Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013 Gift for Tae Kwon Do Masters

Last year I felt that the gift I gave to our TKD master was pretty cool. You can see it here.  So this year, I was kind of stumped.  I feel like if you do something really heartfelt and cool, you can't just revert back to gift cards the next year.  I brainstormed and brainstormed and came up with a big fat zero.  I even scoured the aisles at Hobby Lobby looking for anything martial arts or TKD.  I couldn't find anything.  So then I thought, maybe a chipboard word that says "Thank You" would be good, and I can customize it.  I couldn't find anything like that anywhere. 

But as we were driving home from visiting the family, I thought of maybe doing a TKD word cloud.  You've seen those, right?  You can actually make them online for free on sites like Wordle.  Then I was trying to think of how I could create the word cloud online and have it print decently enough to make a finished art piece.

What I came up with was using 12x12 canvases that I found at a thrift store for $2.50 each as my base.  I love the look of the colors of belts students go through, so I wanted to include those too.  I used ribbon that was about a quarter inch wide to block off roughly 1" wide stripes on the canvas.  Then I used some embossing paste (again, found it at a thrift store) mixed with the paint colors I wanted to make the belts.  I did have some leak under the ribbon, if I had had some painter's tape I would have preferred to use that.

I made Miss Kelly's word cloud first, and I learned a few things from it.  The first was I made 2 purple belts and then went back in with white paint and added the white stripe to the purple trim belt that way.  On the second picture, I mixed white with the embossing paste and applied it to the second purple belt while it was still wet.  I like the finished look of that one better.  The other thing I learned with the first picture was that while it is easier to fit those last few words in with sharpies, they tend to smear when you apply the sealing layer of mod podge on top.  Also, beware of the helpful cat who walks through the embossing paste before it is dry.  I ended up adding little dabs of color throughout the canvas to make the mistakes Jack caused look intentional.

So for the Masters' (they are married and so get 1 gift) picture, I really had to work an rework where everything went.  A lot of the words were applied and then shifted if they were crooked, if I misspelled them, and if I used up too much room for a word and then needed the space later for another word.  I also depleted my alpha stickers.  But I love how they turned out and I know the Masters & Miss Kelly will love them.  Both of my girls attend TKD now and it's our family hobby.  I truly appreciate every minute the Masters and Miss Kelly spend helping my girls.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Gift Idea: 52 Reasons I Love You

So, I'm seeing the cutest gifts all over Pinterest, one of the coolest being the 52 reasons I love you card decks. From what I can tell, everyone makes them differently. I went to Target and spent $2 on a deck of cards that had a nice design on the back (red, black and gold dragons), but I was equally as willing to pick up a deck at a thrift store with a vintage design. I used a dry brush and red acrylic paint on each card face. I didn't coat them completely, just wanted to add some visual texture.

Then I designed each of the 52 reasons in my publishing program, giving each a distressed or grungy border, and some of them funny clip art. The color scheme was strictly white and black with just a few scattered red embellishments. I didn't number the reasons because I thought it would be less of a hassle if I didn't have to get the order exactly right as I put it together. I cut them out and mounted them on the cards with old-fashioned, black photo corners. As a finishing touch, some of the cards got small metal hearts (red) or black swirly rub-on designs.
Then I punched a hole in each card and added them to my ring. Since they have the photo corners, printed reasons and embellishments, the finished stack is much larger than a regular deck of cards.

I won't say it was easy to list 52 separate things I love about my husband, even after 11 years of marriage, it wasn't. But I found some lists posted on blogs and they helped to inspire me. Here is my list:

