Crafts · Tutorials

Bowling Pin Upcycling Craft

In our house we do our best to recycle our paper, glass, and plastic. We also love upcycling whenever we can. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term that sounds like a word for a hipster bicycle, “upcycling” is when you take something that would otherwise be discarded (like boxes, food packaging, or lightbulbs, as a few examples) and turn it into something new. It’s a simple practice that many of us have just been calling “crafting” or “junking.” Well, now there’s a new, fun term for it and thousands of great ideas from people like you and me who are inspired to use the things they see in front of them to make something brand new.

In this tutorial, I will show you how I took a simple baby snack food container and turned it into a set of fun outdoor toys for my kids. Because these baby snacks are something we use frequently at our house, we didn’t spend any more money than we normally would have for this craft. But if you’re looking for a ballpark cost for this craft, it cost me about $2 for each container and I made 6 bowling pins in total. The other materials I had on hand, so it was mainly the cost of the containers, which would total around $12. Not bad for hours of toddler entertainment!

MATERIALS

  • Baby snack food containers (I made 6 total so we could arrange them in a pyramid formation for bowling)
  • Red permanent marker
  • Hot glue and glue gun
  • Play sand or dirt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Empty your snack food container by feeding your baby, your toddler, your dog, or your neighborhood birds. No need to waste the contents just for the craft!
  2. Cut off and completely remove the outer label.
  3. Use a red permanent marker to add line designs to the outside of the “bowling pin.” Our particular containers had extremely convenient lines imprinted in the plastic that I just used as guides. You can look up different bowling pin designs online for inspiration or just make it up as you go along! Toddlers are easily impressed.
  4. Temporarily remove lids and add play sand or heavy dirt to the bowling pins.
  5. Make sure to fill the pins only partially to give them a weighted bottom. This will allow them to stand up but make them slightly more challenging to knock over. In picture 5, I am using my fingers to show the level to which I filled the pin with play sand. I tested it a few times, and this seemed to be a good fill point. Any more and the pins would have been too heavy and too difficult for my toddler to knock over with his bouncy ball. Any less and they would have been knocked over by a stiff breeze.
  6. Next, use your glue gun to add glue around the entire lip of the container and quickly replace the lid before the glue cools and dries. Try to add enough glue to ensure a good seal. That way you don’t accidentally have sand or gravel flung around your living room or yard, depending on where you choose to play.
  7. Go forth and enjoy your creation! Upcycling is cheap, easy fun. We use these bowling pins outside AND inside the house. My son not only loves to kick his bouncy ball at them and knock them over, but he also loves to use them for stacking and knocking them down, shaking them for musical instruments, and stacking them like logs in the back of his large toy dump truck.

Leave a comment below about how your family has used this craft at home. I would love to hear how you have used your imaginations to find new ways to see something old. Have fun!

Crafts · Parenthood · Tutorials

Teaching a Toddler to Hypothesize

I’m technically not a homeschool mom, but I never turn down an opportunity to learn and have fun at the same time. A couple months ago, I decided to make a colored rice bin for my toddler son to play in because one of his favorite activities is putting anything into anything else. He’ll spend large parts of his play time filling containers, baskets, nooks and crannies with his toys, and hiding every object he can find behind the couch cushions or in the dog kennels. He even has a large bin of random bottles we’ve collected from the recycle bin just for him to experiment with. He’s quite the up-cycler at two and a half years old.

Making a rice bin is cheap and easy and has already provided us with hours of enjoyment. We use many different sized cups and containers in the bin. Plastic bugs to dig for, scoops, ping pong balls, etc. You could also use the rice bin as a cool digging quarry for small diggers and dump trucks. The whole project cost me around $10 to make with the plastic bin being the most expensive part. Here are the things you need to make one:

  • A decently sized plastic bin with a locking lid. I went for one that was about 9” x 12” and 7” tall.
  • One or two 5 lb bag(s) of white rice.
  • Liquid food coloring.
  • White vinegar (helps seal color into rice grains to prevent color bleeding).
  • Gallon ziplock bags for coloring rice. 1 for each color you want to make.

Easy Directions for Making Colored Rice

  1. Separate white rice into ziplock bags. One bag per color.
  2. Add several drops of food coloring to a bag of rice (do one bag at a time to ensure most even color absorption).
  3. Add one teaspoon of white vinegar to bag of rice.
  4. Zip bag closed.
  5. Massage rice bag to thoroughly mix color and vinegar into rice. (You can add more food coloring and repeat this step for brighter colored rice.)
  6. Repeat with each color/bag.
  7. Open bag zippers and leave bags open, sitting in a place where it won’t be disturbed for 24 hrs or longer. This allows the rice to dry and keep the color from transferring to hands or other surfaces. You can also spread the rice out in a cookie sheet or tray to help it dry faster. The rice will smell a little vinegary at first but this will air out over time.
  8. Once the rice is dry you can dump it all into your bin and enjoy!
Our original colored rice. It turned out great! Time to mix it up.

