Friday, December 28, 2012

The Card System to Stay Organized and Manage your time

In keeping with my goal of accomplishing more in the new year,  I am finding a real lack of any sort of organizational system to keep me on track.  I need to stay organized and I need a time management system!  For the last several months I have done really well at staying on task with work and not letting the house fall into shambles.  However, I feel like I don't really have any sort of system that keeps me on track.  I'm just doing what has to be done everyday on an as needed basis, instead of being proactive and preventing messes along the way.  Over a year ago, I developed this card system to keep me on task and not let the house stuff get out of hand.  I've decided that it is time to bring it back.

I'm not a professional organizer, or time management guru, but I do feel like I am a fairly productive person who manages to accomplish a lot while still getting 7-8 hours of sleep every night.   There are certainly other systems that you can use, some are similar to this one and I was inspired by quite a few.  However, most of them require bulky binders or are a bit too complicated for my liking.  There are also others that seem to require lots of repetitive things to help you develop habits and I never felt like they were concentrating on my problem of maintenance versus just cleaning up messes.  Then there are systems that involve setting timers and cleaning like a mad woman ... and truthfully I don't want to work like that every day ... it is fine when I have company that is showing up in 30 minutes though!

This card system is designed to be used daily - and for everyday tasks.  This system is not designed to help you tackle large organizational projects at one time or within a short amount of time.  What it will do is allow you to complete what you need to do in your allotted time and then stop.  You can feel free to go about the rest of your day knowing that the other items are already scheduled and there is no need to eat your elephant all in one day. This system is certainly adaptable to other schedules, and adaptable so that you can accomplish those bigger tasks, although I won't be talking about that until after we are finished.

I don't do well putting off house cleaning for one day per week.  For me, I work better, feel more relaxed, and I am less likely to procrastinate if I know that I only have to do a little bit each day.  Using this system, I know that things will get done, and without me cleaning like a mad woman for an entire day.  If you do prefer to work that way, then I encourage you to read, adapt, and share what you will do differently than is presented.

This system takes into account that not all tasks need to be done daily, and provides a way to keep up with things that need to be done twice a week, weekly, monthly, quarterly, every six months, and even annually.  All you have to do is take cards out, check them off, and return them to their proper location.

So, now, onto the card system. 

What you need:
Colored note cards (I use the 3x5 colored index cards - you don't have to use colored ones, but I like the visual cues)
Dividers - I purchased a pack of abc dividers and put a sticker on top of the abc's (you need 19)
Something to keep them in - I use a recipe type box that is made to hold 3x5 index cards
A notepad or piece of paper
Pen or pencil

The first thing you are going to do is to make a list of everything that you need to do.  My system is to mainly help me keep up with household tasks and cleaning so that is a lot of what you will be seeing on my cards.  Take your notepad or piece of paper and make your list.  I found it easier to break my list up by room and then physically go into each room and look around while I made my list.  Once I was done with each room, I made a list of other general things that need to be done that weren't in a room.  My list looks like the picture to the right.

Once you are finish listing all of your tasks then assign a time that they need to be done.  Write your times as an on-going basis ... meaning that just because their are cobwebs in your corner, it doesn't mean that you need to dust that corner every day.  You are also not assigning priorities to things.  It will all get done, so don't worry about what needs to be done first right now, just write down how often you would be doing them in a harmonious perfect world.

Also, don't worry if you forget something.  This system is flexible and you will be able to add things later.  You can also cross things out and move them around if you decide that something is being done too often or not often enough.

Next you will want to pick one of your colors of note cards for Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly, etc.  You may also have 2 times per week (I use the same color as weekly for those), Every 6 months (I use the same color as Quarterly), and once per year (I use the same color as Quarterly)

For the "Daily" tasks I actually have 3 cards that are broken up into Morning, Afternoon, and Evening (or Nightly).  I found that it was better for me to work in small chunks of time a few times per day versus trying to do everything at one time or spacing it out throughout the entire day.

