Just a blog about my adventures and mishaps in life.
Expect things like recipes, art, ways to save money,
fashion, creativity, beauty, babbling and randomness.
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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Paint Chip Art

(Click on photos for larger image)
I've actually been done with this project for some time now but I was putting off the blog because I wanted to make a frame for it. After trying (and failing) to make a frame due to lack of tools (and skill), I decided to hang it on the wall "as-is" and I have to say it turned out pretty cool.
Pret-ty cool...

Here's what you'll need:

Paint chips
These are little paper color samples that you can find at the home improvement stores or anywhere that sells paint. I choose these ones by Martha Stewart because 1. they didn't have any writing on them so I wouldn't have to cut them. 2. They had a bunch of different textures and sheen and all of the colors in the display went together perfectly.

Spray Adhesive
I used 3m but you could use pretty much any kind of glue, even stick glue, I guess. The main purpose is to make sure that the glue won't get your papers too wet or they will peel apart. I know this from experience! You also want to make sure that the glue won't leave lumps under the papers after they dry. So yeah, glue.

A Piece of Pressed Board
We got this at Home Depot for around $7. It's 1/4 in. I think. The best part is that they will cut the board to whatever size you need. Plan out your papers in advance and decide how big you want your board to be.

Wood Stain or Wood Finish
Darker is better in my opinion. I used Minwax Wood Finish in dark walnut.

Clear Coat
I used Polycrylic water based clear semi-gloss. They also have high gloss and matte. Experiment with what you like. :)

Modge Podge
I used matte

Start by separating your chips by color and lay them out to the side to find a pattern that looks good.

Glue the papers onto the board. Start in one corner and go across. Try to line them up if you can but don't get too concerned if there's a small gap here or there. You can see in the pic below that I had some gaps.

When I got to the end of each row, I noticed that my papers hung off of the edge by about 1/4 cm. If this happens, shave them off with a razor blade after the glue is completely dry. Try not to glue them around the corner, just let them hang off.

Here I applied a thin layer of modge podge to protect the paper from absorbing too much stain.

Once dry, apply the stain liberally to the entire front, let sit for a few minutes and wipe off. Don't rub too hard and don't rub it out of the cracks between your papers. If you plan on hanging without a frame, apply the stain to the sides of the board as well.

Apply a 2nd coat to really get in those cracks.

We want some of the stain to stay on the papers to help unify the colors.

Lastly, you'll want to apply several layers of clear coat, allowing each layer to dry before applying the next. Continue your layers until you can no longer feel the gaps or the edges of the papers. You want to make it as smooth as possible.
You can sand in between layers if you want to but it's not necessary.

Attach a hanging kit to the back and you're good to go. Experiment in different sizes, now that I know I can do it I'm going to make one that's about 2ft tall by 5 ft long to go over my bed.

If you decide to try it, send me a pic and I'll post it.
Good Luck!
Beyond The Picket Fence

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Baby Photo Props

UPDATE: You can now check out my etsy shop here

Here are a few things that I've been working on lately. I was thinking about selling these on Etsy. What do you think? (If you want to purchase one in the meantime, you can email me at aprril@hotmail.com)
Also working on a matching Minnie. How cute for twins!
A blue version of the sock monkey I made a few months back. I was also working on a pink one but I set it aside for now.
A recent request. I can't wait to see how it looks!

Now if only I had some baby models... :)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Caprese on a Stick

Want a show-stopping appetizer for your next party?
Caprese pops are simple to make and a big hit!

Here's what you'll need:

Round Sourdough Loaf
1 Container of Mozzarella Balls
1 Container of Cherry or Plum Tomatoes
1 1/2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar or to taste
2 tbsp Olive Oil
Olive Tapenade (optional)
1 tbsp Fresh Basil, chopped
1/2 tsp Lemon Zest
Colored Toothpicks

Mix mozzarella, olive oil, vinegar, basil, and lemon zest together and marinate in the fridge for at least an hour.
In the meantime, cut the tops off of the tomatoes and take out pulp and seeds. I used a small spoon to do this.
Add a dab of tapenade to the bottom of the inside of each tomato. Stick a toothpick up through the bottom of the tomato and put a marinated cheese ball into the tomato.
Stick the toothpicked tomatoes into the bread starting toward the bottom. Make sure you leave part of the toothpick sticking out so that the guests have something to grab.
This dish is pretty and delicious!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Lowfat Pumpkin Smoothie

With Fall right around the corner, I've noticed pumpkin recipes popping up all over Pinterest. Pumpkin donuts, pumpkin popper, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin cinnamon rolls, (oddly enough, not one for pumpkin pie). I decided to join in the frenzy since Fall foods are some of my very favorite! I love the smell and the warmth of Fall cooking, it makes me feel so cozy.
Since I'm in AZ where it's still over 100 degrees in the day time, I decided on a pumpkin smoothie. And since I'm still trying to watch what I eat, I decided to make it as low-fat/calorie as I could without sacrificing flavor.
This turned out delicious and is perfect for breakfast, especially if you're like me and not a "big meal for breakfast" type person.

