Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Pantry Cleanout Leads to Creative Lemonade Cookies

My husband was home due to snow yesterday and we started a project we have talked about since we moved in 8 years ago.  The Pantry cabinets were installed right up against the wall a few inches away from a doorway.  When the pantry door is opened it is stopped from opening all the way by the door trim.  All that was necessary in the original installation was a 3/4" filler piece!!!!

We have been just living with it this way because in order to change it we had to remove all the floor and ceiling trim around the pantry and the fridge, above the fridge and slide everything over 3/4"!!!  And the reason why it was really worth doing is that the pantry is quite deep (as deep as the fridge) , we do not have tons of storage, and need to use the space wisely.  We could not put slide out shelves in the pantry to allow easy access to the storage space, so stuff just gets jumbled back there. That explains the  5 open containers of flour!!!

The cabinets are all moved over.  Husband is getting slides today hopefully.  Then at the end of the fridge there is a smidge of space that we are going to build another cabinet in....I will update the posts as we go.

trying to figure out if we need 2 mandolin slicers??!  ok probably not....  but one is really great quality, and compact so great for storage.  The other is nice because it has a little foot stand to hold it up off of the cutting board (that does fold down), rather than trying to get it to stay on the bowl, but no compact storage for the blandes and holder, also this one has great little guides on the holder to keep it 'on track' as you slice closer to the mandolin.....decisions, decisions...

Today, with the contents of the pantry spread about the kitchen, I was inspired.  I made some Lemon sugar cookies.  I had some leftover Lemon Drink mix.....
They look great!  The flavor is a bit intense I used 1 1/4 Cups of lemonade powdered mix, so I am altering the recipe slightly to adjust

Lemonade Sugar Cookies

3C flour
1 tpn baking soda
1 tspn baking powder
1 C shortening ( I would use butter if i had it--but again this was an exercise in using stuff up- so butter will taste yummier ;)
1/2 C lemonade mix
1 C white sugar
1 egg

its super dry here so i added about 5 tspn of water, one at a time until it made a nice ball when squished together. then i flattened and cooked at 375 F for about 5-6 min.

Love to hear what you think of them if you try!

Monday, December 9, 2013

How Much is Enough : Too much of a useful thing

When cleaning out the shelving in the basement, there were 2 cabinets dedicated to household cleaners, plus all the cleaners in place in the living areas.  So many cleaners, you would think the house was spotless...

There is various sprays and cleaners for things like metals, and the glass stove top, and shoe polish etc. Some of these are natural cleaners, and others are harsher, but sometimes... seldom needed cleaners that were purchased for a specific purpose, but feared toxic for continuous use. Then there are the more often used dishwasher liquid (5 bottles), laundry detergent (3 bottles) and 21, yes 21, Large bottles of hand dish-washing liquid!!!!

When my mother-in-law comes hand dish-washing liquid comes too.  I suppose we are lucky that she only visits about 4 times a year!  She also brings Paper Goods and toilet paper (but is there ever too much of this?!).

So it is certainly not worth hurting her feelings over a couple of bottles of dish soap...and for that matter I could always donate it to the local shelter...but....well, eventually we will use it, right?
And then we would have to go spend time and money to buy more, after spending the time and money bringing it to the shelter....

so i guess as long as we feel that we have enough space to store it, we will keep it. But as I am paring down I have to wonder as to its true value... Perhaps we could mention that we have enough for a while, and then ask her to keep on the lookout for an item that we truly need.  We may see her this weekend, there may be more dish soap....

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The World Around Us Needs Us to Reduce

Just watched this, 3 minutes is well spent.  EVERYONE NEEDS to watch this.  Our practices of disposable waste are having this effect on birds in the middle of nowhere, what are we doing to our own homes?!


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Crafting as Motivation

Had a hard time keeping up with the blog.  It actually really had me going strong on decluttering and thinking!  Two things happened, there was so much i wanted to do and I found that I was not doing a project or passing on a possession because I was not ready to sit down and blog it, or I didn't have my camera on me....and so eventually it was silly to hold back progress for these reasons, but then i just let it go.  Also, I felt like all I should do is declutter, and would not allow myself to make any thing new.  Well there was no, balance there, and so I just sort of fizzled.

I find that creating is relaxing, and fun. I find that after I make something new I want to put it in a nice pace. I want to clean up and get rid of old things, or at least pass them on. creation can be a wonderful motivator.
After a couple of days of crafting projects for both the House and presents has left me wanting to improve my surroundings.

In the positive direction...I have not been buying the kids any clothes or shoes.  Just trying to use what we have (we are small adults and they are small kids-so no crazy growth like most parents get to purge closets! 9 yo has her favorite outfit from 4 yo and it still looks great on her!)  This spring i went through 4 boxes of baby clothes that we never unpacked after moving and they are gone (well i kept about 6 outfits and 2 pairs of little shoes)  Just today i unpacked a box of maternity clothes and it is slated to go!

