Thursday, February 25, 2010

My Multiple Personalities and Hair Clips for Every One of Them

Sometimes I have so much on my plate that I'm afraid I have developed multiple personalities to deal with every aspect of my life.  I used to hate it when my mother would be yelling at us and the phone would ring and in the sweetest voice she'd answer, "Hello?" I always thought that was fake and now, as a mom, I know that is just part of survival. (Of course that was way back before caller ID so she didn't know who it was. Had she known it was my dad away on one of his long art-show trips, I'm sure she would have answered with "when are you coming home?" in the not-so-sweetest voice.)

There's my work-self, professional (I can hear my co-workers laughing now), determined, confident. And my church-self, helpful, spiritual, & happy. My friend-self, funny, energetic and fun. My mom-self, a teacher, a motivator (now I'm laughing) and one who shows unconditional love. My wife-self, interested :), loving, & cooperative (my husband wishes). All the while paying the bills, cleaning the house, making sure the kids have their checks for the fund raisers, making lunches, trying to fit in exercise, trying not to eat all the cookies in the bag.....and just like most mom's today, we forget our Real-self.

Well, lately, I've been paying attention to me...through this blog.  I love to make things and I love to accomplish things and I get to do that here. I like quick projects that can be whipped up fast and that's why this week I'm focusing on Hair Clips. They are easy, fast and they make great presents for young girls to not so young girls.

This post will have the basic clip instructions and other posts will have the how-to's to the others.
O.K. here are my supplies:
Box of hair clips - bought from Sally's Beauty Supply ($5.69 for 100)
or the flexy clips (pictured on the cardstock...12 for $2 @ Walmart)
Ribbon 1/8 inch
glue gun or fabric glue
buttons, beads, yarn, felt, tulle, etc.

First, I glued some ribbon to the bottom of the clip. I found this is the best place to put it so the metal clips can really grab the hair.

Oh, side note. To keep the ribbon from fraying, you can hold the raw edge of the ribbon closely to a candle flame and it will "melt" it so that it won't fray. See me doing that to a bow....


Don't really touch the flame....just hold it by it. And don't breathe too hard because it makes the flame move.  I know from experience.

Then glue along the clip and the top and fold over so that top of the clip is wrapped in ribbon. NOTE: the bottom of the clip is the flat part.

Then, with a contrasting color. Make a loop and glue.

Squish the loop flat and glue down evenly on top of the wrapped clip.

Take a small piece of the base color and wrap it around the squished loop.

And then embellish how you please. We love BLING. But little flowers are cute, too.
You can glue anything to this basic wrap. You can add another squished ring to make it three layers of color. You can add a bow. You can add vintage buttons. You can cut cute shapes out of felt and glue them on as well.  Use your imagination...but if you're lacking your imagination-self, google "hair clips" and look at the images and get inspiration.  My other personality is telling me that I should not have told you my secret.  Oh, well. I'm off to put all my selves to bed.


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Toy Poll & Peanut Butter Creativity

WARNING: This post does contain peanuts.

We're headed out to a 1st Birthday party today and I realized that shopping for other people's kids is more fun than shopping for mine. Why? Well, because you can buy them whatever you want...because you don't have to clean up the mess.

When I buy my own kids toys, I'm thinking, "I don't want to clean that up. Nope, too many pieces. Oh no, I wouldn't want to step on those at night. Etc." But when I'm buying for others I go for sheer cuteness and what the kids want.

I remember buying Moon Sand for my brother's kids. I didn't realize Moon Sand was of the DEVIL till someone bought it for me which explains why my brother didn't talk to me for a few months. Then karma gets me back by bestowing upon us the gift of Playdough and all the playdough fixin's.

Raise your hand if you have ever just left the little bits of playdough on the floor, table and chairs because they are easier to sweep/vacuum up when they're dry. Now raise your hand if you've ever seen that your kids have left the playdough open and you don't say anything because it's just easier to throw it all away. But don't raise your hand if you were the one to "accidentally" leave the playdough out to dry. I know who you are. You're my kind of people.

