Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Year to Declutter

I don't know how we have managed to collect all the junk we have over the years, but after 15 years together, my husband and I have amassed a house jammed packed full of everything under the sun...in several shapes and sizes! Okay, I just made us sound like hoarders! It's not that bad! But, if we don't get our acts together it might be in a few years! To be honest, I think we are going through what many families are going through at this stage of their lives.

My husband and I have been married for 15 years; we have three children and have been living in the same house for several years. Being settled in one place exacerbates the amassing of junk! Let me tell you! In the beginning of our marriage we moved a lot. Every time we moved we went through everything and tossed junk or unnecessary clutter. Now, not having moved in a while, all that clutter is still in our house…and growing! I am even posting pictures of our mess! Ahh..the agony! I know it's painful to look at, just imagine living with it! But not for long! It's time to clean up!

So that you have a better idea of what I am talking about, let me provide you with a list of areas where we need to de-clutter. I have a walk in closet that we can only ‘walk-in” half way because half of the closet is jammed with several suitcases piled up against the wall. The closet is filled with clothing, some of which hasn’t been worn in years, other items being saved for when I lose weight (come on ladies, you know what I am talking about!! Those size 4 jeans you wore before the kids arrived that you swore you’d get back into! It’s not gonna happen! Toss ‘em!).  I have to be realistic. I am not in my 20's anymore and some of the clothing items I have from my 20's would be indecent on a mother of three!  LOL! I am much more modest these days!

My sewing area looks like a tornado whipped through and tossed everything around into a big heaping mess. I tried to keep it all organized, but when my supplies grew larger than the containers I purchased to hold them, it all just started spilling out over the sides and onto the floor. That means two things to me; one, I need to cut back on spending on craft items and two, I need a better system for organizing what I do have!

I have a laundry basket in the hall filled with socks that have not been matched up with their pair. Who knows where the other sock is, probably paired up with the missing pair to another sock! My son does the laundry and he just won’t pair up the socks! I need to come up with a better system!

My garage is a nightmare! I have a few boxes and large furniture items sitting out there waiting to go to Goodwill or the dump….who ever will take them. I have boxes upon boxes of decorations, keepsakes and other misc. items that I know I could do without. What I really want is a nice clean and organized garage that I would not be embarrassed to let my neighbors see every time I take out the garbage.

My backyard is a mess of moss, barkchips, mud, leaves and cypress tree needles. Nothing I plant will grow under the trees, so I have just given up...and it shows. It is embarrassing! I want a backyard I can enjoy and spend time in when the weather is nice.

Okay, I think you are getting the picture! So, what to do? I recently happened upon a website through a link on Pinterest. It’s Mysimplerlife.com and is an ongoing blog and instructional website on living simply written by a gal named Beth. On her site I found her month by month Declutter and Organization Calendar. There Beth has created a day by day list of tiny tasks you can do to get your house in order in one year. Here is a link: http://www.mysimplerlife.com/2011.htm. This idea struck a chord with me and I knew I needed to get on board and simplify my life!!

So, here is the good news; you can follow me and my journey to declutter and simplify life because I am going to blog my journey week by week here. I am doing this with hopes of inspiring others in similar situations as mine that you too can do this! In fact, why not join me, download the calendar and follow along! Comment as you do and let me know how you are doing each week. Maybe together we can motivate one another to keep going all 365 days long! Ahhh, that is a daunting thought! Let’s just take it day by day!

Stay tuned! I will start ramping you up for this after Christmas! Join me!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Are you on Pinterest?

About a month ago I happened upon a very cool site; Pinterest. If you haven't checked it out yet, I must warn you now....it is very addictive!I have been on Pinterest for about 2 weeks now and I just can’t get enough! Basically, the site is a treasure trove of the best ideas on the internet. From clothing, to kids crafts, to recipes and DIY home improvement ideas this site has it all! All posts are found and posted by its users and cataloged in your own customized Pinterest board. When you post, your ideas are shared with everyone else on the site, thus allowing you to build your own Pinterest boards with the ideas others have found on the web as well as your own finds.

