Take It Smiling

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Tie-Dye Fun

Have you seen the adorable Halloween tie-dye shirts from Family Fun? They are so cute, we had to make 'em. My daughter, at right, wore hers to school today and she beamed with pride as she showed everyone the jack-o-lantern faces she drew on it. We used an undershirt from my son plus a $1 box of Rit dye and, presto! Instant Halloween shirt.

Here's what we did:
  1. I created the dye bath according to the directions on the package.

  2. We twisted the shirt into multiple peaks to create many jack-o-lantern faces. (See also the picture of my brother-in-law with his shirt. We made just one large peak in the shirt's center to create the single jack-o-lantern.)

  3. We let the shirt sit in the bath for an hour (I dyed multiple items so the water:dye ratio was a little off. Less water to cover less material would have created a brighter orange in less time.)

  4. I rinsed off the shirts following the directions.

  5. We removed the rubber bands and laid out the shirts to dry (VERY exciting for my daughter).

  6. Once dry, I ran the shirts through the washer so that they'll be safe to wash with other clothing items later.

  7. Once dry, we used Bic permanent markers to create the faces.

Sunnbrook Farm Designs' post about creating shopping bags from old t-shirts really struck a cord with me too. Plastic bags are the bane of humanity as they clog landfills because they are too expensive to recycle (returning bags to the grocery store for recycling just isn't enough) and injure animals as they litter the ocean and streams. SO, why not create Halloween treat bags using the above tie-dye method and an old t-shirt? I tried, but failed miserably. I couldn't figure out how to set-up the bobbin on my sewing machine so I tried Heat n' Bond instead. Well, considering my Heat n' Bond is 8 years old... didn't work so well. The tie-dye turned out cool but the seams busted immediately; how could they ever hold a ton of candy? Oh, well... maybe next year.

Monday, October 27, 2008

HSM3: A Trip Down Memory Lane?

Have you seen it yet? Have you seen High School Musical 3? I took my kids on Saturday but to be honest, I was just as excited as they were. And even though my expectations were high, I was not disappointed. For 112 minutes and 12 songs, I lived vicariously through these six+ individuals going through the angst of high school graduation, college selection and long-distance first loves.

As a base review, let me say that the song and dance numbers are a real step up from the made-for-TV movies, though not all-together original. They pay homage to many movies from "my day" -- I recognized "Footloose," "The Breakfast Club" and "Grease" at the very least. But, you know what? Those musical numbers work; they were used appropriately at just the right time to convey the same types of emotion as in their predecessors. And they are darn catchy (the soundtrack is bound to be in my little girl's stocking this Christmas).

What I didn't expect was to go on such a personal emotional journey. Suddenly, I was seeing my future... As Gabriella sang about dreaming of prom her whole life, my eyes welled at the thought of my daughter going to prom (true, she's 4 1/2 now but time is flying!) and as Troy gave his graduation speech, my eyes welled AGAIN at the thought of my now 7 year old son graduating from high school. Wasn't he born yesterday? How is he in 2nd grade already?

And on top of that, I began reliving my own history as well! And I don't just mean senior year of high school. Instead, it was like I was five years old watching Grease at the movie theater (which is my earliest memory of being in a theater). Sure, in hindsight the content was SO inappropriate but I certainly didn't get it at the time. What I did get was the wonder of the music and dancing. Soon after, my sister Monica and I had the double LP. Do you remember it? It looked like the Formica diner tables with pictures laid across. We listened to it over and over again, standing on the couch as we performed with one another. Monica was always Danny Zuko and I was always Sandy Olson... why, I don't know. Maybe it was because I was the youngest and poor Monica had to give in or I'd cry for days? Regardless, we loved re-enacting the whole thing, start to finish. So now I wonder, will the High School Musical trilogy be for my kids what Grease was for me? Will they be off at college, dancing in a bar and suddenly screech because the DJ is playing a montage of HSM songs that they haven't heard, let alone thought of, in years? Will their memories of seeing the movie (and subsequently dancing and singing in the kitchen with Mom) come rushing back to them as they dance along in some random bar while away at school? I hope so!

