Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Birthday Present For All Ages!

Last Thursday was our baby sister Cara's 21st birthday! We wanted to do something fun and different for this milestone birthday. We decided to make a gift basket filled with 21 of 21 different gifts. (does that make sense?) This present would work well for any age. It would even make a fun anniversary gift! You could make your basket serious, silly or romantic depending on the person you were making it for! Our boys have already said they want a basket for their birthdays. What a fun birthday tradition that would be. Each year you get a little more!

We hit the dollar store and found 21 different goodies that we thought Cara would like or just find funny!

We also bought some clear treat bags and cute labels. We put 21 of each of the 21 items in each bag and labeled each one.

We also found this basket at the dollar store. We also stuck in a couple bottles of wine. Ben made this sweet card for his auntie.

Not sure what to put in your basket? Here is what we put in ours!

21 of each:

1. markers
2. popsicles
3. cosmetic wedges
4. lollipops
5. bubbles
6. grow capsules
7. magnets
8. lemonade packets
9. nail polish
10. pop rocks
11. dental flossers
12. erasers
13. sticks of gum
14. paper clips
15. pixi sticks
16. army men
17. balloons
18. hair bands
19. nail files
20. candles
21. pencils

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Homemade Jewery Cleaner

With kids, pets, crafts, gardens, cooking, and other messy things in our lives we find that our wedding bands and other jewelry are getting pretty gunky. And while we could take them to a jeweler to have them cleaned, or buy some commercial cleaner at the store, you know we much rather make something ourselves! We like knowing what's in the cleansers we use as well as saving a few bucks in the process! And this one that we found on contains only a few ingredients that we already had on hand. And it worked GREAT!!!


What You Need:
  • 1 Tbsp. Salt
  • 1 Tbsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 Tbsp. Dish Soap
  • 1 Cup Water
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Small Bowl (we used a regular cereal bowl)

Heat your water in the microwave for 1-2 minutes.  While it's heating up, cut your foil to fit roughly into the bottom of your bowl.

Pour the water into the bowl...

Then add the rest of your ingredients.  Give it a little stir, but know that there will still be residue on the bottom. That's ok!

Drop in your rings and other jewelry and let them sit for 5-10 minutes.

We swear they're in there! They are that slightly darker spot near the middle

When the time is up, rinse them in cool water and dry with a soft cloth. Then look at those babies shine!

Supposedly this works well for gold-filled, brass, german (nickel) silver, and sterling silver. We tried it on gold with beautiful results!

By the way, it is our baby sister's 21st birthday today! 

Happy Birthday Cara!! 

Come back on Monday to see what gift we made to help her celebrate this milestone! We can't tell you now...that would ruin the surprise!

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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Ombre T-shirts!

You may have noticed that ombre is everywhere - hair, clothing, jewelry and nails! We love it! Of course we don't want to pay too much for it, especially when we think could do it ourselves. Well, we aren't brave enough yet to try diy ombre hair, so we thought we would start with a simple ombre t-shirt.
We decided to use plain white t-shirt, but you can be very creative with this project. You can use any color or style of shirt (or other piece of clothing). We also used Rit fabric dye, but there are many other kinds you could use.

We covered our work area with an old towel. You may want to go outside for this project! We also used an empty pretzel barrel to dye the shirt (again use what you have - bowl, bucket, pitcher), and salt to make the dye. We decided to dye the entire shirt light blue. You could skip this step if you want to leave part of the shirt it's original color.
We poured the powdered dye in a bowl. We filled the barrel with 6 cups of hot tap water, 4 Tbls of salt, and 1/2 tsp of powdered dye. Test the dye on a piece of scrap fabric or paper towel to see if it is the shade you want. Start light, it is harder to make your dye lighter, but you can always make it darker. Then we stirred it all well.

We wet the shirt. Wetting the shirt will help it dye evenly. Then we quickly dipped the shirt in the dye. The dark blue dyed the shirt really quickly! We carefully wrung out the shirt against the inside wall of the barrel.
Next we added another tsp. of powdered dye in the barrel and stirred again. We carefully lined up the shirt so we could dip it evenly in the dye. We dyed the bottom 3rd of the shirt in the dye. For some reason the shirt looks very grey here.

We added another tsp. of dye to the barrel and stirred. Then we dyed 2/3rdof the dark stripe. We repeated this step again. We added another tsp. of dye and dyed the lower 3rd of the stripe!

Here's why we used the pretzel barrel, for the darkest stripe we let it dye for a few minutes. We could lean the shirt over the edge and keep it in place. Your shirt will be lighter after you wash it!

We let the shirt hang on a hanger to dry (make sure it can't drip on anything that the dye will hurt!) Hanging it to dry will help the dye continue to work it's way downward.

If you decide to try this project you may want to wear gloves to dye your shirt. We seem to have ombre nails as well as ombre shirts! Pretty!

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Green Tea Face Mist

Ok, ok, we PROMISE we will do the Homemade Sunscreen that we mentioned. But we have been distracted by the heat. Lots of heat. Triple digit heat. Suffocating heat. Did we mention the heat? So when we saw this tempting recipe for a cooling Green Tea Face Mist, we simply couldn't resist.  And it is probably the simplest DIY beauty recipe you will find out there! Win-win!

What You Need:
  • 1-2 green tea bags
  • 1-2 cups cold water
  • ice (optional)
  • spray bottle

Pour your cold water into your spray bottle, add your tea bag, and let it steep for an hour or two. Add ice if you want! Then spray yourself silly!

