November 30, 2011

Magnetic Perpetual Calendar

Design Crush hosted their annual Calendar Swap again this year and I decided to participate. I've been wanting to make a Magnetic Perpetual Calendar for a looong time. I've been seeing different versions all over Pinterest lately and decided that making one for my calendar swapmate was an opportunity that couldn't be passed. I was very excited with how it turned out and I can't wait to make more in the future! I just hope that it arrived at my swapmate's door all safe and sound and it can be enjoyed year after year.

If you would like to make your own you will need the following materials:

~ Picture frame, with glass (I used 8x10)

~ Glass stone magnetic numbers or any other kind of magnetic number (click here to see how I made mine)  

~ A sheet of metal that will fit inside the frame (tin snips if you need to cut it to size)

~Paper to go over the metal, that will be the background

~ Grid tape to create the boxes

~ A calendar kit (can be found in the scrap booking section of any craft store)  

~ Ruler & sciccors 

~ Dry erase markers 

I was lucky enough to find a frame that had squares on it as part of the design. That helped me determine that enough squares could be made for the calendar and was a great guide for making the squares. Make sure you choose a frame that has glass instead of plastic. That way your calendar is not only magnetic but it can be written on with dry erase markers. It's helpful to have magnetic numbers of some sort so that you don't have to write the numbers each month. You can use any size frame, I plan to make another one that's much bigger. 

Once I had my frame the next step was finding piece of metal that would fit. My husband had some random pieces lying around that just needed to be trimmed a little bit with tin snips. Try looking at a hardware store or see if you can find an old metal sign that's thin enough and the right size.

Now that all the pieces are figured out you're going to want to choose a piece of paper that will provide a good background year around. I'm not known for being able to draw straight lines even when I have a ruler.  So I created the calendar boxes using grid tape. It can be found at office supply stores and is often used for making grids on whiteboards. I mapped out with a pencil about where the lines would go. Thin ribbon would also work and of course you could draw the lines with a marker. I was worried about bleeding and messing up though. The grid tape made it fast and easy.

Once I had my calendar lines drawn I added the days of the week at the top. I used stickers that I got in the calendar kit. They could just as easily be printed off the computer or hand written. The calendar kit is also where I got the months from. I just thought it would be easier then printing and cutting everything out. I'm also not a big fan of my handwriting.

Next I cleaned the glass and put the paper in, then added the metal and put the backing to the frame on. Next I placed the magnetic numbers and the month. I created a little envelope that I attached to the back of the frame to house all the extra months.

Last but not least I attached a small loop of ribbon to the sides with hot glue for the dry erase markers. This calendar can hang out on a desk or be hung on the wall.  It's so versatile because it's magnetic and can be written on with the dry erase markers. I hope you're inspired to try making your own!

Below I made my very first video so that you could get a good visual for how the calendar works. Pictures can only do so much. I used my iPad to shoot the movie and edited with the iMovie app. This was my first time making a movie so don't be too hard on me.

November 29, 2011

Tidbit Tuesday (C.S. Lewis)

Did you know that C.S. Lewis was born on this day in 1898? That would make him 113 years old if he was still alive today. C.S. Lewis is one of my favorite authors! If I had to choose a favorite book he's written, which is difficult since I enjoy everything he's written, I think I would have to choose The Screwtape Letters.

It's a story in the form of letters written between an experienced demon Screwtape and his nephew named Wormwood. It's a fascinating and creative tale that gives an interesting perspective on spiritual warfare. If you've read it before I would love to know what you think about it!

Happy Birthday C.S. Lewis!

November 28, 2011

Gleaming Glass Magnets, Thumb Tacks and More

This post is all about how to turn those glass stones that fill vases into magnets and more. It's super easy and fun! I discovered this technique when staying with the Cookie Monster's grandmother a while back. On her fridge were the most adorable magnets one of which really caught my eye. A little orange fish trapped beneath a glass gem. Because of the bubbles that naturally occur in the glass it was as if this fish was really under water. She told me that she painted the fish on a tiny piece of paper, then glued it to the back of a glass stone and attached a magnet. She was kind enough to let me have it! I was so excited to take that little fish home and try making some magnets myself. 

