Everyday is an Adventure. Embrace it

Archive for the ‘DIY’ Category

A sticky situation

The last few posts have been about DIY projects and this is not a DIY website, I promise! If you can bare with me through one more post, I will get back on track soon! I guess this one could be seen as an adventure…nah!

My insomnia was still an ever-growing issue and my late-night compulsive googling was filling my mind with all these crafty little ideas. I knew I was not a crafty person and it had actually resulted in many personal injuries but for some reason I thought one day I would get at least one project right! Besides, I assumed there must be at least one project out  there on Pinterest that was accurately detailed enough that I could follow foolproof instructions. Late one night, when the world was asleep, I found an amazing product online: Mod Podge

Mod Podge

Mod Podge

I found women everywhere (and a few guys) that proclaimed the wonder and amazement of this fabulous product. It was hailed as the greatest crafting invention ever and had accumulated several million loyal customers, followers, and advocates. It was so infamous that there were knock off products on the market to mimic it and people freely share “recipes” for cooking up your own batch at home to save money. With so many rave reviews and obsessed consumers, I decided I had to find out what this incredible product was and give it a whirl.

In my searches, I found that this life-changing product comes in multiple formulas!

Mod Podge

Mod Podge

How exciting…I thought. I ran out the next day to a local craft store and purchased the biggest bottle they had. Oh glory! I had the coveted product of all products that millions of people raved about. Once I brought it home, I realized I didn’t know what to do with it 😦 The googling resumed. After locating some projects online, I decided on a photo transfer project.

I followed the directions I found online and the project wasn’t too bad…I thought.

Us - Mod Podged onto a piece of wood

Us – Mod Podged a piece of wood

You see, it was simple. I printed off a color photo to use with our printer. I selected a piece of wood – Cut the photo to fit – Slathered a thin layer of Mod Podge onto the wood – Layed the photo face down on the wood – Trimmed off the edges – smoothed out air bubble pockets and allowed it to dry.    See? Simple! The entire process took maybe 20 minutes (as a beginner) and was not difficult at all.

This Mod Podge product has a glue consistency and reminded me of elementary school. It said on the label that even though it goes on white, it dries clear AND it cleans up easily with basic soap and water. The dry time is about 24 hours though, so some patience would be required.

I was excited! I was going to accomplish a craft with no personal injuries and it was going to turn out nicely!! Yay me…for an hour…

After cleaning up my work area and washing my hands, I came back to the office, took off my shoes and began working on some paperwork. I happily made my way through a lot of internet work and then moved to filing within 25 minutes or so. When I stood up, a customer invoice was stuck to my elbow. Not thinking much of it, I pulled it off and moved to the filing cabinet and put away some files. As I moved away from the filing cabinet, my foot stuck on the wood floor. I stumbled, almost tripped, and regained my composure. I can be so clumsy sometimes. So, I put my shoes back on.

In the restroom, the toilet paper stuck to my hand. At this point, I realized something wasn’t right. On the way back to the office area, I picked up a dryer sheet from the laundry room…on the bottom of my shoe. As I leaned down to peel it off, I lost my balance and leaned back against the wall for support. My shirt peeled off the wall as I attempted to reach down and remove the dryer sheet. My mistake was lazily leaning back up against the wall when I had the dryer sheet in my hand. That’s when my hair stuck to the wall…

I was loosing patience with myself and my surroundings. I didn’t feel sticky, so why was everything sticking to me?  MOD PODGE!

Oh NO, that wonderfully fabulous, incredible invention that went on white and dried clear was all over me!! It’s glue. How do you not know that you have glue on you? Well, I’ll tell you… this thoughtfully incredulous material goes on smooth, thin, and sleek. It is only during the seemingly forever drying process that the tackiness appears. I went to the place where I had placed my photo transfer project to dry (on the dryer in the laundry room) to check it also. The cat was stuck to it 😦 There he stood shaking it as roughly as he could to get it off his back paw. When he saw me, he bolted off the dryer, down the hallway and into the living room dragging my project with him! He was not happy. I was not happy. My house was slowly becoming covered in glue.

The kids would be home from school in under an hour and then my husband would be home. I had to get the house cleaned up! My problem was that I had no way to see what I was cleaning! This miracle product of the ages turns clear as it dries, not after it is completely dry. I grabbed my shoes and cleaned them. Then I started cleaning the house. I cleaned the floors, door knobs, washing machine top, dryer, and anything that I thought I may have touched. I thought I did rather well covering up my goof.  🙂

After supper, everyone usually retires to their rooms or does their own thing. I showed my husband the nice little picture on wood thing I had created and he thought it was awesome 🙂 I was happy once more.   Then, my youngest son yells “ouch” from the livingroom as he tried to get up from the recliner. His arm and his head had stuck to the recliner as he tried to move. “Mom!” he called out to complain. “Oh you kids,” I said embarrassingly, “Y’all clearly need to eat in the kitchen. I bet there’s something sticky on it. Just wipe it down.”

I got away with it… or at least I did until they read this 😉

DIY Pallet Dog House

My husband wanted to try his creative hand at building with pallets after we made the garden. He set out to build a dog house. I’m not sure how he did it or what tools he needed. Here is my non-educated dissertation, which by the way, is the exact type of pallet DIY instructions you can find on Pinterest or anywhere else on the internet. None of the instruction article or websites I’ve been able to find have all the details, so I guess my instructions here will fit in nicely!

I do know he began by creating a foundation of sorts by using blocks and a piece of plywood. He built some kind of “footer” thing and a “band board” thing and the pallets sat on top of that. Then, using 3 pallets propped together to create a boxed in frame. The pallets were secured together with screws.  Anyway, he cut up 2 pallets for the front entrance part. I can’t describe it…just look at the pictures below. He purchased some 2×4 boards and fashioned roof trusses. After those were screwed together on the house, he put the roof decking on (plywood) and then he enclosed the roof triangle thingy in front and back. He even shingled the little roof and used cap.

