Aug 26, 2015

Love My Recipe Box!

For as long as I can remember, I've been organizing my recipes with binders. I love the ability to categorize and easily flip through to see what I want to make. And the plastic pages protect the recipe cards and are simply wiped down when I splatter. Which I do. Because I'm a messy cook.

Over time, though, I had expanded to three binders. Sometimes I wasn't sure what recipe was in which one, and going to a bigger scrapbook-type one seemed too cumbersome. It also got costly over time as I had to continue purchasing more page protectors to hold the cards.

When I saw Shayna's DIY recipe box over at her blog, The Wood Grain Cottage, I was instantly smitten and I just didn't find one to purchase that was quite as perfect. So I sent the hubby a photo with the link to her instructions, and for Valentine's Day (anniversary....Christmas?? Can't remember!), he made it for me!

Mine is longer than Shayna's, I believe (hers looks closer to a square shape). I wanted to be sure that it would fit the depth of the open shelves we added in the kitchen, and I wanted to be sure to have lots of room for recipes so they could all be in one box.

Brad delivered and with extras, even! He was forward-thinking enough to add this handy piece in the back, so that while I was growing my recipe collection the cards would remain standing and not fall over. Genius! He also included dividers as part of the gift...alphabetical. Adorable, but I have been making fun of him because who organizes recipes alphabetically and not by category?!! Turns out, looks like Shayna did! He saw the picture and went with it. #mybad Sorry, hon!

I knew, though, that I wouldn't always remember just what I called a specific recipe, and when you aren't sure what to make for dinner, it's obviously easier to be able to thumb through a category of main dish recipes, so I wanted to go the standard appetizer, main dish, dessert, etc. route. With the suggestions from my Coffee & Crop girls and the help of my Pazzles, I cut these cute tab tops to put over the alphabetical tabs. To cutesy up the fronts of the dividers and add some color, I used a paper cutter to cut 4x6 cardstock pieces to put over the front. The tabs are doubled, front and back, and are adhered with glue dots.

I used my label maker with black lettering on clear tape to label each tab. I have more tabs than is typical but I wanted to organize the recipes as specifically as I can. In addition to the normal (appetizers, breads, breakfast, meat, dessert, drinks...), I also added meatless (for meatless main dishes), seafood, snacks, breakfast and lunch (because I like to be able to find different lunch ideas for school and for myself), and smoothies. I also have one for mixes/sauces, freezer meals, and will likely add one for those holiday meals that I just make once a year. 

I also added a Martha Stewart metal bookplate (from Staples), because it's so cute, of course! I am not a fan of silver or nickel finishes, so I primed mine and painted them gold. The other two will be going on my new filing cabinet which I have to share with you yet!

I have a lot of recipes to add to the box still, but I'm glad to finally have the recipes from the binder transferred over, the labels made and the book plate on! It's functional now! 

Aug 24, 2015

Jewelry Organization

Purchasing an item-specific piece for organizing isn't always the perfect answer...sometimes it's better to think outside the box to find the just-right container or piece of furniture. But sometimes you can stumble upon a great invention that actually fits the bill just as it's advertised to do. For me, one of those things is this jewelry box collage frame that I got for Christmas from my parents several years ago. (Sorry the pics aren't great...the day I started taking pics it was cloudy, and this spot of our bedroom doesn't get great light anyway.)

Don't ya love the post-its and deer? ;) The photo spots aren't all filled in yet, which drives my husband crazy. But I'd rather add occasionally so that we have come more current pictures. So little post-it love notes get stuck up there instead. ;) And that deer just won't seem to move. *sigh* I tried. 

Anyway, to the untrained eye this is just a collage frame, but when you open it up... find jewelry! Well, a week ago it was this MESS of jewelry. I love that the jewelry is not only hidden out of sight, but it's protected from the air which might cause these cheaper, cosmetic jewelry pieces to tarnish, and there's a lot of space to keep everything organized where I can see it. Well, when it doesn't look like this, anyway. 

