I am an unfinished work, and so are many of my projects. This blog is just an odd collection of things I make and do.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Oh You Beautiful Doll!

I got Scarlett for Christmas and she's been standing
around on my sewing desk ever since.

Post-Christmas Untidiness.  See how the sofa is stuck against the desk?   And the TV turned at an angle so we can see it from the sofa?  

Second "Before" Picture.  The villages are all taken down, the tree is put away, but things are not back to normal yet. 

AFTER:  There's Scarlett, on the shelf with her friends, and a
blanket artfully hiding the ratty part of the couch.  

The TV is now on a turntable, which was formerly rather uselessly stuck under some plants.  Now we can easily swivel it to any direction we need. 

Larger View of comfy living area.

And my desk is ready for a sewing project! 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Organizing for Real People -- What's Behind Door #2?

Here are three doors in my bedroom.  The first goes out of the room.  The third is a clothes closet.  But What is behind Door #2?  a linen closet, right? 


It's a handy place to store items we use a lot!

So where do I put my linens?  Well, I don't have a lot of them.  I have an extra set of sheets, and some guest bedding--an air mattress, sleeping bags and extra pillows.  They go in this handy trunk which I have had since I was a child.

No matter where I live, I find room for my trunk.

A couple of other fun closet things I do to keep my life halfway sane:

Extra shoe rack mounted on the wall behind the bedroom door.  I use it to put gloves, caps, and a poncho, besides shoes.  I have one on the main closet door as well, and I keep my deodorant in one of the pockets.
My closet is small, so I store away seasonal clothes in the off-season.  When I do this, I  turn all the hangers  in my closet backward.   Once I have worn the item, I turn its hanger forward.

 Twice a year, when I do the seasonal changeover, I get rid of anything that is still hung backwards.  If I didn't wear it this year, I surely won't wear it next year either.

Exceptions:  A couple of formal dresses that I don't get to wear often but keep just in case.


Hang like clothes together.  I don't worry so much about color, but I hang up camis & undershirts together, then short sleeve tops for work, then long sleeve tops for work, "grubby tees" together, pants, skirts, pajamas.  

I hang my pajamas because I have very little dresser space, and because I don't like wrinkled pajamas.

I have a three-tiered hanging basket for socks. Unmentionables are in a drawer, along with swimsuits and a few things I don't wear often, so I don't need them as handy.

I live in a cold place in the winter, so I keep a rack of hooks on the back of the closet door.  It's full of scarves so I can quickly choose the one that suits me for the day.  You can see it in the top picture.

I use wall space behind the door, outside of the closet (out of sight in the picture) for a hanging jewelry rack and a small hamper.  It's not the most beautiful thing, but it fits the space and is better than laundry on the floor.  I don't like a hamper in the closet because I don't want the clean clothing picking up a dirty clothes smell.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Organizing for Real People--A Tiny Kitchen

This week's challenge is the kitchen.  I keep mine pretty well organized all the time, because it is tiny and has to be functional. 

For today I will share a few of my favorite spots.  

It's not perfectly, newly organized, but rather lived in,

as it usually looks, during a busy week.

The side of my kitchen faces the door, so I put a little country decor with special meaning on the cabinet end.  The barometer was Grandpa's; the slate was decorated by my mother.

A deep corner cabinet. Those are always inconvenient, but I maximize its efficiency by using a lazy Susan and shelves.  Putting the largest canister, which contains extra sugar, in the back makes it so that little things don't disappear back there.
A narrow cabinet under a drawer is the perfect spot for pots, pans, and cutting boards.  I used a bin that was the bottom of my shredder before it quit.  This keeps the boards, cooling racks, and rolling pin upright and easy to reach.

I miss having a window over my sink, so I put up an inspiring print.  It says "For with God All Things are Possible."  I love having the knives mounted right above the sink so they are handy and safe. 

 There is a little sponge holder mounted on suction cups in the sink.  Some people say never leave your dish rack out, but I say "It looks better than dirty dishes in the sink!"  If it's out, then we are more likely to hand-wash the large items that don't fit in the dishwasher.  

There is a roll of paper towels mounted beneath the cabinet above the dish-rack.  I don't use them often, but when I want one, it's usually because I have messy hands and need something in a hurry. 

That is a Brita pitcher to the right, and we leave unmatched glasses out so we can use the same one all day. I also mounted the towel ring and keep the soap out to encourage actual hand washing. 

Sometimes you just need some extra space, so we bought this large pantry cabinet. It is in our "dining area" next to the kitchen. My husband put in some extra shelves for small stuff.  We try to keep things organized by type, but sometimes by size works better--and sometimes no matter how hard I try, I do end up with potatoes on the cereal.

