Celebrating During a Pandemic: 6 Tips for Throwing a Shower So Everyone’s Comfortable

We’ve all heard it a million times: things are different right now. The way we expected events to go either aren’t happening as planned or are cancelled and it doesn’t look like things will be going back to normal soon enough. It seems that until we get a vaccine, life is going to feel like it’s in limbo.

My poor bride got thrown around trying to plan her wedding – my heart goes out to her. Planning a wedding is quite a task to begin with but throw in a pandemic and its completely nuts! She’s going to be picking up the pieces for months from old deposits to confused guests to half-finished plans. I was desperate to give her a day to forget about the nonsense and enjoy the whole reason for the wedding to begin with: A celebration of her and her life with her fiance!

Planning her shower was also a hot mess, but we pulled through brilliantly (if I do say so myself, thanks team!) so I wanted to share what went right!

1. Keep a Tight Guest List, but be Realistic

Starting out with the obvious here as many states have gathering maximums. That said, inviting extra people as a courtesy didn’t do us any disfavors. Great Aunt Jill who lives a plane ride away won’t be able to come, but she’ll appreciate the invite. Overall we invited just under 50 people and ended up with just under 30 (state max was 50).

2. Ask for Emailed RSVPs, but Don’t Rely on Them

When we sent out the original invites, we knew things could change on a dime. Typically you offer a phone number to contact or an email for an RSVP, but if you have email addresses then you can send out updates much more easily.

THAT SAID

A lot of people are going to wait on their RSVP to see what happens in the world – I was shocked just how few RSVPs I received. There are two things you can do to help with this.

A. In your update email, encourage friends and family to spread the news and your email address for questions. This can get a little iffy if your guest list is super tight and many people weren’t invited, but in my case everyone requested was invited and still kept numbers under 50.

B. Make good use of postcards. Invites and envelopes are tedious and expensive and people will understand a quick postcard update. Bonus if you can personalize it! I did this using Google Sheets and Adobe Illustrator through the use of variables. Check out my tutorial here!

3. Make Expectations Clear

Some people really downplay the pandemic, some people are very cautious. If you’re reading this article my guess is you’re probably the latter, so let your guests know. In your original invite and any updates, let people know how you are planning to handle the shower. For us, we told people that masks are optional, that we’d have hand sanitizer readily available, that we would be disinfecting everything before the shower, and the food would be prepared with copious hand-washing, masks, and gloves. This will help ease a few worried guests’ nerves and maybe convince them to come.

4. Make the Food and Wrap Everything

We always planned to make the food for budget reasons, but I’m so glad we did because food regulations tightened up significantly the week of the shower and most take-outs could no longer provide!

Some of the food took FOREVER but it was well worth it! Here’s what was on our menu:

Easy Options:

  • Pre-wrapped cheese and crackers
  • Snack bags of chips
  • Pre-made fruit cups
  • Anything you find pre-packaged in a BJs or Walmart

Time-Consuming Options:

  • Individually wrapped sandwiches – we made the fillings the day before then filled and wrapped the sandwiches in saran wrap the morning of
  • Fruit cups
  • Vegetable cups with dip at the bottom – I saw this pre-covid and thought it was super cute! more time-consuming, but really pretty.
  • Individual trifles – we made dirt cups which everyone loves and are so easy! You can find the recipe here.
  • Individually packaged cupcakes – this is on the list because we did it, but the containers were terrible and kept popping open (I will not link the containers, they were terrible). If I were to do this again, I might opt for a nice lemon cake and blueberry trifle instead of the cupcakes (though they were delicious!)

To stay in the Easy Options category, BJs and similar grocery stores offer inexpensive sandwich platters even now! I still would opt to take the sandwiches out and wrap them… but that’s what we promised the guests as far as sanitation.

5. Social Distance

Our tables went from 8 per table to 4. Honestly, it left room for prettier place-settings anyway! Some people will choose to move chairs, totally up to them, but offer the option to sit pretty far apart.

6. Plan Socially Distant Games

This part was way more difficult than I thought it would be! My bride was a physically fit, active, competitive one so I had a bunch of great games planned! Like, ring toss (guests v bride), bridal Jenga, and maybe even toilet paper wedding gowns (is that insensitive after resource hoarding??)

All that had to go out the window because no guests should be required to use something that other guests have touched.

Here’s what we came up with:

Kahoot

People are really reserved about this one but they LOVE it. It’s basically a poll-based game. On a projector, you show questions with a timer and A, B, C, D options for answers. People download the app on their phone, enter the game pin, then answer on their phone. Points are added up in real time between each question and it’s a blast! I find that it helped to make a comment about how most school-students should already have this app because it’s technically an educational app helped people feel more comfortable about downloading it.

Bingo

Plain old bingo is great because everyone has their own cards and pieces to place, so no cross-contamination. Plus, everyone knows it!

Any Slideshow Game

We did “Finish the 80’s Song” as per the bride’s interests. Make a slideshow of questions (I like Google Sheets) and project the questions. Each guest has his/her own answer card and pencil. After each question, give everyone a minute to answer, then read the answer and go with the honor system of people checking their own work. Alternatively, if you don’t have a projector, just read the questions out loud.

