When I was growing up my Papa called me his princess. My husband and son treat me like one to this day. Yet, for the longest time I was a pauper to the clutter in my every day life in my home and my finances. Then one day I decided it was time to stop living like a pauper and to be the princess everyone thought of me as. This is the journey I took to de-clutter all aspects of my life and become a true PRINCESS!

Monday, March 31, 2014


INTO THE "SNAKE CHARMERS BASKET"  At least that is what db and I called it when we were kids. LOL!

So next I dove into my mother’s sewing basket and what a true treasure trove.  In the very top was a little hand held battery operated sewing machine.  

I’ve not test ran it yet to see if it works. It should work because when I took it out to look at it I discovered it looks like it has never been used.  It has a $3 clearance price sticker on it, so I am guessing Mom picked it up on sale for in the camper and just never used it. 

I’ll test it later when I have batteries available.  I’m thinking if it does it will be a great little tool for doing stitched scrapbook and card layouts.  I do know it does a chain type stitch so I’ll need to make certain I either knot off or put a dab of glue or tape on the ends of any stitching to prevent unraveling.
Just below it in the basket was an old tin like sewing machine tools use to come in.  I almost just set it aside thinking it was the tools for her old Kenmore machine, but then remembered that machine has been long gone and thought I should check to see if there was a tool I could use with my current machine.  

Nope, no tools, but lots of snaps of two types, buttons, hooks and eyes, can you see where this is going? Wow! Anyone who crafts or sews knows those things have gotten rather pricey in the last few years.

Enthused even more about looking in this tall basket I dug deeper.  There I unearthed a small tin that use to hold typewriter ribbon.  Anyone here remember typewriter ribbons?  Watch out you’ll be showing your age.  

It was taped shut and rattled so I gently opened it.  It was full of eyelets in all colors! I am thinking I’ll leave them in the nostalgic tin to put them on my embellishments shelf.
Near it in the basket were two tools, one for setting the eyelets and the gripper snaps and another one for making holes in belts.  I believe it is now sold under the name Gator or something similar.  Both will definitely be handy in crafting.

As I went deeper into the basket the basket got wider.  From the middle section I pulled out a plastic bag full of more buttons!

Numerous packages of rick rack, bias tape, lacy seam tape, and trims.  Xyron 1.5” here we come! These will definitely be turned into trim for projects.

In the very bottom was a large TG&Y sack, shows you how old some of this stuff is. It was full of zippers.  I’ve seen some really cute crafting work done with zippers in the past but considered them too expensive to buy to do it.  Now…

Just as I thought I had found everything of crafting value in this basket I uncovered the curtain rings below.  These I can tell you will eventually end up being used to combine cards like swatch cards or something similar. 

There of course were the usual pin cushions, needles, straight pins, an old pattern for a 1960’s pant dress, a long nosed pair of surgical scissors (my mom was a nurse assistant for years in the burn unit) and spools of thread. 

For the most part I saw nothing to cull out from this treasure trove for the local charity, except maybe the pattern because it definitely wasn’t my size.  I did find plenty to make crafting so much more fun.  

So now I needed to decide what I wanted to leave in the basket, which of course I was going to keep and what I wanted out for easier use.  Then how I was going to store it?
So I started with the easiest. Buttons.  I’ve already established I keep jars of all types, so obviously the buttons were going to go into a jar.  I'll decorate the jar up some to make it more attractive in the future.  Right now I'm all about organization!

Since I had a custom historical clothing sewing business for 15 years I have all sorts of odds and ends of buttons, trims, and such, but they are stored in the basement and elsewhere.  Eventually they will work their way upstairs as I declutter those areas, but for now I will work strictly with what was in my mother’s sewing basket.  I wanted them to be easy to access rather than having to dig through the deep sewing basket each time, because I know me, if I have to dig much I won’t use it.  

Back off to where I have odds and ends baskets I have bought on deep discount sales over the years and simply have sitting around collecting dust.  I found one that was the perfect size immediately.  I already have a matching one for it on my shelf with a few other items that need sorted—later, so I got the empty one.  Remember I am a basically lazy person.

