August 31, 2009

A while back I saw this cute soap dispenser on the bathroom counter at one of my friends houses. Then a few weeks ago I was reminded of it as I spoke with our another friend who is in charge of organizing the Super Saturday for our Ward. She was considering doing this and asking how. I said I could make the print-out for her. And it was really easy to do.

I've decided to share the file for this simple craft with you. In order to share the file I've removed the personalization (The _____ Family) on the top and chosen a few different headers in hopes that one will work for you:

Our Little Monkeys
Our Happy Family

The last two (His and Her) would be a really cute addition to a towel set for a wedding gift! Hopefully those Headers will give you enough variation to choose from for gifts. Let me know if you any other ideas and maybe I'll make another file.

You can download the file here. *Note the view of the file looks like it's missing a dot in the line, but the actual file has it there.

This is designed to fit the cheap soap dispensers from WalMart. It must be printed on overhead transparencies with either a Laser printer or photocopied onto it. Home printers (InkJet) do not set the ink as required so once it's in the soap dispenser the ink will run. If the design is not the right size for your bottle, you can blow it up or shrink it when copying.

You can also purchase empty soap dispensers from Industrial Container and Supply Co. The part numbers are: Bottle - B3221, Pump - DP111E. Contact the company for prices and shipping costs.


1. Peel the labels off the soap dispenser, use a blow-dryer to soften the glue and Goo Gone on the left over glue.

2. Cut the transparency to size. Make sure to leave a clear space on the bottom so that the words are at the height you would like. Test this on the outside of the dispenser before putting it in.

3. Roll up the transparency and squeeze it into the bottle. It will unroll once it's inside the bottle. Push it with the pump to the front of the bottle.

4. Put the pump back on, and if desired tie a cute ribbon around it.

Note: if you are using the empty containers make sure the transparency is sitting at the front of the bottle before filling the bottle with soap. Otherwise the pump will block some of the words.

Please let me know if you have problems downloading the file. Enjoy!

I'm linking this project to Today's Creative Blog's "Get Your Craft On".

August 30, 2009

This week has been a whirl-wind of activity at my house. While we continue painting and I have started to catch up on sewing - I had my second photo shoot this week. This time, not for a business. I did family portraits for some friends! It was a blast, they were so patient with me, and I can't wait to tell you all about it. But for now I sneak away to bed. Not without mentioning my newest crazy creation: Wedding Invitations for a friend. Can't wait to get her photos to put it all together. I'll be back tomorrow to tell you all about it. Bye.

August 29, 2009

I found this site via Hostess With the Mostess that has made me excited for lunch time again. It's not really an original idea for lunches: Sandwiches and Vegetables. It's just the amazingly original presentation. I don't know very many kids that wouldn't smile for a Funky Lunch. I know it's not an everyday thing, but when it will only take a few more minutes for a really happy lunch time, I'm willing to put in the effort. Check out more pictures in their gallery.

Please note that this is a start-up company. They are trying to get a book together to teach you how to make lunches like the ones in their gallery. I love their company goal and hope you all will share this site with your friends and family!

August 25, 2009

I've been seeing cute camera straps lately. They are all the rage. Etsy sellers have anything from the $6 (on sale) Camera Strap Cover to the $39 Recycled Seat Belt Custom Camera Strap. Honestly, I had a strap (and it wasn't trash - just not cute), so I just couldn't justify a cute custom strap. I could easily make myself a strap cover, but that wasn't the look I really wanted. So when I was in Joann's looking at the big bin of grosgrain ribbon spools and saw some really cute ribbons I envisioned a quick and easy project immediately.

This is so easy anyone with sewing capabilities will be kicking themselves for spending money just to have a cuter strap than the one they already own.

Here's the strap that came with my camera back in February. I finally pulled it out of the packaging last month.

1. Choose the ribbon. I used grosgrain ribbon because it's strong, looks good and had several cute styles. My strap is 1.5 inches wide, so I got 1.5 inch wide ribbon. Pretty simple. At first I wanted a really cute pink with white polka-dots and brown ribbon. But my strap is black and red and the way it would all be put together the red would still show a little on the edges. Pink and brown didn't really go with the black and red. So I opted for a white ribbon with black and red flowers. It cost $2.50 for a 4 yard spool. I have tons left over.

2. Cut the ribbon to the length of the strap. This is the length between the two leather pieces plus about 1 inch to be able to tuck in the ends.

3. Pin the ribbon to the strap. This is a little difficult if the strap is thick, but it will help as you sew. Tuck the ends of the ribbon under just before the leather sections. You can see how this is done in the picture just after Step 5 if you skip ahead. I tried very hard to line it up the best I could so it's not too obvious.

*The rest of my pictures are taken after I put the strap on the camera, hence, the quality is not as good because they are taken with our smaller camera. Sorry.

