Tag Archives: plastic

Am I the Last to Learn This Cool Tomato Cutting Trick?

Grape Tomatoes

I love when I learn a way to do something more easily.  I saw this the other day on The Pioneer Woman and couldn’t wait to try it.

If you are cutting a bunch of cherry or grape tomatoes in half, it can be a little time consuming.  These little tomatoes, especially if you are lucky enough to have access to homegrown, are so sweet and delicious and tomato-y that I’m putting them into salads every few days.

So here’s the trick: take two flat plastic lids of equal size, I used lids from big tubs of yogurt.  Lay one on the counter face up and fill it with tomatoes.  Put the other lid, face down, on top of the tomatoes.

Hold the lid and tomatoes firmly down and use a serrated knife to cut through the tomatoes in the space between the two lids!

Reader, Juli, had the excellent suggestion that this trick will work for grapes too.  Grapes are a delicious addition to chicken salad.  Thanks, Juli!

In fact, I made a handy video so you could see it for yourself!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SX48HKgqAE

Check it out then go try it yourself.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Another Giveaway!

This white rose pin is made from plastic spoons! It was created during 30 Days of Creativity and…it’s kind of funky.  I wore it to work once and though I received a few compliments on it, it’s really not something I’m going to wear again.  But for someone out there (you?) it’s just THE thing you want.  It’s fun for me to give stuff away and I just put the notebook in the mail yesterday from my last giveaway.

Look at it – there is a hole in one of the petals.  It is kind of clunky and needs to be pinned to sturdy fabric because it will tend to pull forward.  I want to be sure you know what you are getting.  Still interested?

This is how you enter the giveaway: In the comments section of this post, post about a crafting fail or challenge:   Whatever, just put it in your comment.  One entry per person, please.  My recent attempt involving balloons and melted chocolate (I know, sounds crazy, but I was trying to make cute little chocolate bowls) ended up with me splattered in chocolate.

Chocolate in my hair, on my glasses, down both arms, on my shirt and shorts.  Oh, and all over the kitchen too.  So – maybe you haven’t baptized YOUR kitchen in chocolate but we want to hear what didn’t work or at least what was a crafting challenge.

You have until Sunday, August 19 to enter.  To pick the winner, I will number the comments (omitting my responses and anyone who either doesn’t want the rose or doesn’t follow the rules) and randomly pick a number with this nifty free random number generator.  I’ll send an email to the winner and they will have three days to respond.  If they don’t respond, I’ll pick another number. Once I have my winner, I will get their shipping address via email and send them the rose pin!  Feel free to share this with your friends.

I’ll be giving away a few more of my 30DoC creations ( Button Rings, Macrame Bracelet, Glass Tile Pendants)  so keep an eye out and don’t forget to enter with your comment in the comments section.  There were only 12 entries in the Notebook Giveaway so don’t hesitate to enter if you want this Plastic Spoon Rose.   Also – winning one item does not block you from entering in a future giveaway.

Feel free to share this.

Thanks for stopping by (and good luck!)

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Day 29: Plastic Spoon Rose

I made a white rose today and it’s got a pin on the back so I can wear it.  Only…I don’t think I will!  It also has a hole in one of the petals. Mostly I just wanted to make it!

I thought I bought a small box of spoons when I was getting ready for 30DoC but I can’ t find them.  I scrounged around and came with a few less spoons than the directions call for, but close enough.  I’m sure I’ll find the box of spoons in the next day or so.

Rem and I went to the DeYoung Museum today and I’d love to say these flower pins from their gift shop inspired me.

But I’d already seen these roses at Can’t Stop Making Things. (Check it out for inspiration).

I’m sorry but I’m not going to post directions.  It involves a candle and garden clippers (I used some strong little nippers as well). I couldn’t do it quite as posted, so instead of melting the petals together I used a hot glue gun.

I glued a small circle of felt on the back and then glued a pin back to the felt.

What do you think?

Last year on Day 29 I was also thinking unique roses: check out the Vegetable Printed Wrapping Paper.

