Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Throw A Tie-Dye Party with Tulip!

Tie Dye Party
I want to thank Tulip and Blueprint social for sponsoring this post. 

Every summer we take a trip back to the East Coast to spend some time with my family.  We are always looking for fun party ideas for when the whole group of us get together.  My parents live at the lake, so activities that you can do outdoors are always a priority.

Therefore when Tulip asked if I would be interested in hosing a Tie-Dye party so we could , I jumped at the chance.  (Who wouldn’t want to Tie Dye Your Summer?)

Tulip sent me their Super Big One-Step Tie-Dye kit and some white cotton t-shirts.  Along with some water, those are ALL the supplies you need for this activity.  The kits are all inclusive. 
Tulip one step tie dye kit
Tulips kits even include the table cover, gloves, rubber bands, dye and application containers.  (We also used a cookie drying rack to help prevent the dye from puddling up under the shirts, but that is optional.)
Instructions in the packaging explain how to achieve the different patterns you often see on tie dyed shirts.  Our favorite was the spiral, which is created by twisting the shirt like this:
Tie dye shirt twist
You secure the twist with rubber bands and then apply different colors of dye to each section (unlike dip dyeing, the tulip applicators are way less messy and easier to apply to specific sections of the cloth):
Tie dying shirt
Tie dyeing was great for everyone in the family.. Grandma, grandpa, mom, dad and all the kids could get in on the creations.
Tie dye party
Once the dye was applied we stuck the shirts in zip-top bags and allowed them to soak overnight. The longer they sit, the richer the color.

The next day we rinsed them and ran them through the washing machine.
Rinsing tie dye

Finally we line dried them (you could also use the dryer, but we loved seeing them on display, blowing in the breeze.)
Hanging tie dye to dry
When you hang them all, side-by-sdie you can really see the diversity of your designs: Tie dye shirts
I was impressed with the richness and color-fastness of the dyes.  Other times I have tie dyed with food coloring and other dye types, the shirts faded after the first wash, but that wasn’t the case with Tulip.

Coming up this weekend I am going to share the second part of this post where I repurpose some of these t-shirts!   But if you can't wait that long, you should visit some of these other bloggers on this campaign for their creative ides:

You also can find additional inspiration on the Tulip Tie Dye Website, their Facebook Page, Pinterest Page and Blog. And you can also find them on Twitter.

So what types of family activities have you been up to this summer?  Have you ever considered tie dye?

Monday, July 28, 2014

The 2014 BlogHer Conference Awards

BlogHer Conference Awards
So, if you follow me anywhere on social media (you know.. like here, or here, or here) , you are well aware I just spent my weekend at the 2014 BlogHer Conference in San Jose.

Normally I would not attend this mega-conference, but because it was right in my backyard this year I thought I would swing by. (I drove in every day, I didn’t need a hotel or anything.)  It was an.. say we say.. interesting.. experience.  After coming from the Haven Conference just 2 short weeks ago, I will admit that BlogHer had a lot to live up to.

I doubt I will ever attend another BlogHer conference unless it is in the Bay Area again, just because it was really NOT focused on experienced bloggers or anything to do with DIY.  It would be a great conference for a new blogger or anyone who blogs about women, kids, family, current events or lifestyle.  That is what the sessions and sponsors were focused on.

It isn’t that I had a bad time.. It was really quite fun, but I just didn’t feel like I could connect with a lot of the other attendees.  It was pretty much the polar opposite of my 2014 Haven experience, which was ALL about connecting with like-minded, similarly niched bloggers. I enjoyed many of the featured speakers and Voices of the Year, but I didn't feel like I got a lot out of the blogging sessions.  It was a lot more about 'entertainment' than it was about 'education' for me.

