Monday, January 31

Me = Missing in Action

Hi! I just wanted to post a quick update to say welcome to new followers (Yay!) and thanks for all the comments. I've been out of the loop this weekend doing non-crafty things, like:

Mountain Biking at Kualoa Ranch on the Windward Side of Oahu:
I am helping a friend of mine organize a race out there over July 4th weekend. If you are in Hawaii (or want to be) you should definitely come out. The race is called Freedom Fest and is a real treat because Kualoa Ranch (site of Jurassic Park, Pearl Harbor, Lost, etc.) is gorgeous and is also now closed to most hiking and mountain biking, unless you are part of a group. All in all an awesome Saturday, even though I thought I was going to die, hunky hubster flipped over his handlebars, and we rode through many many cow patties.

I thought I would catch up Sunday, but we got a last minute invite to the Pro Bowl:
So of course we headed out to see that. I can't claim any of these pictures - they all belong to friends of mine who take great pictures, but since mine aren't uploaded yet, I am borrowing.

So I am trying to decide if I want to tackle refinishing my antique Singer Sewing Machine this week, or make another pillow inspired by this super cute pillow from (Found through the Baby Green blog)

I am leaning towards my sewing machine because I have been putting it off for several YEARS!

Anyway, I just wanted to drop a quick note to say thank you all so much for the wonderful comments on my wedding dress pillow and I am catching up on responses today. :-)

Thanks so much!

Wednesday, January 26

LGO#3 Developing a Paperwork System

Do you ever feel like this:
Photo source:
Often, paperwork gets out of hand, because we don't have a system to conquer the mountain. Now that you've conquered junk mail (i.e. DON'T LET IT IN!), you are ready to move on to developing your paperwork system.

Now there are several steps to this process. It will get worse before it gets better. Sorry :-(

Photo source:

Step 1: Determine what needs to be filed and retained. I like to sit on the floor for this step, because it gives me the greatest surface area to spread out. I usually start with four piles - 1) To File, 2) Shred, 3) Throw out and 4) Recycle. Make sure you are shredding anything that has personal or sensative information on it, and invest in a good shredder. I prefer cross cut. Strip shredders don't really hide much. We actually shred anything that has our name on it. Period. May be overkill, but better safe than sorry. (On a side note, when I first started dating my husband, I had to draw the line at burying our shredded paperwork in the yard. We all have limits on crazy.)

Step 2: Once you have gone through your paperwork, and sorted out what needs to be filed, take stock of what you have. This step will help you determine what supplies you are going to need to implement your filing system. Notice that we haven't purchased any supplies yet. I'm a firm believer in the assess first then buy process. :-) Think about the goals of your system and what records you have. Getting out of debt? Maybe you need a separate file box just for bill retention. Have alot of medical issues? Separate box for medical records and bills. I happen to live in a rental that includes a flat utility fee with the rent, so I currently have no utility bills. So I recently revamped my file system to remove the utilities section.

Photo source:

Step 3: Determine what you will need to make your system work for YOU! I believe that paperwork falls into two categories: static and dynamic files. Static are things that don't really change, other than the occasional update (car and house titles, educational records and career achievements). Dynamic files are those that are frequently changing (incoming bills, good info to read, tax records). For my dynamic files, I like file boxes - like these Iris File Boxes from Target:

You may prefer a filing cabinet. Some people file in the flip top expandable file folders. I find those very difficult to use because I need three hands - one to hold open the lid, one to part the file dividers, and one to put my papers in. Ugh. On a side not, I try to not let my file boxes get too full, because it becomes difficult to file with two hands.

Inside my file boxes, I have hanging folders only. No manilla folders. I don't like manila folders because gravity tends to work against them and they slump down into whatever is holding them. Boo.

