Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Great Pin Purge

Hello all! Happy Tuesday! The sun is up, the birds are chirping and today is a beautiful day to be alive!!
Lately Chip and I have been "purging" things in our life that don't necessarily suit where we are going in our life and what we want to become. This purge is happening in all parts of our lives. Just today I did a 436 friend purge on Facebook. Yikes! I didn't realize I had so many "friends". You don't realize that through the years you accumulate people and things and over time they just don't suit your life anymore. People change and grow and sometimes it is healthy to let past things go.

Today I want to challenge all of you to do a purge of your own....

 
The Great Pin Purge
 
How do you pin purge you ask??
Go through your pins and delete things that are no longer you. Things that won't suit your life or where you want to go have to go.
Here are a few tips:
1. Don't get overwhelmed. I have like 4k things pinned right now, and that doesn't even count my "likes". That's a lot to take on. Start with one board at a time. Maybe go in alphabetical order, or order of importance. Maybe you have one board you use  way more than any of the others (hair, recipes etc). This would be a good place to start.
2. Don't get too crazy. If this board is large and in charge and taking on the whole board seems overwhelming, just stop. Set a timer for 10 minutes and take your time. Don't rush. When the timer goes off, step away from the purge and do something else for a bit. The Great Pin Purge doesn't need to happen all at once.
3. Don't stress. They are just pins!! Yes, it can sometimes be hard to find something you thought you pinned but you didn't but that amazing little search bar does wonders for situations like that.
4. Think honestly. Are you really ever going to make that sparkly pink wall in the spare room that no one uses? Like really? If yes than keep! If no, and you just thought it was pretty delete it, or move it to a "Cool Reference Ideas" board so that it doesn't sit idly in your "Crafts to do ASAP" board. No one is judging your boards (but maybe you), so be honest with yourself.
5. Move things around. Sometimes I will find a pin that is in a super weird place, "How did you get here little friend?!". Move things around as need be. Keep it clean, keep it organized.
6. Have fun with it! At first when I was purging it was hard and awful and all I could think is "Why would I do this to myself?! And on my day off! :( ". Take heart, you'll get in the groove and become a purge machine in no time. Towards the end of my purge I was kind of sad I didn't have more to purge! It felt good! I felt like a little weight was lifted off my shoulders!
 
And here is a big one that I think a lot of you are probably thinking...Why Pin Purge at all???
People change. Our goals change. Our style changes (sometimes very quickly and to a very different style) in the matter of a few weeks. Trends happen, trends change (Chevron, one day your in, the next day your compared to 1970's floral). Going through some of my boards it was apparent to me that many of my pins no longer suited me, my lifestyle, and where I wanted to go. Going through pins also helps you find things you forgot you had and  might be really helpful right now in your life. Purging clutter is healthy, and the same goes for pins. The more organized you are in your pins the more successful of a tool Pinterest can be in your life. Stop wading through the clutter and get to the meat of it!
 
So Pinners I am asking you to take The Great Pin Purge Challenge and see what a difference it can make in your Pinterest Life, and in your real life. Then, get to back to us and tell us your thoughts on the purge. Was it good, was it painful, did you enjoy it, was it helpful for you??
 
Good luck ladies!!!
 

 


Saturday, August 30, 2014

Show and Tell Lego Cake

Today's Show and Tell Saturday comes to you out of the submission archives! Take it away Cindy!

I have a pseudo win for you, from the Lego Cake you posted today. It's not nearly as pretty as the original pin, but I thought it turned out pretty great for an amateur! 



I didn't take process shots, but here's what I did and learned:

What went right:

  • First, I did use mini cupcakes for the Lego studs, and they worked out great! Much tastier than marshmallows, I'm sure. I trimmed them to make them round, and made sure I baked them big so they'd be tall enough.
  • I used gel frosting coloring, and a ton of it to get the color right. I think I used an entire jar of red.
  • The pin as it is doesn't make cakes thick enough to really look like Lego bricks - I did two layers to get that look.
  • Stacking the Legos of different colors was tricky (see leveling below), but paid off big time in the overall effect. Highly recommended!
  • I used my own most reliable non-crumbly cake recipe - I knew I would be stacking these up, and didn't want to risk a cake-tastrophe.

