Thursday, February 23, 2012

How to Display All those Flat Things - Once & For All!

Have any like this?
You know what I'm taking about. Somehow, displayable flat things tend to accumulate in your home. The plate that was Great Aunt Martha's. The postcard from that fabulous vacation. The plaster plaques that get made at birthday parties. Those clay fish the kids make in school.

You prop them up. They fall down. They sit on your kitchen window sill. The languish on top of the dryer. It seems like you are always moving them from point A to B.

I have a solution.

It's easy & low cost.

It will solve the problem.

What is it you ask?

It's all those corks that you've saved from wine bottles. Yes, those that are clogging up your kitchen drawer.

Time to take them out and make them earn their keep.

see...easy to add!
All you have to do is hot glue them to the back of the plate/postcard/plaque/fish.

The cork acts as a stand, making it easy to display the object without fear of it falling over.

Here's an example.

Two clay fish made by two of my children.

Flat - they take up space. With a cork glued to the back, they can stand up and be seen.
He stays vertical!

Now they swim happily!
Go try it now. You'll wonder why you never thought of it.



Happy displaying!

be organized.....evelyn

P.S. - Hey - I'm starting something new! In addition to my once a week blog posts (leave your email in the box on the right next to the title if you want to get them automatically), I'm going to start sending out a quick happiness idea every Friday morning. Want to be in the club that gets them? Shoot me an email at: evelyn@organizingwithevelyn.com or leave a comment below.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Hate Your Kitchen Table? Here's What To Do About It

How's your kitchen table looking these days? 

If you happen to live in a busy household, (like me), and your kitchen is the main hub of that household, (like me), and you bought a really inexpensive, okay, I admit it, cheap, pine table years ago from IKEA, (like me), your table may no longer be looking its best. And that's probably an understatement.

It probably has marks, scratches and impressions of long ago homework etched into its surface. 

It's not very happy.

Time for a makeover. An easy makeover. A makeover with personality, pizazz and a touch of personalization.

Think hand prints. But not your red, blue, yellow preschool-like hand prints. Think metallic hand prints. Now, I'm not against primary color hand prints, but they get old quickly. Especially when your kids keep growing. If you're going to invest a bit of time giving your table a makeover, you might as well do something that will stand the test of time. And you don't get sick of.

Here's my table. I did it years ago, and I'm still happy with it. The chairs are from IKEA also, I just covered the seats with fabric and a bit of padding.

The finished table. Interesting - right?

Here's how to do it. And it's not hard. I worked outside so I wouldn't have to worry about dust & fumes.
  1. Sand the table slightly to get rid of any sealer on top.
  2. If you want a color other then the table color, paint the top. I used a light green wash. You can see it on the edges.
  3. Decide on a focal point - I used a napkin. It's the red circle thing in the picture. I simply put a bit or polyurethane on the table, then put the napkin down. I smoothed it with a paint brush.
  4. Call the kids one at a time. Paint their hands with any paint you want - just make sure it is acrylic or latex. Something that is permanent once it's dry. 
  5. Make some hand prints. We also did fingerprints around the napkin.
  6. Let dry.
  7. If your table opens up for a leaf, carefully cut the napkin along the opening with a razor blade.
  8. Coat the entire table top with polyurethane.
  9. Let dry.
  10. Coat it again.
  11. Let dry.
That's it! Your old worn out table is ready to live again. And as your kids get older, they get a kick out of seeing how much bigger their hands have grown.

Want to really think outside the box? Don't use your kid's hand prints - use your pets. I guarantee your table will be one of a kind. And if you do that, take a picture and send it to me - I'd love to see that!

be organized & happy.....evelyn cucchiara

P.S. - Hey - I'm starting something new! In addition to my once a week blog posts (leave your email in the box on the right next to the title if you want to get them automatically), I'm going to start sending out a quick happiness idea every Friday morning. Want to be in the club that gets them? Shoot me an email at: evelyn@organizingwithevelyn.com. First one will be tomorrow!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Shhhh...The Secret to conquor Eczema once & for all!

There's a light dusting of snow here on the ground in NJ, and that brings to mind how rough, dry & painful me hands used to be every winter. No more.

The back story.

I teach art everyday, so my hands are always in and out of water. This lead to an outbreak of eczema - a painful condition of the skin that goes way past simple dryness. Eczema is itchy, red, flaking and painful! Painful to the point of bleeding. And itchiness that makes poison ivy look like a walk in the park. Not good.

I went to the doctor and was prescribed steroid creme, the usual remedy. This helped a bit, but I really didn't like the thought of putting all those steroids on my skin multiple times a day. And I mean multiple. And it was expensive.

