Saturday, February 27, 2010

Week Eight Update

This week's focus has been Passion (learning how to knit) and Organization (the studio). Sunday I started a beginner's knitting class and this is the lovely creation so far!! Woohoo! I know how to knit...can't believe those words just came forth from me! Well, okay it's not a masterpiece, but you can see the scarf taking shape (: Not bad for a first attempt. Knit and purl are the first steps and I can't wait to learn more!

Now...Welcome to my chaos!! This is the one room of the house that I will not allow people to enter. Why show the dirty laundry, eh? But part of breaking out of old habits is being accountable. When we hide the dark places, they tend to stay the same. So I'm letting the light shine in and exposing my studio. Isn't it sad? Bless its heart (: It's been neglected for so long.

Can't believe I'm sharing this before shot! I'll be posting more photos as the makeover continues. If you've been following along, purging has taken place in this space for a few weeks and it's amazing how long this process is taking! There are so many unfinished projects and ideas sprawled in every corner that it can be overwhelming!

The key to moving forward is to take small bits at a time. The preference would be to move everything out and then add things back in as the purge marches on, but this would spread the mess into the rest of the house.

So each day another box, a pile of papers, a bin of projects in progress comes into the living room for sorting. Once enough floor space is cleared then the furniture can be moved to its final destination. I'll keep you posted as things move along (:

If you've got a messy space you're working on, I'd love to hear about your progress!



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Friday, February 26, 2010

The Art of Simple Business - The Amy Butler Way

As a business owner I am often attracted to other small businesses who have simplicity and creativity as the heart of their operating philosophy. Amy Butler is no exception.

I love how this husband and wife team have decided to slowly grow their company without the use of traditional funding sources. Watch their inspirational story and see if some of the things they've learned along the way might help you on your own business journey...

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy



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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Great Office Ideas for Small Spaces

I'm in the middle of simplifying and organizing my studio...oh, the horrors! It's amazing how much stuff you can accumulate in a smaller space! I'll be posting the before and after photos soon enough, but until then here are some great ideas that inspire me and might help you to get your office or studio organized.

If you don't have an extra room to dedicate solely to an office area, a closet is the perfect solution and can be closed up and out of sight when you're done!

A drop-leaf chest is a great way to claim work space in a small area and can be tucked into any room of the home without compromising the design.

I prefer to keep my working and sleeping areas separate, but many are faced with combining the two. I love this idea and a beautiful solution at that! The clear desk and chair set allow the work area to fade away and the colorful boxes keep supplies out of sight, yet add to the design.

Notice the baskets under the foot of the bed...I see this as a place for projects to be stored, each project owning its own basket. When you need to work on one project, simply bring it out when you're ready and then pack it away when you're done. This room is chic and fun at the same time!

We've all seen these shelving units and how they can organize a closet and add space for storage, but it's ideal for creating a work space when you only have a few feet to spare. My favorite thing is to take storage up the walls and this offers so much storage in a tiny space!

The neat thing about the shelf system option is flexibility. The white filing cabinet you see could also be placed under the worksurface to free up floor space within the room. So many options with this idea.

I hope these photos inspire you to create the perfect work space in your home or office. Simplify, organize and enjoy (:



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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Week Seven Update

This last week has been one of reflection. I naturally have an adventurous spirit, but the last 12 years has taken a chunk out of my spontaneous moods, not to mention my waistline! The outdoors seems to bring the adventurousness out in me. I love to be in God's beautiful nature...as long as I can get clean and bugs don't get caught in my hair (:

I used to go river rock jumping, repelling, hiking, kayaking, whitewater rafting, rollerblading, skiing, camping, body rafting (not the smartest of outdoor sports) and really anything that embraced nature. I was even making plans to go sky diving, although did manage to change my mind on that one (: But when you're caring for an ill relative your focus shifts in a new direction. One that brings all of your attention to their needs and doing anything you can to make things better for them.

Then once that focus is no longer needed, it's easy to stay in the same mode without noticing that you're stuck in neutral. Plus, city living doesn't give a lot of room for star gazing or the watching of fireflies (light pollution) and the sounds of cars whizzing by can drown out the symphony of bullfrogs and crickets in the night air. So I didn't even realize how much the simple treats of nature were missing from my life until I took my first knitting class today. Imagine that!

I know it sounds strange. How can a knitting class reconnect your spirit to the outdoors? This class was yet another step into the journey of embracing a new way of doing things this year. I've always wanted to learn how to knit and decided, why wait? So I found a wonderful beginners knitting group with an awesomely patient teacher and LOVE it! The feeling I get when I do something new and fun is exhilarating. After much satisfaction at learning this long sought after craft, I realized this was the same feeling I experienced on passed nature adventures.