The bindings fit perfectly.

I left all the fasteners in the green attachments box, the eyelets in their little typewriter ribbon tin and added the scissors to my tools caddy, along with the two hole punches and my grandmother’s manicure set and pliers.

I had a basket full of zippers from another source in the room so I added those to the TG&Y sack and replaced it in the bottom of the sewing basket.  On top of that I added all the embroidery transfers from both my grandmother’s embroidery floss box and the Ramen box. 

Put the spools of thread in the top and added the lid.  It all fit perfectly.  Once the room is completed the basket will be set out as a decorative item, while being a useful storage piece as well. 

So in the last two days by re-arranging and culling a wee bit I got rid of three unorganized ugly containers and repurposed several nice looking ones to where they are easily useable.  

I now have so much more to add to my small collection of crafting embellishments from just those two unopened for years sewing kits.  So that leads me to ask, what great things could you find in your sewing items to use in your crafting?
Jan who says “onward and upward to more culling in the morrow” in OK

Friday, March 28, 2014


This part should be titled “Hidden Treasurers”.  As I spent so many days culling more and more I finally got around to looking through some boxes, baskets and tins that had been stored unopened for years.  I don’t mean 1, 2 or even five years.  I mean years and years.  

I knew what was in them but since I had closed my sewing business I had not really had a need to get into sewing and embroidery storage containers that had belonged to my mother and grandmother, both long deceased.  

However, since I was trying to gain as much space as possible in this room for the three of us to work comfortably I finally opened them and started digging through.  I found so many treasures that I could immediately see uses for not only for actual storage, but for the building of projects once the room was done.  

I also found I could easily create more of some of these items to increase their value potential for storage options.  

We’ll start with the shipping box I knew held my grandmother’s embroidery tools.  My Granny loved to embroider. I wrote about the lovely tea towels she made over the years in my TeaTowel Memories post.  She also did quilts, baby blankets,  bedspreads, tablecloths, satin pillow cases, you name it.  If it could be embroidered she did it.  So I was certain all the box contained was her hoops, a few needles and skeins of floss.  I was wrong. 

Not only were there other sewing tools like thimbles and needle threaders, but there was a little ingenious notebook holding some of her floss.  

It held numerous small plastic zippered bags that could easily be labeled with colors or what have you, they looked like tiny Ziploc freezer bags.  She used it to sort out her threads for different projects.  Most of the bags were empty.

I immediately looked past the floss and at the possibility of a paper crafting uses for it.
The bags were too small for embossing folders or dies, and it would need to be something thin and not sharp.  Unmounted stamps popped to mind!  

But my mind wouldn’t stop there, what if it was slightly larger? Of course there are all sorts of sticker notebooks out there that are on the same line using a 3 ring binder and ready made pouches.  OR you could make your own using pieces of repurposed cardboard, book rings, and freezer zipper bags  with holes punch in them in various sizes to make the exact size you needed.

So I put that project in the “to do” section on my brain, for when I needed a rest break.  

As I worked my mind drifted to what it would take to create such a notebook.  I quickly realized all I needed to purchase would be the rings because I purchase the freezer bags in bulk at Sam’s Club and because we seldom use freezer bags I had an over abundance of them on hand.  

By inserting a piece of scrap cardstock in the freezer bags they would be rigid enough to use my 3 hole punch on them to put them in a binder or to allow the library rings to go through. 

The day before we had hauled a over-sized printer box full of corrugated cardboard downstairs to go to the recyclers on Friday.  There was my cardboard source. 

The cardboard could be decorated with scrapbook paper I had ran through my Xyron or I knew I still had some end rolls of contact paper on hand.  I’d need to see what colors I still had.  I love using up what is on hand to make room for new stuff. 

I then thought long and hard about what I would really want to put in them, yes them, because I was thinking numerous versions of this project in various sizes.  Also would I want to give up the shelf space for such notebooks.

