Wednesday, February 22, 2012

2012 Resolve to Get Organized Series

Week 5 - A Plethora of Pictures - February 14, 2012

Due to technical difficulties, this segment will be added to the end of the challenge, but Tiffany posted a previous taping for those of us who wanted to stay on track. I have been so busy with this challenge that I hadn't had time to update my blog until now...

This week's lesson was to show us how to get our photos organized. I started out with over 12,000 pictures just on my external hard drive. I've been using the Adobe Photo Album Starter Edition for a while and I have tried Picasa. I like them both because:

-They are both free.
-They both show your photos in chronological order (provided your camera's date was correct, but those properties can also be edited within the program).
-They both allow you to tag or catagorize individually or by groups of photos.
-Photos can be optimized, edited, cropped, and collaged (is that even a word?).

When I first tried Picasa I liked the facial recognition feature, but ultimately found correcting it's auto tag feature to be exhausting, so I stopped using it.

Ok, so enough rambling...

This week’s challenge:

• Establish your Physical and computer filing systems.
• Sort 2 boxes/Piles/Drawers of photos. 
Add one additional box for each “family” helper you recruit.
• Sort one year of Digital Photos.
• Sort 1 container of other supplies into your 4 Section System.
• Sort 4” of paper
• Post on FB

Tiffany recommended using a photo sorting software, and a perpetual calender to help. I found a nice perpetual calendar for free on the microsoft website. Click here and it will open in a new window.

To start out with, I scrap-lifted (can I use that term here?) Tiffany's file folder and index pages into word documents and just printed them out on plain copy paper and folded them. I gotta say, they are awesome for journaling prompts, which is really my biggest weakness as a scrapbooker. This is what they look like in a binder, but I will be adding my unfinished layouts to this holding album next, and those are 12x12.  (The holding album and journaling challenge is next week.) I got caught up in this project and now have 20 planned layouts and 15 previously unfinished ones. I'm a bad Grandma...

In order for me to gather my physical photos, I had to organize an area of gloom or two. My desk and filing cabinet has so much storage that when I put something away it becomes lost for all time. I have a cabinet in my scraproom that ends up being a pile catch-all for unfinished layouts and "cool stuff" I want to hang onto.

I ended up gathering up 3 "old fashioned" photo albums, you know, the ones that have the sticky board and plastic sheet... several brag book type albums-the purse sized 4x6 ones. There were 4 of the 4x6 plastic photo organizers with some high school photos of me and some pictures taken when my current husband and I were dating. My mom had also sent me (several years ago) a bunch of family history stuff and my childhood photos in several of those 9x12 envelopes, so I have those to deal with too. I found some photo disks and envelopes with the negatives from Wal-mart strategically located on the top shelf in my linen closet (don't laugh). Unfortunately, I also found about 15 undeveloped rolls of 110 film from when my children were toddlers and preschool aged in an old purse in the bedroom closet. Great.

A few years ago I was "getting my affairs in order" before my unit deployed to Iraq (2008), and went on this organizing binge so that if something happened to me my husband would be able to lay hands on all of our important documents and photos. I bought one of those pioneer digital CD organizers on Amazon. They hold the picture CD's and index cards and it expands (post bound) so you can buy refill pages and the pages that hold negative strips too. So at least I already had that covered, and I will just add the newly found stuff to that. The pictures in the albums  and photo boxes are already in chronological order- -go figure. My oldest daughter wants me to scan those eventually, but I can't deal with that just yet.

And on to the digital pics. I am still not finished with that. Over the years, every time I have backed up my computer, apparently I ended up with a pictures folder that has somehow multiplied until I had 6 or 7 copies of every picture I have EVER taken. While sorting these pictures by year, then by month, then by event, I have actually deleted, so far over 2000 duplicate photos. I swore I wouldn't delete any unless Tiffany came to my house and put a gun to my head, but I actually managed to do it. The nice thing about organizing them this way is that I get reminded of events and the dates. I actually got about 10 years worth organized. This is also how I ended up with so many new holding folders! I still have 3 grandchildren's births, 2 years worth of birthdays, 4 weddings, 2 vacations, and several Christmas and Easter's to scrap! I guess I am going to have to look into that Power Layout thing! I was feeling pretty smug about getting 3 Halloween's and 2 high school graduations done a couple of weeks ago, but now I feel so much less overwhelmed! 


I ended up looking for the Microsoft Office Picture Manager on my computer - I never knew I had it. I really do like it because I has the folder list (or tree, if you prefer), on the side and I can just open up the folders by clicking on the plus sign next to the years and go down the list. When I use Explorer I have to back out to go to the next folder I want to look at. This is much easier, and I like that you can change the names of several photos at once. I hovered over the pics and could see the digital date stamp, so I just renamed them by their date XXXX_XX_XX and let the program sequentially number them 01, 02, 03 etc.


