Sunday, January 30, 2011

Conquering Kitchen Clutter: Part One

How was your weekend? It was a very productive one on my end and I took sooooo many pictures of my decluttering and organizing that I am going to split it into a few parts. Decluttering and organizing for me, is such a big feeling of accomplishment, but I was up WAY too late Friday night! It's one of those things though... if I get the energy when I'm not at work and the kiddos are sleeping, I better take advantage of it! It felt like I was nesting like I did before giving birth, you know where you have that feeling that you'll NEVER get another chance to clean or organize! Man, I WENT TO TOWN organizing this weekend. Whew! All I can say is that the kitchen is DONE! Woot Woot!

I started with the pantry. The above picture is an AFTER picture of the pantry. We are very lucky to have a nice sized pantry to store food items and small kitchen appliances. I went through everything, looking at expiration dates, tossing and recycling, trying to find ways to make things simpler.
On the top shelf I had a bunch of shtuff(yes I meant to say shtuff and not stuff!) thrown on the top shelf. I had a canvas cube to store big hefty storage bags and some zippered bags I use when I'm grocery shopping.I wound up pulling the cube out of the pantry to make better use of the top shelf. I put the grocery bags in the trunk of my car so I have them when I go grocery shopping. I just need to remember to always put them back in the car after unloading groceries after doing the grocery shopping. I put the storage bags in the baby's closet since I use them to put clothes that have been outgrown. It's a constant cycle!

The big cardboard box is what I was using to store baby food. U-G-L-Y and it took up too much space!

The blue receptacle is a recycling bin and it was overflowing with paper and plastics!

This is after some rearranging. I grouped similar things together, nothing special.

It was way after my cat's bedtime but he hung out with me until the wee hours of the night, through all my kitchen rearranging. : ) 

I found a medium size basket to store the baby food jars. It came out of our downstairs closet. It was holding junk in the coat closet so this is a much better use and the basket doesn't take up much room.

I rearranged the canned goods, stacking them in two levels so I can see the labels.

I didn't make any huge changes but rearranged to make better use of the room and it has already made such a difference!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Decorating for Valentine's Day

Since I started this blog, I thought it would be fun to decorate "lightly" for occasions I don't normally decorate for and Valentine's Day is one of them. So here is my front door wreath for Valentine's Day! I like how simple it is and how easy it was to pull together.

It's not hearts but I like the polka dots because I could use it for Valentine's Day or Christmas! I purchased the polka dot ribbon at an after Christmas sale for a quarter. Then I bought a medium size straw wreath at Michaels for just over $1.00. Pretty sweet! 

I knew I wanted the wreath to be white so I used some latex house paint from the garage to paint the straw wreath. FREE is always nice! I painted one side and let it dry before doing the other side.

I used the glue gun to attach the ribbon when I was ready. I first wrapped the ribbon around the wreath to test the spacing before actually using the glue gun.
Once I got to the end, I made sure the ribbon overlapped my starting point and I cut off the excess ribbon and glued it down.

Now we have a cute wreath for Valentine's Day! It looks nice and simple!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Easy, Modern Fabric Night Light

I got sidetracked, yet again, with another little project! Today I decorated a simple night light with fabric for the baby's room! I say sidetracked because it wasn't on my list of goals for 2011 but I'll be doing this from time to time or A LOT of the time. I have covered a lamp shade in the past and LOVED how that worked out so I thought this would be fun too. I'll be sharing the lamp shade project sometime too. I've got more of these to do!

A while back I replaced most of the night lights in the house with the new LED ones so we wouldn't have to change out light bulbs as often, and just like with the Christmas LED lights, I'm just not terribly crazy about them. We've gotten used to the "outer space" kind of glow of the LED night lights, but they aren't very warm and for a baby's room, it is hard to see what you're doing in the middle of the night.

On to the night light and I warn you... there are lots of pictures! 