So I started experimenting. I bought all types of skin creams that promised to take care of the problem. some were really messy (thick cream and gloves every night at bed time), some were expensive (the one made from sheep lanolin from Australia comes to mind), but none of them did much good. Some would help a bit,  but I always knew the eczema was hovering under the surface, just waiting to come back.

Then I stumbled upon the secret formula.

I say secret because it's not one product that takes care of the problem - it's the combination of two. Two unrelated products. And I have no idea if anyone other them me has ever combined the two.

Ready - here's the answer -


1. - O'Keefe's Working Hands Creme - this is a solid hand creme that is sold in the hardware section of DIY stores. Or here online. And it's not expensive. And it lasts forever.

but that's not the whole answer.

You need to combine it with this-


2. Avon Silicone Glove Creme - this is a protective layer that helps seal in the first creme. Available from your local Avon lady or here. This is even cheaper.

What you do is this - simply put on the Working Hands Creme first, then top off with the Silicone Glove.

Then the magic happens. I don't know why, and I don't care. I just know it's been working for me.

For years.

Eczema is a thing of the past.

And how do I know it's the combination and not just my skin healing?

Because when I run out of one or the other, my eczema returns in a few days.

And that's not good.

If your hands are itchy & red, give it a shot. Cost is less then $10.00 - and relief is just a squeeze away.

You're welcome.

be organized.....evelyn

P.S. - want more ideas? Try my book - just click here.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Expand Your Wardrobe Without Spending A Cent!

Time to address one of those annoying little things in life. It's one of those things that once you do it, you wonder why you never thought of it before.

Today we're talking sweaters.

Not how itchy some can be.

Not how soft some can be.

We're talking how some of the softest can be the most annoying because  THE BUTTONS GAPE!

Picture this - you put on a sweater on a cold crisp day. It's cuddly, it's comfy. You button it up, and suddenly it looks like it has shrunk or you have (horrors!) grown bigger. Why? Because the buttons gape.

This immediately makes you feel the size of a house, even if you wear a size 2. Which I don't. So imagine how I feel!

I put up with this for years, taking sweaters out of the drawer, putting them on, only to put them back in when they just didn't look or feel right because of button gapege. Is that even a word? It should be. I was left with a dawer full of sweaters that I never wore. And I'm supposed to be organized.

You know what I mean. Instead of the placket (that's the front of the sweater where the buttons are) lying flat, it pulls around the buttons so what should have been flat and smooth now looks likes scallops. Not a flattering look on anyone.

One day it dawned on me. Since sweaters are stretchy, I could just sew them shut! It would still be easy to put on, almost easier since there are no longer any buttons to fuss with. Now I could just slide it over my head.

I pulled out a seldom worn sweater, and tried it. It worked perfectly! I used my moms old Singer machine, but you could also do it by hand. No sewing skill is really required. A few stitches, and your wardrobe suddenly expands. What was once your nemesis sweater becomes your favorite.

Sew comfy now....get it? Sew instead of so?

That's what happened with this pink one. Loved the pattern, didn't love the way it looked. A few minutes with the machine - and perfect! See, you can't even tell in the pic, but it's sewed shut! Now it's as comfy as a T shirt! And I don't have to fuss with it all day. A winning solution.

I also discovered that the sweaters I had that weren't supposed to be buttoned, open cardigans, looked and felt better, not to mention were warmer, when I sewed them shut and put on some decorative buttons.

This used to hang open - adding pounds to me and not very warm.

Easy fix, and NOW I WEAR THEM!

Try it on an old sweater that you never wear. See if it doesn't give new meaning to the word recycle. It's like going shopping in your closet!

One quick tip for storing sweaters - roll them, don't fold them. I just finished a series of organizing videos on eHow - and one just happens to be on rolling sweaters. See it here. Let me know what you think. I'm not comfy yet watching myself on video, so I haven't actually watched the whole thing. What does that say about me? I'm soooooo not going there.

This will make sense once you watch the video.

All of the other videos are listed there also. Try the one about organizing kids toy - its a life saver! Not to mention a living room saver!

That's it for today - I'm off to try the same idea on a shirt. The one I'm wearing right now because it's bugging me. I'll let you know how it works out.........

update: It worked ! The shirt has a bit of stretch in it, so it's easy to pull over my head. I actually feel like I stand up straighter knowing that my shirt isn't going to gape. A success!

be organized!

evelyn

PS- Don't forget - I wrote a book, 30 Days To An Organized Home, with lots more ideas like these. Click over on the picture on the right to get a free sample!