Archives for February 2018

The BEST Way To Get Rid Of Ants…and pictures to prove it!

So you want to know the BEST way to get rid of ants and you want proof?  Well you’ve come to the right blog my friends!

I currently live in the south, where there are more bugs than you can shake a stick at.  Unlike New England, where we freeze the crap out of bugs to make sure and kill a few million every winter, the south stays balmy enough to keep them all alive.  Lovely.

Can you see the little critters crawling up the side of the window moulding below?  (This was last week when the spring rain started driving them indoors.)  So, I’ve been in Atlanta a while now, and I clearly understand that the term is not “extermination” it is “management“.

Every three to four years or so a band of “Argentinian” ants finds there way into my house, and into my neighbor’s houses, (cuz Lord knows we don’t want anyone to feel left out).  These guys are teeny tiny.  I have tried every way to fix this problem over the years, from expensive professional bug treatments to home made Borax solutions I found on Pinterest.  I am finally an expert😉 and I have the photos to prove it.  Are you ready?  Above you see them?  Below you don’t! (Well, you can see a few dead ones on the paper if you look closely.)

I finally found something at Home Depot a few years ago called Terro Liquid Ant Baits.  Yes, the packaging says the active ingredient in these is from “Borax.”  But… buying a box of Borax, making a solution and soaking cotton balls, etc. was never this effective.  I promise. I’ve done it.  HOWEVER… you have to know how to use this stuff properly…so keep reading…because these directions are not on the package. This is a Managed By Mom (from experience) exclusive.

 

DO THE FOLLOWING AND ANTS DISAPPEAR!

#1.  When you see ants…don’t kill them!  I know.  This seems counterintuitive, but it’s important. Watch them.  Follow the trail to determine where they are entering the room.  This might take a minute or 10 minutes.  I promise it’s worth your time.

#2. Once you’ve figured out where they are entering (probably through a wall, a crack, a door jam) put down something you can throw away – I like wax paper.  Cut open one of these baits, and if it’s possible, dribble a little of the Terro liquid at the beginning of the trail right where they are entering.  You don’t want these suckers walking 20 feet cuz they leave pheromone trails which is how they follow each other…and probably how they keep finding their way to my house every few years.  In the photo above I put some on the tiles next to the window moulding which is why you see so many congregating there.

#3. As close to the entry point as possible put one or two of these bates with a little bit of the bait sprinkled leading up to it.  I don’t take any chances people.  Lead them to the poison.  Then wash your hands very well with soapy water, whether or not you think you got any on your hands.  (Sorry…Mom here…can’t shut it off.)

#4.  Now, spray a paper towel well with Windex and wipe all around the perimeter of the area with the bait – if it’s a wipeable surface. Think – you are creating an invisible fence.  Windex is one of the few things that can literally wipe out the ant pheromones they follow.   I’ve been told it’s the ammonia.  This way the ants only smell the bait and the pheromones left by other ants leading up to it.  Very few will wander past it.

#5. Now the hard part…walk away.  Yes.  Just leave it, because watching this will give only you the willies.  No lie – I get goosebumps watching this little suckers multiply as they make their way to the bait.  It’s like they send out a freakin’ SOS.  So walk away and let them eat.  They won’t die while their eating it.  They take it back inside their bodies to all their friends in the nest and wipe them out where they live. (Thank God, cuz I would not want to clean that up.)

#6 Within 24 hours you should see the number of ants dissipate and/or stop.   This year it took about 36 hours till I didn’t see a single ant.  A day and a half of goose pimples…wondering if they were gone..but they are!  Yippee!!

#7.  You’re not done yet.  Now you need to plug or seal that tiny hole, crack, door jam, or however they got in.   This year at my house it was literally a pin sized hole in the caulk between the tile and the window moulding.  So I sealed it.  Also throw away your wax paper and carefully wash off any residue that’s left with soap and water with paper towels and throw them away.  (You don’t want this stuff on a sponge you’re going to wash the dishes with.)  And wash those hands again. Then wipe over the area with Windex to erase any pheromones.

The problem should be over…at least for another few years.  But if (or when) it happens again – you’re ready!

Let me know how it works for you!

 

XO

Kate

Three Reasons to try Hand Lettering Today!

Three Reasons to try Hand Lettering Today!