*A word of CAUTION: we learned the hard way that if you have dogs or other small animals who roam freely in your home, DO NOT leave the rice bin open and unattended. Our dog got into our rice bin and ate some of it. He was not hurt, but he did end up with an upset stomach and potty problems for a few days. Not fun for any of us. Plus, we had to throw away some of our rice that he got wet with drool. Now we’re diligent to not leave a single grain unattended.

Learning to Experiment and Hypothesize

The rice bin (or sand bin, or whatever medium you choose) is a great segue into learning the scientific method and fueling curiosity about the way things work. Free play with the rice bin will usually yield all sorts of creative experiments on its own. But if you have the time and want to introduce some new ideas to your kids, here are some ways you can do that. Of course, this is just a very small list of prompts to get you started but there really is no limit to the ways you can use this rice bin to learn. And don’t worry about your kid’s age. If they’re old enough to know not to eat the rice, then they’re old enough to begin to question the world around them.

Here are some examples of tools we used to enhance our rice bin learning experience (these items can be found around your home or purchased for cheap from the dollar store). These items are not necessary but can be fun additions. Get creative with what you have available:

My son, using a watering can, container lids, a tambourine, and a scoop to experiment with his rice bin.
Imaginations are the best tool!
  • Toilet paper tube
  • Scoops from baby formula containers
  • Ping pong ball
  • Small plastic cups and dishes
  • Plastic bugs
  • Plastic Easter eggs
  • Empty pill bottles, caps, and lids

Helping a child learn to hypothesize is simply about asking the right questions. Hypothesizing is guessing an outcome to an action based on what information you have at that time. All of my son’s hypotheses were based on what experience he already had with the rice medium and how it works with other objects.

I started by standing a toilet paper tube up on end on top of the rice and then filling it to the top with more rice. I then asked,

“What do you think will happen to the rice if we lift the toilet paper tube straight up?”

My son looked at the current situation, considered the information he already had, and then guessed that the rice would spill out the bottom of the tube. He was right! We celebrated that. And I could tell he was curious to try something else. So I took the TP tube and placed it up on end inside a plastic cup. I then filled it back up with rice but took care to fill only the TP tube. Then I asked,

“When I lift this paper tube up, where do you think the rice will go?”

Again, my son studied the situation and made an educated guess. He guessed that the rice would spill out into the bin. He was wrong, but that was good! He was surprised to learn that when I lifted the paper tube, the rice only filled up the plastic cup. And I learned that the cup we chose held exactly the same amount of rice as the filled paper tube. We both learned something!

After we tried a few more experiments learning about volume, I decided to try some experiments with movement and resistance. I used my hand to shape the rice in the bin into a tall slope. Using the ping pong ball, I then asked my son,

“What do you think will happen to this ball if I place it at the top of this slope?”

I was wondering if he would remember seeing an episode of Sesame Street where they experimented with whether or not different materials would slide down a slope. That might have been part of the information he pulled from when he formed his hypothesis. He guessed that the ball would roll down the slope. He was right again! Smart little guy.

We tried one last experiment. With this one, I gave him very little information to start with to see what he might come up with. Placing the ping pong ball on top the rice surface, I asked,

“What do you think will happen to the ball if I use my finger to push it down in the rice?”

This was the first time he looked genuinely confused, like he had no idea what would happen. More likely, he had no words to communicate what he thought would happen. So he just waited to see what happened next. I then used my finger to push the ball all the way under the rice until it was completely submerged. I loved his surprised face! Even though he didn’t have a hypothesis for this experiment, he learned the meaning of the word “bury.”

After we concluded our experiments, I left him to his free play. I could see him trying to replicate some of our experiments. This told me that not only did he enjoy what we had done, he also knew that he wanted to try to gather more information. Even if his brain wasn’t using those terms, specifically, he knew that he wanted to learn more. I’m so excited to find more ways to help him learn to hypothesize and test the world around him. It’s one thing to tell someone else the way things work, but if you ask them to make an educated guess and try the experiment out for themselves, they build many more mental connections and synaptic pathways in their brain than they would have otherwise.

The rice bin has been a great tool for learning already, and I know we’ve only scratched the surface with its teaching potential. I love when the cheapest toys are the most valuable!