I am almost caught up with my containers of supplies (only 3 left!), and have organised all my colored cardstock & papers onto my paper shelves. I thought I might need to get another shelf unit for my patterned and themed papers, but I am also thinking about just using the up-cycled postal boxes I have emptied out for themes and patterns - simply because I don't want to expand any more. I really don't have THAT much themed paper. Now that I have holding albums I actually realize I need more of that, but at least I know now what I actually need, instead of just grabbing whatever (or specifically whatever is on sale). I have probably purged about 3 inches of patterned paper that came in those huge paper pads. Those pads are almost as bad as buying a whole music CD for one good song... You might get 10 gorgeous sheets and 15 hideous ones!

On a personal note:

I know we aren't done yet, but I really feel like this challenge has been a life changer for me. I didn't really realize that there was a problem - except that I was getting to be so disorganized. I just kept getting more containers!  I like this system better because everything is right in front of me and I can use all those baskets elsewhere around the house. So the benefits are spilling into other areas of my home and life. I actually used 6 of my matching baskets in the bathroom cabinet to organize stuff by category. When I was going through the cupboard I found and got rid of a whole shelf of expired medications and near empty bottles of lotions and stuff I don't use anymore anyway. I even found unopened stuff that I am always buying - so that saved me some money too. I consolidated 4 boxes of band-aids and 3 boxes of wax strips (battle of the mustache). Now when I look for something in a cupboard around here I have a better shot at finding it - and it really looks nice. Big time-saver too! I've always been a packrat, but it was starting to make me unhappy and feeling overwhelmed and cluttered in my mind too. I am finding that it doesn't bother me to throw things away like it used to. I can't give Tiffany all the credit, because I subscribe to malitose79 on YouTube, and she is awesome too. But both of them have helped me bring it all together in several areas! I've even noticed that I am starting to think this way automatically everytime I open a cabinet or drawer and take a couple of minutes to organize it. It is so nice to have a place for everything instead of feeling like every drawer was starting to become the "junk drawer".

Monday, February 13, 2012

2012 Resolve to Get Organized Series

Week 4 - Inks, Chalks, Pens and More -February 7, 2012

Step 1 – How will you store your items?

I will probably put everything back in the cassette display. The markers came in their own storage case.

Step 2 – Gather your Products

I had to get all of my stuff down out of the shelf so that I could read the names and make samples of all my colors. I wasn't really happy about this step because I already had my stuff organized the way I wanted them. I figured if I  take them all down, they are going to end up cluttering my coffee table for the next week until I get time to put them back.

Step 3 – Create Color Catalog

Here it is:


I dont know why these uploaded upside down, but the pictures options don't give you any way to rotate them, sorry, but you get the idea. When I finally got this all done I was actually glad that I did it after all. I saw which markers exactly matched which ink pads. There was a white pad that I had never even opened and it looked awesome on the black cardstock. I also have a white gel pen that is seriously under-used and under-appreciated. I got it because of Sandy Genovese's You Tube videos. I think she uses that white gel pen on everything. But it looks good, so I wanted one too- now I never even use it.

I did the color tabs on my word program and I wasn't happy that the printer margins cut off my words. I will probably end up using cardstock to fix them, but I need a tab punch so they will look nice. I had to make sure that the front and back cover were cut down too, so the tabs will show. I didn't have enough colors to fill an entire sheet, so I just used half sheets front and back, I have to look at both sides.

I can make photo copies of these pages and stick them into the proper rainbow section of my homemade scraprack.

Step 4 – Create Manufacturer Catalog Sheet

I didn't have to do this step because I only have one type of markers, which are the crayola pipsqueaks. I liked the bright colors (so does does my 4 yr-old). I haven't tried the copic technique yet, but I have enough shades so that I could try it if I want to. I didn't catalog my Sharpies because I only have the black & primary colors anyway. I did have a rainbow assortment of glitter gel pens (Dollar General), but Jordan got them.

I have generic, unheard of brands of ink pads, and actually started out with the ones at staples for office stamps. I am afraid to get into Stampin' Up or any of the other ones because I am such an addict. I usually try to collect one of everything once I get started on it. Those fancier brands have hundreds of shades and are so expensive. Then they come out with new palettes every year. I'm not really into stamping anyway (yet).

Step 5 – Store Products

I fit everything in one 5x7" basket and it is sitting on the kitchen table to be taken back out in the morning. It's too cold outside right now to walk out to the scrapbook room.