Speaking of playdough (nice unplanned segway, huh), today's idea is one that is great for rainy days or when there's a lot of time for your kids (or you) to be creative. I'm talking about Peanut Butter Playdough. I was first introduced to Peanut Butter Playdough at a restaurant called Peanut Butter & Ellie's. It's closed now, but it was a cute kid-themed restaurant focusing on healthy and organic food. Upon ordering, they gave my kids their own blob of Peanut Butter Playdough, a rolling pin and cookie cutters. They had a blast.  So this morning, we re-created that fun time.
Here's the recipe:
1 c. peanut butter
1 c. instant nonfat dry milk
1 tbsp. honey
Mix peanut butter and instant nonfat dry milk in a large mixing bowl. Stir in honey, 1 teaspoon at a time, until a firm dough is formed. The mixture should like like light brown clay; add a little more powdered milk if it is too sticky.
I didn't have honey around so I used 1 part peanut butter, 1 part nonfat dry milk and 1 part powdered sugar. It was yummy and they had a great time. Take a look! 
Rollin' Rollin'

My son's creation. To be honest, he would have rather just eaten the goodness. 

My daughter's T-Rex, Pterodactyl and worried man. Also, the sun by Troy Bolton's head.

Then she later surprised me with a self portrait with me, a flower and the chocolate sun by Troy Bolton's head.

This was fun. And when they were done, they ate a little dough and they put it in ziploc bags for tomorrow.  And then they licked their plates....

Anyway, back to the gifts....

My story left off with the diabolic Moon Sand. So for revenge, my brother gives my baby some toy that talks. I swear that thing was possessed. Of course on this toy there is no OFF button, it just "goes to sleep." And then just after I watched an episode of Criminal Minds and hubby isn't home and I'm sure a serial killer is outside my children's window and I'm tiptoeing into their room to check on them, said toy decided to "wake up" and say "we're friends" in the creepiest sing-song tone of voice.

And...I buy his kid a Whack-a-mole electronic game that is LOUD. And he gives my daughter make-up. And I give his son a marshmallow shooter, and so on and so forth.

So, I'd like to hear from you for my Toy Poll (say that 10 times fast). What's the worst toy you've given or received?  You can email me at if you want to remain anonymous. But I can't wait to hear that I'm not the only evil one.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Cranberries - not just for fighting kidney stones and UTI's

For those of you who really know me, this next post is going to surprise you. In fact, many of you who may think you know me, may not know that I have an affliction, one that can be paralyzing at the most inopportune times.

I do not like to mix my sweet foods with my salty foods. Now, if I wrote that statement 15 years ago I would have stated that "I cannot mix my sweet foods with my salty foods," but I have matured and I think my palette is more tame. Let me explain.

In my brain, there are sweet foods (desserts, ice cream, cake, jello, fruit, etc.) and there are salty foods (meat, vegetables, cheese, etc.) and there was a slim group of switch hitter foods, or foods that were both (pretzels, certain not salty and non sweet crackers, etc.).

So you see what a predicament I was in when I was offered jello salad with cheese in it (true story) or when friends wanted to split a salad with me that had candied walnuts and craisins or when meeting my "to be" in laws for the first time and I had to wipe my plate off with napkins as to not have gravy touch any of my fruits. AWKWARD!

Back then you'd NEVER find me eating pineapple on my pizza (which is NOT HAWAIIAN in the least, by the way...but that is a subject for another blog "Pineapple doesn't always mean Hawaiian"). You would not see me eating sweet and sour anything, you would not see any fruit salad or jello salad on the same plate as anything salty and you would never ever find me putting cranberry sauce on my turkey.  Actually, you probably wouldn't see me doing any of those things now, either...but that's not the point of my story.

Here's the surprise.  I'm about to post a recipe for an appetizer that has been a huge hit at every party I've brought it to. It's actually my friend Dave's recipe, but I now have adopted it as my own and I promise it will bring happiness to your parties.  I introduce you to Cranberry Salsa over Cream Cheese. (TIP: Buy many bags of cranberries after the holidays and the price goes down. They keep perfectly in the freezer and then you'll have them year round.)

(I borrowed this picture from the web and will replace it with my own when I get a chance.)

1/2 bag cranberries
1 bunch cilantro
1 jalapeno
1 green onion
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 tsp cumin
Juice from one lime
Pulse in a food blender
Pour over cream cheese

I know, huh? Cranberries and sugar with onions and cilantro? But I promise. It's delicious. Even with salty crackers.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lavender Infused Home/Linen Spray

Just so you know, as I write this, my husband is watching American Idol and it's hard to focus on the task at hand. I don't know about you, but ever since I had my children, I'm a cry baby. I cry during commercials, I cry during sitcoms and yes, I have shed a tear or two watching American Idol and don't even get me started on the Biggest Loser.