Favorite Recipes · Hmm, Pinteresting

Olive Garden Alfredo Recipe

Who doesn’t love pasta? Of course, some of us have to watch our intake because it’s easy to get carried away, but indulging once in a while is such a treat. Alfredo has always been a “treat” for me, a special meal that I look forward to. But I’m also very picky about the taste. It has to be just right. I’ve never found a jarred sauce or a recipe I like. Olive Garden’s Alfredo sauce has probably been my favorite for years. I know there are plenty of people who don’t like OG. That’s okay. But what you can’t deny is that fat and salt can really pump up the flavor in a dish.

Thanks to good ol’ Pinterest, I came across a recipe one night that claimed to be “Olive Garden’s Alfredo Recipe.” Out of sheer curiosity I read the comments left by other Pinterest users. Several of them were claiming that this recipe was incorrect because of one or two of the ingredients. Personally, I didn’t know any better, but I was willing to believe these keyboard warriors because several of them corroborated the story. Further down the comments, I found that someone had posted a comment claiming that Olive Garden actually provides many of their recipes on their website. RECORD SCRATCH. That was news to me. So I did some digging. I was salivating thinking that I could get ahold of the OG Alfredo recipe to make myself. At the same time I was worried that I’d have to get a wider front door put on my house once I ate my weight in Alfredo. Click HERE for the entire online catalog of Olive Garden’s recipes.

Sure enough, after some digging, I found a collection of Olive Garden’s recipes on their website. I scrolled and scrolled until I found the treasure I was digging for. Click HERE for the Olive Garden version, unaltered. Below, I have included the recipe with changes I made after the asterisks (*).

Ingredients

  • 3 oz wt butter *I used ½ cup salted butter or 1 full stick, only slightly more than their recipe calls for.
  • 1 Tbsp garlic *I used a fresh bulb rather than the pre-minced version I usually keep in my fridge for quick recipes and added probably 2 Tbsp because there’s no such thing as too much garlic in a recipe like this.
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 ½ cup milk *I ended up adding this last and only used ½ cup since I wanted my sauce to be a little thicker than the recipe calls for. Also, I used whole milk.
  • 1 ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese *I used closer to 1 cup+ because I wanted the cheese to be the main thickening ingredient.
  • ½ cup romano cheese *I did the same thing as with the parm, 1 cup+.
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • *I also added about 1 lb of chopped rotisserie chicken for protein.

Instructions

  1. Fried the chopped garlic in the butter until it started to become fragrant and the butter started to turn golden in color.
  2. I then added the flour and mixed it in to make a roux which would help thicken the sauce.
  3. After that was thoroughly mixed, I added the heavy cream and stirred it all until the coloring of the sauce was even.
  4. Then I added the cheeses and stirred until they melted evenly.
  5. After that, I added the milk, salt and pepper, tasting in between additions to make sure I didn’t over salt the recipe (which, in my opinion, is the only downfall of the Olive Garden recipe made AT the restaurant. It always seems too salty to me.)
  6. Finally, I added my chopped chicken and let everything simmer a bit until it reached my desired thickness.

Final Thoughts

In the end, the recipe was good. Very good. I’m glad I added the extra cheese and didn’t add the same amount of milk that the original recipe called for. It was so much richer but most likely with a lower sodium content than what you get in the restaurant. If I was to try anything different the next time around, I would sauté the chicken in the butter/garlic mixture at the beginning to help give it a little more flavor. When I made this recipe I was in a hurry so I didn’t get the chance to think everything through and use my instincts as much as I like to. If you don’t hear from me again after this post, it means I’ve eaten Alfredo until I burst. But don’t be sad. At least I died happy 🙂

Decorating a Home · Hmm, Pinteresting

Geeking Out Your Interior Design

Choosing wall colors, cabinet styles, furniture, decor, and making it all work together is hard enough. What about trying to define and capture your own style? Sure, you can cruise Pinterest for hours, days, years and save a million amazing ideas, but how do you take that collection and make it your own?

There’s a reason those Instagram pictures and Pinterest pins of farmhouse, boho, shabby chic home decor have thousands of shares and saves. They’re beautiful. They feel intentional and put together. Personally, I’m obsessed with many of those and strive to make my house look like the pictures I see online, but in reality, I know my house will never look like those. This might be for a few reasons. First of all, those pictures are staged and heavily edited. I know no one who has a family, especially kids, can live in a house that looks like that 24/7 and stay sane. I also know myself well enough to know that I always try to recreate the home decorating styles I see online but my personal style frequently creates an odd mashup that might not be Insta-worthy.

Decor examples from Pinterest (could not trace original author) using a neutral palette with some contrasting patterns or color. *Not my photos*

The common thing about most of those extremely popular decor styles is that most of them are based on a neutral palette. The main base color is usually a stark, clean white, and the majority of the large accent pieces are neutral browns, tans, and creams. Some designs incorporate black as the contrasting color, while some even go as far as to use a single, non-neutral color as an accent.

