Cork trivet


Thanks to friends and family, I finally had enough corks for this project. Turns out you need to use real cork corks because the plastic-y ones will melt (yikes!) if you put a hot pot on them. Melting things, like the counter top,  is exactly what I’m trying to avoid so that wouldn’t be good. I saw this project on Pinterest, but the link and subsequent searching didn’t have step by step photos, so I’m not certain I followed the suggested steps correctly, but it seems to work well enough. Besides, it only took about half an hour.

***Addendum: It took me extra time because I didn’t organize before. To save yourself the trouble, start step 0 by fitting the corks into the frame without glue first.***

Step 1: gather materials: a hot glue gun, a frame (I went with a cheap one from Wal-Mart), corks, glue sticks, cutting board, knife and some toothpicks. After I took this photo, I realized all the corks weren’t the same exact size so I was going to need to be creative and for sure cut a few, so I soaked some in hot water for easier cutting. (Note: This step is unnecessary if you have an electric knife as I discovered shortly after soaking the corks. If you have an electric knife, skip to step 4.)




But since real cork floats (yay! These were real cork!) I needed to weigh the corks down so they could absorb the water better.


Step 3: get out the fantastic electric knife J got me for Christmas. (Thanks again!). Turns out, I didn’t need to soak the corks because an electric knife cuts them just fine dry without crumbling! Yet another reason I am in LOVE with this knife.


Step 4: We didn’t have any of the recommended plywood (seriously, who does?), so I went with the next best option and cut a cork into four pieces so that wood frame wouldn’t be touching the counter top and would allow some airflow under the finished trivet. Just hot glue the pieces to the back, flip it over and make sure it’s level and move on to step 5.


Fair warning, step 5 is the longest step. This took at least 25 minutes. Mostly because I didn’t organize before I started. Step 5 is to fit all of the corks into the frame making sure they are above the wood. Some crafty Pinterst people suggest cutting the corks in half, but I decided that was  too time consuming and  might make the corks not be tall enough. If you get hot glue on yourself or on the top of the corks, just use a toothpick to wipe it off while the glue is still warm. I learned the hard way if you wait for the glue to dry, some of the cork will come off with the hot glue.


Step 5.5: You might discover that some of the corks no matter what you try are just too short for the frame. In that case, cut a cork into a few pieces. Use the pieces to fill the gap.


Now keep adding the corks until they fill the entire frame.


When the corks fill the entire frame, you’re ready to move on to step 6!

Step 6: Make sure a heavy pot is level.


That’s it!


Holiday Crafts: Card board


Every year I try to find a way to display the cards friends and family send us during the holidays. Until this year, I haven’t found something that worked. Inspired by
this pin on Pinterest, I made a very simple card organizer.

All you need is a frame (we got this one at Wal-Mart for super cheap), a glue gun, scissors and ribbon.



Step One: Figure out how many lines across you want to hold the cards. I settled on four, but you might want more or less depending on the size of your frame. I then cut the ribbon to be the right length with a little extra so I could glue it around the back.

Step Two: cut the ribbon and glue.

Unfortunately, J pointed out that what I originally designed wouldn’t work for cards that didn’t fold in half. So I added Step Two and a half: insert a foam board back. I just cut it to be the size the original cardboard back would have been (the frame from Wal-Mart was sans back). Now we can use push pins to hang up cards. Next year, we can pop out the foam board and cover it with wrapping paper to keep reusing it.

Step Three: hang! We chose a closet door near our foyer. To hang, we just used two command strips.


Have you found a good way to display the holiday cards from friends and family?

Decode Job Search Jargon

Before Pinterest, to create a bulletin board, you had to cut out magazine articles and photos. I used to stuff these clippings into folders and when recently cleaning out a closet came across a job search folder from 2007. In it was the above gem.

While the original article in the November issue of Self Magazine by Janene Mascarella translated five of the most common corporatese into plain language was directed at interviewing, you can use the same tips and suggestions in your cover letter. Keep the job description in hand when you write the letter and underline key phrases and repeat them (if applicable). Then if you do score an interview, get out the job description again and review it once more.

In case you can’t read the scan, the details are below. Italics are additions to the original reporting.

