2012 Simplify Challenge

Organized Chaos

Do you ever feel like your life is just organized chaos? I certainly do…but more on the chaos side than the organized side. I’ve slowly started to move towards the organized side. Very, very slowly. Actually it might be invisible to the human eye. Unless I had a picture. Well guess what I have. That’s right, it’s proof!


I’ve been working on getting more of my fabric off the floor and onto a shelf where it can be seen (and used). When I go to the store, I pick up another piece or two of foam core and make more organizers. I did cut some of the pieces of foam core down a little bit further so it would be easier to store anything that is smaller than a yard of fabric. I still have more to do, but I have to be patient, God’s not finished with me yet. (That’s a song from a church musical I was in many many years ago.)

Anyone else trying desperately to get organized and feel like it’s moving pretty slow? Rome wasn’t organized built in a day right?

Categories: 2012 Simplify Challenge, It's Our Life, Living Frugal | 4 Comments

Simply Challenging

My goal of the year? To simplify my life. Simplifying is not simple though. I’m just trying to keep my eye on the prize. The prize of having more time to spend with my nieces and nephews and having more time to do projects around the house and having more money to do projects because I don’t have to buy things twice just because I can’t find something. Blah. I look at people like Jen at I {heart} Organizing and out loud say “over-acheiver” but inside I’m thinking “She’s my hero!”. Organizing is pretty much what most of my 2012 Simplify Challenge is all about. That and refinishing our floors so I have to vacuum less and wash carpets less. So, here it is, it’s March and I’m slacking people. I’ve organized my s’more drawer and my sock drawer and that’s all. I drove by Dairy Queen yesterday and the sign said “Goodbye resolution – Hello hot fudge sundae”. That’s how I feel. I made a goal for the year, not a resolution so I wouldn’t fall victim to the proverbial hot fudge sundae but I feel like that’s where I am. Sitting in my car in a unused parking lot snarffing down 3 hot fudge sundaes…or s’mores…yeah, let’s go with s’mores.

Last Wednesday, there it was. My motivation to put down the s’more and tackle an organizing project. The quarterly Pinterest Challenge issued by Katie, Sherry and their guest co-hosts Erin and Cassie. When deciding what project to tackle for this challenge, I looked at only one of my Pinterest boards – my “Time to Be Organized” board. That combined with a recent Craigslist find and it wasn’t hard to decide what was going to be happening at our house. There were going to be some changes happening in my creative space! I got this brown bookcase on craigslist pretty cheap. I’m also pretty lucky to have a mom with a van who didn’t mind meeting me to pick it up.

I picked up some Zinsser

and some little rollers (BTW, these are the best for cabinets and stuff like that – Michael painted our whole half bathroom with one of these guys)

Michael and I both had painting projects happening in the basement so we had to take turns painting, but I finally got it all primed (I can’t wait to show you want the hubs did if for no other reason than to brag a little about how talented my hubs is)

Here’s a little tip for you to use between coats of primer and paint. Go to your kitchen and get out your glad wrap

Instead of pouring all your primer or paint back into the can, cover it up with a little bit of this. It will help keep a dried layer from forming and it’s ready and waiting for you again. Keep in mind to not wait too long (like days) because it will start to separate

But for a few hours (even over night) this works great.

After it was all primed and painted, it was time to move it upstairs which meant moving around a bunch of stuff in the creative space to make room for it too. I just had to remind myself that sometimes things have to get worse so they can get better. It was like a little mantra in my head that just kept going over and over and over and over…well, you get the picture

I mean really, just look at the progression…or lack thereof

See, it’s three hot fudge sundaes s’mores. But it’s getting better because I have (p)inspiration! I have fabric…lots of fabric. Sometimes I know what is going to happen with it and sometimes it’s cheap and sometimes it’s designed by one of my bestest friends in high school

Whatever the reason, my fabric stash is getting ca-razy and I need to get it under control. 42 weeks. That’s how long ago I pinned my inspiration for tackling this fabric mess. It’s okay, you can say it. Heaven knows I am. Slacker! I wanted to buy the organizer things that Stef (from Girl. Inspired.) used but I’m a cheapskate frugal gal…and a procrastinator too.  I knew I could make a version that cost me less and still get me organized. So I picked up some skinny little foam core and went to work. Now the real organizers are 10×14 and have these neat little tabbies on them which are way cool and I’m sure they are better than my homemade version. Six of theirs are $8.70 and eight of mine will set you back about $2.10. (If you don’t mind black – or maybe you want black – you can order it from Dollar Tree online for $1 a sheet. ) I used a yardstick to draw lines on the foam core and since my sheet of foam core measured 20×30 I just made them 10×15 – less cutting and less math for this right-brained girl. I can do half and half but I prefer flavored coffee creamer (yuk yuk yuk). To cut the foam core I used a very sharp razor blade. That will give you nice cuts in the foam core that doesn’t rip the inside foamy part and make it all wonky.

