Friday, October 2, 2015

Welcome to October, and the 1st full month of Fall.

curtesy of HGTV (c) 2015
Note:  I am not affiliated with HGTV, the channel, the website, nor the interviewees in this article.

It is the 1st day of October, home of all things Halloween, harvest, and hot chocolate. Yes, I said it right, hot chocolate. The leaves on the trees are brown, golden yellow, and orange, and ready to fall. Usually in Central Ohio, people prepare to do a little cleanup in their yards, by firewood, and grab blankets out of storage area. Fall (or autumn and some folks call it) is very confusing and this part of the United States. The reason for this confusion, is we usually cannot tell if it’s going to 80° with no humidity, or 54° with the heater on. This morning, I had to turn on my heater.
What are you doing on the 1st day of October where you live? Have you put up your fall decorations yet? Sadly, I have not, but I’m working it. If this is your first time decorating, it is hard to figure out what to decorate, and how to decorate it. Here are some tips according to on how to decorate in 2015:
·         Neutrals are still in. If you go with a monochromatic style, make sure that you have some texture and shape, rather than color and contrast, according to Brian Patrick Flynn of Design Demon. He also says, “Colorless design is something that really strikes a chord as new and fresh.”
·         White on white. Brian also uses this technique for the fall, and the trick to this technique is to use different types of parchment.” It’s gorgeous, fresh, and unexpected.” After all, it is not beige.
·         The curated look. It is big for this fall. What is the curated look? Think about a museum with a collection of paintings, Monet paintings. Bring out your best collection of say, baskets. You do not have to put anything in the baskets, just have them sitting on the shelf, or table. Whatever you collect, this is what you to display. Make the display tasteful, and not cluttered. That is the last thing you want to do.
·         Gallery wall. Another way to have the curated look is to take your photos and paintings, is to have a gallery wall. It is also called, ”salon” style.  If you do not have any pictures or paintings to display, you can always buy them at a flea market, thrift store, or an auction site.
·         Mix and match styles. When used effectively in a home, gather up a few unique pieces that you love. Thinking in groups of three to five, “look at what could be moved into existing pieces that are already there in that space.” This is according to Julia Buckingham Edelman.

So, these are some of the tends that are in for the fall season.  For more information, check out the article on
.   Again please note, I have not been asked to promote this article nor HGTV.  I am also not affiliated with neither the channel, website, nor the designers who were interviewed for this piece.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

I’ve learn to salsa, make salsa, and change a tire in 2.2 seconds flat

(c) 2015 P. Lynne Designs
I am trying something new.  I will still have the same lifestyle posts, but I want Simply Organized Crafts to be more than what is was in the past, because it too is changing.  I will also still be a place where I review products and companies (except anything crafty which is where I will still do that on P.Lynne Designs), as well as a place where organization happens. 
I will tell you what will not be on the blog anymore:  Coupons and deals, unless is it related to this blog.   I admit I am not good in signing up for coupon corral sites, and posting them for others to see.  I gave it a good solid year, and I failed to post them.  I am good for receiving them in my email inbox, and I good at using coupon codes that I receive text messages on my phone and on Retail Me Not (which by the way, I highly recommend).  I look forward to when I am driving somewhere and I hear that little cash register on my phone, telling all the deals I can get.   I will give it a try again one day, but for right now, this area is highly saturated.  I will post any affiliated links.
In its place, I want to continue to post beginning to intermediate how to blogs and attach vlogs on there when I can in the same post.  I know that this is saturated as well, but honestly, some of the ideas may not deserve a full 500-1000-word post.  They may come in the form of a Tip Tuesday, Frantic Friday, or a Quick tip.  Some of these tips can be about family, decorating, travel, organization, food and meal prep, shopping (minus the coupons), tech, or how to use a product.  I have been reviewing lots of blogs for inspiration and I have a good idea on what I want to see in a blog of this type, and what I do not want to see.  One of the things you will not see here is the blog being overwhelmed and cluttered.

If there is anything you would like to see, please comment below in the Comments Section.  I would love to hear from you.
So, these are some of the things you will see in the next few months going forward, and I hope you will continue to enjoy this blog.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Fall’s coming, No, fall’s Here! Are you ready?

(c) 2015 P.Lynne Designs
(Note:  This is the third version of this topic)

Last week, I was nested down, rather sweltering, in the summer heat.  It was after Labor Day.  I had on my shorts, short sleeves, and I am short and short-tempered.  It does not take much for this person to fly to the nearest fan, and sit under it all day long if need be.  Yesterday morning, by the time I woke up, I had a sheet and my comforter around me, and in my comfy bed I froze.  I did not have the fan on, and it was 58° outside.  “Who told me it was time to freeze?” I thought as I stretched out of my slumber, but September is that kind of month.  It is one of four months of the year, where there is the split personality like feature to it.  In the Northern states, these months can fool you in believing that you have on kind of weather, and within 24 hours or less, there is a whole new weather pattern emerging.  So, if I had not said it before, welcome to September 2015, everyone.
Fall Colors…
The colors of bright pinks, yellows, blues, greens, and tropical things is slowly being replaced by reds, oranges, dark yellow, and browns, with a touch or two of evergreens, and there is nothing you can do about it but deal.  Leaves are falling, and pumpkins and other squash are ripening and getting right for caving and thanksgiving.  If you have not invested in a leaf blower yet now is the time to do so.  If you live in the Northern part of the United States and Canada, you might as well get a snow blower too, for snow is around the corner. 
Start Now for Halloween…
Now is the time to invest in a good Halloween costume for your child.  Please, no scary costumes if you child is the type who scares easily.  Use age appropriate costumes, and no masks.  Pass out only wrapped candy, and if you are lucky to have a hospital to x-ray the candy when your child is done collecting their treats, like Nationwide Children’s Hospital here in Columbus, Ohio, get it done.  You never know and it is worth every penny of your child’s life to keep them safe.  The x-ray is free and the hospital is happy to do it every year.
 Decorating the table….
Keep in mind the colors of fall as you decorate.  As mention before, Pumpkins and leaves are the main staples of a tablescape, indoor, or outdoor decorating, but do not forget your sunflower (not just for spring anymore), bundles of hay for the front porch, a scarecrow, and even twigs and flat pieces of bark can make anyplace look like a place in the country.  Grab ideas from friends, neighbors, magazines, and even from places on the web, like Pinterest.  If you have a vision of it, draw it out first, figure out the budget, purchase, decorate, and enjoy.  Make sure you carry that theme right through Thanksgiving.  You may even want to change it up a bit around Halloween to include some spooky elements, but you do not have to change a whole scheme.  Make it personal.
Finally, now is the time to put away spring and summer clothing away.  You do not have to get a new storage bin for it.  Just take out the fall and winter items, make sure they fit, and pack in the others.   One thing I like about this system is once you see what you have, you can incorporate new pieces to make last year’s fall and winter clothing look brand new.  Do not throw them away, unless it is beyond repair.  Instead, give them to someone who needs it more than you.  You have just done your charity work for the year, and the reward is new pieces of clothing.   When you shop, do not disregard the art of thrifting.  Most times the money you use to pay for the clothes in the thrift and consignments shop is used to help those help themselves.

Well that’s it for summer and hello fall.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

My favorite planner: Erin Condren ( a review)

Photo by (C) 2015 P. Lynne Designs
Planner by (c) 2015 Erin Condren

Warning:  affiliate links ahead.