I ended up making many different kinds of magnets to decorate my fridge with. Then I made some for school, the students and teachers loved them. I decided they could be more than magnets though. I made a giant Homeworkopoly game to motivate my students to bring in their homework. Since each student in my classroom was assigned a number I printed out numbers and and attached them to the glass stones. Instead of attaching them to magnets I glued them to thumb tacks. They made great game pieces! The picture below is the only picture I have, I took it on my cell phone. You can see the little game pieces lined up on the side,  this was before we started the game.

Another thing I did was label their mailboxes with the glass stones and I used numbers again. That way students know which mailbox is theirs without their name being written on it. I don't like personalizing everything with students names because then I just have to change it every single year to the new students' names.

So if you're still wondering how to make these glass gems it's super easy! The only thing limiting you is your imagination.

The first thing you're going to need to do is decide what kind of design you want to do. You can print out the alphabet or numbers, you can draw or paint a design. Scrapbook paper works great too. One thing to keep in mind is that the glass will MAGNIFY your design a little bit.

You will need to get a bag of glass stones. I've found them at the Dollar Tree before and they can also be found at pretty much any craft store. You're also going to need a paint brush, scissors, Mod Podge and magnets or thumb tacks or anything else you can think of to use your glass stone for.

These glass stones can be found in many different sizes and colors. Use strong magnets that way they will stick to any surface.

Step #1 Cut out your design in the shape of a circle no bigger than your glass stone.

Step #2 Paint a thin coat of Mod Podge on the flat side of the stone and place the design directly onto the glue so that the blank side is face up and the design shows through the front. Then set it aside to dry for a couple minutes.

Step #3 Paint another coat of Mod Podge over top of the paper and attach magnet.  If you're doing many of these make sure not to set them too close together while they dry or the magnets will pull each other off. Let them dry completely.

In an upcoming post I'll share with you another project I used these number magnets for so stayed tuned. As always I would love to hear from you. Let me know if you decide to try this project or maybe you already have.

Aren't those magnets beautiful?

P.S. Today is my Dad's birthday. HAPPY birthday Daddy, I love you!

November 25, 2011

The Living Thanks Movement

Yesterday many of us celebrated Thanksgiving. People gathered with their families and enjoyed a scrumptious feast. Hopefully it was also a time spent reflecting on all the things there are to be thankful for. Of course we're all dealt different cards in life. I wasn't surrounded by a big family yesterday it was just me, my husband and my dog. Even though we missed our loved ones deeply and we didn't have the "traditional" Thanksgiving there is still so much for us to be thankful for. Like peace and quite, low stress, relaxation, eating as many deviled eggs as I want. Sometimes it's hard not to dwell on the things you don't have though like children running around, warm hugs, loud laughter, lots of dessert options....

According to Psychology Today there are health benefits to being grateful; you can read the full article by clicking here.  So if being grateful is so good for us and others shouldn't we strive to be grateful more than just during the Thanksgiving holiday?

Heather over at Pinfluence has come up with a grand idea! She has inspired me to join her in living thanks all year long. One way she suggested we can do that is by creating a Live Thanks board on Pinterest. The goal is to pin at least 365 things that we're thankful for between now and next Thanksgiving. What do you think about that? Are you going to join us? Let's start a LIVING THANKS MOVEMENT and inspire others to be grateful 365 days of the year!

These are the first things I pinned on my Live Thanks board, if you click on the pictures it will take you to my board.

Don't forget to swing by Pinfluence and see what new pins she's blogging about. Let me know if you joined the movement I would love to follow your board, leave me a comment with a link to it.

November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Poetry

Today marks the day before Thanksgiving. I can remember last year being so Thankful to finally have a break from my third graders. The days leading up to holidays at school were as equally exciting as they were exhausting. I'm really missing my students this week! Don't get me wrong substitute teaching can definitely have it's advantages but it can have it's disadvantages as well. I always enjoyed creating Thanksgiving themed projects with my students and having our own classroom celebration.

