Random Neural Firings

the inner workings of a restless creative brain

Sweetheart Candy Wreath

February1

I’ve gone Valentine’s Day mad. I’ve decided that it’s my favorite holiday (it’s all about LOVE, after all!) and I’m decorating the house like it’s a pink Christmas. So far, I’ve made the yarn wreath and this sweetheart wreath. I have a few other ideas up my (pink) sleeves so keep an eye out on the blog or Facebook page. If you want to get an idea what I’m up to, follow my DIY/craft board on Pinterest.

This is another embarrassingly easy craft. We got a tiny styrofoam wreath form at Michael’s and spray painted it red. I poured some glue onto a paper plate and let my 3 year old glue Sweetheart candy all over the front. While he napped, I glued them around the sides, which proved to be a bit tricky (some of them slid off). If you’re patient and don’t mind holding the slippery ones a few seconds, this will work fine. If you want them to stick the first time, use your glue gun.

That’s it! Tie a little ribbon and hang.

This post is part of the Works for Me Wednesday series. For more great tips, check out WeAreThatFamily.

 

 

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Recycle Your Baby’s Favorite Shirts into Awesome Wall Art

January4

BEFORE:

AFTER:


Y’all know about my Zutano obsession (if not, read here, here and here). As Hunter outgrew these cute clothes, I gave many beloved Zutano outfits to friends but held back a few that I just couldn’t part with for sentimental reasons. I have heard of some people turning their children’s clothing into a quilt but I can’t sew. I can, however, use a staple gun. I went and bought some small canvases at an art supply store, cut up my son’s shirts and pulled them around the back of the canvas and stapled them in place. And voila! Instant wall art.

Supplies

  • 5″x5″ canvases (on sale for around $2.50/ea) – if your shirts are really small, you might need 4×4″ frames
  • staple gun with 1/4″ staples
  • beloved/favorite shirts
  • You could also do this with leggings/pants/dresses. I contemplated using a variety of shapes and sizes of canvases, which I think would be cute, too.

Cut out the cutest part of the pattern of the shirt. Hold it on the front of the canvas while you pull one side to the back. Staple in place. Move to the OPPOSITE side of the canvas and pull the fabric down. Take a look and make sure you have the fabric pattern situated the way you want (stripes might be crooked so now’s your chance to straighten them out). Staple. Then do the other sides, folding the corners back like you’re wrapping a present. There’s no great way to do the corners. I stapled and cut away some of the excess fabric so the canvases would hang flat.

Simple DIY Wall Art Using Outgrown Shirts     

     

ANOTHER "BEFORE" - THEN "AFTER"

It took about an hour to do six shirts. I love looking at my little memory wall. Each outfit reminds me of those early (hazy) days of parenthood.

This is part of the Works for Me Wednesday series, hosted by We Are THAT Family. Great tips there!

 

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I’m Not Crafty but I Made This Wreath! (Works for Me Wednesday)

December21

Sooo . . . I saw these beautiful yarn wreaths on Etsy. Loved the vibrant colors and simple, modern aesthetic. Figured, what the heck, I’ll bet I can make that! And you know what? Turns out I can!

I didn’t take pictures in progress but it’s really simple. You need:

  • Styrofoam wreath core (messy)
  • One skein of yarn (you’ll have lots left so get a small one)
  • Hot glue
  • A silk flower – or make your own flower with paper or felt

That’s it. Pop your butt on the couch and watch “The Sing-Off” or something that doesn’t require you to look up constantly. Start wrapping the wreath with the yarn. Took me about 2 hours total and the yarn got a little . . . sideways but I think it looks fine. When you’re finished, glue the end in the back. Then take your flower – if you’re using a fake one like I did, just cut it off so there’s only about an inch of stem, jam it in the wreath, pull it back out, put some hot glue in the hole, then stick the flower back in.

That’s it. I like the results so much I might try other color combos. I’m feeling the need for pink right now . . .

This post is part of the Works for Me Wednesday series. For more great tips, check out WeAreThatFamily.

