Tag Archive | organization

Ready, set, craft!

We’ve been in this house for five months and 14 days and today, I got my sewing room put together in a way that I can use it. It’s not perfect and my storage “solutions” are not Pinterest-worthy paragons of organization, but it’s functional. It started with a new cutting board. My kids have wreaked untold havoc on my old one. It’s dingy, torn up, bent up, adorned with marker drawings and globs of glue. In short, it’s hideous.


I had been all excited to start sewing on my peasant blouse (aka UFO #2), but when I spread out the cutting board on my table, I couldn’t bring myself to lay any fabric on it. It really was that gross. But for an almost 8 year old sheet of cardboard that survived two moves, I’d say I got my money’s worth out of it. All ten bucks and then some. Today, I bought a new one.

A thing of beauty

A thing of beauty

Now, to be fair, I shouldn’t say that the cutting board started this process. Really, it’s more that the cutting board ended it. Ever since we moved in, my table has been covered in mounds of stuff, most of which had no business being in my sewing room in the first place. Slowly, but surely, I was able to get the table cleared off. All except for my computer. And so, the table morphed into a desk, which was really handy, but didn’t help me accomplish any sewing. So today, with a new cutting board, I vowed to keep my table clear so that it will be project-ready at a moment’s notice. I tried various configurations of boxes and bins to use as a makeshift desk for my computer and moved it around to three different places in my room to find the best location. If Goldilocks had a laptop, this would have been her story. This stack of bins was too high; that stack was too low. Where was that elusive sweet spot?

Mr. Gren came in to observe my progress and suggested, “Why don’t you just use the ironing board? It’s adjustable.”
“But what do I do when I need to iron? It will be just like the table was before.”
“Just set your computer on that stack of bins right next to it.”



Frog is looking at you

This just might work.

Eventually, I’d like to get my fabric and yarn out of bins and into some kind of dresser or cabinet, but I can be patient until a good deal comes along. I can get to everything I need, I can see most of it, and I have plenty of room to move around.


Lots of natural light with South and West-facing windows


See that little mound on the table? That’s the peasant blouse, waiting to be sewn.

The closet, however, is a different story. But, as Mr. Gren pointed out, “At least you have a closet.”


I still need to write about that cape that’s hanging up in there!

From trash to treasure

Does anybody remember the show “Decorating Cents” on HGTV? I always liked that one. And I’d justify my TV time by folding laundry while I watched it. One of my favorite segments of the show was when they’d visit some antique/junk store in Minneapolis and show how they turned “trash” into “treasure.” Of course this appeals to me; I think it’s an inherited trait — my grandpa is a self-styled dumpster diver and is always finding new uses for old things. I’ve already shown you my tin-can lanterns and wine rack. I’ve also been known to make wrapping paper from meticulously flattened Hershey Kiss wrappers (just to wrap a cd; I don’t hate myself enough to make a whole roll of the stuff). I’m all about using what’s on hand! Which brings us to today’s project.

My kids have been acquiring coloring books like crazy lately and we’ve been running out of places to keep them. Time for a new coloring book holder. The supply list is pretty simple.

$1 for the contact paper, however much for Cheerios that we already ate, and scissors I already have. Cheap.

  • Costco-sized cereal box
  • Contact paper
  • Scissors
  • And maybe a pen for marking

I’ve also used large oatmeal boxes. The box just has to have enough depth to accommodate the width of the coloring books (or magazines or notebooks) and the cardboard should be somewhat sturdy.

Step 1a: Cut off the top flaps of the box.
Step 1b: Cut off excess height from the top of the box, leaving a couple inches above the height of the book for protection.

See how your box and book compare, size-wise

Step 2: Cut down about 1/3 off the front of the box to make it easy to remove the books (and to put them back, of course! Because that’s the whole point of this thing).

Ok, so I forgot to take a picture of the opening until after I'd finished it.


Step 3: Lay the box on the wrong side of the contact paper to measure out how much you will need to wrap around the entire thing. Leave an inch or so to fold over the cut edges and a couple inches to overlap on the bottom of the box.

Look! It's actual Contact brand!

Step 4: Slowly begin peeling back the contact paper and rolling the box over it to make it nice and smooth. Before you fold down the extra flaps at the top and bottom of the box, make a snip into each corner for the flaps of contact paper to fold over smoothly.

Inside top of the box

Bottom o' the box. I suppose you could cover the whole thing if you were so inclined. I am not.

Step 5: Fill it up with all those stray coloring books! Ta dah!

Ahhh, nice

Super easy and it looks so much better than just having a Cheerios box permanently on display. The contact paper makes it look nice enough that the kids no longer perceive the box as  fair game trash. Other boxes I’ve made like this have actually lasted for years, which is longer than some of their toys.

So there you go. Start rounding up all those flimsy books and magazines and make them a new home!