Mug Makes! Nail Polish Marbled Ornaments

For a while now, nail polish marbling has been making the rounds on the interwebs. I’ve always wanted to try it but never have, until now. I wanted to make a fun ornament for our tree and thought this would be the perfect time to try the marbling. Plus I knew I could get all my supplies from the dollar store and create something inexpensive and beautiful. Keep reading…

Mug Makes! Potato Stamped Wrapping Paper

potato-stamps-CG

As it usually does, Hanukkah snuck on me this year, and once all the presents for Mini Mug had been delivered (online shopping FTW), I realized I had no wrapping paper. In the past I’ve resorted to using Christmas paper for the Hanukkah gifts, but I then remembered I had a slew of brown packing paper that I had been saving to use for who-knows-what. We’ll then I knew – grab a few extra potatoes while shopping for Hanukkah latke dinner, and make my own! Keep reading…

Mug Makes! T-Shirt Braided Plant Mats/Trivets/Coasters*

* Yes the title is long, but so is the list of uses for this little project.

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I don’t know about you, but we have a ton of old t-shirts laying around. Whether they’re promotional ones I acquired from my former job, or old ones that either don’t fit or are to worn out to wear, we have many. I wanted to find a use for them. We also have a number of plants around the house, that shockingly I have been keeping alive. I thought it would be fun to add a little something under some of them to dress them up a bit.

Keep reading…

Mug Makes*! Shrinky Dink Leaf Garland

* Mini Mug helped, too!

With my current schedule, I am lucky enough to have the time to volunteer at Mini Mug’s school. The other day, I volunteered in art class and they made leaf rub prints. These are Mini Mugs…

So I thought why not use them and make a garland for the season. Using ink jet Shrinky Dink paper (bought at Michael’s) and the below PDF, plus small scissors, a hole punch and string, this is an easy and quick project to decorate for Thanksgiving.

supplies

Leaves for Printing.pdf

Step 1: Printing

Following the directions on the Shrinky Dink package, print the leaves, as many as you’ll need for the length of garland you want.

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You’ll notice that the colors are muted. They will become more saturated when they shrink.

Step 2: Cutting 

After letting the prints dry for a few minutes, it’s time to cut. Using small scissors that will make it easy to get around the curves, cut out your leaves. A tip is to go slowly around the curves, and not force as the shrink paper may tear. A small tear will disappear when they have been baked, but try to avoid them where you can.

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I found it easier to rough cut each leaf from the page and then do the detailing.

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Then you’ll punch your holes. If you don’t have a hold punch you can cut a small “+” with a craft knife, and then cut the triangles out to make a small square. It’s much easier than trying to make a small circle with the knife.

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Step 3: Baking

Again, following the directions on your shrink paper, bake the cut leaves. I used our toaster oven, but the regular oven works just as well.

I placed them on a piece of thin cardboard, rather than foil. When they start to shrink they curl a bit. Don’t worry, they flatten out, but I found that with the foil, they sometimes took the foil with them while curling, and didn’t flatten properly.

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Step 4: Stringing

Your final step is to put them on the string. I laid mine out, about 2 inches apart (at the holes) and then cut the string with extra to spare.

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I used a needle to make the stringing easier, but it’s not necessary if you don’t have one.

Starting from the back, thread your string through the hole.

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Pull it to the approximate place on your string. You’ll be able to adjust them once they are all strung on, but placing them as close as possible helps.

Now you’ll pull thread the string through the back again.

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And pull it so the string is wrapped around the top.

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Continue until all your leaves are on your thread. If you need to adjust your spacing, you can gently move them along the string. It works better if you go slowly, as to give the string some slack.

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Now you’re ready to hang!