So as I move forward, I'll seek new ways to reconnect with my outdoor spirit and bring that passion back into my daily walk.



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Friday, February 19, 2010

Adding Space to Your Small Kitchen

If you have a tiny kitchen the easiest way to increase your space is to take things up! Up the walls, on the sides of things, on top of kitchen cabinets and refrigerators.

Our kitchen is small and it's been challenging to find a place for everything. As you can see from the photo below, the fridge is to the right of the large door our laundry room).  We have about 2.5 ft of counter space between the fridge and the stove with another 3 feet of counter space on the other side of the stove. It's an "L-shaped" configuration with a little more work surface on either side of the sink (you can barely see the steel sink in the bottom left of the photo).

Even after a simplifying purge, there still wasn't much room for pots, pans and lids. Storing them in the oven got to be a bit much! The solution? IKEA!

Ah...one of my favorite stores (: This particular rail and basket series is BYGEL and only cost me $36. I looked everywhere for a wall system and couldn't find anything less than $250 for an entire unit. This system gives double the storage than any of the units I found and you can't beat it for under $40!!! Plus it allows space underneath for rolling recycling bins. Here's a list of each item and the cost:
The amount of wall space covered is 7.25 x 4 feet and stores 4 pots, 3 pans, 5 lids, roasting pan with roasting rack, stainless steel colander, medium size sieve, Asian strainer, measuring cups, measuring spoons, apple corer, oven mitts, small chopping board (behind the oven mitts and large lid), wooden spoon, microplane, grater, mandolin with blades and height adjusters, sea salt, pepper mill and pepper, apple cider vinegar, liquid aminos, several teas and then the rolling bins for our recyclables. Wow!

And the neat thing about this wall is that it's tucked away and cannot be seen from anywhere in the apartment unless you're standing in the kitchen. Plus, each item is so easy to reach. No more digging around the back of cabinets or moving ten things just to reach one item (:
Here's another space saver...use magnetic tins to store your favorite spices. LOVE these! We keep ours on the side of the fridge near the stove. They're up and out of the way, but very accessible. We even have room on the other side of the fridge to store 2 folding tables for the times when extra surfaces are needed.

Don't forget the top of the fridge! Ours keep glass jars filled with oats, flours, rices, and beans close by, but out of the way. Baskets that perfectly fit underneath the cabinets above the fridge hold items used only for special occasions.

So if your kitchen walls seem to be closing in with no room to spare, get creative, organize and find new spaces!

In Gratitude,


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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Nourishing Traditions Class

Nourishing Traditions is the next book on my reading list and has been one that I've been wanting to get for quite some time. So imagine my surprise when I walked into our local Earth Fare store and noticed a Nourishing Traditions class posted on their events board starting Wednesday!!

It's so great to go through a class with others wanting to learn more about nutrient dense whole foods. I love reading, but the class offers another dimension where questions can be answered as they arise. Plus we have taste tests and receive tons of info on local resources. I can't wait for the next class next week!!



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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Week Six Update and Valentine's Day

Over the years our holiday celebrations have evolved into more meaningful and less traditional times. Valentine's Day was no exception. With coats and scarves in hand our day was celebrated meditating by the lake as the sun set...thoughts of love, family and thankfulness for a gracious God.

This spot on the lake has always been a place of reflection for me. There's just something so soothing about watching the flow of water currents. Lingering snow speckled the landscape and beauty abounded.

We had a wonderful picnic dinner of healthy treats including grilled salmon, chicken salad, spinach tortellini, sesame kale, beet salad, coleslaw and a Jamaican brew ginger ale. Yum!

Now, the update!! This past week the focus has been on Organization and Business. Spots in the house that have been chaotic are being streamlined and I've started working on several unfinished ebooks that have been sitting on my to-do pile for the last year. I can't wait to share more about the ebooks when they're completed (: If you'd like a heads up on the release dates, simply email me and I'll be happy to add you to the list.



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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Hocky Puck, Rattlesake, Monkey, Monkey Underpants

If you've never had the pleasure of a Gilmore experience, here's my mentor Lorelai to offer some words of wisdom (:



That's what my day was like yesterday. Except instead of the wild jungle full of scary gibberish being in my head, apparently it was all around me. I couldn't seem to start or finish anything effectively. Have you ever had a day like that? Where everything you touched just went wrong? Well, maybe not wrong, just...hum. How can I explain this? No matter what my plans were yesterday they all flew around like a flock of crazy birds on a feeding frenzy of tequila! So, today I begin again with my sanity in tact and paint on my face - just hoping the birds don't come back...



