Friday, May 28, 2010

Cleaning Tips

I have just spent a lot of time cleaning. Seems like we are a messy bunch I guess!:) Anyways, I just wanted to share a few tips that have saved me so much headache! I know that most people probably know these, but I didn't so I will share just in case there is someone out there like me.

Tip #1: Cleaning Kitchen Rags- Okay so I use little dish cloths to wipe counter tops clean sink. After I wipe down the initial mess I then clean the surface with a cleaner and paper towel, but for initial mess picking up and scrubbing I use dish rags. Well, if you use dish rags and especially if you live in a humid area you will notice they get to stinkin' and smell rotten! Ugh. I would wash them and they would still smell rotten so then I would throw them away. Finally someone suggested added bleach to the washer. Well, it saved my rags. Everytime they come out of the dryer they smell fresh and clean and ready to get to work! I love it, seriously thank you clorox!

Tip #2: Shower curtain liners. Well, to be honest I used to throw them away and replace them. Didn't know any better, when they started to get moldy or mildewy(is that a word?) I would toss them. Then with our budgets stretched as students I figured even just saving a couple bucks will help and I started washing the curtain liners. Just run them through the wash, with a little bleach and walla! Clean and good as new. I then throw them in the dryer on low because it is hard to get the water out of all the creases.

Long story short, bleach is helpful. Bleach makes my life easier. I like bleach.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Chocolate Covered Cake Balls

Cake mix(+ingredients to make it)
1 container store bought frosting
2 bags chocolate chips

You can pick any flavor cake mix, any flavor frosting, and any kind chocolate chips. For this recipe I tried German Chocolate Cake, Cream Cheese Frosting, and White chocolate chips. I think that I would have like yellow cake mix or devils food better. The german chocolate wasn't rich enough for me!

Step 1: Bake the cake as directed.

Step 2: Let it cool enough to handle but it's still warm. Dump it in a bowl and mix it with the frosting.

Step 3: Put this mixture in the fridge overnight, or for a few hours, until you can ball it up easily without it falling apart. Roll them into aprox. 1 inch balls, like a cookie dough ball. After they're all balled up put them in the fridge to harden up again.

Step 4: Next, melt the chocolate chips in the microwave. I added about 1-2 Tbsp. canola oil to help make the the chocolate easier to work with. It only takes a minute or two., don't overcook! Just remember even if the chips aren't melted just mix with a spoon and they will melt more. Then, dip the balls into the chocolate, coating it completely. This was the most annoying part, but sure makes them look pretty right? I meant to drizzle milk chocolate on top of them, but I didn't have any. Enjoy!!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Kid's Chair Makeover

So I found this kids chair at the flea market. I thought it would be a great chair for my playroom area, as well as a fun photography prop chair for kiddos. The only problem, was I hated the bright glossy harsh yellow color. It didn't start out this way. I started sanding off the hideous yellow and found many colors underneath!

Now, I forgot to take a "before" I started sanding it down and remembered halfway hopefully even though I had sanded it a bit (I am kind of digging the sanded distressed look though...I might sand my final product eventually) you can see the brightness of the gloss color shining through. It was just so sharp and school-bus-ish. (nice description right?) So I let this chair sit in my basement in a corner for several months, and then finally decided to get some paint and get after it. I bought primer, and then went hunting for the perfect shade. you can tell I wanted to keep the yellow, but just tame it down from school bus to light soft yellow. Some might say a buttercream color...hmmm butter.

Now, you may be like my husband and not tell a difference, but in is there trust me and heck it made me happen even if it was subtle. Sometimes it doesn't take much to make me happy :)! I even tried it out on one of my photo shoots this week, whatdya think?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Ribbon Pearl Necklace

Today I'm sharing a tutorial on this fun and super easy Ribbon Pearl Necklace.

I am not a jewelry maker. Never have really made anything jewelry related before. However, I saw a necklace at the store like this and I loved it. I kind of thought, heck I can make that, and so thats what I did!

I went to Hobby Lobby and bought ribbon, pearl beads, and cord. I first measured the ribbon around myself to determine the length of where I wanted it to hang. Then I doubled that so I would have plenty of room to make the ruffles in between the beads. I also cut a length of cord, probably like 15 inches which was more than plenty for me.

At one end of the ribbon, I roughly went in about 6 -7 inches, put the cord by it and tied them both in a knot together to start my beading. After the know, I added a pearl on the cord only.

While keeping the cord and pearl tightly in place, I wrapped around the ribbon with my other hand and folded it over and back 3 times to make sure the ribbon would be in the same direction of the beads. At this point, I used my craft punch to make a hole using my 1/16" hole punch, in all layers of the folded ribbon keeping the folds tightly in my hand.

(You could probably use a needle of some sort to thread the cord through the ribbon and pearls, but the center of my beads were a little narrow so I did it without a needle)

Then I continued the cord by threaded it through the ribbon and drawing it tightly around the bead. I then added another bead, and followed it with the ribbon ruffle again. Occasionally I would tie a know in the cording by the bead (where it would be hidden) to help keep things in place (hot glue would probably work too).

After I added the desired number of beads, I pulled it all tight and wrapped the ribbon around the final bead threaded through the cord (so it matches the other end) and I tied a knot in both. I may go back and add a small amount of hot glue under the knot to try secure the cord further, but it feels pretty secure. Then I tied the ribbon together in a cute bow at the beginning of the beading to finish off my necklace. I love how it turned out.

So feminine, and easy especially for us non-jewelry making folks! I plan to make a little fabric flower to add to it. I also made a bracelet to match!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Food Storage

(Pardon the crappy pic, as a photographer it makes me cringe but I was lazy and went with it! LOL)
Food storage is a good thing right? Than how am I supposed to do it when I have no where to even store regular groceries? My kitchen storage is minimal at best, so while we are renting our home I had to get creative. Now, as you can see below, its not pretty...but its functional. We have an open basement that we use as storage, playroom, and my little pantry. Please look beyond the hideous light wood paneling (its gross I know, but heck its just a rental!) I bought these two large metal storage racks. Then I recycle some cardboard from our moving boxes, or from the bulk food sale and use these to help organize the food a little better. I buy things on sale, and try and keep a stockpile of things we use regularly. Plus, there are those things that I HATE running out of. Like getting dinner ready and realizing your out of ketchup or pizza sauce...that is so annoying to have to run to the store last minute. Not to mention it isn't great on the wallet either being forced to pay whatever prices. This has been heaven sent and super practical.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Organize, prioritize, calendarize

Here's to getting organized and getting ready for a busy and great summer!
One thing I am fairly good at is getting organized. I think there are so many things in life that can't be controlled, so the things that I can control or at least be aware of I try to be. Hence this post on getting organized. I plan to do a series on my tips and tricks for getting organized. Will start with our time and priorities first! Between my husbands schooling and his jobs, our callings, my photography hobby, and our lives in general, scheduling is key. First off, I bought this 2010 yearly calendar at target for a couple bucks. I can schedule in my phone...but to be honest I really just do better seeing it on paper, ya know? This calendar allows me to see a monthly overview of what we have going on, and then a detailed 'To Do' List on the side. I list everything from a simple, send in car wash windows. Then when I complete the task, I move onto another and cross them off. For one, seeing yourself accomplish something literally on paper makes you feel good like you actually get stuff done. Also, sometimes if you don't write it down you'll forget! I sometimes prioritize the list from top to bottom, but lately I have just brainstormed and wrote them down as I have had the jobs come up. It helps to coordinate with each member of your family so you all can be on the same page. I have a few different calendars and places I write my to do lists, but this handy-portable view all keeps it all together and I can take it with me wherever I go so my schedule is always with me!