Saturday, December 28, 2013

I linked up!

Link up here:
Tater Tots and Jello

Friday, December 27, 2013

Time for a Fresh Start

It may not be the new year but I'm getting a jump start on organizing.  There is no better time for a fresh start than the new year.  Not to mention, the kids have projects (can you say "build a California mission from scratch" project?) due after break. 

I've decided to break this project into a series just to make it easier to accomplish.

To start I took photos of my office / laundry room / pantry / junk room.  I know -- too many things for one room!  But I live in an old house and space is at a premium. 

Let the embarrassment begin...

My husband's desk.  As you can see he is not an A-type personality.  Organization is an unnecessary chore in his world.

A view straight through from the kitchen to the back door.  You can see my desk area on the left, my washing machine & dryer, dog crate, and my husband's desk.
Ok.  Do not judge!  Yes, this is my desk area.  To be fair I run a family of 5 and two businesses from this little desk.  I use it for my accounting responsibilities in one business and creating jewelry for the other.  At least the furniture is pretty.  :)

This last photo is taken with my back to the back door facing the kitchen.  You can see the ugly, ugly, ugly shelving for office supplies and tech equipment (that thing is outta here!).  The "doorway" to the left of the shelving is a walk in pantry. Like I said, I live in a very old house.  I assume this room may have been a porch at one time or mud room / laundry / canning area. 
Now that you have seen the mess I work in let's move on to something better (prettier too).  I decided the best approach was to measure everything.  I measured all of the walls including windows and doorways. I also measured all of the furniture -- width, height, depth. 
With some paper I started working out possible floor arrangements.  Because my budget for this project is almost $0 I will use the majority of the furniture I have.
I came up with 3 different options for the room arrangement.  I've decided to replace the ugly (did I say ugly enough) wire shelving and the even uglier "faux" wood / glass cabinet in the first photo.  In their places will go more modern and cohesive open bookshelves. 
The plan is to use the bookshelves with baskets, bins, and other nice looking organizers for the office supplies and my binders. 
Phase one is first move the furniture because I need to have everything in place before I start organizing.
Phase two will be purchasing the new bookcases, assembling, putting in place, and organizing them.  Above one bookcase I will add monthly and weekly dry erase calendars to track our service calls (for one of my businesses) and assign tasks to employees.  A nice mail sorter will work perfectly for the paper work such as work orders, installation forms, and completed work.
Phase three is to organize my bookcase and desk.  It needs to be organized for each business so the items I need are easy to find. 
Phase four is the really dirty part.  I will remove everything from the "junk cabinets" over the dryer.  Sorting, tossing, keeping, and organizing are the tall order of the day.  I plan to purchase plastic bins with drawers to insert into the cabinets.  The drawers will be dedicated to a use i.e. "light bulbs", "batteries", "tools", "dog". 
Phase five is cleaning out the pantry area and doing the same organization.  I suspect there is a lot in there that can go.
There you have it.  I should have this done in no time at all!
 I am looking forward to sharing the progress with you.  Wish me luck!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Childhood Christmas Memories

Decorating the tree each year is a wonderful journey back into my kids' childhoods.  Their homemade ornaments seem to have captured and preserved little bits of them throughout life. 

During our home school years we made these faux snow globe ornaments.  This one was made by my youngest when she was 3. 

I know.  So. Cute.

We used clear plastic cups for the globe.  On the cut out paper bottom we glued fluffed cotton balls. 

From the Dollar Store each of my kids used miniature ornaments to create a scene.  I hot glued the completed bottom to the edge of the cut.

For the hook I punched a hole in the bottom of the plastic cup and untwisted a paper clip.

Each globe is individual and unique.  And each one captures a moment in each of my kids' lives.  I just love them!

Our completed tree is always packed full of memories.  Homemade ornaments.  An ornament for each child every year (like the Dr. Pepper ornament for my oldest son who is OBSESSED with Dr. Pepper!).  Ballerinas, ornaments for each of our pets...
Memories.  Wonderful memories.
Each year my mom and I purchase an ornament for each of the kids.  The ornaments are chosen to reflect each of my kids' personalities.  For instance, my 14 year old loves animals and ocean life.  So, he typically receives blow fish, lions, sharks, etc.
My youngest is a ballerina and girly-girl.  I usually pick out something pink and very sparkly for her.
I love that when the kids grow up and start their own families they will take their ornaments (captured memories) with them to share. 
It is a holiday tradition I look forward to each year. 
Happy holidays --

Friday, December 6, 2013

Easy to Make Bracelets Tutorial

Bracelets are great for gift giving.  They are easy to wear, one size fits all, and any woman can incorporate them into their wardrobe.  They are perfect for layering or adding different styles for a unique look.

I love bracelets and this tutorial shows an easy-to-make wrap bracelet.  You won't be able to stop making them once you start!

I found all of my supplies and tools at my local craft store in the jewelry making section.
You will need:
Memory wire
Beads, faux pearls, metal beads, stone beads -- anything you like
Needle nose pliers
Wire cutters
Step One
Start by cutting about 4 wraps of wire.  The wire stays in the circular shape making it great for bracelets.  Use wire cutters to cut the wire because it is thick.
Once cut, use circular pliers or needle nose pliers to make a loop at one end of the wire, as pictured above.
Step Two -- Beading
Now for the fun!  Start placing beads in any pattern you like on the open end of the wire. 
You can add different beads, faux pearls, charms, metal beads, stone -- your imagination is your only limitation!
When done use needle nose pliers or circular pliers to make another loop to keep the beads on.
And that's it!  You can make as many as you like with different colors.
I love to layer them or give multiples to friends and family so they can layer.
I used small blue seed beads on the first bracelet.  This is great alone or with bangles.
The top left uses shell beads that are a smooth spike.  I love the different colors and shapes.
The top right bracelet uses cobalt blue beads with small silver beads in between.  I also added small silver charms for a modified charm bracelet.
This is a modified cuff with dark blue and silver beads, a silver heart charm, and a key to the heart charm.
So sweet!

Pretty shell beads alternate with cream, brown, and amethyst colors.

The bead mix included different types of beads, variations of teal, and size.  This is a great bracelet to wear alone or make more with different colors to layer.
I hope you have fun using your imagination and creativity making these bracelets.  I am going to make quite a few for my nieces this year. 
Just gather your finished bracelets and tie with a pretty ribbon -- the perfect gift!
Cheers -- Tammi