Everything In Its Place

September 4, 2015

If you wanted to, would you be able to put everything in your house away? That sounds kind of crazy because who really has everything put away all the time, but could you? I couldn’t. My ever expanding yarn stash is overflowing (again) and I don’t have a new spot for it. We’ve been accumulating plastic containers for our new favorite ice cream and have those just sitting on the counter waiting for a home. Stuff I’ve knit is waiting to find a home in a drawer somewhere… Extra this, duplicate that. Where to put library books, our expanding collection of puzzles, etc. etc. etc.

I found this interesting article on apartment therapy which has remotivated me to purge and put away.

As part of our bedroom/bathroom remodel, we’ve switched rooms which has forced us to go through everything in our bedroom and bathroom and the closets. We’ve worked on it all July and have gotten rid of a lot of stuff. What we have kept, I’ve organized and labeled. You might look at it and say I’ve gone overboard, or I have too much time on my hand. I don’t really have the time, but it became important to me.

Bathroom closet
Organized closet

I didn’t solicit Bill’s opinion while I was doing it. Last week though, we were walking and I asked what he thought of the labels in the bathroom closet. I was shocked when he responded quickly and told me they were great. He actually read them. He told me he had no idea where to put the hand towels and he looked at the labels and it said to put them above the toilet. So he did.

I guess I’ll keep it up. I’ve done the bathroom and the hall closet. Nothing fancy, though I did have fun with my laminator in the bathroom. The hall closet is just card stock and string.

I also went through and discarded all our expired medications. There was a lot. Bill found a place to recycle it thanks to the internet. That saved us the big debate of flush it or throw it.

Medicine drawer

I went through and grouped things and labels them. Nothing fancy again, just cardboard and avery labels.

So that’s my project. Have everything have a spot. Not that it will ever be all put away at the same time, but it’s nice knowing that it could be.


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Starting Off Organized

January 1, 2015

Happy 2015!  I hope that you had a safe and happy start to your new year.  I certainly did.  I was organizing my yarn at midnight.  Bill was doing something on his computer.  We lead an exciting life here at Casa Napier!

I’ve said before that I love the start of a new year.  It’s an opportunity to wipe the slate clean and start fresh.  For me, a fresh start involves getting organized so I’ve decided to spend the month sharing some of my personal organization tips as well as some that I’ve found on the internet.

Today’s tip is all about The Planner.  Every year I agonize over what kind of planner to use.  I love to use a planner.  In high school I used a Chandler’s.  Everyone used a Chandler’s.  They are out of business now, but they were a weekly planner with a leatherette cover. I think I still have one of mine from high school.  I can’t remember what I used in college.  In my professional life I’ve used them all, none that I’ve truly loved.  As much as my phone is glued to my hand, I still prefer to have a pen and paper planner.  My planner is part calendar/to do list and part historical record.  When I remember (which isn’t as often as I like) I write down things Joshua said or did, what he’s playing with, etc.

The last two years I used one of the Erin Condren planners.  I love how colorful they are, customizable with a photo on the cover, and they are a good size for me though maybe a little thick.  What I haven’t loved is the layout and how they are not easily adjusted.  I like to have notes pages in every month.  Last year, I unwound the coil, rearranged the pages, and then twisted the coil back in.  I also have had a lot of blank pages that I never used.




This year, I opted for something new:

My cost was about $50.  Last year, my Life Planner from Erin Condren cost me $67.90 (includes tax and shipping).

I did have to do some work to get my monthly pages the way I like them.  I had trouble finding monthly layouts that I liked so I bought a set that included weekly pages and I went through and deleted the weekly pages and set it up to just print monthly.  This did take some time, but I’m happy with the result.  While I was at it, I added a monthly coversheet for monthly to dos and a doodle space.

I’m also in the process of tearing out the unused blank pages from my other 2 EC planners and will trim them and hole punch them to use in my new binder.  They are too cute to be wasted.

So that’s my planner for 2015.


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Kitchen Fun

January 29, 2014

Well, fun may be a bit of an exaggeration.  The background is this:  We have 2 pretty deep cabinets in our kitchen.  They hold a ton of stuff but are a giant PITA because it’s hard to get the stuff in the back.  Everything in the front has to get pulled out.  I have most of the stuff in bins so I’m only pulling out 2 bins to get the stuff in the back, but I’m still pulling out 2 bins.  Blah blah blah.  After much deliberation we ordered 2 sliders (one for each cabinet) to test it out.  The installation was easy.  The hard part was getting everything put away again.  It ended up being a huge kitchen reorganization project.  If you’ve been here before, good luck finding things.  We shuffled a lot of stuff around.  But it works.  There’s space for Joshua sippy cups which we’d been jamming in next to our bowls and wine glasses.  Bowls are easier to get to because they aren’t nested anymore.  Etc, etc, etc.  And then there’s the cabinets where the sliders were installed.  I am happier.  I am approaching happy.