Then there were the three ring binders we had in the closet to consider.  Yes, I have numerous three ring binders on hand that could be re-purposed easily to hold various items.  Should I want to donate the shelf space to them and use my Sterilite drawers for other uses.  I decided that the “build a notebook” project would go on hold for a few days at least while I made up my mind exactly what I wanted to put in them. 

If I needed 1”-3” notebooks I could use the three ring binders that we have so many of.  Bigger projects I’d need to build.  So more decisions would need to be made. 

On one group I am on one woman used just the ring strip from several binders to make one very large sectioned notebook for all her stickers similar to the sticker systems that are for sale on the net.  That would require a permanent location for me to do though and I simply do not have such a location, or that many stickers—yet. 

The reason we have so many three ring binders is years ago a company dh worked for moved their offices and discovered that since they were paying the movers by the pound that it would be cheaper to replace a lot of their equipment and office supplies than to pay to have them move them.  So for one weekend the employees were offered the opportunity to take whatever was left in the multi-floor office building.  We worked so hard that weekend and came home with everything from thumb tacks to microwaves, including over 100 three ring binders in various sizes.  Over the years we have slowly been using the binders up, but I still had several of the thinner ones we had yet to touch and as I had culled the office I found many of the 3” ones contained pages of no importance so they too could be emptied and reused.  So that was a consideration if I wanted to do full size notebooks too.  Decisions, decisions.

If I do create some I’ll definitely do a separate post on it.  

Digging further through the embroidery box I found a pair of snub nose pliers.  Yes, I could see me possibly using those in my creating in the future, they went into the carousel on the work table.

There was also a small manicure set with a pair of very sharp little detail scissors and orange sticks that I could use to curl papers with.

4” plastic canvas circles emerged as I dug through , rulers—what crafter doesn’t always need a ruler? And embroidery transfer patterns..ideas for uses for those formed quickly. Because I have the capabilities to do svgs I decided the transfers could be VERY useful in creating some of my own designs. All these treasurers were in a shirt box. 

When I saw the embroidery transfers I remembered somewhere in this room I had a Ramen box full of this type of transfers.  I would need to find it and put them all together. Especially since I had figured out an additional use for them.

Because I am trying to not only organize things, but make them attractive I started thinking about what I could put my granny’s embroidery floss in.  I know that I’ll be using it for various projects, especially stitching on cards and scrapbook pages, so I didn’t want to get rid of it.  Then I remembered I had a lidded Americanna basket not being used for anything in another room.  It turned out to be just the perfect size to put the floss in.  

I decided to donate the plastic canvas to our local charity resale shop, because I haven’t worked with plastic canvas in years and probably won’t any time in the near future.  

I of course kept the little notebook.  There it took me just a few seconds to put the few unmounted stamps I have in it.  They fit perfectly.
As you can see I added a self adhesive index tab at the top of the page to indicate these were Celebration stamps.  I'll add more tabs as I add more stamps.  The tabs were, of course, leftovers from a much bigger project of years gone by.

So I had decisions to make as to what to do with it all.  I grabbed up my mother’s large sewing basket thinking maybe some of it could go in there and well, that is another post.

Jan who loves it when she finds treasurers like she found today in OK

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


While I’m still sorting out paper work let me take this time to mention culling out computer files while you are organizing your home office as well.  This project can be done doing rest periods while you are at the computer and in the long run will simplify your life even more.

If you happen to be at your computer take a time to look at your file folders.  Do you still need the book report Johnny Jr wrote for his third grade class?  After all he is graduating this year.

Or copies of warranty papers for items that have long since gone the way of the do-do bird?

Or the really hard one.  All those blurry vacation photos you took five years ago that you can’t even remember what highway you were on or why you thought you could snap a photo out of a car window as you went speeding down the interstate at 75 mph?

Or if you are a mystery shopper, you only have to keep copies of your photos and paperwork for 99.99% of the companies you work for a maximum of 6 months, most are 6 weeks, the max is one year.  All those copies take up a lot of space on your computer.  I know, I know,  out of sight, out of mind.

