Bubble Wrap Window Insulation

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Because we live in a house with single paned windows– unless we want to crank the heat up to ridiculous– it can get a bit nippy in some of the basement rooms, especially at night…especially in the Bald Kid’s room. Since he’s still hanging out on the other side of the earth, I figured this would be as good a time as any to toast the room up a bit. I do wish that I’d found this idea last November, instead of now…when it’s getting warmer. But you can’t know what you don’t know until you know it. Right?

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I saw a guy on YouTube insulate his windows with Bubble Wrap and so I thought I’d try it. Seemed to make sense and if it didn’t work, I could still play with all that bubble wrap in the end. :} Staples had much smaller packages than this but it was either $12 for 50 ft. or $17 for the mother load 175 ft.

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 I guess you can see what I did. A bus load of Bubble wrap for EVERYONE!!

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First measure your windows from the top to bottom and cut out the bubble wrap to fit.

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I got really good at this part and started cutting several out at one time.

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Next, either spray your windows down with a squirter bottle or just get them all soppy with a wash cloth.

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Now, taking the wrap, place it bubble side to the window and just gently press it up there. I swear it’s like magic and just sticks.

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Repeat with enough wrap to cover the whole window.

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I just went straight over the middle latch section…

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and it worked just fine.

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More…and more. The room was getting warmer as I worked.

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Lastly, I just tucked the end of the piece right into the side of the window frame.

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The guy on YouTube said that this will usually stay in place for about 3 weeks and all you have to do to replace it is spray the windows again and stick it back up.

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Two windows took exactly 22 minutes to insulate from start to finish and cost about $1 per window. When the really warmer weather comes, just peel it off and save it till fall. Oh, and of course, there’s no sticky tape leftovers to deal with either.
Feeling pretty darn clever right this minute.

And warmer too.  :}

Button Bauble Bracelet

If you happen to be an unabashed button freak–like me–then, you, my darling, are about to be very happy. Perhaps even squealing with delight will be in order. Wanna play with all those buttons–you know you have a stash–and have a pretty little bracelet when you’re finished?

I thought so.

First, choose your color pallet. Mine will be pinks, purples and black…because I barely know any other colors exist.  Ask my kids.   :}

I’m using a few newer buttons and a ton of vintage ones because they are gorgeous and they’ve been cooped up long enough. It’s time they went out on the town.

All you need for this lovely project is:

A piece of 1/4 inch elastic–the size of your wrist + 3/4 inches

Some thread– I used embroidery floss because it was the perfect color and, well, I liked it.

Buttons–a little pile of them

First sew your elastic together–

by machine or by hand…either way.

Now the fun part–start sewing on those buttons. Any order. Stacked or alone. Be sure to let them overlap just the tiniest bit so that the elastic stays hidden when you wear it.

Knot each button separately so that if you ever have to replace one–it will be easy.  Keep going around the elastic until the last button meets the first.

Now then, don’t you just have the most adorable bracelet on earth? And just imagine the possibilities–a new bracelet for every outfit…quick and easy Christmas presents…thank you gifts…kids party favors…you get the picture.

And the best part is–quite likely, you didn’t spend one thin dime.

Wait–I think I hear squealing.

And rightly so.

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Hula Hoop Tutorial

No, no. I’m not going to show you how to use a Hula Hoop. That would be incredibly humiliating for me and extremely unpleasant for you. No, no–I’m going to show you how to make your very own Hula Hoop. And not one of those silly things that bend the first time someone blinks at it–but a very sturdy, lasts-nearly-forever one. Beat that.

All you need are three simple things:

Polypipe

Connectors

Duct Tape

I went to Home Depot and asked for 10 feet of Polypipe and the man said, “Sorry ma’am. It only comes in 100 ft. rolls.”

Wow. Luckily, it was only $13.00 for the whole 100 foot roll. That’s enough to make 10 Hula Hoops! What a great activity for a little kids birthday party, huh?

Ask the nice HD man to give you 1 connector for each hoop you want to make. They cost about 65 cents each.

Directions:

Measure out about 10 feet of pipe and cut it. If you have pipe cutters, that works best. I didn’t have any handy so I used a bread knife. Be really careful to cut only the pipe!

Dip one end of the pipe in boiling water to soften it up a bit…

then press the connector in and push it to the middle line.

