Monday, April 29, 2013

It's Spring Cleaning Time - Reorganizing My Kitchen!

I go through these spurts of inspiration and activity.  Sometimes I go on a reading binge where I read every book I can get my hands on, but then I won't post anything on the internet for like over a year!  Then, there are times when I have to clean up everything around me.  So, this past week, I've been tackling my kitchen.
Have you ever read those magazine articles that give you reorganizing tips?  Well, they're actually pretty helpful.  Here are a few things that I did:
  1. threw out anything past it's due date
  2. got rid of broken or duplicate kitchen tools (old wooden spoons, etc.)
  3. visited my local dollar store and got lots of cheap plastic baskets and other organizers.
  4. took food stuffs out of their boxes & put them into smaller see-through containers.
  5. consolidated like items together  
I wish I took a "before" picture of my pantry, but like most kitchens, it was stuffed with various things that just got stuck there - in other words, absolutely no organization whatsoever.  Now, as you can see, I grouped all the grains and pastas together, optimized vertical space by using those wire shelves and grouped smaller items, like oatmeal packets, into small bins.  Oh, and since I didn't want to see the scratched wall behind my newly organized pantry every time I opened up the doors, I lined the cabinet walls with some leftover scrapbook paper that I had (Michael's always seems to put those scrapbook paper packs on sale, also I've found them cheap at Marshalls and Ross).  

Here's my other kitchen cabinet, which shows a better picture of my scrapbook-lined cabinet walls (just used some double-sided tape to adhere them to the walls), as well as my cookbook collection. 

Here's snapshot of my kitchen cabinet of bowls, trays and small kitchen appliances.  I bought those cheap shelf liner rolls from Ikea, but didn't like how they were see-through.  So, I used scrapbook paper to line the shelves and then placed the plastic shelf liners over them.  I also got cheap plastic trays from Ikea and used them to organize my small appliances (blender, ice cream maker, etc.).  The trays keep everything together, but also makes it easier for me to pull them out of the shelves when I need them.  Those wire plate holder were a total steal at the dollar store.  I found them at Target and The Container Store for like $3-4 a piece, but I got them for only a dollar! 

I actually went through every drawer in my kitchen and got rid of anything that was broken or useless.  I lined the drawers with a kitchen towel and used dollar store baskets to keep everything organized. 

We've lived in our house for over four years, but I finally feel like I've got my kitchen the way I want it!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Cute Fabric Necklaces

Here's a quick craft with lots of cute possibilities. Just using bits of fabric, I made these little necklaces that would be easy for kids to make and creative enough for adults to do, too!  I originally thought of using interfacing to make the little pendants, but I wanted to only use supplies that I had on hand to keep it simple and cheap.

All I used to make these little necklaces were the following:

  • fabric
  • stick glue
  • cardstock
  • needle 
  • thin ribbon

1) Choose a fabric that has an interesting design or graphics.  I only used a little piece to make a small necklace, but you can make yours as large or as small as you like.
I bought this fabric because I fell in love with the cute illustrations.

2) Use the glue stick and glue the fabric directly onto a piece of cardstock (an old greeting card or post card would work also, but the design from the card might show through the fabric).  You can glue another cloth on the other side of the card or leave it blank.

3) Once the glue has dried, just cut out the design.  I left a little section on top (this is where you will make a hole to thread the ribbon).

This is view from the back of the pendant.
I glued some cloth to the other side of the cardstock before I cut it,
but  you can also just leave the other side blank.

4)  Use a needle to make a small hole to the top of the pendant.  Use a sharp needle because you'll need to work your way through both the cloth and cardstock.  If you're making a larger pendant, try using a small hole puncher instead.

Measure out a length of thin ribbon  (24"-30"  is a good length to put over your head).  Thread a needle with that piece of ribbon and just sew through!

5) So that the pendant will hang flat, knot the ribbon at the top of the pendant as shown below.

6) Knot the other ends of the ribbon together and put on the necklace.

 You're done!  Now there are lots and lots of other possibilities you could also do such as:

  • Make a bracelet
  • Thread a few more pendants onto the necklace, have 3 hang down the middle or space them out on the necklace. 
  • Use a fabric with an interesting design or solid color and cut out simple shapes like a heart, triangle, etc.
  • Make earrings - get some earring hooks and attach the pendants onto them.
  • Tie a few more ribbons to the pendant and make a bookmark.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Canvas Art

During this time of year, I thought this might be a nice way to use up/recycle scraps of wrapping paper and holiday cards.  This is a variation on the ribbon canvas I made a few months ago.

For this craft, I just used the following:

  • small canvas
  • wrapping paper
  • Christmas cards
  • tape
  • scissors

I used packing tape because it's stronger than regular tape
 (and I happen to be using it to mail something)!

Cut strips of wrapping paper (whatever width you want).  I folded the strips length-wise to create a clean edge.  Tape each end of the wrapping paper strip securely to the back of the canvas, as shown below.

I like the idea of taping the strips down because if you want to reuse the canvas, it's easy to remove.
If you want to make this more permanent, staple the strips down.

Once you've taped the strips of wrapping paper down, you're almost done!

Play around on how you would like to lay out the strips.
You can spread them out so you have some space between them or have them overlap as shown.

Next, just get some Christmas cards and cut out some of the pictures to use on your canvas.

