Presented by KC Henna Supply

Presented by KC Henna Supply

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Craft ADD

I haven't been posting much... Why? Because in my quest to find my studio I have found SO many awesome lost forgotten treasures I can not keep my noodle straight!

Oh sigh... What can I do?

In two weeks I have taken on a new possible career, 2 new very different crafts on top of my usual 400 things.

Why do I do this to myself?

Simple; I am a creative brain AND I am not simply a creative brain, I am an innovative creative brain.

A normal creative brain might take a craft, let's say take on watercolor painting. They learn the craft, follow the tried and true rules, do it right and make beautiful things.

Now, an innovative brain is a completly different creature. First, we learn just enough of the craft to get the jist, then we basteridize said craft. We look at everything as " what is it?" then, " what can I turn it into." It's great for making new techniques but is horrible if you have hopes for sleeping regularly.

So, have I been creating? OH YEAH!

Have I been blogging... No :(

Part of the absence in blogs is because we do not have internet at home. Getting to the library to use the net is very difficult. 90% of the blogs posted so far have been from my phone. Yes folks, I type all of these out on my cell phone. ( which explains all of the spelling errs.)

I think what frustrates me is there is SO much I want to blog and share. I just can not get to the library to do it. We have a baby and she refuses to let me get anything done, let alone things I want to do.

I remind myself daily, " as she gets older, you will get more free time, this too will pass."

So, please be patient with me. I promise, I have a lot to share. And, as I get the time I will load it all up.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Week 4 of Organizing with Michelle.

Week Four: Maintenance & Tweaking

We have arrived at the end of the month, how are you doing?  Last week we covered the all or nothing attitude.  Have you had a chance to purge at least one area in your trouble spot?  Let’s assume you have finished purging at least one trouble spot in your room. (Remember we are using a room as an example)

Before you can maintain, you need to recognize what it is (and possibly why) you pile up what you do. 
The following is a personal list of my problem items and my theories as to why they pile up: I assure you this is the “short” list.

Pens- I covered my problem with writing instruments last week, love them!
Paperwork/mail, magazines- setting aside to deal with “when I have time.”
Laundry- wash, dry, fold, put away, not so much.
Fabric- new hobby, good sales, no preparation for storage before it starts to pile up.
Crafting supplies- see above
Yarn-see ‘fabric’ above
Kitchen Equipment, including cookbooks-  Love to cook and everything that goes with it.  I maintain that I was a chef in another life…
Can you relate to any of these?  The first three can be laid at the feet of “I’ll do it later” syndrome.  The last four, a type of mild hoarding; which is in retrospect frightening. 

Time for Combat:

The “I’ll do it later” syndrome is most easily tackled by working on behavioral changes.  As you know it generally take 30 days of repetition to change a habit. 
Pens-stop buying; to assist in this gather all the pens in the home, warning you may be appalled at the accumulation; after that not buying should be a bit easier.  Use the same sort methods we’ve already spoken of: Keep, Donate, and Toss.  Limit the number of areas you keep multiples.
Paperwork/mail/magazines-do your paperwork as soon as you get it, then complete the life cycle, mail and file.  Mail, toss junk mail immediately and deal with the rest before the day is out.  Magazines, determine which one(s) you will actually read and eliminate the rest.  Now you can take an online version.  Having accomplished the first part; only keep six months/year of issues at a time.  Strip out what you are interested in and recycle.  If the magazine is intact consider donating them.
Laundry-try to complete the entire cycle of laundry one type at a time.  I know, I know, this is hard to do if there are more than two of you in the house.  Consider this, you could do all the whites one day, start the darks before you go to bed and start the next day a bit ahead by having one load dryer ready to start off.  The point here is to get it from the hamper to the drawer in the easiest way possible.
Fabrics and crafting supplies-best advice finish what you start and use up what you have.  If you haven’t used it or don’t think you will use it sell or donate it.
Cooking appliances and cookbooks-use what you have.  Same goes here if you don’t use it; sell or donate.  I am still working on this.  Here is an example:  I have a ricer.  It makes super smooth mashed potatoes.  I like my mashed potatoes chunky, my husband likes them smooth.  I keep the ricer for him, and because I can use it on other foods, squash especially.  Do I really need it; probably not but am I ready to part with it, no.  It’s always a work in progress.
Does anyone need tons of cookbooks probably not?  The internet will supply most people with more than enough recipes to keep them busy.

