Etched Ticket Stub Memory Box

For awhile now, I’ve wanted a way to save all the ticket stubs from train rides, special events, and favorite movies…all the little pieces of paper that don’t fit into my digital scrapbooking plan. As in, I remember this every time I clean out my bill/receipt basket and see all the stubs from about the last ten years.

I was so excited when I found an 8” x 8” frame at Michaels…with a slot already in the top.  It’s really a bank, I think, but it was exactly what I needed. I thought I would just have to buy a shadowbox and coerce the hubs into routing out a slot. But no!

Now, the whole idea of saving ticket stubs in a plain box is fine and dandy, and you can stop there or add some decorative paper or tape around the outside edge…but I wanted to etch! Y’all know how much I love etching glass, right?  Box-Title-ChaosServedDaily

First, I cut out a stencil with my Silhouette.  It says “People, Places, and Fun Things.” If you don’t have an electronic diecutter, I bet you have a friend who does!  If not, you might have to cut it out of Contact Paper with an Exacto knife. See…it’s worth it to find a friend who will share!


Next, I transferred the stencil to transfer paper. This just helps you place the stencil on the glass correctly, without losing any little pieces or anything. It takes a couple of extra minutes, but saves you time in the long run (and probably saves swearing, as well).


Following the directions with your transfer paper, transfer the stencil to the shadowbox glass. This glass was screwed in, and I didn’t want to risk breaking it or stripping a tiny screw when I took it out, so I just etched it in the frame. I did remove the backing, though, to keep it dry when I rinsed the cream off the glass.


Then I liberally applied the etching cream and let it sit for ten minutes.  After that, I rinsed off the cream and dried the whole thing.  It turned out fabulously, even though it’s a little hard to tell in the top photo.


Now, make one for your family, then get busy making some great summer memories! And save your ticket stubs!


TBT: Twine Wrapped Bud Vase (aka Upcycled Beer Bottle)

I wrote this post a couple of years ago, when the allium was plentiful. Now our yard is inundated with nothing but azaleas and rhododendrons, which don’t go so well in a bud vase.  Guess I’ll just have to make a trip to the farmer’s market and buy some appropriate flowers to fill these cute twine vases! But, anyway, here’s what I wrote in 2012.

I found myself needing a vase for the allium buds the hooligans keep bringing inside, and I wanted something a bit rustic and outdoors-y.  So I saw a beer bottle next to the sink, waiting to be recycled, and thought, “Aha!”
One of my friends (with impeccable taste, because that’s the only kind of friend I have!) recently sent me a box filled with wondrous things, among them this twine dispenser.  Now I feel the need to use twine even more frequently, just to justify having it out on the counter.  What better to use for my vase?

I put E6000 adhesive randomly on the neck of the bottle, and started wrapping.  As I wrapped, I added more adhesive as needed until I reached the bottom, where I tucked the end in neatly. It only took a few minutes to wrap the bottle, and I think a whole row would look very cool on a picnic table or mantel.

Those pistachios on the table next to the vase are like crack for the hooligans (and who am I kidding, they have the same effect for my GI Joe and me).  They’re Salt and Pepper Everybody’s Nuts from Costco…yes, we have to buy them by the boatload.  Try them, you’ll like them!

So before you put ALL your bottles in the recycle bin, maybe you, too, need a vase or three. As a bonus, it makes you look less like a lush to your recycle guy and neighbors if you use the bottles for something else!

Made-in-the-Pan Chocolate Cake

If you don’t already have this recipe, boy, are you going to thank me!  It’s an old, old recipe and can be found in about a gazillion places online, but mine goes along with a story!

When the middle hooligan was a two-year-old, he was such a typical one!  Except that he loved any food, and still does. I was having a Stamp-a-Stack at our home, and I made this simple chocolate cake to serve. It’s a fabulously moist, chocolately, perfect cake, and my stampers loved it.  The next day,  I foolishly left the remaining cake on the kitchen island while I went off to check email (my favorite GI Joe was deployed so I checked email about a hundred times a day). I’m sure you can guess what I came back to…one messy little boy and a destroyed cake. I just had to laugh!


I’m not including a photo of the cake…it’s a chocolate snack cake with frosting, so you can easily picture it in your mind, I’m sure. And I love this scrapbook page I made of the incident, so wanted to share it instead! Here’s the recipe…give it a try when you’ve got a fierce craving and no time to spare!