I picked up a plain white night light at AC Moore last weekend. They're pretty cheap, especially with a coupon. As for the fabric, I already had the fabric! It's dark brown with light blue Polka Dots! I bought it on sale a while back thinking I could use it as curtains in the baby's room when he's a little older. The walls are a bright green so this fabric should be a good contrast!

I played around with the placement of the fabric before doing anything. I didn't want the dots to line up perfectly; instead I wanted it to be casual, yet feel symmetrical as a whole.

After deciding the placement of the fabric, I flipped the shade and fabric over. Starting from left to right of the shade, I traced it, marking the fabric and rolling the shade as I went.
I then cut the shape out of the fabric leaving about a half inch border around my pencil marks.

I cut two slits under the metal prongs.

I stepped outside to spray the lamp shade with the spray adhesive below
Once the spray was on, I began sticking the fabric onto the shade and rubbed it, smoothing out any wrinkles or bubbles. The adhesive is tacky and if you find you need more, it's okay to spray on more.

Once I smoothed all the bumps and bubbles, I cut the edges a little more, so I had about a quarter inch edge. You may want to make sure you have a little more than that to wrap your edges though.

Lastly, I wrapped the edges and cut slits in all four corners so they would fold and stick to the shade more easily.

I'm happy with the results! It's a nice, clean looking night light that serves its purpose well! It is a big safety factor, not to mention it was a cheap and easy little addition to the room!

Oh yes, I washed the fabric before I used it for this project!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Clean Microwave In Five Minutes!

Do you have a certain way of cleaning your microwave??? It may be common sense to most people but I thought I'd share what I do just in case! Everybody does things differently and it's great to learn different ways of doing things. Tonight I noticed the microwave needed to be cleaned after heating up leftover meatloaf, not to mention making bacon for breakfast over the weekend. Caked on ketchup and bacon grease!

I can't believe I am showing you the inside of our microwave. Yuck!!

This is a natural way to do it so that you're not filling your microwave of chemicals with the potential of getting chemicals in any food you might cook.

Fill a coffee cup or bowl with water, preferably a cup or bowl with a handle so you don't scald yourself. Nukiwave it for three minutes. After the timer goes off, use a clean, damp sponge or microfiber cloth and wipe clean. The steam from the hot water helps loosen the caked on food so it makes it very easy to clean! I did take the glass plate out of the microwave and hand wash it although the hot water did a great job of loosening the grime for me. I needed to wash the bottom of the plate too!

For sanitizing purposes, either squeeze a little bit of lemon juice OR put a little baking soda in your water dish before heating it up. It sanitizes and gives the microwave a fresh smell! Just remember to use caution when touching the hot dish b/c the temperature of water heated by the microwave is HOT!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Topiary Try

After a couple of snow and ice days this week, I am over the wintry weather. Are you with me? I'm so ready for Spring! All I want to do when I'm not at work is snuggle under a warm blanket and be L-A-Z-Y and I'm not normally one to sit still!

This week I made my first attempt at a cute topiary. It's a topiary but I'm not convinced that it's actually cute. I think it turned out to look more like a bonsai tree, not that bonsai trees aren't cute or nice, it just wasn't the look I was going for. Maybe it's the crooked stick! I should post it to the FAIL blog but then again it's not a total flop, it's just not as cute as I hoped! Oh well. On to the project!

This pot was just over $1.00 at Michael's during a 60% off at the AFTER Christmas sale!

Floral moss was $1.00 at Dollar Tree.
I think I'll go for the green sheets of it next time, prolly much LESS messy to use!

Stick was FREE out of the back yard!
Can't beat that with a stick! Get it?
Okay maybe I'm a little cheesy! 

Styrofoam ball was $1.00 at Dollar Tree.

Using a glue gun, I wedged a piece off of a Styrofoam block to hold the tree and then glued the stick into the Styrofoam.