1 frozen banana (or just a banana)
1 single serve container non-fat vanilla yogurt (mine was 6oz)
1/2 cup to 1 cup pure canned pumpkin (I used half the 15oz can)
1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1-2 Tbsp honey
small handful of ice

Add everything to the blender or food processor and mix until smooth.
This was surprisingly filling and I gave half to my little guy. You could get creative and add things like oatmeal or bran and play around with the recipe. Unfortunately, I'm not very creative (or motivated) in the morning so I stuck to the basics. Enjoy!

Caramel From A Can

Here's another idea that I saw on Pinterest and just HAD to try! I couldn't believe it! You can make a whole can of fresh warm deliciousness for around a dollar?? YES!
I've read about two different ways that you can go about making this. Both include a can of sweetened condensed milk. The first way is to boil the can, unopened, and completely submerged in a pot of water for 2-3 hours. The 2nd was to submerge, (in water), in a crockpot for 8-10 hours on low.
I chose to try the latter.
After about 8.5 hours in the crockpot I took it out and let it cool at room temp for about 2 hours. I was a little disappointed when I first opened the can because I was expecting a dark thick caramel. This was more of a tan colored, creamy, caramel wanna-be. I stuck it in a bowl and microwaved it for one minute. (Be careful that it doesn't boil over). Here's what I got:
Mmm Mmm! Perfect for an ice cream topping.
Looking back, I think I should have heated it on "high" or let it cook longer, then I could have skipped the additional step. Next time I might try the stovetop method.
If you've got a can of this stuff in your pantry, give it a try!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Our 2nd Grade Classroom

It's been awhile since my last post, my camera wasn't working at all and now it still isn't working very well but I'll take what I can get! Please excuse the not-so-great pics, I'm working toward a new camera.

We remodeled the classroom again over the summer and this is my favorite setup so far! It may not look like much but it's definitely the most functional.
I took a pic of each wall so you could get a feel for the way it's set up. (Click the pics for a larger view).

Here we go...
This is the (partial) view from the door, and my favorite wall. It doesn't take much money or space to get a classroom organized and functional.
I bought a couple of used bookcases from Craigslist and separated the shelves by subject. As you can see, I still have a lot of space left over as I'm still trying to figure it all out. The cart on the left holds supplies like construction paper, pens, glue, that kind of thing. The cart on the right is our "Postcard Writing Station". It holds our postcards, stickers, stampers, postage stamps, and all the other fun stuff that you need to send postcards. (I'll blog another time about our postcard adventures.)
The box on the far left, mostly covered by the chair, is busywork. Things like folder games, flashcards...extra stuff for Nate to do in between lessons or if Mommy is still catching up with him. ;)
You can see Nate's desk toward the bottom of the pic. It has a lift up top with storage. I love this because he feels like he has his own classroom space. I'm teaching him to keep track of some of his own things like his journal, history notes, etc. I got this desk from, you guessed it, Craigslist!
His desk faces this wall which is where 80% of the learning takes place. I found two of these giant whiteboards, again, on Craigslist! I love that site! You can see how I use the clothespin hangers to change out posters as the year moves on. My walls are thanking me.
The small bookshelf is where I keep extra teaching materials that aren't part of the required curriculum. Also random supplies. The picture over the door are symbols for "scholarly knowledge" and "wisdom" hanging in the "Skills and Knowledge" section of the room. (I dabble a tiny bit in feng shui).
The wall to the right of the door. Here's the other whiteboard but we use this one mostly for things that stay up for the day or even for a whole unit. Also holds our "Daily Journal Question". I don't teach from this board.
Then we've got the huge desk, (from Craigslist lol), with Nate's computer on one side and mine on the other. Some of his assignments are online and we also do some testing on the internet. Don't mind the mess.
Here is the opposite wall to the last pic. This one is not done yet. I plan on getting a 1x5 expedit (Ikea) bookshelf to lay on it's side in that space as soon as I find one on Craigslist. :) I'm going to pad the top and make it into a long reading bench with lots of storage underneath. My goal is to get a mini library started in the classroom.
Originally, I had planned to fill this space with floor to ceiling shelves but I realized after purchasing the white bookshelves that we just don't need it.

Luckily, we have a whole room that we can dedicate to a classroom but I've seen many people use just part of a room, a closet, or a desk with storage. Remember, all of the major purchases for this room, (except for the computer and printer), were bought 2nd hand, you don't need to spend a lot of money to have a classroom.