DIY Newsprint Nails

I finally tackled one of those cute nail techniques that have been popping up all over Pinterest!  This one actually came from Rachael Ray magazine:

Here’s how I did it, step by step:

Materials:

  • Clear Top Coat
  • Clear or light neutral polish
  • Scissors
  • Newspaper or magazine
  • Rubbing Alcohol

Step 1: Start with clean, dry nails.

Step 2: Cut out pieces from magazine or newspaper in the general size and shape of your nail.

Step 3: Paint nails with clear top coat and let dry.

Step 3: Paint with neutral color (if you’re using it) and let dry.  Find something to amuse yourself while they dry, like I did.

Step 4: Dip a finger into the rubbing alcohol.  Press the newsprint onto your wet fingernail and hold it in place for several seconds.

Step 5: Gently peel the newsprint off of your nail, being careful not to smudge.  You may have to press and peel several times to get it to stick.

Step 6: Repeat with all of your nails.

Ta-Da!  The picture isn’t great, and the newsprint turned out a little wonky, but all in all I like it:

I’d suggest trying it with newspaper.  I used a magazine, but I think that the ink from a newspaper would transfer better.

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Temporary Semi-Vegetarians

My husband came home from work today and informed me of his intentions to participate in a weight-loss bet at work (again).  If he wins, he could gain a sizeable chunk of cash.  If he loses, he loses big – he loses his hair.

Yes, he actually agreed to shave his head.

Now, his flowing locks are one of the reasons that I married him, and I do not intend to see so much as a trim come off that mane without my consent.  Since I was forced to have a vested interest in this boys’ bet, I’m now Head Cheerleader in Charge of Weight Loss.  Poor man – I wonder if he realizes that I have the power to starve him?

Actually, I’ve decided that if I can’t beat ‘em, I’ll join ‘em.  Over dinner (which was relatively sensible), TL and I came up with a reasonable weight loss plan that involves a minimum of sacrifice.  I have decided, after reading “Food Matters” by Mark Bittman, to eat vegan until 6pm.  No animal products and no artificial/processed foods until dinner time – and then I can eat what I want (within reason).  The thought process behind this is that if I know I have a big ‘ol steak waiting for me at the end of the day, it’s easier for me to say no to that pastrami on rye at lunch (and save myself who knows how many calories).  TL isn’t willing to go that extreme, but he has agreed to go vegetarian during the day, which will definitely cut a chunk out of his daily caloric intake.  Since I’m in charge of meal planning and cooking, I can make sure that we only eat lean meats in the evenings, if we even eat meat at all.  We might even save some money out of this thing, too – added bonus!  And yes, I know that from a weight loss stand point it makes the most sense to eat our heavier meal earlier in the day, but this works better for our schedule.

So there you have it.  We’ve become semi-vegetarians/vegans*.  And who knows? Maybe I’ll actually get into a bikini for the first time in….well, let’s not go there.

*Until July

Taming the Beast Project 1: Wonky Pillows

I undertook my very first sewing challenge last week.  Once I got the machine cleaned and threaded (which was actually easier than I expected – apparently “following the directions” is useful), I headed to Hobby Lobby for fabric and patterns.  I found an adorable McCall’s pattern for a little girl’s dress that could easily double as a nightgown, which is what the girls want me to make for them.  They were on sale for ninety-nine cents each, so of course I had to stock up.  I went up to the sweet little old lady working the fabric counter and asked her advice on nightgown fabrics.  I confessed that I’ve never sewn before, and that any advice would be helpful.  The sweet little old lady looked up at me and said, “Oh, honey”, as only sweet little old ladies do, “Do you really think that you can make these when you haven’t sewn a thing before?”

I was crestfallen.  Gone were my visions of the girls going to bed that night in beautifully crafted, homemade nighties.  My disappointment must have shown on my face, because she quickly said, “What you need to do is go and get yourself some cheap fabric and make you some pillows.  And you just keep on makin’ those pillows until you get things figured out, okay?  And after that get yourself a sewing book.  And after that you can try your hand at some patterns”.

Properly admonished, I allowed myself to be led to the clearance fabric section, certain that I’d be stuck with seventies-looking paisleys or neon solids.  To my surprise, I found several bolts of Disney Princess fabrics! Score! L picked a purple Princess Tiana print, and C picked out Cinderella.  I found a cute, mod hot pink and brown polka dot for A that matches her room.  I got half a yard of each for a grand total of about seven dollars (not including the ninety-nine cent patterns that I insisted on buying anyway)!  So cheap even my husband couldn’t complain if I totally screwed them up.

