Saturday, November 24, 2012

Beautiful Word Clouds

I found a fantastic site!

Check out  This site makes word clouds.

This is the word cloud I made this morning:

Wordle: Samantha

The site is very easy to use and lots of fun!  I printed this out on a piece of cardstock and I will frame it for her desk.  These would be very neat, inexpensive gifts to make for someone.  I also have another project in mind for these. . . more to come later!
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when using this site:

* The more times you write something, the bigger it will be.  They will NOT put in the same word over and over.  For example, if you wrote dog dog cat fish fish fish the word FISH will be three times as big as cat and the word dog will be twice the size of cat but 2/3 the size of fish.  Follow me?

* Play with the font, layout and color buttons.  I liked a lot of the preset colors but, in the end, chose my own.  You can keep selecting the same button and it will rotate the words more.

* Type in your words, then copy them into a word document.  Once you click "go" you can't go back.  It took retyping the words twice before I saved them to cut and paste later!  You never know . . . you might want something bigger or smaller or you may misspell a word!

I see lots of great gift ideas using this site!  What are some of the fun things you can think of?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving and the Perfect, No Fuss Turkey

This posting is a day early but I figured you may want the info BEFORE you cook that dry turkey!

First off, Happy Thanksgiving!  I have SO MUCH to be thankful for this year.  We have our health and each other which is the main thing.  Everything else is just a bonus.  A fantastic, wonderful, bonus.

Our biggest decision every Thanksgiving is whether to brine or not to brine.  I like to brine my turkey but my husband does not.  Honestly, it probably doesn't matter but I do like the little bit of additional flavor the brine gives to the turkey.

This year we will brine.

The day before (NOW) get out a clean bucket or cooler.  We have used a clean cooler in the past but this past year a great little sub sandwich place opened up in town and they sell their used pickle buckets for $2 apiece.  These babies are perfect for the brine!

Combine this into a big pot:

1 gallon of vegetable broth (see my recipe)
1 cup salt
1 T dried rosemary
1 T dried sage
1 T dried thyme
1 T dried savory

Boil until salt dissolves. 

Dump a big bag of ice into your bucket and pour the cooled brine over the top.  Add enough cold water to this to cover your turkey.

Rinse your turkey and pull the innards out.

Put your turkey into this brine overnight.  You should store the bucket in the fridge so your turkey doesn't get icky.  I don't have a big enough fridge so the bucket goes into a cooler which is filled with ice.  I will check it often. . . I don't want to grow anything nasty in my turkey.   I'm not saying this is the right way to do it. . . it's the WRONG way to do it. . . so put yours in the fridge.

In the morning, pull your turkey out and let the brine drain off.  Discard the excess brine.

Time to cook it!

Drum roll, please!  This is the way we've done it for YEARS and it works FABULOUS!!!

Put your turkey into the crock pot.  Yes, the crock pot.

Put it in breast side up.

If you can't get the lid on, make a lid with tin foil.  Make sure it seals as well as the lid would.  I use heavy duty foil but you could use several layers of regular foil.

Cook on high for about five hours.  DO use a thermometer to keep track of your turkey's doneness.  Don't eat it if the turkey isn't done!!!  

I will usually toss an apple into the cavity.  I have in my head that this is helpful in keeping the turkey moist.  I'm not sure if it does or not.

Obviously you can't do a twenty pound turkey this way.  Butterball folks say don't go above 9 1/2 pounds.  Listen to them.  I do a thirteen pound turkey every year but I have the Dugger Sized Crockpot.  Butterball still says don't do it. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Organizing Under the Sink

I mentioned my Goodwill trip a few posts back.  I found these during that forage.

It took me a few moments to figure out that it was an over the cabinet door towel rack.  I thought I might be able to use them solve THIS problem:
Not a pretty sight.

I hung up the rods and hung up my bottles.  This worked great!
The doors shut and I can find my spray bottles! 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Napkin to Pencil Cup

I had some time on my hands and I need a large pencil cup for school.  So. . . yup!  I made one!

