Thursday, January 31, 2013

Gotta Love Crafty Sunday Brunches

Challenge 36- DIY Tile Coasters, two attempts with varying degrees of success

One of my favorite people, who I don't see enough, came down for brunch this Sunday. When we were planning for this visit I said we needed to do a craft while she was here. This is the same friend who did the melted crayon art project with me back in August. She told me she already had all of the supplies to try two DIY coaster projects and she would bring them with her. After consuming way to many blueberry pancakes and oven baked bacon (thank you Martha Stewart), we got to work.

The first set of coasters were going to use alcohol ink to make a tie-dyed type look on the coaster. This project calls for all of the ingredients below.
Supplies were bought at Michaels and Home Depot

You take the paint brush and brush on a thin (but not too thin) coat of alcohol onto the tile. You then choose what color alcohol inks you want and start dropping little drops on the tile and watch the alcohol ink meld together in pretty cool patterns.
Mine are the two if the foreground and M's are the one's in the back

A few lessons learned from this is go slow, only use small drops, and make sure you have a good coating of alcohol on the tile. You can tell from the one in the back right what they look like when you don't use enough alcohol. We let these dry for about and hour and then M took them outside to spray with the Rust-Oleum Matte Clear sealer. 
Now to finish these you are supposed to paint the sides of the tile to cover the white and add pads to the bottom to keep them from scratching furniture. M had to leave before the sealer was completely dry so technically these aren't totally complete.
I would recommend two coats of sealer as a few scratches ended up on one of them. These are cool and could be customized with different colors, but still didn't come out quite as nice as the original pin.

The second set of coasters used a more natural stone tile, Mod Podge, and scrapbook paper. These are pretty straight forward. Put Mod Podge on the tile, stick down what ever scrapbook paper you like (cut to the size of the tile), seal the top of the scrapbook paper with more Mod Podge and let it dry. Finish them off with a spray of Rust-Oleum Matte Clear sealer.
Since the tile was natural stone I went pretty liberal with the glue
Fun chevron print (still wet)

 M decided to make her's a bit fancier than mine.

The tiles she bought from came in a pack of eight and five were broken, so we were only able to finish three of this style.

These were even easier than the ink ones (and way less messy), but again they still don't look as nice as the original pin. With a little practice and good scrapbook paper this is a good craft to do as a gift for someone and would be pretty easy for a slightly older kid (maybe 2nd grade and up) to do for a Mother's Day gift or a birthday present for a relative. These were fun to try and were not a fail, but I only be consider them a moderate success.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Sharpie decorated mug...take 2

Challenge 35- Kind of a cheat, but for a good reason.

Near the end of the summer I tested the sharpie decorated mug pin, and made a mustache mug for my friend Zee. I proved that yes you can decorate a ceramic mug with a sharpie, bake it in the oven at 350 degrees for 40 minutes, and you will get a personalized piece of usable dishware. The sharpie didn't come off when washed with soap and a sponge by hand (I still don't know how it would hold up in a dishwasher) and it was a super easy project for kids through adults. I probably would have done this pin again eventually but I hadn't thought about it for awhile until I saw a pin for a Sharpie mug that was meant as a gift for someone who lives in another state.

I am originally from Ohio and have lived in Texas six and a half years, but many of my friends including my best friend still call the Buckeye State home. The particular pin I saw had a mug with a hand drawn picture of Ohio on one side and a hand drawn picture of Texas on the other side, with Miss You drawn on the inside near the top. I took this as a sign that I needed to try this Sharpie mug design, because I felt like it would be a great gift for my best friend (who is also a newly converted Keurig user) and most definitely more challenging than the first mug I had decorated.

The instructions from the pin said to draw the outlines first in pencil and then when they were finished to go over them with the Sharpie. This is great advice, as the pencil easily wipes off with a wet paper towel if you make any mistakes (for which I made MANY). Let me tell you that Ohio and Texas are not the easiest states to draw (stupid Ohio and Red Rivers) and I cursed to myself many times why we weren't living in Colorado, Wyoming, or even Utah. I could printed out outlines and traced them but I didn't want to do it the easy way (and I may have been too lazy to cut out all of those intricate curves around the river borders.) If anyone gives this a try by all means tape on the shapes to trace around if you think that is easier for you.
Mug is ready to go
Hard to see pencil outline of Ohio (with a heart in the general area of where my friend lives)
Hard to see outline of Texas (with a heart in the general DFW region)
After Sharpie, 40 minutes at 350 degrees, and plenty of time to cool down

