Apr 1, 2014

Adventures in Quilting

In the two months that I have been without work I have tackled most of the miscellaneous projects around our home that never seemed to get done.  That's the beauty about having all this "free" time - you don't have any excuse to put them off anymore.

So I've gotten the hall closet in a more manageable state.

Painted baseboards, door jams, and various touch-ups.

And I've also become a lot more adventurous in the kitchen - or at least cooking less frozen meals.  (that counts right?)

Lemon Cheese Bars from my Cake Mix Bible

Yep, that's rabbit

Octoberfest rub from Harry & David.  Try it - you won't be disappointed!

But my latest project takes the cake.  I have decided to make a quilt out of my sorority t-shirts.  

If you were Greek in college, you know that this collection can add up really quickly.  And while I wore them a year or so after I graduated, I eventually knew that the jig was up and I could not longer pass for a traditional college student.  So in a box they went.  I kept seeing friends have quilts made, but I was NOT about to fork over over $500 for a blanket.  So I started doing some research, added some great ideas and tutorials to my Pinterest board and decided to pull the trigger.

This brought my lovely MIL and I to JoAnn's while we were window shopping one weekend.  And that's when I met Barb - quite possibly the most helpful and knowledgeable staff member I've met anywhere.  She not only helped me pick out what sort of stabilizer I would need but also told me that they were putting together a Quilting 202 class, where she would be happy to walk me through making my quilt even though it didn't fit into the lesson plan.

A few weeks later I got the call from JoAnn's that the class had made and they were honoring the 50% off coupon for the class fee!

She's still a work in progress, but let's walk through what I've done so far:

Cut off sleeves, collar area and the majority of the spare part of the t-shirt.

I knew I wanted the backs to be a similar size (12x12) but I wanted the stabilizer to be from end to end, so I cut the squares 14x14, put on stabilizer and then cut my final squares.

Lay shirt design side down, top with stabilizer, then hold hot iron for 5 seconds, or until those little dots disappear.

Then its time to find a layout you like
That gray piece of scrapbook paper is a placeholder for the square of pocket squares below:

These are the pocket squares of some of the shirts as well as the back of my jersey.
They are attached to a piece of muslin to make it easier to sew in with the rest of the blocks.

And here's what I was able to get accomplished during class time.  One solid piece of shirt - harder than it looks!
When I got home, I was able to attach all the sashing and a row of blocks on the top and bottom.
So that's my progress thus far in my latest "domestic adventure".

Once I'm finished, I'll give a cost breakdown and my final thoughts on the "worth it" factor of it all.

What about you?  What are you working on?

May 29, 2013

DIY Address Book

Yep, just like I am a paper planner girl, I also enjoy having a paper address book.

Granted, it more or less only gets used to send birthday and Christmas cards, but its still nice to have around.  

I've even started putting cell phone numbers in there as well.  
What would you do if your cell phone crapped out one day?  
Would you be able to contact anyone???

So, like I talked about in an earlier post, I transitioned to an Erin Condren planner for 2013.  And while there are pages for Addresses and Important Numbers, I wanted to have something that I could keep with me from year to year and that could grow if the need arose.  

Thus, necessity met craftiness and here you have it!

For this project you'll need:
  • 5 1/2" x 8 1/2" binder - similar to this
  • Address inserts
    (I wasn't able to find the ones I have online.  I bought them at my local Meijer about 2 years ago.)
  • Business Card Holder
  • Scrapbook paper
    (I used The Paper Studio - Pink/Green Dots on Brown from Hobby Lobby)
  • Trimmer
  • Label Maker

Start with your preferred address inserts, which can be found in the stationery section.
I love these inserts for a pretty odd and very specific reason: 
No writing on the page with the letter tabs.
See, told you it was odd.  Can't help it. 
People move,addresses change and it messes me all up if there's white-out on the tabbed page.

The business card holders are totally optional, but I have found them to come in quite handy.
I use these for business cards as well as store loyalty and gift cards.

Next, just put whatever paper you what in the outside pouches, add a label bam!  You're done!

And just to make sure I know what this is at a glance, I also put a label on the spine!

And there you have it.  Easy peezy, rice and cheesy!

Do you have an address book?  Have you ever had a craft come from a need?

I'm linking up the A Diamond in the Stuff's Time to Shine party


That DIY Party from DIY & Show Off


Organizing Tools: Cosmetic Bags

So I had totally planned on posting this little baby last week, but when one of my fur babies had a little health scare last week, I dropped everything and attended to him.  

I am happy to report that he is improving, all be it slower than my patience allows.  But he is getting better and that's what counts.  :)

I have a organizing secret weapon.  One I'm betting you have RIGHT NOW.

Whether they've been a gift, gift with purchase or purchase of your own, I bet you have tons.  Makeup bags.

Today I'm going to talk about the variety of ways that I use my collection - some more unusual than others.

So, in this post I covered the array of items I carry in my bag.  Two of those items were cosmetic bags.  One has the standard use of beauty supplies, etc.  While the other is used for pens for my planner.

Here's a more in depth look at their contents:
I use this bag or my pens for my planner. 

This is my tried and true makeup bag. 
I may have a HUGE small obsession with lip products - I'm always trying something new.

Now for the other ways I use my bags:

  1. My "just in case" bag
    This is my work "emergency" kit. 
    I have everything in here from makeup wipes & contact needs to ibuprofen and antacid. 
    When there's a last minute meeting or I've run out the door and forget to brush my teeth, this is a lifesaver!  (Don't judge, it happens.) 
    And the fact that it fits neatly into my desk drawer makes it all the more awesome!

