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Creative Organizing Blog

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May 31, 2007

you just never know...

...what fun surprise may come your way at the end of a challenge.

Remember this?  I know. Long post. :) But ... the something fun was this great Donna Downey book—one that's sure to get you out of any sort of creative rut. So that is exciting, isn't it?

Congratulations to you Donna (a different Donna) for taking the challenge, making this and winning Decorative Journals! Email me your mailing address and we'll get her shipped off to you right away!

And so here's a random quote that seems fitting. "That's what opportunity and possibility is all about. Not knowing what's around the corner but still being excited that it's there." Love that. (And I love the guy who said it.) Any guesses?

May 29, 2007

altered file folders - how to make 'em


Playing some catch up today! Here's a quick how-to on the altered file folders. I started with the straight-cut file folders (plain ol' vanilla manila). Using my paper cutter I trimmed of the edge of the folder, and then rounded them with a corder rounder. Then, I used glue stick and scrapbook paper to cover the front of the folder (using the pink and orange patterned paper from Basic Grey.) Then, I cut a strip of the pink paper for the tab. I didn't cover the whole inside flap, just the tab plus about a half inch or so below what is showing. For the "K" tab I used a circle punch and cut two circles out of card-stock. I used glue stick to hold them together and attach them to the front and back of the file folder. American Crafts rub-on letters and thickers were used to label each folder.

Enjoy! Email me photos if you make your own folders! I love to see what you create! Have a happy Tuesday that feels like a Monday :)

May 26, 2007

"christmas" in may

We're celebrating six birthday's this weekend at my in-laws! Took the opportunity to play a bit this morning and create some super-fun gift tags using some brand new acrylic stamps from KI Memories. These stamps are squeal-out-loud cute, don't you think?




Hope you're having fun, too!

May 25, 2007

kids, creativity, and a fun little challenge

My kids, and their approach to creating inspires me. I've been known to be just a bit particular when it comes to making things...and this can often paralyze me. (Am I alone here?) It appears, from watching my daughter anyway, that this trait isn't genetic. It's something I learned. Which is good news, because it means I can un-learn it, too. If I want to. Which I do. And I am. I am constantly reminding myself to let go of perfection. And you know what, I'm much happier when I follow my own advice...and approach creating like my kids do.

Kailea just digs in and creates. The other day at school they made paper monkeys. That night, she came home and grabbed a stack of construction paper, a pair of scissors, and without hesitation started cutting away. She made three monkeys in all adorning them with blankets (full sheets of construction paper) and bottles which she also made out of construction paper. She loved her new little friends. In fact, they slept at the foot of her bed for a couple of weeks, even though she hadn't carefully planned how to make them. No template. No tracing the original monkey. Just scissors and a free handed cut.


My son, isn't as much into art, but he's creative in his own way. He's a little entrepreneur, and each week comes home with a new business idea that he and his friend from school are going to start. It can be exciting...he's had a leaf raking business, a car wash, a couple of Internet stores that he's started, a paper-making business, an RC car race track, a soap-making business, and the list goes on and on. Not all of his business have gotten off the ground, but his mind is always in the creative mode. Completely unaware of any limitations.

This week, he started a new venture, called story of the week, and he's asked me to share his story here. (He's already written next weeks, too, just in case you don't want to get engrossed in a story for which you can't see the ending...kind of like what happened to me with American Idol, but that's a whole other story.) Anyway, here's the story, and the set-up, which gets back to the whole topic of creativity.


So one day this week, while the kids were at school, a turtle came by to visit. We didn't want to take him hostage (we knew the kids would want another pet...and I'm just not up for a wild turtle right now.)  So we thought we'd snap a few pictures so the kids could see the turtle who came to play when they were away at school. Jay got this one of the turtle by the swing. Collin saw it and with in five minutes went inside and started writing his first story of the week.


