Four *NEW* ways to decorate Easter Eggs!

There is something to be said for the nostalgic PAAS pack of little dye pellets, a wax crayon & a wonky wire scooper, I have a lot of good childhood memories with those kits, but this year I know too much. I’ve seen more glitter in my life & had more dye stained on my hands than hopefully any of you ever will but I’m here to say there is more, oh so much more, you can do with a little white egg! Below you will find all four techniques to create the eggs in the picture below along with two videos & tons of tips & tricks just in time for your Easter egg dyeing!Four New Ways to Decorate Your Easter Eggs:: by Little Pink MonsterFirst, I just can’t wait any longer to show you Sam & Sophie’s TV debut where they created a few of the eggs! (which even if you could care less about eggs you totally need to watch, I don’t think anyone heard a word I said because those two were so stinking cute to watch! Sophie’s face cracks me up to no end, I cannot believe she stayed still for so long. P later told after we got home from the TV station that “I never would have had the balls to take two kids on live TV, I didn’t want to scare you before but now I can say I  NEVER WOULD HAVE DONE THAT!” Lol, so glad he chose to keep that to himself pre-shooting!)Four New Ways to Decorate Your Easter Eggs:: by Little Pink Monster

We also weren’t able to get to the ‘nail polish marbling’ technique on the show which is a shame because it really is fun to do with kids & the eggs come out AMAZING so when the girls & I came home from the station I took advantage of us all being camera ready & we make a little You Tube video on how to marble eggs:

Now let’s go back to the beginning & start with expanding on the basics, dyeing the eggs. I learned through this blog posting from Not Martha that I could dye my eggs with food coloring instead of the pellets & achieve beautiful vibrant results instead of the waiting 15 minutes just to get pastel blue the old school way. I actually already had two packs of the PAAS dyeing kits so I went ahead & used those as my dyeing containers but any disposable cup would be just as easy. I didn’t have the exact same dyes as Not Martha so I veered from her recipe a little and did the following…Four New Ways to Decorate Your Easter Eggs:: by Little Pink MonsterI filled the largest Pyrex measuring cup I had with hot water & filled each of the containers so it would be just deep enough to submerge each egg. I also mixed two tablespoons of white vinegar into each. For the coloring I had to work with what I had which wasn’t much but we ended up being able to make…Four New Ways to Decorate Your Easter Eggs:: by Little Pink Monster

Each cup had around 20 drops of dye total, for example turquoise was 10 blue + 10 green, purple was 15 red + 5 blue because the blue tends to be really strong…just fiddle with it, you really can’t go wrong. Also a note on food coloring, the gel ones rock & the natural ones suck. I desperately wanted the all natural to work for edible items I’ve made in the past but they just aren’t there yet, especially for a project like this. I really like the McCormick Neon 4-pack or the Wilton Jewel Color Set, those are fantastic for homemade play-doh!

Once the eggs are dyed it’s time for the fun! How about my favorite, glitter polka dot eggs! We’re getting crazy here people! So crazy it’s all in italics, WOOHOO!

Four New Ways to Decorate Your Easter Eggs:: by Little Pink MonsterSimmer Down, I know.

These are so simple you’re going to say exactly what I did when I saw them, duh, why didn’t I think of that?! Simply stick a double sided glue dot (these are often used for hanging papers or other light objects) to the egg & then sprinkle glitter over it, shake off the excess & that’s really it! So easy it’s ridiculous. (I used Martha Stewart’s Neon Glitter Set for mine, so pretty.) It’s also a project the girls really loved, the dots are a bit hard to manage since they’re sticky on both sides so I placed those first & then let the kids sprinkle on the glitter. They even rolled the eggs in the excess glitter on the plate to get every single spot. The glitter on the non-spotted area easily wiped off. Just make sure you’re using completely dry eggs.Four New Ways to Decorate Your Easter Eggs:: by Little Pink MonsterThe chevron taped eggs are one of those things I saw on Pinterest & so wanted to make but then just couldn’t quite get right. I think my problem was the tape, this girl pulled them off beautifully but she used electrical tape which I know I bought because I remember seeing all the pretty electrical tapes at Lowes & thinking, “Oooo, pretty tape, but I don’t do anything electrical…but it’s purple!” & I bought it. Ironically now that I actually have a use for it I couldn’t find the darn thing anywhere. So I went with what I could dig up, some washi tape & some regular scotch tape. In the end I had two problems with the project…one, cutting all the pieces identically enough so the zig zags would look nice, that was turning out to be way more work than an Easter Egg should require. So I winged that part & it wasn’t too bad but what did kind of suck was the tape leaked. I’ll admit they do have kind of a cool 80′s rockstar vibe going, but not what I had in mind. Four New Ways to Decorate Your Easter Eggs:: by Little Pink Monster

Here are a few more tips for marbling the eggs with polish that I didn’t mention in the video above: Four New Ways to Decorate Your Easter Eggs:: by Little Pink MonsterDO use a disposable bowl, fill it 3/4 of the way full with water

DO drizzle lines of polish across the water, you can use multiple colors if you’d like, just work quickly

DONT use glitter nail polish, it globs

DONT dip the whole egg at once, we learned the hard way that it would inevitably end up sticking to the surface it was left to dry on, not to mention the yucky sticky fingers…

DO dip one half at a time

DO swirl it around to create the ‘marbling’ effect

DO skim off any old polish on the surface before dipping the next egg

The final egg decor really doesn’t need a ton of explanation, I saw this post where she made cool lego eggs using temporary tattoos on eggs, so clever right? Turns out they stick to plastic or real eggs…Four New Ways to Decorate Your Easter Eggs:: by Little Pink Monster You can buy about 1000 Easter tattoos on Amazon & let me just tell you, give your kid a sponge, a bowl of water, temporary tattoos & a pile of plastic eggs & you’re going to have a good 45 minutes of complete occupation. You’re welcome. Although one last thing to note, don’t leave your child alone with tattoos when they’re supposed to be on TV the next day, I do believe we’ll be finding Sophie a sweater to wear. Oops

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There is a Second Chance for Happily Ever After.

