Saturday, December 29, 2012

Traveling With OCD

It's a little known fact (if you know me quite well) that I have a touch of "the OCD". Now, it's not pathologic or clinical (or I'm in denial) but just enough to make it either an endearing quality or annoying as hell.

Traveling has a way of amping up my OCD superpowers and I have been known to check to see if my boarding passes have been packed...say...twelve times without blinking an eye. I'm not the type who can throw a few things in a bag with a moment's notice. I need PLANNING, PEOPLE! 

Back to the boarding passes, and resort confirmations...etc... I like to have them in ONE place in my bag but don't like that they get all crumpled (I told you, I am the queen of OCD on the planet OCD in the universe of OCD). I went to the local office supply store to see if I could find a small little half sheet sized folder to carry these in. Nope. Not a one. They were all too small or too large, or too papery, or too flimsy... and my porridge was too cold. Not to despair! Folder hack to the rescue! (insert Billy Mays-esque videos of people unable to hold paper folders and clumsily dropping and tearing them beyond recognition. Cue in angelic spotlight to behold...

My modified envelope with the original size:
It was really a "duh" moment when I was staring at the large vinyl envelopes and deduced that you could easily cut one up and sew it up to the dimensions you want! (I know, did I just use the "S" word?) 

I used a rotary cutter and rotary ruler to cut it apart, but you could just as easily draw lines with a straight edge and cut it out with a pair of scissors. I used the snap as my middle gauge. Since a standard sheet of paper is 8.5" wide, I allowed for 1/4" on either side for the seam and added another 1/4" on each side for ease of being able to shove in the paper goods = 9.5" wide (I parked the snap at 4 3/4" on the ruler to make sure I got it in the middle) and hacked up the sides. I wanted the overall depth of the envelope to be 6" so I lopped of the bottom. Here's what it looks like in pieces

Snap the pieced envelope closed (to make sure you sew it in the right place) and using your sewing machine sew (the SEW! It burns us!) a 1/4" seam up the sides and bottom. I also rounded the corners with scissors because I'm fancy. Voila! No crumple, vinyl document container for your travel bag!

The first one I made was a bit smaller than I needed, so I'm using it to store all of my keepsake Christmas cards. See anyone you know?


I also used gardening velcro to contain my charging cords in my suitcase!

This stuff is pretty awesome. I bought it at Home Depot to stake some rather large, top-heavy Dahlias I tried to grow in my garden. Come to find out, this stuff has multiple uses. One side of the strip has the soft plushy side and the other, the bumpy grabby side (stop me if I'm being too technical here) and it sticks to itself.  I've used this stuff to wrangle TV/stereo wires and cords. This stuff is WAY cheaper than velcro cord ties you can buy in electronic stores. Excuse the crappy iphone pic.

I must add, that I am typing this post because I got distracted while packing. Maybe I have a touch of "the ADD" too?

Friday, December 14, 2012

Cinnamon Clay Ornaments! No bake!

I know what you're thinking "who is this long lost soul who has magically appeared in my feed reader?" (read feeder?) To answer your questions:

1) I am still alive. I didn't have the ever popular fake internet death. You still may send money and flowers.
2) Running? Meh. Not much. It's winter dontchaknow! I know, I know...I do live in Texas where we only get about 2 days of actual winter, but I hate that it's dark when I get home. My body literally wants to hibernate this time of year. I did participate in a crazy fun 5K recently. Pics to follow later
3) Knitting? Yes please! I've been making warm woolens for my sister and her family in Virginia. Oh sister, bro-in-law and the children that she bore just for me picked up and moved for his job. I know! ROOOD!
4) Still single (wink wink) fighting off the throngs of men with sticks as my milkshake must be bringing them all to my yard. They're trampling the grass. GET OFF MY LAWN!

So, to get to the REAL reason I re-opened up my dusty ol' blog... Cinnamon Clay Ornaments! (and all the grammar and punctuation mistakes you can eat. Seriously, I just write the way I think. Don't choke on an ellipsis...)

They may look delicious, but they are completely inedible. They will make your house smell wonderfully cinnamony for days! My mother kept a few that I had made for 10 YEARS so they also last a long time

What you will need:

1 1/2 cups ground cinnamon + extra for dusting when you roll out the dough. I find cinnamon in 16 oz bulk containers which works perfectly!
You may also add cloves or nutmeg if you just want it for smell-icity
1 cup applesauce - I used sugar free to help discourage critters eating them
1/3 cup white school glue

Mix the measured cinnamon, applesauce and glue in bowl until it creates a dough.

Dust your work surface with cinnamon, plop down some dough, dust with more cinnamon and roll out to 1/4" thickness or so.

Go nuts with cookie cutters! Remember to make a hole in the top of the ornament to hang them by. A drinking straw works great for this.

Place cut out shapes on a cookie cooling rack and allow to air dry for a few days. The thicker you made your ornament, the longer it will take to dry. You can also set them outside on a dry sunny day to help speed the process.

TIP: Because I didn't want my cooling racks tied up with ornaments for days, I went to Home Depot and purchased a gridded light diffuser found in the section where they sell fluorescent lighting. The shapes dry quite well and you aren't tying up your cooling racks!

When dry, this is where you can have fun with decorating. I used dimensional fabric "Slick" paint to "ice" the ornaments.

I also used glitter sprinkled on the "iced" cookies, but my favorite was cheap, tiny seed beads. While paint is still wet, hold ornament with an old spatula (that you don't care if it gets messed up with paint) hold over a bowl and sprinkle on the beads. Rinse, lather, repeat.

Allow to dry and use ribbon to make hanger loops.

Make the ornaments ahead of time and have a decorating party during the holidays!
I made personalized ones to use as Christmas present labels!