I will be revisiting this to try and get the ball more proportional with the pot. I think if the top is a little bigger, it will look much cuter and less wimpy! 
They are super easy and super cheap to do though!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

DIY Stone Drink Coaster Set

We've been using the same four stone drink coasters for about 8 years now and they have seen better days! They have been dropped several times and I've glued a couple back together plus they also don't match the rest of the room anymore. I've always liked them a lot but have been contemplating getting new ones, just haven't found any I really like. It wasn't until I saw some DIY sets on Mod Podge Rocks! that I thought it made more sense to just make my own, and I am pleased to share the result!

I purchased a box of natural marble stone tiles for the project at Home Depot. It was under $5.00 for nine tiles so this is another great gift idea! Before I started the project I cleaned the stones using dish soap and warm water. I let them air dry. I used two pieces of scrap book paper I already had. I didn't want to be bored of them all looking exactly alike so I used two sheets of paper that had the same pattern but were two different colors so they'd look like a set and would "flow" with the color scheme of the living room.

I didn't do any real measuring. Using the stone, I positioned the paper where I wanted it and made my cut marks with the zacto knife. I then lined up the cut marks using a metal straight edge to do the cuts and make each square.
If you don't know what Mod Podge is, you should check it out because it does rock! It's a glue/sealer that you apply with a brush. You can find it at most craft stores. Anyhow I brushed a thin layer of glue on the top of the stone, placed the scrap book paper where I wanted it, and brushed on another thin layer of glue over top of the scrap paper, making sure the paper was flat and not bubbling, especially on the edges.  

When wet, the Mod Podge made the paper a little white but the glue dried clear. Can you see the shimmery glitter on the paper? Love it!

After the glue dried completely, I added some soft circle "feet" to the bottom corners of each stone to protect the furniture.

Here is the result! Four simple, modern looking drink coasters that actually go with the colors in the room.
Tie some ribbon or twine around these four cute coasters and you have a really nice, handmade gift for someone! I loved making this. What a fun little project!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Hope To Make It Happen In 2011!

I am PSYCHED to be participating in the Nesting Place 2011 Home Goals party! I love seeing what everybody's goals are! It is such a good feeling to slash through things on the to do list and I have a loooong list for the new year! Not sure how much of it I'll accomplish but here's my run-down and here's hoping!


  • De-clutter and clean up kitchen junk drawers, cabinets and pantry. 
  • Reorganize bathroom cabinets, coat closet, linen closet, laundry room. 
  • Do something with the mantle so I am at peace with it! I keep changing it around and it drives me nuts!

  • Brighten up the living room with more color.
  • Find an inexpensive curtain rod solution for the bay window in the dining room. I already have curtains to hang and can't wait to get them up! Without the Christmas tree there, it looks so bare.

  • Organize the playroom, spruce it up and add something to dress up the windows! It has been on the back burner because I was waiting to see if we were going to have a boy or girl with the second baby. Uh, now that our baby boy is nine months old I think I can do a BOY theme if I decide to! Tee Hee!
  • Hang something on the wall over master bedroom bed FINALLY. We've been in the house for nearly five years so it's about time!
  • Refinish a piece of furniture that has seen better days! Years ago, I accidentally set a warm, scented electric plug-in on top of the wooden stand and it melted to it and ruined the finish. Arrgghh!  
  • Maybe add something over the kitchen cabinets to dress the room up. Oh and find a storage solution for the pots and pans I got for Christmas!
  • Mud and paint the garage and get all the STUFF up off the garage floor so the cars fit better.
  • Possibly attempt crown molding. Dying to put it in the den but maybe I can test it in the laundry room for starters!
  • Decoupage something!
  • Oh I am also itching to learn to sew on a sewing machine but that just may have to wait!
We shall see what I actually accomplish this year but I will try to do as much as I can! I am determined to get this house organized! 

Friday, January 7, 2011

Rambling And Removing Sticky Residue From Glass Or Metal!

