Sunday, August 26, 2012

Getting Organized - Plastic Bags

I am going through something right now; not anything bad, I am just tired of looking at stuff.  It is like I want to spring clean but multiply that by 100. Have you ever had that? I literally spent 6 hours in my children's rooms just tearing everything out and only putting back what we absolutely love. I have cleaned, purged and organized under every sink in the house. Closets are on my next to do list...I can't wait. I am not sure what it is about but it is making me happier and I feel lighter.
So, this is not going to be an earth shattering post, but it will be helpful for those of you, who like me, seem to amass piles of plastic grocery bags. I honestly use reusable bags as often as possible, but it seems that they end up neatly piled in our mudroom after I put my groceries away but they don't make it to the car by the time I need them. So over months I am left with a kitchen drawer full of plastic bags.

What do you do to keep them neat and tidy and convenient enough to use them again? Well, I tested out the three technique that I thought were the best options I could find:
  1. Cleaning wipes container
  2. Kleenex container
  3. Folding into triangles
The first two I found as solutions on the internet and the third was taught to me by my mother-in-law.

In all three options I used 6 plastic bags just so I could easily compare how well they hold the same amount.
Cleaning Wipes Container
The first method I tried was to put plastic bags in the disposable cleaning cloths container. Someone on a blog did this and covered the outside of the bottle with pretty scrapbook paper. It really did look nice and I would have done this if I felt this was a viable option, but I really didn't. I have a hard enough time getting those cleaning cloths out without pinching a finger or scratching the back of my hand.
I literally stuffed 5 bags into the container and was quite surprised that it would only hold that many. I might have been able to cram another one in but it was tight.
There were two flaws with this technique. Firstly, I should have cut out the prongs that keep the wipes from coming out in clumps because it ripped the bags as they were pulled out. Secondly, the bags are next to impossible to get out from the bottom. The first 2 came out because I could easily reach them, the last few I have to get a chopstick out to bring them to the top.
 
I guess if you were really ambitious, you could lay the bags flat and then roll them up so they are similar to a roll of paper towels before putting them in. Honestly, this did not work for me. I have the scratches on the back of my hand to prove it too :)

Kleenex Box
The second method I tested was using a Kleenex box to house the bags.I didn't have any empty tissue boxes on hand, but I had purchased a Kleenex box cover for a future craft so I tried that.
I took my 6 bags and stuffed them into the opening. The container held them nicely and could have probably housed a few more. This isn't a bad option, but I don't think it saves that much space.

Triangle Folding Plastic Bags
My mother-in-law has always folded her plastic bags and I never realized how easy and space saving it was. You might think it is not worth the time (30 seconds per bag) to fold the bags but this is by far my favorite method to store/organize plastic bags.

You start by flattening the bag, tucking in the side folds.
 
 Fold the bag in half length wise so the handles line up. Some bags will have the handle in the middle, so you don't have to worry about lining them up.
 Fold it in half again.
 Make a triangle on the bottom by folding the one corner up.
 Flip the triangle up so the sides line up.
 Just keep folding and flipping that triangle....

 until you reach the top.
 Fold the handles over and tuck them into the opposite side.
 Easy Peasy..you are done. You now have a neat little triangle plastic bag.
 It is amazing size difference.
 Here are the 6 folder bags.
This is  my favorite solution! It only takes a few seconds to do each and it really does save a lot of space.

If I had to rank the methods, they would be in the following order:
  1. Triangle Folding
  2. Kleenex Box
  3. Cleaning Wipe container
Look at the size difference between the three methods. All hold 6 but look how small the 6 folded bags are.
I have used a long tube of fabric with elastic on both ends before to hold the bags, but it also really doesn't save much space. 

What do you do with your plastic bags? Give it a try to fold them and let me know what you think!

I will be back on Christmas stuff very soon! I did a great ornament with the kids yesterday that I can't wait to share.

Have a great day,
Stephanie

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Christmas in August - Permanent Marker Designs on Mug and Plate

If you have been on Pinterest lately or ever, I am sure you have seen the plate with the recipe written on it with Sharpie.  I pinned it a while ago and when starting my Christmas crafts last week I pulled it up only to find out the link was broken; I could not get to the original source from my pin. So after some searching, I found the site that posted it originally and it says NOTHING about a sharpie anywhere. The woman used ceramic markers to decorate the plate! I know... we all just let out a collective GASP. 