Thanks for stopping by!

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We Have Winners!

Congratulations to Tina in Greenville, South Carolina and Carson in Kirkland, Washington, winners in my second Giveaway! Tina has won the fabulous fused-plastic-bag tote which is above on the left.  Thanks again to my sister Kathleen for sewing this because I wasn’t up to the task.  Carson will be getting the awesome fused-plastic-bag zippered pouch in the photo on the lower right. YAY! If you want another look at the fused-plastic-bag post, just go here.

Thanks to all who participated including Kathleen’s dog, Ruby, who loaned props for some of the photos on the original post.

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Goats and Giveaway Number Two!

Yes, this is the second time in four months that I’ve held a kid in my arms – kid as in a young goat.  I went over 50 years without holding any and now I’ve had the opportunity and pleasure two times.  Or three, since I held both Otis (above) and his brother Nana yesterday.

Rem and I went to visit a friend and see the newest members to his menagerie, 13-day-old twin baby goats.  We also saw their mama and two other adult goats, one donkey and two llama’s.

It was delightful to see these two kids bouncing around, exploring their world, playing with each other and butting heads with their elders.

They were the very definition of frolic: Play and move about cheerfully, excitedly, or energetically. What a great way to start the weekend!

Now how about another giveaway?

UPDATE: This giveaway is closed and winners have been picked and are being notified.  Thanks to all who participated!

This time I’m going to give a fused-plastic-bag zippered pouch (pictured above) and a fused-plastic-bag tote (pictured below- giveaway is for tote bag only, not the leash, dog treats, water bottle or tennis ball)! I will pick a winner for each item.  Check out my post on making fused-plastic-bag items here.

These items were made as part of my June 30 Days of Creativity project.

Here is how you enter the giveaway: In the comments section of this post, write down what project from the 30 Days of Creativity you might actually make yourself.  If you’ve already tried one (or more), put that too. All of the projects can be found in the archives under June.

You have until Wednesday, July 27 to enter.  To pick the winner, I will number the comments (omitting my responses and anyone who either doesn’t want to participate or doesn’t follow the rules) and randomly pick a number for the winner of each item with this nifty free random number generator.  I’ll send an email to the winners and they will have three days to respond.  If they don’t respond, I’ll pick another number. Once I have my winners, I will get their shipping address via email and send them the fabulous fused-plastic-bag items!  Good luck and feel free to share this with your friends.

I hope you’re having a good weekend.  Thanks for stopping by.

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Day 26: Fused-Plastic-Bag Pouches and Tote Bag

OK, I read about this technique early on in my 30Days of Creativity project research, and I knew I wanted to do it!  You take flimsy plastic shopping bags and fuse them together with an iron to create a thicker, more sturdy plastic.  Once you’ve got your fused-plastic material you can make any number of things but I loved the idea of these small, zippered pouches and tote bags.

There was only one problem.  I don’t sew.  But lucky for me I have my pick of people who DO sew right in my family and when I asked my sister Kathleen, she agreed to help me out.  Which is why these turned out so well!

First I needed to create the fused-plastic material we would be working with.  I scavenged some great plastic bags (a variety of sized and weights, from the flimsiest produce bag to a really sturdy, heavier plastic, large sized shopping tote bag).

Here is a great tutorial by Anda Lewis.  She has more experience doing this.  Check it out.

Fused Plastic Bags:

Open a window or door so your work space is well-ventilated.

Cut off the handles and bottom seams of the bags.

Cover your ironing board with parchment paper.

If your bags have any design on them, turn them inside out so the ink is on the inside.  When it is heated, the ink tends to run and make a mess.

Layer between 6 and 8 single layers of plastic with your prize pieces of plastic on the top.

Cover the plastic with parchment paper

With iron set at medium high, start pressing,  moving it constantly.  Be sure and go to all the edges.  Flip it over, and iron again.  Now, careful, because it is hot, check and see if your plastic is all fused or needs a little more heat.  If it is bubbled or has places that seem to still be in layers, iron it some more.  The bags have different thicknesses, so you may need to do a couple of trail runs.  My first try was too thick but I got the hang of it.

