Friday, August 31, 2012

My Tips: Small Kitchen Storage

My kitchen is small. It is 6.5' by 7.5'. That's under 50 sq ft people! It isn't even a room- it is like a kitchen corner. Casey's Citchen Corner!! I also have a full size fridge, full sized oven, a microwave, a double sink, and a small dishwasher in that tiny space. Therefore I have had to get creative with storage.

This photo is a little outdated, but my kitchen is not photo-ready right now. haha

For instance, I have one cupboard for dishes, so I used a small metal shelf to store even more! I put lesser used items on the top shelf, like mixing bowls, my liquid measuring cup, and some travel mugs and plastic bowls for the patio. To help fit more glasses on the 2nd shelf, I vary them up and down (they taper downwards).


I store my larger cooking items, like Pyrex dishes and my blender above the fridge, along with Tuperware here too on a shelf! I usually keep small Tuperware at the bottom and larger at the top, but apparently right now all my Tuperware is MIA.You can also see that I slide my baking trays and other pans (like a brownie tin) in the small gap above my fridge.


Under the sink is a bit of a nightmare. I did already show the sliding garbage and recycling system before, but on the other side I store a lot on the back of the door. I have a hanging basket for small items and I hang a folding stool from a large command hook. I haven't figured out any option for the back corner yet (it's all pipe-y and awkward) so I just store my giant soup pots back there.




Lastly, in a tiny kitchen it is important to eliminate clutter. Because I have open shelving, I chose to use them more as display than anything else. I keep my drinkin' glasses up here on the top shelf. I also keep my kettle up here, my cookbooks, and lastly that silver square is a jar of cookie cutters (the jar doesn't fit upright. I love making cookies and I love having fun cookie cutters! I need to find a short, fat container for them so they can be on display.


As for other cupboards, I have one similar to the dishes one that holds dry and canned goods, a small one for baking supplies and over top of the microwave is just cleaning supplies! I also keep a lot of food that doesn't need to be refrigerated in my fridge because my fridge is giant for only one person!

Do you have a small kitchen? Send me a link so I can steal your ideas!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Planned Cleaning

I have always read posts where people have chores that they do every day, or perhaps they are those people who take the time to leave a room as they entered it. I am not one of those people. I am a slob! I leave clothes on the floor and dishes in the sink and I am not ashamed!

However, recently my place has been pretty darn clean and the reason is something I never even considered before- a timer!


See, every night around 9:00-9:30pm, I put on my Anthralin Treatment and it has to sit for 30 minutes (and that increases each week!). I always set the timer on my oven when I do this. Well recently, I began cleaning during that time. I am not sure why, but for some reason setting that timer encourages me to do something productive until the beep sounds. Maybe it is because I resent the treatment taking up such a chunk of my evening?

Anyway, the timer method has been working great. I keep doing the dishes, folding the clothes, vacuuming the floors and other crazy productive things.

So tell me- do you ever set a timer for cleaning? How do you stay on top of household chores?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Switching Things Up

I read a lot of blogs and they are all "I have redone my mantle for fall!" and I think either

1. You just spent money on a bunch of stuff you are only going to display for a couple of months and then put in storage?
2. You decorate for fall??

haha- I don't decorate my place for any season (well except Christmas!) because I just fill it with things I love year round! It might be summery with its bright colours, but isn't that exactly the feeling you want in the winter? Summery happiness?

So you will rarely find me making a tablescape or changing up my table decor (I don't have a mantle), but you WILL find me adding new accessories now and then and changing the look of my place using what I have on hand. This week I did a little of that! The first part was something small and that I have been ignoring for awhile.


I have been using this ceramic container (I think it is ceramic) for the past three years to store my cooking utensils. I never use this back burner, so don't worry about the placement. Cooking for one doesn't usually involve four burners! This container was given to me from my cousin when I moved into my first place and it has tiny red fleur de lis on it. Except red isn't my thing, and on the other side it was sporting some snazzy 80's kitsch:


I never gave too much thought to replacing it, but the other day a plant on the balcony met its untimely demise (*cough notmyfault cough*). Suddenly I had this pretty pot from Ikea with nothing to hold! So a quick swicharoo later, I have a new utensil holder which is much more my taste!


