Sticky Tech Trends for 2013

Longtime followers know I’m an avid fan of name stickers…much to my children’s growing dismay. Who knew there would come a day when my little sweethearts might feel they were “too old” for such obsessive labeling? So, when I recently received a full-on eye roll at the mention of a name sticker, I realized we might be growing out of those cute little camp labels and into something far better…um, yeah, I have a plan B!

Introducing: keycals!

kidecalsThe latest and greatest in tech trendy and the perfect balance between “too old for name labels” and “mom has issues with adhesive decor.” This product comes in a variety of styles and colors…AND was recently featured on the Today Show!

A great way to spruce up and personalize an otherwise ordinary keyboard!

Now, I”d like to say I’m going to ease up on the adhesion of names to clothing, water bottles, bikes, toys, camping chairs (yes, I said camping chairs – it’s a problem)…but, with all the adorable options this company has to offer, I’d say that is highly unlikely. Besides, my six-year-old has yet to protest…

I’m thinking pink mustaches.
mustachespartiesfeaturedimages-500x500

Check out these and other creative products at Kidecals.com. Looking for a unique gift idea? They have that! One on my list: chalkboard stickers for the kitchen! (and you thought camping chairs were bad). The ideas are endless, and you may never lose another item again. (or when you do, you will kindly point out to your neighbor that they are in fact sitting in *your* camping chair…as per the name sticker on the bottom. lol!) #labelitdon’tloseit

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T-Shrit Bag Recycling Project

The Ecological Footprint

It is estimated that with the standards in which we are currently living, our yearly consumption is regenerated by our planet in one year and six months. This “overshoot” is a threat to the well-being of humanity and the health and sustainability of our planet. It’s an issue that is all too often unaddressed, set aside or completely ignored due to various factors.

What part of my Footprint can I influence?

“Some of each person’s Ecological Footprint is dependent upon choices they make in their own life, such as how much they drive, recycle and purchase new products, and some of it is their per person share of their societies’ infrastructure. The first part can be influenced directly. The second part is equally critical to living within the means of one planet, but must be influenced through more indirect action such as political engagement, green technology and innovation, and other work toward large-scale social change. For more information on these distinctions.” Footprint Network

Awareness and education…They are at the forefront of resolving this type of issue, and while I would greatly enjoy sharing all of my thoughts – and opinions – on this topic, I think the dilemma is best confronted in simplicity…one small change at a time (myself included!). So, rather than dive into a controversial, political or otherwise potentially contentious discussion, I’m going to veer of and share a recycling project – yes, I might be considering presidential candidacy in the future, wink!

T-Shirt Bag How-To (by Martha Stewart)

1. Turn T-shirt inside out and pin bottom of the T-shirt along the hem. Using a sewing machine, sew bottom of T-shirt closed. Flip shirt right side out and lay flat on table, making sure all seams are lined up.

2. Place medium-size bowl about half-way over the neck hole. Using a water-erasable marking pen, trace along the edge of the bowl. Cut along the outline, making sure to go through the front and back sides of the shirt, in order to create an opening for the bag that’s larger than what the neck hole allows.

3. Line up the hems on the front and back side of the sleeve and cut, making sure to go through both sides of the shirt. Repeat on the other sleeve. Tip: A jersey shirt would also work well for this craft, as it is already sleeveless, and it’s made of a great mesh material.

T-shirt bags are extra durable and machine washable. I keep a couple in my vehicle just in case – which has come in quite handy – and I grab a couple more when heading out to the store. Use a variety of t-shirt sizes for bags that will suit your various needs. Yes, absolutely grab a shirt from your child’s collection because as this becomes a new, healthy lifestyle change for you, you’re going to need all sizes!

This is my favorite way to make use of race t-shirts that are either too large or just a strange fit. They’re more durable than plastic bags and look way smarter too. Oh, and depending on the t you choose, you can make a statement while you shop! #promoteyourcause

 

Repurpose Your TP Roll, Not Kidding ;)

Ok, so it sounds like I’m really reaching this time – taking my green initiative to a whole new level by suggesting that saving this small amount of rather *necessary* cardboard might prove beneficial. While it alone might not save the planet, it could be the very tool needed to spruce up that outdated decor…and every effort counts, right!?

