Sidetracked Accomplishments

Last night, I read the following suggestion in a book:
“Make gift tags out of used birthday and Christmas cards that you have saved.” I thought, “Huh–that’s a good idea. I think I have some cards.” I pulled out a shoebox of old (high school) graduation cards and got to work.

My finished product was this:

Graduation album page

When I graduated from high school five years ago, I invited my guests to write me notes on colored paper. I intended to scrapbook them together with the photos from the party. Five years later, the pictures, notes, and graduation cards were still sitting in a shoebox on my shelf. That is, until last night. I intended to make some gift tags (and in my defense, I did get half a dozen or so made)–but the real accomplishment of the night was beginning and completing my high school graduation scrapbook.

Graduation album cover

It isn’t amazing. The archival quality police would be appalled by my use of leftover printed paper that had only been printed on one side (I folded it in half so the printed side faced inward and pasted my “scraps” to the “clean side”). They’d probably also get worked up over how I used corrugated cardboard from work, covered with paper, as the album’s cover. I thought about buying some metal rings to hold it all together, but decided I’d rather finish the whole thing in the same night–so I used some of my Raggedy Anne “hair” that I hadn’t thrown away yet to tie the album closed.

Another graduation album page

It won’t win any awards, but I’m willing to bet that I’ll derive a lot more pleasure out of this simplistic little album than I would have the alternative–shuffling the shoebox around from one place to another, always waiting for the perfect time to do the album justice, and eventually, tossing it in the trash as a hopeless case. It’s nice to be artistic and fancy and perfectionist sometimes–but it’s a whole lot nicer to just get stuff done.


“Where to?” I hear you asking. “Didn’t you just get into the internship you wanted–in Lincoln? Why would you move?”

Calm down–you’re right. I did get into the internship I wanted, in Lincoln–which means I won’t have to move from the wonderful house I currently rent. Instead, I’m moving out of my craft room and completely into my bedroom.

You see, my sister and I have long desired that our home could be a place of ministry–and we both want to be wise with the resources God has given us. So, we have decided to find another roommate–someone who would be able to use my current craft room. That will enable us to stay here and serve a couple of Anna’s classmates who have only a few rotations here in Lincoln–just long enough to need a place to live, just short enough that it’s not feasible to keep an apartment of their own.

So Anna will be cleaning out her room and adding a second bed for when her classmates are in town, and I’m moving entirely into my bedroom.

I’m glad I’ll have a while to work on it though–I have tons of stuff. But I’m pretty pleased with my initial desk setup. Check it out:

Picture of bedroom

I know: the desk is pretty bare (I moved it right before work, okay?), there are books under the computer desk (I pulled it from the trash a while back and part of the shelf underneath is broken), the corner is bare (I’m planning on making a little shelf for that space), there’s a lot of exposed cardboard about (I’ve got some contact paper to cover it with–just be patient), and there’s junk on the floor in the foreground (It was a snap decision to start moving today–and I didn’t really bother to clean anything before I moved it.)–but even so, I think it has potential.

The Principle of Patience

How often do you and I decide that we need something and run out immediately to buy it–only to discover that we already had something that could have fit the bill or that the same item went on sale only a week later? I can’t say how often I’ve done so. Or how often I’ve seen something neat at the store and bought it on the spot–only to arrive home to find that it doesn’t fit, or I have a similar one already, or my sister (and roommate) just bought the same thing.

We’ve been studying finances at church in the last few weeks, and the one thing that has most impressed me has been the practical idea of just waiting before making a purchase. I’m choosing to call it the principle of patience. It’s choosing to say, “I won’t die if I don’t get this right now. How about I just sit on it for a week before making the decision to purchase it?”

The principle of patience has served me well in the past:

When I made my sink caddy earlier this month, I had intended to purchase one but hadn’t gotten around to it yet. Then I discovered that I could make one for a lot cheaper.

I found a neat gravity feed can rack

at the Container Store and fell in love with it. I searched our local discount stores and couldn’t find one–so, rather than purchase one online, I made one from cardboard and contact paper for a fraction of the price.

cardboard can rack

My mattress is a bit old and has a sunk-in center–such that I’m constantly being poked by the springs when I’m trying to get to sleep. I’ve been contemplating buying a new mattress, or at least a foam mattress topper. Then, last night, I had an “Eureka!” moment. It just so happens that we have a futon mattress that we’re not currently using–a relatively thin mattress. And it just so happens that I can place that mattress right on top of mine and just do the bed up on top of it–and it works great! I can have a comfortable night of sleep.