Another change I have made was one I discussed back here, which involved the curtain at the end of my bed.


I couldn't make up my mind as to taking it down or not, but now I am trying a new angle, which is actually using the curtain to make my bedroom feel a bit more enclosed and private. I definitely think that the curtain itself needs to go because I'm not feeling it, but let me know how you think about this new look!



Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Organizing a Laundry Closet

I am lucky enough to have laundry in my unit, but as any condo-dweller knows, it is just a stackable washer/dryer in the closet and it is very hard to properly store all the laundry detergents, dryer sheets, stain remover, etc. Here is what I have going on in there now:

I have a folding clothes rack that tucks into the right, and a couple of laundry bags for delicates on a hook on the right wall. However I have to keep the detergent, stain remover, and my dryer sheets on top of the washer, which makes it difficult to open and close the washer. I had no wish to move this stuff to another space, because I like it all where I need it! Therefore I needed to figure out a storage solution!

Enter Ikea. What else would I do?

I picked up a Bygel wire basket and used some pieces of my Pluggis set that I got for the bathroom in order to add more storage!

First I used my stud finder because I only had screws fit for drywall/wood and I didn't have plugs so I wanted to get it into a stud. Don't judge me- its at least 30 minutes on the TTC to get to the hardware store and I don't have an hour and a half to buy screws. Ain't happening.

Luckily there was a stud within reach!

Then I made sure my basket was lined up properly and level and marked it off. I found out it fits so tightly beside the dryer that I didn't even have to hold it in place to mark. Hurrah!


Then I put a few screws in to hold it in place. The two in the front are into the stud, and I added one in near the back just to make sure it stayed in place. It's not exactly pretty, but your hand can only fit in so far and the detergent will cover it all anyway. It is hard to see from this angle, but the back screw is at the edge of the dryer so that is as deep as I can reach.


Next, I wanted to use the two small Pluggis containers above this, but they were designed to share only one bracket. Weird, right?


So I just snapped it in half. That it how I roll, baby!

I just screwed it tightly into the wall. Nothing going in here is heavy so one good screw into the stud should hold just fine.

Now for my big reveal!!



Ah! I am so happy with it! The stain remover and the dryer sheets fit perfectly in the small containers! I didn't use the same product for the detergent because they are narrow and detergent bottles are fat. However, for being in a closet it is still a huge upgrade from where I was! They are no where near the door to the dryer and are recessed from the closet door, so they are now completely out of the way!

All I need to do now is find a laundry fairy to wash and fold and my life will be complete!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Seeing Things Through New Lenses!

I had myself an extra long weekend this past weekend and it sure was a mix of highs and lows! Luckily, more highs :)

Friday I went to visit my doctor and I got a shot. My poor arm! And then after that I had an eye appointment downtown. Now, I haven't seen an eye doctor in 3 years and last time was testing for keratoconus, which is an unfortunate eye disease with a genetic link, so I needed to get tested. I thought I was good to go on that three years ago (negative test!) but now my new eye doctor says it can still appear late into your thirties, so I have to keep going.

I have never worn glasses or contacts, but at this appointment I found out I need glasses!!!! Just for work, but I am still majorly bummed out about it. I haven't bought any yet because I need to bring a few friends. It took me two years to pick a paint colour, so I doubt I can pick an accessory for my FACE by myself.

In other lenses-related-news, I got a new camera!! Well, new to me but she is a beauty.


This is my new Nikon D80!! I also have a couple of lenses too. I should point out right now and while I did take a class in photography, I have no idea how to use this thing. I am hoping that by learning to use this thing I can get some nicer photos up on the blog and I can have more editing options, since I can work with raw files.

I love being able to zoom really far now too. I took some shots off my balcony this weekend. Before (with my old camera), this was the best shot of the water I could get:


But today I was able to get this!


Pirate Ship Spotted!


Friday, August 24, 2012

My Tips: Trip Planning

I have today off so it's kinda like I'm on vacation- except instead of tanning and sipping pina coladas, I am going to various appointments in the city. Joy of Joys!

