Beer Advent Calendar

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Although I have no shortage of ideas to attempt from my 2K+ pins on my boards, this project wasn’t actually inspired by Pinterest. With that said, it’s the kind of idea that seems like something I would find on Pinterest, plus I’m betting if I were to do a search, I would find versions of it on Pinterest, and if not, I think there should be 🙂

The inspiration was from a friend who posted to FB a picture of a beer advent calendar she was given. …A random collection of craft beers, each one different. J thought it was the coolest thing. Since his birthday was at the end of November, it was perfect timing for a birthday gift. I checked, but the version my friend had was sold out in less than 2 days. Instead of giving up, I created my own version.

I shopped for 24 unique individual beers. Trader Joe’s was a great source, since you can pick and choose any of their beers and buy any bottle as a solo. They even provide empty 6-pack holders so you can create your own customized pack of 6.

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I used an empty beer case to package the 24 unique bottles, wrapped it up with gift wrap, and wrote a unique number overtop  each bottle in random positions around the case, and voila – a Beer Advent Calendar.

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J thinks it’s pretty cool, and for fun he’s keeping track of how many of the beers he’s being introduced to for the first time.

 

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Party Crossword

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I’ve been creating, but overdue on posting – the good news is that I loved the results of my Pinterest inspired project this week!

Our sweet friend Sarah hosted a ‘Welcome to the World’ party for Evan with a few friends, and she filled it with an unbelievable number of personal, creative touches. I do believe love is in the details, and she sure made us feel uber loved! She brought to life a whole number of Pinterest inspired projects that we were inspired by. In fact, if I were the one who executed them, I would have weeks worth of completed Pinterest projects to post here… but since she did the creating, not I, this wouldn’t be the place for me to share. I did however do one of the projects myself, so lets get to it…

I created a giant crossword that all attendees could contribute to throughout the afternoon. I was inspired by this Pin from my Parties & Events Pinterest board – which happened to have been created and posted by my friend Sarah (though I didn’t know it at the time – crazy!)… I’m sure I repined it from her originally, but I didn’t know she was the originator at the time.

All the questions were facts about Evan and highlights of his first months of life. I called it: ‘Evan’s “All About Me” Crossword’.

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After coming up with the questions and answers, I plotted them into a crossword within Excel. Questions ranged from Evan’s nickname, to how many weeks early he arrived, to the name his 2.5 year old brother insisted we name him – “Jaguar Baby” (he has an extreme fascination and love of Jaguars right now…so cute), and many more – 14 questions in all.

It turned out that creating the base of the crossword in Excel was perfect as I was able to create the crossword boxes in perfect form. I saved the final version as a PDF, and opened the PDF within Photoshop. From there I made it pretty by layering in a few backgrounds and playing with the opacity. I used a fun font, and added a photo and chevrons that I was really digging – especially since they emphasized my categories of ‘down’ & ‘across’ – adding a perfect visual.

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I created it to fill the largest frame I had (14″x18″), and simply printed it at home on 8.5″x11″ paper. It came out in 4 pages, which I carefully trimmed and taped together on the backside of the pages, so the tape wouldn’t be seen. I then placed it into the frame so that the crossword answers could be written onto the glass with a wet erase marker. Before printing at home, I considered paying to have Staples print it on one larger piece of paper to avoid any seams, but they quoted $14 to do this, so I decided to try it myself first. As hoped, once assembled, the seams were barely noticeable and virtually disappeared once I put the crossword behind the glass of the frame (yay!). I even had one friend ask how I printed it so large. 😉 The frame then rested on an inexpensive table top easel that I picked up from Staples.

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It was a hit and a fun addition to the party, allowing guests to get to know our sweet baby boy.
Whenever I get around to creating the baby book that I’ve started designing *in my head*, I plan to include a smaller version of this crossword on one of the pages. …sigh, if only I had enough time to create all the *in my head* designs and projects. I pinned this quote to my Quotable Quotes board not too long ago and WOW, is it ever the reality I need to remind myself.
What quotes are ringing true for you lately?
What project would you create if time were no limitation?

Glass Jar Turned Soap Dispenser

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This week I crafted a project that was inspired by one of the first pins I ever pinned… it’s been sitting on my Projects & Crafts I Love board for over 2 years! It’s a simple one, so here it goes…

I used a glass jar that I originally bought as a jar of coconut curry sauce, purchased from World Market. …The sauce sounded delicious (& it was), but I was also excited about the pretty & uniquely shaped glass jar that it came in. After enjoying the contents, and washing the jar and lid, I hammered a hole in the center of the lid and used pliers to make the opening fit my soap pump. By working on the opening slowly, I lucked out by not making it too large, thus the soap dispenser squeezed into place and held together tightly – eliminating any need for glue.

