15 December 2012

How sweet it is...

Tonight was our church’s annual birthday party for baby Jesus. Cake is a staple of this sort of festivity and my husband (the chef) volunteered to make cupcakes. Chocolate cupcakes. With chocolate frosting. They were a big hit with, well, everyone but me.  This led to much talk of chocolate. Which led to me suffering from a truly rare moment of *gasp* chocolate craving.

You see, one of the most shocking aspects of my personality is my general dislike of all things chocolate. The only consistent exception is for chocolaty beverages.  I like hot chocolate on occasion and even opt for chocolate Shakeology.  But, for the most part, rarely does a chocolate-flavored anything pass these lips. 

True-to-form, my craving was manifested in a desire for chocolate milk. Remember how I don’t like chocolate? So you can imagine how often I purchase Hershey’s syrup. Like, um, never.  You know what else? Wasn’t any way in Heaven or Hades that I was gonna change out of my jammies and drive anywhere that sold chocolate milk.

Google, Google, Google

I kept coming up with the same recipe, which is attributed to Better Homes and Gardens.

Homemade Chocolate Syrup
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup water
dash of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a small saucepan, add sugar, cocoa, and salt. Whisk together gently. Add water. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and cook 1 minute. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Cool. Store in the refrigerator.

People think I'm all Susie-homemaker. Really, I'm just random and odd and too lazy to go to the store.

*ETA: I have to add this. Because I think it's worth a warning - I haven't been able to stop drinking chocolate milk since I made this syrup two days ago. At nearly 1pm today I realized I hadn't eaten anything yet, because I'd had like 10 glasses of chocolate milk! I think I've created an inner demon where none had previously existed.

14 September 2012

Another Egyptology Handbook giveaway!

I posted a few weeks ago about a wonderful giveaway. I didn't win. I cried big crocodile tears. I got over it. And now she's putting me through it all again!

Come ride the wild contest coaster with me as you enter to win this fantastic looking Egyptology Handbook.

20 August 2012

Win The Egyptology Handbook!

A friend is giving away a copy on her blog.

Enter Here

18 August 2012

Easy Art and a tough lesson everyone else probably already knows

I posted the other day about the nifty Scrabble-themed wall art I made for Mommy Person. Prior to making the giftier version, I decided I'd test the waters with a little home decor trial run of my own. We moved recently and now the boys have their very own bathroom. All of my fru-fru gardeny bathroom decor didn't exactly fit. Thanks to the genius inspiration that is Pinterest, I had a plan! It's a simple plan, too. I bet your kids could even follow this plan. Your kids... not my kids.

I used canvas board for this project because I had them already, but cardboard would probably work just as well. [Note: I bought I 3-pack of 8 1/2 x 11 boards and Hero Man cut them in half for me.]

You will need:
  • Scrapbook paper
  • Spray adhesive
  • Scissors
  • Canvas board (or other sturdy backing)
  • Tacky glue
 Spray the board with adhesive. Do this outside. Don't even consider doing it inside. Bad, awful, horrible, evil things happen when you use spray adhesive.

I went outside and I still used newspaper (horrible, evil things, I'm tellin' you). I was inadvertently morbid though, and use the obits. Don't use the obits. That's disrespectful. *oops*
After you spray the board, center a sheet of scrapbook paper of it, then carefully, very carefully, starting at a corner works best, lay the paper on the board. The spray adhesive isn't exactly permanent, so you can pull it up and rework it if needs be. 

Then you just flip it over, trim the edges, and wrap the edges like a present, gluing them with tacky glue. Don't forget to crease the corners at a diagonal. It will look a little neater that way.

That's it!

As I've said before, I'm not creative, so I used Command strips to hang these. Look how cute they are in the bathroom!

I'm sure the brighter among us have already figured out the inherent flaw in my plan. These were hung... in. the. bathroom.The place with the steamy shower and 4 hoodlums splashing water. You know, the wet place?

See, apparently Command strips don't like moisture. Apparently spray adhesive doesn't either. Apparently, neither does paper. Who knew?

