Thursday, February 28, 2013

Embracing Spring Around Your Household

In many parts of the U.S. Spring is one of the most enjoyable times of the year. The summer sun hasn't hit the hotter parts of the country like Florida or Arizona, but the winter chill of colder regions like Chicago and Denver has already passed. You may already be enjoying the warmth of spring in your area, or it may be just around the corner for you. It's time to decorate your home with a Spring décor:

Fresh Plants -­- There's nothing like beautiful blooms in your home to make it look beautiful, and it will celebrate the arrival of new life in Spring time. You can buy some potted plants to put around the house, or grow some flowers in your garden. Leave a vase on your dining room table, and put fresh flowers to add color and life to your home!

Bright Colors -- Winter has passed, so it's time to add some color to your home. Break out your colorful spring and summer curtains, with their happy floral patterns and bright colors. Add a new, colorful carpet to the entryway to your home, or hang up a new painting with lots of vivid hues. Color is the essential touch that your home needs this spring, so add the colorful items to make it look beautiful!

Easter Décor -- Easter is right around the corner, so it's time to find an Easter flag shop to get the supplies you need for your Easter holiday. Break out the colorful eggs, and set that giant Easter Bunny on the lawn. Make your own Easter Egg balloon chains by stringing together partially inflated small round balloons. It's time to get festive!

Spring Cleaning --  Does your home look dull after a long winter? Giving it a good spring cleaning can help to add color and life to it once again. Send the couches to the cleaners, beat the rug, wash the curtains, and dust the mantel piece. Within a few hours, you can get your home looking spotless and alive once more after the winter dust and grime has been polished away.

Paint Something Old -- Are you tired of that dusty metallic chandelier looking boring and old? Why not give it a fresh coat of paint? Take a paintbrush to your ceiling or walls, and add some new color to an old décor. It's time to give things a fresh coat of color, as it will help to liven things up and make it alive and vibrant this spring time.

Use Animal Decorations -- Spring is the time of year when the animals come out to play, and you can bring that playful spirit into your home by decorating it with stuffed animals, animal statues, and cute animal decorations. You'll find that the cute creatures filling your home will give it a good deal of life, and it will be a fun way to add some spice to your home décor this spring time!  

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Dishwasher Safe Sharpie Mug Tutorial

Have you seen the awesome tutorials on diy Sharpie mugs? I think they are super cute! I've seen it all over Pinterest in the last month or so. What a great idea for a gift, for yourself or someone else! I just hit up the Goodwill and bought up every blank tea cup and mug they had in the store, so expect some Sharpie mug art here soon. 

All of the tutorials that I've seen state that the Sharpie + baking method is fine, but will only hold up under hand washing. If you want it to be dishwasher safe you have to use special markers, like Pebeo brand. 

HOWEVER, while I was at the craft store looking for these Pebeo markers (which they, of course, did not have), I discovered that if you followed the instructions for baking your mug listed on the back of the Folk Art Enamel paint bottles, that you could, in fact, use a Sharpie, and that the mug would, allegedly, be dishwasher safe. 

I just had to find out if this was true! 

I did a little test run on a Goodwill tea cup to see how it fared... 

mug, sharpie, porcelain, cup, bake, tutorial

Looks like I was told right! Thank you kind sales associate at the Pearl City Ben Franklin Crafts! 

I washed this on the top rack, through a heavy cycle no less, and it really held up. The ink may be the tiniest bit faded, but it is no where near the damage that was reported in other tutorials. Those mostly said that the artwork was completely washed away. 

SO, what is this magical process you might ask? It's actually very simple. 

The most popular Sharpie mug method is to bake the mug at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. Take this method and extend it a bit. 

1. Clean your cup with rubbing alcohol to remove all grease and dirt. (I didn't do this because I couldn't find mine, I washed it with Dawn and then rinsed it with hydrogen peroxide since it's what I had on hand.)

2. Use a Sharpie to create a design. Set aside for one hour.

3. Place the cup in a COLD oven. 

4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Once the oven is preheated, set the timer for 30 minutes. 

5. When the timer goes off, turn the oven off, but leave your cup in the oven until it is completely cooled. Approximately 2 hours. 

That's it! Easy as pie. 


