Switching from Google Reader to Bloglovin'

Pssst!  Hey you.

Yeah you.

The one who's reading this post via your Google Reader feed.

Did you know that feed is going away soon?

Like in less than two weeks.

But you don't have to miss out on your favorite blog posts.  Nope.  There's another service out there called Bloglovin' and they're making it super-easy to transfer over your entire Google Reader blogroll.

Many bloggers have written about this so rather than reinvent the wheel I'll just link to their articles.  You only need to read one, but I'm going to give you options.  You can learn how to switch your feed:


And here's a direct link for following 'a casarella on Bloglovin'.

Or you can have my posts delivered directly to your email by entering your email address here:

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Old School Pinning

Old School Pinning has been made possible by Shutterfly and Looksi Square.

You know what I miss about the "olden days"?  (Any period of time before 1995 if you go by my daughters' definition.)

I miss pictures.  

You know, like, photographs.

Okay, I know what you're thinking. "Is she crazy??  I take hundreds of pictures a day!  There are more pictures on my iphone than my parents took in their entire 50 year marriage."

And you're right, of course.  I can't argue with that.  

But here's the problem:  these days most of our pictures are stuck inside our phones, computers and ipads, never to see the light of day again. 

So I am on a mission, a mission to free the pictures!  I want to see them out on display in my house.  I want people to walk by and ooh and ahh over the cuteness and beauty that I have so brilliantly captured. Luckily my friends at Shutterfly (via my friends at the inspirational website Looksi Square) have offered me some free prints so I can get started on my quest.   

(That's right folks, it's a sponsored post.  My first.  And as I have previously stated, the only things that I share with you are things that I use and love myself.  That goes for the sponsored posts as well as the unsponsored ones.  I've been registered with Looksi since its inception and using Shutterfly for years.  Both are great companies, and not just because they hooked me up with some free prints.  So let's get back to the post, shall we?)

So here's another modern dilemma:  with so many pictures to choose from, it's hard to decide which ones to display.  For that reason it makes sense to have a rotating display, something that can be switched out quickly and easily.  

There are lots of display options out there and I decided to go with a pin board--a big one--something I could put lots of pictures on at once.  

The first place I looked was Pottery Barn where I was instantly smitten by this beautiful linen pinboard.  I was not, however, smitten by the price:  $159.00 for the largest version (plus $21.00 for shipping).  Ouch!  

I had a similar reaction to this $219.00 version from Ballard Designs (and don't even get me started on the $270.00 one from Restoration Hardware).

Just when it was looking like my pictures would stay forever trapped inside my phone, inspiration struck (as it often does) in the hallowed halls of Home Depot.  

It was there that I spotted this:

In case you're wondering, it's a piece of foam board insulation.  It's two feet wide by four feet tall and it cost a whopping $4.95.  There were other pieces (muuuch bigger pieces) that cost about $15.00.  AND the nice Home Depot men said they could cut the big pieces down to whatever size I desired.    The styrofoam is about one-and-a-half inches thick and it is super-light.

This is what it looks like on the other side:

I immediately saw its potential as a pin board and after putting a piece in my cart, I hightailed it over to the paint section and grabbed one of these:

That's right, a canvas painter's drop cloth.  Canvas drop cloths are right up there with paint chips and mason jars on the list of items that bloggers love to repurpose and craft with.

Are you starting to see where this is going?

(I thought you might.)

After I got home I washed the drop cloth and got to work:

As you can see above, I put the foam down on top of the drop cloth (which I cut so it wasn't so big), pulled it taut and fastened it with thumbtacks.  The thumbtacks weren't permanent; they merely held the fabric in place so I could staple it just the way I wanted. 

The corners were a bit of a challenge.  I ended up folding them over, kind of like I was wrapping a present.  They're not perfect, but I doubt anyone but me will notice.

And really, that's all there was to it.  I turned it around, popped a couple of Command Picture Hanging Strips on the back, and hung it up.  (The entire thing probably weighs less than two pounds so there was no problem using the Command Strips.)  

Isn't this a great way to get those photos off the computer and on display?

And the whole thing cost less than $20 to make.