Princess Tiana went first, and went surprisingly smooth – in the beginning.  About halfway through the second side my bobbin ran out of thread.  I, being the sewing dunce that I am, assumed that bobbins were like spools of thread and had to be replaced when they ran out.  I posted a lack-of-bobbin lament on Facebook, only to have a comment from my mom ten seconds later that read, “You know you can refill those, don’t you?”

No.  I did not know that.

I found my machine instructions (while ignoring the Facebook alerts on my phone indicating that many, many other people had also clarified my idiocy) and set about refilling the bobbin.  Lo and behold, it worked!

And it was one of the proudest moments of my life.

I got back to work, and finished my pillow – and it looked like a pillow!  An actual pillow!  And so did the others!  Well, poor C’s pillow ended up more of a lumbar-pillow shape, but that’s due to my poor scissors skills (which is a whole other story).  But wonky or not, all three girls were pretty pleased with their new travel pillows, and they were finished just in time for our spring break road trip.  Here they are:

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And I did it all by myself*.

*Aside from the helpful phone advice from my mom

Sometimes It Feels Like (Somebody’s Watching Me)

I am watched.  Constantly.   Three miniature spies peek into every crevice of my life, processing it all behind innocent (appearing) eyes.  And they have developed some sort of radar system between the three of them that sounds the alarm whenever I’m having a moment that most people* would consider private (*most people does not include moms, because we all know that the moment your child is born there is no longer any such thing as privacy).

Take, for instance, potty time.  We all have it.  We all need it.  Some people even get to use it as a respite from the day (ahem, dudes that take twenty minutes “going to the bathroom” when we all know they’re just sitting there playing on their iPhones).  But not me.  Every SINGLE time I go near a toilet, my three year old follows behind me.  This is our daily dialogue:

C: “Whatcha doin’?”

Me: “Going to the bathroom.”

C: “Why?”

Me: “Because I need to.”

C: “I want to watch you.”

Me: “No, Mommy needs privacy.”

C: (louder) “But I want to watch you!”

Me: “No, please let Mommy have a few minutes to potty.  Go play.”

C: (even louder) “I WANT TO WATCH YOU!”

After a few minutes of battle, she reluctantly wanders off.  I breathe a sigh of relief and sit in silence, until……

Pitter patter pitter patter

A little face appears at my knees.

C: “Whatcha doin’?”

Me: “Pottying”.

C: “Oh.  I want to watch you!”

Apparently “watching me” do anything private – especially going to the bathroom, showering, and, for some strange reason, taking out my contacts – is far more fascinating than anything in the world, including Toy Story, and she LOVES Toy Story (and believe me, I’ve tried to trick her into watching Toy Story so I can shower in private.  It doesn’t work.  The shower always wins).

I remember watching an episode of The Tonight Show where Jay Leno asked Dustin Hoffman what was the first thing he did when he officially became an empty nester.  His answer?  He took a shower, and stayed in for as long as he wanted.

Well, shower (and toilet) – it seems we have a rendezvous in about eighteen years.

Spring Break (in pictures)

I love spring break. I love the complete abandonment of structure and routine.  I love that,  in Texas at least,  it’s a sneak peek at summer vacation.  I love having all of my kids home with me all day long.

For me, spring break equals:

 

Doing projects…..

 

Clothing being optional……

 

Watching as many movies together as we want…..

 

Getting every single toy out at once and ignoring the “clean up as you go” rules……..

 

Jumping into the pool, regardless of the water’s temperature (which was ice cold)…….

 

Doing nothing but looking at the water…..

 

Playing with the dog……

 

Catching our first flounder……

 

Toes in the sand……

 

And being together.

 

What does spring break equal to you?

Fairies Out Front

Thanks to Pinterest, I have become obsessed with the idea of making a fairy garden for the girls.    The idea came from the Burgh Baby Blog, which can be found here: http://www.theburghbaby.com/burghbaby/there-are-fairies-living-in-the-garden.html

Here is our version.

First we went to Hobby Lobby and Home Depot for supplies.  We found this cute pink plastic thingamajig at Hobby Lobby for $7.  I’m not sure how long it will hold up, but it worked out well for our purposes.  Then the nice plant guy at Hobby Lobby helped me pick out plants for our fairy – Scotch moss, an asparagus fern, and those two colorful pointy plants in the back whose name escapes me but what we have dubbed Lollipop Trees.

