Saturday, January 12, 2013

Valentine Fun-Invisible INK

Valentine craft for LMNOP blog

Did you know you can make great invisible ink from lemon juice? Armed with this new bit of knowledge I put my thinking cap on and came up with the idea that invisible ink + message in bottle = cool valentines day gift!

The invisible ink bit is easy…simply squeeze a lemon and use the juice to write a message on a piece of white paper. I don’t have a dip pen so just ended up using a q-tip (cotton bud).

Then you need to find a bottle to put the message in. I used an old vanilla extract bottle. I also stuffed in lots of multi-coloured hearts as you can see!

To reveal the message all you have to do is hold it up to a heat source (you can see the results in the image below). You can use a lightbulb, iron (no steam) or candle for example. PLEASE PLEASE be careful and don’t let the kids do this bit. I nearly flambĂ©ed a few pieces of paper on the stove top.

I love these coloured hearts almost as much as I love my hubby and took a zillion pictures!!

Check out the LMNOP blog for lots more goodies….

Update: A lot of people have asked me where the hearts come from….I have a little heart punch and bought a lovely rainbow pad from paperchase.

Green Goddess Juice-Detox

Love Your Inner Goddess

Did I mention I think detoxing is good, just as we cleanse our bodies we need to clean the inside too.

I want to feel strong, vibrant, energetic, and weightless each and every day, but I'm not quite there yet. And that's okay. I'm enjoying the process and learning to love me, right now, just the way I am.  Reality check: I'm not superwoman. Reminder: I'm strong, healthy, and on a path to greatness.

Whew, that's better.

Sometimes we need just need to shake it off, do a little dance, and sip some green juice to reignite our inner green goddess. PS I bought a juicer (on sale and totally worth it). PPS Apparently shopping also improves a bleh detox day.
Green Goddess Juice

  • 1 cup spinach, packed
  • 1/3 cup kale, packed
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1/3 lemon
Method: Juice ingredients and enjoy.

Light, crisp, and loaded with nutrients, just as a goddess juice should be.
Listen to your body and fuel with it both green juice and loving words.

I now acknowledge my body with more affection and respect.
I am now able to achieve all that is necessary in a calm and peaceful manner.
I am divinely guided to my inner-self and I discover my own rhythm.
I am now celebrating my unique strength and beauty.
I am becoming more loving and accepting of myself.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Clearing and Programming Crystals

Clearing and Programming Crystals

Crystals are a tool and can be like a storage battery for thought energy. Clearing has to do with the energy of the stone or ...crystal. Crystals can be programmed with our thought energy and then act in our subtle energy fields.

Clearing a crystal or gem stone is simple, and is to ensure that there is no negative energy left by a previous owner. There are several ways to clear crystals. You can soak them in water with sea salt and apple cider vinegar. You can run them under water and visualise the negative energy being washed away.

You should charge your crystal in sunlight or moonlight before working with them.

To programme your new crystal, simply hold it in your hands, close your eyes and create an image of what you want the crystal to do. Keep your crystal close to your skin and when you can’t keep in a special bag or box that has been blessed and purified.

Cleansing Your Crystal

Here are different methods of crystal cleansing. Some methods may not fit certain crystals (like salt water and Selenite) and may actually cause more damage than good. Choose your methods carefully.

Crystal Cleansing – Salt Water Method
Put two to three teaspoons of sea salt or rock salt into four to six pints of warm water. The container should be made of glass, china, pottery etc. but NOT plastic. When the salt has dissolved, soak your crystal in the salt water for 36 to 72 hours. Don’t put your crystal into hot water as this may damage it. If you can get sea water, use this instead.

Remove your crystal and leave it to dry naturally, in sunlight if possible – as the sun’s abundant energy serves to enhance the energies naturally present in your crystal. Remember porous gemstones like opal can be damaged by salt water so be sure that the crystal is suitable for whichever cleaning method you choose.

Crystal Cleansing – Running Water Method
Hold the crystal under running water and let the water flow over it. Tap water is OK – but if you can use fresh flowing water from a stream, so much the better! DO NOT use hot water as the crystal may crack. If you happen to live near any body of water,you can use the running water to cleanse the stones as well.
To do this place the stones in a mesh bag, tying them off so you won’t loose them & let the running water cleanse them overnight. If one night is not enough, leave it for another.

Also be very careful not to drop your crystal – especially if it is small (you could hold something underneath e.g. a sieve, to catch it if you accidentally drop a crystal).

Leave the crystal to dry naturally, in sunlight if possible – as the sun’s abundant energy serves to enhance the energies naturally present in your crystal.

Some crystals (e.g. Lepidolite) are damaged by water. Don’t use this method for these crystals.

Crystal Cleansing – Earth Method
Bury the crystal in the ground for a week or so and then check that it has been cleansed of it’s negative energies. If not, bury it again for a few days until the process is completed. When you feel that it has been effectively cleansed, wipe or wash off any remaining earth and your crystal will be ready for use again.

