Sunday, June 2, 2013

Left 'til the last minute...Diaper Cake

This is the diaper cake I made for my friend's baby shower.  The top layer is a fleece blanket with a row of crocheting around the edges, then two layers of diapers.  I used those little tiny rubber hair ties from Scunci to hold the rolled up diapers.  I found them in clear in the Dollar Spot at Target so they were cheaper than the equivalent rubber bands at the craft store.  I found these gold metal hoops on the clearance wall at Hobby Lobby.  No idea what they were originally intended for, but they worked great to hold the shape of the layers without having to resort to a whole roll of tape or gobs of hot glue.  Added bonus, no damage to the diapers like glue or tape.  What's the point of a diaper cake if you can't use the diapers? 

3-tier Diaper Cake

I realized too late that it needed a base of some sort and I was running out of time so I just grabbed a large glass serving plate from the china cabinet and plopped it on that.  The gold rim matched the gold hoops so it looked like it was planned instead of a last minute add-on.  It also had a slightly raised edge that helped hold the bottom tier in place. 

The whole thing was a bit wobbly so, for support, I cut a plastic coat hanger and used the long piece as a post in the center.  I just slid it between the gaps of the diaper tiers.  (got the idea from watching those cake decorating shows on Food Network, knew that wasn't just wasting time.  It was research! LOL)

I made little rosettes out of baby wash cloths and florist wire and I attached the other smaller items to bamboo skewers with a bit of hot glue and ribbon and poked them in between the diapers. I also added a few artificial flowers here and there to fill in the empty spots.

I wish I had taken pictures of the assembly process, but I literally finished this thing moments before walking out the door to the party and we arrived late as it was.

Throwing things together at the last minute does not mean I don't care about people, it just means I have time management issues. Sorry, friends, I'm working on it.

Basic assembly, from the bottom up:
  1. Glass serving dish, same diameter as the bottom tier with slightly raised edge.
  2. Tier of diapers, tightly rolled and secured with a tiny rubber band.  Held into circular shape with metal ring form Hobby Lobby.
  3. Sturdy rod or dowel (in my case, hacked piece of plastic coat hanger) inserted into center of bottom tier of diapers.
  4. Second tier of diapers, assembled same as bottom tier, slid down onto dowel.  A few rolled over pieces of tape between layers would have been a good idea.
  5. Third layer is the fleece blanket, rolled tightly and tucked into the smallest of the gold rings (about 6 inches diameter, I think?).
  6. Embellish with small bottles of baby wash, Beaudreau's Butt Paste, sock or wash cloth rosettes, etc.

And here is a scrapbook layout of my Mr. E as a tiny little thing.  I think he was about 6 months old here.  This layout is a bit of a lift from something I saw on Pinterest with the heart outlining the focal picture.  Nothing too fancy, but shows off my cute boy.  Can't believe how grown up he is now. And, I can't believe I'm finally getting around to scrapping stuff that's 5+ yrs old!

When I get a chance, I'll have to upload the pictures of the end-of-school gifts I did for the kids' teachers and the Pin-spired projects I've done around the house.  

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Puff Paint Picture Frames

Tried another Pinterest idea today.  This was one for the kids.  Megs got to have a friend sleepover tonight so I figured it was a great time to try a fun new activity and decided on home-made puff paint.  I had a couple of different pins with basically the same recipe.  This one made a smaller batch and said to pop it in the microwave to make it puff up.  A second recipe didn't mention the microwave and made a much larger batch.  But, otherwise, they're the same recipe.  Basically equal parts of water, salt and flour with the food coloring of your choice.

I picked up some squirt bottles at Wally-World for 98-cents.  I needed some food coloring so grabbed that as well ($2.50) and a package of salt for 44-cents.

I made the turquoise and lime green first, using the 1-cup recipe.  Way, way more puffy paint than I needed so I only did 1/2-cup for the pink and light blue.  It came out pretty thick so I added just a bit more water to thin it out some.

I had some 8x10 pieces of cardboard that I'd been saving in the craft cupboard and decided they'd make great picture frames.  I cut a square hole into each piece of cardboard and gave the cut-outs to the kids to color and decorate because they were driving me nuts wanting to get started on the project. 

That didn't keep them busy long enough so I gave them the frames and got out the poster paints so they could cover up the ugly cardboard before applying the puff paint. 

Once the poster paint was dry, I let them loose with the squirt bottles and they went nuts.  Having it in bottles was a huge plus.  I can't imagine the mess if they were trying to use brushes with this stuff.  As it was, A-Man squirted half the bottle of pink all over his frame...but, he's 2, what did I expect?

We did have a slight mishap with E's frame.  He'd used a very heavy hand with the poster paint and a few spots weren't dry yet when he applied the puff paint.  When I pulled it out of the microwave, I thought I smelled smoke....but I had a frozen pizza in the oven so didn't think too much of it.  E decided to add more puff paint to his design and brought the frame to me to microwave a second time.  BIG MISTAKE!!  When I pulled it out there was SMOKE coming from one of the globs of poster paint and I could see actual glowing embers inside the layers of the cardboard!!! 

 *****WARNING- make sure any other paints are completely dry and only microwave one time!!!!*****

Here are the kids' finished frames.  I added a ribbon to the top so they can hang them in their rooms.

(like that pic I stuck in there?  LOL, from Reptile Gardens last summer.)

As you can see, I didn't do a very good job of measuring the opening for the picture.  It was supposed to be 3.5 x 5.5 so it would hold a 4 x 6 picture.  Somehow I goofed it up.  I attached a piece of paperboard to the back so they can just glue the picture to that and it will work out okay.  