You haven’t tried Hand Lettering yet?  No worries – you’re not alone – but I hope after you read this you’ll want to try it!

I’ve always been intrigued with fonts and calligraphy.  In fact, I’ve got  hundreds of ideas pinned to my “Fonts” board on Pinterest if you’re looking for something:) LOL!

I started seeing “hand lettering” on Pinterest last year and started pinning images because I thought they looked SO neat! Here’s a link to my “Hand Lettering” board.   I remember thinking, “I wish I could do this so I could hand write the sentiments on the cards I make instead of having to stamp them.”   Although I love anything creative and artistic I didn’t try it…honestly because I didn’t think I’d be good at it.  I thought it was for people who had great hand writing, or who had taken the time to learn calligraphy.

Below is a picture of my first go at hand lettering.  And here is the link to the image on Pinterest.  I thought it was simple enough to try because it only had a few words and no other pictures or images. I also thought it would make a fun card to send to my daughter at school;).  As you can see it wasn’t a perfect replica…but I was honestly surprised at how close I came in a short amount of time.   It was fun and relaxing, and I put on my to do list to try hand lettering again.

As I started pinning more hand lettering images to my board I started reading what people were saying about how to approach it.  They said it was really more like drawing than calligraphy, and suggested using a pencil with a good eraser and not worrying about making lots of mistakes.  Now that I’ve tried it I totally agree.  You just need to find an easy phrase you want to try,  and then sketch out the outline of it on paper.  Then go back and correct the scale -meaning the height or width – of the letters and the spacing between the letters and the words.  I found THIS ONE on Pinterest that also seemed fairly simple.  This was my second try…

And below is the finished piece after I colored it in with my black brush pen.  Really cute!  I’m so excited there are so many creative folks in the world, and especially on Pinterest, sharing what they’re doing so that the rest of us can give it a try!

This weekend, unfortunately, I ended up in the ER – not the Flu thank God – but an infection none the less – requiring too many tests, antibiotics and the frustrating directive to take it easy for the next few days. Ugh!  What to do, what to do? ! So I went through my hand lettering board while I cozied up on the couch and found another one I wanted to try.   I looked at the image and sketched it out in one of my Fabriano dot matrix notebooks.   This is the most complex one I’ve done so far.  What didn’t look right, I erased and tried again. Once I was happy with it I colored it in with my black marker.  And I LOVE IT!  Not to mention it helped pass the time while the antibiotics kicked in;)

I found my Fabriano dot matrix notebook to be helpful in keeping the letters in a word, the spaces, and/or images  in the piece the same height or width.  Here’s a closer look at the one above so you can see the dots…and maybe the eraser marks;)

So why should you try hand lettering? Here are three good reasons!  #1 – it’s honestly a lot of fun!  #2 – looking at something and being required to copy it, especially something you have not written or drawn before, is a great exercise that pulls together the right and left hemispheres of your brain and requires them to work together.  If you haven’t done something like this before you may feel a little taxed at first as it requires a bit of concentration.  With practice it gets easier and easier!  #3 – once you start doing this you will find it is very relaxing.  The art of hand lettering requires concentration which makes you block out a lot of what is going on around you.  It can be a kind of meditative exercise.  Think Zen.

I encourage you to give hand lettering a try today.   If you find it difficult at first, just take your time.  It doesn’t matter how much of the eraser you use – I promise nobody cares – and the rest of us have used plenty of it!   Just work on the letters until you get them to look the way you want them.  The final result doesn’t have to look exactly like what you’re trying to copy. Use your own creativity.  Make it something you like!

I’ll definitely be working on more of these in the future and will share them here on my blog and on Pinterest.   I hope you’ll give hand lettering a try today!  Please share what you come up with here so we can enjoy it, and we can learn from you too!

Happy Hand Lettering!  Have a great week!

 

XO

Kate

 

 

Are Your Cute Flats Causing Your Knee Pain? 2018

Are your cute flats causing your knee pain?  Flat shoes don’t cause problems.  High heels cause problems. Right?  Not so fast.

We’ve known for years that high heels can be the cause of pain by putting additional stress on your knees and the muscles surrounding them.  They can also be the culprits of unexplained hip pain and put your back out of alignment.  But did you know the same can be true for flats?!