My students and I would do a number of Thanksgiving activities together. One that was always a great success was when they would paint a picture of what Thanksgiving was like at their home. Instead of paint they would use words and their senses to help get the image across in the form of poetry. Each student would use a fill in the blank template to help them write their poems. Click HERE for the printable template. It always amazed me what they would come up with. I thought I would share a couple of my favorites. I would usually type them up so that they could be printed and pasted to Thanksgiving cards or decorations to present to their families, so I have quite a few still saved. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

November 22, 2011

Tidbit Tuesday (Turkey making you sleepy?)

According to over 46 million turkeys will be eaten in the United States this Thanksgiving. If you're like me then you always thought that turkey makes you sleepy. I recently found out that's just a myth, in part at least. Turkey contains an amino acid called Tryptophan which is the culprit for that sleepy feeling. The thing is we eat things all the time with Tryptophan. Dairy products, bananas, all other meats... Chicken has more Tryptophan in it than turkey does. So do you find yourself passing out after you eat chicken? What about that bowl of cereal with sliced banana you eat for breakfast in the morning? It would appear that the sleepiness we feel on Thanksgiving  is more of a combination of things like overeating and waking up too early to cook and prepare for our guests. What do you think?

November 21, 2011

Pumpkin Yogurt Parfait

I make myself one of these for breakfast, lunch, snack or treat. It's super easy, healthy (believe it or not), satisfying and tasty. You only need 3 ingredients for a Pumpkin Yogurt Parfait: Vanilla Greek yogurt, canned pumpkin and pecans.

Greek yogurt is high in protein so this parfait will fill you up and keep you that way. The Vanilla Greek Yogurt has just the right amount of sweet. Of course there are many variations. You can add cinnamon or a little honey, a different kind of nut or even graham crackers. It temporarily curbs my pumpkin pie craving!

November 18, 2011

Book Box, Chapter 2

After reading my last post you may be wondering why I selected such thin books. My goal was to make a Book Box as a cover for my iPad. I was so surprised to finally get the iPad 2 as a birthday gift last June! I take my iPad with me everywhere. I even took it on a camping trip to Minnesota shortly after I got it. The Cookie Monster was shocked so he took a picture as evidence.

I have that awesome magnetic cover for my iPad in the lime green color but otherwise it's not protected. I wanted another cover but I felt guilty getting one because they are so darn expensive. On Pinterest I saw a link for how to make a composition notebook into an iPad cover and that's when I realized you could probably do that with any book. Click here  for details on how to make the composition notebook iPad cover or see below for inspiration on how to turn any book into an iPad cover.


The first thing you're going to want to do is make sure you have all the materials needed for the project. I used the materials shown in the picture. If you don't have a Dremel with the sanding attachment any sandpaper will do. Mod Podge works well and so does Elemer's glue, use whatever you have. I only use the Matte kind of Mod Podge. The box cutter shown in the picture worked really well it's made by Husky, I did need to change out the blade a couple times. When choosing a book make sure that it's at least as big as a composition notebook.

The reason I got two books was in case I messed up. The first one I hoped would be a good practice and help me figure out what to do differently the second time around.

STEP #1 Glue down the back page of the book. As you can see in the picture the second time around I decided to glue in a red elastic hairband. This will help the book stay closed when the iPad is in it.

Step #2 Give the back page time to dry to the base of the book. I found those black clips to be very helpful in holding things together. Then determine where you would like your secret compartment to begin and measure out the size you want it to be. Make sure you leave at least one full page to glue down in the last step. Draw your lines all the way across the page, this will be covered up later. Next paint the edges of the book with Mod Podge adhering all the pages together. You can water down the glue a little if it's too thick.

What does that say about my pottery?


Step #3  Give the pages plenty of time to dry. Put a protective layer between the pages glued and the ones at the front that are unglued. Then close the book and place something heavy on top. Leave it alone until it's dry, if there are gaps then you should do another layer of glue. 

It was nice to have my hubby's help with the project.

Step #4 Now the real fun begins, cutting out each page. Use your ruler as a guide and line it up with the lines that were already drawn. Press firmly cutting along the lines. Once you cut out a page or two that should be enough of a guide to continue cutting out pages. Save these beautiful pages for future projects. Keep cutting out the pages until you reach the desired thickness.   

