Friday, February 27, 2015

Bathroom: Cleaning - The (Not-So Attractive) Essentials

Shh! No one wants to talk about the ugly things that occur in the bathroom, but we have to do it. Yes, we have to clean and plunger the toilet. And we do not all have a place to put the bowl brush and plunger where they are out of sight.

So, is there a way to store these items attractively out in the open? Yes, there is.

Toilet Brushes:

A German company, Redeker sells this toilet brush and holder.

Unfortunately, it is available only in Germany. Fortunately, the idea can be hacked.

This pitcher is available on Amazon:

Dibor, in the U. K., sells this attractive pitcher in two colors, blue and green. It is also dishwasher safe for sanitizing.

This attractive combination can be found at Target. The white color can fit in with most bathroom colors.
If looking to make a statement, consider one of these two holders from Remodelista.


Touch of Class sells these decorative plunger holders. When the plunger is returned to the holder, the attached lid hides the plunger from view.

If you decorate in a dog or cow motif, you might want to choose one of these two plungers with holders. They are removed from the holder simply by lifting the handle; the holder stays open until the pressure of the returning plunger shuts it again.

If the bathroom is rustic-themed, this planter from Wal-Mart makes an attractive holder. Since there is a drainage hole in the planter, use a coffee can lid or other plastic lid or container to cover the hole.
This last plunger holder by Yanko Design is pretty ingenious. When covered, place a spare roll of toilet tissue over the plunger handle and into the bowl. Now, it looks like a fancy holder instead of a plunger, especially if a shorter plunger is used.



Thursday, February 26, 2015

Organizing Your Planner Supplies, Part 3 - Stickers

In Part 1 of this series, I showed you some of the ways people have organized their pens. Part 2 covered Washi storage. Today’s blog is about organizing stickers. Once again, I will be referencing one particular Pinterest board - Planner- Organizing Your Supplies"   

This sticker notebook is from Creative Memories. I own one like this, and I like that there are different sticker sheet protectors. They are very sturdy and come with flaps to hold the pockets closed.
This is such a great sticker storage idea. Put cardstock in sheet protectors to keep them stiff. Add sticker sheets on either side of the cardstock. Add circular ring clips to create a flip-book. Thread the rings over a paper towel holder, and now you are all set.

DIY Sticker Spinner
This sticker binder is very customizable. Extra three-ring binder strips are available to add needed storage. One would need to consider where the binder would be stored.

This person has a file drawer filled with sticker sheets.

Source: Paper Lust
If one does not have a file drawer available, a bin with vertical dividers can be used to store sticker sheets.

 This is a good way to store small sticker sheets.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens
If you wants to have stickers for decorating your planner handy, this could be a good option.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens
I think this is the pièce de résistance of sticker storage. How does a whole wall of stickers sound? The second picture is a close-up of the left-hand side of the wall.

Source: Craft Storage Ideas

How do you store your stickers? Please comment below.



Wednesday, February 25, 2015

My Name is Amelia and I Have SABLE

I have a serious problem. I have SABLE. I do not think it is contagious, but maybe you can relate. I have to take you back to how it all started....

I was a precocious preschooler who was always watching what my grandmother was doing. And asking questions. Lots of questions. (If you have not realized it already, I was (ahem!) a chatterbox.) So Gram decided she needed to find something to keep my attention. In a very short time, she taught me how to knit, then crochet, then how to play Pinochle. Maybe I will talk about Pinochle later, but the yarn is the topic today.

Crocheting takes yarn. Since I never know what I will be in the mood to create next, I need to have yarn options. (That is my story, and I am sticking with it.) 

I do have some yarn matched with projects to be made, or in the process of being made. But that is another problem, too. Seriously.

I wish I could say this is all my yarn, but it is not even all the yarn on the shelves in the pictures. 

The shelves divide my kitchen from my living room, plus the yarn buffers the sound of the washer/dryer behind it. When I walk in my front door, my yarn wall is right in front of me, and I cannot help but smile. 

I think it is time to start finishing the projects I have already started. I will keep you posted. 



Sunday, February 22, 2015

Kitchen/Pantry Organization - Inside the Refrigerator

How is your refrigerator organized? A better question might be: Is your refrigerator organized? Some refrigerators are almost empty, which makes it very easy to see what is inside; some are so crowded, food gets lost behind other foods, bottles, jars, etc., and is not found until it has already gone bad. 

