block puzzle

Hey guys…things are still crazy around here.  We are finally starting to get things put back together in our home. Yeah! But we still have a LOT of work ahead of us.  I hope to share an update later in the week if you are interested.  But, in the meantime, I wanted to share with you a fun idea for making a fun Photo Block Puzzle.

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These have been around for a while but I was reminded of them when my mom made one of these with a group of her church friends.  Hers was much larger and the blocks are about 3 inches (I think) each. I thought it would be fun to make one on a much smaller scale and  make one of them for my kids or to give as a gift to someone.

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So I found some 1 inch craft blocks at my local craft store.  They came in a large package of several of them for just a couple of dollars. 

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Then I found a box that measured 2 inches x 3 inches. So that six 1 inch blocks fit almost perfectly into the box.

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Then I found 6 pictures that I wanted to include on my block puzzle.  One photo for each side of the block.  So you have essentially 6 different photo puzzles.  I loaded the photos into my photo program and cropped them so that they measured 2 x 3 inches each.

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I tried to make sure that the lines I would be cutting on would not cut through any important details of the picture.  This will help it so that the final picture will not be distorted.  Then I glued the pieces on the puzzle with Matte finish Mod Podge.

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Then I simply rotated the blocks all in the same direction and then added another photo.  I continued that process and tried to make it so that the photos were on the same plane…if that makes sense.  Either way it will work out.

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When you are finished, every block will have one piece of each puzzle on it.  And you literally have six fun photo puzzles to play with in a nice little box.

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These would be a great activity for your little ones in church with faces of the people they love.  Or a fun way to ask someone to a dance…do they still do that in high school?  Or to give to someone as a small gift idea.  There are so many fun ways these could be used.

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What would you make one for and for who?

*And I would like to thank Kristen Duke for our fun family photo.  It is from 2010 but is still one of my favorites!

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Chalk Board mug gift

I am always looking for a fun and inexpensive gift idea for a teacher or friends.  Now, there is nothing new and exciting about a mug with candy in it…unless that mug has a fun chalkboard label on it.  I saw something similar while perusing the aisles of Target one day.  It had been three weeks since I had been there…THREE WEEKS!  So I was getting my Target fix and saw a Chalk Board Mug. So what is a crafty girl to do? Yep! I made my own.

Chalk-Mug

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Target was even kind enough to have some different colored mugs on sale for $1.99.  So I snagged a couple.  Here is how I made mine.  I cut out a heart shape from my vinyl collection.  Contact paper will work well too.  Make a stencil in the shape or design of your choice.

Chalk-Board  Make-Your-Own-Personalized-Mug

Then I used some Folk Art Bake-On Enamel Paint in Engine Red.  I mixed it with some Non-Sanded Grout to Make Chalk Board Paint.  You can find the recipe for that here:

Make Your Own Chalk Board Paint

Make-Your-Own-Chalk-Board

Then I simply painted a couple coats of it onto the mug and baked in on low heat in my oven for an hour to set the paint.  So easy.

Valentines-Mug

Prime the chalk board paint by rubbing the side of a piece of chalk onto it first and then wipe off the chalk.  This should prime your chalkboard label so that you can write new messages to your hearts content. (pun totally intended)  I also put the word “love” on the other side of the mug using the same process as above.

Love-Mug

A super easy and inexpensive gift idea.  Spruce it up by adding a gift card to Starbucks or attach a package of your favorite hot cocoa mix…or…my personal favorite…fill it with CHOCOLATE!

Oh…and where did I get that adorable framed picture?  That would be from the talented and lovely Lara from Less Cake, More Frosting!  You can purchase your own copy of it in her shop Announced Design.  There are a lot more where this came from.

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This post is dedicated to a week-long series with some other bloggers and shop owners: Gina from The Shabby Creek Cottage, Kellie at Nest of Posies, Liz from Hoosier Homemade, and Charlotte from The Paper Cupcake!

On Monday, Liz her adorable Pink Lemonade Pies and a giveaway for The Paper Cupcake. On Tuesday, Gina shared her fun Valentine Mantel and a giveaway for Baybee-Dahl Boutique.  Wednesday, Kellie from Nest Of Posies made some darling Valentine Envelopes.

We have also set up a Pinterest Board for Valentine’s Week if you are as addicted as I am.

And…if that is not enough…come back tomorrow when we share an amazing Valentine Printable from The Paper Cupcake! Just wait till you see it! Love it!

Need some more Valentine’s Day Ideas? Check out these past Idea Room Valentine’s Ideas.

