1.31.2011

Tutorial Tuesday

Hope 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.

Check out my tutorial for this week: Cure for a Drafty Fireplace

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






Cure for a Drafty Fireplace



Our fireplace is a wood burner that was converted to gas shortly after we moved in. We have a full flue and code required that a spacer be put in the damper to allow the release of gas in case of a malfunction. This spacer doesn't allow the damper to close all the way to let gas out...but it also lets cold air in!

Can you see my secret in the photo above?

What about now?



A little closer...You can see a piece of Plexiglas we had cut to size at our local home improvement store. It slides between the fireplace and the screen for a nearly invisible block for the cold drafts. Easy peasy!



Come on back tomorrow for Tutorial Tuesday to link up and teach me something!

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1.30.2011

Sunday Funny

It's a little embarrassing to be pegged, but I've got to own it. I'm into the birds too!



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1.29.2011

Stuff I Learned!

Monster Cupcakes!!!


Love this pretty little Lace Skirt!


Say Goodbye to Ugly Light Fixtures!



I've always wondered how to create a Linkable Photo!

In the winter version of turning lemons into lemonade - let's embrace the winter weather and turn Snow into Ice Cream!

CLICK PICKS (the week's most clicked links):

#1 DIY Closet Shelving

#2 Master Bathroom Update

#3 Anthropologie Ruffled Tee

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1.28.2011

Soul Sister's Activate!

If you are here looking for Feedback Friday, I had a feedback emergency that required feedback on Thursday! Did I pique your interest? Head on over to Feedback Friday a Day Early!





I met up with the Soul Sistas last week to fill up my reserve tank with estrogen! The Treat Girl had business to tend to - another cooking lesson with Marzipan.



Joy and I sat back and enjoyed the fruits of their labor. The Banana Espresso Chocolate Chip Muffins were to die for!



They baked and we talked and laughed and planned all the other things we want Marzipan to teach us to bake. On today's menu? Devil's Food Cake with Cookies and Cream Icing



Then we went to lunch and had some sort of food...I really can only remember the highlights of the meal - Truffle French Fries and Mile High Carrot Cake! Who needed that soup or salad or sandwich we also ate?

And check this out!



A newspaper ball gown in the window of a downtown shop! When is the last time newspaper caused you to stop in the middle of the street, squeal, and begin frantically digging for your camera?!? Now, where can I find an old mannequin to replicate this at home...

This is your last day to link up with Tutorial Tuesday! Hurry over to join the party!

1.27.2011

Be My Stylist! Feedback Friday (a day early!)

Okay, I'm pulling out Feedback Friday a day early so you can help me dress for a fancy schmancy dinner I have to attend tonight.

I made a mad dash to my favorite stores, Marshall's and TJ Maxx, this week to purchase a dress and ended up bringing home four!

If you have been with me for a few years, you know my Strange Dressing Room Habits. I usually choose a dress by sending photos to my friends and getting feedback. I'm almost always in a hurry and fitting in my shopping between 100 other errands so time is of the essence, so most of the pictures look like this (with my pants and shoes still on!):



I thought it might be fun to get some additional styling advice. So, since I'm not rich or famous enough to hire Rachel Zoe I'm turning to 1,395 of my bloggy friends!

Let's get some background to help you with your decision...

The event is a black tie "food and wine society" dinner at my husband's place of work (so I'm the wife of the "host"). The location is conservative, not a trendy restaurant. The guests in attendance are older and very conservative. Though the men will be required to wear a tux, the women don't usually wear a gown, but rather a cocktail dress. Since it is a Thursday night, I'm following suit. Shall we see the contenders that have passed the walking and sitting test?

(You will notice that since I'm, shall I say, "pectorally challenged" in the bust region, most of these dresses have some sort of ruffle or flower to "boost" my "assets" or lack-there-of.)