We also spent 2 unexpected child-free hours rearranging our bedroom.  It is amazing.  I have to say it is a great place to start.  If you have a chunk of time dive in and get it done!  then when you wake up you look around and it is so clean and fresh that you want to make the bed and pick up your clothes to keep it that way.  It is an inspirational way to start the day!   And when you get overwhelmed at say 2 p.m. you can retreat for a few min. to put away some laundry and remember why you are working so hard.

We took out all of the what-nots out,  all of the kids things are gone.  Stacks of books that i am not going to read, leaving just a few that I might if i feel like it.  the dust is gone!   We sweep regularly, but just from moving all of the furniture i had to clean the air filter.

 I do have one 'bowl' of yarn in here still.  It really needs to go....but i love the wooden bowl, it is turned on a pedestal...I can no longer knit, well i can for a few minutes, but it is painful, and so i don't really enjoy it.  I would like to eventually spin some of the angora from when we had a rabbit, and make a second shawl so that i can give one to each daughter....but i don't need a bowl of yarn i have not touched in a year to do it ;)  but what else to put in the bowl?  and where to put the yarn (hand spun mind you....maybe i should try etsy?!)

The closet, it is up next.....when i sat down to type this i thought, I will first get up and put out those short black boots i never wear, and that pink shirt with the vertical ribbing, because it bulges funny....when i got to the boots i found myself thinking they match anything, are simple, and dressy enough but kinda casual, and easy to walk in.  If I had to pick only one pair of boots it would be those or the brown ones......yet i have not worn them in more than a year.  I put them back and moved on to the pink shirt.  I tried it on.  I realized that most of what I own is really exercise wear.  so while i don't like it, it is one of the few real shirts i own, and looking in the mirror i don't think it looked too bad....Maybe now i will wear it more?  Otherwise it has to go.  and those boots are very practical, high quality, and versatile...but i don't wear them, and even if i had to pick one pair of boots, to be honest I would pick the brown ones!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Star Box Tutorial & Advent Tree Photos

 Advent Calendar Done

One more thing off of the list, and it's only the 4th of December...
The 'ornaments' are little match boxes that have 1-3 instruction pages worth of lego inside.  They have no idea what they are building, and they love it.  In a way it helps that they started on the 4th because the got to open 4 boxes and get a good start on it.  I emailed myself 25 emails with photos of the instruction pages for the corresponding box, so that they don't see the whole project up front :)

Now if only i could find that darn elf.  I packed him 'special' so that the kids would not accidentally unpack him....last year we never found that 'special' place, turns out the elf was sick- and we had a replacement for a while at the end....

And the Star Box Tutorial;

I made the star box for Day 25, also it hold any pieces too big for the match boxes ( so i have to fish these out when they come to them in the instructions).  There were only three or four like that, the rest of the larger pieces were in the last section of instructions and went into the day 25 box anyways.

First you will need the SVG file from yesterday's post You can either cut this out on an electronic cutter or print them out, cut them out with scissors and then stencil them onto your fancy paper.  If you choose the stencil option, cut on the solid lines and score on the dashed lines

I cut 1 top out of fancy christmas 12x12" card stock, then cut out one set, that is five strips of the top sides out of green 8.5" x 11" paper.  

For the bottom cut of the box cut out the bottom again on 12x12, this is a smidge smaller than the top, so keep them separate if you are using the same paper for top and bottom.  I used black because i have a bit left over from Halloween ;)  Additionally, I cut another 'Top' out of cereal box to line the inside of the box in order to give it some rigidity. It is large and kind of floppy. To do this use the Top SVG, but remove the 'flaps'. 

Here is a good place to note that you can re-size SVGs rather easily if say you want a smaller box.  Select all image on the page and make sure that the ratios are locked.  Because this file is on multiple pages you have to either reduce by a percentage that you can use on all of the pages, or you can open a new SVG and place all the images onto one page, then select all and drag the bottom to reduce/increase the size.

Lastly cut the 5 bottom side strips and score.

Bend all paper on dashed score lines. 

Apply adhesive to the 1/2" tabs at the end of the strips for the bottom.  Then assemble to create one long strip to go around the edge of the star.  Leave the adhesive off of the exposed end tab for now.

Apply adhesive to the outside of the flaps of the bottom just next to the score line.

I like to start by placing creased fold into the inside corner of the star bottom.  When you come to the last bit, add adhesive to that last flap and attach.

Do the same for the top.  ( The pictures above show asssembly for my top, same as the bottom.  I suggest that you do the bottome first so that you get the hang of it on the less visible piece.)  

