Friday, July 30, 2010

Whatever Wrote on Your Float...

I am always looking for bargains. So, I usually look at projects for the season that's about to end so I know what types of projects I want to do the following year and can stock up on the supplies. For instance, I make these floats every year. They are cute, functional and very affordable. I've used them as party favors or just little additions to birthday gifts. Walmart always has TONS and the regular price is $2. They come in pink, green and blue. If you start stalking them now you can usually find them on clearance for $1.50 or less. This is a very easy project that require little supplies. However if you are making several of them and plan to blow them up I would also invest in an air pump. These too are usually on clearance this time of year for 50% off at most stores. My Walmart has a large manual air pump on clearance for $10 and a small on clearance for $5 - and let's face it, it's always good to have an air pump around. The finished product looks like this - see so cute:)

Float Project Supplies
Float (deflated), Paint Pen (one that writes on plastic - check the label and it will tell you if the one you are looking at does - you can find these at any craft store or Walmart), Paper, Printer

So, the first thing you need to do is print the name that you want to embellished the float with. In this case I did the family's last name but I usually do a child's first name. You then need to print this name out on a sheet of paper (formatted to landscape). I do this in Microsoft Word.
Here I used the JUICE font and enlarge the font to 300pt. I usually just enlarge the font as big as I can go still keeping the word on 1 page. Then you place the paper under the float and begin tracing the name using the paper as a guide. That's it, it's as easy as that. Let the ink dry for about 5 minutes before you blow it up and do NOT stack floats on top of each other for at least an hour (otherwise the ink will transfer from one float to another). You can also do this same concept with beach balls or any other plastic inflatable toy. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Back to the "Grind" Gifts

Need a small gift for a friend, can't swing a "back to school survival kit" or have a teacher from last year (whom you know likes coffee) that you want to stop by and say "hi" to? Here is a clever and frugal idea. Starbucks sells instant "ground" coffee which is actually pretty darn good. You can buy a 3 pack envelope for under $3. They sell it for hot or iced coffee (if your recipient prefers one over the other). You can split the packets up to make a couple cards or put the whole envelope in one "Back to the Grind" card. You could even pick up one of those adorable large coffe mugs (they have the best ones at Hobby Lobby) and place the card inside it. As you can see below I can NOT cut in a straight line, please don't judge me - I'm extremely ashamed about it.

Now, I must admit I'm addicted to Starbucks. I have a problem. My brother in law (who's a Dave Ramsey specialist) would probably have a heart attack on the spot if he could calculate the cost of my addiction. But thankfully he has not tried to do so - yet. I just know one day I'll come home to a room full of family and friends and a camera from the INTERVENTION TV show but until then I'm living blissfully in the land of addiction. Because of this addiction I get these fabulous coupons, let's just say extremely often. So if you too have one of these coupons laying around the house you could possibly cover up the address with a "Back to the Grind" card and presto - your gift recipient can order ANY drink, ANY size on you (and might I add your addition;).

UPDATE: And THEN if you happen to know an extremely crafty chick ( who owns the coolest die cut machine on the planet she might like your idea, come up with an idea of her own and whip out some things like these:

Back to School Supplies & Survival Kits

Well sadly, it's that time of year again! I've been school supply shopping now for a week or so and have almost all my kids items purchased. FYI, if any other parents need Primary Composition Journals (they are basically journals with space at the top of the page for children to draw a picture and then lines for d'nealian writing at the bottom) they do exist but they are extremely hard to find! Target has them but they are in the art supply section by the stationary - and NOT with the school supplies. I have also seen them at Walmart and Office Max. I thought I would save you trips to several stores, because it took me a week to find them.
One thing I do every year for my children's teachers is make and take a "back to school survival kit" at orientation. These can be as big or as little as you want. Items I usually put in mine are things like aspirin (for the headaches they are bound to have that 1st week of school;), shout wipes, a tiny travel sewing kit, mini lint brush, breath mints, chap stick, snacks, candy, soda, breakfast bars (in case they run late one morning), stationary, and whatever else I can think of. It's meant to be a small little supply kit for the emergencies that he or she are bound to run into those 1st few weeks. And to make their return a little more comfortable. I try to bring this kit in at orientation because it's better than sending it with my child (because who knows what might happen to it on the way) and also because the teachers have time to find a home for these items (unlike on the 1st day of school). Plus let's face it - it doesn't really hurt you in the first impression department. I usually include a Teacher Profile in this kit as well. I would always like my own even if I'm not selected as the room parent. It allows me to be aware of any special events for the teacher and also provides a great starting point if I want to purchase anything for the teacher. You can read about Teacher Profile here and use it to create your own.
What are your ideas for back to school?