Friday, April 30, 2010

Totally His

I have to admit, I was a bit apprehensive to share yesterday's post.  "What will my readers think?"

Well, so many of you emailed me and said the sweetest things.  Thank you.

When it's all said and done, though, what God thinks is most important to me.  And yesterday He told me that I am. . .



                     Yes, I am.  I'm in good hands.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

It's personal - just thought you should know.


As April draws to a close, I would be remiss if I didn't bring up something near and dear to my heart.  Organ donation.  It's a very personal thing for me and has affected my family several times over.  I have personally seen how a living kidney transplant breathes life into a weakened body.  How it brings color back into the skin.  How it gives someone hope for tomorrow. 

My father and sister both had kidney transplants in their 20s.  My dad received a kidney from his brother when transplants were still new and being improved.  He had that kidney for 31 years when cancer took him - not kidney disease.  My sister had two transplants.  One from her mother and after that one failed, one from our step-mother.  Sadly, my sister died at age 35, leaving 3 children behind. 

Now it gets really personal.  The disease that both my dad and sister had is inheirited.  I have it too.  I wasn't diagnosed until I was 45.  My doctor told me nine months ago that I would be on the list within a year.  My last visit showed an improvement in my kidney function (something I was told wouldn't happen).   I'll share my lifestyle changes with you in a future post.

I'm not worried about this disease.  It is a part of my life, but it doesn't run my life.  It tires me out but God gives me the energy to keep going. 

Organ donation is something that most people don't think about.  I do.  I think about it every day.  If you haven't checked it out, would you use this reminder to do so?  Would you learn about it?  You could make a big difference in someone's life.

Here are a few places to learn about donations:
National information
Congressional Kidney Caucus
National Kidney Foundation
organtransplants.org

Thanks for allowing me to share.  Tomorrow we'll look at something more cheerful.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wrensday: Beautiful blooms


I thought you might enjoy what's blooming in my butterfly garden.

No butterflies yet, just flies.


yellow iris



clematis




butterfly garden ornament helps to support purple clematis

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tuesday Thrifting Treasures

Many of you know that one of my favorite hobbies is to scour thrift stores for hidden treasures.

This past week I was able to indulge in this fun activity. 

Here are a few of my finds.


I paid $1.98 for the bird house thingy.  I paid another $1.98 for the cheese dome, .98 cents for the purple candle holder, and $2.98 for the cute purse.  The purse was new with the store tags still attached.  I can't even buy handles to make my own purse for $2.98!!


I gave the cheese dome and the candle holder a good scrubbing and 3 coats of Heirloom white spray paint.  Then I glued the cheese dome bottom to the candle holder.


I placed it beside a tall, chunky candle stick from Pottery Barn that I topped with an antique plate and a cheese dome I already owned.  I placed a few pretty sea shells in them both.  It makes a nice arrangement on my sideboard.



I'm not sure what this is.  It could be a bird house or a terrarium.  I removed the glass pieces that were held in with bendable tabs.  Then, I spray painted it with my favorite new spray paint, Heirloom White.  After cleaning the glass pieces, I replaced them within the tabs and placed it on my back porch. 


I'm always looking for glass containers to store my dry goods in.  These, in cobalt blue (swoon. . . ) caught my eye.  I already have them filled with grains and placed them in the pantry.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Monday Motivation: Clothing purge

(this is not my closet)


It's that time of year when we need to go through our closets and purge out the old clothes and prepare for the new ones. Sometimes it can be overwhelming to try and clean out your closets. I'm going to take you through the process, step by step.  This post was originally published in March of 2009.  If you want to see my real closet, just check out the post.



1. De-clutter your bedroom. Make your bed (it will be a work surface), and clear the floor of all items that have nothing to do with your clothes. You don't want to try to organize on top of clutter.



2. Take out each item of clothing and place it in a pile according to the type of garment it is. Example: shirts, pants, dresses, skirts, jackets



3. Don't sort shoes or accessories yet-that will come later.



4. Go through one pile of clothes at a time. Start with the smallest pile first. Take away any clothes that are too small, too big, too ugly, too old, wrong color, wrong style, wrong decade. It helps to have an honest friend with you to help you make these decisions. If you're not sure about the item, try it on. If you decide to keep it, hang it up in your closet. If you decide to get rid of it, put it immediately into a box or opaque bag to go to the donation center.



5. Pick the next pile and go through the same process. If you have a lot of one type of clothing (like shirts), make separate piles for each color or style (blue, button down, long sleeve etc.). It will help you to make a better decision when you see that you have 5 white, long-sleeved shirts. Pick your 2 favorite shirts and donate the rest.



6. I love the look of my closet when all of my hangers are the same style and color. You don't have to spend a lot of money to get the nice look. Cheap, white, plastic hangers are available for around 10 cents apiece. That small investment really is worth the effort.



7. When you hang your clothes back in the closet, hang each type of clothing together. It will make getting dressed in the morning go much faster.



