5.04.2019

How we made our own homemade Guinness Beer Label Cornhole or Bags Game Boards (and a warning against one on ebay)



A couple months ago we decided to make our own game boards for the bean bag tossing game called Cornhole in the South and Bags up North.  The boards were going to be used for our daughter's wedding reception in May so we decided to make her and her fiance' a personalized board and then make a second set of 'something' that we could either keep or gift to someone else.

These are not ours, but here is an image from some decals available through Amazon that give you an idea of the personalized style boards we were making and giving to the happy couple;





For the second set, my husband and I decided a "Guinness" beer theme would be perfect.

There's a long history of Guinness themed items in our home, so it was fitting.  I knew my husband would never actually get around to building the game boards for me so I started by ordering 2 sets of unfinished Cornhole/Bags games.  I decided on regulation size instead of the slightly smaller backyard recreation size since we already had a backyard size and a smaller fun sized.  NOTE:  Had I known a couple months ago what size image I would end up having to use, I would have opted for the smaller size board (3X2) but at the time I had a different version in my head.  More on that in a second.

When I started to look for a large decal to use on the boards, I quickly found this was not going to be as easy as I thought.  Most of the decals found (everywhere) online were very small stickers or at best, a window cling size for a car or truck.  Another issue I ran into is that I really didn't like any of them.

The vision I had and what I wanted was the old, ivory, "GUINNESS ORIGINAL" label.   We had already stained our boards with wood stain, and I wanted a large, oval label to cover the bottom.

After a lot of research, thought, and decision making I found a seller on ebay that had a Guinness label like this, but he/she was selling the entire board WRAP which is a full sized image that you apply and wrap around your boards.  We didn't need or want the whole wrap, just the image.  But the wrap was printed to look like old weathered, rustic wood boards, with a weathered logo.  I decided I could order it and cut out the logo we wanted, apply it to our boards, sand down the edges where it looked weathered, to blend with our boards and then finish the whole thing.

And I was pretty excited about this plan!  
WARNING AHEAD..... for those looking at the same one on ebay.

I honestly had forgotten that ebay was a 'thing'.   I used to order and have even sold on ebay 'back in the day' but the sellers got shiftier, the shipping got pricier and honestly, over the past 7 years or so, I've just forgotten it even really existed.  BUT unfortunately the ONLY Guinness decal image I could find online that was the right style and size was from a seller on ebay.  This seller had sold thousands of items so I thought it would be quick and easy... but I clicked on their name to look at their ratings and I was now stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Not so great ratings.  In the 80% range and a pretty high number of buyers reporting they never received their item, the seller wouldn't communicate, or the item was really, really horrible quality.  MANY warnings not to buy from this seller...

So I debated about 3 days on this.  I searched for other options and I always ended back on that one seller because that was the label I wanted and it was so hard to find on a decal.

I told my husband if the item arrived and it was really thin and bad quality, it didn't matter, since we were cutting out the logo anyway.  And even though many buyers weren't getting their items, they were for really small 'vape' stickers and wraps so I thought for sure a $50 large wrap would surely not be overlooked and we would get our product.  So I bought it.

And about a week later I logged into ebay to see the shipper had marked it 'shipped' - but there was no shipping company listed and no tracking number.  I had a bad feeling but I waited.  And waited.  And waited.

The ebay estimated shipping dates came and went so I started to contact the seller.  I was very polite and asked if I could have the name of the shipping company they used and a tracking number as it hadn't arrived.  Nothing.  So I asked again.  I got a response but it was weird.  All it said was " was it sent to _____ " with my address.  I responded to the affirmative and asked again when it would arrive.  No response.

The clock was ticking, it had been almost a month.  No product, no responses to my emails.
I finally had to use the contact seller button to start the 'request product or refund' option.
The next morning, without any response from the seller, I had a refund.

But I had WASTED A MONTH WAITING ON THE PRODUCT.  And now I was ALMOST OUT OF TIME.

I again started searching for decals and stickers.