If you have poorly defined arches, or flat feet, your ankles likely pronate a little or a lot.  Pronating means  your foot and ankle roll inward, and without a supportive shoe it can cause your ankle and knee to be thrown out of alignment which can result in pain and soreness in your ankle and knees.  This can and does lead to hip and lower back pain – not to mention Advil and Tylenol.  How do I know this? Experience my friends.

 

Over time pronation can result in inflammation of the anterior and posterior tibial tendons in your ankles and feet and can cause damage to the bones, ligaments and tendons in your feet.  According to podiatrist Phillip Vasyli in this article published in Shape Magazine ,”Excess pronation is a condition that affects 75 percent of the population and has been related to many conditions, such as heel pain (otherwise known as plantar fasciitis), knee pain, and even lower-back pain”.

The problem with flats is that they usually have very little if any support.  Think flip flops, ballet flats, even sandals and loafers.  Most have a thin sole, which don’t provide any shock absorption.  Even if there is some type of liner inside the shoe, it doesn’t have adequate arch support.  They’re so easy to put on and comfortable around your feet, you think they must be good for you, but without any structure to stabilize your footbed problems can arise.

A good shoe that supports your foot will have a decent sole thickness, meaning you won’t feel the ground you’re walking on.  They will also have some type of formed footbed including arch support to keep your foot and ankle from pronating, and possibly a slight depression where your heel hits, to cup your heel, and keep your foot aligned.

If you already have foot, ankle, knee, hip or lower back pain, ditch the flip flops and make an appointment with an orthopedic doctor.  Earlier is better.  Don’t wait until you can’t bend your knee to see someone.  The doctor will examine your feet and ankles.  They’ll analyze the way you walk.  Some even video tape your gait and can show you how your feet and ankles move when you walk.   They should do a full exam and possibly take x-rays.  If they recommend orthotics as a solution to your pain problems, there are usually options you can purchase though their office, but check the prices and shop around.  It’s often cheaper to get ankle and knee braces, or orthotics, outside of the office, on amazon or at a good shoe store.

If you love wearing flats like I do, you have a couple of options.  You can bite the bullet and go shopping for a pair of cute flats that have support built into them already.  Below are some links to a few places to help you start your search for supportive flats.  You may have to do some footwork (pun intended) to find a “cute” pair that have the support you need.  They aren’t all as fashion forward as we’d like, but you can easily find a pair at one of these sites to wear with casual outfits that will ease your pain.

Clark Shoes

ABEO Footwear

Barking Shoes

Dansko Shoes

Naot Shoes

Vionic Shoes

The Walking Company

Another option is to buy the shoes you like and separately purchase an orthotic insert to put into them.  Sneakers and athletic shoes are fairly easy to fit with inserts. My orthopedist recommended a brand called Super Feet Insoles which you can buy at most good shoe stores or online.  They come in several colors indicating several different support structures.  They are priced between $44.95 and $59.95.

I’ve found it difficult to put a full size insert into some shoes.  But recently I found a great option for a pair of flats I already owned.  My local New Balance store offers a  “Fashion Orthotic Insert” and you can buy it in store.  For some reason it isn’t on their website yet, but if you ask at a store the product number is NB100.  I researched it and it is actually made by a company called Aetrex Worldwide Inc.  You can buy it here on Amazon. (It just won’t say New Balance.)  One pair of these inserts will run you about $45.  They are light, fit easily into my flats, and have adhesive dots on the bottoms to make them stay in place.  So far they are working out well for me.

We already do a lot of things proactively to take care of our health.  We eat right, exercise, and take vitamins.  We also need to take proactive measures when it comes to our feet.  If we keep them in good shape they’ll be able to take us wherever we want to go for many years to come.

Be well:)  And please share if you find a shoe insert that has helped you relieve your knee pain.  I’d love to hear about it!

 

XO

Kate

 

5 Fun And Easy Ways To Use Decorative Paper from Paper Source

5 Fun And Easy Ways To Use Decorative Paper!

I’ve been looking for a piece of decorative paper to add to the black and white gallery wall I’m putting together.  I found this great printed piece at The Paper Source for $4.95 on Friday.  It is a pressed handmade paper, with a cotton-like consistency.  The piece was very large- 20X30 inches.  I really only needed an 8X10 piece and I was thinking, gosh, I hate to waste it.  What else can I use if for?  So, I challenged myself over the weekend to find other ways to put it to good use  and I easily came up with five fun and easy ways.

