Monday, August 30, 2010

Use What You Have Organizing: Ribbon

I've been organizing everything lately.
One of the things I've wanted to tackle for a while is this mess ...
This is only a small portion of the ribbon pile
because I started this project without taking a "before" picture.
Duh.  How long have I been blogging?
I didn't want to spend money on this project.
I'm trying to declutter, so I didn't want a bunch of jars on the wall.
Then I saw what Chris at Just a Girl did with her ribbon.
I still wasn't convinced I wanted to do this project
because I'm really too lazy to cut cardboard and wrap ribbon.
It took me a couple of weeks of looking at the
ribbon pile to finally commit to wrapping.
But I was still too lazy to cut cardboard, so I used index cards instead.
I took 4 cards (to make it sturdy enough),
folded them lengthwise, and stapled them (you don't have to staple).
Then I wrapped the ribbon.
Once I started wrapping, I couldn't stop because it looked so good.
I fastened small ribbon with a stapler.
Big ribbon I fastened with a rubber band.
This is one of my favorite ribbons.
It's just dollar Walmart fabric ripped up.
I love the little fringe.
I put them all in one of my scrapbook paper drawers.
Isn't it beautiful?

Featured on:
I'm an Organizing Junkie

Linking up to:
inspired room

We're Organized Wednesday at Organize Your Stuff Now

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Pottery Barn Knockoff

The CSI Project Challenge today is Pottery Barn inspired projects.
A while back, Mr. Jones and I made a memo board for the Teenager
(Pottery Barn calls it the "Tile Set").
We cut up a peg board, cork board, and dry erase board into squares,
and the striped panels are just plain boards covered with an
extra pillow case from her bedding.
Then, we nailed it all to the wall, and framed it with trim.

Stop by CSI to see some other PB Knockoffs.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Easy Laundry Room Hook

The designer who planned my home clearly does not do laundry.
Because the only place to hang laundry in my laundry room is right above the washer/dryer.
On the door and knobs isn't working for me either.
So this morning when I found a hanging basket hook
for plants, I thought it might make a great laundry hook.
It probably doesn't work any better than a doorknob,
but it sure looks a lot better.
No more laundry clutter.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Lego Storage Labels (Free Download) **Updated**

It's lego organizing time!

Do you have piles like this at home?
In a big mess.
And the kids can't find anything they're looking for.
Seriously, I took all these boxes out of the boys' closets.
Wouldn't it be nice if the Lego Maker People sold the legos in nice boxes that could be used as storage?
Of course they wouldn't do something so wonderful.
If they did, they would charge waaay too much for it.
I looked on the internet to find out how other people store legos.
Mostly, I just found grown up men who have huge, expensive storage systems.
While that level of organized is appealing to me,
it costs too much money and most importantly ...
the kids need to be able to put the legos away without my help.
I did find a cool website where you can design your own lego people and save the image.
This is a picture of me at work.
The website is called Reasonably Clever.
If you want to try, just go to the section called "Mini-Mizer."
They have different versions that do different things.
They even have a kid-safe one
(in case you don't want your kid making lego people that drink beer and smoke).
Here's a cute little skater dude I made.
I made a label for each lego storage drawer
using a lego font from TypeNow.
Printed them on card stock.
Cut them all apart.
I sprayed them with Preserve It! to protect them from busy, dirty hands.
This step is completely unnecessary.
Brief intermission to see a handsome fellow
who was following me around while I did this project.
Here's what I ended up with:

The legos are all sorted by color,
and each color has a drawer.

I didn't want to ruin the sets that weren't built yet,
so with the exception of the boxes on the top shelf
(which will be getting their own drawers soon),
the rest of the sets are in big plastic drawers in the other bedroom.
**I realize I spelled Gray incorrectly.  I fixed it.  I didn't feel like re-taking photos**
I glued them on with just a little bit of hot glue on each end.
Not a big pile anymore,
not too organized that they can't clean it themselves.
A while back, I found these little hampers at the Dollar Spot at Target.
They are perfect for dumping legos when the kids
are cleaning but don't have time to sort them back into the drawers.
Click below if you would like to download the label files.

If you use the MS Word version, you can alter them, but you will need to install the lego font to your computer if you want that specific font (the download file has the link to the website where you can download the lego font).

If you don't want to edit the labels, use the PDF version and you won't need to install any lego fonts.

I hope that's not too confusing.

Click Here to download the MS Word version.
Click Here to download the PDF version.

I have put the downloads on a different host site.  The first one I used was requiring blog readers to register, and that's no good.  The new one should not require registration.
Sorry 'bout dat.

Have fun!

Linking up to:


inspired room

We're Organized Wednesday at Organize Your Stuff Now

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Helping Reluctant Writers

The man who can make hard things easy is the educator.
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson
How do you help your child with a school subject
that is particularly difficult for him or her?

I won't go into the sordid details, but let's just say that for two
of my children, writing is not a pleasant experience. 
For anyone within a 1 mile radius. 

So what do I do?
Trick them, of course.
Make it a game.
Make it fun.

Here is a game we played the other day:
It's called Let's Argue.
Basically, it's a debate on paper.
Pick a topic, and each person argues why their choice is better.
The topic could be the best reptile, favorite holiday, swimming or tennis, whatever.
My son and his friend wrote 5 arguments in favor of their favorite reptile.
You can have a judge declare a winner or forget the judge
(no judges at my house when 2 children are debating ...
only when it's adult-child debate in which case the adult loses).
My son had his started and finished within a grand total of 5 minutes
with no crying.
I must confess that his was the less wordy of the two examples I have here.
If you know my son, this is truly and utterly miraculous.

Now listen up, Mom (or Dad):
Don't get picky, don't criticize, don't correct spelling,
don't feel like you have to teach them everything about writing in one activity.

Just let it be fun. 
Kids who write and read a lot, eventually become better spellers.
I Promise.

I found this game in a book called Games for Writing by Peggy Kaye
 It is one of my favorite teaching books of ALL TIME.
There are others versions for learning, reading and math.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Enormously Big Bubbles

Today we made Big Bubbles.
The bubble juice:
1 gallon distilled water
(I didn't have a gallon of distilled water so I measured 16 cups of bottled water.)
1 cup Dawn Ultra dish soap
5 Tablespoons glycerin (found this in the pharmacy
section of the supermarket, by band aids and topical creams).
Mix it all up gently.
Don't make a bunch of bubbles.
I found a tutorial for the Bubble Wand on Rhonda's blog.
Basically, we took two dowels and put a screw ring (you know,
the screws with the little round loop) at the end of each one.
Cut two pieces of cotton string, thicker is better.
I happened to have really thick cotton cord in my sewing room.
One piece is 35 inches, the other is 70 inches.
Put a big washer on the 70 inch string and tie that to each screw ring.
Tie the short piece to each screw ring so it is above the long string.
If you want a photo tutorial, stop by Rhonda's.
Here's what it looks like:
You wouldn't believe how long these bubbles were!
We're talking the length of the driveway, people.
We made bubbles until it was too dark to make them.
It's therapeutic.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Bird Tower

I stopped by the thrift store today.   I'm not supposed to be spending money.  But I couldn't help myself.  I'm so glad I didn't listen to my money conscience.  Because this little birdie tower was waiting for me.
Any ideas for what I should put in it?  Shells.  Candles.  Fruit.  Limes would look great, but that might cost too much.
By the way, have you tried  You should.  It's like Photoshop, but doesn't require a semester-long $500 college course on how to use it.  You can use it for free.  You can pay to upgrade, but you can still do really cool stuff on the free version.  Check it out.
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