By reading through comments on other tutorials I've noticed that not everyone has had the same experience with the Sharpie. Some claimed it washed off right away with hand washing. I recommend doing what I did, make a small design on the bottom of a cup, go through the whole process and then run it through the dish washer when you're done. This way you'll know for sure if it will work for you without wasting time (and a beautiful piece of art!).

Also, I'd like to say that although this process seemed to really set the ink into the porcelain, I won't be washing them in the dishwasher regularly. I'll stick to hand washing, and when giving as gifts, recommend they do the same. It is nice to know though that if a well-meaning husband, or child, sticks it into the dishwasher by mistake, that it won't be completely destroyed!

Be prepared for a bombardment of Sharpie mugs in the very near future! I'll be doing a tutorial on how to trace designs on to the mug for those of you who are uncomfortable doing it free hand!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Wordless Wednesday 2/20

It's Wordless Wednesday yet again! I feel like this year is just flying by, anyone else have that feeling?

I'm working on a project right now and I'm sharing it with you this week! This is the first time I've shared it online and I'd love some feedback from you!

Have you seen those shops online that offer customized writings in the sand? They make great gifts, home decor, and I've even seen them used as table settings for weddings. A few years ago I bought one for Mr. Eight's birthday, it had our names and our marriage date, I loved it!

Well now that I live in paradise I'd like to give it a shot. I'd like to offer affordable JPEG images for those who aren't lucky enough to live close to the beach!

Please tell me what you think. I love constructive criticism. :)

I'll of course do customized images with names and dates, but I wanted to share something a little different.

This is the Chinese character for "love".

Remember to link up below and thanks for stopping by!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Easy Toddler/Preschooler Spring Craft

toddler spring craft, thumbprint art

I've been seeing a lot of thumbprint art lately! There were so many cute heart thumbprint pins on Pinterest this month for Valentine's Day. (Although I have to admit, when I tried to make a heart it didn't really work out.) I decided to jump on the thumbprint bandwagon this afternoon during a spur of the moment marker fest with Miss M. 

Mr. C was taking a generous nap so Miss M and I got down to business with some markers. 

I love using his nap time as an opportunity to get out toys and crafts with Miss M that Mr. C just isn't ready for. Like markers. 

toddler spring craft, thumbprint art

I wish I had some pictures of her actually doing this, but it was all go go go, no time to grab the phone for cute shots! 

This was really easy to do. First, I let Miss M choose all the colors. We did yellow chicks on another page, but she decided we needed blue chicks. Who am I to argue the color of chicks? I colored all the tips of her fingers on one hand with the blue marker. (Did I mention I'm using washable Crayola markers here? Because I am!) 

I helped her to press down all her fingers and thumb onto the paper, by now she was a pro though, hardly needed my help! 

Again, I let her pick the colors of the eyes, beak, and legs. I drew those for her, though an older child probably wouldn't have a problem with this task. 

toddler spring craft, thumbprint art

Miss M wanted to write "Happy Chicks!" on top, but I put my foot down and wrote "Happy Spring!" instead. There are advantages to having an illiterate child, right?

Once again, since I was doing the leg work I let Miss M choose the color of each letter

And that's it! I had this cute frame laying around and decided to put it to use. I love looking at it from across the room. :) 

Learning opportunities! There are so many here! We've got colors, letters, shapes, animals. Miss M learned that a bird's beak is a nose and a mouth combined (mindboggling). Lots of good stuff here! Let me know if you've done this, do this, or do something similiar!

Be sure to follow me on Pinterest while you're at it!

Monday, February 11, 2013

No Shampoo - End of Week 1

hair, no shampoo, rapunzel, art
Sketch by Chewyli

You think Rapunzel washed her hair everyday?
I can't believe it's already been a week! I am loving No Shampoo. I have a feeling this will be something that lasts much longer than the month of February. It's so easy to do, super cheap, and my hair feels great. 

BUT it's only the end of the first week. Most people claim that around weeks 2-4 they experience a major oily spell. This is when your hair rebels from the lack of nasty chemical filled, natural oil stripping shampoo and conditioners. Your hair has been in overdrive making it's own natural oils to replace what commercial shampoos remove, that when you stop using those products your hair doesn't know what to think and it goes berserk making way more oil than it needs to! 

I'm hoping my own experience will be a little less dramatic, my hair is normally very long, and very thick. Washing it every day is a major pain, I hated it when I was a kid and didn't have the time after I became a mom. I honestly washed it maybe once or twice a week as it was. As I mentioned in my first post though, I recently cut my hair (I do this every few years to donate it). It's much more manageable now and I had been washing it a little more often. So we'll see what happens! 