  2. Special occasions
    Then you have the bags I bring for special occasions.  Like Thursday for example.  I went to see a play with my girlfriends (more on that in a later post) and needed to change out of my glasses and into a funner (that's a word right?) wardrobe so these little babies are so handy!
  3. Feminine hygeniene items
    I'll spare you all a picture of this because we all know what they look like.  I have a little bag in each bathroom in our house as well as one at work.  I figure that everyone really knows what's in the bag, but it makes it less jarring than seeing the actual box of said products out on display for God and everyone to see.

  4. Toy storage
    Yes, these are mine.  Yes, I play a game meant for children.
    Its fun and no gore like a lot of games out there for Xbox.

So, there you have it: Six very different uses fora common beauty item.

What do you use your cosmetic bags for?

Do you have an out-of-the-ordinary use for a common item?

I'm linking up to the Organize It!  Link Party!


May 23, 2013

The little book that runs my life!

As promised in my "What's In My Bag" post from last week, this week I'm going to talk about my planner.  

I am a planner girl.  

It started in high school when I was in pretty much the maximum capacity of extracuricular activities and had to keep play rehearsals, yearbook deadlines and all of my school projects straight.  

Granted, I did graduate high school before all of the iMadness began, and while I do use my phone and PC for certain reminders, nothing can replace a good 'ol paper planner for yours truly.  

Maybe its the act of writing it down that makes me remember - or maybe its just because I love any excuse to use fun colored pens - but either way, I'm a paper planner girl.

Over the years my tastes have evolved and needs have evolved and changed.  And during that time I have been able to see what works and what doesn't for my lifestyle.  Here's my criteria for a good planner:
  1. Must fit in a purse
  2. Weekly and monthly sections
  3. All date boxes in month must be big enough to write in - a lot.
  4. Somewhere for me to stick random paperwork, bills, etc. 
  5. Cute - or at least able to be customized

Over the past couple of years, I have seen many of the blogs I follow feature the Erin Condren Life Planner but I was apprehensive of the price - I am a bargain hunter after all.  But, it was hard to ignore the rave reviews, so when it came time to make my yearly planner purchase I decided to see what all the hubbub was about and WOW!  Totally worth it!

So, without further ado, here she is, my planner - a.k.a. The book that runs my life!

I chose the 'Favorite Things' style. 
While I did have a TON of pictures to choose from, I chose this design because 
it helped me capture all the quotes or memories that never cease to make me smile.

Yep, that's a color code key - just in case I forget what each pen color means....
like that ever happens.  :)
There's also a year at a glance section which I love -
especially when it comes to vacation planning!

This is what a typical month looks like for me. 
The red blurs are bills - who needs that broadcast over the Internet right? 
But, as you can tell there are lots of fun stickers that I make good use of. 
The plain ones come in especially handy for work holidays and anniversaries.

Then there's the weekly option.  Remember how the red blurs were bills? 
Well here is where I jot down the confirmation number from my online bill pay -
and where I put specific times for meetings, Jazzercise class times and such.  :) 

But, just to further fuel my little obsession on everything having its own place, I used my ever-handy label maker and the Post-it Durable tabs to create some special spaces of my own in my planner.

At first I thought I would miss having a spot for my addresses, since I had them in my previous planner.  But I was able to make a cute address book that I can reference any time and also takes up very little space.  More on that craft in a later post.  :)

So there you have it: my life in book form.  

What keeps your organized?

May 17, 2013

What's in my bag?

I've always been the "organized one" of my group of friends - or the mom - however you want to look at it.  When others need a mirror, tweezers, a pen or even floss - I usually have it.

So when I was thinking of subjects to blog about, this subject immediately came to mind.  Here's a glimpse of the purse I'm carrying now and its contents.

  1. Hairbrush. 
    Gotta have one - especially with my hair - I'm convinced it would get tangled sitting still.

  2. Restaurant coupons. 
    Not usually in my bag, but making a special appearance since Wednesday night the hubs and I went out for Margaritas!

  3. Wallet. 
    I know, Coach is expensive.  But, a.  I got it at the outlet for SUPER cheap and b. it is SUPER durable and worth every penny!

  4. Headache Medicine. 
    Normally I also carry some sort of over the counter migraine medicine as well, but I try to at least keep acetaminophen

  5. Checkbook. 
    I bought this a little over 2 years ago from Treasured Totes on Etsy.  I think Diane only does custom orders now, but her prices are reasonable and her work is quality!

  6. Wristlet. 
    Yep, I keep a wallet and a wristlet in my purse.  Why?  Because sometimes I go out to lunch with my girlfriends or dinner with the hubs and don't want to carry my whole purse around.  It has come in handy more often than you'd think.

  7. Keys. 
    What?  I'm keeping it real.  And the adorable key fob was a gift from a friend who knows my love of Fleur de lis!

  8. Clinique Stay Matte Pressed Powder
    I mostly keep this around for touch-ups, as I mostly use drugstore brands when I get ready.  But I love the way it feels on my skin and its never failed to disappoint - not matter what I have on.

  9. Kleenex pocket pack. 
    I try to keep these in my purse year-round because I'm convinced that in the Ohio Valley allergy season is never over.

  10. Organizher log
    It helps me remember random login information in a pinch.  I can only remember so much off the top of my head!

  11. Clinique makeup bag from a recent gift event. 
    However, its not used for makeup but rather Papermate Flair pens that I use in my planner.  (More on that little gem in a later post.)

  12. Gum. 
    I have this horrible phobia of bad breath and try to keep gum or mints on me at all time.

  13. Makeup bag. 
    I know, I know - Coach addict much?  However, this and the wristlet was a gift so I'm not the only one feeding my habit. This baby holds way more that lipglass and mascera. I've also got little necessities like antacids, contact case, eye drops, roll on perfume and even some Colgate wisps.  (Told you, bath breath phobia)

What's in your purse?  Anything you never leave home without?