I started to paint the lid silver, but after the first coat shown here, I didn’t feel the two very different looking silvers looked good together, so I moved to plan B.

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I searched my craft cabinet hoard downstairs, and picked a blue/teal paint that was left from a prior project.
I painted four coats (until I was satisfied that I couldn’t see paint lines any longer), and then finished with a couple coats of sealer. Here’s an image of the materials I used.

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And it was done!

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I placed my finished project on the sink in our main bath prior to filling it with soap… just to feel it out to see if that’s the bathroom where it should live (the similar colored Glassybaby candle holder in the photo already resides there). Then a funny thing happened… J observed our new addition and our conversation went like this:

J: So I’m guessing you have that new soap pump there ’cause you like it?
Me: Why, you don’t like it?
J: Meh.
Me: I made it.
J: You made it? Oh. …Then a little bit of back tracking happened.

Bahaha… but that’s okay – truth is I’m not crazy about it either, but hey, I love to be creative and to be creative I need to be taking action, it doesn’t mean I’ll love everything I create.

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How about you? Have you recently completed a project that is just “meh”?

“NYTimes rated best Chocolate Chip Cookies”

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This week I made Chocolate Chip Cookies. It was the original plan when I made Taquitos last week, but they got bumped when my pantry was short an ingredient. I’ve pinned a few Chocolate Chip Cookie recipes to my Yum board, but chose to try this one first because the caption with the Pin claimed: “The NYTimes rated this the best chocolate chip cookie recipe ever.” …Sounded like a great endorsement to me!

I knew we needed baking soda, and after reviewing the recipe ingredients, I realized the recipe required approximately 1.5 bags of chocolate chips (we had 1 bag on hand). J picked up the missing items and actually returned from the grocery store with 2 new bags of chocolate chips. He was excited to have found Ghirardelli brand chocolate chips – yum!

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My helper-cutie pie N and I started baking. Our only deviation from the recipe was using all purpose flour in place of the recommended mix of cake flour and bread flour. I figured it would work out since the blogger whom I pinned the recipe from notes that she did the same thing. Other than that, we creamed, sifted, and mixed to our hearts content, following the recipe to the letter. Then we hit a road block. We got to the finished-dough-stage, the ready-to-bake-stage, the looking-forward-to-eating-warm-cookies-tonight-stage, and I read that we’re suppose to “refrigerate dough for 24-36 hours” — what?!? Ugh, it took will-power, but we did it, we popped it into the fridge and waited an entire day cause we didn’t want to mess with “the best chocolate chip cookie recipe ever”. I’ll admit, I’m building some pretty high expectations at this point.

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The next day was my second challenge with the recipe – the dough was no longer easily moldable, but instead, very hard and quite a chore to scoop & bake. We persevered, surely the delicious reward would be worth it, right?

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A short baking time later… cookies! Unfortunately here was disappointment numero tres… I didn’t love them! I fully take responsibility that it could have been me, so I’m not going to knock the recipe… perhaps it was the flour variation, or oven temperature, or who knows, but they were simply “meh”… and we didn’t think they were nearly as good as the traditional chocolate chip cookie recipe found on the chocolate chip bags.

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So, in summary, I wouldn’t make this one again, but we still tried one more pin from the hundreds in the queue. In this case, you don’t know until you try, so no regrets.

Oh yeah, and what’s that you ask?…
What happened to the other bag and a half of chocolate chips?

Why are you asking me.
I haven’t seen them.
I haven’t seen any extra chocolate chips anywhere.
I would not eat a bag and a half of chocolate chips.
Don’t ask me anymore questions.

I dedicate this post to my witty brother… for a multitude of reasons, really. I have a feeling he’ll get this post and relate to it on a couple levels. xo

And we thank him for the really cute children’s book he gave my son: “I want my hat back”, by Jon Klassen – check it out, and this post will have a little more meaning for you too.

Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos

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Well, I’m simultaneously part way into a couple other Pinterest inspired projects (aka story of my life), but since they’re not yet finished I can’t post them on here yet… so I’m struggling to keep up with our weekly posts. To stay on track, I figured I could make a recipe… that’s something I could start & finish in one evening. Not that it’s a competition, but I did observe that Sus finished an Infinity Scarf in one night, yet Taquitos are more my finish-in-one-night speed – potatoes/patotoes. My last knitting project is an unfinished baby blanket… for a sweet pea who’s now 12. No, not 12 months… 12 years @@ (that’s my symbol for wide eyes). But let me get back on track…

I have a Pinterest board dedicated to recipes titled Yum. When I went back to review, two things happened:
a) I realized I’ve done a whole lotta pinning, but not so much making and baking,
b) I was hungry and wanted to make it all – I’ve pinned a whole lot of deliciousness!
Then I remembered the very first recipe I did make from my Pinterest board, actually Susan and I made it together when she was visiting. Needless to say, we were less than inspired and it’s no longer pinned to my board. Lets hope this time would be different…

I planned to choose a baking project to do with N, and after browsing my board, I wanted to make Chocolate Chip Cookies. But when I was an ingredient shy and it was nearing dinner time, I chose an entree instead – Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos. They made the cut since I had many of the ingredients on hand that needed to be used before we went out of town for a couple days. I also had a large cooked chicken breast leftover from dinner the night prior, so this was a perfect way to reinvent these leftovers.

