Stuff I Learned - Tutorial Tuesday Wrap Up

KitchenAid Mixer Makeover

Sew a Halter From a Men's Shirt


Camp Eggs

Hawaiian Burgers

Snickerdoodle Muffins

And congratulations to Paige from Simply Handmade by Paige for winning the pet portrait from Thirty Times Three!


Fatal Distraction - Feedback Friday

As the temperatures in Pittsburgh have soared into the 80's and 90's this summer, stories have already surfaced detailing the deaths of children forgotten in hot cars. With July being the most deadly month for these tragic accidents, it's worth taking a minute to think about today.

Momlogic Newsletter summarized the 23 children who have died in hot cars already this season. A few sentences summed up each horrible accident, an example of how easy it is to forget what you are doing and leave a helpless child in a hot car.

Mommywords.com compiled a top 10 list for remembering your child in the back seat that might have seemed silly 10 years ago. Before the distractions of satellite radio, built-in DVD players, cell phones, blue tooth, before passenger seat airbags forced parents to only place children in the back seat...The list recommends pasting a note to your dashboard, placing a stuffed animal in the empty passenger seat beside you, leaving your briefcase in the back seat.

Gene Weingarten, from the Washington Post, wrote the award winning article Fatal Mistake last summer. He followed the stories of several such incidents.

What kind of person forgets their child in a hot car? Research suggests that this phenomenon extends to reach all of us, Weingarten goes on to list:

"In the last 10 years, it has happened to a dentist. A postal clerk. A social worker. A police officer. An accountant. A soldier. A paralegal. An electrician. A Protestant clergyman. A rabbinical student. A nurse. A construction worker. An assistant principal. It happened to a mental health counselor, a college professor and a pizza chef. It happened to a pediatrician. It happened to a rocket scientist."

In most cases, something unusual has happened to distract or confuse the responsible adult, causing them to forget about their precious cargo. Many times, the caretaker drives right to the daycare to pick the child up at the end of the day, only to find them dead in the back seat. A change in schedule, an early meeting, a last minute phone call is enough to erase the memory of the sleeping child in the car seat. The results can be devastating.

Weingarten raised an interesting question as he followed several parents, some of whom were prosecuted for their child's death. It's Feedback Friday so tell me...

Forgetting a child in the backseat of a car:
Mistake or Crime?


The County Fair

No matter what technological advances are made, no matter what new video games they buy, no matter what TV show is their current obsession, the County Fair will remain untouched. A rare, unplugged version of life.

A strangely comforting scent of cow poop mixed with funnel cakes, a bleating calf heard over the soundtrack of the dunking booth chatter, magical lights twinkling over a family of carnies on a cigarette break. It is a truly rural experience, an eye opening snippet of the world amidst diesel, candy apples, and Ferris Wheels.

Try to imagine the soundtrack...a generator hums..."Play til you win! Who wants a chance to win?"..."If you want to go faster, scrrreeeeaaammmm" Popping corn, the roar of a chainsaw, a calliope tune, "Dunk me if you can! Looking for a pitcher!" "Riders, canter please. Turn your horse."...

Can you hear it? Okay, you're ready.

Where else can you soar in the sky

Pet a soft-nosed mare

Watch a lamb nap

Behold the wonder of hatching chick in an old TV cabinet turned incubator

Observe a newborn nursing calf

Or wow grown ups with 12 pull ups?

Lest you think the County Fair is all unicorns and rainbows, some other things will remain unchanged...

You will always see too short shorts

And pet children on a leash

And smashing cars

And finally, I have one more visual for you. I wasn't able to pull out my camera fast enough, and to be honest I was afraid of getting beat up if I did. Imagine a tank top clad D-cup making her way up the bleachers during the demo derby with a hard pack of Marlboro's tucked between her breasts. It was, hands down, the single greatest thing I saw all night! Ha!

Thanks for joining us on our trip to the County Fair!



Wide Open Sky

See that countdown clock over there? Has it been driving you crazy? Are you one of the people who has emailed me asking for a hint, just a tiny hint? Well, I'm ready to spill the beans.

In the next few months I'm going to be working on launching my own Open Sky shop. Did I just hear someone say "A wha-?" Okay, let's backtrack.

Open Sky is a new concept in online shopping. A concept that brings a personal connection into your shopping experience, another way for me to connect with YOU!

Listen, I feel like we are buds. We banter back and forth, I ask questions, you answer. You ask questions, I answer. We laugh, we cry ... let's shop!

Each week I get emails from readers asking what color my paint is, where did I buy the twiggy reindeer on my mantle, what brand macaroni do I use in my Macaroni Salad (dude, that's good salad). I feel like it's a thing between you and I.