  1. Meticulously detail-oriented means “you always follow through and not just follow up,” says David Nour, a consultant in Atlanta. Think: putting ideas into action after a meeting. Prove you’re it by asking about the company’s challenges in the interview, explain how you’ll meet them.
    This is still really good advice. By asking about the challenges and providing solutions or at least how you’ll work within those challenges means your interviewer will be picturing you in the company. 
  2. A team player means you care less about personal glory than about seeing the company succeed. If someone is slacking, you’ll forgo blaming and offer to help. Prove you’re it by including a collaborative project in your portfolio and specify how you contributed to it.
    You can also explain how you work with different personalities and contribute to the team environment in your current or past positions. 
  3. Strong analytical ability means you can glean valuable insights from raw data and use them for the company’s gain by, say, seizing on a trend before the competition. Prove you’re it by describing a work situation in which you brilliantly solved a thorny problem or blazed a new trail.
    It’s finally cool (at least in most circles) to be good at math and analytics (thanks to social media!), don’t be afraid to show how you created a spreadsheet that displayed a trend or gave you the proper insights to make a decision. You don’t have to be working on a budget to use numbers.
  4. A dynamic go-getter means you’re high in stamina (but not hyper), motivated and focused. You will channel your energy to the work hustling to get it done. Prove you’re it by underscoring your drive by describing how your responsibilities have grown with each position held.
    Don’t be afraid to say you look at deadlines like a challenge and always strive to meet expectations. Explain how you find workarounds for the inevitable roadblocks that come up in projects. You can also give examples of how you work well independently or with minimal supervision. 
  5. Superior interpersonal skills means you’re ubertrustworthy and intuitive. Understanding a client’s needs and collaborating to meet them come naturally to you. Prove you’re it by showing stellar people smarts on the interview by asking at least two sincere questions.
    You can start with the challenges question from the first tip. You can also reiterate how you’ve worked on sensitive (without divulging too much information) projects or with a large team. This is really code for minimal drama. The company wants to hire someone who won’t make interpersonal waves and will strive to get along with everyone.

What do you think? Are these tips still relevant?

The easiest wreath ever

updated easiest wreath ever
Update: With a little hot glue, some wooden numbers from Michael’s, the easiest wreath ever is now even better. Adding the numbers wasn’t quite as east as I thought it would be, turns out the wreath isn’t exactly flat and adding hot glue sometimes means the glue leaks between the openings in the wreath. I found the best way to attach the numbers was to figure out the placement, flip the wreath over and see where the numbers touched the wreath and then add hot glue on the back of the number near those spots. And to use more hot glue than you think you need.

I’m not the most crafty person. In fact, Pinterest is nearly a banned word in our house. Mostly because as soon as I say, “I saw it on Pinterest,” or “Pinterest made it look easy!” J rolls his eyes and shakes his head. Even C doubts my craftiness. And both are for good reason. All but a couple of projects have turned into a giant mess. But this one, was so simple! It only took about 10 minutes and turned out really well.

Here’s what you need
Wreath: your choice on the size. I think mine was about 18 inches.
wreathWire: to attach the flowers to the wreath. I went with the Naturally Wired so that if the wire showed, it looked like part of the wreath. But others (the helpful people at Joann Fabrics for example) swear by the green wire.


Flowers: I like hydrangeas (they were in my wedding bouquet!) so I just bought a bunch silk ones from Joann’s when they were on sale.


This part is pretty easy. Before you get out your wire cutters, place the flowers on the wreath where you think you want them. Look at it from a few different angles. Do you need more leaves? Less leaves? More flowers? The nice part about using wire rather than hot glue to attach the flowers is that you can change it pretty easily.
Once you have the placement decided, cut the flower off the stem using the wire cutters. If you want to add the leaves, cut the leaves off the stem too, of if they’re the pop off kind, pop them off. Then cut about 18 inches of the wire for wrapping. Note: if your wreath is bigger, you might want a longer piece. As the helpful Joann’s lady said, you can always make it shorter, it’s a lot harder to make it longer.
Start by wrapping the end of the wire around the back of the wreath. Then either weave the wire around the back of the flower (for example if you’re using a daisy, go around the plastic on the back) or if you’re using a hydrangea like I did, separate the blooms and wrap the wire around the wreath and the blooms in a criss cross pattern. Then tighten the wire. If you are using roses, use the same method for the daisies, just know you’ll have less flower to work with. I then tucked the leaves in under the wire where I thought they would look best.
Repeat the same wrapping method until all the flowers are attached.
Then you’re done! If you want to add another element on the other side try an initial or your house number. I like the simplicity of just the flowers.


Easy Homemade Holiday Gift

Lemon Scrub
Lemon Scrub

If you’re looking for a last minute hostess gift or something for yourself, consider making a salt scrub. I know Pinterest and others are raving about sugar scrubs, but I find sugar scrubs to be stickier, messier and not as moisturizing as a good salt scrub.

1-2 cups oatmeal, finely ground (I used a coffee grinder)
1-2 cups fine salt (I found a box of sea salt on clearance at our local grocer for $1.)
1/2 cup oil of your choice (I’m partial to olive and sunflower for moisturizing, feel free to use infused, but don’t use the good stuff. This is just going to go down the drain)
If not using infused, add a few drops of your favorite essential oil (lavender is a great choice)
*depends on the size jar you’re using. I used the 8 ounce sizes.

If the salt or oatmeal aren’t ground, do so. Add dry ingredients to the jar. Put the lid on. Shake until well mixed. remove the lid. Add oil and sir making sure there aren’t any dry spots. Put the lid on and tie with a bow.



My opinion:
I was lucky enough to receive this as a gift last year and liked it so much I had to make some of my own this year. It’s simple to use and great for dry spots. It goes on easier if applied to wet skin. For extra moisture, I use it as a soak. That way I get the most out of the ground oatmeal.