Friday, September 24, 2010

Nintendo DS Organizer Tutorial

I decided to make an organizer for my family’s Nintendo DS.  Same building principles could be used to make organizers for a Game-boy, or PSP, or about anything small.  Think in girly colors it would also hold small toys like Pet Shop Pet’s or Polly Pockets.  You determine the size you want.

Too simple to make. 

Supplies needed:  A recycled box, ruler, permanent pen, exacto knife, matching duct tape, button, elastic, material.  I used a bulk brownie box because it was a bit more durable than a cereal box and still not too bulky.

First guesstimated using game pieces how deep the box would have to be.  I then used a ruler and sharpie to draw my cutting lines.

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I cut only the front and two sides with a Sharpie knife.  You’ll see why later.  

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So it looked like this. 

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Here’s my learning curve.  I had notched the corners because I originally intended to have a small lip folding over on those front three sides (you’ll see that in some of the pictures).  I ended taking off those folded over lips when I covered the box later.  They got in the way and were a Nuisance.  However I did learn not to just try and fold the cardboard because it doesn’t fold in a straight line.  So, where ever you have a fold, first lightly score that fold with your exacto knife.

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The long back of the box I scored and then folded over the front.  Marking the excess that I could cut off.

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In order for it to not be as bulky I also took out excess pieces of cardboard and re-enforced edges with a little strip of tape.

With the cardboard left over from the main box I cut a piece perfect for the inside bottom.  I’m not giving measurements because it all depends on the size of box you want to build.  However, make sure you measure twice before you cut.

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I also wanted a few dividers.  So, measuring the height of the inside of the box (allowing for a padded bottom), I cut some extra strips of cardboard.  Leaving a little over a half an inch on each side to bend and secure it to the inner walls.

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Remember to score the cardboard with your knife, where ever you need to fold it.  Use your game pieces to determine the sizes, leaving enough room around their edges to take them out.

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I happened to have an imitation leather jacket that one of my sons had worn through.  The lining was in shambles and the collar was duct taped to hide the cracks.  It was heading to the dump.  But, then I thought that I could re-use the material for small bags and boxes like this one.  Oh, the joys of being a craft hoarder,  saving trash for a new life.  I suppose you could use any material you have laying around.  Might want to add a thin layer of batting if you material is super thin.

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The quilted lining of the coat provided just what I wanted for the bottom of my organizer.  So, I took the lining and cut a piece large enough to go over the bottom cardboard insert piece.

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Here’s another learning curve.  I tried first gluing it on.  Didn’t hold too well so I turned to the duct tape again to hold the lining to the bottom side of the cardboard that no one would see.

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Then I cut a piece of the faux leather from the back of the coat and made sure I had enough (with a little extra, mine was almost too little) for the entire outside of the box.

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Using coordinating (black) duct take I was able to tape the leather to the box.  I would fold it over the sides and tape it in.

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Not sure how to explain how to trim the leather.  But where ever there were corners I made sure to trim so there wouldn’t be bunches of material wadded up.

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The sides were the trickiest.  First I taped a small section of the front and back to the cardboard, then I folded the side sections up and over that taped section.  I even used a little glue to secure the leather would stick to the cardboard.

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Once the leather was secured to the outside of the box, I filled in the remaining inside area of the flap with more duct tape.  Trying to make the tape lay as smooth as possible.  Then I placed the lined cardboard in the bottom of the box.

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The box is pretty sturdy and baring some child stepping on it should hold up quite well.

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The dividers are what I added next.  First, I put matching (of course duct tape on one side.  Then, the next piece of duct tape that I used for the other side of the cardboard strip, well, I cut it a wee bit longer so the tape could hold the folded edges to the inside walls of the box.  Don’t know if that made any sense, but it involves using duct tape to adhere the dividers into their positions.

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Then I filled up the sections of my new organizer.  Yeah.

