Friday, July 30, 2010

Upcycling: Back-to-school pencil cans

It’s nearly that time of year again – back-to-school. And that means it’s time to get organized. I threw out all my son’s dried up pens, stubby-broken pencils and bits of who-knows-what.

I found cans in my cupboard of various shapes and sizes. I simply washed them out and covered them in a variety of paper using spray mount. Here’s a trick: to help your decorative paper stick to the cans, wrap the can in another piece of paper with no glue or spray mount, than place a few rubber bands around the can. Once the spray mount is dried, remove the rubber bands and outer paper.

The square-shaped can doubles as a full-year calendar. I included clothes pins for homework reminders and a ruler on the large can. The small can works for paper clips, rubber bands or the inevitable…stubby pencils.

Hopefully, we can stay organized at least through October.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Upcycling: bird feeder

I fell in love with these ceramic birds when I saw them at the 99₵ store. I bought three but I regret not buying the whole shelf. I can think of a lot of cute projects for these little guys.

The first project that came to mind was a bird feeder. I decided to use sisal twine to hang the feeder and simply hot glued the twine to the bottom of a thrift store plate. Neatness didn’t count since it wouldn’t show and I wanted it to hold.
Note the big blobs of glue.

Then I attached my bird and hung the bird feeder in our white birch tree. I was so excited about this project, I forgot to buy bird seed.

I like it – I hope the birds do too.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Giveaway: 2011 calendar

I’m so happy with the response to my blog and all the nice comments that I wanted to celebrate with my first giveaway. I created this 2011 calendar and printed some up on Green Grocer Brown Bag - 65# cover.

The calendar sheets measure 5 x 7 and can be hung on a bulletin board or propped up on a plate stand.

To enter the contest, just leave a comment below. Two winners will be drawn at random on Wednesday, August 4th, 2010. Be sure to leave your email address so I can contact the winners. (U.S residents only). Thank you and good luck!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Giveaway: first giveaway contest

Be sure to check back tomorrow for my first giveaway.

Here’s a little sneak preview.

Be my guest: Tranquilli Regali

Who doesn’t love jewelry? Especially, handmade-keepsake jewelry. My friend Michele has just launched Tranquilli Regali, a beautiful line of jewelry and other items using photos, school crests or logos. So pretty.

Check out the vintage inspired collection and the furry friends pieces.

I’m thinking about the school crest key fob for my son.

You can find the link to Tranquilli Regali here and under my friends tab.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Good Taste: mango salsa

I made this mango salsa recently for a summer gathering and my friends loved it. At least they said they did and they ate it. It’s so refreshing and goes with so many meals.

I was planning on making this and my neighbor came by with fresh home-grown tomatoes this morning. What timing.

My personal goal is to master slicing a mango. I know the technique but I’m still working on perfecting it. Here’s the step-by-step: slice the mango down the long side, off center to avoid the pit. Do the same with the other side. Now you have two slices. Cut cubes without cutting through the skin.

With your thumbs push the mango inside out so that the cubes pop up. Now slice off the cubes with a paring knife. Do the same with the other half and cut up the fruit around the pit.

Add your diced tomatoes, onions, cilantro and drizzle with lime juice. You can use the mango salsa to top a salad, add to a fish or chicken dish or just eat it up.

You can find the recipe under the goodie bag tab.

Mmmmm – mangolicious!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Sew and Tell: button thumb tacks

More vintage goodness. These are my cute button thumb tacks that I use on my inspiration board.

They’re so easy to make. Just glue a button onto a plain thumb tack. I have to stop myself from making more and more.

You can change out the look so easily.

I’ve been thinking about redoing my inspiration board and using white fabric with super colorful buttons. Here are the colors I’m thinking about.

Hope your weekend is bright and colorful.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Inkling: gift card storage box

My son has amassed quite a few gift cards. Although he seemed to know where they all were, I needed to have them in one central location. My first step toward organization was to stuff them all in an envelope marked “gift cards.” This worked for awhile but I knew we needed to take things a step further.

My second step was to put them all in a box. The box idea worked really well. And then it dawned on me - I needed to give the box a makeover.

First I covered the box in some pretty paper. I used a rice paper since it was fairly forgiving when I folded it. Then I made a template for the category cards. I printed out the cards on cardstock and cut them out.

I labeled the box, filed the gift cards and sat back in complete satisfaction.

Organize gift cards. Check.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Upcycling: full of beans

I’ve seen this project done many ways, using a variety of materials. Here’s my take on using beans as a candleholder.

I used old jars and filled them with white beans and black-eyed peas. Rather than votive candles, I used tapers. When lit, the wax will drip into the beans so clean up should be a breeze.

I added a few more jars and some cuttings from my yard to soften things up and add a hint of color.

You can use any type of beans; white, kidney, pinto, even coffee beans. This entire project cost less than $5.00. I had the jars and candles on hand. I purchased the tall vase at a thrift store for $1.50 and the two bags of beans were under $3.00.

I like how it turned out and it makes me feel oh-so eco-chic!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Good Taste: dad’s pickles

We’re halfway through barbeque season, so I decided it was time to make pickles. This recipe is actually my grandfather’s. When my mom gave me the recipe card it said “Dad’s Pickles” so that is what they will always be called.

If you’ve ever had a homemade pickle, you know what I’m talking about - fresh with a slight crunch – so different than a store bought pickle. The ingredients are simple; water, vinegar, salt, sugar, pickling cucumbers, garlic and fresh dill. Oh, and jars.

They’re easy to make and your popularity soars when you share them with friends.

If you’d like to try making “Dad’s Pickles” you’ll find the recipe under the Goodie Bag tab. Enjoy!

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Inspiration Board: good friends, good health, good pie

What’s the best reason to celebrate with good friends? Good health. And so, this weekend we gathered at my friend Michella’s house to celebrate her renewed good health. Her chemo is over and her smile is back.

We all enjoyed the hot summer day under a huge shade tree – hugs, happiness, assorted tacos and beverages buried in ice in an old clawfoot tub. Perfect.

The icing on the cake came in the form of a homemade cherry pie that my friend Vicky baked for me. Perfect crust, tart cherries and a sugary crumb topping. Mmmmm.

The “slice of heaven” on the plate was the piece I just had.

I hope your weekend was filled with goodness too.