Why my hesitation with the cabinet sliders?  Loss of usable space.  I should say a “perceived” loss of space.  In reality I have gained a lot of space because I can now easily access the entire depth of the cabinet.  But I lose about 2.5 inches on each side for the slider rails.  I think it is just me being me and I need to get over it.  We had a little trouble fitting everything that was originally on the shelf on the new sliding shelf but that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore.  I think it helped when we threw away the expired and stale stuff.





What Bill thought was going to be an afternoon project turned out to be an afternoon, next day, following morning project.  But it is hugely improved and we are going to order sliders for the remaining shelves.  I’m so close to being able to check this off my to-do list.

And because I hadn’t done enough organizing already, I shuffled the furniture around in my craft room.  My sewing tables are back to back now, going out of the wall instead of side by side against it.  It will make quilting a lot easier.  If I like this set-up, I am going to get new tables from IKEA that we can hack to sink my machines.  There’s a great tutorial on it.  I’m pretty sure I’m going to like it like this.  It doesn’t feel like the tables are taking up more floor space.  My seating area seems a little more cramped, but that’s also because I have a bigger chair there now.  We shuffled some chairs around in this process.  (Joshua was getting a little crazy on the rocking chair in his room so it’s now in our room, the chair from our room in my craft room, the craft room chair in Joshua’s room.)  I’m also planning on getting a new coffee table for the craft room/playroom which will be a much better surface for Joshua and his cars and garage.




As a result of my craft room shuffle-roo, I started going through all my stuff.  (It’s a WIP so pardon my mess in the photos.)  I have so much scrapbooking stuff that I need to get on top of.  Stuff from when I was in high school.  Ugh.  I went through a couple of binders and threw a lot of stuff out.  I’m also going to get rid of a bunch of my magazines.  They’re now available on CD or for download and that will take up a lot less space.  I have to give my mom credit for that idea.  I have decisions to make – fabric scraps, scraps and more scraps, more clipped articles, and let’s not even discuss yarn.  Overall, progress is being made.


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Happy Leap Day!

February 29, 2012

Hello and Happy Leap Day!  I feel like I should do something special to take advantage of this “extra” day, but I don’t know what.  I think I read in one of my magazines that it’s a great day to take stock of things and set an intention for the year.  That doesn’t feel special to me.  I do that every year.  And at the beginning of most months.  Maybe I’ll just go have a donut.

Good morning sunshine

This is the first “normal” week that the blueberry and I have had.  I’m starting to feel a little bit of a rhythm with him.  I’ve actually gotten some things done around the house (amen!).  Yesterday I worked in Bill’s room and it is looking really nice if I do say so myself.  Actually, both of us worked on it Saturday, hanging pictures, putting stuff away.  We still need to set up his tv and arrange the stuff in the armoire, and he’s gotten some stuff in the closet that needs to be gone through, but it looks pretty darn nice.  My big contribution was arranging his bookshelves, displaying some of his treasures.  Still some stuff to be finished here too…  need a 2×4 to raise up the second row of Star Wars bobbleheads, set up his stereo.  I also bought a rug for his room and he needs different pillows.  The current ones are too flowery.  Pillows are low down on the to do list.  A big improvement though!

Bill's room

Bill's room the wrestling side

Bill's shelves

I’ve been doing a lot of reading this year.  I just finished my 12th book.  Now two of those were Nancy Drew books which are super easy reads (but so fun and they bring me back to my childhood).  Still, 10 books so far is a good start to the year.  I think it’s because I read before I go to sleep, instead of watching tv which is what I used to do.  But we are trying not to have the tv on around the baby, even when he’s sleeping.  Except for sports.  We read an article that says babies should have minimal exposure to the tv in their first two years.  I don’t remember why but it was in the New York Times so it must be right.  More importantly, if I’m watching tv, I’m not interacting with him.  My logic about the sports is that I can listen to it and I don’t have to watch it (constantly).  And I love my sports (on tv).  Anyway, less tv is more reading.  I’ve also realized that most of my books are set in England.  Of the 81 books in my queue, 20 are set across the pond.  Interesting.

The other big excitement of here is that I start my new job this week!  I am going to be working at my local yarn store, Green Planet Yarn.  I’m very excited, though not that excited about Saturdays away from my boys, but it’s only 2 Saturdays a month (so far) and it will be good bonding time for them.  I also do not need to buy, and most definitely should not buy, more yarn.  We’ll see how that goes.  I think Bill is already resigned to the fact that this opportunity of mine is going to cost him money.  In all honesty, this is a dream job.  I’m looking forward to meeting people, talking about something I love doing, being surrounded by all that beautiful (tempting) yarn.  There’s so much to learn and I’ve never worked retail (except the summer I was 16).  We will see how it goes!

