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Sock snowmen February 27, 2012

You will need:

  • 1 old white sock (hopefully still white)
  • Rice or other filler
  • 2 old colorful socks
  • Scissors 
  • Hot glue 
  • Rubber  bands
  • Buttons, beads, google eyes
  • Yarn, string, or ribbon

I stumbled on this nifty idea while browsing Pinterest for the first time – I LOVE that place!  You can find the step by step instructions on this site:

www.thenshemade.com/2011/01/sock-snowmen.html

As you can see her snowmen are absolutely adorable! I decided to make the kid friendly recycle friendly version. Our lovely snowpeople were made by my 7 year-old son and 5 year-old daughter using random socks found in our drawers, whatever rice we had in the cupboard, and the supplies in our craft box. We had a blast putting them together and did it in about 20 minutes!

 

Reverse Dye T’s February 25, 2012

The boys and I found this really cool ‘reverse stencil’ T-shirt technique in the June/July 2011 issue of Family Fun magazine. (I love, love, love Family Fun – here’s a link to their site: familyfun.go.com). We had a few problems, though – we didn’t have any fabric paint on hand and I didn’t see the need to purchase new white T-shirts when I could barely close the boy’s dressers all the way (due to the fact, that they each had an enormous T-shirt collection).

I am constantly stressing to the boys to use the resources they have on hand. We don’t always have to run out and ‘buy’ what we need – sit down and think how you can make it work, utilize what you have. Here’s what we came up with:

You will need:

  • T-shirt (darker colors worked best. If T-shirt is new, prewash.)
  • Spray bottle
  • Bleach
  • Con-Tact paper
  • Pen, marker
  • Cutting utensils (scissors, X-Acto knife)
  • Newspapers/cardboard/plastic bags (something from your recycling bin to use inside the shirt as a barrier, so the bleach mixture won’t soak through to the other side of the T-shirt)

Directions:

  1. You or your child draw the T-shirt design onto the Con-Tact paper or borrow our free templates: skull guitar, shark.
  2. Cut out the design and adhere it to the shirt, rub over the Con-Tact paper to make sure it is attached well (especially the edges).
  3. Slip a piece of cardboard/newspaper/plastic bags inside the shirt (this will act as the barrier). Lay shirt face up on the grass, driveway, sidewalk, picnic table (wherever you want your work surface to be – you may want to lay down newspaper to protect your work surface).
  4. In a spray bottle, I mixed about 1/2 bleach and 1/2 water. You’ll have to experiment to see what consistency you’re looking for.
  5. Spray the bleach mixture onto the fabric all around the cutout template. A light spray is less likely to seep under the template.
  6. You should start to see the reaction to the dye in the shirt, it should be fading. If the reaction is too harsh or too slight, adjust your bleach to water mixture. Our reaction was quick, within less than 30 sec-1 minute we could see the dye bleaching out. At this point, quickly remove all of the Con-Tact paper template and launder the shirt in the washing machine to stop the reaction.

Tip: When we were working on the guitar design – after we had the skull cut out from the front of the guitar template, my oldest placed the cut-out (which I was going to toss out) onto the sleeve. It worked great!

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1970’s Dresser = TV Console February 19, 2012

Upon purchasing his coveted flat screen television my husband, John, started to research consoles for the TV components. He was flabbergasted by the price of the consoles, so he got creative and transformed an old discarded dresser into a TV console.

You will need:

  • Dresser
  • Drop cloth
  • Primer (John used spray primer)
  • Sandpaper
  • Paint (he used spray paint)
  • Drill with a hole saw bit (3″ hole saw drill bit)
  • Handles
  1. Remove hardware (handles) from dresser.
  2. Take top drawer out, this will be the area to hold components. On the back panel of that same area, drill big holes in the back panel or with a saw, cut a rectangle shape. This will allow air to flow through to the component unit for ventilation.
  3. Sand and prep dresser for primer. Our dresser had a metallic gold and white laminate finish (oh so 70’s). John sanded the surface just enough to take the sheen off, giving something for the primer to adhere to. At this point, it’s a good time to fill in the holes from the old handles with wood putty. Place dresser on drop cloth and prime dresser.
  4. Allow primer to fully dry, paint with the colored topcoat you’ve chosen.
  5. When dry, attach new hardware.

