Posts Tagged ‘DIY’

Ice Candle Tutorial


This is northern Minnesota. Bitching  Bragging about extreme winterness is in our Nordic DNA. When hell freezes over, Minnesota schools will start 2 hours late.  There are four seasons in Minnesota: Early Winter, Winter, Late Winter, and Road Construction. The majority of cars and trucks have block heaters, standard. And on and on…

I used to hate  detest  abhor dread winter. Winter can be cold, dark, expensive, depressing, and we love to complain about it.  However, as part of my ongoing quest for better health, personal growth and general serenity, I have been looking for ways to be more positive. I have come to realize that hating winter does not make it shorter, dreading winter does not prolong its arrival, and preparing for winter internally and externally reduces my stress levels about it. Less stress translates into less physical pain and reduces depression. This may be first-grade stuff to most people, but for me it was a revelation. Winter may never be my favorite season, but I can accept hate it less and find its unique moments of beauty and joy.

You will need:

2 containers of Cool-Whip

2 plastic tumblers

rocks or sand

food coloring

water

tea-light candles

First, eat the Cool-Whip. If you are from North Dakota, mix it with Jell-O and cottage cheese. If you are in Minnesota, combine it with a can of fruit cocktail and Jell-O to make a “salad”. Wash out the Cool-Whip containers, after licking them mostly clean.

I brought everything outside, having had a VLE (Valuable Learning Experience) while making Ice Gems/Marbles . I centered the rock-filled tumblers in the Cool-Whip containers, then filled them with hot water* from a teapot and added a few drops of food coloring. *I was told that the boiling water would make the ice less cloudy and add cool bubbles, but with a project this small, and my overuse of food coloring, it didn’t seem to matter.

Cool-Whip, ice candle

Freezing times vary, depending on climate. These small containers freeze faster than their traditional 5-gallon bucket counterparts. And I can lift these without hurting myself. Once frozen, I tapped the whole works gently and popped the tumbler out.

Cool-Whip, Ice CandleTah-dah!! Add the tea light candles for another craft that’s fast, cheap, and easy. 🙂 And hopefully, something to make winter feel a little less…blah.

Cool-Whip, Ice candle

ice candle

As usual, if you enjoyed this post, let us know.  “Like”, share, or comment. Loveyabye.

PS: This is just another glowing example of how I am working ’round the clock to help Cook Dollar Barn. This is Employee of the Year stuff, if you ask me. Vote for me here. Or send my sister a postcard. Better yet, bring us a plate of Christmas Cookies and tell Lois in person that LAURA ROCKS!

Ice Gems/Marbles; How-To-Not-To


Personal Note from The Baby: As the Employee of the Year at Cook Dollar Barn, I feel it is my duty to share not only my successes but also my epic failures. Mistakes are where I learn the most, anyway. And I make plenty of them. You’re welcome. Last night’s mistake Valuable Learning Experience (VLE) came as a result of multitasking. You probably don’t want to follow along. I am unsupervised much of the time, and looking back, I may have confused the ice candle tips with the ice gem tips. Whatever. I lived.

*************

ice marbles/gems

All day at work, creative women were in and out, gathering supplies for winter crafts. I was especially interested in the balloon ice gems and colored ice candle ideas floating around thanks to Pinterest. I did a few of the balloon gems last year, and apparently I’m not the only one who thought I could tweak them a little. This year I wanted to do some ice candles, too.

So I asked questions and tried to remember the answers.

Everything I knew last night BEFORE craft time in the empty nest:

Susie was going to try freezing curly ribbon in her balloon gems to hang them from branches. And glitter! And she also said putting the filled balloons in a bowl will keep them from getting a flat spot on the bottom.

Ericka said ice made with boiling water is clearer with lots of little bubbles while she helped DeeAnn pick out matching cookie trays and bags for a cookie exchange.

And hot water freezes faster than cold water.

Last year, I should have used more food coloring, and stretched the balloons out more before filling.

The only way I filled my balloons with water was out of the tap.

What I learned during and after craft time:

One craft at a time.

ice marbles

Don’t follow these directions.