I love the idea of this mug, and obviously it could be adapted for any two states that you and someone you love live in (though I pity anyone trying to draw Alaska). It is a super easy project, can be done fairly quickly, and makes for a great inexpensive just thinking about you kind of gift. This blog entry is the first that my friend has heard of this little project and I will be putting it in the mail (with some extra K-cups) on Monday. Love ya MT!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Mod Podge Superhero Collage...Say that 3 times fast

Challenge 34- Mod Podge Superhero Collage

Before we knew if we were having a boy or a girl, my husband and I decided that if the baby was a boy we were doing a Superhero themed nursery. I had been hunting around Pinterest for ideas, and came across  someone who had Mod Podged Spider-man comic book pages onto wooden letters and spelled out their son's name. I thought that was awesome and more original than just painting the name with a solid color or print. I had also pinned a website for MDF letters you could order online, that per letter were cheaper than the local craft stores and had a much larger variety of fonts. I ordered my MDF letters from in a Cosmic two font (we thought it looked the most comic book like) with a 3/8th of an inch thickness and 12 inches tall. The total came to 36.40 before shipping and I was amazingly pleased with the letters when I got them. They were high quality and exactly like I expected them to look. I highly recommend them if your in the market for any type of letters for any project.

Our cat Snowflake decided to get in on the picture

We went to our local Half Priced Books and I pursued the comic book section looking for comic books that I could use for my collage. We had decided to stick to DC comic characters for the collage because the wall art we are working on will also be DC (however we are in no means Marvel haters). I found about 8 Justice League comic books that I thought I would be able to get enough pictures from. I spent about an hour or so last night going through the comic books cutting out every picture I thought I could use. In the end I was glad we picked a short name because I had a sinking suspicion that I might not have enough pictures to fully cover all of my letters.

I got out my supplies which included: a trash bag to cover the table, 1 large container of Gloss Mod Podge, 1 medium sized craft paint brush, scissors, a wet wash cloth (to wipe glue off my hands), paper towels, and an Exacto knife (which I didn't think of until after I got started but was a lifesaver multiple times.

I enjoy doing collages, it's like a puzzle to me except I get to say where the pieces go instead of someone telling me where they should be. I dived in head first and started deciding where to put the pictures. It was challenging, especially the more I got done and the less pictures I had left. The great thing about wall letters is that no one sees the sides or the back, so you don't have to worry about anything but the front looking good. I would line the picture up, Mod Podge the letter, stick on the picture and then fold down and Mod Podge the sides down. I would do my best to flatten down the pictures to prevent bubbles and warping of them images but some bubbling and warping was inevitable. I just kept telling myself that those bubbles and warping gave the letters character and made to look authentic and not mass produced (it made me feel better about it).

Corners were difficult (using the Exacto knife helped a lot) and making sure all of the front of the letter was covered completely was challenging but for the most part it was just time consuming. I had to wipe my hands a lot and had to stop and peel glue for my fingers frequently, in the end it took me about 3 hours from first glued down picture to the last. I had just enough images (I had two to spare), and I was very happy with how they came out. They are obviously not up on the wall yet but I will post an update when we get them hung. I believe this could easily be done with book pages, scrapbook paper, or any type of paper that is thin enough to bend and fold easily. It was fun and I'm happy that I have some wall art in the baby's room that I created just for him.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Cake+Cornbread=Dangerously Delicious

Pin attempt #33 Sweet cornbread

Recently I went for lunch at a restaurant we have here in Fort Worth called McKinley's (which is super yummy, but very busy) and with the sandwich I ordered they put a little mini cornbread muffin. I have a long standing love affair with cornbread and I never deny myself any when it's offered (especially for free). This particular muffin was DELICIOUS and I had never had one so sweet and cake like. I was telling someone about it later and they informed me that they most likely used yellow cake mix in their batter, hence why it was so sweet and amazing.

Fast forward to today and I was deciding what to make with the Crock-pot chicken chili (not a Pinterest recipe, but I'll share it at the end) and obviously I thought of making cornbread. It dawned on me to try this new idea of using yellow cake mix in the batter and I just happened to have some in the pantry.

