Thursday, 27 February 2014

St Paddy Party Pack

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Even though I am only one sixteenth Irish (if my maths is correct), I really love St Patrick's day. I'm not sure if it is the happiness and fun which is associated with the holiday, or whether it is because it used to mean an extended lunch break in the nearest Irish pub with oversized novelty hats (before I had kids).  Either way, I couldn't resist putting together a printable party pack for the occasion!

Party Circles


This pack contains 12 printable party circles in 4 different designs (each featuring the obligatory Irish shamrock). For a neat finish, use a 2 inch circle punch to cut them out. Hot glue a cocktail stick or a lolly stick onto the back to use as a cake topper.

Popular uses: Cake toppers, gift tags, stickers for sealing party bags or embellishing food containers, party hat embellishments.

Food Labels


Cut out the labels carefully with scissors and fold them in half to form a tent. The labels are blank so you can add your own text.

Popular uses: Food labels, place cards table signs.

Flags



This printable party pack contains an assortment of flags which can be folded around cocktail sticks or straws, and used to adorn food and drink.

Gift Tags



One of my favourite bits of throwing a party is putting together party bags for the guests. To use these gift tags, print onto card and cut out carefully with scissors. Punch a hole in the top and use ribbon to attach the tag to the bag or package.

Bunting



You cannot have a party without bunting! This coordinating shamrock bunting is the perfect finishing touch for a St Patrick's day get together.

May the luck o' the Irish be with you. ;-)

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Editable Organizing Labels Printables

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When I decided to make some organizing labels to share with my readers I thought really hard about how to make them really useful. It is difficult to create label sets to suit anybody and everybody, because we all have different needs when it comes to organizing our homes. Then I realized that I was missing the obvious - so I left the labels blank and made them editable so you can add your own custom text to each one. :-)

There are three different sets of printable labels to help you get organized. You can print them out and fill them in by hand, or edit them in a PDF reader such as Adobe Reader.



These labels can be edited with a single line of text, of up to 20 characters.


These labels are slightly larger. You can edit these with two lines of up text, of up to 30 characters.


If you need to catalog anything or you like to organize your things alphabetically then these handy labels can be edited with up to 20 characters of text before printing.


How To Edit Your Organizing Labels


These labels can be edited and printed in any free PDF reader.


When you open the PDF file you will see that each label has a blue box in it. Click on this and you will be able to enter your text. The blue boxes are just to highlight the editable fields in the document, and will not actually show when you print out your labels.

I hope you find these labels useful if you are trying to be more tidy and organized.

Monday, 17 February 2014

How To Keep A Tidy Home

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I love having a tidy home. Not only do I prefer how my house looks when it's neat, it is much easier to keep to my 15 minute a day cleaning schedule (no clutter to dust/wipe around!) and I rarely lose anything. Once the basic system is in place and becomes a habit, maintaining the tidiness takes very little effort either.

This is actually a topic I wrote about way back when I started the blog, and at the time I confessed that I didn't used to be tidy or organized. As a teenager, I was a keen artist and my discarded sketches literally used to pile up on the floor until you couldn't see a single inch of my bedroom carpet. I didn't catch the tidy bug until I got my own home (sorry mum!), and then didn't really become super organized until I moved into a house so small that it was either learn to be organized or audition for one of those "extreme hoarder" TV shows.

The point I'm making is that a lot of tidy people aren't born that way, they just learned a few basic principles and stuck with it until it became habit. In this post, I'll share those principles and will even sweeten the deal by giving you some free editable labels (to be shared in Thursday's post). Pretty things make it easier to feel motivated, I find.

Sort Out That Clutter



Being tidy is far easier if you aren't hanging onto items that you don't really need, but decluttering is something which many people confess to finding a challenge. This is often because the job seems overwhelming, as there is so much to sort through. Human nature means that most people will quickly lose the motivation and simply give up.

It can help to see decluttering as a long term process, and not something you can achieve in a weekend. When I was trying to make all of our belonging fit into our old shoe box home it literally took me weeks to sort through everything, just doing 10 minutes here and there. Taking action little and often will still help you to achieve a clutter free home in the end, and the approach also helps to ingrain the habit. Since then, getting rid of clutter has been an automatic ongoing process for me, and not something which I need to dedicate a chunk of time to.

I think a lot of people have heard the following principles for cluttering, but just in case I will revisit them here. As you go through items ask yourself the following questions:

Is it something I use regularly?

Is it beautiful?

Is it sentimental?

If the answer is no, get rid of it. If the thought of getting rid of something makes you feel a little anxious, put it in a box and stash it in a shed, garage, loft or closet for six months. If after this time you haven't really missed or needed anything in the box, donate the box to charity.