My best friend got married this weekend! Normally this would be a fairly exciting thing to share, you would assume that this beautiful bride finally found her ‘soulmate’ & now that she’s found her one true love they can start their lives off together & live happily ever after…

Except there’s more to the story…and it makes it amazing!

I asked Meg if I could share her story on my blog because I knew it could give great hope to so many women out there who are currently in the situation she found herself in a few years ago. I was with Megan on the day she found out her husband had been unfaithful. I was with her in the following weeks & watched helplessly as everything in her world crumbled around her, it was horrible to see someone I loved go through so much pain, it broke my heart, I can’t even imagine what it must have been like to be her.

I met Megan 7 years ago when we bought our house, she was our real estate broker & when she showed up to take us house shopping in the exact same blouse from Express that I had I instantly knew I liked her. In fact, everyone who meets Megan likes her, she’s one of those people who you just know beyond a shadow of a doubt is a genuinely good person. Her cheerfulness is contagious & being near her makes you feel happier whether you want to or not. That was one of the saddest parts of seeing her going through her divorce, that sparkle went away. In fact, since I’ve lived here 3 of my good friends have gone through separations from their spouses & with every single one I wondered, “WHY THEM?!” They have all been pretty, kind, intelligent women who loved their families more than life itself but somehow woke up one day & realized their husbands’ wanted something else. Someone else.

So here’s the thing, I remember in the months after Megan & her husband separated that she & her kids spent a lot of time at our house. She has two little girls that are almost exactly the same age as Sam & Sophie so it worked out well that the kids could run around happily distracted & Meg & I could sit at my coffee table & talk. Or not talk, it came to a point where there was nothing more to talk about & all she could do was just sit, kind of like a shell of the girl I once knew. She went through the motions but that sparkle, heck even just a little bit of the light in her eyes was all but gone. I couldn’t tell you how many times P & I would tell her, “Meg, you’re a young, beautiful, smart woman who has so much to give, you’re going to get snatched right up as soon as you’re ready!” We knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that Megan would marry again. Somehow, and I can’t explain it, I just KNEW that at some point, maybe even just around the bend of the sad road she was on, was going to be a man that was not only going to adore & honor her but also would love her children as his on. I just knew it. I tried to tell Megan this but she just wasn’t capable of seeing it. Not only the thought of being able to give herself, her trust, to another man seemed unlikely but she just couldn’t see what kind of man would want to marry a thirty something year old woman with two kids. We could see it but it was a long time before she could.

The happy ending here is that time did go by & Megan did heal ever so slowly. During this time Meg not only found out how to move on but really found out who she was & just how strong she really was. In God’s perfect time she did find that man who we knew was out there, and I have to say, he’s even better than any of us expected.

wedding3(Nate presenting both of Megan’s girls with a necklace to remind them of his promise to take care of them as well)

wedding2(this is right about the time I lost it…me and everyone else!)

I have no doubt that Megan has found her happily ever after. Will there be bumps in the road? Of course, as there is with any relationship but this time, these two, I know will always cherish one another till death do they part.happily ever afterI don’t know why God’s plan was for Megan to find her ‘soulmate’ the second time around. I know she’s struggled with mourning the loss of her old idea of her ‘family’, but I also know that what she has now has made her so much more grateful for this new family. I know I have friends now who could use a story of hope, a real life example of how the dark sad place they’re in is actually not a dead end road, there’s a bend up there somewhere & around that corner is a new way, a new life, and it is beautiful. I hope this helps them…you.

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clean your plate: time to reheat the leftovers

Were you here a week or so ago when I wrote about “Cleaning your plate”? One of the things I told you I was going to try & change was dedicating one hour, a “sweet spot”, of time every day to spending quality time with my girls. I’m at a point in my life where my plate is really overflowing with what’s happening, good and bad, & I found I was going to bed with guilt every day that my girls were just being dragged around my busy-ness & weren’t getting enough of my full attention. So the one hour each day sounded like a completely doable great idea, right? And it went that way for a few days, it was really wonderful but then I missed one, which then turned into two, which continued until here we are two weeks later & it’s totally not happening anymore. At my followup appointment with my therapist I answered honestly about this & told her I felt so guilty & moreso really frustrated & even hopeless that I couldn’t make my new commitment happen for even 2 weeks. My therapist’s answer however was awesome & has really changed the way I look at frustrating situations in my life. Instead of saying, ok, well you’re a terrible mother who’s priorities are out of whack & now you’re a failure (which is initially how I felt) or that this idea was obviously unattainable & should be scratched completely she took a different approach. She asked me, “Why do you think you didn’t spend that hour with the girls? What kept you from it?” I thought for a minute, thinking back to all the busy afternoons we’d had & what the heck I was so busy doing, & decided there were really three things that were repeatedly keeping me from spending that committed quality time with Sam & Sophie. They were:

Forgetting, Fatigue & what I like to call “The Afternoon Crunch”

We then went through each, one by one, & tried to find a way to make them a non-issue in the future.