I wouldn’t do any more than three games, people need time to chat and mingle.

Additional Things to Do

Most of these are pretty hands-off. The markers for signing the pillowcase were iffy, but there’s lots of hand sanitizer around. The pencils here were communal but everyone had the option of going back to their table for their own pencil if they wanted.

Guys, I cannot describe how nervous I was for this shower – that no one would show up, that the venue would suddenly cancel, that people would think I was ridiculous for having it at all! But it went really, really well. Everyone who came had a blast and the bride loved it which is all that really mattered to me!

Are you planning an event coming up? How are you going to handle the elephant in the room?

Warmly,

EGinny

Google Sheets and Adobe Illustrator – Creating Variables for Easy Bingo Cards

I’m trying something new! What with the pandemic going on, I’ve found myself having to be more comfortable in front of a camera and making videos. When I coupled that fact with some pretty neat new tricks I’ve been learning for Illustrator, I figured I’d give some videos a go!

For a bridal shower, I wanted to make Bingo cards. How hard could that be?

Way harder than I thought.

At first I didn’t realize that every card had to be different. So basically, I need 30 Bingo cards? I gotta make 30 Bingo cards.

Individually.

One-by-one.

Heck no.

That’s when I learned that Google Sheets and Adobe Illustrator can work in harmony to make life a lot easier! They meld together using Variables.

So here you go! How to use Google Sheets to create variables for Illustrator and make as many Bingo cards as you want!

Plus they’re transferrable skills – I also used this trick to make individually addressed postcards (not gonna lie, pretty proud of myself).

I hope you enjoyed this DIY – don’t hesitate to let me know if I wasn’t clear on anything and I’m also always up for comments/suggestions!

Warmly,

EGinny

Covering a Skylight – Quickly, Cheaply, and Efficiently

One of the reasons why my husband and I fell in love with our home is the skylights! I’m a huge fan of natural light – I find that the amount of sunshine outside directly influences my mood.

That all said, there are some downsides to sunlights. Most of them are leaky which apparently is a pretty common problem. Also they let in sunlight! Which, duh, but there are some consequences of that we didn’t really think about. It’s wonderful in the living room and it’s even pretty great in my husband’s and my bedroom, it’s magical to look up at the moon at night, but we know it’s going to be a problem in the nursery.

Bright nursery
So cute right?? But so bright! No way can a baby sleep in there! Also so not done, but we’ll get to that.

After a bunch of research looking into how other people deal with their sunlights when they need to block the light, I couldn’t find anything that suited my needs which were:

  • Darkening
  • Easy to remove
  • CHEAP

Finally while we were setting up the crib, I looked up and though, “huh, why am I trying to block the light from in the room when I could block it from between the panes of glass?”

Open skylight

This is what the skylight looks like when it’s open. You can see that it’s fully enclosed with glass above it as well – to be honest I’m not sure why it opens at all. That said, it affords the opportunity to place something to block the light above the opening glass.

Also, yeah, gnarly up there… We scrubbed it clean when we moved in but it definitely needs a fresh coat of paint.

Materials:

  • Large piece of cardboard/foam board
  • X-Acto knife/Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • T-Square or L-Square (if available, if not you can use a sheet of regular paper to help make the right angles)
  • Paint
  • Paint brushes

Step 1: Measure the window

If you look at the window that’s opening down, you’ll notice that it’s framed in such a way that the frame sticks in (marked red) from the frame above (marked blue). This means that you can measure the inside of the upper frame (marked blue) and cut the cardboard to fit that and the edges of the cardboard will be covered by the lower frame (marked red).

Mine measured 36″ x 24″

How to measure the skylight frame

Step 2: Measure the cardboard/Foam board

Cardboard box

This is the box our baby’s mattress came in! I could only use one side, though, because the other side has a seam up the middle.

Making the corner square

This is what the T-Square or L-Square is for. You’ll want to make sure the corners of your cardboard cover are 90 degrees or it won’t fit right. If you don’t have one of these tools, place a piece of paper in the corner and then line the edges of the paper up with a ruler to get that crisp 90.

Taping together two pieces of foamboard

If you’re using foam board, odds are you’re going to need to tape two pieces together. If you do, use masking tape or some sort of paper tape to which paint sticks to well. That said, the light that shines through makes the seam quite visible which you’ll see later. I left my seam visible so that I could have a skylight cover that still let some light shine through, but if you don’t want any light, you could use tin foil to cover the back.

Protip: if you’re buying your foam board at Staples/Walmart/anywhere else, STOP! You can get foam board at the Dollar Tree for a buck a piece! PLUS it’s designed so that you can peel the paper off if you want which is great for things like model planes. I wasted so much money in college before I discovered this! 6 bucks for a piece of foam board? Sheesh!

Dollar Tree

Step 3: Cut out the cover

Cutting with the x-acto

Once you get it all measured, cut it out! I prefer an x-acto and I don’t like using a ruler. My method is to pull a straight line from my shoulder and to only mark the line the first time, cut through the second time. Every time I try to cut all the way through the first time I end up messing it up.

Protip: Don’t measure two covers if you want two just measure one then use the first one as a pattern for the second!

