Going “Vintage” for St. Patty’s Day decor, without breaking the bank

 

I’ve been going “vintage” with my holiday decor for a few years now. First, I was just starting a vintage looking tree in our living room, but I’ve been starting to collect some vintage looking decor for Valentine’s Day, St. Patty’s, Easter and Halloween. Its really hard to find “vintage” looking St. Patrick’s Day items at stores. I always see the same stuff year after year. It’s always gaudy “bar wear”. Light up shamrocks, “Kiss me I’m Irish” shirts, paper cut out shamrocks and those plastic green hats. I purchased some paper shamrock doilies from Amazon.com. I couldn’t find any in the stores.

I’ve found some really cute “vintage” looking items at Hobby Lobby, on Ebay.com and Etsy.com

St. Patrick’s Day Printables were purchased on Etsy.com.  Store owner “LoveCreationalGal”

St. Patrick’s Day Candy Cones were purchased on Etsy.com. Store owner “RuralManhattan”

St. Patrick’s Day Green Plaque was purchased on Etsy.com. Store owner “Erinjt”

Both St. Patrick’s Day PostCards were purchased on Ebay.com. Store owner “Evergreenfarmantique

Shamrock “Shannon” plate was purchased on Ebay.com. Store owner “Ladybugborro2004”

Check out my finds!

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Water & ice refrigerator grate cleaning tip

How many times do you say to yourself , “I need to clean that grate!”? But you end up getting your water or ice and soon forget about it, till the next time you see the calcification and mineral deposit build up. Time passes and it becomes unsightly!

I’ve tried Soft Scrub, Magic Eraser and many other products. I kept forgetting to get the Kaboom out of my bathroom to see if that worked.  So finally, I washed it with just regular dish soap with hot water and let it sit in soapy water for about 15minutes. I rinsed it off and poured white vinegar on it. I let it soak for about 15-20minutes. I used an old toothbrush to scrub it clean. Rinse well. This really works! This also works for stubborn calcification around your faucets. Take paper towels and place them around the faucet fixture, not leaving any of the surrounding area exposed. Soak the paper towels with white vinegar. Let it soak for about 45mins to 1hour. Rinse well!

Non toxic, fast and inexpensive!

Refrigerator grate

March is almost here, time to go GREEN!

Turning a St. Valentine's Day bouquet into a St. Patty's Day arrangement

So the Arctic blasts are over…so we hope. Here in SE Texas, it feels like Spring. Valentine’s Day is over and the decor is packed away. The grass is an ugly shade of green, but clover is emerging everywhere. You can brighten up the inside of your home with touches of green. Who cares if you’re not Irish! Have some fun with it! St. Patrick’s Day is a light hearted holiday that can be as fun as you want it to be. For some it’s a day you feel more in touch with you Irish heritage,  a religious connection or its just a social event.  Whatever the reason may be, put a little green in your home!

I don’t have a lot of surfaces to decorate, so I recently purchased a small buffet for my breakfast area. It works perfectly for holiday decor. So I purchased cute fabric shamrock doilies from http://www.Terrysvillage.com.

http://www.terrysvillage.com/ui/browse/processRequest.do?demandPrefix=12&sku=96/1891&prodCatId=90000&mode=Browsing&erec=6&sp=true&requestURI=processProductsCatalog&tabId=4&sd=Shamrock+Doilies#RL6


You don’t have to go nuts with it. Its hard to find St. Patrick’s Day decor that isn’t “party related”. I spotted a reversible table runner on http://www.Terrysvillage.com.  One side has shamrocks and the other side has hearts for Valentine’s Day.

http://www.terrysvillage.com/ui/browse/processRequest.do?demandPrefix=12&sku=96/1191&prodCatId=90000&mode=Browsing&erec=4&sp=true&requestURI=processProductsCatalog&tabId=4&sd=Reversible+Shamrock+%26amp%3B+Heart+Runner#RL4

I found some cute St. Patrick’s Day salt and pepper shakers and another shamrock table runner, but its different shades of shamrocks sewn together on http://www.lillianvernon.com.

http://www.lillianvernon.com/catalog/product_display.jsp?pdId=15499&name=Leprechaun+Salt+and+Pepper+Shakers&parentCatId=1&catId=60

http://www.lillianvernon.com/catalog/product_display.jsp?pdId=9602&name=Shamrocks+Table+Runner&parentCatId=1&catId=60

Try Etsy.com for unique handmade and vintage St. Patrick’s Day decor. They have some really neat stuff you will not find in chain stores.