Open Sky will allow me to stock a shop with all the things I know and love. Things I think you'll love, too. I want to keep it funky and functional. I don't know if that's possible, but that's my goal. I want you to feel like you're getting a recommendation from a friend. A cool friend who likes to cook and decorate and build stuff. Yeah.

So, that's the big news. Bear with me as I try to get through my trip to the beach and getting these rugrats back to school. I'll be working on it slowly - we can do it together. Yep, I like the sounds of that. So, soon we'll be meeting in the wide Open Sky. I'll call you when I get there.

There is still time to link up for Tutorial Tuesday this week. Click on over and Teach Me Stuff!

Meet me back here tomorrow 'cause we going on a field trip...

One more thing - I forgot to announce the winner of the Firefly Blankets gift certificate! Congrats to Peggy AplSeeds!



Tutorial Tuesday with Thirty Times Three

Welcome to Tutorial Tuesday - If you are new here, this party is to showcase your weekly tutorials. What counts as a tutorial? Anything to "teach me stuff" counts - a recipe, a kid's craft, a DIY project, how you got your baby to sleep through the night ... I'm not picky.

My weekly tutorial: Paint Chip Mosaic.

This week my feature is a little bit different. I began corresponding with my 1000th follower a few weeks ago and we decided a feature was in order to thank her and to help get her new blog off the ground. So let's meet Kristina from Thirty-Times-Three! That's her picture up there - isn't she a doll?

This girl is busy...so hold on tight! Kristina has two full time jobs, the art director for a teen magazine called Atlanta Girl and visual merchandiser at Bleu Dame boutique. I love the fresh and funky vibe of both! Oh, did I mention she is also a full time student at the Art Institute of Atlanta? Well, she is. Oh, and she blogs, and tweets. No. Joke.

In Kristina's own words she is a: "Collector of owl things and Alice in Wonderland books, terrible cook, lover of dogs, flash game artist, and aspiring product/advertisement designer. My goal is to be the next Pioneer Woman and Margot Elena all wrapped into one tiny 21 year old package!" (I confess, I guess I'm too unhip to know Margot Elena ,I had to google her and I spelled it wrong! But I'm a new fan.)

Oh, you know she's an artist, right? Check out my fave:

While browsing her blog, I found some really great stuff! Check out her tutorial Screen Printing 101 using items most of us have around the house!

Do you have an Etsy shop or some other business you need to promote? Check out this amazingly simple yet brilliant marketing idea she came up with to drive customers to her store!

Okay, one more - Water Bottle Flowers! Yikes - I love recycling projects!

So, yeah, this girl pretty much rocks. She brings out the hip in me, inspires me, and exhausts me with her endless creativity. My 1000th follower is pretty darn special. I'm so glad I met her.

Since Kristina is an artist, she is offering up a custom prize to one lucky participant this week...8 x 10 acrylic painting of the animal/critter of your choice. To see some examples of Kristina's work, check out her Flickr.

Want to win?

Either link up with our party (rules are below)


Click on over to "follow" Thirty-Times-Three. Easy peasy, right?

Please... (this is the part at the end of the commercial when the announcer talks real fast)

* Link up using the link to your actual post (not your general blog address) using your name and a the subject of your tutorial to generate interest.

* Add my button or a clickable link back to this post so everyone can join in.

* Visit and comment with all our friends. Show them some love! Meet some new friends! Learn something new!

Ready? Teach Me Stuff!

Hope Studios

I forgot to announce last week's winner of the Single Stone Studios gift card - Congrats to Michelle from Girl in Air!



Paint Chip Mosaic - Tutorial Tuesday

Okay, I'm back with the promised Mosaic Tutorial after being preempted by the World's Biggest Slip and Slide last week! So, here we go...

I have had the idea for this Paint Chip Mosaic on the back burner since we painted our house, over a year ago. As with most things, I went a little overboard while collecting paint chips for our project. I got a lot of chips. A. Lot.

I held onto them, because soon after that we painted our ski condo and have recently been planning to paint the boys' rooms. So, all these projects yield a lot MORE paint chips that I can't seem to toss. Some of them were used to make notepads, using this method but the nice square chips hung around, waiting.

I found inspiration in this mosaic print from Ballard Designs catalog,

But $279 is a little pricey for my budget.

Kimba came up with an awesome alternative in her Tile Artwork tutorial

But grout and tile adhesive were a little too adventurous for me this summer.

I decided to put those little paint chips to work to create my own inexpensive, quick, and easy

Paint Chip Mosaic Artwork.


