Saturday, January 30, 2010

Mr. P Bites The Dust

So, remember how I told you that at Christmas my sweet hubby really goes all out and shops and shops to make my Christmas merry?  And we even stuff each other's stockings.  This year I had a set of Williams Sonoma silicone spatulas, some candy, an onion keeper, and a silicone covered wire whisk.  How cool is that???

Well, one of my favorite ever stocking stuffers from hubby 4-5 years ago was Mr. P.  He became a much valued friend and hard worker in my kitchen.  Well, Mr. P bit the dust, he just wore out and got to where he wouldn't work any more.  Here is the well worn, much loved Mr. P.

Yes, a Mr. Potato Head veggie peeler!  He was by far the best veggie peeler I've ever had.  He peeled evenly, and made very thin peelings, and he fit just right in my hand.  I missed him very much.   Now, I know he looks fine, but the blades just turn and turn, and you can't get a decent peel going on!

Well, a couple of weeks ago hubby decided he was going to run up to the outlets about 10 miles from here and shop a bit.  I asked him if he would go in the kitchen shops and see if he could find me another 'horizontal' peeler, and if he did, please get me a couple.  When he got home, he brought two new friends for Mr. P!!!

The one in the center is Mr. P.  Doesn't he look happy???  I know I am very happy!  And I found out why he no longer works.  As you can see by the picture below, the two new peelers have little 'things' on either side of the blade to keep it from turning a full 360 degrees.

And they are gone on Mr. P, so I guess he was ready to retire.  I don't think I can throw him away just yet, so he'll just stay in the drawer with his buddies.  You can find more info about Mr. P at the Le Gourmet Chef website.

What is your favorite tool that you use in the kitchen or around the house???  I'd love to know!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Shopping The Sales - Grocery Sales, That Is!!!

Yesterday I made a run to my favorite local Kroger supermarket.  I really didn't need anything, but Kroger had a great sale this week, and I wanted to take advantage and stock up on a few things.  It was what they called their 'Mega' event and when you buy 10 qualifying items you get $5 off your bill, or 50 cents off per item.  I also had some pretty good coupons for a few of the items that were on sale, which made for even better 'per item' prices.  Here area few of the things I bought this trip . . .

And yes, these are actually some of the more 'junky' foods that I usually buy, but we would probably have done without them if they hadn't been on a great sale!  Let's start with the item on the bottom - Sargento Swiss Cheese.  Normally I would have bought Kroger brand Swiss cheese because it's just as good, and less expensive.  But not in this case . . .

Regular price    $3.99
Sale price         $1.99
Mega Sale Discount   $.50
Coupon            $  .50
Double Coupon $  .50

I paid - $.49 - a savings of $3.50 or 87.7%

Next up, Kraft Cheddar Cheese.  I've said it on here before, and I'll definitely say it again  -  I PREFER Kroger brand cheddar cheese to Kraft - GASP!!!  I never thought I would say that, because for many years all I would buy was Kraft, but when I tried Kroger one time I was SOLD!  But, if the price is right, I'll go back to Kraft.  Here we go . . .

Regular price    $3.29
Sale Price          $1.49
Mega Sale Discount $.50
Coupon $ 1.00 for 2, (or $.50 per block)

I paid $0.49 - a savings of $2.80 or 85.1%

Do I have you interested yet???  Let's look at the Tostitos, and NO! these are not my new faves, but I yesterday I made the disturbing discovery that my Kroger doesn't sell those chips - {sigh}.  Anyway, with the sale and my coupon, it was worth the down grade to these chips. 

Regular price $3.85

Sale Price $2.88
Mega Sale Discount $.50
Coupon $ 1.00

I paid $1.38 - a savings of $2.47 or 64.2%

And the crackers.  I don't buy these often, but next weekend is the big (not!) Super Bowl Sunday, and I thought we'd want some snacks.  Hubby will be watching the game, I'll be in my studio making cards and watching anything but the big game!  So, here goes . . .

