A ridiculously easy picnic DIY


I made a cutlery caddy for knives, spoons, and forks using three tin cans.  There isn't much in the way of directions for this DIY.  It's that simple, it's kind of "duh."  But it's sooo useful for the summertime, or any time you've got a bunch of people over to eat.  The cans you see here are the bigger 28 oz size, like you get for crushed tomatoes.  But you could easily adapt this to smaller soup cans or even smaller veggie cans, depending on what you want your caddy to hold.  I could see this design being really useful for art supplies or paperclips, rubber bands, and push pins and junk like that.

My original idea came from seeing actual cutlery holders for sale at the store, but it seemed like a waste of money when I figured it probably wouldn't be too hard to make something just as functional at home.  Since I work at a school and have access to nifty things, I had my friend (who also happens to be the shop teacher) use pop rivets to attach the three cans together at the top into a triangle shape, which makes the overall form sturdy so that it won't blow over at an outdoor picnic or barbecue (see detail in the photo above).  

cans with cutlery

Here it is in action, undecorated.  Now, there's lots of stuff you can do from here.  You could paint/spraypaint the cans (might wanna add a clear coat for durability) - but I left mine au natural for an industrial chic look.  You could wrap each can with festive paper or contact paper.  And definitely you can add ribbon/raffia/other decorative band to suit your occasion.  See below for an example using satin ribbon.  Reminds me of a baby or wedding shower.


So I had this other thought, for those of you without a shop teacher friend and lacking in metal rivets to attach cans to each other.  How about using one of these stainless steel clamps?  They're found in the plumbing section of you friendly hardware store.  I think I'm gonna go get one for mine, because it would be that perfect industrial touch to the overall piece.  And because they were priced around $2 when I looked them up online.  Heck yeah - a smart little DIY cutlery caddy for only $2!  Impress your friends!

stainless steel clamp

So far I thought of cutlery, pens/pencils, and other office supply storage.  How about standard can size in the bathroom for toothbrushes and makeup brushes?  Can you think of any other uses?  

now playing:
Awake by Mutiny Within on Grooveshark


My New Square!


I ordered something new and exciting for the craft fair on June 9th!  It's a Square! A square is a little plastic contraption that plugs into your iPhone or iPad and allows you to accept credit cards for payments. You have to download the free app to make it work, but the good news is that you only get charged when you use the service.  No monthly fees or subscriptions!

I can't wait to use it because it makes me feel so official!  Someone's all, "hey do you take credit cards?" and I'm all, "why yes, I DO!"

square 2

You don't even have to pay to get the little square do-hickey.  They send it to you for free.  And it comes with these nifty stickers to put at your booth/table so customers know that you take credit cards.

I was really excited a couple of weeks back when I went to Art in the Park, an art fair in Elmhurst, and several of the vendors had these little stickers for Square up at their booths.  I used my card at some of those booths just to try it out.  It was awesome!

now playing:
Punisher by Veil Of Maya on Grooveshark


In the garden... 2012!


Check it out!  My first REAL garden!  Last year, we had the backyard sodded, and Todd reserved a little 4 foot by 8 foot rectangle for me to have a garden.  Because it was so late in the year, I didn't really have a lot of time to actually plant anything, but this year I was READY!!!  Todd built me a wooden frame for the garden, and I set aside this weekend, Memorial Day weekend, to finally plant!


I bought my first two tomato plants ever, two banana pepper plants, two tiny cucumber plants, and a basil plant.  Leftover from last year's experiments is my big chive plant (this is after I transplanted it - I hope it survives!) and a parsley plant-turned-giant-bush that I'm attempting to split up.  Again, not sure if it will survive, but we'll see.


Motorhead was happy to help hang out in the yard with us today.  I'm hoping that he doesn't decide to steal the veggies once they're ready to pick.  He didn't mess with my experimental pepper plants last year, so I think we'll probably be ok.  But he did run off with part of the parsley plant after I dug it up, so hmm...


