Rubber Cement Easter Eggs

I love a great twist on an old classic so when I came across this Easter egg idea I figured I’d give it a go. Last year, Ivan and I died Easter eggs with the traditional hard boiled egg and food coloring/white vinegar dye bath. It was simple but a lot of the hard boiled eggs went to waste since no one in our house really eats them. For this year’s eggs, the rubber cement Easter eggs require the eggs to be blown-out since the rubber cement solvents could adsorb through the porous eggshell rendering them unsafe for consumption.

I almost didn’t try this because blowing out the eggs seemed like a lot of hassle but then I thought about the fact that we’d actually eat the egg whites and yolk in omelets or scrambled up. Yes, it was more work but probably worth it if we’d actually eat the eggs.

blow-out-egg

I used a safety pin to make a small hole on the top of the egg and then made a larger hole on the bottom of the egg. After a lot of hot air and a little lightheadedness I had a dozen blown-out egg shells and some eggs ready for omelets the next morning.

save-for-omlets

I then had my little assistant help dunk each of the eggs in a mixture of food coloring, water, and vinegar.

little-helper

After getting to this point my helper lost interest, but it was probably best for me to take over for the rubber cement application. I missed getting a picture of this step because my hands were a sticky mess but it just involved drizzling the rubber cement over the egg and swirling it around.

After the rubber cement had dried, the eggs went back into another dye color and then were left to dry. I came back a few hours later, rubbed the rubber cement off the shells and ended up with these fun little Easter egg creations.

RUBBER-CEMENT-EASTER-EGGS

Anyone else doing something fun and different with Easter eggs this year?I think we are going to make a little family tradition of doing some more creative eggs each year instead of simple solid colors because there are too many fun ideas out there that I look forward to trying as the kids grow up.

DIY Chipboard Photo Album

I’m excited to finally get this post up because it’s been a crazy couple weeks. It started last week when one of the kids got pink eye, then on Thursday the same kid went back to the doc with a double ear infection, then on Friday I came home running a fever that put me out of commission most of the weekend (a real bummer since it was one of the first nice ones we’ve had).

By the time I was feeling better on Sunday afternoon my mom called with news that my brother was being admitted to the hospital due to complications after a sinus surgery. I ended up staying with him at the hospital this past Monday and Tuesday while he battled a Staph infection.  Thankfully, everyone is now doing better but we’ve got more snow in the forecast for tomorrow. Ick! Alright, that’s all of my rant… now onto the purpose of this blog post.

Print your bleeping photos! I admit that I’m terrible about printing my photos and most of them live on my hard drive or somewhere out there in cyber space. I’ll occasionally do a photobook, but even the professional family photos we’ve had taken I’m bad about getting printed. I finally remedied that little situation and made a DIY chipboard photo album with our last family pictures we had taken by Christina at Electric Lime Photography. Here’s my lovely new album and a little pictorial on how to make one of your own if you find yourself needing a little motivation to print your own photos.

chipboard-album

I found the chipboard album and scrapbook paper at hobby lobby and used Walgreens (with a discount code) to print 8″x8″ glossy photos to mount to the chipboard. I’m loving how thick and heavy the pages are and that my little ones can handle the album pages and I’m not at all nervous about them being too rough with it and tearing or bending a page. The Mod Podge adds a nice layer of protection to the album cover as well (Claire already scribbled all over it with a pencil but it thankfully just wiped right off).

album_steps

Hopefully you’re now inspired to get some of those photos off your computer or phone and have a little fun crafting while your at it. Have a great weekend and if your weather forecaster is calling for snow we can commiserate together … I’m over it and ready for spring to finally arrive.

Jennifer’s Bathroom Mood Board

My friend, Jennifer, sent me the following message about a month ago looking for some ideas to spruce up her bathroom.

Do you love creating mood boards? I know Jens cut you off from any projects this year and you’re extremely uncreative and impatient friend down south is looking for quick bathroom remodel updates on a budget. I’m wondering what sites you use to come up with your mood boards, or do you have any ideas for our bathroom without replacing the flooring and the sink. We hope to gut that room in the future, but we have higher priority projects at the moment. I was thinking changing the fixtures, a coat of paint on the walls, painting the vanity and a new shower curtain would spruce some things up. I googled bathroom ideas, budget bathroom ideas, bathroom paint ideas, and I am about ready to stab myself (that’s where the impatience comes into play). The trouble is that the counter and the floor (the 2 things that we can’t change right now) are beige. Everything I look at online has white everything, and the crisp, light clean colors that I like don’t seem to work with the beige, or they don’t show it in beige so I can’t picture it. I would like the wall colors to be something light, because it’s not a big space. Any ideas? If’ you dont actually enjoy mood boards or you’re sick of them, then tell me to continue searching myself. I’m just getting so sick of winter and feeling unproductive, time to start a new project!

JenniferBathroom1

JenniferBathroom2

JenniferBathroom3

Do I like doing mood boards? Heck yeah! Even if I didn’t love putting together mood boards I’d be happy to put together a few ideas for Jennifer who was brave enought to rock the slip dress and combat boot combo with me in the 90s.

Jennifer had found a shower curtain from Target that she really liked (pictured in the lower left) so I started with that as the basis for this mood board.