Make sure when you bury your crystal that you can easily find it again. It may help to mark the spot with a flowerpot or other item. Be sure to choose a place where you can be sure it will not be disturbed. Take extra care with small crystals to ensure that you can find them again. I once lost a beautiful garnet by planting it and forgetting where it had been put!

However I feel that this method is the best when dealing with crystals that have been around negative or ill people.

Crystal Cleansing – Salt Method
Set the crystal in a dish of salt and let it be cleansed by the salt. It may take a few minutes to a few hours depending. You can re-use the salt, I keep a large tub of it that I change every now and again, but this is only used for cleansing crystals.

Crystal Cleansing – Sunlight Method
Set the stone in direct sunlight, preferably outside, & let the Sun’s rays do the work.
The stone should stay outside anywhere from a day to a week, depending on how much other energy the stone’s absorbed. The stone should be brought in every evening. Check the stone by placing it in your left hand. Does the stone’s natural energy vibrations feel normal? If they do, the cleansing is finished.Repeat daily for up to a week.

Sometimes your crystal will be thoroughly cleansed after only one day. Check it daily by holding it in your receptive hand (the left hand if you are right handed) and sense it’s energies. If any negative energies remain, place the crystal in sunlight for another day. If it has absorbed a lot of negative energies you may need to do this for several days in a row.

If these methods are not possible, a small ritual can be performed using a bowl of fresh earth (North), a small basin of water (West), incense (East) & a red candle (South). Pass the stone through each of these elements while asking the element to aid in cleansing the stone of all negativity & unwanted energies.

Some incense is used for cleansing in general rituals and spells; you can also use incense to cleanse a crystal. Incense such as sage, frankincense, myrrh, lotus, cedar or sweet grass can be used to help cleanse a crystal. All you have to do is hold the crystal in the smoke. You can also use a feather to gently fan the smoke across the crystal.

Quartz Clusters
You can also stand the crystal on a large cluster of Quartz or other energizing crystals for approximately 12 or more hours. Stones that have a natural affinity with the moon can be left in the moonlight; same with those that has a natural affinity with the sun.

Visualization helps with a lot of aspects in our lives, even in cleansing. Just visualize a golden or white light coming down to surrounding the crystal, cleansing and transmuting the energies. Continue doing that until the crystals energy shines out once more.

Brown Rice
Cover your crystals in brown rice for 12 hours, the rice will cleanse your crystals by soaking up any negativity they hold. Throw away the rice after cleansing, as you do not wish to eat rice filled with negativity.

Flower Petals
Cover your crystals in flower petals. Use what colour of flower petals you feel would be suitable such as pink rose petals for rose quartz, Orange marigolds for orange calcite, etc. The petals can be composted after use, as any negativity in the petals the earth will recycle into positive energy.

You can cleanse your crystals by placing in direct sunlight. The crystals can be placed outside (in safe areas) or on a windowsill for 8 hours. This will cleanse and charge your crystals. Note; Sunlight may damage some crystals because of the strong sunlight rays, especially brightly coloured crystals. Also be aware of any possibility of rain during this time that may also damage certain crystals.

As with sunlight, the moon can also cleanse crystals. We would recommend this particularly during a full moon as the moons energy is enhanced.Place in direct moonlight overnight. Again be aware of possibility of rain if placing outside. But again a windowsill is quite suitable.This will cleanse and charge your crystals.

Hold your crystal in your hands and imagine a golden light from above coming down and filling the crystal. Cleansing any negativity. Allow the crystal to glow with the light. When you feel the vibration change in the crystal it will be fully cleansed.Trusting your own intuition and what you are feeling to begin with is quite difficult for some. But over time, you will become more confident with this.We all make mistakes to begin with, it is only if we don’t learn by then that they are truly mistakes.

Certain sounds can be used to cleanse crystals. All crystals love sound.Bu using a tuning fork, singing bowl or Tibetan cymbals you can cleanse your crystals. Use your choice of sound by playing the sound over and around your crystal. This is a useful technique for crystals that are too large to handle easily.Some people will place a crystal inside a singing bowl, but this can sometimes damage a crystal due to the vibration inside the bowl. If you prefer to do this, only place one crystal inside the bowl at a time

If you are attuned to Reiki you can use it to cleanse and charge your crystals. This can be done by placing the crystals in your hands or holding your hands over the crystal and asking the Reiki to flow to cleanse and charge the crystal.This is also a handy technique for any large, heavy or awkward crystals that need to be cleansed and charged.

Citrine is one of very few that do not need cleansing, as citrine will not hold any negativity, but in turn change it to positive energy. You can cleanse and charge your crystals, by placing them in or on a crystal bed/geode for 12 hours. Citrine is also a useful crystal to have as a citrine tumble stone among any crystals that you carry around with you, as it will keep them cleansed.