It says "Hello. I'm turtle. Holy cow! What is this thing pawing at me?! Run for your life! Whew! I'm safe now. What is this thing above me? Oh. I see. It's a horseshoe. A horse shoe is shaped like a U. The children are gone so I want to swing on it. Does anybody have a ladder? Oh well. I guess I will move on."

He was inspired by the photos of the turtle and sat down to write a story. No worrying about getting it just so. No editing and reediting and should I tell a different story with these photos. He just sat down and wrote.

My kids are one-up on me that way. They just dive in and create. No analysis. No worrying if it will match. No worrying about typos or sentence structure or what will I do with this thing when I'm done with it.

They get inspired. Grab a handful of supplies. And create.

How about you? Do you ever get stuck creatively...trying to get it just so? Let's make a pact. This weekend...go forth and create something but remove those blocks that normally get you stuck. Do you get stuck journaling? If so, pick up a stack of pictures and write down the first thing that comes to your mind. Don't worry about writing the perfect story. Just write whatever you're inspired to write at that moment. Do you get stuck matching things perfectly (like I do?) If so, create a page (or any other project for that matter) and set a time limit for matching and selecting products. Maybe ten minutes? Just pull some things together from your stash and start creating. See what you can put together when you create like a child creates...without worry about the end result, focused solely on the fun of the creative process itself. Want to play along? If so, post a link to your project along with the creative obstacle you let go of by midnight central on Monday, May 28th. One lucky participant will win something fun...

In the meantime, let me know you're playing along by posting a comment. :)

May 23, 2007

some day I'll scrapbook this...

but for now I've got the story out of my head, all typed up, easy to find and ready to scrapbook!

1 amazing weekend


1 "new" year
1 resolution
1 yummy butter cake
39 candles
1 wish
a whole lot of melted wax
3 baseball games
9 hits
0 wins
10 hours of sleep in
1 night(!)
1 two mile run
1 intense game of tag
a whole lot of sore leg muscles
6 meals eaten outside on the deck
6 meals cooked by Jay
2 pair of altered flip flops
1 pedicure on the deck


4 new books
6 loads of laundry
3 sunny, perfectly beautiful days
1 hour laying in the hammock
2 wonderful kids
1 amazing husband
1 lucky 39 year-old girl

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Has this ever happened to you? You get a page idea in your head (like "count things this weekend and see what kind of list you make") and so you do. And you start counting EVERYTHING. And you keep counting even though the weekend is over because you haven't had time to make the page yet (because of the mini album you're working on first and all that other stuff you do in your life.) And so if you don't *do* something with your idea it's simply going to drive you nuts. So ... you put your idea on your blog (or in your journal or your idea binder) and create your page next time you get some prints developed ... like *this* weekend. But boy, it sure feels better to get that idea out of your system, doesn't it? I feel better. Hope you're doing great, too.

May 21, 2007

organizing toys

Here's an email I received about organizing toys. Can you relate to this one?

"Hi...Just wanted to let you know that I really enjoy your blog………I love to organize and I am constantly looking for new ways to organize stuff…My major problem is toys!  We don’t have a playroom or basement in our house. Our “playroom” is a sectioned off area in our living room. How can I organize my daughter’s toys in a neat way and also keep my living room a “living room”? Her toys are taking over! I try to declutter and get rid of any toys that she has out grown...but it is just overwhelming!!!!"

I think anyone with kids can relate to this problem! Toys, toys everywhere!!! So what's a Mom to do? Here are some ideas.

To change the situation, you can either add more storage or have fewer toys (or possibly a combination of both.)

For storage options, you could go as elaborate as adding built in cabinets to house toys behind closed doors. If you make this investment, consider sizing the cabinets to hold baskets and bins of toys, with like items grouped together. Look for cabinets with adjustable shelving, so as your daughter grows up and has new interests (and toys) your cabinets can easily adapt to these changes. You could use a similar strategy with a bookshelf or storage cube and baskets to hold toys.

