Friday, January 31, 2014

Loom Band Bracelets w/ Shrinky Dink Charms- Seahawks Edition

I live in Idaho.
Right across the river from Washington.
Due to geography, and the lack of cool stuff in Idaho....
we cheer for Seattle sports teams.
So...we are more than proud of the Seahawks.

Today I am going to mix my Seahawks pride, the loom band trend, and my love for Shrinky Dinks.

Seahawks Bracelets with Shrinky Dink Charms

Fun, quick, and easy.

Let's gather what we need to make the charms-
matte Shrink Film (does NOT have to be inkjet printable)
fine grit sand paper- 300 or so
scissors, hole punch
inkjet printer
image to print (Seahawks logos, etc.)

So to start with, you will need some images to print. I think for bracelet charms, anywhere from 2 to 3 inches is a good size. I just found the Seahawks logo online and spruced it up a bit using PicMonkey. You could also just copy and paste some images into Word. Anything you like will work. (And if you don't want to rebel against the rules of Shrink Film, you can even use Sharpies and trace the image.)

Here are the images I used.

Once your images are ready, you will want to prep your Shrink Film.
Sand the entire surface of one side of your Shrink Film. Using a paper towel, wipe off all the dust.
Next, you will print you images onto the sanded side of the Shrink Film.
*Make sure to do a test run on paper.
*Make sure to use your printers lowest setting, like fast and economical. You want the least amount of ink you can get. 

Once printed, let the ink dry for about 5 minutes or so. This stuff is not meant to be printed on, so this step is important to prevent smearing.
Next, trim around the images, making sure to leave room for the holes to be punched.
Punch your holes.

Now, you will bake. 
Fold a piece of parchment paper in half, and you will sandwich your Shrink Film in between the two layers of parchment on top of a cookie sheet. 
Bake at 350, for 2-3 minutes. The parchment should help the film to stay flat while baking. 
Remove from oven and let cool for a couple minutes. 
The charms should be thick and hard.

Now, lets move onto the Loom Band Bracelets. 
I used a tutorial from Kimbo at A Girl and A Glue Gun. (BTW, one of the most hilarious bloggers around)
I basically did the fishtail one....but rather than using fingers like she did I used 2 pencils. 
She has a great step-by-step photo tutorial that you can follow. 
The only difference is the way you will start and finish, so I took a few pictures to help.

I gathered my Seahawks colored loom bands, 2 pencils, my charms, and some plastic hooks for the end.
To start, take one band and put it through the hole in the charm. 
Now, with the charm in the middle, put the other ends onto the pencils.
Now, put two more  bands, and start the follow the steps, like shown at the link above. 
Keep in mind, this will be half of the bracelet, so no need to make it too long. 

Once you finish this half, just leave it on the pencils, and slide the whole thing towards the other ends of the pencils.
Put a band through the other hole on the charm, wrap ends around pencils, and repeat the steps you did on the other side.

Once you have an even amount on both sides, you will pull the 2nd to the last band on each end over, leaving just one band on each end.
Starting with one side, put a plastic hook (closure) through the loops. 
Repeat with the other end.
Hook the two closures together and you are DONE!

Wow, what a wordy tutorial for such an easy process.

You can also just punch one hole (like I did with the heart one) and start it the same way. Rather than doing 2 sides, just do your whole bracelet on one side and then instead of using the plastic closure you can just loop the last band around the heart. Kinda like a button closure.

These are a cheap, fun and easy project that anyone can make. 
Even procrastinators like me, who are doing this 2 days before the big game.

Also, consider using different images and make any kind of charm you like. It would be a great kid craft, or even party favor.

I would like to thank Kim at A Girl and A Glue Gun for giving me permission to link back to her tutorial.
Now my post is only 5 miles long instead of 10.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Zombie Valentines

Another Valentine.....Yes!
I'm shameless.
Typically, I a not the most festive person.
I am known as somewhat of a "Grunch" in my home. (My son's way of saying Grinch)

But...Valentine's Day is an exception for me.
I love it.
Today I am going to post one of my favorite Valentines yet.
It's definitely different....but that is a good thing.

Zombie Valentines!

"I'm DYING To Be Your Valentine!"
"Valentine, I'd DIE For You!"

I think I am obsessed.
As I walked through Walmart the other day, I saw these Zombie plastic toys.
They came in a huge tub and looked sort of like army men. But they were zombies (and zombie responders).
Not nasty, skin sloughing off zombies, but cute not-so-gross zombies.
Okay, so to get on with my point.
I saw these zombies, and the first thing that came to my mind was Valentine's Day.
No, I am not kidding.
Then, I started to think it over and I thought of some pretty awesome word play.

