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The Crafty Gene

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For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a crafter.

I have wanted to make something out of nothing, turn an idea into gold, question not whether I can do it, but know that I can do it.

I went to college with a girl who knew not only how to sew, but her and her mother would make and paint Christmas ornaments. I wanted that. I wanted to be a mini-me to a Martha Stewart-esque maternal figure.

As I got older, I tried my hand at all sorts of crafty activities. I tried to fall in love with scrapbooking. I tried to make my own ornaments. I tried to adorn everything with pretty. Sparkly and pretty.

I wanted to be a crafting goddess.

But here’s the thing. It’s time to face facts. It is time to be truthful with my inner domestic diva.

I am tired of trying to be a crafter. Sure when I go into Michael’s Craft Store, I want to make all the things. I want to throw twenty-five different projects and all their accoutrements into my cart and plop my ever-present 20% off coupon on the counter and roll out of the store in slow motion with loud music playing in the background.

But you know what happens when I actually go into Michael’s? I don’t purchase crafting stuff. I buy seasonal décor with my 20% off coupon.

I buy things that other people made.

Boom, revelation time. Mind blown…

And you know what? It’s okay that I am not a born crafter. It is totally okay. I am an awesome organizer. No, really. All of my books are alphabetized by the author’s last name. And my clothes are all on hangers facing the same direction, organized by color. Yes, I am one of those people 🙂

I rock at organizing.

And I would rather be an organizing superstar than be super handy with a glue gun, felt, and a mason jar.

Because I wouldn’t even know what to do with that 😉

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If any of you have kiddos out there, you know that you inevitably have quite a bit of toys underfoot. It’s not that you are out there at the store constantly purchasing toys or anything; it’s just that they somehow have made their way into your home and any parent can tell you, they have no idea how all these toys got there! 🙂

Well I am here to say, that no matter the origination of the toys, you don’t have to spend a lot of money on containers to house them all. If you just think outside of the box (or container), you can probably find some things around the home that can house the Legos!

Speaking of Legos…

My daughter loves her Legos and there are sooooo many small pieces. I had to find something sturdy to house them all when they weren’t in use. And then I saw on the counter, the container holding the animal crackers we had picked up from Costco.

animalcrackers

Yup, I think this will work…

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Boom! Perfect! And I didn’t have to spend any additional money actually purchasing some sort of container! It pays to shop your house 🙂

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And then I thought hey, this container would be perfect to house all her little figures she plays with. So in went My Little Pony, the Bubble Guppies, etc…

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Man, these containers work great

Now my daughter loves to color. She has quite a few coloring books. Hmmmm, what to do, what to do… And then I realized I had this box that I used to use to house tax stuff/receipts/etc… But that was not a very organized solution and it was messy and hard to ever find anything, so the box was now sitting empty. Perfect!

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Yup, that’ll work!

coloringbooks

And a case that I was using for odds and ends, I cleaned out and is now her pencil-case!

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What to do with an empty Folgers coffee can?

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Use it for blocks of course!

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Hey I’m not trying to re-invent the wheel here, but anything where I can save a bit of money, I am all for it!

Do you guys have any creative uses for stuff? It doesn’t have to be for toys 🙂

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I know most people wait until the end of the month to post whether or not they hit their monthly goal, but I was just too exited that I completed my crafty goodness!

My one goal this month was to make handmade Christmas cards and I am done, done, done!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

I love my cards and I am thrilled to have finished this project before the end of the month! I didn’t want to still be working on them over the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend 🙂

Here's what I've completed so far!

On the inside of the card, I used my trusty stamp and ink pad which I already had in my scrapbooking bin. No money spent!

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Ta da!

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I loved making my homemade, all kinds of crafty goodness, Christmas cards 🙂

Hope all of you enjoy your week and have a lovely Thanksgiving!

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I have one goal for November, which is pretty good considering we are already a week in. 😉

My one goal this month is to…drum roll please…

Make handmade Christmas cards!!

So here’s the thing; we are a family that sends out Christmas cards. I know some people think it’s an outdated tradition or they send e-cards *shudder*, but I like Christmas cards. I like to send them out and I look forward to receiving them in the mail.

But I was also looking for ways to save some money on them as the holiday budget can get a little cuckoo if one is not careful. So I thought about it and I realized that I had everything I needed already to make the cards!

