)

I'm so glad I found this a the thrift store and love using it for jewelry storage! As a bonus I think it also looks nice hanging in the bathroom. :-)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Spoon Hooks

A few weeks ago a friend and I saw hooks made out of silverware flattened, bent and nailed to a piece of wood. We were inspired and decided to see if we could recreate the look.

I didn't take photos as we made them (I have a habit of forgetting my camera...) but I have photos of the end project and the "how to" is pretty straightforward.

-Spoon (purchased at a thrift store for 99 cents each)
-Paint (purchased at Michael's for under $2)
-Wooden squares (purchased at Michael's for under $1 each)
-Hammer and/or rubber mallet

First I'll show you finished project so you can see what I'm talking about as I go through the steps.

We put a towel down on the cement outside and started hammering away to flatten the spoon. I tried a rubber mallet at first but a regular hammer ended up working the best.

Here you can see the two flattened spoons.

Then the spoon handle was put over a bar on K's chain-linked fence and was pounded down (this time with the rubber mallet) until it looked like a hook.

To get the nails through the spoon we drilled two small holes with a regular drill bit and then just pounded the nails in so that the spoon was attached to the wood block. As you can see I painted the wood (purchased at Michael's for eighty-nine cents) red.

I haven't figured out where I'm going to hang them yet but here is an "awesome" shot of me awkwardly holding up the hook so you can see how it would look if I had actually hung it up and hung a towel on it. :-) (and apparently this photo is pretty blurry. Lo siento! I didn't realize until I posted it. I think it still gets the idea across so I probably won't retake it)

P.S. You can check out my friend's blog to see her spoon hooks.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Bowl of Paz-ta

I love painting pottery (at places where you paint pre-made pieces and they put it in the kiln for you) but have never actually loved the end product - my creative skills are lacking in the painting area. However, I went with a friend a while ago and am super happy with the results.

Since I'm so proud of the bowl (though it's nothing original...) I thought I'd share it on here. As of now I have it sitting on my kitchen table. I'm not sure where it'll end up but I think I'll keep it out; maybe I can put fruit in it.

I'm glad it turned out - it was pretty questionable for a while. After painting on two layers of light grey and speckling the bowl with dark grey I noticed a few area that needed to be touched up. Without thinking I grabbed a grey, touched up a few areas....and realized I'd painted with the dark grey.

Dios mio!

Three layers of light grey later I finally covered up my mistake and added more speckles. I was worried the dark areas would show through after it went through the kiln but luckily they did not.

(side note. Paz means peace in Spanish - knowing that might help the title of this post mildly amusing make sense. Though I'm not even going to use the bowl for pasta so I suppose it doesn't really make much sense anyways.... )

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Wrapped Wine Bottles

I had some hemp twine that I wanted to use for a crafty item. After seeing some other bloggers wrap twine around a wine bottle I decided to give it a try. Since I had the hemp twine, hot glue and wine bottle this turned out to be a super cheap (free!) craft. :-)

-Wine bottle
-Hot glue gun and glue
-Rope, twine, hemp, etc.

First I soaked the wine bottle in warm water and removed the label.

To glue on the twin I started at the bottom of the bottle and worked my way up.  I put down some glue, put the twine over it, put down more glue, etc. etc.

When I got to the top of the bottle I coiled the twin in a circle as I glued it down. I left a hole in the middle and cut the twine and put the end in the circle (held by a small amount of glue).

The thick hemp twin was super quick and I think I finished the bottle in one episode of Arrested Development.
I found some thin twine at home too so decided to make another bottle. I didn't take any photos during the process since it was done the same way as the first one. The only difference was that it took longer (about two episodes of Arrested Development :-).

Here are the finished bottles side by side. I could have made the twine tighter but I liked that you can see the bottle through the cracks. The bottle on the right is green and it looks neat with a little green peeking through.
 Here they are sitting in our wet bar area. I love my new globe cork holder and I think the bottles look nice next to it. I think I might make a third one with a smaller bottle and maybe a different type of twine.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Working On: T-Shirt Rug

I decided to try my hand at a latch hook rug made out of t-shirts. I have spent many many evenings watching cutting up white t-shirts - about 30 t-shirts....and I still need more. :-\

A few of the t-shirts were purchased at a garage sale or thrift store for fifty to seventy-five cents a shirt but luckily most of them have been free. I had a few white shirts that I never wear (think ugly promotional shirts - white with a huge logo) and I got a bag of free shirts from a lady off of craigslist (thank you random lady and craigslist!). Most of these seemed to be shirts from soccer camp or various other soccer events. Apparently that family likes soccer. :-)

Here is a picture of the cut up shirts so far - hopefully I'll get more shirts soon and can continue onto part two of my rug - dying the material.