I am a planner.  I am not going to deny it.  I have used planners all my adult life. I started out with your generic planner, some off brand, and I was not happy.  I did not like the space, the hours did cover the times I need, it was just a bad planner.  My next planner was the granddaddy of planners, The Day Timer, and if you ever had one, you may or may not agree with me that I experienced the same thing as I did with the generic.   That does not mean that I  don’t like DT, it was not the planner for me.
Then I got the electronic phase.  You know the type, phone, the computer, and a tablet, all keeping track of my comings and goings, beeping and gawking at me of all the appointments I scheduled.  The problem with Electronic Planners ( EPs) is if you are a quiet person, the beeps would unnerve you, plus some are difficult to learn.  I still use them, but I have also decided to go back to a paper planner. Why?  Because for one, if there are  changes, I can easily erase it with a pencil.  Not so if you have something electronic.  Well you can, but it is not as easy.  Second, an electronic device can quit on you.  Last month, I was caught in a massive downpour.  It killed my smartphone, and because I was on the family plan, I had to ask permission to switch phones, even when I could change this month.
So instead of going back to Day Timers, I decided to try something new.  There are several planners out there, that fit the bill of “planners you can decorate”, and at first I did not want to go that route, but it sounded so fun, and since I am a “ Kidult”, an adult who still feels like a kid (you know who you are), why not.  I decided to do my research.   I came up with three I wanted to try: the Midori system, create my own, and Erin Condren.
First of all, the Midori system, created by a Japanese person is sort like a life mapping system.  You have a dashboard, and it mimics the bullet system.  You can put a calendar in the system, but the problem I found was how small it was.  I can pair down my handwriting, but I thought I can easily put it all in one planner, for all that I have to do.  This system is more for the person who makes lists.  You can easily make your own with paper, a stapler, and a cover made of leather, vinyl, or faux leather.
That leads to the next system, making my own.  I really tried with this back in January.  All you need is your computer, a printer, and a binding system, such as a coiling tool, a 3-ring binder, or getting a professional to bind it for you.   Yes, it is cheap, and if you are a crafter (which I am), this perfect.

What lead me to the Erin Condren(EC) system?

Like I explained before, I tried making my system, and although I was happy with what I accomplished, it did not fell right, because I was using printables that were created by someone else.  I am a believer in giving credit, and one day, I will make something that I proud enough to use and sell in my own shops.
Second of all, before I create my own line, I want to see what makes today’s planners tick, and here is what I love about the EC system:

1. Covers that can be personalized.  My current EC planner is dark pink/light pink paisley with a white background.  The lettering is says “personal and Business items 2015. Next year’s cover is dark pink/light pink paisley with just my initials.
2. Covers are interchangeable.  If I want to, I can change the cover of either one my planners, and take them off, without tearing them.  They are laminated, so it is easy to clean
3. Room to write.  The original EC planner allowed the user to place events in two places: the monthly or weekly view. I put the event in the monthly event, then a more detail in weekly, such as location and address.  This year, EC added a horizontal view, which is how I ordered my new planner.  The horizontal is supposed to be more roomier than the current vertical view.
4. A place to write your notes.  This was the main problem with the DT planner.  If I wanted to write a note to last all year, forget it. Nope, ain't going to happen.  I have some pages I can write on in my planner with EC.  The planner still does not have a lot of pages to write, if you like lines on the page, but you can always convert the blank pages to note pages, order a matching notebook (additional $35).
5. Accessories galore.  Not only you can have they personalize it with pictures (Additional $5), wording, and adding your favorite colors (did I ever mention that I am a pink girl), but you can add to your order stickers ($2-$14), a band to go around the planner ($7), but get a simple hair band to go round ($3 for 3 band at the drug store); clips to attach additional pages, and markers to write with.  If you want to go cheap, simply log on Etsy, and there are plenty of artists on the site, who make accessories for the EC planner.  Also use washi tape to decorate your note pages and have a theme week.
6. Layout.  In addition to the horizontal and vertical views, you can order either the 2015-16 calendar version (15 months) or just the 2016 calendar (12 months).

Well, I love it overall, and I am using it in conjunction with my electronic gadgets.  The reason why is with my electronic stuff, I can put it quickly if I do not have the planner with me, write it in later.  I already have dates to place in the new when it  arrives in a few days.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Celebrate the Summer with Kiwi Crate

(Warning :  Promotional links below) 
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Hands-on Activities from Kiwi Crate
Kiwi Crate was founded on the vision of inspiring kids’ creativity and its mission is to help equip the next generation of innovators with the tools for creative problem solving and exploration. Kiwi Crate offers high quality award-winning products across four brands for young makers ranging in age from 3 to 16+. 

Friday, May 8, 2015

Simply Organized Crafts is saying Goodbye…..

(c)  Google Images

For now.   It is a funny thing about blogging.  You have to constantly watch to see if you are effective enough, but at the same time provide enough content to keep the masses coming.
I started this blog on Blogger 2 ½ years ago.  I needed to, because the subject of organizing and other household-related topics were taking over my P.Lynne Designs blog.  A friend of mine told me that I was doing too much on one blog, so she suggested that I split it up.  Thus Simply Organized Crafts was born.   One thing I have to note here is I never talk about crafting at all. That subject still belongs to P.Lynne Designs, and I could not have been any happier.

