Archive for the ‘organize’ Category

I finally broke down and bought my domain name. Years ago before blogs I had a website I built using front page and I taught myself html. It was for school for my students to get information, see a schedule, and get late work.
As I work on my thesis project, one of the tools I’m using is google sites, created a wiki as a project log/journal.
And then I realized I have like 3 or 4 blogs in different places! I have this blog, my mrs. hoadley blog, google site, and I had a family blog.

So I bought my domain and have set up the front page. emilyhoadley.com
Now I need to create the content and here’s where the problems start. I have a look I want to go for, I can picture how I want it to look. However: I’m cheap and refuse to pay for web design services, don’t get style sheets (css), and I can’t make rapid weaver do what I want.
My theme or byline is “artist, teacher, researcher”. This seems a little presumptive on my part, but it feels like the right way to describe what I do and who I am. But then I am also a wife and mother and wondered if I should add it or keep it to three things?

The next question is why am I bothering with all of this when 1) I have a million things to grade, 2) I am finishing up the school year, 3) was volunteered to created a slide show for graduation, 4) have 3 graduate classes starting up for the summer, 5) am training a dog, and 6) have a family I need to care for?

I think this will be an easier way to update and track all of my blogs. The other part is that my research blog is part of my research and will be an artifact for my final project.

I must be just a little insane…..


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I have lots of stamps, I know there are others out there who have more than I do, but I still have lots. I have a few very good sentiment stamps. But sometimes I want more than a thinking of you or happy birthday. I have some other sets that have a sentiment or two included that I’d like to use separately but unless I have that set out I forget I have it. So I decided to take all of my non-sentiment stamps off the shelf and stamp any sayings or greetings, write the name of the stamp set. Now I have a quick reference to the variety of sayings I have on all my stamps. I even made a sheet for the sentiment only sets.
It’s a pretty simple system which makes it work for me.

I printed it on card stock front to back and left lots of room to stamp!

I’m thinking this could work as a way to organize all of my stamps by season, occasion, etc. This might be overkill, we’ll see.
Here’s a jpg of my chart, feel free to download and use it!

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Like most people I struggle with keeping my chaos somewhat under control. I’ve tried all kinds of approaches and have had some success. I am fortunate to have an iphone and mac computers so my hubby and I can keep out calendars shared and synched. This helps a lot. But something I’ve always done is had a daily to do list. This has changed from random sticky notes, electronic notes, scraps of paper, notebooks (cute and plain) and back again. Recently I decided what I really needed to keep track of. Here’s my list

-daily to do’s, including the must do’s like phone calls etc
– menu plan, really trying to plan farther ahead than say, 4 o’clock that day!
– grocery list, I see we are nearly out of “white dip” (ranch dressing) but by the time I go to make a list I’ve forgotten it!

So I had a plain med size notebook with 3 sections. Which worked for a while but I wanted to add pages or have pockets so I thought of making it work, and making it pretty. Then I thought, a little binder would do the trick, I have photoshop I can make my own pages. I found my old planner. Really a nice leather one I probably paid a bit too much for. But I didn’t want to go to the store and buy new pages because a) I’m cheap and b) I never find just the right page.

Here’s my basic directions for photoshop
1. create a new project that is the same dimensions as your planner insert. Mine are the 6 hole pages that are 3.5 x 6 inches.
2. Using text boxes, make your lines using the _ key, leaving space for a blank notes section
3. Make a small rectangle for the date at the top.
4. Make another small rectangle for the daily menu.
5. create a new project that is 8.5 x 11 inches
6. Select all and “copy merged” to past on your new large project. I was able to get 3 to a sheet. Do not resize these at all.
7. Print, trim to the correct size, punch holes.

These are the daily pages I made inspired by Simple Mom.

I kept them simple, added a digital brush on the pages to fancy them up a bit. The brushes are from Jason Gaylor, and if you have photoshop these are a very cool thing to have! He has a lot of designs available for purchase and free download. These are a very fun thing to add to photos before printing them! I didn’t print my pages back to back so I could have the back of each day as extra room to write a list or message, or inspiring thought. Next I made a basic menu plan and grocery list.

DISCLAIMER: I am not in anyway an expert, or one of “those” kinds of women who have it together! Ha Ha! The opposite. But I read lots of books, magazines and blogs about house keeping and organizing etc. So I’ve put the ones I like together and made my own system.