It had been a while since I last went through my jewelry, and I decided it was definitely time. A great piece of organizing advice when it comes to clothes, shoes and accessories (or toys...), is one in, one out. If you buy a new set of earrings, one set goes. I'm not good about that rule because I tend to go through my things a couple times a year and get rid of what I don't use, and that system works for me. But if you don't do that, the one in, one out rule might be a good habit to get into. 

As with any organizing project, I emptied the contents so I could see what I was dealing with, then got busy sorting by color and eliminating anything I no longer wore. I had some shiny silver pieces that go with about anything, which is why I continued to keep them, but I just didn't wear them or love them, so out they went! I purged about 8 pieces of jewelry total. 

As I started to put things away I was reminded about this piece that had broken...

This is a swing-out bar for bracelets, but the hinges broke and I haven't been able to utilize this extra storage space at all except to dump smaller items. I put my thinking cap on and came up with a solution!

Super glue! I can't swing it out anymore, but it works great for my cuff and wrap bracelets, which are primarily the only kind I wear these days. 

I use this velvet pocket to store keepsake jewelry and I attach brooches to the front of it. Most of these were my grandma's and are special and still just as stylish as when she wore them. 

As I put earrings and necklaces back I arranged by color and started with my "fancier", less-worn ones on the left. I also tried to keep gold or silver together within the color groupings.

Except for that deer I'd say this looks a lot better. I don't have more earrings than spaces for them anymore, and now I can find those pieces of jewelry that I forgot I had!

Aug 21, 2015

Getting Serious {My Professional Organizer Supplies}

As the kids have gone off to school and I've found more pockets of time, I have been really working on getting things ready to go for My Blissful Space, the professional organizing business side. I'm ready to really dive in head first, put this business at the top of the priority list, and make this dream happen. In addition to networking, I established new rates and packages (see my "services" page) and have advertising set up to begin in September on the local radio station. While most things are falling into place and making me feel like a giddy school girl, not everything has been perfectly smooth sailing. But I have a can't-be-stopped attitude, and I'm continuing to push through knowing that with challenges and hard work comes the reward!

Immersing myself in professional organizer training has been another big focus lately. I find myself like a sponge just wanting to learn more every spare minute. Organizing is one thing...that comes naturally for me. Organizing for someone else...and being organized in the process...that takes some planning and fine-tuning. Though I've gone into organizing jobs in the past feeling fairly organized, through trial-and-error I found some things that weren't as smooth as I would have liked. I want to do the best I can for my clients and help them get organized in the most efficient way. Continuing to educate myself and stay on top of tips and techniques for the profession is one way that I plan to do just that. Having a great tool bag ready to go is another!

I spent the last couple of days shopping for supplies, and today worked on getting my bag put together. Thanks to a great book, How to Start a Home Based Professional Organizing Business by Dawn Noble (seriously the best resource I've found so far), I got some awesome tips for things to keep in my bag that I hadn't yet thought of. Yesterday I went shopping and got most of the things on my list that I didn't already have, and even a couple more. 

About half of the supplies that went into my bag (the label maker is the only thing pictured that I didn't just purchase). More stuff is in the car!

Next was time to lay it all out and decide what kind of bag would work best. I may decide this one will be too big and that I need to find something else, but I have so many bags that I wanted to use what I already had if I was able to. There are some things in the car yet from my shopping trip (boxes of file folders mostly) that need to go in here yet, but this arrangement seems to have worked out really well so far! Thank goodness for ThirtyOne!

I thought I was prepared before, but now I feel like the boy scout of professional organizers. ;) I get to try it out at the home of one of my clients next week, so once I've put it to the test I'll know how well it works!

Aug 18, 2015

I Feel So Official!

Hello, friends! I've been busy at work lately on furthering my organizer training, setting up advertising and finalizing my rates. It's been slightly stressful but it's all coming together and I feel really good! I also finally joined NAPO, the National Association of Professional Organizers and am so proud to finally showcase this logo on my blog and stationery.