#1. Champagne colored satin cocktail dress with neck ruffle. (also pictured above) Comfortable and I can wear my leopard peep toes. TJ Maxx $39.00



#2. Black stretchy knit with layers of ruffles. The most comfortable and I can wear my blue/black snake skin slingbacks. Marshall's $39.00



#3. Multi-colored satin. Busy pattern so I would wear plain black suede peep toes. Fun dress...maybe too fun for this event? Marshall's $29.00



#4. Black and champagne/gold brocade. The most conservative choice. Most comfortable standing, but passed the sitting test. Plain black peep toes. Marshall's $39.00



Tutorial Tuesday is rockin' on! Don't forget to pop over to link up or be inspired!

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1.26.2011

Why Don't You...Use Tape To Clean Between Computer Keys!

You know all the cookie crumbs dust between the keys of your computer keyboard? Kind of hard to get out of there...



Use tape to pull all that stuff out of the crevices!

*Don't forget, there is still time to check out Tutorial Tuesday to link up*

1.24.2011

Tutorial Tuesday!

Hope 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.

Check out my tutorial for this week: DIY Gel Ice Packs

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






1.23.2011

DIY Gel Ice Packs

I have three boys, so ice packs are something I tend to use often. Too often.

A bag of peas works in a pinch, but most often we are grabbing a baggie of ice cubes and it leaks and doesn't mold well. I love those gel filled ice packs, but at $15 a pop, they are a little pricey.

While watching The Doctors the other day, Dr. Sears mentioned a great alternative to expensive ice packs that I had to try.

DIY Gel Ice Packs

Fabric
Plastic zip top baggie
Dishwashing liquid

Directions:

Use your baggie to determine the size of your fabric pouch.



Sew a hem at one end:



Fold, envelope-style, then sew the open ends:



Fill your baggie 2/3 full with dish soap...then triple bag it! We don't want leaks!



Slip your baggie full of soap into the sewn pouch and place in the freezer. Cross your fingers you don't need to use it any time soon!



Don't forget to come back to link up your own tutorials tomorrow on Tutorial Tuesday!

Want more tips like this one? Check out Holly's Tips and Tricks party that is rockin' right now!

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1.22.2011

Stuff I Learned!

This Trompe l'oeil Grandfather Clock just blows my mind!



I rarely get to make my crafty stuff for my 3 boys, but this Ruff 'n Tuff Scarf may be just the thing!



Check out these cool Shopping Bags! At 89 cents apiece, it can be affordable to be green!



CLICK PICKS: (this week's most clicked links)

#1 Chargers for you table

#2 Coupon Organizer

#3 Housework Schedule

1.21.2011

Substitute Teacher Melt-Down


I'm freaking out about the latest news story my bloggy bud, The Constant Complainer, alerted me to yesterday. I almost couldn't believe it when I read it!

Tampa Bay Online and the Miami Herald report that substitute teacher, William Avery, was having difficulty getting the interactive white board to work properly in his Booker Elementary classroom in Sarasota.


Reportedly, several 2nd grade students got up to assist him with the device. He then threw the remote control, cursed, and then pushed a little girl and punched two young boys.

One of the children vomited after being punched in the stomach and another student went to the hospital the next day complaining of chest pain after being punched in the chest.

When the children tried to leave the classroom to get help, he would not allow them to leave. The school never learned of the incident until the following day. He has since been arrested on child abuse charges.

William Amory has worked as a substitute teacher in Sarasota for 17 years. In that time Amory has had 2 prior restrictions. A memo from the Booker High School principal stated "He repeatedly swore at the students, including telling (a student) to 'take your f---ing book out.' I do not want him to ever sub here again," (source)

Amory insists the class was "unruly" and he was only trying to "maintain order with an open hand."

It's Feedback Friday and I want to hear you thoughts:

Do you think this substitute should have been placed with elementary aged students after being banned from the high school?

Do you believe this was a case of the classroom getting out of hand?