Here are helpful links to people who really do have it all together.
Simple Mom Tsh covers everything and it makes sense. Really it does. The things I’ve really taken and put to use in my life are the idea of menu planning. She has great ideas on how to get started, examples and after making my 1st set of menus for 2 weeks, it wasn’t as hard as I thought. I used her basic categories because they worked with how we eat anyway. And I like how she even does a monthly menu plan! Can you imagine not having to stress over dinner for a month? But as Tsh puts it, if you can plan for 2 weeks, you can rotate and repeat and you can make it a month! Cool! I also like her “Daily Docket”, her version of a daily planner which you can download for free from her site where she also has lots of other free downloads. And I’d really recommend checking out her categories on the side bar, lots of good info!

Fly Lady I read the book a couple of years ago, and she has a ton of info to get you started on the journey of reclaiming your life by getting your house under control. I’ve followed her systems in various ways, but what I really like are the simple things like setting a timer and cleaning/picking up a room for a set amount of time and moving on. Really great way to get a plan to get your house under control. I don’t do the zones or the set things because there are times when the kids and I just decide to go do something and leave the house stuff for another day. Plus I’m not real great about a set schedule for everything all of the time.

These are two of the sites I’ve checked the most for ideas.

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how to stay organized

I hate to brag, but I admit there are some things that I do better than most. No, it’s not organizing. It’s procrastinating, I am a world champ! My craft table has looked like someone dumped a garbage can all over it for longer than I’m going to admit (maybe over a couple weeks). I just look at the piles upon piles and can’t work up to uncover my desk. So yesterday while the kiddies were playing I started. But then I got sidetracked by an empty paint can and a file holder.
So I grabbed the Mod Podge and paper. And made this.

Yes, I did it right on top of the pile of other stuff.

I told my hubby the other night I needed a couple of more shelves. And he asked “do you need more shelves or less stuff?” My answer was both. But he’s right I do need less stuff because when I want to sit and make a quick card or scrap page I can’t because of my mess. So I made a list of what I do on the desk and what I use all the time.

There’s another reason why I really need to get this under control: a job. I am interviewing for a few high school science teaching positions for this fall. I have mixed feelings about going back to teaching which I may get into later. But I know that going back to teaching after being home with the twins for 3.5 years is going to be a transition and crafty time will be pretty limited.
Now I am sorting, making hard choices about what to keep and what to donate/toss, and what to put away that I may come back to.
My steps:
1) make a list of what I most often do at my desk and the tools I always use.
2) take everything off the desk and shelf, put in boxes.
3) wipe down everything with a baby wipe-really gets all the paper bits and dust!
4) start putting back the things on the list
5) figure out what to do with rest

I am only on step 3, I will post my other steps later!

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Since being in our house since 2004 my crafting area has evolved from being a very large room of my own, to a hallway, and now a spare room that has become an office of sorts that I share with my husband. I am a messy crafter. And actually I’m just kind of scattered all over the place. My sweet hubby calls it my “comfort clutter” which he noticed not long after we were married. He said it’s like the little cloud of dirt that always follows “Pigpen” from the “Charlie Brown” cartoons. And I have to admit he’s right, everywhere I go I have little piles of stuff that I’m working on or through.
He’s a little better at containing his things, so sharing the two of us sharing an office has always been a bit of work. Now, add in two three year olds and you can imagine the chaos! My husband has turned the closet into a very efficient computer set up with all of his electronics and is lockable to keep the kiddies out! Here’s my computer work area complete with tv/kid craft area.

A note: all photos are taken in situ, or as they normally occur in real life!
Opposite of my computer desk is my crafting area which consists of an old kitchen table, a book shelf made by my hubby years ago, a stamp pad rack, and paper trays.

This is pretty clean for my desk, normally I end up working on top of piles and it looks like this

I have my spools of ribbon in a double wire basket on top of my stamp pad holder. Plus other ribbon in jars on top of the wood shelf along with paints and brushes, and a variety of adhesives.

And yes, I did create those small art pieces. More reasons my table is always messy!

I also have my “custom” memo boards covered in Amy Butler fabrics. Next to them is a very large painting I did about 6 years ago and have yet to find a place to display it.

Not pictured are the kids easels and wiener dog who is normally hiding under the computer desk!
Hope you enjoyed my studio tour! I like to think that one day I will have a pretty, organized studio all of my own! But then I realize I’d probably just keep it messy! LOL

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Photo Freedom

I bought Stacy Julian’s new book Photo Freedom after a friend of mine read it and highly recommended it. I have read it all the way through twice and I’m still picking my way through it as I have time. This is big, it’s revolutionary, and will really help you get your photos organized! That being said, I am not going to review the book, it’s too much to go over. If you go to Amazon you can read excerpts and reviews there. What I will share is how I am implementing these ideas.