Since the crackers cost different prices, but were on sale and I had a coupon for $1 off of two boxes, here's how I look at the breakdown . . .

Ritz -
Regular Price   $2.75
Sale Price     $2.49
Mega Sale Discount  $0.50
Coupon  $1.00

I paid $0.99, a savings of $1.76 or 64%

Triscuit Thin Crisps -
Regular price    $2.49
Sale price     $2.19
Mega Sale Discount  $0.50

I paid $1.69, a savings of $0.80 or 32%

And last but not least, let's look at the chicken patties.  I keep these on hand because they are used in one of our favorite meals; one that is very easy and takes only 30 to 40 minutes start to finish to make!  Do any of you remember the old Sizzler restaurants???  Not Western Sizzler - that is totally different, but Sizzler was in the Atlanta area from the early 80's through early to mid 90's.  We LOVED Sizzler's Malibu Chicken, and I worked and worked until I got the sauce down, and now I make it myself. 

(Bonus recipe:  Malibu Chicken - cook patties according to directions - I use oven directions.  When done, top with sliced ham and then Swiss cheese.  Put under the broiler and let the cheese get melted and bubbly.  Make a dipping sauce - 2 TBLSP Mayo, 2 TBLSP horseradish SAUCE (not prepared horseradish) and mustard to taste. You are done!  I serve this with savory chicken veggie rice (homemade), sweet peas or green beans, and one of my favorite veggies, beets cooked in a bit of brown sugar and margarine.  I promise - 30 to 40 minutes start to finish!)

Regular price    $7.49
Sale price    $4.49
Mega Sale Discount  $0.50
Coupon  $1.00

I paid $2.99, or a savings of $4.50 or 60%

I had a budget this week of $60 - 70, and yes, I went over a bit.  My total bill was $71.47, and I went over because I decided at the last minute to buy a rotisserie chicken for dinner last night.  I saved (using coupons and sales) $47.14.  In other words, I got $118.61 worth of groceries for $71.47, and that's a savings of almost 40%.  Just because I took a few minutes to shop the sales flyer and clip a few coupons, I got so much more for my money.

Now, I understand that this may not work for you and your family, but for my family, it works great!  One difference may be our cooking styles.  I use few pre-made foods, but cook a lot from scratch, and not a lot of people do that these days. 

Do you remember last Feb/March when I did my big stocking up?  We bought meats and staples (flour, meal, sugar, oil) and canned goods and it has worked GREAT!!!  In fact, in the next few weeks I'll be doing it all over again.  I've learned a few things, so I'll be getting less of some things and more of others, but that's a good thing. 

Bottom line for me, second after the money we've saved, is the great feeling I get when I notice my pantry in the kitchen is looking a bit thin, to be able to run out into the garage on the shelves or in the freezers and go shopping in my own store, and not have to worry about 'running out' the 8-10 miles to the nearest supermarket for just one or two items.

So, tell me how you save money on your grocery bills!  What is your favorite store?  Do you use store brands?  Do you clip coupons?  Inquiring minds want to know!

Blessings, Becky

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Two for Tuesday - Snacks

This is an unpaid review of products I love.  Frito Lay and Tastefully Simple do not know me or even know I exist.  I just love these products, and want to share the love with you folks!


I don't buy a lot of snack foods as a usual rule.  When we travel or go camping I usually carry a good selection, but here at home, one of two things happens with snack foods:
  1. We (most likely hubby) eat every crumb and want more, and we really don't need to do that, or
  2. We eat a little bit and 2 months later I find the half empty, opened and stale package and throw it in the trash.
But a couple of weekends ago I sent hubby to the grocery to pick up some milk and juice, and suggested he pick up something snacky for the weekend.  He came home with a bag of these . . .

Now, let me say - I would not have even looked twice at these, and I would have been wrong, very wrong!!!