After my half and half, I ended up with four organizers for each sheet of foam core (should have bought more).

To put the fabric on, I used straight pins to get it to stay since I didn’t have tabs. Three pins seemed to work the best (got this fabric on Monday at Hobby Lobby and I luuuve it)

I should also mention that this fabric is folded in half and then half again lengthwise to fit on the board. Then I just laid the board down and rolled it. Then when I got to the end, I added a pin on either end so it wouldn’t unroll.

I repeated this process eight times (again, should have gotten more foam core – a situation which I intend to remedy soon) and put them all on the top shelf of my cabinet

I just know that I am going to love this. It will all be right there for me to see and not forget about! Maybe more sewing inspiration projects will come my way now.

I also seem to end up with scraps. Anyone else? My grandma saves scraps and she made a whole quilt out of OPS (other people’s scraps) and had it on display at the quilt show I went to last September. Taking that inspiration, I knew I needed a place for scraps on my fab shelf too. I got some little bins at Wal-mart for $2 each and they match the fabric I have for curtains in that room perfectly. I decided to keep my rotary cutter and a little 4 1/2 inch acrylic square in one of them. I need to find a little mat too. Now when I’m finishing up a project and I have scraps leftover, I can easily grab this little bin and cut it up and throw away the rest that just isn’t usable

So, before the corner of my creative space looked like this

and now it looks like this. The bottom shelf is scrapbook paper that didn’t sell at a garage sale last fall (anyone need some paper?). I put binder clips on the ends so I can label what paper is actually in them. The next row will probably get replaced by more fabric but for now, it has letter trays that I got at Target thanks to a tip from Ashley. I think they are going to get ORBed. The bins on the middle shelf are full of patterns, fabric scraps and Hershey kisses. That’s right, Hershey kisses. Can’t pass up sales with coupons making them almost free! The top row of bins have miscellaneous stuff in them. I’m going to label all of them, but haven’t decided on labels yet.

So there you have it. My project for the winter Pinterest Challenge. Head on over to the challenge hosts blogs to see their projects and all of the other fabulous linked up projects. Better clear some time in your week folks, there are a lot of them! Here’s Katie’s jellyfish, Sherry’s beanbag, Erin’s mason jar chandy and Cassie’s faux antlers.

My other Pinterest challenge projects: State Pride Canvases, ORBed soap dispenser, Fall Argyle Wreath

See other projects that I’ve done with (P)inspiration on my (P)inspired to completed board on Pinterest.

Categories: 2012 Simplify Challenge | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

Sock it to me

So I’ve told you about my love of s’mores, my love of coupons, my love of coffee and my love of shoes. I have another love…of socks. I’m really a “go big or go home” type of gal. But I’m also on a challenge to simplifymy life. That’s right people, I’m a bit of a walking talking contradiction. Yesterday when I realized I didn’t have any clean matching socks I knew what I had to do. It was time to tackle the sock drawer.


You know those ankle socks that Target has for $1.50 ($1 on sale)? I have a thing for them bordering on obsession. Last night I had to just sit down and organize. I love the look when things are all organized but I’m easily distracted so it was tough, but I made it!


Most of the drawer fits in just half of the drawer now! Good thing since I just gave up half my dresser when I took away Michael’s dresser and moved it downstairs. The bad news is that it appears that Bella and Bristol are hiding my socks because all of these are lonely socks.


Our maybe I just have a lot of laundry to do…nah that can’t be it.

Categories: 2012 Simplify Challenge, Projects | 6 Comments

S’more Monday

Our dresser turned sideboard has been rearranged more times than I care to mention since we – and by we I mean the hubs moved it to the entry room on Wednesday. I loved it as a place to store my reusable shopping bags to grab on my way out the door

Turns out that once I got them all in one place they didn’t fit in the shallow drawer anymore. Sad face. Fortunately, I was able to just move them to the second drawer…that was a close one. The bottom drawer was the perfect place to organize the plates and bowls and cups and silverware for when the nieces and nephews come visit. Look at how many of them there are!