4. This is a really important step. Match the upper thread on your machine to the ribbon and the thread in the bobbin to the back of the camera strap. I used white on top and black underneath. This keeps the strap looking well made - if I'd had white thread on the black back of the strap it would look less professional. See - you can't tell on this side that anything was changed!

5. Sew the entire perimeter of the ribbon and strap, close to the edge. Remove the pins as you sew. If you are worried about the ribbon not laying flat, sew down both edges from the same end then sew the widths on either end. I didn't need to do that with my strap though. Here you can see how that red from the strap shows - I'm so glad I chose a coordinating color!

6. Put your new strap on your camera and enjoy!

While this wasn't really trash to begin with I think it's safe to say the make-over has significantly improved the strap! Once again I'm linking up to Trash to Treasure Tuesday. Kimm's post this week was a good reminder to me of life's lessons and how we just need to keep going and remember God even when the unexpected happens.

August 24, 2009

I think my husband would say I'm nesting with a vengeance. Either that or I've just gone completely insane. After all of my freezing and canning we continued with the home renovations. I've shown you the new Chandelier which still stuns me every time I look at it. But we've been busier than that. My wonderful Dad was here to help last week. He installed closet organizers in the two kids bedrooms. They look so fantastic! The nursery closet is packed full. I can't even open the door to one side of the closet.
My son's bedroom on the other hand has a very empty closet. It actually took me a while to figure out what to store in there. Anyhow, we're going to get some big tubs and hide some of his toys in there. That way we can rotate the toys again and have less to clean up! Hurray!
My husband also finished that guest bathroom, painted two walls in our bedroom (they were messed up from the original paint job), and is going to re-paint the master bathroom. I think we're both sick of the color in there, and it just doesn't fit the rest of our house.
I wish I could say that's all, but no, we've got more in the works before this baby arrives. Seriously, it was a long list, but we're getting through it quickly. Today I'm working on sewing projects. I have a lot of things cut out and ready to sew!
The previous post is for regular homemade salsa. Zucchini Salsa might sound strange or weird to some of you, and it takes a little more effort to make. But let me tell you it really is fantastic. If you're not sure you're going to like it, make half of the following recipe, not the whole thing.

Zucchini Salsa

10 cups zucchini
1.5 cups onion
3 cups green/ red pepper mixed

Sprinkle 4-5 tbsp coarse salt over top and let sit overnight. In the a.m., drain & squeeze out liquid. I rinsed it too.
2 tsp Garlic Powder
2 cups Brown Sugar (mix with cornstarch FIRST)
2 tbsp Cornstarch
1 1/4 tbsp Dry Mustard
2 tsp dried Chile Peppers
2 tsp Turmeric
2 qts. Tomatoes peeled, chopped (about 8 cups, 6-7lbs) you can used canned tomatoes too
2.5 cups Vinegar
2 small cans Tomato Paste
3 Jalapenos chopped and diced (for a good medium heat)
Yield: about 10 pints
Combine all ingredients in a pot. Stir and simmer for 1/2 to 3/4 of an hour. Seal in mason jars (halves or pints) and process 20 minutes in a hot water bath. (You can follow the canning directions for the Homemade Salsa if you want more detailed canning instructions.)
* Since making this Salsa I have used it on Chicken and Salmon as a marinade. It's so delicious that way, especially on the Salmon!
The last two weeks have been so busy! After freezing 10lbs of Blueberries someone should have yelled at this pregnant woman to take a break. But no! Her husband was painting the guest bathroom while she was happily cutting vegetables for Salsa. 10lbs of tomatoes, and many more vegetables, mind you.

The next morning when she fire roasted (oh fine, burnt) the Salsa she really should have quit. But the Zucchini Salsa was already started so she forged on. In the end the result was 7 pints of "Fire Roasted" Salsa and 15 pints of Zucchini Salsa, and one exhausted pregnant lady. (Only 6 weeks left folks! I can't wait!)

The Fire Roasted Salsa was barely worth saving, but I figure it will can still be used in recipes. (We'll see how it withstood the canning process.)

The Zucchini Salsa is awesome. By the way - the first large Zucchini in the picture was 11 cups cubed. And that was after I removed the seeds! The little Zucchini was 2 cups cubed. I made some slight variations to the recipe that my Sister-in-law used last year, and I think it turned out perfect. So now, I must share the recipes with all of you!

Homemade Salsa

4-8 Jalapenos seeds and veins removed, diced finely (4 is a mild Salsa, 8 is too hot for me)
7 cups Tomatoes peeled, diced (this is about 5lbs of tomatoes)
2 cups Onions
3 cloves Garlic finely chopped
1 cup Green Bell Pepper chopped
½ cup Cilantro chopped
¾ cup White Vinegar
½ tsp ground Cumin
1 can Tomato Paste

Yields about 3 pints

If you'll be canning: Begin sterilizing jars (I start them in the dishwasher before I start cooking).