These are the best tortilla chips I've ever found outside a Mexican restaurant, and better than some I've found inside a Mexican restaurant.  In fact, last Saturday we went riding and I snacked on some of these in the car, then later that evening we visited a local Mexican restaurant, and their chips were not nearly this good!  I actually briefly considered running out to the car and grabbing the bag and taking it in to enjoy with their good salsa and cheese dip!  (Please note, I decided that would be tacky an in poor taste, so I refrained!)  These chips are light and crispy and lightly salted - just enough - and they have a great corn taste.

I would never have picked up a package of these chips, mainly because they were most likely more expensive than my usual Tostitos brand, and also I'm not impressed by the use of the word 'organic' on a package.  Organic doesn't necessarily mean more healthy (or healthful) it just means it was grown without chemicals.  Corn chips fried in oil are still corn chips fried in oil any way you look at it!  But for now, the corn chips I'll be picking up at the grocery store are Tostitos Natural!  They really are delicious!!!

Now, that said about the chips, I also want to share with you the best salsa I've ever had, and I made it right in my kitchen!  Tastefully Simple is a company that specializes in food mixes that you can make at  home.  They have representatives who will host a party in your home, demostrate, give out samples, and try to sell these products.  I have never hosted or been to a party, but a neighbor used to sell the products and I found out about it through her.  For the salsa, you take a can of diced (preferably petite diced) tomatos and mix in a tablespoon or two of this . . .

If you have time, make it a couple of days before you'll be eating it, and store it in an airtight container in the fridge.  That will allow all those flavors to mix and meld and get all yummy.  And yummy, it is - inexpensive, it's not, but a jar will last a good while, and it's still less than buying some of the 'gourmet' refrigerated salsas you can find.  It's good stuff!  I've also been known to pour a bit of this into a pot of soup or chili, and never been disappointed.

Okay, that's my 2FT - tell me about your favorite snacks!!!  Blessings folks, Becky

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Break Time

This old world is full of hurt and heartaches these days.  People are hurting and suffering and dying all over the world.  And it breaks my heart.  My little corner of the world is no exception.  There are some things going on with my family that are keeping me stressed out these days, and I'm having to make some tough decisions.

I am having to stand tall in my weakness and tell my brother and his youngest son that I can not and will not accept responsibility for their son and brother who has serious substance addictions as well as emotional and mental problems.  I will care for Mama, but they are all adults, and I am just not able to take on any more right now.  The last two years (caring for Daddy and watching him die very slowly) were the hardest and worst of my life.  I was there every.single.time;!  (My brother was there, oh, maybe 4-5 times in 2 years.)  I am not 'over' that yet.  Physically and emotionally I am still a wreck.  I can not and will not take on my brother's responsibilities!

That may sound harsh, hard, cold.  I am sorry.  I am just trying to let you see what is going on here, and hopefully to explain why I haven't posted in a week and a half.  I am going to take a break from this blog for a short while.  Right now, whenever I can, I am doing what I love, and playing with paper.  For 8-9 months last year I wouldn't allow myself to make cards and 'play' with paper, ribbons, etc.  I ended up in depression and being frozen in place.  In this time, I am choosing the therapy of doing what I love, and trying to keep my head straight.  I will still be posting my creations on my other BLOG as I try to work through this latest drama in my life. 

It's hard because I hate arguing and fighting and 'drama'.  I grew up with it, and H*A*T*E it!  Rather than a 'drama queen',I am a drama-free queen, and have worked hard, along with my sweet hubby, to create a life with each other where that doesn't have a place.  Sadly, both our families thrive on it, and we get thrown into the middle of it against our wills.

Your prayers for my nephew, and all of my immediate family would be truly appreciated.  I'll be back when the dust settles.  Thank you for being here, for reading the little 'piddly' things I have to say.  You and your friendship mean more to me than I can say.  Becky

Sunday, January 10, 2010

And this is Georgia!!!