I have one of those deep lower corner cabinets that are so inconvenient. It goes way back in under the counter. I store picnic supplies and other little-used baskets in there, making them easy to pull out.

For the deep corner cabinet, I got a battery-operated long-lasting LED light with a motion sensor and stuck it in there.  No more things hidden in the dark.  I just wave my arm in there and voila!  I can see to get what I need.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Quick Nursery Certificate

My husband announced at the last moment that he had forgotten he wanted to do a certificate for the children graduating from church Nursery into Primary.  This happens at the age of three! He is a nursery leader and wanted to do a little something special for them.

In our nursery each child has a picture with his name on it, and a magnet stuck to the back.  When the child arrives, his picture is put up on the magnetic chalkboard.  Any volunteers or leaders can look at it to remember the name, so even new children quickly feel comfortable and loved.  This is important, whether they are new because of moving in, or when they become old enough for Nursery, which is at the age of 18 months.

Each January, all the children who are three years old move on into the "Sunbeam" class of Primary. The week before that, the picture is taken down and given to the parents as they leave Nursery.  I quickly whipped up a certificate for him to mount the picture on.

We put the year 2012 on it, but I left this one with no year in case anyone wants to save and use it.

I printed them in black and white so they could photocopy easily, and he had the children color as much as they wanted of it.  Here is a picture of one that is finished. I blurred out the face and name for the sake of child protection. I was thrilled when his mommy posted it on Facebook.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Organizing for Real People, on a Real Budget (aka, a Tiny Budget)

Organizing Challenge Week 1:  To vote for me, go to Organizing Made Fun It is titled "Organizing for Real People."  I could use a few more votes!   And now, on the my post.....

Have you ever seen those fantastic organizing websites where everything is simply beautiful?  They went to the Container Store or someplace and spent a mint, then put everything away. Or they are incredibly talented with a paintbrush, and had it all finished months ago.

For the rest of us, it's not that easy.  It's not that I won't spend the money if I need to, but I prefer to do as much as I can with what I have, because one of my commitments this year is to keep working to get out of debt.  That's really important to me.

I've decided my approach to the organizing challenge is to do what I can as cheaply as I can and still improve my daily life by being organized.  There is also not a lot of time to go shopping with the challenges, or to repaint a cabinet, so unless you already have the beautiful containers and everything covered in pretty paper, just getting it done in time is a challenge.  I hope the purpose of the challenge is to get the rest of us (not the rich already organized) to get our act together and get organized.

Having said all that, here is my 90-minute office makeover.

Before: General view
Before: Printer Stand and paper supplies in drawers with outdated labels.
After: Drawers with updated labels
Printer Stand with Essential Things, all clean and nice.

After: Binders with labels on spines, matching the labels on the drawers. That fat knitting book is the one that is sitting on my desk in the before picture, and the dictionary is no longer on the floor. 

After: Top of Bookshelf.  I use the white board to reflect on current goals. Each colored stone represents an area that I have achieved.

After:  Top of Desk Hutch.  The little shelf is just a shoe-box.  Maybe in another phase I can cover it or line it with pretty paper.
I only spent 90 minutes total. I didn't get to the actual surface of the desk, but I plan to take time later this week.  The drawers in the above picture contain things I generally use by hand, not things that go with the printer--notebooks, blank cards, etc.  And the labels are in the black magazine holder because they did not fit on the bookshelves or printer stand.

I think real houses are like that; there's always something that doesn't fit all your carefully laid plans.  You do the best you can, and the main point is being able to find the things you need.

Commitment: I Posted this on my other blog, but I need it in every area of my life.

My dear DIL chooses a word for each year, and I have been pondering what word I would want to focus on this year.  Last year I didn't get past pondering.  This year I decided to make a commitment to it.  I thought of it off and on during the last couple of months.

I had decided on Courage, but it wasn't quite right.  It's not that I lack courage, it's that I lack Persistence and Determination.  Yet when I really want to succeed, I commit to it and do it, so those aren't quite what's missing either.

I then realized that is my word.  Commitment.  I have some things I know I need to do, want to do, should be doing, but I am not fully committed to them, so I am content to ride along day by day, not really accomplishing much and then feeling bad about myself.

So there's my word for 2013: Commitment.

I will choose carefully what I commit myself to, and then I will go for it with gusto.  I may need partners because letting others down seems to bother me more than letting myself down bothers me. When I commit to others I generally follow through.

I have also been thinking about the FLY Lady:  It doesn't stand for just a clean sink; it stands for Finally Loving Yourself.

Finally loving myself enough to commit to some good self care, that's an important and awesome concept. It may include a clean sink, but it definitely includes exercise and daily scriptures, journaling, and meditation.