Homekeeping

“New Year, New Uses”

REAL SIMPLE featured a post titled “New Year New Uses,” which I loved. It explains how common household items can be transformed into something new and awesome! There are several in the article worth checking out but below are a few of my favorites.

Baby Oil to Detangle Necklaces

One of the most frustrating things for me is when my necklaces get tangled! I can never seem to untangle them myself. Easy solution: rub a small amount of baby oil into the knot and work it free with a straight pin.

Holiday Lights as a Night Light

This is a fun, quirky way to use your holiday lights year round. Simply get any size Mason jar and fill it with battery powered holiday lights. This cute night light can be used anywhere around your home to add spark.

Lollipops as Cocktail Stirrers

Maybe it is because I am a kid at heart but I love the idea of using lollipops as cocktail stirrers. Pick a flavor or color that compliments the cocktail being served. Your guests will love this fun twist on a childhood favorite!

Why Not Store Your Cookies in Gold?

I am so digging these gold canisters. They could be used for so many things — in the kitchen for tea, coffee, flour, sugar… In the bathroom for cotton balls or Q-tips… In the mud room for dog treats. The list goes on….

If you love them as much as I do, they can be purchased at Global Home.

photo via OpenSky

Herb Tower

My herb garden is doing fairly well this summer. The key, I have found, is consistent watering and regular pruning and harvesting. I am thankful to have space to plant the garden every year. If I didn’t have the room, I think I would approach herb gardening from the container route. This herb tower from Martha Stewart is a beautiful way to grow and showcase herbs using simple containers.

Happy gardening!

Herb Tower from Martha Stewart

Easy reusable labels

Washi tape — Japanese masking tape — is so fun to work with. It comes in a variety of colors and patterns and is easy to use. A nice feature is that it can be removed easily and reused. I used it most recently on my Christmas cards to affix our photo to the card.

Martha Stewart suggests using washi tape for making labels. The tape peels off easily allowing you to reuse your folders. I may have to try this with the extra tape left over from Christmas!

folders with washi tape labels via Martha Stewart

Gardening caddy

Spring has sprung and we’ve been enjoying some nice, sunny weather which has coaxed me outside to survey my lawn and garden. While the landscaping around our house still needs a lot of attention, there are a few spots that I am proud of — my herb garden is one of them. I am in the process of plotting and planning what to put in there when the weather gets a little warmer. In the meantime, though, I’ve been doing a lot of weeding and tilling to prepare. This gardening caddy idea from Martha Stewart is a clever way to keep all of one’s gardening tools in one spot. I might have to try it out!

Martha Stewart gardening caddy

Vintage-inspired aprons

I have a drawer full of aprons in my kitchen. None of them, however, are as adorable as these vintage-inspired looks. Turn up the fashion in the kitchen by donning one of these feminine creations.

 

chambray apron from Anthropogie

 

cotton and lace trim apron from Anthropologie

color block apron from Anthropologie

half apron from Sur La Table

toille apron from Sur La Table

Parisian apron from Jessie Steele

Creative Storage Solutions

Looking for creative, budget-friendly ways to organize and store household items?  Look no further!  Here are some ideas from Real Simple for repurposing everyday objects to help assist in keeping spaces tidy.  For even more ideas, click here.

Business Card Organizer as Gift Card Holder

Desk Organizer as Cupboard Divider

Corkboard as Jewelry Organizer

Shoe Box as Ribbon Organizer

Tissue Box as Plastic Bag Holder

Sale at Sur La Table

Sur La Table — a tie with Williams-Sonoma for my favorite kitchenware store — is having their big annual sale right now. Time to stock up on kitchen basics and fun new items! Here are a few things I’d put on my list:

flour sack towels

Red Deco Dot Apron

Deviled Egg Platter

Porcelain Cake Stands

Bamboo Salt Box

Simple Tips to Make Thanksgiving Preparations Go Even More Smoothly

As I was finishing up my Thanksgiving menu and grocery shopping today I remembered a few tips that make preparing for Thanksgiving so much easier and less stressful. These simple tricks can make a big impact when in the midst of the chaos of entertaining and preparing such a special meal.

1) Create a menu plan.

The menu plan template I created includes the item (recipe/dish), ingredients, where I will buy each ingredient, when to prepare it, what serving vessel I will serve it in, and any additional notes I might have. I print the plan out and use it as my shopping list as well as a guide on Thanksgiving day. Each year I save the document and my chicken-scratch notes to remind myself of what I served that year, which recipes worked, and other lessons learned. The document doesn’t need to be complicated or pretty, it just needs to work for you.

2) Label your serveware.

I generally set out my serveware a day or two before the meal to make sure I have all of the right vessels and to determined how they will work with my tablescape. Once I’ve pulled out all of the vessels, I use post-it notes to label what item will go in what vessel. This not only helps me stay organized, but it is also helpful if you have family who are helping you set out the items — they’ll know where everything goes.

3) Keep recipes and notes in a clear folder.

Once I have determined my Thanksgiving menu, I put all of the recipes in a clear folder along with my menu plan. I take it with me when I go shopping. Before I leave the store I not only check my menu plan/shopping list but I also scan the ingredients on the recipes themselves to make sure I have not forgotten anything. (I hate having to make two trips to the store!)

The clear folder is also helpful because it keeps the recipes clean and visible  when cooking. If something spills on the folder, wipe it off and keep on going! No crinkled or smudged paper to deal with next year when you are pulling out your recipes.

I prefer the reusable tabbed clear folders like these. I write the event in pencil and then erase and reuse for my next event.