Well, you'd never know it from the weather, but I live in the southern US!!!  Most of last week our temps were extremely bone chilling cold, and then on Thursday into Friday we were visited by the 'Alberta Clipper' - an  Arctic cold front blasting through the US.  Brrrrrrr!

The snow began hours earlier than predicted, just after 1 PM on Thursday.  And it snowd, and snowed, and snowed!  Looks like I had the right flag hanging outside our front door, doesn't it?

It immediately started sticking, I mean the ground had been frozen for almost a week by now!  By 3:15 I called hubby and suggested he might want to head home, but as it wasn't doing anything at his office about 32 miles away, he chose to stick it out and work until 'quittin time'.  The snow was beautiful, and a mix of what we call 'hominy' snow, or a pelletized snow, and big light fluffy snowflakes.

The back yard - aren't our neighbors Leyland Cypress trees lovely!

Now, here in the south, when we get snow it is usually a slushy, wet snow, so it doesn't stay pretty for very long, but this snow was a dry, crunchy snow, and it just stacked layer upon layer of pretty white stuff .  We ended up with about 1 1/2 inches or so, and it sure was pretty.  These pictures were taken Thursday aftrnoon, so what you see was only about 1/2 of the total accmulation.

The woods behind our house.

Hawaii.  That's what I call the big island out front!  Don't you love my rosemary bush?

Friday morning the roads in our subdivision were solid sheets of ice, so hubby stayed home all day.  If this is what it's going to be like when he retires, I'm not so sure I like it!  He was either 'playing possum' on the recliner, traipsing in and out of the snow, playing golf on the Wii, or bugging me ALL DAY!!!  He has GOT to come up with some interests before he retires - period!  BTW, it will probably be about 4-5 more years, thank goodness!

Some very cold rose leaves!

Another view of Hawaii, and a neighbor's house.

Camellia Cottage

Then all day Friday and all day Saturday our temps didn't get above freezing.  Low temps were in the low teens, wit wind chill levels between zero and -5 degrees.  Yes, that is minus 5!!!  Some of the snow has melted where the sun hit yesterday, and now we have icicles hanging off the back of the house.  We probably won't be above freezing until tomorrow or Tuesday, but then by Wed. or Thursday we'll be back to more normal highs in the low 50's.

Today is the 4th day the snow is on the ground.  My Mama says that her Mama (Mama Medley) always said that if snow stayed on the ground for 3 days or more it was waiting for some more snow.  What do you think???

 Late Thursday night pic taken with the flash.  I love that you can see the snowflakes falling!

I have to tell you that when it's cold like this, if I don't have to get out into the weather, I don't!  I haven't been out of our yard in two weeks, and while I'm beginning to get a little stir crazy, it's not been too bad!  I've had plenty to do, and have played a good bit with my new Cricut.  (Love it!  Check here for projects I've made using it!)  I even trusted hubby to buy a few groceries yesterday - things like milk, juice, potatoes, cheese, you know - the basics!  But on Wed. or Thursday I'm going to take Mama to run some errands and bring her back here with me for a few days, and she is planning on making me a big pot of homemade chicken and dumplings - yum!

So, what do you do to stay warm and dry and to occupy your time in this kind of weather???  Blessings folks!  Becky

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

What's Up Wednesday!

Hi Folks!  It's Wednesday January 6, 2010, and here's what's going on at my house:

It's C*O*L*D!!!  And it has been cold for a week now!  And I mean bone chilling, deep, abiding, 'ain't going nowhere' kind of cold!  Today our high is supposed to be around 32 degrees F, and our high yesterday was about 30!  There's snow on the way for tomorrow evening, and temps are expected to get lower before they start rising!  Saturday and Sunday won't even get into the 30's!  So, how's that for living in the deep south???
(Photo from Flickr)

I'm trying to get a few things done around the house, but it's really hard because my cardmaking mojo seems to be back after about a week's hiatus, and I just want to be making cards.