See, a few years ago, I had planned to make Christmas cards from scratch. I had purchased the blank cards and envelopes and already had some stuff in my scrapbooking bin to get ’em done. But I didn’t plan out a schedule to make them. I kept putting them off and putting them off and then it was too late; I had run out of time to make the cards and had to go to the store to purchase them.

But not this year! 🙂

I have already started on some cards and I have the whole month of November to get them done. Ambitious, crafty, and frugal all mixed into one!

Here's what I've completed so far!

Here’s what I’ve completed so far!

No extra money being spent, I free up some items in my scrapbooking bin, and my friends and family get some homemade crafty goodness from yours truly

So in between watching my sports teams play this month, I will be on the couch making Christmas cards.

Getting my craft on!

Getting my craft on!

The holiday will be here before ya know it! 🙂

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Everyone wants to save some money when furnishing a new place, right? I hear you. We were in the same predicament. We moved up to Oregon from Southern California with only what would fit into our two cars, so… you guessed it… No furniture, no lamps, no dishes, pretty much nada!

We needed these items because candlelight is all fine and dandy, but it does get dark, and lamps help me from not running into things. We also didn’t want to spend all our hard-earned money on furnishings. So we did things on a budget with as little impact to our wallet as possible.

We scoured Craigslist. We hit up Goodwill. We went to consignment stores. And we completely lucked out at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

I mean, look at these solid wood end tables we found!

Gorgeous!

Gorgeous!

I love them, and they remind me of the table that my grandmother had in her living room. Every time I look at them, I am reminded of her 🙂

Perfect for storage!

Perfect for storage!

And the best part honestly, was the price. They were listed at 2 end tables for $25, but they were marked off an additional 25% off, so we got both end tables for a little less than $17!!!!

Awwwwwww yeah!!

I also mentioned that we needed lamps. Because although the sun sets late up here, it still gets dark eventually, and that whole running into walls, clumsy sort of thing, well I do that. So I need to see.

Ta-da! Aren’t these pewter grey lamps just the cat’s meow??

Swoon!

Swoon!

Love, love, love them!

I found these babies at Goodwill for $6.99 a piece and snatched up both of them! These lamps are quite tall, and I know my picture may not do it justice, but they really are beautiful. And solid. And pewter grey. Did I mention that? 🙂

Good stuff is out there folks, if you just look hard enough!

Have you guys picked up any great deals through Goodwill or the Habitat for Humanity ReStore? Any other places that have great deals? Let me know! 🙂

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Hello Oregon!

Yup, we made it! I still can’t believe I am here, amongst all this tree-filled gloriousness, but I am 🙂

Ahhhh....zen....

Ahhhh….zen….

My family and I drove up here over a 2 day period. Southern California to Redding, and then Redding to Portland. Can you say exhausting? Have you ever travelled with a 4 year-old and a cat? Have you???? E-vent-ful, mmmkay? 😉

Oh and by the way, Redding was bloody hot. Like, the sun was directly beaming all of its rays on this city, and you felt like your skin was on fire. But dinner in a nice air-conditioned restaurant, soon rectified that. Ahhh, air conditioning.

So after lots of coffee, tears, greasy food, and multiple gas station pit stops, we made it to our new home! There is still lots to do though…like get a couch. We seriously drove up here with what would fit into our 2 cars and that’s it. So needless to say, we are in need of some things…like seating arrangements 😉 As my husband would readily assert, I am a neat and organized person, so the fact that my new place is still in a bit of disarray, is driving me cray-cray. Neat-freaks, are ya with me?

I hope to get back to blogging normally and on a schedule soon. But first I need to get a couch. And I need my pictures hung on the walls.

And chocolate. I need chocolate.

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November 30th is here folks! How’d you do with the Zero Waste Challenge? I did pretty good, if I do say so myself 🙂

So for a reminder, here is the amazeballs book that started the whole thing:

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“Minimalize that kitchen” was my mantra, and I stuck to it.

Cookbooks I’ve never, ever used? Gone!

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Chipped plastic containers, cracked plastic containers, old sippy cups, just bad plastic in general, gone!

Buh-bye plastic!

Buh-bye plastic!

Shot glasses we never used? Gone! Recipes torn out from magazines that I will never make? Gone!

Remember this hot mess of a drawer?

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Check it out yo! Isn’t it beautiful?

Neat and orderly!

Neat and orderly!

Seriously, I may have just stared at this organized perfection for longer than necessary, because I was that enthralled 🙂

Every single cabinet was completely emptied and ruthlessly mulled through to make sure nothing went back that wasn’t going to be for sure used.