Yay for Ikea (hallelujah) plastic stuff and yay for these not taking up a ton of room in our cabinets

Wanna guess what I filled the top drawer with? It’s two things I have a completely unnatural obsession with (here’s one and the other). While you’re thinking about that, I’ll show you something that made it to the top of the sideboard. I was at Pier 1 (you know I love it) looking for some ramekins and happened across a bowl that matches the green in the kitchen and entry room (the kitchen cabinets, the curtains and the state pride canvases). Let’s hear it for cohesive design!!! I also filled it with some candy hearts so it would be all holiday-ish and go with my subway art. You might notice that there are no yellow ones and very few green ones (those are my faves).

Wanna hear a little story about convo hearts? Ten years ago I wasn’t celebrating Valentine’s Day, I was celebrating Single Person’s Awareness Day. Michael and I were part of a single’s group at our church and I decided to have my single friends over for dinner and a movie. I remember sitting on the floor and reading conversation hearts. We were all picking out ones for other people (corny, I know). Michael gave me one that said “you rock” and mine to him said “clueless”. That’s when he knew that I wanted to be more than just friends with him. In reality, it was three weeks later, but oh well.

Now that I’ve bored you with that story, have you guessed what I put in the top drawer? The two things I love? Coupons and s’mores

This way I can grab my coupon binder on my way out the door when I also grab my reusable shopping bags. I moved the s’more fixins to this drawer because they were starting overflow the basket in the kitchen cabinets. My friend Allison got me a s’more cheesecake mix for Christmas and my mom and McDad got me a box of s’more stuff and that doesn’t include the stuff that I’ve gotten for s’mores. I have so many s’more things I want to make. Like this s’more pie that my mom made for my birthday in lieu of a birthday cake

Plus a recent trip to Goodwill yielded this little treasure

I’m in the process of planning our annual family dinner and I’ve decided to give myself a cooking challenge. I’m going to make the whole dinner without turning on the oven. No, I’m not having it catered. It’s going to be crock pots for most everything (and bread in the bread machine). I think I have the menu pretty much finalized. I just have to try my hand at making a couple things dairy free and since one of my brothers requested cheesecake, Ima going to try individual cheesecakes in in the crock pot (that’s why I was looking for ramekins at Pier 1).

What are your favorite slow cooker recipes? How about s’mores? What about organizing? Any tips?

Categories: 2012 Simplify Challenge, Decorating, Everyone Loves a Party | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Simplify – Progress (kinda)

A couple weeks ago, I shared with you my goal for 2012. Simplify my life. That includes getting organized and taking on big projects that will make my life easier in the long run. It’s part of my Simplify Challenge

 I’ve made a few changes in my creative space since the last picture I showed you. Whether they are for the better or not has yet to be determined. Since I love a good before and after but don’t have one, you get a before and progess

Let me give you a little breakdown of what’s in the room right now

  1. Picture from Christmas 2010 of Beau, Bella and Brady with Santa Claus
  2. A scale that I bought at a garage sale (from my grandma) all because I saw some pictures that my friend Kristen took of her youngest sitting on a scale
  3. Scrapbook paper that I tried to sell at a garage sale – thinking that needs to go on ebay
  4. A mini rose plant from my parents that didn’t survive (sad face)
  5. Fabric all set to make pillows for our deck chairs
  6. A cross stitch stocking that I’m working on for Michael and I. When I say working on, I mean that I started them right after we got married…nine years ago. Fail.
  7. My cake boards…need to remember to give one of those to Jenna
  8. Most of my cake decorating stuff lives in that tub
  9. A doll bed made by my grandpa and the quilt was made by my grandma. Bella and Bristol lay in it sometimes when I’m in here sewing

  1. A birdhouse that I got from my SIL’s mom. I think it’s going to get a paint job and then I’ll use it for ink pad storage
  2. Towels for a project that I’ll share with you later this week
  3. Tulle that is in a pile because I had to make a “filter” for our carpet cleaner
  4. Placemat from Pier 1 that I turned into a picture holder but haven’t hung up in this house yet
  5. My Cricut machine – I need to use that more
  6. Soap for another ORBed soap dispenser…a springy one perhaps
  7. Shelves that I made to store paper and and scrapbooking stuff…I didn’t make enough of them
  8. The frames turned dry erase boards that still have not found a place on the wall
  9. Water globes that, had they not been in the box, may have helped my mini rose plant

