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Remarkably Domestic — Creatively managing the chaos of home — Page 2

Winter Citrus Margarita

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So now that all the holiday and new year festivities are over, what are you supposed to do if you want to get your drink on?

I’m here to help. I’m always thinking of you.

And also, I wanted to get my drink on, in a wintery but refreshing way. What’s more refreshing than a margarita in January?

Whip one up!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pink grapefruit
  • 1 blood orange
  • 2 – 3 key limes
  • Cointreau or Triple Sec (or Grand Marnier)
  • Tequila!

To start, you’ll want to juice all your citrus.

citrusmargarita3I like using this citrus squeezy thing, but you can also use a regular hand juicer (which you’ll probably need for the grapefruit, since it won’t fit in the squeezer.

citrusmargarita4Those wee key limes fit in the squeezer, or you can just smash ‘em with your hands.

citrusmargarita5Now you’ve got your juice. If you like your margaritas on the sweeter side, you could add some simple syrup or sugar at this point to sweeten it up.

Now, gather your shaker and liquor. Fill the shaker with ice, and don’t skimp! Fill it to the top.

citrusmargarita6Make sure you use the good stuff.

Fill the shaker 1/3 of the way with tequila, and another 1/3 with your orange liquer (Triple Sec, Cointreau, Grand Marnier, whatevs).

citrusmargaritacollageNow add your juice. If you like, you can strain it if you don’t like any pulp in your ‘Rita.

citrusmargarita7Now shake it like a Polaroid picture.

citrusmargarita11I like to rim this glass with sugar instead of salt. You can use one of your leftover citrus rinds, running it around the rim of the glass to moisten it so it’ll take the sugar.

citrusmargarita9Fill your glass with ice…

citrusmargarita10And then fill it with your classy cocktail!

citrusmargarita13Go wild! And if you need some cool glasses to serve your fancy drink, check out some of the offerings here… I’m really digging the Cupa Rocks glasses that gently tilt on their own!

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DIY Olympic Rings Necklace

Since we’re coming up on the Olympic Games again soon, I thought I’d re-post this tutorial from the last Olympics. I hope you enjoy!

We’re starting to get a little excited about the Olympics over here. We aren’t a big sports family, but RD Husband has one sister who was an athlete in the Olympics in 1988 and another who has coached Olympic teams. So we have a soft spot for the games.

This necklace is easy and inexpensive to make. Here’s what you’ll need.

  1. Cord in 5 different colors: red, green, yellow, blue, and black. I used Chinese knotting cord in micro size G, which I ordered from here. You could also use crochet thread, embroidery thread, or embroidery floss, all of which are readily available at craft stores.
  2. 26 Gauge Wire
  3. G-S Hypo Cement, or another strong jewelry-type glue. Michaels carries Aleene’s or E-6000, which both should work.
  4. 5 rings (I actually bought a cheap Claire’s Accessories necklace and took it apart, but you can find these at Michaels in different sizes, too).
  5. A few binder clips
  6. Chain in desired length. I used about 17″, divided into two lengths of 8.5″. You could get something simple and inexpensive like this, or check out a jewelry supplier like Rio Grande or Fire Mountain Gems.
  7. Two jump rings and one clasp. (The clasp isn’t pictured. Sorry!)

Most, if not all, of these things can be found at Michaels or JoAnn Fabric.

First step is covering your rings in the cord. You want to attach the cord with glue at the beginning, wrapping it a few times around.

Secure it by clipping a small binder clip over it and let it dry for about 15 minutes. You can prep all your rings this way, and by the time you are done with the last one, the first one should be dry enough to work with.

Now, wrap the cord around the ring, keeping it tight and each coil snug against the previous one. You don’t want to see any metal through the wrapping.

In order to keep the right tension, you’ll need to hold the parts you’ve already wrapped tightly while you wrap more.

Stop wrapping with about a quarter of an inch or so left to go.

Now, place more jewelry glue on the exposed metal, and then continue wrapping until you have covered the ring. Don’t worry about the long ends of the cord just yet. Secure this section with your binder clip and let it dry.

You’ll do this for each ring in each different color cord. Once they’ve dried (I let mine sit overnight just to be certain), you can clip the cords close to the ring. I chose a side I wanted to be the “back” and clipped them both on that side, so the edges wouldn’t show. Although if you’ve glued enough, the edges will sort of blend together with the ring.