The original pin called for a whole box of both the corn muffin mix and the yellow cake mix, but I know I didn't need that much so I decided to half the yellow cake mix part. Now the measurements of the milk, eggs, and oil will depend of what brands of mixes you use so you may have to do the math yourself if you don't use these specific brands. I used:
1 box of Jiffy corn muffin mix
1/2 a box of Pillsbury Moist Supreme Yellow Cake Mix
3 eggs (1 that the corn muffin mix called for and 2 for the cake mix)
3/4 cup of milk 
1/6 cup of oil
Bake at 350 for 27ish minutes (that's how long my oven took to get the toothpick to come out clean)

I mixed in my Kitchen Aid on low for about 2 minutes until most of the lumps were gone.

I was being lazy and had no interest in pouring out muffins so I made one batch in my 10 inch silicon cake pan (which I sprayed with Pam, because well we're still making cornbread and that s*** sticks to everything)

Into the oven at 350 degrees. I set the first timer for 20 minutes, checked it and thought 5 more minutes would do it. I toothpick tested it after the time went off and thought 2 more minutes wouldn't hurt. Moral of the story is keep an eye on it and between 25-28 minutes should do it. (I have no clue how long muffins would take, you'd have to experiment with that one yourself)

Fresh out of the oven! I cut it in small cake like slices to serve.

Obviously you can tell how I felt about it, but my disclaimer is that I really love sweet cornbread. It was delicious but on the cusp of being too sweet to eat with chili. Joe loved it as well and I wouldn't be surprised if when I wake up in the morning there isn't much of it left. Kathryn asked why we were having cake with dinner, and proceeded to devour all but the crumbs of hers. The best part of this cornbread is that the yellow cake cuts down a ton on the normal grittiness of regular cornbread. It is still enough like cornbread to warrant eating warm with butter but could easily be confused with a dessert. I'm sure my Texas friends could easily adapt this into a jalapeno and cheese variety, but I will stick with my sweet cornbread instead.  I will make this again, probably a lot, however there will be occasions where normal cornbread seems more appropriate. If you like your cornbread sweet, you do have to give this a try at some point.

Now I promised my chicken chili recipe, which is not so much a recipe as it is a process of throwing stuff from the pantry into the Crockpot.

2 chicken breasts (I used already cooked shredded chicken breasts I had in my freezer but you could easily throw the chicken breasts in and shred the meat after it's finished cooking)
1 can of pinto beans (or black beans)
1 can of crushed tomatoes
1 jar of salsa (choose whatever flavor and brand you like best)
1 can of corn
1 packet of chili seasoning (I used mild but going as spicy as you want)

Cook on low for 8 hours in the Crock-pot. It is fairly basic and is better when you add in some fixings at the end like cheese, sour cream, or Tabasco sauce. It's an easy throw together dinner you can add your own flavor to without a whole lot of effort.

So I'm's been a busy 27 weeks, but it's still summer in my mind.

So I haven't posted anything on my blog is over 5 months, but I have a few fairly good reasons. The first being that my husband and I are expecting our second baby, a boy, in the middle of April.
My first trimester was rough. I was tired, constantly nauseous and didn't feel like doing much of anything including Pinteresting. I also started a brand new job, going from an elementary library position to one at a high school. Though the job change was great for me and the whole family, it kept me busy and focused on other non-bloggy things. Now at 27 weeks pregnant I am feeling better (although I resemble a waddling penguin more and more everyday) and I missed blogging and working on Pinteresty projects so I thought it would be agood time to start again. I hope to post a few times a week but I make no promises, especially once April gets here. 

I know the main goal of the blog was to try out Pinterest projects, and that will still be a huge part of what I do, but I have been wanting to do more with it (I mean I have other passions then just Pinteresting). What exactly that "more" entails I'm not exactly sure yet but I'm excited to see where it takes me. Fear not however, even during my 27 week sabbatical I have been trying Pinterest projects. Most of which have been food related (not that there is anything wrong with that) and they have turned out fairly well.
My witch's hats for K-bug's Halloween Party- As you can tell from the picture, a few cookies didn't make the final round.

My witch's brooms for K-bug's Halloween Party- This was harder than I expected, I split quite a few Reese Cups in the process of making these.

Window Display at work for Halloween

Snowman faces for K-Bug's Christmas Party 
(Super easy-powdered donuts, candy corn, and a icing bag with black icing)

Great app called Red Stamp that lets you create textable cards using pictures on your smart phone. This counts because I saw the app for the first time on Pinterest.

I am getting another post ready for later (I know 27 weeks off and then 2 posts in one night) and surprise, surprise it's a food pin. When something works, you should stick to it!