The t-shirts are being cut into one by four inch strips.

Can you guess how many strips I have? About 5,700! I'm not sure how many more I'll need since I haven't decided how big the rug will be.

I'll post an update after I get further along....right now it's just a slow process of obtaining and cutting up shirts.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Dala Horse Napkins

As a birthday gift I made dala horse napkins to go along with the dala horse cake pan that I bought for my mother-in-law.

  • Cloth napkins
  • Freezer Paper
  • Fabric paint
  • Paint brush

It took a few stops to find freezer paper but finally found it at Rainbow. I bought Tulip brand fabric paint (matte) at Michael's. You can buy a small container for under two dollars. The napkins are from Target.

First, find a shape. You can draw something or find an image online. I found a general outline of a dala horse and added simple details in paint. You can either print on the freezer paper or print on regular paper and trace it onto the freezer paper. Make sure to print or trace onto the dull side. I taped a piece of freezer paper to a regular sheet of paper and it went through my printer just fine.

Now you need to cut out the image. Once it is cut out you can lay it on the material and iron it on. Be sure to iron all of the edges really well or the paint might seep under the freezer paper - you can see this in the first napkin we made. :-\

I let it cool and then started painting. Since I was painting white on red it took three to four layers.

After the paint is dry, peel off the freezer paper.

Once you're all done and the paint is completely dry, lay a cloth over the image and iron over the paint (you can look at your paint bottle for directions on this).

This is my first time doing this and I think it turned out pretty well. There is only one napkin that is mildly embarrassing - the paint seeped under the freezer paper in a few spots. Hopefully my mother-in-law won't mind. :-)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Andy Warhol inspired photo

Our anniversary is coming up and I wanted to make N something to hang on the wall and decided to make an Andy Warhol inspired picture.

I'm not very familiar with photoshop so it took a lot of work and a lot of tweaking. I worked on it for a big portion of two days. Figuring out the colours was taking a long time and finally I just decided to stop fiddling with it and leave it as is and am content with how the colours turned out.

This turned out soooo much better than I thought it would. I was so excited that I gave it to N today...over a week early for our anniversary. :-) He loved it!

Here is a close-up and a picture of it hanging on the wall in our basement.

It is 16 inches by 20 inches and I put it in a "frameless" frame (basically just glass and a back with little clasps to hold the glass in place). I debated between this and a black frame and am so glad I chose this one.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Swiffer Cover

I found a tutorial to make a swiffer cover on Berlin's Whimsy and really wanted to make one. Using a reusable cover is much better for the earth (no more throwing away a swiffer pad after each time) and much cheaper. I bought the towel for about $2 at a thrift store and only used half of the towel to make it.

I don't have a swiffer so I offered to make one for my sister. I offered to make it a long long time ago and just now got around to doing so since I'm going to see her this weekend. I haven't added the velcro yet (in the tutorial I linked she used buttons but I decided velcro would be much easier) and am going to add it once the cover it on the swiffer so I make sure to put it in the right place.

Since I don't have a swiffer I just used my imagination and pretended it looked really nice on a swiffer. :-)

I'm going to give it to my sister this weekend and add the velcro. I'll be sure to post pictures!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

New shelves = organized office supplies

Near our office area in the basement we have this cabinet.
We've never really understood the point of it so it's been empty since we moved it. When we toured the house and opened it in just had a telephone book in it - so apparently the previous owners didn't put it to good use either. It's just an empty cupboard with a plug in and a phone jack.
Our desks were getting out of control with office supplies everywhere so I decided we were going to make use of the random cabinet space.

We measure the inside and went to Home Depot. We bought a piece of wood and metal brackets.
N did all of the cutting (and he did most all of the work).

N put the brackets in - two on each side.
We made sure that the shelves fit before we painted them white.
Then N painted the shelves white (we had a random can of white paint) and painted on a clear glossy coat and then put the shelves in!
I was super impressed with what a good job N did.  And now instead of an empty cabinet we have something useful. :-)

Then I filled it with office supplies!
We placed the shelves so that we that the battery charger would fit plugged in.
We had a few random boxes that I used (the clear and blue containers are from Ikea) and I also made a bunch of origami boxes out of thick card stock. They worked perfect and are filled with rubber bands, binder clips, thumb tacks and paper clips. I think I might make labels for the boxes.

This is a blurry picture but you can see two boxes in the corner. The stacks of paper are scraps of paper with "Notes" and "To Do" for notes. I keep a stack of each on my desk and use them constantly - I just printed on the backs of used paper and cut the pages into fourths.


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