Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Monthly Pinstrosity Challenge: October 2014

It's here! The very first Monthly Pinstrosity Challenge! 

We mentioned this idea in our announcement post last week, and we've been excited to get this launched. As Emilee mentioned earlier in her post today, October ends up being Pumpkin Everything Month. Everywhere you go here in the US you see pumpkin in every food, new ways to carve pumpkins, and pumpkin crafts. We decided to just roll with that and make that the theme of this Monthly Pinstrosity Challenge (we've got to come up with a shorter more zippy name).


Now, what exactly are we asking you to do?

1. Browse through your Pinterest boards, and then your sister's Pinterest boards, and then your high school BFF's Pinterest boards, and then your cat's previous owner's Pinterest boards, and then even the Official Pinstrosity Challenge Pinterest Board (we'll be adding ideas to it all the time) and find pumpkin pins that inspire you. They can be food, decor, costumes, aprons, painting color schemes, etc.
2. Once you've found some pins on Pinterest that inspire you, build on that inspiration! Whip up that pumpkin fudge. Sew that pumpkin apron. Paint those pumpkin blocks. Carve that jack-o-lantern. You can follow the pin instructions to a T, or you can just work off your inspiration and go for a Pin Spin.
3. Take a picture of the outcome. We want to see the Pin Wins, Pin Spins, and Pinstrosities!
4. Send us your pictures, the link to the project you were inspired by, and any bit of the story you want to tell. You have until 8:00 AM (MST) on November 1st to send us your pumpkin project.
5. Saturday, November 1st we will do a Round Up post and show you the projects we were sent in. If we have too many for one post, we'll do multiple Show and Tell Saturday posts!

As we see how this method works and learn first hand the logistics of this challenge project, we may have to tweak things (such as submission methods, or when we post up Show and Tell Saturday posts, or so forth), but for now we'll start with the above instructions and see how those work out! We hope you all join in and enjoy this with us.

Are the instructions clear as Pumpkin Pie? Good. Go Forth and Pumpkin!

Kickin' Off October-Getting Cheated by Pumpkin Cheat Treats

Ello there!!!
It is OCTOBER! Can you believe it?! September came in and left all in the same minute for me. Where the heck did it go?! If the rest of the year is like last month I'm in trouble because I have zero holiday plans and I am not nearly prepared to finish up college. I'm in trouble.

Well seeing as October is here it is officially Pumpkin Everything Month, so we are going to start the month with a Pumpkin Pinstrosity and then let Marquette tell you about some of the other fun things we have planned for the month, so stick around!

Sweet reader Morgan sent us this back in 2012, and it was perfect for today's post. Check it out!

The Original
This recipe is for an easy half hour (start to finish) cupcake that only requires two ingredients!! Yes, I said two! A cake mix of some sort (they used yellow here) and pumpkin pie filling (which is pure pumpkin).
Here is Morgan's take...
The Pinstrosity

Not exactly what she was looking for. Here's what she had to say about it!

"I don't ever really cook. I use to be a good cook (circa 2006) but I got a 8-5 that was really overwhelming so we mostly lived on Starbucks and Panera. Well, I lost my job a week ago and decided to take this lull in my career to be a better wife and mom, starting with cooking real meals again. These pumpkin muffins looked like a good place to start. Mix two ingredients, apply heat, enjoy.  Apparently, I'm more rusty than I originally thought because this is what I got... 
The original said to it was ok to use different kinds of cake mix. I used angel food cake mix because it has half the calories. The "muffins" foamed up like the La Brea tar pit lava scene from the movie "Volcano" in the oven, fell completely flat after cooling down, and then chemically adhered themselves to the paper cups. After I hit send on this email, I'm going to work on my resume."
Don't beat yourself up Morgan! I did some digging for this one and learned a few things. I have always known that Angel Food Cake was picky, but I didn't realize just how picky till I got to poking around for this post. I even made a call into the pro--my mom. This one stumped her too, so I will share with you what I learned and chalk this one up to a case of bad circumstances.
First off, Angel Food Cake is picky about the temperature. The mix prefers room temperature and anything other than that can have bad effects on the egg white that makes up the majority of the batter. Perhaps it was cold where Morgan lives? The e-mail was sent in mid October so it could be cold depending on where she lives.
The other big thing I learned was that because of the egg whites the mix doesn't do well with oil. Any sort of oil, or greased pan can cause the mix to fall flat. I thought I had hit the jackpot here because I thought for sure the pie mix would have some sort of oil in it. Wrong. I also learned tonight that pumpkin pie filling is just that;pumpkin, and nothing else! I'm not much of a pumpkin eater can you tell??
 Another thing that Angel Food cake is picky about is how long you let it sit before you cook it. It is best to mix the cake, then put it straight into the oven, and here is where it may have gone wrong *may*, it is recommended to leave the cake in the pan and flip it upside down to cool. This insures that it won't fall flat. I'm not sure if this would be helpful with the cupcakes, but perhaps turning them upside down on a cooling rack would ensure that they don't deflate like this one did (a little bit).
I should not that I read all the comments on the original site and there were zero who mentioned anything about Angel Food Cake at all, let alone it working or not working so there is that. You are paving the way Morgan!!

