Project 004 – ReUsing Crayons for a Kids Valentine’s Day Card

Hi Cyberfriends!

It’s been a bit – super busy with work and kids lately.  Here’s the visual experiment for this week – using crayons (broken and whole) to create a new shape for use in a kids valentine card for the class.  Sounds easy, right?

There are two different pins I am using for this – Papervine Blog Post repinned and Make and Takes Blog Post repinned.  My first attempt was in a small heart shape using an ice tray, and paper cups with crayon pieces in them.  The melting part was in the microwave in a couple of minute increments.  Well….it did not turn out too well.  We (my son and I) had a good laugh over it.  Here is your laugh for the day.

The First Laughable Disaster

The First Laughable Disaster

What we learned here:  Ice Trays are not the same as silicon baking trays.  We were able to still salvage a few crayons as you can see on the paper plate.  I decided to reuse them in the new silicone baking shape that we chose at the store.  It was a $10.99 Silicone Baking Tray for mini bites (muffins) in the shape of suns.  Per the instructions on it, it can bake up to 500 degrees farenheit.  I think I’m safe this go round!

We took broken bits and also bought a box of crayons for $1 at the craft store for this project.  I used the knife and sliced through the paper on the crayon and my awesome son broke them into bits.  His favorite part was being allowed to break the crayons and not get into trouble for it.

Along with bits, break up whole crayons too

Along with bits, break up whole crayons too

While breaking crayons up, I preheated the oven to 300 degree’s farenheit.  The plan is to put the crayon’s in the silicon tray, on a cookie sheet into the oven.  20 minutes should be more than plenty.

I also prepped the freezer by putting in a baking rack, flat so that when the crayons are done in the oven I can minimize the cooling down time by popping them into the freezer.  Another 20 minutes.

04a_Bits And Pieces




In the oven mid melt

In the oven mid melt

Freezer shot - ignore the food

Freezer shot – ignore the food

24 each

24 each Unique Sun Crayons



At this stage we have melted – crayons only this time <grin>.  Whew!  Cooled them down in the freezer.  Next we get to pop them out of the silicon tray and see what we have.  Using the silicon tray is great because it can completely turn inside out to make removal very easy.


This time we have 24 each unique crayons.  These are aprox. 1.75 inches in diameter.  The perfect size for insertion into a handmade valentine’s day card for a class party.  Now if you don’t want to go through all this yourself, you can buy entire sets already made up on Etsy at stores like Sprout and Bean.

Here’s a look at a single crayon.  Pretty nifty!  I have to say, once I got the hang of this it was pretty easy and quick.  A fun project with my son.  Use the Make and Take Pinterest Blog link vice PaperVine.  Easier, and it works.

$10.99 Silicon Baking Pan

$2.00 – 2 boxes of 24 each Crayons

Already had Pam non-stick spray, cookie sheet, and baking rack.

Single nifty Crayon

Single nifty Crayon

CONCLUSION:  I recommend this project for a quick and fun valentines’ family project.  Cost is minimal if you use up all the broken bits of crayons, and the extra crayons you get from restaraunts and places going out.

Here’s a quick visual experiment for family project day in preparation of valentine’s day.  You Color My World!




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Project 002 – Create a Rotating Desk Caddy (Part 2)

Hello Cyber Friends!

I finally got the 3inch lazy susan casters in the mail!  Yeah!  Let’s get to it.
Here are the material’s for where we are at.
Part2_MaterialsAs you can see the wood pieces are together and painted.  I have chosen 3 each 8oz.  jars and 2 each 4 oz. jars.  I will leave the metal rings on but remove the top insert.

First thing first.  I decided where I wanted to put the clamps on each side.  Then I took the sheet metal screws and screwed it thru a clamp space and into the wood.

Clamp Screwed On

The lazy susan hardware installation comes next.  I used 4 screws and screwed it to the bottom of the main body of the caddy first.
Caddy with CastorsAs you can see the lazy susan bearing is made so I can angle it to get the screws in.  Now we center it on top of the base and screw it in.

Screwing On 2ndCasterHere is a picture of how it’d look to put the base together with the main body.
Together prior to CuttingWiresIt is all together but the clamps have extra metal ribbon on them.  I tried wire cutters, not working on this.  The only way I could get them cut down was using the wire cutters to bend it back and forth close to the clamp hardware.  Doing this caused it to break off.  Not the easiest or quickest way but it worked.  Due to the sharp edges I wanted to cover it up for safety.  I would definitely cut myself if I didn’t.  The only thing I came up with was duck tape.  Yep.  White duck tape.