Any other thoughts about this story?
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1.20.2011

Easy Week Night Roast



My neighbor let me in on the easiest roast recipe last month! I tried it and with about 10 minutes of active cooking and some planning ahead, I was able to make this yummy dinner on a weeknight.

Ingredients:

Eye of Round Roast
Salt
Pepper


Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees for about 20 minutes. Season the roast with salt and pepper and place in a roasting pan or baking dish. Do not cover or add water.

2. Place the roast in the preheated oven. Roast for seven minutes per pound then turn off the oven and let the roast sit in the hot oven for 2 1/2 hours. Do not open the door at all during this time!

3. Remove the roast from the oven, the internal temperature should have reached at least 145 degrees F, a perfect medium rare. Carve into thin slices to serve.

1.19.2011

Open Sky Scam



You know when you meet a new friend and you feel like you've known each other forever? You want to spend lots of time together and wonder where they have been your whole life? Then remember that feeling of foolishness and disappointment when they do something to show they are not who you thought they were? You look back and see signs you ignored during the "honeymoon phase" of your relationship and feel even more foolish...

This is how my experience has been with Open Sky during the past several months. When I first learned of this new platform to connect products I love with my own readers, it sounded like a match made in heaven! I spent lots of time interviewing and training, lots of time locating and contacting the manufacturers of my favorite products to encourage them to allow me to sell their products on Open Sky, lots of time writing about these products, lots of time choosing just the right items.

I felt proud of my little 23 item Open Sky Shop that I had curated myself over the past months. I loved each and every product in there and was happy to share. I loved that Open Sky marketed themselves as joining forces with the little guys, us bloggers, to promote a new concept in online shopping.

Looking back I realize that there were warning signs that our relationship was in trouble...poor communication from administration, lots of confusion in setting up my shop (that I assumed was just me being thick headed!), mistakes on the orders I placed to purchase items myself, lots of featured sellers on the front page that were always the same (and who weren't me or any of the other shop owners I knew)...ahhh, hindsight...

But, you know, we were moving along and getting to know each other and I pushed the doubts aside and focused on my own little shop. Last week I received an email from Open Sky with the subject line "IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM OPEN SKY" - it looked kind of shouty with all the capitals!

I opened it and saw doom in the opening sentence "We have some news and wanted to make sure you heard it directly from us" Come on, nothing good ever follows that sentence. They went on to explain the changes, including this new rule: "You must have at least 4,000 followers and have expertise in women's lifestyle to become a curator and sell products on OpenSky."

Huh. I went to their front page and saw this:


Lots of "curators" who all had some sort of celebrity connection.
Okay, they added "follow" buttons to our profiles. So, I went to my profile to see how many followers I had and saw this:


No followers because I had no "follow" button. Interesting. It was all becoming clear. All those profiles I had seen every time I logged onto the front page had received all kinds of publicity over the past several months and they had decided to discard all the other "little guys". So, the rule should have read "You cannot sell if you don't have 4000 followers and you can't get followers unless you sell. Ha ha, see ya!"

Several posts on the Open Sky discussion board have been ignored by administration. Yet another sign that they can't be bothered with us little guys. No explanation and no answers to our questions.

Researching it further on this blog
, I learned this change had been in the works for about a year and they continued to accept new sellers all along knowing they were just going to shut them down come March. That friend I thought I had made was beginning to look shadier and shadier. How foolish I felt. How disappointed.

So, Open Sky will revoke my ability to sell items on March 1st, but I have decided to close my shop now. Why keep up the facade? Why pretend our friendship is still intact for a few more weeks? So, it was fun but in the end it was a giant waste of time and a lesson learned. I feel like they used us bloggers to generate buzz and interest in their new venture - free publicity - before shutting us out and moving on with their "real" shop curators.

Anyone out there have any experience with Open Sky?

**There is still time to join Tutorial Tuesday for some fun and inspiration!
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1.17.2011

Tutorial Tuesday!

Hope 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.

Scroll down to see my favorite tutorials from last week!

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






Stuff I Learned!