(The soundtrack to High School Musical 3 is offered on Amazon.com for $9.99 and on iTunes for $12.99.)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Playing with Fall '08 Stampin' Up! Order

I love the new Stampin' Up! blue and green tones. I've been looking for this chartruese shade and was thrilled to see it featured as an In Color called Kiwi Kiss.

When I received my order, I dove right in and came up with this. Materials*:
  • Whisper White notecard
  • Urban Garden decorative paper
  • Brown cardstock
  • Hidden Garden rub-on
  • Chipboard circle inked with white craft ink
  • Everyday Flexible Sayings in Chocolate stamped on Whisper White, distressed
  • Kiwi Kiss ribbon

  • * All materials, except for the brown cardstock and white craft ink, are from Stampin' Up!

    Wednesday, October 22, 2008

    Green Pride

    I consider myself fairly green... never green enough when I think about all that could be done but MUCH greener than many folks in my circle and WAY greener than the rest of this country (just got back from a wedding in Vegas and was sickened by the waste).

    I've always been this way... concerned for the greater good of the planet, it's environment and the people who inhabit it. In high school, I was a member of PETA and WWF. I was on the county council against prejudice among teens. I cried when I saw footage of humpback whales (whale watching is still on my life-list of things to do). My heart ached as I read about the destruction of the rainforests (just say "no" to Brazilian Cherry kitchen cabinets, people!).

    As I became part of the adult population, I forgot my roots. I became enamoured with the trappings of our society... "nice" cars, house, etc. I followed clothing trends. I socialized with people who brought nothing to my soul but were "cool." I equated frugality with low economic status after years of hearing my father, who was born and raised on a farm in post-war Austria, remind us to turn off lights when we left the room, close the door when we went outside (we weren't heating/cooling the whole world, it all costs money and did I think money grew on trees?). He made us reuse our brown paper lunch bags and this just mortified me (as a teenager, frugality = uncool).

    But now I see that his views came from a childhood where resources were scarce and money was even more so. And, as my children have grown, my green heart has come to the surface once more. I've taught them about recycling, gardening, conservation... marketing (no, you don't really need that, the company's just trying to make money). Now, I am proud to say that my children pick up litter as we walk through the neighborhood and I don't even need to prompt them! They expect to walk/ride bikes if possible. They expect to pass on their outgrown clothing to friends (how great is it that my daughter doesn't hoard anymore?!). They see new ways to use old things. They help in the garden and recycle without thinking about it. Their grandfather ("Opa"), if he were here to see them, would be proud of them.

    The other day, I flipped through old photo albums to find pictures for Facebook (gotta love the big permed hair we all had!) and I found the postcards pictured above... These postcards, which hung on my dorm walls before landing in a scrapbook, reminded me of my green soul. I've always been green; I'm just now okay with showing it. And my green roots run deep, all the way to a farm in Austria.

    Tuesday, October 21, 2008

    A Message from Dad?

    You may be wondering what "Take It Smiling" means. Well, it's simple... it's a mantra.

    After our father passed away, my sister and I sifted through box after box of his old slides. We came across one taken in the late 60's of a man standing with the help of crutches. This man grinned an enormous grin, as if to say that whatever he did to end up on those crutches was well worth it. Along the slide frame, our father had written, "Take it smiling."

    As we mourned the death of our father, those words which were written in the 60's were just the right message received at just the right time.

    Web Design Services

    My History

    My History
    Though I am a stay-at-home-mom now, my professional background is in web design. I've continued to do web work from home as time allows because it's something I really enjoy, it's something I know I know.