About a year ago, I started to play around the idea of moving this blog, because I do not have the rights to my blog.  I do and I don’t.  Because it is on Google’s site, they have the right to take it down any time they want to, no questions asked, and no warning, except a “Dear John” email stating the reasons why.   I can always plea for them to turn it back on, but why bother when you can close it for them by changing platforms.  They also have limitations to the themes.

I received an offer I could not refuse.  Blogelina is doing a #1000MomBlogMakeoversProject, and they are going to make over this blog, and hopefully tie it over to the sister blog blog.  Yes, I had already started the blog over Wordpress, hosted by Hostgator.  I had gotten so overwhelmed with other projects, including switching my P.Lynne Designs blog and Etsy shop, until I could not think straight.  So let me tell you more about this #1000MomBlogMakeovers Project.   

This is a Mother’s day present for any mom blogger out there.  You do not have to be a mom, but it is for any person who has the desire to start their own blog, o
r if you already have your own blog, to make it over.  This can also be given as a gift to any woman you know who has a desire to own their own blog.   The goal is to give or makeover 1000 blogs.  I am glad that I am one of them, because this blog needs it, and I do not have the time nor do I know how to give it the attention it needs to look great. There is a donation cost of a minimum of $10, and that donation goes towards, which help provide healing to children in need.  To me, it is a worthy cause, and you get a blog makeover by donating.

In the meantime, I will let you know when it is going to be down, if there is any downtime needed, and I hope that it will look great and I will continue to bring you great content, such as my organizationalseries.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Spring is in the air

(c) 2014 P.Lynne Designs

Tell me if you are sick of the follow (especially if you living in the Upper East Coast):
·         Snow
·         Freezing Rain
·         Pot holes
·         Road salt
·         Did I mention snow?
Now what do you think about the following:
·         Flowers
·         Warm temperatures
·         Walks in the park (or anywhere else for that matter)
·         Children playing
·         Did I mention flowers?
If you are like me, this winter was brutal, and in some cases, very brutal.   Boston is still digging out of the winter wonderland from the last few weeks.  As for Central Ohio (Columbus), I was mainly staying indoors, except if I REALLY needed to go someplace. 
Well now it is time (in my best Rafiki voice from The Lion King) to take off the winter coat, open up the rafters and let in the light (Mama Odie would be so proud), and let your home and garden shine (can’t you tell I love Disney). Here are some things you need to do in order to “spring” into action for Spring.  

·         Spring Cleaning:  I am working on a cleaning guide on what to do for each month and when to buy products by month to get the maximum savings for each (e.g.  Linens can be bought in January for maximum saving, etc…).  In the meantime, now is the time for you to come up with a daily, weekly, monthly, and annual list of things to do around the home.  Your list is going to be different than mine.  For instance, I like to really wash my dishes in the dishwasher once a week.  I have plenty of dishes to eat out of, and what I have to cook with, I daily get  sink full of water, and wash the pots and pans the old-fashion way (or as my dad says, “Bust some suds, and get it clean”). You look at loading the dishwasher an everyday task.
·         Time to get dirty…in your garden.  Pull up all the dead plants from the previous season, unless you have perennials and annuals.  Now is the time to renew you lawn treatments if you have a service, or if you do it yourself, start treatment for weed control.  Plan out what you are going to plant in the ground and in pots.  It is always a good idea to read on the plants and foods you are going to have in a garden.  I cannot plant a garden in the ground, but I am going to try again for a container garden this year.  I had one 8 years ago, and it was a disaster from the first plant.  Make sure you have a feed schedule, the right foods for your garden, know what you can plant and when for your area, and you will go far in your garden.  Look into getting involved with a community garden.  This is perfect for those who want to garden, but do not have the space for even a container gardening.  You can grow on your little plot of land (there may be a small fee involved), and perhaps share with others.
·         Food Glorious Food:  Now is also the time to invest in some springtime eats.  You can still fix your soups and stews, but they are less hearty than the winter variety.  During this time of the year, smoothies are making their spring debut, so start making some with fruits of the season.   It is time to put lemon on vegetables.  Green peas are a springtime vegetable. Ham lamb symbolizes spring.  Fish is eaten during the Lenten season, but not as much red meats. Go to a farmer’s market.   Visiting farmer’s markets not only help you get the freshest fruits and vegetables, but unlike the commercial grocery stores, you are helping out a farmer with his rent and feed their family.
·         On the Road…Now is also the time to give your car some attention as well, as well as plan out your vacation time if you have not done so already.   This is the time to give your car a good overhaul from the winter wear and tear, such as tires, fuel, engine, and braking system.  A good check-up will save you money and problems down the road in the later months, such as when you are on your way to work or your vacation spot, and you have a breakdown in the middle of nowhere.  If you are planning a vacation, do it NOW for the best prices for Hotels, flights, even car rentals.   The last thing you need is to not have a place to stay while on vacation.  

