window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; function gtag(){dataLayer.push(arguments);} gtag('js', new Date()); gtag('config', 'UA-54570621-1'); Keeping it Real: April 2015

Thursday, April 30, 2015

No clutter in 2015: weeks 16 & 17 update

declutter, upcycle


I'm back this week with the update on our decluttering efforts.

Clothes and books are still our main battle courses and slowly (very slowly) we are seeing results. We finished the current round of repainting our walls (just living room and home office yet unpainted), so everything (or almost everything) is back to its due place and it's now easier to keep track of clutter.

I have two bags of clothes and books ready to send for donation, and I have been busy upcycling a lot of things. Here's the round up of the latest projects, in case you missed them:



declutter, upcycle


And, just last night, while looking for a cross stitch pattern (new project to come soon, I hope) I decided to take a bit of my own medicine and went through a basket full of old patterns printed from the net and craft magazines, and got rid of a lot of them.

If a pattern or a tutorial are online, then I can pin on Pinterest them and return to them when I need, instead of having to save a pile of paper. And if I've never made anything out of a craft magazine that is over 5 years old? What are the odds of needing it in the future (or even remembering what is inside)?. Done. Out with them. Pinterest is a wonder of modern ages, trust me!

This is just one of the tips for dealing with paper and paperwork I posted about last week. Paper tends to accumulate at our homes and taming the paper monster is a key step in successful decluttering. Check the link below to read all the tips:

declutter, upcycle

Tomorrow is a public holiday in Portugal and we have lots of plans for the long weekend, including three birthday parties on Saturday and one on Sunday, but I still want (need) to carry on with decluttering. I'll let you know how it went next week!















Wednesday, April 29, 2015

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday 29/April

Welcome to the last wordless wednesday of April! We are right in the middle of spring!

Life has been even more chaotic than usual lately, so there hasn't been much time for crafting or taking pictures. These were taken sometime ago on one of our trips to Sintra and Cabo da Roca:


sintra, cabo da roca, portugal
Lighthouse at Cabo da Roca




Cabo da Roca

sintra, cabo da roca, portugal
Sintra - National Palace

sintra, cabo da roca, portugal
Sintra - Pena Palace

sintra, cabo da roca, portugal
Sintra - Capuchos Convent


Monday, April 27, 2015

upcycle: cereal box to gift bag (tutorial)

upcycle, cereal box upcycle, cereal box to gift bag

Today I bring you a very easy and useful upcycle idea. We have a lot of birthday parties coming up in the next two weeks and instead of buying a lot of gift bags, I decided to make my own, using cereal boxes and turning them into this:

upcycle, cereal box upcycle, cereal box to gift bag

Want to try it?

Here is what you need: an empty cereal box, wrapping paper + glue or self adhesive paper (I used self adhesive because I have a huge roll of it leftover from another project and I'm trying to declutter) and matching ribbon (for the bag handles).

upcycle, cereal box upcycle, cereal box to gift bagupcycle, cereal box upcycle, cereal box to gift bag

First, cut the top flaps of the cereal box, so you're left with something that looks like this:

upcycle, cereal box upcycle, cereal box to gift bag


Start with one of the largest sides of the box and glue the paper:

upcycle, cereal box upcycle, cereal box to gift bag



Cut the paper at the top of the box as shown below. The extra paper is folded over and glued to the inside of the box:

upcycle, cereal box upcycle, cereal box to gift bag


Next, glue the sides:

upcycle, cereal box upcycle, cereal box to gift bag

upcycle, cereal box upcycle, cereal box to gift bag


 And finally the bottom and other large side of the box. You'll be left with this:

upcycle, cereal box upcycle, cereal box to gift bag

upcycle, cereal box upcycle, cereal box to gift bag


If you want, you can add a matching tag. I glued some leftover paper over a piece of pink cardboard (to be able to write a name or a message in the tag) and used the Sizzix to cut a flower shape:

upcycle, cereal box upcycle, cereal box to gift bag
tag front

upcycle, cereal box upcycle, cereal box to gift bag
tag back




Fold the sides of the box slightly towards the inside (only at the top), so that it starts to look more like a bag and less like a box:

upcycle, cereal box upcycle, cereal box to gift bag


Cut two pieces of ribbon, punch two holes at the top of each side of the box (measure to make sure they are centered). If you're adding a tag, punch a hole in it too, start threading the ribbons through the holes and tie a knot at each end of the ribbons, to keep them in place...