What went wrong, and what you should do different:
  • I'm picky about frosting which backfired on me - it's a cream cheese buttercream so it's hard to get really smooth and never really firms up well. I'd stick with something sturdier.
  • This took WAY longer than I had allotted, so by the time I pulled the cake out to add the second layer of frosting after the crumb coat, the party was in full swing. Make this sucker the day before!
  • I cheated on my leveling - when I sliced the layers in half, I tried just flipping it so the flat part was on top. This backfired, and you can see that the cakes still tip to the side and aren't really flat on top, plus the layers are visible where there were huge gaps between cakes. Definitely take your time leveling!

And of course, the verdict? 
My son, who was turning four took one look, and said, "it's not a REAL Lego cake" and left the room. I about cried after all that work! But after adding a Lego border and a few Lego 'candles' and minifigures for decoration, he declared it a success. 


Best part? Delicious!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Throwback Thursday- Wax On Wax Off

Hello! As Fall quickly approaches, (I'm ready!!! Hurry Up!!!) I think about how it's candle season! Yummy cranberry candles, spice, cinnamon, and for all you pumpkin lovers out there, pumpkin spice too I suppose (never been much of a pumpkin fan). Well, to prepare for this glorious season I have a pin for you to keep in mind when you start pulling out all that fall décor. I would think it might be too hot in many places during the summer for candles, so fall just seems to fit here and it just happens to be right around the corner. Here is a pin Marquette wrote back in 2012, Happy Thursday and Enjoy!!
-Em
Wax On Wax Off
This whole Upcylce and Reuse movement that's going on has led to some pretty fun ideas and crafts. Sometimes it reminds me of the Depression verse "Use it up, Wear it out, Make it do, or Do without" (can you imagine how much money everyone would save if we all lived by that). I have a box of things that normally would have gone in the trash but now they're waiting to be used for some grand new idea (I really do make things from that box...the proof is here). This Pinstrosity submission gave me more ideas of Upcycle projects to do...only I have to finish burning the candles I have.

The Original Pin
The cold temperature will cause the wax to shrink and loosen from the sides of the jar. Get a dull knife and carefully stab the wax to break it apart.
http://snapguide.com/guides/remove-residual-candle-wax-from-candle-jars/
How many of us have burned a candle down to the bottom and have a lovely little jar with a small layer of wax at the bottom (and on the sides-not because fingers have been dipped in the melted wax of course)? Okay, I currently don't but that's because I was given quite a few candles all at once and I haven't gotten to the bottom of any of them. But I will before too long. Lizzy had  a few lying around and saw a pin on how to get the residue wax out and decided to give it a try. 

"I'm not really into manual labor, so I very rarely DIY. But i saw this pin and thought it was a no-brainer, plus I have several candle jars with like 2 mm of wax left, and it felt like a waste not to try this one out. Directions were easy: pop into the freezer, pull out, scrape, peel label, voila! I planned on turning my jar into a mini flower vase." 



"So I put mine in the freezer, I take a dull knife out, and as I begin to scrape out the wax, I see that it's frozen solid and ready to slide out. Easiest. Pin. Ever. "



The Pinstrosity

"But apparently, I squeezed the glass a little too hard, and the glass shattered in my hands. Something so simple, a toddler could have done it, and I end up almost slicing my hand open."

"The problem: Perhaps it was too frozen? The directions said to leave the jar in for an hour and than jokingly, the author notes that s/he left in for days by accident. So did I because I totally forgot about it for about 4 days."

The glass being really cold could definitely have been the cause of it's breaking. As things get colder their particles contract and pull closer together causing a high level of brittleness in some cases (like with glass). I don't think it's terribly common to be able to squeeze a cold glass and have a break, but if there was already some structural damage (a chip, a small fracture, or sometimes even an air bubble) the glass can be weakened enough where it will shatter easy. 

The idea of the pin sounds plausible and easy enough. It's a new method to me, but I know chipping away at a frozen glass would make me a little nervous (I'm a little clumsy sometimes). Let me share a few other ways to get rid of the candle remains from those pretty little jars. At the end I'll tell you how to get the thin residue layer of wax off the sides. 

