Monday, February 18, 2013

Upcycled Craft Storage: Made from an old shoebox

 For my birthday this year I got myself the best present that a girl could boots! One of the best things about getting new shoes or boots is the awesome box that they come in. Ok maybe that's just me? I'm thinking I can't be alone on this one! I knew that I didn't have anything needing to be stored in a shoe box, but (and maybe this is just my crazy pack rat-ness talking here) a boot box is a thing of beauty, and I couldn't bring myself to throw it away. The box sat lonely and empty in my closet for a while, until I realized that I needed some portable craft storage. Voila! I found something to do with my box. Here's how:

What you'll need:

  • An old shoebox, preferably a boot box 
  •  Mod Podge (or generic brand)
  • Foam brush
  • Scrapbook paper
  • Scissors
 Let's get started:
The first thing you will want to do is to cut out the pieces that you will need for your box. Use the lid to cut out sections for your box. I wanted three small sections for my box, so I started by cutting the long piece, and then placed it in my box to measure out how to cut the other dividers.Don't worry too much about cutting perfectly straight lines, you'll have a chance to fix and jagged edges when you cover the parts with your paper.

 Once you've got all your parts cut out, it's time to start cutting your paper
Measure out the paper you need, for the insert pieces you'll want to measure out how large one side of the piece is, and use a piece of paper twice that size so that you can cover any imperfections at the top of the divider with the paper. Cut strips to cover the outside of your shoebox as well. I really liked the pink on the inside of my box, but scrapbook paper looks great on the inside of your box too. If you are planning to cover the inside of your box, cut the paper now as well.

Apply Mod Podge directly to the box, and place the paper over it, make sure to work quickly as you will only have about 45 seconds to get your paper in place before it cannot be moved. After you apply the paper to your box, attach it to your divider pieces. They will end up looking something like this: 
 Now you're ready to assemble your box. Start by inserting the larger piece, put a layer of podge in your box in the spot where the larger piece is supposed to go, and insert the piece. Press down to connect it well to your box, and podge over the seam. You may also want to cut out a few small pieces of scrapbook paper to help connect the sides of your pieces to each other, and to the box. 

To keep the smaller section pieces upright and in place while they are drying, I like to use a piece of card stock, or in this situation, paint samples from the hardware store.

Once everything has dried enough to set, do another layer of Mod Podge over everything. Let dry, and enjoy your new storage box! 

Happy Crafting!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

My Tile Coaster OBSESSION

It started with my need for something to prevent those dreaded condensation rings, and ended up with me making dozens and dozens of personalized tile coasters. 

Why did I get addicted? Because these at homemade coasters are cheap, easy to make, and they look awesome! I started by making a set to use at home, then I made a set for my mom, then one for my boyfriend's mom, then I made set for Halloween, then I made some for Christmas baskets, and then and then and get the picture.

So here's what you'll need: 

Tiles: You can get plain white ones for $.16 at home depot! 
Mod Podge: Or the generic brand decoupage glue featured in my picture, it was $2 cheaper than the Mod at Michael's 
Scrapbook paper: or really any other type of paper product with a pattern you'd like to use
Felt: cut it into dime sized circles
Waterproof Spray: I used Mod Podge brand, but really any will work
Foam Brushes: or a medium sized paint brush
Scissors: to cut your paper, duh! 
Hot Glue Gun and Glue Sticks
Also Pictured, but not essential: Lemon heads - I always get some when I'm at Michael's because nobody else sells them, and they're crazy delish. Diet Coke - because it's good to stay hydrated while crafting. Friday the 13th part 3 - because my boo and I needed something to watch, and what's better than Jason Vorhees in 3D? Having an adorable dog to invade all your pictures also adds to the experience!  

Now lets get started! 

  • Pick out the paper you want to use for your coasters. If you're using scrapbook paper you may want to cover the entire tile, if so trace your tile on the paper, and cut it out to size. I also really liked using paint samples from the hardware store to make a mosaic, and for my holiday coasters I ended up using a variety of stickers and scrapbook paper. For the Christmas coasters I even ended up cutting out pieces with Christmas messages like Jingle Bells.