*I got some of my info about Cake Science here. Check it out!

Anyone have any other tips for Angel Food Cake?? Let us know in the comments!! We are happy to be back Pinstrosipeeps!! Happy Wednesday!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Scrapin' off the Burned Edges

We have a treat for you today: a co-authored post! We have a few things to announce and thought it would be best to do so together!

First off, we love this blog.
We have put many hours, thoughts, project time, meeting time, writing time, and our blood, sweat, and tears into this blog for the last 2-ish years. At times we're sure you have noticed that we aren't as "on top of it" with our posts as we would like to be. Even though we generally have a reason for those lapses, and we usually apologize, the truth of the matter is that this is life! It's messy and schedules don't always work like you hope they do. We have had illness strike, new jobs, children, schooling, loved ones pass, vacations, day-to-day stuff, and anything else come up without warning. Quite often these things are more important than anything else in our lives right then and those are our priorities. We are totally ok with that though, because this blog is our hobby. We don't have any sponsors to answer to,and we don't make money off of this. We simply run this blog because we enjoy it. But lately, we haven't been enjoying it like we used to. We feel kinda like GCT Level 3 Burned Toast.

Writing a post most days for the last two years has become too much for us as of lately. In many ways we feel burnt out and that the quality of our posts has lowered.  After stalking reading other blogs we love we've come to realize that we don't have to post every day to have a stellar blog. What we do need is to have stellar content.

So, we've come up with some ideas that will hopefully help rejuvenate the blog and help us scrape off the burned layer of toast and get down to the good again.

What are our ideas? Glad you asked, because we are excited to tell you!

1. The New Schedule.
We will no longer be posting daily. Don't panic though!! We will still be blogging and trying out projects (especially trying out the projects from the awesome submissions you all send us), and then reporting back to you. Now each week though you will get Rachel's Sunday Surprise post, a Pinstrosity Hump Day post on Wednesday, and a Show and Tell Saturday once a month (more on that in a minute). We're sure sometimes we may have a post we just can't wait to share that we might post on the odd Friday or Monday, but for now Wednesday's and Sunday's will be our main post days. We're going for quality over quantity here. You guys are great, and you deserve some awesome posts.

2. Monthly Challenges.
Don't worry, we will not be asking you to dump a bucket of ice water on you head. What will we be asking you to do? Well, we love seeing your projects, and we love to hear about the things you were inspired to do by something you saw on Pinterest. We know that sometimes all it takes is just a small nudge to get working on things you have pinned on Pinterest. So we are instituting Pinstrosity Challenges. Once a month we'll have a new theme. One time it might be a color. Another time it may be a holiday. Sometimes it might be related to a specific room in a typical house. Whatever it is though, we invite all of you to find some inspiration off of Pinterest and do a project that relates to the themes. It can be food, clothing, a DIY craft project, a party, anything. Here's how it will work. We will post up new challenges on the first day of each month at 8 AM (MST). You will have all month long to complete a project that fits the theme and email us a with the results (Pin Win or Pinstrosity). The cut off time for getting projects in is 11:59 PM (again, MST) on the last day of the month. The following Monday or Saturday (whichever is closer depending on where the last day of the month falls) we'll do a Show and Tell Saturday post with the pictures you send in of your challenge projects. Clear as congealed Mod Podge? I hope that made sense. We'll give out more details with this first challenge on October 1st.