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No More Itchy Tags! (Works for Me Wednesday)

January6

I have dry, sensitive skin. No T-zone for me. Just straight up dry. I itch, and itch, and itch. I use Aveeno shower oil; after I shower, I pat it on and I do not rub it off. I just throw on a robe and let it soak in my skin. (Totally NOT what the directions say to do, so call me a rebel if you must.)

And tags irritate the snot out of me. I’ve tried cutting them out but there are always bits of seams or knots or other things left sticking out that bug me. I’ve tried taping them down but the tape frays and bothers me, too.

Until I found Hollywood Fashion’s Tag Tamers. I’ve been using these for YEARS now and I love them. You stick ’em on over your tag and they stay on until you take them off (which you’re supposed to do every time you wash said garment, but, ahem, I often forget!). They do not fray up and poke at me. They stay down and out of sight. Better yet, out of mind, because the offending tag no longer itches me.

Hollywood Fashion is perhaps best known for their magic “tape” that you can use to tape a blouse shut or secure a bra strap in place. I haven’t tried the tape but am in love with the tag tamers.

And a reminder: I do not accept products to review. If I write about it, it’s because I own it or am planning to buy it.

This post is part of the Works for Me Wednesday series. For more great tips, check out WeAreThatFamily.

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A New Use for Bibs (Works for Me Wednesday)

December16

Ever since we started Gymboree, my son has been one big snot monster. He had his 2nd cold in as many months last week that has now turned into an ear infection. Poor baby. As we reach for the softest tissues or “snot rags” as I call them, (check out the adorable little monster swipers from FrankAndMe on Etsy), I realized it’d be a lot faster to put a bib on him and swipe the cascade of snot with the bib. (This only works with the soft cotton infant bibs, not the slick bibs used later for messy eaters.)

You may remember that I’m very PRO bib, especially if you have a spitter or a drooler (teething); mine was both. He’s got most of his teeth in now and doesn’t spit up all the time like he used to so the bibs had been sitting in the drawer. But I’m busting them out again! Soooo glad I didn’t pack these away in a fit of “organization.” (Who are we kidding? Those fits are TOO few and far between!) I, of course, have a ton of Zutano bibs which mix and match well with his clothes.

So that’s my lame little tip. Hang onto the bibs. Use them when your munchkin has a cold. Works for me!

This is part of the Works for Me Wednesday series, hosted by WeAreThatFamily. Go there for more tips!

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The Pinwheel Party! (Works for Me AND Wordless/Wordful Wednesday)

December2

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I wanted to subtitle this post: How to Outsource an Entire Birthday Party because in essence, that’s what I did. I fretted about it for about a minute; after all, I can use scissors and glue and could probably have made pinwheels and decorations myself, but given that we just moved, have a new nanny, have had too many illnesses to count, have a stove with a finicky oven (meaning no way was I going to attempt a cake), etc., etc., it seemed wise to just buy everything. But — and here’s the catch — I didn’t want it to look like some pre-packed party from the party store. I wanted it to look creative and unique and just like I did it all myself, which many of the party  goers thought. Haha! Fooled them!

The Occasion: My son’s first birthday

The Location: Our temporary rental (while our house is being built). 2BR, teeny tiny, so we limited the guest list to 20.

The Theme: My son loves anything that spins so I came up with the idea to do pinwheels. I also wanted a “color story” and focused on orange and yellow with pops of red.

The Planning: I did nearly all my research online (surprise, surprise) and used Evernote to keep track. You can see my notebook here. There are all sorts of random pinwheel things I found, including pinwheel jewelry (I contemplated wearing some) and shirts for Hunter to wear. I’m a HUGE fan of Evernote and will tell you more about it next week for Tech Tuesday.