I can’t give you the specifics on the sewing.  But Kathleen assured me that if you DO sew and have a sewing machine that can handle heavy-duty sewing tasks, this is an easy sewing project.  She put both the zippers in and let me do a few straight seams (well, they were supposed to be straight) but after I sewed one whole pouch the wrong way out, I handed over the sewing side of things with relief.

But I really DID some of the sewing.  See photographic proof:

While she was sewing, I kept her dog, Ruby, company.

Kathleen suggests putting in the zipper first to make it easier.  Like this:

I love how these turned out!

The outside layer of the pencil pouch was a bag from Flax and if you take a close look at the photo you can see the bags are “80% recycled material”!  So we’re re-recycling them!  The zippers and thread are new so these pouches are probably 80% or more recycled.

I scavenged the plastic bags, fused the plastic and trimmed the pieces, but Kathleen did all the sewing on this great little tote bag.  Thank you, Kathleen and Ruby for helping me see this project come to fruition.

When I went to see my folks and show off the project for Day 26, I also got to see their dog, Molly, and I couldn’t resist a picture.

Thanks for stopping by.

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Day 5: Shrinky Dink Rings

UPDATE: Sad to say these rings, made with offbrand shrink plastic, didn’t work!  The ink rubbed off and the rings were too brittle and broke.  Boo.  I have since done a project with the real deal: Shrinky Dinks.  It is thicker and seems to be stronger and less brittle.  Once the 30 Days of Creativity project is over, I’ll revisit this creation and if I’m happy with them, I’ll post it.

These rings are fun to make!  I saw this incredible tutorial by June Gilbank and decided it was my creation for Day 5 of 30. I used Stampin’ Up’s version of shrink plastic and as June pointed out in her tutorial, each brand of shrink plastic is different, so if you want to make them, you’ll have to do some trial runs to get the sizing right.

You need to use alcohol-based permanent ink with rubber-stamps which I didn’t have but you can also draw your design on with a fine-tipped Sharpie.  I did one design of flowers freehand and for another ring I traced words from a rubber stamp using a Sharpie. <<UPDATE: I wore one of my rings today and the ink came off onto my finger!  Some of the colored pencil came off too.  Again, I wasn’t using name brand shrinky dinks and used a Sharpie, not alcohol-based permanent ink.  I hope to do more experiments in the future with shrink plastic and will note my findings!>>  Some shrink plastic has one rough or frosted side which takes the ink well and can also be colored with colored pencils.  Mine was not but I used a fine sanding block to rough up one side and it took the color perfectly.

Another option is to skip the ink entirely and color one side with colored pencil.  That side will be matte and the other side is shiny.  Decide which side you want out – I like the color showing through the shiny side, but I also like the matte side out as in my “coral” ring.

The trickiest part is shaping the ring.  Once you heat the plastic and shrink it, you have to move really quickly to shape it around something before it cools and you probably have about 10 seconds or less.  But you can reheat it and reshape it.  You’ll need to take a ring that fits and find something in your house that your ring will fit snugly over – I’ve got big fingers and was able to find a cork that worked great.  You might use the wooden handle of a spoon or a tube of lip balm.

I roll the hot plastic on the cork as fast as possible, and then hold it in place with a towel.  I got a few scorched fingertips and had to reheat most of the rings to get a nice round shape.  I also had one ring snap and break. The strip of plastic started around half an inch wide – the one that snapped was a quarter inch before shrinking.  Instead of using the toaster oven to heat the shrink plastic, I used my heat tool and wooden chopsticks to hold the plastic in place.  It curls up and looks like it is going to get stuck in an odd shape, but it flattens out.

If you’ve got some shrink plastic in a craft cupboard or desk drawer, why not  pull it out and create a ring or three for yourself or a friend?  Thanks for checking out Day 5 of 30 Days of Creativity.

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