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DIY iPhone 4 Bumper Idea + Template

I finally joined the ranks of the many iPhone carrying mamas this week. After constantly reaching for my husband’s iPhone, “borrowing” it during travels, and having him phone me while I’m out to tell me I received a work email that needs attention, I figured it was high time I got my own. Call me a brainwashed consumer, fine, but ask me what the weather is going to be, directions to the nearest coffee shop, or which apps are best for entertaining toddlers, and I’ll be able to show you with the touch of a button.

Brand spankin’ new out of the box, the new iPhone 4 is a pretty sight – shiny, hefty and fingerprint-free. But that doesn’t last – at least for me. Not only is the iPhone shared by my toddler, but just three days after I got it, I forgot and left it on my lap after a phone call in the car. When I got out of the car, it dropped off my lap and onto the pavement, chipping tragically in 3 places. Very sad indeed.

So, I got to thinking – how can I make an inexpensive, temporary bumper to protect my new investment while waiting the 4-6 weeks for the free case from Apple to arrive in the mail? A quick search pulled up this idea, but I don’t own one of those rubber “Live Strong” bracelets. Next I tried modifying this free template from case-mate, originally designed for the iPhone 3Gs. It didn’t fit. Then, I remembered a sheet of adhesive craft foam I picked up at the craft store (was it Michaels?) for about $1. Perfect!

How to make your own iPhone 4 bumper:

1. Cut a strip of adhesive or “sticky back” craft foam 12mm wide (.47 inch) using a ruler and an X-Acto knife. Although the iPhone 4 is only 9.3mm (0.37 inch) thick, this gives about a 1mm (0.04 inch) overhang on both the face and the back of the iPhone to act as a buffer during impact.

Ideally, you’d be able to cut just one strip about 345mm (13.58 inches) long to wrap completely around the perimeter, but since my foam sheet was letter-sized, I had to do it in two pieces.

2. Cut out holes within your strip: approx. 47mm x 5 mm (1.85″ x 0.196″) for the speakers and dock connector, 30mm x 5mm (1.18″ x 0.196″) for the volume and ring/vibrate controls, and 7mm x 5mm (0.275″ x 0.196″) for the headphone jack (7mm x 5mm). I left the on/off switch covered, which doesn’t affect it’s usage.

3. Carefully remove the backing and apply it to the sides of the iPhone, keeping about a 1mm overhang on each edge (centering the foam on the steel antenna band as neatly as possible) . If you need to, join two separate pieces to completely cover the perimeter, slightly pulling on the foam to stretch it only if you need to bridge the gap where the pieces join.

And there you have it, a cheap and easy DIY alternative to the more expensive bumpers for sale. Even better, craft foam sheets come in a rainbow of colors (I just happened to only have black and white on hand). While possibly not ideal, it is working great so far (with no dropped calls).

Not sure where to cut out all the appropriate holes? Try this free bumper template.


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Unique & Funky Halloween Candy Alternatives

eye balls bowl
Last year we did not give out candy for Halloween. Instead we found a package of 80 mini play-dohs in a variety of colors at our local Costco. It was nice to give out something different for a change, and the neighborhood kids were really excited to be getting items other than the same old traditional candy.

This year I was hoping to find another interesting, yet affordable alternative. If only I had stocked up during some of the back-to-school sales this fall! There were bins filled with fun pencils, erasers, mini-notebooks, crayons, and stickers for cheap. Now, they’re no where to be had. Party store favors would be a good place to check – a flyer that came today featured a 60ct bag of plastic spider rings for 99¢ (although these might be a possible choking hazard). And Target sells this pack of 24ct party bubbles for $3.99.

party bubbles

play-doh

eye balls candy

Anyway, today at Costco, I decided to revert to candy. Despite this post, I’m not against candy. I’m just against the boring, uninspired kind. For $8.99 comes this pack of 90ct individually wrapped Absolute Sweet “Eye Ballzz” gummy candy. Aren’t they so funky and gross? David tried one, and yes, they’re edible. I don’t know how many parents will actually let their kids eat them, but I’m sure the kids will get a kick out of getting them!

Meanwhile, for those of you who would truly like to give candy alternatives, here is a list compiled from nationalserviceresources.org and palmettohealth.org.

  • Temporary tattoos
  • Stickers
  • Pencils
  • Fancy erasers
  • Pencil toppers
  • Crayons
  • Coins (pennies, nickels, dimes)
  • Small novelty toys
  • False teeth
  • Superballs
  • “Slime”
  • Miniature magnifying glasses
  • Plastic jewelry/decoder rings
  • Necklaces
  • Glow-sticks
  • Sugar-free candy
  • Tiny decks of cards
  • Plastic medals
  • Fake money
  • Origami paper & instructions
  • Bubbles
  • Granola bars
  • pretzels
  • cheese and cracker packs
  • sugar free gum
  • packets of instant hot chocolate or cider
  • miniature raisin boxes
  • single serving nut packets


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Easy & Elegant with Puff Pastry

potato medley puff pastry

I made a super fast and yummy vegetarian lunch today using just two packaged products from the freezer – Trader Joe’s Potato Medley and a sheet of puff pastry. I am a big fan of puff pastry. It simply makes everything seemingly more fancy and “gourmet.”

This is all I used:

potato medley puff pastry

Here’s how: First pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees and set out a sheet of puff pastry to defrost for 10 minutes (follow the directions for specific brands). Cut the sheet into quarters and then cut another square shape in the center of each quarter, about 1 inch from the edges, which allows the sides to rise up better while baking. Once cut, transfer the pastry to a baking sheet covered with parchment.

Meanwhile, heat the potato medley in a skillet, about 6-8 minutes, and then spoon the “filling” into the center of the pastry squares. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes.

Once the pastry looks golden, remove it from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool. This keeps the pastry crispy. As a finishing touch, drizzle a little olive oil, top with feta, and add sprinkle of sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Voila! My husband loved it.

Variations: Basically, anything can be used to top puff pastry. Fruit, mixed vegetables, pizza toppings… anything that tastes good and bakes well. My favorite summer mix is to use fresh cherry tomatoes from the garden, cut in half, combined with sliced black olives and a little dill or italian seasoning. This I drizzle with olive oil before baking and then with feta or crumbled goat cheese and a splash of balsamic vinegar. The reddish orange and black makes a dramatic presentation and the flavors really complement each other.

Another variation I’ve tried is topping the pastry with cut apple slices fried in butter and cinnamon. Normally I would have added brown sugar to the mix, too, but it was a birthday treat for a co-worker who was diabetic. Delicious and sugar-free!

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