Today my goal is to make some headway in my craft room.  And to move some fabric that I ironed over the weekend that is currently decorating a chair in my living room.  And to go to the library to pick up some books I requested otherwise I will be dinged $3 apiece.  And to figure out how to make leap day extra special (ie pick up a donut).


But first, the kitters has joined me on the bed.  (Please ignore the mess in the background.  It’s also on my to do list.)  This is the evil kitters who found three balls of cashmere yarn that I forgot were on my craft table and who batted them all over the floor of the craft room and living room.  (Thank goodness I vacuumed and swept recently.)  I think I should have been mad but I was really more amused.  This does not bode well for me as a mom.

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To Keep Or Not To Keep

February 3, 2011

I unexpectedly ended up cleaning up my craft closet a bit yesterday afternoon.  I’m trying to make room for some sewing machine accessories which led to pulling down containers, exploring the contents, putting them aside, pulling down more containers… You can see where this is going.  Ugh.  So much crap.  But I might use it again…someday.

craft closet

I am torn.  I’ve been inspired by Gran who recently emailed me that she’s trying to get rid of something every day, and is trying to be very honest about whether the item is really going to get used. Keri made me think about how we use 20% of our stuff 80% of the time.  I have some things in my closet that I have not touched in years.  I think I just need to bite the bullet and let them go.  I need to make space for the things I do and will use.  So I should throw out the craft paint that I bought 7 years ago and only used once, right?  I’m usually able to make these tough decisions. For some reason, it is easier for me to do with clothes than craft supplies.  Sigh…  Even Bill has made some tough decision with electronics recently.


I took a break for a couple of hours and came back with a fresh perspective.  I emptied out a bunch of things and ended up with two shopping bags worth of stuff to purge.  The closet doesn’t really look all that different, but it is.  I’ve put new stuff in to replace the stuff that I took out, but I guess that’s the point, isn’t it.  To create more space?

closet, post purge

I put together a list of the stuff and Bill’s going to put it up for sale at work.  Whatever doesn’t get sold will get donated. Bottom line, I’ve got less stuff to deal with.


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Three Drawers Down, One To Go

January 7, 2010

Over the summer, I found a dresser at a garage sale. It was in need of some serious TLC, but I saw potential. Fast forward three months or so, and I finally got around to working on it. I sanded it and primed it and painted it and then realized I hadn’t done a good job of sanding it. Or washing it before the priming. Back to the beginning; I resanded it. The top had some serious damage to it, lots of scratches and stuff etched into it. I thought the paint would fill in the scratches (lazy talk). This time around, I sanded the crap out of it. And then I really did a good job washing it. I re-primed and re-painted and this time I was very happy with the job. I used spray primer and paint to get a smooth finish, and I used glossy paint. My big splurge was the hardware which I got at restoration hardware. I looked at Home Depot, but wasn’t impressed. Anthropologie had/has some nice hardware, but RH had the look I was going for. I lined the drawers with wrapping paper from the Container Store. It can’t be seen, but if the drawers ever empty out some, it will be there. Bill installed the hardware for me, and my dresser was finally done. $25 for the dresser, around $25 for supplies (paint and sand paper, etc) and let’s say a bit more for the hardware. Not a bad investment for a pretty & very solid piece of furniture. Whatcha think?

I’m using the dresser in my craft studio for my sewing stuff. The top drawer is for my notions (zippers, ribbons, bias tape, purse handles, etc.). The second drawer (in the photo) holds he majority of my crafting fabric (as opposed to my garment fabric). The fourth drawer holds some of my more special garment fabric as well as some heavy weight fabrics. And the third drawer. Well, that’s the one drawer that is left. It will hold more crafting fabric, and I’m hoping there might be space for my buttons.

The folding of the fabric is quite tedious. Bill has been a treasure and helped me with some of the folding. And if there’s a good movie on, the folding goes quickly. I’m hoping that I can finish the third drawer today and be done with the project. That will be a big accomplishment!

I’ve been working on my craft room, trying to get stuff put away once and for all. I know I’ve said that before. I’m trying hard to get to the point where everything is away and tidy and I can concentrate on the projects. This is the closest I have been to that goal.

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About Me

Welcome to my spot on the web where I talk about needlework, crafts, and [many] other random things.

A few tidbits about me: I met my husband in college, flirting over tuba letters in the Penn Band. Our dog, CJ, and our cat, Sabrina, round out our family. I'm a sewist, knitter and needlepointer, and an occasional scrapbooker. I love organizing, reading, making jewelry, and hiking. A Chicago girl at heart, I am an avid follower the Cubs, Bears, and Blackhawks.

You can email me at mlynapier [at] pobox [dot] com. Thank you for stopping by!

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