Saturday, March 31, 2012

A Trip Around the World with Elmer’s #gluenglitter #cbias

Elmers Trip Around The World China

I believe it’s never too early to teach your children about other cultures. It’s never a bad idea to encourage open mindedness, curiosity, and acceptance. As a Chinese kid growing up in a non-Asian community, I was singled out a lot. When Chinese New Year came around, my mom would visit my class and talk about it. After that, I would notice a small change in attitude towards me. Other kids approached me and asked me about Chinese stuff, rather than treating me like a freak. I was thankful for my mom during that time.

I was thrilled when I was asked to create a poster board about a country, as part of Elmer’s Trip Around The World. China is an ancient culture with a rich history. My dad is a walking encyclopedia of random tidbits about China, and whether they were true or legend, I was always fascinated. I hope my girls will be as excited to learn about where their ancestors came from.

We bought our Elmer’s supplies at Walmart. At this Walmart in Fairfield, there were some Elmer’s products alongside scrapbooking supplies…

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…and some were in the school and office supply section.

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In our cart! To see more pictures, please check out our full Elmer’s Shopping Story at Walmart, in my Google+ album.

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We came home with an Elmer’s 18”x24” Guideline Foam Tri-Fold Display Board, plus some Elmer’s Journaling Pens in black and silver (a new product), a box of Elmer’s 3D Glitter Paint Pens, and this Elmer’s X-TREME Glue Stick that is supposed to work well with many different materials.

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I also used from my own stash: Elmer’s School Glue, red cardstock, scrapbook paper, cotton twine, jute twine, small wooden spools, disappearing ink pen, thin black pen, scissors, rotary paper cutter.

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I kept my girls in mind as I designed the poster board. I wanted it to be fun and not overwhelming, which is why I chose the mini sized tri-fold board. I knew I wanted to show a map of China because they love maps, and of course what kid doesn’t like animals and nature. I wanted them to be proud of the accomplishments of the Chinese, so I included a list of inventions. Finally, I wanted to include some Chinese characters, which are an art form in themselves.

First I cut out the animal and plant shapes. I free-form drew and cut everything. For the panda and tiger, I pretty much used the same teddy-bear head. Then I cut simple shapes for the faces. I planned to have the girls glue the shapes on themselves. They love their School Glue!

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I also included bamboo and a lychee tree. Finally I added a water buffalo, because my dad had one in the village where he grew up, and they are also abundant in China. Here’s the shape of the head.

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For the eyes, I used the Journaling Pen. It is kind of like a paint pen, where you press the tip until paint comes down. Just a quick dab.

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While the girls did some gluing themselves…

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…I also wanted to test the X-TREME Glue Stick because it said you can use it on fabric. That sounds awesome…if it works! So I tried it on the felt.

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And it looks like it worked!

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For the inventions, I tried to pick the most important ones, and ones that my girls would recognize. I also wanted to make them multi-dimensional, so here’s where I used most of my extra materials…twine for the noodles, wooden spools to create a scroll as well as a firecracker, and more twine in the kite. They can also lift the compass lid open. Here I drew out the compass with the silver Journaling Pen.

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I used School Glue to adhere a scrap from a paper bag to two of the wooden spools to make a scroll (i.e. paper was invented in China).

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And I inserted a piece of twine into the other wooden spool to make a firecracker. Then I made “sparks” with pretty much a little bit of all the 3D Glitter colors! The spool is glued to the cardstock with school glue.

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For the noodles, I just traced some noodle lines with the School Glue and laid the twine along the glue.

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The map is based on a printable from Enchanted Learning. There was a lot of information about China on that website by grade level.

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I traced the map of China onto some scrapbook paper. Then I used the X-TREME glue stick again to adhere it to some background paper, and finally the red cardstock, which I used throughout. Then I used the gold 3D Glitter as an outline for the map, and a dab of red for the capital, Beijing.

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I hand-cut out the letters to spell out China, and outlined each letter with 3D Glitter as well.

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The Chinese characters were written by my dad. So glad he was visiting this week! If he wasn’t, then I would have talked about food instead!

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I had him use the Journaling Pen. The characters mean (from left to right): Love, Happiness, Prosperity, and Peace.

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I also used the journaling pen to label the categories and each object. For the large category signs, I wrote it calligraphy style.

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Then to label each object, I just turned the pen and was able to write with thin lines. Very cool to be able to do that with one pen!

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My girls asked all kinds of questions when we were done, such as “Where did Grandma and Grandpa live?”, and “Grandpa, did the buffalo live in your house?” (yes, actually!).

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I hope the questions continue, and I hope they will be proud of who they are.

Elmers Trip Around The World

This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias #CBias.

Culture Swapper

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Friday, March 30, 2012

The Lasting Quality of Platinum

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Platinum Guild International USA for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

When my husband and I got engaged, we decided to look for a setting together, narrow it down to a few, and he'd surprise me with his final choice. Because my mother has a platinum engagement ring, I knew that this was what I wanted as well. We also chose platinum wedding bands. In my culture, it's tradition to pass jewelry to your children and grandchildren, so it was important to us that our wedding jewelry last forever.

We took this quick pic of our rings on the way to our wedding after-party.