Anything you want to add to a balloon ice gem needs to be put in FIRST. Before the water. Glitter, food coloring, a length of ribbon tied to a washer, etc. This led to the next lesson:

Water shoots out of a balloon really fast. Like, water-cannon fast. Even though I have the ninja reflexes of a mom, and squeezed the balloon shut and pointed it away from my face to the bottom of the sink, the water still shot fast enough out of the balloon to ricochet off the sink and all over  the rest of me. And the floor. And the kitchen table. Shit. I should have checked the ceiling…

Maybe lukewarm water is the way to go. It doesn’t hurt as much as super-hot tap water.

Also, for your first try, don’t add food coloring, glitter, ribbon, etc. Just practice filling a 12-inch latex balloon with the kitchen sink and tie it closed. Unless you want your kitchen to look like a smurf murder scene. I’m sorry I didn’t take a picture–I was too busy wiping it all up and then making the others so I could change out of wet blue clothes that started to freeze to my body when I brought the gems outside to freeze.

I hope this was helpful. Any hands raised? Please like, share, or comment to help friends Pin safely. Loveyabye.

A Foofy Bow Tutorial That’s Fast, Cheap, and Easy


I remember wishing as a child- and later as an adult- that I had half the crafting ability of our Great Aunt Martha. She made Martha Stewart look like an unimaginative slacker. And I LIKE Martha Stewart. (I also wish Aunt Martha had lived to see Pinterest–she would have LOVED it!)

In my twenties, I went on a wreath-decorating bender. Being flummoxed by the thought of making a fancy, foofy bow I almost gave up. I can’t cut a straight line. I can’t do origami. But that year, I found simple directions for a bow that changed my view of crafting forever. I have long-since lost those original directions (that were ON a roll of ribbon–genius!) but here’s the gist of it:

To make a bow that is approximately 5 & 1/2 inches wide and 5 & 1/2 inches long you will need:

46 inches of wide ribbon (with or without wire)

4 inch-long piece of craft wire or needle and thread (wish I’d thought of that sooner.)

scissors

PART ONE/ The Foofy Part:

First, cut 12, 10, and 8 inch pieces of ribbon. (This part is flexible; if you desire a larger bow, start bigger. Make three lengths that decrease in size by 2 and 4 inches. ie: 18, 16 &14 inches.)

Bow

Fold the ends of each piece to meet in the middle.

Bow

Part Two: The Constants

Cut a four-inch length of ribbon to use as a cover-up later, and a four-inch piece of craft wire

(OR use needle and thread. That’s what I should have done instead of the wire). It doesn’t matter what size bow you make; the wire and the cover-up are still 4 inches long each. You should have one 12-inch length of ribbon left. That will be the tail later.

Bow

Next, bend the wire like so:

Bow

Part Three: The Mechanics

Starting with the smallest loop, poke wire through.

Bow 6

Add medium and large loops to the wire. If you’re smart, you can sew all three together at once instead of messing with the %$@! wire.

Bow 7

Remember the other 4-inch piece of ribbon? The cover-up? Use it to hide the wire (or thread) by centering it over the wire on top of the bow and securing it on the back with the wires that are poking out.

Next, you should have a 12-inch section of ribbon remaining. Fold it like so (below) and trim triangles out of each tail.

Bow 8

Almost done! Attach the tail using the wire still sticking out the back of your bow. Twist said wire to secure it all together.

Bow 9

Fluff the bow to desired foofiness. TA-DAH!!

Bow 10

I swear, it took less than 10 minutes to make this bow. Writing this post took a lot longer. The moral of the story is:

Don’t assume only perfectionists can make cool stuff.

Another GREAT IDEA that’s fast, cheap, and easy…brought to you by the Pajari Girls. 🙂

As always, if you found this useful, please “like”, share, comment or Pin It!

Chicken Wire Ghosts


Wire ghosts

These ghosts made out of chicken wire were one of my first discoveries on Pinterest. I messed around with chicken wire for the Dancing Ghost Bride, and it was trickier than I thought it would be. They are beautiful, ethereal, and I want to make four of them at least, using real pajarigirls for the forms. I’d love to have the whole backyard filled with non-creepy dead people in foofy dresses.

