Saturday, January 31, 2015

Got Keys? Upcycled Wallet Card Organizer

If you've got a junk drawer in the kitchen or garage, you've probably got a bunch of these . . . old keys and rings. I found this batch in my husband's desk;  he didn't know what any of them unlock but, like most of us,  is afraid to throw them away.

And I bet we all have one of these . . . an over-stuffed wallet. Why is it that every restaurant, movie theatre and store wants us to have a plastic card to get sale prices? Add to that library cards, frequent-anything cards, membership cards, even a blood donor card, and even the roomiest wallet no longer closes without a fight.

Here's a junk drawer solution to the problem - all of your wallet cards on that one little key ring. They'll now be easy to carry, easy to find, and organized.
So grab one of those old key rings and dump out all your cards.

The only tool you'll need is a standard hole punch.
(If you absolutely can't find a long-forgotten key ring around your house, you can buy one at any hardware store. A package of four is only 97 cents at WalMart.)

I bet you can guess what comes next.
Yup, punching a hole in the corner of each card.

Just be careful to choose a corner that doesn't have either a bar code or your account number on it.
I learned this the hard way!

Slide your cards onto the ring and you're done.

I keep mine in the side pocket of my purse where I can grab it in a hurry.
 It currently has 23 cards on it . . . and counting.
I can't believe how often total strangers admire this simple idea when I use my cards. Yesterday, the librarian checking out my books called all the other librarians over to marvel at my little key ring;  I keep my library card on it. Then I stopped at the Hallmark store to get a birthday card and both clerks, as well as the customer behind me in line, wanted to see it. (Yes, I have a Hallmark Gold Crown card on it too!).  It's crazy . . .
I feel like a wallet-card rock star!
Now you can be one too.

This post is being shared at:
Upcycled Party Junk at Funky Junk Interiors
The Sunday Showcase at Under the Table and Dreaming
Nifty Thrifty Sunday at Nifty Thrifty Things
Tutorial Tuesday at Hope Studios
The Inspiration Board Creative Party at HomeWork
Inspire Me Tuesday at A Stroll Through Life
Tweak It Tuesday at Cozy Little House

Friday, January 30, 2015

A Good Day to Sew

We've barely dug out from Tuesday's blizzard and it's snowing again.
It's a good day to sew.

I did get out long enough to go to the gym early this morning. One advantage to working with a personal trainer is that you have to show up . . . no excuses!
When I got home, I stopped at the base of our driveway to take this photo.

The Valentine Wreath I Made for the front door can barely be seen over the snow bank.

It's also a good day to be retired!
Once I finally got in to the house, I couldn't wait to change into cozy flannels and wool socks.  
I've been working on a simple hand-tied quilt to snuggle into on cool nights in our Casita this summer. That and a book will make the perfect afternoon.

One of the pleasures of winter is not having to feel guilty about staying in and sewing or reading.


DH has a Weight Watcher-friendly custard pie in the oven and it smells delicious.  Warm custard, a fire in the fireplace, my sewing, and a good book - or  LL Bean catalog - are all I need today.
(I just realized that even my current library book is set in the snow!)

Nothing can compare to a summer's day in Maine, but winter has its own appeal.
It forces us to slow down and appreciate the special joys of just being home.

Stay warm out there!


Thursday, January 29, 2015

What Can I Make with 5 Hooks?

My latest DIY project was inspired by an unexpected gift.

These wrought iron hooks, numbered "one" to "five", were a surprise from my friend, Mary Elizabeth. She had purchased a set at Home Depot for her craft room re-do and knew how much I liked them. (Hearing me scream, "OMG, I love these!" when I walked into her craft room over the weekend may have given her the hint!).  So, being the thoughtful friend she is, she went back another day and got a set for me!

I decided that I wanted to mount the hooks on a board rather than directly into my craft room wall. So, after checking the ReStore, it was off to Goodwill, where I found this sign marked down to practically nothing now that Christmas is over. The size was right so I grabbed it.

You should have seen the look DH gave me when I dragged my junk supplies into the house. After 26 years, I'm sure he could tell I was deep into another DIY project and that there would be no point in even attempting to interrupt me until it was done. (I could still hear his laughter, though, as I stealthily carried the "Happy Holidays" sign up the stairs to my craft room.)

I turned my vertical sign horizontally and erased all memories of Christmas-past by applying three coats of acrylic paint in "Ivory". I sanded it for a distressed finish and sprayed it with a light coat of Krylon Matte Finish to protect it and add a low-gloss sheen.

The hooks were screwed to the board . . .

And "teeth" added to the back for hanging.

Then, all that was left to do was hang it over my sewing machine.

I'll use it to hang my good sewing scissors  (not to be confused with the many pairs of dull scissors I seem to have collected over the years)  . . .

and whatever else is cluttering my sewing table at the moment.

There are lots of memories in just this little corner of my craft room. The "Sugar" jar is from an antique mall in Brunswick, Maine where DH and I once had a booth. The tin stencil of the letter "U" was purchased in Connecticut many years ago when my girlfriend, Barbara, and I were newlyweds and would go antiquing on very limited budgets.

   I can't wait to show the finished project to my friend . . .
or maybe I just did!


