Monday, December 22, 2014

DIY jewelry kits.

In the spirit of DIYing my Christmas presents... I thought that I'd give the gift of DIY! :] So basically, I DIYed DIY kits. Ha, see what's goin' on there? I like it. But anyway...

I just know that as a parent, I hate don't love getting a bunch of big/useless toys that he probably won't play with and will just end up in a pile of junk after a month. (I live in a tiny apartment. I ain't got room for that!) I'll be honest, I've given my fair share of those, but I try to keep it in mind. While these DIY kits can definitely end up being messy in and of themselves, I thought that these could at least be saved for a fun rainy day activity!

Originally, I was really inspired by these geo wood beads and thought about making jewelry for myself. Then I thought about making jewelry for a few family and friends for Christmas. Then once I realized how much work all of that would be, I thought, why don't I just make the kids do it themselves?!


So here is what I bought:

Now I know that sounds like a ton of stuff, but out of the above, not only did I make 5 DIY jewelry kits (which included a pre-made piece of jewelry), I also made 4 geo bead necklaces as separate gifts (which will be featured in a later post). Also, if you do some shopping or make your way through ebay, you can find the above supplies for a total steal.

Each kit consisted of:
  • 1 bead storage case
    • 1 compartment contained all clasps and jump rings with 2 letter beads for their initials
    • other compartments were filled with assorted wooden beads
  • 2 paints brushes and 1 foam brush
  • 5 plastic paint cups filled with acrylic paint (to match my pre-made jewelry)
  • 3 plastic paint cups filled with various cording
  • 1 bracelet or necklace painted and assembled for inspiration
  • 1 note that states:
    • "Merry Christmas! Enclosed is your very own DIY jewelry kit that contains everything you need to paint and create some beautiful jewelry. Have it match your bracelet/necklace, or make something completely unique!"  

Putting everything together was pretty simple! The only items that took some effort were the little handmade jewelry pieces that I made and provided. I figured if they weren't really into DIYing, at least they made out with something already done. My only issue was my incredible UN-motivation to wrap things this year. This gift is not gift bag friendly, so wrapping was necessary. Blergh.

All in all, the gift was easy on time, and easier on the pocket - the perfect combo.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

laziest dinner i've ever made.

Yes. The photo and title are correct. That is a bowl of cereal (Strawberry Mini Wheats, to be exact), and that is what we had for dinner.

Now before you get judgy, let me explain:

I try very hard to make sure that we always have a nice dinner, whether home cooked by me, mark, or by the chefs at whichever take-out restaurant that will deliver. But once in a while, you just have those nights when everyone is tired, lazy, and just needs to eat something. This was that night. Too lazy to even order in? Apparently! Plus, momma's on a tight budget and eating out every night is just too much. Then as adult as we try to be, I will admit that those old college tendencies of ours can rear their ugly head and we regress. (I said I would explain, I didn't say it would be good.)

But hey, as sad as a bowl of cereal for dinner sounds, I've got to say that we were all happily satisfied. Makai even asked for seconds! And in theory, this is nutritional. But most importantly, it gave Mark and I a break from the kitchen, my wallet a break from spending, and extra time to sit and watch some Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 with Makai.  

Really, who could ask for more? That's what I would rather be spending my time doing anyway!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

personalized crayons.


This year, I made (or at least semi-made) all of my Christmas presents. How have I found the time, you didn't ask? Well, I haven't. I still have a ton more presents to make, but here's one of the finished products I have so far. (And in case you're wondering, I'm not so worried about ruining the surprise since these lucky little kiddos already got to open these during my family's early Christmas celebration.)

I usually tend to go for some type of theme, and this year, I did book gift sets. I read stories to Makai every night, and I know the importance of reading to your child at least once a day, so I thought books for the kids may be a parent pleasing and child friendly gift. But since kids don't usually get too excited about books, I thought I could throw a little something in for them. 

Makai and I recently started reading The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt and I thought some of his similarly aged cousins might like it as well. Super fun/funny story that helps me reinforce learning his colors. For the young'ns, I found this adorable Mix It Up book by Herve Tullet (same author as Press Here) and thought it'd be cute alternative. Then to make it more of a set, I made little crayons in the shape of letters that spell out the kids names. Cute, right?? Crayon molding has been something I've been meaning to do anyway, so I thought now was as good of a time as any to make something more productive out of those broken bits laying around.


There's a couple of different ways that you can melt crayons down and mold into shapes (like here), but I decided to keep it pretty old school and use the oven. 