Easiest Chocolate Cake

  • 1- 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened dark cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder, optional
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup cold water or coffee

1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.

2. Measure all the dry ingredients into an 8″ or 9″ round or square cake pan; if you use an 8″ pan, make sure it’s at least 2″ deep. Blend the ingredients together thoroughly with a fork or whisk and scoop out three holes, or indentations.

3. Pour the vanilla into the first hole, the vinegar into the second, and the vegetable oil into the third.

4. Take the cup of cold water or coffee and pour it directly over everything in the pan.  Stir all the ingredients together with your fork until they are well blended.

5. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Serve right from the pan; warm from the oven and dusted with powdered sugar, or let it cool and frost with this easy chocolate glaze: Heat 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips with 1/2 cup half & half until the chips melt. Stir until smooth, and pour/spread over the cake.

Yield: 12 to 16 servings.

Click here for the printable recipe

If you use the espresso powder, using coffee instead of water may be too much mocha flavor…unless you love mocha, then by all means go right ahead!  And if you don’t have dark cocoa powder, regular unsweetened cocoa will work fine.  I just prefer the depth of flavor from the dark cocoa. Plus I tell myself it’s healthier. Don’t burst my bubble.


Glazed Doughnut Egg Sandwich

I have a confession to make…the hubs and I are on Day 15 of a Whole30 plan, wherein we’re eating lots of lean proteins, veggies, and fruits, and no dairy, sugar, legumes, grains….I know, it sounds extreme. But after a winter and spring filled with various celebrations, we both had no energy and just didn’t feel like ourselves.  So we’re doing this 30-day reset, and I have to say, my clothes are fitting better, I’m sleeping much better, and my energy levels are higher. So it’s worth the trouble, right?

That being said, the hooligans have plenty of energy, sleep well, and definitely are not overweight, so…they eat what we do, but with the stuff we’ve given up added back into their meals. Well, with very little sugar other than what’s in fruit, that is. They were thrilled when I whipped up these Glazed Doughnut Egg Sandwiches (and I showed incredible willpower in not even licking my fingers when they had glaze on them!).


I’m sure you can figure out how I made these, but here’s the general plan.

Cook a few slices of bacon (just one per sandwich) and hard-fry some eggs in the grease. Or leave your eggs over easy if you prefer. Slice your doughnuts in half horizontally. Take off the top of the doughnut. Fill them with crispy bacon and a fried egg. Put the top of the doughnut back on it.

And if you’re wondering (and I’m sure you’re on the edge of your seat), the hubs and I had an EggBeaters omelet with roasted red peppers, Kalamata olives, and some chopped leftover asparagus, and we served lean grilled ham alongside. It was delicious, but my brain kept telling me how much more delicious it would be with a doughnut!  I still haven’t tamed my sugar cravings, but I hope to in the next 15 days!

Or maybe I’ll just plan to have one of these sometime after that!


TBT: Serenity Soon Glitter Bottles Repost

This is one of my all-time most popular posts, so I thought I’d share it again. Enjoy!

I wish I had thought of these, but, alas, I found them on Pinterest.  They originally were designed to be bottles to help kids learn to center themselves and meditate, but they’ll be perfect for my hooligans as “serenity soon” bottles.  For the littler ones, it takes about 5 minutes for the glitter to settle, so they act as a timer for timeouts and give them time to calm down as they watch the glitter.

For the oldest, who has ADHD and mild Aspergers, they function to relax his mind and allow him to focus. All for a few bucks. Of course, the hubs and I also find them calming…kind of like watching an aquarium filled with fish, I guess.


The blue one just started settling, the green is done, and the pink is about halfway there.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • SmartWater bottles (smaller size), labels and goo removed, using Goo Gone and hot soapy water
  • 3 oz (or so) bottle of glitter glue in your favorite color
  • Small tube of fine glitter in the same color
  • Alene’s Clear Gel Tacky Glue
  • E6000 (you didn’t think I’d do a project without it, did you?)

In the clean bottle, put the glitter and glitter glue, along with a bit (1 Tbsp or so) clear gel glue.  Heat about 2-1/2 cups water in measuring cup in microwave until very hot, but not boiling.  Add that to the bottle, and shake it like a madwoman until the glitter glue is no longer clumpy.  You’ll see what I mean.

Time it when you’re done to see how long it takes to settle.  The blue and green ones take about 6-1/2 minutes and the pink one only about four.  That’s perfect for my kids’ ages. The more clear gel glue you add, the longer it takes.

