February 13, 2011

Weekly Organizational Challenge #3 - Recipe Binder

The challenge for this week is a Recipe Binder.  Several months ago I started researching all natural, environmentally friendly products.  I also started reading labels and trying to eat healthier and cook more from scratch.  The recipes I collected soon got out of control so I started a recipe binder.  Thanks to Jillian (my blog partner) my recipe binder has a fun fabric cover.  For the tutorial on this go here. The best part is it's removable and washable. Jillian thought of everything!

Unfortunately, I covered my dividers with scrapbook paper before I made the fabric cover and they don't match.  I'll have to use these for a different binder and make some new ones sometime.
 The categories I have so far are
  • Breakfast
  • Main Dishes
  • Pasta 
  • Sides
  • Soups
  • Snacks
  • Desserts
  • Sauces/Broths
  • Homemade Mixes (I've started making my own mixes - so far I have Nestle chocolate milk mix, taco seasoning mix, ranch dressing mix, spaghetti sauce mix and I want to start making my own butter)  

I have also copied tons of recipes from books I've checked out from my local library.  These categories are:
  • Once A Month Cooking
  • Once A Month Cooking Family Favorites
  • Freezer Cooking
  • The Best Freezer Cookbook
  • The Frantic Family Cookbook
  • Small Batch Baking
  • The MSG Symptom Complex
I have also started a second binder that I need to make a cover for.  The categories in this one are:
  • The Sneaky Chef
  • The Sneaky Chef to the Rescue
  • Deceptive Delicious
  • The Healthy Kids Cookbook
  • Gooseberry Patch
I'm hoping to make several mixes up to store in my pantry and fridge and to transition to Freezer Cooking eventually.  I'm starting to make "dry mixes" in ziploc bags for cakes, brownies, muffins, chocolate chip cookies, etc.so that when I want to make some all I have to do is add the wet ingredients. 
I'm also working towards making my own cleaners and other household items.  The ones on my list (some I already to and some I'm hoping to start this year) are:
  • all-purpose cleaner
  • laundry detergent
  • fabric softener sheets
  • shampoo
  • deoderant
  • swiffer dust pads
  • TBD
  • *I also want to start making my own butter.
I need to add a tab in my binder for these or maybe just start a new binder.  Eventually I'll add a new category to this blog for homemade cleaners and homemade mixes.
In the meantime if you're interested in one I've listed leave a comment or e-mail me and I'll share it.  If you have any that you've used I'd love to know what they are so I can add to mine.  Thanks!!

If you want to join the weekly organization challenge visit A Bowl Full of Lemons Blog.
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(¸.·´   Denise

February 8, 2011

Weekly Organizational Challenge #2 - Launch Pad

The organizational challenge from A Bowl Full of Lemons this week is a "launch pad".  A launch pad is the area just inside the door where all things necessary for coming or going are stored.  I have a couple "launch pad" areas in my home.  The main one is in the laundry room.  This is where we enter from the garage and pass through to the kitchen.  
My kids backpacks hang from door wreath hangers on the back of the door to the garage.  I "borrowed" this idea from my daughters school.  They hand their first aid/emergency backpack from their classroom doors. 
Then we have two small fabric pouches with coat hooks and a long wood shelf with pegs.

The peg shelf is for my husband, myself, and our swim bags.  My kids each get a pouch.  The pockets are for things they need for school or mittens and other misc.

We also have a "launch pad" by the front door.  During the summer we use the front door a lot as I can't get my car into the garage because of bikes, barbie cars, scooters, etc.  (In the winter these are stored away but it's too much trouble to keep getting them out in the summer)
Eventually, I'd like to cut my kids names out in vinyl with my cricut to put over their hooks.

I also need something on the floor here and in the laundry room to corral all the shoes that my kids discard.  Still working on that.

¸.·´¸.·*´¨) ¸.·*¨)
(¸.·´   Denise

February 3, 2011

Binder Cover for my Home Management Binder

So if you have been following, Denise and I joined up with A Bowl Full of Lemons 21 Day Organizational Challenge.  Well, if that wasn't enough, we signed on for a weekly challenge!  Our first challenge was to develop a Home Management Binder.  Well, I have been dabbling with this for weeks now and I guess this is the PERFECT time to finish it up.  