O.K., one short crying story and I'll get to today's project. I was flying to Japan for work and sitting between two Japanese men. I am not a petite person, so my point is, they were definitely aware that I was there. I had my own monitor and started watching The Notebook. Puh-lease! I had no hope. I was crying and crying...ok sobbing. I'm sure these demure Asian men were silently reprimanding me for showing so much emotion in public. I'm part Japanese...but clearly it's not the holding in emotions part because I was a mess. And guess what...yep...I watched the movie two more times on my 11 hour flight. Sometimes a girl just needs a good cry...a good long cry.

Well today's project might make you cry because it's so SUPER easy, but it packs quite an impression on friends. It's Lavender Infused Home/Linen Spray. Actually, you can use whatever essential oil you would like, I just love lavender. I'll even include some recipes for different blends if you want.

I made these one Christmas. I gave them as neighborhood/office/friend gifts and they were a big hit. I wrote a poem about having a true Silent Night with the calming lavender and attached it to the spray bottle and cut my family initial out of vinyl and stuck it on, but you can use labels. So here is the pic. (Please don't judge my lack of photography skills...maybe I'll do a post about photographing your crafts!)

So here is how it's made:

1/2 cup distilled water
1 teaspoon vodka or witch hazel
5 to 7 drops essential oil of lavender

Easy, huh? I went with the witch hazel and it worked beautifully. You can buy essential oils at your local craft store, or online (ebay has good deals). I purchased mine at a boutique oil shop.

O.K. So the hardest part is finding the bottles, etc. I purchased these 4 oz sprayers online at

One day, I hope to be able supply all this kind of stuff, but until then, I'll send you to my secret "finds." Believe me, if you like this type of sprayer, I just saved you hours of searching.

And the vinyl cut-outs, well, I have a vinyl cutter. So if you want, email me and I'll give you the friends discount, because who am I this point...the only ones reading this are my friends.

Here are some other blends that you might enjoy. They all have a base of:
1/2 cup distilled water
1 teaspoon vodka or witch hazel

Deodorizing Spray - 4 drops bergamot essential oil, 1 drop eucalyptus EO, 2 drops lemon EO
Pet Deodorizing Spray - 5 drops cedarwood EO, 3 drops tea tree oil
Spice Room Spray - 5 drop cinnamon EO, 2 drops clove EO
Mood Lifter Spray - 3 drops chamomile EO, 2 drops orange EO, 1 drop ylang ylang EO
Stress Reliever Spray - 3 drops lavender oil, 2 drops rose EO, 1 drop sage EO
Night Night Spray - 4 drops lavender oil, 3 drops chamomile EO

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Brush Away the Cobwebs...

I'm just going to start typing. If I don't, I'll over think everything and never actually start this blog.

I've been hatching this plan for over a year now and I've finally told enough people about it that I think I better just start this thing.

So, for those of you who don't know me (and for those of you who don't know the real me), my name is Noreen and I'm a craft addict.  O.K. STOP! Before the word "craft" conjures up visions of toll painted angels and crochet toilet paper covers, I need to add a disclaimer. I'm addicted to COOL crafts. Actually, I'm addicted to not paying full price for something when I can make it myself.  I'm addicted to the warm satisfaction of answering the question, "Where did you buy that?" with, "I made it!!" I'm addicted to sour cream and cheddar potato chips...

I've had so many friends ask me to teach them to make the things I make. And I would love to, but there's no time (and I live far away from a lot of them).  I work full time and I'm a mother of three little ones. I'm highly involved with my church and with my extended family...and so, I decided to start Idea Attic as a way of sharing what's going on in my head...craft-wise and otherwise.

Now if you're not crafty, please still come and visit because I also make up games to play with my kids, I love to brainstorm ideas for birthday party themes and I love a challenge.  And, if you have a picture of something you want me to make...I'll try to figure it out and post the results.

I also hope that this can be a place where I can get ideas from all of you.  I'm looking forward to your comments.

So, is it a deal? Brush away the cobwebs that are blocking the view of creativity and come upstairs to the Idea Attic!