LONG STORY MADE SHORT:  I suddenly thought to myself;  "Why don't you just buy a poster instead?"

Light bulb moment.  WHY it took me 3 days to think of it, I have no idea.  

I quickly jumped online to see what cheap/frugal post options I had that were the old, ivory label I wanted, but had to ship QUICK because if we didn't get these boards made, they wouldn't be ready for the wedding.  In the end, I opted for this Guinness poster from Amazon.  It was smaller than I wanted, but it would work.  It's an 11X14 inch print.  (By the way - pretty good quality.  Heavy paper, not thin, and sturdy.  Arrived safely in rolled tubes, in a protected Amazon box).




Posters (I ordered two of them) arrived.
  • The first step was to unroll them and lay them under something heavy to flatten them out for a day.
  • Then, using sharp scissors, I cut around the edge, leaving about 1/2 inch black border.
  • The original plan was to sand the edges to give the 'weathered' look to the label so I wasn't too careful about my cut line.  In hindsight I would have been a little more precise because we ended up not sanding them.  But they still turned out fine!
  • Then, using Loctite Spray Adhesive I sprayed the back of the ovals and placed them where I wanted them on the boards.  The great thing about the adhesive is that I could remove and reposition them to get them 'just right' as they adhere well, but also come off and on so very easily.
  • After they were in place we decided we liked the look of the black solid border and decided not to sand them to give them a weathered look after all.  So we started to put the 'finish' on the boards.

Most people will use a varnish or top coat of their choice - like a polyurethane.  We didn't have a can on hand and didn't feel like running to the store, but wanted to get started on them right away.  My husband builds guitars so we DO have on hand is Tru-Oil which we love love love love love.  It takes a lot of coats, but the finish is gorgeous, so we opted to finish our boards with about 20 layers of Tru-Oil (link below).  You can use whichever top coat you want of course!


PHOTOS of our steps



I ordered 2 posters on Amazon

Quickly cut around the label we wanted to use

Spray the back with adhesive. This allows you to reposition the label on the board to get it where you want it

For this size poster 11X14 I would opt for the smaller 3X2 ft boards but originally the image we had planned was larger

LOVING the GUINNESS label with the stained wood background

About half way through the Tru Oil layers




Here are links to the products related to this post.  This is the actual poster(s) I bought to use, from Amazon.  There is another site online that sells the same poster but I got free shipping through Amazon, so it was the more frugal option for me.





Beyond The Wall Guinness Label Vintage Beer Alcohol Advertising Art Poster Print (11x14 UNFRAMED Print)


We have Tru-Oil on hand all the time and we love this stuff so we opted to use it to finish our boards.  It takes longer, as you have to rub in about 20 layers to get a really thick, gorgeous finish, but again... we love it.


  Birchwood Casey Tru-Oil Stock Finish 32 Ounce



I did not order my boards from Amazon, but you can get your boards pretty much anywhere.  There is the longer, 4 foot regulation size or the 3 foot, backyard rec size.  For the poster above, the smaller size would look great, but I ordered both sets of the larger boards because our original plan looked best on the longer board.  I still think it turned out GREAT with either size.


  ZENY Portable Solid Wood Cornhole Bean Bag Toss Game Set Regulation Size 4ft x 2ft Cornhole Boards and 8 Bags Playset Backyard Lawn Corn Hole Outdoor Game Set





  Tailgating Pros 4'x2' Cornhole Boards w/Carrying Case & Set of 8 Cornhole Bags (You Pick Color) 25 Bag Colors! (Stars/Stripes, 3'x2' Boards)

































5.03.2019

What I've been up to lately? Wedding Planning. And interestingly enough, I've found the 'average' cost of a wedding to be pretty close to real life!



According to The Knot’s 2017 Real Weddings Study, couples in the United States can spend an average of $33,391 on their wedding, with $9,520 of that spent on catering alone – excluding the wedding cake, which reportedly ranges from $540 - $1,097 on average.