FinishedCaddyHere’s what it looks with the white duck tape.  Not the most elegant solution but at least it matches.  Right?

It is even and balanced, holds the jars and doesn’t tip if its filled or partially filled.  I then put the vinyl non-skid feet on the bottom.  These are stick on so pretty simple to put in place.


Wala!  Here is the final product with makeup in it.

UsedForMakeUpConclusion:  If you have the items on hand or they are easy to obtain do it yourself.  It’s fairly easy to put together.  The tricky part is the cutting of the clamps and the wood main body.

Otherwise, with all the details, waiting for shipping, etc. you may find it worth purchasing from LivingSewBeautiful.

Have a great weekend and thanks for tuning back in for part 2 of the Desk Caddy!  See ya next time.

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Project 003 – Restaraunt Style Steak

Hello All!

Since I had to post a two-parter on the Desk Caddy, I figured I would toss in another smaller project.  If you have taken any amounts of time to sift through Pinterest you will notice lots of food photo’s and recipes out there.  Better ways to cook every day dishes, recipes (lots of those!), and tips to get those scrumptious results that make you want to savor every bite.

A while back I ran across this pin titled “Amuse Bouche: Restaurant Style”.  Hhmmm….what is restaurant style and what food is it for?  I pinned it and moved on.  Today we are going to find out what Restaurant Style is and what food we are talking about courtesy of Whitney at Amuse Bouche.

It appears the food in question here is steak.  Yes!  I love a good steak! Happy Dance.  My steak cooking is not that great.  I rely on my awesome friends who are scattered all over the world (courtesy of the military) to grill me a wicked good steak when we can get together on our trek’s across the world.

Now according to the article, I quote “It’s the very best, most delicious and perfect way to cook a steak.  Leave your grill for vegetables, heaven forbid your steak should touch those grates.”  I don’t know about all that.  A steak better than a grilled steak?  The picture that comes to mind with a good steak is a slightly charred nice cut of marbled meat with some Montreal Seasoning or German Krauter Butter (Herb butter) on it.  If made properly, no steak sauce will be needed.

My doubts are high but in the interest of visual experiments – let’s do this!  Worse case, I have steak for dinner and use some A-1 steak sauce, how can you lose on that.  Here we go!

Here’s the list of ingredients that the website calls for.


Now I made some modifications due to what I had in my cupboard.  Butter was Country Crock.  Parsley and Thyme were dried from my spice rack.  Lemon Zest was actually 1 packet of True Lemon.  I added fresh chopped green onion and only used 1 each 8 oz. filet wrapped in bacon.

First, we make the butter concoction and put it in the refrigerator.  So far, so good.

1/2 stick of butter, softened, and mix well with the peeled, chopped garlic, onion,  the chopped herbs, and the lemon zest.

1/2 stick of butter, softened, and mix well with the peeled, chopped garlic, onion, the chopped herbs, and the lemon zest.







This next part is a bit messy so wear an apron.  We heat up the skillet to piping hot with the butter and olive oil in it.  Pan searing the steak so there is a crispy brown shell on each side of the steak.  Since I had bacon wrapped around mine, I used tongs and also seared the edges.  While doing this, I had my oven pre-heating to 400 degree’s farenheit.  I took a spoon and continually poured the butter and olive oil mixture over the steak as it cooked.  I live in an apartment so had my kitchen and stove fans on, to prevent the fire alarm from going off.  This step is messy (pop’s and crackle’s).  Not looking for company at dinner time from the local fire department.  Not enough steak to go around!

Pan Searing

Pan Searing






The remaining steps are to salt and pepper generously, put it in the oven, and bake at 4oo degree’s for 6 – 8 minutes.  This time frame is for a medium rare steak.  Friends, I hate to disappoint you but I need my meat well done.  Red is not a color I want to see on my dinner plate unless its the Red Bell Pepper in my salad.  To get a well-done steak but not over cooked, I put it in the oven for 10-12 minutes and then let it rest for a few minutes on the stove top.

Fresh out of the oven

Fresh out of the oven





That looks pretty darn good!  So far Whitney is spot on.  Now lets see if I cut this open, is it well done or not.

Well Done!

Well Done!





