Sunday, December 23, 2012

Creating Christmas Ornaments.

This year I saw plenty of clear glass ornaments on sale at the craft stores for a pretty decent price. I couldn't buy glass ornaments that inexpensive from a department store and the only thing I had to do is fill them, but with what? 


I just Love Pinterest. I found a few pointers on how to make a beautiful, expensive looking glitter ornaments from the clear glass ones. You just need the clear glass ornament,  glitter and something to make the glitter stick. I have seen two suggestions to make the glitter adhere to the glass: Mod Podge and floor wax. (Click here for video) Since this isn't 1950, I don't own floor wax and wasn't about to go out and get some for a glitter ornament project. What I did have was Pledge, Mod Podge and Mop and Glo multi-surface floor cleaner. I decided to do an experiment.

The Mod Podge and the Pledge were a total flop, don't even bother trying it. You couldn't get the stuff inside of the glass ball, nor could you spread it around the inside of the ball. The final product looked uneven when completed. I did have success with the multi-surface floor cleaner!! The final product was amazing!!!


I had a bag of feathers left over from one of my kid's school projects. They are brightly colored and very exciting. I separated them into piles of similar colors, filled the balls with the feathers, used the back of a pencil to position them inside the ball, and wow did they turn out great looking!!! They have a sort of smoky/ swirling effect and it is not very apparent they are feathers until you really stare at them. I actually liked the look of these more than the glitter ornaments  The only problem was, while I was separating the feathers on the kitchen counter top, my son decided to start up his tiny remote control helicopter at the exact same time right next to me. He has an entire house to fly this thing in, but he had to do it right next to a pile of feathers. Keep in mind, he hasn't looked at this toy for months until the second I dumped the bag of feathers on the counter. Needless to say, I'm still finding feathers all over the house. Ugh, KIDS!


FRUSTRATION LEVEL: MODERATE (Must keep kids away to minimize mess)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas Cards

Its easier to take photos of your own children if you have an assistant. My sister and I decided we would team up every year to take photos of our kids. I have the good camera and she has the good ideas so how could this go wrong? Tammy came up with this WONDERFUL idea from Pinterest: go to the dollar store, get 20 red and green balloons each, take her giant basket to the park, put the kids in the basket and take a wonderful Christmas picture. Great idea, but not in 20 MPH winds.

We couldn't even get the balloons out of our car let alone on a windy park hill.  My nephew was very concerned that he would blow away with the balloons, and I think that was a realistic concern. 

Not wanting to give up on 18 dollars worth of balloons,  we tried to take the basket with balloons on my covered porch outside. But after getting hit in the face with popping balloons and getting tangled by string, we decided this was not the day for outside picture taking. 

I tried to take the picture in my garage but it not work out. I had to plug in a giant flood light to make it brighter and it looked like we were in a garage and the balloons were still blowing around.

It was especially difficult to do this picture in the garage because my kids got out their scooters and decided to play ring around the photographer while I tried to take a picture of my nephew. They were running over the extension cord for my lighting and getting in my shot. They did finally calm down and I was able to get my son's picture with his favorite chicken, Rosebud, so I can't consider it a total loss.

Disappointed, we were brain storming for other ideas because we had to get this done soon so we could order Christmas cards online with a coupon she received for Shutterfly. Normally, I would NOT recommend this site for photo cards. The website is painfully slow and not easy to navigate. Not exactly what you want to deal with after your kids just danced on your last nerve during a long painful photo shoot. I usually use CVS photo because I can do it right in the store, someone can help you if you have a problem and you don't have to pay shipping charges.

Since our last pictures were a flop, a professional photographer friend of mine, Julie, suggested how to set up the next shoot with the kids wrapped in ribbon.

So the next day, we started all over again with 3 very rammy kids. My sister suggested we just go with angry faces . 

Apparently, my daughter thinks that an angry human looks like a duck. After several shots of her duck face, I decided to have her smile in the picture instead.  My daughter has a very beautiful smile, unfortunately  on this day, she couldn't manage to keep her eyes open and her mouth shut. So my choice was,  gaping mouth, eyes closed or duck face.