To do it my way, here's what you'll need:
  • crayons (obvi)
  • knife
  • cutting board
  • silicone mold of your choice (for letters, I used this, but recommend this)  
  • baking sheet 
  • toothpick (possibly)

And here's my step by step:
  1. Pre-heat oven to 225°F
  2. Cut and peel all wrapping off of crayons
  3. Using the knife, chop crayons into small pea-sized bits for even melting 
    • If you plan on doing this craft as a family affair with your kids, I would recommend pre-chopping the crayons and separating the colors out into separate cups (using a muffin tin or cupcake cups would be perfect). Then kids can use this to do step 4.
  4. Place bits into mold, mixing colors as you like. I prefer to keep them pretty simple with 2 colors each, but feel free to get as wild and crazy as you like and mix them all up! Just keep in mind that crayons have a tendency to mix and swirl a lot when melted. 
    • For this step, I recommend completely filling/slightly overfilling mold to get a good thickness at the end. If crayons end up too thin, it may be harder to separate from the mold without cracking
  5. Place mold onto baking sheet (for stability) and place into the oven for 10-20 minutes, until completely melted. I recommend checking on them at 10 minutes, and 5 minute intervals afterward. You want them just melted as opposed to sitting in there melting, mixing, and separating wax layers.
    • During the melting process, feel free to poke at them with a toothpick if you see any big chunks you want to push down.
  6. Once melted, pull out of the oven and allow to cool about 15-20 minutes at room temp. (Some people recommend putting them in the freezer for faster time, but I'd rather just keep them still to prevent over-mixing and just wait the 15 minutes. But hey, you're the boss here. Do both if you want!)
  7. Once completely cooled, slowly peel away sides of the silicone mold from the edges of your new crayon (some letters are a little trickier than others). When loose enough, push out the finished product and admire your handiwork :]
    • If you accidentally cracked a piece on the way out, don't you fret! I had to remelt a couple of mine for just that reason, and it seemed to have no real effect on the outcome! I just kept the cracked pieces in place, put them back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes, and tried to remove again once cooled.


    Now if your wondering why I used a silicone mold but recommend a different one, it's because some genius decided to create the mold the wrong way. The idiot that I am didn't catch that until after I had already made my first batch of crayons and crayoned these suckers up. I just assumed that mold makers would know to make these backwards so that molded items come out the correct way. Plus, this was the highest rated alphabet silicone mold on Amazon! Not a single review commented on the fact that these were made the wrong way! blergh. That's what I get for assuming.

    So as beautiful as my finished product looks, I'm haunted by this backwards Z. UGH!

    So was it crazy messy? Not too bad. The key is to wipe up any crayon residue while melted. For surfaces, you can use a hairdryer to melt down any messes and just wipe clean with a paper towel. To clean out the silicone molds, place molds in the microwave for 1-5 minutes (depending on how stained) and while the molds are still hot and residue is all melty, wash thoroughly with soap and water. This should make them as good as new and free to use for any other crafts (including food related!).

    In general, I'd venture to say that crayon molding was a piece of cake and I ended up with a cute gift that I was pretty proud of :]

    So keep those broken crayon bits, or stock up on crayons during those school events and get to meltin'!

    Tuesday, December 9, 2014

    i totally procrastinate & black stilettos.

    Pardon my absence! 

    Let me start off be being incredibly honest. I've just been too lazy. I half started my Thanksgiving recap post, and I just couldn't bring myself to finish it off. At some point it will no longer be relevant, but I'm gonna go ahead and take that chance and procrastinate a little more. So here's my I.O.U. on that.

    Something about this particular holiday season has brought on an entire cloud of procrastination. I hate to admit this, but I'm usually that lame-o that finishes buying/making all my presents by late October/early Novemeber. Now, I have 2 weeks left and I haven't finished making all of this years presents making my tree look sad and empty underneath! AGH. Whatevs, at least I finally got my tree up (again, laziness prevails and you'll get the obligatory tree photo later). At some point, I'll probably throw some money at the matter and just buy presents instead of hand-crafting. There just isn't enough time in the day to be this productive all the time. Baking, on the other hand, is non-negotiable. I will and must bake for Christmas. Then to throw on more things that I haven't done yet, Makai and I have yet to visit Santa. I am determined to squeeze out as many cliche Santa and Easter bunny photos I can before he refuses.

    On a brighter and more productive note, I just finished my first week of my new job! Woohoo! My manager recently sent out my official team announcement and it was pretty nice to see what I got in reply :) It was very sweet how many people emailed me in congratulations and tell me how well deserved the move up was. It's been a long road at Gap inc. and it's nice to feel like I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing. But I will admit, it's even nicer to hear affirmations of a new job from other people :P

    Now about those shoes
    There's nothing like a black patent leather stiletto. I love being able to wear these with literally almost anything. Jeans and tee? yes. Date night dress? duh. To the office? example above! Now that I have the tiniest amount of disposable income, I've decided that treats to myself will now come in shoe form. These in particular weren't really much of a splurge coming from ShoeDazzle ($40). I don't normally order from them, but I thought I'd give it a try and found a couple of gems amongst some of the tackier fluff. As I've shared before, I don't like my feet, and I felt like this pair helped make my feet look skinny. Is that weird? I'm worried about my feet looking skinny? It probably is, but either way, these helped solve that dilemma. So if you're a total weirdo about feet, shoes, and feet slimming shoes like me, I hope I helped. For those of you that aren't crazy but still like classic, sexy, and simple heels, I still suggest these. I wasn't always a fan of pointy toed shoes, but I've slowly come around and these helped win me over.

    Dolphin hem sweater - Joan Vass from Marshall's
    Geo pendant necklace - F21
    Distressed straight leg denim - Gap (available here)
    Grey tote - Banana Republic (available here)
    Black pumps - Signature by ShoeDazzle

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