Wednesday, April 11, 2012

New purse!

I love what I make.  But one of the curses of being a creative type is that there is always more.more.more to make!  Last week I finally attacked a project that I actually needed: a new handbag.

I've been needing a new purse for a while and I just didn't feel right spending a ton on something that I didn't love and that didn't make me happy.  So I found some fabulous fabrics, spent less than $20 and 2 hours on it and voila! a purse!

This is what creating is all about.  Taking some raw materials and filling a need in someone's life.

I'll probably be making bags on a trial basis for the store.  If you are interested in working with me on creating one to suit your individual needs and tastes, send me a message and we'll start the process.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The History of Clean

When I was a child I was not in the "neat and tidy" category.  Piles abounded (although I knew what was in the piles!), my bed was never made (unless my sister made it), clothes were everywhere and it was like pulling teeth to get me to help with the dishes or laundry.

When I moved to college, I discovered that there were people far messier than me.  One roommate in particular did not have stuff, so much as she had one giant pile.  We had lofted her bed, and underneath it was a desk and a dresser, supposedly.  Really, all you could see was clothes.  I was still prone to piles, but I improved a bit from my younger days.

After dorm life, I moved into the "apartment life" stage, as a hip single chick.  Things were still pretty messy, but my apartment was never "dirty", just cluttered.  No cleaning routines to speak of either.

Then I got married and discovered that living with a man is twice as much mess.  My dear husband and I share many of the same faults when it comes to issues of cleanliness. We're both more prone to put our dish on the counter instead of in the dishwasher and neither of us likes folding and putting away laundry.  The first two years of our marriage were full of struggle in this area.

Then, after I spent a year getting used to being a mother and I had an urchin who was down THERE, down there with all that MESS!  Then I started improving.  I figured out some tricks and tips and started making sure laundry and dishes were kept up on.

Life got better.

Then, as it usually does, life got crazy and I got into a bad place.  I think it takes me a year after having a baby to get back to "normal", or to find that new normal.  I've passed that one year mark and while I still struggle, things are looking up!

Two tips for you today, from my many many years of wisdom.

1. Laundry Baskets are your best friends.  If you have a disaster of epic proportions use a laundry basket to sort and put away.  When I was living on my own, the first thing I'd pull out of the chaos was laundry.  Get that all in a basket, then taken care of and all of a sudden you can see the floor.  Now I usually pull the toys up first, then any trash that's found it's way to the floor, then anything else.  It's a magnificently simple system that is a life saver.

2.  Checklists are your second best friend.  There's plenty of options of things to buy if you don't want to make your own, but I highly suggest using a checklist.  This week I picked up the Confident Mom planner and I'm liking it so far!  There's also Motivated Moms and plenty of other options!  And don't forget the Fly Lady!  Going through her website definitely put me on the path to routines and keeping things clean!

If you were to give a tip to a person just moving out of their parents house, what would it be?

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Useful or not?


Today, I threw up my hands, yelled out my frustrations and then finally decluttered a bunch of junk from my laundry/storage room.  

Let me explain a bit.

I live in a ranch style house.  I love it dearly, especially since I don't have to worry about stairs for the urchins.  Especially nice is our laundry room.  Growing up we had a hole-in-the-wall laundry room that you could hardly open the doors of the machines in.  My laundry room now is huge, we use it as a storage room as well.  Currently we have the washer and dryer, a stand-up freezer, a big shelf on the wall with a 6' table underneath and three metal shelves from Ikea.  There's also my fabric bins hanging out in there.  

There is some level of organization in this room. The shelves are really organized and I actually didn't need to declutter them.  The bigger problem was under the table and the big shelf on the wall.  Under the table was just a bunch of junk, the shelves had a lot of bakeware and such on it.

So I had Chris grab me a big box and I just started pulling stuff off the shelf.  The problem with bridal showers is that you register for EVERYTHING and then you get EVERYTHING and then four years later you go "Huh.  Guess I didn't need a springform pan after all".  Because I am all about recycling and reusing, I'm gifting all these wonderful items to my brother who is getting married this year.  He's about to buy a house, so all my junk can go over there.  You're welcome brother.  ;)

Seriously though, it is SUCH a weight to get all that stuff out of there.  Most of it was stuff I used once a year at most.  Some of it had never been used, or maybe once in the last four years.  

Try it soon!  Get a big box, pick a room where you know there's a concentration of clutter and clean it out!  Storage room, laundry room, garage, linen closet or a bedroom closet are all great places to start.

Happy cleaning!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Announcing: a Spring Cleaning Series

I'm so excited to announce a series I'll be starting now, Spring Cleaning for the Lazy/Busy/Procrastinating Mom.  I'll be sharing some tips and tricks that I've learned that help me get my house clean!  And I'll be cleaning right along with you!  Let's get started!