The Back Yard Birds (BYB) are hungry and busy looking for food.  I have plenty of food now because hubby stopped by the feed and seed store yesterday and picked up a 50 pound bag of safflower seed.  Main problem???  I can't keep the squirrels out of it!  According to what I've read, squirrels aren't supposed to like safflower seed, but obviously no one told that to the abundant squirrels in our neighborhood!  The nasty rodents have destroyed three (yes, 3) supposedly squirrel proof feeders, and I have two now that are called 'squirrel stumpers', but the boogers were eating on them within ten minutes of me hanging them!  Anybody know a 12 y/o boy who got a good BB gun or maybe a 410 shotgun for Christmas who needs target practice???

(Warmer Days at Camellia Cottage)

My sweet new friend, Donna from Bluebird Lane (etsy shop) did an unthinkable thing, and GAVE me a brand new, in packaging Cricut cartridge!  She said her hubby gave her one that she already had and she never returned it to the store, and she wanted me to have it! There are still incredibly kind people in this world.  It came yesterday and I've already played with it a bit.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Donna!!!

For dinner tonight, probably pork chops, lima beans and mashed potatoes.  It's the last pack of chops out of our freezer special we bought last March.  We will be doing that again this year, by the way!  A really great thing to go out into the garage, open the freezer door and have your pick of meats for dinner!

(One of the two huge boxes of meat from our 03/09 freezer filling special.)

The girls are barely coming out from under their blankets these days.  My Doxies are shorthaired and very cold natured.  They burrow and wrap and wind their blankets around them and try to stay warm.  I really need to wash their beds, but that will probably have to wait for a warmer day.

Prayers are going up for my Daddy's middle sister, Linda, who is in a S. Florida hospital right now.  She has suffered from asthma for a number of years, but over Christmas she had a particularly bad attack.  They admitted her into the hospital and after tests have discovered that in addition to her breathing problems, she has heart blockages and a leaky valve in her heart.  She is expected to have surgery next Monday, 1/11, and I am sure she would appreciate any prayers you lift up on her behalf.

I am pondering the possibility of having a birthday party for my Mama's 80th birthday next July.  It would have to be done on a very slim budget, and I'm thinking about having a 'bring your own' picnic at a park somewhere, and just not telling Mama about it until everyone starts arriving.  Do you have any suggestions??? 

And that's about it from here today!  Tell me, what's going on in your neck of the woods???  Blessings, Becky

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Two For Tuesday

Welcome to "Two For Tuesday" (2FT), a new feature of Hearth and Home that I hope will help me to share my little bit of my life with those of you out there who might be interested!  2FT means I'll be sharing two things with you each Tuesday, maybe it's something fun, maybe it's something helpful, or maybe it's something pretty.  We'll see as time goes by, but today I hope they are two things that are helpful.

First up, the trash can!  Who likes a smelly trash can?  Certainly not me, and I have found two things that help in that respect, one is relatively inexpensive and easy to do, the other one would require a bit of online shopping, but is well worth the effort.  Let me say now that I don't buy the expensive trash bags with odor killers or scents to cover the odors.  I find they are more expensive than they are worth, and don't usually do as good a job as is advertised.

First, the one that you'll have to look for.  It's called Nil-o-litter, and was created as an additive for cat litter boxes.  I, however, found it works great to put it in the bottom of a trash can, then put in the plastic bag, and it helps absorb odors.  It can be found in many places, but I found mine HERE.   Amazon has it, too, for about the same price.

The second one is so easy, and I found out about it quite by accident!  If your trash can is particularly smelly, and you don't want to put it out just yet, take a tablespoon or two of dry, un-used coffee grounds and sprinkle them over the garbage in the can.  The smell of the coffe will over-ride the other odors, and let you get a little bit more use out of that bag, and personally, I just love that coffee smell!