However I DO have a big trip coming up in like A MONTH. How the heck do these things seem so far off and then all of a sudden I am way behind on my trip planning?? Well, today I thought I would share some tips for planning for a trip. Especially a touring trip and not a lying-on-the-beach type trip, like I am taking!

1. Check to make sure your passport is good to go. They recommend not travelling if it is within 6 months of expiry, so make sure you check the dates! You don't want to pay extra to rush a passport application, so do this as soon as you realize you are planning to leaving the country!

2. Check your luggage to make sure it suits your needs and is in good condition. For instance, mine has a busted wheel and I STILL haven't gotten it fixed. I called the luggage repair shop but they wouldn't even give me a rough quote and want me to drag my entire giant suitcase to their store (not near me) before they tell me what it will cost. Ugh. So I will probably go on vacation with a busted wheel. haha

3. If you are travelling with friends, spend some time making lists of your top 10 must-sees. When I went to Europe last fall, we were each in charge of our own country and planning the itinerary for the cities in that country. We also allowed each person to voice their must-sees in every location we were visiting so the planner could accommodate everyone's wishes in their country. It worked very well!

4. Book ahead of time. Flight prices seem to jump at the last minute. I don't plan to be an expert in timing buying plane tickets, but just get it over with as soon as you have agreed on dates- especially if you are not going to a common airport and are unlikely to find deals. I like to scour the paper for deals in the months of "maybe we should go away" to see if my destination comes up often. I also like to book any flights or trains that will occur during the trip. Once you cement down the days in a city, you should also book accommodations- you don't want that headache while you are in a strange city! Even hostels book up fast! Be sure to print confirmations, addresses, and directions to your hotel.

5. Check weather reports and historical reports! I like to get an idea of the types of clothing I will need so I don't bring 50 sweaters and it ends up being warm.

6. Make a checklist of everything you need and start shopping in advance. I actually use excel because I am a giant nerd. 

7. Be realistic about what you need. I try super hard to pack light. I like to pack a lot of neutral clothing that can mix and match and layer. I also make a point to wear outfits twice and therefore bring half as much clothing. I also like to pack accessories to jazz my outfits up so I don't feel like a dowdy tourist. I have seen so many videos on youtube where they seriously overthink clothing. You need comfy outfits for wandering around town and a couple nice outfits for nights out. That's it!

8. Carry-ons should be kept light. I don't know why some people look like they have jammed a weeks worth of clothing in there. You need a book, vital meds, a change of underwear, and a bathing suit (if you are going to the beach). Oh and some snacks in case the airplane food sucks. And you can bring some moisturizer or whatever you like for the plane. Just check the airport rules for carry-on items so you don't slow everyone down at security!

9. Make sure you get all your ducks in a row. Have your plane tickets and passport in your purse or carry-on, and make sure you have printed confirmations of any reservations and other tickets in your carry-on or in a designated spot in your luggage.

10. Arrive at the airport early! I hate stress when I am on vacation, so I like to arrive ridiculously early and then go and get a meal or a drink at the airport to kill time.

11. Pack plastic bags and baggies. I always pack a plastic bag for dirty clothing so it doesn't "mingle" with clean clothes in my luggage. I also put anything that can leak or explode in plastic bags and I pack extra just in case.

12. Clean your house before you leave. You won't want to but you will be SO happy to come home to a clean house when you get home (and it will help you feel less depressed about vacation being over). If you have a housesitter (I always do) stock up on some goodies as a thank you to them!

So that is all I can think of to help alleviate the pre-trip stress and set yourself up for an amazing time!

And as for my trip, I am going to MEXICO CITY! I am sooo excited to visit my friend and her family who moved there last year! The city seems so interesting and I am very excited to explore! I also hope we can carve some time out to go to Acapulco too! This girl likes a beach ;)



Thursday, August 23, 2012

Maximizing Bathroom Storage

Ok, this is a little hard to write, but I am putting the bath reno on the backburner. Not that I'm not going to do it, but that the actual install is going to have to wait until this winter when I am done my Anthralin treatment. Why? Because the treatment stains everything, especially caulk and grout! So I don't want to build this beautiful bathroom and then ruin it right away. I am going to spend the next couple months sourcing materials, buying tile and a vanity, and figuring out who will do the install. It is a tight space, so any imperfection will be magnified times 100. There is some sort of imperfection per square foot rule, I swear. So I need a top notch tiler person.