On your Daily tasks you will want to write all of the tasks that need to be done daily on the daily cards.  You may want to write down which room the task is for also.  I have columns with dates on them so that I can check things off ... I LOVE to check things off and feel like I have accomplished things, so this gives me a way to really feel like I am accomplishing a lot.  Perhaps it is bad that I have written down "Breakfast", "Lunch" and "Dinner" ... but really, sometimes I forget to eat ... not a good habit!

For the weekly tasks you will want to go by room - at least that has been the easiest thing for me.  Once upon a time, I did things by task - such as vacuuming all in one day.  However, I found that there were too many times that the vacuuming didn't get done because I had the pick up the whole house before I started and I used all of my vacuuming time picking up instead of vacuuming.  Now I just focus on one room at a time.

An Example of one of my weekly cards is on the left.

** For tasks that are done more than once per week but not daily, you will want to make one card for each day you will be working on that task.  For instance, if you need to vacuum the living room twice per week then you will want to make 2 cards that say vacuum living room.

Before we move onto the monthly, quarterly, and remaining tasks we need to go ahead and put the cards you have made into your card file.

Take your dividers and re-label them - one for each day of the week, and one for each month.

Once you have done that you need to give some thought as to how often you want to be cleaning.  Do you want to get it all done in 4 days, 5 days, 6 days, or do you want to be working on it 7 days per week?  I do daily tasks 7 days a week, and I get all of the weekly tasks done Monday through Friday.  Saturdays (or Sunday's if I feel like it) are for working on monthly and quarterly tasks (I don't currently have any that are 6 month or annual tasks, but if I did they would also be done on Saturdays or Sundays).

You will then want to divide all of your weekly tasks and put them behind the day of the week that you want to get them done.  I have tried to batch mine by the rooms that are close to each other and also batch the tasks so that I am spending about 30 minutes per day (or less) working.

Next you will want to make your monthly, quarterly, and annual cards (as well as other times that you have noted on your list).  I put one monthly task per card, and one quarterly task per card.  I write the months on the quarterly cards that they need to be done - Such as January, April, July, October is on top of the things that get done in those months.  If some of your monthly and quarterly tasks have recently been done then go ahead and write the date that you did them on your card.  Leave room for writing other dates, as you will write the dates that you do them in the future so that you know that those things are done.  If you haven't done something in a while then you will need to decide if it needs to be taken care of immediately or if it can wait and go in the rotation until next month. 

Once your quarterly and monthly cards are done, then you will place all of the monthly cards behind this month (or the upcoming month if this one is almost over), and your quarterly cards behind the first upcoming month that they need to be done.

Using your cards -

Your daily tasks should stay in the front of your card holder.  You will take these out each day and check off the tasks that you have completed.  You will also take out the cards that are filed under the current day and write the date on them (leaving room to write future dates) once you have completed them.  Once you have completed them they will be filed back behind the day of the week so that they are ready to do again the following week.  For monthly and quarterly tasks you will move them forward to the day of the week that you are working on monthly and quarterly tasks - remember, my day is Saturday or Sunday.  I generally like to get all of my monthly and quarterly tasks done in one Saturday of the month so that I can leave the others free for family and fun.

Accounting for vacations or other bumps in the road.  If I am leaving with my family then generally I will just skip doing the tasks that are scheduled for those days and come back to the on the next week.  I highly doubt that the house will fall in if I miss vacuuming ... especially if we are not here tracking in dirt.  However, if I find myself constantly too busy to get things done and putting them off ... then I need to re-check myself and re-evaluate what I am spending my time on.  I know that using this system really only takes about 30 minutes each day (sometimes more, sometimes less) - and really that is accounting for things that are going to make my house a better environment for me, my kids, and my husband.  I also know that most days it only takes about 30 minutes and that lots of these things will be done by boys that want to make extra money doing chores. 

