Wednesday, October 30, 2013

5 Ways to Keep Your Crafting Space Organized

As a crafter, I am always needing ways to organize my stuff.  I have yarn, tapestry needles, buttons, you name it, everywhere!  Naturally, as a DIY-er, I wanted to come up with storage solutions that were:
1. budget friendly/free
2. recycled materials
3. fun to make and look at

Ever seen those yarn containers at the craft store? I actually own one and love it, but they can run around $17 for one.  I made this one out of a large coffee container.  Be sure to clean it and let it dry all the way.  Remove the outer label and either stencil, paint or cover with a paper/washi tape.  You can have so much fun with these!  Another great container to use is those big oatmeal ones. 

To keep my buttons organized (note: they were
organized at one point until my three year old got
into them) I use a tea box.  I found this one, filled
with tea of course, at Bed Bath & Beyond, but
I imagine you can them pretty anywhere tea is
I also like to use cigar boxes to keep random items in, like pens, sharpies or whatever else I have lying around my workspace.  These are so cheap at any cigar shop.  They usually run $3-$5 a box and if you're lucky you can find some awesome printed ones.

I found myself constantly looking for my handy knitting and crochet notions, so to keep them all together I keep a stash in this small bag.  I made this one, but you can use any cosmetic bag or clutch.  I always have a tape measure, tapestry needles and scissors handy.  My needles and hooks are usually kept together in a case, but my go to ones are kept in here too.  
 After losing more tapestry than I can count, I finally put them in an old prescription bottle.  This one I covered with washi tape, which you can find for pretty cheap at Wal-Mart in the office supply section. 

 I am always looking for more ways to stay organized!  I also keep my yarn in baskets or bins, my fabric in a large wicker chest and on shelves in my workspace.  What ideas do you have? Please share them so we can all stay organized!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Lowe's, You Won My Heart

 Lowe's Home Improvement

I don't have much experience with Lowe's (the Wilton/Saratoga, NY branch). This is normally my husband's field of house hold duties, but since he's in the military and gone for a few months, I am on an active duty of my own.  It hasn't been easy, but thankfully there are friends, family and amazing customer service to help me keep up with my old house and things that need fixing.  I wanted to share my experience with Lowe's, because I will forever go to them for all of my household needs.  Plus, the military discount is nice.

My dryer broke around May or June, so I've been line drying for months. Great, for the Summer, and it sure saves money on that electric bill.  But now that we have come into the cold and rainy months, I needed to address the problem.  I started by putting a couple new parts in. Nothing. So I went to Lowe's and asked for helped.  I explained the problem and that I couldn't spend a ton, just needed something to get my laundry dry.  They were so helpful in getting me set up and put me on the next day's delivery list.  They weren't pushy.  They didn't try to set me up with something I couldn't afford or need.  They just listened to me.

When they came the next day, they had to remove doors to get the dryer in, replace my old plastic vent tube with a new, safe one and got the new dryer in. It didn't work, so they came back with another one and that didn't work either.  Turns out it was a blown fuse all this time!  I would have expected them to stop there and say farewell, since I was returning the new dryer; I didn't actually need it.  But they didn't stop there.  The amazing delivery guys looked around for the source of the problem, and once they figured out it was the fuse, they looked around my basement for a new one, found one, and installed it.  They hooked my old dryer back up and it worked perfect. 

These guys went so above and beyond for me, and I am eternally grateful. I didn't even buy the appliance they were delivering, but they didn't leave until I was all set.  They came back three times to get everything right, and I am beyond thankful. So next time you're in the market for anything appliance or house related, choose Lowe's.  I've had horrible customer service at Home Depot in the past and some of these stores overwhelm me.  But Lowe's was there to help and they won my future  business being so amazing.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Deal of the Day at Crooked By Design

Each week, I offer a Deal of the Day over at Crooked By Design, and this week it's the super popular Mickey and Minnie hats! Today only, Thursday 10/24, get yours for just $10 each. These are handmade by me and made to order in your specified sized (check out the listing for sizes offered).  Be sure to "like" the Crooked By Design Facebook page to see the Deal of the Day each week. They aren't always on the same day, so be on the lookout!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Tips For Keeping a Gluten Free Kitchen

If your house is like mine, where not everyone is gluten free, you may have encountered some of the issues I have when attempting to keep my kitchen gluten free and prevent cross-contamination.  Here are a few things I do to prevent accidentally being glutenized.