  • Once you've got all the paper pieces you'll be using for your coaster, put a light layer of Podge on your tile, and apply your paper. If you are doing a background with a scene on it like the Winter Wonder Land coaster above you will want to apply the first piece of paper, and then do another light layer of Podge before applying your details.
  • Work quickly! You've got about 45 seconds to get everything positioned correctly, so you will want to make sure that everything is ready to go once you podge, especially if you're planning to do a pattern or design on your coaster. Let your coasters dry for about a minute before moving on to the next step.  
  • Once the podge has dried enough that your paper won't slide around, add another layer of podge over the top of your tile. For best results use a thin layer and make sure to use even strokes with your foam brush. After this step your tile will look something like this: 
  • Let your coaster dry until the podge is completely clear. This should take about an hour, but I normally like to let mine dry over night.
  • Once your coaster is dry enough, seal it using your waterproof spray. I like to take mine outside to spray as the fumes can get a little crazy. Make sure to follow the directions on the can! I like to do two or three layers of sealer, letting them dry for about 15 minutes in between layers. Let your sealer dry for at least an hour.
  • Cut your sheet of felt into little circles.
  • Using your hot glue gun, apply a felt circle in each corner on the underside of your coaster
  • You're done! There are a ton of different things you can do to make your coasters, so feel free to get creative with it. Here are some of the ones that I did:

Made with one solid piece of scrapbook paper

 Scrapbook paper and mosaic made with paint samples

These are stickers, pieces of Halloween greeting cards, and random Halloween party favors

Happy Crafting!!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Eggplant Lasagna Remix

I really love this simple take on traditional Lasagna.

You will need:

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 2-3 eggs
  • Bread Crumbs: I like to use Progresso Italian bread crumbs
  • 8oz bag of Italian blend cheese: This is normally a mixture of mozzarella and parmesan, I like to get the store brand and save a couple $$
  • 12oz tub of Ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 lb of Italian Sausage: I like to get spicy or hot, choose yours based on your tastes
  • 1 14oz jar of spaghetti sauce: Get one you like the taste of, or in a pinch buy the $1.00 can and save some $
  • Olive oil
  • Cookie sheet
  • Casserole dish or long cake pan

To prepare:

  • Pre-heat  your oven to 400
  • First we have to prep our eggplant, cut your eggplant length-wise into 1/8-1/4 inch thick strips
  • Drizzle olive oil on your cookie sheet
  • Crack eggs and whisk in a bowl
  • On a plate pour out one or two cups of bread crumbs
  • Bread the eggplant by dipping it in the egg (allow excess egg to drip off), and then covering in bread crumbs. Place on your olive oiled cookie sheet
  • Once your cookie sheet is filled with eggplant drizzle olive oil on your eggplant pieces and place in the oven
  • Bake for about 5 minutes or until the bottom side of the eggplant is slightly brown. Flip your eggplant pieces and bake for another 5-10 minutes until the other side is brown. Repeat until all of your eggplant slices are browned
  • While your eggplant is cooking: Brown italian sausage in a large skillet
  • I like to get a crispy brown on my Italian sausage, but you can brown it to your taste
  • Once your sausage is cooked mix in your spaghetti sauce and ricotta cheese: I like to mix them directly in my skillet to save a dish

The fun part for me is always in the assembly. You have should enough supplies to make two layers of eggplant and sauce

  • Line the bottom of your casserole dish/cake pan with a layer of eggplant slices (it is alright if you have some gaps)
  • Use half of your Italian sausage mixture on top of the eggplant
  • Use 1/2 your bag of cheese for the next layer
  • Repeat
Because all of our ingredients are cooked before hand we do not need much time in the oven.

Place your assembled dish in the oven for about 5-10 minutes until the Italian Cheese mixture is melted and you get a slight bowing on the top of your dish.

Take out of the oven, let cool down, and ENJOY!