As much as I would love the look of a neutral palette, I tend to require a little more color in my personal designs. I do my best not to go overboard with color. A little goes a long way. That rule applies to all of the suggestions further in this post. That being said, some bold color choices can make for a playful and interesting aesthetic. Below, I have included a picture of the dining room wall I painted in my last house. I chose a bright teal because it is my favorite color, and I wanted to create a unique “pop” of color among our mostly neutral paint palette. Adding fun, geeky decor to your home is a nice way to hint at your style, but adding just the right color to a wall can brighten your day and put a smile on your face when you look at it.

A bold teal color I chose for my dining room wall. This became my favorite wall in the house because it breathed life into the otherwise neutral color palette and gave a beautiful color contrast to any artwork placed on it.

Getting to design your own interior space can be overwhelming, but it can also be freeing. Take into account the things you’re interested in. If that happens to be neutral, pattern heavy, boho-inspired, green spaces, then good news- there’s tons of inspiration for you online! But if you’re more like me and appreciate something a little more unique and a lot more geeky then I have some wonderful resources and ideas for you ahead.

“Our family is full of geeks. I can trace it directly to my geeky parents.”

Our family is full of geeks. I can trace it directly to my geeky parents. My husband and I have definitely passed it on to our kids. Because of this, I love finding ways to incorporate our personal, geeky style into our interior decoration. It can be tricky if you’re hoping to stay away from in-your-face, obvious fandom references. I have taken the time to compile several extremely geeky color palettes (found at the end of this article) that reflect different fandoms. These colors can be easily incorporated into your designs with subtle tricks such as decorative throw pillows, wall art, and thoughtfully placed knickknacks or more visible, yet aesthetically pleasing, hints like full colored walls, bedding, or murals.

These ideas should be used in small amounts. Too many of these ideas in one place can get a little too busy and quickly become tacky. So, try to spread the geekery throughout your house. It will be more like an Easter egg hunt for your guests to discover and less like a visually overwhelming mishmash from wall to wall. One way to hide geeky clues in plain sight is to add home decor items like the ones below. (All items can be found at ThinkGeek.) These items can easily be accents in rooms where they blend in with other regular decor. The red clock could be used in a farmhouse style kitchen as an interesting color contrast piece. The towels could be used as decorative hand towels, placed on top of solid color towels with similar palette. The constellation light could be a sweet feature on a guest room nightstand to brighten someone’s night.

Small decor pieces like these can easily be worked in to existing decor schemes to add geeky flair. (These items can be found on ThinkGeek.com)

Here is an example of geeky decor that can be added to even the most elegant dining room. These Harry Potter themed plate and flatware sets (also found at ThinkGeek) are a great way to hint at something without being too obvious. Don’t even mention their theme to your guests and see if they discover it for themselves!

Beautiful Harry Potter dinnerware and flatware can be an elegant way to geek up your dining space. (These items can be found on ThinkGeek.com)

If you happen to have a home theater or a movie viewing area, you can always find beautifully done, artistic posters that celebrate some of your favorite movies. The posters below are just an example of the great ones you can find on the internet. Nowadays, there is such a vast collection of artwork like these that you can use to hint at your fandoms rather than being blatant with an obvious movie poster. Take it a step further and put these artistic posters in wooden poster frames before hanging them. It will create an even more sophisticated and intentional look for your media room.

These posters would be beautiful in a family room or theater. What better way to showcase your favorite geeky movies than with these works of art? (These posters can be found on ThinkGeek.com)

Bedding doesn’t have to be boring. Adding some geeky bedding to your boudoir can allow you to sneak in some geek while allowing the rest of the room to be more neutral. Here are two good examples of geeky bedding that aren’t too flashy or juvenile. You could also carefully add in a themed pillow or two, nestled in with some matching, solid colored throw pillows.

These bedding sets are a fun way to use subtle, geeky prints in the bedroom. The example on the left is a Star Wars theme with TIE Fighters mixed in with the geometric pattern. The example on the right is a damask print using Harry Potter artwork for a more elegant approach. (Both sets found on ThinkGeek.com)

A bedroom is also a great place to make use of the fandom-based color palettes. For example, if you’re looking to hint at what Harry Potter house you belong to, you can always choose a color from the House’s palette, paint your walls with it and use the House’s secondary color as an accent in the decor. Here, I have provided two examples where I used the main color from one represented Hogwarts’ house (Ravenclaw in one example and Slytherin in another) and used the room’s decor as the secondary colors used in the Harry Potter movies. This is a neat way to use bold color schemes without overwhelming the visual aesthetics of the room. The remaining colors should stay neutral to keep the room from feeling too visually “heavy.”