So, this is not the best DIY instructions for building a dog house out of pallets, but if you are a dude, maybe you can figure out what I am talking about! My role in all this was very little. I think I held a board or two during the process and I broke down 4 pallets for him to use as “siding”.

Here you can see how the pallets were put together in a box fashion and 2x4s were cut to create roof trusses.

Here you can see how the pallets were put together in a box fashion and 2x4s were cut to create roof trusses.

Here you can see the front. 2 pallets were cut into pieces to make the front & allow for a door. Also notice the plywood (roof decking) has been added to one side.

Here you can see the front. 2 pallets were cut into pieces to make the front & allow for a door. Also notice the plywood (roof decking) has been added to one side at this point.

Here you can see how "siding" was fashioned out of pallet boards after taking several pallets apart.

Here you can see how “siding” was fashioned out of pallet boards after taking several pallets apart.

Here you can see the mostly completed pallet dog house - including dog.

Here you can see the mostly completed pallet dog house – including dog.

My husband says it’s not “finished” yet, but the dog LOVES it! And because I wasn’t involved in the building of this project – no one was accidentally harmed in this creation! 🙂  It was a win-win!!

Insomniac DIY Mishap Lessons with Pallets

Insomnia is a terrible thief that steals one’s ability to think clearly the following day. What’s worse is that the body does not physically coordinate with you the way you think you are telling it to do. Combine these things together for a wonderful crafty result coupled with physical injury for the safest of household objects. In other words, I seriously should stop trying to do DIY projects the day after no sleep!! Insomniacs beware.

During the course of the year, I continued to struggle with what seemed to be a never-ending cycle of sleep deprivation. These late nights or early mornings laying in bed awake led to browsing the internet for hours on end. After reading millions of articles, books, and shopping online at 3am, I would end on Pinterest browsing the DIY category. I would find so many things that I just knew I could do! I would make lists of supplies needed and the next day would sneak out to the store and buy them. Some of these projects turned out nicely, others were just a huge disappointment 😦

Lesson 1: I discovered that many of the DIY links on Pinterest were just plain junk! Most of them were just pictures that had been circulated several thousand times as many well-meaning would be crafters have pinned them in great hopes that 1 day they’d get around to trying them. Many didn’t have enough instruction to complete a task or seriously important details were missing from the processes, so I’ve had several mishaps. Here are a few things I’ve tried. Some were a giant FAIL and others turned out nicely 🙂

I promise to write as many of these as I can remember, but for today, here is one of the more famous “pallet” adventures!

I decided that since I had access to more pallets than the average person, I would create something out of them. I announced to my husband that I wanted him to start bringing them home to me. He dutifully complied and after bringing 5 or 6 home asked what I was going to do with them. I answered, “I’m not sure, but it’s going to be GREAT!” He would give me a strange look and then ask me again after 5 or 6 more pallets. My answer, always the same, was no longer good enough after we had over 25 pallets stacked in our back yard.  (Insert cheesy grin here)

My first thought was outdoor seating. I would go outside and stare at the pallet stack and try to visualize how to physically go about constructing my creation. After about an hour of gathering the tools and supplies I needed and all this thinking, I would be mentally exhausted and defeated. Everything I saw online looked so simple, but I couldn’t figure out how to get the pallets into the shapes I needed. Lesson 2: Nothing seen online is as easy as it looks! I knew I could take them completely apart, but the point of using the pallets is to lessen the workload, not add more to it!

I began by using a hand saw to cut the pallets down to size keeping 2 slats connected on front and 3 on the back. (Note: I used a hand saw because I am just the average housewife here, not the host of a lady’s only DIY show with a production crew and unlimited access to large power tools and emergency people ….should I cut off a digit.) [It is true that my husband is a contractor and I could have access to a ton of tools, but this was my project and I didn’t want his help!.] Once the 2 pallets were in sections, I leaned them against one another trying to visualize how to make them fit into a bench. Lesson 3: Pallets are made of wood. Wood Rots.  Nothing looked right and the wood the pallets are made of would need to be treated or they would rot quickly in the weather concerned me. I have no “patio” to sit them on. They would sit directly on the ground. Hmm… I changed my mind. No outdoor furniture. It sure looked cool on Pinterest though, even though in reality it wouldn’t work for me!

I stopped working for the day and resumed my nightly insomniac googling. Then decided to make a swing! Ah yes, I love to swing outdoors. A swing would be perfect! The next day I went outside and started placing the pieces together. Before I screwed anything together, I sat on one pallet piece while it was on the ground. It bowed beneath my tush even with the ground beneath me supporting it. I’m not a “large” lady, yet the piece that would be the seat would not really support me well. There would be no way that my rather large boys would ever be able to sit on it with me 😦 This is when I learned a very important lesson – Lesson 4: Not all pallets are created equal! Pallets that hold large amounts of ceramic tile are great. Pallets that hold shingles are not as strong – believe it or not.

Back to square one again, the day passed and I waited for sleep once more. Sleep did not come, so I had plenty of time to do more nightly research. I found several project idea types to use the pallets to make a raised garden bed. BINGO! The soil in our yard is mostly clay and growing a garden has always been a challenge. So, this was perfect. My husband had mentioned how he longed to have a garden and I thought it would make us both happy.

The next day was much better. After finishing my work for the office, I began gathering my hand tools again and started off by cutting the pallets as described above. I left 2 slats connected on front and 3 slats connected on the back of most sections. Other sections had 1 slat on front and 2 on back. Our yard is not exactly level, so I had to compensate a little. Once I had 4 sections, I leaned them against one another to make a rectangle. It looked fine, so I grabbed my hammer & nails. After trying several ways to nail them together, I realized this wouldn’t work. I couldn’t hammer the nails into the sections because the overlapping slats prevented me from doing so. In short, my hand, nail, & hammer wouldn’t fit into one spot to do the job. I thought about it for a while and then decided to tie them together with the left over jute twine I had from earlier projects. It was strong, natural, biodegradable and well – it was the only thing I could think of! 🙂

After all 4 sections were connected, my day was done. My husband saw my little creation, but didn’t say much about it. I guess he was letting me do my thing happily 🙂 He was probably glad that I was finally using the pallets for something. He agreed to bring me more.

