Computer and media storage box

I started from a previous blog where I decorated tp tubes to hold rolled up wires. This time I painted a shoe box, wrapped wires in tp tubes, clothespins, and ziploc bags; all with the perfect labels so that we’d know what’s what and what’s where.

paint the shoe box a neutral colour

paint the shoe box a neutral colour

label all the cords, some in toilet paper tubes, some in ziploc bags.

label all the cords, some in toilet paper tubes, some in ziploc bags.

label the box so Hubby knows where things are.

label the box so Hubby knows where things are.

Mostly these cords are for the computers but a few are for the tablet or whatever. Anyway, as much as I would like every electronic wire in its own box, Hubby likes the “every wire in one box” method. Since he turns into a child lost in the mall without the “every wire in one box” system, I compromised and left the cell phone charger in the computer cord box.


Declutter magazine collection

I scrapbook and I get a new catalogue 4 times a year. It does add up, slowly, but adds up. I’d been using a sticky tab to flag a page with a layout that I like and could actually accomplish with my skills and paper supplies. So I got frustrated having to flip through the whole magazine to find what I was looking for, tabbed or not, that I just ripped out each relevant page, trimmed the edge, 3 hole punch the piece and stuck it in a binder. Now I only have the pages the inspire me. And it takes up less space and there is space in the binder for more!

1 in binder replaces a magazine collection.  Label the binder.

1 in binder replaces a magazine collection. Label the binder.

Reuse vitamin bottle as flower vase

So I finished me my cod liver oil supplements and was left with a largish, brown bottle. What to do, what to do? Flowers!

I cut the top off with a meat knife (I think a hacksaw would be slightly more effective but I haven’t unpacked mine yet), then ran the raw edge along a medium-hot iron to smooth it down. I freestyle hand painted this rose on the bottle

how to draw a rose

how to draw a rose


filled it with dirt and planted “Oopsy Daisy” calendula seeds. I labeled the back of the vase with the name of the plant, when I planted it and when it will sprout (8-10 days) just so I’d know since I’m the idiot gardener.

reuse vitamin bottle for flower vase

reuse vitamin bottle for flower vase

Organized suitcase

We just returned from our family vacation and this is how I kept all our stuff organized and handy. I hate having to dig to the bottom of a bag or suitcase whenever I need something so I divided the essentials into large makeup bags, labeled them, and as soon as we got to the hotel I just pulled them out and lined them up on the table.

organize suitcase

organize suitcase

I bought all the bags over the past 2 years from Avon once they went on sale so now I have a travel collection! I labeled each one with my label maker:

First Aid
Makeup brushes/Sunscreen
Charge cords

I used the giant letter setting on the label maker so Hubby would be able to navigate the system.

Labeling a plethora of eye makeup brushes and mark. Eye dream of glam ultimate eye shadow palette

I recently bought the gigantic eye shadow palette from mark. Avon and it’s amazing. I don’t think you’d ever need another palette. Until of course they stop making it. Anywho, the colours are all perfect for everybody, don’t require blending, shading, shaping or whatever and you still look like you spent hours on your makeup. You can blend of course if you are of that mind set, or your daughter needs to look like Elsa for her ballet recital.

Because there are a lot of colours, and I have been experimenting with eye shadow for a few years, I have a lot of brushes. In order to know which goes with what, I labeled them with nail polish. A pink swatch of polish on the brush for pink eyeshadow, a “L” on the brush for other light colours, a “dark” label on the other brush, “blending” written on the Avon eyeshadow brush which totally sucks as an eyeshadow brush and is only good for blending. Etc.

I also wrote a little colour note like “brown-pink” or “great blue” beside each colour so I could remember which was which and wear appropriately depending on my mood.

You can even wear the blackish colour all over your lids with nothing else and it looks good. How cool is that!?

I've got way more brushes, but you get the idea.

I’ve got way more brushes, but you get the idea.

labeled sponge brush too

labeled sponge brush too

Organize the spice cupboard

Taking inspiration from I decided to do our spice cupboard too.

I threw out all the expired spices.

I put all the bagged spices into jars (reused spice jars, jam jars, etc).

Top Shelf:
I put labels at the top of tall jars so I could line up medium sized jars in front of them and still see the labels on all the jars.

Middle Shelf:
I taped an empty soup mix box shut and put it at the back of the shelf to lift up some of the jars then put more jars in front.

Bottom Shelf:
I inverted a $0.99 slender basket for the pencils in the junk drawer and lined up the smaller spice jars on an angle so I could read the labels from the stove.

organize spice cupboard

organize spice cupboard

Spice Mixes
Hubby likes spice rubs and such for his meats so I put all those packets and jars in a very sturdy cardboard box that one of the kids’ tablets came in. I put it beside the stove so he’d see all the mixes he got as gifts and use them.

spice mixes in a reused box bottom beside the stove

spice mixes in a reused box bottom beside the stove

Label and date makeup for health and safety

Now is as good a time as any for makeup spring cleaning. Basically Avon has Christmas sales on makeup which made me realize just how old my current makeup is. Once opened, makeup has a shelf life after which bacteria, molds and fungi can breed in your makeup. This is also why you wash your makeup brushes. No need to have dirt kicking about to cause acne etc.