1. Keep everything separate!  No brainer, right? But sometimes, especially when guests are over, its hard to remember what is what, so label everything.

2. Keep two butter dishes, one that has been glutened and one that is 100% gluten free.  We have a flowered one and a plain colored one, to remind ourselves that the flower one may have flour (gluten).

3. Buy squeeze bottle condiments.  Mayo, especially is at high risk of having that bread filled knife poison it, and unless you want to have two mayos and label (we do this sometimes), then squeeze bottles are great.

4. Either avoid the toaster/toaster oven all together, or have two.  I don't put any of my food even remotely near our toaster oven, and we lack the adequate counter space to have two, so I use the oven or a frying pan to toast my gluten free items. 

5. Have a designated gluten free bread maker.  Never, ever, let a "real" loaf of bread in your machine, because even if you wash the pan, you never know where that gluten could be secretly hiding. 

6. If you can avoid it, keep "real" flour out of your house.  I never have it in mine, because we don't use it, and the risk of accidentally grabbing the wrong one isn't a risk I want to take.

7. Remind your family to always wipe down the counters after using anything involving gluten, so you don't contaminate your foods on accident.  

*Photo source:

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Weekly Cleaning Schedule to Make Your Life Easier

I've been noticing for some time now that I always seem to be cleaning. As you probably can relate to, it just never ends.  There will always be laundry to do, dishes to clean, floors to wash.  In an attempt to lessen my burden and stop the constant cleaning game, I started implementing this weekly cleaning schedule.  No, I don't always stick to it exactly, and you may need to tweak your schedule a bit (like if you have a big family, you may need to add a laundry day), but so far, it has been great. It takes the pressure to get it all done off of me, because I know that the bathrooms are for one day, and the dusting for another, and so on. So here it is! 

Monday: Laundry, vacuum, all trash out of cans and to the outside (I do trash this day because my trash pick up is Tuesday mornings)

Tuesday: Kitchen, mopping, dusting

Wednesday: Laundry, vacuum, trash cans emptied and out

Thursday: Bathrooms (including showers), pick up the living room

Friday: Clean kid's room(s) and pick up toys around the house

Saturday: Laundry & trash cans emptied

Sunday: Baking for the week/meal prep, change sheets in all bedrooms

Do you have a cleaning plan that you follow?  If so, I'd love to hear about it (comment below)!  You're house might find some chores are harder to keep on than others. In my house, keeping the trash cans empty is a big one, since we are house training a puppy and potty training my son.  Laundry has been a biggie since my poor drier is out of commission and I've been line drying for months and vacuuming is a constant necessity, again, toddler and dogs.  But all in all, if I keep to my plan, it works fabulously! 

In case you are wondering (I bet you're dying to know!) there are some cleaning products I love and swear by.  I'm a budgeter through and through, but some things I just don't cheap out on.  Here's some of my favorites:

Dawn Ultra AntibacterialFor my shower cleaner, I have never found a better system than mixing Dawn dish soap with white vinegar and putting it in a spray bottle to spray, scrub and rinse in the shower.  The smell can be a bit over powering with the vinegar, but it cleans like you wouldn't believe.
I know I have mentioned Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day before, but I love their products so much.  They smell amazing, and the bottles can be re-used by buying the concentrated solution and mixing it with water as per instructions on the bottle.  I've found these products in Target, Wal Mart and sometimes Hannaford, but their website has a tons of scents and other products too.  Geranium is my favorite so far, but they are all so good.  Want to try before buying? Ask them for a sample of something.  I did and now I'm hooked!

Original with Clean Boost Liquid Laundry DetergentI am going to start making my own laundry detergent after trying my sister's homemade kind (post coming as soon as I make it!), but my all time favorite detergent is the slightly pricey Gain.  I find it works best, smells best and just is the best.  Though my budget doesn't allow for it, if I have a coupon, this is what I go with.  I also love the Gain/Mr.Clean floor cleaner:
Original Mr. Clean with Gain Scent  Multi-Surfaces Liquid Cleaner

Tall Kitchen ForceFlex® Drawstring Bags packaging product imageThese garbage bags are awesome.  I never thought I would have a favorite one, but these don't break and can hold the weight of heavy garbage loads, making it easy to stuff as much as possible into them.  They certainly aren't the cheapest option out there, but it sure beats having them break and needing to double bag!

Here's a former post about keeping the house clean during the holidays, which are right around the corner!
© Chronicles of a Knaptime Knitter. Made with love by The Dutch Lady Designs.
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