Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I'll Take Mine Grilled, Please!


I don't eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches often, maybe 3 times a year.  But when I do, I want it GRILLED!

























If you've never had one, you're in for a treat! Just use your favorite grilled cheese sandwich method. I grill mine in a pan with a little butter on each side. You may use the oven, a sandwich grill, whatever. Butter on the outside is a must. The end result is yummy! Grilling the sandwich is very different than eating it on toasted bread. Be careful though, the filling will be HOT. Let it cool a little, but eat it while it is still warm.

Simple post, but I was wondering....Do YOU eat your PB&J grilled?

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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Craft Area Organizing Ideas

About a year ago, I realized that I really needed a craft area. My dining room table was always covered in paper and projects, half of my craft supplies were stashed under a small table, and the other half was in a hall closet.

     


I rearranged somethings and emptied a corner of our "computer room". In that room, we have a large desk,our main computer, a bookcase, and a futon. It is a quiet room away from the T.V. Perfect for a "craft corner".


That was an absolute pathetic excuse for a craft corner, I admit. I knew I was NOT going to feel very inspired to create anything here. I needed some craft organizing ideas. So I pinned, and I pinned, and I pinned and I came up with this:


My Craft Corner After and Before



I loved every inch of it. Every inch of it was within easy reach. Every inch of it was organized. Every inch of it was upcycled using things I already had, or I snagged from a couple of friends who were getting rid of things. My Inspiration Wheel was rescued from a friend's trash pile. The bookcase was in another friend's garage waiting to be donated to someone.

I used a pack of scrapbook paper I found at Hobby Lobby, paint from the garage or craft paint, an old Alice in Wonderland book, and lots of boxes. I was also inspired by one of the the most BEAUTIFUL Craft and sewing rooms EVER. See it HERE!

If you look between the desk and the plastic drawers, you can see a folded personal table. That is the only item I bought. I usually keep it open for extra space, but when we need the room, it is nice to be able to put it away. 

The photo above shows what my craft room looked like AFTER I finished it. Now, a year later, I'll show you what it looked like BEFORE I addressed some "problem" areas.


This was taken two weeks ago. This is pretty typical of how it stays, or how it stayed. I really didn't mind the mess on the table or desk. That's why I wanted a craft corner, so I could leave things out.

What was bothering me was the fact that I had OUTGROWN the space. I have accumulated some extra stuff and I still had some things stored in the dining room. I needed some more space, and I needed to get rid of another eye sore.


The keyboard was all jammed up into my space, and I hated all those cords showing. Plus, the boxes that "grew" on top of the shelves DID NOT MATCH.

I rearranged, moved a small cabinet in from the dining room, and moved some things around. This is what it looks like now:


First of all, do you see my Inchies?  

The stamps I so generously received a few weeks ago were in boxes that matched perfectly, so I put labels on them and left them out. I stashed the other boxes into the small cabinet. I also have my jewelry tool box and my daughter's craft supplies and school books in that cabinet. In the larger one are my paper stash books and some misc items.


Now here's the fun stuff...

Thrifty Nifty Organizing Ideas For Your Craft Supplies


Let's start with the large black cabinet.


Top: Clementine Boxes, covered with scrapbook paper and labeled.
Bottom Left: Paper trays I painted black. Coffee can covered with book pages.
Bottom Right: A large can covered with book pages and a shoe box to hold ribbon.

I had several large binders, some were black, some white. I covered them with scrapbook paper.


Inside, are sheet protectors. One binder is for words and letters.I try to keep them separated by color or style. 

Stickers and Embellishments are in another binder and separated by category. 

Middle: Embellishments are in baggies but I took the "flowers" out for the photo.
Right: The baggies are in page protectors. Christmas in one, bugs, butterflies in another.  I have a page protector for people, places, animals, etc.


A blue, plastic file box was painted black and covered with book pages. It holds tags, small paper packs, unique smaller paper, etc.



Coffee cans, painted black, covered with book pages.


My weird box. A wine crate, painted.


My slogan. Yes...I did buy that. $4 on clearance, Hobby Lobby. I had to have it!

A discarded TV stand holds a citrus crate (vertically) to create the illusion of a tall, narrow shelf unit. 



I painted the drawers with black spray paint for plastic. Scrapbook paper is taped on the inside front. A label is on the outside.



For domestic use only, these boxes make great file folders! I added pipe brackets (idea from the above link) as handles. Inside, I have manila folders holding card stock scraps, scrapbook paper scraps, stencils, etc.
It is not exactly organized inside, but I don't really care about that.


At a yard sale, I found a handmade casserole carrier. It has pegs and holes in the wood to be adjustable for any size casserole dish. I don't use if for that. It holds string and cord and sits on top of the citrus crate.


The craft table is an old desk. I used Mod Podge to cover it with the book pages. 



I cut butterflies from the scrapbook paper and place them on the desk with the pages. I also put butterflies on the wall. Wax paper keeps it protected while I work in art journals.


Crystal Light containers hold markers and pens. Someone gave me a grocery bag full of empty containers!


Scored these IKEA jars at a yard sale, $2 for all!


Two plastic drawer units that I had been using for my craft supplies got painted and spruced up.


More Crystal Light containers hold misc craft items, leftover ribbon scraps, embellishments, all sorts of stuff.