Charging Your Crystal

Before a stone is used in a spell, the stone should be charged with the purpose of the spell. This is done by holding the stone in your projection (right) hand & letting the energy that is within youto pour into the stone while visualizing the purpose, or by laying the crystal on your pentacle and projecting the energy you have raised through your hands into the crystal.

The first and most important part of charging a crystal is choosing the crystal itself. For most general uses, Quartz is the best one. For specific use, there are many others. Consult a table of correspondences if a specific intent is required.The next step, and also important, especially the first few times, is to prepare yourself for the actual channeling of energy.

Find a place where you will not be disturbed and leave the phone off the hook. Sit in a comfortable chair and gently hold your crystal in your hands. Take a few moments to study your crystal. Get to know the shape and feel of it. Look carefully at it, noting every detail.

Hold the crystal between your hands and concentrate on the feelings that you wish the crystal to retain. Do this for about 20-30 min or until you feel that you have drawn enough energy into the project. Project these feelings into the crystals. You should feel a faint hum from the crystal while you are doing this. When you are finished ground yourself to remove any excess energy that may remain afterwards. The crystal should now be charged with the energy that you wish.

Hold your crystal at the level of the third eye. Concentrate on the energy link between the crystal and your third eye. When the energy link is established, will that the crystal is to be used for the purpose that you have chosen e.g. meditation, healing, stimulating intuition, enhancing psychic powers.

A crystal should be charged for one specific purpose only. If you wish to use crystals for several different purposes, you will need to obtain a crystal for each and to use each crystal for its own specific purpose only. You may also wish to empower it with the moons rays, by leaving it in moonlight for the three days of the full moon.

Once you have cleansed your crystals and charged them with their intent keep them either individually wrapped in pieces of material or in pouches, to prevent them becoming contaminated.


Blessing Your Stones

There are a few things you can do to ensure that your stone familiars will be blessed.

First, ascertain that the stones in your possession are your personal familiars. Sit quietly for a time with each stone in question. Roll the stone around in the palm of your dominant hand. Ask it to tell you its purpose, and listen for a response. The answer may come to you through sight, sound, touch, taste, smell, feeling, or instinct. Expect the unexpected. If you get “good vibes,” thank the stone, then work with it accordingly.

Clear the stone by placing it in sea-salted water, or by burying it in the earth overnight. You may also smudge clear the stone. This is done by lighting herbs such as sage, cedar, sweetgrass, or copal (a tree resin), and holding the stone in the smoke.

Be sure to feed your stone familiars on each and every sabbath. Cornmeal, wheat grains, tobacco, or rum are choice offerings. Just sprinkle some over the stones, or place the stones along with your offering overnight in a crystal or earthenware bowl.


Crystal Conseration Ritual

Perform the following ritual on a night of the full moon to cleanse a crystal of negative influences and to charge it with healing powers. Begin by lighting two white alter candles (one on each side of the altar.) Place a small bowl or cup of fresh rainwater (or melted snow) and a dish of sand, soil, or salt on the altar. In the center of the altar, place a censer containing any of the following incenses: frankincense, myrrth, patchouli, rose, saffron, or sandalwood. Take the crystal in your projective hand and pass it through the smoke of the incense as you say:

“By the power of the Goddess and by the ancient and mystical element of air, I consecrate and dedicate this crystal as a magickal tool of healing.”

Gently place the crystal in the dish of sand, soil, or salt, and say:

“By the power of the Horned God and by the ancient and mystical element of earth, I consecrate and dedicate this crystal as a magickal tool of healing.”

Sprinkle a few drops of water on the crystal, and say:

“By the power of the universe and the ancient and mystical element of water, I consecrate and dedicate this crystal as a magickal tool of healing.”

Once again, take the crystal in your projective hand. Move it in a sunwise circle around the flame of each candle as you say:

“By the power of love and by the ancient and mystical element of fire, I consecrate and dedicate this crystal as a magickal tool of healing. May this crystal stone of power work for my good and for the good of all. So mote it be.”

After the consecration ritual has been performed, cup the crystal between your hands and allow it to harmonize with your aura and spiritual consciousness. Breathe gently upon the crystal as you direct your thoughts and intentions into it. The charged crystal will respond to the energy of your will.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

22 Chores Toddlers Love

22 Chores Toddlers Love
Have you ever noticed that your toddler mimics everything you do?

Ever notice how your little 18 mo old wants to be like mommy? She wants a sip of whatever you're drinking, her drink cup just wont do. She wants to wear your lipstick, makeup and shoes. She isn't happy if you leave the room just for a minute to get something or put something away, she will cry and run after you, if she can't get out of the gate(child safety gate) she cries. I say it's time to put that helpful nature to good use!
Here are some good tips to let your toddlers help you through the day.
This gals website lists a lot of good ideas that worked for my girls when they were toddlers.
**************************Read below!
I have decided to put an end to running on the proverbial hamster wheel of motherhood (you know what I mean: make a meal, clean up a meal, facilitate playtime, clean up the toys, put kids down for nap, try to squeeze in a couple of chores, make another meal...round and round you go). It is exhausting and usually done in pursuit of having a house that is clean all at once with time to sit and relax. In reality, that's a rare occurrence with a toddler.

