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February 27, 2008

secret spice rub recipe shared

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Remember this cute holiday spice rub that I posted about over the holidays? Well, Karen at the family style food blog has shared the secret recipe. So go check out Karen's blog for that spicy rub and other food fun like more great recipes and yummy pictures. Enjoy!

February 26, 2008

stop unwanted junk mail!

I'm working on my newsletter today, which is all about green organizing, simple ways to go green and be more organized in the process. One huge source of clutter and environmental waste is junk mail. According to the website www.proquo.com, Americans receive more than four million tons of junk mail a year! As an organizer, I have to wonder how much of that junk mail is still piled high on the counters of America, wreaking unrest and overwhelm in the hearts of homeowners everywhere.

The formula here is simple: less paperwork coming into our homes, means less paperwork to deal with and organize. Plus, you’ll help reduce the million tons of junk mail landing in mailboxes, and ultimately landfills, each and every year.

But how to do it? There are services available such as www.greendimes.com which charge a fee to have your name removed from mailing lists. I also recently learned of a new website www.proquo.com that is a free service designed to reduce unwanted direct mail by removing your name from mailing lists. In some instances they take care of it for you (with a simple click of a button) and in other cases, they make the process super simple by giving you a pdf to print, fill out and mail in to remove yourself from the list.

I haven’t tried and tested one of these services yet. I just signed up for an account on www.proquo.com this week and found the process to be super simple. At this early stage, I can’t vouch for the effectiveness of the process. But, with over 100 million trees being used for junk mail every year in the U.S. alone, I wanted to include this topic in my newsletter about green organizing.

So...I need your help. If you have participated in a service to remove your name from marketing mailing lists, please tell me about it here in the comments section. I’ll summarize your findings, the findings of others, and report on my own experience with www.proquo.com in a future newsletter or blog post. Thanks so much! I think this is an important issue on two fronts...so I really appreciate your help!

By the way...if you'd like to learn about more green organizing ideas, sign up for my newsletter here. I'll be sending it out soon!

February 24, 2008

Sterlite bin update!

I have good news on the Sterlite bin front. Jenn, who works at Wal Mart, emailed me and said that in her area of the world (Utah) the bins are in stock and are "replenishable" which means not discontinued. Yippee-hooray! It is a happy day!

Go forth and organize calmly and rationally...without following my lead on the bin over-indulgence. It was a moment of pure craziness...but I'm sure I'll put them to good use in a client's home very, very soon. So no worries. I'm not buried in bins for long.

And yes, I'm seriously happy about this news...I'd even do a cartwheel if I still could. (But believe you me (as my dear Mom would say) not a soul would be present for that sight. Whew. That's a guarantee.)

Thank you, Jenn! You've made my day, week and possibly month! I seriously love you people who hang out here on this blog with me. All your reports of where you've seen the bins...you guys are great! Thank you! :)

OK...so what organizing rumor should I spread next...? Just kidding. I was seriously convinced they were gone forever. :)

February 22, 2008

organize your recipes!

I don't know about where you live...but here it's snowy and cold, making it the perfect weather for an indoor organizing project...like recipes!

Recipebinder
(photo: Rick Hornick courtesy of Organize magazine.)

This fun recipe binder is featured in the Creative Organizing column (written by me-how fun is that?) in the March / April issue of Organize magazine. I just got my copy in the mail today and the magazine looks fabulous! It has a fresh, new design and is loaded with great ideas. I can't wait to devour mine this weekend.

So...now you have a fun little organizing project ahead of you. Recipe organization is a good thing. If your recipes are in a jumble right now, you'll seriously love this project. Just head out, pick up a copy of Organize and create your own recipe binder this weekend. Sound like a plan?

OK...here's where you can get a copy of the magazine: Barnes and Noble, Borders, some Targets, various grocery stores, and Meijer. Keep in mind availability varies around the country. So if you can't find it locally, first, make a big stink and request your favorite retailer start carrying it, and then head to the Organize magazine website and subscribe. (Which I realize means you'll have to find something else to do with your time this weekend...but at least you'll be covered in future months, right?)

Have a great weekend!

February 21, 2008

using baskets to organize

Ah! There's an idea. A blog post about organizing. ;)

I have always had a thing for baskets. It goes back to my childhood. Which might be a bit odd or an indication that destiny finally caught up with me.

Anyway. During my recent organizational tweak of my scrap space, I wanted to find some new storage for my chipboard. And, since I'm a fan of baskets...I thought I'd give baskets a whirl.

Now, here's a question for you. Which basket do you think I went with? The one that would maximize storage space? Or the cuter one with the fabric liner?

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If you guessed the cuter one with the fabric liner, you are oh-so right. But, why not make it cuter, I thought? And so, with a little dab of fabric glue, some rick-rack and about five minutes of effort—voila! cute basket even cuter.

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So now I have a row of baskets, and a row of colorful metal buckets at the far end of my work island.

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And...because someone will want to know if I don't mention it...here's the low down on where the stuff came from:

  • Baskets, Rick Rack (Wright's, Jumbo in black), and fabric glue (Aleene's "OK To Wash-It) all came from Wal-Mart.
  • Buckets were from Target...two springs ago.
  • Work island from Pier One.

And while we're speaking of Wal-Mart and organizing containers, remember the scare about the white Sterlite bins? Well, I went to Wal-Mart to see if they still had them...and they did. In a fit of organizer-gone-mad...I bought just about every single bin they had in stock. For two reasons. 1) I'm suspicious that they're being discontinued, so 2) I figured the best way to find out if they are actually being discontinued was to buy them all up and see if the stock gets replenished. (This strategy has the added bonus of me having possession of every white Sterlite bin in town, plus, it made Collin laugh, which was kind of fun to see.) But...I haven't been back to Wal-Mart yet to see if more magically appeared or not. I'll keep you posted. Although honestly I'm a bit nervous to find out. What if they don't? What if they're gone...forever...? Have you happened to see my beloved bins out in the world lately?

I wonder where this will go...

I have absolutely no idea what to blog about today. I just know that I haven't blogged for a week (a whole week!) and it's time to say something. Anything. So we'll see what sort of random things flow out of my head and fingertips...

Here's something. The mid-week cleaning thing makes me happy. Really. Happy. Last night I even had a speaking engagement (local...so it wasn't a huge time investment) and I did a bit of cleaning before I went and then finished up after wards. I can tell I'm committed to this new routine...if I work that hard to fit it in even in the midst of other obligations. Yes. It makes me that happy to wake up to a clean house on Thursday mornings.

In other news. No bowls have suffered an untimely death this week. I am, however, guilt ridden by the fact that the infamous bowl was tossed into the trash can immediately after the photo was taken...before all of the praises about it's beauty and how it could be used as a decorative bowl. Great ideas. I should have blogged about the bowl before relegating it to the trash can. But I did fail to mention the smell of that burnt up bowl. It was pretty awful...so maybe I can fall back on that as an excuse for my lack of vision and hasty tossing.

What else....?

Hmmmm...?

I haven't been to Target this week...so no Target reports.

Hmmmm...?

How about a weather update? It's wintry-mixing here right now. And if that's not news, I don't know what is...

OK. More later.

February 14, 2008

{love}

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Love is in the air! Valentine's Day is one of the more redeeming parts of winter...an excuse to express love...just because. Above is a peek at my kiddos Valentine's. I can't wait until they get home from school and see their little treats.

Tucked inside are some Hershey's Kisses, a little bit of money rolled in some scrapbook paper and tied with ribbon, and a hand-made Valentine. When all is said and done...that last part, the hand-made card, is the most important part:  taking a few minutes to let these little people know how much they make my world go round.

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Since I bet someone will ask...the mini mail boxes are from (you guessed it) Target. The letter stickers are from American Crafts, and the chipboard hearts are from Heidi Swapp. (And I have no idea why that kiss says "cheer up." I clearly didn't pick up the Valentine's kisses.)

I hope you and yours have a wonderful Valentine's Day! Are you doing anything special? I'd love to hear how you celebrate this fun day of love.

February 12, 2008

have you ever wondered...

what would happen if you put a non-microwave safe bowl in the microwave to cook a single potato?

Wonder no more:

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This once again demonstrates the dangers of multi-tasking in the kitchen. No ceramic bowl is safe if I try to simultaneously 1) cut things with a sharp knife, 2) carry on a conversation with my daughter, and 3) select appropriate dishes for microwave cooking.

If you're a ceramic bowl, consider yourself warned. If you're a successful kitchen multi-tasker, can you please share your secret(s)?

February 07, 2008

the mid-week household tune-up and other random stuff

The last two weeks I've tried something new...a mid-week tune-up for my home. Last week it happened on Wednesday evening (which I prefer) but this week it was tonight.

So what's a household tune-up entail? Well, my version of the household tune-up is cleaning and laundry. I know (woohoo!) what a thrill, right? Honestly though, yes. Truly a thrill. It felt so good last Thursday morning to start the day all caught-up with the household stuff.

Laundry? Done.

Cleaning? Done.

Happy day? Indeed.

The best part of all?  The weekend hadn't even started yet.

I've always done a load or two of laundry during the week, with my main laundry days (where I get all caught up) on Saturday and/or Sunday. Getting caught up on laundry mid-week was something new.

The result? A big, mid-week check mark on the household to-do list and even better, less laundry to-do on the weekend. Plus, by getting laundry *done* twice a week I get that "ooh-ah-I-am-caught-up-and-lovin'-life" feeling twice a week. And if that's not good enough...there's the whole concept of no *cleaning* during the weekend. This has some serious benefits like more time to scrapbook! Or hangout with the kiddos! Or hang out with Jay!

Why-oh-why did it take me so long to figure this out? (And how lucky am I to have friends like you that I can share this with? Because seriously...it feels life changing.)

So how about you? Any life-changing household revelations you'd like to share? You know it would make me giddy to hear them... :)

Oh...and before you go, two more quick things. The first is perhaps even more life changing for you, if you're in the market for Crop-in-Style cubes. Tobey shared this today:

Oriental Trading [updated] is having a no shipping charges/ big sale event til the 18th of this month. I found Crop n Style cubes for filing paper and all the accessories--drawers, shelves, doors etc at great prices. They even have a desktop to use with them. Just thought you all might like to know.

Thank you for sharing, Tobey. I bet this news will make someone oh-so happy.

And, that second thing, if you're looking for a good book to read this weekend, I highly recommend Happy for No Reason: 7 Steps to Being Happy from the Inside Out by Marci Shimoff. I read it last week / weekend and loved it! I had a really hard time putting it down and can't wait to put the concepts into practice. Because really, who doesn't want to be happy for no reason, right? So if you're looking for a good (and happy) read, there you go!

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OK...off to watch Peter Walsh on Oprah with Jay (who recorded it earlier) and fold that last load of laundry! Have a good night. :)

February 01, 2008

blog-jam part 2

So...I ended that last post rather abruptly. Typepad was freaking out on me. It wouldn't let me go to the end of my last sentence in my post. The down arrow didn't work. The right arrow didn't work...well it worked in it's own special way, continually wrapping me back around to the second-to-last sentence in the post. Has that ever happened to you? I hope not, because let me just say, it wasn't so much fun.

OK...here are more questions and answers.

question: I see that you use the white and gray bins for most of your projects. Can you share with us where you get them?

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answer: Indeed. These are my very favorite bins. I get them at Target and Wal-Mart...although I have on a recent trip to Target they were on clearance. Normally the clearance sticker makes me giddy...but this time it filled me with horror at the thought that they might be discontinuing such a staple in my organizing arsenal. I'll keep you posted on this potential crisis.

question: Can you tell me where you found the metal letters.

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This may not surprise you...I got them at Target, last year, as a set.

question: I'm interested in knowing about your just-right lighting. I know when I'm working in my home office after dark the overhead light is too harsh (even though it's on a rheostat) but the floor lamp doesn't seem to be enough. Maybe a floor lamp + a desk lamp is what I need. Or maybe I just need a glass of wine...

answer: In my office I have three different lights. A floor lamp, an overhead light and a table lamp that I use as a desk lamp. The combination of the floor lamp (which has a two-way bulb) and the desk lamp are great for at-night computer work. The floor lamp also helps to make it just a notch brighter when I have the overhead light on (usually for scrapbooking). I agree...I'm not a fan of just overhead lights at night...too bright unless all that brightness is needed. For computer work, I prefer the lower lighting. Oh, and don't forget the candle light. It helps make for "just-right lighting," too.

question: Aby, Next to your Crop-n-Style drawers you have trays that you have covered with paper. What size are those trays and where did you get them?

answer: It's the Ian Serving Tray by Creative Imaginations. The inside is just under 12 x 12---meaning 12 x 12 paper will fit in there just not perfectly flat...which could potentially be bothersome.

question: Where is your desk and bookcase featured on the cover of your book from?

answer: The black work table is from Pier One and the book cases / cubes are from IKEA.

The white desk top (shown below) is from Pottery Barn, although I bought file cabinets from an office supply store and painted them white. (Wouldn't necessarily recommend this approach. Lots of work to save a bit of money...more work than the effort, in my opinion.) The desk top, however, was well worth the investment. Love the shape. It's very, very functional.

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question: I'd love to know how you organize your photos, disks, etc. Do you make index prints of all of your picts? How about back up?

answer: I organize my digital prints by date and then subject. So the folder name is, for example, "2007-12-25 Christmas." This allows me to easily scan for topics that I'm looking for and then view photo thumbnails on the computer. I don't make index prints of my pictures. And, luckily for me, back-up is handled by my dear hubby, Jay. Since going digital, I print photos when I use them for scrapbooking...not ahead of time (one less thing to organize and store which frees up space for supplies!) This is another reason getting the printer late last year was such a big help for scrapbooking. My printed photos, (yet to be scrapbooked) from before going digital, are also sorted chronologically in photo boxes. 

Whew! I am officially caught up on blog q&a! I'm going to go relish in this significant accomplishment. :)

Have a great weekend.

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