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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Authenticity



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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Week Five Update

This past week has been a challenging one. I suspected change was in the air, but had no idea this was in store. My Mom's beloved cat Charlie passed away Thursday and the house hasn't been the same since. We had no idea he was sick, but his condition progressed from a visit to the vet on Wednesday to his passing on Thursday.

Mom adopted Charlie when a co-worker was trying to find a home for him. He had been abandoned by his owner and was cast out to fend for himself. How in the world someone could close their hearts and home to this little snuggle bunny I will never understand.

Charlie fast became a fixture in our home and my two little doxies loved him so. They would snuggle together on the pups pillows in front of the fireplace and of course shared meal times together. The above photo is the crew waiting for their morning vittles.

Mom adopted Charlie two months after my Father passed away and he helped to heal a spot in our hearts that ached from loss. His gentle touches, playful pounces, window nestling and chattering meows will be missed. Now our hearts turn to heal from the loss we feel from his passing. It's amazing how the little furry members of our families can have so much of our hearts.

"The eyes of the Lord are on me, and His ears are open to my cry...When I cry out, the Lord hears, and delivers me out of all my troubles." ~ Psalm 34:15,17



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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Favorite Blogs

There are so many inspirational blogs out there!! Each having its own voice of guidance. I started off with a small list of favs that were referred to often, but over the year the list has grown. I decided these golden spots of bliss indeed needed a space of their own (: Enjoy!

4Little Men and Girly Twins
A Country Farm House
A Holy Experience
A Wise Woman Builds Her Home
Amy Hanna
Amy's Humble Musings
Apron Thrift Girl
Beauty That Moves
BLUEYEDUCK Studios
Blue Yonder Ranch
Brené Brown
Brocante Home
Claudine Hellmuth
Creative Every Day
Creative Kismet
Creative Organizing
Dancing Barefoot
Donna Downey
Earth Mama
Earthy Crunchy
Eat! Craft! Live!
Everything Free Eating
Exhale. Return to Center
Food Renegade
From Under the Laundry Pile
Frugal Granola
Fun In My Backyard
Girl Talk
Healing Hillary
Heavenly Homemakers
Home2Learn
Homespun Living
Journal Girl
Just Making Noise
Keeper of the Home
Kelly the Kitchen Kop
Life in Southern Suburbia
Like a Warm Cup of Coffee
Little Blog in the Big Woods
Live~Craft~Learn
Living Learning and Loving Simply
Make It and Love It
MckMama
Muthering Heights
My Minutia
Naturally Knocked Up
Notes from a Cottage Industry
Nourishing Days
Organic and Thrifty
Passionate Homemaking
PENSIEVE
Posie Gets Cozy
Prairie Daze
Raised in Cotton
Reading Rosie
Rebecca Sower
Rocks In My Dryer
Simple Mom
Small Notebook
Soule Mama
Steady Mom
The Blankie Chronicles
The Colorado Lady
The Displaced Dutchican
The Flourishing Mother
The Hippie Housewife
The Nourishing Gourmet
The Pleated Poppy
The Promise of a Rainbow
The Puebla Ponderosa
This Is My Life
To Think is to Create
Uncommon Grace
Walk Slowly Live Wildly
Wholesome Goodness



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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Change

My Mother's favorite saying is "No one likes change but a baby with a dirty diaper." How true, how true. We get set in our patterns and when they're challenged, even when we're the one initiating the change, the balance we're used to throws us back for a loop. We regroup, make the needed tweaks in our plan and move forward. I'm not sure what it is about this week, but I feel changes are ahead and it's not the type I was anticipating when this year challenge began. It's the kind that brings sadness.

We've had a lot of transition within the last few years in our family and it can throw you off kilter if you let it. 2007 my father passed away, Mom fell deathly ill that same year and almost died and then 2008 brought the death of both of my Grandmothers during the Christmas holidays. 2009 was about healing, recovery and doing things in a different way, but now I find myself feeling that same "changing" sense from the previous years flooding my spirit again.

We all face moments of change...sometimes everyday. The key is to have a consistent foundation of some sort. Faith has been that consistency for me. No matter what craziness may be fluttering about, I know that God has things under control. It may be messy and not so pleasant at times, but just knowing He's taking care of things brings comfort.

If you're going through a time that seems to be coming at you from every side, know that even during these unsettling moments you have a soft place to fall in a Father who cares. You can come to Him at any time and He will hold your heart through it all.

"I am not anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, I present my requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, guards my heart and my mind in Jesus Christ." ~ Philippians 4:6-7



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