    Before I gave birth to my first child, I designed business-to-business web sites for a company then called Phillips Business Information (now called Access Intelligence). These sites provided both free and paid content to professionals in the defense, aviation, telecom, satellite, cable and energy industries. Usability was a must... afterall, would you pay $6000 a year for something you couldn't use?
    Unfortunately, my pre-baby sites have long been redesigned (my son is 7 1/2 years old, after all) so I can't show my former work in real time anymore. What I can show you are the sites I've designed within the last two years (before my 15 month old was born). I continue to support these sites and edit as needed.

    High-end construction, Washington, DC
    Site includes animated introduction and interactive portfolio

    Non-profit support group for mothers in the Olney, Maryland area

    Privately held company focusing on the development of lab-on-a-chip technologies for biosensors
    Etsy Banners

    Twitter Backgrounds

    The Fab Fifteen on Mom Dot

    My own blog button and of course, my own blog banner

    Monday, October 20, 2008

    The Making Memories Button Stickers Made Me Do It

    I found a package of faux buttons by Making Memories at Target and I knew I had to have them. I didn't know I'd become obsessed!

    As acrylic stickers, they add a layer of dimension to my cards and the colors (pale blue, chartreuse green, ecru and black) are so classy. The line is called "5th Avenue."

    Here are the results of my binge...

    On the left, I used Stampin' Up! chipboard petals covered in Anna Griffin paper and distressed with SU ink and daubers. Raffia is threaded through the "button" holes. The leaf is also SU chipboard, inked in craft ink and stamped with "unique" from SU's Everyday Flexible Phrases. The bottom ribbon is actually two strips of black and white ribbon sandwiching a strip of crimped black cardstock.

    This simple card to the right includes a MM button sticker in chartreuse with raffia tied through, a black cardstock scalloped circle and a squiggle drawn by hand. The "friend" stamp is from SU's Noteworthy set. The card base is an SU Very Vanilla notecard... the whole thing is sweet as can be.

    Below are more scalloped circles behind buttons to create flower shapes... can you tell I just purchased the SU scallop punch?

    Website or Design Vehicle???

    Ack! I'm supposed to be marketing myself for design team positions with this blog... yet I can't seem to stop designing it! I am a web designer by trade and just can't help myself! The HTML is there... just taunting me... Change me... Change me! So I have and I'm not sorry! I can't wait to see what I can do when the kids go to bed!

    Sunday, October 19, 2008

    Making a Difference: Part II

    You Can Help Without Writing a Check!
    The American Red Cross helps those in need throughout the United States, especially in times of natural disasters like Hurricane Ike. While they always appreciate financial donations, sometimes it’s hard for us stay-at-home moms to write a check. Now there’s a new way to help. Donate your old cell phone by Oct. 31, 2008 to ReCellular Inc. and they’ll contribute $1 to the American Red Cross. Visit their site for a free shipping label and more information.

    Drink More Wine and Juice
    Okay, time to start sorting that trash… Save your wine bottle corks and juice pouches and send them to TerraCycle, Inc. (http://www.terracycle.com/). They’ll up-cycle them into cool products and, while they accept most juice brands, they’ll donate $.02 to a charity of our choice for each CapriSun or Honest Kids pouch! $.01 will be donated for other brands. How cool is that???

    Simple Card Sets

    Here are some of my card sets... I enjoy making them as gifts with the recipient in mind but also just making them to try new papers/stamps/accessories/etc.!

    Papercrafting: It's What I Do

    Okay, so here I am, blogging so that I can tryout to be on a design team... I suppose I outta show my stuff!

    I've posted links to my Splitcoast Stampers and Flickr galleries over there on the left. I hope they work though I'm afraid you may need to be a member of those sites to see them.

    To give you a feel for what I do, here's an accordian scrapbook I made for my sister last summer. She was here for a week; I made this over her last two days so that she could take it home with her.

    I used a variety of elements in this nifty book. There's decoupage, stamping, chipboard, Crystal Effects, embossing, tearing, distressing, ribbon, hemp, vellum... even a can pulltop!

    Dirt Don't Hurt

    I'm not sure if, in these PC day, people ever say it, but I remember the saying, "God made dirt so dirt don't hurt." Well, apparently it's really true! And my favorite guru, Dr. Christian Northrop agrees. This is bigger than the two-second rule, people.