In a large stainless steel or enamel saucepan combine all the ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until Salsa reaches desired consistency. (Be careful to stir and monitor the Salsa when bringing to a boil and simmering - you don't want it to burn!) It should be thick, runny Salsa just isn't fun to eat.

Sterilize and soften lids in boiling water for about 5 minutes. Fill the canner with hot water.

Ladle the hot Salsa into empty jars (it's best if the jars are still hot) to within 1/2 inch of the top rim. Remove any air bubbles by sliding a knife between glass and salsa along the sides of the jar. Make sure you still have 1/2 inch space at the top. Wipe the rims clean to remove food or stickiness. Center sterilized lids on the jar and apply the screw band until just barely tight. Place jars in canner. Make sure the jars are covered with water in the canner and bring the water to a boil. Process for 20 minutes and remove. Cool and make sure all the jars are sealed. Sealed lids curve downward. Continue to cool for 24 hours. Wipe the jars clean and store.

August 20, 2009

So last night, the last stroke of Twelve marked the beginning of a special day for me. Today 4 years ago I was married to my amazing husband. It also marked the end of a 2 year battle, no not with said amazing husband, we don't have battles, it was with my Living Room.

Picture this if you will - a lovely Living Room with a vaulted ceiling that reaches about 15 ft high. There are plenty of windows and a fabulous skylight. I'm sure you're now wondering what my battle could possibly be. Sounds wonderful doesn't it? It is! During the day, when it's all bright and sunshiny. I love pulling up the blinds, and on the not-so-hot days, opening the windows for a nice cool breeze. I love this room. But when we purchased this home 2 years ago, we didn't realize the major downfall with the room was it's lighting. This lovely wonderful sunlit room turns into the darkest abyss in the evening. Why? Because some stupid designer thought that one spotlight way up high on that vaulted ceiling would be sufficient, plus two outlets with their own switch. I mean, what more could a person want? Um... a spotlight, really? And where am I going to find toddler-proof lamps? Is it just me that thinks lamps should be accessories, not the only source of decent light in a room?

Hence, last night, just after midnight I was gloriously bathed in more light than the spotlight ever gave from just one single 60W bulb plugged into the newly hung chandelier! The one that requires 8 bulbs. The one that we hunted for a long time to find. The chandelier is a thing of beauty. It was exactly what we were looking for, and within our budget. We had hunted online and in stores for nearly a year and I had seriously given up hope. The size and style I wanted was anywhere from $250-500! Then, to install it, it would have cost us even more! We just didn't want to pay that much.

This chandelier was $100! It was the last one, the floor model, filthy as could be hanging there in the store. We almost walked past it, in fact, I think we may have a few times before we noticed it. Even when we saw it, we still weren't sure. Was it really what we wanted? After 10 minutes thought, we knew it was. We bought it a few months ago and just in time to be one of the best Anniversary Gifts ever my husband worked like a dog to hang it last night. He did a fantastic job thanks to the help of his and my Father! We saved so much money just by waiting for what we wanted (and of course - because I have a patient husband who's willing to try just about anything himself).

Thank-you Matt for your amazing hard work and patience with this chandelier. I know it wasn't easy. Trust me, I watched you wobble up there on the scaffolding, pulling, lifting, sweating in the heat, and knew that the main reason you were even up there was because you loved me. I love you too. Honestly 4 years ago I did not think life could get much better, but it has! So much better! Thank-you!

August 18, 2009

Once upon a time my husband and I were using one of the end tables meant to be in our living room (as if it would have fit in that little matchbox) as our night stand. Yes, just one. Our bed was against the wall. There was only room for one. When we moved to our next apartment we got a cheap end table and used a bookshelf on the other side.

So when we finally moved into our new home I had hopes of finding the night stands of my dreams. Those were quickly dashed as I discovered just how much they could cost. Finding something I liked under $100/per stand was impossible. So I hunted Craigslist. Eventually I found two that I thought had hope. Pine night stands. 2 of them for $30. My husband wasn't so sure about them, they needed work, it was obvious from the picture online, but I was sure I could do it.

They were in terrible shape. They were covered in cobwebs, one was missing a foot, the other the back, the tops were disgusting with rings from cups, marks from pens and I think a highlighter, they smelled of smoke, and they were the absolute wrong color. Light pine. Not so cute with my dark cherry bed. They were way worse than pictured online and when I brought them home even I was dubious as to their potential.

But despite my doubt another DIY project began. First I stripped the varnish and sanded those suckers down. Ha - one sentence for hours of work. It seemed endless. Or should I say it was endless? When that was finally finished I painted them with a flat black paint. After the paint was dried I distressed them. That took a bit of work to get a good look too.