This post is being shared at:
Home Sweet Home party at The Charm of Home
Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style
Show & Tell Friday at My Romantic Home
Flaunt It Friday at Chic On A Shoestring
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
Home Sweet Home at The Charm of Home
Tweak It Tuesday at Cozy Little House

Monday, January 26, 2015

Bringing New Readers to Our Blogs

I wonder if we're missing the obvious in our collective efforts to bring new readers and Followers to our blogs?  We write comments on each other's blogs and participate in each other's blog parties but sometimes it feels as if we're just "preaching to the choir"?

This thought hit me yesterday when I stopped in to visit my friend, Mary Elizabeth. (I've written about her one-woman whole house re-do - bedroom, craft room, martini bar and more - in previous posts. Now she's working on the kitchen!)

As we sat talking at the kitchen table, Mary Elizabeth showed me a vintage copper mold that she wants to distress and incorporate into her kitchen in some unique way. 

Given that Mary Elizabeth is a talented, tech-savvy woman who is not afraid of power tools, I said to her, "Why don't you check out a few of the great "junker blogs" out there? Or scroll through a few blog parties for ideas?".

Mary Elizabeth follows my blog religiously so her reply surprised me. She said, "What do you mean by "junker blogs"?  And, "What are blog parties?".
At which point I practically flew out of my chair to grab her laptop and show her what she's missing.  Like most of us, I've always had a list of my favorite blogs and linky parties on my sidebar . . .

My sidebar at 22 Applegate Lane

I just never realized that Mary Elizabeth, and possibly many other "newbie" readers, had no idea that these were live links and how much inspiration could be found there with one or two clicks.

Since it was Sunday and Mary Elizabeth is into repurposing items for her kitchen re-do, I started by suggesting she click on Donna's Saturday night linky party at Funky Junk Interiors. I had to show her where to click to "Read" the rest of the post and actually find the party.

Do we all just assume that new blog readers know this stuff?
I did . . . until today.
Saturday's "Party Junk" at Funky Junk Interiors

As we scrolled down, I could see Mary Elizabeth's eyes light up. She seemed totally amazed to find so many great ideas on just one page.  She loved this recycled 3-tier server from Joan at Scavenger Chic . . .

And this funky "Love Letters" project from Petticoat Junktion.
Mary Elizabeth commented that she'll probably be up all night visiting blogs now that she knows what's out there in "blogland" and how to access it.

Show & Tell Friday Party at My Romantic Home

Ironically, as I was working on this post today I received this note from an old friend in Connecticut:

Wow! A second friend who follows my blog (sort of!) but doesn't know how to access others. I was really surprised!

None of us has time to routinely provide individual instruction to potential blog readers. We can do that occasionally, like I did with  my friend, but on a wider level? Not likely.

What about the Internet?  I googled "How to Read/Follow a Blog" to see.  The results included either highly technical advice or instructions on how to start writing a blog. Not very helpful for new blog readers like Mary Elizabeth and my friend from Connecticut.

I suppose we could each write occasional posts with tips like "How to Follow a Blog" or "How to Access Blog Parties" or "How to Comment on a Blog". That might help.

Is there more that we, as bloggers, can do to help other creative women, potential blog readers and Followers, feel more comfortable navigating through our little corner of cyberspace?

Or does it even matter?

This post is linked to:
Tweak It Tuesday at Cozy Little House
Tutorial Tuesdays at Hope Studios
Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps On the Porch
Show & Share at Coastal Charm
What's It Wednesday at Ivy & Elephants
Vintage Inspiration Party at Beyond the Picket Fence

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Wash, Dry, Decorate: Laundry Room Update

When we moved to our retirement condo on Applegate Lane, there was a stackable washer and dryer squeezed into a small closet in the first floor bathroom.  You could actually see it from the living room . . . definitely not a good look, even if I tried to pass it off as steampunk!

Our house is a 2-story with a gambrel roofline . . .

So we found wasted space under the eaves . . .

and moved the laundry room upstairs next to the master bedroom. 

Here it is!

Under the sloping wall, we added an area for folding clothes with lots of storage underneath, hidden by a fabric "curtain" threaded onto a length of heavy wire secured to the underside of the counter top by small eye hooks.

This space is also really handy for wrapping gifts and laying out fabric for sewing projects.

I love some of the photos shared by blogger Miss Kopy Kat in her recent post entitled  How To Transform a Laundry Room.  Her fabric treatment under the counter is similar to mine and also hides a storage area.  Her laundry room even includes a coffee station and wine bar!

If I had wine in my laundry room, DH and I would have the cleanest clothes in town!

I hot-glued brightly-painted clothespins to a yardstick and mounted it on the wall between my dryer and folding area to hold those mystery socks that always seem to exit the dryer without their mates. The paper towel holder is handy for spills and a framed pattern envelope from the 1950's adds a little color and whimsy.  (How about those hats?)

On the opposite wall, I found room to hang a miniature clothesline to display a collection of vintage dolls' clothes.  

 An old apple ladder holds an antiques child's dress and an assortment of vintage wooden coat hangers. It's useful as well as decorative . . . I hang newly-ironed clothes on it until I put them away.

And the piece de resistance? A chandelier we rescued from the original porch of our former 1830's home. It's so unexpected in the laundry room that it just makes me smile!

Extra craft storage is hidden on a shelf unit behind the door where I can get to it easily. And there's room to leave the ironing board up all the time for quick touch-ups as clothes come out of the dryer.

 This room works perfectly and makes good use of formerly wasted space in our home.
Who says doing laundry can't be fun?

This post is linked to:
 Party Junk at Funky Junk Interiors
Show & Tell Friday at My Romantic Home
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