10 Rainy Day Ideas

Cup of coffee and book pages- black and white

Being stuck inside on a rainy day doesn’t mean you’re staring out the window all day, wishing to be outside. If you’re looking for something to keep you busy, I’ve made a list of things to do to get rid of the boredom.

1. Read a book or magazine – It’s time to dust off those books and magazines you’ve been meaning to read. Catch up on your favorite magazine or spend time with a good book and a cup of coffee or tea.

2. Crafts – While the sun isn’t shining, find something you’ve been wanting to make and put those craft supplies to good use!

3. Photos – Organize photos into a box or album. This is a good time to see what might be of good use for scrapbooking!

4. Cleaning or organizing – Get those indoor chores done while it’s raining! Use this time to get rid of clutter, clean, and organize things that have been on your list.

5. Start a journal – A journal is a good way to practice writing or to get down your thoughts. There are many books out there with journal writing prompts. A few ideas are to write about things that have happened that day or week, different experiences, people and places, and how you are feeling.

6. Pick up a hobby – Try painting, drawing, or anything you would like to try your hand at. You might find things you’re interested in at a book store or craft store. Beginners kits are an easy way to get the materials you need to get started.

7. Movies – Rent a movie or watch an old favorite. Watch movies back-to-back and make it a movie marathon. Pop some popcorn and settle in!

8. Cooking or baking – Open up that cookbook or find a recipe online. Learn to make something new or make something you’ve always loved.

9. Games – Board games or card games are great ways to pass the time and have fun. Grab some friends and share some snacks!

10. Exercise – Get on the treadmill or follow along to a workout DVD. Get moving while indoors!

How to organize cluttered shelves

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When shelves are cluttered and disorganized, finding what you need can be time-consuming. By eliminating useless books and papers and leaving room for what you need, your shelves will be easier to use and more visually pleasing. If your shelves are just a pile of messy papers, books and odd things, it’s time to organize!

Keep in mind that when you’re clearing off the shelves, that you’re starting at the top, leaving the heaviest shelf on the bottom to anchor the shelf. It also helps to determine the use of the shelf. Is it only for books? Do you use it for CDs or DVDs? Is it something you use or is it more for looks?

1. Start by removing what is on the shelf one thing at a time. Is it something that can be thrown out, something you want to keep, or something that needs to stay on the shelf? Make piles as you go along for each category. I had one pile for garbage, one for things that I will put away in a box, and one for things that I use and will keep on the shelf.

2. Once the shelf is empty, you will need to stand the books, folders, and other things that you will be keeping on the shelf on their ends, starting with the largest first. This not only keeps the books from falling over, but it’s easier to find smaller things that way. You can also organize books and magazines alphabetically, or by category.

3. After all books are back on the shelf, you might need book ends to keep the books from falling over. One idea is to stack smaller or heavier books on the shelf to use as book ends.

4. Objects other than books can be stacked on the shelf, or placed in bins for more organization. Shoeboxes, plastic totes and tins can be used for storage.

5. Throw out the left over garbage and store away other things you plan to keep.

 

How to decorate glass candle plates

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Candles add a personal touch to any room. When I came across a box of glass candle plates, I decided to put them to good use along with a few unused candles. All they needed was a little paint and some accents to make my candle display more interesting.

For the first two plates, I wanted to add some paint and shiny baubles. I used metallic silver paint for one and an icy blue paint for another. Then I added glass decorative fillers as the decorations around the outside of the plate. For the third plate, I used Mod Podge and glitter instead of paint.

Supplies:                                                                                                                         IMG_1580

glass candle plate (choose your size)

acrylic craft paint

paint brushes

decorative fillers or your choice of decoration

hot glue gun

Mod Podge

glitter

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Step 1:

Start with a clean and dry candle plate. Paint one coat of acrylic craft paint over the top side of the candle plate. Allow to dry completely. Paint another coat of paint and allow to dry completely.

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Step 2: 

Using your glue gun, place a dot of glue on the outside edge of the plate. Firmly press the decorative glass “bead” on the glue. Do the same for each “bead” all the way around the plate until you end up where you started. Allow glue to set.

Note: 

Keep in mind that when you’re placing the decorations around the outside of the plate that you don’t want to take up room for the candle. Use a larger plate for the candle, or place the decorations on the very most outside edge of the plate. If the glass decorations fall off, they can be replaced by removing the old glue and gluing them again.

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Glitter Option:

Instead of using craft paint, coat the candle plate in Mod Podge using a paint brush. Then sprinkle glitter on the coat of Mod Podge. Allow to dry completely. Shake off excess glitter and apply one more coat of Mod Podge and allow to dry completely. Continue to Step 2.