When you’re happy with the time, use the E6000 to glue the lid on. You don’t want sticky, glittery kids when they manage to open it, do you?

Also, the pink was more expensive glitter glue (because Walmart was out of pink) from the craft store and was much harder to blend.  So in this case, the cheaper, the better.  I think the dollar store has glitter glue, but lacked the fortitude to go there with three kids.

This would make a fabulous moms’ group craft, I think.  Counting the bottled water, the cost is about $4, but that’s because my glitter glue was $2 each. The SmartWater is important because they are the only completely smooth bottles.

The hooligans are completely fascinated with these, so much so that I called them Relaxation Bottles rather than Time Out bottles so they wouldn’t be trying for timeouts to get to play with them!

Find the original post from My Crazy Blessed Life here



Amazing String Mazes

This is our Kick-Off-Summer tradition…string mazes that lead to a bag full of summer fun, like bubbles, sand toys, and books, early in the morning on the first day school is out for the summer. It’s a fun and easy way to get the kids in a summer mood, and, truthfully, the hubs and I love stringing the mazes!

The pics in this post are from two summers ago, but because I know much of the country finishes school before Memorial Day, I wanted to plant the idea in your brain!

They each had a different color string (red, white, or blue) tied to a popsicle stick with their name on it. They had to wind them up to get to their gifts.
My GI Joe did the strings for the boys, and they were quite difficult in places…but the hooligans were remarkably patient.

Except for Princess Thundercloud, who frequently hurled hers to the ground and “Hmmph”-ed loudly. The boys were very willing to help her, which I thought was pretty sweet. Again, it’s the first day of summer…that will change, I’m sure.

He definitely had the toughest one to follow. He was feet from the prize and could see it from here, but kept winding.

The first to finish, he went off to help his siblings and waited to open his present. Amazing!

Their loot included water pumpers for the lake, educational card games, lots of books and a couple of workbooks, art supplies, a couple of toys, and a candy bracelet (left from Halloween, but they didn’t care). Oh, and they each got a whole pack of gum. I’m pretty sure my kids would walk to town and back if they were promised gum. And “town” is 11 miles away.

summer coupons copyClick here to download the printable coupons.

One thing I included that they seemed to think super cool were these coupons for each of them. This way, they can have time alone with one of us, and know that the others will have the same chance. That doesn’t mean they won’t squabble about it while we’re doing it, but they thought the idea was great!

This little project took us about 10 minutes to string, then about an hour for the hooligans to follow their strings, wind them up, and peruse their treasures. As usual, GI Joe had his doubts, but it proved a fun way to kick off vacation!



Last Day of School Autograph Shirts

This time a year ago, we were preparing to move from Wisconsin back to Washington, and the kids wanted a way (or lots of ways) to remember their friends.  I saw this great Autograph T-Shirt on eighteen 25, and I thought it was super clever and would be easy to duplicate. And it was!


I didn’t have any iron-on vinyl to use in my Silhouette (and not everyone has one of those, anyway!), so I just used iron-on paper that I printed on an inkjet printer. It was for dark t-shirts, I believe, and I found it at Michaels in the t-shirt decorating section.Autographs-ChaosServedDaily

I made a black clipart shape using a circle and the ends of two arrows in Photoshop Elements, but I believe you could use PowerPoint, Draw, or even Word. I merged them into one shape and added word art using Tangerine and 5th Grade Cursive fonts (both free downloads).


After printing them on the iron-on paper, the black shape was easy to cut out exactly.  Then I just followed the directions on the packaging and ironed them on.  After a year of pretty frequent washings, the shirts still look great.  The decals haven’t peeled at all, and the Sharpies that kids and teachers signed with are still vivid.


I sent each kid to school on the last day with a Sharpie and the other kids signed while my kids were wearing the shirts. It did bleed through and their little torsos were all spotted for about a week, but no harm was done. The PreK-ers were a little hesitant to write on Princess Thundercloud’s shirt…I’m guessing they’ve gotten in trouble a time or ten for having marker on their shirts when they came home from school!

My kids love to read their shirts each time they wear them and reminisce about their friends back in Wisconsin.  I think these were a perfect last-day-of-school idea!


Face the Sunshine Printable

Since the sun has decided to shine (at least once a week) here in the Pacific Northwest, and I’ve finished classes until July and have my days more or less free, I feel like I’m always facing the sunshine!  So I made a printable with one of my favorite Walt Whitman quotes and one of my favorite photos from our time in Wisconsin.