Once you have all your rings, it’s time to lay them out in the correct pattern. Check online and look at images to get your order correct. Then, you are going to start wiring them together.

Cut a small length of wire, about 3″ long, and place it over one of the connections between rings.

Turn to the back, and twist the two wires together, like twist ties. You can use your fingers, or if you have needle nose pliers, those work well, too.

You’ll twist until the connected wires are about 1/4″ long, and then snip the wires off. Fold them under and towards the rings so that they don’t stick out, but keep them hidden in the back.

Once you get a few together, it’ll look like this:

Make sure you are wiring them tightly together so that they keep their shape.

You’ll want to make attachments at all these points:

 

When you’re done, it’ll look like this:

Then, you just need to attach the chain with the jump rings to the blue and red circles.

Attach your clasp, and your necklace is done!

Now you’re ready to watch curling! Hope you enjoy!

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Do you want to be a Pinterest Power User?

I like to think of myself as a Pinterest Power User. I need to tell you what I consider powerful usage, though. I don’t have a million followers (although I was named one of the Top 10 Apartment Therapy Journalists on Pinterest… woot!), but I use the site at least 3 times a day, every day. It’s my go-to resource for researching blog posts and my own personal projects.

All too often, though, I find myself frustrated by pins that are improperly created, and I get sucked into the rabbit hole of an endless search for an image’s origin. Have you ever been there? You find a really, really awesome pin. You want to know more about it! You must know more. So, you click on the pin, natch. And where does it take you? If you are unfortunate like me, possibly one of three places:

  • a homepage, and now you have to search through that site for the specific image;
  • a single image page with no connection to any information; or
  • a Google images page.

GAH! Has this happened to you before? It drives me batty.

So, I’m here to offer all pinners 4 tips for creating helpful, linked pins that will allow everyone to find an original source and will give proper credit where credit is due.

1. Don’t pin from a Google images search page.

If you’ve been searching on Google for images and come across one you like, make sure you click through to the webpage before you pin. That is, if your page looks like this:

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or like this:

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you’re still on the Google page, and pinning won’t connect the image to anything except a Google search. In the second image above, you’ve clicked on an image to enlarge it, but you haven’t changed the page you’re on.

You’ll notice that in these cases the address bar contains a Google address:

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So when you or anyone else clicks on this pin, Google will re-perform the keyword search. So things that came up on that specific date and time that you pinned will likely be gone forever. New images, different page rankings, and lots of other factors make a Google search very fluid over time. So if you want to be able to go back to that image and get more information, make sure you click through to the source. To do that, once you’ve enlarged the image, click on “Visit Page” to get to the original source to pin the image.

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2. Don’t pin from a site’s homepage.

Let’s say you found site that’s got some interesting stuff. You’ve landed on the homepage, and you’re scrolling through, looking through posts, clicking on the “Older Posts” button, and after several clicks and a lot of scanning, you find something you like. Stop! Don’t pin yet. Find the start of the post with the image in it, and click on the title of the post.

Here, I’ve scrolled through Neatorama and found this cool hotel I want to pin. But if I simply pin from here, you’ll notice the URL is pointing to the homepage only:

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]If you look closely, you can see that just above this post is the end of another post. If you pin from here, you’ll be linking back only to the homepage. So if you check back in 3 months, and this is an active site, the post you were looking for is going to be way, way down in the archives, and difficult to find.

Instead, click on the title of the post to redirect to the post itself:

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You’ll know you are on a single page instead of a homepage by the address. Then pin from there, and you’ll always be able to get back to the original source.

3. Always look for your original source; try not to pin from a roundup.

Although this tip is slightly less important because you hopefully still have a clicking trail, it’s much easier to pin from the original source instead of someone who has borrowed that image. If you find something you like in a round up post, click on the link that the author has (hopefully) provided so you can pin from the original site.

In this roundup, the blogger has nicely provided clickable credits at the bottom of each image:

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So that when you click on “The Love Nest” above, you get here:

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and can then pin from this original source. When you come back to it, you’ll be taken right back to the image you want, and you won’t have to scroll through a whole roundup to find the image you pinned and then click through to its source.

(As a sidenote, here, it’s really important to credit and link all the images that you post in a roundup. Not only does it give credit to the original poster/creator, it helps people to find information and avoids dead end links.)