Platinum Guild International (PGI) confirms that precious platinum is the most durable choice for wedding jewelry. I love that our platinum jewelry resists scratches because we wear our jewelry every single day. When friction occurs against platinum, little metal is lost, and in fact, platinum get stronger with wear. In contrast, white gold, while also beautiful, would unfortunately lose much more metal over time and weaken. Platinum is 40% and 60% denser than 18K and 14K gold, respectively, so platinum diamond settings are the strongest and most secure of all. It's no wonder that the famous Hope Diamond is set in platinum!

I've just learned from PGI that the price of gold per ounce has risen higher than platinum for the first time in history. This means that, even if the retail price of a platinum item is higher than a gold item, the platinum item would be of higher value than the gold item just because platinum is denser. It may be a great time now for my husband and I to invest in some small pieces for our girls. Of course they would not wear their jewelry now, but we would put away their pieces for safekeeping alongside jewelry from their great great great grandmother. They were born in April so their birthstone is diamond. How nice it would be if we could get them some platinum and diamond stud earrings that they could wear on their graduation day, wedding day, and other special occasions. 
And my birthday is coming up in June (birthstone=pearl). Ahem.

    
Visit Sponsor's Site

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Craft Tutorial: Restyle a Ceramic Easter Basket

Got a ceramic Easter knick-knack in your house that’s not really your style? Or, have you seen them popping up at your local thrift store or dollar store for Easter? Don’t store it away, pass it up, donate it, or (gasp!) re-gift it, add your own style to it!

Restyled Ceramic Easter Basket Before After

Or in my case, add your girls’ style to it. I was going to make it all modern and clean looking, but then someone named DADA saw me studying my thrifted Easter basket and asked the girls without my prompting, “Hey girls, what colors should Mama make her Easter basket?” And the girls said “Pink!” “Blue” “Flowers!” “Dots!” So anyways, I made them pink and blue polka-dotted cherry blossom basket. I pretty much lost all creative control to satisfy my clients. Now I know how Don Draper feels.

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Here’s how to Restyle a Ceramic Easter Basket!

Materials

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  • Linen fabric
  • Felt

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  • White spray paint primer (not shown)
  • Mod Podge
  • Sponge brush
  • Glue gun
  • Scissors
  • Disappearing ink pen (not shown)
  • Round template for flowers (I used a roll of masking tape)
  • Martha Stewart screw punch (optional) for polka dots

Directions

I wanted to cover the basket with this linen fabric to give it a more organic look, but it was thin so I could see the original design on the basket. So I sprayed some primer on the basket first.

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When the primer dried, I cut a piece of the linen fabric that would totally cover up the outside and inside of the basket.

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Here I’m testing it out…yep it’s big enough.

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I then started brushing on the Mod Podge and pressing it tight onto the basket. First I did the front and back…

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…then I did the sides. I had to fold it a little bit, as evenly as I could. It was kind of like wrapping a weird-shaped present. Though at this point I probably would have given up and used a gift bag.

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Then I covered the handle and the inside. The inside was rather challenging. I think I used too much fabric…I should have trimmed it a little. But I figured I would be covering it with the eggs in the end. So I just tried to do it as neatly as possible, tucking in the raw edges. At this point I started to use a glue gun.

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I used clothespins to help keep things in place while gluing the rest of it.

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Next I made the tree trunk and flowers. First I cut a brown piece of felt for the trunk and used Mod Podge to adhere it along the curve of the basket.

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At this point, I considered making a Mr. T basket. But didn’t. Don’t gimme no back-talk, sucka.

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Then I made the flowers. First I (1) traced a circle using my tape as a template, then I (2) cut it out. Then I (3) folded it in half and (4) put a bead of hot glue along half of the folded edge, and (5) folded it over to form a 1/4 circle.

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I decided not to use the pastel colors and stuck with the bright colors. Starting at the top, I layered on the flowers, alternating the colors.

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I put a dab of glue at the corner…

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…then tucked it in underneath the previous flower, adding more glue and pressing the previous flower down. I kept going until the flowers were about the level of the basket opening.

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Now for the dots. You can just cut them out by hand, but I happened to have just bought this Martha Stewart punch for another project. I used the largest tip. First you put your felt scrap down on a cutting board or self-healing mat and press down. The punch kind of screws down into the fabric. Then release it.

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The dot will actually go inside the punch. After you’ve punched out a few, you can use a toothpick or tweezers to poke it in, and they will come out this opening on the side. Nifty!

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Yay for felt confetti!

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I used hot glue to stick on the dots all over the basket as well as along the length of the tree trunk.

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Last year I bought these kraft paper eggs but didn’t use them. I glued on the leftover dots on two of them…

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…and an “S” monogram (one blue, one pink) on the other two, for each of my girls.

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Something was missing, so I added a few leaves.

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All done. Again, this was the before…

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And after…

Restyled Ceramic Easter Basket

It was fun to totally transform this ceramic basket, and it didn’t take too long either. Even though it wasn’t what I really intended to make, I like it. Hope my girls do too.

Linking: The Frugal Girls :: Petite Hermine :: Tip Junkie :: Rook No. 17 :: The Trendy Treehouse ::Tidy Mom ::Creation Corner :: Whipperberry ::Sassy Sites:: Tatertots and Jello :: Lolly Jane Boutique ::Flamingo Toes ::Homemaker on a Dime :: The Gunny Sack :: Love Affair With My Brother:: Craft Monkey:: Mine for the Making ::Fine Craft Guild :: Mad in Crafts

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