I am very persistent and I was not giving up on this day too, I already had wasted one day and I sure as heck wasn't wasting another one. My son had lost his patience with the entire process 10 minutes into it. Eventually, I was able to get her smiling and a genuine 'annoyed as heck' face from him. He actually looks as though he is plotting revenge.

'Tis the season of giving

My sister came up with that caption for the picture. Not only does my sister have a knack for captions, she also sure does know her son. He got his picture right the first time.

I was tickled when I got the photo cards in the mail. Shutterfly did a really great job. The pictures were bright and good quality, better than CVS, so I may just put up with their lousy site to get a quality product in the end.

Ratings on this project:



Friday, November 30, 2012

Creating a Christmas Calendar

I'm still working on my 2013 Calendar for this year. Every year I create a calendar of my kids for my close relatives. I usually just use the photos that I've taken all year long, but for some reason, this year, I can't find any good photos. I'm not sure what I was doing that was so important that I didn't have time to take any decent photos of my kids. So now I'm at the 11th hour rushing to throw together a photo shoot. That always will go well, because as we all know, your kids always cooperate when you are in a rush. 

This reminds me of the first calendar I created. My baby was only 2 months old so I took a couple of days to dress her up and take a crazy amount of photos using my little digital camera that only took 3 mega pixel pictures.

I can't remember which online company I used back in 2004, but today I use Walgreens photo calendar. You can type in special dates and it saves them from year to year, but watch out, if you save a wrong date, its in there too. My aunt can't seem to understand why I get her birthday wrong every year.

I've come a long way in 8 years, but I did a pretty good job my first try at creating a calendar back in 2004. Below are the Pictures. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Building a Chicken Run

What is the first thing that you think you would do the day you feel better after having the flu for a week?: Catch up on all the work you didn't do while you were sick? or ... build an A-frame chicken run to attach to your existing chicken coup?

When I get overwhelmed, I do the least important thing first. So I picked chicken run. It must be a defense mechanism. Oh... I have chickens, did I mention that? Another little project that I do with the kids so they learn more about where there food comes from. Well, sort of, I have no intention of killing Rosebud Chrysanthemum II, Lilly II or Sun Flower... but the coopers hawk has it out for them, hence the two chickens with a number 'II'. So I haven't let them out of their coup/run without supervision since Lilly I died, about a month ago. I was feeling a little guilty because I was sick, they were basically grounded. So I found  items I saved from some of my other projects and drug them outside, along with my tools and my 4 year old assistant.

Hand Saws suck. I'd probably have more success gnawing through a piece of wood with my incisors, the result would look just about the same, but my dentist would not approve. I need to get an electric hand saw, but my father has me so freaked out about severed fingers, that I don't have the guts to buy one. I always have little people running around me and my mom instinct says 'ITS NOT WORTH IT!!'

I decided to make my run 4.2 long because I hate to hand saw and this was half way on my wood so I could use both pieces. I had cedar wood stored in my garage that was in there when we bought our home, I saved it because someone told me it was good for outside, it was expensive, and it smelled nice. 

Of course I split the first piece Cedar with the saw. Did I mention that a hand saw sucks? After ruining 2 planks of cedar, I finally successfully cut 2 in half. Not good odds, I should have given these away to someone with an electric saw. At this point, I'm ready to risk being called 'stubby' and buy the finger eating monster because my cut wood looked like I used a wood chipper. But then I remembered that I could try out the new tool I bought on sale.

OH my Dremel, it was love as first sight. I knew she was going to be my BFF!!  The endless projects we could do together!  I didn't have a chance to read her directions. So I just put on the sanding tool and went at the mangled wood parts. It was going great, until the sanding tool flew out and hit me in the neck. OUCH that hurt. At this point I'm re-thinking that electric saw. I should have read the directions on Ms. Dremel 3000 first because just like most women (myself included), if you don't treat them right, they turn on you. 

<- I found this thing also in my garage. I don't know what it is, but it makes a nice roof. Now all I needed was a hammer. My son lost 3 hammers in his four years of life. Now I can't find my 4th hammer, I can only assume it is hiding from me with his brothers in the basement toy box. I need to buy another, but for now I will use God's Hammer.