Toilet Paper Roll Decorating

I know what you’re thinking – yes, my eyes are still swirling from the subliminal messages found hidden in the deeps of The Lorax, but I have to say, I did sorta love that flick AND if this catches on, yes, a tree or two could be saved. Just one problem – you’ll have to get over the fact that this beautiful art was created by several trips to the restroom! Sounds classy, I know…but as an avid fan of modern wall art and a huge heart for saving our planet, I’m thinking this could be the new solution to that hard-to-decorate space in your home. Simple, low-cost, beautiful, earth-friendly and with unlimited creative potential. LOVE IT!

Photos and full article @MileHighMamas: Toilet Paper Roll Decor #Green-n-Classy

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Presenting: The Valentines Day Project. Dreams of the kiddos getting involved with cutting, gluing and the like ended up more like one of us (um, me) staying up late to do the dirty work, oh well…one can dream, right? They did have a blast handing them out though – and their classmates thought it was great!

Reindeer Handprint and Footprint Craft for Christmas

For this enDEERing craft, you will need the following:

White T-shirt
Acrylic paint (we used gold) to make hand & footprints
Red fabric and no-sew adhesive to iron-on for Rudolf’s nose
Buttons/Needle & Thread for eyes

This is a fun Christmas project that can be a forever keepsake. Have a Merry Christmas!

Learning to Sew

Sewing may be a trade most common to women – dear to mothers – but I think this is a hobby that everyone should feel empowered to do. A simple skill, fairly simple machine…and user interface design to confuse the best of ’em, ha! Learn the basics and go wild with your new confidence to master this powerful machine:

Learn to Sew With These Sewing Machine Basics

You never know what you’ll feel inspired to create!

Crafts for Kids + Christmas Gift Ideas = My Art Workshop in Littleton, CO

It’s never too early to start Christmas shopping…I say that every year, purchase couple of wonderfully thoughtful gifts and procrastinate on all the rest – till about the week before Christmas (yes, family members, your hunches are confirmed.) I’m a #WellIntendedProcrastinaholic.

So, this year I’ve decided to pace myself – a little here, a little there – easier on the budget that way too. Pretty soon, I’ll have that perfect gift for everyone on my list!

Here are my thoughts for Christmas 2011:
We all know that a gift from the heart is more valuable than any other which money can buy…and being the mother of two little ones who don’t seem to stop growing (sometimes overnight,) I thought a sentimental “moment in time” would be darling – and for years to come. A handcrafted something, made by my two favorite artists, with names, dates, handprints and the like. Now, where to find such a creation.

My ARt WoRkShoP in Littleton, Colorado.

A darling place with more options than I had imagined – from t-shirts to wheel pottery, custom stepping-stones, canvas paintings, mosaic art and more – the list of possibilities had me excited…and the kids liked it too! With the drop-in hours at this art studio, a quick visit whenever we had the chance and we’d have all our family gifts in plenty of time for Christmas!

The staff was amazingly helpful (and patient) when we came for our review. I had taken the kids right from school, which was a poor decision on my part because I showed up with two exhausted and grumpy kiddos. The sweet gal that helped us surely thought my kids were “something else” but she kept a smile on her face the entire time…including the couple of minutes I had assigned to my son in a “thinking chair.”

For the first person on our list: Daddy. *Not to worry, while he is an active subscriber, evidence shows that his receiving posts does not actually mean he reads them, ha! In his defense, he’s very busy and has to listen to me verbalize all my random thoughts, so I can understand why reading them may not be at the top of his to-do list….So, yes, his gift will be a great surprise.

Once we had gathered our emotions and the understanding that we were agreeing upon a coordinated gift (rather than spending our budget on his one item,) we were ready to go!

I let the kids look around the workshop but with the many choices, they needed a bit of guidance. I pointed out to them that several of the pottery options would allow for a darling handprint from each of them. Noelle thought my suggestion of a salt and pepper shaker set was great – each of the children would have their own work and just enough space for a print! PLUS, in 2009 Si and dad had created a lovely cookie jar that also had two little handprints on it. It would match perfectly in our kitchen/dining area – AND would be useful, yay.