Here's a couple of my boards just to give you an idea.



If you never plan to complete any of the projects you find on here, or never plan to do anything useful with web ideas you find, this place can be an incredible time waster. However, I have every intention of using the ideas found here. In fact, I have already used several recipes, made items from ideas found here and have plans for the future use of many things I have found. This site really just shows how lucky we are to have the Internet! Can you imagine having to find all these ideas without it? How many books you'd have to find, how many magazines you'd have to browse through? Yes, the Internet is amazing and so too are the many awesome blogs out there where most of these Pinterest ideas have been generated from!

Here are a few awesome blogs I have found through Pinterest:






And that is just to name a few!!!

Check it out for yourself! www.Pinterest.com

Monday, November 7, 2011

Re-purposing An Old Sweater

My daughter recently cleaned out her closets and bagged a bunch of clothes that no longer fit her, or clothes she no longer wanted to wear. I was planning on just taking the bag to Goodwill and dumping it, but curiosity got the better of me and I opened up the bag to inspect the clothes inside. I was saddened to see really nice clothes, barely worn, in my daughter's current size in the bag! Normally this would really upset me, but this day I knew I needed to just breathe and accept it….my daughter is a teenager and no longer wants to wear the clothes “I” pick out. I felt horrible just giving all these adorable clothes away, and passing them down to my other daughter was just not an option with the huge age gap. So, what did I do? I started cutting up a beautiful shirt and turned it into an adorable dress for my baby girl! I could kick myself for not taking pictures of that process, but I will post a finished photo of the dress soon.
Meanwhile, I am thinking, what else can I re-purpose? Then I went through my bag of old clothes for Goodwill and find a nice sweater. It was older and a little worn, but in good shape otherwise. I looked at it for a while and then it came to me….a pillow cover! I had a set of older pillows I bought at a discount store a few years ago. I never really liked the pillow covers on them, but being that they were down pillows, I just could part with them. I knew what I really needed was a better cover…and this sweater would do the trick!
Step 1: First, I needed to make sure my sweater was going to be big enough to cover the down pillow. Here's the down pillow with the old cover.
Step 2: I placed the old pillow cover on to the sweater and pinned them together.

Step 3: I carefully cut around the pillow, leaving about a 1/2" of additional sweater material for the seam allowance. My sweater had a line pattern, so I did my best to follow the lines to avoid an uneven look on my finished pillowcase.

Step 4: Place the sweater pieces, right sides facing, around the outside of 3 sides of the square with about 1/2" seam. Leave one side open for inserting the zipper.

Step 5: For me this step was salvaging the old zipper from the other pillowcase. If you are doing this too be careful removing the zipper anddo not let the zipper slide get near the ends of the zipper and become detached. In fact, if possible I highly recommend that you sew the ends of the zipper on either side together to prevent the slide from coming off all together! They are very hard to get back on!
 Step 6: Once you have your zipper ready, use your zipper foot to insert the zipper on the open side of your fabric. If you are unsure how to insert a zipper you can find a good tutorial at http://www.threadsmagazine.com/item/3728/sewing-in-a-zipper.
Step 7: At this point I turned my pillow case inside out and sewed the corners of the unfinished side just up to the zipper to give it a more finished look.

Here is it all done! It is a nice addition to the other comfy pillows on my couch!
Hmmm...what to re-purpose next? Ideas?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Starting my Etsy Shop!!

Finished my last pre-ordered clutch wallet/purse! Wooohoo!

I can't stay idle long! I just have to be busy to stay sane! In the past I have spent my crafting time crocheting. And while this is my favorite hobby, it is also the most time consuming. It can take days, or even weeks to make anything worth selling and the rewards for these efforts are small. This isn’t to say I won’t make and sell crocheted items, as I do plan to do, but that my new hobby (sewing) is far less time consuming and thus has greater turnover of finished products. So, until I have a good size inventory in my Etsy shop I will be focusing on just sewing products like purses, diaper bags and baby booties.