Okay.. enough of the negative!  I’ve learned that you don’t get anywhere by focusing on the negative, so instead of further discussion of why BlogHer wasn’t a great fit for me, I thought I would instead feature the stuff I DID love.  Without further ado, here are the:

2014 BlogHer Conference Awards  

Congrats to all the winners.. your checks are in the mail* 

Most Touching Moment:  Thank You Montage for Katherine Stone of PostparturmProgress

Friday, July 25, 2014

Decorate While Doing Good On A Grand Scale: Hands of Haven 2014

Today (July 26th) is the first ever one-day international event: Hands Of Haven

For the past 2 years the Haven Conference (and the bloggers who attended) have partnered with Habitat for Humanity and participated in a Habitat house build.  For 2014 a group of Atlanta-based bloggers will be working on a Habitat for Humanity house once again. But this year, Haven has gone even further and pledged to raise $5500 for this wonderful organization.

But participating in Hands of Haven day isn't limited to those Atlanta-based bloggers or even the bloggers who attended Haven. Everyone is welcome to participate.

If you want to be involved with this special event there are a few ways you can help. 

Setting up my Cutting Machine Work Station

Hidden silhouette work station

This post is brought to you by Sauder. All ideas and opinions are my own.

I recently posted about how I cleaned up the kids' play room using this flexible craft cabinet. And it was WONDERFUL having it down there in the playroom. The more I used it, the more I envied the flexible work space and the way it could so easily be disguised.

From the outside it looked like a plain buffet cabinet, but once you opened it up, the storage was fantastic:

But because I already had a fair amount of storage in the toy closet, and the fact that this was currently how my dining room table looked, I decided I could put it to EVEN BETTER use:
IMG 1958
Do you see that large black box and all the rolls of vinyl on the table? Why, those are all my Silhouette supplies. They were everywhere. I had the machine set up in the dining room table for all my quick projects, but it was a MESS.

So I decided I would re-purpose the craft cabinet for myself and get all this clutter out of the dining room (call me selfish, but I couldn't waste such a great find on my the playroom! :) )

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Come Tour Our Playroom!

I realized that I only gave you a partial tour of the play/family room when I posted about organizing it.   So I thought I would give you a quick tour of the whole room and show you how far it has come since we first moved in.

Here is what the MLS listing photo looked like when we bought the house.  Ahh yes, my beloved honey oak and brass!
Family room
And here it is on move-in day:
IMG 1862
I loved the built in cabinets around the fireplace, but that floating mantle and high-contrast natural wood wasn’t doing it any favors.

To update it, I painted the brass fireplace surround:

Monday, July 21, 2014

Updating A Vanity with A Custom Tile Backsplash

Custom Vanity Backsplash
During my recent trip to the Haven Conference, I stopped by my parents’ house and helped them with a couple of DIY projects they have been waiting to tackle.  One of them was upgrading the builder grade backsplash they had in their master bathroom.

The bathroom is beautiful, but my mom wanted to unite the tile work in the shower with the other side of the room.  Since she had pencil tile leftover from the shower construction, we decided we would use it for a new backsplash.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Ten Brussels Sprout Recipes for People Who Don't Like Brussels Sprouts

10 Recipes for Brussels Sprouts for People Who Don't Like Sprouts (But after this.. they will LOVE THEM!)
Any long term follower of my blog will know I have become a HUGE fan of brussels sprouts, and anyone who knows me in real life knows that is a SHOCKING fact because I am not usually a fan of anything green.

But since I learned a few tricks in preparing them, they are now one of my 'go to' veggies of all time! Yes.. OF ALL TIME!!  Therefore, for today's flashback friday I thought I would share a few awesome Sprout recipes.  Since if you haven't tried them prepared with brown sugar and bacon, well.. you are doing it wrong.

The key to a good sprout is to not have them be mushy.. since mushy is bleck.  Crispy is great (Hey I can even choke down Kale if it is crispy.)

Here is my trick for getting them crispy in the oven:

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

What is Haven? What Makes It Special?

 Phew.. I have finally returned from my extended Haven vacation, and in my typical style I'm late getting my recap post up.   We decided to take a few extra days sightseeing in Washington DC and so I am only getting home now.  Originally I was going to write up my recap earlier, but another experience got in the way (and I'm glad it did.)