Lining inside pallet raised garden box

Lining inside pallet raised garden box

The next day, I decided I needed to line the inside of the garden box so my dirt wouldn’t fall out of the slats. I used a tarp cut to size. After placing the tarp inside, I ran to the local hardware store. I bought some garden soil with several coupons and gift cards I had collected from rebates. With some muscle help from the boys, we got all four of the 25 lb bags of dirt from the car to the new garden box. Excited, I cut a hole in the top of the bag and declared, “Pour!”. My son lifted the bag high and dumped the soil on the tarp inside the box. Guess what happened…  the tarp sunk in on all 4 sides and the dirt went everywhere! It went inside the box, outside the box, on the tarp, over the tarp, and all over the ground too! Lesson 5: Think things through all the way before beginning. For some reason, I never learn this lesson. 😦

Lining inside pallet raised garden box

Lining inside pallet raised garden box

I couldn’t think of any way to keep the tarp edges up, so I used binder clips from the office supply store to clip the tarp up on all 4 sides. Then I scooped massive amounts of dirt off the ground and put it in the box 😦 I decided that I had learned so many lessons from this little project, I should build more boxes! 🙂 Cutting commenced with the hand saw and my children thought I had lost my mind. (This is normal around here.) My youngest son said, “uh, Mom? You need help?”  I declined and then went on my business …sawing away. I took my weak little arms a whole day to saw 2 pallets for the next box. Each box I made went faster in the creation process. I was doing better (avoiding all my earlier mistakes) and I was working faster.

Completed pallet raised garden bed

Completed pallet raised garden bed

By the time the second box was completed and I was working on the third box, my husband noticed. He was amazed. He kept saying, “Wow! You built these? …by yourself?”  🙂 I smiled and kept on building. When I was ready to start the 3rd & 4th box, it was a weekend and my husband offered to help. This 4th (and last) box would be the largest one. He whipped out his drill, power saw and some other tools and took to building. Needless to say, he created that box in a smidgen of the time it took me (which was all day long). Actually, he was completely finished in under an hour! After he was finished, he sured up my other boxes with screws so the jute twine became decoration instead of structural.

Hubby came to help :)

Hubby came to help 🙂

After all boxes were completed, I started planting. After planting was completed, my husband was staining our deck and stoop. He moved over towards the raised garden beds and started the process of staining them. In the picture below, the staining wasn’t completed yet. But, you get the idea 🙂 We also added a few stakes around the tomato area in preparation for their growth.

Staining the pallets was a great idea!

Staining the pallets was a great idea!

Truth about Home Made Laundry Soap

Please scroll to the bottom for an update – 9/29/2014 – After using for almost a year…

Working from home gives a person much-needed time to take care of things around the house and sometimes, when business is slow it even allows for hobbies, crafts, or whatever you may choose to do in your spare time. I’ve so enjoyed working from home and here’s one thing I did with my spare time…

Last month I had a bit of down time and began to search on the internet again for DIY projects and penny-pinching budgeting ideas.  (I’ve always been a penny pincher, so this is nothing new for me. I’ve always been a couponer, but not to the extreme. I compare cost & value of the return before buying anything. I guess this comes from years of necessity and became a lifestyle overtime. I’m the gal that signs up to get free samples from various companies and will send out a tweet or make a status update to receive a free roll of toilet paper. It’s habit. It’s also saved me thousands of dollars over time if you add it all up though.)

My husband knew I was pinching pennies and saw a post on Facebook about making homemade laundry soap. He piqued my curiosity. After he left for his business day and I completed the necessary office work I needed to do, I began to browse the internet to learn more about this concept.

I kid you not, I found over 200 websites, articles, posts and write-ups about making homemade laundry detergent (soap) before I ever thought about going to Pinterest! I also found many articles indicating that people got upset when the word “detergent” was used instead of “soap”.  Amongst the many articles, I was able to identify a common trend. Although many people had written about this subject, there were only about 40 different recipes for liquid laundry soap and 37 for powdered. People were sharing the same recipes over and over again.

The reviews, comments, articles and posts were pretty straight forward. People either absolutely loved using this type of laundry cleaner or they hated it with a passion! The one aspect of this concept that captured my attention was the money-saving factor, so I wanted to put this theory to the test using my family’s usage and budget for laundry care.

Below are the results. It is important to know that at this time, I have only used the dry/powered form of home-made laundry soap. I opted for this method because it is more cost-effective and time-saving than the liquid recipe.

Our family unit:

  • 2 adults, 3 teenagers wearing adult sized clothing = 5 people wearing adult sized clothing

Our family usage/dirt/stain/category levels:

  • 3 teenage boys that are heavy sweaters, 1 of which plays football – uniforms and all 3 regularly have grass stains, ground in dirt, and are very rough on their clothing. Each of these 3 boys creates 1 load of laundry each per day for 5 days and 1 load for the weekend = 6 loads per boy per day. Together they create 24 loads of laundry per week.
  • 1 man who regularly comes home covered in grime from work. Grime is defined by (Tar, sweat, shingle dust, sawdust, dirt from ground, goo from gutter cleaning, bark, silicon – caulk – foam insulation, dust from drywall, paint: all kinds such as latex, oil & water-based, ink {lots of ink stains}, and all types of other junk that may cling to him from someone’s attic or crawl space. Plus…and this is a bonus: he also comes home with mystery stains!   Aren’t I a lucky woman? Although he is the most stained member of our home, he only creates about 2 loads of laundry per week.
  • 1 woman (we all know what types of stains those are…) I create 2 loads of laundry per week.
  • Bedding = I wash 1 set of bedding per week. = 2 loads (Comforter washes by itself)
  • Towels = With 5 people showering daily, we create 3 loads of towels to wash per week.

