Archive for the ‘Cleaning’ Category

7 Things on My Mind

December 29th, 2009 by Jane

I’ve got a lot on my mind lately and not enough cubbies in my brain to organize all of the flying thoughts. One reason Amy and I started this blog was to give ourselves a place to dump our brain lint. Sometimes I find shiny bits that are keepers, but for the most part it is just so my cerebral cortex will not catch fire.  Take a look…

1. The Boss Gets His Props
Tonight on CBS, Bruce Springsteen, my personal poet, will be honored by the Kennedy Center. You know where I will be.  With popcorn.

2. My Sister’s Birthday
My baby sister is beginning her last year of her thirties today, so I am thinking about her and what a great sister she is to me.

3. The Middle
If I live until the age of ninety, then I officially just became middle-aged. Naming and claiming this gives me pause. I’m going to choose well for my crisis. My husband got an old Porsche he had been wanting, but I don’t think it will be that simple for me.

4. Feng Shui
At this time last year, I spent a few days cleaning out my closets, corners and cupboards. According to the practice of Feng Shui, we should all clean out areas of our homes that have dirt or clutter build-up because they cause stagnation. If you want to have a good year, with lots of positive energy, then get to sweeping and throwing out! Check out this site for more tips.

5. Movies
I could spend an entire day at the movie theater just going from one to another. Robert Downey, Jr. is calling my name, I am certain.

6. CDs
Should I go ahead and import all of my music to iTunes and sell the discs? Anyone got an opinion on this?

7. What Next?
I am still mulling over what to fold into my life next. I feel the need to do something more, but am not sure how to fit it all in. I am working on a few projects and I hope I can focus enough for them to come to fruition. I’ll keep you posted.

7 Things I Am Looking For….

August 31st, 2009 by Jane

I have a good life, great in fact on most days. But, sometimes I feel as if U2 wrote this song for me-at least in certain areas. Let me know if you have any ideas/products/solutions to the following desires!

1. New Musicians to Follow
My iTunes list has been pretty stagnant lately. The last thing I downloaded was music for the yoga classes that I teach. Ommmmmmm!

2. Comfortable High Heels
Oxymoron? I refuse to believe it!

3. Swimsuit
This suit is the cutest I have seen in years. I have the perfect shades to wear with this, now I just need some kicky wedge sandals!

4. Generous Monetary Compensation for Living a Creative Life
I am sending my wish out into cyberspace and starting a movement! Who’s in?

5. A Good Stain Removal Technique that Works Every Time
I have found that OxiClean works on most things, but I am still looking for the miracle product.

6. Meaning in Chaos
When I remember, I tell myself that it is all about moving closer to love. On bad days, I wonder what I have stepped in.

7.  Balance
We all know what to do: exercise, eat right, volunteer, choose work you love, be happy in small ways, love the world as much as you can, see the big picture, surround yourself with people you love and respect. The conundrum we humans have is that we cannot remember to do this every minute. We let inconsequential things get traction, the day blows apart and we are back where we started. Sometimes, I mutter to myself the words of that great philosopher, Dory, “Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming.” It is the best I can do.

7 Summer Plans

June 1st, 2009 by Jane

Summer vacation has officially started for two of my children and my 3rd grader will be out of school on Tuesday. We don’t have much planned yet for the summer, but I made a little list of things we are looking forward to doing. Or not doing!

1. Art Work
We have  a stockpile of art projects for the girls that we are going to work on, like a paint-your-own tea set. I am always overly ambitious the first week of summer break, so it is not surprising that I have considered doing a papier mache project with my kids and their friends. I am going to read up on the process on this site before we start. I’ll let you know how it turns out!

2. Clean Up, Clear Out and Straighten Up!
I am looking forward to some time to clean out the play room and girls’ bedrooms, and they are now old enough to help. I am starting a new game: Pick Up What You Want to Keep! What they are not willing to put away goes in a trash sack for Goodwill. Guerrilla Mommy Tactics: harsh, but effective.

3. Cooking Experiments
I bought this great book at a garage sale: Science Experiments You Can Eat and I am looking forward to working in the lah-borrrrr-ah-tory, uh, kitchen,  with the children. 

4. Exercise
It is brutally hot here in the summers, so we have joined our local recreation center so we can exercise as a family even on the doggiest days of summer.

5. Friendship Bread
Our sweet neighbor, Monica, brought over an Amish Friendship Bread starter last night. The girls have agreed to smush it every day until we can bake it in ten days. If you are not familiar with this yummy goodness, it is a sourdough “starter” for a sweet bread. The starter grows for ten days and then you split it and make bread with some of it and give the rest away to friends. Every ten days you get two loaves of bread and more starter to share. Good thing we are upping our fitness routine! 

6. Nothing
My favorite part of summer is knowing I do not have to get three pokey children somewhere everyday. I am a big believer in scheduled boredom for children. Boredom is a useful tool inteaching children to entertain themselves and to learn how to be alone. The time I have spent alone in my life is a rich source of my creativity. Admittedly, it is brutal to be in the same house with bored children, but I strongly believe in the practice and think of it as a gift to my children that they will appreciate later. I hope.