So how to maintain once your finished your room?  Control your trouble points/items.  Be aware and make your own unique controls.  This will take trial and error.  Sounds boring, I know.  Try picking one item at a time, start with the one item/thing that has the biggest pile and work back from there.  As with anything worthwhile this is going to take time, how much will depend on the individual. 

Tweaking enters the equation as an individual’s circumstances change.  Tweaking is all about making small adjustments to the system you have in place.  Babies, re-entering the work force, retirement, care-giving grandchildren, you get the idea.  Being flexible will make your life easier to manage.  Keeping up with organizing depends on the time you have to start it and maintain it.  When circumstances change so will the way you manage your trouble spots.  If you are super busy and you see your paperwork piles growing beyond your original control system obviously it is time to “tweak” that system to reflect your new circumstances.  Tweaking is an evolving process and how cool is that!  This is great news because it means that the only time you need to start over from scratch is if the system you use just doesn’t work at all.

So all this (in a perfect world) has brought us full circle.  The room is clean, purged and organized to suit you the individual.  You have learned that a truly clean room/home is based on identifying your organizing “style’, successfully purging the excess, making an organizational plan that works for your space,  the need to control your trouble items, and finally how to maintain your room.

Most of us are afflicted with the same syndrome; the “get to it later” syndrome.  How about you?  Let’s face it, life is messy and busy.  Tackle one “hot item” at a time and remember be kind to you!  We all need to stop trying to convince ourselves that our homes need to look like a magazine.  We live in our homes; we have children, pets, husbands…heehee, messy, messy, it’s called life.  Relax and enjoy it.  Besides, who has time to clean, festival season is just around the corner, we have henna to mix and pattern books to update!  Do me one favor, try to gather and keep your henna supplies in order and you will be one group of items ahead!

I hope at least some part of this has helped.

Thank you and have fun!

Michelle :D  

( Michelle, thank you so so SO much for writing these articles for us. I know the tips you have given have already helped me, and can help so many more :) thank you thank you thank you :) )

Friday, January 20, 2012

All or nothing, organizing with Michelle pt 3

Execution:  All or nothing?

Hopefully you’ve had a chance to attack your problem area over the past week!  Did you use an all or nothing attitude?  I know most of us want to just “get it done.”  We are sick of looking at it or hiding it and just want it done and over with!  But will that attitude solve “long term” the root habits to cause the problem; probably not.  Sigh.

I know; why can’t anything just be easy? If this series was just about cleaning we could have been done with two words, “clean it.”  You certainly can do that, but isn’t that what you’ve done a million times before?  We all have busy lives, family, work, children, pets, and many combinations of all of these.  We need solutions that will solve or at least control the chaos. 

Someone asked me what to do if everything is all over the place.  My suggestion was to pick an area or set a box, basket, whatever in one place and drop out of place items in it as you find them or need a place to drop something.  What to do when it is full, empty it, or find another basket.  One blog (I’m sorry I can’t credit her as I don’t remember which one it was) suggested that you never leave a room empty handed!  Brilliant!  Baby on one hip, grab an item out of the basket at set it in the area it belongs.  Yes I know, eventually you will have piles in many rooms.  Well, if you enter the area/room pick an item and put it away.  Eventually, room by room things will be back in their proper places.

This of course leads us back to the problem of “too much stuff.”  Basically, I asked you all to pick an area, drawer, whatever to work on.  I chose a room to use as an example and gave you the basic “types” of personalities associated with organizing.  Hopefully you have identified your style, most people are blends.  If you’ve identified your style, you should have picked up your area to the point where you could leave the door open and have room to work.  I further asked you to start with one thing to purge.  A drawer, basket, dresser, box, you get the idea.  Work your way around the area until you come back to the beginning.  You should have the basic containers for “keep”, “donate”, and “toss”.  The idea is to reduce the amount of “stuff” you’ve accumulated.  Things you have not worn or used in a specific time frame unique to you,  commonly, six months, a year, a season, and so forth.