Forgetting: There were days where I truly would flat out forget that after school we were going to be doing things differently. I would come home, put away the backpacks, let the dogs out, get the kid’s a snack, open the mail…and before I knew it I was back in the motions of the afternoon scramble. To prevent this I needed to make it a commitment, same as if it were any other appointment. It’s now in my daily calendar as a blocked off time which means just like my other events I’ll get a reminder every day & also in the morning when I check to see what’s on the schedule.

little pink monster

Fatigue: This is a tough one. Sometimes because of my health limitations I’m just totally spent by 3:30 & truly need to just lay on the couch for an hour or so. We talked about this for awhile & decided (much to my relief to hear someone else say) that on those days IT’S OK to set the girls up with a coloring project or put a movie on & just be “with them” even though I’m not able to be physically interacting.

“The Afternoon Crunch”: That’s what I’m calling all of those end of the day things that you just haven’t done yet. For example, the doctor’s office closes at 5 so you have to call them before they close, or you need to run to the grocery store because you didn’t go earlier & there’s nothing for dinner…I could come up with a hundred things that come up during that closing of the day crunch time. This is probably the hardest one to overcome & my therapist had a great explanation as to why that is.

Kid’s don’t have deadlines.

Spending time with your children is not something that if you don’t do that day you’ll get a late fee. It’s such a slippery slope too because it’s easy to think to yourself I can always spend time reading to my kids (or whatever your chosen quality time activity is) the next day & then sometimes, that next day can turn into another day & all too quickly it’s months that your kids have missed out on your quality time good intentions that never came to be. The only solution to this is it has to be a conscious choice that you make & then stick to. It’s about making a mental decision that this is important to you, to your values, & you’re going to do it. It will take planning around it just as if it were a meeting on your calendar that you couldn’t cancel.

And here’s the thing it won’t be easy. Another point my therapist made that was really helpful was to admit something that none of us parents want to say. “It is not fun to play with my kids” I know, I said it, & I’m slightly worried you might throw rocks at me through my computer screen but I’m afraid it’s true & I don’t think I’m the only one who feels this way. I HATE playing Barbies, I can do it for around 10 minutes before I find that I’m creating a scenario where Barbie takes a terribly suspicious plunge from the 3rd floor of her pink dream house. Here’s the good thing about admitting this, you’re a lot less likely to continuously make yourself do something you don’t enjoy, instead you can create a list of ideas which you can pull from that will be enjoyable for both you & your little one. It’s just like finding a way to exercise that you also like, you’ll be much more likely to commit to it. In the end, everyone wins. Except Barbie, which kind of makes me happy, that girl has everything.

Here are a few activity examples that we came up with which both the girls & myself can enjoy, keep in mind your list could be completely different than mine, whatever works for you & your kids is the goal.

Craft Projects are big for us. (duh) This would be anything from making homemade play-doh together to using a craft kit like the seasonal foam sticker ones from Michael’s or one of those cute sets Melissa & Doug make.

Art Work: If I’m not feeling great this is good one, I google whatever each of my kids are into that day & include the term “coloring pages”, (i.e. “monster high coloring pages” “fireman sam coloring pages” “butterfly coloring pages”) you’ll be amazed at how many free coloring pages are out there! All you have to do is print them out & you’ve got some new images (rather than that half colored coloring book you have that they’re tired of) that you can all sit down & color together. You’ll be surprised how therapeutic coloring as an adult can be!

Gardening: This is a bigger one but one I’m dedicated to making it happen. As soon as we’re in the clear from more freezes the girls & I are going to plant a cutting garden (strictly flowers) & I think it’ll be good for us to spend a little time outside everyday tending to our plant babies. This is my first garden so you better believe I’ll be on here blogging about the process & asking for your help!

Other quickies that I don’t mind are puzzles, using the play kitchen to play ‘restaurant’, hide & go seek, pretend cooking together or doing hair & nails. (I’d be clueless with a boy so if you have great boy ideas please leave them in the comments for the other boy mommies!)

So starting this week I’m starting again. It’s funny, I have been very gradually learning to look at my life & react to it a little differently than I have in the past. A few years ago in this situation I would have felt the same guilt but it would have stayed with me which often sabotages your efforts in the future, which creates more guilt, which puts you in a bad place to change anything, which creates more guilt…you see where that’s going. This time however when what I was trying didn’t work & I felt the guilt, instead of just focusing on that I had failed, my therapist showed me how to concentrate on figuring out why I failed & then breaking it down so I could see how to remedy it. I believe you could call that making a plan. And you know what, sometimes you have to change the plan mid-game, & that’s ok.

So many of you chimed in, even my close friends that I had no idea felt the same way, after the “clean your plate” post that I wanted to make sure I kept things honest & let you know how things were actually turning out, we’re in this together right? I like to think so. (:

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LPM on Let’s Talk Live: Spring Fashion for Everyday Moms

Woohoo! I’m so excited the awesome ladies at ‘Let’s Talk Live’ loved this idea & let me roll with it!