The point of this? To get you all testing pins and letting go of your Pinterest fear, and to add some interaction with all of us! Are you with us?

Good! We're excited to have you aboard!

3. Future Posts
We have a good list going of posts, and series of posts, that we want to do. They range from tutorials, to videos of us testing out iffy pins, to holiday related shenanigans. We want this to be fun for you and for us. As said above, we've gotten a little burned out, so we figure it's time to shake things up!

We're excited about shaking things up, scraping off the burned edges, and getting fully back into this awesome community and project we truly do love. We hope you all continue to read along and submit your Pinstrosities to us and share in the fun of Pinterest.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Last Mix It Up Monday

Well, the time has come. Today is the last Mix it Up Monday post for a while. Why? Because we're changing things up. I know, don't fix something that's not broken. We're not fixing really, just revamping. We have some new ideas up our sleeves, a few challenges for you all in the future, some ways we can all interact more, and we're excited! So, enjoy today's last Mix it Up Monday post, and then tune in on Wednesday to see what we've got up our sleeve.

First off, in honor of the Autumnal Equinox tomorrow (aka, the first day of Fall), an Autumn pin I relate well to:

I would scare myself every single day with this thing. I couldn't do it. Nope. No way. 

Rock pillows!!!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sunday Surprise:

Hey Y'all,

I'm working on this awesome post for you, but alas, it was not destined for you this weekend. Would you like to know why? My mother-in-love is in town. And yes, I typed mother-in-love, which is a term I maybe invented? Or, rather, that I thought of and hadn't seen used anywhere else. I mean the term to be used as an alternative to mother-in-law, since Rob and I aren't married, but have been together for almost four years.

So, I thought I would do a funny mother-in-law/love post-- but do you know what? Flippin' Pinterest only provides me with two types of post when I search "mother in law". They are as follows:

  1. The posts that say "Thank you for raising the man of my dreams" on miscellaneous items (read: keychains, necklaces, frames, napkins, cards, etc...)
  2. Hilarious but rude posts that frequently include curse words, so I shan't post them here.
So, where does that leave me with the Sunday Surprise post for the day?

(goes and looks in my Pinterest likes) OH YEAH! Mosquitoes. 

Please note, this has absolutely no relation to the mother-in-law beginning of this post, I just didn't feel like re-writing my mother-in-love introduction after finding a relevant topic in real time. Whoops. #bloggerfail

Here's what's going on: Rob and I are covered in mosquito bites. And I'm ready for it to stop. There are a few in our house that we can't manage to kill (they're like ninjas, I swear to you), and then about 
twenty gazillion more outside. In preparation for the mother-in-love, Rob cleaned the patio, and it just seems like they are everywhere. Is there an epidemic that I didn't know about? Seriously, they seem worse than usual. 

I turned to Pinterest for some home remedies, and here are the pins that caught my eye (though I haven't tried them yet).

To really get the post started off right, I felt an infographic was highly appropriate:

Huffington Post tried a whole bunch of different remedies for preventing mosquitoes. The most interesting of which was dish soap. Say what?! I'll have to look into this more! THey also had luck with chives...

Speaking of plants.... this graph seems useful. About time I read up to see which of these plants can handle the Arizona weather. Do you have any idea?
For sure though, we'll have to try this mosquito trap. It's ALL OVER Pinterest, and this eHow instruction is super informative. I'll let you know how it goes. Maybe take some pictures. Hahaha.

If you have any ideas or tips on how to banish mosquitoes from the inside of your house (and discourage them from being outside), please, please, please, let me know. The eight (no exaggeration, eight!) horribly itchy bug bites that I am refusing to itch and I beg you.

Hugs to you all. If you have any funny stores about your mother-in-loves, I'd love to hear those too.
Happy Sunday you fantastic people!


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