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hung-pantry

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There you have it – an easy project that you can do before the holiday, with the help of Shrinky Dink paper and Mini Mug!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wine Foil Glass Charms

In our family, the holidays bring not only good food, fun and family, but lots and lots of wine. There is usually at least one point an evening when someone will say “is this my glass?” And then followed by the disagreement over who gets to claim the more-full one. So why not make some wine charms to help ID our glasses (and own up to our volume of consumption).

supplies

I made a set of 10 I varied the colors of the tops as best I could. I had quite a few to chose from as Mr. Mug and I like our wine (you may have caught on to that already).

tops

I used a foil cutter to neatly cut off the top of our wine before removing the cork. Ours lives atop our electric cork screw. If you don’t own one, it’s an inexpensive item that, if you are anything like our family, will pay for itself after the gathering.

Once you have how many foil tops you want to use, you’ll cut discs of cork to place into them. They should be about an eighth of an inch or so thick.

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You’ll then want to glue them into your foil tops, centering them as best you can. Before you glue them, a good tip is to rub them gently to get rid of any cork dust that might be hanging on them. If they are dusty, it will rise to the top of the Mod Podge while drying. It’s not that noticeable once they are dry and the Mod Podge is clear, but it’s better to try to avoid if you can.

cork-glue

Once the glue is dry, you are ready to apply the Mod Podge Dimensional Magic. A good tip to remember is to NOT shake the container, as it will create bubbles that you don’t want. If you do get bubbles while applying, I’ll show you how to remove them in the next few steps. A little blow into the caps, to remove any last-minute cork dust is a good ideas as well.

Start by applying the Mod Podge into the space around the cork, basically creating an outline for the rest of the application. You’ll then fill in the center, and create a dome of the liquid. Move slowly as to not let it over flow.

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After you have filled all your caps and set them on a level surface to dry, you should keep an eye on them for the first 30 minutes or so. Bubbles will form as the Mod Podge settles into the porous cork.

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Take a lighter or a match and move it over the bubble and it will pop. Hold the flame far enough away from your piece so you don’t scorch the liquid and do not hold it in one spot for too long. When I did this, I was pretty close to the Mod Podge and it did not scorch, but better to take precaution, just in case.

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It’s also important to do this within the first 20-30 minutes of the Mod Podge drying as it will thicken up and the bubbles won’t pop as easily.

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After your tops have dried for 24 hours, you are ready to attached your eye screws and stemware charms.

I used a pushpin to help my screw go in easier.

Then attach the stemware hook, and you are done.

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I think they will make a festive and colorul addition to our Thanksgiving dinner and help each of us to keeo track of our own holiday cheer!

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Mug Makes! Clay Leaf Bowls

Inspired by all the changing leaves of the season, and never having enough little bowls around to drive Mr. Mug crazy, I decided to make these little guys to scatter around the house. If you’ve never worked with polymer clay, usually known by brand names Fimo or Sculpey, it is so fun and easy, bakes hard in your oven and is really a great medium for a little project like this. It’s also easy to find at the craft store or online and is relatively inexpensive. I purchased a large package (1 pound) but only used about a quarter of it for my 2 bowls. I guess you’ll be seeing some more clay projects in future.

leaf-bowl-supplies

The leaves I am using are mulberry. I only know this because Mini Mug had to feed them to her silkworm last year and our neighbor (luckily, or poor Silky would have perished) has one on their front yard.

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They are  good for the project because they have defined veins in them, that will transfer nicely when pressed into the clay.

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There were also a nice variety of sizes so I could choose which worked best when laying into my bowl.

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To begin, you’ll knead and roll out a ball of your clay to about an eighth of an inch thick.

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You’ll then use your circle cutter to make a circle that will be placed in the bottom of your foil-lined bowl. I used the top of one of those containers you get out of the vending machines with the little toys in them. Mini Mug has about 700 of them around the house. The fact that its yellow and makes the following picture look like a fried egg was completely unintentional.

circlecircle-in-bowl

Now it’s time to start pressing our leaves. I would suggest a gently wipe with a damp cloth before you press them into you white clay. I learned the hard way that leaves sitting in the gutter actually are dirty.

