DIY Erin Condren Stickers using Picmonkey and Pinterest

If you have an Erin Condren planner and are on Pinterest, you’ll find lots of stickers to purchase out there, but they can get expensive, and they may not say just what you want them to.  A pack of stickers from a craft store that are not even sized to fit the squares in the Erin Condren planner can run you five or six bucks, and to me that’s a lot to spend on something that’s not quite right.

While on Pinterest, I found this handy post on how to use Picmonkey, a free online photo editing tool, to create your own stickers.  Ms. Marcia Beckett does an excellent job explaining how to re-purpose Picmonkey to make a sheet of cut-yourself stickers.  And luckily, I had purchased some full-sheet sticker paper from Staples last fall.  A package of that can get expensive, too.  But with coupons and watching for sales, I think I got mine for about $12, and it has lasted me quite awhile.

But I didn’t want any old random stickers.

Like many people, I have a board on Pinterest with Quotes that resonate with me, some funny, some inspiring, and these are what I wanted sprinkled through the pages of my planner.  I googled to see if anyone else had done this before, and couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for.  I decided to play around with it myself. Here are the steps I followed:

1.  Open Pinterest, and find the pins you want to make into stickers. I recommend pins that have a lot of space on each side, and are more vertical than horizontal, but you can play with it yourself to get the look you want. Once you click on your pin, right click on it to save it as an image.

pins into stickers

2.  Open picmonkey, and follow the instructions in Marcia’s post above.  You can add more pictures by dragging them onto your layout, and waiting until a grey area appears.  Then simply drop your picture.  You can also resize them by dragging the sides of each picture you have placed.

3.  I would recommend putting 16 pictures on an 8.5 x 11 page to get close to the size of the boxes in the Erin Condren planner.  You can eyeball the sizing to get it fairly close to the right proportions.

Pinned Quotes into EC stickers

4.  Adjust your spacing to around 127 to get the pictures to the right size on the background page (the icon looks like an art palette on the left of the Picmonkey page).

5. Print and cut out!

pins into EC stickers

A couple of notes:

  • Don’t try to make a buck off of other people’s designs. That’s stealing.  Using these for personal use is one thing, but using someone else’s work to create stickers to sell would not be the right thing to do.
  • I wouldn’t recommend using people’s designs from Etsy or other sites where people are trying to make a living from their work.
  • If you have some pins/quotes that won’t work due to the layout, you can always create a new one using Picmonkey, as well! It really is a lot of fun!
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It’s Just A Word

Still using the "r-word"?  Find yourself a dictionary...

Still using the “r-word”? Find yourself a dictionary…

Recently, the r-word has reared its ugly head again in my purview.  Several weeks ago, I was on Pinterest, and saw a pin with this “joke”: “Sometimes your knight in shining armor is just a retard in tin foil”.  Hilarious, right?  No.  Not funny in the least.  And I usually don’t jump on people on that site, because I don’t know them from Adam, and don’t want to get into it with strangers.  In my experience, that can get a little scary.

But I noticed that several others were posting comments to the pin that took exception to it, so I chimed in.  And a couple of people responded to me, jumping all over me to “get a grip”, “life isn’t always nice”, “people are too damn touchy today”, “get over it”, “cool your beans” and plenty of expletives.  Now let me explain that my comment was in no way heated — it was: “Just because it doesn’t hurt you, doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt someone else.”  But I was told to “cool (my) beans” and “get a grip”!

One person responded specifically to me, and in her response, said this: “If the word hurts you, it is because you allowed it to. I am overweight, if I cried every time I heard the word fat, I would be a constant mess.”

So, it’s OK for people to use derogatory language, because I’m supposed to be stronger, and those on this planet with Down’s Syndrome, Autism, Cognitive Impairments, and Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities are just supposed to be stronger, and “get over it”, if the word “retard” hurts them?

Another commenter said this: “Oh goodness it’s a word for crying out loud! I have a cousin with Down syndrome and a cousin with autism and not a single person in my family over reacts over the word ‘retard’ you know why, because we don’t use that word to describe them so why the hell should it be offensive, do you actually sit there and call your mentally disabled children retarded? No? Then get over it!!!”

So, because I don’t use that word to describe my son, it shouldn’t be offensive to me??

Um… What???