The Vendors:

  • Email invitations: I contacted Ariana at Becoming-Mom, because she just opened an Etsy store and she designed some darling pinwheel invitations for me. (If you haven’t read her blog, yet, you should check it out. It’s one of my favorites.)
  • Pinwheels, pendant banner (with pinwheels), pinwheel favor boxes: Twirlie Whirlies Etsy shop. She could not have been more pleasant and fun to work with. I picked four papers from her selections and she made pinwheel after pinwheel for me. They were “real” pinwheels, too (meaning they spin) and the pendant banner she made is SO cute that we’re putting it in Hunter’s room. The stuff was perfectly packaged and really, really cute.
  • Photo banner (also with pinwheels!): This custom banner was made by MaryHadALittleParty’s Etsy shop. When it arrived and my husband saw all the photos of Hunter, he got very choked up and quietly asked me if there was a way we could preserve this for him some day. I emailed her pictures from each month of the last year and she picked the ones that worked best in her format. She stuck with yellow, orange and red circles and added some pinwheels to the end. Really sweet.
  • Pinwheel repositionable wall decals: These were a stroke of luck: bright, colorful pinwheel wall decals from Flair4All. I also bought some alphabet decals from them to spell out things like “Happy Birthday.” These are all going in his room as decorations. (I figure even though we’re only here for six months, I can totally use a lot of this stuff to decorate his room!)
  • Food/Cake: The cake was made by a local woman who works with a friend of mine, so I don’t have a link to share with you. I gave her very little direction beyond “pinwheels” and love what she came up with. The food came from SouperJenny’s, which if you’re here in Atlanta, you probably already know about. The only catch with the food is that the party was on Sunday and they aren’t open on Sunday so we had to pick it all up Saturday. Our fridge is WAY TOO SMALL so we had to drop it all off at a friend’s house. The same friend who knows the Cake Lady. Good friends.
  • Lollipops, candy: I found all the candy at a local candy store and got the jars at the Container Store. If you don’t have a candy shop locally, Google “whirly” or “swirly” lollipops. Lots of folks sell them online. I also got the favor boxes at the Container Store.

The Result: My dad, sister-in-law and niece came in for the party which was soooo nice. My best friend, who is insanely busy with her own kids, was able to make it (we held the party on Sunday to work around her kids’ schedule), as were several other close friends. Hunter was a bit overwhelmed by all the people. He did NOT smash his cake. Just kind of looked at it like, “Huh? What am I supposed to do with this?” All in all, a fun time.

OK, enough talk. Time for some pictures!

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Today’s post is a two-fer, meaning I’m including it in both the Works for Me Wednesday series AND the Wordless/Wordful Wednesday series. For more great Works-for-me-Wednesday tips, check out WeAreThatFamily. And for more great pictures, go to SevenClownCircus, 5MinutesforMom, and WordlessWednesday.

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Owl Ideas – Hope These Work For You!

September30

owls

A good friend of mine is going with an owl theme for his daughter’s 1-year birthday. I sent him some ideas the other day and then I noticed on our Facebook page that one of this blog’s readers, Courtney, is going with an owl theme for her daughter’s nursery. I posted some  links for her, too.

And then I thought, duh, maybe other people would like links to cool owl stuff for babies? So here you go, by request, sort of, my list of owl stuff.

Bedding: Pottery Barn Kids Brooke Collection

Toy Box: Etsy Shop ModMomFurniture

Mini Owl Stuffed Animals: Perfect for a baby’s room or party favors from Etsy seller AprilFoss

Wall Decals: Repositionable fabric decals (forest creatures) from Etsy seller LoveMaeStore

Mobile: Check out this bamboo, laser-cut owl mobile from Branch (eco-friendly shop) – not pictured above but it’s cute!

Birthday Party or Baby Shower:  Cupcake toppers and party decorations from Etsy seller CiaoBambino

Perfect Little Owl Outfit: Zutano Owls print (register for our giveaway – deadline TONIGHT at midnight – and win it!)

Hand-Made Owl Shoes: These baby shoes from Bugaloo are sooo cute! I just ordered a pair for my son.

Looking for ideas for your nursery or party? Or just gift ideas in general? Email me at sherean at gmail dot com and I’ll see what I can rustle up.

This post is part of the Works for Me Wednesday series, hosted by WeAreThatFamily. Lots of great tips and tricks there every Wednesday!

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Diapers: Your New Identity Fraud Protector (Works for Me)

September16

I can’t remember where I read this nifty trick, but I love it! Next time Junior makes a stinky-poo, stash a little something extra in his dirty diaper. Take your cut up credit cards, or credit card offers from the mail — anything that a thief might root around in your trash for in an attempt to steal your identity — and put the bits and pieces in with the diaper. I guarantee they aren’t going to OPEN UP your dirty diapers to look for sensitive information.