It was so inexpensive that I am currently envisioning several of them hung side by side in an office or crafting space.  Wouldn't that be pretty?

Before signing off I have to link back to the Pottery Barn Linen Pin Board one more time because, really, they're almost identical.   (Click HERE to make the comparison.)

And please let me know if you make one yourself.  I'd love the chance to ooh and ahh over your pictures too :)

Looksi and Shutterfly have invited me to participate in a creative brand collaboration.  I have been provided with product compensation for this post, but all opinions are my own.




`a casarella on Etsy

UPDATE (8/12/14)
I am sad to report that Etsy has asked me to remove my wedding kits.  Apparently they don't meet their criteria since the contents within the jars are not homemade.  
Thanks for understanding.

Once upon a time, a long time ago, a girl (fine, a middle aged woman) started a blog.  Starting the blog was a New Year's resolution, but there were two other resolutions that went with it:  one was that she would learn to use her camera.  The fancy one.  (The one with all the weird symbols on it.)  The other was that she would open an Etsy shop.

Technically speaking, she kept all three resolutions:  The blog has been chugging along.  She took a intro to photography class.  And she opened the Etsy shop.

Kind of.

By "kind of" I mean that she stocked it with one item and then forgot about it.  That item sat in the store until the listing expired and then quietly faded away.

She's hoping that won't happen this time around.  The woman (okay, me--it was me) has reopened the Etsy shop, this time with something handmade:

It's a wedding day emergency kit.  In a mason jar, of course.  It would make a great shower gift.  :)

Stop by the shop and check it out.

I hope to add some vintage items soon as well.



A Mustache-a-preneur

You know that moment when your kid comes home with a craft assignment from school?  And you know that next moment where you, as a craft blogger, have to sit on your hands and zip up your mouth because the instructions clearly state that the assignment needs to be done by the child?  

Yeah, I recently had some of those moments.

Bu then, right after those moments, came the moment when my kid came up with a great idea.  An idea that was totally executable by her.  Admittedly, there was a family brainstorming session that evolved from her original idea but then she took off running.  

I could not be more proud.  

Here is the assignment as it was given:

Her original idea: felt mustaches.  On barrettes.  She had seen something similar in LA and in true DIY fashion remarked, "we can make those!"   

(You're feeling a little proud of her too, aren't you?) 

Then my husband (the only male in this house of estrogen) suggested applying felt mustaches with some sort of adhesive so they could stick on the kids' faces.  It was a great idea as boys far outnumber girls in her class, but we weren't sure how to apply an adhesive.  

So to appeal to the "boy" market, I suggested "shoe-staches".  She could take the same mustaches she was using on the barrettes, cut two vertical, parallel lines in the center and they could  lace them on their shoes. 

And with that a project was born.

We went to Michael's where we were thrilled to find adhesive-backed felt, perfect for those stick-on 'staches.  

Back at home, we took our handy mustache templates (which we have gotten a lot of use out of, a whole lot)... 

...and she traced the mustaches onto the adhesive backing:

After that it was just a matter of cutting them out.

And here she is modeling a 'stache.  (She's holding it on to preserve the adhesive.)

Next up was her baby: the barrettes.  First she cut them out...

And then she glued them on to these alligator clips (also purchased at Michael's).  

It was her first real hot glue experience.  

(I may have teared up a bit..)

And here she is again modeling the finished product.  Cute, right??


Last but not least were the shoe-staches.  She had made a prototype early on in the assigment and found that the felt she used for the barrettes was too "floppy".  Fortunately Michael's had a stiffer felt so we purchased that for this purpose.  

Again, it was a matter of tracing and cutting.  A perfect craft for an eight-year-old.  (Though I did help her cut the parallel lines where you insert the laces; that proved to be a bit tricky.)  

Here they are:

For the packaging she traced even more mustaches on to some small white bags. Then she (with a little help from big sister) colored them all in.

I must admit to helping with the tags.  She knew what she wanted to say but I made them with my Silhouette.

But in the end she cut all of the baker's twine and tied on all of the tags.

Her wares go on sale today and I could not be more proud of the thought and effort she put into her assignment.

Plus, if she's this savvy at eight, there's a decent chance she might be able to support me in my old age.


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