Tag Archives: Saturday Scramble

Saturday Scramble: Flying Update

WP_003194 (1)“Later is a lie that never happens unless you set your mind to clearing out your mind clutter! That is all procrastination really is!”

In January, 2016 I decided to take control of my disorganized home and try FLYing (Finally Loving Yourself). Here’s a thoughtful email update from the FlyLady herself, Marla Cilley, posted on her website that I received this week. As you can see from this photo of my living room (or maybe you can’t), decluttering is process.  Most of the items in the picture that need to be tidied are my daughter’s – and she tends to spread out and play in this room or the kitchen while I’m working at my desk near the window.  A busy, long afternoon yesterday and the day before caused her to drop her karate things and swimming things in exhaustion, and since I got dinner on late, I didn’t ask her to pick up before she went to bed.  I admit that sometimes the decluttering process is mentally overwhelming, but I’m trying to do my 15 minutes a day in my weekly zone around all the other obligations I have in my life.


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Saturday Scramble: Better Late Than Never

dinosaurs oilIt’s funny how common phrases are slightly scrambled until someone finally corrects you.  Like saying “Statue of limitations” instead of “Statute of limitations” or ordering an “expresso” vs an “espresso.” Saddling a character with incorrect usage is a nice device to use because it helps quickly define them – pitting a know-it-all  against a naive character– because we all know someone like that. During a recent Sunday School class my students and I were discussing enduring through trials. I’ve discovered that I can very easily open up discussion if I mention dealing with siblings. One bright student said he’d “Have to stand them” and then as an answer to my quizzical expression he produced the explanation of that first statement, “You know, because I can’t stand them, I’ll have to stand them.” His statement was expressed with such conviction that fortunately I was able to bite my lip and keep from hooting out loud.

Granted, my student is young, but this recent post from Knowable on the Interweb gathered a handful of “facts” from Reddit that folks admit to believing until…well…far too long.  My husband has laughed quite a bit over the years at my expense and naïveté…for example, for some reason I had assumed that since oil came from dinosaurs that dinosaurs had pretty much dropped dead wherever a gas station was located and I had voiced my astonishment at the coincidence and frequency of dinosaurs dying at intersections. Of course I had my share of chuckles during one of our early dates when he was wondering about “Generation the Tenth” (that’s Generation X for those who remember when that label was buzzing) And…yikes…I didn’t know the little piggy who went to market didn’t go to buy groceries until…pretty much just now…

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Saturday Scramble: Book Sale Weekend!

buy happiness buy books

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January 30, 2016 · 6:00 am

Saturday Scramble: FLYing Starts with the Sinks


On January 6th I finally “shined” my sink.  According to  Flylady, shining your sink is the first baby step in clearing clutter in our homes and learning to FLY (Finally Love Yourself).  True, not everyone struggles with anxiety in cluttered environments, but as I happen to be a clutter stressed person who married a more…clutter relaxed person, I decided to give Flylady a try.   Flylady offers a system for organizing and managing a home that is based on the concept of daily routines and a focus on small, time- and space-limited tasks.  Having a large family and working full time makes keeping on top of cleaning a challenge but Flylady suggests tackling hot spots in 15-minute segments. Our dinner dishes are usually left to the morning but since the plumber was coming the next day to fix a drippy faucet I loaded the dishwasher and took some Comet to it.  And then when I got home from work in the evening, I was shocked to discover that this happened:


My husband had emptied the cabinet underneath, and scrubbed it down, then reorganized items we wanted at hand and put the excess of cleaners down in the laundry room.

And then this happened:


That weekend we started a larger project tackling clutter in the kitchen.  We cleared off and removed a small bookcase that had been under the window and a desk that had become a dump pile of our youngest daughter’s toys, art supplies and randomness.  It created more space so everyone could sit comfortably around the dinner table when we’ve got a full house.

There was a lot of clutter in that area, and we kept setting the timer in 15 minute intervals, so we’re still in the middle of this: WP_003117

Sorting her art supplies into bins that can be stored in a cubby in the living room or for longer term storage in the basement…and because she asked that we take a break to take care of this:


…which became an improptu lesson in Library Collection Management!  The top shelf is her “special collection” (most favored, inscribed books of any genre or format) and the other two are generally grouped by genre.  As with any personal library collection, hers tends to consist of favorites so the discarded or “weeded” pile contained in two shopping bags was modest.

Just 8 days after that first shining sink, my husband spontaneously cleared the bottom of our closet and removed his pile of shoes to a under the bed storage box:


And finally…coming full circle…. yesterday my oldest daughter texted me this:



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Saturday Scramble: Altered Book Trees

I’ve been dying to try making one of these Altered Book Trees since a colleague made them two years ago to decorate the library and I finally cleared my schedule, gathered my supplies and muddled through some directions I found online.  Most of these were in video form, and sometimes I honestly don’t have the patience to sit through a video and I’d much rather get to the making, so I decided to make my own tutorial here…With simple pictures and written steps so you can get to your making too!  It’s so easy my 8 year old made one for her grandma with very little supervision from me so I could work on my tree, too.