As far as the "puffiness" of the paint.  Thin lines and polka dots puffed up pretty good, but thicker areas didn't really do much.  It was pretty puffy straight out of the microwave, but  as it cooled, it flattened out a bit and the colors dulled. I think thinning it was a bad idea.  It made it easier to get into the bottle, but made it run and puddle instead of staying where it was squirted.

Oh, here's one more picture so you can see when E's caught on fire.

See where we burned a hole through the cardboard!!

So, that was our fun project for this evening.  Used up some things from the craft closet, entertained 4 kids for a couple hours and cost less than $10.  Life is good. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

DIY Decoupage Disappointment

A-Man photo bomb!

It shouldn't come as a surprise to any one that I'm cheap.  I prefer to call it frugal or responsible, but let's call it what it is.  I want nice things, but I want them at the lowest possible price.  Knowing that, you might wonder why I do Scrapbooking as we all know it can  be an expensive hobby.  That's why I keep my layouts simple...less expensive.  And anyway, the focus is supposed to be on the photos and the memories....not the embellishments.

Pinterest is full of ideas to make your own supplies and I recently saw one (well, several) on making your own Mod Podge.  I haven't used the stuff in years and had no idea how expensive it had gotten.  ($6 for a little jar!)

A couple of the Pins were for actual recipes, involving measurements and ingredients.  That was too much work so I went with the simplest one I found.  Dilute plain old Elmer's Glue with water!  Seems pretty simple. 

Being a mom, you know I have a ton of glue stashed in the craft closet (scored for 20 cents a bottle at back-to-school sales).  I grabbed a 1/2-used bottle, filled it up with water and shook.  Easy-peasey!

The real task was to find something to use it on.  I've been working on getting all the kids their own scrapbooks for each year and there's getting to be quite a stack of them.  The idea had always been to embellish the front cover.  So, I got out my Cricut, cut some letters and numbers and set to work.  Here's the finished results

I originally intended to use the letters that I cut with the Cricut.  But, I liked the look of the "negative space" so much better. 

I think this one is my favorite.  Purple leopard print with pink and purple rhinestones along the edge of the purple 7.

This one had the best result.  Very thin paper attached to smooth, non-porous surface.

While I'm pleased with the overall look of the covers, the "Mod Podge" isn't really the greatest.  Like I said, it's been years since I used the stuff, but this is not what I remembered.  It attached my elements to the surface just fine once I remembered that you have to coat both the surface and the back of the paper before placing it.  It took an hour or so to dry then I applied a second coat.  A couple of them needed a third coat and the one with the large E is waiting for a FIFTH coat right now.  It worked best with the combination of thin paper being placed onto a non-porous surface.  A couple of my covers are fabric and some of my letters were cut from pretty heavy cardstock.  That combo took a lot more Mod to Podge together.

The big disappoint was the finish.  On the fabric covers, it's very rough to the touch, almost gritty feeling.  The paper is well adhered, but doesn't feel protected.  I don't think it will handle much abuse.  On the slick covers, the layer of glue dulled the shine of the surface and looks like it might peal off easily.  Again, not going to take much abuse or handling. 

The Mod Podge I used in the past dried to a hard, shiny surface that smoothed over any roughness or texture on the paper and around the edges.  This didn't.  I'm thinking it may need to be sprayed with some sort of clear coat to really seal it.  And, having to buy that pretty much negates any savings I got from making it myself instead of just buying the real deal.

So, for 10 cents worth of glue, I got 5 covers that look great, but still need work. 

I wasn't ready to give up on this idea yet so I re-read the instructions as well as all the comments they got.  Seems like it makes a difference if you use Elmer's School Glue or Elmer's Glue All.  Of course, I used the cheaper "school glue."  So, I picked up a bottle of the right kind of glue and tried again.  Much better results this time.  The Glue All is much thicker to start with and dried to a smooth, strong, matte finish with just two coats.  It pays to follow instructions, I guess!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Tuesday Triumph: Scrapbook Paper Storage

So, I've been neglecting my Facebook friends as well as all the friends I'm playing Words or Ruzzle with in favor of my new addiction....Pinterest!  Yep, after swearing I wasn't interested, I've finally succumbed and joined everyone else pinning tons of things that look like great ideas, but I'll never follow through with.  But wait, there's that negative thinking again.  So, rather than just pinning, I'm DOING the things I pin.  At least some of them.  And here are the fruits of my labors......

That, my friends is a lovely scrapbook paper organizer thing that I made with my very own two hands.  Well, I assembled it. I didn't actually make the wire racks.  I'm not that talented, ya know.  I got the idea from this great blog.  Pretty much just followed her instructions and was pretty pleased with the result.  Cost: $15 for the wire rack at Shopko (on sale, normally $40) and $5 for the 18 million zip ties it required.  Okay, I'm exaggerating, it didn't take that many.  But, it took a whole lot more of those scratchy little things than I expected.

Overall, I'm pleased with the result.  It ended up with 9 slots for paper so I was able to sort my colors by the spectrum (my very own little paper rainbow!) with 3 additional slots for black, white and neutrals.  I have my favorite pads of patterned papers stacked on top.

The only downside is those darn zip ties.  The little buggers are sharp!  Didn't want to risk damaging paper by putting the little nubby ends facing inside so I put them on the outside.  So, my paper stash is now protected by the plastic equivalent of barbed wire.  I might have to find some sandpaper or something to try to smooth those edges before I slice myself open on one of them.  It would really tick me off if I got blood on one of my scrapping projects. 

And that is my Pinterest Success Story for today!  I'll have more when I get pics. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Okay, let's get this blog going again.  I deleted all the old posts...they were depressing.  Time for some posts about successes instead of failure.