So while this is a craft that simple and worth repeating, don't bother if you're gonna put them in the bathroom.

I am my mother's daughter! Look what I remembered! My mom did exactly the same thing to cover a hideous glass block window between our kitchen and living room. Well, sort of the exact same thing.. she used fabric and a wooden frame she made/had made to fit the window. Ignore that doofy looking girl who may or may not be me. I'll admit to nothing.

15 August 2012

Adopt-a-monster give-away

Lots of hyphens in that title.

All to say, Adopt-a-monster is doing a give-away. I want to win. Because I want one for myself but I can't justify spending money on one for me when I should probably spend money on buying them for the boys. If I win, I get to be guilt-free in my selfishness.

If you don't win, visit her FaceBook page or Etsy Cart to buy your own (or one for me).

The Leftovers

The last two posts were about the primary Scrabble-themed crafts I made for Mommy Person (Scrabble Coasters and Scrabble/Bible Wall Art). Today I'm going to show you the beyond-simple way to use leftover tiles.

In case you're just joining this adventure, I needed three Ws for my main craft. Standard distribution of letters means only 2 come per 100 tiles. I bought two bags of tiles and had 160 tiles left over!

Remember those fridge-poetry-magnet-thingies? How about with individual letters, instead?

(Just a handful of the letters.) I could NOT get a decent picture!
I had actually pictured a fancy-shmancy looking, well-used serving tray. But our local Goodwill failed me repeatedly. Fortunately for Mommy Person, she's married to the king of the Pittsburgh garage sales! I'm certain that Grandpa T will find something more suitable than this.... blahness.

At least the clearance-find cookie sheet I settled on came with two super-cute cookie cutters (which may or my not have had anything had all to do with my choosing this particular cookie sheet).

I used magnet strips that had peel-n-stick backing. I had to cut them into smaller bits. I originally intended to get magnetic dots, but the circles would have cost me twice as much.

14 August 2012

A Word of Art

Yesterday I posted the super simple Scrabble coasters I made for The Mommy Person. Today I'm going to show you the highlight of the gift set: the wall art. This was the project that I really, really wanted to do. The rest was incidental (I needed 3 Ws for this project; two Ws to a set meant buying two sets... 200 tiles. I wasn't about to waste the rest!).

As a reminder, even sets of Scrabble tiles sold for the purpose of crafting come in the standard letter distribution. Planning is key!

This particular project was a little more involved than the coasters, but the end result was totally worth it!

There is a song, by Sara Groves, called The Word that contains the chorus, "The Word was, the Word is, and the Word will be." I love it. It's an amazing song. Learn it, love it, live it. Those phrases also seemed fitting for this project.

Supply list:
  • Canvas board (the only boards I found, with limited selection, were too large. So my Hero cut them in half for me)
  • Sketch paper or other heavy craft paper
  • An old Bible with pages that are not velum
  • Spray adhesive
  • Tacky glue
  • Scrabble Tiles
Yes, I tore apart a Bible to make this art. No, I don't think I did anything wrong. If you think I did, well, feel free to vent about it in the comments. I'll likely just blow you off listen earnestly to your concerns, so speak your mind. ;) [Side note: I was originally looking for scrapbook pages that had Scripture on them; our local purveyor of all things scrap looked at me like I had three heads when I asked.]

About the Bible: you really need pages that aren't velum, which is very difficult to find. Our local Goodwill has a Bible cart (a grocery cart full of Bibles) and it took several trips to dig through before I found one that would work. The pages weren't exactly regular paper weight, but they were heavier than velum. Also, if someone asks you what version you're buying while you're digging through the cart, ignore them. It might turn out that they are a crazed Jehova's Witness that will use your answer as an invitation to prattle at length about the ills of that particular version, resulting in several futile minutes spent tuning her/him out as you are stalked through the store (and even, for a moment, cornered with no hope of escape). Not, um, that this happened to me, um, or anything.