Top 2017 Wedding Statistics

  • Average Wedding Cost: $33,391 (excludes honeymoon)
  • Most Expensive Place to Get Married: Manhattan, $76,944 average spend
  • Least Expensive Place to Get Married: New Mexico, $17,584 average spend
  • Average Spent on a Wedding Dress: $1,509
  • Average Marrying Age: Bride, 29.2; Groom, 30.9
  • Average Number of Guests: 136
  • Average Number of Bridesmaids: 5
  • Average Number of Groomsmen: 5
  • Most Popular Month to Get Engaged: December (16%)
  • Average Length of Engagement: 14.0 months
  • Most Popular Months to Get Married: September (16%), June (15%) and October (14%)
  • Popular Wedding Colors: Ivory/Champagne (37%), Dark Blue (32%) and Gold (30%)
  • Percentage of Destination Weddings: 25%

________________________________________


  1. New York – Manhattan: $76,944
  2. New Jersey – North/Central: $62,074
  3. New York – Long Island: $61,113
  4. New York – Westchester/Hudson Valley: $55,357
  5. Massachusetts – Cape Cod: $55,083
  6. Rhode Island: $52,777
  7. Illinois – Chicago: $52,332
  8. Connecticut: $47,435
  9. New York City – Boroughs Outside of Manhattan: $46,808
  10. Pennsylvania: Philadelphia/Delaware: $46,211
  11. California – Los Angeles: $44,142
  12. Louisiana – New Orleans: $41,167
  13. Massachusetts – Boston: $40,667
  14. Florida – Southern: $40,634
  15. New Jersey – South: $40,231
  16. DC-Washington DC/Northern Virginia/Suburban Maryland: $39,465
  17. California – San Francisco/Greater Bay Area: $39,329
  18. Hawaii: $38,984
  19. California – Santa Barbara/Ventura: $38,025
  20. California – Orange County/Inland Empire: $37,050
  21. Maryland – Baltimore: $36,305
  22. Michigan – Detroit: $35,843
  23. Pennsylvania – Pittsburgh/Southwest: $34,928
  24. California – San Diego: $34,722
  25. Illinois – Chicago Suburbs: $34,675

Top 10 Most Affordable Places to Get Married
Based on average cost of a wedding in 2017, couples spend the least on their weddings in the following areas in the US.

  1. New Mexico: $17,584
  2. Utah: $18,516
  3. Oregon: $20,652
  4. Montana: $20,814
  5. Iowa: $21,982
  6. Idaho: $21,987
  7. South Dakota: $22,107
  8. Ohio – Toledo: $22,171
  9. Oklahoma: $22,373
  10. Mississippi: $22,645

2017 Average Wedding Budget Breakdown
Figures based on respondents who hired a professional vendor for the service.

Category
2017 National
Average Spend
2017 High
Spender
Spend($60k+)
Overall Wedding (with ring,
excluding honeymoon)
$33,391
$105,130
Venue (reception hall)
$15,163
$42,801
Photographer
$2,630
$5,130
Wedding/Event Planner
$1,988
$3,775
Reception Band
$4,019
$7,145
Reception DJ
$1,231
$2,300
Florist/D├ęcor
$2,379
$6,050
Videographer
$1,912
$3,214
Wedding Dress
$1,509
$3,158
Groom’s Attire and Accessories
$286
$463
Wedding Cake
$540
$1,097
Ceremony Site
$2,311
$2,966
Ceremony Musicians
$761
$1,249
Invitations
$408
$1,098
Transportation
$830
$1,388
Favors
$252
$488
Rehearsal Dinner
$1,285
$3,197
Engagement Ring
$5,764
$13,933
Catering (price per person)
$70
$154
Officiant
$284
$491

