Pretty nifty…

I mentioned back on December 20th in my Counter this… post that I needed to make some changes to my laundry alcove.  There was too much to do over the holidays, so I put off making any real decisions until after New Year’s.  I originally put it off because I knew that I would avoid stuff that needed to be done to play around with my new area.  Now, I am glad that I put it off.  I got an Amazon gift card for Christmas which I used to order some baskets for the shelves I will be putting together for the alcove.  

As ridiculous as it sounds, I am really excited about painting in there.  Since the area is open now I would like to paint the walls a light color.  Our entire house is white, no color on the walls at all.  Except for Boo’s room.  Before Boo was born my sister came over and painted a mural on the walls, a castle on one wall, a magnificent tree on an angled wall in the corner and vines growing up next to the closet so we could track Boo’s height.  It’s very pretty Boo has always loved it and at eleven she’s having a hard time parting with it.  She wants a more grown up room but doesn’t really want to paint over the kingdom quite yet.

Ok, forgive my tangent there, back to an entirely white house.  The shade of white matches very closely with Behr’s Swiss coffee.  It’s a nice color and it works in our house as it’s a very open floorplan.   Saying that, I would love some color on the walls here and there.  I would have to be creative with the color placement as that open floorplan means that the rooms share walls and ceilings.  It would be difficult to paint my kitchen without painting the Great room.   I could paint sections of the kitchen though, like the section of wall between the counter and the upper cabinets.  I am using my laundry alcove as my experimental painting project.

I was talking to Faith about how I was going to stop by Home Depot to pick up some paint color chips to try to see if I could find a good color to go with the washer and dryer set.  Faith told me to let her know what colors I was looking at so she could look up the colors on her color fan.  Several years ago her father picked up the Behr color fan deck when he was at Home Depot.  She got it for free which is pretty awesome because they are $35 on the Home Depot website and $40 on the Behr website.  I had asked about them one time when I was at Home Depot, the person I talked to really didn’t seem to know what I was talking about and wasn’t all that helpful.  After that I gave up on the idea, I was even contemplating spending the $35.  I don’t think I really would have spent the $35 because I would rather spend that money on repairs or decorating.

Today while Boo and I were out with Gramma we stopped by the Home Depot near Gramma’s house.  I picked out some paint chips and then decided to ask about the color fan deck.  I talked to one gal who then referred me to another and this gal actually gave me my own Behr color fan deck.  I was so excited, she only had two left.  She said that the rep from Behr tells them to give them to people that ask.  I am sure people who get them are more inclined to buy paint and other supplies.

It seems silly but this is pretty nifty.  Faith and I chatted over Facebook looking up colors and using the Behr website to find other colors that coordinate.  I now know all of the groovy colors that she has in her house.    I need to go match colors to my washer and dryer now.


Good and busy…

Today was a good day, busy but good.  I got a few things done around the house and then we did some shopping.  During the afternoon I got out my Cricut and made some cute cards for my great nephew’s birthday party in the evening.  He loves Disney Cars so I used the Disney Cars Cricut cartridge and the Disney Mickey Font cartridge.



Day 17 

1.  Water –  2 – 24 oz. tumblers

2.  Shimmy –  Episode 17 (head slides, hip circles and sa’idi turns)

3.  Writing  –  

4.  Exercises – Arms/Stretching

5.  Project –  Garage (2 x 20 minutes)


Owning it…

I needed this today.  I probably need this everyday but especially today.  Thanks to Lani Diane Rich (one of my favorite authors) for reminding me that I need to stop thinking about all of the other stuff and just write or edit, or rewrite.  🙂

Check Lani out at StoryWonk.com,  I am a Great Writer is from her blog.

June+1My June +1 for today was reading for 30 minutes.  

I love to read and I need to allow myself that time.



Last week,  Simplicity patterns were on sale at Joann’s.  Boo and I bought ten patterns and when I went to put them away I realized how hard it is to keep my patterns organized neatly. 

I decided to look around online for ideas on how to store sewing patterns.  Once you cut out the pattern it’s fairly difficult to fit all of the pattern pieces back into the envelope.  It doesn’t make much sense on the surface, given that you’ve cut away a lot of the material  but still the problem exists.  I have patterns in large ziploc bags, 9″x12″ envelopes and some just rubberbanded together.  The second problem is searching for the patterns is a bit of a pain, you have to flip through each one to see what you have and it can take some time.