Instead, I took note of all the ways I could include my daughter in the daily housework. As far as my schedule goes, I try to be home for at least one extended block of the day. That almost always includes free play time while I try to do some chores. I value free play and know that it is great for the development of children. However, when your little one seems to be getting in the way of your chores, here's an idea for how to stop getting frazzled and start getting things done!

(about 11 months )

  • Sorting: Help her practice saying her colors, identify articles of clothing and take extra time to check those pockets!
  • Lugging: Have your toddler bring pieces of clothing from the pile over to the laundry machine
  • Loading: Count through the numbers and practice the word "in" while your toddler loads clothing into the washer one by one. If you have a front loading washer, it can be the perfect height but consider using a step stool and a basket for top-loading washers.
  • Scoop: Give your toddler the proper sized scoop and let them scoop up the soap
  • Pour: Time to pour the soap in!
  • Push: A toddler's favorite chore of all: button pushing! "Start"
    • Plant Watering: Have your toddler place an ice cube or two into each of your house plants for slow indoor plant watering. Outside is the place for your toddler to use a watering can!
    • Sweeping: Turn on some music (essential to cleaning in our house) and grab an extra broom. Your toddler will be pushing it around the house in no time.
    • Vacuuming: A bubble vacuum or small hand vacuum is a great toy to have around the house. I take ours out only during "vacuum time with mommy"
    • Fluff Pillows: Give your toddler pillows from the couch to fluff (showing them the proper motion). This is especially fun for high energy boys :-).
    • Tidy Up Toys: Have your child bring toys and place them in the toy basket (find a Clean-Up song on YouTube if you don't already have one).
    • 19.5 months
    • Dusting: Go to the dollar store and grab an extra dusting wand for your toddler. Show them the coffee table and the front of cabinets that are easy for them to dust.
    • Food Prep: Give your toddler a small spare drawer in the kitchen that is filled with play-friendly cooking ware (spatula, dollar store pans, cupcake tins) and they will be "cooking" along side you in no time. Clean up is a cinch - throw all the items back in the drawer!
    • Stir: Grab a stepping stool or clear a space on the counter. Give your toddler the job of mixing ingredients.
    • Table Settings: During the young phase with a helpful toddler, consider purchasing inexpensive or plastic plates and give your toddler a couple to bring to the table. They can also be responsible for bringing place mats, napkins or a basket of rolls to the table.
    • Wipe-Up: If Mommy or toddler makes a spill on the counter or floors during food prep, your child can be given a rag to wipe it up (this helps them learn the basics of being tidy)!
    • Ringing the Dinner Bell: Have your toddler be given the responsibility of ringing the dinner bell that tells Daddy and the other family members it's time to eat. They can also practice words like "Dinner" or "It's Time!"
    • Emptying the Dishwasher: Quickly empty the breakable or sharp items from the dishwasher and have your toddler collect the "yellow plates" or "red spoons" (or other toddler dish ware).
    *Ideally, when cleaning with toddlers you will be using natural products, but always wash your hands after cleaning!
    "mommy and me" cleaning buckets

    • Spray: Teach fine motor skills by assisting with the spray bottle
    • Wipe: Give your toddler a cloth and show them the "wiping" motion
    • Pick Up Tub Toys: Have your toddler round up tub toys like foam letters and floaties to prepare for a wipe down
    • Clean Toilets: My toddler LOVES the toilet scrubber. I have a hard time cleaning toilets without her holding onto the handle. If you have an overly interested toddler, be warned that a cell phone or other non-organic items may eventually end up in the toilet. My first line of defense is to keep all bathrooms closed at all times!

    I hope you've found some of these ideas helpful. Please know that I am not advocating the absence of playtime, but simply giving an overwhelmed mama some encouragement that she can multi-task and create learning experiences and play time in a productive atmosphere. Remember, practice patience and give your toddler what they need most - your attentive guidance. You will reap the benefits of a completed to-do list and quality time with your little one.

    Finally, I want to share a beautiful poem to give you hope on those days where nothing seems to be working.

    The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow,
    But children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.
    So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
    I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.