Both kids had a fabulous time creating their special gifts and I had just as much fun watching them. They each picked colors and brushes, taking their time as they intently lathered on layers of paint. One thing I love most about glazed pottery is that it always ends up beautiful – no matter how wild the mess gets, the kiln takes care of it! I know the kids’ efforts will be appreciated and the artwork adored…we’ll look at these pieces of work years from now and search for the hazy memories of a Christmas long past, thinking back on those little hands and toothless smiles…and wonder how the time does pass.

Craft for Kids!

Backpacks, #2 pencils, washable markers and hand sanitizer. It’s that time of year again – back to school –where our children will be taught to share freely with others…a lesson they will carry out quite well…when it comes to GERMS.

Clean hands are a first step in stopping the spread of germs. A good lather with soap for a full 20 seconds (try singing happy birthday or ABC’s) followed by a warm rinse is the best prevention. Alcohol-based hand rubs are also effective and come in sizes and scents to fit almost anyone’s fancy. We love the Bath & Body Works collection at our house and their mini sanitizer can be hooked to a diaper bag or purse with a lovely, colorful gel holder.

Another motivation for hand washing might be a special soap. A friend of mine uses a liquid soap pump with a hand stamp at the top so that when the dispenser is pressed, one hand is marked with the stamp. The idea is to lather until the stamp disappears – it makes hand washing a whole lot more fun.

We’ve gotten pretty good at the lather and rinse at our house (the soap mess is a battle I’m not choosing – for now) but the dry was becoming a real problem…and the hand towel was at the center of it all…Who did it belong to? Why was it wet? Who had muddy hands? Who left it on the ground? Who wiped the toilet seat with it (seriously?)???

And my concern…Why doesn’t it come clean when I wash it? (I still don’t have the answer to that one!)

So, we came up with a fun solution that seems to be working so far, yay! It’s inexpensive, full of sentiment and, of course, super fun to make.

No-Sew Handprint Hand Towel

  1. Find an inexpensive, cute hand towel for each child (we scored ours at the
    dollar store!).
  2. Use a scrap of fabric or an old shirt/dress to trace your child’s handprint.
  3. Using double-sided fuse (you’ll find it in the craft section), iron the handprint to one side as directed.
  4. Cut the hand out with fuse attached…or let your child do the cutting if they can!
  5. Fuse the handprint to the hand towel according to the fuse instructions…usually just a few seconds with a warm iron.

Easy as that! These adorable hand towels are not only encouraging for germ-free hands but super cute and a great keepsake too! I’ve noticed my children taking special care of theirs – no more towels draped over the open toilet seat now that they have ownership in the deal, ha.

Simple Decorating Tips From a Not-So-Professional Home Decorator

No, I’m not trying to scare off readers with the title of this article – I just want to be real clear in case my advice doesn’t work out so well and moms everywhere come looking for me, yikes. So, now that you’ve been warned, feel free to read on!

Summertime…these long, lovely days pose ample opportunity for several quick but beautiful alterations to your home’s appearance. Take advantage of the warm weather, leisure time and all the extra help you have now that your kiddos are out of school. Reality: you’ll have to squeeze it in between playdates and laundry AND convince your kiddos it’s fun, but they will likely enjoy seeing the results and knowing that they were part of the process – they might even learn something along the way…like that mommy gets really frustrated with paint handprints even when done artfully on the wall ~ but it does make for a sweet memory, right?

A quick way to liven up a room is by adding some color. Many decorators suggest combining colors opposite each other on the color wheel. I use a variety of greens in our home and have accents in red, rusty reds and oranges. I throw in a teal here and there to bring it all together. Sounds funky, right? Done the right way, I think almost any scheme can be successful. Just remember – it has to be what YOU like, so do it your way and don’t be afraid to break the rules because there are no rules, just guidelines to help you along the way.

Choose your colors
I suggest starting with one color you love. For me, this would be a shade of green. Find your color the wheel. Take a look at the colors next to your choice – these “next to” colors will always accompany nicely because they coordinate and match. Sounds easy, but here’s the tricky thing…if all your colors coordinate perfectly, you may be loosing some of the possible effect. Most rooms will have a better overall look if there is an opposite color splash – to keep it interesting.