I've read about other systems that claim that you can keep your house clean in 10 minutes a day ... but realistically I haven't found them to work.  I tend to skip over things when I have a timer set with the mindset that .. oh, I will wipe behind those canisters tomorrow ... and that is fine for one day ... but when you are doing it every day then it just doesn't work. 

Whew!  That was a long post!!  Please leave me a comment, if only to tell me that you made it all the way through!  Also, please let me know if I have made typos or not explained something ... I have been writing-deleting-editing-writing etc... so I am certain that I left something out!  I would also love to hear if you have adapted the system or have a different system that you use - I'm always open to making something better!

I will talk next time about adding tasks to your system, and also accounting for those big projects that need to be done.  I will also explain some of the things on my cards.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The New Year is coming ... Planning for Accomplishments!

I am having a hard time believing that we are already at the end of 2012 ... I must confess that I don't think I ever got comfortable writing 12 ... I think I even had to cross out 11 on a check the other day!  However, no matter how uncomfortable I am, 2013 is quickly approaching, and it is time to think about what I want to accomplish over the next 12 months.

Of course I have some standard things ... loose 10 pounds, drink more water, exercise more, get organized ... These are all pretty standard things in my "resolution bucket" ... But this year I don't really want to make resolutions ... I want to accomplish more than just resolve to do something ... I want to change my life ... I want to change for the better.

What I really want is to do more, more of everything!  I want to work more, play more, have more "husband-wife" time, have more fun, make more money ... I want more out of life!

So, I guess that this year I am resolving to be more focused ... and have a fabulous year.  I am not really sure how I am going to do this yet, except that I am going to do more of what feels great and less of what feels icky.   I also know that part of this process will have to include - be more responsible.  I need to take responsibility for my time and what I am doing with it.  I need to be a better time keeper ... I need to be the person that I should be, so that I can be the person I want to be.

I need to take responsibility for being a better me.

So, today, I am taking responsibility for stuff ... and I am going to _____ to allow me to ____

I am going to get the laundry done, to allow me to pack for vacation before the last minute
I am going to get the kitchen counters cleaned off, so that I can finish making turkey soup and banana bread
I am going to clean my bedroom and make the bed, so that I can feel relaxed when I walk in the door
I am going to play with the kids, so that I can laugh

Tomorrow my list will be different, but basically I would like to be on the path of getting work done during work, my house not looking like a complete disaster, be off work when the big yellow bus comes each day, and spend time with my hubby when he is home.  It's a tall order ... but I don't believe that it is impossible ... yet.

I'm not sure where blogging will fall into that ... but I guess that we will find out.  Today it makes me happy to blog this, and just get it out of my head.  When it stops being something that makes me happy then I guess it is time to stop!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Tis The Season!

I know, I know ... we haven't even reached Thanksgiving yet!  But, yes, Christmas is on everyone's minds already!

I'm in the throws of advent calendar season here ... and I always find it ironic that it is during my busiest times that I get the most inspiration!  I need to have a notebook handy at all times right now to jot down ideas that are pumping into my brain!!

I won't bore you with all of the details, but I probably won't be blogging too much right now ... I am transitioning some things and starting new projects - the biggie is that I am starting up The Handmade Network again!  You can find out more information on it on the website!

I have new things on the horizon for MooreMagnets too, but I simply don't have time to get them going at the moment, so you will have to wait for those a bit longer!

I hope you will stop by The Handmade Network though!  

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Doing Less to Do More

This is a bittersweet announcement for me, and one that I have been going back and forth on for months.  However, after a pulled muscle in my shoulder, a SUV still full of stuff, and a very tired week, I have decided that my next craft show will be my last for a good long while, perhaps forever.

I love doing craft shows and the interaction with thousands of customers will be sorely missed.  However, I feel like I am always struggling to find an appropriate place in craft shows.  Most that happen upon my booth unexpectedly are surprised to see me there and generally need to contact me at a later date in order to measure, look more closely at fabrics and colors, and even to decide what their organizing needs are at home or in their office.