    ~ Ruth Hulbert Hamilton

    Monday, January 7, 2013

    Conversation Heart Cookies

    Conversation Heart Cookies 
    Martha Stewart Living, February 2009
    • Yield Makes 70 cookies            Ingredients
    • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • Royal Icing
    • Gel-paste food coloring (such as leaf green, lemon yellow, peach, red, rose, and violet)


    1. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Cream butter and sugar with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy. With mixer running, add egg and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture gradually, beating until just incorporated. Divide dough in half; flatten each half into a disk, and wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour (or overnight).
    2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees with racks in top third and lower third. Let 1 disk of dough stand at room temperature just until soft enough to roll, about 10 minutes. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to just under 1/4-inch thickness, adding more flour as needed to keep dough from sticking. Cut out cookies with a 2-inch heart cutter, and place them 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roll out scraps once, and repeat. Repeat with remaining disk of dough. Freeze cookies until very firm, about 15 minutes.
    3. Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through and switching from top to bottom, until edges turn golden brown, 14 to 16 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks. Cookies will keep, covered, for up to 1 week.
    4. Divide royal icing into 1/2-cup portions in small bowls. Tint each with a different gel-paste food coloring, starting with just a drop, mixing well, and adding more, drop by drop, to reach desired shade. Transfer 1 bowl of icing to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/8-inch round plain tip. Pipe the outline around edge of each cookie, then fill in with frosting. Poke air bubbles with a toothpick. Transfer decorated cookies to a parchment-lined baking sheet, and let stand uncovered overnight until dry.
    5. Arrange stamp letters to create desired phrases. (We stamped LUV U, UR A QT, BFF, LYLAS, B MINE, and 2GTBT.) Fold a paper towel into quarters. Squeeze a small amount of red gel-paste food coloring onto a paper towel, and press stamp in coloring. (You may need to blot stamp a few times on a clean paper towel if coloring is too thick.) Lightly press stamp on top of icing in center of each cookie. Let stand until dry, about 30 minutes. Stamped cookies will keep, covered, for up to 3 days.

    Cook's Note

    We used a Cosco 2000 Plus Custom Stamp Kit (No. 614107), $24.99, from Staples.

    how to make candy buttons

    how to make candy buttons

    I always loved those old fashioned candy buttons—remember the ones with the brightly colored blobs stuck to strips of white paper? I loved them even when they tore the paper and I got a mouth full of it.
    Back when I only had my son, and had a lot more time to be creative, I used to make iced sugar cookies. Since they took an entire day to complete, they were a pure labor of love. But it was satisfying when I flooded the royal icing just right, and ended up with a cookie with a perfectly smooth, silky surface.
    I don’t know why I never made the connection, but I finally discovered that the same royal icing I used to flood my cookies was the same thing they used to make candy buttons. Naturally, I had to give them a try.
    Last week, when I was done making sugar cookies for my cookbook, I had some extra royal icing in two squeeze bottles: one pink, and one lavender. They were the perfect colors to try out some candy buttons, and the perfect colors for Valentine’s Day.
    The trick of using squeeze bottles for royal icing is an idea I got from watching a special segment on Martha Stewart Living. They did a little story on Elani’s, a New York based cookie bakery that seems to have started the trend of making those flooded iced cookies. In the little video, they were using the clear squeeze bottles for all their frosting, whether it was for piping or filling, so I’ve used the same technique ever since. You can get them in the cake decorating supply section of most craft stores, and they’re readily available from Wilton cake supplies. I love them, and highly recommend them for decorating.
    royal icing
    If you are making this icing for frosting cookies, double it.
    I’m always a little hesitant to use fresh egg whites in this recipe, since they aren’t cooked, and I don’t like using meringue powder since it’s loaded with all sorts of ingredients I can’t pronounce. But I recently discovered all natural powdered egg whites (which you can purchase here). They’re ideal for this recipe, though liquid pasteurized egg whites are alright, too. They just don’t set up as well as when you use the powdered egg whites.
    2 cups powdered sugar, plus more if necessary
    3 tablespoons warm water
    1 egg white, or 2 teaspoons of powdered egg white plus 2 tablespoons of additional water
    1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    1. Place all ingredients in a bowl, and beat with an electric mixer on medium high speed for 5-6 minutes until thick and glossy. Icing should fall in ribbons when you lift it with a spoon and let it fall back into the bowl. The ribbon should sit on the surface for about 3-4 seconds before “melting” back into the bowl.
    2. Divide icing, tint with desired colors, and pour into food safe squeeze bottles. Cut strips of parchment paper or copy paper. Squeeze little drops of icing in rows along the strips of paper. Allow to dry for 6 hours, or overnight.

    Love Jar

    Love Jar


    Project courtesy of Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores
    Crafting Time: 1-2 hours
    Skill Level: No experience necessary


    • Mason jar
    • Hot glue gun & glue sticks
    • Martha Stewart Crafts™ Acrylic Paint (Pearle) – Fruit Punch
    • Martha Stewart Crafts™ Foam Pouncers
    • Brush basin or water container
    • Foam plates
    • Paper towels
    1. Clean jar with warm soapy water; rinse well. Dry thoroughly.
    2. Moisten paper towel with rubbing alcohol and wipe jar to remove any remaining dirt or soap residue.
    3. Using hot glue gun, write name or message. Add swirls or dots to add interest & design. Let glue dry.
    4. Using a pouncer, paint Fruit Punch over glue & entire outside of jar. Allow to dry.
    5. Fill inside bottle with Fruit Punch; swish paint around to coat entire inside of jar. Turn jar upside down to drain excess paint. Allow to dry.