In the past I’ve seen people use the larger manila envelopes with the pattern number and a picture added to the front.  I like that idea because the envelope would allow more room for the pattern.  However, it didn’t solve the problem of having to flip through each pattern.

In my search online, I found some great ideas on this blog, Love It Sew Much written by Julie Snow.  Julie’s post called Pattern Storage – click here – gave me some great ideas.

Visit her blog to see her tutorial on storing patterns, because it is really great.

Here is a brief description of her system.  It’s a simple and effective.

Cut open the pattern envelope and staple it to a manila file folder along the short sides of the folder.  This forms a pocket across the top, you can now slide the pattern and instructions inside.  Label the file folder tab with the pattern information and file it away.  Julie uses a sticker system to categorize the patterns in two massive industrial filing cabinets.  It’s an awesome system.

I really love this idea but I am stapler challenged.  I am not sure if it is our stapler or user error but it seems that staples come completely out or they catch on other papers.  More often than not it becomes a big mess, so I needed to figure out a different idea for attaching the pattern envelope or at the least for sealing up the folder sides.

The other thing I needed to think about was the categorizing system.  Most of my patterns are costume patterns, I collected a lot of them when I was sewing so much for my Renaissance wedding.  There are also some clothing patterns, along with a few  accessory and craft patterns.  

I did some thinking.  First, the file folders and then the categorizing.

I like the file folder idea but after working my way through college as a receptionist I get an eye twitch when I encounter mass quantities of manila file folders.  I have a lot of scrapbook paper and decided to try covering the file folders.

Here is a 12 x 12 piece of scrapbook paper.  I avoided using cardstock because I didn’t want to add the extra weight and thickness.

I measured the height of the front part of the file folder, 8.75 inches.  The remaining 3.25 inches I glued into the inside of the back part of the file folder, using my ZIG glue pen.


I glued the other larger piece onto the front of the file folder.  I trimmed around the rounded corners, the file tabs and label cut out.

On either side is about 0.25 inch overlap of the scrapbook paper.  I used the glue pen and folded the overlap over the back of the file folder effectively sealing the sides of the file folders.

Pattern and instructions.

I used a page protector for the cut open pattern envelope.

I printed out file labels and my file folders are finished.
I decided to file the pattern folders by brand name, Simplicity, McCalls, Butterick & Style and I picked a color group for each.   The patterns will be filed in numerical order with in their color.

I used various greens for Butterick and orange for Style, (only have 4 of those).  I am just using this small box while I am working on the file folders.  They will be moved to a file drawer when I am done.

I made a quick sheet for each pattern.  I will keep the sheets in a binder organized by category, Costume, Clothes, Craft, Aceessories, etc.  I can use the binder like the pattern catalog in the store so I don’t have to flip through a hundred patterns looking for the one I want.

I’ve gotten the Butterick and Style patterns one, only have ten of the Butterick and  four of the Style patterns.  I have quite a few Simplicity and McCalls patterns to ‘organize’.  It’s easy enough to cover the file folders while watching TV, I can do a few each night until they are all done.  When I get new patterns I will get them into file folders right away.

I love it when a plan comes together.  🙂



My June+1 for today was that I made sure to drink at least 24 oz of water today.  Yay!


Bare basics…

I have always been a sort of a home remedy type of girl.  I like making my own version of things whether it’s crafts or recipes.  So, when I came across a recipe for homemade laundry soap, I was definitely interested.  Google was quite useful and I found several websites that used the same recipe.

Last weekend, I took a trip to Walmart and bought the following items…

  • Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (55oz box) – $3.24
  • 20 Mule Team Borax (76oz box) – $3.99
  • Fels-Naptha (5.5oz bar) – $0.97
  • Grater – $2.50

There are two versions of the laundry detergent, powder and liquid.  The basic recipe for the powder calls for you to grate the Fels-Naptha soap, then add 1 cup of Washing Soda and 1 cup of Borax.  Mix well, it’s makes about 4 cups give or take a little due to the varying volume of the grated soap.   Keep in an air tight container, one tablespoon per load, which translates to about 60 loads of laundry.