So first, I got my binder, and my tabs, and all the fixing that I wanted.  Then I went to re designing all the pages to fit my personality and taste.  I wanted them all to go together.  After I did all that my binder just didn't scream....I AM SO AWESOME...LOOK AT ALL THE WORK THAT WAS PUT INTO ME!  I was devastated.  It was missing something.  So I jumped on the computer, pulled up our blog, and BEHOLD...Denise's post.  Really...did y'all see that binder.  I just want the binder sitting on my counter forget all the stuff inside.  So I decided to get a better looking binder.  They have some seriously cute ones out there and you definitely pay for it believe me.  So being a FABRIC girl, I decided to  make it a cover using the same colors I had used when designing all the pages.  So smart, I know.  HA HA.  Anyways, here is my finished product...the outside at least.  I'm not completely ready to show you the inner workings yet. 

I know you all have some fabric out there that you just LOVE LOVE LOVE and this is the perfect way to use it.  Also, I thought it would be a great idea to recover all the binders in the office that are oddly colored and mismatched with the same fabric that goes with the room to make it all look oh so snazzy! 

Here we go...all you need is this...

Fabric (I choose 4 different prints, but I like to be difficult)
Sewing Machine
Thread, needle, pins (the usual)
Binder (any size will do, you measure from that)
Any notions (rick-rack, ribbon, etc)


Before you begin, make sure all your fabric pieces are ironed and clean.  It makes a world of difference. 

1.        Open up your binder and lay it on a piece of newspaper, or paper that is a bit larger than it.

2.       Trace around the entire binder marking where the spine is.
3.       Now draw a seam allowance around that (I used 1 inch just in case of mistake, I make a lot of those)
4.       Then cut out your pattern.
5.       Next cut out one piece of fabric to match the pattern.  This will be the outside of the binder. I sewed a few pieces together to make the one piece so that it added a little more, but I'm just off my rocker sometimes!

6.       Then fold the pattern in half and cut 2 pieces from the same fabric or different fabric for contrast.  This will be the inside of the binder.

7.       Next cut out your pocket pieces.  I actually cut 2 more pieces the same size as in step 6, then folded it down to give the pocket extra strength.  However, if you are limited with fabric you can just cut one piece, then fold it in top from top to bottom and cut in half.  The picture will make more sense.  If you choose to go the second route, you need to make the top edge of the pocket pretty by folding it under then under again and hemming.  I folded it in half and ran a stitch on the top like a hem.

8.       Now comes the fun part…I measured 1 inch in from the inside of the inside binder pieces.  Then I ironed it under so that the right side of the fabric has a nice edge. 

9.       Now take your pocket, right side up, and pin it to the inside binder piece with outside edges even.  Then fold the pocket edge under to match the inside piece, and iron it.

10.   Now sew a straight stitch down the inside edge where the fold is.  I used my serge first, and then sewed, just to make it more finished, but you won’t see it, so it doesn’t matter. 

11.   Repeat these steps with the other pocket and inside binder piece. 

Almost done…

12.    If you are doing any kind of application (ribbon, applique, stitching) do it now before you sew them together.
13.   Now lay each inside piece onto the outside piece with right sides facing each other.  Make sure you line up your inside edges with the spine markings on the outside piece.  I did one side at a time to make it more manageable.
14.   Now lay your binder back onto of the pined together fabric lining up the spine with the inside edges.

15.   Trace around the binder onto your fabric as a guide for where you will sew.

16.   Now sew around the entire thing on the line you just traced.  Then trim your edges and clip your corners and flip.  I like to use a chop stick or knitting needle to get the corners nice and crisp.

17.   Now fold your binder in half so that the rings are sticking out.

18.   Slip the cover onto the binder and close her up!

Isn’t it gorgeous!

I actually took a bunch of fabric I liked, pieced it together to make the outside piece and covered the seam with ribbon.

Sneak peak inside...

Jillian :)