For static files on the other hand, I like to use three ring binders with sleeve protectors for documents inside. I have static folders for the following subjects: 1) investments, 2) auto ownership, repair and maintenance, 3) career catalog (more on this later), 4) home ownership, repair and maintenance. Three ring binders let me flip through documents almost like a book, which is nice when I need to find something.

Step 4: File system maintenance. Once you've established a system that works for you, the biggest challenge is keeping it up to date. In my delusional little world, I would file my paperwork every day. Never gonna happen. I basically pile it up until I get into a cleaning frenzy and then I file it all at once. But it works because I know that the paperwork I am looking for is either filed away nicely, or is in the pile waiting to be filed.

Some rules of thumb for file system maintenance:
1) Each file should never be more than about 1 inch thick. More than that, and it is time to either clear out old documents or create sub categories (each in their own hanging folder.)
2) No category should ever be called Miscellaneous. If you can't figure out what category it falls under, perhaps it isn't that important?
3) Stay away from paper clips. Paperclips are fair weather friends. The next thing you know, they've latched onto a new piece of paper and given something important the boot. Use staples (or clam clips) instead.

I leave you with the following inspirational picture from Apartment Therapy:
So lovely.

A few tips:
1) Keep it simple - when I first started filing my paperwork away, my system was too convoluted and I couldn't find anything. If I couldn't use it, I guarantee that my husband wasn't going to use it.
2) Make it fun - I like the boring plastic totes because they stack well and I can see things. But if you want some cute totes or you found and refurbished a great credenza (like Centsational Girl's Credenza: Practical Meets Pretty) - go for it! Trust me, if you think your system is boring and no fun, you will never use it.
3) Periodically clean out old files, otherwise your system will quickly get out of hand. I clean mine out once per year, based on some record retention rules (more on this later).

How about you? Any paperwork nightmares to share? Any great tips?
Have a great day :-)

Stay tuned for more Let's Get Organized!
LGO #4: Record retention - February 9, 2011**
LGO #5: Creating a career catalog - February 16, 2011**

**My life overwhelmed my ability to blog this week, so in an effort to spread good information, I am postponing LGO this week. Even though I love organization, I am disorganized at heart. (Maybe that's why I love organization)

Tuesday, January 25

Wedding Dress Pillow

I'm a sentimental girl. I cried when I gave my dollhouse to Goodwill. But I'm also a practical girl. I gave my dollhouse to Goodwill. Which means that I was unlikely to spend hundreds of dollars to preserve my wedding dress in a box for years to come.

So when my husband kept asking me what I wanted to do with my wedding dress, I had finally decided to give it to the Glass Slipper Project. But I kept dragging my feet. It's my wedding dress. Then I started touring around blog land (leading to me starting this blog), I started to get the bug to DO something with it. It's really more of an evening gown, and with a little bit of work, I could wear it out to a nice restaurant for a hot date night or something.

I stumbled across three important things:
1) RIT Dye's Up-Cycling Contest
2) Sherry @ Young House Love and her I Wanted to Dye post
3) Charlie @ Attempting Aloha and her Wedding Dress/Daddy Shirt turned Flower Pillows

And I learned, that it IS okay to cut up your wedding dress to make something you might use, and it IS okay to dye your wedding dress to make it into a dress that you can still wear. Love it!

So I put on my big girl britches, gathered up my supplies, teared up when I made that first cut, and went for it. Here's how:

Step 1: Since I am not a super seamstress, I hung a similar dress of desirable length over my wedding dress, and made a mark on my wedding dress (WD) 2 inches below the hem of the other dress. Then I measured up from the bottom of the (WD) hem, (19.5 inches) and made marks all the way around my skirt 19.5 inches from the hem.

