Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Mini Folders for the Little Things - Busting Your Patterned Paper Stash

It's Tuesday and I'm back with my little continuing series on busting your paper stash! Today it's a quick post about making mini folders.
These are quick, easy, and useful--exactly what we like! They slip perfectly into a wicker stationery caddy on my desk, and I use them to organize things I want to include in a scrapbook layout, such as a ticket that was in my purse, a stamp I clipped off of something, a cute product tag I saved to upcycle, or a little photo. Other mini folders are dedicated to things like this week's receipts, magazine clippings, stray sticker sheets, and whatever ways you choose to sort out those little pieces of paper that would otherwise be strewn on your desk!
My mini folders are filed in this caddy on my desk--very handy!

They are made from some pretty, cardstock weight 12X12 patterned papers, cut to 6X12. Then I put them on the little scoreboard, put the crease in the middle at 6 inches, and add a coordinating tab with adhesive. 
I use the Sizzix On the Edge Die by Tim Holtz for file tabs to make my coordinating tabs--the tabs can be made from your scraps too, because the die is not very wide at all. I really love that particular die, and I have used it a lot in my organizing and planner making and now folder making--what it's really meant for! Just think, with that die, you could make any size folder. It also makes a cute card I've seen done.

However, you can easily fussy cut your tabs, or you can buy a post-it product for your tabs.

The point is, in just a couple of steps you have yet another beautiful way to organize yourself, enjoy your pretty paper stash, and keep your desk space clean for creating! Have fun!

Eat, Write, Dream, Stitch, Organize

Monday, June 29, 2015

A Quote for Monday

Last week's Tag Tuesday theme was On the Ocean Wave, and I happened to find this perfect sheet of patterned paper in my stash, and then I thought of one of my favorite quotes. Isak Dinesen was an amazing writer--who doesn't love Out of Africa--and she's certainly worth quoting for a Monday.

Eat, Write, Dream, Stitch

Thursday, June 25, 2015

DIY Life Planner Part Two--Making It All About You

If you missed part one of making your own homemade life planner with your pretty stash of scrapbook papers--scroll back down to the June 23rd post. Find the supply list and how to get started.
Now that you've created your weekly and monthly pages, what else will make this life planner all about you?

Think of the things you love and what you want to do every day.

I want to write, stitch, cook, garden, and get some things published! I think my life planner can help me do all that with the following.

  • To do lists for every week
  • Pocket folders that provide a place for printouts and clippings, an in-box/out-box, and mail
  • A post-it note dashboard in the front where the grocery lists live until I go shopping--this gives me a place to note if I have a coupon for that item and I can even pull it and put it with the list
  • Long-term lists including my master make list, writing projects in the works, and new ideas
  • A weekly menu planner
  • A little printed-out section of my favorite recipes in the back
  • A quote section--I collect quotes
  • A few sheets all about home organizing and projects for my house

Now you know why my life planner is so big! And also, this is why I needed ultra customization you can't buy.

I put my go-to recipes in the back of the planner with this mason jar patterned paper in front of that section. The magnet clip also marking my recipe section is a DIY from scattered squirrel. It was super easy to print  this out--there are also magnet clips for the months--and trim it, score it and fold, and then for the magnets on the inside, just cut up some of those squares of promotional magnets that you get everywhere for free. I actually used some old magnet calendars from my auto repair center! At this point, I'm feeling like an upcycling queen.

I love these organizing boxes from the dollar spot at Target, and one is now dedicated to my planner accessories that include my homemade ribbon paper clips, post-it tags, and those DIY magnet clips.
I used washi tape all throughout my planner making--it's super cute and it's repositionable.
Obviously, I love mason jar art. I'm a canner, and mason jars remind me of childhood with my mom and grandma being great at canning. In the middle of my life planner making, I found these half-price--it was a must have. I also created a planner for my daughter, and her likes and loves, and I actually had her planner spiral bound for just a few dollars and picked up some planner stickers as I created a whole kit for her planner. She loved it even more than I thought she would.
Pretty velum paper on the left, and a patterned paper to make a list on the right.
Speaking of binding, for my giant life planner, I used a three hole punch for all the pages, and then ended up just binding at the top and bottom with the clip rings. It actually works great for me and I can easily add and remove things.
 This is the most unique page in my planner. It is just there for decoration and for me. It is two vintage embroidery pattern packages sewn together. They belonged to my mother, remind me of her, and remind me how precious handmade things really are. I love looking at it. This is what your planner is all about--what you love, what motivates you, and what you want to look at every day.
sewing this vintage packaging

Maybe the best idea I ever had was this weekly menu planner to go in the big planner. I just created it myself in Word, and this way, I can go back and see what we had in the past weeks to motivate myself to actually use my recipes and have fun with food again.