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How to make a bookmark

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While enjoying  a new summer read, I realized I would need a bookmark to keep my place. Instead of running out to the store to buy one, I decided it would be easier to use what I have at home to make my own. I used scraps of card stock and magazine clippings to make mine, and I added a few personal touches. This project did not take much time or planning.

There are a few simple guidelines to follow when making your own bookmark. Keep in mind the size of the book. I kept my bookmarks between 1″ to 2″ wide and 5″ to 6″ long. It’s up to you if you want them to be longer or shorter, depending on the size of the book. You can combine any of the optional supplies to decorate your bookmark.

Supplies:                                                                                                                                 IMG_1574

decorative scissors or regular scissors

card stock

glue stick

laminating machine, wide packing tape, or contact paper

decorative hole punch or regular hole punch

Optional Supplies:

colored pencils, markers or crayons

stamps

stencils

poems or magazine clippings

photos

string or ribbon

beads

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Step 1:

Start by deciding the width and length of your bookmark and choosing the color of card stock you would like to use. Measure and cut out your bookmark using decorative or regular scissors.

 

Step 2:

Decide where you will want to attach your ribbon and punch a hole in the bookmark using a decorative hole punch, or a regular hole punch if you’re not using a decorative one.

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Step 3:

Next, choose your decorations and plan where you would like to place them on the bookmark. Glue your magazine clippings or photos to the bookmark, or, stamp, draw and color your design on the bookmark.

Step 4:

If you are laminating your bookmark, you can measure and cut the amount of laminating sheet that you will need. The same can be done if you are using contact paper or clear packing tape. If you are using the laminating machine, laminate the bookmark.

Step 5:

Trim the edges of your bookmark, if necessary. Re-punch the hole for the ribbon. For my bookmarks, I used a decorative hole punch the first time, and a regular hole punch the second time, to keep the shape of the decorative hole punch.

Step 6:

Next, I measured out about 10″ of ribbon, this can be trimmed later if it’s too long. I attached the ribbon by folding it in half and feeding the loop through the hole I punched. Then I drew the two loose ends of the ribbon through the loop on the oposite side and pulled the ribbon tight.

Step 7:

Beads can be attached by threading them on the ribbon and tying a knot at the end.

 

Easy Summertime Activities

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If you want to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air this summer, sitting in a lawn chair won’t keep your attention for long. There can be plenty of activities for kids, but what are you going to do? If you’re not looking to spend a lot of money for entertainment, you might be out of ideas for things to do. Below is a list of summertime activities that can be easy and cheap (or even free!). If you don’t live in a city where you have sidewalks or a lawn you can use, nearby parks are a great resource.

1. Events at parks – Check with your local park to see what events they have to offer. Many are cheap and even free. Lots of parks offer music, plays, games and other things to do for everyone.

2. Ride a bike – Enjoy the warmer weather by going for a bike ride. Parks can have trails for biking as well as walking and hiking.

3. Walk, hike or jog – Get out and spend time with mother nature on the trails, or simply just take a walk. If you’re the more active type, you might like to go for a run to stay active.

4. Swim – If there isn’t a nearby pool or lake you can use, visit your neighborhood park or beach. There’s no better time of year than the summer to take a dip!

5. Go to the park – Relax, have fun, play a game….the options are endless.

6. Pick up a hobby – Write, paint, draw, crafts. Hobbies don’t need to be costly or elaborate. A simple sketch book or journal is all it takes to start a new hobby.

7. Read – Outside on a blanket or in a lawn chair, your surroundings and a little fresh air make all the difference

8. Cookout/grill – Hot dogs, hamburgers, fresh veggies, you name it! Don’t let the summer pass you by without tasting delicious food on the grill!

 

Beach Bag Essentials

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It’s a beautiful sunny day outside and it’s time to hit the beach! But what should you take with you? You might already know the essentials: sunscreen and a beach towel. But if you really want to enjoy your time in the sun and be prepared, there is a list of other things to pack.

Before Going to the Beach

As always, you will need your swimsuit, cover-up and flip-flops. You also might need a change of clothes if you will be going somewhere after the beach, and a plastic bag for a wet swimsuit or towels.

Apply sunscreen before going to the beach and take it with you to re-apply after swimming. It’s easiest to apply when you have privacy, and without being covered in sand in the process.

What to Bring

First, you will need a beach bag to carry your things to the beach.