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To the front of the flap I sewed on a button.  I’m sure you could use Velcro too.  I just wanted to use what I could find laying around.  I also had a thin string of elastic.  I had to use a black permanent pen to color it black because it was white to begin with.

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Tie a know in the elastic and loop it around the button.  Then stretch it around the box and loop it back over the button from the opposite direction.

And there you have it.  A mini-organizer to keep those game pieces and stylus’s from getting lost.

It can be stored in almost any position.  Here it is in a cubby of my china hutch.

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I think you could also decorate this box using Mod-Podge and decorative paper.  I lined a Hidden Book compartment with Mulberry paper and Mod Podge once and it turned out terrific too.  Let your imagination guide you.  I made this organizer when I heard about the recycled box challenge here. 


That and I also needed a cheap way to organize some kid stuff.

Happy Crafting.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Fairy Door Tutorial

Being summer time we wanted some extra enchantment for the girls.  And we decided to share it with the community.    So I made a wooden outdoor Fairy Door.  And I’m going to share my learning curve with you.

I decided to enter a craft challenge using knobs and hinges by Fireflies & Jellybeans.

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My inspiration was an old stump at a local park.  Nearly every time we go the girls clean out the little nook and line it with twigs, feathers, berries, etc.  Offerings for their fairy friends. 

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So we made a rough outline of the stump’s nook’s opening and traced it onto a piece of pine board.

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I wanted a door that would open, so inside of the original outline I drew a door with a rounded top.

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Then I did something really brave.  I pulled out a scroll saw and without any male assistance what-so-ever I used it to cut out my little fairy door.  I know a jigsaw would work just as well.

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Here’s my learning curve.  Use a thicker blade.  The blade on the scroll saw was very thin and didn’t allow enough room for the inner door to open.  So I had to go around the inside door and shave a little bit more off the shape.

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Then I sanded down all sides of the door.

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Then, Wowser, I picked up a tool I’ve never before used.  A Dremel.  I used it to carve little wooden slats in the front of my fairy door.  I would sometimes bounce off of the line I was supposed to be following.  Oh well,  it just gave the door more character.

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Then I pulled out a tool for which I feel a lot more comfortable.  My wood-burner tool – it’s my friend.  And I added some twirly vines, pixie dust and this charming quote from Albert Einstein,

‘Imagination is more important than Knowledge.’

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Knowing this door is intended for outside use.  I used a couple of different colors to stain it with.  A red stain for the door.

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Here’s a different use for some of your scrapbook markers.  What I like about using them is I could color in details, and they are acid free and don’t fade.  Afterwards I lightly wiped a light oak color stain over the outer frame of my fairy door.  Once the stain was dry, I also added a couple of coats of an outdoor sealer.

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Then I added the hinges and knobs.  I think I had to go to 5 different stores to find something suitable.  I decided to use a rose push pin as a wreath hanger for the door.

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Here’s another learning curve.  Pre-mark and drill the holes for your hinges, it will go a lot faster.   Here’s something else I learned.  You may not want to attach your door until after you have installed it in it’s new home.  Why?  Because the door may get in the way of you attaching it to whatever it is you are attaching it too.

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I think it turned out quite nice for my first outdoor Fairy Door.  See even my dremel slip-up look like they are supposed to be there, like the door has been aged a bit.

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Once completed we snuck back to our secret stump at one of our favorite playgrounds.

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Here’s another hint.  Pre-drill your frame where your supporting screws will be attaching it to the stump.    Make sure you are going from a front inside frame edge to a back outside edge (angled) slant.  Because chances are you don’t have a screwdriver tiny enough to fit in between the frame.  (See how a pre-attached door can get in the way) Also counter sink those angled screws so they don’t stop the door from closing.  Believe me, you will probably want to take a small chargeable drill.  I won’t tell you how long it took me to screw the door into the stump.  Stupid Striped screws.

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After working on it for a couple of hours I even ended up having my husband come and help.   Thanks Prince Erik for your help.  I can handle power tools great but a plain old screwdriver was giving me fits.