Don't worry though, I did not give up that easily. This is a great gift idea for grandparents and I had to find a way to make it work this year for Christmas!


When searching online I found a few different methods that claimed you can make Sharpie drawing on mugs and plates permanent. I tested out a few different methods and here is what I found to work the best.

Important Note: The sharpie drawing becomes permanent when hand washed only...it does not withstand the strength of my dishwasher. So if you take one precaution i.e. write 'Hand Wash Only' on the bottom, this will make a great gift idea!

Materials Needed:
  • Solid color mug, plate, bowl etc. I bought a white plate and mug at the Dollar Store
  • Permanent markers i.e. Sharpies in various colors (I also tested one Dollar Store permanent marker and it seemed to work just as well)
  • Oven





 Method:
 It really is this simple:
  1. Wash and dry the plate and mug
  2. Draw on plate and mug with permanent markers
  3. Write on bottom 'Hand Wash Only'
  4. Place items in cold oven
  5. Turn oven on to bake at 350 degrees
  6. Bake for 30 minutes (after it reaches 350 degrees)
  7. Turn oven off
  8. Let items cool in oven!

Here are a few tips I learned while making ours.
The light yellow Sharpie changed colors when baked (see how the sun is brown in the picture below)  so be aware that items might not finish the same color they start as. This was the only color that changed and my son really didn't mind.
If you pull the item out of the oven while it is still hot, the drawing can and will smudge if you touch it. So resist the urge and leave it in the oven until cool.
 Remember to write 'Hand Wash Only' on the bottom. We drew cute picture on the bottom, which is great until these dishes end up in the dishwasher and the design comes off. Our next projects will have the hand wash message on the bottom along with the cute drawings from the kids.
Don't heat the oven to 350 degrees and then throw the items in. These are Dollar Store items and probably are not meant to be heated this high. So by heating them with the oven, it prevents the dramatic change in temperature and prevents cracking.
Note: I cannot guarantee this will not break your dishes. Mine worked great but every Dollar Store sells different items, so I recommending testing one item before doing a large batch...just in case.

I am very happy with how these turned out. I will be making a mug for every grandparent and then the kids have asked if they can make a plate and mug for their milk and cookies for Santa. I really can't wait to see what they do for Santa!

What do you think, do you think you will be able to use this?

Any one else working on their Christmas craft list yet? If yes, what have you been making?

Have a great weekend,
Stephanie

Friday, August 10, 2012

Christmas in August - Alphabet Birth Announcement - How to make yourself

Well it is Christmas in August here at Full of Great Ideas. Last Saturday my husband and I were sitting out back, after the kids were put to bed, enjoying a bottle glass of wine with a little music and for some reason our iPod was determined to play Christmas music. It seemed like every other song in the random shuffle was a Christmas one; so it made me think that maybe it was a sign that I needed to start thinking about it.

I know you think I am insane but hear me out. Don't you find you have great intentions on saving a few dollars by making your Christmas gifts? Then December rolls around and you haven't done the majority of what you wanted to. I have always left my Christmas craft way too late and ended up buying gifts or staying up late of Christmas Eve spray painting something. So, I am making a deal with myself that it is not going to happen this year!
This gift is something I am making for a friend of mine who is pregnant and due right before Christmas. I don't know if she is having a boy or a girl or what color their nursery will be. So I made a few colors and layouts so that when her little one makes his or her entrance into this world, all I have to do is change the name and birth information, send it to Costco for printing and her gift is done.

Here are the designs I made and will show you below how to make them yourself. So for around $10 (less if you have a frame already) you too can make these amazing gifts! They take 10 minutes to design and cost under $2 to print.
These can be made using many different programs but I like to use Microsoft Publisher since I know its ins and outs.

Start by creating a new file. I made mine as an 8x10 image, but you can do any size you want.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

F-ing Retirement Gift (Part 2) - Monogrammed Marble Tiles

As I mentioned in my previous post, a friend of mine decided to take an early retirement. I struggled with a personal gift to make and came up with monogrammed wine glasses and coasters. See here for the wine glasses.
The coasters I made were so extremely simple, that they have been added to my Christmas to do list. I know it is only August, but I have started my Christmas craft gifts already. I will be posting a few of them very soon so all of you can benefit.

