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Entries in DIY (3)

Friday
Feb112011

When the power goes out on your birthday, the strong will survive... one crank at a tim

If you follow me on Twitter you've probably seen me complain about losing power. We lose power a LOT. Apparently our power company has received the worst rating for any power company in a major city.

I had to celebrate my birthday without power!

Recently I celebrate a major birthday milestone. MAJOR. This is not a birthday milestone to mess around with. This is one where you definitely want to be around friends (not isolated in your home) to manage the emotional ups and downs, and to celebrate (preferably with the lights on).

Alas, it was not meant to be.

Thank you Pepco.

5 Tips for Surviving you Birthday When the Power is Out

1. Breakfast in bed

I certainly was NOT expecting this when I woke up on my birthday to a house barely maintaining 50 degrees. But the smiles, hugs, and love that came delivered with this cold birthday breakfast were enough to warm even the coldest heart.

 

2. Coffee on a DIY camping stove

It is IMPERATIVE that I have coffee on my birthday. I don't think I can live without coffee and if I had to on my 40th birthday I would have been curled up in a ball in the corner and rocking myself until we were plowed and someone could go out and get some for me.

Here's how I made it:

 

Do-it-yourself camping stove materials

Sterno

Glass loaf-size dish

Roasting or baking rack you don't mind scorching

Instant coffee

Water

Note: The glass loaf pan was perfect for keeping the Sterno flame contained. The sides of a loaf pan are higher than other glass bakeware too so it provides a perfect distance between the flame and the bottom of your pan. If it's too close, the flame will go out. If it's too far, the pot will take longer to heat.

3. Crank it

Luckily I invested in two key items over the summer when we lost power. For the 17th time. In 2 years.

A Hand crank LED lantern is key for light and sanity. I was going nuts with the girls running all over the house with my flashlights that having a large lantern light up the kitchen was great.

The little Solar Hand Crank radio flashlight is really useful. The radio lets you listen to music or, what I like to do, listen to WTOP who tells you how many 100s of thousands of Pepco customers are without power and that the majority of them won't be restored for DAYS. But it can also charge a cell phone! Not easily, but at least to keep it charged for a few calls.

4. Respect the Generator

Not only did I invest in crank technology this summer, but I drove over 600 miles for a 25 year old generator. Hey, it was free! And boy did it come in handy.

Lucky for you they make the much smaller, more powerful, and truly portable:

It did cause a minor spat with The Mister over when to kick it into gear. We had a limited amount of gas for it the first night the power went out and he thought using it to watch Harry Potter was a good decidsion. I had a small fit because I had no idea how long it would take us to get plowed and I knew the house would be freezing by morning.

5. Love for the iPad 3G

One good thing that came out of that argument was that I used that time to charge my Apple iPad Wifi + 3G and cell phone. If you don't already have an iPad 3G and you live in an area where the power goes out frequently, get one.

Once charged, the batter lasted for nearly 2 days and even though the wi-fi was down, I could play on the internet using the Apple iPad Wifi + 3G connection! This came in handy as I complained about Pepco. They love me. I'm surprised my power hasn't been shut off just because I'm such a whiner.

Do you ever lose power? What are your favorite gadgets to help you get through?

Janine

Disclosure: some links are affliate links

Wednesday
Sep082010

Portable Homework Study Carrel is My Crafty Piece de Resistance

We have finally figured out a way to provide some quiet study space for homework and keep twin eyes on their on work. Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present to you, the DIY study carrel:

 homework study carrel

This nifty project was not only fun, it will help the girls focus on their own work.

Create your own study carrel

I first saw this project on the Disney website. Since I'm all about reusing now, I started looking around the house for materials we already had. I grabbed some clear plastic boxes I had saved this year (chocolate bunnies from Easter I believe) and cut off the top, then lined the inside with a cute image.

 reuse material for pencil box

 

I taped the image just lightly to the back of the box so we can swap it out for something new or seasonal whenever we want

We loved the blue in the Disney sample so we purchased a similar blue tri-fold presentation board but you can get them in all different colors. We cut the board in half to make two study carrels. Then I scrounged around and found some foam mounting squares , Command hooks , and self-stick Velcro to attach all the necessary items:

  • pencil holder (the clear box)
  • magnet strip (this came from Ikea)
  • ruler
  • clear plastic folder to hold week-long assignments
  • calendar

I cut up some plastic packaging the erasers came in to create a smaller container and used velcro to attach the pencil box so that we can take it off to change the image.

Photobucket

 

Homework Time Made Easier

With all the drama we has last year, I'm not quite sure why I didn't search for something like this sooner. These study carrels can fold up easily, and used on a table or even on the living room floor. The storage boxes means I'm not search around the house for pencils and erasers and glue. And the folder keeps weekly assignments like spelling lists in a safe place.

clear plastic folder on study carrel

Dare I say the love homework time now? And I'm earning my crafty mom badge!

Janine

for more of my attempts at crafting see:

DIY American Girl accessories

Crafty Crafters playdate frames

Disclosure: some links are affiliate links.

Monday
Aug022010

DIY: American Girl Beach Party Craft (not mine - but you knew that)

A few weeks ago we went to visit my neice and nephews. The Twofer were upstairs in my neice's room for quite a long time...with no yelling or refereeing on my part.

So of course I'm thinking...

something is wrong.

I went to check in on them and saw this...

 

Cue "ta-da" music.

Photobucket

An American Girl beach party scene like no other I'd seen before! It had everything from grass skirts to surfboards to little mini game of Connect 4!

It turns out my neice made all of it at American Girl camp. As I took a closer look I realized I could definitely help The Twofer make some of these...being the crafty crafters they are.

Cut some images out of the catalog, frame them, and voila! You have decorations for the walls and bookshelf.

Photobucket

 

Do your girls love the American Girl food? Mine can't get enough. How easy would it be to make your own with some modeling clay that you can either bake or let dry in the sun?

Photobucket

 

Find a cute little flamingo party cup, cut off the top, glue a piece of painted cardboard and you have yourself a perfect beach party table!

 Photobucket

The key is to use bright, "beachy" colors and invest in some serious Michael's shopping. Choose one or two of these projects for a birthday party, or rainy day activity.  Or, if you are like my friend who runs her own camp (at home for her kids) you can plan to do the whole scene over a week.  Let me know so I can send The Twofer to your camp!

Janine