Click here to download an 8×10 version…you can easily resize it, if you’d like. Enjoy!


Strawberry Cream Cheese Cinnamon Raisin Grilled Sandwich

My kids have finally reached the point that they want to make breakfast for themselves (and sometimes even for me). One of the things I trust them to make is this yummy Grilled Cinnamon Raisin Sandwich. Of course, I hover in the kitchen, making coffee or something, the whole time they have the stove turned on, just in case, but they think they’re on their own.


It’s a simple, slightly decadent breakfast, perfect for a warm spring morning!

You’ll need:

A tub of strawberry cream cheese (or plain is fine, too)

A loaf of cinnamon raisin bread

A couple of tablespoons of butter

Powdered sugar to sprinkle on top

I bet you can guess how to make this, right?  While one tablespoon of butter melts in a large skillet, spread some cream cheese on a slice of bread and top it with another. When the butter is melted, quickly dip one side of the sandwich in it, then place the sandwich in the skillet with the other side down.  Cook until browned, flip, and brown the other side.

When it’s done, slice it in half, sprinkle it with powdered sugar, and serve it with some fresh berries. Yum, yum, yum!


Happy Watercolor Cards

Last week, I received my Sneak Peek order from Stampin’ Up!, with all the new In Colors for 2014-16 in cardstock, inks, markers, and ribbons.  I can’t blatantly show them to you until the catalog is officially live on June 1, but I can show you the things I’ve made from them!

But first, a reminder that the 2013-14 catalog is only good until May 31, so if there’s anything you’re longing to have, order before then. Also, most things in the the Occasions catalog will be disappearing then, including the fabulous Watercolor Wonders product suite.  So, once I pored over by new catalog (it came in the Sneak Peek order) and realized that Happy Watercolors stamp set, the Watercolor Wonder Note Cards, and the Watercolor Wonder Washi Tape were not in the new catalog, I panicked a little.

I mean, I have these products because I loved them and ordered them a couple of months ago. But I didn’t tell y’all how easily you can make beautiful, watercolor-look cards!  And now you only have a couple of weeks to order them!  So, look, at the various ways you can use them…


Supplies:  Happy Watercolor stamp set; Watercolor Wonder Note Cards; Watercolor Wonder DSP; Tangerine Tango, Cherry Cobbler, Daffodil Delight, Basic Gray, Gumball Green markers; gold ink; Gold Embossing Powder; small heart punch, Twine; Watercolor Wonder Washi Tape; Large pearl

The smaller cards are made by cutting a notecard in half.  I also cut an envelope in half and used the washi tape to seal the cut side. They’re for enclosures, not to mail, of course, but how fun is that?

To make the flower on the zigzag card, I punched a bunch of 1” circles from the DSP and cut a slit to the center of each.  Then I used a glue dot to overlap the edges, making slight cups.  I just layered and staggered those to make the flower, then added some twine and a large pearl in the center.

For the green card, I used gold embossing powder on the dots and sentiment.  It looks amazing in person. Then I used a Stampin’ Dimensional to pop out the heart, which I punched from a scrap of paper from the flower for the other card.

The poppy card is made from one notecard.  I just stamped the poppy with Staz On black ink, then used an Aquapainter to watercolor it with Tangerine Tango, Cherry Cobbler, and Daffodil Delight. I stamped the “Thank You” in the black Staz On and added a twine bow with a glue dot.


And then…I played around with the inks from the new In Colors.  These are called Lost Lagoon, Mossy Meadow, and Blackberry Bliss.  I am loving them!  H2O-New-ChaosServedDaily

I again used the Happy Watercolor stamp set, embossing the orchid spray and sentiment stamps with gold. I added a Lost Lagoon ribbon and used my Decorative Label punch for the sentiment, and was done in nothing flat.

If you’re interested in the Watercolor Suite, here are the details:

  • Happy Watercolor Stamp Set, Wood 133188 $29.95; Clear 133191 $21.95
  • Watercolor Wonder Washi Tape, 3 rolls, 5 yds each  133000 $4.95
  • Watercolor Wonder Note Cards and Envelopes, 20 cards, 133362 $12.95
  • Watercolor Wonder Designer Series Paper, 12 double-sided sheets, 12×12 132994 $10.95

And don’t forget, there are lots of retiring stamp sets and accessories, so be sure you check them out on my website…as of May 31, they’re gone, gone, gone!