Blend appropriately
With green, I choose to blend olive and a bit of blue-green or teal. Then I look directly across the color wheel for some splash inspirations. With the shades of green I’ve chosen, I prefer a rusty red or the red-orange. This color pairs well with reds and oranges, so I shop with that in mind.

Don’t skip the neutrals
Neutral colors can be thought of as a clean slate – something to work with, not around. I like to have most of my wall space in a neutral shade and vary the shades for depth – then, I can add color as I please. An example of using neutrals includes the ability to add a dramatic paint accent – applied to a small portion of the room – over a fireplace, on a dividing wall or any space providing simple paint boundaries in a small area (too big and it won’t be an accent.) Talk with a paint store consultant for suggestions on the best shade of paint for you needs.

I prefer neutral furniture as well as walls…some dark, some light. That way, I can switch up my color craze as the times and trends change and won’t have to spend a fortune on staying in “the now” with our large purchases. Throw pillows are more affordable than loveseats and couches.

However, we have inherited a good amount of furniture, and I’ve discovered that if you wait long enough, the style might come back around, wink.

Grab a Magazine
Nope, not time for a break yet. We’re going to use some examples to formulate a plan. Sometimes I think I know what I want to do but then I see it in a magazine – or see something better – and realize I was all wrong. So, find some looks you like and use that as a framework for what you’ll do with your colors.

Use what you already own
Now that you have your colors and a guideline for the type of look you’re going for, shop at home…where everything is FREE! Some of my ideas…

~ fabric or an old quilt to be reworked into a pillow or table runner

~ old photos in storage to make a collage…scan and print in sepia or black and white

~ a large, odd item that might work with the new look

~ glass vase to be filled with wine corks, rocks, flower petals, colorful candy

~ things to be painted: planters, storage containers, rugs, frames, wall hangings

After shopping at home, shop at your neighbor’s homes #yardsales. Don’t forget to check out off-retail shops, and then, if you see something you love in the mall, you’ll have the extra cash to get it. I love a designer look but not the price tag.

Add foliage
Everything looks better with a touch of green…and I’m not just saying this because it’s my primary decorating color of choice. I’m certainly not an expert on Fung Shui, or any decorating theories for that matter, but I do like the way the Fung Shui system of aesthetics pulls a mix of nature indoors.

For extreme simplification: add plants to your decor. To prove I’m not certified: use fake ones too – honestly, we’re moms, and keeping our children, spouse, and a pet(s) alive is a lot of work – we can’t expect to have a house full of living plants, beautiful yard, garden and potted flowers too, whew. So, absolutely, add a lovely, fake plant of your choice…and if you mix it in with living ones, people might not even notice. It’s a great way to brighten a dark corner or add flair to an otherwise plain overhead space.

Transition the look
I love to see a home with an assortment of color usage. Each room can have it’s own, individual look…but it helps to transition. The way I do this: I choose “across from” colors as my main choices – when the rooms are visible from one to the other. I then select “next to” colors from the wheel to transition. The transition colors are the colors I choose to be in sight when standing in one room, looking into the next.

The “reds” room in our home has red-orange visible from the “greens” room. So, when a visitor comes to the front door, they can peer in and see the “greens” transition into the “reds” room with the help of the red-orange accents (curtains and throw pillows.) The deep red color splash atop the fireplace mantle is not visible until entering the “reds” room. A teal potted plant is also used as a transition item – it sits atop a half-wall between our “greens” room and our “reds” room. The teal planter is visible from both rooms and moves one from the “reds” into the “greens” nicely.

With all that being said, hard to believe there are no rules, right? Just remember that you and your family have to like it and that’s what matters most. Enjoy the time decorating together…and laughing when it doesn’t work out quite right.

photo: better living publishing

Happy Independence Day!

Independence Day, or the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday celebrated in honor of our nation’s Declaration of Independence, adopted on July 4, 1776. The purpose: to declare the legal separation of the Thirteen Colonies from the Kingdom of Great Britain. Each of the Thirteen Colonies partied in style on that day centuries ago, as predicted by John Adams himself in a letter to his wife. We will do it again this year give thanks on July 4th for the amazing gift of freedom our country is founded upon, and as moms, we’re going to do what we can to make it the best one ever for our families!