I could have searched for a “priceless” (i.e. very expensive after interest) experience using Mastercard–or I can practice a truly priceless principle: Patience. And patience, unlike Mastercard, generally pays YOU in the end.

Taxes are already done…

so I’ve been spending the day working on other projects.

The kitchen is done

I’ve been working along with flylady over the past couple of weeks, faithfully working each zone. Well, last week’s zone was the kitchen. I cleaned the appliances, the cupboards, the faucet, the countertops. I decluttered a bit. And, of course, I’ve been keeping the sink shining and have faithfully washed (and put away) my dishes. But a blight has remained on the landscape of my kitchen–the floor. I haven’t mopped it for months. And you can tell. At least, you could until this morning. I scrubbed the floor and boy does it look nice!


To paraphrase a woman I read about long ago, whose name I no longer remember:
“The kitchen is done.”

The laundry is done

I rigged up a clothesline in my backyard and Mom’s and did some laundry today. The wind was blowing and the sun was shining–and my laundry dried more quickly than it would have in the dryer!

Laundry on Line

While putting away the laundry, I made organizers for a few more of my drawers–and made my bed with sheets that smell like sunshine!

Drawer Organizer
Fully Made Bed

A couple of quilt tops are done

Nine years ago, I purchased fabric and started cutting pieces for a quilt. Today, I finished marking the top for quilting. All I have to do now is quilt and finish it.

Quilt top

Three days ago, I started a baby quilt for one of the couples in our church who are having a baby. Today, I finished the top of the quilt. All I have to do now is quilt and finish it.

Baby quilt top

Completion–it feels nice–no matter how long it took to get there.

The garden is ready

I decided that I want to plant a garden this year–not a big one like I’ve tried in the past (and desperately failed at)–just a little one. So today I went out and emptied a little plot of its volcanic rocks, took out a volunteer tree, and prepared the area for planting.

garden plot

I plan on planting radishes, spinach, and lettuce tomorrow.

Flylady surprise challenge accomplished

Flylady sent a surprise challenge today–go through the house and find everything you’ve borrowed from someone and return it. I returned these 9 items to Mom and Dad.

Items returned to Mom and Dad

Groceries, check

I’ve had the fabric to make some grocery bags sitting in my craft room for a while. Today, I finally made one–and promptly used it at Walmart. I then emptied its contents into a box and used it at SuperSaver for my groceries.

Grocery bags filled with stuff

I’m quite pleased with it–now I just have to make the matching one so I can take care of those “stock up” trips. Earth Mother I am!

Miscellany–what else I did today

I got some flowers at Walmart and transplanted them into a bucket I’d cut drainage holes into. I plan on sticking it out by the bench in the walk–but for now I’m leaving it indoors overnight. I’m not sure about the protocol for transplanting and immediately exposing to the cold.

Flowers in a bucket

Aside from that, all I did today was:
–Read a few chapters of Rediscovering Birth
–Do my devotions
–Lubricate the back sliding door
–Pay the Sprint bill
–Put away my winter clothes
–Do some general tidying
–Take out some trash
–Begin a “give away” pile
–Dry out my Bible after getting it wet
–Prepare and eat a couple of meals

It was a pretty productive day. And now I’m tired, so I’m gonna go to sleep. ;-)

A Place for Everything…

I’m not normally in the habit of showing off my underwear–but this you’ve got to see.

Organized Underwear drawer

I’ve caught the organizing bug and I don’t know how long it’ll take to shed it–but my underwear drawer is likely to stay organized. How can it not?

Cardboard dividers tell each part where exactly to go–no more digging about to find the slips that have gotten lost under a mound of socks. No more struggling to separate black socks from “footie socks”.

Organization is a beautiful thing–and even more beautiful if there’s a promise of it staying organized.

The rest of the house may still need work, but for now I know that in my underwear drawer at least, there’s a place for everything and everything’s in its place.

Use what you have

You know, you could spend lots of money to buy organizers for everything–or you could just use what you have, like I did here:

picture of sink caddy

A Carl Budding meat container turned sink-side scrubber caddy. Just remove the stickers, punch some holes in the bottom, and there you are!