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I borrowed this photo from ebay, it’s similar to the finish that our dresser had. If you come across a not-so-attractive dresser at a sale, pick it up and transform it!!

 

Entertainment Center = Bench

When we bought our flat screen TV, our enormous, oak entertainment center had no purpose. We called several resale shops and donation centers, but nobody wanted the poor thing. They said it was obsolete. I mentioned to John how he could truncate the piece and turn it into a bench (I’ve always wanted a bench in our foyer). He wasn’t too certain it could be done, he just couldn’t see my vision. I tried persuasion, complementation, encouragement, double dares and threats – he still couldn’t visualize it. I gave up on my persuasions and put it on MY ‘to do list’. One day I would feel brave and strong enough to hold up the heavy piece and just go for it. I’m not sure if John knew I would be crazy enough to try the transformation myself or if he actually saw the same vision, but I came home one day and there it was, the bench I was looking for. He said it really wasn’t too hard to do, either.

John did a fantastic job with the bench, it couldn’t be more perfect. The doors on the left hold mittens and hats. The drawer on the right holds wooden puzzles and games. I often catch the kids sitting on it and reading. I have fabric to sew a cushion for it, but that’s on my ‘to do list’. I just wish I had a before photo to show you. I know I have one, somewhere – when I come across it, I’ll post it. You really need to see the before photo to appreciate the bench. We saved beautiful wood from a landfill and I finally got my beloved bench.

You will need:

  • Entertainment Center
  • Saw
  • Nails (Finish Nails – size will depend on your piece. John used 2 1/2”)
  • Putty
  • Pry Bar

Directions (In John’s words):

I first cut the sides and middle supports with a sawsall at the base. Then turned the upright supports with the top still attached upside down and removed the uprights from the top with a flat pry bar. (This model was nailed with a 2 1/2” finish nail). I then removed the nails from the top section and placed it on top of what was the bottom or cabinet section of the entertainment center. Make sure you have a smooth surface where you cut the uprights off so that the top will have a level area to bear on.  Take 2 1/2” finish nails and nail the top to the cabinet, fill holes with wood putty. I took a touch up marker for wood furniture and stained the putty to a color that matched the rest of the bench.

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Hand and footprints that leave a lasting impression.

The boys and I first made this gift for my husband many Father’s Days ago. They enjoyed creating it and my husband loved receiving it, so we decided to make it a Father’s Day tradition. Each year’s prints are stored in the frame. The boys get a kick out of comparing how big their feet and hands have grown. I’ll have to purchase a bigger frame, soon their feet will be off the pages. Sniff, sniff – they grow so fast.

You will need:

  • Paint (acrylic, finger paint, stamper ink, etc anything that’s easy to wash off)
  • Paper plate
  • Paint brush
  • Copy paper – you can either download our templates and print them off or create your own design.
  • Frame

Tip: Keep wet and dry paper towels on hand, you’ll need ’em for cleaning up.

Directions:

  1. Print off our templates (or create your own) on paper. We used regular copy paper, the paper is thin so you can stack up each year’s print and compare how the prints ‘grew’ through the years.
  2. Squirt your paint onto the paper plate. Dip your paintbrush into the paint.
  3. Now you need a foot or a hand (depending on which template you use). Cover foot/hand with paint and carefully press onto paper template.
  4. Let your creation dry, frame and give.

Footprint phrase:

“Please walk slower, Daddy,” said a child so small,
“I’m walking in your footsteps, and I don’t want to fall!”