The method:

Your mind may work differently (Lord, for your sake, I hope so), but this is what made the most sense to me. Because the canvas had been cut, it had a raw edge that I wanted to cover. I started with 1 piece of canvas and 1 sheet of sketch paper.

I used the spray adhesive to cover the sketch paper and layered the Bible pages on it (applying more adhesive to the pages where there was overlap). I kept the pages mostly right-side-up, but wanted a messy-ish look. I suggest doing this bit outside. Spray adhesive has a mind of its own.

Then I used adhesive on the canvas to stick the paper to it (trying to center it).

After that, it was a matter of trimming the excess and using tacky glue to wrap the canvas.

Use some heavy-duty textbooks to squish it all flat as it dries. I'm partial to A Complete History of the Theatre. But Introduction to Engineering may be more your speed.

When it was all dry, I set it aside for four months. Because I had already missed Mother's day, and Mommy Person was coming to visit in August. Naturally, I waited until the night before she arrive to even dig these out again. All that was left to do was add the Scrabble tiles. I didn't want the weight resting solely on the paper pages, so I used a razor knife to cut small squares, down to the canvas, under each letter. Add more Tacky Glue and *poof* done.

(I'm well aware that the letters, especially on the last one, are cock-eyed. Remember yesterday when I said the tiles aren't square? They aren't. Add that to the 'crooked' pages and my eyes didn't compensate very well. But I'm still 100% happy with how they turned out.)

I gave Mommy Person some Command strips to hang these. I figure that's the best bet. Maybe you can devise a fancier style hanger, but for me? I'm not nearly as creative as one might think. [How would you hang these?]

 Tomorrow I'll cover what to do with the leftovers

13 August 2012

Words for Friends

And by "Friends," I mean my mother (AKA, The Mommy Person).

There are two things you should know about The Mommy Person:
1. She is a pastor who loves the Lord with every fiber of her being.
2. She loves Scrabble more than any sane person I know.

A couple of months ago, I ran across an image of Scrabble tile coasters. As with many things I find on Pinterest, I didn't bother pinning it. I'd like to give credit to the original inspiration, so if you happen to have the link, feel free to comment with it.

The coaster image led me to create three different crafties as a gift set for my mother. I'll start with the coasters and blog about the other two over the next few days.

There are a couple of things you need to keep in mind when crafting with Scrabble tiles. First, they aren't square. Not only are the tiles not square, but the letters are often stamped on all willy-nilly. If you are OCD, skip this post. Skip this idea, entirely. In fact, don't even bother playing Scrabble.

Second, know your letter distribution. Many crafters use Scrabble tiles as the basis for their work (mostly jewelers), so the tiles can be purchased from a variety of vendors in bags of 100; they are still the standard distribution. What does that mean for you? For example, in one of the other crafts, I needed three "w"s. There are only two in each set. That means I had to order two sets. Before you order tiles, plan out exactly what letters you are going to need and determine how many sets will be required. 

Back to my recreation of the coasters...
Thing is, the original image contained, shall we say, drink-inspired words. My mom... yeah, that wouldn't fly. My solution? As you can see, I picked a different theme for each coaster (names of God, important people, books, "power words").

Much more fitting than "shot," "pint," etc.

And now it's time point out that I currently reside in a tiny town in Arkansas. My supply options were limited. I purchased a 4-pack of corkboard tiles, but you can probably find a less expensive cork sheet. I found it easiest to cut the cork a little smaller than the finished coaster. Then I arranged the tiles on the coaster and glued each tile one-by-one. I also ran a thin bead of glue around the edges of the tiles to glue them to each other. Super simple, fairly quick (the longest bit was finding words that didn't require more tiles than I had of a particular letter).

1. Cut the cork -  I used a razor knife to cut one of the pieces of cork board into four squares roughly the size of 4x4 Scrabble tiles. 
2. Then I glued each tile in place, one at a time. That's it. Easy-peasy. (The glue I used was Tacky Glue.)
Tomorrow, I blog about the wall art and Wednesday will cover how to use the leftovers.