Total loads washed per week on average: 30 large loads and 3 regular loads = 33 loads

What I normally spend on store-bought detergents, stain removers, and additives= $40.96 monthly. Divided by 4 weeks = $10.24 per week.

$10.24 divided by 33 loads = $0.31 per load.

Home made laundry soap recipe and costs: (brand names omitted)

  • All Natural Super Washing Soda (NOT BAKING SODA) 55oz box powder = $3.53

    Washing Soda

    Washing Soda

  • All Natural Detergent Booster & Multipurpose Household Cleaner 76oz box powder = $4.32

    Detergent Booster

    Detergent Booster

  • 1 bar of Laundry Soap & Stain Remover (in laundry aisle of retail or grocery store) = $1.09

    Laundry Soap

    Laundry Soap

Make it – Mix in a large bowl (that you’ll never eat out of again) 2 cups of Washing Soda, 2 cups of Detergent Booster. Smooth and de-clump powder mixture. Getting all lumps out is important. Mix together well. (I used my hands). Last, using a cheese grater (that you’ll never use for food again) grate 1 entire bar of laundry soap into itty bitty flake pieces directly into the bowl of the powder mixture. This was time-consuming for me, so I did it while watching television with the kids. Stir to mix up the entire product when finished grating bar of soap. Store in an airtight container. This mixture makes approximately 1 quart of laundry soap. (I make 2 batches at one time so I only have to do this once a month.)

Usage: 1 tablespoon for small or regular loads. 2 tablespoons for large or heavy loads. Definitely use 2 tablespoons for very dirty clothes.

The Results

I read that this recipe would create enough laundry soap for 64 loads. I discovered that the 1 quart mixture listed above actually only washed 48 loads of our laundry. We do tend to possibly have more heavily soiled clothing than most people (description above).

The cost break out:

1 box of washing soda will make 4 batches. $3.53 divided by 4 = $0.88 per batch. 1 box of laundry detergent booster will make 5 batches. $4.32 divided by 5 = $0.86 per batch. Each batch needs one full bar of laundry soap. $1.09 per bar.

$0.88+$0.86+$1.09 = $2.83

$2.83 divided by 48 loads of laundry = $0.06 per load

So after doing the math, it truly is a cost saver!

But, how effectively does it clean?

Below are my ratings on a scale from 1-10. (1 = not effective at all  10 = very effective)

  1. Removing smells from clothing: 10
  2. Removing standard dirt and stains: 9
  3. Color fade: 7
  4. Whites: 1
  5. Whites after adding bleach: 9
  6. Hard to remove stains without pre-treating: 2
  7. Hard to remove stains after pre-treating: 8 (pre-treat by using left over bar of laundry soap rubbed directly on stain on clothing while dry)
  8. Fragrance: 10 (it has no smell after it comes out of the dryer!
  9. Softens clothes: 9
  10. Static removal: 0 – you’ll still need to use dryer sheets
  11. Skin irritation: 10 – No skin irritation detected after using for 1 month

Time and Effort

Making this formula did take a little time and effort but was far less effort than used in making the liquid recipes I found.

Was it worth it?

So far, I have already noticed a difference in our laundry care budget. But since using this method, I have also worried about our utility bill. I use to wash our laundry on the cold cycle when possible to avoid using our water heater, but used it on the warm cycle when needed for stain removal.

With this recipe for laundry soap, it is most effective to run hot water into the basin of the washer long enough to effectively dissolve the powdered mixture before adding clothing. Our utility bill actually came in a couple of days ago and it has not been affected. Actually it dropped down from what it has been, but I attribute this to the changes in the weather and not running the AC unit. Fall is such a lovely time of the year 🙂 So, I cannot truly calculate a cost analysis yet to factor in utility usage. However, things are looking good so far!

I plan on using this recipe and soap until I run out of ingredients. I have been told about some other great alternative products that are cost saving also and I want to try those too. I’ll compare the actual cost of those products after I’ve tried them and share with you.

If you’ve had an experience making and using homemade laundry soap, I’d love to hear from you. Many of my friends I asked about this (before I tried it) had very distinct reactions. They either loved or hated it…well, most of them hated it honestly.

I’d love to hear from you and what you think!

Love always

Chrissy 🙂

UPDATE – 9/29/2014

After using the homemade laundry soap for almost year, we have switched back to other commercially produced products. Here’s why: I noticed that even running a natural cleaning solution (such as vinegar) through the washing machine weekly, the homemade laundry soap caused a terrible build up of stinky scum in the washer. After resorting to the commercially developed washing machine cleaners, the scum and smell were successfully removed by running it through the machine 6 times. 

Did you read that? I had to run harsh chemicals through the machine 6 times (or washes) in a row to remove the build up!

So in the end, I like the homemade laundry soap, but it was a terrible mess in the washing machine and since I had to resort to running the cleanser through 6 times to get the machine truly clean somewhat defeated the purpose of saving money using this method.

I’m not going to say that I’ll never use this method again, but I am saying that I am no longer using this method primarily.

DIY Simple Halloween Costumes on a Dime

Sorry that I haven’t written anything in a while. I’ve been sidetracked. Sorry! Anyway, my sis (Nikki Lea) has inspired this post. We were discussing Halloween on a budget and all sorts of memories came flooding back to me. Before my kids were “too old” to trick or treat, I use to make their costumes for them each year. Since Halloween wasn’t a big holiday for us, I refused to spend much money on costumes! So here, for all my DIYers, I have put together a list of simple to make costumes that need only a few supplies. Many of these things you may have lying around the house and will not need to buy. I haven’t tried these costumes, but I have dressed my boys through the years in many of them. As with any costume, the amount of time and effort you put into them will decide the outcome. Enjoy!