JenniferBathroom

I was drawn to the green in the shower curtain and think it would look great on the vanity cabinets (green vanity pictured via houzz). For a wall color I suggested checking out Benjamin Moore’s Edgecomb Gray – it’s an awesome neutral with an undertone that will work well with olive green or navy blue and would go well with the lower wainscoting on the wall. For a little fun on the walls she could consider a modern geometric stencil (like the greek key one pictured or a trellis pattern via Sarah M. Dorsey Designs) with the edgecomb gray and a white. The mood board paint colors shown from left to right are BM Edgecomb Gray, BM Simply White, and BM Oak Grove.

For the window, I suggested making a roman shade from the green triangle fabric or using it to recover the cornice and trying frosting film on the window for privacy. There are a few other fun accessories in the mood board that I think would look great with the color scheme:

So do you think you’d be brave enough to go with a green vanity? I think it’d be fun a fun way to bring some intense color into this bathroom and draw the eye away from the beige surfaces.

How to Install Large Format Tile

Large format tiles like the wood look tiles are hugely popular right now but can also be pain in the rear to install. I spent a fair amount of time doing some research on how to install large format tile before tackling our neighbor’s surprise bathroom remodel and have compiled my cliff notes for other DIYer looking to dominate a large format tile installation.

installlargeformattile(Image clockwise from top left: source, source, source, source, and source)

I know there about a bazillion “how-to-tile” tutorials around the blogosphere so I’m only going to cover the parts specific to large format tiles. What’s special about large format tiles? Well for starters, it’s comparatively heavy and it usually isn’t flat. Large format tiles can be slightly cupped or variable from end to center in thickness which means you need to pay careful attention to “lippage”.

Pattern

To minimize lippage use a pattern that has a maximim offset of  33% of your tile length (i.e. for a 24″ tile the max offset is 8″). Avoid a 50% offset (aka running bond) pattern which matches up the thinnest and thickest parts of the tile in adjacent rows.

pattern

Grout Space

The actual grout joint size shall be at least 3 times the actual variation of facial dimensions of the tile (ANSI A108.02 specification). If your unable to find the facial dimension variation specifications for the tile you have selected shoot for a 3/16″ minimum grout joint.

Substrate Flatness

The substrate flatness is crucial to well done large format tile installation. When working with small tiles a high point in the substrate is only carried a few inches to the edge of the tile and the height variation is minimal. However, when using large format tiles, a high point which causes the tile to slope upward over several inches will have a much ore noticeable height variation between the adjacent tile.

Mortar

Large format tiles require specific mortars referred to as medium-bed mortars or thin-sets formulates specifically for large format tiles. Medium-bed and polymer modified mortars are generally a bit more expensive but many are formulated with non-sag and non-slip properties for wall installation and they shrink less when drying preventing tile movement and cracking.

Trowel Size

Pay careful attention to the recommended trowel size required for the tile/mortar combination you are using. Generally at 1/2″ by 1/2″ square notched trowel or a 3/4″ loop notch trowel is suggested for tile 18″ and larger.

Back Buttering

Back buttering is recommended with large format tile for maximum mortar coverage and adhesion to the substrate. Back buttering is simply the process of using the flat side of the trowel to spread a thin coat of mortar onto the tile in addition to the combed out mortar applied directly on the substrate. It takes a little more time but I think the peace of mind that the tile is staying put is worth the effort.

Good luck with your next tiling project! Let me know how it goes!

Papier- Mâché Balloon Bowl Inspired by Project Kid

I’ve loved doing craft projects for as long as I can remember. I clearly recall spending rainy days with my grandma making latch hook rugs, macrame plant hangers, and even paint by number masterpieces. Fortunately for me, it looks like this love of crafting is somehow genetic and my kids have inherited my crafting addiction. Unfortunately for me, in this era of Pinterest, there’s an overwhelming number of kids craft ideas which usually just results in hours of wasted productivity and no actual time crafting. That is, until Amanda Kingloff rescued me from the Pinterest abyss with her creative new book Project Kid: 100 Ingenious Crafts for Family Fun.

project-kid-cover

The publisher of this gorgeous book sent me a review copy to do a review or project excerpt on. There are so many cute projects in here I had a hard time picking just one to share! The first (but definitely not the last) craft project that Ivan and I tackled together was this Papier- Mâché Balloon Bowl.

project-kid-balloon-bowl

The materials for this project (mainly a balloon, Mod Podge, newspaper, and craft paint) I had readily available. It was a few easy steps to our finished project: mod podge four layers of newspaper to the balloon, let dry, cut a clean or decorative edge, and paint. The hardest part was the lesson in patience while the bowl dried and hardened!

balloonbowl

I felt this project was appropriate for the ability level of a preschool aged child with a little grown-up assistance. My little crafter was able to accomplish most of the project himself and I primarily just helped by holding the balloon while he worked and cut the edge of the bowl after we popped the balloon since it required the use of sharp scissors.

ivans-balloon-bowl

Overall, I was really impressed with the book and the projects inside – here are a few of the distinguishing selling points:

  • Good variety of projects for both genders and a range of ages and abilities
  • Beautiful and clear photos of the step-by-step directions for most of the projects
  • Ingenious uses of common household objects and recycled materials

Project Kid is currently available for pre-order and goes on sale April 8th. Also be sure to check out the Project Kid Facebook page for upcoming “crafternoon” events. I noticed there’ll be two local Twin Cities events at  Red Balloon on May 3rd and Wild Rumpus on May 10th.