And now for the second tip!  First let me say that a few weeks ago I was at the supermarket looking for turkey roasting bags and ran into a lady who was looking at the slow cooker liners.  You know the ones that you  put into the slow cooker, put your food inside and then when it's clean-up time you just toss the bag???  Our conversation went something like this:

Her:  "Have you ever used these?"

Me:  "No, I haven't."

Her:  "I just hate cleaning the slow cooker!"

Me:  "Well, I used to hate it, but now, after I get all the food out of it, I fill it with hot water and a bit of dish detergent, cover it, set it on warm and let it sit all night.  Next morning it's a breeze to clean."

Her:  "Hmmmm, I never thought of that!"

And we went our separate ways! 

And yes, that's my tip!  When I have a messy slow cooker to clean up, I scrape the food residue out of it, fill it with hot water and a bit of dish detergent, cover it, set the controls to warm, and let it sit overnight.  The next morning you just have to wash it out, and you have a clean slow cooker!  Very easy, too!

Now, do you have any special tips you'd like to share???

Blessings, Becky

Monday, January 4, 2010

Bad Blogger Syndrome, and a Happy New Year!

So, I know - I really do know - I'm a bad blogger!  Actually I'm a very bad blogger because it's been a whole week since I posted ANYTHING on this blog.  Of course if you ever follow the link in my righthand column that takes you to my OTHER BLOG, you know I've posted several times, so I've not been totally out of cyber space!  And I apologize, truly, and promise I'll try to do better!

Anyway, before I go any further, I want to wish you a wonderful, blessed, happy, healthy, successful, fun, 'whatever you want it to be' kind of 2010!  I'm so glad to see the back side of 2009 drifting off into oblivion!  It was about as bad a year as I can ever remember having, and it's good to have an ending point for last year and a beginning point for a brand new year.

So, since hubby had to work New Years Eve day, we decided to take the easy way out and order a pizza and stay in for the night!  That let me off the hook for cooking, so I played for two days.  Well, I actually didn't play so much as work in my play area.  I wanted to end 2009 and begin 2010 doing something that would {hopefully} be indicative of how I wanted my new year to go, and that was organized!!!

I had been working on my buttons for ages now, going through the old stash, pulling out some to put up for sale on Etsy and keeping the ones I thought I would use.  So, I got all those buttons (and there were hundreds!) in one box except for one jar that are vintage buttons my Mama gave me (I don't want them mixed in with the ordinary, every day run of the mill buttons), and one jar of vintage buttons that my aunt brought me back from her fall trip to Connecticut.  So, buttons - check!  Off my list!

Next up was ribbon.  And I can finally say I am ALMOST finished organizing the ribbon.  Probably 95% plus, and that's a good feeling.  I really did not know how much ribbon, lace and trims that I had until I started trying to organize it - whew!  And some is on rolls, some in bundles, so I had to come up with something, especially for the loose yardage and bundles.  I looked at the craft stores and found  all kinds of things, but nothing really looked like what I wanted for the loose ribbons.  I did find these little plastic things that you run the ribbon through and then put them on a binder ring to hold them together, but I had LOTS of ribbons!

Anyway, I put on my thinking cap and here is what I came up with . . .

I took a plastic divider from an old 'Cropper Hopper' that I no longer use, cut the tab off and then cut it into four 6" X 6" squares.  Then I made holes in it.  I tried two different ways, and actually like both.  This one was done with a regular hole punch, with 2 and 3 holes per ribbon.  The single hole on bottom left is for hanging on a binder ring.  The other way was using a utility knife and making slits about 1/2 to 1 1/4 inches around the perimeter of the plastic.  I figure on three of these squares I have about 65 - 75 pieces of ribbon and trim stored.  Here's the finished product . . .

As I said, this is three of the squares, filled with ribbon and attached on a 2" binder ring and hanging on a small coat rack I have behind the door of my 'play room'.  And yes, this picture was taken as it hung on the doorknob, but that was just for the picture taking!