Cheap DIY Halloween Costumes

DIY Halloween Costumes

Cereal Killer (Cute take on a Serial Killer) – This one is one of my favorites because it takes something unthinkable and makes it cute! All you need is:

  • a plain white tee-shirt
  • some safety pins
  • a few small boxes of cereal (like we use to get in school). They are sold at all grocery stores.
  • 1 small tube of fake blood or a red marker

To make the costume all you do is drip tiny spots of fake blood on to shirt or use red marker to make red splatter. Let shirt dry. Dress the child warm, (put the tee-shirt over a long sleeve shirt for warmth). Then remove the small bags of cereal from 3 or 4 boxes. Set aside to eat later. Punch safety-pin through back of box and then pin it the front of shirt. Can pin on back of shirt too. The child wears the boxes with red marks on shirt and could carry a fake knife, gun, bow and arrow, or he could just carry a big plastic spoon from your kitchen!  Boom – cute little “cereal killer”.

Political costume: Everyone, no matter what their beliefs loves this one! This one is easy to make too. Here’s what you need:

  • A white tee-shirt
  • small Iron on letters or Black Marker

To make costume, take white tee-shirt and iron on letters spelling out TAXANATOR or write it on the back of shirt in block letters. This one is a cute spin on the Terminator and let’s face it…NO ONE LIKES TAXES! Child wears tee-shirt and regular clothes. There’s no messes, no make up, and very little time involved in this one!

Military or Duck Dynasty Costume: This one is simple for you and I see it a lot! Here’s what you need:

  • Camo clothing
  • Face paint optional
  • (Duck dynasty twist) Duck call hanging round neck

It’s as simple as that! Everyone now recognizing camo as “Military” or as “Duck Dynasty”. Simple, no mess, warm, and comfortable.

Pretty Fairy: This one is girly. Since young children’s costumes have very few accessories, this one is cheap if you buy these items at a Dollar Tree or Everything is $1 store. Her regular clothes will do. You could use a pretty dress or jeans and a tee-shirt for warmth. Your accessories make the costume, not the clothes. Here’s what you need:

Pick up any 3 of these items:

  • Tiara
  • A wand
  • Sparkly hair attachments (usually come as a head band)
  • Plastic jewel ring
  • Glittery flaring skirt

That’s it!

Fitness Trainer: This one is cute and you may already have some of these items already! Here’s what you need:

  • Tight on little girl legs cloth pants any color. (Most child’s pants are made this way anyway.)
  • Cloth headband
  • Plain Tee shirt
  • Black marker or Small Iron on letters
  • 1 pr of your socks (crew cut) that you can push down on her legs

Take plain tee-shirt and write with marker or use iron on letters on front or back of shirt to write TRAINER. Let dry. Put on her pants then let her wear mommies’ socks pushed down to ruffle them. (This looks like leg warmers on her). Put hair in pony tail. (If it’s a messy look, that’s okay.) Put on head band. Even if she won’t wear the headband, it looks great!

Fitness trainer can be used to boy too. Change type of shirt to sleeveless to make it look like a muscle shirt!

Pumpkin: Children’s costumes are all about the accessories because kids don’t do well with face paint. This one is pretty simple too. Here’s what you need:

  • Orange shirt and pants.
  • 1 pumpkin head band
  • face paint optional

If they already have orange clothes, this one is the most simple. Dress them. Put on head band. Optional: Paint eyes, nose and mouth with black face paint to make jack-o-lantern appearance.

Doctor or nurse and patient: You can get the supplies from a Dollar Tree type place. Here’s what you need:

  • White shirt and pants or one of daddy’s big white button up shirts
  • A toy stethoscope
  • a toy needle
  • Band-aids

This one is cute because 2 kids can dress up together and look sooo cute! One child wears the white clothes or large white button up shirt as the doctor or nurse, carries the needle, and wears the stethoscope. The other child covered in band-aids!!!

Little Green Army Man: Here’s what you need:

  • Green pants and shirt same color.
  • Face paint to match clothing color
  • toy accessories (binoculars, knife, gun, carry bag to drape over one shoulder, etc.)

Put outfit on child. Paint face, hands, arms, any showing skin – green. Then add accessories.

Lord of the Rings (Froto): Here’s what you’ll need:

  • White button up shirt
  • Brown pants
  • Grey vest
  • Green cape

Put on white shirt & button all the way up. Put on brown pants and roll up the legs 2 turns. Do not tuck in white shirt. Add Vest buttoned up. Add the green cape. Shoes are optional because they were always bare foot in that movie!

Easy Honey Bees: Here’s what you’ll need

  • Yellow shirt
  • 1 roll of pretty black rouged ribbon (craft department)
  • Fabric glue
  • Black pants
  • Head band optional

Lay yellow shirt on flat surface. Remove all wrinkles. Measure out 3 or 4 strips of black ribbon that will fit across shirt horizontally. Cut ribbon. Glue ribbon strips to front of shirt. Let dry. Put on black pants and shirt & you’re done.

Cowgirl: Here’s what you’ll need

  • Blue jeans
  • Cowgirl boots
  • 1 plaid cowgirl type shirt.
  • Bandana
  • Cowboy/cowgirl hat
  • Dark Mustard colored yarn
  • Belt Buckle Optional

First make the lasso. Unravel yarn from skein (about 6 ft). Cut. Take yarn and form a large oval-shaped form on flat surface. Cut another piece of yarn (about 4-5 inches) and use to tie your lasso in middle.

Dress child. Hang the end of lasso on from belt loop on side. Tie bandana around neck.

Mummy: Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 white flat bed sheet
  • 1 white shirt
  • 1 white pr of pants
  • Safety pins

Cut sheet into  1″ strips of material. Set aside. Dress child. Drape 2 strips of bed sheet from child’s left shoulder to right side of waist. Use safety-pin to hold in place. Repeat on right side. If wrapped correctly, there should be extra material hanging below the child’s waist line. Wrap 1 piece of material around waist and tie in bow in back. Remove safety pins. wrap child’s arms and legs in pieces of material and tie to hold in place. Continue adding strips of material to complete the desired look. Remember to remove unnecessary safety pins!

Business Man/Corporate Woman: This one is so simple! All you do is dress the kids in their “Sunday best” suit and you are done!!

