The Pinterest Project Day 30: Digital Scrapbooking

I’ve spent the weekend and a crafting and quilting retreat where I have worked on my scrapbooks. I’ve been transitioning from traditional scrapbooking with paper and large totes full of supplies. The digital version is very flexible on the outcome, and involves hauling a laptop. How is the outcome flexible? Digital scrapbookers can create a purely digital finished product on a disk. Or, they can print 12×12 (and other sized) pages to slide into a traditional scrapbook. Or, they can order fully bound books from sites such as Shutterfly and Snapfish. 

Digital scrapbookers can choose from a host of programs to design their pages as well. I have chosen to use Photoshop Elements because it offers the most flexibility in design and editing. This means, I have to figure out where to get some cool graphics. 

Pinterest has a heap of links to free graphics. One of the popular pinned sites is Granny Enchanted. The site has free downloads that can be used in designing pages. I follow the owner of the blog to get the most recent posts of free downloads.

Newsletters such as Collect-A-Kit and Scrap Girls offer daily freebies to download and store for future use.

Pinterest is full of page layout ideas, links to scrapbook sites, and more. It’s a whole new phase of crafting, and highly addictive for the techie type. I know. Because I am one. And now, I shall go to Pinterest to see if they have a Digital Scrapbookers Anonymous.

The Pinterest Project Day 29: Organizing a Sewing Area

Pinterest is a place for building envy if you aren’t careful. The site is full of home sewing areas to drool over, and wish for. However, I don’t have such a space in my home.

This room featured on the blog Sew Many Ways is awesome!

And the Creative Living Blog has this cute little closet turned into a sewing space.

On the day 28 Pinterest Project, I created a case for my iPad keyboard in 30 minutes. This is possible only because I have my space organized and ready to go when I need to sew something quick.

I have converted our old television armoire into a sewing center. I mounted an under-cabinet fluorescent light and mounted it inside. I also recycled an old cutting board and turned it into a pullout shelf for the sewing machine. At the time I made it (a long time ago), I didn’t take pictures of my method, but basically, I used pieces of scrap lumber to create a frame on either side (like a groove) that would allow me to pull out the board and slide it back in.

 The cabinet is in the dining room where I can pull open the doors and use the table surface. For big projects, I pull the sewing machine out and do the project on the dining table, but this is awesome for small projects and mending.

Pictures always make something look more cluttered! And that chandelier kind of got in the way. Someday, I’m going to paint the inside white. The doors are dark inside because I experimented before deciding on a faux finish for the outside. I went with the light color for the outside, but never fixed the inside.

In many ways, Pinterest is a dangerous place for wishing we had something we don’t. But you can see from my example that adapting and flexing can be very satisfying. If I had a bigger space, I’d probably feel guilty for never having time to use it!


The Pinterest Project Day 28: iPad Keyboard Case in 30 Minutes

I searched Pinterest for a pattern for a case for a bluetooth iPad keyboard. I had been transporting it in the box it came in, just because my purse is a dangerous place for an unprotected electronic device. However, the box is too big to take on my upcoming vacation.

Nothing came up in my search. So I decided I need to create a post. In 30 minutes, because that’s all I had between other tasks. That meant I didn’t have time to quilt or cut anything from fresh fabric. So, I brainstormed a little about what I already had on hand, and I remembered two older pillow shams put away in a trunk. 

I decided to experiment with the most worn pillow sham so nothing would be wasted if I didn’t like it. And I would have more supplies to make a better one in the future.

I figured I could use a piece of the sham, and have leftover.

I began with precise measurements. Ahem. I began by folding the fabric up over the keyboard to get an idea of how much fabric I needed. I allowed enough extra for a flap. Then I cut off the sham (about half of the sham) and hemmed the raw edge.

Hemmed edge.

 I folded down the edge I wanted for a flap. Then, I folded everything in half rights sides together (see photo below).

The fold goes the long way, and at this point, the sham is still full width. Next, I laid the keyboard on top of the folded sham to measure the width. Note my precision. Cough.

I cut off each end, allowing a generous seam allowance. Then, I left everything as it was folded right sides together, and stitched both sides up. I never pin anything, which is one of my greatest sewing pitfalls. Pin if you are smarter than I am.

I double sticthed the edge for better durability.

Since the pillow sham had the extra layer from the pillow pocket, I used that as a place to put a piece of craft foam for extra protection. I wiggled it around to get it where it belonged.

Then, I turned everything right side out, and put the keyboard in, keys facing the foam for protection.

The built in flap provides enough closure, but it could have velcro or a button.

Because I chose the most worn part of the pillow sham, I did have to hand stitch a couple of places where the quilting was coming apart. My plan is to do this with new fabric sometime, but this will get me by on my trip. 

Less than 30 minutes and I was done!