My favorite thing from my craft corner is my Inspiration wheel. It started out empty, but is now full of quotes, notes from family and friends and a few ideas I have brewing...


This was a long post, I know, but I hope it inspired you or gave you some ideas. Organizing can be fun, inexpensive and creative. Just look around and use what you've got.



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Friday, January 25, 2013

Organize Your Art Techniques

Yes, I know the title of this post seems like an oxymoron. Isn't art supposed to be free and flowing? Let it go, play, see what happens. But what if you don't know what will happen? Yes, that is part of the fun, the adventure. I love to do that.


There are times when I cannot afford to do that. Literally. Like when I have some new art supplies and I don't want to waste any of it. Or when I am working on unique paper, that cannot be replaced. Or especially if I am working in someone else's journal.

When I need to know what will happen with a particular art technique, I go to my Practice Journal. That's where I play around with ideas, supplies, and questions. I record my findings in the journal and refer back to it often. (I have a lousy memory.)

A Peek Inside My Practice Journal



I use an old calendar/planner I picked up from a yard sale. I didn't do anything with the cover. I love the photo. Sometimes I feel Just.Like.Him.

Before I start, this is how the pages look. Sometimes, I glue paper onto the pages, other times, I use gesso, paint, or whatever else I am experimenting with.


On the first page, I wanted to play with a correction pen. Clearly, I needed to practice. I was so glad I did. it takes practice to get used to how the pen flows.


On other pages, I experiment with specific pens or paints. What pens or paint show up best, which ones react with water? How to they react? Things like that.


I write all over the page to remind myself what happened.


I used to get so frustrated when I used acrylic paint as a background and then couldn't find the right pen to journal or embellish. I find a lot of my supplies at yard sales or thrift stores and they don't always come with instructions or explanations. I also wanted to know a fixative did or didn't preserve what I used.

 Now, I know. I recorded it. One of my biggest questions is: How will this react with water? I experiment a lot with that question.




Different pens on an acrylic paint background and a water wash.

 


Playing with doodles...


And mixed media...


If I want to know how pens work on watercolor, or how different colors look in different lettering techniques, this is where I turn. First, I played. Then I added a tag to the spine, with notes.



My practice journal isn't always for recording techniques. Sometimes, I just play with my thoughts. I have this thought a lot.


This was an experiment. I was playing with some of the techniques I recorded.




I am so glad that I finally figured out how to remember what works, how it works, and if I would want to try it again. Most of these techniques I pretty much remember now, since I've used them a lot. But there are lots of other supplies I want to play with. Gelatos, pastels, the list goes on.

I'll keep all my art techniques organized in this journal, and probably start another when this one is full. 

I hope this gives you ideas for how you can organize your art techniques

Do you do something similar?  Something different? How to you keep it all organized? 
Leave me a comment, if you'd like to share. 
Include a link if you've posted about it. Thanks!



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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tuesday 411 On Cleaning: Pots and Pans Cleaning and Storage

For years, I did not have good, quality pots and pans. I always bought cheap sets, wore them out, and two years later bought another.

I am only an average cook. I didn't know that having a decent set of pots and pans makes a HUGE difference in your cooking skills.

Because I Am a Recovering Slob, we sold (or threw out) almost everything we owned when we moved to Florida six years ago. As part of my "recovery program" I invested in a good set of pots, pans, and bake ware when we started over.

One of the first things I noticed when I bought my pots, was a little note inside one of them that said, "Not Recommended for Dishwasher".

What?

I did a little research and turns out that it really is better for your cookware if you hand wash it. It took a little getting used to, but because we were forming all new habits with our move, it wasn't too bad.  Now, six years later, I am happy to say that my pots are in GREAT shape and my bake ware hasn't rusted.

Hand washing, along with these pots and pans cleaning and storage tips have been the key:

Storing Pots and Pans


How to store your pots and pans
Do not stack your non-stick pans on top of one another. It will scratch them and cause them to loose their non-stick surface. If you are fortunate enough to have cabinets with built in shelving or racks, you are blessed. If not, try using a plate rack like I have here.

I also try not to stack my pots. I keep them with their lids. 

I store my baking pans in much the same way.

Cleaning Stainless Steel Pots


If you have hard water, cook a lot of rice, or boil eggs often, your pots may begin to look like this:


Don't be tempted to throw them into the dishwasher, it doesn't help.  Just spray them with vinegar, let it sit for a few moments, and wipe/wash as usual.




Good as New! It works for the outside also, but you may have to scrub more.

Now here's a tip for cleaning the outside of your pans. 

When I looked at the photo of my pots and pans, I noticed that my small pan had some yucky stains on it.


After I cleaned the pots with vinegar, I thought I'd try it on the red pan.



It didn't work. Neither did BarKeeper's Friend, or Citrosolve, or Simple Green, or Rubbing Alcohol, or dish detergent, or a Brillo Pad, or stainless steel cleaner. Or anything else under the kitchen sink.

But I got it off!


Want to know what worked? Good old elbow grease! To be specific, my fingernail. I felt so dumb. So simple. A scrub brush didn't get it off, but with a little scraping under warm water it was easy.

What are your cleaning or organizing tips for your pots and pans? 
Leave me a comment, I'd love to know! 

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