Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Holiday Prep Tips

It’s that time of year again! People talk forever about the holidays bringing big bundles of stress along with it, but they don’t have to. I have a few tips for easing the stress and getting things done ahead of time.

  1. Buy wine in bulk – You know you will be visiting numerous parties and dinners this season, and it isn’t nice to show up empty handed. Just picking up a bottle ahead of time however is a good recipe for a very late arrival, and is sure to add the panic. Go to Trader Joe’s or a similar discount wine store and pick up a whole case to dole out to each host or hostess. Just make sure you don’t dip into them as much as you do the Halloween Candy!
  2. Buy pre-made cookie dough - If you are making lots of kinds of cookies, try instead to focus on one or two recipes that are your favorites or that you know that you are best at. For the others, like say your basic chocolate chip feel free to buy a big tub and bake those up. There are also some really nice charities selling cookie dough to raise money.
  3. Get wrapping paper and bags at the dollar store - You will probably be wrapping presents at some point this season. Try to stock up on gift bags and wrapping paper at the dollar store so you’re not running around 20 minutes before your party buying bags. (And paying $4.00 a pop for each.) The dollar stores around me have really cute ones now.
  4. Schedule Hair and Manicure Appointments - This is their busy season too. You are not Lindsay Lohan and you will not be able to bump someone for her spot.
  5. Buy a bunch of the same little presents - I like the little tins of hot cocoa from Trader Joes, or if you find cute little candles or little picture frames get a bunch of them. You can even wrap them and hand them out at work. (This relieves the stress of trying to pick out 15 $10.00 gifts for each of your coworkers.)
  6. Get your car checked out now – Ok so we were supposed to winterize our cars already and I didn’t. Now is a good time to do it since you probably will be driving more than usual and it’s better to have your car all checked out than to get stuck on the road. If you can try to find a mechanic by the mall (Sears is usually a good place especially for tire issues) this way you can do your holiday shopping while you wait.
  7. Cards – Your sister doesn’t need you to write out your year long saga in her Christmas card. So write up something short and silly and send out the family ones. At least if you run out of time, the important people got something happy from you in the mail.
  8. Christmas Emails – Do not send a card through one of those services. With increasing numbers of spam emails, they probably won’t get through your recipients spam filters anyway, but this could be a great alternative for those friends you haven’t seen in a while and don’t actually know their real addresses.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Braclet/Watch Organizer

Today’s is just a quick entry on organizing jewelry. These tea caddies make excellent bracelet and watch organizers. I purchased this in London and it was full of different kinds of tea bags. Once I used them all, this box got a different life.

Earring Organizer Craft Project

Today’s blog is about home organization. Ever have a problem organizing your earrings? Prior to making this little homemade organizer, I was constantly loosing at least one member of a pair. Or I damaged intricate and expensive accessories.

This organizer can be made very cheaply. Simply visit your local craft or fabric store. I went to Jo Ann Fabrics for this one. Get the plastic grid that is used for needle point and cross stitch. (It costs less than $.50) Then you can grab a ribbon. (I purchased a bag of scraps for about $1.00)

Cut the grid in half to be more manageable. Then take the piece of ribbon and tie it to the top of the grid in a little loop.

Then you can thread the earrings through the little holes in the grid. Hoops fit easily on the bottom. I only put my dangly big earrings on this one, and put the studs in a box, but the organizer can hold many studs too.

I hope this helps you keep your favorite fun jewelry together and safe. Remember, you can’t wear it if you can’t find it.


Martha Stewart has a really cute version of this on her craft website, with a frame and everything. However, this seems like a lot of work, and I’m not sure about it. I think a great east idea would be to take an empty picture frame and put the grid in, but then you wouldn’t be able to put the hoops on the bottom.


Space Saving Tip

I live in a small apartment with a very small bathroom. With space at a minimum, I have to be creative about storage. One great idea I’ve had is to store my towels, in a large box I purchased to go under the front hall table. Towels are great for this because they can be rolled and won’t wrinkle in this condition. With an attractive box, you can allow the items to be in full view.

Here’s a picture. I purchased this box at Home Goods for less than $30.