I have also found much difficulty applying to craft shows as the traditional categories for crafts just don't fit my products or techniques.  I am often lumped in with mixed media artists or furniture makers ... neither of which fits very well.  I just feel like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole.

This decision is also driven by my online business.  Actually this is the main factor of all.  I am simply too busy online to prepare properly for craft shows.  This is certainly a good problem to have, but it is a constant battle to get ready for shows without neglecting my online customers ... and switching back and forth is not as easy as it used to be.

My hope is that this decision will lead to a more balanced shop online.  To fill up the sections that are always close to empty.  To bring you new products that I would like to work on, and mostly to be a more rested and less hectic person for my customers and my family.

I am not saying that I will never do another craft show, but I am planning to at least take a good long break in 2013.  I am also looking forward to being a shopper at craft shows!  Something I haven't really been able to do in a good while!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Loving What You Do

I was recently challenged to evaluate my business based on the tasks that make me happy, as well as the tasks that I am really good at.  It is one of those things that is based on the idea that you should spend the large majority of your time doing things that you love and things that you are good at ... and that really shouldn't always include the things that you are good at that you hate.

So, I started writing down each thing that I do ... and I was a little horrified that I really wasn't writing that I enjoyed doing a lot of the things that I was doing.  However, I love my job ... so something wasn't making sense!

I started to look at the things on my list ... like cutting metal, cutting boards, cutting fabric, ironing fabric ... you get the idea.  And really I don't love most of these things ... especially the ironing!  However, when I get finished making a magnet board, I can honestly say that I LOVE making magnet boards!  The finished product is beautiful!

I also don't really like wrapping things in plastic, securing them with bubble wrap, packing and taping boxes ... But the satisfaction that I get when I put that shipping label on packages is hard to explain.

By the end of this exercise I was really concerned ... wondering if this business that I have poured my heart and soul into was completely wrong for me!

After fretting over this for a couple weeks and then getting completely distracted by some fabulous new product ideas that I have come up with, it occurred to me that I love the process of what I do ... I love my work as a whole, not the individual parts.  It is the mix of the things that I do almost everyday that keeps me coming back to do more.  It is the fact that I never have to sit and do one mundane task over and over that makes work something I am passionate about.  It is the finished product, knowing that I did all of those steps and ended up with something fabulous. 

It is work ... and I LOVE it!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Newsletter Newness!

Starting in September, I will be announcing specials, coupons, and other news worthy information via newsletter! So, if you would like to get the scoop click on "Subscribe to my newsletter" on the left, or follow this link!
Newsletter Signup

Please note that some months sales and specials will ONLY be published in the newsletter ... that includes a very special offer in September!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

How are you? Just Peachy!

You are looking at my breakfast today ... well, minus the cereal I already ate.  I guess I could have put these peaches on my cereal, but they are just sooooooooo good!  I hate to mask the flavor of them with some boxed cereal. 

The little man and I stopped at an orchard in South Carolina and bought a whole basket of these peaches last weekend.  They were a bit hard the first day or two, but now, they are so yummy.  You know the kind of peaches that you bite into and the juice runs down your chin ...

Our venture to South Carolina for peaches in August is a bit of an annual tradition ... always in August because that is when they are best!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Mail and Key Rack Organizers! Newness!

Wow ... It was a long time ago that I start this project and I finally pulled it out to finish one today!  This piece of wood has been in my cabinet for so long!  So TaDa!!

I even put some nails up on the side of the barn and took some pictures out there ... you know trying to achieve that "Etsy" look!  The pocket on this doesn't look all that large, but it is 2 inches deep and you can chock it full of letters and envelopes!   It's the only one of it's kind as I don't have any more of this diamond design paper.  I'll be listing some more next week!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Personalization! Get a letter embroidered on your Magnet Board or Magnetic Pen Holder!

I have several new things coming up for this fall, and personalization of products is one of them!  I will be eventually offering the option to have a 3 to 4 inch letter embroidered on all magnet boards, but right now I only have the 8.5 x 10 inch magnet board listed with this option.  I am also offering 1 inch letters on pen/pencil holders!  I have a few different fonts to choose from, one more girly than the other ... Here are some pictures!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

What the heck is it? - Neatsfoot Oil Compound

So, I thought I would start this new little series on my blog ... mainly because I have a hubby who is a collector and tinkerer of all sorts of things.  There are usually a half-a-million things around my house that I have no idea what they are used for or just generally what they are!

I can't say these will happen on a certain day of the week ... cause I am terrible about that!  But you will have to watch out for these little gems!

If there is something around your house that you don't know what the heck it is, please submit it!  I would be happy to ask some of the best knowers of all sorts of information!

Today ... Neatsfoot Oil Compound ... my husband has been talking for a long time about needing some for baseball gloves ... we have quite a few of those around being a household of 3 boys and one hubby ... So here's what I found out ... I must say that personally I think it is pretty gross!  I will not be the applicator of the Neatsfoot Oil Compound!!

From Wikipedia ... (click here to read the entire link)

   "  Neatsfoot oil is a yellow oil rendered and purified from the shin bones and feet (but not the hooves)
     of cattle. "Neat" in the oil's name comes from an old name for cattle. Neatsfoot oil is used as a
     conditioning, softening and preservative agent for leather. In the 18th century, it was also used
     medicinally as a topical application for dry scaly skin conditions.

     "Prime neatsfoot oil" or "neatsfoot oil compound" are terms used for a blend of pure neatsfoot oil and
     non-animal oils, generally mineral or other petroleum-based oils."  "

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

When life gives you cucumbers ... Make Pickles!

Between work, hubby, boys, and the garden ... well, things have been a bit crazy lately.  Currently I am over run with squash, zucchini and cucumbers!  So ... I am making the best of the cucumber situation and making pickles!

I'll have to do something with squash and zucchini later ... right now I need to go to the store and buy more jars, lids, onions ... and other assorted stuff for canning ... better hurry because there is more in the garden growing before my eyes!

I'll get back to business soon!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Because I am a hand maker and not a hand model

In response to recent happenings, I have decided to show you a picture of my hands.  I actually did pick up the nail file a couple days ago, but these are un-manicured hands.  Un-kept if you will.  These are the hands of a hand maker.  I am a hand-maker.  You may notice some scars, paint on fingers, saw dust under my nails making them appear yellow, the missing diamond in my wedding band that was a casulty of work, and the cuticles that are in need of attention.  However, these hands make beautiful creations.  Creations that I pride myself in making.  Hands that remind me of my mother, my grandmother, and my granny.  Hands that hurt sometimes from the early onset of arthritis.

I hope you will see the beauty in these un-manicured hands.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Putting the Mo back in my Jo

I have to say, that as a self-employed creator of goodies, I welcome a much needed break after a busy season. However, after a couple of days of being lazy my mojo starts to erode, and I had better get back to it before couch potato status really kicks in.

Generally I have a fairly good meter on my laziness factor, and perhaps this is due to my past dealings with depression and depression-prevention. Anyway, I feel the need to address this in a post as I see this over and over with friends and others no matter if they are self-employed or not.

Mojo Erosion Prevention

I think the most important thing that anyone can do is to prevent this burn out to begin with. By adding things into your daily, weekly, and monthly routine you can really make a difference in your overall motivation and mental wellness. Burn out prevention is certainly the key to maintaining your mojo.

Start by making a list of those things that you really enjoy and try to categorize them into how often you would like to do them. You need to be realistic given the time and money it takes to do each thing, and also to not fall into the gluttony of over-indulging.

Your list may include things like family time, personal time, friend time, gardening, exercising, creative time ... etc, but try to be more specific such as: Lunch with best friend, watch a movie with hubby, dinner out with family, family game night, walk through garden, run 3 miles, creative time to work on new ideas, and beach vacation.

Next, think about an ideal schedule and how often you would like to do each of these things. You need to be realistic, such as a beach vacation may only happen once a year, and even though you would like to have lunch with your best friend once a week, once a month might be more realistic.

Start implementing these things into your routine. Start with the things that you have total control over, like running or walking and time to work on new ideas, and don't consider it failing if you don't achieve your ideal schedule. So, if you would like to run every day but you only manage twice a week, consider it as a step in the right direction and not a failure to meet your goal. Next, make phone calls, send emails, and coordinate babysitters to add some of the other things to your schedule. If low funds are a concern for babysitters consider trading off with friends and watching their kids one night as a trade for them watching your kids one night.

Finally, take action, don't throw yourself under the bus, and learn to say no. You are the sole protector of your schedule and you need to understand that doing these things that bring you joy and downtime are as equally important as things like work and chores. Recognize that by consistently putting your own wants and needs second above what you need to do for work and others is eroding your own happiness.

If you have lost your Mojo and need to get it back

First of all, if you are suffering from depression, please please please seek help from a professional, pastor, or even a friend that you know and trust. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health and you absolutely do not have to live with depression.

If you are just in a rut or feeling like you have lost your mojo try some or all of these things to get it back.

Set a date - Get out your calendar and set a date of when you are done being in the doldrums. It might be one hour from now, one day from now, or one week from now, but set a date and then wallow in your own self-pity until then. After that, you are now DONE with being in a burned-out status. Now, this may only be mentally, but you need to start with your mind and then move on to your body and action.

While you are wallowing, make a list of all of the things you are not doing, don't feel like doing, and just don't have the drive to do. Make a note of why you are not doing them. It could simply be that you don't feel like doing them, or it could be something else like you don't have the supplies, tools, money, or time to do them. But, write it down and know what factors are preventing you.

Next, evaluate how happy each thing on that list will make you. You might choose to rate them on a 1-10 scale, or just put a smiley face next to the ones that will really impact the way you feel when they are done.

Evaluate the ones with the least happiness associated and what will happen if they never get done. Will someone else not be happy? Will the world come to an end? Will your business grind to a halt? Why are those things on your list at all? Why are you not doing them?

Let go of the things that are not realistic. If you have things on your list that are bringing you down, but it is unrealistic that they will get done in the next month then consider letting them go. These may include things that will take a large time commitment or a large amount of money that you don't currently have. Also, consider asking for help with the things that are too much for you to complete on your own.

Make a list of the things that you think will motivate you to move on. It may be taking a walk, a run, spending an hour browsing a thrift store, or chatting with a friend.

When your time comes - the time that you are done wallowing - do one thing. Start with something that is fast and easy. It might be throwing in a load of laundry, loading the dishwasher, or just taking a shower and putting on makeup. Then alternate with something from your will motivate you list. Reward yourself and keep on doing one more thing. Try rewarding yourself with things that are approximately the same time commitment as the avoidance list ... so if it only took you 10 minutes to deal with the dirty dishes then you probably haven't put in enough time to watch a whole season of your favorite show on netflix. By facing only one thing at a time you will eventually chip away that list.

Now ... it is time for me to go find some mo to put in my jo! I think I will start with the shower and make up ... my hubby would probably appreciate that too!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

New Magnetic Sticky Note Holders in the Shop Today!

I've listed more sticky note holders today!  I have more of these same patterns, so if you see that one is sold out just send me a note!

Have a lovely day!  (I have to get back out in the garden!)

Monday, March 19, 2012

The luck of the Irish

Ah, the luck of the Irish has been with me this weekend!  I found 3 4-leaf clovers just walking through my yard!  Each time I was just walking along and looked down and there a 4-leaf clover was!  I put them in a book to press them, maybe I will even make a couple pendants out of them!

It reminded me that I need to look down more often though and notice some of the little things.  The seeds sprouting, the tiny flowers that would be missed, and even the little bugs working hard.  The little things are so easily missed but often some of the most amazing things come in little packages. 

Hope you have a lovely day!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Magnetic Mail Holders in the shop!

I've finally been adding some stock to the shop and last week it was some ready to ship magnetic mail organizers!

This magnetic letter, mail or note holder is such a great addition to any magnet board, office cabinet, refrigerator, locker ... Use it to keep coupons, mail, notes, shipping supplies, orders, invoices, bills or a hundred other things in one place.

Measurements - 5.5in tall, 4.75in wide, 1.5in deep. Shown holding 40 empty envelopes.

You can find the ready made ones in this section:

And the Pick your own fabric one here:

I'll be adding a larger size soon!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Progress in the Shop and Progress in the Garden!

We've been working hard here at the MooreMagnets house! 

Hubby spent a lot of time on the tractor this past weekend moving dirt around in the garden and then running the disk harrow over it to loosen it up.  I have to give him props because he sure has gotten better on the tractor! 

When we moved here and got the tractor neither one of us had much experience with a big garden or a tractor.  So after 3 or 4 years the dirt had been moved all over the place creating a lot of mountains (ok hills) and valleys! 

Now it is nice and smooth, and almost ready for planting.  All of that wood needs to be cut and moved to form raised beds.  I'm starting with two for now for some cold weather veggies.  The pallet eyesore is my new compost and there will be a second one on the other corner.  Maybe I'll plant some beans or gourds around them to make the pallets look prettier!

I've been out working in the shop today though.  I have quite a nice stack of work to do there! 

You will be pleased to know that I enjoyed that glass of ice tea before I came in to write this post though!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Featured Friends - Laura from LeAnimale

I think one of the best and most unexpected things that has happened since I started selling on Etsy and selling at craft shows are the wonderful and talented friends that I have made along the way.

I hope you will enjoy seeing objects made by a few of these friends!

Today I introduce you to Laura of LeAnimale!  She makes the most wonderful animal totems, necklaces, and notebooks!  Each one is specially sculpted and just looking at them amazes me!

I really want this cute little penguin necklace! She has a virtual zoo in her Etsy shop!  Laura doesn't live too far away from me, and I look forward to having coffee with her again soon!

Le baby penguin

Friday, March 2, 2012

Facebook Fan Fabric picks!

A couple weeks ago I asked my Facebook fans to tell me which fabrics I should make things from!

Here are a few of the boards that were made from those!  I'll have more new boards listed on Monday ... depending on how camera-friendly our weather is the next few days!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Off to the Derby!

Once a year, I get to spend a little extra time with my favorite little guy and make a pinewood derby car!  This year was our 3rd pinewood derby and it was the first time when we had a complete do-over from the car we started.

Originally the little guy wanted mommy to make a bear car.  However, I was quickly reminded that I am no carver, sculptor, or all that handy with a pocket knife. 

So we ditched the bear idea and made this one

I even painted the wheels this year!  The little guy was amazed that "It looks like a real car!!"

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Finished Product Storage

I've blogged about my finished product storage before.  However, I have recently decided that it is just not working for me. 

Previously I was storing my finished product in my cabinets that hubby and I installed in December 2010.  However, I quickly realized that I was growing out of that space.  It became very apparent in the spring of 2011 as I began getting ready for spring craft shows, and I would have finished magnet boards lining the living room.

So, I have finally cleared out the coat closet and moved in!  Please realize that coat closet is just the name as coats have never really lived in there.  I am still storing my bolts of felt inside too, as they are too long to put in my cabinets, but I may still re-install a shelf that was removed before.

I like that now everything is in one place and it will be easy to load and unload when packing up for a craft show.  I can also space things out so that when something sells it is easy to find.

Now it is time to fill these shelves up!  Spring Craft shows are coming up quickly!

The wire shelves may be problematic, but I will use it this way for a little while before I bug hubby again.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Shoe Racks as Toy Storage

I'm a little embarrassed to show you these pictures.  Our youngest son has an armory ... an armory of Nerf guns.  He LOVES his Nerf guns and I have become quite a good shot playing with him.