Not only will you feel cool and refreshed, but the antioxidants in the tea will do your skin a world of good as well!  And don't limit this to your face. We brought ours to the beach and sprayed our arms and legs as well! A perfect and simple new beach essential for us!

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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Happy Christmas in July!

Do you have a July birthday? Not sure what kind of party to have? Looking for something different from everyone else? How about a Christmas in July party!
This weekend was our Auntie's birthday. We decided to throw her a surprise birthday party. What could be more surprising than a Christmas in July party (we love a good theme). Rebecca and the little boys kept her out for the day, and Maggie and Nana snuck into her condo to haul out the holly! (Auntie may be questioning giving us all copies of her keys - ha ha!)
No Christmas in July party would be complete without a Christmas tree. We hung sugar cookie ornaments on it so we wouldn't have to bring over our ornaments. The kiddos were quite happy to clean these up for us. Plus they loved making them.
The dollar store had red and green streamers. We hung them on everything!
It gave it a birthday party feel. We also made a stocking for our Auntie, stuffed with dollar store finds.

Maggie and Nana went all out!

They even decorated the sliding glass doors and the deck. We can only imagine what the neighbors thought. The paper decorations were nice and light to bring over -a good trick no matter what kind of party you are having!

Santa even let our elf come for a visit.

Can you believe Maggie found these this week at the dollar store. The only pair!

Baskin Robbins let us order a Christmas ice cream cake. Forgot candles so we used a tea light!

Incorporate your own family's Christmas traditions. We always have sticky buns!

The best party activity was the snowball fight! We gave each kid a bag of cotton balls and let them go nuts in the guest bedroom.

It was actually a lot more fun than a real snowball fight. No one got wet or cold. The cotton balls are so soft and they didn't hurt anyone or anything!

Even if you don't plan on having a Christmas in July party, we highly recommend an indoor snowball fight! The adults had as much fun as the kids. It kept them busy for hours!

We wish you and your family a Merry Christmas in July!

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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Bubble Snakes!

Summer is in full swing around here, and that means lots of time spent at the beach, park, sleepovers, museums...all the fun stuff we can't always find time to do while the kids are in school. But some days you just feel like having slow, lazy days at home (also a luxury compared to the running around during the school year!). And when those days roll around, we like to have fun, creative ideas to entertain the kids - and ourselves! We found the perfect activity here on Housing A Forest: Bubble Snakes!  And you probably have all the materials in your house right now!

What You Need:
  • Empty water bottle
  • Old sock
  • Rubber band
  • Bubble solution
  • Scissors
  • Food coloring (optional)

First, cut the bottom off of your water bottle.

Cover the cut end of your bottle with the sock and secure it with the rubber band.

Pour your solution into a dish then dip the sock-covered end of your bottle into it!

Put the other end into your mouth, blow, and watch your bubble snakes grow!

Make sure your kids blow and not suck - little Charlie would forget this important step and ended up with a mouthful of suds!
If you want, add a few dots of food coloring to the sock

and turn your snakes pretty colors! Chances are your kids will need a bath after this, but it's so much fun we don't think you'll mind!

Such a simple activity that kept the kids busy for ages! SO much fun for all of us!

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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Splatter Bleach T- shirt Make Over!

We found this shirt on Pinterest (pictured below), but there was no link with it. No problem, this was all the inspiration we needed! (although we would love to give credit where credit is due) This is the perfect project for all those old t-shirts that you love, but know you need to get rid of.

We started with this old, stretched out black t-shirt. As you can see it already had a bleach stain in the lower right corner. (when will we learn not to clean with bleach in a black shirt?) The perfect shirt for this project. You could use a new shirt if you want, just make sure you wash and dry it first. This will make it take the bleach better.

You will also need:

-disposable foam brush
-wax paper and safety pins (optional)

We put a layer of wax paper in the shirt because we weren't sure how much the bleach would soak through. It really didn't soak through on the sleeves where we didn't have any paper. You can skip this step if you want.

We took the shirt, paint brush and a small glass of bleach outside. Find a place where the bleach can't hurt anything. We went into the ally. You may want to wear sunglasses or goggles to protect your eyes, and wear clothing that you don't care if you get bleach on. Start splattering! We went in diagonal motions for this shirt. The bleach worked almost immediately, but some shirts will take longer. Leave it on until you reach your desired effect.

Here's the back.

Here's the front.

After the bleach is ready, wash and dry your shirt.

We had originally planned on leaving the shirt as a t-shirt, but then noticed that the hem in the sleeves was gone so we decided to turn it into the tank top.

We cut off the sleeves and cut around the neck. You will need to cut between 1-2 inches off the neck. You will be tying the straps together (look at the next picture), so cut just the collar off and then try it on. See how it will look with it tied and decide if you need to cut off more the neck. We ended up cutting off about an 11/2 inches off the neck. Let us know if this doesn't make sense!

Using the neck scraps tie the straps together. We found that hanging it on a hanger while you did this made it easier. We wrapped it around a few times and then tied it. A friend would also e handy for this step!

This shirt is so easy and fun to make! It looks adorable layered over another tank. It looked so cool that the little boys wanted one too! Here is Jonah's shirt. It's a good example of how different shirts will react differently to bleach. His shirt is old, and we used full strength bleach. We left it on for over a half hour and it barely faded, but that is part of the fun of using bleach. Each shirt will be a unique work of art!

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