Thursday, April 26, 2012

A creative (and cheap) way to display iPhone photos.

Ever since I got my iPhone in January, I have been obsessed with taking photos with the amazing camera... the freaking thing has high resolution that the DSLR I paid $1600 for! And to be able to post process right on the phone! I have 3 different apps that I use to post process and with a combination of them, I simply love my photos.

I put a ton of my photos on Instagram (ayummymommy) and also Facebook, but I know not everyone is down with the social media (like my husband) so I wanted a way to show them off the old fashioned way.

The first step was to have them printed, which ended up being super easy. I simply downloaded the app PostalPix, and then I was able to order photos right from the phone! So simple, they came within a few days and the quality was fantastic.

But then I ended up with dozens of cute photos- unfortunately all of them square with no frames to fit them. I needed a fun way to display them. This part I stole from a friend who is also an iPhone addict. I had seen her Instagram photo display and thought something similar would look great in my house. This is what I came up with:

I started with a trip to Goodwill and by raiding my own craft supplies:

I bought a great large frame from Goodwill for $5. (You can almost always find great frames at a variety of sizes at Goodwill- but you typically need to remove some tacky artwork.)

I then needed small finish nails, tiny clothes pins (purchased at any art supply superstore) wire, paint, a small hammer and bowl to mix paint in.

My first steps were to prepare the frame. I removed the lovely sailboat print.

I then used my cheap child labor to move the hanging wire up because I did not want the hanging wire visible from the front of the frame.

I wanted my frame to be white washed (as well as the clothes pins I would be using for hanging the photos) so I created a whitewash- my formula was about half water/half white paint.

(I threw my clothes pins into the whitewash to soak while I was using it to paint my frame.) It took a few coats of the whitewash to get my frame the color I wanted as the raw wood just kept soaking up the paint, but I like the outcome:

The last step was to attach the wire that the photos would hang on. I put a finish nail on the back of each side of the frame near the top. I then measured down 4 inches on each side and put in another nail on each side. I repeated on more time on each side and ended up with 3 rows to fit my 4 inch photos.

I wrapped my wire around the nail a few times and then across the frame to the corresponding nail. I left a bit of slack as I like the look of the photos 'swooping' down a bit.

After i removed my mini clothes pins from the white wash and let them dry, I hung my photos and then hung the frame in my living room:

The great things is that I can easily swap out photos throughout the year (since I take thousands!) and keep the photo display current.

Thanks, as always, to Goodwill for helping me decorate on a budget.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Time to build the square foot garden.

This is year four of my growing a vegetable garden... and it has not been a very fruitful journey. The above photo was pretty much the whole bounty from my garden 2 years ago. Sad, huh? My first year, the garden was completely flooded. The second year, it simply didn't grow... poor soil... poor watering... poor light??? Who knows? 2 years ago, I meticulously hand tilled, added tons of organic soil, spent hours and days tending to the garden, only to have so much rain that everything pretty much molded or simply couldn't grow.

So, this was my last ditch attempt and a whole new idea... I tried a raised square foot garden. This solved the whole water issue, since the recipe I used for the soil is extremely conducive to drainage and, since it is raised, it would be really hard to flood it.

I started by building my box at 4 feet by 4 feet with landscape timbers I already had on hand and a few purchased lag bolts. This was clearly the hardest part... especially since I built it on the deck, not thinking of how heavy it would be to move!

After that, I used a wheel barrow to mix up some soil consisting of peat moss, compost and perlite (all found at my local garden center.) It makes a very fluffy mixture, so much that I asked a friend about it retaining water and she assured me that when she used peat moss, she had her best crops ever.

This is a great point for the kids to join is as they will love to stir up the mix.

After the mixture was stirred well, we added it to the garden. Acadia then decided to climb in to make sure it was appropriately mixed...
Use string and screws to portion the garden off into square foot segments. You will plant one vegetable per square foot, which is supposed to yield a considerable amount more per square foot than row gardening. I found this handy chart on how to plant each vegetable in each square foot.

If you are in New England, use this chart to tell when to plant your vegetables. I am still waiting for some of my other seedlings to grow hardy enough to put outside. Wish me luck. I will post often to see how it is progressing. Check out as a great resource for any questions you have.

Please, PLEASE read this great blog post on purchasing seeds before you go out and make your selections. The ever-evil Monsanto seems to be creeping right into our home veggie garden.

All this veggie talk has my hungry for a salad... check out of my great summer recipes from previous years: delicious salads.... and more delicious salads.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Menu Monday: Going Vegetarian

A couple of weeks ago, my husband announced that he wanted to try vegetarian eating. (Although he has settled on pesco-lacto-ovo vegetarian as he still wants dairy, eggs and fish. Which is good because preparing a total vegetarian meal for my 3 kids could be nearly impossible.)

So this is week 3, and I will be making a few dishes that we have already tried and that the family liked.

Monday: Corned beef and potatoes. (Ummmm, that's is not vegetarian, you say. I know, but I had bought that corned beef for St. Patty's day before he made that decision and I can't waste it... so he can either join the rest of the family and eat it or fill up on potatoes.)

Tuesday: Black bean and corn Quesadillas (quick and easy as it's Annika's first evening of softball practice!)

Wednesday: Vegetarian Lentil Shepherds Pie (This is one we have already tried and everybody really liked it.) I will share my own recipe and variations from this recipe this week.

Thursday: Tuna Noodle Casserole (I have no recipe, I throw some tuna, egg noodles and other goodies together and it usually goes over well.)

Friday: Leftovers as we have Family Fun Night at school.

Do you have any vegetarian recipes you could share with my family???

*(Although the photo in this post is not on our menu this week, I just had to share.... it was a vegetarian chili that turned out sooo yummy! I did let it simmer for many hours to let the flavor incorporate, but pretty much followed the recipe otherwise.)