(not so pro)tip: If I don’t have a cutting mat, I’ll cut on a carpet. It’s not exactly a pro move, but if you need a backup plan then here it is! I’ve never managed to press down hard enough to cut the carpet – though I’ve never tried…

Step 4: Paint beautiful things

Do a base layer first, then add prettiness on top. These pictures are from after the base layer – you can see the night sky curling up and I’ll talk about that in a moment. The day sky is on the foam board and the night sky is on the cardboard.

Also, I started painting outside because it was GORGEOUS but the sun kept drying my paint on me! 😂I had to move my operation inside.

Step 5 (probably): Flatten the artwork

Curled up cover

Odds are you’ll suffer some major curling as well, but it’s an easy fix. I had to do this with both my cardboard and foam board covers.

What Not to Do: Stomp on it until it’s flat. It’ll snap or crease!

Grab yourself a cup of clean water with a big clean brush. Flip the work over and generously paint the clean water on, rewetting the surface as you go. As you do this you’ll notice the art get a little more pliable when you gently push down on it. Slowly push the art down as you reapply water until it’s flat, then cover it with some weights. Once the weights are on, give it one more coat of water.

That’s it!

The cardboard filters out almost all sunlight whereas the foam board lets some in.

These are HARD to get pictures of because of the window in front! The look great in the room, though. If you look closely at the first picture of the clouds, you can see where I taped the foam board together. It’s not great, but there isn’t a way around it without purchasing a larger size of foam board and ain’t nobody got money for that.

I’m debating getting some cheap LEDs to mount above the clouds so we can turn them on at night and it becomes an awesome nightlight…

I actually poked some holes in the night sky in hopes that a few pinholes of light would shine through and look like stars! It kinda worked, but I kept the holes pretty tiny so as not to let in too much light so they’re hard to see. If/when I make another one I’ll try some big pinholes for stars!

Overall this was 100% the best solution for me and I hope it works for you too! Happy crafting!!

I hope you enjoyed this DIY – don’t hesitate to let me know if I wasn’t clear on anything and I’m also always up for comments/suggestions!

Warmly,

EGinny

Baby’s First Crocheted Outfit – The Beginner’s Guide

I’m under no illusions that I’m an expert at crochet. In fact, most DIY things I’m able to teach myself with no problem, but I had to find myself a teacher when it came to crochet basics! At this point I can do most of the basic stitches, though I admittedly need to look up how-tos constantly just to remind myself which stitch is which 🤦‍♀️

Even with my meager skills, this set of baby clothes didn’t take me too long and they came out beautifully! Since ya’ll don’t need a muddled-though how-to by a novice, I’m just going to share the tutorial videos I used because I’m sure you’ll find them as wonderful as I did!

Diaper Cover

I started with the diaper cover. Crocheter LovinglyNie is clear and goes slowly. Bonus – the entire pattern is also written out in the caption under the video which I love because once I get my groove on I can just reference the pattern for quick stitch number reminders. The most difficult part was the very end, crocheting around the whole diaper because I struggled to determine which holes I should be stitching into, but I muddled through it and I’m glad I did!

Scratch Mitts

The scratch mitts were next for which I used the tutorial by Last Minute Laura. She is super personable to listen to and is very clear. I love that this pattern was so simple I could almost make the second mitt without even referencing the video again! (Almost)

Beanie/Hat

I started drooling when I found this pattern at Sewrella! There’s a video and written patterns for hats of all sizes! I whipped this out so fast, I may just make myself a matching beanie!

Booties

The booties were super daunting for me which is why I put them off until the end, but honestly I was shocked by how easy they were! I used this video by Croby Patterns and I just discovered that there’s a link under the video for the written pattern! I didn’t even notice when I was making the booties because this tutorial was the absolute perfect speed to work with – slow enough that I could work with it simultaneously yet quick enough that I didn’t feel frustrated with wanting to get onto the next step.

Do you think she knows she’s about to have some competition?

I hope you guys enjoy these tutorials as much as I did! I’ll be checking these guys out next time I’m in need of a new crocheting pattern.

Warmly,

EGinny

You’re Going to be a Daddy – DIY Mug Announcement with a Twist

It’s time guys – I’m joining the ranks of mom bloggers! I found out the exciting news last October and have biting my tongue for months! This is our first so we were really sure what to expect, but at this point I’m about 18 weeks and feeling WAY better.

I won’t drag you down with my first trimester woes, I’m just pumped to be in my second.

When Josh and I first decided to get pregnant, I almost immediately started pinning ways that I was going to tell him – there are so many cute ideas! Give him a box of donuts so he gets fat too, buy him a daddy book, just drop the pee-stick into his hands… but since my hubby loves his coffee, I decided to appeal to that.

I saw a bunch of mugs you can buy that say “you’re going to be a daddy” on the bottom and me being me, I decided I had to make it instead of buy it.

I’m glad I did! He now uses that mug every. morning. It’s his go-to.

It’s a pretty easy DIY and it’s such a sentimental gift.

Here’s the Twist!