If culling files makes you EXTREMELY nervous, then back it all up before you start and then once you are satisfied you have cleaned it up and everything valuable is saved, back it up again. 

Having them gone will make finding the right warranty paper even faster if you don’t have to look under computer and discover you have warranty papers in there for five different computers to find the right one—you really should be able to tell by the purchase date on the file.  

You may want to reorganize or re-label some of those files too.  How about combining files?  

When I was working on the photo segment of my computer I discovered I actually had photos in two different main segments of it.  Not sure how that happened, but it did. Most likely because I created a file after my husband already had and I didn’t know he had.

 Worse yet I found I had photos of my son in three different folders labeled just enough different it made it very hard for me to find the exact photo I wanted when I wanted it. By combining all those photos into one folder, with subfolders for various events I no longer had to do a system wide search for the exact photo I knew I had, but had a dickens of a time finding it.

This combining of files speeds up scrapping tremendously.

A side note here on photos, especially old family photos.  Don’t be afraid to pull them into a photo editor and tweak them a bit.  Save a copy of the original, and mark it as such.  Then work some photoshop magic and you might just be delighted in what you find.

A prime example of this was an old black and white photo my husband’s aunt gave me of various generations of his ancestry.  The photo was badly faded, tattered and not real clear, but Gary worked computer magic with it and not only did he sharpen it to the condition we could easily see family similarities he discovered a small boy peaking around the edge of a quilt that had been hung as a backdrop for the photo.

When he asked his aunt if she knew who it was she was VERY excited.  She named the uncle and said that was the only photo to her knowledge of him. So save a copy of the original, but have some fun with the computer copies and you just might find treasure as well.

While you are at it, how many photos are on your phone, your tablet, or your camera memory card you’ve been meaning to transfer?  Do it now, get them filed and then when you are ready to scrapbook you can print exactly when you want easily and perfectly without a all out manhunt through all those different pieces of equipment.  Don’t forget other family member’s devices while you are at it. 

Just like paper clutter there is no reason to keep excess clutter on your computer, eventually too much on there could possibly slow the system down.  So purge files.  Then empty your trash bin.

Once you’ve done that if your computer doesn’t automatically compact files, do a compact files, defrag the computer, and while you are at it run a complete scan of the computer.

Then back it all up, off the computer if at all possible.  Just in case lightening fries your computer.

While this project won’t remove actual physical clutter from your home or office it will remove it from your life and simplify your searches in the future.

Jan who really did find some very, very old files from when a friend was in college and she did some typing for him in OK

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Okay, when I started this last few posts I said I’d tell you how organizing all your paper clutter on the computer will save you money.  So here goes.

If you are a true S.H.E (Sidetracked Home Executive) like me then you know how easy it is to not get things put exactly where they should be when you first lay your hands on it.  While the whole idea of the Princess Plan is to avoid such situations life still happens and I am realistic about it. 

However, once you file that information electronically it’s there, it doesn’t matter if you print it out and lay the printout down somewhere, or sister Susie spills her juice on the print out you can always print it again.  So you have not lost the instructions to an intricate knitting pattern forever and ever amen.  You don’t have to go buy a new copy, you just print it.

Many a warranty goes unclaimed because people either don’t know where the warranty paperwork is, don’t know when they purchased the item, what the warranty covers, or don’t know how long the warranty is for.  A prime example of this recently for us was a photo printer we had purchased for the business.  It got fried by lightening and because we could immediately lay our hands on an electronic warranty copy we had we found that lightening damage was covered and that our warranty had less than a month left on it.  It also told us where we had purchased it and our purchase price.  

We were able to bundle up our fried printer, take it back to the original purchase store present them with all the information they needed for the exchange and left with a much newer and upgraded model for free.  

Recalls, sometimes require proof you purchased an item between certain dates.  If you have your receipts scanned and properly electronically filed this is not a problem.  You print out the copy and get your recall repair or replacement.