Using Sherwin-Williams online color sample generator, I created two examples of room decor using Harry Potter House colors as wall paint and the secondary color in the room decor.

Using bold colors in your house doesn’t have to be scary. In our last house, my husband and I decided to incorporate our geeky personal touches into some of the most visible places. We researched the exact blue color of the TARDIS from Doctor Who so that we could paint our front door to match it. We wanted to make our front door look as much like the TARDIS as possible without being too obvious. So, we chose a door with windows at the top and used the bright blue paint color to give people that “hmm, this reminds me of something…” feeling every time they looked at it. We actually ended up loving the bright blue color so much that we decided to paint our powder room with the same color. It turned out great! It made that little room feel special and different without being out of place. Check out the photo of our TARDIS blue bathroom below.

We used Sherwin Williams 6811 – Honorable Blue as the paint color for our front door and powder room. This color was the closest color matching the TARDIS blue from Doctor Who.

Wall art can be a tricky decorating tool. So much of the wall art that you can buy in stores looks like stuff you see on the walls of a hospital or dentist’s office. Finding artwork that adds a little bit of geekery into your decor without being blatant can be tough too. Here are a couple examples I found that could work in a pinch. Below, you can see the first is a set of prints based on the art found in the newest Zelda video game, Breath of the Wild. That game has amazing visuals, but I liked that this art set was simple and graphic. Add these into a boho-feel room, and they’ll blend right in. You could even convince your guests that you purchased them abroad, haha! The second piece of art is a clever take on a classic piece of artwork. I love this one because it has a lot of color and visual interest. You could pull colors from this painting to add into your room in other decor pieces- pillows, lamp shades, rugs, etc. to bring the whole room together and keep this painting from standing out too much. Both of these examples have a lot of versatility in helping you visually pull a room together with simple decor using either style or color scheme.

Two great examples of artwork you can hang and enjoy in your home. Guests might not even notice the geeky hints!

And don’t forget about decorating outside your house! The front porch is the first thing people see when they come to visit you. If you’re like me and enjoy letting guests know a little about you before coming into your house, a geeky doormat is a great addition. To accent our Doctor Who door color, we found a great doormat that read “It’s Bigger on the Inside.” This was such a fun conversation piece when other “Whovians” would visit our home and recognize the geeky decor hints. Especially since our house really did look bigger on the inside!

Overall, there are a lot of possibilities and ways you can hint at your fandoms with your interior decor. It takes a light, creative touch. This is a subject I could write a whole book on if I had the time! And no, I don’t make any money off of my recommendation of ThinkGeek, but if you’re looking for anything from decor to gifts to clothes that are geeky in nature, that’s the place to go.

As promised, here are my fandom-based color palettes below. Each color has been assigned a hexadecimal color code (or hex code) that can be found at the bottom of the palette. You can read my previous post where I outline several websites I use when creating color palettes like these. These hex codes are used on several of the sites listed in my post to correspond to specific colors. With these hex codes and the websites I provide, you should be able to replicate these colors in other places for your own use.

Feel free to refer to these palettes when needing geeky color combinations, but please cite me as author. I put in a lot of time and effort developing these collections. Also, I would love to hear any suggestions you have of other fandoms for which I should make color palettes. If I use your suggestion, I will credit you in the next color palette post!

A few of my other favorite fandoms. The Harry Potter colors were borrowed from somewhere else (author unknown) because I felt that they were already pretty accurate. The rest of the palettes are my creations, most sampled directly from pictures of these fandoms.
Decorating a Home · Hmm, Pinteresting

5 Best Online Resources for Color Palette Creation

Over the years, I’ve collected many reliable resources for color sampling, color matching, and palette creation. Deciding colors for your home or design projects can be overwhelming when you don’t have somewhere to start. As a graphic designer, these resources are invaluable to me, but I have found even more uses for them as I help design our dream home. Here is the list I have compiled of the most useful online resources for any of your color projects.

Here’s a screen capture of an Encycolorpedia color page. This is only a small sample of what each page details for any color.

Encycolorpedia is a website that I came upon accidentally one night and has since become one of my go to sites for color information. I usually deal in hex codes (six digit codes, using letters and numbers, that represent each color a computer can understand) for colors in my graphic design, or Pantone colors (a collection of color swatches widely used and recognized over a large variety of color-based industries).

Encycolorpedia works like a color search engine where you can input a hex code, Pantone code, color name, or paint name/code, and it finds information on that color for you. Even if you only have one of those designations for your color, it will find and display all of the others PLUS many other pieces of information about your color all in one place. It finds things like the shades and tints of your original color, different color codes from various paint companies, and what your color looks like when seen with different types of colorblindness, just to name a few. I’m totally blown away by the amount of information Encycolorpedia can find about a single color. I’ve already found so many uses for this website, I’m amazed it’s free.