7. Water Park
We have three fountain parks within a 30 minute drive from where we live and I have made dates with several other families to meet there during the summer. Check out this one, the fountain is named after one of my favorite Texas dames, the smart and sassy Liz Carpenter

7 Items on My Bedside Table

May 26th, 2009 by Jane

My children live like squirrels. All three girls, but especially the twins, like to have their “stuff” all around them in their beds. On any random day you may find 25 stuffed animals, drawings, pens and paper, books, snacks and money in their beds or under their pillows. One of the twins slept with a Dora sprinkler in her bed for a year and a half. If you tried to move it, she turned into a howler monkey until you dropped it.

While my bedside is much neater and compartmentalized, I recently came to the conclusion that my little apples did not fall far from their maternal tree. Here is a list of  what I have next to my bed.

1. Books
I always read myself to sleep; I have ever since I learned to read. Right now, I am reading Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities, and Occasional Moments of Grace by Ayelet Waldman. She says many things in this book that I have been thinking for years. I highly recommend it if you are a mother or are someone tring to understand mothers.

2. Ear Plugs
For the last decade, ear plugs have kept me married to my husband. He snores, loudly. And for the low, low price of $3.99, the cost of a package of 10 pair of ear plugs, I have been able to sleep in the same bed with him and wake up still loving him.

3. Lotion, Cuticle Cream and Lip Balm

I like to be hydrated while I am sleeping.

4. Love Notes
I keep the most special love notes from my children in my bedside table drawer.

5. Pen and Paper
I started keeping pen and a cute pad in my drawer several years ago. I must tell you it helps me get to sleep faster if I write down the things that are on my mind. Sometimes it is the start of the grocery list, or it is a plan for the next day, and other times I write down ideas for this blog.

6. Tennis Ball
I keep several sizes of rubber balls in my drawer as suggested by the myofascial massage therapist I saw last summer. If you have a pain in your back or elsewhere, lie on a ball for two minutes and see if it goes away. Works for me every time.

7. Wadded Tissues
I confess: I keep balls of tissue under my pillow. I am an allergist’s dream and sometimes I need a tissue during the night. Keep ‘em under your pillow and you don’t have to search in the dark! Follow this link to customize your own tissue box.

7 Attitude Adjustments

May 14th, 2009 by Amy

For some reason, these past few weeks it’s been hard to have a good attitude. It’s not that I’ve been having a bad attitude exactly, it’s just that it has been easy to feel somewhat overwhelmed by a steady stream of stressors.


When I came across this little quote from Maya Lin my heart fluttered a bit … “To fly, we have to have resistance.”


Here are seven more pick-me-ups to help lift you along.


1.  “The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.” M. Scott Peck


2.  “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.” Helen Keller


3.  “The trick is in what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves happy. The amount of work is the same.” Carlos Castaneda


4.  “The greatest part of our happiness depends on our dispositions, not our circumstances.” Martha Washington


5.  “We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”  Viktor Frankl


6.  “The greatest discovery of our generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind. As you think, so shall you be.” William James


7.  “To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life; we must first set our hearts right.” Confucius


Thanks to Wisdom Quotes.

7 Ways To Restyle An Old T-shirt – Redux

May 12th, 2009 by Amy

One of the most common ways readers find our blog is through a Google search for “restyling an old t-shirt.”


Given that the warm weather is here to stay and y’all are looking for T-shirt ideas … here is the original 7of  … and here are some more!


1.  Chaos

The “Chaos” T (at right) is brought to you from the fun folks at Compai … who are also the masterminds behind 99 Ways to Cut, Sew, Trim, and Tie Your T-Shirt into Something Special.

The following can all be found at (links provided):


2.  Flapper

Feisty and very feminine … you’d never guess this little number (at left) was made from unflattering Ts.


3.  Gathered Yoke

A tailored look … very little sewing required!


4.  Pin Tuck

Form-fitting, yet entirely flexible.


5.  Ruffles



6.  Scarf

Paul, over at, sent in his idea for transforming pre-loved Ts into scarves … cozy!


7.  Skirt

Fun, flirty, and totally functional (at right). 

7 Smells That Bring Back Memories

April 16th, 2009 by Amy

The other day I rinsed a colander of strawberries in the sink.


Just after the water hit the berries, the sweet smell of early summer hit my face – and took me all the way back to a certain early strawberry summer that was very sweet indeed.


These smells take me places I love to go:


1.  Onions sautéing

2.  Coffee brewing

3.  Clean sheets

4.  Sunscreen

5.  Hot bread

6.  Babies

7.  Snow

7 Ideas for Leftover Paint

April 15th, 2009 by Jane

I have a plethora of leftover paint in my garage and of course this inspired a 7Of post! So, I have been researching paint crafts and I came across a great site for paint ideas hosted by the folks at Rustoleum. Did you know that the rust-preventive paint was inspired by fish oil? Try some of these projects and you will be helping the environment while cleaning out your garage!

