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Sunday, February 28, 2010

A quick and easy apron for your Little Chef

If you have a "Little Chef" like me, you always need aprons for them to wear.  The one I recently made is obviously for a little girl, but they are easily made for boys too.  All you need is a plain or decorated kitchen towel, some ribbon, a little thread and a couple of minutes.  For this one, I ruffled the ribbon at the bottom and sewed it to the hem.  This particular towel already had the embroidered flowers!  Then fold in half, right sides together then fold the top half back up in half again to form the pockets.  Sew sides and pockets, add your ribbon for ties and any other decorations you like and your done!   Those of you lucky enough to have an embroidery machine, adding a name would be perfect.  

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Valentine idea to make for children

If you have children, then you have plenty of broken or partially used old crayons like the ones you see here.  Don't just throw them away, you can make fun shaped crayons your kids and their friends will love.  Just take a look at the ones I made for Valentines Day.  It works great for school , friends and they are a good alternate to candy!  Wonderful idea for birthday party bags, Christmas, Easter, etc.       
First, you will want to gather unwanted crayons.  Reach out to friends too.  Then remove paper wrapping and sort by color.   I like to reuse soup, fruit & vegetable cans for this.  Make sure the cans are washed and dried.    Fill the cans with like colors about 1/3rd to 1/2 full.
Place the cans in an 8x 8" pan (the deeper the better) filled about half full with water.  Place this pan on top of the stove on low heat until crayons are melted.  You may have to stir and some crayons will melt at different rates due to their composition.    I like to use bamboo skewers for stirring.

When hey are ready, they will look like the picture on the right.  Use a pot holder, "ove-glove" or some other protective holder to pick up the cans as they and the wax therein will be HOT.  Carefully pour into your mold and allow to cool.  After a few minutes you may notice a "well" or dip in the middle of the crayon created as it cools.  You can do a second pour  to level this out.

I like to use molds like these for crayons.  They are silicone ice cube trays and can be found at any "Dollar Store, " etc.  These work great as they make it easy to get the crayon out. If you have any difficulty removing the crayons, just put the tray in your freezer for a few minutes and they should pop right out.  Take an assortment of a few colors and put in a treat back or wrap with tissue and curling ribbon.  You can also give it with an activity book or coloring page, etc.

This craft also works for partially used candles.  Just add a wick shortly after you pour the melted candles.

Use your imagination, the possibilities are endless.  If you come up with a cute twist, please send me photos of your creation and I will share with everyone.

**********It should go without saying, but NEVER LEAVE CRAYONS Or CANDLES on ANY HEAT SOURCE UNATTENDED!  This craft is meant for ADULTS, or to be done with ADULT SUPERVISION.  **********************

Saturday, February 6, 2010

A few new purposes for that cereal box.

In our house we always have cereal and that adds up to lots of cereal boxes.  I thought I would share with you a few of the ways we make good use of this resource.  I know that all of you have cereal boxes that you throw out or recycle each week  just like this one.... ok, I'm pretty sure they don't make this kind any longer, but it's snowing and I want junk food.  (ignoring the fact that the magician looks like the devil!)

One of the things I like to do is take the empty box and cut the top off, using a straight edge cut about a 45 degree angle off each side and clip the front.  Then using glue and left over fabric (paper works too), cover the boxes to match the room or season.  These work great to toss daily mail in, hold on to coupon packs, or magazines.  Here are a few photos for you.  Of course you can decorate them until your hearts content with ribbons, buttons, etc.  

There are lots of other great things you can make that are fun too.  Let your imagination take off.  This will get you started:
Monster puppets ....                      gift boxes......                  

snow man....                                    houses or building blocks

Or cut them using some of the images on the front or back into these standard post card sizes, write your note, address and stamp.  You have a funny, or healthy, or game postcard to mail a quick message and they are less expensive to mail!
USPS Standards for sizes of a Postcard: 
• Maximum size is 6” long X 4 1/4” high
• Minimum size is 5” long X 3 1/2” high
If you have a particularly funny or pretty or informative image, cut it into a bookmark, punch a hole in the top and tie on your ribbon.  (kids love these).

