Friday, May 27, 2016

Backyard Bonanza

Hello Friends,

It's spring and many of us are outside gardening in the sun.  Some of us have to organize our backyards a bit before the gardening can commence.

The first task was to pull all the junk out of a homeowner's backyard and get it ready for a ride to the dump. There was a lot of junk hiding in the overgrown landscaping. 

Some neighbors may have thought this was a free pile and taken some things, which was more than fine. One man's junk, another man's treasure.

Next up was to sort out this cluttered tool shed.  Notice a lot of blank vertical space that could be utilized.

It's amazing how much unorganized stuff can fit into a small space!  

Labeling the tops of buckets makes it easy to determine the contents.

Old paint, as long as it's latex, can be left open to dry out and then tossed in the garbage.  Although it may take awhile to dry out...

This is a clever solution to storing snow shovels.  They are plastic so no need to worry about rusting.

On the other hand, this storage solution doesn't work very well.

There was a pegboard on this wall, but it was easily moved to the opposite, more easily accessed wall.  Bring out the powertools!

Crocheting the powercords is the simplest way to store them.  Simply find the middle, double it up and make a loop and then pull a loop through that loop until it's all neatly crocheted into a chain to hang up.  When one goes to use it, simply pull the last loop out and it will all come undone without any tangles.  Try it!

Here's the view with the reinstalled pegboard.  Hooks for pegboards can be obtained at any hardware store and there are a variety to choose from for every type of tool imaginable.  It felt good to get all the shovels and rakes out of the weather.

With the organizing done, the weeds were next.  

There was a sweet surprise awaiting!  Strawberry plants!

What might you uncover in your yard this Spring?

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Organizing an Art Gallery Wall

Hello Friends,

This is a short but sweet post because it has to do with the "Spruce" aspect of my business.  As you may remember, I am sprucing up my home, just in time for Spring.

Because I've had nearly every room in the house repainted, I've taken down all of the pictures. There is nothing quite like the feeling of fresh clean paint on the walls and I'm reluctant to fill the refreshed walls back up again with nail holes and the same old line up of tired photographs and boring prints.

And while I am creative, I also have next-to-zero decorating style as my best ideas come from other bloggers. In this case, I stole this idea of how to create an art gallery wall from a blog called, A Beautiful Mess

An art gallery wall is a personal collection of items that speak JOY  to the owner.  They can be of any size and shape and can include, canvas prints, framed photos, baskets, decorative plates, objects d'art etc.  Anything that can be hung on a wall.

First I gathered all the items that I want to include on the wall, which will be in my bedroom.

These include:  a decorative art plate that we collected on our honeymoon, a mosaic mirror that my youngest made with the neighbor when he was 9, butterflies from Puerto Rico, a cross with bling gifted from a sweet friend and a plaque that says "Imagine the Possibilities".  I imagine I'll love waking up and reminding myself of that everyday!

Then I made templates. This my friend is absolute genius!  I laid each piece on colored paper and traced then cut around it.  

Then I taped them up on the wall in various configurations.  This helps get the spacing just right, plus it was fun to play around with it for about week.  Each morning I'd move things around.

Once  I settled on which configuration I liked best, then it was time to measure.  It was easy to hang up an art piece that had the hook or hanger at the top of the frame, but most had a hook part way down which would mess up the spacing.  So measuring next.

 Measure the top of the plate to the tip top of the hanger....

Then mark the template with the same measurement.  

Hammer the nail in and then tear off the template and it's sure to be in the exact right place when it's hung up.  Genius!

So which template grouping did I choose?

      I love how it turned out!

This little organizing project was so easy and fun, I almost wish I had more to hang up!  For more inspiration, Google "Art Gallery Wall"

What are some of the items you'd include on your own Art Gallery Wall?

Who's going to give this project a try?  

I'd love to see your finish on Instagram #valeriesowa


Thursday, May 5, 2016

What's Under the Bed?

Hello Friends,

Confession time.  I've never been able to adequately vacuum underneath my bed.  I say adequately, because I've always had to vacuum around the storage space dumping ground for boxes of stuff.  I say "stuff" because  I couldn't tell you exactly what was stored dumped there.

That is until today!  I was a bit scared to start, but I remembered that I am brave.  

I pulled everything out and here's what I discovered hiding under there.  

Only 10 boxes. 

 Not as bad as I thought.

Pulling everything out of a dark place into the light takes a lot of the fear away.  

But then...

 Dried cat barf...oh no!

And a few dust bunnies.

But then things got ugly.

To think I've been breathing this.  YUCK.

And this!  Oh the spiders that have enjoyed this space.  I nearly quit right here.

 Instead I took a break and got a cold drink.  Have you tried this?  Seriously delicious.

Then a lot of vacuuming and washing the floor.  Then I was able to go on.

Opening all the boxes was a bit of a treasure hunt...except no treasure *sigh*.

I spy with my little eye, a baseball bat.  Can you?

Mountaineering boots!  In Wisconsin?

Empty boxes...or nearly empty.

A box lid...seriously folks you can't make this stuff up.

And then a real surprise!  Board books from when my boys were babies.  All their favorites.  Should I keep or should they go?  What would you do?

Upon closer inspection, most were all taped multiple layers.  And if they weren't taped, they should have been.  

I asked myself if there would be any joy in reading these frayed, worn out books to potential grandchildren?  

The fact is that I was reluctant to even touch these stained, gross books.  

So that was my answer.

After thinking about them and feeling what they meant to me, I laid them all out, took a photo and tossed them.  This way I have all the titles handy for potential grandchildren, taking up a fraction of the space on a flashdrive not in a lost box collecting dust and mouldering under the bed.

Next box.  Oh my! Items from my wedding day.

So many fond memories of that special day.  The headpiece, the shoes, the garter and even the hoopskirt.  Really....a hoopskirt?  

It all went.  

The wedding dress itself is boxed up elsewhere. I envision a future DIL trying it on and saying it's not her style and then I'll get on some reality wedding show where they make over my dress and she loves it.  A girl can dream right?

Memorabilia of my husband's.  These I combined and taped shut and placed with other boxes of his for him to sort out.  Rule:  Never organize someone else's stuff without prior permission.


Photos!  Hundreds of photos.  At least they are sorted by event.  These were moved to the photo storage facility in our home AKA the attic.

Hmmm...another empty box.  I see a trend here.

Hats inside the hatbox!  I change these out seasonally, so good timing to get out all my straw hats for summer weather and store the winter hats.

The hat box I placed in my closet, although I would like to get it off the floor in the future, because you know...vacuuming. 

More treasures from the "Memories" box.

Some of these items held a special memory.  

This tie-scarf-thingy I wore to the interview for my first job. It went perfectly with my blue suit.  The interviewer (my boss) told me later that I looked like a flight attendant!  Somehow she hired me anyway.

And these!  I used to glue these to my boobies so I could wear glamorous strapless dresses.  Oh those were the days!

And who remembers these pop-up hats?

After sorting it all out.  This is what I kept from those 10 boxes:  A collection of handkerchiefs, 1 bandanna for hiking and a vintage purse.  All neatly put away in my closet.  

 The trash pile.

The donate pile.  I imagine someone will LOVE those white kid gloves.

Empty boxes come in handy for storage elsewhere in my home.

Now look under my bed!  Clean, clear space.  Ahhhhhh.

The only thing that remains is that baseball bat....just in case.

 When's the last time you really cleaned under your bed?

What was the most interesting item you found?