1. Your smile. (I still remember the first time I ever saw you smile.)
2. You proposed in such a romantic place.
3. You gave me our daughter Samara.
4. You gave me our daughter Willow.
5. You are a cat person.
6. You LIKE me, like me. {one of our favorite private jokes is that he'll say he doesn't like me like that and I'll say, "oh, you like me like me." You know, as if we were 5th graders or something.}
7. You work on jigsaw puzzles with me.
8. You provide for your family.
9. You like my particular brand of crazy.
10. You work so hard even when your coworkers don't.
11. You listen to my weird dreams and don't have me committed.
12. You put up with my crazy family.
13. You get me to think twice before I waste money.
14. You got me out of Nebraska and showed me more of the world.
15. You watch educational T.V. with me.
16. You cheer along with me when I'm cheering for the bad guys.
17. You rearrange furniture without grumbling.
18. You watch cartoons with me.
19. You make the cats dance. {literally, think Caddyshack gopher}
20. You buy video games that I want and them play them for me.
21. You never doubt me when I want to try something new.
22. You watch bad Sci-Fi with me.
23. You encourage me to read comic books.
24. You don't make me listen to country music (very often.)
25. You keep hanging the towel bar back up, even though you know I'll probably knock it down again.
26. You do the checkbook so I don't have to.
27. You play WWE with the kids.
28. You make me happy-hum. {Just a weird little thing I do when I when I'm content.}
29. You take me to see scary movies.
30. You rode that roller coaster with me not once but twice. {He hates roller coasters but rode one with me on our honeymoon. Twice in one day. Awesome.}
31. You buy me things I don't really need just because they make me happy.
32. You can cook yummy food and aren't afraid to make new things.
33. You forbid me to use your power tools - but only because you really worry about my safety.
34. You let me drive your big red truck.
35. You stand up for me.
36. Even when you're gone, I can cuddle with your pillow.
37. You give me stupid nicknames. {like 'le whiny' and 'psyduck' because my power comes from my frequent headaches...}
38. You really miss me when you go away on business.
39. You take me shopping and pick out great clothes. {He really is good at putting outfits together.}
40. You'd never really leave me for Christie Brinkley.
41. You buy me action figures.
42. You can make tough decisions when I can't.
43. You stay home and hand out candy so I can go trick-or-treating with the girls.
44. You can work with your hands, fixing and building things to make our home better.
45. You love me at size 18 just as much as you did at size 12.
46. Your Norwegian blue eyes with the fleck of rust in the left iris.
47. You look so cute after a haircut.
48. You brag about my baking to your friends.
49. You never, ever leave the toilet seat up. {Thank you, God.}
50. You want what's best for your family.
51. You make me happy in so many ways - a lot of them X-rated. {I tried hard to keep this g-rated, I wanted my kids to be able to read it someday without freaking out too much.}
52. You are you. There is no other for me.

SoDigitallyMe's Story

Gift Idea: 12 Days Off for Christmas

One of my very best friends is my daughters' daycare provider. She's been a great caregiver and as I've said, we've gotten to be really good friends. Once in a blue moon she'll ask me to watch the daycare when she is on vacation or needs to go watch her kid's programs. So this year, I thought I'd have a bit of fun and give her a set of coupons for days off from the daycare. Here is what her finished gift looked like.

I printed each page and then mounted them in a matchbook album using pretty papers for my mats. I also embellished some (but not all) of the pages with flat or close to flat scrapbook embellishments. The Christmas tree on the cover is actually an ornament I added brads to to make it look like colored ornaments.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A gift idea for Tae Kwon Do teachers.

My daughter has been in tae kwon do for almost 2 years now and we love Master Amanda. This summer Master Amanda married Master Billy Joe and now we are lucky to have 2 Masters. But now we're needing to give a gift to 2 Masters instead of just 1. Last year I made the cute little gingerbread men ornament for Master Amanda. Here is what I came up with this year.

Supplies included:
11x14 frame
2 12x12 scrapbooking sheets (TKD themed)
Scrabble tiles (from more than one game)
double-sided scrapbook tape
double-sided foam tape

To begin, we decided what we wanted the background to look like, and pieced it together to fit the frame. We used the double-sided scrapbook tape to adhere the pieces together. For the word art on the front, we had to layout our words in advance to make sure we had all the letters we needed. The one word we knew we wanted from the very beginning was TAEKWONDO. Then we tried to think of important words she has learned and settled on the Tenants of Tae Kwon Do:
PERSEVERANCE (yes I noticed it was spelled wrong in the picture)

So we built the crossword using them. It fits just about perfectly. I laid it all out in the frame and then adhered the tiles one at a time with the foam tape. This gives them a little dimension and sticks really well. Having a gridwork on the central paper helped to keep them straight as well.

The finishing touch was to write our Christmas wishes on the back of the frame with a gold sharpie.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Elf on the Shelf Ideas

A couple of years ago my mother-in-law bought an Elf on the Shelf set for my daughters. I was super excited because I remember an elf that lived in our Christmas tree when I was a little girl. He had white flannel clothes with red pinstripes on them, but no one in the family has any idea where he disappeared to over the years.

We named our first elf Johnny. Last Christmas we adopted a second elf who had been forgotten in a box of Christmas ornaments given to a friend. We had just seen the cute movie, The Elf on the Shelf, so my younger daughter decided to name him Chippey. It seems like everyone has an elf now, I even saw girl elves available at Target!

Anyway, now that my girls are getting older, they are starting to doubt the magic that causes the elves to travel to the North Pole each night and then come back to a new spot in our house before they get up each day (it doesn't help that someone got out of bed one night and caught me helping the elves into their new spots.)

This year I decided to be a little more creative and started checking the internet. I have found some really great links on Pinterest for ideas of what kinds of things other families' elves on the shelf do.

Here are a few of ours:
Who's been playing in my jewelry??

The boys have some "me" time in the bathroom.

They have such tiny hands that they have to work together to run the PS3 controller. Now that's teamwork!

They look so innocent, but if they didn't do it, why do they have sugar on their butts and feet???

Use the force!

Graffiti is so naughty!

Wow, they really told us who's on which list...didn't know Santa kept a "Very Nice" list though.