Have A Place For Everything


This is something that you can start working on at the same time as decluttering, although it is easier to implement without too many unnecessary items hanging around your home. Every single item in your house should have a dedicated place to put it, and you - and everyone else in your home - needs to get in the habit of returning things to that place as soon as the item is no longer needed. Not having a system means that miscellaneous items tend to accumulate in spots such as the kitchen worktop, and soon you can't remember what's even in that big messy pile.

If you find that something keeps being left lying around rather than being returned to its "home", it could be that the dedicated spot just doesn't work for your needs. I find that when I bring something new into the house, it can go through several "homes" before I find the perfect place for it. Once you are happy with where things are kept, use labels and the power of nagging to ensure that everyone knows it too - my husband still asks where things are kept, but it cuts down the number of questions. ;-)

Tidy As You Go


If tidying up feels like a chore then you are less likely to do it. Tidying as you go takes a bit of dedication to make it a habit, but it is worth it! If you need to go to the kitchen, take your dirty coffee mug with you and put it straight in the dishwasher. If your child has left their favorite teddy downstairs, put it on the bottom step so that they remember to take it back to their room when they go up to bed. You get the idea!

Obviously, this approach doesn't always work so well with kids' toys. I know some parents who have a "put your toy away before you get a new toy out" rule, and that's fine if it works for your household. Personally, I prefer to let my kids do what they want in the play room during the day but everything has to be put away before bath time. Implementing the previous tidying principle ("everything has its place") obviously helps the kids to control their own mess at the end of the day!


If you have any tidying tips you would like to add, leave me a comment!

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Best Free St Paddy's Fonts

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This is my 2014 collection of St Patrick's Day fonts. They are a collection of fonts which are very traditional and Irish in appearance, or just really fun. Loving some of these!

Rainbow
Kiss Me
Green
Leprechaun
Pot O' Gold
St Patrick's Day
Lucky
Shamrock
Four Leaf Clover
Irish
March 17
Top O' The morning
Pinch Me
{Clovers}

All of them can be download for free so you can use them for personal crafts and scrapbooking projects, but don't forget to check the terms and conditions if you want to use them for commercial purposes.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Clean Your Home In 15 Minutes Per Day

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For the last few years, I've been using the "clean your home in 15 minutes per day" approach. In fact, I already blogged about the topic way back when I started this blog. However, I thought it was a topic which was worth coming back to because this cleaning approach really works!

How To Clean Your Home In 15 Minutes Per Day


I don't want to give anyone false expectations here. There are certain tasks, such as doing laundry, which are not included in the 15 minutes. I've yet to discover a shortcut to doing that (other than getting my kids involved). It also wont give you an immaculate home if this is the only cleaning you ever do - you are still going to top up your cleaning schedule with a deep clean, now and then.

The idea of a 15 minutes a day clean up is to keep your home looking more or less tidy and presentable most of the time, so that short notice visitors don't freak you out. I'll top up my 15 minute cleaning routine with some more thorough spring cleaning about once a season.

Suggested Schedule For Your Daily Cleaning Routine


Coming up with a cleaning schedule to share on the blog is super hard. Peoples' routines, lifestyles and homes are all so different that it is tricky to devise a "one routine fits all" schedule. Personally, I like to focus on one room or "zone" per day, so that is the approach I've gone with here. I also structure the week so that living areas and bathrooms are done at the end of the week, so that they look their best when I am most likely to have people round.

A note on the terms I've used below...

"Do a general pick up." Nothing makes your home easier to clean than keeping it clutter free. At the end of each day, do a quick pick and return any out of place items to their home. Once you are in the habit of this, it wont take long at all as it becomes second nature.

"Sweep floors". I vacuum the main living areas every day because we have a spaniel who sheds fur everywhere. Depending on your situation, you can pick and choose which floors you clean on a daily basis, or even skip this task some days.


MONDAY

Do a general pick up.

Sweep floors.

Clean windows.

Wipe down baseboards.


TUESDAY

Do a general pick up.

Sweep floors. 

Change bed sheets.

Dust bedrooms.

Vacuum bedrooms.


WEDNESDAY

Do a general pick up.

Sweep floors.

Mop kitchen floors.

Wipe down kitchen cabinets.

Wipe down kitchen appliances.


THURSDAY

Do a general pick up.

Sweep floors.

Launder bath mats and towels.

Clean tubs, showers, sinks and toilets.

Wipe mirrors.

Mop bathroom floor(s).


FRIDAY

Do a general pick up.

Sweep floors.

Dust all living areas.

Vacuum living areas (floors and upholstery).


So that is more or less my cleaning schedule for the week. As a disclaimer, I will say that the bathrooms do take me a little longer than 15 minutes because I like to be very thorough with cleaning that area (since we have three males in the house!).

I hope this post gives someone the boost they need to get themselves into their own cleaning routine. :-)