Plywood or a pine panel (my board is 20x20 inches)
Paint chips
Spray adhesive
Acrylic paint
Mod Podge Matte-Mat


I began by painting the sides and edges of my board black. I used a pine panel, because I had it cut out to use for a frame already, but plywood or MDF would also work. (For some reason, I began this project at nightfall, so the photos are on the dark side.)

Here is my paint chip collection, but you could easily cut squares of scrapbook paper for a similar effect. To get the randomness right, I simply shuffled the chips several times like a deck of cards:

I laid out the cards to get an idea of spacing:

The next step is to simply spray a line of adhesive and stick on the paint chip squares. Now repeat, again, and again:

See? All finished! Now, let this dry well. Go over it once in awhile to smooth any edges that might begin to come unstuck.

Once the adhesive was dry, I touched up any sticky spots on the painted edges with more paint to even out the color.

Now, apply 3 coats of Matte Mod Podge to get a nice smooth surface.

Let dry overnight, then rub stain over the whole piece with a rag. Make sure to really get it into all the cracks and seams so they look darker and defined.

Layered behind the photograph on my mantle, it gave the punch of color and textural interest I was looking for. And, for $10 total, the price was right, too!

Do you have a tutorial for me? It can be a recipe, a tip about cleaning wood floors, how you house trained your puppy, I'm not picky! Grab a button and link up tomorrow for fun and prizes!

Hope Studios

mmm button

**Edited to join Fireflies and Jellybeans party!

Sunday Funny

In response to last weeks video...


Stuff I Learned (and Loved!)

Branch Artwork

Pottery Barn Armillary

Painting Stripes

Bucket Garden

Blackberry Cobbler

Fried Zucchini Blossoms

Soapapilla Cheesecake

And finally, my children are desperate for their 15 minutes of fame, to make a mark on this world...And when you are 7, 9, and 11, that mark is measured by You Tube views. Sad but true. So, to help them out I promised I would show all of your their wave riding experience at Hershey Park this week. Don't say I didn't warn you!

The Birds and The Bees - Feedback Friday Guest Post

I decided to take over Jen’s “Feedback Friday” post for today. Well, actually, I had to, because I lost a bet with her. My Cleveland Indians were unable to defeat her Pittsburgh Pirates in their inter-league series. So the loser had to write a Guest Post for the other one’s blog. But I’m glad to be here. My name is Craig and I run The Constant Complainer. Nice to meet you! And I believe I have a topic that will interest all of you.

Let’s start with a question. How old should a child be when you have “the talk” with them? I know there are a lot of talks you could have with them. But in this case, I am referring to “THE” talk – safe sex.

Recently, a school committee in Provincetown, Massachusetts, “unanimously adopted a condom distribution policy for the elementary school and high school. Under the new policy at Veteran's Memorial Elementary School, which has students from pre-Kindergarten to the sixth grade, condoms will be available for any student of any age that asks.” You can read the story here.

The most interesting part to the new policy – parents can’t say no to it. So realistically, a child could ask for a condom and the school would hand it over. And they might not even tell the parents about it. To make the situation even more embarrassing for the school district, the superintendent, Dr. Beth Singer, made an insensitive comment when she said that “she wouldn't expect first graders or kindergartners to ask for condoms, except to possibly blow them up as balloons.”

After a media backlash, Dr. Singer quickly tried to clarify the school’s stance by saying, “We’d have a conversation with the student that was age appropriate and not just hand over a condom.”

But that’s exactly my point. Who are they to decide if a child will receive a condom or not and who are they to make this decision without consulting the parent? Now, taking for granted that a pre-Kindergarten student is most likely not knowledgeable on what a condom is – some students in that school will be – and once one condom is given out, it will be the talk of the school. Does that cause the flood gates to open then?

I have a six-year-old daughter. And as much as I’d like to protect her from the world, I know she’ll pick up things and hear things that make me unhappy. But it shouldn’t be sex-talk in Kindergarten. In this case, I feel that the parents should be having the discussion. Not the school – especially if the policy doesn’t require the school to notify the parents. Apparently the Governor has stepped in to express his dislike about the new policy. It should be interesting to see where it goes from here…

It's Feedback Friday and YOUR turn to weigh in!



BLT Salad

Are you invited to a cook out this weekend? Looking for a simple salad that will please all tastes and use what you already have in the fridge? I have a great recipe from my sister in law, Heather. You're welcome.

Let's Make BLT Salad!

1 Head iceberg lettuce (I like the crunch of iceberg, but use your own favorite hearty lettuce)
1 large tomato, diced
8 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled
Crumbled Blue Cheese (optional)
Ranch dressing

Combine all ingredients and toss with dressing just before serving. (To fancy it up, diced avocado is another nice addition.)