In the meantime, I plan on doing some updates to the bathroom that I CAN do and I will leaving tile work (and therefore vanity since I need to tile before it is installed) and I will share those and share my tile and vanity choices as they come!

So for today, I was focusing on cleaning up under the sink. I don't know about you, but I get gifted like a MILLION bubble bath, body wash, creams, etc (apparently I stink or something) and I kinda throw it all under the sink until I finish the one currently in use. Where hey get mixed in with the 10 toothpastes I bought on sale and other randomness that lives under the sink. I think for my next vanity I want drawers, but with my pipes in the center of the wall, that may mean a lot of pre-measuring and may not work.

Anywho, here was the poor state of under my sink:

I have way too much bathroom stuff. Seriously.

The right side is clearly nice and clean with it's little shelf. I keep TP under it and my hair tools on top. But the left side? Well I am pretty sure something exploded over there.

I grabbed some clean white boxes from Ikea and sorted the stuff into two categories and put the more-often-used stuff in the top box.


I then placed both boxes under the sink and Voila! Neat and organized! It is much easier to find stuff now and there is no avalanche when I go to open the doors. I didn't both labeling the boxes because I know which is which!


The best part is that this size box fit perfectly! I didn't measure beforehand but as you can see they fit right behind the door hinges and in the back they fit right beside and in front of the pipes.


So that was my quick little clean up for the day to help my bathroom feel more "zen" and spa-like! Honestly this project took me 5 minutes (well 10 if you count building the boxes) so I can't believe it took me so long!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

DIY Mousepad!

The other day I am perusing some of my favourite blogs and I came across a post by Centsational Girl about making a DIY mousepad AND I STOPPED IN MY TRACKS. It is really funny, but sometimes you deal with some temporary fix (a.k.a. a "kludge") and you don't really think about it.

Case in point: My mousepad


Yes, it is a dirty piece of paper. Basically my table is kind of shiny and therefore my cheap mouse doesn't work on it. And I hate using the trackpad, so I stuck a piece of lined paper under there and it has been sitting there for 8 months (hence the dirtiness). It is also really hard to find a mousepad anymore! I guess good mice (mouses?) don't need them? When I saw the Censational Girl post it hit me like a ton of bricks- why don't I just MAKE one?!

So I did!

I didn't follow her directions at all because I didn't have a mousepad to build from. I did, however, have some cork from the dollarstore!


I then grabbed some material from my stash of scraps and I tested out the cork/material combo to make sure the mouse would work on it (some fabrics have reflective fibers).


Once I determined that this may actually work, I cut my cork and material down the size. I don't have a lot of space to work with, so mine is about 6x6". Also, my exacto-knife is currently MIA! I wonder if it went down to the locker with the other stuff from removing my towel bar? Luckily the cork was super easy to cut with scissors.


As for attaching the material, I had three options: hemming tape, glue gun, or staples. Hemming tape seemed like the neatest way, but I wasn't sure if you could iron cork or if the tape would bind with it. Because I am lazy, I tried staples first cause that is easy peasy lemon squeezy. I am happy to note that the staples did not go through to the top of the pad! Woohoo!


I now have a beautiful, custom made mousepad for my computer!


The only problem is it does move around a big, so I might find some rubber or something to staple under it and hold it in place. I'll see what the dollar store has. haha

And yes, I am aware of the appalling state of my desktop. I honestly am one of those people that saves everything to the desktop out of laziness and then a few months down the line I clean it up. Don't judge me!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

New Mirror! (and a cute baby)

If you remember from a couple months ago, I was looking to put a mirror over my couch. The winning "style" from those polled was a starburst mirror. Here was the photoshop mock-up from then.


That particular mirror is current sold at Sears for $399.99! Now I don't know about you, but I don't exactly have an extra $400 lying around for mirrors. So I spent a lot of soul searching debating between a DIY mirror or a store bought one.

Michelle over at Ten June DIY'd a similar mirror with bamboo and it is beautiful and organic.