This was more challenging than I thought it would be. It really took a lot of time and patience and was quite messy! I suppose I shouldn't have worn fleecy sweat pants, the little bits of paper really stuck to them like a magnet. The vacuum was nice to have handy.

Step #5 Now that all the pages are cut away you might wonder like I did, "is it supposed to look like this?" The inside of mine was messier than I thought it would be and that's when smoothing it out with sandpaper or a Dremel tool in my case really helps out. You will also find a vacuum very helpful after sanding down those pages.  Next you paint over the inside perimeter with a couple coats of glue. Use the black clips to keep everything nice and tight and make sure you give it plenty of time to dry.


Step #6 Measure out a piece of felt or another fabric of your choosing so that it will fit inside the rectangle. Then glue it down. I sewed a piece of black elastic to the back of the felt and wrapped it around the front, so that there would be something to keep my iPad in place. After I placed the felt into the rectangle I placed some glass stones on-top to keep it nice and flat while it dried.

Step #7  Lastly paint glue along the top perimeter and bring over that full page that was left. This will cover up those imperfections and marks from measuring. Let this page dry and then very carefully cut it out to reveal your box. 

And here are the FINAL results!

Yes I took the picture that's on my lock screen. If you haven't visited Utah yet then you must because it's breathtaking!

I was so proud of myself for finishing this project. It really was time consuming and was a little more challenging than I thought it would be. Let's just say I took a lot of coffee breaks especially between cutting out those pages and I chose thin books!

Out of the two book boxes I made I like the way the second one turned out best. The iPad fits a little snugger and I was able to add a second elastic strap which really helped. The red hairband was a great addition that helps keep the entire book closed when the iPad is placed inside.

After all my hard work and not one but two awesome iPad covers/book boxes I have to be honest. These did not meet  my expectations for an i-pad cover. I still think my beloved iPad deserves better. I just don't know that I could use these book boxes as an everyday cover. This is how I like to think about it. Let's say you just got your dream sports car and you had a choice to store it in an awesome crooked barn that you just painted and built by hand or you could buy a state-of-the-art garage, which would you choose? WHO in their right mind would chose the barn. Well okay some of you might think the barn's a good choice to keep the car hidden from potential thieves. But will the barn stand the test of time, will it stay standing in the wind or is there a potential for little bits to fall on-top of your car.

I have the perfect solution for my iPad! The BookBook. Have you heard of it? It's AMAZING and I love it. I've wanted one for a while but I thought I should at least try making my own first. The only problem is my handmade ones don't have all the extra padding like the BookBook and it doesn't fit quite as well as it should on all sides.  My iPad deserves the best right? It's a valuable gadget that deserves to have the best protection. I guess until I get my BookBook my handmade covers will have to do.

I hope that you'll try your hand at making your own book box. How fun would it be to give someone their Christmas gift in one this year?

For your enjoyment the BookBook video is below :) Isn't it great?

November 17, 2011

Book Box, chapter 1

Last year for Christmas I received a beautiful book from my parents. I was quite surprised considering I hadn't ever heard of this book before. I was even more surprised when I opened this book and realized it was missing something. The entire middle was cut out! It's more of a box I suppose then a book?

I like how a wood burner was used to finish off the edge on the inside. It adds a nice detail.

I have a strange obsession with boxes. I love them all. That's one of my favorite parts about giving and receiving gifts, the packaging. No not the crazy hard to get open packaging but the fun boxes, tins and wrapping packaging. I love it when someone puts time into wrapping up a gift! What better way to give a gift then to hide it inside a book? It sure throws the recipient off when they think they're just getting a book. Not to mention these books make great secreting hiding places for your treasures.

I like that the first page with the leaves was left intact.
I was fascinated by this book especially when I found out that my mom was the one who put so much time and effort into turning it into a box. I had to inquire about the details so that maybe if I found time I could try my hand at making one myself.