I love my fashion magazines but I get so annoyed that all of the articles about the upcoming trends feature outfits made for wearing to an office, cocktail party or weekend in the Hamptons. What about us everyday moms who want to feel stylish & cute but also first & foremost need to be comfortable & practical? I don’t care how hot those 4″ platforms are, I will not be a happy mama after a day of toting two kids to the grocery store, Target, preschool & the playground & will then be mad for spending my money on something that isn’t practical for my real life. So I was thinking, why don’t we do a segment where we can take some of the hot Spring trends & translate them into pieces any of us could wear on any day?!

They loved the idea & after some scouting for great, practical looks & some AWESOME help from stylists at Free People & Nordstrom we put together a fun mini fashion show for everyday moms. You can watch the segment here & then look below for all of the outfits featured! I’d also love to here your fashion tips or favorite pieces for the Spring in the comments below!

(A HUGE thank you to the lovely ladies at Free People Bethesda at Montgomery for all of your help, you have such a wonderful understanding of your mommy clientele & also I can’t say enough about Michelle, she’s a personal stylist at Nordstrom Montgomery Mall who styled the ladies & let me say, this girl GETS IT. Her services are free & she is AMAZING, just call Nordstrom to set up an appointment with her!)

LPM Spring Trends on Let's Talk Live!

 

LPM Spring TrendsModel #1: Kelly (purchased at Free People Montgomery mall except for the shoes which can be found on Amazon)

Twisted Solid Harem Pant $68

Fly Away Tank $68

Knit Hooded Denim Jacket $148

Electric Stone Hard Bangles $28

Toms Burlap Wedge $68.50

Model #2: Danni (purchased from Target, Forever 21 online & Steve Madden)

Mossimo Back Zip Tee $19.99

Mossimo Moto Vest $17.99

Go Baroque Pants $14.80

Steve Madden Troopa Boot $99.95

Model #3 Corinne (all purchased from Nordstrom Montgomery Mall)

Caslon Utility Jacket $78

Hinge Lace Yoke Sheer Floral Tank $24.97

Rag & Bone Boyfriend Jean $198

Harper Bootie by Sam Edelman $99.95

South Sun Pendant Necklace $18

Michael Kors Reversible Leopard Belt $42

Model #4 Amy (All purchased from Free People Bethesda or Free People Online)

Washed Denim Overall $98

Ciao Belle Tee $78

Coin Layering Necklace $48

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Clean your plate.

A few weeks ago I decided to start seeing my therapist again. She’s known both P & I from couple’s therapy since we first moved to DC 7 years ago. Wow. I cannot believe that much time has passed! Not to mention how much our life has changed in that time…whew, just had one of those ‘whoa’ moments… Anyway, let me shelve the nostalgia sap & get to my point. I asked her if she could help me manage my life better. There are certain things that have been put on my plate that I can’t take off, then there are a few things like this blog & the TV segments that I just don’t want to give up, the problem is I have so much that I end up doing everything…well, half ass. Sorry, just could not think of a more perfect way to put it. I’m starting to realize that the reason I’ve been struggling with feelings of guilt, frustration & at the end of the day not feeling like I accomplished much of anything, is because I’m not! I’ve been trudging through my days doing my best to keep my responsibilities afloat but all the way getting exhausted & really going no where. (Those are often the times you get radio silence here on LPM)

A week or so ago I had this endpass moment where I thought to myself something has to give. I was so tired from trying so hard but the truth was P & the girls weren’t getting what they needed from me & I wasn’t exactly doing a great job of taking care of myself either. My first thought was, something has to go, & it can’t be my health needs or stay at home mom duties so it had to be this. My blog & everything that goes with it. The thought of it made me so sad. I realized in that moment how much I love this place, & honestly I truly believe God has given me these wonderful opportunities that have sprung from LPM as a blessing, He’s given me something that really gives me joy in a time where my life has had a good handful of downs. I realized in that moment that I had to have faith that if he gave me the opportunities He’d also give me the strength to do them. So now that I knew I didn’t want to give up anything, & I believed that I had the strength to carry it all how do I do it differently because it was obvious my current method was working at all. That’s when I remembered my therapist & how I often had thought of her as not only a wonderful guide for couples in crisis but also had many moments where I saw her as a woman I respect that would make a wonderful life coach. So there it was, step one. I didn’t know what steps 2, 3, & 4 were going to be but that was ok, I knew I had a step 1 & that was enough to move forward.

At our first appointment I filled her in on everything I had on my plate & gave a honest account for how well I was actually doing these things. When I was done she said, “Ok, tell you what, let’s draw out an actual plate & divide in sections what you have & want to do.” It looked a little something like this…

my plateHow much of this can you relate to? When I started to put down on paper how much I actually “do” as being the caretaker of our home & family I can’t believe how much there is that I didn’t even realize I was carrying!

Now, let me take a moment to say this loud & clear, I am NOT complaining. Not in the least, I was blessed enough to have the option to quit my full time job when Samantha was born. I can’t even fathom how much you full time working mommies must have on your plates! I love my life & everything in it & fully realize how blessed we are & much incredibly worse other people’s plates can look. I’m grateful & fully aware of the lives of others, but this is my life & I think it’s ok to say that right now it’s hard for me. It’s ok for you to say it too.

Once we had a good look at the situation she asked me, if I had a magic wand what are the critical changes I could make that would make me feel better at the end of the day.

I was surprised how quickly they came to me…

1. I want to feel like I spend more quality time with my girls. Right now they’re just shuffled along from one point in the day to the next because whether they’re home or not home I’m constantly juggling a bazillion things in the air.