I’m calling this a neutral for the Pinterest Project Score, since there wasn’t a pattern on Pinterest and I had to create my own design. Evidence that you can’t exactly find everything you need on Pinterest.

The Pinterest Project Score
Successes – 21
Neutrals – 4
Fails – 3



The Pinterest Project Day 27: Homemade Lotion Bars

I’ve been using natural skin care and cosmetics for over a year now. I love lotion bars because they are so great for my skin. If you haven’t seen a lotion bar before, it looks like a bar of soap, but you rub it on your skin. Some come in something that looks like a deodorant stick, but others come in a little metal tin. I’ve been selling natural products on a small scale for a direct selling company, but even with my discount, the lotion bars were pricey.

When you use a lotion bar, the warmth of your skin melts off just the right amount of the lotion as you rub the bar on your skin.

So, I decided to see if there were recipes on Pinterest. The site did not disappoint. Since I knew I liked the ones I’ve been using, I looked for a recipe that used similar ingredients to the once listed on the tin. A post on a site called CoconutOil.com was the best recipe I could find.

I checked my local health foods store for ingredients, but they didn’t have everything in stock. So I went to Amazon and found what I needed at a very good price. Since then, I have also discovered a site called Camden Grey Essential Oils that has everything I need, including empty deodorant containers should I decide to make these bars in stick form in the future. The shipping on the site is a bit high, so be aware.

Anyway, here is the recipe I followed, including the slight modification I made by using vitamin E oil that was also almond oil. I shopped carefully based on customer feedback regarding quality of product, including odor. I wanted it to smell good. The organic coconut oil has a pleasant coconut smell. The stuff I find in the grocery store does not, but it is more refined.

Directions: Measure ingredients into a double boiler pan. If you don’t have a double boiler, you can use a small stainless steel bowl over a saucepan. My set came with a pan, so I used that.

For utensils, I used a silicone spatula. In a saucepan that fits your double boiler (usually the medium sized pan), boil about 2 inches of water, then turn it down to simmer. Now, set the double boiler on top, making sure that your water is not boiling so vigorously that you get water in your lotion bars. Do not melt in the microwave. I don’t know what it does, but the beeswax said not to melt it that way.

Part-way through the melting. It was soon clear.

It took about 5 minutes to melt, maybe 10. You’ll have a clear, light amber colored liquid. I used a big plastic serving spoon to fill my molds since there wasn’t a pouring spout on my double boiler. I purchased my silicone mold on Amazon. It’s sort of like a short muffin tin (like a large sized Reese’s Peanut Butter cup). This was the perfect size, since the recipe perfectly filled all 6 cups on the mold. Be sure to use a silicone mold so your bars pop right out.

Wait for the bars to harden for a few hours. The photo below is right after pouring them, so only edges are beginning to set. 

That is not steam on the bottom right corner. The reflection created some sort of hologram on my camera. Hmm…spooky.

One note: The directions said something about melting the ingredients in a covered jar in a pan of boiling water. This is not safe, because of the pressure. It also mentioned a blender or shaking the jar. I found it melted nice and clear, no blending needed, so I’m not sure what that was about.

To give your finished bars as gifts, you can wrap them in cellophane, use Ziploc baggies, or purchase metal tins at your hobby store. A 2.5 inch diameter tin fits my mold size. If you make square or rectangle bars, you can get an Altoid-style tin, or recycle a tin. Also, some of the disposable snack-sized containers in the kitchen supply department would work well.

When I was finished making my bars, I used the hot water in the double boiler to pour over the utensils in the sink, along with some dish soap. The hot water helps get the residue off, and then I ran them through the dishwasher. I didn’t want any of the wax or “butters” to gum up the dishwasher.

Total cost for the bars comes to about $1.40 per bar (had to guess because I can make more batches from some of the ingredients I purchased than from others. That’s less than 1/4 what I was paying for them.

Ready to try your own? Feel free to blog about it and post a link to your results in the comments below.

The Pinterest Project Score:
Successes – 21
Fails – 4
Neutral – 2

The Pinterest Project Day 26: Texas Caviar

I was in the mood for some Texas Caviar (also called Cowboy Caviar) for lunch. So, I went to Pinterest to see if there was a new recipe I could try. Uh, there were pages of recipes.

You see, this is the problem with Pinterest. It can be a little overwhelming if you’re looking for something simple. 

I browsed a couple of recipes, then decided to go with my standby, the one so easy I can do it without a recipe. And, I thought I would share it with you. Here is how I make it. Mine is vegetarian, but a friend I know puts chicken in hers. Everything is really to taste so adjust amounts as you prefer.