Notable Regional Differences

The Knot 2017 Real Weddings Study can be broken down on a region-by-region basis across more than 80 markets. Regional highlights include:
  • Cost of Weddings: Manhattan, New York, and North/Central New Jersey, have the highest average wedding spend ($76,944 and $62,074, respectively), and New Mexico and Utah have the lowest average wedding spend ($17,584 and $18,516 respectively), excluding honeymoon.
  • Marriage Age: New York City accounts for the country’s oldest brides, with brides in the boroughs outside of Manhattan 33.2 years old on average, and brides from Hawaii 32.3 years old on average. UtahOklahoma and Central Illinois have the youngest brides (26.4 years), on average. The country’s oldest grooms can be found in New York City’s boroughs outside of Manhattan (35.4 years old) and Nevada (34.5 years old), and the youngest grooms are in Oklahoma and Iowa (27.8 years).
  • Engagement Length: Couples from Central Pennsylvania and Lehigh Valley/Poconos, Pennsylvania, have the longest engagements (17.85 and 17 months, respectively), while couples in Utah and Dallas/North TexasTexas, walk down the aisle a bit sooner after getting engaged (9.24 and 10.46 months, respectively), on average.
  • Wedding Size: Nebraska and Iowa couples have the largest number of wedding guests (212 and 206, respectively), and couples who tie the knot in Hawaii and Nevada have the smallest number of wedding guests (68 and 86, respectively).
  • Wedding Style: Montana and Hawaii weddings are more likely to be casual than any other region in the US (42% and 33%, respectively), while Long Island and North/Central New Jersey, have the most black-tie weddings (41% and 37%, respectively).
  • Wedding Dress Spend: Brides in Manhattan and Long Island spend the most on their wedding gowns ($2,504 and $2,347, respectively), while Lehigh Valley/Poconos, Pennsylvania, and New Mexico brides spend the least ($1,111 and $1,119, respectively).
  • Honeymoon: Couples from Louisiana (86%); Alabama (85%); Westchester/Hudson ValleyNew York (84%); Philadelphia, Pennsylvania/Delaware (82%); and North Carolina (81%) are most likely to book a honeymoon, while couples in Wyoming (45%), North Dakota (48%) and Montana (48%) are least likely to book a honeymoon.
  • Gift Registry: Couples in Mississippi and St. Louis, Missouri, are most likely to register for wedding gifts (97%), while couples in New Mexico and New York City’s boroughs outside of Manhattan are least likely to register (67% and 68%, respectively).










The Knot Ultimate Wedding Planner & Organizer [binder edition]: Worksheets, Checklists, Etiquette, Calendars, and Answers to Frequently Asked Questions


You might also be interested in these related products available through Amazon;

The Budget-Savvy Wedding Planner & Organizer: Checklists, Worksheets,  and Essential Tools to Plan the Perfect Wedding on a Small Budget
The Wedding Planner Checklist (A Portable Guide to Organizing your Dream Wedding)
[New] Wedding Planner Gold - Undated Bridal Planning Diary Organizer - Hard Cover, Pockets & Online Support


 






2.18.2019

With love, from my spammers....


Oh India... I'm sorry you have such a crappy country that you have to work all day spamming websites with your superlative use of English grammar.....   Sigh.

Just a few of the new ones this morning....  thought I'd post them here because I'm sure not letting them through my spam filter with links back to them!  Ha ha.




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10.16.2018

Helpful Hint: NEVER have a basket of laundry 'waiting' to be folded - how to keep up with your laundry



It's a typical day around here and I just popped into the laundry room to check on the dryer and found it was finished.  Without thinking about it I opened the door and started to grab warm clothing out and folded it, dropped into the basket and put a new load of wet clothes into the dryer.

I never thought about this as a helpful hint before... but then again 'laundry' has never been a big issue in our home.  Even at our busiest with full time jobs, kids in school, sports, dance, choir, band, part time jobs...  as hectic as life can get, laundry was never really an issue in our home.

Yet, I realize it's kind of an issue for some people.

There are a couple long term blogs I've read that the Mom constantly apologizes or makes excuses that any time she happens to post a photo there is pretty much always a pile of clothes on her living room couch 'waiting to be folded'.  Other parents complain there is just no time.  Most will pile the clothing in a basket and bring it to the living room or bedroom to fold "while they are watching TV" and yet... it never happens.  It never gets accomplished.  They get started but soon lose interest, get pulled away or they do half, the kids tumble the piles over in their play and the parent has to start over again...