I, hands down, ADORE this idea! I want to make them for all my kids! Better yet, I want Gail to open a shop and make them for me!



These little Scarflettes are perfect when you have a little chill:



Can a lamp be beautiful? Because this one is!




CLICK PICKS (most clicked links from last week's party):

#1 Tie between (my favorite) Put a Name to a Face and DIY Sewing Cabinet, which was brilliant!

#2 Another Cottage Hill link for a Dry Erase Calender (clearly, we all need some organization!)

#3
Peanut Butter Pie Parfaits - yum!

1.14.2011

Are You a Tiger Mother?


Do you even want to be? Let's hear from Amy Chua, author of the controversial parenting book, “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother”. Why "Tiger Mother"? Amy explains that the tiger is the living symbol of strength and power, generally inspiring fear and respect.

Amy explains that this concept is the foundation of "Chinese Parenting" which produces stereotypically successful children. According to an article Amy wrote for the Today Show website, her "Tiger Mother" parenting rules prohibited the following:

attending a sleepover

• having a play date

• being in a school play

• complaining about not being in a school play

• watching TV or playing computer games

• choosing their own extracurricular activities

• getting any grade less than an A

• not being the #1 student in every subject except gym and drama

• playing any instrument other than the piano or violin

• not playing the piano or violin


It's Feedback Friday and time for you to weigh in...

Are you a Tiger Mother?

Do you agree with this parenting philosophy?

Do you believe this parenting philosophy will produce superior children?


My friend, Janet, added this to the discussion:

This is a quote from her book..I have a very real problem with this type of parenting..

"I gave the card back to Lulu. “I don’t want this,” I said. “I want a better one — one that you’ve put some thought and effort into. I have a special box, where I keep all my cards from you and Sophia, and this one can’t go in there.”
“What?” said Lulu in disbelief. I saw beads of sweat start to form on Jed’s forehead.
I grabbed the card again and flipped it over. I pulled out a pen from my purse and scrawled ‘Happy Birthday Lulu Whoopee!’ I added a big sour face. “What if I gave you this for your birthday Lulu- would you like that? But I would never do that, Lulu. No — I get you magicians and giant slides that cost me hundreds of dollars. I get you huge ice cream cakes shaped like penguins, and I spend half my salary on stupid sticker and erase party favors that everyone just throws away. I work so hard to give you good birthdays! I deserve better than this. So I reject this.” I threw the card back."

Hmmmmm, what do you think Moms?

1.12.2011

Why don't you,.. Reduce Clutter!

It's Why Don't You Wednesday and it's time to reduce some clutter! Let's play a game...

It's the New Year, we've just added lots more "stuff" to our homes since Christmas and it's getting a little tight in here!

Grab one of those boxes you have stacked up in the garage and set a timer for 30 minutes. Quickly move from room to room collecting things you no longer need/use/like and try to fill the box with donations for Goodwill before the timer goes off!

Then, our friend, The Treat Girl will swirl in there and buy all your cast offs and turn them into something amazing like this:



Ready, Set, GO!


Don't forget to scroll down to enter my Tutorial Tuesday giveaway this week with Vintage Wanna Bee!

Partying at Kara's place, so click here to join the par-tay.


1.10.2011

Tutorial Tuesday with Vintage Wanna Bee!

Hope 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.

Meet my newest sponsor, Nichelle from Vintage Wanna Bee...




You might recognize Nichelle's blog from her regular links on Tutorial Tuesdays,



But, did you know she also has a Vintage Wanna Bee Etsy Shop full of her "unique, classy, and beautifully quirky couture designs"? Well, she does! Along with her fantastically whimsical Headbands:



Nichelle embellishes Handbags:



Bobby Pins, and more!



Are you wondering how to get your hands on one of these one-of-a-kind Vintage Wanna Bee creations? Read on to learn how to win a $15 gift certificate to Nichelle's shop:


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

*Visit Vintage Wanna Bee and tell me your favorite item.

* 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






 

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