Center Black drawer = Painted, Bottom = Distressed, Top 2 = Stained

Then I did something I was rather excited/nervous about. I stained them with a dark red stain that matched the bed. Let me say I had no need to be that nervous. After staining them enough and coating them with some varnish I couldn't believe the results myself. I only wish I took a real before picture. So instead you get to see some of the process and the end result.


Seeing as these were finished long ago, they are already stock full for the after pictures. I have a lot of craft books for inspiration.


Once again post is part of Trash to Treasure Tuesday over at Reinvented. My husband is very excited about Trash to Treasure Tuesday and wants me to do this every week! I wonder why? Something to do with the fact that I've accumulated a lot of "Trash" over the few years we've lived here? Probably...

August 12, 2009

So last weekend my parents came to visit. Prior to their visit I called them up. The conversation went something like this:

Me: Mom can you guys bring some vegetables from your garden? Please?
Mom: I'll see what Dad can get for you, what do you want?
Me: Oh, well some zucchini, cucumber, whatever's ready, I'll take.
Mom: Well, we'll see what we can bring down.

The next day Dad brings in the loot. A few nice cucumbers and two zucchini's. I seriously stared at them for a day wondering what to do with them!

Don't worry, I know how to cook with zucchini. I love the stuff grilled, fried, mixed into many meals. It's just that I now have more zucchini than I've ever had in my entire life!

I'm sure some of you are thinking "OK Maggie, two zucchini's, you seriously can't handle that?" These are not just any two zucchini's though. Pictured below they are beside one of the larger zucchini's I'd purchased at the store earlier last week. Now do you understand?

So I'm going to be making Zucchini Salsa! Hurray! That and regular Salsa. So delicious. I figured if I'm going to break the canner out I might as well make it worth it.

By the way, I just froze 10 lbs of Blueberries last night. Delicious and easy. My only problem is I'm wondering if it's enough.

August 11, 2009

I found this old sign at Value Village. I decided it was the perfect size for a space in the nursery where a shelf had formerly been. The shelf had fallen off the wall so we ended up with two large holes. We're not re-painting this room so I needed something to cover them up.


Old Sign ($4.99)
The sign was probably in good shape once upon a time. When I found it there were scratches and marks all over it. It also had raffia tied on it as a hanger. I removed that before taking a picture. I don't need anything pink in my nursery. Maybe someday. I'll confess I wouldn't normally pay this much for a sign. Seriously, that was more than I wanted to pay, but I haven't been able to find boards with the nice routed edges lately so I caved.

Supplies and Instructions:

Left-Over Paint (Free)
I sanded the sign down and painted it with two coats of this beautiful green paint. It's left-over from our home make-over.

Note: if you want to distress the sign do it right after the paint is dry. Then wipe it down with a damp cloth to get the dust off. After everything else is on, it's way more difficult to do this.

Iron-on Flocking ($1) (Yes you read that correctly.)
I cut pieces of the flocked flower to fit the lower left and upper right corner of the sign. Cutting the right size was important. I didn't want to iron extra petals onto the nice routed edges. I applied the flower once the paint was dry, following the iron instructions on the back. I touched the paint with the iron in one spot and had to touch it up a little. It stuck really well to the board though, so this is something I would try again.

I applied the flocking first so the lettering could be aligned well in the rest of the space. Note that it's really important to wait for this to cool before you pull the top back, otherwise the flocking won't stick properly.

Stock Vinyl Lettering ($5.99)
I found this Vinyl at a local craft shop and decided that the price was as good as paying for custom design and shipping. Plus I could get this done right away instead of waiting for the vinyl to arrive. Once the touch-up paint was dry I applied the lettering.

After ($12 Total):

I love how this turned out! The green looks fantastic and goes great in the Nursery. Not a bad price either. I'm sure it would have cost more in a store!

The flower's texture gave the sign a very unique look. I think it looks very modern and playful.

*This post is part of Trash to Treasure Tuesday over at Reinvented.

UPDATE: Since posting this I purchased a Silhouette Digital Craft Cutter. I then discovered Fuzzy Adhesive Vinyl - which is very similar to the flocking, except it doesn't require the iron!

August 5, 2009

I saw this video today and it had me laughing and moved. It's so hilarious and yet it talks about something that I've been thinking about for a long time. Studying language has truly made me consider how I speak my own native language. I will be the first to admit I do not speak it well, I do not always speak it with conviction, and I do not always say what I meant to say. I believe that comes with speaking. (Or was that pregnancy?)
The typography is so amazing and the speaker does a fantastic job. Watch, enjoy and share. Hopefully we can all walk away wanting to speak with more conviction, more authority, and more appropriately.