This is part of the Works for Me Wednesday series. More great tips at WeAreThatFamily.

Don’t forget to enter this week’s giveaway for a designer splat mat and matching bib. Great shower gift if your little ones are past the messy stage. Deadline is midnight tonight!

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Works for Me – Free Art for the Nursery

September9

A friend just emailed and asked where we got the cute black and white artwork for the baby’s room. One of these days, I’m going to post a nursery tour with shopping info (it’s always “one of these days,” isn’t it?), but in the meantime, here’s the art and the generous artist (Kal Barteski) who posted this for FREE on her blog. All her stuff is FABULOUS so buy some. I stumbled upon her work when I was trying to come up with a cool black and white nursery. We blew these pictures up a bit and printed them out with a regular old printer, then got some cheap ($9/ea as I recall) album frames at Michael’s and voila! Instant wall art.

Here’s a pic of how we arranged them in our nursery. Many thanks to Kal for making such hip, wonderful pieces for Mommas like me!

nursery wall art

Not to make this a longish post, but I was just checking out the stuff she has for sale and I love, love, love these 5×7 prints. We’re going to be moving soon and I’ll have a new nursery to decorate (yay!) so I might just have to buy and use these as inspiration.

And Oh. My. God. I want this baby book she designed. It’s pricey but way hipper than the babyish stuff I combed through trying to find a modern one. And yet, it’s still sweet and whimsical. Love it!

This is part of the Works for Me Wednesday series. More great tips at WeAreThatFamily.

Oh and don’t forget to register for our giveaway from CandyStick Lane and the JumpOff. Deadline is midnight tonight. And check back here tomorrow when we announce a NEW giveaway!

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Simple Spice Organizing Tip (Works for Me Wednesday)

September2

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We don’t have a spice rack (don’t want to clutter up the counter tops) nor do we have one of those fancy spice drawers (but maybe we’ll put one in the new house . . . hmmm). Instead we throw all our spices in a cheap plastic bin we got at the Container Store. Problem is figuring out which spice is which when you’re in a hurry (trust me, you cannot substitute curry for cumin as I accidentally did once). I got tired of pulling all the bottles up one at a time, so one day I got the genius idea to put labels on TOP of the jars. I had some little round stickers left over from a yard sale that were just the right size.

So there you have it! Simple solution. This is part of the Works for Me Wednesday series. Today’s theme is “organizing tips.” More great tips here.

DON’T FORGET TO CHECK BACK HERE TOMORROW FOR OUR FIRST CONTEST ANNOUNCEMENT! We have some great prizes lined up. I can’t believe all the generous offers we’ve received and I think you all are going to love the prizes.

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How to Get Red Wine Stains Out of Carpet – Worked for Me!

August26

My husband’s cholesterol is a teeny bit high so his doctor prescribed a glass of red wine every night. He calls it his “medicine.” And it makes him tipsy. After half a glass. I teased him about this one night and he protested, while sloshing his glass about and you know how this ends, right? He spilled it all over the carpet. So I won the argument but our carpet was the unfortunate casualty of that war.

I did what any good Googler would do and searched for how to remove red wine stains from carpet. I came across this bizarre recipe. Mix a little Dawn with hydrogen peroxide, pour it on the stain, and presto! Stain disappears. The magic formula is to use more peroxide than Dawn apparently. Not an exact science, in other words.

We tried it and it worked. I was skeptical so I didn’t take before and after pictures. You’ll just have to take my word for it. It also worked on old spit-up stains. (Seems I’m always discovering new corners of the house my son has blessed with his stomach contents.) We did not have Dawn and used 7th Generation dish washing liquid instead.

This is part of the Works for Me Wednesday series. More great tips at WeAreThatFamily. Hope this works for you!

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What to Do With Poopy Diapers So They Don’t Smell — This Really Works!