Paletton is another neat website that offers you a color wheel with movable sliders giving you complete control in finding color palettes based on monochromatic, adjacent, triad, tetrad, or freestyle (2, 3, or 4 colors) colors. Each color palette then gives you tinted and shaded versions of each color, plus the individual color codes for each color. This resource is great for choosing colors that can work well together based on color theory. You can also randomize a color palette or give it a few parameters from which to find you different palette options. I’m so excited to use this site more and learn all of its capabilities.

This is the layout for the Paletton website. The lefthand color wheel has several interactive sliders that give you control over your color picking.

Sherwin-Williams also has a great site for choosing colors. Of course, you’re restricted to their list of paint colors, but their list is pretty extensive. You’re bound to find something very close to what you’re looking for. But if you’re worried they won’t have the perfect color for you, don’t! Sherwin Williams offers a paint color matching service. Take a swatch from any other paint brand to them and they can match it perfectly using their signature paint recipe.

Their site offers a large, easy-to-navigate color palette, and each color gives you a visual example of what that color looks like in a fairly realistic setting. You can change the image used in this visual example, you can even use your own image, and the computer will do its best to superimpose the chosen color on your image. This feature works fairly well, but the more busy and complicated your image is, the harder it is to get the computer to put the color in the right place. Each color also comes with suggestions for similar colors, as well as suggestions for complementary color palettes. This resource is great for helping you find colors that work well in your home. Check out how beautiful their color palette looks below.

The Sherwin Williams color palette allows you to click any color to learn more about it or get access to paint swatch information.

Pinterest is such a great idea resource. It’s such an easy way to find thousands of ideas for nearly anything. The fact that it’s so visual makes finding color palettes that fit your interests fast and simple. There are board after board of color combinations to choose from. The best thing about these color boards is that most of them have been compiled by real people. There is something special and beautiful about the amazing color combinations people create. Sure, a computer can give you an accurate color palette based on color theory, but the human eye, personal experiences, and aesthetic preferences make for some very beautiful combinations. Just try searching for “color palette” in the search bar or click the link I have provided to see my personal collection of color palettes. Below, I’ve included a visual example of how you can collect color palettes on Pinterest. Just scrolling through hundreds of these beautiful palettes will spark so much creativity in you!

A snapshot of some of the color palettes I keep on one of my idea boards on Pinterest.
An example of how AskVal picks colors from your pins.

My last color resource is one that works in combination with Pinterest. It’s called AskVal. Valspar is a specific paint brand that developed a neat app that takes any of your Pinterest pins and turns it into a color palette. It can even sample colors from a whole board to give you a color palette. This is helpful if you’ve found a specific pin or board that you love but don’t have access to any color sampling programs like Photoshop. AskVal will give you five sampled colors, one of which is adjustable with an “eyedropper” tool, allowing you to sample a color by clicking anywhere on the image. Then each color on the palette gives you details about what paint brands have a close match, the paint color designation number, and which retailer carries that paint. This app is a lot of fun to play with. It is fairly intelligent in its color choices, which can save you a lot of guesswork.

Altogether, these resources create a powerhouse of color choice, color matching, color theory, and palette creation. These sites are great to have bookmarked in your favorites for those times when you need help picking out colors and don’t want to stand around fumbling with paint chips in the hardware store.

Crafts · Hmm, Pinteresting

Frosted Glass Painted Dishes

This craft was somewhat of an experiment for me. I’ve made these before but this time around I was able to take the original idea and put my own twist on it to make it unique. I found the original craft tutorial on Pinterest years ago. I would love to credit the original idea-maker, but with Pinterest, that’s hard to do. This craft technique is so versatile. Once you master the original method, you can use this on various materials and experiment with different colors and painting styles.

The original crafter’s idea was to use craft glue mixed with food coloring to create a frosted “sea” glass effect when painted on glass pieces. That method does work and yields a pretty decent result. In my first attempt at this craft, I followed the directions given and was able to reproduce the sea glass effect, but I wanted to try something a little different this time.

Water Lilies, Green Reflection, 1914-17 by Claude Monet

I took the original idea a step further and used the same materials with a different process to create a more impressionistic look. Impressionism is a style of painting (typically done in oil paints) made famous by artists like Claude Monet. Typically, impressionistic paintings use long, visible brush strokes and muted, pastel-like colors, blended together to achieve a soft texture. Here is an example of a well known impressionistic painting by Monet called, Water Lillies, painted in the early 1900’s.