8. Repeat the sorting/purging routine with your shoes. Remember that you can only wear 1 pair of shoes at a time. You don't need to have 40 pair of shoes, 10 of which are brown leather loafers. I'll get off of my soap-box now.



9. Repeat the process with your belts, scarves, purses, and anything else you store in your closet. Oh, by the way, if you have items in your closet that shouldn't be there, now is the time to move them to another place. Just set them outside your bedroom door until you can put them away later.



10. Now, on to your dresser. Go through each drawer, sorting as you go. Try to keep only 1 drawer for each different type of clothing.



11. If something is too worn and needs to be replaced, write a list of items you need to buy. I'll always remember what my grandma used to tell me: "Always wear nice underwear in case you are in an accident and they have to cut your clothes off of you in the emergency room". I swear she said that!!



12. In my dresser drawers, I have small dividers to seperate socks, underwear, bras, and slips. In my husbands sock drawer, I have used my children's shoe boxes from when they were little to separate his socks. The smaller boxes are the perfect size and my husband, who is color blind, can find the proper color sock without my help.



13. For those who "love" to organize, like me, I use my labeler to put small labels inside the rim of the drawer. It helps my husband to find what he needs without rummaging through the whole drawer. For example, I have labeled "long-sleeved t-shirts", "short-sleeved t-shirts", and "grubby shirts" (to be worn to do yard work).





This whole process should be done twice a year-Spring and Fall. The more often you do it, the faster and easier it will be. Don't make any excuses. If you need to, work on one small area at a time. If you get stuck, e-mail me and I'll talk you through it. tidybrownwren@gmail.com

Friday, April 23, 2010

Laundry room storage

Yesterday, I showed you my newly painted/refreshed laundry room.

Today, I'll show you some of the storage areas I've created.


Hubs added this little shelf to the left of my cabinets.  I store our dinner trays here.  When the weather is nice (April-October here in Chesapeake) we carry our meals out to our front screened porch to eat.  It's much easier to fix our plates in the kitchen and carry them out on the trays. 


This cabinet holds our lunch boxes (2 are missing because Hubs and son are using their's.  I also put these stacking baskets in the cabinet to hold onions, potatoes, and my newest toy - a pasta machine (love it)


This cabinet holds from top to bottom:  Paper/plastic bags to reuse, thermos, ice bucket, french press,
bucket w/ clothespins, laundry soap ingredients, and napkins.

This cabinet holds a basket with paper/plastic serving pieces for entertaining, extra glass jars for storage, two small storage boxes with birthday candles and cupcake liners,waffle maker, salad spinner, colander, Grandma's old crock pot (which I still use), and my Pampered Chef apple peeler/corer.



I store my ironing board and iron on the laundry room door.  We bought a special holder at K-mart and it works really well.


Because the ironing board would bang against the door whenever we opened it, we installed a strip of Velcro along the bottom of the door and the board to keep it secure.
This little corner holds my ironing pile neatly tucked into a lidded hamper.  (Out of sight - out of mind?)
I also stash my step stool and my tool box here.

I bought a narrow laundry hamper to hold recycling.  Once or twice a week we empty it into our large recepticle outside.


Above the recycling container hangs this little reminder that I've had for almost 20 years.  It's silly, but it's how I feel sometimes.  My 3 children don't see the humor.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Laundry room redo

Well, she's not completely completed. 

I still have baseboards to make and crown moulding to install, but that won't be 'til next week.


My washer has to sit out farther than my dryer so I can open the cabinet door when the washer lid is open. (just a weird arrangement)


Poor baby.  She was really in bad shape and I hated going in there.


Remember this before pic?  That pile of laundry in the back was my ironing pile.  I hate ironing. 

The shelf in the foreground was for stuff I didn't have room for in the kitchen. (or so I thought)


I finished my ironing (yay) and removed the shelf.  I rearranged my pantry and found space for all of the stuff!  Who knew?


Here's the ugly utility rack that I was tempted to throw away.  I'm sure glad I didn't because she really cleaned up well.  I spraypainted her with Oil Rubbed Bronze spraypaint and hung her back up.


Do you like my fly swatter cover?  Hubs Oma made it when she was in her 80s. 


Here's my cleaning center.  Vacuum, Flip-it, swiffer, and cobweb getter.


First, I painted the circuit breaker with chaulk board paint and then I framed it out with some pine boards and white washed them.  It makes a great magnetic/chaulk board.
 

                    I always keep the magnet around just in case I need a reminder.  Did you notice it's hanging over my ironing basket? 

Tomorrow, I'll post about how my cabinets are organized and how I store my iron and ironing board. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wrensday: Buzzing and Clucking

There's a lot happening in my yard right now. 

Lots of bees.


New(old) skirts drying on the line will soon be made into upcycled aprons.

                      Suzie's taking care of any bugs trying to infest my garden.  Thanks, Suzie!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Laundry Room update

I've gone crazy with my paint brush.  I've been painting everything that doesn't move.  Hubs is afraid to sit down because I might paint him!