2. I would like to not feel stressed everyday that the house is not neat enough or there isn’t enough laundry done or have I done the dishes before my husband gets home. I have a husband that works from home most of the day, he’s very OCD & although he tries not to complain I know that when he comes home from work, to work & the house looks like a tornado came through it can be stressful for him. I also know that I can get so behind on laundry that there are times he’s getting dressed at 3am & can’t find which pile I have of clothes that his clean undershirts might be in. Even though he doesn’t say it, even though he tells me he understands that I have a lot on my plate & it’s ok, it’s not ok with me. That is a big source of my stress & if I could just find a better system I think it’d help tremendously.

3. I want to seize the opportunity of growing my ‘career’ here at LPM by the horns & take it for all I can. I want to kill it. I know I can nail these TV segments or contributor posts I’ve been offered if I could just give it the focus it needs. I have the hunger but I’m scared I don’t have the focus because I’m so darn tired from everything else that’s on my plate. But I don’t want to let it pass.

In my 20′s I graduated from college with a degree in TV Journalism & I was really good at it, I absolutely loved it! But when it came time to graduate & send our tapes out to TV stations across the country that had job openings (usually small towns out in Nebraska or somewhere since we’d be newbies) I got scared & never sent a single one in. I’m sure I made some other excuse in my head, I ended up making a decent career for myself in marketing but looking back I now know that when I came to that endpass I took the easy road…because of fear. This time, this endpass, I want to choose the hard road because I know the reward at the end when you follow your heart will be so worth it.

Now, can spewing all of this out & recognizing what is important magically get it all done? No. Of course not. I’m still one person and am limited at that, BUT, she said let’s just start with one

I wanted to start with girls, what could I do to make my time with the girls more meaningful? We came up with a “sweet spot” of the day that is just for them. From 3:30-4:30 it’s just us doing a craft or playing a game before I have to start dinner. No, one minute to empty the dishwasher, fold some clothes or check my email, it’s just us. They have me fully. I’ve been trying it out & I can’t tell you how good it feels. Am I still their mom the rest of the day? Of course, I’m constantly getting a glass of milk or wiping someone’s butt…however now when those little eyes close & I tuck them in their beds I don’t feel like I’m failing them as a mother. It’s amazing how changing one ‘sweet spot’ of time can make a difference. Like I said, there’s a lot more to figure out but this is a start & I’ve noticed that by making a change that ends with a positive outcome can greatly renew your sense of hope & that, that can make a world of difference.

I’ve noticed that there are some of you who have told me through comments or emails that when I write these posts about my life & this crazy journey I’m currently on, that you’re on the same one & that it’s helpful to read that you’re not alone. That’s why I’m posting this, because if it’s helping my life than chances are good that it could help yours too! At least I think it’s worth a shot.

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DIY Lace Cuffs

Your reactions & responses to last Monday’s post made me feel so amazing, I know I’ve said this before but sometimes blogging can actually be a really lonely medium, you really never when you hit that ‘publish’ button if you’re going to be flooded with people who know exactly what you’re talking about, & maybe even needed to hear just what you had to say that day, & when that happens it makes putting yourself out there 1000% worth it but more than once I thought to myself, “Yes! This is gonna be a homerun!” & then crickets. After Monday there were no crickets, instead there were hugs & high fives & I think even a few tears. The best sound I ‘heard’ however was “Whew!” a deep sigh of relief that not only are you not alone in this boat but that boat does not have a broken compass, it is heading to a very specific destination & that place is going to be beautiful! And now we know that we will both get there together! Ok, now that I’ve officially met my metaphor quota for the day let’s move on to a project that I’m madly in love with…DIY lace cuffs!LPM Lace CuffDIY Lace Cuffs :: by Little Pink MonsterDIY Lace Cuffs :: by Little Pink MonsterDIY Lace Cuffs :: by Little Pink MonsterThis is one of the projects I made on ‘Let’s Talk Live‘ (11am, channel 8 for you local DC peeps) last week…DIY Lace Cuffs :: by Little Pink MonsterSide track: I LOVE doing that show so much, (although I could do with a different freeze frame for the video) I told P on my way home it sounds bizarre but I somehow feel like it’s ‘home’ being there. I’m still & will always be committed to being ‘mommy’ first & foremost but I gotta say, working some feels pretty darn good too.

Ok! So, back to the project at hand, & I’m glad I’m finally getting this up because it is seriously one of the BEST, LOVE all the directions you can go with this! Colors, Metals, Studs…the possibilities are endless. My sister, who’s 18, & is here all week because she wanted to spend Spring Break with us, how sweet is that, she and I whipped up the neon ones today to add to the collection of previously solely golden beauties. I honestly don’t know which I love more!DIY Lace Cuffs :: by Little Pink MonsterDIY Lace Cuffs :: by Little Pink MonsterYou can see me make the cuffs live on my TV segment here but below are a few more detailed photos & directions…DIY Lace Cuffs :: by Little Pink Monster

There are two options for purchasing lace in a fabric store, either on a bolt or off of a ribbon spool, either way you’ll need barely any at all. If you look at a bolt of beautiful lace like what’s sold in the bridal section of the fabric store try not to let the look of utter disgust show on your face for too long when you see the pricetag. Some of those laces are way more fancy than you or I will ever be. It’s ok though because you really just need no more than a 1/4″ yard, maybe even less. I think the $50 yard chantilly lace I bought ended up costing me $7 & I probably bought more than you’ll need. When you’re looking through the lace fabric keep an eye out for one which has a design that you’ll be able to pull a roughly 8″ rectangle type shape from for your cuff. Your other option is lace trim. It may not be as fancy or come with beautiful names like ‘chantilly’ but that’s also what makes it much cheaper. After cranking out a few of these I also found that it was nice to have the edges that are already outlined for me, all that said if I were you I’d pick up 1/2 a yard of a few different lace trims & call it a day.

