Friday, 23 December 2011

Ahh...organized kitchen cupboards

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     Is it normal to feel like you're nesting again when you're getting ready to go back to work after being on mat leave? I remember just before  Mya was born I went nuts trying to get things organized, cleared out, put away and cleaned. My nesting instinct kicked in like crazy when I was pregnant. But now that I'm only weeks away from going back to teaching, I feel this incredible urge to get literally everything in place and organized once again. I don't know if it's the stress of jumping back into kindergarten half way through the school year, or the stress of leaving my baby at daycare (which isn't going too well, by the way). The ladies looking after her are wonderful, but she just cries and cries. I now know what a mothers broken heart feels like. But either way, I for some reason am in a panic to try to get a million things organized and ready before Jan 9th.   

     I love organization. I love everything about it. Especially when it goes from chaos to pure, perfect order. It just feels so good when everything has a place.  I wish that more of my house was organized, but what I've learned is that it's easier to just pick one space and start with that (otherwise it all seems far too overwhelming and you'll just end up staring at your chaos, grabbing a bag of chips and plopping down on the couch and doing nothing at all). So, I decided that my first priority was to pick the most chaotic spot in my house and start with that...I wish I had 'before' pics to show you how bad this cupboard was before I got my hands on it. Anyways, the point is that it was bad. And now it's beautiful!!! As Terry said (when he came home from work that day and found me finishing up this job..."Who on earth has cupboards that look like this? Really? I love you!"). I love how much he loves the crazy things that I do.

Anyways, here is how I did it:

1) I took literally everything out of this cupboard and organized it on my counter into piles (so all of the tea and coffee in one pile, all of the snacks in another, all of the canned goods in another, etc).

2) I then grabbed my measuring tape and measured the length and width of the cupboard to make sure that I bought the correct size containers for all of the food.

3) By looking at my various piles of food on the counter I determined (generally) what kind of containers I needed to buy and then headed to Dollarama. Yes, Dollarama...that's where I got ALL of these containers (minus the mason jars and mega huge pickle jar that my chocolate chips are now in that I already had in my basement).

4) After finding all that I needed in terms of containers, I started making my labels. I was so tempted to make pretty pink girly labels..but then thought of my poor hubby and decided that he probably wouldn't appreciate opening this cupboard every day to see more pink (having a girl baby means that your house really much explodes with pink I went with black, white and green instead). And yes, Terry really did appreciate it...he tells me every day).

5) To make my labels I just went into Word and typed out the different categories (snacks, sauces & seasonings, tea, pasta, etc). I then used my paper cutter and cut them out into rectangles, and backed them with green paper. For the big containers I decided they needed a little something more, so I used my Martha Stewart circle cutter and cut out my black and white designer paper into circles for each container. Then, the thing that holds them all together....PACKING TAPE. I love this stuff. Once the labels are all glued together and ready to go, take packing tape and place the tape completely over each label and push it down onto the container in order to keep it attached.

    (p.s. packing tape is also awesome if you need to laminate something small. If I was making these labels to hang off of these containers, which means that they have the possibility of getting ripped by little hands, I would have placed packing tape on each side--like a tape sandwich--and then cut off the excess tape on the sides of the label and voila..laminated!..kinda). Anyways, by using packing tape these labels won't get wrecked, which is awesome.

      Now, the real test once you've done something like this is whether you can KEEP it organized like this. And so far, we absolutely have. I also have a stellar husband who loves that I do things like this since he's an organized kinda guy to, so he doesn't ruin my hard work by putting the chips back in the coffee basket. Thanks Terry!

I put all of my baking supplies up top. I'd suggest using what containers you already have at home to save some money--like these Mason jars. But I also splurged and spent the big $2 each on these awesome long containers-that I laid flat since I don't have the height up on the top shelf- where I now put my brown sugar, icing sugar, etc. 

Look! My beloved cereal even has a home..I love looking at these containers every morning instead of boxes.

I made a point of buying all white containers, just to make it look like they all coordinated even though they were different types of containers.

So in total, I spent about $25 in buying these bins and organizing the whole cupboard. And to be honest, it's the best $25 I've spent in a long time. I love flinging this cupboard open every day and seeing such order. Now I just have to move onto the rest of my house. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Easy, Pretty and Cheap Christmas Ornaments

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      My sister Val and I were hanging out the other day and she told me that she was looking to make something easy and beautiful to give away as little Christmas gifts to some of the people in her life. With a tight budget in mind, we discovered an incredibly simple gift idea that costs literally (maybe) a few dollars at most. All you need is a Christmas ball (any colour and size you'd like), some glass beads-any colour you'd like (which I swear everyone probably has somewhere in their house..and if you don't, ask your mom or sister)--or buy some from Dollarama for a buck. You'll also need a gluegun and some ribbon and about 15mins total. 
    Here is how we did it:

1) Heat up your glue gun and starting at the top of your ornament, begin gluing the glass beads in a circular formation around the ball.

2) Keep gluing the beads side by side, all around the ball, all the way down the ornament. 

3) As you get to the bottom be careful that you don't end up with too much space (or not enough space to place your last couple of beads).

4) Cut, then tie a pretty ribbon through the top of the ornament and voila, you're done! Easy as pie, and SO pretty (especially when they catch the light and you can see them sparkle on your tree). 
Val and I made these ones with red balls and red beads  

I used a sparkly teal coloured ball for this particular one (so you can see the pretty teal colour peeking through the clear beads). So easy, so pretty!

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Christmas Wreath

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     So I've decided recently that I love making wreaths. They're so easy to make and they make such a huge impact in a room, on a door or wherever you decide to put them. With Christmas just around the corner, I decided I better get on my wreath making this year so I have at least a few weeks to enjoy it. This is the final product...and this is how it all started...

    My dad asked if I would come with him to Michaels craft store since he and my mom were on a mission to figure out how to take their little red berry wreath and somehow make it larger by adding garland or something crafty to it. Needless to say, I convinced him otherwise when we got there and saw a beautiful huge silver/garland wreath (that cost $345!!). But was on sale for only $145. What a deal. The problem was, I could have made it myself for a fraction of the price. So that's exactly what I did.
     We found a 34inch wide garland wreath base while there and it was $35..but on sale for 50% off...THEN they also let me use my Michaels coupon (amazing) this huge wreath base cost me only $10 plus tax. I love a good deal. I then headed over to Dollarama and bought a bunch of silver balls (various sizes), silver berries, silver and white ribbon, etc. I think I spent about $20 total there. My parents gave me full wreath control, so with Mya running up and down the aisles, pulling everything and anything off of the shelves, I bought what I liked and headed home.
     Here is how I made it:

1) I laid out my beautifully tacky table cloth (which I always use for crafting to protect my dining room table) and laid out all of my decorations infront of me. There were even more decorations than pictured least 30 silver balls, 2 spools of ribbon, 3 silver sparkly leaf thingy's (pictured here), 2 sticks of silver berries, 2 sticks of white berries (that I ended up cutting so that there were small bunches of white berries spread out around the wreath) and 3 little silver butterflies. 

2) Then you have to start fluffing up the garland..pull it all out so it's nice and full. I then put little metal hooks on each of the silver balls and started placing all of the largest decorations on the wreath (spacing them out appropriately around the wreath) and tucking the hooks around the garland so you couldn't see them. I also wove the silver leaves and berries in between the garland, spacing them out around the entire wreath.

3) Then you start placing all of the smaller decorations in between the larger ones so it's nice and full.

4) I made the bow using 2 spools of ribbon (one for the actual bow, and one for the strands hanging down). So ultimately it looks like one huge bow, but really it's two pieces attached together. In order to make the bow part, I just started making large loops and I stapled them together. I then stapled the actual bow to the garland so it wouldn't move. Then I just attached the second spool of ribbon to the garland under the bow and started making large loops (twisting them through the garland) draping them down the wreath.

5) I put the wreath up on the wall to finish placing the last of the decorations on it since you can always see where the holes or gaps are that way and you can add a ball or two wherever need be. And after cleaning up the sparkles for weeks to come, you're done! All for about $30 (instead of $345). You could even make a cheaper version by making your wreath smaller.

   So, after finishing my parents wreath, I decided I loved it so much that I wanted one for my own house. So I made one for us as well. Here it is hanging on my living room wall.
    Now I just have to figure out where to store this huge thing when Christmas is over!  


Friday, 2 December 2011

12 Random Acts of Kindness

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     Mya just turned one, and in order to celebrate her birthday we of course had a party...but I also decided that I wanted to start a wonderful birthday tradition for her from her first birthday on. In celebration of the 12 months that she has been alive we went out into the world together (with my hubby Terry too) and we did 12 random acts of kindness for others. And the intention is that every year to follow we will add one extra random act of kindess (so next year we'll do 13 acts). It'll be fun as she gets older since she'll actually be able to participate a bit more and in turn I hope that we can teach her to care for others and be kind to everyone. Here are the 12 random acts of kindness that we did together: 

1) left a treat with a thank you note for our mailman (and he even wrote us back to thank us!)

2) smiled at everyone who we passed on the street that day 

3) brought my mom and her nurse partner tea when they were on the night shift together at the hospital (you can never go wrong when bringing nurses Timmy's!) 

Oh..and I guess you could count 'bringing Nana joy by being able to show off her grandbaby to her nurse friends!' as an act as well!

4) we let someone go ahead of us in line at Walmart (even though he had a cart full of stuff and I only had a few items..and a cranky baby by this point!). The man was very appreciative though!

5) dropped off cookies to our neighbours, just because.

6) went through the Tim Horton's drivethru and ordered a large coffee for the car behind me. It took me about 3 tries to explain to the lady behind the microphone what I was trying to do though...she kept saying, "but what are you wanting to do? you really aren't getting anything for yourself?". She finally let me do it though, and I'm sure the lady behind me was thrilled when she pulled up to the window! 
7) called my grandma (who lives over an hour away) just to say hi. I know I really need to call more often, and she was so happy to hear from me.  

8) filled up a huge garbage bag full of clothes that I cleared from my closet and brought it to a charity shop.

9) told the cashier at the grocery store 'thank you' and let her know how much I appreciated her help bagging my groceries. I always think that cashiers don't get enough respect and kindness from customers...everyone's in a rush to get out of the grocery store and it's not always an easy job that they're doing. The cashier gave me a huge smile and said 'thank you for being so kind to me'. Gave me goosebumps. 

10) taped a bag of exact change to a pop machine so that someone could get a free drink that day. And funny enough, I watched so many people stop to take a look at it, but noone actually took it! I still wonder if or when someone actually got that free pop. 
Clearly Mya was REALLY excited about this one...she was a bit tuckered out from all the running around!

 11) went for a walk (when it just happened to be garbage day) and moved all of the empty garbage/recycling bins off of the sidewalk that were thrown by the garbage man (instead of just walking past them like I sometimes do). I'm sure mothers with strollers and people in wheelchairs will thank me! 

12) went out shopping for onesies for my sister who just had a baby and desperately needed more (and who obviously was exhausted and didn't want to leave the house if she didn't have to with my little nephew). 

I can't wait until Mya is older and she actually understands what we're doing with this little tradition. Even next year will be that much more fun since she'll be 2! 

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