Now you have it.

So I created a printable.

So to print, follow these steps:
-Right-click the image.
-Select "save image as..."
-Name the image. (like zombievday...or whatever)
-Using your photo viewing/editing software (like Windows Live Photo Gallery), open the image.
-Print valentine as a 5x7. *Unselect "fit picture to frame". You can get 2 per page, which will be 4 cards.

*You may want to print onto card stock, or something a little heavier than regular paper. Or, you can just glue the card to some card stock once it is printed.

Once you have all your cards printed, cut them out.

Now you will attach your Zombies.

There are a couple ways to attach the Zombies.
I just used a tiny dab of hot glue. Just enough to hold it, but not so much that it will be hard to remove.

You could also tie them on using bakers twine, or use some double-side tape.
Whatever works.

Honestly, I am not a huge fan of Zombies usually.
But these are really cute.
I think sometimes Valentine's Day can be full of mushy "I love yous" and stuff like that.
While I don't think there is anything wrong with going traditional, it is also nice to think outside of the box.

*The tub of zombies was $5 at Walmart. There were 45 zombies and 45 zombie responders. If you figure 45 zombie Valentines for $5, that puts you at less that $0.12 each. Once you figure in the paper, you can easily make these for $0.15 each. Plus, you have 45 zombie responders (which just look like police officers) for your kids to play with. Not bad.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Teacher Valentine Gift- Chalkboard Gift Set

I am totally on a Valentine's Day kick...
I have posted two easy and inexpensive kids Valentines...the Finger Light Valentines and the Sea Creature Valentines.
At this point, I have moved on to Valentine's Day Teacher Gifts.

Chalkboard Gift Set

This is a cute and affordable gift that any teacher will love and put to good use.
You will only need a few easy to find items...
-A roll of Duck Brand Chalkboard Laminate. (Bought at Walmart, for under $4)
-A box of chalk ($0.50) and/or a chalk marker.
-A chalkboard gift tag printable, and some ribbon or baker's twine.

These gifts will easily ring in at $5 or less.
I love teachers, and want them to feel appreciated.
Totally worth it to me.

This gift is very easy to throw together.
Basically, gather your chalk and/or chalk marker, chalkboard laminate and ribbon.
Use the ribbon to tie the chalk/chalk marker to the roll of chalkboard contact paper.

To finish it off, you will need to print the gift tag.

*Right-click the gift tag.
*Select "save image as..."
*Give the image a name (like vdayteacher) or whatever.
*Open the image using your photo viewing/editing software, like Windows Live Photo Gallery.
*Select Print, and print image. This image is a 3.5x5, but you could print it any size. If you print any size other than 3.5x5, make sure you unselect or DO NOT select "fit picture to frame".

Once you have you gift tag printed, you will cut it out, glue to some cardstock if you like, punch a hole and tie to your chalkboard contact paper and chalk. 

Easy Peasy!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Sea Creature Valentines

So last week, I posted some cute and easy Finger Light Valentines, which were a big hit!
As I mentioned before, I love DIY Valentines...and have a few different ideas planned this year.

That brings me to...Valentine number 2:
Sea Creature Valentines

So these are really quite simple to achieve. 
You will need some small sea creature toys, treat bags, and the printable bag topper I have included. 
*You could also use any other "sea" related item; like goldfish crackers, swedish fish, or some cute sea creature stickers.

I bought my sea creatures at Amazon. They were $12.02 for 90 sea creature toys. That will be enough for me to do Valentines for both of my boys classes, some kids at church, and have plenty of toys left over for my kids to keep. You could easily buy fewer sea creatures, based on how many you need.

I used Wilton brand 3x4 treat bags, which you can buy at Amazon, or at Walmart for $2 like I did.

So now we have the bag topper.
(There is one for kids to give to their friends, and one for teachers to give to their students.)

*This is designed to be printed as a 3.5x5 and used with the 3x4 treat bags. 

To print the bag topper:
1) Right-click the image and select "save image as...".
2) Name the image. (I called mine "vdaybagtopper")
3) Open the image using your computer's photo viewing/editing Windows Live Photo Gallery.
4) Now you will Print the image, as a 3.5x5, making sure to unselect "fit picture to frame". So you DO NOT want to "fit picture to frame". 

Once you have your bag toppers printed, they will look like this. 

You can use the very thin border as a cutting guide. I cut right on, or inside, of the border. You don't want to see it when they are cut out.

Now that you have your bag toppers ready, you can stuff your treat bags and staple the bag topper to the treat bag. 

Last, have your kids sign their name, for a personal touch, and you are done!