I cut the steak in half and its well done!  Moist, and not too dry.
Next we put the butter we mixed together on top of the steak and enjoy.  Does this steak taste as good as stated?  Lets find out.  I chose to eat this with some fresh corn on the cobb.  Perfect combination and toss in a small salad for the even mix of meat, and veggies.  We are trying to be a bit healthy.

Topped with Butter

Topped with Butter






Yummy Steak on a Plate

Yummy Steak on a Plate






The ingredients were accurate, and so were the amounts.  The claim that this is the best steak around – spot on!  I did not need to use any steak sauce.  This steak had phenomenal flavor, and was the perfect mixture of moisture and done-ness.  I could not believe that I was able to have such a delicious steak without a grill.

This steak was delicious!!!!  Whitney Rocks!!  Follow her advice on how to Restaurant Style cook a steak.  I will be using this as my preferred method of cooking a steak.

Now the next time you decide to cook a steak, get some pinspiration and head over to Amuse Bouche to use this recipe.





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Project 002 – Create a Rotating Desk Caddy (Part 1)

Hello Cyber Friends!

I hope you all have had a great week.  The Visual Experiment for this week is a lovely Desk Caddy pinned in many, many places.  The Desk Caddy (made and sold by LivingSewBeautiful on Etsy ) is pretty nifty, but the price tag is a huge show stopper for this girl at $120+.  I remember a time when I saw it out there for around $45, and then it did a huge price jump to its current price.  Now that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth that price (totally up to you), for me it is a bit steep for my budget.

The Jar Caddy posted on pinterest.

The Jar Caddy posted on pinterest.

I have looked all over Pinterest for a tutorial or instructable, and google.  No such luck.  If any of you find one, please comment on this weeks post with the link.  This posts adventure is to create my own Desk Caddy, which I will not be using for my desk (grin)….art supplies, tools, or even make-up. Not the boring pen’s and pencils which come to mind with “desk”.

With pictures along the way to show you how to tackle this on your own, or even stimulate all of you highly talented creative types to make a better one.  I am hoping my photo’s will get better as I get further down this adventure.  Thanks for your patience.

Now Let’s do this!  Looking at the image on Pinterest, and measuring the jars I will be using, here is my list of materials.  For materials, I was unable to go to just one place.  I had to go to Home Depot, Michael’s, Ace Hardware, and Amazon (on-line).

 Home Depot

1 ea – 4” x 4” x 8” Main Center Piece

1 ea  – 4 ½” x 4 ½” Base

1 ea – Wooden Pull Knob

5 ea – Metal Clamps 3 to 5”

1 pkg (12ea) – Sheet Metal Screws #6 x ¾”

1 pkg (9 ea) – ½” Vinyl Surface Guard Bumpers

Steel Bar Clamp  (Add to Tool Arsenal)

Sand Paper (Medium and Fine)

      COST:  $ 46.88 (with sales tax) – All items

$ 29.91 (with sales tax) – without the Steel Bar Clamp and Sand Paper
**Note:  For the 4”x4” wood, it is not sold in scraps or single cuts.  I had to purchase an 8 foot length and ask the kind people at Home Depot to cut it into 8 inch sections.   If this works out, I will be making these for presents and gifts throughout the year to use up all the sections cut (11 pieces out of an 8 foot length)  They also carry 6”x6” but were out. I dealt with 5 different Home Depot employees, and each one was helpful as could be.  If you are not sure, ask because they can help!


1 ea – 4” x 4”  Top

Elmer’s Wood Glue (Use for Other Projects Too)

COST:  $ 3.28

Ace Hardware (Couldn’t use but included for reference)

1 ea – 4” Lazy Susan Bearing  (Was too big for 4×4 – would work for a 6×6)

8 ea – Screws #6 x ¾”

COST:  $ 6.05 (with sales tax)


1 ea – 3” Lazy Susan Bearing  ($1.70 each)

COST:  $ 5.70 (with sales tax and shipping)

Items On Hand:

2 ea – 4 oz. Ball Canning Jars

3 ea – 8 oz. Ball Canning Jars

I also have a can of spray sealer and varnish to create a clear protective coat on the caddy.  I am debating on a white paint first.  This is a personal preference and whatever you choose will add to the cost.