It also helps me create the grocery shopping list, and magically, who knew, when you have the right ingredients, you can follow the recipe!

I have been getting my crockpot out a lot, I have to say. It's because of my planner. Slow cooking in the summer is just the best. You don't heat the kitchen, you can do other things and then, wallah, dinner's ready.

I have a lot of patterned paper pads that have pages with these fun boxes, meant to be trimmed out and used in your scrapbooking and journaling. They provide some great little places throughout my planner to just jot down and journal about something that happened, or something I just don't want to forget. So cute to have them in here, and so me.

You might be amazed at how a homemade life planner can make life better! Don't depend on a company to know what you need. Store bought planners are so generic. But there are a few planner makers who are in the business of customization. You can go that way--which is a little pricey, but worth it if you don't mind paying seventy or eighty dollars for a planner--or you can have fun concepting and creating your own customized life planner with your stash and things to upcycle. Make it the size you want. Mine, as I said before, does not travel, so it's big and has it all. Make it the look you want. Find some sturdy covers to upcycle and tailor them for your new book. Make all the lists and pages that apply to everything you need every day.

This was a super fun project, and I'm so happy with the results, and it also resulted with my making a special planner for my daughter.

Making a life planner is all about you--be selfish with those pretty papers for a change, and enjoy it!

See you next Tuesday with a new scrappy stash busting idea.

Eat, Write, Dream, Stitch, Plan


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

WOYWW 316--Stitches, Plans and Happy Mail

Happy Wednesday lovelies! I am sketching, stitching and planning at my crafty desk on a Wednesday morning.

Join the desker party at What's-On-Your-Workdesk Wednesday.

Ever since I decided to make my own life planner recently, for the next year, I've discovered there's a big planner community out there. Who knew! And, although they seem to target young millennial women, they give lots of great advice. One recent tip I picked up was to actually create a business planner for my side hustle--that's my new lingo I learned for all these things I like to do on the side from my day job, such as designing embroidery, writing scripts and books, and making crafts. I had this little 9X7-inch green three-ring notebook. It's cute, has great pockets inside, but I wasn't really doing anything with it. Now it means business! I made sections, dividers, little DIY folders to fit the rings, punched holes in large index cards to go in and added plenty of pages to write on for my little businesses. It has helped me so much to get it all organized and streamlined I can't believe it. In fact, I've already been designing embroidery patterns, and that's why I changed my blog header too.

Beside my business planner is my sketch book, and then another typewriter design I'm stitching. Fun! And this happy mail fits right into everything.
Annie's beautiful stitches

Jo's (aka Twiglet) gorgeous dumfling.

Here's my happy mail I meant to share last week--these ATCs from Twiglet and Annie are so gorgeous, I can't stop looking at them! ATCs from sewists are magical to me, especially in the middle of my embroidering frenzy. It's a good week.

Eat, Write, Dream, Stitch

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Bust Your Scrapbook Paper Stash and Make Your Own Life Planner

I love my scrapbook papers. Period. I love looking at them, and thinking of all the fun things I want to make with them. Scrapbooking and cardmaking are at the top of my list--but, scrapbooks stay closed and cards are given away.

I needed a new academic-style planner recently, which made me think: I look at my planner every day. And that's when I decided to make my own life planner, a little inspired from those wonderful Erin Condren planners, using my gorgeous patterned papers that I'd also like to look at every day.
The front and back covers are upcycled
Here's part one of my DIY Planner post--all the things you could pull together to make one and how to begin. I wanted an expansive planner, tailored to my life, wouldn't travel but stay on the desk at home, utilize pretty scrapbook papers, and keep my home life organized and my creative pursuits motivated. I decided to tackle the basic calendar part of it first.