These are a few of the things a person needs to get ready for spring.  I hope you use this time to explore the many options open to you as you prepare for the season.   Do not get stuck with having an annual routine all the time.  Be open to possibilities that may save you time and money.  Oh, and one little thing…Welcome to Spring!!!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Frantic Friday: What is your organizing rant?

(c) 2014 P.Lynne Designs- Reality Just got real.
Today is a rant of sorts.  No, I am not going to start screaming to the highest heavens to God Almighty to snap His fingers and instantly turn my half-beaten, catch-all room called my potential scrapbook room, into something that would make Martha Steward stand up and leap for joy in pointe shoes. (Oh the horror and the visual.) Nope, I am not going to do that (besides that, I do not want to be banned from heaven, my room is not THAT serious).  What is serious is doing it myself, and having Martha do that death defying leap on pointe shoes.  (On second thought, Martha, don’t try it.)
OK, I am serious now. 
I want to know, if you are like me, you’d want to walk into your home and have it showroom ready to receive company, with your immaculate table that has room for 5 on a cozy day party, but able to seat 20 (with a 4 leaves in), children play peacefully, and the adults able to have a real adult conversation without screaming at a child.  Finally, at the end of the day, with everything picked up, the kids in bed, you are able to sit up to read in your 4-posted, mattress covered, fitted sheet, flat sheet, 1 blanket, 1 comforter, 1 coverlet, covered bed (fresh sheets please), and fall into a slumber that only Hollywood movies are made of.  Do you feel like that?    
Yeah, I thought so. Instead your home is more like an invasion of the worst kind.  Toys, shoes, last week’s mail not put away, having company is nil, and if you have company, you cleared just enough room for them to sit.   That table I mention before, it is covered from head to toe with everything from your office at work, office at home, a bill that needed to be paid 3 months ago, only for you to remember why you no longer can get a free audiobook each month, and a plate that needed to be washed 2 days ago.
My rant goes beyond that rant.  It may not be your home that is out of tune, it may be your time.  So much of your time, includes time wasters.  It is amazing how little we get done when we are waiting in line at the bank (both inside, drive-though, and the ATM), a fast food place, even at a place like Disney World.  Then there are the waiting rooms for the doctor (you, your child, your parent, or your spouse/partner), your car, or the vet (Fluffy, Fido, or a turtle or two).  Cars can also become waiting rooms, such as waiting on a child to get out of school, or some type of practice or rehearsal (dance, music, drama, or sports); also waiting on a non-driver or a person who is no longer able to drive for any reason.
Now I am not saying that waiting is a bad thing, for waiting can be a good thing as well.  (Do the following only if your budget allows it).  If you do it right, you can actually get some work done, if you are a SAHMOD (Stay at Home Mom or Dad), or if you choose to have a home business like me.
  • Invest in paying your bills online.  It is easy to set up with your bank or the company you are paying the bills to.  Just remember, any bill that you set up to automatically come out of your checking or saving account is already gone for the month, so adjust your spending that way.   In fact, now is the time for you to set up a budget table for the year.  You can also go online manually to pay your bills.  In other words, go paperless.  That company will send you a reminder that the bill is due through the email that you set up with them. 
  • Invest in a hot spot for your laptop or tablet.  You can use your smartphone or if you do not have one, or choose not to use it, buy a separate hub for the hot spot.  The carrier I use prefers that I have a separate account from my phone, but in a pinch, I can use my smart phone.
  • Carry a portable charger with you, especially if you are using your phone.  The more you use your phone without having it on a charger, the faster the battery goes down. 
  • Traveling is also wasted time.  Make sure on long trips that if you have a deadline during that time to bring your work, especially if you are not the one doing the driving.  If it something you need to do, while driving, place the device on hand-free mode or have a software like Dragon natural speak to text app on your device.  If all else fails, wait until you get to your destination before working.  Your life and others around you is worth more than your work.
  • Please do not text and drive.  In fact, some states and countries do not allow call and drive either (holding the phone in your hand).  Check with your state and country about laws on hands free devices for your phone.