1. Bottles
Event producer David Stark painted bottles from his recycling bin and crowned them with paper doilies to make these adorable and inexpensive vases.  View the whole tablescape in the May issue of Country Living magazine.

2. In the Garden
Refresh that small wrought iron table on your porch, paint your mailbox or spray paint some window boxes.  Look around, I’ll bet you will find something that needs a burst of color!.

3. Place mats

Use leftover chalkboard paint to transform tired plastic place mats into a blank canvas for your kids or guests. 

4. Stair Risers
From the creative minds at Real Simple magazine comes this idea to paint the risers of stairs in your home. I think this would be fabulous with several colors, or each one a different shade of the same color. Just keep adding white paint to lighten the color you choose. 

5. Tchotchkes
In the last year or so, I have seen several design articles on how to paint home decor accessories to make a bigger visual impact. One of my favorite ideas was painting old trophies the same shocking color like electric blue or lime green. Or painting cheap ceramic cat figurines all black or all white. How about painting dime store candlesticks varying shades of your favorite color? Line lots of these on a shelf or table for the strongest impact. 

6. Paint Chips
I have a lot of chips from when we remodeled my house and I have been using them to make greeting cards. Or they could be wall art. Or bookmarks or gift tags. Think of them as colored paper instead of detritus and you will find tons of uses for them.

7. Recycle the Paint!
The fine website, Earth 911, has tips on how to buy the correct amount of paint for the job, how to extend the life of leftover paint and where to recycle paint when you are done with it.

7 IKEA Hacks

March 25th, 2009 by Amy

The folks below don’t see IKEA items as finished products, but raw materials to be reused, repurposed, recycled and reconfigured. Welcome to the world of hacking IKEA.


Got some of your own? Send ‘em to IKEA Hacker dot com.



1.  KNUFF / Catchall Shelf

The clever folks at Design Sponge turned this magazine holder on its side … and thought “shelf.” Perfect!



2.  SÖT BARNSLIG / UBS Drive Cozy

Always losing your UBS drive in the depths of your laptop bag? Tuck it in a plush IKEA crocodile and you’ll have no problem keeping track of it.



3.  BENJAMIN / Laptop Stand

The curved wood of the Benjamin makes a modern laptop stand for your lap or table top.



4.  RUSCH / Personalized Clock

Lady Lulu walks you through transforming the super inexpensive and always available RUSCH clock into something super special. Clever, clever, clever.



5.  ASKER / Plant Hanger

While originally for use in the kitchen, these curvaceous pots look right at home hanging on the chain link fence outside.




6.  LACK / Credenza

Apartment Therapy has two different hack o’LACKs. Both Matt and Tyler took simple boxy bumped up to cool and functional. Cool.



7.  Random IKEA Stuff / Kitchen

I am currently renovating my kitchen. By “renovating” I mean I’ve knocked down sheetrock, taken out an island, destroyed most of the countertops, and rendered the room generally dysfunctional. Needless to say, I found this hack is particularly inspiring.

7 Companies That Sell Safe Body Care Products

March 17th, 2009 by Amy

I love taking hot, hot bubble baths.


That is I used to, until I read this.


Somehow marinating myself in a steamy carcinogenetic cocktail seems less relaxing than it did when I was ignorant.


The good news is that while the Environmental Working Group’s Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has exposed the offenders, it has also drawn welcome attention to smaller, value-driven companies who have been doing good all along. Many have signed a Compact for Safe Cosmetics, pledging to make safer products and provide higher levels of transparency to consumers.


Here is a sampling of just some of the many companies who swept the “Best Of” lists with their impressively pure products. Before I fill the tub again, I plan on shopping around.



1.  Earth Mama, Angel Baby

Earth Mama, Angel Baby cares for its customers during the most natural process on the planet – pregnancy and birth. Their lotions, soaps, and salves seem both practical and luxurious.

2.  Garden of Eve

Garden of Eve’s sampler kits are a great introduction to the company’s products … not to mention a wonderful gift idea.

3.  Healing Scents

Healing Scents is dedicated to pure, natural ingredients without ever cutting any corners – a true labor of love.

4.  Nurture My Body
Started as a personal quest for all natural products, Nurture My Body has grown into a lovely online store that has its customer’s best interests at heart.

5.  Poof’s Closet
Poof’s Closet’s wonderfully unscented baby products don’t mask the naturally cute smell all babies are born with. Fun lip balm flavors, too.

6.  Tom’s of Maine
Tom’s of Maine opts for full disclosure, freely discussing what they put – and don’t put – in their products on their website. Tom’s is widely available at grocery stores and pharmacies.


7.  A Wild Soap Bar

These colorful natural soaps are handmade near Austin, TX and incorporate super-fragrant organically grown botanicals. Wild, indeed!

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