Trim the lace piece you’ve chosen to be your cuff so it’s roughly the size of your wrist, don’t forget it doesn’t need to fit too snug & you can always trim it later if it’s too big. Lightly coat the lace in fabric stiffener, if you drench it give it a little wring out, you don’t want too much otherwise it will fill in the holes in the lace. DIY Lace Cuffs :: by Little Pink MonsterWrap the lace around your bottle of choice, I used a water bottle & actually the spray paint bottle for a bit of a bigger one.

Every 20 minutes or so I’d peel the cuff off & give it another light coating then put it back on the bottle to dry some more. You’ll notice after a few layers the cuff will sit on it’s own without the bottle, but don’t forget, if the ends don’t dry in a circle it won’t stay on your wrist. Now is also the time to spray paint the cuffs, I painted them while they were on the bottle, the gold ones only took one coat but the neon looked better with too. Just keep peeling them off & replacing them so they don’t dry onto the bottle. If they stop sticking to the bottle that’s ok, just use a lightly tied ribbon or a little tape to hold them on. DIY Lace Cuffs :: by Little Pink MonsterLeave them overnight to finish drying, if they’re a little limp now they’ll be solid by morning. Also if you’re going to add studs now is the time to do it, while the cuff if still a little mailable you can open it up & push the stud points through, work quickly though because you don’t want to ruin the shape. DIY Lace Cuffs :: by Little Pink Monster

DIY Lace Cuffs :: by Little Pink MonsterThat’s it! Happy crafting!

 

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I’m a Diamond.

I have been wanting to write this post for a little over a week now. In fact I last opened the post on February 24th at 6:26pm according to wordpress. Yet the only progress I’ve made is the title, “I’m a Diamond.” So here it goes, let’s give it the old college try to get this swarm of ideas out of my head & onto your computer screen. (what the heck does that saying mean anyway? the last thing I did in college was try my very best, unless your very best means sliding in just under the amount of absences allotted before you get booted from your 8am math class)

I’m feeling a lot of pressure lately. So much pressure in fact that I can physically feel it. You know when you’re just sitting, sipping your coffee in what should be a somewhat peaceful moment of your day, no disasters (yet) & still you feel like a very fat snake has slipped loosely around your neck & is his putting his entire body weight on your shoulders as if you had on the heaviest scarf EVER.

That’s the pressure I’m talking about. That kind of pressure doesn’t grow from a one time crappy experience either. When you got a flat tire & then found out that your car took some fancy replacement valve that they didn’t have in stock & they had to call 12 dealerships to find it & you didn’t get home until 8pm, that was a ‘bad day’. ‘Boa Constrictor pressure’ as I’m now going to call it is a slow growing beast. He starts off as a small necklace. Just a little thing wrong in your life that you are pretty capable of handling. But then it gets worse, or maybe it doesn’t get worse maybe it just never lets up or maybe it’s something else completely random that happens & before you know it you have a statement piece around your neck. You know one those fabulous necklaces that can completely make a monochromatic maxi look like a magazine outfit but at the end of the day you have a headache because the thing was so darn heavy?  Somehow, because of whatever your personal battle is, you are forced to wear that necklace every day & then one day you wake up & realize that you’ve forgotten what it’s like to walk your kids to the car on a beautiful blue day & just enjoy a crisp breeze, some warm sunshine & how darn cute your little one looks in those boots. Instead you’re in constant ‘what’s next?’ mode. What appointment is next, what’s next to cross off that never ending list you have…everything is just go, go, go because you have to. You have to go. That is how you end up with a boa constrictor on your shoulders.

You might be thinking where I’m going with this post is to tell you to take some time to enjoy the small moments in life, or prioritize about what’s worth your attention, don’t allow the bad things in life to take over…Well, I’m not. Because that sounds beautiful but it’s crap. Sometimes we have ‘HAVE TO’s’. What movie is that where she says, “my entire life is have to”??

It’s true. Sometimes life deals us cards, I take that back, life is not a random game of blackjack, let me say it how I think it is, sometimes God gives us a time in our lives where the burden is heavy. You cannot prioritize your way out of it.

You have a child with disabilities.

Your husband is in the military & you are on your own.

Your husband is gone.

You’re sick.

There is pressure that is unavoidable in life. So what to do?