Bacteria gets introduced into your product from dirty hands, wet hands, brushes picking up bacteria from your face (there’s a natural flora there, but if the balance is upset they become opportunistic infections) and going back in the makeup pan. Products can simply degrade over time due to temperature or light or a 3 year old finding them.

Here are the “trash by” dates for makeup from Allure magazine.

Mascara 3 months once opened
Liquid foundation 6-12 months
Concealer liquid 1 year
Concealer solid/powder up to 2 years
Face powder up to 2 years, depending on water content
Blush up to 2 years if you keep your blush brush clean
Cream blush 1 year
Eye shadow, cream and powder, every 3 months
Eye liner every 3 months
Lipstick 1 year
Lip gloss 1 year
Nail polish good until it breaks down and has no colour
Tools wash every 2 weeks with mild shampoo and store upright for good air flow to dry them

Obviously if anything smells funky, turns a funky colour, or suddenly gives you a rash; throw it out.

I had pink eye two years ago and had to throw out all my makeup and start over. GRRR. This time I’m doing it because my collection has expired. Too bad too, because it took about 2 years to get all the right colours and formulations for my personal self. Naturally, in that time, Avon stopped making that blush etc so I’ve got to start all over. At least I’ve learned a few things about colour in the meantime so this shouldn’t hurt too much.

And one more reason to keep your makeup clean, in my case, I let my daughter do her makeup with my stuff so I want her skin and eyes staying pristine. I’ve already scoured the ingredient lists, only buying the ones I approve of so I don’t want anything contaminated with bacteria.

label and date makeup for health and safety

label and date makeup for health and safety

This is my cream eyeshadow tray. First, with a toothpick and nail polish, I wrote the colour on each pot lid. There are correspondingly labeled brushes to go with them. Then I used my label maker to print the purchase date and stick that on the lid too, in this case Oct 2013.

This means I need to buy the new Mark. Clutch and Go palette to replace my eyeshadow by December-mid January (can’t remember exactly when in October I bought these).

Declutter clothes and accessories-The Date rule

6 months. If you haven’t worn it in 6 consecutive months, throw it out. That applies to clothing, jewellery and outerwear like coats and scarves. Obviously the 6 months for outerwear have to span winter.

stock photo, but I can dream

stock photo, but I can dream

In my case it was 8 months for the last lot of it. We moved here in January of 2013. It’s August. That’s 8 months. I’ve thrown out or donated within that time frame, things I wondered why I bothered to pack and didn’t want to pack again but now I was down to the last of it.

The nice, comfortable, washable white shirt. The flattering, professional, pink, knit tank top. The 4 necklaces. A few pairs of earrings. Things like that. Things I could wear, things I like, things that look nice on me, things that are wearable.

But things that have not been worn in 8 months.

I donated the clothing this morning to the Value Village which supports the Diabetes Association. I am putting the jewellery on kijiji for a week then donating it too. They aren’t precious metals by any means, just costume jewellery, but still, my first venture into looking like an adult who knows what she’s doing.

Clearly I am achieving that deception with different jewellery and clothing.

So for you who is not moving, which is a rather large physical marker of time, I suggest labels. Print a sheet of paper with as many lines as possible that say “February 19, 2014” in Arial 16 bold. That’s 6 months from now and includes all the important clothing seasons: hot, warm, cool and cold.. Cut out your labels, punch a hole in the side of each and tie/twist tie it to the piece of jewellery or clothing hanger. Not just the things you “think” you might not wear, EVERYTHING. You’ll surprise yourself, trust me.

Go about your daily life. If you wear it, remove the tag. If not, somebody or a trash can is getting a donation in February.

Repurpose cosmetic bag as first aid kit

First aid in this house is broken down into two basic parts (three if you include the trip to the ER). We have the tin of bandaids for “boo-boos” and a box of the larger sterile pads, tape, ankle wrap, etc.

I tried putting the extra stuff in an empty bandaid box, thinking I’d associate bandaid with first aid, but no; I associate bandaid box with bandaids so when we needed something for a larger boo boo, I thought we didn’t have it, put it on the grocery list and now we have two.

I also have a Clinique makeup case that came free with purchase that my grandmother gave to me. It’s not big enough for makeup brushes, or enough blushes for a trip, or even a pencil case. Since it was useless, I was going to throw it out, free or not, when “Eureka”!

first aid kit in free with purchase makeup case.  Gauze, tape, butterfly closures, etc.

first aid kit in free with purchase makeup case. Gauze, tape, butterfly closures, etc.

On the right was the incorrect first aid kit, also not big enough for everything. The makeup case is big enough for everything and I labeled it so Hubby can find it too!

Knit coin purse free pattern

Here is an easy little coin purse.

I made two, one for safety pins and one for all my buttons. I put a small safety pin through the top flap and sewed a button onto the flap of the other as labels so I’d know which purse was for which.

The pattern:

Cast on 21 sts, st st for 50 rows, end K row.

Row 1: K4 P13 K4 (creates garter stitch border to prevent rolling)

Row 2: K

Repeat these 2 rows 5 more times

Decrease flap, Row 1: K4 P to last 4 sts, K4

Row 2: K4, K2 tog, K to last 6 sts, K2 tog, K4

Repeat these 2 rows until 9 sts remain.

Row 1: K4, cast off 3, K2

Row 2: K3, yo, K3

From here to end K each row, decreasing 1 st at beg and end of each row until 3 sts remain. K 1 row. Cast off, sew up sides and add button.