Sunday, August 24, 2014

A Hot Little Gift

In preparation for an administrative meeting in lovely La Quinta, I was given the task of making little take-aways for all the attendees.  Found an idea online - a Tapatio party favor!  Perfect for La Quinta!!

My husband, bless his heart, hit several hispanic markets in our neighborhood and bought about 70 bottles of Tapatio.  With some scrapbook paper, twine, my handy dandy paper punch and a few wooden beads, it was a snap to put together the little gifts.

Here they are "in action"!

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Start with a MS Word document and create a circle.  If you're using a paper punch, measure the diameter of the punch and then enlarge your circle to the same measurement.  Put a text box in the center of the circle and add your text.  Cut the circles by hand, use your punch, or whatever other tool you have to cut circles.  I did the white text, a red circle that was slightly larger and then a green circle that was still larger.

Glue everything together and punch a hole in the top.  Cut a length of twine that is a couple of feet long.  Fold it in half, push the fold through the hole and draw the ends through the loop.  Secure the circle to the bottle by wrapping the twine twice around the neck of the bottle.  Tie in a bow and add wooden beads to both of the ends.

I had a few of the bottles left over after the event, so I did some new labels celebrating the hard work of our amazing custodians and gave them a little thank you as well.  Easy, useful, and HOT!! 

Gifty Jars


My daughter put together some thank you gifts for her colleagues at the school where she teaches.  She wrote a personal message to each one and added that to the jar.  She put in items such as tea bags, pens and candy.  They were very touched by the thoughtful gift!  She used scrapbook paper for the lids and the notes.

During the summer, as the counselors and admin tried to prepare for the beginning of school, there were lots of changes that made it a bit stressful.  The 13 or so administrative changes within the district created a domino effect that rippled through most of the schools.  We had a few admin changes at my high school, but also some teacher changes as well.

Change is usually pretty benign - we all go through it pretty much unscathed, but this year was a bit different.  I likened it to being hit by a wave - just as you get your head above water, another one rolls through.  We all pulled together and finished everything we needed to get done and were ready for those kids to arrive on the first day.  But it wasn't easy - a lot of extra time was spent by many people behind the scenes to make everything fit together.  But that's the ultimate goal - to make it look like it was no sweat!

I was looking for a way to say thank you to those folks.  Cupcakes came to mind, but we've all been (stress) eating way too much lately!  So, a browse through Pinterest gave me the idea for a canning jar thank you.

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I started out with quart size jars.  These are big enough to hold pretty much anything.  The one on Pinterest held some markers and other office supplies.  A dozen of these are about $10 at Walmart.  At Michael's, they're a lot more expensive.

I bought little packages of Oreos and York Peppermint Patties.  I bought some silk flowers and found some cute pens and some little labels at Michael's.

I used MS Word to draw a 2 1/2" circle.  I "filled" it with black and used a chalkboard font in white to do the lettering inside the circle.  When cut out, these fit perfectly in the top of the lid (no glue necessary).  I also used a stencil to cut out two hearts for each jar.  These would go on the ends of the twine bow.

Next, is the fun part.  Fill the jar and put on the lid!  Take twine and wrap it twice around the lid, tie a bow.  Punch small holes in the hearts, slip each end of the twine through the holes and make a knot. Done!  Wouldn't these make cute Halloween gifts?  Christmas gifts?    What fun!!

P.S.  If you haven't done this yet, go to the 99 cent store and buy a sugar jar.  Put your twine in the jar and run the end out the hole in the lid.  Makes using twine so much easier!

BIG Chalkboards!

We recently hosted our all-district beginning of the school year meeting at my high school.  It was a tremendous amount of work to get the site ready - our custodians and IT guys were AMAZING!  My principal wanted to have everyone feel welcome when they first walked on campus.  In addition to the 90 flags that our district guys put up, the ASB kids cheering each group of people walking in, an amazing array of baked goodies from our Food Services folks, we had two 3' x 4' chalkboards.  My principal threw out the idea of making a couple, and of course, with chalkboards being my latest obsession, I jumped on it!

My husband had some leftover MDF boards and some 2 x 4's stacked in the garage, so we were ready to go!

The drawings were freehand - I just used a yardstick to draw chalk lines to guide the lettering and tried to imitate some cool fonts I found on the internet.  It was really relaxing to do the chalk part.  I know this fad will disappear at some point in the future, but I sure am enjoying it while it's "cool"!!

There are versions of these that are framed and two sided.  I think that if you need something inexpensive and simple and if it doesn't matter that the back side isn't "pretty", this style would work fine.

Scroll down for directions and an UPDATE!

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Start with whatever size board you want.  Paint with chalkboard paint.  I used the brush on kind rather than the spray paint and did three coats.

Cut a 2x4 about 3/4ths of the height of the piece of plywood.  Lean the board on the 2x4 and on the back, mark where you want the hinge to be.

Attach the hinge.  Make sure you use screws that are shorter than the depth of the board, otherwise they will pop through.

Coat (prime) the board with chalk.  I started with sidewalk chalk thinking it would go faster, but it was a FAIL.  It is not as smooth as the regular chalk and it made scratches on the paint. I did another coat of paint to cover them up.

Rub the entire surface with a soft cloth.  I used a microfiber (clean) dusting cloth.

Now it's ready to write on!  Because we are going to use these over and over, I wrote with chalk rather than paint.  Either one would work fine however.

Here are the boards in action!

A colleague asked to use the board for her wedding.  It was the first time that I used a chalkboard pen (I highly recommend it!).  Here is the result: