Monday, September 10, 2012

Lunch Blox Sets & Kids' Lunches

Anyone else using these?  

This is the new Rubbermaid Lunch Blox set (and lunchbox).  I love it!  Makes for easier packing... my rule is only one "junk" item, aka cookies, crackers, bakery item... and it must go in one of the teeny containers (which can only hold about 3 Oreos.  Each other little container must contain a different fruit or vegetable.  The bottom one must have the sandwich, meat, or main entree.  It's working for us.  Love that the ice pack fits nicely in the middle, too.  The side pockets (mesh elastic) can hold the water bottle for the day.   

I bought the bigger one... the longer one... for my own lunches, and it easily fits in the Thirty-One thermal totes.  :)

Is anyone else using it?

I just ordered the Thirty-One mini thermal zipper pouches for the kids to take their snacks in.  My hope is that a small pouch of veggies and an ice pack will fit in each one.  Thus, we can send veggies for snack, and they'll still be cool!  I'll let you know when they arrive how it's working.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Coordinated Fridge Files

I was disliking the disorganization on my fridge lately.  Lots of "important papers" all hanging from a clip.  So, when I saw a lot of Pinterest photos showing the Mead Fridge Filer , I was determined to get it.  I couldn't find it online and had heard it was hard to find at Target.  I had every intention of making my own, but alas... when I went to Target... there it was!

Unfortunately it had a bright pink strip at the top.  I wasn't thrilled with that in our muted neutral kitchen, so I set out to coordinate my fridge.

As you'll see below, my refrigerator now has a large green file, a small green file, a Mead Fridge Filer (with a new green strip at top) and a "catch-all" magnetic pocket.  

This is the side of my refrigerator.  The front is non-magnetic stainless steel and has four smaller doors, so it just made sense to use the side.

I found some pretty paper at Michaels that was dual-sided and I loved both sides!  

I simply took a piece of 12x12 paper and traced a normal file onto the paper.  Using spray adhesive, I attached the paper to the front (and back) of the file.  Then I attach a small section of the reverse print to the inside where the tab is.  

After that dried, I placed a small strip of glue along the two sides to close the edges, and then attached strips of magnets to the back.

To make the smaller file, I used a plain file folder and simply cut it down to mimic the shape of a regular file.  I made it a tad taller so that I could attach a 3.5"x5"photo to this folder.  I followed the same directions as above to cover this file, and then put photo corners on the file so I can change out the photo as I like.

I added Cricut vinyl letters for fun.

Lastly, the Fridge Filer.  To cover up the bright pink strip (at the top), I cut a piece of paper that was approximately 3x the height of the strip.  Then I centered the strip to the paper and made folds at the top and along the bottom to tuck in.  I then trimmed the edges.  Easy peasy... no gluing.  The magnetic strip was still strong enough to go through the extra paper.  
Now my refrigerator is a little more coordinated and subtle in colors.  In the Fridge Filer, I use it for menu planning.  The first file holds the week's plans, the second file holds what everyone likes for lunch (it's hard to keep track of 4 kids' likes and dislikes), and the third file holds what everyone likes for breakfast.  You can use it for schedules, directories, whatever you like.  The paper on the bottom was my son's homework sheet, which needs constant attention, so we simply hung it with a magnet.  :)

Friday, August 31, 2012

A BookPage Garland

Well, the kids are back in school, so for me that means fall.  Even if it's not!  So, I decided to haul all of my fall items out of storage.  In rearranging my mantle a bit, I decided I wanted something a little different.  So, to the blog'o'sphere I ventured.  

I found this cute little garland at Shabby Creek Cottage.

So I decided to duplicate it with what I had.  I literally started this as my kids were finishing up breakfast this morning, before school.  I finished about 30 minutes after the last child was out the door... maybe less than an hour total (with some distractions in the middle).  So, it was a really quick and easy project.  
First I assembled the massive amount of materials.  Yes... one old book, one pair of scissors, one ink pad, and one stapler (fully loaded!)  That's it.  

I think this project only used about 200 pages.  I'm only guessing on this since I really didn't count!

I began by ripping pages out of an old dilapidated book.  You'll see photos of Bible characters and Biblical names in my photos, but I want to assure you I did not rip up a Bible.  My son was mortified when he thought I was doing that.  :)  I had found this old children's Christian devotion book in my basement.  It was missing pages and in pretty bad condition over all, so I've been using it several times for "book page" crafts over the last year.  It's neat in that the pictures and Biblical names show up in the crafts, and it's a good reminder of what's important.

After pulling out the pages, I did trim the ripped edge to make a straight line.  The glue was gloppy in this book, and it made for really scraggly (is that a word?) edges.  After I cut the pages straight, I fanned them out and rubbed a Distress Ink pad along the edges... all four edges, both sides.  Because of the fanning job, some pages got more ink than others, but that was fine with me.

Then came the construction process.  I would make a mini "fan" out of each page... just two folds, so there were three segments.  I pinched the middle and folded it in half.  (NOT creasing any other area, so that I could keep the fullness.)

Here is a photo of the folded page.

Then I would staple the bottom at the crease to keep it together.  I continue doing this, only each time, I would staple it to the previous page.  

In this photo, I DID crease the pages, simply for photography's sake so that you could see how the pages aligned and were stapled.

Here are those pages, refluffed.

As the paper chain continued, it started looking like a ruffled garland, but only about 1/4 "full".

So I made a second strip and then stapled it to the other strip (stapled sides together).  It made a VERY full ruffle, as you can see above.

Here's a photo of my two garlands, before stapling the edges together.

The garland is exactly the length of my mantle, and it works really well to fill in the mantle area below the TV.  We can never put anything "flame-y" or tall on the middle of the mantle, so I like how the garland fills it in.

Here's my close up.  I think I need a few more crows for the mantle to fill in with a little more contrast.  
The garland goes well with my book-page wreath...

and my book-page pumpkins, too.

Friday, August 17, 2012

A New Pantry!

 As I mentioned before, Summer 2012 was my chance to accomplish some projects I've been wanting to tackle... the shelves in the bathroom, painting some rooms like the boys' bath, the canvas Chinese symbols, painting the loft, etc.  One big project I had in mind was redo-ing our pantry.

We are HIGHLY blessed in that our pantry is big.  It's not room-size big... but it's big.  The pantry is approximately 5'x4' with three walls for shelving.  Here's a glance at what it used to look like.  
We had nine foot ceilings, yet the tallest shelf was only 6' high... which meant lots of wasted space.  They were the wire shelves, which I understand makes them "breathable"and not dusty.  But, when something dripped (i.e. honey... eeewww!), it landed on the things under it for several shelves down.  AND cans never sat well... they'd tip a little.  The shelves were not spaced well.  With the little overhang in front, it made tall containers, like cereal and my tall Tupperware containers, difficult to stick in there.  Half of our cereal boxes were sitting on their sides (begging for a spill).  Not to mention, the builders did not use the nice moveable track system where you use brackets and standards.  They screwed each shelf into the wall, and those shelves then needed braces in front to keep them steady.  Thus, we had three awkwardly spaced support verticals that got in the way.  

My goal?  Totally revamp the closet and make it completely useful for our family.

I set aside a week this summer to get it finished.

  It only took 3 days.

First, I removed all the food/baskets/whatnot and stacked it all over every inch of space in my kitchen.  Ugh.  I can't believe we had so much stuff!

Then, I removed the shelves.  

95... know what that refers to?

95 flipping holes!!!


Time to spackle.

And then wait.

And then sand, and re-spackle.

When all of the wall was about as smooth as this lady will ever make a wall (I'm totally not good at this), I began inserting the supports.

I had Lowes cut 1"x2" boards to the length of our walls.  Poor guy... it took a long time.  18 supports and 18 shelves!

I measured mine approximately 14" from top to bottom.

It went fairly easily.

After the supports were up, I then painted the pantry closet AND supports a light gray (Graceful Gray?).  The photo below definitely looks green, but it's really a very light gray.

This was a pain to paint in between, but I figured it would give the best appearance if I painted after the supports were up.

After that dried, I began inserting the shelves.  Again, these were pre-cut by Lowes.  I used 1"x12" shelves, which of course means they are about 11.25" deep.  We just picked out the utility shelving pine boards, which were quite inexpensive.  I also painted them before installing.  They were painted an off-white to match all the trim.  This took awhile... I had wet shelves on my island for an entire day... multiple coats... 18 shelves in three shifts.