To make your own homemade 8-1/2X11 life planner, here's a few supplies you might want to include:
  • Hole punches: three-hole and crop-a-dile
  • Patterned papers--I used a 200-page pad of 8-1/2X11 coordinating patterned papers
  • Patterned paper scraps
  • Printer paper
  • Stamps and stickers
  • Plastic pocket folders
  • Markers
  • Ruler
  • Paper cutter
  • Rings 
  • Washi tape

I decided to create weekly pages, by hand at first, on my typewriter, on printer paper I had cut down so that when attached to the scrapbook paper there would be that pretty border of the patterned paper. Just decide on a size and then trim your 52 papers if you're doing a weekly layout. On each week I have the days of the week on one side, and a to-do list on the other.
Doing this on my typewriter with hand-drawn lines was fun for an hour. But after a couple of hours I took this to the computer. I created a table in Word, and inserted little online pictures--different ones for each month--and I like the look of this better. So much faster this way. It's all good though, and it all works either way.
I found some great monthly layouts at scatteredsquirrel.com along with some creative planner inserts as well, and it's free. Funny the things you trip onto when you're working on a project.
Yes, it's huge and I use it every day.
Finally, for today's DIY Planner part one--the covers. I really wanted sturdy covers, but I'm making my own thing here. So, I dug out some old office planners and realized what great covers they had--spiral bound. I trimmed them and was able to punch my holes with the crop-a-dile. The trimmed edges were a little sharp, so I covered them with decorative masking tape (orange with polka dots from Target). I added some cute stickers, and some scrap paper to eventually title this thing, and some washi tape here and there. The one thought in my mind: why didn't I do this before?

See you Thursday for the rest of this monster DIY Planner part two!

Eat, Write, Dream, Stitch, Plan

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Slow Food Summer - Swiss Steak

Traditionally we think of our slowcookers as a winter appliance with yummy, hot, soupy foods to warm us up. I do like that.

The truth is, unlike an oven, having a slowcooker running for a few hours doesn't heat up the kitchen...just the food.
Therefore, I'm declaring this a slow food summer, and I'm exploring tasty recipes that can easily be thrown into one of my three slowcookers (I have one large, medium and small) and just when I'm all busy and creative in the afternoon, or I've been working all day...I don't have to worry about dinner. It will be ready and waiting!

First up this yummy swiss steak with potatoes rather than the usual noodles. It was really easy, and my family loved it. I used the high setting, and it was actually done in a little under 5 hours. I kept it on warm as I prepared a cheddar dill quick bread to go with it and some steamed green breans. It could be just a meal in itself though. So delish.

Slowcooker Swiss Steak
2 Tbs oil
1 to 1-1/2 lbs. beef round steak, cut into serving pieces
1/2 cup flour
4 to 5 potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 cups baby carrots
1 sweet onion, sliced
1 15-1/2 oz. can stewed tomatoes
1 12-oz. jar beef gravy
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Heat oil in skillet. Coat steak with flour and brown each side of the pieces in the skillet; remove and drain on a paper towel. In the slowcooker, place baby carrots, potatoes, onions, and steak pieces. Sprinkle with pepper and salt and pour the gravy and stewed tomatoes in. Cover and cook on either low for 10 to 12 hours, or on high for 5 to 6 hours.

Eat, Write, Dream, Stitch Slow

Thursday, June 18, 2015

A Pocket for Your Pocketbook--Today's Quick Fix for Your Patterned Paper Stash

My sweet mother always called her purse a "pocketbook." I remember her saying things like, "where's my pocketbook" ... "get that out of my pocketbook" ... "Sandra Leigh, just put it in my pocketbook" ... and trust me, she had that pocketbook by her side at all times and if she didn't she panicked until she knew where it was!

Anyhoo...on to today's scrappy stash buster. If you carry a bigger, more structured bag and end up with a plethora of receipts stuck in there, a random coupon or two, a printout, a piece of mail, a photo,  those things can get so smooshed in your bag!

Here's your very fast scrappy stash buster solution: stitch together two pieces of 8-1/2X11 cardstock weight patterned paper. I stitched mine on three sides on the sewing machine in a minute. It slipped right into the side of my bag, and now those random papers that are in transit, don't get bent up.
This is an organizing solution for your bag that doesn't really take up any room, and it also provides a nice dashboard for your random post-it notes on the go where you have jotted down a few things to get at the store, or what to remember to pack in your bag for the day.
I used two pieces of this patterned paper from a set, so there's a different pattern for each side. Fun!