 Play around with laying out the different cut outs.  I like having them poke out of the strips.
Just tape or glue the cut outs to the canvas and you're done!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Wrapped Christmas Frames

I'm busily trying to decorate for the Holidays!  I did this same thing last year to make the house festive and all it took was some wrapping paper and ribbon.

This is a picture of how my fireplace mantel looks pretty much year-round.

So, I wrapped the frames in some coordinating wrapping paper and ribbon and viola - a Christmas display that was cheap, quick and easy to do!  

I didn't wrap each frame completely, just mainly the front of the frame and left the back pretty much uncovered in order to save on paper.  I also used strips of wrapping paper to make a "ribbon" for some of the frames.  Basically I just folded strips of paper and taped them to the back of the frame. I hung a fake Christmas wreath to one of the frames because I wanted to add a little something differernt to the display.

Also, since I already had the frames laid out like this year-round, I didn't need to rearrange anything or make any new nail holes.

 I guess the hardest part of this project was just choosing the wrapping paper, but luckily for me I have a 99 Cent store near me and now I have a ton of extra wrapping paper to wrap presents.

So after the Holidays, all I have to do is "unwrap" the frames for a quick and easy clean up!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Wrapping Baked Goods

The Holiday season is coming up and that means making lots of baked goodies for my family and friends!  I hate wrapping cookies and other pastries in plain old plastic wrap.  Further, I refuse to spend money on expensive cookie tins, so here are a few cheap and easy ideas I've come up with to present these treats.

I just used a regular resealable sandwich bag, but I cut out some scrapbooking paper to size to fit inside the bag.  For Christmas, this would look really cute with some Holiday paper and a gingerbread man cookie!
Use the sandwich bag as a template to cut the scrapbooking paper.  
I took a regular envelope and printed out the word "cookie" on it (or print out the words on a label, etc).
I then glued on some scrap ribbon to dress it up.  All I need to do now is seal up cookies in the envelope and I'm done!

I cut scrapbooking paper in a square and used that as my base.
I then wrapped the whole thing in wax paper.  
I cut out one of the flowers from the scrapbook paper and taped it on top to close up the package.
I could also have used a cute sticker or a blank label and written a message on it.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Button / Badge Art

I have seen many examples of this craft on the web and thought this was a great way to display all those small button / badges that I seem to collect from different craft fairs and other events.

This is great way to display your buttons!

For this craft all you need is the following:

  • cheap embroidery hoop (the one I used is 7 1/4 in diameter)
  • cloth
  • lots and lots of button / badges
  • ribbon
  • cardboard & glue or tape 
1.  Cut a piece of fabric in a square about 2-3 inches larger than the hoop and press the fabric in between the outer and inner hoops.  Stretch out the fabric to ensure that it is taut inside the hoop.

Here's your blank canvas!

2.  Now all you have to do is stick the buttons into the fabric in any formation you like - it's really that simple and easy!
In this version, I laid out the buttons like a clock.

In this version, I just randomly placed the buttons inside the hope.
In this version, I just used 9 buttons and placed them in a square formation.
3.  If you want to finish off the back of the hoop, cut a piece of cardboard to fit the back of the hoop.  Use the inner hoop as a template to make the cardboard circle (do this before you start placing the fabric and buttons).  Tuck the fabric inside the hoop and glue the cardboard directly to the back of the hoop.

Tuck the fabric in back.

Glue the cardboard onto the back of the hoop.

If you don't want to cover the back (maybe you want to switch out the fabric or reuse the hoop someday), just tuck the fabric inside and use tape to keep it in place.

I used painter's tape to hold everything together.

Just tie some ribbon to the top of the hoop and now you're ready to hang it.

Other suggestions:

  • try different fabric
  • theme your buttons / badges (i.e. - use all blue buttons or animal buttons)
  • mix sewing buttons or other types of pins to your piece

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Ribbon Heart Ornament

I have a lot of ribbon and am constantly figuring out ways to use them (other ways to use scrap ribbon).  This little craft is a great way to use some of those ribbon scrap and is quick and easy to do.

For this craft, all you need is the following:

  • cardboard 
  • scissors
  • glue / glue stick
  • ribbon scraps

1.   The first thing you need to do is draw a shape onto a piece of cardboard (you could use a recycled box or the card back of an old note book).  I printed out a heart on my computer and traced the shape on the cardboard. My heart is 5" across, but you can make yours a little smaller or larger; it all depends on the size of cardboard you have.

Trim the cardboard close to the shape, this will help when you glue down the ribbons.

2.  Now, all you have to do is cut small scraps of ribbon and glue them to the opposite side of the drawn shape.  Don't glue anything to the side with the shape, because you'll need that side to guide you when you cut it out.  

Glue the ribbon next to each other on one side of the cardboard
Do not glue anything on the side with the shape. 

3.  Once the glue has dried, cut out the shape - you're almost done!

4.  I thought the cutout needed a little something extra, so I sewed on a button to the top.  I also used this button to attach the ribbon, but you can also just hole punch the cutout to hang a ribbon.  

 Other ideas:

  • You don't have to use a heart shape - cut out a circle, square, etc.
  • Decorate the cutout with buttons, other little trinkets, etc.
  • Cover the back of the shape with craft paper
  • Glue the shape onto a card or place it in a frame