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Enough already!

Enough is enough!  
According to the News and Observer, once again bloated Corporate America is making the employees pay for their bad decisions.  (Article listed below).  OK, I understand that the economy tanked, people and insurance companies balked at the ridiculous prices for some drugs, but is the answer to suffer those who actually are the back bone of your business?  How is that another Triangle employer SAS has literally "managed"  not ever to have had employee layoffs or reductions?  Perhaps the drug manufacturers could focus more on the outrageous salaries paid to the CEO's, CFO's, VP's, and Board Members.  A good idea might be not paying bonuses to Presidents, CEO's when they don't EARN them!  I know these are radical ideas, but I'm sick and tired of mismanagement by the top being overlooked or even rewarded.  Stop the insanity!  We as consumers, employees, or average citizens can not sit idly by being thankful it was not us.  We must demand that every other alternative must be taken before job cuts can even be considered.  When jobs (any jobs) are cut, or lost due to being "outsourced,"  we all feel the consequences.  Let these companies know it is not acceptable.  Write, e-mail or call them.  Also, write to our Gov. Beverly Purdue and encourage her to work with the companies to find alternative savings and revenue.
N&O article by Wolfe: "Drug maker GlaxoSmithKline, which has cut hundreds of Triangle jobs in the past two years, will announce another large round of layoffs Thursday when it reports its latest financial results, a British newspaper reports.GlaxoSmithKline employs about 5,000 people in this region, mostly at its North American headquarters in Research Triangle Park but also at a factory in Zebulon. GSK, which is based in London, has been slashing expenses under CEO Andrew Witty to offset slowing sales of best-selling drugs amid increasing competition from cheaper, generic medicines.Now the company is preparing to announce plans to eliminate 4,000 jobs, nearly half at its research hubs, one of which is at RTP, the Sunday Times of London reports. GSK "will scale down activities at research facilities in Britain, across Europe and in the United States as it builds its activities in emerging markets," the newspaper reports. The company employs about 100,000 worldwide."Some say the pharmaceutical industry has hit a wall, with the pace of new discoveries slowing and worries about the potential for price controls down the road," said N.C. State University economist Michael Walden. "Both these conditions would point to cost-cutting measures, and labor is usually the largest cost to cut."GSK's layoffs could hurt the Triangle's economy as researchers and scientists are thrown out of work."For every job lost, especially the high-paying jobs at companies such as GSK, it has a multiplier effect on the economy as that money is not circulated in this region," said W. Clay Hamner, a professor at UNC's Kenan-Flagler Business School. "The housing market gets weaker, the service sector loses customers, etc. ... It also affects demand for office space, air service, hotel rooms, restaurants, etc."GSK officials typically refuse to share detailed information on how layoffs affect its Triangle work force. Nearly a year ago, the company cut an undisclosed number of workers at a customer response center in RTP Company spokeswoman Mary Anne Rhyne declined to comment on the Sunday Times report, citing the "quiet period" that comes before quarterly and year-end results are announced."We have said that we are continuously seeking to simplify our business and ensure that we are positioned to meet the current and evolving needs of the marketplace," she said.GSK announced a first cost-cutting initiative in October 2007, eliminating thousands of jobs worldwide, and then it expanded that effort in February 2009. Hundreds of local employees have lost their jobs in those moves. The company sells products including the asthma treatment Advair, flu drug Relenza and smoking-cessation aid Nicorette. Under Witty's leadership, GSK has been buying promising new products and companies to bolster its pipeline of medicines. The company has been expanding in emerging markets such as India, where demand for new drugs is booming. "The testing and development of new drugs will be more profitable if developed there," Hamner said. "Also, research is cheaper and very good in places such as India today."In a recent setback for GSK, fourth-quarter sales of H1N1 flu vaccines weren't as brisk as anticipated. France and other countries reduced orders as the panic over a pandemic eased. Most other large drugmakers have taken similar cost-cutting steps in recent years. Last week, rival Astra Zeneca announced plans to slash an additional 8,000 workers.