Easy Recycled Gift Tags

 

Recycled gift tags

It’s time for Christmas gift buying, gift wrapping and gift tagging.  Don’t you just love Christmas time?   To me, wrapping presents is fun and pretty relaxing, but I’ll admit that one of my least favorite parts of wrapping is tagging my wrapped gifts.  Am I the only one?  I always make sure to buy gift tags at the after-Christmas sales so I have plenty on hand, but the things make me crazy.  The plain ones are often, well…boring and the beautiful foiled ones always seem to repel ink.   Seriously, someone should test those things out before they sell them as gift tags.  It seems that if I can find a pen that actually writes on them, the ink always smears when I try to stick it on the package.   Urrgggh.

This year, I decided to make some more permanent tags.  I went as far as my recycling bin to find my main supplies-  these empty thin cardboard boxes:

Empty food cartons for gift tags

First thing that I did was to cut simple tag shapes, pairing two for each tag.  I made sure that the plain side faced out as I cut them, because really, who really wants a picture of a tri tip sandwich on their gift tag.

recycled cardboard gift tags

The first couple of tags that I made had a layer of flannel sandwiched between them:

As you can see, I used a tiny loop of tape to hold each side of the fabric/cardboard in place, making sure to line the cardboard up well.  Easy.  Next, I took it to my sewing machine and used a long, straight stitch around the whole thing.  I made sure to start at the center-top of the tag and overlapped a few stitches to secure the thread, knowing that the ribbon would hide the cut threads.  Once the sewing was complete, I trimmed the fabric to the actual shape of the tag.  For added effect, I frayed the flannel edges of one of my tags, and the other tag I snipped lots of tiny cuts along the whole fabric edge to create my own fringe.

After doing a couple this way, I got lazy and just ended up gluing the two pieces of cardboard together, skipping the flannel.  I think that I prefer this simpler look, actually, and it makes tag making so much easier and faster.  Once the tag layers were secured, I used my hole punch at the top.

Of course I could have hand-written the names on these, but instead I went to my computer and found some fun, bold fonts which I printed in large sizes and glued on my tags.  I used white paper, but colored or lightly patterned paper would be fun, too.   Glitter, stickers, and other embellishments would spiff these up even more.  Really, the sky’s the limit on what you could do with these.   You can have all of your tags exactly the same, with only the names different, or you can color code for each child/recipient, or you can make each tag totally different.

Gift tags made from recycled carton cardboard

You might think that, with the rush and fun and craziness of Christmas morning unwrapping that these tags will just get tossed in with the other trash.  Maybe…maybe not.  These gift tags are actually very study and feel substantial in your hands.  I don’t think that they will easily get mixed up with tossed gift wrap and bows.  I’m going to tell my children to save them so I can use them next year…and the year after that…and the year after that, etc., etc. .

What started out as trash will be avoiding the trashcan for years to come.  That’s the plan.  Now, I just need to invade my recycling bin again to make a couple dozen more tags.

So, do you have any empty cereal, crackers, or other thin cardboard boxes in your trash right now?  I think it’s time to rescue them!

 

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Organize Your Closet by Color: 10 Minute Tidy

Cover pic organize your closet by color

Ready for another 10 Minute Tidy Tuesday challenge?  How about getting your closet a bit more organized?  I prefer to hang items up rather than fold them and put them away in a drawer.  That said, I have lots of hangers and lots of clothes on hangers.  Years ago I started organizing my clothes according to color and, I must say, it is a HUGE timesaver.   I can easily put together outfits and I never have to look and look and look for a particular item of clothing.  If I know the color, I know how to find it.

I recently switched out my summer wardrobe for my winter wardrobe.  If you don’t do that, I would highly recommend it.  I gave several reasons for doing this seasonal switcheroo here.  I’m not going to lie…that wardrobe switch takes longer than 10 minutes.  BUT, organizing by color does not.  Seriously, go try it right now.  Set a timer first!

Of course you can arrange your colors however you want, but I will share how I do it:  From left to right I organize my clothes in Browns, Blacks, Greens, Aqua and Teals, Blues, Purples, Reds, Oranges, Yellows, Grays, and lastly Whites.  Patterned clothes just go in the color area of the most dominant color in the pattern.  You might notice that I have some short sleeve tops in my closet even though this is my winter wardrobe.  I like to keep a few around to layer under sweaters, ect.

Organize closet by color

Before I let you loose on color coding your closet, I’m assuming one thing…that you already have your closet organized with like items hanging together.  For example, blouses and tops in one area, skirts in another, dresses in another and jackets/sweatshirts in another.  I personally fold pants and sweaters and place them on shelves.  If you haven’t organized like items together yet, there is no time like the present.  Just turn that timer off until you are done.