I think the people on the wrong side of this, those who accuse us of being the “word police”, need some stronger arguments, because theirs just make no sense.  I am not the word police.  But I will point out to you when a word you use is hurtful, because I believe people should be nice to each other – didn’t we all learn that in Kindergarten?  Because I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt, that you just didn’t realize you were being mean.  If you dig your feet in, because you should be allowed to say whatever you want, you are correct.

You can say anything you want.  But that doesn’t mean you should.

If you agree, check out this awesome info-graphic about the word “gay”.  We should totally get one of these made for the r-word!

A Wedding For Under $500

If you’ve ever been on Pinterest for any length of time, you’ll have noticed all the pins about how cheaply you can throw a wedding: for under $12,000, for under $7,000, for under $5,000…

Here’s where we stand:

  • Bride’s dress: $4 (I ordered it from ModCloth and had to pay shipping, but the dress was free.  They had screwed up slightly on a previous order, and sent me coupon code for $50 off, which I saved for the right time)
  • Bride’s shoes: $7 (never-used pair of sandals from the thrift store)
  • Bride’s headband: $16 in materials, handmade by me!
  • Bridal Jewelry: $0 (handmade by my mom!)
  • Groom’s clothing: $0 (shorts, a polo, and his Keens)
  • Wedding venue: $0 (public park on the waterfront with a small gazebo, so no fee is required to reserve)
  • Officiant: $180
  • Flowers: $10 – 50? (I’m thinking of either heading to the grocery store for a bouquet or ordering a bouquet online to arrive the day before the wedding, and in either case, just using a few blooms from it)
  • Handmade bowl: $0 (for The Boy to hold the rings, handmade by my friend, an art teacher, and featuring the imprint of my grandma’s crochet *sniff*)
  • License: $60
  • Rings: $100?  (I know we can get a nice set on Etsy for $80-100, but haven’t ordered them yet)
  • Reception: $0 (Not having one! – just heading to dinner with family and close friends)

No cake, no invitations (although The Man seems to have invited the whole town to the ceremony!), no chair covers, no favors, no place cards, no limo, no boutonnieres, no formal photographer, no bridal party, no DJ…

We don’t need it.  We’ll have each other, and The Boy, and the people closest to us on the planet.  What more could a bride want?

PS No pictures now, because I want to share pics from the wedding afterwards!

*sigh*

Progress: Noticing a Difference

measuring resultsI’ve done a few posts about exercise over the past year, and if you’ve been around awhile, you know it’s a relatively new concept for me.  For most of my life, my high metabolism has carried me through, and I haven’t been too worried about what I eat, or my weight in general.  Around the time of the breakup of my marriage, I was at my heaviest, and lost a lot that summer and fall, getting back to my more normal weight range.  And then about a year ago, I started to notice the cellulite and flab creeping in, and for the first time in my life, I wasn’t so happy with what I saw in the mirror.  Last winter, I bought some weights and a bike trainer so I could ride my own bike (which I love!) indoors.  I also started breaking out the yoga mat again on a semi-regular basis.  And it lasted awhile, but I didn’t really see results, so I slacked off and got out of the routine.  This past fall, I wrote about needing to get back into some kind of routine, because I was shocked at weighing in at the doctor’s and finding I was 15 pounds over my normal weight – yikes!  And then I came up with a plan.  And when that wasn’t quite working, I adjusted it a bit.  I struggled with it.  I really, really struggled with it, and I felt like I was failing.

And then in March, something clicked.  I started sticking to my plan.  The thing I thought I’d never do, get up early to workout, started working for me.  I found I wasn’t tired, I was very willing to get up and get on the bike, and just ride.  It was another opportunity for some alone time, and to process thoughts, so it wasn’t a crazy, chicken-with-its-head-cut-off kind of all-at-once start to my day.  And I coupled it with some targeted, low-impact exercises found on Pinterest a few minutes before bedtime.

And then…  I actually upped it.  I was riding the bike 3 times a week, and I bumped it up to 5 days a week (although sometimes I take a day off to do a 20 minute yoga routine instead).  And I started doing the night-time exercises every night.  And I added another routine found on Pinterest, and some sumo squats.  Not a ton, but enough to burn.  And I kept upping my resistance on the bike, making sure I was still sweating by the time I was done.

