Sunday, November 18, 2012

Save Water with Upcycled Milk Jug Watering Cans

If you're like me, you follow the mantra, "Waste not, want not." I absolutely hate watching all the cold water go down the drain as I'm waiting for the shower water to warm up. The other day it occurred to me that instead of taking all those milk jugs we go through to the recycling center, we could fill them with the cold shower water, save them for spring, and then water our trees and plants with them! (We killed two new maple trees this past year because we didn't water them enough. Next year, we'll do better, I promise!)

My husband was like, "And what are we going to do with 100 milk jugs while we're waiting for spring?" Good point. We have a little overhang where the house meets the patio, and we're storing them under there for now. I think we'll run out of room though, and then I guess we'll just have to keep them on the patio. We haven't filled them to brim so here's to hoping that they won't explode after freezing and thawing!

Update: It's now midwinter, and we have probably fifty gallons of water sitting all over our patio. I bet the neighbors love that. I'll probably get a letter from the HOA telling me that having milk jugs sitting all over my yard is a violation :)

I just ran across this idea today, which goes right along with my milk jug watering can idea :) She takes a lighter, heats up a needle, and pricks holes in the lid of the milk jug. Excellent. I am so doing that this spring!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Embroidered Hand Print Ornaments

On your marks, get set, GO!  Let the Christmas crafting begin :)

You've seen these embroidered hand prints all over the bloggy world, right?

I decided I wanted to make mine into Christmas ornaments, although I must admit, they turned out a little larger than I thought they would.  Who would have thought that a 3 1/2 year old and a 13 month old would have such large hands?  I guess I really know how to grow 'em.  

The hardest part was tracing my 3 1/2 year old's hand.  The second hardest part was finding my embroidery floss in the basement craft closet.  I've had this stuff since I was in 5th grade, when I first got into counted cross stitch.  I don't really do that anymore since I've taken up sewing, but of course I could never get rid of the floss!

I did go out and buy a water soluble pencil for marking the hand prints onto my fabric, as well as two small hoops.  The white fabric and ribbon was an old curtain from my stash.  I think they turned out pretty well if I do say so myself.  (Did I mention this was my first try at embroidery?)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Family Heirloom Recipes on a Towel

Yes folks, this must be the most awesome Christmas gift idea I've run across in years.  I am so stoked to make these for all the women in the family.  I collected family recipes from my great aunt and grandma, my brother's wife's mom, and my husband's grandma, and then scanned them into my computer as a color PDF file.  Next I opened them in Picasa without having any luck, and eventually had my husband help me work on them in Adobe CS5.   That worked out much better for me than Picasa, but it helps to have someone who knows how to use the program.  I don't know how to use CS5 at all, so my husband has to walk me through every step.

When you first open it up and choose "new," you will be asked what dimensions and at what resolution you want your file to be.  This is tremendously helpful, as you need the collage to be 54x36 inches.  I set my resolution to 300 pixels per inch.  That's a pretty high resolution and will work out great for this project.

On your right, you should see where you have your background layer listed.  Currently, it should be your only layer.  You'll want to make it a pretty color that compliments your recipe card, if you want the hemmed edges to have color to them.  Do you see the two boxes of color just above the layers, one overlapping the other and slightly above and to the left?  Double click on the one on the left, and move your cursor around on the color box until you like the color.  Hit okay, and then on your toolbar (mine's on the far left of the screen), choose your paint bucket.  Click on your plain white image, and it should fill with your selected color.

Now it's time to begin adding the recipe photos.  Choose "File" and then "Place."  Choose your first recipe.  It will be too big when it first show up, so hit SHIFT and then drag the corner until it's the size you want it.  You can also drag it around to one of the four quadrants of the image, so that you'll be able to fit four recipes on the same document.  When you're satisfied, click the checkmark.  By the way, if you don't hold down SHIFT while resizing, you will find that the recipe's dimensions will get distorted.

Place and resize your other three recipe photos the same way, and then you're almost done.  I'd make the border just a little thicker than you think it should be.  I made the mistake of making mine too narrow, and it was a real pain to hem.  Just keep resizing (SHIFT and dragging the corners of the picture) until it looks right.

If you want to switch from one photo in the collage to a different photo within the collage, here's what you do so that you're able to grab that second photo: Click on the correct layer on the right side of your screen and then hit CTRL T.  Every time you resize or move an item, make sure you click on the checkmark to finalize the movement.

Want to see some yummy family recipes? Yeah, I thought so. May I recommend Nan's Sugar Cookies, as the most awesomest cookies on the planet? She made them every easter, cut them into rabbits, iced them with white icing and then piped a pink trim. Ah, those were the good old days. Love and miss you, Nan!

Linked up to Fingerprints on the Fridge and Classy Clutter

Monday, November 5, 2012

Winter Photo Shoot? You can do it!

My next door neighbor has some nice pine trees that I thought would be a great backdrop for our Christmas photo shoot. The weather is in the upper 40s, so I decided to head outside and photograph the boys in their [completely thrifted] Christmas outfits.

I took some thrifted frames, spray painted them black, and added a big "H" to one and an "O" to the other. If you have three, four or five kids, you could spell the word "JOY," "NOEL" or "PEACE."

 My husband then helped me with Adobe Photoshop CS5, to make the collage come together so cute :) I love how it turned out! If I can do it, so can you!!

Linked up to Seven Thirty Three