Every week I have 3-6 doctor appointments on average. (That includes physical therapy & lab visits, basically places I need to be because my body is wonky) Managing my health has honestly become a full time job, I joke that I’m the ‘office manager’ of MyDisease LLC because I’m constantly managing the schedule, gathering paperwork & don’t even get me started on the admin work of submitting things to my insurance company because EVERYONE good these days is out of network. Thank you Jesus that we are blessed enough to even be able to go out of network, I really see myself one day starting a charity that helps young moms like me, who are often the core group affected by most of these auto-immune diseases, get the financial help they need to see the best doctors. ‘The best’ can make or break you & it’s just not fair right now. I can’t go there for too long because it really breaks my heart…another post for a different time. My point was, awhile ago I asked my Dad if he would be my mental/medical record keeper & would help me keep track of all the events that have happened, so I was calling him while I was on my way to an appointment & was telling him about how I now have a rash as a side affect of my disease & it’s not only giving me acne like I’m a 14 year old greaseball (no thank you, been there, done that!) but it’s also making my fingertip skin split under my nails, I’m currently typing with 4 of those h-shaped fingertip band-aids on & yes I realize how pathetic that is, spell-check is working overtime in this post, but is it worse that what annoys me the most is that I gave myself a really cute manicure the other day & now its going to be ruined by band-aid gunk? I guess that’s for that priorities post I’m not writing today. Anyway, I was telling my Dad about yet the newest problem that is wrong with me which requires an appointment with yet another specialist & he mentioned something about how my little robot body was really falling apart (in a loving, funny way of course) which triggered an immediate visual in my head. My sickness has made me an ugly piece of coal. Go with me here…

The last three years have been the hardest years of my life, hands down, but being on such a long path of dealing with a difficulty has also meant my ugly piece of coal has been under a lot of consistent pressure. I’m sure you see where I’m going here, constant pressure turns coal into diamonds but don’t jump to the end just yet because I am NOT a finished sparkling diamond yet. Yet. You probably aren’t either, but here is what I want you to know…

When you feel the constant pressure (I kid you not Sam JUST yelled down to me “Sheldon pooped in the playroom & he also took the kitty poop out of the litter box again & it’s in the hallway!) I want you to remember something…

You are a diamond, you’re just still a little covered in coal. And this pressure that you’re under, this everyday, gorilla on your shoulders pressure, it’s all part of the plan to make you a diamond. The more pressure the bigger the sparkle will be. I truly believe that. 100%. I think, I know God has great plans for me & I would not have been able to accomplish them if I hadn’t gone through all of this continuous pressure. Great things really do come from great trials. You know what too, every once in awhile I get a little glimmer of the sparkle that’s underneath. The other day I was able to tell a friend who is in the thick of a really hard time about my whole diamond theory & later she said that it really helped her & when she finds herself in one of those situations where you just can’t take anymore she tells herself, “I’m a diamond, I’m a diamond” Knowing that sharing the lesson I’ve learned helped her was a little glimmer of my sparkle that’s under the coal that covers my life right now.

For Christmas P surprised me with the most amazing diamond pendant, it’s actually a small yellow diamond on a delicate little chain & I’ve been wearing it every day since then. (Call me a little quacky but I believe God gave him the idea to buy me that, I never would have asked for it & I don’t even know if I told him about my obsessions with the beauty of yellow diamonds) When the pressure gets to be too much I rub my little diamond & remind myself, sometimes outloud & sometimes in public because Sophie has taught me to not care what people think, “I am a diamond. I am a diamond.” I really love having a tactical, physical item to remind me of important lessons in life so if you’re in the pressure cooker phase of your life too & you don’t have a sparkly bauble to wear I suggest you buy yourself one. It doesn’t have to be fancy, & it certainly doesn’t have to be a real diamond. You can find some really beautiful crystal & CZ ‘diamond’ pendants on Etsy.

Regardless, here’s what I wanted to tell you today. You my friend are a diamond, unfortunately things of great beauty like diamonds don’t come without great pressure & they always start off a little tarnished with black coal. Hang in there, be strong & have faith. Eventually there will be glimmers of the sparkle underneath & one day, one day you’ll be a stunning rock that makes Kim Kardashians’s ring look like a gumball machine trinket.

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LPM on Let’sTalk Live: 3 DIY Spring Accessories You’ll Love!

I’ve actually been working on a post, not on my computer, moreso in mind, about what’s been going on in my life.

Those heartfelt gut searching posts usually go a little like this…’bad’ things happen, I get sad/frustrated/snarky with others & then after those emotions run their coarse I start to think about the ‘whys‘ & that’s when the post begins. After that it slows roasts like a big fat rotisserie chicken in my brain until it turns into something that’s hopefully amazing, & I want to share it here. My chicken is 90% done at this point & I gotta say, I think you’re gonna really like it, but it’s still slightly raw in the middle & since I don’t want you to get salmonella we’re gonna craft in the meantime. And because God is so smiling on me, we’re gonna do it on TV today!!

So for you DC locals it’s channel 8, 11am, ‘Let’s Talk Live’, or you can watch it live streaming here!

We’ll be making some fabulous gold cuffs out of leftover lace, a fringed spring scarf that’s an exact knockoff of the store ones & I’ll show you how to change some cheap prom jewelry into trendy statement pieces! LPM Lace CuffAfter the segment you can find the full tutorials here on the blog later today.

Love you guys, cross your fingers for me today, it’s gonna be a tough one to pull off!!!

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DIY Elsa Dress from Disney’s Frozen

snowmanDo you have any idea how many times a day that lyric repeats itself in my brain?

