Washi alert!

Are you familiar with washi tape? If you like crafting of almost any sort, you need to be! Washi tape is a type of Japanese tape that is close to masking tape in that it feels mostly like paper on the outside and is removable/adjustable on most surfaces, but it comes in all kinds of pretty colors and patterns.

Washi Tape Rainbow

Most of the time, I can only find washi tape online or actually in Japan (I’ve been lucky enough to have a few business trips to Japan and have seriously stocked up), but office depot now carries a huge selection of washi tape and other pretty masking, packaging, scotch, and duck tapes! Below is just one area of the pretty tape section at the store I found them at in Austin.

Office Depot Washi Tape Display

And here’s what I came home with that trip:

Pretty Tape from Office Depot

This tape can be used for all sorts of crafts. Its great for cards and giftwrap. I’ve seen whole books about ways to use washi tape for gift wrapping! It can also be used to make jewelry, decorate picture frames, hang things on walls, and more. I have a whole pinterest board for washi projects if you want to browse more ideas!

Pinterest Washi Tape Ideas

p.s. office depot and scotch do not know I exist, and I’m certainly not being compensated for this post – I just really love cute tape!

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas & Free Printable Cards

Mother’s day is coming up – May 12! In case you, like me, are still trying to come up with something awesome to make for the mothers in your life, here’s a list of handmade ideas and inspiration!

DIY Mother's Day Gifts

  1. Wooden State Plaque – if you have access to something like a jigsaw, this would be a great project for a mom who is proud of her state/country!
  2. Lace Clay Dish – great for holding small items like jewelry, or just for display on its own!
  3. DIY Floor Mat – make a custom-sized floor mat for your mom’s kitchen or entry way to match her decor.
  4. Photo Blocks – can be arranged to show any of 6 pictures. Moms love photos of their kids!
  5. Clay Pot Critters – with spring just starting, these would be a great gift to put on a porch or in a garden.
  6. Self-Watering Seed Starter Pots – if you start soon, you could gift some cute little plants for a garden!
  7. Colored Vases – these pretty vases are easy and cheap to make (try goodwill for glass!), but are no longer water-proof, so try gifting them faux flowers (bonus – they last forever!)
  8. Embossed Metal Decor – a simple project that could be made with any design or quote.
  9. Terrarium Necklace – this would be a great gift for a mom who loves jewelry and gardening!
  10. Bath Bombs – these fizzy balls would be a great gift for someone who loves to be pampered!
  11. Cupcake Bouquet – for the mom who has everything (and isn’t on a diet!) try this adorable edible cupcake bouquet.
  12. Birds’ Nest Necklace – If your mom likes jewelry, try making her something like this fun necklace.
  13. DIY Infinity Scarf – it may (or may not!) be warming up wherever you are, but a gauzey infinity scarf would still be great for spring!
  14. Etched Glass – etching glass is surprisingly easy, and the possibilities are endless!

And to go with your gift, here are some great free printable cards!

Free Printable Mother's Day Cards

  1. I love this card from Make Merry Events – it’s the one I used last year!
  2. All four of these are from Pumpkins & Posies.
  3. This fun card is from Sweet Muffin Suite.
  4. This cheerful card is from Mufn Inc.

Surprise Lunch Message

I’ve been packing lunches for Eddie lately. I saw a neat idea for sending bananas in lunches via pinterest, and decided to try it out!

secret lunch message for bananas in packed lunches

All you need are a banana and a pointed-but-not-too-sharp object. The website above suggests using a toothpick, but I had better results using a mechanical pencil with no lead – just the plastic tip. You want to press hard enough to leave an indention, but not break the skin.

The top picture was really hard to take – it really is hard to see when you first ‘write’ on the banana. By the time your spouse/child/whoever you pack lunches for gets lunch, a nice, dark message has developed.

Some science fun – you know how banana skins get brown spots as they ripen? This is because of oxidation that occurs naturally as and is sped up when the skin or the whole banana is bruised. Bruising causes the banana to emit an enzyme called polyphenoloxidase which speeds up oxidation, and is the same enzyme that causes the brown color in coffee and tea! Basically, indenting the skin causes the same brown as those brown spots, only faster and exactly where you tell it to! This is not the same as rotting, and does not affect the part of the banana you eat underneath the skin.

Shiny Shells

My husband and I both really enjoy collecting seashells together. We have been growing our collection of shells found at the beach together, and have a few projects in mind for some of them – which started with these glass vase lamps we just finished for our bedroom:

Glass Vase lamp with sea shells

When we pick up shells at the beach, they’re almost always wet, which really helps the colorful ones look beautiful. When we get home and clean them off then let them dry, the colorful ones tend to have gotten duller, often with what looks like a white haze. I went looking for ways to bring back their shine and bright colors, and stumbled upon baby oil!

Using baby oil to clean seashells

Before using the baby oil, I thoroughly cleaned and disenfected my shells. I started by rinsing any debris off in the bathtub and soaking them in water for several hours. Then, I made a mixture of about 50% water and 50% bleach and soaked the shells in this for another 3-4 hours. Then I soaked the shells in clean water overnight and let them dry on a towel in the morning. Yes – this takes a long time. But most of the time is waiting for things to soak, and other things can be done in the mean time.

Using baby oil to clean seashells

I used precision tip Q-tips (which I love using for all kinds of things – they’re great!) to rub a thin layer of baby oil on the parts of the shells where I wanted to shine and/or bring out the color. It did a great job of removing the haze and dullness, and the effect remained even after it had dried! So far its been several weeks, and they are still looking great.

Apparently the mineral oil in baby oil is what actually does the trick – the baby oil I got lists mineral oil and fragrance as the only two ingredients. When I went to my drug store to find mineral oil, it was only available in large containers and for a higher per ounce price than the small 3 oz. container of baby oil I got – which was more than I will ever need.

Using baby oil to clean seashells

Sure, you can buy bigger shells at the store for not too much and leave out all this hassle. Eddie and I enjoy beachcombing though, and having pretty things we’ve found together around the house always brings smiles to our faces 🙂