I talked with Shai from The Vagabond Studio about all this and got some great advice. She's gone without shampoo for around two years now and loves it, she recommends it to all her friends! Shai has advice for curly hair gals like her, and tips on what can be used to replace things like styling gel and hair spray. Check out what she has to say!

Here's a little rundown of my first week.

I washed my hair last Monday, Thursday, and then again on Monday. So three times in the first week! 

The baking soda feels really strange the first couple times. It's so grainy and rough, and if your hair is thick like mine it can be difficult to get it all across your scalp. I recommend starting with a tablespoon in your hand, get it a little wet and scrub it in, then get a second tablespoon and scrub the areas you may have missed. 

The vinegar takes a little getting used to, I don't mind the smell, but some people do. I have a problem with the way ACV smells, so I've been using white vinegar and it's been working fine. Once my hair dries I can't smell it at all. 

So Week 1 was a success! Interested in changing up your regular shampoo regimen? Do you have experience with the baking soda method? Let me know! 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Simple Valentine's Wreath - Turquoise and Pink

I finally got my wreath up with 5 days to spare! Phew! 

I recently saw the My Aqua Valentine series on Mod Podge Rocks. This was a great series featured last year on her blog, I couldn't get enough of that blue and pink! 

I incorporated her idea into my wreath this year. Luckily I had this turquoise felt and ribbon lying around. 
Valentine's Day wreath, Love, hearts, felt, yarn, wreath

Here are a few more pics! I even did a little diagram just for you. I'm not gonna lie, I had fun making it. ;) 


Valentine's Day, wreath, felt, flowers, buttons, yarn, February, craft

Valentine's Day, wreath, felt, flowers, buttons, yarn, February, craft

Valentine's Day, wreath, felt, flowers, buttons, yarn, February, craft

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Wordless Wednesday 2/6

It's been so long, I'm so excited to start doing Wordless Wednesday again! If you have a WW post, please link up. I can't wait to see what everyone is not talking about this week! ;) 

Monday, February 4, 2013

February is No Shampoo Month! (At Least for Me Anyway)

hair, no shampoo
Photo by avilasal

It's decided. For the month of February I will be going no shampoo! (I refuse to use the term no poo because it weirds me out, don't ask why). I literally just made this decision and I'm super excited about it. 

I haven't shared the pictures yet, but a few weeks ago I cut my hair to donate, for maybe the 4th or 5th time, I've lost count. I love my new hair cut, it's the shortest I've ever had. Now that it's more manageable I really want to give this soda and vinegar thing a go!

I'll share my daily experiences, the ups and downs, hopefully with some photos, and let you know how it all goes! 

Did you know that at the turn of the 20th century is was most common for women to go one month without washing their hair? According to Discovery Health, in 1908 an article was published in the New York Times advice column stating that shampooing ones hair every two weeks was acceptable. By the 1950s, most women visited a salon once a week for a shampoo and style. It would seem that home shampooing is a relatively new idea! 

If you're also jumping on the no shampoo bandwagon let me know! I'd love to hear feedback, ideas, and comments from you! 

Toilet Paper Roll Heart Stamps

I saw this on Pinterest last week (originally from Prudent Baby) and got really excited because I just happened to have several toilet paper rolls in my recycling bin in the kitchen. I pulled out a couple to save for craft time with Miss M. 

Creating a nice heart shape with your toilet paper roll is, of course, not as easy as it looks. It isn't that hard either though, just stick with it and have some tape ready. 

Get as good of a heart shape as you can manage, then use a piece of tape to secure it across the top. 

Easy as pie. 

Miss M had a great time stamping away. I had several sheets of card stock ready so when one page filled up, I whipped it out from under her mad stamping and offered her a fresh sheet. 

After laying them out to dry I decided they'd make beautiful Valentine's Day cards. The next day I folded them in half, wrote a message inside, and let her color away. 

I also took short videos of her drawing where she explained what she was drawing, for who, and why. This was my favorite part. I love hearing her voice her little imagination. She drew humpback whales, cat butts, as well as grandma and grandpa. Lovely. 

After these are in the mail I'll email the videos to the recipients with a note to watch after they have received their cards. I think grandma will get a kick out of the cat butts.