Monday, June 27, 2011

How to Make a Funnel From a Paper or Plastic Cup

Question: How often do you find yourself needing a funnel? I never have one when I need one, so I usually end up trying to pour really carefully and dripping everywhere.  So last night when Sam was trying to pour his homemade barbecue sauce into a bottle, I decided not to risk wasting half of it from inevitable spilling, and I made an emergency funnel out of a plastic cup (paper would totally work too).  Here's how.

Start by cutting the bottom off of the cup.  I found this was easiest if I used a knife to poke a hole around the edge, and then stuck my scissors in the hole to cut around the bottom.

Once you have cut the bottom off you want to cut a triangle out of the cup as shown.  Don't just cut a straight line down the side because then you will get a tube, not a funnel.  The wider you make the base of your triangle, the smaller the hole in the bottom of the funnel will end up being.  So depending upon what you're funneling or how big the mouth of your bottle is, you want to cut appropriately.

Now your cup should look like this.  Finally pull the cut edges of your cup together, overlapping to get the size you need, and then you can secure it with a little bit of tape if you'd like.

Congratulations! You just Macgyvered yourself a funnel. Now use it to escape an exploding warehouse.

Friday, June 24, 2011

DIY: Clear Jar Labels and Freezer Jam

When I was little I was strictly a jelly kid. I was team jelly like Katy Perry is team hot pants.  There was no way to break us up.  Jam was a creation that I totally didn't get.  I didn't like any fruits not presented in their original form, and jam, with its chunks of fruit that had been in that jar for who knows how long, just didn't appeal to me.

I finally warmed up to jam last year when I was taking baby steps towards canning. I found out about freezer jam and I was sold, it is easy, fresh and tasty.  Plus making your own jam really makes me feel like a capable lady.  Afterward I was pretty sure I could sew all my own clothes from then on, but I remembered I can't load a bobbin so I promptly got over that.

Part of the fun of canning your own jam is making cute labels. I don't really love how paper labels look so I wanted a clear one for my jam (formerly salsa) jar with packaging tape. Here is how:

First print out your image with a laser printer. Then lay a length of packaging tape (that measures the circumference of your jar) on top of it. Press on the back of the paper to make sure all of the text is stuck to the tape.

Next let your piece of tape soak in a bowl of water.  I let mine soak for as much time as it took to make edamame, so like 15 minutes. 

After it has soaked, take the piece of tape out and peel back the paper.  It should come off pretty easily, once you have just a little bit left use the pad of your finger rub the small bits off.  You should be left with a piece of tape that has your image on it.  Let the tape air dry and it will still be sticky, then you can put it directly on your jar.  

Now your jar is ready to be filled with jam.  Or jelly, whatever.

Freezer Jam Recipe: 

  • 4 Cups Crushed Fruit (some people use a food processor on their fruit but I like a more rustic jam, so I just go to town on it with a meat tenderizer)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 package (1.59oz) Ball Freezer Jam Pectin
Just combine the sugar and pectin in a small bowl and then add in 4 cups of crushed fruit.  Stir for 3 minutes and let stand for 30 minutes to thicken.  After that your jam is ready.  Ladle into jars and refrigerate, store any jam you aren't using in the freezer in plastic containers until you are ready to use it.

Monday, June 13, 2011

My Favorite Picture

My new camera arrived this weekend.  I'm so excited to use it to take awesome pictures on our trip to Nashville this week once I get acclimated to all the new features on this model.  In the meantime here is one of my favorite pictures I've ever snapped, on my crappy cell phone, no less.

A child's rendering of a monster found outside of a Sunday School room at a Catholic Church where my mother and I were attending a craft fair. If it was for sale I would have totally bought it. That kid's future is bright, my friends.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Fun With Nail Decals

I'm not generally one for "nail art" but last weekend while watching Mystery Team, I put on these Sally Hansen Salon Effects nail polish strips and they are so cool.  They're like these little stickers that go on your fingernails but stay on just like nail polish.  They are so much fun.  Everyone has been kind of mesmerized by them. Even boys have been asking me about them, which is unusual, but appreciated.

This pattern is called Check It Out, even though it is clearly houndstooth.

They were super easy to put on and so far have proven pretty durable.  I definitely would have chipped a regular manicure by now but these things are still going strong.  The only downside is that they are a little bit pricey (mine was 9 dollars for the pack), but since I keep my nails pretty short I was able to get two nail applications out of each sticker, so I have enough strips left for a second manicure and that kind of softens the blow.