It has been one heck of a week and I don't mean that it has been terribly fun! Talk about running ragged! The creepy crud has taken over and I have been battling an awful cold but it has been another week of running ragged. Everyone in the house is sick which = no fun. Can't wait for this nasty illness to be past tense! Hope no one else gets it!

Sometimes I think mommy hood is one of the dirtiest jobs there is and I know there are way many jobs that are mind-boggling disgusting. It ranks up there though! Yesterday morning I was actually excited, err... no, ELATED to have put my Lands' End winter coat, which I LOVE and would not have if it wasn't for a hefty gift card I got a few years ago, through two wash cycles and be successful at removing an entire melted Hershey's chocolate miniature from the inside of my right front zippered pocket. I put it in my pocket to hold it for our four year old and forgot about it. Intelligent I tell you! Well last night brought yet another fun and nasty challenge... My poor little nine month old(bless his heart - he didn't know what was happening to his little body when it was taken over by some mean virus) puked in the car about 12 times all over himself and his infant carrier on the way home from daycare. Hope it doesn't make me start throwing my guts up when I go to clean it out. BLEH!

On that note, it seems like it's a constant cycle of having to clean something or find a way to get grossness off of something. I have been reading other crafty/ home posts and have seen several people mention projects where they have used glass or metal items where there was residue from price tags or sticky labels. In these posts the residue was covered up or worked around but I can help get it off easily. 

Here are pictures of baby food jars and a salsa jar that I washed and pulled the labels off of for an upcoming project. I wanted to get the sticky residue off! I just thought I'd share a simple tip I learned in college, working with oil paints, that will help remove sticky residue off a metal or glass surface, quick and easy. I HATE seeing that stuff on things so I try and get it off when I can. It's one of those little things that gets on my nerves for some reason!

Mineral Spirits OR Denatured Alcohol (just one) from the hardware store will take it right off! Just be sure to use it in a well ventilated area, outside would be best. Rubber gloves are a good idea too so you don't get it on your skin. Just pour some into a cloth and wipe the gunk off the surface. You may have to put some pressure but you shouldn't have to scrub and it will take just a couple of minutes. Just use with caution and wear a mask!

Hope this helps next time you need to get a sticker off of something. It sure beats spending a long time scrubbing with warm water and dish detergent!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The New Year Brings New Things Plus A New Home For The Birdies!

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Hope everyone is well rested and ready for the new year! 2010 sure went fast and it's going to take some time to get used to writing/typing 2011 now! Last year we had lots of changes in our household and I'm sure this year will bring lots more. Today marked a new beginning for us... the youngest began crawling! He has been semi-crawling for a while but now I say it's ON like DONKEY KONG! The baby is crawling forward for REAL (no scooting, no rolling, no army crawl, or inch worm!), and I caught him this morning while he crawled forward, moving towards the cat laughing! It's all over (for the cat especially-poor thing!) and we have got to BABY PROOF! On top of my organizing and decor projects I will be baby proofing all over again. Fun times!

Okay so now that Christmas is over (sniff sniff), it's safe to share what I gave grandparents for presents this year. I painted bird houses in college sports themes!

I picked up several unfinished bird houses at the craft store. I used acrylic paints and mixed them with white or black to get the right shades so I didn't have to buy too many colors for each bird house. I Googled the logos and printed the ones with the highest resolution on black and white paper. I used tracing paper to copy the logo to the wooden houses. Then using painters tape, I masked off the areas I wanted to paint and went to town. I painted the logos by hand so they're definitely not perfect! Once I was finished and let the paint dry overnight, I used Rustoleum Clear Top Coat Proptective Crystal-Clear Finish to seal and protect the paint job. Then I drilled holes to install 2 eye-hole screws to the front and back on the roof to attach twine to hang the birdhouse. The birdhouses turned out great and we'll see if we will have any new birds in the spring!