Same goes for refunds/rebates.

Avoiding duplications.  I have previously touched on this.  On some things like embossing folders the amount may seem small, but on larger items it can add up quickly.  Take cartridges for Cricut machines.  There are numerous ones that have similar names, like Art Deco and Art Nouveau.  Both deal with art deco type die cuts, but they are truly two different cartridges, so if you aren’t careful you could pick up a duplicate without realizing it.  Considering those run from $20-200 that can get costly quickly. 

I cannot tell you how many times in the past I have started a card or scrapbook project to discover that I don’t have enough cardstock of a particular color.  An up to date inventory of such things saves me from either not being able to do a project, or worse needing to do one in a hurry and having to make an emergency run 20 or miles away to a craft store to get the materials needed. That 40 mile round trip costs 1-3 gallons of gas depending on what vehicle I am driving and that can add up quickly in the dollars and cents column.

It has also kept me from buying more of a certain color when I already have numerous sheets of said color.  

Home owners insurance is another HUGE consideration.  Many homeowners, like myself, opt for having full replacement value insurance.  However, the insurance company is NOT going to take your word that you had 300 different Cricut cartridges, two different Cricut machines and a Cameo, plus x amount of dies, 100 embossing folders you are going to need some documentation of said items to gain that full replacement value.

Having an inventory, preferably with photos, serial numbers and such will not only give you the proof that you did in fact own those items, but also when you purchased them. 
Not to mention it will help you remember what all you did own and make filing the claim much simpler.

Of course this only works if you do as I have previously suggested and you have kept a complete back-up of your files off property.  

While I pray none of us ever suffer such loss it is better to have safely stored electronic files off property, just in case.  It’s kind of like carrying an umbrella and it not raining, but the minute you leave that bumbershoot at home you are going to drown like a rat!

One other thing I would suggest you file with all this paperwork.  Up to date photos of the entire household, room by room, section by section.  So even if you haven’t entered you had 25 different containers of glitter and 300 ink pads you will have a photos of those items to show the insurance company as proof you did have them.
Another good point about taking these photos is to help all of us show more self restraint when in craft stores. 

“Huh?” you say.  Have you ever noticed that when you are taking photos of something you don’t notice that bit of trash on the floor, or the dust on the mirror or what have you until you take the photo and are looking at it? 

Well taking a photo of each room also lets you see when you are maybe getting too much of a good thing.  Take those 300 ink pads—seriously?  Do you really need to buy another one?  Are you turning into an inky hoarder?  Photos are very good to give us all a reality check and when they do, we save money. 

Taxes, if you file using deductions how many times have you either been not able to find a receipt to where you donated to charity, purchased a car tag or something similar and ended up not claiming the deduction?  Do you really want to give Uncle Sam any more than you legally have to? 

I was recently asked if the IRS will take the electronic files.  I cannot say for certain, I was told yes by one IRS representative, but anyone who has called them before will know that you don’t always get the same answer when you call.  

It would make sense that they would because no one gets their checks back from a bank any more, the banks destroy the originals, if they ever existed in this day and age of electronic checks and debit cards.  Reservations and payments of various accounts are all computer generated.  I know I do a pdf of every payment I make on a bill and file that “receipt” electronically.  

However, if you have doubt about taxes, then still scan them in, just in case of a fire, tornado, hurricane etc and neatly file those scraps of paper in one small file.  It will make your tax filing simpler next year if your receipts are all scanned into one file labeled “taxes” then looking through stacks and stacks of paper clutter.

These are but a few of the ways using our computers, tablets, cell phones can save us money.  I bet once you start thinking about it you will come up with more and more ways that being organized with your computer in your craft room/home office will save you a ton of money.

One reminder, once you have scanned everything and made triple certain you have a good quality copy of each and every receipt, statement, photo etc.  be certain you shred or burn any paperwork you are doing away with.  Don’t give identity thieves any help in ruining your life what so ever.

Jan who prefers to burn rather than shred in OK