Tuesday, August 31, 2010

All Season Blocks

For those who regularly read this blog, this will be a repeat post.  The CSI Project's theme this week is Modge Podge and I thought I'd enter this project. (hence the re-post)  This is my first time entering at the CSI Project and as far as Modge Podge projects go, this is pretty simple.  But I think it is quite clever, so we'll see how it does.

If you want to see my first failed attempt at these blocks, you can see them HERE.

Wooden blocks are super cute and trendy right now and I love how they look mix into seasonal decor. The problem is that you have to have a set for every season or holiday, and then you have to store them somewhere when they are out of season. So when I came upon this fabulous idea HERE , I knew I wanted to make me some! All you do is make 10 blocks, each with 6 letters, and than you can spell out over 80 words! (The original post had four letters per block and could make about sixty words, so I'm proud to have discovered the extra letters to make some really great words, including Give Thanks, Be Mine, Christmas, and Let It Snow.)
Want to make your own? Here's how! (Sorry for the lack of pictures, I only stop for the camera a couple of times.)
Step 1: Get wooden blocks. I was shockingly surprised at how expensive blocks were at the craft store. So I went to Lowes were I found 3x3 posts. I (with the help of my hubby) was able to cut 13 blocks out of one post. I than sanded the cut edges "somewhat" smooth.

Step 2: Paint your blocks. I used acrylic craft paint and did a couple coats. You can use any color to match your decor. My one suggestion would be to keep them neutral enough that you can mix them with your other holiday decorations.

Step 3: Sand your blocks. I wanted a distressed look so I lightly sanded the surface and really went at it at on the edges. I actually used a palm sanded and it made my life a lot easier.

Step 4: Stain. I used a basic wood stain (minwax early american) slathered it on and then wiped away any excess. This will stain any areas that you exposed the bare wood and give a antiquing to your paint finish.

Step 5: Cut your letters. Using scrapbook paper cut out paper letters. For those who are lucky enough to own a craft cutter, this will be an easy task. For the rest of us it is a little less simple. I wrote the letters up in a photo editing program in a font I liked. I than mirrored the image so that after I printed and cut the letters out, the "right" side wouldn't have any computer ink. My program also allowed me to outline the letters so I didn't have a huge inky mess. I than cut them out with scissors, using an exacto knife in tight spaces.

Step 6: Apply the letters. I used Modge Podge to apply the letters to my blocks. I carefully made sure that all the letters were firmly down.
Step 7: Seal. Using a spray acrylic finish, spray all sides of your blocks. I chose a matte finish but a gloss would look nice too.

OPTION: Since I had extra blocks I decided to make 3 additional "decorative" blocks. I finished them the same as above just instead of putting on letters, I put on squares of seasonal scrap paper using Modge Podge. (Christmas, Easter, 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Fall, Summer...etc) They are fun to mix in with the other blocks or use as spacers between words. Here is a small sampling of some of my decorative options.

So here are the letters you need on your blocks:
Block 1: H Y E D A N
Block 2: A C R S N I
Block 3: R P E T U N
Block 4: V N L O A S
Block 5: E O M D S R
Block 6: S M K I A O
Block 7: T F B W Y E
Block 8: U A G L Y T
Block 9: P J I H O W
Block 10: F P S C U E

And with those letters you can spell (in no order what-so-ever)....

Be Mine
It’s a boy
It’s a girl
Lucky You
Love You
Let it Snow
Spring Time
New Year
Give Thanks
and I'm sure a ton more! (I keep finding other options)

As I mentioned before I decided to make four sets as mother's day gifts. My hubby wondered why we couldn't just get them some bath products but I insisted this would be "SO MUCH FUN!" Boy did I bite off more than I could chew. If you do the math, I made 52 blocks and cut out 240 letter by hand! I wasn't able to get them ready for Mother's Day but I'm sure they will love them and be well worth the wait.

I made a black set for my Mom,

the brown set is for my Mother-in-law,

the green set is for my step Mother-in-law,

and the grey set is for me!

Sorry about the blurry pictures, photography isn't my strong point.

So which one is your favorite?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Scruptious Sunday- Pink Lemonade Surprise

I figured it was high time I did another installment of Scrumptious Sunday, and boy do I have a good one! This recipe is brought to you by my awesome mother-in-law. (Love you Sharon!)  Nothing is better than an yummy, easy dessert right?  Well, what if its yummy, super easy, frozen, and has that perfect sweet and salty combo?  HEAVEN!

Pink Lemonade Surprise

55 Ritz crackers (or about 2 rolls)
1/2 cup melted butter
1/3 cup powdered sugar

Combine ingredients in a large Ziploc bag and crush.  Press into bottom of a 9 x 13 pan, reserving 1/8 cup or so to sprinkle on top. Chill

12oz whipped topping
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
6oz pink lemonade concentrate
4-5 drops red food coloring

Combine ingredients in a large mixing bowl and fold till combined.  Spread into crust and sprinkle with reserved crust.  Freeze and serve frozen.

What I love about this recipe is that it is so versatile.  When made as above it has a key-lime pie taste, but I have also made it using orange juice concentrate and it tasted like an orange creamsicle.  You could use whatever flavor of concentrate floats your boat.  And the Ritz Cracker crust adds that tiny bit of salt.  Divine!

Friday, August 13, 2010

A Favorite Photo

The cleaver lady over at Women Who Do It All is starting a new linky party, but for photography. This being the first go around, the party doesn't have any theme, just post your favorite picture that you have taken. I thought this sounded fun and thought I'd join in.

I don't really have one favorite picture, so I thought I'd share which one I'm loving right now and sporting as my computer's wallpaper.

This is my son and daughter on the kiddie swing ride at a nearby theme park. I'm actually sitting in the chair in front of them, taking this picture while on the ride. I LOVE the enthusiasm in my son's face next to the calm in my daughters. haha! And by the way, this ride REALLY wasn't that scary!

Sunday, August 08, 2010

No Soliciting

I don't know what it has been about this summer, but door to door solicitors are out in full force! Normally I don't really mind. I kindly decline whatever they are selling and that is that. However an incident from last summer keeps popping in my head. Some people that were selling door to door (or pretending to) barged into a house after a women opened the door for them, tied her up and ransacked her house. This happened about three streets away. Well this last week we had a particularly aggressive and rude solicitor come to the door. He was selling magazines, giving us this sob story about paying for school, and fishing for information. (Things like what are you interested in? Oh, motor sports? Do you have a motorcycle? What kind?) When my husband kindly declined his offer for any magazine subscriptions, he stomped away acting SO pissed off. Enough was enough. I decided to put a "no soliciting" sign on the door. I'm not sure it would stop real criminals, but I figure anyone ballsy enough to come to the door despite our sign, I can automatically be suspicious of.

Its a simple vinyl sticker that I cut using my new Silhouette Craft Cutter. Although I've done some practice cuts, this was my first actual project with it. So far I really like it. My favorite part is that you don't have cartridges. I simply found some clip art online, uploaded it to the software and added my own text. I think it turned out pretty cute!

And now that I got over the intimidation of using a new machine, I'm sure using my silhouette will come up in tons of new projects. Plus, school starts in two weeks and I might actually have time to do some crafting. Can't wait!


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