You could also considering adding furniture pieces that double as storage. Look for something that goes with the decor of your room, and no one will ever know toys are lurking inside. From storage ottomans to coffee tables with drawers to trunks there are a number of options for pieces that can serve double duty. Closed storage where items can be stored in bulk is probably the best option to make clean up easy for your daughter, and to keep the room looking suitable for grown ups when play time is over. If your daughter is playing with toys with small pieces, you can group these toys together in smaller, lidded containers that fit inside your bigger storage pieces. Remember to keep in mind the size of your daughter's toys, and what she's likely to grow into, before investing in a storage solution.

Once you have storage in place, it's a matter of living within your storage limits. If toys are also stored in another room in your home, like your daughter's bedroom, inevitably they'll find their way to the living room. (Isn't it funny how easy it is for toys to make their way to the living room, and how hard it is for them to find their way back to where they came from?) I know. It happens here, too! Here's a simple fix. When your living room toy storage starts to overflow, grab a handled container (and your daughter) and haul a load of toys back to the bedroom. Be sure to leave some breathing room in your living room toy storage containers each time you take a trip to the bedroom—you know, to make space for that next set of toys that mysteriously make their way out of the bedroom and into the living room!

May 17, 2007

one word


OK ... a few more words ... but I will be brief.

Tonight we said goodbye to the old site...


and hello to the new!

Congrats, did it! Woohoo!

May 14, 2007

what to do with cards, letters + other handwritten keepsakes

Lesli emailed me recently with this question.

"I have so many boxes full of cards & handwritten letters from my parents, siblings, and dear friends. Some of them are more meaningful than others but I have never really known how to sort them or what to do with them once sorted. I wonder if I would ever regret getting rid of them or if they might be interesting to anyone after me. So do you have any ideas of what to do with these lovingly handwritten letters? I know you are a scrapbooker and I have done just a very little of that on my own. Would your solution be something a novice scrapper could do? Am I crazy to think someone after me will want to read through any of them? I never do now except when I try to decide what to do with them!"

Great question, don't you think? Here's what I shared with Lesli. Be sure to comment and let us know your ideas for organizing precious keepsakes like letters and cards!

Thanks for such a great question. I think in this day of email, handwritten letters, notes and cards have definitely taken on an even more special role.

As I see it, there are four basic decisions to make.

Decision 1:  Where to store your cards and letters?
The reason for keeping items like old letters and cards is because they mean something to you. So, store them where you can enjoy them on a regular basis and keep them safe. Often times I find people store these items in a cardboard box in the basement. Which isn't ideal. For one, the moisture and humidity is bad for paper, and second, hanging out on a cold basement floor sifting through old letters --- well, probably not your ideal environment for a trip down memory lane. A file cabinet on a main level in your home is a better option ... but again, perhaps not the most ideal for causal browsing and enjoyment of the contents.

So think about a location where you can hang out, pull out a few cards and letters, enjoy them, and then easily tuck them back away. Once you have a location in mind, consider a storage container.

Decision 2: What type of container would work well in that space?
If you decide to store your letters and cards in a closet, a plastic bin or a canvas lidded box would work well or even an archival safe paperboard box.

A more decorative container would work well in a living or public space like your family room, den or even your bedroom. Keep your eye out for an antique box like this one.


Or check out these options from Pottery Barn: stacking wood boxes, Weston Trunks, Rustic Tins . Each of these are a fun alternative depending on the room you'll store your items in and the size of your collection.

A scrapbook is another terrific solution for keeping your cards and letters organized and easy to enjoy. Select a scrapbook that goes with the décor of the room where you'll be storing it, so you can keep it out and flip through it any time you'd like to enjoy your handwritten treasures.

decisions 3 & 4: What to keep and how to sort your keepers?
I love your question about whether or not these items will have meaning to future generations. There's really no way of knowing. So I wouldn't let that be your reason for holding onto things you don't want to keep, nor would I let it be your reason for not keeping things you do want to keep. I think you should let your wishes for these items, since they have such meaning to YOU, guide your decisions. Keep the cards and letters that are special to you...those that you want read again from time to time...those that make you happy when you read them. You can decide which letters to keep as you're sorting them.