I do send St. Patrick’s Day cards to my friends. I buy a pack of them and use shamrock stickers to seal the envelopes. Not that all of my friends celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, but its communication. Lets them know “Hey, I’m thinking of ya, let’s get together soon!”.  March can be a boring month, with the exception of Spring Break. Sometimes we have Easter in March, but this year its in April again. If anything, it stimulates the creativity in all of us.

Most people use Easter as a benchmark for the beginning of Spring, but I like to kick it off with St. Patrick’s Day.

I’ve turned my Valentine’s Day flowers into a St. Patty’s Day centerpiece. I just switched out the lavender ribbon it came with to a shamrock ribbon I had already. I added the doilies, a mug and a dish. I’ll be adding more!

Bring in some fresh flowers to brighten up the house. Mix it in with some St. Patrick’s Day decor. You’ll get the sense of  Spring being around the corner!

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Keep your eyes open for Valentine’s Day 2012!

So you’re over Valentine’s Day, right? You don’t want to see any red and pink till next year. Don’t pack it all up just yet! Right now is the best time to get Valentine’s decor and gifts for next year. Store clearance Valentine’s Day items February 15th of every year. It usually starts off at 50% off, but in a few days, it’ll go down further.

Now’s the time to get boxes of Valentine’s day cards for the kid’s classmates. Little Valentine’s Day goodies, like pencils, erasers and other non perishables will be super cheap. If you have more than one kid in school, saving money on this stuff counts.  Estimate how many teachers your child will have the next year and get them their Valentine’s gifts.

I found Valentine’s day table clothes on sale at Walmart for $1.50!  They’re  thick vinyl, so they’re perfect for the kids to decorate cup cakes on or make crafts. I even picked one up for our babysitter who really wants to decorate for every holiday in her new house.

Right now is a great time to pick up Valentine’s Day cup cake papers, sprinkles and goody bags. I also found ribbon for a $1.

Avoid this type of shopping turning into “clutter”. I recommend getting a plastic bin to keep all of your Valentine’s Day decorations in. Before you put it away, add your clearance items to it. That way its all in one place so when you go to it next year, you’ll have everything in one spot. You won’t forget what you have and purchase more of the same items.

So often people just take down holiday decorations and throw it into a closet with the intentions of putting it away. Then time passes and it’s still there. Before you know it, you have a monster in your closet. Have the box for decor handy, so when you’re about to pack it all up, its not hard to get to. Make sure to pack breakables in bubble wrap or tissue. Label the box with a permanent marker or label maker. I like to purchase boxes that are the color of the holiday. Boxes like these have inserts for a card label.

http://www.walmart.com/browse/Storage-Organization/Baskets/_/N-4nk4Zaq90Zaqce/Ne-2p4i?tab_value=Online&catNavId=90828&depts=&ref=125874.217156&ic=48_48

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The gift supply monster among us.

Now that Christmas and Valentine’s Day is over, it was now a good time for me to get the rolls of ribbon, gift bags and wrap in order.  My collection of Christmas gift wrap had outgrown the upright Rubbermaid container it was in. So I ordered a really neat gift wrap duffel from http://www.organizeit.com.  I wanted it separate from my other non-Christmas wrapping paper. I have others in a separate storage container under my bed.  The upright container was in my master closet and it was time to find a new home for it.