So I have pretty much finished my homework for the week. I am really not looking forward to the next challenge... We will be organizing pictures. I hope I can get through it!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Repurposed Packaging

While throwing away mountains of packaging from my embellishments I realized that I could use the clear plastic for shrinky dinks (I'm giving away my age, now). I had googled how to make them a while back because it is so hard to find certain names, my daughter Jordan being one of them. You can use the recyclable type 6 plastic. I cut mine out on the Cricut and welded the letters together to make my own word art. Thankfully I had the presence of mind to ink the letters before I heated the plastic so they would pop. These bake at 350' for about 3 or 4 minutes and worked out really well on the first try. I debated whether to punch a hole in it somewhere for a keyring, but decided I just wanted the word art for a scrapbook layout.

Here are the results:

I had to use red because that is Jordan's favorite color. I thought it turned out pretty good for a first try. Next time I will jazz it up a bit.

I am going to try to make some of those sprockets and old clocks to go with the embossing folders I got for Christmas.

This shrunk down a good bit, I might even guess about 1/3 the size I started out with, so you'd have to keep that in mind.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

2012 Resolve to Get Organized Series

Week 3 - Embellishments, A Container at a Time - January 31, 2011-

Epic Fail...

I was so proud that I had managed to save some money on these spinders. I ripped apart some binders that were collecting dust and hot-glued some velcro to the back. Surely this would get me by until I win the Lotto.

Everthing was going great, I even stapled the other velcro side to a 20" x 16" board and could prop that up on a wheeled kitchen chair.

So, I'm making incredible progress putting things away one container at a time.

Zipping along

Feeling Great! Three garbage bags full of packaging and scrounged, re-purposed storage containers. (AKA shoe boxes and plastic mayonnaise jars.)

I am the Scrapping Organizing Bomb

I'm so smart

I saved hundreds of Dollars

Until the damn Velcro came off the spine.

OK, No problem, right? 

Yeah, crazy glue doesn't hold for long either, and that actually rusts the metal.

Sorry, Tiffany, I bow to you... 

If I can find my husband's Gorilla glue I might be able to save my "trailer trash Scraprack", if not, it's back to square one - unless anyone else has any bright ideas.

2012 Resolve to Get Organized Series

Week 2 - Piles of Paper - January 24, 2012 - 

This is self explanatory. This is where we start thinking about how we are going to organize our stuff, or get ourselves mentally prepared to get organized and stay that way. I like the 4 part system because it makes sense.

Themes A-Z
The Calendar Year
The Rainbow

What else could you possibly need!

So I started sorting my paper first into this system, and it is easier to begin this way because it really sets out how the stuff will be set up. I started with the rainbow and what didn't go in there became either a theme or or holiday etc... I put all those pages in the paper pads that have the pop out tags and letters in the alpha section.

I had my little purge box right there next to my heaps of papers. Even though we were just sorting through papers this week, I ran across a lot of scraps, of course, and die cuts that I had made, and embellishments. It was very easy to slip each thing into the proper section and  subdivision by color or theme and so on.

I am not done with the paper yet, and I think it is supposed to be a work in progress throughout the series. I have taken apart some of my paper pads, but not all of them simply because it is easier to keep some together, where the other ones can be separated and stored in different themes or colors. This is especially true for me with two of my pads that I bought to dedicate to wedding/anniversary albums only. I put them on a paper shelf by themselves.

I haven't really purged much paper - just some scraps that are too small (3x3 or smaller).
I pulled the spines out of 4 of the binders that I used for my college classes and cut some plastic kitchen cutting mats to 12 1/2" x 13" and punched binder holes in them.

I get these at the Dollar Tree. There are 2 of them in a pack for $1. I usually keep these around to make stencils, or use as mats on my desk when I use my craft knife, but I discovered that they are perfect to make the covers and dividers for a "trailer trash scraprack" LOL!

I also cut ribbon cards out of these because they slip right into baseball card holders.

Then I got the crazy idea to make ribbon/fiber boards. I made a template out of cardstock and this is what I came up with:
This measures 8 1/2 x 11 inches

I converted this image into sure cuts alot and made an svg file. I cut one out of the plastic mat, and even though I multi-cut 4 times with a deep cutter blade, that really only gave me the lines to go by to finish it with my craft knife.

Anyways, once it is cut out, it works perfectly. It goes into the binder, holds 11 ribbons or fibers flat! It measures 8 1/2 x 11" so I can still slide it into a page protector. So I made 6 more and ran out of plastic...

On the up-side, The leftover plastic strips were cut into 2" strips, hole punched and I will stick things to them that I can't punch holes in for my binder.