Source: Might want to remain anonymous, but it is not mine.

Just like I wrote about in a post about kitchen organizationhaving zones is significant in the refrigerator also.

  • Fresh produce should be in the crisper drawers provided for them; this is especially significant if your drawers’ humidity levels can be set for vegetables and fruit. 
  • The deli meats and cheese should be kept in the drawer designed for that purpose, too.
  • While the butter holder is in the door, other dairy should not be stored there. The door is exposed to the warmth of the kitchen when it is opened. For this reason, it is better to keep non-dairy items, like soft drinks, water, and condiments, there. 
Source: The Container Store
  • Many models have an egg holder on the door, but they should be stored in the interior to keep them cold.
  • When leftovers are covered, it is sometimes difficult to know what is inside a plastic container. Be sure to label them with the contents and the date. Try to use leftovers up within three days; freeze them if it will be longer.
  • For a chart of refrigeration times, visit
Remember that heat rises, even in a refrigerator, so the items that you want to keep the coldest, like milk, should be on a low shelf. The placement may also be dependent on ease of use. I have a bad back, so bending over to pick up a heavy milk carton is not ideal for me. When I needed a new refrigerator, I purchased a freezer-on-the-bottom model making it easy for me to keep milk on the bottom shelf. 

  • The freezer compartment of older refrigerators need to be defrosted periodically. They work more efficiently if they are full of food, not frost that can cause freezer burn.
  • Newer refrigerator-freezers are frost-free, so build up is not an issue. However, the very thing that keeps the frost away sucks moisture from the food inside. For this reason, all foods that are uncovered lose moisture and cause the mechanism to work hard. Therefore, keeping contents covered is vital.
  • In the freezer, keeping like items together makes it easier to inventory the contents before a shopping trip. 
  • If possible, store vegetables in a pull-out bin to keep them all together; the same goes with fruits. 
  • Date freezer contents with a “use by” date. The chart below is from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).



Friday, February 20, 2015

Linen Closet Organization - Seasonal Bedding

Winter is almost over. Maybe it is wishful thinking on my part, but I want to believe the deep freeze of the Northeastern part of the US will start thawing out. Soon. Please. I really, really, really hate winter.

But I digress…. Winter is almost over. It will soon be time to put away the flannel sheets and down comforters, and bring out the cotton sheets and bedspreads instead. The problem with both flannels and down is that they take up more space than cotton and bedspreads. Oh, and quilts. We cannot forget the cozy quilts that keep us warm all winter.
Now is a good time to take the summer bedding out from storage and air them out. A good air fluff in the dryer works if you do not have a clothesline. Or, if you are like me and do not like the way line dried clothes smell. (No judgment; I know I am not the only one who prefers soft sheets and towels from the dryer to the stiff feel of line-dried clothes.)
When it is time to take the bedding off until next fall rolls around, it is very important that the bedding get washed or dry cleaned according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If you dry clean, remove from the dry cleaning bag and let bedding air for a day or two before storing.

Many people have limited space in their linen closet for the fluffy down that kept us warm all winter. I have used the large zipper bags with the air sucked out by a vacuum cleaner. The picture below shows the size difference.
The only issue I have encountered is that the suctioned bag becomes very stiff. My recommendation is to have the stiffened bag be the bottom layer on the top shelf of the linen closet, or stack all the bags together. I recommend storing one bed’s linens together – comforter and sheets – so there is no hunting for the sets come fall.  

Since the bags become so flat, they can also be stored under beds or dressers with a gap between the bottom and the floor. Under-bed storage containers is another option for seasonal bedding. This is a particularly good option if you do not have a linen closet.

For now, though, I guess I will just have to crawl in between the flannel sheets to get warm.*


*This is not my bedroom, but a girl can dream.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Organizing Your Planner Supplies, Part 2 - Washi

In Part 1 of this series, I showed you some of the ways bloggers and other folks have organized their pens. This week’s post is about organizing Washi and other tapes. Once again, I will be referencing one particular Pinterest board - “Planner- Organizing Your Supplies"   

What is Washi? “Washi is generally tougher than ordinary paper made from wood pulp, and is used in many traditional arts. Origami, Shodo, and Ukiyo-e were all produced using washi. Washi was also used to make various everyday goods like clothes, household goods, and toys as well as vestments and ritual objects for Shinto priests and statues of Buddha. It was even used to make wreaths that were given to winners in the1998 Winter Paralympics. Several kinds of washi, referred to collectively as Japanese tissue, are used in the conservation and mending of books.” 