First step for you to do today: gather your supplies.  My list:

  • Unpaper towels/dish cloths/paper towels- make sure you have some clean rags or a full roll of paper towel
  • Cleaner of choice.  I use a solution of half vinegar, half water.  But just make sure you have some of your favorite!  
  • Broom and dustpan.  I know someone who's broom recently broke in half.  If you have needed to replace yours for whatever reason, do it now!
  • Mop and bucket.  Make sure your mop head is good to go, replace it if you need to do so!
  • A good attitude!  
Next, get ready to get to work!  Prepare yourself by one simple task: washing, drying and putting away ALL your dishes.  If you have a build up, take the time to get through it earlier in the day or before dinner.  That way after dinner you just have the dinner dishes to do.  By the time you go to bed tonight, try and have everything put away.  This means that tomorrow, when you get really started you will have one task done.  

It's also important to keep up on the dishes throughout spring cleaning!  So make a pact with yourself that you will take 5 minutes after every meal to handle any dishes from that meal, and that you'll take 10 minutes before bed to finish things up.  25 minutes out of your day and I can promise you that you'll have a clean sink at the end of the day!  Set the timer when it comes time to do your dishes and you'll be surprised at how much you can get done when you focus.  Anyone can focus for 5 minutes!

Bonus task: laundry.  Get as much laundry washed, dryed, folded and put away as you can today!  If you have a backlog, at least try to get everything that's already clean folded and put away.  During this process, we're only going to do one load at a time from start to finish to help make sure we don't have any piles of clean clothes cluttering things up!

Happy Cleaning!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy Spring!

Happy First Day of Spring!  I've been spending my days outside with the kids.  They play in the backyard and I sit in my Adirondack chair and read L.M. Montgomery novels on my kindle.  It's pretty idyllic.

As the weather has been ridiculously warm (over 80 today!) I've really been in a spring cleaning mood.  This has been very good for the children's new playroom.  It's also been good for the state of my home in general!

One thing I've noticed though, is how much I use my unpaper towels in a day.  I easily go through 3, 4 or even 5, and currently I use them only in the kitchen and for wiping up random spills in the house.  I don't currently use them in the bathroom or for mirrors (although I'm planning on starting to do so when I get around to cleaning those, lol).  A deep clean of my kitchen used 2 unpaper towels.

But how many paper ones would I have used?  10, 20?  How many rolls would I go through during spring cleaning?  2, 3, 4?  More?

Here's my challenge for you.  Pick one room in your house, the kitchen, the dining room, the living room or the bathroom, that you will only use cloth in.  Maybe you can only commit to using a cloth dusting rag instead of paper towel with pledge.  Maybe you're ready to cut paper towels in the kitchen.  And maybe you're ready to get over your fear of the germs lurking on your rag after you clean the bathroom.  Whatever it is, for spring cleaning, use cloth!

To help you out, I'm giving you two things!  For the next week (until 3/27) unpaper towels are 10% off, and there's a coupon code for free shipping on anything in the shop (Code: SPRING2012)!  Happy Cleaning!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Greenify your window cleaning

When I started using vinegar and water to clean, one of the hardest places to let go of chemicals was windows.  Somehow, Windex seems like it does the job right.  I still have "issues" with my system, and I was excited to see this post at Simple Organic about several different systems.
The Experiment
  1. A vinegar and water mix
  2.  – I chose to use 1/2 water and 1/2 vinegar, which seemed to be the most commonly used ratio.
  3. Alcohol
  4.  – Many actually said they used vodka, but like others, I used 70% Isopropyl rubbing alcohol since it’s much cheaper.
  5. Cleaning mix
  6.  – 1 cup of water, 1 tablespoon vinegar, and 1 tablespoon rubbing alcohol.
  7. Norwex polishing cloth
  8.  – granted, this isn’t a homemade option, but you only use water with the cloth.
  9. Newspaper and vinegar
  10.  – I’ve always been told that newspaper does a great job and had never tried it.
 Read More
 Currently, I don't use any of those mixes!  I use a microfiber cloth with a mix of water, vinegar and a dash of Castille Soap.  Typically it doesn't cause too many problems, but it seems to take FOREVER to wipe it clean without streaks.  I'm thinking I'll try one of the better options that she found.  Can't hurt, right?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Moving forward!

I'm so excited that my kickstarter project was sucessful!  This means that I'll really be able to get things going in a good direction with This Cloth House!

Some of you may be wondering exactly where your money is going to go!  I'll be using this blog to share the journey, of course, but let me break down some of the plans right now.

  • Fees.  Part of the money, unfortunately, does need to go towards fees to Kickstarter and Amazon.  Not a huge amount, but that's part of it!
  • Fulfilling rewards.  Those of you who get rewards will be getting them soon!  You should have already gotten a short survey to fill out.  That will start the process of getting you your reward!
  • Marketing materials.  I'm going to be getting some marketing materials... brochures, a banner for craft shows, small things like that.
  • Lighting.  Right now, I work from a desk in my family room.  During the day I've got some great daylight coming in, but if I want to work at night I'm currently using two broken lamps.  It's kind of funny when you look at my lopsided lamp!  But I'll be getting some good "daylight" type lights.
  • Fabric.  First fabric order is going to be a bulk order of the cotton birdseye I use for unpaper towels!  I'll also be getting various other fabrics.
And from there, we will see how the needs pan out and what needs to be gotten!