Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Easter Eggs

I have found a wonderful selection of Easter egg projects. I am going to try a few of them with my family this weekend and I am excited to see how they will turn out. I have never made Easter eggs so it is a new experience for me. My son and I started emptying some eggs today and I think we will probably spend much of tomorrow evening making our eggs.

I found this really cute bird's nest with eggs and I am going to use it in an Easter display. I love finding little crafty things like this, that I can use for projects.

What is your favourite way to decorate Easter eggs?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Home Organization Challenge: The Basement Part 2

The basement can seem like a dark dungeon, but they do not have to be so bad. My basement was used as a gym, storage and my father-in-law's carpentry workshop. Not much was done to the space with the exception of one room, that my husband used to practice music in as a teenager.

In the past four years, my husband and I have chipped away at small projects in the basement, mostly focused around creating a sound production and music-recording studio. We have sound proofed a couple of the walls, did some dry walling, closed off the staircase on one side and created an isolation booth. We have done a few other projects, and have rearranged things a countless number of times.

The basement has two small west facing windows, which means we do not get much natural light. We are lucky that it is nice and dry and has great air circulation. We have future plans to remodel the basement and transform it from semi-finished to finish. However, until the remodelling becomes a reality, I am trying to work with what is there and to get the most out of the space.

I continued where I had left off in Basement Part 1 and spent most of the week organizing the rest of the space. I am very happy with the results, but there is still more that can be done to improve things. I am happy to have things a lot less cluttered and I look forward to making it homier. As I have mentioned before the basement is currently home to a craft studio, family area, recording studio, gym, and utility room. Yes! A lot has been packed into the space and making it work the way my family and I will like it to has meant getting everyone involved in the process. I am happy to have it organized so that my family and I can fully enjoy the space.

This week we are into week eleven of our twelve weeks Home Organization Challenge. The focus this week is on the dining room. My dining area is fairly small and is part of my kitchen (eat-in kitchen). I left this space towards the end of the challenge, because it has been one of the main areas that I have been using to sort items and deal with the spillover items. My family and I are looking forward to reclaiming the space and having a proper sit down meal again. Just in time for Easter!

Week 11 - Dining Room

To Do List:
  • Clear out the space and sort items into four categories; keep, donate, trash and other room
  • Wipe walls and baseboards
  • Clean table, chairs and other furnishings
  • Clean or wash blinds or draperies
  • Clean doors, door knobs and windows
  • Clean floors
  • Clean light fixtures
Happy Organizing!

This post will be updated with images during the week.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Recycled Glass Bottle Vase

In the past I have done bridal consulting and coordinating services. Although I really loved helping couples with their weddings, I don't want to do full wedding planning as I have done in the past. I will be adding a select number of bridal services to Crafted Spaces over the next couple months and I will be approaching things differently than I did before. I look forward to seeing how these new services will evolve.

When I was considering making this addition to my services, the idea of doing an ongoing post on DIY Weddings seemed like a natural compliment. I have been giving much thought to the types of projects I will like to share and I already have a folder full of pending projects as well as Pinterest boards dedicated to weddings and do-it-yourself weddings. There is also a very lonely little post on how to make a ring pillow, which will soon have other accompanying post.

To get the ball rolling, here are the instructions on how I created this recycled glass bottle vase from a "Perrier" water bottle.

Glass Bottle
Jute Twine
Hot Glue Gun
Glue Sticks

1. Gather your supplies.

2. Wash your bottle. Depending on how stubborn the glue is on the bottle you choose, you may want to soak it as needed. If this only results in the paper coming off with a gluey mess left behind, you can also try any combination of cooking oil, dish soap, hot water and a knife or razor blade scraper. Dry your glass bottle once you have it clean.

3. Place a small bead of glue on the end of your twine and start working from the bottom of the bottle towards the top.

4. Place a little line of glue and lay the twine on top of the glue. Continue working your way around the bottle. With the following row of twine, glue close to the previous row, to avoid too much spacing between rows. Work with a small amount of glue at a time and in a small section at a time.

4. Work the rows of twine to about 1/3 of the bottle - I did mine at 3 inches on a 10 inch bottle. You can cover more or less of your bottle if you desire.

5. Finish your last row with a small bead of glue on the twine and then press against the glass. You may need to clean up any stray threads of glue or beads of glue.

6. Repeat the process at the top of the bottle a couple inches down and working toward the opening. I glued my bottle top with 2 inches of twine.