I also went through most of my lace and have it in a bird box on the 'tower of terror' you will see later in this post.  I also put all my seam binding in another of the small bird boxes, and the ribbon that I put on clothes pins a few months ago, along with some on 'cards' are in a large decorative hat box that is on my work table.  I had a few rolls of ribbon, and they all fit onto one 'pants' clothes hanger from the cleaners.  I just removed one end from the cardboard roll, put them on the roll with the ends all facing the same direction, and put the end of the hanger back in the roll, and that was that!

The twine which I have collected is in one of my new favorite small organizing bins - oh, how I love them!!!  But more about that later.  For now, here is the 'tower of terror' . . .

I've had the Sterilite drawer units for YEARS, but they still can't be beat for small things I use a lot.  The bottom row left is . . .
  • bottle and tube glues in the bottom,
  • sheet adhesives in the middle,
  • and rub-ons, chipboard, etc. in the top
The small drawer unit in center bottom holds . . .
  • self adhesive gems and such in the bottom,
  • loose fancy buttons, beads, gems, etc. in the middle
  • Stickles in the top
The drawer unit on bottom right holds . . .
  • embossing powders and Versamark ink pads in bottom,
  • smaller ink pads in middle,
  • and Colorbox 'Petalpoint' ink pads in top
The small drawers on center left are all about tools . . .
  • tiny hammer, pliers, jewelery pliers, , etc. in the bottom
  • cutting tools like a utility knife, hole punches, etc. in the middle
  • the blades for my rotary cutter, and loose batteries in the top
Center right holds . . 
  • Tags of all kinds in bottom,
  • blank cards in middle
  • eyelets in top
The stuff in between is a pack of wet wipes for clean-ups, my 'Silent Setter' eyelet setter, an index card holder full of little templates I've made over theyears for birds, flowers, etc., and the tin holds gel pens and colored pencils.

Next is a shelf I picked up at Lowes or somewhere, and here's where it gets good!  Of course you can see my Cuttlebug on the left, the bird boxes in the center, and the new fave storage boxes on the left!

The boxes hold (from bottom to top) . . .
  • buttons
  • small bits of paper (soon to be changed out to another place)
  • lace
  • seam binding
And the new boxe are just GREAT!!!  They are by Sterilite, and the lids lock on with the handles, and they really stay on tightly, too (I know, I dropped one the other day and it didn't come open at all tospill out any of the tiny bits that were inside!).  The best part???  They are at WalMart for a whopping $1 each!!!  And as far as I know, that's not a sale price!

Since aqua, and white with accents of red and black are my dream colors for my play room, and the handles were already aqua, I went with the theme.  Consider it 'planting a seed' for my one day (hopefully) makeover!  So I made red tags on my Cricut (Plantin Schoolbook cartridge), printed out contents on my computer and voila!  Neat organization for things I never knew where to put!  In no particular order . . .
  • twine (including bakers twine)
  • pins (straight and safety pins), needles, clips (paper clips and binder clips), etc.
  • index cards and sticky notes
  • glitter
  • velvet ribbon
  • clothespins
  • small silk flowers
  • sheet adhesive overflow
  • ric-rack and trims
  • millinery flowers and small pre-made bows and ribbon roses

I love that things are beginning to come together!  And just so you know, as soon as this last batch of ribbon I have coming in from Hong Kong (yes, seriously - I bought it on eBay!) comes in, I have officially put myself on a button and ribbon DIET!!!  No more until I use up some of what I have!

I've also been working on my papers, and pretty much have the cardstock straightened out, so I just need to re-do the patterned papers.  Of course the next big project is the biggest of all, and that is tackling the closet in that room, but it can wait a day or two while I get laundry done and the rest of the Christmas stuff in the attic.

Don't forget about my giveaway!  I guess it's because of the holidays, but it's sadly lacking in entries, so if you enter, your chances are pretty good!

So, what have you done to start this new year off right???  :o)