My only other minor complaint is that the designs are kind of limited.  Basically there are some cool ones, but pink camo and animal print aren't really my style.  Which is why I was so excited when I found this site online for Inque Nails.  They're basically the same product, except possibly a little heartier (you have to blast these ones with your hairdryer to apply them), but with a lot more options.  Now, I'm not gong to lie, I don't love all their designs either.  Some of them definitely look like the background of a myspace page.  But, they do have a really awesome tool where you upload whatever pattern you like, and then they make them custom for you.  That is perfect. I'd love to try some blue stripes, yellow chevron, and of course, plaid in any color.  I think this may be the start of a very long nail art phase.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Weirdos at The Annoyance Theater! Now with free SNOW CONES!

It's OK to be a Weirdo!

Time for a shameless plug!  Do you like puppets? Do you have kids you'd like to experience live theater?  Do you want to see the world's most giant vegetable peeler?  Do you enjoy FREE SNOW CONES? Of course you do!  So come out to see Weirdos, a human and puppet sketch show for all ages, at The Annoyance Theater.

The show is directed by Sam Locke (also known as the awesome boyfriend who sent me flowers yesterday), and he also built all of the puppets in our apartment.  Fun fact, the Colonel Kernel was actually hit by several cars when a gust of wind blew him into some pretty busy traffic.  But he survived!  What a brave soul. 

You have 4 more chances to catch the show before it closes. So come enjoy a great puppet show and a FREE yummy snow cone at the theater! Tickets can be found at!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

DIY: Freezer Paper Stenciled Pillows

Our new pillows.
There are definitely some projects that I'll just never get sick of.  One of those is freezer paper stenciling.  Seriously, it is addictive.  Once you do your first stencil and realize how easy and fun it is to make something look cool, you can't wait to do it again.  After you've exhausted the usual suspects t-shirts, tote bags, and even more t-shirts, you find yourself thinking "I wonder if I could freezer paper stencil the oven" and then you know you have a problem.  But if you, like me, are in the throes of a freezer paper addiction (or just wish you were) here is a fun project for pillowcases.

I first learned to freezer paper stencil from my favorite craft blog How About Orange.  There are lots of tutorials out there, but here is the basic formula: trace, iron, paint.  Here's how I made my pillows.

First I prepped my image.  Generally when doing this project you would print out an image and trace it onto the freezer paper, but since I wanted to make these look really handmade I actually just drew a heart (you can see I drew it a few times to get it just right).  Since I can never make a heart that is actually symmetrical, I just drew half.  I made sure to hold it up to my pillowcase to get the right size.  I also drew the letters for the word "love", again I just free handed them but you could print the word out and trace it if you wanted to.


After you have traced your image you need to cut the paper.  I layered two pieces of freezer paper (shiny sides together so I would end up with a right and a left side) and cut through it once and I cut my letters. Now you have your stencils.

Make sure you iron your pillow so it isn't wrinkly, and then lay your stencil down with the shiny side facing down.  Once your stencil is in position, iron the paper to the pillow case, this will cause the paper to stick to the pillow case. Make sure all the edges of the stencil are affixed and then it is painting time.

Use a sponge brush to apply paint to the pillow case.  You should put something like a magazine or cardboard inside the pillowcase to keep the paint from bleeding through.  Also be careful when you paint near the edge of the paper to not accidentally peel it up with your brush.  Check for any sparse patches and apply a second coat of paint if needed.  Wait the recommended amount of time for the paint to dry before peeling off the stencil.....

....or blast it with your hairdryer until you're pretty sure the paint has set and peel the stencil off, because patience is a virtue you never mastered.  Your call.  But seriously, I don't recommend actually wearing or laying your head on any paint until is really dried for realsies.  Now that you have the left pillow, repeat the process to get your right pillow.  Make sure your heart and your letters line up or it will be crooked and weird and looking at it will annoy you (me). After they've had a good while to dry you should set the paint with an iron, and be sure to wash them inside out to keep things looking nice.

So this is my finished product, but here are some other links for inspiration if you want to make your own design:

Urban Outfitters has some pretty cool mustache pillowcases to match your DIY mustache glasses

Freshly Picked has a his and hers pillow set that could inspire a stencil

And a monogram in a cool font would also look great

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

My Camera Died

You know the weird thing about it was, I've dropped it approximately 1,000 times.  But this time it fell a few scant inches onto the table top while the lens was extending.  Apparently this is a gear breaker.  So anyways, camera is out of commission.  But I have one arriving shortly to bring you a new freezer paper stencil project.  So get excited for that. In the meantime here is the last photo my camera took before dying.  At least it was of Big Star. Better to burn out than to fade away.

The tacos still tasted excellent.