Finding the original source has been tricky, and this is as close as I’ve gotten:

Thanks to The Candy Corn Chronicles & The Modern Mourner for sharing on Pinterest– I can’t wait to explore these blogs further. 🙂

I also Googled chicken wire ghosts and found another post with two tutorials for making them  at www.bedifferentactnormal.com. Thank you!

Eight Great Uses for Plastic Spiders


1. Good Parenting: Encourage spawn to clean their rooms more often by hiding a big one in their bed. Place it close enough to the top layer of detritus so they will see it. She still cusses and hits me when I bring it up. Tears still run down my leg when I remember that day…

2. Being a Good Sister:  We TRIED to scare Lois and Bigguy by putting big fake spiders in the camp chairs they borrowed.  She names the real-life huge hairy spiders on the Funny Farm…(Charlotte, of course.) I should have known this would flop. If your big sister is a big baby about spiders, try it. Note: This is not just a Halloween trick. More effective other times of the year, actually.

3. Being self-sufficient: Can and eat them.

Not really. Use an old jar, food coloring and plastic spiders to make a fast, cheap, and easy Halloween decoration.

5. Be a good wife. I found this one on Pinterest, too. This lady Delia is messing with her arachnophobic husband. She hot-glued spiders to magnets to show her love.

6. More good parenting: What little girl wouldn’t LOVE spiders all over her head?? We have some really cute spider rings at the Barn.

Halloween Rings hairstlyes. Gotta remember this for sure!!!

7. Good Housekeeping:  I was doing something else with plastic spiders, and left one on the dryer by mistake. Startled me and the family a few times. Now I kind of keep the top  of the dryer cleaned off so the spider shows.

8. Your turn. I’m almost out of ideas, and there are lots of spiders left. Leave a link or a comment with your great idea.

For four billion other great ideas, check out my Pinterest Boards. Most of the ideas are like what we Pajari girls eat: fast, cheap, and easy. And most of the supplies can be found at Cook Dollar Barn!

Dancing Ghost Bride


I loved my wedding dress; it was the marriage that was the problem. So, after one of my daughters wore it to a formal, we decided it would make a great Halloween decoration.

tomato cage, chicken wire, wedding dress ghost

Last year I used an upside-down tomato cage, this year I added a chicken wire bodice.

Tomato cages are the best option I’ve found for making ghosts; this time of year I am taking them off all the plants, anyway.

tomato cage, chicken wire, wedding dress ghost

An old store fixture and a broken snow rake handle are the frame.

Because I didn’t want her to blow over or away while dancing in the wind, we pounded a few large stakes to hold down the fixture.

tomato cage, chicken wire, wedding dress ghost

It was easier to put the dress on the form and THEN squish the wire as needed.

Tomato cages have three legs; I used two for her chest and one to hang off the frame.

tomato cage, chicken wire, wedding dress ghost

Ta-DAH!!

Another GREAT, fast, cheap and easy idea brought to you by the Pajari Girls 🙂 (pronounced, PIE-ree)!

Killer Asparagus


There was this great idea I saw on Facebook…Cut eyes in toilet paper rolls and put a glow stick inside. Then hide them in the bushes for Halloween. I love the idea, but in northern MN, we have wind, rain, long nights, and usually snow this time of year.

It took a couple of weeks to figure out a way to make them Minnesota-proof , but the project came together with:

1. Driveway reflectors,

2. Gorilla Tape (everybody knows gorillas are stronger than ducks),  painter’s tape, or masking tape, and

3. Black spray paint.

Foofy reflectors from Bossy Big Sister’s store.

First we broke off the metal bugs, then cut desired eye shape from tape and placed it in center of reflector. Three light coats of spray paint later we had heavy-duty creepy eyes for the ditch. (We did this to both sides.) Once they were mostly dry, I peeled off the tape and ta-dah! Creepy eyes that glow every time a car goes by. (Feel free to wait until paint is completely dry if you are a firstborn and have lots of patience.)

There is a rogue asparagus gone wild next to the house, and it’s perfect for hiding the reflectors.

Another GREAT IDEA that’s fast, cheap and easy…brought to you by the Pajari girls. 🙂

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"I gotta say, it's brilliant stuff."--Dan Piraro, Bizarro

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