Once everything was installed, I was happy to see there was plenty of clearance for even the tallest containers.

 Here are the shelves.  As you can see in this photo, none of the shelves were supported outside of the wall supports.  Eventually we decided to install one vertical post in the corner to the right.  The shelves to the right were going to hold the heavy cans and such, so we figured it would be best to be safe, than sorry.  

Then came the fun (?) in rearranging all of our stuff.  

Upon replacing my Tupperware, I realized I goofed just a tad in the measurements.  The medium-height containers are just a TAD too tall to stack two-high.  Darn... honestly I hadn't even thought about stacking them, but it definitely would've saved a little extra space on the shelves.

I bought three 14" Lipper lazy susans from Amazon to use in the left side corner.

The top one is eye level and holds all of my everyday-use oils/fats.  We are attempting to get our eating habits under control and start using less "junk".  So, although there is Canola Oil there and spray oils, we tend to use the Coconut oil and olive oil most.  Hopefully I'll get to a point where I get rid of the "rancid" oils entirely. 

The shelf below there is my cans.  Again, you'll see things I'm not proud of... we're slowly getting healthy.  Slowly.  :)

The shelf below that is condiments.

In the main back wall, I put all of my baking goods... the dry goods in my Tupperware containers (which were accumulated over YEARS).  The second shelf down, I put my favorite dry goods, in Snapware containers.

The next two shelves held all the flours, sugars, and various other goodies that a gluten-free pantry eventually acquires... potato starch, tapioca flour, almond meal... you know, stuff most people didn't know existed.

Then, on the bottom shelf, at kids' hand level, I put their favorite snacks into the tall Snapware containers... CheezIts, Chex Mix, etc.  Again... remember, we're getting healthy SLOWLY.  Hopefully in time, these containers will begin to hold more nutritious snacks.  Those labels are made with chalk pens, so all it takes is a wet cloth to allow me to change!

On the very top shelf, I put the pitchers I rarely use.

On the floor are baskets to hold produce and miscellaneous bottles.

A few other random shelves:

 file box (remember the pantry is next to my office) and extra paper towels.

 Boxed fondue sets, mandolin, bags, and extras.

Raw nuts in stackable shelves in the corner.  See that jar in front?  It's homemade sauerkraut!  See, I told you I was trying new things.  It's next to my homemade kombucha tea!

These pots are from Willow House... I separated the basket from the pot and use them to hold miscellaneous things, like plastic cutlery, clothespins (for closing bags), straws and sauce packets.

 This shelf is for the open bags of snacks or popcorn.

 I didn't put a bottom shelf on the left side (to allow for tall things like dog food and a step-stool), so I used that extra shelf to create an upside-down U shelf to make two mini-height shelves.  On the bottom one, I placed my griddle.  On the top shelf, I hold all of my storage bags/foil/wax paper/parchment, etc.

On this shelf, we have unusual odds and ends... a box of batteries, a box of "LightsOut" stuff like candles and matches, and a bin for paper goods.

I'm so upset that the one photo of the whole closet is so blurry (maybe if everyone sends me $5, I can go buy a nice SLR camera...LOL), but here it is as you walk into the closet...
The shelves and screws were the only real investment (and the cost was close to $200 or so).  I used leftover paint, and all of the baskets/bins were ones I already had.  Instead of spending $$$ to have cutely matching baskets all over, I decided to just group the ones that did match onto the same shelves to make it all look more uniform.  Above, you'll see the ground baskets are the same, the snack baskets are the same, and all of the containers on each shelf are the same.

Here is the left side.  You can see the tall area on the floor where I'm able to put our stepstool, Thirty-One thermal tote and boxed drinks.  It can also house Costco-sized boxes when need be.  On the left side, most everything we store is light-weight, so we opted to not put in another support.  This way the lazy-susans are easily accessed.

And here is the right side (you can see the one support vertical we decided to use as an insurance plan.

Sorry for the photo-heavy post, but this is my pride-and-joy project for the summer.  :)

Hope you agree.

Linked up to: