Friday, March 25, 2011

I'm back & Tile Coasters

Now that things around the Crafty Momma's house have calmed down (as much as they ever calm down), I figured I needed to get up some of those projects I promised! Today is Tile Coasters!

Believe it or not, I hadn't even heard of these until not long before I made them. I saw that someone had made a cute little display using her Cricut, a large tile, and a plate display rack. It was gorgeous! Now, mind you, I don't have anything as fancy-schmancy as a Cricut (although, what I wouldn't give to get one... :) but I figured I could do something similar. Since my cousin's fiancee was having a bridal shower, I decided to give it a go.

1 jar Mod Podge (I bought the gloss, but since I sealed it, the gloss wasn't necessary)
1 can Clear Acrylic Sealer (I bought Mod Podge brand. It was sitting next to the Mod Podge at Walmart)
6 - 4.25 x 4.25 tiles (Purchased at Lowes by the each. I actually bought extra so I can make some for my house. They were 16 cents each. If you're making a lot, you could buy by the case and save a little money)
Scissors, Pencil, Scrapbook paper, Computer, Printer, Photos (I actually printed the photos, but I'm sure you could use pictures you have hanging around), Paintbrush, Cork dots (found at Dollar Tree. You could also use self-stick foam dots or small pieces of felt attached using hot glue)

Step One:

The first step is to choose which 6 (or 8, or however many you want to make) images you want to use. I went simple, and chose 2 different photos as well as a pretty "W" (the family name) printed on scrapbook paper. I also printed the pictures. This way there would be 2 coasters of each image. (Note for printing: I have the feeling that printing things on standard printer paper would not work well due to it's thinness. I would print it on something a bit thicker. Scrapbook paper worked perfectly for me)

Step Two:

For any photos you have, you need to give them a couple of coats of the sealer. This is because of the heavy ink laydown, plus the photo paper. I don't know if you have to do this on a regular photo, but I would think so. Better to be safe then sorry. I put three coats, allowing them to dry between each coat. (Probably should do this outside..that stuff is stinky!)

Step Three:

Next, place the tile over the W (or whatever image you choose -- wait for any photos that you sprayed with the sealer to dry completely before doing this step), and trace around it. After tracing, measure a quarter inch in from the line on all sides and draw a second box. This is to allow an outline around your image. If you prefer no outline, or a bigger outline, make adjustments accordingly.

Step Four:

Brush a layer of Mod Podge on the top of the tile, then place the image on top of the Mod Podge. You should have plenty of time to move it around, so make sure it's exactly where you want it before moving on. Also, if there are any bumps under the image, you'll want to flatten them (you'll see why in a minute)

Step Five:

Brush a layer of Mod Podge over the image. Spread all the way to the edges and down the sides of the tiles as well, to make sure everything is even. Allow this layer to dry about 20 minutes (per the instructions) before adding a second layer. I think I did 4 or 5 layers (I did this at about 2 in the morning, so it's a bit of a blur), allowing them to dry 20 minutes between layers.

And this is why you have to make sure there are no bumpies under the image. Once the first layer of Mod Podge is dry, there's no way to get it out, so make sure you do it at the beginning...and not be lazy like me.

Drying between layers

Step Six:

(No photo because by this time, I just wanted to sleep!). Spray several coats of the acrylic sealer over the top of the coasters. The container says to do it after the Mod Podge is "cured" but the container didn't say how long the Mod Podge takes to cure, so I just waited until all of the white had turned clear before I coated it. I did three coats, also allowing them to dry about 20 minutes between coats (and now you see why this should NOT be done last minute, but instead over the course of a few days...but then again, you can benefit from my mistakes!)

And....Step Seven:

Stick the cork stickers (or foam stickers, or felt pieces) to the bottom of the coasters. (The stickers stuck really well, so I didn't have to hot glue them on. If they feel like they're going to fall off, I would add hot glue just to be on the safe side). Print a pretty "Handmade" tag for the coasters (tutorial on those another time!), wrap them up with some string or ribbon (I used hemp cord from the Dollar Tree!), then in tissue paper. Makes for a super cute gift that she loved!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Up and coming!

So, it's been a few days. I know, I know, I said I'd try to blog everyday, but truly the last few days have been so boring, you wouldn't have wanted to read! However, I have been working on some really awesome projects! Unfortunately.....I can't tell you about them....yet. See, they're all for gifts, and until the recipients receive their gifts, I can't post pictures of them! But I took lots of them (well, out of 2/3 of the gifts...the other one, you'll at least be able to see the finished product!), and I'll be sure to share the how-tos with ya'll so you'll be able to make your own! :)

Had a flat today. Well, had it yesterday but didn't get it fixed til today. Worked all day and couldn't get one of the lug nuts off (idiot mechanics), and I had to miss the baby shower I was supposed to go to. My mom and I worked and worked at it. Finally, hubby got home (late, I might add) and we decided to pump it up and go from there. He pumped it up and listened, only to discover that the air was coming from the intake valve which, for whatever reason, didn't have a cap. So a whole wasted day for nothing. Let me tell you...I'm going to be searcing for some valve caps within the next couple of days, and I will never go without from now on!