I hope you will check back in the next few days for a Mustache Valentine that I am making for my daughters class, and a Valentine for your kids to give to their won't want to miss them!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Finger Light Valentine

 **UPDATE! (1-12-15)

I love making Valentines for my kids.
They are 5, 6, and they totally have minds of their own.
Who cares about those little minds, right?
I mean, I care...but I don't.
Last year I made some cute LEGO heart necklaces and I still see kids wearing them at the school.
Now that is a win.

This year, I am doing a few different types of Valentines.
Today, I am going to share this simple, and fairly inexpensive Finger Light Valentine.

Basically, all you need are these Finger Lights, some treat bags, and the label (which I will include). I bought the finger lights from Amazon. They are $8.75 for 48. That is enough to do Valentines for 2 of my kids' classes. They also have more buying options, like this one, where you could easily do a lot larger quantity if you need to.

Anyways, back to the Valentines.

For the treat bags, I used some 3X4 clear Wilton brand treat bags. I got mine from the cake-decorating section at Walmart, and they were about $2 for 50 bags. You can also get them here, at Amazon.

Now here is the bag topper.

I am new to blogging, and have never done a "printable" on my blog. I design and print things for myself all the time, but for my blog this is new.
Be patient please.

First, right-click the label and choose "save image as..."
Next, name the image (something you can easily remember) and save to your computer.
Next, go into your photo viewing/editing software and open the image. I use Windows Live Photo Gallery.
Last, you will print the image as a 3.5x5 (is you are using the 3x4 bag). Before printing, it will give you the option to "fit picture to frame" will want to un-select this option. DO NOT fit picture to frame.

You will be able to get four labels per page. Once they are printed, trim around the black borders, and fold over your treat bags. Staple, and have your kids sign their name.
Easy, right?

I did the math, and to do 48 Valentines, I spent less than $0.25 per Valentine. Not bad, really.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Crouton, Potato Chip & Parmesan Crusted Tilapia w/ Roasted Veggies

Okay, so I am not going to pretend this recipe doesn't have a ridiculously long name.
It totally does.
But I am not going to discriminate.
I can't leave out all that deliciousness.

I also want to throw something else out there.
I am not a fish lover. I don't like very many fish or seafood dishes. But this one is really mild and so dang good. I LOVE this recipe.
Buuuuut, if you hate fish, and just can't bring yourself to cook can make this recipe with chicken breasts. I have done it for my kids, and it is really good too.

So here you have it....the best fish recipe I have EVER ate!

Now let's make this.
Here is what you need.

Tilapia Loins- (I get mine from Costco, in the freezer section.)
Veggies- A few different kinds, whatever you like. (I used onions, bell peppers & zucchini)
Tomatoes- Either fresh tomatoes, roughly chopped....or canned diced tomatoes.
Croutons & Potato Chips- about 1 1/2 to 2 cups each, crushed into crumbs.
Parmesan Cheese- about 1 cup grated.
Butter- 1/4 to 1/2 cup
Salt, Pepper, Cayenne Pepper, Garlic Powder

Now, let's assemble.

-First, you want to slice or chop your veggies into thin strips, about 2 inches long. Roughly chop tomatoes, if using fresh.

-Spread all of your veggies, including tomatoes, onto a lined baking sheet. Drizzle lightly with vegetable, canola or olive oil. Heavily season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Gently mix the veggies around, until they are evenly coated with the oil and evenly seasoned.

-Next, lay your tilapia loins on top of the veggies, about an inch apart. Season both sides with salt and pepper.
-Make your crumb topping by crushing your croutons and potato chips. You could use a food processor, or just put them in  a baggie and use your rolling pin. Mix the crumbs with the parmesan in a bowl. Next, add melted butter until the crumbs are all lightly coated. Use as little butter as you can. The exact amount will depend on the amount of crumbs you have. Season the crumb topping with a tiny pinch of cayenne pepper (optional).

-Last, top the tilapia loins with crumb topping. You want to just pile an even amount onto each piece of fish. If you have any crumbs left, just sprinkle them on to the veggies.

-Bake at 400 for about 30-40 minutes, until the veggies are caramelized, and the crumbs are dark and toasted.

You can eat this on it's own, if you are looking for a one-dish dinner. Or, serve it with a salad, or some perfect white rice, like I did. (Try my method for perfect rice every time.)

Oh my gosh, you guys. This is such a satisfying meal. The fish is super mild, the veggies are caramelized and so delicious, and the crumbs....YUM.

*If you want to have leftovers like I did, this reheats really well in the oven. That way, the crumbs aren't soggy and the fish doesn't get completely overcooked by reheating in the microwave. Just put the leftovers onto a lined baking sheet and reheat at 350 until warmed through. (It will take about 10 minutes.)