Pair of Aces:Here’s what you’ll need:

  • White tee-shirt
  • Iron on letters or Red or Black Marker

Lay tee-shirt flat on surface. Remove all wrinkles. Draw your choice of design in middle of shirt (heart, spade, clover, or diamond). Let dry.

Next draw or iron on letter A of same color you chose for middle symbol in upper left corner of shirt near shoulder. Iron on or draw another letter A in the lower right hand corner of shirt.

Dress child in any pair of pants you want and put on Tee shirt.

Indiana Jones: Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Brown khaki pants
  • Brown shirt or Brown Coat
  • Brown fedora hat
  • 1 whip optional

Dress child. That’s it!

Big Kid: Here’s what you’ll need

  • Pair of pajamas
  • 1 big overstuffed stuffed animal
  • Ponytail holder

Put hair up in ponytails. Put on Pjs. Carry stuffed animal with you!

Nerd: Here’s what you’ll need

  • Over-sized glasses or just glass frames
  • Tape
  • Suspenders

Place tape on the nose bridge of glasses or glasses frame. Get dressed in long pants and shirt of choice. Put on suspenders. You’re ready!

Vampire: Here’s what you need

  • Vampire teeth extensions
  • Foundation makeup 3-4 shades lighter than you would normally use
  • Fake blood

So many shows on television have glamorized the modern-day vampire and changed the way we see them. Now, it is easier than ever to be a vampire for Halloween because they look just like normal people. Apply foundation to face. Insert fake teeth extensions. Apply a dot or 2 of blood. That’s it!

Shaggy (Scooby Doo): Here’s what you’ll need

  • 1 green v neck tee-shirt
  • 1 pr dark brown slacks/pants

Get dressed!

Velma (Scooby Doo):Here’s what you’ll need

  • 1 orange long-sleeved shirt (plain – no writing or designs)
  • 1 red mini skirt (Length doesn’t need to be short short)
  • Long orange socks
  • Flat bottom shoes
  • Wig Optional

Get dressed!

Daphne (Scooby Doo): Here’s what you’ll need

  • 1 purple dress
  • 1 green scarf
  • 1 purple headband
  • Purple shoes Optional

Get dressed!

Silent Film Star Charlie Chaplin: Here’s what you’ll need

  • 1 pr black slacks/pants
  • 1 white button up dress shirt
  • 1 black dress coat
  • 1 black tie
  • White face paint
  • Black eye liner

Apply white make up to face and neck. apply black eye liner to lips and upper lip to create a small rectangular mustache.Get dressed.

Tennis Player: Here’s what you’ll need

  • White tennis shirt & skirt or Tennis dress
  • Racket

Get dressed. Carry racket.

Internet Error Costume: Here’s what you’ll need

  • 1 White tee-shirt
  • 1 Black marker or iron on letters and numbers

Lay tee-shirt flat on surface. Remove wrinkles. Iron on or write “Internal Server Error 404. Costume Not Found.” Allow to dry.  Get dressed.

Etch a Sketch: Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A large piece of cardboard
  • Red Markers or paint
  • White paint or markers
  • 2 toy plastic wheels from broken ride on toy or 2 small plastic or foam plates

This costume is cute, but takes some time and effort. Take your large piece of card board and make sure it’s rectangle shaped. We are using this as the frame of the etch-a-sketch. When cardboard is right size to hang around child’s neck, cut out the center. When you are finished, it should look like a chunky cardboard picture frame. Next, paint or color the frame red. Let dry. After dry, in the center of bottom of frame, in white write Etch a Sketch. Let dry. Attach the wheels/plastic or foam plates to the bottom corners. (These are your knobs that you would use to draw with.)

This should be lightweight enough to hand around the neck of a child using yarn. Dress the child anyway you want. The accessory you just made is the costume!

Toothpaste Costume: This one is cute, but your babies may be too little for it just yet. Here’s what you need:

  • 1 white King size pillow case
  • Red & Blue markers or Paint
  • 1 white lamp shade to fit child’s head

Take pillow case and cut hole for child’s head and arms. Lay flat on sturdy surface. Remove all wrinkles. We are going to paint or draw the word Crest long ways down the pillowcase. Using Red paint or marker, draw or paint a C. Then using Blue paint or marker write the letters r. e. s. t. Let dry. To put the costume together, allow child to wear pillow case and place lamp shade on head. You may need to wrap the inside of lamp shade with a cloth to make comfortable to wear.

Traveling Art or Moving Artwork: This one may be too old for the kids now. Here’s what you need:

  • Safety pins
  • 1 twin flat bed sheet or crib flat sheet
  • Paint or markers

Spread sheet flat on working surface. Remove all wrinkle. Throw paint on to sheet, flick paint from toothbrush, or make a design somehow. Let dry. Dress child as normal. Safety pin sheet twice on each sleeve and once on chest of shirt. When they come up to someone for candy, all they do is stretch their arms and boom – they are moving art.

Scary Costume “The Ring”: This one probably won’t work at a church function! Here’s what you need:

  • 1 long black wig
  • 1 white dress (any style, any length)
  • Halloween make up

Take dress outside and make it dirty (mud, dirty, grass stains, etc). Put on dress. Use makeup to create a dirty look on legs, arms, and face. Put on Wig. You are now the little girl from the well in “The Ring”.

Spaghetti:This one is cute if child will be sitting for a while, but not so good to walk much in! Here’s what you’ll need.

  • 1 round laundry basket
  • 1 skein (or roll) very light yellow yarn (Craft/fabric department)
  • 1 skein (or roll) red yarn (Craft/fabric department)
  • 3-4 round Styrofoam balls (Craft/fabric department)
  • red shirt
  • red pants
  • masking tape
  • Hot Glue gun
  • Hot glue sticks
  • Brown spray paint

Take Styrofoam balls and spray paint them brown. Set aside to let dry.