I have some napkins that I found in the dollar box at the grocery store.  (I also have a thing for pretty napkins.  Add it to the list.)  A napkin, some modpodge and an old candle jar makes for a pretty pencil cup.

I cut the napkin in half for this project.

Paint the jar with some modpodge. . . .

. . . and smooth on the napkin.

Fold it down and paint the top with modpodge.

Let dry.  Add another coat and, when it's dry, you have a pencil cup!
If I do it again:

I'd wait for the cup to dry before taking the last picture.  It looks much better now :)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Organizing the Scarves

I'm on a kick to get my closet organized!  I'm moving the summer stuff to boxes and the winter stuff to shelves.  I've pulled out my scarves, ironed them and have started to wear them.  I am having an awful time figuring out how to keep them neat, wrinkle free and easily accessible.

I found those hangars with the holes especially meant for scarves and ties but I had an issue with that.  My frilly, froopy, polyester scarves would do just fine in that but the nice, neat cotton, silk and linen scarves I have would be pleated when I pulled them out.  I don't have time to iron a scarf in the morning so I need something that will keep it neat.

I found this at Target on sale.

My scarves went from being randomly tossed over the closet door. . . .

. . . to not so randomly tossed over the closet door.

It's neater, the scarves stay wrinkle free and I can see what I have at a glance.  I don't have too many so this system works for me.  They sit on the back of my closet door, out of the way.

If I do it again:

I didn't realize how narrow this towel rack is.  I would find something that took advantage of the full width of my closet door.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Earrings and Pendants to Necklaces

I found some old jewelry while I was foraging through Goodwill with my daughter.  These are my favorites.

One is an old earring and the other two are pendants, I think.  I thought all would make good necklaces.

I added rings to each piece.

I cut a length of chain for each pendant from some bulk chain I keep around for rosary repair.  The two larger pendants got longer chains and the round one got a shorter chain.  I had to add a clasp to the shorter chain but the other two could slip over my head.

They turned out nice and very wearable.  My daughter informed me the one in the middle is NOT her favorite but, turns out, she's not the one wearing it so it doesn't much matter!

If I do it again:

I wish I had a bigger variety of chain to choose from.  This chain looks nice but is a tad plain.  I'm a tad plain, though, so it probably is for the best!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Dressing Up a Clipboard

My daughter and I hit the Goodwill store this weekend and found some treasures to the tune of $27.00.  Some of our treasures needed a little sprucing up.  One of them was a clipboard.

We turned our blah (and stained) clipboard into this!  It will be great to have in my classroom.

We spray painted the clip with some blue spray paint we had leftover from painting the chairs this spring.

We picked out some pretty scrapbook paper to cover the top.  It happened to be two sided paper so we made a template to fit around the clip and traced it on the wrong side.

Cut it out. . . .
. . . and glue or use modpodge right on to the clipboard.  We also covered the back as it didn't look any better than the front.  We decorated it and then covered the entire thing with a coat of modpodge to help seal it.  I should be able to wipe it clean if it gets dirty.

Let it dry and then use!

Total investment: Twenty five cents.  I had everything else already.

If I do it again:

Scrapbook paper is 12 inches and the clipboard measures about 13 1/2  inches tall.  I wish I had thought to measure before I had started so I could have been better prepared.  I ended up using a piece from the cut off side and flipping it to make up the length. 

I would also take some washi tape and trim the edges with it to make it more polished. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Shoes, Shoes and More Shoes

I own a lot of shoes.  Lots.  I love them all.  I wear them all.  I just have a LOT!

This is how I was organizing my shoes.  Don't judge.  (Or judge to yourself.  I don't want to hear it.)

It's not organized and it's not conducive to a quick and easy morning transition.

I measured the width of the existing shelves and invested in six tension rods that fit the inside dimensions of the shelves.

This is how it turned out.

It's a lot more organized!  The tension rods cost me $2.17 apiece so my total investment for this organization was five minutes and $14.16 with tax.

There are two tension rods per shelf.  The shoes span the rods and it creates a second shelf in that space.

If I do it again:

I have room for another "shelf" under the bottom shelf.  I should have bought an additional two rods so that I can put my sandals out.  For now, they will stay in a basket until summer.