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Once it was screwed to the stump I used a bit of some heavy duty outdoor glue to  glue twigs and moss between the frame and stump to hide the screws.  Now it almost looks as if the little people put it there.

Hey, but now there’s a little magic at the community park.

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And it opens so little hands and hearts can grow their own imagination.  

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Of course, I hope it lasts.  I hope some troll doesn’t destroy our little gift.  It was quite fun to make and I’m sure we will make many more.  I think some little matching windows are now calling me.

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I created this first and foremost to keep my heart young and full of imagination.  But I also made the Outdoor Fairy Door as a Iron Crafter Challenge from Fireflies & Jellybeans.  The secret ingredient that we had to use was Knobs and Hinges.  While I didn’t re-write the book on how basic knobs and hinges are used.  I think presenting them in miniature form can open up a whole new world of imagination.

firefly crafter

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Too Hot to Cook – Refreshing Foods to help beat the heat.

We’ve all had those days, when it’s so hot the thought of cooking or heating food is nigh replusive.  Well here are some of my families favorite Too-Hot-to-Cook Foods. 

Yogurt Parfait – It’s as simple as layering your favorite yogurt, fresh berries (go hit up you local farmers market) and granola.

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Or use those fresh berries to make a yummy breakfast fruit smoothie.

5 star smoothie

Here’s a 5 Star Smoothie Recipe from Amy Jessica at   I suggest replacing the frozen berries with fresh ones.

How about:

Apple-Snicker Salad.  (One of my families favorite recipes)

2 Can’s Crushed Pineapple (Drained)

3 Medium or 4 small Granny Smith Apples chopped up.

4-5 Snicker’s Bars cut into small cubes (easier to cut and not make a gooey mess if you’ve refrigerated them first)

Regular size tub of Lite Cool Whip

(Opt).  1/8 – 1/4th cup chopped up salted peanuts or cashews.

I always drain my crushed pineapple through a strainer, while pushing down on it with a spoon.  Then save the pineapple juice and add it to your favorite breakfast fruit smoothie, or use it in the Black Bean salad below.

Bring on the Sandwiches:   Chicken Salad is one of my favorites.  You can use the canned chicken (drained) in your favorite recipe or like me cook some chicken up ahead of time (in the evening when the house is cooling off)  Love pre-cooking pasta for future salads on a cooler evening as well.

This next recipe is so good it should be banned.  Many thanks to my sis-in-law Em who shared it with me a couple of years ago.  I could eat it by the bucket full with a good bag of corn chips.

Black Bean and Citrus Salad

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup red wine  or rice vinegar

1/3  cup orange or Pineapple juice

2 (15 oz) cans black beans, rinsed and drained

1 (15 oz) can mandarin oranges, drained

1 (15 oz) can corn, drained

1 medium red bell pepper, diced

1 medium green bell pepper, diced

1 small onion

In large glass or ceramic bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar and orange or pineapple juice until well blended.  Add remaining ingredients, mix well and serve.  For even more flavor, cover and let stand at room temperature for several hours or in the refrigerator overnight.  If chilled, bring to room temperature before serving.

Hillbilly Housewife posted a similar yummy bean Salad on her site.  Submitted by  Neita  here’s a keeper called…

Cowboy Caviar (Click here to see it)

Also high on our list is

Lemonade or Limeade with fresh berries and mint leaves added the evening before.  Served over ice – Perfection

How about some

Snow in Summer.  We purchased a cheap shaved ice maker a few years back and the kids always beg me to pull it out.  How cheap is Ice for a cooling snack?  Found this adorable retro looking machine online.

sno cones

Personally I like the shaved ice without the flavoring added.  Could suck on the stuff all day.

Please chime on:  What are your favorite no-cook recipes.  Send me a link and I’ll add it onto this post.

Here’s some more…

Little Birdie Secrets Yummy Eclair Dessert.

yummy dessert