Monday, April 7, 2014

Water Slide Decal Easter Eggs DIY Tutorial

Here is a great Easter project using printable water slide decal paper to create your own custom decals for Easter eggs.

With printable decal paper any image you desire can be put on an egg. Imagine the possibilities! Super heroes! Botanical prints! Victorian Easter Bunnies and Chicks! Mermaids! Woodland creatures! Circus! Flowers! Zombies! (I'm not gonna judge!)

I chose to go with pin up girl bunny images for my eggs however, because I can't limit or control myself (I want it all!!) I also picked a few silhouette images. Somehow these two random themes ended up going really well together.

For this project you will need:

Water Slide Inkjet Decal Paper 
Krylon Crystal Clear Acrylic Spray
Blown Out Eggs

You can purchase already blown out eggs or do them yourself.

Okay, let's get started!

Step 1
Find the images you want to use and place them in a word document. Resize the images to the size you want.
Here are some great free graphic sites where you can find images to use:
The Graphics Fairy
The Vintage Moth
Karen's Whimsy

Step 2
Print out the images as instructed  for your water slide decal paper. For mine it said to set the paper setting to "glossy photo paper" and use the "best" resolution setting. I would recommend printing two sheets so you have an extra of each decal in case of mistakes.

Let the printed sheet dry for 30 min. then spray it with a coat of the acrylic spray. You will want to do 2-3 coats of the spray allowing each coat to dry for 30-60 minutes.

Step 3
Cut each image out with scissors.

Step 4
Place the decal in a small bowl of warm water. As soon as you can feel the film start to loosen from the paper remove it from the water.
Note- My decal paper instructions said to leave the decal in the water 45-60 seconds until it starts to separate from the paper. However, I found it worked much better if I removed the decal as soon as I could start to slide it away from the paper. This was about 10-15 seconds.

Step 5
Slide the decal onto the egg by carefully pulling it off the paper backing.

Step 6
With your fingers carefully work the air bubbles out until you have a smooth flat wrinkle free decal. This step took some practice and patience. (This is where having an extra decal of each image comes in handy.) It took me quite a few tries to get a method down of stretching and smoothing the decal with my fingers to get it smooth and wrinkle free.

Step 7
Once all the air bubbles are gone rub over the decal with a dry q-tip or paper towel to dry it and firmly adhere it to the egg.

Step 8
Display and enjoy your eggs!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Mystery Of Sherlock's Missing Mom

My April Fool's resolution is to have a consistent schedule with blog posts. I don't know that April Fools resolutions are any less likely to happen than New Years resolutions so why not?

In the meantime here is little highlight reel to catch you up on my life this week. Cause lord knows you need that.

First Reid was almost murdered because of auto correct while we were discussing our upcoming move to Madrid:
He quickly assured me it was auto correct and I quickly assured him I never wanted to hear "big" and "SG" used together again. Now that I think about it I should have put a ban on the use of "walkies" too.

Speaking of death... Our pup Sherlock has come up with a very subtle way of letting us know he thinks he needs more food. He "dies" by his food bowl. It's pretty heartbreaking the poor neglected little thing. As you can see from his large pot belly we are clearly not feeding him enough.
Speaking of neglect... I have been very engrossed in a cool easter craft project (which I will do a post about) but apparently all this concentration on crafting has made me a bad mommy. Yesterday I looked up to discover this:
And less than 1 minute after untangling him from the miles of bakers twine he walked out on the balcony and came prancing back in carrying my new lantern in his mouth!
I'm sure my stopping instantly to photograph these naughty escapades taught him a lesson.

And finally here is a sneak peek of the Easter craft project that has been the cause my very poor parenting:
I made these eggs using inkjet water slide decal paper. In my next post I will put up photos of all the eggs I've made as well as a step by step DIY tutorial I'm working on so you can make some too! Please keep your fingers crossed that poor neglected little Sherlock will survive til then!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Custom Kitchen Aid DIY

Reid surprised me with a brand new kitchen aid the other day. After my squeals of glee I immediately did what everyone does when they get something brand new- started figuring out how to paint it. It wasn't the wrong color mind you it was red exactly as I wanted. Well, at least it would be exactly as I wanted as soon as I figured out how to paint a pin up girl on it. I have had this idea in my head ever since I saw a custom painted Kitchen Aid by Nicole Dinardo of Un Amore in a give away. (I didn't win.)

I wanted to do mine similar to this:

Although I found some great online tutorials on how to repaint an entire kitchen aid a solid color it seems the only way to get a custom painted design like I wanted is to have a professional artist like Nicole do it using an airbrush. Her work is amazing, but unfortunately out of my budget. Fortunately (or unfortunately) I'm extremely tenacious when I get an idea like this in my head so I kept searching until I found a solution! I discovered some clever crafty people have started making vinyl decals in all sorts of designs specificaly for customizing Kitchen Aids! You can find them for sale online at sites like Etsy or Ebay. They are inexpensive, easy to apply, and I was able to find designs to get exactly the look I wanted. 