  1. A thread rack that I hung on the wall. You can’t see it from here, but it’s all pretty and color coordinated and I sat down one day and wound a bobbin for each color of thread I have. Yay me!
  2. A sheet. I really have problems with curtains. This past summer when it was sweltering outside I tried to open that window (no a/c in this room) and instead put my hand through it. Now that the wind is blowing it was getting really cold in there so I hung up a sheet. Better than nothing…I guess
  3. One of my Ikea lamps that was supposed to go in the bedroom and still might
  4. My sewing table. Also difficult to see in this picture, but it’s an old Singer sewing machine and table. It used to be my grandmas and my mom and McDad took the bottom and had it sandblasted and powder coated and put the top back on. I love it! I’ll be restoring the top sometime too.
  5. My sewing chair that I got at Goodwill for less than $3. Still looking for a great fabric to recover the seat with.
  6. My knitting basket that was a gift from my brother one Christmas. Bella and Bristol also lay in it sometimes
  7. Three picture frames that say Family on them…one for each of our families. I’m pretty sure that I’ve had them for 5 years or more. Should probably fill them and get them up on the wall
  8. Fabric that has no home. I really really need to find a home for all of that.
  9. My froggy scent warmer filled with pear cider or something like that

At least I feel like my sewing corner is somewhat organized. Next step is going to be to clear off the table…or build the storage. Seesh, I don’t know. I think this project might take me the whole year to simplify. Maybe I need to break this down into 11 goals and do one each month. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the “Get your Crap Together” spaces over on Lovely Crafty Home.

Categories: 2012 Simplify Challenge | Tags: | 2 Comments

Simplify – My Creative Space

Rather than make a new year’s resolution this year, I made a goal. After all, with a new year’s resolution how many of us forget about it when the year no longer feels like new. With a goal, I have until the end of the year to complete it right? This champion procrastinator likes the sound of that! When I was interviewing possible goals I was having trouble deciding on just one and I’ve always been told to make a goal that you have control over. Losing weight? Sure, I can eat better, give up soda and exercise more, but what if I hit a plateau? That plateau can be very discouraging and when I’m not losing anymore I feel like I’m not accomplishing my goal and I’m more likely to give up on that goal.

I decided to make my 2012 goal encompassing and simple. The title of this post says it all. This year I’m going to simplify my life. I seriously have about 15 bullet points under my goal of simplifying. Most of them are not simple and they take quite a bit of work, but I’m looking toward the future. I want to rip up the carpet on our entire first floor and refinish the floors. You’ve seen the entry room floor and the living room and dining room need to have the same treatment. We have two cats in our house that pretty much run the place. We also pretty much have cat hair everywhere! Do you know what a magnet carpet is for cat hair? I would love to be able to sweep instead of vacuum (Princess Bella is terrified of vacuum cleaners) and not have to get out carpet cleaner when a glass of sweet tea spills.

Another thing at the top of my list is to simplify my creative space. If you’ve been through my tour from the beginning page, you’ve seen my creative space when we moved in. The ceiling fan came down, the walls got a good coat of paint and the eight foot table that Michael made me for our first anniversary (awesome!). It was so nice and clean even after I got a few things in there

Then somehow it became this

Question: Did that take your breath away? I worked in there some when I was getting ready for a Labor Day weekend garage sale but it’s still completely OUT. OF. CONTROL. If I had this room organized, my life would definitely be simpler. I would save time by not searching for things. I would save money by not buying things because I can’t find something. Still can’t believe I mustered the courage to show this to you, but I want it to be something to share with you throughout the year. This room will be organized (and my life simpler as a result) by the end of the year. My first order of business is to build some storage. Perhaps something like this plan from Ana White.

If you read Lovely Crafty Home, you may have seen her “Get Your Crap Together Party”. I’ll be joining with some other crafters as we organize our embarrassing spaces. So far, she’s had a few people join in and I’m glad I’m not alone. Whew! Check out some of these others

If you’d like to join me in my simplify challenge, I’d love to hear what you’re doing. Also if you have a blog, you can grab the simplify challenge button over on the sidebar! What are you doing to make things more simple for you and your family. Life’s too short for things to be complicated!

Categories: 2012 Simplify Challenge | 6 Comments

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