I actually have shelves that have nothing on them!!!

I have cabinets now that are functional, drawers where I can easily find things, and no broken can openers!

November’s challenge was to minimalize that kitchen and I accomplished my goal!

How did you guys do? 🙂

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Can you believe we are already heading into another weekend in November?? Where is this month going? Anybody else soooo not ready yet for Thanksgiving? Our menu is sorta planned, but we are still tweaking it.

Some of my 49ers stuff!

Some of my 49ers stuff!

This: So, my husband and I have been selling some stuff on Craigslist and Ebay. I thought we had sold quite a bit of items before we moved this past spring, but sometimes it takes staring at the stuff you currently have long enough, to realize that it’s gotta go. The biggest item we have sold so far, is my daughter’s crib.*sniff sniff* It was time. Moms, you get this one 🙂

That: Still working on my Zero Waste Challenge for the month. Among the items we are tossing, are like a bunch of shot glasses. Who are we anyways? 21 year olds?? Um, no. I don’t need a shot glass from the Paris Hotel in Vegas. Again, why do we have this? It’s gone, gone, gone 🙂

The Other: Sports! Seriously, fall is the best time ever for sports. Between hockey (Go Ducks!) and football (Go 49ers!), this gal is in some sports heaven!

So, what’s going on with you guys? 😀

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Do you know what this is? Looks like a harmless manila folder. You’ve seen hundreds of ’em before, right?

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But this folder, this one right here, is scary because it’s filled with…

*cue Jaws music*

RECIPES I TORE OUT OF MAGAZINES THAT I WILL NEVER, EVER MAKE!!!

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Oh, the horror…

This stupid folder sat on my kitchen counter, mocking me. “Hey, you said you were going to make me a year ago? What’s the deal, lady?” “Whaddya mean you don’t have crushed cashews, sprigs of rosemary, and capers stocked in your pantry?”

Ugh…

And every time I saw the folder, I would feel guilty. Guilty about having the recipe in the first place, and then feeling guilty that all this time went by, and I still hadn’t made the freakin’ dish.

I’m over it.

Part of my Zero Waste Kitchen Challenge, is to completely overhaul my kitchen and only keep what I will use. And all of the recipes calling for 35 different fancy ingredients, or the recipes whose prep time starts at 2 hours… I’m done.

I will never make these recipes.

It feels oddly gratifying to give them up. I’m okay with not being the next Giada or anyone with the word “chef” in front of their name.

So au’ revoir folder stuffed with guilt-inducing recipes.

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It’s like we never met.

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So there is this absolutely fabulous book out there in the atmosphere called Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson. For those that need visuals, here ya go:

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This book is amazeballs, seriously. I wish I could take credit for having discovered it first, or even written about it first, but that distinction I will leave with frugal rockstar Katy. Check out her posts on this topic; fantastic reading for sure!

Anywho, I decided to do my own challenge based on the chapters that Bea covers in her book. In the “Kitchen” section, she talks about going through her kitchen and getting rid of everything that she doesn’t use or has multiples of. If you haven’t used it, or don’t plan on using it, get rid of it!

For the record, I have 3, count ’em 3, can openers, one of which is broken. And I’m holding onto it because??????

I want a minimalist kitchen.

And I want it free of cracked plastic containers, chipped plates, melted spatulas, and unused sippy cups.

This drawer is ridiculous:

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Now Bea does go into great depth about not having any waste at all in the kitchen, and someday I hope to aspire to that goal. But she also says to do what you can, and that’s what I am going to do. Do what I can. I need to pare down my kitchen, and honestly melty plastic utensils and containers is just plain unhealthy.

Also? November is the perfect month to do this challenge because we are hosting Thanksgiving, and what better occasion to see if you really do use all the cooking utensils stuffed into random drawers?

Questions to ask yourself while paring down your kitchen according to Zero Waste Home:

  • Is it in working condition? Is it expired?
  • Do I use it regularly?
  • Is it a duplicate?
  • Does it put my family’s health in danger?
  • Do I keep it out of guilt?
  • Do I keep it because “everyone has one”? Is it too specialized? Does it truly save time, as promised? Could another item achieve the same task?
  • Is it worth my precious time cleaning?
  • Could I use this space for something else?
  • Is it reusable?

So who’s with me? November’s challenge is to minimalize that kitchen!

Cookbooks you will never use? Donate ’em! And so on and so forth…

I’m ready! Are you? 🙂

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