I don’t recommend emptying everything out of your closet.  You will definitely spend more than 10 minutes if you do it that way.  I would suggest deciding your color organizing order and start on one side of the rod, pulling clothes out and placing them in the correct area until everything is in its proper place.  It’s actually fun.  If you have a huge closet (lucky you!) and lots of clothes, just focus on one area (tops, skirts, etc.) per 10 minute session.

Once your closet is done, go organize your husband’s closet, or your child’s or your coat closet.  You will love the rainbow you see each time you open a closet door. Color coding your closet…10 minutes well spent!

 

Easy DIY Gift: Corn Heating Pads

DIY Corn Heating Pads

It’s that time of year again!  Eeeek!  The Holidays!  Thanksgiving…Christmas…New Year’s…I love it all!  Right now I should be packing for our trip to Utah, but I just have to share what I have been working on (instead of packing!).  Making microwavable feed corn heating pads!

Last year I blogged about making rice heating pads using pillow cases.  They really are simple to make and we love using them.  After being over-heated too many times, however, the burned rice smell can get a bit nauseating,  so I decided to try something different: Feed corn.

Feed Corn

My friend Patrice told me about feed corn heating “bags” years ago and how they don’t smell like rice does and how they hold the heat longer than rice.  I decided to give corn a whirl.

Just so you know, feed corn is dirt cheap.  I paid $12 for a 50 lb. bag.  For the fabric, I found a really nice heavy full size flat sheet with a plaid pattern that is a dream to sew on.  I love plaid because the lines make it easier to cut and sew straight lines.  I like to start out with a piece of fabric that is about 25 inches by 14 inches, but really, you can make these any size and shape.

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With this size, I add 2 scant cups of corn to each of the outside edges and 2 1/2 cups to the larger center section.  Again you can go to my tutorial to see how to make these.  Once you get the hang of it, you could probably rival Santa’s elves in gift making!

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Oh, another fabric idea:  My son had outgrown his Grinch pajama bottoms, so I just cut off the legs, straightened out the seams to form rectangles and made microwavable heating pads out of them, as well.

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As a side note, these take a bit longer to heat up than the rice ones do.  I would start with 2 1/2 minutes, but I like how it feels after 3 minutes.  For heaven’s sakes, don’t overheat them and fry yourselves!  Or anyone else!

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 If you are stumped about what to get for anyone this Holiday season, I guarantee that these microwavable feed corn heating pads will be a hit.  Moms, dads, grandparents, teachers, siblings, friends, children of all ages will love them.   They are great for aches and pains, for warming cold tooties and pre-warming a bed on a cold winter night.  Trust me on this one…these heating pads are a popular commodity in our home.

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Paper Bag Turkey

Turkey

This is an uber-quick Thanksgiving post because I know that turkeys will be going in ovens really soon.  I just wanted to share an idea with you  that a friend shared with me years ago and I have used many times since.  The idea might seem a bit radical, but is incredibly simple:  Bake your turkey inside of a brown paper grocery bag.  Crazy, huh?

Rather than having to re-invent the wheel, I will just share this link so you can see the process.

I would highly…highly, HIGHLY recommend using this method for roasting your Thanksgiving turkey.  A paper bag roasted turkey is extra juicy, extra yummy.  Often the turkey just falls right off of the bones.  Let’s not forget that the bulk of the mess is contained in the bag.  Easier cleanup on Thanksgiving?  That’s a huge bonus, wouldn’t you agree?

So, bag that turkey!  You (and your guests!) will be glad you did!

 

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Couch Cushions: Frumpy to Fab

We have a pair of twin couches that are over 10 years old and have been looking pretty frumpy for a while now.

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See what I mean?  Lumpy, bumpy back cushions.  Ugghh.  When we bought these years ago, the back cushions were just stuffed with, well, stuffing.  No foam cushion and no structure.  I ended up removing half of the stuffing and inserting some foam from my old couch to shape them up.

Flash forward a decade and the fluffy stuffing turned lumpy.  Time for a quick and easy fix.  First, I pulled everything out of each cushion and found a lot of matted stuffing that I was ready to trash right away until I realized how easy it is to un-mat it.