So, what prompted John Adams to give his wife a heads up on what he believed would be the “great anniversary festival” celebrated from that time forward evermore? Well, I’m no history buff, but if you ask me, I think he knew whom to contact if he was looking for a partay – the ladies.

Let the customs begin…parades, fireworks, grilled deliciousness, friends, games and, of course, the red white and blue.

~Thank you moms of the past for laying the groundwork for such an elaborately fantastic holiday!~

Let’s do our best this year to keep the traditions rolling. But, before we get started, let’s take a moment to prepare and protect our families
(Queue the supermom anthem.)

1. First Aid Kit – essential for this caliber of celebration. We’re talking scrapes, burns, heartburn and diaper rash. Pack it all because you just
never know.

Tip: peruse the dollar store for the necessities, and you’ll probably find acute container to store it in too!

2. Sun Block – I have a reputation in my neighborhood for being a crazed SPF mamma, but skin cancer is a serious concern. Enjoy a good laugh in the face of danger? Leave it at home. Ok, not really, take up another challenge because this one isn’t to be messed with.

Tip: block with both UVA and UVB protection, at least an SPF 30, apply prior to sun exposure (it’s ok if you forget though – still apply it!) and reapply regularly. Sunglasses, hats and clothing help block harmful rays too! Bask in the shade when you can.

3. Water Bottles – You are way more likely to be harmed by lovely, sunshiny rays than you are your leaching plastic water bottle. Word is that much of the buzz on plastics causing cancer was no more than a great scare tactic – which worked wonders because I spent a pretty penny on “safe” sippy cups (and I probably will continue to because I’m a mom and one can never be too safe, right?)

Tip: Limit temperature variation when using any plastic product. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for use. Oh, and don’t read email forwards that will completely freak you out.

4. Snacks – Never leave home without one. I keep them in the car, my purse and in the case of an absolute emergency – I have a small stash within, around and under the kids’ car seats (ok, so I can’t take all the credit for that one.) Snacks prevent overeating, cranky kids, grouchy parents and you’ll always be prepared for an emergency “feeding of the ducks,” moms know not to show up empty handed for that, ha.

Tip: Combine a carb and a protein for maximum caloric energy benefit. Favorite of mine: string cheese and wheat crackers (crunchy orange fishes work too – ducks like these.)

5. Camera – Commemorate your celebration! I keep a small digital camera tucked inside my purse (because I love taking photos) and bring a nicer
camera along for quality shots when the cam can’t be damaged. Santa brought my kids a toy camera that is super durable and can capture things from their point of view – it’s amazing how much less flattering a bikini can be from that angle, yikes.

Tip: Have your digital photos stored on a CD (just a few dollars to have one made) or upload to a safe online storage site. Print only those you plan to use when you are ready to use them. Label and store your photo discs in a decorative shoebox on the top shelf of your closet, and they’ll be organized when your child’s teacher assigns a five-year collage project!

6. Red, White and Blue – Don’t forget to celebrate in style, and you’re whole family can sport the look with this easy craft! Oh, and it helps
to locate stray kiddos too – no one will be confused as to which family the lost child belongs when you’re all wearing matching attire (dad is going to love this one, hee hee.)

Tip: Festive wear on a dime…

What you’ll need:
Plain white shirt
Blue spray paint
Construction Paper
Red Sharpie

Use the construction paper to create a flag,cluster of stars or other creative Fourth of July décor. Place the shape –
positive or negative stencils – onto the shirt and spray. If you choose to purchase a second color of spray paint, you can adjust your stencils (or add new ones) for shadows and depth. The red Sharpie can be used for color splashes – draw some fireworks or trace an image – be sure to add an artist’s signature to your work!

This is a fun project for kids – they can participate in every step (with a parent’s help.) Be sure to dress for a mess
because the spray paint can get wild…it doesn’t wash out, but that’s why it creates neat, cheap and easy t-shirt! ~wash and dry separately before wearing~

Happy Fourth of July!