Oh, there's the parsley plant on the left (above).  It's only 1/3 of what was originally growing.  Last year I had it in a pot, and at the end of the summer, I dumped the pot into my untilled dirt rectangle.  This year, it decided to grow back in a major way very very early in the spring.  It was out of control!  So I moved it to the back corner.  I hope it perks back up... In the middle is my cute little basil plant which I am pretty sure based on last year's potted version will probably grow massive style.  So I kept it by the crazy parsley and I figured they could go nuts together.  And lastly, on the right, are my two teeny cucumber plants.  I bought that trellis hoping that they'll get big enough to use it.  Or, get ridiculously big and I'll have to buy a larger one.  That wouldn't be a bad problem to have though, right?

I also have some radish seeds growing in the front of the garden box.  I remember growing radishes when I was younger, with my mom, and how much fun it is to pull them out of the ground when they're ready!  $1.00 for a pack of radish seeds was a good risk, I figured.


Lastly, I do have a small amount of flowers growing in the back.  We're hoping to re-landscape the front yard this year, so I haven't had a lot of flower opportunity until that gets completed.  In the meantime, here are my favorite little pink wildflowers from last year, called "Catchflies," and some purply flowers my brother and his wife gave me for mother's day.  I put them in my rectangle planter and stuck my little solar glow-in-the-dark globe stakes in each end.  That'll do for now.

Side note: I was writing this post and went back to last year's post for information on these little pink flowers, and I realized that this same themed post last year also had a Dio song in the "now playing" section.  Whoa.

What are you growing this year?

now playing:
One Night in the City by Dio on Grooveshark


Dining Al Fresco: A Field Trip!


Earlier this week, Todd and I decided to go to our little downtown area to get dinner.  The weather was so nice, I suggested that we take Iggy in the stroller and sit outside somewhere.  We decided upon Prasino, a yummy eco-friendly (and vegetarian friendly!) restaurant in LaGrange.  Every time I go here I try something new, and it's always been pretty tasty.  I brought my new camera with to take some shots.

father son

Iggy only lasted in the actual stroller for a little bit.  Then he got whiny and I picked him up, but my fish tacos were hard to eat with only one hand free.  So Todd volunteered to take the baby for a bit, and I was able to capture these cute father-son shots.  Notice that Iggy got all dressed up for the evening out... :)


Those shots of Iggy with the wine glass are too funny to pass up.  He looks so fancy.  After dinner, we ordered dessert - carrot cake!  Yum!  Below, Dad and Iggy, playing on their iPhone.  Iggy's starting early...!!!

baby phone

Got a favorite outdoor spot to dine at?  Please share!

now playing:
Live to Rise by Soundgarden on Grooveshark


new things: a constructor preview

bobby pins

Hello!  I've been working really hard at getting new things made for the Constructor Craft Fair on June 9th (yeah, by the time it actually rolls around, you'll be sick to death if hearing me talk about it).  But I'm posting actual pictures of the things I've made, hopefully to entice you into going (hint, hint).  Nothing here is listed on the etsy shop, and hopefully it won't stay around long enough to go up after...!!!

Can you spot my new new creations?  Crucifix bobby pins!  I make so many rosary necklaces that I inevitably end up with many crucifixes and I'm not always sure what to do.  I have made earrings with some of the past ones, but I'm always looking for NEW ways to use them.  Enter the bobby pin.  I used special metal jewelry glue to adhere these crucifixes to bobby pin blanks.  I was inspired by an instagram photo of Kat Von D wearing something similar, and I had one of those "lightbulb moments."  The kind she was wearing probably cost quite a bit... but mine are for the everyman - er, woman?  Hey, whatever floats your boat.  I make them for whomever wants them.  And I'm affordable.


Here are some new necklaces!  Necklaces are fun to make because although they're not a ton of work (depending on the type), each one is unique and has its own special style.  Different sizes and colors of beads demand different pendants.  Some necklaces are long enough to pull over, where others are shorties and need a clasp.  I like trying them on in the mirror before I decide that I'm finished.

Do you like the baby buggy necklace?  It's not a rosary necklace, but I made it using leftover rosary beads and parts.  Upcycled!


My flower hair clips/pins aren't exactly "new," but here's six totally brand new ones I made just this last weekend.  Check out the new tags on the backs!  Now, if someone buys a flower clip, it's easy to remember where to go back for more!


Lastly, here's a little work in progress.  I'm dreaming up some biggie satin bows with skully accents.  I learned a new trick: did you know that you can keep satin ribbon from fraying by quickly running it past a flame (as in, a lighter or match)?  It totally works - I was amazed!