Well, that is my Frantic Friday for this week.  Being able to keep everything organized from your home and your time is not going to be easy, but in time, it will become easier for you and your family, and you will have a routine that will makes Martha Steward leap for joy in pointe shoes.  (What is about me picturing Martha Steward in pointe shoes today, LOL?)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

QTT (Quick Tip Tuesday): Labeling

(c) WP
Throughout my 12days of organizing series, I have failed to mention something, and now is the time for me to say it now, before you get further in this process:
Don’t forget to label everything.

Here are a few examples:

  • When in your Home office, do not forget to label what your important papers are:  Home, car: Honda, 1001 finance, or (Red) Fido’s vet records.  All of these work for subject, numeral, or color reference on how to label file folders
  • In your kitchen pantry, label shelves for things such as can goods, dry goods; label canisters and containers, so you do not have to open and close to see what is in them.  It is also a good idea that if you live in a Kosher home, you label what you can use with which foods, since you cannot non-kosher items with kosher items, including appliances.
  • In the closet you can label where you place things in there.
  • In the craft room, you can label bins, shelves, machines (especially if you often go out to craft with other people), and so forth.

Now if you know where you put things all the time, you do not have to label, but it helps to keep a neat system.

Give this a try.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

What is your Style?

(c) P.Lynne Designs
This month, in addition to organizing, I want to find out there different areas of your decorating life.  So I was reading one of my emails, when I came an email with this question.   It is something to think about.
Frankly to be honest, I never thought about my style before.  I guess you can look at it this way: what things warms the cockles of your heart, as old people used to say.  (By the way, what is a cockle?)
Anyway, back to styling…
Different styles…
I found out that I am more of a bohemian-type person, but not all the way.  If it is frilly, girly, with lots of lace, and French-type, I am your girl, at least in the fashion area.  I love dresses, and I have grown fond of wearing maxi skirts and dresses.  I am short (5’ or to be accurate, 4’ 11”), and they tell you when you are very petite not to wear maxi anything, but you know what?  I do not care.  No one accepted me as a model when I wanted to be one, so why should I follow the rules?  I will not make myself look bad.  I also love leggings, and I love wearing them under those maxi dresses, especially in the winter months. Ohio is no slouch for cold weather.  Layering is our friend.
So if you have found your style in the fashion world, there is no reason, in my opinion, which you cannot translate this to the interior decorating world.  Right?  Well, it depends.  You do not want every room in your home to be decorated that way.  In fact, I suggest that concentrate your style to say your bedroom, and have a complement style in the rest of the house, especially if you are living with a spouse.  You need to have something that they like as well in the home.  When you are single, it is a free for all, but even then, you do not want to decorate with something that you would be sick of 6 months down the road.  Even for the riches of people that is too much changing of the guard.  On the flip side, you do not want to decorate every 4 years either.  That is where finding the right balance on when and where to re-decorate your home.  Remodeling is different, and should be treated as such.
So, what if you want to decorate in Pantone color of the year?
Please slowly introduce any color that is the color of the year.  It may be part of your style, and then again, it may not.  In case you have been sleeping, the 2015 color of the year is Marsala.  It is in the brown family, but in my case, it could easily match up with a pink, which is my favorite color.  Now if you have not decorated for the year yet, do not drown yourself and your house in this color, if it does not go with your palette of choice.  Even if it does, trends come and go, but if you can, go for it.   Put in an accent piece here and there, but go easy on it.  After all, the new color for 2016 will be picked in October 2015.

So remember, choose your decorating style, choose it wisely, concentrate on one room, and you will do fine.