Texas Caviar
  • 1 whole red pepper, diced.
  • 1 whole yellow pepper, diced (may substitute green for the red or yellow peppers)
  • 1 can black-eyed peas
  • 1 can black beans
  • Chopped green onions, to taste
  • Chopped fresh cilantro to taste
  • 1/8 to 1/4 cup of fat free or light Italian dressing
  • 1-2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 T. lime juice


Mix all of the ingredients and serve as a salad, or serve with tortilla chips. 


Some recipes have corn, tomatoes, and avocado. Again, adjust as you desire. Want to see how mine turned out? 

 Mmm!




The Pinterest Project Day 25: Tips and Tricks for Using Pinterest

Now that I’ve babbled about Pinterest for 24 days, it might be helpful to offer a little advice about what makes a good “pin.” If you haven’t connected with the idea of using Pinterest, it might be simply because you’re overwhelmed because of how many people don’t properly use the site.

Not to sound all snooty, as if I have the proper way to use the site, but let’s consider some things.


Q&A About Using Pinterest


Q: So, I opened the site and signed up for an account. Now what?

A: Consider Pinterest as sort of a notebook. Let’s say you are looking for ideas on a particular subject and you tear ideas out of magazines and paste them into a notebook or ring binder. It’s sort of like that. Your boards should be topical to help you find things later.

 Q: I see a bunch of ideas on the site. What do I do with this page full of pictures?

 A: Each of those little images is really a link to something. They should be a link to a website (we will discuss below) but sometimes, they are a link to a photo. There is a brief description under each image. Sometimes it includes enough info that you don’t need to click through to the website. But most of the time, when you click the image, you’ll be taken to a website or blog post with details about the project or idea pinned.

Q: Do I really need to follow people?

A: Well, I guess not. But it’s a social site, so being social helps. Also, I choose to follow people who pin things I’m more interested in. If I log in and only browse the main page in a category, I’m missing out on posts specific to my tastes. I follow some people I’ve never met because I love their tastes. This is very different from how I use Facebook and other sites. 

Q: Do I have to follow everything a particular “pinner” posts?

A: No. You can either follow all of his or her boards, or you can choose just specific topics. If someone posts great sewing patterns on one board, but is also into tattoos and piercings, I don’t have to receive all of the posts about the latter if I don’t wish to. You can always go to that persons page and unfollow the boards you’d rather not follow.

Q: Do I have to have boards?

A: Again, not really. But then you’ll miss out on the main point of Pinterest. I can’t remember a blessed thing, so I have to have boards to pin the stuff I really like. Otherwise, I have nowhere to file it.

Q: How do I pin something?

 A: You can either see something you like that someone else has pinned on Pinterest and you pin it to your own board. Or, you can install a little shortcut on your internet browser so that you have a button on your toolbar that says “pin it” and you can pin something from the internet to your own board.

Q: Is Pinterest only for women?

A: Nope. There is a lot of stuff on there. I am particular to DIY projects, cooking, crafts and decorating. But there is a ton of other stuff in other categories on there. I consider it a lot like a pictorial search engine.

Did you think of  question I missed? Post comments below and I will answer them to the best of my ability.


Now, for the tips on being a good pinner and posting useful content. I have created my own set of rules that I use. Perhaps you’ll find them helpful.

 7 Tips for Pinning Better
  1. Pin only content that goes somewhere. Meaning, I check the link before I repin something. If the link doesn’t go to anything but a photo, it isn’t helpful. I don’t pin unless I have clicked the link and checked it out.
  2. Pin only content that doesn’t violate someone’s copyright. I’m careful about pinning to Etsy posts. This is because the person is selling the item. It is rude if I pin to it with the sole intent of copying that person’s idea. Sort of like when I’m selling something at a craft sale and people are taking pictures and commenting about how they could make it at home.
  3. Pin only to the actual permalink to a blog post. In other words, when I’m on the blog page, I make sure I click on the title of the blog post and then click my “Pin it” shortcut. If you click on the blog’s main home page, when someone else clicks your pin a month or two later, it will take them to the blog home page, not to the specific post you pinned.
  4. Change the wording in the description of the pin if the person who posted before me says something that doesn’t sound at all like me.I do not say things like, “OMG, I’m dying to try these brownies. They are supercalifragilisticexpialidociously delicious!!!!”
  5. Use keywords in your description. Sometimes, a pin will simply say “cool” in the description. How can anyone find that in a search. A better option would be, “Cool. These look like easy crafts made from recycled bottles.” Now, when someone is searching for crafts made with recycled bottles, they find your pin.
  6. Pin your own blog content. Want to get traffic to your blog? Go to your own post and pin it to your boards.   
  7. Use the like button to save ambiguous content. If I find content I like, but it doesn’t fit these rules above, I often click “like”. This way, I can find it again if I want to, but I’m not intentionally perpetuating the pinning of something that goes nowhere, or violates someone’s copyrights.

Have some of your own rules? Please share!

