Friday, September 23, 2016

Awesome Autumn Pumpkins!

Happy Fall Y'all!  My favorite season is fall. The color, sights, and smells make the season extra special. Fall is fun for kids because Halloween is coming and a whole bunch of holidays are just around the corner. Children love a good project (and moms love the help).  This year give your kids a project that is fun and useful — homemade pumpkins!  Pumpkins are great for many reasons, both culinary and decorative. These pumpkins make beautiful autumn and Thanksgiving decorations for the home and table, and are a great way to involve the entire family in the seasonal preparations. My "pumpkins" cost about $1.50 and take 20 minutes or so to make. It really is so easy!

You will need one roll of toilet tissue and one roll of jute twine. I bought two because I made several pumpkins. The rolls of twine that I purchased make roughly two pumpkins per roll. The rolls of twine are just under $2 and the tissue paper is 50 cents per roll. So the cost is about $1.50 per pumpkin. Colored yard is also a nice touch.  It allows for custom colors like orange, brown, rust, or yellows that blend with fall decorations. You will also need a small dab of Elmer's or other craft glue at the end.

Begin by threading the end of the twine through the roll and tying a tight knot. After you tie the knot, shimmy the knot into the middle of the roll so it is hidden. Pull plenty of twine from the roll. Make a mental note to pull only the amount that you can force through the center of the paper roll. You should pull only half of what you need at first.  It is easy to tie another knot as you go along for more twine. Cut the end of the pulled twine from the roll.

Wrapping twine

 Wrap the twine four or five times around one section of the roll. Then turn the roll 1/4 around and repeat. This process will repeat until the entire roll is covered in twine. By doing it in quarter turns, the twine inside the roll stays firmly against the side so as you push and pull the excess in and out of the roll it doesn't tangle the extra twine. It also keeps the paper evenly mashed down so that one side doesn't bulge to the point you can't evenly cover it. No misshapen pumpkins here!
You may run out of twine from the wrapping process. Don't worry. Repeat the first step. Tie the end of the old twine to the new and conceal the knot inside the roll.  Pull extra twine from the roll at this point and clip the end from the roll when you have plenty.
Continue wrapping the roll in twine in quarter turns until it is fully covered. Once the roll is completely covered, take the end of the twine and tuck it under a strand that is already on the roll.  Dab a bit of glue over the entire edge of the twine and allow to dry. This will seal the end to keep the twine from unraveling. If you don’t have glue, just tuck the end into the twine, it’s not a problem. Go outside and look for a small stick that is roughly the width of the hole in the top of the roll for the pumpkin stem. Gently push the stick into the hole on the top of the pumpkin to finish the project.
Glue the end
The entire project takes about 20 minutes from start to finish. I let my glue dry overnight before I place the stick in the top. It is great to use different rolls of toilet tissue also because the thicknesses vary and the pumpkins will be varied in shapes. For taller pumpkins, use a cut paper towel roll. You can cut the roll in half or 3/4 of the way up the roll for giant pumpkins. Happy fall!

Happy Fall!

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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Effortless Edible Acorns

Need a super fast autumn food idea for parties or gatherings?  How about a four ingredient, four step recipe that is adorable and effortless?  Try edible acorns.  Kids love to eat them and adults think they are a creative party treat.  They will be the most popular item on the menu for a minimal investment.  You'll need one bag of pretzel sticks, one small Nutella, store bought doughnut holes, and chocolate sprinkles.  Voila, that's it.

 First the ingredients:
Four Ingredients
Dip:  Dip a doughnut hole almost half way into a small bowl of nutella.

Dunk:  Next dunk the doughnut hole into the chocolate sprinkles, covering the nutella with sprinkles.
Stick:  Snap a pretzel stick in two pieces and insert one side into the top of the doughnut hole.                                  
Serve:  Now the doughnut hole is ready to serve.  Edible Acorns!

Dip, Dunk, Stick, Serve!  So easy and creative, no one has to know how simple they really are.                               

Edible Acorns!
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Monday, September 5, 2016

DIY Desk and Dorm Room Seating

This post is going to be short because this is an easy project.  I can never have enough storage.  I like having the ability to put things away in a tidy place that makes sense.  When I was a student (back in the day), I never had enough storage.  My stuff seemed to multiply as the semesters progressed.  The idea today is to create double duty storage that can be used in a Dorm Room or a study area using storage crates.  Now that most everyone is Back to School, you'll learn quickly what you forgot at home or what you still need to make the most of your space for studying.  