Step 2: I forgot about the liner, but I wanted to cut that separately, so for the time being, I rolled it up and pinned it out of my way. Then I cut from mark to mark all the way around my skirt. {Sniff}

Step 3: I wanted my memory pillow to reflect our wedding colors ( Winter Wonderland - ice blue and silver). I also wanted to practice dye the material before dyeing the rest of my dress. So I decided to dye the material using Royal Blue from the RIT Liquid Dye Line. I used less than the ratio that was suggested on the bottle, because I wanted a lighter color - I used about 1/4 of the bottle for about 1 gallon of water. {Note: I don't know that my water was warm enough b/c I was worried about the fabric. Next time I will use hotter water.}

Step 4: Stir and soak and stir and soak. I dyed my fabric for about 30 minutes. Bottle said 30 - 60 minutes. I erred on the low side because I was impatient wanted a lighter fabric. And it looked dark in the dark pot...

Step 5: I wanted to batik the fabric using this technique at RIT. Unfortunately, my Internet was down, and I tried to wing it, but forgot some of the details. All I could remember was saran wrap and microwave. I definitely didn't nuke it long enough. I am going to have to try the technique again, because I LOVE BATIK. But alas not on this project.

Step 6: I made my own stencil: wrote up what I wanted on the pillow (est. 12.23.2008 - did anyone guess that is my wedding day?), printed it out, and covered the front only of the paper with contact paper. Mistake. I think that had I covered both sides, the stencil wouldn't have curled up as much as it did. Fortunately, I had pinned the stencil to the fabric, so it wasn't too bad. Surprisingly, I had read just the other day how to make a stencil, which warned against just that. I am trying to find that post, but I blog stalk read alot, so I will update ASAP. {I have started keeping an electronic Word document with where I find all these things, so that I can remember & reference later}Then I cut out the letters.

Step 7: I used Metallic Silver Acrylic Paint and the textile medium to make my fabric paint (directions are on the bottle - easy peasy). And then I stenciled away using a sponge.

Step 8: I decided that the ribbon I wanted to put on the pillow looked too washed out against the blue, so instead, I used material from my bridesmaid's shawls to create piping for around the pillow.
(I learned how to do this at Centsational Girl's post Simple Sew: Double Welt Cord) although I don't have a zipper foot. Well I might have a zipper foot, but I don't know what they look like. So I stopped by the store to buy one and learned that not too many places carry them. So I just mashed down my 'cording' which worked ok since I was using old sleeping bag ties. I also used the silver to create a heart. {Too much empty space, and what the heck was established?!? Love!}

and... Ta Da!

I love this because:
1) Wedding memories {sigh}
2) My hunky hubster helped make some of the decisions and also loves it :-) Since he helped and I love him, this is his Valentine's Day gift :-)
3) I'm now addicted to stencils and am already planning my next stencil.
4) The only thing new is the dye, thread and paint (material = wedding dress and bridesmaids, cord = old sleeping bag ties, pillow form = reused from pillow that had indestructible goo on it.)

How about you? Anything you've done with dye or your wedding dress, or {gasp} both?

Have a great day :-) Barbara

P.S. I'm taking my wedding dress pillow to:

and to:

Visit thecsiproject.comButton Redo

Go check them out and enter a project of your own!

Saturday, January 22

Refresh your Cutting Board - Green Living

Hey there! Turns out my hunky hubster reads my blog :-) He has suggested a weekly tip series. So here goes!

About two years ago, we were gifted a handmade butcher block style cutting board from a guy I worked with. It was gorgeous. Needless to say, it gets alot of use, and had started to look like this one on the right, but we wanted it to look like this one on the left: 

Wednesday, January 19

Lime, Avocado, Olive Oil, OH MY! (My favorite salad)

I never thought I would say that I like salad. I have never liked salad. But I was wandering around bloglandia, rather than working on my lunch break, and saw notice at All Things Thrifty about her upcoming All Things Delicious Party - Share Your Favorite Salad Recipe. Which got me to thinking. Do I like salad? Not usually. And by not usually, I mean not at all.

But then I remembered two salads that I had recently, that I went back for seconds... and thirds... oh my, they were good.

