Monday, July 30, 2012

Craft-It-Easy survey

As I mentioned on my Iggy Jingles blog, I have created a survey about my proposed Craft-It-Easy products. It is only 10 questions, designed for the parents of middle school aged children. I hope you will take it, and most especially pass it on to other parents that you know who might find it relevant.

Click here for the survey.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Link to Craft-It-Easy

You might still be being re-directed here when looking for the Craft-It-Easy website. That should be temporary. The new site is up and running. Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Shifting habit

Neat and accessible

Slowly, I am moving forward. I have now cleared one armoire, which is being set up as a battery and appliance charging station, and mailing center. I have two boxes of old electronics to go to the recycler, and the top is pretty much cleared so that I now have space to display the miniature dioramas Jayn and I made a couple of years ago.

The black bookshelf next to the kitchen now stands almost empty, waiting for other scattered office supplies to migrate (neatly). A large collection of unused (some even brand new) cookbooks have been donated, leaving the few that I do refer to often, much easier to grasp. With my discards, goes much of my guilt about not using them. May they bless the folks that find them!

I found forgotten stuff too. I have contributor copies of book that will be for sale at NEUC (along with dolls). 

The best news of all  is that I have been assiduous in keeping up the kitchen, and the result is that I'm feeling an emotional change already. I think it's a "habit shifting". When I see a plate on the counter, I feel a tiny bit of stress that prompts me to wash it at once, then I feel serene again. Yay! This is the opposite of clutter blindness. I hope it spreads.

Any one else working on similar issues?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

My Favorite Cheap Eats

James took this photo on our summer trip that year, and I scrapped it.

I love to eat but I don't like to cook. However not cooking becomes a very costly option, even when it is just Jayn and I. So it's nice to know there are a couple of inexpensive yet consistent options outside of the fast food chains.

The first favorite is: Ikea. In the Bistro, the Swedish meatballs, gravy, potatoes and lingonberry sauce is a big, share-able plate and so delicious, while the beef hot dogs are some of the best value ever. Meanwhile upstairs is a second restaurant offering even more gourmet-ish options, including a Chicken Caesar for $4.99, and a couple of vegetarian choices. The good sized scrambled eggs, bacon and spuds breakfast plate is 99cents. Plus the coffee is hot and strong, and there is always that Lingonberry soda drink for something different.

When Jayn was little she loved playing in the rooms all set up in the kid's area. She would decide one was her "office" and there would be all kinds of pretend play. She also loved trying out all their fun furniture. That spinning chair that looks like an egg was her favorite. No one minds how long the kids play, as long as they aren't racing about or climbing over the safety rails.

My next favorite is: Costco. Although you must be a member to access the inside with all the samples (which can make up an eclectic meal if you hit it at the right time - especially the weekend early to mid afternoon), anyone can go to the cash only snack bar outside. The menu is limited but tasty, especially the famous Chicken Bake that can easily feed two. (I usually end up saving half for later). Recently they added some salad items to the several different pizzas by the (enormous) slice. They too have a couple of large hot dog selections. I like the Mocha Latte Frozen Smoothie, which beats the coffee shop version by a country mile. 

As I recall, the new Brass Key porcelain dolls used to come out in Costco each August. They start their holiday toy inventory pretty early, but it's worth buying and putting away. We bought an Aurora porcelain doll for under $20 when Jayn was two and a half. So beautifully painted and dressed. She hauled it everywhere and played constantly, and it made our long road trip that summer so much easier. She was very careful with it too. I think I was the one who eventually chipped its hand or foot by dropping it. 

Where do you find good cheap eats in your neighborhood?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Path to an Uncluttered Mind

Counter space!

As some of you make know if you are a Facebook friend, I have finally embarked on a serious declutter and reorganization program. I realized that my home was overwhelming my ability to create, write, or even make a reasonable stab at meals (and you know how I despise  cope with cooking at the best of times.)

I also started thinking that if we soon have the ability to move to a better place, as we all hope for, the actual packing up process will be truly horrendous. So my plan is to create mental and emotional readiness, my message to the Universe, by clearing the junk away that I certainly don't want in my next home, now.

My kitchen looks awesome - the appliances are actually out of sight, and I got rid of those tablecloths I don't like. My mailing center and office armoire is wonderful, and now the rest of the office area/dining room will follow suit over the next few days. I wrote a comprehensive, task based list, for every room, with timings attached, so that I work in three hour blocks. I included the key task - "Take out trash - 5 mins" at regular intervals, so that the discard pile does not become an issue in itself.

Now I can find things at once without having to dodge an avalanche.

Part of my declutter is mental, including freeing myself from "obligations" that are entirely imaginary. Here's a big example. For years I would send out 72 (yup) Christmas/Holiday cards to family, friends, and work colleagues of both my husband and I. This meant that I made by hand, 72 pretty cards. Bear in mind, most of my work colleagues are from 12+ years ago!

When I started thinking about reducing my list last year, I agonized. Certainly I received back way fewer than I sent out. But what if the world ended if that guy felt bad when he didn't get a fabulous hand made card from us this year? Wait, how do we know that guy?

Then I started thinking of it a different way. What if I relieved someone, or someone's administrative assistant, from the onerous obligation of having to send out a return card to someone they really didn't remember either?

Even better, what if I could use that saved time to make better, truly beautiful cards for the people I really do care about? Win, win.

I received a total of 19 cards last year, all from people we actually know and really do care about. I find I hold no resentment whatsoever against the people who did not send us cards. Perhaps they feel the same way. I feel so much freer!

Of course the 19 are still hanging on display, but that will end soon, and they will turn into tree decorations per this tutorial. Yay.

What completely self-inflicted "obligations" have you been holding on to, that are cluttering up your mind or spirit? Please comment.