I ordered some cherry decals from HensInDaisies on Etsy and these pin up decals from Amazon. (The pin up decals are actually made for autos, but I figured cars and Kitchen Aids are both metal so it should be just fine.)

I will show you how I did mine (and how you can too!) step by step:

1. You want to start with a clean kitchen aid. Any grease or residue will prevent the decals from sticking properly. I had an advantage here since mine was new. But if yours isn't just give it a good scrubbing. Once your kitchen aid is thoroughly clean wipe it down once with some rubbing alcohol or vinegar. 

2. Cut the decals out so you don't have a bunch of extra space around them.

3. Now the fun part! Plan out where you want each decal to go. I actually taped the decals on to do this so I was sure I liked the spacing and placement.

4. Now the really fun part! Start sticking! The auto decals were like a regular sticker. I simply removed the backing and stuck them on. I used a bone folder to smooth them down. (This is a tool I have because I'm a former librarian and a also a huge crafter. If you don't own one, no sweat. You can use a Popsicle stick or the handle of a butter knife or spoon.)

5. More Sticking! The vinyl decals come sandwiched between two sheets. To apply them first remove the heavy white backing. Now the decal will be exposed. Place the exposed decal side against the kitchen aid keeping the light wax top sheet still attached. Rub over the top of the wax sheet using a bone folder or Popsicle stick to apply the decal. (The fancy name for this step is called "burnishing.")

6. Now the funnest part! Slowly peel off the wax paper sheet. Tada! The decal will be perfectly affixed underneath!
I think it turned out great and I love that I was able to give it a custom look doing it myself and for under $30! Now it's your turn!

That's all there is to it!  See?  You can do that!

Here is my completed kitchen aid:

Monday, March 24, 2014

How Do You Say "Charge It!" In Indonesian

Jakarta Diaries 3:

Good news! The narrator on my Indonesian language lesson just promised me that by the end of the audio course I will be able to handle social situations with grace. I am pretty excited because I can't even do that in English!

I am now able to say in Indonesian: coffee, traffic, easy, and expensive. So I'm pretty much prepared for any situation.

Despite my obvious mastery of the Indonesian language I am struggling a bit with the currency. I have an app on my phone that converts rupiah to US dollars which helps, but it's when I hear the amount as opposed to seeing it written that really throws me.

Just this morning as Reid was on his way out the door he said,"I left ten thousand for you on the coffee table."

Ten thousand?! Instantly my head started swimming with visions of designer clothing and shoes. Mama gonna get her some Louboutins!
Imagine my crushing disappointment when I discovered ten thousand rupiah meant he'd basically left me milk money.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

What Would You Do For A Klondike Bar

Jakarta Diaries 2:
Today I went grocery shopping with Ibu Kasih, our maid. She speaks very little English and I speak even less Bahasa but I was somehow supposed to communicate to her what foods I would like or any dinner preferences I have. I followed along behind her and she picked everything with the exception of using charades, pantomime, whatever it took to communicate to her that I wanted a large Swiss Milk Chocolate bar when we passed the candy section. Oh, and I pointed at a papaya.

Traffic in Indonesian is insane. It can take two hours to go to the store one day and twenty minutes for the exact same trip the next. There are scooters and motorcycles everywhere and they carry anything and everything! I've seen chickens in cages, huge flat screen tv's and families of 4 on a single scooter.

Cars squeeze into any free crevice of space on the road and lanes seem to be regarded as more of a suggestion.

Yesterday on the way to pick Reid up from the Embassy, Pak, our driver, taught me my first word in Indonesian: "macet." (Traffic) Today when I said it Pak was absolutely thrilled. He broke into a huge grin, laughed, and said "Mrs. Stesi! I like! I very like!" and he gave me a coffee candy.

Then he started teaching me numbers 1-10 in Indonesian. When I repeated them back correctly he exclaimed enthusiastically, "Good! Good! Mrs. Stesi very smart!" Then he gave me another coffee candy.

I couldn't help but think of the Big Bang Theory episode where Sheldon starts feeding Penny chocolates to secretly train her by using positive reinforcement.

In other news it is a minimum of 89 degrees here morning, noon, and night. I am a hot mess at all times. Trying to put make up on a face already dripping with perspiration is pointless. My visions of frolicking about Indonesia looking something like a modern day tropical pin up girl have been replaced with the futile hope that the sweaty bangs plastered across my forehead won't dry like Alfa from the Little Rascals when I enter a building with air conditioning.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Beer Makes Everyone An Artist

As fun and exciting as travel is, living a life where you are constantly uprooted can be hard. To help with the adjustment it's important to get out, explore, and meet new people.