Lots of people make mugs with hidden messages, so what’s different about this one? Most mugs are just that, mugs, but in the morning my hubby ALWAYS gets up before me and ALWAYS makes his own coffee. There was no way for me to give him the mug without seeing the bottom before he drank his coffee. To get around this, I made it a hot cocoa mug instead for two reasons:

  1. He would drink it at night – with me!
  2. I could cover the bottom with chocolate so he couldn’t see the message.

This post contains affiliate links. I receive a small commission for anyone who clicks on a link and purchases a product. All product links, affiliate and otherwise, represent my unbiased opinion about the product.

Materials

  • A mug – I found mine at Marshalls and since it was nearing Thanksgiving, I found one that said, “give thanks” which seemed very fitting. That said, I love the one I linked here from the Dollar Tree! No need for me to have spent so much on a mug. Just make sure it’s microwave safe.
  • Enamel Paint – This is the stuff I used and it worked great. I linked black here instead of gold for reasons I’ll explain later.
  • Porcelain Paint Pen – Alternatively, you can try one of these. Personally I stuck with regular paint and a paint brush because I felt a light paint brush would be easier to control when writing in a mug, but it’s another option. The important thing is you get a BAKE TO CURE paint so it will be microwave and dishwasher safe!
  • Cellophane bags – Since the goal is for hubby to not know you made it, these make it look professional.
  • Ribbon – This stuff is my favorite.
  • Chocolate Chips – Or chunks. Or any chocolate, really.
  • Mini Marshmallows – The cherry on top, so to speak.

Step 1: Wash the mug.

No pictures necessary, but it’s an important step – you’ll be adding food to it later.

If the mug has a non-price tag (like mine does, you can see below) take the tag off and save it so you can put it on later and make it look even more store-bought/un-special, he’ll be none the wiser!

Step 2: Paint the words on the bottom.

I wrote, “you’re going to be a daddy” with a heart, but there are lots of other cute sayings!

“Daddy Fuel”

“Keep calm, you’re going to be a dad”

“Daddy 07/19/20” (due date)

Just to name a few more.

Remember how I linked a black paint when I used gold? I recommend black, not gold. Hubby found the words hard to read at the bottom of the mug because the paint color was so light. Ah well.

Paint type
Bottom of mug with words

Step 3: Bake the mug.

This is super important because it keeps the paint from chipping and it makes it dishwasher/microwave safe. You’ll want to read the instructions on the paint you get, but for an idea, my paint had me put the cold mug into the oven, set the oven to 350 degrees F, wait until the oven was preheated and bake for 30 minutes, then turn off the oven leaving the mug inside for another 30 minutes.

It takes a while, but it’s worth it.

My paint also said to let the paint dry for 24 hours before baking to cure, but since I used so little paint I ignored that step… didn’t have any problems.

Mug in oven

Step 4: Melt chocolate onto the bottom of the mug.

Ingredients

Pour just enough chocolate chips in the mug to cover the bottom. Don’t add too many or it’ll take forever to melt when the time comes and hubby might not scrape all the chocolate up – still hiding the message.

For those of you who don’t have the incredible sweet-tooth that I possess and therefore have not spent copious hours of their lives melting chocolate for baked goods, the best method is to microwave the chocolate chips for 10-20 seconds, stir, repeat. This will keep the chocolate from burning.

Drop a couple mini marshmallows on top to complete the look!

Step 5: Package it all up.

Put any tags you removed back onto the mug, then place it into one of the cellophane bags and twist-tie the top shut. Add a bow and voila! Perfectly professional looking mug gift!

My husband was totally clueless and I can’t get a thing past him. He got a little suspicious when I INSISTED he finish his hot cocoa because he technically had, but the gold writing was too light for him to read at first and he really had to look.

I just gave it to him saying that I casually found this hot cocoa making mug kit on sale and I can make it for you tonight if you want?

He was all over it!

I couldn’t help it, I snuck a picture of him drinking from it – moments before the big news finally came out!

Josh drinking from the mug

I couldn’t have planned a better announcement than this one – quietly at home with my hubby and puppy to enjoy the news ❤️️

I hope you enjoyed this DIY – don’t hesitate to let me know if I wasn’t clear on anything and I’m also always up for comments/suggestions!

Warmly,

EGinny

Bridal Squad Headbands – DIY and What Not to Do

Remember that friend, Amanda, that I married in high school? I wrote that ridiculous story here. Well she’s getting married for real! I suppose all good things must come to an end… I think us both being married must annul the first marriage, right?

One of her other bridesmaids planned her bachelorette (I get to plan the bridal shower – just wait and see what I’ve got planned there…) but I wanted to throw in a fun DIY to help.

The bridesmaid planning the bachelorette was all about it: headbands!

Back up.

Amanda is a major 80’s lover so part 1 of the bachelorette night was 80’s night at a local bar, then the other part was hiking a mountain.

Headbands that double as sweatbands, get it?

It’s all the rage to make sure that everyone surrounding the bridal party knows who the bride is and who her tribe is, so we figured Amanda would like it and I’d have a fun way to participate in the planning.

So, without further ado, here is an excellent DIY beginning with a strong word of caution.