TOTAL COST (Not including tools or items on hand):  $38.89 

I could not find a local store that carried the Lazy Susan Bearing in 3 inches, so I had to order it online from amazon.  After some deliberation, I am going to paint it white, so will tackle this step first and hope that the Lazy Susan Bearing gets in soon.  I did consider getting some ball bearings or a ball bearing ring, but ran into a snag because I could not find an auto parts store or hobby shop that had them in stock either.  On to the next idea – paint and put things together up to the Lazy Susan Bearing, which will make this a Part 1 and Part 2 type posting.

Wood - Main, Top, Bottom; Screws, Surface Guards, Clamps

Wood – Main, Top, Bottom; Screws, Knob, Surface Guards, Clamps

The Lazy Susan Bearing, screws (it doesn't come with them), sand paper, wood glue, and the bar clamp

The Lazy Susan Bearing, screws (it doesn’t come with them), sand paper, wood glue, and the bar clamp

Next we have the items I do have at home.  Jars and paint, sealer, and drop cloth.

The paint I chose to use was a Krylon Short Cuts Paint.  Quick drying, no drip – it was good stuff!
Unfortunately, I only had a small can which ran out quickly.  I ended up running to Lowe’s for another can of spray paint ($1.51 on sale).

Krylon Short Cuts

Krylon Short Cuts

Face Mask to protect from fumes and particles

Face Mask to protect from fumes and particles

When you are painting don’t forget to use a face mask and a drop cloth.  Mine is a piece of clear plastic ($1.97)  from Home Depot.  Large trash bags cut open, newspaper, or an old sheet are all items that will work for a drop cloth.  All you want is something to cover the area you will be painting in so paint doesn’t get all over.

Staging Pieces No Paint

Here’s my area (my garage) with my drop cloth and the pieces I’m painting, to include a scrap piece of wood I am using to prop things up for more coverage.  Now painting is not the quickest or easiest task, even though it may seem so.  It is also a bit messy.  Make sure you have what you need on hand to clean your hands, or anything else that may get paint on it.  For me, it was my hands and my camera.  I did not realize that I had paint on my hands (my fingertips) and tried to take a few pictures.  Thankfully I could wipe it off the frame of the camera…be careful if you attempt this.

The quick crafts paint was dry in a matter of minutes, but the other paint was still a bit tacky five hours later.  I like to finish things quickly so will be looking for quick cuts paint for any future project, unless it specifies otherwise.

First Go Round Paint

Next, I wanted to put the knob on the top and connect the top to the main body.  The screw that came with the knob was about a 1/4″ too long, so I pulled an appropriate size screw from my hardware stash hiding in the bottom of my tool bag.  I screwed the knob to the top, centering it.  I did not pre-drill the hole.  Depending on what you use, you may want to do that.

Then, to connect the top to the main body I chose to use wood glue.  The Home Depot individual recommended wood glue specifically and to use the steel bar clamp to hold it all together as it dried.  The clamp did not sit right on the piece so was useless.  I will be returning it.  I put lines of glue across the top portion of the main body and then centered the top on to it and pressed it together.  The glue was still movable so I positioned it appropriately and sat it on my dining room table on some newspaper.  Periodically putting pressure on the top to the main body.  I will let it dry overnight.  Once it’s all dry, I will throw another coat of paint on it tomorrow.  There are some black marks from the steel clamp attempts and marks from the newspaper print.

Desk Caddy Pre-Bottom

Well that’s all for Part 1.  What I have learned so far:
– Quick Dry Paint is my friend (Always Use!)
– Small (3″) Lazy Susan Hardware is hard to find
– Keep it Simple!

See ya later for Part 2 of Creating a Rotating Desk Caddy!  Let’s hope the hardware gets in soon        (Come on Amazon Shipping!).

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Project 001 – Create Your Own Lightbox

Project 001- Create your own light box.

I saw this pinned by another user and thought, interesting.  I don’t know what a light box is but lets go find out – so I pinned it and set off into cyberspace to read all about this.  The pin is to an article written by Kelly Yanke Deltener over on dated 19 July 2010 (The direct link:

Her primary use for a light box, according to the article, is to take better pictures to sell items on  Short, sweet, and to the point with 3 links to tutorials – I can do this.  Short article, how hard can this be, right?  The end product is a white box you take pictures in.

I went to the first one, very clear and concise using a cardboard box as a foundation.  This would require use of an exacto knife (very sharp!), cardboard, and with my klutziness I’m not too sure of the results.  The website is pretty informative and useful though, so Digital Photography School went into my future reference folder.  I decided to pass this one and go to the next.