I had always kept my Christmas gift bags separate from the rest of the occasions, but what was making everything unorganized were the rolls of Christmas ribbon, gift tags and bows. Since my box of Christmas bags is full, I bought a Red and Green craft supply box to hold all those loose ends. Scissors, tape, large rolls of Christmas ribbon, pre-made bows and gift tags are all in one place. This really helps my husband when he’s wrapping my gifts the night before Christmas. Ok, so Christmas is squared away and I won’t have to look at it till December.

My biggest issue was TISSUE PAPER! How is it that tissue paper becomes a monster so quickly? I did have all the Christmas tissue in the Christmas gift bag box, so I always knew how much of it I had…so I thought!

How many times have we purchased more red,white and green tissue paper, only to find more as we’re stuffing bags? Plenty of times here! I clearly was unorganized with the Christmas colored paper and spent more money than I should have. Lesson learned.

So that leaves the rest of the tissue paper which I had mixed into my gift bag box.  I pulled it all out and threw it into a bag until I knew what to do with it. I always ran out and bought more tissue thinking I didn’t have enough or the right color. One kiddo is at school and the baby is asleep, time to get that job done!

I had an extra Sterlite box perfect for tissue paper. I did have to fold the tissue in half, no big deal. I flattened each sheet out. I didn’t realize how many colors I had and how much! I even found Valentine’s paper that I could of used this month.

I ordered a ribbon organizer from http://www.organizeit.com. I like it a lot and I just placed an order for another one. These are for ribbon other than Christmas.

You can try this 2 ways. Either put all of your prints together or coordinate the prints with the solids. I had more solids than prints, so I decided to keep my solids together. I first folded up all the white paper. Now that I know exactly how much I have, I won’t buy more next time I need to stuff a gift bag. Then I used the rainbow color scheme as to how I wanted to place the solids. I started with black, then 2 shades of purple, 2 shades of blue, green, orange, yellow, 2 shades of pink and 2 shades of red. Then I flattened and folded all of the prints and place them on top.

I do like to have a variety of colors on hand, so now that I can see what I have I know not to get the same colors. Some of this paper was used and in good condition and the rest was still in the plastic packaging. I emptied all of the packages and flattened them out. I wanted to see exactly how much I had of each color.

Now I know I have more black and white tissue paper than any other color in the box. I need to beef up on my greens, yellows and pinks. Maybe even throw in some wedding printed tissue in there as well.

I also like to keep different occasions in wrapping paper on hand. Baby shower, boy and girl birthday, sophisticated prints, wedding, Valentine’s Day and Easter on hand.

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Where do your shoes live?

Imelda Marcos, I’m not. Nor do I have a big shoe fetish, but I know many who do!

Shoes multiply quickly and sometimes end up everywhere but where they should be.

Where do your shoes live?

Under the bed being accompanied by dust bunnies and Christmas wrap?

On the floor board of your car, getting stepped on by your kids?

In a pile by the backdoor, front door or mud room?

Missing its mate under clutter on your closet floor?

Hanging for dear life on a non functional shoe tree that always falls over?

If you checked off any of these scenarios, then maybe its time to try something new.

We all have shoes we don’t wear all the time, like formal/evening wear shoes and boots. I’ve found a great product to be able to store them away and create more space in your closet.

These are awesome shoe boxes! I’ve been able to recover 2ft of shelf space on the shelf above my dowel rod. You can stack them one on top of the other to save space. These boxes are clear so you can see your shoes. Easy to assemble. I used one to store my clutches too. I plan on ordering more of these!

http://www.organizeit.com/poshoeboxes.asp?rtnFile=aberdeen&rtnDisplay=Shoe+Boxes&t=1

Got boots? Check these out.

http://www.organizeit.com/pobootbox.asp?rtnFile=aberdeen&rtnDisplay=Shoe+Boxes&t=1

If you’ve got the money and the room, here’s the mother of all shoe cubbies!

http://www.organizeit.com/po048women.asp?rtnFile=shoecubb&rtnDisplay=Shoe+Cubbies&t=1

But before you place your order, you’ll need to see how many boxes you need. I would start by doing a clean out of old shoes. If you didn’t wear those sandals last summer, out they go! Donate them! If you didn’t wear those boots at all last Winter, let them warm up someone else’s feet. Find a donation center near by or call up one that does pick ups. Don’t keep shoes just because you once loved them. If you really don’t have any use for them, move on. Make room for some new shoes!