So I guess that's it for tonight. Sorry I don't have more :( However, I will leave you with this fabulous picture of my beautiful princess in her crown! She picked it and the paint out (glow in the dark neon pink, in case you were wondering!), and painted it all by herself! She's so proud!

And also this delightful picture of her caged inside two laundry baskets (mwahahahahahahahaa):

As you can tell from her grin, it was entirely voluntary. No. Really. See:

She begged me to take that picture. Then she put the kitties in cages:

Haha. I <3 my crazy kid.

Disclamer: No children and/or kitties were harmed in the making of this blog post. Fin.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Today went too fast!

Layna keeps getting up earlier and earlier, so today started at 9:30. Yeah, yeah, I know that for most of the mommas out there, 9:30 isn't early, but considering how late I get to bed and how late I'm used to sleeping, it's early for me. But I got a shower in early, and got to have some coffee. Breakfast was a shake with frozen strawberries. I went out and bought fat free vanilla creamer for my coffee, but it's gonna take some getting used to to not go overboard on the sweet.

The rest of the day was pretty standard. Cleaned the house, tried to help Layna separate the pieces from two puzzles she mixed together, separated about 50 kitty bickers, consoled Layna when she got hysterical over not being able to draw a wolf for grampa, and did a little grocery shopping. Cooked dinner and did an accounting test.

Haven't been to the gym in awhile, and I'm disappointed in that, but I know that once the next quarter starts (~3 weeks?), I'll have a bit more time to go. I have two days a week all set (I'm out of class at 10:30 and have to be back at 12:30, so that gives me a good 45 mins-1 hour plus shower time to work out, and my gym is right across from my school), but I have to figure out how to fit in at least 2 more days, preferably three. I'm debating between going on the weekends (which is difficult because Alejandro isn't home on Saturdays, and Sunday is my only alone day), going after class (on MWF, I'm out for good at 10:30, so I could do an hour and come home...problem is: hubby works graveyards and needs sleep, and with Layna getting up between 9am-10am, I'm going to have to be home with her) or going super early MWF...we're talking 6am early. I hate waking up early and I have a tough time getting enough sleep as it is, so I'm not sure yet. Glad this is my last quarter though, and excited about ceramics class!

Dinner was good, and low cal, and I got to enjoy peanut butter toast (on sandwich thins) AND cookies (100 calorie pack). God, I love 100 calorie packs...saves me from locking myself in the closet and eating a whole box. Not that I'd ever do that. And not that I've ever done that. Nope.

Anyway, they were good, and I also enjoyed both House (sadddd) and Glee (funny and saddd), and now I'm finishing up Raising Hope. Gonna give it my whole focus now, so Hasta Manana! :)

Goals for this week: A walk to the library
Dinner Tonight: Lentils cooked in chicken broth with turkey bacon & tomatoes, baked asparagus and sweet potatoes.
Projects in Progress: Layna's Flower Girl Dress for Andrea's wedding
To-Do: Buy gifts for upcoming showers, study for accounting test

Monday, March 7, 2011

Day Two!

Well, I'm back again for day two. This is a good sign, because usually by day two of blogging, I have found something else to do :) But here I am soo..

Yesterday ended up being a good day. On the food front, I was proud of myself. For lunch, I had an open faced tuna sandwich. I put it on toasted 12-grain bread (toasted, so I get a little crunch to not miss having some chips with it). Instead of mixing it with mayonnaise, I put 2 tsp of dijon mustard on the bread with it. Now, I've never been a huge fan of mustard, but lately I've been liking it. And I like that it adds a lot of flavor with only a few calories (unlike mayo that is almost all fat and ketchup that is mostly sugar and sodium). Finally, I cut up half a pickle over the top of it. For dinner, I cooked chicken breasts with onions, tomatoes, and black beans and served them with mushroom rice (my favorite!) I ate a bit too much of the mushroom rice, but I had calories to spare, and it was SO yummy! Then, my darling husband brought home strawberries with chocolate to dip them in (mmmm, my favorite) but I managed to decline the chocolate, and I cut the strawberries up over some pudding (the boxed Jell-O mix that I made with fat free milk).

Night time is my weak point, particularly after everyone goes to bed and I'm watching TV, computerizing, or working on homework. I did end up having a Reese's egg (have you ever had those. Ridiculous how good they are! So much more PB than a regular Reese's!) and a cup of milk, but I measured the milk out, and added it to my food log, and I still stayed under my calorie goal. I am seeing that most of my calories are coming from carbs, and those carbs are mostly sugar. I'm going to watch myself and try to lower that a bit: instead of using a cup of fruit in my shake, I will use only half a cup, etc.

