Archive for February, 2009

On my weekly groccery list I have the basics likes eggs, bread, milk, cottage cheese, and Dora yogurt. My little guy’s favorite protein source is dairy, especially cottage cheese. While my little girl will eat a larger variety of foods, she only likes 2-3 Dora yogurts a day. I’ve tried to buy the no-name brands, or the yogurts at Costco. Only the Dora yogurt will do. And I will admit right now that I’m not real great at recycling these plastic containers (about 50% of the time I do). So, here’s my evolving list of uses for these containers.

1. Mixing acrylic paints for my projects, or mixing tempera paints for the kids.
2. Rinse water for watercolors
3. Scoops for kids
4. Sand castle molds
5. Building blocks
6. Seed starters

This time of year I get really tired of the dull, cold, gray days of winter and yearn for something green and growing. We picked up a few packets of seeds on a recent trip to a local garden store. I have been missing fresh basil so I picked a pack of basil seeds and then I let the kids pick out a packet of seeds each. As we wondered the store I was thinking of how to start my basil seeds when I saw a display of peat pellet pots. These are little discs that when water is added to them they swell to become a little peat pot filled with potting soil. These peat pots are biodegradable and can be planted right into larger pots or directly into the garden. If you are looking to save money on your gardening this is the way to go!

The yogurt containers are perfect because they hold water, fit the pellets, and have a raised area in the bottom that keeps the pot from sitting in the water.
After the pellets “grew” I let the kids each have their own cups to plant their seeds and gave them a few letter stickers to decorate their cups.

1. rinse out yogurt containers. If desired, dry and decorate container with stickers, markers or paper
2. add peat pellet, fill container 1/2 full of warm water, let sit and swell
3. place 2-3 seeds in the top of the pot, press down a bit with fingers
3. label with a sharpie, seeds sprout according to directions
4. place in a sunny spot
5. check daily, pot should be slightly damp, if it gets really soggy, drain excess water and allow to dry out for a day
6. I live in a dry climate w/a furnace running so I add a little bit of water each day

The kids’ flowers sprouted early and are doing really well.
My basil took longer to sprout but is finally poking up through the soil. I can’t wait to start cooking with my own fresh basil! I’m also thinking these would be a very fun and cheap gift for my friends who like to cook. These yogurt containers could be covered in paper or put into a small clay pot to dress them up a bit!

And now I’m inspired to start more plants for my containers for this spring.


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Traditional photo cubes are a fun way to display family photos outside of a picture frame. Here’s a new version I created as a Valentine/spring decoration. You start with 2 in wooden cube.

Wooden children’s building blocks would work and it would be fun to use the letters on the blocks for your project. But if you’d like a smooth surface you have a couple of different options. You can buy wood cubes at your local craft store for a 2-3$. But this can get a little expensive once you decide how many you need if spelling a word such as “love” or “family”. The second option is going to your local hardware/home improvement store and buying a 2 in log. These hardwood logs are under 10$ and come in varying lengths and cut your own 2 in cubes. Many stores will make the cuts for you for a small fee, this varies by store.

1) Cover the cubes with paper using either a liquid adhesive such as Tombow or Modge Podge. You can also use acrylic paint just keep it mind it may take 2-3 coats to get full coverage.
2) Determine the top of the cube, and make a hole in the top of the cube to hold your wire. I used an awl and hammer to make a hole that went 1/4th of the way through the top.
3) Take a 7 in piece of stiff wire, wrap one end three times around a pencil to make a swirl. You can also add other bends or loops along the wire just make sure you have a straight piece coming up from the bottom.
4) Place a drop of glue in the hole in your cube, then press the straight end of the wire into the hole. I used the same liquid adhesive as I used for the paper instead of wood glue because it wouldn’t swell much and would dry clear.

5) For the front of the cubes I used embossed chipboard letters with Chocolate Chip craft ink and embossing powder to spell “love”. These were adhered with the liquid Tombow and punched hearts were added.
6) Next create the photo frame layers using paper punches. Punch a hole in the top of the scallop, thread with thread, string, or ribbon. Hang these from the swirls.

You can also add pictures to the sides of the cubes as well.

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This is a great project because it’s an easy way to recycle a candy tin, fairly quick, uses scraps and other little bits, and is adaptable to just about any theme you’d like.

Supplies: Altoids tin (or similar)
10 photos, corner rounder, paper punches, card stock, patterned paper scraps, paper trimmer w/scoring blade
ribbon, stamps, Crystal Effects, liquid Tombow, stapler
Note: nearly any liquid glue will work for this such as Modge Podge which also works great to seal your project if you’d like!

Lots of options for altering the tin. Spray paint the entire album in desired color. Make sure to do this in a well ventilated area and follow the safety instructions on the can. (end disclaimer). For other projects I’ve covered the tin in gesso, let dry completely, paint with acrylic paints, then seal coat either with a spray clear coat or a gel medium.
On this project I covered parts of the tin in patterned paper (pp), adhered with liquid Tombow. To keep it easy I only covered the large rectangular areas with paper and left the original tin colors.

For the tin:
1) For the top, cut a 3 x 2.5 piece of pp, round the corners adhere with liquid Tomobow, repeat for the back of the tin.
2) Embellish with buttons, flowers, or punched shapes
3) For the inside of the tin, cut a 2.25 x 3.5 in piece of pp, round the corners adhere with liquid Tomobow, repeat for the back of the tin. Add a photo to the front inside of the tin if desired.

For the mini album
1) Use a sheet of 12×12 card stock for the base of your album.
Cut a 3 inch wide strip, then score every 2 inches along the strip. Accordion fold along the score lines using a bone folder or pen lid to press the folds.
2) use a corner rounder on all the square edges of the book, this helps it fit into the tin better and looks cute!
3) Stamp with the same color ink hearts on the front and back of the folded book and along the edges of both sides of the book unfolded.
4) Trim down photos into squares(1.5 in) or rectangles (1.5 x 2 in) focusing on faces. Round the corners. Arrange photos in the order you’d like then adhere to the center of each page.
5) Add a small title/journaling for each page as desired.

6) Cut a 5 in piece of ribbon, wrap around mini book for size, staple ribbon together. Add a button or punched shape on top of staple using liquid Tombow. On my project I covered a punched heart in Crystal Effects (a clear drying glue) to make my own “epoxy” type embellishment.

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