Cut bottom almost completely out of laundry basket. Leave a small rim at bottom. Take masking tape and cover any sharp corners. Next, plug-in glue gun so it’s warm when you need it. Then, get out your yarn. Begin cutting pieces off about 2 ft long each. cut about 40 pieces of the yellow and only about 20 pieces of red. The yarn is your noodles. Glue yellow yarn to laundry basket so that it seems the noodles are flowing out of the basket from bottom to top on inside of basket.Make sure that you’ve covered the basket all the way around with the yellow yarn. You may need more or less than what you cut off. Next glue the red yarn 5 pieces at time in various places around the basket. The red is your sauce. Set aside

Glue to brown Styrofoam balls to the basket/yarn. These are your meatballs.

Dress child in red outfit. Allow child to sit in basket. Drape remaining yarn cut over child. Give child the two remaining Styrofoam balls to play with.

Wednesday Addams: Here’s what you’ll need

  • 1 long-sleeved black dress
  • White face paint or foundation 3 to 4 shades lighter than your skin
  • Pony tail holders

Part hair in middle of head. Braid each side. Apply light foundation or white face paint. Get dressed.

Men in Black: Here’s what you’ll need

  • 1 pr black aviator sunglasses
  • 1 black suit
  • 1 white button down dress shirt

Get dressed. Put on sunglasses.

If you have your own DIY costume recipe, I’d love to hear from you! How are you dressing up this year? What will your kids be?

More Keyboard Shortcuts

This is a continuation of the last article published about keyboard shortcuts. The purpose of learning these shortcuts is to increase your productivity (so there’s more time to drink coffee).

If you haven’t already read the first article, you can find it here.

If you have breezed right through the first one (for beginners) here is a second set of shortcuts that will help you as well. As in the first article, I recommend that you do not allow these shortcuts to frustrate you while learning them. Take it easy. Learn one at a time and slowly merge them into your typing routine. Some may be useful and some may simply not “be for you”.

Where the cool keys hang out :-)

Where the cool keys hang out 🙂

In the last article, we introduced the ctrl button. Here is another function that can save you time using your keyboard.

Ctrl + Z – This is an undo command. When you realize that you have made a mistake, but you have not saved your work yet,  you can use the ctrl+Z combination to undo the last thing you did. It will undo letters (one at a time), remove the last picture, remove the last number or equation that you entered on a spreadsheet. It does the same thing as moving your mouse over the “undo” in any application you are using.

Rolly wheel in middle of mouse

Rolly wheel in middle of mouse

Ctrl + Mouse wheel – This will allow you to ZOOM in or zoom out quickly. Do try this, press the Ctrl button while rolling the ball with your hand. Watch the page or picture ZOOM in or zoom out.

Shift

Shift

Shift + Delete – This 2 handed function will permanently delete an item without moving it to your recycle bin. This can not be undone. If you just know that you are never going to need something again, shift+delete allows you to eliminate the step of cleaning out your recycle box regularly.

Shift + Arrow Key – If you want to highlight something to copy, cut, delete, or whatever, you can find your pointer in front of or behind the first letter. Then hold the Shift Key while pressing the directional arrow in the direction you want to highlight. This is probably only useful to someone without a mouse 😉

Shift – If you press your right Shift key 5 times – you’ll get a pop up box to enable “Sticky Keys” on your PC.

More F Keys

F2 - Rename

F2 – This little guy will allow you to rename a document or item on your PC. It saves time  because your hand does not have to leave the keyboard to grab the mouse and right-click.  Here is how to do it: Click on the item. Press F2. Now I can rename it. Type the new name. Press enter. The name is saved 🙂

F11 - My menu disappeared!

F11 – My menu disappeared!

F11 – If you want to view something in full screen while on the internet without the menu bar (website address bar at top of your screen), press F11. When you need to see the menu bar again, press F11 to get it back. This one is super amazing. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve clicked on something (and the setting for that site removes the website bar up top). When I want to go back or forward…I’m stuck without this little trick.

F12 - SaveAs

F12 – Save As

F12 – Save file as.  This little helper will allow you to “save as” instead of saving over. Sometimes, we all use templates. If we don’t want to type something multiple times. It saves time and is a good idea. So, the F12 will all you to “Save as” a different file name if you need to quickly. This is not the same as Ctrl+S (which just saves over what you already had).

There are more shortcuts out there too. Let me know if anyone wants more 🙂

Keyboard Shortcuts

Recently, after commenting on a fellow blogger’s site, I was challenged to write about something that may help a few folks out. If you are already technically savvy, this post may not mean a hill of beans to you though. One way to gain efficiency in your daily work routine is to use shortcuts. Not the type that get you in trouble, but the type that increase your productivity.  In my case, I picked these tips up from the place I use to work at it to keep my job. You see, they had spotty equipment and my mouse was forever dying on me. I had to learn these keyboard shortcuts so that I could continue to work – without a mouse! “My mouse is broken” was never a good excuse, and saying “I called the helpdesk” would get several sets of eyes rolled at me. So, I adapted and kept on working.

Today, let’s talk about keyboard shortcuts 🙂 This list is only good for PC users unfortunately (as these commands do not translate well in the iWorld of products).If you are looking to begin using some of these, please bear in mind that it would be good to add one new short cut to your typing routine per week. This way you allow yourself time to get over the awkward stage of looking at your keys and fingers as you attempt to press these buttons. Go slow. Don’t become overwhelmed. Just take it easy and slow and when you see something work for you, merge it into your typing. If something doesn’t work for you after a week, then it’s probably not going to do you any good.

Here goes…

Fall in love with your F-keys 🙂 Here’s what they can do for you…

Help!

Help!

F1

Help!!!  In any applications you are using, the F1 key is the universal placement for HELP. Can’t remember how to zoom? Press F1, Can’t remember how to calculate your spreadsheets? Press F1. Can’t figure out how to crop? Press F1.  F1 is a lifesaver, but you must remember to use it 😉

My bestestest friend ever!

My bestestest friend ever!