This post contains affiliate links. I receive a small commission for anyone who clicks on a link and purchases a product. All product links, affiliate and otherwise, represent my unbiased opinion about the product.

Materials:

  • Headbands – Less than a buck per headband, perfect! Plus I really like these in general. TMI, I sweat a lot when I workout and I love wearing the extra headbands to the gym now.
  • Fabric Paint – You’ll notice that the paint I linked to is a “soft” version which means that the paint doesn’t stick on like hard plastic.
  • Paint brush
  • Scrap paper/newspaper/cardboard
  • Blue take/masking tape
  • Cricut or other vinyl cutter – you could try this DIY by making your own stencil out of card stock. If you do it that way, grab some spray mount like this stuff linked here, and use it to glue the card stock stencil down to the headband before you begin.

STRONG WORD OF CAUTION

While the bridesmaids were very encouraging and said they love the headbands, I regard this project as a fail for myself. See for yourself…

Finished headbands

I was so disappointed when I saw all those blotchy marks! The worst part is that I know I could have prevented it if I’d only tested the paint I’d used on an extra headband before.

This is what I used and I want to make it abundantly clear that I DO NOT DISCOURAGE THE USE OF THE PRODUCT when used correctly.

I’ve used it on cotton shirts and it works like a dream! I think I made three mistakes on this project:

  1. Not testing the paint on the fabric beforehand.
  2. Laying down the paint too thick.
  3. Not letting the paint dry between coats.

I admit it, I was short on time and had to get this done quickly – that’s what my blotchy spots boil down to.

Now that I’ve gotten the how and why of my major mistake out of the way, here’s the diy!

Fabric Spray Paint Headbands

Step 1: Applying the vinyl patterns to the fabric.

Any self-respecting vinyl user will tell you to use transfer tape, but don’t use it here.

…Not that I’m not a self-respecting vinyl cutter… anyways,

Vinyl essentially works by using varying levels of stickiness. The vinyl sticks to the paper backing, but it sticks better to the transfer tape so the paper backing peels off, then it sticks better to the mounting surface so the transfer tape peels off.

That doesn’t work here because vinyl sticks way better to transfer tape than to fabric.

Instead, flip the vinyl over and slowly peel the paper back off, making sure to fold the paper back onto itself as you peel. If you’re slow and careful, you can get the whole vinyl sticker off without losing any of the cut bits, then you can just stick it onto your fabric surface without harming any transfer tape!

Step 2: Weeding

Use a combination of an exacto knife and tweezers to weed out the part of the vinyl you don’t want.

Remember: The part you don’t want is the part you do want! Since you’re essentially making a stencil, peel out the pieces that show where you want the paint to go.

I find that using my exacto blade tip to hold down pieces that I didn’t want coming up is very effective.

If you do accidentally peel up a piece of vinyl that you need, no worries, just stick it back.

Vinyl stuck all over leg

Clever or lazy? I stick the vinyl scraps all over my legs when I work… vinyl sticks well to skin and itself! Then I use duct tape and stick that to the vinyl to get it off my leg. If you’re a non-shaver, I recommend you skip this step, but hey you do you.

Step 3: Prep to Spray Paint

Tape your headband down to a piece of paper to hold it flat and still for the next couple steps, especially if you’re moving pieces around to paint a bunch of different headbands.

Measure around where you need the paint to go and cut a hole out of a piece of cardboard that will allow you to paint what you need, but hide the rest of the fabric.

MISTAKE NOTE: I did this on my nice new dining room table because I figured I could control the paint.

I was wrong.

This can has some serious spray distance and I was washing black off the table for weeks! A) Do this in a place that can get messy and B) cover up any part of the fabric you don’t want painted.

Overspray

You’ve been warned.

Step 4: Spray Paint

THIN layers! Like, a quick breeze of paint then that’s it.

Another helpful tip: Find something to put your cardboard protector on between sprayings. As you paint, it will build up on the cardboard and seep into the hole you made, making a mess on anything you put it on.

Step 5: Wait

See, this is the step I skipped to get those awful paint blotches. Don’t be a me. Don’t be impatient.

The can only says 5 minutes but I’d give it more time.

Step 6: Repeat steps 4 & 5 until you get the desired darkness

That’s it! If you’ve followed my advice on how not to do what I did, you should have some lovely, non-blotchy headbands!

But hey, they did look pretty nice in the hiking photos.

Don’t hesitate to let me know if I wasn’t clear on anything and I’m also always up for comments/suggestions!

Warmly,

EGinny

Sick Jello – Gatorade and Knox Gelatine for Rehydration of Stubborn Husbands

It’s that time of year folks – cold time. So far this year hubby and I have managed to avoid the germs (knock on wood) but last year was absolute misery. Josh and I each got sick about every other week! Granted we were planning a wedding, living with a toddler, and I was frequently going to the gym, so we were putting ourselves in germy places which we’re not doing this year, but it still doesn’t hurt to be ready.

Here’s a recipe I discovered last year that Josh adores. It’s funny, I didn’t know he was such a jello fiend! He doesn’t drink much (unless it’s coffee, the opposite of what you want to drink to hydrate) so I was worried he wasn’t rehydrating enough which is when I came across a couple versions of this recipe I wanted to try out.

