Friday, February 28, 2014

Getting Organized.....

Hello Friends!
I have been busy getting things ready to start my new job this week. This included getting my home in better order, meal planning, shopping and some various projects. While I am at work, I always use a to-do list. It's form is a steno pad, with a date on the top. Whatever is not accomplished one day goes to the next, and so on. I seem to have better success when I actually check things off as I accomplish them. It dawned on me that I should use a similar method at home, to become more organized in various aspects of my life.
So, I began watching some videos by various ladies who use a Life Planner, Home Planner, or a Filofax. This lead me to determine what kind of things do I want to become better at. For me, my main problems are time management. I can get sidetracked very easily. I have since implemented the planner, and so far so good!
The areas I want to track, and improve are:

Time Management at Home: I am really great at work, but once I get home, all bets are off. By implementing a daily calendar , writing down appointments and tasks, I seem to be getting better about using my time.

Finances: I swear I just don't know where my money goes. I have implemented a monthly budget, and have begun tracking receipts. This has helped me to cut down on the impulse type buys. It also is helping me actually save some money.

Meal Planning: This is all about the finances. I used to spend far more than necessary at the grocery store. By planning out my meals 2 weeks at a time, this helps me use what is in my freezer. It also helps me to start using coupons again, and stay on track at the grocery store by shopping from a list. Also, if I plan my meals, I can take advantage of bulk purchases at Sam's Club, and discount grocery stores like Save- A Lot.

Blog/YouTube: I used to post to my blog and make videos with some sort of consistency. In the past year, my blog has suffered. I really enjoy my Ustream shows, and making YouTube videos, but I need a schedule. If I attempt to keep up with these things, without a schedule, it never works.

House Cleaning: When you work as much as I do, cleaning seems to be last on my list. Having not been here in NJ for the past 7 weeks, has left a lot of much needed re- organizing, Keith does well on the dishes and trash, but the dusting, and organizing- not so much.

I made a little video to show you my planners for Home and for work:

 While I was busy making my planners, and using them, I discovered a few projects I wanted to tackle around the house. The first of which was our pantry. This poor thing had been neglected for a long time. It was not functional at all.  I cleared it out, checking all the expiration dates. I made a huge pile of trash, and learned my lesson. Procrastinating these tasks does not help anything. The whole remodel took me 2 hours, and that included a trip to the Dollar Tree for some bins. I don't know why I put these things off. The other lesson I learned fits right in with my meal planning and finance, namely shop with a list!!! I had a great tendency to overspend at the grocery store, and never use the stuff. Now I only have to remember the huge amount of groceries I threw out, for no other reason than a lack of planning. Pantry is completed! It is clean and organized. Next I am going to tackle my kitchen drawers and cabinets, perhaps one a day until completed.

While I was at the Dollar Tree, I found a great organizer for my Distress Inks and my craft drawers beneath my desk. I have gone through 3 drawers and used them to section things off, and it has helped tremendously. Now when I open the drawer, things don't move around, and the drawers can open and shut easily. 2 more drawers to go in this unit.

I got to thinking about all the organizers I have bought over the years to house my craft supplies. I have found only a few things that have really worked. Using Baseball card sleeves in a fat 3" binder for my clear $1 stamps, worked very well. Repurposing Priority Mailboxes into Paper Storage, worked very well too. I have been watching a lot of my favorite crafters on YouTube dive into using Avery Elle Stamp Pockets for thier 4 x 6 size stamps, and storing them in bins so they may be flipped through. I am really liking this idea. I am planning on converting my stamps that are currently in huge binders, and everywhere to this method, next month. I think it will help me house my collection more easily, and I will use them more. I did place my Stampers Anonymous stamps on their cards, in a photo box, so that I can flip through them. I am liking this method a lot better than the binders I used to keep them in. In one photo box I have 33 sets of stamps, that used to be in 4 mini binders. I have room for more as well. I could easily fit 50 sets in one box.  My plans for next month's conversion include purchasing a  few Fridge Binz from the Container Store and I believe these sets will fit in one of those as well. Now what to do with all the wood mounted stamps I still have.....

A few side organizing projects I have undertaken this week are: Card Boxes with dividers  by Theme of cards I make. One for Home and one for Work. I usually have a photo box full of birthday, thank you, congratulations cards at work.

 I also have taken on putting together a Survival Kit for the office. I saw a video by  At work with Nikki on YouTube where she explains the idea, and I thought it was awesome.

 She has sectioned hers into muslin pouches , which are labeled. She put together things for when those little emergencies pop up. For example, she has a pouch labeled clothing. Inside that pouch there is a lint brush, shout wipes, a sewing kit. She has a pouch labeled Oral care. Inside that pouch she has toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss. Altogether she has about 10 pouches. with everything from hand lotion to q-tips, to band-aids. I loved the case she used, which was a Caboodles train case. They sell it at K-mart for $33.  I have been putting together various items to make my Survival kit. I have to go to Michaels $1.50 spot to get the bags. Currently , my items are in ziploc bags, which is ok, just not as pleasing to look at.

Let me know how you store your crafty things, and household items. I still have a lot of closets to get through!


Monday, February 24, 2014

Card Swap Cards: 2nd Quarter 2014

Hello Friends!