The problem with Washi is that it is addictive. You cannot have just one roll. Or two, or three, either. Then the issue becomes storing it. Previously posted at, an inactive site, this person is a true addict:

This planner decorator stores Washi in plastic divider containers on the top shelf of an IKEA RÅSKOG Utility cart..

Blogger Jen, from iHeart Organizing, stores her Washi in a divider inside her desk drawer for easy access.

Virginia, of Fynes Designs, bought a video store rack for $10 and converted it into a ribbon storage rack. Her husband added rods to the top for even more storage. I know this one is for ribbon spools, but it could just as easily be used for Washi spools.

My Washi is in plastic storage boxes I bought on clearance ($2.50 each) at Wal-Mart. How do you store your Washi?



P. S. I was asked what my Washi is stored in. It is in containers similar to these.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Crochet - Breezy Mesh Jacket

I crochet. I have big dreams of knitting like my mother and grandmother did. They could make sweaters and gloves. Not mittens, mind you, but gloves with five fingers on each one. And, the two gloves matched each other. I know how to knit, but I can really only to the basics - knit and purl; beyond that, not so much. own stitch holders for knitting cables, but that is because I inherited them. 

They are like the teeny steel crochet hooks I received from my grandmother. They are used in making doilies, intricate window curtains, and beautiful bed coverlets. I have a few patterns for them, but I am not sure my eyesight is good enough to do such fine work. 
The hooks on the left are steel hooks meant for thread. The aluminum ones on the right are designed for use with yarn. See how tiny the tips of the left-hand ones are?

Because I do not knit well, I have never made a sweater before. I have wanted to, though, so I was very excited to find a pattern for a crocheted jacket that uses a hook that, while small, is used for yarn. I have made some things using intricate patterns, so I think it is time to try making something outside my comfort zone.

It is a perfect weight for late spring and summer. The pattern calls for a light worsted-weight cotton yarn. It also has a collar with lapels. The tight weave under the bust is an attractive detail and draws focus away from the hip area - something that is good for a pear-shaped body like mine. I would like to think it could be ready for this summer, but that is not realistic with my other projects. Hopefully, next year.  

This pattern is copyrighted, so I cannot share it with you. It was published in CROCHET! Magazine May 2010, Vol. 23, No. 3 issue. If you would like the pattern, visit . Look for Breezy Mesh Jacket by Darla Sims.

What about you? Do you knit, crochet, or both? What do you like to make? Please post a comment below.



Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Toy Storage - Ages 5 and Up

Did it make you look? Are you saying to yourself, “She seems so normal. Is this going to be 50 Shades of Grey?”

Actually, the toys I am talking about are children’s age five and above. Now we’re talking Legos, K’Nex, marbles, smaller dinosaurs, Barbie shoes…. If you have ever stepped on a Lego block or Lincoln Log with bare feet, you will know that these small pieces need to be kept picked up. Motivating your kids to do it is another story, and one that I will not be covering.

Many of the same suggestions from the under 5 crowd can be kept with the age five and up group. The white chain with the Boomerings® can still be used to hang stuffed animals. However you might want to change out the Boomerings® for carabineers as the child gets older for a more mature look. A toy hammock is another way to add storage in higher places.

Source: ebay

A bookcase or cabinet can hold games with their small pieces, puzzles, and covered shoebox-like or fabric bins to hold sets of Legos or other construction toys. Using the shoebox-like containers is particularly good, because they have snap on lids. Kids can take the containers off the shelves without worrying about spilling if they lose their grip.
Source: DealsRebates

I highly recommend putting labels on the containers to make it easy for your children to find the toys they are looking for. If the children are pre-readers, put pictures of the toys on the labels. 

I have included some pre-printed and blank label sheets for you to use. These labels use Avery 5395 or similar name badges. 

Toy Labels 1
Toy Labels 2
Toy Labels 3