First – Get paperback books that you do not mind ripping apart.*(if you are very offended by this, stop immediately, and skip down to the bottom for my
Note On The Guilt of Tearing Apart a Perfectly Good Book!


Second – Tear off cover.  Discard or save if you’ve got a craft to use it, but I don’t so into the recycle bin it went.

Third – Count out 200 pages and cut these apart from the rest of the book.


We tried this with 150 pages also but the 200 page tree curled nicely into itself to create a “fuller” tree.  Use a craft knife, pocket knife or do what we did and go with what’s lying around, like a dull knife to a wine bottle opener.

Fourth – Fold pages – do this in 3 steps. It’s just like folding a paper airplane, folks.  The bottom corner can be folded toward the front of the book or toward the back.  Put on a movie and off you go!

Continue folding until all 200 pages are done. The book will naturally curl into a cone.








Fifth – Affix tree to a pedestal –

I found short candlesticks ($1 each at the Goodwill) were perfect and elevated the entire craft literally and figuratively!  I used epoxy to affix a cardboard circle (hey, there’s a use for the paperback cover!) to the bottom of the tree to stabilize the folds and create a balanced, wide surface to attach the tree to the candlestick.






Sixth – Decorate! We experimented with ribbons and feathers and glitter…You may need to let go of your control so you can enjoy lots of controlled mess.  It’s amazing what you find you’ve collected in your craft stores when you dig.**

(Glitter: I watered down some basic Elmer’s school glue because that’s what I had on hand, had my daughter apply it with a sponge brush -also retrieved from my craft stash-  and then we stepped out on the back deck and liberally and generously shook glitter on it over the railing into the snow.)

WP_003095WP_003105Finish off with a topper. Another peek at my junk drawer produced an iridescent tie tack that perfectly matched the iridescent glitter I had used; after taking down the tree this year, Viv found this darling wooden snowflake in the needles which I grabbed from the dustpan. Perfect!

WP_003103Now you’ve got a lovely, inexpensive, thoughtful gift for a friend or for yourself! (I made two – one for a friend and one for myself)





*A Note On The Guilt of Tearing Apart a Perfectly Good Book: Plain and simple, I don’t feel it.  I chose books that I wouldn’t read, nor would I experience an unholy joy in defacing. It was all detached business.  I looked for a certain size, without page tears, mold or dampness.  After years of working in a library, the book novelty thing wears off – it has to – or you’d never be successful managing a collection.  Weeding happens. Books get damaged. Books go unpurchased and unread. If you don’t believe me, or agree, then that is your choice, but I caution you two things: Beware a future post upscaling a book into a wreath, and two, Next time we have a book sale, I should take pictures of the boxes of unsold books that fill a truck and are hauled off to book heaven, and then your guilt would immediately evaporate.  Repurpose an unwanted book for a new life of beauty and adoration.  Really.  There’s plenty of books that can be upscaled.

**I took my time decorating because I really wanted these trees to be special. I tested several ribbons by pinning a straight pin through the top and paper clipping the bottom of the ribbon in various ways before finally settling on something that clicked.  Then I used superglue because all of my bottles of Aleene’s craft glue had dried out…and I wanted to get to the making!

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Saturday Scramble: Beginnings

Trying something new today…adding a Saturday post to catch random or percolating thoughts, updates on writing, family, work or other things that don’t fit into my current posting schedule.  I’m ready to take this to another level, go deeper, create original content, and share more cross-postings from talented colleagues.

To inaugurate, here’s a fantastic post from Caroline Starr Rose’s page, “To Beginners and Ever-New Beginnings”.  Bombarded by New Year’s Resolution-themed “Just do it-ims” and finger-pointing  statements like “You lack discipline to be successful,” from seasoned “pros,” I find Yankoski‘s perspective true and hopeful, cultivating a mindset that can develop small progress toward a desired goal.  And I think the key is small progress, closing the gap between aspirations abilities…hey, throw in a full time job, family, necessary down time, and all your other obligations you need to work around…and allowing for forgiveness over setbacks, delays and ever-new beginnings.

caroline“There is something beautiful and clarifying and terrifying all at once in being at the beginning… To be a beginner is to be full of hope-filled humility, to be overflowing with eager expectation that is simultaneously held in check by the obvious gap between your aspirations and current abilities. To be a beginner is to be pregnant with dreams but nascent with skill, and then to set about the work of cultivating the life of both.”
— Michael Yankoski, The Sacred Year


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