Step 1: Position your leave (veiny side down) on your clay and use your rolling pin to press it into the clay. Start out lightly to get it nestled into the clay and then use a bit more pressure to really get that impression.

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Step 2: Gently peel up your leaf. If you’re careful you can reuse it. I tried to not press the stem in (we’ll be cutting it off anyway) and used that to help me lift the leaf out.

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Step 3: Cut around your leaf impression and now its ready to lay into the bowl.

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Gently place your leaf into the bowl overlapping the bottom circle. You can press lightly to make sure they’ve made contact, but be careful as to not press out your leaf’s detail.

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Keep pressing, cutting and laying in your leaves until you have a complete circle.

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After a quick once over again with gentle presses to make sure all the pieces are touching, you are ready to bake according to the directions on your clay’s packaging.

Once your clay is baked and cooled, you can remove it from the bowl and then remove the foil off. It should come off easily.

out-of-bowl

If you are happy with the pure white of the bowl, you can consider this project complete, but I felt a little shimmery copper would add some fall flavor.

painting-bowl

I decided to paint the outside of this bowl copper, being careful to not get any on the bottom circle or top edges of my bowl.

I rubbed some paint into the veins of the leaf impressions and then using a damp cloth, I rubbed off most of the paint, leaving the color in the impression only. (Please note the images below show flat baked leaves I made to test the color application, you’ll be rubbing your color directly inside your bowl, as I eventually did).

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How much color you rub off is up you. I made 2 bowls, one smaller and darker, with a white outside. The larger of the 2 is copper on the outside, with a lighter touch of paint on the leaves.

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Either way, I think they are so lovely. You could also paint the whole bowl copper. Or gold would be nice. It’s your project, and your choice.

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Happy Fall to all!

 

 

 

Mug Makes! Hydration Tracking Easy

Here is an extremely simple and inexpensive project to help flush out all those Halloween treats from your system. And when I say treats, I mean wine (remember, there’s no judging here). Plus I bet a lot of us drink a good amount of water during the day, we just don’t keep track of it. Here’s where this can come in handy,

I’ve come across a similar idea on Amazon, but with a price tag of over $20 and a 3-star rating, I was hesitant to purchase. So on a recent trip to the Mecca, Dollar Tree, I came upon this

in-store

Lightbulb moment. With those ridges, couldn’t I place some $1 hair bands on it and recreate the same thing?

bands

Yes I can and yes I did.

cup-w-bands

A common standard for how much water to consume each day is The 8×8 Rule. That’s (8) 8-ounce glasses per day. You can also find quite a few formulas online that are based on your body weight and exercise level but due to my refusal to divulge either of those numbers here, The 8×8 Rule will work just fine, thank you very much.

filling-cup

My cup holds 16 ounces so if I am following 8×8, I only have to drink 4 a day. But my cup has 5 ridges, so I’ll add another for good measure and because I may or may not have had more than my fair share of treats (wine) on Wednesday evening.

Now every time I’ve finished a cup of water, I move a band from the bottom to the top. It’s that simple.

moving-band

This can also easily work on any cup or bottle you already have and you can save yourself $1. You may also already have a handful of hair bands lying around (although if you’re like me they tend to walk off on their own). If they haven’t walked off, you can use those and save yourself a whole $2! I don’t want to be accused of not being budget conscious, after all.

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I can’t think of a more satisfying project that cost $2 (or less) and I can use everyday to help achieve something that is good for me. Excuse me while I high-five myself (as soon as I put down my water cup).

Mug Makes! Tombstone Cupcakes

I volunteered to make a sweet treat for Mini Mug’s class Halloween party tomorrow.  I thought cupcakes would be fun, and because, let’s be honest, I’m really not a baker, a box mix was welcome. But making them more Halloweeny – that’s up my dark, creepy alley.

cupcake-supplies

I purchased everything from Target (cake mix, graham crackers, frosting and black gel) and Michael’s (sprinkles and color mist). The cookie crumbs I picked up at the local pay-by-weight frozen yogurt place, because having to eat the cream out of a dozen or so sandwich cookies sounded great to my mouth, but not to my hips, and my hips won (for once).