You could sort your cards and letters by person (who gave them to you) or you could sort them by date (probably a bit harder to recreate if they aren't sorted this way already.) If you chose to sort by person, it will be easier to decide which items to keep and which you can let go of. By having all your cards and letters from a single person together, it will be easier to recognize your favorites. Weeding out the others will allow you to access and enjoy your favorites more regularly and easily. For items you don't keep, you could recycle them or perhaps use the words and images from the cards to make a decoupage project --- like a box to store your keeper cards and letters in! 

Remember if you have ideas to share, please comment!

May 11, 2007

i've been tagged!

twice! First by Gretchen. And then by Carolyn. Oops! So without further delay, here are 7 random things about me.

1. I'm an American Idol junkie. Started watching the show in season 1 and have been totally hooked ever since. And as a bonus random thing ... Jordin makes me cry when she sings. Often.

2. This week I celebrated my ten year wedding anniversary. I feel like such a lucky girl.

3. It truly is the simple things that make me happy from colorful melamine bowls, to a mason jar of gerbera daisies, to reading books with my kiddos.


4. I have lived in 4 states that start with the letter M: Michigan, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Missouri.

5. My first published scrapbook project appears in this Simple Scrapbooks Special Issue. In a million years, I never dreamed I'd have a scrapbook project published. C-raze-E!

6. I love avocados. (Now if that's not interesting, what is?) 

7. I find creating lists like this incredibly uncomfortable. ;) there you have it! And now ... I get to tag seven lucky winners! I'm randomly selecting seven people who have commented on this blog recently. Here we go ... Elizabeth, Telah, Stephanie, Jenni, Lisa, Lisa and Lynn.

May 06, 2007

i found it!

oh ... not the phone. Luckily I found the phone month's ago. It's even better.

I found this!

It's the link to the Better Homes and Gardens planner article I told you about here. It is in the February 2007 Better Homes and Gardens and it's called "Calendar Girls." Hope you enjoy!

Speaking of enjoying, did you enjoy your weekend? And did you have a terrific National Scrapbook Day? Hope it was terrific! Cropping for Newborns was fantastic! Melanie did such a great job putting together the event and it was such an honor to be a part of it. And I met Aleeta from For Keeps Sake ... a scrapbook super store in St. Louis. Will have to partake in some serious shopping next time on the St. Louis "side of the river" as we say around here.

While in the "big city" I decided to hit two of my favorite shopping spots...the newly opened Container Store was my first stop. (Yep, I was a kid in a candy store ... and I bought nothing. Are you proud? Serious will power.)

Then I headed to Trader Joe's where as Collin says, we spend more than an inexpensive tube T.V. every time we go. (He's ... uh ... kind of into electronics.) I stocked up on all of my favorite-can't-live-with-out-healthy foods and got some fresh Gerbera Daisy's, too. Love that place. I have been to three Trader Joe's in St. Louis. I go to one every time I'm in St. Louis...whichever one is closest to the client or other airport or other St. Louis destination of the day. And I have to tell you ... what a great business. The people that work there are the best. No matter which store I go to, I always end up having a delightful conversation with someone that works there ... either at check out, or while I'm shopping. I just love that place. (Did I mention that?) I'm so keeping my fingers crossed that one day Trader Joe's will come to my town.  But in the meantime ...I just have to continue to look for excuses to cross the river!

And the weather here this weekend was simply divine...I just love spring! Finally got the car washed today (yippee!) Who knows what's next on my organizing hit list, but you can bet you'll be the first to know. Ha ha ...

What's on your organizing to-do list? Maybe you can inspire my next great act ;) of spring organizing...

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