This is what my mother told me I would need to make my own Book Box:
  • hardback book of your choice
  • X-Acto knife
  • box cutter with a pointed/slanted blade
  • PLENTY of razors
  • ruler
  • pencil
  • paint brush
  • small cup
  • Elmer's glue
  • a piece of colored felt or material of your choice
  • super fine sandpaper
  • vacuum with attachment (you will need to vacuum the inside of the book as you go)
  • trash can (makes a HUGE mess)
  • time and plenty of patience ;-)
The first thing I needed to do was find a book. Now you may be thinking how insane it is to cut a precious book. I agree it sounds a little crazy. Especially since I feel like it could be breaking some kind of unspoken rule amongst teachers. There's nothing worse then a student bringing a book back to the classroom library that's been ripped, colored on or worse (we won't go into stories right now about the things that I have found on my books before)!

The way I like to think about it is every book has a purpose and unfortunately there are used book stores and thrift stores all around the world where books are still waiting for a purpose. These are books that maybe were held and loved at one time but now they are slowly deteriorating as the dust keeps building upon their frail pages. Their spines are starting to crack from the pressure. These are the books that are starting to become UNGLUED from the stress of it all. These are the books that are shaking in their dust jackets at just the thought of being loved and treasured again! We can RESCUE these books from their misery and transform them and give them a new purpose. ARE YOU WITH ME?

Now that I feel much better about my decision to destroy books I needed to find one to use for my project. I could spend all day in a used book store. Cookie Monster on the other hand can NOT. Especially if he's hungry. We decided to stop by a used book store after church since it was near by. I had a wonderful time searching through stacks and stacks of books. Cookie Monster could not understand what was taking so long. He kept asking me why I actually needed a book I liked if I was just going to cut it. It's all about the thrill of the hunt for me, besides I needed to find that special book that was just the right size, that was screaming out to be transformed. Lucky for me I ended up finding two!

This was the first book I found. I loved it because of the wonderful illustration on the front! The illustrations are just as amazing on the inside too. Not to worry I plan to save each page I cut out and find a way to re-purpose them.
This was the second book I found. Wallpaper books are great books for projects, you can find them in abundance because people consider them "out of style" after just a short while, kind of like fashion. This book was such a surprise though! I actually found it to contain a wealth of information and inspiration. I was drawn to the vibrant cover!


Wallpaper has sure come a looong way. I would say this could be the perfect compromise for the hunter and his wife ;)
Who knew they made magnetic wallpaper? This is beyond that magnetic paint stuff this is AMAZING! Check out the video below.

I think that's enough information for one post. Next time I'll share how I made my book boxes and reveal the final transformation. No doubt my books will be given a new purpose!

November 16, 2011

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

There is no real description needed for these delightful treats I think the name about sums it up. Lets just say if you make them they won't last long.

                                                    Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
                                              (click here for printable recipe)

2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 & 1/4 cups  sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4oz cream cheese, room temperature
6 Tablespoons butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 & 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 4 baking sheets with parchment paper

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt in medium bowl. 

Beat butter and sugar in mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add pumpkin and vanilla extract, beat until smooth. Stir in flour mixture until combined.
Drop by heaping teaspoons onto prepared baking sheets (a small cookie scoop will make this much easier).  

Bake for 10 to 13 minutes until springy to the touch. Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes; then remove to wire racks to cool.

TIP: using a Ziploc bag to pipe the filling on the cookies goes much faster

For cream cheese filling: beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla extract in mixer on medium speed until fluffy. 

Gradually beat in powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Spread a heaping teaspoon of filling onto the flat side of one cookie; top with flat side of second cookie to make a sandwich. Repeat with remaining cookies and filling. Store in covered container in refrigerator. 

*This recipe makes 36 Whoopie pies 

Isn't this tray too cute?!? Thanks to a friend for such a lovely gift.

November 15, 2011

Tidbit Tuesday (Soup)

Soup is something no pantry should be without. It's a quick and convenient go to meal. It's especially nice to whip up when the weather is chilly. One of my favorites to have on hand is tomato soup. There are many things you can add to store bought soups to jazz them up. One thing we did recently was top our tomato soup with bacon and sour cream. It was delicious! Do you have other ideas for jazzing up soup?