Visit the first scrappy stash buster from earlier this week and dress up your drawers.
I do think stitching is really the only option here, because stuffing things in and out of this pocket would be a little too wearing on adhesive. Go wild and make a couple!
Also, if you're a bag girl, this is the Caelin City Plated Buckle Satchel from Charming Charlie in coral for $39.00. I couldn't pass it up, and I left the clear plastic on  some of the buckles! They are so shiny, and this bag looks rich. It's a great summer bag for me right now. When Coach and Dooney are not in my budget I can usually find something fun at CC.

See you next Tuesday with a DIY Planner that can really bust your scrappy stash. Enjoy!

Eat, Write, Dream, Stitch

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

WOYWW 315--The Craft Desk Grand Tour

This is my Wednesday linkup to What's-On-Your-Workdesk-Wednesday hosted by the creatively talented Mrs. Julia Dunnit. Snap a pic of your workspace and join in!
Here's something different for today--the grand tour of my big ole crafty desk. For about a year I was working on a table in the middle of my craft space. There was no room! The desk here had a shelf so that I could stand and work on my computer--due to back problems--and also stand and sew. It also got piled up. A few weeks ago I changed everything. Got way more organized, cleaned out, and streamlined. Now I have a  better sewing nook, and I've moved back into this desk, put the leaves down on the other table and use it as a cutting station with my mats, Big Shot, and little embossing purse. So now that I have every corner of this desk cleaned out and rearranged, hop on the shuttle and enjoy the tour!

First stop: the big picture--a rare picture. I paid four dollars for this desk in a silent auction in 1999, I'm pretty sure it's from the 1960's with its heavy wood and pullouts on each side. We painted it a few times, and the top is actually a door. The mailbox shelves are salvaged and painted that crackle green. I plan to repaint them white though. This is a late Tuesday afternoon photo--I was embroidering my shorts, working in my planner, and binge watching Real Housewives of New York!

Now we're approaching the tippy top of the shelves, and there is a big basket of cotton yarn to the right--and some storage on the other side. Shuttle over next to my desk and it is a nice tall bureau with a roll-down top  that organizes my embroidery supplies, favorite craft books, beads and jewelry-making, fabric scraps I use a lot, and envelopes and card bases I've made. I also keep my pink Instax camera and film there in a dedicated little drawer.
We're traveling to the far left corner where I keep the things I reach for often in two organizers, and a cigar box with a little wicker tray on top. Hanging on a hook there is a little watercolor journal I made from a tissue box.
I will pull this organizer out to show you--I just got it at Hobby Lobby. It was 9.99 and I had a 40% off coupon, so pretty good for something that keeps my desk much cleaner. It's exactly what I needed for the pens I use a lot, my little Martha Stewart scoreboard, paper cutter, scissors, little stickers and post-its, and most importantly and finally a special place to perch my crop-a-dile. It fits perfectly. I keep a plastic organizer of grommets in the cigar box.

Now we'll tour the far right corner--it used to  be a stacked up mess. I banished the mess. My prisma colored pencils and a couple of pair of scissors I use a lot are in a small, wide crystal vase for easy access, and I have some silk flowers. When I moved back to this desk, I wanted to pretty it up a little, because when I have a big crafting mess...it's not that pretty. And I need a little pretty to make me happy--silk flowers are a great solution for a craft space. Later in the summer I hope to have some fresh flowers here from the cutting garden, and it's also a place holder for those occasional lovely bouquets from my hubby. Right behind the vase of flowers, I've found a new permanent place to perch my ATG gun. It's kind of hidden, but very accessible. Perfect for me.
I hope you enjoyed the tour today and as we depart I had to show you one more thing I brought out. I love this little date stamp from Smash. You can choose from several little sayings to stamp with the date! They still have them at Michaels. I keep it right at the front of my desk drawer.

The drawer is pretty organized too--but this was before I found a new place for the crop-a-dile and pens--so now I have a few other things in there to make life easier. In fact...I'll never let things in my main desk drawer be piled up and loose again! Sorry for the long tour today--I very rarely do that. But I was just a little too proud of myself for all the cleaning out and organizing I've done. My advice is that when the organizing bug hits you, go with it! You'll be so happy with the results.
Happy Wednesday lovely!