I purchases these amazingly beautiful, white Carrera marble 4x4 tiles at Habitat for Humanity for only $0.40 each months ago to make the runners bib coasters for my husband. I scooped up every single one that was not chipped and almost ran out the door screaming "start the car".
For my girl friend, I decided to do something a little different then a standard set of 4 coasters with 'F's (her last name initial) on them. Instead I made one for each of the members of her family. So when they all are having a glass of wine with 'F's etched on them, they can use their individual coaster with their initial on it so they can keep track of their glasses.
I always wash the tiles before I do anything with them because when you first get them they are almost chalky. So after a good washing and letting the completely dry, I added vinyl cut with my Cricut. I tested out a few different fonts, sizes and ended up liking how these lower case letters looked. The font is a free one called Bell MT and each letter (except the 'r') was approximately 1.5 inches wide and high.
I then added four no slip stoppers (you can get these at the dollar store) to the back of each of the coasters. I have used the felt pads on the back before and I found out the hard way they slide really easily off a table. So these no slip ones are much better.
This next step is completely optional. I sealed the fronts of the tiles with a mat spray finish. I did this so that the tiles would not stain, but if you don't seal them, the tiles nicely absorb liquid when the glasses sweat. So it is completely up to you.
 
 Aren't they cute! So a set of 4 costs under $3.00 ($1.60 for the coaster, $1 for the no slip pads, few cents for vinyl) and a set of 6 isn't much more!
Are you ready for Christmas ideas yet? I will be sharing some very soon so don't be shocked.

Have a great day,
Stephanie

Saturday, August 4, 2012

F-ing Retirement Gift - Monogrammed Wine Glasses

Oh, my title just makes me laugh. You will see where it comes from as the post goes on. Nothing bad I promise.
A couple of months ago one of my biggest supporters for my blog decided to take a very early retirement. Kim is one of the nicest and funniest people you could ever know. Other than parents, I have not have not known anyone else to retire, so when it came to gift ideas I was stumped. As I always say, I knew I wanted her gift to be personal and something she could use but I had already made her the name art and the monogrammed tile, so I had to come up with something completely new.

After heading over to the amazingly inspiring Pottery Barn site, I decided on making monogrammed stemless wine glasses and marble tile coasters (I will share this simple gift idea tomorrow).
Source Pottery Barn
The Pottery Barn glasses are over $50 for 6, and I created mine for under $20 for 8. I purchased eight reasonably priced stemless wine glasses from a local home store so they can be for everyday use and no one has to worry about them breaking.

I tested out a few different initials on a old pickle jar just to ensure I had the right sizing and to see which design I liked the best. I knew I was saving all those jars for a reason. Hopefully now my husband can't say anything about the stash again. Are you the same... you look at jars and think "Oh I know there is something I can do with that in the future" and it hurts you to throw them in the recycling bin?

So here are the two 'F' designs I tried. Both fonts are Brock Script but one has a circle around it:

I liked them both, but I found the large circle to be a little heavy for wine glasses. I also find that with the etching cream, large surfaces don't seem to be consistently etched. It is hard to explain, but it looks like some of the areas are more etched. So I went with the scrolly F.  Do you see where the F-ing wine glass title came from.

I used vinyl cut with my Cricut to create the template to etch. If you don't have a machine to cut vinyl, you can do this with stickers or hand cut contact paper. I have in the past printed text and traced it with an exacto knife over contact paper to make my own.

If you can't get the vinyl to lay completely flat, use the technique described on my post for the NFL Beer Steins here.
I find it easiest to lay all the glasses out on a dish towel. This prevents the glasses from rolling around and the etching cream from running down.
Using a sponge brush, I apply the etching cream. I use a lot of etching cream! I really believe for this more is better. Be very, very careful not to get any one the outside of the stencil because it will start to etch immediately.
I leave the etching cream on for 20-25 minutes. I honestly do not know how long it is suppose to stay on because here in Canada, the back of the bottle with the instructions is covered by a million warning messages in two languages. It is funny.

For all of you who are cheap frugal like me, this is important to read: As recommended by a fellow blogger, I carefully remove the etching cream with my sponge brush and scrape it right back into the etching cream bottle! Yes, you heard that right...I reuse the etching cream!!!! I have been reusing this cream for months and have not seen a difference in the end result.
I then rinse the etching cream under water and remove the vinyl.
Once they were all washed and dried off, this is what they looked like:
Cute huh! I think this is going to be my 'go to gift' for Christmas this year!

What do you think? Would you like this as a gift?

Has anyone else made etched gifts?

Stephanie

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