    (Source: http://www.drnorthrup.com/news/dirtisgood.php)

    “Researchers from Great Britain’s University of Bristol and University College of London have discovered that a bacterium found in soil—common, garden-variety dirt—has an unexpected health benefit. The bacterium, Mycobacterium vaccae, may be effective in fighting depression. This bacterium was already known to help stimulate the immune system and has been used in clinical trials to treat patients with cancer.

    Graham Rook, a professor of immunology, has researched the link between exposure to microbes and the development of allergies. Rook believes that the modern world’s improved cleanliness may contribute to increases in such conditions as asthma, eczema, and hay fever, as well as autoimmune diseases such as type 1 Diabetes and Crohn’s disease (an inflammatory bowel disorder). ‘We’ve known for a couple of decades now that a whole group of chronic inflammatory disorders are becoming much commoner in the rich developed world,’ he says.”

    Thanks for confirming what we intrinsically knew, but were too bamboozled by health companies to believe, Dr. Northrop and Co.

    Make a Difference: Part I

    Whether it’s supporting needy folks in the community and beyond, medical research or environmental issues, I hope to create a forum for giving back… contributing… making a change… for us as women, mothers and residents of Planet Earth.

    What can we do to help our world right now? How can we make a difference without even thinking about it? Here are two things we can do NOW:

    1. Good Search – Visit
    www.goodsearch.com and make it your search engine (they’ll tell you how; it’s easy!) instead of using Google or Yahoo!, for example. GoodSearch will donate to a charity of your choice every time you search! Yes, I said every time you search. Everyday, I look up recipes, gardening tips, school topics for the kids… and every time I do it, I donate to my charity of choice. Can you believe it? GoodSearch passes on a portion of their advertising revenue earned as a result of my search to the charity of my choice! You can also shop through them… by going to www.goodsearch.com, choosing your store of choice (eBay, Nordstrom, Expedia, Old Navy… the list goes on and on), the store will donate a percentage of your purchase to your charity. How cool is that??? Do the online shopping you would do anyway and give back without even thinking about it!

    2. Crocs Recycle – Before you throw away those worn out Crocs, consider returning them to Soles United (
    www.solesunited.com). They’ll recycle them into new shoes and donate them to people in need around the world!

    You can return them two ways –

    • Locally (check their website for locations)
    • By mail to Crocs Recylcing – East1500 Commodity BoulevardLockbourne, Ohio 43137

    I hope you find these two tidbits helpful. I look forward to providing even more great information to you in the future.

    Oh, wait! I do have something to say!

    So part of my hesitation to start a blog was the worry I wouldn't have anything to say. But you know what? I do! Every month, I write a column for my local MOMS Club chapter... I'm the Philanthropy Chair and I write about ways to help others and the environment. Sure, some of the info is MOMS Club-specific, but most of is not. And now I have this new platform for sharing the helpful info I find. Totally cool! So check back every once in a while to learn how you can make a difference.

    Saturday, October 18, 2008

    Why Blog?

    Why do I have to blog? Because the powers that be say so.

    I craft. I do it to relax but have always been told "You should sell your stuff." That'd be nice but I'm not pressed. What I do want to do, though, is join a design team. I look through craft magazine like a teenaged boy looks through porn... I can't get enough. But as I look through them, I think, "I could do that. I could do better than that. They seriously just published that?" So now I've finally gotten up the nerve to try out for some design teams but, guess what? They all require blogs! What? What does having a blog have to do with paper crafting?

    I get it, I really do. They want someone who can explain how to do a project. They want someone with personality. I've taught adults and children alike, and I've got loads of personality. What I don't have is the gumption to sit down at the computer every night and write about it.

    But, they want a blog. So here I go...

    Copyright ©2010 Andrea Diuguid. All content, including text, photographs and concept design elements featured in this blog are © Andrea Diuguid.