My utility room has been in sorry shape ever since we moved in.  The cabinets match the ones in my kitchen (sniff sniff) and they're all a little wonky.

I had already started taking the doors off the cabinets when I remembered to snap a pic


Please don't mind the dirty towels waiting to be washed.  You see, everything has to wait when I get the painting gleam in my eyes.


I painted the cabinets, inside and out, with semi-gloss Cottonwood paint.  Painting the inside has made me more cheerful when doing laundry.  Something about a light and bright cabinet interior makes me happy. 

As you can see, I traded the dirty towels for my cast iron fry pan.  Not sure what's up with that!

If you look carefully, you'll notice the wall behind the washer & dryer has changed too.  Actually all of the walls have changed.  I wallpapered them with beadboard wallpaper and now I've  painted them.  I told you I had the painting gleam! 

I'll finish up this room today and post the final results on Thursday.  Right now I need to wash the paint streaks out of my hair. 

Monday, April 19, 2010

Monday Motivation: Clean out your car



Is the inside of your car looking pretty bad?  Mine is.  After a whole season of running quickly from house to car - car to work - work to car - car to home to escape the cold and rain, my car interior has tak'n a beat'n. 

Having worked in preschools for many years, I can tell you that most families with small children have major gunk in their cars.  I can remember kneeling in a mini van, putting a child into a carseat, and standing back up with goldfish crackers stuck to my knees.  Yuck! 

I've got some work to do this week in my car and I thought you might like to get my perspective on what I plan on doing.

1.  First, I'll grab a plastic shopping bag and empty all ash trays and trash containers.  Then I'll search around for any gum wrappers, water bottle caps, or abandoned church bulletins.  Check the trunk too.

2.  Then I'll remove the floor mats.  If I had child car seats I would remove them too.

3.  Then I'll vacuum the seats, making sure to get down into the crevices.  I like to use a shop vac.  That way, if I suck up something important, I can easily retrieve it from the canister. 

4.  Next, I'll vacuum the floors, making sure to clean under the seats and also the trunk.

5.  I like to clean/dust the dashboard and all hard surfaces with my sparkle cleaner and follow up with a vinyl/leather protector. 

6.  If the floor mats are really gunky, I'll scrub them with a scrub brush and hose them down with the garden hose; leaving them outside in the sun to dry.

7.  Since I love clean windows, I'll clean them with sparkle cleaner and a microfiber cloth. 

8.  Going through my glove compartment, I'll throw away any expired coupons, mangled fast food napkins, and the melted chapstick from several months ago. 

9.  If I find any change, I'll throw it in my change bucket and count myself 36 cents richer . 

10.  Finally, I'll stand back and enjoy my clean and organized car. 

Because I'm frequently in my car, far away from home, I like to have several items in my car for emergencies:

1. alcohol hand sanitizer
2. umbrella
3. kleenex
4. napkins
5. feminine hygeine products
6. B,B,&Beyond coupons
7. blanket
8. shopping bags
9. jumper cables
10.first aide kit
11. pen, pencil, and notepad
12. change
13. extra set of clothes and shoes
14. insulated bags for hot/cold foods
15. peanut butter crackers
16. bottled water

Did I forget anything?  Let me know.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Sneak peek into my current projects

I've got a lot of projects in the works but nothing completed enough to show you a finished product. 

First on my list is a giant cupboard I'm finishing for a friend.  Isn't this blue stain pretty?  This will be in the inside. 


When it gets too dark to work outside, I head inside to sit at my sewing machine.  This is a custom order I did for a customer.  I had a great time making these posies for the first time.  I think I'll make some more. 



My utility room is getting a makeover.  It's been hard to work in this room because I have to work around a washer, dryer, hot water heater, and chest freezer.  I should be done in a few days.



This ugly little broom holder is getting a makeover too.  It's still functional so I thought it needed a little TLC.


Of course, wedding plans are still in full swing.  My daughter is busy finishing her thesis, which is due on Sunday, so I'm helping out with the party favors (yummy apple butter).

I just love the look of canning jars cooling on the counter.

      
What kind of projects are you working on? 

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tool Box Time

One year, for Christmas, my hubs surprised me with something I'd been asking for. 
My very own tool box. 




Isn't she a beaut?


It has almost every tool I'll ever use, plus a few I'll probably never use.  This case is small enough to keep in my utility room and easy enough to tote along on a staging/organizing job. 


I love how everything has it's own place.  Before I close the case, I check to make sure there are no empty spaces.  That way, I never lose a tool!

                       I recently saw some tool kits like this at Home Depot for less than $20.00. 
                          You might want to put this on your birthday or Mother's Day wish list!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wrensday: clucking and blooming

Suzie and Arica are loving all of the bugs, worms and sprouts that are showing up around our yard.


Potted pansies and blooming Carolina Jessamine on the gate make for a cheery welcome in the butterfly garden.



This is the last of the dafodils this spring.


This beautiful white bleeding heart comes back every year.