Don’t “key” in on finishing everything in a day.  Remember so many of us have limited amount of free time, there are no organization “cops” out there judging you on completing anything in a specific amount of time.  The goal here is reducing the clutter and accumulation of “stuff”.  If it takes you a week to get through a drawer/dresser or whatever, go with it and be kind to yourself and the limitations on your time.  Babies need attention, a path needs to be maintained through the toys and adult clutter, meals cooks, dishes done, laundry done, you get the picture.

Here is a snapshot of my home as it is today.  I usually do all the laundry over the weekend, didn’t happen so I am playing catch up.  The dogs (I have two Scottish Terriers (brothers)) Angus and Fergus who are in need of a day/week of beauty. The floors (I did clean the kitchen floor yesterday) are in need of …everything.  Christmas tree is still up, I have company coming next month, you can write your name in the dust in the master bedroom; the master closet remake project is nearly complete. The rug from the closet is currently residing in the family room.  My henna basket is hanging out in the same area and my wraps (from said henna) are hanging out in the master bath. The kitchen is in disorder and I need to go to the grocery store.  I may not have babies at home but between myself, my husband, two 20+ lb. tuxedo cats and two adorable pups, other family demands (my Mom, my son and his new wife, my in-laws and adopted family all live close by), I might as well have babies. We all have outside demands on our time, mine are not unique.  I don’t work outside of the home; the point of this is to let you know everyone has challenges.  

One of the best pieces of advice in one of the organizational blogs was this, “never take out more than you can complete in the amount of time you have”.   In other words, make sure you have enough time to empty the drawer, sort, clean, restock, and close the drawer in the amount of time you have.  In doing this you are obviously not adding to the chaos.  Been there, should have written a book… (  You really don’t want to have “more stuff” to pick up to continue on with your day.

This is not an “All or Nothing” project, it’s a process.  It’s a learning process; personally I’ve learned that my husband and I are pen-a-holics.  We have boxes and boxes of pens.  I buy mine, he is usually given his.  One of my tasks this winter season (it’s going to be 65-68 degrees today) is to gather the boxes, vases, glasses, etc., test each pen and toss, donate, or keep.  I have to work one container at a time so I can work through each.  Will they build up again, sigh, probably; once again I will redistribute the kept pens and for as long as possible will refrain from buying any more.  We try to control this by keeping them in specific containers (which will be reduced by half), once full I have to establish a time frame for sorting once again.  We really like pens, pencils, markers, etc.  What do you collect/accumulate?

My hope is that you will release yourself from the “All or Nothing” mind set.  You will only defeat yourselves before you begin.  I don’t know anyone who has a “perfect” home.  I can walk into the neatest home and find an area that needs work.  Perfect is a myth.  It’s a fantasy.  Sorry but that is the truth, so why not cut yourselves a break!  It’s always been and will always be a work in process.  The level you take the organization process is strictly personal and ever changing.  Why not try and enjoy the process!

Ok, so keep at it and relax we all will get there! 
Michelle  :D

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Week II of organizing with Michelle

Week II:

Without bogging down in psycho babble there are three basic organizing styles; those whom are ‘visual’ (like to see everything at a glance), those whom I call’ minimal’ (a place for everything and those places are not apparent, and of course those whom are a blend of the first two.
Interestingly enough, most everyone is a blend to one degree or another.

Let me give you examples of each ‘style’:

This person is a quilter; who completes one project at a time.
In pulling together the next quilt they need to pick the fabrics for it.
This person’s fabrics are color coded and stored on shelves in a tall bookcase for easy visual selection.
Same goes for the thread, wall mounted racks, color coded.
All tools of the trade are hung on pegboards for easy access.
Completed quilts are on a constantly changing display.
Completed quilt patterns are framed and hung on the wall along with a snap shot of the project.

This person is a scrapbook enthusiast.
They are not perfect as they have multiple projects going at any one time.
In keeping up with each project, this person keeps them in individual two gallon Hefty zip-lock bags labeled and hung on skirt hangars.
The projects are stored in the closet behind a closed door.
Like-wise are all the assorted supplies necessary to creating a scrapbook.
All surfaces in this space are clear of anything unnecessary; leaving only a task lamp, large monitor, and key board.

This person has many interests and multiple projects in different mediums.
They are also not perfect and individual projects can sit idle for long periods of time.
Projects are kept in a variety of storage mediums.  Fabric projects are stored in plastic bins w/lids, each in its own pillowcase.  Knitting and crocheting are stored in various sizes of zip-lock bags, also in bins.  The bins labeled and are stored in a closet
Related notions, needles, and or hooks are stored out of sight in individual containers in separate drawers.
These are examples of ‘minimal’ organizing.
For the visual, this person utilizes a very large project board to keep track of the current projects.  Colored pencils sit out in clear vases.  The inventory of fabric has been reduced to swatch cards (3x5 cards) with a swatch of fabric a-fixed and its fiber content, and available yardage noted, all held together on a large binder ring.  This is hung off the project board.
Patterns are filed by type in clear boxes on a bookshelf.  Likewise all reference books are shelved in the open.

OK to recap, here are the three major types; it is very simple to identify the rudimentary systems for each: 

Visual – needs to see what they have, seem to operate in clutter.
Minimal – wants everything put away, clean surfaces.
Blend – obviously are a combination of both of the above.

We have reached the point where you have a decision to make;
clean the room to the point where it is easy to navigate or,
Organize in the middle of the mess.

My advice is to clean to where the room is easy to get around in and make choose on area/item to deal with at a time.
Some equipment/system(s) is/are universal to all three types and any kind of organization project. This is information is all available in books, on-line, and has been on television for many years...
You need receptacles; at least three:  keep, toss, and donate.  In the decision process for “keeping/tossing/donating” time limits are always necessary (as in, if you haven’t used an item in a month, six months, a year, etc.) to move the process along; give yourself one and stick to it.  Don’t forget lots of trash bags!  The deal here is to organize and organizing universally involves purging. 

OK, pick a spot (for this part I am going with the room theme) as the example. 
If you are:

You need to decide what type of display and storage you have, what you might be able to get rid of, and/or what you may need to add.
Start with what you use the most and make sure it gets the best storage “real estate”.
Working from there, sort through each area and items by group and lose what you have not used according to your pre-set time limit.

You need to decide how much storage you can live with and perhaps without.
To accomplish this you need to reduce your on-hand supplies by eliminating what you have not used in your pre-determined amount of time. (Catching on to the theme here?)
Next, make sure you really need the all storage you have.

To add storage or eliminate, this is a question you cannot answer until you complete the whole sorting process.
Take the time to decide if the items you have out already are what you want to keep out, if not, sort, eliminate and decide where you will store these items.
Next, repeat the process for all items in your space.
Keep in mind that those who are considered a “Blend” do so in different degrees (50/50, 60/40) and the ratio changes from time to time. 

Gathering your weapons

Some of this was covered in the “keep/toss/donate” above.  Obviously, you will find having a vacuum or broom and dustpan at hand very helpful.  Dust cloths, trash bags and any cleaning items for your particular area.  Many of you have small children and we all have busy, busy lives, try dealing with only one area/item at a time and work at it until it is completed.  In sticking to this plan you are tackling your area one manageable step at a time and not creating more chaos.  Be kind to yourself, if it takes you hours or days to complete one area/item so be it.  You are working toward cleaning and organizing for yourself so won’t have to tackle the same thing six months down the road.  Change takes time.

Home storage solutions blog ( is currently doing a 52- week challenge for the whole house starting with the kitchen.  She has done an excellent job in breaking down tasks and giving advice on how to deal with it. (No; I am not being compensated for plugging the blog(s))  
*Home Sanctuary is another blog to check out, she is guiding you toward creating a whole house cleaning system that is unique to you!

Good luck this week, if you get stuck let me know!


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Make it easier... Cone holders.

This month we are focusing on organization. Organization makes life easier, so I thought I would share a couple of things that also make life easier for us Henna peeps.

The number one gadget I can not live without are my cone holders.

What is a cone holder? Much like the need for tacos that do not fall over when you stuff them, henna cones can not stand up as you fill them, cone holders keep your cones upright.

The perfect cone holders I have found are ice cube trays for water bottles. They are white plastic trays, with a blue silicone lid on the bottom. They were designed to freeze water into cylinders so they can be slid into water bottles.

I found my first set at Bed Bath Beyond for either $4.99 or $7.99, my second set was at Goodwill for .99.

They are the perfect size and shape for holding cones so I can fill a batch without having to put down my carrot bag of henna.
The trays are deep enough the tips do not get bend and they to not fall over when you put henna in the cones ( like cups can.)