upcycle, cereal box upcycle, cereal box to gift bag


...so you're left with something like this in the end:

upcycle, cereal box upcycle, cereal box to gift bag


And you're done. You have one personalized gift bag at almost no cost, sturdier than most store bought paper gift bags.

upcycle, cereal box upcycle, cereal box to gift bag

Now, the next time you have an empty cereal box at home, remember you can turn it into something useful and cute instead of just throwing it away!

Enjoy,




Thursday, April 23, 2015

5 tips for dealing with paper & paperwork

 
clutter, decluttering, tips for dealing with paperwok, paperwork

Decluttering is my goal for 2015 and since the begging of the year I have reserved Thursday posts for the update on my efforts. Well, I haven't given up, don't worry. Last weekend I was mostly dealing with...you guessed!...paperwork.

And so today I decided to make an exception to the usual posts to talk about strategies to deal with paper & paperwork. Paperwork does not have to be a monster in your closet and you don't need to feel you are drowning in it before you take action. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Easy & healthy tuna casserole

easy, healthy, tuna casserole
My kids love tuna and they are both at an age when the foods they love are few and far in between, so I'm always looking for ways to mix what they love with something they don't love so much but need to eat.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Upcycled skirt

upcycled skirt, easy skirt, tutorial

In one of my recent decluttering missions I found an old skirt (adult sized) in my craft closet. I got it (used) from a friend to whom it didn't fit anymore, but because it was a nice soft pink linen fabric, I decided to keep it.

upcycled skirt, easy skirt, tutorial




It was way too long for me and at the time (I can't remember exactly when but it must have been over a year ago) I debated several alternatives to make it shorter. The easiest way would be to use the existing waist (which was just the right size) and just cut the excess length and make a new hem.  But the original hem was cute, with a heart shaped pattern I didn't want to loose since it was the eye catcher in an otherwise plain skirt.

upcycled skirt, easy skirt, tutorial




I put the skirt away for a while to think about what I wanted to do with it, then days turned into months and it never came out of the closet again.

Well, lately my daughter (now four and a half) has been a lot into skirts, and with spring in full force and summer just around the corner, it seems it's just the right time to wear them. The ones she has from last year are now way too short, and even though some can be lengthened (see my tutorial on how to lengthen girl's skirts here), she needed a couple of new ones. So, why not make them?

Thus, the skirt that should have been for me (though I didn't really need it and rarely use skirts anyway) ended up being turned into a skirt for her. And I did get to save the original hem!

upcycled skirt, easy skirt, tutorial




Basically, I measured the height using one skirt that fits her well now and cut the fabric leaving enough room for a new elastic casing.

upcycled skirt, easy skirt, tutorial

upcycled skirt, easy skirt, tutorial




Then, and that was left to do was to sew said elastic casing, insert the elastic and close the opening.

upcycled skirt, easy skirt, tutorial



But, me being me, I couldn't pass the opportunity to embellish the skirt a little . So I added an iron-on bunny patch (which I already had in my stash, so it counts as decluttering as well):

upcycled skirt, easy skirt, tutorial




My daughter now calls it the bunny skirt...

upcycled skirt, easy skirt, tutorial




Even without the iron-on, this is a very good example of how sometimes looking at things in a different light allows us to find their true destination. I turned a skirt that was just cluttering my closet into a perfectly functional skirt for my daughter in something like 10 minutes. I'd say its win-win all the way!

And I still have left the rest of the original skirt (the top half), that now looks like this...

upcycled skirt, easy skirt, tutorial

...and I have plans to upcycle it as well. I'll let you know how it goes in a couple of weeks (hopefully).

So, what else do you have in your closet that could be upcycled?


Enjoy,









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