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DIY Christmas gift

Need a last minute DIY Christmas gift? Today you can print out this already made template for either soap or sanitizer bottles.  This is one of my very favorite gifts to give.  This gift is perfect for when you have to give out gifts to teachers, neighbors and friends.  They are pretty easy to make and inexpensive. And I love that they are totally practical especially in this season of germs.

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The other thing I love about these is that you can totally customize them in any way, shape or form and for any season.

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Instructions:

1. Remove the label(s) from your bottle.

2. If there is any sticky residue left, you can easily remove it using some Goo Gone.

(I picked mine up from Home Depot)

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3. If your bottle has an insert inside you can remove it with some tweezers.

4. Print out the Christmas Soap insert here.

5. Print it using a laser printer onto your transparency film.

If you do not have a laser printer you will need to print it out and then copy it onto your transparency film. If you do not do this your ink will end up running and falling off into the soap or the hand sanitizer. You can take it and have it printed at your local copy store as well.

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6. Measure your bottle and cut your transparency so that it will fit into the bottle. Be sure to measure it on the top and bottom so that it sits where you would like it to…INSIDE THE BOTTLE!

7. Roll your transparency backwards and slide it into the top of the bottle. Push it into place so that it sits right against the front wall of the bottle. You can use the soap dispenser pump to push it into place.

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Christmas Soap Bottles Download

Such an easy gift that people can really use.  I love to make these up and give them to my kid’s teachers along with a gift card, but I use Hand Sanitizer instead of liquid Hand Soap.  The teachers always seem to enjoy them as they go through a lot of hand sanitizer in their classrooms.  Here are the links to the other versions of them that I have previously shared.

Thanksgiving Soap/Sanitizer Bottles

Monogrammed Hand Sanitizer

Hand in Hand Sanitizer

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I also wanted to take a minute and wish you all a very Merry Christmas, Chanukah, Boxing Day, Kwanzaa, Holiday, etc.  Only 2 more sleeps till Christmas!! I wish all of you a happy and safe holiday with family, friends and loved ones! I feel so grateful everyday for this blog and for each of you who follow along! I am truly blessed!

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Santa Pops

Have you been waiting for the Christmas version?  I hope so…cause I am sharing my latest Oreo Pop with you today…the Santa Pops!

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1.  Insert your popsicle stick or sucker stick into your Double Stuft Oreo Cookies.

2.  Line a pan with parchment or wax paper.

3.  Melt your Red Wilton’s Candy Melts in 20 second intervals in the microwave.

4.  “Dip” your Oreo’s into the melted candy.  In the past I have been saying to *DIP* your Oreos and several of you were having difficulty with them staying on the stick during the dipping process.  I realized that I was actually pouring the chocolate over the over with a spoon while holding the Oreo over the cup of melted chocolate.  Just turn the Oreo around as needed so that the chocolate is completely covering your entire Oreo and the stick.  Hopefully this will help some of you who were having difficulty.  Sorry for the confusion.

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5.  Place the candy covered Oreo onto the wax paper.

6.  Take a piece of black licorice {I used Twizzlers} and place it near the bottom of the Oreo.  The hardened chocolate will hold them it in place permanently.

7.  Take three white round sprinkles down the Oreo for the buttons of Santa’s shirt.

8.  Squeeze some white frosting along the bottom of Santa’s shirt.

8.  Quickly pop the tray of Oreos into the freezer just to set the chocolate.

9.  When the chocolate has hardened (should only need a few minutes) remove the tray from the freezer and add the belt buckle.  (A strip of yellow Laffy Taffy shaped into a buckle).

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This makes for a pretty fun party treat or as a gift for a classmate.  The possibilities are endless for these Oreo Pops.  I am a woman obsessed.  But…I must admit…I am a bit sick of them.  I don’t eat them anymore.  I just make them for the fun of it and then I give them away!  What do you think?

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Need some other Oreo Pop ideas?

Check out some of these past Idea Room ideas…

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Minnie and Mickey Mouse Oreo Pops

Frankenstein Oreo Pops

Eyeball Oreo Pops

Snowman Oreo Pops

Snowman Oreo Puddles

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Easter Bunny and Duck Oreo Pops

Graduation Oreo Pops

Apple Oreo Pops

Reindeer Pops

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Turkey Oreos

Bat Oreo Pops

Pumpkin Oreo Pops

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Gift Games—Tic Tac Toe

Want a really easy gift game idea for your kids friends or for your neighbors this Holiday season? How about this simple but fun Tic Tac Toe game? This portable, magnetic game is perfect for taking on road trips, restaurants or appointments to help pass the time for your restless little ones…or let’s face it…yourself.  Want to know how I made it so you can make one to?  I thought so…

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As part of the Martha Stewart Holiday Paint Campaign sponsored by Plaid, I was sent an amazing collection of paints, stencils and brushes from Martha’s new paint line! It was like Christmas morning! So many great products for creating so much creative goodness.