I broke down the cost of the batch to $2.00, divide that by 60 loads and it comes to about $0.03 per load.   My previous detergent costs $4.97 for 32 loads, that’s $0.15 per load.  It doesn’t seem like a lot but when you multiply it out to a year.  If I do a minimum of six loads of laundry a week that is 312 loads a year.  At $0.15 a load it comes to over $45 a year and with the homemade detergent it will cost less than $10 a year.  I will have to buy more bars of the Fels-naptha soap but the washing soda and Borax will last me more than a year.  (I included the additional bars of soap into my cost per batch.  I didn’t include the price of the grater because I just added it to my craft supplies anyway.)

I have washed about ten loads of laundry, clothes, towels and sheets.  It works great better than my previous detergent, it smells wonderful and it’s easy to use.  I’ve been using liquid detergents and they get all over the place, so the switch to the powder is nice.

Overall, here are the benefits of mixing my own detergent; it saves money, it works better, it’s easy to use and I know what’s in it.  I am really excited about this, which I realize is really dorky but this is not a surprise to anyone really.  I will have to see what else I can mix up myself.


Full circle…

Back on Valentine’s Day, I posted a picture from my wedding. I think it’s fairly obvious from the picture but we had a Renaissance themed wedding. It was a lot of fun and I could talk about working on all of the costumes and decorations, but I will save most of that for another day. Today, though, I want to talk about one of the table decorations. Sully’s mom, Martha made beautiful wedding favors. I looked at baskets, bowls and other containers for the favors to sit on the table. I like the looks of the grapevine wreaths, and we worked on some different ideas.  I have some pictures that I will add later.  Here is a quick description, we wrapped metallic gold ribbon around the wreaths, we glued cake circles to the back and added decorated paper butterflies and dragonflies to the front.

They looked really great with the favors in the center.  I have pictures of their awesomeness somewhere, I will add them when I find them.  We thought people would take them home but hardly anyone did.  I ended up taking home about twenty of the wreaths.  The next Christmas I used them to make wreaths for Sully’s parents, my parents, my sister’s family, my brother’s family and Sully’s grandparents and a Christmas wreath for us.

When Boo was a baby I made one that matched her nursery colors and hung it on the outside of her door.  Now it hangs on the outside of her bath room doorI like the idea of using the wreaths from the wedding, so I found a great spot over our pantry door in the kitchen and there is always a wreath hanging there now…

This is my wreath for St. Patrick’s Day.  I mentioned working on it in another post.  This is a slightly better picture.
This is my Spring wreath…
I started this one last year, I wrapped the cool butterfly ribbon around the wreath.  I hung it up to get a feel for what else would look good.  Stuff happened and I never got back to it.  I found these great flowers at Michael’s and then added the butterflies, also from Michaels

My Summer sunflower wreath…

 A few years ago, I found this pretty blue fabric ribbon, the flowers are probably daisies.  I had already bought the sunflowers for another project.  I really liked how the sunflowers looked with the blue in the ribbon and how it brought out the yellow in the flowers on the ribbon.

Here is the wreath that I hang in the fall…
I made this several years ago.  I bought two bunches of flowers and a couple of acorns and just stuck them in between the grapevine pieces. 

This hangs in the kitchen during ‘ordinary time’…

 Our kitchen has a Mickey Mouse theme, the main colors are red, black and white.  I would like to add a Mickey or Minnie to the wreath but I haven’t come across anything that will work.   A few months ago, I decided that it would be nice to have a wreath for non holiday time. Both Sully and I were raised Catholic and so we jokingly refer to non holiday time as ‘ordinary time’.

I have a Christmas wreath, actually I have two since we inherited the wreath that was given to Sully’s grandparents.  They are packed away in the garage, I think I know where they are but I want to get this post up on my blog before Easter.


I have more wreaths out in the garage, I will probably decorate more of them for other holidays.  I could use a non Christmas winter wreath, and Valentine’s Day is an option.  I saw a cute idea for a Mardi Gras wreath last week.  I could make a patriotic one to put up for the 4th of July and other national holidays.  I could make a separate Halloween wreath or one for Easter.  What about Earth Day?  Columbus Day?  Arbor Day?