7. Add water and arrange your flowers.

I love this project, because it is fun and simple to make. You can do a vase that sits beautifully on a guest sign-in table or make a collection of them to use as table centrepieces. You do not have to make all the same, you can play with different shape bottles and a combination of patterns with the twine. Another great idea is perhaps dying or painting the twine to match the colour of your wedding. This can be a great activity that you can get your entire bridal party involved in doing. Everyone can collect bottles and you can turn the event into a wedding crafting party.

I would have loved to use fresh blossoms for this project, but unfortunately nothing in my garden is in bloom just yet and most of what I see around me is still covered in snow. I have a few flower shops in Toronto that I love getting fresh flowers from, so next time I will have to feature something with some fresh blooms.

I hope that this project inspires you. I think that this vase will add a creative touch and is a great way to recycle bottles. What do you think of the new vase? Do you have any similar projects that you have done?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Sharpie Embellished Dish DIY

I saw some very cool Sharpie permanent marker embellished projects on the Internet and I wanted to try one myself. Most of the projects I found used black or metallic markers, so I was not sure how it would look using coloured markers. I got some instructions from a few blog posts, namely the ladies over at A Beautiful Mess and by Stephanie Lynn.

I got this really cute dish from the dollar store and was inspired by a stunning tea set that I found online. I washed and dried my dish and then drew my design freehand. I was able to get the colours to blend nicely in some areas, and to get the colour as vivid as possible I made several strokes with the markers. I used a combination of fine and ultra fine tip markers.

I baked the dish in the oven for 30 minutes at 425 degrees. I saw different temperatures for similar projects and I decided to go with the highest temperature to be on the safe side. I also preheated the oven before placing the dish on a baking tray and I left my dish in the oven to cool before taking it out.

After baking my project in the oven, I found that the colour was more muted than the original colours, so I think next time I will try using a brighter colour combination and see what the results are like. I hand washed my project after reading one of the blog post I found that suggested to do so versus using the dishwasher. I have also posted a few of the projects I found on my Crafty Ideas Pinterest board and I hope it gives you a few ideas on what you can do. Perhaps you can try it out and let me know how it works for you.


Monday, March 18, 2013

Home Organization Challenge: Closets

Over the past nine weeks I have been creating a pinterest board with organization and storage solutions. I have also created a board with cleaning tips and tricks. So when it came time to organize the closets the wonderful resources I collected came in very handy.

Linen Closet
My linen closet had been neglected for way too long. There was a time when it was organized, but lately it has been begging for help. Initially I think the problem was trying to fit too much into a very tiny space. Some items just had to go and weeding through which pieces of linen I wanted to keep took a bit of time. Several weeks ago I started separating the linen into three categories, master bedroom, kids' room and guest.

I like reserving a few pieces for guest and I have a trunk with extra blankets to accommodate sleepovers and to make comfy floor beds. I also created a small collection of hand-me-down sheets that have some sentimental value. Another consideration was how to store the handmade quilts and knitted and crocheted throws that my husband and I have received over the years from my grandmother and his great aunt. For these wonderful treasures, I found that the large bags that came with our comforters and duvet sets were very handy.

I do not have any space in my kitchen or dining area for kitchen linen and I needed to find a solution, so I repurposed a pair of wooden boxes that originally stored items in the basement. They fit perfectly on the lower shelf of the closet and I was able to store several table clothes in one and linen runners and napkins in the other.

Things I have found helpful:
  • Reducing the amount of linen for each room has been a great way to simplify things and reduce the clutter
  • Keep the plastic bags that come with sheets, comforters and duvet sets, they are great for keeping things separate
  • Reuse containers in your home to help organize and keep things separate
  • Group similar items to make it easy to stack and organize
  • Fold linen fresh out of the dryer for less wrinkles

When it came to the bathroom closet, I took the same approach of purging. I will like to get some new towels, so I decided to keep only the best of what I have and to get rid of the others. Some of the towels survived and have a new home in the laundry room where they will be used to clean-up spills, while some will be repurposed into household cleaning cloths.

To organize items in the bathroom, I use a combination of sea grass baskets, glass jars and plastic bins. My family and I do not use a lot of products, so it really makes things super easy. We do not get sick very often, so there was not much in our medicine cabinet to sort or purge. However, I do need to put together a new first aid kit and was very surprised at how limited we were in first aid items.

Things I have found helpful:
  • Create a place for each family member to store personal items
  • Make toiletries visible and easy to access
  • Create a place to store a cleaning caddy for the bathroom
  • Purge expired items on a monthly basis

Master Bedroom
With limited closet space in my bedroom, having a separate dresser and armoire makes the world of difference. I like keeping things organized and easy to find. To help keep things organize I use plastic containers for some of my shoes. I got my containers at the local dollar store several years ago and they have held up very well. I also like to store my evening dresses in garment bags or clothes covers. You can get affordable clothes covers at IKEA that are available in sets of three.