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For this project, I used a couple of the paint products—Martha Stewart’s White Satin Paint and Martha Stewart’s Magnetic Paint. I used many of the various sized paint brushes they sent me and some fun Letter Stencils.  You will also need some magnets, a wooden plaque and some round wooden 1 inch buttons which I was able to pick up at Lowe’s.

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Take your wooden plaque and paint three coats of the magnetic paint onto the front of it.  I painted just up to the edge of the plaque.  I followed the directions on the back of the magnetic paint label and painted one coat at a time and let it dry for an hour before painting each additional coat.  You will want to add at least two layers of the paint so that your magnets will hold well.  Then I let it dry for 24 hours.

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While the magnetic paint was drying, I painted the wooden buttons using Martha Stewart’s satin white paint.  I loved this paint.  It was so thick and smooth.  It only took a two coats and the finish was so smooth and pretty.  After they had dried completely, I stenciled the letters x and o with the Martha Stewart Letter Stencils onto the white buttons.  I made a total of 10 buttons and made 5 o’s and 5 x’s.  When they are dry glue some magnets to the bottoms using some E6000 glue.

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Then I painted the edges of the plaque with a coat of black paint.  This will show up under the white when I sand and rough up the edges for a nice distressed look.  When the black paint is dry, use the white satin paint again to cover up the black and to give your plaque a nice finished look.  I only painted around the sides and edges of the black as I added some fun patterned paper on the top.

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Attach the paper with some Mod Podge with a layer underneath and a layer on the top to adhere and protect the paper. I prefer the matte finish Mod Podge.

When it has dried completely you can take a piece of sand paper and rough up the edges to give it a fun, distressed look.

Pretty simple and makes for a fun, homemade inexpensive gift idea.

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And…that is not all…if you want you can change it up and turn it into a fun little photo display or recipe holder…

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Personalized Product Spiral Notebooks

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Need a quick and easy project?  Make some notebooks (big or little) a bit more fun.  We have all seen the notebooks that you can dress up with scrapbook paper and a little bit of Mod Podge…why not reuse some cardboard from the boxes of some of you and your families favorite products?  Anything will work…cereal boxes, soda can boxes, or twinkee and hostess cupcake boxes or even some of the movie sized candy boxes! 

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Take some spiral bound notebooks, which should be easy to find this time of year with the back to school sales going on.

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Unbend one end of the wire spiral so that it is smooth and flat on the end and gently untwist it from the top of the notebook.  This turned out to be pretty easy.  Just be sure to firmly hold the notebook papers with your other hand so they stay lined up nicely so you can add the wire again when finished.

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Remove wire completely and set aside.  Take the old notebook cover and place it over your cardboard box and determine exactly what you would like your new cover to be.  Trace around it with a pen or marker.  Cut out the cardboard piece.  Place the old cover on top of the new cutout cover and mark with your pen where to make the holes.  Then take a large sewing needle and gently punch a hold through each of the marked dots.

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Place your new cover over the top and hold all the papers so that they are lined up.  Insert the spiral wire back into the holes and gently twist the wire so that it encompasses all the papers and works over to the other end of the notebook.  Gently bend the two end pieces of wire back in.

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And that is it!  Such an easy 5 minute project.  I think these would be a fun gift for your kids friends or for your kids themselves.  It is so easy that most kids could help make them too.  And who doesn’t like to make something that is unique and fun and represents something that they enjoy?

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What kind of notebook would you make for yourself and/or kids?

Linking up here:

Thirty Hand Made Days

Tidy Mom

DIY Soda Can Coasters

Well, Summer is in full swing here now.  Kids are home all day and we are enjoying the more relaxed schedules.  I am heading out tomorrow to attend the annual MDA Summer Camp I have been involved with for several years.  I shared a little bit of my experience with the camp last year here.  I have been a volunteer camp counselor (group leader) over a group of kids with Muscular Dystrophy and their volunteer helpers.  We basically are there to get them where they need to be and doing what they should be doing while having fun the entire week.  I LOVE it!  So I am busy getting my family ready for Grandma to come and spend the week with them and watch them while I am at camp!  I am hoping to pop in occasionally and share some pictures with you from the camp.