I was so surprised to see how just a few tugs on the matted masses turned them nice and fluffy.  It really is as simple as stretching and pulling in different directions.  Kind of relaxing even.  Next, I laid out some quilt batting and placed my foam cushion on one end and added fluffed up stuffing to one side…

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…flipped it over (after covering that side with batting) and repeated it on the other side.  I even added fluff to the top, thin side of the cushion.  When all of that was done, it looked like this:

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At this point, I tried a trick that I saw years ago on some HGTV show:  I cut a slit in a garbage bag to make it easier to slide into the cushion cover.  I could have used a larger bag, but this worked just fine:

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As soon as the cushion was in, I just pulled the plastic out.  It was way easier than I thought I would be.  After that, I just shoved in handfuls of fluffed up stuffing in all of the edges, making sure to stay between the layers of quilt batting to avoid a lumpy look.

Voila!  So much better, don’t you think?

It almost seems like we got new couches, but of course, we didn’t.  This was way cheaper, too.  Less than $20 for enough batting for 2 couches after using my JoAnn’s coupon.

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I’m thinking we can get another decade out of these couches now.

How are your couches looking?  Is it time to smooth them out or fluff their stuff?  My advice is to go for it.  I think you’ll be glad you did.

Frumpy-Fab

 

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Roses and Rust Vintage Market 2015

Last Saturday, I had the opportunity to attend Roses and Rust Vintage Market in nearby Anderson, CA and it….was….awesome!  I had a friend come visit me from out of town to attend this event and we loved every minute of it.  I’ve got pics to share with you!

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My favorite booth is just inside the gate and belongs to Liz and Randy Foster.  They are so kind and helpful and their booth is full of old ceiling tins and all kinds of wonderful items created from the ceiling tins and moldings.  See?

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Just looking at the pictures makes my mouth water.  Amazing stuff!

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Click here to see their Flikr account, which has oodles of great pics of their tins and some items that they have crafted with them.  Dreamy!

My next stop was a booth that had tons of hardware for doors, cabinets and drawers.  Lots and lots of bins to go through.

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Yeah, my pics are a bit blurry, but you get the idea.  The place was hopping with people and I had to snap pics as quickly as there was a break in the crowds.

I parked myself in front of a bin that had goodies priced 3 for $1.  I sorted and searched and my hands got absolutely filthy, but just look and see what $10 bought!

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This tub-turned-planter was pretty interesting.  We surmised that it had a backrest, armrests and a place for the bather’s legs to hang out.  Makes me love my garden tub (which I very rarely use) all the more.

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We spent some time sampling some amazing jams and jellies.  My favorite, oddly enough, was Horseradish Jam.  Weird!  I don’t usually even like horseradish. These were the jars that I took home:

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This little sign cracked me up!

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As we drove away, we started planning to attend Rust and Roses’ Spring show in April.  And of course we will be back next Fall as well.  If you happen to be in Northern California, I would totally recommend it.  If not, you should at least check out the picture gallery on their website to see what you are missing.

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Let me know if you plan to attend!

 

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10 Minute Tidy: Messy Kitchen

10 Minute Tidy #2

Do you ever look at a task and find it too daunting to do.  You don’t even want to start because you figure it will take for-ev-er to finish?  Or, you know that you are short on time, so you don’t even try?  I’m convinced that at least half of getting something accomplished is just starting it.  Case in point… my kitchen.  I was gone way too late last night and we ate dinner way too late and it seemed way too late to clean up after dinner.  Knowing that I had to get up way too early in the morning, I did some thing that I very rarely do:  I went to bed with a messy kitchen.  This is the kitchen that I woke up to:

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Ugggh.  This is really horrifying for me to show, but I know that we all get messy kitchens.  We’re friends here, right?

See that window above my sink?  That is the front porch.  Translation: anyone who comes to my door can see if my kitchen is clean or dirty.  This is a good incentive for me to keep a clean kitchen!

I decided that this would be a great 10 Minute Tidy activity…to clean up my messy kitchen.

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First, and probably most importantly, I started my oven timer…10 minutes on the clock.  I told myself that when the timer sounded, my work was done.  To be truthful, the dishwasher was already empty, so that helped me out time-wise.  Usually my family puts their own dirty dishes in the dishwasher, but the clean dishes didn’t get removed until, you guessed it…too late last night.  Excuses, excuses!   As I hurriedly cleaned, I kept glancing at the clock to make sure that I would be done in time, and just as I was rinsing out the just scrubbed sink, time ran out.  Perfect.

I’ll be honest.  When I’m trying to beat the clock like this, it doesn’t really seem like work.  More like a game.  Or a race…without a lot of sweat…or shin splints…or calories burned.  Darn!  But, my reward today was a clean kitchen:

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Ten little minutes and I can forget all about it.  Until the next mess comes along because, as we all well know:  A clean house is a temporary thing.

What 10 minute tidy are you going to do today?

 

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