If you follow me on Facebook, you’ve gotten a few updates, which I promised, and which helps keep me accountable, and since the beginning of March, I’ve lost two inches on my hips!  And I woke up yesterday, and I couldn’t see my saddlebags anymore.  And that inner-thigh fat?  It’s fading.  They say it takes four weeks for you to notice the changes, and 8 weeks for close friends and family.  It’ll be interesting to see what The Man says when he comes to visit this week.

All I know is, for the first time in my life, I am enjoying working out, and I’m seeing results. 😀

So Much Fun the Second Time Around

I’ve written before about what Pinterest has done for (or is it to?) brides, and I am still in awe of how much this one social network has probably changed an entire industry.  I can certainly tell you that I did not have a list of “must have shots” for my photographer at my first wedding, and I didn’t give much thought to the gifts for the bridal party (did I even give gifts?  I’m sure I did, but I don’t remember…).  And while it can be fun looking there for inspiration and ideas for my own second-time shindig, it’s a bit like watching one of the Housewives series… I gawk because I can’t wrap my brain around the fact that people actually live that way, and care so much about what other people think.

Of course I want my loved ones and friends to enjoy themselves, but this is a (ten minute) ceremony to mark our commitment to each other and to celebrate this hopeful new beginning that is The Man and me.  If the people I invite to share the day with us love us, they will enjoy it just for that simple fact.

Maybe a few of these from Walmart for the "bouquet"?

Maybe a few of these from Walmart for the “bouquet”?

I must say, the second time around is very liberating.  There’s so much you just don’t have to worry about (and so many more options!!).  And maybe it’s not so much the fact that it’s a second wedding, but that it’s a really small, casual affair.  Public Park, Friday afternoon, about ten people, including us, The Boy, and the officiant!  When it’s so small, you don’t need 90% of the stuff you have to worry about for a big wedding, and it’s SO cool.

So, yes, I still get lost on Pinterest for a time, but more often than not, I’m giggling at the posts about how to spend “only” $5K on your wedding, 15 “mandatory” wedding photos, and the 6 “rules” a man must follow to ask a girl to marry him…  Oh brother.

Queen of Procrastination

By Portobellostreet

That’s what it should say on my nametag.  Yes, I have valid reasons for it many times, and in any case, I’m pretty sure it’s not something that’s going to change.  In this case, I have been procrastinating getting back into the exercise thing, thinking that if The Man and I set a date for a wedding, I’d have a great motivation and a goal all rolled into one, so why start exercising until we have that set?…

See how my mind works?

Well… We haven’t set a definite date.  And I realize that this is just procrastination in disguise.

After checking out this post and then this post over at zenhabits.net (I know, I KNOW, research on the internet is another not-so-clever disguise for procrastination, too!), I developed a plan, keeping in mind my previous insights into my own roadblocks to exercising, and the great points in the posts about triggers, motivation, and goals.

  1. Step One: go to bed earlier (9:30 instead of 10).  I had an epiphany when I realized there was no real reason to stay up until 10, as I am often tired before then.  The Man and I used to talk on the phone after The Boy’s bedtime, but we talk earlier in the evening now, ergo I do not have to stay up that late…
  2. Step Two: Three times per week, I will wake up 20 minutes early to fit in yoga, or the bike, or some other cardio or strength training (that I’ve probably found on Pinterest).
  3. My goal is to lose a few inches off my “hips”.  This is my trouble spot, and the reason my pants are starting to not-fit.
  4. Report: I will measure myself once a week, and post about it to you people (even if you don’t want to hear about it), because it’ll make me accountable (probably on the simpleijustdo.com facebook page).
  5. Reward: I will also reward myself if I meet my plan each week.  No food!  Just books, shoes or other mild obsessions…

I hope I’m ready for this!  I hope I can stick with it for awhile!

Starting measurement: 41″ (Ugh…)

DIY Magnetic Menu Planner

I plan our dinners (and lunches) weekly, and go grocery shopping every Sunday.  I hate shopping on Sunday, especially when there are no freakin’ carts left, but try as I might, I haven’t been able to switch to a better day.  Besides, I suspect our particular grocery store is crowded at all hours of every day of the week.  It’s an insane place to be.

While browsing on Pinterest for great ideas, I have often come across the cute little menu planner for the week.  This is not something I really need, but I kinda want to put one together for a few different reasons:

  1. I tend to get into ruts, where we eat the same things week in and week out.
  2. I want to try to use the groceries that I buy for the meals I intend, so that there’s less waste at the end of the week.
  3. I tend to forget to defrost stuff when necessary.
  4. I want to motivate myself to continue cooking throughout the week, rather than resorting to McDonald’s or pizza because I’m too tired to try to remember what I had planned for the week.