This morning I woke up still motiviated, and enthused by my success yesterday. I drank my shake, then took a trip to the bank at the store. I bought a lot of vegetables to snack on, legumes and tomatoes for dinner later this week, and a bag & season from McCormick to cook some chicken breasts in the oven tonight. Something I saw at the store:

I would love to know what the manager was thinking...finding a half empty gallon of milk (I assume leaking since it looks like it's sealed) and deciding that instead of taking the loss and tossing it, they'd just throw it on the shelf with $1.50 off. Mind you, that's NOT EVEN half off!! I could buy a half gallon of milk for that much! ::sigh::

Finally, on the way home, the sky cleared up and it became a beautiful day. Being a Washington native, we rarely get lovely days even in the depths of summer, so one in MARCH is amazing! I have been planning a trip to the library this week, and was so excited to go, but then discovered that the video I needed to return is in our car, which my husband has (speaking of which...I need to renew it), so I will have to wait til he gets home. Here's a picture of my pretty little lady in the car:

Excuse her "duh" face...I took it without her knowing what I was doing, hehee.

When I got home, it was lunch time, so I made a PB&J for the little missy, and cooked up a Lean Pocket for myself. Can't believe how amazing it was! The garlic chicken white pizza one! Doesn't even taste low cal, and it's creamy and cheesy. Makes me feel like I'm eating junk food, but I'm not really. And now my cats are sniffing around me...apparently, they like the smell too!

Anywho, time to get going. Apparently we're "missing" some library books (AKA I'm too lazy to look for them, so you look for them mom!), so I have to go look for them!

Goals for this week: A walk to the library & new House tonight!
Dinner Tonight: Herb roasted chicken with leftover mushroom rice and choice of corn or salad
Projects in Progress: Layna's Flower Girl Dress for Andrea's wedding
To-Do: Buy gifts for upcoming showers, finish economics quiz, study for accounting test

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Beginning again...

Argggggg to my tendency to begin blogs and then abandon them. I'm terrible, truly! But I'm going to be putting a link to this in my Favorites Bar, where I'll see it each and every day, and MAYBE, just maybe, it will encourage me to BLOG BLOG BLOG!

So today is a "free day," a day when my husband takes our little Layna to work with him so I can have the house to myself for a good while. It enables me to do homework, rest, sleep in, and just generally wind down from a busy week. He rarely spends much time at him, and most of his time spent at home is sleeping, showering, or watching television, so I don't get much in the way of "breaks." This is nice. The house is so quiet my ears are ringing, and I was able to get 100% on the first try on an economics assignment today...which means that a big part of my problem doing school work with her here is distractions. Not that I don't love her but...ykwim :)

So...what have I been up to lately, you ask? Well, I decided to get motivated and on the weight loss bandwagon. Usually I don't share this, when I start a new regime, because I always feel a million times more disappointed in myself if everyone knows I failed. BUT, my logic is...that if I feel a million times more disappointed in myself, maybe I'll be more likely to stick to it. I'm not going to be doing anything more specific than calorie counting and monitoring what I eat for unhealthy trends. I found a website that helps me track what I eat, and I love that it has an Android application, so I can add things on my phone. I can already see that the majority of my calorie intake is coming from carbs, which is better than nasty fats and sugars. Also, I'm going to try and be a little more diligent in my Herbalife taking. The shakes are super healthy, and actually rather good with the addition of some yummy fruit...I also love that they're really convenient. I bought some vanilla almond milk to make them with, and it just adds to the yumminess!

Moving on, I just finished making 4 art bags, one for Layna and each of my youngest siblings:

This is Layna with her art bag, while standing in line to drop off our Boots to be neutered. They're convenient, and she ADORES it, and they are SUPER DUPER cute and easy to sew (a bunch of rectangles!). Here's the tutorial if you're interested: Art Bag by From an Igloo. I used fleece fabric, which I like because a.) it was on sale and b.) it made the bags super soft! It looks like the OP made them from a thinner material, so there's a whole range of possibilities!

This quarter for school is able over (yay!). I can't tell you how excited I am to be DONE with these classes. Economics is boring, Calculus is kicking my booty, and I never know what's gonna come next in Accounting. I'm so glad I decided that after my Associates in Business is done (one more quarter! yay!), I'll be heading for a bachelor's in teaching. I'm just counting down the days...

Goals for this week: A walk to the library!
Dinner Tonight: Garlic Lime Chicken Breasts with Black Beans and Tomatoes, Mushroom Rice, and Steamed Broccoli Florets
Projects in Process: Layna's Flower Girl Dress for Andrea's wedding
To-Do: Buy gifts for upcoming showers, finish economics essay & quiz, study for accounting test