Shoe storage






Do you have a clutter problem?

I’m not the creator of this quiz, but I do want to pass it along for you to take. This was an assignment I did. You can grade your answers at the end to see if you’re clutter bug or an organized individual.

Do You Have A Clutter Problem? How Bad Is It?

Take this quiz to find out.

1. Could you have a party without cleaning up first?

A.   Guests could eat off the floor. Bring em in!

B.   Maybe tomorrow. The living room’s a mess, but I can hide it away in a few hours.

C.   Um, I don’t have parties here. Can we go bowling instead?

2. Do your clothes fit in your closet?

A.   Of course. They’re hung in order by color and season.

B.   They fit, I guess, but I have no idea what’s on the top shelf.

C.   They fall on my head when I open the door. Is that so wrong?

3. Without looking, do you know where to find your car keys, your unpaid bills, and your home or renter’s insurance policy?

A.   Absolutely…want me to get them right now?

B.   All except the insurance. It must be somewhere in my husband’s/wife’s/partner’s office.

C.   Sure—just give me 10 minutes to find them. Or an hour.

4. What is on your dining room table right now?

A.   Wood polish and a rag –I was just wiping it.

B.   A few piles of bills…and my child’s art collection.

C.   So much stuff that I can’t see the table.

5. How many magazines are in your house right now?

A.   Three–the current issue of each magazine I get.

B.   Oh, a lot, But I need for my job.

C.   I have every issue of National Geographic ever published. It’s an outstanding collection.

6. How many paper and shopping bags are you saving?

A.    A handful –we use them to recycle newspapers.

B.     An overstuffed milk crate plus a few extra. You never know that size bag you’ll need.

C.   Every single bag that enters the house.

7. Answer the following questions with a Yes or No:

A.   If you had to change a light bulb, could you find one?

B.   Are all your DVDs and CDs in their sleeves?

C.   Are kid’s toys anywhere except in their rooms or designated play areas?

D.   Are there dirty dishes in the sink?

E.   Are dirty clothes anywhere but in the hamper?

F.    Are out-of-date medications in your medicine chest?

G. Are all bills paid and papers filed?

H.   Does every item of clothing in your closet fit you now?

Score Yourself:

Questions 1-6: Give yourself zero points for every A’ one point for every B’ two points for every C.

Questions 7: Give yourself a point if you answered: a) no, b) no, c) yes, d) no e) yes, f) yes, g) no, h) no.

Add all your points together.

If You Scored:

10-20 points: Uh-oh! Looks like you’re a HARD-CORE HOARDER. It’s amazing that you found a pen to take this quiz. But don’t take it too hard or feel overwhelmed: the first step is admitting the problem.

Do remember that sometimes a first round of de-cluttering isn’t enough. A few months after your first purge, you’ll look at the same stuff you thought you couldn’t throw out and realize you haven’t touched it since your cleanup. It takes a while to get used to the idea that if you don’t use it, if it’s not part of your life, it doesn’t serve your goals, then it’s just a waste of space.

3-9 Points: Good news. You’re a CLUTTER VICTIM. This may not sound like good news, but it means that you, like so many others, have fallen victim to the clutter build-up that’s hard to avoid when you have a busy life, diverse interests, disposable income, family memorabilia and a steady influx of purchases and junk mail. Not to worry. With a reasonable amount of effort you’ll be able to get your clutter issues under control and keep them that way.

0-2 Points: Congratulations! You’re CLUTTER-FREE. Give yourself a pat on the back, but don’t get lazy. Staying clutter-free takes work.

(Excerpted from It’s All Too Much by Peter Walsh)

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