I use plain old garden variety paper clips to hold my ribbons and fibers in place in the wide slits in the middle.

I originally set my binders up with baseball card sleeves, two 8 1/2" x 11" page protectors, a ribbon/fiber card, then a 12" x 12" page protector for each sub-section. Then I ran out of baseball card sleeves and ran to Staples to get more. Did you know that Martha Stewart has a new office product line at Staples? OMG! She has the 4 pocket, 2 pocket and zipper pocket sleeves. (They have the fold over tabs to keep your stuff from sliding out!) OH MARTHA! 10 in a pack for $3.99- sorry Tiffany, that beats the daylights out of your 10 pack for $12.99 plus shipping. I had to give up the 12x12 size for 8 1/2 x 11, but I can live with that!

OK, so now I had to restructure a bit, but I don't feel as cheated out of the whole Scraprack experience, because my stuff is nice and secure now. Don't get me wrong- I still lust for the real Scraprack, and if I had 4 or 500 bucks I'd get online and buy it in a hot minute, but for right now I am "mentally preparing" for the day I will own one! (Just click the imaginary PayPal button to donate to my cause!)

2012 Resolve to Get Organized Series

Week 1 - Get Ready to Get Organized ! January 17, 2012-

Ok, Catch you up on this... We are breaking down our big goals into smaller ones so that they are likely to be more attainable. We are supposed to do this by creating a "Big Benefits" Layout or Board. Something we can put up where we can see it- I guess it will be like going on a diet and putting a picture of a pig on the refrigerator door... Anyway, this is to remind us why we are doing this and what the rewards would be.

So basically My benefits for getting organized are:

1. So I can find all my stuff- because if I can see it, I will use it.
2. So I wont buy duplicates of things I already have.
3. So I can spend my time scrapbooking instead of looking for that thing I thought I had.

My biggest reward is that I can feel great about my scrapbook space again and feel like it is an enjoyable hobby again instead of a mess that I don't want to face! My crafting has really gotten out of hand and I hate that I have to go so far away from the family area to enjoy it. I want to include my family, and what is nice about this system is that I CAN do it at the table near my family. (I can come back inside again!)

These are my before pics of my 10 x 16 storage shed that I commandeered for scrapbooking. I only use one side, and my 4 yr-old daughter has a play area with crayons and other craft things on the other half. I have a 13in TV/DVD combo that she can watch her movies while I scrap. It usually doesn't work that way though, because I have to constantly either change movies for her of take her inside to pee or get ANOTHER drink, or snack, etc...

Sorry about the glare...

The desk is covered with the cutaway scraps from the trimmer that is usually parked there. The bag and baskets on the floor are stuff that I haven't put away since Christmas because the floor was covered with wrapping paper and decorations. The pile on the white cabinet on the left are empty boxes that I wanted the cardboard from for mini albums and stacks of finished and not quite finished layouts.

Above the (glare) window is a cassette holder that I got free at the flea market that I thought I could use to hold ink pads- which is nice except that I really only have about 12 of them, so it ends up being the "stuffing place" for other little do-dads- then I can't remember where they are!

My Cricut <3 is on the paper racks on the right and my wide format printer is on top of the tall brown cabinet. I hide my baskets of unsorted jumble of goodies in there with my re-purposed Priority boxes full of themed paper and a lot of scraps that I can never find when I need them.

This is the "Kraft" wall that I joke about. It is a rack that holds those plastic Kraft mayo jars full of foam shapes that I have been picking up at the dollar store for the past 10 years. I never think to look for anything in there until after they layout is done.

So there it is...The cluttered truth about my scrapbook room. Stay tuned for Week 2!

2011 Get Organized Challenge Group

OK, so I haven't posted in a loooong time. The last few months have been the worst in my life, and although I have been crafting a little here and there, I really haven't accomplished much. First problem is that I am not in the habit of blogging, I just kind of thought that it would motivate me. I see that no one is following me -nothing to follow anyways, so the peer pressure / motivational thing isn't happening.

But I am going to try to get started again, and maybe inspiration will follow.

All that aside, I have joined the 2011 Get Organized Challenge Group on Facebook and signed up for the weekly Webinars. We are in Week 4 now, so I really wish I had restarted blogging sooner, because I have actually had some crazy brainstorms over this and some big Ah-Ha moments!

I will catch all up with pics as I round them up... and from what I see I can backpost too so that everything (hopefully my progress) will be in order.

A word of warning! :( I am going to be brutally honest and show my gruesomely graphic clutter pics, so OCDers beware the mess! I am a recovering OCDer myself, so I understand...