1. Microwave Method: Put the jar in the microwave and nuke it for about 30 seconds. The wax should melt enough that it can be popped out with a butter knife. I've nuked a jar longer than that so the wax is melted all the way and then I pull the jar out (with hot pads of course...DON'T just grab it with your bare hand) and I stuff napkins in to absorb the melted wax. 

2. Place the jar in a pot of boiling water (make sure the jar is room temp) or in an oven at 200F. Let the wax melt either to wear it is easy to pry out or allow to melt completely and then remove the jar with hot pads. Either pour out the wax (in a paper cup or the trash, NOT the drain as it will make instant clogs) or soak/wipe it out.  

3. Wikihow suggests to "Pour boiling water into the jar. The wax will melt and float to the top. Leave the jar for a few hours, and when you come back the water will have cooled and the solid wax will be floating on top."

After removing the main chunk(s) of wax, there will likely still be a residual sheen of wax on the jar. This can be removed with hot soap water, baby oil, or olive oil. If there is still a strong smell leftover from the candle that you want to get rid of pour baking soda OR vinegar (NOT both) in the jar and let it sit overnight and wash it well in the morning. 

And one final method I recently discovered to rid the jar of the extra wax: leave a candle up-side-down in your car on a hot summer day and the wax will melt out of the jar. Yeah...don't try that one actually.

Mozzarella Sticks: When Captions Attack

One of the pins that took Pinterest by storm was the one for making your own baked mozzarella bites. Basically bite sized baked mozzarella sticks. For so many it turned out so wrong.  Today I have for your viewing pleasure a similar pin, only this time it's making the full cheese stick, not just a bite. 

The Original Pin
http://tastykitchen.com/blog/2010/05/panko-mozzarella-sticks/
Mozzarella sticks. MMMMmmmm! I can hardly make it past Sonic without ordering me some of these. Georgeann found this on Pinterest and saved if for their family pizza night. "I was so looking forward to this. My family (my six kids, my husband and I) planned a pizza night in. I bought all the fixins for DIY pizzas and planned to make these DIY mozzarella sticks. I followed the instructions exactly and this is what I got."

The Pinstrosity

Looks like our previous entries for the mozzarella bites, but I thought I'd go to the original site and see if I could figure out where Georgeann went wrong. I was a little confused once I got there. Georgeann stated she followed the directions, but the original site friend their mozzarella sticks rather than baked them. And then I knew what happened. Immediately I went back to the pin she had found on Pinterest. Here was the caption: "Just dipped them in milk then Italian bread crumbs. Baked for 10 mins at 425. So simple!!!!!" So she did follow the directions exactly, just the wrong directions! This happens quite frequently with Pinstrosity submissions. BEWARE OF CAPTIONS! Sometimes captions are right on and offer some extra awesome insights and ideas. Sometimes they are beyond Pluto in outer space. Read the captions, and then ALSO read the original instructions on the website. If they differ, I'd start with the original instructions first unless the Pinterest caption has a really really great added tip about what can or can't be added or substituted. 

Now, am I calling for only ever following exact instructions and never using Pinterest as a place for inspiration for experiments? Nope. And I know that bothers some of you, and I'm sorry. Yes, there are times when the instructions should be followed. If you want something to turn out exactly like the original, you should follow instructions. But, sometimes there is a pin that triggers an idea. Try that idea! The world can always use fun ideas and new twists. This would be a boring world if no one had ever deviated from the known. I for one and glad for whoever had the idea to mix Root Beer and Ice Cream. And Peanut Butter and Chocolate. So, don't get to upset at people for flexing their inquisitive and creative muscles. We need those people in the world just as much as we need those who will and can follow instructions rigidly. I love a creative and inquisitive mind in the kitchen, but I'm sure grateful for those that can follow instructions when building a house. Not that people who build houses aren't creative or inquisitive; I'm just glad they don't think "Hey, I should build this section of the wall with Playdough and see if it works!". You get my drift. 

So...check the captions, check the original instructions, and carry on! You're awesome. 

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