Today I am also sharing my cards that I created for a card swap I participate in. This swap provides us with a theme or technique each month. I have been working ahead, due to my previous travel work schedule, and now since I am starting a new job in a week, I figured I will maintain my lead.

Themes for the months were as follows:

April: Emboss Resist and More: Any Embossed Resist technique or dry embossing.
May: Sing the Blues: Use Monochrome Blue ( may use black and white as a complement) and incorporate a piece of music sheet or a music stamp.
June: Sail Away or Under Sea: Use a water technique with any of the following: Gelatos, watercolors, H2O's, Distress paints, Distress Inks, or Distress Stains.

Since I was itching to get back into crafting, I thought I would use the cards as a way to jump start myself.

Here is a video of the cards I created:

Please leave me your comments. I appreciate your feedback! Thank you to Nancy Parker, and Martha Lee for including me in the card swap this year!


Small Haul and Review Flowers to Flourishes and Blitsy

Hello Friends!
 I am Home at Last!!! Quietly navigating a little jet lag this weekend, but I was anxious to make something!!! I had been away from my supplies for nearly 7 weeks....

 While I was away, I did take advantage of a few sales I had found on two daily deal scrapbooking sites. The first item was from Flowers to One day they had the Amy Tangerine Calendar stamp. As I recall it was under $5. I like that the dates are in a stack, making them easy to switch out, and that it has a case and a grooved stamp handle that accepts the tiny stamps fairly easily. Total stamp area is 1 1/2 inches by 1 inch. Tiny, but it has some good uses to make birthday cards, document specific days in your journal, or perhaps a desk calendar for holiday gifts. I think it was a great value and design.

 The next few items came from  Blitsy posts weekly deals and they stick around for several days. You can find a number of craft supplies on the site, not just scrapbooking. The site does require membership, which is free. Here is my referral

 I purchased 2 things this time, all glue products. All from Adhesive Tech. The first is their Fine Line glue, it has a very fine point, and the claim is you can write with it. I have yet to try this out, but will share the results when I do.
 The second item was Adhesive Tech's Gloodle system. This consists of a gun, that utilizes a plunger system, and a 2 oz glue refill that comes with 4 tips. I found the system very easy to set up, and easy to use. The consistency of the craft glue is very creamy, dries clear, and very quickly. The cons: The glue gun is much larger than I thought, and there is no cap provided to place on your tip once the gun is set up.

 Overall, I like the product and the entire purchase was under $12. Refills are less than $5, which is perfect for me. The refill is 2 oz , same size as a Scotch Quick Dry glue. This will work out well for me, as I sometimes have difficulty finding Scotch Quick Dry locally, and it is often priced over $5.

 Here is a video I created discussing all of the products I purchased:

 Thank you for reading and watching!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Leaving San Francisco.....

Hello Friends!

 I had high hopes of keeping up this blog during my time here in San Francisco, but alas, work intervenes.
Many of you have been so kind to send me e-mails, and tweets to keep tabs on me while I have been working out here. I thank you all so much. My life is set to change again. So perhaps I should catch you up....

 Back in October of 2013, I learned that the hotel I managed in NJ had sold. My company sent me to Texas on some task force type work, I was there for 7 weeks, assisting the Fairfield Inn , Weatherford, Texas. I met some fantastic people, who have graciously kept in touch with me. I returned home to help with transition day of the sale at the end of November. The new company did not take any of the existing staff. So, I was out of a job. Nothing was available in my local area, so I had a few offers to travel for work. A few short term offers from my current company, to go to NY or PA for a few weeks, or I could join an old friend, here in San Francisco. The work in California was more long term, and more interesting, so I opted to begin a fairly tough travel schedule of 3 weeks in California, and a week at home each month. It was set to last through a renovation project, for approximately 9 months. I was flattered my old friend would provide such an opportunity, so I jumped at the chance.

 I have really loved working with the folks out here. I also met my Mom's 1st cousin, connected with some friends from Ustream, and visited a lot of tourist stuff. I took a class with Dyan Reaveley! I biked the Golden Gate Bridge! I mastered public transportation, I helped out a few Hotel GM's, with various needs, and met a great group that I will surely miss.

 All the while I have been out here, I had previously placed my resume with a local hotel company back in NJ to manage another Marriott brand hotel, that is located 2 miles from my house! Well, 3 weeks ago, they called, and I got the job. I am set to start in early March. I am very excited to be able to work so close to home, for a brand I love, and with some old friends. It will be an exciting new chapter in my life. I am sad to be leaving all of my new friends and family out here in California, but as they say, there is no place like home... I will be very happy to be near my parents, and at home with Keith and Geddy. I have not been home since 1/9/14! I am going a little crazy in the hotel room I call home in California. I am so grateful to have been given this opportunity, but I am very ready to be home.

 So, I will be flying back to the cold climate of NJ, this Friday. I have a lot of work to do in getting packed up out here, and finishing my work. I am so grateful for all the support my friends and family have shown me through these last 5 months. I have made some family connections and friends that will last a lifetime. I hope to be able to return to my YouTube videos, and my Ustream show in mid March.

 Thank you all for following me, through these journeys. Your support means the world to me!