Decluttering and Simplifying: July 14

Another day of intense purging.  (We’re donating everything that’s not busted, obviously.  No need for it to be in a land fill if someone else can use it.) We made it through the large family room in the basement, where my overflow is stored.  I finished the kitchen, dining room, mud room and began in the largest room of all, our back storage room in the basement.

This room is terrifying.  I’m not even kidding.

So far I’ve purged several totes of scrap fabrics, most of our Christmas decorations, all our fall decorations, mattresses, box springs, games with missing pieces, broken furniture, boxes of books, thousands of CD’s, old rolls of carpet, kids toys and games, three sets of dishes, a bassinet and a 5 ft. long Girl Scout rocket.

That’s just from the back room.

The dumpster is a bit over half full now, but we have so much more to pitch.  We’ll get rid of the big stuff and later on rent another dumpster and go over everything again, making sure we have purged down to the very bare-bones minimum of stuff. Our main motivation here is not having to pack it all up and move it across the country.  We will probably buy everything for the new house there, taking only our personal items with us from here.

My cousin is our realtor.  My goal is to have her walk in our home and say it’s market ready.


Daily Art Challenge: July 14

Our challenge for today is to use our finished adult coloring pages.  If you enjoy coloring but don’t know what to do with your finished pages, here are a few ideas:

  1.  I’ve mentioned several times I use my pages in my art journals.  I cut out individual images to use as a focal point on a page.
  2. I collage my colored pages to chipboard or card stock and cut out images for embellishments.
  3. I collage them onto deli paper, cut into strips and use as washi tape.  I add double sided tape to the backside before attaching to a project.
  4. Once you’ve collaged the page onto card stock or chipboard, you can use a paper punch or your scissors and cut into larger circles.  Glaze with diamond glaze, triple thick gloss glaze, glossy accents, or any other hard drying varnish.  Then poke a hole in the top part of the circle to make really unique holiday ornaments.
  5. Cut into small teardrop, diamond or round shapes.  Add your favorite varnish-I like the triple thick stuff from Hobby Lobby.  Poke small hole at top and now you have earrings or pendants.  Make the shapes small squares and you have charms.
  6. Use child friendly images, and using the same collage to card stock technique, combine and hang from a plastic coat hanger above a crib for a quick and easy mobile.

Obviously there are many ways you can use finished coloring pages in your art.  Use your imagination and have fun!

Decluttering and Simplifying: Day 4

I just finished clearing out the kitchen.  Every cupboard, drawer, nook and cranny.  Then it’s on to the mud room.  Then the diningroom.  Then the hallway, with several closets and the linen closet.  Then the laundry room.  Then the main bathroom, our bedroom and the living room.  The remainder of the basement will come after the main floor.  The bedrooms Erin and the kids are using are up to her.

Scott is working on the garage right now.

My hope is I finish the mud room, dining room and hall closets today.  Maybe even the laundry room.

A couple observations:  What is good about this sort of intense clearing out of your stuff is you touch every thing you own and decide whether or not to keep it. What isn’t so great is you realize you have more crap in your house than you would ever think possible.

I mean there is STUFF.

We are not minimalists by any means, but we’re reducing our possessions by at least half.  Maybe more.  I’m pulling stuff off our walls and dumping it.  Stuff that’s been hanging for longer than I can remember.  I’m so sick of everything we own, I just want it all gone.

The easy part is going through your own crap.  It becomes more challenging when you are going through your kids stuff.  They have attachments to the oddest things.  Nevertheless, we’re making real progress here.



And It Dawns On You

with crystal clarity (as you’re seated in your spotless work area, taking a well deserved break) that 3 of your precious 10 day dumpster rental has been spent just finding your workroom floor.  

I’m serious.  Three days I’ve been working in here and the space directly outside my workroom where my excess is stored.

I tossed vast amounts of stuff, sure.  But it was all recyclable materials, projects I hate, stuff I know I’m never going to make, anything broken and consolidation of the rest.  I have not gone through all my supplies and pulled out things to donate yet.

This will be the biggest challenge for me.

It does not require a dumpster, however.  My supplies will easily fit in my car and trunk, should I decide to really go for it and reduce everything.  I mean I could reduce to one set of watercolor paints.  One set of colored pencils.  One shelf of art books.  One tote with fabric.  You get the picture here…

The good news is the room is organized.  I found things I don’t remember buying.  And apparently I purchase metal book rings every time I leave the house, bring them home and promptly lose them.  I found so many packages of metal rings, in all sizes, they have their own tote.  I found so many artist paper pads, I started a second shelf to hold them.  And doilies!  I use them in art journaling, yes, but do I need a 12” x 12” storage tote filled with them?

Probably not.

I went through my embellishment cart and reduced everything by a lot, I did the same with my art journal/book making cart.  I pitched several hundred c.d.’s which had kid crap on them.  I made the melted CD embellishments and don’t care to make them again.  And if I do find I have an urgent desire to do so, I’ll buy some new CD’s at the store for a couple bucks.

I found a huge amount of glue sticks.  I use these to glue my composition book pages together, either 4 or 5 pages glued to make one. That way I have thicker pages on which to work.  And I really like this for art journals.  The pages hold up well and it’s an inexpensive option.  (You can get two for a buck at back to school time.)  So I should have enough glue sticks to keep me in composition art journals for the next few years.

I found several partial packs of baby wipes.  Now, Lindsay has decided to use old cut up towels rather than baby wipes. She doesn’t use her art baby wipes, but I do.  I use them all the time.  So I’m not switching to cloth for my clean up needs.

Well, I need to get back at it.  Hopefully I’ll go through the rest of the basement family room today, and get that huge mess taken care of.  The kids toys are in there.