All of the recipes were as simple as replacing the water in a jello recipe for Gatorade – simple! I worried that would be too sweet with the sugary drink added to the sugary jello, so I wanted to try something a bit different.

That’s how I came up with Gatorade Gelatine – the rehydrating power of gatorade without all the sugar of jello!

Powerade and Gelatine

Gatorade Jello with Gelatine

Ingredients:

  • 1 box (4 packets) of Knox Gelatine
  • 1 bottle of Gatorade/Powerade (32 oz)

Step 1: Mix 1c cold Gatorade with gelatine. Let sit 5 minutes.

Step 2: Boil the rest of the Gatorade (3c). I found the microwave easiest.

Step 3: Pour hot Gatorade over cold Gatorade/Gelatine mixture. Stir very well until all granules have dissolved.

Step 4: Pour mixture into mold and refrigerate until firm – about 3 hours.

That’s it!

Finished Jello

I’m not really a dessert baker so I failed to take 40+ glamour shots of the jello on a stunning plate in the dazzling sunlight (though I wish I could, those shots are phenomenal and definitely envy-worthy), but even still I’ll be making this every time hubby gets the sniffles.

Like I said, it’s not nearly as sweet as the gatorade/jello recipes which I like because otherwise Josh would eat the entire pan in one sitting. The level of sweetness in this recipe is more of an “eat one and be happy” rather than an “I need to eat them all” which is good when the real goal is hydration.

Don’t hesitate to let me know if I wasn’t clear on anything and I’m also always up for comments/suggestions!

Warmly,

EGinny

Kintsugi’s Philosophical Take on Mistakes: Aka DIY Cheap Kintsugi

A lot of us grow up and we grow out of the literal interpretation that we get when we’re children, but we bear the scars all our life. Whether they’re scars of beauty or scars of ugliness, it’s pretty much in the eye of the beholder.

Stephen King

Traditionally, Kintsugi is a Japanese method for repairing broken ceramics with a special lacquer mixed with gold (silver or platinum can be used, too).

Kin = golden

tsugi = joinery

The history of Kintsugi’s origin isn’t completely clear, but the story goes that back in the Muromachi period (12 AD), the Shogon of Japan by the name of Ashikago Yoshimitsu broke his favorite tea bowl and sent it to be repaired. When it was returned, it was filled with ugly staples – he sent it back for a more elegant solution. What his crafters came up with didn’t attempt to minimize the damage, but rather to glorify it.

From that beautifully repaired tea bowl came an entire buddhist philosophy: that things can be made even more beautiful after they’ve broken.

Kintsugi was the perfect solution to my next DIY project when the mistake happened BEFORE the DIY even started.

The Problem: A Broken Vase

I found this beautiful elongated black vase in my mother-in-law’s basement when she was moving out, so I asked her if I could have it – I knew the perfect place for it!

The moving van, however, had other plans.

It arrived to our house in the condition above which isn’t exactly how I’d pictured it. It was actually my sister-in-law who asked if I had ever heard of Kintsugi.

I hadn’t.

When I looked it up I had my next DIY project! Everyone doing Kintsugi was doing it “right” though, expensive glue and gold powder. With a recent wedding and a new house, gold powder wasn’t in the budget. I decided to try to muddle my way through my very own brand of kintsugi!

The Failure

If you’re just looking of a DIY, skip ahead.

The first thing I tried was to basically use paint as glue. It seemed like a good idea at the time… I mean, paint can be sticky and dry nice and hard.

I painted on a nice thick line of paint figuring it would squish out the sides for a nice seam of paint.

As you can see, SEVERAL things went wrong. The most obvious problem was that the paint wasn’t sticky enough. If I did get two pieces to stick together, I either got tape (which I was using to hold the pieces together while they dried) or my fingers in the paint and smudged it everywhere. Not a good look.

I tried to scrub as much of the paint off as I could and set it aside because

A) The ceramic is porous so once I got it wet I absolutely had to wait for it to dry before I could glue anything together, and (more importantly)

B) I was frustrated as heck and had to put it aside and rethink.

Three cooling-off months later, and I was ready to give my cheap Kintsugi another try.

The Success

This is how you should ACTUALLY do it!

Materials:

  • Super Glue Gel – I got this stuff at the Dollar Tree, works great. Try to get the “gel” kind so it’s not as liquidy.
  • Metallic Paint – Any acrylic kind will do.
  • Masking Tape – Or blue tape or green tape.

Step 1:

GLUE FIRST.

Gluing the vase together

Any and all paint you see here is strictly from my original fail – no paint was used during the successful gluing phase.

Filling the gaps with glue

This part is your preference, but I filled the gaps with glue and used a toothpick to smooth it out a bit because the branches sticking out of the top are attached to unsightly stems inside the vase that I didn’t want seen.

Step 2: Wait for it to Dry

I left mine overnight.

Step 3: Paint over the Cracks

I’m usually a major advocate of thin layers of paint, 92% of the time it’s way better to go thinner than thicker, but I gooped it on like crazy in this case. I looked up a lot of different kintsugi examples and some lines were thin, some were thick, so I decided on thick. I like the texture of the thick paint – a bit solder-looking.