Next, you will need a towel to sit on or dry off with. I like to take at least two towels, one to lay on and one to dry off with. This way, you always have a clean towel to lay on, or an extra towel to dry off with.

Another useful item to take with you is a beach roll or beach mat. A beach roll provides extra padding between you and the sand and makes laying on more comfortable. Also, bring a beach chair if you want to be more comfortable sitting up on the beach. If sitting in the shade is more your thing, bring a beach umbrella to get out of the sun’s rays.

Now that you have your things to make your spot in the sand, you will need to bring sunscreen, sunglasses or a hat, and lip balm. I prefer lip balm with sunscreen in it.

Don’t forget to keep yourself hydrated and bring snacks or a lunch in a cooler if you will be staying longer.

Other essentials that you might want to consider taking with you are your cell phone, ID, and some money for buying things from concessions.

Now, other than relaxing on the beach, you might want to bring some things with you to keep you busy while you’re there. Books and magazines are popular, as are games such as frisbee and volleyball. I always like to make sure I have my iPod and headphones for listening to music.

Plan a Day or Stay Prepared

Keep an eye on the weather forecast when you’re thinking of going to the beach. This helps you choose the best weather and day that fits your schedule, and helps you avoid rainy days.

I like to keep my beach bag packed so I always know where my beach things are and I’m ready to go for a spur-of-the-moment day at the beach.

Before Going Home

It’s always a good idea to dry off and brush off the sand before going home. You might want to use an extra towel to sit on while in the car if your swimsuit is wet.

Below is a numbered  list of things to take to the beach. You may take away or add other things as you wish.

  1. swimsuit
  2. cover-up
  3. flip-flops
  4. change of clothes
  5. plastic bag
  6. beach bag
  7. towels
  8. beach roll or beach mat
  9. beach chair
  10. beach umbrella
  11. sunscreen
  12. lip balm
  13. hat
  14. sunglasses
  15. beverages
  16. snacks or lunch
  17. cell phone
  18. money
  19. ID
  20. iPod
  21. books, magazines or games

Red, White and Blue Mason Jars

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Mason jars aren’t just for canning anymore. In the craft world they can be versatile. For this project I used three mason jars and a little creativity to make them into decorative red, white and blue vases. Like other projects I’ve done, you can change the colors, use different materials, and add your own patterns as you wish. Try mixing it up!

I decided to try a different style for each jar, rather than making matching jars. Start with clean, dry jars and make sure you cover your work surface using old newspaper or plastic.

Supplies:                                                                                                                                        IMG_1437

3 wide-mouth mason jars

paint or foam brushes

acrylic paint in red, white and blue

blue painter’s tape

glitter in red and white                                                                                                                                                                               IMG_1439

red, white, and blue striped streamers

red, white, and blue striped ribbon

Mod Podge matte or clear polyurethane matte varnish

sandpaper

artificial flowers

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For the white jar shown above, I painted the entire jar with 2 coats of white acrylic paint, letting each coat dry completely before applying the next coat.  Next, I used sandpaper to lightly sand the jar to make an “antiqued” look. To finish the look, I gave the jar a coat of Mod Podge Matte. I added red, white, and blue ribbon to the top of the jar and tied it in a bow.

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I decided to go for some fun and sparkles with the blue jar. First, I painted the jar with one coat blue paint and let it dry completely. To apply the glitter, I painted the second coat about 1/3 way up the jar and sprinkled it with glitter as I went along. I then painted another 1/3 up the jar and did the same with white glitter. Finally, I painted the top 1/3 of the jar. When the jar was completely dry, I shook off the excess glitter and painted the last coat with clear matte varnish.

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Instead of painting a stripe on the red jar, I decided to add a red, white and blue streamer. To do this, I used painter’s tape around the middle of the jar as a guide when I painted the jar with 2 coats of red acrylic paint. Then, I removed the tape and let the paint dry completely.

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The stripe I made was slightly wider then my streamer, so I added white paint to the edges of the stripe to cover up any clear space. Then, I used Mod Podge to glue the streamer to the jar. Finally, when everything was dry, I added a coat of Mod Podge to finish the look. Arrange the artificial flowers in the jars and you’re finished!

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Patriotic Painted Basket

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It’s time to show your red, white and blue! When I was looking for some easy crafts for summertime festivities, I came across the idea for this red, white, and blue painted basket at Michael’s. This didn’t take much time to paint or dry. I found the basket, bandannas, and star garland at The Dollar Tree.

This basket is perfect for chips or pretzels, or can be used for displaying napkins and plastic utensils. It’s both decorative and useful!