Happy Father’s Day

Handprint phrase:

Everyday I am exploring
Touching everything I’ve found
I leave behind my little marks
and handprints all around

You clean up those handprints
But someday when I’m grown
You’ll wish you had just one
handprint to keep for your own

I made this handprint for you
So that one day when I am tall
You’ll remember what my hand
looked like
Long ago when I was small

Happy Father’s Day

Footprint template

Handprint template

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Ardith’s Sweet Salsa Dip

Not only is this recipe tasty, it’s good lookin’ too.

This recipe comes with a funny story. My mom was attending her class reunion planning committee meeting, when the discussion moved to food and ‘who’ was going to bring ‘what’ – this recipe was brought up and everyone encouraged my mom to bring it. Mom could not recall bringing this recipe (or ever making it in her lifetime), but everyone on her committee was sure she was the one who brought this salsa to the last reunion. She kept denying that the recipe was hers, but the ownership stuck and nobody laid claim to it – so she had to figure a way to discretely get the recipe from one of her classmates.

Mom and I reviewed the recipe. We laughed and laughed because this is 100% absolutely NOT a recipe she would make, nor would my dad ever, EVER eat a recipe that contained ingredients such as ‘black beans’ or ‘black-eyed peas’. She made it for the reunion and upon entering, about 5 attendees asked ‘Where is Ardith’s Sweet Salsa Dip’. So, this is a very treasured family recipe, that has been passed on from one generation to the next. Feel free to coin it as your own, who knows – it may be yours. Oh, by the way – my dad loves, loves, loves this recipe. He’ll even eat it for breakfast.

Ingredients:

Rinse and drain 1 cup each (I usually just pour in the entire can, because what are you going to do with the tiny amount of left-overs):

  • Corn (I usually use white corn)
  • Black Beans
  • Black-Eyed Peas

I divide my mixing bowl into 4 sections, place each veggie in their own section so it’s easier to chop up equal amounts of these 4 ingredients

Clean and chop 1 cup each:

  • Celery
  • Small Onion (I have used White, Yellow and Spanish Onions. I haven’t found one that I like better than the other. I’m sure there’s a difference, but I can’t tell.)
  • Green Pepper
  • Red Pepper

I don’t always use exactly 1 cup of each veggie. I divide my mixing bowl into 4 sections, place each veggie in their own section so it’s easier to chop up equal amounts of these 4 ingredients – making sure I roughly have about 1 cup of each ingredient.

Boil:

  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Water
  • 3/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 cup Sugar

    Cloudy

Bring these ingredients to a boil. I don’t boil it very long, just until it’s no longer cloudy (this takes a few minutes). Continually stir while it’s cooking.

Combine the canned items and chopped veggies in a big serving bowl. After the boiled mixture you’ve made on the stove cools, pour it over the canned items and veggies. Stir entire mixture together. Cover and refrigerate until ready to eat. Serve with TOSTITOS® SCOOPS!® Tortilla Chips OR Fritos® Corn Chips www.fritolay.com. Mixture is really good the next day too.

Clear

 

Vonnie’s Potato Soup

My friend Vonnie gave me this recipe years ago. It’s a good thick soup that fills you up. For some reason, men seem to really like it. I dunno why, they just do. It does have many different salts, evaporated milk, ham, potatoes . . . that’s probably why they like it.

Potatoes (I use whatever potatoes I have on hand)

Onion (I’ve used White, Yellow & Spanish)

Celery

1 can Evaporated Milk

Milk

Salt

Pepper

Garlic salt/powder

Lawry’s Salt

Ham Chunks

Cut up enough potatoes to fill your cooking pot 1/2-3/4 full (leave skins on). Cut up 1/2-full onion and a couple of celery stalks, toss in. Cover the potatoes with water. Bring to boil for 20 minutes.

Do not drain the water. Add 1 can evaporated milk. Mash potatoes with masher. May need to add a splash of regular milk.

Add:

1 tsp Salt

1/2 tsp Pepper

1 tsp Garlic powder/salt

1 tsp Lawry’s’ Salt

Ham Chunks

Cook on low for a little while. Really great the next day.