See how she did it here: http://www.tenjuneblog.com/2011/01/go-big-or-go-home.html

But I wasn't entirely sure I wanted to make one. It would be a lot of work and I find spray painting very intimidating in a tiny condo!!

However, in my journey I finally came across this!
http://www.eq3.com/SelectProd.do;jsessionid=B37D840C5731D413B1512C23165AA07A?prodId=24023

$49.99 is my kinda price! On Friday after work I went over to EQ3 and I picked up one of these in silver! They also have another style similar to my inspiration photo, but in person the discs are metal, not glass or mirror, so it wasn't as nice.

Here is my new baby up on the wall!

It was very easy to hang because it is super light and therefore only required one nail. The only issue is holding it like a pancake and slapping it on the wall because there is no way to hold it. haha

I love the things it reflects- my flower, my poster, and when I am sitting at the table it reflects another piece of art!

Before:
After:

What is funny is that when I moved the couch to put in the Raskog cart, I didn't even notice all the photos hung above were totally off centre! Seriously, it took me a week! Now I need to find somewhere to put those picture frames. They cost $2 each at Dollarama and I printed my own photos. No way am I wasting that $12 investment!

So that was my first baby of the weekend, and here was my second!
Bathing Suit Model


My Condo is "Clothing Optional"

I was watching my niece on Saturday! Now, usually she is the happiest baby that ever lived, but on Saturday she was grumpy baby!! Don't let these cute photos confuse you- this little bundle cried all night and when Mommy and Daddy came back late at night to wake her up and take her home she was all smiles again!! Tricksy baby. Tsk Tsk. But we did have fun going swimming in the condo building and going to look at ducks at the park. Just the being at home part was rough.

I even got this cute video of her destroying my camera:
video

Last time I babysat her we hung out in the condo, but I think in a condo my size it was smart of me to plan swimming and a park trip. Babies get bored so easily!!

These people who say they have a baby in a studio apartment are crazy. I had to move the playpen to the front hall so it would be somewhat dark when she slept, and then I had to use my computer in the dark, making sure the screen light didn't reach her. I didn't want to risk waking up Ms. Grumpypants!!

Gosh darn it, look at that face! I can't stay mad at her!

Monday, August 20, 2012

House Tour {Rome Wasn't Built in a Day}

I know a couple of months ago I showed the rooms I had growing up, but recently I found photos of when I first moved into my condo!! Ah, such fun!! So I thought I would do a little before and after today to show how far I've come. Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither was this condo. Who knows how awesome it might become in another 3 years!

When I first moved in I literally had an air mattress, two camping chairs, and my tv stand and tv. Oh and some TV trays! And I lived like that for a few weeks! You really don't need to have a "perfect" home right away. If you try, you will probably end up buying things you don't love. Plus, with a place as small as mine, it helps to measure 600 times before bringing in a big piece.

Case in point:

My bedroom
Before:

After:


Changes
- Paint (CIL Touch of Grey)
- Adult size bed
- Built in nightstand behind bed
- Reupholstered ottoman
- Shelf added
- Blind added to window (two came with condo)

My living room
Before:


After

Changes
- All new furniture
- Paint (CIL Touch of Grey)
- Shelving removed and larger art added
- Dining space added

Bathroom  
Before:


After:



 Changes
- Shelf added opposite toilet
- Glued on towel rack removed
- Jewellery pins and art added 

Front Hall
Before:
  
 After:

Changes
- Paint (CIL Touch of Grey)
- Shoe storage rast hack
- Mirrors inside closet and over fuse box added
- Rug added to protect carpet
- Reupholstered stool
- Coat bar installed in closet

Kitchen
Before:

After:



Changes
- Paint (CIL Tough of Grey)
- Magnetic knife rack added
- Papered back of shelving

Patio
Before:
 
After:

Changes
- Furniture put out!
- Seat cushions made
- Lighting added
- Rug added

Locker
Before:
I didn't have one!

After:
Changes
- Locker bought in 2012!
- Shelving added
- Hooks added from ceiling

I think this year I am going to start moving into a few "bigger" changes rather than just aesthetics. But I think when you look at over the overall condo, I have definitely come a long way in 2-3 years (and most of those I was dead broke. haha)

Overall
Before:

  After:
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