The first was just a simple, basic salad - romaine lettuce, chopped tomatoes, and chopped carrots.... and avocado!
(I didn't have any pictures for this blog so I borrowed the above from America's Feast Sustainable Food Blog - I stumbled across them by accident, but it looks like a great blog!)
Avocado, fresh, ripe avocado off a friend's tree. So yummy... Dressing made of a little bit of lime or lemon juice (to keep the avocado green). Fresh squeezed or out of the plastic lemon shaped bottle, either works, although fresh squeezed is best. Olive oil, fresh ground pepper and just a touch of salt. Unfortunately, I am a terrible recipe writer, and I basically just kept pulling little pieces of lettuce out until I thought it tasted irresistible. (Update: I remade this salad last night, and if you are going for presentation, toss the salad BEFORE you put the avocado in - especially if your avocado is super ripe. They tend to get a bit smooshed.)
The second was again very simple. Chopped romaine lettuce, sliced apples, chopped walnuts, and dried cranberries. The dressing had olive oil, pepper, ginger for a bit of zing and spice. My friend made this when we went over to help plan the race she hosts in July (Freedom Fest Hawaii), to butter us up :-)
So yummy. Both of them. I wouldn't say that I am a salad lover, but I loved those two salads. Man, I am so hungry.


I know - needs pictures :-( But trust me! Try the salads - they are delicious! And I will come back for pictures. Sorry - I spent the weekend volunteering at the HURT 100 - a 100 mile endurance race here in Hawaii. It was intense and I was only volunteering. If you want to get a taste of what it was like for runners, check out Frayed Laces!

LGO! #2 Conquering Junk Mail

Hello out there! I've been away for a few days, volunteering at the Paradise Park Aid Station for the HURT 100 - that is a 100 mile trail run ultra marathon through the hills outside of urban Honolulu. Take a look at Frayed Laces and you can get something of an idea of what the runners go through. Amazing!

Anyway, here is my second in the Let's Get Organized Series. Lots of people out there are attacking paperwork messes as the New Year starts. My belief on paperwork is that junk mail is at the heart of it. Think about it - how much mail comes into your home each day that has no real use for you? Even advertiesments from your bank or your credit card are JUNK!

Thursday, January 13

My love, my life, my Hoosier

My Hoosier. What can I say. Of all my inanimate objects, this is my all time favorite. And I am not normally one to play favorites, because I like all of my belongings to feel equally loved. But my Hoosier holds a special place in my heart.

Maybe it's because you're my first antique.
Maybe it's because I spent every spare minute stripping 7 layers of paint and crap off of you because somebody with a black hole for a heart left you out in the garage for years and years.
Maybe it's because those spare minutes we outside of school when I was studying 14 hours a day.

I don't even care. All I know is that you are by far my favorite. When we were moving out to Hawaii my hunky hubster asked me if I would rather lose him or the Hoosier on the move out. I told him not to be silly ~ the Hoosier was on a ship, and I didn't even know which one. We were on a plane. :-)

Are you wearing a wire? Wire bracelet tutorial.

So originally, I brought my patio door transformation to the We Did It Wednesday party. But then, I felt a little bit like a sham artist, since my patio door transformation is not a craft, so it isn't really in keeping with the theme of Sew Much Ado's party. :-( So last night, I decided to make this bracelet that I have been meaning to work on. I also found the House of Hepworth's party, so my bracelet and I are hitting the town. Come join us!

Wednesday, January 12

Let's Get Organized! Organizing with a partner

I love to organize. It's my passion. Even more so than home improvement, home decor, refinishing furniture. So I've decided to start a little series on my blog about Organizing. So every Wednesday will be Let's Get Organized day on Live, Laugh, Love, Recycle.

Organizing. It's my sickness. So imagine my surprise when I fell in love with someone who did not have OCD. My first date with hunky hubster, we stopped by his house to pick some thing up. He left me alone in a room that had no furniture. There were boxes yet to be unpacked (he had lived there almost 3 years) and piles of books. We climbed over other piles on the tour of the house. He showed me drywall that he had tried to "persuade" into place with his foot after he miscalculated a cut.