It looks like their prank backfired...for Chippey at least.

Here are a few great ideas from my friends:
SoDigitallyMe's Friends Elf Ideas album on Photobucket
Here are some more links for ideas:
Picklehead Soup

LMents Photography
Mommy Upgrade
Clearly Candace

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Extreme Makeover: Piggie Bank Edition

She started out as a simple pink piggie bank. Then a career shattering accident destroyed her. We've rebuilt her into a new and improved, more glamorous piggie bank.

Here's what happened. We bought my daughter a simple $10 pink piggie bank from Target. They are super cute. The other day she put the bank on the corner of her night stand and gravity won the ensuing battle. So I carefully gathered the pieces and glued them back together. There were a lot of cracked pieces so it was obvious the piggie would need some serious reinforcement. I decided to decoupage her with tissue paper (old sewing patterns to be exact) in 2 or 3 coats. Once that was completely dry, I gave her 2 coats of white paint. She has more texture now, since the tissue paper didn't go on super smoothly (I was intending to turn her into an art piece for my shelf, not give her back to my daughter.) But I like the texture under the paint, it gives her character and camouflages the places where I didn't get her glued back together smoothly.

Sadly, I cannot take credit for drawing her fancy adornments. They are simple scrapbooking stickers that I cut and carefully placed to make her "wings", "shoes", ears and eye lashes (oh and what I think may be a tramp stamp.) Then I took my very cool Tul permanent markers and highlighted the designs. I think she turned out pretty glamorous. And just to make sure no one peels the stickers off, I then sealed the whole bank with a coat of Mod Podge.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

DIY Jewelry Organizer

Lately I've been noticing what a big mess my dressing table seems to be. I have a nice jewelry box where I keep my expensive jewelry, a store-bought organizer for my costume jewelry and I keep my bracelets on vases. But it looks cluttered. And tacky. And I wasn't overly thrilled with the store-bought organizer. What to do?

Well the obvious solution is DIY!!! So after a few fails (and I mean epic fails that basically ruined the store-bought organizer) I decided to hit the thrift stores and find a sturdy shelf that could hold my necklaces, earrings, dangling earrings, rings and bracelets. Not as easy as it sounds, but for $4.99 I found this:
It isn't gorgeous, but it has the bare bones of something useful. Since the brackets on the bottom shelf were broken, I took the shelf apart and removed all the brackets. Then I decided to move the bottom shelf down (there were already holes drilled where I think it might have attached to a dresser or something.) Then I broke out the Clorox wipes and cleaned it up.
Oh, and here is Jack demonstrating that the shelves are placed approximately sausage-sized-cat apart.
See? Better already.
My first approach at painting the shelf was a black and white motif with women's silhouette' husband wasn't too thrilled with that. And before you ask, the organizer is going into OUR bedroom so I guess HE should get A SMALL bit of say in how it looks. He's more conservative than me, prefers neutrals and would be happier if I only wore small unobtrusive jewelry. Yeah, trying to please him only goes so far.
I went down to the storage room and found an old can of latex paint. It's satin finish, which I like, and a nice pale brown. My original plan was to do the pale brown base coat, use lace as a stencil and spray paint a dark brown over the lace. Would have been gorgeous...but not for $7.97 a yard for lace. Never one to pass up a bargain, I noticed that sheets of duct tape were on clearance. I figured, I can print on the duct tape (right 'cause anything will go through my printer,) and then cut the shapes out, use them as stencils with the spray paint and peel them off.
All I'd need to do was whip out my really cool rotating finger knife and cut out some butterflies.

Flaw #1 The printer would absolutely not feed the duct tape sheet through.
Flaw #2 The duct tape was hard to cut through the backing paper, and as a result, not all the butterflies came out pretty.
Flaw #3 My carpal tunnel wasn't feeling the whole carve 3 sheets of duct tape with extreme pressure on the blade to get all the way through.

So I just traced over the butterflies I had printed on regular paper onto the backing paper side of the duct tape sheet. There isn't any ink transfer but you get the impression to work with. I whipped out my scissors and cut out as many as I could get in various sizes - I ended up just using 2 sheets. All that was left was to apply them in a pleasing design, spray paint over them and then peel them off.

Flaw #1 When you put duct tape shapes onto latex paint and then try to peel it off, it takes the paint with it.

Now I have something I kind of like. I can scrap the whole spray-paint idea (it's cold and windy out anyway) and just leave it pale brown with the shock of neon pink butterflies scattered over it. It appeals to my need for color and hopefully it will appeal to his belief that it has to "fit in" with the rest of the bedroom.

But I'll have to leave the story off for now. I have decided to use 3 vintage coke bottles to keep my bracelets on, probably hot glued to the shelf...and I have a rough idea for my dangling earrings and necklaces...but so far no real victories in coming up with a DIY earring holder for post earrings. Oh and I want to make one of these for my rings, but I don't have a pair of heels to do it with just yet.