Next, the girls set to work painting an unfinished birdhouse (Hobby Lobby, $6) using two shades of pink.  Because obviously one shade of pink is just not enough.

After the paint dried, I used these to make window panes while the girls were collecting twigs and acorns.

Putting on the finishing touches…..

I found these cute little buckets in the dollhouse section of Hobby Lobby.  I figured that since our fairy didn’t have indoor plumbing, these might come in handy.

And we found these cute little garden accessories, also in the dollhouse section.   I figure if we’re giving the fairy a free place to live, the least she can do is keep up with the landscaping. (The tiny fencing was also in the dollhouse section).  And yes, I realize that the door is ridiculously tiny.  And I can’t even blame that one on the girls.

We made a pathway out of fancy little mosaic tiles.

And here’s the finished product!  Definitely not quite as cute as the inspiration project, but hey, it works!

Here’s a list of what we used if you want to copy our idea the way that I copied Burgh Baby’s:

-1 unfinished bird house

-1 container

-2 acrylic paints

-1 bag of mosaic tiles

-1 bag of small square mirrored tiles

-1 bag of miniature fencing

-1 set of miniature buckets

-1 set of miniature garden tools

-1 bag of potting soil

-3 Scotch moss

-2 Lollipop Trees (if anyone really wants to know what they are, just ask and I’ll find out)

-1 Asparagus Fern

The total for the entire project was about $60.  Not too shabby!

Household Management Binder

Yesterday I spent the better part of nap time making a household management binder, and it was truly a Zen-like experience.  So much organization….so many file folders….so many Post Its!  Excuse me while I wipe the drool off my chin.  It’s things like this that get me all worked up. You should see what happens when I’m let loose in an Office Depot.

I mentioned it on Facebook and had a couple of people ask me what the hell a household management binder is.  Well, my friends, you’re in for a real treat.  Seriously.  This is fun for me.

Basically, a household management binder is a place to keep all of the papers, flotsam,and jetsam that make up your day to day life.  To-Do lists, grocery lists, coupons, school papers, phone numbers, whatever!  You can make whatever categories work best for your own busy life.  Here’s what works for mine:

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I got a 1.5″ binder from Target, along with pocketed dividers, page protectors, clearance notebooks, and a couple of cork tiles.

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I cut the cork to fit and pasted it to the inside cover of my binder.  Here’s where I’m sticking Post-It note reminders, and where eventually I’ll tack stamps and what not.

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Then I made a “Peek at the Week”  front and center, courtesy of the free printables at IHeart Organizing.  You can get your own here:

http://iheartorganizing.blogspot.com/p/free-printables.html

My first folder is for Meals.  Here I put my weekly grocery list, weekly meal plan, coupons, and a freezer inventory for my deep freeze.

Next is Planning.  Here I put my household project list, birthday invitations, etc.

After that is my School section.  Here I have my PTO directory, calendar, permission slips, school info, etc.

This is Finance.  I’ve got all of my recent receipts and will eventually have my budget stuff in here, too.

Next is my Contacts section.  I printed out a Phone Directory for numbers that I want to have handy (in case there’s a nuclear explosion and my iPhone is lost in the blast).

I also printed a family yellow pages, to keep numbers for doctors, dentists, bug guy, etc.

This is my Hospitality section.  I’ve got address labels, thank you notes, cards, etc. in the front pocket.

And in the same section is a list of all the birthdays and anniversaries by month (so that I no longer have an “oh crap” moment when somebody has a birthday on the first but I forgot because it wasn’t clearly visible on my wall calendar).

I have a section just for my own projects, like this blog and other crafty things that I’d like to accomplish.

And finally I have a Reference section, which is really more for anyone else who may be watching the kids (or my husband, who I’m pretty sure doesn’t know our pediatrician’s name much less her phone number).

I included babysitter notes, as well as a breakdown of my oldest’s asthma medication regiment.

And, because I am a paranoid person, I like to have CPR information at hand.  Somebody’s choking? Quick, find the binder!!

Finally, I have a folder for all of the girls’ activities – art, music, Girl Scouts, whatever.

And I glued another piece of cork to the back for me to eventually tack take-out menus.

And it’s just that simple! And beautiful.  Oh Binder, how I love thee……

I got most of my ideas from the following two sites:

http://www.imperfecthomemaking.com/

http://iheartorganizing.blogspot.com/p/iheart-project-gallery_19.html

And a lot of the printables from this site:

http://organizedhome.com/printable

Enjoy!