PAINT OPTIONS

The consumer paint industry has come a long way in the last 10 years. It is now possible to go to most superstores (like Walmart or Fred Meyer) and find a spray paint aisle and various specialty craft supplies. In the spray paint aisle, you can usually find paints of different sheens and textures. One novel invention of recent years is “sea glass” finish spray paint. This spray paint has an ultra-matte texture that adheres to glass perfectly, giving it a look similar to a piece of glass textured by tumbling beach waves and rough sand.

These sea glass spray paints work so well that they almost avoid the need for alternatives like glue and food coloring. But if you’re looking for convenience and have glue and food coloring on hand, it will do in a pinch. Plus, spray paint can be expensive if you’re wanting to use multiple colors. Using glue and food coloring is more flexible and easier on your wallet than canned spray paints. I was able to mix 4 different colors initially and 2 shades from leftover colors just from one bottle of glue and a box of colorings.

MATERIALS

Paper to protect your work surface

1 bottle of white craft glue

Desired food coloring(s)

Toothpicks or skewers (the thicker the better)

Tape (any kind will do)

Plastic wrap (static cling plastic food covering)

Various glass pieces (cups, bowls, plates, candle sticks, candle holders, etc.)

2-part Epoxy (make sure it lists “glass” as a surface it adheres to)

1 or 2 paint brushes or sponge brushes

Small dishes or cups for mixing glue and colors (at least 1 for each color you plan to make)

Matte finish sealing top coat (either in spray form or paint-on form like Mod Podge)

dish soap and white vinegar for sticker removal (if necessary)

DISHES

I made it a point to do this craft as inexpensively as possible. You don’t need to spend a lot on this project to get a good result. I got my glass pieces from the dollar store. The dollar store commonly has a dishware aisle that has various glass plates and bowls, most with interesting designs that look good when accentuated with colored glue. Make sure to look also for the home decor section of the dollar store for candle sticks of various heights and shapes. These can be glued to the bottom of the bowls, plates, or cups to offset their heights and give an eclectic mix-and-match look. You can also find many of these similar glass pieces at thrift stores but may end up paying a little more for them. I usually play it safe by shopping for them at the dollar store.

Glass pieces I found at my Dollar Store. All together less than $10.

NOT-SO-STICKY SITUATION

Before you begin this project, you’ll want to remove all the price tags and stickers from your glass pieces. If you have stubborn stickers that leave behind a residue like I had, you’ll want to try my easy removal method. Fill a sink or large tub with hot water and place all glass pieces in the water so that the stickers are completely submerged. While filling sink/tub with water, add a bit of dish soap so as to create a decent amount of bubbles. Then add about ¼ – ½ cup of white vinegar to the water. Let the glass pieces sit in the water overnight, if possible. The longer they sit, the easier the stickers will come off. Once they have soaked, simply peel off the stickers and wipe off any residue left behind with a soft cloth.