Eat, Write, Dream, Stitch, Organize

Monday, June 15, 2015

Busting Your Scrapbook Paper Stash Starts Today--Dress Up Your Drawers

If you have a craft room...a crafty corner...or even a craft closet you probably have a nice little collection of those beautiful scrapbook papers. Mainly because we can get our pretty papers in huge themed 12X12 or 8-1/2X11 or even smaller pads, our collections easily grow.
But let's get one thing clear: I love my scrapbook papers!

I use scrapbook paper for so many things beyond scrapbooking and cardmaking because I want to look at it and enjoy it all the time. Scrapbooks get put away and cards are given away or sold...therefore I'm sharing some of my more unique ways to bust your scrap paper stash and actually enjoy looking at those pretty pieces of patterned papers that you love.

Of course you love it, or you wouldn't have bought it.

Visit me every Tuesday and Thursday for a while and I'll have something fun to DIY, upcycle, and create with your prettiest papers, just for you.
Yep--that's scrapbook paper!
Today's pretty quick, because you're going to catch onto this pretty quick. You know we love to line our desk and dresser drawers, but we never do anything with the sides! I happen to have a big ole desk for my crafting and work that happens to be kind of vintage, and the actual desktop was a door and it's all painted. So I pulled out the drawers, measured the sides, and cut some scrapbook papers to fit. I just used my ATG gun, and wallah. I have pretty drawers when they're pulled out! Smooth the papers down well and try to affix them as far back on the side of the drawer as you can so that the paper won't catch when you push the drawer back in. If you wish, use papers from a themed pad so that you can have coordinating patterns for each drawer. Enjoy!

Eat, Write, Dream, Stitch

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

WOYWW 314--Organizing My DIY Planner

 Happy What's-On-Your-Workdesk-Wednesday! Visit the desky linkup over at Miss Julia's.
On my desk, on a beautiful sunny summer (oh I LOVE summer) Wednesday morning around 6:30 a.m. is my DIY planner. I've had so much fun using my scrappy stash to make it...I called myself "Miss Scrappy Stash" and it is exactly what I needed: a big giant planner to write and organize my life in. It is meant to hold the weeks, to do lists, meal planning, crafty planning, writing project organization, doodles, ideas, and there are some nice plastic pocket folders to keep receipts and clippings. I should have done this long ago. I'll probably write a big ole post about it all and what I used to make it.

Here's what the cover looks like all closed up. It is not meant to travel. It stays at home on the desk. I found the cutest mason jar stickers on sale at Hobby Lobby and had to use them. I used a polka dot masking tape to soften the inside edge because this is a plastic cover from an old planner with the spiral binding cut off and holes punched.

I also did a little DIY cell phone holder for my desk. I found this acrylic case meant for floppy disks of all things. I just added scrapbook paper to it, and now it holds my cell phone, which I'm using to take the photos right now! You could also do the same thing with a cassette tape case--just use the J-card inside as your template.

I've been using a Scotch tape dispenser for my washi tape--I love using the washi tape in my new planner.

Now I'm taking my coffee out to the garden to check on the tomatoes! The beans and herbs are looking good too. Happy Wednesday lovelies!

Eat, Write, Dream, Stitch, Plan

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

WOYWW 313--DIY Weekly Planner

A dark morning photo for What's-On-Your-Workdesk-Wednesday.

I have scrapbook papers spread out everywhere. It all started when I noticed some of the beautiful customized planners that are out there--usually costing around 70 to 80 bucks! I wanted something very customized that would actually stay around my desk at home--not one for the bag. I like the academic year style, and then decided I actually want an 18-month planner to start this June.

Then I thought, make it yourself miss scrappy stash!
I actually typed some of the weekly pages on my ole typewriter!
So, I've been working on it, and I'm having so much fun. It includes things like plenty of list making which I love, weekly layouts, a go-to recipe section, folders for clippings and receipts, and lots of organizing of ME. It's already almost done, and with all the pretty papers, stamps, stickers, and punches I've used, I think it's gorgeous.
I created some of the weeks in Word and inserted images from online.
I hope to have a little photo shoot soon to be able to go into more detail about my new customized life planner. You know, I thought I was going to talk about a new embroidery I'm doing on some shorts--but once I started on this planner, I got obsessed!

I'm going to visit your desk and find out your obsession this week! Happy Wednesday.

Eat, Write, Dream, Stitch, Plan