But I think it can safely be said that mine’s a little different than all the others you’ll see on Pinterest.  You’ll see how in a bit…

I started with good old Microsoft Word.  I didn’t want to write out every single meal, and all of the ingredients on the back, so I opened up Word, went to “Tools”, selected “Labels”, and clicked on “Mail Merge”.  This brought up a page of label-shaped cells, and I typed the name of my typically used recipes into each cell.  I’m not going to bother putting the ingredients on them, because thanks to Pinterest, I can look it up with a click or two, and I usually build the bulk of my grocery list sitting in front of my computer, anyway.  And truth be told, I make most of these so often, I already know what’s in them.

labels

My next step was to print off the “labels” on cardstock, and cut them up (using my cropping tool for scrapbooking for nice straight lines), and then laminating them.  I don’t think laminating is necessary, but it will keep the cards nicer for longer.  Then I used some adhesive magnet tape to adhere a small magnet strip to each one.

don't you love cutting up laminated stuff?

roll o' magnet

applying magnets...

Now I needed a surface, so I used a small cookie sheet that I no longer need, and covered it with contact paper.  Here’s how mine is different – I faced the raised edges of the pan towards the wall, so that I can store unused recipe magnets inside for the week. You may also notice that other DIY-ers have used cookie sheets and magnets, but only my recipe cards themselves are magnetized.  See?  I told you mine is different!

old cookie sheet

covered with Contact Paper...

magnetic!

store unused magnets on the wrong side!

Finally, I used some scrapbooking materials and tools to make it pretty, and mounted the board in my kitchen with those 3M velcro hangers.  Now I have a visual reminder of what meals are planned for the week!  As I try more recipes from Pinterest (or anywhere!), I can easily add more cards to the mix.

Finished Board without magnetsFinished Board with magnetsFinished Board Hanging in my kitchen!

The Common Sense Bride (Who Has Done It Before)

Getting engaged has meant a mixture of emotions, many expected, and yet some unexpected.  And of course, now there’s Pinterest.  And anyone who has a Pinterest account has a wedding board of some kind – everyone.  This is a bit of a peek into the minds of the young brides out there who are planning their little hearts out (or more accurately, their bank accounts out).

You see, I did the whole big wedding thing the first time around, and I don’t begrudge them that at all.  But.

Pinterest has a way of giving you great ideas while also imposing some sort of expectation of craftiness.  Many mommy bloggers have written about the inability to “live up to” their Pinterest-ideal, as if it was some sort of new gold standard.  And now the brides have set themselves up for that, as well.  And this can only end in disappointment and exhaustion.  I can see those weary young ladies, staying up all night to craft this or that x300 guests for their wedding.  And then on to the next detail.

And the “resources” for the modern bride?  The $10-20 bridal magazine that is 99% advertisements for dresses (and since you will only wear one dress [okay, there is a high-dollar trend to have two dresses, one for the ceremony and one for the reception *gulp*], it’s really not that good of a return on your investment, especially when there’s this thing called the internet where you could find all of those dresses without paying the extra money for the magazine…  but I digress…), the “advice” blogs who dictate who gets to wear veils, and who doesn’t, and that yes, you should definitely provide your guests with favors because they will remember the details…  I call BS.  How many weddings have you been to?  Do you remember who gave favors and who didn’t?  I certainly don’t.  I can’t even recall a single favor I have received, that’s how little I cared about them, and those brides who did have them could have saved a ton of cash, time, and sanity if they had forgone that one detail.

I read one piece of good advice recently, and it was this: decide on the three aspects of your shindig on which you would like to splurge a bit, and keep it to three.  Mine would be photography, bouquet, and dress.  But you have to understand that for me, $300 will be splurging (and we may be talking silk flowers, and a photography student from the community college, here…).But while I have ideas of what I’d like, I do not have my heart set on anything in particular (and I know that The Man will have ideas, too.  We’ll be making decisions together).  I have the perspective of the Second-Time Bride who has realized the most important thing is something you can’t buy or craft from Pinterest.  It’s the love and partnership of the one you are marrying.  Nothing else really matters.