What kinds of projects are you working on lately? 

now playing:
Blood For Poppies by Garbage on Grooveshark


Happy (belated) Mother's Day!

new camera

I've been saving up for a "real" fancy-schmancy camera for a little bit (I have no illusions of being a professional photographer, but did I take a darkroom class in college and LOVED it) - a dslr to be exact... I've been wanting a Canon Rebel for a while, and all of my hard work with the teacher's union paid off - literally!  Turns out that even the secretary gets a stipend at the end of the year, so I took all of it and applied it towards my new friend above!  Technically, it wasn't ALL me... the remaining amount was given to me by Todd and Iggy as a Mother's Day gift.  We went the day after Mother's Day and picked it up.

I bought the "base" model, the T3, because most reviews were pretty good, and the difference between this model and the next was several hundred dollars, which I would rather spend toward some new lenses.  Right now I have the one that came in the camera kit, and a telephoto lens.  I really want to purchase a macro lens (to photograph my Hell Razor creations!) and a wide-angle lens to round out my set...

Soon, I will post photos from my new camera to share with you!


In other super-mega-awesome news, I've been hard at work creating THINGS for the Constructor Craft Fair.  See the evolution of a handmade skull above!  I have some other nifty ideas for items to debut on June 9th.  I also plan on closing the online shop for "holiday" that weekend, so if there's anything you see that you want, grab it now before I take it to the show and it very well could be snapped up!  So now's your chance!

now playing:
Here We Are Juggernaut by Coheed and Cambria on Grooveshark


Constructor Craft Fair 2012!

Constructor 2012

So I found out yesterday that I was accepted to the Constructor Craft Fair 2012!  It's in less than a month, so I have a lot of preparations to do before the big day.  I've already ordered more stickers and buttons... I think I'm going to have some more business cards made, too.

Most importantly, I'm going to make a bunch of new, fun items to sell at the show - so I'd better get busy! I'm so super excited for this.  If you're in the Chicago area, please consider stopping by.  Definitely tell your friends!  I've been to this show (as a shopper) several years in the past, and it's always been really great.  I don't think I've ever walked out empty-handed!

now playing:
Everybody Knows by Concrete Blonde on Grooveshark


Easy Money.

For my birthday, I got the new iPhone 4S, which is pretty awesome.  But my old 3GS was still in working order, and I wasn't sure what to do with it.  I asked the guy at the Apple store, hoping they'd offer some kind of a trade-in or program like that, but no luck.  He said "oh, it's just like having an iPod touch now."

Well, I have an iPod touch (it's old, but still...) and I have an iPod nano, too.  I don't need an old phone to function as an iPod.  So I did some research, and that's when I found Gazelle.com


Gazelle.com was offering $95 for an iPhone 3GS in "normal" condition, so I signed up.  They sent me a box, postage paid.  All I had to do was clear off all of my personal information, remove the SIM card, and pack it up nice and securely.  Gazelle checks over your electronics (for condition), gives you a finalized offer of $$$, and you either accept it (and take the money!) or they send you your equipment back.

I read some reviews ahead of time, and some people were upset that when they sent in their phones, the offers decreased in value (due to condition of the phone).  But that didn't happen to me.  I keep a case on my phone at all times, and I also had a clear film on the front.  When I took the case and film off, the phone was in pretty nice condition, despite me having it for almost 3 years.  Shockingly (!!!), I'd never dropped it in water or had any major damage or incidents happen to it, so it was in pretty nice condition.  I was given the full $95 that was quoted to me, and they deposited it into my Paypal account within a couple of days after checking over my phone.

Gazelle even offers payment in Amazon.com credit, which will give you 5% additional to the value of your old phone.  I opted to not go that route, as I'm saving up my money for a camera and spiffy bag, and didn't want to be tied to going through Amazon.

In case you're wondering, Gazelle takes your old equipment, refurbishes it, and re-sells the best stuff.  Other equipment is sold wholesale to other businesses, and the really old/unusable stuff is properly recycled through the appropriate venues.  So that makes me feel good - my phone won't just sit and "rot" in a dresser drawer at my house, unused.  And I get $95!  Woo hoo!

So, in conclusion, I had a great experience with Gazelle.com and would definitely deal with them again!

now playing:
  Handbook For The Recently Deceased by The Damned Things on Grooveshark
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