However, I can't say that Nerf guns are the easiest thing to store and find a place for!

So, a genius idea came over me!  I put an over the door shoe rack on his door to put the nerf guns in!  The pockets are the perfect size for many of his smaller guns.

He can't reach the highest pockets, so I'll be putting things in those that he doesn't use so often

We are hanging his larger ones on hooks around his room.

Yes, there are more than pictured here!

Oh, well ... at least he is not addicted to TV and video games!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Shipping Station!

During the time that I have been selling on Etsy and my website, I have come to appreciate the importance of having a dedicated shipping station.

A place where I can have bubble mailers, tape, bubble wrap, plastic baggies, ribbon, and all of those other things at my finger tips!

So, I have finally set up a dedicated shipping station in my work cabinets.

I have bubble mailers, and ribbons in the cabinet above.

I really like that this place is right next to my computer so that I only have to take a few steps to enter weights, print labels, and grab them off the printer!

Tape, baggies, scissors, pens, and also my scale lives in the drawer.

Bubble wrap, newspaper, and other packaging material lives in the cabinet below.

You may notice that I don't have a place for large boxes.  They currently live in my workshop outside since I don't really want them filling up my living room office!

Time to take these out to the mail box!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Yarn Wreath Tutorial

Last weekend it was a bit chilly out.  So, I decided to make a new wreath for the door!  I have been trying to get a wreath to put up for each season, so this is my spring wreath!

The supplies for this were less than $10 (I used a coupon for the wreath form, and the silk flowers were on sale!) and it took me a couple hours to make - most of that is wrapping, and wrapping, and wrapping yarn ... and my skein of yarn was giving me fits so some of that time was undoing the skein and making a ball of yarn.

Here are my supplies:
1 14" wreath form (I would probably like a 16 inch one, but apparently they are hard to find!)
1 skein of yarn - I probably used about 2/3 of it
1 bouquet of silk flowers and other embellishments

Tools needed:
glue gun
wire cutters (for cutting ends of silk flowers)
clear tape

You want to start by tying your yarn on to the wreath.  I left about a 6 inch tail on the yarn for the hanger at the end.  This is more than you need, but will make it easy to tie.  I would also recommend tying in at the seam of the wreath form (not shown in this picture) as when you tighten up your wrapping it won't keep moving around.

Now the wrapping begins.  If your wreath form is smooth like mine you can wrap the yarn several times and then tighten it up.  However, I wouldn't recommend that you get the wraps far apart and that you push them together every 4 wraps.

Also, when you tighten up your wraps DO NOT twist your hands.  You want to push and pull them together, but twisting will cause some of the wraps to loosen and some of them to tighten creating nonuniform wrapping.

If you need to take a coffee break use a couple of pieces of the clear tape to secure it down.  You may also want to tape down the tail that you left at the beginning so that it doesn't get in your way.

After many many many wraps you will get close to the end.  When you are about 3/4 of an inch or 1 inch from the end you can make your hanger.  Tape the tail down, tie it to the wrapped yarn and then finish wrapping over the taped section.

When you get all the way around you can tie the two ends together like this to form a little hanger.

Now your wreath is done and you can put your flowers on!

You will want to trim your flowers, but leave some of the stem to push into your wreath.  For the larger stems I leave about 1/2 to 3/4 inch, for the small wires I leave 1 to 1 1/2 inches.

Next you will want to dry fit all of your flowers.  I generally put all of the flowers in until I decide on the final arrangement.  Please note that the holes will not look this large.  Apparently my camera did not take the pictures the other day so I had to remove one after it was glued to show these pictures.

Once you have decided on the placement of all of the flowers use your glue gun to secure them in place.  Take the flower out, inject hot glue into the hole, and then replace the flower before the glue cools. 

I recommend removing and gluing one flower at a time.

An alternative to the hanger that I showed you is to use a wide ribbon. I will be adding a ribbon when I get some that coordinates with the flowers.