(right now there is a strangled gasp originating from somewhere in my throat)

Tuesday, January 11

My very first follower!


Today, I got my very first follower! Yay! Stop on by Charlie's site at Attempting Aloha and check out what she's doing!

We bonded over location (Yay! Hawaii!), new to blogging, and wedding dress projects (her Wedding Dress/Daddy Shirt turned Flower Pillows, mine wedding dress, batik dyed and turned into a pillow with our wedding date stenciled. Will link up once I've finished :-).

Anyway, I am SO EXCITED about my first follower, so after you've stopped by here, swing on over to Attempting Aloha and send Charlie a little love!

:-) Barbara

Now you see us, now you don't...

I originally posted this to We Did It Wednesday at Sew Much Ado. Even though it isn't technically a craft, I made myself a semi-private bedroom! :-)


But then, I felt like a sham, because the patio door transformation is not crafty in any way. So then I made a Wire Bracelet for We Did It Wednesday, and instead, am going to the Transformation Thursday party with my doors over at The Shabby Chic Cottage!

One of my 2011 Home Goals was to replace the nasty, broken dog hair and dust collector mini-blind that hangs on the inside of our front door with opaque window film. I'd used this stuff three times before - 1) the garage window, after our real estate agent told us to lose the saggy, too short curtain that was left up purely to block the view into the garage, 2) on the window panes at the top of our front door in our last apartment - the morning sun made our entry feel like you were standing on the surface of the sun, and 3) our bathroom window - 2nd floor window + apartment building across the way had people above (looking down) and people below (looking up) = no matter which way you spin the blinds, some one can see your goodies. Oh by the way, standing at the front door (#2) you could also see right through the window, up the stairs and into the bathroom (#3). In all three cases, we wanted privacy, without blocking out all the light. I accidentally stumbled across the frosted flim, and immediately fell in love.

Turns out, I am not the only one in love with a little privacy/blurring on the great glass doors. Sherry and John over at Young House Love covered their laundry room door in Frosty the Side Door, and Sarah at Thrifty Decor Chick covered her pantry door in clear contact paper in Before and After Party: A Private Pantry. I considered the contact paper, because I already have three rolls, but since the doors look right into our bedroom, I stuck with the frosted. Wait, what? Yes, the FRONT doors look right into our bedroom. One of these days, I will make up the floor plan, so it makes sense. Or at least sort of makes sense.

So here is the story:

Monday, January 10

Home Goals, here we go!

Hello! First of all, I am excited to note that someone has read parts of my blog other than me! I'd love to know who, and thanks to Donna over at Funky Junk Interiors I've learned and implemented some things to Make My Blog More Visitor Friendly. Basically, so far, I've removed comment verification. Still more to do, and she has alot of great tips for blogging, which I totally appreciate, since I am totally new to this. So definitely, leave a comment! I'd love to hear from you!

So on to my home goals - thanks to Centsational Girl's Home Goals for 2011 Post, I learned about Nester's Home Goals Party. My goodness, so many links. Anyhoo, I definitely wanted to participate, to 1) share my own goals for the fun of sharing and 2) share my own home goals for a little bit of accountability for actually getting stuff done. I'm new to blogging, but am finding that I get more of my projects done when I want to blog about them :-). So thanks!

Home goals, here goes:

Thursday, January 6

Better on the Hanger (My Sister's T-shirt part 2)

About two weeks ago, I decided to Up-cycle a T-shirt for my sister for Christmas. She is always hard to shop for, since we have totally different tastes in pretty much everything. So last night, I finally finished it. I had come up with a design while I was sitting at work in a 3 hour meeting one day, but of course, nothing ever goes according to plan, right?

Here is what I did:
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