    Air dried Porcelain RECIPE

    How to make your own air dried porcelain with common household ingredients

    Anything that is quick, affordable and makes beautiful things is a craft winner for me. But…I often find myself uninspired for something new and different.
    I’ve found it in air dried porcelain (aka Porcelana Fria).
    What will someone make with
    • 3 cups of white glue (PVA)
    • 3 cups of cornstarch (Corn flour)
    • one tablespoon of white vinegar
    • one tablespoon of glycerin (health food or hobby shop), and
    • 2 tablespoons of canola oil?
    The beautiful mouse and necklace pictured (compliments of Espirit) is the answer! There’s more fantastic ideas on the site of the woman who’s recipe I have used: Libreria Andrea
    Amazingly simple and a GREAT school holiday project, get the kids into the kitchen to cook up some home made, air dried, porcelain.
    Let’s make it:
    cold porcelain recipe In a mixing bowl (or non-stick pan) mix 3 cups of white glue and 3 cups of cornstarch. Add one tablespoon of white vinegar, one tablespoon of glycerin, 2 tablespoons of canola oil. Blend thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Heat in a microwave oven or in a saucepan on the stove.
    For microwave heating: Cook in a microwave-compatible recipient for 2 to 3 minutes on high (for a 800W oven; longer for a less powerful oven). Stop every 30 seconds to mix. During the last 30 seconds, stop every 10 seconds to check the consistency of the mixture. As soon as the dough becomes thick and lumpy (like ricotta cheese), remove from the oven.
    Stove top: Cook in a saucepan over low heat for about 15 minutes. Stir with a wooden spoon. As soon as the dough becomes thick and lumpy (like ricotta cheese) and starts to pull away from the side of the pan, remove from heat.
    Cooking is the only tricky step to making cold porcelain. You need to cook just long enough to thicken the dough but not too long, otherwise it will be too hard and impossible to work with.
    Coat your working surface and your hands with cold cream or hand cream. Knead the dough until it has cooled. It can be quite hot to begin with, so take care. The dough is sticky and lumpy at first, but as you knead it, it becomes smooth and supple. Make a large ball and store it in an airtight container for 24 hours before using it.

    Making Bubbles and saving $$$

    Bubble Refill Container
    On a nice day, bubbles can keep my grand kids entertained outside for a long time. Quite often, the only the thing that cuts their bubble play time short is when they run out of "bubble juice". When I was browsing at a discount store the other day, I saw a container that could solve that problem. It's just a simple one-gallon plastic container with a "faucet". I love that we'll be easily able to refill any size bottle of bubbles without spilling.

    Here are some more cool activities we've done with bubbles:
    ~ Really BIG Bubble Maker
    ~ Bubble Snake Maker

    To fill up your Bubble Refill Station, here are two homemade bubble recipes that you can use to make up your own batch of bubbles! ( Both seem to work equally well, we'll report back if we find a new favorite)

    Recipe #1

    • 1 gallon hot water
    • 1/4 cup glycerin (available in many pharmacies and craft stores)
    • 1 cup Dawn dishwashing liquid
    Gently mix all ingredients together. Seems to work best if you allow it to sit overnight in an open container before using for the first time.

    Recipe #2

    • 2 1/2 cups water
    • 1/2 cup corn syrup
    • 1/2 cup Dawn dishwashing liquid
    Put water and corn syrup in a bowl and microwave for 3-4 minutes. Stir to combine. Gently mix in dishwashing liquid.

    Best Ever No-Cook Play Dough Recipe!

    Best Ever No-Cook Play Dough Recipe!
    The other day I slightly modified our usual no-cook play dough recipe and it turned out to be the best ever! It's softer, smoother and doesn't start to dry out even if it's played with all day. This is my new go-to recipe and I just had to share it!
    I also realised that, even though I have about a million-and-one play dough recipes and ideas on this site, I don't have a post simply dedicated to how to make the stuff! So here it is.

    If you have never tried making your own play dough, this is the time to give it a try. It's very different to store bought play dough, being much softer and lasting a whole lot longer.

    The benefits of using play dough for young children are wonderful and the play possibilities are endless!

    You need:

    • 2 cups plain flour (all purpose)
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 1/2 cup salt
    • 2 tablespoons cream of tartar
    • up to 2 cups boiling water
    • food colouring (optional)
    • few drops glycerine (optional- adds more shine!)


    • Mix the flour, salt, cream of tartar and oil in a large mixing bowl
    • Add the boiling water
    • Stir continuously until it becomes a sticky, combined dough
    • Add the food colouring and glycerine (both optional)
    • Allow it to cool down then take it out of the bowl and knead it vigorously for a couple of minutes until all of the stickiness has gone. * This is the most important part of the process, so keep at it until it's the perfect consistency!*
    • (If it remains a little sticky then add a touch more flour until just right)


    Now play, play play!