4. If you upload a screenshot or a picture, give it a URL.

I have a board called “Web Design Inspiration” that I use as a kind of mood board when I’m redesigning my site or other graphics. Often, I find a header or social media buttons that I like, but you often can’t pin those from a website. So I’ll take a screenshot of just what I want and upload it as a pin. However, when you upload a pin, there’s nothing linked to that image. Since there is additional information available on this pin, I’m always certain to go back and edit my pin to add the URL from which it came.

The trouble here is that Pinterest makes it a little harder to do this. You can’t add a URL directly from an uploaded pin; you’ll have to save your pin and then edit it. Like so:

Save the pin by clicking on Upload Pin, and you’ll see this dialogue box once you’ve chosen your image:

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You’ll notice there’s nowhere to add a URL, unless you do it in the description, which won’t make the image clickable. Save the pin by clicking “Pin It.” Then, either click on the “See it Now” box that comes up (I couldn’t get a screenshot because it disappears too fast!), or go back to the board where you pinned it and open it there.

pinterest10At the bottom right corner of the image, there’s a little pencil icon or something. Click that to edit the pin.

pinterest11Type or paste the URL in the “source” box, and click to save changes. Voila! You’ve done everyone a service by connecting that image to its original source.

Obviously, this technique doesn’t work if you are uploading an image that you took that isn’t posted anywhere else on the web.

So, those are my tips! If everyone followed these few guidelines, I think we’d have a much more helpful and efficient resource!

Do you have any great tips for making Pinterest better for everyone? Let us know in the comments!

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It was a busy December and I’m getting off to a slow start in January. But Happy New Year!

I did a lot of shopping at craft stores this season, and I’m always stunned at the esoteric craft books that are out there. Especially when you are shopping at JoAnn’s. I’m happy to see them, because I hope to get a book deal to publish several of my own esoteric craft books someday soon. But I have to share some of these full-fledged BOOKS that, like, I don’t know, how can you write a whole book on that?

Like…

craftbooks2Super cute pincushions! I mean, yes, they are super cute. But there are THIRTY-FIVE pincushions to make in here. How many pincushions does one person need? (Readers, I was shocked—SHOCKED—to discover that there’s a whole cottage industry in pincushion DIY books out there. Just search “pincushions books” on Amazon and you’ll be amazed. There’s even Pincushions for Every Occasion, like when you need a cocktail pincushion, or a business casual pincushion, or even a black tie pincushion. Or one for a funeral?)

craftbooks1You can also buy an entire book of knitted meerkats. If you want to make a wombat, or a fennec fox, or a capybara, you are out of luck, becuase it’s ALL MEERKATS ALL THE TIME in this book. How many different ways are there to knit a meerkat? I mean, it looks from the cover like it’s just one meerkat dressed in a lot of costumes. But good on ya if you can sell a whole book based on one pattern.

craftbooks6You can also make an entire book of spoon animals and pen toppers. What is a spoon animal, exactly? Is it like made from a plastic spoon? The good news is this book is only 24 pages long.

I’m going to have to question whether this book belongs in the craft area:

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First, it’s like, a whole book?! How bad can your eyebrows be? How many different ways can your brows be fabulous? But also, if you have to consider your brow grooming to be a “craft,” I’m thinking you might need some professional help.

There were plenty of cookbooks in the book section, too, which also confuses me because I don’t think of cooking when I’m at JoAnn fabric. I guess cooking is a craft, but do you need these cookbooks?

craftbooks360 recipes? Isn’t a milkshake like, put some ice cream and milk in a blender and then whazz it all up? The flavor, I always thought, depended upon the flavor of the ice cream. What’s going in these milkshakes?

craftbooks4In the nacho book’s defense, it does say there’s guacamole and salsa in there, but then it’s not really just Ultimate Nachos, then, is it? No one, and I mean no one, needs 80 different kinds of nachos. Or nachos for breakfast, because you know that’s where it’s going.

Finally, I walked by this product and couldn’t stop myself from taking a photo:

craftbooks7Is that the best name EVER for a product?! Phoomph? I love how it begins and ends with the “ph.” Wondering what you use it for? IT’S RIGHT IN THE NAME:

craftbooks9So, let’s have it. If you were writing your own narrowly focused but hopefully marketable craft book, what would the title be? We’re dying to know. Leave it in the comments!

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