I am one assignment away from completing a professional organizing certification course, which I hope to have done in the next couple of weeks, and my first radio ads will start airing in September! So much exciting stuff!!

I even have some organizing projects in the works to share with you (imagine that!). I know, I've been so quiet lately! Now that the kids are off to school and my time has freed up quite a bit, I'm getting caught up and can get back to doing what I love...organizing, decorating and blogging. And oh the projects I have to do and share! Thanks for your patience with me as I work towards my dreams and try to get it all done amidst all the other things of life. :)

Aug 4, 2015

Getting My Groove Back!

tThe view in my living room at the moment
Kids are napping and/or having quiet time and I'm sitting down for a little bloggy break. You might not know it from the look of my living room, but the anticipation of school starting next week, coupled with a cool, rainy day, kicked me in the rear and I've had such a productive morning! I should have taken before pics, but as is my way, I hit the ground running before I could do that. I've been doing laundry while picking up from a week of fair and 4-H projects, tackling piles that have been awaiting my attention, doing the dishes, making lunch and starting a crock pot chicken and veggies meal for supper, and making DIY foaming hand soap. #thisishowwedo  I also started an organizing projects list because I'm waaaaayyyyy overdue for some of THAT

I told Faith that before her play date today she needed to work some more on her room which had been overtaken by toys-that-didn't-have-a-home and her little doll DIY projects (#adorable). She did just that, and one of the daycare girls even joined in to help her. They got a great idea the other day (I say "great" with a healthy dose of sarcasm) to raise money for a kitchen toy they found in a daycare supply catalog by having a lemonade stand. (Thank you, American Girl movies, for being so inspirational. ;)) Then I had the great idea (even more sarcasm) to tell them that really they need to have a lemonade stand with a garage sale to drive the traffic. Boy they loved that idea and took off like gangbusters purging Faith's room...and the daycare toys. Anyway, her floor is again visible, the closets are no longer stuffed full, and I finally got her new little nightstand/bookshelf in there (which helped with the closet problem). I'll be sharing more on her room as we get it painted and redecorated. 

While those girls were busy and the other two played, I got so much done and more importantly, maybe, got the motivation I've been craving to get my organizing/blogging groove back. This fall I'll be down to two girls in school full time and one in preschool part time, so my daycare supply needs are way less, making me ready for a reorganization of the kitchen, my office/craft space that doubles as daycare space, and the hallway where the daycare cubbies currently are. (Color me EXCITED!!!) And that's just the tip of the iceberg! I tackled the basement over the weekend and started a stack of large bins with the idea that I'll do a "going out of business" daycare sale at some point. Larger items that I don't need are getting listed on Facebook to sell now, and might find there way to the new kids' consignment store in town. 

Also helping this newfound energy and zest for life are some exciting business things that have happened for My Blissful Space in the past week or two. I met with someone from our local radio station about advertising, and I made the decision to participate in their "Hot Deals" program this fall. I'm stepping up my involvement with the Chamber of Commerce around the same time frame to maximize my advertising efforts. And THEN I got an email from a writer for asking if they can feature one of my blog projects this fall! WOWZERS! I was so honored and excited! She said she'll send the link when it's live so that I can share with you! Things are just falling into place as I phase out of daycare and into doing My Blissful Space full time, and I feel so blessed. 

I'm going to quit typing now so I can keep at it, but I do have a giveaway ready to go very, very soon!! Be on the lookout for that!

Jul 29, 2015

Busy July and Fair Time!

It's been a couple week since I was able to blog anything! July has been one thing after another, all things that I'm in charge of planning and/or organizing, so there has not been time for much of anything else. The month started with the 4th of July, then went straight into activities for our local festival, I've been teaching a Junior Jazzercise class the last couple of weeks (which ends next Wednesday), and then we've had 4-H activities! This week is fair week, so we got Faith's projects wrapped up over the weekend and set up our club's booth last night. Tonight will be the first night in a while that I don't have anything major pending to do so I plan to work from the couch and take it easy. I hate to wish summer away but I will be glad when July is over!

