Monday, April 16, 2012

Garage Organization

Organizing the garage never sounds like a fun task, but I knew it would not get done unless I made it my mission last Saturday. So hubby and I (he was even more excited about this...sense the sarcasm) dove into the mess of our garage shelves to try to put some order back into them. My goal was simple, as it is with any organizing project: a place for everything, and everything in it's place. It took a few hours but we got rid of a ton of stuff (from garbage, to "what IS that?", to garage sale items). There were tools strewn all over the place, kid toys in a bunch of different places, landscaping and paint supplies all over, and nothing had a good organized flow.

A few hours later, and everything has a place and a reason for being there. It may not look super pretty (it's still a garage after all), but it is organized. I needed something to organize smaller things, so just grabbed some boxes from my last Costco trip. Some day soon I would like to replace those with some clear plastic bins so we can see the contents better, but for now it works just fine.

We are lucky to have a large garage with extra shelving space and even a little secret room for storing luggage and such, but we also would like to install some ceiling storage at some point. What kind of garage organization have you done? I would love to hear about your projects and ideas.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Let It Be...

This project took a bit longer to complete than anticipated. Not because the project itself took a long time, but it took me a long time to decide on paint colors and letter design. So finally, I decided to stop over-thinking (if you have been following me, you know I struggle here!) and just decide on something - even if it is not the perfect choice. And in the end, I like it a lot.

Oh, and I chose the phrase "Let It Be" because I love the words, I love the song, and I need these words constantly reminding me to just let thing be, to not over-think, to let go of control, and just roll with the unplanned punches of life sometimes.

Here's how I did it:

1. I printed out some large black letters - I think they were 650 font. Then, I cut those out.
2. I picked scrapbook paper I liked, and traced the above black letters on to it. Then, I cut those out.
3. I painted the canvas. I couldn't find the color of blue I wanted, so I mixed a bright turquoise I already had, with a blue-grey color called Blue Jean. I painted 2 coats, including the edges and allowed a few hours between paint coats. (The color in the pictures looks quite a bit brighter than it does in person)

4. I figured out the placement of the letters and where I wanted them on the canvas. You could measure this for precision - I am too impatient though and prefer to eyeball.
5. Then I mod podged them on the canvas.
6. Once the letters were on, I  mod podged over the whole canvas and letters to finish it.
7. Let dry (this is is the stage where you look at it and think you just ruined the whole piece with mod podge - don't worry, it is supposed to look like that and dries clear.

**So if you look close in my finished piece, there are some streaks that did not dry clear on the middle right and I have no idea why. I am a veteran mod podger and have not had this happen before. If anyone can fill me in on what went wrong, or better yet, how to fix it - I would be thrilled :)

Pincushion Creations

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Organization: Recipe Binder

For far too long my recipe binder was nothing more than a huge stack of recipes in no particular order. This made it not only incredibly time consuming to find a recipe I was looking for, but the lack of organization also made it impossible to remember all the recipes I had. Meal planning was much more challenging as well. I should also mention I have a LOT of recipes, many tried and loved, and many that I want to try, but haven't yet.

It had been on my "to-do" list for at least a year to re-organize this mess. One thing about me (and it's not something I love) - I sometimes can get really caught up in over-thinking - trying to figure out exactly the perfect system, and instead, nothing ends up getting done. I have to very consciously make sure I don't get too stuck in that over-thinking process and just DO things sometimes, whether or not it is the perfect system. (Because an imperfect system is better than no system at all, right? This is what I tell myself!)

So I decided enough was enough and began tackling this project. It was an excellent decision.

1. First I decided I wanted a large 3 ring binder. I think it is a 3 inch - it was pretty much the biggest one they had. I picked lime green.
2. I picked a binder with the clear front covers because I knew I wanted to create a personalized cover and spine.
3. I created the cover and spine...didn't take me very long at all - I just used Publisher, nothing fancy here.
4. I figured out what sections I wanted  - again, I had to stop myself from over-thinking these and just decide :) My sections: Appetizers, Main Dishes, Crockpot, Sides/Salads, Snacks/Kid Food, Breakfast, Dessert/Drinks, and Miscellaneous (things like sweet and sour sauce, homemade pizza sauce, and jam recipes ended up here). I also purchased colored dividers with pockets on the front so that I could put recipes to try in the pocket for each section.

5. I went through my huge stack of recipes and threw out any that didn't sound great to me, or that I had tried and didn't love. Then I made two stacks for each of my sections: recipes tried to file, and recipes to try.
6. Only recipes I have tried and love make it into the clear plastic sleeves in the section. The recipes to try go in the divider pocket for that section as mentioned above.

7. in the back inside pocket of the binder I put some printouts I had for popular recipe substitutes, measurement equivalents, and other useful cooking related info I wanted to keep.
8. In the front inside pocket, I placed recipes I plan to try very soon and want up front for me to remember to add to my meal plan.

I had visions of designing pretty labels for the tabs, but it came down to completing the project or that whole over-thinking thing again, and I decided that for now, my handwriting would work just fine. This may not be my end all system, and I may re-tweak it over time, but for now it is light years better than what I had been dealing with and I love having everything organized and easy to locate.

What system do you use to organize your recipes? I'd love to hear about them!