If you’re a praying person, if you could spare a prayer for me as I tackle this nightmare area, I’d really appreciate it.  I’m not kidding.  I need strength to get through all their crap…



Decluttering and Simplifying, Part 2

Today is another decluttering and simplifying marathon.

Lindsay the Frugal Crafter used the Konmari method to clear out her house.  It took Lindsay 6 months to do it.  I have a 10 day rental for our dumpster and intend to do the entire house in that time frame.  Wish me luck!

My first problem is I started in the most difficult room.  I started in my work space.  Now you may be asking why that’s the most difficult room in which to begin. Well, most of us consider our art supplies to be “precious”.  Because these things cost-sometimes-big bucks, it’s hard to let them go.  Well, I had to get over that.  I have my desk top left to go in this room.  And I should mention, I will be going through everything again and thinning out more.  This is just the first round of decluttering.  I’m getting rid of the most obvious stuff I know I won’t use and putting the other stuff where it goes.  Laurie and I organized a couple months ago, so most stuff is already in its own spot and labeled.

So far I have emptied 28 different storage items.  Not all are full sized totes or equally large cardboard boxes, but most of them are.  I have filled 8 garbage bags with stuff that’s broken, recycled materials, small scraps, and junk.  None of this is something I would want to donate to a second hand store, because it’s junk.

What I find so amazing is I’m emptying stuff from the area outside my room, where I keep my excess/overflow and I’m able to move what I want to keep into this room room and it fits.  I have room for the supplies I want to keep!  That’s unbelievable to me.  The workroom was so crammed packed full of stuff I had a pathway through it to get to my wall of totes.  Now the carpet is visible, you can sit in the chair, the table holds four totes separated into categories:  Lettering supplies and books, Art Journals,  Coloring books and sheet music, and a box of wire bound notebooks.

I had been planning to purchase several wire bound notebooks the next time I was in town because I couldn’t find any writing paper.  I use the notebooks for project descriptions and instructions, ideas for home improvements, gardening notes, the kids stuff, doctors instructions and medications, you name it and I write it down!

I always have several notebooks, labeled and in my bookshelf near my work desk.  Until suddenly, there were none!  Impossible!  Can’t be!  I buy these in bulk, people.  I should really say by the ton…

Since I’ve been working down here, I’ve found 17 spiral bound notebooks with only a couple pages used in each.  I’ve found several sketch pads, including a couple small ones I can carry in my purse.  (This was another item on my list of stuff to get when I go into town.)  I found water color paper, canvas paper, tracing paper, a couple packs of card stock and a huge box of family photos.  There’s a ziplock bag filled with film which needs to be developed in there too.

Ive found lettering books I completely forgot I had.  I have enough ink pens to last my lifetime and the lifetimes of my kids.  I have so many in-progress art journals they take up an entire box all by themselves…The coloring books, both completed and not worked in yet, fill another box.  I found coloring books I don’t remember ever seeing before, much less purchasing.

There are several things I don’t think I’ll ever need to buy again.  For example, I love to use vintage book pages in my art journals.  I had books scattered everywhere!  I consolidated them into boxes and they’re behind my work desk.  After seeing I have four boxes filled with vintage encyclopedias, children’s books, books with gorgeous photography and still others with interesting text or fonts-I have enough vintage books to last my lifetime.  I don’t need any more.  Ever.

There were four adorable sewing boxes beneath the metal table.  I picked my favorite one, emptied the others into that one and now have one full sewing box.  One was filled with all Singer sewing needles, bobbins, etc.  My singer became a boat anchor late last year-why would I need any Singer stuff anymore?  I’m giving it all to Laurie, as I’m sure she has a Singer sewing machine in her life somewhere.  Whether at her home or at school where she makes our theatre costumes.  And if she doesn’t, she’ll have sewing friends that do…

This was just an update on my progress so far.  More will follow.


Daily Art Challenge: July 13

Our challenge for today is to make a multi- colored color wash on our paper or canvas.  Here’s how:

  1.  Gesso your paper or canvas.  Let dry completely.
  2. Dilute 1 part paint with 2 parts water.  Mix well.  This is your base coat over your gessoed surface.
  3. Appy loosely wth a rag or sponge in a cross-hatching pattern.  Rinse rag or sponge very well, squeezing out excess water.
  4. Choose your second color.  Dilute with water and white paint if the color is stronger than your base coat.  Again apply in a loose cross-hatch pattern.  Rinse sponge or rag very well, squeezing out excess water.
  5. Add additional layers of the second color, using horizontal and vertical swipes with the sponge.
  6. Now add more of both diluted colors, randomly as wipes across the page, or just pounce the sponge randomly over the paper.
  7. Dilute a very pale color, say cream or lilac- that coordinates with your two background colors-  with three parts water to 1 part paint.  This will be very runny and watery.  It’s just a thin glaze over top of the two before.  You don’t want to obscure the two previous layers.
  8. Use a dry wide, flat brush to apply matte medium over the top of your painted background.  This will seal the surface and enhance the depth and uniqueness of your painted background.

Paint techniques are some of the easiest there are.  You really cannot mess them up.  It may take a little practice to get the right mixture of both colors, but you’ll get the hang of it in no time.  You can do this technique in any colors you wish, but the lighter ones maybe easier for a beginner.

This same technique can be used to make a plaid background.  Use one or two colors horizontally, leaving some space between lines of color.  Now go over those vertically.  You’ll have a plaid look with the areas the two lines meet being darker or a combined color of the two you used.  I’ve used this several times to make “wallpaper” on a set piece.

Daily Art Challenge: July 12

Our challenge for today is to organize one area of or work space.  This could be your paints, your paper, your adhesives.  Pick one spot and pull it together.