August19

I have to give credit to my engineering husband for this one. When my son had a really bad stomach virus, we used gloves to change those nasty, poop-all-over-the-place, god-awful diapers. Had gloves left over so we kept using them on the poopy diapers. You know how you take the gloves off by rolling them back off your hand so they’re inside out? Next time, just roll them inside out and OVER the closed up diaper. Take your other glove and do the other half of the diaper if it doesn’t all fit in one glove.

I swear those gloves form a tight bag that does NOT let the stink out. I would post pics but ewww, that’s just gross.

This totally works for us! For more tips, check out all the great Works for Me Wednesday ideas over at WeAreThatFamily.

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Reusable Sandwich Bags – Great Idea for Back-to-School or Just For Me!

August5

The folks over at WeAreThatFamily are hosting a special themed edition of their “What Works for Me Wednesday” series. Today’s theme is Back-to-School tips, and while my munchkin is certainly advanced, he’s not quite ready for school yet. But that doesn’t mean I’m completely tip-less, or without an opinion on something I’m clearly unqualified to speak on. :-)

I’m thinking back-to-school, packing lunches, cute lunch boxes, environmentally friendly water bottles (like Sigg which we’ve blogged about before), and heck, why not try those reusable sandwich bags. My husband takes his lunch to work frequently and I’ve been thinking of getting him some of these. I love that they’re reusable, non-toxic, and can be washed in the dishwasher! Lots of folks selling them online. Here are a few I’ve found.

SnackTaxi (formerly Happy-Sacks) – these folks were featured on the Queen of All Media (Oprah).

Fly-by-Night sandwich bag from Snack Taxi ($8.95/ea)

3GreenMoms – I like their simple, bold, repeating patterns. Plus, they have a plain white version you can decorate yourself with permanent markers. Or better yet, let the kidlets do the decorating!

White Lunch Skins (customizable) from 3GreenMoms ($16 for a set of 3)

FoodStuffs Etsy Seller – in honor of my nephew, I’d have to get the Pirate design!

FoodStuffs Reusable Sandwich Wrap in Pirates ($8/each)


If I packed my own lunch, I’d get the orange mosaic from FoodStuffs. Isn’t this CUTE?

OK, all this talk about sandwiches is making me crave a BLT.

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Works for Me – Make Your Own Pirate Cake

July29

My sister and pirate-loving nephew were just here for a visit that coincided with his fifth birthday. I saw this great pirate cake on Parenting.com and suggested we try and make it. My dad emailed me that it looked really difficult to make. A little chiding and he revealed he’d only looked at the picture, not the directions. If you read the directions, Dad (he’s an engineer; they never read the directions!), you’ll see it’s made with pretzels and candy and is super simple.

So my sis and nephew made the cake (I took the pictures – haha). And while ours didn’t look quite as pretty as theirs, it looked pretty good, don’t you think? One little tip: buy some pirate figurines at the party store and add them to the top. It totally made the cake! And if yours ends up lopsided, as ours did, tell the kids that the ship is just sailing the high seas.

Anyhow, this recipe totally worked for me! (Part of the Works for Me Wednesday series, hosted at WeAreThatFamily. Lots of great tips there every Wednesday.)

THE CAKE FROM PARENTING.COM

OUR VERSION OF THE CAKE (WITH FIGURINES FROM PARTY STORE)

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OH HO HO IT’S A PIRATE’S LIFE FOR ME! MY NEPHEW HARD AT WORK

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Wanna see more photos? Check out our Facebook page for more shots of the cake-making fun!

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Works for Me – Getting Stains Out of your Tea/Coffee Cups the Natural Way

July22

We drink a lot of tea around here. Good, strong Persian tea or the occasional blend from the Roswell Tea House (mmm mmm Magic Moon and Anti-Aging blends). While I love the tea, I hate serving guests tea in stained cups. I used to pour a little bleach in and swish it around to remove the stains but wanted to find a less, uh, toxic alternative. So I Googled it and found a super simple suggestion that really works. Simply dump a little sea salt in your mug and rub it with a damp rag. Those stains rub right out.

Really works for me! This is part of the Works for Me Wednesday series, hosted at WeAreThatFamily. Lots of great tips there every Wednesday.

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