Now do the same thing with the other side–warm it then push it on to the other side of the connector until you almost can’t see the connector at all anymore.

Now tear strips of duct tape and wind it around your hoop. This will add a bit of extra weight and will make your Hula Hoop dang cute.

Keep winding until you have covered the whole hoop and don’t worry about wrinkles in the tape–you’ll never notice them.

Now I’d love to show you our adorable Hula Hoops in action, but alas, Chompy is only 2 and wasn’t quite sure what we wanted her to do so you’ll have to use your imagination.

But be aware…

they do make nice Fairy Rings for the Wood Sprites.

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Music Stick Tutorial

We’ve always loved hands-on toys around here. You know, the kind that you have to interact with to get it to work. So, I knew when I saw a picture of this pretty little “music stick” that we’d need to give it a try.

The idea is so simple, a two-year-old can use it. It works like this…

Your child slides the washers up to the top of the threaded metal rod then lets them go.

As the washers spin and twirl down to the bottom, they make a lovely, tinkling sound–almost like a rain stick–only softer. Quite pleasant, really.

Now the really nice part. It went together in less than 5 minutes. No kidding. Seriously, the hardest part for me was walking in to Home Depot and trying to act like I knew what I was doing. I finally just handed the list to one of the workers and they gathered up all the stuff for me.  :}

You’ll need:

1/2 by 4-inch threaded eyebolt
Teflon plumber’s tape

1/2 inch all-thread rod, 24 or 36 inches long

1/2 inch coupling nut

1/2 inch locknut

10-15 1/2 inch washers

Directions:

1. Wrap a piece of Teflon tape around the end of the eyebolt and both ends of the rod. This will help it all stay screwed together over time.

2. Take the eyebolt…

and screw it to the coupling nut.

3. Screw the rod to the other end of the coupling nut.

4. Slide the washers onto the rod.

5. Secure the locknut to the bottom–and you’re finished.

Now hang it from a post or tree or–in this case–the top of my canopy bed, and turn the kiddos loose with it.

They’ll be enthralled, captivated, amazed and surprised at just how fun it is to play with.

So will you.

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T-Shirt “Yarn” Tutorial

I know what you’re thinking–you’re thinking, “t-shirt what?” You heard me. I said, T-shirt yarn. Get a load of this…

Oh, yeah…it’s cotton “yarn” made from a spiral cut T-shirt. I first saw this done over at Polka Dot Pineapple and was intrigued because, well…

does everyone on earth have a huge pile of orphan T-shirts that nobody wears, but they can’t seem to part with…

or is it just me?

So let’s get real green and do something useful with some of them…shall we?

Start with a regular t-shirt that has lived a good life…no guilt now. It’s going on to a better place…really.

Cut off the bottom hem.

Now cut the top off just under the sleeves…

so you have a tube of fabric.

Fold it nearly in half, leaving the under side sticking out about an inch.

Now cut from right to left all the way up to and just past the top fabric, but leave the one inch margin of the lower fabric uncut. Repeat about 1 inch apart. Now unfold the fabric…

it should look like this.

The easiest way for you to hold the fabric and cut it into one continuous strip is to slide your arm through the two layers of fabric 1 inch uncut margin running along the top of your arm. I drew dotted lines  showing where you’ll cut your fabric–but you don’t need to draw the lines. You’ll be amazed at how fast you can figure this out and it’s really fun too, and for some reason deeply satisfying.

If you need more instructions click HERE for a sweet little diagram and bag pattern.

When you’re finished cutting, you’ll have one long, long, strip of fabric. Are you ready to make it more “yarn” like? Here goes!

Going down the entire length of your fabric, take a hold of it by one end and gently stretch it. It will magically curl up and behave it’s self just like it should. Very obedient stuff, I tell you.

Next, roll it into a ball and think of the stuff you can knit or crochet or weave with it. I’ve seen trivets, handbags and rugs…

but that color is too…too…orange not to be used properly.

Fear not. I’ll show you as soon as it’s finished. In the meantime–

go dig out the old shirts. The stack’s about to shrink.

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Oh, do come enter our EASY “Melissa & Doug Summer Toys” $75 giveaway! We need 200 entries by June 3rd 2011. Please, please–spread the word!