    More Little Women Paper Dolls

    Here is another lovely set of Little Women Paper Dolls I want to share
    because every girl, woman and grandma should have a set.
    Amy March

    Beth March

    Jo March
    Meg March



    "Little Women" Books and Paper Dolls

    I read "Little Women" - Louisa May Alcott when I was a young girl, and it turned into one of my most favorite stories ever. So when I found paper dolls I just had to buy them with my allowance. I treasured them but through the years they finally fell apart, although I did have them for many years.
    When I had 4 daughters I encouraged each of them to read the book and we also bought the movie, and they also loved it.
    Well I now have a Pinterest, and I found little women links there and am very excited to say I found paper dolls.
    So here I am sharing one of my favorite treasures with you.
    I hope you will share the book "Little Women" with your girls, neices, grand daughters, friends; and enjoy the paper dolls as well.

    Kitchen Gremlins Stole my rubbermaid Lids

    Well I have to write this to get it off my mind, I can not figure out how lids to storage containers can Up and run away. They have a good life in my kitchen I must say they get bathed regularly, they get filled with the best of foods, meats, cheese, cream, gravy(occassionaly), and lots of good veggies, yet they still must be unhappy so they run away, that's all I can figure out.
    Recently I purchased the rubbermaid Easy Find Lid set and now I find that I only have 3 lids to fit the large containers in the set,
    This set comes with the following amount and sizes:

    5 - 0.5 Cups
    5 - 1.25 Cups
    4 - 2.0 Cups
    2 - 3.0 Cups
    2 - 5.0 Cups
    2 - 7.0 Cups
    Now I find that I have the 6 containers, 2 - 3.0 Cups 2 - 5.0 Cups 2 - 7.0 Cups but only 4 lids.
    I do not easily throw out things nor does my son who I live with and there is no one else who would come to my house and just throw away lids without asking me, my kids know to always ask MOM first about these things. ;)
    It upsets me now that I can only use 4 of these perfect size containers with the lids, and the other two just have to be lazy and sit in the cupboard.
    I have written the rubbermaid company asking if I can just purchase a set of lids and we will see what they say and for what price $$$

    Sunday, January 6, 2013

    CRAFTING-When Should You Require a Deposit?

    CRAFTING-When Should You Require a Deposit?

    Sooner or later when you make and sell handmade items, you will run into situations where you should really get a deposit. A lot of sellers are weary of asking for one and only really start requiring them after they have been burned. Just ask me why I started requiring deposits. It is always better to start out the right way and avoid expensive lessons if you can.
    Here are some recommendations for when you should require a deposit, how much of a deposit you should request, and how to accept the payment.
    Can you really resell the custom item? – A lot of times sellers can justify not taking deposits because they figure that if they lose contact with the buyer or the buyer changes their mind they can just finish the item and sell it to someone else. The important thing is to be realistic.
    The only way to be certain is if you have sold similar items frequently in the past. More than likely you will have no idea if it will sell, or even how long it could take to find a buyer. You are better off getting a deposit up front, completing the item for the customer, and then selling the finished piece to the customer that requested that you build it.
    How much of a deposit is necessary? – The most common is 50% up front. That should cover your materials and is what customers expect to pay to get a project started.
    For commissioned pieces – You should require a deposit for any item that will be custom made to order. Whether it is a new design that you came up with just for the customer or the customer sent you a sketch of what they want you to build, get a deposit before getting started.
    For custom variations – It is a good idea to request a deposit before making anything other than what you normally sell on your website or shop. This goes for even minor changes. If a customer need an inscription, get a deposit, if they need a custom color, get a deposit. Even color changes or adding a little extra color is enough to warrant requesting a deposit. That custom variation may only appeal to that particular customer and you may not be able to resell it if the deal does not go through.
    For large orders – The key difference between a large order and a single order is how much you will have to spend on materials to get started. If someone offers to purchase a large quantity of one of your regular items it is a good idea to require a deposit up front if you have to make them. If you have them in inventory you can just be paid up front and ship them out.
    Deposits for less expensive items – Whether you really need to ask for a deposit on less expensive items is up to your market. For $20 items you can usually just get paid up front. Once you start getting closer to $200 items, doing deposits may be necessary. It also depends on how you accept the payment. There is no problem taking a deposit on a $50 item if you let your customers pay online with Paypal. If they had to send two different checks or money orders, they would probably opt to just pay up front.
    Can you take deposits on Etsy? – You can do commissioned work and still take deposits if you sell on Etsy and other venues and marketplaces. There is not necessarily one specific way to do it though.
    Some sellers set up listings for the full amount and choose “other” for the payment option. This keeps the customer from paying in full up front and allows the seller to email a Paypal invoice for 50%. After completion the seller gets an invoice for the final amount before shipping.
    On other venues I have seen sellers setting up two listings, each would be for 50% of the price. Be sure to put something to the effect of “Custom made for Sharon” in the title just to make sure that only that person buys the item.
    How you take deposits will really depend on what options for payments you can use on your specific venue. What you want to avoid is making sales outside of the venue and breaking their seller rules by avoiding the seller fees. Be sure to ask the best way to take two payments on your particular marketplace.
    How about on your personal site? – With your own website you can request deposits a couple ways. The first is through mail, either by check or money order, ideally a USPS money order. The downside is the customer will have to mail two payments and of course there is the mailing delay. The preferred method is to just use Paypal. You can get an instant payment, get started right away, and get paid right when you are finished. Learn How to Send a Paypal Invoice
    What about being paid up front? – Usually if you request a payment up front for something you do not already have made, you will want to just ask for a deposit. A deposit is a very fair way to operate both for you and your customer. A lot of customers would not feel comfortable paying 100% up front for an item that is not built and is coming from someone that they have never met. Sometimes you will send out a deposit request and the customer will opt to just pay you in full. Maybe you have a great reputation or they just like the convenience of making one payment. If they make that offer then let them pay you up front. You will not be out anything if they change their mind and by paying up front they are also much less likely to make any changes.
    My personal experience – Originally I did not require deposits for custom orders. I thought it would turn away customers. I felt like they were trusting me to make them something nice so I would give them the benefit of the doubt. It was probably only a couple projects in that I was building something and the customer stopped communicating. I actually still have that half finished project sitting in storage. It is never going to get finished because I could never sell it for what I have invested into it. I just can’t bring myself to throw it away though.
    Anyway, from that point forward I have always asked for deposits on everything. I build everything to order. Not once has a customer ever balked at paying 50% up front and knock on wood, none of them have backed out of a project that is under way.
    I highly recommend going the deposit route right from the start for anything other than pre-made, ready to go orders.

    cupcakes for everyday of the month

    Let's try them all

    Mary Engelbreit dolls

    Mary Engelbreit dolls

    Although these Mary Engelbreit dolls are relatively new, they're still fun to collect. If you bought the M.E. magazine over the years when it was in publication, each issue came with its own paperdoll page. Very handy for collecting.

    One of the projects I've always had in my mind to do is to gather a bunch of paperdolls, cut them out, keeping the tabs in place, then covering a small table or chair with them, item by item - decoupage! It would be fun to do a small cabinet or cabinet doors this way as well. Maybe something that would sit in a child's bedroom or play room or in a laundry room, depending on the dolls and the clothing you choose and how you go about it. I'd paint the piece first, then when completely dry, figure out how and where you want the dolls and clothing to go. There are plenty of decoupage glues out there which are non-harmful and plenty of 'how-to' decoupage websites. Now to find furniture pieces to use.
    In the meantime, it's fun to think about.

    Sweetly Scrapped: Vintage Baby

    Sweetly Scrapped: Vintage Baby: Wow! It's really late here and I have been so busy all day that I almost forgot to blog with the freebie of the day!!!! What was I thinking?...

    Sister Lilah Paper Doll.This From baddubyah

    Sister Lilah Paper Doll.This From baddubyah

    Blow up a Balloon without helium

    Blow It Up! Exploring Gas with Balloons, Baking Soda & Vinegar

    The Lil Divas LOVED, LOVED, LOVED
    they also adore balloons (I always have to keep some on hand)
    so I knew they would get a kick out of this one!

    Exploring Gas w/Balloons, Baking Soda & Vinegar

    What You Need:
    baking soda
    plastic bottle
    funnels (we used 2)

    What To Do:
    1. Using your funnel pour vinegar into your bottle.

    You only need to fill about 1/3 of the bottle.

    2. Using another (dry) funnel pour baking soda into your balloon.
    Fill the balloon approx. 1/2 way.

    3. Cover the top of the bottle with you balloon.
    Make sure you don't let the baking soda spill into the bottle prematurely.

    4. When ready, lift your balloon and let the baking soda fall into the vinegar.

    5. Watch as the mixture fizzes, bubbles & expands your balloon!

    6. Discuss how the baking soda & vinegar produce a gas which fills the balloon.

    7. Repeat! Believe me, your kids will want to do this more than once.

    It was lots of fun for the Lil Divas to watch the ingredients combine

    and form a reaction that was so visual - blowing up the balloon.


    The science behind it - Baking soda and the vinegar create an ACID-BASE reaction. When combined/mixed they create a gas - carbon dioxide. Gasses need room to spread, so the carbon dioxide fills the bottle and then moves into the balloon inflating it.

    ** Due to lots of comments left below I feel the need to add (for clarity) that this does NOT produce helium. Carbon Dioxide gas will inflate the balloons but they do not "fly" like helium inflated balloons as it is not the same kind of gas. This is meant to be a fun science experiment/demonstration. **

    Go ahead have fun inflating some balloons!