I personally know two people who always "were going to fold that...."  but I don't think I've ever been in their home when their couch or bedroom was filled with piles of laundry that will never, ever actually be folded.

And if you don't care about folding laundry that's cool.
But if you do care, but can't seem to get a handle on it... well, here is one way that might help.

When I was a newlywed (a billion years ago) I started to fold straight out of the dryer.
I've never done any differently... and as our family grew and got insanely busy and grew more and got even crazier with schedules... this is something that still never changed.

The SHORT version is simply:   Do NOT take the clothes from the dryer and toss them into a basket.  Ever. Always always always fold straight from the dryer to the basket no matter what.

If you get them while they are still hot/warm it's very likely you won't even have to iron anything.  Shirts straight from the dryer and folded look pretty good and rarely need ironing unless they are 100% cotton (in which case I often 'hang' them on a hanger straight from the dryer after giving them a good snap or two with my wrists to shake them out first.

It does not take 'too much time'.  It's going to take about 5 minutes tops.  And guess what?  It's DONE.  No piles on the couch, on the bed, on the floor or in the basket waiting for you.

The longer version:  I have 4 hamper bins in the laundry room*.  One for whites, one for dark blues and blacks. One for reds and one for green, gray, browns.  Clothes are sorted into these bins and not all thrown in one huge dirty hamper.  When I need to throw in laundry I grab a basket, dump in the washer and turn it on.  No wasted time sorting since it's all done as dirty clothes are brought into the laundry room.

When the washer is done I transfer for the dryer and turn on.  If I'm going to be home longer or I'll be home in about an hour to get the wet clothes out, I grab a new colored bin and toss it in.

When the dryer is done and the clothes are still warm, I fold straight from the dryer quickly.  Even if I have something else I want to do or get to NOW - I make myself finish folding.  It takes less than 5 minutes and I know I don't want to do half a job and 'plan' to get back to it.  I finish.

If I am gone or get busy and the clothes have cooled down, I often fold anyway if they are everyday clothes, t-shirts, things that don't need creases or light ironing.  If they DO then I turn the dryer back on for a few minutes to get the clothing hot again.  Then I fold straight from the dryer.


________________________


Some people won't like this way.
Some people have other ways that work for them and their busy families.
But someone, somewhere, might think;  You know, I'm going to do this!  And it might help.

(On the flipside - out of 3 kids, two of them adapted this form of 'straight from the dryer' - my son and one of my daughters.  The other daughter either forgets them in the dryer, cold and wrinkled and/or tosses them into a basket, two baskets and then later, a third as they pile up because she never "gets around to" folding them.  And she then pours out all the clean clothes on her bed to fold... and almost never gets around to it.)

I also just smiled as I typed this because the two kids that DO fold straight from the dryer also adapted my way of hanging up clothing in the closet....  by color and kind.  Jeans in one area together, then pants, skirts & dresses, and then on to the shirts/tops.  Which are all arranged by color kind of like a rainbow. So if I need a green shirt or an orange shirt, I can see exactly and quickly what I need and where it is.  

But I guess that's a post for another day!




*Related Product:  I was going to check Amazon for some links on laundry hampers and saw this on my first search return.  This is MY folding hamper.  In the post above I mentioned that I have 4 containers in our laundry room for dirty clothes.  They are reds, whites, blue/blacks and green/brown/gray.  This is the hamper I use - which I bought through Walmart but they are now available through Amazon as well.

Mine have been used continuously for almost 7 years now and are still going strong....







You might also be interested in these related products available through Amazon links:

BirdRock Home Double Laundry Hamper with Lid and Removable Liners | Linen | Easily Transport Laundry | Foldable Hamper | Cut Out Handles
SAMMART Collapsible Plastic Laundry Basket - Foldable Pop Up Storage Container/Organizer - Portable Washing Tub - Space Saving Hamper/Basket (2 Handled, Grey)
Simple Houseware Heavy-Duty 3-Bag Laundry Sorter Cart, Chrome

   



















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