The second one, was over on PhotoDoto, again sharp knife plus scissors, and poster board instead of cardboard…another pass.  I see flashes of accidents in the making here when combined with all my accident proneness.  What does door number three hold?

Door number three was a video embedded at the bottom of the original article by DizzyDoug.TV.  Clicked play and show began.  A video narrated by a kid.  I can DEFINITELY do this.  Pinterest came through for me!
Let’s see what we got here.

Narration is clear, concise, and right along the same lines as I was thinking.
Way to Go David Bell!

First, the list of neccesary materials:
HomeDepot or Plumbing Store
2ea x 10ft 1/2″ PVC Pipe {cut into:  2ea@23″ – width, 4ea@14″ – height, 2ea@16″- depth}
4ea x 1/2″ PVC 3 way elbows
4ea x 1/2″ PVC Caps
2 Clamp Lights – Light bulbs (soft white)
Masking Tape
White Material from Fabric Store
1 piece White Poster Board from Dollar Store

Are the materials accurate?  For the most part, they are.  At my local HomeDepot, I discovered that 1each 10ft 1/2″ PVC Pipe and 1each 2ft 1/2″ PVC Pipe did the job with minimal scraps and a cost savings.  The HomeDepot employee kindly cut all my lengths for free (just as David noted in his video).  The elbows were a bit tricky, again as the video had stated.  The store in my town only carried those that had 2 slide in sides and 1 threaded side, so I had to purchase an additional adapter (4ea@1/2″ PVC Male Adapter).  Cost was minimal and added 1 1/2″ in height.  No biggie!

I also added 3each@ 1/2″ sheet metal screws.  Why you ask?  Instead of taping the poster board, I put 3 sheet metal screws spaced across the back piece, into the PVC that is considered the back piece.  This allows me to use a regular hole punch, punch in three holes at the edge of the poster board, and now it is easily interchangeable to use other colors without the fuss or mess of masking tape.  The poster board was 2 pieces for $1 at the Dollar store or 69cents.

The white material I had in my craft stash so didn’t have a cost associated with it.  You could use a white sheet, cheap white fabric shower curtain, or find a piece on the clearance rack at the fabric store or fabric section of a major chain store.

Here’s the initial materials.

Materials as stated in the chosen tutorial video plus the sheet metal screws (pk of 4ea)

Materials as stated in the chosen tutorial video plus the sheet metal screws (pk of 4ea)

The next photo here is showing the additional adapters I needed to purchase and the items pre-put together.

Items with additional adapters, and pre-put together

Items with additional adapters, and pre-put together

Putting this all together was very simple!  My 8yr old son told me how to do it – without instructions.

All the PVC put together and the three screws in the back piece

All the PVC put together and the three screws in the back piece

Now that your lightbox frame is together, put in your poster board.Line up your holes with the placement of the three screws so it sits evenly.

Put in  your poster board.  White is the color of the hour!

Put in your poster board. White is the color of the hour!

Next step is the material and the lights.  The lights are very easy to assemble.  Insert light bulbs and your done.
The material, just drape it over the frame and tuck it in.  I chose to use one strip of masking tape to tape the fabric across the front bar of the frame with the rest draped and folded to cover it.  I’m thinking of a better option that looks cleaner and more professional but for now, the draping works.  Here’s a photo of the completed light box.

Completed light box on desk

Completed light box on desk

Now the question that comes to mind for me, why do they call it a light box?  Well, here is why.

The light box in use

The light box in use

With the lights on, an item in the center, and someone taking a picture – it makes a cleaner, more professional photo.  AND the entire box is filled with light that is reflected from all the white surfaces to minimize shadows, allowing the photographer more control.

Conclusion:  This pinterest link was spot on, with useful and fairly accurate information.  Project was so easy, a kid could do it!
The total cost was $36.78 (not including the white material).  If you have the drop lights already, you can reduce your cost to $17.37 plus the cost of the white material.  Using the PVC instead of a cardboard box allows for a quick breakdown, item longevity, easy storage, and portability.  If you are looking for a light box, take a go at this project.  Pretty inexpensive and easy project for such a professional output!

Here’s an example photo on my iPhone and then taken with a digital camera in the light box.  Don’t hold my amateur photography skills against me <grin>.  Just notice the differences.

Photo on my iPhone

Photo taken in the light box.
Photo taken in the light box.


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