28 January 2011


While I can make a great big mess just about as well as anyone, I also have a talent for organization. Sometimes, I try to organize things and the system fails.  For example, all the whatzits for my various gadgets...

I have failed a few ways at keeping these organized.

However, I have a recipe organization system that has stood the test of time.  It is based on an article I read in Real Simple 5 + years ago.  It's buit on binders, sheet protectors, and tape.

To put this system in action, you must first decide what main categories your recipes fall into.  Mine are...
veggie mains
veggie sides

For each category, there is a tab and a cover-sheet.  The cover sheet is used to write down favorite recipes in books that fit into the category

I made these by sending lined paper through my laser printer.  

For loose recipes--things scribbled onto scrap paper, xeroxed from library books, clipped from magazines, or printed from the internet--I slip them into the sheet protectors and file them in the appropriate section.

With smaller recipe cards, I recommend taping them to a colorful sheet of paper.

Now, the Real Simple article recommended using a big binder and adding recipes you hope to try soon.  I do not do either of these things.  (a) I use a 1.5" inch binder.  But I have four of them.  And I know which sections are in which because they are different colors. And I keep a list on my fridge.

In my opinion, a bigger binder would just be too cumbersome to whip out and flip through...a few lighter binders is better!  Also, (b) I keep recipes I want to try, but have not yet tried in a separate binder (the "fourth" binder).  Most of the time, I just want to make stuff I already kind of know how to make, and I don't want to dig past a bunch of recipes to find my "tried and true" recipes.  And then there are other times when I'm in the mood for branching out and trying something new, and it is fun to have all of the new ones already in one place.

And by the way, I take the recipes (in their protective sheets) out of the binders when I am making my grocery list for the week.  I put them on my clipboard which I keep in the kitchen.  I put recipes back in the books--at the beginning of the section--once I have made the dish.  It's all pretty seamless and awesome.

Anyway, I was just thinking about the recipe binders today because for the first time in a long time, I need to add a new section: homemade goods.

I've had a homemade deodorant recipe on the fridge for over a year (based on this recipe).  And earlier this week, I made spoon oil for my cutting boards (found via Happy Stuff). And today I tested out some handmade leather cleaner (test splotch looks great so far), so, you know, I need to put all these recipes somewhere other than the side of my fridge!

Looking at this picture of the spoon oil reminds me...I need a lightweight little jar or tin to for carrying lotion in my purse.  Any recommendations?  Something the size of a spools of thread or a matchbox car would be perfect.

15 January 2011


There's a name for this type of food prep where you get all the ingredients ready, arrayed in separate bowls. Someone told me once and I thought I'd committed it to memory, but it isn't in my brain any more.  It's one of those phrases like mise en scene, that can't be rediscovered via google.
Anyway, it's been bugging me, anyone know what I'm talking about?

Also, I was wondering is anyone has recommendations for washing wool skirts?
All the skirts I liked in the thrift store today fit me perfectly (when does that happen?) so I find myself with  a couple new, woolen skirts that don't have care labels in them.
I googled and found a wide variety of suggestions: from soaking in the bathtub in many changes of water, one of which has vinegar to a pretty standard soak with detergenty water, rinse until free of soap.

I haven't worn wool in the past because gives me a rash if it is in contact with my skin, but these skirts are lined and I'll wear them with tights and long underwear, so I think my skin won't mind them.  At $4 each, I figured it was worth a try!

08 January 2011

when gold is metallic

I really enjoy a good screen print.  If I can find one that I love, that is in colors that work for me, that is signed and a limited edition and a reasonable price, I buy it.  (Boy, that sounds like a lot of qualifications, but being picky saves me money).

During my recent room shuffle, I realized the need to clean out my closets and basement storage.  At back of my clothing closet, I found a collection of poster tubes and realized how many prints I had collected, but not framed or displayed.  What a waste!

I went through the tubes and selected two prints to buy frames for, then I hopped onto Americanframe.com for some cheap solutions (and free shipping).

These are the prints I was framing.  The Decemberists poster is from Cricket Press and is sold out.  The New Pornographers print is from Clinton Reno and can be purchased for $20.  By the way: the suits look tan in photos, they are metallic. These are two of my favorite bands, my favorite albums from each are The Hazards of Love (Decemberists) and Mass Romantic(The New Pornographers).

For New Pornographers print,  I ordered a "German silver" frame to fit the print without mats. It turned out pretty sweet.  The German silver matches the suits!

 For the The Decemberists poster, I wanted a mat and went through the color options online, ultimately selecting a yellow mat that I was pretty sure would look awesome (I grabbed some yellow fabric from my stash and held it up to the poster and saw that it would *work*!)  But...um...I didn't read closely and when the kits arrived, I discovered that what I thought was yellow was actually gold.  Totes my fault, by the way, it is called "Golden Nugget" and I do know that metallic rarely show as metallic on the Internet.

There was no way I was going to put a gold mat in a silver frame.  No freakin' way.
Also, I knew it would be very pricey to get another mat cut in town.  So, I put the frame kit away, complained to people about my problem, and waited for an answer to arrive.

One friend suggested that I spray paint the frame.
Which led me to thinking about painting the mat.
Which led me to buying some paint.
And painting...
And painting...
Until finally...

It came out a bit greener than I intended, but I think it works and it'll be easy enough to reopen the frame and paint again if I decide that's got to happen.  I think I've decided to paint my home office gray, not green, so I'll wait for that paint to go up before making a final call.

The whole episode with the hilariously metallic mat reminded me of discharging and dying fabric, which began, of course, when I ordered some pink fabric online and it turned out to be PINK. Sometimes the answer is to whine a bit and then get some supplies and mess around!