For those pins that go to nothing, Pinterest is a big fail. But for those that are thoughtfully pinned, it’s a fantastic site!

The Pinterest Project Day 24: Magic Shell Ice Cream Topping

One of my husband’s favorite desserts is ice cream with Magic Shell. If you haven’t every tried it or heard of it, it’s that chocolate that hardens on top of your ice cream and is reminiscent of a dipped cone or ice cream bar. Yum! 

Magic Shell also happens to be a bit expensive. So when I saw a recipe on Pinterest that involved only two ingredients, I had to try it. 

Cindy over at the blog Skip to My Lou has the best recipe. 

Here is Cindy’s finished product, since I did not take picture of mine. 


Recipe:

1 1/4 Cups Chocolate Chips
1/2 Cup Coconut Oil (measured when solid)

I put mine in a pint sized canning jar and microwave it for up to a minute. I check partway through the minute to see how it is melting. Then stir it all up good and it’s ready to use!

If your house is cool, you’ll need to zap it for 15 seconds in the microwave before using it each time. This is the same with brand name Magic Shell.

The Pinterest Project Score:
Successes -19
Fails – 4
Neutral – 1

The Pinterest Project Day 22: Fixing Chipped Glassware

Less than two weeks ago, I bought a set (2 boxes) of glass tumblers at Ikea. They looked sturdy, and the matched set I bought about a year ago did not stand up to our family’s use. The thick glasses with solid bottoms looked like a perfect solution. And the price was great too.

However, when we got home, I saw that one glass in the box was already chipped on the rim. Another chipped on the first trip through the dishwasher. Since the store is two hours away, a return isn’t possible. I get over in that area a few times a year. So, I decided to see what Pinterest had to say about chipped glassware. 

Turns out there are a couple of different posts about it. But the most helpful was one from Welcome Home Farm, because all it called for was a nail file. Sounded easy.

It was! In minutes, the sharp edge of the chip was filed to the point where it could be used without injuring someone. The chip is still there, but it’s smooth, more like sea glass. I guess I can live with that if it means I don’t have to toss two brand new glasses in the trash. 

I tried taking pictures, but getting a picture of a chip on glassware is impossible. Okay, maybe not impossible for some people, but impossible for me. Instead, I will show you a picture of my glasses from Ikea…the photo from their website, which was taken by someone much more capable of producing good photos.

VÄNLIG Glass IKEA Stackable; saves space when stored.

That’s what they are supposed to look like without chips on the edges. Now, just imagine the chips. At $3.99 for 6 I’d hardly consider it worth trying to take them back right now. Thanks to TJ for blogging about the Pinterest successful solution to cover up Ikea’s big fail.

The Pinterest Project Score:
Successes- 17
Fails – 4
Neutrals – 1

The Pinterest Project Day 21: Mailbox Planters

It was 17 degrees below zero here this morning and my bathroom pipes and drain froze. So, it might seem a bit unusual that I’m thinking about flowers and summer container gardening. But I am. I’m dreaming okay? Let a girl dream. Especially if she lives in a frozen tundra.

I saw a post on Pinterest that I knew had to be part of my project, even though I can’t carry out the plan. In fact, I wouldn’t carry it out, and here’s why.

I saw this photo from Flickr on Pinterest.

Cute huh? Here’s why I won’t do it and why it is forbidden in some places.

Think about what type of insects likes beautiful flowers. Did you say bees? You are correct, oh smart one! Now, imagine being a mail carrier and reaching through bees to deliver mail. Ouch! Ever have a bee get in your car? Yeah. Not fun. 

In some areas, the postal service may leave notes requesting homeowners not plant flowers around the mailbox. Even though I’ve never received such a notice, I avoid anything heavily flowered. I have sedum and hostas around the mailbox since they are mostly foliage. If you must have something colorful, consider an ornamental metal stake or fake flowers scattered among the greens. 

Let’s call this one a Pinterest fail, despite its beauty and let’s work to keep our mail carriers safe!

The Pinterest Project Score:
Successes – 16
Fails – 4
Neutral – 1

The Pinterest Project Day 20: Sabbath Rest

Today, a short Pinterest project post. I was inspired by a pin from a blog called Upside Down Home Schooling on observing the sabbath. Heather mentioned her conviction to observe a day of true rest. 

http://pamelaaugust.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/rest.jpg


Heather included resting from the Internet. That’s something I need to consider. In the meantime, I did have a nice day of rest today. Spent the morning at church, the afternoon relaxing with my parents, and the evening relaxing at home. 

Do you have a designated day of rest and worship? Some people observe Saturday as the sabbath and others Sunday. Perhaps yours is different. Do you have particular guidelines you have set for your own sabbath?  See Heather’s full post for the guidelines she has set for her day of rest.

Now, back to resting…