For my basket, I chose to omit white paint and to use just red and blue, leaving the color of the basket as “white”. You can use any combination of colors you like. I also used the weave of the basket as a guide to measure thickness of each stripe. You can paint several thin stripes, a few thick ones, or any combination. Be creative! The directions below are for the basket as shown. I used the star garland as a personal touch. Try experimenting with ribbon or other materials.

 

Supplies:                                                                                                                               IMG_1436

basket

red and blue acrylic paint

paint brush

red or blue bandannas

star garland

tape (optional)

 

Directions:

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Step 1:

I used a piece of aluminum foil and a paper plate for my paint palette. If it’s difficult to keep in the “lines”, use tape as a guide for your stripe. Squeeze paint onto your palette and paint a stripe in your first color.

 

 

 

Step 2:                                                                                                           

For my basket, I removed the tape and left the middle stripe plain for “white”.

Step 3:

Next, paint the third stripe the same width at the bottom of the basket.                        IMG_1446

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 4:                                                                                                                                                          

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After the paint dries, measure the garland so there’s enough to spiral around the top of the basket. Secure the garland at the top by wrapping one end through the top of the basket several times. It’s easiest to find spots in the basket where the weave is loose.

Step 5:

Spiral the garland around the top of the basket through areas where the weave is loose. Secure the end of the garland the same way and back in the same place where you started.

Step 6:

Place red or blue bandannas in the basket. Use the basket on any table as a decorative bowl for snacks!

 

 

Easy Homemade Popsicles

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What a better way to cool off on a hot day than an icy popsicle? Even better, a popsicle that you made yourself? Well, you don’t need any fancy ingredients for these two recipes and you can pick your favorite flavor! These are very simple recipes, don’t require much preparation. I chose these with hot days in mind! One recipe is shown using store-bought popsicle molds. The other recipe uses paper cups with a plastic spoon or wooden popsicle stick.

For this recipe, I chose cherry flavored Kool-Aid. You can use any flavor you like. Also, the amount of Kool-Aid and the number of popsicles you make is up to you!

Kool-Aid Popsicles

Ingredients and Tools:                                                                                                                         IMG_1418

Kool-Aid – any flavor

popsicle molds

pitcher

spoon

 

 

Directions:

Step 1: 

Mix up the Kool-Aid in the pitcher according to the package instructions. For the picture shown above, I made 1 quart of cherry flavored Kool-Aid. I had enough to fill each mold and a little left over.

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Step 2:

Fill each mold with Kool-Aid, leaving about 1/2″ at the top. Replace tops of the molds.

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Step 3: 

Place in freezer on a level surface and freeze for about 4 – 5 hours. Enjoy!

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For the next recipe, you can choose any flavor combination of pop and juice you like. Here, I used pineapple-orange juice and 7-Up for a citrus flavor. I also used 9 oz. paper cups. You may choose to use smaller cups to cut down on freezing time. The amount of ingredients you need also depends on the number and size of the popsicle.

Pop and Juice Popsicles

Ingredients and Tools:                                                                                                                             IMG_1395

Fruit Juice – flavor of your choice

Pop – flavor of your choice

baking pan or tray

aluminum foil

plastic spoons or wooden popsicle sticks

paper cups – 9 oz.

bowl

 

Directions:

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Step 1:

Measure out equal parts juice and pop. Mix them together in a bowl. Here I made 6 popsicles in 9 oz. cups. I mixed together 3 cups juice and 3 cups pop.

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Step 2:

Use a scoop or ladle to fill each cup with your liquid mixture. Leave about 1/2″ or more of room at the top.

 

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Step 3:

Gently tear pieces of aluminum foil large enough to fit over the top of each cup. Mold each piece over the top of each cup to create a guide for inserting the spoon. The aluminum foil will hold the wooden stick or plastic spoon in place until the liquid is frozen.

 

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Step 4:

If you are using plastic spoons, remove the aluminum foil from the cup and insert the handle of the plastic spoon up through the middle of the foil. If you are using wooden sticks, you can insert the wooden sticks through the middle of either the top or the bottom of the foil. Replace the foil with stick or spoon back onto the cup and into the liquid.

 

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Step 5:

Carefully place all filled cups with spoons or sticks on your tray or baking dish.  This is so you can carry the liquid-filled cups to the freezer. Also keep in mind that the tray or baking dish will need to fit into your freezer. Place the tray or dish in the freezer

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Step 6:

Allow the popsicles at least 5 – 6 hours to freeze for larger sizes. Once frozen, run warm water over the paper cup to remove the popsicle from the cup. Enjoy!