For Faith's final 4-H projects we had decided to decorate a wood "F" that we'd picked up for $5 at an antique store in town over a year ago and a lampshade from Target. We are going to be redecorating her bedroom so these doubled as both 4-H projects and new accessories!

The original plan was to make a photo collage on the "F", but when she realized the photos would be glued down and not changeable, she ditched the idea and wanted splatter paint. This former 80's kid was taken back, slightly excited and a little like, "Whuuuu?", all at the same time. Where did THIS come from?

The original plan for the lampshade was to decorate it with ribbon, and Faith wanted it "rainbow". I found the cutest jute ribbon at Hobby Lobby but forgot when I purchased the lampshade that it needed to be perfectly cylindrical and not wrapping the ribbon around it would cause it to buckle. Grrr! Faith didn't like the ribbon horizontal, so she wanted to also splatter paint the lamp shade. (Seriously?)

We had a couple globs that we had to "fix", and I'll share more about that when I blog about the entire room redo, but overall they turned out pretty cute. I've learned that she's getting her own style and opinions and they are often not in line with mine, but I have to let her be her. In the end everyone's more happy. ;) 

This is our 4-H booth this year. We added some lattice to hang exhibits behind the table and also used two tables instead of one. Our theme, which utilizes our club name, is "Sugar and Spice cooking up healthy futures". 

I decided to reuse the terra cotta pots from last year's booth in our display, and had the idea to create giant cupcakes with them. They didn't make the trip to the fair very well, but people could identify what they were so I guess that's success. ;)

When we've had a spare moment this month, we've been enjoying feeding the geese at the lakes. Faith got brave and fed them from her hand and she's just loving it!

School starts in a couple weeks and starting in September I am working on carving out two mornings a week when I don't have daycare kids here to work specifically on My Blissful Space...the blog, the organizing side of the business, etc. I'm very much looking forward to getting back to regular blogging and continuing to build my business. Things will still be a little quiet for the next week or so, I'm sure, but I have much to share once I can get back into a blogging routine! 

Jul 14, 2015

Living Room Paint Update, Weekend Fun & More

The living room is painted as of last Friday morning (or I can't remember!). I still have to paint the back of the built-in shelves as well as the adjoining hallway, but the living room is otherwise DONE. I got things back on the walls except for this spot that I plan to do differently this time around...


 (before...pic from one or two autumns ago)

The dresser is (finally) getting painted...the paint arrives tomorrow...possibly the mirror as well, and I have plans for a different photo arrangement. In fact the mirror may move altogether. Still working those details out. 

Last weekend was our town's festival, and I was busy most of the weekend with Jazzercise activities. We participated in the children's events on Saturday morning, offering a giant bubble making station and promoting our upcoming Jr Jazz class, and Sunday we had an entry in the parade which wound up winning the best business float entry! 

Faith trying out the bubbles before the event officially started
That's me by our float! Faith is holding the blue poster. 
It was a HOT sweaty weekend but we had fun! Saturday evening I had some girlfriends over for Mexican food and sangrias. I made carne asadas tacos and elote (Mexican street corn) for the first time, and of course sangrias! Somehow I have a pitcher-and-a-half leftover, so looking for help with that... ;) I think maybe for some it didn't have enough soda to sweeten it up, but I liked it just fine! There were also margaritas, and some had those.

Finally got to use these simple decorations I picked up at Wal Mart last year!

Now that I'm done working on the Jazzercise stuff for the weekend, I am in full force planning our 4H meeting for tonight, my sister's bridal shower for Sunday, and I'm starting a Jr Jazzercise class next week! Things aren't slowing down anytime soon, so regular blogging probably is a pipe dream until school is back in session. No lazy days of summer here! Once things are planned I want to get back to the painting and work on that empty wall and furniture painting. So excited for the finished product!