I also freeze my cones in the holder. Since they freeze vertical less air gets trapped in the tip of the cone. ( trapped air can cause the consistency of the henna to change.)

After the cones are frozen solid I transfer them to zip-lock bags.

If you can not find ice cube trays, you can make a cone holder from recycled tubes, like script bottles and my favorite, M&M Mini's candy tubes. ( the shorter tubes work best.) Simply tape the tubes together and off you go.

I have a set of pill bottle tubes that I made to fit my scale so I can measure and fill 6 cones at a time. Easy peasy!

It's the little simple things that make getting organized easier and you do not get much simpler than this tip.


Wednesday we should have another professional organization post from Michelle and we will have another craft sometime this week for something warm and snugly.

Next week we will start tutorials for card making. ( and oh, what beautiful things do we have in store!)


Tah tah for now.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Organizing With Michelle

Week I:
Pick your battles.

Happy New Year!!  A New Year can mean fresh starts, new beginnings, and endless possibilities.  I want to thank Dyp for offering me the opportunity to post this month on the topic of “organization.”  I hope to help you on your way to establishing workable solutions to your organizing problems.
Does just the word “organization” make you pause and shutter?  You are not alone!  It is a common misconception that professional organizers’ homes are picture perfect.  Umm, not!  Let me just say that you can go on-line and find all the suggestions and guidance that you could ever need*, this month I am hoping to assist you in identifying your trouble spots and find a working solutions for you on a smaller scale.

As a professional organizer I spend more time defining my clients organizing “style” than actual hands on organizing, to me, identifying this personal “style” is the key to individual success.

 So let’s break this down:

Step I: 
Pick your battles.
·       Pick just one “thing”, your problem room/area or even a habit.  Whatever seems to pile up the fastest, is the room you routinely keep the door shut all of the time, or is a habit you need help controlling. 
·       Got it? 
·       Take a seat and think about what habit or which room it is and what it is about that habit/room that makes it a problem for you.  If it would be helpful write down what it is about the habit/room that frustrates you the most.

Ok, big whoop, right?   I know nothing earth shattering happening yet.  What’s the big deal with sitting and thinking about stuff? Well, the majority of people seeking assistance with organizing, the exercise of identifying and admitting what it is about a certain room and /or task is crucial, and is often more difficult to identify than the actual physical cleaning.  Please take the time to do this exercise; you may be surprised to see what you learn.  Let me know what room/habit you picked and what questions you have, I will be here to help you find answers.

 Here is the result of my exercise:

I:  My sewing/guest room.  OMGosh!

II:  This room has become a storage room, overtaken by clutter, a dumping zone, too easy to stuff & shut (stuff it in and shut the door).  Too many projects half finished and all over the place.  Nothing put away.  I don’t have places to put things.  I hate coming in here.  Why are there piles of paperwork that should be in my office?    
I can’t finish projects if
·       I can’t get to the sewing machine
·       I spend more time sifting through piles of stuff trying to gather what I need to finish a project than the time it would take to finish it.

 There are a few things that can be identified right away about my list.  Obviously, I picked a room but take a moment and re-read the rest of the exercise.  Red flag words everywhere, Clutter, dumping, and the big one, “nothing put away.”  So, now you can see how easy it is to identify  what habits are contributing to the overall situation.

 Now, I know you just want to get in there and finish the cleaning and check it off your list of “things to do”.  I am with you there.  Go ahead, but will you be just repeating the same habits?  I do it all the time.  Will you just rearrange the same items, stuff another drawer and close it, hide everything in a different place?  Time to change it up! 

I will be working along with you while tackling my sewing room and I promise I will post the “before” pictures of my sewing/guestroom as soon as I download them from the camera.

*Here are some of my favorite organizing/cleaning blog sites:

I’ll be back next Wednesday for the next steps in this process.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New How To Videos

Hi guys, 

We have the first videos loaded onto you tube.
With any luck I will get some more simple videos loaded up in the future. 
For now, here is a simple video on cone rolling and draping. 

Tomorrow starts our series,  Organizing with Michelle. Time to find our work spaces and make room to create. 

Next week, a new craft. How to make a cone holder. ( One of my favorite tricks of the trade!)

Have a great week. Go make something pretty :)