It took me entirely TOO long to make this roof, but when I am working with a hand saw and a rock, what do I expect? After ruining another 2 pieces of wood with the hand saw I was ready to get that electric saw again and scrap this entire project. And I would have, but my poor chickens really needed a bigger place to play before I went in to take a nap. So I cheated. I got out my chicken tire and the posts, pushed it in the ground like an A frame, put the little roof on and went to go relax.
This is not what I wanted because it is not easily removable, though it DOES look pretty good. The last run I had out there looked like it was right out of Sanford and Son. I'd ALMOST call this a FAIL but I do have something for the chickens and they were free to roam around all day watching me build something. So I'll give myself a

Injury report: a sand bit dent in my neck and a headache from stepping on that hoe above and having it  smack me in the face. So I'm still not sold on that electric hand saw just yet.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Hanging Kids Artwork... Artfully

What do you do with all the artwork you kids bring home from school? 'Cause there is only so much room on your fridge.

When I was at my local office supply store, a giant light bulb went on over my head when I saw these little Bulldog clips. You can find them online at office max. You can even find them with a little magnet on the back OfficeMax Magnetic Bulldog Clips, 1-1/4" W (Google Affiliate Ad). Now all I needed was ribbon, florist wire, and a nail to turn my basement steps area into an art gallery, while simultaneously cleaning up the kitchen counter that had piles of my daughter's artwork.

The first thing I had to do was make a bow. Which is basically looping the ribbon around itself in a 2 -4 inch strip, folding it in half to find the middle, snip either side, wrap the florist ribbon around the middle tightly, then pull out each of the loops. You HAVE to use wired ribbon unless you are a bow making expert, which I am NOT. My bows always look somewhat mangled and deformed, but that doesn't stop me from making them and it shouldn't stop you either.

An aside, if you like to look as if you've spend a decent amount of time at a gentleman's club, then by all means, use glitter ribbon to make a bow.  I had glitter on my lap, in my face, in my hair, on the floor, on the walls and I'm sure I'll still be vacuuming it up 2 weeks from now. What a mess.

Anyway, I wired the bow to the clip, put a nail in the wall, stuck my precious art in the clip and hung it on the nail. Ta Da!!! Overall, I think it looks great going down to the basement. However my bow making needs work so I'll give myself an  A- for this project. The great thing about this project is that it cost less than 14 dollars and took about 20 minutes to hang 4 pictures (minus the time       
                I spent running the vacuum).

Grade: A- 
Skill Level: Low
Difficulty Level: Low
Frustration Level: Medium (if you use glitter bows)
Price: $

Monday, November 12, 2012

to get pictures out of her camera

Did you ever do something a 1000 times and the 1001th time you do it, it doesn't work? Happens to me daily so today is no different than any other day. I go to plug in my NIKON 5000 to my USB port and all of a sudden my computer does not recognize my camera. Never had a problem since I got this camera about a year ago.   Mo technology, Mo problems.  Spent hours googling the fix only to find the answer 'Get a card reader.'  I have documented my crafts!!! I have!! But you can't see it until I get a card reader.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

So that is my garden with a little trick photography using a long exposure. It took me 6 years to get my garden to look like this and took me 3 hours to take this picture. I've recorded none of it. I do a lot of interesting projects and people are so amazed, 'How'd ya do that?" they ask. But I don't remember because I'm already concentrating and onto my next project. I've built my son a train table, made a cascading water fountain, stepping stones,  painted columns to look EXACTLY like marble, made a pond, installed closet shelving, built a chicken coup, hooked up the landscape lighting in my yard (shown above),  created calendars of my kids every year, threw fabulous home birthday parties, put molding in my house, and even made a chandelier. But I never recorded any of my trials and tribulations.

I decided to start this blog 'Mom Attempts...' to show the trials and tribulations of all my projects. And now I'm going to attempt to learn how to make videos and upload them to this blog. So this is my 3 step plan for my new attempt...

1) Create blog (CHECK, DID IT)
2) Video tape my project (STARTED BUT NOT EDITED)
3) Figure out how to edit a video and upload it (Can't be that hard, i see teens to it all the time)

Hopefully this will not will be one of my abandoned projects sent to the land of unwanted crafts (like my soap carving project)

Wish me luck!!!