Although Reid and I know this is true it is very easy to fall into a pattern of school and study for one of us and lounging in yoga pants, watching Lifetime movies, baking scones, and forgetting to shower for the other. (One of us obviously knows how to do it right.)

To prevent us from becoming weird disconnected hermits while we are here in DC we have set a goal of going out and doing "something" twice a week. The "something" can be anything that gets us out but preferably something social and free (or inexpensive). Because I have the most free time (unless it's Tainted Love Tuesday on Lifetime) I am relationship cruise director and plan our outings for each week. One event I found that has been our favorite by far is Handi Hour at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Handi Hour is an ingenious combination of a craft night and happy hour. There are all-you-can-craft projects, live music, craft beer,  and food. This is all going on in a beautiful museum setting among incredible works of art!

Shrinky Dinks and friendship bracelets were the featured crafts for this month's Handi Hour.

Ordinarily I am not the greatest at setting goals. Or thinking ahead. Or being prepared. Or remembering where I parked my car. But when it comes to the important things in life, like crafts I am completely on it.

I searched online ahead of time for creative project ideas using Shrinky Dinks and found this amazing 3D layered ring design which I absolutely love. There was even a printable template and step by step tutorial.

The author said she chose her windmill landscape design because she lives in Holland. I decided to use the same inspiration and do a Washington DC design for my ring. I printed out a small DC skyline silhouette to bring and use as my template.

Reid, who is not a crafter, decided to help me on my ring. He picked the most detailed building of the three to cut out and did an amazing job!

We met a really nice couple sitting across from us. 

I liked them even though they were drawing professional looking Shrinky Dinks freehand. I felt much better after learning she is an art teacher. She also makes gorgeous purses, clutches and other leather goods. Take a peek at her work in her online shop!

Fortunately, all the time we invested slowly and meticulously cutting my rings out really paid off. The design turned out perfect!

Unfortunately, the sizing did not. Wow. Shrinky Dinks REALLY shrink don't they?

Crafting blunders and all we had a really fun night out. 

I love that there are more than just 20 somethings attending.
Remember making these?!
What events do you enjoy where you live?

Have any great ideas for low cost fun?

If you are in the DC area the next Handi Hour will be June 11.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Jakarta Diaries

When Reid first told me he was being sent to Jakarta, Indonesia for his first Foreign Service post I had no idea where that was. Literally none. Next to to math, science, organizational skills, time management, and self control around sugar and French fries, geography is my weakest subject.

So, of course, it makes perfect sense that I would end up in an environment where one of the common ice breakers when I meet people right after "what is your name" is to ask where in the world they are just returning from or preparing to go next.

I think I've got masking my blank stare into a knowing smile, nodding and saying something like,"Ah...yes Mauritius," down to a science. Sometimes I even add a delighted chuckle as if I'm reminiscing about a boat/scooter/camel ride across a lake/road/desert on my last trip to Mauritius. Then I politely excuse myself, run to the restroom and in the privacy of my bathroom stall frantically google "Mauritius."

It was armed with this geographical ignorance combined with never having traveled overseas, or even having a passport before, that I headed to Indonesia to join Reid.
(Love makes us do crazy, crazy things.)

The following is the first post in my series "Jakarta Diaries." These are writings from my experiences while living in "The Big Durian."  (I figure if you wanted purely facts you would be googling "Jakarta" from the privacy of a bathroom stall instead of reading my blog.)

Jakarta Diaries:

After 19 plus hours we arrived in Jakarta!
Although I was completely exhausted when we arrived it was impossible not to feel excited and have my head on a swivel as we drove from the airport to our house.

Jakarta seems like a place full of contrasts.
There are beautiful trees, tropical flowers, and lush green foliage under a polluted smog filled sky.
The landscape can go from rice paddies surrounded by tiny shacks built from mismatched scraps of painted corrugated metal sheets to a tall modern skyscraper in less than 20 feet.
As we drove through downtown Jakarta I saw barefoot vendors pulling dilapidated wooden street carts in front of high end shopping malls with stores like Cartier and Louis Vuitton.

Even the people here seem to be a contrast. Although most live in what we in the United States would consider extreme poverty, they are an extremely friendly, warm, and happy culture. Everyone smiles and seems genuinely good natured.

Woman are addressed as Ibu or Bu (pronounced Boo) and men are called Pak (pronounced Pock). Everywhere we I go I hear "Halo Bu!"

Reid told me his local staff at the embassy are almost all women (Bu's) and there were only two men on his staff. Only two Pak's. Get it?! Tupac?! 2Pac!!
Maybe it's funnier when you're ready to collapse from jet lag.

First Indonesian meal!