Finished Kintsugi Vase

Voila! Finished Kintsugi! I love the way this came out – worth all the pain and frustration it caused.

Hopefully yours goes better than mine did the first time!

Don’t hesitate to let me know if I wasn’t clear on anything and I’m also always up for comments/suggestions!

Warmly,

EGinny

P.s. I did a bunch of research for this post, but most of the information used is from this site: https://www.theschooloflife.com/thebookoflife/kintsugi/

Custom Build Mudroom Bench – Putting it All Together

This is it guys, the last step is the BEST step because you’re almost done!! So far we’ve made a bench, cushioned it, made some shelves, and now we just need to put it all together!

If you haven’t seen the first three steps in this four part series, check out the links below:

This post contains affiliate links. I receive a small commission for anyone who clicks on a link and purchases a product. All product links, affiliate and otherwise, represent my unbiased opinion about the product.

Materials

  • Thin wood trim – Icing on the cake.
  • Panel Board Nails – These are great for nailing small things and plus, they’re just really fun to nail.
  • Wood Putty – This stuff is both super cheap and super effective. It is NOT wall putty for drywall, I’ll explain below.
  • Paint – Dealer’s choice, though I recommend something slightly glossier because it cleans better.

Step 1: Trimming

At this point, the bench is done except for putting the chest lid on with the piano hinges and the shelves are up on the wall.

Adding the trim requires a little math. There are a bunch of different ways to do it, but here’s how I calculated where to put the trim. I put up the two pieces of trim that are at the ends of the shelves first. From there, I measured from the corner to the trim on one wall, subtracted the width of the trim I was going to add (two lengths), divided it by 3 ( the number of spaces between the trim) and rounded out the numbers.

For example:

(distance from corner to inside of outermost trim) – (width of trim x 2) / 3 = ?

38″ – (1 5/16″ x 2) / 3 = ?

(38″ – 2.625) / 3 = ?

35.375 / 3 = 11.791667 or about 11.75

I then measured 11.75″ from the corner and put a piece of trim there and measured 11.75″ from the inside of the outermost trim and put a piece of trim there.

After the math was done, this was probably my favorite part of the project! I LOVE hammering in little nails… I’ve always wondered if that was due to this toy I had growing up:

Honestly I went to go get a picture of this to post and thought I MIGHT be able to find an archived image – never in my wildest dreams did I imagine it would still be sold!! I’m buying it for every small child in my life.

Anyway, I didn’t mount the bench to the wall. I felt no need to since it’s ridiculously heavy and sturdy. Also, there’s a vent for the cooling system behind it so I didn’t want to permanently cover it up. In fact there’s a little space, about a quarter inch, between the bench and the wall which the cushions cover up nicely.

Originally I was going to add trim around the flat sections of the bench for a little more pizazz, but the trim is so ridiculously expensive for what you get, I couldn’t get myself to do it.

Step 2: Filling

Step 1 of step 2, get yourself some of this glorious muck.

Durham's Rock Hard Water Putty

No one is paying me to say this stuff is a must-have especially at a whopping $1.96 per can and they last a LONG time! It’s a powder and you don’t even need to read the instructions: just pour some of it into a (preferably disposable) cup, add water little by little until you got yourself a paste, and slather it onto any crack that needs filling.

BUT

As I said before, THIS STUFF IS NOT PLASTER FOR FIXING DRYWALLS, although you can totally use it for that. The big difference is written right around the strong man’s legs.

“ROCK HARD”

They are not joking. Unlike with plaster when you can schlub it on and sand off the copious extra, you can’t do that with this stuff – it’ll take forever. Instead, fill the holes/gaps and use a scraper to level it as much as possible, let it dry, then add more if needed so your sanding time is minimal. This stuff really is like sanding rock. That said, for a mudroom bench that gets kicked around a lot, the rock-solid aspect is brilliant. See how I filled a huge chunk in the side of the chest part? If it gets kicked, not harm done. If I filled it will plaster and it got kicked, I’d have a crumbly mess and a new hole.

Let’s review in a nice TL:DR

Durham’s Rock Hard Water PuttyWall Plaster
Use for:
* Things that get kicked around
* Filling wood
DO NOT:
* Overfill the gap/crack or you’ll be sanding for years
Use for:
* Filling holes in drywall
* Delicate areas
DO NOT:
* Use in places that get a lot of love/abuse

If you’ll notice, I use Durham’s Putty on the wall to fill a crack there, but I do so with just a tiny bit of putty and I only use it because I’m too lazy to make up a batch of plaster.

I mixed up steps 2 & 3 a bit when I decided I hadn’t done enough filling after I painted, so I refilled and repainted!

After filling everything then letting it dry, sand it all like crazy!

Step 3: Painting

I’ll try not to be too long-winded here because painting this is just, well, painting.

I went to Home Depot and found their “oopsie” section and chose a color from there. Then I, well I painted. I’m honestly not sure what tips to give here other then do proper prep work (putting down drop-cloths and taping off sections you don’t want painted) and if your bench isn’t bolted down, pull it away from the wall so you can paint the wall way down and paint around to the back side of the bench so you’re not A) missing any parts or B) “gluing” the bench to the wall with paint.