The crates are great because you can put everything from clothes and shoes to books - and they're sturdy and provide an excellent place to store your stuff.  These seats are a great place to sit and put on shoes (that may be stored in the crate) or for friends to chill on when they come over to study.  Plus, they cost between $5-6 dollars (or less) each and you may customize them to match your decor.  It takes about 5 minutes to assemble, yep 5 minutes - so why wouldn't you make one?

Storage Seating
I forgot to take a photo of the materials but you'll need one $3 storage crate, one piece of $1 plywood to fit on the inside rim, about 1/2 yard of $1-2 fabric, cushioning material, and a staple gun.  I made two crates using different cushioning.  First I folded over an old pair of fleece pillow cases.  They were really comfy and provided excellent cushioning.  For the other crate I used an old piece of foam that I trimmed to fit the board.  Use what you have, it isn't a rule that you have to use a cushion either.

Lay the fabric upside down on a flat surface.  Place the cushioning in the middle of the fabric and the wood on top of the cushioning.  Fold the edges of the fabric over the back of the board, this will be the bottom side of the crate top you are creating.  Pull the fabric taut but not so tight that it won't give a little and then staple the edges to the board.

Staple the fabric
You will need to manipulate the edges of the fabric a little to make the ends smooth.  I started by stapling the long sides first and finished on the ends.  I also had some fabric left over and trimmed the edges so they'd be even.

The finished bottom

Flip the board over and place inside the crate - it's that easy.  Now you've made seating/storage for your room.  Have a great year!

Easy Storage Seating

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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Back to School DIY

The big day is less than one week away or you may already be waking up early to catch the bus - it's Back to School season for students everywhere!  Back to School is a great time to buy all new supplies but those costs can add up quickly and let's face it, sometimes the dollars aren't readily available to spend.  So.....check out the ideas and video below for DIY Back to School ideas you can make and use that are simple and easy on the wallet.  Here's to a great year!

DIY Back to School

Back To School Decorating Ideas From "Effortless Girl" - WCCB Charlotte

Make and customize your own Dry Erase Boards and Bulletin Boards to match any room or decor.
Easy Dry Erase and Bulletin Boards
Use crates to make dual use seating and storage.

Dual use seating and storage
 Craft gold brick book ends with spray paint in no time.

Solid gold book ends
Save metal cans for a quick DIY desk or makeup organizer that's on trend.

Organize yourself!

#backtoschool #firstdayofschool

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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Back to School: DIY Bulletin Boards

I have to be organized.  Call me OCD or a neat freak, but I need order in my life and especially around my desk.  Even though I love my phone, nothing replaces a calendar that I can glance at or a post-it stuck up on the bulletin board about something important I shouldn't forget.  Bulletin boards can be made for pennies and just like the dry erase board you may use items already in your home for a greater cost savings.  Today we'll show you for different styles of boards to craft.  These are so simple kids can make them and tailor them to specific tastes and decor.

DIY Bulletin Boards

The four options are shown in the photo below.  The base of each is made from inexpensive photo frames or disposable plates - how easy is that?

The options
 You'll need plastic plates (I used one I had at home and purchased a plastic serving tray for 99 cents at a discount store),  inexpensive photo frames (buy the $1 ones at the dollar store), an 8 x 11 piece of fabric or felt, cork board sheets, glue, and patterned duct tape.

The first board is easy.  I chose to cover the cork in patterned felt.  This one costs about $2.50.

Fabric Covered Cork
Cut the cork sheet to fit snugly into the photo frame.  This frame is an expensive pop-off cover frame.  I threw the glass cover away because it wasn't needed (and I didn't want to cut myself).   Place the cork down in the frame where the glass used to be.
Trim the cork
Glue the fabric onto the cork.  I needed to trim mine just a bit but otherwise it was ready to glue.  Allow the glue to dry before hanging.
Glue the fabric onto the cork

Next I decided to walk on the wild side.  Leopard is such a fun print and leopard print tape is really underutilized in my opinion.

Leopard Print Board
Again cut the cork to fit inside the photo frame.

Cut the cork to fit the frame
Using the tape as a border, line all four edges with the printed tape.  Once the inside edges are lined, repeat on the four outside edges of the frame.  Roar!
Line the edges of the frame with printed tape
The next option uses a disposable plastic serving tray found at most discount stores.  It's easy as pie.