First thing to know about the whole “Simple” philosophy of Stacy and her magazine is that being “caught up” is not the point of scrapping. Cathy Zielske also talks about this make believe place in her Clean and Simple Scrap booking:Part two (which I love!) This makes sense to me because if you are continuously taking pictures you will never be done, you will always have new photos to take and new stories to tell. That is what is so terrific about scrap booking. The second thing to know is that you really don’t have to scrap chronologically. Which is cool because I never have been this way, I just scrap as I go and as I feel like it. BUT I store my layouts in chrono order and all my digital photos on my computers and hard drives are all by date. This makes sense to some degree, but when you take an average of 10,000 pics a year it can really get overwhelming!

So now on to Photo Freedom. Stacy uses four general categories of: people we love, all about us, places, and things. This is the foundation of her whole system and she explains in detail how she breaks things down within these categories. I will warn you that this book can overwhelm you if you try to adapt all of the ideas into your current scheme. I got stressed about re-organizing my scrap books. But I think I have found a way that makes sense to me and my family. I did not do baby books for my twins, I know too many people with these partially filled out books sitting in boxes in their homes. After their birth I started a large 12×12 album for each kid where I could include all the bits of info and memorabilia included in the traditional baby book. I don’t want to brag or anything but my babies are a little over two and their first two years on this earth is pretty well documented in their albums. I have friends who have teenagers and have scrapped nothing about their lives, this is okay. I like to scrap, this is my fun. And these are my first babies, probably my only babies so I wanted to really put the effort into preserving these early memories as they occurred.

Now, here’s the bad part of my system: Prior to the year 2006, very few if any scrap book pages have been made. My husband and I were married in 1995, we didn’t have babies until 2006. In between we graduated from college, worked, traveled, lived in different places, had hobbies, and took pictures of these things. But if you look at my pile of albums, it looks like our lives started when we had the babies. Which is when our lives took on more meaning. So, by organizing my pages I can see there are big gaps in the story of our family. I don’t feel obligated to scrap these old pictures, but I feel the need to tell our story as it has evolved.

And here is where “category drawers” come in to play.

I have adapted this to my own system but I did get the 5×7 file drawers and labeled them as the four main categories. Now, as I find packets of film pictures (all over my house) I sort the pics into the categories, I have made my own dividers with card stock and my file punch from Stampin Up!

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In praise of the New Year, I’ve made some resolutions I mean goals. Things I’d like to work on for the upcoming year. Here’s a partial list: lose weight, get healthy (duh), get organized (sort of), be more productive, make better use of my time, buy less craft stuff (or not as much), and use up the stuff that I’ve been holding onto for way too long. After reading several boards and blogs I know that my hoarding and collecting of craft stuff is not unique to me. Many others suffer from this affliction. I had found a blog where many posters were talking about building their own kits for scraping. Did a bit of brainstorming and came up with a plan and started shopping in my stuff.  Yes, I have lots of stuff, but I know that many others have more stuff than me, and that helps me not feel as guilty. So I started with some funky cardstock that had no apparent use.  I also included leftovers from 12×12 sheets that looked approximately 8.5 x 11. Then I added 3-4 patterened papers (some where full sheets, some scraps), then I choose an alpha type (sticker, rub ons, chipboard, or stamps), I added a card or tag (something that I could use for journaling or something), ribbons (at least 3), chipboard, flowers, buttons, brads, or similar embellishments. I also included things that I have collected or held on for a long time. I put all of the kits in big baggies that I’ve saved–yes, I’m a huge packrat! Part of the goal I have is using things that I’ve waited to use on the “perfect” project.I also wanted to use some of the non-scrappy things I’ve collected. One of the kits has a paint chip sample that is part of a larger pile that I always meant to do something with someday. Well, someday is now.My other thought with these kits is time saving. Like a lot of scrappers, I would love more time to scrap. As a SAHM to nearly 2 year old boy/girl twins I really am limited in time. As if that isn’t enough I also work out of my home with a couple of businesses. So, if I have a few kits made up ahead of time I can do a bit of scrapping when the kiddies are taking a nap. I also think that down the road it might be fun to swap page kits with other crafters online. Maybe. When I first tried this I was feeling restricted by using only the stuff in my bag. But I made myself stick it out and now it’s become a fun and easy way to craft. Plus, now if I go to a crop of a friends house I can just grab a few kits and head out the door instead of packing half of the stuff I own! 

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