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Cover your work space with paper or plastic to protect the surface.
  • Using your tape and toothpicks/skewers, tape skewers to your paper work surface in arrangements that run perpendicular to the lip of each glass piece being painted (see IMG 2 & 3) so as to keep them from sticking to the paper once they are painted with glue mixture. The tape keeps skewers from moving when the glass pieces are picked up.
IMG 2: arrange toothpicks/skewers under glass pieces, IMG 3: tape down toothpicks to prevent them from moving, IMG 4: choose your colors.
  • Using the desired number of mixing containers per number of colors, divide most or all of the bottle of glue between them (see IMG 5).
  • Add about 4 drops of food coloring to each of the divided amounts of glue (see IMG 6).
  • Mix the food coloring into the glue. I used one of the thick toothpicks I had available to mix with because I could throw it away and use a new one for each color. You could use the paintbrush and wash between colors or use a kitchen knife that you thoroughly clean off afterwards (see IMG 7).
  • Once, color is thoroughly mixed into glue, cover each dish with plastic wrap to keep the glue from drying out (see IMG 8).
IMG 5: divide glue, IMG 6: add food coloring drops, IMG 7: mix glue and coloring, IMG 8: cover colored glues with plastic wrap.
  • Add a small amount of colored glue to your paintbrush and paint a thin layer on desired glass pieces. Try to keep each layer of colored glue very thin (see IMG 9). Once painted, the glue will try to pool and drip if too much is added at one time. Thin application allows for the glue to dry faster, creating a more even layer and no drip marks (see IMG 10). But don’t worry if your first couple layers look blotchy, each added layer will even out the color application more and more.
  • **Make sure to paint only the outside of the glass pieces that would come in contact with food. Craft paint and food coloring are usually non-toxic but most sealants are not and you would not want that to come in contact with foods. You can also choose not to spray a sealant on at the end if you’re worried about it coming in contact with food. But be aware that the dried glue surface would be easier to scratch without a sealant top coat.**
  • After the first colored glue layer dries completely, add additional layers while allowing it to dry completely in between. I usually let my painted pieces sit overnight (see IMG 11) to dry but this can take a long time with multiple layers. 1-2 hours between layer applications should be sufficient. If at any time you’re unhappy with the color or application of your layers, you can always wash off the colored glue. Craft glue is water soluble and should wash off with minimal scrubbing. Then just start the layer application process over again once the piece is completely dry.
  • To achieve an impressionistic look similar to what I did, layer complimentary colors with dry brush strokes. Melt colors into each other using an ombré effect. I chose to paint my pieces to resemble flowers, blending a darker green to a lighter green on the candlestick bases to imitate flower stems and using darker colors on top of lighter colors to give the impression of flower petals.
  • Once you have achieved the desired color effects, decide which pieces will need to be glued together.
  • In the areas where two pieces will need to be glued together, colored glue layers will need to be removed. This is easy to do with with a wet towel, rubbing gently in a circular motion until only clear glass is revealed.
IMG 9: keep paint layers thin to avoid drips, IMG 10: this is an example of a layer that is too thick causing drips and an uneven coat, IMG 11: Let your layers dry thoroughly between coats.
  • In a small disposable cup, bowl, or dish, mix the two-part epoxy together with a toothpick/skewer and gently apply to the cleaned glass pieces to be glued together. Less is best in this case so as not to detract from the look of your pieces with globs of glue. The best way I’ve found to do this is to apply epoxy only along the side with the thinnest edge and then place it upside down on the piece you’re gluing it to. This keeps the glue from dripping down the piece while drying. **Make sure all pieces are sitting on a completely flat surface to ensure that pieces do not slip off center while epoxy is drying.**
IMG 12: I found this two-part epoxy glue to work really well for projects like this, IMG 13: this stick is perfect for mixing the two-part epoxy and actually came in the epoxy package, IMG 14: the plastic shell from the epoxy package works well as a mixing dish.
  • Let epoxy-glued pieces dry completely before moving on. My epoxy claimed to have a 5 minute drying time, but I left them drying overnight to ensure a strong bond.
  • Once glue has completely dried, take pieces, work surface cover, and toothpicks outside (for proper ventilation) and spray the painted surfaces with a top coat sealant. This may take a couple layers to achieve completely even coverage. If possible, spray pieces outdoors on a sunny day. The sun helps the sealant dry quicker and more evenly.
IMG 15: arrange a spray area in the sun to maximize drying times, IMG 16: spray multiple, light coats for even application rather than one heavy coat.

FLEXIBILITY

This craft can be used in many ways. I used this method to decorate glass candy dishes for Easter, using pastel colors and flowery designs  for a spring effect. You could also decorate dishes for other holidays or even paint the outside of clear ornaments to hang on a Christmas tree. Some craft stores also sell glass blocks that can be filled with lights or keepsakes, and this craft method could be used to decorate the outside of those. Please leave a comment below and let me know how you’ve used this method to create something fabulous!

My finished products!


Favorite Recipes · Hmm, Pinteresting

Keto “bread”

I don’t follow KETO specifically but I try to substitute proteins for carbs whenever I can. My body seems to function better that way. And I stay fuller longer. I found this recipe a couple months back and saved it to my healthy recipes to try Pinterest board.

I have found many pins using this same recipe so I have no way to credit the original recipe creator but I will leave the original pin as I found it for proper credit to that pinner.

Here is the original PIN I found next to my finished product:

My Attempt

  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • Garlic salt sprinkled on top before baking

I used the convection setting on my oven which puts it at 375°.

They only needed 15 minutes to cook. Any longer might have made them too crispy.

PROS:

  • Easy to make
  • Easy to double or triple recipe to make more
  • Very fast prep time
  • I could successfully pretend this was bread
  • Very versatile

CONS:

  • Could be bland without some spice for flavoring which is why I sprinkled garlic salt on it.
  • Needs to be eaten soon after it’s made. Doesn’t age well.

In the future, I plan to use this recipe to make:

  • Bagels
  • Breakfast sandwiches
  • Mini pizzas
  • Cheese sticks

Nutrition

  • Serving size: 1 whole regular-sized bagel (2 halves) or 1 regular-sized hamburger bun (top and bottom).
  • 1 serving is approximately 271 Calories; 20.8g Fat; 11.5g Sat. Fat; 156mg Cholest.; 705mg Sodium; 1.5g Carbs; 0g Fiber; 0.7g Sugar; 15.4g Protein.