But today I have a new little project for those of you who drink your beverages out of a can or know someone who does.  These will also be a great gift idea for Father’s Day…Soda Can Coasters.

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Yes…that is my favorite drink of choice…that I no longer drink…Boo!  Getting to old to be drinking my calories!  But I can still enjoy looking at it when I place my ice water on my lovely new coasters!

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Simply empty out some cans of your choice and rinse them out with water.  Then take some tin snips and very carefully cut off the top and bottom of the can.  This can be a bit tricky.  **But be very careful as these cans are super sharp!!!!  I suggest wearing garden gloves while cutting to help give you extra protection.  I reenacted these photos because the gloves were not so pretty in the pictures…cause we all know how important that it!  Be sure to save as much of the flat part of the side of the can so that you can get a nice size square for your coasters.  Then cut down the seam of the can.  Most cans will have a definite seam on the side…usually by the ingredient list.

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Then I took some Silicone and put a good amount on the back of the square.  I then attached them to some simple white tiles that measured 4 by 4 inches.  I found them at Home Depot in the tile aisle and I believe they were 16 cents a piece.  Flatten and rub the tin square so that it is securely attached.  Wipe any excess Silicone off the top of the tile with a damp warm cloth. 

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Then I set a paper towel on the top of it and laid a pile of books on it and let them dry over night!  The next day I took a small paint brush and painted some glossy varnish over the top of it to seal it all off so that the edges would not peel up and to protect the edges from poking or scratching any users of the coasters.

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Then simply place some felt pads on the bottom of the coasters to protect your table top from getting scratched!

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Aren’t they fun?  I think they would be great to have in your TV room or game room.

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And did I mention how inexpensive they are to make?  Pennies per coaster!  Really!  And you are recycling with a purpose!

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So go ahead and whip some of these bad boys up!  One of the perks of this recent project was that I HAD to have one last drink.  Really!  There were no empty cans to be found!  And I enjoyed every last drop.  Who knows, I just may HAVE to make a LOT more of these coasters to give to ALL my friends and family!

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What do you think?  If you were to make some, what aluminum cans would you use?

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Teacher Appreciation gift

Okay…since this week is teacher appreciation week, I thought I would share a quick,

easy and inexpensive gift that you can make if you need a last minute idea.

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I whipped up some personalized erasers that you can give to your kids teachers to let them know how much you appreciate them. 

The fun part with these is that they are practical too.  Who doesn’t need an eraser?

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I purchased these erasers from Target. 

Then simply came up with some synonyms for the word “mistake” and printed them out on some vinyl to make a stencil. 

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Painted them with some acrylic paints.

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If you have any paint smudges they can simply be erased with another eraser.

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Then I simply covered the eraser cover with scrapbook paper.

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Then I simply took a cardboard box (that you can find at most craft stores) and painted the bottom half black. 

Then I covered the top half with scrapbook paper and secured it with Mod Podge.

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Then I typed up an insert for the bottom of the box on my computer and made sure it fit perfectly into the box, by measuring the box. 

Then simply stuck the eraser into the box with a glue dot.  Wrap it up fancy and give it to your favorite teacher!

What do you think?

  eraser teacher gift     

  

DIY Hand Carved Monogrammed Soaps

Okay…I love giveaways, but it is going to be nice to get back to some regular posting.  What about you?  As you know, I have a love for all things MONOGRAMMED!  I have been wanting to make some monogrammed soap for quite a while now, but have been unsure about how to go about it.  So the other day, I just thought I would do a test run and see what happened.

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Overall, I am happy with the turnout.  I practiced on one bar of soap first to get my preferred carving technique down.  I highly recommend a practice run before making an attempt if you would like to try to make some for yourself.

 

Then I let my 3 year old carve my practice soap while I worked on one of “the real things”.  I actually really enjoyed working with the soap.   Here is what I did:

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Supplies:

Lever Soap 2000 (I liked how soft and easy this soap was to carve and work with)

glue dots

length of ribbon

scrapbook paper

vegetable peeler

standard screwdriver (smaller the better)

Q-tips

monogram pattern

non-permanent marker

straightened paper clip

monogrammed soap supplies

First I started with the vegetable grater and gently shaved off the Lever 2000 logo that was imprinted in the soap.  I did this by laying the vegetable peeler flat and gently curling the soap off layer by layer.  This will take a little practice to get it smooth and flat.  I made sure to catch all my soap shavings in a container and saved them to reuse.