First, I cut the 8X10 piece that I needed and put it into the white frame you see here at the very left.  I took a wider shot so you can get the idea of where I’m going with this.  I’m using a combination of printed paper, fabric, and watercolor that I’m doing in black and white.  It’s definitely a work in progress.

I had a gift to wrap this weekend, and I thought, why not?  I only needed a small piece.  I wrapped it up, added a gold bow, and viola!  My second use is as a super high quality gift wrap!

When I cut the paper to wrap the gift I ended up cutting off some smaller pieces.  So, I decided for my third project to play around with slicing some additional thin pieces and burying them in some layers of encaustic medium for a 3 dimensional effect.  This piece isn’t finished yet.  I only put it in this frame to get an idea of what the finished product will look like and I definitely think it needs some additional interest.  I put it aside to work on when I have more time.  Art is definitely an iterative process.

The fourth project required me to break out my stamps.  I made a 5X7 decorative placard with some watercolor paper as the background and the decorative paper.  I used a stamp (I already had) and embossed it with gold embossing powder which you can read more about here.  (I am totally addicted!)  I added some metallic gold around the edge of the stamped paper with a Gelly Roll pen, let it dry, and put it in an inexpensive frame (Home Goods $7.99)  I think this would look cute in a dorm room, don’t you?

For my fifth project, I thought I’d try the paper on some greeting cards.  Again this is just water color paper and decorative paper, stamps, ink…and of course…the glasses are embossed;) I like the yellow borders on the first card, and although it doesn’t translate quite as well here, it really pulls out the gold in the decorative paper and makes the card look “happy”.  I was going to make the outer edges of the second card in black, but I liked the way the gray looked -just a little softer.  After trying to make some valentine cards for the guys a few weeks ago, I though this could be a good card to send to a fella’!

 

Here is a bonus project. (I bet we can easily come up with five more ideas!) I used a small piece behind a photograph I had in a modern picture frame.   I like it the way it gives the photo a more defined framed look.  I still love the pattern, but it might be a little busy for my family room.   Oh, no…it might be time to go back to Paper Source to find another piece of decorative paper.  Hmmm….I’d better put that on the calendar for next month…or I might never stop this challenge.

 

This was so much fun!  What projects have you done with decorative paper that you enjoyed?  Please share:)

XO

Kate

 

 

Valentine’s Day 2018

I can’t believe it’s already February!  Valentine’s Day is just around the corner…

I know there are two camps of people when it comes to this holiday, but I honestly love Valentine’s Day.  I always have.  I don’t believe February 14th is just about romantic love.  While it can be about romantic love, for us it’s also about the love we have for our family and our children.  It can also be about celebrating the love you feel for your best friends, and don’t we usually do something special for our child’s teacher on Valentine’s Day? I think it’s so much fun to have a day to celebrate the love we feel for all the special people in our lives.

Our family has always celebrated Valentines Day at dinner with our favorite little valentine’s – who are now definitely not so little anymore.  They are pretty much adults, and this year they are both very far away at college.   So, another first this year – my first valentine’s day in 22 years without any kids at home:(   Yeah.  I know what you’re thinking…stop that.

Our tradition has been to make a “fun” dinner that everyone agrees on and try to shape some part of it into a heart.  Heart shaped pizza became our staple.  Maybe it is at your house too?   And dinner has always, always,  been followed by a decadent chocolate dessert.  Because I also fall into that camp – Valentine’s Day must include chocolate.  This year I already know dessert will be a chocolate mousse pie by yours truly.  I’ll share the recipe and some photos in a future post.

 

So, without any kids at home I’m planning a little further ahead this year.  Since our kiddos will be enjoying their day at school, I’m putting together some Valentine care packages to mail so we can be with them in some small way.   I hope they’ll enjoy their treats from home and share with friends.

As I’m sure you’ve noticed,  I’ve scattered some simple card ideas throughout this post.  If you like one of them I hope you’ll find some time to make your own version – and please share if you do:)  I just used card stock, scrapbooking paper, stamps, a punch and a glue stick and got creative for an hour.  These are my favorites so far.  I had so much fun I’m definitely going to be making a few more!    I think I need to work on a few more “guy” cards, don’t you?

I hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!  And I hope it includes chocolate;)

XO

Kate

This little guy has been our whole family’s valentine for the last 13 years:)

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