Scroll down to enter my Tutorial Tuesday Wall Decals giveaway from Single Stone Studios!


Tutorial Tuesday with Single Stone Studios

Welcome to Tutorial Tuesday - If you are new here, this party is to showcase your weekly tutorials. What counts as a tutorial? Anything to "teach me stuff" counts - a recipe, a kid's craft, a DIY project, how you got your baby to sleep through the night ... I'm not picky.

My weekly tutorial: The World's Biggest Slip and Slide!

Let's meet my newest sponsor, Shelley from Single Stone Studios specializing in vinyl wall art - a hot new trend in home and commercial decor!

I love the idea of using these removable accents to decorate your home. I tend to be a little fickle and change my mind and decor often - this is a quick, affordable solution to repainting on whim. And Single Stone Studios can even customize something just for you! Love this!

Let's begin with something a little different - Wall Murals that fill up the whole space with an awesome graphic! Do you just love this?!? I can think of tons of places I'd love to have a statement piece like this:

A Jungle Nursery is one of those themes that will still be popular 20 years from now. Imagine the ease of placing a decal with custom colors in your new baby's nursery, then peeling it up and moving it to a sibling's room years later! Why didn't they have this stuff when I was having babies?!?

Another graphic decal I love is the Birch Tree design. It's simple and calming, yet makes a statement when you step into a room. Love that POW! factor!

I couldn't NOT include Shelley's collection of Word Art, I'm a sucker for word art. With everything from Dr. Seuss to Robert Frost, Single Stone can help you say what's on your mind.

I am so in love with this Whimsical Tree. Just look at the cute birdies and the statement it makes at the head of this bed!

Single Stone Studios has generously offered a $30 gift certificate to one lucky winner this week!

Want to win?

Either link up with our party (rules are below)


Comment below and tell me about your favorite Single Stone Studios item. Easy peasy, right?

Please... (this is the part at the end of the commercial when the announcer talks real fast)

* Link up using the link to your actual post (not your general blog address) using your name and a the subject of your tutorial to generate interest.

* Add my button or a clickable link back to this post so everyone can join in.

* Visit and comment with all our friends. Show them some love! Meet some new friends! Learn something new!

Ready? Teach Me Stuff!

Hope Studios

The World's Biggest Slip and Slide Tutorial!

***Warning! This week's tutorial will make you the COOLEST mom on the block. Be prepared for some Mama Jealousy from your neighbors.***

We interrupt the regularly scheduled tutorial promised for today (Mosaic Artwork is rescheduled for next Tuesday - Promise!) to bring you this exciting 65 Foot Slip and Slide Tutorial for two reasons:

My friend Kimba is having a party and I can't leave her hanging. Also, she has the perfect yard (and kids) for this particular idea. Per. Fect.

2.It's dang HOT out there and we all need a fun, inexpensive way to cool off AND keep our kids entertained. Am I right or am I right?

So, I'll cut the chatter and bring you....drum roll, please....

How To Make The World's Biggest Slip and Slide!


Heavy duty plastic sheeting - I found 8 x 400 ft for $35 at my local home improvement store.
Landscape anchor pins
Garden hose
Baby soap

Unroll the plastic to the desired length, mine was 65 feet. I chose to run it downhill, but it is possible to do this in a flat yard.

Fold in half lengthwise to have an extra layer between the kids and the ground. I ended up with a slide 4 x 65 feet.

Anchor the top of the slide into the ground using the landscape pins. I folded the plastic over about 2 inches, poked the pins into the plastic, then pounded the pins into the ground with a hammer. The extra fold gave me 4 layers to drive the pins into, giving the plastic more strength and reduced the chance of ripping.

Anchor the sides every 6 feet or so if it is a windy day. Pound the pins all the way in so kids don't get hurt.

Wet the length of the slide with the hose. To make it extra slick, squirt some baby soap onto the slide!

You can leave the hose at the top of the slide for lubrication, or you can attach a sprinkler head like I did, so the kids slide through a nice, cooling shower on the way down.

Now, invite all your friends and slide down on your butt:

On your stomach:

On your knees:

On an inner tube (the baby soap/inner tube combo is SUPER FAST)!

Go in a line one right after the other! Scream! Hoot! Laugh like a loon!

If you have a nice, smooth lawn you can unfold it to the full 8 feet and race each other!

Come back tomorrow to link up your own tutorials for fun and prizes! Here's a button to get you started:

Hope Studios

For more outdoor DIY projects, click the button below to be directed to Kimba's DIY day!


Your Skin Fix, December Edition