Finally, put some adhesive the cereal box star and attach to inside of bottom half,  or if you prefer pretty paper on the inside put it, brown side out, on the bottom.

Please post a quick comment or follow if you found this interesting or useful :)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Creation Reducing...

So sometimes I like to create, which can be seen as the opposite of reducing.  Or can be seen as reducing the number of mass produced items in my household ;)
I find that creativity is a major outlet for me, therefore also reducing stress!  Even when the world is crazy, the family is at or or I am dragging around sick ( and right now all three of those are true)  I can muster the energy to face the day if I am working on a good project.  I will end up squeezing in the daily tasks that would otherwise never get done while i sat around lamenting feeling poorly, and at the end of the day be proud of both my efforts and the projects.

Today's big projects were an embroidery for a chair cover that i will be sewing for a dear small friend and an advent calendar.  I could not sleep due to my head cold last night and stayed up digitizing instead.  I am really happy with the way it came out.  HOWEVER,  it was late and combined her nickname with her real name---oops!  This was a test stitch out that i hoped to make into a pillow cover.  Hopefully that will still happen...less the name ;) 

Next up, and I really thought this would go quicker, was an advent calendar.  I had wanted to get the Friends lego advent calendar  because my little hockey players would have been all about those black ice skates.  I was too slow though and they sold out.  So no ice skates.  instead for a small $ I bought a regular set and am going to put them in the advent calendar I am making!  I have assembled a bunch of match boxes, and i will put one piece of the instructions and the appropriate Lego pieces in each box.  so everyday they will build a little towards the final project ( i am not going to let them see the end results!  just build a little each day!)  I am pretty excited to start this, and as this is the 3rd, and it is 8 p.m. and i am not done, tomorrow they will get a jump start, because they will get 4 boxes.I will post a picture of the finished Advent boxes tomorrow.

The last box will be a star shape, something a little bigger to hold all that is left.  I will give them this box when we come back from my brothers Christmas Eve party, technically it is usually just about the 25th then anyways.  They can finish the build while they are waiting for us old fogies to wake up and do stockings!!

so here is something new.  A SHARE! Freebie!  i had to design a star box, so I am sharing it here...if you do download it, please feel free to share a link to  my blog with anyone who would like it, refrain from passing it on as yours or selling the digital design itself.  Also, I would really appreciate a comment, so that i know that it is worth posting.

Now all of those UFOs.....well that is a post, perhaps for tomorrow...

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

300 Pounds of Clutter!

300 Pounds of Clutter and it barely made a dent :(

As mentioned in a previous post, we  have a tv.  And we bought an Xbox.  Just jump in head first right?  The kids were very excited, however, my trepidation was obvious. I blurt out, "but you have to earn it"!  They sort of slowly turn and stare a moment, then the little one asks how.  I have no idea where this genius came from, but  tell them that we will credit them $1 for each pound of stuff that we move off the property.  DH thought this was terrible, cruel and impossible.  The kids did not hesitate!  They loved the challenge, and it kept them busy.

They started in the easy places.  Trash in their art area and the bag where they toss things they no longer need want or fit.  DH cleaned out the wood shop with them and let them weigh wood scraps they picked up.  about 4 days in I told them they had 1/2 hour outdoors where they would get 2# credit for each pound they brought and they found about 10# mostly in toys they could do without-they went straight to the curb and were quickly re-homed

They found a grocery bag of underwear that they don't need or like.  They went through their pajamas, they are still not able to shut the drawer, and 2 pairs is really enough, so we will have to do that again.  The drawers under the bathroom cabinets were cleaned out and organized, no more broken headbands or other things that were never used but only shoved in the back.  Even the odd bits of cloth that the girls sew doll clothes was gone through for stuff they could relinquish to the effort.

The toy closet was cleaned out again.  They tossed a couple of the thinner beach towels.  at one point my son told me that as he saw it we did not need a couch in our bedroom.  After all if we got rid of the couch (its a big old mahogany frame) that would pretty much finish the challenge.  He might be right about the couch....but didn't win that battle.

I have to say that we had more fun with the challenge of earning the game than the game itself.  Well, maybe my son would not feel that way.  He is a gamer it seems.  though when i suggested maybe we didn't need so many Legos as he is playing games not Legos.  The conversation that followed was that if he had to pick one or the other it would be Legos, yet as i pointed out that was not what was happening. so we will see.

we sent a bag of clothes to Haiti with our local school.  we put together another but it is still in the back of the van so it will go to goodwill instead.  We filled the van at leas 2 times with loads to the Goodwill.  Somehow when i said it I thought that it would be a stretch to remove 300 pounds from the house.  My husband thought that it would be empty.  We were both wrong!
The Much Smaller Prize at the end

I was ready to end the challenge.  But no I would like to do another one!  but now that the cream has been removed it is more tedious, the decisions more difficult on what to let go.