Don’t forget to paint the chest lid!

Step 4: Attaching the Top of the Chest

Place the chest lid exactly where it should be when the chest is closed. Eyeball where you want your hinges to go, then do a quick measurement to make sure they’re equal. Once they’re where you want them, use a sharp pencil to mark the holes where the screws should go. Remove the hinges and drill some pilot holes, then screw the hinges on!

Step 5: That’s It!

Let me know if anything’s confusing/weird/needs clearing up! And as always, please share your DIYs!

Warmly,

EGinny

Custom Build Mudroom Bench – The Cushions

Making the cushions for the bench is easy-peasy with just a few tips/warnings.

If you haven’t seen the first part of this mudroom bench DIY series, how to make the bench, click here!

For the second part of the series, making the shelves, click here!

This post contains affiliate links. I receive a small commission for anyone who clicks on a link and purchases a product. All product links, affiliate and otherwise, represent my unbiased opinion about the product.

Materials

  • Upholstery fabric – preferably waterproof or NOT dry-clean only. For this I perused the sale section of JoAnn’s Fabrics and found some reasonably priced fabric there. It can be crazy expensive, $24-32 a yard expensive, but if you just look at the sale rack and keep an eye on which colors have the best discount (each sale fabric has a colored sticker which coordinates to a % discount listed on a sign nearby) it doesn’t have to break the bank. I found my washable upholstery fabric for $4 a yard!
  • Thread
  • Needle
  • Pins
  • Fabric scissors – if you sew at all or ever use fabric, invest in a nice pair of fabric scissors. They’ll save so much frustration – unless your frustration is that your small daughter keeps using your fabric scissors on cardboard and wood… in which case I can’t help you, nor can my mother.
  • Batting – This is the money drain and I have absolutely no idea why it’s so expensive. I found some 1/2″ thick batting then doubled it up.
  • Velcro with one half adhesive and the other sew on – This is how we’ll attach the cushions to the bench.

Step 1: Cut the Batting to Size

Cut your batting to fit your bench exactly. If you have an L or T ruler I recommend you use it for this to make your edges square. Also, if you have two cushions like I do, I recommend you label them – you wont be able to see the batting when you’re done anyway.

If you’re doubling up your batting, pin the two layers together while you measure and cut so they don’t slip around. Then once the pieces are cut out, baste the layers together in the 4 corners of your cushion, that way the pins don’t get left in when you put it in the casing! Ouch!!

Step 2: Calculating the size of your casing fabric (yeah, math.)

Measure the height of your batting, mine was about 1″ tall.

This is how to calculate the size you need to cut your fabric to. Another way to think about it:

Length = (length of batting) + (Thickness of batting) + (seam allowance X 2)

Width = (width of batting) + (Thickness of batting) + (seam allowance X 2)

I used a seam allowance of 5/8″ since that’s pretty standard with patterns. This made my equation:

Length = 29″ + 1″ + (5/8 x 2)

Length = 29″ + 1″ + 1.25″

Length + 31.25″

If you don’t add on the thickness of your batting or the seam allowance, your batting will get all bunched up inside the casing and the cushion will be too small.

Step 3: Cutting Out and Pinning the Casing

Once you get your fabric cut out, go ahead and pin them together.

Make sure you pin right sides together (put the pretty sides of the fabric together so only the ugly sides show) and if you’re not used to pinning for a sewing machine, take a look at how the pins are oriented in the pictures above – the head sticks out and the pin points toward the center of the fabric. Pinning this way makes it easier to pull pins out as you sew and less likely for your needle to hit a pin if you miss one.

In the second picture, notice how there are four pins at the edge closest to the camera, two sets of doubled-up pins. This is where we’ll leave a gap in the sewing to turn the cushion right-side-out and put the batting in. Doubling up pins is my favorite way to remind myself to STOP SEWING.

Step 4: Sewing Machine Sewing

Sew around the cushion, remembering to use the same seam allowance that you factored in earlier.

Step 5: Ironing

Turn the cushion casing right-side-out. Trim the corners as shown above, this will make the corners nice and sharp. Iron all of the edges down.

Step 6: Stuffing and Hand Sewing

Go ahead and stuff that cushion cover like a sausage!! Alternatively, like a taco – it’s easiest to fold the batting in half and shove it in that way.

To sew up the open edge, I used a ladder stitch. Squishy-Cute Designs does a wonderful tutorial on this!

Step 7: The Velcro

Throw those cushions onto the bench and see how they look! When you’re done admiring, peel up where you want your velcro to go (I did all four corners) and put a pin in it.

Just on the sewable side of the velcro, measure how long you want your pieces to be, mine were 2.5″, then cut the velcro up.

Whip stitch that bad boy on! Holiday Crafts and Creations has some great instructions for a whip stitch.

Lay the other half of the velcro on top of the side you sewed onto the cushion and cut it to size. From here, all you have to do is peel off the clear backing to the velcro and stick it to your bench!

If anything’s unclear or if you have comments/suggestions, don’t hesitate to comment below!

Warmly,

EGinny