I had way too much clothes and not enough place to put it all. I really had to evaluate what items I liked, what fits well and what I have not worn in a long time. Going through this process was very helpful in sorting through things and creating a collection of items that I will actually use.

A small dresser placed inside the closet, creates extra storage for underwear, sleepwear and socks.

Things I have found helpful:
  • Purge my closet at the end of each season
  • Do not hold on to ill fitting clothes
  • Quality wooden hangers with rounded ends, help to maintain the shape of my garments
  • Make sure that air circulates well in the closet
  • I prefer to store my dirty clothes in the laundry room or bathroom and not in the closet
  • Keep the top of my dresser clutter free
  • Use containers or dividers to organize dresser draws for storing small items

Kids Room
As I mentioned in the post I did on the kids' room, I removed the closet doors last summer and I placed an IKEA PAX wardrobe in the space instead. I found that this has been a much better use of the space and it is easier for my eldest son to reach things, get himself dressed and to help organize his clothing. This past week I added a smaller PAX unit that now fills the space. This additional unit will serve as a guest closet or additional storage space for the room. I did not add knobs to the wardrobe, but they are easy to open and it makes it a bit of a challenge for my youngest son to open (which means no rearranging).

Things I have found helpful:
  • Wooden pull out draw and wire basket was worth the additional $40.00 and $30.00 respectively. They have been great for organizing folded clothes and keeping socks and underwear organized.
  • Storing the linen for the room in the wardrobe has been a great help. I reduced the amount of linen and kept only three sets for each bed in the room.
  • Quality wooden hangers for larger pieces and small plastic hangers for the little clothes
  • Small wire basket  keeps things organized and visible
Do you have closet organizing tips that you will like to share?

This week the focus is on reclaiming the rest of the Basement. In week four we did the Basement (Part 1) and got the process started. I did an initial sort and purge and was able to identify storage requirements. My husband and I purchased tons of storage containers and I started placing things in bins, however there is still a lot more to do. This week is perhaps the biggest challenge for me, because the idea is to not just clean and organize, but to transform the space into a usable space that the whole family can use.

Week 10 - Basement (Part II)

To Do List:
  • Sort and purge items into four categories; keep, donate, trash and other room
  • Identify areas for specific task
  • Identify needed storage requirements
  • Dispose of trash and take away donations
  • Start organizing the space by section or based on the specific task you have identified
  • Clean and wipe as you work through each section
I will like the basement to be an extension of our living space rather than just a storage area. The space is home to several activities, but I will also like it to be comfortable and easy to access items. Let us see how things go.

Do you have any tips for organizing basements?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Home Organization Challenge: Laundry Room

Last year my husband and I made some much needed changes to our laundry room. Since then it has stayed pretty neat and tidy. As a result, most of this past week was about maintenance and refining the way things were organized in the cabinets. I also had to reduce my collection of vases and votives, and limited myself to only what could fit in the designated cabinet. Believe me this was a challenge, but I hope that they will all find a new home via the Value Village where I donated them.

The real treasure for me is my mini collection of milk vases. I am happy that I have a place to safely store them. I have been able to fit them all in this cabinet, with the exception of a few pieces that are on display in the house. I have collected them over the years and was also very happy to receive several from my husband's grandmother.

The laundry room originally had a long open shelf above the washer and dryer and a shorter shelf on the opposite wall. Having overhead cabinets and an under the sink cabinet has been such a wonderful change. Everything can be neatly stored behind closed doors and are out of reach from our youngest (very inquisitive) son. The change has also meant that we now have additional storage space for other household items.

I am now on the hunt for two perhaps even three, matching laundry hampers. I will like to find ones that are not plastic. They must also fit in the laundry room and facilitate the opening of the doors and access to the deck.

Here are a few tips that really help me out a lot.

  1. Review the expiry date on cleaning products and discard safely
  2. Save old towels and use to clean-up spills or make cleaning cloths
  3. Store candles and garbage bags in a basket for easy access
  4. Keep the space clean and clutter free, which will improve workflow
  5. Get family members involved in laundry duties by making it easy to sort items
  6. Create a laundry basket for each family member
  7. Folding items fresh out of the dryer can reduce the need for some ironing
  8. Remember to clean your baskets and hampers on a regular basis
  9. Schedule a regular cleaning of your washer and dryer 
  10. Make the laundry room a bright and cheerful space that will make doing laundry less drab
I am excited about this coming week. Most of the house is organized and I will like to focus more closely on the closets and other storage areas. I know that most of what is left is items in the "keep" category and I am looking forward to giving everything a home.