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As soon as the logo is almost completely gone you can finish and just smooth any uneven areas.  You can do this on both sides of the soap if you would like. 

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Then I took my circled monogram and printed it out.  The circle measured 1.5 inches square.  The font I used was Times New Roman in bold and just stretched it in my photo program till I was happy with how it filled up the circle.   Then I printed it out and cut out the circle.

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Center your monogram in place and hold it with your finger while you take a pencil lead or straightened paper clip (which I used) to mark around the edge of the circle.  Then I dug the circle out so that there was a nice deep groove.

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Now cut out the letter of your monogram but be sure to leave all of the white area.  Take a fine tip marker and trace the letter. 

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This will let you know where to stop when you begin to dig out the excess soap.

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Now, take your screwdriver and gently and carefully scrap out the soap on the inside of the circle.  You will want to keep the letter raised and untouched.  You will need to be really careful around the edges of the letter and the circle so that you don’t accidently scrape into an area you don’t want touched.

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When you scrape the bottom, be sure to pull the screwdriver so that is lays flat against the soap.  This will give you a nice smooth layer.  When you are happy with the monogram and have scraped out enough soap, you can take a Q-tip and smooth out areas that may be a bit rough.  Simply dip the Q-tip into hot water and gently rub on the rough surface.  The hot water will melt the soap and smooth any edges.  Do this very carefully and be sure your Q-tip is not dripping wet.  You can also gently remove the marker with the wet Q-tip.

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And that is it!  Done with the soap carving.  You can see my practice soap in the picture below (before it was carved up).  The practice soap is on the right hand side next to one of my better attempts.  I learned how to be extra careful around the letter to make sure it held it’s shape nicely.

  monogrammed soap two 

Now, you want to prettify your soap packaging.  I simply cut off the ends of the soap box leaving just an open rectangle.  Then I simply glued some cute scrapbook paper around the box.

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Then taking a long strip of ribbon, I forgot to measure it…Just wrap it around and eyeball it.  I fastened one end of the ribbon on the top of the box in the middle under the monogram (see top picture).  Then using another glue dot, I attached the monogram to the other end of the ribbon.  Then simply used a glue dot to place the two ends of the ribbon on top of one another.

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Print out another monogrammed circle on white cardstock and use that as the decorative top.  To open you will simply lift up the monogram and the soap will just slide out one end.

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I thought these would be fun to have in your guest bathroom for special guests.  Or they would be fun to give as a small little gift for a friend or a newlywed couple.  Or…carve up your mom’s favorite soap with her initial.  Monogrammed soaps are just a fun little gift idea that can help make someone feel a little extra special! 

 

And just in case you LOVE monogrammed items as much as I do, I pulled together a list of some of my past monogram projects:

Monogrammed Hand Towels

Monogrammed Mugs

Monogrammed Hand Soap Bottles

Moss Covered Initials

Decorative Initials

Linking up here:

Tidy Mom

 

 

 

Teacher Appreciation Gift and giveaway winner

Wow!  This has been a really cRaZY week around here.  I have had a busy family life and then the blog has been really crazy with Mother’s Day giveaways, SNAP! announcements and such.  But…I think I am mostly caught up at least here…my inbox is another story!  I also really enjoyed reading your specific challenges that you shared in the Kenmore Biggest Challenge post earlier in the week.  I could have written many of those myself.  Good to know we are alone in our struggles!

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I have a couple of fun Teacher Appreciation gift ideas that I would love to share with you due to the fact that next week is Teacher Appreciation week.  And I am guest posting over on Skip To My Lou  today with one of my ideas.  She has been having a bunch of guest posters for a couple of weeks now and there are some really great ideas that have been shared.  I would love for you to go over and check out what I shared with Cindy’s Skip To My Lou   readers in this wrapped box…and while you are there you will want to check out the other fun gift ideas for teachers.

And Skip To My Lou has an awesome giveaway going on right now for a Cricut if any of you are interested in trying to win one!  {click on the link above to be taken directly there}! 

*ALERT—Subject Change!!

The winner of the Signs by Andrea giveaway has been chosen.  Random.org picked the number 253…

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Congratulations Hannah R.  Send me an email and/or leave a comment and I will get you in contact with Andrea for your new Monogrammed sign!  Thanks so much Signs by Andrea for sponsoring this great giveaway. 

Andrea is also offering a $5 discount on any signs for Idea Room readers.  Upon checkout simply enter the coupon code IDEAROOM5  to get your $5 discount.  The coupon code is good through May 1. 2011.  Just in time for Mother’s Day!

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