Cut the cork to fit inside the tray.  This tray was a larger size so I only needed to barely trim the edges.

Trim the cork edges
Glue the cork to the tray.  I used plenty of glue so it will never, ever come off.

Glue the cork
My last option is also my most inexpensive option.  I used small, round plastic plates. The cork is covered in printed, in this case silver glittered, duct tape.  The cost of this board is about 75 cents.  It would be really cool to make 3-4 of these and display them together on a wall.

Glitter Board!
Cut the cork into a round shape.  I could get 2-3 round shapes from one sheet of cork board so it was really inexpensive per bulletin board.
Cut a round shape
Glue the round cork shape onto the plate.  Again use plenty of glue.

Glue the round cork
You'll be ready to study (and remember) with these Back to School Bulletin Boards!


#backtoschool #school #firstday #bulletinboard #glitter #leopard #leopardprint

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Monday, August 15, 2016

Back to School: Easy Dry Erase Boards

It's time to go back to school.  I had a love hate relationship with Back to School season.  It's filled with so much promise and anticipation and yet so much responsibility and homework.  This week we'll show you simple and really, really inexpensive ways to ease some of the stress - on you and on the budget with simple Back to School DIY tips.  Many of the materials you'll need are already around the house so let's get busy.

Dry erase boards are a must have for dorm rooms, study desks, and beside the kitchen door.  They're a great way to jot down everything from the empty milk bottle to a quick message to a roommate.  Sure you can buy one like everyone else has from the office supply store.....or you can make a super amazing personalized board for free (or pennies).

DIY Dry Erase Board
This dry erase board came from a photo frame I already had.   I also already had dry erase markers.  If you don't have the markers, they may be purchased from a discount store in packages of three for $ 1.50 per package.  This frame would cost about $5 at a discount store.  You'll need a piece of printed or colored paper or fabric of your choice that fits the frame.  This allows you to perfectly match your room or study area.

This assembles in seconds.  Place the fabric or paper into the frame where the photo would normally go.  Once the the material is centered, put the back of the frame in place.  That's it, you're done.  What's nice about using a photo frame is that the hanging hardware is already attached to the back so it's ready to frame without extra effort.

Center your material

Now you've got the perfect personalized Back to School dry erase board!


#backtoschool #school #schoolyear #firstdayofschool

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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Happy National S'mores Day!

It's National S'mores Day! S'mores are one of my favorite desserts. The chocolate, the gooey marshmallows, the yummy crunch....what's not to like?  The great thing about s'mores is that they made be made indoors or out.  S'mores are popular in a crowd and make excellent party favors.  A kit may be easily crafted and handed out to guests as a party treat or an extra special take home present.   

There are many, many ways to package a s'more kit.  If your party, wedding, or special event has a specific theme - use it!  Small favor boxes, theme bags, or novelty containers make clever packages for s'more kits.  You can be as creative as you like from specialty printed packaging with printed tags to simple bags for single serve s'mores.  The basics for the kit are in the photo below.  Purchase graham crackers, marshmallows, Hershey's chocolate, and skewers for the s'more.  I also use Junior Mints for an added twist.

S'more ingredients
Make your kits with enough ingredients for two s'mores per kit.  Break the graham cracker sheets in half and stack four halves.  

Graham Crackers
Next pull the marshmallows into two pieces.  You may choose to use the marshmallows that are flat and specially made for s'mores.  I place one Junior Mint on one half of each marshmallow.

Junior Mints
Close the marshmallow with the Junior Mint in the center and stick the skewer through it - like a candy kabob.  Use two marshmallows per skewer.  Once the marshmallow is roasted, there is chocolatey mint goodness in each s'more bite!

Junior Mint Kabob
Unwrap the Hershey's bars.  It is also delicious to use Ghirardelli chocolate pieces in mint, peppermint bark, or chocolate caramel pieces for a gourmet take on the traditional s'more.

Hershey's chocolate
Stack the graham crackers on the bottom, then the chocolate into whatever packaging you choose to use.  Place two marshmallow skewers in each package.  Cross the skewers and tie the bag close at the point where the skewers cross.  This creates stability for the bag.  Use a twist tie so if you only eat once s'more, the bag may be closed easily and the other s'more eaten later.

The kit

 In the s'more kit, I like to place one skewer with Junior Mints and one without for variety.  


  Enjoy your s'mores with friends and family!


#autumn  #hersheys #juniormints #chocolate #marshmallow #diy #yummy #delicious
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