I know someone who does & according to her, when she introduces herself to complete strangers mind you, SHE “is the REAL Elsa!”DIY Elsa Dress from Disney's FrozenDIY Elsa Dress from Disney's Frozen DIY Elsa Dress from Disney's FrozenDIY Elsa Dress from Disney's FrozenLet me preface this tutorial by saying that when it comes to posting the directions for dresses that I make for my girls it can be a bit tricky. The problem is, I totally wing it. I’m one of those people who wakes up in the middle of the night with crazy ideas, I picture exactly how I want to create something in my head & then figure it out as I go. The problem is then when I try & regurgitate what I did in an instructional form such as this, well, it can get a little confusing for those of you who actually have some legit seamstress street cred. However, I will do my best to walk you the crazy creative process my brain takes. (more…)

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#SNOWDAY 5 projects to keep the kids entertained while you’re stuck inside!

I know I told you I would post about Soph’s Elsa costume but then I watched the weather & saw we’re getting ANOTHER snowstorm! I feel like at this point I should be all annoyed & disgruntled that school is going to be canceled AGAIN & everyone is going to go crazy & buy every last darn loaf of bread off the shelves, (from what I hear from my Minnesota peeps we’re a bunch of snow ninnies) but I’m not. I’m still 1000% geeked out that it’s going to snow, & as of now, it’s going to snow ALOT. Florida girl, remember?

Regardless if you’re in my area, the deep south or heck, the other side of the world (hello my Australia friends!) we all have days we get stuck inside with our kids. We can usually handle it for the first 24hrs but after that it starts to go downhill quick. At least for me it does! I’ve been meaning to do a post on what you need to have stocked in your house so you’re always ready for such an occasion (works for chicken pox quarantine too!) & with our upcoming weather, today seemed like the perfect day.snow day collage

First up, snow paint! Such a “why the heck didn’t I think of that idea??” I actually haven’t tried this one yet but I can tell you it’s on my Target list for today! I’m going to try it with squirt bottles & kool-aid so it will smell yummy too! This post & this post are from other ladies who have written about their snow paint experiences. (also the image sources)

Next on the list is a product called “Living Sand, you may have also seen a similar product at Brookstone. I actually have had them both for a little over a week & can honestly say my kids have asked to play with them EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. Not even exaggerating. It’s hard to say if I’d recommend one over the other because they each have different qualities. The Living Sand (white one) has a lot more elasticity to it & almost feels like a very light-weight dough whereas the Brookstone product is more similar to actual beach sand. In fact on the label it touts that the only two ingredients are sand & polyurethane. (which is probably what makes it so pliable) I really like that the experience is more beachy but unlike actual sand this one hold it’s shape. I know exactly what’s going on in that pretty little head of yours right now, “IS IT AS MESSY AS SAND?” and the answer is….NO! Not at all. It doesn’t crumble but it also doesn’t stick to anything. You can see in this video how I roll it up & none of it stuck to my fingerless gloves, so cool!

My girlfriend Kelly also had a great tip, she purchased a large shallow tupperware to act as a sand table. My playroom table has a 1″ lip around the edges so I just let my girls dump it on there. We also use our set of play-doh tools for the sand along with some dixie cups for castle building.

As for the homemade play-doh I have to say I always keep these ingredients in stock. I actually buy the salt in bulk on Amazon since you end up using so much! I won’t say I’ll never buy regular play-doh again but I do like the homemade stuff infinitely better. The girls have fun making it, it’s much softer & perhaps most importantly I don’t have to freak out when Sophie inevitably licks it. That kid. You can read my detailed tutorial on homemade play doh here (including a video) but don’t forget you can also add glitter or scents like I did with the candy cane play-doh post here!candy cane play-dough by little pink monster

Potato Stamping is really just that, squirt some acrylic paint onto a plate, cut a potato in half, carve out a shape & let them go crazy. Kids could have fun stamping paper, (Ooo, I just realized I should let my kids decorate one of those big rolls of paper & then I’ll have homemade wrapping paper, tell me grandparents won’t eat that up!) or you could substitute fabric paint for the acrylic & stamp out a school of fish like Sam did! You can find the original fabric paint potato stamping post here. Potato Stamping My final suggestion for projects to have on hand are fabric paint & items to decorate. You just try & tell me that you didn’t LOVE LOVE LOVE puffy painting everything in sight when you were younger. Even the Keds weren’t safe. Same goes for little ones nowadays. I keep a small bin in the craft closet that has a handful of fabric paints to use with a brush, puffy paints that squeeze right out of the bottle & even a set of fabric markers. Whenever I see solid color shirts on sale somewhere I always grab a few & throw them in the stash. In fact I found a 5 pack of mini tote bags at Michael’s the other day that we will definitely be spicing up during the storm this week. Here’s an Etsy shop that sells them but any large craft store should have plenty of items if you’re short on time. The options are really endless but if you want to make a specific design or letters don’t forget about freezer paper stenciling! You can find a roll of freezer paper at your grocery store (it’s usually near the foil & plastic wrap) & I have detailed freezer paper stenciling instructions in this post from way back in the day. And I mean wayyyyy back, like baby Sam back! Screen Shot 2014-02-11 at 7.50.16 PMACK! Those thighs!!! Oh do I so miss those chunky baby thighs!

On that note I’ll let you go, I hope at least one of these saves you from a mommy meltdown next time you’re snowed in!

Also if you have your own favorite anti-boredom project that you keep on hand don’t be stingy, share that goodness below!

OH! Also I put together a shopping list since you have basically TOMORROW to get this ish if you’re preparing for the DC storm, just pin it, print it or pull it up on your iphone. Whatever my friend, just remember, only you can prevent your children from driving you insane. And even that’s not entirely true. shopping list{right click & save the image above to take it with you!}

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