Week 9 - Closets

To Do List:
  • Empty contents
  • Select items that are to be kept
  • Discard or donate other items
  • Categorize based on rooms
  • If possible create a space to store linen in designated rooms and reserve main closet for overflow or bulky items
  • Place items in baskets where possible

This week the idea is to refine the way each closet is organized so that it is easy to find items. The goal is to create a home for everything, and organize items so that it is intuitive to the other members of the house.

Do you have any laundry room or closet organization tips that you will like to share?

Thursday, March 7, 2013

I Love Granny Squares

I have fallen in love with granny squares and have decided to design my own pattern. I have never done a granny square before, so I have been going through loads of patterns and tutorials. I will like to make a large throw for my bed, but I still have to decide on the final colours.

I have the finished pattern in my mind, and I have found a few patterns that are very close but are just not right. It would be easier to follow an available pattern, but I think I will try a little longer to see what I can come up with.

The pattern I have designed needs some more work and I think it still looks too generic, I will like to add a few more elements to make it a bit more interesting.

The colours I have used for my sample has a very earthy tone (which I like), however I am thinking of using soft spring colours in a monochromatic colour scheme.

What do you think about granny squares?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Toilet Paper Roll Napkin Rings

When I was thinking about what to do for our craft project this week, I remembered making napkin rings from toilet paper rolls as a child. I decided to try it out and see what I could come up with.

One toilet paper roll can make about four napkin rings at approximately one inch each. I covered two of my rings with 2 inch x 5 1/2 inch scrapbook paper using Mod Podge, and I hot glued jute twine to the third ring.

I added a little "blink" on the first napkin ring with a rhinestone embellishment, which I attached with a little hot glue.

For the second napkin ring I hot glued some flowers and a ribbon for a little touch of spring. I think this napkin ring will be really cute for a picnic in the park. What do you think?

The last napkin ring I made is wrapped with jute twine. I hot glued the twine directly onto the cardboard ring. This was quick and easy to make and turned out a lot better than I thought it would.

I really like all three of the napkin rings I made and I will be trying some other ideas. I might even let my boys in on the fun as part of our family art night.

Have you ever tried making DIY napkin rings from a toilet paper roll or anything else?

Monday, March 4, 2013

Home Organization Challenge: Home Office

I started last week's challenge by collecting all the items in the home office that did not belong and I added a few knick-knack items into a donation box. The office has a four-draw legal size file cabinet, which I have had for more than ten years. The file cabinet stores tons of files, but really needed some reorganizing.

I emptied the contents of the filing cabinet and cleaned the drawers. I then designated a drawer for our household files, businesses and office supplies. I manage two home-based businesses, and originally I had a drawer for each business, but I have decided to condense them into one draw (I will see how well it works). I also removed my eldest son's school materials and filed it in the file cabinet that is in his room.

Using different colour file folders I created files and sorted the contents by date. Each folder is labeled and placed in the file cabinet in alphabetical order. Admittedly, a lot more filing needs to happen, but I got a great start on the process, collected needed tax documents and updated all the current bill folders. I am also working on a few Excel spreadsheets and workbooks for Crafted Spaces and Verona Collections.

The office supplies drawer is a much needed change. I was using a wicker basket before, but it did not do the job as well. Now everything is within easy reach and the IKEA transparent plastic box, helps to keep things separate.

My husband and I like to keep the surface of the table as uncluttered as possible. Mind you there is the occasion when it gets covered in paperwork and file folders and you are unable to see the table. We both share the office, but we also have a computer in our individual studios. The computer in the office is dedicated to specific task, and all the computers in the house are connected through a network.

I added a few personal touches to the space, but kept the clutter to a minimum. The room was originally designed to be a mudroom and when my husband and I moved into the house we converted it into a home office. The space therefore has a few limitations, but it is a wonderful little office with lots of natural light. I hope that you have found this post useful and have gotten some insight on how you can organize your workspace.

How do you manage your office files and clutter? Leave your comments below!

As we continue our Home Organization Challenge we move into the eight week. This week the focus is on creating a laundry room that works for everyone in the home.

Week 8 - Laundry Room

To Do List:
  • Clean behind washer and dryer
  • Clean dryer
  • Clean washer
  • Organize cleaning tools
  • Organize storage cabinets
  • Organize laundry
  • Clean light fixtures
  • Wipe walls, doors, cabinets
  • Clean sink
  • Clean floor
  • Discard empty containers

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