F5

Refresh. This little dandy will refresh your page, your document, your spreadsheet, your pictures, your website….just relax and refresh 🙂

Now we will move on to pressing two buttons at once. In some cases, the “Shortcuts” may be disabled on your PC or program. This is usually the choice of the user. Default settings or turning the shortcuts on will enable you to use these:

Left side of your keyboard

Left side of your keyboard

Ctrl + P – This wonderful combination will cause your printer to spit out paper filled with ink, lined up that it exactly matches the screen you were just staring at! It’s the fastest way to print anything! To do this, press the Ctrl button, then the letter P. You could think of P for Print.

Ctrl + C – This is your copy command. Simply highlight the area you wish to copy and press the Ctrl button, then the letter C. You could think of C for Copy

Ctrl + V – This is your paste command. Simply click your mouse where you want to paste the last item you copied, and press Ctrl and the letter V. I have no word reconciliation for this one. It’s never made sense to me anyway! All I can tell you is P is for Print so V is for Paste.

Ctrl + A – This simple command can save you a ton of time! If you need to highlight all the material you’ve read, press Ctrl, then the letter A. This command HIghlights everything for you. After you have everything highlighted, you could copy it (Ctrl + C) or cut it (press Delete or backspace) or do whatever you were going to do. Go ahead….try it now. Press Ctrl + A and look at what it does to this page you are reading…  Think of it as A for ALL.

Ctrl + N – N is for New. You can press this combination to bring up a new whatever…new word document, new internet browser, new sticky note, new email, new spreadsheet, new notepad, etc.

Ctrl + B – This little dandy is super helpful. While you are typing, press Ctrl+B and magically, your typing is bold. Think of B as Bold. To remove the Bold effect, press the button combination again.

Ctrl + I – This again, is super helpful to speed of your typing. When pressing Ctrl+I, Your typing is placed in italics. Think of I (eye) as Italics. To remove the Italics, press the button combination again.

Ctrl + U – U is for Underline. While you are typing, simply press the Ctrl button & then press the letter U. After this what you type is underlined. To remove the underline, press the buttons again.

Ctrl + S – The Super Smart Saving power of Ctrl+S is very helpful! This will save your progress in anything you are working in. Every good writer knows that you never type for more than 5 minutes without saving your progress. Anything could happen if you are saving as you go. The cat could jump up on the keyboard and close your session. The kids may call to you and pull you away from your desk. A boss may need you for a brief meeting and then when you return, your PC could be off!  Anyway, always save as you go when writing or doing numbers in excel. For this, think of S as SAVE!

Ctrl + F – Find!  F is for Find! Save time and energy by using this shortcut often. If you are searching for a word or phrase to find information quickly, press the ctrl button + the F key. This works on almost every document and every website (Depending on your browser).

Dusty Keys

So, I need to dust my keyboard. What can I say? I’m too busy typing on it!

Alt + Tab
This combination may seem awkward at first, but when you get use to using your left hand for commands, it makes switching between programs, documents,  music players, pictures…any open window – a breeze! Have you ever opened several windows at once and then found your self clicking on all the little boxes in your toolbar to find the one you are looking for? Well, Alt+Tab will slide between these will little effort! It’s a serious time saver.

Friendly Arrow Keys

Directionally, they’ll take you were you want to go 🙂

Arrow keys –
These keys had their heyday back when DOS based games were big. Oh the days 🙂  But now, they are still useful when typing. You can use these nifty little directional buttons to navigate through your writing quickly for editing purposes or any other reason.

There are too many short cuts to list on just one post and I feel as though I may have overwhelmed you (if you are new to this concept) already. I will stop for now, but please do let me know if you’d like to know more.

Have a blessed day folks! 🙂

I’d Love to Pin You!

I love the blogging community. I visit your sites dear followers and I pin your articles on Pinterest (if you have that sharing button available). Pinterest_Logo

I also share your posts on other social networks, but I’ve noticed that Pinterest draws more reposts (repins) for you (and hopefully more interest) than Facebook or Twitter.

So that this can be a more collaborative event, I would like to begin anew. I’ve added a new Pin Board to Pinterest named Let’s Pin Each Other

If you were already following me on Pinterest, I’ve sent you an invite to be an admin on this Pinning Board. Having admin rights allows you to also pin pages, sites, and pictures to this board so you too can promote your own business, interests, blogs, and causes near and dear to your heart.

If you have not received an invite, be patient. Pinterest will only allow me to grant 5 admins every 30 minutes it seems (so I am not marked as spam). Also, please know that if you are not following me on Pinterest, I cannot send you an invite to become an admin.

Let’s support each other and pin way.  After-all, I’d Love to Pin You!!

Not sure what to do? Take these steps:

  1. Set up an account on Pinterest (if you have not already).  You can use this link to get to Pinterest and will be prompted to set up an account if you do not have one: http://pinterest.com/csachb/lets-pin-each-other/
  2. Follow me – You’ll see a button to Follow All boards, but you really shouldn’t have to do that if you do not want to. It is important that you Follow that board named Let’s Pin Each Other though. If you do not follow this board, I can not invite you to be an admin.
  3. Add the Pinterest sharing button to your blog if it is not already there. If you need help doing this, WordPress offers assistance on this help page: http://en.support.wordpress.com/sharing/
  4. Start Pinning your favorite articles 🙂  I would recommend that you only pin 3-4 of your own personal articles a month for the board to be successful. If you only write once a week, this should be easy for you. If you pin to many too often, it may turn off others as they scroll through the board looking for articles to read.  So, scatter your pins on this board to be more effective 🙂
  5. Any SPAM pinning will be removed and admin privileges provoked.
  6. I will follow one or more of your boards.

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s pin each other dear writers, business owners, and heartfelt causes or charities!!

Happy Pinning 🙂

 

UPDATE: 3/1/2014     7:31PM

Pinterest has just resolved my service ticket with them and I can now add new pinners to this board. So, drop me a line or comment below if you’re still following me and still waiting to be added to this group  board. I’ll add you ASAP!

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