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N was the cutest little helper…

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But he wanted to eat more than help at times… he was pilfering so much cheese from the recipe that I ended up giving him his own plate of ‘you-can-eat-this-cheese’

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https://pinningcousins.wordpress.com | From Pins to Projects

No need to reiterate the recipe here, as the site linked from my Taquitos pin has it perfectly explained, and they have prettier food photos.
The only 2 things we did differently were using classic red salsa instead of green (it’s what we had on hand), and we used medium tortilla shells, cut in half and rolled the long way for each taquito.

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The recipe made two trays. After I put the second tray in the oven, I realized it made a lot and I probably should have frozen some instead… but, it turns out they were all eaten very quickly.

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They were a big hit – we loved this recipe and will definitely make it again – delicious!

Sibling Photo

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I’m constantly pinning beautiful photos that I’m inspired by to my Photography Pinterest board… I would love to capture my own version of them all. So often when I attempt a photo with a specific composition in mind, I quickly realize it’s not as easy as it looks!

I was inspired by this Pin, and really happy with how my version came out…

Photograph by Joanne Day | https://pinningcousins.wordpress.com | From Pins to Projects

…But behind every favorite photo, there’s typically a whole lot more taken in my attempt to capture the vision. Here’s a series of behind the scenes images that I took on this occasion. Although these “outtakes” probably won’t be seen by many, I still love them… I love how they tell the behind the scenes story. …How they show it was NOT this easy-perfect-moment that I just happened to capture, but rather, real life with a 2 year old, and executed with a helper. The truth is N is so sweet with his baby brother, and gives him kisses regularly without being asked, but to photograph in the right setting/lighting/background… well, that took effort. Capturing my favorite photos isn’t always easy… but oh so worth it!

Photographs by Joanne Day | https://pinningcousins.wordpress.com | From Pins to Projects

Ruler Growth Chart

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As soon as I saw the ruler growth chart idea on Pinterest (here), I knew I wanted to make one. I read it was a recreation from one that Pottery Barn Kids use to sell, and that didn’t surprise me since I love browsing their catalogs. After months of procrastination & convincing myself that I needed a larger vehicle to purchase a 6 foot long piece of wood, I finally drove to Home Depot with E in tow & our very small Corolla & picked out our wood.

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I chose a 6’x1″x10″ piece of Poplar. I could have gone cheaper with Pine (approx $12), but all the pieces were quite rough & knotty, and I liked the look of the Poplar wood (approx $30) better. …I figured it’s a project that I plan to keep around for many many years to come, so may as well fully enjoy looking at it.

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At Home Depot, I also picked up a fresh Sharpie (to ensure good ink coverage), and the tiniest pot of stain. I hummed & hawed at the shade of stain to go with… so many to choose from! The lady at the paint department told me she had test pots, and showed me the 2 options I had narrowed down to on paint sticks to help me decide. The thing is that paint sticks are not made of Poplar, and she really emphasized that my stain project would look quite different. I picked 1 of the 2 options, rolled over to the checkout (E was in the carseat sitting in the cart, with my 6′ long piece of wood balanced on top of it all. Then I second guessed myself when at the register, and ran back (with baby) to the painting section to switch for a lighter 3rd option that I originally hadn’t even considered.

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days later… finally going to create this! Baby asleep-check! Monitor set-up to watch from the garage-check! So I started by staining the wood – rubbing off the stain as quickly as I wiped it on, as I didn’t want my project to become too dark. I did one coat & returned a couple hours later to do the other side.

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I planned to do only one coat, but when I later started drawing a couple lines, the ink was bleeding into the wood a little, resulting in not-as-crisp-lines as I hoped for. So, back to the garage for another coat of stain which I hoped would alleviate the problem, and it worked-phew!

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I learned very quickly that each line needed a double thick (2 lines) of sharpie to give the visual I was seeking. I choose the number font by searching many different fonts, and printed at font size 230. I actually picked my numbers from a combo of 3 very similar fonts, since I liked the ‘1’ of one font, and the ‘5’ of another, etc.

I used a pencil to shade the back of the numbers, then put in place on the wood & traced the edges with a ballpoint pen to leave the faintest indent and pencil mark to guide where I filled in with the Sharpie.

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Thinking we’ll possibly hang the growth chart here…

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…But there was hardly any light from this window this time of day, so here’s a better picture of my finished project…

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