Bake your cupcakes according to the package’s directions.

While your cupcakes are baking and cooling, you can cut your graham crackers. I used a serrated knife even on the perforated cookies to get a clean cut. Lightly sawing back and forth worked really well.

Once all your cookies are cut – you need one for each of your cupcakes – lay them out on paper towels to get ready to spray them.

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While your spray is drying, you can frost and add the dirt and grass to your cupcakes.

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I found there were 2 different ways to get your dirt and grass applied. One is to press lightly into your cookie crumbs first, and then the sprinkles.

Or, mix them together in one bowl and press into that.

The difference is subtle, but there is a difference and it’s of course your preference.

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Now it’s time to make your tombstones! I kept them simple with just an “RIP” and some details to add a little something-something.

I think they are so fun…

writing-all

Last step is to insert the tombstones into the cupcakes, being careful not to smudge your spooky writing.

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And then of course try not to eat all of them before delivering them to the party. Oh wait, that’s me…

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What a delicious looking graveyard.

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Mug Makes! Toddler Light Saber

This is a 2-post series: first was the buns, now the saber…

I just couldn’t find the right size light saber for Mini Mug’s Darth Leia costume, so I made one…

light-saber-supplies

The only item I needed to purchase was the glow stick, and I found it in Target’s “The Spot” (you know, that area at the front of the store where everything is like $1-$3 and you end up buying crap you didn’t need, or end up distributing said crap around the rest of the store as you slowly realize you don’t need that, and don’t need that. Definitely do not need that. I bet there are a lot of “The Spot” items strewn around a lot of Targets. Unless that’s just me.)

Take your toilet paper roll, cut it down the length, attach a strip of double-sided tape to both cut edges and wrap it with the aluminum foil.

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Once your tube is wrapped, trim the excess length and fold down the edges into the tube.

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After you’ve covered your tube with foil, you want to tape it to the size of the foam stick, as this will be your handle. I used a piece of the double-sided tape on the overlap.

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Slide your taped tube off  the foam stick and take a piece of your black tape to trim the top and bottom.

As you did with the foil, fold the untaped edges into the tube.

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Then take a few pieces of tape, around 2 or so, and cut them in half lengthwise to make them thinner.

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Add these to the bottom of your handle, trying to keep them evenly spaced and lined up at top.

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Now you’ll take your black paper (I used a piece of my origami paper), fold it in half and cut the approximate shape show below.

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You will wrap this around your tube and tape it to itself using another piece of double-sided tape. You don’t want to tape it directly to the foam stick because you want to be able to slide it up and down to adjust.

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Now you can slide your tube over the wand and tuck the paper sleeve under it.

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And that’s all there is to it! A baby light saber is born. Congratulations!

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When I made this costume for Mini Mug 5 years ago, I was so excited to get her in it admire my handy work. We’ll as luck – and being the mother of a new toddler – would have it, she was petrified of the Darth Vader costume.

costume-before

I mean wouldn’t let me put it on if her life depended on it. Kicking and screaming and crying a shrieking.  Had I recorded it, I would have had a great soundtrack to scare off any would-be trick or treaters.

Not accepting that this vision would not come to be, I took scissors to the jumpsuit and created a belt and patch that I fastened onto a black long-sleeve onesie using fuseable iron-on tape.

body-suit

I took the cape that came with the original costume and also fastened that to the shoulders of the onesie. That, paired with black leggings and the raddest toddler-sized Adidas high-tops and this kid was a rock star.

I promised cuteness in the Leia bun post, so…

here…

it…

is:

 

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Now COME ON!

And if that wasn’t cute enough, how about Mini Mug Goes Trick or Treating for the first time…

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You’re welcome.